Knights of St. Fantony

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The Most Noble and Illustrious Order of St. Fantony was an order of fannish knighthood, originally British, mostly conferred in fun, but partly as genuine appreciation.

A Grand Fannish Jape![edit]

(or, the Order of St. Fantony (KtSF) as interpreted by Peter Weston in Prolapse 9, 2007)

Eric Jones and his Knights first took the fannish stage at Kettering in 1957. And what a grand entrance they made! Who could fail to have been taken with the imagination, the ingenuity and the spectacle of that first ceremony? But with time memories fade and perceptions subtly alter so that the Order is now viewed quite differently from the way in which its founders intended; and there certainly is no shortage of different opinions about "St. Fantony"! There are many descriptions of its beginnings, most of them wrong.

Let's start with Ethel Lindsay, who in a letter to Jenny Glover[1] in the early 1990s wrote, "the Order came into being at the (1957) London worldcon. It was the first con to expect a group of visiting American fans. The con committee was very small, British fandom in its entirety was very small, and how to entertain these Americans was a worry. The word went out from London—please help with program ideas. It was the group around Eric Jones who in answer to this call invented St. Fantony. This was to be a medieval fantasy that they thought would amuse and entertain the Americans."

That's a good story but unfortunately it happens to be completely wrong in every detail, which is odd since Ethel herself was a Knight of St. Fantony. Then there's Chuck Connor, who in a LoC to Conrunner #11 (1989) wrote that "the Knights were set up to greet people at conventions, to break the ice if you will." Which is a nice thought, but wrong again. And how does that stack-up with Peter Mabey's recent assertion that "although the Order of St. Fantony originated as a gesture of provincial solidarity against London fandom, it later tended to become a sort of fannish Hall of Fame"?

Let's take a look at the "official" party-line in a 1974 "History"[2] produced by Stan Nuttall and Keith Freeman. It says here that "the Order was originally founded in 1957 by the Cheltenham Science Fiction Circle to honour the Liverpool Group for their work in fandom." Well, yes, I know what they were trying to get at, except that I think "honour" is a bit of a slippery concept in such an egalitarian, anarchic group as fandom, where "respect" or maybe "affection" is probably about a much as anyone can hope for. So I have a few reservations about Stan and Keith's rationale and prefer instead something Eric Bentcliffe wrote in Xyster #5, (1984), "From the outside, of course, all this looked a bit like snobbish SMOFery, or it does in retrospect but the fandom of the times realised what it was.....a Grand Fannish Jape, and took it as such."

Fair enough, I thought, although I know some fans have never been very keen on the whole idea. In a LoC to Prolapse #7 Peter Roberts said, "I still wonder how a joke and a bit of fun in the 1950s remained such a conspicuous and off-putting feature of British conventions for more than ten years." Chris Priest was even less enthusiastic, writing in 2004, "all I know about St. Fantony is that it induced feelings of cringe, and a wish to end it all." And Jim Linwood really put the boot in by saying that "the whole business was sickening exclusiveness, not part of any fandom I wanted to belong to and I was glad to see it fade away; furthermore they didn't invite me to be a member! Remember the old Groucho Marx quote?"

Peter, Chris and Jim are entitled to their opinions but I feel they're being unnecessarily harsh--after all, the very nature of being "fannish" is on occasion to be a bit silly as I'm sure they appreciate, whether we're talking about the Attacking Budgie Dance, dropping bottles down hotel chimneys, or any other bit of light-hearted nonsense. Past fannish generations came up with crazy ideas like the Staple Wars, the Hum-&-Sway and the Astral Pole, and modern-day fans keep the tradition alive with performances like Ian Sorensen's mock-operas and James Bacon's occasional convention spectaculars. It seems to me that St. Fantony was a particularly creative version of exactly the same sort of thing—so yes, Eric Bentcliffe was right, it really was just a Grand Fannish Jape!

But Peter Mabey makes an excellent point and I think he's right that St. Fantony definitely was in part conceived as a reaction to the geographical split in British fandom of the fifties, and the on-going misunderstandings and suspicions between the Londoners and "provincial" fan groups. To put this into perspective I have to go back quite a long way and re-trace some familiar ground, so bear with me.

