Name and Device for Engel der Pfau

Engel der Pfau is a skilled fencer with a flamboyant Landsknecht persona who recently became the rapier champion of our local group.

He decided it was time to register a device, and asked for “an angry, fighting, pissed off peacock, his tail plumes out” on a red and black field.


Quarterly sable and gules, a peacock in his pride Or 
maintaining over his shoulder a billhook bendwise sinister argent.

I found a fierce-looking depiction of a peacock in the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry and combined it with a wicked-looking polearm traced from a photograph of a medieval exemplar.


Engel is a German word meaning “angel” used as a male given name. This use is documented to 1497 in “German Names from Nürnberg, 1497.”

der is a German article sometimes used to mark descriptive bynames. Examples including “der Fuhs” (“the fox”), “der Rise” (“the giant”), and “der Guot” (“the good”) are documented to the early thirteenth century in “Some Early Middle High German Bynames.”

Pfau is a German word meaning “peacock” used as a descriptive byname. This use is documented to 1560 in FamilySearch batch C73926-2 which shows that Barbara Pfau was christened on 5 December 1560 in Wuerttemberg, Germany.

The documentation I found for these name elements is separated by about three hundred years, which is close enough for Society registration, but I suspect that people with more expertise in German onomastics will be able to locate additional examples that show them all to have been used within the same century, preferably around Engel’s preferred first decades of the sixteenth century.

Family Per-Pale Badges

Earlier this year, Alienor and I submitted a pair of very simple field-only badges.


Per pale vert and Or… &  Per pale purpure and Or.

I believe these were the last uncharged, plain-line, no-fur, per-pale designs remaining open for registration.

(They obviously conflict with each other, having only one DC for change of tincture to half the field, but as part of our submission paperwork we each granted the other permission to conflict.)

I discovered their availability by writing a small computer program that queried all field-primary armory and produced a series of reports grouped by field division and tinctures, the results of which I presented a few months ago in “The Last Super-Simple Field-Only Armory.”

I couldn’t quite believe that they were registrable, and have been waiting on tenterhooks throughout the commentary process to see if someone flagged a conflict I had missed. They have not yet been formally accepted, but enough time has elapsed that I’m increasingly optimistic that they will pass.

Traceable Art at Pennsic XLVIII

This was the third year of service for the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art at Pennsic, and once again the collection got a workout in the art tent behind Heralds’ Point.

My thanks to Muirenn ingen Dunadaig for printing all of the pages that have been added over the last year (over five hundred) and getting them added to the binders, and to everyone who provided feedback to help improve the collection.

I’m especially looking forward to importing some of the new illustrations produced in the art tent — hopefully that will happen over the coming winter.

Below is a list of the new items added to the collection since April. As with previous updates, each includes a single illustration unless a number is provided in parentheses, and represents a new heading unless marked as an addition.

