Unto the Heralds and Populace of Lochac, greetings.
This CAMEL is a little late, and for that I apologise. Mundane life and Society life combined and conspired to make the end of November/start of December a little busy. My homily for this month is slightly ironic given the delay in getting this CAMEL out, since I want to talk about how to herald properly.
Often heralds get a bad reputation, usually from people who are unhappy with our work. How do we fix this? Be good at our job. Of course, good works go unnoticed while bad deeds are talked about endlessly, so how do we fix that? There’s not much (apart from me broadcasting good news) but if people aren’t complaining that’s a start.
Things we can’t control: The College of Arms
The arcane nature of the College of Arms’ rules is often grounds for complaint (people not happy about their names or devices returned). You are almost certain to have heard complaints about decisions of the College that people disagree with. This is the Society-level body that makes the final decisions (so remember that when you think about blaming your local herald – it’s not something they did). However, they have reasons for their decisions (even if you think consistency across the Known World is anachronistic) – the LoAR is a good place to find out details for returns, if you’re interested. When Rocket contacts those with something returned, this reasons are given, we just don’t publish them.
In the LoAR are other comments (sometimes “Nice name!” or “Nice device!”) but sometimes they even explain what happens behind the scenes when something is registered. There are two from Lochac’s registrations for this month I want to highlight:
ffride wlffsdotter. Badge. (Fieldless) A heckle bendwise gules.
“This is the defining instance of a heckle in SCA heraldry. It is attested in Wappenbuch – BSB Cod.icon.392d, dated to the first half of the 16th century.fol. 273 for “von Hechlingl”.”
This charge (a heckle – which is used for carding flax and hemp) has never been registered in the SCA before. It hasn’t been denied because it’s unknown, rather the documentation was provided and the College accepted it. This now sets a precedent and other people can more easily use a heckle now (fibre guild – go nuts!)
Lisebet Skinkel van Egeskow. Name.
“This name was originally documented as a Dutch given name with Danish bynames. However, this lingual mix is not permitted under Appendix C. Fortunately, heralds at the Pelican decision meeting were able to date Lisebet to gray-period Sweden in the FamilySearch Historical Records. As Swedish and Danish are both part of the Scandinavian language group under Appendix C, the name as re-documented is registerable.”
This could have been returned for not following the rules but even at the FINAL decision meeting someone found an excuse that could be used to get it through.
What is the point of these examples? We (the Lochac College of Heralds) generally try hard to ensure that our submissions are good so that things don’t get returned. If they do, please work with us to fix the problem rather than getting upset at us – if there’s something we missed, the Society College of Arms has a reason for rules it must enforce and it’s not just to ‘get’ you.
Things we can control: Communication
The irony I mentioned at the top of this message is that the first thing I want to suggest may improve the impression of heralds is this: better and timely communication. If you’re emailed about something, reply in a timely fashion (or at least tell them if you will get back to them later). If you’re handling someone’s paperwork – get it in as soon as possible! If you can’t, tell them so they can ask someone else. Consulting on names and devices doesn’t mean you must submit them yourself – the ‘client’ can, just put your name on the form. If in doubt, ask Rocket, don’t just leave it!
Secondly, if you’re a group herald your job is to ensure that heralding happens. You don’t have to do it all yourself, but what you DO have to do is REPORT. Once every three months isn’t that much to ask for, is it? Group offices are administrative. Doing the heralding (court, field, consultation on names and devices) are being done by you (or others) personally, not by you the office. If you’re in an office, or thinking about taking one on, you should be aware of that (apparently, it’s not something that’s mentioned). Administration isn’t something to be afraid of, just stay up-to-date.
Finally, if you’re fortunate to be court herald for the Crown or their Baronial representatives, communication is important – and it’s not just projecting to the back of the audience. We are their voice, yes, but we’re also their memory. Canon Herald is responsible for maintaining the records of awards given by the Crown. This can’t be done if we’re not told about the awards given. If you’re Court Herald and not Crux, Canon or the group herald (who should all know this already), check with the Crown or the B&Bs about how they want the awards given to be recorded. Some Crowns will handle informing Canon themselves, others expect the herald to take care of it. Know in advance. At the Baronial level, how does the Barony keep track of Baronial awards? Ensure that you follow process. It may seem harsh, but if you can’t do the paperwork, don’t do the heralding.
All active heralds are required to be subscribed to Blazons it’s not a very busy list, but it’s important that Crux can contact you. Ensure you read the messages that come through, think if there’s something you need to do and then – if so – do it.
For the non-heralds: if you don’t understand why we do what we do, please ask. If a decision confuses, please ask. If you receive an AoA, please find the court herald and check they have your SCA and mundane name spelled correctly as this will likely be the way you’re entered in Canon Lore – let’s get it right at the start! Communication works both ways.
I’m sorry for the long email, I have been meaning to talk on these matters for a while but I try to avoid inundating my heralds with messages. Thank you for your attention. In the meantime, here are the registrations from the September LoAR:
Aliette Le Lievre. Name.
Amos Ironbeard. Name change from Járnskeggi the Mad.
Ana de Vuallachia. Name.
Antonio Lucenzo de Zaragoza. Device. Or, three pairs of swords in saltire gules, a chief sable fretty Or.
Asbjørn Pedersen. Device change. Vert, a bear rampant maintaining a lightning bolt Or.
Cecilia Ine Queerke. Device. Or, three fish in pall embowed, heads to center gules.
Cornelius Grimm. Device. Or, a penguin proper, in canton a lozenge ployé gules.
Eliana Darragone. Name and device. Quarterly gules and argent, a bend sinister azure between a dragon passant and a closed book palewise argent.
Elswyth Goodfellow. Device. Vert, on an oak tree eradicated Or a brown coney couchant proper, a bordure engrailed Or.
Emlyn Fidele. Name change from Emlyn Sadler.
ffride wlffsdotter. Badge. (Fieldless) A heckle bendwise gules.
Gisle Akselsdatter. Name and device. Per bend sinister vert and sable, an oak branch bendwise argent.
Gunther Boese. Badge. Vert, a wolf’s jambe inverted couped argent.
Lisebet Skinkel van Egeskow. Name and device. Erminois, on a bend vert three oak trees palewise Or.
Louisa Lyppard Cattone du Lac. Name change from Louisa Lyppard de Cattone.
Louisa Lyppard Cattone du Lac. Badge. Gules ermined Or, a fess wavy azure fimbriated, overall a natural leopard rampant tail nowed Or.
Timothy Haast. Name.
Rocket Herald has sent out individual missives to all those with acceptances and returns. Quarrel Herald has updated the Lochac Roll of Arms, which can be seen here. Huzzah for these new registrations!
In service to the Crown and Kingdom of Lochac, always.
Crux Australis Principal Herald.