As the herald of the Crown Province of Østgarðr, I am well aware that it is the only branch in the Society to bear that particular designator — a result of its distinctive history as the home territory of the earliest royalty of the East Kingdom — and I became curious as to what other unusual branch designators were to be found in the catacombs of the Society’s armorial database.
A bit of data extraction produced the following table:
|584||Shire (or Schire, Scir)|
|297||Canton (or Kanton)|
|187||Barony (or Baronnie)|
|93||College (or Collegium, Université)|
|20||March (or Marche)|
|19||Stronghold (or Fortaleza)|
I’ve grouped spelling variations and translations into different languages together.
The most common cases are the standard organizational units of the Society:
- Kingdoms are the highest level of the hierarchy, with all other branches contained within a kingdom.
- Principalities are large regions of a kingdom with their own royalty.
- Shires are independent groups, and the most common type of branch in the Society.
- Baronies are regions with landed nobility.
- Cantons are subgroups within a barony.
- Provinces are equivalent to baronies but do not have landed nobility.
- Ridings are subgroups within a province.
- Colleges are groups associated with a university or other educational institution.
- Strongholds are groups associated with a military base.
The term March seems to be used by groups that are organizationally equivalent to shires or cantons.
Although listed in the Armorial as a Principality, Tir Mara is considered a “Crown Principality,” which is an organizational structure for a group that is on a path towards becoming a Principality, as described in the Cunnan wiki.
I dug a little deeper into the least-common designators to see when they were issued:
- Crown Province: Østgarðr (1973, but shown as 1984 in the O&A)
- Barony-Marche: Debatable Lands (1975)
- Dominion: Myrkfaelinn (1975)
- Bailiwicks: Ivyeinrust (1981), Broken Bridges (1984)
- Boroughs: Southe Banke (1981), Duncorlach (1988)
- Ports: Crickstow-on-Sea (1998), Curragh Mor (1995)
- Hamlets: Gildenwick (2018), Wildmoor (2018)
Most of these unusual designators are associated with submissions from the East Kingdom, although the Debatable Lands and Myrkfaelinn are now part of Æthelmearc.
The first three date from the era of Alfgar the Sententious’s role as Brigantia Herald (1970–77). All three are still active. Østgarðr and Debatable Lands function as baronies, while Myrkfaelinn is organizationally equivalent to a shire but has a unique schtick.
Both Bailiwicks were organized as cantons, one within the Debatable Lands and the other within Bhakhail. Broken Bridges dissolved within a few years, but Ivyeinrust remains active in and around the University of Pennsylvania.
Boroughs appear to have been initially thought of as an incipient form for college groups. Neither of these groups is still active. The concept of Boroughs seem to have been an invention of Carolingia. Subsequent attempts to register the Borough of Haven’s End and the Borough of Felding as branches were returned, although they were allowed to register as households.
Ports are branches associated with ships or naval bases; for example, Curragh Mor was a branch aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Curragh Mor dissolved years ago, and the last visible activity in Crickstow-on-Sea was around 2007.
The only one of these uncommon designators that is in active use for new registrations is “Hamlet,” a term used in Lochac and Drachenwald, first registered in April 2018.