The Cloisters

Becoming a Scribe

Anyone who is interested may attend scriptoria and workshops, subscribe to the email list, or receive the newsletter.  New scribes are always very welcome.

 If you would like to become a scribe and work on scrolls, the first step is to submit an example of your work to the Provost or your local Warden (see The Owlery for contacts).  This is called an exemplar, and is kept on file with the Provost's office.  An exemplar need not be large or elaborate;  a few lines of text and/or small piece of illumination is sufficient.  If you already have a piece you would like to use as an exemplar, then a photograph or colour photocopy is perfectly acceptable.  Your exemplar should also provide your SCA and legal names, your postal address, and phone number or email.

Once your exemplar is accepted, you will be placed on the Roster of the College, and receive your warrant.   Your warrant is your licence to create scrolls for the Crown and the people of the Kingdom.  It is usually automatically renewed with each completed assignment, although if the Provost is not informed of a delay it may lapse.

You should also get a copy of the Scribe's Manual (at cost price), which has information about equipment and instructions on painting the AoA blanks, such as correct colours and hands to use.  The College also has a badge which you may display. Information and advice is freely available from almost any member or officer of the College--don't hesitate to ask.  You're all set for your first assignment!

Organisation of the College

Although the College is a service organisation rather than a Guild, it follows a guild structure in order to reward members' work and provide incentive for advancement.  There are several ranks within the college, determined by quantity and quality of work completed:

Aspirant to the Apprenticeship:  an unranked member of the College who has submitted an exemplar, but has not yet completed their first assignment.

Apprentice:  a member who has completed their first assignment to acceptable standard, and shown a continued interest.

Journeyman:  an apprentice who has earned a minimum of 12 ranking points (see table below). For example, an apprentice who has completed six AA blanks or two Patent scrolls would be eligible to advance to the status of Journeyman at the Provost's discretion.

Master:  a Journeyman who has earned a minimum of 36 ranking points, and attained competency in both calligraphy and illumination. For example, a journeyman who has completed six Patent scrolls would be eligible to advance to the status of Master at the Provost's discretion. It is a condition of advancement that all work completed is of acceptable quality, and that a minimum of three original scrolls have been completed.

(These titles are for the internal ranking use of the College only, and do not carry or imply precedence.)

The following table is used to determine ranking points:

Scroll Type/Work Done

Both Calligraphy and

Calligraphy or
Illumination Only

Original Patent or Grant of Arms

6 points
3 points

Original Kingdom-level award with AoA

4 points
2 points

Original AoA

4 points
2 points

Pre-printed AoA

2 points
1 point

Being a scribe can sometimes be a thankless job--we labour long and hard and usually unseen on scrolls which will then be given away.  Although perhaps not glamorous, the rewards can be great and lasting:  the pleasures of creating beautiful pieces of art and seeing your work develop, the satisfaction of knowing that you are serving the realm and contributing to the Society with your art, and by no means least, the privilege of being among some of the most talented, dedicated, and generous people in the Kingdom.  I'd say that's pretty good incentive!

Meet the Confraternity


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