An Tir Internal Letter of Intent

Free to all persons willing to comment on a regular basis

Commentary due on this letter by January 2nd 1999

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November 4, 1998

Greetings unto the An Tir College of Heralds from Maryn Lion's Blood!

I will be leaving for Texas on the 7th and returning on the 17th. If any pots boil over while I'm gone, or if you have any questions for the office of Lion's Blood, you can check with Lorn Stark, Stalwart, who is my deputy and can be emailed at Also, I do not hesitate to recommend that you contact Aestel Herald, Couronne Rouge or Electrum with questions (although I didn't exactly ask them first, they have been so UNFLAGGINGLY CHEERFUL, and are SO KNOWLEDGEABLE, and SUCH SWELL GUYS, and… ).

Commentary on the September letter will be due by November 20th for inclusion in decisions made at the November Lion's Blood meeting. This time the November meeting will be held a little later in the month than usual; it will be held on Saturday, the 21st of November, at the HL Natasha Orionova Zateeva's house in Glymm Mere, at 1:00 pm.

To reach HL Natasha's house at 6820 4th Way SE: exit from I-5 at Martin Way, turn north toward the fairgrounds and go straight through the light at Carpenter Road. Take the next right (Kinwood); the second left off Kinwood is 4th Way. Take the first left from 4th Way into the cul-de-sac. NOTICE, NOTICE, NOTICE: The house number in last month's letter was wrong - it's 6820!!

The December Lion's Blood meeting will be in Portland. Dame Zenobia Naphtali will be hosting the meeting on the Sunday after the Triumphs of Oriana; that will be December 6, at 11:00 a.m. Please have commentary on the October letter to me by the 4th of December. And here are directions to Zenobia's house:

Take Interstate five, north or south to exit 289 in Oregon (Tualatin/Sherwood.) Go West at the end of the offramp (a left from the northbound 5, a right from the southbound 5.) This puts you on Nyberg Rd. You will soon reach a "y" intersection. Stay right (on Nyberg.) Make a left at the next light (Martinazzi.) Go through a few lights, then make a right at the 2nd stop sign (Avery).

The house is 8675 SW Avery St., a bit more than a block up, on your right. Phone # (503) 692-0177.

The January meeting will be at my house in Bremerton on Sunday the 3rd of January. I'm sorry; I know a lot of people would prefer to have it at 12th Night, but I find big Kingdom events just too full for Lion's Blood meetings to work well.

We'll start at 11 o'clock. Here are directions to my house:

Coming from the south, take 16 to Bremerton. After you pass Port Orchard, follow the signs for Highway 3 North and Bremerton. There is a "V" split as you come into Bremerton - the signs will assure you that the right hand fork on 304 is Bremerton, and the left hand fork (North on 3) is something else entirely; Poulsbo or Silverdale, I think. Ignore this sign propaganda, stay to your left and take 3 North. Very shortly you will come to the Kitsap Way exit; take it and go east (to your right, coming from the south). Kitsap Way bends around and turns into 6th Street. It will intersect fairly soon with Naval Avenue. Turn left/north, and proceed a few blocks. At the light at 11th street the center lane is the through lane, and the right hand lane is a forced turn; this isn't well marked, so I don't want it to come as a surprise. You'll pass 13th Street to your right only. Right across from the gate to the cemetery is my house. The number is 1324, it's white, porch in front, small dogwood tree in front yard (not too relevant at this season..).

From the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton: contact me ahead of time, and I'll come pick you up. From the North, I'm betting that you can find Highway 3; come into Bremerton as far as Kitsap Way and follow the directions above.

We had a really nice meeting at Elizabeth Braidwood's in October. Letters of comment for the October meeting were received from: Šlisabeth de Rossignol, Tegan Conwy, Frederick Badger, Zenobia Naphtali, thelstan of Carlisle, Vasilisa Myshkina, Eglentyne Merryweather, Catrin ferch Dafydd and David of Moffat with Natasha Orionova Zateeva and Kateryn of Falconkeep.

