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The Project Gutenberg eBook, England in the Days of Old, by William Andrews

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Title: England in the Days of Old

Author: William Andrews

Release Date: February 17, 2012 [eBook #38905]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



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Social Studies in its Historic Byways and Highways,


“Of interest alike to the antiquary and general reader is ‘Bygone England,’ a book from the able pen of Mr. William Andrews, devoted to the consideration of some of the phases of the social life of this country in the olden time.”—Whitehall Review.

“A very readable and instructive volume.”—The Globe.

“Many are the subjects of interest introduced into this chatty volume.”—Saturday Review.

“There is a large mass of information in this capital volume, and it is so pleasantly put, that many will be tempted to study it. Mr. Andrews has done his work with great skill.”—London Quarterly Review.

“We welcome ‘Bygone England.’ It is another of Mr. Andrews’ meritorious achievements in the path of popularising archæological and old-time information without in any way writing down to an ignoble level.”—The Antiquary.

“A delightful volume for all who love to dive into the origin of social habits and customs, and to penetrate into the byways of history.”—Liverpool Daily Post.

“‘A delightful book,’ is the verdict that the reader will give after a perusal of its pages. Mr. Andrews has presented to us in a very pleasing form some phases of the social life of England in the olden time.”—Publishers’ Circular.

“Some of the chapters are very interesting, and are most useful for those who desire to know the origin and history of some of our daily practices and amusements.”—The World.

“In recommending this book to the general public, we do so, feeling confident that within its pages they will find much that is worth knowing, that they will never find their interest flag, nor their curiosity ungratified.”—Hull Daily News.






in the
Days of Old,


William Andrews.












This volume of new studies on old-time themes, chiefly concerning the social and domestic life of England, is sent forth with a hope that it may prove entertaining and instructive. It is a companion work to “Bygone England,” which the critical press and reading public received with a warm welcome on its publication, and thus encouraged me to prepare this and other volumes dealing with the highways and byways of history.

William Andrews.

The Hull Press,
February 14th, 1897.




When Wigs were Worn 1
Powdering the Hair 28
Men Wearing Muffs 40
Concerning Corporation Customs 48
Bribes for the Palate 63
Rebel Heads on City Gates 74
Burial at Cross Roads 105
Detaining the Dead for Debt 115
A Nobleman’s Household in Tudor Times 122
Bread and Baking in Bygone Days 134
Arise, Mistress, Arise! 142
The Turnspit 144
A Gossip about the Goose 150
Bells as Time-Tellers 156
The Age of Snuffing 168
State Lotteries 186
Bear-Baiting 205
Morris Dancers 222
The Folk-Lore of Midsummer Eve 234
Harvest Home 244
Curious Charities 255
An Old-Time Chronicler 266
Index 275



[Pg 1]

England in the Days of Old.


When Wigs were Worn.


The wig was for a long period extremely popular in old England, and its history is full of interest. At the present time, when the wig is no longer worn by the leaders of fashion, we cannot fully realize the important place it held in bygone times. Professional, as well as fashionable people did not dare to appear in public without their wigs, and they vied with each other in size and style.


To trace the origin of the wig our investigations must be carried to far distant times. It was worn in Egypt in remote days, and the Egyptians are said to have invented it, not merely as a covering for baldness, but as a means of adding to [Pg 2]the attractiveness of the person wearing it. On the mummies of Egypt wigs are found, and we give a picture of one now in the British Museum. This particular wig probably belonged to a female, and was found near the small temple of Isis, Thebes. “As the Egyptians always shaved their heads,” says Dr. T. Robinson, “they could scarcely devise a better covering than the wig, which, while it protected them from the rays of the sun, allowed, from the texture of the article, the transpiration from the head to escape, which is not the case with the turban.” Dr. Robinson has devoted much study to this subject, and his conclusions merit careful consideration. He also points out that in the examples of Egyptian wigs in the British and Berlin Museums the upper portions are made of curled hair, the plaited hair being confined to the lower part and the sides. On the[Pg 3] authority of Wilkinson, says Dr. Robinson, “these wigs were worn both within the house and out of doors. At parties the head-dress of the guests was bound with a chaplet of flowers, and ointment was put upon the top of the wig, as if it had really been the hair of the head.”

We find in Assyrian sculptures representations of the wig, and its use is recorded amongst ancient nations, including Persians, Medes, Lydians, Carians, Greeks, and Romans. Amongst the latter nation galerus, a round cap, was the common name for a wig.

The early fathers of the Church denounced the wig as an invention of the Evil One. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a proof of the virtue of his simple sister Gorgonia, said, “she neither cared to curl her own hair, nor to repair its lack of beauty by the aid of a wig.” St. Jerome pronounced these adornments as unworthy of Christianity. The matter received consideration or perhaps, to put it more correctly, condemnation, at many councils, commencing at Constantinople, and coming down to the Provincial Council at Tours. The wig was not tolerated, even if worn as a joke. “There is no joke in the matter,” said the enraged St. Bernard: “the woman who wears a wig commits[Pg 4] a mortal sin.” St. John Chrysostom pleaded powerfully against this enormity; and others might be mentioned who spoke with no uncertain sound against this fashion.

Dr. Doran relates a strange story, saying St. Jerome vouches for its authenticity, and by him it was told to deter ladies from wearing wigs. “Prætexta,” to use Doran’s words, “was a very respectable lady, married to a somewhat paganist husband, Hymetius. Their niece, Eustachia, resided with them. At the instigation of the husband Prætexta took the shy Eustachia in hand, attired her in a splendid dress, and covered her fair neck with ringlets. Having enjoyed the sight of the modest maiden so attired, Prætexta went to bed. To that bedside immediately descended an angel, with wrath upon his brow, and billows of angry sounds rolling from his lips. ‘Thou hast,’ said the spirit, ‘obeyed thy husband rather than the Lord, and has dared to deck the hair of a virgin, and made her look like a daughter of earth. For this do I wither up thy hands, and bid them recognize the enormity of thy crime in the amount of thy anguish and bodily suffering. Five months more shalt thou live, and then Hell shall be thy portion; and if thou art bold[Pg 5] enough to touch the head of Eustachia again, thy husband and thy children shall die even before thee.’”

Church history furnishes some strange stories against wearing wigs, and the following may be taken as a good example. Clemens of Alexandria, so runs the tale, surprised wig-wearers by telling those that knelt at church to receive the blessing, they must please to bear in mind that the benediction remained on the wig, and did not pass through to the wearer! Some immediately removed their wigs, but others allowed them to remain, no doubt hoping to receive a blessing.

Poetry and history supply many interesting passages bearing on our present investigations. The Lycians having been engaged in war, were defeated. Mausoleus, their conqueror, ruthlessly directed the subdued men to have their heads shaven. This was humiliating in the extreme, and the Lycians were keenly alive to their ridiculous appearance. The king’s general was tempted with bribes, and finally yielded, and allowed wigs to be imported for them from Greece, and thus the symbol of degredation became the pink of Lycian fashion.

Hannibal, the brave soldier, is recorded to have[Pg 6] worn two sorts of wigs; one to improve, and the other to disguise his person.

Wigs are said to have been worn in England in the reign of King Stephen, but their palmy days belong to the seventeenth and the earlier part of the eighteenth centuries. Says Stow, they were introduced into this country about the time of the Massacre of Paris, but they are not often alluded to until the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The earliest payment for one in the Privy Purse expenses occurs in December, 1529, and is for twenty shillings “for a perwyke for Sexton, the king’s fool.” Some twenty years later wigs, or, to give the full title, periwigs, became popular.

In France the mania was at its height in the reign of Louis XIV. We are told in 1656 he had not fewer than forty court perruquiers, and these, by an order of Council, were declared artistes. In addition to this, Le Gros instituted at Paris an Académie de France des Perruquiers. Robinson records that a storm was gathering about their heads. He tells us “the celebrated Colbert, amazed at the large sums spent for foreign hair, conceived the idea of prohibiting the wearing of wigs at Court, and tried to introduce a kind of cap.” He lost the day, for it was proved that[Pg 7] more money reached the country for wigs than went out to purchase hair. The fashion increased; larger wigs were worn, and some even cost £200 apiece.

Charles II. was the earliest English king represented on the Great Seal wearing a large periwig. Dr. Doran assures us that the king did not bring the fashion to Whitehall. “He forbade,” we are told, “the members of the Universities to wear periwigs, smoke tobacco, or to read their sermons. The members did all three, and Charles soon found himself doing the first two.”

Pepys’ “Diary” contains much interesting information concerning wigs. Under date of 2nd November, 1663, he writes: “I heard the Duke say that he was going to wear a periwig, and says the King also will. I never till this day observed that the King is mighty gray.” It was perhaps the change in the colour of his Majesty’s hair that induced him to assume the head-dress he had previously so strongly condemned.

As might be expected, Pepys, who delighted to be in the fashion, adopted the wig. He took time to consider the matter, and had consultations with Mr. Jervas, his old barber, about the affair. Referring in his “Diary” to[Pg 8] one of his visits to his hairdresser, Pepys says “I did try two or three borders and periwigs, meaning to wear one, and yet I have no stomach for it; but that the pains of keeping my hair clean is great. He trimmed me, and at last I parted, but my mind was almost altered from my first purpose, from the trouble which I forsee in wearing them also.” Weeks passed before he could make up his mind to wear a wig. Mrs. Pepys was taken to the periwig-maker’s shop to see the one made for Mr. Pepys, and expressed her satisfaction on seeing it. We read in April, 1665, of the wig being at Jervas’ under repair. Early in May, Pepys writes in his “Diary,” he suffered his hair to grow long, in order to wear it, but he said “I will have it cut off all short again, and will keep to periwigs.” Later, under date of September 3rd, he writes: “Lord’s day. Up; and put on my coloured silk suit, very fine, and my new periwig, bought a good while since, but durst not wear, because the plague was in Westminster when I bought it; and it is a wonder what will be in fashion, after the plague is done, as to periwigs, for nobody will dare to buy any hair, for fear of the infection, that it had been cut off the heads of people dead of the plague.”

[Pg 9]We learn from an entry in the “Diary” for June 11th, 1666, that ladies in addition to assuming masculine costume for riding, wore long wigs. “Walking in the galleries at Whitehall,” observes Mr. Pepys, “I find the ladies of honour dressed in their riding garbs, with coats and doublets with deep skirts, just for all the world like mine, and buttoned their doublets up the breast, with periwigs and with hats, so that, only for long petticoats dragging under their men’s coats, nobody could take them for women in any point whatever.”

Pepys, we have seen, wondered if periwigs would survive after the terrible plague. He thought not, but he was mistaken. Wigs still remained popular. The plague passed away, and its terrors were forgotten. The world of folly went on much as of yore, perhaps with greater gaiety, as a reaction to the lengthened time of depression.

In some instances the wig appears much out of place, and a notable example is that given in the portrait by Kneller, of George, Earl of Albemarle. He is dressed in armour, and wearing a long flowing wig. Anything more absurd could scarcely be conceived.


[Pg 10]The beau of the period when the wig was popular carried in his pocket beautifully made combs, and in his box at the play, or in other places, combed his periwig, and rendered himself irresistible to the ladies. Making love seems to have been the chief aim of his life. Sir John Hawkins, in his “History of Music,” published in 1776, has an informing note on combing customs. “On the Mall and in the theatre,” he tells us, “gentlemen conversed and combed their perukes. There is now in being a fine picture by the elder Laroon of John, Duke of Marlborough, at his levée, in which his Grace is represented dressed in a scarlet suit, with large white satin cuffs, and a very long white peruke which he combs, while his valet, who stands behind him, adjusts the curls after the comb has passed through them.” Allusions to the practice may be found in the plays from the reign of Charles II. down to the days of Queen Anne. We read in[Pg 11] Dryden’s prologue to “Almanzor and Almahide”—

“But as when vizard mask appears in pit,
Straight every man who thinks himself a wit
Perks up, and, managing a comb with grace,
With his white wig sets off his nut-brown face.”

Says Congreve, in the “Way of the World”:—

“The gentlemen stay but to comb, madam, and will wait on you.”

Thomas Brown, in his “Letters from the Dead to the Living” presents a pen portrait of beaux, as they appeared at the commencement of the eighteenth century. Some of the passages are well worth reproducing, as they contain valuable information concerning wigs. “We met,” says the writer, “three flaming beaux of the first magnitude. He in the middle made a most magnificent figure—his periwig was large enough to have loaded a camel, and he bestowed upon it at least a bushel of powder, I warrant you. His sword-knot dangled upon the ground, and his steinkirk, that was most agreeably discoloured with snuff from the top to the bottom, reach’d down to his waist; he carry’d his hat under his left arm, walk’d with both hands in the waistband of his breeches, and his cane, that hung negligently down in a string from his right arm, trail’d most harmoniously[Pg 12] against the pebbles, while the master of it was tripping it nicely upon his toes, or humming to himself.” Down to the middle of the eighteenth century, wigs continued to increase in size.

It will not now be without interest to direct attention to a few of the many styles of wigs.


Randle Holme, in his “Academy of Armory,” published in 1684, has some interesting illustrations, and we will draw upon him for a couple of pictures. Our first example is called the campaign-wig. He says it “hath knots or bobs, or dildo, on each side, with a curled forehead.” This is not so cumbrous as the periwig we have noticed.


Another example from Holme is a smaller style of periwig with tail, and from this wig doubtless originated the familiar pig-tail. It was of various forms, and Swift says:—

“We who wear our wigs
With fantail and with snake.”

A third example given by Holme is named the “short-bob,” and is a plain peruke, imitating a[Pg 13] natural head of hair. “Perukes,” says Malcolm, in his “Manners and Customs,” “were an highly important article in 1734. Those of right gray human hair were four guineas each; light grizzle ties, three guineas; and other colours in proportion, to twenty-five shillings. Right gray human hair, cue perukes, from two guineas; white, fifteen shillings each, which was the price of dark ones; and right gray bob perukes, two guineas and a half; fifteen shillings was the price of dark bobs. Those mixed with horsehair were much lower. It will be observed, from the gradations in price, that real gray hair was most in fashion, and dark of no estimation.” As time ran its course, wigs became more varied in form, and bore different names.


We find in the days of Queen Anne such designations as black riding-wigs, bag-wigs, and nightcap-wigs. These were in addition to the long, formally curled perukes. In 1706, the English, led by Marlborough, gained a great victory on the battlefield of Ramillies, and that gave the title to a long wig described as “having a long, gradually diminishing, plaited tail, called the[Pg 14] ‘Ramillie-tail,’ which was tied with a great bow at the top, and a smaller one at the bottom.” It is stated in Read’s Weekly Journal of May 1st, 1736, in a report of the marriage of the Prince of Wales, that “the officers of the Horse and Foot Guards wore Ramillie periwigs by his Majesty’s order.” We meet in the reign of George II. other forms of the wig, and more titles for them; the most popular, perhaps, was the pigtail-wig. The pig-tails were worn hanging down the back, or tied up in a knot behind, as shown in our illustration. This form of wig was popular in the army, but in 1804, orders were given for it to be reduced to seven inches in length, and finally, in 1808, to be cut off.



Here is a picture of an ordinary man; by no means can he be regarded as a beau. He is wearing a common bag-wig, dating back to about the middle of the eighteenth[Pg 15] century. The style is modified to suit an individual taste, and for one who did not follow the extreme fashion of his time. In this example may be observed the sausage curls over the ear, and the frizziness over the forehead.

We have directed attention to the large periwigs, and given a portrait of the Earl of Albemarle wearing one. In the picture of the House of Commons in the time of Sir Robert Walpole we get an excellent indication of how popular the periwig was amongst the law-makers of the land. Farquhar, in a comedy called “Love and a Bottle,” brought out in 1698, says, “a full wig is imagined to be as infallible a token of wit as the laurel.”

Tillotson is usually regarded as the first amongst the English clergy to adopt the wig. He said in one of his sermons: “I can remember since the wearing of hair below the ears was looked upon as a sin of the first magnitude, and when ministers generally, whatever their text was, did either find or make occasion to reprove the great sin of long hair; and if they saw any one in the congregation guilty in that kind, they would point him out particularly, and let fly at him with great zeal.” Dr. Tillotson died on November 24th, 1694.

[Pg 16]Wigs found favour with parsons, and in course of time they appear to have been indispensable. A volume in 1765, was issued under the title of “Free Advice to a Young Clergyman,” from the pen of the Rev. John Chubbe, in which he recommended the young preacher to always wear a full wig until age had made his own hair respectable. Dr. Randolph, on his advancement to the bishopric, presumed to wait upon George IV. to kiss hands without wearing a wig. This could not be overlooked by the king, and he said, “My lord, you must have a wig.” Bishops wore[Pg 17] wigs until the days of William IV. Bishop Blomfield is said to have been the first bishop to set the example of wearing his own hair. Even as late as 1858, at the marriage of the Princess Royal of England, Archbishop Sumner appeared in his wig.




Medical men kept up the custom of wearing wigs for a long period; perhaps they felt like a character in Fielding’s farce, “The Mock Doctor,” who exclaims, “I must have a physician’s habit, for a physician can no more prescribe without a full wig than without a fee.” The wig known as the full-bottomed wig was worn by the medical profession:—

“Physic of old her entry made
Beneath the immense, full-bottom’d shade;
While the gilt cane, with solemn pride
To each suspicious nose applied,
Seemed but a necessary prop
To bear the weight of wig at top.”

We are told Dr. Delmahoy’s wig was particularly celebrated in a song which commenced:

“If you would see a noble wig,
And in that wig a man look big,
To Ludgate Hill repair, my boy,
And gaze on Dr. Delmahoy.”

In the middle of the last century so much[Pg 18] importance was attached to this portion of a medical man’s costume, that Dr. Brocklesby’s barber was in the habit of carrying a bandbox through the High Change, exclaiming: Make way for Dr. Brocklesby’s wig!

Professional wigs are now confined to the Speaker in the House of Commons, who, when in the chair, wears a full-bottomed one, and to judges and barristers. Such wigs are made of horsehair, cleaned and curled with care, and woven on silk threads, and shaped to fit the head with exactness. The cost of a barrister’s wig of frizzed hair is from five to six guineas.

An eminent counsel in years agone wished to make a motion before Judge Cockburn, and in his hurry appeared without a wig. “I hear your voice,” sternly said his Lordship, “but I cannot see you.” The barrister had to obtain the loan of a wig from a learned friend before the judge would listen to him.

Lord Eldon suffered much from headache, and when he was raised to the peerage he petitioned the King to allow him to dispense with the wig. He was refused; his Majesty saying he could not permit such an innovation. In vain did his Lordship show that the wig was an innovation, as the[Pg 19] old judges did not wear them. “True,” said the King; “the old judges wore beards.”

In more recent times we have particulars of several instances of both bench and bar discarding the use of the wig. At the Summer Assizes at Lancaster, in 1819, a barrister named Mr. Scarlett hurried into court, and was permitted to take part in a trial without his wig and gown. Next day the whole of the members of the bar appeared without their professional badges, but only on this occasion, although on the previous day a hope had been expressed that the time was not far distant when the mummeries of costume would be entirely discarded.

We learn from a report in the Times of July 24th, 1868, that on account of the unprecedented heat of the weather on the day before in the Court of Probate and Divorce the learned judge and bar appeared without wigs.

On July 22nd, 1874, it is recorded that Dr. Kenealy rose to open the case for the defence in the Tichborne suit; he sought and obtained permission, to remove his wig on account of the excessive heat.

Towards the close of the last century few were the young men at the Universities who ventured[Pg 20] to wear their own hair, and such as did were designated Apollos.

Women, as well as men, called into requisition, to add to their charms, artificial accessories in the form of wigs and curls. Ladies’ hair was curled and frizzed with considerable care, and frequently false curls were worn under the name of heart-breakers. It will be seen from the illustration we give that these curls increased the beauty of a pretty face.




Queen Elizabeth, we gather from Hentzner and other authorities, wore false hair. We are told that ladies, in compliment to her, dyed[Pg 21] their hair a sandy hue, the natural colour of the Queen’s locks.




We present a picture of a barber’s shop in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It looks more like the home of a magician than the workshop of a hairdresser, although we see the barber thoughtfully employed on a wig. The barber at this period was an important man. A few of his duties consisted in dressing wigs, using the razor, cutting hair, starching beards, curling moustachios, tying up love-locks, dressing sword-wounds received in[Pg 22] street frays, and the last, and by no means the least, of his varied functions was that of receiver and circulator of news and scandal.

It is recorded that Mary Queen of Scots obtained wigs from Edinburgh not merely while in Scotland, but during her long and weary captivity in England. From “The True Report of the Last Moments of Mary Stuart,” it appears, when the executioner lifted the head by the hair to show it to the spectators, it fell from his hands owing to the hair being false.

We have previously mentioned Pepys’ allusions to women and wigs in 1666. Coming down to later times, we read in the Whitehall Evening Post of August 17th, 1727, that when the King, George II., reviewed the Guards, the three eldest Princesses “went to Richmond in riding habits, with hats, and feathers, and periwigs.”

It will be seen from the picture of a person with and without a wig that its use made a plain face presentable. There is a good election story of Daniel O’Connell. It is related during a fierce debate on the hustings, O’Connell with his biting, witty tongue attacked his opponent on account of his ill-favoured countenance. But, not to be outdone, and thinking to turn the gathering[Pg 23] against O’Connell, his adversary called out, “Take off your wig, and I’ll warrant that you’ll prove the uglier.” The witty Irishman immediately responded, amidst roars of laughter from the crowd, by snatching the wig from off his own head and exposing to view a bald plate, destitute of a single hair. The relative question of beauty was scarcely settled by this amusing rejoinder, but the laugh was certainly on O’Connell’s side.




An interesting tale is told of Peter the Great of Russia. In the year 1716, the famous Emperor was at Dantzig, taking part in a public ceremony, and feeling his head somewhat cold, he stretched[Pg 24] out his hand, and seizing the wig from the head of the burgomaster sitting below him, he placed it on his own regal head. The surprise of the spectators may be better imagined than described. On the Czar returning the wig, his attendants explained that his Majesty was in the habit of borrowing the wig of any nobleman within reach on similar occasions. His Majesty, it may be added, was short of hair.




In the palmy days of wigs the price of a full wig of an English gentleman was from thirty to forty guineas. Street quarrels in the olden time were by no means uncommon; care had to be[Pg 25] exercised that wigs were not lost. Says Swift:—

“Triumphing Tories and desponding Whigs,
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.”

Although precautions were taken to prevent wigs being stolen, we are told that robberies were frequently committed. Sam Rogers thus describes a successful mode of operation: “A boy was carried covered over in a butcher’s tray by a tall man, and the wig was twisted off in a moment by the boy. The bewildered owner looked all around for it, when an accomplice impeded his progress under the pretence of assisting him while the tray-bearer made off.”

Gay, in his “Trivia,” thus writes:—

“Nor is the flaxen wig with safety worn:
High on the shoulders in a basket borne
Lurks the sly boy, whose hand, to rapine bred,
Plucks off the curling honours of thy head.”

We will bring our gossip about wigs to a close with an account of the Peruke Riot. On February 11th, 1765, a curious spectacle was witnessed in the streets of London, and one that caused some amusement. Fashion had changed; the peruke was no longer in favour, and only worn to a limited extent. A large number of peruke-makers were thrown out of employment,[Pg 26] and distress prevailed amongst them. The sufferers thought that help might be obtained from George III., and a petition was accordingly drawn up for the enforcement of gentlefolk wearing wigs for the benefit of the wig-makers. A procession was formed, and waited upon the King at St. James’s Palace. His Majesty, we are told, returned a gracious answer, but it must have cost him considerable effort to have maintained his gravity.

Besides the monarch, the unemployed had to encounter the men of the metropolis, and from a report of the period we learn they did not fare so well. “As the distressed men went processionally through the town,” says the account, “it was observed that most of the wig-makers, who wanted other people to wear them, wore no wigs themselves; and this striking the London mob as something monstrously unfair and inconsistent, they seized the petitioners, and cut off all their hair per force.”

Horace Walpole alludes to this ludicrous petition in one of his letters. “Should we wonder,” he writes, “if carpenters were to remonstrate that since the Peace there is no demand for wooden legs?” The wags of the day[Pg 27] could not allow the opportunity to pass without attempting to provoke more mirth out of the matter, and a petition was published purporting to come from the body carpenters imploring his Majesty to wear a wooden leg, and to enjoin his servants to appear in his royal presence with the same graceful decoration.



[Pg 28]

Powdering the Hair.


In the olden days hair-powder was largely used in this country, and many circumstances connected with its history are curious and interesting. We learn from Josephus that the Jews used hair-powder, and from the East it was no doubt imported into Rome. The history of the luxurious days of the later Roman Empire supplies some strange stories. At this period gold-dust was employed by several of the emperors. “The hair of Commodus,” it is stated on the authority of Herodian, “glittered from its natural whiteness, and from the quantity of essences and gold-dust with which it was loaded, so that when the sun was shining it might have been thought that his head was on fire.”

