Freehold Moot, 12/22/19, Brown’s River Middle School. 22 people in attendance.

PART ONE — OFFICER REPORTS

Seneschal (David Poirier) – all is well, no major updates, elections are complete.

Exchequer (Katherine) – is seeking a deputy to start learning the position. Is working on a budget for the coming year. Will post the year-end financial report on the website. Is working on a PayPal option for event registration.

Web Minister (Marieke) – all is well; there are some minor updates on the Freehold web page, and new officer email aliases are being re-linked, and will be available soon.

Minister of Arts and Sciences {Rosie)  – Last month’s arts meeting, on making favors, was lots of fun. A silk-painting session is anticipated for the early spring, to be led by Dafydd. The Queen is still in need of favors; contact Marieke if you need a kit. And, volunteers for deputy MoAS are welcome.

Minister of Lists (Tearlach) – this office is responsible for organizing the sequence of combat in formal tournaments for the shire (for example, double-elim tourneys). At the moment, none are planned.

Chatelaine (Odd) – the transition of this office (and the loaner garb bins) from Aerona to Odd is underway.

Marshal (Svanr) – not present, but Kenneric reported in his place – the new loaner armor is on track to arrive soon.

Fencing (Kenneric) – Weekly practices are going very well. Will do a poll to see if there is interest in a practice on Dec. 29 (Update – yes, but it will be at the Underhill ID school gym next door.)

Chancellor Minor (Eleanor) – Mimir’s Well will feature a Royal Court with Their Highnesses. She is putting out the call for teachers at the Well, and that includes classes for Youth. Teachers do not need to be background-checked, but another adult needs to be present in each class.  Cat is almost through the background check process (yay!)

Announcement from Julian on behalf of Panther Vale – a reminder that Panther Vale/Freehold Yule Feast is on January 4, starting at 2 pm., in Norwich VT. There will be dancing, and plenty of room for other activities. It’s a pot-luck feast. The traditional Mathom Exchange will take place. (Editor’s note – see Facebook or the Freehold website for more details.)

PART TWO – DISCUSSION OF BARONIAL OPTIONS

(Forgive me, this was a two-hour discussion – I have summarized and synthesized as best I could! Anything I’ve omitted can be addressed in the comments. – Marieke)

OVERVIEW

Julian, from Panther Vale, led the discussion. Panther Vale’s Baronial Exploration Committee consists of himself, Edward Talbot, and Sigurd. They have already written up a draft constitution and bylaws for the proposed Barony. Depending on how things are structured, they may need to design heraldry and get it passed, and likewise choose a new name (Gröna Bergen – Swedish for Green Mountains — is one proposal.) But they may also be able to keep Panther Vale and its heraldry, depending on the chosen structure of the Barony.  

POSSIBLE BARONIAL CONFIGURATIONS

Here are the options under consideration:

Version One – Panther Vale becomes a Barony on its own, and the Freehold is not involved.

Version Two – Panther Vale becomes a Barony on its own, and incorporates some or all of the Crown Lands at the southern edge of the state. The Freehold is not involved in this either, unless we wish to contest the reassignment  of Crown Lands (which seems unlikely.)

Version Three – The whole state of Vermont becomes a Barony again, incorporating Panther Vale, Mountain Freehold, and the Crown Lands.

                Version Three-A – The whole state becomes a single Barony, with no subgroups. This would be similar to the situation in the Barony of Stonemarche, next door in NH. In this case, we would choose a new name and new heraldry for the Barony. Both “Panther Vale” and “Mountain Freehold” would be dissolved. This scenario would require a staff of eight Baronial officers (plus any required deputies), who would be responsible for the administration of the entire state.

Version Three-B – The whole state becomes the Barony of Panther Vale, and Mountain Freehold continues to exist as a separate Canton within the Barony. This allows the Freehold to maintain our customs and identity, and to have our own Canton officers and treasury, but these would still be subject to the Baronial bylaws. This scenario requires a slate of eight Baronial officers, and at least three Canton officers (plus any required deputies).

