Earldoms of Gwynedd (fictional)
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The Earldoms of Gwynedd are the second-largest feudal estates within the fictional Kingdom of Gwynedd in the Deryni novels of Katherine Kurtz. Each earldom is governed by a hereditary noble (an earl or countess) who rules their land in exchange for swearing fealty to the Crown. While earls and countesses enjoy the prestige and income of being in the ruling class of Gwyneddan society, they are required to pay appropriate taxes for their lands, see to the defense of their borders, and uphold the laws of the kingdom.
The Earldom of Carcashale is located in the Lendour Mountains of northeastern Gwynedd. It lies south of the Earldom of Eastmarch, north of the Duchy of Corwyn, and west of the old capital city of Valoret. It is formed from the remains of the old lands of Southmarch by King Festil I Furstán in 823, and bestowed upon his friend and ally, Sir Valen Kanabos. The House of Kanabos is attainted by King Cinhil I Haldane following the Haldane Restoration of 904, and the king awards the earldom to Baron Zachary Genlis the following year. In 1130, the fourteenth Earl of Carcashale is Earl Thomas Genlis.
The Earldom of Carthane occupies a narrow stretch of land along the Eirian River south of the Royal Duchy of Haldane and north of the Duchy of Carthmoor. Although originally established as an independent land in the fifth century, Carthane's conquest at the hands of Count Augarin II Haldane in 645 results in the formation of the Kingdom of Gwynedd shortly thereafter. The estate of Carthane is reduced to a barony by the time it passes to the House of Murdoch in the early eighth century, but the title falls into abeyance during the Festillic Interregnum of the ninth century. Following the Haldane Restoration of 904, King Cinhil I Haldane returns the title to the House of Murdoch and eventually promotes the land to an earldom. The House of Murdoch is attainted in 948, and the title remains out of use until King Uthyr Haldane bestows it upon his youngest son in 953. The junior branch of the House of Haldane retains the title without interruption over the following century and a half. In 1130, the eleventh Earl of Carthane is Earl Michael II Haldane.
The Earldom of Cloome is located along the coast of the Atalantic Ocean at the southern tip of Meara. It is created by Prince Ithel of Meara in 972 and bestowed upon Ramsay mac Taine, whose descendants hold the title without interruption for over a century and a half. In 1130, the tenth Earl of Cloome is Earl Macassar Ramsay.
The Earldom of Culdi lies in northeastern central Gwynedd, occupying the Culdi Highlands that stand between Gwynedd and Meara. It is created by King Festil I Furstán in 822 and granted to his friend and companion, Ballard MacRorie. The House of MacRorie holds the title throughout the Festillic Interregnum, but the seventh Earl of Culdi, Camber MacRorie, plays a central role in organizing and facilitating the success of the Haldane Restoration in 904. As a result, Camber is later canonized after his death, and the MacRories are one of the few noble Deryni families that are not attainted by King Cinhil I Haldane. However, that fate eventually befalls them in 917, a precursor to the wave of anti-Deryni sentiment that would erupt through the kingdom later that year. The title is then granted to Baron Manfred MacInnis of Marlor, but it remains in MacInnis family for only three generations. Following the death of Queen Grania MacInnis, the widow of King Uthyr Haldane, in 982, the title reverts to the Crown and it is bestowed upon Grania's son, Prince Jasher Haldane. The title passes indirectly to several different members of the royal family over the following century, and it is twice held by Prince Richard Haldane (before and after the death of his son) before eventually passing to his eldest daughter upon his death. In 1130, the sixteenth ruler of Culdi is Princess Richelle Haldane, who also holds the title of Countess of Kilarden through her husband, Brecon Ramsay-Quinnell.
The Earldom of Danoc lies along the northern bank of the Llanarfon River, which forms the natural border between Gwynedd and the United Kingdoms of Howicce and Llannedd. The first Earl of Danoc, Baron Gillis Gillispie, is elevated to the rank of earl by King Malcolm Haldane in 1025, in recognition of Gillis' bravery and valor during the Battle of Killingford. In 1130, the fifth Earl of Danoc is Earl Aubrey Gillispie.
The Earldom of Derry stretches along the western side of the Coamer Mountains in eastern Gwynedd, extending north of the Lendour Mountains. The earldom is created by King Uthyr Haldane in 953, and bestowed upon Lord Flynn Fitz-Arthur-Quinnell, the second son of the first Duke of Cassan, in recognition of his service to the Crown of Gwynedd. The earl's descendants later adopt the surname O'Flynn in his honor, and the family holds the title without interruption into the twelfth century. The ninth Earl of Derry, Earl Sean O'Flynn, is appointed to the Royal Council of King Kelson Haldane in 1120.
The Earldom of Eastmarch is a long, narrow stretch of land that lies between the Rheljan Mountains and the plains of Iomaire. The Earldom of Marley lies to the north, and to south are Llyndruth Meadows and the city of Cardosa. Originally ruled by as a single realm by a tribal chieftain, the land is divided up into four states at the end of the sixth century. Westmarch is later absorbed into the other three counties, Northmarch (or Marley as it is later known) merges with Eastmarch when their ruling families marry in the eighth century, and Southmarch is conquered by King Festil I Furstán of Gwynedd in the ninth century.
