The Role of a Branch Herald

[Crossposted from my session notes on the Elmet site.]

On November 13, I coordinated an online meetup and chat session for heralds of the East Kingdom focused on the responsibilities of a branch herald, and figured I would share a portion of my notes here for easy reference.

Ten heralds of the East attended, nearly all of whom were branch heralds or their deputies, from all areas of the kingdom and all levels of experience — one herald had held the same position for twenty years, while another learned learned during the call that he was being promoted from deputy to take his barony’s pursuivant position.

We discussed the primary additional responsibilities of a branch herald, over and above the activities carried out by a herald at large:

  • Assist your branch with registering badges and order names, and other branch-level administrative actions if needed.
  • Coordinate court heraldry for your branch’s nobles and events in your area.
  • Coordinate name and armory submissions for the your branch’s populace.

Several people emphasized the point that as the branch herald, you’re not responsible for calling every court and submitting every registration — it’s entirely fine if you delegate most or all of this work to other people — instead, your key job is organizing the people and paperwork to make sure these things all get done. (For example, if you ask someone to run a baronial court, you should follow up afterwards to make sure that the court report was filed correctly.)

That category of paperwork includes filing quarterly reports covering the activities listed above; the schedule for these has recently changed and they are now due on the first of February, May, August, and November.

Folks also suggested some other less-obvious areas that branch heralds might find themselves addressing:

  • Monitoring OSCAR to track the submissions of the populace of your area and contacting locals if necessary to resolve problems, such as approving new art so that items can be corrected during commentary rather than returned.
  • Encouraging heraldic display, both of the branch’s symbols and the populace’s, to help make events feel more immersive and authentic.
  • Providing heraldic education to the populace, familiarizing them with the basics of names and armory so they feel comfortable starting down this road.
  • Supporting and educating the junior heralds of your area so they continue to develop new skills and feel connected to the community.
  • Coordinating with royal heralds or heralds of neighboring branches to help arrange things when nobles visit events in other regions.
  • Keep track of precedence, including knowing who are the senior-most peers of your area, so that they may be acknowledged and asked to lead toasts at feast.
  • Ensure that your local awards are properly recorded in the EK Order of Precendence web site, or file corrections if needed, and help your nobles look up histories as they decide who else should be recognized.

Some of the documents we reviewed included:

In the course of discussing precedence, we looked at

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