April 22, 1984 A.S. XVIII

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the LoAR for April, with 132 acceptances and 26 returns, for a total of 158, an acceptance rate of 84%. By May 12, 1984, I will need all LoCs on the following 7 LoIs (which will be processed at my Saturday, May 19 meeting): Atlantia (1/21), Middle (1/26), An Tir (2/1), Calontir (2/6), Meridies (2/8), West (2/13), and Caid (2/22), totalling 154 submissions.

By June 9, 1984, I will need all LoCs on the following 7 LoIs (which will be processed at my June 17 meeting): East (2/29), Ansteorra (3/6), Caid (3/12), West (3/12), Calontir (3/12), East/Middle (3/17), and Middle (3/23), totalling 122 submissions. (The East/Middle letter is their single joint badge submission.)

By July 14, 1984, I will need all LoCs on the LoIs that I will process at my July 22 meeting, including, so far: Meridies (3/28), Calontir (4/147), West (4/8), Caid ~4/17), and Middle (4/19). (Calontir 4/1&7 should be treated as one letter, since one bears a single submission.)

Please add onto the mailing list the following commentors: Ælfaelen Dracasidth, Third Shield Herald (c/o Dee Redman, 309 S. 6th Street, Lafayette, IN 47901); Hilary of Fairehaven, Regional Herald for North Carolina (c/o Robin Clawson, 1777 Cawdor, Fayetteville, NC 28304); Thomas of Wakefield, Regional Herald for South Carolina (c/o Tom Sena, 5014 Alpha Street, N. Charleston, SC 29406); Wolfgang von Volkersheim, Lanner Herald (c/o Steve Westerman, 4145 Locust, 3N, Kansas City, MO 64110). Please remove Corona from the mailing list, as her work with the SCA Demographic Survey leaves her no time to comment.

I have not received any LoCs from Lincoln or Aestel in three months. Aten, Dragon, Star, and Triton are behind also, but I have decided that it is important for the Principal Heralds to have access to the Letters of Comment and Intent from other areas, even if they cannot themselves comment. If a Principal Herald lives close to another commentor (as is the case with Vesper and Beacon), s/he can read or get copies of the letters from that commentor. When the Principal Herald is not close to another commentor, it is worthwhile for them to get the letters directly, even if they cannot comment. I therefore make it a request, but not a requirement, that Principal Heralds comment on LoIs. If a Principal Herald does not comment on LoIs, then a representative must be appointed who will do so. When possible, I encourage a Principal Herald who cannot comment regularly to withdraw from the mailing list and get copies of the letters from a nearby commentor, so as to reduce the mailing costs of the other members. A Principal Herald shall have the right to remain on the mailing list without fear of being dropped for lack of commenting, but also has the moral obligation to comment as often as possible.

The SCA Ordinary & Armorial is now in production. Printing should be completed in early May. Those who sent in advance orders should begin receiving their copies by the end of May (if they opted for first-class mail). Mistress Rebecca of Twywn has been added to my staff as Cypher Herald, in charge of the SCA Order of Precedence, which is nearing completion. Rough copies of individual kingdom printouts have been sent to each kingdom for corrections. The Authentic Names Book is proceeding well. I plan to have it in print by August. Next month I hope to issue an updated Rules for Heraldic Submissions, incorporating all changes to date. I will also have an alphabetical list of all branch names prepared by Lord Fergus de Maundeville. This will allow heralds to assist new branches in choosing names that do not conflict, and will provide examples of what is already in use. The Ordinary & Armorial contains a list of orders and awards, a list of heraldic titles, a list of charges in use in the SCA, and a list of name elements in use in the SCA, with their frequency of occurrence in the Armorial. I have also begun work on an SCA Herald's Handbook.

At the April 15 meeting the BoD made its decision on the Laurel Office. Enclosed is a copy of the letter from the Chairman of the BoD, Duke Siegfried von Höflichkeit (Dave Thewlis). The Board's decision was that, in keeping with its policy of moving the corporate offices around,, it was time to move the Laurel Office to another area. My own popularity and performance were not in dispute. 80 percent of the College sent in their questionnaires, and of those who indicated a preference, I was preferred over Master Baldwin by a four-to-one ratio. The BoD members praised my performance and accomplishments. Their decision was based on their perception that it was simply time to give another area a chance. I am naturally disappointed but I accept their decision. I am most grateful for the support and approval expressed by the College, and for the effort and support the College has provided over the last five years. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you all and I am very proud of the present status of the College. I hope that you will all continue to aid Master Baldwin in maintaining and improving the high standards that we have achieved.

