L'Emprise de l'Escu Gules
translation: The Enterprise of the Red Shield
(The name is loosely based on Boucicaut's Votive Order and intended as a bit of a tip of the cap to the Kingdom of AEthelmearc of the SCA from where most of our initial members originate.)
Our target year is 1391
However, for purposes of judging acceptable authenticity we use the timeframe of 1375 ~ 1425.
To recreate in reasonably accurate historical detail the clothes, tools, food, weapons, combat, arts, crafts, and other aspects of the culture of France and Western Europe of the gentry, merchants, and yeomanry and its equivalents in the period of 1375 - 1425.
To encourage and promote the study of western European history, with emphasis on the middle classes and lesser nobility of the late 14th and early 15th Century.
To organize and conduct events such as tournaments, feasts, festivals, fairs, military company drill and maneuver, and demonstrations of everyday life. Effort shall be made to narrow the time period of events to within an approximate one year time interval of 1391.
To portray a French Chivalric Votive Order participating in one of the many tournaments held during one of the short periods of peace in the Hundred Years War.
To make every attempt to be as accurate as possible to the armor and clothing of our chosen time period. So much so, that participation will be contingent upon a person's harness and clothing.
The Votive Orders of the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
All persons should be someone who would plausibly be found in England or the European Continent in the late 14th Century. Soldiers or camp followers should be predominantly French, English, German, Flemish, or Italian. The civilians should be entirely French. All non-competitors should portray yeomen, members of the clergy, artisans, merchants, peasants, or camp followers.
We participate in a variety of activity types, e.g. live and/or static demonstrations for local schools and groups, community parades, Living History timeline portrayals, jousting competitions, and gatherings for our own enjoyment. Many events may run for several days, with at least one day open to the public. During all such public programs, all anachronisms will be hidden, and all participants will be in costume and character. Aside from the jousting and ground combat activities there will usually be a wide variety of non-combative activities represented such as cooking, crafts, or other domestic duties.
Although our primary goal is to portray a Votive Order of Chivalry and their retainers (and sometimes households) who are travelling across France in order to engage in a Deed of Arms in Western France. We try to hold seasonal portrayals with different scenarios that revolve around the political happenings in France during the year. As such, we attempt to portray both military and non-military scenarios and activities.
Recommended reading list
This is the cornerstone of all events. We are not looking for large numbers of participants, rather, we are looking for like minded participants who understand the goals of these events and are willing to do what it takes to do it right. There is only one historical time and place depicted, and all participants must conform to that time and place in their clothing and presentation. All clothing, tentage and equipment must be documentable and typical of the period. This requirement applies equally to jewelry and accessories (no neo-pagan stuff, belt favors, Ren Faire junk, etc.).
All historical portrayals at events sponsored by the company shall be under the direction of the Council.
Participation at events requires adequate clothing, equipment, and accessories for a reasonably accurate portrayal of both the historical individual and any associated activity.
For our purposes "Reasonable accuracy" is defined as adherence to the "three-foot rule." This means that within the perimeter of our tourney field, tiltyard, gallery, and camp, all visible objects are expected to appear as historically accurate when viewed from a distance of three feet. The only exception to this standard is with regard to equestrian equipment where we observe a "ten-foot rule."
The portrayals of persons, events and equipment should emphasize what was typical for the time period and not what was extraordinary.
The Council reserves the right to judge the clothing, equipment, and accessories of all participants for historical accuracy and acceptable use.
The Council may reserve the portrayal of some social stations for those who have sufficient experience in the organization or related organizations, and historical knowledge and any requisite skills to adequately recreate the historical personage and typical activity. The Council may also place restrictions on the use of titles and portrayals associated with precedence or rank that would convey authority over other members, or compromise the social focus of the organization.
To provide for a reasonable degree of historical consistency in any event area or presentation, the Council may require that obviously un-period articles or activities be restricted from the site.
The Company emphasizes "periodicity" AT events, rather than between events.
Portrayals and gatherings are open to any interested individual.
Membership is open to all individuals who support our mission and goals of historical research and education.
