The Lost Cantons of Østgarðr

The Crown Province of Østgarðr currently contains four cantons:

  • Northpass (established as Viking’s Hall 1983/12, renamed 1984/12, name registered 1985/05, full status 1985/08),
  • Lions End (established 1988/02, name registered 1988/10, full status 1989/03),
  • Whyt Whey (established 1989/08, name registered 1990/01),
  • Brokenbridge (name registered 2006/09).

But over the course of its nearly fifty-year history, it turns out there have been nine other affiliated branches, eight of them founded in a two-year period from 1979 through 1981.

These were generally short-lived, in part because of two changes in branch organization: firstly, the practice of new shires or cantons being initially granted only “incipient” status had not yet been made routine; nowadays a branch must demonstrate continued activity for a longer period of time before becoming recognized as a full branch; and secondly, most of these branches were associated with college campuses (which typically have transient populations) and the current practice of allowing a college branch to go dormant and be revived later was not as well established.

Most of the information below comes from “A Geographic History of the East Kingdom” by Lord Richard the Poor, supplemented by the records of the Laurel Archivist of the College of Arms.

  • Dark Canton (City College of New York, AS XIII-XV): formed 1979/01, name registered 1979/07, defunct in 12/1980; name released 1989/12.
  • College of King’s Heights (Columbia U, AS XIII-XV): formed 1979/01, name registered 1979/07, defunct in 12/1980; name released 1989/12.
  • Canton of the Iron Forest (Sloatsburg, NY AS XIV-XVII): formed 1979/11, name registered 1979/07; defunct in 1982/04; name released 1989/12. This region was subsequently organized as an independent branch under the name the Shire of Rusted Woodlands, name registered 1983/01.

All three of the above names were registered simultaneously and in bulk rather than via the usual process. The Laurel Archivist’s files contain only a letter from Baldwin Laurel, written in 1986, stating that “in July and October of 1979, Master Wilhelm registered the names of a considerable number of SCA branches,” and few other details are available.

  • St. Dunstan’s (New York University, AS XIV-XVI): formed 1980/03; name never registered; defunct 1981/05.
  • Canton of Blasted Heath (North Bergen, NJ, AS XIV-XVI): formed 1980/03; name never registered; separated from Ostgardr 1980/10; defunct 1981/05. Local oral history suggests that attempts to organize an independent branch here sputtered out, accounting for the fact that to this day this region remains part of the East Kingdom crown lands, not lying within the boundaries of either of its neighbors, Rusted Woodlands and Settmour Swamp.
  • Canton of Walking Dunes (Southhampton College, NY, AS XIV-XVI): formed 1980/03; name never registered; defunct 1981/05. The town of Southhampton is located within the current territory of Barony An Dubhaigeainn, which first registered its name as a shire in 1981/05.
  • Canton of Mandan (or Madnan) (Nassau County, NY, AS XV-XX): formed 1980/10; name registered 1983/01; defunct in 1985/05; name released 1989/12. (This is the territory of the current canton of Lions End, established in 1988.)
  • Canton of Black Ford (Fordham University, AS XV-XVIII): formed 1981/03; defunct in 1982/11; name registered 1983/01; name released 1989/12.

(The many names released in December 1989 were part of a wave of 37 defunct branches in the East Kingdom that had their names and armory released that month following a request by the Board to clear the backlog that had developed; see the the December LoAR for the list, and the accompanying cover letter for more details.)

One additional canton was formed subsequently to the 1979–81 wave:

  • Canton of Saint Pyr’s Well (Staten Island, NY, AS XX-XXV?): formed 1985/06; name and device registered 1985/10; formally recognized 1986/06; arms released 1991/12; name retained by Kingdom for possible future re-use.

The arms of Saint Pyr’s Well were Azure, a roofed well argent, between its posts a goblet Or, all within a laurel wreath argent.

Saint Pyr is a tragi-comic figure from Welsh history, a lax abbot who became so drunk one evening that he fell down a well and drowned.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *