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The Lionheart in Dürnstein

A Journey Through the Middle Ages


... Blondel de Nesle

Troubadour and the most loyal companion of my king, Richard the Lionheart. When noble Richard mysteriously disappeared while travelling home from the Holy Land, I set forth on a quest to find him. Wandering from castle to castle in the German territories, everywhere I sang my ballad, until finally my lord echoed my song from Dürnstein’s dungeon. Nothing more stood in the way of his release – or at least that is how legend would have it ...

Blondel de Nesle

I am Blondel de Nesle – a troubadour whose minstrel songs will still be sung a hundred years from now. According to legend, I played an important role in the liberation of Richard the Lionheart. Learning of my friend’s capture, I set forth to find him. I travelled from castle to castle with my lute, singing before the gates our favourite songs. After many weeks, my quest met with success: I heard my king’s voice from behind the dungeon walls of Dürnstein,  singing like an echo the second verse in response. My help was thus very important in having him released from captivity.
Yet, unfortunately, the tale is little more than a quaint myth; in fact, posterity is not even sure who I really was. I could have been Jehan I of the French noble de Nesle family, whom some refer to as “Blondel de Nesle”. If that is true, I would have taken part in the Third Crusade and perhaps met Richard, who would have been about the same age. That will never be known for certain – but being shrouded in mystery was never a problem for a true artist ...