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Articles * On Being a Territorial Baron or Baroness


A Class by Duchess Katerina O’Callaghan, Bannthegn of Twin Moons

June, 2010

What are the written rules?

  1. The Society-wide roles for Baron and Baroness are in Corpora (see Appendix A)
  2. The additional "laws and customs of the Kingdom" of Atenveldt are defined in Atenveldt Kingdom Law (see Appendix B) and Atenveldt Kingdom Financial Policy (see Appendix C)
  3. The Fealty Oath sworn by the Baron and Baroness to the King and Queen of Atenveldt at each Coronation (see Appendix D)

What is the basic job? What do a Baron and Baroness do?

  1. You are the "Crown’s man-and-woman-on-the-spot" (a middle manager). You must communicate (and interpret) the Crown’s directives and actions for the people, and keep the Crown informed about the accomplishments, mood, and problems of Their People in your lands. Examples:
    • Award recommendations to the Crown for your group
    • Rally support for the Crown’s agenda in your group (war, law changes, special events like Toys for Tots, or a "Sea of Blue" on the Estrella Fighting field)
    • Inform the Crown when your populace has suggested changes (a new war site, a change in the Kingdom calendar) or is concerned about matters of state (war, Kingdom Officers, the Royal Progress, actions of the Crown)
    • Give opinions to the Crown and Seneschal on mid-Reign Law Changes made by the Crown
    • Lead the group in understanding and implementing new Corporate and Kingdom guidelines for the way SCA activities may be conducted
  2. You swear fealty to the Crown, and are appointed and may be removed by the Crown (although the populace must be consulted)
  3. You are the Ceremonial Representative for the Barony at home in the Barony, at Kingdom events in other parts of the Kingdom, and in other Kingdoms. This means:
    • You must travel to other parts of the Kingdom, and encourage members of your populace to travel as well
    • You are the role model by which newcomers learn how Royalty acts, and how to interact with Royalty
    • You must wear the Baronial regalia and Baronial Heraldry (you should put away your personal heraldry while in the position).
  4. You must meet and work as part of the Baronial Financial Committee for the Barony. The Baron and Baroness, Baronial Seneschal and Baronial Reeve serve as the Baronial Financial Committee and are responsible for approving all expenditures of funds and investments made by the Barony. Together, they are responsible for implementing corporate guidelines, creating local financial policies for the group, and ensuring that proper financial reports are completed and submitted. The Baron and Baroness get one combined vote on this committee, and may not be signators on the Baronial bank account.
  5. You hold responsibility for the overall health of your Barony. This includes being a leader in these areas:
    1. Officer Corp: You must work to keep a full slate of Baronial Officers, you must hold and attend Baronial Officer’s meetings, and you must ensure all officers submit required reports to their superiors. A Barony can be suspended and made Crown Lands if these requirements are not met. This means you are the lead person for recruiting new Officers (one of the biggest Baronial tasks).
    2. Bringing Newcomers into the Mainstream SCA: You must ensure the Barony continues to find and recruit new active, paid members so your membership level is maintained or growing (memberships must not fall below the 25 member Society minimum for a Barony) .You must be a leader in greeting and explaining our organization to newcomers, and encouraging and mentoring them to learn about mainstream SCA activities (fighting, A&S, Heraldry, autocratting events, serving as officers).
    3. Ensuring your group’s traditional official Baronial Events are scheduled and conducted: This includes recruiting dependable autocrats and feastocrats (another big Baronial task), finding sites for Baronial events, stepping in and making sure these positions are filled if someone does not come through, and working with your Baronial Seneschal to get your events on the Kingdom Calendar and into the Kingdom Newsletter.
    4. Ensuring the Barony performs non-profit, educational activities required to retain the SCA’s non-profit status: This includes sponsoring classes/teaching, and scheduling and attending demos for the modern world. The Baron and Baroness should encourage attendance for these activities, and attend the demos themselves.
    5. Ensuring households, groups, and individuals within the Barony get along, and that existing disagreements do not disrupt the SCA activities of the group. This is one of the most time-consuming and difficult responsibilities for a Baron and Baroness. A Barony is not healthy if any one person, group, or household makes it difficult or unpleasant for others to come and play in the SCA. The Baron/Baroness must be strong leaders in this area by:
      • Making people get along at events and practices without taking sides.
      • Spreading work (as officers, autocrats, feastocrats, Baronial retainers/Guard) between people from divergent groups in the Barony.
      • Making it clear that people need not like each other, but they must be able to allow everyone to play alongside each other as long as people follow the rules (people must tolerate other groups and get along).

Without this leadership, one person, small group, or household can easily take over all positions in a Barony, or cause disruptions that cause membership to dwindle. The end product of this is that the Barony’s official status may become threatened.

How much time does this all take?

