the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

UK medieval writings

A collection of writings from the 12th century onwards.

 

 

1360 "the Tympanum maketh the better melody yf there is a pype therewyth."
Bartholomew, English monk

‘Old English instruments of music, their history and character’ by  Galpin, Francis W. (Francis William), 1911

12th century

"... At your feasts you have harp and lute, tabor and pipe and wine, but have no eyes for the work of the Lord..."

'The Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Peter Abelard, Heloise, Michael Clanchy and Betty Radice (2004) page 175

12th century, Hugh of Taber

“…In order that this grant of mine may continue to be stable and fair in future times, I have confirmed it
by the testimony of this writing and the attestation of my seal. By these witnesses: Hugh of Taber”

Charters of donors: Property elsewhere (nos. 452-91) Westminster Abbey Charters, 1066 - c.1214.

c.1220-1240 poem 'Handlyng Synne':

This poem gives advice on the consequences of sin and advocates living a moral life, using examples
taken from the Bible, the lives of the saints, and other well-known stories. 

" may he be sore a-ferde that doth vyleynye yn churche yerde, Namly, syn hyt halewed was,
the more he dothë of trespas. (ll. 8647-50)
(he who acts villanously in the churchyard should be very afraid since, because it was consecrated,
he does more than just trespass.)

Activities that are forbidden in the church or churchyard while the priest is taking the mass include the pipe and tabor:

"Or tabure bete, or other pypynge, Alle swychë thyng forbodyn es, whyle the prest stondeth at messe."

" Insular Secular Carolling in the Late Middle Ages" Eustace, Frances

‘fools, luters, taborers,’ are listed in the 'Register of Royal and Baronial Domestic Minstrels 1272 -1327'

Bullock-Davies, Constance .' Register of Royal and Baronial Domestic Minstrels 1272 -1327.' Woodbridge, Suffolk : Boydell, 1986.

13th century - In the Anglo-Norman romance of Horn a ribald
“ goes to marriages to play on the tabor”—
A li piert qu’il est las un lechur
Ki à ces nocces vient pur juer od tabur;

1297 At the wedding of Edward's fourteen-year-old sister Elizabeth and twelve-year-old Count John I
of Holland was’ Martinet the taborer’ among many other minstrels. 

Court case 23 Dec. 1298
“Tuesday before the Nativity of the Lord [25 Dec.]
Whereas it had been presented before Adam de Halling (beri), Alderman of the Ward of Allgate, in his Wardmote,
that Roger le Rous makes a great roistering (rigolagiam) with unknown minstrels, tabor-players and trumpeters
to the grave damage and tumult of the whole neighbourhood and against the prohibition;…”

Calendar: Roll B, 16 December 1298 - 29 September 1299 Pages 21-45
Calendar of Early Mayor's Court Rolls: 1298-1307. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.

Court case 19 March 1299-1300

“Richard Davy, baker, was attached to answer the Mayor and Aldermen on a charge that, whereas on Friday
the Feast of the Translation of St Edward, he was dragged on the hurdle because his bread was false, when he
arrived home and descended from the hurdle and entered his house, he took a bone and threw it at the tabor-player
and broke his tabor through the middle….”

'Calendar: Roll C, 17 February 1299 - 14 October 1300', in Calendar of Early Mayor's Court Rolls: 1298-1307, ed. A H Thomas (London, 1924

1300 poem 'Sir Orfeo'

line 300“…Knights and ladies in joyous wise, 
In quaint attire, as of days gone by, 
Pacing a measure soberly, 
To sound of tabor and pipe they pass, 
Making sweet music, across the grass. …”

"...The steward sat him down at the table, 
With many noble knights and noblemen, 
All kinds of music had they, I trow, 
trumpeters and tabourers, and harpers enow, 
There was was no lack of melody in the hall --  "

The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse, 1970, Line 520

1302 poem concerning the love which Bishop Grosteste had for music:1302‘The ballad literature and popular music of the olden time : a history of the ancient songs, ballads,
and of the dance tunes of England, with numerous anecdotes and entire ballads : also a short
account of the minstrels’ by Chappell, W. (William), 1855

early 14th century poem 'Ywain and Gawain'

