A ballad!

Hello Traveller, today I am going to be sharing with you a very old song from my region. It is called “The Ballad of Lord Halewijn” and it dates from the 1300s.

Several versions of the story of Halewijn exist. In all of them, Lord Halewijn (Halewyn) is either an evil man, a magician, a demon or a fairy lord who sings a magical song. Every woman (maiden) who hears this song is drawn towards him and goes to meet him in his forest, where he kills them.

A princess hears the song and is drawn into the forest to meet Lord Halewijn. In some versions she knows about his reputation but has a plan, in others, she is warned on her way by a white bird. She meets Halewijn and lets herself fall under his spell. Together they ride to a field of gallows where he declares his intention to kill her, but impressed by her beauty, he allows her to pick her own death. The princess chooses to be beheaded, but implores Halewijn to take off his shirt so her blood will not stain him.

Lord Halewijn lays off his sword and starts to undress, which was the princess’ plan all along. In some versions, while he is pulling his robe over his head, the cloth of the robe muffles the magical song. In other versions, as he pulls the robe over his head, he can no longer use his spellbinding gaze. Other versions have him turn his back to the princess while undressing. Whatever version however, while undressing, the princess awakens from his spell and cuts off the head of the now helpless Halewijn with a sword, either his own sword or one she brought with her.

The princess takes the head with her and triumphantly returns home. On her way back she meets Halewijn’s mother who asks her about her son. The princess then reveals to her Halewijn’s fate. In the kings castle, the head is shown all over and the tale ends with a great celebration.

Sta viator…

Sta viator, ‘stop traveller’, that is what it means… stop and stay a while in Ava’s corner. My place is the one with the warm campfire, soft sheepskins and good food. Like the big house you see on the home page, a farm dating from the 600s CE and that is where I live and where you are welcome.

Let me tell you how I got the SCA name Ava van Allecmere. Now, doesn’t that sound like a good campfire story? I was born in Alkmaar, a town about 40km north of Amsterdam. It is a very old town, the first settlement dates from the 900s CE.

In those days, Alkmaar was small and had but a few farms, which were owned by the Egmond Abbey, about 8km west. The farms and Allecmere itself were donated by Count Dirk 1 to the abbey in Egmond, this was around the year 985. In the abbey’s books you can find the following phrase (on page 68) listed under Dirk’s gifts to the abbey:

Nichilominus in villa Allecmere vocitata duas mansas, que annis singulis unam libram persolvunt, ex quibus quartam partem manse non habemus.

A rough translation tells you this says: Nevertheless, in the town of Allecmere two houses will be built , annually a fourth part of the revenue will be given (bear with me, this is a very rough translation, but you get the point right? Right!)

So, back in the day, Allecmere wasn’t much to write home about. How different it is today!

The Abbey also received annual tax payments from their tenants. A lady named Ava (on page 81) pays 10 denarios (equal to 10 pennies). I am assuming she was from another hamlet near Egmond, Wimnom, because she is listed among other folk from that place.

Hildegarda dedit pro anima sua dimidium fiertel, que iacet in Wimnon. Ava dedit terram, persolventem 10 denarios. Ivo de Wimnen dedit terram, persolventem 10 denarios, que iacet in Wimnom.

And so, that is how the persona of Ava van Allecmere came into being. Stop traveller, stay a while… and tell me about you!

Yes, a new blog!

Welcome to my new blog! For the past few weeks I have been plotting & designing and now I am ready to launch this latest brain child.

This blog will be filled with all things medieval and all things SCA, well, the SCA stuff that I do. You will find many things on this blogs, mostly:

  • tutorials
  • museum & exhibition visits

This is the first post on my new blog and the entire thing is one huge Work In Progress! I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Tic Tac Toe, look for this in the tutorial section!