Reach of the Meyrick: Controversies


Professor Efa Foster and the Museum curators who worked with the White Palace Scribe on the exhibition felt that they could not display certain items without a couple of notes attached to them.  The White Palace Scribe agreed with the wording of the notes, and checked this blog post before it was published.

There are numerous artefacts on display in Riversouth and Rookpot that come from Wild Wolvern Mey.  These include numerous pieces of wolvern jewellery, gems worn by Meyricks and their families, including the ruling ring, and bejewelled gifts of Musril-embossed skins from wolvern Clans. 

It should be noted that many wolvern artefacts were given as genuine gifts to the Meyricks from the Clans in Wild Wolvern Mey, and these are considered the rightful property of the White Palace.  However, several items discovered in the Palace Archives have a more dubious provenance.  These are items that were taken from wolvern Clans without permission, and in many cases the wolvern had requested that the items be returned to them.  The Museum is working closely with the Palace Archives to see if this is feasible.  At the time of the exhibition no wolvern artefacts have yet been returned to the Clans, but there are ongoing talks being held in the neutral territory of Rookpot Museum, which representatives from the White Palace and the Sperakeden Clan have attended.

The second note concerns the Musril language, particularly its origins.  We all know that Riversouth prides itself on protecting and promoting Farynshire’s native language.  Indeed, most academics acknowledge that without The White Palace’s devotion to the language it might very well have died out many years ago, amongst the human population anyway.  What has been increasingly challenged, particularly in recent years, is the long-held theory that Musril spread out to the rest of the county from Riversouth.  In fact, there is no evidence that Musril was created in Riversouth.  Despite this, many well-respected academic books, articles and theses make this claim; some of them from many years ago, but, perhaps surprisingly, some published in the twenty first century as well.  This is very much a live and current theory, as evidenced by recent podcasts and online videos that are popular around Riversouth.  Rookpot Museum distances itself from this theory.  If anything, recently discovered evidence suggests that Musril did not originate in Riversouth. 

It is important to acknowledge new discoveries and revise existing theories, however well established, accordingly.  Rookpot Museum is committed to pursuing the truth of history, rather than a version of it.

The 213th Rookpot History Conference

The Peoples of Farynshire: Challenging the Narrative

The Scribe of the White Palace, Aderyn Tooking and Professor Efra Foster from Rookpot Museum will chair the 213th conference of the Rookpot History Conference.  The theme of the conference is challenging the traditional theories concerning the Peoples of Farynshire.  The programme has been deliberately designed to be radical and provocative and many of the speakers could be considered controversial. 

The Programme

Four Peoples, One County”   Professor Roland Coombes

Our Common Language: Musril for All”   Professor Lana Evans and Doctor Peter Wallace

The Voices of our Forests”  Doctor Rhyll Jones

Following the Seafolk”   Sephus Moxley

The Meyrick, the wolvern, and Wild Wolvern Mey”   Aderyn Tooking and Professor Efra Foster

A wolvern in Rookpot”   Botolf ken Geirolf os okto

There are limited places available for the public – so book your place early!

The Reach of the Meyrick: the Rise of Riversouth

Rookpot Museum is home to countless archives, stories and finds from all over Farynshire.  Since its conversion from a glassworks factory in 1762 to the magnificent building standing today, its mission has been to explore, explain and share the rich history of our county and its Peoples.  To this end, we thought we would highlight some of the splendid and fascinating exhibitions the Museum has held over the years.

The Reach of the Meyrick was a once in a lifetime opportunity to get close to the truth and myth of the family who has shaped Farynshire more than any other. 

This is an exhibition that allows you to get up and close and personal with history as it is unearthed and reclaimed by Diggers and academics.    

The Museum had been given unprecedented access to the archives in The White Palace.  We are indebted to Aderyn Tooking, the White Palace Scribe, who granted extensive access to the Palace Archives and curated this exhibition across both cities.  We also thank Professor Efra Foster from Rookpot Museum for devising, coordinating and overseeing this vast project.

The focus of the exhibition is how the Meyrick’s influence spread out from Riversouth throughout Farynshire, with a particular focus on Wild Wolvern Mey, and then receded back again, leaving plenty of evidence of their presence in their wake.

This is the largest exhibition ever put on by the Museum – you might need to spread your visit over a few days!

