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It’s positively medieval! Visit the barony of Glymm Mere this weekend in Olympia

Kat Knudson officiates while fighters poise themselves for combat at last year’s Shamrock Tourney in Olympia.
Kat Knudson officiates while fighters poise themselves for combat at last year’s Shamrock Tourney in Olympia. Courtesy of Kat Knudson

Ever feel as though you’re living in the Middle Ages? Or wish that the Northwest were its own country?

Maybe you’d like to meet the people of the Barony of Glymm Mere, located in the Kingdom of An Tir.

These folk — local devotees of the Society for Creative Anachronism — will share their passion for things medieval Saturday in Olympia at the second annual Shamrock Tourney, a demonstration of heavy fighting, which involves armor-clad fighters armed with large pieces of rattan.

“We are literally hitting our friends with what is essentially a baseball bat,” said Kat Knudson of Olympia.

Knudson isn’t a heavy fighter herself, though women do compete. Rather, she serves as baronial marshal, in charge of fighters’ safety.

Knudson, known in Glymm Mere as Melissa of Dalmatia, organized the tourney to spread the word about the barony and the fun to be had there — or, actually, the fun to be had here.

Olympia, you see, lies within the barony, which encompasses Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor and Lewis counties. The Kingdom of An Tir, meanwhile, includes Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho and British Columbia — a bonus for those who’ve thought of joining Canada.

Knudson, who grew up in Olympia, didn’t encounter Glymm Mere until friends in the SCA encouraged her to get involved.

“They said, ‘There’s a group in Olympia,’ and I said, ‘No, there’s not. I’ve never seen it,’ ” she said.

Knudson has always been a history buff, and that’s part of what sparked her interest in the SCA. But what keeps her devoted to the barony is the friendships she’s found there.

“This is probably my largest social group,” she said.

Chuck Preston, the barony’s seneschal (a kind of Middle Ages version of a CEO), told a similar tale when asked what brought him to Glymm Mere.

“At first, it was the historical aspect of the SCA,” Preston, aka Volk the Grey, told The Olympian. “Now, it’s connecting with people. (It’s) the friendships that I have forged and the family that many of those friends have become.”

Shamrock Tourney

  • What: The people of the Barony of Glymm Mere, the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, will demonstrate their fighting skills and share their passion for medieval history and culture at the second annual tourney.
  • When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Heritage Park, 330 Fifth Ave. SW, Olympia
  • Admission: Free
  • More information: glymm-mere.org, antir.sca.org or GlymmMere.Marshal@antir.org
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