Story of The Miller of Mansfield and King Henry II
The story of the Miller of Mansfield was told by Bishop Thomas Percy who was also a poet. In 1765 a collection of his ballads was published, entitled Percy’s Reliques or The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
Kings were often the subject of ancient ballad makers, particularly when interacting their naughtiest or poorest subject. One such ballad of Percy’s is entitled The King and the Miller of Mansfield. Although the metre and theme of the poem are thought to based on an even older ballad, John the Reeve, it retains its own humour and lilt that is both amusing and bemusing in modern day England.
The ballad goes that Henry II, on passage from Nottingham, asked the miller to put up his son for a night. The miller fed his son a meal of venison and despite promises word was spread that the miller would occasionally steal the King’s deer from Sherwood Forest. Fearing for his life at the return of the king the next morning, the miller was actually made a knight. And so the jolly tale continues with his journey to the palace for his investiture.
We can proudly and honestly say that all our venison and game is sourced locally and wholly legitimately! Yet in the generous hospitality of the miller to feed and accommodate the King’s son, we take great pleasure and find fond associations. We’re rather proud to be named after such a fellow.
If you’re staying with us, you might enjoy one of the prints on the wall on the hotel landing, which details the journey from Mansfield to Goring. It’s a nice touch that ties the story together for us. Now, see if you can decipher the ballad for yourselves and let us know how you get on!
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