The Red Tree Pursuivant is the chief herald of the Barony of Madrone. The current Red Tree Pursuivant is Matilda Stoyle, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What do SCA heralds do?
- When and where can I get help with my name and arms?
- What kind of help can I get with my name and arms?
- Where can I find SCA heraldic resources?
- How can I become a herald?
- What’s a pursuivant, anyways?
SCA heralds have two broad categories of jobs – researching names and arms (“book heraldry”) and acting as announcers and masters of ceremonies (“voice heraldry”). Their activities include:
- researching and giving advice on medieval names
- researching and giving advice on medieval-style arms and badges
- helping people find and register suitable names and arms for SCA use
- encouraging displays of heraldry such as banners and helmet-crests
- researching medieval ceremonies and writing SCA court ceremonies
- acting as the voice of the ruling nobles at court ceremonies
- announcing competitors at tournaments (“field heraldry”)
Please contact me if you want to learn more about or help out with any of these areas.
Everybody in the SCA is expected to pick a medieval name. Many people also choose to register a heraldic device (also known as arms) and/or badge.
You can generally get help in person at Madrone socials and events – drop me a note to find out if I’ll be in attendance, but I’m happy to talk heraldry anytime. I can give some advice via email at email@example.com.
There are also many other experienced heralds in the area who may be available for consultations in person and online.
A herald can help you at any stage of researching and registering your SCA name and heraldic device. In particular, we can:
- suggest well-researched sources (books, articles, and websites) about names and heraldry to read
- suggest good examples of heraldry (rolls of arms and other pictures) from our period to look at
- suggest heraldic design elements that would be appropriate for cultures that didn’t have heraldry (e.g. Viking-era Danes)
- suggest name or armory elements based on criteria you specify
- evaluate the reliability of a source you found
- explain the principles of naming and heraldry as we know them
- explain the SCA’s rules about conflict, style, and presumption
- get you in touch with another herald who has special knowledge about a particular culture or language
- get you in touch with another herald who can give you a second opinion
- check for possible conflicts or style problems before you turn your paperwork in
- help you fill out the paperwork
- let you know where your submission is along the registration proces
- suggest changes you might be happy with if you can’t get what you want
How much or how little help you want is up to you, but at minimum I recommend having a herald look over your paperwork for any issues before you send it in.
The SCA College of Arms page has many articles about medieval names and heraldry. They also have the giant database of all registered names and arms (Ordinary and Armorial), the Society’s rules on heraldry, and various forms (e.g. Letter of Permission to Conflict):
The College of Saint Gabriel has more articles about names and heraldry:
Some medieval and renaissance armorials with pictures can be found here:
The Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry (aka the PicDic) is a list of all the charges that have been used in SCA heraldry:
The An Tir Heralds page has forms and instructions for submitting name and heraldry registrations in our kingdom. It also has the big list of kingdom awards (Order of Precedence), texts for kingdom ceremonies (Ceremonial), pictures of registered heraldic devices (Roll of Arms), and more:
In the SCA, you become a herald by doing heraldic activities. Reading about names, looking at pictures of medieval arms, learning the terms of blazon, or volunteering to do town cry or field heraldry at an event are good places to start. Talk with experienced heralds and see how they do things.
A pursuivant is a lower rank of herald in medieval, modern, and SCA colleges of arms. Pursuivants can sometimes be seen in manuscripts wearing their tabards sideways, with the short “sleeve” sections facing front and back.