Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms
15910 Val Verde Drive
Houston TX, 77083-4921

For the November 2001 meetings, printed 31 January 2002

To all the College of Arms from François Laurel, Zenobia Wreath, and Mari Pelican, health and good friendship.

The November meetings were held on Saturday, November 10, 2001 (Pelican), and Sunday, November 11, 2001 (Wreath), and considered Laurel pends and these Letters of Intent dated in July 2001: Atenveldt (July 1), Trimaris (July 7), Middle (July 7), Artemisia (July 7), Caid (July 10), East (July 13), Æthelmearc (July 15), Lochac (July 16), Atlantia (July 17), Calontir (July 18), Ansteorra (July 18), An Tir (July 27), West (July 29), Outlands (July 30), and Meridies (July 31). For administrative reasons, Drachenwald (July 19) was postponed one month.

The December meetings were held Saturday, December 8, 2001 (Wreath) and Saturday, December 15, 2001 (Pelican), and considered these Letters of Intent dated in July and August 2001: Drachenwald (July 19, which was postponed for administrative reasons), Atenveldt (August 1), Caid (August 9), Middle (August 5), East (August 15), Atlantia (August 16, 25, and 27), Lochac (August 18), Ansteorra (August 25), Drachenwald (August 26), Artemisia (August 28), An Tir (August 29), Meridies (August 31), and Ealdormere (August).

The January meetings were held on Saturday, January 19, 2002, and considered these Letters of Intent dated in September 2001: Atenveldt (September 1), Middle (September 9), Ansteorra (September 16), Atlantia (September 17), Drachenwald (September 17), West (September 17), Lochac (September 18), Caid (September 22), An Tir (September 27), Outlands (September 28), Trimaris (September 28), and Meridies (September 30). Calontir (September 28) was postmarked October 2, so it will be postponed until the February meeting.

The February meetings are scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 2002. They will consider the five pended items from the August 2001 LoAR. They will also consider these Letters of Intent dated in October 2001: Calontir (September 28, postponed due to postmark), Atenveldt (October 1), Middle (October 12), Æthelmearc (October 15), Outlands (October 17), Ansteorra (October 20), Caid (October 20), Lochac (October 20), Drachenwald (October 21), Atlantia (October 22), An Tir (October 26), Calontir (October 30), Meridies (October 31).

The March meetings are scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2002 (Wreath, with a March 24 road show at the An Tir Heraldic Symposium) and Saturday, March 23, 2002 (Pelican, plus an earlier road show at Gulf Wars on a date to be determined). They will consider the brown proper issue and the five pended items from the August 2001 LoAR. They will also consider these Letters of Intent dated in November 2001: Atenveldt (November 1), Caid (November 2), Ansteorra (November 15), Lochac (November 15), Atlantia (November 16), Drachenwald (November 16), Æthelmearc (November 17), Outlands (November 17), West (November 23), An Tir (November 29), and Meridies (November 30). Middle (November 9) is scheduled for the next month due to postmark. Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than January 31, 2002. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 2002.

The April meetings are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2002, and will consider the Laurel LoI for "Wreath Sovereign of Arms". They will also consider the Laurel items from the September LoAR, as listed on the September Letter of Pends and Discussion: the Gaelic and Anglicized Particles issue, and three pended items. They will also consider these Letters of Intent dated in December: Middle (November 9), Caid (December 1), East (December 2), East (December 9), Calontir (December 13), Lochac (December 15), Atlantia (December 17), Artemisia (December 24), West (December 26), and Trimaris (December 28). For administrative reasons, the following letters are not yet scheduled: Atenveldt (December 1), Middle (December 5), Drachenwald (December 13), Outlands (December 17), and Æthelmearc (December 23). Original commentary on these LoIs must be in the College's hands no later than February 28, 2002. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than March 31, 2002.

Not all Letters of Intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The 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, some Letters of Intent received may not have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, etc.) have not yet been met.

REMINDER: Until all administrative requirements are met, the letter may not be scheduled.

From Laurel: Tell Me Your Troubles

In the past few months, I have needed to remind some when reports are past due or that not all the paperwork has been filed for LoIs. In some cases, I received neither a reply nor the missing information. I understand that other responsibilities can interfere in our accomplishing the requirements and commitments of our offices. I will work with you in such cases, but I require you to let me know as soon as you can that there is a problem. A little communications can go a long way to keep a problem from becoming a major issue.

