In the Current Middle Ages

Published “sometime in the 1980’s,” a small handbook titled “The Lions Gate Guide to the Current Middle Ages” contained valuable information for the newcomer to our Barony, information that couldn’t be found elsewhere at the time, all compiled into one handy handout. The following history of the Barony comes from this book.

Once upon a time, in the Current Middle Ages, there was among the lands of the Kingdom of the West the Principality of An Tir. There, in the most northern rain forests dwelt a band of hardy Vikings and Cossacks and the feared Monboggian Horde.

It chanced in the ninth year of the founding of the kingdoms (1975), these folks gave allegiance to the Kingdom of the West and then was held a Royal Tourney, the first of that ilk seen in the land, which was attended by King Paul of Bellatrix and Queen Carol of Bellatrix.

In the spring of that year, the Shire of Lions Gate’s leader, Michel le Voyager, announced plans for a long journey and entreated the shire’s people to choose another to follow in place of himself and his lady, Susan the Opaque. Chosen then by leave of Their Majesties were Gerhard Kendal of Westmoreland, a Tudor nobleman; and his lady, Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland.

Although the new shire was not yet a barony, Gerhard Kendal was made a Court Baron in time for the first Baron’s Banquet in the winter of AS 10. In the Spring of AS 10, the first University of Ithra session was held in the shire.

The shire’s people felt it their duty to attend the Purgatorio Coronation of AS 11 the following summer, in order to witness the coronation of the next King of the West. Whilst there, a lady of the baron’s household was abducted and, in revenge, Gerhard Kendal declared war on the kidnapper, Baron Waldt von Markheim. It was an omen of things to come.

The shire was that same year declared a Barony by will of Their Majesties who gave unto the Barony of Lions Gate the following charter:

“We, Paul and Carol, King and Queen of the West, send to all our subjects joyous greetings.

“With the advice of our ministers and the concurrence of the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism, We have determined to charter the Barony of Lions Gate in the northern part of Our Kingdom, the said Barony to include the lands in and around the city of Vancouver, BC.

“And We do recognize as Baron and Baroness of Lions Gate, Gerhard Kendal of Westmoreland and Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland and as such they shall stand in Our stead in all matters ceremonial and carry out such other duties as we may from time to time charge them with.

“And the governance of the Barony of Lions Gate We give into the hands of the Seneschal, Seaghdha of Green Mountain and his successors, and he shall co-ordinate the activities of the several officers of the Barony and of the cantons of the Barony and shall be responsible to Our lord seneschal for the continuance and coordination of activities in the Barony of Lions Gate after the manner and law of Our Kingdom.

“Given by Our hand this eighth day of June in the year Eleven.”

The battle that resulted from the declaration of war with Baron Waldt’s Barony of Drieburgen took place in the summer of AS 12, with Baron Gerhard fighting Baron Waldt in single combat. Lions Gate lost the battle, but was then faced with a new foe as the Barony of Golden Rivers declared war on Lions Gate, to be fought the next summer.

Now a Barony, Lions Gate hosted the Principality of An Tir’s coronet tournament that fall, in order that the next Prince of An Tir be chosen. The victory went to Sir Edward Zifran d’Gendy and it was not lost on the oft-drenched citizens of the Barony that the sun broke through the clouds at the moment of his victory.

In July of AS 13, the Barony’s fighters donned their armour, sharpened their swords, and boarded the war bus for the long journey to do battle with the Barony of Golden Rivers. Victory of course went to the side of the righteous, and a solid shield wall, as represented by the Barony of Lions Gate.

Winning the war spurred the Baron to bigger and better battles, so he initiated the Edward-Aonghais War, repeated the following year by popular demand as the Edward-Aonghais-Gerhard War. Not wanting to waste their hard-earned experience, fighters from the Barony travelled to the central plains for the Myrganwood War at which they aided the Prince of An Tir in defeating the Kingdom of the Middle. Closer to home, war was declared upon the Shire of Seagirt over possession of the Isle of Bitter Waters and upon the Shire of Montengarde over the correct spelling of names.

However, all good things must end, and at times peace doth descend on the populace. Then it it time to feast, to play music, to sing or dance in the great hall or around the maypole of the green. The ever-growing skills of the Barony’s citizens were displayed each year at the Bardic Revel competitions at which time the citizens welcomed spring and the new year.

Principality Twelfth Night of AS 15 was held in the Barony of Lions Gate amid much rejoicing as two of the Barony, Sir Scellanus of Skye and Lady Maelen of Catcott, were crowned Prince and Princess of An Tir. But even in their glorious reign, dispute was among the hosts of An Tir, as the Baroness of Lions Gate was kidnapped by the People of Montengarde, which gave rise to more war.

Great stirrings were abroad in the Principality, as a petition presented to Their Majesties had been heeded and the Principality was to become a Kingdom.

