Medieval Music in the Dales – Time to Book Your Ticket!

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We are about to launch our Crowdfunding Campaign – which mean it is time for you to book your tickets! This blog gives the full programme for the event and tells you how to go about booking your tickets – or otherwise supporting MMITD – through this Campaign.

The Campaign is at Please note that the site does not go live until the official launch at noon on Monday 15th February. But if you would like a sneak preview of the site, here it is.

You might not know how crowdfunding works, but it’s basically pretty simple. It’s a way of funding an project by attracting supporters who Pledge particular amounts of money in return for a Reward of some kind. So in its simplest sense, it’s a way of advance selling tickets for MMITD – the supporters Pledge the ticket price and in return you’ll get the Reward of a ticket.

But of course, it’s a bit more than that. As you will see when you take a look at the ‘Rewards’, it’s not just tickets. We offer everything from simple thanks (expressed via a rather fancy e-Scroll sent as a PDF!) for the smallest Pledged donations right up to a package of goodies for the maximum Pledge amounts. And the Rewards are all to some extent unique to the campaign – meaning it is a distinct advantage to you as well as to us to join in as a supporter. Some Rewards are purely and simply only available through the Crowdfunding Campaign. These are:

  • the Performer Pass for those who want to play on the Open Stages, and
  • all the Camping tickets

All the other Ticket Rewards offer tickets at a cheaper price than they will be available after the campaign – in other words, they are like Early Bird Tickets.

We can’t emphasise enough that it’s vital to reach our goal, or we simply don’t get the money! We need to know that we have our sound financial footing secured, and we have the six weeks of the Crowdfunding Campaign to do it. Please sign up early, and also spread the word – and it’ll be plain sailing!


Different Kinds of Rewards

Basically, there are four kinds of rewards

  • A Festival Pass. This is the ticket for those who want to come to MMITD just like any other festival, to enjoy the music and the vibe, and perhaps join in on a few workshops if they want.  Some Festival Passes include lots of extras like workshops, Concerts, the Feast, and others simply give access to the Castle for the Instrument Exhibition, the Medieval Market, the Luthiers’ Demonstrations and the Open Stages. Some also include Camping on site, and some are specifically for Groups. So you can take your pick (our flow chart might help you here!)
  • A Performer Pass. This is the ticket for those who want to come to MMITD for all the same reasons as above, but also want to join in with the music by performing on our Open Stages. The deal is that Performer Pass holders get discounted tickets and other benefits in return for doing at least four half-hour sets over the weekend. All Performer Passes come with workshops built in and there are options to include Camping, and the evening Concert and Friday Feast.
  • The Evening Events. If you want to book just for the Saturday evening Concert or for the Friday evening Feast, then there are specific Pledges for these.
  • Other Ways to Help. You might not be able to get to MMITD in person but still want to help, or you may wish to lend us extra support on top of your tickets – very lovely in either case! There are a range of Pledges offering rewards like the CD of the event or our remarkable medieval-style Tile by the Company of Artisans, or our PDF E-Scroll of Thanks… Or you could be a Programme Sponsor and take an advert for your band or business in our programme… Or you could be a Luthier, Concert or Artist Sponsor. These last three offer great ticket packages but we are happy to discuss alternative benefits if you can’t come in person – just get in touch.

There are a lot of possible Pledges, and hopefully these categories might help you wade through them and choose what’s best for you!

But you may well be thinking, wow, I need a flow chart to work this out… Panic not – take a look here at our Online Charts that might help guide you through the options.

And if you’re stuck, just drop me a line saying what you want to do and I’ll sort out the best options for you.

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The Programme

Friday September 2nd
Opening of the Luthiers’ Exhibition and the Medieval Market (to 5pm)

Trouvere Workshop: ‘Instrumentarium – a Hands-on Tour of Medieval Musical Instruments’ in the Great Chamber (DE)
Open stages (every 45 minutes until 4.15pm): various locations

Beginners’ Bagpipe Workshop with Tom Hughes in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (1 hour) (DE)
Luthiers’ Demonstrations / Trouvere in the Great Chamber

Grand Medieval Feast in the Great Chamber
Saturday September 3rd
Luthiers’ Exhibition and Medieval Market ( to 5pm)


  • Reed-making Workshop One with Lizzie Gutteridge in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (DE)
  •  Fifteenth-Century Dance Workshop with Cait Webb and Gaita in the Great Chamber (DE)
  • Open stages (every 45 minutes through to 4.30pm): various locations

12 noon

  • Hurdy-gurdy workshop (intermediate to advanced) with Steve Tyler in Lord Scope’s Chamber (DE)
  • Luthiers’ Demonstrations / Informal band performances in the Great Chamber – to 1.30pm

Blondel in concert in St Oswald’s Church (DE)

– Thirteenth-Century Dance Workshop with Charlotte Ewart in the Great Chamber (DE)
– Bagpipes Workshop (Intermediate-Advanced) with Paul Martin in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (1 hour) (DE)

Leah Stuttard in concert in St Oswald’s Church (DE)

Recorder Maintenance Workshop with Philippe Bolton in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (2 hours) (DE)

Luthiers’ Demonstrations / Informal band performances in the Great Chamber (to 4.00pm)


  • Gaita in concert in St Oswald’s Church (DE)
  • Informal group playing in the Great Chamber – All welcome, any instrument, come and bash through some medieval tunes (1 hour)

Evening concert in St Oswald’s Church with Blondel, Leah Stuttard, Steve Tyler & Katy Marchant, and Trouvere