FOUR to SIX non-weekend days/nights per month (varies slightly depending on Baronial traditions):

  • Weekly fighter , archery, dance practices
  • Baronial Court once a month
  • Officers meeting once a month

FOURTEEN to TWENTY Weekends per year (varies slightly depending on choices made by the Baron and Baroness):

  • Five to ten weekends for official Baronial Events
  • Two weekends for Coronations
  • Two weekends for Crown Tourney
  • Three to four weekends for in-Kingdom Wars (Estrella War, Highland War, Southern Crusade)
  • One or two weekends (average) per year for Baronial Investitures for other Baronies
  • One weekend for a Kingdom Event (Kingdom A&S, Kingdom Collegium, Queen’s Birthday, Southwind Prize Tourney)

What about the cost of being a Baron and Baroness (see Appendix C)?

The SCA does not reimburse a Baron and Baroness for:

  • Costumes.
  • "Thank you" and appreciation gifts given to autocrats, feastocrats, retainers or officers
  • Favors
  • Gifts from the Barony to other royalty (Crown, Crown Heirs, other Barons and Baronesses, visiting Royalty from other areas) unless the gifts are regalia items
  • Tent rentals at war or other events

They do reimburse the Baron and Baroness for travel to SCA events outside the Barony, because that is a requirement of the position (see Appendix C).

What are the hardest situations a Baron and Baroness have to handle?

  • Organizing Courts at Baronial Events so they do not disrupt activities planned and expected by the populace (this is most challenging when the Crown attends an event)
  • Mediating between members of the populace who have disagreements – especially disagreements between Baronial Officers and the populace, Baronial Officers and their Kingdom Superior Officers, and members of the populace (like divorcing couples or household disputes)
  • Recruiting new officers and keeping the required Baronial Offices filled with qualified, interested people
  • Recruiting autocrats/feastocrats to run the Baronial events
  • Getting an event organized when autocrats and/or feastocrats resign unexpectedly, or right before an event
  • Negotiating with other Barons/Baronesses/SCA groups for Kingdom Calendar dates and land at Estrella War
  • Transitioning out of office
  • Disagreements with the Crown

APPENDIX A: Baron & Baroness Role Defined in Corpora


A. Appointment and Removal

  1. The Crown shall appoint a territorial Baron and/or Baroness according to the laws and customs of the kingdom when a branch is granted baronial status, or whenever a new Baron and/or Baroness is required. The barony‘s opinion on the matter must be requested and received in writing, and the appointments must not be substantively opposed by the populace of the barony. Territorial Barons and Baronesses are officers and must maintain appropriate membership status.
  2. The Crown may suspend a territorial Baron and/or Baroness for the duration of a reign, for just cause stated in writing and presented only to the Baron and/or Baroness. Suspension would prohibit the use of the baronial titles and arms, the conduct of baronial courts, and the presentation of baronial awards.
  3. The Crown may remove a territorial Baron and/or Baroness for just cause stated in writing and presented only to the Baron and/or Baroness; however, the Crown must request a written opinion from the populace of the barony before taking such action.

B. Responsibilities

  1. The basic duties of the Baron and/or Baroness are ceremonial in nature in reflecting the royal presence in the barony. The Crown may assign additional duties and responsibilities, according to the laws and customs of the kingdom.
  2. Territorial Barons and/or Baronesses are responsible to the Crown and (if the barony is within a principality) to the Coronet. The Baron and/or Baroness shall work with the baronial officers as circumstances dictate, and shall keep these officers informed as necessary for the efficient performance of their duties and effective liaison within the barony.
  3. The privileges, duties, and rights, ceremonial and otherwise, of the office of territorial Baron and/or Baroness are established by the laws and customs of the kingdom, and shall include the right to make such awards as the Crown (or the Coronet, if applicable) shall specifically delegate, and to establish and present non-armigerous awards specific to the barony.
  4. A territorial Baron or Baroness may hold any other Society office for which he or she is fitted and qualified, save only that of Baronial Seneschal, but must not allow the duties and responsibilities of such office and the office of Baron or Baroness to conflict.

APPENDIX B: Baron & Baroness Role in Atenveldt Kingdom Law (June 2010)


