The Knighthoods of the Quill
Albert wiped at the sweat beading up on his forehead, knowing as he did that it was near-pointless. It was hot in the castle’s great kitchen, and he’d been here all day. He would remain here even after the feast was over and he could turn the kitchen over to the boys whose job it was to clean the kitchen every night while he got reacquainted with his warm cot against the fireplace wall. Rank had its privileges, even if they only mattered here in his domain.
But right now he had a feast to prepare.
Albert turned his hawklike glare on the denizens of his smoky realm. The spit-boys were practically salivating as they turned the spits where great hunks of beef and boar roasted. He had begun his kitchen career as one of those poor spit-boys, and if he was hot, they were already suffering the torments of the wicked.
“Jack!” he bellowed to be heard over the kitchen hubbub. “Don’t let those roasts burn or I’ll box your ears!”
Then came the real threat. “You burn any of it, that’s all you get this night. Good food’s for men who do their job with a will.”
His spit-boys would never starve, but he wasn’t above using food to ensure they did their job well. He smiled as he turned away, knowing that the boys were now turning the spits with all the energy they could muster.
Beyond the boys, old Mother Mairi labored over several big earthenware pots that looked nearly full, layering fresh losynges with new cheese and herbs. Albert winked at her as he swiped a chunk of soft cheese, knowing she would playfully swipe at his hand the way she had when he was a scrawny little spit-boy. She laughed as he walked past, walking to the table by itself against the south wall where his lovely Rose worked on a huge marzipan subtletie of the palace. Sunlight caught on the gold leaf she was brushing onto the conical almond-paste tower roofs as she smiled over at him.
It would be an impressive feast, one worthy of his lord and lady.
Even back in the Middle Ages, somebody needed to do the work behind the scenes. Kitchen crews created grand feasts, and women cooked at home over a small hearth. Peasants tended their crops, messengers rode from castle to castle to deliver messages, and scribes worked from dawn to dusk to laboriously create even the simplest documents.
Some of these roles have changed more than others since then. Kitchen crews are still very much like they were during the Middle Ages, aside from the changes in the technology of the tools used that hopefully make the job easier and less smoky. Messengers seldom need to ride from castle to castle and scribes only need to calligraph special writs by hand, but messages still need to be sent and much needs to be written for the day-to-day working of our Society. Our stewards run events instead of the day-to-day workings of the castle, though their deeds are still important to us because they keep our society running smoothly. We strive to keep these often-thankless jobs from being overlooked.
The Path of the Quill is the path of service to the Society and its branches. Like the other two paths, it has been carefully thought out to ensure fairness in rewards and rankings, while allowing for maximum flexibility in the form of service. There are specific milestones for members to meet and achieve ranking in the Path of the Quill. The order of knighthood in the Path of the Quill is the Order of the Golden Quill.
There are three ranks of knight within this order:
The first level of knighthood in the Path of the Quill is Knight Bachelor in the Order of the Golden Quill .
To become a Knight Bachelor, one must:
• Be a paid member of the Society,
• Have successfully completed at least one of the following
services or two thirds of two of the following services:
i. Have been on staff of at least three events since becoming a paid member.
ii. Have held a local ministry in good standing for at least
one year since becoming a paid member
iii. Aided the Crown/Coronet for the duration of a reign
such as: Traveled and served as royal entourage to at least three
events, or with Construction and/or donation of items such as regalia,
largess, award tokens, and other paraphernalia used by
• Be seen to have consistently behaved honorably at SMA events and activities.
Knights Bachelor shall have the right to use the title, “Sir” or “Dame”. Knights Bachelor have the obligation to register their personal name and armory with the College of Arms.
The second level of knighthood in the Path of the Quill is that of the Knight Banneret in the Order of the Golden Quill.
To become a Knight Banneret, one must:
• Be a paid member of the Society,
• Have successfully performed two or more of the following
i. Have been the event steward or deputy for at least
three local events
ii. Have been a primary member of the event staff for at
least three, principality, kingdom, or multi-kingdom
events, or taken a secondary role in the event team for a
week-long or longer event.
iii. Have held a kingdom/principality ministry in good
standing for at least one year.
iv. Have held a local ministry or a deputy
kingdom/principality ministry in good standing for two
v. Have served as a primary member of a royal entourage
such as the head of entourage or primary herald for at
least two full reigns
vi. Construction and/or donation of items such as regalia,
largess, award tokens, or other paraphernalia for two
• Mentor at least three other people to the level of Knight Bachelor.