Sunday September 4th
Luthiers’ Exhibition and Medieval Market (to 4.30pm)


  • Thirteenth-Century Dance Workshop with Charlotte Ewart in the Great Chamber (DE)
  • Working with Medieval Sources Workshop with Gill Page in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (DE)
  • Open stages (every 45 minutes through to 4.30pm): various locations

12 noon

  • Singing Workshop with Richard de Winter in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (DE)
  • Luthiers’ Demonstrations / Informal band performances in the Great Chamber (to 2pm)


  • Medieval Bowed Strings Workshop with Paul Martin in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (1 hour) (DE)
  • Steve Tyler & Katy Marchant in concert in St Oswald’s Church (DE)

2 pm
Fifteenth-century Dance Workshop with Cait Webb and Gaita in the Great Chamber (DE)

Reed-Making Workshop Two with Lizzie Gutteridge in Lord Scrope’s Chamber (DE)

Trouvere in concert in St Oswald’s Church (DE)

Informal group playing in the Great Chamber – All welcome, any instrument, come and bash through some medieval tunes (1 hour)

Grand Finale in the Courtyard! Fanfares, singing and group playing, and general good cheer…

Daytime Extras

DE indicates that this is a Daytime Extra – you will need a Reward that includes Daytime Extras to be able to go to these. 

When you Pledge for a Reward that includes Daytime Extras you will be sent a registration form inviting you to state your preferences for Daytime Extras, in order of preference. As far as possible, and on a first-come-first-served basis, you will get your top choices.

If workshops are over-subscribed we will do our best to arrange a second session of that workshop and if you miss out first time around we will put you on the reserve list for a second session. 

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More Information on the Daytime Extras

Friday 2nd September

  • Trouvere – Instrumentarium Workshop: A hands-on introduction to the principal familes of instruments in the middle ages. Taking a chronological approach, this gives a good idea of what kind of instruments were when, and their development over the centuries. 2pm in the Great Chamber. 90 minutes.
  • Tom Hughes – Introduction to Medieval Bagpipes: Exploring the history and folklore of bagpipes, different forms, evidence in medieval records and iconography. How the instrument works with a chance to have a try, using pipes loaned by the Bagpipe Society.  3.30pm in Lord Scrope’s Chamber. 1 hour.

Saturday 3rd September

  • Lizzie Gutteridge: Reed-making Workshop One: Participants will make one or two reeds over the course of two 90-minute sessions (please note this counts as two workshops) with advice on reed and instrument adjustments. 10.30am in the Great Chamber, 90 minutes.
  • Cait Webb and Gaita – Fifteenth Century English Dance: Recreating the dances described in the late fifteenth-century Gresley manuscript. 10.30am in the Great Chamber. 90 minutes. Music from Gaita.
  • Steve Tyler – Hurdy-Gurdy Workshop: The workshop will look at monophonic and polyphonic music along with some work on trompette rhythm and technique. Suitable for intermediate players upward, 12 noon in Lord Scope’s Chamber. 90 minutes
  • Blondel in Concert: Zephyrus With His Swete Breathe: Music from the 14th and 15th centuries on recorders, bagpipes and shawms. 12.30pm in St Oswald’s Church. 1 hour.
  • Paul Martin – Bagpipe Workshop: A look at medieval tunes with ideas on ornamentation. Suitable for any except complete beginners, G pipes. 1.30pm in Lord Scrope’s Chamber. 1 hour.
  • Charlotte Ewart – Thirteenth-Century Dance: Historically informed interpretations of the high medieval estampie. No choroegraphy survives from this early but this workshop explores the possiblity of recreating a convincing estampie based on the music, the literature and the iconography. 1.30 pm in the Great Chamber. 90 minutes. Music from Trouvere.
  • Leah Stuttard in Concert: The Wool Merchant and the Harp: Fifteenth century music for dancing and singing based on the records of George Cely, a wool merchant apprentice now preserved in the National Archive. 2pm in St Oswald’s Church, 1 hour.
  • Philippe Bolton: Recorder Maintenance: Looking at (a) how to safely remove the block from the recorder, check the condition of the windway and remove any dirt or fungus, (b) how to replace leaking joints and (c) some techniques for tuning adjustments. It will also be a surgery if you have any particular problems with your own instruments. 2.30pm, Lord Scrope’s Chamber. 2 hours.
  • Gaita in Concert: Music from the Courts of France and Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 4pm in St Oswald’s Church. 1 hour.

Sunday 4th September

  • Charlotte Ewart – Thirteenth-Century Dance: Historically informed interpretations of the high medieval estampie. No choroegraphy survives from this early but this workshop explores the possiblity of recreating a convincing estampie based on the music, the literature and the iconography. 10.30am in the Great Chamber. 90 minutes. Music from Trouvere.
  • Gill Page – Working with Medieval Sources: An introduction to sourcing medieval manuscripts online and how to begin using them in your music, leading onto the basics of the palaeography of musical notation and written script. 10.30am, Lord Scrope’s Chamber. 90 minutes.
  • Richard de Winter – Medieval Song: The workshop is in three parts: (1) introduction to plainchant and learning a simple piece of melismatic chant, (2) secular song – the challenges of performing in medieval language to a modern audience and in particular story-telling in medieval song, and (3) trying out some magnificent medieval polyphony. 12 noon, Lord Scrope’s Chamber, 75 minutes.
  • Paul Martin – Bowed Strings: Looking at some medieval tunes with a focus on the use of drones, and also bowing rhythms and emphasis. Suitable for vielle, rebec, crwth and also for modern violins retuned to an open G chord. 1.30pm, Lord Scrope’s Chamber. 1 hour.
  • Steve Tyler and Katy Marchant in Concert: Medieval music on hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, shawm, psalterio, gothic harp and recorder, with an emphasis on the 14th century. 1.30pm in St Oswald’s Church. 1 hour.
  • Cait Webb and Gaita – Fifteenth Century English Dance: Recreating the dances described in the late fifteenth-century Gresley manuscript. 2pm in the Great Chamber. 90 minutes. Music from Gaita.
  • Lizzie Gutteridge: Reed-making Workshop Two: Participants will make one or two reeds over the course of two 90-minute sessions (please note this counts as two workshops) with advice on reed and instrument adjustments. 2.30pm in the Great Chamber, 90 minutes.
  • Trouvère in Concert: The Revel & the Melodye: Music from medieval England, with Richard de Winter; songs from five centuries of English history. 3pm in St Oswald’s Church, 1 hour.

