An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop o...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, April 18, 2016
I Had No Idea ...
... that this would go on for so long, or take on a life of its own (as it seems to have done).
What is "it," you ask?
Well, a number of years ago when I was far more active in the Society for Creative Anachronism* than I am now, our local group was having a heraldic consultation day, to help members in the area design coats of arms for themselves to use at events within the Society. Unfortunately, at this consultation day, there were more heralds than consultees, and the six of us (yes, I was one of the "Six Bored Heralds") gave ourselves a challenge: to design a coat of arms consisting of a field and a single charge which would be too complex to register under the rules of heraldry for the SCA. What we came up with was this:
The blazon for this monstrosity is: Gyronny, lozengy or and gules, and vair, a mascle throughout counterchanged. As I noted, a field and a single charge.
It was a fun thing to do at the time, it broke up the boredom a bit, and we all had a good laugh. And thought that would pretty much be the end of it.
I had no idea at the time, and I suspect that none of us did, that it would take on a life of its own, get its own name, or get onto the internet with the story of its creation (and even the arrangement of the lozengy and vair gyrons) slightly skewed. But there it was, big as life (or perhaps even bigger than life) out there for all the world to see. Someone even wrote a song about it.
I'd say I'm sorry, but again, it was a fun thing to do at the time. And it does demonstrate some of the awfulness that can be designed if you don't keep your heralds sufficiently busy, and they start giving themselves a challenge.
* People often ask what "Society for Creative Anachronism" means. I always tell them that it means that you should never, ever, let a young and budding science fiction author name your group.