Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings. This month’s LoRR represents several firsts. This is the first letter that includes submissions from the general populace. It includes the first consideration of names and armoury for a canton and a shire. The meeting was the first one conducted over the Zoom server graciously made available by our Bordure King of Arms. This was also the first meeting that saw attendance from someone other than the Muskatour staff. All of these are good things as they show the advancement of the College and by extension the Society as a whole.
However (there is always a “however”, isn’t there), there are some firsts that are not so good. Our meeting lasted nearly three hours this time around, and while some of that can be attributed to the fact that we had more submissions this month than previously, the primary reason for the length of the meeting was that we had to go back and do research that should have been done prior to the submissions reaching our hands. Our society is young, and there aren’t many trained heralds available as yet. We’re working on that. Without the human element available in all locations, we rely on the Rules for Submission and associated appendices to assist clients in choosing their names and designing their arms. Those documents are available to the general populace on the SMA Facebook page and (soon) on the SMA website. We also have staff heralds that will respond to private messages or emails and are willing to lend their assistance.
If this month’s meeting taught me anything, it’s that we do not yet have the manpower or the available time to “back in” the documentation required on even a fraction of the submissions we receive in a month. It’s a tough call because we don’t want to disappoint or frustrate the submitters, but we simply don’t have the resources yet to be able to do the work of a consulting herald in the middle of a decision meeting. With that in mind, I would like to remind everyone preparing a submission that the instructions on how to do so – what to include, what sources are acceptable, what sources to avoid, and what to do if documentation is not available (constructed names and individually documented patterns in armoury) – are available to you to read and follow. Given that we can only provide each submission about 3-4 minutes of consideration during the decision process, anything not properly documented will have to be returned.
With that said, we are also looking for anyone with even a modicum of heraldic training to sign on with us as commenting heralds. One of the things we are lacking in the decision meetings is commentary from people who do things like conflict checks, verification of documentation, and spelling/grammar checks prior to the meeting. Having these people allows for a much more streamlined decision process. If you have any heraldic experience with another organization, I encourage you to participate in the College of Arms submissions and commenting process. More information is available at the SMA Submissions Heralds group on Facebook. Also, if you do not have heraldic experience but are interested in learning, I have some (kind of boring) videos on YouTube that talk about how to consult with clients and how to package a submission for consideration. I will at some point after Thanksgiving be offering a couple of online sessions – at least one formal class on consultations and/or research and documentation. I may also be able to offer “office hours” for heralds that want some guidance from “the top” before committing to anything. If those ideas come to fruition, I will post the detail on the Facebook group.
The decision meeting this month considered all submissions received between 18 September and 31 October 2021. Any submissions received after 31 October are scheduled for the December meeting, which is tentatively set for Wednesday, 8 December 2021, at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. We considered 22 names and 29 pieces of armoury.
- Alexandria de Bourgogne – New Name (see Returns for Arms)
- Alun ap Gwilym – New Name, New Arms
Gules, on a chevron between three double-bitted axes Or, three mullets of four greater and four lesser points gules
The armoury is registered as a legacy submission. 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.
- Aoife Ruadh inghean Ragnaill – New Name, New Arms, New Badge
Arms: Per saltire gules and argent, four crescents in cross counterchanged
Badge: (Fieldless) a crescent per pale gules and argent
- Athena nic Raghnaill – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a bend ermine between two domestic cats sejant erect guardant Or
The client provided evidence that Athena is her legal given name, and as such is permitted under the legal name allowance.
- Bestian von Lunz – New Name, New Arms, New Badge
Arms: Gules, on a grenade Or a mullet of five greater and five lesser points sable, a bordure Or
Badge: (Fieldless) On a grenade Or a mullet of five greater and five lesser points sable
The armoury is registered as legacy submissions. Future clients should note that mullets of five greater and five lesser points (also known as ‘Ansteorran stars’) are a concoction of another organization’s heraldic practices and are not compatible with SMA heraldry.
