Arms Tin Hats and Fancy Necklaces
A Newcomer's Guide to Regalia

A Visual Language

People in the SCA often wear all sorts of things that aren't just decorative, but also have meaning. These meanings form the visual language of regalia, which can tell you a person's standing in the Society, their interests, and how they can help you.

Royalty

Each of the Kingdoms of the Society has at least four Royals - King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess.
 
The King and Queen are the reigning monarchs of the Kingdom. They are referred to by the title of King/Queen, and addressed as Your Majesty. The crowns for the King and Queen will vary by Kingdom, and many Kingdoms have more than one set of crowns. The King and Queen will also often be seen wearing the arms of the King and Queen.
 
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess are the heirs to the throne of the Kingdom. They are referred to by the title of Prince/Princess, and addressed as Your Highness. The coronets of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess also vary by Kingdom, and the Crown Prince and Crown Princess will also often be seen wearing the arms of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.
 
Some Kingdoms contain Principalities, which each have four more Royals - Prince, Princess, and the Heirs.
 
The Prince and Princess are the reigning monarchs of the Principality. They are referred to by the title of Prince/Princess, and addressed as Your Highness. The title for the Heirs varies by Principality, but they are all addressed as Your Excellency. Again, the coronets of the Prince, Princess, and Heirs will vary by Kingdom, and they will all also often be seen wearing the arms of their position.

Royal Peers

After someone has served as King or Queen of a Kingdom, or as Prince or Princess of a Principality, they are recognized as a Royal Peer, and are given the right to certain titles and regalia.
 
Ducal Coronet A Duke or Duchess is someone who has reigned as King or Queen at least twice. They are referred to by the title of Duke/Duchess, and addressed as Your Grace. Ducal coronets are marked by strawberry leaves, which are often stylistically represented as clusters of three leaves or a triple lobed leaf or shape.
 
County Coronet A Count or Countess is someone who has reigned as King or Queen once. They are referred to by the title of Count/Countess, and addressed as Your Excellency. County coronets are crenellated (also called embattled), appearing similar to the top of a tower. If the recipient does not already have one, a Patent of Arms is usually awarded with this title.
 
Viscounty Coronet A Viscount or Viscountess is someone who has reigned as Prince or Princess of a Principality at least once. They are referred to by the title of Viscount/Viscountess, and addressed as Your Excellency. In most Kingdoms Viscounty coronets are marked by repeating pearls, projections, or decorations - usually numbering 8 to 16. But in some Kingdoms Viscounty coronets are marked by a single point to the front, while in others they're marked by different numbers of points or by other shapes of projections. Some Kingdoms even specify that County coronets are crenellated and gold, while Viscounty coronets are crenellated and silver. If the recipient does not already have one, a Patent of Arms is often awarded with this title.
 
Order of the Rose The Order of the Rose is composed of former Royal Consorts. Companions of the Order of the Rose have no additional title, but they do have the right to bear the badge of the Order - A wreath of roses.

Armigerous Awards

There are three levels of arms-bearing, or armigerous, awards an individual can receive, and it is through these awards that people gain rank in the Society. Armigerous awards are sometimes given alone, and sometimes in conjunction with other awards.
 
Award of Arms - The first of the three armigerous awards, Awards of Arms are often given alone, but they are sometimes given in conjunction with other awards. When given alone Awards of Arms are not given for any set criteria, but instead for whatever reason the Crown deems worthy. Recipients are referred to and addressed by the title of Lord/Lady, and gain the right to bear heraldic arms.

 
Grant of Arms - The second of the three armigerous awards, Grants of Arms are usually given in conjunction with other awards, but they are sometimes given alone. When given alone, Grants of Arms are also given for whatever reason the Crown deems worthy. Recipients are referred to by the title of The Honorable Lord/Lady, and they are addressed as Your Lordship/Ladyship. In some Kingdoms, the Grant of Arms is further defined as giving the recipient the right to bear arms with a crest and mantling.

