April 24, 1981 A.S. XV

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the Letter of Acceptances and Rejections for April. There were 66 acceptances and 25 rejections. The next College of Arms meeting will be on Sunday, May 10. The following meeting will be on Sunday, June 14. The July meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 19, also a Sunday. At the May meeting I will consider all Letters of Intent dated before the middle of March.

This general letter to the College is largely in response to letters from Star and others concerning items of broad (or specific) interest. Therefore, it will probably read in a disjointed fashion. You might want to take each paragraph as a separate item rather than as leading in narrative fashion to the next one.

Master Baldwin has sent me the information on ordering Papworth's. The cost is $42.50 plus $1.25 postage and handling. Send for Papworth's Ordinary of British Arms to: Genealogical Publishing Company, 111 Water Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Ask also for their other heraldry listings, as they carry quite a few.

General request: I want photocopies of articles or chapters that I do not have on the subjects before the College. The Laurel Office will reimburse anyone for copying and postage costs who will send them to me. Articles from Coat of Arms, chapters from the Boke of St. Albans, the Academy of Armory, and other out-of-print sources are examples. I am trying to put together a good reference library. If there is a source you think I should read before ruling on a question, send me a copy of it and I will reimburse you.

Master Renfield, Clarion King of Arms, will be putting out a large Letter of Corrections soon listing all of the changes made to the Armorial that have not gone out in the Letters of Acceptances. In the future, he will list minor corrections and reblazons and I will list new acceptances and major changes.

Please remove Eadwine de Bocce Sele, Salaamallah the Corpulent, and Donalbain MacTague from the mailing list. They have not commented since I put them on the list. I will continue to send copies of my letters to them and to other principality and regional heralds so that they will know what is happening. If anybody else would rather just resign from the list and receive just my letters, feel free to do so. I am thinking about allowing subscriptions at cost to my mailings and would like to solicit your opinions. Should I open it to anybody, or restrict it to just heralds? What sort of response do you think I would get from your kingdom? (I do not want to wind up sending out hundreds of copies.) Would there be any problem with the information going directly to the people without first going through you?

Please add to the mailing list the Eskalya Regional Herald, Aryana Silknfyre (Kayren Pearce White, 5017 Seton Circle, Anchorage, AK 99504), and the Trimaris Regional Herald, Cher du Bonvin de Bellevue (Cheryl Feinstein, 210 S.E. 10th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601). This is a net reduction of one this month. In order for a person to get onto the mailing list who is not a Principal Herald, a Principality Herald, or a Regional Herald (or representative of same), the person must obtain copies of Letters of Intent from their Principal Herald and send out Letters of Comment on them. This proves that the individual does intend to send comments and, in fact, can do so. On the basis of the Letters of Comment and the person's heraldic credentials, I shall decide whether or not to add the person to the mailing list on a regular basis. If any Principal Herald wants someone added, please follow this procedure.

To clarify a statement I made earlier, scrolls that do not need the signature of the Principal Herald or the seal of the College need not wait for registration of the Society name. I do encourage resistance towards handing out scrolls with rejected Society names on them, but I do not require it in these cases. When the scroll is for an armigerous award, then both the name and blazon must be registered.

I propose that we allow three prior registrations of a given-name in the Society to constitute in-period acceptability, regardless of whether the given name is actually in period, so long as the name does not violate any other rules. If we already have several uses of a name registered, it would look bad to suddenly say the name cannot be used in the SCA.

Vesper has proposed limiting the number of languages in a name to two, thereby making this limit the same for individuals and groups. Her reasoning is that three-word names were rare in our period to start with, and that multi-cultural or multi-lingual names were also very rare. To combine the two to get a name with three words, each from a different language, would be unheard of in our period. I am in favor of it. What do you think?

The Star Principal Herald has brought up the idea of Kingdom Colleges registering crests, supporters, mottoes, and livery colors within their own kingdoms. I have no real objections to this. The College of Arms long ago decided not to go to the effort, but I see no reason for individual colleges who want to do so not to have them. I would like to lay down some guidelines, though. Livery, mottoes, and supporters are not unique and cannot be reserved. Crests were somewhat reserved, but many cases of multiple uses exist. Crests and supporters should be restricted to the peerages. If a crest is desired to be reserved, it should be registered as a badge. This authorization is conditioned on a lack of objections from a significant portion of the College. Anybody have any objections?

