Blondel - Blondin

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Do not confuse these two names, as some have done.

  • Blondel is nowadays a surname, in France and also in the Channel Islands. Several bearers of the name are recorded in reference books, but in Britain the single-word name Blondel usually refers to a legend involving a real-life person. This Blondel was a French troubadour, whose identity is disputed. The nickname, suggesting a marked hair colouring, probably belongs to Jean I of Nesle (c. 1155-1202) or his son Jean II of Nesle (died 1241). (Nesle is a village in Picardy).
By 1260, Blondel's name had become attached to a legend in the highly fictionalised Récits d'un Ménestrel de Reims; this claimed that, after Richard Lionheart was held for ransom in Austria in 1192, he was found by the minstrel Blondel, whom he saw from his window, and to whom he sang a verse of a song they both knew. Later versions of the story related that Blondel went from castle to castle, singing a particular song that only he and Richard knew, and that the imprisoned Richard replied with the second verse - thus identifying where he was imprisoned. Then, Blondel either aided the king's escape or reported his position back to his friends. Blondel finally found Richard at Dürnstein. This story is a charming legend, but it isa not true. There was no mystery about Richard's location. (After Wikipedia, [[1]].
  • Blondin (pronounced in the French style, 'blon-dan') was the professional name of a tight-rope walker who found fame from crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope, several times, in various ways. His real name was Jean-François Gravelet (1824-1897), born in St Omer, Pas-de-Calais, in France.