Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-8329
18 September 1992
Unto the members of the College of Arms, and to all who read these words,
Greetings from Baron Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme, Laurel King of Arms!
Herein are the Acceptances and Returns for the meeting of 23 August 1992: for submissions from Atenveldt, 23 April 92; Meridies, 26 April 92; East, 10 May 92; Trimaris, 15 May 92; Middle, 16 May 92; Atlantia, 17 May 92; Calontir, 19 May 92; An Tir, 21 May 92; Atenveldt, 25 May 92; and Caid, 25 May 92. My apologies for not getting these results out to the College sooner; believe me, the last four weeks (what with a new job, moving to a new house, and preparing for the September meeting) have been hectic.
The September Laurel meeting will be held on Sunday, 27 September 1992, and continued on Sunday, 11 October 1992. The combined "September meeting" will consider the following Letters of Intent: Ansteorra, 1 May 92; Outlands, 26 May 92; Ansteorra, 29 May 92; Middle, 6 June 92; Atlantia, 9 June 92; Ansteorra, 14 June 92; Ansteorra, 15 June 92; West, 15 June 92; An Tir, 17 June 92; Meridies, 17 June 92; Caid, 22 June 92; Calontir, 22 June 92; and Atenveldt, 24 June 92.
The October Laurel meeting will be held on Sunday, 25 October 1992, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: East, 22 June 92; Outlands, 10 July 92; Middle, 10 July 92; Atlantia, 12 July 92; Trimaris, 15 July 92; Caid, 16 July 92; An Tir, 20 July 92; Calontir, 21 July 92; Atenveldt, 23 July 92; and Meridies, 23 July 92. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 25 Sept 92; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 18 Oct 92.
The November Laurel meeting will be held on Sunday, 22 November 1992, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Ansteorra, 21 July 92; East, 25 July 92; Caid, 13 Aug 92; Calontir, 17 Aug 92; An Tir, 20 Aug 92; Middle, 22 Aug 92; and Atlantia, 23 Aug 92. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 23 Oct 92; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 15 Nov 92.
The December Laurel meeting will be held on Sunday, 20 December 1992. To date, the following Letters of Intent have been received for that meeting: Meridies, 24 Aug 92; Atenveldt, 24 Aug 92; East, 4 Sept 92; Middle, 11 Sept 92; and Calontir, 15 Sept 92. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 20 Nov 92; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 13 Dec 92.
The scheduled deadlines for the remainder of 1992 and early 1993 are:
LOIs received by: LOCs received by: rebuttals received by: will be considered on:
26 Oct 92 25 Dec 92 17 Jan 93 24 Jan 93
23 Nov 92 22 Jan 93 14 Feb 93 21 Feb 93
21 Dec 92 19 Feb 93 14 March 93 21 March 93
11 Jan 93 12 March 93 4 April 93 11 April 93
8 Feb 93 9 April 93 2 May 93 9 May 93
15 March 93 14 May 93 6 June 93 13 June 93
As noted above, Laurel has moved his home. That means Laurel's Post Office Box remains the same, but his phone number has changed: (310) 376-4894.
The Laurel Ombudsman on the Board of Directors will be moving shortly. As of 1 October, his new address will be: Dave Thewlis, 2301 "C" Street, Eureka, CA 95501; (707) 443-1427.
The Argent Scroll Herald of An Tir has a new address: Aldreada of the Lakes (Delores Booker), 1225 28th St. NW, apt. 3A, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, S6V 6V3, CANADA.
The Palimpsest Herald, Marten Jeros Broker, is retiring due to burnout. We wish him well, and hope that he might recover enough to rejoin us someday. His successor is the former Dragon Herald, Talan Gwynek; please retain him on your mailing lists, moving him to the Laurel Staff category.
The Midrealm has a new Dragon Herald: Thorvald Redhair (Ron Sargent), 608 Carroll Square #2W, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007; (708) 364-9606. He's bringing in an entirely new slate of deputies: of immediate note is the new Targe Herald, Elaine Ladd (Lynn Feiereisel), 1112 Williams, #33, Westmont, IL 60559; (708) 241-4728. She intends to start commenting, so please add her to your mailing lists promptly.
Ansteorra has two new commenters: the Estencelé Pursuivant, Sorcha ní Fhaoláin (Jane Fisher), 301 Bolton, College Station, TX 77840; (409) 696-8535; and the Halberd Pursuivant, Kassandra NicKraken (Connie Carroll), 4301 Bamford Drive, Austin, TX 78763; (512) 346-4418. Please add both to your mailing lists.
The 1993 Known World Heraldic Symposium, and beyond
Having received only one bid for the 1993 Symposium (admittedly, a good bid), I've decided there's no point in waiting until November to announce the results. The Symposium will be hosted by the Shire of Rokkhealdan (Chicago, IL), on the weekend of 25-27 June 1993. The site will be the Bismarck Hotel, 171 W. Randolph St., Chicago. More information will be available from the Autocrat, Lady Irene von Schmettering, Lincoln Herald, in the next few weeks.
