July 21, 1981 A.S. XVI
TO: The Members of the College of Arms
FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlussel, Laurel King of Arms
My Lady Secretary and I have been busy in the past few weeks and so I am sending out this interim report before next week's Letter of Acceptances and Rejections. There are four enclosures:
1. The first is the updated Rules for Heraldic Submissions in the SCA. Please look it over carefully and let me know of any amendments, word changes, deletions, additions, changes of phrasing, and other corrections that you think should be included. You have until the Symposium to reply. I will discuss the Rules at the Symposium and when I return home after Worldcon I will compose the final version of the Rules and send it off to T.I. to go into the Winter issue.
2. I enclose a copy of an article in Different Worlds, a gaming magazine published by Chaosium, Inc., written by Jane Woodward, on "Meaningful Names for Characters." It gives name roots for Old English, Teutonic, Gaelic, Welsh, Quenya, Sindarin, Khuzdal, Dwarf (actually Norse names from the Eddas) and Orcs (Tolkien's Dark Speech). These last are more things for us to watch out for than to use, but the first several are very useful. I cannot say if these are all correct, but most seem to be. I am thus sending it put for you to read and perhaps use.
3. The third enclosure is a copy of a letter I have sent out to all of the newsletters. This covers five proposals that I have presented to the Board and have received permission to query the populace about. The first is a general request for proposals to enhance the arts and sciences and their practitioners. The second is to merge the Knights and Masters/Mistresses of Arms into one Order of Chivalry with two equal ranks. The third is to give holders of Grants of Arms the title of Squire and the use of Esquire after their name, to difference them from holders of Awards of Arms. The fourth is to change Court Baron and Court Baroness to Baronet and to make the title Baronet armigerous by having it carry an Award of Arms. The fifth (and probably the most controversial) is to institute the titles of Marquis and Marquessa, with these titles being assumed by those who succeed in gaining admission to both the Order of the Pelican and the Order of the Laurel and who win a Kingdom, Regional, or Principality Arts Championship. This would redress the inequity in our awards structure between fighters and non-fighters. The letter explains all of these changes, which together constitute a reform of our title system to bring it more into line with period practice and to improve it. I request your opinions.
4. The last enclosure is a list of the references that I use in my office. This list has the references that the office owns, that My Lady and I own, and that I have borrowed from the University of California/Berkeley library. The translations of titles that I will be sending to the Symposium as a paper came primarily from the dictionaries listed, as well as from some reference dictionaries at UC/Berkeley and from material sent to me by others.
Lastly, as promised, I include in this letter the results of the Heraldic Questionnaires. Each Principal Herald will receive a summary of the comments on his/her own performance. Overall, the public's opinion of the College is OK, moving towards good. Out of 210 forms sent out, I received back some 94 questionnaires, for a 44% return rate, which is very good. I will definitely try it again, perhaps next summer. I have compile. a summary of the comments and statements on what the College should or should not do, and have sorted them into categories. The numbers in parentheses are the number of times a particular suggestion was mentioned.
1. More communication among heralds at all levels. (10)
2. Better and faster communication between heralds and the populace. (4)
3. Establish inter-kingdom communication about Orders of Precedence.
EDUCATION & INFORMATION
1. Teach the populace more about heraldry. (8)
2. Publish more articles on heraldry in T.l. and newsletters. (5)
3. Better availability of heraldic information. (2)
4. Educate the populace about awards and honors.
5. Encourage the populace to design and submit devices.
6. Encourage the populace to use banners.
7. Urge the populace to do their own research on their names and devices.
8. Hold heraldic Open Houses to assist the populace in designing submissions.
1. Teach more heraldry to heralds. (6)
2. Better training for heralds. (8)
3. Closer supervision of heralds. (2)
4. Periodic review of all heralds' job performances. (2)
5. SCA-wide system of formal instruction and certification for heralds.
6. Train all heralds in voice projection.
7. More recruitment of heralds.
8. Encourage more impartiality and diplomacy among heralds.
KINGDOM HERALDIC ACTIVITIES
1. Hold regular meetings of the Kingdom College of Heralds. (2)
2. Encourage non-heralds to attend College meetings.
3. Hold kingdom heraldic collegia.
4. Send out kingdom heraldic rosters.
5. Use Regional Heralds more.
6. Give heralds more functions at wars.
7. Give other heralds more of a function at the kingdom level.
8. Have the Principal Herald provide more organized leadership.
9. Have the Principal Herald keep good records on who got what award when and by whom, for the benefit of the scribes, historians, and the Order of Precedence.
