Jan w Orzeldom

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Jan Portrait Cropped.jpg
Photo by Alisandre Oliphant
Registered Name: Jan w Orzeldom
Resides: Bjornsborg
Status: Active
Joined SCA: 1975
Order of Precedence
Jan w Orzeldom
Ansteorra Chivalry Page
Jan Achievement Full Color.jpg.jpeg
Per pale gules and argent, in pale a chevronel couped and two crosses formy counterchanged, as an augmentation on an escutcheon azure, two bears erect addorsed reguardant argent each maintaining a berdiche proper, in base an annulet Or.
Art by Alisandre Oliphant

Hrabia Jan w Orzeldom, KSCA, OL, OP, Lion of Ansteorra, Defender of the Dream

Previously Known As:

Additional Registered Heraldry

Gules, in bend a jawless human skull palewise argent wearing a lobster-tailed helmet proper and a wing argent.


  • Principality of Ansteorra Offices Held
    • Briefly, served as Asterisk Pursuivant during the Principality days, largely helping to manage, review, and process a surge of submissions. We had done a huge push to get people’s names and devices registered, to try to have enough registered members to show that we had enough population to get the Board to approve us as a kingdom. Several notable heralds helped with that surge, including Baldwin of Erebor (of Baldwin’s Badge fame), as well as Aureliane Rioghail and Anebairne MacPharlaine, who were the first and second Star Principal Heralds when we became a Kingdom, and Kemreth Danil (who was later my queen). The Principality Herald’s office was already called Star, and during that intense time of processing submissions, there was discussion that we should have someone to manage submissions for the Herald’s Office. I suggested the name “Asterisk” as a deputy for this purpose, because it means “little star.” They took the suggestion, and it later gave rise to a tradition, for a time, that all deputy positions to Star end in “-isque.” [They opted not to use Odalisque. Look it up.]

  • Kingdom Offices Held
    • Kingdom Earl Marshal (May - June 1980, stepped down to be Crown of Ansteorra. Then again from March 1981 - August 1984)
    • Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences (November 1986 - January 1989)
    • 3rd Crown of Ansteorra, June 1980 - January 1981

Persona History:

I have a “sliding scale” persona, from about 900 through late 1400s, and I come from the northeastern area of the country we now call Poland, a region called Mazovia. I would consider myself a Pole and I speak Polish, but I am a Mazovian under the prince of Mazovia.

I base my persona play on elements of my mundane life. Depending on the century we’re discussing (since I have a “sliding scale”), the specifics can vary, but overall:
My family was part of the szlachta, the nobility of Poland, but we were not wealthy. My father was a soldier who served in the east. At an early age, I showed promise with martial activities. I became a skilled horseman, and a leader of men in battle. I learned to read and write Latin. Like my father, I also served in the east, as a soldier and a diplomat, and prospered. I led diplomatic missions to the West (including Italy, where I met my squire Riccardo di Pisa). I was involved in diplomatic relations around trade with England at about the same time I was hosting a great tournament set in the land of Silesia (selected because it was the geographic center of Europe). Contacts formed at that tournament led to my marriage to a lady from a Northumbrian family. I’ve established a fairly broad network of contacts with many cultures across Europe, and those who have followed my banner are many and varied, but all honorable lords and ladies.


I’ve always been good at combatives, and I like to make and decorate things. This probably led to my serving as both Earl Marshall and Minister of Arts and Sciences.

Currently I’m very interested in learning and sharing Tartar-style archery. This has also led to my starting to learn leatherwork.


Timeline of Activity:

Found the SCA and became active, 1975-ish: I first saw the SCA at a demo at a flea market. On the strength of that interest, I went to a local fighter practice, where I first met my shield-brother Red Orm. There were some other local events, but my first “official” event was the third Warlord of the Steppes (1976) when Sean MacFflam won. Had a period of inactivity from about 1994 until about 2015, when we started to play more regularly again.

The Tale Of A Good Bout:

This is a tale of my days as King of this land. Shadows lengthened as Queen Kemreth and I walked through the pine forest toward the main gathering area. The Earl Marshal, Earl Lloyd von Eaker, strode in front of me in his mail. “My liege!” he declared, “It has been too long since you have had a challenge!” With that, he threw his gauntlet, which hit me full on the chest. Picking up the gage, I called back to the camp and bid my squire, Lord Riccardo, bring my armor and a seat for the Earl while he waited. This was totally unscripted. I asked Kemreth and told Riccardo to keep passersby at a distance. Lloyd and I would marshal ourselves (it’s good to be king!).