“…And damsels dance and ful wele
With trompes, pipes, and with fristele.
The castel and the cete rang
With mynstralsi and nobil sang. …”

‘The Narrative Performers: An Examination of Medieval Musicians’ Effect on Their Audiences and The Narrative’
by Christian Batchelor 2021 (lines 1395-8)

1306 Craddock le Taborrer, of Coventry is named in:
'The Early Records of Medieval Coventry. Records of Social and Economic History ns 11 Coss, Peter R and Trevor John, eds
.' London: Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 1986, p 58

1306 great feast at Westminster: 267 men were knighted.
The banquet held afterwards in the Great Hall of Westminster Palace was splendid.  80 minstrels had been
hired for the occasion, which cost Edward I £130.  Ttabourers were present.

July 1306, two shillings was paid out of the household accounts of Edward of Caernarfon and Elizabeth's
young half-brothers Thomas (just turned six) and Edmund (not quite five) for repairing Martinet's tabor,
which the two little boys had broken.  

"The royal household ordinances of 1318 made provision for two trumpeters and two other minstrels to be
in constant attendance on the king, and to make their minstrelsy to him at his pleasure."

Secular Musicians in Late Medieval England

9 March 1310 Godewyn le Pheliper …acknowledged himself bound to William de Gaytone, "tabourer"
 in the sum of 50 marks; to be paid at Michaelmas,
‘Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London: B, 1275-1312.’ Folio 20 b (cxj). vs. vijd.

1311 William de Gaytone is described as a "tabourer"
Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London: F, 1337-1352.
Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

1315 “John de Upestone, 'tabourer,' who were hanged”
Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward II: Volume 2, 1313-1318.

1317-1321 John, 'le tabourer'
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward II: Volume 3, 1317-1321.

1319 “De Roberto le Tabourer Lived in Warda Ripe Regine, Queenhithe ward, London

At the same time “De Sabina le Taburer” lived in Warda de Bradstrate, Broad Street ward, London

Subsidy Roll 1319: Queenhithe ward, Two Early London Subsidy Rolls.Pages 332-338

1323-64 Tabourer living in the City of London - Taborer, Tabourer, Peter,

'Index of names and places: L - Z', in Calendar of the Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London: Volume 1, 1323-1364 

1324 John Thyoun 'le Tabourer' in Calender of Patent Rolls

1325 “Taburer (le Taborer), William (fl. 1325-<49). was registered at St. Mary le Bow 37-41 (s)” London

'Tabourer, Gervase le' was also listed:
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward II: Volume 4, 1321-1324

D J Keene and Vanessa Harding, 'Index of Persons - T', in Historical Gazetteer of London Before the Great Fire Cheapside;
Parishes of All Hallows Honey Lane, St Martin Pomary, St Mary Le Bow, St Mary Colechurch and St Pancras Soper Lane

1327 Will'o le Taborer lived in Waleshale.

'Staffordshire Lay Subsidy, 1327: Offlow hundred, Lichfield and other boroughs'
 Staffordshire Historical Collections, Vol. 7, Part 1, ed. George Wrottesley (London, 1886), pp. 223-236

1334 John Tabourer of Echynghamme,
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward III: Volume 2, 1330-1334

1336 In the will of Gayton (William de), "tabourer." 
" To the Warden and priests of the New Hospital of S. Mary within Crepelgate a tenement with shops
and gardens situate without Aldresgate in the parish of S. Botolph, so that they provide a chantry for
the good of his soul and the souls of Ada his wife, &c...." [25 March]
Roll 64 (31).

1337 William de Gayton, a "tabourer" was proved and enrolled in the Husting

Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London: F, 1337-1352 'Cal. of Wills,' i. 419.

1338 William Tabourer of Gayton

"Letters testimonial … to the Bailiffs and good men of Northampton, certifying that John de Gayton
was next heir to William Tabourer of Gayton, deceased"

1339 William de Gayton 'Tabourer et Heraud de North' is mentioned as dead in June 1339
(Court of Hustings, Comm. Pleas, R. 63, 13 Ed. III).

