English Musicians in the Reign of Edward III

In the houses of great lords, musicians occupied the first place among the class of domestics. In early Saxon times, the common people had their bards, who received their support from the contributions of the many, while the kings had their minstrels as part of their household.

Among the Celtic races musicians held a still more important place in domestic life, and even in our own day it can hardly be said that, among the Gallic and Scotch peoples, the class of itinerant performers upon the harp and the flute is entirely extinct as a recognized element of society.

 English Musicians at the time of Edward III
English Musicians at the time of Edward III

The plate which we give represents a group of simple musicians of the time of Edward III, and the singularity of their costume proves that a taste for the grotesque in dress had already made sensible progress at this period.

Source: Select Historical Costumes Compiled from the Most Reliable Sources by Henry L. Hinton - 1868