Vagabonds and minstrels in sixteenth-century Wales
in The spoken word

This chapter presents a case study of entertainers in a particular locale Wales during a period of rapid social and cultural changes. In north-east Wales at the end of the sixteenth century, there was evidence for the growth of a festive culture that gathered pace in the first half of the seventeenth century and was generalized into the countryside after the Restoration. The later Tudor vagrancy legislation had been suggested as a cause of the decline of minstrelsy in England and Wales. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Minstrels were indicted at the new Welsh assize courts in the decade immediately following the second Act of Union. The purpose of the degrees and licences awarded at the eisteddfod was to restrict the rewards of the bardic itinerary to the accredited minstrels.

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The spoken word

Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850

Editors: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf



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