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I would here observe, once for all, that when the words Hiftrio, Mimus, Xoculator, Minstrel, &c. occur in old writers, it is not very certain that they are always to be understood in the same precise and limited sense: for these names feem to have been sometimes applied to every species of men, whose business it was to entertain or divert (joculari) whether with Poesy, Singing, Music, or Gefticulation, fingly; or with a Mixture of all these. Yet as all men of this sort were considered as belonging to one Class, Order or Community (all the above arts being often exercised by the the same person) they had all of them doubtless the same privileges, and it equally throws light upon the general History of the Profession to thew what favour or encouragement was given, at any particular period of time, to any one branch of it. I have not therefore thought it needful to inquire, in all the foregoing instances, whether the word Minstrel, &c. is to be underftood in its exact and proper meaning of a Singer to the Harp, &c.
That men of very different arts and talents were included under the common name of MINSTRELS, &c. appears from a variety of authorities. Thus we have Menestrels de Trompes and Menestrels de Bouche in the Suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appears still more evident from an old French Rhymer, whom I shall quote at large.
“ Le Quens * manda les MENESTRELS,
* Le Comte.
|| Sornette; a Gibe or Jeft, or ficuting,
Fabliaux et Contes, 12mo. Tom. 2. p. 161, All this kind of Sports went by the general name of Miniftralcia, Ministellorum Ludrica, &c.
"! Charta an. 1377. apud Rymer. to. 7. p. 160. Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat D. Rex in cameram suam cum Prælatis, Magnatibus & Proceribus predictis : & deinceps Magnates, Milites & Domini, aliique Generofi diem illum, ufque ad tempus cænæ, in TRIPUDIIS, coreis & SOLEMPNIBUS MINISTRALCIIS, pra gaudio solempnitatis illiust, continuarunt." Du Cange. Gloff. 772.
(Bb) “A charter .... to appoint a king of the
Minstrels, &c.”] Intitled Carte le Roy de Ministraulx. (In Latin Histriones. Vid. Plott. p. 437.) A copy of this charter may also be seen in Blount's Law Diction. 1717. (art. KING.)
The Minstrels seem to have been in many respects upon the same footing with the Heralds. The King of the Minstrels, like the King at Arms, was an usual officer both here and in France, as appears from Du Cange, whose curious collections on this subject I shall fubjoin entire.
* REX MINISTELLORUM; fupremus inter Miniftel“ los : de cujus munere, ac potestate in “flellos, agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliæ Gal. "i lica in Monaft. Anglicano, tom. I.
pag. 355. Charta
originalis Janglerie, babillage, raillerie. † This ! suppose was the CoroDadion of Rich, II.
s! originalis an. 1338. Je Robert Caveron Roy des Me
neftreuls du Royaume de France. Aliæ ann. 1357. &
1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des Menestres du Royaume " de France. Computum de auxiliis pro redemptione
Regis Johannis, ann. 1367. Pour une COURONNE "D'ARGENT qu'il donna le jour de la Tiphaine au Roy " des Menestrels. Charta an. 1387. apud Rymer, tom. “7. p. 555: Supplicavit nobis Johannes Caumz Rex Ministrall:rum noftrorum, qui verfus diversas partes
transmarinas tranfire proponit.?! Du Cange Gloff. iv, 773: Regeftum Magnorum Dierum Trecenfium an. " 1296. Super quod Joannes di&tus Charmillons Juglator,
cui dominus Rex per suas literas tanquam Regem Ju"GLATORUM in civitate Trecensi Magifterium Juglato"rum, quemadmodum fua placeret voluntati, conceferat." Da Cange, c. 1587.
(CC) “ Minstrels were retained in all great and “noble families, &c.”] In the ancient MS. (described at the end of this vol. p. 367. containing an Account öf the Establishment of the Houshold of the Earl of Northumberland, in the 3d year of Hen. VIII. at his Castle of Lekin field in Yorkshire) occur several very curious articles on this subject, which I shall here subjoin.
