Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-8329
22 February 1993
Herein are the Acceptances and Returns from the Laurel meeting of 20 December 1992. The following Letters of Intent were considered: 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" was held on 24 January 1993, 31 January 1993 (one LOI was considered at the Heraldic Collegium in Meridies), and 14 February 1993. The following Letters of Intent were 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.
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; 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. Responses and rebuttals to commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands 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, West, 8 Dec 93; Middle, 9 Dec 92; Atlantia, 15 Dec 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.
The May meeting will be held on Sunday, 9 May 1993, and will consider the following Letters of Intent: West, 11 Jan 93; Middle, 11 Jan 93; Calontir, 15 Jan 93; Trimaris, 15 Jan 93; Atlantia, 18 Jan 93; An Tir, 20 Jan 93; East (Drachenwald), 23 Jan 93; Atenveldt, 24 Jan 93; and East, 27 Jan 93. Commentary on these LOIs should be in my hands by 31 March 93; responses and rebuttals to that commentary, by 30 April 93.
The Ansteorra LOIs of 5 Nov 92 and 6 Nov 92 are on hold, pending receipt of forms and fees.
Please add to your rosters the new Trillium Herald of the Midrealm: Gwilym ap Alun (Bill Sanderson), P.O. Box 177, South Mountain, Ont. K0E 1W0, CANADA; (613) 989-3590. He will not be on the mailing list at this time.
Please note the corrected address for the new Crux Australis Herald of Lochac: Peter the Uncertain (Peter Volk), P.O. Box 389, Everton Park, QLD 4053, AUSTRALIA; +61 7 354 2074.
The Seawolf Herald of the West has moved. Her new address is: Na'arah bat Avraham (Merrin O. Davidson), 756 Maria Way, Gilroy, CA 95020.
A stern reminder about archive copies
All armorial submissions should include archive copies: a full-sized emblazon sheet, preferably color (outline drawings acceptable). This is no longer optional; archive copies have been mandatory since the October Laurel meeting. I've put gentle reminders in these cover letters; but I'm still receiving submissions without archive copies. Until now, I've been accepting those submissions. For the January meeting, I've begun pending them: the guilty submissions heralds will have three months to provide the archive copies.
I'll also pend archiveless submissions at the upcoming March meeting. Thereafter, starting with the April meeting, I'll begin returning submissions for incomplete forms, regardless of the merits of any submission. I don't like being so stern, but six months after a policy has taken effect, I shouldn't have quite this level of non-compliance.
Any submissions heralds who need to send me archive copies for LOIs from November onward can still do so; better to be safe than sorry.
The Grandfather Clause at length
One of this month's submissions (Eliahu ben Itzhak) raised some discussion in the commentary about the Grandfather Clause and its scope -- specifically, whether the Clause applies to matters of conflict, as well as of style. The Clause has applied to conflict in the past, and I believe it should continue to do so.
In its purest form, the Grandfather Clause simply states that, once an item is registered, it cannot be unregistered. It's one of the few restrictions laid on us by Corpora: "Any item once registered shall remain registered unless the owner requests its release, and shall be accepted in the Society for the person for whom it was registered without regard to changes in the rules and standards applied to future submissions, or to the membership status of the owner." (Corpora IV.C.3.b) The reasons why an item may no longer be acceptable are irrelevant; once registered, it remains registered.
From this basic form, the Grandfather Clause has been extended in a number of directions. For instance, we've applied it to further submissions from the same individual. The rationale has been that, if the submitter could still use the original problematic armory, he should be able to use another armory with the same problem.
Thus, to offer a concrete example, when the Barony of Caer Anterth changed their device in Oct 91, they were able to register a green trimout on a blue field. Even though that usage violated our current Rules, their original device (registered 1980) already had a green trimount on a blue field; the Grandfather Clause was specifically invoked to permit the usage on their new device. Both armories were equally violations of the Rules; if we'd permit them to continue to use the old device, in fairness we should permit them to register the new.
The Clause has also been extended to cover submissions from close relatives of the original submitter. I believe the policy began with submitters' children, with much the same rationale as above: after all, we encourage the use of brisures (e.g. labels and such), as a fine example of period heraldic practice. Thus, Stephan of Bellatrix could register his name Sept 91, even though the byname implies extra-terrestrial origin -- for his father's name (Paul of Bellatrix) is already registered, and the Grandfather Clause applies to the children of the original submitter. The Clause eventually came to cover siblings and spouses, as well as children.
Finally, the Clause has been extended to cover questions of conflict, as well as style. The rationale is the same in each case: if we'd allow a client to continue to use a registered armory (that would conflict under current Rules), in fairness we should permit him to register a new armory with the exact same conflict problem. The device change of Eliahu ben Itzhak is as clear an example as one could wish.
