Box 522
Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
13 May, 1990

Unto the members of the College of Arms and any other who may read this missive, greetings from Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane, Laurel Queen of Arms!

The mundane has rushed in yet again over the last month. Much of the last month has been spent with the Laurel Office under drop cloths while a remarkably inefficient set of painters and plasterers attempt to repair the effects of Hugo.

If you have been trying to contact the Laurel Office, please forgive. Over the past two weeks my mundane employment has taken me for some nine day to Buffalo and Rochester, New York (not, unfortunately, to the Rhydderich Hael or Thescorre!) and the telephone messages on my machine as I got home this evening indicates that I may have to fly to Ankeny, Iowa this week. (At least if they were going to take me away from the computer, they could send me to places like Oahu or Miami instead of Ankeny and Young Harris, Georgia!). This has not only had a negative effect on paperwork but on accessibility as well. I will try and get back to every one of the fifty-four people I know to have called my machine while I was away. If you do not hear from me, it probably means that you called after the tape ran out (the message from me and the recording are on different tapes).

The February meeting was held on Sunday, February 25, with the parallel processing continuing the following weekend. The letters considered included Caid (11/12), Trimaris (11/15), Meridies (11/20), Ansteorra (11/27), West (11/28), Calontir (11/30), and Middle (11/30). For a detailed consideration of the 313 actions arising from the February meeting, see the analysis section below.

The March Laurel meeting was held on Saturday, March 31. Letters considered at that time included Atenveldt (12/11), West (12/15), East (12/20), Caid (12/25), Ansteorra (12/26), Meridies (12/28) and Calontir (12/31).

The April Laurel meeting was held on Sunday, April 29 to consider Atlantia (1/1), Caid (1/21), Meridies (1/24), Ansteorra (1/25), East (1/28), East (1/29) and Calontir (1/31).

The May meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 20. At that time we will consider the letters from the West (1/27), Outlands (2/15), East (2/25), Meridies (2/27), Calontir (2/28), Atlantia (2/28 dated 1/27) and An Tir (2/??).


The Dallas branch of the Laurel Office has acquired a new address: Post Office Box 1646, Dallas, TX 75221-1646. This is only a mailing address: the Laurel Designate's home address and telephone number remain the same.

Triskele has asked that you add to your rosters as a commentor Una of Blackberry Hollow (Ann Kennedy, 8710 S.W. 122 Street, Gainesville, FL 32608; telephone 904-495-2163).

Minowara Kiritsubo, Ibis Herald of Atlantia, has requested that you remove her name from your mailing lists since her Society and mundane endeavors over the coming months will allow her little time for commentary. She has served the her kingdom and the College of Arms for some nine years now, not only as Principal Herald and administrator but as faithful commentor on things Japanese, even through periods of personal difficulty and extreme illness. I am sure I speak for the College when I say that we shall all miss her gentle and learned voice in the College's discussions. (For those who may be concerned, it really is press of work that occasions this decision, not a reoccurrence of the illness which plagued Mistress Kiri for some years.)


Thanks to the work of the few indefatigable souls who considered all submissions for this meeting under both sets of rules, we were able to continue doing parallel processing another month. The results of this session were somewhat affected by the fact that this was the first group of submissions to have been sent out after the Board approved the new Rules and by the extraordinarily large number of submissions from the Middle Kingdom, arising from their consultations at the War. Broken out in the customary manner they were as follows:


The autocrats wish to remind you that anyone wishing to teach a class at the forthcoming Symposium should return the completed Instructor's Class Request Form no later than June 1.

You are also reminded that it is necessary to make room reservations directly with the Ramada Inn if you plan on staying there. The rate is $34.00 per room per night (with a maximum of four people per room). To make a reservation call 817-284-9461 between 9 and 5 Central Time. Ask for the Sales Office and tell them that you are with the SCA event to be held at the Ramada at the end of June. Anyone wishing to reserve a room at this special rate must contact the Ramada before June 22. (If you wish a roommate to cut expenses and wish assistance in finding one, please contact the autocrats.)

Site and feast fees for the event have now been finalized. The site fee will be $7.00 while the feast will cost $8.00. Please make all cheques payable to "SCA - Barony of the Steppes". To pre-register for the event, your registration form and cheque must reach the autocrats by June 15.


Some time ago, the Laurel Office solicited commentary on a proposed ban on pawprints as non-period style. The motivation for this proposal was a fairly continuous stream of complaints from commentors on the generally non-period appearance and unidentifiability of pawprints whenever a submission containing pawprints appeared before the College of Arms.

The burden of commentary appears to be that, while many do not think pawprints are the best style, they were not beyond the pale. Therefore, we shall continue to register submissions containing pawprints for Society use. However, we suggest that those who have spoken in favour of pawprints may wish to consider whether they should comment negatively on submissions containing pawprints in future.


Please take not of the ruling contained in this letter in the case of the device of Karl Tollemache of Cuxhaven (under Middle Kingdom acceptances).

Over the years there has been a certain amount of controversy with regard to the "fretty": issues of contrast, lathe thickness in period depiction, etc. have been often been discussed. Less obviously, there has been discussion and some confusion concerning the degree of difference to be obtained from addition of a fretty or from change of a semy such as "mullety" to a "fretty" when the tinctures were identical.

As noted in the ruling, there is considerable period and modern evidence that the "fretty" was considered to be more a set of frets strewn upon the field in a more or less regular manner than the sort of decoration that we categorize in the Society as a "field treatment". As such, "fretty" must be considered to be a form of semy and thus entitled to add difference under section X.4.b of the Rules for Submission (Addition of Charges on the Field).


Commentors should be reminded that the new Administrative Handbook is now in effect. Moreover, letters of comment that do not meet the administrative requirements may be considered as failing to meet the requirements for regular commentary.

However, we are still getting letters that do not meet the standards set for such letters. In particular, some commentors are still sending out letters that do not arrange commentary in chronological order. In several cases, this has resulted in staff misfiling letters so that useful commentary was not discovered until after the meeting for which it was relevant.

While we try to avoid such calamities, occasionally inexperienced staff are more likely to miss commentary that is arranged alphabetically by kingdom with three or four comments per letter than a letter which is arranged chronologically so that it can be processed as are the letters to which the comments refer.


Reports from abroad indicate that Heraldry Today will be closing its storefront in the not too distant future. Unless there is a last-minute reprieve, visitors to London will no longer be able to indulge in heraldic bibliomania there.

At this point, we have no information on the possible continuation of a mail order service from a less expensive location. If any further news reaches the Laurel Office, we will keep you posted.

Your servant,

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