I put together a page about #HeraldicLove for the spring issue of the Seahorse (aka the E-Horse), the provincial newsletter of Østgarðr.
Back in 2018 I created an image for the fiftieth anniversary of Østgarðr (and by extension, of the East Kingdom) that shows the arms of the viceroys and vicereines, the unique title held by the landed representatives of the Crown here in the only Crown Province of the Known World.
When I drew this five years ago, Suuder and Lada still wore the chains of state which serve the viceregents as the civil equivalent of the coronets one finds in the 185 baronies which follow us in the Armorial of Precedence. Tonight I’ve updated the chart to reflect the investiture last autumn of Angelica and Sofya, joint Viceréinas of Østgarðr. Long may they serve!
Every year at this time we celebrate the season of Heraldic Love, encouraging the populace to display their armory or allegiance on a heart-shaped shield to show their love for the historical recreation community.
Heralds — this is a great opportunity to get your local members excited about armorial display; if your branch has a populace badge, help them trim it to size and encourage folks to show it off for the next week.
Search the web for #HeraldicLove to find more examples (and historical examplars!), then join in by updating your own profile image. You can make your own image with pens, paints, or any materials you’re comfortable with (a template is attached), or use the kingdom, provincial, canton, or Society populace badges to show everyone where your heart is.
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.
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.
February is here again, and the #HeraldicLove campaign is once again encouraging reenactors to display their arms (or a badge of allegiance) on a heart-shaped field.
I participated in this campaign last year, drawing three dozen heart-shaped badges and devices for branches and individuals. Along the way I also created digital templates for a heart-shaped field and a set of corresponding heart-shaped field divisions and ordinaries.
As we begin another round of heart-shaped heraldic display, I thought it would be fun to display a pair of hearts conjoined by an arrow, as I’ve done below with the arms of myself and my wife. Continue reading “A Pair of Hearts Pierced”
During the five years in which I’ve been thinking about medieval armory, I’ve registered four different designs with the College of Arms of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and as I’ve started thinking about further registrations it seemed prudent to pause and take stock of my current inventory. Continue reading “Armorial Catalog for Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin”
As described in Wikipedia, an “album amicorum” was a sixteenth-century “book of friendship” with blank pages on which people collected signatures and messages from people they knew, much as modern students might sign each others yearbooks or fans might collect autographs of famous stars.
Many of these include armorial illustrations, some quite elaborate, giving us a glimpse of another way in which heraldic symbols were used during the Renaissance.
The Album Amicorum of Jean le Clercq, a Belgian university student, dates from the tail end of the sixteenth century, combining pages printed in 1564 containing engraved scenes and stanzas of Ovid translated into French, with other pages hand-painted two decades later showing displays of armory. Continue reading “Armorial Displays from the Album Amicorum of Jean le Clercq”
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””
The best part of this little booklet from the Heraldry Society in England is that it provides dates for when various types of armorial practices were introduced, along with citations to the reference works they drew those dates from.