Last but very much not least, there is the Exhibition by instrument makers. We can at last confirm the line-up in full:

From the UK we have:

  • George Stevens with soundbox instruments including gittern, lute and harps
  • Jim Parr with bagpipes and shawms
  • Terry Mann with pipes and recorders
  • Helen Leaf with wind instruments in wood and horn, drums and jangling medieval triangles
  • The Early Music Shop with their wide range of historical instruments
  • Phil Bleazey with flutes, whistles and recorders
  • Eric Moulder with reed woodwinds
  • Erik Martens & Lizzie Gutteridge with shawms, rommelpots, reeds and more
  • and Kalum Hewitt of Alberic’s Workshop with his early medieval soundboxes

From France we have

  • Jean-Daniel Talma (Atelier Elbock) with wind instruments in wood, bone and horn
  • Ben Margotton (Margotton Lutherie) with soundbox instruments including lyres, citoles and rebecs
  • Philippe Bolton with medieval and other recorders
  • Benjamin Simao (Atelier Tri Nox Samoni) with wind instruments in wood, bone and horn and soundbox instruments including lyres and early guitars
  • Ugo Casalonga with sound box instruments including gittern, citole and vielle

And last but not least from Italy we have Danilo Turchetti with his magnificent bagpipes.

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Anyway, I hope all this has been helpful and please get in touch if you have any questions. And please pledge! We can’t do it without you…



Medieval Music in the Dales – Latest News

This is an online version of our latest Medieval Music in the Dales newsletter – though don’t forget if you want to get the newsletter as an email, just get in touch. We’ve been really busy with fundraising over the last couple of months, and here’s what we’ve been up to…

I’ve made three applications for funding so far. The major one is the Grants for the Arts application to Arts Council England – this is for about 55% of the total funding, so is obviously fairly significant!  It was clear to us that MMITD is a pretty unique event that will involve a huge number of musicians and crafts people, and it seemed perfect… With all the pressure on the public purse at the moment, nothing can be taken for granted, but we will  know by the end of January if our bid will be successful. Please keep your fingers crossed – it was a major undertaking just completeing the paperwork!!!

bagpipe society logo new.pngI also considered special interest groups that might like to back MMITD. I was really delighted to hear that The Bagpipe Society were offering grants. They were really happy to support MMITD, specifically and for the most part to fund the travel expenses to the UK of Danilo Turchetti of Musica Inspirata, who is busily reinventing the medieval bagpipe to exquisite effect.

I’ve also looked at local funding sources, and recieved good advice  from the Dales Tourism Business Network. And I’m delighted to announce that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund has granted us £700 to support the marketing of the event. Open to any individual, business, community group orvoluntary sector body, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund provides a simple and accessible source of money for a range of projects that result in positive benefits fro the National Park, its envYDNPA 5cm CMYKironment, its economy and its communities, while enhancing and conserving local culture, wildlife and landscape. It’s wonderful that they have decided to assist MMITD in this way.
More information about the Fund here:

How You Can Help One – Crowdfunding in February

Our crowdfunding campaign will be our other major means of fundraising for MMITD. Crowdfunding is a great way of cooperating to make something happen and another great boon of the internet age. Sites like Kickstarter or Crowdfunder allow causes and projects to promote themselves to anyone interested, in the hope of gaining financial support. Supporters can contribute to the project financially by making pledges, and in return they get rewards.

From the start, we thought this would be a great model for MMITD as a way for supporters to book advance tickets – at the most excellent prices, naturally – and other benefits. Thus people who can’t actually come along to MMITD might be interested in the CD or DVD of the event or one of the other commemorative items. Crowdfunding also opens up the option for supporters to sponsor aspects of the event, and indeed to make contributions just because they (rightly!) love the whole idea!

Crowdfunding campaigns typically set a target that they have to reach. on this model, if the target is not reached, the campaign fails and all support is cancelled. So we really want to encourage everyone to get on board and book their tickets good and early so that the campaign will succeed and we can go forward with the clearest idea of our total funding.

Our crowdfunding campaign will begin in mid-Feburary and run through to Easter- and make no mistake, you won’t be able to miss it! Here are the key facts :

  • The campaign will run for six weeks, from mid-February to Easter 2016
  • There will be a range of tickets available as supporter Rewards.
  • One of the Rewards will be the Performer Pass – the cheapest ticket of all and only available as a crowdfunding Reward. This is for those who want to take part in the Open Stages and be part of the music-making.
  • Crowdfunding tickets will be cheaper than those available later!
  • Crowdfunding tickets will be the only way to reserve the limited camping pitches
  • Crowdfunding ticket-buyers get priority on their choice of workshops and concerts
  • You can make more than one pledge!
  • If you are feeling especially generous, crowdfunding offers the opportunity to sponsor a concert or a workshop – all such offers are gratefully received…
  • When you make your Pledge to buy a ticket, I will be in touch with a booking form. As appropriate, you can specify all your choices for workshops on this and – if applying     for a Performer Pass – also give details of your performance, instruments, repertoire etc.
  • And – most important – we’ve got to reach the target by Easter!!!

