In Memoriam: Baron Adhemar de Villarquamada
Baron Adhemar de Villarquamada passed away suddenly on Wednesday, April 8th, following a chronic illness. Baron Adhemar was active in the Society for more than twenty-five years. For fifteen of those years he served as the Baron of Dragonship Haven, stepping down only last month. He was recognized as a Master of the Laurel by Brion and Anna in 1999 for his skill with illumination, calligraphy, and costuming, and as a Master of the Pelican by Darius and Roxane in 2002 for his long service to the College of Heralds and his Barony.
A longtime member of Duchy von Grunwald, he also was the founder and patriarch of the Maison Sainte Claire, a group dedicated to recreating the culture, customs, and crafts of the year 1405 through the structure of a French nobleman’s household. He was the Commander of La Grande Compagnie de Sainte Claire, devoted to the study and use of black powder weapons in period. Baron Adhemar was well known for his interest in and willingness to teach about 15th century French history, and was recognized with the King’s Order of Excellence in 2002 for his high standards of personal authenticity. He taught and published extensively about authentic scribal practices and was the first in the East to adapt period court and legal documents into SCA award texts.
Baron Adhemar was a Companion of the Orders of the Maunche (1992) and the Silver Crescent (2000). He was made a Baron of the Court with a Grant of Arms by Balfar II and Luna II in 1995. He was gifted a King’s Cypher from Balfar III, as well as with Queen’s Honor of Distinctions (now the Queen’s Award of Esteem) from both Olivia and Anna II. In 2004, Balfar IV and Luna IV revived the very ancient title of Captain-General of Guatemala (traditionally the very last entry in the East Kingdom Order of Precedence) for him in humorous recognition of his long service to the Kingdom. Baron Adhemar was also recognized by his Barony. In 1990, he was named a Companion of Dragonship Haven’s Order of the Yale for service. He was also a Companion of the Barony’s now-closed Order of the Hawk’s Bell for arts and sciences.
Baron Adhemar served many of the Crowns of the East as Their Majesties’ Court Herald, now called the Eastern Crown Herald. He taught the heralds of the list-field as Troubadour (Tourney Deputy) Herald from 2001-2005. He assumed the office of Brigantia Principal Herald of the East in 2005 and served until 2009. In 2012, in the Court of Kenric and Avelina at Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, Rowen Brigantia named him a Herald Extraordinaire (one of the four named that day) among the first named in the East in fifteen years.
Baron Adhemar’s former ward, Baroness Marguerite de Sainte Nazaire shared the following remembrance of him with the Gazette. “I am not good with stories or quotes, but I can tell you the sort of man Adhemar was. Everyone who’s met him knows he’s fabulous, but he is also patient. In his role as Baron and Brigantia he frequently had to deal with well-meaning but totally lost volunteers and even those purposely trying to stir things up. And though he always had a creative swearing session over them in private, he always helped them calmly and even attentively. He kitted out more people than I can
count. Cutting and sewing clothes for them, frequently out of linen and wool that he purchased. He taught freely. When I first met him he would open his tiny apartment up for a weekly scriptorium. He would teach you everything he knew if you let him. His personality could take up a room and his laugh could fill every little crack and crevasse. He was more than just funny or witty, he was fluent in sarcasm and absurdity. He loved his friends very deeply; he also loved history, his art and his Kingdom. Sometimes he forgot that he was not actually a medieval baron, but in many ways that’s what made him so wonderful. And fabulous.”
Baroness Ysabella de Draguignan adds “He was not only my persona’s brother, he was also my foster Laurel. I would often come to him with the most ridiculous ideas for projects and each time through my exciting spiel he would laugh exuberantly, littered with “Yes, Dear”. But when it was done he would do his best to help me research my ideas and encourage me in my pursuits. He never once said no, that’s an unsuitable idea. Not once. We may have decided through research it wasn’t period, but he would never dismiss it out of hand.”
A memorial tent was set up at Balfar’s Challenge in Dragonship Haven on April 18th, and there is also a Facebook page where friends may share photos and remembrances. The memorial service will be held on May 30th at 1 PM at Christ Episcopal Church in New Haven, CT.