Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

1731A 10th St
Hampton, VA 23665

For the August 2008 meetings, printed December 11, 2008

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Olwynn Laurel, Istvan Wreath, and Aryanhwy Pelican, greetings.

Items listed below in square brackets have not been scheduled yet. For information about future scheduling, please review the status table located on the Web at

The August Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Sunday, August 17, 2008 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, August 3, 2008 and the Pennsic roadshow. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Northshield (02 Apr, 2008), East (05 Apr, 2008), Gleann Abhann (09 Apr, 2008), Middle (12 Apr, 2008), Ealdormere (15 Apr, 2008), Laurel LoPaD (15 Apr, 2008), Lochac (17 Apr, 2008), An Tir (20 Apr, 2008), Batonvert LoItP (20 Apr, 2008), Atenveldt (21 Apr, 2008), Drachenwald (21 Apr, 2008), Atlantia (28 Apr, 2008), Calontir (29 Apr, 2008), Ansteorra (30 Apr, 2008), Meridies (30 Apr, 2008), Northshield (30 Apr, 2008), Outlands (30 Apr, 2008), Trimaris (30 Apr, 2008), and West (30 Apr, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Thursday, July 31, 2008.

The September Laurel decisions were made at the KWHSS roadshow on Sunday, September 7, 2008, the Pelican meeting held Saturday September 13, 2008, and the Wreath meeting held Saturday, September 13, 2008. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Gleann Abhann (20 May, 2008), Drachenwald (21 May, 2008), East (21 May, 2008), Lochac (21 May, 2008), Outlands (21 May, 2008), An Tir (25 May, 2008), Atenveldt (25 May, 2008), Laurel LoPaD (26 May, 2008), Northshield (27 May, 2008), Ansteorra (30 May, 2008), Atlantia (30 May, 2008), Laurel (30 May, 2008), West (30 May, 2008), Ęthelmearc (31 May, 2008), Calontir (31 May, 2008), and Meridies (31 May, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Sunday, August 31, 2008.

The October Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Saturday, October 11, 2008 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, October 4, 2008 and at the roadshow at Great Western War on Saturday, October 11, 2008. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Artemisia (31 May, 2008) (pushed from September due to lack of payment), Middle (05 Jun, 2008), Ęthelmearc (15 Jun, 2008), Ealdormere (22 Jun, 2008), Lochac (24 Jun, 2008), Atenveldt (25 Jun, 2008), Caid (27 Jun, 2008), Atlantia (29 Jun, 2008), Drachenwald (29 Jun, 2008), East (29 Jun, 2008), An Tir (30 Jun, 2008), Ansteorra (30 Jun, 2008), Calontir (30 Jun, 2008), Laurel (30 Jun, 2008), Meridies (30 Jun, 2008), Outlands (30 Jun, 2008), and Trimaris (30 Jun, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Tuesday, September 30, 2008.

The November Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Saturday, November 1, 2008 and at the University roadshow on Saturday, November 8, 2008 and at the Wreath meeting held Sunday, November 9, 2008. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: West (23 Jun, 2008) (pushed from October due to lack of payment and packet), Laurel LoPaD (05 Jul, 2008), East (15 Jul, 2008), Middle (15 Jul, 2008), Northshield (15 Jul, 2008), Calontir (19 Jul, 2008), Gleann Abhann (22 Jul, 2008), Atlantia (23 Jul, 2008), Drachenwald (26 Jul, 2008), Artemisia (30 Jul, 2008)], Atenveldt (30 Jul, 2008), Ansteorra (31 Jul, 2008), An Tir (31 Jul, 2008), Outlands (31 Jul, 2008), and Siren LoItP (31 Jul, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Friday, October 31, 2008.

The December Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held Saturday, December 6, 2008 and will also be made at the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, December 27, 2008. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Caid (31 Jul, 2008) (pushed from November due to lack of packet), Siren LoItP (13 Aug, 2008), Ęthelmearc (26 Aug, 2008), Northshield (26 Aug, 2008), Atlantia (27 Aug, 2008), Meridies (27 Aug, 2008), Trimaris (29 Aug, 2008), Ansteorra (30 Aug, 2008), Drachenwald (30 Aug, 2008), Atenveldt (31 Aug, 2008), Calontir (31 Aug, 2008), East (31 Aug, 2008), Laurel LoPaD (31 Aug, 2008), Lochac (31 Aug, 2008), and Middle (31 Aug, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Sunday, November 30, 2008.