In 905, Earl Sighere of Eastmarch invades and conquers much of Kheldour, and he later seeks the aid of King Cinhil I Haldane of Gwynedd to finish the conquest. Sighere later swears fealty to Cinhil, and the lands of Kheldour become the new Gwyneddan Duchy of Claibourne. Eastmarch becomes an earldom within Claibourne, and Sighere's second son is created the new Earl of Eastmarch.
Sighere's descendants hold the title without interruption for two centuries, until Earl Rorik III Howell of Eastmarch decides to support the efforts of the Festillic Pretender Hogan Furstán-Festil to claim the throne of Gwynedd in 1105. King Brion Haldane invades Eastmarch to put down Rorik's rebellion, but Rorik is deposed and executed by his cousin, Arban Howell, who then becomes Earl of Eastmarch. Fifteen years later, Arban's son, Earl Ian Howell, joins with Hogan's daughter, Charissa Furstána-Festila, in another attempt to seize the throne of Gwynedd. However, Charissa is defeated by Brion's son, Prince Kelson Haldane, and Ian is slain by the King's Champion, Duke Alaric Morgan of Corwyn. Shortly thereafter, Kelson bestows the Earldom of Eastmarch upon Ian's brother-in-law, Lord Burchard de Varian.
The Earldom of Ebor is located north of the old capital city of Valoret, bordered to the east by the Lendour Mountains and to the west by the Purple March. It is created by King Festil III Furstán-Festil in 851 and he bestows it upon his close companion Sir Rhygan MacDinan, the youngest son of the last Sovereign Prince of Kheldour. However, Rhygan's descendants hold the land for only three generations, and Rhygan's grandson, Earl Gregory MacDinan, is attainted by the Regents of King Alroy Haldane as part of the wave of anti-Deryni sentiment that sweeps through the kingdom in 917. Gregory moves his family to the lands of Trevalga in The Connait shortly thereafter, and the title officially falls into abeyance. The House of MacDinan holds the title of Count of Trevalga for over two centuries before finally petitioning the Crown of Gwynedd for the restoration of their familial lands and titles. The request is granted by King Kelson Haldane in 1128, when he bestows the title of Earl of Ebor upon Count Saron MacGregor of Trevalga and grants him lands in the Duchy of Travlum.
The Earldom of Fintan is located in the Duchy of Travlum in the southwestern portion of Gwynedd. The lands are first bestowed upon Sir Martial de Fintan by King Festil I Furstán in 825 to reward the support Martial has provided the king during the first three years of his reign. Originally formed as a barony, the estate is elevated to an earldom by King Cinhil I Haldane in 905. The title reverts to the Crown after the death of Earl Pliny de Fintan at the Battle of Argoed in 983.
The Earldom of Jenas is located at the edge of the Mughdorna Mountains at the western edge of Gwynedd. It is created by King Malcolm Haldane in 1025 and bestowed upon Sir Piran ap Coran. In 1130, the fifth Earl of Jenas is Earl Roger de Piran.
The Earldom of Kierney is located in northwestern Gwynedd, situated on the western shore of the Gulf of Kheldour. The Duchy of Cassan lies to the north, the Earldoms of Culdi and Transha to the south, and lands of Meara to the west. Once a part of the sovereign Principality of Cassan, it is conquered by King Festil I Furstán in 822 and bestowed upon Lord Iolo MacLean, one of the king's close companions. The title passes to the House of MacInnis in 918, and eventually to the House of McLain a century later. In the late eleventh century, Kierney becomes a secondary title of the Dukes of Cassan, often being bestowed upon the duke's heir. In 1130, the sixteenth Earl of Kierney is Duke Dhugal MacArdry McLain, who also holds the titles of Duke of Cassan and Earl of Transha.
The Earldom of Kilarden is a northern Mearan estate that lies near the Duchy of Cassan. It is first bestowed upon Lord Darin Kincaid in 856 by Prince Justin Quinnell, and the House of Kincaid holds the title for over two and a half centuries. It is a secondary title of the Mearan Pretender Judhael III, but it passes to his cousin after the Pretender's death in 1109. After the cousin's death in 1127, King Kelson Haldane bestows the title upon Sir Brecon Ramsay-Quinnell, who becomes the eleventh Earl of Kilarden in 1128. Brecon also holds the title of Earl of Culdi through his wife, Princess Richelle Haldane.
The Earldom of Lendour is located in the mountains of the same name in eastern Gwynedd. The Earldom of Eastmarch lies to the north, the Earldom of Derry to the east, the Duchy of Corwyn to the south, and the Royal Duchy of Haldane to the west. The title is first created in 822 by King Festil I Furstán, who bestows it upon his eldest son and heir, Prince Festil II Furstán-Festil. Upon his ascension to the throne in 839, Festil II names his own son and heir, Prince Festil III Furstán-Festil, Duke of Lendour. Shortly after Festil III succeeds his father in 855, he awards the land to Lord Cynfyn ap Dauyd as an earldom. Cynfyn's direct male line becomes extinct 1090, but the title passes through the female line and is inherited by Alaric Morgan upon his birth in 1091, at which point it becomes a secondary title to the Duchy of Corwyn. In 1125, Duke Alaric bestows the title upon his son and heir, Kelric Morgan, who becomes the thirteenth Earl of Lendour.