From Pelican: A Source to be Avoided in Documentation: The Book of Irish Saints by Eoin Neeson

A submission this month included a given name documented from The Book of Irish Saints by Eoin Neeson. On examination, this doesn't appear to be a trustworthy source. Of the twelve saints listed in the photocopies we received, at least three aren't corroborated in Farmer's The Oxford Dictionary of Saints or in Ó Corráin & Maguire. Seven of the remaining names don't have the Gaelic forms of the saints' names spelled correctly. Additionally, Neeson is not consistent in his headers. Some entries have Gaelic forms as the first listed header form; other entries use Anglicized forms, with no indication of which is which. In at least one case (Saint Brioch), Neeson incorrectly describes the saint as being from Ireland. All of these factors combine to render Neeson's book unsuitable for our purposes.

From Pelican: Some Issues Regarding the Lingua Anglica Allowance

A submission this month generated some questions regarding the Lingua Anglica allowance. Precedents that outlined the scope of the Lingua Anglica allowance were included in the January 1993 Letter and in the December 1995 LoAR (pp. 21-22 s.n. Ananda the Fiery). The specific questions that need to be discussed at this time are:

Clarifications of these points will be ruled on at the May Pelican meeting. Original commentary on this topic must be in the College's hands no later than March 31, 2002. Responses and rebuttals to commentary must be in the College's hands no later than April 30, 2002.

From Wreath: Couped and Erased

The issue of acceptable depictions of couped and erased (for beast heads and other body parts) arose in this month's Wreath meeting concerning the device of Laurenço Affonso. Wreath and staff conducted a post-meeting review of period depictions of beast heads from British and Continental sources. Some of the sources reviewed include the online Zuricher Wappenrolle, Siebmacher's 1605 Wappenbuch, A European Armorial (the Armorial of the Toison d'Or), Armorial Gelre, Armorial Bellenville, Libro de Armeria del Reino de Navarra, the Scots Roll, Laing's facsimile of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount's 1542 Roll of Arms, Stodart's Scottish Arms facsimile, Legh's Accedence of Armory (1597), and Mackenzie of Rosehaugh's Science of Herauldrie (1680), together with modern works containing plates with period pictures of armory.

The most significant difference between couped and erased is that couped was almost universally treated as a smooth line, while erased was marked by the presence of significant and prominent jags. Virtually all heads found in period heraldic artwork are distinctly either couped or erased, without intermediate artistic forms. This is also true of other cases of partial animals, such as jambes and demi-beasts.

The smooth line found on couped heads was found depicted in a number of manners, none of which was so universal to be deemed the only acceptable manner of couping a head. One of these depictions was a straight line, like the traditional modern heraldic understanding of couped. The straight line was generally parallel to the chief (ref. 1), parallel to the side of the shield or part of an underlying ordinary (ref. 2), or, in the case of heads couped close, perpendicular to the chief (ref. 3). Another form of couping showed a slight convexity, as if the head had been cut from the body with a sharp knife, and a slight trian aspect of the neck is seen (ref. 4). Another convex form resembled a shallow T-shirt neck line (ref. 5). Another form of couping showed a smooth shallow concavity (ref. 6). Sometimes there was an extreme concavity, particularly in Continental sources (ref. 7). This concavity appears to be anatomically based on the shoulders of the beast. Any of these forms are acceptable for depictions of couped heads.

The portions of the ruling on Ulvar MacVanis's device in the LoAR of July 2000 which are inconsistent with this evidence are overturned. That ruling said, in part, this particular rendition [of couped] is too far from known period practices...the line [of couping] was very carefully drawn to follow the shoulder line; it is bendwise at the top and palewise at the bottom. Based on the period evidence above, it is acceptable for couping to show such a deep curve that it appears to follow the shoulder of the animal. It is worth noting that the emblazon in Ulvar's submission has a much deeper point in the front neck edge than was found in even the most extreme examples found in the Continental sources examined, so the return for Natural Depiction in Ulvar's case is appropriate.

In some very rare cases of boar's heads couped close, one could find depictions of couping which were not entirely smooth, and appeared to attempt to depict bristles on the boar's head. This deviation from standard practice for boars is not surprising when one considers that a boar's bristles are one of his main heraldic identifiers. This bristly depiction of a boar's head couped resembles neither erasing nor an indented line. See, for example, the Polish arms of Swinka or Scheinichen on p. 149 of A European Armorial, which shows bristle needles sticking out past the back of the couped line. This distinctive coat is very similar to no-doubt related coats from Silesia on f. 61 of Siebmacher, and it interesting to note that Siebmacher's couping is much smoother but does show a bit of bristly detail.

