4 January 1985, A.S. XIX
Unto the members of the College of Arms,
from Baldwin of Erebor, Laurel King of Arms.
For the benefit of any of you who have not
yet been boiled in your own pudding and buried with a stake of
holly through your heart, I an enclosing the letter of acceptances
and returns from the Laurel meeting of December 16. This month's
assortment of humbug was enacted upon divers letters of intent
from Ansteorra (7/24), the East (9/9), Caid (9/12), the West (9/13),
the Middle (9/25), Meridies (9/26), and Ansteorra (9/27). There
were a total of 152 items approved, 41 returned, and 3 pending,
for a 78% approval rate.
The January meeting has been tentatively
scheduled for the weekend of the 5th, with a fallback date
of the 20th. The letters of intent to be processed at this meeting
are Atenveldt (10/2), Atenveldt (10/3), East (10/9), Calontir
(10/9), East (10/22), Caid (10/24), Middle (10/25), West (10/26),
Middle (10/28), and Laurel (11/6).
February's meeting has been set for the
3rd. The letters scheduled for this meeting are Ansteorra (11/1),
Middle (11/1), Meridies (11/1), Caid (11/8), West (11/11), Atenveldt
(10/15), Atlantia (11/15), Atenveldt (11/20), East (11/22), East
(11/26), Atenveldt (11/26), and East (11/27). Letters of comment
for this meeting should be in the mail to me by January 26.
The March meeting is slated for the 10th.
I have thus far received submissions for this meeting from Caid
(12/6), Calontir (12/8), Middle (12/10), Atenveldt (12/10), West
(12/17), Meridies (12/17), East (12/25), East (12/26), and Laurel
(1/1/85). The deadline for comments is March 1.
There were several errors in the roster
I sent to the members of the College of Arms with the November
letter. Anthony Ferrucci's middle initial is F, not J,
and his ZIP code is 98034, not 98033. The current
Aurochs Pursuivant is Lady Andriana Innes (Kim Anne Innes), HQ
V Corps, DCA PRMD, APO New York 09079. Missing from the roster
altogether was Blue Tyger Herald, Dawyd z Gury (David Gurzynski),
19005 Hillside Avenue #2K, Jamaica, NY 11425 (who is not
presently a commenter).
Lady Lucie de Villebruyant Boniface is now
Corona Herald. She will remain on the mailing list. The new
White Stag Herald is Lady Saerlaith as an Fhasaich (Lisa Scott),
219 Santa Ana, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131.
She will not be commenting. The new Triskele Herald is Master
Taliesynne Nychymwrh (Kem Cason), 1205 Moseley Avenue, Palatka,
FL 32077. He is not on the mailing list at this time. Lady Joanna
de Bocage has resigned as Ensign Pursuivant.
Principal heralds (and CoA representatives):
when you mail out a letter of intent, please be sure to send the
Laurel office a copy if you haven't done so earlier. My system
for keeping track of letters of comment is keyed to the letter
of intent; things get kind of messy if I start receiving comments
before the LoI arrives.
Commentators: when you write a letter of
comment, be sure to send a copy to the herald on whose submissions
you commented. This is an important part of the submissions process,
as well as being a matter of simple courtesy.
Rules for Submissions
For the past four months, I have been attempting to base my decisions on the submission rules as they were at the time I took office. The rules have been in a continuous state of change for the last five years; so much so that submissions are often based, not on the rules, but on what the rules "ought to
be." The College of Arms is required
by Corpora (IV.C.3.c) "to establish a body of standard terminology,
usage, and rulings for the Society and the Kingdom Colleges of
Heralds." I felt we needed a period without change, so we
could assess our progress toward this goal.
The assessment period will be over in another
two months, at which time it is my intention to review the Rules
for Submissions with an eye to possible changes. I hope, for
the sake of continuity, to make as few changes in the content
of the rules as possible; most of the complaints I have received
are that the published rules do not accurately express our current
policies, and that they are difficult to understand.
I am hereby soliciting comments from the College of Arms on the Rules for
Submissions of 1 August 1984. The areas I am interested in addressing are, in
decreasing order of importance:
1) Errors: Inconsistencies in the
Rules for Submissions (RFS) and places where they are unclear.
Also, suggestions concerning organization and format, and things
that really do not belong in the rules.
2) Omissions: Rulings that have been
promulgated, and that are understood still to be in effect, but
which are not expressed in the RFS.
3) Known problems: Areas in which
we have encountered difficulties that could be resolved without
4) Radical ideas and wishful thinking: Changes that are controversial, require considerable discussion, or entail major changes to the RFS or the CoA.