The transfer of office will occur at the Heraldic Symposium on Sunday, August 26, 1984 (A.S. XIX), as the first item of business of the College of Arms meeting that day. I hope that as many of you as possible will attend. I will continue to remain active after the Symposium as a commentor on the mailing list, as well as complete those projects not finished by then. I would like to welcome Master Baldwin back into the College, and I hereby place him on the mailing list. I ask that every commentor send copies of their letters to him, so that he may get to know all of you and be brought up to date in our discussions before he takes office. His address is c/o Derek Foster, 15661 California Street, Tustin, CA 92680. Until the office does transfer, please continue to send all LoIs with their forms to me, as well as all LoCs, so that the Laurel files are coherent and complete.

The BoD rewarranted Mistress Aelflaed of Duckford for another term as Steward and announced that the new BoD members who will take office at the July 14/15, 1984 meeting, are Duke Sigmund the Wingfooted (who therefore had to resign as Deputy Steward) and Mistress Eowyn Amberdrake. Sir Lorin sur la Roche ended his term of office on the BoD and was thanked for his service. The BoD will stay with quarterly meetings, attempting to have one meeting a year outside of California. The Registrar reported that the decline in membership has levelled out. From a peak of 10,218 in February 1983 (when the dues were raised), the count had dropped to 8,863 in February 1984, but by the end of March 1984 had risen to 9,153. (In previous years, the count had grown at an average annual rate of 40%.) All kingdoms have over 500 members on their kingdom newsletter mailing list, with Caid and the East tied for top at 1,422 each.

Mistress Alison von Markheim presented the first draft of her Demographic Survey of the Society. The BoD accepted the two sections dealing with mundane and SCA demographics for publication in T.I., but asked that most of the third section be done later as an Opinion Survey. The most urgent of the questions in the opinion section would be included in the Demographic Survey. The proposals resulting from the Board Poll were reviewed. Many were procedural in nature. The BoD added procedures for impeaching BoD members and authorized, on a case-by-case basis, the establishment of ad hoc Interkingdom Councils to settle specific issues in the SCA that the BoD feels should be so resolved. (No such issues are under discussion.) The BoD made the Steward and Corporate Secretary (and the deputies of the Corporate Office) paid employees of the SCA. In lieu of becoming a paid employee, the Treasurer (Chancellor of the Exchequer) was authorized to purchase a word-processor system. The BoD adopted guidelines and procedures for dealing with membership denials and revocations. The membership list will not be sold.

The BoD added to Corpora a restriction to the effect that the Crown may not give any armigerous award, title or membership in an order to the subject of another kingdom without the prior written acknowledgement and agreement of the Crown of that subject's kingdom. A member resident in one kingdom may claim allegiance to another kingdom, but in such a case it is up to both kingdoms to determine if any residency requirements are met by that member. The residency requirements are not automatically met.

The BoD authorized the kingdoms, if they so choose, to require paid membership in the SCA in order to receive any armigerous award, title or membership in an order, either completely or in certain specified awards (such as just for the peerages). But the kingdoms are not required to do so. The BoD authorized the College to either require membership for all submittors or a higher fee from non-members. The BoD left it up to the College whether or not to take any action. The Steward confirmed that it is a requirement of all branches that, in order to be official, they must submit and register a name with the College and have a complete set of warranted officers. Baronies, Provinces, and Principalities must submit and register arms with the College. Failure in any of these areas could ultimately result in denial of official status or even dissolution. This is not immediate. First the branch is reminded of the requirements and given time to remedy the problem. All Principal Heralds are reminded to ensure that all official branches in their kingdoms have warranted heralds and registered names and arms, as required, and to pressure any that do not do so.

The BoD confirmed the statement in Corpora that Sovereigns of Kingdoms and Principalities and territorial Barons and Baronesses have the right to create and bestow official awards and orders, and that it was the BoD's interpretation that this means only those three classes of rulers may do so. Thus regions, provinces, and all subsidiary branches do not have the right or authority to create or bestow official awards, titles or orders, as they do not have such a ruler. Any awards, titles or orders created by such branches are unofficial, and therefore should not appear on any Orders of Precedence, unless the Crown specifically authorizes that award, title or order to be listed in the Kingdom OP. The SCA OP will not list any unofficial awards, titles or orders. If a Barony changes to the status of a Province or Shire, then any orders created by that Barony are considered to be closed orders. No further official members may be admitted until such time as the branch regains baronial status. Inasmuch as Sovereigns are de facto rulers of all branches within their kingdom, such a branch could petition the Crown to admit a person to such a closed order, and this would be a legal admission to the order. (The Crown Province of Østgardr, having a Viceroy as its ruler, is considered a baronial equivalent and its awards are therefore official.)