London-Provincial rivalry[edit]

At the start of the decade the capital held all the aces. It had the largest concentration of fans and most of the writers (Arthur Clarke, John Wyndham, Sam Youd, Bill Temple and so on), the editors, publishers and the magazines. They enjoyed weekly meetings at the White Horse from which grew the first post-war national conventions in 1948 and 1949, the 1951 Festivention, and subsequent events in 1952 and 1953. Understandably this bred more than a little arrogance towards the thin scattering of fans elsewhere in the country, climaxed by Bert Campbell's infamous remark in the White Horse prior to the Coroncon when he observed the visiting American pro-editor Bea Mahaffey talking to some Manchester fans, "For God's sake get her away from those bloody provincials".

Yet those Mancunians had been among the first to get themselves together after the war, forming the Nor'West Science Fantasy Club (NWSFC) in June 1951 with Eric Bentcliffe and Dave Cohen as founding members. Close behind was Liverpool, where Norman Shorrock and John Roles were leading lights in starting the Liverpool Science Fiction Society (LāSFāS) in November 1951. Take notice of that Null-Ā symbol, which was adopted by the club (with their motto "Thought, Time & Space") because it's an important part of the story. Liverpool was also unique in being the only group to have its own clubrooms, which gave them a great sense of permanence and stability.

Eric Bentcliffe lived only thirty-odd miles away so he was no stranger to LāSFāS, nor was Terry Jeeves though he had a somewhat longer haul across the Pennines from Sheffield. Eric and Terry were both at Festivention where they got together with Eric Jones, probably for the first time. They all met in London again in 1952 (the first con for Liverpool fans Norman & Ina Shorrock, John Roles, Les Johnson & Norman Weedall) and were joined by a strong contingent from Manchester. The NWSFC was promoting Mancon, a regional to be held in the autumn, and they also made an unsuccessful bid to hold the 1953 national event in their city. (Ina recalls wryly that the Londoners seemed to think it was "too expensive, too far, and uphill all the way").

Well, you know what happened next. Mancon was successful but no-one from London attended (Bert Campbell said afterwards that they could "hardly have expected celebrities to come"). So the Coroncon saw a fair amount of bitterness, and even though Manchester somehow managed to secure the con for 1954, the London fans immediately started their spiteful, semi-serious "Operation Armageddon" intended to disrupt Supermancon.

Fortunately, despite a few spats a great time was had by all at Supermancon and the previous nastiness seemed to have evaporated, at least on the surface, when the 1955 con moved to neutral ground at Kettering, almost exactly halfway between the two dissenting foci. I don't want to make too much out of all this and I'm sure many friendships were made across the Great Divide but I feel it did shape the entire development of fandom throughout the fifties. The main result was that it tended to make fans outside London draw closer to one another, something which is clearly shown in their fanzines.

In July 1952 LāSFāS had began pubbing Space Diversions which ran for twelve issues, and in August Eric Bentcliffe started Space Times, which became the NWSFC's Official Organ. In early 1953 he gained Eric Jones as co-editor and then Terry Jeeves, and Bentcliffe put out nineteen issues before the title fell into the hands of Londoner Stuart MacKenzie in April 1954, who promptly upset everyone so much that it soon folded. However, later that year the trio of Bentcliffe, Jeeves and Jones bounced back with Triode, which became one of the major fanzines of the period with eighteen issues by 1960. And newcomer Ron Bennett began Ploy in August 1954 and put out thirteen issues in just five years. These impressive performances were matched by few London titles and I'm fairly sure—though haven't yet done an exhaustive analysis—that most of the contents of these fanzines were provided by the "provincial" fans themselves.

So how does any of this relate to St. Fantony? Well, as I've tried to illustrate, many fans outside London had made common cause and had become good friends (and after Supermancon this included Archie Mercer and Ron Bennett). The first major expression of this solidarity came at Whitsun 1956, when the Liverpool Group held one of their parties, this time with a rather special theme.

As Stan Nuttall explained in Dave Kyle's article in Mimosa #11 (now on the St. Fantony website, "We did a fake medieval ceremony -- direct from Danny Kaye's 'The Court Jester' -- with lots of "Yea, verily, yea" in it and decided the highest honour we could bestow on anyone was to be an ex-Chairman of LāSFāS without the rigours of being one in the first place. We had a party up here in the clubrooms and invited people from all over, and the first two to be made ex-Chairmen were Eric Bentcliffe and Eric Jones, the Chairman of the Cheltenham Group".

