An Tir College of Heralds: An Tir Voice Heraldry

Some Tips on Being a Voice Herald in An Tir
by Ciaran Cluana Ferta, GdS, formerly Vox Leonis Herald, Aug. 1998
Augmented by Margaree, Vox Leonis Dec 1999

How do I Become A Field Herald In An Tir?

To become a field herald, all you need to do is ask if they need help at Herald's Point at the tournament (any tournament). Volunteers are always welcome, appreciated and needed! Do let the herald-in-charge know that you're new at this, ask for a patter card (a script), and if you haven't done so already, you may want to observe a round or two to get the hang of how things are done.

If you're a bit leery of your talents, there are classes offered at many University of Ithra sessions, and of course at the annual Heraldic Symposium.

A Basic 'Cheat Sheet' Litany for the Average Tourney

Many people don't know how or where to start in the announcing of the names (what the "patter" is). Just remember, as a herald you are the King's voice, so make all announcements from near the MIDDLE of the field (but don't block the fighters' view of each other, ditto for the marshals).

Also, in AnTir, heralds never use the word FIGHT in announcements.

Here is the Kingdom standard "patter":

At the announcement of the pairings:

"My Lords and Ladies, the pairings for the (first/second/third/etc) round of the (name of tourney) Tournament are as follows:
(name of fighter) will meet (name of fighter),
(name of fighter) will combat (name of fighter),
(name of fighter) will do battle with (name of fighter), etc."

(Note: Whenever two fighters are mentioned together, the fighter with the higher rank is announced first.)

At the end of the pairings, the herald continues with the arming call:

"Will (name of fighter X) and (name of fighter Y) arm and enter the field,
and will (name of fighter Q) and (name of fighter Z) arm and stand ready."

(Here, X & Y are the first pair, and Q & Z the second.)

When the combatants and marshals are ready, the herald shall begin (at full field volume):

"My Lords and Ladies, in this (first/second/third/etc) round of the (name of tourney) Tournament,
here do meet in honorable combat (name of fighter) and (name of fighter)."

The herald shall then continue (loud enough to be heard only by those on the List-field):

"My Lords (and Ladies [if any are present on the field]) salute you the Crown of An Tir."

(You should also salute the Crown.)

"You may salute the one who inspires your deeds this day."

(Fighters turn toward their consorts and salute them.)

"Salute your most honorable and worthy opponent."

(Fighters salute each other.)

"Upon your honor, and at the marshal's command, you may begin."

In the above salutes, the Crown may be represented by some noble or a branch banner.

The herald should then walk briskly (without running) to the gate of the field, turn around and watch the combat closely. Combat is often short, so pay close attention. When the senior marshal points to one of the combatants, the herald will announce the victor:

"Victory to (winning fighter's name)."

And when the last combat has concluded, the herald shall say:

"Thus ends the combat of the (first/second/third/etc) round (on the (name of field if there is more than one) field)."

More information on Heralding the Field

In small tourneys, the senior marshal may be the Marshal-in-Charge, but if there are enough list-fields to warrant them there may be herald and marshal field-heads. Introduce yourself to the marshals on your field and ask them which of them is the "senior marshal". The herald should take care to look only to the senior marshal to declare the victor of the matching. This may take a moment and seem unnecessary, but the senior marshal needs to see that the combatants are satisfied with the results.

Herald field-heads are well-experienced heralds who can be relied upon to offer advice and instruction to new heralds. They will, generally, get the cards for the matchings from the Lists table, go over pronunciation of names with you and check the Order of Precedence in the cards (custom dictates that those of higher rank are mentioned first in the pairing). If there is no field head, ask a senior herald to help you with this if you are unsure.

Court Heraldry

Court heraldry opportunities are rarer, because courts are less common (courts are properly held only by those of Royal or Ducal rank, Landed Baronage and Royal Patrons). Check with the local branch herald or herald in charge of doing court and tell them that you are interested in helping them and you want experience with court heraldry.

Most folks start by being a "spear-carrier" (a go-fer that may do one or two items in court), and gradually take on more and more of the court duties as they learn things like how to pronounce names (a not-inconsiderable feat, considering the range of languages we encounter). Field work is usually considered a plus when doing court, because you need to have mastered voice projection and name pronunciation to be successful as a court herald.

There may come a time when you're asked to herald a court yourself. If that happens, here are some basic tips on heralding a court:

The standard salutes for the end of any court in An Tir are as follows:

"Thus ends the court of (the titles and names of the nobility presiding)."
"For Their Majesties, long live (first names of the King and Queen)."

[and if there is a Crown Prince and Princess at that time,]

"For Their Royal Highnesses, long live (first names of the Crown Prince and Princess)."

[and if the court is being held within a Principality,]

"For Their Highnesses of (the name of the Principality), long live (first names of the Prince and Princess)."

[and if the court is not presided over by one of the above already mentioned]

"For (the title of the presiding nobility, "Their Graces" or "Their Excellencies"), long live (first names of the presiding nobility)."

"You have (title of presiding nobility, i.e. Their Majesties', Their Excellencies', etc.) leave to depart."

Obviously, if you don't know all the names you need for the closing of court, be sure to research them beforehand.

SCA Herald's office badge: Vert, two crossed trumpets Or. Back to the An Tir College of Heralds

This is the web site of the An Tir College of Heralds of the Society of Creative Anachronism, Inc.
It is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Incorporated, and does not delineate SCA policies.

HTML by Yosef von Ruhne.
Updated: September 23, 2003