• Have a persona-appropriate heraldic display in a banner or some
• Be seen to have consistently behaved honorably at SMA events
Knights Banneret shall have the right to use the title, “Lord” or “Lady” and may bear arms in the royal presence. If a Knight Banneret is the leader of a castle, they may be styled, “Sir/Dame [name], Lord/Lady [castle name]”. Knights Banneret are to establish a castle, whose members will look to them for leadership.
The third rank of service knight is the Knight Commander, for those knights who exemplify the Chivalric Virtues in their chosen form of service.
To become a Knight Commander, one must:
• Be a paid member of the Society,
• Have been an event steward or deputy for at least three
principality or kingdom events, or local events that were at least
a week long, since becoming a Knight Banneret. OR Have
successfully held a major kingdom or Society office for at least
one term, or successfully held a major kingdom/local office for a
full term that included the first year of the Society’s existence.
OR Have been the event steward or deputy for six local events
since becoming a Knight Banneret.
• Train and mentor at least three knights and prospective knights
at all lower levels of the Path of the Quill.
• Be skilled in at least three multiple fields of service (such as
event stewarding, holding office, entourage, cooking feasts,
• Have achieved at least the first level of knighthood for either the
Path Of the Sword or the Path Of the Robe.
• Be seen to have consistently behaved honorably both on and off
Knights Commander shall have the right to use the title, “Baron” or “Baroness”. If a Baron is the leader of a castle, they may be styled, “Sir/Dame [name], Baron/Baroness [castle name]”.
Barons are encouraged to establish a castle, whose members will look to them for leadership.
All knights are required to maintain themselves in fealty to the royalty of their kingdom or principality.
This fealty may be sworn directly to the royalty, or may be sworn to a higher-ranking knight who is in fealty, either directly or through another, higher ranking knight, to the Crown.
The royalty of the candidate’s kingdom or principality shall have the right to elevate a person to or within an order of knighthood. Likewise, a higher-level knight who is not royal shall have the authority to elevate people to a lower level of knighthood in their order. In both instances, the candidate must be certified as having met the requirements for the level of knighthood to which they are being elevated.
All requirements toward knighthood will be tracked via the kingdom clerk’s office.
Before bestowing any accolade, the senior knight will notify the Crown of the pending action, allowing for verification with the clerk that the requirements for the new rank have been met.
Once the accolade has been bestowed, the senior knight is responsible for reporting the action to the kingdom principal herald for inclusion in the Order of Precedence. Non scripta non est.
Supernumerary orders of knighthood may be established by the royalty of a kingdom to recognize specialization in particular combat forms, particular eras or cultures, or other attributes. Such supernumerary orders shall be organized according to the desires of the royalty, in consultation with their members, but their membership shall be restricted to Knights Banneret and Knights Commander, or else to Knights Commander alone.
The Paths of Knighthood
The SMA is a group of people with diverse interests. There are three co-equal branches of Knighthood in the SMA. Each Path has its own focus, and each path has different levels of orders that can be achieved as a member learns and practices more to become better at their chosen craft. There is something for almost any interest in the SMA. Click on a path below to learn more about any activities you think might suit your interests and talents, or a path you're interested in learning in.
Path of the Sword
If you dream of striking down your foes with impunity, this may be your path. The Path of the Sword is the Martial branch of the SMA, studying European Martial Arts from the middle ages (400 to 1500 AD). Through Sword, Spear, Mace, and Shield, Knights that have chosen the Path of the Sword defend their kingdom in great battles and esteemed tournaments to test their martial prowess.
Path of the Robe
If your mind and hands turn to the creative, be it paints and dyes, metal and hammer, or woods and planes, the Path of the Robe may be your selected path. Covering everything from ale brewing, calligraphy and illumination, to crafting furniture or even water craft; the Knights that have chosen the Path of the Robe seek to authentically recreate the arts and technologies of the Middle Ages from 400 AD to 1500 AD.
Path of the Quill
This is the path of service. Be it a server of feasts, organizer of events, or any other offer of help or service. These compassionate knights are always there to lend a hand, and are recognized for their generous nature! We are all called to assist when there be a need, and these Knights that have chosen the Path of the Quill exemplify the ideas of selflessness in assisting those that need it, and the Society as a whole!
Guide to Knighthood in The Society of the Middle Ages
You can also find a wonderully comprehensive Guide to Knighthood that has been put together by Sir Galen of Bristol for all to use! Click Here to access the guide and start your own journey!
Become a member today!
Seen all you need to see? Join now! With SMA membership you are entitled to all of the privileges that full membership entails. Find glory on the field of battle. Baffle your peers with feats of art and engineering. Earn titles and rewards, all while learning and growing together with a group of enthusiastic people to surround yourself with! Join us at events to show off your latest projects, or to compete in tournaments in preparation for epic inter-kingdom wars!