  • Field Divisions: Per Bend Nebuly (1 additional), Per Chevron Flory Counter-flory (2), Per Fess Indented Pometty, Per Fess Nebuly (1 additional), Per Pale Nebuly (1 additional)
  • Ordinaries: Chief Wavy (1 additional), Fess Dancetty (1 additional), Fess Flory, Pile Ployé (1 additional)
  • Shapes & Symbols: Crescent (1 additional), Cross Doubly Pommeled (1 additional), Cross Pomelly (1 additional), Heneage Knot (1 additional), Hungerford Knot, Latin Cross Pomelly, Ray of the Sun Issuant From Dexter Chief (1 additional), Rogacina Crossed and Fourchy, Rogacina Double Crossed, Rogacina Issuant From A Cauldron, Rogacina Issuant From A Demi-Annulet, Rogacina Issuant From A Moustache, Schneckes, Triskele (1 additional)
  • Plants: Acorn (1 additional), Cinquefoil (1 additional), Columbine Slipped and Leaved (1 additional), Mushroom (1 additional), Nesselblatt (2 additional), Oak Leaf (1 additional), Rowan Leaf (1 additional), Rowan Tree, Seeblatt (1 additional), Tiercefeuille, Tree Stump Eradicated, Tree Trunk Eradicated
  • Fish: Calamarie Embowed, Prawn, Prawn Naiant
  • Birds: Cormorant’s Head Erased, Crow (1 additional), Eagle (2 additional), Falcon Rising, Moorcock, Plume of Three Ostrich Feathers, Swan’s Head Couped
  • Beasts: Ass Head Couped, Elephant Head Couped, Lion’s Jambe Erased, Tyger Passant (1 additional)
  • People: Armed Demi-Man Drawing a Bow, Breast Distilling Gouttes (1 additional), Manticore Statant Collared and Chained
  • Objects: Annulet of Rope (1 additional), Arch with Open Doors, Beehive (1 additional), Broad Axe (1 additional), Castle (2 additional), Dagger (1 additional), Dolmen, Drawbridge, Dumbek Drum (1 additional), Empty Embroiderer’s Quill, Fire Beacon, Furison (1 additional), Gridiron, Jew’s Hat (1 additional), Jeweled Goblet, Ladder (1 additional), Needle (1 additional), Open Book (1 additional), Prunted Beaker, Rake Head, Saddle, Scimitar (1 additional), Sickle (1 additional), Spade (1 additional), Spiked Mace (1 additional), Square Weaver’s Tablet, Stool (1 additional), Three Sickles Interlaced, Torii (1 additional), Tower (1 additional), Turning Cratch (2), Two Mosaic Tablets Conjoined, Two-Man Cross-Cut Saw, Viol, Watchtower, Yoke (1 additional)

Awards from Pennsic Provincial Court

At Pennsic, the Viceregents delivered an Award of the Golden Lyre to Godiva de la Mer on behalf of Ozurr and Fortune. Young Johanna Brandrsdottir was inducted into the Province’s Order of the Sea-Urchin in appreciation for her service at local events and the lovely jewelry she has created. Friderich Grimme was recognized for his skill in archery, and for his efforts training so many of the province’s archers, by making him a member of the Order of the Silver Sea-Lion. And the Viceregents rewarded Angelica di Nova Lipa for her many years of service to the Province — at events, in artistry, and behind the scenes — by inducting her into the Order of the Seahorse.

An Updated Order and Awards Chart

A year and a half ago, I drafted a chart summarizing the orders and awards issued by the East Kingdom and the Crown Province of Østgarðr.

With the passage of time, I wanted to update this document to include the newly-added youth orders, the kingdom-level Tyger’s Eye and provincial Sea-Urchin.

As with the prior version, this is available as a PDF file or a series of images which you may click for a higher-resolution view.

Royalty of the Society

Awards, Grants and Patents of Arms

Non-Martial Orders & Awards of the Society and East Kingdom

Martial Orders & Awards of the Society and East Kingdom

Orders & Awards of the Crown Province of Østgarđr

Bärenschnitt Badge

I stumbled upon this armorial design while doing some research into obscure field divisions and decided to add it to my collection of badges.


Per bend sinister argent and gules, issuant from the line of division a bear’s head and a bear’s head inverted contourny counterchanged.

The illustration is adapted from a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair the Elder of his arms, 1516. Burgkmair was a painter and engraver who became a master woodcut printmaker.

His arms feature two bears, interlocked at the jaws, Or and sable. In German armorials this type of design is blazoned “Bärenschnitt” which we might translate as “bear-cut.”

The rendition used in the submission is taken from an emblazon by Madboy74 posted to Wikimedia Commons and released into the public domain.

This badge was registered on the January 2019 Letter of Acceptances and Returns with this commentary:

As noted in registering the device for Sigrothr Melrakki in March 2018:

A rare but notable practice in German heraldry was to have charges issuant symmetrically from either side of a line of division, forming the appearance of a complex line of division. When formed of animal’s heads, the jaws of each head would frequently interlock in the center of the line of division. The practice appears to always have the same type of charge repeated on each side of the division, rather than different charges on each side. For SCA purposes, each submission following this pattern should be treated as two separate charges, each issuant from the line of division, with the type of field division (per bend, per fess, per pale, etc.) dictating the angle of the charges issuant therefrom.