- Elizabeth Cateline Grey – New Name, New Arms
Argent, a domestic cat sejant guardant sable, a chief embattled gules
Submitted as ‘Elizabeth Grey’ and initially ruled as clear of Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, and Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kildare, commenters noted another Elizabeth Grey – Elizabeth Woodville who married Edward IV and became Queen of England. Her first husband was Sir John Grey of Groby. Thus, she was known as Elizabeth Grey until her subsequent marriage to Edward. The client elected to add a middle name to clear the conflict.
- Eva Blackpool – New Name (see Returns for Arms)
- Ewen Blackpool – New Name, New Arms
Quarterly sable and gules, a wyvern argent
- Galen of Bristol – New Name, New Arms
Gules, a bend wavy between two double-bitted axes Or
- Giovanni Rocco – New Name, New Arms (See Pended for Badge)
Azure, three bendlets or, in sinister chief a tower argent
The artwork as submitted presented a visual conflict with Dairine ingen Dhomnaill (Azure, a tower argent and a base argent ermined azure). The bendlets should run from the upper left corner to the lower right tick mark on the escutcheon, and the tower should be resized much smaller so as to be unmistakably a secondary charge rather than primary or co-primary. The Muskatour staff redrew the emblazon and the client has approved the new artwork.
- Jehanne d’Avignon – New Name, New Arms
Sable, three crosses flory and on a chief Or a triple-towered bridge crenellated gules
- Josef of Álendia – New Holding Name, New Arms
Sable, a boar passant and on a chief argent three ravens sable
Submitted as Josef Helstrom, the name is unregisterable due to lack of documentation for the construction of the byname. The documentation was pulled from a website that dates the naming practice from which the surname Helstrom is derived to the late 19th century. An exhaustive search by the Muskatour staff of numerous written volumes and the FamilySearch database was unable to come up with the name, a variant of the name, or another name constructed in a similar manner prior to the year 1868. Therefore, since the armoury is registerable, we have created a holding name to protect the armoury. Client is advised on resubmission to provide clear evidence from one or more accepted sources for either the actual name or the process of constructing a byname as explained in the rules for submission.
- Káta refr – New Name
- Renee du Valier – New Name, New Arms (See Returns for Badge)
Per pale gules and azure, a sun in its splendor Or and a base embattled argent
- Snæúlfr berserkjabani – New Name, New Arms, New Badge
Arms: Gules, a sea serpent erect tail nowed argent
Badge: (Fieldless) a spear head argent
- Stokeford-upon-Trinity, Canton of – New Name, New Arms
Per chevron gules and azure, three bulls’ heads cabossed Or, a chief ermine
Although documented using the pattern of the city name ‘Stratford-upon-Avon’, that town was known simply as Stratford until 1553 (three years outside our gray area) when a royal charter was issued bearing the ‘upon-Avon’ designation. Fortunately, Muskatour staff was able to find documentation that Frankfurt, Germany was officially designated as Frankfurt am Main as early as the 14th century (Adrian Room, Placenames of the World (McFarland, 2006)). Submitted as Stockford-upon-Trinity, the Muskatour staff was not able to find that spelling in period sources. The client accepted the documented form.
- Willowbourne Castle – New Name, New Arms
Gules, a cross Or and in canton a Paschal Lamb reguardant argent
- Wulfrun Aschere – New Name, New Badge (See Returns for Arms)
Badge: (Fieldless) A tree eradicated per pale vert and azure
- Varr Grimsson – New Name, New Arms
Or, two ravens respectant and a wolf’s head erased, a bordure embattled sable
- Alexandria de Bourgogne – New Arms (see Registrations for Name)
Gules, a pale invected between a stag rampant and three sets of four lozenges in mascle argent
This is being returned for non-period style. The Muskatour staff was unable to find any examples in period armoury showing lozenges in this arrangement as independent charges or charge groups. Furthermore, we considered them as whole lozenges each charged with a saltire throughout but were unable to find period examples of that motif either.
