Heraldry

Heralds make announcements, run ceremonies, and can help people choose suitable names and arms.

Proposed Populace Badge

Many SCA branches register badges for use by their members, in order to allow people to indicate their association with the group without using the branch’s primary arms. A proposed populace badge design for Darton Shire is further down this page.

What is a populace badge?

Populace Badges badges can be used by anyone to show the world they’re proud to be a member of their group. The badge belongs to the people and any group member can display the populace badge on banners, flags, clothing, dishes, furniture, etc. You’ll often see them on group tabards and flag hoists.

How is that different from a group’s arms/device?

A device says ‘this is the group, or acting for the group.’ A badge says ‘this belongs to the group.’

Isn’t a populace badge just the group’s device, without the wreath?


Short answer – no.
Long answer – it can be, but it doesn’t have to be!
It’s an SCA tradition to use a group’s wreath-less device as a badge; probably because it’s easy. In period, badges were often different to a person’s arms. They played on nicknames, family ties or significant events.

Emblazons (images)

Winds Or and Sable

Simple versions

Winds Or and Sable simple

Blazons (descriptions)

(Fieldless) a mistral contoury Or

  • A gold wind

(Fieldless) a mistral contoury sable

  • A black wind

We can register these both – no need to choose!

What is the charge (picture)?

A mistral is a female wind. It’s a charge used in period.

Why a mistral?

  • A reference to Wellington’s famous wind

  • There are very few ‘wind’ registrations in the Society – in a sea of towers, trees and sea-thingies, our badge would be distinctive

  • Most heraldic ‘beasties’ are male (so we can buck the trend)

Can we make the badge look more like X/draw it like Y?

Sure! That’s just artistic license. Basically, we register an emblazon (image), but we can draw it however we like.

If we register these, does that stop us from registering other badges in the future?

Nope, we can register more. We can even change our badge entirely.

Voice heraldry - announcements at court and on the field

Voice heralds manage ceremonies at events, announce who is fighting on the tourney field and the result of each bout, and deliver news around event sites. The role is part master of ceremonies and part town crier.

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Book heraldry - names and armory

Book heralds are available to help SCA members choose a name that could have been used before 1601, and design badges and devices.

Names

Within the SCA it's typical to choose a name that could have belonged to someone from before 1601.

It is not compulsory, but many people choose a time and place to learn about, and develop a ‘persona’ of someone who might have lived in that time and place (but didn’t) who they wish to portray. This can help decide things like clothing to wear and stories to learn. This can also extend to creating a name for this ‘character’.

Heralds don't mind about your persona - if you have one - but if you'd like a name suitable for 13th-century Paris, or Seljuq Damascus, a herald might be able to help you find one. If you want to register that name as your unique name in all the SCA, a herald will help you with that process.

It is not uncommon in the SCA for a person to be referred to by their persona name rather than by their legal name.

Armory - devices and badges

Whether it's full medieval tourney gear with shields, surcoats, banners and pennons, or a subtle badge that identifies your cup as yours, or the livery or hausmarke that you share with your household, heraldry identifies people and is an opportunity for display.

Like names, heraldry can be registered uniquely to you within the world-wide SCA - although that doesn't grant any special rights in the modern world. If that's of interest to you, heralds can help you design armory that's likely to pass the registration requirements.

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