Friday, November 21, 2014

Period or Not: Things that sound like "Kira"

This discussion will be appearing in the Gazette next month, but I wanted to start compiling notes now (while my brain is trying to wrestle with ERISA law concepts during lunch).


Cera was the name of at least three Irish saints who lived prior to c. 1200 CE.  It is registerable as a pre-1200 spelling of the name.  The post-1200 spelling is Ceara, which is also registerable as  a saint's name.

Ciar is another female Gaelic name with a similar sound, also the name of a saint appearing prior to c. 1200 in Ireland.


Kira is found as a female given name in Russian, dated to c. 1202.   "Russian Names Database" by Paul Wickenden of Thanet (


Kyrra Sranis; Female; Marriage; 02 Jan 1629; Evangelisch, Schotten, Oberhessen, Hesse-Darmstadt; Batch: M92548-1


NCMJ (1999) lists Kira as a historical surname dated to 1332.


Using surname as given name:
John Kyrre
Gender: Male
Burial Date: 24 Dec 1585
Burial Place: Cranbrook
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: B02880-3

Name: Richard T...Herst
Spouse's Name: Mergery Keyre
Event Date: 13 Aug 1576
Event Place: Cranbrook, Kent, England
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M01834-4

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Alys's Simple Guide to Naming Awards and Orders (For People Who Are Not Book Heralds)

This is intended as a guide to be given to Crowns, Coronets, Seneschals and other non-book heralds with simple guidelines about how to name awards and orders in a period way.  For book heralds, of course, the current best sources are "Medieval Secular Order Names" by Juliana de Luna and "Registering an Order Name in the SCA" by Ursula Georges.

What's The Difference Between An Award And An Order?

Administratively, there isn't one.  Heralds call them Order Names for our administrative purposes and I will do the same in this Guide because typing "award or order" gets annoying.  There may be a difference in a particular Kingdom's culture, but that is not official.  For example, some people think that an award can be given multiple times, but an order only once, but that is neither period practice nor written anywhere in law.

How To Build An Order Name

Each order name must have two things: (1) a designator from the list of designators approved by the College of Arms and (2) a substantive element that matches the way orders were named in period.  [SENA NPN.1]  A designator is necessary so that we can identify the item as an order name rather than as some other kind of name.

In the name "Order of the Silver Crescent," Order is the designator and Silver Crescent is the substantive element.

What Designators Can We Use?

The current (December 2015) list of approved designators is found in Appendix E of SENA, in the May 2013 Cover Letter and in the November 2014 Cover Letter.  The approved designators are:

But What About Legion?  

Legion is usable as a designator for household names.  Unfortunately, it is no longer available for award/order names.  [March 2010 Cover Letter]

Picking A Substantive Element

The substantive element of an order name has to follow period naming practices.  Currently (December 2015), we can document the following patterns for naming orders:

Order of Heraldic Charge -- for example, Order of the Maunche

Order of Heraldic Color + Heraldic Charge  - for example, Order of the Silver Crescent
Only heraldic tinctures and the ordinary names for the heraldic tinctures can be used.  So "Order of the Blue Tyger" or "Order of the Tyger Azure" is fine.  "Order of the Teal Tyger" or "Order of the Sapphire Tyger" is not.

Order of Physical Descriptive + Heraldic Charge -- for example, Order of the Crowned Ibex
This category is very limited.  It has been allowed only for adjectives describing clear visual modifications to the heraldic charge -- thus, Crowned Ibex (period example) and Winged [charge] (SCA example).

Order of Two Heraldic Charges -- for example, Order of the Unicorn and Maiden

Order of Abstract Quality or Virtue -- for example, Order of Chivalry

Order of Saint's Name -- for example, Order of Saint Michael
For this pattern, one can also use pagan deities in place of saints.  So, for example, Order of Artemis.

