17 April, 2015

Edward II and Minstrels (2)

I wrote a post a few years ago called Edward II and Minstrels, and am adding more here on the subject, as it's fascinating.  I highly recommend Constance Bullock-Davies' two books: Menestrellorum Multitudo: Minstrels at a Royal Feast (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1978) and A Register of Royal and Baronial Domestic Minstrels 1272-1327 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1986).  There's also Richard Rastall's fantastic 'Secular Musicians in Late Medieval England' (Univ. of Manchester PhD thesis, 1968), which may still be available online somewhere (it certainly was a few years back).  All three are packed full of information and superb research, and are essential reading for anyone interested in the topic of music, performance and minstrels in the fourteenth century.

Oh, and see also my recent post, Edward II being vindictive to the minstrel Roi Bruant in and after 1322.

- One of the men who accompanied Edward II's twelve-year-old son Edward of Windsor to France on 12 September 1325, when he went to pay homage to his uncle Charles IV, was Jerome Vala, who played the citole (see illustration of one here).  Jerome was married to a woman called Annote, who's mentioned in Edward's last chamber account of 1325/26, given five shillings by the king for her expenses in travelling to see her husband before he sailed for France.  Jerome had returned to England by early January 1326, when Edward gave him half a mark for his expenses.  He had been Edward's minstrel since at least 1312; his name also appears on record as Jiron and the rather peculiar Yomi.

- Among the many minstrels who performed at the January 1297 wedding of Edward's fourteen-year-old sister Elizabeth and twelve-year-old Count John I of Holland were: two trumpeters; a vielle player called Thomelin de Tunly (see here for a vielle); Thomas the Fool; Jakettus de Scocia ('Jamie of Scotland'), a king of heralds; Guillot de Ros and Ricardin, two more vielle players; two men called King Page and Monhaut, kings of heralds; Martinet the taborer.  A tabor was a kind of drum.  In July 1306, two shillings was paid out of the household accounts of Edward of Caernarfon and Elizabeth's young half-brothers Thomas (just turned six) and Edmund (not quite five) for repairing Martinet's tabor, which the two little boys had broken.  :-)

- In May 1304, the aged Edward I paid three shillings to seven women in Scotland he met on the road, who "sang to him in the way in which they were wont to do in the time of Lord Alexander, late king of the Scots."  That means Alexander III (died 1286), Edward I's brother-in-law.

- In 1310/11, one of Edward II's harpers was called Willekyn Sey.

- Edward of Caernarfon, aged twenty-one, had five 'boy minstrels' in his household in 1305/06: Ricard le Rimour, Master Andrew, Janin the Scot, Francekin, and Roger de Forde.  On 21 December 1305, he gave them twelve pence each "for the making of their gowns against the feast of Christmas."

- The same year, a watchman of Windsor Castle named Richard the Watchman was paid twenty shillings to travel to Edward at Byfleet in Surrey to "make his minstrelsy before the same lord [Edward] and other nobles there in his entourage."  Hmmm, I wonder what kind of minstrelsy a watchman performed?  Clearly a man of many talents, Richard the Watchman roused Edward from his bed and helped him and his household to safety when a fire broke out at Windsor Castle in April 1306.

- Also that year, Edward of Caernarfon gave out the absurdly large sum of £1268, eighteen shillings and one pence "for gifts given by the lord prince [of Wales] to various minstrels," and for replacing horses which members of his household lost in his service in Scotland.  At a time when labourers earned one or one and a half pence a day and forty pounds a year qualified a man for knighthood.  Just wow.

- A harper named Robert de Clough received seven and a half pence a day for his wages in 1316/17, the same as the king's squires.  In 1310/11, Nicholas de Percy, a court trumpeter, received the same wages, and in 1313/14 Edward's singer William Milly (named 'Cantor Milly', meaning 'Singer Milly') was paid two shillings a day, the same wages as a knight earned,

- On 10 August 1307 at Dumfries in Scotland, just over a month after he had acceded to the throne, Edward II gave twenty shillings each to four minstrels who entertained him: William de Quenheth, Janin the Trumpeter, Januche the Nakerer and Janin the Organist.

- In June 1312, Edward gave a gift of twenty shillings to a married minstrel couple called Richard and Elena Pilke for entertaining his two young half-brothers Thomas and Edmund, and for "taking their leave to go to the lord king, who was in northern parts" (he and Isabella were then in Yorkshire).

- One of the many minstrels who performed at the great Feast of the Swan on 22 May 1306 was a harper called 'Adekin', real name Adam of Clitheroe.

- One of my favourite designations among the 22 May 1306 performers is "the minstrel with the bells," not otherwise identifiable.  Another was Reginald le Mentour, which means 'the Liar', perhaps in the sense of telling fabulous stories or tall tales.

- In Edward II's regnal year of 1316/17 and again in 1317/18, his king of heralds Robert Withstaff was ill; in 1317 he went to Edward at York "to get help" and received seventy shillings from him, and the following year received forty shillings and ten pence.  Evidently Robert recovered fully, as he entertained Edward and Isabella while they were in France in the summer of 1320 and was given the astonishingly large sum of twenty pounds.  Robert's mother was named Dulcia; she visited Edward II at Baldock in Hertfordshire in October 1317 and went away with a gift of ten shillings.

- A Jakemin de Mokenon received seven pounds, three shillings and one pence for playing before Edward and Isabella at St Richer, on their way to Paris, on 28 May 1313.

And finally, my favourite two anecdotes about Edward II and minstrels: on 7 July 1312, on his way from York to London after Piers Gaveston's death, Edward paid Janin the Conjuror a pound for performing tricks for him in his private chamber at Swineshead Priory, and a few weeks later gave three shillings to an Italian performer called John of Lombardy "for making his minstrelsy with snakes before the king" in Dover.

6 comments:

Anerje said...

Edward certainly liked minstrels - it's fascinating to see what he paid them. I wonder what sort of trick cheered Edward after poor Pier's murder.

Isabelle T said...

This is the most wonderful, informative, clever, entertaining and insightful historical blog I've ever come across! Je ne m'en lasse pas! Thank you aplenty, Kathryn! I'm rushing to buy and read THE book, now.

Kathryn Warner said...

Anerje, I'd so love to be able to see Janin's tricks for Edward!

Isabelle, thank you so much for your lovely kind words! I really hope you enjoy the book, and thanks for buying!

Sami Parkkonen said...

Seems to me that Eddie was a man who liked music. As for breaking the tabor, I can not but smile when I imagine two kids banging the drum untill it breaks. They must have made quite a noise with it.

Clement Glen said...

- "The same year, a watchman of Windsor Castle named Richard the Watchman was paid twenty shillings to travel to Edward at Byfleet in Surrey to "make his minstrelsy before the same lord [Edward] and other nobles there in his entourage." Hmmm, I wonder what kind of minstrelsy a watchman performed? Clearly a man of many talents, Richard the Watchman roused Edward from his bed and helped him and his household to safety when a fire broke out at Windsor Castle in April 1306."

Great post as always Kathryn. I might be able to help on this 'Richard the Watchman' . He might have been what became a town 'Wait', these guys were not only castle guards, but also musicians and entertainers. Some "waits/watchman were also itineratnt minstrels who serenaded households during Christmas. These could explain how Richard managed to alert the king of the fire at Windsor because he was on guard duty.

Kathryn Warner said...

Sami, I love that story too ;)

Clement, that's brilliant, thanks so much for the info! I never knew that.