LoAR Cover Letter

of the College of Arms
of the
Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

November 1992

Box 1329,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-8329
15 January 1993

Unto the College of Arms of the Twelve Kingdoms, and to all who read these presents, greetings from Baron Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme, Laurel King of Arms!

Herein are the Acceptances and Returns from the Laurel meeting of 22 November 1992. The following Letters of Intent were considered: 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.


The December meeting was held on Sunday, 20 December 1992, and considered the following Letters of Intent: Meridies, 24 Aug 92; Atenveldt, 24 Aug 92; East, 4 Sept 92; East, 7 Sept 92; Middle, 11 Sept 92; Calontir, 15 Sept 92; Trimaris, 15 Sept 92; Caid, 18 Sept 92; and Atlantia, 21 Sept 92.

The January meeting will be held on Sunday, 24 January 1993, and may be continued on 21 February 1993 if it looks too large. The following Letters of Intent will be considered: West, 14 Sept 92; Outlands, 15 Sept 92; West, 22 Sept 92; An Tir, 25 Sept 92; Ansteorra, 28 Sept 92; Atenveldt, 30 Sept 92; West, 12 Oct 92; Middle, 16 Oct 92; Atlantia, 18 Oct 92; Calontir, 20 Oct 92; Caid, 20 Oct 92; Atenveldt, 20 Oct 92; Meridies, 20 Oct 92; Caid, 21 Oct 92; East, 23 Oct 92; and An Tir, 23 Oct 92. Responses and rebuttals to commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 16 Jan 93.

The March meeting will be held on Sunday, 21 March 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Middle, 31 Oct 92; Middle, 4 Nov 92; Ansteorra, 5 Nov 92; Ansteorra, 6 Nov 92; Atlantia, 8 Nov 92; Outlands, 14 Nov 92; West, 16 Nov 92; Calontir, 16 Nov 92; East, 18 Nov 92; An Tir, 19 Nov 92; Atenveldt, 25 Nov 92; and Meridies, 26 Nov 92. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 31 Jan 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 28 Feb 93.

The April meeting will be held on Sunday, 11 April 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: Caid, 25 Nov 92; Meridies, 1 Dec 92; Middle, 9 Dec 92; Atlantia, 15 Dec 92 (misdated 8 Nov 92!); Calontir, 18 Dec 92; An Tir, 22 Dec 92; Atenveldt, 23 Dec 92; and Caid, 26 Dec 92. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 28 Feb 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 31 March 93.

Roster updates

The Star Principal Herald of Ansteorra has moved. His new address is: Dathi O'Cooney (David Reed), 300 Cherry St., College Station, TX 77840; (409) 846-9592.

The Pennon Herald of Meridies is also moving. Her new address is: Brenna Lowri o Ruthin (Ruth Ann Winberry), 4348 Fairhaven, Memphis, TN 38128.

As of this month, the AEstel Herald of An Tir, Elizabeth de Rossignol, is retiring as her Kingdom's submissions herald. She's brought An Tir back up to schedule and standard, and has our profound gratitude. Her successor is the new Lion's Blood Herald, David of Moffat (David Hunter), 716 E. Dennis #96, Tumwater, WA 98501; (206) 943-1021. Please add him to your mailing list.

Please note the correct address for the Argent Scroll Herald of An Tir: Aldreada of the Lakes (Delores Booker), 1225 28th St. E, Prince Albert, Sask S6V 6V3, CANADA; (306) 922-1068.

Also note the correct address for the Sycamore Herald of the East: Esmeralda la Sabia (Andrea Gansley-Ortiz), 5920 Nicholson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Evidently last month's "correction" was based on outdated information; sorry about that.

Calontir is adding two new commenters: the Lanner Herald, Alban St. Albans (Edward Eisenstein), 2307 Fairmont, Columbia, MO 65203; (314) 446-1040; and the Hawk Herald, Gerald of Ipsley (Gerald Hubbell), 4127 Roanoke, Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 531-4427. Please add both gentles to your mailing lists.

Decion ap Dyfrwr Trefriw is retiring this month as the Crux Australis Herald of Lochac. He will remain active as a commenter and Rocket Pursuivant, so we won't be deprived of his insight. His successor as Crux Australis is Peter the Uncertain (Peter Volk), 108 Home Street, Fairfield, QLD 4103 AUSTRALIA; (07) 844-8765. He will not be commenting at this time, but asks to receive any commentary on Rules discussions; I leave that to your individual discretion.

Finally, please remove Caoimhin O Fiodhabhra, Pursuivant at Large in the West, from your rosters. Mundane pressures have left him with less time for commenting than he feels the task deserves.

Rules Changes

Having read the discussions and commentary, I've decided to accept Lord Palimpsest's recommendations of 10 Dec 92, with some very minor changes to the examples. Thanks to all who lent their voices to the debate.

