PRECEDENTS OF THE S.C.A. COLLEGE OF ARMS

The Tenure of Baldwin of Erebor



Contents [A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [V] [W, X, Y, Z]

Collected submission returns by name (long; 446kB)




A

Aardvark ["N. Aardvarkkeeper."]
Although the word aardvark is out of period, the beast is not; we have registered several of them, and I cannot in good conscience permit the term to be used in blazons and not in names. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.13]


Alembic flask
The heraldic alembick, or limbeck, is a peculiar charge resembling a portcullis (Parker 372). Master Wilhelm instituted the term "alembic flask" to describe the common distilling apparatus. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.2] [The alembic flask may also be blazoned a "retort".]
The term retort turns out to be period: "1558 WARDE tr Alexis' Secr. (1556) 'A crooke necked violle ... which the french cal Retorte.' " [OED] This spares us the ambiguity of "alembic", and the tautology of "alembic flask." [BoE, 8 June 86, p.3]


Alternate persona ----- see persona, alternate


Appeal (see also documentation )
If you are writing an appeal, read the original ruling carefully and try to respond to each of the objections. Be concise -- the more superfluous material you drag in, the harder it is for someone else to follow your arguments. Be factual -- your purpose is to present new information or reasoning. Above all, be polite -- the objective is to get things right, not to win at any cost. [BoE, cvr ltr, 8 June 85, p.2]


Arrow
An arrow is said to be flighted or feathered of the tincture of its feathers. (Parker 22) [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.5]
Arrows are said to be flighted (or sometimes feathered) when the tincture of the fletching is described. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.2]
An elf-bolt is "a leaf-shaped flint arrowhead with a long tang", found in the arms of Styrbjorg Ulfethnar. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.6]


Art, period
While I do not object to using period art as a source for heraldic motifs, I feel this must [be] done with caution, and never as the deciding argument. This would legitimize trian aspect, wavy-crested, and a number of other pieces of heraldic baggage that can easily be done without. Greater weight needs to be given to the criterion presented in RFS IX.7: "In the view of the College, its use [should be] consistent with period heraldic style and practice." [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.2]


Augmentation
The form of the augmentation and its location on the arms must be specified. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.14]
An augmentation ought to be suggestive of the reason it was given. N., for example, bears the symbol of the University of Ithra, which he founded; and M., the arms of the Exchequer of the West, which office he held for ten years. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.14]

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B

Badges
Although the Rules for Submission do not prohibit the registration of a fieldless badge for an alternate persona, neither do they specifically allow it... After some reflection, I have concluded that this is inconsistent with established practice, and that it would not be desirable for us to permit it. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.11]
The option to retain one's old device as a badge is just that -- an option. If nothing is said on the forms or in the LoI, then we have to assume that the old device is to be released. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.10]
Fieldless badges may not have bordures, nor may they use charges (such as piles) which issue from the edge of the field. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.16]
Since a fieldless badge may legitimately be displayed on a divided field, the field contributes no difference. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.22]
Effective immediately, registration of tinctureless badges is restricted to the seals of Principal Heralds only. The seal of a Principal Herald must include the crossed straight trumpets of the College of Arms as a major design motif. [BoE, cvr ltr, 18 Jan 86, p.2]
There is no guarantee that a group may register its device, without the laurel wreath, as a badge. The submission is still subject to the usual checks for conflict. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.6]
No formal restriction is placed on the number of badges a branch may submit because it is assumed that branches may have good and constructive reasons for more than one badge. This is an abuse of the privilege. Please advise them to pick one. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.15]
["On a billet gules, a wolf Or."] It was the consensus of the College of Arms that this appears to be a display of the arms "Gules, a wolf rampant Or" (the MARQUIS DE ALBERTAS: Rietstap). This means, unfortunately, that the advice we've been giving on fieldless badges is wrong: we don't want someone to "use a billet instead of a pale." The discussion at the Laurel meeting yielded the guideline that the underlying charge should probably be a "thing", rather than a convex geometric shape. Using a complex line of division on the outside edge of the charge would probably help, too. The problem is one of perception: if the underlying charge looks too much like one of the standard shapes upon which arms are borne, then the badge is going to look like a miniature display of those arms. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.7]


Base
The base conjoined to the flaunches does not seem to be consistent with period heraldry. [BoE, LoAR, 28 Sept 84, p.13]
A ford proper is a base [wavy] barry wavy argent and azure (on a color field) or azure and argent (on a metal field). The term is a specialized one, intended primarily for canting; its tinctures are part of the definition, as with a fountain or a plate. While one could conceivably speak of a ford of two specified tinctures ... and be understood, I do not feel this use to be consistent with the purpose of the term. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.9]
My references seem to indicate that a point pointed is normally drawn with curved lines. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.6]


Bickern
A bickern is a specific type of anvil, having two horns. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.5]


Blazon (see also defaults)
[Per bend sinister, an X and a Y.] SCA convention places the two charges on opposite sides of the line of division. Unless there is something else in the blazon that is likely to make it ambiguous (such as an unusual arrangement of charges or a field semy), it is not necessary to say "in dexter chief" and "in sinister base". [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.1]
Papillon is another name (the French, in fact) for a butterfly. The definition is readily accessible, and we already have several on record. "Apt alliteration's artful aid." [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.8]
Even though a term may be found in a heraldry book, this does not necessarily make it acceptable for use in SCA heraldry. The term may be non-euphonious, ambiguous, obscure, of doubtful provenance, or non-medieval in origin, all of which are sufficient grounds for not permitting it. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.17]
I received an indirect query last month regarding the special names for gouttes (goutty de larmes, de poix, etc.) and roundels (plate, bezant, etc.). The use of these names is discretionary -- if you want to blazon a roundel argent as "a roundel argent", you may certainly do so. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]
I have decided to allow the term contourne (contourny) to be used in blazons, to indicate that an animate charge has been turned to face the sinister. I find it more euphonious than to sinister and there are some cases where it is less ambiguous. ... The expressions to sinister and facing sinister may still be used if you prefer. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]
I have ... decided, somewhat reluctantly, not to reintroduce the prefix counter - to indicate that a single animate charge is turned to the sinister. We are currently using the term in its conventional sense when applied to two charges (i.e., two lions counter-passant are moving in opposite directions, not both moving to the sinister). I'm afraid there's too much chance that people will find the two slightly different definitions -- one when applied to a single charge, and one when applied to multiple charges -- confusing. In the name of simplicity, I'm going to stick to a single, non-ambiguous usage. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]
It is not necessary to blazon the chevron as enhanced. What is drawn here is perfectly correct for a coat consisting of a chevron and a charge in base. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.3]
This doesn't mean that one blazon can't be preferable to another. A readily-accessible term is better than an obscure one; a euphonious blazon is nicer than one that stumbles along; we ought to favor the short and simple over the long and complex, the traditional form over the neologism, the generic blazon instead of the bloodcurdling precise one. These preferences don't always work in concert, and we often have to trade off one thing for another. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.5]
Society blazon does not use the term transposed for a pile issuant from base. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.7] [Such a case would be blazoned a "pile inverted".]
The pattern "a chevron between three charges" (two in chief and one in base) is so common that, unless there is something else in the blazon that would render it ambiguous, there's no need to specify "in chief" and "in base." [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.12]
It is also unnecessary to repeat the tincture of the charges. Tinctures factor backward through the equation blazon, so the "Or" following the stag is understood to apply to the axes as well. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.12]
It is our recommendation that, in the future, no winged beast be blazoned as "volant." "Passant, wings elevated and addorsed" (or whatever) -- with a stricture to the designers to place their beasts in suitably heraldic positions to begin with -- would avoid such ambiguities in future coats. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.17]
Far too many ad hoc terms have been used in blazoning birds: the position is often unfathomable if you're not possessed of an emblazon. (Fox-Davies makes a similar observation about mundane armory in the Complete Guide.) It would therefore behoove us to use the existing heraldic expression ... rather than another bit of ill-defined SCA shorthand. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.3]


Book
To the best of our knowledge, "open books" are always opened flat, not partially open. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.8]


Bordure rule (see also difference)
["Per pall azure, Or, and argent, a bordure sable."] This is technically only one point of difference (for field) from BASING, "Ermine, a bordure sable." (Papworth 342) If we disregard the bordure, however, the two fields differ in three of the categories ... laid down for field-only submissions in Rule XII.10. The bordure is both unmodified and uncharged, so it is not unreasonable to extend the bordure rule (XII.5) to apply to this case. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.14] [By this extension, for two submissions consisting only of field + bordure, the bordures could be ignored and the fields alone compared.]
I am extending the bordure rule [XII.5] to apply to all uncharged bordures, not just ones with a straight line of partition. (Note that this rule is still invoked "on a case-by-case basis.") [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.7] [By this extension, Complete Difference of Charge could be applied to the charges within a bordure, whether the bordure were plain or complex.]


Bow
The standard heraldic bow is a longbow; it is not recurved, and it is normally depicted as bent and strung. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.7]


Bread
The conventional heraldic representation of bread is as a round cake, or manchet, usually born on a baker's peel (Parker 450). [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.15]
A couple of the commenters asked if bread was even baked in a pan in period. I don't know about rectangular pans, but my lady wife found a reference to circular bread moulds used in both Rome and Pompeii in pre-medieval times. (Alexis Soyer, The Pantropheon, p. 38 and Pl. 7). [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.15]


Bridge
The charges are not recognizable as bridges. At the very least, they should be masoned, this apparently being the convention for charges (walls, arches, etc.) made of stone. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.25]


Bryn
Bryn is the Welsh word for 'mountain' or 'hill'; it was not used as a given name until recent times. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]


Butterfly
Papillon is another name (the French, in fact) for a butterfly. The definition is readily accessible, and we already have several on record. "Apt alliteration's artful aid." [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.8]\

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C

Cadency
I returned the original arms of the Crown Prince (Calontir differenced by a label) with a certain amount of regret. If there were to be any exception to the rule that a laurel wreath may be used only in the arms of an SCA branch, this would be it. ... I do not, however, consider it inappropriate for a Crown Prince to bear the arms of the King differenced by a label. This seems to me a valid form of display of the royal arms, and it appears to be consistent with our existing policies. ("The heir of an armiger may bear the armiger's arms with a label or other such mark of cadency ... These cadenced versions of the arms need not be registered to be borne." Rules XIV.D) [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.4]
The language in the discussion of Rule XII.12 implies that it is intended to apply primarily to marks of cadency for the first generation in their simplest form. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.21] [This discussion led eventually to the following ruling.]
I am interpreting Rule XII.12 to mean the standard English brisures (label, crescent, mullet, martlet, annulet, fleur-de-lis, rose, cross moline, octofoil), plain (uncharged and unmodified) chiefs, and plain bordures. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.4] [By this ruling, any charge not on this list -- e.g. a bordure wavy -- was not considered cadency, and could contribute difference from mundane armory.]
In SCA heraldry, a woman may bear a label as a mark of cadency. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.6]


Caer Dathyl
Caer Dathyl, the home of the godlike wizard Math in the Welsh Mabinogi, is not the sort of place from which ordinary mortals would be expected to hail. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.1]


Cauldron
The name Ceridwen should not be used in conjunction with a cauldron or kettle -- the cauldron of Ceridwen was the fount of poetry and knowledge. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.16]


Chain
A loop of chain in any tincture is reserved to knights in the SCA. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.15]\


Chamomile
The chamomile flower is heraldically indistinguishable from a daisy. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.5]


Chapé
The compliment of chaussé is chapé, which means 'coped' (i.e. covered with a cape). A field "Or, chape azure" has two line issuing from the corners of the base and meeting in the middle of the chief; the center part is gold, and the part covering the "shoulders" is blue. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
I consider the difference between "chapé" and "a pile inverted" or "per chevron throughout" to be blazonable, but worth little or nothing in terms of difference. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.6]


Chaplet ----- see wreaths


Characters (letters, numbers, kanji, etc.)
The consensus of the College of Arms was that a single letter of the alphabet may not be registered as a personal badge. To quote Batonvert, "We cannot protect single letters, since anyone has the right to use his or her initials without regard to conflict. Since we cannot protect them, we should not register them." [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.5]
It is my judgement ... that punctuation marks are even less heraldic than letters of the alphabet, and so are not suitable for use in SCA heraldry. I will treat this submission as an exception, for the reasons stated, but will not allow this badge to be cited as precedent in the future. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.6] [The case was a resubmission of a badge using a question mark as a charge; the previous return concerned only the periodness of the mark, and made no objection to its use in armory.]
If she wishes to mark her possessions with the Roman numeral two, she may, but we really can't grant her exclusive use of the symbol. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.17]
I also do not feel we can grant exclusive use of a kanji to someone. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.19]


Charges, conforming to shape of field
N.'s stated intention is that the charge be "cut off parallel to the edge of whatever field it is placed on." ... There appears to be no way to specify that the edge of a charge conforms to the outline of the field (short of saying "couped so as to follow the edge of the field", which is likely to cause heart failure among the heralds). [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.18] [The case involved a fieldless badge, which has no field edge to which the charge could be "cut off parallel".]


Charges, invented
Although it is certainly possible to construct abstract shapes by combining various ordinaries, as has been done here, the blazon is usually confusing and the overall effect non-heraldic. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.17] [The submission was returned.]
[A demi-wolf conjoined to the sinister half of a lymphad.] While it is obvious that the [charge] was composed in imitation of [the lion-ship of the Cinque Ports], it is nonetheless not the lion-ship of the Cinque Ports. If we claim infringement, we are in effect reserving a whole class of charges, if not an entire heraldic concept. While the creation of charges by dimidiation is not something which we should in general be encouraging, a significant number of the heralds who commented on this submission thought it reasonable. In this case, at least, I am willing to grant an exception. What N. has done, after all, is to create a new charge in the pattern of mundane armory, and that is something worth encouraging. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.9]
The device is not particularly heraldic. It appears to have been created by drawing a geometric pattern, and then attempting to decompose this into known heraldic shapes. Designs of this sort have been returned in the past. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.8]
The College of Arms has created a number of ad hoc charges in the past (e.g., the Donnelly Knot and the Cross of Coldharbour), but this practice has for the most part been abandoned. Creating non-descriptive names for new charges only serves to confuse future generations of heralds and scribes. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.14]


Charges, variants
The use of three different types of the same charge (a sword) ... is visually confusing, and contrary to the spirit of heraldry. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.15]


Chasing ----- see thin-line heraldry


Chaussé
Chaussé is the reason we have to draw our piles carefully. It's a Continental term for a treatment of the field formed by drawing two lines from the corners of the chief and uniting them in base. The blazon describes the outlying parts of the field -- a field "vert, chaussé argent" has a green center and white sides. (Chaussé means 'shod'; the white parts are the field's "shoes".) [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]


Checky
A charge checky, compony, or counter-compony should not be placed on a field which is the same tincture as part of the charge. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.19]
The Kingdom of An Tir is hereby granted blanket permission to use the field "Checky Or and argent" in its official submissions. This is a specific exception to the rule (IX.4) prohibiting checky of two metals. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.2]
The question sometimes arises of whether it is legitimate to have a charge checky or counter-compony that includes one of the tinctures of the field. Our feeling is that this is generally acceptable for a bordure, provided there is more than one row in the treatment, but not for a charge that actually crosses the field (such as a chevron). [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.5]
I may as well note that there was an omission in my original ruling [of 14 July 85, above]. I had intended at the time to note that "on the field" meant "impinging on or crossing", as opposed to "bordering". In all the cases I can recall, a bordure consisting of at least two rows of checks has had sufficient visual contrast against the field with which it has shared a color. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.22] [This was loosened somewhat in the Aug 86 edition of the Rules for Submission: checky charges may now cross the field "in simple cases".]