It is supposed, and not without a good show of reason, that the Saxons used coloured hair-powder, or perhaps they dyed their hair. In Saxon pictures the beard and hair are often painted blue. Strutt supplies interesting notes on the subject. “In some instances,” he says, “which, indeed, are not so common, the hair is represented of a bright red colour, and in others[Pg 29] it is of a green and orange hue. I have no doubt existing in my own mind, that arts of some kind were practised at this period to colour the hair; but whether it was done by tingeing or dyeing it with liquids prepared for that purpose according to the ancient Eastern custom, or by powders of different hues cast into it, agreeably to the modern practice, I shall not presume to determine.”

It was customary among the Gauls to wash the hair with a lixivium made of chalk in order to increase its redness. The same custom was maintained in England for a long period, and was not given up until after the reign of Elizabeth. The sandy-coloured hair of the queen greatly increased the popularity of the practice.

The satirists have many allusions to this subject, more especially those of the reigns of James and Charles I. In a series of epigrams entitled “Wit’s Recreations,” 1640, the following appears under the heading of “Our Monsieur Powder-wig”:—

“Oh, doe but marke yon crisped sir, you meet!
How like a pageant he doth walk the street!
See how his perfumed head is powdered ore;
’Twou’d stink else, for it wanted salt before.”

[Pg 30]In “Musarum Deliciæ,” 1655, we read:—

“At the devill’s shopps you buy
A dresse of powdered hayre,
On which your feathers flaunt and fly;
But i’de wish you have a care,
Lest Lucifer’s selfe, who is not prouder,
Do one day dresse up your haire with a powder.”

From the pen of R. Younge, in 1656, appeared, “The Impartial Monitor.” The author closes with a tirade against female follies in these words:—“It were a good deed to tell men also of mealing their heads and shoulders, of wearing fardingales about their legs, etc.; for these likewise deserve the rod, since all that are discreet do but hate and scorn them for it.” A “Loyal Litany” against the Oliverians runs thus:—

“From a king-killing saint,
Patch, powder, and paint,
Libera nos, Domine.”

Massinger, in the “City Madam,” printed in 1679, describing the dress of a rich merchant’s wife, mentions powder thus:—

“Since your husband was knighted, as I said,
The reverend hood cast off, your borrowed hair
Powdered and curled, was by your dresser’s art,
Formed like a coronet, hanged with diamonds
And richest orient pearls.”

[Pg 31]John Gay, in his poem, “Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London,” published in 1716, advises in passing a coxcomb,—

“Him like the Miller, pass with caution by,
Lest from his shoulder clouds of powder fly.”

We learn from the “Annals of the Barber-Surgeons” some particulars respecting the taxing of powder. On 8th August, 1751, “Mr. John Brooks,” it is stated, “attended and produced a deed to which he requested the subscription of the Court; this deed recited that by an Act of Parliament passed in the tenth year of Queen Anne, it was enacted that a duty of twopence per pound should be laid upon all starch imported, and of a penny per pound upon all starch made in Great Britain, that no perfumer, barber, or seller of hair-powder should mix any powder of alabaster, plaster of Paris, whiting, lime, etc. (sweet scents excepted), with any starch to be made use of for making hair-powder, under a pain of forfeiting the hair-powder and £50, and that any person who should expose the same for sale should forfeit it and £20.” Other details were given in the deed, and the Barber-Surgeons gave it their support, and promised twenty guineas[Pg 32] towards the cost of passing the Bill through Parliament.

A few years prior to the above proceeding we gather from the Gentleman’s Magazine particulars of some convictions for using powder not made in accordance with the laws of the land. “On the 20th October, 1745,” it is recorded, “fifty-one barbers were convicted before the commissioners of excise, and fined in the penalty of £20, for having in their custody hair-powder not made of starch, contrary to Act of Parliament: and on the 27th of the same month, forty-nine other barbers were convicted of the same offence, and fined in the like penalty.”

Before powder was used, the hair was generally greased with pomade, and powdering operations were attended with some trouble. In houses of any pretension was a small room set apart for the purpose, and it was known as “the powdering-room.” Here were fixed two curtains, and the person went behind, exposing the head only, which received its proper supply of powder without any going on the clothes of the individual dressed.

In the Rambler, No. 109, under date 1751, a young gentleman writes that his mother would[Pg 33] rather follow him to his grave than see him sneak about with dirty shoes and blotted fingers, hair unpowdered, and a hat uncocked.

We have seen that hair-powder was taxed, and on the 5th of May, 1795, an Act of Parliament was passed taxing persons using it. Pitt was in power, and being sorely in need of money, hit upon the plan of a tax of a guinea per head on those who used hair-powder. He was prepared to meet much ridicule by this movement, but he saw that it would yield a considerable revenue, estimating it as much as £200,000 a year. Fox, with force, said that a fiscal arrangement dependent on a capricious fashion must be regarded as an absurdity, but the Opposition were unable to defeat the proposal, and the Act was passed. Pitt’s powerful rival, Charles James Fox, in his early manhood, was one of the most fashionable men about town. Here are a few particulars of his “get up” about 1770, drawn from the Monthly Magazine: “He had his chapeau-bas, his red-heeled shoes, and his blue hair-powder.” Later, when Pitt’s tax was gathered, like other Whigs he refused to use hair-powder. For more than a quarter of a century it had been customary for men to wear their hair long, tied in a pig-tail and[Pg 34] powdered. Pitt’s measure gave rise to a number of Crop Clubs. The Times for April 14th, 1795, contains particulars of one. “A numerous club,” says the paragraph, “has been formed in Lambeth, called the Crop Club, every member of which, on his entrance, is obliged to have his head docked as close as the Duke of Bridgewater’s old bay coach-horses. This assemblage is instituted for the purpose of opposing, or rather evading, the tax on powdered heads.” Hair cropping was by no means confined to the humbler ranks of society. The Times of April 25th, 1795, reports that:—“The following noblemen and gentlemen were at the party with the Duke of Bedford, at Woburn Abbey, when a general cropping and combing out of hair-powder took place: Lord W. Russell, Lord Villiers, Lord Paget, &c., &c. They entered into an engagement to forfeit a sum of money if any of them wore their hair tied, or powdered, within a certain period. Many noblemen and gentlemen in the county of Bedford have since followed the example: it has become general with the gentry in Hampshire, and the ladies have left off wearing powder.” Hair-powder did not long continue in use in the army, for in 1799 it was abolished on account of the high price of flour, caused through[Pg 35] the bad harvests. Using flour for the hair instead of for food was an old grievance among the poor. In the “Art of Dressing the Hair,” 1770, the author complains:—

“Their hoarded grain contractors spare,
And starve the poor to beautify the hair.”

Pitt’s estimates proved correct, for in the first year the tax produced £210,136. The tax was increased from a guinea to one pound three shillings and sixpence. Pitt’s Tory friends gave him loyal support. The Whigs might taunt them by calling them “guinea-pigs,” it mattered little, for they were not merely ready to pay the tax for themselves but to pay patriotic guineas for their servants. A number of persons were exempt from paying the tax, including “the royal family and their servants, the clergy with an income of under £100 per annum, subalterns, non-commissioned officers and privates in the army and navy, and all officers and privates of the yeomanry and volunteers enrolled during the past year. A father having more than two unmarried daughters might obtain on payment for two, a license for the remainder.” A gentlemen took out a license for his butler, coachman, and footman, etc., and if[Pg 36] he changed during the year it stood good for the newly engaged servants.

Powder was not wholly set aside by ladies until 1793, when with consideration Queen Charlotte abandoned its use, swayed no doubt by her desire to cheapen, in that time of dearth, the flour of which it was made. It has been said its disuse was attributable to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kauffmann, and other painters of their day, but it is much more likely that the artists painted the hair “full and flowing” because they found it so, not that they as a class dictated to their patronesses in despite of fashion. The French Revolution had somewhat to do with the change, a powdered head or wig was a token of aristocracy, and as the fashion might lead to the guillotine, sensible people discarded it long before the English legislature put a tax upon its use.

With reference to this Sir Walter Scott says in the fifth chapter of “The Antiquary”:—“Regular were the Antiquary’s inquiries at an old-fashioned barber, who dressed the only three wigs in the parish, which, in defiance of taxes and times, were still subjected to the operation of powdering and frizzling, and who for that purpose divided his time among[Pg 37] the three employers whom fashion had yet left him.”

“Fly with this letter, Caxon,” said the senior (the Antiquary), holding out his missive, “fly to Knockwinnock, and bring me back an answer. Go as fast as if the town council were met and waiting for the provost, and the provost was waiting for his new powdered wig.” “Ah, sir,” answered the messenger, with a deep sigh, “thae days hae lang gane by. Deil a wig has a provost of Fairport worn sin’ auld Provost Jervie’s time—and he had a quean of a servant-lass that dressed it hersel’, wi’ the doup o’ a candle and a dredging box. But I hae seen the day, Monkbarns, when the town council of Fairport wad hae as soon wanted their town-clerk, or their gill of brandy ower-head after the haddies, as they wad hae wanted ilk ane a weel-favoured, sonsy, decent periwig on his pow. Hegh, sirs! nae wonder the commons will be discontent, and rise against the law, when they see magistrates, and bailies, and deacons, and the provost himsel’, wi’ heads as bald an’ as bare as one o’ my blocks.”

It was not in Scotland alone that the barber was peripatetic. “In the last century,” says Mrs. G. Linnæus Banks, author of the “Manchester[Pg 38] Man” and other popular novels, “he waited on his chief customers or patrons at their own homes, not merely to shave, but to powder the hair or the wig, and he had to start on his round betimes. Where the patron was the owner of a spare periwig it might be dressed in advance, and sent home in a box, or mounted on a stand, such as a barrister keeps handy at the present day. But when ladies had powdered top-knots, the hairdresser made his harvest, especially when a ball or a rout made the calls for his services many and imperative. When at least a couple of hours were required for the arrangement of a single toupée or tower, or commode, as the head-dress was called, it may well be understood that for two or three days prior to the ball the hairdresser was in demand, and as it was impossible to lie down without disarranging the structure he had raised on pads, or framework of wire, plastering with pomatum and disguising with powder, the belles so adorned or disfigured were compelled to sit up night and day, catching what sleep was possible in a chair. And when I add that a head so dressed was rarely disturbed for ten days or a fortnight, it needs no stretch of imagination to realize what a mass of loathsome nastiness the[Pg 39] fine ladies of the last century carried about with them, or what strong stomachs the barbers must have had to deal with them.”

The Tories often regarded with mistrust any persons who did not use hair-powder. The Rev. J. Charles Cox, LL.D., F.S.A., the eminent antiquary, relates a good story respecting his grandfather. “So late as 1820,” says Dr. Cox, “Major Cox of Derby, an excellent Tory, declined for some time to allow his son Edward to become a pupil of a well-known clerical tutor, for the sole reason that the clergyman did not powder, and wore his hair short, arguing that he must therefore, be a dangerous revolutionist.”

In 1869 the tax on hair-powder was repealed, when only some 800 persons paid it, producing about £1,000 per year.



[Pg 40]

Men wearing Muffs.


The muff in bygone times was worn by men as well as women. Several writers state that it was introduced into England in the reign of Charles II., but this is not correct, for, although it is not of great antiquity, it can certainly be traced back to a much earlier period. Most probably it reached us from France, and when it came into fashion it was small in size.

The earliest representation of a muff that has come under our notice occurs in a drawing by Gaspar Rutz (1598) of an English lady, and she wears it pendant from her girdle. A few years later in the wardrobe accounts of Prince Henry of Wales, a charge is made for embroidering two muffs. The entries occur in 1608, and are as follow:—“One of cloth of silver, embroidered with purles, plates, and Venice twists of silver and gold; the other of black satten, embroidered with black silk and bugles, viz., for one £7, the other 60s.” Muffs were usually ornamented with bunches of gay ribbons, or some other decorations,[Pg 41] and were generally hung round the neck with ribbons.

Several poems and plays of the olden time contain references to men using muffs. One of the earliest, if not the first, to mention a man wearing a muff, occurs in an epistle by Samuel Rowlands, written about 1600. It is as follows:—

“Behold a most accomplished cavalier
That the world’s ape of fashion doth appear,
Walking the streets his humour to disclose,
In the French doublet and the German hose.
The muffes, cloak, Spanish hat, Toledo blade,
Italian ruff, a shoe right Spanish made.”

A ballad, describing the frost fair on the Thames in the winter of 1683-4, mentions amongst those present:—

“A spark of the Bar with his cane and his muff.”

In course of time the muff was increased in size, until it was very large. Dryden, in the epilogue of “The Husband his own Cuckstool,” 1696, refers to the monstrous muff worn by the beau.

Pepys made a point of being in fashion, but in respect to the muff he was most economical. He says he took his wife’s last year’s muff, and it is[Pg 42] pleasing to record that he gallantly bought her a new one.

(From a Print of the Period.)

Professional men did not neglect to add to their dignity by the use of the muff. In addition to the gold-headed cane, the doctor carried a muff. An old book called “The Mother-in-law,” includes a character who is advised by his friends to become a physician. Says one to him: “’Tis but putting on the doctor’s gown and cap, and you’ll have more knowledge in an instant than you’ll know what to do withal.” Observes another friend: “Besides, sir, if you had no other qualification than that muff of yours, twould go a great way. A muff is more than half in the making of a doctor.” Cibble tells Nightshade in Cumberland’s “Cholerick Man,” 1775, to “Tuck your hands in your muff and never open your lips for the rest of the afternoon; ’twill gain you respect in every house you enter.” Alexander Wedderburn, before being called to the English Bar in 1757, had practised as an advocate in his native city, Edinburgh. In his references to his early days, there is an allusion to the muff, showing that its use must have been by no means uncommon in Scotland in the middle of the eighteenth century. “Knowing my countrymen [Pg 43]at that time,” he tells us, “I was at great pains to study and assume a very grave, solemn deportment for a young man, which my marked features, notwithstanding my small stature, would render more imposing. Men then wore in winter small muffs, and I flatter myself that, as I paced to the Parliament House, no man of fifty could look more thoughtful or steady. My first client was a citizen whom I did not know. He called upon me in the course of a cause, and becoming familiar with him, I asked him ‘how he came to employ me?’ The answer was: ‘Why, I had noticed you in the High Street, going to the court, the most punctual of any, as the clock struck nine, and you looked so grave and business-like, that I resolved from your appearance to have you for my advocate.’”[Pg 44] More instances of the muff amongst professional men might be cited, but the foregoing are sufficient to indicate the value set upon it by this class.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century it was customary to carry in the muff small dogs known as “muff dogs,” and Hollar made a picture of one of these little animals.

A tale is told of the eccentric head of one of the colleges at Oxford, who had a great aversion to the undergraduates wearing long hair, that on one occasion he reduced the length of a young man’s hair by means of a bread-knife. It is stated that he carried concealed in his muff a pair of scissors, and with these he slyly cut off offending locks.

Both the Tatler and the Spectator include notices of the muff. In No. 153 of the Tatler, 1710, is a description of a poor but doubtless a proud person with a muff. “I saw,” it is stated, “he was reduced to extreme poverty, by certain shabby superfluities in his dress, for—notwithstanding that it was a very sultry day for the time of the year—he wore a loose great coat and a muff. Here we see poverty trying to imitate prosperity.” There are at least three allusions to[Pg 45] the muff in the pages of the Spectator. We find in the issue for March 19th, 1711, a correspondent desires Addison to be “very satyrical upon the little muff” that was then fashionable amongst men.

A satirical print was published in 1756, at the Gold Acorn Tavern, facing Hungerford Market, London, called the “Beau Admiral.” It represents Admiral Byng carrying a large muff. He had been sent to relieve Minorca, besieged by the French, and after a futile action withdrew his ships, declaring that the ministry had not furnished him with a sufficient fleet to successfully fight the enemy. This action made the ministry furious, and Byng was brought before a court martial, and early in 1757 he was, according to sentence, shot at Portsmouth.

In America muffs were popular with both men and women. Old newspapers contain references to them. The following advertisement is drawn from the Boston News Letter of March 5th, 1715:—

“Any man that took up a Man’s Muff drop’t on the Lord’s Day between the Old Meeting House & the South, are desired to bring it to the Printer’s Office, and shall be rewarded.”

[Pg 46]Mrs. Alice Morse Earle, in her “Costume of Colonial Times” (New York: 1894), gives other instances of men’s muffs being missing, “In 1725,” says Mrs. Earle, “Dr. Prince lost his ‘black bear-skin muff,’ and in 1740 a sable-skin man’s muff was advertised.” It is clear from Mrs. Earle’s investigations that the beaux of New England followed closely the lead of the dandies of Old England. “I can easily fancy,” she says, “the mincing face of Horace Walpole peering out of a carriage window or a sedan-chair, with his hands and his wrists thrust in a great muff; but when I look at the severe and ascetic countenance in the portrait of Thomas Prince, I find it hard to think of him, walking solemnly along Boston streets, carrying his big bear-skin muff.” Other Bostonians, we are told, maintained the fashion until a much later period. Judge Dana employed it even after Revolutionary times. In 1783, in the will of René Hett, of New York, several muffs are mentioned, and were considered of sufficient account to form bequests.

The puritans of New England had little regard for warmth in their places of worship, and it is not surprising that men wore muffs. People were obliged to attend the services of the church unless[Pg 47] they were sick, yet little attempt was made to render the places comfortable.

The first stove introduced into a meeting-house in Massachusetts was at Boston in 1773. In 1793 two stoves were placed in the Friends’ meeting-house, Salem, and in 1809 one was erected in the North Church, Salem. Persons are still living in the United States who can remember the knocking of feet on a cold day towards the close of a long sermon. The preachers would ask for a little patience and promise to close their discourses.



[Pg 48]

Concerning Corporation Customs.


The history of old English Municipal Corporations contains some quaint and interesting information respecting the laws, customs, and every-day life of our forefathers. The institution of corporate towns dates back to a remote period, and in this country we had our corporations before the Norman Conquest. The Norman kings frequently granted charters for the incorporation of towns, and an example is the grant of a charter to London by Henry I. in the year 1101.

For more than a century and a half no person was permitted to hold office in a municipal corporation unless he had previously taken sacrament according to the rites of the Established Church. The act regulating this matter was known as the Test Act, which remained in force from the days of Charles II. to those of George IV. It was repealed on the 9th May, 1828. In the latter reign, in 1835, was passed the Municipal Reform Act, which greatly changed the constitution of[Pg 49] many corporate towns and boroughs. It is not, however, so much the laws as local customs to which we wish to direct attention.

The mace as a weapon may be traced back to a remote period, and was a staff about five feet in length with a metal head usually spiked. Maces were used by the heavy cavalry in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but went out of use in England in the reign of Elizabeth. It is not clear when the ornamental maces came to be regarded as an ensign of authority. Their first use may be traced back to the twelfth century. At that period and later spikeless maces were carried by the guards attending princes, as a convenient weapon to protect them against the sudden attacks of the assassin. Happily their need passed away, and as a symbol of rank only they have remained. In civic processions the mace is usually borne before the mayor, and when the sovereign visits a corporate town it is customary for the mayor to bear the mace before the monarch. We learn from history that when Princess Margaret was on her way to Scotland in 1503 to be united in marriage to James IV., as she passed through the city of York the Lord Mayor shouldered the mace and carried it [Pg 50]before her. The mace was formerly borne before the mayoress of Southampton when she went out in state. A singular custom connected with the mace obtained at Leicester. It was customary for the newly-elected mayor to proceed to the castle, and in accordance with a charter granted by James I., take an oath before the steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, “to perform faithfully and well all and every ancient custom, and so forth according to the best of his knowledge.” On arrival at a certain place within the precincts of the stronghold the mayor had the great mace lowered from an upright position as a token of acknowledgment to the ancient feudal earls within their castle. In 1766 Mr. Fisher, a Jacobite, was elected mayor, and like others of his class was ever ready when opportunity offered to show his aversion to the reigning dynasty. He purposely omitted the ceremony of lowering the mace. When the servant of the mayor refused to “slope the mace,” the Constable of the castle or his deputy refused to admit the mayor. The ceremony was discontinued after this occurrence, and the mayor went in private to take the oath.

 [Pg 51]



The following ordinances were in force at Kingston-upon-Hull about 1450, and point their own moral.

“No Mayor should debase his honourable office by selling (during his Mayoralty) ale or wine in his house.”

“Whenever the Mayor appeared in public he[Pg 52] should have a sword carried before him, and his officers should constantly attend him; also he should cause everything to be done for the honour of the town, and should not hold his office for two years together.”

“No Aldermen should keep ale-houses or taverns, nor absent themselves from the town’s business, nor discover what is said in their councils, under heavy penalties.”

An entry in the annals of Hull in 1549 states that three of the former sheriffs of the town, named respectively Johnson, Jebson, and Thorp, were fined £6 13s. 4d. each “for being deficient in the elegance of their entertainments, for neglecting to wear scarlet gowns, and for not providing the same for their wives during their shrievalties.” Ten years later a Mr. Gregory was chosen sheriff, and he refused to accept the office. The matter was referred to the Queen in Council, and he was ordered to be fined £100, to be disfranchised and turned out of the town. We are told that the order was executed.

We gather from the ancient records of Canterbury that, in 1544, it was decided “that during winter every dark-night the aldermen, common council, and inn-holders are to find one candle,[Pg 53] with light, at their doors, and the other inhabitants are to do in like fashion upon request, and if any lantern be stolen, the offender shall be set in the pillory at the mayor’s discretion; the candles are to be lighted at six, and continued until burnt out.”

In 1549 the sheriff of Canterbury paid a fine of three shillings and fourpence for wearing his beard.

Another quaint item in the Canterbury records under the year 1556 is an order directing the mayor every year before Christmas to provide for the mayoress, his wife, to wear one scarlet gown, and a bonnet of velvet. If the mayor failed to procure the foregoing he was liable to a fine of £10.




At Nottingham the new mayor took office on the 29th September each year. The outgoing mayor and other members of the corporation marched in procession to St. Mary’s Church. At the conclusion of divine service all retired to the vestry, and the retiring mayor occupied the chair at the head of a table covered with a black cloth, in the middle of which lay the mace covered with rosemary and sprigs of bay. This was called burying the mace, and no doubt was meant to denote the official decease of the late holder. [Pg 54]The new mayor was then formally elected, and the outgoing mayor took up the mace, kissed it, and delivered it to his successor with a suitable speech. After the election of other town officials the company proceeded to the chancel of the church, where the mayor took the oath of office, which was administered by the senior coroner. After the mayor had been proclaimed in public places by the town clerk, a banquet was held at the municipal buildings; the fare consisted of bread and cheese, fruit in season, and pipes of[Pg 55] tobacco! The proclaiming of the new mayor did not end on the day of election: on the following market-day he was proclaimed in face of the whole market, and the ceremony took place at one of the town crosses.




We learn from the Report of the Royal Commission issued in 1837 that the election of the Mayor of Wycombe was enacted with not a little ceremony. The great bell of the church was tolled for an hour, then a merry peal was rang. The retiring mayor and aldermen proceeded to[Pg 56] church, and after service walked in procession to the Guildhall, preceded by a woman strewing flowers and a drummer beating a drum. The mayor was next elected, and he and his fellow-members of the corporation marched round the market-house, and wound up the day by being weighed, and their weights were duly recorded by the sergeant-at-mace, who was rewarded with a small sum of money for his trouble.

In the Gentlemen’s Magazine for 1782 we find particulars of past mayoral customs at Abingdon, Berkshire. “Riding through Abingdon,” says a correspondent, “I found the people in the street at the entrance of the town very busy in adorning the outside of their houses with boughs of trees and garlands of flowers, and the paths were strewed with rushes. One house was distinguished by a greater number of garlands than the rest. On inquiring the reason, it seemed that it was usual to have this ceremony performed in the street in which the new mayor lived, on the first Sunday that he went to church after his election.”

At Newcastle-on-Tyne still lingers a curious custom which dates back to the period when strife was rife between England and Scotland. It has[Pg 57] long been the practice to present the judges attending the Assizes on their arrival with two pairs of gloves, a pair to each of their marshals and to the other members of their retinue, also to the clerks of Assize and their officers. The judges are entertained in a hospitable manner during their stay in the city. At the conclusion of the business of the Assizes the mayor and other members of the Corporation in full regalia wait upon the judges, and the mayor thus addresses them:—

“My Lords, we have to congratulate you upon having completed your labours in this ancient town, and have also to inform you that you travel hence to Carlisle, through a border county much and often infested by the Scots; we therefore present each of your lordships with a piece of money to buy therewith a dagger to defend yourselves.”

