On this edition of ‘Have you Met’… meet Edmund Barlow! If you haven’t been introduced, you’ve at least probably seen him at a tournament and had instant persona-envy. He’s charming, well-dressed, and will stab you in the face with unparalleled panache.
Have You Met… Edmund Barlow?
You‘re a pretty new fighter, how long have you been playing? What was your first SCA event and is there something memorable that happened there that made you say ‘this is the nerd for me!’
That’s always an interesting question for me. As of late, I have been playing in the SCA for just over two years now as Edmund Barlow. But I was first introduced to the SCA a bit over ten years ago when I was literally twelve years old. I lived right across the street from the Lyondemere practice and was just in awe of these guys sword fighting and bashing around in medieval armor and had to know what was going on. I started to hang around the practice and then got into youth combat, then rapier a couple years later. Not long after my family and I moved away from the practice and it just wasn’tÂ convenient to get there. About six years later I had been thinking about getting back into the SCA for a while and decided to stop by the practice to see if it’s still there. To my joy it was, and a few people even recognized me there, so after that I kind of just jumped head first into the SCA.
My first event was Potrero of 2016, I arrived late on Sunday and almost immediately got into the Melee rounds for the morning and just loved it. Melee was honestly my favorite thing about the SCA at first, I enjoy the frantic chaos of it, as well as just all the fighting to have. But in all my infinite wisdom, I neglected to drink any water or eat anything the whole time I was fighting. So unsurprisingly, I just kind of died. But, a group of people who have now become some of my closest friends took it upon themselves to take me in for the night, look after me, and effectively revive me. The sense of community I got from that meant a lot to me, and I was able to tell that the SCA was more than just a bunch of people in weird clothes, but an actual society of friends and family I could see myself fitting in with.
Tell me a little bit about your persona.
Edmund Barlow was born May 17th, 1570 in Lancashire, England, raised in a family of newer Nobility, he was sent to be warded with the Harker Family in Yorkshire County. He and Winifred Elizabeth Harker grew up together getting in and out of trouble all across England. When he came of age, Edmund went back home to the Barlow Estate, but stayed in contact with Winnie through letters for years, but eventually one day the letters stopped coming, so Edmund took it upon himself to ride out to the Harker Estate to discover what had happened. Upon arrival he found no one he remembered from his youth and was told Winnie had left weeks ago with a group of Spaniards.
Edmund automatically assumed these dastardly Spaniards, these enemies of England had kidnapped his dear childhood friend and set off on his adventure to Rescue Winnie from the Pirates. His journey was mainly him bumbling around Western Europe trying to be some kind of hero, but mainly ended up causing trouble. Eventually he thought he found Winnie in Seville, Spain, being forced to marry the dastardly Spaniard that kidnapped her, he was wrong, very wrong and crashed the whole wedding and now may or may not be wanted in Seville….
Edmund eventually ran into the crew of the White Star and offered a great reward of they helped him find his friend. Woefully unaware that Winnie was in fact living with the White Star that very moment. A few more misadventures later, he found Winnie living peacefully in the Villa just outside Cadiz. Edmund, bewildered, sat down and was told the story that Winnie had simply been adopted by the Household after her father died, and that a letter was sent to Edmund, explaining everything, was sent to him the day he departed England.
Edmund now spends his time carousing around Western Europe fighting in tournaments and wars as they pop up in his life, generally being a dastardly Rouge and a Rastabout.
You recently received the honor of Most Chivalrous Fighter in the Valkyrie Rose Tournament at Great Western War. What does chivalry mean to you?
Well first off I want to say how honored and thankful I am for receiving that. I was honestly really surprised when they called me up in front of the Gallery and The Ladies of the Rose, it really does mean a lot to me to be recognized like that so early in SCA experience.
For me defining exactly what Chivalry is, it’s a little hard for me to really put into words, I guess the biggest thing for me is doing what I believe is the right thing to do. Which is something that can can from context to context, but it’s just a personal matter for me to do what I feel should be done. I honestly feel bad if I’m not helping in some way or another at events, as well as just in life. At the Valkyrie Rose Tourney I was out after only a few rounds, but a marshal asked for a Bi-Fighter, at that point I knew offering to stay as the Bi would help the huge and hectic tourney run just ever so much more smoothly, and it was a role I was more than happy to fill. Another part of Chivalry that always kinda sung to me was the idea of ‘defending those who cannot defend themselves.’ I enjoy the altruistic and noble aspect of that. While I haven’t run into any defenseless people in the SCA, it take that as being there for friends, and especially new members to the Society. Speaking as a newer member, I wouldn’t be here if not for the support I got from everyone as a whole.