1339 -1340 John le Tabourer of Codyngton
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward III, Volume 4, 1338-1340

1337 in court:

Peter Taborer and five others "were charged with forestalling oysters, by entering boats and buying the oysters
before the recognized hours of sale, and with keeping the unsold oysters, till they were stinking and putrid,
and then mixing them with fresh oysters. A jury found them not guilty."

Pleas held before the Mayor and Aldermen 17 Dec.

Simon Tabour
 “Simon son of Nicholas Tabour of Borham (Essex ) A. 8015”
A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds: Volume 4.

1338 William Tabour

"late William Tabour's, land [Essex]  A. 12168."

A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds: Volume 5.  

 "… William Tabour, tenants of the fourth part of a virgate of land,
with their services Wilts.    A. 13636."
A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds: Volume 5.

1338 poem

"...Many mynestrales thorow out the toun,
Som blewe trompe & clarioun,
Harpes, pypes, & tabours..."

'The Story of England' by Robert Manning of Brunne

1325-1350 poem
"Taborus and trompours,
Herawdes goode descoverours,
Har strokes gan descrye"

Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms

Edward III (1327-77) included a tabor player in his household band

'Percussion instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance Their history in literature and painting' JAMES BLADES

From 1337 onwards in Lynn minstrels and other entertainers and musicians, belonging to various lords, royalty
and private individuals, are paid sums by the town council, including the Earl of Suffolk’s, the Duke
of Lancaster’s etc. Instruments mentioned include trumpet, harp, gittern, lute, fiddle, pipe (probably shawm)
pipe and tabor and bagpipes

1355 Durham

”four pipes, silver-gilt and enamelled, which the prince has given to the four minstrels sent to him
by the count of Eu, and of a cornemuse, a pipe and a tabor, silver-gilt and enamelled, which the
prince has given to his minstrels”

Extract from the Account Rolls of the Abbey of Durham, ed. Fowler, Surtees Society. 1898, quoted in 'THE STATUS AND FUNCTION
OF MINSTRELS IN ENGLAND BETWEEN 1350 AND 1400', by A price

1360 "the Tympanum maketh the better melody yf there is a pype therewyth." Bartholomew, English monk

‘Old English instruments of music, their history and character’ by  Galpin, Francis W. (Francis William), 1911

Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400 - quotes probably meaning drum .
'THE LEGENDS OF GOOD WOMEN' 1st version:
"...For in youre court is many a losengeour, 
And manye a queynte totulour acusour, 
That tabouryn in youre eres manye a Mjw^, 
For hate or for jelous ymagynyng,
And for to han with you sum dalyaunce.  ..."

2nd version:
"...For in youre courte ys many a losengeour, 
And many a queinte totelere accusour, 
That tabouren in youre eres many a soun, 
Ryght aftir hire ymagynacioun, 
To have youre daliance..."

 

The Summoner's Prologue and Tale

“…Then shall this churl, with belly stiff and tought
As any tabour, hither be y-brought;…”

source

late 14thc poem by John of Trevisa
“...They haveth in greet mangerie
Harpe, tabor and pype for mynstralcie.
They bereth forth cors with sorwe grete;
they bloweth lowde hornes of geete...”

'English bowed instruments from Anglo-Saxon to Tudor times' by Remnant, Mary

1378 poem: a fool comments upon his skills and talents:

“If you want to know .....
I play neither tabor nor trumpet, and cannot tell romances,
Or harp or fiddle or fart in tune at feasts
Or tell jokes, or juggle, or pipe a jig”

'Piers Plowman ' William Langland
14th century poem 14th century'Life of Alexander' by Adam Davie
   

from Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms

[Some of these quotes may relate to the tabor on its own. 'Pypes' could be any wind/brass instrument.]

 

1285

" At Tis bruydale was plei i-nouzh: song and gret hoppingue, Tabours and fiÞele and symphanye: stiues and harpingue."