The mayor then gives the senior judge a piece of gold of the reign of James I., termed a Jacobus, and to the junior judge a coin of the reign of Charles I., called a Carolus. After the judge in commission has returned thanks the ceremony is ended. Some time ago a witty judge returned thanks as follows: “I thank the mayor and corporation much for this gift. I doubt, however,[Pg 58] whether the Scots have been so troublesome on the borders lately; I doubt, too, whether daggers in any numbers are to be purchased in this ancient town for the protection of my suite and of myself; and I doubt if these coins are altogether a legal tender at the present time.”

The local authorities are anxious to keep up the ancient custom enjoined upon them by an old charter, but they often experience great difficulty in obtaining the old-time pieces of money. Sometimes as much as £15 has been paid for one of the scarce coins. “Upon the resignation or the death of a judge who has travelled the northern circuit, we are told the corporation at once offer to purchase from his representative the ‘dagger-money’ received on his visits to Newcastle, in order to use it on future occasions.”

It was customary, in the olden time, for the mayor and other members of the Banbury Corporation to repair to Oxford during the assizes and visit the judge at his lodgings, and the mayor, with all the graces of speech at his command, ask “my lord” to accept a present of the celebrated Banbury cakes, wine, some long clay pipes, and a pound of tobacco. The judge accepted these with gratitude, or, at all[Pg 59] events, in gracious terms expressed his thanks for their kindness.

The Corporation of Ludlow used to offer hospitality to the judges. The representatives of the town met the train in which the judges travelled from Shrewsbury to Hereford, and offered to them cake and wine, the former on an ancient silver salver, and the latter in a loving-cup wreathed with flowers. Mr. Justice Hill was the cause of the custom coming to a conclusion in 1858. He was travelling the circuit, and he communicated with the mayor saying, “owing to the delay occasioned, Her Majesty’s judges would not stop at Ludlow to receive the wonted hospitality.” We are told the mayor and corporation were offended, and did not offer to renew the ancient courtesy.

The making of a “sutor of Selkirk” is attended with some ceremony. “It was formerly the practice of the burgh corporation of Selkirk,” says Dr. Charles Rogers, the social historian of Scotland, “to provide a collation or dejeûner on the invitation of a burgess. The rite of initiation consisted in the newly-accepted brother passing through the mouth a bunch of bristles which had previously been mouthed by all the members of the board. This practice was termed ‘licking the[Pg 60] birse:’ it took its origin at a period when shoemaking was the staple trade of the place, the birse being the emblem of the craft. When Sir Walter Scott was made a burgess or ‘sutor of Selkirk,’ he took precaution before mouthing the beslabbered brush to wash it in his wine, but the act of rebellion was punished by his being compelled to drink the polluted liquor.” In 1819, Prince Leopold was created “a sutor of Selkirk,” but the ceremony was modified to meet his more refined tastes, and the old style has not been resumed. Mr. Andrew Lang, a distinguished native of the town, has had the honour conferred upon him of being made a sutor.

The Mayor of Altrincham, Cheshire, in bygone times was, if we are to put any faith in proverbial lore, a person of humble position, and on this account the “honour” was ridiculed. An old rhyme says—

“The Mayor of Altrincham, and the Mayor of Over,
The one is a thatcher, and the other a dauber.”

Sir Walter Scott, in “The Heart of Mid-Lothian,” introduces the mayor into his pages in no flattering manner. Mr. Alfred Ingham, in his “History of Altrincham and Bowdon” (1879), has collected for his book some curious[Pg 61] information bearing on this theme. He relates a tradition respecting one of the mayors gifted with the grace of repartee, which is well worth reproducing:—“The Mayor of Over—for he and the Mayor of Altrincham are often coupled—journeyed once upon a time to Manchester. He was somewhat proud, though he went on foot, and on arriving at Altrincham, felt he would be all the better for a shave. The knight of the steel and the strop performed the operation most satisfactorily; and as his worship rose to depart, he said rather grand-eloquently, ‘You may tell your customers that you have had the honour of shaving the Mayor of Over.’ ‘And you,’ retorted the ready-witted fellow, ‘may tell yours that you have had the honour of being shaved by the Mayor of Altrincham.’ The rest can be better imagined than described.”

We learn from Mr. J. Potter Briscoe that a strange tradition still lingers in Nottingham, to the effect that when King John last visited the town, he called at the house of the mayor, and the residence of the priest of St. Mary’s. Finding neither ale in the cellar of one, nor bread in the cupboard of the other, His Majesty ordered every publican in the town to contribute [Pg 62]sixpennyworth of ale to the mayor annually, and that every baker should give a half-penny loaf weekly to the priest. The custom was continued down to the time of Blackner, the Nottingham historian, who published his history in 1815.

The mayor of Rye, in bygone times, had almost unlimited authority, and if anyone spoke evil of him, he was immediately taken and grievously punished by his body, but if he struck the mayor, he ran the risk of having cut off the hand that dealt the blow.

As late as 1600, at Hartlepool, it was enacted, that anyone calling a member of the council a liar be fined eleven shillings and sixpence, if, however, the term false was used, the fine was only six shillings and eightpence.



[Pg 63]

Bribes for the Palate.


In the days of old it was no uncommon practice for public bodies and private persons to attempt to bribe judges and others with presents. Frequently the gifts consisted of drink or food. In some instances money was expected and given. It is not, however, to bribery in general we want to direct attention, but to some of its more curious phases, and especially those which appealed to the recipients’ love of good cheer.

Some of the judges even in a corrupt age would not be tempted. One of the most upright of our judges was Sir Matthew Hale. It had long been customary for the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury to present to the judges of the Western Circuit six sugar loaves. The gift was sent to Hale, and he directed his servant to pay for the sugar before he tried a case in which the donors were interested. On another occasion while he was on circuit, a gentleman gave him a buck, hoping by this act to gain his favour in a[Pg 64] case that was to be tried before him. When the trial was about to commence, Hale remembered the name of the gentleman and inquired if he was the person from whom the venison had been received. On being informed that such was the fact, he would not allow the trial to proceed until he had made payment for the buck. The gentleman strongly protested against receiving the money, saying that he had only presented the same to the Chief Baron as he had done to other judges who had gone the circuit. Further instances might be mentioned of presents being offered and refused by Hale, but the foregoing are sufficient to show the character of the man.

Newcastle-on-Tyne municipal records contain many references to presents of sugar loaves. There are for example gifts to noblemen who called at the town on their way to Scotland. In January 1593, we find particulars of 23s. 7d. for sugar and wine “sent in a present to my L. Ambassador as he came travling through this towne to Scotland called my L. Souch.”

The charges are as follow:—

“Paide for 2 gallons of secke 2 gallons and a quarte of clared wine   11s. 3d.
A sugar loaf weis 8 lb. and a quarter at 18d. per pound   12s. 4d.”

[Pg 65]A little later the Earl of Essex was bound for Scotland and received a present at the hands of the local authorities. The town accounts state:

“Sept. 1594.—Paide for four sugar loaves weide 27¾ lbs.   41s. 8d.
5 gallons and a pottle of claret,   11s.
4 gallons secke   10s. 8d.
Soma   63s. 4d.”

In the following month the Earl of Essex, in company of my Lord Wharton, returned from North Britain and received sugar and wine costing the town £4 14s. 10d. The details of the amount are as under:—

“Oct. 1594.—Paide for 3 sugar loves weide 30¼ lb. 18d. per lb.   £2 5s. 10d.
For clarid wine and secke   £2 9s.   0d.”

The Bishop of Durham was not overlooked. In February, 1596, we find an entry as follows:—

“Paide for 4 pottles secke and 2 quarte, for 3 pottles of white wine,
and 4 pottles and a quarte of clared wine for a present to the
bishop of Dorum
  17s. 6d.
Paide for 11 lb. of suger which went with the wine 18d. per pounde   16s. 6d.”

“Mr. Maiore and his brethren” enjoyed sugar and sundry pottles of wine.

[Pg 66]It is satisfactory to find that the ladies were not neglected at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Here is an entry referring to the entertainment of the Mayoress and other ladies:—

“April, 1595.—Paide for secke, suger, clared wine, and caikes, to
Mrs. Maris, and other gentlewomen, in Mr. Baxter, his chamber
  6s. 8d.”

In the same month is an entry far different in character. It is a charge of 4d. for leading a scolding woman through the town wearing the brank. Payments for inflicting punishment on men and women frequently occur.

The accounts of the borough of St. Ives, Cornwall, contain an item as follows:—

“1640.—Payde Nicholas Prigge for two loaves of sugar,
which were presented to Mr. Recorder
  £1 10s. 0d.”

The records of the city of Winchester include particulars of many presents of sugar loaves and other gifts. On March 24th, 1592, it was decided at a meeting of the municipal authorities to present the Lord Marquis of Winchester with a sugar loaf weighing five pounds, and a gallon of sack, on his coming to the Lent Assizes. The accounts of the city at this period contain entries of payments for sugar loaves given to the Recorder for a New Year’s present, and for pottles of wine bestowed on distinguished visitors.

 [Pg 67]




[Pg 68] 


[Pg 69]At a meeting held in 1603 of the local authorities of Nottingham, it was agreed that the town should present to the Recorder, Sir Henry Pierrepoint, as follows:—“A sugar loaf, 9s.; lemons, 1s. 8d.; white wine, one gallon, 2s. 8d.; claret, one gallon, 2s. 8d.; muskadyne, one pottle, 2s. 8d.; sack, one pottle, 2s.; total, 20s. 8d.”

A year later the burgesses of Nottingham wished to show the great esteem they entertained for the Earl of Shrewsbury, and it was decided to give to him “a veal of mutton, a lamb, a dozen chickens, two dozen rabbits, two dozen of pigeons, and four capons.” This is a truly formidable list, and seems more suitable for stocking a shop than a gentleman’s larder.

The porpoise in past times was prized as a delicacy, and placed on royal tables. Down to the days of Queen Elizabeth it was used by the nobles as an article of food. In the reign of that queen, a penny in twelve was the market due at Newcastle-on-Tyne, when the fish were cut up and exposed for sale. The heads, fins, and numbles were taken in addition. The seal was[Pg 70] subject to the same regulations. The porpoise was deemed suitable for a present. In 1491 it is recorded that a large porpoise was sent from Yarmouth as a gift to the Earl of Oxford.

The annals of Exeter furnish particulars of several gifts of fish. In 1600 it was decided by the local authorities to present to the Recorder of the city, Mr. Sergeant Hale, annually during his life, eight salmon of the river Exe. The Mayor for the time being had a like quantity allowed. It was resolved on the 10th January, 1610, to present, at the cost of the citizens, to the Speaker of the Parliament, in token of good will, a hogshead of Malaga wine, or a hogshead of claret, whichever might be deemed most acceptable, and one baked salmon pie.

Sir George Trenchard in 1593 received from the Mayor of Lyme a box of marmalade and six oranges, costing 7s.

Six months later the municipal accounts of Lyme include an entry as follows:—

“1595.—Given to Sir George Trenchard a fair box marmalade gilted,
a barrel of conserves oranges and lemons and potatoes
  22s. 10d.”

Mr. George Roberts, in his “Social History of[Pg 71] the Southern Counties,” has an interesting note respecting the potatoes named in the foregoing entry. He says:—“The sweet potato (Convolvulus Batatas) was known in England before the common potato, which received its name from its resemblance to the Batata. This plant was introduced into this country by Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins in the middle of the sixteenth century. The roots were, about the close of the reign of Elizabeth, imported in considerable quantities from Spain and the Canaries, and were used as a confection rather than as a nourishing vegetable.”

We will close this paper with particulars of a present which may be regarded more of an example of esteem than an attempt at bribery. Hull, in the days of old, was noted for its ale. The Corporation of the town often presented one or two barrels to persons to whom they desired to show a token of regard. Andrew Marvell, the incorruptible patriot, represented the place in Parliament from 1658 until his death in 1678. He was in close touch with the leading men of the town, and wrote long and interesting letters, detailing the operations of the House of Commons, to the Mayor and Aldermen. In one of his[Pg 72] epistles to the Burgesses of Hull he refers to a gift of ale. “We must,” says Marvell, “first give thanks for the kind present you have been pleased to send us, which will give occasion to us to remember you often; but the quantity is so great that it might make sober men forgetful.” Marvell’s father was master of the Hull Grammar School, and it was there the patriot was educated.




Hull ale finds a place in proverbial lore, and is named by Ray and others. Taylor, the water poet, visited the town in 1622, and was the guest of George Pease, landlord of the “King’s Head” Inn, High Street. In Taylor’s poem, entitled “A Very Merrie Ferry Voyage; or, Yorke for[Pg 73] My Money,” he thus averts to Hull ale:—

“Thanks to my loving host and hostess, Pease,
There at mine inne each night I took mine ease;
And there I got a cantle of Hull Chesse.”

The poet, in a foot-note, says:—“Hull cheese is much like a loaf out of the brewer’s basket; it is composed of two samples, mault and water in one compound, and is cousin german to the mightiest ale in England.” Ray quotes the proverb, “You have eaten some Hull cheese,” as equivalent to an accusation of drunkenness.



[Pg 74]

Rebel Heads on City Gates.


The barbarous custom of spiking heads on city gates, and on other prominent places, may be traced back to the days of Edward I. His wise laws won for him the title of “the English Justinian,” but he does not appear to have tempered justice with mercy. In his age little value was set upon human life. His scheme of conquest included the subjugation and annexation of Scotland and Wales.

David, the brother of Llewellyn the Welsh Prince, had been on the side of the English, and at the hands of Edward had experienced kindness, but in return he showed little gratitude. In 1282 he made an unprovoked attack on Hawarden Castle. Subsequently his brother Llewellyn joined in the rising, and undertook the conduct of the war in South Wales, while David attempted to defend the North of the country. In a skirmish on the Wye, Llewellyn was slain by a single knight. David soon fell into the hands of the English, and was sent in chains to Shrewsbury.[Pg 75] Here he was tried by Parliament, consisting of “the first national convention in which the Common had any share by legal authority, and the earliest lawful trace of a mixed assembly of Lords and Commons.” Guilty of being a traitor was the verdict returned, and David was condemned to a new and cruel mode of execution, viz., “to be dragged at a horse’s tail through the streets of Shrewsbury, and to be afterwards hung and cut down while alive, his heart and bowels burnt before his face, his body quartered and his head sent to London.” The head of Llewellyn was also to be sent to London, to be spiked on the Tower encircled with a crown of ivy.

On the gates of old London Bridge have been spiked the heads of many famous men—not a few whose brave deeds add glory to the annals of England and Scotland. The heroic deeds of Sir William Wallace have done much to increase the dignity of the history of North Britain. After rendering gallant service to his native land, he was betrayed into the hands of the English by his friend and countryman, Sir John Menteith, at Glasgow. He was conveyed to London, was tried and condemned as a rebel, and on August 23rd, 1305, suffered a horrible death, similar to[Pg 76] the fate of David, Prince of Wales. His body was divided and sent into four parts of Scotland, and his head set up on a pole on London Bridge. Edward I. degraded himself by this cruel revenge on a patriotic man. In the following year the head of another Scotch rebel, Simon Frazer, was spiked beside that of Wallace.




In the reign of Edward II., Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, rose to almost supreme power, but his rule was most distasteful to the people.[Pg 77] It was oppressive and ended in disaster. In 1316, when the Earl was at the height of his fame, he discovered that a knight formerly in his household had been induced by the King of England to carry to the King of Scotland a letter asking that some of his soldiers might slay him. The Earl was then at Pontefract and had the knight brought before him, and by his orders he was speedily executed, and his head spiked on the walls of the castle.

The Barons met the forces of Edward II. at Boroughbridge, in 1322, and were totally routed, and their leaders, the Earl of Hereford was slain, and the Earl of Lancaster was taken prisoner, and afterwards executed at Pontefract. About thirty knights and barons suffered death on the scaffold in various parts of the country, so that terror might be widely spread. Some of the bodies were suspended for long periods in chains, and amongst the number were those of Sir Roger de Clifford, Sir John Mowbray, and Sir Jocalyn D’Eyville. They were hanged at York, and for three years their bodies were hung in chains, and then the Friar Preachers committed them to the ground. Another rebel, Sir Bartholomew de Badlesmere, was executed at[Pg 78] Canterbury, and his head was cut off and spiked on the city gate at Canterbury.

At Boroughbridge Sir Andrew de Harcla displayed courage of a high order, and was rewarded with the title of the Earl of Carlisle, and military duties of a more important order were entrusted to him, but he did not long enjoy his honours. The Scots advanced into this country and met the English at the Abbey of Byland, and completely overpowered them; the Earl remaining inactive at Boroughbridge with 2,000 foot and horse soldiers. On a writ dated at Knaresborough, February 27th, 1323, he was tried for treachery, his collusion with the Scotch was clearly proved, and the following sentence was passed upon him:—“To be degraded both himself and his heirs from the rank of earl, to be ungirt of his sword, his gilded spurs hacked from his heels—said to be the first example of its kind—to be hanged, drawn, and beheaded, his heart and entrails torn out and burnt to ashes, and the ashes scattered to the winds; his carcase to be divided into four quarters, one to be hung on the top of the Tower at Carlisle, another at Newcastle, the third on the bridge at York, and the fourth at Shrewsbury, while his head was to be[Pg 79] spiked on London Bridge.” “You may divide my body as you please,” said the Earl, “but I give my soul to God.” On March 3rd, 1323, the terrible sentence was carried out.

Under the year 1397, John Timbs, in his “Curiosities of London,” records that the heads of four traitor knights were spiked on London Bridge.

On Bramham Moor, Yorkshire, on Sunday, February 19th, 1408, Sir Thomas Rokeby, high sheriff of the county, fighting for Henry IV., completely defeated an army raised by the Earl of Northumberland, and other nobles who had revolted against the king. The Earl was slain on the field, and his chief associate, Lord Bardolf, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner, but died before he could be removed from the scene of the battle. The heads of these two noblemen were cut off, and that of the Earl placed upon a hedge-stake, and carried in a mock procession through the chief towns on the route to London, and finally found a resting-place on London Bridge. He was popular amongst his friends, and they greatly grieved at his death. It was indeed a sore trial to those who had loved him well to see his mutilated head, full of silver[Pg 80] hairs, carried through the streets of London, a gruesome exhibition for a heartless public. The head of Lord Bardolf was also spiked on London Bridge.

Some passages in the life of Eleanor Cobham, first mistress and afterwards wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, furnish an insight into the superstitions of the period. She was tried in 1441 for treason and witchcraft. The chief charge against her was that she and her accomplices had made a waxen image of the reigning monarch, Henry VI., and placed it before a slow fire, believing that as the wax melted the king’s life would waste away. She was found guilty and had to do public penance in the streets of London, and was imprisoned for life in the Isle of Man. Three persons who had assisted her crimes suffered death. One Margaret Jourdain, of Eye, near Westminster, was burned in Smithfield. Southwell, a priest, died before execution in the Tower, and Sir Roger Bolinbroke, a priest, and reputed necromancer, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, and his head was fixed on London Bridge. The Duchess, in the event of Henry’s death, expected that the Duke of Gloucester, as[Pg 81] nearest heir of the house of Lancaster, would be crowned king.

The details of Jack Cade’s insurrection are well-known, and perhaps a copy of an inscription on a roadside monument at Heathfield, near Cuckfield in Sussex, will answer our present purpose:—

Near this spot was slain the notorious rebel
By Alexander Iden, Sheriff of Kent, A.D. 1450.
His body was carried to London, and his head
fixed on London Bridge.
This is the success of all rebels, and this
fortune chanceth even to traitors.
Hall’s Chronicle.

In 1496 two heads were placed on London Bridge; one was Flammock’s, a lawyer, and the other that of a farmer’s who had suffered death at Tyburn, for taking a leading part in a great Cornish insurrection.

John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was tried, and executed on June 22nd, 1535, nominally for high treason, but, as a matter of fact, because he would not be a party to the king’s actions. Shortly before his execution the Pope sent to him a Cardinal’s hat. Said the king when he heard of the honour to be conferred upon the aged prelate, who was then about seventy-seven[Pg 82] years old, “’Fore heaven, he shall wear it on his shoulders then, for by the time it arrives he shall not have a head to place it upon.”

Fisher met his death with firmness. At five o’clock in the morning of his execution he was awakened and the time named to him. He turned over in bed saying: “Then I can have two hours more sleep, as I am not to die until nine.” Two hours later he arose, dressed himself in his best apparel, saying, this was his wedding day, when he was to be married to death, and it was befitting to appear in becoming attire. His head was severed from his body, and after the executioner had removed all the clothing, he left the corpse on the scaffold until night, when it was removed by the guard to All Hallows Churchyard, and interred in a grave dug with their halberds. It was not suffered to remain there, but was exhumed and buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower. The head was spiked on London Bridge. Hall and others record that the features became fresher and more comely every day, and were life-like. Crowds were attracted to the strange sight, which was regarded as a miracle. This annoyed the king not a little, and he gave orders for the head to be thrown into the river.

[Pg 83]A similar offence to that of Fisher’s brought to the block a month later the head of a still greater and wiser man, Sir Thomas More. He was far in advance of his times, and his teaching is bearing fruit in our day. His head was placed on London Bridge, until his devoted daughter, Margaret Roper, bribed a man to move it, and drop it into a boat in which she sat. She kept the sacred relic for many years, and at her death it was buried with her in a vault under St. Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury.


(From the Tower of London.)


We learn from the annals of London Bridge, that in the year 1577, “several heads were[Pg 84] removed from the north end of the Drawbridge to the Southwark entrance, and hence called Traitors’ Gate.”

Heads of priests and others heightened the sickening sight of the bridge. We may here remark that Paul Hentzner in his “Travels in England,” written in 1598, says in speaking of London Bridge:—“Upon this is built a tower, on whose top the heads of such as have been executed for high treason are placed on iron spikes; we counted about thirty.”

Hentzner’s curious and interesting work was reprinted at London in 1889.

Sir Christopher Wren completed Temple Bar, March 1672-3, and in 1684 the first ghastly trophy was fixed upon it. Sir Thomas Armstrong was accused of being connected with the Rye House Plot, but made his escape to Holland, and was outlawed. He, however, within a year surrendered himself, demanding to be put on his trial. Jefferies in a most brutal manner refused the request, declaring that he had nothing to do but to award death. Armstrong sued for the benefit of the law, but without avail. The judge ordered his execution “according to law,” adding, “You shall have full benefit of the law.” On June 24th, 1683, Armstrong was executed, and his head set up on Westminster Hall; his quarters were divided between Aldgate, Aldersgate, and Temple Bar, and the fourth sent to Stafford, the borough he had formerly represented in Parliament.

 [Pg 85]


[Pg 86] 

[Pg 87]Sir John Friend and Sir William Perkins, on April 9th, 1696, suffered death at Tyburn for complicity in a conspiracy to assassinate William III., and on the next day their heads crowned Temple Bar. John Evelyn in his Diary wrote, “A dismal sight which many pitied.”

In May, 1716, the head of Colonel Henry Oxburg was spiked above the Bar. He had taken part in the rising of Mar.

The head of Councillor Layer was placed on the Bar in 1723, for plotting to murder King George. For more than thirty years Layer’s head looked sorrowfully down on busy Fleet Street. A stormy night at last sent it rolling into the Strand, and it is recorded it was picked up by an attorney, and taken into a neighbouring tavern, and according to Nicholls, it found a resting place under the floor. It is stated that Dr. Rawlinson “paid a large sum of money for a substitute foisted upon him as a genuine article.”[Pg 88] He died without discovering that he had been imposed upon, and, according to his directions, the relic was placed in his right hand and buried with him.

The Rebellion of ’45 brought two more heads to Temple Bar. On July 30th, 1746, Colonel Towneley and Captain Fletcher were beheaded on Kennington Common, and on the following day their heads were elevated on the Bar. Respecting their heads Walpole wrote on August 15th, 1746, “I have been this morning to the Tower, and passed under the new heads at Temple Bar, where people made a trade of letting spying-glasses at a halfpenny a look.” The fresh heads were made the theme of poetry and prose. One of the halfpenny loyal sightseers penned the following doggerel:—

“Three heads here I spy,
Which the glass did draw nigh,
The better to have a good sight;
Triangle they are placed,
And bald and barefaced;
Not one of them e’er was upright.”

We reproduce a curious print published in 1746 representing “Temple Bar” with three heads raised on tall poles or iron rods. The devil looks down in triumph and waves the rebel banner, on which are three crowns and a coffin, with the motto, ‘A crown or a grave.’ Underneath was written some wretched verses.

 [Pg 89]

“Observe the banner which would all enslave,
Which ruined traytors did so proudly wave,
The devil seems the project to despise;
A fiend confused from off the trophy flies.

While trembling rebels at the fabrick gaze,
And dread their fate with horror and amaze,
Let Briton’s sons the emblematick view
And plainly see what to rebellion’s due.”


