The Regency of Lady Laurel
Julie Smith, 1992-1993

The first event of Julie's regency was another Questing Picnic, organised by Louise Dennis despite the onset of finals, the task being the recovery of treasure stolen from Lady Avenable at the Celtic Festival. There was only one speaker in Trinity Term 1992, Ceridwen Lloyd Morgan of the National Library of Wales on 'The Irrelevance of the Grail in Welsh Tradition'.

The tenth anniversary celebration was successful, the banquet being hailed by some veteran members as the best ever. It was the first in the Society's history to be catered for by members of the Society, Victoria Clare and Elspeth Edward spending a lot of time in St Margaret's Institute preparing the food, including an unco-operative rabbit. A large number of former committee members attended, including Paul Antrobus himself, who flew in from Prague.

The summer pilgrimage was less successful. Early plans to visit Brittany having fallen through, Treasurer Andrew Jackson offered his family cottage near Otterburn, which became the base for a fraught stay in Northern England, as Society members tried to visit a number of sites in Northumberland and Cumbria in defiance of the local landscape and road network, and a practically unroadworthy minibus. Tempers were frayed, and it was decided a different approach would be tried the next year.

Michaelmas began with an introductory meeting whose revised format seemed like a good idea at the time of planning but in its result repeated a lot of the mistakes of the first meeting of the 1988/89 academic year. The talks and readings prepared by the committee proved overlong and some newcomers walked out. This was a blow, consdering that a decreasing number of the active members of the Society were members of the University and those that were included a number of postgraduates. Membership picked up a little during term and the Banquet - again at St Margaret's and self-catered - was a success, few of the new members attended the Society again after Michaelmas Term.

Julie had invited a fuller list of speakers than in previous years; the new academic year was definitely a more expensive one as most came from outside Oxford. Michaelmas saw former committee member Rhiannon Davies come from Cardiff to speak on 'Arthur: the Convenient King', Peter Field from Bangor to talk about 'The Real Sir Thomas Malory', and local resident and regular John Matthews rounded off the term with slides and a demostration of his Arthurian Tarot. Hilary began with another former member, Edmund Cusick, who came down from Liverpool to give a further illustrated talk, on the Pre-Raphaelites. Geoff Doel came from London to talk on Gawain and the Green Knight, and Elisabeth Brewer came from Cambridge to discuss T.H. White. Trinity opened with Professor Raymond Thompson of the University of Acadia, Nova Scotia, who gave an enlightening and well-informed paper on 'Taliesin's Successors: the Responses of Contemporary Authors to the Arthurian Legend'. Travelling expenses for such visitors (although Thompson, thankfully, was visiting Oxford anyway) proved injurious to the finances of a Society whose subscriptions were still held at five pounds a year.

The Michaelmas pilgrimage was the last so far to have two minibuses, filled with a large number of people, many of whom were from overseas, who never came again. The trip concentrated on major sites, in the shape of Winchester, Avebury and Stonehenge. The Hilary pilgrimage, likewise, took the shape of a weekend in Glastonbury.

The Trinity edition of Ceridwen's Cauldron was edited by Dave Price and celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Society in style, with a card cover and a high standard of articles including contributions from the most prolific contributors, Chris Gidlow and Sarah Tucker. The issues published in Michaelmas and Hilary were edited by Gilly Carr, actually a student at Bradford University but working in Oxford for a year as part of her Archaeological Science course. The standard of items remained high but production quality suffered as Gilly did not have access to as good a computer printer as Dave had. Among the articles in the Hilary issue was Dave Price's speech from the debate in Hilary on whether Guinevere was to blame for the fall of the Round Table, a motion that was narrowly defeated.

By the time of the Trinity 1993 Annual General Meeting, morale was low - indeed, the last meeting of Hilary, a screening of the Thames Television production Gawain and the Green Knight, only went ahead because although an informal decision had been made to cancel it, it had still been listed in Daily Information and a number of newcomers arrived unexpectedly hoping to see it as background to their English degrees courses. The day was saved by Geoff providing a video recording and Dave finding the MCR television room at Wadham free. With change in the active membership having been small - a great loss being the departure of Louise Dennis for a job in Heidelberg at the end of November 1992 - many thought that this might be the end for the Arthurian Society. Only eight people appeared a the Annual General Meeting, and those that were there divided the posts between them as seemed most practical, Andrew Jackson being elected President unopposed.

Committee for 1992-1993

Regent/President:	JULIE SMITH (Lady Laurel)		St Antony's
Chancellor/Secretary:	JAMES OWEN (Sir Geraint)		St Anne's
Seneschal/Treasurer:	ANDREW JACKSON (King Pellinor)		St John's
Butler/Social Secretary:DAVE PRICE (Sir Bors de Ganis)		Wadham
Scribe/Magazine Editor:	DAVE PRICE (Sir Bors de Ganis)		Wadham (T92)
			GILLY CARR (Queen Guinevere)		(M92-H93)
			MATTHEW KILBURN (The Fair Unknown)	St John's(T93)
Committee Members:	VICTORIA CLARE (Dennis the Peasant)
			LOUISE DENNIS (Lady Avenable)		(-M92)
			ELSPETH EDWARD (Lady Elaine of Astolat)
			LIZ HUMPHRY (Queen Morgause)		Somerville(-M92)
			RHIAN WYN-WILLIAMS (Lady Olwen)		St Edmund Hall
			CRAIG FISHER (Sir Percivale)		Merton (H93-)
Chief Adviser:		MATT GOSS-CUSTARD (Sir Gareth)		Exeter