Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour staff.
I cannot say this often enough – clients submitting new names and armoury should attempt to use a consulting herald. Nine times out of ten, errors in the submission sheets, lack of documentation, contentious issues with style, grammar, language matching, etc. can be mitigated by consulting with someone who has read and is familiar with the Rules for Submission and the Administrative Handbook. We have yet to return a submission for failure to meet the administrative requirements, but we came darn close both this month and last. Submission numbers are steadily increasing and once we can no longer accommodate “administrative cleanup”, we will have no choice.
There were no contentious issues this month.
There are no new precedents from this month’s meeting.
This month we have no returns and one pend. See below for the details.
1. Álendia, Kingdom of – New Award Name, New Award Badge
Award of the Cornerstone of Álendia
(Fieldless) A zule azure.
This award is intended to recognize those who work to start, grow, and sustain new geographic branches in the kingdom at a level well above and beyond that normally expected of a founder.
This submission nominally follows the pattern of “abstract quality or virtue” as an award name. Of the three known examples of such an award name in our period, two reference “love” and one references “hope.” The justification for this award name originates from Biblical references equating the founders of regional churches with the concept of a cornerstone or foundation for the church as a whole. While the Muskatour staff felt that this was pretty thin, given that the Biblical references were modern translations of ancient Greek writing and the staff did not have the expertise in Hellenistic or ancient Greek to validate the concept, we also felt that there was insufficient cause to naysay the comparison as an abstract quality prima facie. Thus, we are giving the kingdom the benefit of the doubt.
Note that the staff was unanimous in their opinion that the award should have been named for the heraldry associated with it – the azure zule.
- Ardenmere, Castle of – New Legacy Castle Name, New Legacy Castle Arms
Vert, in bend sinister three fleurs-de-lis Or.
- Ealhwine the Swineherd – New Name, New Arms
Argent, a stag’s head cabossed sable.
Submitted as Ealhwine the Pig Farmer, the client liked the suggestion from Crux Clechee Pursuivant to use Swineherd as a more period and more elegant form.
- Fionn O’Dalaigh – New Name, New Arms
Vert, a stag’s massacre and on a chief Or three trefoils vert.
- Godfrey of York – New Name, New Arms
Per pale Or and sable, three griffins segreant counterchanged.
Submitted as Godfrey of Sherwood, the staff felt that the allusion to the villain in a recent Hollywood rendition of the Robin Hood tale coupled with arms reminiscent of Guy of Gisbourne (the character on whom the villain was based) was too close to allow. The client approved the name change.
- Henry of Westbrook – Name Name, New Arms
Or, a cock hardi gules and on a chief azure three lozenges argent.
- Renée du Valier – New Badge
(Fieldless) In pale, a demi-cock gules issuant from a pair of breeches argent.
- Ælfflæd Wealhtheowsdotter of Brisinger – New Name, New Arms
Azure, a serpent erect Or between in fess two flames proper and in chief a cloud argent.
“Ælfflæd” is a well-documented given name from Saxon England prior to the 11th century.
“Wealhtheowsdotter” is a constructed matronymic. However, the sole documentation available for the given name Wealhtheow is a character in the saga of Beowulf. The character is a queen. Since the Muskatour staff could find no other usage of the name – either in other literature or in the records of names in use by the general populace of the time – the consensus was that the name in matronymic form was a tacit claim to royal lineage and thus presumptuous.
“of Brisinger” is a constructed byname in the locative format. However, no documentation for the byname construction was provided and the Muskatour staff could not find evidence of any placename on which the locative could be based. Brisinger as a surname does not show up in the records prior to the late 16th century – more than a hundred years outside our period. Additionally, it can only be found in Germany and is not compatible with pre-12th century Anglo-Saxon. We then looked at Brisinger as an epithetical byname, but could find no evidence of this construct either. The closest the staff could find was Brisingr in modern Swedish meaning “gentle breeze”, which was considered unsuitable for an epithetical byname and was more than 500 years outside our period. Referencing the documentation provided by the client, we determined that Brising is a reference to a race of dwarves in Old Norse mythology that dwelt below ground and worked with forges. Thus, the relationship term ‘Brisinger’ is a claim to non-human ancestry. The client had stated that ‘brising’ was an Old Norse term for flame or fire and was intended to be a reference to her red hair. Documentable terminology for such an epithetical byname uses a number of Old Norse and/or Saxon terms to indicate red hair, none of which use any form of bris, brising, or brisinger as the descriptive term. However, we are willing to consider the benefit of the doubt in this case as epithetical bynames enjoy a somewhat less restrictive documentation requirement than other forms of byname. We offer several options for the client’s consideration:
a. Old Norse is rife with prepended bynames – a style of byname where the adjective or epithet appears before the given name with a hyphen or other diacritical mark separating the two. Old Norse is also compatible with Anglo-Saxon prior to the start of the 12th century. In this case, given the examples of bris- being used as a prepended descriptive for various inanimate objects, we feel that bris-Ælfflæd would be an acceptable and registerable form of byname-given name for this time period and location.
b. Rēadhǣr… per the best Anglo-Saxon language and grammar asset the staff has available (https://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/), Rēadhǣr would be considered a suitable constructed epithetical byname in the same region and time period as the given name.
c. Returning to Old Norse prior to the 12th century, we can reasonably construct the byname hin Rauða – “the red” – made famous by Erik the Red. hinn Rauði is the feminine form. This construction and the male variant can be found in “Bynames of the Viking Age Runic Inscriptions” by Lindorm Eriksson; https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/lindorm/runicbynames/body.htm#start, originally published in KWHSS Proceedings 1999. Also found in FJ, p. 216.
The client has been notified of the pend and the recommended options.
There is no conflict with the arms, but arms cannot be registered without a suitable name.