GROUP NAMES AND GEOGRAPHICAL STRUCTURE OF ATLANTIA
by Stefan of Cambion
This article was originally written for the Atlantian 10 Year celebration in 1991. Its focus was on the group names as opposed to being a chronological list. For 20 year, I chose to leave the original article and added a supplement (and later for 25 year) so as to memorialize the geography as it was then for the benefit of all those who came to the SCA later and provide more of a chronological reference. Some of the groups mentioned are no longer in existence, some have changed names, and some have changed types. The wording reflects the situation at the time it was written and the information available. Let me know of any corrections or additional information at historian AT atlantia.sca.org
Atlantia up until 1991
The first official group in what is now Atlantia was formed 20 years ago. The Barony of Myrkewoode was chartered by the Kingdom of the East at Twelfth Night, January 9, 1971. According to one of the founders, Mirkwood Street in Baltimore was where one of them lived. Another founder had read Tolkien. So had the Steward of the Society, who said that they had to spell it “differently” than Tolkien, leading to the tradition of spelling it differently every time. The members lived in the Baltimore-Washington area, but the territory originally included Pennsylvania, Delaware and all of Atlantia. The device had a tree and the barony newsletter was named the Acorn, and it continued to be the newsletter as the mid-Atlantic area became a region of the East, then a principality and a kingdom. That is why it does not share a nautical theme with the rest of the kingdomâ€™s awards and titles.
Next formed was Windmasters Hill in North Carolina. Robin of Mannefeld saw an SCA demo at Torcon 74 and took the idea back to Raleigh. It was a shire first, covering the whole state, and became a barony two years later. The name and device (a winged cat, i.e. a “kittyhawk”) relate to an historical event that occurred before the group’s founding.
Buckston-on-Eno was the first canton in the barony, in Durham. One of the founders of Duke University was Buck Duke, and the Eno river runs through the city, so “Buck’s town on the Eno.” Next was Elvegast in Raleigh. The wind theme from the barony was continued with “wind that blows out to sea” in Norse. Kappellenberg was the third canton, being a translation of Chapel Hill into German.
The Barony of Sacred Stone started out as another canton of Myrkwyd, then of Windmasters Hill. One of the founders had same land with a large rock in the woods that looked like an altar. There is a housing development there now and the rock is gone. Among the cantons in the Barony are:
- Hindscroft, meaning home of the red deer. One of the founders liked deer and the members liked the sound of it, after their first submission of Emanon was rejected.
- One of the founders of Hawkwood owned hawks and lived in the woods.
- Caer Daibhidh, at Davidson College, is Welsh for “castle David”. The name is being changed to Castle Daibhidh.
- Baelfire Dunn is “bonfire hill”, as the first seneschal was pagan.
Other groups in North Carolina that were formed independently are:
- Cathanar, Welsh for “battle glory”, in Cherry Point, home of a marine base.
- Seareach, on the coast at Wilmington and a “reach” being a straight part of a river.
- Calodine, a derivative of Caledonia (land of mountains, an old name for Scotland). Boone, NC is in the mountains and many members had Celtic persona. This didn’t pass.
The northern part of the Kingdom has been through several changes since the beginning. One factor in this area was the prior presence of the Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia (named after one of the Viking settlements in North America). Another factor was that groups could not cross state lines, so separate groups had to be formed.
The earliest group in the DC area was Torvassir – Watergate in German. There is a place called that near the George Washington University campus where they were meeting. Aster shire in the Northern Virginia suburbs had an aster on the device as the first seneschal’s name meant flower while referring to the area abbreviation of NoVa (i.e. a star). In the Maryland suburbs, there was Murklndr, a canton, then a shire, of mostly Marklanders, in Southern Maryland, and Caer Cladach (Rockville in Gaelic). another shire in the same area nearer D.C.. The SCA said form one shire, so Seagate was founded, including Montgomery, Prince Georgeâ€™s, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties (all on the water). Permission was obtained to form a “charter” barony, having no territory itself, of the three shires. This was Storvik (Norse for great bay), which later became a regular barony when the SCA allowed groups to cross state lines, at which point the shires merged out of existence, although Torvassir remained a college. More recently, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties split off as the Shire of Dun Carraig. This is Scots-Gaelic for stone fort.
