Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

1702 Sea Ventures Ln
Hampton, VA 23665-2429

For the July 2010 meetings, printed October 6, 2010

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Olwyn Laurel, Istvan Wreath, and Juliana 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 July Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, July 3, 2010 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, July 11, 2010. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Northshield (26 Mar, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Ealdormere (31 Mar, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), West (31 Mar, 2010) (pushed due to lack of payment), Ęthelmearc (06 Apr, 2010), Ansteorra (12 Apr, 2010), Atenveldt (15 Apr, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (19 Apr, 2010), Calontir (20 Apr, 2010), An Tir (29 Apr, 2010), Atlantia (29 Apr, 2010), Caid (30 Apr, 2010), East (30 Apr, 2010), Gleann Abhann (30 Apr, 2010), Lochac (30 Apr, 2010), Meridies (30 Apr, 2010), and Outlands (30 Apr, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

The August Laurel decisions were made at the Wreath meeting held on Wednesday, August 4, 2010, the Pennsic road show held on Monday, August 9, 2010, and the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, August 21, 2010. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Ęthelmearc (01 May, 2010), An Tir (12 May, 2010), East (14 May, 2010), Northshield (16 May, 2010), Atenveldt (20 May, 2010), Ansteorra (26 May, 2010), Atlantia (28 May, 2010), West (30 May, 2010), Caid (31 May, 2010), Drachenwald (31 May, 2010), Gleann Abhann (31 May, 2010), Meridies (31 May, 2010), Middle (31 May, 2010), Outlands (31 May, 2010), Trimaris (31 May, 2010), and West (31 May, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Saturday, July 31, 2010.

The September Laurel decisions were made at the Wreath meeting held on Saturday, September 4, 2010 and the Pelican meeting held Saturday, September 25, 2010. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Laurel LoPaD (15 May, 2010), Ęthelmearc (31 May, 2010), Northshield (20 Jun, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (21 Jun, 2010), Gleann Abhann (23 Jun, 2010), Atenveldt (25 Jun, 2010), Artemisia (26 Jun, 2010), East (26 Jun, 2010), An Tir (27 Jun, 2010), Atlantia (28 Jun, 2010), Calontir (28 Jun, 2010), Ansteorra (29 Jun, 2010), Drachenwald (29 Jun, 2010), Outlands (29 Jun, 2010), and Meridies (30 Jun, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Tuesday, August 31, 2010.

The October Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in October 2010. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Ęthelmearc (09 Jul, 2010), Meridies (21 Jul, 2010), Gleann Abhann (22 Jul, 2010), East (26 Jul, 2010), Meridies (26 Jul, 2010), Ansteorra (27 Jul, 2010), An Tir (28 Jul, 2010), Atlantia (28 Jul, 2010), Trimaris (29 Jul, 2010), West (29 Jul, 2010), Atenveldt (30 Jul, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (30 Jul, 2010), Drachenwald (31 Jul, 2010), Middle (31 Jul, 2010), and Outlands (31 Jul, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Thursday, September 30, 2010.

The November Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held in November 2010. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Caid (29 Jun, 2010) (pushed due to lack of payment and packet), Caid (31 Jul, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Lochac (31 Jul, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Ansteorra (17 Aug, 2010), Gleann Abhann (17 Aug, 2010), Atenveldt (20 Aug, 2010), Lochac (29 Aug, 2010), Artemisia (30 Aug, 2010), Atlantia (30 Aug, 2010), An Tir (31 Aug, 2010), East (31 Aug, 2010), Meridies (31 Aug, 2010), Middle (31 Aug, 2010), West (31 Aug, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Sunday, October 31, 2010.

Not all letters of intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The date of posting 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: A Call For Applications

While we've enjoyed holding these positions, the time has come for us (well, at least some of us) to step down.

We are currently finalizing the wording and dates of the call for our successors with the Board of Directors, however, we would urge everyone to start thinking, now, about applying for the positions of Laurel, Wreath, and Pelican. The previous call for replacements can be seen at under the heading "From Laurel: Call for Applications". It is anticipated that the new call for applicants will be substantially the same.

