|Alheydis von Körckhingen
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.
And 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.
|The lovely portrait you
see above was painted by my teacher and friend, Her Excellency Baroness
Una de Saint-Luc!