This is the Seneschal's handbook of Drachenwald. It is intended as a
guide to the post of Branch Seneschal. The Governing Documents of the SCA
Inc. define the SCA, if there is a conflict with those document herein, the
Governing Documents have precedence.
This is a basic guide to the post of local seneschal for branches below
Baronial/Provincial level. It's designed to aid branch seneschals but is not
a complete guide to every aspect of the post. If you need clarification or
more information on any part of the post please contact the Kingdom
Seneschal or one of the Deputy Kingdom Seneschals. That's what they are
What is a Seneschal?
The Seneschal is the chief administrative officer of a branch of the SCA.
It is similar to "Club President" in many ways.
Definition of the post:
The post is primarily concerned with the smooth administration of the
branch. This includes being the primary conduit for information between the
local branch and the larger branch of which it is a part. The Seneschal is
the person charged with responsibility for the modern legal affairs of the
branch. The Seneschal also is the chief officer of the branch and has a duty
to see to the welfare of the branch as a whole.
Scope of the post:
The post of Seneschal covers a large variety of areas. These are probably
best summed up as a list of points that the Seneschal must pay attention to.
Many of these points will be explained below.
· Primary contact for legal/governmental authorities for the
· Co-ordinating development of the entire branch.
· Supporting and continuing liaisons with other branch
· Continuing liaisons with the Kingdom Seneschal and/or relevant
· Reporting in a timely and relevant manner.
· Helping ensure that all the officers of the branch submit their
required reports in a timely manner.
· Keeping abreast of developments in the kingdom and relaying this
information to the branch and vice-versa.
· Working towards the well-being of the branch.
· Checking that the branch maintains the minimum requirements for its
status and working to help correct any lapse in these
The powers of the post:
The Seneschal has a number of powers that are reserved to the
- Only the Seneschal has the authority to designate any gathering or
function of the branch an "official" function of that branch. This does not
mean that the seneschal can dictate how such gatherings shall be run, but
rather that the seneschal must sanction them as branch activities.
- Any event announcements going to the kingdom newsletter must have the
approval of the branch Seneschal attached. This is because all official
events are the responsibility of the branch holding them and only the branch
Seneschal is authorised to commit the branch to such action.
- Whenever possible the Seneschal should be one of the required
signatories of any branch bank accounts.
The Seneschal of a branch may, and in most cases should, recruit deputies
to assist in the running of the office. Deputies may deal with overflow of
work or be set to assist with specific tasks. It's recommended that each
branch have what is known as an "Emergency" deputy. This is someone who is
willing and able to take over the administration of the branch if, for
whatever reason (illness, sudden move, etc.), the seneschal is unable to
continue to carry out the function of the office. This post is temporary and
need not be the same person who is planning to take over from the current
Seneschal once that officer's warrant expires. Deputies must be Society
Members of the SCA Inc. or any recognized affiliate organisation.
What a seneschal cannot do:
While the Seneschal is responsible for overseeing the smooth operation of
the shire, the Seneschal must bear in mind that he or she does not have the
authority to remove branch Officers. If a problem develops the Seneschal
should seek resolution to the established means for redressing a problem
that are endorsed by the SCA. These procedures are found at
http://sca.org/docs/welcome.html under the Governing Documents. It should be
noted that if an officer is delinquent in his or her duty over a period of
time, then it is the duty of the Seneschal to bring the matter to the
attention of the relevant kingdom officer, after first discussing the issues
with the delinquent officer.
General Aspects of the Post of Seneschal:
The Seneschal must report to the appropriate Seneschal for their region
on a quarterly basis. This report is vitally important, as it is the primary
way that you can bring matters of concern to your branch to the attention of
the kingdom. It is also important that the kingdom has recourse to
information from every branch in the kingdom. This information allows the
kingdom to formulate policy to the needs and desires of the people of the
As an aid to your office, two weeks before your report is due, a blank
report form will be sent to you. If, for any reason you do not receive it,
your report is still due by the required date. This report form is designed
to be a guide to the minimum information the kingdom is looking for. You
should feel free to include any other information or questions that you
would like. These reports are currently due on 25 April, 25 July, 25
October, and 25 January, so you should be receiving the form on or about the
11th of these months.