Full advance details of the full range of pledges and rewards will be released in the first half of February. Please help us all out by joining in the Crowdfunding Campaign.

How You Can Help Two: easyfundraising-logo-2

This is a frankly splendid idea. I caught on to it because I saw a Facebook post from the Oxford Folk Weekend announcing that they had raised several hundred pounds for their very splendid event via this ‘’. I looked it up and saw it could be a great way to raise money for MMITD. Here’s how it works.

Whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday to your car insurance – you could be raising a free donation for Medieval Music in the Dales There are nearly 3,000 retailers on board ready to make a donation, including Amazon, John Lewis, Aviva, thetrainline and Sainsbury’s – and it doesn’t cost you a penny extra!

It’s really simple, all you have to do is:

  1. Join – Head to,uk and sign up for free as a supporter.

  2. Shop – Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first, pick the retailer you want and start shopping.

  3. Raise – After you’ve checked out, that retailer will make a donation to your good cause for no extra cost whatsoever.

There are no catches or hidden charges at all – it’s a win-win all round. For example, I most recently bought a few Christmas presents at John Lewis and got a £1.35 donation! A £40 train ticket booked through thetrainline earnt £0.64. Even a film rented on Amazon bought a few pennies.. I’m sure you can see how it can all add up – but we really need a few more of you good people to sign up as supporters. Give it some thought?

Once you’re signed up, you can also install an easyfundraising Donation Reminder on your computer, which will give you a handy little reminder whenever a donation is available when you’re shopping online – so you never miss the chance to donate. When you see the alert, just click to activate your donation. It’s as easy as that! Shoppers who use the easyfundraising Donation Reminder raise five times more donations for their cause because it helps them remember. You’ll love it and we will too! Find out more and help raise five times more for Medieval Music in the Dales here.

Also, if you shop on your mobile or tablet, you could get the free easyfundraising app and again you’ll never miss a donation. To get it, visit the App Store or Google Play and search for ‘easyfundraising’ or find out more here.

Other new developments since September

There have also been exciting developments on the line-up front since September. Our line-up for the luthiers’ exhibition is now as follows:

  • Ardival Harps (wire and git-strung historical harps)
  • Atelier Elbock (flutes of many kinds)
  • AtelierTri Nox Samoni (flutes of many kinds, lyres, early guitars)
  • Early Music Shop (wide range of historical and folk instruments)
  • George Stephens (medieval gitterns, lutes, harps)
  • Kalum Hewitt (medieval soundbox instruments of many kinds)
  • Jim Parr (bagpipes and shawms)
  • Leaf Trading Post (bone flutes, percussion)
  • Margotton Lutherie (soundbox instruments of many kinds)
  • Musica Inspirata (bagpipes)
  • Phil Bleazey (flutes of many kinds)
  • Philippe Bolton (recorders)

And there are a couple more very likely but still to be confirmed (we like to keep you guessing a bit…) Full details will be confirmed in the next newsletter – out in early February.

Finally – more on the location for MMITD: The Yorkshire Dales

There’s no getting away from it, the Yorkshire Dales are one of the most splendid areas of outstanding natural beauty in the country. Being able to have our event in such a stunning location is a definite plus.

The Yorkshire Dales is the second largest national park in England  after the Lake District. One of its most distinctive features is its network of drystonepress-askrigg-wensleydale walls, and there are 8689km of them! They are formed from the limestone that is the bedrock of the Dales and which contributes so much to its unique character.

The Yorkshire Dales have been shaped by thousands of years of human occupation, with each dale having its own special character. One of the most fascinating finds in the area is the Iron Age bone flute found near Malham – so MMITD is part of a very long musical heritage indeed!

Pictures courtesy of The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

For all general enquiries or to join the mailing list please email:

There’s also our spanking new website:

You can like the Medieval Music in the Dales Facebook Page:

You can also contact Trouvère
by email:
by phone: 07720118406
and our website is:






Medieval Music in the Dales

 A long weekend of medieval music with performance, market, workshops and more –  at Bolton Castle in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales

September 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2016

We are planning an ambitious new event for 2016. Medieval Music in the Dales will offer a weekend of all  things to do with medieval music. Currently, the UK does not have an event solely dedicated to medieval music – which tends to get mixed  up with the Renaissance, or even later periods, when in fact it has so much that sets it apart.

Medieval Music in the Dales (MMITD)  will have a strict timescale for performance of 500-­‐1500. It will feature instrument makers who specialise in, or include in their range, instruments from this period. There will also be elements of living history, which will similarly stick to this timescale.


And it will have the perfect setting… The fourteenth-­century home of the  medieval Scrope family, Bolton Castle commands Wensleydale in a simply stunning setting. Though  battered in the Civil War, a large part of the Castle remains fully intact, allowing for plenty of room for performance, displays, and eating and drinking. Participants in MMITD will be welcome to stay at the Castle or camp on site. Facilities are basic but it is a  wonderful place to stay!

