[ANSTHRLD] Heraldic Faux Pas

tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Tue Aug 9 13:13:50 PDT 2005

On Mon, 8 Aug 2005, Charles Ó Floinn <Tons at raf662bravo.com> wrote:
> My original post was because I too had found that historically
> speaking the Herald only wore the colors and device of the person he
> was herald for.

Not precisely, as I'll expand on below.  The herald wore the arms of
the person he was employed by, took orders from, called "boss".

> Even so, I believe if we hold strictly to period practices then in
> our Kingdom alone we would have to sew thousands of tabards
> including at least two new ones every six months.  So I can see why
> we do a group's device instead.

As for "two new ones every six month": there's a period and modern
custom called Arms of Dominion.  With many real-world kingdoms, if you
ascended to the throne, you discarded whatever personal arms you had
and took the arms of dominion of that kingdom.  There's a nice illo in
_Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Illustrated_.  In practice, kingdoms and
baronies almost always get treated that way in the SCA.  So there's no
need for "two new ones every six months" (even leaving aside

As for "thousands of tabards": if I understand you, you think that
each field herald ought to wear a tabard of the person they're
announcing on the field.  That model can't work in the SCA, because
each field herald is announcing two people at a time and you can't
wear two tabards at once.  Besides, only a fighter's own herald should
wear their arms.  Field Herald Joe is working for the shire /
baron+baroness / king+queen (that is, whichever one is his boss),
doing *their* bidding by announcing these strangers who have stepped
onto *their* fields, so Joe should wear the arms of his employer, the
shire / baron+baroness / king+queen.

> I was told yesterday that the tabard is for a shire, not a Barony
> (implying that only Baronies, Principalities, or Kingdoms would have
> a tabard with its device only on it)

Their implication is quite incorrect, as Crandall has already pointed

> and also that the Herald doing his or her job IS working for the
> College

That philosophical point can be argued, but I don't agree with it. In
cases like this one, since there's a clear employer, the shire (in
your case; baron+baroness or king+queen in other cases), I would say
that it's clear that the herald is working for the shire in particular
(or whoever, as appropriate).

Personally, I suggest crossed trumpets only for "travelling tabards"
if you're going to be working for unknown employers.  Even then, a
resume caplet can be spiffy.

> so the out of period crossed trumpets on a green field can
> (and now will) be on the tabard that someone else will make for me
> The suggestion of having the Heralds badge on the sleeves was turned
> around so that now the Shires device will most likely be there
> (relegating it to a secondary position behind the College of
> Heralds) and most likely the tabard will be quartered.  I chose to
> cease and desist

I often "cease and desist" when I don't think I have the suasive
weight or the emotional energy, so I quite understand.

Would you please do me (and the College of Heralds) a big favor?
Please don't do a Reply To this message (because it would go to the
list) but rather start a new message to tmcd at panix.com only, and I
would VERY much appreciate it if you would send me (off-list) contact
info for the lady who will be doing the tabard.  I would very much
like to speak to her before she starts any of that.

> I see this entire incident as an indicator that we heralds are as
> splintered in our approach to heraldry as any peewee little league
> "team".

I don't agree: I would say it's not splintering but lack of education.
Period practice is clear: a herald wore a tabard with his current
employer's arms, or a resume capelet with the arms of each of his
employers.  He might bear a wand of office or other indication.
I don't know of anything else in period.

Some say that crossed trumpets are appropriate everywhere in the SCA,
and I can see the argument without agreeing with it.

There have been some bad practices done in the past -- different
designs on sleeves and panels; quartering -- and they persist because
people have seen them and thought that they're fine, and they've not
been educated on what is more period and what is less period.

As for the bitterness you snipped: I'm sorry you've been in pain.
I hope we can get this straightened out and get a tabard that's
spiffy, useable, and period style.

Danyll de Lincoln
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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