Archie Mercer wrote up the occasion in Sidereal #4 and in his usual way listed the participants—twenty in all, with the local group, Archie himself, Ron Bennett, Terry Jeeves, Eric Bentcliffe, and Eric & Margaret Jones from Cheltenham:

"I'll cut to the House of Shorrock where momentous Events were in the course of preparation. To wit, the ceremonial installation of the two Erics in the honourable office of Ex-Chairman of the Liverpool Science Fiction Society. This was a most noble occasion, presided over by Chairman Stan Nuttall (crowned) with John Roles officiating as High Priest and all the trimmings (such as priestesses, etc).... The two initiates were in turn anointed with correcting fluid, bedecked with head-bands bearing the Null-Ā symbol, and finally received the ceremonial accolade, after which they were handed ceremonial scrolls—the work of Don McKay, signed by Stan and sealed with a Fyffe's Bananas label—and then the signal was given for them to take up their new duties and the festivities recommenced in real earnest."

You can probably see where this is going. Eric Jones was a practical, creative sort of chap and even as he travelled back to Cheltenham I'll bet he was full of the desire to "return the favour" as it were, to repay his friends in Liverpool for their kindness and at the same time do so with an even better, more elaborate ceremony than the one in which he had just participated.

And the time was absolutely right for Eric. For nearly four years he had struggled to establish an SF group in his area without a great deal of success, apart from having found Peter Mabey in early 1956. Now, they took a stand in the Hobbies Exhibition at the Town Hall and suddenly found "real fans had come knocking on the door". The Cheltenham SF Circle was up-and-running, with newcomers such as Audrey Eversfield (who became Secretary), Les Childs, John Humphries, and the most significant of all, Bob Richardson. As was noted in Prolapse #7, Bob had been a naval officer in WWII serving as a commando and frogman on miniature submarines. He was a judo expert and an authority on traditional armour, and Keith Freeman says Bob also fought in the Spanish Civil War. Just the man to have around as the outline of "St. Fantony" began to take shape—and I suspect Bob's appetite for fake-medieval pageantry was at least as great as Eric's own.

But the Liverpool influence was absolutely pivotal; not only with that Whitsun "installation" but also because of their spectacular Fancy Dress presentation at Cytricon II that Easter. As Eric wrote in Sidereal #4, "they made their appearance in costumes ranging from Vikings and Norsemen to Egyptian beauties, harem maids, and green goddesses, and Norman Shorrock wore a most weird rig-out which comprised a Davy Crockett hat complete with a powered propeller." Months later Eric must have remembered their showmanship as he searched for a unifying theme that would enable his new club to do one better.

Peter Mabey sheds some light on this formative period, "When [Eric or Bob (don't recall which) spotted a statuette of a knight in armour on a plinth [illustrated in Tony Keen's article], this looked like an ideal champion against the London oppressors. We embellished it with a commemorative plaque and the SF emblem on his shield, and as we were looking for a way to respond to Eric's honour from Liverpool we decided to devise a legend to go with it."

And so they did. They created an entire mythology about discovering ancient documents which (summarised from the Mimosa article) told "of a certain visionary who carried writings from the past, the present, and the future". This inspired roamer was Fantony, and small groups who heard his message called themselves Fantony's or Fan's, while ignorant mundanes sneered at the awesome stories he told.

"The wandering Fantony was set upon by disdainful mundanes and captured in the rural hamlet of Cheltenham. They jeered at the works of Verne and Wells and Poe, and threw him on his pile of books. They torched the papers and the pulps, and caused his death in flames. In his martyrdom for fans and fandom he became a patron saint. Today the town is a famous spa, for from the ground where he had thrust his staff in his final moment a spring gushed forth. The waters of S.F.—Saint Fantony—still flow today and the burghers of Cheltenham profit by them. But only the trufen can taste the fire within the water."

Well, I think it's very clever—corny, but clever! Peter Mabey continues, "as Cheltenham was known for its spa water, we decided that it would have to have mystic significance—only to be appreciated by the trufan (the actual drink provided was initially a water-white wheat spirit, made illicitly by one of our members). I never heard that Eric or Bob were members of the Masons but Masonic rituals provided a lot of input to the structure of the ceremony, though of course we took care to avoid plagiarism, and later on we arranged for it to build up to the Test in which we got a volunteer to play the part of the fakefan, who would be given plain water. On failing to appreciate the fire, he was dragged offstage and executed by Norman Weedall. We never used actual spa water, which would not have been appreciated by the unwary, as the 'fakefan' always knew what was planned.

