October 17, 1982 A.S. XVII

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the LoA&R from the Meridies Heraldic Symposium CoA meeting. There were 59 acceptances and 15 rejections, a total of 74. My next meeting will be on Saturday, October 30, 1982, at which time I will process the following eight LoIs.: Atlantia (6/21), Caid (6/22), West (6/23), Middle (6/23), Atenveldt (6/26), Ansteorra (7/2), Middle (7/21), and Caid (7/22). The following meeting will be on Sunday, November 21, 1982, at which time I will process the following eight LoIs: West (7/31), Atenveldt (7/31), Middle (8/1), East (8/5), Caid (8/12), West (8/12), Middle (8/12) , and Meridies (8/19). The meeting after that will probably be on December 19, 1982, at which time I will process the following seven LoIs: Atenveldt (8/29), Atlantia (8/31), Meridies (9/9),, Middle (9/10), Ansteorra (9/20), and West (9/28). 1 have so far received only one LoI in October (Caid). It looks like the summer rush is over. If you sent me an LoI not listed above, I didn't receive it.

I would like to announce the appointment of Mistress Rebecca of Twywn (Rebecca LeDock, 1820 Hickory Road, Chamblee, GA 30341) to my staff as Cypher Herald, in charge of compiling and maintaining an SCA-wide Order of Precedence plus resulting lists, tables, and statistics, such as alphabetical lists of all members of each order or level of award. Each Principal Herald is hereby charged to ensure that she receive not only updated kingdom Orders of Precedence but also lists of awards given as they are known so that she can keep the SCA OP updated on a regular basis.

Sadly, I must announce that Master Baldwin of Erebor has found it necessary to resign from his duties as Green Staff. On behalf of the College, I would like to thank him for his great work. His comments will be missed. Happily, he will still be completing his collated Precedents from each Laurel Sovereign of Arms. Hopefully, someday in the future circumstances will change to allow him to resume commenting. Mistress Aelfwynn Gyrthesdohtor will take over as Green Staff Herald in January after she turns over the office of Vesper Principal Herald to Eric Foxworthy. Lord Eric is now the Compline Herald (Vesper heir apparent).

Enclosed is a new CoA mailing list, as there have been a lot of changes. The new Dragon Principal Herald is Lady Graidhne ni Ruadh. The new Pale Herald is Lord Eyesham of Tweed. The new Pennon Herald is Mistress Oreta Heinemann. The Beacon Principal Herald has changed his name to Lachlan Sinclair Dumas. Shara Tunoy, Vox Leonis Herald, has resigned from the Mailing List. The following persons are in danger of being dropped from the Mailing List if they do not send me an LoC promptly: Jean Fitz-Roye (3 months since last LoC), Corona Herald (3 months), Blue Tyger Herald (4 months), Schwarzdrachen Herald (only one LoC in four months). I would also like to see an LoC from: Black Lion PH, Star PH, Aten PH, Beacon PH, and Triton PH. If you are under too much time pressure, you do not have to comment on all submissions, but you should comment on some each month. In particular, I need your comments on my cover letters.

I have noticed a certain amount of animosity and divisiveness creeping into the College of Arms correspondence and it bothers me. We need more of a feeling of being one body, the SCA College of Arms. We need to work together to make everything work smoothly and well and on time. Please try to keep a friendly tone in your letters. You are dealing with your fellow heralds. They do not make up the submissions, they simply process them. You can suggest a better blazon, but do not condemn the herald for what the submittor chose. Simply state your opinion of the submission in a civil fashion. Do not cross the line from humor to ridicule. We are all volunteer amateurs trying to do our best.

In the past many of us, myself included, have been somewhat lax about the proper procedures for submissions. I would like to see the submission process put on a more consistent basis. All submissions should go through the Principal Heralds and be included in full on the LoIs. This includes appeals and major corrections. Minor spelling corrections and notifications that we missed a submission may be sent in separately. Anything that should be seen by the College needs to be sent out in an LoI. Policy statements or suggestions may go out separately, but should still go to the College. From now on, I will not process any appeal or submission which has not gone through the Principal Herald and gone out in an LoI. (Virgule, Green Staff, and Greenwood are exempted from this restriction with regard to appeals.)

I am reinstituting a procedure used previously by Mistress Karina of the Far West. When a submission requires further research, information, or discussion by the College, I will announce that it is in the Pending File. I will give a specific date at which I will rule on the submission, by which time I need to have whatever information I specify. This way, if I or a staff member needs to go check something in the local library, or if the LoI and the information forms disagree, or if something important is missing, then I can just postpone acting on the submission until another monthly meeting. If the submission involves a policy question that I felt was not sufficiently discussed by the College., I can then postpone the submission so the College can discuss it further.

We have had trouble in the past with submissions on an LoI that either did not give the blazon or else gave a blazon that was misworded or actually wrong. These do not allow College members to check for conflicts. In such cases, I will automatically reject the submission and give the correct blazon. The Principal Herald should then place that reblazoned submission in the next LoI, so the College will have a chance to comment on it. If the LoI says that a name is approved and it is not, then I will reject it so that it may be resubmitted with the statement that it does need to be checked for conflicts and errors.

