Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

PO Box 31755
Billings, MT 59107-1755

For the March 2004 meetings, printed June 23, 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 meetingMar 13 & 27May 01May 16 & 22Jun 12 & 27Jul 10Penn. & 28
Pelican meetingMar 13 & 27Apr 24May 15 & 22Jun 13 & 27Jul 25Penn.
Comment by    too lateJun 30
Respond by    Jun 30Jul 31
Letters of Intent being considered:
AEthelmearcNov 29Dec 24Jan 30-Mar 27Apr 26
An TirOct 29 &
Nov 25
Dec 31Jan 30Feb 27Mar 27(Apr 28)
AnsteorraNov 14
[P Nov 29]
Dec 11Jan 26Feb 18Mar 11
[P Apr 01]
Apr 21
Artemisia-Dec 05Jan 30-Mar 30-
Atenveldt-Dec 30Jan 27Feb 25Mar 17Apr 20
AtlantiaNov 27-Jan 27Feb 24(Mar 25)(Apr 21)
CaidNov 21Dec 30Jan 31---
CalontirNov 08Dec 25-Feb 20-Apr 08
DrachenwaldNov 24-Jan 29Feb 26(Mar 25)(Apr 22)
EaldormereNov 23-Jan 25-Mar 18
[P Apr 01]
East--Nov 30
[P Dec 03]
Feb 29--
Lochac-Nov 24--Mar 22
[P Apr 01]
(Apr 21)
MeridiesNov 30Dec 31Jan 31-Mar 31-
MiddleNov 04
[P Nov 12] &
Nov 25
-Jan 01Feb 10Mar 17 &
Mar 02
Apr 12
[P Apr 27]
NorthshieldNov 30Dec 30Jan 25Feb 25Mar 25Apr 26
OutlandsNov 27Dec 27Jan 27Feb 24Mar 25(Apr 24)
Trimaris--Nov 03Feb 27(Mar 31)-
WestNov 25-Jan 27Feb 24Mar 24
[P Apr 12]
Apr 20
Laurel LoPaD
[LoAR date]
-Dec 31
[Sep LoAR]
-Feb 12
[Nov LoAR]
Mar 31
[Jul 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.

Four of the March Letters of Intent were delegated to the new Laurel team: Caid, November 21; Ealdormere, November 23; Meridies, November 30; West, November 25. The March Wreath and Pelican meetings were both on March 13. The March Pelican-designate and Wreath-designate meetings were held jointly at Elsbeth Clarion's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 27.

The April Wreath meeting was held on May 1. That is, Wreath's decisions to be published in the April 2004 LoAR were made at a meeting on May 1.

The May Wreath meeting was held on Sunday, May 16, and continued on Wednesday, May 19. The May Pelican meeting was held on May 15. They had a joint road-show meeting on May 22 at Æthelmearc War Practice.

The June Wreath meeting was held on June 12 and the June Pelican meeting was held on June 13. They will hold the traditional Known World Heraldic Symposium road-show meeting on June 27.

The August Pelican and Wreath meetings will be held as road shows during evenings at Pennsic. Wreath will rule on any remaining LoIs on August 28.

Wreath and Pelican will hold a joint meeting near the District of Columbia on September 25-26, with Wreath tentatively planning a continuation road show meeting at Atlantian University in Storvik on October 2.

The October Wreath meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 9 or 23.

The November Wreath meeting will be on November 13, possibly with a road show at Darkover Grand Council on November 27.

The December Wreath meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 11 or 18.

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 Wreath: A Cautionary Word Regarding "Conflict Tables"

It has come to our attention that there is a growing trend in the College to create "conflict tables". These tables summarize precedent on some class of armorial elements, such as crosses, flowers, or lines of division. The tables use a simple format that allows one to (for example) compare two types of crosses and look up whether they have no difference, a single CD ("significant" difference), or X.2 difference ("substantial" difference.) The tables also allow the user to identify the LoARs in which the rulings referenced by the table were made.

