This unique Butler County group relives long-ago times and helps the community in the process

Members of the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism participate in a large Medieval reenactment every summer at the Butler County Fairgrounds.
Members of the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism participate in a large Medieval reenactment every summer at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

Fancy history, archery, dressing in Medieval garb, axe tossing? There is a group in West Chester Twp. passionate about these hobbies as a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

And, they use their passion to help others.

The local group known as the Canton of Hawkes Keys is within the larger region of the Barony of Flaming Gryphon in the Middle Kingdom — put another way, local members of the group hail from Butler and Warren counties.

Jason Busch, also known as His Excellency Edward Foxly, Baron of Flaming Gryphon, has been a SCA member for 20 years. They are part of the global organization dedicated to researching and enacting life as it was from the years 600 through 1600.

“It’s fun because we’re very active about it, we do reproduce what we research,” he said. “We actively do full armor combat, we actively do the rapier combat, archery…”

He said the group has regular business meetings, which they use to rehearse and listen to their cohorts present what they have learned from their research. If attendees want, they can participate in events all around the area every weekend. They also host a large event at the Butler County Fairgrounds during the summer.

Sarah Chapman, who is the chatelaine — she helps new members connect with the group — said there are 144 friends on their Facebook page, about 20 people regularly show up for meetings and 20 to 50 members participate in events.

She said the members for the most part make their own period clothes — or buy them off Etsy — and fashion their own weapons and tools.

“The society has pretty much any way in which you want to engage. Thrown weapons — you haven’t lived till you’ve heard the thunk of axes you have thrown hitting the wooden target — heavy combat in armor with large rattan ‘swords,’ fencing with quick movements and light rapiers, archery…,” she said.

“Then there are the kinder disciplines, art of all kinds, fiber arts, banner making, cooking and the list goes on. Finally there are people who dedicate themselves solely to service to what we call the Dream. That magic moment when the modern world goes away and it all feels like you are actually living history.”

It’s not all just about history; it is also about helping others The group raises funds for Toys for Tots, coat and canned good collections and other fundraising events.

“That’s what I like about it, it’s not your typical nerdery, you’re not cooped up in a house or the old disparaging, stuck in mom’s basement thing,” said David Caron, who joined the group because of an interest in archery. “It’s not, you’re active, you’re doing things, you’re supporting not only you’re own community in the SCA but maybe people outside of it. I can’t even count how many charity things we have done.”

The Canton meets the first and third Friday of each month, usually at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in West Chester Twp. The group's Facebook page is:

Busch said he was turned on to the SCA by his wife Nancy Terselic while they were in college at the University of Dayton, and once you’re in, there’s no turning back.

“She introduced me to all of this and I was like I ain’t going to do this, it’s weird people and funny clothes and doing weird things,” he said. “I’ve got to work and I’ve got to learn and yeah, I was wrong. It’s a lot of fun, when you find your niche, what you’re interest is, it’s really hard to leave after that because you have so much support.”