Passing of the Couter

3 Apr 2014 by gebhard, 2 Comments »

CouterofChivalry-leftI, squire to the King Cellach of the Mighty Dragon Kingdom, had the honor to bear witness to the Passing of the Couter of Chivalry, for a second time. I was present when Prince Cellach was found worthy during a previous War at Pennsic.

Before I can give my account of this historic event, I must also give an account of the Couter of Chivalry so all will understand the value of being worthy to hold such an honorable relic. My account will be brief, and I would ask that you seek those worthy few mentioned herein to get a first hand account of the history of value of such a noble prize.

I was not present, and I have studied much to bring these early accounts.

How Jehan de Pelham fought vigilantly in melee combat and received half of the prize.

Many years before now, on the first day of August, Sir Vitus, Knight of the Middle Kingdom issued a challenge to all worthy men-at-arms, squires and Knights to the hold the field for a period of four hours.

Sir Johannes of Atenveldt put forth a prize to be awarded to the one who fought the most valiantly, showed the most prowess, earned the most renown and was the biggest inspiration to all in attendance.

The combat was fought in teams of three, participants could leave the field at any time to refresh themselves, however pauses were called randomly, and teams were awarded points for each fighter they had currently on the field.

At the end of a day of long, intense battles, one name stood out from the rest as the most worthy of the award, Jehan de Pelham. He fought with great prowess at all times, and would often temporarily join an outnumbered set of combatants to wage a good fight. He often would run from a rest period to assist a outnumbered team.

While winning is worthy, joining the side smaller in number is more worthy, and more worth yet, should you join the smaller group and win.

The prize Jehan de Pelham was awarded for such great spirit of chivalry was the Couter, a single elbow cop, with a brass rondel and covered with accents.

How Jehan de Pelham received honor in single combat, and received the whole prize.

Jehan de Pelham treasured this prize and kept it for nearly a year.  Through his travels and service, he found himself involved in War far his home at Estrella, during which time he came to meet Sir Johannes, maker of the Couter.  With great humility Jehan de Pelham addressed Sir Johannes and inquired as to his availability to engage in a contest which had started between them, but was not resolved.

Sir Johannes told Jehan de Pelham that he would take the field with many good men at arms and he would gladly meet him him then to resolve this matter.

Jehan de Pelham prepared his harness and made ready all manner of things to prepare. At the chosen time, he presented himself to Sir Johannes as squire to Sir Vitus von Atzinger, Knight of the Middle Kingdom and vassal of the Dragon Throne so that he might attempt a deed of arms to secure the other half of the prize he had won a year before.


Jehan de Pelham presented his piece of the prize and placed it on a stool before all to see.

Jehan de Pelham and Sir Johannes then decided the weapons to be used would be sword and shield, and that they would fight until delivered blows equaled fourteen.

With proper credit shown to all those involved and watching, the contest began.

Through skill and good fortune Jehan De Pelham landed the first blow, however Sir Johannes answered with mighty many mighty blows. The fighting became fierce, and blows were steadily traded, however Sir Johannes always remained in the lead.

After fourteen blows were stuck, Jehan De Pelham, he knelt and proclaimed, “I am bested.”


Sir Johannes looked at him and said, Let no man say that any man was bested here, for noble strife sought out in the name of virtue is its own reward. Truly, Sir Vitus has chosen a fitting man to make my gift unto, and so let the pair be once again joined, as they have not been since I made my presentation unto Sir Vitus. My friend and companion Vitus has been the true winner this day, for the honour and fame you have won here reflects on him as it does on your noble lady and yourself.

And so Jehan De Pelham was given both pieces of the Couter. For which, he holds one cop to this day, and the other is given to those are worthy, and will trade hands from worthy recipient unto the next, until it one day will rest again with Jehan De Pelham.

And now understanding the greatness of noble spirit someone must possess to be worthy of the Couter, I will tell of its most recent passing.