We understand the desire to provide a quick and simple summary of conflict issues, and we thank the compilers of these tables for their hard work. However, we caution the College that these tables may inadvertently contribute to an inaccurate view of the heraldic issues. We have reached this conclusion by investigating the source of some assertions made in College of Arms commentary, which turned out to be based on overgeneralizations from conflict tables, rather than being based on the combination of the Rules for Submission, examples of period armory, and precedents (past rulings in LoARs). We are happy to see that the conflict tables of which we are aware do reference an LoAR for each assertion made in the table. We suggest that people make use of the conflict tables, but that they do not make up their minds about conflict issues until they have read the full LoAR ruling referenced by the table, and until they have read the LoAR rulings referenced in closely related areas of the table.

In many cases, if there is not a clear general ruling pertaining to some class of armorial elements, it is because the issues pertaining to that class of elements are not easily summarized. RfS X, "Conflicting Armory", explains how armorial conflict in the SCA is based on an attempt to emulate period armorial practices:

A piece of armory may not be too similar to other pieces of armory, as is required by General Principle 3a of these rules. Period armory frequently distinguished between immediate relatives, like a father and his son, by making a single change to the arms in a process called "cadency". The changes made in such circumstances can be considered the smallest change that period heralds would recognize. This section defines ways in which submitted armory must be changed to be sufficiently different from protected armory.

It is just as easy - or as difficult - to create a table summarizing the grammar of a language, as it is to create a table summarizing period armorial practices for difference. In both natural language and in armory, there are many generally applicable rules, but also a large number of specific exceptions.

We would like to address one specific misconception which, according to some commenters, derived from an overgeneralization of a conflict table. One conflict table concerning crosses had a category of "cross throughout" (with sub-categories for the particular types of cross throughout, such as equal-armed Celtic quarter-pierced.) As a result of the cursory scan of this category, which generally gave a CD between the "throughout" cross and the cross with which it was compared, more than one College of Arms member incorrectly generalized that all crosses throughout were a CD from all crosses which were not throughout. The precedents listed in the LoAR table explicitly denied that generalization, but one had to look at the cited precedents to see that information. One example of a precedent referenced by the conflict table that denied this generalization:

[A Celtic cross vs. a Celtic cross equal-armed, quarterly pierced and throughout] There is no heraldic difference for the charge being throughout, or not. However, there's a CD ... for the quarter-piercing, which is visually equivalent to adding a tertiary delf. (Toirrdelbach Ua Mel Doraid, October, 1992, pg. 16)

A relatively recent LoAR also addressed this issue. Clarifying comments have been inserted into the quote in square brackets:

While we give a CD for a standard cross throughout [the ordinary] versus a cross couped, for most crosses (such as crosses fleury) we do not give such difference for couped [not-throughout] versus throughout. (LoAR February 2002).

From Wreath: Raw Numbers

Granted, Laurel performs a different sort of service for our clients than Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland performs for his clients. Our College of Arms is organized differently from (and is much larger than) Lyon's Court. And we don't have to do any genealogy. But Electrum suggested that the following information about the Lyon Office workload might be of interest to our College, and we concur. This information is from an article by Anthony Maxwell in the April 2004 edition (number 24) of Tak Tent, the newsletter of the Heraldry Society of Scotland:

In what is possibly a first, the Court of the Lord Lyon has issued some figures giving the number of grants and matriculations made in 2003. There were 78 new grants of arms, of which 55 were to individuals, 14 to corporate bodies, and 9 to local authorities. There were, in addition, 43 matriculations from existing grants. This is a total of 121 new arms in the year. I understand this is not the highest number in a single year but well up on an average year and I am informed that 2004 is set to be something of a bumper year. The number of new arms for this year is likely [to] be over 130 and possibly as many as 150 which may be somewhere very close to the maximum capacity of the Court as it is currently organized. The level of service from the Court is still excellent but with heraldry becoming ever more popular and the increasing number of petitions arriving on Lyon Clerk's desk, one wonders what will be the Court's next move to ensure the smooth flow of arms from this ancient and most respected Office.

By contrast, while we do not have figures for Laurel's workload in 2003, we did publish the figures for 2002 for the Laurel office in the Cover Letter for the February 2003 Letter of Intent: 3797 items, with items defined as "acceptances, returns, transfers, and administrative items (reblazons, protected items, and such), whether paid or unpaid... [omitting] pended items." Siren also observes, regarding Lyon's workload, that "We do more than that at Pennsic. And I'm only counting devices."

