Guidelines for Kingdom Chatelains/Hospitallers
By Master Modius von Mergentheim (Erik Langhans), Deputy Society Seneschal, Chatelain Coordinator, September 2000; updated and revised by Countess Alys Katharine (Elise Fleming), Society Chatelaine, September 2006.
The following are a set of guidelines from the Society Chatelain on the minimal duties of a Kingdom Chatelain, Hospitaller, or Castellan. It is not intended, and should not be interpreted, to supersede Corpora, your own Kingdom’s Laws or Policies, or plain common sense.
Definition of the Office:
For the purposes of these guidelines, we shall hereafter refer to the Kingdom Officer who holds the title of Chatelain(e), Hospitaller, or Castellan as Chatelain (the masculine form). It shall also be assumed that this officer is a Kingdom-level Officer.
There are interkingdom differences in the actual “status” of the Chatelain; the office may be independent or may be a deputy of the Kingdom Seneschal, and may be classified as a Greater or Lesser Officer of State. If it is a Greater Office, the warrant must be signed by the Society Chatelain as well as the pertinent officials in the kingdom. Per the Society Seneschal Handbook, the Kingdom Seneschal is responsible for the success of chatelain/hospitaller functions.
Regardless of status, the Chatelain is ultimately responsible for promoting the recruitment and retention of newcomers, and the administrative functions involved thereof. At times the office is also expected to coordinate with the Kingdom Media Deputy of the Seneschal’s Office in dealing with the media. A Chatelain’s guidance and leadership can influence attitudes or initiate policies that will strongly impact the growth and well-being of the kingdom.
- Laws and Policies: As Kingdom Chatelain, it is your responsibility to thoroughly understand the Kingdom Laws and Policies that specifically address the duties and responsibilities of chatelains at all levels. You should also be familiar with Corpora and the remaining Kingdom Laws. Be familiar and compliant with Society Seneschal Policy as delineated in the Seneschal Handbook.Many Kingdoms have in their Laws and Policies specific reference and delineation of the Office of Kingdom Chatelain. If your Kingdom Law does not define your Office or if you feel that it needs revision, then work with your Royalty and your Seneschal to formulate a description of your duties, for incorporation into your Kingdom’s documents.
You should also review or develop Policies for your deputies, regional, principality and local officers; again, submit them to your Royalty and Seneschal for incorporation into your Kingdom’s documents.
- Warranting of Local Officers and Maintenance of Roster: As Chatelain you should keep a Roster that includes the name (modern and SCA), address, telephone number, e-mail address (if available) of all chatelains in the Kingdom. These include deputies (Regional, Principality, etc.) and local chatelains for all groups in your Kingdom, including those with incipient status.
- Communication within the Chatelain Hierarchy: It is recommended that you request at least quarterly reports detailing the status of regions and individual groups, and provide a firm and well-publicized deadline for receipt of these reports. These reports may be received directly from local chatelains, or from subordinates who receive and compile data from the local groups. You should periodically speak directly to at least your immediate subordinates, and draft letters for distribution to all chatelains. You should also mandate that subordinates immediately notify the person to whom they normally report if significant problems arise that impact the Chatelain’s office. You yourself should report quarterly, or as required, to the Society Chatelain.
Quarterly information to send the Society Chatelain should include:
- Status of Office and current contact information.
- Major problems being dealt with. Any problems or issues which garner unsolicited media attention need to be immediately brought to the attention of your kingdom superior, the kingdom seneschal and the kingdom media officer.
- Major “Good Things” to report.
- What you did last quarter.
- What you plan to do next quarter.
- Any questions or areas where help is needed.
Year-end Domesday information should include, besides the above, how many local chatelains report to you and what percent of groups have a chatelain.
- Communication within the Kingdom: As Kingdom Chatelain it is your duty to maintain communication with the other Kingdom officers, your Royalty, or other Kingdom-specific governing bodies such as Curia. Reports received from subordinates must be compiled and presented to these entities. It is also vital that you maintain positive communications with the populace of your Kingdom though the Kingdom newsletter. This should be done, minimally, on a quarterly basis, but monthly letters are recommended. Through this medium the populace can be informed about the activities of the Chatelain’s office; exhorted to help with recruitment, education, and integration of new Society members; and notified about individuals and groups doing a particularly fine job in assisting newcomers.
- Compilation or Development of Materials: There is considerable information for newcomers to the SCA which is available both in traditional print sources and on the Internet. You should choose informational articles of particular importance and insure that all local chatelains have, at a minimum, this material to select from for distribution to newcomers.
You should also assure that up-to-date and accurate, newcomer-related information is presented by your Kingdom on the Internet. At a minimum your Kingdom site should include links to the newcomer and chatelain-related materials found on the www.sca.org site. If no Internet-based newcomer information is linked to your official Kingdom web site, then you should initiate this. You should also assure that an e-mail address is available for contact for those inquiring about the SCA in your Kingdom.
- Demos: Demos are the number one way of introducing and finding new recruits for the SCA. The type of demo to focus upon becomes a vital question.A major cause of chatelaine burn-out is doing too many demos. Yes, doing an elementary school demo is fun and rewarding but the likelihood of recruiting new members is low. On the other hand a demo at a college or Renaissance Fair is ripe with new recruits. Help your local chatelains to find a balance of demos or to have an assistant in charge of demos.
The official SCA Demo Policy is online (from the Society Seneschal’s Handbook, Appendix E).
- Coordinating with the Kingdom Media Liaison; Fostering Public Relations: You should work with the Media Liaison of the Kingdom Seneschal to help maintain positive publicity throughout your Kingdom for the SCA, Inc. Local officers should be provided with the SCA media kit, policies and contact information for your Kingdom’s media liaison as well as educated about proper methods of dealing with the media. In addition, local groups should be encouraged to utilize the local media for publicity to develop membership.
If a negative article or newsworthy negative event concerning an SCA member arises, contact the Society Media Liaison immediately, both by e-mail (email@example.com) and by phone, as well as your Kingdom Media Liaison and your Kingdom Seneschal. You should under no circumstances make any statements to the media on behalf of the SCA. You should, instead, refer members of the media to the Society Media Liaison for any statements. The Society Policy for Media Relations is at http://www.sca.org/docs/mediapolicy.pdf.