Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
3 February, 1990
Unto the members of the College of Arms and any others who may read this missive, greetings from Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Laurel Queen of Arms!
So significant for heraldry in the Society for the actions of the Board at the first quarter Board Meeting held in California last weekend that it seems appropriate to have a special letter dedicated to those developments alone, rather than waiting until processing of the January submissions can be completed.
At the Board's invitation, Laurel attended the proceedings and so can summarize the more important developments. Formal proclamation as usual will be made in the Board Minutes, but you may act on the following information immediately, where appropriate.
For the first time in some year, Laurel and the Board had an almost embarrassing variety of qualified applicants to choose from in selecting a successor to the Laurel Office. With long-term service in the College of Arms including active commentary and experience as a Principal Herald, Alison von Markheim, Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme and Frederick of Holland all had much to recommend them.
However, the Board, with Laurel's full support has selected as Laurel's successor in office Da'ud ibn Auda, formerly Star Principal Herald of Ansterorra and for some time now collator of the present Laurel's precedents. As Laurel was present at the meeting, he could be (and was) immediately warranted officially as Laurel's deputy and drop-dead successor.
The actual change of office will occur this summer, either at the Symposium or at some point in July (we have not yet had time to work out the details). However, Laurel will be passing a number of administrative duties and diplomatic tasks to her deputy prior to that time. We will keep you all posted.
For those who do not have a roster handy and wish to congratulate (or commiserate) with Da'ud, his mundane address is c/o David Appleton, 1610 Vinecrest Circle, Garland, TX 75042 (214-276-2129).
The Board also authorized Laurel to put the new rules into full effect, i.e., lifted the requirement for pending any submissions that would be conflict-free under the new rules and not under the old rules.
Since the number of meetings held under the "pend" ruling was so few in number, we were able to keep a more or less accurate tally of the submissions that would have caused conflict. In point of fact, the only real problem would have been with pended items from November which would have conflicted with items from the December meeting. To the best of our knowledge none did (we pinned up those items from the November meeting and did visual checks).
Therefore, we feel that we are justified in taking the approach most favourable to the submittors and registering these pended submissions without the need for further commentary. A special letter of acceptances and returns covering these items is appended to this letter.
Additionally, since there had been so much confusion concerning the précis parameters of the "grace period" and the circumstances of the partial have prevented full publication of the new rules in many areas. Laurel feels that it is only fair to the submitters that the grace period originally suggested under which submissions would be considered under the rules most favourable to the submitter be extended.
Thus, any submission which is considered at a Laurel meeting held in the year of the Society XXIV, i.e., before May 1, 1990, will be considered under the rules which most favour the submittor. Any submissions considered after that date will be subject to the full impact of the new rules.
The Board also approved implementation of the January draft of the Administrative Handbook with a couple of modifications. Laurel will be inserting verbiage before the portions of the handbook which deal with the duties of heralds below kingdom level to reinforce the right of the Principal Herald to organise their College in a different manner so long as the general requirements laid down for Principal Herald are met, but which still preserve the verbiage for the lower levels as examples of guidelines that can be used for Kingdoms that wish them.
After some discussion of potential regional bias in the possible available options for treatment of badges, Laurel and the Board came up with a mutually agreeable compromise working:
Individual and Society branches without a ruling noble may register no more than eight items with the College of Arms. A maximum of four names and four pieces of armory may be registered. Each name or piece of armory shall be considered a separate item. When an individual or branch subject to this limitation has reached the maximum, one or more of the items must be released before further registration may be submitted.
For the time being the appendices on standard references will be as published in the January draft, but we beg for feedback and solid input on suggestions for alternates, amplifications, deletions, etc. These need to reach us as soon as possible so that they can be included in the formal publication of the Handbook.
The Board also authorised Laurel to proceed with the direct mailing of the Rules and Administrative Handbook to each Society Branch which was previously outlined to the College and the Board and reiterated the Society's willingness to absorb the reasonable costs of such a mailing.
This mailing should include both the rules and handbook ad the bibliographic material previously discussed. We also hope that the "Submissions Checklist for Consulting Heralds", which was outlined in correspondence some time ago can be completely modified in line with the new organisation and content of the rules in time for publication.
We are currently planning on mailing these packets about 1 April. In the meantime, Principal Heralds who wish to distribute the October draft of the rules to their local heralds may do so in the knowledge that they are now officially in place. Within a week or so we should have the revised draft of the Administrative Handbook in place and will immediately distribute copies to each Principal Herald. If you wish to distribute copies of that. Obviously the same distribution permission applies to the Handbook.
Pending the general mailing of the rules and administrative handbook, you are all encouraged to hold educational seminars and workshops on the new material. While reports from the field have indicated that many heralds find the new material easier to comprehend and handle (design feature!), many will still feel at sea in this changing environment and this will be a perfect occasion to do some heavy educational pushes.
The Board having indicated that it agrees with the College that the trauma of the past years of Board-mandated total revision of the rules could best be avoided by ongoing examination of the rules for submission by the College of Arms itself, after consultation with her designated successor, Laurel will be setting up a Rules Revision Committee to conduct ongoing reviews of the rules and their effects with a view to fostering incremental change rather than cataclysmic modifications as a result of calcinification of the rules structure.
It is Laurel's intent, however, to run the rules as they stand for the remaining half-year of her tenure to allow the dust to settle and allow a reasonable base of heraldry which has been completely processed under the new rules, from initial consultation to final approval, to be available before any significant modifications to the rules take place. In that manner, Laurel's successor can feel more comfortable with any changes with which he will have to work since he will have had greater control over their content and implementation.
After nearly ten years of constant effort on behalf of the College of Arms, as Regional Herald, Dragon Principal Herald, Laurel Deputy and most recently as Laurel Ombudsman, Cecelia Hughes (Graidhne ni Ruaidh) deserves a rest! At the Board Meeting, she passed over the burden of the Laurel Ombudsman's position to Elizabeth Johnson (Ysabeau Cameron). The new Ombudsman's address is Elizabeth Johnson, 7875 Wintercress Lane, Springfield, VA 22152 (703 644-5767).
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