Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Flower Names for Women, part 2

Heralds frequently are asked to document given names for women based on flowers.  This post is the second in a series;  it focuses on flower names in French (and its related dialects).

All entries are formatted so that they can be cut and pasted into OSCAR.

Angelique (referring to the flower angelica) is found in "Something Rich and Strange: “Undocumentable” Names From The IGI Parish Records" by Alys Mackyntoich (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/SomethingRichandStrange.html) s.n. Angelique dated from 1579 onwards.

Eglantina (meaning "wild rose") is an Occitan name found in "Names from Fourteenth Century Foix" by Cateline de la Mor (https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/cateline/foix.html).

Fleur de Lys is found in "Late Period French Feminine Names" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael  (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/latefrench.html) dated to 1478, 1537, 1575.

Fleurance (meaning "blooming, flowery") is found in "Late Period French Feminine Names" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael  (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/latefrench.html)  dated to 1507.

Laurencia (meaning "lavender") is found in the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources s.n. Laurencia (http://dmnes.org/name/Laurencia), dated to 1273, 1300.  The French vernacular forms Lorence and Laurence are found in the same entry.

Marguerite (meaning "daisy") in "Late Period French Feminine Names" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael  (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/latefrench.html) dated from 1395 onwards.

Olive (meaning "olive tree") is found in several forms in French in the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources s.n. Olive (http://dmnes.org/name/Olive).  Forms include the Latinized Oliva (c. 823, 1311) and the vernacular Olive  (1565-1568) and Olyve (1567).

Rose is found in "Late Period French Feminine Names" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael  (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/latefrench.html) dated to 1569.

Yolent (meaning "flower") is found in the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources s.n. Yolanda (http://dmnes.org/name/Yolanda) dated to 1292 and 1302.  The alternate French spelling Hyolent is found in the same entry, dated to 1292.

Middle English Writ for a Pelican

I was greatly honored to be asked to write the words for +Molly Eskridge 's Writ for the Order of the Pelican.  I'll be doing her scroll text as well, but that's somewhat in the future.

Being for Dreda, it HAD to be in Middle English.

By þe Kyng.  By þe Quene: Vnto Aildreda de Tamwurthe, ryght trusty and welbeloued.  By a supplicacion putte vnto vs yn name of þe Ordre of þe Pellicane, We woll and charge you expressely þat ye appere in owre presence vpon 27 Mai in þe Shere of Panthervale, þe seid day to answare wheþer ye accepte stallacion vnto þe Ordre afore-written.  We neyþer may ne wol haue your commynge vnto Vs excused in eny manere.  Yeuen vpoun 1 Aprill in þe fyfty-fryst yere of the Societee.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

For Engracia's OGR

For my cadet +Cathy Griswold's elevation, we decided to go Spanish, to fit her persona.  The magnificent scroll, by +Nataliia Hurd, was from a Spanish model, and +Rhiannon theCurious translated my English text (based on an original Spanish source) back into Spanish.

Here is the source page that Nataliia used for the C&I design:  https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=12793

Even though people thought the text very long, this is only 190 words.  It was structured so that the initial word could be in two large ornamented capitals, just as in model for the scroll.


On 11 February, in the fifty-first year of the Society, in our Royal Court at Concordia of the Snows, We, Brion the King and Anna the Queen, before a sufficient assemblage of peers, knights, masters, companions, nobles, and good citizens of the realm, granted and endowed Engracia de Madrigal with the Order of the Golden Rapier, along with all rights, privileges, immunities, obligations, benefits, allowances and entitlements attendant thereupon, as much as have been endowed to any and all other members of the aforenamed Order.  Our grant and endowment to the abovesaid Engracia, having been examined and fully understood by us, is hereby approved, commended, confirmed, executed, and ratified, and we promise to keep, observe, and fulfill all the abovesaid that is set forth therein, and every part and parcel of it, really and effectively.  We further renounce all fraud, evasion, falsehood, and pretense, and avow, for ourselves and for our heirs and successors, that we shall not violate the above-stated grant and endowment, or any part of it, at any time or in any manner whatsoever.  In attestation and corroboration whereof, we sign our names to this our charter.