Erased necks were marked by prominent jags. By far the most common number of jags found in the sources, regardless of national origin, was three. However, as many as eight jags were found with some frequency by the end of period. It should be noted that the number of jags does not appear to be the critical factor, but rather the prominence of the jags. The jags generally appear to be approximately one-sixth to one-third of the height of the entire erased head, and the jags were consistently wavy like the rays of an estoile or a rayonny line of division (refs. 8, 9, 10 and 11). In no cases did the erasing appear to resemble an indented line, neither large scale nor in a smaller pinking-shear depiction.

Therefore, for purposes of recreating period armorial style for erasing, the erasing should (1) have between three and eight jags; (2) have jags that are approximately one-sixth to one-third the total height of the charge being erased; and (3) have jags that are not straight but rather are wavy or curved. The predominance of the three-jag erasing is such that it can be recommended throughout our period and across Europe. For purposes of recreating period armorial style for couping, the couping should be a smooth line which is either straight, slightly convex, a shallow concave, or a recognizable extreme concave. A straight line or a shallow curve can be recommended throughout our period and across Europe.

Submissions which contain couped or erased charges that diverge significantly from the guidelines above risk being returned for unidentifiability or non-period style unless they are accompanied by documentation.

References: These examples are chosen from the more commonly available heraldic sources for ease of reference.

Ref. 1: Neubecker's Heraldry: Sources, Symbols and Meaning, p. 35, arms of Hungary, fourth quarter; Gwynn-Jones's The Art of Heraldry p. 67, sinister chief quarter.

Ref. 2: Pastoureau's Heraldry: An Introduction to a Noble Tradition, p. 24, couped fish head on painted chest; Neubecker, op. cit., p. 191; Bedingfield and Gwynn-Jones's Heraldry, back dust jacket, fourth row, second from left.

Ref. 3: Bedingfield and Gwynn-Jones, op. cit., p. 109, center of top row of Fenwick Roll excerpt.

Ref. 4: Siebmacher's 1605 Wappenbuch, f. 153, v. Kotzaw and v. Helldorf.

Ref. 5: Neubecker, op. cit., p. 153, third from left, Grunenberg Armorial excerpt; Siebmacher, op. cit., f. 177, Die Schlegel.

Ref. 6: Pastoureau, op. cit., p. 12; on-line Manesse Codex (; Pastoureau, op. cit., p. 60 (also on-line Manesse codex

Ref. 7: Neubecker, op. cit., p. 116, unicorn's heads: this is a citation from the Zuricher Wappenrolle, which can be found in an on-line version ( on strip 2, front p. 9 (Helmsdorf).

Ref. 8: Bedingfield and Gwynn-Jones, op. cit., p. 101 (Robert Cooke arms); Gwynn-Jones, op. cit., p. 37 (Robert Cooke arms).

Ref. 9: Bedingfield and Gwynn-Jones, op. cit., p. 91.

Ref. 10: Ibid., p. 109, Fenwick Roll, top row, second from left, and middle row, second from right.

Ref. 11: Siebmacher, op. cit., plate 96, die Teufel v. Pirckensee.

From Laurel Clerk: Things Missing from LoIs

What's in a Letter of Intent? A summary of all the information possessed by the LoI preparer that is pertinent and useful to the College of Arms in commenting on submissions being sent to Laurel.

There have been two types of problems that have caused recent trouble in name processing.

First, some LoIs have lacked a summary of boxes on the forms, especially the authenticity boxes and major/minor change permissions. This can be argued to be contrary to the CoA Administrative Handbook, The letter of intent and all associated paperwork must agree in their arrangement and contents. If that information is not on the LoI, then the College can't make suggestions based on it. That means that when Pelican Queen of Arms sees them, she must research the issues on her own at the meeting. Conclusions reached do not go through full review by the College during a commentary period. Also, conclusions have to be made quickly to get through the meeting, though it still takes several hours of extra work per meeting.

This problem is similar to the continuing problem of inadequate summarization of documentation.

To solve this problem, kingdoms must summarize on the LoI all the relevant boxes, including such items as:

(Your kingdom's forms, wording, and boxes may vary slightly, of course.)

Second, some LoIs often give one name when the forms have a different name on the Society name line. That is a failure of the LoI: as the current CoA Administrative Handbook says, The letter of intent and all associated paperwork must agree in their arrangement and contents. ... Any names or blazons on the forms should precisely match those shown on the letter of intent. Worse, some LoIs don't explain that there is a difference, what the original submitted name was, and why (or if) kingdom made a change. Laurel staffers are then left to wonder if there was simply a typo on the LoI, or if the kingdom heralds made changes for some reason and what those reasons might be. Frequently, kingdoms make changes because they can't document a name element, when the College has better resources and can save the original name. As above, the College can't comment on such situations, because they never see it.