It has been requested that some form of combined armorial display be allowed for barons and baronesses. A particular problem is the latter case because, while a baron can display the arms of the barony, what does a baroness do? Kingdoms and principalities have arms for both king and queen and prince and princess, but not so the baronies. Shall baronesses also fly the baronial banner, or shall they have their own baronial arms registered in addition to the baronial arms? Shall we use a standard formula for this, say, by replacing the laurel wreath with a wreath of some flower? Shall we allow barons and baronesses to impale the baronial arms with their own on a single banner for the duration of their term in office? A king, queen, prince, or princess holds this office for only a short time, and so it is not hard for them to use the royal arms. However, the term of office of a baron or baroness can be years, and the barons and baronesses would like to get some use of their personal arms without having to fly a forest of banners. What do you think? I lean in favor of allowing the impaling of the arms, with the baronial arms to dexter.

Star has requested, and I agree, that the genus and species for plants and animals in the device be listed in parentheses after the blazon. They are not part of the heraldic blazon, but are instead a note to the scribe or artist. I would also like to request that, whenever possible, the common name for plants and animals be put into the blazon (with the genus and species after the blazon). When there is a choice of common names, pick the one that is most in period. If you want a Holly Blue butterfly, then say so, don't just say a butterfly, and then list "(Celastrina argiolus)" at the end. If you do not want a specific species, then the lack of such a name can indicate this. If you list a pine tree proper without common name or genus and species, then you are saying you want a brown-trunked, green-needled conifer and you don't care which pine the artist uses as a model. Another method is to list the genus and, instead of the species, use "sp.," which means any species of that genus.

I would like to propose establishing a standard for excessive fimbriation. We have stated that excessive fimbriation is not allowed, but we have never defined it. I would like to define it to mean either fimbriating a multitude of charges or else fimbriating complicated charges such as plants, animals, snowflakes, or wheels. We have to set some sort of limit. Some uses of fimbriation, say, on a roundel, are elegant and acceptable, but we have to draw a line somewhere. What do you think?

I propose establishing a third heraldic category, namely, that of seals. This would include maker's marks, logos, seals, and all other tinctureless badges. Badges would be required to have tinctured charges, although fields would still be optional. When a badge did have a field, it would have to be tinctured and would be used as a roundel. Seals would have no tinctures at all. They would be placed upon a described shape that would be part of the blazon. If a round seal was desired, the seal would begin, "On a roundel . . . ," while, if an escutcheon was desired, the blazon would begin, "On an inescutcheon . . . ." Lines of division could be used, as a seal consists of nothing but lines. Thus, one could have, "On a roundel quarterly, a lozenge between four roundels in saltire." This would represent a roundel of a quarterly field charged with a lozenge between four roundels, one on each quarter. No tinctures are specified. One could in this system place tinctureless charges on other tinctureless charges. Secondary mon would be in this category.

As far as conflicts are concerned, tinctures of the field or charges are not involved and so are not points of difference. However, divided tinctures do give a point of difference, because the lines of division remain in the seal even though the colors are removed. Therefore, while you cannot tell the difference between an azure field and a vert field when both are in the form of seals, you can certainly tell the difference between an azure field and a bendy field, or between a quarterly field and a vair field. The tincture of the field becomes the lines of division of the field (including lines from furs). The same is true for the tinctures of the charges. The required points of difference are 11/2 for seals versus SCA devices and 1 point versus everything else. Note that it would still be impossible to register a tinctureless charge upon a tinctured field or charge. What do you think?

I apologize for the haste with which I ruled on contourné. Having set up a system, I really should follow it. In particular, Star has convinced me that we cannot switch wholly over to the -y ending for heraldic terms, as many are either not in period or do not exist at all in that form. She has sent out a great set of data which I would like you all to look at. For the purposes of the Ordinary, we want to choose one form for each term to decrease the storage requirement, which is pushing the computer to the limit. However, we also want the Armorial to be authentic and correct in its usage. I want the terms used to be recognized by the people reading the Ordinary, and so I do not want to use unusual spellings of common heraldic terms (for example, I prefer "embattled" to "crenellé"). We have agreed to use some out-of-period names for in-period charges and usages, but where possible we want to use period terms. Therefore, I ask you to look at the terms Star lists and decide which the Ordinary should use. You are all free to use other terms or variant spellings within your kingdoms, but I need to choose one form and one spelling for a word in the Ordinary. I want the Ordinary to be useful as an accurate reference.

