The History of the Barony of the Middle Marches
Added 19 Jan 2009
Groups of the Barony
I have mentioned many names of places within the Barony. Names and dates do not mean as much unless there is some background on them. From past to present, what follows is a listing of the groups of the Middle Marches culled from sources already listed.
The March of the Marshes was originally the Baronial Seat. Like most groups, especially those involved with colleges, it faded and revived more than once. Count Jehan brought the original banner to show me when we met at Blackstone Raids. It was old and tattered and wonderful. "Argent, a pale and base echancree at the points of juncture gules, overall in chief a laurel wreath vert." Marshes became a full status canton around December of 1993 as the group was finally able to forge a core of members who would stay when all the rest matriculated.
As mentioned prior to this, Cleftland nearly became the first branch in Ohio. According to its written history and many of the folk I have contacted, this group had troubles from its inception. Like so many groups, politics and personalities, and factionism nearly tore it asunder. Cleftlands' arms show its diverse nature. "Per bend sinister nebuly argent and azure, issuant from each projection a flame proper, in canton a laurel wreath vert." The river which splits Cleftlands once burned and survived. Cleftlands still survives just like the river and is a strong Barony, having split from Middle Marches in May of 1978.
I have a special place in my heart for Dernehealde, for that is where I was introduced to the Society. I was not able to stay long, either. It came into being around February of 1974 and its name means "The Place Where Men Go to Dream." Well, the Ohio University campus is a beautiful place to dream, be they man or woman. It was the Baronial Seat for awhile and it was where Duke Talymar "...first wandered into the Barony." 17 It was always an active shire in spite of losing student members every so often. I was herald for a very short time there and had no files. I was told my predecessor took them to Cleftlands and refused to give them back. I most likely messed up the Regional and Dragon Heralds, since I didn't know anything at all about the job - or that much about the Society for t hat matter - and by the time we did get the files, I had to leave. heigh-ho my, heady days those. Work full-time and school full-time and, in between, go with my lord to the brand new Mall in garb. How heads did turn. For some unknown reason, the blazon for Dernehealde was left from the roll in the Herald's Handbook. I hope that will be remedied if a new edition is printed. Registered in 1982, it is "Azure, atop a cloud argent a tower Or enfiled at its base by a laurel wreath vert." 18
Gwyntarian managed to start some twenty-five years ago in spite of the tragedy taking place on the campus of Kent State. According to Lord Patraic O'Dochartaigh, who lives there, it was originally a shire and was granted the right to use the designation of Marche by the Crown. Because Welsh is such a peculiarly ruled language, Gwyntarian means "White Shield" and "Smell of Money." Gwyntarian has had its share of fading and revival and is healthy once more. It was the Archers Guild that ultimately kept it from failing and being dissolved. It has registered "Azure, two bars wavy argent, overall a laurel wreath vert, a chief nebuly argent." It has exceptionally good archers and several Guilds.
As mentioned before, it has its own "goddess" named Clariel and her specialty is pulling who's ever chestnuts from the fire when problems occur. 19 Baroness Grassa coined the phrase, "The Greater Empire of Gwyntarian" and it was used for schtick and that was all it was meant to be, but many times it was perceived otherwise.
Another Clariel story that Lord Patraic told me concerns the fighting contingent one Pennsic. They had not done very well in prior Pennsics and they hoped to do better. As they marched to the battlefield, whom should they pass but their beloved "goddess." All in the spirit of fun, she blessed them and, at that exact moment, a shaft of sunlight struck down upon the fighters from a very overcast sky. It was indeed a sign as those fighters never fought better in their lives and it was their added presence and skill that turned the tide so that the Midrealm won the field battle for the first time in quite a while. Even though Kent State eventually did away with the student organization - there were no students in it - a new site, Fred Fuller Park, was found.
The matter of Thor's Anvil is a delicate one because of the pain and bitterness that occurred. It was a shire from January of 1976 to April 14, 1979. I will only say that factionism, strong personalities, and politics were running far beyond rampant and it led to putting the group in abeyance as it was damaging not only the Barony, but the Kingdom as well. More I will not willingly say - ask me privately and keep it so, if you must. Because of a good core group of students, they could function solely as a student group and they did so, taking the name Silverthorn Commons. But, this didn't last long as the group was permitted to hold practices and events under the auspices of a sponsoring group. Shortly after the Thor's Anvil incident, Baron Galen moved to Columbus and so helped the group as a Baronial sponsor. From this point on, things began to gel and prosper. As they still had no name, they chose the Irish Gaelic "Beagnach" or "Almost." This still didn't wear well, so Baroness Eleanor suggested the name, "Tirnewydd" which means "New Land" in Welsh. A device was submitted and passed, "Argent, fretty gules, a laurel wreath and issuant from base, a demi-sun Or." Also a badge was submitted and passed, "Argent fretty gules, a Sun Or within a bordure gules." At the time of this writing a new device and badge are being submitted. Tirnewydd is going through a growth spurt of late; the more the merrier. The Drake Union and the Marina became too small, so fighter practice and meetings are now held at Royer Hall. A great many Peers of all the Orders reside in or play with Tirnewydd. It will be the next Baronial Seat.
