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The An Tir Handbook, 3rd Edition, May XXXIII/1998

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Being A Herald

You don't have to be a branch herald in order to take part in the activities of the An Tir College of Heralds. Anyone with an interest in heraldry is encouraged to "come and play", and become a herald-at-large.

Heraldic activities fall into two broad categories: Voice and Book. Voice heralds are involved in doing court, announcing combat on the lists field, and making announcements at events. Book heralds do research into medieval names, devices, ceremonies and regalia, and assist the populace in registering their names and devices with the College of Arms.

Voice Heraldry

  • Court Heralds are a combination of public-address system, stage manager, and master of ceremonies. They assist royalty (and others who are entitled to hold court) in making court business flow smoothly, reading court documents aloud for the information of the attending populace, and orchestrating the flow of people to and from the thrones. They also make announcements during court, quietly prompt the royalty from a script during ceremonies, and interpret and describe activities taking place before the thrones which might not be heard or seen from the back of court. Court Heralds must know how to project their voice so that it can be clearly heard from a distance. They must be familiar with typical activities which take place in court, and be aware at all times that they are speaking with the voice of the presiding nobles.
  • Field Heralds participate in the ceremony of the lists field by introducing each pair of fighters to the assembled populace and directing them through the ceremony of saluting the Throne, each other, and the fighters' consorts. Field Heralds also announce the winner of each bout. Field heraldry is often a hot and dry (or cold and wet) business. Field Heralds should have sturdy footwear and take pains to wear a hat while in the sun, dress warmly in the rain, and to drink plenty of water.
  • Outside of court and the lists field, there is often a need to distribute information to the people attending an event. Announcement Heralds (much like the town criers of the middle ages) provide the valuable service of walking throughout event sites calling announcements.
    Like both Court and Field Heralds, an announcements herald should be able to project their voice, have sturdy footwear, and be dressed appropriately for the weather.

Book Heraldry

  • Names: An important part of developing a persona is selecting a name that is appropriate to the persona's time and place. Name Heralds research naming practices in a wide range of times and locations and assist people in creating and registering appropriate and pleasing names.
  • Devices or Arms: The display of individual and branch devices is part of the visual pageantry of the Society. Device heralds research the appropriate design and usage of devices in the Middle Ages. They assist people in designing and registering devices that follow good heraldic practices.
  • Protocol: Heralds are also interested in a number of other fields which could loosely be defined as "protocol". Research by heralds into medieval ceremonies (e.g. the coronation of a king, or creation of a knight), regalia (the symbols and tokens of Orders), and forms of address (titles and ranks) eventually finds its way into the ceremonies and life of the Society.

Book Heralds must like doing research and have access to basic research materials. They often participate in Consulting Tables at events where members of the populace can come for advice and feedback on names and devices.

If you are interested in participating in any heraldic activity, feel free to contact your friendly local herald, stop by Herald's Point or the Consulting Table at any event, or contact the Black Lion Herald of An Tir (listed in The Crier) and ask for more information.

For more information about the office of Heralds, see Administration - Great Offices - The An Tir College of Heralds.


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