How King Cellach found King Nigel to be worthy of the Couter

Gulf Wars 2014 722 - ©LionDove ImagesAfter a long day of great battle, His Majesty King Cellach of the Mighty Dragon Kingdom, who contains great Noblesse and outstanding virtue in all things was approached by King Nigel of Ealdormere, who is also great in Prowess and Noblesse, to humbly request a challenge to be found worthy of the Couter.

I, being a loyal squire, was busy with my duties to the King and did not bear witness when the initial inquiry. I became aware of the challenge when I was bid to retrieve the Couter from the Royal Lodge where it was under guard with many great items and relics of the Kingdom, for the Couter has been on display in nearly every Court the King and Queen have held, and it’s sight has brought great to joy to all whose graze falls upon it.

Upon my return, Their Majesties were conversing with and being inspired by the beauty of the Noble Queens of Their Kingdoms. Noble Ladies can inspire men-of-arms to achieve even greater honor and achievement. No greater inspiration can there be than the Fair and Noble Queen Vukasin and Queen Adrielle.

The challenge would be fought by King Cellach with a Great Axe and King Nigel with a Great Sword.

Many good men-at-arms and noble ladies were present to witness such a great contest. Each combatant gave each other proper respects and respect to Their inspirations, the Noble Queens of their Kingdom.

Gulf Wars 2014 - ©LionDove Images.

The combat began with many strong and bold blows, the crowd grew silent under the sound of such fierce fight.  Many times one would close to pulling away the other’s weapon or throwing Him to the ground. Neither gave up ground nor weapon.

All blows were bold and skillfully made, but the great character showed though the honorable combat.

During a volley of strong attacks by King Cellach, King Nigel lost his footing and slipped to the ground. Many of the noble ladies gasped at this sight. King Cellach, showing great honor, took a step back and allowed King Nigel to regain his footing. King Nigel quickly returned to his feet and continued to fight with even more veracity and prowess than before and drove King Cellach back. Much like in ancient days, King Nigel rebounded from disadvantage to turn it into an advantage.

Gulf Wars 2014 - ©LionDove Images.

It was then that King Cellach knew that King Nigel was indeed worthy of the Couter and knelt before King Nigel in acknowledgment of King Nigels deeds and prowess, thus making him worthy of the Couter.  Together they spoke on the field.

There was much rejoicing, and within sight of many honorable Ladies and the most beautiful and Noble Queens, I saw the Couter change hands.

I hope this will tale will be an inspiration to all worthy men-at-arms to strive to continually improve themselves in deeds of arms. May they reflect on themselves and seek to conduct themselves in the most honorable manner in all circumstances so that one day they too will be found worthy of the Couter.


The lower three images are taken by: ©LionDove Images.

Learn more about the Couter
How it started at Wind Rose
Recent tales of it’s passing at: Armor Achive

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


  1. Jehan de Pelham says:

    That the Couter has come into the hands of King Nigel is a matter of very great pride. It is good that it reside a while with a MacFarlane. They are good and brave people.

  2. […] The image above was also part of the Passing of the Couter which can be read at the following link: […]

Leave a Reply

Popular Articles Listed Randomly
What is it that makes a truly great event that all will remember for a lifetime? If the SCA is a canvas, what picture do we paint?
One of the most important virtues is often forgotten or overlooked, yet is critical to being a Knight.
If showing respect is vital, why is it so hard to find in the game we play?
What happens after we get home from an event? Does the person we are over the weekend get packed like our armor and garb?
How do you get ready for a big tournament? What does it take to lose the internal butterflies and get on the field? 
Being a fighter isn't a easy path, when I started I sucked worse than you can image....
What we like to happen and what did happen often blurs together in memory to making something better. The tale of Magrat's valiant last stand.
Each award that is handed out reduces the value of all awards previously received. Or does it?
The biggest Tournament in our Kingdom has come, and I have found the greatest fighter that walks among us. Who is it? The answer may surprise you.
I joined the SCA later than most. I ache, and I’m sore a lot. Maybe I’m just too old to amount to anything? Or maybe I just need be wiser going about it?

Gebhard’s RSS feed

RSS Feed RSS - Posts

Subscribe to Gebhard's Blog