Why You Can’t Register Marshalled Armory

Considerations of armorial designs including straight-line per-pale or quarterly field divisions often include a discussion of whether they have “the appearance of marshaling.” Putting aside the question of how we answer that question (already ably addressed elsewhere, see here and here), one might wonder why this is an issue — why doesn’t the SCA’s College of Arms register armory that has the appearance of marshalling?

I believe the answer is that marshalled arms were not issued as such by period heraldic authorities, nor did newly-armigerous families assume already-marshalled arms.

Instead, each individual coat of arms was granted (or assumed) independently, and it was only after that point they were ever combined via impalement or quartering (or sometimes more esoteric arrangements as seen in Iberia).

A heraldic authority might confirm that a particular individual had the right to display each of the individual quarters, but they were still separable, and (for example) a noble might split their titles and lands between two offspring, who would each inherit the armory associated with specific estates, in a process we might think of as “un-quartering.”

It’s possible that there were occasional exceptions to the above principle — for example, Birgitta Lulli, Pelican emeritus, reports that in post-period Scandinavia, some nobles adopted new coats with quarters that had not been independently granted, in an effort to make themselves seem of equal status to older families which bore quartered arms — but I haven’t ever encountered any period examples of arms being granted in already-quartered form.

An individual either has rights to each particular coat or does not; once they have secured those rights, it’s up to them as to whether they impale or quarter them, or display the one they think is most prominent and ignore the other, or display one in one place and another elsewhere, or whatever they’d like.

Therefore, if you want to display arms that have the appearance of marshaling, you must register each individual design, after which point you are free to display them together, pass them on to your heirs, and so forth. (Just like in period, where if you wanted to display the arms of Savoy quartered with the arms of Loraine, you had to first achieve the lordship of each territory, at which point you could fly them together.)

This policy has been in place since the early years of the Society, when Ioseph of Locksley, second Laurel Herald, wrote in the June 1973 LoAR that “… it is the policy of the Imperial College to register the individual parts of marshalling rather than the full marshalling itself… Let [a couple wishing to display marshalled arms] submit individual applications and emblazons [for each part].”

[January 2023 — Edited to add:] An Iberian example of seemingly-quartered arms was recently circulated, dating to 1524. Nonetheless, these examples are rare, and appear late, and are not the foundation of our practices.

Downloading Armorials from the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

The Austrian National Library, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, hosts online scans of a number of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century manuscripts which may be of interest to armorial researchers, but sadly their website lacks a PDF download or bulk export feature.

To facilitate offline viewing and transfer to other repositories, we can use a little JavaScript in a browser with “developer mode” enabled to generate a batch of command-line download commands that will retrieve an entire volume.

Start by visiting the ONB web viewer for a manuscript such as the Wappenbuch des André de Rineck. While you are viewing the first page of the manuscript, open the browser’s console window and paste in the following bit of JavaScript:

window.snap_and_step = function () { src = $('img.imageTile[src!="images/loading4.png"]').first().attr('src'); console.log( 'curl -o page-' + src.match('img=00000([0-9]+)')[1] + '.jpg "https://digital.onb.ac.at/RepViewer/' + src.match('(.*?)&[a-z]=')[1] + '&s=1.0" && sleep 5' ); navigateNextPage(); setTimeout(window.snap_and_step, 5000) }; snap_and_step();

Then sit back and wait. The process is designed to run slowly, with a five-second delay between pages, in part to avoid putting any unusual load on the ONB’s web server. (You can estimate the number of minutes required by dividing the page count by twelve.)

As it runs, it will output a series of commands in the console log similar to the following, one line for each page:

curl -o page-001.jpg "https://digital.onb.ac.at/RepViewer/image?doc=DOD_50607&img=00000001.jp2&hash=5af078d29f168079215cfe7fb5bec13c59557c6cc26619236e6d08fe2e928319329f9ab8be9a5ac9e0a4039b11c0&s=1.0" && sleep 5
curl -o page-002.jpg "https://digital.onb.ac.at/RepViewer/image?doc=DOD_50607&img=00000002.jp2&hash=5af078d29f168079215cfe7fb5bec13c59557c6cc26519236e6d08fe2e928319329f9ab8be9a5ac9e0a4e0d2a662&s=1.0" && sleep 5
curl -o page-003.jpg "https://digital.onb.ac.at/RepViewer/image?doc=DOD_50607&img=00000003.jp2&hash=5af078d29f168079215cfe7fb5bec13c59557c6cc26419236e6d08fe2e928319329f9ab8be9a5ac9e0a408c536c3&s=1.0" && sleep 5

When it reaches the last page of the text, it will repeatedly output the same command multiple times; at some point I’ll get around to refining the code to detect this condition and exit. You can interrupt the process by pasting the following bit of code in to the console:

window.snap_and_step = 0

Then, copy all of the console log output and paste it into a text file named something like fetch.sh. Save that file in a new folder on your computer. Open a command-line terminal window and change your working directory to that folder, then run the commands:

$ cd andre-de-rineck
$ sh fetch.sh

Then sit back and wait again. This process also has a built-in delay as it fetches high-quality JPEG images of each page and saves them as numbered page files in the current directory.

When the process completes, you’ll have a directory full of images which can be browsed individually, packaged into a PDF, or uploaded to another hosting service such as archive.org.