 
Patent of Arms - The highest ranking of the three armigerous awards, Patents of Arms are not given alone. They are instead given in conjunction with recognition as a Royal Peer or induction into one of the Peerage Orders. Patents of Arms carry with them no specific titles or forms of address. Instead the recipient is referred to and addressed depending on the award with which they receive their Patent of Arms. In some Kingdoms, the Patent of Arms is further defined as giving the recipient the right to bear arms with a crest, mantling, and supporters.

Peerage Orders

There are three Society-wide Orders into which people are inducted for recognition of their excellence in a chosen field and also for their exemplary qualities as members of the Society.
 
Order of the Chivalry The Order of the Chivalry is composed of individuals who have been recognized for their excellence in the skills of armored combat. If the recipient does not already have one, a
Patent of Arms accompanies induction into the Order. If upon induction into the Order the individual chooses to swear fealty to the Crown, they are made a Knight. If they choose not to do so, they are made a Master of Arms or a Mistress of Arms. Knights are referred to and addressed by the title of Sir, and they have the right to wear a white belt, spurs, and a chain of fealty. Masters and Mistresses of Arms are referred to and addressed by the title of Master/Mistress, and they have the right to wear a white baldric and spurs.
 
Order of the Laurel The Order of the Laurel is composed of individuals who have been recognized for their excellence in and dedication to the arts and sciences. If the recipient does not already have one, a Patent of Arms accompanies induction into the Order. Companions of the Order of the Laurel are referred to and addressed by the title of Master/Mistress, and they have the right to wear the badge of the Order - A laurel wreath. Some Companions also wear laurel wreath style coronets or cloaks marked with a laurel wreath.
 
Order of the Pelican The Order of the Pelican is composed of individuals who have been recognized for their service to the Society. If the recipient does not already have one, a Patent of Arms accompanies induction into the Order. Companions of the Order of the Pelican are referred to and addressed by the title of Master/Mistress, and they have the right to wear the badge of the Order - A pelican in its piety. They also have the right to wear a cap of maintenance, which is a velvet cap (usually red) with an upturned ermine brim. Some Companions also wear a cloak marked with the badge of the Order.

Students of Peers

Members of each of the three peerage orders often take students. While being taken on in this manner does not equate to receiving an award, the students do sometimes wear colored belts or baldrics to signify that such a relationship exists.
 
Squire A squire is someone who has entered into a fealty based student relationship with a Companion of the Order of the Chivalry. Squires have no title, but they often wear a red belt or baldric, sometimes marked with the arms of their Knight or Master.
 
Apprentice An apprentice is someone who has entered into a formal, frequently fealty based, student relationship with a Companion of the Order of the Laurel. Apprentices have no title, but they often wear a green belt or baldric, sometimes marked with the arms of their Laurel.
 
Protégé A protégé is someone who has entered into a formal, frequently fealty based, student relationship with a Companion of the Order of the Pelican. Protégés have no title, but they often wear a yellow belt or baldric, sometimes marked with the arms of their Pelican.
 
It should be noted that while this use of colored belts is prevalent in some areas, even then the above colors aren't reserved for students of peers. Anyone can wear them. Though certainly, one should respect local tradition when deciding whether or not it would be appropriate to wear one in a given circumstance.

Barons and Baronesses

There are two types of Barons and Baronesses in the Society - Court and Territorial.

A Court Baron or Baroness is someone who has been given this title by the Crown. As there are no set criteria for who may be made a Court Baron or Baroness, the Crown may bestow this title on whomever they deem worthy. Usually, it is given as a way of expressing great thanks. If the recipient does not already have one, an Award of Arms accompanies this award. Though in some Kingdoms, tradition or law might have them instead receive a Grant of Arms. Court Barons and Baronesses are referred to by the title of Baron/Baroness, and are addressed as Your Excellency.

A Territorial, or Landed, Baron or Baroness is someone who serves as head of a Barony. If the recipient does not already have one, an Award of Arms accompanies this award. Though in some Kingdoms, tradition or law might have them instead receive a Grant of Arms. It is also common practice that when an individual steps down from having served as a Territorial Baron or Baroness, the Crown will at that time make them a Court Baron or Baroness. As with Court Barons and Baronesses, Territorial Barons and Baronesses are addressed as Your Excellency. But the usage of their title varies slightly in that Baron/Baroness can be used preceding the name of their Barony, in place of their name.
 
