Weddings & Parties
A bagpiper and drummer specialising in Medieval,
Tudor and early Stuart music
and Life and Times
We play music from the reign of Elizabeth I which saw,
amongst other things,
the threat from the Spanish Armada and the rise of William Shakespeare.
This is one of our favourite periods, not least because Peg
gets to make, and we wear, some very tall hats.
2019 was 500 years since the birth of a very
influential Elizabethan character, one Thomas Gresham. He was
the person responsible for setting up the Royal Exchange which
helped to fund many voyages of discovery, finding and claiming
New Worlds and making exotic foods more readily available. It
was one of the first steps in the creation of the British Empire.
His fleet of ships carried his emblem, the grasshopper, as does the
Royal Exchange to this day.
We have evolving costumes and music as the Tudor age unfolds,
covering from the first Tudor, Henry VII, onto Henry VIII, Edward, Mary
and finally Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, as the most
famous of these, is Henry VIII. Although he changed the very structure of England he is
for his latter size, 6 wives and a despotic attitude to the lives of others.
He is not so famous for owning, according to his deathbed inventory (along with many, many other instruments), 5 sets of ivory
bagpipes! Shame they didn't survive!!
2020 celebrated 500 years since one of the true
spectacles of the age, The Field of Cloth of Gold, where Henry VIII
and Francis I of France met in the then English Pale of Calais. It
was entertainment of the grandest order, theatrical sets, a great
tournament, music, feasting, fountains of wine. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. oh, and a bit of politics.
We also recreate music and life from earlier times,
from the reign of Edward I
(who paid a bagpiper a whole 2 shillings for his services) through to the Cousins War (The War of
the Roses). Included in this repertoire; the tune for the oldest secular
song written in the English
language and some wonderful tunes and dances from Derbyshire! A
mixed bag(pipe) indeed ;-)
2020 also marked 850 years since the martyrdom of
Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, after a little encouragement from
the king. It also marked 800 years since the abolition of "Trial by Ordeal"
and 700 years since the start of yet another not so well known
"English" Civil War.
And 2019 celebrated 375 years since the Battle of
Cropredy Bridge and we were privileged to be invited to perform at
the actual battle site at, er . . Cropredy Bridge on June 29th and
30th of that year.
From the uniting of the British thrones under James I through to
the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Civil War. Who
would believe that in those puritanical times the first edition of John Playford's
English Dancing Master" would be published.
A period with such a wealth of music. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . oh and great hats too!
Myal and Peg are "Living Historians" who specialise in the
life and music of the common folk of the 13th to 17th centuries.
We work in historical venues, schools,
parties and weddings, bringing the sounds and atmosphere of the Medieval and
Renaissance periods to life.
Myal plays period bagpipes made by himself and based on
examples found (as carvings in churches) right across England and Wales. Peg accompanies him on the drum. Together they create a big, loud
sound which is particularly well suited to outdoors, where the sound
carries, giving an auditory backdrop to the rest of the event and obscuring the noise of the 21st Century, helping to create the ambience
of another era.
Myal and Peg are always delighted to teach
dance to any willing volunteers, as is testified by the comment below
(and as dancers they were really good!)
“Had a fantastic
day today, could you please forward me the names of the groups involved
and the wonderful musicians who taught my children to dance. If you ever
need a rave review let me know. Thanks again. Yours M. Baxter. “
English Heritage after an event at Pendennis Castle, Cornwall.
after all, that's what this music is all
about, music to dance to!
We also work with other re-enactors so should your
requirements not immediately appear to be catered for within these pages
please contact us as we know many good people with interesting and
The person behind Myal Pyper
Mark Harper has been a
re-enactor working with the public and school children since
Previous to that, and to
the present, he has worked within the field of music and the music
industry. From the mid to late 90s he performed as part of the duo
“Two Little Boys” who took their raucous brand of foot tapping folk all
over the UK and Germany, finally parting company after a near fatal
accident in that country seeing Mark in hospital for 6 months.
Although on his return to the UK, in 2000, he was straight out gigging,
by the mid “Noughties” he found that he was being drawn more and more to
the bagpipes as the instrument most likely to express his "art".
as playing Mark is a sound technician, engineering the sound for a
couple of bands that he has worked with for many a year.
As a historical
interpreter or re-enactor he still has a close
association with the country's foremost recreation of Tudor life at
Kentwell Hall, in Suffolk.
He has composed music for the
exhibition of the The Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum in
2022 and sells both music created for the Lyre (this being written for
the Anglo Saxon Village Museum at West Stow in Suffolk in 1995) and also
music recorded with Bagpipes being the main focus. This music can be
making music, Mark might be found making other stuff, including musical instruments. He has made
harps, lyres (as used on the Lyresong CD), fiddles, medieval trumpets (buisines) and of course,
bagpipes (also featured on Double Pipe, Single Drum).
In 2010 he was commissioned to make a lyre
(right) for the Anglo
Saxon Village Museum at West Stow in Suffolk. He has also
made many of the trappings to demonstrate his and Peg's living history, and
no one who knows Mark would forget to mention that he is a maker of the