Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland
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Let all know throughout the Known World that on Saturday, December 17th, 2011 Gregorian, Her Excellency, Viscountess Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland, Lion of AnTir, Baroness of the Court of the West, Founding Baroness of the Barony of Lions Gate, Mistress of the Order of the Laurel, Holder of a Grant of Arms of the Kingdom of the West, Holder of the Leaf of Merit, Holder of a Jambe de Lion, Holder of an Award of Arms, Recipient of the Silver Pillar of Tir Righ, Holder of the Magister Ithra and the Lector Ithra, Recipient of the Belated Rose, Recipient of the Mano d'Oro, Recipient of the Forget Me Not, Recipient of the Princess's Talon of Tir Righ, Recipient of the Raven's Blood, Member of the Order of the Lion's Claw, former Champion of Service for the Baroness of Lions Gate, Recipient of the Black Tower of Eisenmarch, and Recipient of the Golden Apple of Appledore, whose arms have been augmented by Their past Majesties of AnTir, who reigned as Baroness of Lions Gate for 27 years, who served as Regent and Chancellor of the University of Ithra for several decades, and most importantly, beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, mentor, teacher, friend and profound inspiration to so very many, has journied to the stars to be with her beloved husband, Gerhard Kendal of Westmoreland, her son in law Siegfried the Immane, and many too many others.
She was most proud of helping others strive to achieve their dreams and see the potential they hadn't even seen in themselves. For so many of us she personified grace and redefined our experience of chivalry. May each and every one of us help each other to see the best in ourselves and help each other to achieve our dreams. Never lose the opportunity to tell your loved ones you love them.
With love and hugs, and tears,
Melissa and Andre
Amanda Kendal was born Amanda Elizabeth Beaumont on December 6, 1503, in the County of Westmoreland in Northern England. Lady Amanda grew up with her three brothers and a sister in her parent's hours in the wonderous town of Kendal, known for its beautiful wool of Kendal green.
Like most maidens of her time, Amanda grew up learning courtly manners, needlework, reading and writing in Latin, Greek and French, and the finer arts of becoming a lady.
At the proper age of 15, she was married to John Seahaven, the brother-in-law of the Baron of Northumberland. During her marriage, Amanda had two sons, Arthur, who died as a baby, and Richard of Seahaven, born in 1525, after the death of his father in battle.
The same year, Amanda Seahaven became Baroness Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland when she married Baron Gerhard Kendal of Westmoreland. Amanada's parents had died years earlier of the plague, and without marrying Gerhard she would have had to raise a child and manage newly inherited lands by herself. Although the marriage and its timing were fortuitous, it was a love match.
As the wife of a baron with merchant concerns, Baroness Amanda expanded her skills in managing their estates and business, particularly while her lord was away at sea or wars. It was a busy life, especially with the birth of Melissa Kendal of Westmoreland the following year, on August 3, 1526, and Kevin Marcus, three years later.
Rising with the sun to save on burning expensive candles and warming the manor house each morning, she would organize cooks and take inventories of fabrics, spices and food. The Kendal cellars had the good English ale and sweet fruity wines she enjoys. Baroness Amanda would check the Kendal castle occasionally although they didn't live in it, as it is too spacious and costly to maintain. Nevertheless, the tower is fortified in case of siege. Besides management of her children, Baroness Amanda also kept herself busy with needlework, sewing and music.
Many years ago, the Kendals accepted into their household a young page by the name of Andre Lessard, whose father, the brother of Edward Zifran of Gendy, had died. He was one of several pages over the years, but always the Kendals favourite. Alas, Andre has grown up, married, and created a household of his own now, so, although he visits on occasion, Amanda misses him very much.
Baroness Amanda was somewhat dismayed by a gift her lord from one of his sea captains, a dancing girl from Morocco named Sem-Sem. Amanda accepted her because she pleased Gerhard. She tried to teach her the proper ways of etiquette and behaviour, but found that Sem-Sem was loath to dance in public or talk with men, both activities Her Excellency enjoys immensely. Sem-Sem was also very fond of strange, spicy, sweet foods, which the Kendals grew to love, and also brought with her a black liquid called coffee, which the Kendals came to cherish. However, in spite of all the efforts Amanda made to make the girl welcome, Sem-Sem became irreparably homesick, and was returned to her family a few years ago.
As mentioned, Baron Gerhard and Baroness Amanda brought other pages and ladies in waiting into the household, as well as tutors to teach them reading and writing (in Latin, Greek and French), music and verse. Amanda taught the ladies needlework and spinning herself. Many ladies have served her over the years, but among Her Excellencies' favourites were: Adele de Bretagne, Kelinda Garrett, and Algae McBeign. Amanda is very interested in education and takes every opportunity she can to talk with traders and travelers. She looks forward every year to visiting her friends in London and paying her respects at court.
Melissa was proffered as a lady in waiting to Anne Boleyn, but was returned to the Kendals when the Queen was beheaded. After many years of assisting her mother with the running of the household, and assisting with the tutoring of the children of the household, she was married to a longtime friend of the family, a German merchant, Siegfried the Immane, on August 3, 1560. Sadly Siegfried succumbed to a lengthy illness and passed away on June twelfth of last year.
