Every historian dreams of hitting gold in the archives. Matt Lewis’s guest Dr. James Wade of Girton College, Cambridge has done just that.
James has uncovered a manuscript by cleric and tutor Richard Heege, which reports the routines of a medieval minstrel. It reads like a mixture of stand-up script and satirical panel show. The text mocks kings, priests and peasants, encourages audiences to get drunk and shocks them with slapstick as well as a killer rabbit worthy of Monty Python. It all sheds new light on the English sense of humour, and the role played by minstrels in medieval society.
This episode was edited by Joseph Knight and produced by Rob Weinberg.