  1. Appointment, Resignation and Removal
    1. The office of the Territorial Baron and Baroness shall:
      1. Be a warranted office with a three year initial warrant period. . If the Territorial Baron and/or Baroness complete the three year warrant and wish to sit for an additional two years, the Crown and Kingdom Seneschal may optionally sign one (and only one) two year warrant extension. Shorter warrant extensions shall not be allowed, and the two year warrant may not be renewed (a sitting Territorial Baron or Baroness may not succeed themselves beyond a single 2 year extension of the original warrant).
      2. Since the Baron and Baroness are direct representatives of the Crown, only the Crown’s signatures are necessary on the warrant. The issuance of a warrant for the office does not change the procedure for removal of a Baron and Baroness.
      3. Should the Baron and Baroness not wish to complete their warrant, they must resign in writing.
      4. In the year before completion of their warrant, a Territorial Baron and Baroness must send a representative to the Kingdom Calendar Meeting to ensure a Baronial Investiture is scheduled on the Kingdom Calendar in the 45 days before or after expiration of their Baronial warrant.
      5. In the six months before stepping down, a Territorial Baron and Baroness must meet with the Crown (or the Heirs who will reign at the polling) and Kingdom Seneschal to determine the date for a Baronial Polling to be conducted in the 60 to 90 days before the date of their stepping down.
    2. Upon resignation of a Territorial Baron/Baroness, the Crown may optionally bestow the title of Thegn/Bannthegn. These titles shall designate prior service to the Kingdom of Atenveldt as a Territorial Baron/Baroness, shall include the right to bear the badge of the Barony upon a Baronial coronet and shall place them in the Atenveldt Order of March and Order of Precedence directly following Founding Baron/Founding Baroness.
    3. The Crown may poll the populace at any time during the warrant period. These polls are at the discretion of the Crown and may be conducted for any reason. A poll is required at the end of the initial three year warrant (if the three year warrant is not extended), at the end of any two year warrant extension, and upon resignation or removal of a Baron and Baroness.
    4. In all required polls,
      1. The date of the Baronial polling shall be set by the Kingdom Seneschal and the Crown (or the Heirs who will reign at the polling), based on the Crown’s Royal Progress and the time required for publication of polling information in the Kingdom newsletter.
      2. The Crown shall solicit recommendations for the office of Territorial Baron and Baroness by asking for letters of intent for the position. Candidate letters must state that the candidates are prepared to sit for a full three year initial warrant period. The Crown shall announce in the Baronial newsletter the names of those candidates that the Crown deems to be considered for the purpose of the polling with the rules governing the polling and the polling date.
      3. The rules for Baronial pollings shall be conducted according to the will of the Crown with the populace opinion requested and received in writing via a polling ballot.
      4. The Crown, or Crown’s representative, shall consider the recommendations of the populace prior to making their decision regarding the new Baron and Baroness. The decision of the Crown must not be substantively opposed by the populace of the Barony.
    5. The Crown may Suspend and/or Remove a Baron and Baroness for just and stated cause. In order to remove a Baron and Baroness, the Crown must request a written opinion from the populace of the barony before taking such action.
  2. Duties and Privileges of the Territorial Baron and Baroness shall include:
    1. Fulfilling their duties as outlined in Corpora.
    2. Being, for the people of the Barony, the chief examples of chivalry, courtesy, and virtue appropriate to gentle men and women, and shall encourage those virtues in their populace.
    3. Being the representative and agent of the Crown for the people of their Barony in the Crown’s absence. This shall include the following:
      1. Establishing and making awards specific to the Barony to acknowledge the skills and services of its residents. The bestowing of awards conferring precedence must be approved by the Crown in advance.
      2. Holding Baronial courts and presenting Baronial awards.
      3. Bearing the arms of the Barony, displaying Baronial regalia and wearing Baronial coronets at SCA events as a symbol of their position as the Crown’s agent and representative.
      4. Accepting oaths of fealty from the populace for the Crown when the Crown is not able to be present.
    4. Representing and being an advocate for the people of the Barony before the Crown.
    5. Encouraging special care in the extension of hospitality and welcome to new and prospective members.
    6. Having the right to receive and make use of gifts for the Barony; in addition, shall have the right to receive personal gifts so designated.
    7. Encouraging the officers of the Barony and recommending replacements to the Crown and its officers when such need arises.
    8. Authorizing all expenditures from the Baronial bank accounts prior to checks being written.
    9. When requested by the Crown and Kingdom Seneschal, reviewing immediate law changes to be proclaimed on any day other than the day of Coronation.
    10. Holding joint responsibility with the Baronial Seneschal for promptly correcting reporting problems within their Baronial Officer Corps.
    11. Attending, or designating representatives to attend, the annual Kingdom Calendar meeting held by the Kingdom Seneschal and Kingdom Calendar Officer and:
      1. Establishing the Kingdom Calendar Events to be held by the Barony during the next calendar year.
      2. Sponsoring the solicitation of bids for one Kingdom Event per year, as assigned during the annual Kingdom Calendar meeting. This sponsorship shall include both soliciting bids from either the Baronial populace or the populace of surrounding Shires, Cantons or Colleges, and ensuring that a viable bid for that Kingdom Event is submitted and approved by the Kingdom Financial Committee at least six months prior to the date of the assigned Kingdom Event.
    12. Having the right to request reimbursement from Baronial funds for qualified travel expenses as outlined in section XII FINANCIAL GUIDELINES.