Here’s what we are hoping to include in the weekend:

  • A display of luthiers, with instruments of all kinds, from the Friday afternoon through to the Sunday afternoon
  • Informal music-making from Friday afternoon and throughout the weekend
  • A ticketed medieval banquet in the Great Chamber of the Castle on the Friday evening
  • A concert on Saturday evening – and maybe further concerts at other times.
  • Workshops on the Saturday, and maybe the Sunday also
  • A medieval market featuring quality suppliers of medieval living history equipment from the Friday afternoon and throughout the weekend

More about the location…

floor plans

Bolton Castle offers excellent and fitting accommodation for our music-making. The castle is arranged around a central courtyard that is open to the air. This courtyard has potential as a venue for the living history market stalls – as does the garden. The interior spaces that we will be using are all on the first and second floors as marked…

Visitors enter the castle on the first floor. From here they can either go into the shop and access the rest of the castle – or else into the tea room, which is one possible performance space for informal music. Going through the gift shop, visitors can access the Old Kitchen – a really excellent medieval space which is easily transformed into a medieval tavern – a further performance space where drinks could be available. Bolton Castle can even provide barrels of real ale!


Going upstairs from the gift shop, visitors pass by the Chapel. This is now open to the elements but, weather permitting, is another lovely performance space. Staying indoors, one comes on the second floor to the Solar (right). This is a splendid large space, with the small Nursery adjoining up a short flight of stairs. The Solar will be the venue for the luthiers’ display.

great chamber with side

Along a short corridor lies the Great Chamber (left) – a truly majestic space which will be the venue for timed  slots of music, and for the MMITD trade stall selling CDs of the bands and musicians performing at the event as well as offering publicity material for performers and luthiers. This is also the venue for the ticketed medieval banquet on the Friday night. It will also make a great location for dance workshops.

bolton_castle_map_large with side

Bolton Castle sits at the western end of a small villlage. As the picture map shows, it has substantial gardens offering – along with the courtyard –  plenty of space for the living history market – and indeed outdoor performance.

The church can also be seen to the north of the castle – this is a possible venue for the concerts. There is also a village meeting room, which could house small workshops. This lies off the map on the eastern side at the far end of the village – it’s just a short walk.

The car park is actually quite large – it’s not to scale here – and there is plenty of room for camping in this area on both hardstanding and grassed areas.

Getting it all happening!

We have already explored the idea of ‘Medieval Music in the Dales’ with some of the key performers and instrument makers from the UK and abroad and it’s gone down really well with everyone so far. We are confident that we can attract some of the best performers and makers to the event. More details of the line-up will follow – it’s early days yet but it is looking good!

If you are interested in taking part or simply in coming along to MMITD then at this stage please join our mailing list or Facebook page to keep in touch with developments.  Please do get in touch if you would like to take part in MMITD as a performer, luthier or trader!

Here’s the contact details for MMITD:

For all general enquiries or to join the mailing list please email:

Or like the Medieval Music in the Dales Facebook Page: NB – to get all updates on the page it’s advised to ‘like’ the page and then activate ‘Get Notifications’ from the dropdown menu under the ‘Liked’ button.

You can of course also contact Trouvère
by email:
by phone: 07720118406
and our website is:

new collage

Magna Melodia – designing the CD


I’ve been working on the cover image for the new CD. I wanted something that suggested ‘Magna Carta’ but also something that emphasised music. So this is what I’ve come up with.

The primary image is taken from the seal of King John, as used on the great charter, but here in full colour. This is the obverse of the seal, which always shows the monarch in majesty – sat in state and holding the insignia of his (or her) office. Thus John holds imagea sword in his right hand and the orb in his left hand. The other side of the seal – the reverse – showed the monarch on horse back, in the characteristic knightly pose: horse at the gallop, knight in full armour with sword raised to the back. This double-faced style of seal was instituted in this country by William the Conqueror, and remains in place to this day with the reverse of the current royal seal showing Queen Elizabeth on horseback as the Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards and the obverse showing her ‘in majesty’ with the sceptre and the orb,

On John’s royal seal, the image is surrounded by the words Ioannes Dei gratia rex Anglie dominus Hibernie, in other words’ “John by the grace of God king of England lord of Ireland”. I’ve replaced this with the name off the CD! using letters modelled on those in the seal.

So that’s the Magna Carta angle. For the musical side of things, I thought I might echo the many medieval images of King David, the great biblical musician. He is often shown (usually himself playing an instrument) surrounded by other musicians.

So I snuck in images of a female musician playing a harp in the top left and a symphony on the bottom right (representing me!) and a male musician playing a duct flute in the top right and a medieval lute in the bottom left (representing Paul). All four of these images are loosely based on medieval exemplars. The harp player is based on the King David in the Westminster Psalter – the same image upon which Eric Kleinmann based my wonderful new Romnesque harp – while the symphony player is based on the famous miniature in the Cantigas de Santa Maria. The lute player is drawn from the Cantigas and also a couple of images in Alphonse X’s Book of Games, while the original of the flute player is a slightly earlier and English image.

Having created the image, we will now pass it on to our splendid graphic designer, Matt Riley of fusion design in York to transform it into a CD cover with our logo and all the other details and packaging.

