John Audelay, English Poet

There is a lot of poetry that is “beyond my ken”, as they say somewhere in England or Scotland or Ireland, and there is a lot that I don’t care much about. That includes some of John Audelay’s scratchings, but I noticed that he was the first poet to write Christmas carols, the titles of which are unknown to me and so are the carols. John Audelay came from Shropshire, England, and passed away around 1426.  The “earliest biographical record places him in London in 1417, when he was part of the household of Richard, Seventh Baron of Strange, of Knockin.”

It was that Audelay was the chaplain for the Strange family when the Baron Strange got caught up in a brawl in St. Dunstan-in-the-East church on Easter Sunday, of all things, and Audelay accompanied him on his penance. And he seems to carry guilt for the rest of his life and tried to atone for it. He wrote two long poems, Pater Noster and The Three Dead Kings. And there are arguments going on for and against Audelay’s writmg them.

I chose to write this little piece because I found it interesting that he was the author of the first Christmas carols, but the article on Wikipedia, where I read about John Audelay  had none of the carols. If anyone knows which carols Audelay wrote, you may want to pass it on to Wikipedia for inclusion in the article.

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