Reports are documents of record. As such they may be made available to
anybody who wishes to see them. With this in mind, if you have to bring
information of a controversial nature to the attention of your regional
Seneschal, you should consider whether it should be in the official report
or whether it should be dealt with privately in a separate mail or
There is a copy of the report form on page 7 (of the MS Word version) and
the on-line form can be found on the Kingdom Seneschal's web pages at
Remember that the Seneschal is there for the benefit of the branch, and
as such it is courteous to keep the branch informed as to what is going on.
Sending some form of report to the branch's newsletter or e-mail list is
often welcome. It should also be suggested that each branch officer do
Copies of other officer's reports:
To formulate comprehensive policy for any branch the branch Seneschal
must have access to information on the various activities of the branch. To
this end the Seneschal should request a copy of the report of each officer
in the branch.
Liaisons with local officers:
A branch Seneschal should be working closely with the other officers of
the branch to achieve the best that they can for the members locally, as
well as for the benefit of the larger SCA. It is recommended that each group
have regular officer meetings. If a group covering a large area has
difficulty in getting officers together on a regular basis for meetings it
is worth considering holding discussions via e-mail. Some groups have set up
officers' e-mail discussion lists to help with their
Keeping branch listings in newsletters up to date:
An important part of the job of Seneschal is making sure that information
about the branch is up-to-date. A Seneschal should check that the listings
for the branch in the kingdom newsletter, regional newsletter, kingdom web
site, any regional web site, and, if there is one, the branch web site or
newsletter. These can be located by checking the kingdom website on the Regnum or by contacting your regional Deputy
Kingdom Seneschal (see contact section).
Local Branch status requirements:
The Seneschal is
responsible for ensuring that the branch continues to meet the minimum
requirements for their branch status.
These are as follows for Shire, Canton, College, and Stronghold
- The branch must have at least 5 subscribing members of the SCA Inc. or
any recognized affiliate group.
- The branch must have a Seneschal
- The branch must have an Exchequer
- The branch must have at least one of these three officers: a Herald, a
Marshal or a Minister of Arts and Sciences.
- Each officer of the branch must be a Society Member (one who has paid
a membership to the SCA Inc. or any recognised affiliated
- The reporting requirements of these offices must be met.
The branch must keep track of its finances and comply with the exchequer
policies of the SCA and the Kingdom of Drachenwald. The Kingdom of
Drachenwald Exchequer policies are available from your regional exchequer or
from the Kingdom Exchequer. It should be noted that the financial reporting
requirements of your Country take precedence. If
you have any difficulties or questions the Kingdom Exchequer, or one of
his/her deputies should be able to help you. (See contact section for
details of how to find these officers.) Kingdom Financial Policy and
Exchequer Policy should also be available on the kingdom website at the
Kingdom Law page
Each branch officer reports to the appropriate regional officer. These
report to the kingdom officers. If you have difficulty contacting any of the
regional deputies you should contact the relevant kingdom officer. A list of
the current kingdom officers can be found on the Drachenwald web site, (see
contact section at the end of this document.) and in Dragon's Tale, the
Appointment of officers:
When the branch has a new officer, the following should be done. The
Seneschal of the branch should contact the appropriate Regional and Kingdom
officer. This should include a statement from the Seneschal confirming that
the branch supports the person applying.
The new officer should contact the kingdom officer too, and include
details of their membership and contact information. Normally a copy of the
person's membership card showing the expiration date is used. Membership
details may also be found on the mailing label from the Dragon's Tale or
Tournaments Illuminated; you may send a copy of one of these labels as proof
of membership if a membership card is not available.
