Friday 22 June 2018, 12:00 – 13:30

A celebration of ‘Singing the News’

Lancaster University Pre-Modern Reading Group.



Saturday 7th July, 9-11am

‘Mere claptrap jumble’: Music and the 16th-century broadside ballad

Part of the ‘Music prints and misprints in mid-Tudor England’ panel at the Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, Maynooth, 5-8 July 2018.

A New Ballade of a Lover is the earliest extant broadside ballad with music. At first glance though, this music appears catastrophically wrong.  For many years it epitomised the poor quality of printed ballad music, which is often seen as worthless, especially in the context of oral transmission.  Even the tunes named on broadsides can create anomalies. Viewing the ballad as part of a wider musical scene, this paper will suggest alternative explanations for the shortcomings of printed music in Tudor ballads, including the potential for a simple typographer’s error to account for the problems with A New Ballade.



Saturday 1st September 2018, 2pm:

Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England

Open University History Society Study Day

The vernacular words and unpretentious tunes of sixteenth-century ballads meant that they were accessible to everyone, making them an important resource for the reconstruction of popular attitudes to a variety of subjects. In the absence of a periodical press, these memorable songs used rhyme and melody to sell stories and news. This paper will use live musical examples to demonstrate how the performance of ballads enabled debate about current affairs, despite restrictions on free speech.


Tuesday 25th September 2018, 7.30pm:

Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England

Thurnham WI, Lancaster


Thursday 28 February 2019, 7.45pm:

Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England

Lancaster Archaeological and Historical Society, St Paul’s Hala Community Centre Hala Square, Scotforth, Lancaster.


Thursday, 25 April 2019, 7.30pm

Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England

Historical Association Bath Branch, Quaker Meeting House, York Street, Bath