A proposal is currently before the Board of Directors to create a peerage for Rapier and ‘Cut and Thrust’ martial activities. The proposal was created by the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee, which was created by the Board of Directors. It was comprised of representatives of eleven kingdoms, including representatives of the Chivalry, Laurel, Pelican, multiple Orders of High Merit for rapier combat, and heralds. The Easterners on the Committee were Earl Kenric aet Essex and Mistress Alys Mackyntoich.
SCA members have unofficially discussed for years the possibility of additional peerages for the martial activities of Rapier as well as for Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapons and Siege Weaponry. Currently the only avenue to a peerage open to someone for these activities is if their service to the sport is significant enough to merit a Pelican. Peerages are only given for Service (Pelican), Arts and Sciences (Laurel) or Armored Combat (Chivalry).
The Committee examined input collected by the 2010 SCA Census and correspondence received by the SCA on the subject. They summarized what they learned as follows.
- Many SCA members view peerages as a way to reward excellence in SCA activities in general and not as things only for service, armored combat or arts and sciences.
- Respondents to the 2010 Census showed strong levels of support for additional peerages with the greatest amount of support being for a Rapier peerage.
- Rapier fighters exist with “elite levels of martial expertise, leadership, service and honor on the Rapier field, comparable with the skills and comportment expected of peers” and have received Pelicans or Laurels for their contribution to Rapier.
- Many Crowns have expressed a desire to elevate worthy candidates to a Rapier peerage.
- A peerage is functionally useful in the Society for generating the recognition needed to solve problems. A lower level award doesn’t do this.
- Rapier is flourishing in the SCA and found in all kingdoms. A Society wide peerage will improve the practice of Rapier and “benefit the Society overall”.
- Rapier peers would form a body that “can solve problems, represent and maintain high standards, and communicate effectively with the Crown in the way that only peers can”, especially across kingdom lines.
- Currently existing methods of acknowledging top-level Rapier fighters aren’t adequate because Kingdom awards are not analogous across kingdoms; kingdoms do use the same standards for entry; and these awards do not create the same bond with a Crown as peerages.
The report also discussed possible names, badges and regalia for the Peerage. The Board chose one of each to put forward for commentary.
- Orders of the Masters of Defense is a name based on the London Masters of Defense, a royally chartered guild of teachers of fencing in England.
- The badge suggested is three rapiers interlaced in pall inverted proper with the weaponry representative of the weaponry used in the new peerage.
- A white or silver livery collar with the badge of the Order hung from it is suggested as the regalia. This style was fashionable in the later part of the SCA period and should be easily visible in combat.
Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal should send their remarks to The Board of Directors by December 1, 2013. Use the title “Additional Peerage Proposal” as the subject line. Comments can be sent by email to email@example.com or
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Editor’s note: The proposal put forward by the Board for comment can be found at http://sca.org/BOD/announcements/APECProposal.pdf