"There was taped music—part of the Mussorgsky-Ravel 'Pictures at an Exhibition' for the reading of the Legend, timed to give appropriate accompaniment to the pursuit of Fantony by the mundanes, and the bursting forth of the spring which yielded the spa water. We also used Holst's 'Marching Song', slowed down by Frank Herbert's variable-speed machine to make it sound more solemn, as 'The March of St. Fantony's Men' for the first ceremony, but I don't think it was played on later occasions."

In Prolapse #8 Keith Freeman described another stage in the myth-making process, "the meeting I first went to was plotting out (literally) the 'history' of St. Fantony. Eric had been window-shopping in Cheltenham and had seen a display of made-to-order blazer badges containing (in theory) the wearer's initials. At once he saw the possibilities of getting blazer badges with S/F on them—and then only had to flesh out a suitable raison d'etre in order to buy and dish them out to fans who had been instrumental in keeping fandom alive in Britain. Eric, in his usual manner, encouraged the ideas that flowed and at the same time controlled the situation so we didn't fly off into unnecessary side-tracks (well, not too far off, anyway)."

The ceremony to "knight" the members of the Liverpool Group took place at the third Kettering convention. When at last Easter came round all was ready for the big surprise. The first anyone knew was when posters were put up at various places about the George Hotel announcing "a ceremonie" at 10.00 p.m. in the Basket Lounge.

There, in front of an assembled crowd of at least twenty people (and while Dave Jenrette slept soundly in his room), the performance was staged by the six members from Cheltenham who were at the convention.

When I get my Time-machine working properly I want to go back to that evening and see it for myself, although thanks to Terry Jeeves we do have a picture of the proceedings.

Margaret and Audrey were Priestesses in cotton dresses with sashes and head-bands, John Humphries (who was probably nearly twenty but looked thirteen) wore a silk tunic and turban as Herald, Les Childs was Knight Master of the Rolls with wig and false beard, a hat, some sort of medallion in the middle of his forehead, and what looks like an embroidered farmer's smock. But the two stars of the show—Bob, and the Knight Grand Master, Eric Jones—had black bow-ties, embroidered vests or waistcoats, flowing cloaks and gleaming helmets adorned with crests and propeller beanies.

I'm impressed with the high quality of the raiment considering how quickly it must have been put together. Keith again: "I became the "model" for the initiates into the Order of St. Fantony—suffering the attempts at pinning on the badges (I still have the scars to prove this). Margaret made the costumes, though I'm sure even here Eric had a lot of input." However, as his title of "Knight Armourer" implies I'm certain Bob Richardson would have been heavily involved in the provision of the helmets and more martial aspects of the regalia, though I should note that St. Fantony was never the main promoter of "jousting"—that was a separate, parallel innovation from Ken Bulmer and the London Circle.

The attending members of the Liverpool Group were lined up in front of the stage and the Grand Master began to chant, "Before Gernsback there was no fandom.... Then came Amazing...." Unfortunately the rest of the proceedings are lost to us (though I do have a copy of the script prepared for the "beefed-up" ceremony at the London worldcon, six months later, which was much more elaborate). According to a "Decree" published in the Cheltenham fanzine, Spasmodic, nine new members were inducted into the Order on this occasion. These were Eddie Jones, John Owen, John Roles, Dave Newman, Ina Shorrock, Norman Shorrock, Norman Weedall, Bill Harry, and Ron Bennett. The Mimosa list also claims that Archie Mercer was knighted at Kettering (although he is not mentioned on the Decree) and I think we have to assume he was simply forgotten when Spasmodic was being prepared.

The list also states that Stan Nuttall and Bill Harrison (aka Sir William Makepeace Harrison, and not to be confused with any American SF author of similar name) were similarly elevated, though as far as we can tell neither one of them attended Cytricon III. It also shows, wrongly, that Terry Jeeves and Eric Bentcliffe were made Knights at the Easter convention, though from the Loncon photographs it's clear that both were inducted at the worldcon. Spasmodic also contained a long epic poem by Bob Richardson titled "At Kettering Field" modelled on the address given in Henry V—as I said previously, I think Bob was pretty carried away by the whole idea of St. Fantony!

