August 27, 1980 XV

To: All Members of the College of Arms

From: Master Wilhelm von Schlu:ssel, OL, OP, LOM, QOG, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the August Letter of Acceptances and Rejections. Enclosed also is a copy of a letter I am sending out to the royalty and chivalry of the seven kingdoms, concerning a proposal from Meridies. Concerning the Heraldic Symposium it will be held on the weekend prior to WorldCon next year. Any herald may send in a paper on any heraldic subject. you do not have to attend, but it will be fun to do so if you can. A correction of a typo, it is the Barony of Tir Ysgithr, not the Barony of Tir Ysgithyr. I added an extra y by mistake last month.

A few quick notes. Dovetailed is in fact out of period but has been accepted for use in the SCA as it is compatible with period usage. Dancetty is not a line of division at all, but is a treatment of an ordinary. Indented is the line of division. If you want three points call it indented of three points. Dancetty means to indent the chief part of the ordinary and to counter-indent the base part, yielding a series of conjoined lozenges. An ordinary indented is indented on both sides unless otherwise specified, yielding a sawtooth line effect. The small scale indenting is out of period and I would rather not see it, although I will not reject a device for using it. Note that dancetty can only be used on an ordinary that has two sides. You cannot have a chief or a base or a bordure dancetty.


On the prompting of Master Theodulf of Borogrove, Baron of Madrone and Dexter Gauntlet Pursuivant in An Tir, I have researched the color of SSS's used in England. I enclose a copy of the material I found in Parkers. It seems the collar was a Lancastrian badge granted by King Henry IV to all nobility in England to use as a sign of their station. Therefore I hereby allow its use in the SCA by anyone holding a Grant of Arms or a Patent of Arms. The holder of a Grant may wear just the collar. The holder of a of a Grant may wear just the collar. The holder of a Patent may wear the collar plus the other insignia of the rank. A Master or Mistress of the Laurel could either hang the medallion of the order from the collar or else incorporate it into the collar. Once can also do this with all other medallions. Now we finally have a proper method of displaying the many medallions a person can accumulate after years of hard work. (Counting my medallion of office I have five, which is a bit much to display at once on separate chains). Note that a Grant holder who was a member of a non-patent order could display the medallion of that order. As this is a general use badge in England I think it is acceptable for us to use it too, as we are also using the English titles of nobility, the English forms of address, and the English crowns of rank. By restricting the use of the collar to Grant Holders and up, we finally have a symbol to differentiate Grant Holders from Award Holders.

I would like all College members to send copies of their letters to me on official College matters to the other members of the College, and to do so on a timely basis. Do not save them up for several months, and then mail the whole packet, as I have heard that some do. If you send me a letter of comment on Caid's letter of intent, and also send Crescent a copy at the same time, he has a chance to send me a letter of reply before I act on the submissions.

A question has arisen in the West that I will put to the Board, but I will mention now. The question is who takes precedence, the ruling noble or the superior officer? If the King says one thing and I have said the opposite, who does the Principal Herald obey? If a Prince says one thing and the Principal Herald has said the opposite, who does the Principality Herald obey?

The Laurel King of Arms derives authority from the Corpora. I speak for the Board of Directors in all heraldic matters. The Sovereign of a kingdom also derives authority from the Corpora. In my sphere of authority I can overrule a King. In his sphere of authority a King can overrule me. No King can grant an actual blazon when awarding arms to someone. I expect any herald to refuse to announce such a violation of corpora. On the other hand were I to proclaim an SCA Order of Precedence to be used in all Kingdoms I would be infringing on the powers of the Kings. A King could rightly order his Principal Herald to order the Grand March the way the King wanted it done. The Herald should obey the King in this matter. The difficulty comes when it is not clear which of us is in the right. It can be very difficult to openly disobey a King at a King's own court, yet to disobey my orders is to disobey one's superior officer. What's a herald to do? So I am putting the question to the Board to know who takes priority when. In the meantime I repeat to you the advice given me by Master Harold Breakstone, Laurel Emeritus and former Tribune of the SCA. The Seneschal is the legal representative of the Board in addition to his position as an officer of the kingdom. Therefore in case of conflict the herald should formally request from the Seneschal a legal ruling on which authority to obey. The Herald should then follow the Seneschal's ruling for that event and then after the event write to his heraldic superior. This puts the burden on the Seneschal instead of the Herald, but at least the Herald is off the hook for the court in progress.

