From An Tir CulturewikiFull Name and Style: Lord Michael FitzGeoffrey, GdS, OLM, Argent Scroll Herald, Midhaven Pursuivant
Arms: Vert, a Latin cross and on a chief potenty argent, three mullets of eight points pierced gules.
Michael FitzGeoffrey is actually two different personae, but with the same name:
(1) Michael FitzGeoffrey was born 21 February 1170 in Dover, England. At the time he was conceived, his Anglo-Saxon mother was employed as a barmaid at the Inn of the Red Star, an establishment with a reputation for quality among those in the area. In early June 1169, this inn boarded a small party of Norman travelers returning to London, England from Calais, France. The most distinguished guest in this party was none other than the son of King Henry II, Geoffrey, Duc de Bretagne! It was Michael’s mother who caught the prince’s eye and was chosen to keep His Grace’s bed warm during the three nights of His stay. As it turns out, her monthly cycle had concluded but that very morning. His mother took ill just after the departure of her royal patron, causing her to be unable to perform similar services for other clients for a solid fortnight, by which time she had begun to suspect that she was expecting.
At his birth, she had him baptized Michael FitzGeoffrey, naming him Michael after the parish priest, whom she chose for his godfather, and FitzGeoffrey to indicate his father’s identity. Although it was her intention, should the babe turn out to be a boy, to present him before the prince and seek his recognition as a royal bastard, the opportunity never came, and she also had no evidence to support such a claim other than her own word.
Having a parish priest for his godfather, and living in the vicinity of the priory wherein he was born, Michael divided his time between his mother, who took up the art of embroidery during her pregnancy, and eventually married a journeyman armorer employed by the local baron, by whom she had a daughter and a son. Father Michael, taught him his catechism, some Latin, some Anglo-Norman, some politics, and scribal skills. Michael was equally at home at the priory, among the baron’s servants, and in the village.
From an early age, the colors of armorial display always fascinated him and became a focus of abiding interest. As a lad of 11 to 15 years of age, he came and went throughout the village as a messenger. By the time he was 16 he was regularly working as a village crier. When the calls went abroad recruiting for the Third Crusade, Michael took leave of his mother, stepfather, and godfather, with whose written recommendation he joined the crusade as a herald for the local baron, who also followed King Richard Cœur de Lion to Jerusalem. During the course of the Crusade, he left the service of the baron in order to accept a position as a pursuivant of arms in the service of the King himself, and in that employ, was awarded arms by the king-of-arms that supervised him.
Returning to England, he left his employment in the royal household, and bought himself a small estate using moneys that he had acquired. This estate was in the county town of the county that included the priory where he was born and the village where his mother had lived when the journeyman armorer married her. Michael was subsequently employed as a herald for the Earl, and eventually married one of the Countess’s nieces.
(2) Lord Michael FitzGeoffrey was born on Michaelmas (29 September) of 1350. He was the third son of an English earl. He married Lady Avelyn de Mowbray, a kinswoman of the Duke of Norfolk.
Lord Michael had from time to time served at court and had attended a few parliaments as a member of the House of Commons (seeing that his honorific is merely a courtesy title, derived from his being an earl’s son, but not heir). He came to be regarded as a capable administrator in the variety of offices to which he was posted, and more particularly as an officer-of-arms.
He often occupied his free time with various pursuits, at which he demonstrated a potential for talent, yet rarely with sufficient practice to become renowned, the chief exception to this being his work with the crafting of mail armor.
Lord Michael and his family are in a household with: the family of Lady Elewys Cuylter of Finchingefeld, Lady Martha at Gore, and the family of Lady Elizabeth of Fernhill. The household currently doesn’t have a name, but they called themselves House Finchingefeld at September Crown 2012 to reserve group camping.
