In the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, an artisan can be recognized for their accomplishments in the Arts & Sciences by being included in one or more of the following three Orders. For a general FAQ on walking the path towards a Peerage, peruse our advise column Ask Aunt Æthel.
Order of Merit
Order of the Sycamore: given for accomplishments in the peaceful arts and sciences, including entertaining and research. The order’s badge is: (Fieldless) Three sycamore leaves conjoined in pall per pale gules and Or.
Order of High Merit
Order of the Fleur of Æthelmearc: given to recognize skill in the gentler arts. Members of the Order of the Laurel are not eligible for this award. The order’s badge is: Per saltire gules and Or, four fleurs-de-lys bases to center counterchanged. The Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc web site includes their handbook, list of members, and useful resources.
Order of the Laurel: The peerage order for skill in the arts and sciences. Induction into this Order confers a Patent of Arms if the recipient has not already received one. The regalia of the order is (Tinctureless) A laurel wreath. The Order of the Laurel is recognized Society-wide. The Kingdom of Æthelmearc College of Heralds lists the Order of Precedence for all Laurels of Æthelmearc.
The Order of the Laurel is one of the four SCA Bestowed Peerages, along with the Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Pelican, and the Order of Defense.
Companions of the Order of the Laurel (or ‘Laurels’) have been recognized by the Crown for their exemplary arts, along with their consistent display of the virtues of Grace, Courtesy and Chivalric Demeanor. Their elevation is accompanied by a Patent of Arms (the highest level of arms).
As for the virtues, the SCA Governing Documents (p.32) state the requirements for any Peerage candidates:
“They shall have:
- been obedient to the governing documents of the Society and the laws of the kingdom.
- consistently shown respect for the Crown of the kingdom.
- set an example of courteous and noble behavior suitable to a peer of the realm.
- demonstrated support for the aims and ideals of the Society by being authentic in dress, equipment and behavior as is within their power.
- shared their knowledge and skills with others.
- practiced hospitality according to their means and as appropriate to the circumstances.
- made every effort to learn and practice those skills desirable at and worthy of a civilized court. To this end they should have some knowledge of a wide range of period forms, including but not limited to literature, dancing, music, heraldry, and chess, and they should have some familiarity with combat as practiced in the Society.
- participated in Society re-creations of several aspects of the culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.”
The Governing Documents also state that the duties of the members of the order include:
- setting an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct.
- respecting the Crown of the kingdom; supporting and upholding the laws of the kingdom and the governing documents of the Society.
- (if the member has sworn fealty to the Crown) supporting and upholding the Crown of his or her kingdom.
- enriching the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
- advising the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Laurel.
Ask the Laurels Facebook discussion groups
SCA Library of Alexandria – unofficial A&S discussions with the Laurels (public)
SCA Ask the Peers. A Unofficial SCA Group (public)
Ask the SCA Laurels Anything (public)
Æ Order information from: Etcetera – The Kingdom of Æthelmearc by Mistress Jessa d’Avondale
Laurel information from: East Kingdom Wiki – Order of the Laurel