Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour office. This month’s letter has a couple of interesting points. In the pending section, please note the reasons provided for the pends. Each of these fit situations which are spelled out in the Rules for Submission. I would like to use this as a reason why it is extremely important for consulting and submitting heralds to be familiar with the rules prior to submitting on behalf of their clients. I would also like to encourage clients to make use of a consulting herald, especially if they themselves are not familiar with the rules. With the steady increase in submissions and the minimal number of volunteers currently available to the College, administrative returns will become more common out of necessity. That said, the College of Arms is always seeking experienced heralds to assist clients across the Society. We are also seeking interested individuals of any experience level who are willing to learn.
Some of the administrative issues that arose in the most recent submissions are:
- Spelling variants must be dated to period in a reputable source. Some excellent sources as well as some sources to avoid are listed in the heraldic administrative documents.
- The Muskatour office will give a client the benefit of the doubt for good-faith efforts at artwork; however, bad artwork that results in a blazonable difference in the design can be grounds for return. This month, we registered four such submissions with an artists’ note; but as the number of submissions increases, we will be more inclined to return such artwork for redraw.
- Use of the legal name allowance requires proof of one’s legal name.
- Although the Muskatour office accepted a “primary” and “alternate” name submission for a local branch this month, this will not be standard practice. While it is common for clients to provide a list of changes they will accept to a name, this does not extend to providing multiple names that are completely different. In such cases in the future, Muskatour will consider the first submission received from any one client. This limitation will be added to the next version of the Administrative Handbook and/or Rules for Submission as deemed appropriate.
We have a couple precedents coming out of this month’s meeting. For those unfamiliar with the inner workings of the College of Arms, a precedent is a decision covering a situation that sits on the line between allowable and not allowable – in other words, a judgment call. Much like a court of law, a heralds’ court uses precedents to ensure that future decisions are consistent with past decisions. Precedents may be overturned as new research/knowledge into historical heraldic practices becomes available but serve as an addendum to the Rules for Submission as long as they are in effect.
- Brown, when used as part of a proper charge, is considered a color and is subject to the rule of tincture.
- A pomegranate proper is gules, seeded Or; If the pomegranate is slipped and/or leaved, this must be specified in the blazon; A pomegranate slipped and leaved proper will have vert leaves and stem.
- Charges that are placed on an ordinary will have a default orientation that follows the line of the ordinary. If the orientation differs, it must be specified in the blazon.
- Except as an element of a legacy submission, mullets of four greater and four lesser points (also known as ‘compass stars’) are a concoction of another organization’s heraldic practices and are not compatible with SMA heraldry.
- Submissions for branch names or arms require a petition signed by a majority of the paid members of the branch. The Muskatour office has agreed to accept a screenshot of poll results, provided that the branch seneschal certifies the poll results as representing a majority of paid members.
The Muskatour office would like to welcome Galen of Bristol as the new Bordure King of Arms. Bordure is the principal herald in matters of ceremony and protocol. All court reports should pass through Bordure’s hands for proof-reading and validation prior to being published to the general populace. Additionally, anyone drafting a ceremony for elevation or induction may use Bordure as a resource for historic examples. Bordure will also gladly accept copies of any ceremonies for the archives. Galen will also be creating and maintaining the Order of Precedence (OP) until such time as we have more than one kingdom and the individual kingdom heralds take over the OP within their own borders.
A reminder that the office of Octavo Herald is still vacant. Octavo serves as the web minister for the Muskatour office and works directly for the Society Web Minister. The first Octavo Herald will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the heraldry portal attached to the main SMA website. This job announcement will remain open until the office is filled. If you have any interest, please contact both me and Charles Miller (the Society Web Minister.)
- Alexandria de Bourgogne – Resub Arms
Gules, a pale invected between a stag rampant and three ermine spots in pale argentAlthough this is registered as a good faith drawing effort, submitter is advised to draw the stag clearly centered in the dexter side of the shield without touching the shield boundary.
- Caedmon of Ewenny – New Name, New Arms
Azure, a lion passant, a chief embattled argent
- Foxdale, Shire of – New Name
- Frithegyth of Glastonbury – New Name, New Arms, New Badge
Arms: Per chevron Or and azure, two pomegranates slipped and leaved proper and a sun Or
Badge: (Fieldless) A pomegranate slipped and leaved proper
Submitted as Frithugyth of Glastonbury, the documentation provided (outside Wikipedia) did not include the ‘u’ spelling with the dated entries. The name has been changed to match the spelling as documented.
- Galen of Ockham – New Name, New Arms
Per pall inverted sable, argent, and azure, a compass star argent and an increscent sableThe name and armoury are registered as legacy submissions. Future clients should note that mullets of four greater and four lesser points (also known as ‘compass stars’) are a concoction of another organization’s heraldic practices and are not compatible with SMA heraldry.