The County of Lindestark lies in northernmost area of the Duchy of Claibourne, along the coast of the vast Atalantic Ocean. It is created in 905 by Earl Sighere of Eastmarch, who bestows it upon Sir Linden FitzOsberne as a reward for his valor in Sighere's conquest of the Principality of Kheldour. The ruler of Lindestark is the only member of the Gwyneddan peerage who holds the title of Count (instead of Earl), and he traditionally swears fealty to the Duke of Claibourne first before swearing to the King of Gwynedd. In 1130, the thirteenth Count of Lindestark is Count Greville Lindestark.
The Earldom of Marley is located along the northeastern extent of Gwynedd. The Northern Sea lies to the north, the Kingdom of Torenth to the east, the Earldom of Eastmarch to the south, and the Earldom of Rhendall to the west. Also known as Northmarch or Normarch Ley, it is originally part of a sovereign state founded in 592. In 715, the Countess of Northmarch marries the Count of Eastmarch, and the lands of Marley become joined with Eastmarch when their son inherited both titles in 744. Much of Marley is annexed by Torenth in 755, but the western lands are later recovered in 853. When Earl Sighere of Eastmarch swears fealty to King Cinhil I Haldane in 906 and becomes the first Duke of Claibourne, the lands of Marley are formed into an earldom and given to Sighere's youngest son, Sighere II. Sighere's descendants hold the title without interruption for the next two centuries, but Earl Bran Coris betrays Gwynedd and supports the invasion of King Wencit Furstán of Torenth in 1121. After Torenth's defeat and Bran's death, King Kelson Haldane allows Bran's son to retain the title, and Brendan Coris becomes the twelfth Earl of Marley.
The Earldom of Pelagog is located on the western coast of the Duchy of Cassan in northwestern Gwynedd. It is created by King Uthyr Haldane in 949 and bestowed upon Lord Glynway Heavysege in honor of his valor in the war of the previous year. Glynway's descendants hold the title without interruption for over a century and a half. In 1130, the ninth Earl of Pelagog is Earl Albree Heavysege.
The Earldom of Rhendall (or Rhenndall) is located in the mountain range of the same name in northwestern Gwynedd. Once known as the autonomous County of Rhorau, it is conquered by the joint forces of Eastmarch and Gwynedd in 906, at which point King Cinhil I Haldane creates the title as a secondary title to the Duchy of Claibourne, to be vested as a courtesy title in the ducal heir. Upon the death of Duke Graham I MacEwan of Claibourne in 948, his will passes the title to his granddaughter, Gillian MacEwan, who marries Sir Brion de Traherne in 957. Their descendants retain the title without interruption for over a century and a half. The fourteenth Earl of Rhendall, Earl Saer de Traherne, is the brother-in-law of Prince Nigel Haldane, and he is appointed to the Royal Council of King Kelson Haldane in 1122.
The Earldom of Sheele is located north of the old capital city of Valoret in central Gwynedd. The manor house that serves as the seat of the earldom originally belongs to Lord Rhys Thuryn and his wife, Lady Evaine MacRorie Thuryn, but Evaine abandons it after her husband's death in 917. Shortly thereafter, the manor becomes the seat of the new earldom of the same name, which is created by King Alroy Haldane and bestowed upon Baron Rhun von Horthy. The title passes to his granddaughter, Agnes, in 948, and she marries Sir Edward Calder, who later changes his legal surname to Calder of Sheele. Their descendants retain the title without interruption for over a century and a half. In 1130, the ninth Earl of Sheele is Earl Kenward.
The Earldom of Tarleton is located on the plain of Iomaire near the city of Carbury in northeastern Gwynedd. It is created by King Festil I Furstán in 822 and awarded to his friend and comrade, Philippe Cinq-Lorrons. Philippe adopts the surname Sinclair, and his direct line holds the title for over a century. However, the family of the fifth Earl of Tarleton is attainted in 948, and the title falls into abeyance.
The Earldom of Transha is located in northwestern Gwynedd, bordered by the Gulf of Kheldour to the north, the Purple March to the east and south, Meara to the west, and the Earldom of Kierney to the northwest. The title is created in 926 by King Rhys Michael Haldane when he elevates Egan MacArdry, Chief and Laird of Clan MacArdry, to the peerage of Gwynedd. Egan's descendants hold the title without interruption for the next two centuries. In 1130, the tenth Earl of Transha is Duke Dhugal MacArdry McLain, who also holds the titles of Duke of Cassan and Earl of Kierney.
- Katherine Kurtz and Robert Reginald, Codex Derynianus (Second Edition), ISBN 1-887424-96-2
- Katherine Kurtz, In the King's Service, ISBN 0-441-01060-1
- Katherine Kurtz, Childe Morgan, ISBN 0-441-01282-5