Order of Saint + Place name -- for example, Order of Saint George of Rougemont

Order of Saint's Object -- for example, Order of Saint Georges Shield

Order of Person's Name -- for example, Order of Bellina
This pattern allows orders to be named after the given name of the founder or inspiration.  We have yet to document order names based on the surnames of people.

Order of the Piece of Armor/Clothing -- for example, Order of the Belt

Order of Place Name -- for example, Order of Loreto

Order of Duke/King of Place Name - for example, l'ordre du Duc de Bourgongne

But . . . This Name Doesn't Fit Your Patterns And It Is Registered!

There are a couple of reasons why a past registration is no guarantee that a similar name can be registered now.  First, our body of research and heraldic knowledge changes over time.  We find that things we thought were good period practice actually weren't.  We also sometimes find that things we thought were not period can be documented after all.   Second, the applicable heraldic rules change over time.  Sometimes those rules changes make it easier to register certain things, sometimes they have the opposite effect.  Third, a particular group may be able to take advantage of a rule that your group cannot for various reasons.

Do We Have To Use Real Saints?

The current (December 2015) SCA heraldry rules allow you to make up saints as long as the root name of the person is real.

For example, "the Company of Saint Kenrics Beard" is a registerable order name, even though there was not a real Saint Kenric because: (1)  Kenric is a documentable period name; and (2) a beard is a documentable period heraldic charge.

You'll notice that there's no apostrophe in "Kenrics Beard."  Whether or not an apostrophe + s is required to make something possessive depends on whether you are using the period form or relying on one of the rules that allows for use of modern English.  Since this is intended as a "Simple Guide," this is one of the issues on which you should consult a names herald.

How To Figure Out Whether Something Is A Period Heraldic Charge  

There is an SCA resource called the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry that can be very helpful.  It includes citations and pictures of period forms of heraldic charges.  Experienced heralds will also have access to period rolls of arms and armorials (collections of blazons or images).

Clearing Conflicts The Easy Way

Some order names are quite popular and have already been registered by other groups.  However, the current (December 2015) heraldic rules allow a very simple way of clearing the conflict: adding the group name that is giving out the award.  The Order of the Beacon of Carillion (registered 11/2012 LoAR) does not conflict with the Order of the Beacon of Endeweard (registered 9/2013 LoAR).  [SENA NPN.3.C]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Baronial Investiture Scroll: Jean-Paul Ducasse and Lylie of Penhyll

My friends +Ben Hennessey  and +Brenda Janetsky  wanted one scroll for their Investiture as the new territorial Baron and Baroness of Concordia of the Snows.  I wanted to expand my repertoire of period text styles beyond what I've been using so far.  So I dug back into one of my favorite websites, the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707 for a couple of the texts that I had tagged as "use later."

Baronial Investiture scrolls are some of my favorites to work on, because they allow me to use more authentic language for what is being done.  The Crown is actually giving to a landed Baron/ess the sorts of rights and privileges found in period legal documents.

There is a trend in many of the Scots documents to have a notary official sign off on the act of the Crown.  There is an introduction written by the notary, then the proclamation/charter from the Crown, then an affirmation by the notary.  I've found this style hard to adapt into more usual award scrolls, not least of which because it adds length to the text.  However, since I am the person responsible for running Court for Their Majesties Edward & Thyra, and I knew I would be at the Investiture, this style seemed ideal for Jean Paul and Lylie's Investiture text.  

And here we go, based on several 14th century Scottish charters with notary attestations:

On 8 November in the forty-ninth year of the Society, sitting in their Court in the Barony of Concordia of the Snows, Edward, most excellent King of the Easterners and Thyra, his Queen, issued and caused to be issued the following charter:

