Alheydis von Körckhingen
AlheydisI, Alheydis, was born on the Feast of Saint Ambrose in the year 1201, in the manor house of Körckhingen, a small village in the Grafschaft of Oettingen, just north of the Imperial City of Bopfingen.  All this lay in the region known in modern times as southern Germany. Back in my day, we called it the Holy Roman Empire.

I grew up happy in our little village. My older brother Erich and I lived a simple life. In fair weather we often climbed the nearby mountain, the Ipf, from which we could see the grand castle of Flochberg. Erich spent many days being tutored by a learned doctor of letters from Bopfingen, but Erich was happiest when he was helping father tend our land holding. Erich was to become a worthy successor as Herr [Lord] of Körckhingen.

When I was sixteen years old, and of good marrying age, I travelled with my father to a grand feast at the castle of the Graf of Oettingen. It was hoped that I might catch the eye of the aging Graf and become the next Gräfin. The Graf's first wife had died of illness several years before. Such a marriage was not to be. The Graf had no desire at his age to take so young a wife.

The fates had mapped out another course for me that night. A young and aspiring Minnesinger [court singer] was engaged to entertain during the feast. His songs of love and of distant lands filled my heart with a yearning to travel and to see for myself the wonders of our world.

Happily, the young Minnesinger named Gyles was equally enchanted by this little maiden from Körckhingen. With my prospects for a local advantageous marriage dwindling to nothing, my father agreed that I might fair better in life as a musician's wife at noble courts than as the Lady of a local manor. The fact that Gyles was himself from a landed family in Scotland was a great influence on his mind as well.

AlheydisAnd so, I travelled with Gyles for several happy years, learning the ways of the court. I learned the play the pipe, that I might accompany my lord husband as he played upon his gitarron. I also learned to read and write, and took up the scribal arts. It was my pleasure, for a time in Paris, to receive training at a nunnery scriptorum while Gyles entertained at the French court.

When Gyles's older brother died in battle without an heir, the family's lands entered under Gyles's ownership. We settled ourselves at the manor house, and began to expand our family. We had already been blessed with two children during our days of travel at court, and now we added four more children to our fold. We still enjoy making music, and often have occassion to perform at feasts and gatherings among our friends. I also continue to take pleasure in scribing and illuminating pieces for presentation at court.
The Ipf and the ruins of Flochberg

The lovely portrait you see above was painted by my teacher and friend, Her Excellency Baroness Una de Saint-Luc!