minstrel: Bards in period

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Tue Apr 29 08:06:44 PDT 1997

On Tue, 29 Apr 1997, Fruitbat wrote:

> Also, the fact that minstrels were considered welcome everywhere regardless
> of nationality meant that they had a power that could be abused: a woman is
> recorded to have disguised herself as a minstrel and ridden a horse into
> some English king's court (I don't have doco on me so I can't recall who's)
> to throw a rude and treasonous bit of paper at him.  It means we've got
> foolproof doco of female minstrels within period, but it annoyed the king
> no end.

This is interesting.  I know that in Scotland during the HIgh Middle Ages
(tm), or what I called the "Anglo-Norman" period in my previous post, it
was customary for bards/minstrels (even the travelling type who went from
town to town spreading news, unsactioned by any noble) to go clean shaven
and with cropped hair.  This was in sharp contrast with the longer haired,
bearded look that was popular with the common Scots of that age, so they
attracted lots of attention and looked "exotic."  This would make it very
easy for a woman to impersonate a male minstrel, since one wasn't expected
to have a beard.
(who, after his tenure as Royal Bard expires, is planning on finding a
nice shire or canton to sponsor him, so he won't have his ears pinned
back, or his cheeck branded as an idle vagabond)

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