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Rulings and Pronouncements by the Earl Marshals

Society Earl Marshal - Marshallate Updates

Pinned: Please visit the Society Earl Marshal's Announcement page for the latest changes and tweaks to the rules of combat, armor, and weaponry. Changes to the Marshal's Handbook - May 2013


Madus are single-handed weapons and must conform to all applicable rules for the construction and use of other single-handed weapons.
Ruling officially posted 9/2017.

Shields with two-handed weapons.

Per the Society Marshal's Handbook, shields must be controlled by the hand in order to be counted as a shield. Otherwise it's treated as armor and is subject to blow calling when struck as other armor is. A strap across the palm of the hand is normally sufficient to make a shield controlled by the hand. Even when a palm strap is present, if the shield would behave no differently if the hand was removed from the palm strap, then the shield should be treated as armor.
Ruling officially posted 9/2017.

Youth and Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Final Act

Youth Combat and combat involving minors is not suspended in the State of Pennsylvania, and shall continue according to established Society and Kingdom guidelines. This includes archery, siege, equestrian and thrown weapons..
Ruling officially posted 11 July 2015

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Scene Three

Please read this Response to the East Kingdom Earl Marshal.
Ruling officially posted 1 July 2015

Pennsylvania Child Protective Act, Scene Two

After a productive conference call with the Society Seneschal and the Society Earl Marshal, I am confident that we will have written guidance in the next few days, for dissemination, that will allow for full participation by the East Kingdom in Pennsylvania in all activities under the Office of the Earl Marshal. I do not want to paraphrase or misquote anyone, but I will say that everyone can rest assured that this should not cause a disruption for more than a few more days and once we have the written guidance we can return to business as usual with direction of who must and how to comply with Pennsylvania law.
Ruling officially posted 1 July 2015

Pennsic and the Pennsylvania Child Protective Act

One of the first things I heard about upon taking this position in January 2015 was the change in Pennsylvania law. I was informed we would get guidance from the BoD. That has not happened to date.

In the event that legal guidance is not provided that indicates what, if any, provisions of SCA and East Kingdom laws needs to be changed to bring us in full compliance with Pennsylvania law is not given before July 1, 2015, I am left with no alternative but to suspend all activities under the office of the Earl Marshal of the East Kingdom that allows participation by anyone under the age of 18 in the state of Pennsylvania and to bar any East Kingdom marshal from participating, as a marshal, in the state of Pennsylvania where anyone under the age of 18 is allowed to participate in any marshal activities.

The sanctions faced for failure to comply with Pennsylvania law include civil and criminal prosecution. Anyone who supervises or comes into regular contact with persons under the age of 18 are subject to these sanctions. This affects all marshals as well as all chivalry. It is imperative that this issue be resolved immediately, considering that provisions of the law are already in effect.

Pennsic Issues

Furthermore, the current Pennsic Accord that seeks to subvert authority for field saftey from the Society Earl Marshal and place the Pennsic marshallate under control of the Deputy Mayor for Battlefield Activities is improper. The current accord violates the clear and long standing chain of command from SEM, to KEM, to DEM, etc. The Earl Marshals must continue to have free authority, subject to the rules of the Society and answerable to the Society Earl Marshal in all combat related activities and not to the Deputy Mayor for Battlefield Activities unless the BoD directs otherwise.

Youth Play and Combat

If the youths are old enough to be in any of the youth divisions and are conducting sword fighting at an SCA event - a cornerstone of which is sword fighting - then it needs to comply with the requirements of youth combat regardless of whether the weapons are constructed at home or commercially constructed. This includes proper armor, technique, safety and a youth marshal. The youth marshal shall then determine if the "nerf" sword complies with standards for the appropriate division before any contact between youths.
Ruling officially posted 30 June 2015


Waiver Policy for all Marshal Activities:

Greetings all,
It has come to my attention that we do not sign waivers at practices across the Kingdom. This is not acceptable. It must be done at EVERY practice. Below is the waiver policy and the waiver form.

I expected this to be adhered to strictly. Should any practice not follow the waiver policy, henceforth, the unbelted marshals shall be subject to having their warrants removed and chivalry sanctioned via suspension of fighting privileges (because I do not have the authority to suspend the marshal power of the chivalry).

I apologize if this appears heavy handed. It is a serious insurance issue and cannot be ignored.

The procedure is as follows for ALL practices falling under the Earl Marshal and must be done at each practice: Blue cards should be checked by the Marshal in Charge and the number logged with the SCA name and mundane name. Anyone who does not have a blue card must sign a waiver at each practice. You may use individual forms or a roster waiver at your leisure. The waivers should be held for the Waiver Deputy and not sent in to the office of the Earl Marshal.

The Kingdom waiver policy can be found at: Waiver Policy
Waiver forms can be found at: Waiver Forms
Ruling officially posted 12 May 2015.

Earl Marshal Emeritus

A new deputy shall be immediately created as follows:

Earl Marshal Emeritus: the outgoing Earl Marshal shall serve as advisor to the current Earl Marshal as needed to facilitate continuity and transition. This position shall not prevent the holder from holding any other Kingdom position including Royalty. Sir Oskgar of the Woods shall serve as the first Earl Marshal Emeritus.
Ruling officially posted 1/2015.

as of 05/30/2012

16 and 17 year old Minors may participate in Heavy list Combat as of Sept 8th, 2011, in the East.

