In many SCA kingdoms, fencers may be admitted into the Order of the White Scarf, if in the eyes of the Crown acting on the recommendation of the other members of the order, they have demonstrated a high level of expertise in the field of rapier and exemplify courtesy, chivalry, dedicated patronage to the arts and sciences and show continual service to local branches and the kingdom. They are given a white scarf to wear to signify their rank.
White Scarves sometimes take new fighters under their wing. While names for these fighters vary they are most commonly referred to as Cadets and perform much the same function for their White Scarf as a Squire does to a Knight. Cadets commonly wear a red scarf, depending on which Kingdom they are in, as a symbol of their position.
This is not a peerage order but all the kingdoms in the Known World that have signed the White Scarf Treaty acknowledge the rank of order members from outside their realm. Members are normally given a Grant of Arms on entering the order. The title commonly used is Don or Donna/Dona, but this may also used by any armiger as an alternative to Lord or Lady. In White Scarf Kingdoms and especially in the fencing communities of White Scarf Kingdoms, the title is usually used only for White Scarves.
White Scarf Treaty
The White Scarf Treaty is a unique document in the SCA, and the order of the White Scarf is likewise a unique entity. The treaty was originally signed in 1987 between the Outlands and Ansteorra. The text of that document is here: http://www.avigne.org/sca/ws/treaty.shtml
At it's most legalistic, the Treaty allows names and heraldry that might otherwise conflict to be registered. (Further elaboration or comment from the SCA College of Heralds would be welcome here.) The central feature of the treaty, however, is the clause which establishes equivalence between the orders across kingdom lines. The treaty is sometimes even called a treaty of equivalence.
What this means is that, unique among SCA awards, the White Scarf is recognized in multiple kingdoms without being recognized SCA wide by the Corporate documents (as are Awards, Grants and Patents of Arms, and Peerages both bestowed and royal.) Thus a member of the White Scarf of Ansteorra who moves to the Outlands is treated as a member of the order in the Outlands, and vice-versa. The same holds true of all White Scarf kingdoms.
Some of the information off this link is outdated: http://www.realtime.net/~otto/handbook/wstreaty.html
The White Scarf Kingdoms are, in order:
Other Fencing Awards
Not all Kingdoms have signed the White Scarf Treaty. Most of these Kingdoms do have awards for fencing, however they are independent orders just as any other Kingdom award.
Orders that carry a Grant of Arms
- The Bronze Ring in the Middle Kingdom
- The Dragons Steel in Drachenwald
- The Royal Company of Courtiers in the West Kingdom
- The Order of Thorbjorn's Hammer in Ealdormere (Awarded for Excellence, etc., in ANY Ealdormerean martial discipline)
Orders that carry an Award of Arms
- The Order of the Golden Rapier (OGR) in the East Kingdom (note that the East has no Grant Level Awards)