- Gøtrik Nessen – New Name, New Arms
Per chevron Or and azure, two chevrons braced gules and in base a winged boar courant sable
The only documentation offered was a Wikipedia entry that had no footnote, citation, or reference for the submitted name or spelling variant. The Muskatour staff turned to the definitive source for Danish names – the Danish government’s Rigsarkivet. Gøtrik appears as a given name in a promissory note executed in 1411 in Malmø, Sweden (https://diplomatarium.dk/dokument/14110602001)..
Likewise, the documentation offered for the byname was a statement that it was an “ancestral name” with records only going to the 19th century. Fortunately, the Muskatour staff was able to find the byname Neßen in a burial record in northern Germany in the 16th century grey period. The eszet (ß) may be represented by a double-s in transliterations. Since German is compatible with Scandinavian regional naming practices, the German byname can be registered with the Swedish given name.
Note that while the arms are registered, the submitter is advised that the chevrons should not touch the top edge of the shield when drawn properly.
- Øthkænfjall, Canton of – New Name, New Arms
Or, two chevrons braced gules and in base a wolf rampant sableNote that while the arms are registered, the submitter is advised that the chevrons should not touch the top edge of the shield when drawn properly.
- Ragnar Úlfsson – New Name, New Arms
Sable, a chevron gules fimbriated Or and in base a wolf’s head erased argent
The client is advised to make the fimbriation about half as thick as on the submitted copy.
- Sigvarðr Brynjólfsson – New Name (See Returns for Arms)
- Terra Dei, Shire of – New Holding Name, New Arms (see Returns for Name)
Azure, a cross clechy argent, a chief ermineThe primary name submitted could not be registered. However, the civic arms can be; therefore, we have registered the arms under the holding name provided by the client.
- Þórgrímr Haukarson – New Name, New Arms
Vert, on a bend argent two bears passant fesswise sableFesswise was added to the blazon, since omitting it would orient the bears to the bend.
- Eva Blackpool – Resub Arms
Quarterly vert and argent, a domestic cat rampant sableOriginally submitted as Quarterly sable and vert, a domestic cat rampant argent, the arms had multiple conflicts. The change in tincture for both the field and the primary have unfortunately created new conflicts. This version conflicts with the Chieftain of Clan Buchanan, Or, a lion rampant sable, and the County of Flanders, Or a lion rampant sable, both with just one difference for field tincture.
- Sigvarðr Brynjólfsson – New Arms (See Registrations for Name)
Sable, a falcon volant wings elevated and addorsed argent maintaining in its claws a hatchet fesswise proper
These arms are being returned for violation of the rule of tincture. The hatchet is blazoned as proper, which means an argent head with a wooden (brown) haft. The submission shows the head as mostly sable with a thin stripe of argent on the cutting edge (or fimbriated in argent, which is not permitted for complex charges.) Brown, when used as part of a proper charge, is considered a color. Therefore, the entire charge is a color on color.
- Solumbria, Shire of – New Name (see Registrations for Arms, under Terra Dei)
The documentation provided relies on a constructed name using existing examples of a similar construct. There are two issues. The first is that the submitted name uses a mix of Latin and Old English while the example uses only Old English. The second is that the only example of construction shows the adjective portion of the name to be a direction or location. The submitted adjectival element translates to “sun”. Using the example to justify the construction would roughly equate to implying the location was on the sun.
On resubmission, please show evidence of ‘Sol’ or a similar adjectival element (e.g., Luna, Astro, etc.) used to construct place names. Muskatour will accept ‘-umbria’ as an element compatible with a Latin prefix on the basis of the evidence presented of the existence of an Italian town named after the Umbri tribe.
- Connull Mac Coinnich – New NameThe documentation provided for the spelling of Connull was not dated to period. While the Muskatour staff appreciates the relationship of the name to the coNull coding function – especially for a web minister – without evidence of that spelling dated to period, it cannot be registered.
Mac Coinnich is a hypothetical Gaelic form in Black’s “The Surnames of Scotland”. Unfortunately, it is not dated, and Black is notoriously unreliable in such hypothetical cases. The closest name in documentable medieval Gaelic that the Muskatour staff could find is Mac Cainnich, based on ‘patronymic from a documented given name.’ Cainnech dates to 1014 and is found in “Index of Names in Irish Annals” by Mari Elspeth nic Bryan (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Masculine/Cainnech.shtml).
The client has accepted the change to the surname but has requested a reconsideration of the submitted spelling for the given name. Thus, this submission is pended to allow the College to investigate the spelling variant.
- William of Gloucester – New Name
This is pended for discussion of whether Prince William of Gloucester, cousin to the reigning Queen Elizabeth II of England, is important enough to protect.
- Zada d’Auray – New Name, New Arms
Azure, mulletty of eight points, a swallow volant argent
This is pended for the client to provide evidence sufficient to use the legal name allowance. Since the arms cannot be registered without the name, the arms are also pended.