Their Excellencies' youngest son, Kevin Marcus, was not heard from for many years, although news did reach their ears that he was off at sea searching for new land farther than the New World. Some say it was trading that Kevin Marcus pursued for his father, others believe his pursuits were prompted by a betrothal and feast held for him and the then ward of the then Baron of Madrone, ten year old Marguee Rondel d'Esperance. However, after many years, Amanda's heart was broken when she received word that he had died, leaving young son.
Tragically, after more than 40 years of marriage, Baron Gerhard passed away on December 16, 1567 after a lengthy illness. Baroness Amanda has retired to the estate of her deeply missed son Kevin Marcus to care for her 7 year old grandson, Izaac, the true joy of her life. She still maintains her service to the community, and can frequently be found assisting with her people's education.
(Persona description provided to Maitresse Yolande Chastellain by Princess Amanda when Her Highness sat the Throne of Tir Righ in January 2006.)
One of my favorite memories of Amanda and Gerhard were at Clinton where we made them supper one night by candle light and talked through the night. During War week it was always easy to find them in their encampment right next to the bridge. There was always the big blue awning with the kitchen under it and coffee always ready for people who would drop by. I can remember Amanda getting dressed up in court clothing to go and inspire her troops with her words, she never realized how inspired the troops were by her deeds. I have stood by her side many a time when her words brought people to tears. Baronial courts were always fun with Gerhard being so loud and funny and Amanda having a good time and smiling yet being quiet and demure. (if they only knew how much fun Amanda could have when she wanted.) Perhaps someone will tell the story of a certain mideastern figure being kidnapped...at Clinton and held for ransom. --Corynne
I have long referred to Amanda as Her Grace, though that is not her SCA entitlement, for I have never met anyone who better embodies the Virtue of Grace.
A delicate figure hides a core of such subtle strength that she needs never show it. Always busy, yet always friendly to every person, regardless of status or standing, Amanda is one of the greastest gifts we in the SCA could ever have been given.
A memory: I, a regular attendee at Blatha an Oir's Bardic competitions, was given the task of carrying Gerhard's Declaration of War for Autumn War. This was always a long period-sounding missive well packed with puns and sent in fun. It was always recieved by their Excellencies of Blatha an Oir in the spirit in which it was sent, and I returned home with a response likewise full of puns and silliness and such, to be presented at the next Court of the Excellencies Kendal.
Always, that was, until one fateful year, when a Northern-born King, also in attendance at Celtic Bardic, took offense to one of his Barons making war on another of his Barons. (The schtick factor was apparently lost on this protective Lion). He demanded that I carry back a message from him to my liege lord, to which I responded that I had not been charged with such a task by my liege lord and therefore if I did so it would be as a favour to this King, as I was not his to command. This prompted an in-court display of Royal temper, and an answering display of Bardic right from me.
The court was already bristling with weapons, although my two guardsmen were unarmed (they were the only ones so disadvantaged in the hall, and for the first time in my time in the SCA, I felt in danger of grievous bodily harm by the many spears pointed at me, and the sound of swords being unsheathed at my back, and the raw tempers on display all around. The Baron of Blatha an Oir defused the situation and provided me with a measure of support and comfort, and we spoke late that night about all that had occurred, but it was the response from Amanda that helped me the most after that traumatic event.
When I returned to Lions Gate, I immediately contacted her and her Lord, my lieges, about what all had occurred, and was reassured that my understanding of fealty was correct in the details. Carrying the King's message (stripped of most of its rancour), as well as the punful reply from the Barony of Blatha an Oir, we decided that I would present both replies in Court at the Festival of Colours just a week or so away. I did so, and it was a fine bit of court business, kept on the lighter end of things. Amanda understood, at a very deep level, that fear that I had been exposed to, and the impact it could have on my enjoyment of the SCA. She took the time to make certain I was okay, and checked regularly thereafter. I think that is the moment when my Oaths to the Kendals became real.
And later, at the war in question, which I was loath to attend because of all the bad feelings that had surrounded my presentation of Gerhard's Declaration, I came only because Amanda asked, at Dance the week before, or rather, spoke a simple assumptive, "So we will see you this weekend..." In support of my actions and decisions as their vassal, Amanda had me sit at their side in Opening Court. I had no task, no business there, I was not a lady in waiting or a servant in attendance. I was there solely to show that I was a trusted member of their court, a Bardic emissary and not to be taken lightly.
The trust and the support that she has always shown me have stayed with me over the years, and I believe Amanda knows, there is very little I would not do for her.
She is a simple woman with simple tastes. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you over in Egypt.
Amanda is courtly love made manifest. She can make grown men fall to their knees and cry with a single phrase. Ears strain to hear her quiet voice as she sat court above her populace. Those that love her, adore her. Those that do not are either too new to know her light or have their own reasons. The adoration that those that love her show her have puzzled the newbie joined among us. Why does she cause such a stir? Why is it that at a word she could call up an army greater than any king in the Knowne Worlde?