Chess Pieces
The comments I received on this submission seemed for the most part to support my initial judgment that a chess king is an integral unit (as long as it is all of one tincture), and that the crown thereon is not a symbol of rank. I will therefore complete the set (so to speak) by defining the SCA chess king as that which you will find in the accompanying drawing -- and I will leave the question of its permanence to the test of time. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.3]
Most of the medieval chess pawns shown in Donald Liddell's Chessman are of the form shown in the margin; this seems the shape most suitable for use in SCA heraldry. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.19]
[Chess knight.] The double-headed form is the default. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.9]
[Single-headed chess knights, while permitted, must be blazoned as such.]
It should be noted that a keyhole and a chess-pawn are similar enough in shape to conflict. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.3]


Chevron
Per chevron intersects the sides of the field, even if the line of partition is enhanced (raised) or abased (lowered). The angle is fairly shallow. Per chevron throughout raises the point of the division until it touches the chief, but it doesn't affect the sides. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
A chevron enhanced does not intersect the chief. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.16]
[Chevron disjoint.] There are various forms of broken chevrons; the blazon and emblazon for this example are from page 109 of Parker. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.7]
It is not necessary to blazon the chevron as enhanced. What is drawn here is perfectly correct for a coat consisting of a chevron and a charge in base. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.3]
This is a normal position for a chevron when the only other charge is in base. It is not necessary to blazon it as enhanced. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.1]
I consider the difference between "chapé" and "a pile inverted" or "per chevron throughout" to be blazonable, but worth little or nothing in terms of difference. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.6]
The chevron [inverted] should not intersect the corners of the chief. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.6]


Chief
A chief triangular is formed by two lines issuing from the corners of the chief and meeting in the honor point. It's like the top third of a per-pall division. The term is an anglicization of chef-triangulaire. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
The lines of a chief triangular should intersect the corners of the escutcheon. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.9]


Cithara
A cithara, or kithara, is a plucked string instrument related to the lyre. It consists of a relatively square wooden box that extends at one end into a pair of heavy arms. The strings (5, 7, or 11 of them) are stretched from the sound box across a bridge and up to a crossbar fastened to the arms. (NCE 1485-1486) [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.8]


Comet
Please note that an heraldic comet has a definite tail (known as its "beard"). [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.12] [The word "comet" comes from the Greek for "hairy"; this is why its tail is blazoned as its "beard".]
This is not an heraldic comet; it is Halley's Comet as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. I generally prefer that charges be represented in their traditional heraldic forms; but no comment was made on the previous submission, and this representation (or one very close to it) has been allowed previously for the Debatable Lands. Under the circumstances, it would seem to be acceptable. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.12]
In light of both the prior registration of the Bayeux Tapestry representation of Halley's comet to the Barony-March of the Debatable Lands, and the considerable number of period depictions of comets presented by Crescent, I am withdrawing my objection to comets not represented exactly as shown in Parker. For purposes of SCA armory, a comet may generally be defined as "a star with a beard" -- a mullet or estoile, trailing plumes of vapor or fire. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.3]


Commentary (see also documentation)
Heralds should be responsible for the advice they give. This means trying to find all the problems with a submission, not just stopping after sufficient grounds have been found to return it. It also means giving the applicant the benefit of the doubt if his resubmission contains a problem that was not pointed out the first time, particularly if he has attempted to meet all the objections that were mentioned. [BoE, letter on Laurel procedures, 17 Apr 85, p.4]
A good letter of comment contributes information that may be useful in making a decision. I think it is better to write a short letter, commenting on areas in which you have specific knowledge, or which have not yet been addressed, than to try to comment on everything, particularly if you are repeating things that have already been said. It also helps to be concise. Wordy comments tend to get skimmed, rather than read, which means the reader may miss the point you are trying to make. (On the other hand, terse comments may be so cryptic as to baffle the reader.) [BoE, letter on Laurel procedures, 17 Apr 85, p.4]
The word scholarship has enjoyed a considerable vogue in the College of Arms in the last several years. Unfortunately, its usage has not always been consistent with its meaning. If I may be permitted to venture a definition of my own: Scholarship is characterized by careful research and a scrupulous crediting of one's sources. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.4]
Before you use an unfamiliar term in a blazon, before you correct the grammar in someone else's name, before you assert that something is Not Period Style, you look it up. Assume from the beginning that your memory is faulty, that your teachers were basing their lessons on outdated material, and that although you love the people on your staff dearly, you're damned if you're going to stake your reputation on their unsubstantiated opinions. Look it up. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.4]
The next step is to write down where you found it. You must record enough information to enable you to go back and find the item again. ... This makes it possible for someone else (for instance, Laurel) to verify your statement. If some future herald ever needs to find out why a decision was made, he can reconstruct it from your sources; if you've done your job well, he should arrive at the same conclusion you did. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.4]
Good documentation (in the correspondence, not just on the submission forms) is the key to consistency in our rulings. Without these two elements -- the insistence on looking things up, and the equally important requirement of noting where we found them -- the knowledge we are exchanging is better classified as lore or tradition, not scholarship. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.4]
In order to make more efficient use of time and space, I have to resort to a certain amount of shorthand in writing the LoARs, picking and choosing what I will repeat, or what I will spell out to the Nth degree. ... Because I was addressing a commenting member of the College of Arms, rather than "one of the lieges", I did not proceed to qualify my [advice on a previous submission] further. "Please bear in mind that this advice applies only to the discussion at hand. You and your kingdom herald are, as always, responsible for ensuring that any changes you make do not subject you to other possible conflicts." [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.18]
When I offer advice in matters of conflict, it is usually to pass on a suggestion made in one of the letters of comment, generally qualified with a phrase like "you might try" or "barring other conflicts". (I cannot, for example, guarantee that an SCA submission won't be registered in the interim upon which the suggested coat might infringe.) Alternatively, I may indicate how I would choose to interpret the rules of difference in a certain case. This kind of advice I do consider binding. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.18]


Compass Rose
The specific form of an SCA compass rose was defined in July 1981, in the arms of ALEXANDRE SUR LA MER. While a certain amount of variation is possible, the basic shape -- a multi-pointed star inscribed within an annulet, with the addition of a North mark -- should be preserved. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.5]


Complexity
This is too complex for a device. There are five types of charges [-- six charges total --] and five tinctures. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.16]
This has six different charges and five tinctures, which is far too complex, especially for the arms of an SCA branch. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.11]
Starting with letters of intent dated on or after December 1, 1985, I propose to return any submission consisting of a field divided per pall or per pall inverted, and containing non-identical charges in each of the three sections, as being too complex. This particular combination has previously been disallowed for badges (5 Jan 85, p.21); the change would be to extend the proscription to apply to devices as well. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p.2]
I would also like to suggest ... that the use of three or more non-identical charges in what would conventionally be considered a "group" may also cause a submission to be returned as too complex. This would allow, say, "Vert, a chevron argent between two suns and a rose Or," but would disallow "Or, a sun, a rose, and an ankh all purpure." [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p.2]
This is much too complex. We count a total of nine charges of five different types (and four tinctures), in an unusual and complicated arrangement. Please redesign. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.13]


Compony ----- see checky


Conflict (see also difference)
We have held in previous cases (v. Leonora Simonetta d'Este) that the addition of a second byname to a recognizable given-name-plus-byname is not necessarily sufficient. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.4]
Geographical proximity really isn't relevant [in determining conflict]. Modern technology makes it possible for a single kingdom to administer lands on two separate continents, and the great freedom of movement of our members means that two people who lived 12000 kilometers apart yesterday may be neighbors tomorrow. Many of our contacts are impersonal (through newsletters and such), and this lack of personal knowledge increases the chance of confusion. [BoE, 11 Aug 85, p.4]
The [visual] test works one way only, to recognize conflict; not to establish difference. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.17]
France Ancient is an exceptional case. Our restriction of "Azure, semy-de-lys Or" should not be used as a basis for a general ban on other combinations (Brittany, Cornwall, etc.). The underlying principle may be the same, but I think the degree of recognizability is different, and it is this, not the principle itself, that justifies the ban on France Ancient. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.17]
A game is as reasonable a source of conflict as a comic book, a fantasy novel, or a movie or television show. If a significant portion of the membership of the SCA is likely to have experience of it, then the potential for perceived conflict still exists. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.9]
N. cited a potential conflict from Rietstap for which one of the tinctures was missing. The usual practice in such cases is to grit one's teeth and give the submitter the benefit of the doubt. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.8] [The submission was approved.]
The College operates on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on when something was registered, not when it was first submitted. Other rules may be bent in hardship cases, but conflict between two SCA submissions is not one of them -- once something is registered, it is entitled to our full protection, no matter what the circumstances. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.7]


Contourny
I have decided to allow the term contourné (contourny) to be used in blazons, to indicate that an animate charge has been turned to face the sinister. I find it more euphonious than to sinister and there are some cases where it is less ambiguous. ... The expressions to sinister and facing sinister may still be used if you prefer. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]


Contrast
A chief ermine on a field Or is considered a violation of the rule of tincture in SCA heraldry. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.18]
There are unquestionably cases where the visual standard [of contrast] should be allowed to override the technical standard (either way); but if you make the visual test your standard, you lose your "tie-breaker" -- the tool that makes it possible for you to make difficult decisions consistently. You also place yourself at the mercy of the emblazon, which may vary, and which may not even be heraldically "correct". [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.4]
The green mount on the blue field violates the rule of tincture as it is practiced in SCA armory. ... There are, as I recall, instances from both Ioseph's and Wilhelm's tenures of green mounts on colored fields. I am specifically considering these to have been superseded as precedents by subsequent rulings. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.8-9]
SCA heraldry is more concerned with contrast than much of mundane armory. We do not permit bordures or chiefs to break tincture, nor do we consider the ermine furs to be neutral. We restrict cases where one may use "proper." We frown on fields parted of more than two colors (and some object to even two). ... For us to allow vert on azure -- a combination we consider to be "low-contrast" in comparison to others -- would be inconsistent with established principle. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.9]


Coronet ------ see crown


Corwin
Master Wilhelm ruled in October 1982, and again in May 1983 that the name Corwin may not be used in conjunction with a white rose (of any kind). After reading over the comments on this submission ... I am extending the ban to include roses in any tincture. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.15]


Cotises
It seems reasonable to assume that the cotises will follow the ordinary they surround. If not, the ordinary can easily be blazoned as cotised plain. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.12]


Counter-
I have ... decided, somewhat reluctantly, not to reintroduce the prefix counter - to indicate that a single animate charge is turned to the sinister. We are currently using the term in its conventional sense when applied to two charges (i.e., two lions counter-passant are moving in opposite directions, not both moving to the sinister). I'm afraid there's too much chance that people will find the two slightly different definitions -- one when applied to a single charge, and one when applied to multiple charges -- confusing. In the name of simplicity, I'm going to stick to a single, non-ambiguous usage. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]


Counterchanged
The College of Arms felt that counterchanging a skinny object along its long axis was poor style and had insufficient contrast. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.21]
[Comparing "Per fess argent and azure, three charges counterchanged" vs. "Per fess azure and argent, three charges counterchanged".] I have been allowing only a minor point of difference for reversing the colors of a divided field. (The earliest example I could find was BJORN RHYS: 28 Sept 84, pp. 16-17.) I believe Vesper is correct in saying that this is not explicitly stated in the Rules, although it follows by analogy from XIII.B.1.b-d, and in light of the restriction implicit in XIII.A.1.c. ... I consider the interchange of tinctures to be less memorable, visually, than the more conventional forms of counterchange. ... I would be willing to allow a strong minor point, but not a major. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p. 18-20]


Coward
The unicorn was submitted as coward. This is apparently a standard way of depicting a beast couchant, and so does not need to be blazoned. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.1]


Crescent
[A unicorn passant and in base a crescent.] The charge in base is not an heraldic crescent, and the arrangement of the overall charges is such as to suggest a "rocking-unicorn." I do not know if rocking-horses are period. If they are, then it seems to me that a rocking-unicorn would make an acceptable charge; but it should be submitted as such, not constructed of heraldic odds and ends. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.12]


Cross
Whether or not the cross portate is period, it clearly does not take well to having charges placed around it. This device is badly unbalanced. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.17]
The cross of Cerdá (from the arms of Rodrigo de Cerdá) is an SCA invention, looking rather like a square with a notch cut out of each side and standing on one corner. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.11]
A cross botonny is only an artistic variation of a cross crosslet. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.19]
The authorities seem to agree (as do the examples pulled from the files) that the bottom crossbar on a "Russian" or "Russian orthodox" cross is bendwise sinister, not bendwise. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.8]
[Starcross.] Out of curiosity, I just pulled the file of ALAIN DU ROCHER (the defining instance of the SCA starcross), and found that the description quoted in Precedents I is misleading. The charge in question looks somewhat like a "Railroad Crossing" sign. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.12]
A cross-millrind or cross miller is "a severer form, and perhaps one more akin to the original notion of the fer-de-moline" of a cross moline. (Parker 168) There are no points of difference between the two, but I see no harm in blazoning the artistic variation. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.1]
[Crosses of Canterbury.] These could also have been blazoned as crosses "patty potent globical quadrate", and I very nearly did so; but at the last minute, the poet in me rebelled. Spring is in the air, and the fit is upon me -- let me name but one Cross before I die! [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.4]
A number of the commenting heralds characterized the cross [moline] disjoined as "thin-line heraldry", which is either discouraged or disallowed (depending on the degree) in SCA armory. The practice is, however, period; Parker notes instances of this cross (often referred to as a cross recercelé or sarcelly) and its relatives in medieval rolls of arms. ... However, the cross needs to be used prominently, not as a single charge in base. [BoE, 6 April 86, p.10]
Virgule commented at length on the "distinction" (such as it is) between a cross patriarchal and a cross of Lorraine. The two differ only by the position of the second and longer traverse, which is nearer the foot on the cross of Lorraine; Baron Alfgar's quotes indicate that the two are often confused. I can see recognizing the distinction in blazon, but allowing no heraldic difference. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.6]
I have decided to abandon use of the term cross paty in favor of the less ambiguous cross formy. Modern writers (Woodward, Franklyn and Tanner, Brooke-Little, Fox-Davies) treat the two terms as synonymous; but if we delve further into their definitions, particularly from an historical perspective, we find that paty defines an entire family of crosses, not just a specific variety. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.1]
Cross Paty -- any cross with splayed limbs. The term describes a class of crosses, not a single cross, and so should not be used in blazon. For the general case, Cross Formy should be used instead. [BoE, Cvr ltr 25 Aug 86, p.2]
Cross Formy -- a cross with splayed limbs and straight ends. The sides of the limbs are usually curved, or concave, but they may be straight. They may also come together in a point in the center of the cross. These are artistic issues, and should not be blazoned. The splaying should be pronounced, as this is the chief characteristic of the cross. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.2]
Cross Patonce -- "a cross consisting of four limbs concave on each side, and at the ends convex and notched twice, thus having the appearance of a very shallow fleur-de-lis." (Franklyn & Tanner, p. 254) [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p. 2]
Maltese Cross -- a cross with splayed limbs, straight sides, and a notch (usually pronounced) in each end. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.2]


Crown, coronet
At the present time, there are SCA-wide ducal and comital coronets, but there is no "standard" viscomital coronet, either as a physical entity or as an heraldic convention. ... It is clearly too late to establish a standard physical coronet for viscounts and viscountesses. Only tradition can establish such a standard, and each principality has evolved its own traditions. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.3]
The only restriction placed on royal peers (and the rules do not state this explicitly) is that you can't have a coronet of strawberry leaves in your arms unless you're a duke or duchess, and you can't have an embattled coronet unless you're an earl or countess. Other than that, a royal peer may have any kind of crown (yes, I said crown) he or she wishes [in their arms]. That is what the rules say, and, according to the Ordinary, that is precisely what people have been doing. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.4]
At the present time, crowns and coronets are restricted to kingdoms, principalities, and royal peers. The question is: should barons (court or territorial) also be permitted to bear a crown or coronet in their arms? ... A crown is a symbol of sovereignty, which is why it occurs in the arms of a kingdom or principality. The crown in the arms of a royal peer is an allusion to this symbol. Baronies are not permitted to have crowns in their arms (they are not considered sovereign), so it would be inappropriate for a territorial baron to do so. ... Unlike a royal peer, a territorial baron does not retain his rank indefinitely. The right to bear an armorial crown is thus revocable, while the arms containing them are not. A court baron retains his rank, but this rank is even less associated with a position of sovereignty than is that of a territorial baron, so by the above analogy, it would also be inappropriate for a court baron to bear a crown. ... The weight of opinion in the College of Arms is against allowing barons to bear coronets in their arms. I concur. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.4]
There is no SCA-standard viscomital coronet, in actual usage or in armory. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.12]
The crown is not an appropriate charge for use in a herald's seal. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.11]
The crown is a reserved charge, required of the arms of a kingdom and permitted as a mark of honor in the arms of a royal peer. Inverting the crown demeans it, which is inappropriate, and may be considered offensive, especially by other royal peers. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.13]


Cult
The designation "Cult of N." is not appropriate for registration with the College of Arms. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.19] [N. was the submitter's SCA given name.]

