Bards & Scops:
Who were they?
- Minstrels were people
who sang songs and told stories. The British called them
'Bards' and the Saxons called them 'Scops' (pronounced
'Shops'). They were popular well into Medieval and Tudor
- This was a full-time
job. It was seen as an important skill and they were paid
- The minstrels might work
for a single wealthy employer (a lord or king) or they might
'itinerant' - travelling
around looking for people who wanted to hear them perform.
- Sometimes they had a
second part-time job as an ambassador (someone who meets
people and sorts out agreements) or a 'public relations
officer' (someone who tells everyone how great their employer
- Most people could not
write. So the minstrels had to remember all their songs, poems
- They were also expected
to make up new stories on the spur of the moment.
- Their stories were
usually about ancient gods or famous kings or warriors, like
- Minstrels also
remembered the family trees of lords and kings.
- They sometimes played
musical instruments too, like the harp. These have been found
by archaeologists in Saxon graves.
- The minstrels performed
during big feasts held in great
- The most famous British
bards were two people called Taliesin and Aneirin. the
most famous Saxon scop was a Northumbrian
- The most famous Anglo-Saxon
poem is called 'Beowulf'. Beowulf was a famous warrior and the
poem tells about his fight with a monster named Grendel.