A baron (from Frankish baro meaning warrior and Old English beorn meaning nobleman) was a rank of nobility. Introduced by William the Conqueror as a title for landowners that were loyal to him. Every man who held a manor was a baron and those that held many were greater barons.
Barons in the SCA
Barons and Baronesses come in two varieties. The honorific for Baronial personages is, "Your Excellency"
The first variety is the Landed Baron/Baroness (also sometimes called Territorial Baron/Baroness). These gentles hold the Barony for the Crown, and are the Royal Presence in that Barony when the Crown cannot be there. They are effectively local management. They may hold courts and reward people with Baronial level awards. Landed Barons and Baronesses wear coronets, usually featuring something that identifies the Barony they represent. In the Middle Kingdom and its descendant kingdoms (Calontir, Ealdormere and Northshield), Landed Barons and Baronesses wear gold coronets adorned with six "spheroids", traditionally pearls.
They are Territorial Nobility.
The other variety of Baron/Baroness is a Court Baron/Baroness. The giving of Court Baronies is at the sole discretion of the Crown, and it is usually given to a person who has done a lot for the SCA but doesn't neatly fit into the requirements of another award. It is also the custom in many kingdoms to reward Landed B&B's with a Court Barony when they step down. Court Baron and Baronesses often wear simple coronets, or ones which show their personal device or badge. In the Middle Kingdom and its descendant kingdoms (Calontir, Ealdormere and Northshield), Court Barons and Baronesses wear silver coronets adorned with six "spheroids", traditionally pearls.
Addressing the B&B
There are several ways to address a Landed Baron or Baroness, including the following examples (using Hugh and Therasa, the fifth B&B Stormhold, as examples):
- Baron Hugh the Little and Baroness Teresa Commins
- Sir Hugh the Little, Baron Stormhold and Lady Teresa Commins, Baroness Stormhold
- Baron and Baroness Stormhold also works.
There is an old SCA tradition (which may be restricted to Western Rite kingdoms) which holds that the founding Baron/Baroness is styled with the name of the group, while subsequent Barons/Baronesses are styled "of the Group". So, for instance, Raymond the Quiet is Baron al-Barran while, several years later, Stephan was Baron of al-Barran.
One can also, in a nod to historical practice, simply refer to the person by the group name. Usually (in this writer's experience) this is mostly done in the first person. For example, Baron Jehan of Carolingia when called on to speak, might introduce himself as follows, "I, Carolingia, will speak now."