August 13, 1981 XVI

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms


IMPORTANT! READ THIS NOW!! From time to time I will send out to the College of Arms questions which I will want or need the answers to on an expedited basis. When I do so, I ask that my questions take priority over other letters and that you all take the time to sit down and answer my questions and send me the answers on a timely basis. Too many times my letters have gone on the bottom of the stack along with other letters from other College members, to be reviewed in their turn, often 4-6 weeks later. Since I am the only Principal King of Arms, I think it reasonable to ask for priority, so that I can rule on important questions in a reasonable time, rather than being forced to wait for two months for every question. The questions raised in this letter are of such a priority, and I ask that you consider them in that light.

Enclosed with this letter is the Letter of Acceptances and Rejections for August, which has 88 acceptances and 41 rejections, for a total of 129 submissions processed. The next meeting will be at the Symposium in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday, August 30,1981. As I will be leaving for the Symposium on August 28, any comments you want me to consider at that meeting must reach me before then. There will be no September meeting. The next meeting afterwards will be on October 25, at which time I will process all Letters of Intent received through August 25. The results from the Symposium meeting will come out in September, along with the final version of the Rules for Submissions, which will be sent to T.I. At the meeting at the Symposium, I will consider the two Letters of Intent sent out together from Caid, so that others may see how I process submissions. DO NOT COMMENT on the recent two letters from the Middle, which are resubmissions of Middle letters of January 1, 1980, and March 1, 1980, dated June 1981 and August 1, 1981, respectively. These were considered and the results proclaimed in my letters of April 24, 1980, and July 21, 1980, respectively.

Enclosed with this letter is a new, updated Alphabetical Listing of Heraldic Titles. I ask that you all check this to see if there are any in use that I have missed. Please ensure that future titles do not conflict with the titles on this list. I note that there is a direct conflict between the Falcon Herald and the Falcon King of Arms once used in England. I suggest that Falcon add an adjective to avoid the conflict.

Please note that Brigantia's new address is c/o Steven Mesnick, P.O. Box 503, Winchester, MA 01890. I would like everyone to leave a one-inch border on their letters so that they will be more legible when bound into notebooks. I ask all Principal Heralds, or their representatives, to indicate on the Letter of Intent if the Society name of the individual submitting the device or badge has been previously registered, so that the other members of the College do not waste time checking the names that have already been approved. For the sake of my secretary, I also ask that, on the copy of the LoI sent to me, those people who have submitted before but were rejected also be noted on the letter (this can be in colored pen to stand out) so that she can pull the accepted and rejected files out using only the LoI, and not have to search each form to find out if there is an existing file for that person. For one thing, there are many different forms in use, so it is hard to know where to look.

To this end, I recommend the new form adopted by the Atenveldt College of Heralds. It seems a very clear form and an improvement over previous ones. Let me also remind everyone that it is the herald's responsibility to make completely sure that all necessary information and documentation are on the submission form or enclosed with it for each submission before sending the forms on to the herald's superior. If something is left out, send the forms back to the submittor for further information. It is up to the submittor to submit all necessary data. I am getting tired of processing submissions where the names or charges are not supported by proper information or documentation. If you are unsure what the submittor meant, ask. Do not put down what you think they might have had in mind. It is better that there be a month's delay at your end while the submittor is contacted than a loss of three months or more because I reject the submission for insufficient information, forcing it to go back through the whole system again.

There is one matter concerning submissions that I forgot to query people on that should be considered for the Rules for Submissions. This is the question of the Rule of Tincture and divided fields and charges. Under the current rules, one may have a field checky azure and vert, something that would never have been thought of by medieval heralds, as there is no contrast. If you look in any heraldry book you find the rule that divisions like barry or checky must be of a metal and a color, or one of them and a fur, but not two metals or two colors. On the other hand, when we get to simple divisions, like per pale, we do find a number of cases of two colors in mundane use. The key question seems to be the number of divisions, and hence the size of the pieces. If the pieces are small, then the Rule of Tincture must apply to obtain contrast.