It was an added bonus that this design echoed the circle-in-a-square design we’d used in the past for ‘Music for a Medieval Feast’ and ‘Music for a Tudor Feast’. We toyed satirically with the idea of calling this CD ‘Music for a Major Medieval Constitutional Change’ but wisely thought better in the end…

*          *          *

Musically, things are going really well. Paul has been concentrating on the troubadour material and has been recording the first instrumental pieces. I’ve been working on the pronunciation for ‘La dousa votz’ and ‘Voulez vous que je vous chant’ – those pesky differences between Occitan and French are testing me!  We’ve decided to include Raimbaut de Vaqueiras’ Kalenda Maya (in an instrumental version) and the melody sometimes known as the English Dance. This comes from the same manuscript as Foweles in the Frith – Douce 139 – and so is right at the end of our period. Soon we will be turning to the Sicilian repertoire, which being largely Christmas tunes and also twelfth century, will also play a large part in our music for the Norman Christmas event at the Tower of London (27-31 December), and our ‘Medieval Christmas’ concert at Barley Hall in York (18 December).

Working hard on ‘Magna Melodia’…

We have been really getting to grips with some new repertoire over the last few weeks, and it’s all shaping up to a very pleasing and varied programme of music for our ‘Magna Melodia’ concert of music from the time of the Magna Carta. One tune that we’ve been working on in particular is the lament on the death of Richard the Lionheart, by the troubadour Gaucelm Faidit.

This lament is usually known as ‘Fortz chausa es’, which is its original Occitan title, but the song with its music survives in four manuscripts (and many more with just the words), and we have chosen to do one of the lesser-known versions, in which the song has been reworded in French (or more like heavily Frenchified Occitan). We went for this version for a couple of reasons – firstly, it is the one in our beloved ‘Chansonnier du Roi’, the mid-thirteenth century collection that is the basis for our 2012 CD Music for a Medieval Prince. It’s always nice to expand our repertoire from this wonderful source. Secondly, this much less well-known version of the tune is a bit different (though clearly ‘the same’ in a broad sense) and this allowed scope for us to develop our own version of the song. Thirdly, we liked the idea of a French version, as we thought it more likely for an aristocratic English audience, whose own language would have been (broadly) that of northern France. Use of the Chansonnier version, however, brought its own problems. Firstly, there are only two verses given (other versions are much longer), so we will only work with these two. Secondly, there are the usual problems of damage in the Chansonnier, and very small sections of both music and words are missing. We have substituted these sections from other extant versions.

It is a stunning song in which words and music work so well together to express the devastation felt at the death of King Richard. The verse is through composed – there is no repetition of themes or phrases, rather the tune is continually changing and developing, while retaining an overall unity.  Here is our working version of the first verse, (although eventually it will probably end up a bit freer in rhythm); asterisks mark the ends of lines:

Fortz chausa dots page 1

Here’s my rough translation, to give an idea of the flavour of the piece:

It’s a harsh matter and certainly the most harmful, and the most grievous sorrow that ever was. This thing that should be mourned for all time with weeping, I must say it well in singing and must recount it. He who was of valiant men the captain and the father, the valiant king Richard, king of the English, he is dead – alas – what sorrow and what loss – what an unfriendly word and savage to hear. The man that can endure it has a hard heart indeed.

In the second verse, the poet goes on to compare Richard – favourably, of course – with Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and Arthur. In other versions, further verses lament the fate of the Holy Land now that Richard is no longer around to fight for it.

I have been learning the song, and I found it a little hard at first to get a handle on it, but the more you sing it the more interesting and satisfying it gets.  The melody is really unusual and in this version ends off the tonic – curious but beguiling! I am looking forward to singing it in concert, when it will be accompanied by the medieval lute.

While ‘Chose fort avias’ has been our major focus over the last week, we have also begun work on a wonderful piece of Aquitanian polyphony, the ‘Lux refulget’. This has some incredibly mobile melodic lines for us to master! Paul has begun work on Bernart de Ventadorn’s “La dousa votz’, and I have been working hard on ‘Man mei longe him lives wene’ and ‘Foweles in the Frith’: the latter sounds very sweet with both lines played on the harp. We will post up some sounds on Facebook soon!




My new thirteenth-century frock – part two

I’ve been hard at work on the new frock based on the Amesbury Psalter image. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been able to:

  • cut and assemble the lining of the overdress, and
  • decide on my embroidery design and begin the embroidery.

There were really helpful comments on ‘The Manuscript Challenge’ in response to my first blog. A great deal of debate centred on the pros and cons of using linen as a lining, as I had been intending. Linen is a very effective wick, and it will soak up water from the ground, causing not only itself but also any accompanying wool to become waterlogged. This has led many to choose not to use linen as a lining, and I was forced to reconsider this option. However, in the end I decided to stick with linen for the lining of my overdress. For one thing, the overdress is not full length and so should not come into contact with moist ground too easily. Secondly, I have actually pretty much always used linen for my linings, even on full-length dresses, and I have not found it too much of a problem (even in the English climate!) Having acquired a nice lightweight linen in red, I decided to use it as originally planned.

Measuring and cutting the pieces for the overdress lining gave me a chance to  experiment with the design, based on ideas from the St Claire of Assisi gown (below, right) and the Empress Matilda dalmatic (below left, details for both on my Pinterest):

st claire of assisiempress matilda

As can be seen, both of these extant garments allow for considerable extra volume with wide gores. Both have a relatively narrow central rectangular piece, with extra pieces added from the shoulder line and slanting out all the way to the bottom hem. These full length gores are on the reverse of the St Claire gown but on both front and back of the Empress Matilda dalmatic. The St Claire gown then has extra gores added lower down as well.

I wanted to have plenty of volume, and also front seams over the bust, that could be opened out for nursing purposes, so I had the full-length gores on the front and back of the garment – something like the Matilda dalmatic, but not so wide across the shoulder. Here’s the design I came up with, which is relatively close to the St Claire gown, but with full-length side gores and a simpler, more open sleeve.


