History of the Barony
From Atlantia’s Shell…
In 1981, visitors from the Kingdom of Atlantia (a Kingdom on the the eastern coast of the United States of America), came to our fair lands. Elidan of Teonar and Sable John of the Franks, while stationed here with the US military, decided to start a SCA group in Christchurch. The first feast in our lands was held in 1982. With a growing group established, it was decided to petition Kingdoms for support.
To Caid’s Cross…
The Kingdom of Caid became the parent Kingdom of this fledgling group in June 1983. Formal recognition came on 26 November, 1983 with the emergence of the Shire of Southron Gaard.
“Southron Gaard” is generally said to mean “Southern Guard/Guardian/Guardpost”. The name is reflected in the tower on our arms, the name of our newsletter (From the Tower) and the title of our herald (Tour d’ Or, or Golden Tower). As Thorvald Wulfaersson wrote in an article in the Tenth Anniversary (May/Jun ’92) issue of FTT:
Of the naming I could tell. How many and lyrical were the names proposed, but finally in Norse style was chosen the simplest. We called Byzantium “Micklegard”, the Big City. We would call ourselves Southrongaard, the Southern City.
The Shire’s original arms were: Gules, a tower Or, the base environed of a laurel wreath Argent, in Chief three mullets Argent, all within a bordure embattled Or.
In 1984, Elidan and John returned to the shores of Atlantia, having received the Order of the Kiwi, First Class- the highest award of the Shire. Elidan was appointed the official ambassador of the Shire to Atlantia.
Later in 1984, the first Caidian visitor came to our shores. Lord Baer of the Golden Oaks arrived bearing the Shire’s official warrant, and also brought his enthusiasm for heavy fighting. Baroness Sinech ingen Chonchobair hui Briuin recalls that a tourney in honour of Lord Baer’s visit was held in North Hagley park, followed by a feast in the upstairs common room of the Arts Centre. The tourney was held on 13 May, which became the Shire’s anniversary.
In the Darkest Night…
The years of 1985-1987 proved a dark time for the Shire, as she experienced the growing pains of a group learning to learn and grow together. The Shire of Southron Gaard emerged from this time a strong tower of chivalry.
The Land Beside the Sea…
1988 was the year many voyages were undertaken. Visitors from Caid included Master John ap Griffin, Mistress Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani, Sir Alwyn the Sinistral, and the first Royal visitor, King Brion Thornbird.
Preparations were also begun for the Festival at the End of the World, the first major camping event, held Easter 1989 in the Amberley Domain.
The Dream Reigns On!
The Shire of Southron Gaard continued growing, and soon a second SCA branch sprang up in Christchurch. The College of Reannag Fhara formed at the University of Canterbury.
In 1991, the predecessor to the Canterbury Faire was held. The Southron Summer Encampment was held on the property of the parents of Morgana de Maar (now known as Baroness Eleanora van den Bogaerde). That year also saw the beginning of the College of Reannag Fhara’s St Jude’s Fair.
Royal visits continued, with Their Majesties, Patrick and Adrianne journeying to our shores.
From Shire to Barony
The tenth anniversary of the Shire was held in 1992. Conflict arose concerning the overlordship of Antarctica, and the Pen Gwynne War ensued, much to everyone’s great delight.
The first Peer, Yoshitoshi Matsuyama, was admitted into the Order of the Pelican in 1993 during the visit of King John and Queen Ceinwen, and soon afterwards was staged the first occurrence of the event which was later termed Canterbury Faire.
Their Majesties returned in 1996 to raise the Shire’s status to that of Barony. Our first Baron and Baroness, Sigurd Hardrada and Eleanora van den Bogaerde were invested and our first Laurel — Roheisa le Serjant and subsequently our first two Knights — Sebastian von dem Schwartzwald and Ulf de Wilton — were recognised.
The Jewel for All to See…
In 2001, Baron Sigurd and Baroness Eleanora stepped down. Baron Callum Macleod and Lady Chrettienne de Haverington became our second Baron and Baroness. The Barony continued to prosper and events such as Canterbury Faire went from strength to strength.
The year of 2003 became a year of change. By member poll, the populace within the shores of these islands decided to become a part of the newly formed Kingdom of Lochac. A time of both sadness and joy, the populace of Southron Gaard proved they were the strong tower that we so proudly display on our arms.
At the time of the change of Kingdom, Southron Gaard was granted an augmentation of arms by the Kingdom of Caid, and its registered arms were subsequently changed to: Gules, a tower Or within a laurel wreath, in chief three mullets argent, all within a bordure embattled Or, as an augmentation on a canton azure, four crescents conjoined in saltire horns outward argent.
Long May Her Tower Proudly Stand…
In 2005, Baron Callum and Baroness Chrettienne stepped down. Their Excellencies Bartholomew Baskin and katherine kerr of the Hermitage became our third Baron and Baroness, during the reign of King Stephen and Queen Mathilde. While ominous signs suggested that the Barony must once again look to its defences, the populace seemed willing, nay, eager to rise to the challenge.
Early 2006 saw the rise of a proud College in the fair city of our southern provinces, St Kessog its name, and much delight was in its making. The same period also saw the success of Southron Gaard and its allies in a Festival war against the Barony of Ynys Fawr, fought partly in relation to the Great White Southern Land. This was soon followed by the formation of the Canton of Castelburn alongside St Kessog in the Highlands and by Southron Gaard’s first-ever Kingdom event, Midwinter Coronation 2007.
Past to present, Southron Gaard has been the tower of chivalry in the southern lands of our fair Kingdom.
Long may her tower proudly stand; the symbol of our great homeland!