From Wreath: Carpe Ovum Diabolicum

It's been an interesting almost-three years. Thanks to the College of Arms and to the heraldic submitters of the SCA for raising so many intriguing questions concerning period heraldry. Thanks to François and the SCA Board of Directors for providing me with the incentive/mandate to deeply consider these questions, rather than spending my time in somewhat less dry pursuits.

To Laurel, to Pelican, and to the Atlas on whose shoulders all the sovereigns rested, Laurel Clerk: it was great working with you guys! Likewise to the stalwart Wreath staff, without whose labors, support, and last-minute research, the armory side of the submissions process would have been sorely diminished. Heartfelt thanks to David Electrum, Juliana Siren, Christopher Queue Forchée, Francesca Æstel, Elisabeth Pomegranate, Rafaella Blue Anchor, Teceangl Ounce, Richenda Boar, Ciaran Goutte de Sang, Bruce Oak Leaf, Sebastian Sterne, and Rouland Carre.

And lastly, thanks to the chickens who provided the three dozen eggs per month, which (after appropriate deviling) kept the Wreath meetings going, and engendered the unofficial Wreath team motto that heads this section of the LoAR. Yes, we know that stuffed eggs mixed with hot savory spices (like mustard) probably don't predate the end of our period (even though there are precursors at least as early as Apicius) and that the word "deviled" for this sort of cooking treatment for eggs or meats doesn't date until well past period. And we may not have formed the Latin correctly. We didn't care. After all, at least in the organization of this Laurel's tenure, "that's a Pelican problem."

From Pelican: Thanks for All the Fish

The last nearly-three years have been amazingly busy and interesting. The number of submissions continues to grow. And each batch brings its own set of interesting points to consider. Without aid and support from many many people, it would simply not be possible to do this job.

It would be impossible to adequately thank everyone who has contributed to our tenure. There have simply been so many.

I would personally like to thank Daniel, for coming up with the idea for a bid and for his continual incredible amounts of work in so many areas; François, for so diligently managing all the details that come with this office and for acting as a wise and efficient coordinator; Zenobia, for being our rock on which we could rely and, so often, the voice of experience.

I cannot give enough thanks to the College for their research and commentary. That support is critical to the goal of making fair and consistent rulings.

A number of people pitched in for last minute research, including Juliana Siren, Alisoun Metron Ariston, Effric Neyn Ken{gh}ocht Mcherrald, Tangwystyl Harpy, Magnus Orle, Maridonna Benvenuti, Gunnvör silfrahárr, Da'ud al-Jamal, Talan Fause Lozenge, Jaelle Argent Snail, and Richenda Boar. Their aid and support was invaluable.

One weekend a month, my home turned into a hive of heraldry (much to the joy of the three cats who love people and the dismay of the two who hide from most folks). People processed submission packets, filed, stamped, and cooked. And that was just in the dining room/kitchen area. The living room housed the decision meeting with even more people. I was thoroughly amazed at the number of people who traveled from out of town for each meeting - and I am grateful beyond measure. We routinely had people from Houston, College Station, and San Antonio. Occasionally, we had folks from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and, at one meeting, we had attendees from Oklahoma and Corpus Christi.

Abundant thanks for all their efforts at the decision meetings go to Adelaide de Beaumont, Elwyn Halfmoon, Maridonna Benvenuti, Magnus Orle, and, of course, Daniel.

Special thanks go to Juliana Siren, who was my emergency replacement deputy and, often, my source of sanity. When I started a new job after being laid off last year, she pitched in to help me with draft rulings while I was focusing on learning a new job.

I am sure that there are many other people who well deserve our appreciation and thanks. I apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently overlooked and thank them for their assistance.

Finally, I can do no better than to follow the traditions set by my predecessors Talan Gwynek and Pietari Pentipoika. I will not say "So long", since I will continue as a commenting member of the College of Arms, but I will I say, "Thanks for all the fish!"

