Letter of Registrations and Returns
Society of the Middle Ages, Inc.
Office of the Muskatour King of Arms
Greetings from the Muskatour staff.
It is always gratifying to see name and armoury submissions from new, emerging branches. A reminder to all those who may be contemplating starting a local branch – all geographic branch arms must include the chief of allegiance – a chief ermine – for boroughs, shires, and provinces. The chief of allegiance is optional for non-geographic groups such as castles and guilds.
There were no contentious issues this month.
There are no new precedents from this month’s meeting.
This month we have one return and no pends. See below for the details.
1. Dracanceaster, Borough of – New Branch Name, New Branch Arms
Per fess embattled, a dragon’s head cabossed Or, a chief ermine.
Submitted as Per fess embattled, a dragon’s head cabossed Or, the chief was added to bring the civic arms into compliance with the requirements in the Administrative Handbook of the College of Arms.
2. Eschina Violet – New Name, New Arms
Purpure, on a plate a balance purpure.
3. Guillaume de Bordeaux – New Legacy Name, New Legacy Arms
Gules, a wolf’s head erased between two scarpes Or.
4. Heorotas Castle – New Castle Name, New Castle Arms
Per pale embattled gules and vert, two harts salient respectant Or.
Submitted as Heorot Castle, the documentation offered was a castle in Beowulf of the same name, housing royalty. There are many examples of castles outside the literary reference that are named for an animal, including an example of “deer castle” (synonymous with heorot castle, as heorot translates to deer), however no other examples using the Angle-Saxon word heorot. Thus, as the submission was exactly the same as a literary castle identified as the primary home of a royal family, the Muskatour staff felt that the name was presumptuous. Changing the substantive element from singular to plural (to reflect the two deer on the civic arms) resolved the issue. The client approved the change.
Note that the beasts on the arms are blazoned as harts to preserve the cant on the castle name.
ARTIST NOTE: The submitted emblazon shows one hoof on the dexter hart overlying the line of division. This is an artifact of the software used to produce the image and should not be replicated. Each beast should reside clearly within its own side of the escutcheon.
5. Solumbria, Principality of – Administrative Name Change, Administrative Arms Change
Azure, a cross clechée argent, a bordure ermine.
This is an administrative entry pending the advancement of the Province of Solumbria to Principality status.
6. Michael of Caer ar yr Afon Goch – Name Name, New Arms
Sable, on a pall vert fimbriated three bears argent.
The name was pended on the September letter awaiting the client’s approval for a major change. Submitted as Michael of Afon Goch, the documentation cited the registered castle of Caer ar yr Afon Goch as the source of the locative surname. By rule, locative surnames must use the entire name of the location. Thus, the name was changed to reflect the entire castle name. Additionally, as “Afon Goch” translates to “Red River”, precedent does not allow someone to be “from” a body of water.
The arms had no conflict but were pended because we cannot register arms without a valid registered name.
1. Lorelei MacAdam – New Name, New Arms
Per fess embattled argent and Or, two forget-me-nots purpure and a double-headed eagle gules.
The client expressed primary concern for the culture and language of Denmark. Neither name element originates with or is compatible with Danish naming practices.
MacAdam is documented to 1507 AD (within the SMA gray period) as a Scottish surname and may be considered reasonable as a constructed clan affiliation earlier than that. If evaluated strictly as a surname, it is in the form of a masculine patronymic (“mac” meaning “son of”) and would not be an appropriate surname for a woman. If considered as an earlier period clan affiliation, the form it would take would be “of Clan Adam” following a given name and descriptive, occupational, or feminine patronymic byname. The client’s significant other does have the registered byname of MacAdam (Adam’s son), however the client is advised that the practice of married women adopting their husband’s surname did not start until well after our time period of study. Married women would keep their birth byname or might, under coverture, adopt a byname indicating she was a wife; but same surnames would indicate a blood relationship rather than a marital one. If the desire is to show a common ancestor, the same patronymic for a female would be rendered as “inghen Adhaimh”.
Unfortunately, the name “Lorelei” is not registerable in the SMA – even if using the legal name allowance – under RfS II.D.3, which states in part, “Names will not be registered if they contain a claim of unnatural abilities, magic power, or divinity.” The lorelei is a reference to mythical sirens living on a rocky bend in the Rhein River. They use their siren song to lure sailors into crashing their boats on the rocks. The legend has also been applied to other dangerous waterways in other parts of Europe and the Near East with different names for the sirens. Lorelei as a given name does not appear in the records prior to the early 19th century. Thus, we have no evidence of its use as a name for humans within our period, and its association with magical powers disqualifies it as a given name in the SMA without evidence that normal humans used the name independent of the legend. Even if Lorelei were registerable, it would not be allowed with the surname MacAdam as it is of German origin and incompatible with a Scottish surname.
The Muskatour staff has provided the client with some options, but the number of issues with this name demand that it be returned rather than pended as there is no simple solution.