Early History of the Marche of Alderford, by Iustinos Tekton

This History was compiled by Maistor Iustinos Tekton, founding Seneschal of the group. It's just one person's version of what happened. Some of this is from the official Seneschal files, and the rest from memory. If I've missed anyone or made a mistake, I apologize &emdash; please bring it to my attention and I'll make it right! The SCA names and titles are given in their current form as of this writing; quite a few of those mentioned had different SCA names (or none) at the time of the events described, and most did not have any Award of Arms and were therefore not "Lord" or "Lady" at the time. I did it this way so that those who don't know the individuals personally will not be confused by having the same person called different things on this one page.


The Marche of Alderford was founded at an organizing meeting on September 27, 1994. Lady Milica of Varna and Lord Iustinos Tekton actually started the planning of the meeting, with help from Lord Quentin MacGowan and Lady Ailith Mackintosh on some of the presentations. A total of about twenty people attended the meeting, of whom about seven were SCA members at the time. Among those attending were Lady Francesca de Onorati, Lady Meredydd verch Rhys, and several others who are still active in the group today. The meeting was held in the backroom of the Louisville Public Library, and was it ever crowded! We never dared hope to have that many people show up...but who's complaining?

The whole idea was something that a few friends had kicked around for years, but about which no one had really gotten serious. Then at Pennsic War XXIII, Iustinos and Milica were approached by Lady Catriona and Dame Alys Katherine, both long-time SCA members and officers, who had heard somehow that "there are these two people in Canton who want to form a new group." You might say they talked us into getting the ball rolling. Milica really did most of the up-front work, sending out flyers to libraries all over the county and calling lots of friends. There was an existing science fiction literary club, called "Harry" (believe it or not!) in the Canton/Louisville area. Many of the people from Harry were at the this Alderford organizing meeting and many are still active.

Shortly before the date of the meeting, Milica received a phone call from Eva Maria Szabo (Eva Stevenson), who had seen one of the flyers in her local library. Eva, her husband Eric, and several friends from the Alliance area had been talking about forming a group for a while but had not done anything official yet. They asked if they could participate in this group, and of course this was welcomed. Eva couldn't make the first several meetings, but Eric became a founding member of the new group and was our founding Exchequer and Knights Marshal.

Iustinos conducted the meeting, with much help from others who had some familiarity with the SCA (most attendees did not). Milica introduced the purpose and history of the SCA; Ailith talked about arts and sciences and about events; and Quentin discussed how we recreate combat safely. We were also privileged to have Patraic O'Docartaigh, then Seneschal of the March of Gwyntarian, present, and he helped to elaborate on some discussion points and invited people to visit their meetings as well. It was agreed by most of the attendees that the idea of a local chapter was worth pursuing, and the organizers got to work on setting things up.

The second meeting, held October 11, 1994, took place at Stark State College (then called Stark Technical College) in North Canton. There were eighteen people present, including some who weren't at the organizing meeting. The group chose a slate of acting officers, including:

  • Scott Courtney (Iustinos Tekton) as Seneschal
  • Danielle Dugan (Meredydd verch Rhys) as Chatelaine
  • Norma Jean Storms (Francesca de Onorati) as Herald
  • Eric Stevenson (Etienne du Valmonte) as Exchequer
  • Kate Soehnlen (Ailith Mackintosh) as Minister of Arts
  • Wade Eddy (Sedric Edye) as Minister of Sciences
  • Eric Stevenson (Etienne du Valmonte) as Knights Marshal

As of this writing, all of the above except Eric Stevenson are still active in Alderford, though the office holders have changed since then.

The group next considered names that the group could call itself. The list included Black Alder, Fierampweld, March of the Stone Steps, March of the Many Helms, Skraelling Cross, Trois Villes, Glamorgan Keep, Alderford, and Schwarzerle. The top three (Alderford, Skraelling Cross, and Schwarzerle) were selected by ballot and a final decision was tabled until the next meeting. It is interesting to note that "Alderford" was on the initial list but was not chosen as the group's name at the next meeting! Instead, members decided to bring in the name "Winterbeere" which was not even on the initial selection list and this was selected. Unfortunately, in early 1995 we were informed by a Herald of great reknown that "Winterbeere" (which meant "winter berry") might sound pretty but it wouldn't pass muster as an authentic place name. So we regrouped and selected "Alderford" for submission as our permanent name. An ironic turn of fate this was, indeed!

We submitted paperwork and became a "proto-incipient" group a couple of months later. During the spring of 1995, we accepted the March of Gwyntarian, a long-established group in the Akron/Kent area, as our sponsor and it was during 1995 that Alderford began to host demos and to talk about an event of our own.

Finally in February 1996 Alderford hosted its first event, under the sponsorship of Gwyntarian. A Masque of Courtly Love was held at Christ Presbyterian Church in Canton, with Ailith and Milica as co-Autocrats. We had hoped to attract one hundred people and got only eighty-five, but we considered the event successful because the people who did come all told us they enjoyed themselves.

Later that month, we were informed by Regional Seneschal Lady Meadhbh that we had been granted Incipient status at a recent Curia meeting. The group was on its way toward full status recognition. On June 7, Anno Societatis XXII (1997), Their Royal Majesties Edmund and Kateryn granted our petition for full status as a local branch.


Founding Members of Alderford

These are the people who attended Alderford's first real meeting, held on October 11, 1994. The source was the official minutes, published by Lady Francesca de Onorati. The minutes from the organizing meeting do not list everyone who attended. The names are in no particular order.

Dennis Voshel Wade Eddy Gretchen Stocker
David Brokaw Amy Lapp Sonya Studt
Danielle Dugan Matt Moore Phil Soehnlen
Mike Rembert Kate Soehnlen Norma Storms
Eric Stevenson Steffanie Owens Eric Goehring
Katherine Courtney Scott Courtney Kerry Malcolm

In Memorium

Kerry Malcolm, known in the SCA as Francois Enbalance du Bruffs, passed away in February of 1995. An accident at his home compounded with a pre-existing skull injury to result in a fatal brain hemorrhage. Kerry had been active with the group since the September 27, 1994 meeting, and had been involved in the SCA in other areas for many years prior to that.