And all non-fen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhood cheap whilst any speaks
That drank with us upon St. Fantony's Day.

There we have it—St. Fantony was created simply as a reciprocal bit of good fellowship towards the Liverpool Group, a joke, a leg-pull, and very much as a one-off event. But of course it didn't stop there; Dave Newman was head of the programme committee for Loncon and I'm quite sure he immediately saw that the ceremony would really give the American visitors something to remember.

So, six months later St. Fantony had a second outing on the Sunday afternoon at the worldcon. This time twelve more subjects were lined-up, seven of them from overseas (including Bob Silverberg), plus Ken Slater, Walt Willis, Terry and Eric, and Bobbie Wilde, the convention secretary. She was a fairly recent recruit to fandom, and significantly, the only Londoner called forward. They endured the ritual, sipped St. Fantony's waters, and at the close of the ceremony touched Bob Richardson's sword to be admitted to full membership of the Order. It must have made tremendous theatre and for at least one of them—Rory Faulkner, an elderly lady from the American Mid-West—it was probably an experience she would cherish for the rest of her days!

Costumes and regalia had been completely worked-over and this time the "Priestesses" wore matching red mini-skirted dresses with tiaras and elaborately-patterned cloaks ("curtain material", said Ina). "Humph" the Herald sounded a fanfare with his 5-foot horn, from which hung a blue banner embroidered in yellow with the motto, "Ghod Blesh St. Fantony". Norman Weedall was a suitably menacing figure in black, wielding a huge axe as the Executioner, while Eric and Bob were helmeted and splendidly attired in cloaks and medallions. Bob wore a magnificent patterned jerkin in metallic grey picked-out in silver with gave the effect of chain-mail, with belt and sword at his waist. Eric was resplendent in orange-yellow silk tunic and pantaloons, a dagger in his wide belt and his hawkish features framed by folds of material so that he looked like nothing so much as some sort of Oriental potentate!

That might have been the end of it—except that the Cheltenham Circle acquired their own clubrooms in early 1958 (Another idea I suspect Eric Jones took from Liverpool) and once they had these premises all manner of things became possible. From Ken Bulmer's account in Prolapse #7 we know that the group was able to turn an inner room into a temporary "shrine" for the ceremony held to "knight" Sir Edwin Tubb and Sandy Hall (secretary of the London Circle) on their visit in 1959. In a similar way TAFF-winner Ron Ellik was inducted into the Order at the clubroom during his trip to the UK in spring, 1962. But no more large-scale inductions were staged at Eastercons and it's possible that St. Fantony would have slipped quietly into oblivion—especially with the sad death of Bob Richardson in 1963—if London had not won a second worldcon for 1965.

I said earlier that memories fade and perceptions alter, and so it was with St. Fantony. In correspondence, Keith Freeman agreed that the last thing Eric Jones would have wanted would be for his Order to have become an exclusive elite, "with the fifty to eighty active fans around when St. Fantony was started—yes, it could well have been envisaged that they'd all be knighted. At between five and ten at a time it wouldn't have taken long!" But fandom had changed by 1965—nearly two fannish generations had passed. The North/South divide was long forgotten but the "generation gap" had opened between old fans and BSFA-inspired newcomers and misunderstandings were creeping in.

Another ceremony took place at Loncon II and this was where (to quote Peter Mabey again) the Order started to become a fannish "Hall of Fame". Of the nine new Knights inducted, only one—Harry Nadler—could be said to be a "new" fan while Ken Bulmer and Ted Carnell dated back to the pre-war era. This sent a very misleading signal in that it suggested St. Fantony was just something for the older fans, with little relevance to the in-coming generation who had no idea what it was all about. Ethel Lindsay was inducted that year and as we've seen, even she didn't really understand!

Some had always had mixed feelings about St. Fantony; Walt Willis was quoted in Prolapse #7 as saying, "As far as I'm concerned all this Fancy Dress and Armour stuff is all right for a laugh as a 20-minute convention turn, but for me it's not part of the fannish way of life. These long drawn-out and half-serious rituals and initiation ceremonies remind me too overpoweringly of the Masons or the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffalos." And on the wegenheim e-list in 2005 Ted White noted a similar comment: "I'm trying to remember the undercurrent of conversation between Jim White, Bob Shaw, Chuck, and Walt Willis at or just after the '65 London Worldcon on the subject of St. Fantony. It was in general negative. They didn't approve of the way it was done and maybe not of what it was, either."

