The Moustache War was an event held by the baronies of Bryn Gwlad and the Steppes, in April of AS 23 (1989.) It is reputed to be the first Ansteorran event in which combat archery played a significant role . It centered on a supposed dispute between Robin of Gilwell, then Baron of the Steppes, and various members of the populace of Bryn Gwlad who sported moustaches despite the fact that Baron Robin had registered, "A mustache pointed," as his heraldic badge in July of 1981 .
first-hand accounts of the Moustache War
Mustache War as told by Rhiannon o Goed Niwlog:
Long ago, when Johann von Gaustein and Erika Segenlein were our leaders, and Robin and Adelicia of Gilwell were Baron and Baroness of the Steppes, there came a time of strife between our two baronies. It seems that B. Robin registered a badge in A.S. XVI whose blazon was "(Tinctureless) A moustache pointed."
At some point, B. Robin decided the fact that B. Johann sported a healthy bit of hair on his upper lip was a misuse of his (Robin's) badge. The fact that several others in our fair Barony, Dons Blaine Attewood and Diarmuid mac Ruis among them, sported quite wonderful handlebar mustaches he took as an additional "affront" to his honor. He wanted satisfaction. Specifically, he wanted the badges to be used no longer. The fine gentlemen of our barony refused his request.
After several months of conferences and correspondence through the Black Star, no peaceful resolution was found to the disagreement. To everyone's regret (yeah, right!), the two mighty baronies met on the field of battle in the lands north of Emerald Keep known as Bellmead (if my time-dimmed memory is still working). The two barons agreed that the vanquished of their trial by arms would pay a penalty of many chocolate chip cookies to the army of the victor.
And much silliness ensued.
Tivar's memories of the Mustache War:
The Mustache War was something of a spinoff from another inter-baronial war a few years earlier In that one, Baron Bjorn of Namron decided that since the Barony of Bjornsborg was obviously named after him, it should therefore pay him tribute, or possibly it belonged to him--stories differed. (The fact that Bjornsborg had been in existence since before Bjorn had even heard of the SCA was conveniently ignored.) For several months claims and counter-claims were posted in the Black Star, each more preposterous than the last.
Anyway, My lady and I were driving back from a Steppes Twelfth Night with Baron Johann and Baroness Erika, and got to talking about that war, and decided it'd be fun to do it again. At that point, Don Robin of Gilwell (whose heraldic device features a mustache) was Baron of the Steppes and one of Bryn Gwlad's prominent citizens was Don Blayne AtteWood, who sported a particularly impressive handlebar mustache--an obvious infringement on Robin's arms. To emphasize the seriousness of the crisis, the war was scheduled for April Fool's Day. (Unfortunately, some people took it seriously anyway, which just goes to show the Perversity of Human Nature.)
At the war, the Steppes had recruited quite a few "hotshot" fighters, most notably Duke Inman who was probably the best fighter in Ansteorra and one of the best in the entire SCA. Bryn Gwald, on the other hand, had mostly mid-level and beginner fighters but lots more archers with lots of arrows. In each melee, as soon as "lay on" was called, our archers started by picking off the top-level folks on the other side, and kept shooting until everyone on the other side was dead. I wasn't keeping score, but I'm pretty sure that Inman was killed within the first thirty seconds or so of every battle, and I'm not sure if he ever got to throw a blow all day. He was, understandably, not happy.
Conor Drummond on the shooting of Duke Inman