This is not a new policy; we've applied the Clause to conflict problems in the past. Indeed, it was so often taken for granted that the Clause wasn't explicitly mentioned in the LoAR; one must read the pertinent LOI and commentary to know that the Clause was applied. An example I recall is the submission of Cherie Ruadh MhicRath of Locksley (LoAR of Aug 86), Vert, on a tree eradicated argent a cat statant guardant gules. Even under the Rules at the time, this would have conflicted with the mundane arms of Morewood, Vert, an oak tree argent fructed Or. But the device was based on the arms of the submitter's husband, Ioseph of Locksley the Rhymer, Vert, a tree eradicated argent; Laurel's notes in the submitter's file show that he considered the Grandfather Clause to apply to the conflict with Morewood.
There have been other examples involving conflict. When the Barony of the Angels changed their badge to a device despite mundane conflict, it was noted: "I don't think there is any question that the conflict is covered by the beneficent Mr. Clause." [BoE, 6 April 86] Then too, when the present Rules were adopted, many of the fielded badges in the A&O (which, when registered, needed only 1 point from mundane armory) were suddenly in technical conflict. They weren't unregistered, however. Once registered, they remained registered, despite the conflicts our changed standards introduced -- they could even be promoted to devices, and sometimes were. That's the Grandfather Clause in a nutshell.
All these extensions of the Grandfather Clause have limitations, to prevent abuse. We're lenient only as regards the exact problem of the original submission; the Grandfather Clause is not license to ignore our Rules wholesale. Caer Anterth could still use a green trimount on a blue field; but even the Grandfather Clause wouldn't permit them to register, say, a trimount voided. Indeed, we have a specific precedent: the device submission of Stephan of Bellatrix (Sable, on a bend Or three compass stars gules, overall a label argent). The submission was his father's device plus a label; and the Clause permitted Stephan to ignore any conflicts that applied to his father. But "the Grandfather Clause cannot apply in cases where the submitted arms have a conflict to which the original device would not be subject. Since his father's arms do not conflict with Carswell, but only his own, the Grandfather Clause cannot be applied here." [DiA, LoAR of Sept 91, p.20]
Finally, the Clause is limited to the original submitter and his closest kin: children, siblings, and spouse. Real kin, not "SCA kin"; the latter are a matter of persona, and the College does not permit persona stories to influence its decisions. The intent is to restrict the possible application of the Clause; otherwise, anyone with a disallowed (but desirable) registration could end up with 20,000 "cousins". Real-world kin are not only more limited in number, but verifiable -- and not easily subject to change afterward.
To sum up: The Grandfather Clause prevents us from retroactively returning submissions. If someone registers an item that later is shown to have a problem, he may continue to use the item. By extension, he may register new items with the same problem (but no other); and so may his closest relations (but no others). The nature of the problem isn't limited, by either Corpora or the Rules (II.5, VII.8); the Clause applies to both style and conflict.
An overview of overall charges
Some commenters have asked about our current policy on overall charges: specifically, whether overall charges are the primary charge group in a design. The answer depends on whether we speak of Society or mundane armory -- or even which portion of mundane armory. Herewith, my best stab at answers:
Overall charges were uncommon in period armory. Most of the examples we have involve brisures: direct cadency between generations. Prince Arthur's Book (c.1520) gives examples of England with a [brisure]: a label overall, or a bend overall, or even an escarbuncle overall. (Oxford Guide to Heraldry, plate 1) In those cases, since the overall brisures were additions to a base coat, the underlying charges were the obvious primary charges.1
Once direct cadency cases are removed, there are still a few period cases of overall charges; in those cases, the overall charge is part of the original design of the armory. Examples include the Duchy of Cleves, c.1370 (Gules, an inescutcheon argent, overall an escarbuncle Or); the arms of Sweden, or more precisely, the Folkunga dynasty of Sweden, c.1290 (Azure, three scarpes wavy argent, overall a lion crowned Or); the Archbishopric of Canterbury, c.1350 (Azure, an archepiscopal staff Or, overall a pallium argent fringed Or and charged with four crosses formy fitchy at the foot sable); von Könige, c.1605 (Azure, a column Or, overall a horse courant argent); and a handful of others. It's not as easy to determine the primary charge in all these designs, but we can tell for some cases -- because their owners used that charge in other armory as well. Thus Anne of Cleves used a badge that incorporated the escarbuncle of her arms (Fox-Davies' Heraldic Badges); and the lion of the arms of Sweden are found again, as Sweden's supporters. (And I would certainly opine that the pallium was the primary charge in Canterbury's arms; the episcopal crozier is well-nigh invisible.)