Therefore, I propose the following rule: All divisions of a field or a charge into more than three pieces, except for quarterly and per saltire, must obey the Rule of Tincture by not placing metal next to metal or color next to color. All treatments of the field must obey the Rule of Tincture. (This includes chaussé, chappé, the various points, and enhanced and abased versions of the standard divisions where the result is an uneven division of the field or charge.) Thus the only cases where the Rule of Tincture would not apply would be the divisions: Per pale, per fess, per bend, per bend sinister, per chevron, per chevron inverted, tierced per pale, tierced per fess, tierced per bend, tierced per bend sinister, tierced per chevron, tierced per chevron inverted, tierced per pall, tierced per pall inverted, tierced per gyronny of three from any of the points, quarterly, and per saltire. Note that "per pale and per bend" Would have to obey the Rule of Tincture, which is reasonable, as it is an uneven division of the field. A point could be made for allowing "per pale and per chevron" to violate the rule, as it is an even division.

Note that this rule would be a major step in the direction of bringing us more in line with period practice, and yet it would still give the benefit of allowing a field to be divided into two colors (like per bend azure and gules) to allow more fields and therefore require less complexity to avoid conflicts. Once you get to the greater number of divisions, like per bend and quarterly, the very fact that the division itself is unusual should be sufficient, without also allowing the violation of the Rule of Tincture. Please send me your comments within thirty days, i.e., by September 13.

My Lady Secretary has brought to my attention a problem concerning the interplay of two rules I have left in the Rules for Submissions. At present, a person may have her/his mundane given name as a Society given name, as an exception to the other rules. I have amended this to require that the name be recognizable in period as a name, and hence that it cannot be a title. (If a man's mundane given name is King, he still cannot use it as a given name in the SCA.) We also have the rule that if a name is registered three times in the SCA, then it is open for use by others as a name in period in the Current Middle Ages. The combination of the two can bring us real problems. Fantasy is very popular and people are actually naming their children after characters in fantasy, such as Frodo. We have decided that there are certain names that we do not want to see used, regardless of how they are differenced. These are the names of non-human, unique famous beings, such as Gandalf or Galadriel, and the names of gods, such as Thor, Odin, Yahweh, or Lugh. (We do allow divine names which passed into common usage in period, such as Jesus.) What if we get three people actually named Thor (now in use in the mundane world, as in Thor Heyerdahl)? The result of the last two lines of Rule #2 of Section V would be the acceptance by the College of the use of Thor by anyone. This is clearly not acceptable, as we have gone to the trouble to forbid it in the first place.

I propose therefore to drop the last-two lines of V.2 and treat such names on a case-by-case basis. If we get three or more registrations of a name which is perfectly acceptable except that it is out of period, then there is a valid case for allowing its general use on the grounds that it is becoming well-known in the Current Middle Ages. On the other hand, if the name violates one of the other rules, we might not want to be so generous, such as the prohibition against the use of the names of gods. I already have the authority to grant exceptions to the rules, and so I suggest we simply leave these names to be treated on a case-by-case basis as specific exceptions to the rule rather than as a blanket rule that we will be bound by in all cases. Someone would have to convince the College that a given name was worth such an exception. I will also add a line amending the use of one's mundane name to avoid the use of names that are either titles or common nouns that would never have been used in period as names. Please comment within thirty days.

There has also been confusion over made-up names and possible immunities they may have to other rules besides being in period. Made-up names must now be consistent with period naming practices and must satisfy all of the other rules on names. Therefore, if a person makes up a name and it turns out that, quite by coincidence, it is also the name of a god, a place, or a surname, then the made-up name will not be acceptable. It doesn't matter how you arrived at the name: it still must pass all of the other rules.