El 11 de febrero, en el año cincuenta y uno de la Sociedad, en Nuestra Corte Real en Concordia of the Snows, Nosotros, Brion el Rey y Ana la Reina, ante un conjunto suficiente de señores, caballeros, maestros, compañeros, buenos ciudadanos del reino, otorgaron y dotaron a Engracia de Madrigal de la Order of the Golden Rapier, junto con todos los derechos, privilegios, inmunidades, obligaciones, beneficios, y subsidios que le corresponden, tanto como se han dotado a cualquier otro miembro de la Orden antes mencionada. Nuestra concesión y dotación a la mencionada Engracia, habiendo sido examinada y plenamente comprendida por Nosotros, es por la presente aprobada, encomendada, confirmada, ejecutada y ratificada, y Nos comprometemos a guardar, observar y cumplir todo lo mencionado en ella, y cada parte de ella, realmente y eficazmente. Además, renunciamos a todo fraude, evasión, falsedad y fingimiento, y comprometemos, por Nosotros mismos y por Nuestros herederos y sucesores, que no violaremos la concesión y la dotación arriba mencionada, ni ninguna parte de ella, en cualquier momento o en cualquier manera.  En la atestación y corroboración de la cual, firmamos Nuestros nombres a ésta, Nuestra carta.

Scroll Text for the new Queen's Bard

It has become a tradition that the outgoing Bardic Champions write the scroll texts for their successors.  I was tempted to do the text in Middle English just because it is fun to work in that language, but it also limits the number of people who can read the scroll in Court.  As it turned out, it would have been particularly appropriate to do the scroll in Middle English, since the new Queen's Bard, +Wendy Gale, performed part of the Canterbury tales in Middle English on her way to victory.

Champions texts are hard to write in a purely period style, because there is simply no comparable model period document for an SCA "champion" position.  As a result, I ended up embroidering this text with language about why it's important to commit important events and deeds to writing.  The need to write stuff down in order to preserve the facts of an event against future uncertainty is a recurring theme in medieval charter-writing.

While it sounds modern, the epithet "excellently honorable and honorably excellent" is taken directly from a period letter to Matilda, Queen of Scotland:  "Excellenter honorabili, et honorabiliter excellenti, reginae Anglorum, Mathildae, T., servorum S. Cuthberti servus, in praesenti, pacis et salutis bonum; et, in futuro, bonorum omnium bonum." (https://epistolae.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/letter/800.html)

The text:

Anna, excellently honorable and honorably excellent queen of the East, to all persons of our realm, peace and health in the present, and the good of all goods in the future.  Since through the changeable course of time, which changes its position in various ways on account of the instability of human memory, things which were formerly done openly and solemnly are often rendered unknown, and thus the way lies open to errors, and the truth is very often obscured, good and notable deeds should, in a plenitude of wisdom, be committed to writing.  Thus, all of you shall know that, in our presence and the presence of assembled noble persons of the realm in our Court at Concordia of the Snows, upon February 11 in the fifty-first year of the Society, with the harmonious praise of many, Sabine de Kerbriant was proclaimed and installed as our Queen’s Bard, with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto, to have and hold the said office for the term of one year, according to the most ancient customs of the realm.  In witness whereof, We set our ensign manual below.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flower Names for Women, Part 1

Heralds frequently are asked to document names for women based on flowers.  While the name Rose and its variants are easily documentable to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, other flower- and plant-based names are more difficult to find.  This post is the first in a series documenting flower names for women.  It focuses on English and Scottish examples.  Later posts will discuss evidence of flower names in other languages.

I have not posted every instance I found, only a single example of a spelling in English or Scots.  I tried to identify the earliest instance of each spelling variant.

All of the cites below are from FamilySearch Historical Records.  They are formatted for citing in OSCAR with all of the necessary information.

Amaryllis Flamson; Female; Marriage; 14 Apr 1632; Nailstone, Leicester, England; Batch: M09633-1 ((https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N26P-TQJ)

Aster Hewett; Female; Death; 25 Aug 1618; St. Bride's Parish, London, England; Batch: B05192-7 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JZL8-BY2)  [NOTE: This may be a variant spelling of Hester rather than a reference to the flower.]

Camelia Shawe; Female; Christening; 16 Jan 1602; St Giles Cripplegate, London, London, England; Batch: C02243-2 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLNR-9QJ)

Daisy Hart; Female; Christening; 31 Aug 1620; Tattershall, Lincoln, England; Batch: C03202-4 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NYD8-M8M)

Flora Prinkeard; Female; Marriage; 28 Jan 1599; Buckland Monachorum, Devon, England; Batch: M05006-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NKYQ-34Y)
Flora Noltman; Female; Marriage; 02 Sep 1641; Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland; Batch: M11982-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYMV-82F)

Flower Dewe; Female; Marriage; 26 Jul 1599; South Huish, Devon, England; Batch: M05201-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N2L5-423)

Heather Arnole; Female; Christening; 16 Nov 1612; Saint Nicholas, Colchester, Essex, England; Batch: K13795-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N15P-QTL)