From Laurel Clerk: The Big Step

(The final chapter from the Wise Guys Get Lenited trilogy, a hard-boiled noir herald series.)

As they led me into the room, Lady Luck gave me one last hickey. Something went wrong with a rod, and guys were muttering and banging all over the platform. I looked around the room and spotted a reporter friend smoking his trademark Camel. Someone had a shred of pity and let me call him over.

"Whatcha doin' here, Dave? I thought your paper just had you doing movie reviews."

"Well, I never could resist a medieval spectacle. - Sorry to see ya go, man."

"Yeah, but it was a really fun ride, let me tell you. I had a blast while I was on top. But you know the real pity?" I paused to slow down, project, and enunciate so everyone could hear. "I was just the guy they fingered. The real players are getting away without notice."

The room went quiet, but I wasn't worried any more about the Organization giving a hit man a "blanket permission to conflict" with me. Sure, the Harpy was over by the wall, a wall that had never before seen a red strapless silk evening gown, but even she wasn't ballsy enough to try anything in front of these witnesses. I could rat out the Organization in public.

"I needed back office people pushing packets, like Hillary Rose Greenslade, Katerine Rowley, and Stefan li Rous - you know his legit front, the Florilegium. His moll, Alina Mitchell, was a demon for filing and pulling files. Rondinella le tyrolesa cooked for us."

I bulled on. "But Kathri, Cross Fleury ... she ran up from Houston every month. She was the real brains of the back room, keeping track of everything in her pretty head and cracking the whip on everyone. I was pretty much a front man for her there."

"On the electronic side, Elsbeth, the Clarion, she was a big help getting me started. And the one task that made my eyes glaze, marking up LoIs and LoCs for merging, 'Markup Maggie' did it fast and did it right. You know her as ... Margaret MacDubhshithe." Dave's eyes went wide. "Yeah, the Pelican. But with the international warrant out on her now, I give her three years, tops."

I could have ratted out more, but the mechanics were done. The warden came over to help me up the stairs, up to the platform. The guy wearing the black hood fitted me with the hemp necktie. I looked down at the expectant eyes in the execution chamber. I was ready for the last Big Step.


From Laurel: Thank You

It takes a lot of work by hundreds of people at every level to support heraldry throughout the Known World. I wish to say: to the dedicated field heralds, who spend hours in the hot sun or the cold wet wind, calling the pairings with pomp and dignity; to the court herald, whose vocal skills make what is happening "in the presence" known to even the back row; to the consulting heralds, giving countless hours of their own time helping to explain the subtle workings of onamastics or armorial design; to the heralds working on submissions, spending long evenings with word processors, forms, and markers to get the names and armory of our friends into and through the registration process; to the principal heralds, who have the responsibility of making sure that all of the various duties are accomplished as well as being counselors, mentors, and advisors; and to the College of Arms, the hours of research, conflict checking and commentary given to aid in the registration of names and armory, I give you honour and my sincere and heartfelt thanks. It has been my honour to be at the head of such a host. Your passion, enthusiasm and dedication is awe-inspiring. Thank you for your efforts and time.

The everyday operation of the Laurel office is very much a team effort. Without the help and advice from the Laurel staff, the amount of work could be overwhelming. Many of the support tasks are quietly and efficiently managed by people who do the work not for recognition but because it needs doing. I bring them to your attention in the hopes that you will help me thank them. The Laurel Web page would not have the fullness of information it does without the efforts of Jaelle of Armida and her minions. The printing and mailing of the LoAR, often with impossibly short deadlines, has been handled by Symond Bayard le Gris. Updating the database for the Ordinary and Armorial and the creation of the updates is a never ending and thankless task so ably accomplished by Herveus d'Ormonde. The challenging task of distilling the precedent-setting rulings from our decisions into a useful and informative document is being accomplished with skill and finesse by Jeanne Marie Lacroix. There are many people that work so hard to keep this office running that I can only beg your pardon and forgiveness if I have not specifically included you in this list.

