Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

1731A 10th St
Hampton, VA 23665

For the November 2008 meetings, printed January 28, 2009

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Olwyn 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 November Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Sunday November 9, 2008, the Drachenwald Kingdom University Roadshow on Saturday, November 8, 2008 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, November 8, 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), Gleann Abhann (22 Jul, 2008), Atlantia (23 Jul, 2008), Drachenwald (26 Jul, 2008), Artemisia (30 Jul, 2008), Atenveldt (30 Jul, 2008), An Tir (31 Jul, 2008), Ansteorra (31 Jul, 2008), Outlands (31 Jul, 2008), and the 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 on Saturday, December 6, 2008 and the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, December 26, 2008. These meetings considered 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 were made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held on Saturday, January 10, 2009. These meetings considered 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 have been entered into OSCAR by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

The February Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held on Saturday, February 7, 2009, the Meridies Heraldic Symposium Roadshow and the Noisemakers Roadshow held on Saturday, 14 February, 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: An Tir (29 Aug, 2008) (pushed from December due to lost packet), 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 on Saturday, March 7, 2009 and the Gulf Wars Roadshow (as yet unscheduled). These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Artemisia (30 Sep, 2008) (pushed from February due to late receipt of packet), West (06 Oct, 2008) (pushed from February due to late receipt of packet), Caid (31 Oct, 2008) (pushed from February due to late receipt of packet), Ansteorra (18 Nov, 2008), Drachenwald (20 Nov, 2008), Laurel LoPaD (20 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), [Trimaris (30 Nov, 2008)], and West (30 Nov, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Saturday, February 28, 2009.

The April Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held on Saturday, 4 April, 2009 and at the Outlands Heralds and Scribes Roadshow on Saturday, 25 April, 2009. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: [Ealdormere (23 Nov, 2008)] (pushed from March due to lack of packet), [Middle (30 Nov, 2008)] (pushed from March due to lack of packet), [Northshield (09 Nov, 2008)] (pushed from March due to lack of packet), Laurel LoPaD (11 Dec, 2008), [Ansteorra (17 Dec, 2008)], [East (22 Dec, 2008)], Calontir (24 Dec, 2008), [Atlantia (29 Dec, 2008)], [Atenveldt (30 Dec, 2008)], Lochac (30 Dec, 2008), Outlands (30 Dec, 2008), [Caid (31 Dec, 2008)], Laurel LoPaD (31 Dec, 2008), and Meridies (31 Dec, 2008). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Tuesday, March 31, 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: Cross-Kingdom Submission

A situation arose this month where a submitter from one kingdom was visiting another, and submitted a badge at an event in the visited kingdom. Our policy has been, for quite some time, that submissions must be made through heraldic officers of the kingdom of which the person is a subject, and we are forced by those rules to return the submission.

We want to encourage heraldry and heraldic submissions, not discourage them due to arbitrary rules. When submissions are received from other kingdom's subjects, the proper procedure is to contact the kingdom-of-residence and pass the submission to that kingdom.

Kingdoms, and their principal and submissions heralds, should make allowance for this practice, especially for students and military personnel. Returns based solely on the fact that the submissions were received through another kingdom, or that these submissions are on another kingdom's forms, are highly discouraged. Use of another kingdom's forms is acceptable. Please see the February 2008 Cover Letter ("From Laurel: Forms").

From Pelican: Changes to the Alternate Titles

This month we considered a number of proposed changes to the Russian titles on the Alternate Titles List. We'd like to thank Lady Sofya Rous for the time and effort she put in to researching these proposals. The result of her research was both interesting and informative to read. For those who are interested, Sofya has made her proposal available on the web at It was also the Calontir July 19, 2008 Letter of Intent.

Before we can discuss the changes which are being adopted and those which are not, we first need to make a distinction between three different, but related, things: titles, ranks, and forms of address. Rank is something that a person has, a title is something that he is called, and a form of address is something that is used to address him in speech. The differences are best understood with some examples. The SCA makes a distinction of rank between landed barons and court barons; however, in both cases, the title is baron and the form of address is 'your excellency'. In some cases, there is no difference between the rank and the title: a holder of an Award of Arms has both the rank of lord and title of lord, and is properly addressed as 'my lord'. In other cases, there is no difference between the title and the form of address: a person with the rank of knight uses sir both as a title and as a form of address. In still other cases, different ranks may use the same title; for example, holders of Awards of Arms and holders of Grant of Arms have different ranks, but both use the titles lord and lady. Similarly, the rank of heir of a kingdom is not the same as the rank of territorial prince, but the title prince is used in both cases.