1300

"Fro kechene com the fyrste cours, With pypes, and trumpes, and tabours"

. cl300 

" Ðe gleymen on the tabour dinge."

 

1300

T"rumpes yede in hys galeye,
Men myghte it here into the skye,
Taboures and hornes Sarezyneys"

1303 Rob. Man, of Br.

"Or entyrludës, or syngynge,
Or tabure bete, or other pypynge,
Aile swyc ë thyng for - bodyn es."

1325 'Orpheus'

"Taberis and pypes yeden hem by
And al maner of mynstrelsy. "

 

1338 Rob. Man. of Br.

 "Harpes, pypes, & tabours"

1338 Rob. Man. of Br.

"With trompe & taber, & horn of bras."

cl350 
" alle maner menstracie maked was sone of tabours & of trumpes non mizt pe number telle."

 
.

1370-1380 

"Wher be those gleomen the to glewen, Harpe and Fithele and tabour bete?"

cl377

" Ðan were thee tabours faste y-bete,
As that host him lay in every strete of that  faire Citee"

? 1387

" And they Scotlond the douzter of Irlond use harpe, tymbre, and tabour, [and wales useth harpe and pipe and tabour].

 

1387

" In bataile thei useth taboures and no trompe, and they mowe not dure long for to fi3te"

1387

"They haveth in greet mangerie
Harpe, tabor, and pype for mynstralcie.

1398

"And dyuers Instrumentes seruyth to this manere armonye: as Tabour and Tymbre. Harpe and Sawtry, & Nakyres and also Sistrum."

 

1398

"Tympanum is . . . beathen with a stycke ryght as a tabour . . .
And maketh the better melody yf there is a pype therwyth. "

. cl400

" And gret noyse, as it were sown of Tabours and of Nakeres and Trompes, as thoughe it were of a gret feste"

. cl400

 "Ther was myche menstrals[y]e, Trommpes, tabours, and sawtr[y]e, Bothe harpe and fydellyng"

 

cl400 

" Ðer was joye and melodye
Of all skynnes menstracye,
Of trompe, tabour, harpe, and crouth,
And mony mury dissour of mouth."

1400

"Now rist grete tabour-betyng
Blawing of pypes, and ek trumpyng.

1400 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'

"They herde no pype, ne flagel."

 

15th century 'Law. And. of Fish.'

" they here gladly playnge on instrumentes,
as lutes, harpes, tabours and pypes."

c l450

 "We shall dysgyse us at Þonde vyllege and we shall goo in daunsyng with tyboures and with pypers

cl450 

"Timpanum, a taber, or a tymbre"

. cl450 

" Theer was noyse of Menstralcye, Trwumpys, tabowris and nakernis made"

1509

" There sate dame musyke with all her mynstralsy
As tabours, trompettes with pypes melodyous"

 

source:  'Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms'.Carter, H.H. (1961/1980Indiana University Press, Bloomington. Reprinted (1980).
 
Royal and aristocratic household accounts

COVENTRY GILD-ACCOUNTS 1449–1502 

Waldinsfeld, 11 December.Gift: to Martinettus the taborer, 10.0d
25 Ed 1: Add 7965 
Gift of 6.8d to Robinettus le Taborer de York, making his minstrelsy before the king: Boneye, 8 Decembe
29 Ed I: Add 7966A. Controller’s Book 

Prests to Bandettus, the king’s taborer
31 Ed I: Add 17360.
Controller’s Accounts 

Necessaries 11d to Martinettus the taborer, for the repairing of drums of the king’s sons and for moneys paid
by him for parchment for the covering of the said drums: London, 18 November.
Gifts Windsor, 6 January.
to Martinettus the taborer and William and John the trumpeters, minstrels of the lords, making their minstrelsy
in the presence of the same on the vigil and day of Epiphany on account of the king’s celebrations, of the gift
and favour of the said lords, 20.0d: Robes  money for an annual robe inc Martinettus the taborer
money to the minstrels as above for winter and summer shoes
Winter liveries to the household: details of cloth for robes to the minstrels inc Martinettus the taborer
34 Ed I: E101.368.12. Accounts of the household of Thomas and Edmund, the king’s sons 

Roll of payments and gifts to minstrels at Pentecost 
to The taborer of the lady Audham.
Guillot the taborer
Perotus the taborer.
minstrels in French
Bandet le Tabourer.
Bandettus le Tabourer
Martinet le Tabourer
Ed I: E101.369.6.