Return to Index


D

Dance, Dancetty (see also indented)
Dance is an old name for a fess dancetty. The term is somewhat obscure, but no less so than the medieval definition of dancetty, which the College of Arms has adopted; and its use may help reinforce the latter definition. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.11]
In medieval heraldry, dancetty was a treatment of a two-sided ordinary which caused it to zig-zag or "dance" across the field. This definition has been adopted by the SCA College of Arms. The chief, being single-sided, is said to be indented. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.3]
Dancetty is a treatment of a two-sided ordinary. The peaks and valleys parallel each other, causing the whole ordinary to zig-zag or "dance" across the field. A fess dancetty may also be blazoned as a dance. [BoE, cvr ltr, 28 Aug 85, p. 3]
Dance is another name for a fess dancetty, and medieval to boot. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.2]


Deer
The name Attila may not be used in conjunction with a white stag, in the name or the device. The mythological connection between Attila the Hun and the Great White Stag is too strong. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.15]
The heraldic reindeer is distinguished from the stag "by double attires, one pair erect, the other pendent." (Parker 196) [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.3]


Defaults
When there is some question as to the default orientation of a charge, I prefer to spell it out. There have been far too many instances in the past of defaults proclaimed on the basis of a single submission. Such defaults are seldom remembered and ofttimes contradicted by later spur-of-the-moment definitions, with the result that no one can figure out what a device looks like without seeing the original emblazon. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.12]
The default position for a boat oar is with the blade (the "business end") in chief. This appears to be true of both SCA and mundane heraldry. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.6]
["Gorgon's head cabossed".] Cabossed is a perfectly reasonable default for a Gorgon's head -- it is the obvious and most recognizable aspect -- but given the proliferation of ad hoc defaults in SCA heraldry, it is probably better to err on the side of explicitness. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.7]
The default position of a helm appears to be in profile. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.11]
The default arrangement for six charges is three, two and one. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.8]
When the default orientation isn't obvious or well-established (as in the case, for example, with arrows fesswise) I prefer to be specific. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.10]
[Horseshoes.] I am ... adopting the mundane default (with the opening to base, so the luck runs out) as SCA practice, and have reblazoned N.'s old device to be consistent with this convention. [BoE, cvr ltr, 9 July 85, p.2] [This specifically supersedes a ruling of 28 Dec 82; see Precedents III.]
[Chess knights.] The double-headed form is the default. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.9] [Single-headed chess knights, while permitted, must be blazoned as such.]
[Pitchers.] "The handle (fr. corniere) should be sinister, and the lip dexter." (Parker 244, s.v. ewer) [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.11]
SCA convention appears to be that a flute or recorder is drawn with the holes dead-on, rather than in profile. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.10]


Detailed
"Detailed" serves the same purpose in this blazon as "marked" does in the blazon of an animate charge -- it indicates that a significant portion of the charge has been executed in a second tincture, without attempting to describe exactly what part has been colored. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.18]


Device, release of
The option to retain one's old device as a badge is just that -- an option. If nothing is said on the forms or in the LoI, then we have to assume that the old device is to be released. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.10]


Difference, points of (see also bordure rule; conflict)
It is sometimes possible to combine three distinct changes to a group of tertiary charges to get a full point of difference. In the present case, a difference in number (added to the difference in type and color) would be sufficient. [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.5]
The heraldic difference between voiding and fimbriation is negligible. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
The heraldic references seem to agree that potent originated as an artistic variant of vair. There is at best a minor point between the two. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.20] [In the Aug 86 edition of the Rules for Submission, they were deemed negligibly different.]
Recent practice has been to permit a major and a minor point of difference for an ordinary surrounded by a group of two distinct kinds of secondary charges. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.2]
In the past several months, I have proposed amendments to the Rules for Submissions that would allow change in type of the primary charge to contribute up to a point-and-a-half of difference between two coats consisting of a single charge plus a charged or modified chief or bordure. ... The problem is a general one, not confined solely to chiefs and bordures, so a more general definition of the rule would seem to be in order: Point-and-a-half rule. Between two simple coats, difference in type of primary charge may contribute up to a major and a minor point of difference." The actual extent of the rule will have to be determined by experience. [BoE, cvr ltr, 9 July 85, p.2]
[Charge within an annulet.] This is the sort of thing the point-and-a-half rule was intended to deal with -- a prominent primary charge in the presence of a peripheral secondary charge, such as a border, orle, or chief. There is thus a major and a minor point for change in type of primary charge ..., and an additional minor for change in tincture of half the field. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.1]
We have held previously held that the addition of a modified charge (such as a roundel engrailed ermine) contributes no more difference than adding an unmodified charge (e.g., a roundel gules). [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p. 14]
We have also held, however, that the addition of a group of charges of different types may contribute up to a major and a minor point of difference -- for example, "Argent, a bend gules" differs from "Argent, a bend between a sun gules and a fleur-de-lys azure" by a point and a half for the secondary charges. ... There is a certain amount of justification in allowing a group of dissimilar secondary charges to contribute more than a single point of difference. They do carry more visual weight than a group of identical charges. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.14]
When one set of animate charges is replaced with another in a different position, I have been allowing difference for both type and position. The same is not true between animate and inanimate charges. Philosophically, I think it boils down to a perceived similarity between the charges, which causes the eye to record two degrees of change (first of type, then of position), rather than one (replacing one thing with another). A lion rampant is one point different from a boot reversed, but it is more than one point different from a dragon passant to sinister. (This suggests that animate isn't the right qualifier to use. I don't think you can claim any difference for position between a lion and a salmon.) [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.3]
My personal feeling is that the combined difference for changing type and tincture of part of a group of secondary charges is really only a minor point; and that therefore the two coats should conflict. (Part of the difficulty, I must admit, is that I'm not certain one should be able to obtain "sufficient difference" by totting up nothing but minor points.) Since there is some question, however, and since the potential conflict was with a mundane rather than an SCA coat, I am giving the submitter the benefit of the doubt. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.4]
"Salient to sinister" is a position, just as "passant" is. The orientation is not counted separately. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.12] [Thus only a single point of difference is counted between them.]
For the purposes of demotion, the "categories of difference" are defined to be the six areas of "major points of difference" enumerated in section XII.A of the Rules for Submissions. In particular, except where special provisions have been made (as in the case of the outline rule), tincture of field is a separate category from tincture of charges. However desirable the combination of the two might seem to be, it interferes with the rest of the rules. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.16]
It is my judgement that the amount of difference one may obtain by changing a single group of secondary or tertiary charges needs to be limited. Straight demotion complicates matters, and interferes with the rest of the rules. A better approach, I think, is to impose a ceiling: (a) Changes to a single group of secondary charges are worth at most a major and a minor point. (This ruling is already in effect, and has been for several months.) (b) Changes to a single group of tertiary charges are worth at most a major point of difference. Please note that these apply to "a group of charges", not "a group of identical charges". [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.16]
In the interest of encouraging simpler heraldry, I am imposing no ceiling on the amount of difference that may be obtained by modifying a single group of primary charges. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.16]
A group of charges is one or more charges, not necessarily of the same type, that serve as a single unit or element in an heraldic design. The following are considered to be groups: (a) The primary charge or charges. (b) One or more charges accompanying (adjacent to, surmounting, or arranged symmetrically about) an ordinary or other primary charge. (c) A secondary charge that is obviously not associated with other secondary charges, such as a bordure, a chief, an orle, or a brisure. (d) The charges on another charge, or a semy. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.17]
There is ... at best a minor point (if that much) between salient and rampant. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.13]
[Comparing "Per fess argent and azure, three charges counterchanged" vs. "Per fess azure and argent, three charges counterchanged".] I have been allowing only a minor point of difference for reversing the colors of a divided field. (The earliest example I could find was BJORN RHYS: 28 Sept 84, pp. 16-17.) I believe N. is correct in saying that this is not explicitly stated in the Rules, although it follows by analogy from XIII.B.1.b-d, and in light of the restriction implicit in XIII.A.1.c. ... I consider the interchange of tinctures to be less memorable, visually, than the more conventional forms of counterchange.... I would be willing to allow a strong minor point, but not a major. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p. 18-20]
Since a fieldless badge may legitimately be displayed on a divided field, the field contributes no difference. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.22]
These is at best a minor point of difference between a wheel and an escarbuncle. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.14]
I have decided to allow the point-and-a-half rule to apply to coats in which the "primary" charge is a group of up to three identical charges in a standard arrangement. Both groups must have the same number of charges and be in the same arrangement, and the basic conditions outlined in the 9 July 85 cover letter still apply: (1) In each coat, the primary charge must be the dominant part of the design. A complex field or a group of unlike secondary charges may detract enough from the importance of the primary to remove the extra minor point of difference. [The limit when the primary is a group is probably a chief or bordure charged with a group of identical tertiaries.] (2) The primary charges must be significantly different. Except in the simplest cases, they should probably be completely different. (3) The primary charges should not themselves be charged. [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.2]
I have decided to extend the complete-difference-of-charge rule to apply to four identical charges in a standard arrangement. [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.2]
[Eight-legged horse.] We would allow at most a minor point of difference between this and a four-legged horse. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.1]
There are no points of difference between a lozenge and a fusil. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.12]
I have decided to modify the rules to allow up to a major point of difference for adding or removing a group of tertiary charges when the two devices in question consist of a field plus an ordinary. It is also sometimes possible, under similar circumstances, to obtain a full point of difference for combining two distinct changes to a group of tertiary charges. (We were thinking in particular of type and number; there may be other combinations worth considering.) These are, of course, subject to the visual test. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Apr 86, p.5]
I would be inclined to allow a minor point (perhaps a strong minor, depending on the composition of the rest of the device) for the addition of a semy to half a field. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.3]
I consider the difference between "chapé" and "a pile inverted" or "per chevron throughout" to be blazonable, but worth little or nothing in terms of difference. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.6]
The Rules for Submissions allow for only two meaningful kinds of difference: major points and minor points. Major points of difference are pretty much fixed in size. They constitute the basic unit of change in a piece of armory. Minor points are less than a basic unit of change, and they vary in size: in rough order of decreasing importance, they may be "strong", "half-point", "weak", "delta", and "negligible". A "delta" (the smallest unit of change you can count) may or may not be the same thing as a "weak minor"; exact conventions have never been settled on. (Minor point arithmetic tends to be analog, rather than digital, although there are those who prefer to cast their numbers as decimal fractions.) Adding two minor points gives you something bigger than you started with, but this may still be less than a major point. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.5]
By convention, we tend to require a "half-point" minor against SCA badges, and a "weak minor" or "delta" against mundane arms. This has led to expressions such as "one plus delta" or "point plus" in describing the difference requirement against mundane arms. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.5]
I have been treating the addition of a group of dissimilar secondary charges as sufficient difference from mundane arms. The general requirement has been that the underlying coats be very basic (an ordinary), that the dissimilarity be symmetrical (chief/base or dexter/sinister), and that it be marked (usually complete difference of charge). [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.5]
The addition of ermine spots to a field or charge constitutes a change in tincture -- a major point of difference. Circumstances (such as the dimensions of the background, or the presence of details that detract from contrast) may cause less visual weight to be assigned, and hence reduce the point count. It must be borne in mind, however, that the addition of ermine spots is a recognizable heraldic change, not an artistic nuance, and is thus normally a standard unit (i.e., a point) of difference. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.10]
It should also be noted that "held" charges -- ones grasped by an animate charge -- rarely contribute more than a weak minor point, or delta. This is sufficient against mundane, but not against registered SCA armory. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.10]
[Pegasus volant vs. pegasus rampant.] The difficulty here is that the position of a winged beast volant is ill defined. We can recall instances of bodies courant and springing, and would doubtless find others if we searched the files. Since body position has been left to the caprice of the artist, we see no alternative but to disallow this, except in the most extreme cases, as a source of difference. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.17]


Documentation (see also commentary; references)
"Coined" means that a name is made up, not that its provenance is unknown. There is nothing wrong with asking the College of Arms for assistance in substantiating an applicant's claim, but you should make an effort to find out what the submitter had in mind, and to pass this information on in your letter of intent. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.20]
When the documentation for a name is intended to show names similar to the one being submitted, this fact should be clearly stated in the Letter of Intent. A citation from a book, without further explanation, is assumed to be a claim that the documentation supports the name exactly. If part of name is made up, this fact should also be noted. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.2]
Master Wilhelm's objection to the arrangement was specifically that it is not period. An objection of this sort needs to be met with either dated examples or analysis by someone qualified to speak authoritatively. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.17]
If you cite a source, please make sure that it actually supports your argument. If the source doesn't support your argument, find another argument, find another source, or quote the source in its entirety and try to disprove the part you disagree with. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.18]
A good letter of intent answers in advance all the reasonable questions (and some of the unreasonable ones) that people are likely to ask. By observing the kinds of questions that get asked, you can learn to anticipate them. This will tell you what needs to be documented. The question that will be asked about the name Frideswide is not "What does this mean?", but "Is this a (period) given name?" One thus says, "Frideswide (f): Old English given name (Withycombe 122)", not "Frideswide = 'peace strong'." [BoE, letter on Laurel procedures, 17 Apr 85, p.4]
Good documentation (in the correspondence, not just on the submission forms) is the key to consistency in our rulings. Without these two elements -- the insistence on looking things up, and the equally important requirement of noting where we found them -- the knowledge we are exchanging is better classified as lore or tradition, not scholarship. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.4]
When considering whether to admit prior usage as an argument for approving a questionable name, I tend to look at four things: the number of times it has been approved, the period over which the approvals took place, the nature of the rule it violates, and whether or not anything has been said about the name in the Laurel correspondence. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.5]
The fact that a name "has been registered previously" is thus no guarantee that it would pass today. Mistakes do sometimes get corrected, and policies and attitudes may change. ... It is sometimes useful to know that a name has previously been approved, but it is more useful to know how often, and when; and this is no substitute for actual documentation. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.6]


Dondrill
For the record, a "dondrill (lily), or Australian wildflower," is gules. At least, that's what the emblazon shows. [BoE, letter of corrections, 20 Aug 86, p.4]

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E

Eclipsed (see also moon; sun)
In mundane armory, "the sun or moon when borne eclipsed is drawn exactly as when in his glory, or her complement, but sable." (Parker 558) In other words, "a sun eclipsed" is the same as "a sun in his glory sable." In SCA blazon, a sun eclipsed has a large disk of a secondary color superimposed on it, with the corona and rays being in the primary color of the charge: a "sun Or, eclipsed sable" is gold with a black center. It has been suggested on a couple of occasions that the tincture of the disk is by default sable. I feel it is better to be explicit, to keep people from confusing the SCA and mundane definitions. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.9]


Enté in point (see also per pall)
Per graft seems to be confined to the writings of Julian Franklyn, and the exact meaning of enté in point is unclear; both definitions are difficult to find, and the terms are not intuitively obvious. I feel therefore that they should not be used. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p. 2] [The terms are synonymous with "Per pall inverted".]


Epinette des Vosges
An epinette des Vosges is a musical instrument used in France from "ancient times to the present day"; it looks somewhat like the modern Appalachian dulcimer. Its "proper" tincture is brown, the color of wood. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.4]


Eradicated
A tree eradicated is usually depicted with an exaggerated root system, the result of tearing the poor thing from the bosom of mother Earth. What is shown here is what you would see if it were still rooted in the sod, which is neither couped nor eradicated. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.1] [The charge was blazoned simply as a "tree", with no modifiers.]