The Rise of Riversouth

The Meyrick and the region of Riversouth have been part of each other since the dawn of history.

This part of the exhibition uses recent archaeological evidence and current projects to reveal new insights into this region, and how the first Meyricks established their dominance.

Explore the Dig (the White Palace, Riversouth)

By making use of the latest archaeological techniques and technology, Diggers from Rookpot Museum have begun exploring the early history of the White Crag upon which sits the White Palace of the Meyricks.  This is the first time the Meyrick has given permission for archaeological exploration in the grounds of the Palace, which has allowed us to trace the story of the Crag from its prehistoric settlements to its current splendour and influence.

The project is likely to take years to fully explore the secrets hidden within the White Crag, and these live and open excavations are part of the exhibition.  You can take a tour around the site, and speak to the Diggers as they work.  There are opportunities to take part in the dig itself, uncover a piece of history, and see some of the extraordinary fines that have already been unearthed.

The History of the White Crag (Rookpot Museum, Rookpot) 

The Diggers’ finds have been brought back to the Rookpot Museum so that they can be catalogued, preserved and studied.  The most impressive and revelatory of these have been put on display.

The earliest settlement on the White Crag dates from over 8,000 years ago.  Fragments of early seacraft, probably coracles, have been discovered, and it is thought that they were used on the calm waters of the gentle bay beneath the Crag.  From this time onwards, the White Crag’s natural resources gave early settlers the security and confidence to come together, build homes, raise families and develop their societies. 

It looked like these early people often clashed, as there is evidence of tribes fighting all over the Crag.  It is not uncommon for fossil hunters to find arrowheads, smooth missile stones, and even the occasional axe head around Meyshore Bay and Sussen Orchelflilin

At some point one of the tribes conquered the Crag’s summit and built a palisade around their community.  You can see artists’ reconstructions of the firstly timber, and later stone, walls in the exhibition.  Behind this stood what is known as the Hill Fort, which some historians claim is an early ancestor to the White Palace.  The community that lived here thrived behind their high walls. 

This was the site of the first Mint in Farynshire.  One of the most exciting finds during the excavations was a hoard of coins from this Mint, with the earliest dating from the eighth century.  Coins struck from the Riversouth Mint were used throughout the county for hundreds of years, and finds have been unearthed as far afield as the Daggerrock Mountains, Tropsog and Cwm Purne.  The Old Mint now stands on the original site, a wonderful little tea room in the public grounds of the Palace.  One of the coins in the hoard bore the name Myrreck in an old form of Musril, and is on display in the Museum. 

The success of the Mint enriched the Myrrecks (who soon after changed their name to Meyrick), who invested their wealth in developing the community on the White Crag.  The first permanent structure was a dark castle with a round tower, and the ruins can be seen within the grounds of the White Palace.  When the early Meyricks discovered how to dig the white rock out of the Crag itself the building did not stop for hundreds of years.  The founding stone of the White Palace has not yet been discovered, but experts think it was laid under the current Wessen Tower in the early eleventh century.  From then on each Meyrick used the Palace to show off their opulence and power by adding more and more magnificent architecture.  The building projects continued until the nineteenth century whereupon the attention of the Meyricks and their vast wealth turned to industrialism.  The Palace you see today, shining bright atop the Crag, has not changed much since that time.  Meyricks have modernised the interior, and there are always ongoing maintenance projects, but you can see in old paintings and then photographs and early film that the main structure remains the same.

The City (the Meyshore Tour, Riversouth)

Today both the region (boundary markers can be found on the Crag, over the cliffs of Sussen Orchelflilin in the village of Aracely Cheth, beyond the Crag on Hewmey, and in the fields that lead to Tel-Yarridge) and the city have the same name.  Those outside of the region are usually referring to the city when they speak of Riversouth, whereas those within the boundary marks refer to the large urban area around Meyshore Bay as the city.  But before it was a city it was simply known as Meyshore, and it was the beginning of the Meyrick’s influence over the wider region. 

In the written records in the Palace Archive and Rookpot Museum Meyshore is the first place name in Farynshire that includes the mey that is now so common throughout the county.  There are signs of early settlements around the Bay, and soil analysis has revealed that many of them were burned to the ground.  It is likely that these settlements were absorbed into one, large community.

