A persona can best be described as who you are, in as much detail as you can express. It includes not only your name, but where you were born, who your parents were, what occupation you have, where you live and other important facts about the Elizabethan you.
Gardiner’s Company members re-create the middle- and lower-classes of 16th Century London society. The time moves between 1584 and 1603. The period year conforms to the modern year, starting in 2004 (2004 = 1584; 2010 = 1590, etc.). Once we get to 1603 (in 2023), we’ll re-set and 2024 will be 1584 again. Unlike the Elizabethan era, where the year date changed on March 25th (Lady Day), we use January 1st as our year change.
Unlike the SCA, where everyone is considered nobility, we limit everyone to working class professions, with very few exceptions. There are a number of reasons for this. It is simpler to re-create the middle-class, as doing an aristocratic persona requires servants and a very high level of clothing, equipment and furniture and upper class persons were not members of the Bandes. Based on years of doing this, we can say that the lower to middle class personas are also just more fun.
Further, the social interactions between upper and lower classes were limited in period and not as those between equals; they would not be conducive to comradely gatherings, which we enjoy. When crafting your persona, keep in mind the social classes the Company represents.
Start with a name. You’ll want to research names in period, both family names and given names. Unlike other groups, it’s possible for two to have the same first, or last name, but we avoid having two folks with the same full name. Check with the Education Officer with questions about names.
Women often have a male persona as well as their female one, usually for military activities. The
secondary persona is usually less developed than the primary one, but you are free to develop both of them.
Occupation/Level: (There were no “Masterless Men”, which is to say that everyone worked for
someone and had a defined place in Society.)
What do you do?
Are you in a guild?
Do you have a license?
Are you an apprentice? A journeyman? Independent? (outside of the City of London)
Are you a servant?
Where do you work?
Income: (Usually given in yearly amounts, but can be a daily rate)
Trained Bands Connection: (By law all able bodied men were part of the Bandes and musters
were social events as well as an opportunities to network)
Which unit are you in (pike; counties)?; OR
What sort of support job (cook, clerk, spouse)?
What connections to you have with other Bandes members?
Do you see them outside musters?
Do you see them on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
(these three are about your and their personas, not your real life relationships)
Education/Literacy: (females did not attend school, nor were highly educated, but often were trained to help with running the business)
FEMALES: Can you read? Write? How well?
MALES: Did you go to school? (petty school, grammar school, home schooled)
Can you read? Write? How well?
How many languages do you speak?
Do you have a degree?
Place of Residence:
Where do you live in Southwark?
What parish? (St Saviour’s, St. Mary Ovaries, etc.)
What street? Do you know which house? Do you rent? Own?
Do you share living space with others?
Are you a member of a household? Which one and what relation? (not an SCA household, but another Bandes member)
John Strype’s Map of St. Olave’s and St. Mary Magdalen’s parishes in Southwark
Strype’s Map of St. Saviour’s and St. George’s parishes in Southwark
Place of Origin: (People from other countries were regarded with suspicion and often ostracized.
Choose an English persona, which can be from a county or shire outside of London.)
Where were you born? (probably in London or close)
Family: (You can have imaginary children and a spouse, but real children and spouses are welcome. Keep young children’s names the same.)
Who were/are your parents? (names and father’s occupation)
Are they alive? Where do they live?
Are you married? Do you have children? What are their names?