Frequently Sought Precedents

There have been a large number of precedents set by the various Laurel Sovereigns of Arms.
Several of these precedents are often sought after, to clarify the ruling on a topic, but
sometimes folks have trouble tracking down the specific precedent they are seeking. 

This webpage has been created to serve as an aid to those seeking a specific precedent
by listing the more frequently used precedents and the precedents that folks
tend to have difficulty in locating.  

This site will grow in the direction that heralds note they have need of.
If there is a precedent that you think should be added to the list,
please send an e-mail to Modar at: modar@everestkc.net

 



Search Aid

Morsulus Herald's Website - Google LoARs...simple add your search terms to the search string

Precedents of the SCA College of Arms - Collections of precedents by the Laurel-Sovereign-of-Arms who set them.
 



Armory Precedents

Abstract Symbols: See: Letters
   
Adumbration: "Although there are period examples of umbration, it is not considered "good" heraldic practice, and has been banned from use in the SCA."
March 1986 LoAR
AND
"Umbration, or adumbration, is known in SCA armory as 'chasing.' 'Chased means voided but with the interior details and lines still showing as well as the outline.' (WvS, 22 Jan 80, p.3; in Prec III:14) The practice was disallowed in April 1982, as part of the general ban on 'thin‑line heraldry' that also restricted voiding and fimbriation."
March 1986 LoAR
   
Alligator: For alligators and crocodiles there is not a significant difference between the statant/passant and couchant/dormant postures.
September 2004
   
Alphyn: "the visual similarities of the primary charges [an alphyn and a tyger], combined with the lack of a clear heraldic difference in period, is too strong to grant the necessary second CD."
November 1993 LoAR

Note: In the O&A, alphyns are listed under Monster - Griffin

   
Angel Wing: "we will follow the stated default from Parker and declare that an angel's wings are displayed by default when the angel is affronty."
August 2004 LoAR
   
Animals, Registering to:

 "The College does not register names or armory which appear to claim for the submitter powers or status he or she does not have. In this case, the submitter is claiming human status. If the submitter can prove such, we will reconsider this name. Until such time, this name submission is RETURNED."
January 1991 Cover Letter

   
Annulet, Charges Within Heralds should note that using a widget within an annulet is not a step from period practice. Multiple instances of items within a single or multiple concentric annulets appear in _Stemmario Trivulziano_ (plates 178, 194, 225, and 352), Siebmacher (plates 63, 152, and 156), Humphrey-Smith's _Anglo-Norman Armory Two_ (page 335), and other heraldic references.
March 2009 LoAR Cover Letter

"A widget within an annulet will continue to be considered a primary widget and a secondary annulet, or a primary annulet and secondary widget, when those charges are the only charges on the field. Which of the two charges is primary depends, as always, on the emblazon.

When both are present in a design as part of a primary charge group, or where they would be expected to be a secondary charge, the widget and annulet will both be considered part of the same group."
March 2009 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Armory - Literary Allusions: Return of Ioseph of Locksley, the Rhymer. Badge. A cat rampant guardant argent, vested of a hat sable, a cape gules, and a pair of boots sable turned gules, and grasping in its sinister forepaw a swept­hilt rapier argent, hilted sable.

“Of greater importance, however, is the fact that the badge is recognizable as Puss in Boots. While there is precedent for badges of this sort (one of Master Ioseph's other badges is a representation of the Town Musicians of Bremen), I cannot recall any other instances, and the College of Arms has a fairly ancient tradition of disallowing strong literary and historical allusions. This badge may be construed as an infringement on the character of Puss in Boots, or as a proprietary claim thereto, either of which makes it inappropriate. Please redesign.”
April 1985 LoAR

   
Armory - Single Tincture "In fact, however, the College has only refused to register fields consisting of a plain or single tincture"
February 1996 LoAR

"This is being returned because Gules, ermined Or. is a plain tincture, and we do not register plain tinctures."
October 1998 LoAR

   
Armory - Weirdnesses: List of Armory Weirdnesses
webpage
   
Arrondy: "[a CD] for changing the style of the line from straight to arrondy."
July 2004 LoAR
   
Arthropod & Insect: "The SCA has registered many insects statant, as well as other arthropods statant (such as scorpions), even when the insect or arthropod has only been documented as tergiant in period heraldry. Without an extensive change in policy concerning the acceptability of insects or arthropods statant, this may be registered."
August 2002 LoAR

"Rising is not a defined posture for insects."
October 2002 LoAR

"Note that the SCA accepts bees in a statant posture (horizontal body, legs down, wings addorsed). The SCA also accepts bees which are statant in a clearly defined bendwise or bendwise sinister posture. However, it is not acceptable to rotate a statant bee 90 degrees to a "palewise" posture. The resulting posture, with a vertical body, and legs extended to dexter, is equivalent to the previously forbidden "rampant" posture for bees and similar insects."
October 2002 LoAR

The proper tincture for bees is defined in precedent as "sable and Or, with argent wings"
March 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"When drawn clearly, there is a CD between a bee and a dragonfly."
September 2001 LoAR

"In the SCA, a bee statant has its wings addorsed by default"
December 2002 LoAR

"There is a CD between a bee tergiant fesswise and a bee statant. Both postures show the bees with fesswise bodies, but a bee tergiant fesswise has wings visible on both sides of the bee's body, while a bee statant only has wings visible on the chiefmost side of the body. This difference is worth a CD, analogous to the difference between a bird rising wings displayed and a bird rising wings addorsed."
December 2002 LoAR

   
Augmentation: Discussion on Augmentations
October 2003 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Axe: Axes vs Double-bitted axes: "nothing for changing the type of axes"
November 2001 LoAR

"under current precedent, there is no difference for changing the tincture of the hafts of the axes"
February 2002 LoAR

   
Badger / Brock: "the SCA has no default proper tincture for brocks or badgers."
November 2003 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Bat / Reremouse: "The reremouse is both displayed and guardant by default. Since this reremouse is displayed but has its head turned to dexter, its posture has been explicitly blazoned for clarity."
March 2002 LoAR

"Bats inverted have been explicitly allowed in the SCA in the past, as long as they are identifiable"  "We will accordingly consider a bat (displayed) inverted to be a step from period practice ("a weirdness") unless documentation is provided for bats inverted in period heraldry."
October 2002 LoAR

The reremouse is hanging upside down and has its wings wrapped around its body in a natural sleeping posture. This posture is not registerable by previous precedent: "The bat was not dormant, but was rather in its natural sleeping posture. We know of no examples of this posture in period heraldic depictions of bats, and for good reason: this posture eliminates any identifiable aspects of the bat. Therefore the device violates VIII.4.c, Natural Depiction: ... Excessively natural designs include those that depict animate objects in unheraldic postures ... and VIII.3, Armorial Identifiability"
August 2000 LoAR & September 2003 LoAR

   
Beaver: "a sea-dog and a beaver were considered distinct charges in period and should be given a CD for type difference under RfS X.4.e."
January 2004 LoAR

"Based on period heraldry, naturalism, and the Pictorial Dictionary, beavers proper are brown by default."
February 204 LoAR

"The heraldic beaver is drawn with a stocky, smooth-furred (not finned or scaled) body, a wide (usually, but not always, paddle-like) tail, and small or nonexistent ears."
January 2004 LoAR

   
Bee: The proper tincture for bees is defined in precedent as "sable and Or, with argent wings"
March 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"When drawn clearly, there is a CD between a bee and a dragonfly."
September 2001 LoAR

"In the SCA, a bee statant has its wings addorsed by default"
December 2002 LoAR

"There is a CD between a bee tergiant fesswise and a bee statant. Both postures show the bees with fesswise bodies, but a bee tergiant fesswise has wings visible on both sides of the bee's body, while a bee statant only has wings visible on the chiefmost side of the body. This difference is worth a CD, analogous to the difference between a bird rising wings displayed and a bird rising wings addorsed."
December 2002 LoAR

   
Bevilled: A discussion of the manner it should be drawn, with illustrations, is noted in the cover letter (see link).
August 1992 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Bird: "Secondly, when considering the categories of birds set forth on the November 2003 Cover Letter, we have decided that penguin-shaped birds, by which we mean penguins and auks, when depicted in their default upright close posture are substantially different from all other birds. The use of a penguin is still a step from period practice."
March 2013 LoAR Cover Letter

Discussion of Birds & Substantial Difference
November 2003 LoAR Cover Letter

Discussion of Generic Birds
October 2003 LoAR Cover Letter

"There is no difference between the falcon and the Cornish chough."
January 2002 LoAR
BUT...
""Normally a detail as small as a beak would not be grounds for a CD; however, RfS X.4.e states in part "Types of charges considered to be separate in period, for example a lion and an heraldic tyger, will be considered different." As a merlin/falcon close and a raven close are both period heraldic charges, in their period posture (close), and as period heralds consistently distinguished, in their heraldic art, the birds in these positions, we will grant a CD between a merlin/falcon close and a raven close."
August 2007 LoAR Cover Letter

August 2007 LoAR Cover Letter "A bird passant, that is to say, with one leg raised, is considered an unblazoned variant of close"
February 1996 LoAR & February 2002 LoAR

"There is no difference in posture between these birds except for the head position, which is insufficient for posture difference by RfS X.4.h."
March 2003 LoAR

   
Boar: "There is a CD between a correctly drawn hippopotamus and a correctly drawn boar."
November 2002 LoAR
   
Bordure AND Chief "The most common depiction of a chief and a bordure has the chief overlying the bordure; however, precedent indicates that there are some examples of bordures overlying chiefs (v. Ambrosius MacDaibhidh, December 1995). Prior precedent states:

       Please note that the design of counterchanging a bordure over a pile is considered "a weirdness" in
       the SCA - a single step from period practice (per the LoAR of July 2001). One such step in armory
       is acceptable, but more than one such step is considered too far from period practice and reason for
       return. [Clef of Cividale, 03/03, R-Calontir]

Similarly, barring period evidence of such counterchanging, counterchanging a bordure over a chief is also a step from period practice."
January 2008 LoAR

   
Branch (Group) Arms - Display & Use of : "The arms of a branch are reserved to the head of the branch. In the case of a kingdom, principality or barony this is the King, Prince or Baron. In all other cases it is the seneschal. Kings, Princes and Barons may bear the arms of their branch upon a shield in battle as if they were their own personal arms, so long as they hold their office and no longer. Seneschals may not do so. All heads of branches may display the banner of the branch to indicate their presence. At any event held in a branch the arms of the branch may be displayed whether or not the head of the branch is present, to indicate that the branch is hosting the event. In grand marches the arms of branches may be carried by groups marching as those branches. Otherwise nobody can display the arms of a branch as if they were personal arms."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

"Branches may register one or more badges which are to be useable by groups or individuals belonging to those branches. A province could register a badge to be used by a provincial mercenary unit, such as a shield wall squad. A kingdom could register a badge to be used by all subjects of the kingdom at wars with another kingdom to show their allegiance."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Brock / Badger: "the SCA has no default proper tincture for brocks or badgers."
November 2003 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Brown - Proper: When using brown, defined as "proper", the entire charge/creature is tinctured brown. As per:
"PRECEDENT: Henceforward, and more in line with period heraldic practice, animals which are normally brown may be registered simply as an {X} proper (e.g., boar proper, hare proper). Animals which are frequently found as brown but also commonly appear in other tinctures in the natural world may be registered as a brown {X} proper (e.g., brown hound proper, brown horse proper). This precedent does not, however, loosen the ban on "Linnaean proper" (Cover Letter, May 13, 1991); proper tinctures for flora and fauna which require the Linnaean genus and species to know how to color them. For example, a falcon proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown head, wings and back, buff breast with darker spots, and a tail striped with black; a hare proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown with white underbelly and tail and pink ears. This also appears to be more in keeping with period heraldic practice."
October 1995 Cover Letter
   
Caduceus:
[Also see Medical Insignia]
In fact, it is often blazoned a rod of Mercury rather than a caduceus. (In addition to being the patron of merchants, Mercury is also the patron of thieves and heralds.)"
October 1995 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Camels: "we may register brown camels proper"
March 2002 LoAR
   
