December 28, 1982 A.S. XVII
TO: The Members of the College of Arms
FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms
Enclosed is this month's LoA&R, containing 153 acceptances and 64 rejections, for a total of 217 actions. This letter was particularly time-consuming because a dozen letters from five commenters arrived after my monthly meeting on the 19th. In order to make use of these letters, my Lady and I spent 8 hours on Christmas Eve having a second meeting going through all of the submissions with the twelve late letters. These letters were important, as a number of decisions were reversed because of information contained in them. The commenters spent many hours working an those letters, and we didn't want to lose their efforts or have them go to waste. However, we cannot be expected to do this every month.
I am stating up to three months ahead of time when I will be acting on a particular LoI. This should be plenty of time for all commenters to get their comments done and in to me in time. You cannot mail a Letter to me two days before the meeting and expect it to arrive before the meeting. The Berkeley Post Office is slow. Some letters were mailed after the meeting was over. Some were held up by the Post Office. Please try to get your letters for my January meeting in to me at least four (4) days before my meeting of January 16. In order for me to receive an LoC on January 12, you should have mailed it no later than January 10th, and preferably by the 8th.
Because of the growing volume of submissions, I have had to go to a two-pass system whereby I sit down a week before the meeting date and go through all of the submissions to enter the blazons on the forms and to check the submission forms against the Letter of Intent for discrepancies. I look to see if any submissions need special attention, such as checking references or dictionaries. At this time, it is very useful to have the LoCs, so I can look to see what is being said about these cases. In some instances, I can then call the Principal Herald before the meeting to resolve the questions. Therefore I ask that, beginning with the February meeting, you arrange for the LoCs to reach me no later than the Saturday of the weekend before my meeting, so I can have the LoCs for my first pass. This also allows for up to a week's delay due to the Post Office with the letter still arriving in time for the meeting itself.
Thus, for my January 16, 1983 meeting, I want to receive by January 12 the LoCs on the following LoIs: East (9/25), East (9/26), Aten (9/30), Caid (1073), Caid (10/19), and West (10/24). For my February 13, 1983 meeting, I want to receive by February 5 the LoCs on the following LoIs: Meridies/Trimaris (10/8, 10/9, 10/18), An Tir (11/3), Meridies/Trimaris (11/7), Caid (11/11), Middle (11/15), Ansteorra (11/20), and Atenveldt (11/20). For my March 13, 1983 meeting I want to receive by March 5 the LoCs on the following Lois: Meridies (10/26), West (11/14), East (11/25), Caid (12/13), and An Tir (12/15). These are all the LoIs I have received. Any additional December letters sent out in December will be handled at the March meeting.
I refer to an LoI by the date on the letter, but I process it according to the date it was mailed to the CoA. If it is dated in one month and mailed in the next, it is treated as being of the second month. If it gets out in the first couple of days of the next month I may, if it is convenient in terms of workload, give it the benefit of the doubt and treat it as if it had gone out in the month it was dated. Thus, the batch of LoIs sent out by Ensign (Meridies/Trimaris) that were actually sent out in the middle of November are treated as November letters and are being processed in February. The Meridies letter dated October 26 sent out by Pennon was actually sent out at Thanksgiving. Since February is overful already (9 LoIs), I will process this in March, which looks to be lighter. I will try to avoid ever moving a letter to an earlier month, as I understand that this can cause problems for commenters. My listings for three months ahead--in this case March--should be considered tentative. My listings for two months ahead--in this case February--should be considered definite, as is the listing for the next month.
I recomment that, when a Principal Herald or representative expects a delay between sending out copies of the LoI to the College and sending the packet of Lol and submissions to me, s/he send me an extra copy of the LoI itself at the time the other copies are mailed to the College, so I will know when this has been done and can assign a process date to the letter. If only a few days elapse (no more than 3) between the two mailings, then just write on the LoI you send me the date you mailed the copies to the other members of the mailing list. The idea behind all of this is to ensure that the commenters have sufficient time to comment on each LoI and that everyone be able to plan his/her commenting schedule.
