Herald's Point
The Occasional Journal for the College of Heralds of Atlantia

Volume 5, Issue 3 -- May/June 2008 (A.S. XLIII)



Artwork credit: Maestra Julianna Fiorentini



Greetings unto the Atlantian College of Heralds from Triton!


Warm weather is finally settled upon us (YAY!) and with it, comes the periodic reminder of our mantra, Water is Our Friend! So is Mr. Sunscreen… Enjoy those outdoor heralding opportunities, but be safe and keep healthy!


Crown was a blast and I am very proud of all the heralds who came! I especially want to thank “the boys”, Master Eldred, Baron James and Lord Albrecht, who manned the tourney tree; Baron Michael, Baron Eogan, Master Eldred and Lady Rosanella, who heralded the procession and tourney; and of course, Mistress Alisoun, for running the consult table! And Lady Marie-Helene, for being Johnny-on-the-spot with a platter for the cookies! My proudest moment was the thank you y’all got from the kingdom MoL for making things run so smoothly! Good job, folks!


Remember Runestone Collegium at the end of June and Stierbach’s Baronial Birthday, both of which have heraldry classes scheduled. We’ll be halfway through the year, and this would be a good time to get that class requirement in! (hint!)

Now our thoughts turn to Pennsic and all the heraldic offerings inherent therein... To help you spiff up your encampment, later in this issue you will find an article by Mistress Morderyn Tremayne about heraldic display. And with heraldic display in mind, I am sponsoring not one, but TWO, heraldic walking tours at Pennsic this year! The first will be Monday, August 4th, at 1:00 p.m., and the second will start Thursday, August 7th, at 10:00 a.m. Both will depart from Atlantian Royal and last 1.5 to 2 hours. Wear good walking shoes and bring drinking water! I will provide the tours with awards to hand out to heraldic displays they find really inspiring, spectacular, unique, etc.

As far as Pennsic University is concerned, there will be several class offerings by Atlantian heralds and others. I encourage you to peruse the class listings once they are posted and consider partaking of a class or two (or three, or four!).

And helpers are always needed at the Pennsic consult table. Even if you aren't experienced enough to feel comfortable to help with consults, they still need greeters, heraldic artists and other helpers to keep things moving and flowing! Our own Lady Gisela is in charge and we want to help her be successful in this endeavor, right? Everybody nod, now....

There are a couple of heraldic gatherings, to include an Atlantian heralds' social in Atlantia Royal, time to be announced later. In addition, the Conflict Checking Bootcamp (time TBA); Known World Heralds Party (Sun, 8/3, 8-10 at Herald's Point); and Laurel Road Show (Mon, 8/4, 10-1 at Herald's Point).

Also, one super groovy way to help out and see the world is to volunteer to do heraldic announcements! Vocal heralds are in much demand at Pennsic, and often, get nice beverages and goodies from camps along their route! But don't do it just for the rewards; do it to lend a hand and let folks know of scheduling changes.

Finally, one of the most inspiring heraldic moments at Pennsic has to be Opening Ceremonies, where all the kingdoms come together in their greatest finery and display. If for just a moment, you step outside of yourself and imagine what it must be like to see this for the first time, perhaps as a child would, the ceremony and majesty will bring tears to your eyes.

So, I hope those of you attending Pennsic will take your love of heraldry with you and participate in the special ways that only Pennsic can offer a herald! It can be a most inspiring experience! See you there!!!

-- Rhiannon


Mistress Rhiannon ui Neill

Triton Principal Herald

House Corvus, Atlantia



 A Word from the Newsletter Editor


Greetings unto all to whom these presents come from Lady Patricia of Trakai!

First of all, I'm trying something a bit new-ish: producing this issue of Herald's Point in both HTML and Portable Document Format. The archival newsletters from 1999 to 2001 were posted in both formats (plus Microsoft Word), but the last five years have been issued solely in HTML. At the most recent Unevent, our current Kingdom Chronicler, Lady Gwerfyl verch Aneirin (known as Aneira), said she would like all of Atlantia's electronic newsletters to be published in PDF. With this issue I'm trying it in both formats. Please let me know what you think.

I readily admit that the area of heraldry in which I have the least experience is field heraldry. I just have never done it, and I'll bet that there are a fair number of novice to intermediate heralds haven't gotten much practice, either. Now Master Donal Mac Ruiseart, our Conch Herald and also a longtime heavy fighter and marshal, has written up an article based on a class he didn't get to teach formally at Caer Mear's 30th Birthday Celebration in March. We all get to benefit from his expertise.

What are your plans for Pennsic? After reading Mistress Mordeyrn's article, I can hardly wait to start stitching up some spiff, so that my mundane tent looks less like a foreign blob.

Finally, I see that the number of overdue court reports listed on the Atlantian Order of Precedence home page is growing. Please, if a court you heralded is on that list, make an extra effort to track down any missing information and submit your report before the pre-Pennsic crush starts in earnest (if it hasn't already!).