Iris [no surname]; Female; Burial; 04 Aug 1592; Goxhill, Lincoln, England; Batch: B02860-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J85D-9MD)
Irys Gulsun; Female; Marriage; 12 Oct 1544; St Modwen'S, Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire, England; Batch: M02017-4 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NV9C-H4D)

Ivie Barrington; Female; Christening; 22 Dec 1594; Linstead, Kent, England; Batch: C04299-5 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLQF-S9F)

Lilly Griffine; Female; Christening; Jan 1582; Saint Margaret, Westminster, London, England; Batch: P00160-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N5W6-HJW)
Lylly Rogers; Female; Marriage; 24 Dec 1581; Saint Margaret, Westminster, London, England; Batch: M00160-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V526-XG3)
Lylie Hamner; Female; Marriage; 28 Jun 1584; Saint Margaret, Westminster, London, England; Batch: M00160-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V52X-9M1)

Primrose Reve; Female; Christening; 12 Dec 1628; Saint Mary Somerset, London, London, England; Batch: P00149-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NY19-XF4)

Violet Charnould; Female; Christening; 26 Sep 1596; MIstley, Essex, England; Batch: C04699-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQT5-3J3)
Violett Byde; Female; Marriage; 26 Jul 1640; Jarrow, Durham, England; Batch: M00048-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLZL-14P)
Violetta Bell; Female; Marriage; 15 Sep 1642; Corby, Lincoln, England; Batch: M02766-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NXW3-151)
Violette [no surname]; Female; Christening; 20 Mar 1648; Aslackby, Lincoln, England; Batch: C02676-3 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J3T9-TM5)
Violet Jaksoune; Female; Marriage; 07 Sep 1570; Perth, Perth, Scotland; Batch: M11387-4 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XY32-P28)

Yarrow Rommett; Female; Marriage; 19 Nov 1610; Bodmin, Cornwall, England; Batch: M00275-1 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NVRT-XXH)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Secular Christmas Songs Suitable for the SCA

(draft December 10, 2016)

In England and Scotland (the focus of my studies), Christmas in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance had strong secular components.  Yuletide traditions such as the Lord of Misrule, wassailing, feasting, and the Yule log -- none of which have anything to do with the Christian religious Christmas -- were well established by the 16th century.  It is not surprising, therefore, that  a number of Christmas songs from this era lack any reference to religion but focus instead on the secular merry-making that accompanied the holiday.   I am providing here a brief overview of the research I have done in this area, as well as specifically identifying some secular songs for SCAdians who may like Christmas but are uncomfortable with overt Christianity.

I'll be adding songs as I uncover more, but I wanted to get an initial post up while it was useful for this year's holiday.

Research and Resources

The starting place for my research into secular medieval/Renaissance Christmas songs was a website called The Hymns and Carols of Christmas by Douglas D. Anderson, which compiles 20+ years of research into Christmas music.  This site provides a wealth of information, accompanied by explanatory articles, links to secondary and primary sources, and an endless supply of rabbit holes to fall into when I should be sleeping.

Among the splendid finds available electronically through Anderson's site:

Kele's Christmas Carolles (printed in London, probably between 1546 and 1552)

Edward Bliss Reed, ed., Christmas Carols Printed in the 16th Century Including Kele's Christmas Carolles Newly Inprynted. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932).

New Carolls For This Merry Time of Christmas To Sundry Pleasant Tunes. With New Additions Never Before Printed, To Be Sung To Delight The Hearers. (1661)

Edith Rickert, ed., Ancient English Christmas Carols 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1910) and also at: https://archive.org/details/ancientenglishch00rickuoft

Note also that many of these books contain only lyrics, and may not give the tune or readable modern music notation for the songs. 

Wassail Songs

The word wassail derives from the Anglo-Saxon phrase Wæs þu hæl, meaning "be thou hale."  Bands of singers and merry-makers would go from house to house in a town or village bearing good wishes.  In return, they received food and drink from the householders.  The drink was usually a sort of hot mulled cider, also called "wassail."  Wassailers could be rowdy, particularly if a householder refused to hand out the traditional treats.

Several period wassailing songs were written down, and survive to the present day.  Because the wassailing tradition is not related to the religious aspects of Christmas, wassail songs are entirely secular.

The Wassail Song ("Here We Come A-Wassailing") -- While firm dating of folk songs is often difficult, there is evidence suggesting that this song, first written down c. 1850, is actually far older.  At least one of the verses is identical to a snippet of a carol recorded during the reign of James I.

A Jolly Wassel-Bowl  - This lesser-known song is dated by Dr. Rickert to the 17th century.  It was sung to the tune of "Gallants Come Away," found near the bottom of the linked page.  You can find a midi of the tune here.

Wassail, Wassail, All Over the Town - Music for this song can be found here.  Also known as the "Gloucestershire Wassail."