Because of the crush of work and many changes among our members, I have decided to be more lenient with those commenters who fall behind. Hereafter I will send a private reminder to anyone who goes two successive months without commenting. I will issue a public reminder to those who have gone three successive months, and I will remove from the mailing list those who have gone four successive months. I am not trying to punish anyone by this process. Sending copies of LoIs and LoCs is expensive, and it is not fair for somebody to receive these who does not, contribute anything in return by commenting. If somebody is having time problems, s/he should just resign from the mailing list until s/he has more time. Or s/he can write to me and explain the problem. Frequently I will grant an extension of time. When I am faced with a total lack of correspondence with no explanation, I can only assume the worst and remove the person from the mailing list. I do not require that you comment on each LoI received, only that you comment on some of them each month. Of course, I would like it if you could comment on them all, as I value everybody's comments. The more I get, the better the system works.
The following heralds have gone three months without commenting: Morgenstern, Pennon, Ensign, Archive, Pale, Triton, Schwarzdrachen. The last two have gone four months. In the spirit of Christmas, I will give them a one-month extension. If I have not received an LoC or an explanation from them by the time of my next meeting, I will be forced to drop them from the mailing list. They will still receive copies of my letters, however. If any of you listed have sent me letters in the last three months, please send me another copy, as I obviously did not receive it.
I would like to announce that, because of a change of plans in Great Britain Mr. John Brooke-Little has been forced to change his plans for his trip to the U.S in the spring of 1983. Therefore, the date of the 1983 Atlantia Heraldry Symposium has had to be moved to May 7, 1983. Triton informs me that Mr. Brooke-Little has said that he will be able to attend on that date. I understand that this will conflict with the Meridies Crown Tourney, but the alternative was to conflict with Eastern Coronation. Since this year Meridies hosted the Symposium and it did conflict with Eastern Coronation, for 1983 we felt it only fair to give the East a chance to come this time. Triton will be sending out more information soon.
I will be sending out under separate cover a compilation of all of the changes to the Rules for Submissions that have been adopted since the rules were sent off to be printed in the Spring 1982 T.I. Please use these in your deliberations on your suggested guidelines for good and poor practices. I have begun implementing the system I mentioned last month. This month you will notice that I have begun to accept a number of submissions that would have previously been rejected. These are accompanied by a short explanation as to how they are poor practice and how they could be made better. I am still rejecting anything that clearly violates the Rules for Submissions, but I will be letting more of the doubtful cases through, accompanied by short lectures. I urge everyone to read the entire LoA&R, not just your own kingdom's entries, as each page has important material on it.
The basic idea of the new system is for the Principal ad Principality Heralds, as well as the local heralds, to take more responsibility for consulting with and advising the submittors on good heraldic practices. Each Principal Herald can set his/her own standard for just what level of heraldry s/he wants. I will be more lenient in accepting dubious Submissions, as consulting with people is not efficient t my level, and thus those cases that are poor practice or are uncertain as to being period but which do not actually violate any specific rule will be accepted, along with an explanation of how they could be done better. The result (we hope) will be a more positive opinion of the College among the membership and an increase in heraldic education and consultation. For this to work, the local, Principality, and Kingdom Heralds have to do their jobs.
Please pay careful attention to the basics when you are consulting. I rejected four submissions this month for violation of the Rule of Tincture. Those Submissions should never have gotten to me. Every kingdom by now has a copy of Papworth's and a copy of last year's Armorial & Ordinary. Please check them carefully. There have been entirely too many submissions rejected at my level for conflicts that should have been caught at the kingdom level. If any of you have trouble checking for conflict, let me know and I will be happy to help you. Here are some basic suggestions.
