Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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p. 25. Singing in ancient times.—" In 1279, Roger de Mortimer held jousts at .Kenilworth, and set out from London to Kenilworth, with a hundred knights well armed, and as many ladies going before, singing joyful songs," (Smith's Lives of the Berkeley Family, edited by Fosbroke, 4to., 1821, p. 103.)
p. 31. The Beverley Minstrels.—In the Appendix to the Report of the Com-.missioners on the public Records (Inns of Court, p. 388), the Rev. Joseph Hunter makes the following remarks on " a manuscript on vellum of the half folio form, containing several early English Metrical Romances, in a hand of the fourteenth century," in the Lincoln's Inn Library:—" On examining the covers attentively, I discovered that there had been used in binding, a large piece of a document relating to the Hospital of St. John at Beverley ; and, connecting this with the fact that at •Beverley there was in the times when this manuscript was written a noted fraternity of minstrels, a probability is raised that the contents of this book were originally translated for their use, and that the manuscript may, without much hazard of mis­leading, be called hereafter The Book of the Minstrels OF Beverley." Mr. Hunter also refers to Lansdowne MSS,, No. 896, for memoranda respecting the Corpus Christi plays at Beverley (at fol. 157), and for " the orders of the ancient company or fraternity of Minstrels at Beverley" (fol. 180). The orders are only of the year 1555, but they recite that it hath been a very ancient custom, out of the memory of divers ages of men, that all, or the more part of the minstrels serving any man or woman of honour or worship, or city or town corporate, or otherwise, between the rivers of Trent and Tweed, have been accustomed yearly to resort to this town and borough of Beverley on Rogation days, and then to choose yearly one Alderman of the Minstrels, with stewards and deputies authorized to take names and to receive customable duties of the brethren of the said minstrels' fraternity. One of the orders issued in 1555, was that no miller, shepherd, or husbandman playing upon pipe or other instrument, should sue to perform at any wedding or merry-making out of his own parish, as this would interfere with the privileges of the corporation. The minstrels' column is in St. Mary's Church, Beverley, but there are equally curious figures of musicians over the columns of the Minster. All have been copied in vol. ii. of Carter's Specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting (fol. 1786), and are there accompanied with descriptions of the instruments by Douce.
p. 33. Rote.—When I gave hurdy-gurdy as the modern word for rote, I hastily adopted the definition of Dr. Burney, who had " not the least doubt but that the instrument called a rote, so frequently mentioned by our Chaucer, as well as the old French poets, was the same as the modern vielle, and had its name from rota, the "wheel with which its tones were produced." {History, ii. 270, in note.) I am now convinced that this is a mistake,—that the instrument had no wheel, and therefore could not have been derived from the Latin rota.
The rote was in use among the Anglo-Saxons, and in their language " r6t" and " rott" signified " cheerful—rejoicing." There is no mistaking the character of the instrument after the description given of it by Notker in the tenth century, and that description agrees with all others that I have found, down to the times of Chaucer and Spenser.
The first notice of the rote is in the correspondence of two Englishmen in the eighth century. We can fix the date of the letter within twenty years, as it was

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III