Lord Michael’s interests cover a variety of areas, including:
- the making of mail armor
- calligraphy (particularly Gothic, Carolingian, and Insular), and wordsmithing
- heraldry (of all sorts)
- singing (especially choral)
- thrown weapons (especially spear/javelin)
- embroidery and blackwork
- weaving and braiding
- writing in award recommendations
When Michael first became involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism, his mundane alter ego was serving in the United States Navy, and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. In the Society, this was a part of the Palatine Barony of the Far West (West Kingdom) called Canton of the Isle of Blue Mists. (Incidentally, this name was never registered, and since that time the canton has been renamed Stronghold of Battle Rock.)
While living and participating there, He developed an interest in heraldry, and was graciously instructed by the Barony’s heraldic officer (known as the Golden Peach Pursuivant), Lady Serra da Estrella. Lady Serra’s husband, Lord Robert de Fecamp, organized a household called Oyasumi Nasai, and because of Michael’s student relationship to Lady Serra, Lord Robert invited Michael to affiliate himself with it, which he did until he moved from the Far West. (Incidentally, oyasumi nasai is a Japanese phrase meaning, “good night”, which Lord Robert chose because of its being a homonym for “good knight”.)
Oddly enough, the place to which Michael moved was still in the Marches of the West Kingdom. It was the Shire of Ravenshore, which corresponds to the Counties of Lake and Mendocino in northern California. While there, Michael was rostered as a Pursuivant Extraordinary at Large by the West Kingdom College of Heralds, before becoming the Pursuivant Extraordinary for Ravenshore.
After a while, his mundane employment necessitated yet another though much nearer move, where he spent a very brief time in the Barony of Vinhold (Principality of the Mists, Kingdom of the West - mundanely, Napa County and southern Solano County, still in northern California) before becoming completely inactive in the SCA for some thirteen years.
During that interval, Lord Michael’s modern alter ego got married and subsequently moved to Snohomish County, Washington, which corresponds to the Barony of Aquaterra. Eventually, in the summer of A.S. XLIII, he brought his lady wife, Avelyn de Mowbray, and his sister, Adela Bowman, to their first event, Hot Summer Lights (held by the Shire of Druim Doineann).
In about June of 1992 (A.S. XXVII), Michael was awarded the Order of the Empty Shell by the Coronet of the Palatine Barony of the Far West. This award is given to recognize the service and contributions of those who have been active participants in the Barony, and is normally awarded to them on the occasion of their moving away from it.
At the final court of King Rolf & Queen Mari, held at the Twelth Night coronation on January 9, 1993 (A.S. XXVII), the Crown of the West inducted Michael into the Order of the Leaf of Merit, thus bestowing upon him his Award of Arms. On Saturday, July 2, 2011 (A.S. XLVI), he received his official scroll for it in the court of Marc and Patricia, King & Queen of the West at An Tir/West War. (The very same Rolf, who as King originally bestowed the award, was seated in court as Crown Prince of the West at the time the scroll was presented.)
Lord Michael won the intermediate-level arts and sciences competition at Ursulmas XXIX, January 30, 2010 (A.S. XLIV) for a coif of mail (see photo below). At Aquaterra’s Good Yule on December 4, 2010 (A.S. XLV), Lord Michael was inducted into the Order of the Silver Dolphin. On Saturday, June 25, 2011 (A.S. XLVI), he won the Shire of Midhaven’s bardic championship with a performance of his original song, “Oh Come, Noble Warriors of Noble An Tir”, a war anthem exhorting the mighty armies of An Tir to follow their king into battle against the Kingdom of the West at the annual An Tir-West War.
On Saturday, November 19, 2011 (A.S. XLVI), Lord Michael was given a Grant of Arms and was inducted into the Order of the Goutte de Sang by King Thorin and Queen Dagmaer at the Shire of Midhaven's annual Harvest Feast.
On Saturday, November 16, 2013 (A.S. XLVII), Lord Michael was inducted into the Shire of Midhaven’s Company of the Tulip, and was thereby named as an Honorary Citizen of the Shire.