In looking over my list of orders, I found only three unofficial ones. These were the Order of the Cracked Cross of St. Andrew (the Province of St. Andrew has been disbanded anyway), the Order of the Wooden Nickel of Hammerhold (this is apparently a joke order anyway), and the Order of the Sable Oak of Darachshire. These should be deleted from their kingdoms' OPs. The following orders should be considered closed: The Order of the Crimson Tower (Shire of the Isles), The Order of the Dragon's Eye (Province of Draconia), the Order of the Golden Salmon (Province of the Golden Rivers), and the orders of the Dwarven Hammer and the Tempered Steel (Shire of Hammerhold). These should be considered closed as of the date the branches lost baronial status. In order to grandfather any member admitted after those dates and up till now, the Principal Heralds should request that the Crown approve retroactively those members, so that they will be official members. No further new members should be admitted officially without the approval of the Crown.

Mistress Rebecca of Twywn has sent to me and the Principal Heralds a list of the 178 orders, awards and titles that appear on the SCA OP. In checking them against my list of approved orders, I found a number that have not been approved, either because they were never submitted, are erroneous entries, or were submitted and sent back. The names of all awards and orders that are to be considered official must be registered with the College. Here is the list: 1) An Tir: Orders of the Golden Unicorn (Three Mountains), Silver Unicorn (Three Mountains), and Forget Me Nots (Lion's Gate). 2) Ansteorra: Orders of the Astral Clarion of Stargate (Stargate) and the Sable Falcons (Ansteorra). 3) Atenveldt: Order of the Fleur de Soleil (Atenveldt or Sun?). 4) Atlantia: Order of Coils Triplalaire (Nottinghill Coill). 5) Caid: Orders of the Golden Bough (Caid?) and the New Battered Helm (Caid?). 6) East: Orders of the Silver Comet (Debatable Lands) and Phoen (Pheon?). 7) Meridies: Orders of the Argent Lily (Meridies), Cygnet (Meridies), Scarlet Star of Meridies (Meridies), and Gray Beard (Trimaris?). The Principal Heralds of the above kingdoms are asked to submit the names of those orders which have not been submitted, to let us know if any of the above are erroneous entries, and to make sure that new names are submitted for any orders (such as the Scarlet Star of Meridies) whose names have been returned.

From now on, the College will only register names of orders and awards that are official. Unofficial orders' names are not protected against conflict. An order is official when it is created by a kingdom, principality or barony. Its name is official when it is registered with the College of Arms. Return of the name of an order does not invalidate the order, but rather leaves it currently without a name. Since we are talking about orders, I should mention that the BoD approved the West's creation of an order consisting of all winners of the annual arts and sciences competition, membership in said order to carry precedence equal to that of Counts and Countesses. The order is non-armigerous, it being assumed that all members have arms. (All current members are members of the Order of the Laurel already.) The name of the order is not yet chosen.

The Heraldic Questionnaire was a great success. 80% (41 out of 52) returned their questionnaire. Enclosed is a copy of the questionnaire with the results indicated in the left margin. We will maintain our current prohibitions against the following: the use of pet names not known to be used as independent given c names in period, the use of surnames as given names that were not so used in period, names that combine two languages in a single word (unless the submittor can show that those two specific languages were so combined in period, such as in place names), the use of medical occupational bynames by non-medically-trained persons, the use of the names of deities not used as given names in period, the use of unique historical names, the use of the name of a deity which was used as a given name in period in combination with a symbol or other reference to that deity, the use of non-period heraldic style, and the use of religious symbolism in a joking manner. We will not grant exceptions to current rules on the grounds that exceptions were registered in the past, as we are not bound by our past errors. Prior registration should be considered as a factor, causing us to give the submission more of the benefit of the doubt, but it is not a blanket exemption.