The nominal deadline for suggestions is
March 15. It would be helpful to me if you kept your comments
on the rules separate from your comments on submissions (it will
simplify filing), but this is not a requirement. My current intention
is to circulate a draft of the revisions before enacting them.
The actual procedure may change, depending on the suggestions
I receive and the extent of the proposed changes.
The following known problems need to be
a) There are no stated restrictions on what
sort of crown or coronet may be borne by a person who is entitled
to one of these charges. Should there be any explicit restrictions,
and if so, what?
b) There are few established criteria for
limiting the complexity of a badge. Such criteria must be something
that can be applied uniformly.
c) The rule on historical conflicts for
names has changed somewhat over the years the current criterion
seems to be "this person might possibly be mistaken for"
rather than "this person is claiming to be." I was
particularly bothered by the name Eric Magnusson, which
I had to return for conflict with a king of Norway, despite the
fact that Eric and Magnus are both common given
names, and that the applicant's name was a correctly constructed
patronymic. If there are no additional allusions in the device,
might not an exception be made in cases such as this?
d) There have been a number of recent instances
of technical conflict between submissions that appeared to have
only limited visual similarity. The first class of these consisted
of a plain or divided field plus a charged ordinary or subordinary.
The implication is that there may be some circumstances under
which we should allow a full point of difference for tertiary
charges that are a prominent component of a simple design. The
second class of submissions consisted of a plain field with a
single primary charge plus a charged chief; in each case, the
coat conflicted with one that had a different primary charge.
The implication is that we should either extend the completedifferenceofcharge
rule or (perhaps better) allow the primary charge in such cases
to carry more weight.
These are the topics I recall at the moment;
others were mentioned in the cover letters of 10 Oct 84 and 2
Dec 84. You might want to jog your memory by looking over the
last year's worth of LoARs.
A Sinister Proposition
As part of the general rules review, I would
like to ask that the College of Arms consider permitting the prefix
counter and the term contourny to be used
to describe animate charges that have been turned to face the
sinister. The use of counter to describe the orientation
of a single charge was formally abandoned, in favor of contourny,
in March of 1981. The latter term was displaced by the phrase
to sinister at some point thereafter. It is apparent from
the correspondence I have received that a number of heralds would
like to have the option of using these terms in blazon. Since
neither term can truly be said to have had its day in court, I
would like to accord each that opportunity now.
The use of counter to describe
the position of a single charge (e.g. counter-rampant 'rampant
to the sinister') is borne out by Parker (p. 139), Shield
and Crest (p. 94), and An Heraldic Alphabet (p. 72).
Woodward (pp. 219220, 681), A Complete Guide to Heraldry
(p. 187), and Boutell's Heraldry (pp. 67, 314) mention
only the application of counter to two charges moving
in opposite directions (which usage we have adopted). It may
be argued that people will find the two slightly different definitions
confusing, and that, in the name of simplicity (which argument
is not to be despised), we should permit only the nonambiguous
The case for contourny is somewhat
stronger. It is to be found in Parker (p. 132), An Heraldic
Alphabet (p. 69), Boutell's (p. 313), Woodward (pp.
219220, 681), and Shield and Crest (p. 93). FoxDavies
also mentions the term in the Complete Guide (p. 186),
but he states that it has "never been adopted or officially
recognized," and "may for all practical purposes be
entirely disregarded." Boutell's also states that
the term is "sometimes used as a synonym for reguardant."
Addenda and Corrigenda
There was a typographical error in the LoAR
of 31 Aug 84. In the name of Maria Teresa Tibeiro dos Santos
(p. 11), the third word should be Ribeiro.
My attempt to pin down the SCA definitions
of wreath and chaplet in the same letter (p. 3)
appears to have been at least partially in error. For one thing,
I overlooked the definition of chaplet in An Heraldic
Alphabet (p. 62), which specifies that a chaplet has "four
flowers in cross. All right, how have we been using the
terms? The couple of examples I pulled were open at the top, which
I used in combination with the shape of the standard SCA laurel
wreath to deduce that a wreath of foliage is horseshoeshaped.
Ioseph believed there to be a difference: "Queens in the
Society use Wreaths of Roses. Princesses use Chaplets."
(IoL, 30 Jun 73, p. 4; in Prec I 11) Was he incorrect in this
Mistress Alison von Markheim tells me that
Vert and Or is in the process of staggering back to life,
following Lord Iathus's relocation to the Kingdom of the West.
They are hoping to get an issue out sometime in January 1985.
My lady and I would like to wish you all
the happiest of holiday seasons, and earnestly hope your new year
will commence a little less hectically than ours.
Please believe me to be,
Baldwin of Erebor
Laurel King of Arms