This worked well and felt comfortable and voluminous when on while fitting nicely at the shoulders. This has provided me with the models for cutting the pattern pieces in wool for the outer of the overdress.

It was time to start on the outer. I wanted to establish the design of the pearly ‘stars’, and decided to cut the two sleeve pieces and work on them first. If the embroidery just didn’t work for some reason I would not have wasted too much of my beautifully soft blue woollen fabric! Starting with the sleeve also meant I could examine the original image and see how many ‘stars’ there were on the loose sleeve and get an idea of spacing on my garment. In the end I decided to go for ‘stars’ spaced 3.5 inches apart, measuring from centre to centre.

WP_20141031_003 WP_20141031_004

Each star is composed of (1) a central pearl of 5-6mm, surrounded by a circle of chain stitch in white linen and (2) an outer ring of six smaller pearls (4mm approx), each one again surrounded by a circle of chain stitch. It’s taken a bit of practice and some stars are better than others, but I am really pleased with the result.

The finished dress will have some weight to it, and I am looking forward to seeing how it will drape with the weight of the pearls.

It’s all taking some time! Basically, the shift took one day (6-8 hours), and the lining took another day (6-8 hours). The stars now take about 15-20 minutes each, and I am currently about one-third of the way through the second sleeve (and awaiting a new consignment of pearls). All in all, this is a true winter project which should keep me busy in between the novel-writing, recording of a new CD and the general music practice requirements… I expect my next ‘Manuscript Challenge’ post to be the completed overdress – sometime in January!

Trouvère at Large Summer 2014 – Episode Two: Bellegarde

Bellegarde is a small town in the Gard region of the Languedoc, roughly half-way between Nimes and Arles. We went to take part in their Fêtes Médiévales, having enjoyed a few days on the Mediterranean coast after our exploits at Puivert.

The town lies below a substantial hill, crowned with the chunky remains of a twelfth-century tower, named ‘La Madone’ after its statue of the Virgin. The area around the La Madone has been (and is being) landscaped and has a lovely large performance area with seating around. This was the main venue for the Fêtes, but there was also a daily parade down into the town and back again.

A view of La Madone

A view of La Madone

The performance arena

The performance arena

The parades into and out of town were fun – we made our way to the church in the middle of the town and different groups took it in turns to entertain the assembled good people of Bellegarde, with fights, dances, music, and so on.

Knights clash outside St Jean Baptiste

Knights clash outside St Jean Baptiste

And we contributed our bit by joining in with the music in our guise of Reynard and Tibert.

Reynard goes to town

Reynard goes to town

We had a great time providing music for the dancers of Médiévalys. This wonderful troupe are based at Tarascon, not far from Bellegarde, and perform at many historic events. They danced magnificently, and also made us very welcome. We spoke a lot of French with them, and they likewise practiced their English on us! We have very fond memories of M. Gui, M.Alain and Mme la Présidente. Here is their website if you’d like to know more:

Médiévalys dancing

Médiévalys dancing

I particularly enjoyed their version of Arbeau’s ‘Scottish Branles’, which had real pace and energy.

Saturday was a bit quiet at the Fêtes, although the evening feast was very well attended, but Sunday was much busier, and the weather improved as well. We had been pounded with rain on Friday night and on Saturday night too there was more rain and powerful winds too. However, Sunday afternoon turned baking hot, and we had to make the most of the shade provided by La Madone as we played for the dancers – who had no such shelter!

This was to have been the last stage on the far southern part of our adventures, for we needed to head north towards Germany to collect my new harp. But Philippe Bolton had invited us to come and visit his workshop a few miles east of Avignon and it was a chance not to be missed! So our next thrilling instalment will be a tour of luthiers from Provence… to Baden-Württemburg… to Poitou-Charentes… to Brittany… watch this space…

Medieval Costume Guides

Earlier in the year, I put together some guides on late medieval clothing, as part of the Facebook group ‘Making Fifteenth Century Reenactment Glorious’. The aim of the group is to improve standards in the presentation of ‘Wars of the Roses’ period reenactment and living history, and an important part of this is ensuring beginners get good quality information and don’t waste their time and money on inappropriate kit and equipment. So I took on the task of preparing costume guides for beginners and ended up producing one for men and one for women. They list all the main parts of period kit and are stuffed with period illustrations to back up my sketches as well as photos of people in excellent kit!

The Guides are attached to the Facebook group page:

Making Fifteenth Century Reenactment Glorious Files Page

but it seems a good idea to make them more widely available, so if you would like to use them please feel free – but please acknowledge their origin as follows “by Gill Page, for Making Fifteenth Century Reenactment Glorious“.

The guides are intended for beginners setting out to make or acquire kit suitable for late fifteenth-century England – I’ve avoided continental sources as much as possible. I had great fun searching out English material and was helped enormously by some wonderful online collections of stained glass, misericords, wall paintings, English alabaster… all these are credited in the guides and are well worth a look!

Guide for Men

Guide for Women

Here are a images of a few of the pages in the guides:

Page Two

Men: Page Two

Page Three

Men: Page Three

Women Beginners_Page_06

Women: Page Six


‘Tudor Dance’ is out!

We are really pleased to announce that ‘Tudor Dance‘, our new resource for schools – and anyone else who’s interested really! is now available.