To the Barony of Lions Gate fell the honour of hosting the first Crown Tournament of An Tir and folk gathered from the far reaches of the Kingdom in September AS 18 to view the winning of the crown by Master Manfred Kriegstriber, fighting for the honour of his lady, Morag Campbell of Glenbourne. The first King and Queen of An Tir were crowned at Twelfth Night, AS 16, in the Barony of Madrone… from whence, some nine years earlier, had come first word of the Kingdoms of the Current Middle Ages to the people of Lions Gate…

In the Modern World

Originally, the Barony of Lions Gate (and the Shire before that) was considered to be “Vancouver, BC,” but it was soon expanded to “Greater Vancouver,” and eventually to “the Lower Mainland, BC,” which includes Vancouver, all the municipalities considered to be the “Greater Vancouver Regional District,” and the Fraser Valley. For a while, Lions Gate claimed lands as far north in British Columbia as Clinton, BC, as well as the South Pole (The penguins were all wearing Lions Gate colours.)

As the SCA expanded in British Columbia, more groups were created in the interior, and so Lions Gate returned to being simply “Greater Vancouver / Fraser Valley.” In the late 1970s, a group of SCA folk in Vancouver decided that they wanted a second group within the area, different from Lions Gate, and they created the Shire of Eisenmarche. Eisenmarche didn’t have an official municipal or postal-code designation, but was those people who lived in Greater Vancouver yet didn’t think of themselves as part of the Barony. Over time, the Shire of Eisenmarche was listed as being various municipalities within Greater Vancouver, depending on where a majority of her members lived.

In the 1990s, the idea of a new group was growing in the eastern lands of the Barony, and the Canton of Lionsdale was created. It did not achieve full branch status (yet), but for a while included parts of the Fraser Valley and Pitt Meadows / Maple Ridge.

In 2001, the people of Lions Gate and Eisenmarche got together to officially recognise and delineate the borders, and a treaty was created to allow both groups to freely use lands within each others’ borders. In 2003, a new Shire of Lionsdale was granted status, and officially given “The Fraser Valley Regional District” as its borders.

So at this time, Lions Gate was “Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, Langley, White Rock, and Delta,” while Eisenmarche had “New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.” To the east, Lionsdale held “Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope.” This was to hold true for another 10 years.

By the year 2010, many branches were starting to feel the pinch of losing members, and the three sisters in the Lower Mainland were no exception; being a much smaller branch, Eisenmarche felt it more so. Following some soul-searching and talks with the people throughout all three branches, the Shire of Eisenmarche was dissolved in 2011, and her lands divided between Lions Gate and Lionsdale.

As of the year AS XLV / 2011 CE, the following municipalities make up the Barony of Lions Gate: Bowen Island, Britannia Beach, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Lions Bay, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Squamish, Vancouver, White Rock, and Whistler. The Shire of Lionsdale includes Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, and the remainder of the Fraser Valley.

Beasts and Myths of Lions Gate

The Loat

The Loat
A loat
From the Baronial achievement drawn by Companion Celdae

Many years ago, while our Barony was but a proposed Shire, we gathered to picnic and conduct warfare in a beautiful parkland in the centre of our lands. This area was a preservation land for the most glorious of creatures, the Loat. A large, horse-like creature, with six legs and four doe-like eyes, legend had it that warriors in our past had tamed these noble creatures as war steeds.

Unfortunately, the Dragon of the Park, a noisome rumbling creature, reduced the number of Loats to near-extinct numbers. By the time we had become a Barony, Lions Gate held an annual event in this park to determine the “Hero of Lions Gate,” whose primary duty was to protect the Loat from the voracious Dragons. To help protect the noble creatures, the park bears a large (if misspelled) sign at the entrance; “Warning, Loat Park”.

The Lionsgator

A Lionsgator
A Lionsgator
A Lionsgator
From the Baronial achievement drawn by Companion Celdae

The Lionsgator is the Barony’s second mascot: a monster with the body of a lion, and the head and tail of an alligator.

The Dragon of the Park

A Dragon

These voracious beasts have a single glowing eye, or sometimes two, one above the other. When nearby, their shrieks drown out all other sounds, and the earth trembles and moves with their passing. Their victims can sometimes be seen through transparent holes in their stomachs, waving for help. The lands and Loats of Lions Gate have remained protected through the valiant efforts of the Hero of Lions Gate, and lately, the Champions.

The Bog Beast

A Bog Beast
Another Bog Beast

(From the Domesday Boke:) “With their armoured bodies and tiny wings, the bog beasts were once fearsome, but much of their mettle has gone, and they are rarely seen. Several excellent pictures exist of them.”

Although no longer allowed by the Society Heralds, Bog Beasts still show in the armoury of some older Lions Gaters: Sir Domric the Sober, and Master Nikolai Andreeov.