MAY 1998

Greetings unto all who read these words from Lord Alan Fairfax, Rouge Scarpe Herald,

This is the Middle Kingdom Letter of Acceptances and Returns for Escutcheon's March 1998 Letter of Intent. Comments in braces {} were removed from the Letter of Intent sent to Laurel and the College of Arms. Names, devices, or badges in braces have been returned or pended; general comments or replies to commentary are also placed in braces.

I would like to thank the commenters, particularly Bran Glass Cynydd and Lord Alasdair Montgomery, who both began commenting this month. Thanks also to Master John ap Wynne, Laird Finduthal of Torr Dubh, Lord Berwyn Æthelbright of Ackley, Lord Eirik Banna, Lady Mhorag nighean Dhuibhghiolla, Bran Glass Cynydd, Lady Aryanhwy Prytydes merch Catmael Caermyrdin, Lord Eldred Ælfwald and the Gordian Knot commenting group, Master Dmitrii Volkovich, Lord Anders Olafsson, and the Jaravellir commenting group, and to Lady Phebe Bonadeci, Lord Kevin Ambrjwski, Lady Andra of Leiden, and Lord Hieronymous von Trier for helping in the preparation of the letter.

The next meeting of the Rouge Scarpe staff will be Friday, June 6.

{1) Ariadne de le Corbeau Cheveux. New Name and Device.

Gules, a swan displayed inverted within a bordure Or.

The client documented Ariadne from Williams, The World of Titian, p. 108. It is also documented as French and Italian name used "in earlier times" by Withycombe, 31. It would be nice if someone could find a dated French citation for the name when it is resubmitted, but it appears to be reasonable.

Many commenters proposed ways to fix the grammar for de le Corbeau Cheveux. However, that is only a secondary problem. The construction de Corbeau Cheveux, a literal translation of "of raven hair," means "belonging to the hairy raven," which is not what the client means to say. "Raven-haired" is an English phrase that can't be precisely translated into other languages--modern French dictionaries translate "raven-haired" with other phrases, including "boucles d'un noir de jais."

We found no sign that Cheveux was used in French names at all. The most likely epithet for a black-haired woman is simply la Noire, literally "the black." If the lady would like something closer to her original sound, the name Corbeau can be found in Dauzat, 146. Ariadne Corbeau would be a perfectly reasonable late-period French name.

The device was blazoned Gules, a swan rising, a bordure Or and there were many suggested blazons. We have corrected it according to the article in the MK Pursuivant's Handbook, 102. The device is stylistically fine, but unfortunately conflicts with Aethwulf the Ancient of the Dray Lands (1/85), Gules, a duck displayed, head affronty, within a bordure Or. (It is not likely to conflict with Bogdan Boroets (12/80), Gules, a Russian firebird displayed Or, crested and its six tail-feathers each charged with a heart, all azure). Like other displayed birds, the swan should be drawn with feet.

Lord Escutcheon raised the question of the appropriate defaults when he creates a name form. I would prefer to take a middle road and pend names which need minor grammatical changes while Lady Opinicus contacts the client. In this case, the necessary changes are major, and so we are returning this name.}

2) Briana Fallon. New Device.

Argent, a schneke issuant from sinister azure, in canton a Kendal flower gules, barbed Or and seeded vert.

Some commenters pointed out that the schneke is filed as a field division in the online O&A. There are currently two schenken registered in the SCA; one is found under Field Division--Other and one is in Mollusk--Snail (the schneke is a stylized depiction of a snail). Although at least one mundane drawing of a schneke (found in Das grosse Buch der Wappenkunst, 165) shows the schneke as taking up 50% of the field, the drawing in the PicDic is identical to the one in this device and takes up only 15% or so of the field. It would be helpful if some kind of precedent were set on this issue since the schneke as drawn and registered in the SCA resembles neither a field division nor a snail.

The issue doesn't need to be settled for this device--commenters checked this, treating the schneke as a field division and a secondary charge, and found no conflicts. Moving the Kendal flower to canton was not counted as a point of difference in this device. {Because the schneke is in the center of the field, the move to canton is "forced" and thus does not count as a point of difference.