And finally, there are three people without whom this tenure would not have been possible. These three have been my support, my deputies, my teachers, and my friends. Zenobia Naphtali as Wreath has put forth a fantastic effort. Besides the sheer volume of submissions to rule and write decisions on, she often put up with my heretical ideas and then with an open mind discussed the whys and hows until a workable solution was found (or not). I found her wisdom and experience an invaluable resource. Mari Elspeth nic Bryan as Pelican has set a standard for the explanation of decisions that will be hard to maintain. It takes time to write such complete discussions and I hope that the College and the submitters appreciate the value. I admire her passion for making sure that the person submitting the name was treated fairly and consistently by the rules. Daniel de Lincoln as our Clerk has been a tremendous resource and support. Daniel spent many many hours with the programs and applications used in the processing the LoIs and the LoARs. Without his constant vigilance we might have violated the "secret laurel style guide", resulting in mayhem in the LoAR.

In the July 1981 cover letter Wilhelm Laurel added the rank of Herald Extraordinary, saying the following.

This rank is reserved for those heralds who have greatly served the College of Heralds and/or the College of Arms and have achieved the highest level of competence in heraldry.

and he further stated

The rank of Herald Extraordinary shall be permanent so long as the holder continues to remain active in SCA heraldry. ... Each Herald Extraordinary shall have a title that is his/her own personal title that s/he shall hold so long as s/he remains active. If s/he should retire from the SCA, the title shall retire with her/him and shall not be used again by anyone else.

The awarding of rank and a personal heraldic title is for much more than simply completing a term in office. Daniel, Mari, and Zenobia have each actively served at every level of heraldry, giving much of themselves for many years. The knowledge that they have and share shows them to have the highest level of competence. In recognition of years of service, I hereby award unto Mari, Zenobia, and Daniel, the rank of Herald Extraordinary. Each may at her or his choice submit a personal heraldic title to be registered for their use. These are not "retirement" titles but a reward for the many years of service. I will note that each has already committed to continue working either within the College of Arms or in the local kingdoms' Colleges of Heralds.

It is with equal measures of sadness and relief that I turn the office of Laurel Sovereign of Arms over to Shauna. The years have been filled with challenges, learning and a lot of work. But, I have worked with some of the most intelligent and dedicated people in the Society. It has been an incredible experience. And I will miss it.

Roster Changes

Because of the number of updates and corrections that needed to be made to the roster, a new roster is enclosed. The changes are not listed in detail here. Among other changes, Francesca Testarossa dei Martini is now Æstel Herald (An Tir), Brónach ua Mochonne is now Ruby Pursuivant (Meridies), Maol Mhichil mac Gille Pheadair is Polaris Herald (Northshield), Ana Linch is Escutcheon Herald (Middle internal submissions). Gryffri de Newmarch will become Pennon (Meridies external submissions) in July. Athenais Bryennissa is going from Black Pillar (Artemisia) to Golden Pillar (Artemisia external submissions), but Yin Mei Li will remain as a mailing list commenter using her new title. But please also note other changes to mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, and such.

Society Pages

Artemisia granted Yin Mei Li a personal title, Octofoil Herald (in process).

Caid granted its first personal heraldic titles. Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme's title is to be determined. Hrorek Halfdane of Faulconwood is now Chevron Herald. James of the Lake is now Furison Herald.

Send What to Whom

For all Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera, send one paper copy to each of Wreath KoA and Pelican QoA at their mailing addresses as shown on the College of Arms Mailing List.

Send to Shauna of Carrick Point, Laurel Principal Queen of Arms (whose contact information heads this letter), all Laurel office copies of all submissions-related paper, including

Send Laurel office copies of all submissions-related electronic files to This applies to all LoIs, LoCs, LoRs, et cetera.

Send roster changes and corrections to Laurel QoA, above, and also to Jeanne Marie Lacroix at College of Arms members can also request a copy of the current roster from her.

For subscriptions to the paper copy of the LoAR, please contact Laurel QoA, above, and also Jeanne Marie Lacroix at 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 QoA at The electronic copy is available free of charge.

For all administrative matters, or for questions about whom to send to, please contact Laurel QoA.

Pray know that I remain

In service

François la Flamme
Laurel Principal King of Arms

Created at 2004-06-20T16:38:01