Crosses in S.C.A. Heraldry: Disallowed Crosses

While crosses not used in period heraldry can be registered in the S.C.A., they must comply with the S.C.A. Standards for Evaluation of Names and Armory, including the requirement that all charges meet a certain standard of compatibility with "period style" and that they not be offensive. The crosses here have been judged to be out of compliance with one or more of the rules, and therefore cannot be registered. It should be noted, however, that the College's standards do change over time, and some of these crosses have been registered in the past.

This table doesn't necessarily include every precedent related to any given type cross that was ever issued. I intentionally left out those that have been explicitly overruled and avoided including multiple precedents that state and re-state the same information, and it is always possible that I've missed a ruling here or there by accident. Please consult the precedents yourself if you need comprehensive information on everything that's ever been said about a particular cross.

Please note: Under "rulings and precedents" in the table below, the phrase "ordinary cross" is often used where the unmodified "cross" would be used in blazon, to avoid any confusion that might arise from a statement like, "A cross formy throughout is significantly different from a cross."

type description and/or example rulings and precedents

cross alisée formy

Note: Submissions and commentary on crosses of this type have also used the terms "formy convex", "formy convexed", and "patty convex".

a roundel bearing four semi-elliptical notches in saltire

Volume III of William Berry's 1828 Encyclopædia Heraldica, plate XXXII

"[This cross has] been documented only to within our 50-year 'grey area', and only as an artistic motif, not an heraldic charge. The only terms that adequately describe it are found in a 19th Century work, compiled by an author whose lack of scholarship is legend. I simply have no grounds for believing this cross to be compatible with period heraldic style." (March, 1993 LoAR)

There's no significant difference between a cross patty fitchy and a cross patty convex fitchy. (July, 1985 LoAR)

cross capital

a Latinate cross with decorative ends like capitals or columns

Stowe MS 944, folio 6

BSB Cod. icon 391, folio 15v

Only one image of a cross like this has been found in period art, and none in period heraldry. ". . .[T]his is not sufficient to invent a new charge." (November, 2013 LoAR)

Note: I assume the sovereigns had not seen the emblazon from BSB Cod. icon 391 to the left when they made this ruling.

Cross of Cerdaña

an eqilateral lozenge with a semi-circular notch at the center of each of its sides

"This cross is an SCA-invented cross. It has never been documented to period. Barring evidence for the use of this cross as a period charge, we will cease to register these crosses after the August 2010 Laurel meeting." (cover letter to the February, 2010 LoAR)

Note: This cross is reminiscent of a cross clechy.

crosshair cross

"This 'crosshair' depiction of a cross is not acceptable." (January, 2010 LoAR)

"This depiction of a Celtic cross with thin untapered arms does not match the ones we are currently registering and as such would need to be documented to be registerable. The submitter provided an image of a 10th century cross with reduced tapering of the arms. However, it does not match the submitted depiction. There is some visible tapering of the longer arm and all arms are significantly wider than the annulet portion." (April, 2017 LoAR)

Note: This cross has a great deal in common with a Cross of Coldharbour and a Coptic cross

crosslet, with extra crossbars

". . .a cross crosslet is a cross couped with a crossbar on each of the four arms. The depicted cross takes this a fractal step further and adds another crossbar on each of the twelve branches. No documentation was presented, and none could be found, that this is a period style of cross." (January, 2010 LoAR)

cross enflamed

showing flames around the edges

Flaming crosses are no longer registered in the S.C.A., because of their association with the Ku Klux Klan. (Glossary of Terms)

A cross enflamed "would have small spurts of flame issuant from around the edge". (December, 2010 LoAR)

cross of flames

a cross made out of fire

Flaming crosses are no longer registered in the S.C.A., because of their association with the Ku Klux Klan. (Glossary of Terms)

"Without evidence that ordinaries of flame were used in period armory,or that such are compatible with period armory, we will not register ordinaries of flames." (February, 1994 LoAR)

fylfot cross

a cross potent missing the counter-clockwise end of the terminal crosspiece on each arm

In heraldic contexts outside the S.C.A. this cross is sometimes blazoned a "cross potent rebated" or "cross gammadion".

Sable, a fylfot reversed Or between four roses argent.

fol. 220 Klassik Stiftung Weimar, seite 372

The fylfot is a restricted charge because of its strong association in the minds of most members of the Society with the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (the German Nazis of World War II). (Glossary of Terms)

Note: This restriction only relates to standard fylfot crosses, not to the very similar cross gurgity or to the cross potent rebated in annulo.