[Pg 90] 

[Pg 91]It is recorded in the “Annual Register” that on “January 20th (between two and three a.m.), 1766, a man was taken up for discharging musket bullets from a steel cross-bow at the two remaining heads upon Temple Bar. On being examined he affected a disorder in his senses, and said his reason for doing so was his strong attachment to the present Government, and that he thought it was not sufficient that a traitor should merely suffer death; that this provoked his indignation, and that it had been his constant practice for three nights past to amuse himself in the same manner. And it is much to be feared,” says the recorder of the event, “that he is a near relation to one of the unhappy sufferers.” On being searched, about fifty musket bullets were found on the man, and these were wrapped up in a paper with a motto—“Eripuit ille vitam.”

Dr. Johnson says that once being with Goldsmith in Westminster Abbey, “While we surveyed the Poets’ Corner, I said to him:—

‘Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur illis.’

[Pg 92](Perhaps some day our names may mix with theirs). When we got to Temple Bar he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon it, and slyly whispered:—

‘Forsitan et nostrum ... miscebitur Istis.’”

One of the heads was blown down on April 1st, 1772, and the other did not remain much longer. The head of Colonel Towneley is preserved in the chapel at Townely Hall, near Burnley. It is perforated, showing that it had been thrust upon a spike. During a visit on May 21st, 1892, to Towneley Hall by the members of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, the skull was seen, and a note on the subject appears in the Transactions of the Society.

 [Pg 93]


[Pg 94] 

[Pg 95]The heads of not a few Scotchmen were spiked on the gates of Carlisle, and some romantic stories have come down to us respecting them. One of these we related in our “Bygone England,” and to make this account more complete we may perhaps be permitted to reproduce it. “A young and beautiful lady,” so runs the tale, “came every morning at sunrise, and every evening at sunset, to look at the head of a comely youth with long yellow hair, till at length the lady and the laddie’s head disappeared.” The incident is the subject of a song, in which the lovesick damsel bewails the fate of her lover. Here are two of the verses:—

“White was the rose in my lover’s hat
As he rowled me in his lowland plaidie;
His heart was true as death in love,
His head was aye in battle ready.

His long, long hair, in yellow hanks,
Wav’d o’er his cheeks sae sweet and ruddy;
But now it waves o’er Carlisle yetts
In dripping ringlets, soil’d and bloody.”

Many persons in Hull supported the lost cause of Henry VI., but the governing authorities of the town gave their support to Edward IV., and those that were on the side of the fallen king met with little mercy at the hands of the local Aldermen. Mr. T. Tindall Wildridge, who has done so much to bring to light hidden facts in the history of Hull, tells us that the Aldermen in 1461 agreed that the head of Nicholas Bradshawe, for his violent language, be set at the Beverley Gate—the gate that was at a later period closed against Charles I., when he desired to enter Hull.

[Pg 96]A number of the inhabitants who would not renounce their allegiance to the House of Lancaster were ordered to leave the town on pain of death. “Among these outcasts,” says Mr. Wildridge, “was a women, who, coming back again, was subjected to the indignity of the thewes (tumbrel or hand-barrow, in which scolds were customarily wheeled round the town previous to being ducked); she was thus led out of the Beverley Gate.”

On the walls and gates of York have been spiked many heads, and with particulars of a few of the more important we will bring to a close our gleanings on this gruesome theme, though not one without value to the student of history.

Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, strongly opposed the accession of Henry IV., and warmly advocated the claims of the Earl of March. A conspiracy against the king cost him and others their lives. It is recorded that the king directed Chief Justice Gascoigne to condemn the Archbishop to death. As might be expected from an upright judge who cast into prison the king’s son for contempt of court, he firmly refused to be a party to a barbarous and unjust action. Another judge was quickly found ready to obey the king’s[Pg 97] behest, and the requisite condemnation was obtained. Scrope was beheaded on June 8th, 1405, in a field between Bishopthorpe and York. Thomas Gent, the old historian of York, gives a sympathetic account of the execution: “The poor unfortunate Archbishop was put upon a horse, about the value of forty pence, with a halter about its neck, but without a saddle on its back. The Archbishop gave thanks to God, saying, ‘I never liked a horse better than I like this!’ He twice sang the Psalm Exaudi, being habited in a sky-coloured loose garment, with sleeves of the same colour, but they would not permit him to wear the linen vesture used by bishops. At the fatal place of execution he laid his hood and tunic on the ground, offered himself and his cause to Heaven, and desired the executioner to give him five strokes, in token of the five wounds of our Saviour, which was done accordingly.” This is the first instance of an English prelate being executed by the civil power. Lord Mowbray, Earl Marshal of England, Sir William Plumpton and others who were mixed up in the conspiracy were beheaded. The heads of the Archbishop and that of Mowbray were spiked and put up on the city walls.

On the last day in the year 1460 was fought[Pg 98] the battle of Wakefield, which ended in a victory for the house of Lancaster. Richard, Duke of York, the aspirant to the throne, and many of his loyal supporters were slain, some so severely wounded as to die shortly afterwards, and others taken prisoners to be subsequently beheaded. The Duke’s head was cut from his body, encircled by a mock diadem of paper, and spiked above Micklegate Bar, York, with the face turned to the city:—

“So York may overlook the town of York.”

The head of the young Earl of Rutland, murdered by Lord Clifford, was also set up at York. The headless bodies of the unfortunate pair were quietly buried at Pontefract.

The heads of the following Yorkists were also set up at York “for a spectacle to the people and also as a terror to adversaries:”—The Earl of Salisbury, Sir Edward Bouchier, Sir Richard Limbricke, Sir Thomas Harrington of London, Sir Thomas Neville, Sir William Parr, Sir Jacob Pykeryng, Sir Ralph Stanley, John Hanson, Mayor of Hull, and others.

 [Pg 99]


[Pg 100] 

[Pg 101]The Lancastrians did not long enjoy their victory. Richard’s son, the Earl of March, succeeded to his father’s title and claimed the right to the English crown. On Palm Sunday, March 21st, 1461, the forces of the Red and the White Roses met at Towton-field. The battle raged during a blinding snowstorm, and the Yorkists gained a complete victory. Edward then proceeded to York and entered by Micklegate Bar. Here the saddening sight of the head of his father and other brave men who had fallen fighting for his cause were displayed, also that of his brother. He had them removed, and in their stead, to still keep up the ghastly show, were placed the heads of his foes at Towton, and amongst the number the Earl of Devonshire, Sir William Hill, the Earl of Kyme, and Sir Thomas Foulford. Shakespeare notices this act of retaliation in Henry VI. (Part III., Act II., Scene 6).

Warwick: From off the gates of York fetch down the head,
Your father’s head, which Clifford placed there:
Instead thereof, let this supply the room;
Measure for measure must be answered.”

Edward had the heads of his father and his brother taken to Pontefract, placed with their bodies, and then with great pomp the remains were removed to the church at Fotheringay and there reinterred.

[Pg 102]An attempt was made in 1569 to dethrone Elizabeth, and place in her stead Mary Queen of Scots. The leaders of the revolt were the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland. It ended in failure, and was the last trial with arms to restore the Papal power in England. The leaders for a time made their escape, but the government, with a vengeance that has seldom been equalled, cruelly punished the masses. Men were hanged at every market-cross and village-green from Wetherby to Newcastle, the large part of the north from whence the rebels had come. The Earl of Northumberland managed to evade capture for nearly two years by hiding in a wretched cottage. He was betrayed and brought to York. On August 22nd, 1572, he was beheaded, and he died, we are told, “Avowing the Pope’s supremacy, and denying subjection to the Queen, affirming the land to be in a schism, and her obedient subjects little better than heretics.” The Earl’s head was spiked above Micklegate Bar, where it remained for about a couple of years, and then it was stolen in the night by persons unknown.

After the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden on April 16th, 1746, the Duke of Cumberland on[Pg 103] his route to London visited York, and left behind him a number of prisoners. On November 1st, ten of the rebels were hanged, drawn, and quartered, and a week later eleven more suffered a similar fate. The head of one of the unfortunate men, that of Captain Hamilton, was sent to Carlisle. The heads of Conolly and Mayne were spiked over Micklegate Bar, York, and eight years later were stolen. A reward was offered for the detection of the offenders. The following is a copy of the notice issued:—

“York, Guildhall, Feb. 4, 1754.

“Whereas on Monday night, or Tuesday morning last, the heads of two of the rebels, which were fixed upon poles on the top of Micklegate Bar, in this City, were wilfully and designedly taken down, and carried away: If any person or persons (except the person or persons who actually took down and carried away the same) will discover the person or persons who were guilty of so unlawful and audacious an action, or anywise hiding or assisting therein, he, she, or they shall, upon the conviction of the offenders, receive a reward of Ten Pounds from the Mayor and Commonality of the City of York.

“By order of the said Mayor and said Commonality, John Raper, Common Clerk of the said City and County of the same.”

A tailor named William Arundel and an accomplice were found guilty of the crime. In[Pg 104] addition to being fined, Arundel was committed to prison for two years.

This last act closes a long and painful chapter in our history. Many of our larger old English towns have their gruesome tales of Rebel Heads on their chief gates.



[Pg 105]

Burial at Cross Roads.


It was customary in the olden time when a person committed suicide to bury the body at the meeting of four cross roads. We are told by writers who have paid special attention to this subject, that this strange mode of burial was confined to the humbler members of society. A careful consideration of this matter, from particulars furnished by parish registers and from other old-time records and writings, confirms the statement. Shakespeare, in the grave scene in Hamlet, puts into the mouths of the clowns who are preparing the grave of Ophelia something to the same effect. Here are his words:—

Second Clown: But is this law?
First Clown: Ay, marry, is’t; crowner’s quest law.
Second Clown: Will you ha’ the truth on’t If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’ Christian burial.
First Clown: Why, there thou say’st; and the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian (that is, their equal fellow Christian).

[Pg 106]Bearing somewhat on this subject, there is a striking passage in Hone’s “Every Day Book.” Mention is first made of a fatal duel in 1803. It appears two military officers quarrelled and fought at Primrose Hill, because their dogs had quarrelled in Hyde Park. Moralising on the fatal event, the writer concludes his reflections as follows:—“The humble suicide is buried with ignominy in a cross road, and the finger-post marks his grave for public scorn. The proud duellist reposes in a Christian grave beneath marble, proud and daring as himself.” The more humane of our countrymen condemned burial at cross roads, and a much needed reform was brought about. Before reproducing the Act of Parliament respecting the burial of suicides it will not be without interest to give details of a few burials in the highways.

Mr. Simpson in his interesting volume of Derby gleanings, states that on the 10th of July, 1618, “an old incorrigible rogue cut his own throat in the County Gaol, and was buried in Green Lane, Derby.” We have not any particulars of this “incorrigible rogue.” He would doubtless be interred at night, and a stake driven through his body.

[Pg 107]The parish register of West Hallam, in the same county, supplies another instance of burial at four lane ends. The entry reads thus;—“1698, Katharine, the wife of Tho. Smith, als Cutler, was found felo de se by ye Coroner’s inquest, and interred in ye cross ways near ye wind mill on ye same day.” The local historian is silent respecting this case of suicide, and all that is now known of the poor woman’s sad end is contained in the parish register.

It is recorded in a Norwich newspaper, of 1728, that the body of a hat-presser, after a verdict of felo de se, was accordingly buried in the highway.

Not far from Boston is a thorn tree known as the “Hawthorn tree,” which is represented in a pretty picture in Pishey Thompson’s well-known “History and Antiquities of Boston” (1856). It is in the parish of Fishtoft, and at the intersections of the Tower Lane and the road to Fishtoft Church by the low road to Freiston. “This tree,” says Thompson, “is traditionally stated to have been originally a stake driven into the grave of a (female) suicide, who was buried at cross roads.” The story is generally believed in the Boston district, although Mr. William Stevenson in a learned paper in “Bygone Lincolnshire,” vol. II.,[Pg 108] p. 212, states as far as concerns the hawthorn growing from a stake driven into the ground the tradition has no foundation in fact.

Mr. John Higson took interest in Lancashire lore, and from his gleanings we draw the following particulars of the suicide and burial of James Hill, a Droylsden innkeeper. He tells us that the poor fellow was inflamed with jealousy, suddenly disappeared, and about a fortnight afterwards was found hung or strangled in a tree in Newton Wood, near Hyde. A coroner’s inquest pronounced it an act of suicide, and in accordance with the verdict, the corpse was interred on the 21st May, 1774, at the three-lane-ends, near the brook, close by the present Commercial Inn, Newton Moor. Much sympathy was exhibited towards Hill in Droylsden, and a band of resolute fellows, about three o’clock on the morning of the 5th June, disinterred his remains, and re-buried them in Ashton churchyard. A woman who casually met them spread the information, and they were glad to convey back the body on the 18th of the same month, when the final interment took place at Newton Moor. A number of Droylsdenians joined to defray the expense of a gravestone, on which the[Pg 109] following epitaph was written by Joseph Willan, of Openshaw, and was neatly engraved:—

Here is Deposited the Body of the unfortunate
Late of Droylsden, who ended his Life May 6th, 1774,
In the forty-second year of his age.
Unhappy Hill, with anxious Cares oppress’d,
Rashly presumed to find Death his Rest.
With this vague Hope in Lonesome Wood did he
Strangle himself, as Jury did agree;
For which Christian burial he’s denied,
And is consign’d to Lie at this wayside.
Reflect what may be the consequences of a crime, which
excludes the possibility of repentance.

In old parish registers we have found records of burials at cross roads, and Lancashire history furnishes several examples.

It is stated in “Legends and Superstitions of the County of Durham,” by William Brockie, published in 1886, that in the Mile End Road, South Shields, at the corner of the left-hand side going northward, just adjoining Fairless’s old ballast way, lies the body of a suicide, with a stake driven through it. It is, I believe, a poor baker, who put an end to his existence seventy or eighty years ago, and who was buried in this frightful manner, at midnight, in unconsecrated ground.[Pg 110] The top of the stake used to rise a foot or two above the ground within the last thirty years, and boys used to amuse themselves by standing with one foot upon it.

Considerable consternation was caused in London towards the close of 1811 on account of certain murders. The foul deeds were committed by an Irishman called John Williams. He was arrested, and during his confinement in Coldbathfields committed suicide. His remains were buried in Cannon Street, and a stake was driven through the body.

Many curious items dealing with this custom may be found in the columns of old newspapers. The following particulars, for example, are drawn from the Morning Post, of 27th April, 1810:—“The officers appointed to execute the ceremony of driving the stake through the dead body of James Cowling, a deserter from the London Militia, who deprived himself of existence by cutting his throat at a public-house in Gilbert Street, Clare Market, in consequence of which a verdict of self-murder, very properly delayed the business until twelve o’clock on Wednesday night, when the deceased was buried in the cross roads at the end of Blackmoor Street, Clare Market.”

[Pg 111]The most painful case which has come under our notice occurred at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Martha Wilson, the widow of a seaman, was last seen alive by her neighbours on Sunday, the 13th April, 1817, and on the following Tuesday she was found dead, suspended from a cord tied to a nail in her room at the Trinity House. She was subject to fits of melancholy, and had threatened to destroy herself. On the Wednesday following an inquest was held, and the jury returned a verdict of felo de se. Her mortal remains were buried in the public highway at night, and the strange sight was watched by a large gathering of the public. After a stake had been driven through the body of the poor widow the grave was closed.

The last interment at cross roads in London of which we have been able to discover any account occurred in June, 1823, when a man named Griffiths, who had committed suicide, was buried at the junction of Eaton Street and Grosvenor Place and the King’s Road. The burial took place about half-past one in the morning, and the old practice of driving a stake through the body in this case was not performed.

Perhaps the few particulars we have given will[Pg 112] be sufficient to fully illustrate the old-time custom of the burial of suicides at cross roads. At last the impropriety of the proceedings was forced upon Parliament, and on the 8th July, 1823, the Royal Assent was given to an Act “to alter and amend the law relating to the interment of the remains of any person found felo de se.” The statute is brief, consisting of only two clauses, viz.:—

1. That after the passing of this Act, it shall not be lawful for any coroner, or any other person having authority to hold inquests, to issue any warrant or other process directing the interment of the remains of persons against whom a finding of felo de se shall be had, in any public highway, but that such coroner or other officer shall give directions for the private interment of the remains of such person felo de se, without any stake being driven through the body of such person, in the churchyard, or other burial ground of the parish or place in which the remains of such person might by the laws or custom of England be interred, if the verdict of felo de se had not been found against such person; such interment to be made within twenty-four hours of the finding of the inquisition, and to take place between the hours of nine and twelve at night.

2. Provided, nevertheless, that nothing herein contained shall authorise the performing of any of the rites of Christian burial, or the interment of the remains of any such person as aforesaid; nor shall anything hereinbefore contained be taken to alter the laws or usages relating to [Pg 113]the burial of such persons, except so far as relates to the interment of such remains in such churchyard or burial ground, at such time and in such a manner as aforesaid.

Another change was brought about in 1882 respecting the burial of suicides. We gather from “The Chronicles of Twyford,” by F. J. Snell, M.A., that in the closing days of 1881 a factory operative, of irreproachable character, with his own hand took his life. The jury returned a verdict of felo de se, adding a rider to the effect that it was committed whilst the deceased was under great mental depression. “It was necessary,” says Mr. Snell, “in order to comply with the requirements of the law, that the interment should take place between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, and also within twenty-four hours of the issuing of the coroner’s warrant. In this case it was issued about eight o’clock in the evening. The Superintendent of the Police was obliged to arrange for the funeral the same night. Some delay was caused through the absence of the cemetery keeper from home, but about 10 p.m. two excavators commenced digging the grave in a remote corner of the cemetery, and the interment took place a few minutes before midnight.” After the burial, the pastor of the[Pg 114] church with which the poor man was associated offered an extempore prayer. It is recorded that a large number of spectators watched with deep interest the proceedings, and that extreme indignation was felt throughout the town. In the following year, the two members for Tiverton introduced a bill into the House of Commons “to amend the law relating to the interment of any person found felo de se.” The effect of the measure was to repeal the enactments requiring hurried burial without religious rites, and to sanction the interment “in any of the ways prescribed or authorised by the Burial Laws Amendment Act of 1880.”



[Pg 115]

Detaining the Dead for Debt.


On the Continent, in Prussia for example, it was formerly the practice to detain the dead for debt. A belief long prevailed that such proceedings were legal in England, and in not a few cases, acting upon this supposition, corpses have been arrested, and in more instances precautions have been taken to avoid such painful events.

The earliest record we have found on this theme occurs in the parish register of Sparsholt, Berkshire. “The corpse of John Matthews, of Fawler,” it is stated, “was stopt on the churchway for debt, August 27, 1689. And having laine there fower days, was, by Justices’ warrant, buryied in the place to prevent annoyances—but about sixe weeks after, by an Order of Sessions, taken up and buried in the churchyard by the wife of the deceased.”

In the churchyard of North Wingfield, [Pg 116]Derbyshire, a gravestone bears the following inscription:—

In Memory of
Son of John and Mary Clay,
Who departed this life December 16th, 1724,
In the 40th year of his age.
What though no mournful kindred stand
Around the solemn bier,
No parents wring the trembling hand,
Or drop the silent tear.

No costly oak adorned with art
My weary limbs enclose,
No friends impart a winding sheet
To deck my last repose.

The circumstances which led to the foregoing epitaph are thus narrated. Thomas Clay was a man of intemperate habits, and at the time of his death was indebted to Adlington, the village inn-keeper, to the amount of twenty pounds. The publican resolved to seize the body; but the parents of the deceased carefully kept the door locked until the day appointed for the funeral. As soon as the door was opened, Adlington rushed into the house and seized the corpse, and placed it on a form in the open street. Clay’s friends refused to pay the publican’s account, and after the body had been exposed for several days, the inn-keeper buried it in a bacon chest.

[Pg 117]This subject has received attention in the pages of Notes and Queries, and in the issue of May 2nd, 1896, the following appeared:—“At Brandeston, Suffolk,” said a contributor, “there is a well-authenticated story of the body of the ‘old squire,’ Mr. John Revett or Rivett, who died in 1809, being removed secretly at night, by some of the servants and tenantry, from the library at Brandeston Hall, where it lay, to the church of Brandeston, which is in the park close by the Hall. Mr. Revett, like many of the family, had been very extravagant, keeping his own pack of hounds, etc.; and what with elections and unlimited hospitality, had got heavily into debt, and had involved the old family estate so, that Brandeston and Cretingham, which had been in the Revett family from 1480, got into Chancery after his death, and passed out of the family in 1830, or thereabouts. The belief of the people, with whom the old squire was very popular, was that if the body was not removed to the sanctuary it would be seized for debt; hence their action.” A son of one of the old servants, whose father assisted in carrying the body to the church, related the story in 1895 to the correspondent of Notes and Queries. It is well known in the village.

[Pg 118]The most painful case of arresting a dead body which has come under our notice, is that of John Elliott, in 1811. The particulars are given in the “Annual Register,” and also in the Gentleman’s Magazine for that year, but not so fully nor correctly as in a newspaper report of that period, which is reproduced in the pages of Notes and Queries for March 28th, 1896. The facts of the case are as follow:—John Elliott, at the time of his death, on October 3rd, 1811, was indebted to Baker, a bricklayer, and Heasman, a carpenter, a small sum for work done. These two men, with two sheriffs’ officers, on Monday, October 7th, proceeded to the house where Elliott lay dead, and were there met by the son of the deceased. He stated that his father was dead. The officers informed him that they had a warrant to arrest the deceased, and asked where the body lay. The son pointed out the room, saying the door was locked, and his mother had gone out and taken the key, but was expected every minute. After waiting a few minutes, one of the men violently kicked the door, broke it open, and entered the room where the body lay in a coffin. The body was identified, and possession taken of it. The interment was fixed by the family for the[Pg 119] following Wednesday, and at four o’clock on that day, the undertaker and his man arrived for the purpose of removing the body to Shoreditch Church for burial, but Baker and Heasman and the sheriffs’ men entered the house with a shell, and took it into the room where the corpse lay. After asking the son to pay the debt and prevent his father’s body being taken away, and he replying that he was unable to discharge it, Baker and Heasman literally crammed the naked body into the shell, and put it into a cart before the house, where it remained over half-an-hour, attracting to the place a large number of people who behaved in a riotous manner. The body was then removed to Heasman’s house, and placed in a cellar until October 11th, when it was conveyed by him and others to Bethnal Green, and left in a burial vault.

Such are the details briefly stated that were given to the judge who tried the men who committed this outrageous public indecency. The jury, after retiring for a few minutes, returned, and awarded damages £200.

We have given at some length the foregoing case, to illustrate the lawless condition of the country at the commencement of this century.[Pg 120] We may congratulate ourselves on living in happier times.

It was currently reported at the death of Sheridan, in 1816, that an attempt would be made to detain his body for debt, but at his funeral no such action occurred.

Mr. John Cameron, in his work issued in 1892, under the title of “The Parish of Campsie,” states that in 1824 died the Rev. James Lapslie, vicar of the parish, who was, at the time of his death, in debt, and the proceedings of a creditor are thus related:—“On the day of the funeral,” says Mr. Cameron, “the body was arrested at the mouth of the open grave, and further procedure barred by some legal process, until the arresting creditor had satisfaction given him for the payment of the debt owing by the deceased. Sir Samuel Stirling, sixth baronet, became security to the arresting creditor, and the body was then consigned to the grave.”

Much reliable information on old-time subjects has been carefully chronicled by Mr. I. W. Dickinson, B.A., the author of “Yorkshire Life and Character.” He tells us that in the earlier years of the present century it was generally believed that a corpse could be detained for debt, and it was, in[Pg 121] several instances in the West Riding, successfully carried out, the friends subscribing on the spot in order to be enabled to pay their last respects to the dead. Mr. Dickinson also tells me of another West Riding belief, that a doctor, summoned to a sick bed, could legally take the nearest way, even through corn fields and private grounds, or whatever else intervened, without rendering himself liable for damages.

We gather from Notes and Queries of March 28th, 1896, that the fact was established in 1841, that the body of a debtor, dying in custody, cannot be detained in prison after death. It appears that Scott, gaoler of Halifax, acting for Mr. Lane Fox, the Lord of the Manor, detained the body of one of the debtors who died in prison. It was subsequently buried in the gaol in unconsecrated ground, on the refusal of the debtor’s executors to pay the claims that were demanded of them. Action was taken against the gaoler, and at a trial at York Assizes he was convicted of breaking the laws of his country.



[Pg 122]

A Nobleman’s Household in Tudor Times


The Earls of Northumberland, members of the Percy family, for a long period were a power in the north of England. Their pedigree has been traced back to Mainfred, a Danish chieftain who rendered great service to Rollo in the Conquest of Normandy. William de Perci, of Perci, near Villedieu, landed on the English shore with Duke William, and for valour at the battle of Hastings he was rewarded with extensive grants of land in Yorkshire.