The present Laurel and Wreath are stepping down. Juliana de Luna is currently planning to submit a letter to continue as Pelican, but others are encouraged to submit applications.

The intention of the Board and of ourselves is for our successors to know a few months in advance, for training and preparation, and for them to step up at KWHSS in Atlantia in June 2011. This would indicate a late winter deadline, so that the Board can choose the next Laurel at their spring meeting.

From Laurel: Bids for KWHSS 2012

For those considering bidding on the 2012 Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, the deadline to have your bid entered into OSCAR is March 31, 2011. This will give the College of Arms time for consideration so that we can announce the bid's award at this year's KWHSS in Atlantia, as is our preferred practice.

Please remember that bids posted to OSCAR are publicly readable. Because of this, all personal information, such as legal names, addresses, phone numbers, and email, should not be included in these bids without signed, written permission. Such information as is necessary should be posted as a comment after the bid is finalized, so that only the College of Arms can read it. Please send a courtesy copy of the full bid to Laurel at

As a reminder, there is a KWHSS domain and web hosting space available on the SCA's servers; you need not register your own.

Please see or contact Laurel if you have any questions.

From Wreath: Documented Exceptions, Armory Documentation, and Core Style (Oh my!)

This month two submissions were discussed which violated sections of the Rules for Submission, part VIII, Compatible Armorial Style; both requested consideration under RfS VIII.6. Documented Exceptions as Regional Style and provided documentation towards such consideration. Both submissions generated a significant amount of commentary, much of it focused on whether or not the documentation provided was sufficient to grant the Regional Style exception. As expectations regarding the standards for documentation for armory in general have varied (and at times been self-contradictory) and what little written policy that has existed has been vague, the time has come to clarify these standards further.

The number of examples required for the registration of documented exceptions under general and regional style has varied widely. One oft-quoted precedent from November 1993 cites "at least a dozen" examples for a general exception, but the addition of the regional style rules in 1995 left the required level of support unclear. The February 2001 registration of Gules, a bear passant sable was registered under the General Exceptions category, with "over eight unrelated examples of Gules a [complex charge] sable in several different geographical areas, plus other similar examples of black charges on red fields." In January 2009, four examples allowed the registration of a brown complex charge on a blue field as a German regional exception. The necessary number of examples needs to be clarified.

Over the last eighteen years, the Society and the College of Arms have expanded both their interests and the knowledge of period practices. While our heraldic rules allegedly have a goal of encouraging "core" heraldic style, a significant number of people in the Society have an interest in creating armory which is both period and does not neatly fit into that "core", 1400s English, style of heraldry, whether that period is a geographical location (Hungary, Germany, Iberia, Japan, etc.) or a distinct heraldic time period (English Tudor-era). If our goal is study and education regarding period heraldry, as Corpora enjoins us to do, we should not be putting burdensome restrictions on people who wish to register period armory, whether it is "core" style or other period heraldic styles. The College of Arms, while urging Laurel towards period armory, seems inclined towards onerous restrictions on documented exceptions. To register exceptions, they call for excessive examples, go out of their way to dismiss examples, try to require documentation beyond that which the RfS requires (such as documenting the exact combination of multiple style violations), or requiring each submitter to redo the entirety of the work that others have done to document specific common regional styles every time they are submitted. At the same time, single examples are often used as reasons why submissions should not be registered or should conflict with other items. These standards are inconsistent internally and with our ostensible goal of education in period heraldry and historical heraldic usage.

At this time, we are clarifying the standards for armory documentation and for regional style exceptions, whether arguing for or against a particular heraldic practice, to the following:

"Independent examples" means that multiple examples from a single heraldic line (i.e., examples from a single family) will be counted as a single example.

An 'exact' practice does not have to include the submitted charge in the exact same situation, but should have charges of the same complexity. "A single black primary charge with a complex outline on a red background" is the type of pattern we would call an exact match. These patterns should share the tincture and level of complexity of the design, as well as the type and outline of the charge. A submission that is an exact match for the early pattern would only be a similar match for the patterns "a red complex-outline primary charge on a black background"(the tinctures match, but are swapped) or "multiple black complex primary charges on a red background".

