Welcome to Martyn’s Bard Book!

Martyn Bard

Photo by Tadea Isabetta di Bruno

Hello and welcome!

I will be using this blog to publish my compositions, filks, contrafacts, and other performance-art-related materials from my time in the SCA. I’ll be starting by posting all of the things I wrote and/or composed during my time as King’s Bard to Kenric II, Brennan, and Edward III.

If you would like to see entries about my other Arts & Sciences works and/or other things I do in the SCA, please visit my main blog: Martyn’s Blog

Thank you for taking the time to peruse my work. I hope to start working on recordings to put on YouTube in the coming months.

If you’d like to commission a song, poem, story, or anything else, please email me.

Lord Martyn de Halliwell, OSC, OM, OTroub, OS, MH

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Forty Years And Nine

King Edward commissioned his bard, Lord Martyn de Halliwell to pen a song that spoke of the virtues of his Queen, Thyra, great patroness of the noble flamingo and mighty hedgehog. Thus did Martyn pen these words, and set them to the 14th Century tune known as “Douce Dame Jolie” by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377). Martyn entitled the new song “In Forty Years & Nine,” however, the song is now lovingly known as the “Flamingos and Hedgehogs Song.”

The song was performed by Lord Martyn de Halliwell, Mistress Aife ingen Chonchobair, Maistre Lucien de Pontivy, Baroness Ysmay de Lynn, Lady Aildreda de Tamwörthe, Lady Isabeau d’Orleans, Lady Violet Coleson, and Lady Katrin Daans. Baronne Sabine de Kerbriant and Lady Margretha la Fauvelle accompanied the singers on recorder and citole, respectively.

There is a buzzing sound at about 0:18 in the video, the sound returns back to normal following. The lyrics are posted below.


In forty years and nine there was, a virtuous Queen of Eastern lands, and Patroness of Flamingos and Hedgehogs.

Verse 1

Her Prowess is unmatched with a bow, her arrows fly through the sun-filled sky.

She inspires us to fight for the East, and noble creatures small and great.

Verse 2

Her Loyalty and Faith show that her will, is strong as any Royal Peer’s.

She inspires us today to sing and praise her forevermore.

Verse 3

Her Generosity and Mercy are well known, throughout the Known World.

King Edward did repent and she forgave, so we sing of her Virtues for you today.

Verse 4

Thyra’s Courtesy abounds even now, for all to see and hear,

She’s not kicked me right out, or banished me, for these words that I have penned.


Queen Thyra courteous Queen of the East, we sing today so all might know,

This Eastern Rose’s great display of noble virtues.


Categories: 14th Century, commission, Contrafact, King's Bard | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bold Lord Robert of Lochleven

I competed in my first King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions in 2013, and made it to the third and final round, along with 5 of my fellow competitors. We were each tasked with performing something to commemorate the “sainting” of Lord Robert, who had been “beheaded” before. In addition to that, I knew he was from Lochleven, married to Countess Marguerite IRL, “beheaded” for not paying taxes, and that he made tasty pulled pork and other pork. I had about 15 minutes, and I had never done a contrafact before. It was a very intense process, I learned a lot, and boy did I ever have fun. People even sang along by the end! The tune is a 13th Century English gymel, Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene. (my lyrics follow video)

Bold Lord Robert of Lochleven, was riding along on his best riding sheep

Through the woods he did travel, carrying pigs for the smoker that night.

All the bacon he would provide, and all the pulled pork goes right to our thighs.

Then Lord Robert he did arrive, at court without taxes to pay for his styes.


Then the mighty Baron roared, the headsman’s axe swung with a terrible fright,

Good Lord Robert’s head flew by, a look of surprise as it took flight.

All the bacon provide he did provide, and all his pulled pork went right to our thighs.

The Lord Robert he was no more, though a saint he was now by our King.


So Saint Lord Robert he came along, on St. Robert’s Day he still traveled along

Upon a herald he came along, and said, “hello I am Lord Saint Rober–”

“STOP! What are you trying to do? There no title-stacking, ever!”