Also participating in the meeting were the people whose names I forgot to write down at the time (so am mangling here on the theory that it is better to be able to say "I think she means me" than to have one's contribution ignored): Frederick von Zwickau, Saewynn, Devon (whose name I have forgotten how to spell correctly ) and Aurora. We also had guests, and really good eats! As always, if I have left anyone off of the list, I apologize; let me know, so that if there is some problem (like I am not receiving your commentary) we can fix it. Thanks!

Old Submissions

The following have been sent to Laurel:

1. An Tir, Kingdom of, for the Šmail Herald Heraldic Title New

Commenters varied widely in their response to this title, meant for the herald In-Charge-of-Computer-Stuff. One (new) commenter offered more examples of Heraldic Titles derived from objects - very good! Otherwise, it went up with the discussion much as you saw it in the August Internal Letter.

2. An Tir, Kingdom of, for the Order of the Silver Lily Order Name and Badge New

(Fieldless) Three lilies conjoined at the stems in pall inverted argent

This would have been better with some discussion of the formation of the order name, but no commenters found any fault with the submission, and it has been sent up.

3. Eirika Kettlingr RagnarsdÛttir Name New


The name <Eirika> was submitted as <EirĖka>, and cited from Norsk-Islandska Dopnamn by E.H. Lind, page 223, under 'EirĖkr'. However, we found <Eirika> but not <EirĖka>-with-an-accent. Therefore, we have changed it in Kingdom. No other changes were made.

4. Geillis Fairhand Name and Device Resub/Kingdom


Argent a moth sable marked argent a demi-sun issuant from base gules

We changed the name to the attested form <Geillis> and the surname to the singular form <Fairhand>. The submitted spelling "Gaellis" had no documentary support, and all of our surname examples showed fair + singular body part, but not fair + plural body parts.

5. GeilČis ingen ui Peatˇin Name New

(Dragon's Mist)

It looked fine, so we sent it up with the following remark:

We are aware that an initial "-P" sometimes lenites to "-Ph", but do not know if that applies here.

6. Katherine FitzAlan, for Clan Hubert Household Name New

(Dragon's Mist)

I should have mentioned in the August letter that the name <Katherine FitzAlan> is the already registered name of the woman who had submitted the Household Name; apologies to new commenters.

7. Katla der Kenntnisriech Name and Device Resub/Kingdom


Or, a dog rampant sable grasping a recorder proper within a bordure azure

A little blazon fu; the recorder was brown in the colour emblazon. Also, the tongue and tail were not in fact nowed, but only decoratively twisted about. I would have had to return this for recolouring if Stalwart and I had not had to transfer all of this month's submissions on to the new forms anyway; the sable was a pale grey, and pretty certainly would not have been accepted by Laurel.

It was suggested that the surname looks like a descriptive byname, and not an inherited surname, and it's possible that there should be changes made to put the epithet into a feminine form. However, since the submitter does not permit this, we passed it along to Laurel to determine whether it is registerable or not.

8. Mora of Lincolnshire Name New; See Returns for Device

(Valley Wold)

<Mora> is listed on page 213 of the 1992 edition of Woulfe's Irish Names and Surnames, as a latinization of the Gaelic Mor. We were unable to find "Mora" in Withycombe, as the submitter suggested, so are trying for "Mora" with the citation from Woulfe. <Lincolnshire> is also shown in Ekwall on page 298, sub Lincoln (Lincolnescire 1016).

9. Robert of Caithness Name and Device New

(Valley Wold)

Per fess sable and gules a tyger rampant and in chief a sword and a straight trumpet inverted in saltire argent

In the SCA, one may not register a name using mixed English and Gaelic orthographies; the same letters may represent different sounds. This name as submitted mixed the English 'Robert' with the Gaelic 'num' and back to the English 'Caithness'. We rang the submitter, and he opted for <of> rather than "de" (the English alternatives).

Interestingly, the heraldic tyger does not conflict with the lion or the housecat; they were considered separate charges in period. Since the tyger occupies more than ‡ of the field, it is the primary charge, with the crossed sword and trumpet as secondaries; thus "slot machine" is not applicable in this case. However, this determination can be tricky to make; thank you, Badger, for the Precedents showing returns of very similar items.