Not surprisingly, by 1965 many of the newcomers since 1957—of whom Jim Linwood and Chris Priest were fairly typical—dismissed St. Fantony as irrelevant, or worse, as a relic of a bygone age. My own feelings were ambivalent; I was impressed by the colour and spectacle of that first occasion without having the least idea what it was all about. In later years I came to enjoy the more comic aspects of the ceremonies while still feeling vaguely disconnected from these people, although I knew some of them quite well. Later, after I began organising things of my own, I came to realise how difficult it is to carry off any sort of performance, and to appreciate the magnitude of the effort the Knights had been making for our entertainment.

The Order did try to change with the times. In late 1965 Eric Jones put out a short statement[3] "to bring latter-day fen into the picture", in which he wrote that [it] "has also become a memorial to Bob; his interest in pageantry being mirrored in the St. Fantony ceremony which will, in future, take place at Convention time. The Order was never intended to be a serious and constructive 'in-group', its main aims in life are good room-parties at cons and at other times."

There was an investiture at Yarcon in 1966 but sadly, Eric died at the beginning of 1967. Again, the Order was nearly wound-up but Keith Freeman (egged-on by Ken Slater!) ensured it continued, with ceremonies at the 1967 & 1968 Eastercons, and again in 1971 when Bob Shaw and Jim White were knighted at Worcester (not mentioned in the Mimosa list). It was around this time that it took on the role that Chuck Connor mentioned—it said that those wearing the badge would always be glad to help newcomers find their way into fandom. And in the Eastercon 22 Programme Book the Order stated that its purpose was "to recognise fans who had done good works and were convivial, but wouldn't necessarily be eligible for TAFF".

After that the story becomes uncertain; I feel certain there was one further British ceremony, but no-one seems to know when, or who was knighted; my guess would be Tynecon 74, but you'd think someone would remember! There's some circumstantial evidence that a revival was attempted that year, in that Keith and Stan Nuttall produced their "History" and Eric Bentcliffe and Norman Shorrock put out the impressive first issue of Blazon, intended to be the "St. Fantony fanzine", in April 1974. On the wegenheim e-list Ken Slater added a little more to the story (though I think he's wrong about the location): "To the best of my memory the last ceremony was at one of the Brighton conventions; I cannot recall which, but I think it was the one at which the fanzine Blazon was published. I remember some comparatively new fan asked Phil Rogers about the badge, and we offered an explanation. Queried why only one person was wearing a blazer, Bob Shaw said we only had the one, and whoever was on 'duty' wore it ... as you probably realise, Bob, Phil and I were somewhat different in build, and we passed this off with some comment like 'it adjusts'.

"I recall that we had a meeting in someone's room, discussing selling the fanzine, and what to do (if anything) with St. Fantony who seemed to have served his time, and was no longer an 'in-joke' or an 'honour' that anyone appreciated. I'm not sure whether there was actually was a ceremony; I know we talked about one, but it wasn't a simple matter for Keith to ring or write to a dozen or so 'knights' and collect suggestions for new people to be 'honoured'. Too many existing, too thinly spread.

"Some years later I tried, with Keith and Phil's approval, to get some other people to revive the scheme, but it never jelled. I think one time was when Lisanne Norman was chairing Eastcon (which finished up about as far West as you can get and stay in the country) and I passed over the notes and stuff I had on the ceremony to whoever was doing the programme. But it didn't happen, and I didn't get the notes back—or only part of them—so decided that St. Fantony time was behind us, and forgot all about it."

Unfortunately, as the years had progressed St. Fantony had become irrevocably disengaged from the mainstream of fannish activity out of which it was born, and with its passing some of the magic left British conventions.

The last St. Fantony event for many years was at Noreascon Three, the 1989 Worldcon in Boston, when Knights of St. Fantony escorted the Hugo nominees and convention GoHs into the auditorium for the Hugo Awards Ceremony. A final initiation took place at Cytricon V in 2008, with long-time Knights Keith Freeman, Peter Mabey and Ina Shorrock present.

A list of the Knights initiated into the Order over the years appears on the St. Fantony website (no longer in existence?) and in the table below.

More pictures appear in the original version of the article, in Prolapse 9 (2007).