The person applying for the post, if acceptable to the appropriate
Kingdom Officer, will then be warranted for the office. Once they are
warranted then they are an officer of the branch.
The seneschal must keep track of the state of the warrants of the other
officers of the branch and should assist the new officer in getting
warranted if needed. People must be warranted to be officers. If they are
not, it opens up an area of difficulty for the group such as the possibility
of withdrawal of branch status or problems with events being designated
non-official. This is something that can easily be avoided, and I want to be
sure that it does not become a problem. If you are having any problem with
the warranting process please let the Kingdom Seneschal know. The Kingdom
Seneschal can and will help avoid any problems in this.
How official events work:
Once a branch decides that it wishes to host an event, the branch must
select a person to be in overall charge of the event. This person, the Event
Steward or Autocrat, should then be authorised as a deputy of the branch
seneschal with authority for the planning and execution of the event. This
officer should keep the branch seneschal informed of the progress on the
It is the obligation of the event steward and failing him/her, the
seneschal to ensure that each event operates under SCA rules and nothing
happens that could endanger the health and safety of the people attending
the event. The other officers of the shire share this responsibility, as
laid out in corpora II E. If a situation arises which presents a problem of
this nature, the, event Steward or seneschal must do whatever they can to
stop the problem, up to and including removing Society sanction for the
event, and notifying the responsible officers and the owner of the site (or
agent) that it is no longer an SCA event. If this happens, the kingdom
seneschal must be notified within 24 hours, as there is additional paperwork
to be filled out. One should always bear in mind that any modern criminal
activity should also be dealt with by the relevant legal
The SCA has an international insurance policy to cover officers and the
Society. It is vital that event organisers and officers are properly
authorised to avail of what protection this gives.
A statement of insurance (often it is useful to help get sites for
events) is available from the SCA's corporate office. See the section on
contact addresses below for details of the SCA corporate office.
There are two main categories of Society events. Those simply called
"Society Events" and those called "Official Events".
A "Society Event" is any gathering of SCA members for an SCA purpose
which is approved by Seneschal of the sponsoring branch and which is
advertised to the local members. It is an SCA activity and in effect is
official. It's just that the Society calls events that require prior
publication in the Dragon's Tale "Official Events". Confusing I know, but we
are stuck with it.
An "Official Event" is one that is advertised in the Dragon's Tale, so
that everyone is aware of it in advance. This allows for official actions to
take place at it. Many things need to be done only at official events so
that people can find out about them, and in some cases so people can
contribute to the issues (such as a Curia Regis, a meeting to change laws of
the kingdom). Awards may only be given out at official events and any
changes to kingdom law must be made at official events.
To make an event official the Seneschal of the sponsoring branch must
approve it and an announcement for the event must be published in the
kingdom newsletter in advance of the event. This announcement must include
certain information about times and location, etc. These details can be
found in the Kingdom
Kingdom level events:
There are six regular events each year that are referred to as "Kingdom
level events". These are Coronation in January, Crown Tournament in March,
Kingdom Arts and Science faire in April, Coronation in June, Crown
Tournament in October and Kingdom University in November. These events are
well attended and bring many people to the area hosting them. As a result
there is considerable competition to host them. There is a rotation among
the regions for where the next Coronation or Crown Tournament event should
be held. Any group in the appointed region may bid to hold the event.
Kingdom University and Kingdom Arts and Science fair are not on this
rotation schedule and any branch may bid to host them. The bid should detail
what your branch can offer by way of site, costs, and accessibility to
airports, activities offered, feast, etc.
The Crown and Officers involved will then decide which bid presents the
best option and give that branch the permission to host the event. Details
of this process are available from the Kingdom Seneschal.
The rotational calendar is published in the Dragon's Tale as a planning
Conduct and Mediatory Duties:
It is very important that a seneschal be able to deal diplomatically with
people. Often conflicts arise in any organisation. Usually these come about
from misunderstandings. However, in the heat of the moment a simple
misunderstanding can flare up into quite an ugly incident.
