Baroness Avelyn (pronounced: Ăh-veh-lin; she/her) was born in the hamlet of Wexcombe in the borough of Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire. Her birth occurred at the height of the summer hay-making season, after Saint James’ Day (July 25) and a fortnight after the coronation of England’s boy-king Richard II (July 16, 1377). She is the sixth child of the lord of Wexcombe manor and his late wife, who died in the days after Avelyn was born. She has two living brothers and a sister.
Given a liberal upbringing in the years following the fourth wave of the plague in England, Avelyn was indulged by her father as the “baby” and allowed to pursue an education. She was tutored by local clergy from the nearby priory of Marlborough, and developed a love of books and learning. As a result she speaks English, Latin and some courtly French.
Raised in an environment paranoid of further plagues ravaging the land, Avelyn was encouraged to pursue an early interest in the healing arts. As a young woman, she became locally renowned for her skills as a midwife and wise woman. It is thought her grief at the loss of her mother in childbirth inspired her to help other women in their confinement.
Though closely tied to the neighbouring Benedictine abbeys at Wilton and Amesbury, Avelyn has never been interested in becoming a nun herself. Instead, she wishes to help improve the family’s reputation and wealth by finding a good marriage, raising a family, and continuing her work protecting the health of the people of Wexcombe.
Avelyn’s life spans the years closing the 14th century in England and the early years of the 15th century; into the reign of Richard’s successor, King Henry IV. She is often seen in the company of a scruffy-looking “nerf” herder named Dafydd, who is rumoured to be from the wildlands of Wales. What exactly a “nerf” is, that's anyone's guess; those Welsh records burned during one of the many skirmishes with the English…
Avelyn has been in the SCA for about 17 years (as of 2022). Avelyn reflects on her early SCA days:
“I discovered the SCA during my first year of college in Kingston, about 1997. The first SCAdian I met was Her Excellency of Skraeling Althing, (then) Baroness Xristinia. She welcomed me with her warm smile to a dazzling event in Greyfells. It didn’t take long before I was hooked. I played in Greyfells for a little over two years before life moved me to Ottawa and I took a long hiatus from the SCA.
While in Greyfells, I adopted the name 'Cassandra Brightrich' but never had it registered. I enjoyed spending time with new friends in the canton, and took up fencing, choir, and Creative Foot Stomping (dancing, but I wasn’t very good at it). I also helped with demos in the area and assisted in the kitchens of feasts for a few canton events. As a student, most of play was limited to either Greyfells or Caldrithig events. During this time I received my first Bunny Tail from Their Excellencies Xristinia and Erec.
In 2007 I returned to the SCA via the Canton of Harrowgate Heath, this time bringing along my husband and introducing him to the hobby. I have been a member continuously since then. I received my second Bunny Tail not long after joining the canton, from Xristinia again but this time as Vicaress of the Barony. It was a wonderful welcome back into the SCA fold.”
Her unofficial status as Governess on the Council of the Isles was established following her peaceful acquisition of the deeds to a large number of islands in the Thousand Islands realm of Skraeling Althing, as distributed by Their Excellences of Ben Dunfirth in A.S. 52.*
*an auction benefiting the Ealdormere Regalia Fund.
Currently Avelyn enjoys various SCA activities and providing behind-the-scenes support for events, groups, etc. She's learning rapier. She also chucks axes and hurls thrown weapons. She's served in different offices from canton to kingdom levels. Avelyn is working on exploring her path on arts and sciences by tinkering with different projects.
Avelyn's SCA aspirations include: