Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

15910 Val Verde Drive
Houston TX, 77083-4921

For the November 2003 meetings, printed February 12, 2004

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from François Laurel, Zenobia Wreath, and Mari Pelican, greetings.

The following is a table showing the status of Letters of Intent, Laurel Letters of Pend and Discussion, and Letters of Intent to Protect. The header rows are the dates of the meetings that will consider them, the dates when primary commentary is due, and the dates when responses to primary commentary are due. The key follows.

Wreath meetingNov 22Dec 13Jan 17Feb 14Mar 13 & 27Apr 10 & 17?
Pelican meetingNov 15Dec 20Jan 17Feb 21Mar 13? & 27Apr 24
Comment by    too lateFeb 29
Respond by    Feb 29Mar 31
Letters of Intent being considered:
AEthelmearcJul 24-Sep 25Oct 30Nov 29(Dec 24)
An TirJul 28-Aug 28 &
Sep 29
-Oct 29 &
Nov 25
Dec 31
AnsteorraJul 18
[P Jul 26]
Aug 21
[P Aug 29]
Sep 22Oct 23Nov 14
[P Nov 29]
Dec 11
Artemisia-Aug 29Sep 30Oct 30-Dec 05
AtenveldtJul 25Aug 25Sep 25Oct 30-(Dec 30)
AtlantiaJul 22--Oct 27Nov 27-
CaidJul 05 &
Jul 30
Aug 25 &
Aug 26
-Oct 06
[P Oct 14]
Nov 21(Dec 30)
CalontirJun 25Aug 08--Nov 08Dec 25
DrachenwaldJul 24Aug 28-Oct 30(Sep 25) &
Nov 24
Dec 23
EaldormereJul 17
[P Jul 26]
-Sep 18
[P Sep 29]
-(Nov 16) &
(Nov 23)
EastJun 20
[P Jul 01]
-Sep 05--Nov 30
[P Dec 03]
Laurel LoI---Oct 31--
Lochac----(Nov 24)-
MeridiesJul 31Aug 31Sep 30Oct 31Nov 30Dec 31
Middle-Jul 25
[P Aug 14] &
Aug 25
Sep 25-Nov 04
[P Nov 12] &
Nov 25
Nebuly-Aug 21----
NorthshieldJul 01
[P Jul 31]
-Sep 30Oct 31Nov 30Dec 30
Outlands-Jul 23Aug 28 &
Sep 25
Oct 27Nov 27(Dec 27)
Siren (RfS X.4.j)-Aug 30----
Trimaris-Jul 31
[P Aug 02]
--(Nov 03)-
West-Aug 27Sep 24Oct 28Nov 25-
Laurel LoPaD
[LoAR date]
Jul 16
[May LoAR]
-Sep 29
[Jul LoAR]
Oct 31
[Aug LoAR]
-Dec 31
[Sep LoAR]

Month day: the date on the Letter of Intent, Letter of Pend and Discussion, or Letter of Intent to Protect.
(Month day): for administrative reasons, this LoI has not yet been scheduled.
[P Month day]: postmarked on that bracketed date, so the LoI is redated or postponed.
"-": no LoI is scheduled for that meeting from that kingdom.
?: tentative.

Some of the March Letters of Intent will be delegated to the incoming Laurel team. The March Wreath meeting will be March 13. The March Wreath-designate meeting will be March 27. The March Pelican meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 13. The March Pelican-designate meeting will be March 27.

The April Wreath meeting will be April 10, with a possible continuation/roadshow on April 17.

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, et cetera) have not yet been met.

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

From Laurel: KWHS 2004 is Approaching!

The Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium 2004 is being hosted by the Shire of Owls Reste on June 25-27, 2004. The site is the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania (near Harrisburg). To find out more, contact the Lady Gisela vom Kreuzbach via e-mail at or visit the Web page at We look forward to seeing you there.

From Laurel: Got Bids for KWHS 2005?

It's time to put in bids for Known World Heraldic Symposium in 2005. Please provide your bids to the entire College of Arms. Please have your bids to the College by May 1, 2004, so that commentary may be received and a decision may be announced at KWHS 2004. The Laurel Web site contains a useful article on bidding and running a Known World Heraldic Symposium:

From Wreath: Badgers and Brocks

This month, some questions were raised about the tincture of a previously registered SCA brock proper. The tincture of a brock (or badger) proper is not clearly defined in SCA or real-world heraldic practice. We here state explicitly that the SCA has no default proper tincture for brocks or badgers. In this LoAR, we have reblazoned the few pieces of existing SCA armory that were blazoned using brocks or badgers proper.

