The Heretical Herald Rides Again!

Aside

The badge of the SCA Herald

The badge of the SCA Herald (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings, I’m dusting off the old table and gathering up fresh parchment, for I am going to try another go at publishing “The Heretical Herald” once more! I hope that any conservative heralds do not cringe at the thought of a heretical herald, for I am quite conservative… just a bit creative.

My goal is to educate and share the creativity that can be a part of heraldry. I try for a lighthearted approach to make heraldry fun. Sure there are a lot of rules and regulations, but there is also the Art of Heraldry! There is the humour of “cants”. (Not “can’t, but “cant”.)

Good heraldry actually has a lot in common with good website design and good graphic art design. You would be surprised perhaps at how much these things have in common with heraldry. (Just try to read dark blue writing on a black background in the small print on the back of an item in the grocery store.)

antirfldsmll

Populous Badge for the population of the SCA Kingdom of Antir.

Iwill be writing from the point of view of a herald residing in the SCA Kingdom of An Tir. Be aware that there may be biases towards the way we do things up here.

I plan to contribute to this site on a regular basis, though I did in the past as well. LOL

Enjoy the ride!

 

H.H.

 

Don’t Talk To Me About Complications! or I’ve Got a Headache

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 2 February 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

(ed. Note that this was written a while ago and they may 
use a different way to judge complexity now. 
Consult your local herald.)

Acute song I have heard in the SCA dealing with Heraldry called “The Herald’s Complaint”, by Baldwin of Erebor is about the nightmares a herald has about a device he sees even in his dreams which haunts him in its ugly complexity. I won’t repeat the lyrics to this excellent song here out of courtesy to the writer and copyright, however I recommend that the reader look it up. You can find the lyrics printed with permission on this page: “http://www.florilegium.org/files/PERFORMANCE-ARTS/songs2-msg.text” Search down the fairly lengthy page for the phrase “The Herald’s Complaint” and you’ll find the articles on it with the lyrics. (Baldwin of Erebor is mundanely known as Derek Foster and the song has been published in the volume “Broadside of a Bard”, Copyright 1979 by Derek Foster) I can also reprint the registry of Baldwin of Erebor that includes the badge of which the song is written in illustration:

  • Baldwin of Erebor
  • This name was registered in March of 1980 (via Atenveldt).
  • The following device associated with this name was registered in March of 1980 (via Atenveldt):
    Azure, on a pile invected ermine a harp Or.
  • The following badge associated with this name was registered in April of 1980 (via Atenveldt):
    (Fieldless) A dove displayed upon a billet chequy Or and gules between a pair of cockatrices clad in motley like a fool’s, their feathers are dimidiated with a tree eradicated, limbed and fructed countercompony.

The badge you can see was passed in 1980 and likely wouldn’t pass today for a number of reasons, one of which is, it is just too complex. I’ll leave figuring out what it looks like to you. I’m not really sure what feathers that are half composed of eradicated trees look like.

In the SCA there is a guideline that heralds use to gauge how complex too complex is. In general as the number of tinctures used in a device increases the number of types of charges should decrease. The basic guideline used is that the total number of tinctures used when added to the total number of different types of charges should not exceed 8. Further three or more types of charges should not be used in the same group of charges. It is spelled out in the “Rules for Submission” Part VIII- Compatible Armorial Style 1. Armorial Simplicity a. Tincture and Charge Limit. I’m not sure how many colours “motley” counts as, but the badge in “The Herald’s Complaint” I’m sure comes out as more than 8.

There is a tendency with some newcomers to the SCA to want to virtually include their life story in their device. Their persona is from a port city so they want something nautical like a ship, their father was a miller and the byname they have selected is miller so they want a millrind, they love their pet dog whom they bring to all events so they want a hound and since they are welsh they want a dragon. Since they also want to be a crusading knight they also want a cross or saltire on the device somewhere too. They also really like the colours red, green, and yellow. The big thing is they want it all! Now before even trying to design anything just doing a count we have 5 + 3 = 8 for the complexity count. That is at the border. Now this does fit in. It just barely fits in. It would take a lot of care to incorporate all these items tastefully without it becoming indistinct and messy to look at. Simpler is better and if they were coming to consult with me I would try to convince them to pare down that list to what is truly what is important and what they want. I’ll remind them that they can also have in addition to a device up to three badges with which they can display these other symbols of their persona life.