Ermine
Ermine is a special case: although it sometimes takes on some of the characteristics of a semy, it is not a semy itself. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
The addition of ermine spots to a field or charge constitutes a change in tincture -- a major point of difference. Circumstances (such as the dimensions of the background, or the presence of details that detract from contrast) may cause less visual weight to be assigned, and hence reduce the point count. It must be borne in mind, however, that the addition of ermine spots is a recognizable heraldic change, not an artistic nuance, and is thus normally a standard unit (i.e., a point) of difference. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.10]


Exceptions
It is my opinion that the ... rule, on the basis of which the applicant's name was originally returned, represented a change in the direction in the policies of the College of Arms. Under the circumstances, I feel that the applicant is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, and so am excepting him from the ruling his own submission precipitated. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.4]
The exceptions I grant generally involve extenuating circumstances, and are either based on a principle I feel comfortable with repeating, or else seem isolated enough to have limited scope. An exception in this case would not be limited in scope, even without a rules change. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.16] [The submission was returned.]
One of the appeals in this month's batch of submissions used a quotation from my ruling on Seng-ge McPhee (28 Sept 84, p.4). Unfortunately, the quotation was taken out of context, and the most important part of it was omitted. ... The point here was not that a submission that precipitates a change in the rules is necessarily exempt from it. I feel we have an obligation to try to be fair to people whose submissions were en route at the time a change took place; but I also feel that this obligation is bidirectional. A certain amount of compromise is necessary on both sides. ... By exempting the submitter from the change he precipitates, we deny ourselves the right to correct mistakes until they have become irrevocable. By subjecting the submitter to the changes, we deny our role as a service organization. Neither extreme is acceptable as a universal solution. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p. 4-5]
In invoking this principle [that a submitter who prompts a Rules change is exempt from its effects], please bear in mind that it was being used as a tie-breaker, not the sole basis for the decision; and do not overlook the qualification "change in direction of the policies of the College of Arms." That's like saying Hamlet is the story of how Fortinbras takes over the throne of Denmark: there's more to the play than what happens at the end of Act V. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.5]
I actually care less about the content of the rule than its complexity and its enforceability. If it takes three paragraphs to lay out a rule and all of its exceptions, and a single sentence to state a general principle that is only occasionally wrong, I would far rather go with the single sentence, and avoid mucking up the Rules any further. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.12]
Is it possible to make an exception in this case without doing violence to the underlying rule? Is it both bounded and reproducible? The answer, I believe, is yes. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.12]

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F

Fasces
I can't see banning the fasces solely on account of its use by the Fascists in Italy. The swastika is a special case, notable for the extreme likelihood that Goodman Jack will recognize and react strongly to it, and should not be used as a general precedent for disallowing charges on account of "guilt by association". [BoE, 9 June 85, p.4]
[An arrow bound in a fascine.] A fascine (from Latin fascina, a bundle of sticks) is "a long bundle of sticks of wood, bound together, used in raising batteries, filling ditches," etc. (Webster's Second) When an axe is bound in a fascine it becomes a fasces. [BoE, 6 April 86, p.5]


Fitchy
[Fitchy.] My feeling is that the term should probably be used only when the foot of something is pointed, and have therefore substituted pointed at both ends for fitchy in the above blazon. I'm not sure how legitimate this usage is stylistically, but don't feel I can make a strong enough case for returning it. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.12]


Flames
The heraldic convention appears to be to depict a charge enflamed as outlined with flames, rather than actually burning. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.15]
Flames proper on a colored field are red on the inside and gold on the outside. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.7]


Flaunches
The singular of flaunches turns out to be flank. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.11]
The base conjoined to the flaunches does not seem to be consistent with period heraldry. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.13]
A couple of the comments on this submission noted the design was NPS (Not Period Style). Has any evidence been offered to support the claim that charged flaunches are out of period? St. John Hope cites either one or two examples (the second isn't completely clear) from a "pictured book of arms about 1460," which is most certainly period: "... Thus John Greyby bears an ermine field with two 'flaunchys azure with vi whetherys (wheatears) of golde' ... and John Olney 'gowlys besaunte ij flaunches of sabyll (with) ij leberdys sylwyr crownyd wt gowlys armyd wt asewre'." (W.H. St. John Hope. A Grammar of English Heraldry, p. 62. Revised by Anthony R. Wagner. Cambridge University Press, 2d ed. 1953.) [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.7]


Fleam
The fleam is not a restricted charge. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.4]


Forcené
Forcené means 'wild, mad, frantic, furious'. The authorities agree that it is applied to horses, but disagree on the exact position -- some say it is equivalent to rampant, others salient: the modern definition appears to be "rearing up on his hind legs, like a restless charger, but with both hooves firmly on the ground." The term is ambiguous and should not be used. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.2]


Ford
A ford proper is a base [wavy] barry wavy argent and azure (on a color field) or azure and argent (on a metal field). The term is a specialized one, intended primarily for canting; its tinctures are part of the definition, as with a fountain or a plate. While one could conceivably speak of a ford of two specified tinctures ... and be understood, I do not feel this use to be consistent with the purpose of the term. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.9]


Fountain
I'm a little uncomfortable at calling [stonework spouting water] a natural fountain -- I associate the term "natural" more with flora and fauna than masonry -- but it makes sense. Brooke-Little's Heraldic Alphabet states that "If a natural fountain is intended it must be made clear in the blazon." Another possible blazon, along the lines of the arms of Brunner, would be "a fountain playing azure". [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.1] [The term "natural" distinguishes this from an heraldic fountain, which is a "roundel barry wavy argent and azure."]


Friendly
I consider the term friendly (indicating the castle's portcullis is up; roughly equivalent to the mundane ajouré) to be in the same category as langued and orbed -- a detail too insignificant to be blazoned. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.6]


Fusil ----- see lozenge

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G

Gemel
Gemel means 'coupled, paired, twin'; it is derived from Latin gemellus 'twin'. (Webster's Second) Two bars are thus "a bar gemel", four bars are "two bars gemels", and so forth. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.11]


Gorgon
["Gorgon's head cabossed".] Cabossed is a perfectly reasonable default for a Gorgon's head -- it is the obvious and most recognizable aspect -- but given the proliferation of ad hoc defaults in SCA heraldry, it is probably better to err on the side of explicitness. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.7]


Gouttes
I received an indirect query last month regarding the special names for gouttes (goutty de larmes, de poix, etc.) and roundels (plate, bezant, etc.). The use of these names is discretionary -- if you want to blazon a roundel argent as "a roundel argent", you may certainly do so. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]


Grandfather Clause
In its purest form, the grandfather clause is the doctrine that protects something that has already been registered from a subsequent change in the rules; it is sometimes extended to new submissions from the same person or from close relatives of the original applicant. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.19]
It is my judgment that the Grandfather Clause would permit N. to use her father's arms, unreflected, with the addition of an obvious standard mark of cadency (such as a label), or to incorporate her father's [now-prohibited charge] into a new device; but that the changes that have been made in her present submission bring it outside the scope of the Grandfather Clause, so the latter no longer applies. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.20]


Griffin, male ----- see keythong


Grille
Our reading of the description in Woodward leads us to believe that a grille, or lattice, is a horizontal form of "fretty". [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.11]


Gurges
SCA precedent notwithstanding, a gurges is a charge until proven otherwise. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.11]

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H

Hand
The College felt that a fist "thumbs down" was not an acceptable heraldic charge; it is difficult to recognize, the position does not seem to be heraldic, and the combination has strong enough negative connotations to make it an undesirable element of a coat of arms. [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.5]
[Six-fingered hand.] Several of the commenters ... objected to the six-fingered hand. To quote Vesper, "In some countries, at some times during our period, an extra finger was one of the outward signs of being a witch. This is one of the claims that was made against Anne Boleyn." [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.15]


Hardship Case
A hardship case is one in which a submitter deserves special consideration due to chronic errors on the part of the heralds. It should not be confused with the grandfather clause. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.18]


Haurient
Haurient isn't a very good choice of terms [for a sea-monster]; it's a fish-word (meaning "erect with head upwards") being used in place of the usual sea-monster word ("erect"). [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.16]


Held charges
[A hand proper holding a sun Or.] The hand, which is light in color, is visually a continuation of the sun, so I am inclined to treat the hand-and-sun combination as a modified sun. Visually, I find this to be a major point different from a sun eclipsed ..., a minor point from an unmodified sun ..., and a slightly stronger minor point from a demi-sun. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.11]
I have blazoned the wolf as holding the sword in its jaws, rather than maintaining it. The literal meaning of maintain (I've never found an heraldic definition) is "to hold in the hand". [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.8]
It should also be noted that "held" charges -- ones grasped by an animate charge -- rarely contribute more than a weak minor point, or delta. This is sufficient against mundane, but not against registered SCA armory. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.10]


Helm
A "plumed helm", in heraldry, would be something along the lines of a great helm with a whacking big feather for a crest. It is clear from the submitter's documentation that he has a specific kind of Roman helmet in mind; it would help us to know its name. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.9]
The default position of a helm appears to be in profile. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.11]


Heraldic titles
Society practice considers a change of adjective to be sufficient difference between two heraldic titles, but not the addition of an adjective. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.11]
It seems to me that the question of whether or not a branch may have a titled heraldic officer is something that can (and should) be left to the discretion of the individual kingdoms. I would prefer not to record that a pursuivant's creation was ordinary or extraordinary, since this may vary in actual usage. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.4]
[Osprey Herald.] N. has asked if this conflicts with the "default name" for the pursuivant of the Shire of the Osprey in Meridies. My feeling is that heraldic titles conflict with names of kingdoms, principalities, and orders, but not with baronies, provinces, subsidiary branches, or households. I am open to argument on both sides. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.2]
While I (Baldwin) feel personally that titled pursuivancies are a perquisite that should be reserved for branches above what Corpora defines as the subsidiary level, I (Laurel) believe officially that this is the sort of decision that can, and should, be left to kingdom custom. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.6]


Herissony
Herissony (from French hérisson 'hedgehog') is a term used in heraldry to describe a cat "with its back up." [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.11]


Horn
It should be noted that there is no heraldic difference between [a bear's tooth] and a drinking horn. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.10]


Horse (see also unicorn)
Please use either a horse (without a horn) or a unicorn (with beard, tufts, and a lion's tail). [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.14]
The name of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon should not be used in conjunction with horses or birds, both of which are strongly associated with her in legend. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.1]
[Eight-legged horse.] In general, adding extra limbs to an animate charge is a bad idea -- it confuses the outline without adding much difference. This seems a reasonable exception, given the precedent of Sleipnir, the horse ridden by Odin in Norse mythology. We would allow at most a minor point of difference between this and a four-legged horse. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p. 1]
[A unicorn passant and in base a crescent.] The arrangement of the overall charges is such as to suggest a "rocking-unicorn." I do not know if rocking-horses are period. If they are, then it seems to me that a rocking-unicorn would make an acceptable charge; but it should be submitted as such, not constructed of heraldic odds and ends. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.12]


Horseshoes
[Horseshoes.] I am therefore adopting the mundane default (with the opening to base, so the luck runs out) as SCA practice, and have reblazoned N.'s old device to be consistent with this convention. [BoE, cvr ltr, 9 July 85, p.2] [This specifically supersedes a ruling of 28 Dec 82; see Precedents III.]


Hovering
Lady Kiriel also provided a description of a kestrel hovering (this being an ability unique to that species of bird): Wings beating (raised or flat); tail spread, in opposite direction from wings when wings raised; body horizontal or up to 30 degrees above horizontal; feet tucked up close to body; talons folded; head slightly above the horizontal, looking down. ... I am inclined, however, to treat this as an exceptional case, and insist that future submissions be in a more recognizably heraldic position. I have enough difficulty sorting out the existing positions (which, as Fox-Davies points out, are none too well defined in the mundane world) without compounding them. [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.3]
For purposes of difference, [hovering] may be considered equivalent to rising, wings elevated and displayed. [BoE, letter of corrections, 20 Aug 86, p.10]


Hurst
A hurst is a grove or clump of trees, occuring normally "either upon a mount in base or upon a chief." (Shield and Crest, p. 160) I can find no examples of a free-floating hurst, nor can I determine how else to blazon this submission. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.21]
[A hurst of pine trees atop a mount couped.] The examples cited by Vesper show that, at least within the SCA, the charges depicted here lie within the definition of the term hurst. It appears, however, that the mount needs to be mentioned in the blazon. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.14]

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I

Iceberg
Most of the heralds commenting on this submission found the "iceberg" unrecognizable. An heraldic iceberg would probably be a mountain couped argent, with only the part above the waterline showing. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.11]


Indented (see also dancetty)
In SCA heraldry, indented should be drawn boldly. Single-sided ordinaries, such as chiefs and bordures, are always said to be indented, never dancetty. If a two-sided ordinary is indented, the peaks and the valleys should oppose one another. If drawn in the medieval fashion, the zig-zag lines should come close to meeting in the middle, giving the appearance of an ordinary made up of fusils. [BoE, cvr ltr, 28 Aug 85, p.2]


Inverting
Inverting an animate charge is at best poor practice. With the two heads conjoined in this fashion, it becomes next to impossible to figure out what the "black thing in the middle of the field" really is. This defeats the purpose of heraldry. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.14]
Inverting an animate charge is at best poor practice, as is the use of rotational symmetry. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.15]
The crown is a reserved charge, required of the arms of a kingdom and permitted as a mark of honor in the arms of a royal peer. Inverting the crown demeans it, which is inappropriate, and may be considered offensive, especially by other royal peers. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.13]

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J

Japanese heraldry (mon)
As much as I enjoy things Japanese, I do not feel it is in the best interests of SCA heraldry, nor is it consistent with official SCA policy, for us to regard mon as being on an equal footing with European coats of arms. For all the time we have spent discussing it, the nature of SCA heraldry is still as much a matter of conjecture and opinion as it is established fact. We cannot sustain two parallel systems of heraldry. This is what I see being urged upon us, and I suspect this is the leading cause of the confusion alluded to in the comments on this proposal. I believe we would be be better off concentrating on the similarities than the differences, finding ways to assimilate charges and design principles into a predominately European system, not establishing alternative procedures for Japanese personae. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.3]


Jester's hood
I have blazoned this as a "jester's belled hood" ... rather than a "jester's cap", on the assumption that a cap sits on top of the head ... while a hood covers the ears and the shoulders. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]

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K

Keyhole
The keyhole, as an heraldic charge, would seem to be unique to the SCA. ... It should be noted that a keyhole and a chess-pawn are similar enough in shape to conflict. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.3]


Keythong
The term keythong would seem to be both period and synonymous with the charge we know as a "male griffin." Unfortunately, it is also devilishly tricky to find. I am willing to consider allowing it as an alternative to "male griffin", in the interests of accuracy, but I am reluctant to do so. SCA heraldry is rife with terms drawn from out-of-the-way sources, to the sorrow of artists, neophyte heralds, and those who lack either the resources or the perseverance to plow through eight books in search of a single term. [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.2]

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L

Leather
"Leather proper" is understood to be brown. I was unable to find any rulings establishing this, but a quick search of the Armorial turned up a number of registered instances of leather proper. ... The meaning seems to be intuitively obvious, so I see no problem with continuing the custom. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.2]


Light (lantern)
Please remove the nimbus from around the lantern. It obscures the charge completely. Society convention ... has been to render the light from a lantern as "three straight rays emitted from each side". [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.1]


Lightning
The nomenclature currently in use is as follows. A lightning flash is the modern depiction of a "line" of electricity -- bevilled, and tapered at both ends. The term came into use fairly early in the history of SCA armory. (HB, 26 Jan 72, p.2) Master Wilhelm began discouraging them around November of 1982, and banned them outright in his August 1983 LoAR. (p.6) At this time, the so-called "period" lightning flash was adopted -- "embattled lines of even thickness with large barbs at both ends." (21 Feb 84, p.10) These later became known as lightning bolts, to differentiate them from the no-longer-permitted lightning "flash". (17 Aug 84, p.2) Finally, there is the thunderbolt -- the famous "winged exploding cigar" that can be found in most heraldry books. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.19]


Lozenge, lozengy
The field is lozengy, not fusilly. As Roger F. Pye has argued, a fusil is a segment of an indented ordinary. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.7]
There are no points of difference between a lozenge and a fusil. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.12]

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M

Mace
N. pointed out that "heraldic maces are the same as scepters." (Elvin, Pl.35; Parker 387) This is one of the places where SCA armory differs from the mundane. ... The Ordinary lists entries for mace, flanged mace, spiked mace, and war mace. I pulled the files for most of these (particularly the undifferentiated maces), and found lots of spikes, a few flanges, and a couple that looked like those nearly cylindrical wooden kitchen mallets you use for pounding meat. The only thing that comes close to the classic heraldic mace is in the Vesper seal, and it's called a "crowned sceptre." I would blazon the conventional heraldic mace as a civic mace, and assume that other maces (spiked, flanged, war, and plain) were of the uncivil variety. Holy water sprinkler is fine, too. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.7]


Magic
[Two commenters] expressed concern at the Symposium over the possible magical content of this submission, saying that both charges have symbolic meaning to the Egyptians. ... Even if a stronger symbolic connection could be established, I do not believe this would be sufficient reason to return the device. Appendix II of the RfS ("Guildelines on Offensiveness") bars "excessive symbolism" or "defaced or basely treated religious symbols", neither of which applies in this instance. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]


Maintaining
The literal meaning of maintain (I've never found an heraldic definition) is "to hold in the hand". [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.8]


Manatee
A manatee is a sirenian, or sea cow, a large aquatic mammal. For purposes of conflict, it looks like a seal. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.6]


March
The term March has been used for many years as a branch title equivalent to Shire. I am not aware of any restrictions having been placed on the designation. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.13]


Masoning
I believe it is standard practice for pieces of masonry (castles, towers and such) to be drawn masoned, and the term used only if the lines are of a different tincture, or if the charge is not something that is normally bricked up. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.12]
The charges are not recognizable as bridges. At the very least, they should be masoned, this apparently being the convention for charges (walls, arches, etc.) made of stone. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.25]


Mermaid
["Mermaid proper".] A perusal of the files suggests an SCA default of flesh-colored torso, green tail, and yellow hair, although normal practice is to speak of a "blonde mermaid proper" or a "mermaid proper, crined Or." [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.8]


Merrow
The merrow is not an acceptable charge. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.15]
((Celtic "monster". I have a source saying the merrow is the Irish mermaid, the females beautiful with webbed hands and fishes tales, but the male of the species is ugly, green with pig-like eyes. Just in case it ever comes up again.))