The proposal by Lady Sofya contained the appropriate medieval Russian terms for various ranks, titles, and forms of address. Of ranks, titles, and forms of address, the Alternate Titles List only legislates titles. This means that some of Lady Sofya's proposals will not be adopted, because they do not involve titles, but rather ranks and terms of address.

In light of the information in Lady Sofya's proposal, we are adding the following titles to the alternate titles list:

These are intended to supplement Tsar, Tsarina, Tsarevich, Tsarevna, Pomestnik, and Pomestnitsa, not replace them.

The following title is removed from the list of Russian alternate titles:

Voevoda (Baroness) is replaced by Voevodsha (Baroness), the expected feminine form of Voevoda which appears in early 17th C records.

We are not adopting the following proposals, since Sofya's information indicates that each of these are words for ranks, and not titles.

We are not adopting the following proposals, since Sofya's information indicates that they are forms of address, and not titles.

We are not adopting the proposal that Masteritsa be added as an alternate for Mistress. While some sources translate Masteritsa as 'mistress', other sources translate it as 'seamstress; worker in a sewing or hatmaking shop'. The February 1997 Cover Letter, which contains the proposed changes to the Russian alternate titles prepared by Lady Predslava Vydrina, says:

There is no feminine form of the Russian word "master." The modern Russian word "masteritsa" means "skilled woman" (not "master craftswoman") and does not reflect any other aspect of the English word "master." In addition, it does not seem to have been used in period at all. I suggest the masculine form be used as an alternative for "Mistress" as well as for "Master."

Because this term could be used to describe someone who has a rank or status that corresponds to one lower than an SCA peerage, and because no new evidence was provided showing that Masteritsa was used in our period, we are reluctant to restrict its use to members of the peerages.

The last three proposals concern the use of Boiar/Boiarin/Boiarynia. Sofya's proposal says:

By far the most common term for members of the nobility in period Russian texts is boiare. Some have suggested that boiarin/boiarynia should be reserved for Lords and Ladies of all ranks. However, others have felt that the terms boiarin/boiarynia should be reserved for the higher ranks of SCA nobility, such as the Peerages and Baronetcies. Because of this disagreement [sic], the title of boiarin/boiarynia wsa omitted from the current alternate titles list.

Some period Russian hierarchies may help clarify this debate...It is clear that throughout period, the boyars are an upper level of society with various inferior ranks between them and commoners...The above lists also indicate that the titles of the inferior ranks are a little difficult to pin down. It may be helfpul [sic] to consider that the two Russian words for 'the nobility' are 'boiarstvo' and 'dvorianstvo'. [Katzner, Sreznevskij Vol 1 p 163]...In all situations where relative rank can be evaluated, dvorianin is clearly inferior to boiarin.

These issues illustrate the problems with trying to map a medieval rank structure, which changed over time, onto the SCA rank structure. There is not a clear one-to-one correspondence between the Russian ranks and the SCA ranks. While it is clear that the boiarin should rank above the dvorianin, it is not clear whether we should restrict the terms Boiar/Boiarynia to the peers and barons of the SCA. Because of the flexibility of the terms over time, we are reluctant to restrict their usage to the upper level of ranks in the SCA. At this time, we will not adopt the proposals to restrict Boiar/Boiarynia to peers and barons.

From Wreath: On Wreaths

In July, Jeanne Marie Wreath asked two questions of the College of Arms. We also asked these questions of the entire SCA membership. Both of these questions concerned the use of laurel wreaths in armory.

We would like to thank the large number of people that responded to these questions. Over 100 pages of commentary was generated solely on these issues.

The first question concerned whether or not the requirement for groups to include laurel wreaths in their armory should be retained. Commentary generally fell into one or more of the following categories:

While we sympathize with the difficulty of designing group armory, consensus was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping this requirement. The requirement that official SCA groups include a laurel wreath in their armory is, therefore, retained.