10. Signy ÷ksendal Name and Device New


Counter-ermine, on a bend between two lions passant Or three wreaths of roses barbed proper

Her Royal Majesty is entitled to use the wreaths of roses, as she was admitted to the Order of the Rose on January 10, 1998. Several commenters suggested that the lions might be drawn a little larger in future. Although the complexity count was high, I do not believe it exceeds registration standards, especially since the field is not counted as field + strewn charges.

11. Yvon-Maurice Charon, for the House of the Three Furies Household Badge Resub/Kingdom


Argent on a pall vert between three cups sable, three rapiers points to center proper

His name and household name were registered on the LoAR of August 1998. Commenters suggested that the cups be drawn larger in future.

The following have been returned for further work:

Mora of Lincolnshire Device New

(Valley Wold)

Vert a tyger rampant contourny maintaining a moon in its plenitude argent

This had to be returned for conflict with Micheau de SČvignČ's (Fieldless) A tyger rampant contourny queue-forchy argent. Those who wondered if the queue-forchy was enough difference - you surmised correctly that it was not. If the moon had truly been a sustained charge, it would have counted for difference; but to be a "sustained" instead of a "maintained" charge, the charge must be of the same 'visual weight' as the sustaining charge - approximately the same size. One commenter mentioned that "a moon in its plenitude" looked fairly modern, and it does; but that's because it's been picked up as a modern design - it dates to 1225!

New Submissions:

1. •elfri• Hluda Badge New

(Three Mountains)

(Fieldless) Two branches in saltire argent

His name was registered in May 1998. Remember, the new forms use a solid circle, whether the badge is fieldless or not.

2. Arontius of Bikeleswade, for Justin Case Device New for Alternate Persona

(Dragon's Laire)

Per pale gules and sable, a winged cat sejant reguardant argent within a bordure ermine

His name was registered in July 1997, and his alternate persona name is before Laurel. This is technically a badge, I believe, but since it is "Justin's" device, it has been submitted on a shield shape.

3. Arontius of Bikeleswade Badge New

(Dragon's Laire)

(Fieldless) On a flame azure a quill pen palewise argent

His name was registered in July 1997; and no, he hasn't "used up" all of his permitted armory registrations yet! Rather a good quill, I thought.

4. Deorwine aet Earneleia Badge New


Or, an oak tree eradicated azure, charged with an eagle's head erased Or

His name was registered in September 1984.

5. Emma Oakenroad Name New


<Emma> is found in Withycombe's 3rd edition on page 103, as:

Old German Emma or Imma, hypocoristic forms of names compounded with ermin, irmin 'whole', 'universal'. The name was introduced into England by Emma, daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy, who married (1) 1002 King Ethelred the Unready, and (2) 1017 King Cnut. It was a favourite Norman name, and was common from the 11th C onwards.

<Oakenroad> is found in Reaney and Wilson; page 327 is cited.

Oakenroyd, Ockenroyd: Hugh del Okenrode 1323 LaCt. From Oaken Ryd in Norland (WRY) or 'dweller at the clearing in the oaks'.

The submitter will accept changes; she prefers the modern spelling "Oakenroad", but will accept an earlier spelling if absolutely necessary.

6. Halima al-Rakkasa Name and Device Resub/Kingdom


Gules, a crescent argent, on a chief argent two pales wavy azure

Her previous name submission was returned for improper formation, and her device had to be returned along with it. This is another name entirely, and is accompanied by the following documentation:

The name means Halima the dancer'. From an email from Master Da'ud ibn Auda, we have:

<Halima> … is a period Arabic feminine name which can be found in "The Complete Anachronist" Number 51, "The Islamic World" as well as the Arabic names list in the Proceedings of the Known World Heraldic Symposia for 1987 and 1993. "Dancer" in Arabic is "rakkas"; the feminine form is "rakkasa" (per Richard Jachke's "English-Arabic Conversational Dictionary" page 184). Adding the article "the" in front of it gives us Halima the Dancer: Halima al-Rakkasa.