In their northern strongholds this noble family lived in stately style, and frequently figured on the battle-field, and took their share in events which make up the history of the country. The story of their lives, with its lights and shades, reads like a romance; but it is outside the purpose of our paper to linger over its romantic episodes. It may be stated that the fourth Earl was Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire, and by direction of King Henry VII., he had to make[Pg 123] known to the inhabitants of his county the reasons for a most objectionable tax for the purpose of engaging in a war with Bretagne. This gave rise to a bitter feeling against him, the people erroneously believing that the tax was levied at his instigation. In 1489, a mob broke into his house at Cockledge, near Thirsk, murdering him and several of his servants. The Earl had been a generous man, and was much beloved, and his untimely death was deeply deplored. He was buried in Beverley Minster, and 14,000 people attended his funeral, which was conducted in a magnificent manner, at a cost of £1,037 6s. 8d., equalling some £10,000 in our current coin. Skelton, the poet laureate, in an elegy, lamented his “dolourous death.” The lines commence:—

“I wayle, I wepe, I sobbe, I sigh ful sore
The dedely fate, the dolefulle destenny
Of him that is gone, alas! without restore
Of the blode royall, descending nobelly,
Whose Lordshipe doutles was slayne lamentably.”

His son, the fifth Earl, who was born at Leconfield Castle in the year 1457, was a man of æsthetic tastes, and a patron of learning. He is described as being “vain and excessively fond of pomp and display.” When the Princess[Pg 124] Margaret journeyed to Scotland to marry the King, the Earl escorted her through Yorkshire. According to an old account, he was “well horst, upon a fayre courser, with a cloth to the ground of cramsyn velvett, all borded of orfavery, his armes very riche in many places uppon his saddle and harnys, and his sterrops gilt. With him was many noble Knights, all arrayed in his sayd Livery of Velvett with some goldsmith’s work, great chaynes, and war wel mounted; a Herault, bearing his cotte and other gentylmen in such wayes array’d of his said Livery, sum in Velvett, others in Damask, Chamlett, etc., well mounted to the number of 300 Horsys.” The Princess made her public entry into Edinburgh riding on a pillion behind the King.

The Earl had three castles, and lived at them alternately, and, as he had only sufficient furniture for one, it was removed from one house to the other when he changed residences. Seventeen carts and one waggon were employed to convey it.

This Percy’s taste for poetry prompted him to have painted on the walls and ceilings of his castles moral lessons in verse. The following may be quoted as a specimen:—

[Pg 125] “Punyshe moderatly, and discretly correct,
As well to mercy, as to justice havynge a respect;
So shall ye have meryte for the punyshment,
And cause the offender to be sory and penitent.

If ye be movede with anger or hastynes,
Pause in youre mynde and your yre repress:
Defer vengeance unto your anger asswagede be;
So shall ye mynyster justice, and do dewe equyte.”

We have another proof of his love of poetry preserved in the British Museum, in the form of a beautiful manuscript engrossed on vellum, richly emblazoned, and superbly illuminated. It includes specimens of the best poetry then produced, and a metrical account of the Percy family, by one of the Earl’s chaplains, named Peares. This interesting work was prepared under his directions.

In the year 1512, he commenced the compilation of what we now call the “Northumberland Household Book,” and it contains regulations and other details respecting his castles at Wressel and Leckonfield. From this curious work we obtain an interesting picture of the home life of a nobleman in Tudor times. We find that the Earl lived in state and splendour little inferior to that of the King. The household was conducted[Pg 126] on the same plan as that of the reigning monarch, and the warrants were made out in the same form and style. “As the King had his Privy Council and great council of Parliament to assist him in enacting statutes and regulations for the public weal,” says a writer who has made a study of this subject, “so the Earl of Northumberland had his council, composed of his principal officers, by whose advice and assistance he established this code of economic laws; as the King had his lords and grooms of the bed-chamber, who waited in their respective turns, so the Earl of Northumberland was attended by the constables and bailiffs of his several castles, who entered into waiting in regular succession.” We further find that all the leading officers of his household were men of gentle birth, and consisted of “controller, clerk of the kitchen, chamberlain, treasurer, secretary, clerk of the signet, survisor, heralds, ushers, almoner, a schoolmaster for teaching grammar, minstrels, eleven priests, presided over by a doctor of divinity or dean of the chapel, and a band of choristers, composed of eleven singing men and six singing boys.” The head officials sat at a table called the Knight’s Board. Every day were expected to sit down to[Pg 127] dinner 166 officers and domestic servants and fifty-seven visitors. The amount annually spent in house-keeping was £1,118 17s. 8d., representing in our money about £10,000.

The number of daily meals was four, and consisted of breakfast taken at seven, dinner at ten, supper at four o’clock, and livery served in the bedroom between eight and nine, before retiring to rest. The lord sat at the head of the table in state. The oaken table, long and clumsy, stood in the great hall, and the guests were ranged according to their station on long, hard, and comfortless benches. The massive family silver salt cellar was placed in the middle of the table, and persons of rank sat above it, and those of an inferior position below it. There was a great display of pewter dishes and wooden cups, and plenty of food and liquor was on the table. But elegance did not prevail: forks had not been introduced, and fingers were used to convey food to the mouth.

The allowances at the meals were most liberal. One perceives there was much wine and beer consumed in those days. Take, for example, that at breakfast. On flesh days it included “for my lord and lady a loaf of bread on trenchers, two[Pg 128] manchets (loaves of fine meal), a quart of wine, half a chine of mutton, or a chine of beef boiled.” The fare of the two elder children, “my Lord Percy, and Mr. Thomas Percy,” consisted of “half a loaf of household bread, a manchet, one pottle of beer (two quarts!), a chicken, or else three mutton bones boiled.” It will be noticed that wine was not served to the two young noblemen. The fare of the two little children is thus described: “Breakfasts for the nurcery, for my lady Margaret and Mr. Yngram Percy, a manchet, one quart of beer, three mutton bones boiled.” My ladies’ gentlewomen were served with “a pottle of beer, three mutton bones boiled, or else a piece of beef boiled.” The breakfast on fish days was as follows:—“For my lord and my lady, a loaf of bread on trenchers, two manchets, a quart of beer, a quart of wine, two pieces of salt-fish, six baked herrings, or a dish of sprats; for the two elder sons, half a loaf of household bread, a manchet, a pottle of beer, a dish of butter, a piece of salt-fish, a dish of sprats, or three white (fresh) herrings; for the two children in the nursery, a manchet, a quart of beer, a dish of butter, a piece of salt-fish, a dish of sprats, or three white herrings; and for my lady’s gentlewomen, a loaf[Pg 129] of bread, a pottle of beer, a piece of salt-fish, or three white herrings.” It will be observed that the family dined two to a plate or mess, this being the usual practice in the Middle Ages. The other meals were quite, if not more substantial than that of breakfast. The liveries, as we have previously stated, were consumed in the bed-chamber just before retiring to rest, and the Earl and Countess had placed on their table, “two manchets, a loaf of household bread, a gallon of beer, and a quart of wine.” The wine was warmed and mixed with spices. After reading the preceding bills of fare, we are not surprised to learn that at this period the English people were regarded as the greatest eaters in Europe.

In the “Northumberland Household Book” is a long and interesting list of articles and their prices, which were expected to last a year. It will not be without interest to reproduce a few of the more important items, as follow:—Wheat 236½ quarters at 6s. 8d. The market price today is very different. Malt, as might be expected from the quantity of beer brewed, is a rather large total, being 249 quarters, I bushel, and the price 4s. per quarter; hops, 656 lbs., at 13s. 4d. per 120 lbs.; fat oxen, 109, at 13s. 4d. each;[Pg 130] lean oxen, 24, at 8s. each; to be fed in his lordship’s pastures; sheep, 787, fat and lean, at 1s. 8d. each, one with another; porks (pigs), 25, at 2s. each; calves, 28, at 1s. 8d. each; lambs, 60, of which 10, at 1s. each, to serve from Christmas to Shrovetide, and 50, at 10d. each, to serve from Easter to Midsummer. The list of fish is large, and includes 160 stock-fish at 2½d. each for the Lent season; salt-fish, 1,122, at 4d. each; white herrings, 9 barrels, at 10s. the barrel; red herrings, 10 cades (each cade containing 500), at 6s. 8d. the cade; sprats, 5 cades (each cade containing 1,000), at 2s. the cade; salt salmon, 200, at 6d. each; salt sturgeon, 3 firkins, at 10s. each firkin; salt eels, 5 cags, at 4s. each. Thirty-six gallons of oil, at 11½d. per gallon, were provided for frying the fish. Salt is entered twice—bay salt, 10 quarters, at 4s. the quarter; and white salt, 6½ quarters, at 4s. the quarter; vinegar, 40 gallons, at 4d. the gallon. The quantity of mustard, ready-made, is large, being 180 gallons, at 2¼d. per gallon. In old Christmas carols there are frequent allusions to mustard. During the Commonwealth, it was threatened to stop Christmastide festivals by Act of Parliament, and this caused the tallow-chandlers to loudly complain,[Pg 131] for they could not sell their mustard on account of the diminished consumption of brawn. In the familiar old carol, sung annually at Queen’s College, Oxford, is a line:—

“The boar’s head with mustard.”

In a carol sung before Prince Henry, at St. John’s College, Oxford, in 1607, is a couplet:—

“Let this boar’s head and mustard
Stand for pig, goose, and custard.”

Under the heading of spices are enumerated:—Pepper, 50 lbs., raisons of currants, 200 lbs., prunes, 151½ lbs., ginger, 21½ lbs., mace, 6 lbs., cloves, 3½ lbs., sugar, 200¼ lbs., cinnamon, 17 lbs., 3½ quarters almonds, 152 lbs., dates, 30 lbs., nutmegs, 1¼ lbs., grains of Paradise, 7 lbs., turnfole, 10½ lbs., saunders, 10 lbs., powder of annes, 3¼ lbs., rice, 19 lbs., comfits, 19½ lbs., galagals, ½ lb., long pepper, ½ lb., blanch powder, 2 lbs. The amount of the foregoing is £25 19s. 7d. The list of wine embraces—Gascony wine, 10 tuns, 2 hogsheads, at £4 14s. 4d. per tun, viz., red, 3 tuns, claret, 5 tuns, and white, 2 tuns, 2 hogsheads. There was also provided 90 gallons of verjuice, at 3d. per gallon; this was a sour juice of unripe grapes, apples, or crabs. A barrel and a half of[Pg 132] honey was provided at a cost of 33s. The foregoing are the chief items of food and drink for the annual consumption in a Tudor household.

The fuel consisted of sea coal, 80 chaldrons, charcoal, 20 quarters, and 4,140 faggots for brewing and baking. Sixty-four loads of wood had also to be provided, for the coal could not be burnt without it. The coal must have been poor.

The expenses provide for the players at Christmas, and they appear to have acted 20 plays at 1s. 8d. per play. We find a bearward attended at Christmas for making sport with his beasts, and in the “Household Book” he is referred to amongst those receiving payments as follows:—

“Furst, my Lorde usith and accustomyth to gyff yerely the Kynge or the Queene’s barwarde, if they have one, when they custome to come unto him, yerely—vjs. viijd.

“Item, my Lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly, when his Lordshipe is at home, to his barward, when he comyth to my Lorde in Christmas with his Lordshippe’s beests, for makynge of his Lordship pastyme, the said xi days—xxs.

At this period, bear-baiting was a popular amusement. Sunday was a great day for the pastime. It was on the last Sunday of April, 1520, that part of the chancel of St. Mary’s[Pg 133] Church, Beverley, fell, killing a number of people. According to a popular tradition, a bear was being baited, and mass was being sung at the same time, but at the latter only fifty-five attended and all were killed, whereas at the former about a thousand were present. Hence the origin of the Yorkshire saying, “It is better to be at the baiting of a bear than the singing of a mass.” An expert horseman was also employed in connection with the household. He had not to be afraid of a fence, and it was his duty to attend my Lord when hunting.



[Pg 134]

Bread and Baking in Bygone Days.


The earliest form of bread consisted of grain soaked in water, then pressed, and afterwards dried by means of the sun or fire. Another early kind of bread took the form of porridge or pudding, consisting of flour mixed with water and boiled. Next came the method of kneading dough, and the result was tough and unleavened bread.

In Saxon times women made bread, and the modern title “lady” is softened from the Saxon hlaf-dige, meaning the distributor of bread. We learn from contemporary pictures that Anglo-Saxon bread consisted of round cakes, not unlike the Roman loaves of which we get representations in the pictures at Pompeii, and not unlike our Good-Friday cross-buns, which we are told come down to us from our Saxon forefathers.

In connection with monasteries were bake-houses, and the work here would be done by the conversi or lay brothers. The holy bread in the mass was baked in the convents and churches[Pg 135] by the priests or monks with much ceremony. Ovens were sometimes connected with old churches.

Some of the monks in Saxon times do not appear to have fared well. We find it recorded that in the eighth century those at the Abbey of St. Edmund had to partake of barley bread because the income of the house was not sufficent to provide wheaten-bread twice or thrice daily.

Towards the close of the thirteenth century the chief bakers who supplied London with bread lived at Stratford-le-Bow, Essex, doubtless on account of being near Epping Forest, where they could obtain cheap firewood. At a later period some were located at Bromley-by-Bow. The bread was brought to London in carts, and exposed for sale in Bread Street. The bakers attended daily excepting on Sundays and great festivals. It was no uncommon circumstance to seize the bread on its way to town for being of light weight, or made of unsound materials. It was not until the year 1302 that London bakers were permitted to sell bread in shops.

A Royal Charter was granted in 1307 to the London Bakers’ Company. The charter, we are[Pg 136] told, “empowered the company to correct offences concerning the trade, to make laws and ordinances, to levy fines and penalties for non-observance thereof; and within the city and suburbs, and twelve miles round, to view, search, prove, and weigh all bread sold; and in case of finding it unwholesome, or not of due assize, to distribute it to the poor of the parish where it was found, and to impose fines, and levy the same by distress and sale of offenders’ goods.” When reform became the order of the day the power of the Bakers’ Company passed away.

There are various old-time statutes of the assize of bread in London. The earliest dates back to the days of Henry II. Another belongs to the reign of Henry III.; it regulated the price of bread according to the value of corn. A baker breaking the law was fined, and if his offence was serious he was placed in the pillory. These statutes were extended under Edward VI., Charles II., and Queen Anne.

In 1266 bakers were commanded not to impress their bread with the sign of the cross, Agnus Dei, or the name of Jesus Christ.

The lot of the baker in bygone times was a very hard one. He could not sell where he liked,[Pg 137] and the price of his bread was regulated by those in authority. Pike, in his “History of Crime in England,” says, “Turn where he might, the traveller in London in 1348 could hardly fail to light upon some group, which would tell him the character of the people he had to see. Here, perhaps, a baker with a loaf hung round his neck, was being jeered, and pelted in the pillory, because he had given short weight, or because, when men had asked him for bread, he had given them not a stone, but a lump of iron enclosed by a crust.”

At this period women were largely employed in the bakehouse. Women in mediæval times performed much of the rougher kind of labour. Mr. Pike tells a tragic tale to illustrate the heartless character of bakehouse women in bygone times:—“At Middleton, in Derbyshire, there lived a man whose wife bore a name well known to readers of mediæval romances, Isolda or Isoult. As he lay one night asleep in his bed, this female Othello took him by the neck and strangled him. As soon as he was dead, she carried the body to an oven which adjourned their chamber, and piled up a fire to destroy the traces of her guilt. But, though she had so far shown the energy and power of a man, her[Pg 138] courage seems to have failed her at the last moment. She took to flight, and her crime was discovered.”

In the olden time, it was the practice of females to deliver bread from house to house in London. The bakers gave them thirteen articles for twelve, and the odd article appears to have been the legitimate profit which they were entitled to receive in return for their work. From this old custom we obtain the baker’s dozen of thirteen. Bakers were not permitted to give credit to women retailers if they were known to be in debt to others. It was also against the law to receive back unsold bread if cold. The latter regulation would make the saleswomen energetic in their labours.

In many places the ducking-stool was employed to punish offending bakers. The old records of Beverley contain references to this subject. “During the Middle Ages,” it is stated on good authority, “scarcely any spectacle was so pleasing to the people of Central Europe as that of the public punishment of the cheating baker. The penalties inflicted on swindling bakers included confiscation of property, deprivation of civil and other rights, banishment from the town for certain[Pg 139] periods, bodily punishment, the pillory, and the gibbet. If a baker was found guilty of an offence against the law, he was arrested and kept in safe custody till the gibbet was ready for him. It was erected as nearly as possible in the middle of the town, the beam projecting over a stagnant pool; at the end of the beam was a pulley, over which ran a rope fastened to a basket large enough to hold a man. The baker was forced into the basket, which was drawn up to the beam; there he hung over the muddy pool, the butt of the jeers and missiles of a jubilant crowd. The only way to escape was to jump into the dirty water and run through the crowd to his home, and if he did not take the jump willingly, he was sometimes helped out of the basket by means of a pole. In some towns a large cage was used instead of a basket, and, instead of taking a jump, the culprit was lowered into the filthy pool and drawn up again several times until the town authorities thought he had had enough.” In some parts of Turkey it was, until recently, the rule to punish a baker who did not give full weight by nailing his ear to the doorpost. If he were out when the officers of justice arrived his son or his servant was punished in his stead, as the authorities were very[Pg 140] much averse from making their men do the journey twice.

The Court Leet records of many of our old English towns include items of interest bearing on this subject. At Manchester, at the Court Leet held October 1, 1561, it was resolved that no person or persons be permitted to make for sale any kind of bread in which butter is mixed, under a fine of 10s. Later, the use of suet was forbidden. In 1595, we are told that “the Court Leet Jury of Manchester ordered that no person was to be allowed to use butter or suet in cakes or bread; fine, 20s. No baker or other person to be allowed to bake said cakes, &c.; fine, 20s. No person to be allowed to sell the same; fine, 20s.” Next year, on September 30, we gather from the records that “eight officers were appointed to see that no flesh meat was eaten on Fridays and Saturdays, and twelve for the overseeing of them that put butter, cream, or suet in their cakes.” We learn from the history of Worcester that an order was made in 1641 that the bakers were not to make spice bread or short cakes, “inasmuch as it enhaunced the price of butter.”

A rather curious regulation in bygone times was the one which enforced the baker of white[Pg 141] bread not to make brown, and the baker of brown bread not to make white.

Very heavy fines used to be inflicted on persons selling short weight of bread. “A baker was convicted yesterday,” says the Times of July 8th, 1795, “at the Public Office, Whitechapel, of making bread to the amount of 307 ounces deficient in weight, and fined a penalty of £64 7s.” In the same journal, three days later, we read, “A baker was yesterday convicted in the penalty of £106 5s. on 420 ounces of bread, deficient in weight.” The market records, week after week, in 1795, as a rule, record an increased price of grain, and by the middle of the year the matter had become serious. The members of the Privy Council gave the subject careful consideration, and strongly recommended that families should refrain from having puddings, pies, and other articles made of flour. With the following paragraph from the Times of July 22nd, 1795, we close our notes on bread in bygone days:—“His Majesty has given orders for the bread used in his household to be made of meal and rye mixed. No other sort is to be permitted to be baked, and the Royal Family eat bread of the same quality as their servants do.”



[Pg 142]

Arise, Mistress, Arise!


In the olden time in many places in the provinces it was the practice on Christmas-day morning to permit the servants and apprentices to remain in bed, and for the mistress to get up and attend to the household duties. The bellman at Bewdley used to go round the town, and after ringing his bell and saying, “Good-morning, masters, mistresses, and all, I wish you a merry Christmas,” he sang the following:

“Arise, mistress, arise,
And make your tarts and pies,
And let your maids lie still;
For if they should rise and spoil your pies,
You’d take it very ill.
Whilst you are sleeping in your bed,
I the cold wintry nights must tread
Past twelve o’clock, &c.”

Bewdley was famous for its ringers and singers, and its town crier was a man of note. An old couplet says:

“For ringers, singers, and a crier
Bewdley excelled all Worcestershire.”

[Pg 143]In Lancashire was heard the following, proclaimed in the towns and villages:

“Get up old wives,
And bake your pies,
’Tis Christmas-day in the morning;
The bells shall ring,
The birds shall sing,
’Tis Christmas-day in the morning.”

At Morley, near Leeds, a man was formerly paid for blowing a horn at 5 a.m. to make known the time for commencing, and at 8 p.m. the hour for giving up work. His blast was heard daily except on Sundays. On Christmas-day morning he blew his horn and sang:

“Dames arise and bake your pies,
And let your maids lie still;
For they have risen all the year,
Sore against their will.”



[Pg 144]

The Turnspit.


One of the most menial positions in an ancient feudal household was that of turnspit. A person too old or too young for more important duties usually performed the work. John Lydgate, the monk of Bury, who was born in 1375, and died in 1460, gives us a picture of the turnspit as follows:—

“His mouth wel wet, his sleeves right thredbare,
A turnbroche, a boy for hagge of ware,
With louring face noddynge and slumberyng.”

Says Aubrey that these servants “did lick the dripping for their pains.”

In the reign of Edward III., the manor of Finchingfield was held by Sir John Compes, by the service of turning the spit at His Majesty’s coronation. This certainly appears a humble position for a knight to fill in “the gallant days of chivalry.”

The spits or “broches” were often made of silver, and were usually carried to the table with the fish, fowl, or joint roasted upon them.

[Pg 145]The humble turnspit was not overlooked by the guests in the days of old, when largess was bestowed. We gather from “Howard’s Household Book” that Lord Howard gave four old turnspits a penny each. When Mary Tudor dined at Havering, she rewarded the turnbroches with sixteen-pence.

Dogs as well as men performed the task of turning the spit from an early period, and old-time literature includes many references to the subject. Doctor Caius, the founder of the college at Cambridge bearing his name, is the earliest English writer on the dog. “There is,” wrote Caius, “comprehended under the curs of the coarsest kind, a certain dog in kitchen service excellent. For when any meat is to be roasted they go into a wheel, where they, turning about with the weight of their bodies, so diligently look to their business, that no drudge nor scullion can do the feat more cunningly, whom the popular sort hereupon term turnspits.”

We have seen several pictures of dogs turning the spit, and an interesting example appears in a work entitled “Remarks on a Tour in North and South Wales,” published in 1800. The dog is engaged in his by no means pleasant work.[Pg 146] “Newcastle, near Carmarthen,” says the author, “is a pleasant village. At a decent inn here a dog is employed as turnspit. Great care is taken that this animal does not observe the cook approach the larder; if he does, he immediately hides himself for the remainder of the day, and the guest must be contented with more humble fare than intended.”

Mr. Jesse, a popular writer on rural subjects, was a keen observer of old-time customs and institutions, and the best account of the turnspit that has come under our notice is from his pen. “How well do I remember, in the days of my youth,” says Mr. Jesse, “watching the operations of a turnspit at the house of a worthy old Welsh clergyman in Worcestershire, who taught me to read. He was a good man, wore a bushy wig, black worsted stockings, and large plaited buckles in his shoes. As he had several boarders as well as day scholars, his two turnspits had plenty to do. They were long-bodied, crook-legged, and ugly dogs, with a suspicious, unhappy look about them, as if they were weary of the task they had to do, and expected every moment to be seized upon to do it. Cooks in those days, as they are said to be at present, were very cross, and if the[Pg 147] poor animal, wearied with having a larger joint than usual to turn, stopped for a moment, the voice of the cook might be heard rating him in no very gentle terms. When we consider that a large, solid piece of beef would take at least three hours before it was properly roasted, we may form some idea of the task a dog had to perform in turning a wheel during that time. A pointer has pleasure in finding game, the terrior worries rats with eagerness and delight, and the bull-dog even attacks bulls with the greatest energy, while the poor turnspit performs his task with compulsion, like a culprit on a treadmill, subject to scolding or beating if he stops a moment to rest his weary limbs, and is then kicked about the kitchen when the task is over.”

The mode of teaching the dog its duties is described in a book of anecdotes published at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1809. It was more summary than humane. The dog was put in the wheel, and a burning coal with him; he could not stop without burning his legs, and so was kept upon the full gallop. These dogs were by no means fond of their profession. It was indeed hard work to run in a wheel for two or three hours, turning a piece of meat twice their own weight.

