[Scriptoris] Charters and Achievements (was: Backlog)

Diane Rudin serena1570 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 11 02:24:11 PDT 2003

--- Hillary Greenslade <hillaryrg at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Last, when we do solicit scroll work from the peerage, I don't think we want
> to be creating a scroll for each peerage that person has...let's not play 
> that type of catchup.  If the peer has all three peerages and is a royal, he
> gets only ONE scroll, and all those 'cookies' can be rolled into one text; as
> an achievement.   Don't spend time on three peerage scrolls and a royal 
> scroll, and eventually a full achievement scroll, while there are lots of 
> other people waiting for their first. 

Serena here:

First let me say that I agree with Hillary to this extent:  we should tell
people to not get greedy.

But "all those 'cookies'" CANNOT "be rolled into one text; as an achievement."

There is a common misconception that the document from the Crown and the
document from the heralds are interchangeable.  This used to be the case in
Ansteorra, but has not been so for fifteen years.  This sort of conflation of
the two is still practiced by many other kingdoms, but I'm not in those
kingdoms and I don't have to make them understand the difference.  I *do* have
to find a way to teach Ansteorrans the difference.

If there is general consensus that the following explanation makes the
difference clear, I will find a way to have it posted to the Heralds' and
Scribes' websites.  Please, I need your help in making this something people
can understand.  I know it's long.  What I really care about is that, after
reading it, people *understand*.  If we can find a way to get the same points
across using fewer words, I'm all for it.  (Since I'm writing this so late at
night, I already know that it needs grammatical revision, due to the change
from third-person to second-person audience halfway through.  <sigh>  It's
late, I'm tired, and I want to get this out before my computer crashes.)

I will note for the record that all of this is discussed in the awards texts
document.  It's a large part of all of that introductory material that no one
is reading.


In the SCA, the Crown, under Corpora, has the right to grant the right to bear
arms, and other heraldic frou-frou as each kingdom chooses to regulate it.  The
Crown specifically does NOT have the right to specify the form that those
armorial bearing take.  This has been upheld and affirmed by several Laurel
Sovereigns of Arms.  

Only the SCA College of Arms (and by extension, each individual kingdom's
College of Heralds, for the "other heraldic frou-frou") has the right and
responsibility to oversee the registration of armorial bearings in and for the

Because of this separation of powers, Ansteorra has set up a system, based on
the practices of England, in which separate documents are presented for the
separate purposes.

ROYAL CHARTERS AND LETTERS PATENT are the documents presented (or at least read
and proclaimed aloud) during the ceremony in which an individual receives an
award from the Crown (or, in the case of Baronial Service Orders, the Baron and
Baroness).  The address of these documents, "Know ye that we Stickmeister and
Gentleheart King and Queen of Ansteorra..." makes it clear from whom the
document is coming.  These documents are signed and/or sealed by the granting

These documents are the legal proof of receiving an award.  While there are a
few awards receipt of which usually is not accompanied by a written document,
those awards are infrequently presented, and therefore extra note is made of
their awarding.  (The best examples of this are the Lion of Ansteorra and the
Order of the Oak of the Steppes.)  

A person should have one document per award/order, as proof of
receiving/joining that particular award/order.  It has long been common
practice to also make these document beautiful pieces of art, to serve the
addition purpose of commemorating the occasion.  

Most awards/orders at and below the Grant level are pre-printed documents that
are hand-painted by our kingdom's talented artisans to add individuality to the
documents.  Patent-level orders ("peerages") and noble titles should receive an
original document.  The recipient can make private arrangements with a scribe
of his/her choice, or, lacking acquaintance with a willing and able scribe, may
contact the Star Signet for a list of available scribes with whom the recipient
may then make arrangements directly.

Your name and arms do NOT have to be passed in order to receive a charter or
letters patent.