Star points out that contourné seems to be out of period and that the more period terminology (and the clearer) would be "to sinister." I would therefore propose to use "to sinister" instead of "contourné." Counter-positions shall be reserved for pairs of animals going in opposite directions. Master Baldwin has brought up the question of whether we should continue to misuse the word "reversed." If we want to be fully period, we should replace "inverted" with "reversed" and "reversed" with "to sinister." A compromise which would be less confusing a change would be to replace "reversed" with "to sinister" and leave inverted as it is. Or we could keep on using "reversed" and "inverted," with "to sinister" used for animals. What do you think?

I want to try to get all of these changes in blazonry done in one batch so we can make one big set of changes and then be done with changes for a while. I therefore invite all of you to suggest any blazonry changes you think should be included in this period of reform. How about "tyger" versus "tiger" or "pithon" versus "python"? Shall we use "natural" as a word meaning a natural form instead of heraldic, or use a number of words like "African lion," "Bengal tiger," etc.?

Here is a question concerning badges. Shall we allow the registration of tinctured ordinaries without fields? Richard of Seahaven wants an ermine spot on a gore dexter with no field. The problem is that the gore varies in shape depending on whether you draw it as if it were on a lozenge, heater, roundel, or square. Does this variation matter? Note that registering an ordinary without a field pretty well ties up that ordinary. What do you think?

I propose to state that two SCA devices which have the same outline, differing only in the tinctures of the field and charges, are too similar and therefore conflict, even though they are technically 2 points of difference apart. Note that, if one field is azure and the other is per bend gules and Or, the outline is not the same, as the line of division is plainly visible, and so this would not conflict. The idea is that if two devices would be the same if converted to seals, then they conflict. Is this acceptable?

I propose to require 2 full points of difference between SCA devices and the arms and flags of mundane nations and royal houses. This does not extend to fiction. We have been doing this on a case-by-case basis so far, and I feel we should state it formally. Clearly, we should consider a conflict with the arms of England to be as important as a conflict with another SCA device. I feel that the same is not true with a conflict with the arms of Liverpool. Here 11/2 points would be enough difference.

The Star Principal Herald has sent out a list of translations of titles in Old English, Scottish Gaelic, and Old Norse. Please check them out. I enclose herein a set of translations of SCA titles into Japanese. These were provided by Lady Tamsin of the Raven Tresses. Her source was Prof. Kensuki Kobori, the head of the Law Department at Chuo University in Tokyo. These were the translations the Japanese adopted when they decided to use the Western titles. I have decided to forbid the use of shōgun and to allow the use of "daimyo" for all royalty (baron, prince, king) with the name of the branch involved to provide the distinction in rank. This would hold only while they were in that office. Please check these out.

I enclose herein an alphabetical listing of all heraldic titles in use in the SCA. I hereby approve of all of these by grandfather clause. I also include in the list the titles in use by the Institute for the Preservation of Outlandish Culture and by the heralds in England, Scotland, and France, for reference purposes. New titles may not be the same as these, or be the same with the addition of one word, or be an exact translation of these, or be just a variant spelling of these. The herald for Drachenwald will have to use "Schwarzdrachen" instead of "Black Dragon," which is too close to the Dragon Principal Herald. The addition of the word "black" plus the translation into German is sufficient difference, and it is more proper in relation to the name of the principality. New titles should be listed on the Letters of Intent for consideration by the College of Arms, but a form does not have to be sent.

I enclose herein an alphabetical listing of all awards, titles, and orders in use in the SCA that I was informed of. These are all now approved by grandfather clause. I also include for reference the orders in use by I.P.O.C. New awards and orders should be sent out on Letters of Intent and a form should be sent in for the name. The name should be registered as soon as it is chosen, even if the badge is not ready yet. There is no fee for registering official awards and orders, or heraldic titles. The required difference is the same as for heraldic titles. There is a further requirement that the initials not conflict with existing initials on this list. Since I have asked you to consider changing to the "Companion of" form, I expect many initials to change from O to C. Please decide if you are going to do so and send me a list of these so I can compile a corrected list. Any orders or awards not on this list will be treated as new awards or orders, no matter how long they have been in existence. Question: Is it fair to ask that new orders not duplicate the initials of any on the list or just of SCA and kingdom-level awards and orders?

I also enclose an alphabetical listing of abbreviations of orders and titles in use in the mundane world from Titles & Forms of Address, A Guide to Their Correct Usage, 10th ed., Macmillan & Co., New York, NY 1958. This was sent in to me by the Star Principal Herald. I ask that you make use of it to avoid having any new orders or awards conflict with mundane listings. I also ask that you avoid having the initials conflict with prominent listings. I am not worried about conflicts with A.E.U. (Amalgamated Engineering Union), but we should not have an order which would cause the members to list the initials C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant).