From Wreath: Birds and Substantial Difference

This month we were called upon to make a number of rulings concerning difference between very different types of birds. After much thought, and discussion with Evan Wreath-designate, we have formulated the following policy.

Policies concerning birds and substantial difference need to be built upon previous policies concerning birds and significant difference. An important ruling on the topic is found in the Cover Letter for the January 2000 LoAR. That ruling was entitled On Owls and Eagles, but it also spoke more generally concerning difference for birds. The pertinent summary portions of that ruling read as follows:

The conflict rules make a rigid distinction between the type of a charge and its posture. This works well most of the time, but less so for birds, where the type and the posture are often closely connected. In particular, with vanishingly rare exceptions the eagle is the only bird found displayed in period heraldry. Therefore any other bird displayed will arguably be visually similar to an eagle...

The new solution to the problem is to sacrifice some of the theoretical purity of separation of type and posture. Because only eagles among birds are attested as displayed in period, any other bird in a displayed posture will be compared to any bird in a displayed posture usuing [sic] the visual test of rule X.4.e for non-period charges. Thus there will not be a CD between an owl displayed and an eagle displayed, because they are too visually similar, but there will be a CD between an owl displayed and a penguin displayed, because there is still significant visual difference. Additionally any bird other than an eagle in a displayed posture will be considered a "weirdness" [step from standard period practice].

In the future I expect that I will be more likely to grant difference between different types of birds when (a) [sic] they are (a) different in period, (b) in a period posture, (c) drawn correctly, and (d) there is some visual difference (i.e., there is really no visual difference between a popinjay and a hawk).

In some cases, it is appropriate for very different types of bird to be given substantial difference from each other. This parallels the SCA's precedents for other kinds of similarly-formed, but nonetheless very different, animate charges: bulls and lions were ruled substantially different in the LoAR of July 2001, dragons and griffins were ruled substantially different in the same LoAR, zebras and stags were ruled substantially different in the LoAR of May 2001, unicorns and wolves were ruled substantially different in the LoAR of March 1994, and ferrets and hedgehogs were ruled substantially different in the LoAR of September 1991.

In order for two birds to be considered substantially different from each other, it is necessary for the following conditions to apply, analogous to the criteria listed in the January 2000 Cover Letter for significant difference between birds:

  1. The change from one type of bird to the other type of bird must "not usually [have been] used to indicate any form of cadency" in period (RfS X.2). The two types of bird must of course also have been considered different in period, or they would not even be significantly different (RfS X.4.e).

  2. Each bird, in both the new and the old submissions, must be in a posture which was period for that type of bird.

  3. Each bird, in both the new and the old submissions, must be drawn correctly.

  4. The two types of bird must have been drawn in fashions that were consistently very different from each other throughout period heraldry.

Concerning criterion 2, remember that a bird may be in a period posture without being in a default posture. Ravens are sometimes found in the rising posture in period, although their default posture is close. Swans are found in the close posture in period, although their default posture is rousant (synonymous with rising).

It is vanishingly rare to find birds other than eagles in the displayed posture, while vast multitudes of eagles are found in the displayed posture. We thus re-affirm the January 2000 Cover Letter precedent (above). All birds (other than eagles) in the displayed posture are considered a "weirdness" and are not eligible for substantial difference - unless documentation is provided showing that the particular type of (non-eagle) bird is frequently found in the displayed posture in period.

Here are a few generalizations concerning bird posture to be used in conjunction with criterion 2 above. In addition, see the attachment to this LoAR titled "Some birds and the postures in which they are found in period English heraldry."

On examining the types of birds found in period armory, and how they were used, certain categories of bird type become apparent. These categories are:

Not all period birds are found in the categories above. For example, while many popinjays (parrots) are drawn as "regular-shaped" birds in period (often indistinct from a green crow with red legs and bill), some of the more naturalistic drawings of popinjays have such pronounced tails that popinjays, for the moment, been left out of any of these categories.

Substantial difference relates to these categories of birds as follows:

From Pelican: Call for Comments Regarding the Registerability of Names Combining Russian and French

The registerability of names combining Russian and French has a mixed history.