Candelabra: "There is a CD between a three-armed candelabra and a nine-armed candelabra."
November 2002 LoAR
   
Catamount: Discussion of difference between an English Panther, a Continental (German) Panther, a Natural Panther, and Ounce and a Catamount (mountain lion).
November 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Cats / Felines: "There is no type difference between a [domestic] cat and a natural panther."
November 2002 LoAR

"There is one CD, but not substantial difference, between a heraldic panther and a lion"
February 2003 LoAR

"there is only one CD between a heraldic tyger and a lion"
February 2003 LoAR

"There is no difference for changing the type of feline from a lynx to a natural leopard"
February 2004 LoAR

   
Chain, Circular (Chain, Annulet of): FROM LAUREL - A Clarification Regalia for the Order of Knighthood includes (Tinctureless) A circular chain. This means a circular chain of any tincture, not just gold. It was so designated by Laurel in 1998, so there is nothing new here.  Wreath tells me that some have interpreted this to mean that any necklace, whether or not it is unadorned, should be restricted. That is not the case. A necklace with a pendant is not the same as a knight's chain and there should be no question of improper use of a restricted charge in such a submission.
August 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Chapé: The chaussé line of division, along with chapé and vetu , are different from other lines of divisions in that the outer portions never contained charges in period. Thus we can also not allow charges that overlap the outer portions.
May 2000 LoAR

It cannot be as it was blazoned, as we do not charge vêtu, chapé or chaussé.
March 1998 LoAR

Nor do we charge the shod part of a chapé or chaussé field.
May 1996 LoAR

   
Charges that are the same
but of two different sizes:
"This is being returned for violating the long-standing precedent of using two different sizes of the same charge on the field."
March 1998 LoAR

But note:

"Badge. Azure, a cross of four mascles argent within and conjoined to a mascle Or. This armory uses the same type of charge as both a primary and secondary charge. Some commenters felt that this was therefore not acceptable per the following precedent:

[returning a mullet of four points throughout ... between four mullets of four points ...] This is being returned for violating the long-standing precedent of using two different sizes of the same charge on the field. (LoAR 3/98 p. 15)

However, in the cited precedent, there was a reasonable ambiguity as to which mullets were primary charges and which were secondary charges, as the emblazon could appear to be an idiosyncratic rendering of five mullets of four points in saltire. In Francesca's arms, this is not a problem. The surrounding mascle is clearly in a separate charge group from the mascles which constitute a cross. Consider the analogous case of, on a lozenge shaped shield, Azure, a cross of four mascles argent within and conjoined to an orle Or. The orle would have a resemblance to a mascle, but there would be no difficulty in distinguishing the orle from the primary mascle group."
October 2001 LoAR

   
Charges that are the same
but are in both primary and secondary charge groups:
"one cannot use the same charge as both a primary and a secondary charge on the field in the same piece of armory."
December 2004 LoAR
   
Charges that are gyronny: "There is no difference for changing the order of the tinctures in gyronny fields per RfS X.4.a and the SCA has traditionally extended this lack of difference to gyronny charges."
August 2003 LoAR
   
Charges that are within an annulet
or mascle:
"Thus in armory with a <charge> within a Bowen knot, the Bowen knot is the primary charge and the <charge> is secondary.  This ruling does not change the fact that a charge within an annulet or a mascle is the primary charge."
August 2005 LoAR
BUT
"A widget within an annulet will continue to be considered a primary widget and a secondary annulet, or a primary annulet and secondary widget, when those charges are the only charges on the field. Which of the two charges is primary depends, as always, on the emblazon.

When both are present in a design as part of a primary charge group, or where they would be expected to be a secondary charge, the widget and annulet will both be considered part of the same group."
March 2009 LoAR Cover Letter

Heralds should note that using a widget within an annulet is not a step from period practice. Multiple instances of items within a single or multiple concentric annulets appear in _Stemmario Trivulziano_ (plates 178, 194, 225, and 352), Siebmacher (plates 63, 152, and 156), Humphrey-Smith's _Anglo-Norman Armory Two_ (page 335), and other heraldic references.
March 2009 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Charge vs Charge Throughout: In general there is a difference between an ordinary throughout vs. an ordinary couped, but not between a non-ordinary throughout vs. its non-throughout version.
May 1997 LoAR
   
Chasing: "Although there are period examples of umbration, it is not considered "good" heraldic practice, and has been banned from use in the SCA."
March 1986 LoAR
AND
"Umbration, or adumbration, is known in SCA armory as 'chasing.' 'Chased means voided but with the interior details and lines still showing as well as the outline.' (WvS, 22 Jan 80, p.3; in Prec III:14) The practice was disallowed in April 1982, as part of the general ban on 'thin‑line heraldry' that also restricted voiding and fimbriation."
March 1986 LoAR
   
Chaussé: The chaussé line of division, along with chapé and vêtu , are different from other lines of divisions in that the outer portions never contained charges in period. Thus we can also not allow charges that overlap the outer portions.
May 2000 LoAR

It cannot be as it was blazoned, as we do not charge vêtu, chapé or chaussé.
March 1998 LoAR

Nor do we charge the shod part of a chapé or chaussé field.
May 1996 LoAR

   
Chess Rook: "There is substantial difference between a tower and a properly drawn chess rook"
December 2001 LoAR
   
Chi-Rho: A chi-rho is functionally a single abstract symbol. Although most two-letter combinations would not be so considered, the chi-rho has, through long use in religious symbolism, achieved an independent identity as a single abstract symbol. "Current precedent disallows the registration of solitary abstract symbols"
February 2003 LoAR
   
Chief AND Bordure "The most common depiction of a chief and a bordure has the chief overlying the bordure; however, precedent indicates that there are some examples of bordures overlying chiefs (v. Ambrosius MacDaibhidh, December 1995). Prior precedent states:

       Please note that the design of counterchanging a bordure over a pile is considered "a weirdness" in
       the SCA - a single step from period practice (per the LoAR of July 2001). One such step in armory
       is acceptable, but more than one such step is considered too far from period practice and reason for
       return. [Clef of Cividale, 03/03, R-Calontir]

Similarly, barring period evidence of such counterchanging, counterchanging a bordure over a chief is also a step from period practice."
January 2008 LoAR

   
Cockatrice vs Dragon: Cockatrice are considered different from dragons and therefore do not conflict with one another. This is confirmed in the Precedents of the SCA CoA, citing from the November 1997 LoAR of the armory of Wolfger von Lausfenburg: "[a dragon vs a cockatrice] We do not normally give a difference for changing the head only of a beast or monster. However, since they were considered different monsters in period, and since the head is not obscured in any way, we are willing to grant it the necessary CD to make it clear of these possible conflicts."
November 1997 LoAR & Laurel Precedent
   
Collars: "the collar was drawn as if the wolf's head were resting on it. Precedent says, "When an animal's head is collared, the neck shows above and beneath the collar, and the collar is treated as a tertiary charge. In this armory, the cat's head rests atop a disproportionately wide and deep collar. The cat's neck is not visible beneath the collar. This does not appear to be a period way of depicting a collared animal's head" [Cristal Fleur de la Mer, 02/03, R-Caid]. While the collar on this wolf's head is a reasonable size, it must be redrawn so that the wolf's neck is visible below the collar."
March 2005 LoAR

"Current precedent gives a CD for collaring an animal's head (as if the collar were a tertiary charge) but does not give a CD for adding a collar to a whole animal."
December 2002 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Comet: "Some commenters felt that heading a comet of a roundel, rather than a mullet or an estoile, might be an additional problem with this armory. However, given the different period depictions of comets, a comet headed of a roundel is a reasonable variant."
July 2002 LoAR
   
Compass Star vs Mullet of Four: "There is no difference between a mullet of four points and a compass star: 'By prior precedent there is not a CD between a compass star and a mullet of four points' (LoAR April 2001)."
January 2003 LoAR
   
Complex Lines & Contrast: A collation of precedents
webpage
   
Conflict Table - Cross table
   
Conflict Table - Flower table
   
Conflict Table - Line of Division: table
   
Conflict Table - Posture table
   
Coronets & Crowns: SCA CoA Glossary of Terms - Reserved Charges Table

"Kingdoms must also include a crown or coronet in the design. Principalities may include a crown or coronet, but are not required to do so."
SCA CoA Admin. Handbook - Section II.D.2. Branch Arms

"Baronies are not permitted to have crowns in their arms (they are not considered sovereign), so it would be inappropriate for a territorial baron to do so."
November 1984 LoAR Cover Letter

"This hereby overturns the ban on people of baronial rank using coronets in their arms. Henceforth, in addition to royal peers, court barons/esses may use coronets in their arms. Note: this does not include territorial barons/esses, since that is not a permanent rank. Just as a sitting king/queen/prince/princess cannot put a coronet on their arms until after they have attained the rank of count/ess or viscount/ess, since, while it is rare, there have been cases of royalty who have not completed their reign, neither can a territorial baron/ess, unless they are already a court baron/ess, use a coronet, since they have not attained a permanent baronial rank."
May 1999 LoAR

"He is also a court baron and thus entitled to bear a coronet."
October 2001 LoAR

"We wish to remind the College of Arms that being a territorial baroness alone does not allow one to register armory with a coronet."
April 2006 LoAR

Precedent says, "While it has been true that the default coronet is a simple coronet of three points, we have for a while now been allowing the blazon coronet to be used with any period depiction of a coronet that is not otherwise reserved". No documentation was provided showing that a coronet with single central point at the front is a period depiction of a coronet.
May 2005 LoAR

"Clarion has given evidence that pearled coronets existed in 16th century Scotland, although they were not associated with barons. Therefore we are allowing the use of pearled coronets; however, if the type of coronet is blazoned at all, it will be blazoned as pearled not baronial."
April 2000 LoAR

'There is no 'standard' viscomital coronet, either as a physical entity or an heraldic convention.' Viscounts and Viscountesses may use the default heraldic coronet (a crown indented of three points) if they so choose."|
November 1991 LoAR

"A beast's head gorged of a coronet or collar is treated by the SCA as having a tertiary charge."  "A tertiary charge needs to have good contrast with the underlying charge."
April 2002 LoAR

"Without period evidence to the contrary, and because of the contrast problems inherent in the design of a crown on an animal's head, it does not seem appropriate to give difference for adding a crown to a charge consisting only of an animal's head."
December 2002 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Cotises: Cotises can not be found alone, there must always be an ordinary for them to surround. "You cannot have an endorse or a cotise standing alone."
July 1981 LoAR

Cotises are not co-primaries with the ordinary; they are a secondary charge group.  "The device has an entire sable cotise on the gules field. As cotises are treated as a secondary charge group, this violates RfS VIII.2, Armorial Contrast."  As they are a secondary charge group, they do get counted as a CD.
July 2000 LoAR

If there is another secondary charge present, the cotises get to count as another separate secondary charge group.  "Argent, on a fess cotised embattled on the outer edges between three leopard's faces sable three crescents argent. This is clear of the flag of Meridies, Argent, on a fess sable, a crown of three points between two mullets argent, with one CD for the removal of the cotises and a second for the removal of the leopard's faces as they are two different charge groups."  So it is possible to get 2 CDs from two different sets of secondaries.
March 2001 LoAR

   
Counterchanging: "The only time we permit a charge to be counterchanged over another is when they are both ordinaries."
December 1998 LoAR

"By current precedent, a laurel wreath is considered too complex a charge to be counterchanged over an ordinary."
June 1994 LoAR

"The counterchanging of the complex charges over the ordinary is visually confusing, and disallowed per Rule VIII.3. This interpretation has been in force since April 90; it was most recently reaffirmed in the case of the Shire of Blackmoor Keep, LoAR of Oct 92."
May 1993 LoAR

"The opinion of the commenting heralds was unanimous that a maunch is too complex a charge to be counterchanged over an ordinary."
May 1992 LoAR

   
Courant vs Passant: "there should not be a CD between passant and courant" & "There is a significant amount of evidence implying that courant and passant were used interchangeably in English armory."
August 2001 LoAR
   
Courant vs Statant: "There is no difference between statant and courant, because the evidence which has so far been obtained indicates that these postures were interchangeable in period." & "Statant should thus not be given difference from courant, because it was interchangeable with courant in period - just as passant was interchangeable with courant in period."
September 2003 LoAR
   
Crocodile: For alligators and crocodiles there is not a significant difference between the statant/passant and couchant/dormant postures.
September 2004
   
Cross: A collation of precedents
webpage

"The Norse sun cross is also the symbol for Earth, and by precedent symbols cannot be registered as the sole charge."
September 2000 LoAR

This armory does not violate the long-standing strictures against registering a single abstract symbol. A tau cross is a standard heraldic charge in its own right.
November 2002 LoAR

"A cross of Cerdaña is an SCA-invented cross. Although mentioned as a minor artistic variant of a cross clechy in the registration of Ana's device in July 2002, the cross is not attested in period armory. Barring evidence for this cross as a period charge, we will cease to register crosses of Cerdaña after the August 2010 Laurel meeting."
February 2010 LoAR

   
Cross Used to Prevent Appearance of Marshaling: There are precedents which note that, since crosses were used with quartered (marshaled) arms in period, the addition of a cross overall does _not_ overcome the appearance of marshalling.

