Home Page > Information for Heralds > Herald's Handbook > Duties and Responsibilities
Policy Level: WK Policy
Intended Audience: All Heralds
Abstract: This is an extract from the official enclosure with the Roster Letter which is sent to each herald in the West Kingdom as he or she is added to the Roster. It contains a brief discussion of the Duties of Heralds. (With links added for items that made sense ...). This version is from the most recent enclosure letter: February 15, 2016.
(Section of roster letter that is individually specific -- name, rank, address, etc. is not included here.)
A description of the duties and responsibilities of a herald in the West is below. Please read this document and, if you accept the duties and responsibilities of your position, reply to this email. Please correct the information above, or provide any information that is missing. If we have not heard from you by two weeks from the date this letter was sent, your name will be removed from the Roster. If we have you listed as the herald for your branch, the Seneschal of that branch will be contacted to obtain the name of a replacement herald.
If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be aware of the following methods of communication and sources of information for the College of Heralds of the West. I encourage all heralds to subscribe to the yahoo mailing lists and the Facebook Group.
Yahoo group and mailing list (announcements from senior staff only): email@example.com
West Kingdom Herald Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/302970543102065/
West Kingdom heralds pages at: http://heralds.westkingdom.org
If you are interested in devices and names, please make an account on OSCAR to look at the West Kingdom Internal Letters, which are used for educational purposes. https://oscar.sca.org/
There are also many other heraldic resources online. The above list is by no means exclusive or complete.
The Responsibilities of Rostered HeraldsThe Paragraph numbers in red are temporary, but are referenced in the article Commentary on the Roster Letter Enclosure Letter ... they are here to make sure we're talking about the correct paragraph as that article is being revised.
1 Being on the roster of the College of Heralds means that you have accepted certain duties, both as an officer of the Society for Creative Anachronism and as a Member of the West Kingdom College of Heralds. As an officer, you must obey the lawful commands of your Crown, Coronet, and superior officers, and be of such aid to them, and to the populace, as is within your ability. You must be polite and outgoing when on duty, especially when dealing with newcomers and bystanders, for your actions as an officer will reflect upon the SCA as a whole.
2 As a rostered herald, you should assist to the best of your ability when asked for assistance by another herald; you should be willing to answer any heraldic question put to you, or know to whom to refer the question if you do not know the answer; you should strive to increase your heraldic knowledge and skills in any way available to you, and should take advantage of any training offered to you by the College.
3 You should attend any heralds’ meetings called at any event at which you are present. If you live in the Mists or Cynagua, you should try to attend the semi-monthly Kingdom heralds’ meetings whenever it is within your power to do so. If you live in the Marches of the West or in Oertha, you may be able to attend the meetings through online conferencing -- details on the meeting page (When and Where are the Meetings?).
4 You are urged to read the College of Heralds Minutes when they are published. This is especially important for branch heralds, if you are interested in book heraldry, or if you are not able to attend the meetings. The Minutes are available from the West Kingdom Herald’s Website (Minute of the Heralds Meetings).
5 You should wear proper heraldic insignia (a tabard or baldric, green with gold crossed trumpets) when on duty (especially as a voice herald), and must refrain from wearing such insignia when off duty. It is strongly recommended that any herald for a branch make or have made a herald’s tabard for the branch. Personal tabards may be made by any Member of the College of Heralds, but loaner regalia is available at Kingdom and Principality events. Also see the Heralds' Handbook article: Heraldic Regalia and How to Wear It
The Duties of Rostered Heralds
6 Most heraldic duties fall into the general categories of voice and book heraldry.
7 VOICE: This is the work with which the College is most strongly identified; the introduction of fighters on the field, the making of announcements at events, and the performance of royal courts. If you are the heraldic officer for a branch, you are responsible for the voice heraldry at any event sponsored by that branch which is not a Kingdom or Principality event. This does not mean that you must do all the work yourself.
8 Field and Duty: It is your responsibility to find and schedule competent field and duty heralds at your branch’s events, and to make sure that they do the jobs assigned to them. If you are a herald at large, or a branch herald attending an event not in your area, you should be ready to assist the herald in charge if you are asked to do so.
