Author: Catrin ferch Rhys of Elfsea

Edited by: Jehanne de Montauban of Northkeep

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the Guild’s research and application is based on medieval theory and practice and is not intended for use in diagnosing or treating modern ailments. While many herbs remain viable in modern Holistic therapies, many medieval ingredients have proven potentially lethal ie. lead. 

Charter by Safiyya bint Khalid ibn Hamdun
Image used with permission.

Per the Charter signed into Kingdom Law by His Grace Miguel III and Her Grace Conal III the goal and purpose of the Guild is as follows: 

The goal set by the Herbalism and Apothecary Guild is to encourage the study, teaching, and practice of medieval herbalism as well as study of medieval apothecary and pharmacy practice in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. The guild should serve as a conduit for Herbalists and Apothecaries in the Kingdom of Ansteorra to communicate with and learn from each other, and to freely share their knowledge and love of medieval medicine. Membership is open to any individual living in the Kingdom of Ansteorra having an interest in such pursuits. This is done by our hand this 13th day of April Anno Societatis LIII being 2019 Anno Domini.

This Charter officially acknowledged the Guild’s status after 3 years of dedicated work by individuals within the Kingdom who have spent years studying and developing their skills and knowledge within this area. Lady Rwsa Georgette made the first contact with Master Seamus O’Caellaigh in order gain a curriculum that the Guild could use to offer a Certificate of Apothecary Basics, she also contacted the Kingdom A&S Minister and got a clear checklist of things needed to become an official Kingdom Guild. To start a Guild there needed to be meetings held in all three regions at a large event (kingdom-level preferred), taking a vote on the following three questions: 1) Do we want a kingdom guild?, 2) What do we want as the wording for our Charter?, and 3) Can we agree to meet regionally 1 time per year per region, and 1 time per year for regional heads at a Red Tape?

Lady Rwsa arranged for and led the first regional meeting in the Northern Region at King’s College, June 2016. The three crucial questions were all unanimously carried, and many more ideas were presented and agreed to, such as structure, fees, classes, badge & insignia. During that time individuals were asked to lead a similar meeting in the other regions, which took quite a bit longer than expected. Lord Michael O’Connor agreed to lead the Central Region meeting at Steppes Warlord in May 2018, where the three crucial questions were unanimously carried. Lady Jehanne de Montauban traveled from Northkeep to host a meeting for the Southern Region at War of the Rams, November 2018. The three crucial questions were unanimously carried there as well, and at that point work began to create the Charter.  The Ansteorran Herbalism and Apothecary Guild’s Charter is based on the wording of the Kingdom of An Tir Apothecary Guild Charter, as voted on. 

The Guild has over 60 members Kingdom wide, evenly dispersed across the 3 regions. Membership in the Guild is simply a matter of being on the Roster: There are currently no dues required for membership.

Advancement through the ranks of the Guild is based on the completion of the 12 classes in the Certificate of Apothecary Basics. The classes that comprise the Certificate of Apothecary Basics were researched and developed by Master Seamus O’Caellaigh of An Tir, the author of “Pustules, Pestilence and Pain: Tudor Treatments and Ailments of Henry VIII”.

The classes are: 

~A History of Herbals

~Humors, Uroscopy and the Doctrine of Signatures

~Poisons & Antidotes

~Ointments, Decoctions, Oils and Poultices

~Herblore, Superstitions and Religious Herbs

~Midwifery, Housewifery and Culinary Herbs

~Cosmetics, Perfumes and Incense

~Medieval Gardening & Wildcrafting

~Apothecary Shops: History & Equipment

~Remedies for Infection, Wound Care & Pain

~Remedies for the Plague, Epidemics and other Illnesses

~Dental, Surgery, Dyeing and other Professions affected by Apothecary

Classes are taught by members who have previously taken the class. Those who teach the classes are free to request a fee for printed handouts, which are in many cases detailed and lengthy, but the material is also available free online.

To date the Guild has the materials for 4 of the 12 classes, which are available on the Facebook Group in the Files section, they are also available by request from and will soon be available on our new website! Guild classes have been presented at Gulf Wars 2019, Northkeep’s wInterkingdom 2019, Kingdom A&S 2019, King’s College 2019, and War of the Rams 2019. They have also been presented at various groups’ local meetings. Details and documentation associated with the remaining 8 classes will be forthcoming. 

