So, you want to be a Lady?
Within the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., there are any number of ranks and awards that a person can aspire to. One thing to remember is that all ranks are earned. A question that newcomers often ask is, How can I get to be a Lady? (or Lord?)
After all, we welcome you to develop your own name and your own persona, someone who might have actually lived in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. But, before you aspire to become Lady Alisand of Wealdsmere, be forewarned that only the King and Queen can grant you the Award of Arms that grant you the right to be called (and call yourself) "Lady" (or "Lord").
Out in the "real world," we go to work and do our jobs and take home our salary. Within the Society, we have different motivations. When you take a two-hour shift doing gate duty as a constable, you aren't going to get paid for it, at least not in money. Within the Society, an important aspect in all of our lives is service.
In order to successfully run an event, a lot of volunteer hours are needed: gate duty, gold key (costume rental), water bearing for fighters, marshalling for fighters, keeping the list (the score keeper), security, heraldry (town crier, fight announcements, court announcement and public address system), litter clean-up, checking privies for TP supply. Indoor events may need help in the kitchen with cooking and dishes, setting up tables. You might volunteer to be in charge of an event (Autocrat), in which case there is paperwork, correspondence (the all-important invitations to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses), arranging for the site and utilities, reporting monthly to the branch.
In order to successfully run a branch (such as a Shire, a Barony, or even the Kingdom or Society), there are even more opportunities for service. See Wealdsmere's Officers page for brief descriptions of all the opportunities that the Officers have to serve, both you, the player, and the Baron and Baroness, and also our King and Queen.
There are many rewards for service, for contribution to Arts and Sciences and for acknowledgement of fighting skills. Some awards are granted by the King and Queen; these awards grant the recipient a rank. Not all forms of recognition confer rank, but nevertheless indicate the recipients contribution to the strength of our Society.
Within the Society of Creative Anachronism, the first basic awards that you may receive are often Baronial awards (if you live in a Barony). In the Inlands area, the two Baronies of Wastekeep and Wealdsmere each have their own awards for service, for contribution to Arts and Science and more.
If you are not from a Barony, the first award you may receive is an Award of Arms. An AoA is granted by the King and Queen on the recommendation of the people around you who know about you and the service you have given. When you receive your AoA, you are elevated to the rank of Lady or Lord.
Grants of Arms
The next level of awards in the Kingdom of An Tir are called "Grants of Arms." Members of the following Orders are addressed as "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship" (or Honorable Lord/Honorable Lady).
The three Peerages of the Society are the Knights, the Laurels and the Pelicans. The members of each Order meet at every Crown event and discuss possible candidates for their Order and, with consultation of the King and Queen, worthy candidates may be elevated to the rank of Peer.
The Royal Peers are those who have served as either the King and Queen of a Kingdom or as the Prince and Princess of a Principality. They are elevated to the Royal Peerage as the Coronation of their successor. A Prince or Princess will attain the rank of Viscount or Viscountess. Upon completion of a first Kingdom reign, the rank of Viscount or Viscountess is also awarded. Upon completion of a second Kingdom reign, elevation to Duke or Duchess is awarded.
One thing to keep in mind is that awards don't just happen (if you've played a certain amount of time, if you've done a certain level of service). While it does occassionally happen that a person received direct recognition from the King and Queen or from a Baron and Baroness, the typical process involves letters of recommendation.
Anyone can write a letter of recommendation for anyone else to receive any award. (although it is considered good form to indicate if, say, you are the spouse or significant other of the person for whom you are writing a letter). Recommendations for Baronial awards are sent to the local Baron and Baroness. Recommendations for Kingdom awards are sent to Their Majesties (and Their Highnesses, especially if you're in a principality). Recommendation for peerage awards (Laurel, Pelican and Chivalry) are sent to both Their Majesties and the secretary of the peerage council.
Read more about it:
How to Write a Letter of Recommendation by Eric de Dragonslaire
How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Peerage Award
Baronial Awards of Wealdsmere
Available at the An Tir web site:
Writing Award Recommendations by Duchess Lao Khatun
Award Descriptions from the An Tir Handbook
Award Recommendation Form (electronic submission)
Award Recommendation forms for a Peerage award (elec. submission)