For me, a bout with Lloyd was never about “who’s better.” It was always a trial of arms with a worthy opponent. I put my armor on over my court tunic and we proceeded. It was a short affair as man-to-man exchanges go. On the second or third clash I gave a stout blow to his thigh. Lloyd was a short man and was very skilled at defense against attacks from above. I had just put him in his element. I, on the other hand, was known for being “stingy” with the number of blows that I would throw. After a few moments of mental chess at very close range, I succeeded in landing a fast, clean, and very solid blow to his side, with my full body behind it (no mean trick that!). Lloyd met my gaze and said “Good Shot!” with an overtone of admiration in his voice.

This was one of the two best blows I ever dealt in the SCA and this one was against someone that is my peer if not my better at weapons play.

Prior Groups:

Populace Provided Information:

Trivia/Wiki Mentions:

Royal Decree from TRMs Atenveldt. Photo by Alisandre Oliphant

Notable Contributions or Accomplishments:

  • “Crownmaker to Their Royal Majesties of Atenveldt,” presented by TRM Johann and Melinda, July 8, 1978, AS XXIII. At the time, Atenveldt’s crowns had not been formally designed – they had been gifted to the kingdom by a newcomer who showed up in a crown, who gave it to the kingdom when people explained that in the SCA, the right to wear one had to be earned. They were functional but not what the kingdom wanted, so in Southwind, the newsletter, they opened up for people to submit bids for the right to make new Aten crowns. I submitted a design, as did some people in Utah. The king and queen opted to accept both and combine the efforts - the people in Utah made the crowns, and sent them to us (me, Kemreth, and Orm) to be acid-etched and decorated. Everyone involved in the effort was granted the right to be named Crownmaker of Atenveldt in their court in perpetuity. Those crowns, I believe, are now the “historic crowns” that are only brought out for special occasions, because years of cleaning have obscured some of the more delicate elements of the etched designs (which included the sun in splendor on the fronts of both, with lions for the king and roses for the queen wreathing around them).
  • I was also the second, and last, Warlord of the Principality of Ansteorra. The first Principality Warlord tourney was in March 1978, under the first Prince, Sean MacFflam, and I don’t remember who won. The second Prince, Randall von Nordlichwald, stepped up in May 1978. He had wanted to have a warlord tourney, but he was running out of reign, so we didn’t have a separate event for it – it was tacked onto Barbarian (which would have been the fourth of July weekend in 1978). Simonn of Amber Isle, the last Prince, didn’t hold a warlord tournament, so I was technically the last one. Warlord tournaments were big in Ansteorra because it was one thing that Ansteorrans in Atenveldt could compete in and win without having to drive to Arizona or New Mexico.
  • 4th Lion of Ansteorra
  • 5th Protector of Namron
  • Kemreth and I were the first people who had not already been Aten Laurels, who were created as Laurels in the new kingdom of Ansteorra.
  • Sigmund and I were the first triple peers of Ansteorra, when we received our Pelicans. The king, Denaris the Wanderer, called us up together, read the award for us together, and announced us together, so that neither of us could claim sole honor of being the first.
  • Seawinds archery champion, Oct 2017 – Oct 2018
  • Eldern Hills archery champion, March 2018 – will step down October 2019


On Chivalry:

When Simonn of Amber Isle won the Crown tournament, he and Lloyd von Eaker had a Homeric struggle. I was Earl Marshal at the time. Both of them - they had no particular love lost between them, but they were both being highly chivalrous. It just so happened that the tavern tent was backed up against one side of the Lyst field. At that particular point in time, Bryn Gwlad had a lot of very snotty young swashbucklers. They ween't the guiding lights of the better people. They were in the tavern and they were being loud. They were kind of mocking the tournament - every now and then, thumbing their teeth to the fighters. And yet, there was Simonn of Amber and Lloyd von Eaker. Both had taken leg wounds. Both were exhausted. I called a hold, walked to the tent, and told them all to shut up. Some of them began to mock, and I looked them in the eye and silenced them. They walked off. The fight was hard fought, on a sweltering day. Simonn won the day. And he made a damned good king. I wish those people had shown him more respect. It goes back to, you can find chivalry, if you just look for it! Sometimes, it's right in front of you, and you don't notice it, like that fight. There was an event a few years back, and it was some of the best rapier fighting I had seen a long, long time. They were playing the game, making gestures to their ladies - and everyone was off at merchants row, and someone was having a vigil, so they were lined up for that. It was myself, my daughter, and perhaps three other people who were watching. This is technically not chivalry, but it was great skill, and the people were being entirely chivalrous. But they had no audience, and were not given the respect they were due. Some of this is, we need to find the gems that are still there. It is a case of pearls before swine, and too many of us are acting like swine. There are people out there doing deeds of chivalry, and we're too busy hobnobbing and shopping and politics. Chivalry goes beyond the rules. Chivalry is from the heart. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back the other way.