Migrant
The term migrant is well defined and unambiguous. While not the most desirable of positions for a bird, it is acceptable. Descending should be avoided, except perhaps in the case of the Christian symbol of a "dove descending", in which case it is synonymous with migrant to base. The term ascending contributes little color and much ambiguity, and should not be used. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.4]


Millstone
An heraldic mill-stone is basically a roundel charged with a mill-rind or fer-de-moline (Parker 407). I do not believe it is possible to place additional charges on a mill-stone and still call it by that name. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.19]


Minotaur
The term minotaur's head is ambiguous. Classical sources agree that the Minotaur was "half man, half bull," but they do not specify how those halves were distributed -- it could have had a bull's head or a horned man's head, for example. Silver Trumpet has noted that the February 1986 issue of Discover (in an article on mazes and labyrinths) shows a medieval painting of a centaur-like Minotaur with a man's head. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.4]


Monsters, invented
On reflection, I find that I have little problem with monsters that are created by the addition of wings or fish tails. Both patterns are pretty well established in mundane and SCA armory, and the resulting creatures tend to be fairly distinctive. I've seen instances of conjoined demi-beasts that stand out well -- N.'s delightful half-camelopard, half-dragon ... springs to mind. Unicorn's horns, on the other hand, contribute little to the beasts onto which they are grafted, and in at least one case (the "unicornate horse") they blur the distinctions between existing charges. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.15]


Moon
A "moon in her complement" is shown full-faced. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.7]


Motley
There is ... no "proper" color for motley. I would suggest she make the sleeves in the emblazon lozengy of a metal and a contrasting color (such as gules), and perhaps exercise a bit of artistic license in delineation. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.13]
There is no "proper" color for motley. I would suggest making the fool's garb lozengy of a color and a metal, which is a reasonable heraldic approximation of motley. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.12]


Morris rose
The College found the term Morris rose unclear, and a couple of the heralds questioned whether it was necessarily accurate. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.4] [The submission was registered as "eight swords interlaced to form an eight-pointed mullet."]


Mountain
Most of the heralds commenting on this submission found the "iceberg" unrecognizable. An heraldic iceberg would probably be a mountain couped argent, with only the part above the waterline showing. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.11]
The mountain needs to be "craggier," and drawn with more internal detail, to make it clear what it is. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.6]


Mullets (see also comet; compass rose)
Mullets are conventionally drawn with a point upward. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.2]
Without a traditional default, I am reluctant to use the term spur-rowel except when the number of points couldn't possibly matter, such as in a semy or on a bordure. I have therefore blazoned the charges explicitly, as mullets (of six points) pierced. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.2]

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N

Names -- alternate (see also names -- household)
The policy of the College of Arms is that secondary names (household names and alternate personae) may be registered only in conjunction with a badge. If she wishes to protect her former name, she will need to associate it with a badge. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.8]


Names -- branch
The Rules for Submissions (article VIII.2) state that the name and arms of an SCA branch must have the approval of a majority of its members. With baronies, shires, and other "small" branches, this is usually dealt with by requiring a petition of some sort. There does not appear to be an established procedure for obtaining approval when the branch in question is a Kingdom or Principality. I am therefore promulgating the following: (1) Any planned change to the name or arms of a Kingdom or Principality must be announced in the official branch newsletter, and sufficient time must be allowed for the populace to respond to the proposal. (2) The branch herald (or representative) is responsible for tallying the responses and seeing to it that a summary is transmitted to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. (3) The proposed change must be subscribed to by the sovereign and consort and their heirs (if any), and it must be ratified by the officers of the branch. Evidence that this has been done should be included with the submission. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.1]
Names of defunct branches are protected, just as the names and arms of inactive and deceased SCA members (not to mention mundanes) are protected. While it may be true that the arguments supporting this practice are no better than the ones opposing it, the fact remains that a decision was made, long ago, to protect such names, and that this policy has been upheld more than once by the Board as well as by the College of Arms. We can stretch the point on occasion, when the forms of the names are different ... but this is out of the question when the two are nearly indistinguishable. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.4]
[College of the Unspeakable Name.] This is an unsuitable name for a branch of the Society. Please choose another. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.13]
The term March has been used for many years as a branch title equivalent to Shire. I am not aware of any restrictions having been placed on the designation. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.13]
In those cases where two branch names conflict because one is a translation of the other into a different language, and one of the branches is defunct, permission may be granted jointly by the Crown of the Kingdom (who may delegate this authority, if they wish) and by the Principal Herald (who is responsible for seeing that local custom is maintained, and whose signature attests to this). [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Apr 86, p. 6]


Names -- bynames (see also names -- patronymics)
The classical Yseult (one of them, anyway) is associated with Brittany, but not, apparently, with the forest of Broceliande. By analogy with the name Ceridwen, it should be possible to be "of" a location in Brittany, even though one may not be Yseult of Brittany. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.4]
The use of animal nicknames is quite period, with or without the definite article. See P. H. Reaney, The Origin of English Surnames, pp. 261-274. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.6]
It is true that most Anglo-Saxons had only one name. It is also true that if two people with the same given name lived in the same area, they would have acquired distinguishing bynames. Because of the size of the SCA (which covers considerably more territory than did the average Anglo-Saxon community), we must assume that there will eventually be someone else with the same given name; we provide for this by obtaining bynames in advance, before the need arises. (It is not enough to distinguish only the later ones. Owain could apply equally well to anyone with that name; but within our purview, there will be only one Owain the Stout.) [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.14]


Names -- compound or dithematic
A compound or dithematic name is composed of a first element (the protheme) and a second element (the deuterotheme) drawn from the body of word stems (themes) used to form names in a given language. To document a name as dithematic, it is necessary to show that it is constructed from a known protheme and a known deuterotheme (or plausible variants thereof) for a specific culture. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.6]
The applicant has provided an example of -hafoc, -havoc 'hawk' as a deuterotheme, but there is as yet no evidence that graeg 'gray' was ever used as a name element. We normally require that dithematic names be made up of known elements. Our experience has been that given names are drawn from a smaller subset of the language than bynames; the "adjective + noun" and "tincture + animal" models mentioned in the appeal are too sweeping. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.14]
I observed one fallacy ... in the text of the arguments. The fallacy was expressed in the statement that "the fact that the name thus coined [from human name themes] happens to be a dwarvish name is no barrier to its appropriateness." William and the Bastard may both be correctly combined to form a name, but the result is a recognizable conflict, and is therefore inappropriate. N. is a recognizable dwarf name, and must be dealt with as such. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.14]
[N. Thorwynsson.] Batonvert refers to this kind of patronymic as "Anglo-Scandinavian". Apparently, Old Norse/Anglo-Saxon hybrids were not uncommon in period. We see no problem with the name. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.4] [The byname takes a component from each language.]
Anglo-Saxon given names are dithematic: they are formed of a first element called the protheme, and a second element called the deuterotheme. These elements, or themes, are drawn from a pool of words used for the purpose of forming names. Although many themes possess some kind of meaning, they are not "words" per se; you will not find them by picking a noun and an adjective at random from an Anglo-Saxon dictionary. [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.13]


Names -- conflict
Society practice considers a change of adjective to be sufficient difference between two heraldic titles, but not the addition of an adjective. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.11]
The College of Arms has a long-standing policy of not permitting names that conflict with those of major characters in science fiction and fantasy stories. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.21]
In the case of the Sable Thistle of Ansteorra (15 May 80, p.2), Master Wilhelm held that the addition of both an adjective and the name of the branch were sufficient difference from the Order of the Thistle, of Scotland. This is supported by the wording of Rule VI.4. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.1]
We have held in previous cases (v. Leonora Simonetta d'Este) that the addition of a second byname to a recognizable given-name-plus-byname is not necessarily sufficient. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.4]
["Wladislaw the Pole."] I have decided to err on the side of caution, and regard this as a conflict [with the several kings of Poland named Wladislaw]. It is not altogether reasonable, but it makes the rules simpler, and it makes it less likely that we will get burned by an artful piece of special pleading. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.10] [By this ruling, names of the construction [monarch's name] the [monarch's nationality] were disallowed.]
I feel the amount of work involved in maintaining a system of household name/surname conflict exceeds any probable benefit. (In the argot of today's business community, it is not "cost effective.") It will increase the amount of work expected of the Principal Heralds, many of whom feel the present workload is excessive. It's time we got off the side-issues and back into the business of studying and practicing heraldry. It is therefore my judgement that "of X" should not, and therefore does not, conflict with the registered household name "X". [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.3]


Names -- given
Luigino is a diminutive form of Luigi, and does not appear to have been used as a given name in its own right. Our policy in such cases is to register the "formal" form of the name. His friends may, of course, continue to call him Luigino. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.1]
Given the entry for St. Elphin in the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, this would appear to be an acceptable given name, so long as the device does not contain any of the symbols commonly associated with elves. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.17]
On [a previous ruling, 28 Sept 84] ... I stated that the name Elphin would appear to be acceptable "so long as the device does not contain any of the symbols commonly associated with elves." This is a more restrictive statement than I had intended; "reeking of eldarin symbolism" is more like it. A single compass star doth not an elvish stench make. [BoE, cvr ltr, 7 Nov 84, p.2]
Laurelin is the younger of the Two Trees of Valinor, and is no longer an acceptable Society name. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.14]
In all fairness, the question "Is the use of surnames as given names a period practice?" is capable of being answered correctly in both the affirmative and the negative. ... I consider our present policy to be a workable compromise between these two extremes. It treats the general practice as being out of period (thus removing the need to distinguish by country or period of persona, which is tricky when you're dealing with hybrids), but it permits exceptions when a specific name is shown to have been used in period, or when it is the applicant's mundane given name. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.17]
Prydwen, as a number of commenters noted, was the name of King Arthur's ship in Welsh folklore. This does not necessarily mean that it is not a given name (I believe ships were sometimes given women's names in period), but in this case a period example of its use as a given name seems to be in order. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.2]
There are ... seven Ambers in the files, one Ambra, and one Ambre. At this point, I am inclined to consider all three forms SCA-legal. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.10]
The putative meanings of given names (which are more a matter of etymology than definition) are not normally translatable from one language to another. The French equivalent of Stephen is Étienne, not Couronne. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.10]
While fools may have been known in period by names such as "Patch", "Clod", etc., it would appear that these were stage names or aliases. The Rules for Submissions (VII.1) require a given ("birth") name for purposes of registration, whatever the professional name might be. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.13]
There are some twenty Megans, Meghans, and Meggans already registered. As with Fiona and Corwin, I consider the name to be so much a part of SCA culture as to be acceptable, even if it is recent coinage. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.4]
Dauzat notes that Fleur occurred frequently as a feminine baptismal name in the Middle Ages; it is a popular form of the name of Saint Florus. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.7]
Bryn is the Welsh word for 'mountain' or 'hill'; it was not used as a given name until recent times. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]
Ryan appears to have begun life as an Irish surname, and was not used as a given name until recent times. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.6]
Under the most recent specific ruling, plant names may be used as female given names on a case-by-case basis. "The basic criterion will be whether the College feels a specific plant name is reasonably consistent with period usage, even though it wasn't actually used in period." [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.1]
A quick check of the files turned up six previous instances of Rowan as a given name. Dunkling & Gosling (p.370) and Patrick Woulfe (Irish Names for Children, p.34) equate it with Irish Ruadh, a saint who died c.584. (Farmer 349). [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.3]
Gwydion may not be used as a given name in the Society. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.8]
Corwin and Fiona... have been registered a dozen or more times over a span of five or more years, many of them recent. Corwin is a surname being used as a given name. Fiona is an out-of-period feminization of a period masculine given name. Both names occur in modern fantasy stories, and so tend to be accepted without question by the membership of the SCA; and neither has been explicitly barred by Laurel (although some restrictions have been placed on Corwin). [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.5]
Mirrim appears to be unique to Anne McCaffrey's Pern stories, which, being post-technological, are not considered compatible with the SCA. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.15]
Gretchen is a diminutive of the given name Margaret, and does not appear to have been used as an independent given name during the Middle Ages. Precedent is to say, "Register 'Margaret' as your formal name, and have your friends call you Gretchen." [BoE, 18 May 86, p.17]
Please advise the submitter that, notwithstanding the evidence of the comics page, Hagar is a woman's name: "Handmaid of Abraham's wife Sarah and mother of his eldest son, Ishmael ... Gen.16; 21:9-21." (NCE 1172) [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.3]


Names -- holding names
I consider the assignment of a holding name to be a change. It is true that the purpose served by a holding name is administrative, and that there is no fee for changing a holding name: nonetheless, what is registered is not what was submitted, and some people regard holding names as a form of tampering. (Witness the rather acrid comments from the Midrealm over the holding name with which N. was "saddled". If the practice draws this kind of reaction from the heralds, who presumably understand how the system works, imagine how a non-herald might feel.) [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.4]
Please remember that a holding name is intended as a temporary measure. It allows us to register a piece of armory now, rather than having to wait for the person to choose a new name and resubmit. There is no fee for changing a holding name. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.4]
Holding names are for use at the Laurel level only. Problems found at the kingdom level should be dealt with before the submission is sent out on a letter of intent. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.4]


Names -- household (guild, etc.)
["Privy council of [territory]."] It appears from the definition in the OED that a privy council is not necessarily a state entity; individuals may have such councils as well. Nor do I find it inconsistent with past practice for Frypan de Tuckerbag to register a badge for the Lutenists' Guild of the Barony of the Great Pismire, if he is the guildmaster; so the designation "of Branch-name" is not reserved. But the privy council of an SCA branch would by rights be a governmental entity of that branch, and it is inappropriate for such a body to be regarded as the property of an individual. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.1]
The designation "Cult of N." is not appropriate for registration with the College of Arms. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.19] [N. was the submitter's SCA given name.]
I feel the amount of work involved in maintaining a system of household name/surname conflict exceeds any probable benefit. (In the argot of today's business community, it is not "cost effective.") It will increase the amount of work expected of the Principal Heralds, many of whom feel the present workload is excessive. It's time we got off the side-issues and back into the business of studying and practicing heraldry. It is therefore my judgement that "of X" should not, and therefore does not, conflict with the registered household name "X". [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.3]
The policy of the College of Arms is that secondary names (household names and alternate personae) may be registered only in conjunction with a badge. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.8]


Names -- Hungarian
He has provided ample documentation that the surname precedes the given name in Hungarian usage. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.1]


Names -- Japanese
["Mitsuhashi no Masaie."] According to Monsho, no is a particle of grammar "that is understood and, therefore, unnecessary to write or say." Ibis states that "it doesn't belong here between a family name and a given name." [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.8]


Names -- joke
[Miles Long.] The name is perfectly acceptable. It is correctly constructed of period components, and if it strikes some people as odd or humorous, well, so do many other aspects of the Middle Ages (as I am reminded every time I stop for ice on the way to a tourney: "Mommy, look, a man in a dress!"). [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.8]
It is my contention that [the description] "joke" is necessarily a pejorative attribute only to those whose perception of the SCA is straitened and humorless. If a name is offensive, or otherwise unacceptable, then it should be returned on those grounds, not simply because it has the capacity to entertain. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.12]


Names -- made-up
"Coined" means that a name is made up, not that its provenance is unknown. There is nothing wrong with asking the College of Arms for assistance in substantiating an applicant's claim, but you should make an effort to find out what the submitter had in mind, and to pass this information on in your letter of intent. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.20]
If part of a name is made up, this fact should ... be noted [in the LoI]. It is unfair to the heralds who are attempting to catch grammar and translation errors not to warn them that the next word they see won't be in any of their dictionaries. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.2]


Names -- mundane name
In my March 2nd cover letter, I proposed dropping Rule VII.3 altogether, on the theory that we were attempting to legislate something that was basically a matter of personal taste. The responses I have received so far (from non-heralds as well as heralds) have supported the rule. The operative principle is the need to distance the mundane individual from his or her persona, and is thought by some to be almost as fundamental as the need to wear suitable garb. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.16] [The rule in question does not permit a submitter's SCA name to be identical to his mundane name.]
In light of the responses I have received to my proposal to drop Rule VII.3, and given the underlying reason that has been advanced, I believe we need to require slightly more than a simple difference in form. I am therefore advancing the standard mentioned above (significant change in spelling or pronounciation) as a working definition. The minimum change (the one regarded as a loophole by liberals and conservatives alike) is probably the addition or removal of a single syllable. (e.g., John Smith to John the Smith). A change between de and du (assuming the result is grammatically correct) would also be sufficient. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.16]
First of all, the provision [permitting the use of the mundane given name as the SCA given name] is not (as many people seem to think) absolute. The rule further states that "Such names may not be used in such a way as to violate any other rule concerning names," and the discussion goes on to bar titles that were not used in period as given names, and to make some additional restrictions concerning conflict. In practice, this tends to allow occasional use of surnames, place names, common nouns, and out-of-period coinages, as given names. This is what is meant by "regard for whether they are in period". I do not feel this extends to blatantly inappropriate names such as that of "Moon Unit" Zappa. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.2]
The rule [permitting the use of the mundane given name as the SCA given name] is not an omission or an ambiguity, it is a specific provision, and it serves an important purpose. People's identities -- their feelings of 'self' -- are often tied up in their names, and it is not uncommon for someone to want to carry over some degree of self into her Society name. By being more lenient toward people who make this choice, we are recognizing a situation that, due to the nature of the SCA and its membership, is inevitable. This is both reasonable and sensible: failure to compromise on the issue would cost us good will and cooperation from the populace. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.2]