Date Con / occasion New Knights
Founders Robert H. Richardson, Eric Jones, John Challenge, Les Childs, Audrey Eversfield, Keith Freeman, Frank Herbert, John Humphries, Wally Johnson, Margaret Jones, Peter Mabey
Early 1957 Cheltenham meeting Stan Nuttall[4]
Easter 1957[5] Cytricon III Eddie Jones, John Owen, John Roles, Dave Newman, Ina Shorrock, Norman Shorrock, Norman Weedall, Bill Harry, Ron Bennett[6]
Sep 1957[7] Loncon Frank Dietz, Rory Faulkner, Bob Madle, Ellis Mills, Boyd Raeburn, Robert Silverberg, Eric Bentcliffe, Ken Slater, Roberta Wild, Walt Willis, Terry Jeeves, Archie Mercer, Dale R. Smith
1959 London Circle trip to Cheltenham Ted Tubb and Sandy Hall
1960 A LASFS meeting Rick Sneary
1961 A special initiation in Liverpool Dave Kyle
1962 A special initiation in Cheltenham Ron Ellik
1965 Loncon 2 Harry Nadler, Thomas Schlueck, Ted Carnell, Ken Bulmer, Ethel Lindsay, Tony Walsh, Ken Cheslin, Dick Eney, and Phil Rogers
1966 A special initiation in Liverpool Joe Navin
1966 Yarcon Brian Aldiss, Harry Harrison, Dave Barber and Michael Rosenblum
1966 A special initiation in South Gate Lois Lavender
August 1966 SFCD WienCon, Vienna, Austria Walter Ernsting
1966 Tricon Bjo Trimble and Fritz Leiber[8]
1967 Briscon Jill Adams, Charles Partington, Wendy Freeman
1967 A special initiation in Liverpool John Ramsey Campbell
August 1967 SFCD Insel-Con, (West) Berlin Waldemar Kumming
1968 Thirdmancon Beryl Mercer, Doreen Parker and Ken McIntyre. Phil Rogers was made Noble Master
1968 Baycon Forrest J Ackerman
1968 (Or later) Fred Prophet, Harry Stubbs, and John Trimble
1970 A special pre-Heicon initiation in Bristol Tony Edwards
1970 Heicon Molly Auler, Mario Bosnyak, Bill Burns, Manfred Kage, Axel Melhardt, and Don Wollheim
1971 Noreascon Bob Pavlat
1973 Torcon II[9] Three new knights
2008 Cytricon V Peter Weston, Rog Peyton
  1. Greg Pickersgill notes, "This is a handwritten piece that Ethel appears to have done for Jenny Glover at some point in the past, probably before the 1995 Glasgow worldcon according to an inference in the accompanying letter. It may even have been published in one of Glover's fanzines." (In Greg's possession.)
  2. A foolscap, photocopied document prepared in 1974 by Stan Nuttall & Keith Freeman, circulation unknown but possibly linked to the appearance of the St. Fantony fanzine, Blazon, in the same year. (My copy from Ina Shorrock.)
  3. A flyer, "produced and printed by Ser Eric Jones and Ser Keith Freeman at the M.N.O.O.S.F. Press, 44 Barbridge Road, Cheltenham, Glos. Eng. Distributed by Ser Ron Bennett with Skyrack—the only publication officially used for torture of fen who fail the 'Test'. (27.9.65)" The reverse side carried a "Decree" which announced the names of new Knights inducted at Loncon II and was illustrated by Eddie Jones.
  4. Per Nuttall's own recollection quoted in '“The Noble and Illustrious Order of St. Fantony' by Sir Dave Kyle (Mimosa #11): 'Not surprisingly, the first knights were our lot, as we were invited down to Cheltenham (early in ’57, I think) for the first ceremony.' The slightly odd thing here is that 'our lot' is the Liverpool group, most of whom were inducted at Easter 1957. Nuttall is clearly thinking of a separate event as he continues, 'We think they also did one at the Eastercon in ’57 which went down well'
  5. Decree recorded in Spasmodic I (1957, p. 2)
  6. Some sources include Eric Bentcliffe and Terry Jeeves who were inducted at Loncon I, and Stan Nuttall and Bill Harrison who weren't at Cytricon III
  7. Decree recorded in Spasmodic II (1958, p. 18); Smith and Mercer were initiated in absentia.
  8. Leiber was not there and there was a second, special, initiation in LA.
  9. Mentioned in the program book.

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