With the exception of David Carpenter's chapter, all the papers in this volume were presented at the Third International Conference held under the auspices of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at King's College London in the Great Hall of the College in April 1998. The theme was ‘Nobles and Nobility in the Middle Ages’, and the conference was planned to enable comparisons to be made across time, from the fifth to the late fifteenth century, and between very different areas and phases of political development, embracing regions as diverse as England (before and after the Norman Conquest), France, Poland, the Romano-German empire, Norway, and Portugal. One of the highlights of the conference was a performance of courtly music presented in the College Chapel by members of the College Choir, under the direction of Mr David Trendell.
Our grateful thanks are due to the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society, and the Humanties Research Committee of King's College London, all of whom provided financial assistance for various aspects of the Conference; to the Isobel Thornley Bequest, whose generous grant made possible the publication of this volume; to the Music faculty of King's for use of the Viscount St David's Room; to the Dean of King's, who allowed the College Chapel to be used for the concert; and to Janet L. Nelson, who translated the papers presented by Martin Aurell and Régine Le Jan.
In addition, the editor wishes to thank the Musées du Mans and the Radio Times Hutton Picture Library for permission to reproduce the illustrations in Plates 1 and 2.