In service, 

Lady Patricia, Editor

What Marshals Wish Heralds Knew 

By Master Donal Mac Ruiseart, Conch Herald


Heralds are not often fighters themselves, so when a herald walks onto the listfield, he is often thought of as something of an intruder, a non-fighter in the milieu belonging to fighters. Almost all marshals are also fighters, of course; and with very few exceptions the ones who aren’t currently fighters used to fight.


It is important, therefore, that heralds in the listfield be made aware of what is often common knowledge among the fighters and marshals. 


As a herald who is also a fighter and a marshal, I will endeavour to provide you with a list of things that the fighters and marshals wished all heralds knew.


§  First, sorry to say it, but you are non-essential. A tournament can be conducted without heralds. Some fighters and marshals even think we’re just in the way. It is of greatest importance to be seen as a help to the action and not a hindrance. But do not get the idea that non-essential means useless or superfluous. Heralds can be more useful than a lot of people may think at first.


§  Second, remember that although you’re a non-combatant, you will be stepping into the listfield, so you must sign in with the MoL and if you don’t have a waiver on file, you must sign one.


§  Show respect to the other functionaries in the Lists. This includes the marshals and the MoL. Although the MoLs don’t usually come onto the field, their part is essential to the conduct of most tournaments. Address them with respect. Especially the marshals, whom you should always address as “my lord marshal” or “Sir marshal” if a knight. Doesn’t matter that you’ve known him for years, in the lists the title is all you should use. The marshals, in turn, should address you as “my lord/lady herald.” They may or may not.


§  When you announce the fighters to make ready and come into the lists, be sure you get their names right. If one hears a name called and does not recognize it as one’s own, it will not prompt him to make ready or make his way to the listfield.


§  When you announce fighters prior to a match, indicate by a gesture or facing toward the fighter whose name you call. This helps both marshals and spectators learn who is who.


§  In announcing fighters, keep the descriptions brief. A short reference to garb or gear is preferable in most cases to a full blazon of their heraldry. There are a few instances, such as the first and final rounds of  a Crown Tourney, when custom dictates the use of the full blazon. Otherwise cut it short.


§  The same goes for the Litany of Honours. The full litany should be used in the first and the last round of any tournament, but in the intermediate rounds, use a shortened version. But the last part should always be to the effect of  “Pay heed to the marshal!” 


§  Once you’ve finished your announcement, get out of the listfield. Your presence as a non-fighter prevents the match from beginning. And remember that even if you are a fighter and even a marshal, when you function as a herald you are a non-fighter by definition. Heralds are by custom forbidden to carry weapons or wear armour. So stay clear of the list area when a match is in progress.


BUT:  If you see a dangerous situation develop, call “HOLD!” You might be the only one in position to see it.


§  Related to that, when you watch a tourney as a herald, remember that your voice carries more authority than if it was you yourself. Whatever you think of the conduct of the fight, you must refrain from commenting on it.


§  During a match, if you see anyone leaning on the list barrier or standing close to it (less than 3 or 4 feet) with their back to it, remind them that that’s not a safe position and they should move or turn around.


§  When you step out of the listfield, don’t block the view of the Royals if present or of the MoL. I myself sometimes take on the duty of reminding spectators – and fighters awaiting their turn in the lists – not to block the line of sight to the MoL table.


§  Be alert, watch the match, and be prepared to announce the victor when the match ends,


BUT . . .  


§  When a match ends, await some indication from the marshal as to who the victor was. It may seem obvious but the marshal may have seen something – such as a flat blow – that would invalidate the conclusion and require the contest to continue. In fact, it’s a good thing to tell the marshal that you will await his word or signal. Ask him to say the victor’s name or point to the victor. Even I, who am also a marshal, try to follow this rule.


§  As soon as a match ends, announce the next match and the one or two to follow. Keep the line moving.

If you follow these admonitions, not only will the proceedings move more smoothly, but the fighters and marshals may consider you a welcome presence in and around the listfield.



Showing Off Your Colors!

By Mistress Mordeyrn Tremayne

In the Middle Ages, there wasn't a lot of reading going on by many people, but they knew who everyone was most of the time, especially anyone who lived in their realm of influence. One's heraldry, arms, badge, was well known. Just as today, if you see a unicornate seahorse on blue and white wavy things, you just know that's Atlantia. Simplified, yes, but there's no need to complicate that which is heraldic display. It is very easy to make you are easily identifiable as yours but some judicious use of your colors and that which describes you. It is very easy to make pennons, pennants even banners and if you've time a war standard, though I personally feel that the war standard should be displayed by a peer of the realm. So, let's start with the easiest way to spiff up your day shade/tent/encampment.