- Clan Galti – New Name, New Badge
The term “clan” in period was used only in Scotland and follows a pattern of being named after an individual. The documentation provided for Galti states that it translates to “pig” or “boar”, and there was no documentation showing it as a legitimate Scottish surname after which to name a clan. Muskatour staff was unable to locate evidence that it was used as a Scottish surname. Thus, the name is returned.
Badge: Sable, a boar passant argent
Because there is not a registerable name, no armoury can be attached to that name, so the armoury submission is also being returned. However, even had the name been registered, this would be returned because badges must be fieldless, and because of conflict with the personal badge of Richard III of England, (Fieldless) A boar passant argent
- Eva Blackpool – New Arms (see Registrations for Name)
Quarterly sable and vert, a domestic cat rampant argent
This is returned for conflict with Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk (Gules, a lion rampant argent) and Oliver Cromwell (Sable, a lion rampant argent). Since no difference is granted between types of felines that were used interchangeably in period, the only difference here is for the tincture of the field.
- Gotrik – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a boar rampant contourny argent and in base a cleaver fesswise reversed argent
The rules for submission state that all names must have a minimum of two elements – a given name/first name and a byname/surname. Since this name was submitted as a single element with no byname or surname, it is not registerable.
Because there is not a registerable name, no armoury can be attached to that name, so the armoury submission is also being returned. In addition, the boar and the cleaver on the arms are drawn in a stylized Celtic knot pattern that is not used in period heraldry. The rules for submission state that all elements must be drawn in their period form. Therefore, when resubmitting, the client is urged to use standard or classic heraldic imagery.
- Káta refr – New Arms, New Badge (See Registrations for Name)
Arms: Azure, a triskelion Or
The style of triskelion submitted (a triskelion of spirals), while a plausible artistic motif in Greek or Celtic artwork and jewelry, is heraldically a concoction of another organization and does not represent period style. Since this is not a legacy submission, this is being returned for non-period style.
Badge: (Fieldless), A triquetra azure, overall a triquetra inverted gules interlaced of an annulet Or
While very pretty, this is returned for multiple reasons. First, it gives the appearance of knotwork. While simple knots, such as the Tyrell knot or triquetra, are documented period heraldic charges, they are not seen in period heraldry overlaid with each other. Given the addition of the overall charge coupled with the interlacing, it is doubtful that a competent herald would be able to blazon it reliably, and only slightly less doubtful that a competent heraldic artist would be able to reliably reproduce the design strictly from blazon.
- Renee du Valier – New Badge (See Registrations for Name and Arms)
(Fieldless) a sun in its splendor Or
This is returned for conflict with Macedonia (Gules, a sun Or).
- The Mercenary Warband – New Name, New Arms
Sable, a recurve bow fesswise surmounted by a sword inverted argent
Under the rules for submission, any group may use generic designations that are appropriate for their activities (e.g., Brewers Guild, Company of Archers, etc.) However, no one group may register a generic identifier, which serves only to deny that designation to all other similar organizations. The Mercenary Warband is just such a generic identifier and is therefore being returned. On resubmission, the client is advised to include a specific and unique element to the name, such as a geographic identifier, adjective modifier, or other marker to distinguish his warband from all others.
The arms are being returned primarily because they cannot be registered without an acceptable name. However, the client should also note that as drawn, the submission is considered thin-line and would have likely been returned or pended for redraw even with an acceptable name. Both the bow and the sword should be beefy enough to be distinguishable and identifiable at a reasonable viewing distance (for a 5-inch escutcheon, that would be roughly 10 feet). In this case, at 10 feet, commenters were prone to see the charges as an unusual style of cross.
- Wulfrun Aschere – New Arms (See Registrations for Name and Badge)
Azure, a lion couchant Or, a bordure ermine
These arms are being returned for using an ermine bordure. Ermine bordures are reserved for principalities and kingdoms.