The SCA’s “Known World” consists of 20 kingdoms and over 30,000 members around the globe. A Kingdom is a large regional chapter of the SCA and is ruled by a King and Queen. Each Kingdom is divided into smaller regional groups such as Baronies, Shires, and Cantons. A Barony is ruled over by a Baron and /or Baroness who act as the local representatives of the Crown. The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael resides in The Kingdom of Æthelmearc and encompasses the areas in and around Buffalo, NY. The Canton of Beau Fleuve is located within the borders of The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael and encompasses the regions surrounding Buffalo such as Niagara Falls, Lockport, and Medina. The Canton is considered part of the Barony but operates as an independent group. The Barony once included several Cantons, but the Canton of Beau Fleuve is all that remains.
The Barony of the Rhydderich Hael (a Shire at the time) was originally part of the East Kingdom and formed prior to the establishment of Æthelmearc as a kingdom. Prior to the forming of the Rhydderich Hael, there was another shire in the Buffalo area called Eastmere. Eastmere was recognized by the East Kingdom in 1975 but dissolved shortly after in 1977. The Shire of the Rhydderich Hael was originally located in Fredonia New York and was founded in 1977 by (now) Baroness Morgan Argante Elandris. The name Rhydderich Hael is based on the historical figure of the same name, “Rhydderch Hael”, a ruler of Alt Clut, a Brittonic kingdom in the Hen Ogledd or “Old North” of Britain. Morgan chose the name because it sounded interesting to her; the spelling change was just a personal preference. The Hael and its populace continued to grow and make a name for itself. One key accomplishment was running the first “Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon” on March 4th A.S. XII . Ice Dragon grew to renown as one of the premier events in the SCA and continues to run annually to this day. The Rhydderich Hael was invested as a Barony on January 6th, 1979, and Baroness Morgan Argante Elandris was invested as the founding Baroness.
Soon after, some members located in Buffalo New York hoped to form a new Shire (Beau Fleuve). Originally, the Shire of Beau Fleuve was intended to include the greater Buffalo area with the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael to the south. It was noted in a letter to the East Kingdom that the creation of the new shire would result in key members of the Barony becoming members of the shire (including the founding Baroness). To prevent this, a mutually beneficial agreement was reached between the two groups. The seat of the Barony would move to the greater Buffalo area and the Canton of Beau Fleuve would form to the North. There was a second Canton, Dragon Lehr, to the South, but this Canton no longer exists.
The Principality of Æthelmearc Invested its first Prince and Princess in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael on December 2nd A.S. XXIV , and then the Kingdom of Æthelmearc saw its first King and Queen on September 20th A.S. XXXII [1997-1998]. It was thus that the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael finished its travels and became part of Æthelmearc.
This was not the end of the story of the Rhydderich Hael. To this day, the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael and the Canton of Beau Fleuve continues to thrive, grow, and add to the rich history that forged its creation.
Online history resources (SCA and Rhydderich Hael)
Æthelmearc History web site. (2017, October 9). Æthelmearc History Web Site.
http://history.aethelmearc.org/Kauderer, H. (n.d.). The SCA – Herb Kauderer. Https://Www.Herbkauderer.Com/the-Sca.Html. https://www.herbkauderer.com/the-sca.html
Rhydderch Hael. (2020, November 20). In wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhydderch_Hael