Names -- non-human
The consensus was that the name Arachne, which appears to be associated uniquely with the character from Greek mythology, should not be used in conjunction with spiders. [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.3]
Selene is the name of a Greek goddess, and is not, according to Withycombe, a variant of Selina. She might consider the period saint's name Céline. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.12]
The name Attila may not be used in conjunction with a white stag, in the name or the device. The mythological connection between Attila the Hun and the Great White Stag is too strong. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.15]
I [had] stated that the name Elphin would appear to be acceptable "so long as the device does not contain any of the symbols commonly associated with elves." This is a more restrictive statement than I had intended; "reeking of eldarin symbolism" is more like it. A single compass star doth not an elvish stench make. [BoE, cvr ltr, 7 Nov 84, p.2]
The only instance of Llew of which we are aware is the demi-god Llew Llaw Gyffes. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.6] [The name was returned.]
The name Ceridwen should not be used in conjunction with a cauldron or kettle -- the cauldron of Ceridwen was the fount of poetry and knowledge. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.16]
The name of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon should not be used in conjunction with horses or birds, both of which are strongly associated with her in legend. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.1]
Caer Dathyl, the home of the godlike wizard Math in the Welsh Mabinogi, is not the sort of place from which ordinary mortals would be expected to hail. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.1]
I observed one fallacy and one oversight in the text of the arguments. The fallacy was expressed in the statement that "the fact that the name thus coined [from human name themes] happens to be a dwarvish name is no barrier to its appropriateness." William and the Bastard may both be correctly combined to form a name, but the result is a recognizable conflict, and is therefore inappropriate. N. is a recognizable dwarf name, and must be dealt with as such. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.14]
This leads us to the oversight, which is the problem of perception. Let us say that I could demonstrate that the name Odin was actually used by humans. If Goodman Jack meets a person named Orm Odinsson, he is going to assume that the guy is claiming to be the son of the god, because that is how he perceives the name. ... The fact that N. is likely to be perceived as a dwarf name by the average SCA member might still make it unacceptable. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.14]
The only instance of Lleu of which we are aware is the demi-god Lleu (or Llew) Llaw Gyffes, whom Charles Squire equates with the Gaelic sungod Lugh Lamhfada. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.15] [The name was disallowed for SCA use.]
The association of Tara with magic and with the kings of Ireland is strong enough that, pending solid evidence refuting it, I must proscribe Tara from SCA use. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.13]
Gwydion may not be used as a given name in the Society. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.8]
I regard Rhiannon and Ceridwen as exceptions to the general ban on names of deities that have not been shown to have been used, in period, by humans. They should probably never have been allowed in the first place; but having been allowed, and frequently, they have gained some degree of acceptability. We had the opportunity to disallow them as the result of the October 1981 edition of the Rules for Submissions, and Master Wilhelm even attempted to do so..., but this effort obviously did not succeed. I do not see anything to be gained by attempting to do so now. The effort did succeed in the case of Gwydion, so the latter is no longer an exception. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.6]
We have just discovered, to our considerable chagrin, that roane is the Gaelic name for a seal; and more specifically, a skin-changer akin to the silkie. (Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, pp.340-341) Unless it can also be shown that Roane was used as a given name (in period), "ni Roane" is a claim to non-human ancestry. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.9]
We are familiar with Thrym only as the name of one of the Norse frost giants, and find the idea of being a giant's fosterling a bit excessive. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.13]


Names -- patronymics
[The Welsh] Merch 'daughter of' mutates to ferch following a given name. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.7]
Nic becomes ni before a consonant, and the name following is in the genitive case and aspirated. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.7] ["Nic" is the Gaelic patronymic particle, meaning "daughter of".]
Mac takes the genitive form of the given name. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.5]
Ni is used with a given name to form a patronymic; according to Batonvert, sept names take O. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.3]
A patronymic is formed from the father's given name, not his surname: the son of William Struan is called Wilson, not Struanson. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.16]
[N. Thorwynsson.] Batonvert refers to this kind of patronymic as "Anglo-Scandinavian". Apparently, Old Norse/Anglo-Saxon hybrids were not uncommon in period. We see no problem with the name. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.4] [The byname takes a component from each language.]


Names -- Puritan
According to E.G. Withycombe (pp. xxxvii-xl), the Puritan "quality" names were most rife between 1580 and 1640. The practice was late in our period, and it was uncommon, even among the Puritans. Nonetheless, if we assume that occurrences of such names were evenly distributed over the years named, fully a third of the high period lies within the scope of the SCA. This seems to me a significant enough fraction to permit documented Puritan "quality" names, or names formed on this pattern, to be registered within the SCA, at least on a case-by-case basis. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.11]


Names -- royal
I have strong reservations about permitting either Tudor or Tudora. I'm afraid that no matter how harmless or common these may have been in period, most SCA members will see only an association with the House of Tudor, which they will perceive to be a claim "that one is a member of a royal family or is of royal birth." [BoE, 12 May 85, p.4] [The name was disallowed.]
["Shire of Welfengau."] I am not convinced that it is a good idea to permit the use of a recognizable dynastic name in the name of an SCA branch. It may set a precedent we will have difficulty living with (Tudorville? Hapsburghalle?); and this would seem to legitimize an SCA name such as HEINRICH VON WELFENGAU, which others may consider a claim to membership in a royal or dynastic house. On the other hand, the branch in question is located in Guelph, Ontario, and this ought to count for something. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.9] [The submission was approved.]
["N. of Sicily-Castile".] It appears that this particular form of hyphenated surname is a designation used by modern historians to distinguish the different branches of a given royal house. According to Brigantia, "period practise would have been to link the two places with 'and' or 'et' or 'y' depending on the language. As a matter of fact ... this particular usage ... is nearly tantamount to claiming to be a member of the ruling family, if not the actual ruler, of the two places." [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p. 13]
["Wladislaw the Pole."] I have decided to err on the side of caution, and regard this as a conflict [with the several kings of Poland named Wladislaw]. It is not altogether reasonable, but it makes the rules simpler, and it makes it less likely that we will get burned by an artful piece of special pleading. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.10] [By this ruling, names of the construction [monarch's name] the [monarch's nationality] were disallowed.]
It has been previously determined that, as far as the College of Arms is concerned, the names of the clans with an hereditary claim to the shogunate of Japan are equivalent to the surnames of royal families in Europe, and so may not be registered. I agree with this decision, and am upholding it. Tokugawa may not be used. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.20]


Needle
The default position of a sewing needle in SCA armory is with point in base. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.2]


Non-heraldic design (see also period)
It is my judgement ... that punctuation marks are even less heraldic than letters of the alphabet, and so are not suitable for use in SCA heraldry. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.6]
The design, although pretty, is not heraldic. A circle of stars may surround an entire charge or group of charges, but stars surrounding only part of a charge is fantasy art. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.14]
Although it is certainly possible to construct abstract shapes by combining various ordinaries, as has been done here, the blazon is usually confusing and the overall effect non-heraldic. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.17]
[A cross between to dexter two fleurs-de-lys and to sinister two hearts.] This is unbalanced. Heraldic convention is to use four identical charges, or to place one pair of charges in bend and another in bend sinister. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.14]
The dragon is not in a recognizable heraldic position, and we have been unable to contrive a blazon that describes it adequately (i.e., from which the emblazon can be reconstructed). [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.13]
The use of three different types of the same charge (a sword) ... is visually confusing, and contrary to the spirit of heraldry. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.15]
The motif of a charge debruised by a bend or bend sinister encircled by a bordure is the international road sign symbol for "no", now widely used in everything from novelties to advertising. Despite its heraldic antecedents, it is a recognizably mundane combination, and as such is inappropriate for use in the SCA. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.10]
The [charge] is in trian aspect, which is not permitted in SCA heraldry. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.12]


Norse serpents ----- see Urnes-beasts


Numbering charges (see also semy)
[In chief six birds volant.] The small charges in chief are not recognizable; I would have to treat them as semy, and I know of no way of powdering only part of a field. Three or four martlets would be acceptable. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.19]
Nine arrows is too many to count (more than six of anything is semy), and the design is not such that it can be clearly blazoned without counting them. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.15]
[Nine charges, 1,2,3,2,1.] Semy should cover a defined area. I know of no way to blazon this configuration without enumerating the charges (which is incorrect) or resorting to barbarisms like "in lozenge". [BoE, 9 June 85, p.12] [The submission was returned.]

Return to Index


O

Oar
The default position for a boat oar is with the blade (the "business end") in chief. This appears to be true of both SCA and mundane heraldry. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.6]


Offensiveness
Offensiveness is an argument that should be invoked rarely. It is, in a sense, the most subjective reason for rejection we have -- "we don't like this" -- and rapidly loses meaning if it is applied indiscriminantly. My personal guideline is to attempt to distinguish between that which is "in poor or questionable taste" -- meaning that I find it irritating, and maybe my friends don't like it either, but if that's what the guy wants, that's his problem -- and that which is truly "offensive" -- meaning that I have reason to believe that a significant number of people will be hurt or angered by it. While the present example may be in questionable taste ("obnoxious to the heraldry", as Brigantia so adroitly put it), I cannot in good conscience construe it as offensive, nor is it a "torqued around" or "false variation" of a name. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.4]
It is my contention that [the description] "joke" is necessarily a pejorative attribute only to those whose perception of the SCA is straitened and humorless. If a name is offensive, or otherwise unacceptable, then it should be returned on those grounds, not simply because it has the capacity to entertain. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.12]


Ordinaries
Although it is certainly possible to construct abstract shapes by combining various ordinaries, as has been done here, the blazon is usually confusing and the overall effect non-heraldic. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.17] [The submission was returned.]
It seems reasonable to assume that the cotises will follow the ordinary they surround. If not, the ordinary can easily be blazoned as cotised plain. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.12]
In the fall of 1982, the College of Arms adopted the convention that the diminutive names of ordinaries are used only when there is more than one of the ordinary in question. Artistic convention allows a certain amount of latitude in the width of an ordinary; it will tend to be wider when it is charged, and narrower when there is more than one, or there are other surrounding charges. One charge is thus a chevron, no matter how wide it is, while two or more are called chevronels. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.13]
The diminutive names of ordinaries are used only when there is more than one of the ordinary in question (or when the ordinary is otherwise reduced in importance, as in a "bar enhanced"). Since there is only one diagonal stripe, it is blazoned as a bend sinister rather than a scarpe, no matter how wide it is. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.11]
Gemel means 'coupled, paired, twin'; it is derived from Latin gemellus 'twin'. (Webster's Second) Two bars are thus "a bar gemel", four bars are "two bars gemels", and so forth. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.11]
The motif of a charge debruised by a bend or bend sinister encircled by a bordure is the international road sign symbol for "no", now widely used in everything from novelties to advertising. Despite its heraldic antecedents, it is a recognizably mundane combination, and as such is inappropriate for use in the SCA. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.10]
To the best of our knowledge, a voided ordinary does not follow the edge of the field. "Thus a plain chevron has the appearance of two couple-closes, and a bend voided that of a pair of cottises." (Parker 606) [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.4]
SCA practice allows a diminutive name of an ordinary to be used only when there is more than one of the ordinary, or when the charge has been so positioned as to reduce its importance in the coat. One might thus have "a fess", "two bars", or "in base a bar", but never simply "a bar". [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Apr 86, p.2]


Orle
It was the consensus of the College of Arms that [the double tressure embattled counterembattled grady] should not be allowed. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.18]
The word orle means "border" or "hem". In medieval usage, it referred, not to a band, but to a group of charges "lining" the shield -- "an orle of martlets", for example. The nearest equivalent to the modern orle was the "false" or voided escutcheon. Unlike the orle, which takes its shape from the edge of the field, the false scucheon retained its heater shape even when borne on something besides a shield. In modern armory, the orle is a wide band within the edge of the field. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Apr 86, p.3]


Overall charges
[A ruined castle, and overall a horse.] Charges overall should not obscure the charges behind them; the ruined castle is not recognizable. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.14]

Return to Index


P

Pale
The pale offset is a new charge. See the illustration in the margin. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.2]


Pavonated
The dictionary definition of pavonated is "Coloured like a peacock's feather, as peacock copper-ore." (OED 574) Linguistically, it means roughly "peacock-like". (A peacock is by definition pavonated.) I haven't been able to find any references to pavonated in mundane heraldry, and suspect that this application is unique to the SCA. The term is used in SCA heraldry to refer to the peacock's tail, that part of his anatomy that is quintessentially 'peacock'. N. ... has suggested that the term requires some sort of directive: e.g., "pavonated to base" or a "peacock vert, pavonated gules." This seems reasonable to me. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.3]


Penner and inkhorn
A "penner and inkhorn" are conventionally shown joined by a length of cord. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.3]


Period
The base conjoined to the flaunches does not seem to be consistent with period heraldry. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.13]
Master Wilhelm's objection to the arrangement was specifically that it is not period. An objection of this sort needs to be met with either dated examples or analysis by someone qualified to speak authoritatively. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.17]
Being older does not necessarily make something more period -- in an organization whose focus is the European Middle Ages, a draft horse is far more period than an Eohippus. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.13]
When confronted with a coat that seems to evade the system of nomenclature, I tend to question the practice that requires the evasion. After all, if the language doesn't deal with the situation, it seems likely that the situation has never occurred before; ergo, we have prima facie evidence that the practice is out of period. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.7]
The ship's wheel turns out not to be a period charge. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.16]


Per pall
I have decided to stop using tierced in point in blazon. Per pall, per pall inverted, tierced in pairle, and tierced in pairle inverted are all acceptable. Per graft seems to be confined to the writings of Julian Franklyn, and the exact meaning of enté in point is unclear; both definitions are difficult to find, and the terms are not intuitively obvious. I feel therefore that they should not be used. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p.2] ["Tierced in point", "per graft", and "enté in point" all mean the same as "per pall inverted".]
Starting with letters of intent dated on or after December 1, 1985, I propose to return any submission consisting of a field divided per pall or per pall inverted, and containing non-identical charges in each of the three sections, as being too complex. This particular combination has previously been disallowed for badges (5 Jan 85, p.21); the change would be to extend the proscription to apply to devices as well. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p.2]


Persona, alternate
Although the Rules for Submission do not prohibit the registration of a fieldless badge for an alternate persona, neither do they specifically allow it... After some reflection, I have concluded that this is inconsistent with established practice, and that it would not be desirable for us to permit it. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.11]
A couple of the commentators raised the question of whether it is appropriate for the badge of an alternate persona to include a crown. We have held repeatedly that awards are the property of the person, not the persona. It is the right of the person to apportion her honors among her personae as she sees fit. If she (the person) is a duchess, then any of her alternate personae may be a duchess as well (and, for that matter, her primary persona may be a commoner). By the same token, if the person may have a crown in a personal badge, there is no reason this could not be the cognizance of an alternate persona. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.1]
The policy of the College of Arms is that secondary names (household names and alternate personae) may be registered only in conjunction with a badge. If she wishes to protect her former name, she will need to associate it with a badge. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.8]


Pile
A pile does not intersect the corners of the chief. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.9]
A medieval pile is approximately one-third the width of the chief, and is always throughout -- it resembles a tapered pale more than anything else. A modern or Tudor pile is about two-thirds the width of the chief, and extends most of the way to the base (at least as far as nombril point). A pile inverted does the same thing from the bottom up. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
A pile should extent most if not all the way to the base; properly drawn, there would not be enough room for a charge (in this case, a compass star) to fit between the pile and the base. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.18]
Given the medieval definition of a pile, I consider the difference between a pile and a pile throughout to be negligible. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.11]
The medieval pile was essentially a tapered pale -- about a third of the width of the shield at the top, and always throughout. In theory, we should not have to mention this fact in the blazon; but we also permit the wider Tudor-era pile, which was not normally throughout. As with the chevron throughout, it is an artistic convention from a somewhat earlier (or later) period. I look on this as a distinction that can be made in blazon, but that contributes no heraldic difference. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.14]
I consider the difference between "chapé" and "a pile inverted" or "per chevron throughout" to be blazonable, but worth little or nothing in terms of difference. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.6]
Society blazon does not use the term transposed for a pile issuant from base. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.7] [Such a case would be blazoned a "pile inverted".]
Piles should extend most if not all the way to the base; properly drawn, there would not be enough room for a charge to fit between them and the base. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.13]


Pitcher
"The handle (fr. corniere) should be sinister, and the lip dexter." (Parker 244, s.v. ewer) [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.11]


Pithon
An heraldic pithon is a winged serpent. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.11]
SCA heraldry uses pithon (with an "i") for winged serpents, and natural python (with a "y") for nonvenomous constrictor snakes of the boa family. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.2]


