The College of Heralds began in 1967 – about a year before the peerages were formally instituted! – and was initially tasked with recording the names and armory assumed by SCA participants. It quickly grew, necessitating the creation of a National College of Arms along with setting up rules and standards of evaluation. (at one time, even the marshalls reported to the College of Heralds!)
The College of Heralds has grown and changed over the course of the SCA. Today, the College of Arms is the society level College, which maintains the rules for registering names and armory, promotes education, and makes final decisions on names and armory submissions. The College of Heralds is the Kingdom-level division, and they tend to cover quite a lot!
But what does the College of Heralds…do? To borrow from heraldry.sca.org:
“We are book heralds, helping to research period naming and armorial practices for the registration of names and armory for the populace.
We are voice heralds, calling announcements, proclaiming who is fighting upon the field, and acting as the voice of nobility in court.
We are protocol heralds, recording awards and honors bestowed, drafting ceremonies, and determining precedence and other period legal niceties in all sorts of situations.
We also work closely with our good friends in the College of Scribes, whose art and artistry with pen and brush make what we do beautiful.
Anyone can be a herald. You can be a herald!”
You don’t have to fit one particular mold to be a herald. Maybe you are just really interested in the Song Dynasty and found some resources for names (and/or titles!) or found some Persian resources you’d like to share. The College of Heralds is always looking for more information to help folks with their registrations. You do not have to be totally comfortable with the full submissions process to be a “book” herald – we love research that helps members of society with their registrations. Our rules evolve as we collect more information, so new research is welcome!
Voice heraldry takes on so many forms and can be seen in many different venues. You don’t have to be a performer to be an effective voice herald. From Royal Court, to processions, to making announcements at events, voice heraldry is a versatile and necessary part of the College of Heralds. We want folks willing to learn how to project with clarity and are willing to help spread the news and information needed for the activity at hand.
Maybe you’re the type that likes to be behind the scenes, helping make sure things are recorded, that systems run efficiently. Or your research runs more towards historic ceremonies, and you’d like to help bring some of that to our game. There are many roles in the College of Heralds that do not require knowing *everything* about heraldry, and it is easy to find a fit for those who want to help make things run smoothly.
In Kingdom, the College of Scribes falls under the College of Heralds and is run by our Star Signet. Just like there are many different roles in the College of Heralds, the College of Scribes has room for folks of all interests. Calligraphers, illuminators, scribes, parchmenters, and so many more are all necessary parts of College.
If you have any questions about the College of Heralds or are interested in getting involved in some way, please let us know! Our website is heraldry.ansteorra.org, and I can be reached at Kingdom@herald.ansteorra.org.
Meistres Elena Wyth
Star Principal Herald