9 Court: If you are a Kingdom, Principality or Baronial herald, you must be ready to run any court for your Crown or Coronet. This means taking and screening business, having any necessary ceremonies ready, and actually conducting the court. If this is not within your capabilities, you should find a deputy who can handle it. It is advisable to carry your own copy of your principality and the kingdom ceremony book.
10 BOOK: All heralds should be familiar with the most current version of the Rules of Submission, called SENA (Standards for Evaluation of Names and Armory), and with the forms and procedures used in the West. You should work to be able to aid members of the populace with the selection of SCA names and the design of devices, either by consulting with them yourself or by referring them to the Consultation Table or a herald who is trained in book heraldry if you are not. Further research into naming practices, device design, and other aspects of armorial heraldry are encouraged.
Information about the Organization of the College of Heralds
11 Referrals: Please remember that you should always pass on any question you can’t answer and delegate any job you can’t handle. Questions may always be referred to your immediate supervisor. If you are on Vesper’s staff, are a Principality Herald, or live in the Marches of the West, Vesper is your superior. If you live in the Principality of the Mists, the Sea Wolf Herald is your superior. If you live in Cynagua, the Sable Swan Herald is your superior. If you live in Oertha, the Stellanordica Herald is your superior. Contact information for these Heralds is in the Kingdom newsletter, The Page, and can be found on the West Kingdom Herald’s Website, Contact page.
12 Questions on general voice work may be referred to the Greencloak Herald. Questions on court, ceremony, protocol, and precedence may be referred to the Banner Herald. Questions on submissions procedures may be referred to the Matins Herald. Questions on research for book heraldry, names, device design, and conflict research may be referred to either Matins Herald, Latimer Herald or Brachet Herald. Questions regarding heraldic education and training may be referred to the Baldric Herald. Questions about the Heralds’ website may be referred to Golem Herald. In addition, any questions regarding heraldry or heralds can be referred to the Vesper Principal Herald. All of the staff Heralds may be contacted at the College address listed in The Page and on the heralds website (Contacts link). We are here to give you all the help and support we can.
13 Ranks: There are two kinds of rank within the College of Heralds of the West, “Permanent” and “Job Title”. “Permanent” rank is based upon your skill, knowledge, and activity level. “Job Title” rank is based upon your current assignment – if you do not have a particular assignment, your “Job Title” rank is "unassigned".
14 Permanent Rank: The permanent ranks are as follows: “Cornet” is a training rank, which is given to beginners. Cornets are listed on the Roster only if thy are the heraldic officer for a branch. The next rank up and basic rank within the College is “Pursuivant Extraordinary” (PE), which is given to someone who has shown a continuing interest in heraldry, a willingness to work, and talent in any of the heraldic areas. “Pursuivant” is the highest permanent rank in the College of Heralds of the West, and is generally given by Vesper to those who continue to work and have shown competence in all three of the heraldic areas or excellence in any of the areas.
15 Pursuivants and PEs may be “at-large”. This means that they are not attached to a specific branch or Vesper’s staff, but work for the College as a whole.16 Job Titles: In the West Kingdom, most Titled Heralds are highly skilled, knowledgeable people. The Vesper Principal Herald is the chief heraldic officer in the Kingdom. Titled Heralds and Titled Pursuivants are either Principality Heralds, Baronial/Provincial Heralds, or are attached to Vesper’s staff (see the Titled staff Heralds mentioned above, in Referrals). Titled Heralds and Titled Pursuivants who hold the “permanent” rank of PE are addressed as Acting (Title).
17 The heraldic officers attached to a Barony or Province are all Titled Pursuivants whose titles are attached to their branches. The herald for a shire or other small branch is addressed as Pursuivant for (Branch).
18 Cornets are encouraged to advance their knowledge, at least to the “permanent” rank of PE, as soon as possible. You can advance either through the recommendation of one of the Senior Staff Heralds, or (especially for heralds interested in being book heralds) through submitting the PE test, available at the Heralds’ website, and scoring well.
19 Your name, address, permanent rank, and job title are in your roster letter. If your job title is "unassigned", that means that you are not currently rostered as a staff herald or the herald for a branch, i.e. you are "at large". If you have any questions about the roster, or about any other aspect of your heraldic duties, please feel free to contact Vesper or your Principality Herald.