[Quarterly gules and argent, in bend two <As> argent and in bend sinister two <Bs> vert, overall a cross sable] "Given that crosses overall were not infrequently used in marshalled arms in period, this has every appearance of the marshalled arms of [Gules, an <A> argent, and Argent, a <B> vert]." [The submission was returned for this reason.]
November 1991 LoAR.

[Registering Quarterly azure and argent, a cross couped between in bend two towers and in bend sinister two roses all counterchanged.] "This comes perilously close to having the appearance of marshalled arms. The fact that the cross here is used as a charge rather than the default cross throughout (which is considered an ordinary) saves it from falling afoul of XI.3. No evidence was found by any of the commenters that crosses couped were used in the same way as crosses throughout, crosses paty throughout, or crosses engrailed throughout were in marshalled arms."
March 1994 LoAR

   
Diminutives of Ordinaries: Emma Barfoot. Device. Sable, a foot couped and in chief a bar argent.
"The submitter requested that the fess be blazoned as a bar as a cant on her name. Single diminutives of ordinaries aren't normally blazoned as such. Only if there are multiple diminutives (e.g. three bendlets) or if the charge is otherwise reduced in importance (e.g. a bendlet enhanced) would the diminutive term be used. Because of the cant -- and the enhanced nature of the fess -- we have blazoned it as a bar."
Note that this was registered as a diminutive name only because of the cant on "bar foot". Otherwise it would have been registered as a fess.
June 2005 LoAR

"This is being returned for a redraw. We don't register single diminutives of ordinaries, and this is far too narrow to be a bend."
September 1997 LoAR

"However, in this case, the bend is, in fact, drawn unacceptably narrow (indeed, I suspect modern heralds would blazon it as a "ribband" or some such; it is certainly narrower than a bendlet. It needs to be redrawn thicker)."  The device was returned.
September 1994 LoAR

"there is no difference between an ordinary and its diminutive"
June 1990 LoAR

   
Display & Use of Group Arms: "The arms of a branch are reserved to the head of the branch. In the case of a kingdom, principality or barony this is the King, Prince or Baron. In all other cases it is the seneschal. Kings, Princes and Barons may bear the arms of their branch upon a shield in battle as if they were their own personal arms, so long as they hold their office and no longer. Seneschals may not do so. All heads of branches may display the banner of the branch to indicate their presence. At any event held in a branch the arms of the branch may be displayed whether or not the head of the branch is present, to indicate that the branch is hosting the event. In grand marches the arms of branches may be carried by groups marching as those branches. Otherwise nobody can display the arms of a branch as if they were personal arms."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

"Branches may register one or more badges which are to be useable by groups or individuals belonging to those branches. A province could register a badge to be used by a provincial mercenary unit, such as a shield wall squad. A kingdom could register a badge to be used by all subjects of the kingdom at wars with another kingdom to show their allegiance."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Documented Exception, How to Use: See: July 2010 Cover Letter
   
Dragon vs Cockatrice: Cockatrice are considered different from dragons and therefore do not conflict with one another. This is confirmed in the Precedents of the SCA CoA, citing from the November 1997 LoAR of the armory of Wolfger von Lausfenburg: "[a dragon vs a cockatrice] We do not normally give a difference for changing the head only of a beast or monster. However, since they were considered different monsters in period, and since the head is not obscured in any way, we are willing to grant it the necessary CD to make it clear of these possible conflicts."
November 1997 LoAR & Laurel Precedent
   
Dragonfly: "When drawn clearly, there is a CD between a bee and a dragonfly."
September 2001 LoAR
   
Elfbolt: "The elfbolt is an SCA-invented charge referring to a stone-chipped arrowhead. The Pictorial Dictionary states that "prehistoric specimens found by the ancients were attributed to the Little People."  "The College also questioned whether an elfbolt should continue to be registerable in the SCA, as it is an SCA-invented charge. The charge clearly was an artifact that was known in period, namely, old chipped arrowheads that could be found by period people. As a period artifact, a stone-chipped arrowhead may be registered if it is drawn identifiably."
March 2003 LoAR
   
Enfield: "there is difference between a wolf and an enfield (and thus, a talbot and an enfield) as long as the forelegs of the enfield are not obscured by other elements of the design"
September 2003 LoAR
   
Engrailed Lines vs Invected Lines: We therefore confirm and expand our current definition: A field division engrailed has the points to the "honorable" part of the shield: Per fess, per chevron, per bend and per bend sinister engrailed have the points to chief, while Per pale engrailed now has the points to dexter. A field division invected has the points to the less honorable part of the shield: Per fess, per chevron, per bend and per bend sinister invected have the points to base, and Per pale invected has the points to sinister.

And what of Quarterly, per saltire, and per pall engrailed/invected? I was afraid you'd ask... These could either be drawn as in Bossewell, as combinations of the above lines (e.g., Per fess and per pale for Quarterly), or else the line could "revolve" around the center of the shield (e.g. a Quarterly invected line would have points to sinister at top, points to chief on the dexter limb, points to dexter on the base limb, and points to base on the sinister limb). As long as the emblazon is unambiguous, we'll accept either form.
March 2007 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Ermine Variants:
[argent ermined gules, vert ermined Or, etc]
The College should please keep in mind, while performing stylistic analysis and conflict checking, that ermine spots which are part of an ermine(d) tincture are not strewn charges. They are just part of the tincture, like the lozenges in lozengy or the delfs (squares) in checky are part of a tincture.
November 2001 LoAR
   
 Exception-Documented, How to Use: See: July 2010 Cover Letter
   
Eye of Horus: The Eye of Horus is an abstract symbol or combination of symbols whose meaning was not understood by Europeans in the SCA period. Unlike the Eye of Horus, the occasional word or letter found in medieval and Renaissance heraldry were part of the languages and symbolic iconography of Europe. Nor is this symbol a reasonable heraldic depiction of an eye; a heraldic eye is a solid charge where the Eye of Horus is depicted as a thin line. As such, this belongs to the category of artistic designs which are not compatible with heraldry.
August 2001 LoAR
   
Falcon vs Raven: "Normally a detail as small as a beak would not be grounds for a CD; however, RfS X.4.e states in part "Types of charges considered to be separate in period, for example a lion and an heraldic tyger, will be considered different." As a merlin/falcon close and a raven close are both period heraldic charges, in their period posture (close), and as period heralds consistently distinguished, in their heraldic art, the birds in these positions, we will grant a CD between a merlin/falcon close and a raven close."
August 2007 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Field Tincture - Reversing: There is a clear difference for reversing the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly, but not for reversing the tinctures of a field divided in any other way
RfS X.4.a. Field Difference
   
Field Treatment: Discussion on Field Treatments
September 2002 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Fieldless Badge: "There is [no CD] for location on the field against a fieldless badge."
November 2004 LoAR
   
Fimbriation: "Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design."
RfS VIII.3.
NOTE: All single edged ordinaries, which are the peripherals (chief, flaunches, base, bordure, etc), are affected by this rule, as they do not pass thru the center of the design.

"...only charges may be fimbriated, not field divisions."
May 2003 LoAR

"According to RfS VIII.3 'Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design.' This does not apply to tertiary charges."
October 1996 LoAR

"Per pale gules and purpure, a unicorn passant reguardant argent, armed and crined Or between three voided western crowns Or. This is being returned for violating VIII.3. Armorial Identifiability. It states Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design. This has been taken to mean that we void primary charges only; the crowns in this submission are clearly secondaries."
September 1997 LoAR

"RfS VIII.3. notes that 'Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design.' While a heart is simple enough to fimbriate as a sole primary charge, as a tertiary it is so small as to lose identifiability when fimbriated."
April 1999 LoAR

   
Fimbriation (no difference for): "Indeed, in view of the minimal visual impact of fimbriation, even when drawn properly, it is very difficult to imagine a situation where the addition of fimbriation or the change of the tincture of fimbriation should contribute to difference."
November 1989 LoAR

and 

[A bend vs. a bend fimbriated] "[There is] nothing for the fimbriation of the bend."
September 1991 LoAR

   
Flamingo Proper: In April 1985 (q.v., Cherie Ruadh MhicRath of Locksley) Laurel ruled, "The color of a flamingo's feathers is apparently dependent on its diet, so there really is no 'proper' color." This has been interpreted to mean that flamingos proper could not be registered; however, pink flamingos proper have been registered since that time, including as recently as April 2006. The 1985 precedent is hereby overturned; a pink flamingo proper is registerable. It is dark pink while the tincture of its beak and legs are treated as artistic license. Its tincture is a color, not a metal.
February 2007 LoAR
   
Flaunches: Flaunches are always borne in pairs.
August 1977 LoAR

The flaunches must be of one color, not two. They represent "flanks," that is, sides, of an under-robe which is seen through the openings of an open-sided surcote. [November 1978 LoAR]
OVERTURNED BY:
It is now acceptable to have flaunches of different colors.
July 1980 LoAR

Flaunches voided and flaunches cotised are both non-period.
September 1981 LoAR

   
Fox: A fox proper in the SCA is "Red with black 'socks' and white at tip of tail"
October 2002 LoAR
   
Fret & Fretty:
(also see Nailed)
"There is a CD for the changes to the tertiaries, but by prior Laurel precedent nothing for the change between a fret and fretty"
January 1992 LoAR

"The fretty is a charge equivalent to a single fret"
January 1998 LoAR

"While a fret is an artistic variant of fretty, in this case, the three frets {couped}are not equivalent to fretty as they are not constrained to fill a space such as a field or an ordinary."
September 2006 LoAR

   
Gores: "Based on the consensus of those commenting on this issue, the College will ban the use of charged gores and charged gussets, matching the ban on charged tierces. Uncharged gores, gussets, and tierces will continue to be registerable. Any charged gores or gussets currently pending at Laurel will be processed as having been "in the pipeline" before the ban went into effect. Therefore, after March 1, 1992, we will no longer register charged gores or gussets."
November 1991 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Grapes: Regarding grapes, A Glossary of Terms Used in Heraldry, by James Parker, says on p. 602 (s.n. Vine),
"When blazoned proper the leaves should be vert, the fruit purpure."
March 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Gurges: "no difference will be granted between <tincture 1>, a gurges <tincture 2> and
<tincture 2>, a gurges <tincture 1>
."
July 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
  "Fieldless badges cannot use charges which issue or are defined by the edge of the field.
The gurges is such a charge, and therefore may not be used on a fieldless badge."
April 1992 LoAR
   
  It has previously been ruled (LoAR of Oct 90) that the gurges may not be couped:
"Whirlpools or gurges are used as a single, throughout charge on a field."
July 1993 LoAR
   
