SCA - College of Arms

600 Cedar Street, NW

Washington, DC 20012

(202) 726-4396

February 28, 1999


Unto the members of the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive do Mistress Jaelle of Armida, Laurel Queen of Arms, and Mistress Sionyn Muirgen ní Dhomnall, Pelican Queen of Arms, send Greetings!


Please forgive the delay in this LoAR. I have been diagnosed with walking pneumonia, and it has made heraldic (and other work) very slow and very difficult.


The February Laurel meeting was held on February 13, 1999 and considered the following letters of intent: Atenveldt (October 1), Drachenwald (October 8), Middle (October 9), AEthelmearc (October 10), Atlantia (October 13), Lochac (October 13), Artemisia (October 24), An Tir (October 25), Ansteorra (October 30), Meridies (October 30), and Outlands (October 31).


The March Laurel meeting is scheduled for March 13, 1999 and will consider the following letters of intent: Trimaris (October 31, redated to November 1 based on postmark), Atenveldt (November 1), East (November 2), Drachenwald (November 3), AEthelmearc (November 15), Caid (November 15), Atlantia (November 16), Lochac (November 18), Artemesia (November 21), West (November 22), An Tir (November 23), and Calontir (November 27 NOTE: this is the revised version of the September 30, 1998 letter that was pulled by the Principal Herald). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than January 31, 1999. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than February 29, 1999.


The April Laurel meeting is scheduled for April 10, 1999 and will consider the following letters of intent: Outlands (dated November 21, postmarked December 7), Atenveldt (December 1), Meridies (December 2), Caid (December 6), Meridies (December 7), Middle (December 13), Drachenwald (December 14), Atlantia (December 17), Lochac (December 17), Ansteorra (December 19), West (December 20), Outlands (December 23), and An Tir (December 28).


The May Laurel meeting is scheduled for May 8, 1999 and will consider the following letters of intent: Atenveldt (January 1), Caid (January 2), East (January 13), Gold Dolphin Letter to Protect (January 16), Atlantian (January 18), Drachenwald (January 18), Outlands (January 20), West (January 22), Ansteorra (January 23), AEthelmearc (January 25), Artemesia (January 25), An Tir (January 26), Middle (January 27), Electrum Letter to Protect (January 28), and Meridies (January 30).


The June Laurel meeting is tentatively schedule for Saturday, May 29, 1999. NOTE: because of this early date, I will need all commentary/rebuttles for the February LoIs no later than Saturday, May 22, 1999.


Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this Cover Letter. Date of mailing of the LoI, date of receipt of the Laurel packet, or other factors may delay consideration of certain Letters of Intent. Additionally, not all Letters of Intent received have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, etc.) have not yet been met.



REMINDER: due to problems with receipt of Laurel packets, until the packet containing the paperwork is received, the letter may not be scheduled.


Using Names from Literary Sources


Period literature such as histories, romances, sagas, legends and myths occupy a slightly unusual position as sources for period names. While the documents themselves are undeniable period themselves, the names in them range from names that can be clearly documented as being used by humans from other, more prosaic sources, to names assigned to humans in literature that appear to be unique to a particular character and cannot be documented to have been used by real medieval humans to names which are clearly assigned to supernatural creatures in the literature. Given this range of possibilities, period literature must be used cautiously as a source for medieval names.


A researcher must look carefully at the source, its purpose and the character that bears the name. As a rule of thumb, a literary work whose purpose is historical is going to be more accurate about naming practices in that culture and time than a mythological source, with the caveat that the further back a "historical" source goes from the writer’s own time, the more fantastical elements may creep in. The fidelity of the translation must also be considered. The modern editions of many medieval sources are translated or the spelling regularized or modernized. This means that a documentable name may appear in a translated or modernized source in a form inappropriate to the period and culture from which the source originates. It is also generally necessary to look at the actual naming practices of the time period in which the work of literature was produced and thereafter, as some works have affected subsequent naming practices. If you can document the name from a more standard source, it is usually better to use the standard source rather than the literary work as documentation. However, names from period literature may be used, with some caveats.


1. Try other sources first - often better documentation can be found.


2. It has to be a name of a human being in the story. God/dess, elf, dwarf, etc. names aren't usable.


3. Beware of allegorical names in sources such as the English mystery plays. It is extremely unlikely that we would register Everyman as a name, even though it is found as a name of a human being in period mystery plays, unless actual documentation is found for it as a name for a real person.