So, Saint Robert a Lord no more, he traveled along looking for Boar.


Then Saint Robert he came upon, a dastardly black Knight with treacherous heart,

“Why the face and heart so long?” “I’ve not any clue I’m just really ticked off.”

“All the bacon can heal the soul, and all the pulled pork goes right to your thighs,

So go off and eat some now, and know the King’s tax is due tomorrow.”


So we’ve learned two important things, to eat all the bacon and not title stack,

Thank you Saint Robert we couldn’t without, pray to you for bacon and pulled pork.

All the bacon your sainthood provides, and all the pulled porks goes right to our thighs,

So to him on his Holy day, we raise up a porkchop and all shout Amen.

Categories: 13th Century, Contrafact, K&Q Bardic | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Avelina, Sweet Avelina

It was the night before King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions in 2014 and my plans for a second round piece (based on an SCA theme) hit a snag outside of my control, so I needed to come up with something new. I decided to write a song for our then Queen and my friend, Avelina, who’s totally wicked awesome. I wrote the lyrics in the car and picked one of my favorite period tunes to set the lyrics to.

The next day at the competition, only Suba had heard the song ahead of time. It was along with her, Mistress Aife, (then) Lady Judith FitzHenry, Master Peregrin, Sir Michael, and Lord Tristan that I sang this song at the beginning of the 2nd Round of the competition. I taught and conducted a bit on the fly, singing the high part and verses myself. It seemed to go over alright… 😉

The tune is by William Cornysh (1465-1523), titled “Ah, Robin, Gentle Robin.”

Sadly, the original performance isn’t on video, but I went home and made this handy version featuring a Martyn in different hoods (lyrics follow)


Avelina, sweet Avelina, tell us how thy Kenric doth and of his manly beard.

Verse 1

Queen Avelina is our great Queen, strong and fair of face,

She inspires us to a higher realm of Chivalry and Grace.

Verse 2

I cannot think of anyone else, who can inspire us,

More than our Queen, Avelina, our might archer Queen.

Verse 3

Queen Avelina her aim is true, like Dianna on the hunt,

She’s totally wicked awesome and Queen of Eastern hearts.

Categories: 16th Century, Contrafact, K&Q Bardic | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

We Come Marching in With Heralds

I was commissioned by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich to compose a processional for her Laurel ceremony held at this year’s King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions held in the incipient Shire of Nordenfjord.

Originally I had selected a late 16th-century piece and crafted something different for Alys’ procession, but as things in life go, I found out she really did like a song referred to as the “school bus song” by a lot of the current Royal retinue. It’s Cantiga de Santa Maria No. 166 “Como poden per sas culpas.” When I performed this at Ruantallan Investiture at the end of November 2014, a lot of those marching in heard “sas cuplas” as “a school bus” and now affectionately refer to the song by that misnomer. So, on the night before K&Q Bardic Champs, I found out that Alys really did like this song, so on Saturday, at the event, I set about composing a new processional set to Cantiga 166, as follows:


We come marching in with heralds, bards and fencers and Peers of the Realm.

Bringing Alys Mackyntoich to answer the Question.

Verse 1

Eastern Crown and Blue Tyger Herald, Ogre and Sharc, a wordsmith and bard,

Alys stands to receive her Laurel, so we bring her to the Royals.

Verse 2

I swear that we all are sober, these masks they are all heraldic,

What else could you have expected, have you not ever met Alys?


Writing something on-the-fly for a subject in a short period of time is rarely easy, however, sometimes you get a subject that is truly inspiring. Alys has been and continues to be one of the people in the SCA that I look up to, from whom I have learned a great deal, including a large amount of the inspiration behind my construction of scroll texts, and encouraged my interest in onomastics research and book heraldry. Thankfully I had a prepared piece, just in case, but as you can see, it wasn’t necessary. People seemed to enjoy it, and I was joined by Maistresse Sabine de Kerbriant on recorder for the procession; Maistresse Sabine played the tune during the recessional on shawm at the end of the ceremony.

Categories: commission, Contrafact, K&Q Bardic | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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