In the future, I will be communicating more often with the Principal Heralds on submissions and other matters that involve their kingdoms. I would like each Principal Herald to send me, privately or publicly, his/her work phone number so that I will be able to reach you by phone. The Board of Directors is now considering some major changes and we need to prepare by increasing our own communication.

On some minor matters, I have now been shown sufficient proof that the contraction of Mac to Mc occurred in period, so Mc may now be used. Those who submitted Mc and had it changed to Mac may now ask for a free change. The line on the information form for date of birth is there so we have something with which we can tell two people apart who have the same Society given name and the same mundane given name (this has happened). The old forms did not ask for mundane name and so we have only the birthdate to go by, since the address doesn't help, what with people moving all of the time. The line for highest rank/title also helps in this regard and tells us if a person has the right to a restricted charge.

If a person submits a device with a crown as a charge, we look to see if the highest title was of viscounty, county, or ducal nature. The line for SCA relationships and household memberships is there so we can see if there is an obvious granting of permission for a submission. If we see that a submission conflicts with John of London and then we see on the form that the person is the lady wife of John of London, then we can assume that John of London has granted permission. Otherwise, we would reject the submission.

To all Principal Heralds: do not include alternate changes on the LoI. These are for in-kingdom use only. Once you have decided on a specific choice, only that choice should appear on the LoI. If that is rejected, then you can turn right around and submit the second choice. Do not include the second choice with the first. If we let this occur, it would double the already large workload. As three-fourths of the submissions are accepted, this would usually be a waste of time.

The Schwartzdrachen Herald has sent in a proposal for codifying the rules for number of charges allowed. I have looked it over and, while it is a reasonable thing to hand out to people as a guideline, it is too complex and open to misinterpretation to adopt as a formal rule. In particular, it doesn't deal with the question of semé of some charge. You can have a field semé of a very complicated charge, such as a flower slipped and leaved or a lion rampant or a ship. The number of little charges is unspecified and can be as large as the artist cares to make it. Generally, with a few exceptions, more than eight of anything is semé. The charges on the shield should be arranged in a period fashion, which means a fair amount of balance and symmetry. I believe that an attempt to further refine the rules in this area would only lead to more problems.

A question came up in a submission this month. We prohibit charged inescutcheons, lozenges, and cartouches because these were the three shapes used to display arms; therefore, there could be confusion as to whether their charged use was an augmentation or arms of pretense. The inescutcheon is the obvious case and the lozenge is so common that it could be confused by many. The cartouche was uncommon, used mainly by clergy. Inasmuch as in-period ordination of females was almost unheard of and marriage of ordained priests was also rare for most of our period, the use of a cartouche as arms of pretense would be rather unlikely, as it would imply that the wife was ordained. It seems to be that the cartouche would also be unlikely to be used as an augmentation. The question is, therefore: Shall we allow charged cartouches in the SCA? What do you think?

The following topics are still under discussion: 1) what to do about household names; 2) should the use of widely separate languages in a Society name be restricted; 3) where do we draw the line on conflicts between SCA branches and mundane places; 4) should people be able to use their own mundane arms in the SCA; and 5) the question of charged cartouches stated above. If you haven't sent in your comments on these, please do so.

I have only received 27 of the symposium questionnaires sent to the College so I am postponing until my next letter (two weeks from now) an announcement of the winning bid. Please send in your questionnaire now.

In answer to a question on mon, the default formal tinctures for mon are argent on sable, representing light on dark. A person can request instead the less common sable on argent, representing dark on light. The formal tinctures are used on scrolls and shields. A person may use any dark/light or light/dark combination when displaying the mon on a kimono. This is the Japanese system. If a submittor so desires, a mon can be registered in the European tradition with other specified colors, such as argent on azure. In this case, the tinctures are fixed for all uses and the scroll, shield, banner, kimono, etc., must all be argent on azure. Thus, to make use of the Japanese system, one must use sable on argent or vice versa. Otherwise, the Europe system is assumed.

I attend the 1982 Meridies Heraldic Symposium at Hard Labor Creek Park in Rutledge, Georgia, over the October 2-3 weekend. There were about 80 attendees, with 9 to 10 attendees from out of kingdom. The weather was warm and muggy, but tolerable. The cabins were rustic but decent. The seminars took place in the dining hall or in a secondary hall, or in an outside pavilion with a roof and benches. The food was very good, and there was LOTS of it. The revel Saturday night was enjoyable. Mistress Cynthia and I sang at the revel. Unfortunately, the seminars lacked sufficient organization. They should have had speakers and moderators lined up in advance with prepared material. Instead, the seminars consisted mainly of Mistress Rebecca or myself leading the attendees in a discussion of the seminar's topic, with Mistress Cynthia as occasional moderator. Even so, the discussions were well received by many attendees.

