Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

1731A 10th St
Hampton, VA 23665

For the September 2008 meetings, printed December 31, 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 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 due to late 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 due to late 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 at the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, December 27, 2008. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Caid (31 Jul, 2008) (pushed due to late 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: 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 meetings held on Saturday, Februar 7, 2009 and the Roadshow at the Meridies Heraldic Symposium on Saturday, February 14, 2009 and Wreath meeting held on Saturday, February 7, 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [An Tir (29 Aug, 2008)] (pushed due to lost packet), [Artemisia (30 Sep, 2008)] (pushed due to late payment), 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), 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: West (06 Oct, 2008) (pushed due to late packet), Caid (31 Oct, 2008) (pushed due to late packet), [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: Principal Heralds and OSCAR

This is a reminder that it is part of the job of the Principal Herald to keep the heraldic titles and permissions of their people in OSCAR up-to-date. Since the roster on OSCAR is based on these permissions and titles, it is important that they are kept current.

I thank all Principal Heralds for their prompt attention to this matter.

From Laurel: A Death in the Family

We were saddened to hear last week of the death of David of Moffat, Electrum Herald of An Tir. David was active in many heraldic circles, both in the Society and in the real world. In the Society, he was known to Laurel and staff both a member of the College of Arms and one of the people who helped proofread the LoARs before final publication. His knowledge and expertise will be missed. We would like to express our condolences to his family and friends.

From Laurel: Administrative Handbook Revisions

We have been fielding questions about the new Administrative Handbook revision that was originally to be published several months ago. Unfortunately, we missed the October meeting of the Board of Directors. The BoD will be reviewing the new version at their January meeting; we expect to publish the final version as soon as possible after we receive word of their approval.

From Pelican: Concerning the Name Brenna

For the last 10 years we have registered the name Brenna roughly once per year. Most recent submissions of the name cite precedent from the April 2000 LoAR which says that "Brenna is not Gaelic, but is justfiable [sic] as possibly Italian." However, more recent scholarship shows this justification is not well-grounded.

The Problem Names article "Concerning the Names Brianna, Branna, Brenna, and Brenda", written by Arval Benicoeur in 1997, says:

Brenna is a hypothetical feminine of Brennus, which is recorded in 3rd and 4th century Roman histories as the name of leaders of a Celtic and a Galatian tribe [4]. We have no idea what the original name might have been before the Roman historian latinized it; it might have been very different. In the context of late Romano-Celtic culture, which was heavily influenced by Latin, the feminine Brenna is plausible even though it is not recorded. The name is in use in modern Italian as Brenno and Brenna; we do not know if it survived through the Middle Ages or if it was revived sometime afterward [5].

Since the publication of this article in 1997, we have gained extensive resources for late-period Italian names, none of which contain any example of Brenno. While there is a strong pattern of feminizing masculine names in Italian (in the 1427 Catasto of Florence, 29% of the masculine names have a corresponding feminine form, and 48% of the feminine names are feminized forms of masculine names), lacking evidence that Brenno was either used in medieval Italian or that the leaders of the Celtic and Galatian tribes were known to medieval Italians, it is not plausible to justify Brenna as a feminine form of this name. We hereby rule that, barring new evidence to the contrary, Brenna is no longer registerable as an Italian feminine name. It may prove registerable in the context of 3rd or 4th C Celtic/Galatian, but only if evidence is provided that masculine names used this context were femininized in this way. We invite further research on this issue.

From Wreath: A Discussion on Sustained

Over the past year, there has been an ongoing discussion about the word sustained and what it indicates. Precedent was initially set by Bruce Draconarius on the July 1992 LoAR. Da'ud ibn Auda restated it more clearly on the September 1994 LoAR:

Regarding the "significance" of the halberd, as Green Crown noted, a charge consisting mostly of a long skinny handle will always have difficulty matching the visual weight of other charges, but here the sizes of the charges are about the same as would be expected if they were in fess a bear and a halberd. That seems to be a reasonable rule of thumb for determining sustained (and qualifying for a CD), as opposed to maintained (and not qualifying for a CD), charges.

A few years later, this precedent was expanded to say that 'sustained' means 'co-primary', for example, in the Cover Letter to the October 1996 LoAR:

Maintained charges are small and do not count for difference. Sustained charges are large - large enough in fact that if they were not being held that they would be considered a co-primary, and do count for difference.

Bruce, when asked about this, stated that making them co-primary was never his intention. Sustained charges were to be considered large enough to count for difference, but this was not supposed to automatically make them primary charges: secondary charges are also considered to count for difference.

Current practice has reached the point of reducto ad absurdum: extremely skinny charges, such as a spear, are being granted equivalent weight to a large creature such as a dragon segreant, merely because the long dimension of the two is equivalent. Were the same charges not touching, the spear would unmistakably be a secondary.

We find ourselves in agreement with Bruce: 'sustained' should not automatically equal co-primary. To that end, we would like commentary on the following proposed changes:

We intend to implement a modification to the way 'sustained' is used, so that it is possible to distinguish between co-primary sustained charges and secondary sustained charges. A model for distinguishing between the two is readily available from our method of blazoning co-primary groups versus primary and secondary groups. A lion's head between in fess two mullets is a primary between secondaries. In fess a lion's head between two mullets is three co-primary charges.

There is no reason we can not use the same mechanism for sustained charges. If an arrangement term comes before the charges, they are co-primary. If not, the charges before the arrangement term are the primary charge group. In bend a chair sustained by a lion has two co-primary charges. A lion sustaining a chair in dexter chief has the lion as the primary charge and the chair as the secondary charge.

Entwined charges present a similar problem, and have a similar solution. A snake and a rope entwined, where both charges are mentioned before the word 'entwined', will denote co-primary entwined charges. The pattern a snake entwining an arrow or a column entwined by ivy, with one charge listed on each side of the word 'entwined', will denote a primary charge and a secondary charge. In each case the first items - i.e. the snake and column - are the primary charges, and the arrow and ivy are secondary charges.

Transfixed pairs of charges (one shoved through the other) are usually of two forms. The first is a long narrow charge transfixing a fat charge (say, an arrow through an apple, drawn to proper heraldic proportions). In this case, the long narrow charge will be a secondary, the fat charge will be the primary. The other case is two narrow charges - these will be co-primaries.

This leaves us with the odd case of things like lion's heads jessant-de-lys. This is a fat charge transfixed by a fat charge. In this case, if the conjoined charges are not considered to be a single defined charge, they will be considered co-primaries. Other odd, though period issues, such as a lion seated in a chair (the attributed arms of Hector of Troy), will likely have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

One issue not addressed above is where to draw the dividing line between secondary and co-primary sustained charges. Commenters are asked to propose and discuss the criteria by which a held charge gets blazoned as a sustained secondary or a sustained co-primary, as well as the other proposals above. It is not our intention to address maintained charges at this time.

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". The electronic copy of the LoAR is available free of charge. To subscribe to the mailings of the electronic copy, please see the bottom of for more instructions.

For all administrative matters, please contact Laurel.

Pray know that I remain,

In service,

Olwynn ni Chinnedigh
Laurel Principal Queen of Arms

Created at 2008-12-31T00:22:03