  Discussion of Gurges vs Schnecke
July 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Gussets: "Based on the consensus of those commenting on this issue, the College will ban the use of charged gores and charged gussets, matching the ban on charged tierces. Uncharged gores, gussets, and tierces will continue to be registerable. Any charged gores or gussets currently pending at Laurel will be processed as having been "in the pipeline" before the ban went into effect. Therefore, after March 1, 1992, we will no longer register charged gores or gussets."
November 1991 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Gyronny: "There is no difference for changing the order of the tinctures in gyronny fields per RfS X.4.a"
August 2003 LoAR

"At this time we are explicitly ruling that there is _not_ a CD between gyronny and gyronny arrondi"
August 2006 LoAR

   
Halo: There was some question as to the registerability of the halo as it is an annulet, not a solid disk. The annulet-type halo improves the recognizability of the primary charge (by avoiding argent on Or). Either form of a halo is acceptable; they are artistic variants.
December 2006 LoAR
   
Hand: "The cupped hand is neither a documented nor a recognizable position."
April 2000 LoAR
   
Heart vs Seeblatt: "There is no CD for type between a heart and a seeblatt."
November 2004 LoAR
   
Hieroglyphs:
[Also see Letters]
[Also see Words]
No evidence was presented that hieroglyphs, as a class, are appropriate for heraldic use. They cannot be considered as acceptable charges analogous to letters or other abstract symbols, as their text meaning was not known during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. They may have been known as artistic designs, but as noted in RfS VII.2, "Use of an element in period art does not guarantee its acceptability for armory. Use of the Greek key design, which was common in period decorative art, never carried over into armory."
February 2003 LoAR

The Eye of Horus is an abstract symbol or combination of symbols whose meaning was not understood by Europeans in the SCA period. Unlike the Eye of Horus, the occasional word or letter found in medieval and Renaissance heraldry were part of the languages and symbolic iconography of Europe. Nor is this symbol a reasonable heraldic depiction of an eye; a heraldic eye is a solid charge where the Eye of Horus is depicted as a thin line. As such, this belongs to the category of artistic designs which are not compatible with heraldry.
August 2001 LoAR

A chi-rho is functionally a single abstract symbol. Although most two-letter combinations would not be so considered, the chi-rho has, through long use in religious symbolism, achieved an independent identity as a single abstract symbol. "Current precedent disallows the registration of solitary abstract symbols"
February 2003 LoAR

   
Hippopotamus: "There is a CD between a correctly drawn hippopotamus and a correctly drawn boar."
November 2002 LoAR
   
Honeycombed: "Honeycombed was defined as a weirdness in the LoAR of June 1999. It is not a period field treatment, nor has it become entrenched in SCA usage." "Hence, after the LoAR of April 2002, honeycombed will no longer be registerable in the SCA."
September 2001 LoAR
   
Horn, Unicorn: "Grafting unicorn's horns onto random animals is not period practice. It has been decried by previous Laurels (LoAR of 3 Aug 86, p.15), and always discouraged; I am taking the final step and, except for Grandfathered cases, disallowing it entirely."
October 1992 LoAR
   
Humans: 'Rampant' does not appear to be a human posture.
January 1995 LoAR
&
[W]e don't register rampant humans or humanoids.
September 1997 LoAR
   
Ibex: Discussion on Ibex, Antelope, Goat and Deer
January 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
In Annulo: "The [charge] in chief determines the direction of rotation. By default, it points to dexter and so, by default, the [charges] are oriented in a widdershins direction."
December 1980 LoAR

Widdershins vs. deasil is simply an artistic nuance of in annulo, and need not be blazoned." 
August 1993 LoAR

   
In Annulo vs In Annulo Contourny: "the in annulo placement visually dominates, and thus subsumes, any specification of direction. Widdershins vs. deasil is simply an artistic nuance of in annulo, and need not be blazoned."  [Clarification note: Thus there is no difference between "three X in annulo" and "three X contourny in annulo".]
August 1993 LoAR
   
In Orle: "In a charge group blazoned as An orle of [charges] in orle, the charges are arranged in orle and the postures of the charges tilt so that they follow each other. Thus, an orle of fish naiant would all be in the default naiant (fesswise) posture, but an orle of fish naiant in orle swim head to tail."
September 2003 LoAR
   
Insect & Arthropod: "The SCA has registered many insects statant, as well as other arthropods statant (such as scorpions), even when the insect or arthropod has only been documented as tergiant in period heraldry. Without an extensive change in policy concerning the acceptability of insects or arthropods statant, this may be registered."
August 2002 LoAR

"Rising is not a defined posture for insects."
October 2002 LoAR

"Note that the SCA accepts bees in a statant posture (horizontal body, legs down, wings addorsed). The SCA also accepts bees which are statant in a clearly defined bendwise or bendwise sinister posture. However, it is not acceptable to rotate a statant bee 90 degrees to a "palewise" posture. The resulting posture, with a vertical body, and legs extended to dexter, is equivalent to the previously forbidden "rampant" posture for bees and similar insects."
October 2002 LoAR

The proper tincture for bees is defined in precedent as "sable and Or, with argent wings"
March 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"When drawn clearly, there is a CD between a bee and a dragonfly."
September 2001 LoAR

"In the SCA, a bee statant has its wings addorsed by default"
December 2002 LoAR

"There is a CD between a bee tergiant fesswise and a bee statant. Both postures show the bees with fesswise bodies, but a bee tergiant fesswise has wings visible on both sides of the bee's body, while a bee statant only has wings visible on the chiefmost side of the body. This difference is worth a CD, analogous to the difference between a bird rising wings displayed and a bird rising wings addorsed."
December 2002 LoAR

   
Invected Lines vs Engrailed Lines: We therefore confirm and expand our current definition: A field division engrailed has the points to the "honorable" part of the shield: Per fess, per chevron, per bend and per bend sinister engrailed have the points to chief, while Per pale engrailed now has the points to dexter. A field division invected has the points to the less honorable part of the shield: Per fess, per chevron, per bend and per bend sinister invected have the points to base, and Per pale invected has the points to sinister.

And what of Quarterly, per saltire, and per pall engrailed/invected? I was afraid you'd ask... These could either be drawn as in Bossewell, as combinations of the above lines (e.g., Per fess and per pale for Quarterly), or else the line could "revolve" around the center of the shield (e.g. a Quarterly invected line would have points to sinister at top, points to chief on the dexter limb, points to dexter on the base limb, and points to base on the sinister limb). As long as the emblazon is unambiguous, we'll accept either form.
March 2007 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Inverted Animate Charges
&
Inverted Tergiant Animate Charges:
"By precedent we do not register inverted animals unless they are part of an arrangement in annulo."
October 2000 LoAR

"We do not allow inverted animate charges in SCA heraldry except when in recognized orientation, such as in annulo."
February 1999 LoAR

"The SCA has general precedents against registering inverted animate charges unless they are part of a radially symmetrical group such as in annulo. These precedents are on the grounds that such inverted animals are generally not readily identifiable, and they are not found in period heraldry. However, the SCA also has a registration tradition of allowing animals which are usually found in a tergiant posture to be registered in the tergiant inverted posture. "

"There is very little period evidence for tergiant inverted animals in heraldry."

"As a result, inverting a tergiant charge is acceptable as long as it does not otherwise violate any basic heraldic principles, including the requirement for identifiability. Because of the lack of period evidence for tergiant inverted charges, the posture will be considered a clear step from period practice (also known informally as a "weirdness") for any charge that cannot be found in this posture in period."
May 2002 LoAR

   
Knight's Chain: FROM LAUREL - A Clarification Regalia for the Order of Knighthood includes (Tinctureless) A circular chain. This means a circular chain of any tincture, not just gold. It was so designated by Laurel in 1998, so there is nothing new here.  Wreath tells me that some have interpreted this to mean that any necklace, whether or not it is unadorned, should be restricted. That is not the case. A necklace with a pendant is not the same as a knight's chain and there should be no question of improper use of a restricted charge in such a submission.
August 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Laurel Wreath: "By current precedent, a laurel wreath is considered too complex a charge to be counterchanged over an ordinary."
June 1994 LoAR
   
Leaves: "Prior Laurel precedent (December 1993 LoAR, p. 12) does not grant a CD between oak leaves and holly leaves."
August 2009 LoAR
   
Letters, Runes & Symbols:
[Also see Words]
 
"While badges (and devices too) may have letters on them, they may still not consist of a single letter or abstract symbol."
August 1991 LoAR

"We do not grant difference between single letters, even when they are in different alphabets"
(returning chi-rho against a feogh rune)
May 2008 LoAR

While a quaver is a symbol, it is not an abstract symbol for the purposes of the March 2006 precedent (q.v. Yamahara Yorimasa) banning armory that consists solely of abstract charges. Quavers thus can be registered as the only charges in an armorial design. We are hereby overturning the July 2000 precedent (q.v. Iohann se pipere) that considered a quaver an abstract charge and unregisterable as the sole charge in an armorial design.
May 2006 LoAR Cover Letter

"Yamahara Yorimasa. Device. Gules, in pale a kanji Yama and a kanji Hara argent. This is returned for redesign. There has long been precedent against armory consisting of a single abstract charge ‑‑ symbols that represent a phoneme or meaning, such as letters, numbers, runes, and kanji ‑‑ as well as against the registration of monograms. The rationale has been to prevent one submitter from having exclusive right to a symbol which should be commonly available to all. That rationale would, we feel, also apply to phrases made up from multiple abstract charges, if those are the sole elements of the armory. Thus, as we should not accept Argent, the letter L sable or Argent, in fess the letters LO sable, we should not accept Argent, the word LOVE sable. The same argument applies here: we cannot accept a design consisting solely of kanji. We therefore extend the ban on single abstract charges to cover any armory consisting solely of abstract charges, in any language (e.g., Japanese kanji, Norse runes, Arabic script, etc.). This applies whether the armory consists of a single word or a phrase."
March 2006 LoAR

No evidence was presented that hieroglyphs, as a class, are appropriate for heraldic use. They cannot be considered as acceptable charges analogous to letters or other abstract symbols, as their text meaning was not known during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. They may have been known as artistic designs, but as noted in RfS VII.2, "Use of an element in period art does not guarantee its acceptability for armory. Use of the Greek key design, which was common in period decorative art, never carried over into armory."
February 2003 LoAR

A chi-rho is functionally a single abstract symbol. Although most two-letter combinations would not be so considered, the chi-rho has, through long use in religious symbolism, achieved an independent identity as a single abstract symbol. "Current precedent disallows the registration of solitary abstract symbols"
February 2003 LoAR

"Phrases on bordures, including Latin phrases, are rare but not unknown in Spanish and Italian heraldry."
January 2003 LoAR

This armory does not violate the long-standing strictures against registering a single abstract symbol. A tau cross is a standard heraldic charge in its own right.
November 2002 LoAR

The Eye of Horus is an abstract symbol or combination of symbols whose meaning was not understood by Europeans in the SCA period. Unlike the Eye of Horus, the occasional word or letter found in medieval and Renaissance heraldry were part of the languages and symbolic iconography of Europe. Nor is this symbol a reasonable heraldic depiction of an eye; a heraldic eye is a solid charge where the Eye of Horus is depicted as a thin line. As such, this belongs to the category of artistic designs which are not compatible with heraldry.
August 2001 LoAR

"If this is a single abstract symbol, it may not be registered as the only charge in a piece of armory."
August 2001 LoAR

"The Norse sun cross is also the symbol for Earth, and by precedent symbols cannot be registered as the sole charge."
September 2000 LoAR

"Current precedent disallows the registration of solitary abstract symbols"
July 2000 LoAR.

"Section VII.3 of the Rules for Submission requires that "Artifacts that were known in the period and domain of the Society may be registered in armory, provided they are depicted in their period forms." The "W" depicted here is a modern, sans-serif form of the letter, having all the strokes of identical size. As such, it is not registerable."
March 2008 LoAR

   
Line of Partition - Crested and Wavy-Crested: "wavy-crested is a line of division which significantly post-dates 1600 and thus is not acceptable for SCA use."
September 2009 LoAR & February 2004 LoAR

"The device must be returned since it uses the line of division "wavy crested" which has specifically been ruled to be modern and not compatible with Society style (as of August, 1980)."
November 1989 LoAR

   
Literary Allusions - Armory: Return of Ioseph of Locksley, the Rhymer. Badge. A cat rampant guardant argent, vested of a hat sable, a cape gules, and a pair of boots sable turned gules, and grasping in its sinister forepaw a swept­hilt rapier argent, hilted sable.

