John Blanke - Black History Month

John Blanke - Black History Month

We are celebrating Black History Month this year by sharing Black British lives from history. At the end of the month we want you to vote for who will inspire our next candle on Instagram!


John Blanke was a Royal Trumpeter in the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII.

It is possible that John was of North or West African heritage whose parents may have lived in southern Europe. It is thought that he came to England as part of Katherine of Aragon’s entourage in 1501. From there he fell into the employ of Henry VII and then Henry VIII after his father’s death. During his time in Henry’s court John petitioned for a more senior position and was successful demonstrating his craft and skill. He isn’t heard of again after his marriage in 1512 but some believe he may have moved back to Europe.

John Blanke was part of a long medieval and renaissance tradition of Black musicians serving at European Royal Courts but he is the only Black Tudor with an identifiable image.