Memories of Iathus of Scara, Former Morsulus Herald

[This autumn, I contacted Iathus of Scara, who served as the Morsulus Herald of the SCA from 1989 through 1992, and asked him some questions about that experience. He graciously wrote up two lengthy documents narrating that history, which I have integrated below in what I believe is chronological order. The spots where I’ve stitched material from those two documents together are marked with “[…]”. I’ve also added a few missing words or bits of context in square brackets, redacted a few mundane names, and tweaked the punctuation and formatting for ease of reading. I am so grateful to Iathus for writing up this history and giving me permission to share it here. — Mathghamhain] Continue reading “Memories of Iathus of Scara, Former Morsulus Herald”

Heraldic Authority In the Earliest Bylaws of the SCA

The Society for Creative Anachronism started as a party in 1966 and was named as a joke, but over the subsequent years elaborated a set of governing policies which today control an international not-for-profit organization with over a hundred thousand participants.

It’s interesting to look back at the early practices of the organization to see the seeds that grew into the structure we know today, and so I was pleased to discover a copy of the earliest bylaws archived on the web site of Master Justin du Coeur, a former historian of the East Kingdom. Continue reading “Heraldic Authority In the Earliest Bylaws of the SCA”

Traceable Art for November

More than a hundred new illustrations have been added to the Traceable Heraldic Art collection over the last two months.

Welcome to newcomers Elspeth Farre, who submitted more than a dozen illustrations of diverse subjects, and Maryan Hoskyns, who sent in an alternate style of chain. Thanks to Grimwulf Harland, who granted permission to share a number of charges from his Sledgehamster collection. And my continuing apprecation to returning contributors Vémundr Syvursson, Iago ab Adam, Jessimond of Emerickeskepe, and Elionora inghen Ui Cheallaigh. Continue reading “Traceable Art for November”

Downloading “Scottish Nobility E2”

The same collection at  the National Library of Ireland that holds “Irish Nobility E1” also includes a related volume indexed as “Scottish Nobility E2.”

This text was also in the collection of the Ulster King of Arms, despite the fact that Scotland was the domain of the Lord Lyon King of Arms — perhaps this was a local reference work for Ulster’s office containing the arms of their neighbors, whom might visit Ireland or be met while traveling elsewhere in the British Isles? Continue reading “Downloading “Scottish Nobility E2””

Achievements with Heraldic Tabards from “Irish Nobility E1”

The National Library of Ireland’s “Irish Nobility E1” manuscript was produced by and for the office of the Ulster King of Arms, the principal heraldic authority for all of Ireland under English rule, and records the armorial achievements of various barons and viscounts of Ireland.

The first section of the book seems to date from around 1585 or so, and contains a number of armorial achievements featuring a heraldic tabard as the central element rather than a shield.

This form of display is unusual enough that I thought it was worth posting these for easy reference. Reenactors seeking a less-martial form of armorial display might consider using these as inspiration. Continue reading “Achievements with Heraldic Tabards from “Irish Nobility E1””

Downloading “Irish Nobility E1”

A couple of weeks ago, Iago ab Adam shared a link to a lovely late-period collection of armorial illustrations, indexed by the National Library of Ireland as “Irish Nobility E1.”

This manuscript was produced by and for the office of the Ulster King of Arms, the principal heraldic authority for all of Ireland under English rule, and records the armorial achievements of various barons and viscounts of Ireland; the first 30 pages or so seem to date from around 1585 or so, while the rest of the book is in a different style, and appears to mostly date from around 1685.

The book was scanned and posted on the web site of the National Library of Ireland, using a “click to pan and zoom” interface, but with a bit of coding I was able to extract the files for offline viewing. Continue reading “Downloading “Irish Nobility E1””

Downloading Powell’s Roll

Powell’s Roll is one of the few extant fourteenth-century English illustrated armorials available online. It’s kept at the British Bodley Library, where it is indexed as Bodleian Ms. Ashmole 804, pt. IV.

The library has made their scans available through a “click to pan and zoom” interface, and although it doesn’t seem to be available as a combined download, they do helpfully allow you to download individual images — and as there are only 29 of them, that’s precisely what I have done. Continue reading “Downloading Powell’s Roll”

The Lineage of Morsulus Heralds

The Morsulus Herald is a deputy to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms of the SCA, responsible for maintaining the Society’s record of heraldic registrations, as embodied in various forms of the Ordinary and Armorial.

The title of Morsulus was created by Karina of the Far West as her last official act before stepping down as third Laurel Sovereign, taking her inspiration from Latin: “Morsulus, a small byte.” [Cover Letter, Jun 1979] Continue reading “The Lineage of Morsulus Heralds”

An SCA Ordinary from AS XXXIV

Following my recent conversation with Iulstan Sigwealding, he poked around through his archived files and dug up a copy of the Society’s Ordinary produced in early 2000, covering all armory registrations through the end of 1999.

Although this is obviously out of date and no longer of use as working reference, I thought a few folks might enjoy seeing this snapshot from history. Continue reading “An SCA Ordinary from AS XXXIV”

Memories of Iulstan Sigwealding, Former Morsulus Herald

[Recently, I reached out to Iulstan Sigwealding, who served as the Morsulus Herald of the SCA from 1992 through the end of 1999, and asked him some questions about that experience. His answers provided a glimpse into a different era of the Society’s development, and afterwards he was kind enough to volunteer to rewrite the transcript of our conversation to produce a recollection which he has allowed me to publish here. — Mathghamhain] Continue reading “Memories of Iulstan Sigwealding, Former Morsulus Herald”