Prest to Clays, taborer
2 – 3 Ed III: E101.384.1. Controller’s Accounts

The minstrels: inc Cleys, taborer
4 Ed III: E101.385.4. Keeper’s Livery Roll

THE HOWARD ACCOUNTS 1462–1485 
Entries relating to minstrels in the transcribed accounts of Sir John Howard, successively
Lord Howard and Duke of Norfolk.  

1482  1 August: 1d paid for a pipe for the fool. 

to Martinettus the taborer, 10.0d
Gift of 6.8d to Robinettus le Taborer de York, making his minstrelsy before the king: Boneye, 8 December. 
Prests to Bandettus, the king’s taborer
25 Ed 1: Add 7965

Accounts of the household of Thomas and Edmund, the king’s sons 
Necessaries 
11d to Martinettus the taborer, for the repairing of drums of the king’s sons and for moneys paid by him for parchment
for the covering of the said drums: London, 18 November. 
Gifts
To Martinettus the taborer and William and John the trumpeters, minstrels of the lords, making their minstrelsy
in the presence of the same on the vigil and day of Epiphany on account of the king’s celebrations, of the gift
and favour of the said lords, 20.0d: Windsor, 6 January.
Robes
Winter liveries to the household: details of cloth for robes to the minstrels, viz., William Barbitonsor,
John the trumpeter, William his fellow and Martinettus the taborer. 
34 Ed I: E101.368.12

.Roll of payments and gifts to minstrels at Pentecost 
payments
The taborer of the lady Audham.
Guillot the taborer.
Perotus the taborer.
3.0d to  Guillotus, taborer of the Earl of Warwick.
Martinet the taborer.
3.10½d owed to Bandettus the taborer. 
5 Ed II: E101.374.16 
Prest to King Robert, taborer, and his four companions, soldiers of the garrison of Berwick. 
2 – 3 Ed III: E101.384.1. Controller’s Accounts 
Prest to Clays, taborer.
4 Ed III: E101.385.4. Keeper’s Livery Roll 
“the minstrels are: (16 including) Cleys, taborer
Money for winter robes, annis 15, 16 and 17, to Lambert, taborer
Payment of 38.0d of the 60.0d owed to Lambert, taborer.
34 Ed I: E101.369.6

A total of £12.5.4d owed to Lambert, taborer, for wages and robes.
Robes and Shoes Money to many servants of the household for winter and summer robes,
including Lamkin, taborer
c. 21 Ed III: E101.391.9. Keeper’s Accounts 

30th November: Details of gowns made against the feast of Christmas for the king’s (17) minstrels, Lambekin, taborer
37 – 38 Ed III: E101.394.16. Livery Roll, 29 June, 37 Ed III – 29 June, 38 Ed III
26th November Details of robes for Christmas for the king’s minstrels (18), Lambekin, taborer
34 – 35 Ed III: E101.393.15. Livery Roll, 1 November, 34 Ed III – 28 June, 35 Ed III 

28 November, Details of robes delivered to the minstrels for Christmas (16) Lambekin, taborer
6th December,, Details of robes delivered to the minstrels for Christmas (17)
Liveries to the minstrels (15) Lamkin, taborer
48 Ed III – 1 Ric II: E101.397.20. Keeper’s Livery Roll, 24 November, 48 Ed III – 6 July, 1 Ric II 

1 October,
4 May: gift of 66.8d to a strange taborer.
28th December  20.0d to two taborers and a tumbler.
13 – 15 Hen VII: E101.414.16. Journal (English) 13 Hen VII – 30 September, 15 Hen VII

1464
23 January: a new gown and 3d delivered to the taboret
29 March, at London: payment of 20d to the taboret.
Payments for doublets and hose for the taboret and others. 
11 May: payment of 4d for a headstall for the taboret. 
1 June, at Newark: payment of 2d for cord for the taboret’s tabor.
St. James’s Day, 25 July: 2.4d delivered to the taboret to buy himself a pair of hose.