Greetings unto the Marshals and Chivalry and Populace of the East ...

As of this date (Sept 8th, 2011) 16 and 17 year olds will be able to participate in practices and authorize for Heavy List Combat in the East Kingdom by using the following procedures. They may participate in fighting practices, attended by a parent or legal guardian, who will sign a minor authorization to participate. If the parent is not a currently authorized fighter in the East, they will be provided a copy of the Fighters handbook and the Combat Conventions of the East, observe a practice, with armor inspections, and only then be allowed to participate at the following practice. The parent will be strongly encouraged to continue participation in the process throughout the entire period of instruction and practice. (Note: If a minor will ever be in attendance at a practice without the parent present, the minor will have a notarized form to allow medical treatment and another duly authorized adult guardian will be present.

These standards are no different than those required for ANY minor to participate in ANY SCA event or activity and have no bearing on the Martial aspects of the process. If, as a Marshal, you are not up to speed on current SCA practices re: minor participation at events, please contact your local Seneschal or consult the official East Kingdom web site. After an appropriate period of instruction, an authorization bout may be held. This bout will be attended and observed by the parent/guardian. The two Marshals involved in the process must include a member of the Chivalry. (The chivalry component is not a requirement for participation in practices.) The parent must sign the auth. paperwork as being in agreement with the armor inspection and authorization process. (The current auth form can be used for now, but the form will be modified in the near term to include specific places for the parent's counter-signatures.) The Auth paper work will be marked "MINOR", the subsequently provided Auth. Card will be also be prominently marked "MINOR". They may then participate in any heavy list activity in the East that their guardians allow. The current Youth Fighter program, Div 1-4, remains unchanged and is still available for all minors, with the exception that the above Earl Marshals ruling offers an alternative path for advancement to the adult heavy list, both for practices and authorization. The "Youth to Adult" rubric still remains, but may be subject to alterations or change in the future, if our experience with this model is positive.

A minor participating in primarily adult activities (such as Heavy List practices and events), properly waivered by the parent IS NOT held to the standards that requires "2-deep" supervision by persons holding background checks. The requirement that an activity, held EXCLUSIVELY for minors, must follow these procedures is unchanged. In the very unlikely event that a small fighting practice only included minors on a particular occasion, it would, by definition, become a youth activity and be subject to the Minor rules. The choice of the Marshal in charge would be to cancel that practice or proceed with the properly qualified personnel, if available.

Armor Standards: Armor standards for 16-17 year old fighters participating in Heavy List Combat activities of the East Kingdom shall be as per the Society for Creative Anachronism's minimum armor standards for heavy list combat found in the most current version of the SCA Marshal's Handbook. The following additional requirements will also apply: The points of the shoulders shall be protected with the minimum of a piece of armor made from both rigid and padded materials.* The forearms shall be protected with the minimum of padded and rigid* vambraces, wrapping around the arm to the inner portion of the lower arm. Solid or splinted style vambraces are both acceptable. This protection will not be required on an arm that is protected by a shield.

(* rigid and padded materials shall be as defined in the guidelines found in the SCA Marshal's Handbook)

Minor activities will now become a mandatory topic in all Marshal Reports sent to your Regionals and to my Office. This will form the basis for evaluating future changes and continuation of the program. The above procedures will be in effect for 6 mo., at which time they will be reviewed by the Earl Marshal. This plan also covers activity in the areas of Combat Archery and Siege. A policy will be forthcoming to address Rapier Combat in the near future. I know that some of you will have concerns about various components of this significant change to our current practice here in the East. Your thoughts and comment are welcome. It is a 'work in progress'. You will note that this article contains added information to assist in the implementation of these changes and differs slightly in wording from what will be published on the East Kingdom web site

Thank you for your patience while I worked through the issues involved here! Sir Stephen Grandchamp, OP KEM

(This article, in its entirety, may be cross posted to all East Kingdom marshal, group or household web sites)

Appearance - 4/27/2010

As per the SEM's decision to clean up the field of battle the following policy is put into place in the East Kingdom

All authorized fighters will as of June 1st, 2010 cover any modern or plastic equipment (this does not mean any type of metal including aluminum) with a minimum of a plain tabard. There is no exception to this rule.

As of January 1st, 2011 all of the following should be covered painted or hidden to the best of the fighters ability and expense. and all new fighters after that date will have 1 year from the date of their qualification card to come into compliance.

  • No Exposed Blue, Orange or any Blatantly Modern Plastic.
  • No Exposed Blatantly Modern Equipment
While we challenge you to look as authentic as possible the following exceptions to the above are allowed:
  • Any Youth Combat Systems
  • Modern Hand Protection
  • Modern Eye wear
  • Duct Tape (day of repairs are a necessary evil)
  • Modern Foot wear
  • Modern Fencing Masks
  • Adaptive and/or Medically Necessary Equipment
Also, anyone who is not authorized is exempt from this standard.

Remember that you can wear any of the above things if:

  • They are covered by a tabard
  • They are hidden by clothing.
  • They are made to look period by, for example, covered with cloth, leather, or even paint (as long as the result "an attempt at pre-17th century appearance" )

Polearm/Axe Heads - 4/25/2010

The warhammer/poleaxe rubber heads are good as sold. As are the formed lightweight foam axe heads, glaive heads etc without extra padding. But the rear of the rubber axe heads, IF you are going to strike with it, must have 1/4 inch of closed cell foam on it.


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