The January Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, January 10, 2009 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, January 17, 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [An Tir (29 Aug, 2008)] (pushed due to lost packet), Ansteorra (22 Sep, 2008), East (22 Sep, 2008), Atenveldt (25 Sep, 2008), Drachenwald (28 Sep, 2008), Middle (28 Sep, 2008), An Tir (29 Sep, 2008), Atlantia (29 Sep, 2008), Trimaris (29 Sep, 2008), Caid (30 Sep, 2008), Calontir (30 Sep, 2008), Gleann Abhann (30 Sep, 2008), Lochac (30 Sep, 2008), Meridies (30 Sep, 2008), Northshield (30 Sep, 2008), and Outlands (30 Sep, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

The February Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in February 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [Artemisia (30 Sep, 2008)] (pushed due to lack of packet), [West (06 Oct, 2008)], Laurel LoPaD (07 Oct, 2008), An Tir (20 Oct, 2008), Ansteorra (20 Oct, 2008), [Atenveldt (20 Oct, 2008)], [Northshield (20 Oct, 2008)], [Meridies (30 Oct, 2008)], Outlands (30 Oct, 2008), Atlantia (31 Oct, 2008), [Caid (31 Oct, 2008)], Calontir (31 Oct, 2008), East (31 Oct, 2008), Lochac (31 Oct, 2008), [Middle (31 Oct, 2008)], Siren LoItP (31 Oct, 2008), and Trimaris (31 Oct, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Saturday, January 31, 2009.

The March Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in March 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [Northshield (09 Nov, 2008)], [Ansteorra (18 Nov, 2008)], [Drachenwald (20 Nov, 2008)], Laurel LoPaD (20 Nov, 2008), [Ealdormere (23 Nov, 2008)], Laurel LoPaD (24 Nov, 2008), [An Tir (26 Nov, 2008)], [Meridies (28 Nov, 2008)], [Outlands (28 Nov, 2008)], [Atlantia (29 Nov, 2008)], Siren LoItP (29 Nov, 2008), [Ęthelmearc (30 Nov, 2008)], [Artemisia (30 Nov, 2008)], [Atenveldt (30 Nov, 2008)], [Lochac (30 Nov, 2008)], [Middle (30 Nov, 2008)], [Trimaris (30 Nov, 2008)], [West (30 Nov, 2008)]. All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Saturday, February 28, 2009.

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: Don't Let This Be You, a Heraldic Horror Story

Listen, my children, and you shall hear / Of the loss of packets from An Tir.

Laurel would like to suggest that all kingdoms consider using some form of tracking number, if at all possible, when mailing heraldic packets. Tracking, through the USPS, costs around $0.50. The service is called 'Delivery Confirmation', and does not require a signature by the recipient.

When the packet for the August An Tir letter of intent was late, Ragged Staff contacted kingdom staff. After a few extra days wait, to see if the packet would actually arrive, they re-constructed the packet and again mailed it. The second copy also never arrived. At that point, it was not possible to delay the mailing of Wreath copies for the December meeting any further, so their letter had to be pushed to January.

We later determined that the person doing the mailing had a digit wrong in the zip code. The two packets are theoretically somewhere in Butte, MT, rather than Billings, MT. The postmaster in Billings, when asked, said that returns are much lower priority: they can take as long as a month to arrive, if they return at all.

The moral of this story is based on the fact that a lot of time was spent waiting for the packets to not show up. Had tracking numbers been used, it would have been immediately evident not only where the packets were, but what had gone wrong. If you do use tracking numbers, please send the number and service (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc) to Ragged Staff so that Laurel and her staff will have an idea of when things might arrive.

If tracking numbers or some other alternative aren't or can't be used, it would still be appreciated if Ragged Staff is notified when a packet is mailed.

From Wreath: A Call For Discussion of Crosses and Substantial Difference

The cross is one of the most prolific charges found in medieval heraldry. There were at least a dozen types of "discrete" cross (i.e., a cross used as a charge like a lion or hammer, and not as an ordinary like a fess or bend) found in heraldry by the end of the 14th Century; modern heraldry texts can cite well over a hundred, though it's doubtful how many of the latter were actually used in armory. The Society's question has always been how to count difference between these cross variants. For this discussion, we are considering only discrete crosses such as the cross flory, and not the cross as an ordinary, either plain or complex (e.g., cross engrailed.)

Generally, Sovereigns of Arms have been reluctant to grant substantial difference between discrete cross variants: the number of rulings that have granted substantial difference have been far fewer than the rulings that have explicitly disallowed it. We have a guideline of sorts:

In most cases where substantial difference is given, it is because the charges in question are standard period charges which are definitely not standard period variants of one another and are always visually distinct. [Dec 01]

In practice, the "visually distinct" clause has been used to limit to a CD the difference between two period crosses that were considered as different as lions and horses.