To check a submission against Papworth's, first read the sections in the Rules for Submissions on required points of difference and the categories of difference. Do this every month until you have it memorized. Let us suppose you are checking a device or arms. The requirement here is one major and one minor point of difference from mundane arms. Therefore, an entry in Papworth's that differs by one major point of difference will conflict. First look up the exact blazon to see if there is an exact conflict. Then look to see if there is a conflict from a change of field. This is easy, because arms with a different field will be in the same section you are looking at. Next, look for a difference of tincture of the main charge. Again, this is in the same section you are looking at. Now look for a conflict differing only in position or orientation of the main charge, or a difference in the line of division used, or some other detail. Again, this is in the same section. Thus, within that section you have checked out three of the points of difference. Now look for conflicts based upon number of charges. If your device has three lions rampant, look under One lion, Two lions, Four lions, etc. These will all be nearby in adjacent sections. Now. look for mundane arms that add a charge to your submission. These will also be nearby. Suppose you have a lion rampant. You should look under the following sections that add charges, such as A lion between or within, or A lion and in chief, etc.
If you have more than one primary charge, then you will have to do the above for each of the primary charges. Watch out for cases where one of your charges is changed to another in a mundane arms. That is a conflict. Check to see if any possible conflicts have enough minor points to remove the conflict. Beware of conflicts with particularly important arms, such as national arms or flags. When checking the SCA Ordinary for conflicts with other SCA devices, look for cases where you have only one major, only one major & one minor, only one minor, or even identity. These are all conflicts. Checking for one major and one minor requires some ingenuity, as the number of possibilities for conflict is large. Look at the conflicts cited in my letters to see examples of conflicts with SCA devices.
For some of you this is old hat. Please see to it that it becomes so for your local heralds as well, who should be encouraged to do as much conflict checking as they can before sending submissions on to kingdom level. For those of you who are new to the College, I hope these suggestions are helpful. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.
While I am opposed to the routine inclusion of alternates on LoIs because they would be a waste of time in general, I have been persuaded that in some unusual cases they can be useful. If a Principal Herald is faced with a submission that is unprecedented, and thus its legality is unknown, and the submission includes an alternative that is legal, then the Principal Herald can list the alternative for the CoA to check as well. In these cases, there is a good chance that the primary submission will fail and therefore the alternative will be effective in saving time. It will provide the College with an alternative in a debatable situation. (The price you pay is that we may opt for the alternative because we know it is there, but then at least something does get approved.) Please keep these alternatives to a minimum, because in those cases where the first submission is approved, the alternative is a waste of the commenters' time.
I have been looking into the question of charged subordinaries since I brought up the question of charged cartouches. I find that the inescutcheon seems to be the only shape used for arms of pretense. The canton was mainly used for augmentations of arms. Therefore we should continue our prohibition on charged cantons and charged inescutcheons. The case for the lozenge, roundel, cartouche, ship's sail, triangle, delf, billet, and other similar shapes is that we do not want them to appear to be augmentations of arms or displays of secondary arms. On the other hand, we cannot forbid these to be charged at all because they were often charged in period with no further meaning attached. Therefore, I propose that we limit these charges to being charged with no more than one charge. Putting multiple charges on them would make it look too much like display of secondary arms. Putting one charge on them would just make them look like they bear tertiary charges. We would still watch out for conflicts with national arms and flags and other such truly famous cases. This generally means that you should avoid charging these shapes with simple ordinaries. These cases would be handled on a case-by-case basis. I put this proposal up for consideration. What do you think of it?
I look forward to receiving your lists of good and poor practices and any other guidelines on names and devices/badges you send in to me. Please try to place these on separate letters so I can file them separately from your LoCs.
I wish all of you a happy holiday season and a very happy new year. The College has done a good job this year and I look forward to an even better year to come. I would like to publicly thank my hard-working Laurel Secretary for all her work and good typing. (Please not that I typed the last part of the November letter. So all errors were mine, not hers.) Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain
Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel
Laurel King of Arms