10. Forbid the display of non-submitted devices on the-field.
11. Report passed and rejected devices in the newsletters.
12. More Grand Marches and processionals.
13. Reduce delay on signing and sending warrants to local heralds.
14. Provide a book of ceremonies for the kingdom.
1. Publish a Herald's Newsletter. (4)
2. Regular printings of the SCA Armorial/Ordinary. (4)
3. Publish an SCA Herald's Handbook. (3)
4. Publish a book of ceremonies and procedures for all kingdoms. (3)
5. Hold annual heraldic symposia. (3)
6. More research into ceremonies.
7. More research into instruction in medieval and Renaissance manners and deportment.
8. Publish a list of accepted names.
9. Publish a list of default situations and blazon alternatives.
10. Guides to names in various languages.
11. A list of all the Orders and Awards and their meanings.
12. Send out an SCA-wide roster of local heralds.
13. Register the blazons of the Achievements of Arms for scrolls.
14. A list of all rejected names and charges.
1. Reduce delays in the submissions process. (11)
2. Give more emphasis to authenticity. (3)
3. Be more uniform on judging submissions. (2)
4. Be less picky on names. (2)
5. Avoid snide remarks about submissions. (3)
6. Don't be so pompous. (2)
7. More emphasis on the aesthetic values of armorial design. (2)
8. Notify the submittor of any changes in blazon, emblazon or name made at the kingdom level, so objections can be made before Laurel rules on them. (2)
9. Quicker personal responses to persons whose submissions are rejected at any level.
10. Slow down on changing the rules.
11. Quit passing poor submissions on to Laurel just because you can't find a good reason to reject them.
12. Restrict the unlimited registration of badges by individuals.
13. Don't be so nit-picking.
14. Don't register fantasy names.
15. Don't be so lax about the rules.
16. Send suggestions for remedy along with reasons for rejection of a submission,
I conclude from this that there is a crying need for more communication and education both between heralds and between the heralds and the populace. Many heralds were thrilled to get the questionnaire because it was the first correspondence they had received from superiors in months. The remarkable response rate (the usual is 5-10%) indicated that they definitely had something to say. The expansion of the roster of the College of Arms has increased communication at the top considerably. I urge each Principal and Principality Herald to consider methods of increasing intra-kingdom communication among heralds, such as intra-kingdom Letters of Intent by local heralds. I urge all heralds to improve the speed and quality of their communications with the populace,
Over 208 of the responses indicated a real need for more education and information. I urge all of you to write articles for T.I., kingdom newsletters, and local newsletters on heraldic matters. There is no reason why this has to be reserved for myself and the Principal Heralds. You can all do this. It is actually quite rewarding and a learning process in itself. The populace needs to be encouraged to take a more active interest in heraldry and heraldic display. I support kingdom laws forbidding non-submitted device on the field.
Clearly there is a need for more training and education of local heralds. How can the heralds teach the populace what they don't know themselves? Many heralds felt frustrated at the lack of opportunity for instruction. I urge each Principal and Principality or Regional Herald to devise regular training sessions for heralds covering all aspects of heraldry. This will also aid in recruiting heralds, as others interested in heraldry might attend and become interested in the College.
On the subject of new projects, several of the requests are in progress. There will be periodic printings of the Ordinary. I hope to write an SCA Herald's Handbook this fall, which will have sections for each kingdom with each kingdom's ceremonies and procedures and roster. I ask you all to make sure that I have a current copy of your kingdom's ceremonies, procedures, and roster. I will compile an SCA Heralds' Roster and sent it out to you separately if you will all send me copies of your current rosters in September. The Ordinary will contain a list of accepted names and charges, as well as the list of Orders. Anyone interested in doing any of the other projects is welcome to do so. In particular, I would like to see a yearly Heraldry Symposium and invite bids for the 1982 Heraldic Symposium, which will be the fifth such, counting the 1979 Conclave. I think a Heralds' Newsletter would be a great idea. I do not myself have the time, but I would be willing to provide full support, recognition, and material for such a project. I'll even sign a warrant for anyone willing to take the post. I expect the number of subscribers would easily top the 200 needed to get a third-class mailing permit using the SCA's IRS number (non-profit rates). Any takers?
On procedures, clearly many people were concerned about delays in submissions, although I suspect this is mainly concentrated in those kingdoms where there was considerable delay at the kingdom or principality level. Now that there has been a change of office in these kingdoms, this should improve. The new Rules for Submissions should take care of several of the comments. I heartily endorse the request that heralds minimize snide remarks about submissions, pompous attitudes, or excessive nit-picking. These only serve to hurt our image. A person submitting a device has worked hard to get something s/he likes. If there is something that is wrong, s/he should get understanding-and instruction, not ridicule and orders. The College is not in the business of legislating good taste, just good heraldry. If it is ugly but correct, PASS IT. After all, they have to live with. If it is beautiful but incorrect or an out-of-period style, then REJECT IT. Don't let the quality of the drawing be a major consideration, we do not require that the submittor be an artist. Most of us aren't, either.
I urge the Principal Heralds to send personal letters to each person whose submission is altered at the kingdom level, informing them of this fact and why the change was made, I also urge that personal letters be sent to everyone who has a rejected submission, giving the reasons for the rejection and suggestions for solving the problem (written in an understanding manner). I suggest that, when there was a local herald handling the submission, that either copies be sent or the originals sent to the local herald to pass on to the submitter, so the local herald will know what is going on. By allowing subscriptions to my mailings at $6 a year, I hope to do my bit to help inform the local heralds who want to be informed about what's happening.
Lastly, I want to remind everyone that I am always willing to listen to any suggestions for things to be done to improve matters, and to send these suggestions out to the College for the whole College to consider. I am also always willing to receive confidential letters on any subject, as I have a constant need to be informed on anything involving heraldry in the SCA.
Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain
Master Wilhelm von Schlussel
Laurel King of Arms