Storvik now has incipient cantons. Ponte Nove is Italian for the nine bridges crossing the Potomac River between it and the rest of Storvik. (The name was rejected and is now Ponte Alto, “High Bridge”.) Wrattingham Lynn is the result of an attempt to pass Hamlin, as in pied piper of. The seneschal of “ratting hamlin” has a lynn (pond, i.e. pool) at her house. The device submitted has a piping rat on it. Neapsbury Downs’ name and device derive from a neap (a turnip). (The name was rejected and is now Neapsford.)
Just north, also carved out of Myrkxwood, was the Shire of Arindale around Ft. Meade/Laurel. The name was taken from Anne Arundel county – different enough so it would not conflict. It was a Markland group first. The most northerly group in Atlantia is the Shire of Bright Hills in the Baltimore area, named after the silver maple trees. At this point the Barony of Myrkwud that covered 6 states was down to a shire covering most of Anne Arundel and Howard counties. The oldest group in the kingdom went out of existence in the merger with Arindale to form the Barony of Lochmere (“lake swamp” – the result of a vote).
Northwest in Maryland is the shire of Highland Foorde, in Frederick and Washington counties. These are at a higher elevation and the founders lived along the Potomac River.
The first groups in Virginia were formed back in 1975. Caer Mear is Welsh for “castle by the water”- Richmond is on the James River. This barony contains Jarnvid (iron wood in Norse) and Berley Court (a combination of three towns in the canton – Berlin, Sedley and Courtland). They have a green “forest” whale on their device. They had originally tried Courtland-on-the-Sedley, but this conflicted with the mundane towns. Also formed in 1975 was Tir-Y-Don. The founders looked for a Welsh name that reflected its seaport location and came up with “land of the waves”. Tir-Y-Don originally covered what is now Marinus, whose name also reflects its location on the ocean. At one point, Tir-Y-Don and Marinus attempted to join into the city-state of Dinas Moryn; however, Tir-Y-Don decided to become a barony itself in 1981. The third early group in Virginia was Isenfir in Charlottesville. Its founders were Vikings and chose “iron mountain”.
The above three discussed forming a barony called Stonewall, which covered all of the state south of Fredericksburg. It dissolved before becoming a barony when the cantons decided to become independent.
The Barony of Black Diamond is in the coal mining area of the state. Mattina d’Oro was a shire in Winchester, Italian for “golden dawn”. Just south of Storvik, in Virginia, is the Shire of Stierbach (German for “steer brook”), which contains the river known as Bull Run, site of the first major field battle of the Civil War.
In South Carolina, Nottinghill Coill was formed in 1977, a shire before it became a barony in 1980. Their device comes from the name and vice versa. The first canton was Tear Sea’s Shore in Charleston, where there is an Indian legend of the god’s tears forming the two rivers through the town, which is on the ocean.
The Barony of Hidden Mountain was originally one of the cantons. There was a site that had a small rocky mound, the top of an “underground mountain”.
Among the other cantons is Cyddlain Downs, Welsh for a crossing of strips (i.e. crossroads), as Columbia is for the state and Barony. Lost Caverns of the Amber Mount refers to the maze of halls at Clemson University, whose school color is orange (heraldically amber) and is in a hilly area. Falcon Cree is “falcon’s cry”.
Farthest south is Border Vale Keep, in Georgia, which is on the kingdom and state boundary, in a valley, and the site of a military base (a keep being a fort). It used to be part of the kingdom of Meridies.
Another Atlantian shire which had no actual land of its own was Curragh Mor (“great boat” in Gaelic). It was located on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. This fit in the SCA rules since the carrier had its own zip code.
