June 27, 1981 AS XVI
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 June. Of the 128 submissions considered, 92 were accepted and 36 were rejected. My next meeting will be on July 26, and the following on August 16. There will be a short meeting held at the Symposium. At my next meeting I will consider the following letters of intent: Aten (4/30/81), West (4/12/81), East (4/26/81), Atlantia (5/11/81), and West (5/20/81). Held over to August at this time are: Atlantia (5/28/81), Aten (6/15/81), and Meridies (3/21/81). The Meridies Letter of Intent was not sent to everyone or else the Post Awful ate most of them (I myself received the submission forms but not a copy of the LOI). I an holding this batch until August so Pennon can send out copies of the LoI to everyone again so all can comment on it. I cannot process it without the College having a chance to comment. I have decided hereafter to process LoI's in the order that I receive them, although I will refer to them by the date on the LoI. It is not fair to the rest of the College to treat a letter as May, because it is dated May, when it actually wasn't mailed until the end of June. That would mean processing it in July, with the rest of the College having less than a month to comment. So you are warned. I will accept the mailing of the LoI to me followed later by the actual submission forms, so long as they reach me several days before my meeting. This should not be done routinely but is acceptable if you get in a bind.
I have decided to open my mailing list to subscription. The cost shall be $6 per year for which the subscriber will receive copies of my mailings to the College of Arms. You may put this in your minutes but please do not publish this in your newsletters yet as I do not want to be swamped with subscriptions. Members of the College will still receive my mailings free, so long as they continue to comment and thereby remain members of the College. I will send my mailings to Principal Heralds, Principality Heralds, and Regional Heralds regardless at no cost. If any of you are finding the burden of commenting too oppressive you can switch to just being on my mailing list. But if you can spare the time I do appreciate and use your comments.
I am now preparing the table of translations of titles, which I will send to the Symposium. I will have the summaries of the heraldic questionnaire ready to mail to the Principal Heralds next month. The overwhelming response was that we need better communication and education of the populace and the local heralds, plus the usual complaints about the time it takes to process submissions. Many people do not realize why it takes so long to process a submission. I have sent T.I. a short article explaining the procedure for processing submissions and the time the steps take. This will be the first of a continuing series of articles I will send T.I. under the Herald's Trumpet title. The next edition of the Ordinary will be out by the Symposium. I do not yet know what it will cost.
Next month I will compose my proposed new Rules for Submissions. Please get all of your comments on the rules questions we have been discussing in to me by then. I will send you each a copy to comment on. I will announce the final version of the rules at the Symposium. A writeup of those rules will appear in the next issue of T.I. We spent the first year of my tenure getting the procedures working, and the second debating the rules. I hope that my third year can be devoted to working to improve communication and heraldic education.
A rule that I had listed in my Herald's Handbook was left out accidentally from the Rules for Submission, and so I wish to proclaim it now. The rule is that the two points of difference required between society devices should come from different categories. Two points of difference taken from the same category are not independent and count only as 11/2 points. If one person has Gules, in pale a bezant and a lozenge Or, and another has Gules, in pale a plate and a lozenge ermine, there is a change of tincture of the roundel and a different change of tincture of the lozenge but together they do not make two full points of difference. Note that you cannot have two points of field difference. The field is either the same or it is different. The most you can get from a difference of field is one point.
For those of you who wonder if I can speed up the processing of submissions, I would like to point out that from the time when I consider a set of submissions at my meeting to the time when I send out the Letter of Acceptances and Rejections is rarely more than two weeks, and often only one. This is the only delay I add to the process. From the time I receive the submissions to the time I consider them at my meeting varies between two and three months. This is the time I must wait for everybody to comment on the submissions and to reply to the comments. I am quite capable of processing submissions one month after I receive them (I would have one double-load month and then it would be the same volume for me) but I have found that the members of the College are unable to comment on the letters in less than two months, and are often hard pressed to do it in two. Since I have taken office the backlog has remained at a constant two to three months. Since the comments of the College are vital to me I am forced to wait for them. The only room for improvement on the processing of submissions lies in the local and kingdom levels, and often they are working as fast as they can already. The average right now is about six months from first presentation of the forms to the local herald to final registration, and that is probably about as good as we will ever get. The College of Arms in England takes over a year to process a grant of arms.
While we are comparing workloads, consider that the English College of Arms charges over $1000 per grant of arms and only processes about 150 submissions per year. We charge $4-$5 per submission, process them in half the time, and have been averaging 101 submissions per month in the last year. In my first year of office I handled 638 submissions, of which 521 passed and 117 were rejected. In my second year of office I have processed 1217 submissions (almost double the previous year), of which 890 passed and 327 were rejected. Counting in the 947 submissions from the conclave, in the last two years the College has processed 2802 submissions, of which 2084 passed and 718 were rejected. This is a 74% success rate. My monthly meetings often run as long as twelve hours in duration, with at least five of us present working like mad. I put in an average of 25 hours a month on this volunteer job. I am sure that some of you put in even more. Please pass this data on to anyone who thinks we are are sitting around delaying submissions. We are not.
Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain
Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel
Laurel King of Arms