Name Change for Appleholm & Whyt Whey

The Canton of Whyt Whey was founded in the late 1980s, with its name registration appearing on the January 1990 LoAR. In the decades since, the original population has moved out of our region and been replaced by a new generation of participants, for whom the old name didn’t have the same valence, and over the last few years an effort was undertaken to consider possible changes. Following a great deal of thought, the populace settled on Appleholm as its new name, for which the forms were submitted this month.

Appleholm is a constructed Middle English place name.

Apple is an English word for a variety of tree-borne fruit. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. appel) provides an example from Boece (circa 1380), Chaucer’s translation of a work by Boethius: “And autumpne comith ayein hevy of apples.” The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names (Watts) provides examples of its use in compound place names such as Applby, Appleford, and Appleton.

Holm is an element of English place names meaning land rising from the water, such as islands in a harbor or a meadow by the side of a stream. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. hōlm) provides an example from Promptorium Parvulorum (1440), Anglicus Galfridus’s Middle English-to-Latin dictionary: “Holm, of a sonde yn the see.” English Place-Name Elements (Smith, s.n. holmr) provides examples of its use in compound place names with varieties of plants such as Brackenholm, Bromholm, and Dockholm.

A petition of unanimous support from our branch officers is included with this submission.

There is no provision to maintain retired branch names as there is for “ancient and honorable” arms, so in order to preserve this remanent of the canton’s history, a parallel submission was made to register a household name using the same elements.

For context, the canton’s existing name is a reference to one of our most famous landmarks, the Great White Way, a modern name for a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan’s Theater District where bright outdoor lighting was first introduced at the start of the twentieth century.

When the canton’s name was submitted in the late 1980s, the branch’s founders wanted to name it the Canton of the Grate Whyt Whey but were advised by a local herald that the word Grate was unregistrable; many old-timers are still bitterly disappointed by this omission. The spelling of Whey was selected as an homage to the canton’s parent branch, Østgarðr, whose name might be read by a modern Scandanavian as Ostgård, the contemporary Swedish word for “cheese farm.”

As we prepare to change our canton’s name to reflect a new generation of participants, we would like to preserve the old name as part of our history, ideally in the form our founders originally intended. Including the word Great / Grate would help to communicate their intended theatrical reference while avoiding a potentially offensive misreading of the name as racially exclusionary.

Company is an English household designator found in SENA Appendix E.

“Company of <place name>” is an attested pattern for association names in English.

Companie is a period English spelling of company. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. cǒmpaignīe) provides an example from De Re Militari around 1450: “Þe worþiest persone in þe companie.”

Great White Way is a constructed English place name for an area marked by a major thoroughfare with a pale appearance.

Great is an adjective that may appear before English place names, as documented in “Compound Placenames in English” by Juliana de Luna. http://medievalscotland.org/jes/EnglishCompoundPlacenames/

Grate is a period English spelling of great. The Middle English Dictionary (s.n. grēt) provides an example from Mallory dated around 1470: “They threste togedyrs and eythir gave other grate strokis.”

Whiteway is a place name in Dorset, derived from the highly-visible hillside road worn by centuries of traffic exposing the underlying bright white chalk. Period spellings include “Whyteweye” dated to 1329 in J. Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset (3rd edition), ed. W. Shipp and J. W. Hodson, 1861-70. https://epns.nottingham.ac.uk/browse/Dorset/Church+Knowle/5328528cb47fc4099d000909

Whyt Whey is our current branch name, until the processing of the name change submitted simultaneously with this registration, and thus covered by the existing registration allowance.

Whyt is a period English spelling of white. The Oxford English Dictionary (s.n. white) provides an example from an inventory of 1568: “whyt reged cowe.”

Whey is an interpolated variant spelling of way, in the sense of road or path. Attested period spellings include waie, way, waye, wegh, wei, wey, weye, and whay. Given this diversity, we believe that whey would have been a plausible spelling of the word in period.

Traceable Art Autumnal Wrapup

With the cold weather setting in, I thought the time was right for another periodic summary of updates to the Traceable Heraldic Art collection. Since this summer’s announcement, more than two hundred additional images have been added, bringing the total to over 5,500 charges, fields, and assorted accessories.

This project would not be possible without the many contributors who’ve shared their illustrations with the community. Of particular note is Volusia Zoe, who provided more than fifty lovely new images, including many beasts’ legs, claws, and tails that may be used both as independent charges and to assemble hybrid heraldic monsters. I would also like to thank returning artists Jessimond of Emerickeskepe, Vémundr Syvursson, and Li Xia, as well as first-time conributor Nest verch Gwilim.

Another tranche of sixty images was drawn from WappenWiki, a wonderful site full of very-well drawn armorial imagery with a very consistent and sophisticated style, all released under a Creative Commons license. My sincere thanks to site editor Joakim Spuller for making this material available under terms that facilitate its use by the historical recreation community, and I look forward to incorporating additional images in the coming year.
Continue reading “Traceable Art Autumnal Wrapup”

A Modern British Princely Achievement

Although I generally ignore the heraldic practices of modern aristocratic families, I was struck by the below achievement, which was designed by the Garter King of Arms in 1969 upon the investiture of Charles Windsor as the Prince of Wales, as it does a nice job of incorporating both the subject’s primary arms as well as their badges and other arms to which they were entitled.

Designed by Garter King of Arms. Illustrator unknown. Printed in The Observer. Archived by UK College of Arms.