October 24, 1979 XIV

To: All members of the College of Arms

From: Wilhelm von Schlussel, OL, OP, OLM, Laurel King of Arms


I have returned from my trip to Great Britain and have reopened the Laurel Office for business. I had a great time on the trip, saw a lot of interesting places and spent a lot of money. I was able to meet twice with Mr. John Brooke-Little, Richmond Herald, at the College of Arms in London. He is a very charming and knowledgeable gentleman who founded the Heraldic Society over there and edits its newsletter. He showed me about the College of Arms and we had a long discussion comparing the heraldic practices of the SCA with those of England. He asked me to write a five page article on the SCA and its heraldic practices for the newsletter, which I plan to do as soon as I get the time.


The interesting things I learned was that their rules and practices are very similar to ours, more so than I had expected. A person who has been rewarded by the Queen who has no registered arms or someone who just applies to register arms comes to the College of Arms. In the latter case the College assures itself that the person or family is sufficiently distinguished to be granted arms. A Pursuivant or Herald is assigned to the person to discuss the possibilities. If the person has any ideas on design they are examined to see if they satisfy the rules of heraldry and avoid conflicts with existing arms. If so that design is used. If not the two work out a design that satisfies both the person and the College. The person pays a fee of about $1000 and waits for about a year for the whole process to finish. The Pursuivant or Herald checks the final version against their records for conflicts and then takes it to the Garter King of Arms for his approval. If Garter approves it is sent to the Earl Marshall of England for his signature, and then to the Queen for hers. Then the arms are recorded in the records and a scroll (made of vellum) is calligraphed, illuminated, signed and sealed, and presented to the recipient. This completes the process. The College of Arms of England processes about 150 arms a year.


In contrast we process over 500 a year at $4 a submission with a turnaround now of less than six months. Of course if you toss in the time for a scroll to be made for an armiger it can be a little to a lot longer, depending on the scribe. They require two points of difference from other arms, just as we do, but they do not consider color of the field or charge to be a point of difference because so many times the arms are used as seals or in black and white. Of course a divided field would be different from a non-divided field because the line of division would be visible even on a seal, but you couldn't get a point of difference from azure versus vert. To compensate they consider full points some things we would consider minor points, such as the exact line of division used on a field or ordinary. They pronounce the tinctures and charge names about like we do, in fact there is no one pronunciations as the old texts do not give phonetic forms, and so some heralds say things one way, some another. They do strive to keep their heraldry simple, and the examples I saw were all simple and elegant blazons and emblazons. I tried to visit the Lyon Office in Edinburgh, but wasn't able to. I did phone them, however, and I discovered that they had never heard of Donald Calavan, Ormond Pursuivant. There was an Ormond Pursuivant, but he lives in Edinburdh. I am afraid Lord Codex has conned us. I hereby remove MacCallavaghn of MacRae from the office of Codex Herald Advocate and abolish the office.


Getting back to current business, the Conclave Letter of Acceptances and Rejections has gone out, albeit later than I had hoped. Each Principal Herald should send a personal letter to each person telling them the blazon of their accepted submission or the reasons for its rejection. I am remitting to each kingdom College of Heralds 25 cents/submission to cover postage, envelopes, and other expenses of this large project on a one time only basis. Normally each College will be able to handle such things as they come up through the money coming in with new submissions, but this massive a backlog has put a real strain on some of the Colleges, and the Laurel Office has some extra funds it can spare.


I have been informed by the BoD that all officers should be rewarranted with the new warrant forms so I am rewarranting all full members of the College of Arms as of October 1, 1979 XIV for three year terms. Each person should take the warrant and get it signed by the King and Queen and send me a copy. This is just a procedural matter and implies nothing personal against or for anyone. I have processed another batch of submissions and so I enclose a Letter of Acceptances and Rejections. I had planned to wait for the Morsulus Herald to finish updating the Ordinary, but its taking longer than I expected, so I decided not to wait. Hopefully the updating and corrections will be finished and copies available by the end of November. I also enclose the list of references the Lady Karina of the Far West used as Laurel. I do not recommend or dis-recommend any, but rather I feel it may be a useful list to have and check out. I have finished the Rules of SCA Heraldry, and a compiling of general decisions of the College of Arms. As soon as they are retyped I will send them out. With those and with the new Ordinary I hope the College will be able to function smoothly.


