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Re: coat of arms necessary vs required

Poster: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy@abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Hreodbeorht MacBeath wrote:

  Sir Tibor,

Ahem.  No Knight I.  Just a little Baron in a small holding called
Delfcroft.  It is so poor, that I have taken on service as Herault to the
Barony of Carolingia... but I digress.

The balance of your post is presuming I intended harm.  That is not the
case.  Forgive me, therefore, if I confine myself (as best I may) to the
factual parts of your answer.

    In point of fact registering ones device is "necessary", if
    heraldry in the SCA is to represent anything like period heraldry.

Not so.  For most of period, there were no central authorities to register
coats of arms with.  When those did, they registered coats equally well for
those that assumed them, and those that were given them.  In fact, toward
the end of period in England, a search was made for those that had assumed
arms: those were registered by the Crown's authorities, and then taxed as

I dare say, my good herald, that you should read a bit more.  If the SCA
were to try to emuulate period heraldry more closely, it should seriously
consider other methods than registration.

Now, every time this comes up, some herald will cite the case of Scropes:
who litigated successfully against Grosvenor for heraldic conflict.  What
most heralds fail to mention, is that Scropes lost a similar case against
Grosvenor. There is no real lesson to be learned there, except that Cornwall
is far from London.  Which we knew. (:-) 

I'd urge you to check out Craig Levin's research on this topic, at

     It is necessary to register one's device to insure that it does
     not conflict with the arms of other members in the SCA.  As you
     well know, in period a person would often protect their arms as
     zealously as Disney protects its mouse ears logo.

It is not necessary.

The Society College of Arms has NO ENFORMCEMENT POWER.  They cannot prevent
conflict.  All they can do is keep two similar arms from appearing on the
list they keep.  That is all.

I defy your comment about the frequency of protection of arms.  There is not
enough evidence to rule conclusively, but the lack of evidence suggests that
it was not the case.

    One's arms defined who they were, what they owned as well as their
    genealogy.  In period one would neither assume nor be assigned arms
    without determining they were not in conflict with other known

Citation, please?
    It is also necessary to register it in the SCA so that should one
    be Awarded Arms by their King they may (eventually) receive their
    scroll.  If one fails to register their device until after they
    receive their AoA, someone else may have registered it.

Not true. That is a ruling that varies by region.  Different Kingdoms have
different customs.  For example, the Kingdom of the East (which has a
profoundly impressive record for provision of scrolls) has no such
requirement.  Some kingdoms (recognizing that they could not keep up with
scroll production) instituted rules that reduced the number of scrolls due.
    You are correct to say it is not "required" (but then - that is not
    what she said is it?).  You are wrong to say it is not necessary.
    To say that it is not "necessary" to register one's device is as
    correct as it is to say that it is not "necessary" to be polite or

She was in error.

It is so, well, charmant, to be lectured and accused in such a presumptive
and overbearing style, in the name of courtesy.  Are you sure you are on
solid footing?

I called for opinion to be labeled as such.  I am doing you the favor of
labeling your errors for you.  (:-)

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