During the first meeting (2016) rank was discussed, and it was unanimously decided that the titles of Master/Mistress would NOT be used due to conflict with Peerage Titles. The consensus was that a structured and accessible way to achieve rank in the H&A Guild was needed. To that end, 4 levels were outlined: the first will have completed 3 of the 12 classes, the second will have completed 6 of the 12 classes, the third will have completed 9 of the 12 classes, and the fourth will have completed all 12 of the classes. There has been discussion on several different names and insignia for the ranks, with determinations outstanding. The classes themselves are open to all, whether one is a guild member or not. However, to achieve Guild rank you must be a member of the guild and pass an open-note test covering the class material. Those who pass the test for 3 of the classes will advance in rank. The reason for this structure is that even those members who are unable to attend events will be able to view the class materials and take the test online. This is important in order to have the Guild as accessible as possible! The Guild badge design is also still under discussion.  

Red Tape: 

The Guild is required to hold a meeting in each region annually at a large event (kingdom-level preferred), and a meeting of the Regional Coordinators and the Chancellor once annually at Red Tape. Post-Charter signing, in 2019 we held the following meetings: Central Region at King’s College, hosted by Jehanne de Montauban, Summer Red Tape, hosted by Rwsa Georgette, Northern Region at Ansteorra’s 40th Year celebration, hosted by Jehanne de Montauban, and Southern Region at War of the Rams, hosted by Jehanne de Montauban. 

Each region within the Kingdom has a Coordinator, voted on by the membership, who reports on Regional Guild meetings and disseminates information to regional members. 

Our current Coordinators are:

Northern: Sigrith Hjalmsdottir;

Central: Michael O’Connor;

Southern: Goldweard of St. Golias;

The next step will be voting on a Chancellor.

Classes are scheduled and conducted at local A&S gatherings and at local and Kingdom level events. Meetings for discussion, research, and application are encouraged to further individual knowledge and group cohesion. Missives to local groups for inclusion in their Newsletters is also encouraged.

Image used with permission.
Image used with permission.

Guild Projects are another way we can show our love for herbalism and our Kingdom! For the 40th Year Celebration we built a Demonstration Medieval Herbal Garden at the event site. This project was finished in four workdays spaced over three months. The materials for the wattle-contained raised beds were collected entirely from the site, and many of the plants were donated. Plants and materials that had to be purchased, such as garden soil and the materials for the turf benches, were funded by a bake sale at Northkeep’s 2019 Castellen event, supplied and run by Guild members Lady Rachel de Narbonne and Lady Rwsa Georgette.

If you are interested in Herbalism and Apothecary topics and practices watch for postings about local and event meetings. While the full terms, conditions, and terminology associated with the Guild remain under development, classes and collaboration are readily available for those interested! 

Links and Resources

Kingdom of Ansteorra Herbalism and Apothecary Guild Website:

Kingdom of Ansteorra Herbalism and Apothecary Guild Facebook Page:

Central Regional Herbal and Apothecary Guild of Ansteorra Facebook Page:

Northern Regional Herbalism and Apothecary Guild of Ansteorra Facebook Page:

Herbalist — Ansteorra herbalist email list:

Ansteorra Herbal & Apothecary Guild Roster:

NOTE: This is a part of a series highlighting blogs by Ansteorrans. These works/opinions are not necessarily indicative of, or sponsored by the SCA or the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

Good morning!

My name is H.L. Sosha Lyon’s O’Rourke, living in the Ansteorran Barony Bryn Gwlad.  I have a food blog called Roxalana’s Redactions that covers medieval foods from as early as Rome, to late period England with a concentration in Medieval Middle Eastern.  I do research on various food and subtleties.  There is a library section that critiques both primary and secondary source books for recipes.  I also post about various ingredients used concerning common and unusual(ish). 

At this time I do not have a wiki page.  That is a work in progress. 

NOTE: This is a part of a series highlighting blogs by Ansteorrans. These works/opinions are not necessarily indicative of, or sponsored by the SCA or the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

Greetings from Emerickeskepe!