For your interest I enclose the following table from the Conclave:





ANSTEORRA 50 5.3% 38 76.0% 12 24.0%

ATENVELDT 66 7.0% 44 66.7% 22 33.3%

CAID 108 11.4% 101 93.5% 7 6.5%

EAST 263 27.8% 176 66.9% 87 33.1%

MERIDIES 27 2.9% 22 81.5% 5 18.5%

MIDDLE 137 14.5% 72 52.6% 65 47.4%

WEST 296 31.3% 220 74.3% 76 25.7%


TOTAL 947 100% 673 71.1% 274 28.9%


The numbers are a little smaller than you might have expected because there were a number of multiple submissions and changes that were combined, such as a name change, an old device, and a new device. The College of Arms is now caught up through June of this year. Next month I will process the letters of intent from July and August. There have benn a number of errors or omissions. Please check your files to see if there are any long outstanding submissions which you have not heard back about by now. If there are any then they have been lost and I will need a new set of forms (no new fees) so I can process them. I am trying to consider appeals and corrections as old business and I handle them as they come in. With the fast turnaround time I feel it reasonable to reject submissions where there is a problem with the name, device, or documentation and refer the matter back to the person who submitted them for correction of the problem. I had planned to enter devices of persons whose name were rejected but whose devices were acceptable into the ordinary for a period of six months to protect them but as people may be using their copy for a long time I have decided not to. Instead I will try to check submissions against a small list I will keep of such devices. Having thought the matter over I realize that the only real hold I have over a person to get them to change their name to conform to the rules is that their device won't pass until they do. If I put their device in the Ordinary many might say that their device is now approved so they use that, and they don't care if their name has been registered or not, they will use it anyway. So I have decided not to put anything into the Ordinary that doesn't pass the rules for both name and the device or badge. If the person resubmits quickly they will have lost only a few months and it isn't likely there will be anything in the meantime that conflicts with it.


Once the rules are published I will expect all submissions to conform to them. Until January I will still hear appeals on past actions, since the grounds for rejection may no longer apply, as the rules may have been changed. After that time I will require documentary proof that the appeal should be granted. After careful thought I have decided to go back to the one major point and one minor point ("point and a half") of difference requirement from mundane arms. Too often a single point is too close. Instead I will leave it at the more restrictive level and grant some exceptions. One such exception will be the addition of a charge overall such that the new charge becomes the primary charge and the previous primary charge is changed to a secondary charge. This change of status shall be considered the other minor point. Thus, if a mundane arms is Gules, a cross Or, if you added a chimpanzee rampant proper overall such that it filled the shield then the cross would seem to be the secondary charge and the primary, or most obvious charge, would be the chimpanzee, and therefore there would be sufficient difference. In this way we can still have a field, an ordinary, and one overall charge. I apologize for any confusion this wavering has caused. The new rules will not be fixed in concrete. They are still open for revision if a good enough case can be made for changes.


On a separate note, I would like each member of the College of Arms to send me a photograph of himself or herself. I will use these to put together a pictorial roster of the College and then I will print up copies and send them out so we can all know what we each look like. I think this would be a nice thing to have. For one thing, if one of your heralds is moving to another kingdom you could show the herald the picture of the principal herald of the other kingdom, so the herald could identify who the new boss will be.


And so, until next time, pray believe, my lords and ladies, that I remain


Your Servant,


Wilhelm von Schlussel, OL, OP, OLM

Laurel King of Arms

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