It was a sad time this week for the College of Heralds, with the news you will have heard elsewhere of the loss of one of our great heralds, Master Gwynfor Lwyd, known affectionately as “The Mouth From The South”. So we needed a bit of cheering up, and the latest news from the College of Arms was therefore quite welcome. Nowhere near as welcome as Gwynfor sticking his head up and saying “ha, fooled you, I’m perfectly fine!”, but since that’s not an option, we make do with what we can get.
Here are the lucky, lucky folk whose submissions were accepted by the College of Arms and registered to them in perpetuity:
Cara of Kirriemuir. Household name Casa de li Gatti.
Frederick Suggitt. Name and device. Sable, a castle triple-towered argent and on a chief Or two Maltese crosses sable.
Karl Faustus von Aachen. Device change. Per pale gules and azure, a bordure Or.
Mynydd Kynghordy, Canton of. Branch name and device. Per bend sinister sable and vert, on a roundel Or within a laurel wreath argent a dragon gules.
Oswyn Fitz Gibbon. Name and device. Azure, on a cross cotised argent four wolf’s heads erased gules.
I am pleased to continue the run of excellent heraldry in the kingdom with a device my son, then aged 4, designed for me using Lego blocks. And another group has its name and device passed, which again is excellent news for our kingdom. Keep up the good work!
On the subject of loss and sadness, I draw your attention to the key words “in perpetuity”. When you register a name and device, it remains yours forever, even if you disappoint us all by proving, eventually, to be mortal. Master Gwynfor’s own device (not meaning to pick on him, mind you!) is a simple blue field with three frets and an augmentation of the badge of Lochac. It will outlive all of us, not just him, as will all our names and devices. In some cases, this can cause problems for those who come after us, because devices and names can block other similar devices and names from being registered, and when the bearer has died it’s very difficult indeed to obtain a Letter of Permission to Conflict. (Even those who believe in an afterlife have not yet succeeded in getting the postal service to send mail there.)
We have two methods for dealing with this situation. The first is a Blanket Letter of Permission to Conflict. I will be submitting one for my new device, for example, so that if someone else wanted exactly the same thing but with a white border instead of yellow, for example, then my BLoPtC as it’s called would explicitly allow it. Without such a permission, they would need to follow the rules of conflict and be sufficiently clear, but to be honest I don’t mind too much about that sort of thing for myself, so I’m happy to allow quite close registrations. If you feel the same, please talk to your local herald about submitting a BLoPtC for your own device and name. And second, we have the concept of the Heraldic Will. Simply put, this gives someone you nominate the right to administer your registrations, including permissions to conflict, in the event of your death. It doesn’t apply if you simply drop out of the SCA — it’s expressly for cases when you find your heraldry has outlived you. I know we all feel thoroughly immortal, or certainly act like it, but I would urge everyone to consider making a Heraldic Will just to be on the safe side, especially if your design is especially nice and could block other nice designs.
Hoping your year is an improvement all round,
: Karl Faustus von Aachen, Crux Australis Principal Herald :