One commenter asked if the flower gules, seeded vert was a reason to return. Although this is color-on-color, a minor artistic detail such as this is probably not important enough to warrant returning the device. At the same time, I would not recommend designing a device with color-on-color details; at best, it's a deviation from the general style of period heraldry.}

3) Conchobar mac Gabhann. New Name {and Device

Per bend sinister azure and vert, an oak tree eradicated argent fructed proper charged with a mullet of five points sable, all within an annulet Or.}

Lord Escutcheon documented Connor from Ó Corrain & Maguire, 57 and mac Gabhann from MacLysaght, 133. I happened to do a St. Gabriel consult for this client, and it also supports this form of the name.

{The device received a startling number of negative (and amusing) comments. Several commenters pointed out that the detail fructed proper does not necessarily count toward the limit of 8; some people counted one point for the tincture proper and some ignored it altogether. Taking a cue from figure-skating, I threw out the top and bottom scores and averaged the rest; this produced a complexity count of 9.25.

More seriously, this is one case where the "rule of thumb" regarding complexity works against a device. Whether or not it exceeds the count of 8, this device is too complex. Since the client has spoken with me and expressed interest in the design Sable, an acorn Or, I have no compunctions about returning this submission.

One commenter mentioned that the mullet of five points appears to be a pentacle (which is a prohibited charge) in the small emblazon, but it is clearly a mullet in the large emblazon.}

4) Duff MacKellar. Change of Registered Name and New Device.

Gyronny sable and argent, a raven contourny close gules.

The client's registered name is Radbot Gunther. Duff is called "a personal name" in Black, 225, although no date is given. The spelling McKellar is dated to 1436 in ibid., 524. As noted in the commentary, there is ample evidence in period for both Mac and Mc. {We can also find Mak and M'; of the four, an unscientific count suggests that Mac is the rarest of the four, but it is perfectly acceptable.}

The arms were submitted as Gyronny sable and argent, a raven contourney close and armed gules. Since ravens are normally blazoned with claws, it is not necessary to say that the raven is armed.

5) Finn Finnegan O'Flynn. New Name and Device.

Or, on a bend sinister between two mullets of four points sable, three towers palewise Or.

The client documented Finn from Coghlan, 20 as a mythological name. It is also in the more reliable Ó Corrain & Maguire, 101. Finnegan is documented as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Finnacán in Ó Corrain & Maguire, 101. O'Flynn is in MacLysaght, 112 as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Floinn.

The client appears to be treating Finnegan as his "middle name." There is no known evidence for middle names in Gaelic, and normally this name would be returned. However, Finnegan is also found in MacLysaght as an Anglicized form of Ó Fionnagáin. Since there are other examples of Gaelic names that have two patronymics, this name can be interpreted as a rendering of "Finn, descendant of Fionnagán, descendant of Flann."

The device is clear of Christian Sablefist, Or, on a bend sinister between two clenched gauntlets sable, three fleurs-de-lys palewise Or by RfS X.4.J.ii.c, which counts a CD for a change of type in a tertiary charge when the devices in question have a charged ordinary surrounded by a single group of secondary charges.

6) Jayme Hume of Berwick. New Name and Device.

Argent semy of thistles proper, a lion passant gules.

The client documents Jayme from Dunkling & Gosling, 201. This is not a reliable source, and we would normally return the name. However, since Jayme is the client's mundane name he can use it under the mundane name allowance. Hume is dated to 1221 in Reaney & Wilson, 234. Berwick is found in Mill, 33 (the spelling Berewich is dated to 1167).

The client said that he cared most about the language, "Scottish Gaelic." This name is Scottish, but it is not Gaelic--Hume and Berwick are both English names that were used in Scotland. Since he did not ask for correction, we will send the name on as is.

Most commenters noted that the thistles are much too small, and we will instruct the client to make them larger {although, says Phebe, they would make nice wallpaper}.

7) Johann Redbeard. New Name and Device.

Azure, semy of hammers argent, a bend sinister dovetailed Or.

Johann is dated to 1323 in Brechenmacher, I: 777. Redbeard is a TSCA byname. The German form Rotbart, is found in Bahlow, Mittelhochdeutsches Namenbuch nach schlesischen Quellen, 25. English forms of the name (in other spellings) are found in Reaney & Wilson, 374.