My name is (Honourable) Lady Jessimond of Emerickeskepe. My husband, Lord Tobias, and I live at Dancing Moon Farmstead and Emerickeskepe, our little homestead here in East Texas. Conveniently this is also the name of my blog and Facebook page. Tobias and I first joined the SCA in the early 1990’s, in the western region of Meridies, in an area that is now part of the kingdom of Gleann Abhann (Barony of Seleone). However, at that time he was active duty Navy so we also lived in Atlantia (Barony of Marinus), twice. When he retired from the Navy in 2007 we moved to his home state of Texas, but inadvertently became inactive due to the area in which we lived and real life obligations. About a year ago we loaded up our animals and all our worldly possessions to make the journey across Ansteorra to the lovely Shire of Rosenfeld where we have once again started Living the Dream.

Our dream includes becoming as self-sufficient as possible, but we have a very long way to go yet! We currently have goats, mules, chickens, dogs, and cats. In addition to exploring animal husbandry, we both enjoy cooking, woodwork, wildcrafting, gardening, and all things herb-related! These creative interests can be pretty wild and eccentric, including exploring and crafting projects both modern and Medieval! Older blog posts are from the time when we were not involved in the SCA, but recent posts are almost exclusively SCA related, especially the section on Jessimond’s Herbal Elements. This is the title of a regular featured article I write for The Thorny Truth, the newsletter of the Shire of Rosenfeld. Many of my blog posts are expanded versions of previously published articles, while others are of a more personal nature and have not been published elsewhere. 

I hope you enjoy stopping by my blog for a virtual visit to Dancing Moon Farmstead and Emerickeskepe

In Humble Service,
Ansteorra Wiki page: Jessimond of Emerickeskepe – Ansteorra History Wiki

Ansteorran Achievement

When travelling the north, there can be no denying that strength of character or the determination embodied in the Barony of Namron. The barony’s people share the group’s lineage and heritage as the oldest barony in the northern region, and a work ethic rivaled only by its energetic embrace of both revels and haflas. it could be said that Namron and its people burn the candle at both ends and are proud of it every second of the day.

And likewise, it was no surprise that when the call went out for submissions to the Gazette, Namron’s people were some of the first to throw their hands up. So, it is against this background the Gazette introduces another Namron local to the kingdom. She is one of the kingdom’s newer members, but also one who embraced the society with both arms and a running leap.

From a Kingdome of Heroes comes Lady Villana Palazolo.


Question: What is your full SCA name and full title? Also, what do you prefer to go by at events?
Answer: Lady Villana Palazolo, Villana

Question: How long have you been playing in the SCA (also, how long have you been in Ansteorra)?
Answer: Five years, all in Ansteorra

Question: How did you come into the SCA?
Answer: I had heard about it from a friend from high school. I started dating someone in the SCA and started coming out to Art and Sciences nights with him and also to events.

Question: What is your (current) persona?
Answer: I really don’t have an actual persona. My name in Italian, but I mainly wear Viking and Turkish.

Question: What is your local SCA group? Have you played in any other groups previously?
Answer: Barony of Namron is where I have always played

Question: Are you an officer, deputy, or in another type of leadership role? (please feel free to elaborate on any of these you feel comfortable with, including time in, the job, and your favorite parts of the job)

Answer: Northern Regional Hospitaler – I have been in this position for about 6 months.

Kingdom Armillary Herald – I have been in this position for about a year and a half. My job is to educate the populace of heraldry through classes and consultations. My favorite part of this job is helping people come up with their names and especially their devices.

Deputy to Northern Regional Herald – a few months


Skill sets within the SCA

Question: What activates do you most often participate in at events?
Answer: I like to autocrat, waterbearing, entourage and help wherever else is needed. If I am not working, I am usually hanging out with friends under the baronial pavilion working on some A&S craft.

Question: What activities do you most often participate in with your local group?
Answer: Heraldry, autocratting, scribal

Question: What awards do you have, and why/how did you receive them?
Answer: AoA, Sable Thistle – Lampworking, Sable Crane, Torsade of Namron

Question: Do any of your awards have a particular emotional significance to you?
Answer: My Sable Thistle – I felt like I was still a beginner in the field of lampworking when I got it, so knowing that people felt I had “expertise” in the field was quite a great feeling.

Question: If someone were to see you at an event during the day, what would you most likely be doing?
Answer: Helping someone with something.