Saturday's topics consisted of: The Heraldic Image, Teaching Heraldry, List Heraldry, The Rules for Names, Name Documentation, and Court Heraldry. Sunday's topics were: The Rules for Submissions, Checking for Conflicts, Heraldic Administration, Source Materials, and a College of Arms meeting, which took up much of the day but gave the attendees a chance to see how the process actually worked. Monday, Master Vuong Manh presented his Ordinary of Military Devices and he and Mistress Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane presented the bids for next year's symposium. The Proceedings were available at the site and may be obtained from Mistress Rebecca for $4 plus postage. Copies of the 1981 Caerthe Heraldic Symposium Proceedings are available from the Stock Clerk of the SCA for $5 plus postage.

I would like to urge people to begin thinking of bids for 1984. Look at the guidelines I stated in my April 1982 LoA&R. I would like to have the bids for 1984 before next spring. Since the symposium will have been on the East Coast for two years running, I would like to see bids from other areas, particularly Ansteorra, An Tir, Caid, and the Middle.

Duke Siegfried informs me that the BoD has discovered that the SCA is in financial trouble. Current memberships cost $13 and take in only $10. The newsletters and T.I. need more money. The Board is paying the Steward a salary of $750/month and flying the Steward and two Board members in for the monthly Board meetings. The BoD has decided to increase the rebates to $6 for the newsletters, $4 for T.I, and $1 for the kingdom. The membership rates have been doubled to $20 ($6 for associate membership). The BoD will be sending a full accounting of this to the newsletters and will be asking for comments.

The BoD has also been discussing the question of membership requirements for various activities. Membership is already required for holding office and entering Crown and Coronet Lists. There has been talk about requiring membership for receiving awards or registering names, devices, arms, or badges. If you have any opinions on these suggestions (I am opposed to them), write to the Board.

A while back, I pointed out to the Board that Corpora forbade the use of any titles not specified in Corpora and drew no distinction as to what type of titles. This meant that things like squire, page, Father, Friar, Captain, Sergeant, or Goodman were forbidden unless cleared by the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. I didn't want that job and asked that that section be changed. Instead, they ordered me to enforce it. Hence the request I made for all non-nobiliary titles, so I could approve them all and thereby satisfy Corpora and still allow people to use the titles they had been using. Master Vuong Manh has managed to convince the BoD to finally amend that section. There is a new Section VII.B.3. added:

VII.B.3. Styles and unrecognized titles. It is a well established custom of the Society for those seeking special training to exchange pledges of fealty with skilled teachers. The Society recognizes apprentice as a general form for this relation, but other period expressions (page, maid-in-waiting, etc.) may be used. Those who exchange such pledges with members of the Order of Knighthood or of Masters and Mistresses of Arms may style themselves squires. These names, and titles (religious, military, scholarly, etc.) which do not assert or imply noble rank or territorial jurisdiction are not restricted from use, but are not officially recognized and convey no precedence.

I'm pleased to see the Board adopt this. Note that Esquire may still not be used because it is a title of nobility. The higher ranks of the Church (Vicar, Prioress, Bishop, Patriarch, Archbishop, Cardinal, and Pope) may still not be used because they imply territorial jurisdiction. Most of them also imply noble rank. Other titles of nobility, such as Marquis or Grand Duke, which are not used in the SCA, are still restricted. Titles such as Mayor or Sheriff or Elector also imply territorial jurisdiction and should only be used for heads of SCA branches, as an alternative to Baron/ess of a barony.

This provision opens the way for military titles and lower-level religious titles (Friar, Mother, Father, Sister, Rabbi, Deacon, Layman). Generally, social pressure will take care of overly presumptuous titles such as Admiral. The herald at a court should exercise common sense when confronted with these. If the people don't care and the royalty don't care, then go ahead and announce them. If a lot of people would be upset, then omit the title when you announce the person. Do not refuse to announce the person entirely or make a scene in court. After court, explain to the person the undesirability of the particular title in a reasonable manner. It is up to the royalty to publicly chastise somebody for an assumed title. The herald should not do so. The herald is not required to announce the title unless the ruling royalty directly order it. Titles which are not officially recognized need not be announced at court.

I would like to remind everybody that, as of December 1, 1982, all warranted heralds must submit their Society names and all titled Pursuivants and titled Heralds must also submit their devices. We need to set a good example for the populace. Anyone whose name or device is rejected has a three-month grace period to resubmit. Failure to submit or resubmit one's Society name (or device, if required) constitutes a de facto resignation. Principal Heralds should use common sense with this in the beginning as the heralds get used to it.

If anyone has any comments, suggestions, complaints, or other statements on the workings of the College, my actions, or other aspects of heraldry, please feel free to send them to me, privately or publicly. If I do not receive your ideas, I cannot know what they are. Only by increased cooperation and communication can we cope with the increasing size of the SCA and the resulting workload for the College of Arms.

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

Your servant,

Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel

Laurel King of Arms


Enclosure--Mailing List