October 27, 1981 AS XVI

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the October Letter of Acceptances and Rejections. There were 121 acceptances and 37 rejections, for a total of 158 submissions. My next meeting will be on Saturday, November 21. The following meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 20. At the November 21 meeting I will process everything dated on or before September 21. Please get your comments in on these letters at least three days before the meeting, so as to allow for the vagaries of the Post Office.

It has been brought to my attention that the opinicus is actually in period, having been invented as a separate type of griffin in the 1500s. It may therefore be used. In line with the decision on ordinaries and their diminutives having no points of difference, henceforth we will not use bordurelets. The size of a bordure shall be a matter for the artist. A single bar will be no different from a fess. For the benefit of the scribes, the first diminutive of an ordinary may be used singly and so specified to indicate that a smaller size is wanted, but no points of difference will result. Thus, you can specify one bar in the blazon, and it will be drawn that way, but it will be no different than if it were a fess for the purpose of conflicts.

For heralds with Japanese personae, the use of a green kataginu with gold crossed trumpets instead of mon is hereby authorized instead of the usual green surcoat and gold trumpets. The Board of Directors has formally set the period of the SCA as being pre-1601. No starting date was set. The period 1601-1650 is a grey zone. People may use costumes and music from this period without being overtly out of period. Anything after that date is definitely out of period. This fits right in with our rules. The Board has also approved our cooperation with the Society for the Restoration of Logres. I am now able to offer cooperation in heraldic matters to other similar groups, such as the White Rose Society, the Markland Medieval Mercenaries, or other such groups.

The Board has reserved to itself the right to create any new titles which confer precedence or arms. Any kingdom wishing to create a new title or level of award that carries with it precedence in the Order of Precedence must obtain the approval of the Board of Directors. The use of other titles that imply nobility and the restriction of words for use as titles has been placed under my jurisdiction. Anyone desiring to use such must obtain my approval. The latter case must also be approved by the Sovereign. Thus, if a principality wishes to reserve the title of Yeoman for a fighter who has satisfied the general requirement for Patents of Arms and who is a competent (but not master) fighter, then the Prince must obtain the approval of both the King and myself before conferring the title.

I therefore request all of you to send me a list of all titles (Defender, Champion, Squire, Page, etc.) which have official standing in your area to me, along with a short definition of what each title represents or means. I will then compile a collated listing and will distribute copies, so everyone will know all of the authorized official titles. This is separate from the names of Orders or heraldic titles. I expect to approve almost all titles I receive. Once this list is out, we can avoid the situation of a title having entirely different meanings in different kingdoms. Some titles, such as Dowager Princess of An Tir, will be unique cases. Others will be available for general use, such as Squire.

The use of unofficial titles by persons outside courts or official documents will not be formally regulated by the College, in keeping with our decision at the Symposium. Instead, the specific titles will be left up to peer pressure to police, along with the discretion of local heralds and chroniclers. If somebody sends copy to a newsletter using an objectionable unofficial title, such as Pope, then the local newsletter chronicler is authorized to publish the copy omitting the title. Similarly, if such a person is called into court, the local court herald may omit the title when announcing the person. If the title is questionable but not really offensive, one may utilize the following system: Master Geoffrey d'Ayr of Montalban is generally referred to as the Bishop of Montalban (informally known as Bish). The herald could announce him as "Master Geoffrey d'Ayr, known as the Bishop of Montalban." In this way, the College is not legitimizing the religious title of Bishop, something we are forbidden by Corpora to do. The exception here is the case of an unofficial title that implies nobility. These may not be used at all, even unofficially. A person using such a title should be approached privately and asked to desist. An example here is Grand Duke, a title we are not using but which implies high nobility.

The Board has stuck me with the job of ratifying kingdom laws that authorize Royal Peers (Duke, Count, etc.) to receive Patents of Arms when they receive their Royal Peerage. In order for these Patents to be received, the kingdom must write into its laws a procedure stating that such Patents shall be granted and that the recipient must have satisfied the general requirements for Patents of Arms as established in Corpora. The law must specify how it shall be determined that the recipients have in fact satisfied the general requirements. This could mean testing the King and Queen for how well they play chess, dance, know heraldry, etc. I will be writing the kingdom seneschals and sovereigns to inform them of this requirement and to ask them to draft such laws and tend them to me if they choose to allow Royal Peers to have Patents of Arms. I would expect that those Royal Peers who have already received Patents of Arms would be covered by a grandfather clause. (This is all in Corpora, Section VII.)