Question: If someone were to see you at an event in the evening, what would you most likely be doing?
Answer: Sitting at court or hanging with friends somewhere… often going to bed early

Question: Have you tried a new activity recently, and if so, what was it and what were the results?
Answer: Lucet – it was fun, not sure it if for me though.

Question: What is something in the SCA that you love to talk about?
Answer: Heraldry

Question: Are there any SCA activities that you would like to learn more about?
Answer: Calligraphy

Question: What do you feel is one of your strongest skills in the SCA?
Answer- Service – I enjoy helping people in any way I can.

Question: What do you feel is a skill that you want to grow more in the SCA?
Answer – Scribal and calligraphy as well as heraldry.

The Person

Question: If someone wanted to talk with you at an event, or at a meeting, but didn’t know you, how would you like them to approach you and address you?
Answer: Just come up and say hi! I’ve been told I am can seem intimidating at first, but I really am not.

Question: Do you consider yourself approachable, or perhaps a little intimidating?
Answer: I would like to think I am approachable.

Question: Could you talk about some of your SCA relationships? (students, teachers, friends, formal or informal).
Answer: My only formal relationship is to Duchess Vanessa. I am her Protégé and have been for just over six months.
I met my husband, Diarmuid, better known as Jer, through the SCA singles page on Facebook and moved him out here from Aethelmarc.
I have come to know many of my friends in the SCA as my chosen family. We do not just spend time together at events, but many times throughout the week and on non-event weekends.

Question: Do you usually go to court? (why or why not)
Answer: Yes, because seeing people recognized for their hard work in their chosen field is wonderful. I love being on entourage for court shifts because you get to see look of surprise on the faces of the people who are receiving awards.

Some big issues

Question: What is something about the current SCA that you would like to change, and why?
Answer: The negative responses to those who are not perfectly period. Not everyone can afford to have their entire kit exactly period. While we are a group dedicated to recreating history, all we ask is that people make an attempt, and there is a better way to suggest to someone how they can improve their kits without being negative or rude. I’m big on “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

Question: What do you feel is your biggest current contribution to the SCA?
Answer: Currently, my biggest contributions are serving in multiple ways including autocratting, painting charters, and helping those develop their names and devices.

by Ivo Blackheart

Sir Riccardo Di Pissa

To hear those who knew Sir Riccardo Di Pissa speak of him is to hear a string of absolutes glued together by places and names.

Described as “the largest personality,” “the loudest,” “the most fun” and “the archetypal Lion,” people said when Riccardo set foot on site, he embraced the game with both arms and was determined to live his SCA life to the fullest, having as much fun as humanly possible while doing it.

Knighted in summer of 1981, Riccardo was one of the informal group of knights considered a first generation of native chivalry by today’s standards. The Kingdom, not even five years old at the time, was still in its infancy with new members learning what it was to be Ansteorra, and longer-standing members learning the same following the kingdom’s separation from Atenveldt.

Riccardo came into his element as an energetic prankster, fighter, bombast, royalist, flirt, and ad hoc thespian. Those who knew him said he never turned down a chance to have fun, or to encourage others to do the same with him. The energy and enthusiasm he put into both the the society and the people around him was recognized for its full worth in 1982 when he was made a Lion by King Lloyd II & Queen Joselyn II.

Count Jan, Riccardo’s knight and third king of Ansteorra, spoke of the man’s antics and accomplishments during a recent interview.

One such adventure saw Ricardo travel to Atenveldt as royal entourage with the specific intent of winning the prize for best death that day, a dramatic flare that the Atenveldt crown was actively encouraging. Towards that end, Ricardo fell to the ground in several dramatic ways that day. But, Jan recalled, the theatrics did not stop with the tournament.

That night at feast, Riccado took on the role of poison tester, tasting every piece of food and sipping every glass that was presented before the Ansteorra crown. When not taking on the role of poison tester, he stood at the King’s side throughout the meal, rather than sit down and join in the meal.

The example set by Riccardo had a dramatic effect on the presence of the feasters that night. As the meal went on, Knights rose to stand next to their king or nobles in like fashion, some even tasting the food as well. What had started as a friendly meal had taken on a distinct level of formality, fun, and a distinct medieval flair by the last remove.