Sect. V. “ Of the Noumbre of all my lords Servaunts. " “ Item, MYNSTRALS in Houshold iij. viz. A Ta. “ beret, a Luyte, and a Rebecc *.
3. “ Rewardes to his lordships Servaunts, &c. " Item, My lord ufith ande accustomith to gyf yerly, "when his lordschipp is at home, to his MINSTRAILLS
This was a kind of Fiddle with three strings only.
“ that be daily in his houshold, as his Tabret, Lute, " ande Rebeke, upon New Yeresday in the mornynge $ when they do play at my lordis Chamber Dour “ for his Lordschip and my Lady, xx. s. Viz. xiij. s,
iiij. d. for my Lord; and vj. s. viij. d. for my
Lady, if fche be at my lords fyndynge, and not at “hir owen ; And for playing at my lordis Sone and « Heire's chamber Doure, the lord Percy, ij. s. And “ for playinge at the chamber Doures of my lords “ Yonger Sonnes, my yonge masters, after viij. d. the pece for every of them.
-xxiij, s. iiij. d.”
Sect. XLIV, 2. • Rewardes to be geven to strangers, as Players,
Mynitralls, or any other, &c." " Furst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the “ KINGS JUGLER; .. .. when they custome to come « unto hym yerely,—vj. s. viij. d.
“ Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely “ to the kings or queenes Bearwarde, if they have « one, when they custom to com unto hym yerly,-“ vj. s. viij. d.
«i Item, my lorde ufith and accustomyth to gyfe
yerly to every Erles MYNSTRELLIS, when they 6. Custome to come to hym yerely, iij. s. iiij. d. And if șs they come to my lorde seldome, ones in ij or iij yeres,
than vj. s. viij. d. “ Item, my lorde usith and accustomedeth to gife “ yerely to an Erls MYNSTRALLS, if he be his spe« ciall lorde, frende, or kynsman, if they come yerely
to his lordschip And, if they come to my • lord' seldome, ones in ij or iij yeres . “ Item, my lorde ufith and accustomyth to gyf yerely
a Dookes or Erlis TRUMPETTS, if they come vj to“ gether to his lordschipp, viz. if they come yerly,
vj. s. viij. d. And, if they come but in ij or jij yeres, than x. s.
" Item, my lorde ufith and accustometh to gife yerly, " when his lordschip is at home, to gyf to the Kyngs “ Shawmes, when they com to my lorde yerely, x. s.
I cannot conclude this note without observing that in this Ancient MS, the family MINSTRELS seem to have been Musicians only, and yet both the earls' Trumpets and the king's SHAWMEs, are evidently diftinguished from the earls' MINSTRELS, and the king's JUGLAR ; whether this last continued to be exactly the same with the Joculator Regis in the Doomesday book, I cannot determine.
(D d) “ A species of men who did not fing, &c.”] It appears from the passage of Erasmus here referred to, that there still existed in England of that species of Jongleurs or MINSTRELS, whom the French called by the peculiar name of Contëours, or Reciters in prose: It is in his Ecclefiaftes, where he is speaking of such Preachers, as imitated the Tone of Beggars or Mountebanks :- Apud Anglos eft fimile genus hominum, quales apud Italos funt circulatores (Mountebanks] de quibus moda dictum eft; qui irrumpunt in convivia MAGNATUM, aut in CAUPONAS VINARIAS ; et argumentum aliquod, quod edidicerunt, recitant ; puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quoniam ea lingua monofyllabis fere conftat, quemadmodum Germanica ; atque illi [sc. this peculiar species of Reciters] ftudio vitant cantum, nobis fc. Erasmus, who did not understand a word of English] latrare videntur verius quam loqui.” Opera, Tom. V. c. 958. (Jortin. Vol. 2. p. 193.) As Erafmus was correcting the vice of preachers, it was more to his point to bring an instance from Moral Reciters of Prose, than from Chanters of Rhyme, though it may be easily supposed, that these were far more numerous and common, and would be in general more popular.
(E e) “A