Nursery Rhymes

Blondel the Minstrel

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

The Story of Blondel the Minstrel - Summary

On his return from the Crusades in 1192 King Richard the Lionheart had disappeared. King Richard had been taken prisoner by Duke Leopold of Austria who he had offended at the Siege of Acre. Blondel was a troubadour, an elite Minstrel of the 12th century. Blondel was a favourite of Richard Coeur de Lion ( King Richard I the Lionheart).

The legend is that Blondel the minstrel discovered the place of Richard's imprisonment in Austria by singing the first part of a love-song which Richard and he had composed together, and by the voice of Richard in responding to the strain.

The Story of Blondel the Minstrel and King Richard the Lionheart
There is a legend that when King Richard the Lionheart disappeared a faithful squire named Blondel the Minstrel went in search of him. As a wandering minstrel Blondel travelled for months over central Europe, vainly seeking for news of his friend, the King of England. At last one day, while singing one of Richard's favorite songs near the walls of the castle where the king was confined, Blondel heard the song repeated from a window. Blondel the Minstrel recognized the voice of King Richard. From the window Richard told him to let the English people and the people of Europe know where he was confined, and Blondel the minstrel immediately went upon his mission.

Europe was astounded to learn that the brave King Richard of England, the great champion of Christendom, was imprisoned. The story of Blondel the Minstrel might not be true, but what is true is that England offered to ransom Richard, that the Pope interceded for him  and that finally it was agreed that King Richard should be given up on the payment of a very large sum of money in the form of a ransom.

Many of the nobles and knights in Queen Eleanor's Duchy of Aquitaine were troubadours. Queens Eleanor of Aquitaine ( Richard's mother )and Queen Berengaria (Richard's wife ) raised the ransom. King Richard came home in 1194, after a year and a half of captivity. His grateful thanks were given to his faithful friend Blondel the Minstrel.

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