In the tournament of Lyons in Bejornsburg, Jan was unable to attend due to health considerations, but Riccardo didn’t pass up an opportunity. Riccardo impersonated his knight so that Jan’s presence would not be missed. Those present later agreed that the man’s gestures, swagger, attitude, and speech were a worthy invocation of the kingdom’s third monarch.

During a later crown tournament, he entered court with his squires flanking him and a group of hired drummers in tow, adding musical accompaniment to his entrance. And at another Crown, he sent his letter of intent in calligraphied Italian. No one in the court could actually read it, but it was still considered both impressive and typical of Riccardo.

The man’s larger-than-life presence was not limited to the list field or the event,.

“He played his persona to the hilt,” said Jan, saying he was also a fun-loving “dirty old man” who never hesitated to compliment a woman, but always knew when to end the joke before someone was truly offended.

At a fighter practice, he ambushed the local heavy fighters by armoring some of the local rapier community and giving them spears, leading them in a surprise attack on the unsuspecting chivalric fighters.

“The marshals today would have a conniption fit if we did something like that,” Jan said.

One contemporary recalled his frequently greeting acquaintances with “Hello, my name is Sir Riccardo di Pisa. Oh, I see you’ve heard of me? Good, that is how it should be!”

Even within artistic fields, humor did not escape him. When Riccardo’s arms were passed, he commissioned a pair of leggings to be made with heraldic flame down the sides. During the process, the seamstress used red and black markers to outline where the stitching had to go. The side effect of this was the permanent marker bled through and stained his skin, leaving the bombastic knight with red and black flames to explain any time anyone saw his bare legs.

Jan also pointed out that Riccardo’s enthusiasm was strongly credited with helping to make Gulf Wars the success it had become today. He was seen and remembered for his loud, encouraging proclamations of a pending war and a call to rally the troops.

Riccardo’s love of courts played well to this endeavor. He was boisterous, and he would take on a “fundamentalist preacher” persona to try and rally the troops. People asked for “brother Riccardo to come speak with us” to help recruit the troops. The efforts, though best remembered for Gulf Wars, were also put forward for many other, smaller, wars or events over the years.

The campaign helped Ansteorra muster large forces during the early years of the war, creating the building blocks that we see today where attendance at the great event is part of the kingdom culture.

But perhaps the single longest lasting aspect of Riccardo is an artefact that is now all but enshrined in the kingdom culture.

Cynric of Bedwyn, one of Riccardo’s Squires recently recounted how in the early 1990s, Riccardo forged his own sword with the aid of Master Peter of the Golden Isle in Bryn Gwlad. In 1995, Riccardo’s health declined, and he received a liver transplant, curtailing his time in armour. After his discharge, he passed the sword to his Cynric, who held it for two years.

In the fall of 1997, the Ansteorran Sword of State was stolen from the king’s vehicle following his return home from an event. This would set the backdrop for events to follow later that reign.

In spring of 1998, Riccardo had minor surgery, but complications from the procedure would ultimately prove to be more than he could overcome. He passed away less than two weeks from the start of Gulf Wars 7.

Jan recounted that Riccardo’s death was among the first of its type for the kingdom, the loss of a figure that well known and that largely respected was a new chapter for a then young kingdom still working to fully form its own identity. The word of his death was the undercurrent for nearly every battle and court held in Ansteorra that war.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Cynric recounted, he reach out to the kingdom and offered Riccardo’s sword to the Ansteorra as a long term loan so long as it was in use as the Sword of State. The process started at Gulf War that year.

When a new member asked about Sir Riccardo at the war, one of the crown’s attendants, a man who’s name is lost to antiquity, would summarize the knight’s story with, “he was a hero, from a kingdom of heroes!”

In the intervening two decades, the sword would be used for oaths of fealty and service by the crown, and to this day, the sword of Riccardo Di Pissa is still held by the court and is part of the tools of state used for official business. Later still, a road at the Gulf War’s site, in the Ansteorran encampment, was named Sir Riccardo Di Pissa Way in his honor.

“Even Riccardo’s detractors considered him a quintessential Lion,” said Jan. “Riccardo knew how to play the game. It came to him naturally, and when he played it, other people felt better. Come to a campfire and talk about Riccardo with people who knew him. Riccardo was a flawed man, but was a great spirit.”

And thus, from a Kingdom of heroes came Sir Riccardo Di Pissa.

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