Monday, June 4, 2007

Bards and the Law of Hywel - Part II

The bardd teulu, or Bard of the Household, was one of the fourteen officers of the court. His privileges and entitlements were many, and are enumerated in the Law.

As one of the King's officers, he was entitled to his land free of payment, and his horse when he attended the King. When he accompanied the King on his circuit, the Bard lodged with the Captain of the retinue, and at the three special feasts of the year he had a seat next to Captain, "so as to have the harp put into his hand." At the feasts he received his woolen clothing from the King and his linen clothing from the Queen; he was also entitled to the Steward's old clothes -- and his old clothes went to the Doorkeeper!

When the King led his warband into a strange company, the Bard was entitled to a cow or ox from the booty, after the King had chosen his third share. It was also his duty to sing something called The Sovereignty of Britain during the sharing out. When the Bard traveled with other bards, he was entitled "to two men's share."

During the feasting, after the pencerdd or chaired bard had sung, the Bard was to sing "three songs of some other kind." It was also his job to sing for the Queen "without stint" whenever she wanted a song, but that "quietly, so that the hall is not disturbed by him."

He was entitled "to a whalebone throwboard from the King and a gold ring from the Queen," presumably when he took up his post. In addition, he was obliged to give a gold ring to the Chief Justice on some unspecified time.

His sarhaed, or honor price, was "six kine and six score pence". His worth (to be paid to his kindred if he was killed unlawfully) was "six kine and six score kine with augmentation."

Next: The Cerddor or minstrel.

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