- Dedicated Apprentice, An Tir Guild of Armorers, Weaponsmiths, and Metalsmiths, 2010-(lifetime membership)
- Member, An Tir Guild of Embroiderers and Embellishers, May 2011-(lifetime membership)
- Junior Student level achieved 16 July 2011 (working knowledge: embroidery)
- Senior Student level achieved 2 June 2012 (competency: embellishment of mail armor, and working knowledge: embroidery [different stitches than for Junior Student level])
- Student to Duchess Angharad Banadaspus Drakenhefd in Her Grace's capacity as a Companion of the Pelican, 19 November 2011-25 February 2012
- Protégé and Vassal/Liegeman to Duchess Angharad Banadaspus Drakenhefd, OP, 25 February 2012-(current)
- Ducal herald to Duchess Angharad Banadaspus Drakenhefd, Lion of An Tir, 12 July 2012-(current)
- Had Lord Collyne Cobb as his student, from 1 September 2012 until 10 July 2013 when Lord Collyne took employment in Afghanistan
- Companion of and Herald for the Royal Company of the Sable Rose, 31 January 2013-(current)
- Accepted Lady Sigga kausi Geiradotter as his student, 26 February 2014-(current)
- Chronicler, Canton of the Isle of Blue Mists (now called the Stronghold of Battlerock, in the Kingdom of the West), 1991-1992 (ish)
- Pursuivant Extraordinary for the Shire of Ravenshore (branch herald; Kingdom of the West), 1993-1994 (ish)
- Bardic Champion, Shire of Midhaven, 25 June 2011-23 June 2012
- Voice Deputy to the Midhaven Pursuivant, August 2011-11 January 2012
- Reservations Deputy to the Shire of Midhaven's Exchequer, November 2011-13 November 2013
- Midhaven Pursuivant (branch herald), Shire of Midhaven, 11 January 2012-(current)
- Commenting member of the An Tir College of Heralds, 16 August 2012-(current)
- Guard and back-up herald on the retinue of UlfR and Caoimhe, King and Queen of An Tir, 12 January 2013-20 July 2013
- Argent Scroll Herald (heraldic education deputy to the Black Lion Principal Herald), An Tir College of Heralds, 11 January 2014-(current) http://youtu.be/pL396gdf1Uo
- Survey of Heraldry in the SCA (co-taught with Lady Mericke de Ross, GdS, JdL, [then] Midhaven Pursuivant at the Shire of Midhaven’s A&S night, 24 Aug 2011)
- Basic Chainmail Making (taught at Midhaven’s Harvest Feast, 19 Nov 2011 and at Youth All-Thing, 25 Feb 2012)
- The Awards and Orders of An Tir (taught at Midhaven’s A&S night, 26 Sep 2012)
- What Can Your Herald Do for You? (taught at Midhaven’s Fall Ithra, 6 Oct 2012)
- Writing Effective Recommendation Letters (taught at Midhaven’s A&S night, 27 Mar 2013)
- Basic Heraldry (to be taught at Midhaven’s Mid-winter Ithra, 8 Feb 2014)
- Pre-registration Coordinator for Ursulmas A.S. XLVII & XLVIII (January 2013 & 2014) (hosted by Barony of Aquaterra)
- RV and Group Camping Coordinator for An Tir’s July Coronation A.S. XLVIII (2013) (hosted by Shire of Midhaven)
- Event Steward for the Shire of Midhaven’s Harvest Feast A.S. XLVIII (November 2013)
- Hall Steward for the Shire of Midhaven’s Harvest Feast A.S. XLIX (November 2014)
Lord Michael’s name and device were registered in July 1992 (A.S. XXVII). His arms are blazoned Vert, a Latin cross and on a chief potenty argent, three mullets of eight points pierced gules.
He also has a badge, blazoned (Fieldless) On a cross potent vert, another argent. This badge was registered in December 1993 (A.S. XXVIII).
In February 2013 (A.S. XLVII), Lord Michael’s heraldic will was registered.