To all subjects of Their Majesties Lochac does Karl Faustus von Aachen Crux Australis send greetings.
It was a bit of a mixed bag, this month’s registrations from the Laurel Letter of Acceptances and Returns for September 2013. We have many pieces of good news, but a few returns as well. I will talk a bit about that, and a lot about another matter I’ve been looking into lately.
First, the good news. The Laurel King of Arms has permitted the following to be registered:
Angus MacTavisch. Name and device. Or, a thistle vert headed purpure tufted vert and on a chief embattled gules three trefoils Or.
Brigit Shannon. Name and device. Purpure, a chevron rompu argent between two whelks bendwise and a mermaid in her vanity Or.
Clothilde du Lac. Name and device. Per fess wavy azure and barry wavy argent and azure, a swan naiant argent and a bordure Or.
Ellen Shannon. Name and device. Argent, a lyre gules and a base engrailed vert.
Eoin mac Cailin mhic Uilliam. Name and device. Sable, a boar rampant within an orle argent.
Hrothgar Breaksword. Augmentation of arms. Per pale sable and azure, a dexter cubit arm fist clenched bendwise sinister between the pieces of a sword fracted in bend Or, and for augmentation on a canton quarterly azure and argent a cross gules charged with four mullets of six points argent.
Madelaine le Mercer. Name.
Maelgwn ap Cradog Garth Eryr. Name and device. Or, two eagles striking respectant azure within a bordure azure platy.
Michael Shannon. Name and device. Per fess vert and sable masoned argent, in chief a winged lion couchant argent.
Pall i Jorvik. Name.
Patrick Shannon. Name and device. Gules, a scorpion Or and a label argent.
River Haven, Barony of. Badge. Or, a pheon sable and on a chief wavy azure a fess wavy argent.
Signý Hrafnsdóttir. Name and device. Per saltire argent and gules, a wolf’s head erased and in base three feathers in pile conjoined at the tips sable.
Simon Malory. Name.
Thomas of Caerdyf. Name.
William de Toeny. Name and device. Or, three pheons and a chief embattled sable.
The bad news is that a number of devices were returned due to careless artwork: flowers that looked like stars and so on. Also, some of the documentation was not well summarised, and Thyri skjaldmær, Rocket Herald, tells me that people are being quite careless on their paperwork. I myself saw one name and device submission recently where the SCA name was spelt three different ways over two forms, and the documentation supported none of those spellings! There’s no reason for this, because we all have access, personally or through friends in our SCA groups, to internet connections that will allow us to communicate with other heralds. Anyone who wants to can contact Rocket Herald or myself, or get onto the Lochac Heraldry Chat Facebook group, and ask for advice and assistance. There are no questions you need to guess answers to! So please make use of the resources available. With the increased popularity of heraldry in the kingdom, Rocket’s workload is growing, and I may need to take pity on her and allow her to return submissions immediately when they show signs of carelessness and the failure to communicate. Don’t get caught!
Now for a more pleasant matter. One of my pursuivants (a branch herald) asked me recently about tabards, in particular about the crossed gold trumpets on green that signify the College of Arms. This inspired me to look at how heralds dressed in period, and how best to replicate their standards in our Game. This is what I’ve come up with.
When a herald is working as a herald, he or she is entitled to wear the arms of whoever is employing him. So: the shire pursuivant wears the shire arms, representing the seneschal, the ceremonial head of the shire. A baronial herald wears baronial arms. I and my deputies wear kingdom arms. But if any herald is working for the shire, barony or kingdom — say, by heralding a Crown tourney, running a baronial court, making announcements at a coronation and so on — they may wear the arms of the branch they’re representing. This may vary according to royal whim, but I’m specifying the sensible baseline here, and they can decide whether to deviate from it, bearing in mind how long it takes to sew a tabard.
Two questions arise. First, what if they’re not actually making an announcement for the King or Queen, but merely calling for servers at a Coronation feast? The answer is: the herald is the voice of the Crown at a Crown event, so they wear a tabard to indicate that, even if they’re not echoing the words of the Crown. They’re still in the Crown’s employ! Second, what if they don’t have a suitable tabard? For example, what if they’re running royal court but they only have a baronial or shire tabard? That’s the tricky one I had to discuss with a
lot of other heralds, and my answer at this stage is: don’t wear the wrong tabard; in fact, in that case, if you can’t borrow a tabard, don’t wear a tabard at all!
It boils down to this: a herald is someone’s representative. In period, halls were big and drafty and the King was not always all that good at shouting. So the herald shouted for Him. We don’t always need that, because our acoustics are better and our Kings and Queens are almost always able to make Themselves heard, but we maintain the polite fiction so as to keep heralds from roaming the streets in packs (or rather in punnets, which is the collective noun for heralds). So when a herald speaks, they speak for their Lord and Lady, and it is appropriate that they wear the matching arms. And if they can’t wear those arms, they need to rely on the fact that they’re louder than everyone else and have (or can fake) an air of authority, and make do with that. Because it wouldn’t do to advertise the wrong boss!
Obviously it would be good for a group to have lots of spare tabards to hand, to make sure the heralds never need to go without. But there should be no stigma attached to heralds making announcements without a tabard.
And this means that the green and gold trumpets design can be retired. That is the device of the College of Arms, not of any material realm. The only time the College’s arms should be seen is when heralds are representing the College: so, if there’s a consulting table where heralds are offering their services to help people register devices then it’s fair to use the device of the College of Arms on banners or table coverings. But I can’t see much use for a green and gold trumpets tabard in that case, so if you have one of those, please retire it and talk to your A&S minister or favourite sewing Laurel about getting something nicer.
There’s more to this than I’ve laid out here, so I welcome correspondence, and I’ll make up an article for the heralds’ website to cover all the questions. But take this home with you: heralds wear the arms of their boss. See? Easy!
: Karl Faustus von Aachen :