Newcomers and neighbors of the Crown Province inevitably run into a tricky question: how do you pronounce Østgarðr?
There are (at least) three potential pitfalls packed into this one word, and even many long-time residents habitually get one or two of them wrong.
Continue reading “The Crown Province’s Shibbøleðr”
The Canton of Whyt Whey was founded in the late 1980s, with its name registration appearing on the January 1990 LoAR. In the decades since, the original population has moved out of our region and been replaced by a new generation of participants, for whom the old name didn’t have the same valence, and over the last few years an effort was undertaken to consider possible changes. Following a great deal of thought, the populace settled on Appleholm as its new name, for which the forms were submitted this month.
Appleholm is a constructed Middle English place name.
Apple is an English word for a variety of tree-borne fruit. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. appel) provides an example from Boece (circa 1380), Chaucer’s translation of a work by Boethius: “And autumpne comith ayein hevy of apples.” The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names (Watts) provides examples of its use in compound place names such as Applby, Appleford, and Appleton.
Holm is an element of English place names meaning land rising from the water, such as islands in a harbor or a meadow by the side of a stream. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. hōlm) provides an example from Promptorium Parvulorum (1440), Anglicus Galfridus’s Middle English-to-Latin dictionary: “Holm, of a sonde yn the see.” English Place-Name Elements (Smith, s.n. holmr) provides examples of its use in compound place names with varieties of plants such as Brackenholm, Bromholm, and Dockholm.
A petition of unanimous support from our branch officers is included with this submission.
There is no provision to maintain retired branch names as there is for “ancient and honorable” arms, so in order to preserve this remanent of the canton’s history, a parallel submission was made to register a household name using the same elements.
For context, the canton’s existing name is a reference to one of our most famous landmarks, the Great White Way, a modern name for a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan’s Theater District where bright outdoor lighting was first introduced at the start of the twentieth century.
When the canton’s name was submitted in the late 1980s, the branch’s founders wanted to name it the Canton of the Grate Whyt Whey but were advised by a local herald that the word Grate was unregistrable; many old-timers are still bitterly disappointed by this omission. The spelling of Whey was selected as an homage to the canton’s parent branch, Østgarðr, whose name might be read by a modern Scandanavian as Ostgård, the contemporary Swedish word for “cheese farm.”
As we prepare to change our canton’s name to reflect a new generation of participants, we would like to preserve the old name as part of our history, ideally in the form our founders originally intended. Including the word Great / Grate would help to communicate their intended theatrical reference while avoiding a potentially offensive misreading of the name as racially exclusionary.
Company is an English household designator found in SENA Appendix E.
“Company of <place name>” is an attested pattern for association names in English.
Companie is a period English spelling of company. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. cǒmpaignīe) provides an example from De Re Militari around 1450: “Þe worþiest persone in þe companie.”
Great White Way is a constructed English place name for an area marked by a major thoroughfare with a pale appearance.
Great is an adjective that may appear before English place names, as documented in “Compound Placenames in English” by Juliana de Luna. http://medievalscotland.org/jes/EnglishCompoundPlacenames/
Grate is a period English spelling of great. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. grēt) provides an example from Mallory dated around 1470: “They threste togedyrs and eythir gave other grate strokis.”
Whiteway is a place name in Dorset, derived from the highly-visible hillside road worn by centuries of traffic exposing the underlying bright white chalk. Period spellings include “Whyteweye” dated to 1329 in J. Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (3rd edition), ed. W. Shipp and J. W. Hodson, 1861-70. https://epns.nottingham.ac.uk/browse/Dorset/Church+Knowle/5328528cb47fc4099d000909
Whyt Whey is our current branch name, until the processing of the name change submitted simultaneously with this registration, and thus covered by the existing registration allowance.
Whyt is a period English spelling of white. The Oxford English Dictionary (s.n. white) provides an example from an inventory of 1568: “whyt reged cowe.”
Whey is an interpolated variant spelling of way, in the sense of road or path. Attested period spellings include waie, way, waye, wegh, wei, wey, weye, and whay. Given this diversity, we believe that whey would have been a plausible spelling of the word in period.
Every year on the first of April, the heralds of the Society for Creative Anachronism post mock submissions of historical names and armory. You can browse an archive of these letters via the College of Heralds Imaginary.
We generally attempt to adhere to the conventions expected for normal letters of intent, including source citations and armorial rules, but our standards for documentation and style are somewhat relaxed for this humorous purpose.
Below are entries I came up with this year; some of them appeared on the Eastern and Imaginary letters. You’ll notice that a majority of them reflect the East’s theme for the year: desserts. Continue reading “April First Submissions”
Engel der Pfau is a skilled fencer with a flamboyant Landsknecht persona who recently became the rapier champion of our local group.
He decided it was time to register a device, and asked for “an angry, fighting, pissed off peacock, his tail plumes out” on a red and black field. Continue reading “Name and Device for Engel der Pfau”
Hrotger had been using his name for many years without registering it, but was inspired to do so when he encountered my post of simple field-only armory.
In comparison to the simplicity of his chosen armory, researching his chosen name was significantly more difficult, because documentary sources for Germanic peoples in the period immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire are somewhat limited, and it is not a culture with which I have much familiarity — an interesting challenge, and a good learning opportunity. Continue reading “Name and Device for Hrotger the Tervingi”
Arthur had already selected a name and armory in consultation with another herald, Francesco Gaetano Grèco d’Edessa, so preparing his submission forms was a simple matter of illustration and onomastic research.
Per fess argent and sable, a cross gules and in chief two fleurs de lys sable.
“Arthur” is an English masculine given name. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources” (S.L. Uckelman, ed. 2018).
English given names may be borrowed into sixteenth-century German names under the terms of the February 2015 cover letter. Continue reading “Name and Device for Arthur von Eschenbach”
Following up on my recent post with the most common first names in the Society’s armorial, here’s a list of the hundred most common last names registered to date.
It’s no surprise that last names are more diverse than first names, so this round up of the most popular bynames in the Society doesn’t have anything that rises to the level of Bill, Bob, Mike, and Tom found in my recent post.
Still, there are clearly some entries here that are relatively common, and it’s an interesting mix of types, including locative, patronymic, descriptive, and occupational bynames. Continue reading “Frequency of Last Names”
With over fifty thousand personal names registered in the Society’s armorial database, it comes as no surprise that a number of name elements are reused numerous times, while others are rare or unique.
I recently looked at the frequency of name elements by their position in a name, which allowed me to pull together the below list of the one hundred most common first names. Continue reading “Frequency of First Names”
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: Continue reading “Frequency of Branch Designators”
The SCA’s College of Arms processes around three thousand name and armory submissions per year, attempting to ensure that each is properly structured, historically plausible, and unique within the society. A distributed system of commentary allows the burden of this process to be shared among multiple heralds and minimizes the number of things that fall through the cracks.
By commenting on Letters of Intent, first at the kingdom level and then at the Society level, these other heralds help to catch problems, suggest additional resources, and highlight issues that need to be considered during the monthly decision meetings in which the senior-most heralds make the final determinations as to whether submissions will be accepted or returned. Continue reading “An OSCAR Commentary Checklist”