If AEthelmearc ever becomes a kingdom, a number of changes will occur. Some will be by necessity, others by choice. This article will discuss some of the changes that may or may not occur within the heralds' field of expertise.
REGISTERING OUR HERALDRY -- Corpora only says that we must have a name and device. There's no requirement that a kingdom must keep the same device that it had as a principality, but there's no requirement that it must change either. Curia, under Bear and Akiley, formed a committee to determine whether the populace wanted to change AEthelmearc's name or device at that time. The overwhelming response was 'No.' If we become a kingdom, some people may reconsider their answer.
If we do become a kingdom, however, all of our awards will have to be re-registered as belonging to "AEthelmearc, Kingdom of" rather than "AEthelmearc, Principality of". Additionally, the word 'coronet' in AEthelmearc's blazon will be replaced by the word 'crown'. Visually, there is no difference between a crown and a coronet and none of the banners will have to be altered. The only difference is one of semantics, a principality may have a coronet on their arms, a kingdom must have a crown. I suspect that these bookkeeping changes will barely be noticed by the citizenry.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE -- Corpora says little about awards and honors, because it prefers to leave such things to the kingdoms. What follows is a summary of what it does say;
As a principality, our order of precedence is subject to Corpora, East Kingdom law and whatever we decide for ourselves, in that order. If we become a kingdom, we can keep whatever parts of Eastern law we like and discard the rest. I'd like to start at the top of the precedence order and work my way down, pointing out the possibilities. Mind you, I'm not making recommendations, I'm just pointing out what we could do.
VII.) Personal Awards and Titles.   A.) Patents of Arms
2.) The Crown may establish the order of precedence within the peerage according to the laws and customs of the kingdom. However, the Chivalry, the Laurel, and the Pelican are of equal precedence and must be considered as one group.
Other portions of Corpora define Duke/Duchess, Count/Countess, and
Viscount/Viscountess but don't rank them. Eastern Order of Precedence says
that Duke/Duchess outranks Count/Countess which outranks Viscount/Viscountess
which in turn outranks Chivalry/Laurel/Pelican. If we became a kingdom, we'd
be free to create our own ranking among the peerage, for example,
would be legitimate. It would be at odds with the rest of the Known World, but perfectly legitimate. The fact that you have to be a Count before you can be a Duke and that both titles are theoretically harder to earn than a Viscounty do not determine their order of rank. They're a strong influence, but not a mandate. Remember, this is theory, not practice.
It is not required that Viscount/Vicountess, Count/Countess and Duke/Duchess be given a Patent of Arms, merely strong tradition here in the East. (There are several instances of a Patent not being given to a former Eastern ruler.) If the current rulers are not patent holding, their heirs must conduct a poll two months prior to the end of the reign to determine if they should receive a patent. Should we mandate that these honors must be given with a Patent of Arms, or continue to leave it to polling and the royal decision? Bear in mind, not receiving a Patent may be construed as one hell of an insult, and may lead to bad blood and political infighting.
I couldn't find any statements in Corpora that Patents of Arms outrank Grants of Arms which in turn outrank Awards of Arms. I suspect I overlooked it rather than it isn't there. If it isn't there, it's a tradition that's carved in stone and banded in iron. If we tried to change the order, I think the Board of Directors would pass regulation to correct the oversight.
It does state that a Patent of Arms must be given out with a peerage order and not by itself. Personally, I don't see why. If a Grant of Arms can be given out by itself or with a Court Barony, why not a Patent of Arms? For one reason, it would solve the problem of trying to decide which peerage order the archers and fencers should be inducted into.
Below the peerages, kingdoms can give out Grants of Arms, Awards of Arms, Court Baronies, and "such other awards as the Crown shall deem proper". Court Baron/ess is a rank that varies wildly among the kingdoms. Corpora only states that the recipient must receive at least an Award of Arms if they don't already have one. Some kingdoms consider it no big thing, others will only consider peers as candidates. The East Kingdom is pretty much middle of the road. Generally, in the East, a Court Barony is given with a Grant of Arms so that it will rank between armigers and peers, even if the recipient moves to another kingdom.
There are several different 'varieties' of Baron. (The female equivalent title is meant to be included in this discussion, I only deleted the references to make this paragraph easier to read.) There are Founding Barons, current Territorial Barons, former Territorial Barons, and Court Barons. (There also used be Courtesy Barons in the East, but they were phased out sometime ago.) Corporate rules require only that Barons, of whatever stripe, be armigerous. The East has a tradition of automatically including a Grant of Arms with Territorial Baronies, and frequently includes a Grant with Court Baronies as well, though that tradition is less rigid. Eastern precedence ranks currently ruling Territorial Barons above those who have stepped down, and retired Territorial Barons above individuals, including Court Barons, with a simple Grant of Arms. Court Barons without a Grant of Arms are ranked below the Orders of High Merit. There is no official distinction between Founding and non-Founding Territorial Barons.
I don't see any need to change any of the above, I list it here simply as information for discussion. I would point out that very little about the Order of Precedence is mentioned in actual Eastern law. The principal herald is required to publish the OP bi-annually and it bears the signature of the current king thus giving it the force of law. AEthelmearc might be wise to follow suit.