The device has no conflicts or major stylistic problems, although both the mallets and the dovetails need to be made larger.

8) Padraig MacAindreis. Device Resubmission.

Quarterly azure and argent, a cross flory between four crescents counterchanged.

{The client's previous submission, Per chevron sable and azure, a cross flory between four compass stars argent, was retured by Dragon on 1/98.} A question was raised about whether this cross should be blazoned flory throughout. It is possible to have a cross flory throughout, but both the large and small emblazons show a small gap between the cross and the edge of the field. It appears that the cross is not meant to be throughout, but simply to fill the field. The large emblazon has thick black lines around the charges which further obscure the issue. However, I have not changed the blazon.

9) Roland Wortman. Device Resubmission.

Checky argent and sable, a double-headed eagle displayed Or maintaining in each talon a sword palewise, in chief three mullets gules.

The client's original submission was returned by Laurel in 3/96. The client has addressed the problem by changing the tincture of the swords from argent to gules {not by changing their position}. Although several commenters felt that the device was crowded, all felt that it was registerable. {Note: the swords are a reasonable size for maintained charges--they're clearly visible but still have less "visual weight" than the eagle.}

{10) Rowena of Arundel. New Name and Device.

Barry wavy vert and argent, a stag's head erased proper.

Rowena was documented from Withycombe, 259. It is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the British Kings, a well-known medieval "history" of early England. We know that much of the book (including the story of Rowena) is not historical, and there is no evidence that Rowena was used by any real people until the 19th century, when it became popular as the result of its use in Ivanhoe. However, Laurel has ruled that Rowena is "SCA-compatible" and can be registered.

Arundel is recorded in the Domesday Book, although it is not clear under what spelling--commenters using different editions of Domesday found both Arundel and Harundel. Normally I would assume that the non-modern spelling is correct, but Reaney & Wilson, 15, cite the name without an H. They also date Arundel to 1189.

The client asked for corrections to her name. Since Rowena is not a historical name, I am pending this submission for one month so that we can get more information from her.

The color scheme of the device raised some eyebrows (although, to be fair, it also got a "wow!"). For the record, heraldic "water" is traditionally barry wavy argent and azure. One commenter suggested that a two-color barry would be preferable, but "stripeys" of two colors are actually quite unusual in period heraldry and are generally not encouraged.}

11) Toke Magnusson. Device Resubmission.

Purpure, a dexter hand inverted, in chief a roundel between an increscent and a decrescent argent.

{The client's first submission, Purpure, a hand inverted argent, on a chief sable an annulet, a descrescent moon, a moon in her plenitude, an increscent, and an annulet argent, was returned by Rouge Scarpe in 12/96 for color-on-color and slot-machine heraldry. The second submission, Purpure, a hand inverted, in chief an annulet, a descrescent moon, a moon in her plenitude, an increscent, and an annulet argent was returned in 6/97 for slot-machine heraldry.} This device raised questions on many levels. Stylistically, the charge grouping is clearly an example of modern symmetry. Although it has been allowed in the past, many commenters remarked that it uses modern symmetry. Others argued that the increscent and the decrescent should be treated as different charges, and yet others pointed out that this is a modern depiction of "the phases of the moon." While, taken seperately, all of these arguments can be contested, a majority of the commenters felt that this motif is inconsistent with medieval heraldic style--an opinion I share.

In addition, the design in chief is a pagan symbol. While religious symbolism is generally permitted, several of my staff members (both pagan and non-pagan) were offended by this design--some of them extremely so. While this device does not contain "excessive religious symbolism" as defined in RfS XI.2, the fact that some people were offended by it does imply that it is offensive.

Left to myself I would return this, but I felt it was important to get more input on the many issues involved here.

12) Toke Magnusson. Badge Resubmission.

Purpure, in fess a roundel between an increscent and a descrescent argent.

{The client's original submission, Purpure, in fess an increscent and a decrescent, in chief a roundel, and in base an annulet argent, was returned by Rouge Scarpe in 6/97.} The discussion above applies to this badge as well.

Done by my hand on the 4th day of May, being the feast of Saint Monica, anno societatis xxxiii.

Alan Fairfax, Rouge Scarpe

Alan Terlep
5401 S. Cornell
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 324-1366 (after 11am ET)


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