Lemmings

The idea of a household began when Tanw the Confused met Stigh Joghenson at Sydney University in the late 1980’s. Tanw had previously been involved in the SCA in the USA, but it wasn’t until around AS24 (1990) that the Lemmings finally came into being in the Barony of Rowany.

Circa AS25 (1991) – Tanw the Confused, Stigh Joghenson, and Mador de Mar. Tanw is wearing the One True Tabard.

Circa AS25 (1991) – Tanw the Confused, Stigh Joghenson, and Mador de Mar. Tanw is wearing the One True Tabard.

Debate continues as to the date (day, month or year) which would be the exact anniversary, but the Lemmings had two fighters (Stigh and Tanw) at Rowany Festival in AS24. In AS25 we attended as a household with the addition of some of Stig’s friends from school, Mador de Mar, Eloise Darnell and the late Ariadne of Marakis.

Circa AS26(1992) – Stigh, Mador, Ariadne of Marakis, Tanw, Giblet Gibletson, Eloise Darnell and Corin Anderson during a break in the Field Battle.

Circa AS26(1992) – Stigh, Mador, Ariadne of Marakis, Tanw, Giblet Gibletson, Eloise Darnell and Corin Anderson during a break in the Field Battle.

The name Lemmings was thought suitable for a fighter-based household who decided to concentrate on having fun, fighting hard and not necessarily being alive by the end of the battle. Whilst the household began primarily as a heavy fighting unit, it quickly expanded to include non-fighters as well, because someone had to make the tabards (joke… mostly)!

Our device has an upside-down lemming, leading a wedge representing the rest of the household, plunging down into a watery grave. As apparently the only animal allowed to be heraldically emblazoned upside down is a fish, we toyed with describing the lemming as an anchovy (furry fish) instead. Ultimately, though, the device remains unregistered…

Over the years, we have forged close alliances with our good friends The Horde, Domi Luni and Lyon, and have a long standing combined household feast at Rowany Festival with Casa Celi. This first originated at the Wilton site around AS27 (1993), the year that Eloise headed a Lemming team to run Rowany Festival. A member of Casa Celi lobbed a lump of wood (with an invitation to dinner wrapped around it) into our campsite. An acceptance was duly lobbed back into their campsite, and a grand tradition started…

As a fighting household, we have heavy combatants including a number of Knights; archers, with some who have been admitted to the Lochac Company of Archers; and rapier combatants, one of whom has been the Provost of Lochac twice. In the past the Lemmings have made many interesting and varied siege weapons. The first was developed in 1995, and over the years the collection has included the Lemming water cannons, the 6x600ml organ guns, several ballistas and the bungeelista – most of which were enjoyed both on and off the battlefield.Rumours abound that the household was given a Shining Helm in AS34 (2000) when Corin Anderson and Keridwen the Mouse stepped up as Baron and Baroness of Rowany, but this does not seem to be in Canon Lore. It may yet turn out to have been just a dream brought on one night after consuming too much Fine Plum Wine (one of the more interesting efforts at brewing)…

One of the most appealing aspects of combat to our household is the chance to play dress-ups – every *cough cough* years there are Cunning Plans to Be (and Look) Mighty on the field. Past efforts have included –

AS29 (1995) at Wilton: Our first foray into Looking Fancy, the Lemming Landsknect unit was presented complete with war wagon and multi-barrel water cannon, with the Lemming Wall in the background.

Back row: Lars Leifsson, Eloise, Keridwen the Mouse, William of Wisby, Riona of Caerleon. Front row: Rufus Addicote, Rainult Berenger, Ariadne, Tanw, Corin, Mador

Back row: Lars Leifsson, Eloise, Keridwen the Mouse, William of Wisby, Riona of Caerleon.
Front row: Rufus Addicote, Rainult Berenger, Ariadne, Tanw, Corin, Mador

AS34 (2000) at Tara: Lemming Swiss Guard unit including members of The Horde, with matching breastplates and shields, with the One True Tabard now carried as a war banner.

Back row: Robert Gascard, Rufus, Stigh Middle row: Tanw, Keridwen, Eloise, Guthfrith Yrlingson, Alaric Longshaft, Corin Front row: Cairistiona nic Beathain, Rainult, Lars, Harry of Eccles

Back row: Robert Gascard, Rufus, Stigh
Middle row: Tanw, Keridwen, Eloise, Guthfrith Yrlingson, Alaric Longshaft, Corin
Front row: Cairistiona nic Beathain, Rainult, Lars, Harry of Eccles

AS45 (2011) at Glenworth: Lemming 20th (Approximate) Anniversary was celebrated by processing our fighters down to the battlefield, with the war unit of the future (just give them 10 or 12 years). The One True Tabard was gently unpicked and resewn onto a brocade backing, as befits such a treasured relic. The good ship Santa Lemina sailed away to the (Ta)Nw World where we met with exotic persons with a mind to expanding our territories…

Back row: Riona, Keridwen, Wojciech Kwiatkowski, Rufus, Diego Escobar, Paul, Stigh, Tanw Middle row: various members of the War Unit of the Future, Megge a Landulph, Cairistiona Front row: Yet More War Unit of the Future

Back row: Riona, Keridwen, Wojciech Kwiatkowski, Rufus, Diego Escobar, Paul, Stigh, Tanw
Middle row: various members of the War Unit of the Future, Megge a Landulph, Cairistiona
Front row: Yet More War Unit of the Future

Back row: Diego, Paul Middle row: Tanw, Megge, Riona, Arianna of Longner, Cairistiona, Darken von Braun Front row: Eloise and assorted Lemming offspring who will look after us in our dotage.

Back row: Diego, Paul
Middle row: Tanw, Megge, Riona, Arianna of Longner, Cairistiona, Darken von Braun
Front row: Eloise and assorted Lemming offspring who will look after us in our dotage.

Paul, Rainult, Robert, Riona in the Nw World.

Paul, Rainult, Robert, Riona in the Nw World.

Aside from combat, household interests include nearly everything that is encompassed within the scope of the SCA – costuming, weaving and textiles, embroidery, printmaking, gardening, cooking and brewing, calligraphy and illumination, leatherwork, and more. Some of our members have been the heads of guilds in Lochac, such as Scribes, and Broderers, with Cairistiona helping to found the Herb and Garden Guild; served as Prince and Princess (Cairistiona once, Corin and Keridwen twice); and held offices on Baronial, Principality and Kingdom levels. Lemmings have run Rowany Festival in the past, and for many years have helped supply staff for the tavern… And last but certainly not least, alongside some of our number who are peers (single, double or even triple) we can count the first (and currently only) quadruple peer in Lochac, Corin Anderson, amongst our number.

The Lemmings have been a household for nearly 25 years now – as years pass, some of us are more and some are less active within the SCA, but friendships endure. With the advent of children in the group, some activities change – for example, our tradition of ‘sacrificing’ a chocolate bunny at Rowany Festival and reading its entrails (which strangely always predict victory) developed about 5 years ago into a tradition for the household children to destroy it with bow and arrow. And as with any group of friends, we have gotten older together, some have had children, some live interstate or overseas, some are no longer with us, and some of us move a whole lot slower than we used to, but we all still enjoy being Lemmings. For Battle!