The March of Harondor sounds like something out of Tolkien. There was no date in the "Book of Lists" and it faded so fast that most folk remember the first group in the Youngstown/ Warren area to be the Shire of Quickenbushe, also spelled without the final "e". Since most of the core members were gamers, it is possible that those who brought Harondor so briefly to life were gamers also. It came into being around 1975. Master Todric mentioned to me that all the members were old enough to go on to College "...so they did and the group dissolved."
Which brings us then to the March of Iron Demons in more or less the same spot a few years later. First mention in The Pale was 1979. The name was registered, but there is no mention in the O&A for a device. Gamers once more formed the core membership and it was named for the GM-Lordstown Auto Assembly Plant that was nearby, according to Master Todric, who was also the original Seneschal. He wrote to me of a very familiar tale - personalities, factions, and politics in the form of Tuchux, Hordesmen, and "Kingdomers" and they were "unable to manage such a wealth of diversity." He agreed with Duke Talymar's assessment that personalities and the abuse of power finished the group. Master Todric asked King Emrys to visit incognito and he did, much to his displeasure. The treatment he received as a supposed newcomer was base and churlish and it is Master Todric's understanding that His Majesty told the Kingdom Seneschal to "Salt the earth at Youngstown." That was a harsher sentence than Thor's Anvil received as there could be no group in that place for five years. But, five years passed and the Shire of Three Swords sprang up. "Per pale gules and azure, two swords in saltire surmounted by a sword in pale proper, and in chief, two laurel wreathes Or" was its blazon. At the time the groups in the northern part of the Barony wanted to split off, there appeared to be no group in Youngstown, though eighty paid members in that general area. 20 Even now, Master Todric admits that he feels less than objective about what happened to Iron Demons.
The Shire of Gleann Iarainn is still incipient at the time of this writing and is the farthest-flung shire in the Barony. Its name means "Iron Valley." The folk there are warm and fun-loving, are excellent artisans, good fighters, and have been that way since 1994. A river is the border between them and Port Oasis, which I believe to have gone independent of Aethelmearc. This relieves my heart, for when they were so close to the Eastern Kingdom before Aethelmaerc declared itself free of the East, it would have caused great grief in the Barony that none might have been saved alive from the Wars that sometimes beset the Middle and the East.
Mugmort is a shire that has been around since the late 1970's or very early 1980's. At this time, most of the Baronial Officers reside or play there. I like to go to meetings there when I can. Ironhawk told me there were quite a few brewers and vintners among the original members and they loved to consume the fruits of their labors...and consume a lot of it. Ergo, they decided to have for their device, "Sable, on a mug inverted bendwise sinister argent an acorn sable and on a chief embattled argent, a laurel wreath sable" to reflect on its name, meaning "Death of the Cup." Like Tirnewydd, Mugmort has been going through a period of fast growth with the new members making meetings more often than not. Like Tirnewydd, Mugmort has its share of Peers and other notables.
In 1993, Caer Brig was in the modern territory called Zanesville and one of that town's claims to fame is a bridge shaped like a Y. Therein hangs a tale. The folk of this shire, which became a canton two years later, were vastly proud of this edifice and wished to honor it in the name of their canton and their device. Alas, once more the rules of language caused a change. They found that Brig did not mean bridge, but more like a castle or a stronghold. Consulting with Master Fulk von Pfaffenhausen, a herald of long standing, cook extraordinaire, and brewer of strange and wonderful potables, the proper word was produced and the canton became Caer Frig. This change was right before their first event and some of the Populace in the Barony decided to tease these good souls, calling them the "Friggin' Brigands without a friggin' caer in the world." You could hear their former Seneschal, Lady Deirdre ni Coinin, smiling as she recounted that story. Their device reads, "Azure, on a shakefork argent, three towers palewise azure, in chief a laurel wreath argent." They have been having some difficulties in the last year or so, but the last word I have had of them indicates they may be getting back on their feet.
Falcon's Quarry became an independent shire when the Middle Marches split off the new Barony to the north. Lady Adrianna de la Telarana, the branch Seneschal, was quite cordial as she told me that things were going well in her part of the Knowne Worlde. They have had many events, and it's to be hoped they will have many more. They do not seem to miss the advantages to being a part of a Barony and perhaps that is as it should be. We have always been so diverse a Society and that is what makes us strong. "Per bend sinister wavy azure and argent masoned sable, a falcon striking contourney, wings displayed Or and a laurel wreath vert" is their device.
