Croft Music


The "Fair Rosamond" Trilogy

These pieces for SATB and keyboard are based on 3 poems, each of which is linked in some way to the legend of The Fair Rosamond.

Rosamond Clifford became the mistress of King Henry II, and, so the legend goes, was kept by him in a bower in the grounds of Woodstock Palace. The bower was  protected by a maze which no-one but Henry was able to penetrate.  No-one, that is, till Queen Eleanor found out about it......

There are a number of theories about the way the relationship ended.  One theory suggests that Queen Eleanor may have killed Rosamond, perhaps with poison, perhaps with a knife. Another theory is that when the affair was over, Rosamond was sent to a convent at Godstow, where she lived out her life in a religious setting.  (This seems to me the most likely.)

   The Fair Rosamond in her Bower

You can listen to the songs by clicking on the audio bars below
and download the scores by clicking on the "score" buttons.

"The Maze of Love"

The lyric deals with the thoughts of the young Rosamond as she becomes captivated by the king when he visits the Cliffords' castle. It then goes on to reflect on her feelings at a later date, when she is physically captivated in her bower at the heart of a maze, where she reflects on her future......  
"Rosa Mundi"(SATB and organ)
Contemporary poet Anna Robinson reflects on the story of Rosamond, inspired by a "frozen moment" in which the dead Rosamond is glimpsed under the surface of the well which bears her name in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.


The poet Robert Southey considers the legacy of Rosamond.  He uses the peaceful setting of Godstow and Rosamond's fate to tell young men to be more considerate in their treatment of women.


The first work in this trilogy was "Rosa Mundi".  It was produced through an innovative project set up in 2013 by the John Armitage Trust and the "Britten in Oxford" organisation, with the involvement of 6 choirs,
6 poets and 6 composers who were mentored in the production of 6 new pieces by the poets Ruth Padel, Fiona Sampson and David Harsent, and the composers Judith Bingham and Giles Swayne.  Nicholas Cleobury acted as the chair of the project.

"Rosa Mundi" was the result of a collaboration with poet Anna Robinson and the choir of Woodstock Music Society, conductor Paul Ingram, to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks.

The other pieces followed as a result of my interest in the subject and the wish to extend the collaboration beyond the duration of the initial project.