It occurs to me that one good way to ensure that the fighter and consort have both satisfied the general requirements for a Patent of Arms before they actually become King and Queen (it's kind of tacky to test the King and Queen) would be to require them to have demonstrated this before the fighter enters the Crown or Coronet lists. This would also solve the stick-jock problem, as both the fighter and the consort would have satisfied the general requirements. Of course, a kingdom could just elect to not give Patents of Arms to its Royal Peers. I am open to suggestions on this problem, especially good wordings for such a kingdom law.

The Board has changed the Rules of the Lists so as to allow a kingdom to require that a fighter divulge the name of his/her consort privately to the Sovereign or the Sovereign's representative by placing such into kingdom law. This would allow the Crown to check to see that both the fighter and the consort have satisfied the various requirements, such as being a member of the SCA, the proper residency, and any other requirements, such as satisfying the general requirements for Patents of Arms.

I received a number of good suggestions concerning holders of Grants of Arms. In addition to the collar they may already wear, they will have the form of address of "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship." When written to or referred to in the third person, they will be "The Honourable Lord X" or "The Honourable Lady Y." All of these are period forms that will help distinguish a Grantholder from an Awardholder.

The Board has accepted for consideration several of my proposals. These will be acted upon at the April 1982 BoD meeting. A letter will be sent to the newsletters asking for comments. The proposals are as follows:

1. To change Masters/Mistresses of the Arts/Sciences to Ministers of Arts/ Sciences, to reduce the confusion between these offices and the Masters/Mistresses of the Laurel/Pelican/Arms.

2. To create the Order of Chivalry of the S.C.A., with the two equal but separate ranks of Knight and Master/Mistress of Arms. This would make it clear that Knights and Masters/Mistresses of Arms are equal. Nothing else would change.

3. To unify the types of Baron and Baroness. The King could give the title of Baron/ess to deserving persons. If this was accompanied by a warrant of appointment as head of a Barony, then the recipient would be a Territorial Baron/ess and would use the landed form of the title. When s/he left office, s/he would retain the title but revert to the non-landed form. Those given the title without territorial appointment (what was formerly called Court Baron/ess) would use the non-landed form. In either case, the title would carry with it an Award of Arms if the recipient was not already armigerous. The title of Baron/ess would carry no inherent precedence of its own unless individual kingdoms chose to give it specific precedence. These would reduce confusion and enhance the prestige of a non-landed Baron/

4. To designate the titles of Marquess/Marchioness for use by those who have twice been Prince/ss of a Principality or both Prince/ss of a Principality and King/Queen of a Kingdom. (Being Crown Prince/ss wouldn't count.)

5. To establish the title of Laureate for those persons who have won a Kingdom Arts Championship and reigned as Champion of Arts. The SCA Minister of Arts would lay down guidelines for such a championship. The Champion of Arts would preside over all arts and sciences contests and events up through the next Kingdom Arts Championship, giving out the prizes and scrolls to winners, in the same way that the King presides over fighting events. The Kingdom Minister of Arts would be to the Champion of Arts as the Kingdom Seneschal is to the King. The members of the Order of the Laurel would be to the Champion of Arts as the members of the Order of Chivalry are to the King, providing advice and acting as judges.

In the tradition of the Norse and Finnish Skalds or the Celtic Bards, the Champion of Arts would have the highest precedence in the kingdom next to the Crown. S/he would sit at the Sovereign's right. After crowning his/her successor, the former Champion of Arts would assume the title of Laureate, which would rank equal in precedence with Earls, Counts and Countesses. This is in keeping with the practice of giving precedence but not temporal power to the clergy. In England, a Bishop ranks equal to an Earl and an Archbishop ranks equal to a Duke.

The Laureate would thus have performed an exact analogue of the process of winning a Crown Lists and ruling as Sovereign, and so would have earned the title. S/he would be "Lord/Lady Laureate X" and would be addressed as "My Lord/Lady Laureate." It would be up to individual kingdoms to choose to implement this title by establishing such a competition and writing it into kingdom law. The Board would merely authorize the title, unless it chooses to make it mandatory. If you have comments on these five proposals, send them to the Board of Directors.

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


Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel

Laurel King of Arms