Job Description -- The Vesper Principal Herald
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The Vesper Principal Herald is the primary herald of the Kingdom, and is answerable
to the Crown of the West and the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. As such, Vesper
is the final authority on matters involving the Heraldic Office, including
decisions made at heraldry meetings on submissions processing, and matters
involving all of the other offices.
- Ultimately, the Vesper Principal Herald is responsible for the actions
taken by all heralds in the West Kingdom. S/he is responsible for assigning
duties to subordinates, supervision, training of all heralds in the Kingdom,
and requesting that the Crown recognize the service done by individuals
within the College.
- The Vesper Principal Herald must swear fealty when taking the office, and
during Coronation of a new King and Queen. Note that while personal fealty
is not required, fealty for the office is. Vesper must attend or
send a proxy to Kingdom Officer Meetings with a report on the status of
- Vesper keeps the Great Seal of the Kingdom, and is responsible for its use.
Currently this is often kept in hand by the West Kingdom Scribe, who uses
it to seal award scrolls. The Vesper Principal Herald is responsible for
checking that these scrolls are correct names are spelled correctly,
and blazons and emblazons on the scrolls are correct.
- Vesper needs to be aware of what is happening in the SCA's College of Arms,
as Vesper is the primary representative of the West Kingdom College of Heralds
in the College of Arms. Therefore, the Vesper Principal Herald must be familiar
with their policies, and be able to comment on same to the populace of the
- Vesper is responsible for appointing heraldic officers in the Kingdom.
- Vesper is responsible for communicating with heralds throughout the Kingdom
this includes the Far West, the Marches, and the Principality of
Oertha, not just the central part of the Kingdom.
- Vesper is responsible for informing the populace of matters of importance,
including dates of meetings and changes in policy, which should include
a column in The Page.
- Vesper should attend the regularly scheduled Herald's meetings, and should
be available to make decisions as needed regarding submissions.
- Vesper is the Principal Court Herald of the West Kingdom, and should be
available if the Crown requests him/her.
Note that Vesper can designate deputies to handle many of the duties noted.
Herald's meetings are usually held monthly, depending on a variety of factors,
including pending work-load, and event schedules. Vesper should attend these
meetings so that he/she can:
- Communicate with the heralds in attendance any policy decisions, both
Kingdom and SCA-wide.
- Officiate at the meeting in matters regarding submissions
West Kingdom Events
Vesper should attempt to attend West Kingdom events, particularly Coronations
and Crown Tournaments.
At these events:
- Vesper is the lead herald for the Kingdom, and the ultimate heraldic authority
for the West Kingdom.
- Vesper should hold a herald's meeting at least on Saturday morning (usually
at 9:00 in the morning), and perhaps a second meeting on Sunday (depending
on whether it is felt it is needed or not), to discuss the business of the
day, to solicit heralds to sign up and work the event, and to discuss any
policy decisions that may be needed for the day. (Note: if Vesper cannot
attend, Greencloak is usually responsible for these duties.)
- Vesper is the head court herald of the Kingdom, and may be requested to
perform courts, specifically courts such as Coronations. If Vesper is not
able to do this, Banner is responsible to schedule another herald to do
- Vesper should at least keep an eye and an ear out when Duty heralds and
Field heralds are doing their job to assist the Greencloak in ensuring that
there are no problems with these heralds.
Vesper should attend these specifically, as he/she must present the Kingdom
Seal (if necessary, get it back from the Kingdom Scribe), and swear/affirm
fealty for the office to the new King and Queen.
West Kingdom Officer Meetings
Vesper should plan on attending these meetings, and prepare a report in advance.
If Vesper cannot attend, a proxy (another senior herald, usually) should be
sent to the meeting in Vesper's place, with said report. The report should
detail anything that is felt important that the Crown, the Crown Prince and
Princess, and the other officers of the Kingdom should know.
Vesper is responsible for all award scrolls being created by the Kingdom Scribes'
office being correctly blazoned, emblazoned, and ensuring that the names are
correct. Vesper should ensure before scrolls are sealed that this is the case,
and if a problem occurs, should refuse to sign the scrolls. This may seem harsh,
but these scrolls are "legal documents", and need to be correct.
Normally the Kingdom Scribe seals scrolls, but Vesper should be there and check
the scrolls out first. Vesper needs to sign scrolls to show that the herald's
office has affirmed that the name, blazon and emblazon are all correct. Some
scrolls do not show the blazon or emblazon, and therefore do not need the signature
of the Vesper Principal Herald, nor the seal of the College of Heralds, however
Vesper is still responsible for ensuring the name is correct, and that the
West Kingdom seal is used correctly.
Vesper is responsible for communication with the heralds and with the populace.
The big problem is that it is very easy to assume that since a lot folk have
email and web access, that everyone in the College of Heralds and/or the populace
of the Kingdom does. This is not the case, and that assumption should never
While communication via email and the web is a good thing™,
and can and should be used, never assume that the people who need to know about
something can access email or the web. The Page is the best place to ensure
that policy decisions, and whatever else needs to be gotten to the populace
is done. Work with the Kingdom Chronicler to be sure that the information is
in The Page in time for it to be useful (check deadlines and such). In addition,
it may be a good idea to make announcements in court. Most importantly, do
not assume that any one venue is "enough", when it comes to communicating
with the heralds and the populace. An announcement in court is only going to
be heard by the people who were at court. An email message sent to the Herald's
mailing list is only going to be read by those who have access to that list.
Information put in the Herald's Minutes is only going to be seen by those who
access the minutes on the web.
In one way of thinking, ALL heralds who work with the College of Heralds of
the West Kingdom are deputies of the Vesper Principal Herald. However, realistically
Vesper has a set group of deputies listed in this document to handle various
aspects of running the office. In addition to those noted here, there is:
- Compline Herald Compline is the designated successor to Vesper. The
title is only used if the designated successor does not have any other titles.
Vesper may also have the unfortunate job of having to remove an officer who
is not doing those duties, or is doing them incorrectly. This is not a pleasant
task, but Vesper must be prepared to do so, if necessary.
- Regular review with Vesper's deputies will provide a venue for correction
and improvement in their offices. Occasionally this will not be enough and
a special review will be necessary. At this time, Vesper should inform the
deputy (or other heraldic officer) of these "problems" and give
them a chance to refute or acknowledge the situation. Vesper and the officer
should work out a plan of correction or improvement and create a schedule
for same. (This plan must include regular reviews to assure the corrections
are being implemented.)
- If that does not work, then go through proper channels, which include in
the case of a local officer, talking with the local Seneschal. It is possible
that there are extenuating circumstances for why the person is not doing
the job properly.
- If all else fails, you may need to remove them from office. Removal can
be done in a couple of ways the most painless is to simply ask them
to resign, and then put someone else in the position. This may work, but
if the officer refuses, you may have to fire them. This sounds harsh, and
it is, but there are cases where this is the only way to get something done.
Senior Staff Heraldic Job Descriptions
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