The Society for Creative Anachronism is like any other global organization in that there are Regions, Divisions, Areas, and Local Chapters, except in the SCA they are called Kingdoms, Principalities, Baronies, and (usually) Shires.
The kingdom is the highest level of organization in the SCA. It denotes a region with at least 400 paid members. There are 20 kingdoms in the SCA currently. Kingdoms are led by a king and/or queen and their consort. The right to rule a kingdom is won through combat by winning a crown tournament. Most kingdom’s reigns last 6 months.
A principality is a sub-division of a kingdom with at least 100 paid members. Principalities are usually found in localities where it may be hard for the king or queen to make regular visits, such as kingdoms like Drachenwald that have groups in Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. Principalities are led by a prince/princess and their consort. The right to rule a principality is won through combat by winning a coronet tournament. Most principalities’ reigns last 6 months.
A barony is a sub-division within a a kingdom or principality with at least 25 paid members. They are led by a baron/baroness who is appointed by the crown (although normally the group selects the baron/baroness and the crown approves it). A baron/baroness’ reign varies by kingdom; in some kingdoms they govern for 1, 2, 3, or more year terms and in other kingdoms they hold the position for life.
The shire is the local group level of the society within a kingdom or barony. They must have at least 5 paid members. Shires are led by a seneschal (like a club president) and must have an exchequer (treasurer) and at least one other officer.
Other Terms for Local Groups
Canton – A Canton is a group within a barony’s borders.
Riding – A Riding is a group within a shire’s borders.
March – A March is a group located on a kingdom or principality’s border.
College – A College is a group associated with a university or college campus.
Stronghold – A Stronghold is a group located on a military base.
Port – A Port is a group at a naval base or on a navy ship.
Every level of SCA organization is led by a group of officers. All officers must be paid members of the SCA.
Seneschal: The seneschal acts as the administrative head of the group. Every local group is required to have a seneschal who reports to the kingdom’s seneschal.
Exchequer: The treasurer, who handles the financial matters of the group. Every local group is required to have one.
Knight Marshal: The knight marshal administrates all combat activities for the branch, including armored combat, rapier combat, archery and equestrian. A local group is required to have one in order to host combat activities. This office can only be held by someone warranted as a marshal by the crown.
Minister of Arts and Sciences: Sometimes split into two offices, one for arts and one for sciences, this office coordinates arts and sciences activities for the group, arranging classes and demonstrations, and leading participants to others who work in fields of their interest.
Herald: This officer is in charge of heraldic activities, such as the creation and registration of names and arms. Each kingdom has a College of Heralds which prepares submissions to go to the Society College of Arms, headed by the Laurel Sovereign of Arms.
Chatelaine or Hospitaller: In charge of welcoming and facilitating new participants into the SCA including recruiting, onboarding, and transitioning members from other branches.
Marshal: Supervises a specific combat-related activity, insuring safety of participants and refereeing where applicable. A marshal must be certified for the type of activity they oversee; as such there are armored combat marshals, rapier marshals, target archery marshals, equestrian marshals, etc. A marshal of a given certification must be present for that particular activity to take place at an event.
Constable: In charge of maintaining and tracking liability waivers for events. In some kingdoms, they also handle public safety and security, and collect gate fees.
Chronicler: Produces and edits the group’s newsletter.
Minister of Children: Arranging and officiating children’s activities. Sometimes known as Minister of Youth.
Historian: Recording the history of the group, from the local to the Society level.
Webminister: Derived from webmaster, this officer is in charge of maintaining the Internet presence of the group.
An individual can choose to be a paid member of the SCA. Membership dues cover the administrative costs of the Society and the SCA’s liability insurance.
Membership is not required to participate in SCA activities, but only paid members are allowed to hold office or be royalty. SCA membership eliminates the need to fill out and sign a waiver at every event. Members usually receive a discount on event fees. Membership includes a subscription to the kingdom newsletter.