A Tale of The Pirates of Outlandish:

We were at an event in the Outlands.. Many of you may have heard my Lady as a fun performance piece give the tale of how Ivarr runamagi bid his trousers in a wager and lost them to her. There was much krupnik involved.... well, this tale, it features in as well. That same evening, there was a lady who found out that her heritage was Lithuanian, and she took a Lithuanian name for her persona. People told her, well, go over to that fire - there's a Polack over there who can tell you stories. When I drink strong stuff, I tend to talk too much. So I gave her lectures on Polish history until the sun started to come up. But back to the story. Earlier that day, at that same event, we had a team of fighters. I had taken most of the fighters off to the field and through a course of scenarios, where they were challenged in various ways. We were out at the battlefields, and a handful were left at the camp. We had marked off an encampment for Bjornsborg. Up the hill from us was a group that called themselves The Pirates. They dressed kind of like Errol Flynn movie pirates. They'd go about with their cutlasses and pistols in their belts. They had these cannons, which were made of some sort of tube with bean bags or tennis balls. They'd shoot things out of them - tennis balls and such. All of the men were gone from the Bjornsborg encampment, and the leader of the pirates was off doing something. His crew was up there, playing with the cannons. They popped off a couple of rounds, and one of the projectiles hit my tent.

Not a word was spoken, but Ivarr's lady, Catriona MacEanruig, looked up, and instinctively grabbed her husband's axe. Briony Blåaslagen grabbed a spear. A few of the men who were still sleeping things off got up, and the ladies all armed themselves with real weapons. Without an order being given, they formed a battle line and with Catriona in the front, they advanced up the hill towards the pirate encampment. When they were spotted, one man started screaming for the first mate to show up. In any case, the Bjornsborg skirmish line entered their camp, took it over, and when the day's fighting was over, and I came back to camp, we had a delegation from the pirates formally giving their surrender. They had seen the saber tournament we had run the day before and liked it as it was close to their cutlass fighting. So we actually built a relationship with them!

A Tale of Mikael of Monmouthshire:

My tale is of two years ago at Namron Beltane (2018). Mikael had come in for the knighting ceremony for Daniel, who was a squire of his lineage. It was a noteworthy trip, to travel in from the Pacific Northwest. I was there at the event, and was visiting with Orm and Megan at the pavilion.

All of a sudden, just behind me, I hear this high, squeaky voice coming from the dark. "Be very afraid! Because you cannot see where the voice is coming from!" I turned, and there he was, crouched down, holding a leafy tree branch before him. This was a standard Prootwaddle tactic, you see, to get a branch and hide behind it. "You can't see me ! Be very afraid!" he said. It was his way of referencing decades back to the Barbarian event. He has a prootwaddle connection! (You have heard Ivarr runamagi explain where his name comes from - the Prootwaddles at the Bjornsborg events.)


  • It’s inactive, but technically I’m still a member of House Thornwell, which was the household of Darcy and his lady Kemreth (later my queen). Red Orm was also a member. I also helped form Caer Oncia, which was my then-lady Sula’s and my household. We had an alliance with Thornwell, and some overlap of members. I’ve always been proud of the heraldry I designed for those households.
  • I have a fondness for Ton the Traveler and his lady – they were king and queen of Atenveldt when Ansteorra became a Principality, and they briefly lived in Bjornsborg. They were hugely instrumental in building Bjornsborg in its early days.
  • Also my Baroness for the first few years, Alexandra Tatiana Feodorovna of Novgorod.

Mundane Information:

Special Needs:

In Case of Court: