9 July 1985, A.S.
Unto the members of the College of Arms,
from Baldwin of Erebor, Laurel King of Arms.
My lords and ladies,
Enclosed herewith is the letter of acceptances
and returns for the Laurel meeting of June 9. Submissions were
processed at this meeting for Laurel (3/31), Middle (2/24), Ansteorra
(3/3), Calontir (3/3), Caid (3/8), West (3/10), Atenveldt (3/13),
and Middle (3/17). There were 152 items approved and 23 returned,
for an 87% approval rate.
The letters to be processed at the July
14 meeting are An Tir (3/26), East (4/1), East (4/5), Caid (4/11),
West (4/19), Atenveldt (4/20), Middle (4/20), and Ansteorra (4/25).
The Calontir letter of 5/12 will be processed
on Sunday, August 11th, at the Known World Heraldic Symposium
in the March of Trinewydd.
The regular August meeting has been scheduled for the 25th. The letters to be processed at this meeting are Ansteorra (5/8), Atenveldt (5/16), Caid (5/16),
An Tir (5/23), West (5/26), East (5/28),
and East (5/30). Letters of comment for this meeting should
arrive no later than August 17.
The September meeting has been scheduled
for the 15th. We will be reviewing letters of intent from Ansteorra
(6/10), Calontir (6/11), Meridies (6/15), the West (6/16), Caid
(6/20), and East (6/27). Letters of comment for this meeting
should arrive not later than September 7.
Tentative meeting dates for the remainder
of the year are October 13, November 10, and December 15. These
are subject to change depending on local event and work schedules.
Mistress Lucie de Villebruyant Boniface,
Corona Herald, has asked to be removed from the list of commenting
heralds. She has been overtaken by the pressures of mundania.
In his letter of 28 Dec 82 (p. 8), Master
Wilhelm ruled that "A horseshoe is, by default, in a 'U'
orientation." In a recent letter of comment, however, someone
(or perhaps it was several someones) pointed out that this is
the opposite of mundane convention. A couple of this month's submissions
had horseshoes in them, so we decided to investigate the usage
According to J. P. BrookeLittle (An
Heraldic Alphabet, p. 120), "Unless otherwise blazoned
the horseshoe is represented ... with the extremities pointing
downward, in careless defiance of the notsoold superstition."
Franklyn (Shield and Crest, p. 211), Woodward (pp. 356
and 453), Parker (p. 333), and Elvin (P. 37, f. 45) all show the
Checking the Laurel files, we found only
three instances of horseshoes, two of which (CADWALLON CORNWEALHAS
(1978] and SELFRAN RAVENSDOTRIR ) were blazoned according
to mundane convention. The one exception was the device of ANNE
DOUGLAS OF THE SEVEN STARS (now HANIYA BAT BARUCH), who (amazing
coincidence) happens to be changing her arms this month. I am
therefore adopting, the mundane default (with the opening to base,
so the luck runs out) as SCA practice, and have reblazoned Haniya's
old device to be consistent with this convention. If anyone knows
of any others, please let me know.
The pointandahalf rule
The SCA system of points of difference works
fairly well with moderately complex coats, but it tends to break
down when the two coats being compared are relatively simple.
The most common case appears to be that of a single dominant
primary charge within a group of obvious secondary charges, such
as a charged chief or bordure. Changing the type of the primary
charge produces a significant visual effect more than would
be produced by chancing the type of the secondary charge
yet it contributes no more technical difference.
This results in a series of unsavory alternatives:
(1) return the coat, even though they're obviously different;
(2) pass the coat, even though the rules say they conflict; (3)
play games with the ambiguities in the rules, in order to boost
the point count; or (4) make gratuitous modifications to the coat
in order to add extra difference. None of these addresses the
real problem: the point count does not reflect the visual difference
between the two coats.
In the past several months, I have proposed
amendments to the Rules for Submissions that would allow change
in type of the primary charge to contribute up to a pointandahalf
of difference between two coats consisting of a single charge
plus a a charged or modified chief or bordure. The response to
the proposals has been largely favorable; and since they permitted
approval of several submissions which people felt ought
to be approved (regardless of the technical difference), I have
been applying them on a tentative basis.
The problem is a general one, not confined
solely to chiefs and bordures, so a more general definition of
the rule would seem to be in order:
Between two simple coats, difference in type of primary charge
may contribute up to a major and a minor point of difference.
The actual extent of the rule will have
to be determined by experience. At present, the following seem
1) In each coat, the primary charge must
be the dominant part of the design. A complex field or a group
of unlike secondary charges may detract enough from the importance
of the primary to remove the extra minor point of difference.
2) The primary charges must be significantly
different. Except in the simplest cases, they should probably
be completely different.
3) The primary charges should not themselves
I'm not certain what kind of restriction
we should place on number of primary charges. It seems reasonable
to insist that at least one of the coats contain only a single
primary charge, but one of this month's submissions (ALGERNON
BLACKSWORD) suggests that we don't necessarily have to require
this of both coats.
Since there appears to be an immediate need,
I have begun applying the revised pointandahalf
rule on a tentative basis, starting with several of the submissions
in this letter. See the discussion on Algernon Blacksword (West),
Anthony of Hags Head (Atenveldt), Boris of Woodland (Ansteorra),
Dieter des Schwarzen Eichkatchens (Middle), Dragonship Haven (East),
and Eoin Scott na Daingniche (Middle) for details. I have also
noted one instance, Stuart Osric de Becquet (Middle), where I
feel the pointandahalf rule does not apply.
I will be leaving for vacation on Saturday,
August 3rd (the weekend before the heraldry Symposium) and returning
August 17th or 18th (the weekend after). Except for the weekend
of the Symposium, I will be unreachable during most of the twoweek
I pray you believe me to be, my lords and
Baldwin of Erebor
Laurel King of Arms