Below the Grants of Arms are the Orders of High Merit and the Orders of Honor. An Order of High Merit comes with an Award of Arms if the recipient doesn't already have one. An Order of Honor does not, but the royalty can give an AoA in addition to the order if they so wish. AEthelmearc is in the East Kingdom, therefore the current order of precedence is:
There are two schools of thought about what to do with our award system if we become a kingdom. One possibility is to close the principal orders of the Sycamore, Keystone, and Golden Alce and start new royal orders. In this case, the former principality orders would be out-ranked by the new kingdom orders and any out-of-kingdom orders, including the Eastern ones.
The other possibility would be to continue the orders and simply declare that they are now royal orders rather than principal orders. The crux of the issue is whether the awards should change because of the principality's change to kingdom, or stay the same because they were given for performance within the same geographic and social environment. In either case, the Eastern orders should be considered as the out-of-kingdom orders that they would be.
RESTRICTING AWARDS -- Corpora allows kingdoms to restrict awards to paying members, however it also makes the provision that it is not necessary to remain a member to keep the award. Traditionally, the East has not distinguished between paying members and non-paying members when handing out honors in court. I'd like to see this tradition continue. Frankly, the very concept of, "You've done a helluva job and we'll show our thanks as soon as you send money off to California.", strikes me as ludicrous.
RESTRICTING HERALDRY -- The Board of Directors recently ruled that non-paying members may not impinge upon paying members registering arms. They did not specify what they meant by this, and some heralds think that the Board isn't too sure themselves. This has been interpreted to mean that if a paying member and a non-paying member submit at the same time, and they conflict with each other, the paying member's submission may go through and the non-paying member's submission must be returned. I've been doing submissions and commenting heraldry for over eight years and I've seen two conflicting submissions on the same letter only twice. In both cases, both of them bounced against registered arms. The Board of Directors' ruling has had very little influence on heraldry submissions.
Corpora says nothing about kingdoms restricting heraldry submissions. It only states that once an item is registered, it shall continue to be accepted regardless of the membership status of the owner. I don't know of any kingdoms that allow only paying members to submit devices and I'd be disappointed in any that did.
Some kingdoms only allow armigerous gentles to register a device, others only give AoAs to gentles with registered arms. The West Kingdom allows anyone to register a device, but armigers may display their arms with a small three pointed crown above it to show that they're armigerous. The only restriction in the East, and unwritten tradition at that, is that an Award of Arms scroll has a blank shield on it until the recipient's device submission has been registered at Laurel. The royalty sign a scroll to testify that the recipient is armigerous. Brigantia Principal Herald, or Silver Buccle, signs it to testify that the depicted arms are registered. AEthelmearc has made no rulings in addition to the East's. I think this restriction is sufficient, we don't need any others. I would point out that Brigantia Herald has to authorize each Silver Buccle Herald to sign scrolls and that this authorization is not automatically given.
Arms are frequently displayed in an achievement, that is, arms are depicted as being held by a monster or animal on either side of it. A helmet sits on top, occasionally with a crown and/or a crest, and fabric issues out from behind the helm. Sometimes a motto is on a scroll underneath. An achievement for AEthelmearc can be seen on the AEstel subscription forms. Only the actual device is registered, the rest of it may be changed at will.
Some kingdoms place restrictions on who can display an achievement. Meridies and Trimaris allow a single supporter to gentles with Grants or Patents of Arms and two supporters to former royalty. The East has made no restrictions on achievements what-so-ever, and still we see very few of them. I think achievements make wonderful pieces of pagentry, and I'd like to see someone come up with something to encourage their display in AEthelmearc. I would not want to see anything in law, however, because I don't think that's the sort of thing the law of the land should deal with.
Another kind of heraldry that's rarely seen in the Society is an augmentation of arms. An augmentation of arms is an addition to one's arms that's been put there by the crown for outstanding service. The East has given out only one. I'd like to see AEthelmearc Kingdom give out one or maybe two, more than that would cheapen the achievement that it represents.
The chief herald in a kingdom is known as the principal herald and the word 'principal' is inserted in the title. Thus, if AEthelmearc becomes a kingdom, Silver Buccle Herald would become Silver Buccle Principal Herald. Traditionally, when a principal herald steps down, he or she receives a 'retirement' title that stays permanently with them instead of an office. This honor is not automatic. It may be possible to earn a permanent title by other means, but I've never heard of it. I could find nothing in either Corpora or Eastern law concerning the awarding of these titles, but I think it's a wonderful idea and AEthelmearc should continue the tradition.
SUMMARY -- This article was meant to merely list all of the possible
heraldic items, I could think of, that could be changed if AEthelmearc became a
kingdom. The few recommendations I've made, have been specified as such. All
of it may be considered as springboard for discussions. If anyone would like
to discuss this further with me, I can be reached at: David P. Salley, 136
Shepard Street, Buffalo, New York 14212-2029 or via e-mail below.
Lord Dagonell Collingwood of Emerald Lake, CSC, CK, CTr
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