“Of greater importance, however, is the fact that the badge is recognizable as Puss in Boots. While there is precedent for badges of this sort (one of Master Ioseph's other badges is a representation of the Town Musicians of Bremen), I cannot recall any other instances, and the College of Arms has a fairly ancient tradition of disallowing strong literary and historical allusions. This badge may be construed as an infringement on the character of Puss in Boots, or as a proprietary claim thereto, either of which makes it inappropriate. Please redesign.”
April 1985 LoAR

   
Location on field: "There is [no CD] for location on the field against a fieldless badge."
November 2004 LoAR
   
Lozenge vs Lozenge Ployé
&
Lozenge vs Lozenge Throughout
"There is no difference between a lozenge and a lozenge ployé, nor is there difference between a lozenge and a lozenge throughout."
November 2002 LoAR
   
Mailly: "Mailly is a field treatment which covers the treated area with a pattern of linked rings representing chain mail. It is a modern invention." "Because mailly cannot reasonably be viewed as anything other than a "field treatment", and because SCA-invented "field treatments" are too far from period practice to be acceptable, mailly will no longer be accepted after the LoAR of April 2003."
September 2002 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Maintained Charges &
Simple Armory:
"Our practice has been to ignore maintained charges when defining a device as simple armory for the purposes of this rule [RfS X.4.j.ii.] and RfS X.2."
May 2005 LoAR
   
Maintained Charges &
Complexity Count

"It is complex, having a complexity count of eight for three tinctures and five charges (yes, the maintained acorn counts)."
August 2007 LoAR

   
Maintained Charges Do Not
Give a CD:
"The rose is blazoned as *bendwise* because of the orientation of the slip and leaves. These are equivalent to maintained charges and thus neither require good contrast with the field nor contribute to difference."
March 2008 LoAR
   
Maintained Charges Can Not
Have the Same Tincture as Field:
"The Or <charge> has insufficient contrast against the (partially) Or field. While maintained charges aren't as strictly bound by the Rule of Contrast as other charges, they still can't share a tincture with the field (v. Phillippa MacCallum, Sept 88). [See also Luke of Caerleon, November 1992 LoAR, pg. 16 and Eleri Langdoun, March 1993 LoAR, pg. 23]"
October 1992 LoAR
   
Marshalling & Single Tincture Field: Our rules require that the field be divided for it to have the appearance of marshalling or impalement. While the addition of a cross throughout does not remove the appearance of marshalling on a divided field, neither does it add the appearance of marshalling on a singly-tinctured field.
September 2008 LoAR
   
Marshalling & Use of Cross: There are precedents which note that, since crosses were used with quartered (marshaled) arms in period, the addition of a cross overall does _not_ overcome the appearance of marshalling.

[Quarterly gules and argent, in bend two <As> argent and in bend sinister two <Bs> vert, overall a cross sable] "Given that crosses overall were not infrequently used in marshalled arms in period, this has every appearance of the marshalled arms of [Gules, an <A> argent, and Argent, a <B> vert]." [The submission was returned for this reason.]
November 1991 LoAR

[Registering Quarterly azure and argent, a cross couped between in bend two towers and in bend sinister two roses all counterchanged.] "This comes perilously close to having the appearance of marshalled arms. The fact that the cross here is used as a charge rather than the default cross throughout (which is considered an ordinary) saves it from falling afoul of XI.3. No evidence was found by any of the commenters that crosses couped were used in the same way as crosses throughout, crosses paty throughout, or crosses engrailed throughout were in marshalled arms."
March 1994 LoAR

Our rules require that the field be divided for it to have the appearance of marshalling or impalement. While the addition of a cross throughout does not remove the appearance of marshalling on a divided field, neither does it add the appearance of marshalling on a singly-tinctured field.
September 2008 LoAR

   
Masoning: "Architectural charges made of stonework such as towers, castles and walls may be drawn masoned as a matter of artist's license. Therefore, there is no additional tincture difference for adding or removing masoning for these types of charge."
January 2002 LoAR
   
Medical  Insignia: "the proposal lifting the restriction of the use of the caduceus, rod of Aesculapius, and bowl of Hygeia to those with medical credentials is affirmed. These charges are available for use by anyone wishing to do so, regardless of their medical background, experience, or credentials."
October 1995 LoAR Cover Letter

"We believe that the symbol of the Red Crystal should be protected to the same extent as the symbols of the Red Cross and Red Crescent are protected."
March 2007 LoAR

"We believe that the symbol of the Red Crescent should be protected to the same extent as the symbol of the Red Cross is protected."
July 2006 LoAR

"Red Cross. Restricted charge"
&
"The use of multiple gules crosses couped may be returned on a case-by-case basis if their placement or usage appears too evocative of the symbol of the Red Cross."
July 2006 LoAR

   
Mon / Monshou: "Previous precedents have indicated that design elements which are only found in Japanese mon may only be registered if they can be blazoned in European heraldic terms. Previous precedent has also held that a Japanese stream cannot be blazoned in European heraldic terms. No evidence has been presented which either overturns the philosophical basis of the previous precedents, or which presents an acceptable European blazon for the Japanese stream. Thus, the Japanese stream design element continues to be unregisterable."
February 2003 LoAR

"This was submitted on a badge form as mon. We no longer distinguish mon from devices and generally require that they also be submitted on device forms."
August 1999 LoAR

[returning a Japanese stream] "The primary charge is not blazonable in standard heraldic terminology, as required by RfS VII.7.b."
September 1995 LoAR

"In general, Mon-like designs are acceptable in Society armory only if they can be blazoned in European heraldic terms - as though a period Japanese, visiting Europe, were attempting to register his Mon with one of the kings of arms. Tomoe cannot be blazoned in European terms, and so cannot be considered compatible with European heraldry. This submission, though a splendid Japanese design, may not be registered in the Society."
November 1992 LoAR

   
Mullet of Four vs Compass Star: "There is no difference between a mullet of four points and a compass star: 'By prior precedent there is not a CD between a compass star and a mullet of four points' (LoAR April 2001)."
January 2003 LoAR
   
Mullet of Four vs Mullet: "we grant no difference between mullet of four points and mullet of five points"
March 1993 LoAR
   
Nailed: When fretty has circles at the intersections of the fret overlaps, it is termed 'nailed', such as "Argent fretty sable nailed Or." 

"Since commenters have found examples of the same device both nailed and not nailed in period, nailing...is not worth a CD."
October 2008 LoAR

   
Non-Ordinary vs Non-Ordinary Throughout: In general there is a difference between an ordinary throughout vs. an ordinary couped, but not between a non-ordinary throughout vs. its non-throughout version.
May 1997 LoAR
   
Numbers Higher than Six (7,8,9,10): It has long been our feeling that heralds can count above six, when necessary: most have ten fingers. Seriously, period sources blazon charges up to nine or ten fairly regularly when they are primary or secondary charges (as opposed to charges "semy" or tertiaries) and this should be permitted when the numbers are not excessive. (The numbers seven and nine appear particularly frequently, possibly because of numerological considerations.)
August 1988 LoAR
   
Ordinary: there is no difference between an ordinary and its diminutive
June 1990 LoAR

Per precedent, "There is no difference between [an ordinary] and [the same ordinary] couped on fieldless armory. (LoAR 6/90 Symposium p.3)."
December 2005 LoAR

   
Ordinary, Diminutives of an: Emma Barfoot. Device. Sable, a foot couped and in chief a bar argent.
"The submitter requested that the fess be blazoned as a bar as a cant on her name. Single diminutives of ordinaries aren't normally blazoned as such. Only if there are multiple diminutives (e.g. three bendlets) or if the charge is otherwise reduced in importance (e.g. a bendlet enhanced) would the diminutive term be used. Because of the cant -- and the enhanced nature of the fess -- we have blazoned it as a bar."
Note that this was registered as a diminutive name only because of the cant on "bar foot". Otherwise it would have been registered as a fess.
June 2005 LoAR

"This is being returned for a redraw. We don't register single diminutives of ordinaries, and this is far too narrow to be a bend."
September 1997 LoAR

"However, in this case, the bend is, in fact, drawn unacceptably narrow (indeed, I suspect modern heralds would blazon it as a "ribband" or some such; it is certainly narrower than a bendlet. It needs to be redrawn thicker)."  The device was returned.
September 1994 LoAR

"there is no difference between an ordinary and its diminutive"
June 1990 LoAR

   
Ordinary vs Ordinary Throughout: In general there is a difference between an ordinary throughout vs. an ordinary couped, but not between a non-ordinary throughout vs. its non-throughout version.
May 1997 LoAR
   
Ounce: Discussion of difference between an English Panther, a Continental (German) Panther, a Natural Panther, and Ounce and a Catamount (mountain lion).
November 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Outlining: SEE: Fimbriation; ALSO SEE: Chasing
   
Overall Charge: A complex overall charge must not share the same tincture as the ordinary it is surmounting.
May 2000 LoAR
   
Overall Charges in Fieldless Badges: The degree of overlap between these two charges is acceptable as both maintain their identifiability. As noted in the September 2006 registration of Sondra van Schiedam's badge:
     Several commenters recommended returning this badge for using an overall charge on a fieldless badge.
     We routinely allow overall charges on fieldless badges where the area of intersection is small, which is not
      the case in this submission. However, the November 1992 Cover Letter, where the current standard for
      acceptability of such overall charges was set, Laurel stated:
            I've therefore decided not to implement a comprehensive ban on fieldless badges with overall charges.
            I will be returning cases where the underlying charge is rendered unidentifiable, per Rule VIII.3; this
            will include the most egregious cases of overall charges (e.g. A pheon surmounted by a hawk's head).
            But this can be done as an interpretation of the current Rules, and needn't involve a new policy. In
            cases where identifiability is maintained -- where one of the charges is a long, slender object, and the
            area of intersection small -- overall charges will still be permitted in fieldless badges.
      The primary concern is identifiability. The charges in this badge maintain their identifiability, though the
       area of overlap is larger than we normally allow, and thus the badge is registerable.
Similarly, the charges in this badge maintain their identifiability and are therefore registerable.
January 2008 LoAR
   
Panther: Discussion of difference between an English Panther, a Continental (German) Panther, a Natural Panther, and Ounce and a Catamount (mountain lion).
November 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Passant vs Courant: "there should not be a CD between passant and courant" & "There is a significant amount of evidence implying that courant and passant were used interchangeably in English armory."
August 2001 LoAR
   
Pawprint: "the use of a pawprint is one step from period practice."
December 2005 LoAR

"A digigrade paw print is a digigrade paw print to anybody other than a naturalist. In heraldry, we do not distinguish between paw prints of wolves, bears, cats, lions, or dogs, although you can add the specification to the blazon."
February 1983 LoAR

   
Penguin:"Secondly, when considering the categories of birds set forth on the November 2003 Cover Letter, we have decided that penguin-shaped birds, by which we mean penguins and auks, when depicted in their default upright close posture are substantially different from all other birds. The use of a penguin is still a step from period practice."
March 2013 LoAR Cover Letter
Peripheral Ordinary: "Neither the chief, nor the canton, nor any peripheral ordinary, can be a primary charge; otherwise, by Rule X.1 Lozengy bendwise azure and argent, a canton gules would be clear of Bavaria, and Gyronny sable and Or, a bordure gules would be clear of Campbell. That would be unacceptable; therefore a peripheral ordinary can't be the primary charge, even when it's the only charge in the design"
July 1992 LoAR
   
Piercing: [a compass star pierced] "After much thought, we decided that piercing is worth a CD when drawn large enough to be equivalent to adding a tertiary charge, as it is done here; i.e. when it is clearly visible and takes up much of the space available to it."
December 1999 LoAR