Baronial Coronet In most Kingdoms Baronial coronets, whether Court or Territorial, are marked by repeating pearls, projections, or decorations - usually numbering 6. But in other Kingdoms Baronial coronets are marked by a single point to the front. In addition, some Kingdoms specify that Territorial Baronial coronets are gold, while Court Baronial coronets are silver.

Kingdom Awards

In addition to the above-described Society-wide awards, each Kingdom has its own awards. Then in addition to the awards, there may also be a variety of court positions or skill rankings that have associated regalia. Please consult your Kingdom Law and College of Heralds for detailed information on your Kingdom's awards and associated regalia.

Officers

While serving as an officer does not equate to receiving an award and carries no rank or title, there are badges for most offices.
 
Seneschal The Seneschal is the chief administrative officer for the branch, coordinating the efforts of other officers and serving as a liaison with the modern world. The badge of the Seneschal is gules, a key fesswise Or.
 
Herald The Herald is the officer responsible for name and armory submissions, and also for supervising field and court heraldry. The badge of the Herald is vert, two trumpets in saltire Or. This badge is also often altered to include, or used in conjunction with, the branch arms or an element from the arms.
 
Marshal The Marshal is the officer responsible for overseeing all martial arts activities. The badge of the Marshal is sable, two swords in saltire Or.
 
Minister of Arts & Sciences Minister of Sciences Minister of Arts The Minister of Arts and Sciences is the officer responsible for supporting the practice and development of the various arts and sciences practiced both in period and in the Society today. In some Kingdoms this office is split, with both a Minister of Arts and a Minister of Sciences. The badge commonly used for the joint Office of Arts and Sciences is azure, a candle enflamed within an arch stooped argent. While the badge for the Minister of Arts is purpure, an Irish harp Or and the badge for the Minister of Sciences is per pale Or and argent, a pair of calipers sable.
 
Chancellor of the Exchequer The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the officer responsible for the financial records and reports. The badge of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is azure, a pale checky gules and argent between six bezants in pale three and three.
 
Chronicler The Chronicler is the officer responsible for overseeing the publication of the newsletter. The badge of the Chronicler is per pale sable and argent, two quills conjoined in pile counterchanged, a chief gules.
 
Chirurgeon The Chirurgeon is the officer responsible for overseeing first aid and health and safety issues. The badge of the Chirurgeon is gules, on a goutte argent a fleam gules.
 
Chatelaine The Chatelaine is the officer responsible for welcoming and assisting newcomers to the Society. They are also usually responsible for maintaining a collection of loaner garb, often called Gold Key. In some Kingdoms this officer may be called a Hospitaller. The badge most commonly used for the Chatelaine is vert, a key palewise inverted and reversed Or, but some Kingdoms have their own badges for this office.
 
Children's Officer The Children's Officer, known by different names in different Kingdoms, is the officer responsible for coordinating children's activities. The badge for this office is per pale purpure and argent, two roundels counterchanged.
 
Webminister The Web Minister is the officer responsible for maintaining a branch's website. The badge for the Web Minister is argent, a spider tergiant sable, a chief gules.

Other Officers

While most of the officer names and badges given in the previous section are used relatively consistently throughout the Known World, there may be variation between Kingdoms. There are also many other types of officers in different Kingdoms and smaller branches, and while some of these may use identical or similar badges, others may not. Please consult your Kingdom Law and College of Heralds for detailed information on your Kingdom's officers and their associated badges.

Other Regalia

In addition to all the regalia previously described, there are many other distinctive badges, medallions, favors, and other items that can indicate something about the wearer. Some of these items may signify Baronial awards, household awards, affiliation to a household or an individual, or even some other relationship.

If you see someone wearing an item you don't recognize, ask them about it. Most people will be more than happy to tell you the significance, and you never know when it will lead to an interesting story.


© 2001–2008 Jessica I. Clark
Permission to print a copy for your own use freely given. Please contact me for permission to reprint or distribute.

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