Please remember that orders and awards are registered to the branch that gives them. They should be listed under the branch name in the Letter of Intent. Example: Kingdom of the West, badge for the Order of the Leaf of Merit. If a person creates a private order under his/her control, it is registered to that individual. Only if a group is an independent group that is not part of a household, under one person, or an official order does it get listed by itself. An example in this letter is the Brotherhood of H.A.M.M.S. The name and address of a representative of the group must be on the form. Please also include the Society name of the representative.

Lady Star has suggested that Principal Heralds list the source for a name that was cited by the person submitting the name on the Letter of Intent when the Principal Herald was unable to check out the source, in case somebody else in the College is able to do so. I agree with this suggestion. That way, the source could be checked to see if the submittor had correctly taken the word from the source. This would only have to be done in this case. If you have checked the source, or have checked the word via other sources, then you do not have to list the submittor's source. I would also like to ask people to stop wasting time checking common names like Rudolph or Matthew. Only if there is a question of whether the name is in period should a common name be checked. It's very nice to see the etymology of "William," but it is not necessary. We need to compile a list of names that we have approved so that we don't waste time checking a word more than once. I have asked Lord Clarion to look into the possibility of using the computer to do this. If somebody has the time, a worthwhile project would be to go back through the Letters of Rejection and to compile a listing of all names that we have rejected in the past, so that we will also know which names are not acceptable so far. Any volunteers?

I will be chairing a meeting of the College of Arms at the Heraldic Symposium in Denver the week before the Labor Day weekend. I will bring some Letters of Intent along and we can all process them so those present can see how I do it. There will also be an open discussion session. If we get a quorum, we could actually rule on subjects. Otherwise, I will send out the suggestions to the College. I would like to bring out the next edition of the Ordinary and Armorial at the symposium, and so I want to get the questions of reblazoning done by the end of July so this can be incorporated into it. I will also put out a new set of Rules for Submissions by then, if not sooner. The returns on the heraldic questionnaire are coming in. Most respondents welcomed the opportunity. When it looks like I have most of them back, I will compile the results and send the summary to the Principal Heralds.

With respect to the use of heraldic baldrics on hot days and the need to indicate the branch involved on the baldric, it is acceptable to me to put an inescutcheon of the branch arms on the baldric, although this will not be very visible, but at least it is something.

I agree with Star that 1/2 point of difference between an ordinary and its diminutive seems reasonable. I did not like giving a full point for a bend vs. a bendlet, but 1/2 point seems fair.

With respect to the matter of fieldless badges, perhaps we should give 1/2 point of difference for having a field. A device would then have to have another full point of difference, while a badge would need at least another half point. I do not want to see the College get into the position of judging people's relative importance.

I agree that orders should only have two initials if they are important orders, as this ties up that pair of initials, forcing others to add more words. There are only twenty-six possible pairs of O.X., where X represents an initial. We have used up half of these already. I would prefer that the rest be left for kingdom orders.

Regarding the use of "Your Excellency," I am of mixed opinion. It does seem a little exalted to use it for barons if we do not use it for counts and viscounts as well. On the other hand, it is a term which has been in use for a long time. There is also the factor that a baron is current royalty, albeit of a minor sort, while counts, countesses, viscounts and viscountesses are past royalty, no longer in office. Certainly, a court baron should not be called Your Excellency. (The SCA would have been a lot better off if King Jean had created baronets instead of court barons, thereby using a non-peerage title and avoiding the confusion between territorial barons and court barons.) We could leave this form of address up to the local kingdom practice. What do people think?

With respect to the SCA Chronicler's badge, the first was for all chroniclers. The second was for T.I. and was meant apparently as a seal, but registered with colors as a badge so they could use it in color if they wanted to. I include a copy of the SCA Chronicler's proposed rules for the use of the Chronicler's badge by chroniclers in the SCA so you can see how it is intended to be used.

The terms "Most Noble," "Honourable," and "Right Honourable" really do not apply in the SCA because we have never had a Privy Council of peers, although we could use the terms anyway. They seem very stuffy to me, but that is my personal taste.

I would like to thank Mistress Aureliane for the vast amount of material she sent in, which constitutes the basis for much of this letter. I found it very useful and encourage others to do the same if they have the time.

Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain

Your Servant,


Master Wilhelm von Schlussel

Laurel King of Arms




P.S. Lady Tamsin has come up with some more research, and so I am delaying sending out the list of Japanese titles until next month so I can see the new data.