Friday, 26 November 2010

The root of it all

It was Easter 1993 when this whole thing kicked off. I was leafing through an old tome in my parents' house - a book acquired by my grandfather called History of the ancient Ryedales, and their descendants in Normandy, Great Britain, Ireland, and America, from 860 to 1884 (yes, it's been put online) by one GT Ridlon of New Hampshire. And I came across this:
Galfridus Ridel, eldest son of Galfridus, obtained the principality of Blaye, upon his father's entering the church, and was one of the most celebrated of the troubadour poets. His history illustrates in a most striking manner the age of chivalry in which he lived. He was the favorite minstrel of Geoffrey de Plantagenet Bretagne, and during his residence at the court of England, where he lived in great honor and splendor, caressed for his talents and loved for the gentleness of his disposition, he heard continually the praises of the Countess of Tripoli, — whose fame, in consequence of her munificent hospitality to the Crusaders, who, when returning from the plains of Asia, wayworn, sick, and disabled, were relieved and entertained by her, had spread throughout Christendom, — which praise of her beauty and benevolence, constantly repeated by the returned Crusaders, in their enthusiasm of gratitude, fired the heart of Ridel (sometimes spelled "Rudel") the poet to such an extent that, without having seen her, and unable to bear the torments of absence longer, he undertook a pilgrimage to visit the unknown lady.
'Caressed for his talents'... That beats Arts Council funding any day, I reckon. Not sure where Ridlon got the notion that Rudel spent time at the English Court. But for that matter, the book's evidence of a proper lineage from Blaye to my clan is pretty ropey.

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