Point ----- see base


Positions, heraldic (For bird positions, see: hovering; migrant; pavonated; stooping; striking)
Sea-beasties, being without legs, are usually blazoned erect instead of rampant. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.10]
Herissony (from French hérisson 'hedgehog') is a term used in heraldry to describe a cat "with its back up." [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.11]
The dragon is not in a recognizable heraldic position, and we have been unable to contrive a blazon that describes it adequately (i.e., from which the emblazon can be reconstructed). [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.13]
[A cat lying on its back to sinister guardant.] The cat is not in a recognizable heraldic position. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.9] [The submission was returned.]
The swords were originally blazoned as respectant. While there is some precedent for this ... I feel this is poor usage. Respectant should only be used to describe animate charges. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]
"Salient to sinister" is a position, just as "passant" is. The orientation is not counted separately. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.12]
[A sea-cat "dormant in annulo".] This is a lovely picture, and beautifully drawn, but the cat is not in an heraldic position, and none of the heralds commenting on this submission (at the meeting or in correspondence) was able to suggest a blazon that was both adequately descriptive and accurate. [BoE, 8 June 86, p.7] [The submission was returned.]
Haurient isn't a very good choice of terms [for a sea-monster]; it's a fish-word (meaning "erect with head upwards") being used in place of the usual sea-monster word ("erect"). [BoE, 7 Jul 86, p.16]
[A seal displayed, tail sufflexed, in the shape of a mullet.] This is not a standard heraldic position. It renders the charge unrecognizable, and recognition -- lest we forget -- is the raison d'étre of heraldry. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.15]
Far too many ad hoc terms have been used in blazoning birds: the position is often unfathomable if you're not possessed of an emblazon. (Fox-Davies makes a similar observation about mundane armory in the Complete Guide.) It would therefore behoove us to use the existing heraldic expression ... rather than another bit of ill-defined SCA shorthand. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.3]


Prehistoric animals (see also period)
Being older does not necessarily make something more period -- in an organization whose focus is the European Middle Ages, a draft horse is far more period than an Eohippus. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.13]
[After considering the precedents and rules, pro and con:] The upshot is that we have no clear policy on the use of prehistoric animals as charges. The comments on the present submission vary widely, and do not give me enough material to offer a reasoned decision. If the applicant wishes to resubmit with a saber-toothed tiger, please ask him to present his arguments for the use of such a charge, and the College can have it out at that time. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.9]


Prepositions (see also names)
According to Batonvert, the [Welsh] preposition gan means 'with', not 'of'. 'Of the' is o yr, which contracts to o'r. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.1]
The Irish preposition meaning 'from' is o, which takes the dative case. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.7]
German von is used with the name of a place, which N. [a common noun] is not. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.18]
In general, a place name should agree in language with the preposition it follows. (The obvious exception is the preposition of -- English being the lingua franca of the Society -- and a strong case can be made for allowing similar liberties with Anglo-Norman de.) [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.1]
[A comment from Brigantia was repeated in its entirety:] "I have no problems in almost any context with using the formula given name + 'of' + place name, whatever the original languages. This is the usual historian's manner and therefore Otto of Freising is familiar to us all, though he would have been Otto von Freising or some other more German or Latinate version in most contemporary manuscripts. I think this type of situation is a 'special case' to the rule on agreement of adjectives (although the syntax should agree with the English syntax and not use the inflected cases of the place name, whether they would be appropriate in the original language or not)." [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.6]
We have changed the [German] preposition von to fra (which is both Danish and Norwegian for 'from'), so it agrees in language with the rest of the name. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.6]


Proper
The hilt of a sword proper is gold, not brown. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.5]
When a charge is blazoned as proper, its tinctures should be mentioned in the LoI. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.2]
A ford proper is a base [wavy] barry wavy argent and azure (on a color field) or azure and argent (on a metal field). The term is a specialized one, intended primarily for canting; its tinctures are part of the definition, as with a fountain or a plate. [BoE, 24 Nov 84, p.9]
Stone charges proper are gray by default (Rules IX.3). [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.7]
Flames proper on a colored field are red on the inside and gold on the outside. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.7] [On a metal field, flames proper are gold on the inside and red on the outside.]
There is no "proper" color for motley. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.12]
The fur of a gray wolf "is usually gray mixed with black and brown, but may be nearly black or, in the Arctic, nealy white." (NCE 2998) This implies that the norm is a dark gray, rather than a light or silvery gray, so there is visually little difference in tincture between [a grey wolf proper and a wolf sable]. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.10]
This was submitted as a "red roan pegasus proper," which lies within the bounds of heraldic gules. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.4] [It was registered as a "pegasus gules".]
If you submit a "proper" charge, and its colors are not well known, be sure to mention the tinctures in your letter of intent. This is especially true of natural charges. It makes it possible for the other heralds to check the submission for conflict and contrast. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p.2]
"Leather proper" is understood to be brown. I was unable to find any rulings establishing this, but a quick search of the Armorial turned up a number of registered instances of leather proper. ... The meaning seems to be intuitively obvious, so I see no problem with continuing the custom. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.2]
[Musical instrument.] Its "proper" tincture is brown, the color of wood. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.4]


Puss in Boots
[A cat rampant guardant, vested of a hat, cape and boots, bearing a rapier.] The badge is recognizable as Puss in Boots. While there is precedent for badges of this sort ... I cannot recall any other instances, and the College of Arms has a fairly ancient tradition of disallowing strong literary and historical allusions. This badge may be construed as an infringement on the character of Puss in Boots, or as a proprietary claim thereto, either of which makes it inappropriate. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.10]

Return to Index


Q

Quill of yarn (Embroiderer's)
Embroider's quill appears to be the generic name for the charge, with quill of yarn being used to specify that the quill is wound. (Shield and Crest, p. 227; Parker 226) Since this affects the outline of the charge, it is probably better to be specific. There is some possibility of confusion with the SCA usage of quill for quill pen, but embroiderer's quill of yarn is cumbersome and the tag "of yarn" ought to be sufficient warning that this is no mere feather. The charge is period; a quill of this sort appears in the 1558 grant to the Broderers' Company. (The Armorial Bearings of the Guilds of London, p. 33) [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.4]

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R

Rayonny
It would appear from the example in Parker (p.491) that an ordinary rayonny may be drawn with alternately straight and wavy rays. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.2]


Recorder
SCA convention appears to be that a flute or recorder is drawn with the holes dead-on, rather than in profile. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.10]


References
Several recent submissions have cited name books by Alfred J. Kolatch (The Jonathan David Dictionary of First Names) and Flora Gaines Loughead (Dictionary of Given Names). You should be aware that these are baby-name books, and as such "should be regarded with deep suspicion, and avoided wherever possible." [BoE, cvr ltr, 8 June 85, p.4]
[The New American Dictionary of First Names, by Leslie Dunkling and William Gosling.] The focus of the book is on recent English and American usage, which reduces its usefulness to us; it won't replace Withycombe, or Reaney, or the better references on names for a given culture. But it contains a great deal of information on periods of usage, it is careful to note when a modern given name started out as a surname or place name, and its $4.95 price places it within the reach of even the most impoverished local herald. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Sept 85, p.3]
If you cite the inestimable Oxford English Dictionary in your correspondence, please take note of the edition you are using. Most of the members of the College (myself included) use the compact edition, which is in two volumes with continuous page numbers. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Apr 86, p.2]
As has been noted before, Kolatch is a modern baby-name book, and as a source of information is completely unreliable. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.11]
Papworth, as a great many heralds seem to have forgotten, is a Victorian heraldry book. It contains some three hundred years of out-of-period armory, and much of what is period in origin is not period in blazon. It is also not necessarily a reliable source. Papworth drew heavily on the General Armory of Sir John Bernard Burke, whose work "gave currency to innumerable heraldic errors and illegitimate assumptions." (Heralds of England, p.511) J. P. Brooke-Little notes, in his introduction to the Five Barrows edition of Papworth's Ordinary, that "A considerable number of the entries [are] of bogus arms and some are wrongly blazoned." So, while Papworth may be the best source available to us for many things, it is a shaky foundation indeed upon which to build an argument mortared with the tone of moral outrage so beloved of certain of our learned colleagues. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.22]
Elvin's Dictionary of Heraldry is not a good source. Many of the practices described and illustrated are extremely late, and by our standards, are poor heraldry. His terminology is confused, and some of the things he shows have never actually been used. The book is sometimes useful as a source for illustrations of charges described in other, more reliable works, but it cannot be trusted for anything else. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.11]


Respectant
The swords were originally blazoned as respectant. While there is some precedent for this ... I feel this is poor usage. Respectant should only be used to describe animate charges. [BoE, 10 Aug 85, p.1]


Restricted (reserved) charges
This submission raised the question of whether or not it is appropriate for the arms of the crown prince to incorporate a crown or a laurel wreath. A quick check of the ordinary reveals instances of crowns being registered to crown princes (and at least one crown princess), as well as to several royal offices, so I do not think this poses a problem. The laurel wreath is another matter -- it is specifically the mark of an SCA branch, and as such is appropriate only to the arms of the sovereign. [BoE, LoAR of 31 Oct 84, p.16] [The submission was returned.]
The only restriction placed on royal peers (and the rules do not state this explicitly) is that you can't have a coronet of strawberry leaves in your arms unless you're a duke or duchess, and you can't have an embattled coronet unless you're an earl or countess. Other than that, a royal peer may have any kind of crown (yes, I said crown) he or she wishes [in their arms]. That is what the rules say, and, according to the Ordinary, that is precisely what people have been doing. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.4]
A loop of chain in any tincture is reserved to knights in the SCA. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.15]
The fleam is not a restricted charge. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.4]
Single straight trumpets are not, to the best of my knowledge, a restricted charge. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.8]
A bordure of France (ancient or modern) may not be used in SCA heraldry. ... France Ancient is an exceptional case. Our restriction of "Azure, semy-de-lys Or" should not be used as a basis for a general ban on other combinations (Brittany, Cornwall, etc.). The underlying principle may be the same, but I think the degree of recognizability is different, and it is this, not the principle itself, that justifies the ban on France Ancient. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.17]


Retort ----- see alembic flask


Rhiannon
The name of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon should not be used in conjunction with horses or birds, both of which are strongly associated with her in legend. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.1]


Ribbons
The ribbons or scrolls issuing from the wolves' mouths do not appear to be correct. I believe I have seen such in the attributed arms of saints, but I can't lay my hands on any examples at the moment, and I doubt this is an appropriate usage for mainstream heraldry. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.10]


Roane
We have just discovered, to our considerable chagrin, that roane is the Gaelic name for a seal; and more specifically, a skin-changer akin to the silkie. (Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, pp.340-341) Unless it can also be shown that Roane was used as a given name (in period), "ni Roane" is a claim to non-human ancestry. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.9]


Rose
I am inclined to treat an otherwise uncharged double rose as an organic charge, and therefore a single layer. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.4]
Master Wilhelm ruled in October 1982, and again in May 1983 that the name Corwin may not be used in conjunction with a white rose (of any kind). After reading over the comments on this submission ... I am extending the ban to include roses in any tincture. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.15]


Roundels
I received an indirect query last month regarding the special names for gouttes (goutty de larmes, de poix, etc.) and roundels (plate, bezant, etc.). The use of these names is discretionary -- if you want to blazon a roundel argent as "a roundel argent", you may certainly do so. [BoE, cvr ltr, 13 Sept 85, p.3]

Return to Index


S

SCA heraldry (see also commentary; difference; documentation; exceptions)
As much as I enjoy things Japanese, I do not feel it is in the best interests of SCA heraldry, nor is it consistent with official SCA policy, for us to regard mon as being on an equal footing with European coats of arms. For all the time we have spent discussing it, the nature of SCA heraldry is still as much a matter of conjecture and opinion as it is established fact. We cannot sustain two parallel systems of heraldry. This is what I see being urged upon us, and I suspect this is the leading cause of the confusion alluded to in the comments on this proposal. I believe we would be be better off concentrating on the similarities than the differences, finding ways to assimilate charges and design principles into a predominately European system, not establishing alternative procedures for Japanese personae. [BoE, cvr ltr, 2 Dec 84, p.3]
The Rules for Submissions (article VIII.2) state that the name and arms of an SCA branch must have the approval of a majority of its members. With baronies, shires, and other "small" branches, this is usually dealt with by requiring a petition of some sort. There does not appear to be an established procedure for obtaining approval when the branch in question is a Kingdom or Principality. I am therefore promulgating the following: (1) Any planned change to the name or arms of a Kingdom or Principality must be announced in the official branch newsletter, and sufficient time must be allowed for the populace to respond to the proposal. (2) The branch herald (or representative) is responsible for tallying the responses and seeing to it that a summary is transmitted to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. (3) The proposed change must be subscribed to by the sovereign and consort and their heirs (if any), and it must be ratified by the officers of the branch. Evidence that this has been done should be included with the submission. [BoE, 16 Dec 84, p.1]
The College of Arms exists to provide a formal vehicle for the study and practice of heraldry in the SCA. Our chief activity is to provide a service (advice on and registration of names and devices) to the members of the SCA. The registration process does involve us in regulating names and devices, but our focus should still be study and practice, not regulation. [BoE, letter on Laurel procedures, 17 Apr 85, p.4]
Heralds should be responsible for the advice they give. This means trying to find all the problems with a submission, not just stopping after sufficient grounds have been found to return it. It also means giving the applicant the benefit of the doubt if his resubmission contains a problem that was not pointed out the first time, particularly if he has attempted to meet all the objections that were mentioned. [BoE, letter on Laurel procedures, 17 Apr 85, p.4]
My experience has been that the "rules" of SCA heraldry actually reside in four places: the text of the Rules, the discussion of the Rules, rulings on individual submissions, and patterns of use. Without all four of these, no one can hope to understand SCA heraldry fully. This is one of the things that makes our system of heraldry so complicated. [BoE, 20 Oct 85, p.19]
I feel we have an obligation to try to be fair to people whose submissions were en route at the time a change took place; but I also feel that this obligation is bidirectional. A certain amount of compromise is necessary on both sides. ... By exempting the submitter from the change he precipitates, we deny ourselves the right to correct mistakes until they have become irrevocable. By subjecting the submitter to the changes, we deny our role as a service organization. Neither extreme is acceptable as a universal solution. [BoE, cvr ltr, 29 Dec 85, p. 4-5]
It needs to be borne in mind that SCA heraldry is a compromise. Our system is compounded of elements drawn from many different places and times. It can never be made completely "pure", nor can it accommodate every request, no matter how reasonable. [BoE, 6 Apr 86, p.9]


Scissors
We have been using the term scissors in order to distinguish this charge from the more conventional heraldic shears (Parker 614). The shape is period; see The Book of Trades, "The Embroiderer" (p. 33) and "The Tailor" (p. 53). [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.1]
The scissors pictured here are a modern, ergometric pair. Please use a more period representation. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.1]


Scourge
In light of past rulings barring (1) skinny charges counterchanged along the long axis, (2) vair cotises, and (3) ermine fimbriation, we feel that the handle and lashes of a scourge are too thin to display the characteristics of any of the heraldic furs. (The same is true, by analogy, of such a charge semy, fretty, etc.) [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.17]
The scourge is a documented heraldic charge, representing "the whip (by which name it may be blazoned) whereby certain saints and martyrs suffered, and which was self-inflicted by the flagellants." (Franklyn & Tanner, p. 295) ... It is my considered opinion that, in the absence of some addition allusion to reinforce its role as an instrument of slavery or torture (or a B&D symbol), the scourge or whip is an acceptable charge. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.17]


Segreant
A couple of submissions from Trimaris added a new twist -- a pegasus segreant -- which, understandably, drew objections from some of the commenting heralds. This usage certainly isn't supported by the heraldry books. I feel this is a valid usage, though, given the apparent definition of the term. ... Woodward (p.703) says the term is "Applied to wyverns and gryphons when represented rampant with endorsed or expanded wings." Again, the term is being used for a monster that is both pounding and spreading its wings. Since a pegasus is also "halfe byrd, half beast," I do not think it inappropriate to apply the term segreant to it as well. The term is certainly period, and is being used in accordance with its (period) definition. Had dragons and pegasi been as popular in mundane armory as they are in the SCA, I suspect our real-world counterparts would be using it in the same fashion. [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.6]


