The Moorish Trumpeter: The Black Europeans

The Muurish Trumpeter at Henry VIII’s Tournament

According to an online entry: “… John Blanke, a Black (Moorish English) trumpeter, was a regular musician at the courts of both Henry VII and Henry VIII. Musicians’ payments were noted in the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber, who was responsible for paying the wages. There are several payments recorded to a ‘John Blanke, the blacke trumpeter’. This trumpeter was paid 8d a day, first by Henry VII and then from 1509 by Henry VIII.” See John Blanke

The images below, extracted from the 60ft-long Westminster Tournament Roll, shows six trumpeters, one of whom is Black and is almost certainly John Blanke. All the trumpeters are wearing yellow and grey, with blue purses at their waists. John Blanke is the only one wearing a brown turban latticed with yellow. He is mounted on a grey horse with a black harness.

Westminster Tournament Roll (1511)
From The College of Arms, London

References and Further Reading

Anglo, S., The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster: Historical Introduction, Oxford, 1968

Anglo, S., The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster: A Collotype Reproduction of the Manuscript, Oxford, 1968

Barber, R. and Barker, J., Tournaments: Jousts, Chivalry and Pageants in the Middle Ages, Suffolk, 1989

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