"Current precedent is that we only allow the piercing of charges on fieldless badges when those charges were found pierced in period armory (thus disallowing omni-tinctured tertiary charges). While a compass star is closely related to a mullet, it is nevertheless a different charge, one not found in period armory. Therefore we are not inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt and allow it to be pierced as we would a mullet or spur rowel."
January 2000 LoAR

"We have blazoned the cinquefoil as pierced because we believe that it is standard SCA practice to blazon this detail. Piercing of cinquefoils was likely due to artistic license in some portions of our period, and is not worth difference."
April 2003 LoAR

"[A billet argent] This does not conflict with the badge of Rowena of Jorvik, (Fieldless) A delf argent pierced two and two. There is one CD for fieldlessness and another for the sizeable piercing. As noted in the LoAR of December 1999, 'After much thought, we decided that piercing is worth a CD when drawn large enough to be equivalent to adding a tertiary charge, as it is done here; i.e. when it is clearly visible and takes up much of the space available to it.' "
August 2003 LoAR

   
Position on field: "There is [no CD] for location on the field against a fieldless badge."
November 2004 LoAR
   
Posture: "Animate and inanimate objects are not generally considered to have a meaningful posture comparison. When comparing lions with swords, we do not give posture difference between these charges - even when we compare the "sort of fesswise" lion passant to a sword palewise, or the "sort of palewise" lion rampant to a sword fesswise."
July 2003 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Proper - Brown: When using brown, defined as "proper", the entire charge/creature is tinctured brown. As per:
"PRECEDENT: Henceforward, and more in line with period heraldic practice, animals which are normally brown may be registered simply as an {X} proper (e.g., boar proper, hare proper). Animals which are frequently found as brown but also commonly appear in other tinctures in the natural world may be registered as a brown {X} proper (e.g., brown hound proper, brown horse proper). This precedent does not, however, loosen the ban on "Linnaean proper" (Cover Letter, May 13, 1991); proper tinctures for flora and fauna which require the Linnaean genus and species to know how to color them. For example, a falcon proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown head, wings and back, buff breast with darker spots, and a tail striped with black; a hare proper will be considered to be all brown, not brown with white underbelly and tail and pink ears. This also appears to be more in keeping with period heraldic practice."
October 1995 Cover Letter
   
Quarterly with uncharged quarters
that are complex fields:

 They give the appearance of marshalling, per the following precedent:
"[Quarterly Or and lozengy azure and Or, in bend two <charges>] After much soul-searching, I must agree with the commenters who saw an appearance of marshalling in the device.  Rule XI.3.b states that quarterly may be used only "when no single portion of the field [appears] to be an independent piece of armory."  In general, complexity in any of the quarters makes it look like independent armory; for example, XI.3.b explicitly cites the use of multiple charges in a quarter as unacceptable.  The motif Quarterly X and Y, in bend two [charges] is allowable when the uncharged quarters are plain tinctures; we don't protect plain tinctures.  But when the uncharged quarters are complex fields, we lose that rationale; and the complexity then begins to make it look like an independent coat.  This, beneath all the subtext, is exactly what XI.3.b is meant to prevent." 
October 1992 LoAR

   
Raven vs Falcon: "Normally a detail as small as a beak would not be grounds for a CD; however, RfS X.4.e states in part "Types of charges considered to be separate in period, for example a lion and an heraldic tyger, will be considered different." As a merlin/falcon close and a raven close are both period heraldic charges, in their period posture (close), and as period heralds consistently distinguished, in their heraldic art, the birds in these positions, we will grant a CD between a merlin/falcon close and a raven close."
August 2007 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Regalia - Knight's Chain: FROM LAUREL - A Clarification Regalia for the Order of Knighthood includes (Tinctureless) A circular chain. This means a circular chain of any tincture, not just gold. It was so designated by Laurel in 1998, so there is nothing new here.  Wreath tells me that some have interpreted this to mean that any necklace, whether or not it is unadorned, should be restricted. That is not the case. A necklace with a pendant is not the same as a knight's chain and there should be no question of improper use of a restricted charge in such a submission.
August 2006 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Registering to Animals :

"The College does not register names or armory which appear to claim for the submitter powers or status he or she does not have. In this case, the submitter is claiming human status. If the submitter can prove such, we will reconsider this name. Until such time, this name submission is RETURNED."
January 1991 Cover Letter

   
Reremouse / Bat: "The reremouse is both displayed and guardant by default. Since this reremouse is displayed but has its head turned to dexter, its posture has been explicitly blazoned for clarity."
March 2002 LoAR

"Bats inverted have been explicitly allowed in the SCA in the past, as long as they are identifiable"  "We will accordingly consider a bat (displayed) inverted to be a step from period practice ("a weirdness") unless documentation is provided for bats inverted in period heraldry."
October 2002 LoAR

The reremouse is hanging upside down and has its wings wrapped around its body in a natural sleeping posture. This posture is not registerable by previous precedent: "The bat was not dormant, but was rather in its natural sleeping posture. We know of no examples of this posture in period heraldic depictions of bats, and for good reason: this posture eliminates any identifiable aspects of the bat. Therefore the device violates VIII.4.c, Natural Depiction: ... Excessively natural designs include those that depict animate objects in unheraldic postures ... and VIII.3, Armorial Identifiability"
August 2000 LoAR & September 2003 LoAR

   
Reversing Field Tincture: There is a clear difference for reversing the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly, but not for reversing the tinctures of a field divided in any other way
RfS X.4.a. Field Difference
   
Robin, American vs European: No difference is granted between an American or English/European robin. Both types of robin are brown with red breast; the underbelly is white for an English/European robin and red for an American robin. A robin may be blazoned as proper no matter where it is from - the tincture of the underbelly is artistic license. This robin has an argent underbelly; it is a European robin.
December 2006 LoAR
   
Roses - Tudor: We are, therefore, removing the restriction on using half-white and half-red roses as part of a larger armorial design. We are registering those six badges to the Tudors, as they are important period badges, but we will no longer restrict their use entirely.

Note that this does not remove the issue of presumption. The combination of the surname Tudor with armory which incorporates half white and half red roses may be considered to violate our rules on presumption and pretense
December 2010 Cover Letter

   
Roundel: [Per pale and per saltire gules and argent, on a roundel counterchanged a spider inverted and a bordure sable] No evidence was presented, and none was found, for counterchanging a central roundel over this field, or the similar gyronny field, in period armory. Such a design will not be acceptable without documentation: "In general, we would like to see documentation for any charge counterchanged over a multiply divided field, such as barry or gyronny"
August 2001 LoAR
   
Runes: See: Letters
   
Schnecke: Discussion of Gurges vs Schnecke
July 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Sea-Dog: "The sea-dog is drawn like a talbot with prominent scales and fins. It often has a paddle-shaped tail, but not always"
January 2004 LoAR

"a sea-dog and a beaver were considered distinct charges in period and should be given a CD for type difference under RfS X.4.e."
January 2004 LoAR

   
Seeblatt vs Heart: "There is no CD for type between a heart and a seeblatt."
November 2004 LoAR
   
Semy: "Current precedent disallows two different sets of strewn charges directly on the field."
February 2000 LoAR

"Current precedent disallows strewn charges on only part of a plain field, even when the field has a "natural" division such as an ordinary (see July 1998 LoAR, Miriel MacGregor), barring evidence that such fields were used in period armory."  [Clarification Note: i.e. 'Per pale argent and argent semy of trees vert.' or ''Per pale argent and argent semy of trees vert, a pale sable.' Both sides of the division have the same background tincture, thus the design has a plain field.  If the design had a different tinctures on both sides of the division, one side being semed would be acceptable.]
January 2001 LoAR

   
Sheep: "Note that, in the SCA, the default sheep does not have horns"
November 2003 LoAR
   
Simple Armory &
Maintained Charges:
"Our practice has been to ignore maintained charges when defining a device as simple armory for the purposes of this rule [RfS X.4.j.ii.] and RfS X.2."
May 2005 LoAR
   
Single Tincture Armory: "In fact, however, the College has only refused to register fields consisting of a plain or single tincture"
February 1996 LoAR

"This is being returned because Gules, ermined Or. is a plain tincture, and we do not register plain tinctures."
October 1998 LoAR

   
Statant vs Courant: "There is no difference between statant and courant, because the evidence which has so far been obtained indicates that these postures were interchangeable in period." & "Statant should thus not be given difference from courant, because it was interchangeable with courant in period - just as passant was interchangeable with courant in period."
September 2003 LoAR
   
Sun Cross: "The Norse sun cross is also the symbol for Earth, and by precedent symbols cannot be registered as the sole charge."
September 2000 LoAR
   
Sunflowers: We hereby overturn the November 2000 precedent and allow sunflowers proper to be registered. Just as a thistle proper can have its tuft either gules or purpure, a sunflower proper may have either brown or sable seeds. For purposes of conflict checking, the tincture of a sunflower's seeds is not worth a difference. The presence of these seeds does not count as a tertiary charge.
July 2007 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Symbols: See: Letters
   
Tails: [Returning Or, three wolves passant regardant conjoined by the tail in pall within an annulet gules.]
"There were no period exemplars of either beasts conjoined at the tails or for this type of rotational
symmetry to which any of the commenters could point. All of the tricorporate beasts we could find
had a single head; conjoining at the tails does not appear to be period style."
May 1994 LoAR

"Lions' tails, when nowed, are generally blazoned as such, although this distinction is not worth difference"
November 2003 LoAR

"As a general rule, there is a CD between a quadruped (or quadrupedal monster) and a fish-tailed demi-quadruped."
November 2003 LoAR

   
Tau Cross: This armory does not violate the long-standing strictures against registering a single abstract symbol. A tau cross is a standard heraldic charge in its own right.
November 2002 LoAR
   
Tierce: "...on and after June 1, 1991, the College will no longer register charged sides or tierces."
February 1991 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Tincture - Reversing Field: There is a clear difference for reversing the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly, but not for reversing the tinctures of a field divided in any other way
RfS X.4.a. Field Difference
   
Tincture - Single Tincture Armory: "In fact, however, the College has only refused to register fields consisting of a plain or single tincture"
February 1996 LoAR

"This is being returned because Gules, ermined Or. is a plain tincture, and we do not register plain tinctures."
October 1998 LoAR

   
Tower: "There is substantial difference between a tower and a properly drawn chess rook"
December 2001 LoAR
   
Tree: "...there is a type CD between a pine tree and a standard round shaped tree."
September 2002 LoAR

[No CD between a tree and a tree eradicated] "The reason for granting no difference for a tree vs.a tree eradicated is obvious if one considers the poor excuses for root systems found in many trees blazoned as eradicated. Without any period evidence that changing a tree couped to a tree eradicated was considered a cadency step, we see no reason to grant any difference between them."
July 1996 LoAR

[No CD between eradicated and couped] "In both cases there is a CD for fieldlessness, but nothing for the type of tree nor for the difference between eradicated and couped."
February 2000 LoAR

"There is no CD between a tree eradicated and a tree blasted and eradicated"
July 2000 LoAR  [This precedent overturned as result of July 2001 LoAR precedent listed next.]
                          
[This precedent was reinstated as result of November 2008 LoAR precedent listed below.]

"by the precedent set on the February 1998 LoAR (p. 4, s.n. Wolfgang Schwarzwald)
there is a CD between a tree and a tree blasted."
July 2001 LoAR [This precedent overturned as result of November 2008 LoAR precedent listed next.]

