Being a Local Group Heraldic Officer

Presented by Clarissa Wykeham, Former Fenris Herald
Middle Kingdom Heraldic Symposium, August 30, 1997 (A.S. 32)

Information presented is taken from various sections of the Middle Kingdom Pursuivants Handbook, 4th edition, and from discussions with other heralds and my own experiences.

The duties of being the group herald include (in no particular order):

  1. Being the Local Ceremonial Officer
  2. Submissions Coordinator
  3. Reporter (Do Your Quarterly Reports!)
  4. Teacher - you are the “heraldic expert” for your group. Teach what you know. Invite more knowledgeable heralds in to teach subjects that you are not comfortable with.
  5. Promoter of Heraldic Arts

What does it mean to be the Herald-in-Charge at an event?
It means at least three things:

  1. Coordinate other heralds. They will be coming to you to see what you need done (even the senior heralds do this!).
  2. Make announcements during the day. Announcements should be made on the hour and only if necessary on the 1/2 hour. Announce important things, not just anything.
  3. Have a Herald’s Point set up!

Submissions should be sent to the Escutcheon Herald within one month of receiving it. Alternatively, you can have the client send it in him/her-self with a courtesy copy to you. If you do send in the submissions, make sure you send in 3 color and 1 (one) black and white copy of the device/badge and 2 copies of the name submission form and all documentation along with a check to cover the fees. Make a check payable to SCA Inc., Middle Kingdom College of Heralds. The current fees are $8.00 per element. Resubmissions within one year are still free of charge. Make sure you have a copy of the submission (including documentation) for your records.

How to track submissions:

  1. Subscribe to the Laurel Letter of Acceptances and Returns for $25.00 per year (currently). This will give you a copy of all of the decisions that Laurel had made for the month, as well as any immediate changes in the rules, a periodic roster of heralds for each kingdom (includes College of Arms members only) and a periodic advertisement for Free Trumpet Press West, an organization which sells items of interest to SCA heralds.
  2. Ask the Escutcheon Herald about becoming an internal commenter on submissions. This will allow you to see what submissions have been received by the Escutcheon Herald for a particular month and a couple of months later, you’ll receive a letter from the Rouge Scarpe Herald about what has been passed in the Kingdom and sent on to Laurel and what did not survive the axing. This requires that you comment at least one time per quarter with useful comments.
  3. Subscribe to the Jessant-de-Lys for $7.50 per year. This is a publication of the Middle Kingdom College of Heralds and is full of interesting heraldry articles along with lists of where submissions are occasionally. The Pale also has lists of submissions which have passed at the Laurel level and at the Middle Kingdom level as Rouge Scarpe reports this information.
  4. If you have access to the web and the internet, you can track submissions that way. Lord Escutcheon maintains a listing of the submissions within the Kingdom on his web page. It lists what level they are at, in Kingdom or at Laurel Level. Rouge Scarpe also maintains a database of Midrealm submissions. Laurel also maintains a database of the Laurel Letters on her web page.

Why do quarterly reports?
Each group must have a pursuivant (herald) in order to be in existence according to Corpora. Well, how does the Society know for sure if the position is filled? By Your Reports! If no reports are received, then your superiors will think there is no one in the office and put the group into suspension until the position is filled. Suspension means that the group can not officially hold events, except for meetings to obtain a new officer.

What should I report?
While there is no specific format to follow, here are a few suggestions of what should be included in your report:

Include your SCA Name, modern name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Also include any deputies that you may have (include all of their information as well). Make sure the name of the group is indicated, along with the date (modern please!). If you are reporting for a barony, be sure to include information about any cantons or other groups that your group is sponsoring/affiliated with. Include a self-addressed stamped postcard if you would like confirmation that your report was received.

Be sure to include an up-to-date order of precedence with your doomsday reports. Organize your reports using subheadings. This will make your regional a happy person if he/she can find the necessary information quickly with the subheadings. If your report is more than one page, place your name and group name along with the page number and date on each page. This is just in case your report for some reason, gets separated in your regionals files. By having these headers, it will help your regional to put your report back together.

There are both quarterly and domesday report forms.

When are reports due?
While each regional can set an earlier date for receipt of reports, the absolute last day that reports are due is December 31 (doomsday), March 31, June 30 and September 30. It is extremely important for your reports to be in to your regional by these dates. This gives the regional time to read your reports and formulate their own report and have it in on time. What is the best thing that you can do to get your report in on time? Do the report and send it in one week early. That gives the postal system plenty of time to deliver it by the deadline.

If you are the pursuivant of a canton, incipient, or proto-incipient group, do yours two weeks early and send it off. That way your sponsoring group or barony can include your information in their reports and it won’t be late.

Who do you report to?
If you are reporting for a Shire or a Barony you report to your regional. If you are reporting for a Canton, you report to your regional and your barony (in time for them to include you in their report). If you are reporting for a not yet full status group, you report to your regional, Thuban Herald, Dragon Herald and to the group who is sponsoring you (again, in time for that pursuivant to report on you as well). Be sure to give a courtesy copy to your group’s seneschal. They have to report on you as well.

When you first take up an office and when you are ready to give it up to someone else, write to your regional and to Dragon to let them know. Otherwise, they will assume that the person who last reported is still the pursuivant. In your letter of introduction, give your SCA name, modern name, address, phone, e-mail and tell them a little bit about yourself and what you know about heraldry. If you will have any deputies, tell who they are.

Sources of information for local heraldic officers to use:

©1998 Clarissa Wykeham (Nancy Rivers)


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