If changes should be deemed necessary, she would prefer to retain the meaning of the name.

7. Ingvar the Restless Device Resub/Kingdom

(Lion's Gate)

Azure a horned owl affrontČ argent between six eight pointed mullets argent

His name was registered in July 1996. His previous submission was returned for conflict; in this device he has changed his field mullety to a field with one primary and six secondaries.

I am given to understand by those who know him that he is, indeed, a "night owl"…

8. James the Obscure Name Appeal, Device Resub/Kingdom


Azure in pale a badger statant contourny argent marked sable and an open scroll fesswise argent

This name was returned in March 1997 for the following reason:

…the only meaning of obscure found in the Oxford English Dictionary that was early enough to be from the era of descriptive surname formation in English was "dark or deficient in light, hence gloomy or dim".

James has sent an extensive packet. Much of it consists of poetry and tales by James, demonstrating why he should be called "the obscure"; it also includes a signed testimonial (from his wife) to his "obscureness".

More relevant to a discussion of period naming practices, he also includes dated definitions of the word "obscure" from the Oxford English Dictionary, (which I have copied as best I might, as it was all handwritten, and I'm not sure where the dates belong) as follows:

Adj. A. devoid of or deficient in light; dark, dim; hence, gloomy, dismal 1530

Of colour or hue; approaching black, dark, sombre; in later use dingy, dull, not bright. 1490

Of a place; Not readily seen or discovered; hidden, retired, secret; remote from observation

Inconspicuous, undistinguished, unnoticed.

Of persons, their station, descent, etc. Not illustrious or noted; unknown to fame; humble, lowly, mean

Not manifest to the mind or understanding; imperfectly known or understood; not clear or plain; hidden, doubtful, vague, uncertain

Of words, statements, explanations, meanings; Not perspicuous; not clearly expressed; hard to understand. Also, of a speaker or writer.

Trans. To make obscure or dark, to involve in darkness; to darken; to deprive of light or brightness; to dim

To conceal from knowledge or observation; to keep secret the identity of; to keep dark; to disguise

Also refl. A. Of persons. Obs.

He has also sent a list of period quotations:

1. 1400 Romance of the Rose 5348 “Love is right of sich nature; Now is fair, and now obscure, And whylom dim, and whylom clere”

2. 1432-1450 tr. Hogden (Rolls) VII, 411 “That kynge dreamed that the bloode of hym obscurede and hidde the sonne”

3. 1432-1450 tr. Higden (Rolls) 11-55 “There be other names of cities founde in chronicles obscure to the intellecte.”

4. 1477 Caxton, Jason 19b “It-a-obscure and derke night wherefore endurest thou so long”

5. 1483 Caxton, G. de la Tour E. vijb. “Put in a prison which was right derke and obscure”

6. 1484 Caxton. Fables of Alfonce. I “He anone take hym secretely in to his hows, and ledde hym in to a sure and obscure place”

7. 1495 Act II, Hen. VII, c.8 “Which acte is so obscure derke and diffuse that the true entent of the makers thereof cannot perfitely be undrestond”

8. 1500 Caxton, Melusine 328 “He departed and went by a waye obscure tyl he found a field”

9. 1546 Hall Chron, Henry VII, 33 “The yonge man was descended of a base and obscure parentage”

10. 1553 T. Wilson, Rhet. 61 b “In seekyng to be short be not obscure”

11. 1555 Eden Decades 312 “Great thynges proceade and increase of smaul and obscure beggynynges.”

There was more, but these are the high points. The point, I think, is that in, for example, quotation 1, 'obscure' is used as the opposite of 'fair' and we know that 'fair' was an epithet used for humans.

Commenters, can we help this submitter within the SCA's rules for name registration?

Thank you, everybody; that's all for this time. Remember, early meetings in December and January; February may be in Portland, hosted by Aethelfrith Hluda, but plans are not firmed up yet.

An Tir College of Heralds - Internal Letter - November 1998

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