Edward, by the right of arms, King, and Thyra, by agency of the same right, Queen, to the justiciars, sheriffs, provosts and their bailies and the rest of our ministers and faithful men to whom these present letters shall come, greetings.  Know that it is our will that our good and faithful Jean Paul Ducasse and Lylie of Penhyll shall be and hereby are invested, endowed and exalted as Baron and Baroness of the Barony of Concordia of the Snows, and that they shall hold the aforesaid lands from us and our heirs in fee and heritage by all their rightful boundaries and divisions as freely and peacefully, fully, integrally and honourably with all their liberties, profits, easements and lawful pertinents.  And we do further declare that the said Jean Paul and Lylie shall from this day henceforth enjoy all and singular their lands, rents, goods and possessions appertaining thereto, existing at our fealty and peace, as freely, fully and peacefully as any and all such Barons have enjoyed them at any time of our predecessors kings of the East, and they shall dispose freely from their said lands, rents, goods and possessions according as seems to be most expedient to them without any impediment.  So we order you, and each of you, firmly and under threat of the appropriate penalty, that you should not inflict any evil, annoyance, injustice or impose any impediment or aggravation on the said Jean-Paul and Lylie , or permit these things to be inflicted on them, by whatever means you can resist that, contrary to the tenor of our grant and intention declared above. In testimony of which matter we ordered these our letters to be affirmed by our signs manual and to be read aloud in our Court and to be placed in the keeping of the said Jean-Paul and Lylie as perpetual record.

And I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, while all the foregoing was being so conducted and done, was present in person, and I saw and heard these things done in this way, and have rendered them in this public form, and I signed it with my usual and customary sign, having been asked and required, in faith and testimony of all the foregoing.

My attestation  is based off of this document:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fealty Oath

So . . . . +Stephen Wright  was sworn in as the new Kingdom Rapier Marshal yesterday.  On Thursday he asked if I would write him a period fealty oath in Scots for him.  Sure, I said.

Because I had a short time frame in which to turn around the product, I resorted to the easiest formula for homage and fealty to find on the Internet:  Modus Faciendi Homagium & Fidelitatem (The Manner of Doing Homage & Fealty), c. 1275.  As these formulas continued to be cited in charters and statute books well into the 15th century, relying on them wasn't too much of a cheat.   After some digging in the Dictionary of the Older Scots Tongue, I put the language into very late 16th century Scots spellings so that they would be fairly close to modern (since I anticipated at best ten minutes to go over the pronunciation with Frasier at the event).

Here's what I came up with, in modern English and then in Scots:

Hear you my lord Edward and my lady Thyra; I, Frasier MacLeod, shall be to you both faithful and true and shall owe my Fidelity unto you and unto the Kingdom of the East, and lawfully shall do such Customs and Services as my Duty is to you and to the Kingdom as Marshal of Fence, from this day henceforward and for as long as I hold of you the office aforenamed.

Here yow my laird Edward and lady Thyra, I, Frasier MacLeod, sall be to yow boith faithfull and trewe and sall ow my fidelitee unto yow and unto the kyngdome of the Hest and laufullie sall doo sich Customes and Serwices as my Duety is to yow and to the kyngdome as Marschael of Defence from thys daye henceforward and for as long as I hald of yow the offyce beforesaid.

Beautiful, right?

Then someone left the paper with the words on it in his pants at the hotel . . . . .

Matilda Wynter's AoA

Since the memory of men slips away swiftly, lest any difficulty of controversy should arise over this among those to come, we, Edward, by the right of arms King of the East, and Thyra, by agency of the same right our Queen, do by these present letters signify to the future as well as the present, that, by the counsel of illustrious persons concerning the good works of Matilda Wynter, we find the said Matilda to be noble, faithful and deserving of such rewards as are within our sole and lawful authority to bestow.  We do therefore give, endow and award the said Matilda with arms in the form and matter set forth herein: Ermine, a chevron cotised gules.  And we do further decree, instruct and ordain that the said Matilda shall bear these arms singularly and in perpetuity, free from every disturbance of whatever power.  That this our charter shall remain hereafter firm and unimpaired, we have ordered it to be marked with our signs manual upon 1 November at Stonemarche in the forty-ninth year of the Society.