The new edition of the SCA Ordinary and Armorial is now in print. All Principal Heralds and Principality Heralds will receive a copy of the new printing free. There are 200 copies so I want to give the heralds of the seven kingdoms first chance to buy before I advertise in the newsletters. Please let your Kingdom's heralds know about it. The price of the Ordinary and Armorial is $6. Sending the thing 4th class costs $1.03. First Class postage varies by postal zone. For zones 1, 2, and 3 the postage is $2.11. For Zone 4 it's $2.27, Zone 5: $22.46, Zone 6: $2.68, Zone 7: $2.89, and Zone 8:$3.16. The check for six dollars plus postage should be made out to J. Edmund Rush, and sent to Master Renfield c/o J. Edmund Rush, 10417 Johnson Ave., Cupertino, California 95014. He will then send out the copies in the indicated fashion. If you can arrange courier service that's fine. You may order multiple copies. The next printing of the Ordinary will be Summer, 1981. There may be update sheets between now and then if Master Renfield can work that out.

Triton has brought up the question of Heraldic Courts of Chivalry. It seems the East is talking about writing one into Kingdom Law. It is the opinion of myself and my staff that such a court is probably more trouble than it is worth, but if a kingdom must have one here are some guidelines:

1) It should only be called by the Sovereign or by the Principal Herald.

2) It should only be called for persistent public violations of the College of Arms Rules and Decisions and the Kingdom's Heraldry Laws (if any). It should only be called after repeated refusal to obey desist requests by the Principal Herald, and after all forms of persuasion have been used. Please note that the defendant may request of the Sovereign or Principal Herald that a court be held to clear his or her name of a heraldic infraction already tried by innuendo in the populace. It is then up to either the Sovereign or the Principal Herald to call a court.

3) The procedures for the court should be the same as for a normal Court of Chivalry.

4) Abatements are not allowed. They are out of period. I will automatically grant any appeal of an abatement. Sentences could range from reprimand to loss of fighting rights at events for a set time to banishment from all kingdom events. The sentence may run until the infraction ceases or for a set period of time. It should not ever be permanent. The sentence may also include a prohibition against doing whatever the defendant did to bring on the court in the first place, with preset penalties should the infraction happen again. The best sentence is probably a cease and desist order combined with a reprimand.

5) The Principal Herald should preside over the Court. If the Principal Herald is not present then a designated successor should preside. In any event a herald must preside over a Heraldic Court of Chivalry.

6) The Court should consist of the Principal Herald, the Sovereign, the Consort, the Earl Marshall, the Kingdom Seneschal, and the heraldic officers for the defendant branch, from Principality down to shire. A majority of the jury should be heralds. This is, after all, a Heraldic court of chivalry.

7) There should be a right of appeal within thirty days to the Laurel King of Arms. After that time the verdict stands. The verdict must be rendered within seven days of the trial. The thirty days of appeal begin the day the defendant is notified of the verdict. The Laurel King of Arms, if an appeal is received, may suspend the sentence until the appeal is acted upon.

I would like to hear from the rest of you concerning the use of names and places from fiction. So far the votes are running in favor of continuing to allow this practice. If anyone else has a topic they would like voted on suggest it to me in your letters and I will put it to a vote. here is another question. We have dropped the prohibition against magic clause, but retain the right to reject magical charges if the charges themselves violate the restriction against offensive devices. Are there any magical symbols that any of you do find offensive in this manner? Begin with consideration of the pentagram, and go from there.

My next College of Arms meeting will be September 14, 1980. As that time I will process all submissions through July 14, 1980. The meeting after that will be on October 12, 1980, passing on all submissions up to August 12, 1980. Thus you will have at least sixty days to comment on letters. Please try to get the comments in within the thirty day standard period so the Principal Herald of the kingdom in question has a chance to respond during the second thirty days. Anyone who wants to attend one of these meetings when visiting out here is welcome to. You can see for yourself that we do read and use your comments. (How about it, Baldwin? You could come tot he October meeting and stay for the Mists Coronet Tourney the next weekend.) All kidding aside, I would actually enjoy seeing anyone attend these meetings. Crash space is no problem.

Until next time then, pray believe, My Lords and My Ladies, that I remain,

Your Servant,


Wilhelm von Schlu:ssel, OL, OP, OLM, QOG

Laurel King of Arms