It might be a good time to take them on a tour of period Rolls of Arms and Armorials and let them have a gander at what actually was done in period. Then have a look at some well known and recognizable SCA Arms and take turns pointing out the more striking ones and ones that strike each of your fancy and count out the complexity of them. Perhaps this might convince them to pare down their grand plans for their life story in heraldry. I’d suggest a wander down the online An Tir: Roll of Arms. There is nothing like some good examples to get the creative juices flowing in the right direction. There are also some very nice and very creative good examples of heraldry. Of course be wary of some that would not pass muster in today’s more stringent times.

…and if they still want everything and a bag of chocolate chip cookies proper… well work with it as best as possible and remind them that 8 isn’t a goal but a recommended maximum and that heralds really are sticky when it comes to the dreaded “slot machine” guideline!

The “slot machine” guideline refers to that second bit on complexity that you should not have three or more different types of charges in a charge group. In other words if you have three charges in a group, three the same are a winner; two the same and one different are a winner; but three different are a loser. So having a “bell” “book” and “candle” while sounding sort of neat and alluding to neat stuff just won’t go as a group of charges on your shield. (Though if you are cagey you could have your shield set up with a pale down the centre and but the bell to one side, the book on the other and then set the candle on the pale.)

Hark the Heretical Herald V1:1

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Hark the Heretical Herald.

Setting the tone for The Heretical Herald this Premier Issue includes a number of articles. The first “What’s Good Contrast?” is the first of a number of simple educational pieces aimed at the novice to Heraldry. “But I Really Wanted Sanguine!” is an article on a novel approach to the problem of a client who really wants to use a colour or pattern that just is not allowed in SCA Heraldry. The solution is fairly straightforward and does not require any special permission, research, or documentation. “Cant Do That!” announces the start of a contest challenging readers to find interesting “canting arms” in the An Tir Roll of Arms and other Rolls of Arms both SCA and Real World. “Scentual Submissions” is an short article on choices when selecting just what to use when colouring in your heraldic submission form.

Carnation (heraldry)

Carnation (heraldry) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For now the staff of The Heretical Herald is only “one”. That means that only one person is writing all the copy that is coming out as well as being responsible for editing, publishing, promoting, bookkeeping, and whatever else might come up. I hope in time that this might change though not too quickly. I would like to at least stay in editorial control for some time. The state of affairs of the rather limited staff however is the reason behind why The Heretical Herald might be a bit intermittent in publication to start off with. I hope that this will eventually change.

I’m not sure how much fresh material is available to keep this publication going in the long term, but I am sure there is enough for a number of issues. In any case, I am planning on keeping an archive of back issues available and perhaps updated and improved as warranted.

Please let me know if you would like to reprint any articles or items you find in this publication in your own publication or another. I’ll most likely give permission, but I would like to be asked.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this and I hope you find it useful and entertaining.

H. Herald editor

The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1

Greetings, For a start I shall be posting articles from the first issue of The Heretical Herald which I published February Eleventh, 2004. I will not be posting them as a single monolithic block and I may have to edit some and even omit some of the articles for copyright reasons. I had special permission to use certain items and management changes as well as internal offices in some organizations. This will hold true for other past issues of The Heretical Herald.

I do plan on posting new material as well in future, but I think you’ll find the articles upcoming from past issues most useful and entertaining.

“The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 1 February 11, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD”

For your information, if you are not familiar with The Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. (SCA), “AS XXXVIII” stands for “Anno Societatatus 38” or the 38th year of the society referring to the start date of the SCA.

Hello world!

Cambridge University Heraldry--horizontal array

Cambridge University Heraldry–horizontal array (Photo credit: The Happy Rower)

In 2004 I was very active in Heraldry in The Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. — SCA Inc. — and prided myself with finding solutions that made my clients — as a Herald Extraordinaire — quite happy. I did realize there were interesting problems that people didn’t have solutions for… but I could find unconventional solutions for. On the other hand, I found that often, more conservative solutions, once explained suited better.

Often it was a matter of misunderstandings of just why certain rules were in place, and sometime it wasn’t a matter of rule at all, but rumour and memory of past mistake in application of rules. I decided to set forth in a slightly light hearted — masked hero — manner to come to the rescue and thus the Heretical Herald was born!

My thought was to somehow publish a slightly humorous publication to educate and entertain both seasoned herald and novice alike in the area of heraldry. This was a tall order being that many many heralds were senior to me. However I was one to sit at the feet of giants and actually listen and more so to ask questions.

An so my original website “The Heretical Herald” was born back 8 years ago.

It is my plan to bring back the articles I printed in the short run of that publication as well as to add to it. This format makes for less work in the publication — something that really bogged down the original. So if you knew the original, you will recognize some of the work. I also plan on new material including articles that will teach heraldry to the novice and beginner.

The articles will be published in this column. I only can wish for readers.

HH.