In period armory, then, there is no hard and simple rule for determining whether an overall charge is the primary charge; it depends on what cadency changes have been made, if any. A rule of thumb might be that, if an animate charge (e.g. a lion) and an ordinary are used together, the animate charge is the primary charge, whether overall or underlying; but I wouldn't back that rule with money in any particular case. (Sources for the above examples include Siebmacher's Wappenbuch, 1605; the Armorial de Gelre, c.1370; Anglo-Norman Armory II, Foster, and the Dictionary of British Arms.)
SCA armory is different. Under previous Rules, the overall charge was always the primary charge, by defintion: "[Against mundane arms] the addition of a major overall charge ... is sufficient difference. The overall charge must be drawn large enough to make it the primary visual charge. The relegation of the [underlying charge] to secondary status will constitute the extra half point needed." [WvS, 20 Oct 80, p.6]
Under the current Rules, the situation is reversed, but equally universal in scope: the underlying charge is always the primary charge, again by definition. There were hints, prior to the current Rules, that the change was forthcoming: "Primary charges should not be 'demoted' when a charge is placed overall: in mundane usage it is the charge overall which is considered to have been added for cadency, just as are the secondaries around the primary charge. The blazon represents reality: the primary charge will remain the charge which lies closest to the center of the field in the plane closest to the field." [AmCoE, 26 April 87, p.10] Currently, the addition of overall charges is explicitly deemed worth only a single CD, per Rule X.4.c; it is not Sufficient Difference, as the addition of a primary charge would be.
Neither of these policy extremes is a perfect approximation to period style. But I'd be hard-pressed to devise a policy on overall charges that was a better approximation -- or if I could, it would likely be so complicated as to be unusable. And given the frequency of overall charges in Society heraldry, some policy we must have. The current policy -- that overall charges are secondaries, and underlying charges primaries -- has at least one advantage: it doesn't unduly encourage the addition of overall charges, which was at best a rare practice in period. I'm always open to suggestions, but for now, I'm enclined to let the current policy stand.
On the question of regalia for Society Orders
Some while back, the question of regalia came before the Board of Directors. The regalia for the SCA-wide Orders are currently defined as follows: strawberry coronets for Dukes and Duchesses; embattled coronets for Counts (Earls) and Countesses; a rose wreath for the Order of the Rose; a closed circle of chain, and a white belt or baldric, for the Order of Chivalry; a laurel wreath for the Order of the Laurel; a pelican for the Order of the Pelican. Additionally, Laurel has ruled (LoAR cover letter of 30 July 84, p.5) that "the right of all SCA members to wear a simple thin circlet to hold their headdresses/hair down should not be abridged in any kingdom in the SCA." Except for those restrictions, there are no Society-wide sumptuary laws; the forms of baronial or viscomital coronets, for instance, vary from Kingdom to Kingdom.
I had asked the Board to decide where lies the authority to change the defined regalia for SCA-wide orders. I see only three possibilities: If such authority exists, it lies with either (1) Laurel, (2) the Board, or (3) the individual Kingdoms. The Board remanded the question to the College of Arms for further debate.
Come, I will conceal nothing from you: I believe the authority should lie with the Laurel office. It was the Laurel office that codified the current regalia, in the LoAR of June 82. As regalia are, in some sense, heraldic badges, their regulation belongs to the heralds' office. But it's also possible that the authority rests with the Board; they have, for instance, specifically reserved to themselves the right to create new SCA-wide titles and ranks (Corpora VII.V.2), and arguably the right to define the regalia for such ranks is likewise reserved to them.
The third possibility, that the individual Kingdoms define the regalia for the SCA-wide Orders, is potentially the most chaotic. It could lead to such situations as a King granting the token of an Order of Peerage to those who weren't members of that Order (the situation that prompted my inquiry to the Board). It could also lead to a greatly expanded freedom for those Kingdoms with sumptuary regulations.
Please share your thoughts with the College on this topic by 15 June 93, so I can incorporate the results in my report to the Board.
The Laurel Office Administrator asks that all diskettes sent to us with LOIs or LOCs be labeled. "Please put your name (not just title/ kingdom/ nothing at all) on the disks you send to Laurel. If you include your address as well, you will be thrice blest!"
Lord Morsulus has some amendments to the Free Trumpet order form, sent out with last month's LoAR. The Ansteorra Symposium Proceedings are now on sale, for $6.00; and its date was accidentally interchanged with that of the Atlantian Symposium Proceedings.
He also tells me that raw data for the Armorial and Ordinary are now available on 1.44-MB IBM diskettes for $5.00. He adds, "I make no claim that this will be useful to anyone." Please direct any questions to him.
Until next month (by which time I hope to be caught up!), I remain,|
Ever your servant,
Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme,
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