November 1986 Laurel Cover Letter
Taigh Moran Chat
7 December, 1986
Unto the members of the College of Arms and such others who may read this letter,
Greetings from Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Laurel Queen of Arms!
Enclosed herein are the acceptances and returns for the November meeting, originally scheduled for 23 November and postponed to 30 November due to plague at Taigh Moran Chat (even the cats were sneezing!). Seven letters were processed: Atenveldt (8/1), Meridies (8/1), Caid (8/12), West (8/17), An Tir (8/24), Middle (7/25) and Atlantia. Of 239 submission elements processed, 185 were accepted, 51 were returned and 3 were pended for an acceptance rate of 77%.
Due to unforeseen mundane commitments the December meeting has been moved to the Sunday after Christmas, i.e.. 28 December. At that time will be considered Atenveldt (9/1), Trimaris (9/2) , Trimaris (9/5), Caid (9/9), West (9/17) and Atlantia (9/25). Additionally, the procedural questions having been resolved, we will consider the following letters from Ansteorra: 4/28, 5/15, 5/29 and 6/29.
The January meeting is scheduled for 25 January, 1987. At that meeting will be considered Meridies (6/14), Ansteorra (6/31), Atenveldt (10/1), Caid (10/6), Middle (10/17), Middle (10/18), West (10/22), East (10/23), An Tir (10/25) and Calontir (10/30).
The date for the February meeting is not yet firm since, if finances allow, I hope to take the Laurel Office "on the road" to the Great Desert War in Atenveldt. (I will not know if this is feasible until the property tax bill comes in later this month!) To be considered in February are Ansteorra (10/31), Atenveldt (11/1), Caid (11/2), Middle (11/4), Middle (11/5), Middle (11/6). Middle (11/7), West (11/12), Outlands (11/15) and East (11/18).
I realize that the clearing of backlogs from several kingdoms at once is going to put a strain on the research resources of the College over the holiday period and precisely at the time when the Board's mandate has forced us to consider in some haste issues of policy which will determine the shape of heraldry in the Society for years to come. I regret this situation, but can only ask that the commenting heralds do their best to juggle all the balls that have been put into our hands: without your help and advice, I cannot hope to keep the office running with the equity and speed to which I consider the populace is entitled.
In response to several queries and pleas, I am declaring an amnesty for all those commenting heralds who are technically "in arrears". In other words, for the purposes of the "three month rule", I will begin counting in January, 1987. Noone will be dropped from the mailing list for lack of comments before March and then only if comments have not been received for the January, February and March meetings. After January, however, the requirement that commenting heralds comment will be strictly enforced.
A number of roster additions have been reported by Trimaris. Triskele has requested that Brigit Olesdottir of Loch Ree, Archive Pursuivant be added to the commenting list (Pam Kreyling, 3182 Lockwood Meadows Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 33580, 8139534863). Added to the roster, but not the mailing list should be Sarana Tudinsdottir, Western Regional Deputy (Trudy Plotz, P.O. Box 40994, Saint Petersburg, FL 33743, 8133443850), Vasilikee ??, Southern Regional Deputy (Margaret Basile, RSMASBLR 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, 3053615642) and Petahari Zubayda, Northern Regional Deputy (Jennifer L. Wise 2600 Art Museum Drive, #202, Jacksonville, FL 32207, 9043968605).
The Pennon Herald, Ciarrai MacBraonin an Taghdach, has informed me that he will be temporarily retiring from heraldic office in order to assume the position of Crown Prince of Meridies. His successor, who should replace him on the mailing list, is Geoffrey FitzAlain (Eric Brown, 3430 Inman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319, 4042338504).
On Submissions from TYC, Pennsic, etc.:
There have been a number of comments, from principal heralds and others, on the quality of some submissions which seem to derive from consultation tables at large events such as the Great Desert War, TYC, Pennsic, etc. Some have gone so far as to suggest that I issue suggestions for the standards of documentation to be used at such events.
The mechanism used at TYC and most of the large interKingdom events alluded to in the commentary follows the procedures pioneered at Pennsic when I was War Herald three years ago. After consultation, submissions were accepted on behalf of the submittor's home kingdom and, at the end of the event, all forms forwarded to that kingdom where they are processed precisely as if they had been submitted by a local herald. The required standards for documentation were the same as usual, although some compromises were made in terms of demanding Xeroxes of submittors at the time the submission is made. (The Middle and the East traditionally also offer a "War special" under which only one copy, black and white, is required of the submittor and Xeroxes and colour versions are made by the submissions processing unit.)
Note that it is the responsibility of the Principal Herald and, if the Principal Herald does not process submissions, the College of Arms representative, to review submissions from such events using the same standards as they do for submissions made through "normal" channels. It is clear that, in the case of some submissions at least, this responsibility was not properly carried out. Whether this was due to a careless assumption that the presence of senior members of the College as consultants guaranteed a valid submission or a feeling that the submittor would protest overly since they had felt that consultation with a senior herald would prevent any conflicts or stylistic errors is irrelevant: no favour is done to a submittor who has to wait several months to learn from the Laurel Office of an obvious conflict that should have been caught inKingdom.