Rule X.4.a.i is amended to read:

Rule VIII.4.c is amended to read:

When voiding is null

One of this month's submissions (Abaigeal Fairchild) brought up the issue of voided charges: when is a charge simple enough to be voided? We've long held that some charges are too complex to void or fimbriate: "You cannot void complex charges like a tyger. Voiding and fimbriation should only be used with simple charges." [WvS, 15 March 82] Our definition of "simple charges" has grown stricter over time, however: Mistress Alisoun disallowed voided pears (27 Sept 87), mullets (July 88) and hearts (Oct 88), while Master Da'ud disallowed voided triangles (June 91). Currently, the only charges that may be voided are ordinaries (as well as those charges, like annulets and mascles, that are voided by definition).

It seems to me that, if roundels and lozenges were voided in period, then charges of comparable simplicity may likewise be voided. Of course, this begs the question of defining "simplicity" for purposes of voiding. (Which definition differs entirely from that of "simple geometric charge" for Rule X.4.j.ii, or "simple armory" for X.2...)

The arguments presented in Abaigeal's submission provide a rule of thumb we can use. We consider voiding to have the same visual weight as adding a tertiary charge -- i.e. Sable, a cross Or voided gules and Sable, a cross Or charged with another gules are interchangeable blazons, yielding the same emblazon. This view is supported by period heraldic treatises: e.g. Guillim's Display of Heraldrie, 1632, in discussing chevrons voided, says "if you say voided onely, it is ever understood that the field sheweth thorow the middle part of the charge voided. If the middle part of this chevron were of a different metall, colour, or furre from the Field, then should you Blazon it thus: A Chevron engrailed Or, surmounted of another, of such or such colour."

We can use the equivalence between voiding and adding tertiaries to determine when voiding is acceptable: if the voided charge can be reblazoned as On a [charge], another -- that is, if the inner line and the outer line of the voided charge are geometrically similar -- then it's simple enough to void.

For instance, in the illustrations below, figure A could equally well be blazoned a delf voided or a delf charged with a delf; either blazon is correct for that picture. Figures B and C, on the other hand, are definitely a griffin's head voided and a griffin's head charged with another, respectively; the emblazons are quite dissimilar, and the inner line of figure B is not the shape of a griffin's head. The delf voided, then, is acceptable, but the griffin's head voided is not.

illustration of voiding

By this guideline, mullets, hearts and triangles are all simple enough to be voided or fimbriated. This is only a rule of thumb, of course, not an ironclad law, but it helps us decide a thorny question, it's consistent with how we (and some period heralds) view voiding, and it eliminates the need to collect reams of case law. I shall be employing it henceforth.

Further thoughts on overall charges in badges

In my LoAR cover letter of 3 August 1992, I suggested a ban on fieldless badges with overall charges. My reasons were that overall charges obscured the underlying charges into unidentifiability; that I could find no period examples of badges with overall charges; and that such badges, as they're often registered in the SCA, used overall charges of a different tincture class than the underlying charges, making it impossible to display the badges on any plain field.

There were some objections to my proposal, mostly fixating on the last (and least important) of my three points. There were also complaints that the ban would make it more difficult to register armory in the SCA, an objection that's been raised every time we try to improve our stylistic standards. The most substantive objection came from Lord Eclipse, who noted the badge of Baron Sudeley (Fox-Davies' Heraldic Badges, p.147): A fire-beacon and in front thereof and chained thereto, a panther ducally gorged, the tail nowed. This is emblazoned in Foster's Dictionary of Heraldry, p.221, and seems to be drawn with the panther overlying the stem of the beacon.

However, as a counter-example to my proposed ban, the Sudeley badge is doubly flawed. First, it's considerably post-period; Fox-Davies dates it to 1906. Second, the panther and beacon have a very small area of intersection; Sudeley's badge uses an overall charge to the same degree that, say, In saltire a sword and a lute uses an overall charge.

Eclipse's example got me to thinking, however, and I've realized that there are cases where a fieldless badge could acceptably use an overall charge. The cases are those where one or both of the charges were long and slender, making the area of intersection small -- e.g. A sword, blade surmounted by an anvil. Such a badge would have all its charges identifiable, and be well in keeping with period style.

I've therefore decided not to implement a comprehensive ban on fieldless badges with overall charges. I will be returning cases where the underlying charge is rendered unidentifiable, per Rule VIII.3; this will include the most egregious cases of overall charges (e.g. A pheon surmounted by a hawk's head). But this can be done as an interpretation of the current Rules, and needn't involve a new policy. In cases where identifiability is maintained -- where one of the charges is a long, slender object, and the area of intersection small -- overall charges will still be permitted in fieldless badges.

Publications available

Lord Morsulus wishes everyone to know that Updates 9 and 10 to the SCA Armorial and Ordinary are now available, through him. The cost, including postage, is $5.00 each; an order form is included with this LoAR.

The second edition of the Pictorial Dictionary is also available (finally!), and can be ordered through me. The cost, including postage, is $15.00 each, or $10.00 each for bulk orders of 10 or more.

Until next month, know me ever to be,

Your servant,

Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme,
Laurel King of Arms.

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