Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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10
ENGLISH MINSTRELSY.
by her French relations in Normandy. To discover the place of her concealment, a knight of the Talbot family spent two years in exploring that province, at first under the disguise of a pilgrim; till having found where she was confined, in order to gain admittance he assumed the dress and character of a harper, and being a jocose person, exceedingly skilled in ' the (Jests of the Ancients,'—so they called the romances and stories which were the delight of that age,—he was gladly received into the family, whence he took an opportunity to carry off the young lady, whom he presented to the king; and he bestowed her on his natural brother, William Longespee (son of fair Rosamond), who became, in her right, Earl of Salisbury.
In the reign of king John (a.d. 1212) the English Minstrels did good service to Ranulph, or Randal, Earl of Chester. He, being beseiged in his Castle of Rothelan (or Rhuydland), sent for help to De Lacy, Constable of Chester, who, " making use of the Minstrels of all sorts, then met at Chester fair, by the allure­ments of their music, assembled such a vast number of people, who went forth under the conduct of a gallant youth, named Dutton (his steward and son-in-law) that he intimidated the Welsh, who supposed them to be a regular body of armed and disciplined soldiers, so that they instantly raised the siege and retired."
For this deed of service to Ranulph, both De Lacy and Dutton had, by respective charters, patronage and authority over the Minstrels and others, who, under the descendants of the latter, enjoyed certain privileges and protection for many ages.
Even so late as the reign of Elizabeth, when this profession had fallen into such discredit that it was considered in law a nuisance, the Minstrels under the juris­diction of the family of Dutton are expressly excepted out of all acts of Parlia­ment made for their suppression; and have continued to be so excepted ever since.*
"We have innumerable particulars of the good cheer and great rewards given to the Minstrels in many of the convents, which are collected by Warton and others. But one instance, quoted from Wood's Hist. Antiq. Ox., vol. i. p. 67, during the reign of king Henry HI. (sub. an. 1224), deserves particular mention. Two itinerant priests, on the supposition of their being Minstrels, gained admittance. But the cellarer, sacrist, and others of the brethren, who had hoped to have been entertained by their diverting arts, &c, when they found them to be only two indigent ecclesi­astics, and were consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat them, and turned them out of the monastery." ■
In the same reign (a.d. 1252) we have mention of Master Richard, the king's Harper, to whom that monarch gave not only forty shillings and a pipe of wine, but also a pipe of wine to Beatrice, his wife. Percy remarks, that the title of Magister, or Master, given to this Minstrel, deserves notice, and shows his respectable situation.
"The learned and pious Grosteste, bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1253, is said,
13th Century.—See Wrighi'i Biograph.Brit., AngloNorman      newal of the same clauses in the last act on this subject,
Period, p. 325.                                                                    passed in the reign of George III. The ceremonies
• See the statute of Eliz. anno. 39. cap. iv. entitled an      attending the exercise of this jurisdiction are described
Act for punishment of rogues, vagabonds, &c; also arc-      by Dugdale (Bari.. p. 101), and from him, by Percy.