Minstrels (Lat. minstrellus, diminutive of minister; Fr. menestrel), a class of men in the middle ages who amused their patrons by the arts of poetry and music, singing to the harp their own verses, or the popular ballads and metrical histories of the time. They sometimes accompanied their music with mimicry and action, so that they were often called mimi and histriones. The name minstrel is of Norman origin, and they were successors of the skalds and bards of the north. The office became degraded, the minstrel on the continent being commonly classed with the dancer and mimic; while the Latin names mimi, scunce, histriones, and joculatores are grouped together. In England Edward II., Henry V., and Henry VI. showed great regard for minstrels; but the reign of Richard Cceur de Lion was their golden age. When Henry V. set out on his great expedition to France, 18 minstrels, with an allowance of 12d. a day each, accompanied him. But from the reign of Edward IV. their art seems to have declined. Toward the close of Elizabeth's reign a statute was enacted, by which wandering minstrels were punished along with rogues, tinkers, peddlers, vagabonds, and beggars.