Chains of Estate

Several Chains of Estate, cast in pewter and plated, designed for various groups within the SCA Kingdom of Lochac and elsewhere.

Innilgard chains: Pewter with silver plate, resin

Following the success of the Lochac Livery Collars, I was asked to design some Chains of Estate for specific SCA groups, reflecting their individual heraldry.

Research & Concept

Wearing a gold chain or collar around the neck has been used as a sign of rank or prestige from Roman times onwards (Ward 2016). They are frequently worn in the middle ages and renaissance by members of the nobility, as can be seen in these images.

Unlike livery collars which had a standard identifying pattern, these collars were more about decoration, wealth and prestige. Some were literally chains – links connected to each other. Others were decorative elements attached to a background.

In the case of these SCA Chains of Estate, the groups have all been keen to reflect their specific heraldry in the design and choice of metals.

Design & Production

The first of these chains was commissioned in 2001, and the most recent in 2020.

For each of the new designs, I worked with the commissioning group to develop a design that they were happy with, sometimes through several iterations. Once the design was finalised, I prepared the final artwork, then sent it off to the casting house be cast in lead-free pewter and finished with fine metal plating.

The individual projects are detailed here in date order.

2001 – Baronies of St Florian and River Haven

The first custom Chains of Estate were commissioned by the Barony of River Haven, as a gift for the first Baronial Investiture of Saint-Florian-de-la-rivière. At the same time the Barony of River Haven commissioned chains for their own Baron and Baroness.

The new links were designed to work with the SF links in the Lochac livery collars and were made in the same style, within a rondel. The St Florian link uses the uses the botony cross and laurel wreath from the Baronial device, and the pieces were plated in silver.

The River Haven link displays the seahorse and laurel wreath from the Baronial device, and were plated in gold.

The completed links were assembled into a chain with the Lochac SF links between the Baronial links.

Dimitrii and Josseline, River Haven Baron and Baroness, wearing their chains of estate, sewn onto collars.

2013 – Kingdom of Drachenwald

Some years after the first set of chains, I received a request to design a Chain of Estate for the Kingdom of Drachenwald. After some discussion, they decided to use the Lochac SF links (since these were not restricted). The custom Drachenwald link displays the dragon and crown, plated in gold.

When I visited Raglan Faire in August 2017, I was very pleased to see the chains in use.

2014 – Barony of Mordenvale

The Barony of Mordenvale commissioned a pair of chains in plain pewter, to suit the aesthetic of the group. After some design options, they decided on the simple lymphad ship with a laurel wreath background.

2016 – Baronies of Southron Gaard and Ildhafn

These chains were commissioned as a set. The design for Southron Gaard needed to include the tower and stars, but also the crescent, in reference to their origins in the Kingdom of Caid, represented as an augmentation on their device.

The device of Ildhafn has a lymphad ship as the main charge. Since I had already designed a link featuring a lymphad, it seemed inefficient to create another. The Barony of Mordenvale gave permission to re-use the mould, and the silver plating gave quite a different effect.

Both groups were pleased with their chains!

Richard and Ginevra, former Baron & Baroness of Southron Gaard, wearing their chains of estate.

2020 – Barony of Innilgard

Discussions with the Barony of Innilgard began in 2021 but, as with so many projects at the time, things were waylaid by the Covid plague. All my previous Chains of Estate had been in plain or plated pewter, but the new enamelled livery collars inspired a new design approach.

The design features the Fret charge from the Baronial device – simple and effective, but it took a few rounds to get the proportions right. Designing for enamel is trickier, as there are limits on how small the coloured areas can be (they are hand filled with resin), and I need to ensure the walls are thick enough.

The final chains looked very effective, with the red and blue enamel on the silver plate.

Haos and Bryony, Baron & Baroness of Innilgard, wearing their chains of estate (Photo: John Stewart)