|Crown Province of Østgarðr|
Argent, a sea-horse erect azure within a laurel wreath vert.
The Crown Province of Østgarðr encompasses the 5 boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island) as well as Nassau County and Westchester and Putnam counties. It is the original core of the East Kingdom, forming when a number of SCA people moved east around 1968 and settled in New York.
Østgarðr predates the formation of the East Kingdom, indeed the East was born out of Østgarðr. The story of how and why it exists as the Crown Province rather than a Crown Province, or as a Barony or Province is complicated.
In the early days of the East, Østgarðr was the East, the Kingdom and the group were effectively the same. Other local groups were, of course, founded in the kingdom, but in early versions of Kingdom Law the Crown was required to live within 50 miles of New York City. Østgarðr was, therefore, ruled directly by the Crown. It was a "Province" ruled by the "Crown." The group designation is obvious.
Eventually, the law was changed, and just as eventually someone outside the NYC area won Crown Tournament. Since the new Crown would not be resident in the Province, the outgoing King, Aonghais II, decided to appoint someone to administer the land in his stead. He appointed Count Vardak Viceroy.
As time went on, and things at the Kingdom and Corporate level became more organized, it was formally decided and embedded in East Kingdom law that Østgarðr would function as a Barony, and the Viceregents would function as Barons/Baronesses. Due to the grandfather clause this state persists, although all new groups must conform to Corpora, which defines a Province "equivalent of barony without ceremonial representative."
The Province, thus, is unique in the SCA by virtue of being a 'Province' with a ceremonial representative (or two.)
In the mists of time, the "Nameless Province" needed a name. Rumours abound as to how the name originated and who came up with it, but the final result was Østgarðr, which is old Norse for "East City" or "East Castle," along the lines of "Micklegarðr" which was the name the Norse used for Constantinople.
However, the legend goes that someone discovered or decided that if you misspelled the name using the Latin alphabet, "Ostgardr," it means "Cheese Farm." Thus was born the tradition of the inhabitants calling themselves Cheese Farmers and a plethora of cheese related jokes and schtick.
- Vardak Mirceavitch Basarabov of Iloi, 1st Viceroy (January 3 1976 - ?)
- Casandra of Bethel, 2nd Viceroy (not Vicerine) ( ? - January 1980)
- Ian Mitchell and Katherine Gillesfleur, 3rd Viceroy and 1st Vicerine (January 1980 - September 2006)
- Alexandre Lerot d'Avigne and Eularia Trewe, 4th Viceroy and 2nd Vicerine (September 2006 - September 2011)
- Gui avec Cheval de Guise and Johanne i Visby, 5th Viceroy and 3rd Vicerine (September 2011 - )
At this time, the Crown Province has two formal awards.
- The Order of the Seahorse
- The Order of the Seahorse is granted by the Viceregency to those citizens of the Province who have distinguished themselves in the arts or to those persons who have served Østgarðr whether resident or not. The qualifications are entirely subjective and are given at the whim of the Viceregency. Citizens of Østgarðr are encouraged to nominate those worthy of this honor to the Viceregency. (Extracted from the Bylaws of the Crown Province)
- The Order of the Seadog
- The Order of the Seadog is granted by the Viceregency to citizens for service at the Canton level. Citizens of Østgarðr are encouraged to nominate those worthy of this honor to the Viceregency. (Extracted from the Bylaws of the Crown Province)
There are also a few other honors and distinctions in the Crown Province.
- The Østgarðrian Ladies' Favor
- Bestowed by the Vicereine (if any) upon the person who has most distinguished him/herself both on and off the list field. She may, if she chooses, confer with the other Ladies of Østgarðr. The Favor is worn for one year and may be rebestowed on the same person. (Extracted from the Bylaws of the Crown Province)
- The Honor of the Sea Star
- Bestowed by the Viceregency upon individuals who have, on a particular occasion, served the Province well and "made things happen". May be repeated. (Extracted from the Bylaws of the Crown Province)
Notes on awards and honors: There is an unofficial augmentation available for the Seahorse, "with Seaweed Clusters." There have been three Seahorses with Seaweed Clusters given. The first was given to the Premier of the Order, Countess Aidan ni Leir, presumably by Count Barak the First Viceroy. The second and third were given to Ian Mitchell and Catherine Gillesfleur, the Third Viceroy and First Vicerine, by their successors, Alexandre and Eularia. The award was given on the day that Alexandre and Eularia were invested, which is to say the same day that Ian and Katherine stepped down after twenty-six years and nine months as Viceregents.
The Ladies' Favor has not been current for some time, and it is unknown if the new Vicerine will revive it.
In the reign of Ian and Katherine, the Seastar was traditionally awarded at events for service at that event. However, sometimes "back Seastars" were given at subsequent events. Alexandre and Eularia have opted to award Seastars in Viceregal Court at a subsequent event to raise the profile of the honor.
- Lion's End encompasses Nassau County, Long Island
- Northpass encompasses Westchester and Putnam counties north of the city limits
- Whyt Whey is the County of New York (mostly the island of Manhattan)
- Brokenbridge is the Borough of Brooklyn
There are a few regular and semi-regular events in Østgarðr and her cantons:
- The Agincourt event is usually held in November, and features tournaments where archery, fencing and heavy weapons all interact to determine who wins - the French or English. It has not been held for some years.
- Celtic Silliness is a spring event with a variety of humourous themes. It has not been held for some years.
- The Feast of John Barleycorn is held by the canton of Northpass in the fall. There is usually a brewing competition and Sir Edward's Unbelted Challenge Tourney
http://www.ostgardr.org - the Crown Province's website