New members begin as recruits. Once a recruit has fulfilled the requirements of full membership and has proven to be compatible with the Company’s ideals and approaches, the Council may issue an invitation to the recruit to become a full member.
Membership is required for continued participation, without regard for level.
Failure to maintain the standards required of full membership will be grounds for Council review and possible reduction of membership level or removal of membership status.
All changes in membership status must be approved by the Council.
There is no ranking per se, within the Company.
Those who join the Company with the intent to joust must begin as grooms until they are authorized for the games. Once authorized for the games they become squires and begin training for the joust. For further explanation see Knighthood below.
Participation in events is always on a volunteer basis. Any income derived by Company activities is directly applied to offset the costs of insurance, publicity and expendable supplies such as lumber, firewood, and straw. As much as we would like to pay everyone, we do this for the love of it and for the desire to see some quality medieval living history done in this region.
Participants are expected to behave like responsible adults and good neighbors for the duration of any events in which we participate.
We have administrative positions to deal with modern issues.
Additionally, the Company Council establishes Company policies and is responsible for the coordination of all Company operations. The Council consists of the President and no more than four elected members. The elected members serve staggered terms and are elected at annual meetings held in concert with our annual 12th Night celebration.
The Council is charged with fostering research and encouraging the constant improvement of the overall presentations of both the Company and individual members. The Council will also review all materials used in Company presentations.
Knighthood is based on performance in ground combat and jousting as well as portrayal presentation and participation. It is expected that knights of the Company will maintain only the highest standards in equipment, clothing, and harness. Therefore, anyone who intends to portray a knight must be capable of acquiring equipment and harness appropriate to that station. In addition, it may take an individual many years to attain the knowledge necessary to successfully portray a knight of our period of interest. Bearing all this in mind, those who portray squires are by no means compelled to eventually portray knights; though they will, of course, always have the option presented when warranted.
It should be noted that Full membership status is required for Knighthood.
The participation of women is to be strongly encouraged, with one caveat. All combatants (during accuracy-enforced portrayals) must be male as we are attempting to re-create, as accurately as possible, a tourney from the period. As it has not yet been proven that women of the period regularly participated in such as combatants, we must insist that this standard be maintained.
Though there is a great deal of evidence that female knights did exist in our period of interest, it was extremely rare and unusual to encounter a female knight under normal circumstances. Additioanlly, though female knights existed, there has not yet been found any record of their participation in tournamants, either mounted or on foot. Therefore, the participation of female members in mounted and ground combat must be limited to closed "Redshield Members Only" portrayals.
This, of course, has no bearing on those who would like to participate as "Ladies of the Gallery" on whose active participation we will greatly rely. Accordingly, those gentlemen who would like to participate in the group re-enactment but not in the equestrian activities may also participate in the gallery.
We will, on occasion, hold tournaments. To more closely duplicate a standard tournament of the period we divide our competitions into three segments to represent the days of the tourney. The first segment (day) consists of foot combat and jousting between knights. The second is between squires, and the third is between all other comers. Visiting knights are offered the option of competing against the squires and/or waiting to participate in the "all comers" segment.
However, the knights of the Company have the option to invite any who they will to participate with them in the first segment.
It must be clearly understood that ALL participants in activities deemed hazardous (e.g. Jousting, Ground Combat, etc.) must have private health insurance in order to participate. The Insurance providers with whom we are currently negotiating WILL provide some degree of coverage for participants and volunteers, but this is not going to be sufficient to deal with the potential extreme physical harm that participation entails. Our primary concern is for sufficient coverage for spectator safety and property liability.
Suitable merchants are always welcome to participate in our Spring Portrayal. To be suitable, a merchant must have all sales staff in appropriate costume, all tentage and furnishings must be historically correct, and all wares must be correct for 14th Century France (i.e. no mystic runes, no modern books or CDs, no Celtic Revival jewelry, no dragon goblets or canes with dragon claw crystal handles, etc.) Nothing but the modern money changing hands should be unsuitable to the period. Vendors who sell everyday things like articles of clothing, metal findings, suitable tableware, and weapons and the like are especially welcome. Please note that almost nothing that is customarily sold at a Renaissance Faire, and very little that is sold at an SCA event would meet these criteria.