Once Meyshore had been established it grew quickly.  It is the perfect place for a community to thrive.  It sits between the ocean and the Sussen Orchelflilin, with the White Crag to the south and the rocky cliffs to the north, and the Rivers Spurtle and Darkflint end their journeys through Farynshire here, providing a plentiful and reliable supply of fresh water. 

The first town of Meyshore was planned in advance before a single stone was laid.  What would shortly become the Promenade on the shoreline was the starting point, and from here straight streets were constructed up the slopes under the cliffs, until a network of narrow roads, avenues and thoroughfares spread parallel to the Bay.  Unfortunately the plans for this new town have not been found in The Palace Archives.  There are later schematics that map the streets and parks, and it is assumed that these were copied from the lost original.  These are fascinating in and of themselves as they very clearly show, stage by stage, how Meyshore grew into Riversouth, but it would have been a true insight into an early genius to see the idea and shape of the town before it had even been built.

There are two main theories for the creation of Meyshore.  Since the Bronze Age, traders wishing to sell their wares would trek up the Crag to The White Palace.  This was where the Meyrick’s people – fishers, blacksmiths, millers, tailors, carpenters etc. – lived and worked with their families.  The community grew to large for the Palace grounds, and were re-located to their town.  Meyshore attracted more trade than the Crag had done because it was easier to get to.  The Meyrick stayed in the White Palace, overlooking the ever-expanding town of loyal citizens.

We know the exact time that Meyshore became Riversouth.  In Volume 45 of the Year One thousand and Ninety Two of the Chronicle of the Scribe, it is written (in Musril):

The Meyrick has designated the city Riversouth.

That is all there is.  It is the first time that the area is known as a city, and as soon as it received that accolade Meyrick the Lonely changed the name.  The new Grand Hall had been completed in this year: a formidable grey and white square tower at the far end of the Bay, and it is possible the name change deliberately coincided with this.  Of course, the new city was not known as Riversouth but its Musril name, Kelsussen.  Much like today, the Meyrick encouraged the use of Kelsussen, but it was the English name that took hold and became widespread.

The best way to experience the history of Riversouth is to take the Meyshore Tour.  Specifically designed for this exhibition, you will start at The White Palace so you can see the early maps of the town, and then travel down the Crag to the Promenade.  Your expert guide will show you all the historical secrets hidden all over the city.  You will need a whole day for this one, but don’t worry – there are plenty of planned teashop stops along the way, and you will finish the day by attending an elegant meal in the Grand Hall.

This is certainly not the end of the Meyrick and Riversouth’s history.  We have not even mentioned the Peoples yet …


Musril is not technically classed as a dead language, but its prospects do not look good.

It is Farynshire’s native language, and it has never been spoken beyond the Daggerrock Mountains in the rest of England.  Even within Farynshire’s borders it is considered a niche language: both English and Welsh are spoken more widely and are generally more prevalent in everyday life. 

Keeping it on life support are the Riversouth Scribe.  The Scribe is situated in the White Palace in the city of the Meyrick, and is a collective of Musril scholars, academics and experts.  The head of the group is also, confusingly, called the Scribe.  The Scribe’s self-defined role is to preserve, defend and promote the integrity of Musril.  Riversouth is the only place where Musril is spoken widely, although even here it is spoken as more of a patois with plenty of English and Welsh in the mix.  Schools in Riversouth teach Musril, but few students opt to carry on learning the language passed secondary school age. 

The spoken language may be on the wane, even within the county’s borders, but written Musril is more widespread, particularly in geographical names: towns, villages, and natural features such as rivers, mountains and woods.  The Scribe in Riversouth has campaigned to have Musril on all road signs in Farynshire, with mixed success.  In the area around Rookpot, English is usually the only language on a sign, unless a place name has Welsh or Musril elements (such as Wessentor or Cwm Purne).  In the mountains, Peaks and foothills all the signs are written in English and Welsh, with a smattering of Musril in Wild Wolvern Mey where Riversouth’s influence was once dominant and now lingers in place names that include the Mey element (Meyvale, Bremey, Mistymey etc.).  In Riversouth itself the signs are written in Musril, with a small English translation included on the most important and life-saving ones. 