Having been reliably informed (by more than a few people) that a year's lead-time is hardly too much, I've decided to open bids for the 1994 Symposium starting in January 93. Please have your bids out to the College by the end of February; the College's responses should be to me before the May Laurel meeting. With this much lead-time, we should have some excellent bids!
One of Master Da'ud's final rulings (LoAR of June 92) reversed a long-standing prohibition on the use of the field of Bavaria (Lozengy bendwise azure and argent): "[This precedent] appears to have been based on the use of the field by corporations in Bavaria 'as a sign of the fact that they were in Bavaria'. It does not seem to me that this is sufficient grounds for a restriction on the use of this field." [DiA, June 92, p.4]
After reading all the documentation, I believe Master Da'ud's ruling was made in error. The original prohibition of the use of the Bavarian field (LoAR of 17 Jan 84, p.9) was not based on its use by Bavarian corporations. Rather, it was based on its use in corporate arms -- in other words, civic arms, the arms of city-states in Bavaria. Master Wilhelm, the Laurel at the time, made his ruling on the basis of research by Allyn O'Dubhda, then Nereid Herald:
"This field is used extensively in German civic heraldry, especially in those parts of Germany that are now or were under Bavarian influence. ... Furthermore, although it usually appears in modern civic arms as a plain chief or base, or as a quarter or half of a shield, it can also be charged, as in the arms of the 'Landkreis' of Riedenburg: Bavaria charged with a harp Or and on a chief gules three roses argent, seeded Or. (Unter rotem Schildhaupt, darin nebeneinander drei silbern heraldishe Rosen mit goldenen Butzen, die mit einer goldenen Harfe belegten bayerischen Rauten.) (Deutsche Wappen: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Band I, Die Landkrieswappen. Klemens Stadler, Angelsachsen-Verlag, Bremen, 1964)." [Nereid LOC, 5 Jan 84, p.2]
This is confirmed by numerous examples in Siebmacher's Wappenbuch, 1605, which gives (among other things) the important civic arms in the Holy Roman Empire. The arms of Schrobenhausen, Schärding, Dillingen, Teckendorf (Deggendorf), Weiden, Schwandorf, and Burglengenfeld, all incorporate Bavaria as part of the field; in some cases the Bavarian portion is charged. (Two other civic arms, those of Nevenstat and Schongau, use Bavaria as an inescutcheon of pretense.)
Further examples are found in Neubecker & Rentzmann's 10 000 Wappen von Staaten und Städten, pp.53-54. I must conclude that, in Germany, the field of Bavaria is used in very much the same way as the arms of France were used in France. I therefore restore the prohibition of Lozengy bendwise azure and argent in Society heraldry, as well as artistic variants such as Paly bendy azure and argent. I hope that, by doing this promptly, I have minimized any inconvenience to our submitters; to them, my apologies.
On membership requirements for Society activities
At their meeting of 26 July 1992, the Board of Directors discussed the privileges that should go with Society membership. Their discussion was based on the results of the survey in Tournaments Illuminated #102; there were 328 responses, from throughout the Known World. Membership is already mandatory for certain Society activities: e.g., fighting in Crown Lists, or being an officer. It was decided to extend that requirement to some other activities, such as general combat, serving as a Territorial Baron, etc.
The item on the survey of greatest interest to the College of Arms was the question of whether membership should be required to register a name or device. A strong majority of respondents favored such a requirement. The philosophy seems to be that, when resources are limited, members should not be disadvantaged by non-members. (A case could even be made for members receiving preferential treatment; there should surely be some benefits to membership. But at the very least, members shouldn't be at a disadvantage against non-members.)
The Board has therefore directed me to consult with the College of Arms, as the group most closely affected, and develop a system that would protect members' submissions against: a) undue delays in the registration process caused by non-members' submissions in the queue; and b) undue returns for conflict against non-members' submissions.
Two points should be noted here. First, the Board has not ordered us to require membership for name and armory registration. If the College of Arms debates the point, and can devise a system that accomplishes the above goals without requiring membership, it will certainly be considered. Second, the Board explicitly does not want us to require membership to maintain registration; such a policy, they agree, would prove prohibitively difficult. Any prerequisites for registration should be applied to the time of submission, but not thereafter.
The philosophical basis for the policy was strongly supported by the survey, but not universally so; like most articles of faith, the issue is far from cut-and-dried. However, the philosophical side of the policy is not the issue placed before the College; implementation, the practical side of the policy, is our focus at the moment. Given the above two goals, how best might we carry them out?
I confess that I haven't thought of a system that would aid members over non-members, without requiring membership. The College should certainly debate this further; but for the moment, I will work on the assumption that any system we devise will require the submitter to be a member. Is there a way to ensure this easily and simply?
