The Canton of Whyt Whey was founded in the late 1980s, with its name registration appearing on the January 1990 LoAR. In the decades since, the original population has moved out of our region and been replaced by a new generation of participants, for whom the old name didn’t have the same valence, and over the last few years an effort was undertaken to consider possible changes.
Following a great deal of thought, the populace settled on Appleholm as its new name, for which the forms were submitted this month. I thought folks might be interested in the documentation we included to support the registration.
Appleholm is a constructed Middle English place name.
Apple is an English word for a variety of tree-borne fruit. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. appel) provides an example from Boece (circa 1380), Chaucer’s translation of a work by Boethius: “And autumpne comith ayein hevy of apples.” The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names (Watts) provides examples of its use in compound place names such as Applby, Appleford, and Appleton.
Holm is an element of English place names meaning land rising from the water, such as islands in a harbor or a meadow by the side of a stream. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. hōlm) provides an example from Promptorium Parvulorum (1440), Anglicus Galfridus’s Middle English-to-Latin dictionary: “Holm, of a sonde yn the see.” English Place-Name Elements (Smith, s.n. holmr) provides examples of its use in compound place names with varieties of plants such as Brackenholm, Bromholm, and Dockholm.
A petition of unanimous support from our branch officers is included with this submission.
There is no provision to maintain retired branch names as there is for “ancient and honorable” arms, so in order to preserve this remanent of the canton’s history, a parallel submission was made to register a household name using the same elements.
The Companie of the Grate Whyt Whey is a constructed Middle English household name.
Company is an English household designator found in SENA Appendix E.
“Company of <place name>” is an attested pattern for association names in English.
Companie is a period English spelling of company. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. cǒmpaignīe) provides an example from De Re Militari around 1450: “Þe worþiest persone in þe companie.”
Great White Way is a constructed English place name for an area marked by a major thoroughfare with a pale appearance.
Great is an adjective that may appear before English place names, as documented in “Compound Placenames in English” by Juliana de Luna.
Grate is a period English spelling of great. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. grēt) provides an example from Mallory dated around 1470: “They threste togedyrs and eythir gave other grate strokis.”
Whiteway is a place name in Dorset, derived from the highly-visible hillside road worn by centuries of traffic exposing the underlying bright white chalk. Period spellings include “Whyteweye” dated to 1329 in J. Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (3rd edition), ed. W. Shipp and J. W. Hodson, 1861-70.
Whyt Whey is our current branch name, until the processing of the name change submitted simultaneously with this registration, and thus covered by the existing registration allowance.
Whyt is a period English spelling of white. The Oxford English Dictionary (s.n. white) provides an example from an inventory of 1568: “whyt reged cowe.”
Whey is an interpolated variant spelling of way, in the sense of road or path. Attested period spellings include waie, way, waye, wegh, wei, wey, weye, and whay. Given this diversity, we believe that whey would have been a plausible spelling of the word in period.
For context, the canton’s existing name is a reference to one of our most famous landmarks, the Great White Way, a modern name for a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan’s Theater District where bright outdoor lighting was first introduced at the start of the twentieth century.
When the canton’s name was submitted in the late 1980s, the branch’s founders wanted to name it the Canton of the Grate Whyt Whey but were advised by a local herald that the word Grate was unregistrable; many old-timers are still bitterly disappointed by this omission. The spelling of Whey was selected as an homage to the canton’s parent branch, Østgarðr, whose name might be read by a modern Scandanavian as Ostgård, the contemporary Swedish word for “cheese farm.”
As we prepare to change our canton’s name to reflect a new generation of participants, we would like to preserve the old name as part of our history, ideally in the form our founders originally intended. Including the word Great / Grate would help to communicate their intended theatrical reference while avoiding a potentially offensive misreading of the name as racially exclusionary.