HERALDIC PRACTICES: DUTIES OF A LOCAL HERALD

by Modar Neznanich

The duties required to be completed by a local herald can vary. Factors that affect these duties include the rules and customs placed by the Society Herald's Office, the Kingdom Herald's Office and needs of the local group. A local herald should always check with their Kingdom superiors to be sure they are cognizant of all required duties. An overview of the basic duties follow.

There are two main areas that are handled by the local herald's office. These are Vocal Heraldry and Book Heraldry. Vocal Heraldry can be broken down into four sections: Event Heraldry, Field Heraldry, Feast Heraldry and Court Heraldry. Book Heraldry consists of working with submissions of heraldic devices, badges, and names.

Involving the areas of Vocal Heraldry and Book Heraldry are required duties and suggested duties. Required duties ones that a local herald must see are taken care of. Suggested duties are additional activities that can enhance the heraldic experience, both for the local herald and the group's populace.

Required duties:

  1. Herald local meetings/events. This involves announcing to the assembled populace any important messages or information they need to know. If this is done at a large site, it may require the herald to go to several different spots and repeat the announcements to ensure that everyone is made aware of them.
  2. Herald local tournaments. This involves acting as field herald. This is done usually for the fighting tournaments, but other kinds of tourneys may require similar services. Specific procedures are widely variant depending on local customs. But basically this entails announcing to both the tournament participants and the assembled audience who is to report to the list field now, who should be preparing for the next round, and who is in line after that. The declaration of the winner, is sometimes done the herald, and sometimes by the knight marshall in charge. Before the tourney begins, check with the marshall to determine how this is to be handled.
  3. Herald local feasts. This generally involves two things: A) announcing to the assembled feasters when the next course/remove of food is arriving and what it consists of [It is best to meet with the feastocrat (head cook, feast steward) prior to the serving of feast and making a list of the removes, and a set of signals to let you know when to announce the next remove.] and B) announcing any performers when it is time for them to perform. NOTE: There are occasions when the Baronage and/or Royalty may wish to present an award at feast. This is like a min-court.
  4. Herald local courts. This usually involves standing behind or next to the seats of the Baronage and/or Royalty and calling forth from the assembled populace, those requested. This is most times followed by the reading of the text on the scroll of the award being given. Sometimes this duty can include the reading of oaths being administered or received. This usually required the herald to advance to the side of those participating in the oath and quietly reading the text to them in a slow manner for them to recite aloud.
    NOTE: It is possible for Baronage and/or Royalty to bring a personal herald with them to do court. However, it is the responsibility of the local herald to check and be sure how the Baronage and/or Royalty wish to handle the heralding of court.
  5. Make regular reports regarding any heraldic activity in your group to the Kingdom. In Calontir this is done quarterly plus a year-end report (Domesday). Check with your Kingdom superiors for the exact deadline of these reports.
  6. Make regular reports regarding any awards given at those events to the Kingdom level. This is a list of the recipient's name, the award received, note of what the award was given for. At the top of the list should be the group's name, the event's name, the date, and the names of the Royalty presenting the awards.
  7. Maintain an Order of Precedence for the group. This is a listing of which members of your group have received which awards, and the dates they received them.
  8. Assist group members with research/development of names and devices and preparing of submissions. This involves consulting with the local populace on the design and creation of arms and persona names, conducting conflict checking of local submissions, ensuring that the local populace understands the current Rules for Submission that affect their submissions, acting as a collection point for the local submissions, working with the local Exchequer to ensure the proper exchange and payment of funds for submissions and forwarding submissions and payment to the Kingdom level.
  9. Maintain the local group's heraldic files. This is a collection of the submissions turned in by group members. These files should include registered elements, elements in process, and elements that were returned due to problems/conflicts.
  10. Maintain the local group's heraldic library. Depending on funding, need and availability, this may be a few items or several boxes of items.

These duties represent a large amount of responsibility and work. However, the local herald is not required to do all the work themselves, but to see that the work is done. To this end, it is recommended that a herald (at any level) establish a staff to assist in the completion of duties, if at all possible.

When establishing a staff, remember that not everyone is a vocal herald AND a book herald. Many people are better at one than the other, or are more interested in one than the other. Try to match the skills and interests of people with the tasks needing done.

NOTE: The local herald is responsible for reports, even if the activity is being handle by a member of their staff.

Suggested duties:

  1. Set up a consultation table at events. Invite the heralds of other groups to assist you. Offer to run or assist at a consulting table at their events, if you are attending.
  2. Promote heraldic display and pageantry. This can include organizing and/or assisting in the construction of armorial regalia, such as banners, baldrics and tabards. This should be done in conjunction with your Arts & Sciences officer.
  3. Volunteer yourself and urge others to volunteer as a field, court, or book herald at other events you attend. This courtesy will assist you in finding volunteers to help you at your group's events.
  4. Educate others about vocal heraldry and/or book heraldry. This can be for members of your own group, or of other groups. (This will hopefully give you a pool of people to add to your heraldic staff.) This education can be by one-on-one discussions, or more formal classes.
  5. Write heraldic articles for your local newsletter. The subject of these articles (and classes) can range from, "These are the Basic Heraldic Terms" to "Here's the Secret to Better Voice Projection" to "Here's How to Run a Consulting Table."

(c)1998 Modar Neznanich
The only other thing I ask, is that if an article is printed in a publication, please let me know how I can obtain or purchase a copy of the publication(s) for myself.
Thank you.

I can be contacted as follows:
H.L. Modar Neznanich, CLM, CSH, OT
First Saker Herald of Calontir
e-mail:


Permission granted to web on July 2, 1998.

 


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