July Commons Minutes

The Whyt Whey Canton Commons meeting was held yesterday, July 7, by video conference. The minutes below were recorded by Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin and reviewed by Alienor Salton.

Officers and Residents Present:

  • Alienor, Canton Seneschal
  • Ibrahim, Canton Exchequer
  • Angelica, Canton Chatelaine
  • Alasdar, Canton Herald
  • Zahra, Provincial Chronicler
  • Mathghamhain

Provincial Guests:

  • Friderich, Provincial Webminister
  • Ervald, Provincial Marshal of Armored Combat

Absent Officers:

  • Berakha, Arts & Sciences
  • Simon, Webminister

Call started at 7:00 PM and ended at 8:30 PM, with time split evenly between two topics.


Mathghamhain: I’m excited for this event to be back on our calendar. Planning has started. We’ll mostly be following the same pattern as in previous years, perhaps with a few changes. If you have input on layout / activities / logistics, or want to volunteer to help, please get in touch with me at 231060@members.eastkingdom.org.

We have a good relationship with the new festival organizer. We’re getting paid a larger stipend which should both cover expenses and leave us some additional funds to use for other activities. Because we’re the anchor attraction for the “South Lawn” area we may be able to exercise a bit more control over the layout of the space.

For fighting, we have traditionally had a single list field and split it up over the day, cycling between armored and fencing in hour-long blocks — should we do this again, or attempt to set up two separate lists each dedicated to one form?

  • Ibrahim: We typically only have a handful of fencers, who might not want to fight for five hours straight. Also, running two lists will make it hard to manage the attention of the crowd. It’s helpful to have an announcer / herald / MC who explains the fighting to the crowd and helps them to feel involved.
  • Mathghamhain: Ervald has played the role of MC quite effectively in the past.
  • Ervald: I can do that again this year.
  • Ervald: I expect we’ll have the local armored combat crowd from the McCarren practice as well as a few people from further afield.
  • Ervald: For the armored fighters, two hour-long blocks with a ninety-minute break in the middle gives folks enough time to take their armor off and eat lunch before armoring back up for the second round.

In addition to the fighting, we’ll have a couple of other activities that run continuously throughout the day:

  • A&S display — we’ve typically had a good range of displays, including fiber arts, scribal, armor & weaponry, and more — metal, wood, glass, all would be welcome.
  • Sofya is going to set up an immersive fashion atelier.
  • Chatelaines point — we need to recruit people to staff this.
  • Children’s point — Angelica has run this in the past; maybe Kunigunde and/or Arnora could step in this year?

In the past we’ve also designated a space for performances and had activities cycle in and out during the course of the day:

  • A few years ago we invited bards and musicians to take blocks of 30-60 minutes.
    • Ervald: Ask John and Rufina if they would like to perform.
  • Some years we’ve had someone lead renaissance dance sessions.
  • Some years we’ve had a “fashion show” featuring Scadians showing off their garb.

Some years we’ve also had hands-on classes, which were quite well received by the public.

Alienor: Can we set up more structure around the back-stage potluck to ensure that we don’t end up with multiple people all bringing the same thing?

  • Mathghamhain: I understand the impulse, but my notes from last Cloisters indicate that this is a challenge every year, and no amount of nudging actually gets people to work out the details in advance. I think instead the thing to do is just to encourage people to bring food/drinks, and accept that there’s a chance that we might have too many bagels, or no bagels and just donuts, or whatever. And thankfully there are lots of food vendors on-site.
  • Ervald: But don’t wait to visit the vendors late in the day, or the good stuff will be sold out!
  • Alienor: It would help if there was someone specifically assigned to circulating around and making sure that all of our people were taking breaks, had gotten lunch at a reasonable time, weren’t getting too much sun, etc.
  • Mathghamhain: Yes, I should recruit someone to specifically focus on that.