This is one of the rare cases in SCA heraldry where we will allow animate charges inverted.

Name and Device for Hrotger the Tervingi

Hrotger had been using his name for many years without registering it, but was inspired to do so when he encountered my post of simple field-only armory.

In comparison to the simplicity of his chosen armory, researching his chosen name was significantly more difficult, because documentary sources for Germanic peoples in the period immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire are somewhat limited, and it is not a culture with which I have much familiarity — an interesting challenge, and a good learning opportunity.


Per chevron inverted sable and azure.


Hrotger the Tervingi” is an Eastern Germanic name that might be borne by a Goth somewhere around the fourth century.

Hrotger is a Germanic male given name.

Hrotger appears as the name of a Saxon bishop during A.D. 909-916 in “The bishoprics of Saxony in the first century after Christianization” by Christopher Carroll, published in the August 1999 issue of Early Medieval Europe.

The name Hrotger is given as a witness to a real-estate transaction during the reign of abbot Adalgar (AD 822-875) on pages 50 and 57 of “Traditiones Corbeienses“, an 1843 re-publication by Paul Wigand of a document copied in 1479 from an eleventh-century manuscript which was itself copied from parchment rolls recorded at the time of the original transactions.

“Hroðgar” is given as the name of a Danish king who ruled shortly after 500 AD, according to the Old English poem “Widsith,” which was first composed in the seventh century, although our oldest copy of it was written down in the tenth century.

Tervingi” is a Eastern Germanic demonym used to refer to some Gothic tribes.

The “Theruingi” people are mentioned in “Res Gestae” by Ammianus Marcellinus, written circa 385 AD, as well as their nation, “Theruingorum natio,” and their leader, “Athanarichus Theruingorum iudex.”

If “Tervingi” is ruled unregistrable, or too far removed in time from documentable sources for “Hrotger”, client would accept “Hrotger the Goth.”

Name and Device for Arthur von Eschenbach

Arthur had already selected a name and armory in consultation with another herald, Francesco Gaetano Grèco d’Edessa, so preparing his submission forms was a simple matter of illustration and onomastic research.


Per fess argent and sable, a cross gules and in chief two fleurs de lys sable.


Arthur” is an English masculine given name. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources” (S.L. Uckelman, ed. 2018).

English given names may be borrowed into sixteenth-century German names under the terms of the February 2015 cover letter.

von Eschenbach” is a Germanic locative byname indicating an origin in a town of Eschenbach. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung” (by Johannes Stumpf, 1548).

Page 184 of “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung,” by Johannes Stumpf, 1548.

Frequency of Last Names

Following up on my recent post with the most common first names in the Society’s armorial, here’s a list of the hundred most common last names registered to date.

It’s no surprise that last names are more diverse than first names, so this round up of the most popular bynames in the Society doesn’t have  anything that rises to the level of Bill, Bob, Mike, and Tom found in my recent post.

Still, there are clearly some entries here that are relatively common, and it’s an interesting mix of types, including locative, patronymic, descriptive, and occupational bynames.

