From lusty dances and drinking songs to the haunted airs of the troubadors, Swyndelstock evokes the turbulent reality of mediaeval life. The band is available both for incidental music and for formal concerts in music and spoken word.

Tim Healey (narrator, vocals, recorders, percussion)
Well known for his many broadcasts on the popular music of the past, Tim Healey enlivens concerts with droll and lurid tales of mediaeval life. Tim is founder of the 17th-century costume band, the Oxford Waits, with whom Swyndelstock maintains strong links.

Giles Lewin (mediaeval fiddle, bagpipes, shawm, recorders, vocals)
A supremely accomplished instrumentalist, Giles Lewin is a member of the Dufay Collective and of the duo Alva, as well as a regular fixture of Maddy Prior's Carnival Band. Giles recently appeared as a minstrel in Terry Jones's Mediaeval Lives.

Ian Giles (hurdy gurdy, vocals, percussion)
An outstanding traditional singer and musician, Ian Giles is a key member of the Oxford Waits and of the English folk band Magpie Lane. Ian is much in demand as a recording artist having featured on more than 30 albums.

The Clerk of Oxenforde,
from the Ellesmere Ms. of Chaucer’s
Canterbury Tales

Drawing on a pool of musicians skilled on lute, pipe & tabor and more, Swyndelstock appears in different combinations. The outstanding singer Jeremy Avis (left) appears with Giles & Tim at Alfriston Charter 600 Celebrations (9 June 2006).
The band takes its name from the famous Swyndelstock tavern, which flourished at the heart of mediaeval Oxford from about AD 1250 to the late 17th century. Named after the wooden swinging part of a flax flail , the rowdy tavern stood on Carfax, the crossroads in the city centre, and saw the outbreak of the city's most notorious town vs gown riot. On l0th February (St Scholastica's Day) 1355, a party of scholars drinking in the tavern complained about the quality of the wine. The taverner replied with 'stubborn and saucy language', and the scholars 'broke his head with a flagon'. The wine-merchant rallied the townsfolk, and in three days of mayhem pitched battles ensued.

Flax flails


Mediaeval dancers, 1344
from an illumination in the Bodleian Library, Oxford

For further details contact:
Tim Healey, PO Box 1039,
Oxford OX1 4UA
tel 01865 249194
tim@bejo.co.uk