E. Expenses of Territorial Barons and Baronesses – see Kingdom Financial Policy VI Expense Authorization(s) J.

APPENDIX C: Kingdom of Atenveldt Financial Policies

Expense Authorization(s)

J.  Total reimbursement from Baronies to the Territorial Nobility shall not exceed $500 per calendar year and $1500 per reign. All reimbursements for Territorial Nobility must be supported by receipts/confirmed reservations and paid out at one half of the expenses presented. Travel expenses may include transportation and necessary hotel accommodations.



In the early days of the Society, Kingdoms were few, and Lands held by those Kingdoms extended across the continent. It was therefore difficult (sometimes impossible) for a King and Queen to visit every group within Their Realm. Crowns could find themselves uninformed about the needs of Their Distant Populace, or uninformed about issues of concern to Their Subjects. Sadly, this also meant the Crown sometimes had difficulty keeping Their People informed about Royal Decisions and Actions.

So it was that the positions of Territorial Baron and Baroness were created to be living extensions of the Crown Themselves. Those taking this position were tasked to hold Baronial Lands in the name of the Crown, to put aside their personal heraldry and opinions, and to serve as tangible representatives of the Crown for subjects living in those Lands.

As Landed Nobility, Barons and Baronesses accept a heavy mantle.

  • They will stand for the Crown when the Crown cannot be present.
  • They will serve as envoys by accepting Fealty from the Populace for the Crown, and delivering the Crown’s promise to return that Fealty and protect and defend the Populace.
  • They will serve as the embodiment of Royal bearing, pageantry and ceremony for the Crown’s subjects.
  • They will serve as the Crown’s voice to the Populace, and the Populace’s voice to the Crown.

Those who hold these positions serve far longer than most  officers in the Crown’s Realm, and carry a heavy burden to be fair and honorable. They make the Dream come alive throughout the lands warmed by the Aten Sun.


HERALD: Their Majesties calls into Their presence the Territorial Barons and Baronesses of Atenveldt so they may swear fealty.
  [When all are assembled, and the Sword of State is placed so the Crown and Barons and Baronesses may all touch the Sword…]

This day do I _________, Baron or Baroness of ___________,

render homage and fealty to the King, Queen, and Kingdom of Atenveldt .

I do swear to be Their liege man of life and limb

and to rule my lands justly and honorably in Their name.

I shall continue to voice the words and desires of the Crown to my people

and the needs of my people to the Crown.

This I do swear by my honor and by all I hold sacred and true,

so say I _________


We, [NAME OF KING], and We, [NAME OF QUEEN], Do for Our part swear fealty to the Landed Nobility of Atenveldt, to protect and defend them and their subjects, with all Our power, until this Crown shall pass from Our hands. Rise, Our liegemen, and accept these Lands as token of our trust.


Here is a role-playing exercise, based on a "seen it lots of times" real Baron and Baroness day.


Select five people to be: the Baron, the Baroness, the King , the Autocrat, the Feastocrat


A Barony has worked for 6 months to put together a Children’s Collegium. They have a great site scheduled for Saturday 8 AM to 7 PM. The schedule is set for:

  • A 15 minute "get the event started" Baronial Court at 8:30 AM
  • Classes every hour from 9 AM to Noon and 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
  • A "light refreshment" buffet at Noon to 12:30 (so people won’t leave site).
  • A 4:30 to 5: 15 PM Baronial Closing Court where the Baron and Baroness plan to give 3 Baronial Awards.

The Barony is excited about the event. Twenty-five members of the Baronial populace are actively involved teaching, running troll/security, and organizing the Baronial court.


Friday night before the event, the Baron & Baroness get a message on their answering machine from the Crown. The Crown has decided to attend the event, and have planned a Pelican circle at 10 AM and a Kingdom Court at 1 PM. They will need a room to hold the circle with 20 chairs. The Baron and Baroness try to call the Crown, but do not connect with Them before the event.

The Baron/Baroness know:

  • The only way to get a room at 10 AM is to cancel or move a class.
  • A Kingdom Court is a major disruption of the class schedule.
  • The event has a first time autocrat who will be a basket case if the schedule changes.
  • Members of the Barony (teachers, parents, children) will be very disappointed that their 6 months of planning is disrupted.

The Crown knows:

  • They have changed their plans to come to this event because it is the only event for the rest of Their reign at which they can recognize a Pelican who lives in this Barony
  • They have called the circle to be sure there are Pelicans present for the award.
  • They have a family obligation that requires Them to be on the road no later than 5:30 PM

PART 1: It is 8 AM on the day of the event and the Baron and Baroness must explain the situation to the Autocrat and Feastocrat, and work out a plan. How would They do this?

PART 2: It is 8:30 AM on the day of the event, and the Crown arrives at the event. The Baron and Baroness are just about to start Baronial Court . What would They do, and how would they explain the plan to TRM?

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