To solve this problem, kingdoms must make sure that the LoI and forms agree. If kingdoms make changes to a name, they must show the changes on the LoI (submitted as [original spelling]) and explain the reasons for the change. They must also change the Society Name line on the form to match the LoI; ideally, that is done in a different ink or pencil and keeping the original text readable, so that Pelican can check the LoI's history explanation against the forms.

If these two significant problems continue, all the alternatives are unpleasant. Attempting to work on a name at the Pelican meeting wastes hours of College commentary and Pelican time. (It may even do the client a disservice: for all we know, the submitter approved of and wants changes that kingdom made.) Pending a name for more commentary would hurt the client for no fault of their own, and pended items tend not to get as much commentary as original submissions. Returning the name for administrative reasons would seriously hurt the client for no fault of their own. It's hard to even dream of a case so egregious that Laurel could justly apply the ultimate Administrative Handbook sanction, Letters of intent which do not meet the following requirements may be deemed invalid. Invalid letters will not be scheduled for consideration and do not meet the requirements for timeliness. To use the cliché, let's not even go there. We should work together to reduce the problems.

From Laurel Clerk: O Ogonek

A character has been used from time to time, and I would like to formally introduce it and specify its representation. The letter o ogonek is used in Geirr Bassi (because it was used in Old Icelandic). It is usually seen as an o with a small comma-like hook under it, though a Unicode reference says Various hooks, commas, and squiggles may be substituted for the nominal forms. It isn't in Latin-1, the standard Western European character set. In fact, it doesn't appear to be in any font that we currently have available. Therefore, I will represent it without further explanation as {o,}, not just in Da'ud notation text files but also in LoARs.

Roster Corrections

The office of Crescent Principal Herald (Caid) has changed. Add to the Roster and mailing list Dietmar Reinhart von Straubing (Thomas Eastman), 2812 Nevis Circle, Costa Mesa, CA 92626-3537, 714-979-5329, Madawc ap Caradawc, formerly Crescent, is removed from the mailing list and roster.

The new Albion Herald (Drachenwald) is Guntram von Wolkenstein (Eckhard Gartz), PO Box 443, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7701, South Africa, +27 21 685 6224, e-mail: Albion Herald is added to the roster and mailing list.

The office of Matins (West) is changing. The new Matin is: Eilis O'Boirne (Lee Forgue), 2322 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94705, 510-486-0633, e-mail: Telari Tawel, formerly Matins, is removed for the mailing list and roster.

Having produced a good letter of comment, Black Pillar Pursuivant (née Bronzehelm) from Artemisia is added to the roster and mailing list: Athenais Bryennissa (Kristen Gulling-Smith), 38 Broadwater Ave, Billing, MT, 406-259-2540, e-mail:

The Board of Director ombudsman for heraldry, Keilyn FitzWarin (Beth Morris), has moved. Her new contact information: 155 Tooting High Street, London SW17 0SY, England, e-mail:

Tanczos Istvan (Lewis Tanzos), East, is no longer Mural Herald, but is now Eastern Crown Herald.

Send What to Whom

For all Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, &c, send one paper copy to each of Laurel PKoA and Wreath QoA at their mailing addresses as shown on the College of Arms Mailing List.

Send Laurel office copies of all submissions-related paper, including

to Kathleen M. O'Brien, 7323 Potters Trl, Austin, TX 78729-7777.

Send Laurel office copies of all submissions-related electronic files to . This includes electronic copies of LoIs, LoCs, LoRs, &c.

Send roster changes and corrections to Lord Symond Bayard le Gris, Bruce R. Nevins, 2527 E. 3rd St., Tucson, AZ, 85716-4114, (520) 795-6000, (520) 795-0158 (fax), College of Arms members can also request a copy of the current roster from Symond.

For subscriptions to the paper copy of the LoAR, please contact Symond, above. The cost for an LoAR subscription is $25 a year. Please make all checks or money orders payable to SCA Inc.-College of Arms. For subscriptions to the electronic copy of the LoAR, please contact Laurel at The electronic copy is available free of charge.

For all administrative matters, or for questions about whom to send to, please contact Laurel Principal King of Arms, whose contact information heads this letter.

Pray know that I remain

In service

François la Flamme

Laurel Principal King of Arms

Created at 2002-02-13T21:58:07