This does not change standards for documenting charges new to SCA heraldry: a single example of the charge used in a period heraldic jurisdiction remains sufficient.

From Wreath: Detailing and Identifiability

A submission this month, that of Adria Kerrick, from Ealdormere, used a sable fox with a very small argent tail tip on a field which is lozengy purpure and argent. Commeters were unanimous that the fox was identifiable, even though the white tail tip was nearly entirely on an argent lozenge. Precedent, which has been consistent for quite some time, says this is not allowed:

A fox proper has an argent tail tip, and thus cannot be depicted on an argent field, by precedent:

This device is returned for lack of contrast: the tail of a fox proper has a white tip, which is argent on argent. [Kynwric Gwent, 05-2008, R-Meridies]

This device must, therefore, be returned. [Ingunn Halldorsdottir, March 2009, R-Ęthelmearc]

This is one of those nit-picky details which gives heralds such a bad name. We decided to do some research, and it seems that period heralds were perfectly able to deal with no-contrast defining tinctures:

Harwick W. Arch. "Vigil Rabers Neustifter Wappenbuch", plate 27, has a lion head with an argent ear on an argent field. Plate 63 has Gules, a cock vert, beaked and footed Or, combed and wattled gules under the name Cristoff Gumpeler, which has the gules defining characteristics of a cock the same tincture as the field on which they lie. Plate 103 has the same armory, under the name Mayrhofen, except the cock is sable, and is shown with one leg raised. Siebmacher, plate 65, has a bird with an Or beak on an Or field and, plate 72, has a cock argent beaked and wattled gules on a gules field. There is also, plate 89, Or, a demi-lion rampant contourny sable crowned Or pierced through the head by a sword proper and plate 114, which has Argent, a ram passant contourny sable horned argent atop a trimount argent.

The precedent, therefore, is overturned. As long as the charge maintains its identifiability, minor details, even minor details which are identifying characteristics, may have no contrast with the underlying tinctures.

From Pelican: Some Name Resources (a series)

There is an enormous (and growing) number of resources online that can be useful to heralds and to submitters. Each month, I'm going to post information about some that I think might be useful. If I miss some interesting ones, let me know, because I don't know everything.

This month, I'm going to talk about the many uses of the Middle English Dictionary online ( The Middle English Dictionary is an online version of the print dictionary of the same name, published in 2001. Unlike the Oxford English Dictionary, it's free and doesn't require a subscription. It includes citations from 1066 until around 1500. That means that it can be used in place of the Oxford English Dictionary to document many common words.

The header forms are a little tricky to use, as they use Middle English spellings. Luckily, you can also search for spellings anywhere within the entry (including citations); to do this click on "Search the MED entries" rather than on "Lookups." The standard modern spelling of a word is normally used in the definition, so a search on the standard modern spelling will turn up the Middle English spelling (though it usually turns up lots of other hits too). Still, it's where I almost always find myself starting.

Many forms are directly dated with citations; turn on "with all open (or compact) display" to see the citations. However, all citations are definitely period, even if they're not clearly dated. The Middle English Dictionary often lists header forms that are not dated in individual citations; these spellings are also considered to date to the Middle English period.

One nifty feature of the Middle English Dictionary is that it includes byname and placename citations derived from words. Thus, it's sometimes very useful in looking at the forms (and spellings) for descriptive and locative bynames. We encourage people to use it for this and other purposes.

From Pelican: Counting Temporal Disparity and Steps from Period Practice

This month, a submission raised the issue of how we count temporal disparity when one or more name elements are dated to a period of time rather than to a precise date. The only fair way to do it is to judge in the favor of the submitter. Therefore, in general, when we can only date a name element to within a range of dates, we will treat the date of the element for the purposes of counting temporal compatibility in the manner which is most favorable to the submitter. In some cases, this will mean that elements that are probably very far apart can be registered together. But if we cannot be certain that the elements are more than 300 years apart, the submitter must be given the benefit of the doubt.

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 be sent to David Duggar, Attn: Laurel Chancellor of Exchequer, 1705 Holiday Pl, Bossier City, LA 71112-3706.

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 2010-10-06T22:27:07