Names mixing Russian and French were ruled unregisterable in 1993 (Marina la Perdu, 01/1993, R-West) for lack of "evidence of regular period contact between Russia and France". In 1996, a submission combining Russian elements with a French byname (Dasha Miloslava Broussard, 01/1996, R-Atlantia) was registered based on a persona story of "Russian girl marries French trader and adopts his surname". In 2001, a submission that was submitted as Russian and French (Jarucha Ekaterina Delamare, 04/2001, R-Caid) was redocumented in commentary as a mixture of Russian and English, though the ruling mentions French.

In all of these cases, no evidence was provided supporting regular contact between Russian and French cultures. Therefore, we are asking the College to consider this lingual combination; specifically, whether there is sufficient evidence of significant contact between speakers of Russian and French in period to continue to allow registration of this combination with a weirdness or whether the contact was limited (or non-existant) and this combination should be unregisterable under the guidelines for the registerability of lingual combinations set forth in the Cover Letter for the August 1999 LoAR.

As this is a call for discussion of an issue by the College, it is included on the Letter of Pends and Discussion with this LoAR. Please comment using the LoPaD by the deadlines scheduled on it.

From Laurel Clerk: Precision in Giving Orders (or Ha Ha, Scotty, Now Beam Down My Clothes)

In the August 2003 LoAR cover letter, Laurel changed the College of Arms Administrative Handbook to require "an electronic copy" of each Letter of Intent (unconditionally) and of each Letter of Comment (unless Laurel gives prior written permission).

I have just received an "electronic copy" of an LoI. It was a PDF document containing only smudged scanned images of the pages of an LoI originally written in Microsoft Word.

So let me explain "electronic". When an LoI or LoC file is received, someone edits the file to insert certain markers to separate items and parts of items. It is then saved in RTF format so that a processing program can parse it apart and store it in another format, XML. The XML format allows our tools to generate the collated commentary that Pelican and Wreath use at their meetings. Other tools generate the LoAR parts in various file formats, as well as labels and decisions for file folders. All this would be tedious and error-prone if done by hand.

The key concepts above are "edits" and "saved in RTF". These concepts do not apply to a scanned image. (Even if the Laurel office were to own Optical Character Recognition software, OCRing would still be more or less error-prone, slow, and tedious to clean up. I decline to go through all that, especially when the original file is ever so much more usable.)

Therefore, please read the new Administrative Handbook requirement to mean that the electronic copies of LoIs and LoCs sent to Laurel must be editable by common text editors. The Laurel office currently has Microsoft Word 2000, Word Perfect 9, and OpenOffice 1.2. We can accommodate any file formats that they can read. We have also easily dealt with ASCII and Unicode UTF-16 text files, and with little more difficulty we can deal with text-based PDF files. If you want some other text-based format, please contact the Laurel office and we'll certainly try to work something out. But scanned images of pages don't work.

Roster Changes

The office of Aten Principal Herald (Atenveldt) has changed hands. The new Aten is Seamus McDaid .... The previous Aten, Magdalen Venturosa ..., is removed from the roster and mailing list.

Blaise de Cormeilles ..., Silver Nautilus Pursuivant (Atlantia), has a new phone number: ....

Society Pages

Evan da Collaureo, incoming Wreath King of Arms, will be made a Companion of the Order of the Pelican on February 21.

Tanglwyst de Holloway, Golden Wing Principal Herald, was elevated to the Order of the Pelican in November 2003.

Send What to Whom

For all Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera, send one paper copy to every Sovereign of Arms, current and incoming, as shown on the College of Arms Mailing List.

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

to the appropriate address. If it concerns LoIs dated up to and including November 2003, mail to Pelican QoA at her roster address: .... If it concerns LoIs dated on or after December 2003, mail to the incoming Laurel Queen of Arms: Jacquie Ziegler, 812 S 32nd St, Billings, MT 59101-3924.

Send Laurel office copies of all submissions-related electronic files to In particular, the Laurel Clerk would very much appreciate e-mailed copies of all LoIs, LoCs, LoRs, et cetera.

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), Please also send them to Laurel Clerk, preferably by e-mail to, or by mail to Tim McDaniel, 6805 Wood Hollow Dr Apt 212, Austin, TX 78731-3104. 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 2004-02-09T00:25:48