LADIES OF THE BERFROIS JUDGE CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE EMPRISE
Queens, Ladies of the Rose, and Ladies of Valorous Estate are
the usual Ladies who act as the judges in the Berfrois (Gallery)
For Best Heraldic Display
- Attendants garbed for the rider 'periodness' of the ensemble
For Primus Equus
- The rider consistantly scores high in all competions--mounted combat,
hastiludes, and challenge course
- The rider looks the part--Heraldic Display and Crest/attendants, are all a part of this.
- The Rider actrs the part. ---Deportment: well spoken on the field.
(ie, Roland, or Charlemagne, or Edward the Black Prince).
Use Quintain as Tie breaker when calling for specific challenges between two riders.
DUTIES OF THE LADIES
A LETTER TO LADIES OF THE ROSE IN THE BERFROIS
Unto all to whom these presents come are sent all good greetings this 13th day of July, A.S. XXXVIII,
being 2003 by Gregorian reckoning from Countess Rhiannon of the Isle of the Laurel Kingdom of Meridies
Hail and well meet Good Ladies,
I write , at the request of the Honorable Lady Donwenna Beasthealer, who has contacted me as regards judging
criteria for the upcoming Emprise to be hosted in An Tir. It has been my good fortune to be involved with Equestrian
activities within the Society for over 13 years. Most of my experience has been in Meridies, but I have traveled and
participated in interkingdom equestrian events in the Midrealm and the Outlands during that time.
For many, equestrian events within the Society are very new, and thus, not familiar in the way heavy and light weapons
tournies are. Additionally, with the 'emprise' format in equestrian tournaments, there are things to consider other than
just those of a martial nature. I was once asked how to best 'describe' what an Emprise is to someone without an SCA
Equestrian background. The best way I could describe it is to equate it as a combination of a Crown List and a Pas d'Arms.
Emprises are the 'premier' or cream de la cream of equestrian tournaments without a doubt.
The 'standard' emprise format is based on the high heraldic tournaments of the later Middle Ages, for example, along the
lines of the "Field of the Cloth of Gold" Tournament. They require that the participants meet very exacting requirements
as regards their accoutrement. A great deal of effort is put forth by the competitors to this end. . .and you thought it was
tough clothing yourself and your lord! Try 'equipping' a horse! This information I offer you as someone who has not only
judged emprises for a number of years, but as someone who has participated in them as well. And I am sure that you have
noted by now that this is something very near and dear to my heart personally.
While there are judges/scorekeepers for some elements of the various forms of equestrian competition incorporated into an
emprise, there are those things that can not be 'scored' in a formatted/traditional way. That is why there is a 'gallery'
attendant at Emprises.
As the Ladies of the Gallery, the task assigned you is to determine which equestrian is most representative/worthy in several
different areas, and these 'catergories', as it were, sometimes vary from one emprise to another. Generally, however, you
will be watching for many of the same things, and in actuality, these things are not very 'different' from what you might be
asked to determine where you present in a Gallery at a heavy weapons pas. And most are relatively self-explanatory, you
just have to know 'what' it is you are to be looking for. Many 'traditional' things could include, but not be limited to, the following:
1) Most Chivalrous, this may take into consideration courtesy extended an opponent, courtesy to the lists officials/event
crew, any number of things . . .
2) Best Heraldic Display (this could/should include both the rider and their mount, and in the event of an 'entourage' for the
equestrian, their livery as well) - it can be related to a 'field presentation/presence' type of recognition
3) Presentation/Pageantry: You must understand that generally, in an emprise format, since the emphasis is not only on
martial ability, but pageantry and presentation as well, it is incumbent on the participants to go all out. A part of the pageantry
of an emprise is the formal introduction of the participants, many of which include the lineage and all the honours of that
individual. Generally, flowery speeches are made to the gallery as a part of this 'introduction', and in many cases, a response
from the gallery is expected. In some cases gifts, or 'largesse' are presented to the ladies in the gallery. This is not considered
a 'bribe' in the traditional sense, but a token of the esteem and gratitude of the participants for the patronage and attention
of the ladies in the gallery.
4) Primus Equus: THis is the Best of the Best Overall: While, as I noted previously, there will be judges 'scoring' the various
'martial' games that the participants compete in, it is fairly standard to ask the ladies in the gallery to determine who
amongst all the participants is 'best overall'. In many cases this individual need not have proven 'victorious' in any one
of the single competitions, but has more than likely scored consistently well and impressed the gallery with their other
'attributes' on the field of friendly competition.
It is possible that there will be other 'categories', as it were, that you, as a member of the gallery, may be asked to make a
determination regarding. These will generally be self-explanatory. It will be your 'job', at the end of the emprise, to confer
amongst yourselves and make a determination as to whom should be 'recognized'. Therefore, I would recommend a brief
discussion prior to the competitions commencing (and there is generally a bit of time for this as they do the first calls for the
'combatants' to make ready) as to 'what' you are to be determining. The discussion will follow after the competitions are
completed and you will be asked for the names of the 'victors' by the presiding herald. These 'victors' are determined based
on a 'consensus' of the ladies in the gallery.
Another thing that is common at emprises is for the ladies in the gallery to call forward any individual that has impressed them
with some aspect of their conduct on the field, be in their martial conduct, or any other praiseworthy act. In some cases, the
ladies in the gallery will bestow 'tokens' upon these individuals, as recognition of whatever it is you find praiseworthy. I have
seen these tokens take many forms. Having done this for a number of years, and having done something similar in more
recent years as Ladies of the Rose Tournaments have become a more common thing, I generally present things such as
roses tied with ribbon in my personal heraldic colors, or reproduction period coins, things of that nature. The options are
endless, and certainly it is not a 'requirement', but I thought that you might like to be aware that this is not unusual for these
types of tournaments (much like the participants bestowing 'largesse' on the ladies of the gallery is a very accepted thing).
By all means, if you are moved to, get very involved in commenting on the conduct of the participants, be it through words
of praise, the bestowing of tokens, etc. A great deal of work goes into participating in an emprise, and kind words and the
attention of the gallery is oft-times the only 'reward' these worthy gentles get, and it does mean a great deal. Even if you
are not necessarily comfortable 'speaking' before the beaufrois, to all and sundry assembled. If you find yourself moved to,
by all means speak privately to the participants. This small kindness and consideration on your part could just make all the
difference in the world. Further, it is completely acceptable to applaud from the gallery, comments such as 'well ridden',
'well struck', just a simple 'well done' mean a great deal. I have made joking comments to 'fellow' members of the gallery
at a number of emprises that what I call my 'old dead queen/off the cuff speaking skills' have stood me in very good stead
at emprises. The participants are on the field for a variety of reasons, not just to display their equestrian martial prowess,
but to demonstrate courtliness, courtesy and to entertain those in attendance. Your praise, again, can make all the difference in the world.
Alas, as is my wont, I wax overlong in this missive. I thank you for wading through it to the end. If I can be of service,
answer any specific questions, pray do not hesitate to contact me. I may be reached either via e-mail (preferred method)
or phone at the contact information below.
I thank you in advance for your participation as a member of the gallery at the upcoming emprise. I hope that it will bring
you as much pleasure as it has brought me over the years of my participation. I don't know about you, but for me, there
is nothing that says 'the Middle Ages' quite like a chivalrous 'knight' (and bear in mind, for the purpose of emprises, their
are chivalrous 'ladies' participating too), decked out in his or her finest, mounted on a thundering steed!
Pray know I remain,
Ever in Service,