The second question concerned whether members of the Order of the Laurel should be allowed to include laurel wreaths as charges in their armory. This question was specifically forwarded to the Order's Society-wide discussion list as well as the announcements list. While several people were in favor of allowing this, we must also consider the forty years of SCA history. It is common practice for barons and baronesses to wear their baronial arms in many situations, and the thirty five year requirement for including laurel wreaths means that there are hundreds of people who are not Laurels who would be eligible to wear and display a symbol theoretically reserved for the Order. While confusion may be period practice, we are not willing to add to it, and so we rule that members of the Order of the Laurel may not use laurel wreaths as charges in their armory.

From Wreath: Unrestricting Chains and Pelicans

In the discussion of Laurel Wreaths for Laurels, many commenters and several Companions of the Order of the Laurel mentioned that restricting charges in the shield for the use of members of a particular order is not a period heraldic practice. This is correct.

It is not a common SCA practice, either. There are roughly 2000 members of the Order of Chivalry. Approximately 30 of them have registered a closed loop of chain in their armory. There are probably a like number of members of the Order of the Pelican. Exactly one of them has registered a pelican in its piety as part of his armory.

Period practice would have the charge indicating membership in the order depicted as part of the achievement around the shield, not as a charge on the shield. A chain, or a laurel wreath, would be placed around the outside of the shield, as is seen in achievements of members of the Order of the Garter throughout its whole history. This can be seen in the modern display, as well: depicts former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, processing in the Garter service at Windsor Castle; depicts the achievement of the sovereign of the UK. Note that the garter is around the shield, not part of it.

With this in mind, we ask what the populace and the members of the peerage orders would think of removing the restriction on closed loops of chain and pelicans in their piety? We note that the use of these items as regalia would still be reserved, and we are not minded to release the tinctureless registrations of the badges. The only difference is that any member of the SCA could use these charges in their arms.

We note that some kingdoms also register and record full achievements. The SCA College of Arms does not register or restrict achievements at this time: restrictions on achievements are left to the individual kingdoms. We would expect that those kingdoms would continue to restrict closed loops of chain and pelicans in their piety in achievements to the members of those Orders.

From Wreath: Charges for Laurels

SCA Corpora states that all of the peerages are and must remain equal. We note that this policy is intended to mean in rank, but we feel that keeping them equivalent in privilege is also important. Royal peers, Pelicans, and Chivalry all may register symbols of their rank in their armory. Since Laurels can not use laurel wreaths, there is nothing for Laurels to incorporate into their armory. If this situation is to be remedied by the addition of a reserved charge for Laurels, as opposed to removing restricted charges for individuals of the other peerages (as discussed above), we need to have something to represent the members of the Order in armory.

In the previous discussion, several people suggested a "laurel chaplet", the same as a wreath, but closed at the top. This suggestion shows a misunderstanding of the terms 'wreath' and 'chaplet'. The presence or absence of a gap at the top is not the difference.

In mundane blazon, a wreath is what we most commonly think of as a torse - Parker, in A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, says it is the "twisted band composed of two strips of gold or silver lace and silk by which the crest is joined to the helmet; though some wreaths of the fifteenth century were of four tinctures. It is sometimes, but improperly, called a roll, at others a torse." Chaplets are, by the same source, "a garland of leaves with four flowers amongst them, at equal is more usual to designate the material of which the chaplet is composed. It may be of roses (and this, perhaps, is the most frequent) or of flowers generally, or it may be of leaves, and often of laurel leaves."

In Society blazon, the twisted band of cloth is blazoned a torse, while wreath refers to a full circle or near-circle of foliage; chaplet is frequently a synonym for wreath, though we note early precedents (oft-disregarded), ruling that chaplet of roses refers to the garland with four roses in cross, as described by Parker.

We request suggestions as to what charge could be used to represent Laurels if charges continue to be reserved for the peerages. The limitations are that it must be a period charge, and it must be a charge that has never been registered in the SCA. While this second requirement may seem insurmountable, Baron Bruce Draconarius has been making a study of just this subject, and we have asked him to provide the fruits of his labors for these suggestions.

From Wreath: Early Emblazons

Current policy, re-stated many times, is that we register the emblazon, not the blazon. While it is possible to take this stance with modern submissions registered while this policy has been in force, early submissions did not have our current standards. In many cases, charges are not even completely drawn, or were drawn in ways which, today, would be returned for being unrecognizable. At that time, the blazon was considered more important. We must, therefore, give more latitude to these earlier emblazons when evaluating conflict. Commenters, when examining these older emblazons, should keep this in mind.

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 2009-01-28T21:56:52