My Logo me & shawm George and Me Stretton HG MAjor Horton pipe & tabor at QEHL


Solo or Duo available

  • presenting a specific historical period,
  • wearing appropriate clothes,
  • playing period music on suitable instruments
so enabling visitors to learn more through a combination of all elements of the presentation, including perhaps unspoken ones such as accessories with the clothes, the technology of the instruments, and many others.
  • 1st Person Interpretation:
    • " As it is the year 1546, these are my clothes;
      it is said the King is ill, but none may dare talk too loud of the matter." etc.

  • 3rd Person Interpretation:
    • " In the year 1546, these were the clothes I would be wearing, and while there rumours that Henry VIII was ill, it was illegal to discuss the King's health."etc.
Solo Duo

I offer solo work, or duo with my wife Elizabeth York.

Where have I/we worked?

among others...
The V&A Museum,
"TimeTeam" with More4 Television
The Tower of London,
with English Heritage
(many sites),
The City of London Corporation:
Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge,
Ayscoughfee Hall Spalding,
Kettering Museum,
Luton Museum,
St. Mary's Hall Coventry
Blackden Trust,
Epping Forest District Museum,
Maidstone Museum,
agency work too
The British Museum,
The London Guildhall
The National Trust
(various sites again),
Bede's World in Jarrow,
Blakesley Hall Birmingham,
Nuneaton Museum,
Shibden Hall,
St. Albans Museum
Chester Grosvenor Museum,
Northampton Museum,
Syon Park,
and a host of others;
- Griffin Historical, EventPlan... .

The Japanese trip which was SO nearly...

Will Adams from Gillingham sailed in 1600 to Japan. After nearly dying as a suspected pirate, he ended as the only English Samurai, and built naval European style ships there. In 1613 a trading post was set up, and Will Adams' name is still well-known in Japan.

I was spotted during my 2012 work at Gillingham's Will Adams Festival by a representative from Japan, and with Elizabeth York was invited to go and work in Japan in 2013.

What a pity it costs around 7000 to fly a collection of instruments safely across the world! Can't really blame their budget for not reaching that, but it was great to be invited.
So that's why we nearly worked in Japan!

Why have Solo or Duo?

  • the duo is able to offer more variety of musical sounds and arrangements.
    • I play many instruments, but Elizabeth adds more: she specialises in harps, ranging from tiny medieval to her 1833 pedal harp,
    • she also adds her singing voice, which is far better than mine!

  • You may have dancing for participants incorporated into the work - space etc. allowing - whether it's a solo or duo presentation, but it's always easier with two of us

  • Cost may be a factor

  • Operating space may be a factor

What can I/we offer?

  • A professional and friendly approach

  • Unusually good presentation skills, and much experience

  • An unreasonably large collection of instruments, representing music across many periods,
    • the ability to play music of the right period on all of them
    • some for hands-on use by participants

  • attractive arrangements of pieces we play

  • techniques to allow participants to join in making make very pleasing and satisfying music

  • Entertaining and well-informed explanations of how the instruments work, how they fit into society,
    and other relevant snippets of information.

  • willingness to work with other performers and co-operate creatively with them

    Royal Party
  • For Victorian work, the utterly astonishing Major Horton...
    Major H If you have failed to do so, you dashed well need to visit me and find out who I am

  Composite pic

  Med Duo

  17C Duo

  Medieval Music group

  Handcart arrives
Is this the world's only 3-hole pipe and handcart combination?
Thanks to Tom at E.H. Audley End for taking the shot!

What do I/we play?

  • Medieval music:


    pipe & tabor
    portative organ
    English "Luttrell Psalter" Bagpipes
    wire-strung harp
    gothic harp
    hurdy gurdy
    key fiddle
    and a few more


    gothic harp
    hurdy gurdy
    gothic bray harp
    small medieval harp
    nakers & other percussion
    and more
  • Tudor music, 17th century music:


    pipe & tabor
    wire-strung harp
    renaissance pattern bagpipes
    Flemish bagpipes after Brueghl
    bass curtal
    hurdy gurdy
    key fiddle


    Arpa Doppia: double harp
    renaissance guitar
    hurdy gurdy
    Bray harp
    various percussion
    and more
  • Victorian music:


    anglo concertina
    English concertina
    hammer dulcimer
    button accordeon
    Northumbrian smallpipes
    hurdy gurdy
    pipe & tabor
    tin whistle


    pedal harp (original 1833 model) English concertina
  • For Victorian work, a variety of dancing puppets, including the justly celebrated Mr. George McJigger may also appear.

Visit Elizabeth's own website at

for more information about some of the harps she plays
pipes spray

anglo concertina
  • For outdoor work, I may bring my Victorian-style Musician's Handcart.

  • Victorian Cart

    cart and engine
    Footnote: Historical Interpretation is a job description which no insurance firm ever has on its pro forma.
    I wonder why :-)
    Copyright Richard York 2009

    This page refers to Richard York, Elizabeth York, Historical musicians and interpreters, medieval music, Tudor music, 17th century music, Victorian music, harps, concertinas, melodeon, bagpipes, wire strung harp, celtic harp, pedal harp, gothic harp, bray harp, shawm, bass curtal, pipe and tabor, nakers, portative organ, harmonium, english concertina, hammer dulcimer, songs, dances, bransles, audience participation, storytelling, story-telling, musician's handcart, ventriloquism