What would you like to see more of in the SCA? What kind of tournaments or events do you really enjoy?
The one thing I would absolutely love to see more of is the Armored Cut and Thrust that Duke Guillaume and Sir Niccilo did a showcase of at the latest Gyldenholt Anniversary. I have always loved playing with the steel swords, as well as armored combat, especially of 15th and 16th century when full plate became more common on battle fields, as well as in listed combat. The Half-swording with longswords and having to hie exactly in the unarmored areas of an opponent just seems like such a fun experience and challenge for a fighter that I would love to be part of. Get the best of both worlds, getting to wear a suit of late period armor and use steel swords, that would be so much fun!
As well as melee. All the melee. Melee is life.
As for tourneys I enjoy, I generally prefer to fight in pools, mainly because the pressure of a standard double elimination tourney can mess with my head space a bit. But also I tend to just get more fighting in a pool!
If there is one fighter (or if you don’t have one, type of fighter) you enjoy fighting the most, who (or what) would it be?
I would say that my favorite type of fight to have is Cut and Thrust, hands down. The clashing and ringing of the steel feels closer to an accurate recreation of historical combat for me. As well as the energy of the fights, especially with the more cut centric fights, like with longsword or backsword are just so much fun for me. And to be quite honest, the cuts just look so cool to watch, it makes me feel like I’m in some epic duel like the movies and stories that really got me into swords as a kid. Well, a younger kid.
So far as a favorite fighter, I can’t say I have one, but some of my favorite fights have been with Maestro Lot Ramirez at the latest Rapier Open because we got to fight all forms of Cut and Thrust in our pool. Starting with Rapier and dagger, then to broad sword and Buckler, and finishing up with Longsword. I was dead tired after the fight, but it was just so much fun for me. As well as my fight with THL Rhydderch Derwen at the Valkyrie Rose Tourney. I had been itching for a C&T fight all day, and when I pulled him while fighting as the Dreaded By Fighter we went on the field with back swords. The wheeling cuts and the sound of the steel ringing and singing off of each other’s blades was quite an experience for me, especially in front of such a gallery. And I will admit that during our fight, at one point I actually just focused on swinging my sword at his, with some more fantastic and showy cuts because I liked hearing the steel ringing off each other, and I thought it would be more fun for the gallery to watch. It was near the end of the Tourney, so I figured I could be a bit more showy and know that it would be seen, and hopefully appreciated.
So I hear you make hats… tell me about them!
The Rogue and the Rastabout Haberdashery, quality hats for the discerning Nobles.
It started with the fact that I didn’t really know anyone who made late period hats, and at the time I worked as a hatter in my mundane life. So I decided to take a chance at it and look into how to properly block wool felt hats and to find some period references for the hats. A few Google searches later and I was on my way to becoming a hatter. Once my friends became aware that I was making hats, I began to take commissions for them as just a little side project to keep me busy in my off time. But after a while it changed from just a little hobby to an actual passion for me. I spend a lot of time researching hats and just looking at countless renaissance portraits to get an idea of what the hats should be like.
It’s nice to have some kind of trade to have for the SCA instead of just being a fighter. I’ve always loved the Arts and Sciences, and speaking as a total fop, I appreciate beautiful and historical garb so much, and since I have no clue how to make a doublet and slops, I figured that I’d use my hatting skills start my own little niche of historical hat making for myself and really anyone else who wants a new hat. It’s tedious, as anyone who’s ever made anything would know, but hatting is loads of fun for me to do, it makes me feel like a more rounded member of the society.
Right now I specialize in 16th century Tall Hats, but I’m willing to take on just about anything for commissions. There is a Facebook page for the Haberdashery “The Rogue and the Rastabout Haberdashery” and an Etsy shop will be coming soon to help everyone with their hatting needs!
If people wanted to stab you, where can they find you?
Right now I run the Lyondemere Practice, El Segundo Rec Park, Wednesday nights at 7:30.
As well as making down to Gyldenholt Practice in Huntington Beach at Murdy Park, Tuesday nights at 7:30.
And I’ll probably start frequenting the Altavia Practices now as well!
I look forward to stabbing all of my friends!