[Pg 148]In the same work two more anecdotes bearing on this theme also find a place, and are worth reproducing. “Some years ago,” we are told, “a party of young men, at Bath, hired the chairmen on a Saturday night to steal all the turnspits in the town, and lock them up till the following evening. Accordingly, on Sunday, when everybody has roast meat for dinner, all the cooks were to be seen in the streets, ‘Pray have you seen our Chloe?’ asks one. ‘Why,’ replies the other, ‘I was coming to ask if you had seen our Pompey.’ Up came a third, while they were talking, to inquire for her Toby. And there was no roast meat in Bath that day. It is told of these dogs in this city, that one Sunday, when they had as usual followed their mistresses to church, the lesson for the day happened to be that chapter in Ezekiel, wherein the self-moving chariots are described. When first the word wheel was pronounced, all the curs pricked up their ears in alarm; at the second wheel they set up a doleful howl. When the dreadful word was uttered a third time, every one of them scampered out of church, as fast as he could, with his tail between his legs.”

Allusions to this subject may be found in some[Pg 149] of the poets of the olden time, more especially in those of a political character. Pitt, in his Art of Preaching, has the following on a man who speaks much, but to little purpose:—

“His arguments in silly circles run,
Still round and round, and end where they begun.
So the poor turnspit, as the wheel runs round,
The more he gains, the more he loses ground.”



[Pg 150]

A Gossip about the Goose.


The goose figures largely in the history, the legends, and the proverbial lore of our own and other lands. In ancient Egypt it was an object of adoration in the temple and an article of diet on the table. The Egyptians mainly took beef and goose flesh as their animal food, and it has been suggested that they expected to obtain physical power from the beef and mental vigour from the goose. To support this theory, it has been shown that other nations have eaten the flesh of wolves and drunk the blood of lions, hoping thereby to become fierce and courageous. Some other nations have refused to partake of the hare and the deer on account of the timidity of these animals, fearing lest by eating their flesh they should also partake of their characteristic fearfulness and timidity.

Pliny thought very highly of the goose, saying “that one might almost be tempted to think these creatures have an appreciation of wisdom, for it is said that one of them was a constant companion[Pg 151] of the peripatetic philosopher Lacydes, and would never leave him, either in public or when at the bath, by night or by day.”

The cackling of the goose saved Rome. According to a very old story, the guards of the city were asleep, and the enemy taking advantage of this, were making their way through a weak part of the fortifications, expecting to take the city by surprise. The wakeful geese hearing them, at once commenced cackling, and their noise awoke the Romans, who soon made short work of their foes. This circumstance greatly increased the gratitude of the Roman citizens for the goose.

We gather from the quaint words of an old chronicler a probable solution of the familiar phrase, “To cook one’s goose.” “The kyng of Swedland”—so runs the ancient record—“coming to a towne of his enemyes with very little company, his enemyes, to slyghte his forces, did hang out a goose for him to shoote; but perceiving before nyghte that these fewe soldiers had invaded and sette their chief houlds on fire, they demanded of him what his intent was, to whom he replyed, ‘To cook your goose’.”

In the days when the bow and arrow were the chief weapons of warfare, it was customary[Pg 152] for the sheriffs of the counties where geese were reared to gather sufficient quantities of feathers to wing the arrows of the English army. Some of the old ballads contain references to winging the arrow with goose feathers. A familiar instance is the following:

“‘Bend all your bows,’ said Robin Hood;
‘And with the gray goose wing,
Such sport now show as you would do
In the presence of the king’.”

To check the exportation of feathers, a heavy export duty was put upon them.

The goose frequently figures in English tenures. In a poem by Gascoigne, published in 1575, there is an allusion to rent-day gifts, which appear to have been general in the olden time:

“And when the tenants come to pay their quarter’s rent,
They bring some fowle at Midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmasse a capon, and at Michaelmasse a goose.”

A strange manorial custom was kept up at Hilton in the days of Charles II. An image of brass, known as Jack of Hilton, was kept there. “In the mouth,” we are told, “was a little hole just large enough to admit the head of a pin; water was poured in by a hole in the back, which was afterwards stopped up.” The figure was[Pg 153] then set on the fire; and during the time it was blowing off steam, the lord of the manor of Essington was obliged to bring a goose to Hilton and drive it three times round the hall-fire. He next delivered the goose to the cook; and when dressed, he carried it to the table and received in return a dish of meat for his own mess.

In bygone times, Lincolnshire was a great place for breeding geese; and its extensive bogs, marshes, and swamps were well adopted for the purpose. The drainage and cultivation of the land have done away with the haunts suitable for the goose; but in a great measure Lincolnshire has lost its reputation for its geese. Frequently in the time when geese were largely bred, one farmer would have a thousand breeding-geese, and they would multiply some sevenfold every year, so that he would have under his care annually, some eight thousand geese. He had to be careful that they did not wander from the particular district where they had a right to allow them to feed, for they were regarded as trespassers, and the owner could not get stray geese back unless he paid a fine of twopence for each offender.

Within the last fifty years it was a common[Pg 154] occurrence to see on sale in the market-place at Nottingham at the Goose Fair from fifteen to twenty thousand geese, which had been brought from the fens of Lincolnshire. A street on the Lincolnshire side of the town is called Goosegate.

The origin of the custom of eating a goose at Michaelmas is lost in the shadows of the dim historic past. According to one legend, Saint Martin was tormented with a goose, which he killed and ate. He died after eating it; and ever since, Christians have, as a matter of duty, on the saint’s day sacrificed the goose. We have seen from the preceding quotation from Gascoigne that the goose formed a popular Michaelmas dish from an early period.

It is a common saying, “The older the goose the harder to pluck,” when old men are unwilling to part with their money. The barbarous practice of plucking live geese for the sake of their quills gave rise to the saying. It was usual to pluck live geese about five times a year. Quills for pens were much in request before the introduction of steel pens. One London house, it is stated, sold annually six million quill pens. A professional pen-cutter could turn out about twelve hundred daily.

[Pg 155]Considerable economy was exercised in the use of quill pens. Leo Allatius, after writing forty years with one pen, lost it, and it is said he mourned for it as for a friend. William Hutton wrote the history of his family with one pen, which he wore down to the stump. He put it aside, accompanied by the following lines:

“As a choice relic I’ll keep thee,
Who saved my ancestors and me.
For seven long weeks you daily wrought
Till into light our lives you brought,
And every falsehood you avoided
While by the hand of Hutton guided.”
June 3, 1779.

In conclusion, it may be stated that Philemon Holland, the celebrated translator, wrote one of his books with a single pen, and recorded in rhyme the feat as follows:

“With one sole pen I wrote this book,
Made of a gray goose quill;
A pen it was when I it took,
A pen I leave it still.”



[Pg 156]

Bells as Time-Tellers.


The ringing of the bell in bygone times was general as a signal to commence and to close the daily round of labour. In some of the more remote towns and villages of old England the custom lingers at the ingathering of the harvest. At Driffield, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, for example, the harvest bell is still rung at five o’clock in the morning to arouse the labourers from their slumbers, and at seven in the evening the welcome sound of the bell intimates the time for closing work for the day.

References to this subject may sometimes be found in parish accounts and other old church documents. In the parish chest of Barrow-on-Humber, Lincolnshire, is preserved a copy of the “Office and Duty of the Parish Clerk,” bearing date of 1713, stating:—

“Item.—He is to ring a Bell Every working day morning at Break of the day, and continue the ringing thereof until All Saints, and also to ring a Bell Every Evening about the sunseting until harvest be fully ended: which Bells are to begin to ring from the beginning of the harvest.”

[Pg 157]We learn from an old survey of the parish, still retained amongst the church papers, the reward given to the clerk for ringing the harvest bell. Says the document:—

“The Clarke Receiveth from Every Cottoger at Easter for Ringing the Day and Night Bell in Harvest two pecks of wheat.”

Barrow-on-Humber became famous for its bells, beer, and singers. An old rhyme states:—

“Barrow for ringing,
And Barrow for singing,
And the Oak for good stout ale.”

The Oak is the sign of the village inn, and a place of more than local reputation for its strong, home-brewed ale.

We have traces of the custom of ringing the harvest bell in various parts of the Midlands. At Moreton and at Walgrave, in Northamptonshire, the harvest bell was rung at four o’clock in the morning. At Spratton, Wellingborough, and other places in the county, the custom is still remembered, but not kept up.

It was customary in many places, when the last load of grain was brought home, to deck it with the boughs of the oak and ash, and a merry peal of the church bells made known the news[Pg 158] that the farmer had ended his harvest, the farm labourers riding on the top of the load to sing—

“Harvest home! harvest home!
The boughs they do shake, the bells they do ring,
So merrily we bring the harvest in, harvest in!
So merrily we bring the harvest in.”

In some of the more remote villages of the country, the gleaners’ bell is rung as a signal to commence gleaning. By this means, to use the words of Mr. Thomas North, our leading authority on bell lore, the old and feeble, as well as the young and active, may have a fair start. At Lyddington, Rutland, says Mr. North, the clerk claims a fee of a penny a week from women and big children, as a recompense for his trouble. The parish clerk at West Deeping, Lincolnshire, claimed twopence a head from the gleaners, but as they refused to pay, he declined to ring the bell.

Bearing on this theme may be included particulars of a bell formerly rung at Louth when the harvest on the “Gatherums” was ripe. “A piece of ground so called,” writes Mr. North, “was in former times cultivated for the benefit of the poor. When the ‘pescods’ were ripe, the church bell was rung, which gave warning to the poor that the time had arrived when they might gather[Pg 159] them; hence (it is said) gather ’em or gatherum.” From the church accounts is drawn the following:

“1536. Item for Knyllyng the bell in harvest for gatheringe of the pescods   iiijd.”

Similar entries occur in the books of the church.

An inscription on a bell at Coventry, dated 1675, states:—

“I ring at six to let men know
When to and fro’ their work to goe.”

At St. Ives a bell bears a pithy inscription as follows:—

“Arise, and go about your business.”

The bells of Bow are amongst the best known in England, and figure in the legendary lore as well as in the business life of London. Every reader is familiar with the story of Dick Whittington leaving the city in despair, resting on Highgate Hill, and hearing the famous bells, which seemed to say in their merry peals—

“Turn again, Whittington,
Thou worthy citizen,
Lord Mayor of London.”

In 1469, an order was given by the Court of the Common Council for Bow bell to be rung every night at nine o’clock. Nine was the recognised[Pg 160] time for tradesmen to close their shops. The clerk, whose duty it was to ring the bell, was irregular in his habits, and the late performance of his duties disappointed the toiling apprentices, who thus addressed him:—

“Clerk of Bow bell,
With thy yellow locks,
For thy late ringing
Thy head shall have knocks.”

The clerk replied:—

“Children of Cheape,
Hold you all still,
For you shall hear Bow Bell
Ring at your will.”

The foregoing rhymes take us back to a period before clocks were in general use in this country. The parentage of the present clock cannot be traced with any degree of certainty. We learn that as early as 996, Gerbert, a distinguished Benedictine monk (subsequently Pope Sylvester II.), constructed for Magdeburg a clock, with a weight as a motive power. Clocks with weights were used in monasteries in Europe in the eleventh century. It is supposed that they had not dials to indicate the time, but at certain intervals struck a bell to make known the time for prayers.

[Pg 161]From the fact that a clock-keeper was employed at St. Paul’s, London, in 1286, it is presumed that there must have been a clock, but we have not been able to discover any details respecting it. There was a clock at Westminster in 1290, and two years later £30 was paid for a large clock put up at Canterbury Cathedral. Thirty pounds represented a large sum of money in the year 1292. About 1326 an astronomical clock was erected at St. Albans. It was the work of Richard de Wallingford, a blacksmith’s son of the town, who rose to the position of Abbot there. In the earlier half of the fourteenth century are traces of numerous other clocks in England. According to Haydn’s “Dictionary of Dates,” in the year 1530 the first portable clock was made. This statement does not agree with a writer in “Chambers’s Encyclopædia” (edition 1890). “The date,” we are told in that work, “when portable clocks were first made, cannot be determined. They are mentioned in the beginning of the fourteenth century. The motive power must have been a mainspring instead of a weight. The Society of Antiquaries of England possess one, with the inscription in Bohemian that it was made at Prague, by Jacob Zech, in 1525. It has[Pg 162] a spring for motive power, with fusee, and is one of the oldest portable clocks in a perfect state in England.”

It is asserted that no clock in this country went accurately before the one was erected at Hampton Court, in 1540. Shakespeare, in his Love’s Labour’s Lost, gives us an idea of the unsatisfactory manner clocks kept time in the days of old. He says:—

... “Like a German clock,
Still a-repairing; ever out of frame;
And never going aright.”

Coming down to later times, we may give a few particulars of the difficulty of ascertaining the time in the country in the earlier years of the last century.

 [Pg 163]


[Pg 164] 

[Pg 165]Norrisson Scatcherd, the historian of Morley, near Leeds, gives in his history, published in 1830, an amusing sketch of a local worthy named John Jackson, better known as “Old Trash,” poet, schoolmaster, mechanic, stonecutter, land-measurer, etc., who was buried at Woodkirk on May 19th, 1764. “He constructed a clock, and in order to make it useful to the clothiers who attended Leeds market from Earls and Hanging Heaton, Dewsbury, Chickenley, etc., he kept a lamp suspended near the face of it, and burning through the winter nights, and he would have no shutters nor curtains to his window, so that the clothiers had only to stop and look through it to know the time. Now, in our age of luxury and refinement, the accomodation thus presented by ‘Old Trash’ may seem insignificant and foolish, but I can assure the reader that it was not. The clothiers in the early part of the eighteenth century were obliged to be upon the bridge at Leeds, where the market was held, by about six o’clock in the summer, and seven in the winter; and hither they were convened by a bell anciently pertaining to a Chantry Chapel, which once was annexed to Leeds Bridge. They did not all ride, but most went on foot. They did not carry watches, for few of them had ever possessed such a valuable. They did not dine on fish, flesh, and fowl, with wine, etc., as some do now. No! no! The careful housewife wrapped up a bit of oatcake and cheese in a little checked handkerchief, and charged her husband to mind and not get above a pint of ale at ‘The Rodney.’ Would Jackson’s clock then be of no use to men who had few such in their villages? Who seldom saw a watch, but[Pg 166] took much of their intelligence from the note of the cuckoo.”

For an extended period, the curfew bell has been a most important time-teller. The sounds are no longer heard as the signal for putting out fires, as they were in the days of the Norman kings. It is generally asserted that William the Conqueror introduced the curfew custom into England, but it is highly probable that he only enforced a law which had long been in existence in the kingdom, and which prevailed in France, Italy, Spain, and other countries on the Continent. Houses at this period were usually built of wood, and fires were frequent and often fatal, and on the whole it was a wise policy to put out household fires at night. The fire as a rule was made in a hole in the middle of the floor, and the smoke escaped through the roof. In an account of the manners and customs of the English people, drawn up in 1678, the writer states that before the Reformation, “Ordinary men’s houses, as copyholders and the like, had no chimneys, but flues like louver holes; some of them were in being when I was a boy.” In the year 1103, Henry I. modified the curfew custom. In “Liber Albus,” we find a curious picture of London life under[Pg 167] some of the Plantagenet kings, commencing with Edward I. It was against the city regulations for armed persons to wander about the city after the ringing of the curfew bell.

We may infer from a circumstance in the closing days of William I., that from a remote period there was a religious service at eight o’clock at night. It will be remembered that the king died from the injuries received by the plunging of his horse, caused by the animal treading on some hot ashes. Shortly before his death he was roused from the stupor which clouded his mind, by the ringing of the vesper bell of a neighbouring church. He asked if it were in England and if it were the curfew bell that he heard. On being told that he was in his “own Normandy,” and the bell was for evening prayer, he “charged them bid the monks pray for his soul, and remained for a while dull and heavy.”

At Tamworth, in 1390, a bye-law was passed, and “it provided that no man, woman, or servant should go out after the ringing of the curfew from one place to another unless they had a light in their hands, under pain of imprisonment.” For a long period it was the signal for closing public-houses.



[Pg 168]

The Age of Snuffing.


In this country old customs linger long, and although the age of snuffing has passed away, in some quarters the piquant pinch still finds favour. Our ancient municipal corporations have been reformed, but old usages are still maintained and revived. In 1896 we saw an account in the newspapers of an amusing episode which occurred during a meeting of the Pontefract Town Council. One of the aldermen, noticing that the councillors had “to go borrowing” snuff, suggested the re-introduction of the old Corporation snuff-box. The official box, in the shape of an antler, was unearthed from underneath the aldermanic bench amidst much amusement, and the Mayor promised ere another sitting the article in question should be duly cleaned and replenished with the stimulating powder. Sir Albert K. Rollit, the learned and genial member of Parliament for South Islington, when Mayor of his native town of Hull a few years ago, presented to his brother members of the Corporation[Pg 169] a massive and valuable snuff-box. The gift was much appreciated. In a compilation recently published under the title of “The Corporation Plate and Insignia of Office, &c., of the Cities and Towns of England and Wales,” will be found particulars of snuff-boxes belonging to some of the older municipal bodies. In bygone times taking snuff was extremely popular, its palmy days in England being during the eighteenth century. Snuff was praised in poetry and prose. Peer and peasant, rich and poor, the lady in her drawing-room and the humble housewife alike enjoyed the pungent pinch. The snuff-box was to be seen everywhere.

The earliest allusion we have to snuffing occurs in the narrative of the second voyage of Columbus in 1494. It is there related by Roman Pane, the friar, who accompanied the expedition, that the aborigines of America reduced tobacco to a powder, and drew it through a cane half a cubit long; one end of this they placed in the nose and the other upon the powder. He also stated that it purged them very much.

Snuff and other forms of tobacco on their introduction had many bitter opponents. After the Great Plague the popularity of tobacco and[Pg 170] snuff increased, for during the time of the terrible visitation both had been largely used as disinfectants. There is a curious entry in Thomas Hearne’s Diary, 1720-21, bearing on this theme. He writes as follows under date of January 21:—“I have been told that in the last great plague in London none that kept tobacconists’ shops had the plague. It is certain that smoaking was looked upon as a most excellent preservative. In so much that even children were obliged to smoak. And I remember that I heard formerly Tom Rogers, who was yeoman beadle, say that when he was that year when the plague raged a schoolboy at Eton, all the boys in the school were obliged to smoak in the school every morning, and that he was never whipped so much in his life as he was one morning for not smoaking.” Pepys says in his Diary on June 7, 1665:—“The hottest day that ever I felt in my life. This day, much against my will, I did in Drury Lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and ‘Lord have mercy upon us!’ writ there; which was a sad sight to me, being the first of the kind that to my remembrance I ever saw. It put me into ill-conception of myself and my smell, so that I was forced to[Pg 171] buy some roll tobacco to smell and chew, which took apprehension.” Another impetus to the habit of snuff-taking was given in 1702. Our Fleet was under the command of Sir George Rooke, and it is recorded that at Port Saint Mary, near Cadiz, several thousand barrels of choice Spanish snuff were captured. At Vigo on the homeward voyage more native snuff was obtained, and found its way to England, instead of the Spanish market, as it was originally intended. The snuff was sold at the chief English ports for the benefit of the officers and men. In not a few instances waggon-loads were disposed of at fourpence per pound. It was named Vigo snuff, and the popularity of the ware, its cheapness, and novelty were the means of its coming into general use. In no part of the world did it become and remain more popular than in North Britain. A volume published in London in 1702, entitled “A Short Account of Scotland,” without the author’s name, but apparently by a military officer, contains some interesting information on the social life of the people. We gather from this work that the chief stimulant of the Scotch at this period was snuff. “They are fond of tobacco,” it is stated, “but[Pg 172] more from the sneesh-box [snuff-box] than the pipe. And they made it so necessary that I have heard some of them say that, should their bread come in competition with it, they would rather fast than their sneesh should be taken away. Yet mostly it consists of the coarsest tobacco, dried by the fire, and pounded in a little engine after the form of a tap, which they carry in their pockets, and is both a mill to grind and a box to keep it in.” At social gatherings the snuff-mull was constantly passed round, and we are told that each guest left traces of its use on the table, on his knees, the folds of his dress, and on the floor. The preacher’s voice was impaired with excessive indulgence in snuff.

Long before the English visitor had written his book on Scotland, attempts had been made to prohibit snuff-taking in church. At the Kirk Session of St. Cuthbert’s, held on June 18, 1640, it was decided that every snuff-taker in church be amerced in “twenty shillings for everie falt.” Under date of April 11, 1641, it is stated in the Kirk Session records of Soulton as follows:—“Statute with consent of the ministers and elders, that every one that takes snuff in tyme of Divine Service shall pay 6s. 8d., and give one public[Pg 173] confession of his fault.” At Dunfermline, the Kirk Session had this matter under consideration, and the bellman was directed “to tak notice of those who tak the sneising tobacco in tyme of Divine Service, and to inform concerning them.” A writer in a popular periodical, in a chapter on “The Divine Weed,” makes a mistake, we think, presuming people smoked in church in bygone days. “At one period in the history of tobacco,” says the contributor, “smoking was so common that it was actually practised in church.” Previous to the visit of James the First to the University of Cambridge, in 1615, the Vice-Chancellor issued a notice to the students, which enjoined that “Noe graduate, scholler, or student of this Universitie presume to take tobacco in Saint Marie’s Church, uppon payne of finall expellinge the Universitie.” The taking of tobacco doubtless means using it in the form of snuff and not smoking it in a pipe.

Later, and perhaps at the period under notice, a strong feeling prevailed against smoking in the public streets. In the records of the Methwold Manor, Norfolk, is an entry in the court books dated October 4, 1659, as follows:—“Wee agree that any person that is taken smookeing tobacco[Pg 174] in the street, forfeit one shilling for every time so taken, and it shall be put to the uses aforesaid (that is to the use of the towne). We present Nicholas Barber for smoking in the street, and do amerce him one shilling.” At a parish meeting held at Winteringham, on January 6, 1685, it was resolved:—“None shall smoke tobacco in the streets upon paine of two shillings for every default.” Schoolmasters were forbidden to smoke. In the rules of Chigwell School, founded in 1629, only fourteen years after the visit of James to Cambridge, it is stated:—“The master must be a man of sound religion, neither Papist nor Puritan, of a grave behaviour, and sober and honest conversation, no tippler, or haunter of alehouses, and no puffer of tobacco.”

We may come to the conclusion from the facts we have furnished, that if persons were not permitted to smoke in the street, it is quite certain they would not be allowed to do so in the house of prayer.

Preachers of all sections of the religious world delighted in a pinch of snuff. Sneezing was heard in the highest and humblest churches, and it even made St. Peter’s at Rome echo. The practice so excited the ire of Pope Innocent the[Pg 175] Twelfth that he made an effort in 1690 to stop it in his churches, and “solemnly excommunicated all who should dare to take snuff.” Tyerman, in his “Life of Wesley,” tells us the great trouble the famous preacher had with his early converts. “Many of them were absolutely enslaved to snuff; some drank drams, &c., to remedy such evils, the preachers were enjoined on no account to take snuff, or to drink drams themselves; and were to speak to any one they saw snuffing in sermon time, and to answer the pretence that drams cured the colic and helped digestion.” Mr. Wesley cautioned a preacher going to Ireland against snuff, unless by order of a physician, declaring that no people were in such blind bondage to the silly, nasty, dirty custom as were the Irish. It is stated so far did Irishmen carry their love of snuffing, that it was customary, when a wake was on, to put a plate full of snuff upon the dead man’s, or woman’s stomach, from which each guest was expected to take a pinch upon being introduced to the corpse.

In the earlier days of snuff-taking, people generally ground their own snuff by rubbing roll tobacco across a small grater, usually fixed inside the snuff-box. We find in old-time writings[Pg 176] many allusions to making snuff from roll tobacco. In course of time snuff was flavoured with rich essences, and scented snuffs found favour with the ladies. The man of refinement prided himself on his taste for perfumed powder. We find it stated in Fairholt’s book on “Tobacco,” that in the reign of William III. the beaux carried canes with hollow heads, that they might the more conveniently inhale a few grains through the perforations, as they sauntered in the fashionable promenades. Women quickly followed the lead of men in snuffing, in spite of satire in the Spectator and other papers of the period. The list of famous snuff-takers of the olden time is a long one, and only a few can be noticed here. Queen Charlotte heads the roll. She was persistent in the practice, and her unfilial and rude sons called her “Old Snuff.” Captain Gronow, when a boy at Eton, saw the Queen in company with the King taking an airing on the Terrace at Windsor, and relates “that her royal nose was covered with snuff both within and without.” Mrs. Siddons, “the queen of tragedy,” largely indulged in the use of snuff, both on and off the stage, even while taking her more important characters. Mrs. Jordan, another “stage star,”[Pg 177] a representative of the comic muse, obtained animation from frequent use of snuff. Mrs. Unwin, the friend of Cowper, was extremely fond of it, and so was the poet, yet he was not a smoker. On snuff he wrote as follows:—

“The pungent, nose-refreshing weed,
Which whether pulverised it gain
A speedy passage to the brain,
Or whether touched with fire it rise
In circling eddies to the skies,
Does thought more quicken and refine
Than all the breath of all the Nine.”

