On January 31, 2009 THL Arrienne Ashford was called to be placed on Vigil to become a Laurel for her skills and teaching of Lacemaking. I was honored to be asked by her to complete her Laurel Scroll. We have been friends for many years, and I really wanted it to be special. Her persona is firmly Elizabethan, English of course, so I wanted the scroll to match her persona well.
In planning the award scroll, I had a few things to consider:
1. The art of Illumination, sadly, was waning in the late 16th century. The advent of printing--the mass production of books with movable type text and block printed or engraved pictures, was causing the art of illumination and calligraphy disappear. Finding suitable period sources to use as inspiration might not be easy.
2. An SCA Award scroll is essentially a "legal" document, issued under the authority of the Crown of the Kingdom.
3. Its all about bling. Use the best materials and really make the piece special.
For the past few years, I have become really geeked out about medieval manuscript ROLLS and SCROLLS. I had the book Treasures of the National Archives: Elizabeth--Golden Reign of Gloriana, by David Loades for a quite a while and was fascinated by these small pictures of what looked like bookmarks. There was not much description as to what they were in the book, so for a a long time I assumed they were small tags that hung from the rolled up legal scrolls, (I had no idea what the rolls looked like either).
(Coram Rege Roll, (Kings Bench), Hilary Term, 1581.)
Online searched brought up nothing until about 18 months ago I got a hit. Like a bolt of lightning I almost fell off my desk chair becasue I finally found pictures of the legal rolls themselves:
TA DA!!!!! ALL THE ENGLISH LAW DOCUMENTS DATING BACK TO THE 12TH CENTURY THAT WERE FIT TO BE SCANNED
SO, WHAT IS IT?
That tiny slip of painted paper is actually the cover sheet to the stack of court transcripts, the "Court of the Kings Bench" from a particular quarter term of the legal year. Actual size seems to be about 10 inches wide by about 30 inches long. While the documants from Elizabeths later years have not been digitized yet, they seem to keep scanning more each time I visit the website.)
Here is what a bundle of legal scrolls looks like from the side: http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/M/KB27no1168/aKB27no1168fronts/IMG_0001.htm The "roll" can no longer be rolled up because if its bulky size.
THE ART OF THE PLEA ROLL COVER SHEET
Placita coram Domini Rege stood for "before the king in person". Of course the monarch was not actually present at each court case in the entire realm, so by painting their portrait on the cover sheet it was a symbolic representation of their knowledge of the cases thus written inside.
ITS LATE AND I HAVE RUN OUT OF STEAM, I WILL REVIST TOPIC LATER