In commentary, Batonvert noted an article by Gerard Brault, in Coat of Arms magazine ("The Cross in Medieval Heraldry", Coat of Arms I(90):54-64, Summer 1974), in which the forms of discrete crosses are listed. In modern blazon, these would be the cross flory (and its artistic variants, the crosses floretty, patonce, and clechy), the cross crosslet (and its variant, the cross botonny), the cross moline (and its variants, the crosses sarcelly, recercelly, anchory and miller), the cross formy (also called the cross paty), the cross patriarchal (and its variant, the cross of Lorraine), the cross potent (also called the cross billety), the cross couped, the tau cross (also called the cross of S. Anthony), the cross Calvary, the cross of Toulouse, the cross gringoly, and the cross pomelly (also called the cross bourdonny). A later form of cross not discussed in Brault's article is the Maltese cross.

All of these crosses are "standard period charges" which were "not standard period variants of one another" -- and, we suspect, would have been considered "visually distinct" by period heralds. We propose that substantial (X.2) difference be granted between any two crosses on the above list.

Other crosses might also get substantial difference, depending on circumstance: we note, for instance, that substantial difference was granted between the cross moline and the cross of three crossbars, missing the dexter base arm based on the number of limbs on each cross (May 01).

Commenters are asked to discuss two questions. First, the question of granting substantial difference between all of the above cross types. Secondly, the question of what standards should be set, if any, for determining substantial difference between crosses, including non-period cross types, in the future.

From Pelican: On Documenting Names from Searle, Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum

We regularly see names which are documented from Searle, Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum. The book was intended to be a collection of attested Old English names. However, in the 100 years since its publication, the standards of scholarship have changed, which means that the book is less reliable than more recent works and that it should be used with great care. Many submitters and heralds do not know the problematic aspects of this book, so we are outlining the major ones here.

First, all of the headwords that Searle uses have been standardized to a normalized Old English form. As he says on p. viii of the introduction, "The names, whether Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxon, or Kentish, have been arranged according to the West Saxon spelling as given in Sweet's Glossary to his Oldest English Text". Sometimes these normalized forms are identical with the documentary forms (that is, the forms as they are found in actual documents), but in general there is no way to tell whether this is the case from the entry alone. The only forms that can safely be assumed to be documentary are the secondary headwords.

Second, and connected to the first issue, Searle included many non-Old English names, including Continental Germanic and Old Norse names that were found in the English documents that he was using as sources, even when the bearer is known not to have been English. For instance, he lists the Continental Germanic masculine name Ebroin as an instance of its Old English cognate Eoforwine. However, the fact that Ebroin was used in the 7th C does not mean that its Old English cognate Eoforwine was also used at that time. In fact, in some cases the Old English cognate name is not attested at all.

Third, Searle gives many variant spellings of the individual themes, and these variant spellings should be used with care. Some of the variants that he lists are very rare, perhaps even scribal errors. Some of the variants he may have misidentified; for example, he lists bren- as a variant spelling of the theme beorn-, but none of the commenters were able to find any examples of a name using the theme beorn- where the theme was spelled bren- (Brinwen the Fair, LoAR 05/2008, East-A, q.v.). Furthermore, some variant spellings are the result of different orthographic practices in different dialects, which means that some particular prototheme variant may not be compatible with a particular deuterotheme variant even if both are individually unexceptionable. The variant spellings of themes that Searle gives may only be used if it is demonstrated that they were both used in names which are temporally and dialectically compatible.

Given these issues, Searle in general should not be relied upon as the sole source of documentation for an Old English name. Whenever possible, any entry in his book should be corroborated with information from another source, such as Tengvik, Old English Bynames; the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England; or Sean Miller's database of Anglo-Saxon charters.

Send What to Whom

Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera are to be posted to the OSCAR online system. No paper copies need be sent.

Submission packets (one copy of each name form plus documentation, including petitions; two colored copies of each armory form plus two copies of any associated documentation, including petitions) to the SCA College of Arms, PO Box 31755, Billings, MT 59107-1755.

Cheques or money orders for submissions, payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms" are to: Laurel Chancellor of Exchequer, 4N400 Church Rd, Bensenville, IL 60106-2928.

Send roster changes and corrections to Laurel. College of Arms members may also request a copy of the current roster from Laurel.

For a paper copy of a LoAR, please contact Laurel, at the address above. The cost for one LoAR is $3. 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, please contact Laurel.

Pray know that I remain,

In service,

Olwynn ni Chinnedigh
Laurel Principal Queen of Arms

Created at 2008-12-11T21:31:35