She is who she is. She is Amanda Kendal. She treats all like they are worthy of her love no matter who they are or where they came from. She makes everyone feel as if they are truly noble, just as she is. She inspires others to feats of greatness with her gentle voice. She brings out the best in all she comes across. By doing so, she had gathered the loyalty of a thousand goode people about her. She has planted seeds and has watched them grow into a garden of delight.
There will never be another Amanda Kendal, although there will be many imitators. Her grace, her gentleness, her kindness will never be duplicated or equaled. We could all learn from her.
When Amanda and Gerhard stepped down from their baronial thrones, the shoes they left behind to fill were giant sized indeed.
Yolanda de Guelph
(Posting this today because it's nearing her birthday, and I can't stop thinking about her - I miss her. ~ Yolande)
I wish I could remember the first time I met Amanda, but I can’t. She has always been there. Always a presence, always a part of the SCA as I know it. Both her and Gerhard. For the longest time they were inseparable in my mind; as one word “gerhardandamanda”. To this day, I remember their telephone number when they lived in North Vancouver. That’s because I knew that I could call at any time and they would be there for anything I needed. They were like second parents to me; and that was doubly important as my own parents are not involved in the SCA, and when I started to play, I was just a shy 16-year-old waif, relying on the generosity of others in order to live out the dream.
And generous they were. With their time, their knowledge, their enthusiasm, their support. My strongest memory of Amanda’s generosity was at a Clinton War, where my boyfriend and I arrived in the middle of the night, and she was one of the only ones still awake. We greeted her, and upon her asking us where we were going to sleep, we replied that rather than take the time to unpack and set up the tent in the dark, we were going to sleep in the car. She wouldn’t have it. She showed us the extra tents that she had already set up, and invited us to use one. We pulled out our bedding and gratefully accepted. She beamed from ear to ear, happy to have put in the extra thought, the extra effort, to worry about the details, just in case someone like myself happened to need it.
Details. Nothing slips past her. That in itself I find amazing. That she still remembers the very first name I used in the SCA, that I used for less than a year, over 20 years ago. She taught me to write my name on every piece of paper that I received so that if lost, it would makes it’s way back to me. She taught me the importance of details that seemed small, such as a hug, and the power of a smile.
I know that Amanda is always available for a hug, and that my event never feels complete until I give and receive a hug from her. Her boundless commitment and energy are inspiring. She taught me how to be an inspiration to others, and the meaning and importance of a token of favour. How to be graceful and tactful, and she always sets the example of being chivalric.
I remember the Clinton where her new leather armour was presented to her. Made by one of her sergeants, Master Stefan Falk, it was beautiful. I was fortunate to be witness to her donning her new armour, and it truly felt to be a magic moment where I was transported back in time. It was chivalry come alive – that her sergeant felt so inspired by her to create such a thing of beauty, and that she rose and stood and became the pinnacle of chivalry with the grace of her thanks to that sergeant. Knowing that she was going off to battle wearing that armour to lead the troops was awe-inspiring.
Amanda always strives to provide outlets for others to do deeds of service and chivalry. The chivalry hankies at Clinton War that she bestowed inspired me to do something I would never have imagined myself doing – “pucky patrol” on the camp and war field at Clinton War. While our band of pucky patrollers received the group chivalry hankie that year, the award itself was surprisingly unimportant. I had pride in my accomplishment, and a sense that I was part of something bigger, something better. And I know now that is part of what makes Amanda so special – her ability to inspire everyone through inclusion to be part of the family that is the SCA.
While I know she was proud of me in my achievements, I in turn took pride in hers. I wish I could have been present when she received her Lion of An Tir, and when she was invested as Princess of Tir Righ. I sadly missed those events, but I know that she carried the hearts of her people with her, mine included.
One of her legacies that cannot remain unwritten is the University of Ithra. Through many Ithra classes taught and organized by her, I learned from her wisdom and experience. As organized as I am, she was the one who taught me how to pack for an event – that the secret was in purchasing a second set of everything (toothbrush, deodorant, dish soap) and always keeping it packed so you never had to un-pack. I think my favourite Ithra class that she taught was Camp Kitchens. Not cooking, but setting up your kitchen for camping – complete with floor plans for layout and diagrams to build a kitchen box. I was excited to meet someone as enthusiastic about organization as I was myself. In that, Amanda and I clicked.
Of course, as in any relationship, there were other areas where we didn’t click. But they were small bumps in our friendship. Wow. That feels such a privilege to say – that I am friends with Her Excellency Amanda Kendal of Westmoreland. No, that I am friends with Nancy Stevens.
Amanda - it has been an honour and privilege to know you and to have you show me the SCA and share it with me. Because of the road you and Gerhard helped me to travel, I met the love of my life, my husband, and with him have my beautiful children. I will always thank you for looking out for me, for believing in me, and inspiring me. Forever will you be my Baroness.
With love, hugs and fond remembrances, on this your 70th birthday. I look forward to many more memories yet to be made. Happy Birthday!
I remain ever your servant,
Maîtresse Yolande Chastellain, OP
Written by my hand this 17th day of November, AS 44, in the year 2009 of the modern era.
--- This gentlewoman's name has been added to the Scroll of Honor.