On a case-by-case basis we will allow the use of plant names as female given names. 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. The ordering or combination of valid name elements in a Society name must still be consistent with period naming practices, but we will give the benefit of the doubt. For example, putting the given name last in a language where the given name came first would not be allowed, as it is clearly inconsistent with period practice. Using two given names in a language where such did not happen in period but where such did occur in neighboring areas could be allowed on a case-by-case basis, on the theiry that this persona lived near the border. On a case-by-case basis, we will allow made-up names that sound OK but which cannot be demonstrated to be consistent with period naming practices in a specific language, country or culture, so long as they are not shown to be clearly inconsistent with period naming practices. On a case-by-case basis, we will allow orthographic variations that violate minor period grammatical rules but which are deemed acceptable by the College. An example would be a case where a grammatical rule has changed and the modern form is used. On a case-by-case basis we will allow orthographic variations which cannot be shown to be consistent with period practice but which do not overtly violate period grammatical rules or usage. This would be something that wasn't done in period but which doesn't break any period rules. All of the naming practices now allowed by this paragraph involve moving away from clearly period names, and therefore should be considered discouraged practices. We will allow them, but we do not encourage them.

On a case-by-case basis we will treat a field fretty as a fur with regard to the Rule of Tincture. The charge placed on the fretty should not be of the same tincture as the underlying field. (Don't put a cross argent on Argent, fretty vert.) The field fretty shall count as a fur if the area of the fretty equals the area left exposed of the field. If you place a color charge on a metal field fretty of a color, then the fretty lines should be thinner so that more than half of the field is metal. If you used a metal charge (of the other metal), then the fretty lines should be drawn wider so that the color covers at least half (preferably more than half) of the field. When placing color charges on a color field fretty of a metal, it is best to stick to the color combinations we allow for ermine. In each case, the determination will be on the basis of the degree of contrast and visibility.

By and large in heraldry, more than 8 of anything is semy. We shall consider divisions of the field into more than eight stripes (bendy of 9, barry of 9, etc.) to be divided without specified number and neutral with respect to the Rule of Tincture (since it cannot be of two colors or two metals). One can use the terms barruly or play sans number, or specify the number, as in: Gules, four pallets argent. We will still consider the field to be neutral. (If the latter form of blazon is used, then you may consider this to be an exception to the overall rule.) On a case-by-case basis, we will allow a field divided into 7 stripes to be considered neutral. If the majority of the field is a color (i.e., azure, three pallets argent), then the charge should be limited to those color combinations we allow for ermine (i.e., in this case do not use vert). This could be considered as an exception to the overall charge rule. I personally would rather not use terms like barry of 7 or paly of 9, preferring to blazon it out and then treat it as an exception.

Based upon the responses of the College, I have decided that the current ruling with regard to the application of the Rule of Tincture to charges placed overall or surmounting shall stand unchanged, with the exceptions noted above. The Rule is applied between the tincture of the charge and the tincture of the field. Thus the tincture of the overlying charge and the tinctures of the underlying charges will often be of the same class. Therefore, in order to achieve sufficient visibility, the overlying charge should be drawn as large as possible, so that as much as possible of its area lies upon the field. This is in fact the period heraldic practice. Charges that just barely slop over onto the field are not in accordance with period practice.

On a case-by-case basis, we will allow two branch arms to ignore the laurel wreath for the purpose of claiming sufficient difference via complete difference of charge. Since the laurel wreath is actually there, the difference of charge, as in the case of a chief or a bordure being ignored, must be total. There should be only one, or at most two, charges other than the wreath, and their outlines must be completely different. The determination in each case shall be whether or not the two arms will be confused. If there is danger of confusion, the College will ask the submitting branch to obtain permission from the registered branch.

There shall be no limitation on the use of religious symbolism in a serious manner, so long as it does not violate any of the other rules (complexity, style, offensive clause, etc.). The use of religious symbolism in a tactful manner is in fact encouraged, as it is very period. (Religion was a major aspect of medieval life.)

On a case-by-case basis, exceptions to new rules can be granted in those instances where a submission that violates a new rule (but is otherwise acceptable) but was accepted (not just received, but actually processed and passed) by the submittor's Principal Herald before the rule went into effect. Receipt and/or approval by local or principality heralds shall not be grounds for exemption, save only as part of an appeal for a hardship exemption. We have to draw the line somewhere. Future rule changes that cause further restrictions shall be stated to take effect with all submissions approved by Principal Heralds after a certain date. This means that, at the time a Principal Herald processes a submission, the rules under which that submission will be judged by the College are known. (The Principal Herald will be aware of any impending rule changes through the College correspondence and should try to talk the submittor into changing to avoid being an exception to a new ruling, if this is possible.)