of York 89
MacLeod 83
d’Avignon 75
the Wanderer 69
MacGregor 63
Rose 55
the Red 50
Morgan 46
of Skye 46
MacDonald 45
da Firenze 44
de Lyon 44
MacPherson 42
Stewart 41
du Bois 39
Drake 38
Cameron 34
ap Rhys 33
Sinclair 33
the Black 32
Bjarnarson 32
Campbell 32
Fletcher 32
of Kent 32
de la Mer 30
Grey 30
Gunnarsson 30
von Bremen 29
d’Anjou 29
da Venezia 28
Haraldsson 27
Fraser 26
de la Croix 26
de Lacy 26
de Montfort 26
Ragnarsson 26
of Atenveldt 25
de Leon 25
de Navarra 25
Archer 24
Buchanan 24
de Calais 24
Ruadh 24
the Silent 24
du Lac 24
Gordon 23
Thorne 23
O’Connor 23
Dragon 22
Einarsson 22
Gunn 22
de Luna 22
Ulfsson 21
Dubh 21
MacLachlan 21
Magnusson 21
Montgomery 21
of Canterbury 21
of Warwick 21
de Grey 21
de Navarre 21
de Lorraine 20
di Firenze 20
Hrafnsson 20
the Archer 20
the Grey 20
von Regensburg 20
of Anglesey 20
of Glastonbury 20
of the Isles 20
Olafsson 20
MacKay 19
MacRae 19
al-Zarqa’ 19
ap Morgan 19
Blackthorne 19
the Mad 19
von Baden 19
the Fair 18
the Quiet 18
Tremayne 18
Tryggvason 18
Winter 18
Wolf 18
MacKenzie 18
O’Neill 18
Peregrine 18
Hawkwood 18
de la Vega 18
de Lyons 18
dei Medici 18
della Luna 18
de Beaumont 17
de Clare 17
de la Rose 17
de Valencia 17
MacFarlane 17
Martel 17
Noir 17
von Brandenburg 17

(You’ll notice that I am grouping articles and prepositions with the words they accompany, which affects the rankings, as “Grey”, “de Grey” and “the Grey” are considered separate names, and people with bynames like “of the Endless Sea” and “of Tree Girt Sea” are counted separately rather than as sharing the common last name “Sea.”)

(And as with the previous batch, note that “last names” are not synonymous with “bynames,” both because of the pattern seen in some languages of double bynames, and because of the differing word order found in East Asian names where the personal given name often appears after the inherited family name or other bynames.)

Frequency of First Names

With over fifty thousand personal names registered in the Society’s armorial database, it comes as no surprise that a number of name elements are reused numerous times, while others are rare or unique.

I recently looked at the frequency of name elements by their position in a name, which allowed me to pull together the below list of the one hundred most common first names.

William 426
Robert 341
Michael 270
Thomas 264
John 258
James 242
Elizabeth 238
Richard 219
Anne 198
Morgan 171
Katherine 159
Anna 154
Edward 152
David 147
Duncan 137
Geoffrey 136
Catherine 135
Wilhelm 128
Alexander 114
Isabella 113
Eleanor 109
Ian 108
Brian 106
Margaret 106
Sorcha 100
Angus 100
Jean 99
Cassandra 98
Charles 98
Juliana 97
Elspeth 96
Marcus 96
Sean 95
Eric 94
Daniel 94
Genevieve 91
Mary 91
Maria 89
Rhiannon 86
Stephen 85
Andrew 84
Bjorn 83
Magnus 83
Elena 83
Karl 83
Emma 81
Isabel 81
Gareth 79
Deirdre 78
Marie 78
Anastasia 75
Christopher 75
Rose 73
Edmund 70
Katerina 68
Robin 68
Seamus 68
Ulrich 68
Tristan 66
Alaric 66
Alexandra 66
Colin 65
Simon 64
Caitlin 63
Isabeau 63
Gabriel 62
Johannes 62
Alessandra 62
Arthur 61
Dafydd 61
Diana 61
Fiona 61
Helena 61
Sarah 61
Sebastian 61
Martin 61
Connor 60
Roland 60
Francesca 59
Erik 58
Guillaume 58
Wolfgang 58
Rowan 57
Eoin 57
Johann 57
Áine 56
Giovanni 55
Magdalena 55
Gavin 54
Vladimir 53
Bran 53
Constance 53
Galen 52
Konrad 52
Malcolm 52
Owen 52
Gabrielle 51
Gillian 51
Gwyneth 51
Ivan 51

(Note that “first names” are not synonymous with “given names,” both because of the pattern seen in some languages of double given names, and because of the differing word order found in East Asian names where the personal given name often appears after the inherited family name or other bynames.)