Tudor Dance (4 panel double CD)_Page_1

Tudor Dance is a two-disk resource pack for anyone wanting to make a start at Tudor Dance. One CD is a straightforward audio CD with the music for all the dances featured in the pack played on a glorious array of period instruments. The other CD features an easy-to-use interactive PDF document which includes

  • a guide to loads of Tudor steps, from the simple to the galliard, with descriptions, diagrams and audio and video to help users learn and practice the steps
  • ten dances fully described in stage-by-stage detail with audio practice tracks
  • two further dances presented in worksheet format for users to construct their own choreography
  • historical background and ideas for further exploration of the subject

We are doubly pleased right now, because we were able to produce Tudor Dance as a Kickstarter project. Backers from all over the world – well, from California to Australia – generously supported the project, helping us to fund its production. We have just recovered from sending out all the rewards!

It’s the fruit of long labour – having presented many Tudor music and dance sessions with school children and others, we originally produced a guide to ‘Medieval and Tudor Dance’ over ten years ago, as an A4 booklet + CD pack. This sold very well, but we were keen to go interactive, as we knew video and audio would support and aid the learning process immensely. Having decided to rework the original guide, we overhauled all the choreographies in the original, revisited the descriptions of the steps and – very important – added more complex steps and two whole new dances to the collection – a Galliard and a Country Dance. These two broadened the scope of the new guide considerably. While recording the audio for these new dances, we also re-recorded much of the original material.

Tudor Dance will be available soon from our website, but if you are desperate to get your hands on one, just get in touch via email or Facebook and we will attend to your order with all due despatch: the pack costs £12 + p&p.  This handsome – and pretty unique – resource is also available to museums, music and book shops who are interested in stocking it – again, just get in touch!


Cantigas Trouvere reduced


I’ve decided to write a blog for Trouvère. It’s another way to keep people informed about what we have been up to and also what we are planning – and a useful discipline for me to keep me writing regularly…

As a first post – to get me underway! – I’m going to take a look back at 2012.  It was a busy year for us and we were especially pleased to be able to release our new CD ‘Music for a Medieval Prince’.  I’m going to blog in more detail about the CD later, but a few words here are a must as it was a highlight of our year.

Paul and I had been working on ‘Prince’ for a while. It’s a project particularly close to our hearts as it combined an unusual set of enthusiasms. Paul had been wanting for some time to work on more music from the Chansonnier du Roi, as it is a major source of trouvère music and he had got hold of the facsimile edition. Then, I was commissioned to write and article on the literature of medieval Greece and in the course of my research I found out that the Chansonnier has close links to the medieval Morea – that’s the French principality in southern Greece that had played an important part in my doctorate.   It was amazing to have Trouvère and medieval Greece come together so neatly! More on the background to the CD to follow in due course…

We completed the recording of the CD at the start of the year and had a great few days with Martin Lamb recording vocals. We’d met Martin working with Past Pleasures for their ‘Medieval Christmas’ event at the Tower of London and knew his voice would be perfect for the thirteenth century songs on the CD. It was also great to get our new symphony onto the CD. We’d picked it up from the maker Henri Renard in November of 2011 and I had brought it on enough for it to feature on a couple of pieces on the CD.

It was also great to be able to feature the new ‘Prince’ repertoire in concert during the year. Our good friend Howard Quinn organised a concert in Harrogate in March, and this was followed by  an evening performance at the ‘Wars of Christ’ conference at Christ Church in Oxford in the same month. This evening was enlivened by a power cut! Just before we were due to go on, the lights went out and the magnificent Hall was lit only by emergency lights and many many candles – it looked quite magnificent and was a fitting setting for the thirteenth-century sounds. We also really enjoyed playing at the ‘Minstrels Court’ in Chester in June. This splendid event is organised by Tom Hughes (of the Bagpipe Society and much else), and featured a great assemblage of historical music types. We played a set during the day and another in the evening concert, which went very well. We’re looking forward to returning to the Minstrels Court again this year – on June 15th.

We were able to get over to France again this year to play at the Fêtes Médiévale at Josselin in Brittany. The highlight was the evening parade through the town and along the canal under the walls of the Chateau. Paul did magnificently, keeping up a round of tunes on his wonderful new great pipes, while I bashed the big daouli drum. But we could not stay in France very long – we had to get back to England where English Heritage had booked us for what felt like the whole summer!

We had a great time playing at a round of tournaments and jousts from Battle Abbey to Pendennis Castle to Belsay House… And Richmond Castle – now this is our local castle, no more than thirty minutes drive away… but the event here was sandwiched between two at Pendennis in Cornwall! Ho hum… But the events were great fun. We’ve really developed our fanfare sound, and with Paul tootling at the top on the shawm and Dan (on the rauschpfeife) and me (on the trumpet) honking and blasting underneath it’s pretty striking.  We played many knights onto the field, heralded their strikes at quintain, cabbages, melons, rings and each other… and in between the clanking and bashing played some nice sets at the tent with appreciative visitors.

Over the course of the year, we visited many schools and a few highlights stick in the mind. One of our Tudor sessions is ‘An Audience with Queen Mary’, where the children basically have to behave themselves impeccably for about an hour. Bliss. The queen’s presence has a remarkable effect and it’s a memorable session for the children. As a bit of wind-down at the end of the session the queen (that’s me) often auditions for a new jester and we have had break-dancing, armpit-farting and frog impressions amongst much else. But in November, a very splendid young 8-year old confessed that she had no jests but could sing a song, and proceeded to sing ‘Deck the Halls’ for the queen, very beautifully, bringing a genuine tear to the royal eye.

In December we were delighted to be playing again at Barley Hall, for a ‘Medieval Christmas’ evening. We have such a history of playing at the Hall, but had not done a concert-style presentation there for some years; it will always remain one of our favourite venues. There was a good crowd who responded very warmly to the show, making a great end to our year.