I strongly recommend the use of consultation tables at Kingdom and Interkingdom events. During my tenure as Brigantia, an aggressive outreach program using such tables contributed mightily to the flow of submissions from the East. The rate of success for submissions from consultation tables was as high as that for "normal" submissions and that should be possible for all Kingdoms if a few basic precautions are taken:
1. Always stress at the table that there are no guarantees that all problems with the submission will be caught by the research materials available onsite.
2. Treat the submissions precisely as you would submissions from other sources. If you have an internal letter of intent system, run all submissions from the consultation table through that. If you use a Kingdom meeting system, research the submissions thoroughly there. Make no assumptions about the degree of research that has previously been done (at Pennsic XIV there was a point where people were lined up eight deep at the consult table: under those sort of circumstances, even the most careful researcher may miss a conflict).
3. If a submission needs to be redrawn or Xeroxes of documentation need to accompany the submission, hold the submission until these can be provided. Do not relax your standards for material going out to the College, even if you cut some slack for the material required of the submittor.
In my letter from the September meeting, I requested that Liam MacMhuire use "the period, straightarmed anchor". This request was based on the precedent set by Master Wilhelm in April, 1981. Master Gawaine of Miskbridge has provided me with copious documentation for the existence of the curved or "Admiralty" anchor in period. Therefore, it seems reasonable to allow this form of anchor for Society usage.
PRECEDENT: Any period form of anchor, including the curvedarm, barbed ancient or straightarmed forms, may be used in Society heraldry.
On the granting of augmentations by the Crown:
After long reflection and examination of past controversies on similar issues, I am compelled to agree with Crescent that the crown of the Middle exceeded its authority in specifying, rather than suggesting, the form that the augmentation should take. In the early days of some Kingdoms, the issue of precisely who gives the actual arms, King or College of Arms, was a hotly debated issue, the final decision on this point being that the Crown gives the rank and the College gives the form of the arms. Precedent would indicate that the same division of authority must exist for augmentations: the crown gives the honour and may suggest an appropriate form for the augmentation but the College must authorize the form before it may be registered (and, if one is a strict constructionist, before it may be used). An exception to this rule exists where the Kingdom has previously registered a standard augmentation for general or specific use (e.g., the augmentation registered by Atenveldt in 1979) or the augmentation is itself a registered badge of the Kingdom. In that case, the Crown can specify the use of the previously approved insignia as an augmentation, which the recipient may use or not, as he desires.
It should be noted that Master Charles informed the College of the augmentation, but did not, properly speaking, submit the augmentation for the consideration of the College. No depiction of the augmentation as Duchess Caellyn uses it has been presented to the College, nor has there been any request for approval. As a result, virtually no commentary has been directed to the issue of the acceptability of the augmentation.
I would request Dragon to submit the augmentation formally to the College for discussion as soon as may be possible, being careful to accompany the submission with a depiction of the augmentation as it is actually used. This will allow a proper discussion of the limits to be placed upon the use of chain in Society armoury. Since all that is technically restricted at the moment is "a circular chain", this discussion seems long overdue.
On the names of disbanded branches:
Master Charles requested us to consider the reuse of the names of "honourably retired" groups by groups forming in the same territory. Only Crescent, who felt this should be a case by case issue to be decided by the Board, and Batonvert, who was in favour of considering the renewal of the names and arms of disbanded groups, have commented on this.
I am now formally soliciting commentary from the College on this issue. Should the exact names of groups be revived (modified names are now permitted under certain specified circumstances)? Should the arms be revived? If you feel that there are circumstances under which this should be done, what are they? Who should make the decision: the College of Arms, the Board, the Kingdom Seneschal, a combination of the above?
Please consider this matter carefully and without haste. The answer we arrive at will have important implications for the definition of precisely what defines a Society group. I would like all comments to be in my hands by the end of March so I can present the Board with the "sense of the College" for the May Board meeting.
On Symposium Bids:
The reason that no announcement has been made concerning a heraldic symposium for 1987 is that I have received no bids. I was informed some months ago that bids from the West and Trimaris were imminently forthcoming and have heard rumours from Meridies that yet another bid might be in the offing. I have been most patient, but, to this date, none of these have materialized.
What I need in a minimal bid is an idea of the date(s) proposed, the site and its facilities, housing arrangements for those attending and travel facilities available. Helpful also would be proposals for activities, proceedings, integration with Kingdom events, mundane museum exhibits or other happenings (I heard a wild rumour about a bid for a site near Orlando which might include Disney World!). Alas! If I do not receive a satisfactory bid by 1 February, I doubt very much whether it will be feasible to have a formal Symposium in 1987.