"We do not grant difference for blasting: ... no difference between a tree and a tree blasted: 'There is no CD between a tree eradicated and a tree blasted and eradicated, as noted in the August 1994 LoAR... This is because there are period depictions of trees with only a few leaves.' (LoAR July 2000)"
November 2008 LoAR

"There is substantial difference between a tree and a tree stump."
July 2001 LoAR

"a tree branch is not significantly different from a tree of the same type"
June 2003 LoAR

"There is a CD between a weeping willow tree and an oak tree or a generic tree."
 June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"There is not a CD between a white willow, which is the default willow tree, and an oak tree or a generic tree."
June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"There is a CD between a white willow tree and a weeping willow tree."
June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"Given that the weeping willow is unknown in period (let alone period Europe), its use is considered one step from period practice (a weirdness)." SEE BELOW [March 2011] FOR UPDATE.
June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

Discussion of Willow Trees vs other trees
June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter

"[T]he weeping willow was cultivated in Andalusia in period, therefore we
will no longer consider its use to be a step from period practice."
March 2011 LoAR

   
Triangular Divisions/Charges: Triangular Field Divisions & Charges
webpage
   
  Chevrons (inverted), Chaussés, Piles, and Chiefs Triangular
webpage
   
Turnip Proper: "Proper for a turnip is the top half of the turnip purpure and the bottom half argent (with a somewhat wavy line of division) with vert leaves; neither the purpure nor the argent should predominate. The argent tip on a purpure turnip need not be blazoned, nor does a purpure cap on an argent turnip as both are considered artistic details." and "The turnip leaves should be about a quarter to a half of the total charge. Due to the variability in size of the leaves, the tincture of the leaves does not contribute to tincture difference. This is similar to our treatment of a rose's slip and leaves."    Note: therefore a turnip "proper" is a neutral charge as neither the purpure nor the argent predominates.
February 2006 LoAR
   
Tyger: "the visual similarities of the primary charges [an alphyn and a tyger], combined with the lack of a clear heraldic difference in period, is too strong to grant the necessary second CD."
November 1993 LoAR
   
Umbration: "Although there are period examples of umbration, it is not considered "good" heraldic practice, and has been banned from use in the SCA."
March 1986 LoAR
AND
"Umbration, or adumbration, is known in SCA armory as 'chasing.' 'Chased means voided but with the interior details and lines still showing as well as the outline.' (WvS, 22 Jan 80, p.3; in Prec III:14) The practice was disallowed in April 1982, as part of the general ban on 'thin‑line heraldry' that also restricted voiding and fimbriation."
March 1986 LoAR
   
Unicorn Horn: "Grafting unicorn's horns onto random animals is not period practice. It has been decried by previous Laurels (LoAR of 3 Aug 86, p.15), and always discouraged; I am taking the final step and, except for Grandfathered cases, disallowing it entirely."
October 1992 LoAR
   
Use & Display of Group Arms: "The arms of a branch are reserved to the head of the branch. In the case of a kingdom, principality or barony this is the King, Prince or Baron. In all other cases it is the seneschal. Kings, Princes and Barons may bear the arms of their branch upon a shield in battle as if they were their own personal arms, so long as they hold their office and no longer. Seneschals may not do so. All heads of branches may display the banner of the branch to indicate their presence. At any event held in a branch the arms of the branch may be displayed whether or not the head of the branch is present, to indicate that the branch is hosting the event. In grand marches the arms of branches may be carried by groups marching as those branches. Otherwise nobody can display the arms of a branch as if they were personal arms."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

"Branches may register one or more badges which are to be useable by groups or individuals belonging to those branches. A province could register a badge to be used by a provincial mercenary unit, such as a shield wall squad. A kingdom could register a badge to be used by all subjects of the kingdom at wars with another kingdom to show their allegiance."
July 1980 LoAR Cover Letter

   
Vêtu: The chaussé line of division, along with chapé and vêtu , are different from other lines of divisions in that the outer portions never contained charges in period. Thus we can also not allow charges that overlap the outer portions.
May 2000 LoAR

It cannot be as it was blazoned, as we do not charge vêtu, chapé or chaussé.
March 1998 LoAR

   
Voiding: "Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design."
RfS VIII.3.
NOTE: All single edged ordinaries, which are the peripherals (chief, flaunches, base, bordure, etc), are affected by this rule, as they do not pass thru the center of the design.

"According to RfS VIII.3 'Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design.' This does not apply to tertiary charges."
October 1996 LoAR

"Per pale gules and purpure, a unicorn passant reguardant argent, armed and crined Or between three voided western crowns Or. This is being returned for violating VIII.3. Armorial Identifiability. It states Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design. This has been taken to mean that we void primary charges only; the crowns in this submission are clearly secondaries."
September 1997 LoAR

"RfS VIII.3. notes that 'Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design.' While a heart is simple enough to fimbriate as a sole primary charge, as a tertiary it is so small as to lose identifiability when fimbriated."
April 1999 LoAR

   
Weirdnesses - Armory: List of Armory Weirdnesses
webpage
   
Widdershins vs Deasil: "the in annulo placement visually dominates, and thus subsumes, any specification of direction. Widdershins vs. deasil is simply an artistic nuance of in annulo, and need not be blazoned."  [Clarification note: Thus there is no difference between "three X in annulo" and "three X contourny in annulo".]
August 1993 LoAR
   
Wings: "[a winged serpent vs a bat-winged tree python] The change to the type of wings is too slight to count for the necessary second. [i.e. there is not a significant difference between a bird-winged and a bat-winged creature.]
January 1995 LoAR

"we cannot see granting a CD between bird's wings and bat's wings, even as a stand-alone charge."
May 2005 LoAR

"we will follow the stated default from Parker and declare that an angel's wings are displayed by default when the angel is affronty."
August 2004 LoAR

   
Wings Displayed
&
Wings Inverted:
"There is also no difference for whether the wingtips of the displayed wings are elevated or inverted. We expect that the same policies that apply to displayed wings on displayed birds should apply to displayed wings on winged objects:
     An examination of the development of the various heraldic eagles shows that the direction of the
     wingtips of a displayed eagle is entirely a matter of artistic license. To avoid incorrectly limiting
     the submitter's ability to display the arms in reasonable period variants, we will no longer specify
     "elevated" and "inverted" when blazoning displayed birds. (LoAR August 2001)
June 2003 LoAR
   
Wings of a Different Tincture:
"Just as we will give a CD for changing the tincture of the wings on a winged monster, so do we give one
for changing the tincture of the flames of a phoenix."
September 1997 LoAR
.
"As we give a CD for changing the tincture of the wings, there is thus a CD for tincture as well as a CD
for the change to the field."
October 2000 LoAR
.
"There is one CD for changing the tincture of the wings, which are half the charge."
May 2002 LoAR
   
Wings That Hold: Discussion on wing charges that hold other items
August 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Wolf: "there is difference between a wolf and an enfield (and thus, a talbot and an enfield) as long as the forelegs of the enfield are not obscured by other elements of the design"
September 2003 LoAR
   
Words:
[Also see Letters]
The SCA requires that a translation be provided for any phrases used in armory
January 2003 LoAR

"As blazoned, the words do not make a sensible phrase, but they are not required to make sense, only to be non-offensive."
July 2000 LoAR

[on a chevron ... the phrase "Non Sibi Sed Todo"] "Some commenters noted that no documentation had been presented for words on a chevron. Phrases on bordures, including Latin phrases, are rare but not unknown in Spanish and Italian heraldry. Phrases in Arabic are not at all uncommon in Islamic heraldry, particularly on fesses. As a result, putting a Latin phrase on a chevron seems to be at most one step from period practice, and is certainly consistent with SCA armorial practices."
January 2003 LoAR

"Yamahara Yorimasa. Device. Gules, in pale a kanji Yama and a kanji Hara argent. This is returned for redesign. There has long been precedent against armory consisting of a single abstract charge ‑‑ symbols that represent a phoneme or meaning, such as letters, numbers, runes, and kanji ‑‑ as well as against the registration of monograms. The rationale has been to prevent one submitter from having exclusive right to a symbol which should be commonly available to all. That rationale would, we feel, also apply to phrases made up from multiple abstract charges, if those are the sole elements of the armory. Thus, as we should not accept Argent, the letter L sable or Argent, in fess the letters LO sable, we should not accept Argent, the word LOVE sable. The same argument applies here: we cannot accept a design consisting solely of kanji. We therefore extend the ban on single abstract charges to cover any armory consisting solely of abstract charges, in any language (e.g., Japanese kanji, Norse runes, Arabic script, etc.). This applies whether the armory consists of a single word or a phrase."
March 2006 LoAR

[Azure, on an open book argent the words "Carpe Librum" sable and on a chief Or three wolf's heads cabossed sable.] "This device is returned for a redraw; the words on the book are written with letters no wider than a (modern) single pen line and thus must be considered "thin-line heraldry". We suggest resubmitting using block letters.

This submission generated much discussion on the nature of words on books. The letters on Yale University's arms, Azure, an open book argent charged with Hebrew letters sable, have previously been ruled to act as tertiary charges. Laurel has also ruled "In general, open books may be drawn with numerous small writing marks as artistic license, the writing so small that it could not be read from any distance, but such writing would not be blazoned. [Branwen filia Iohannis de Monmouth, 04/02, A-East]".

The question becomes, when does the writing become so small that it cannot be read? In general, more that 10 or 11 letters on a single primary charge will be considered unreadable and will not count for difference; for a secondary charge (or multiple primary charges) this number will be reduced due to the smaller size of the books. More than two or three letters on a tertiary charge will be too small to read. In SCA arms, such small writing will not be blazoned. In the case of important non-SCA arms this writing may be blazoned even if it does not count for difference. Thus, the letters on Yale University's arms constitute a tertiary charge group while those on Oxford University's arms (DOMINUS ILLUMINATIO MEO) do not.

If resubmitted using thicker lines for the words, this device will be clear of the device for Roderick der Gelehrte, Azure, an open book argent, on a chief Or an arrow point to dexter azure. There will be a CD for changes to the tertiary charges on the chief and another for adding the tertiary charge to the book."
January 2007 LoAR

   
   

Name Precedents
[For specific names, see end of listing.]

Lingual Weirdness Rulings: AKA Name Weirdness Table
webpage
   
Compatible Names List: Collected precedents of SCA compatible names
webpage
   
Compiled Name Precedents: Collection of SCA names precedents
webpage
   
Da'ud Notation System: Representing non-ASCII characters in ASCII format
webpage
   
French/Russian Names: "Therefore, names combining Russian and French are no longer registerable"
June 2004 LoAR Cover Letter.
   
Given Names
from Surnames
& Place Names:

(also see Legal Name)

/Chadwick/ is the submitter's legal given name. While it is a place-name in origin, its use as a given name is not obtrusively modern because we have examples of surnames, including ones based on place names, used as given names in late-period England. Noir Licorne comments:

Withycombe, p. xii, lists Warham St. Leger (1525-97); Warham originated as a locative according to R&W (s.n. Wareham, p. 476). Withycombe, p. xii, also notes Lord Guildford Dudley (1536-1554); according to R&W (s.n. Guilford, p. 208) Guildford also originated as a locative. The same page contains other examples of locative-derived surnames being used as given names. Concerning the use of surnames as Christian names, Withycombe (xii) writes "The fashion became fairly general among the landed Gentry in Elizabeth's reign". That's certainly within period as her reign ended in 1603.

