Group Name: Darton. Registered in April 2003 (AS XXXVII). Previously known as Darchester.
Group Heraldry: Sable, a hunting horn within a laurel wreath Or. Registered in September 2007 (XLII).
The group originally formed around August 1999, and was a shire in the Kingdom of Caid from AS XXXVI (April 2002). Darton joined Lochac on the 10th of May the following year, when New Zealand transferred from Caid (with southern California) to Lochac (with Australia).
In AS XXXVII, Their Royal Majesties Guillaume and Felinah of Caid granted Darton the right to bear the Caidian Cross on its device.
The following is from the original petition to Their Majesties Alaricus and Kissa of the Kingdom of Caid for recognition of the Shire:
Item, between the barony of Southron Gaard on the islands to the south and the shire of Ildhafn to the north lies a large expanse of land which is claimed by no shire or barony, but is held directly by the Crown of Caid.
Item, that we folk have settled in the southern part of these Crown Lands, where we have tilled the soil, cultivated trade and the arts, and raised a levy of fighters.
Item, that the area of the shire be defined as follows. The shire capital is Wellington. The shire includes the settlements extending north from Wellington along the valley of the Hutt River, and also those stretching north along the Kapiti coast facing the Tasman sea, being the cities and townships of Upper and Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata, Tawa, Porirua, Paraparaumu, Waikanai, Otaki and Levin. In addition, we claim such hinterlands and hunting grounds, summer forage and fruitful vine-growing land as may support us and our dependents, along with the fisheries and salt-pans to east and west. This area includes the townships of Featherston, Martinborough, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton. The shire of Darchester is surrounded on three sides by water, bounded to the west by the Tasman sea, to the south by Cook Strait, which is the northernmost border of Southron Gaard, and to the east by the Pacific Ocean. To the north, the new shire is bounded by a line from the mouth of the Manawatu River on the Tasman shore to Castle Point on the Pacific coast.
Item, that since we as yet lack the numbers to hold and cultivate the entirety of the Crown Lands, the lands between the Shire of Ildhafn and the Shire of Darchester may at the Crown’s pleasure remain reserved to the Crown as royal hunting grounds.
A Further Description of the Shire of Darton
Darton lies on the northern border of the Barony of the Southron Gaard, separated from it by the wild Strait of Winds. Legend has it that were it not for a great fishing line holding the two islands together, they would be blown apart. Legend also has it that Druids speak of this line as being used to draw earth power from the lakes of Southron Gaard to maintain the relics of Darton and Ildhafn.
To the north, many acres of Crown Lands, interspersed by a few smallholdings, separate the Shire from its northern neighbour, the Barony of Ildhafn. These Crown Lands are rich and fertile and contain many wild cattle, deer, and horses. The Shire is fortunate to have been given a grant related to this.
To the west, Darton is separated from the rest of its Kingdom, Lochac, by many leagues of the ocean. Similarly, to the East, Darton is separated from the Kingdom of Caid by the even greater Oceania Pacifica.
The Shire of Darton has been granted the right to take two deer from the Royal Preserves each year for the general feasting and merriment of the populace by the Crown of Lochac.
The Shire of Darton originally rendered unto the Crown of Lochac one Royal Apple weight of salt on each occasion the Crown visited the Shire.
During Their visit in November AS XLIV (2009), Their Majesties King Gabriel and Queen Constanzia announced that a Royal Apple weight of chocolate (apparently a strange, Spanish food, only obtainable from the New World) will henceforth replace the previous tithe of salt.
Measures of Weight
During the Royal Visit by King Cornelius and Queen Morwynna, Dame Alys de Wilton did petition Their Majesties that Darton be awarded standard measures, such that merchants at the markets of Darton might have a means of determining items of equal value. His Majesty King Cornelius did kindly decree two fine weights and measures:
- The Apple.
- The Key.
The Standard Apple
The apple His Majesty presented to Lady Alys was found to weigh 202 grammes in the French system of measurement popular in many surrounding territories.
In order to simplify conversion to said French system, the Lady Alys did petition His Majesty for the right to define the Standard Apple to be 200 grammes. His Majesty, ever mindful of the needs of commerce, did grant this boon.
The Royal Apple
However, His Majesty Cornelius did decree that for ceremonial occasion and for the purpose of tithes to the crown, the full weight of the Apple (202 grammes) be retained.
The Seneschal’s Key
The Seneschal’s Key was weighed by the Darton Exchequer and found to be equal to 44 grammes in the French system of measurement.
The Darton Key
However, in order to simplify conversion to said French system, His Majesty did decree the Seneschal’s Key be embellished with jewels and gilt work to bring its total weight to 50 grammes.
There are thus four Darton Keys to the Standard Apple.
Measures of Length or Dimension
Clothiers and rope-makers, among others, also clamoured for a measurement for length or dimension. Hereso it was determined that the Darton Key could also be used. For mundane purposes the Darton key can be converted into the French or metric measurement system.
At present though, it apparently remains a mystery as to exactly how many Darton keys there are to the French metre. Presumably this is due to the ongoing embellishment of the key with jewels and gilt work.