Musril’s survival and future may lie in a surprising place.  One of the most interesting revelations that has come from the re-emergence of the wolvern is the confirmation that Musril is spoken by the other Peoples. It appears that Musril is the only language spoken by the wolvern, and it has enabled clear communications between the Bloon Peaks Clan and the expeditions sent from Rookpot to learn about them. The expeditions have brought back many wonderful and intriguing objects (many on display in Rookpot Museum’s Cold Earth Exhibition), and these have included fascinating examples of wolvern Musril writings.

This revelation has had a dramatic impact on the Scribe.  They have believed themselves to be the guardians of the purest form of Musril, forever battling the corrupting influences of the foreign invaders, English and Welsh.  Mischievous and provocative academics in Rookpot University have pointed out that the wolvern version of Musril must be more pure, because it is completely uncontaminated by other languages.  To their credit, once they had gotten over their initial indignation, the Scribe’s curiosity took over, and they sent representatives to join the Museum expeditions to the wolvern clans in the Bloon Peaks both as translators and in order to learn about the wolvern Musril.

There has not yet been conformation that the foresteens or seafolk speak Musril, but Diggers from Rookpot Museum, and academics from Rookpot University, are engaged in research projects to investigate this further.  The implications of the research are very exciting: Musril could be the common language between the Peoples, and it could be the key in reaching out to establish good relations.  It also raises questions, the main one being how can the Peoples speak the same language?

Travels through Farynshire: The White Crag

I suspect that the White Crag is the reason there are so many poets in Riversouth; it has been said that the sight of it stirs the soul.  I’m not a poet, but even I can see that it is beautiful.  It looks like a giant wave, rising up over Meyshore Bay, jutting out into the sea that crashes into the rocks at the bottom of the hundred foot chalk-face.  The White Palace sits right at the top of this cliff, gleaming white but presumably not made out of chalk.  Its gardens sweep back down the slopes of the Crag, and some of these are open to the public.

The Zag starts at the end of the Promenade, winding its steep way up the Crag.  When you start off it’s not too bad: just a nice pleasant slope that’s quite wide and dusty, and there are a few benches on the grass verges where you can sit to watch the sea.  But then the path becomes narrower and steeper as it cuts through head-high gorse bushes.  We had a couple of unpleasant moments in the gorse as we stood aside to let people coming down the Zag passed.  The gorse ends quite abruptly, and it’s best to be prepared when it does, because you are suddenly at the edge of the cliff.

I had not realised how far we had climbed through the gorse, but suddenly we were in a blustering sea breeze, and the open ocean stretched to the horizon in front of us.  When we looked back toward Riversouth, I could not believe how small everything was; the Ferris wheel on the Promenade looked like a toy.  That at least gave me something to focus on, a distraction from the unexpected drop that just opens up right in front of you.  Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.  You don’t actually fall, but I wonder how many did before the inadequate “fence” was put up – a fence that consisted of three parallel wires that would not bear the weight of a falling cushion.

The path twists sharply along the cliff edge, and although it feels precarious walking so close to the brink, you can cling to the wall of grass on your other side.

The path hugs the side of the cliff as it winds its way up the Crag.  It widens out at certain points, and there are benches where you can rest and take in the view.  My favourite part of the Zag is a wildflower rockery where delicate pink and purple flowers grow out of  an old rockfall, carpeting the boulders in delicate blooms.  It looks like someone’s garden, but apparently it is completely natural.

The Zag is a good place to birdwatch, and there are always a few brave souls stationed at various vantage points, usually right on the edge of the cliff, their cameras pointing at the sky.  We heard the screeching of the gulls and kittiwakes from the colonies on the cliff walls, and saw birds hanging in the wind over the waves.

When the path starts to wind away from the cliff edge you know you’re reaching the top – well, as close to the top as the Meyrick will allow the public to get.

The path opens up, there are fewer rocks and wild flowers, and then the first cottages appear.  There is a small village just outside the Palace gates that house whatever support staff the Meyrick needs that do not live in the Palace grounds.  At least, that was their original purpose, but these days one of them is a pub, another a souvenir shop, and the tea shop used to be where the stablehands once lived.