Submissions that are returned for certain reasons and which are resubmitted with all stated reasons rectified within one year shall be exempt from any rule changes adopted after the return, on a grandfather-clause basis. The year is from the date of the LoA&R to the date of acceptance by the Principal Herald of the resubmission. The exemption does not apply to new conflicts that are discovered or that arise in the interim, or to new facts that are uncovered in the interim that do not constitute rule changes. Thus if Virgule was ill and did not check Rietstaap the first time, but catches a conflict with mundane arms the second time, the conflict stands and the resubmission will be returned. If the submission were to use dovetailed, which is currently allowed, and during the interim between return and resubmission dovetailed were to be banned (a rules change), then the resubmission would not be returned for the use of dovetailed, but would be granted an exemption. The one-year period is to reward prompt resubmissions and give sufficient time for a resubmission, but to also place a limit on the number of ghosts from the past. A person who sits around five years before bothering to resubmit would lose the right to an exemption.

If a submission needs only a minor change to make it acceptable, then Laurel shall make such a change, unless the Submitter has specifically indicated that no changes should be made. If a submission needs a major change to make it acceptable, then Laurel shall make such a change only when authorized to do so by the Submitter or Principal Herald on the form or LoI. In both cases, if the submission is returned without change, Laurel shall identify the problems and suggest possible corrections. (It is taken for granted that these suggested changes would have to be checked for possible conflicts.) If a submission needs one or more changes that would require review by the College (e.g., checking for new conflicts created by the changes), then Laurel shall return the submission, along with an explanation of the problem and suggested changes, with the request that it be resubmitted with those changes so the College can recheck it. On a case-basis, if Laurel is able to do the checking personally, Laurel may choose the change and accept the submission. When Laurel has changed a submission in order to pass it, the submittor retains the right to submit an alternate that the submittor prefers. There is no fee for such a resubmission.

The College overwhelmingly prefers that Laurel make all decisions, after first conferring with and obtaining the opinions of the College. The College overwhelmingly rejected the proposed Corpora change on names, preferring to have the BoD refer the question to the College. The College had a mixed reaction to the proposed Corpora change on Royal Peers and the Order of the Rose.

The College overwhelmingly opposed the idea of requiring membership for all submissions to the College of Arms, with 39% favoring a higher fee for non-members. There shall therefore be no universal membership requirement or higher fee for non-members for submissions to the College. In keeping with the BoD's adopted of allowing the Kingdoms to adopt such restrictions without requiring them I hereby authorize, but do not require, individual Principal Heralds to require membership or a higher fee from non-members within their kingdoms. The preference of the College was that such a higher fee be no more than $2 extra per action. Such extra fees shall be retained by the Kingdom Colleges. I highly suggest that any Principal Herald planning on doing so obtain the backing of the Crown.

This completes the results of the questionnaire. I would like to thank all for taking the time to fill them in and return them.

The Registry currently furnishes each Principal Herald with copies of all other kingdoms' newsletters. The BoD has requested that I ask the Principal Heralds whether or not they find this sufficiently useful and necessary to be worth the cost or whether the Principal Heralds would be willing to forego the privilege, personally subscribing to any nearby newsletters they feel they need to have.

I am extending the deadline for formal written bids for the 1985 Heraldic Symposium to the date of my May meeting, Saturday, May 19th. I have received a preliminary bid from Mistress Graidhne ni Mhaire Ruadh, Dragon Principal Herald, to hold the symposium in Columbus, Ohio, on the weekend before Pennsic XIV, August 10/11, 1985, at the Ohio State University campus. The March of Tirnewydd is the local group. This is essentially the same as their bid for this year's symposium. I will have more information next month, when I have received their formal bid. I would very much like to see the 1986 Heraldic Symposium held at the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration, in conjunction with symposia for the other Corporate Offices. (This will be a nine-day event, which allows a lot of time.) This could either be run by the heralds in Ansteorra or by a subcommittee of the College of Arms as a College-sponsored event. The site would already be arranged, with Duke Sigmund the Wingfooted already being the site autocrat. I urge the Ansteorra heralds, and the rest of the College, to be thinking about this.

Clarion informs me that an on-line query system for the SCA Ordinary & Armorial is now possible with his home computer system. it would have to be on a paid-subscription basis, as such systems are done in the mundane world. How many heralds with home computers would be willing to be subscribers at $5 a month or at $10 a month? There would be no connection-time charges) but neither would there be any local or 800 telephone number to call. (You would have long distance charges to deal with.) Please let Clarion know if you and/or others would be interested.

With regard to the submission forms, and the problem the Laurel Staff has when the submittor's name occurs in different places on different kingdoms' forms, I would still prefer that all forms have the submittor's name prominently visible at the top. It will however, be acceptable if the Principal Herald takes a colored pen and circles the submittor's name so that it stands out, if it is too much trouble to change the forms.

Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain

Your servant,

Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel Laurel King of Arms