Monday, October 10, 2011

Heraldry in the News!

Alex Singleton at the Mail Online has a gripe -- apparently he finds the Court of the Lord Lyon of Scotland to be "the silliest, most pointless government body ever."

I'm not certain from his brief blog post dated today - which can be found at - exactly what his complaint is.  I get the impression that it may be because the Lyon Court has prosecutorial powers, and has used them against one or more football and rugby clubs which were displaying heraldry which had not been registered in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings.  Maybe he was a big fan of one or more of the teams, and is upset that they had to pay money to register the emblems they were using.  Or maybe he just finds the idea of a regulatory body in this area to be offensive to his sensibilities. In any case, he finds the situation to be "Bonkers, utterly bonkers."

Yeah, that's so much worse than the situation in England (I am, of course, speaking facetiously here), where the College of Arms has virtually no power at all to protect coats of arms, thus fostering a situation where anyone can design or steal or "borrow" and display any heraldry they like (with the exception of the Royal Arms, which are protected by law).

And over on this side of the Atlantic, the American Heraldry Society has one again been discussing the fact that the United States will probably never, ever have a nationally-based even quasi-official heraldic authority.  Maybe Mr. Singleton should move over here, 'cause we'll let anybody go ahead and design and use a coat of arms or heraldry-like logo without having to deal with an overseeing authority or any kind of quality control or anything else at all.  (Of course, we do end up with some pretty awful designs that way. Not to mention all of the folks who believe that their "family crest" is the one that someone at a Renaissance fair or Scottish games sold them, because all of the Smith's in the world have but a single coat of arms, don't ya know.)


  1. Dear David, did you notice that Mr Singleton is proudly quoting you to support his cause? "Bonkers, utterly bonkers."

  2. No, I hadn't seen that; thank you for pointing it out. He just doesn't seem to understand the importance of the kind of regulation and protection that Scotland offers to coats of arms. Copyright law, which he suggests in one of his comments, was not designed to protect coats of arms, which may have a number of different depictions while all adhering to a single blazon. Most copyright laws protect only a single, specific rendition of a design.

  3. My pleasure, dear David... if this is the right word for the situation :)
    Also the right to a coat of arms passes and descends according to the different rules. But this is actually a very fine point and I am glad that Mr Singleton with his naive self-contentness did not start digging it.