Latin cross with its vertical member shifted to dexter or sinister

arms of Pope John Paul II

detail from an image by Magul available under a GNU Free Documentation License

"Although [a cross enhanced to chief and to dexter] has been used in modern heraldry, we were unable to find any use of the extremely unbalanced design in period heraldry. This is just not 'period style'." (March, 1989, LoAR)

"[A cross enhanced to sinister chief] is inherently highly unbalanced, and no evidence was presented for its existence in period. The one example presented for a cross enhanced and offset this way is modern: the arms of Pope John Paul II, designed for him by Archbishop Bruno B. Heim when he became Archbishop of Krakow and later modified by changing tinctures when he was invested as Pope. These are clearly modern arms, and cannot be used as evidence for period style usage." (September, 1995 LoAR)


a cross formy surmounted by two cartouches voided in cross

"Non-crosses are an SCA invention. . .no longer registerable barring evidence that such crosses are compatible with period style." (August, 2000 LoAR)

Papal cross

a Latin cross with three crossbars in chief

The Papal cross is restricted as a symbol of the Roman Catholic Pope. (Glossary of Terms)

cross patee botonny

"a cross pierced and patée and botonné"

Joseph Foster's 1902 Some Feudal Coats of Arms, page 18

"No documentation was provided that such a cross, which looks like a cross bottony with added flanges, was a reasonable variant of period crosses." (July, 1999 LoAR)

While there is some limited evidence that a cross of this type might have appeared in the 14th-century Falkirk roll, it is contradictory and inadequate. And even if the cross was seen there, that probably represents, "a one-off period weirdness". (August, 2000 LoAR)

Note: This cross does bear some similarity to a cross formy triply-pometty.

cross pattée concave

"No documentation was presented, and none was found, for the cross pattée concave in period armory. This cross has ends that are straight throughout most of their length, and flare out only at the very ends of the arm. As far as we are aware, period crosses formy flare out along the entirety of their length.

The term concave, as found in a few previous SCA registrations, appears to apply to a cross that is somewhat nowy lozengy (or nowy of a lozenge). This cross is only slightly nowy of a lozenge. Because the blazon term concave is not well-defined in real-world or SCA armory, it should be avoided in the future." (March, 2004 LoAR)

Red Cross cross

flag of the International Red Cross

this image is in the public domain because it consists entirely of information that is common property and contains no original authorship

Because the emblem of the International Red Cross is protected by international treaty, "The use of a red straight armed cross with flat, couped ends to the arms on any white background, or in any way that could be displayed on a white background, including as a tertiary charge, is prohibited, even if some of the arms are elongated so that it is not blazonable exactly as a cross couped gules". (January, 2009 LoAR)

"The use of multiple gules crosses couped may be returned on a case-by-case basis if their placement or usage appears too evocative of the symbol of the Red Cross." (July, 2006 LoAR)

"While a cross fitchy conflicts with a cross not fitchy, our protection of the Red Cross is not by conflict, but by presumption." (April, 2014 LoAR) As a blazonable difference, fitching is enough to eliminate presumption. (July, 2012 LoAR)

San Damiano cross

"a San Damiano crucifix with the body removed"

the San Damiano crucifix

this photo of an icon cross believed to have been painted some time before 1205 C.E. is in the public domain

". . .no documentation was presented for this being a period cross. Absent such documentation the charge is not registerable." (June, 1999 LoAR)


Note: Outside the S.C.A., "star-cross" is sometimes used as the blazon for the charge that is blazoned a "cross estoile" in S.C.A. heraldry.

a pallet surmounted in chief by a saltorel

"The star-cross is a modern invention and not a period charge." (March, 1994 LoAR)

Ukranian sun cross

a cross swallowtailed nowy

"No documentation was provided that Ukrainian sun crosses were used as anything except an artistic motif in period. There are many artistic motifs that were never used in heraldry, even in areas that used heraldry. Therefore, being an artistic motif is insufficient.. . ." (November, 1999 LoAR)

This page was written and is maintained by Coblaith Muimnech, who created and owns the copyright to all portions not attributed to others. You may print or electronically copy it for your own use or to pass on to others, provided you do not seek to profit from its distribution.

Click to visit Coblaith's homepage or the index to her heraldry articles.

You can see most of the illustrations above in their original contexts by clicking on them or on text in the notes below them. The cited manuscripts are:

BSB Cod.icon. 291:
a book of English arms made in England in the middle of the 16th century, now in the collection of the Bavarian State Library
Stowe MS 944:
a volume in the collection of the British Library, with various portions dated between 1031 and 1771; the excerpted image is from The New Minster Liber Vitae, which makes up the bulk of the book
fol. 220 Klassik Stiftung Weimar:
a 1548 roll of the arms of the Brotherhood of Saint Christoph in Arlberg, now in the collection of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library