Supplement for Atlantian 20 Year
Going from North to South, Bright Hills, Highland Foorde, Dun Carraig, Ponte Alto, and Stierbach are now baronies.
Spiaggia Levantina has formed on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Damianus Petrolino found the SCA in Drachenwald and formed a canton of Bright Hills in 1994, it has since become a shire. The majority were Italian persona and the name roughly means eastern coast. The osprey on the device is a local bird and the two heads are reminiscent of Rome’s eagle.
The shire of Roxbury Mill in Montgomery County, Maryland is another group formed out of Storvik and is named after an actual mill.
The incipient canton of Sudentor is in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the southern part of Stierbach and the name is southern gate in German.
Farther west, the College of Caer Gelin was founded around 1995 by students at Fluvanna County High School, whose history teacher, Katerina von Wolfenburg, had been taking them to events. Although they had been supported by Isenfir, the closest group, shires cannot have subgroups so they are part of Caer Mear. As a medieval club, they had originally been known as Abbey of Borrowed Thoughts, but Caer Gelin (tower of youth in Welsh) was submitted to reflect their ages and connection. This name has now been rejected and similar ones are being considered.
Also in Caer Mear is Rivers Point, a canton at the confluence of the James and Appomattox rivers.
In southwest Virginia, Azurmont canton was formed by the members in the Roanoke area of Black Diamond, taking its name from being in the Blue Ridge mountains. The shire of Drachentor (dragon tower) formed in Danville.
The College of Rencester, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, is part of the Barony of Tir-y-Don and was started in 1990. Apparently it rains a lot and the name is Anglo-Saxon for “rain city”, which was picked even before the group started. The newsletter is the Deluge. .
In North Carolina, the Barony of Sacred Stone has several new cantons. Aire Faucon takes its name from the nearby group of Falcon Cree. Sarum Henge in Salisbury is still incipient. Sarum was the Roman town at Salisbury, England. Crois Brigte is an incipient canton of Sacred Stone, named after Brigit, both a pagan goddess and a Christian saint. The device has a St. Brigit’s cross. A cross was sometimes placed at Irish crossroads and they are between Hindscroft and the rest of the barony. It was part of shire of Hindscroft, itself formerly part of the barony. Guardians of the Sacred Stone has changed its name to Charlesbury Crossing. It is centered on Charlotte, a female variant of Charles, bury is a fortified place, and it is a crossroads to the surrounding counties of the canton.
Nimenfeld is a canton formed by the members living in between the already active cantons of Elvegast and Attilium in Windmaster’s Hill barony. The name is Saxon for a “new, common ground”, describing their situation.
Raven’s Cove is on a cove of the coast and the county’s device has a raven. It was originally the Camp LeJeune part of Cathanar and went independent when they had enough people. It is still called a stronghold, although only half military now.
Calodine has now become Crannog Mor, Welsh for big rock (it is in the mountains).
Saint George’s canton was formed in 1997 from part of Falcon Cree canton in Nottinghill Coill. The group honors the chivalrous ideals of their patron saint and has an annual event (Feast of the Dragon) near his feast day of April 23. Another new canton in South Carolina is Ritterwald. Misty Marsh by the Sea is a canton of the Barony of Hidden Mountain, whose name was chosen to symbolize the local geography. This is carried through on the device, which has blue and white for the sea and cattails for the marsh.
Supplement for Atlantian 25 Year
Hawkwood has become a barony.
Abhain Iarthair is an incipient canton in the western part of Sudentor. It was tentatively Hartsbane, from the dead deer on the roads, but the membership wanted something Gaelic that reflected the local area, so they came up with “west river” for the Shenandoah River flowing through their territory. The device still has the stags from Hartsbane.
Iles des Diamants (islands of diamonds) had several French-speaking members and is a canton in Hidden Mountain.
Sarum Henge has become Salesberie Glen.