ACHIEVEMENT DOCUMENTS are the certifications of registration of your device
(now your "arms") with the SCA College of Arms, as well as registration of any
and all additional heraldic elements to which one may be entitled, depending on
rank.  (With a Grant of Rank comes a crest; with a Patent of Rank comes a
motto; with a noble title comes supporters and a rank-appropriate coronet.) 
These documents are issued by the Ansteorran College of Heralds, as the address
makes clear:  "To all unto whom these Presents shall have come Bookworm Star
Principal Herald of Ansteorra giveth greeting."  These documents are signed
and/or sealed by the current Star Principal Herald.

These documents are formal written and visual records of one's achievement
components as registered and on file with the SCA College of Arms and the
Ansteorran College of Heralds.  While the text of the document makes reference
to by what right these elements are being registered (in colloquial terms, "the
Crown gave me a widget"), that does not and cannot serve in place of the
charters/letters patent described above.  That section is a *confirmation* of
the right to register, not an awarding or a granting of anything.

A person is entitled to a new achievement document each time the receipt of an
award/order causes a *substantive* change to the achievement.  A person who
already has an Award of Arms can't get a new achievement document if he/she
gets a Sable Crane, because they're both on the armigerous awards level and the
additional award therefore does not grant any right to additional achievement

If that person later is made a member of the Order of the Star of Merit, he/she
is now entitled to a new achievement document because Grant-level orders in
Ansteorra carry the right to the additional achievement element of a crest.  If
that person is then made a member of the Order of the Iris of Merit, he/she is
not entitled to another achievement document because the Iris is also a
Grant-level order and therefore the person has not been granted the right to
any additional achievement elements.

If that person is elevated to the Order of the Pelican, he/she is now entitled
to a new achievement document because Patent-level orders in Ansteorra carry
the right to a motto.  If that person is then made a member of the Order of the
Laurel, he/she is not entitled to another achievement document because the
Laurel is also a Patent-level order and therefore the person has not been
granted the right to any additional achievement elements.

If that person (boy, he/she is a real busy person!) becomes a Baron/ess, he/she
is now entitled to a new achievement document because noble titles in Ansteorra
carry the right to supporters and a rank-appropriate coronet.  Here's where
things are a little different.  If that person then becomes a Count/ess, and
later a Duke/Duchess, he/she *is* entitled to another achievement document
because there has been a *substantive* change to the achievement--the form of
the coronet.

If that person became a noble *without* having been made a member of one of the
Patent-level orders, he/she gets supporters and rank-appropriate coronet, but
still no motto, even for Comital and Ducal achievements.  In short, you only
get the "full" achievement if you are *both* a noble and a member of a
Patent-level order.  (On the other hand, for those who received awards in the
Olden Days, if you got an AoA and then a Pelican, and don't have a Grant-level
award, yes, you get a crest.)

The text of the achievement document only refers to the award which granted the
right to registration.  Therefore, a Knight who is also a Laurel will get an
achievement document the text of which only refers to his receiving knighthood.
 Of course, the artist making the document would place a Laurel wreath around
the arms as well as a belt and chain, but those are not a registered part of
the achievement, only recommended artistic additions.

All achievement documents are originals.

Your name and device must be registered by the SCA College of Arms to request
achievement registration in Ansteorra.  Your achievement must be registered
with the Ansteorran College of Heralds in order for your achievement document
to be signed by the Star Principal Herald.  Achievement registration in
Ansteorra is handled by the office of Stellar Scroll.

When you become entitled to them, choose your achievement elements wisely. 
Give it some thought.  Talk to heralds and scribes for advice on heraldic and
aesthetic considerations.  Because if you keep changing your mind and
registering changes, it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a scribe willing
to create you yet another achievement document.

In addition, the scribal community would appreciate it if those who have
already achieved high honors (you're a peer and a noble) would arrange for a
single achievement document that covers the entire registered achievement. 
Your fellow peers and nobles, with whom you are competing for scribal time and
attention, would no doubt appreciate it as well.  If the scribe you have
contracted to do your achievement document is unsure how to construct such a
text, have him/her contact Mistress Serena Lascelles, who maintains and writes
the award document texts for Ansteorra, via the Star Signet or the Star
Principal Herald.

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