There are some pointers to bear in mind if a confrontation begins in your
- Avoid taking sides whenever possible. As seneschal you need to
represent the whole branch.
- Try to calm things down first. A settlement is less likely if people
- Re-read all mail before you send it. Be sure it's not going to inflame
- Always attempt a resolution with the people involved before taking
things any further.
- Always check with both sides that you've understood them
While the SCA is not a democratic institution, it is advisable for all
officers to pay attention to what their branch wants. Unless the branch, its
officers, and their policies have support from within the branch, it will be
very difficult to make progress.
The way that the SCA operates is detailed in its governing documents.
These can be found at http://www.sca.org/docs/welcome.html
Kingdom Law for Drachenwald can be found at The
Kingdom Law page
Every seneschal should be familiar with these documents.
Blank Quarterly report details for Local Branches.
Quarter number and modern CE date:
SCA Name of Seneschal:
Legal name of Seneschal:
Membership expiry date:
If your Branch is an "incipient" branch please list the sponsoring Branch
and the Seneschal of that Branch as well.
List of Branch officers:
Membership details for each officer including:
SCA Name of Officer:
Legal name of Officer:
Membership expiry date:
Please point out any changes in the officer listings since last
Details of branch activities since last report. (Details of events,
planning for future events):
Goals set for the branch:
Any problems your branch is experiencing/ Resolved problems:
Suggestions to Kingdom or Principality level which need addressing,
which would help other local branches:
Media contacts, copies of printed coverage of your branch are requested
Annual Domesday Report - There are some items that are
needed for the January "Domesday" report only. In addition to the above
reporting requirements the annual Doomsday report shall include the
- An estimated breakdown of the number of members and non-member
participants of the group
- A short financial summary of the group.
- Listing of current officers and confirmation of their status as SCA
members in good standing.
A blank report form for the Doomsday report will be sent to you a couple
of weeks in advance of your deadline.
Kingdom of Drachenwald: From the
Drachenwald website you should be able to go directly to your regional
website and to your branch website if there is one.
SCA Inc.: http://www.sca.org
With the number of officers and regional deputies totalling well over 25
there will be changes almost every month. Therefore the best way to keep up
to date is to visit the officers page on the Kingdom website , check the
Dragon's Tale (Kingdom Newsletter, available to members), or contact your
regional Deputy Kingdom Seneschal for an up to date list.
If you need to get insurance certificates, membership forms (also
available on line at http://sca.org/members/welcome.html
and in the Kingdom Newsletter), or otherwise contact the SCA Inc. these are
the details for the corporate office.
Member Services Office, Society For Creative Anachronism, P.O. Box
Milpitas, CA 95036-0789, USA
Telephone: +1 800 789 7486 or +1 408 263 9305
If you need any information on officers or SCA in your region please
contact one of the following officers:
Contact details and email for the Senschal staff can be found
Deputy Seneschal (Regnum, Kingdom Calendar, Clerk
Continental Europe, North of the Alps - Deputy
Seneschal for the Frankmark (Central) Region Deputy
UK and Ireland. - Seneschal for Insulae Draconis
Sweden. - Seneschal for the Principality of Nordmark
Finland - Seneschal for the Barony of Aarnimetsa
If you don't
fall into any of these regions please contact the Kingdom Seneschal
Etienne Fevre. Jan 2002. This document was influenced by "Seneschal 101" by
Master Terafan Greydragon. I recommend each seneschal also read that
document in the library section on www.greydragon.org
A great debt of gratitude is due to Mistress Jaella of Armida, who read
and corrected this document a great many times for me. Thanks!
Thanks also to Baron Tassilo, Master Wolfgang, Lord Lindorm, Lord Frithof,
Lord Heinricus, Master Bertrik, and all those who assisted with the
This document will be updated regularly and the most up to date version
should be available on http://www.drachenwald.sca.org. under
the Seneschal's page.