Letter of Registrations and Returns

Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.

Office of the Muskatour King of Arms

January 2022

Greetings from the Muskatour office.

We have a new precedent from 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.

  • The arms of Towers (c.1310) are blazoned argent, three towers gules, but appear in various sources as either/both single towers and/or double-tower castles. Therefore, the Muskatour office presumes that heralds did not differentiate between charges showing single or multiple towers. Thus, until new evidence shows otherwise, the College of Arms will grant no difference between castles, towers, and towered bridges, although the difference will continue to be included in the blazons.

There are no pended submissions this month.

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.)


  1. Conull MacCoinnich – Pended Name, New Arms

Per chevron azure and sable, two axes in saltire proper and in base a stag’s head couped argent, all within a bordure argent thistly proper.

The name was originally pended due to lack of acceptable documentation for the spelling of the given name. Fortunately, the Muskatour staff was able to locate the desired spelling in “Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore”, page 11. ‘Robennuch Patric didiu Conull mac Neill.’ As this work dates to the 12th century, the spelling is acceptable.

 The submitted arms were drawn in a non-period style. The axe handles extended to the edge of the escutcheon. The thistles were conjoined to the edge of the bordure and followed the line of the bordure in a non-period orientation. Grey was used instead of white for the argent portions of the design. Rather than return for a simple redraw, the Muskatour staff provided new artwork which the client has approved.


  1. Generys Gwyllt – New Name


  1. Giovanni Rocco – Pended Badge

(Fieldless) a tower argent

 This was originally pended for discussion on in-period conflicts between towers and castles and whether they were considered in period heraldry to be separate and distinct charges or were used interchangeably. Given evidence that medieval heralds drew no distinction between towers and castles (e.g., the arms of Towers, c.1310 bearing what appear to be full castles though blazoned as towers for the cant), this badge conflicts with the municipality of Castelo Branco in Portugal. However, in the same discussion, the Muskatour staff determined that a municipality with no significant globally recognized reputation did not warrant protection from the SMA College of Arms. Therefore, this badge is registered.


  1. Redebourne, Shire of – New Name (see returns for Arms)


  1. Strathhavin, Shire of – Pended Name

 Submitted as Havinstrath, this was originally pended for discussion with the client over the correct construct of a name using these elements. To show the correct relationship between a river valley and a port in that valley, the correct construction would be Strathhavin. The shire has opted for the period form. This name is registered.


  1. William of Gloucester – Pended Name, New Arms

Argent, a chevron vert between two talbot heads erased sable and a chalice azure

This name was originally pended for discussion over whether William of Gloucester, cousin to the reigning Queen Elizabeth II of England, was sufficiently important to protect. Despite his familial relationship to a noteworthy individual, the modern William’s most notable achievement was dying in a plane crash. Additionally, he does not have his own entry in any of the three mainstream encyclopediæ used by the Muskatour staff. After extensive discussion, the Muskatour staff determined that he does not meet the criteria for protection. Three additional persons in history called “William of Gloucester” were also considered. However, there is every indication that they were not known by that name construct in period, but rather as “William Duke of Gloucester.” This name is registered.


  1. Zada d’Auray – Pended Name, Pended Arms

Azure, mulletty of eight points, a swallow volant argent

The name was originally 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 were also pended. The client has satisfied the LNA requirement, thus allowing us to register both the name and arms.




  1. Redebourne, Shire of – New Arms (see Registrations for New Name)

Sable, in pale a lion rampant guardant Or and a fess wavy gules fimbriated Or, a chief ermine

These arms are returned for non-period style. The debased fess shares central status with the lion, thus making both charges part of the central charge group. This violates the rules for submission IV.C.5.b, which states in part, “A single charge group may not mix ordinaries with non-ordinaries.” Additionally, because a central ordinary will always be considered the principal charge when present, a redraw to diminuate the lion to peripheral status was not possible given the resulting available space. Therefore, this is being returned.

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