Somerset Wassail ("Wassail and Wassail All Over the Town") - Despite the similarities of the opening lines, this not the same song as the Gloucestershire Wassail.

Boar's Head Carols

Boar was a traditional dish at medieval English feasts and, by the time of Henry VIII, it had become an established part of Christmas feasts.  Several songs celebrating the presentation of the boar's head as part of the feast have been recorded.  Most are not overtly religious in nature.

The Boar's Head Carol (Caput Apri defero) - This is the most famous of the boar's head songs.  It can be dated to as early as the 15th century.  It is also known as "The Boar's Head in Hand I Bear."  Other variants of the same song can be found here and here.

Tidings I Bring For You to Tell - This song tells the tale of a boar hunt and exhorts the diners to eat the boar that the singer killed.  It was first found in a late 15th century manuscript.  I am having some trouble identifying the music that accompanies the words; in the mean time, it can be put to excellent use as a recited poem.

The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here  - Dated to the reign of Henry VII.  A pdf of the music to which this is sung can be found here.

Revelry Songs

Come Bravely On, My Masters (1642) - A song about drinking, merry-making, and tasting "curious dishes that are brave and fine."  I am trying to find the tune to which this is sung, but it also be used as a recited poem.

Get Ivy and Hull, Woman, Deck Up Thine House  (mid 16th century).  "Hull" is another term for holly.  The words can also be found here.

I Am Here, Syre Christmasse  (c. 1461-77).  Omit the second and third verses, and the song becomes secular.   "Syre Christmasse" is an embodiment of the holiday, a predecessor of Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

Ding Dong Merrily on High  - This one is cheating but fun.  Although the words are 19th century, the tune is that perennial SCA favorite, Arbeau's Branle de l'Official.  Given the fondness of period  performers for setting new words to known music, it's not impossible someone would have put words to Arbeau's tune.

Drive the Cold Winter Away (before c. 1625)  Here's an interesting performance of the song.

The Old Year Away Is Fled (1642) - Skip the second verse, and the remainder is secular.  Anderson has these words set to "Greensleeves," but I've heard it performed to a different tune, which I'm trying to find.  Meanwhile, here's a version performed to Greensleeves.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Marguerite's Pelican Scroll, in Scots

I was so very pleased to do a Scots Pelican text for +dervish spin , who shares my love of wordplay.  The text is in very late 15th century/early 16th century Scots.  Definitions in the footnotes are based on the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and Black's Law Dictionary.

Brion, by rycht off armes kynge off the Est, and Anna, by the same rycht Quhene, to the justiciaris[1], schireffis, prouosts[2] and thir baillieis[3] and the reste of owr ministeris and faithfull subgectis to quhom thaise present lettiris sall cume, greitings.  Know that it is the intencioun of owr will that Marguerite inghean Lochlainn sall be and heirby is raisit and eleuaitit to the Ordoure off the Pellican, with all richtis, privelegis, frensches[4], essys[5], and fredwmys[6] appertinent thairvnto, to hawe and to hold the saim freelie, fully, paisibilly and withoutin perturbacion or distroubelance[7].  So we ordour yhow, and eche of yhow, firmlie and vnder threit off the appropriat penaltie, that yhow schold not imputt[8] ony wrang, greifance or injustis or impose ony impediment or vexacione on the forsayde Marguerite in the exercese off the said-foure richtis, privelegis and frensches, essys, and fredwmys, or permitt thais thingis to be imposit on hir in keipyng with the tenore off owr grant and intencioun declarit abuf. In testymony off quhiche matere we ordainyt thais owr letteris to be made patent and proclaimit in owr councel at Bergental on the thryd day off December in the fiftie-fyrst yhere off the Societe.

[1] Justiciars - one of two or three chief ministers of the Kings of Scotland.

[2] Provosts - in medieval Scotland, the head of a municipal corporation or burgh; the chief magistrate of a town.  However, it was amusing in the SCA context to tell several Masters of Defense that their provosts are now responsible for keeping Marguerite from being harassed or annoyed.

[3] Baillie - in medieval Scotland, a town magistrate.

[4]  Franchises - recognized legal freedoms or immunities.

[5]  Assizes - in context, the right to convene persons to conduct judicial-type inquiries.  Given that Marguerite's salons on SCA issues were one of the services specifically cited as a reason for her Pelican, giving her the official right to convene persons to conduct inquiries seemed particularly appropriate.

[6]  Freedoms - precisely what it says on the tin, albeit in cool Scots spelling.

[7]  Distroubelance - one of my new favorite words ever.  Defined by DOST as "disturbance, troubling, molestation."

[8] Imput - to impose upon, used both in the negative and the positive.