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The Heretical Herald Volume 1 Issue 3 April 22, AS XXXVIII being 2004 AD

Hark the Heretical Herald.

Here is the third issue of "The Heretical Herald"! It's not out as early I would have hoped it would have been but here it is! It marks the first of what I hope will be a series of articles intended as help for consulting heralds who are aiding clients in selecting a suitable heraldic design, but really don't know what they'd like on their shield.

I am realizing more and more that I probably won't be able to keep fresh material appearing on a regular basis here on my own without outside help so I invite readers who are interested to submit their articles and ideas for articles to us. Credit or anonymity as desired will be granted. If anonymity is desired we'll just have to figure out a nom de plume for you. Not that we SCA types are familiar with that concept. ;-)

I'm torn in an editorial decision I am having to make with each issue of "The Heretical Herald". Being the graphic nature of the medium this is done in I like to include graphics in this newsletter. Being that it is on heraldry I like to include example arms to illustrate what is being talked about. In order to be clear I like to create a simple heraldic device to illustrate what is being talked about. The problem is that the design I choose to illustrate the point might actually be someone's device. So far I have done quick checks to see whether I am clear of everyone's devices, at least SCA registered ones, but it can really slow down the writing of an article if I conflict check it. It would also be slow if I were to try hunt down historic examples... if they exist at all. Today I decided simply to place the Catherine's Wheel on a sanguine field, a simple way to get around things, I think. I'm not saying that it could be registered as such. (Though if you wanted to have a heraldic device displayed on a sanguine background see the article But I Really Wanted Sanguine! in Volume 1 Issue 1.) For the other article I used a charge I didn't find in the armorial.

I apologise if I inadvertently do use someone's device and they take offence.

I am open to alternate suggestions as to what to do about the creation of example devices to illustrate a point.

- H. Herald editor

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In this Issue:

Cant Do That!

In future this area will contain a heraldic device from either the An Tir Roll of Arms or other Roll that has an interesting "cant" or heraldic play on words. The only prize for this contest is to see your name here as providing the submission appear in this column.

Until there are submissions I'll be entering some that I find myself starting with this issue.

This device has a double play on words for both parts of the registered owner's name.

Heraldic Device of Grane the Golden of Hippogriff Tower
Entry from An Tir: Roll of Arms:

Peregrine de Porticu
Blazon: Gules, a falcon close to sinister within a dolmen argent.
Registered: August, 1985
Contributed By: Frederic Badger

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Playing the Angles

Helping a client figure out just what to put on that blank heraldic device can be a challenge. This is especially true when they haven't got any ideas on what they want to put on it. Favourite colours, animals, hobbies, are all routes to take as are persona stories, occupations, and affiliations. How about a new idea to add to your repetoire of suggestions? Patron Saints!

The Middle Ages were a time when Religion played an important role in people's lives in Europe. While it is true that during the Early Middle Ages in many areas this was not the Christian Church, for much of the scope of the Current Middle Ages the Christian Church held sway. Different Saints were known to be the Patrons for different people, places, activities, and things. It would be quite probable that a person's Persona would have a Patron Saint. It might take some looking around, but if a client would come up with an idea for what Patron Saint their Persona might have it might lead to some ideas for a heraldic device.

I'm not sure that period heralds ever considered such at all in finding a design for Arms for a person, but we're being creative here. Choosing a Patron Saint might also prove as vexing to a client as figuring out what they'd like on their device. On the other hand it is another tool that can be used in brainstorming an idea for a design that the client might find to call their own and fall in love with.

The client's persona if developed might lead in a number of directions as to charges and such that might be included on a device. It might also lead in a number of directions as to a Patron Saint. The Patron Saint just gives some more options. Perhaps not a good idea for the client who already is overwhelmed by choices, but really this is intended for the client who is drawing blanks or one who is trying to for something not perfectly obvious.

It might not be obvious what I'm getting at. Of course there are heraldic designs which actually have stylized images of Saints as charges and supporters. But what I was thinking of was things associated with the given Saint. They are often the very things used when illustrating the Saint in an Icon which make that image the image of that Saint in particular.

Just one example would be Saint Catherine of Alexandria. (St Catherine of the Wheel came up recently in discussion on "The Cathedral Steps", an e-Mail list for An Tir.) St. Catherine of Alexandria is the Patron Saint of many things including people, places, or things associated with wisdom and teaching; or such involved with wheels somehow. This is because St. Catherine was known for her skill at debating and persuasion. There is also the legend that she was to be martyred on "the wheel" but it was destroyed when she touched it. She instead was beheaded and it was said that Angels swept her body away. This is why she is the Patron Saint of those involved in activities which involve wheels.