1465
May: gift of 12d to the taboret at Moleyn’s wedding.

1466
8 April: gift of 8d to the taboret. 
17 September:94 gift of 3.4d to the taboret of Lord Wenlock.

1467
Part of a list of retainers for an expedition to the north, probably that of 1464.
It includes John Symond, taboret,
to whom was delivered a jacket and 12d on his wages, 7 October

1463-4
3 Ed IV. List of Howard’s stud when he was with the Duke of Norfolk at Holt Castle, , dated 25 January,
It includes the taboret, mounted upon Little Morel. 
List, dated 13 September, 11 Ed IV, probably of those who went to Calais with Howard after his appointment
as Deputy Governor there. It includes Janen, taboret

1481
List of those who accompanied Howard to Scotland, 23 February – 17 August, includes the following:
Roger, taboret, and his fellow.
The Taborets: Pierson of Cromer, John Wright, Thomas Comford, Harry Gamelgay, Thomas Brome, Strong of Cromer and Tornors of Horsfield.

parchment to repair a tabor (1481)

To Christopher and Valentine, taborets, 16d to make their gowns with; 5.0d to buy themselves hose;
5.10½d paid for their gowns; 4.0d in prest

Payments to Christopher and Valentine, taborets: 5.10½d for a gown for each of them; 2.8d to make their gowns;
5.0d to buy hose for themselves; a prest of 4.0d; 2.2d to Valentine for his expenses in going to Southampton;
8d to each of them on the 11 March; 2.0d on the 22 April to buy themselves bonnets, shirts and other “gere”;
and 3.4d on 13 August at Harwich. 

11 March: 16d to the taborets for drink-money.
undated: 4d to the taborets for parchment. 
24 March: 12d to the taborets to buy shoes.
26 March: 4d to the taborets. 
7 April: 6.8d to a friar to go to Stoke to ...98 the taborets. 
16 April: 16d to a man that carried the taborets’ “stuff”
15 April?: 16d to the taborets. 
 21 April: 2.0d to the taborets to buy “gere
  5 May: 2.0d paid for two pairs of shipmen’s hose for the taborets. 
9 May: 12d to the taborets of the “Spaniard”. 
21 May, at Powers: 10d paid for the taborets’ bedding.
c.13 August: 3.4d to the taborets, for their wages. 
27 August: 12d to the Waits of London.
6.8d to Christopher, taboret, to buy “gere”.
20d to Valentine, taboret. 
29 August: 12d to the taborets. 
6 September, at Wivenhoe: 8d to the taborets and others, for their breakfast.
14 September: 3.4d to Christopher, taboret,   6.8d to Valentine, taboret. 
amongst a list of servants Robert Strong and the taborets

1483
22nd August at Thetford   8d to a taboret.
16 September, in Sussex: 11d to the taboret for his horse and his supper.
 19 October: 2.4d to the taboret for his tabor
3.8d to Roger Taber

Household of Thomas, Earl of Surrey
1491 5-8 January: payment of 40d to the taboret of Lord Berners.
1489 4 May: 28.0d to Pringill, to mend his tabor.120 
1496 29 June: gift of 14.0d to William and John Pais, taborers. 
1497 6 March, at Stirling: gift of 27.0d to the taborer that played to the king, and the rope-dancer with him. 
28 March Easter rewards to the minstrels, at Stirling :  36.0d to William and Pais, taborers, and a rope-dancer with them.
9.0d to Ansle, taborer. 
12 June, in Melrose:   18.0d to William and Pais, taborers. 
23 September: gift of 18.0d to Pais, taborer, and Bennet, fiddler. 
18 December: gift of 18.0d to Adam Boyd, taborer. 

[Ed All this information was extracted from a thesis which is no longer online. Please notify me if this is your work.]

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