Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour staff.
We are still getting a fair number of legacy submissions from people who have names and armoury registered in other reenactment groups. I just want to remind everyone that our policy for acceptance of legacy submissions shifted last summer. While proof of legacy does allow a submission to violate certain style rules within the SMA Rules for Submission, all legacy submissions must still be free of conflict from any names or armoury currently registered in the SMA Armourial and Ordinary. Additionally, no legacy submission will be accepted if any element violates certain rules including but not limited to Presumption (II.D, III.D, IV.F, and V.F)and Offense (II.E, III.E, IV.G, and V.G). Also, while legacy submissions that included ermine chiefs or ermine bordures were accepted during the grace period, such submissions will no longer be accepted without the removal or modification of the chief or bordure to avoid confusion regarding the civic arms for geographic groups, principalities, and kingdoms.
The College is attempting to isolate digital copies of registered armoury for the purpose of publishing an online Roll of Arms. In working through the records, one issue that has become a problem is the number of submitted copies that are of such poor quality as to be unusable. It currently takes one heraldic artist between two and three hours to create an electronic copy of a single submission depending on their individual skill and the software they are using. With over four hundred pieces of armoury currently registered, this is a difficult feat at best. The two biggest barriers to using the artwork from the submitted forms are forms that are poorly drawn or poorly colored and forms that are photographed rather than scanned. Effective June 1st, the College will no longer accept photographed copies of submission forms for the purpose of registration. Forms may be scanned and submitted electronically (PDF or 300dpi JPG) or sent in hardcopy through the US Postal Service. The address for hardcopies is Christopher Miller, 137 Shoshone Trail, Mercer, PA 16137.
A question arose during the meeting regarding the display of full achievements of arms and the rules governing entitlement to crests, supporters, and mottoes. This is a difficult question to answer in the short time allocated during the meeting as well as in the small amount of space available in these letters. As Muskatour King of Arms, I am reluctant to publish hard rules regarding achievements of arms for two reasons. First, the College of Arms has been adamant from the start of the Society that we do not regulate display. We do not want members of the College to become the “heraldry police” and we do not want to be involved in the practice of “striking arms”. Second, while there are cases of hard rules for crests and of supporters being awarded by the Crown within our time period, for the most part the practices were “rules of thumb”, and it was not uncommon for the specific design of both crests and supporters to change depending on the whim of the artist or the wishes of the armiger. The College does not want to put itself in the position of squelching creative license where period practice allows for such. Thus, I have resolved to develop and publish a primer on the design and display of full achievements of arms. This primer will not be a part of the governing documents for the College of Arms, and thus will not have the force of rule, but will provide those members of the Society who have a desire to embellish their heraldic display with a sense of period style and practice to guide them in their efforts. More on this later.
We have one precedent from this month’s meeting:
While other reenactment groups allow those entitled to wear a coronet to add a crown or coronet to their registered armory, the Muskatour office has determined that this practice is essentially an augmentation of arms and inconsistent with the intent of our rules regarding augmentations. Thus, without additional evidence of the practice in period heraldry, the College of Arms will not register changes to armoury that involve the addition of a regalia-centric charge without proof that the client has received an augmentation of arms from the Crown and is entitled to wear the regalia in question.
This month we have no returns and one pend. See below for the details.
1. Álendia, Kingdom of – New Award Name (Champion)
Captain of the Royal Guard of Álendia
Submitted as Captain of the Royal Guard, the locative was added to avoid being too generic to be registered.
2. Álendia, Kingdom of – New Award Name (Champion)
Yeoman of the Royal Guard of Álendia
Submitted as Yeoman of the Royal Guard, the locative was added to avoid being too generic to be registered.
3. Bors of Lothian – New Legacy Arms
Per fess vert and gules, on a fess bretessed Or, a raven displayed contourny sable, in chief two mullets of four points Or.
4. Brenna MacEwin – New Legacy Name, New Legacy Arms
Argent, a griffin sable between three roses proper.
Submitted as Brenna MacEwan, the spelling registered with the other organization is MacEwin. Under the legacy registration allowance, migrated names must be registered in the exact form in which they are registered in the other organization.
5. Ian MacEwan – New Legacy Name, New Legacy Arms
Per fess purpure and Or, in pale a kettle Or atop a tree stump proper.
6. Pipa of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – New Name, New Arms
Purpure, on a bend argent between two dandelions slipped and leaved Or three dragonflies bendwise sinister purpure.
While the town of Newcastle in Great Britain does date to within our period, there is no evidence that it was known as Newcastle-Upon-Tyne until a full century after our period. However, the style of “town-upon-river” has been sufficiently well documented in the past (see Stokeford-Upon-Trinity) to allow for this byname as a constructed locative. Thus, we give the client the benefit of the doubt.
7. Saint Lydia of Thyatira, Company of – New Guild Name, New Guild Arms
Per pale engrailed purpure and Or, a spindle and a sewing needle counterchanged.
1. Saint Lydia of Thyatira, Company of – New Guild Badge
(Fieldless) A skein winder argent.
Note that a skein winder is also known as a yarn swift. While this tool did exist in our period, the style of skein winder submitted does not match any extant example the Muskatour staff could locate. The style shown – a six-armed wheel oriented vertically – dates to the early 18th century. Examples of medieval skein winders the staff was able to locate or document were oriented both vertically and horizontally, but universally had four arms. Additionally, the medieval examples were rarely mounted on a stand of any kind. We are pending this submission to allow the client to either document the style submitted as a period artifact or to elect to redo the artwork with a previously documented style of the tool.