Pope, in “The Rape of the Lock,” refers to ladies with their snuff-boxes always handy, and the fair Belinda found hers particularly useful in the battle she waged:—

“See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies
With more than usual lightning in her eyes;
And this bred lord, with manly strength endued,
She with one finger and a thumb subdued.
Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew
A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw;
The gnomes direct, to every atom just,
The pungent grains of titillating dust.
Sudden with startling tears each eye o’erflows,
And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.”

Napoleon’s legacy to the famous Lady Holland was a snuff-box, and Moore celebrated the gift[Pg 178] in a verse written while he was in Paris in 1821:—

“Gift of the Hero, on his dying day,
To her who pitying watch’d, for ever nigh;
Oh, could he see the proud, the happy ray,
This relic lights up in her generous eye,
Sighing, he’d feel how easy ’tis to pay
A friendship all his kingdoms could not buy.”

Amongst ladies we have to include the charming Clarinda, a friend of Robert Burns, on whom he wrote when obliged to leave her:—

“She, the fair sun of all her sex,
Has blest my glorious day,
And shall, a glimmering planet, fix
My worship to its ray.”

 [Pg 179]


[Pg 180] 

[Pg 181]She was much addicted to the use of snuff, more especially towards the closing years of her life, and to the last she was famous for her singular sprightliness in conversation. Dr. Deering wrote, about the end of the first half of the eighteenth century, a history of Nottingham, and in it he relates how ladies, enjoying their tea, between each dish regaled their nostrils with a pinch or two of snuff. The snuff-boxes carried by them were usually costly, and generally elegant in form. David Garrick gave his wife a gold snuff-box. George Barrington, the celebrated pickpocket and author, stole from Prince Orloff a snuff-box, set with brilliants, valued at £30,000. Barrington was transported to Botany Bay, and at the opening of Sydney Theatre, January 16, 1796, Young’s tragedy, The Revenge, was performed by convicts, and a prologue from Barrington’s pen contained this passage:—

“From distant climes, o’er widespread seas, we come,
Though not with much éclat, or beat of drum;
True patriots we, for, be it understood,
We left our country for our country’s good.
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urged our travels was our country’s weal;
And none will doubt but that our emigration
Has proved most useful to the British nation.”

In the olden time it was customary for the English Court to present to an Ambassador on his return home a gold snuff-box, and only in late years has this practice been discontinued. George IV. made a fraudulent display of snuff-taking; he carried an empty box, and pretended to draw from it pinches and apply them to his nose. The great Napoleon could not endure smoking, but filled his waistcoat pocket with snuff, and partook of prodigious quantities. Nelson enjoyed his snuff, and his snuff-box finds a place among his relics at Greenwich. Literary[Pg 182] men and dramatists figure in imposing numbers amongst snuff-takers. Dryden enjoyed snuff, and did not object to share the luxury with others. A favourite haunt of his was Will’s Coffee-house in Bow Street, Covent Garden, where he was met by the chief wits of the time. In the “London Spy,” by Ned Wright, it is related that a parcel of raw, second-rate beaux and wits were conceited if they had but the honour to dip a finger and thumb into Mr. Dryden’s snuff-box. Addison, Bolingbroke, Congreve, Swift, and Pope were snuff-takers. Dr. Samuel Johnson carried large supplies in his waistcoat pocket, and his friend Boswell thus praised it:—

“Oh snuff! our fashionable end and aim!
Strasburg, Rappee, Dutch, Scotch,
Whate’er thy name;
Powder celestial! quintescence divine!
New joys entrance my soul while thou art mine.”

Arkbuckle, another Scottish poet, author of many humorous and witty poems, wrote in 1719 as follows:—

“Blest be his shade, may laurels ever bloom,
And breathing sweets exhale around his tomb,
Whose penetrating nostril taught mankind
First how by snuff to rouse the sleeping mind.”

[Pg 183]The following lines are by Robert Leighton, a modern Scotch poet of recognised ability:—

The Snuffie Auld Man.
“By the cosie fireside, or the sun-ends o’ gavels,
The snuffie auld bodie is sure to be seen;
Tap, tappin’ his snuff-box, he snifters and sneevils,
And smachers the snuff frae his mou’ to his een.
Since tobacco cam’ in, and the snuffin’ began,
The hasna been seen sic a snuffie auld man.

His haurins are dozen’d, his een sair bedizen’d,
And red round the lids as the gills o’ a fish;
His face is a’ bladdit, his sark-breest a’ smaddit—
And snuffie a picture as ony could wish.
He maks a mere merter o’ a’ thing he does,
Wi’ snuff frae his fingers an’ draps frae his nose.

And wow but his nose is a troublesome member—
Day and nicht, there’s nae end to its snuffie desire;
It’s wide as the chimlie, it’s red as an ember,
And has to be fed like a dry-whinnie fire,
It’s a troublesome member, and gie’s him nae peace,
Even sleepin’ or eatin’ or sayin’ the grace.

The kirk is disturbed wi’ his hauchin and sneezin’,
The domime stoppit when leadin’ the psalm;
The minister, deav’d out o’ logic and reason,
Pours gall in the lugs that are gapin’ for balm.
The auld folks look surly, the young chaps jocose,
While the bodie himsel’ is bambazed wi’ his nose.

He scrimps the auld wife baith in garnal and caddy;
He snuffs what wad keep her in comfort and ease;
Rapee, Lundyfitt, Prince’s Mixture, and Taddy,
[Pg 184]She looks upon them as the warst o’ her faes.
And we’ll ne’er see an end o’ her Rooshian war
While the auld carle’s nose is upheld like a Czar.”

Charles and Mary Lamb both enjoyed snuff, and doubtless felt its use assisted them in their literary labours. Here is a picture drawn by Mary of the pair as they were penning their “Tales from Shakespeare,” sitting together at the same table. “Like a literary Darby and Joan,” she says, “I taking snuff, and he groaning all the while, and saying he can make nothing of it, till he has finished, when he finds he has made something of it.” Sterne was a snuff-taker, and when his wife was about to join him in Paris in 1762, he wrote a letter in which he said:—“You will find good tea upon the road from York to Dover; only bring a little to carry you from Calais to Paris. Give the custom-house officer what I told you. At Calais give more, if you have much Scotch snuff; but as tobacco is good here, you had best bring a Scotch mull and make it yourself; that is, order your valet to manufacture it, ’twill keep him out of mischief.” In another letter he says:—“You must be cautious about Scotch snuff; take half a pound in your pocket, and make Lyd do the same.” Sir Joshua[Pg 185] Reynolds is described as taking snuff profusely. It is related that he powdered his waistcoat, let it fall in heaps upon the carpet, and even upon his palette, and it thus became mixed with his pigments and transferred to his pictures. Gibbon was a confirmed snuff-taker. In one of his letters he relates how he took snuff. “I drew my snuff-box,” he said, “rapp’d it, took snuff twice, and continued my discourse, in my usual attitude of my body bent forwards, and my forefinger stretched out.”

Offering a pinch of snuff has always been regarded as a mark of civility, but there are some men who could not tolerate the practice. Frederick the Great, for example, disliked others to take snuff from his box. He was lying in the adjoining room to one where he had left his box, and his page helped himself to a pinch from it. He was detected, and Frederick said, “Put that box in your pocket; it is too small for both of us.” George II. liked to have his box for his own exclusive use, and when a gentleman at a masquerade helped himself to a pinch, the King in great anger threw away the box.



[Pg 186]

State Lotteries.


For more than two-and-a-half centuries state lotteries were popular in this country. They were imported into England from the continent; prior to being known here they were established in Italy, and most probably they came to us from that country.

An announcement of the first English lottery was made in 1566, and it stated that it would consist of forty-thousand lots or shares at ten shillings each. The prizes, many and valuable, included money, plate, and certain sorts of merchandise. The winner of the greatest and most excellent prize was entitled to receive “the value of five thousand poundes sterling, that is to say, three thousande poundes in ready money, seven hundred poundes in plate, gilte and white, and the reste in good tapisserie meete of hangings and other covertures, and certain sortes of good linen cloth.” Tapisserie and good linen cloth figure in several of the prizes, or to give the spelling of the announcement, prices. A large[Pg 187] number of small money prizes were offered, including ten thousand at fifteen shillings each, and nine thousand four hundred and eighteen at fourteen shillings each.

The object of the lottery was to raise money to repair the harbours and to carry out other useful works. Although the undertaking was for an excellent purpose, and the prizes tempting, the sale of the tickets was slow, and special inducements were made by Queen Elizabeth to persons taking shares. Persons who “adventured money in this lottery” might visit several of the more important towns in “the Realme of Englande, and Dublyn and Waterforde in the Realm of Irelande,” and there remain for seven days without any molestation or arrest of them for any manner of offence saving treason, murder, pyracie, or any other felonie, or for breach of her Majesties peace during the time of her coming abiding or returne. Doubtless these conditions would induce many to take shares. Public bodies as well as private persons invested money in lottery tickets. Not so much as a matter of choice as to comply with the urgent wishes of the queen and her advisers. The public had little taste for the lottery, but the leading people in the[Pg 188] land were almost compelled to take shares, and the same may be said of chief cities and towns. In the city records of Winchester for example, under the year 1566, it is stated:—“Taken out of the Coffer the sum of £10 towards the next drawen of the lottery.” On the 30th July, 1568, is another entry as follows:—“That £3 be taken out of the Coffers of the cytie and be put into the lottery, and so muche money as shall make up evyn lotts with those that are contrybuting of the cytie, so that it passed not 10s.”

The eventful day arrived after long waiting for commencing the drawing of the lottery. The place selected for the purpose was at the west door of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Operations were commenced in 1569, on January 11th, and continued day and night until May 6th.

Some years passed before another state lottery took place. It is believed that one noticed by Stow in his “Annales,” occurring in 1585, was the second. “A lotterie,” chronicles Stow, “for marvellous, rich, and beautiful armour was begunne to be drawne at London in S. Paules Churchyard, at the great West gate (a house of timber and board being there erected for that purpose) on S. Peter’s Day in the morning,[Pg 189] which lotteries continued in drawing day and night, for the space of two or three dayes.”

Our first two Stuart kings do not appear to have employed the lottery as a means of raising money. James I. granted a lotterie in favour of the colony of Virginia. The prizes consisted of pieces of plate. It was drawn in a house built for the purpose near the West end of St. Paul’s. The drawing commenced on the 29th June, and was completed by 20th July, 1612. It is said that a poor tailor won the first prize, viz. “foure thousand Crownes in fayre plate,” and that it was conveyed to his humble home in a stately style. The lottery gave general satisfaction, it was plainly and honestly conducted, and knights, esquires and leading citizens were present to check any attempt at cheating. During the reign of Charles I., in 1630, the earliest lottery for sums of money took place.

The Puritans do not seem to have had any decided aversion to obtaining money by means of the lottery. During the Commonwealth it was resorted to for getting rid of forfeited Irish estates.

At the restoration the real gaming spirit commenced and caused much misery and ruin.[Pg 190] The lottery sheet was set up in many public places, and the Crown received a large revenue from this source. The financial arrangement of a lottery was simple, the state offered a certain sum of money to be repaid by a larger. We learn from Chambers’s “Book of Days,” that “The government gave £10 in prizes for every share taken, on an average. A great many blanks, or of prizes under £10 left of course, a surplus for the creation of a few magnificent prizes wherewith to attract the unwary public.” It was customary for city firms known as lottery-office-keepers to contract for the lottery, and they always paid more than £10 per share, usually £16 was paid, which left the government a handsome profit. The contractors disposed of the tickets to the public for £20 to £22 each. The shares were frequently divided by the contractors into halves, quarters, eights, and sixteenths, and this was done at advanced prices. It was out of the clients for aliquot parts that the lottery-office-keepers reaped a heavy harvest. They were men who understood the art of advertising, and used pictures, poetry, and prose in a most effective manner. Our own collections of lottery puffs is curious and interesting. Some very good examples are reproduced in “A History of English Lotteries,” by John Ashton, and published by the Leadenhall Press, London, in 1893.

 [Pg 191]


[Pg 192] 

[Pg 193]It is related that one firm of lottery ticket contractors gave an old woman fifty pounds a year to join them as a nominal partner on account of her name being Goodluck.

We have stated that at the commencement of lotteries they were drawn near St. Paul’s, subsequently the City Guildhall was the place, and later Cooper’s Hall, Basinghall Street, was used for this purpose. Before the day appointed for the drawing of a lottery, public preparations had been made for it at Somerset House. Each lottery ticket had a counterpart and a counterfoil, and when the issue of the tickets was complete, an announcement was made, and a day fixed for the counterparts of the tickets to be sealed up in a box, and any ticket-holder might attend and see that his ticket was included with others in a box, and it was placed in a strong box and locked up with seven keys, then sealed with seven seals. Two other boxes, locked and sealed as the one with tickets, contained the prize tickets and blanks. These were removed with ceremony to the place of drawing. Four prancing horses[Pg 194] would draw, on their own sledges, the wheels of fortune, each of which were about six feet in diameter. By their side galloped a detachment of Horse Guards. Arrived at their destination, the great wheels were placed at each end of a long table, where the managers of the lottery took their seats. With care the tickets were emptied into the wheels, and finally they were set in motion. Near each wheel stood a boy, usually from the Blue-Coat School. Simultaneously the lads put into the wheels their hands, each drawing a paper out. These they hold up, and an officer, called the proclaimer, calls out in a loud voice the number, say sixty! another responds a prize or blank, as the case may be, and the drawing thus proceeds until it is finished, often a long and tedious piece of work. If even a blank is first drawn, the owner of the ticket received a prize of a thousand pounds, and a similar sum was won by the owner of the last ticket drawn. The boys were well rewarded for their trouble, and on the whole the lotteries appear to have been fairly conducted.

 [Pg 195]


[Pg 196] 

[Pg 197]We give a picture of a pageant-like machine, used in London to advertise the last state lottery. The artist by whom it was drawn wrote an entertaining letter respecting it. “As I was walking up Holborn on the 9th of October, 1826,” he says, “I saw a strange vehicle moving slowly on, and when I came up to it, found a machine, perhaps from twenty to thirty feet high, of an octagon shape, covered all over with lottery papers of various colours. It had a broad brass band round the bottom, and moved on a pivot; it had a very imposing effect. The driver and the horse seemed as dull as though they were attending a solemn funeral, whilst the different shopkeepers came to the doors and laughed; some of the people passing and repassing read the bills that were pasted on it, as if they had never read one before, others stationed themselves to look at it as long as it was in sight. It entered Monmouth Street, that den of filth and rags, where so great a number of young urchins gathered together in a few minutes as to be astonishing. There being an empty chair behind, one of them seated himself in it, and rode backwards; another said, ‘let’s have a stone through it,’ and a third cried ‘let’s sludge it.’ This was no sooner proposed than they threw stones, oyster shells, and dirt, and burst several of the sheets; this attack brought the driver from his seat, and he[Pg 198] was obliged to walk by the side of his machine up the foul street which his show canvassed, halting now and then to threaten the boys who still followed and threw. I made a sketch, and left the scene.”

Powerful protests were made in parliament against the immorality of the lottery. It took a long time to bring those in office to a sense of their duty. The immense profits they yielded were extremely useful for state purposes. Mr. Parnell hit hard the men in power, and it was he who suggested that the following epitaph be inscribed on the tomb of a Chancellor of the Exchequer:—

“Here lies the
once Chancellor of the Exchequer;
the parton of Bible Societies,
the builder of Churches,
a friend to the education of the poor,
an encourager of Savings’ Banks,
and a supporter of Lotteries.”

On Wednesday, 18th October, 1826, the last state lottery was drawn in England, and it will not be without interest to reproduce from a London newspaper a report of the closing proceedings. “Yesterday afternoon,” it is recorded,[Pg 199] “at about half past six o’clock, that old servant of the State, the Lottery, breathed its last, having for a long period of years, ever since the days of Queen Anne, contributed largely towards the public revenue of the country. This event took place at Cooper’s Hall, Basinghall Street; and, such was the anxiety on the part of the public to witness the last drawing of the lottery, that great numbers of persons were attracted to the spot, independently of those who had an interest in the proceedings. The gallery of the Cooper’s Hall was crowded to excess long before the period fixed for the drawing (five o’clock), and the utmost anxiety was felt by those who had shares in the lottery, for the arrival of the appointed hour. The annihilation of lotteries, it will be recollected was determined upon in the session of Parliament before last; and thus, a source of revenue bringing into the treasury the sums of £250,000 and £300,000 per annum, will be dried up.

This determination on the part of the legislature is hailed, by the greatest portion of the public, with joy, as it will put an end to a system which many believe to have fostered and encouraged the late speculations, the effects of[Pg 200] which have been and are still severely felt. A deficiency in the public revenue, to the extent of £250,000 annually, will occur, however, in the consequence of this annihilation of lotteries, and it must remain for those who have strenuously supported the putting a stop to lotteries, to provide for the deficiency.

Although that which ended yesterday was the last, if we are informed correctly, the lottery-office keepers have been left with a great number of tickets remaining on their hands—a pretty strong proof that the public, in general, have now no relish for these schemes.”

The drawing of the lottery commenced shortly after five o’clock, and ended at twenty minutes past six, so it did not take long to complete the last state lottery in England.

Those most interested in lotteries did not let them die without trying to prove their value to the public and the state. Bish, who conducted an extensive business in tickets, issued an address as follows:—

“At the present moment, when so many of the comforts of the poorer classes are more or less liable to taxation, it may surely be a question whether the abolition of lotteries, by which the[Pg 201] State was a gainer of nearly half a million per annum, be, or be not, a wise measure!

’Tis true that, as they were formerly conducted, the system was fraught with some evil. Insurances were allowed upon the fate of numbers through protracted drawings; and, as the insurances could be effected for very small sums, those who could ill afford loss, imbibed a spirit of gambling, which the legislature, very wisely, most effectually prevented, by adopting, in the year 1809, the present improved mode of deciding the whole lottery in one day.

As the present conducted, the lottery is a voluntary tax, contributed to only by those who can afford it, and collected without trouble or expense; one by which many branches of the revenue are considerably aided, and by means of which hundreds of persons find employment. The wisdom of those, who at this time resign the income produced by it, adds to the number of the unemployed, may, as I have observed in a former address, surely be questioned.

Mr. Pitt, whose ability on matters of financial arrangements few will question, and whose morality was proverbial, would not, I am bold to say, have yielded to the outcry against a tax, the[Pg 202] continuing of which would have enabled him to let the labourer drink his humble beverage at a reduced price, or the industrious artisan to pursue his occupation by a cheaper light. But we live in other times—in the age of improvement! To stake patrimonal estates at hazard or écarté, in the purlieus of St. James’s, is merely amusement, but to purchase a ticket in the lottery, by which a man may gain an estate at a trifling risk, is—immoral! Nay, within a few hours of the time I write, were not many of our nobility and senators, some of whom, I dare say, voted against lotteries, assembled, betting thousands upon a horse race?

In saying so much, it may be thought that I am somewhat presumptuous, or that I take a partial view of the case. It is, however, my honest opinion, abstracted from personal considerations, that the measure of abolishing lotteries is an unwise one, and, as such, I give it to that public, of which I have been, for many years, the highly favoured servant, and for whose patronage, though lotteries cease, my gratitude will ever continue.”

We will close our studies on this subject with a copy of an epitaph written in remembrance of these old-time institutions. It is as follows:—

[Pg 203]In Memory of
The State Lottery,
the last of a long line
whose origin in England commenced
in the year 1569,
which, after a series of tedious complaints,
on the
18th day of October, 1826.
During a period of 257 years, the family
flourished under the powerful protection
of the
British Parliament;
the Minister of the day continuing to
give them his support for the improvement
of the revenue.
As they increased, it was found that their
continuance corrupted the morals
and encouraged a spirit
of Speculation and Gambling among the lower
classes of the people;
thousands of whom fell victims to their
insinuating and tempting allurements.
Many philanthropic individuals
in the Senate,
at various times for a series of years,
pointed out their baneful influence
without effect,
His Majesty’s Ministers
still affording them their countenance
and protection.
The British Parliament
being, at length, convinced of their
[Pg 204]mischievous tendency,
His Majesty, GEORGE IV.,
on the 9th July, 1823,
pronounced sentence of condemnation
on the whole of the race;
from which time they were almost
Neglected by the British Public.
Very great efforts were made by the
Partizans and friends of the family to
the public feeling in favour of the last
of the race, in vain:
It continued to linger out the few
moments of its existence without attention
or sympathy, and finally terminated
its career, unregretted by any
virtuous mind.



[Pg 205]



Few sports in England have been more popular than bear-baiting. Other forms of amusement waned before its attractions. The Sovereign, in the days of old, had as a member of his Court a Bearward, as well as a Chancellor. In and about London the sport was largely patronised, but it was by no means confined to the Metropolis; in all parts of the country bear-baitings were held. Fitzstephen, a monk of Canterbury, who lived in the reign of Henry II., in his description of London, relates that in the forenoon of every holy day during the winter season, the youthful Londoners were amused with the baiting of bears and other animals. He says the bears were full grown.

Edward III., in his proclamation, includes bear-baiting amongst “dishonest, trivial, and useless games.” The proclamation does not appear to have had any lasting effect on the public as regards bear-baiting. The diversion increased in popularity.

[Pg 206]Southwark was a popular place for baiting animals, and Sunday the usual day for the amusement. Stow has several notes bearing on this theme. In respect to charges to witness the sport, he tells us “those who go to the Paris Garden, the Belle Sauvage, the Theatre, to behold bear-baiting, interludes, or fence-play, must not account (i.e., reckon on) any pleasant spectacle unless they first pay one penny at the gate, another at the entrie of the scaffold, and a third for quiet standing.” We learn from Stow that at Southwark were two bear-gardens, the old and the new; places wherein were kept bears, bulls, and other beasts to be baited; as also mastiffs in their several kennels were there nourished to bait them. These bears and other beasts were baited in plots of ground scaffolded round for the beholders to stand safe. Stow condemns the foulness of these rude sights, and says the money idly thrown away upon them might have been given to the poor.

In the reign of Henry VIII., Erasmus visited England, and he relates that many herds of bears were maintained at the Court for the purpose of being baited. We are further told by him that the rich nobles had their bearwards, and the[Pg 207] Royal establishment its Master of the King’s Bears.




Men were not wanting to raise their voices against this brutal sport even at the time kings favoured it. Towards the close of the reign of Henry VIII., Crowley wrote some lines, which we have modernised, as follows:—

“What folly is this to keep with danger
A great mastiff dog, and foul, ugly bear,
And to this intent to see these two fight
With terrible tearing, a full ugly sight.
And methinks these men are most fools of all
Whose store of money is but very small,
And yet every Sunday they will surely spend
A penny or two, the bear-ward’s living to mend.
[Pg 208]At Paris Garden, each Sunday, a man shall not fail
To find two or three hundred for the bear-ward’s vale;
One halfpenny a piece they use for to give
When some have not more in their purses, I believe.
Well, at the last day their conscience will declare
That the poor ought to have all that they may spare,
If you therefore go to witness a bear fight
Be sure that God His curse will upon you alight.”

We may recognise the zeal of the writer, but we cannot commend the merits of his poetry.

When Princess Elizabeth was confined at Hatfield House, she was visited by her sister, Queen Mary. On the morning after her arrival, after mass was over, a grand entertainment of bear-baiting took place, much to their enjoyment.

Elizabeth, as a princess, took a delight in this sport, and when she occupied the throne she gave it her support. When the theatre, in the palmy days of Shakespeare and Burbage, was attracting a larger share of public patronage than the bear garden, she waxed indignant, and in 1591 an order was issued from the Privy Council, forbidding “plays to be performed on Thursdays because bear-baiting and such pastimes had usually been practised.” The Lord Mayor followed the order with an injunction in which it was stated “that in divers places the players are not to recite their plays to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bear-baiting and suchlike pastimes, which are maintained for Her Majesty’s pleasure.”

 [Pg 209]


[Pg 210] 

[Pg 211]During the famous visit in 1575, of Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Leicester, at Kenilworth Castle, baiting thirteen bears by ban dogs (a small kind of mastiff), was one of the entertainments provided for the royal guest.

History furnishes several instances of the Queen having animals baited for the diversion of Ambassadors. On May 25, 1559, the French Ambassadors dined with the Queen, and after dinner bulls and bears were baited by English dogs. She and her guests stood looking at the pastime until six o’clock. Next day the visitors went by water to the Paris Garden, where similar sports were held. In 1586, the Danish Ambassadors were received at Greenwich by Her Majesty, and bull and bear baiting were part of the amusements provided. Towards the close of her reign, the Queen entertained another set of Ambassadors with a bear-bait at the Cockpit near St. James’s. Baiting animals appears to have been the chief form of amusement provided by the Queen for foreign visitors.