In AS IX or X, the March of the Crossing of the Red Spears settled into the modern Toledo area and created a new place on the map of the Middle Marches. There are two stories as to how it got its name. 21
In the late nineteenth century, Michigan and Ohio were squabbling as to which state should have Toledo as it is close in proximity to both. Rhetoric flew thick and fast and into the fray came the phrase "...crossing the red spears of war...." Poetic enough as they have such doughty fighters and their share of Peers who reside there. The second story has a map as the inspiration as there are train tracks in the area that cross as if in saltire and are delineated in red, hence "Crossing of the Red Spears." One or both can be true, it does not change the fact that this march (updated to March of the Red Spears in 1990) was a bulwark of the Barony in times of need. Like all the other groups, it had its share of bad or lean times, but always reinvented themselves. This last reinvention was to the status of Barony in April of 1991. "Or, two boar spears in saltire surmounted by another palewise gules, overall a laurel wreath vert" is the device. Hrodgeirsfjord is now the name of the Toledo group. Until travelling to speak with Duke Andrew, I had not been in that country. Now that I have seen it, I should like to return more often.
The March of the Fenix came flaming onto the Baronial map in 1975 and was later ceded to the Barony of Flaming Gryphon. It was updated in the Ordinary and Armorial in 1992 to Shire. "Sable, a phoenix of flames statant, wings elevated and addorsed, issuant from flames proper and in canton, a laurel wreath Or" is the device they registered.
The March of Three Towers is located in the modern place called Mansfield and it is now a part of the new Barony to the north. It was first mentioned in the "Book of Lists" in April of 1994 and registered its name a year later. Its device is "Ermine, three towers sable, that in base within a laurel wreath vert, a bordure embattled gules" that was passed in 1998.
Cluaran/The March of Thistle. These two names are for the same geographic place, but at differing times. In the "Book of Lists" it showed as Cluaran-Carithil and was mentioned in The Pale in May of AS XV. "The Vigil" also has many mentions of Cluaran, but when they would meet was just about the extent of it. According to Lady Iseut la Gaunt-Roussie, Cluaran was Scots Gaelic for thistle, but there was already a modern clan by that name. So, they left it at Thistle. By the time I came to research this group, one of my possible sources was journeying beyond the Sea and could not be reached for comment. The name "March of Thistle" was registered in September of 1984 and the device, "Vert, on a bend sinister between two laurel wreaths argent, a thistle and another inverted conjoined at the slips proper" was registered in 1992.
The March of Flaming Sword came into existence in 1976 or 1977 and was part of the lands given to the Barony of Flaming Gryphon. "Or, three swords those in chief inverted gules, in chief a laurel wreath vert, all within a bordure gules ermined Or" was registered in 1990 while the name was passed in 1983.
A group that seems to overlap in territory with Flaming Sword (Middletown), is the March of the Unicorn, a beautiful place were one expects to see that mythical beast resting its head in the lap of an innocent. (Middletown/Oxford). It was mentioned in The Pale in October of 1975 and was ceded to Flaming Gryphon to be one of the jewels of that Barony. "Gyronny of sixteen azure and argent, a unicorn rampant and in chief a laurel wreath Or" is their device, but gyronny wreaks havoc with my eyes, but that is the fault of these contrary orbs of mine that do not wish to see as they ought.
The Incipient College of Windreach is also located in a place of great beauty and learning mundanely called Kenyon College in Gambier. They are doing very well for themselves these days, though they are few and studies take much of their time. Their branch name and device was passed about eight months prior to this writing and their badge was passed this Spring. Proudly does "Per pale purpure and Or, a dragonfly between four laurel wreaths two and two counterchanged" grace their banner and proudly do they bear the badge, "Fieldless, a dragonfly purpure." But, a group had been there before these intrepid souls settled in, that was called The College of Hidden Well. It was sponsored by Thistle even as Windreach is sponsored by Tirnewydd. The name "Hidden Well" comes from a historical artifact. It seems the founder of the college either dug or supervised the digging of the school's original well. As the town grew, it was where a street should go and so it was graced with a large brass plaque level with the street. It is there still.
Winged Hills' first incarnation in April of 1974 was Flying Hills. Count Jehan recalled how Duke Andrew's brother-in-law, Jason the Scarred - named so because his bucket-helm betrayed him by slipping and cutting his nose, leaving a scar when it healed - moved to the Dayton area and decided to found his own group. Yellow Springs was also included in that territory. By July of that year, it had been "virtually reinvented" and was mentioned in The Pale as the March of Winged Hills. Their name and device were both registered in 1983. "Or, two wings conjoined sable and on a base indented of three points vert, a laurel wreath Or." They have a badge "Fieldless, on a three-peaked mountain couped vert, a vol Or." They are still doing well, though it has been long since they were part of the Middle Marches.
This document an unofficial, private publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and is copyrighted ©1999 by Douglas Needham and Becky (Needham) Palmer. It may be copied for non-commercial personal use so long as the copyright message is preserved. All other rights are reserved.