4. And this is subjective - minor characters from minor works may or may not be acceptable. Especially if they do not fit the naming patterns of the time period.



Where to send your packets:


At the January 1999 board meeting, Dame Elsbeth Anne Roth, Garnet Herald, was warranted by the Board as the deputy in charge of submissions. Effective with the March LoIs, please send your laurel packets to her (Kathryn Van Stone, 1194 Firwood Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15243) so she may start processing them effective July 1999. However, checks and hard copies of the LoIs still need to be sent to me.


She has this to say as well:

The procedure for sending submissions is unchanged except for the addresses: Kathy Van Stone, 1194 Firwood Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15243 for regular mail and for electronic mail. Because my computer is now about a year and a half old, I have a harder time reading formats that are younger than that (including the latest version of WordPerfect and MS Word). If you do not know if your format qualifies, feel free to contact me. If you have any suggestions for how to improve the process, please let me know.




Changes to the Roster:


Please move Dame Elspeth from AEthelmearc to Laurel staff and please move Dame Zenobia there as well. Additionally, we are pleased to note Dame Zenobia's title as Clarion Herald.


Please remove Archive Herald: Taliesynne Nychymorph yr Angyfannedd (Kem Cason); 1205 Mosley Ave. S, Palatka, FL 32177-5617 from the roster for failure to comment.


Mixed Gaelic/English Orthography


After a great deal of thought we have decided to overturn the precedent on mixed Gaelic/English orthography. There are many reasons for doing this, the most important of which are mentioned below.


First, and most importantly, while they were not common, there are period examples of mixed Gaelic/English orthography. These include: William Liath de Burgo, Cormac Óg Mac Carthy, Ulick na gceann de Burgo, Shane Donnghaileach, Con Bacagh O’Neill, and William Odhar O’Carroll. Therefore, this is a period practice, and there is no reason why we should not permit it.


Secondly, the original ban was stated to be because the some sound values in Gaelic and English are not represented by the same letter. This is, of course, correct. However, the same can be said of many other mixed language names. For instance, we readily register mixed English and Welsh names, yet the sound values for some letters in Welsh is not the same as those in English. We see no reason that the standards for Gaelic/English names should be any stricter than for other mixed language names.


Finally, the policy as it exists is just not fair to submitters. For ten years our rules have been set up to be explainable and to derive from the first principles established in the rules. This does not. Even now, nearly four years after the ban, most submitters and a substantial portion of the College of Arms cannot derive the regulation from our heraldic first principles and view it as merely heraldic arbitrariness. This does not help the submitter, the college, or the Society as a whole.


This does not affect the ruling on mixing Gaelic female given names with masculine patronymics. This precedent only affects the mixing of Gaelic and English orthography in the same name.



Tone of Commentary


We have been distress lately with the tone and manner of some commentary. While we do not expect (or even want) everyone to agree with each other, such disagreements should be expressed in a polite manner. Ridicule, name calling, and other forms of rudeness are uncalled for.



Certified mail.


I cannot accept certified mail at home. If you need to send me anything that requires a signature, contact me privately, and I will send you my work address.



LoAR Subscriptions and Roster changes:


Send roster changes, additions, subtractions, subscriptions to the LoAR and address changes in a separate letter, not in the body of a LoI or LoC to: Mistress Sionyn Muirgen ní Dhomnall, Pelican Queen of Arms, Jackie Watkins, 3532 Winding Wind Cove, Bartlett, TN, 38135-3044. Please make all checks or money orders payable to "SCA Inc. - College of Arms". The cost is currently $25.00 a year.


Also, remember all administrative issues (requests for warrants, quarterly reports, etc.) need to be sent to Pelican.


And remember to be a principal herald or a submissions herald, you must pass a test on the administrative handbook, in advance of receiving your approval from our office. This test is obtained from Pelican. To be put on the mailing list as a commenter you must produce at least one timely letter of comment.





In period some badges canted on the owner's given name. Both Margaret of Anjou, consort of Henry VI and Margaret Beaufort, Countess Richmond, mother of Henry VII used the marguerite as a badge.

Canting and Allusive Arms of England and Wales by Winifred Hall.



Until next month, pray believe that I am, and remain,



Your faithful servant,






Jaelle of Armida

Laurel Queen of Arms

Return to the LoAR Index Page

Last Updated $Date: 2006/11/10 01:46:20 $ GMT

Copyright © 1999 Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.