Other examples of surnames used as given names include /Artlington/, /Ashton/, /Kelham/, /Kellam/, /Kerry/, /Stocker/, /Smalege/, and /Nevell/ in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, /Dictionary of Tudor London Names/, and /Arcye/ 1573, /Atkinson/ 1583, /Bainbridge/ 1550, /Lambwell/ 1584, /Musgrave/ 1616, and /Richardson/ 1588 in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "English Given Names from 16th and Early 17th C Marriage Records".
July 2009 LoAR

   
Group Name allowed as part of Personal Name: "A personal name can include a surname of place derived from a Society group name, although a household name cannot conflict with the name of an official group (thus Ronald of Würm Wald could register his personal name, but not Haus Würm Wald because that name would conflict with his Barony)."
March 1988 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Group Name translated to be part of Personal Name: "De la Montana de Trueno" is intended to translate the name of his local branch (Mons Tonitrus) into the language of the name (Spanish). While this is a praiseworthy intent, only the actual registered form of an SCA branch name is automatically registerable as part of a personal name. If the name is translated into some other language, then it must be a plausible place-name in that language. Unfortunately, no one has been able to demonstrate that mountains were named after atmospheric phenomena, such as thunder, in Spanish in period. Given the lack of documentation standards in earlier years - particularly for SCA branch names - there is no reason to assume that a registered branch name is documentable even in the language it is registered in. In addition, a place name may be a reasonable construction in one language and culture but not necessarily in another. So even if a registered branch name is, in itself, a well-constructed period place name, translating it into another language may make it a historic impossibility. For example, the existence of the registered SCA branch name "Mists" should not be taken as licensing the use of words meaning "Mists" as locative bynames in any and all period languages. Therefore barring evidence for "Mountain of Thunder" as a plausible period place name in Spanish, this name must be returned."
June 1998 LoAR
   
Header Spellings from Sources: In most cases, header forms are plausible for period and so are registerable.
However, precedent (most notably regarding modern forms in Ó Corráin & Maguire)
has ruled that header forms which are modern may not be registerable.
(This has been handled on a case by case basis.)
July 2004 LoAR
   
Hungarian Names: Discussion of Hungarian Names
June 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Legal Name: "The use of a legal given name which has not been documented as a period name is one step from period practice"
March 2004 LoAR (new team)
   
Norse name - <personal name> + <descriptive byname> + <patronymic>: "Listed on the LoI as Boddi Bjarnarson, this name was submitted as Boddi Bjarki Bjarnarson. In the submitted documentation, both Boddi and Bjarki were documented as given names. As no evidence has been found of two given names used in Old Norse, the second given name was dropped at Kingdom. However, in addition to Bjarki being a given name, bjarki is a descriptive byname meaning 'bear-cub'. Therefore, Boddi bjarki Bjarnarson is registerable as a name following the standard pattern of given name + descriptive byname + patronymic byname." November 2003 LoAR
   
Norse name - bynames &
double-bynames
Concerning standard bynames:
Old Norse double-bynames are normally in the format of "descriptive byname + patronymic" or "two-generation patronymic". The order for full names would be either: given name + byname OR given name + descriptive byname + patronymic OR given name + patronymic + descriptive byname OR given name + patronymic + patronymic.
See: Scandinavian chart in the article "Naming Construction and Patterns". url: http://heraldry.sca.org/names/patterns.html

Concerning double bynames:
"This name contains two non-patronymic bynames in Norse, which has previously been cause for return. Gunnvör silfrahárr (formerly Gunnora Hallakarva) found examples of people who were referred to using two non-patronymic bynames simultaneously. She provided the following examples and translations so each name may be viewed in context:

(1) Þórsteinn surts inn spaka (Thórsteinn Black the Wise) - Laxdæla saga (c. 1245), ch. 6. Ósk hét hin fjórða dóttir Þórsteins rauðs. Hún var móðir Þorsteins surts hins spaka er fann sumarauka. [Ósk was the name of the fourth daughter of Þórsteinn rauðr. She was the mother of Þórsteinn surts inn spaka, who found the "Summer eke".]

(2) Ari prests hins fróði (Ari the priest the wise) - Landnámabók ch. 83. Þórsteinn Hallsson var faðir Gyðríðar, móður Jóreiðar, móður Ara prests hins fróða. [Þórsteinn Hallsson was the father of Gyðríðr, who was the mother of Jóreiðr, who was the mother of Ari prests hins fróða.]

(3) Þórolfr Mostrarskeggr - Eyrbyggja saga ch. 3 (prepended and appended by-names) Hrólfr var höfðingi mikill og hinn mesti rausnarmaður. Hann varðveitti þar í eyjunni Þórshof og var mikill vinur Þórs og af því var hann Þórólfr kallaður. Hann var mikill maður og sterkur, fríður sýnum og hafði skegg mikið. Því var hann kallaður Mostrarskegg. [Hrólfr was a mighty chief, and a man of the greatest largesse. He had the ward of Thór's temple there in the island, and was a great friend of Thór, and therefore he was called Þórolfr. He was a big man and a strong, fair to look on, and had a great beard; therefore was he called Mostrarskeggr, and he was the noblest man in the island.

Given these examples, a name using two non-patronymic bynames in Old Norse is registerable so long as the bynames could reasonably be used to simultaneously describe the same person. In the case of the submitted name, the two bynames mean 'shrieking' and 'woman from the Orkney Islands'. These bynames have different meanings and could both have described the same person at the same point in her life. Therefore, this name is registerable."

May 2002 LoAR, sn Þórdís gjallandi eyverska. http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2002/05/02-05lar.html
Repeated in the April 2010 LoAR sn. Þorfinnr inn svarti gylðir http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2010/04/10-04lar.html

   
Order Names: Patterns of Order Names
August 2005 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Place Names & Surnames
as Given Names:

(also see Legal Name)

/Chadwick/ is the submitter's legal given name. While it is a place-name in origin, its use as a given name is not obtrusively modern because we have examples of surnames, including ones based on place names, used as given names in late-period England. Noir Licorne comments:

Withycombe, p. xii, lists Warham St. Leger (1525-97); Warham originated as a locative according to R&W (s.n. Wareham, p. 476). Withycombe, p. xii, also notes Lord Guildford Dudley (1536-1554); according to R&W (s.n. Guilford, p. 208) Guildford also originated as a locative. The same page contains other examples of locative-derived surnames being used as given names. Concerning the use of surnames as Christian names, Withycombe (xii) writes "The fashion became fairly general among the landed Gentry in Elizabeth's reign". That's certainly within period as her reign ended in 1603.

Other examples of surnames used as given names include /Artlington/, /Ashton/, /Kelham/, /Kellam/, /Kerry/, /Stocker/, /Smalege/, and /Nevell/ in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, /Dictionary of Tudor London Names/, and /Arcye/ 1573, /Atkinson/ 1583, /Bainbridge/ 1550, /Lambwell/ 1584, /Musgrave/ 1616, and /Richardson/ 1588 in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "English Given Names from 16th and Early 17th C Marriage Records".
July 2009 LoAR

   
Russian/French Names: "Therefore, names combining Russian and French are no longer registerable"
June 2004 LoAR Cover Letter.
   
Surnames &
Place Names as Given Names:

(also see Legal Name)

/Chadwick/ is the submitter's legal given name. While it is a place-name in origin, its use as a given name is not obtrusively modern because we have examples of surnames, including ones based on place names, used as given names in late-period England. Noir Licorne comments:

Withycombe, p. xii, lists Warham St. Leger (1525-97); Warham originated as a locative according to R&W (s.n. Wareham, p. 476). Withycombe, p. xii, also notes Lord Guildford Dudley (1536-1554); according to R&W (s.n. Guilford, p. 208) Guildford also originated as a locative. The same page contains other examples of locative-derived surnames being used as given names. Concerning the use of surnames as Christian names, Withycombe (xii) writes "The fashion became fairly general among the landed Gentry in Elizabeth's reign". That's certainly within period as her reign ended in 1603.

Other examples of surnames used as given names include /Artlington/, /Ashton/, /Kelham/, /Kellam/, /Kerry/, /Stocker/, /Smalege/, and /Nevell/ in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, /Dictionary of Tudor London Names/, and /Arcye/ 1573, /Atkinson/ 1583, /Bainbridge/ 1550, /Lambwell/ 1584, /Musgrave/ 1616, and /Richardson/ 1588 in Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "English Given Names from 16th and Early 17th C Marriage Records".
July 2009 LoAR

   
Specific Names:
[Precedents & Citations]
 
   
Briana  "So, the summary of changes to the registerability status of the name Briana is:
Briana is registerable as a Spanish feminine given name.
Briana is registerable as an English feminine given name.
Since Briana has been documented, it is no longer SCA compatible.
As of the July 2002 decision meeting, the spelling Brianna will no longer be registerable."
December 2001 LoAR Cover Letter
   
Courtney "There was some question whether Courtney, documented as a surname, was registerable as a given name. Noir Licorne found a period example of Courtney used as a given name in the early grey era:

[A] period example of Courtney as a (masculine) given name: "Courtney Sprinckthorpe, of Newark, and Barbara Medopp, of U. 30 Jan 1603" from Nottinghamshire parish records at ancestry.com. This particular record is from Upton. The names are not normalized. The same event, also from Nottinghamshire but this time from Newark-upon- Trent, gives "Courtney Springthorpe & Barbara Midup 30 Jan 1603"."

December 2009 LoAR

   
Dorian Female given name in Academy of Saint Gabriel article "French Names from Paris, 1421, 1423, & 1438"
by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/paris1423.html
   
Erin "Erin was documented on the LoI as the submitter's legal given name. Edelweiss provided alternative documentation for Erin used as a given name in English context from the IGI Parish Record extracts:

There's a grey period baptism for Erin: Erin Johnson bap. 27 April 1634, East Kirby, Lincolnshire and an in period marriage: Erin Laurence mar. Richard Woodyat 22 June 1584, Bosbury, Herefordshire

"Thus, Erin is registerable as a given name in late-period English contexts."

December 2009 LoAR

   
Greybeard,
Norse for
The Old Norse Name by Geirr Bassi lists grabárðr as a byname meaning grey beard on page 22.
According to notation, it derives from the Heimskringla.
   
Ian
"Edelweiss provides grey area citations from the IGI Parish Record extracts of Ian as an English name:

Ian Moore mar. Margret Hewsonn 27th November 1608 Leconfield, Yorkshire

Ian Sharp baptised 23rd March 1614 Kidlington, Oxfordshire

Since it is likely that Ian Moore was more than 9 years old when he was married, the first grey-period citation supports Ian as a registerable English name. It was almost certainly pronounced /YAN/, not /EE-ahn/, as it is modernly."

December 2009 LoAR

   
Jacqueline Dauzat, s.n. Jacques (+) "Jacquelin+, -lain (f{e'}m. Jacqueline, n. de bapt. correspondant {a'} Jacques, d{'e}s le XIV s.)" Jacquelin+, -lain (feminine Jacqueline, baptismal name corresponding to Jacques, from the 14th century)
   
Miriel Located in the on-line article "Feminine Given Names in A Dictionary of English Surnames" by Brian Scott under the heading "Muriel". Documented to 13th century England. http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/reaneyintro.html
   
spring in die rosen Surname meaning "jump in the roses" found in Academy of Saint Gabriel article entitled:
German Names from 1495: Surnames N - S
by Aryanhwy merch Catmael
http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/german/surnames1495n-s.html
   
{Th}orfinn {Th}orfinn is located in Lind, _Norsk-Islandska Dopnamn ock Fingerade Namn Fran Medeltiden_, col. 1158-9.
Listed is {Th}orfinn Iosepzsen 1399.
   
Vienna Located in the on-line article "Names from Sixteenth Century Venice" by Julia Smith in the section on names of Venetian Women before 1600. Documented to 16th century Italy. http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/16thcvenice.html
   
Violet  Located in the on-line article "A List of Feminine Personal Names Found in Scottish Records" by Brian Scott in the Post-1400 section. Documented to 16th and early 17th century Scotland (lowlands). http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names/scottishfem.html
   
von Bremen Brechenmacher, vol. 1, p 212, s.n. Bremen, von Bremen dated to 1342
   
von Sizilien Historisches Deutsches Vornamenbuch, Vol 3, p174, by Wilfred Seibicke [New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2000] lists  Manfred von Sizilien to the 13th century.
   
Waldo Morlet, Les Noms de Personne sur le Territoire de l'Ancienne Gaule du VIe au XIIe Siecle, vol. 1, p. 214, a, dates Waldo to the 9th century , and gives several alternate spellings, which date 8th-11th centuries.
   

Information on Heraldic Practices

Annulets interlaced:   Interlaced annulets are notes in arms found in the Randall Holme roll (mid-to-late 15th C);
the triquetra (under the name Tyrell knot) was used as a badge c.1520.
     
     

Links

Heraldic Myths - Information to clear up misconceptions involving SCA heraldry
         
Heraldry Resources   -   Articles, links and information on  SCA heraldry
         
SCA Interests   -   Information on a wide variety of Art & Science subjects, Martial activities and Medieval resources.
         
New Member Information   -   Articles to help folks new to the SCA