Semy
[Per pale purpure and purpure semy-de-lys, with no ordinary separating the two areas.] Semy should cover a defined area, not part of a field. The effect here is visually confusing and unbalanced. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.14]
According to Pye, "If there were six or [fewer] charges the number was normally specified; if more than six they were considered to be semy." (A return to first principles: III - Semy. Coat of Arms VII(53): 206-208.) [BoE, 9 June 85, p.12]
[Nine charges, 1,2,3,2,1.] Semy should cover a defined area. I know of no way to blazon this configuration without enumerating the charges (which is incorrect) or resorting to barbarisms like "in lozenge". [BoE, 9 June 85, p.12] [The submission was returned.]
[Per pale Or and argent, semy of roses overall.] If we accept Roger F. Pye's assertion that semy is a group of charges, then there is no reason the charges could not overlap the line of division. Despite the absence of examples, the practice would seem to [be] consistent with mundane (and presumably period) heraldic practice. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.7]
Although there are some mundane examples (I don't know the period), SCA practice requires that semy consist of only one type of charge. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.13]
In light of the writings of Roger F. Pye ("A return to first principles: III - Semy") and Eowyn Amberdrake ("An essay on semé"), I have decided to treat semy as a group of charges. This appears to be more consistent with mundane armory than our present policy of considering semy to be a treatment of the field. ... Semy is defined as "strewn with as many identical charges as will reasonably fit." The number of charges is not specified. On a field, this generally means that there are more than six. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.1]
Mistress Eowyn's research in period rolls of arms has shown three ways of depicting semy on the field: (a) as small whole charges; (b) as if cut from cloth, with partial charges at the edges of the field; and (c) in a combination, with whole charges wherever possible, "but if the edges of the shield get in the way, or the main charge gets too flamboyant, then cut off the charges as needed." All three of these depictions are acceptable. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
On a bordure, semy is drawn as an uncounted number of whole charges. A bordure semy of roundels may be blazoned as "a bordure charged with roundels." [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
On the field, semy tends to be placed around, rather than under, any overall charges. Thus, while it does contribute to the complexity of a coat, semy on the field is at the same level as the overall charges (i.e., it does not increase the number of layers). On a charge, semy adds depth ... The dividing line is whether the semy lies on the field or on the charges. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
For purposes of difference, a bordure semy is identical to a charged bordure. This means that, under our present system of difference, the addition of a bordure semy is worth a major plus a minor point of difference. This is a change from existing policy. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
Ermine is a special case: although it sometimes takes on some of the characteristics of a semy, it is not a semy itself. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.2]
I would be inclined to allow a minor point (perhaps a strong minor, depending on the composition of the rest of the device) for the addition of a semy to half a field. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.3]


Shamrock ----- see trefoil


Slippers
The slippers are not recognizable in this position; like boots and shoes, they should be shown in profile. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.18]


Spider
The consensus was that the name Arachne, which appears to be associated uniquely with the character from Greek mythology, should not be used in conjunction with spiders. [BoE, 28 Aug 84, p.3]


Spoon
A spoon in profile is only barely recognizable. Please turn it around so the bowl is dead-on. [BoE, 31 Oct 84, p.20]


Spur-rowel ----- see mullets


Stone
At the very least, [the edifices] should be masoned, this apparently being the convention for charges (walls, arches, etc.) made of stone. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.25]
Stone charges proper are gray by default (Rules IX.3). [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.7]


Stooping
A bird stooping is by default seen from the side. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.1]
The characteristics of a kestrel stooping are as follows: Wings raised, swept back; tail closed, between and in same direction as wings; body vertical (head down); feet back until just before strike, then stretched toward prey; talons spread or half-spread; head pointing down, or at prey when close to strike (which is always from above). [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.2]
Effective with the submission in this letter, I am reserving the term stooping for birds that are actually in a stoop. [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.3]


Striking
Striking, like stooping, appears to be unique to SCA armory. Our birds striking are, in fact, indistinguishable heraldically from birds rising, wings elevated and addorsed, and there's a strong argument for abandoning our expression in favor of the mundane one. [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.3]
When I described the position common to most of the birds "striking" I found in the files, Lady Kiriel said this sounded reasonable, so I have decided to adopt this as the standard definition: rising, wings elevated and addorsed, talons extended. For purposes of difference, striking is indistinguishable from rising. [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.3]
I have decided to retain the term ["striking"] whenever feasible, in existing blazons, and to substitute it (when appropriate) for birds that have been blazoned incorrectly as stooping. My general policy has been to apply the term only when it is exactly appropriate, and to use "rising" in all other cases (such as when the wing position has been changed). [BoE, cvr ltr, 25 Aug 86, p.3]


Sun (see also eclipsed)
[A hand proper holding a sun Or.] The hand, which is light in color, is visually a continuation of the sun, so I am inclined to treat the hand-and-sun combination as a modified sun. Visually, I find this to be a major point different from a sun eclipsed ..., a minor point from an unmodified sun ..., and a slightly stronger minor point from a demi-sun. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.11]


Swan
An heraldic swan has a characteristic curved neck, and Julian Franklyn seems to feel there is a recognized difference between the two: "It is apt to be disastrous when a heraldic swan is so poorly represented as to appear like a heraldic goose." (Shield and Crest, p. 117) [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.8]


Sword
The hilt of a sword proper is gold, not brown. [BoE, 28 Sept 84, p.5]
The use of three different types of the same charge (a sword) ... is visually confusing, and contrary to the spirit of heraldry. [BoE, 14 Jul 85, p.15]
The College found the term Morris rose unclear, and a couple of the heralds questioned whether it was necessarily accurate. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.4] [The submission was registered as "eight swords interlaced to form an eight-pointed mullet."]

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T

Tara
Nothing was mentioned in the comments on this submission to support the assertion that Tara was the sort of place from which ordinary folk might hail; in fact, the only source cited (Magical and Mystical Sites by Elizabeth Pepper and John Wilcock) states, "Tara was always, apparently, more a place for special events than for day-to-day living. [This] suggests that anyone claiming to be "of Tara" is attempting to associate him or herself with either the Irish gods or the High Kings. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I am forced to conclude that Tara should be prohibited altogether. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.16]
The historical and mythological connotations of the place name Tara are such that it does not appear to be a normal place of human habitation. Some attribute this to the magical and religious associations of the site; others to its place in history and legend as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. The fact remains that many perceive the byname of Tara as a presumptuous claim. Until this objection has adequately been met, I am unwilling to permit use of the name. ... The association of Tara with magic and with the kings of Ireland is strong enough that, pending solid evidence refuting it, I must proscribe Tara from SCA use. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.13]


Teeth
[Fanged tooth.] Teeth are, in fact, used in mundane armory. Woodward (p. 203) cites the coats of CAIXAL of Spain, and the Dutch KIES. The terminology is courtesy of Shield and Crest: "The [charge], blazoned as a fanged tooth (the insignia of St. Appollonia), is drawn as a molar, the fangs being the roots, but it is a Continental charge, almost unknown in British heraldry." (p.139) [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.7]
[Bear's tooth.] It should be noted that there is no heraldic difference between this charge and a drinking horn. [BoE, 16 Feb 86, p.10]


Tergiant
The lobsters were submitted as "tergiant displayed." I don't believe that displayed adds anything of value to the blazon, for the artist or for the herald. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.8]
Tergiant (from the Latin tergum, "back") means "turned with its back to the viewer." [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.6]


Thin-line heraldry
The heraldic difference between voiding and fimbriation is negligible. [BoE, cvr ltr, 10 Oct 84, p.2]
Umbration, or adumbration, is known in SCA armory as "chasing." "Chased means voided but with the interior details and lines still showing as well as the outline." (WvS, 22 Jan 80, p.3; in Prec III:14) The practice was disallowed in April 1982, as part of the general ban on "thin-line heraldry" that also restricted voiding and fimbriation. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.13]
"Thin-line heraldry" [is] either discouraged or disallowed (depending on the degree) in SCA armory. [BoE, 6 April 86, p.10]


Tierced in point ----- see per pall


Titles (see also heraldic titles)
It appears that the style "Laird of [Household Name]", if not actually a landed title, is enough like one to constitute assumption of unearned honors. ... There is some informal precedent for the use of Laird as a prenominal title equivalent to Lord (e.g. "Laird Robert MacIntosh"); but as N. has pointed out, the Scots Gaelic term formally approved by Laurel is Tighearn(a) . I do not have enough information at this point to know if Laird is also correct. [BoE, cvr ltr, 8 June 85, p.2]


Trefoil
It appears that the conventional representation of the trefoil, in SCA as well as mundane heraldry, includes the stalk. Mundane idiom is to mention this fact in the blazon, even though it is always present. Fox-Davies and the Lynch-Robinsons (who have reputations as reformers) consider slipped or stalked to be redundant, and feel this should be omitted from the blazon. SCA heralds seem for the most part to have followed their advice. I consider both forms of blazon to be correct and will register whichever is submitted. [BoE, cvr ltr, 9 Nov 85, p.2]
My assumption (reinforced by the research I had done for the article on trefoils in the 9 November cover letter) was that a "shamrock" was a specific stylization of a trefoil, distinguishable in blazon but not in terms of difference. [BoE, cvr ltr, 30 Mar 86, p.3]


Trian aspect
The [charge] is in trian aspect, which is not permitted in SCA heraldry. [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.12]


Triskelion
Since neither the mundanes nor we seem to have established a "default" orientation, and given the difficulty of distinguishing a "clockwise" triskelion from an "anti-clockwise" one, even when the two are side-by-side (try it in several rotations), I have come to the conclusion that there is no standard direction of rotation. A triskelion is simply "a triskelion," no matter which way it runs, and the artist may draw it as he pleases. [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.5]


Trumpets
Single straight trumpets are not, to the best of my knowledge, a restricted charge. [BoE, 9 June 85, p.8]
The seal of a Principal Herald must include the crossed straight trumpets of the College of Arms as a major design motif. [BoE, cvr ltr, 18 Jan 86, p.2]


Tudor, Tudora
I have strong reservations about permitting either Tudor or Tudora. I'm afraid that no matter how harmless or common these may have been in period, most SCA members will see only an association with the House of Tudor, which they will perceive to be a claim "that one is a member of a royal family or is of royal birth." [BoE, 12 May 85, p.4] [The name was disallowed.]

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U

Umbration ----- see thin-line heraldry


Unicorn
Please use either a horse (without a horn) or a unicorn (with beard, tufts, and a lion's tail). [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.14]
Unicorns have beards! Please correct the emblazon. [BoE, 25 Aug 85, p.11]


Unicornate
I dislike creating new monsters by gluing unicorn's horns to their brows, and I have been unable to find unicornate in any dictionary, heraldic or otherwise, but....... [BoE, 19 Jan 86, p.7] [The submission was approved.]
Unicorn's horns, on the other hand, contribute little to the beasts onto which they are grafted, and in at least one case (the "unicornate horse") they blur the distinctions between existing charges. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.15] [The unicornate horse is no longer permitted; it should be either a horse or a unicorn.]


Urnes-beasts
There are, at this time, two specific varieties of Urnes-beast defined for use in SCA heraldry: the "Norse one-legged serpent" of Brynhildr Kormaksdottir, and the "Jelling-beast" of Asbjorn Gustavsson of Roed. (Please note that the captions for these two charges on the illustration page of the Armorial are reversed.) People wishing to use this particular motif should adhere as closely as possible to one of the defined forms. [BoE, cvr ltr, 12 Jul 86, p.3]
Most of the Norse serpents in use appear to be Urnes beasts (the serpent, not the quadruped). My current inclination is to leave this definition in place, and to adopt the Sjua stone representation as the standard for such creatures nowed. Brynhildr's and Reynard's blazons would thus remain unchanged, Kristin's could be restored to its original form, and Asbjorn's and Thomas's Jelling-beasts would become Norse one-legged serpents -- one creature, found in three positions. [BoE, cvr ltr, 1 Aug 86, p.3]

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V

Vair
Vairy of four colors has not, to the best of my knowledge, been accepted for use in SCA heraldry, and I am not convinced that it is desirable. [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.20] [The submission was returned.]
The heraldic references seem to agree that potent originated as an artistic variant of vair. There is at best a minor point between the two. [BoE, 10 Mar 85, p.20] [In the Aug 86 edition of the Rules for Submission, they were deemed negligibly different.]


Vercingetorix
To the best of our knowledge, there was only one Vercingetorix, and he was certainly important enough to be considered "truly famous" within the meaning of RFS VI.4. [BoE, 18 May 86, p.10]


Vertebra
The lumbar vertebra is not a recognizable charge. [BoE, 10 Nov 85, p.9]


Visual test (see also conflict)
The [visual] test works one way only, to recognize conflict; not to establish difference. [BoE, 15 Sept 85, p.17]
There are unquestionably cases where the visual standard [of contrast] should be allowed to override the technical standard (either way); but if you make the visual test your standard, you lose your "tie-breaker" -- the tool that makes it possible for you to make difficult decisions consistently. You also place yourself at the mercy of the emblazon, which may vary, and which may not even be heraldically "correct". [BoE, cvr ltr, 22 Feb 86, p.4]


Volant
[Pegasus volant vs. pegasus rampant.] The difficulty here is that the position of a winged beast volant is ill defined. We can recall instances of bodies courant and springing, and would doubtless find others if we searched the files. Since body position has been left to the caprice of the artist, we see no alternative but to disallow this, except in the most extreme cases, as a source of difference. It is our recommendation that, in the future, no winged beast be blazoned as "volant." "Passant, wings elevated and addorsed" (or whatever) -- with a stricture to the designers to place their beasts in suitably heraldic positions to begin with -- would avoid such ambiguities in future coats. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.17]


Vulture
Vultures are probably best represented in profile; displayed, they are indistinguishable from eagles and other raptors. [BoE, 9 Mar 86, p.14]

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W, X, Y, Z

Weirdnesses (see also non-heraldic design)
There are a number of problems with this device, each fairly small if considered by itself; but taken together, they go far enough outside the bounds of both mundane and SCA heraldry to make this unacceptable. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.10]
The applicable principle here is a rule of thumb sometimes referred to as the "Rule of Two Weirdnesses" -- one borderline practice ("weirdness") is marginally acceptable, but it costs the applicant the benefit of the doubt; if there is a second problem, the aggregate is sufficient to return the whole, and perhaps to insist that all problems be corrected (since the submission needs to be revised anyway). Two isn't a hard number -- this is a subjective judgement, so the arithmetic tends to be analog, rather than digital -- but it's a convenient quantity for expressing the idea of "more than one." [BoE, 18 May 86, p.19]


Wheel
These is at best a minor point of difference between a wheel and an escarbuncle. [BoE, 15 Dec 85, p.14]
The ship's wheel turns out not to be a period charge. [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.16]
The common heraldic wheels are the Catherine-wheel, Cart-wheel, Water-wheel, and Mill-wheel. (Parker 619-620) [BoE, 3 Aug 86, p.16] [In SCA heraldry, the Spinning wheel or Wool-wheel is also common.]


Wings
[Wings conjoined.] When the tips are turned downwards, the wings are said to be conjoined in l(e)ure. The only contradiction we found was Fox-Davies' Complete Guide to Heraldry (p.239), where the definition in the text disagreed with the other sources we consulted (Parker, Woodward, Brooke-Little) and with its own illustration. ... When the tips are turned upwards, the wings are simply said to be conjoined. In French heraldry, this charge is termed a vol. [BoE, cvr ltr, 8 June 85, p.3]


Wolf
The fur of a gray wolf "is usually gray mixed with black and brown, but may be nearly black or, in the Arctic, nealy white." (NCE 2998) This implies that the norm is a dark gray, rather than a light or silvery gray, so there is visually little difference in tincture between [a grey wolf proper and a wolf sable]. [BoE, 12 May 85, p.10]


Wolf-hook
Wolf-hook is the continental term for the charge known to British heralds as a crampon or cramp-iron. (Shield and Crest, p. 250) [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.3]


Wreaths, wreathing
This submission raised the question of whether or not it is appropriate for the arms of the crown prince to incorporate ... a laurel wreath. ... [The laurel wreath] is specifically the mark of an SCA branch, and as such is appropriate only to the arms of the sovereign. [BoE, LoAR of 31 Oct 84, p.16] [The submission was returned.]
[Wreathing of one color.] I find this usage questionable, and judging from the comments on this submission, the College of Arms is of like mind. (Mundane practice is apparently to twist together a strand of color with a strand of metal.) I have reblazoned the fess according to N.'s suggestion (invected, "with any interior design considered to be diapering"); and unless sufficient mundane precedent can be found, I will disallow any future instances of wreathed of one color. [BoE, 3 Feb 85, p.8]
A wreath may be either closed (annular) or open (penannular). If it is open, it should be called a wreath, not a chaplet. Laurel wreaths are depicted as open, sometimes (but not always) with the stems crossed at the bottom. A wreath may or not have flowers, but it should have foliage. [BoE, cvr ltr, 7 Apr 85, p.3]
A chaplet is a closed (annular) figure. The standard heraldic chaplet is represented as a ring of foliage with four flowers in cross. This particular figure should be called a chaplet, not a wreath. [BoE, cvr ltr, 7 Apr 85, p. 3]
The heralds commenting on this submission still found the chaplet of pansies too similar to a chaplet of roses. Both flowers are basically round (or round with lobes); and since there is no set tincture for reginal roses, the pansy's coloring doesn't make it distinctive. If one is not a countess, it is best to avoid wreaths or chaplets of flowers altogether. [BoE, 14 Apr 85, p.14]


Wyn
A wyn (an alternate form of the word vane) is a small flag. (Parker 264) [BoE, 5 Jan 85, p.5]

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