The An Tir Handbook, 3rd Edition, May XXXIII/1998
Tell Me About...
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
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.
- 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.
- 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
For more information about the office of Heralds, see
Administration - Great Offices - The An Tir College of Heralds.