St. Catherine of Alexandria can be represented by a spiked wheel or by a woman strapped to a spiked wheel. These things might lend themselves to ideas for a heraldic design. She is also represented by a woman arguing with pagan philosophers so perhaps something indicating that somehow might be in order. In fact there is a charge called a "Catherine's Wheel" that has been used. It is a spiked wheel. If you haven't guessed the fictitiously intended device illustrated in this article uses a Catherine's Wheel as its charge. A person need not be obvious either and the meaning behind the design need only be known by the bearer of the device. A broken wheel might be the charge, or a book or a scroll.

There are very many Saints who can be used for inspiration for the heraldic design for a client. One good reference for information on Saints obviously enough is "The Catholic Community Forum". Their "Patron Saints Index" has a wealth of information on Saints both in and out of the time period the SCA covers. Information on Saint Catherine of Alexandria can be found on their site at:

Using a Patron Saint might not be the way to seek ideas for a given client, but it might be a useful tool for some. It is just one tool that a herald might use and could be useful to keep in their bag of tricks.

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But I Really Wanted Sanguine! Revisited.

TGules Lembeckwo issues ago I did an article on how to do some odd backgrounds in a semi-legitimate way for devices. (But I Really Wanted Sanguine! V1 I1) In that article I suggested that a person could register a fieldless badge and then display it on whatever background they wished so long as they were careful of creation of a conflict with previously registered armoury. In that way a person could have a charge on a sanguine, tenné, or even plaid field.

This is all find and good for the field, but what if a client wants a sanguine dragon or perhaps a tenné mullet? The fieldless badge method obviously will not work in this situation. There is something else that can work. It is not as good a solution to my satisfaction but it is something that might work in some situations.

Let us say that a client desires "Or a dragon sanguine." This is a blood red dragon or purplish red dragon on a golden or yellow shield. What can be done?

Properly a submission should be done in tinctures illustrated in fairly standard hues. The azure should be a good solid blue, not too dark like a navy blue, yet not a pastel or electric blue either. The blue should not be tinted green or purple. Gules should be a good solid red that is also not too dark or pale and should not be pink or fluorescent. It should not be tinted with orange or purple. "Or" should be for submission a good solid yellow (we are talking for submission here, not for display) it should not look orange or green and should not be too dark or pale and should not be too fluorescent. The same is true for the other tinctures. Please see What's Good Contrast (V1 I1) and Scentual Submissions (V1 I1) for more on tincture and colouring submissions.

Of course when the heraldic device is displayed the tincture "Or" may be displayed as yellow or metallic gold. For display there is also flexibility in what shades a person might choose for the other tinctures that are not permitable for the submission forms. By preference a person might prefer darker greens or lighter blues. Stretching things only a little why not stretch that red to more of a blood red? Of course you have registered "Or a dragon gules." but you are displaying your sanguine dragon on a field of gold or yellow.

Sanguine LembeckFor tenné which is sometimes termed "orange" you might use "Or" and shade your yellow to be more of an orange in colour or perhaps gules and tint it more to the orange. You might also use an orange shade of red.

Sometimes I've seen tenné as being a shade of tan or light brown. Perhaps you could use an argent as an off white for a tan. This does lead to the question of browns. There are charges that can be brown if tinctured "proper". Things that are wooden are coloured brown if tinctured "proper". Also a number of animals are considered to be brown in their proper tincture. I'm not sure if you could get away with "a wooden dragon proper"  however in order to have a brown dragon.

Make it a homework assignment to figure out whether "tenné" was considered a metal or a colour for application of the rule of tincture.

For greys depending on the shading you want you have a few choices choosing perhaps to select sable if the grey is very dark or argent if it is very light. If it is mid-grey, then more imagination is required. I might suggest even using purpure, azure, or vert and displaying them in a subdued manner. The reasoning behind these is that I have seen these colours used for grey in some mundane text books or used for shadows in some near black and white renderings.

Still all in all I recommend sticking to the basic heraldic colours as they are what were used in period. If you can find other colours used and can document them then do so and let the documentation of these be an educational experience for all. At one time there was doubt that a spider web was ever used as a charge during the time that SCA Heraldry covers until a herald found an in period example of a spider web used as a charge and documented it.

I must say here though that I have also heard a herald say that there was a device he was devising and it was discovered that it was "in conflict" with another device. The herald solved the conflict problem by changing the charge on the device from gules to purpure. Now I have no disagreement with that. But the herald continued to tell me that they proceeded to continue to display the device with the red charge, merely registering it as purpure! Now that I do not agree with!! I do not find this to be the time or place to tell the details, but it is something that happened in the past and little can be done about it. I do not agree with such practice and I hope that people see the difference between that and what I have been talking about.

With anything I might suggest, I do ask that you ensure that you are not stepping on anyone's toes. Please do not infringe on other's heraldic domain with conflict.

Powerful tools can be dangerous so use them with care!

The Heretical Herald is an independent Publication not associated with the SCA Inc.
or any College of Arms or College of Heraldry either in the SCA or elsewhere.
It will be published on an irregular basis as material warrants.
-H. Herald editor

-© 2004 by H Herald.
Creators of original content included in
The Heretical Herald retain copyright.