                Version Three-C – The whole state becomes a new Barony (with new name and heraldry), and it would consist of two equal Cantons – the Canton of Panther Vale, and the Canton of Mountain Freehold. This allows each group to keep their traditions, and the balance of power is more equal between the two groups.  It also allows for a clean “divorce” – keeping name and territory —  if the Barony is ever dissolved, or if one Canton decides to secede. This structure requires eight Baronial officers, and each Canton needs at least three officers (plus required deputies). This may seem like a lot of officers, but some can double up (for example, you could be both a Baronial Pursuivant, and a Canton Minister of Arts and Sciences.) The rules for each office, and for required deputies, vary from office to office – as do the workloads.

PROS AND CONS

Baronies have more “prestige” than Shires. The pomp and ceremony around having a Baron/ess (one or two people wearing the Baronial Coronet) can be fun, and inspiring to new people. Baronies get to participate in the Opening Ceremonies at Pennsic, as part of the East Kingdom Procession. 

Baronies, being larger and more complex entities, require more effort to administer. (More officers, more reports…etc.)

Baronies can give awards that are listed in the Kingdom Order of Precedence. (Shires can also give tokens and acknowledgements, but these are not tracked by the Kingdom.)

Baron/esses can recommend their people to the Crown for awards (but so can anybody else).

Baron/esses are expected to “Hold Court” at some of the events held in their Barony. This involves sitting in state, presenting local awards, receiving gifts and tributes, and hosting other entertainments. (In some cases, the Royalty might delegate the Baron/ess to present certain awards on their behalf, but in practice this is rather rare.)

Baronies are expected (if not exactly required) to “step up” and host major Kingdom events. It is assumed that Baronies have the energy and resources to do this.

Becoming a whole-state Barony will tie the whole state together, for better or worse. Travel times and distances won’t change, but expectations to travel within the state on Baronial business (for events, demos, practices, and meetings) would probably increase.

Baronies need to keep up their paid membership numbers – at least 25, but more is better. Shires only require 5 paid members. At the moment, both PV and Freehold are way over this. But would we be able to maintain high membership if another recession hits, and as our population ages?

The person or people chosen as Baron/ess should be able to travel to at least one Royal Progress event per reign, preferably Coronation, to swear fealty. Serving in this role requires some degree of expense for travel and “putting on a good show.” By SCA rules, the Baronial treasury is very limited in which expenses it can reimburse. (But there are other fundraising options, like auctions for a specific stated purpose.)

LOGISTICS

The PV Baronial Exploration Committee will report to Panther Vale at their Jan. 4Quarterly Officers Meeting with an update. The committee’s charge is to have major decisions made by July.  It’s up to the Freehold to decide if we want to join with PV in this new Barony, or let them do their own thing. It wasn’t specifically said, but I think we’d need to decide before their July meeting.

There will be other meetings in January and February to discuss this matter further – in person, or possibly online via Discord. Further details will be provided as they are known. The Freehold will likely have a moot to discuss this issue amongst ourselves and get a sense of what the shire wishes to do.

Also –  We used the word “polling” and people requested a definition. “Polling” is a formal process whereby the Kingdom Seneschal sends a snail-mail ballot to all paid SCA members, to determine their wishes, with regard to the change of group status from Shire to Barony.  If Panther Vale wishes to advance their status to Barony, and the Freehold does not wish to be a part of that, then only PV would be polled. If the Freehold does choose to go in on the Baronial project with PV, then the Freehold would be polled as well. The formal polling will not take place until the structure and composition of the potential Barony is determined (as well as the Baronial Bylaws, and the list of the proposed Baronial Officers.) If the change of status polling to Barony is successful, it is followed (within 18 months) by another polling, to determine the group’s wishes for who will serve as Baron/ess.

Well, I think that’s everything, but I’m sure you’ll let me know what I missed! And ask if you have any questions. — Marieke