Medieval Festivities by Rob and Gillian Guest


Medieval Festivities

Rob and Gillian Guest

Meeting of 21 January 2016

Rob and Gillian arrived dressed in Tudor costume with a wondrous array of instruments. They covered 800 years of British music in just 45 minutes, starting in the mid 13th Century.

We had early music from Llanthony Priory, folk tunes, hornpipes and some bawdy lyrics! As well as showing her skill in doing two things at once and playing the pipe and tabor, Gillian treated us to her early bagpipe. Rob played the hurdy-gurdy then showed us a medieval-style triangle (with jingles to make the sound).

We were told of the popularity of published music from the 1500s, when people could purchase cheaply printed ‘broadside ballads’ to sing from. At their peak in the 1660s around 400,000 were sold per year in England, and the Bodleian has a collection of 30,000.

As well as being accomplished musicians they have become avid researchers and brought a copy of Angels and Minstrels, a book showing many of the depictions in stone, wood and glass of early musicians in our churches. From these researches and time in churches and archives such as the Bodleian Library and museum collections, they could date the earliest use of instruments such as the tabor and pipe (which are depicted in Gloucester Cathedral’s stonework from about 1360 and in 1340 carvings in Tewkesbury Abbey).

We rounded off the evening (having enjoyed the mulled wine throughout) with the annual quiz which was settled with a tie-breaker after an unheard of five-way tie! CS