FARMINGTON — Ye gentle lords and ladies! T’was but a fortnight ago that Battle I at Woodland forest too place in the fair land of Farmington. The Order of the Rose of Terra Sylva met the Black Wing of the Kingdom of Artemisia to clash swords and drink the mead (juice) of friendship.
In bravery they met, from the initial Confrontation to the Grand March through the woods; from the Mountain Pass to the final Castle Battle. To the end did they fight, yet whether in victory or defeat, the banner of brotherhood was raised.
To most Davis County residents, the previous proclamation would seem out of place in today’s world. But to “The Order of the Rose,” such a woodland encounter was a fulfillment of a dream.
The Order of the Rose is a group of period rapier/fencing fighters, who strive to recreate the experience of pre-17th century life. The group is a separate “household” of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an international organization dedicated to the study and re-enactment of the Middle Ages.
The SCA has the world divided into 17 different kingdoms, Utah being within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Artemisia. Black Wing, the challengers in this recent encounter, is “the official rapier group of the Kingdom of Artemisia.”
The word “anachronism” is defined as “a person, thing, idea, or custom that seems to being to a different time in history.” The members of these organizations do some pseudo-time traveling when they take on the persona of Renaissance citizens, and dress, act and even speak the part.
The Order of the Rose grew out of a love for the art of fencing. In the fall of 1999, Bountiful residents Chris Barber, aka Fenton Monterro, and Mike Kovacs, aka Damian Azure, were friends and students at Viewmont High School.
Together, they drew up plans for “a military-like organization for Renaissance rapier combat.”
Word spread fast, and The Order of the Rose became an official club at Viewmont, and has about 50 members. The organization is now open to anyone over age 13.
Monthly dues are only $1 or an extra $2 to borrow fencing gear.
“It’s a great physical training tool that prepares both your body and mind,” says Barber “and can teach you tools to use in your every day lives.”
“It’s the most fun you can have,” says Dan Wheeler aka Spanish Dan, who traveled from Logan for the event.
For members of the Order of the Rose and the Black Wing, Woodland Park was the perfect setting to test their fencing skills in mock combat. But equally important was the chance to associate with other individuals dedicated to the preservation of the past.
For Chris Barber, the Order is less about fencing and more about friends. “We keep such close ties with everyone – good bonds and good friendship.”
As for putting on his alter ego, Captain Fenton Monterro, Barber states, “It’s our escape from reality.” And in the end, it really is about fun.
With swords and shields now silent, the troupes left the battlefield, the Black Wing with victory on its side. Yet as brothers and sisters, the two groups did meet, to eat, drink, and be merry at the close of the great encounter.
But friends or no, the conflict is far from over. Come next May, the rapiers will once again engage in a battle of friendship, as they meet for Battle II.
From the original newspaper, we also have a few images from the early years of the Order of the Rose. How cool is that?!
Original Newspaper Article
Preserved by Shayen Locke, we have a copy of the original article and we’ve uploaded a PDF version of it for you to see!