The Ice Parlour is the first place anyone who has climbed the Zag goes too.  Its tiny courtyard sits opposite the Tall Gates, the gold-tipped, white iron gates set in the wall that circumvents the Palace Grounds, protecting the Meyrick from their people.  Every morning the blast of a horn wakes the entire city and signals the opening of the Tall Gates to let tourists wander into the public areas of the Grounds.  We watched the comings and goings whilst sipping on our ice-cream, which is the only way to consume frothcream, Riversouth’s own ice-cream.  It really is the lightest, frothiest ice-cream ever, with a hint of salt in every flavour.  Felix used a straw to devour his pink froth, whereas I was able to drink my blue holly sparkle after it quickly melted under the summer sun.

There is a face in the Tall Gates’ intricately wrought white iron, the smiling face of the Meyrick who opened the gardens to the public, Meyrick the Goodly.  There are debates as to whether she opened the gates due to her generosity and love for her people, or whether it was a more cynical move to silence the anti-Meyrick factions in Riversouth.  It certainly achieved the latter (for a while), and earned her the epithet of Goodly.

The Palace Grounds are immaculate.  There are no “Do Not Walk On The Grass” signs because nobody would dare tread upon the perfect lawns.  The borders are a riot of colour, each divided into regimented solid blocks of one colour, and there is a small plaque beside each one explaining what kinds of flowers it contains.  There is not a weed in sight nor a stone out of place.  The borders lead to the Parade Lawn, a sunken field used for the many ceremonies and events.  Surrounding the field are life-size statues of past Meyricks who supported the local arts in their lifetime.  I think the sculptors were going for dramatic or contemplative for the poses they chose for their illustrious subjects, but Felix thought that Meyrick the Seventh Tall’s expression conveyed that he could permanently smell his own farts.

There are two permanent exhibitions in the Great Sussen Hall, a Gothic building with Meyrick-faced gargoyles looking down from every gutter.

The Scribe of Riversouth is a must-see for any student of Musril (Ammacaedda edit: more info on Musril here).  The Scribe (there is actually one person who carries the title of Scribe, but The Scribe also refers to a whole department of scholars and academics) is seen as the guardian of Farynshire’s language, Musril.  The exhibition contains documents from around the county that show off how widespread the language is, with exhibits ranging from legal documents from Rookpot, diaries from Riversouthern fishermen, elaborate scripture written at the command of Meyricks by past Scribes, to modern road signs.  I think I’ll be spending a lot of time here in my final year, sifting through the documents in the Scribe’s archives.  I haven’t quite decided on my dissertation topic yet, but I know it’s going to revolve around Musril.

The second exhibition is the more popular one because it focuses on the Meyrick.  It is quite a good broad history of the Meyrick, an unbroken line that has lasted for over a thousand years in the White Palace, and who knows how many centuries before that.  A portrait of the current Meyrick welcomes you in, and as you pass the information board the tour guide or pre-recording explains the current duties and expectations of the incumbent.  But most people hurry passed this to the best bit of the exhibition: Nick-Namer’s Corner.

The Nick-Namer is an official and very serious role, for they bestow the epithet upon each Meyrick.  Before the Nick-Namer role it was left to popular opinion to bestow an appellation upon a Meyrick, which is how we ended up with five Meyrick the Shorts, nine Talls, fifteen Goods and three Fleshy-Lips.  But if the Meyrick thought that an official appointment might result in fewer embarrassing epithets they were sadly mistaken.  I particularly enjoy the Nick-Namers who employed a theme, which have resulted in successive Meyricks being named after garden tools (the Spade, the Planter, and the Shears), the condition of their hair (the Balded, the Curly, Bush-head, and Silky-locks), and virtues (the Noble, the Fair, the Magnificent, and the True).  The epithet rarely describes the attributes of the wearer, they are just a useful way of distinguishing between Meyricks.

Everything beyond the Great Sussen Hall is private land that only those who live in the White Palace can enjoy.  You can glimpse the back of the White Palace through the always-closed, ivy-covered gate that blocks your way, but that is as close as you can get.

There is a lovely walk back to the Tall Gates along a low wall right on the edge of the cliff.  The views over the ocean, the still and glittering waters of Meyshore Bay, and the pristine city of Riversouth, are breath-taking.  If you wait long enough you will see dolphins leaping from the waves.  And some believe that if you wait for a really long time you will see seafolk.

When we passed back through the Tall Gates, we got the bus back down the Crag to Riversouth.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)