I believe there is a way: the same system we use to implement our current requirement that territorial heralds be members. It's the Honor System. The College announces that membership is henceforth a requirement for submitting names and armory; when a submitter hands over his forms, he's asked "Are you a member?" If he says yes, the forms are accepted. Philosophically and pragmatically, the Honor System has its advantages.
There are variations on this scheme, ranging the spectrum from easy to hard, depending on how thorough we wish to be in ensuring membership:
* We could add a line to the submission forms, where the submitter must write his SCA membership number (as found on his membership card and mailing label);
* We could require the submitter to provide photocopies of his SCA membership card or mailing label;
* We could arrange for the Registrar to send monthly membership lists to each Kingdom College of Heralds, and every item on an LOI be checked before being sent out;
* We could arrange for the Registrar to send the monthly membership list to Laurel, and every item on an LoAR be checked before being registered.
(The last variation, I note, would not address the first of the Board's stated goals, to prevent undue delay in the members' registration process.)
Some Kingdom Colleges are already requiring proof of membership, while others are charging higher fees for non-members. From those Kingdoms, particularly, I would like details of when and why they started checking membership, how the task is done, and how well it's worked.
I'll need a week or two to collate your commentary before the Board's deadline, so my own deadline on this topic is 15 Dec 92. Please send your thoughts, remarks, and comments to me by then. Some of the items you may want to address include (but aren't limited to):
* How thoroughly must we check membership? I.e., what would be an acceptable error rate?
* At what point in the submission process should checking take place? Local herald, Kingdom, Laurel?
* Should we double-check? I.e., should commenters check membership as they do conflict?
* What if the submitter's membership lapses during the submission process?
* Is there another way besides membership checks to protect the rights of members?
* How does the Laurel office enforce the policy?
Remember, this isn't the forum for discussion of the philosophy of the Board's policy; keep your comments focussed on implementation I look forward to hearing what ideas you come up with.
The bevil made me do it
Two of this month's submissions featured Per bend sinister bevilled, and there was considerable discussion over whether the bevilled treatment was used in period. The answer depends on whether one is speaking of an ordinary or a field division.
The charge usually blazoned a bend bevilled (figure A) is found in period armory, in the arms of Lorks, late 15th Century. It wasn't blazoned bevilled in period, however: Legh's Accidence of Armory, 1586, blazons it as a bend double daunce. The term appears to be a corruption of double-downset, with the second word confused with dauncet (i.e. dancetty). All the mundane examples of a bend bevilled, or double-douncet, show it as in figure A; the charge is often misdrawn in Society emblazons as in figure B.
The field division bevilled is also found in Legh -- but not in the form known today. Legh gives the field as in figure C, and says: "He beareth party per Bende Bevile, Argent and Purpure. Never charge this, for there cane bee no better cuned cote careed." I haven't yet determined whether this was an actual coat, or was one of Legh's inventions to illustrate his book; but he does make it clear that the bevilled field should not be charged.
One of this month's submissions (Tyrkir von Bremen) went to some lengths to document the bevilled field division. Most of the pertinent examples were of coats with similar zig-zag field divisions: e.g. Fromberg, blazoned by Rietstap as Mi-coupé, failli en partant et recoupé vers senestre, d'argent sur gules (Half-per-fess, broken thus and continuing per fess towards the sinister, argent over gules) . The citations from Woodward and Rietstap were of similar zig-zag field divisions; but the submission did not explicitly document Per bend (sinister) bevilled. The examples it did cite, as with Legh's example, are uncharged. (Of the other citations, Parker's is of a chief bevilled, not a field division; and von Volborth's is simply from a list of complex lines, neither part of a coat nor even dated to period.)
I could accept the field division as documented from Legh (figure C); even if not actually borne by some family, at least it appears in a period heraldic tract. From the examples of other zig-zag divisions, I could accept an extrapolation from the documented bend bevilled; that would be drawn as in figure D. I might even accept them used with charges (in a balanced way), despite the indications that charges weren't used with these fields in period. But the submissions received this month both used charges, and both emblazoned the field treatment as in figure E. That variant of bevilled is supported neither by direct evidence nor by extrapolation from the ordinary. A variant treatment might legitimately require a single leap of faith from period practice; but it shouldn't require two such leaps.
In returning the two submissions this month, I have tried to leave open the usage of Per bend (sinister) bevilled for SCA use. If the gentles care to resubmit with correctly drawn bevilling (and perhaps a more balanced use of charges), the College would be pleased to consider them anew.
A final note, on LoAR subscriptions
Please remember that the subscription rate to the LoARs was increased, from $18 to $25 per annum. I have recently received several subscription renewals, at the old rate. I've accepted these, pro-rating them proportionately. (If you'd like to check your own subscription, the expiration date is listed on the mailing label.)
Please believe that I remain,
Ever your servant,
Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme,
Laurel King of Arms.