Mathghamhain: Over the coming weeks, I will post more information to the mailing list and Facebook, including:

  • Maps of site layout in previous years and proposals for this year.
  • Staffing for key roles and positions we still need to fill.
  • Equipment we’ll need on site (pavilion, popups, ropes, chairs, tables, bottled water).
  • Logistics for parking and transit.

Canton Name Change

Mathghamhain: I put together a document with the names that were noted as favorites by officers and canton residents grouped by theme.

Ervald: I didn’t know that naming the branch after Sir Edward had been discussed. When that idea was suggested decades ago, Edward suggested it might be called Gendyville.

  • Mathghamhain: I didn’t know Edward well, but he struck me as a humble and self-effacing man. Would he have wanted the branch to be named after him?
  • Ervald: He’s the one who suggested Gendyville, and joked that he should be referred to as a god.

Ibrahim: I need to go soon, so wanted to voice my preferences. I am in complete agreement with the points that Zahra posted on the Canton list – we should stick to English (or old- or middle-English) type names. No Norse. The more I chew it over, the more I like Gothingham.

Angelica: I want an easy to remember and spell name with no special characters.

Friderich: I like the Germanic cultures, but sadly in today’s environment, anything Norse is a magnet for white supremacy. What about Appleham?

  • Mathghamhain: If Norse is problematic, does the same thing apply to Anglo-Saxon and Old English?
  • Zahra: Most people can’t tell the difference.

Zahra: Because it’s our common language, English is neutral, and it’s the only language for which that is true. If we pick a Norse name, how do we explain why didn’t we choose French, or Spanish, or Chinese, or Mongol, or any other language?

  • Alienor: Norse is compatible with the Province’s name, and it suits the migration-period focus of many of our most-active local participants.

Alienor: It’s important to me that we end up with a name that our current members can love. Part of what drew me to the Ithunn family of names is that multiple people were enthusiastic about it. If you want another name, please make an enthusiastic case for it.

Zahra: I like the Canton of A Thousand Towers. It’s alliterative. It’s suggestive of Manhattan’s skyline. It evokes glamor, and castles, and adventures.

  • Zahra: If “thousand” is difficult to register, we could use “hundred” as another way of saying “uncountably many,” but “thousand” is more alliterative.
  • Angelica: Thousand Towers is certainly alliterative and evocative of Manhattan.
  • Mathghamhain: I don’t love the name, probably because of my perspective as a herald; I can’t find any historical examples that it fits with, so it ends up seeming more like a name from a fantasy novel. But I know that perspective is not widely shared, and to be fair, a lot of the SCA’s impetus does come from fantasy novels.
  • Mathghamhain: I’m concerned that “Thousand Towers” is uncomfortably close to “Canton of the Towers” located north of Boston. Are there other words we could substitute?
  • Zahra: “Thousand Spires” might sound nice but it’s widely used as a name for Prague. “Thousand Steeples” is too religious. “Thousand Castles” doesn’t evoke our skyline.

Angelica: What about Castleton? Or Canton of the Cloisters? Or the Cloistered Canton? Or Canton of A Thousand Cloisters? Or Cloistered Towers?

  • Friderich: Cloisters is irretrievably religious. What about Canton of a Thousand Keeps?

Alienor: Thank you, Zahra, for making a heartfelt case for “Thousand Towers.” I can imagine choosing a non-Ithunn name but still tapping into the Ithunn mythology as a source of inspiration for the canton.

Mathghamhain: I love the idea of the Lady Liberty theme, but none of the names really clicked for me.

  • Maybe Canton of the Lady of the Lantern? Or Canton of the Lantern?

Mathghamhain: Looking ahead, when filing for a branch name change, the College of Arms wants to see evidence that the majority of the populace supports the change, either in the form of a petition signed by a majority of the populace, or by three-quarters of the officers. We only have six officers, so we need five officers to support the change.

Alienor: Thanks everyone, this was a productive conversation, and I’ll set up another round of discussion in the coming weeks.