Streamers: These are the least expensive and easiest thing you can do to dress up your area. Get a half yard of broadcloth of your two main colors. Say your colors are black and blue. One yard from your local Wal-Mart, $1.77 and a spool of black thread, and a spool of blue and one of black ribbon, usually about 44 cents, you're out less than $3.00. Now, you've got two rectangles, 18" x 45". You can get nine 18" x 5" long streamers or eighteen 18" x 2.5" long streamers. Choose which width you wish, then cut. Use a ruler to ensure they're straight. Narrow hem each one all the way around. Cut the ribbon into equal lengths, about 12-18" long depending on how many streamers you decided to make. Attach the black to the blue streamers, and the blue ribbon to the black streamers. Wa-lah, you've got pretties to tie around your encampment, onto your day shade, or tent. Medievally, streamers could get VERY long, like 50 feet... I don't suggest ever doing that unless you're going to decorate a telephone line or something.

Pennons: These are a little more involved, only in that they're not rectangular, but still pretty inexpensive, and cool looking. They can be just your colors, or have your badge on them also, or the badge of the order(s) your in, our your group, or your kingdom. A pennon is an isosceles triangle (two sides are the same length and the third side is shorter) and usually not longer than 24 inches. Let's do the simplest first. If you get a yard of the broadcloth, you have a 36" x 45" rectangle. What you want to do is cut the material into triangles. You decide the size. I'd suggest folding the material in half so that its 18" wide by 45" long, ironing that fold in, then fold the material in half again, keeping the 18" width, but now 27.5" long, Iron in place. Fold again, now its 16.75" long, still 18" wide. Iron each fold. Do one more fold and you've got 18" long by 8.375" wide. Now draw a diagonal line on the top side. Cut on the diagonal, then cut the edges. You've got a number of triangles now. And you should have some that are right triangles. Do the same thing with your other color. Now, you should have a number of isosceles triangles, and several right triangles. Narrowly hem the isosceles triangles, and attach ribbons of the opposite color on these. They'll be about 7.75" wide and about 17.25" long. For the right triangles, take a triangle of each color, and match the right triangle sides together and sew so that you end up with an isosceles triangle that is dual colored. finish the seam down the center. Narrowly hem all the way around, attach ribbon of opposite colors on each end. Intersperse these with your little streamers and you've got an easy, inexpensive heraldic display.

Now, to do the more intricate ones, you could take a finished isosceles triangle and appliqué your badge on it on both sides. One side will be reverse of the other, make the one where the short edge (the hoist) is on your left and the point is on the right be the proper direction (is your critter should point to the left, it should point toward the hoist then).

You could also embroider your badge on the pennon, though I'd suggest that you make the pennon double-sided so as to hide the reverse stitching as its rather difficult to double-side embroider.

Pennants: A pennant is basically a long pennon. Usually about 24" to 84" long, and also an isosceles triangle. Most pennants have a badge on them, not normally just the colors, but can be. So, in this case, get two yards of your material. Fold so that its 27.5" wide by 72" long. Iron in place. Fold diagonally. Iron in place. Cut on the diagonal. You now have two right triangles and one isosceles triangle. Repeat with the other color. Narrowly hem the two isosceles triangle pennants. For the right triangles, align the right angle side and sew. Finish that seam. Iron flat. Attach ties of opposite colors to each pennant. Apply your badge near the hoist on both sides either via appliqué or embroidery.

These are easy ways to make your encampment or day shade, or tent look very nice, they fly well in a breeze since they're lightweight, and they display to the world who you are especially when you use your badge, You can intersperse using your Barony's badge and the Kingdom's Badge. Simple, not overly time consuming, looks very spiff, and inexpensive... what more could you ask for?


Point of Fact

Maryland is the only U.S. state with a state flag based on British heraldry. (Yes, the District of Columbia's flag also comes from British heraldry, namely the arms of the Washington family, but the District isn't a state -- yet.) The "paly of six Or and sable with a bend counterchanged" comes from the device of the Calvert family of the second Lord Baltimore's paternal line; the "quarterly argent and gules, a cross bottony counterchanged" comes from the Crossland family on his mother's side. The quarterly arrangement of the two families' arms did not become the official state flag until the early 20th century. The SCA College of Armps protects the complete flag as important non-SCA arms, but the cross bottony motif is used in the device and two badges of the Barony of Dun Carraig.


Heraldry is an art as old as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and as young as the newest submission. I welcome you to join in exploring it with your colleagues, the heralds of Atlantia -- this is your journal. If you have always wanted to write an article that would be read by every Atlantian herald, or if you have a question you would like to ask of all the heralds of Atlantia, send me a message at Patoodle AT aol DOT com! I prefer that any articles or other messages come as plain text (ASCII), as opposed to HTML or some other format. Thank you!



In Service, 

Patricia of Trakai


Herald's Point is the newsletter for the members of the College of Heralds of Atlantia. Herald's Point is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA) and does not delineate SCA policies. Herald's Point does delineate policies specific to the College of Heralds of the Kingdom of Atlantia. Copies of this newsletter are available from: Patricia of Trakai (Patty Daukantas), 7740 Lakecrest Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770.