[This is an article from Cariadoc's Miscellany. The Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990, 1992. For copying details, see the Miscellany Introduction.]

Counties: A Proposal

1. A county shall be a collection of three or more independent groups (shire, barony, province, or equivalent) in the same kingdom, sharing a common feudal head. The groups need not be geographically contiguous.

2. A county is created by the Crown on the petition of the constituent groups.

a. A petition from a barony must be signed by the Baron. It shall be considered invalid if opposed by a majority of the members of the barony, as determined by the crown.

b. A petition from a province or shire must be signed by a majority of the members of the group.

c. Each petition must state the proposed name of the county and who the feudal head is to be; all petitions must agree in order to be counted together towards the establishment of a county.

3. In order to be formed, the proposed county must have a population equal to one fourth of the minimum population required for a kingdom; currently that is 100.

4. a. Once a county has been formed, additional groups may petition to join it, and member groups may petition to secede from the county. Petitions are as in part 2 above.

b. In case of disagreement between a Baron and a majority of the barony, as in 2a above, the status quo ante shall prevail while the crown attempts to resolve the conflict.

c. In order for a group to join the county, its petition must be approved by both the Crown and the Count.

d. The feudal head of a county may, after consulting with the barons of the county and requesting the advice of the populace, announce that he is unwilling to continue to accept the fealty of a particular baron, or of the members of a particular group. Such a group will then cease to be a part of the county.

5. a. If a county drops below the minimum required population or number of groups due to loss of members or groups, it will have six months in which to meet the requirement, after which it may be dissolved by the Crown.

b.If a county is below the minimum required population due to an increase in the population requirement, it shall be given a reasonable length of time by the Crown to meet the new requirement.

6. If the feudal head of a county already holds the rank of count, he shall be known by that title. If he holds the rank of duke, he may use either that title or the title of count; in the former case, the county may be known as a duchy.

7. Landed Counts

a. The feudal head of a county who is neither a Count nor a Duke shall be known as a Viceroy, or by such other equivalent title as the Crown shall specify and the College of heralds approve.

b. After he has served as viceroy for two years, he shall receive the title of Count. Time during which the county is below its minimum required population, as in 5 above, shall not count towards the two year term.

c. Such counts shall be known as landed counts, to distinguish them from royal counts.

d. Landed counts shall retain the title of count even after giving up the office.

8. If the feudal head of a county is female, substitute Countess, Duchess, and Vicereine above as appropriate.

9. The feudal head of a county may be a couple.

10. Powers of the Count

a. In this section and the next, "Count" refers to the Count, Countess, Duke, Duchess, Viceroy, Vicereine or couple who is the feudal head of a county.

b. The Count shall have the power to devise and bestow such non-armigerous awards as he sees fit.

c. The Count shall have the power to devise and bestow armigerious awards only insofar as that power is specifically delegated to him by the crown. In particular, the Count may be authorized to give awards of arms to the citizens of the county on behalf of the crown.

d. The Count may receive the allegiance of the Barons of the county, and shall offer his allegiance to the crown.

e. The Count may hold courts within the confines of his county, or elsewhere by invitation of the Crown, local Count, or Baron.

f. The Count may, but is not required to, request one or more kingdom officers to appoint county officers. Such officers must be acceptable to both the Count and the kingdom officer.

g. If the office of Baron becomes vacant, the Count may offer his advice to the crown concerning a replacement, but the decision shall be made by the crown based upon the desires and welfare of the populace of the barony.

11. Term of the Count

a. The position of count, like that of baron, is a permanent one, save that a Count may resign or be dismissed by the crown for cause. A Count may also lose his office if his county fails to meet the requirements for population and number of groups, as in section 5 above.

b. If one member of a ruling couple resigns or is dismissed, the remaining member may, at the discretion of the crown, be permitted to rule alone. Alternatively, a replacement for the absent member may be appointed by the crown, as in c below.

c. If the office of count becomes vacant, the crown may appoint a successor after consulting with the people and baronage of the county and with the previous Count, if available. The decision should be based upon the desires and welfare of the populace and baronage.

"Short and straight is the road to a friend, though he lives far away." (Havamal)

"Who would want to be King when he could be Baron of Carolingia?"

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