Another matter that has come up is the use of mundane titles and ranks by members of the SCA. The College of Arms does not register titles of any sort along with the Society name. We are, however, in charge of overseeing the use of titles and ranks in the Society outside of our files. The Corpora specifically prohibits the use of any title not listed in the Corpora or accepted for use by the College of Arms. The compilation of the translations or alternatives for the standard SCA titles in other languages that I have submitted to the Symposium takes care of the official SCA ranks and titles, but does not cover such unofficial titles in use now as squire, bishop, captain, professor, father, etc. It also does not cover other titles and ranks not now in use but still there to be considered, such as cardinal, pope, patriarch, mayor, governor, president, rabbi, private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, major, general, admiral, minister, etc. Many members of the SCA use such titles for their persona, stating the persona has such a title, but do not expect the College to register it or recognize it. However, we are still faced with the problem of having to announce such a person in court, and the question of whether we should just ignore the problem. Take the case of Bishop Geoffrey d'Ayr of Montalban, known universally as "Bish." Here is a former Principal Herald and current Kingdom Seneschal using a title that nobody actually authorized. The time has come to either allow or forbid such usages, and to lay down the guidelines so the populace will know them.

Therefore, I ask the question: Shall we allow the use by members of titles not specifically reserved for use in the SCA as a matter of courtesy, treating them as unofficial titles of courtesy, not to be listed in the Order of Precedence but otherwise allowed in general use? If so, shall we place some limitations on what titles shall be used? This could be something like not allowing religious titles above Bishop. Or we could just rely on public opinion and peer pressure to keep people from using presumptuous titles, such as pope. If we want to forbid such usage, how shall we state the ban and how shall we enforce it?

I ask again that you all carefully consider the Rules for Submissions and that you send me your opinions, corrections, complaints and amendments in the next 30 days. At the end of that time, I will write the final version of the Rules and send them to T.I. Pay particular attention to the new list of minor points of difference, which I drafted in some haste. I am now leaning towards letting a total counterchange be a full point of difference, while a partial permutation of tinctures remains a minor point. Please note that minor points of difference are only used for SCA devices versus mundane arms or SCA badges. They are not involved in the case of SCA device versus SCA device, which requires two major points, except as statements of what is not a major point of difference.

I propose to add a rule to the device and badge sections which will reflect the way we actually have been processing submissions and which will bring our rules closer to period practices. The rule is as follows: All heraldic submissions must conform to period heraldic style, both in the overall design and in the individual charges. This will codify the rulings I have made about devices that are of modern style instead of period style. I would rather place the intent clearly in the rules and then leave the interpretation for later discussion. We can then write a number of papers on period heraldic style. I want the Rules for Submissions to stand unchanged for some time, with only the interpretations changing as we learn more about medieval heraldry and what we want to do. What do you think about this-rule? Comment within 30 days.

I have been contacted by Richard MacDonald of the Society for the Restoration of Logres, a wholly-controlled subsidiary of the Institute for Historical Studies. Logres is another name for Arthurian Britain, the land of fantasy wherein King Arthur and his knights performed their great deeds. Thus, the S.R.L. would seem to be an Arthurian society dedicated to re-creating the life of the Arthurian sagas, just as the S.C.A. re-creates medieval life. Therefore, they will be using heraldry and registering arms, devices, and badges of their own.

The S.R.L. would like to arrive at an agreement with the S.C.A. College of Arms providing for the recognition and protection of each other's approved devices, arms, and badges. One system I could see would be for them to send periodic Letters of Intent to the College for us to check and for me to send a copy of our Ordinary and Armorial to them and then send them copies of my Letters of Acceptances. They could build up their own Ordinary and send us copies, once they had enough registrations to warrant it. I think such cooperation in some form is a good idea. What do you think?

Clarion has produced an updated Armorial and Ordinary, and I will get copies out to the College as soon as I can. Unfortunately, the computer he now has access to is unable to print the dense type on 81/2 X 11 paper that his previous machine could, so the current edition is on full-sized print-out paper and over 1000 pages long, which is an impractical size for mass printing.

He is still trying to get the Ordinary running on his Apple at home, but has not yet succeeded. Once this is accomplished, he will be able to generate printable copy, so I am going to wait until then to reprint the Armorial. I will send copies of this update to the Principal Heralds and then work my way through the College as soon as Master Renfield can generate more print-outs. I ask all of you who get copies to check them for errors. We will have incorporated most of the changes people have sent in to us, but we might have missed some. The corrections you send me will be entered in for the print-out from the Apple, which will then be printed for general, sale, hopefully this fall.


I remain, My Lords and My Ladies,

Your servant,


Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel

Laurel King of Arms