[Pg 212]Edmund Alleyn, founder of Dulwich College, was for a long time part owner of the bear gardens at Southwark. Mr. Edward Walford thinks that he was obliged to become a proprietor to make good his position as a player, and to carry out his theatrical designs. He had to purchase the patent office of “Beare ward,” or “Master of the King’s Beares.” Alleyn is reputed to have had a well stocked garden. On one occasion, when Queen Elizabeth wanted a grand display of bear-baiting, Sir John Dorrington, the chief master of Her Majesty’s “Games of Bulls and Bears,” applied and obtained animals from Alleyn.

The following advertisement written in a large hand was found amongst the Alleyn papers, and is supposed to be the original placard exhibited at the entrance of the bear-garden. It is believed to date back to the days of James I.:—

“Tomorrowe being Thursdaie shalbe seen at the Bear-gardin on the banckside a greate mach plaid by the gamsters of Essex, who hath chalenged all comers whatsoever to plaie v dogs at the single beare for v pounds, and also to wearie a bull dead at the stake; and for your better content shall have plasent sport with the horse and ape and whiping of the blind beare. Vivat Rex!”

The public had to be protected from the dogs[Pg 213] employed in this sport. From the “Archives of Winchester,” published 1856, a work compiled from the city records, we find it stated.—“By an Ordinance of the 4th of August, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Elizabeth, bull-dogs were prohibited roving throughout the city unmuzzled. Itm.—That noe person within this citie shall suffer or permit any of theire Mastife Doggs to goe unmusselled, uppon paine of everie defalte herein of 3s. 4d. to be levied by distresse, to the use of the Poore people of the citie.”

 [Pg 214]



[Pg 215]James I. was a lover of hunting and other sports, and gave his patronage to bear-baiting. We learn from Nichols’ “Progresses and Processions,” that the King commanded that a bear which had killed a child which had negligently been left in the bear-house of the Tower, be baited to death upon a stage. The order was carried out in presence of a large gathering of spectators.

In a letter written on July 12th, 1623, by Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, the following passage occurs:—“The Spanish Ambassador is much delighted in bear-baiting. He was last week at Paris Garden, where they showed him[Pg 216] all the pleasure they could both with bull, bear, and horse, besides jackanapes, and then turned a white bear into the Thames, where the dogs baited him swimming, which was the best sport of all.”

Mr. William Kelly, in his work entitled “Notices Illustrative of the Drama and other Popular Amusements, Chiefly in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” has some very curious information relating to bear-baiting. The Leicester town accounts contain entries of many payments given to the bear-wards of Edward VI., Queen Elizabeth, and members of the nobility. Leicester had its bear-garden, but we learn from Mr. Kelly that the local authorities were not content to see the sport there, “as it was introduced at the Mayor’s feast, at the Town Hall, which was attended by many of the nobility and gentry of the neighbourhood.” We may suppose that, taking the place usually occupied by the “interlude,” the bear was baited in the Hall in the interval between the feast and the “banquet” or dessert, and the company, like the Spanish Ambassador, no doubt witnessed the exhibition “with great delight.” Much might be said relating to Leicester, but we must be[Pg 217] content with drawing upon Mr. Kelly for one more item. “In the summer of 1589 (probably at the invitation of the Mayor), the High Sheriff, Mr. Skeffington, and ‘divers other gentlemen with him,’ were present at ‘a great beare-beating’ in the town, and were entertained, at the public expense, with wine and sugar, and a present of ‘ten shillings in gold’ was also made.”

A couplet concerning Congleton Church Bible being sold to purchase a bear to bait at the annual feast, has made the town known in all parts of the country. The popular rhyme says:—

“Congleton rare, Congleton rare,
Sold the Bible to pay for a bear.”

The scandal has been related in prose and poetry by many pens. Natives of the ancient borough are known as “Congleton Bears”—by no means a pleasant epithet. The inhabitants make the best of the story, and tell how just before the wakes their only bear died, and it was feared that they would be unable to obtain another to enjoy their popular sport. The bear-ward was most diligent in collecting money to buy another animal, but after all his exertions he failed to obtain the required amount. He at[Pg 218] last made application to the local authorities, and as they had a small sum in the “towne’s boxe” put aside for the purchase of a Bible for the chapel, it was lent, and it is presumed that the sum of 16s. was duly returned, and the scriptures were obtained.

Egerton Leigh, in his “Cheshire Ballads,” has an amusing poem bearing on this subject, and he concludes it as follows:—

“The townsmen, ’tis true, would explain it away,
In those days when Bibles were so dear they say,
That they th’ old Bible swopped at the wakes for a bear,
Having first bought a new book.
Thus shrink they the sneer,
And taunts ’gainst their town thus endeavour to clear.”

The town accounts show how popular must have been the sport at Congleton. The following are a few items:—

1589. Imprimis to Mr. Trafforde, his man, the bearewarde   0 4 4
  That was given Sir John Hollecrofts bearewarde   0 2 0
1591. Payd yt was given Shelmerdyne ye bearewarde at wakes   0 2 0
1597. Payd that was given to Mr. Haughton, of Haughton, towards his man that had beares here   0 5 0
1610. Kelsall bearward   0 5 0
 [Pg 219] To the players and bearewarde at the wakes   0 15 0
1611. Bullward and bearward at wakes   0 15 0
1612. William Hardern to fetch Shelmadene again with his bears at Whitsuntide   0 1 3
  He refused to come, and Bramt, the bearward, came and was paid   0 6 8
  Fetching the bears at the wakes   0 3 6
  Fetching two more bears 1s., bearward 15s.   0 16 0
1613. Item payd to Willm. Statborne for fetching the bearewarde (from Knutsford) at the wakes   0 1 0
1621. Given Raufe Shelmerdyne for sport made by him with his beares at Congleton Wakes   0 10 0
  Item paide to Brocke, the bearewarde, at Whitsuntide   0 5 8

Such are a few examples of the many entries which appear in the Congleton town accounts relating to bear-baiting.

Congleton is not the only place reproached for selling the church Bible for enabling the inhabitants to enjoy the pastime of bear-baiting. Two miles distant from Rugby is the village of Clifton, and, says a couplet,

“Clifton-upon-Dunsmore, in Warwickshire,
Sold the church Bible to buy a bear.”

Another version of the old rhyme is as follows:—

[Pg 220] “The People of Clifton-super-Dunsmore
Sold ye Church Byble to buy a bayre.”

There is a tradition that in the days of old the Bible was removed from the Parish Church of Ecclesfield and pawned by the churchwardens to provide the means of a bear-baiting. Some accounts state this occurred at Bradfield, and not at Ecclesfield. The “bull-and-bear stake” at the latter Yorkshire village was near the churchyard.

Under the Commonwealth this pastime was not permitted, but when the Stuarts were once more on the throne bear-baiting and other sports became popular.

Hockley-in-the-Hole, near Clerkenwell, in the days of Addison, was a favourite place for the amusement. There is a reference to the subject in the Spectator of August 11th, 1731, wherein it is suggested that those who go to the theatres for a laugh should “seek their diversion at the bear garden, where reason and good manners have no right to disturb them.”

Gay, in his “Trivia,” devotes some lines to this subject. He says:—

“Experienced men inured to city ways
Need not the calendar to count their days,
When through the town, with slow and solemn air,
[Pg 221]Led by the nostril walks the muzzled bear;
Behind him moves, majestically dull,
The pride of Hockley Hole, the surly bull,
Learn hence the periods of the week to name—
Mondays and Thursdays are the days of game.”

Towards the close of the last century the pastime, once the pleasure of king’s and queens and the highest nobles in the land, was mainly upheld by the working classes. A bill, in 1802, was introduced into the House of Commons to abolish baiting animals. The measure received the support of Courtenay, Sheridan, and Wilberforce, men of power in Parliament, but Mr. Windham, who led the opposition, won the day. He pronounced it “as the first result of a conspiracy of the Jacobins and Methodists to render the people grave and serious, preparatory to obtaining their assistance in the furtherance of other anti-national schemes.” The bill was lost by thirteen votes. In 1835, baiting animals was finally stopped by Act of Parliament.



[Pg 222]



Says Dr. Johnson: “the Morris-Dance, in which bells are jingled, or staves or swords clashed, was learned by the Moors, and was probably a kind of Pyrrhic, or military dance. “Morisco,” says Blount (Span.), a Moor; also a dance, so called, wherein there were usually five men, and a boy dressed in a girl’s habit, whom they called the Maid Marrion, or perhaps Morian, from the Italian Morione, a head-piece, because her head was wont to be gaily trimmed up. Common people called it a Morris-Dance.” Such are the statements made at the commencement of a chapter on this subject in “Brand’s Popular Antiquities.”

It is generally agreed that the Morris-Dance was introduced into this country in the sixteenth century. In the earlier English allusions it is called Morisco, a Moor, and this indicates its origin from Spain. It was popular in France before it was appreciated amongst our countrymen; some antiquaries assert that it came to England from our Gallic neighbours, or even from the[Pg 223] Flemings, while others state that when John of Gaunt returned from Spain he was the means of making it known here, but we think there is little truth in the statement.

Our countrymen soon united the Morris-Dance with the favourite pageant dance of Robin-hood. We discover many traces of the two dances in sacred as well as profane places. In old churchwarden’s accounts we sometimes find items bearing on this theme. The following entries are drawn from the “Churchwardens’ and Chamberlains’ Books of Kingston-upon-Thames:”—

“1508. For paynting of the Mores garments for sarten gret leveres   0 2 4
" For plyts and ¼ of laun for the Mores garments   0 2 11
" For Orseden for the same   0 0 10
" For bellys for the daunsars   0 0 12
1509-10. For silver paper for the Mores-dawnsars   0 0 7
1519-20. Shoes for the Mores-daunsars, the frere, and Mayde Maryan, at 7d. a peyre   0 5 4
1521-22. Eight yerds of fustyan for the Mores-daunsars’ coats   0 16 0
" A dosyn of gold skynnes for the Morres   0 0 10
1536-37. Five hats and 4 porses for the daunsars   0 0 4½.”

[Pg 224]It is stated that in 1536-37, amongst other clothes belonging to the play of Robin Hood, left in the keeping of the churchwardens, were “a fryer’s coat of russet, with a kyrtle of worsted welted with red cloth, a mowren’s cote of buckram, and 4 Morres daunsars cote of white fustain spangelyed, and two gryne saten cotes, and a dysardd’s cote of cotton, and 6 payre of garters with bells.”

Some curious payments appear in the churchwardens’ accounts of St. Mary’s parish, Reading, and are quoted by Coates, the historian of the town. Under the year 1557, items as follow appear:—

“Item, payed to the Morrys-Daunsars and the Mynstrelles, mete and drink at Whitsontide   0 3 4
Payed to them the Sonday after May Day   0 0 20
Pd. to the Painter for painting of their cotes   0 2 8
Pd. to the Painter for 2 doz. of Lyvereys   0 0 20.”

The following is a curious note drawn from the original accounts of St. Giles’, Cripplegate, London:—

“1571. Item, paide in charges by the appointment of the parisshoners, for the settinge forth of a gyaunt morris-dainsers, with vj calyvers and iij boies on horseback, to go in the watche befoore the Lade Maiore uppon Midsomer even, as may appeare by particulars for the furnishinge of same, vj. li. ixs. ixd.”

 [Pg 225]


[Pg 226] 

[Pg 227]We learn from the churchwardens’ accounts of Great Marlow that dresses for the Morris-dance were lent out to the neighbouring parishes down to 1629. Some interesting pictures illustrating the usages of bygone ages include the Morris-dance, and gives us a good idea of the costumes of those taking part in it. A painted window at Betley, Staffordshire, has frequently formed the subject of an illustration, and we give one of it.

Here is shown in a spirited style a set of Morris-dancers. It is described in Steven’s “Shakespeare” (Henry IV., Part I.) There are eleven pictures and a Maypole. The characters are as follow:—1, Robin Hood; 2, Maid Marion; 3, Friar Tuck; 4, 6, 7, 10, and 11, Morris-dancers; 5, the hobby-horse; 8, the Maypole; 9, the piper; and 12, the fool. Figures 10 and 11 have long streamers to the sleeves, and all the dancers have bells, either at the ankles, wrists, or knees. Tollett, the owner of the window, believed it dated back to the time of Henry VIII., c. 1535. Douce thinks it belongs to the reign of Edward IV., and other authorities share his opinion. It is thought that the figures of the English friar, Maypole, and hobby-horse have been added at a later period.

[Pg 228]Towards the close of the reign of James I., Vickenboom painted a picture, Richmond Palace, and in it a company of Morris-dancers form an attractive feature. The original painting includes seven figures, consisting of a fool, hobby-horse, piper, Maid Marion, and three dancers. We give an illustration of the first four characters and one of the dancers, from a drawing by Douce, produced from a tracing made by Grose. The bells on the dancer and the fool are clearly shown.

We also present a picture of a Whitsun Morris-dance. In the olden time, at Whitsuntide, this diversion was extremely popular.

Many allusions to the Morris-dancers occur in the writings of Elizabethan authors. Shakespeare, for example, in Henry V., refers to it thus:—

“And let us doit with no show of fear;
No! with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun Morris-dance.”

In All’s Well that Ends Well, he speaks of the fitness of a “Morris-dance for May-day.” We might cull many quotations from the poets, but we will only make one more and it is from Herrick’s “Hesperides,” describing the blessings of the country:—

“Thy Wakes, thy Quintals, here thou hast
Thy maypoles, too, with garlands grac’d
Thy Morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale;
Thy shearing flat, which never fail.”

In later times the Morris-dance was frequently introduced on the stage.

 [Pg 229]

MORRIS DANCERS, TEMP. JAMES I. (From a Painting by Vickenboom.)

[Pg 230] 

[Pg 231]As might be expected, the Puritans strongly condemned this form of pleasure. Richard Baxter, in his “Divine Appointment of the Lord’s Day,” gives us a vivid picture of Sunday in a pleasure-loving time. “I have lived in my youth,” says Baxter, “in many places where sometimes shows of uncouth spectacles have been their sports at certain seasons of the year, and sometimes morrice-dancings, and sometimes stage plays and sometimes wakes and revels.... And when the people by the book [of Sports] were allowed to play and dance out of public service-time, they could hardly break off their sports that many a time the reader was fain to stay till the piper and players would give over; and sometimes the morrice-dancers would come into the church in all their linen, and scarfs, and antic dresses, with morrice-bells jingling at their legs. And as soon as common prayer was read did haste out presently to their play again.” Stubbes, in his “Anatomie of Abuses” (1585), writes in a similar strain.

 [Pg 232]



[Pg 233]The pleasure-loving Stuarts encouraged Sunday sports, and James I., in his Declaration of May 24th 1618, directed that the people should not be debarred from having May-games, Whitsun-ales, and Morris-dances, and the setting up of May poles.

During the Commonwealth, dancing round the Maypole and many other popular amusements were stopped, but no sooner had Charles II. come to the throne of the country than the old sports were revived. For a fuller account of this subject the reader would do well to consult Brand’s “Popular Antiquities,” and the late Alfred Burton’s book on “Rush-Bearing,” from both works we have derived information for this chapter.



[Pg 234]

The Folk-Lore of Midsummer Eve.


The old superstitions and customs of Midsummer Eve form a curious chapter in English folk-lore. Formerly this was a period when the imagination ran riot. On Midsummer Day the Church holds its festival in commemoration of the birth of St. John the Baptist, and some of the old customs relate to this saint.

On the eve of Midsummer Day it was a common practice to light bonfires. This custom, which is a remnant of the old Pagan fire-worship, prevailed in various parts of the country, but perhaps lingered the longest in Cornwall. We gather from Borlase’s “Antiquities of Cornwall,” published in 1754, that at the Midsummer bonfires, the Cornish people attended with lighted torches, tarred and pitched at the end, and made their perambulations round the fires, afterwards going from village to village carrying their torches before them. He regarded the usage as a survival of Druidical superstitions. In the same county it was a practice on St. Stephen’s[Pg 235] Down, near Launceston, to erect a tall pole with a bush fixed at the top of it, and round the pole to heap fuel. After the fire was lit, parties of wrestlers contested for prizes specially provided for the festival. According to an old tradition, an evil spirit once appeared in the form of a black dog, and since that time the wrestlers have never been able to meet on Midsummer Eve without being seriously injured in the sport.

About Penzance, not only did the fisher-folk and their friends dance about the blazing fire, but sang songs composed for the joyous time. We give a couple of verses from one of these songs:—

“As I walked out to yonder green
One evening so fair,
All where the fair maids may be seen,
Playing at the bonfire.

Where larks and linnets sing so sweet,
To cheer each lively swain,
Let each prove true unto her lover,
And so farewell the plain.”

Mr. William Bottrell, one of the most painstaking writers on Cornish folk-lore, in an article written in 1873, asserts that not a few old people living in remote and primitive districts, “believe that dancing in a ring over the embers, around a bonfire, or leaping (singly) through its flames, is[Pg 236] calculated to insure good luck to the performers, and serve as a protection from witchcraft and other malign influences during the ensuing year.” Mr. Bottrell laments the decay of these pleasing old Midsummer observances. He tells us that within “the memory of many who would not like to be called old, or even aged, on a Midsummer’s eve, long before sunset, groups of girls—both gentle and simple—of from ten to twenty years of age, neatly dressed and decked with garlands, wreaths, or chaplets of flowers, would be seen dancing in the streets.”

Some of the ancient Midsummer rites are still observed in Ireland. We have from an eyewitness some interesting items on the subject. People assemble and dance round fires, the children jump through the flames, and in former times coals were carried into corn fields to prevent blight. The peasants are not, of course, aware that the ceremony is a remnant of the worship of Baal. It is the opinion of not a few that the famous round towers of Ireland were intended for signal fires in connection with this worship.

In the pleasant pages of T. Crofton Croker’s “Researches in the South of Ireland,” are[Pg 237] particulars of a custom, observed on the eve of St. John’s Day, of dressing up a broomstick as a figure, and carrying it about in the twilight from one cabin to the other, and suddenly pushing it in at the door, a proceeding which causes both surprise and merriment. The figure is known as Bredogue.

The superstitious inhabitants of the Isle of Man formerly, on Midsummer Eve, lighted fires to the windward side of fields, so that the smoke might pass over the corn. The cattle were folded, and around the animals was carried blazing grass or furze, as a preventative against the influence of witches. Many other strange practices and beliefs prevailed.

In Wales, in the earlier years of the present century, it was customary to fix sprigs of the plant called St. John’s wort over the doors of the cottages, and sometimes over the windows, in order to purify the houses and drive away all fiends and evil spirits. It was the common custom in England in the olden time for people to repair to the woods, break branches from the trees, and carry them to their homes with much delight, and place them over their doors. The ceremony, it is said, was to make good the[Pg 238] Scripture prophecy respecting the Baptist, that many should rejoice at his birth.

Midsummer Eve has ever been famous as a time suitable for love divinations, and surely a few notes on love-lore cannot fail to find favour with our fair readers. In a popular story issued at the commencement of this century, from the polished pen of Hannah More, the heroine of the tale says that she would never go to bed on this night without first sticking up in her room the common plant called “Orpine,” or, more generally, “Midsummer Men,” as the bending of the leaves to the right or the left indicate to her if her lover was true or false. The following charming lines refer to the ceremony, and are translated from the German poet, and given in Chambers’s “Book of Days,” so we may infer that the same superstition prevails in that country:—

“The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the plant of power:
‘Thou silver glow-worm, oh, lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John’s wort to-night—
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride.’
And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John.
[Pg 239]
“And soon as the young maid her love-knot tied,
With noiseless tread,
To her chamber she sped,
Where the sceptral moon her white beams shed:
‘Bloom here, bloom here, thou plant of power,
To deck the young bride in her bridal hour!’
But it droop’d its head, that plant of power,
And died the mute death of the voiceless flower;
And a wither’d wreath on the ground it lay,
More meet for a burial than a bridal day.
And when a year was passed away,
All pale on her bier the young maid lay;
And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John,
And they closed the cold grave o’er the maid’s cold clay.”

We gather from Thorpe’s “Northern Mythology,” that in Sweden it was the practice to place under the head of a youth or maiden nine kinds of flowers, with a full belief that they would dream of their sweethearts.

In England, in past times, the moss-rose was plucked with considerable ceremony on this eve for love divinations. Says the writer of a poem entitled “The Cottage Girl”:—

“The moss-rose that, at fall of dew,
Ere eve its duskier curtain drew,
Was freshly gathered from its stem,
[Pg 240]She values as the ruby gem;
And, guarded from the piercing air,
With all an anxious lover’s care,
She bids it, for her shepherd’s sake,
Await the New Year’s frolic wake:
When faded in its altered hue,
She reads—the rustic is untrue!
But if its leaves the crimson paint,
Her sick’ning hopes no longer faint;
The rose upon her bosom worn,
She meets him at the peep of morn,
And lo! her lips with kisses prest,
He plucks it from her panting breast.”

“On the continent,” says Dyer, in his “Folk-Lore of Plants,” “the rose is still thought to possess mystic virtues in love matters, as in Thuringia, where the girls foretell their future by means of rose leaves.” It appears from a contributor to Chambers’s “Book of Days,” that there was brought some time ago under the notice of the Society of Antiquarians a curious little ring, which had been found in a ploughed field near Cawood, Yorkshire. It was inferred from its style and inscription to belong to the fifteenth century. The device consisted of two orpine plants joined by a true-love knot, with this motto above: Ma fiancée velt, i.e., “My sweetheart is willing or desirous.” We are told that the stalks of the plants were bent to each[Pg 241] other, in token that the parties represented by them were to come together in marriage. The motto under the ring was Joye l’amour feu. It is supposed that it was originally made for some lover to give to his mistress on Midsummer Eve, as the orpine plant is connected with that time. The dumb cake is another item of Midsummer folk-lore:—

“Two make it,
Two bake it,
Two break it;”

a third put it under their pillows, and this was all done without a word being spoken. If this was faithfully carried out it was believed that the diviners would dream of the men they loved.

Sowing hempseed on this eve was once a general custom. We have noted particulars of the ceremony as carried out at Ashbourne, Derbyshire. At this village, when a young maiden wished to discover who would be her future husband, she repaired to the churchyard, and as the clock struck the witching hour of midnight, she commenced running round the church, continually repeating the following lines:—

“I sow hempseed, hempseed I sow;
He that loves me best
Come after me and mow.”

[Pg 242]After going round the church a dozen times without stopping, her lover was said to appear and follow her. The closing scene of this spell is well described in a poem by W. T. Moncrieff:—

“Ah! a step. Some one follows. Oh, dare I look back?
Should the omen be adverse, how would my heart writhe.
Love, brace up my sinews! Who treads on my track?
’Tis he, ’tis the loved one; he comes with the scythe,
He mows what I’ve sown; bound, my heart, and be blithe.
On Midsummer Eve the glad omen is won,
Then hail to thy mystical virgil, St. John.”

From the charms of love let us briefly turn to a superstition relating to death. At one time it was believed, and in some country districts the superstition may yet linger, that anyone fasting during the evening, and then sitting at midnight in the church porch, would see the spirits of those destined to die that year come and knock at the church door. The ghosts were supposed to come in the same succession as the persons were doomed to pass away.

A pleasing old custom long survived in Craven, Yorkshire, and other parts of the North of England, of new settlers in the town or village, on the first Midsummer Eve after their arrival, to set out before their doors a plentiful repast of cold beef, bread, cheese, and ale. We are told[Pg 243] that neighbours who wished to cultivate their acquaintance sat down and partook of their hospitality, and thus “eat and drunk themselves into intimacy.” Hone’s “Every Day Book” has a note of this custom being observed at Ripon. “It was a popular superstition,” wrote Grose, “that if any unmarried woman fasted on Midsummer Eve, and at midnight laid a clean cloth with bread, cheese, and ale, and then sat down as if going to eat, the street door being left open, the person whom she was afterwards to marry would come into the room and drink to her, bowing; and after filling a glass would leave the table, and, making another bow, retire.”



[Pg 244]

Harvest Home.


Among the old-world customs connected with the times and seasons, that of celebrating the ingathering of the harvest with a rustic festival has survived many which have either passed away, and almost out of memory, or have come to have only a partial and precarious hold upon the minds of the present generation. The rush-cart maintains a feeble struggle for existence in a few northern localities, but each year shows diminished vigour; the May-day festival of the chimney-sweepers has become obsolete, and the dance round the May-pole an open-air ballet; and many old observances connected with the Christmas season which were formerly common to all England are now kept up only in these northern counties, where the flavour of antiquity seems to be much more highly appreciated than in the south. But the harvest home festival holds its ground with equal persistency in both portions of the kingdom, and has of late years been invested with additional glories, sometimes with a superabundance of them which[Pg 245] threatens a reaction. There were some features of the older celebrations of the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, however, which, from various causes, have fallen into disuse, and which many of us would gladly, if it were possible, see restored.

We could welcome, for instance, the songs into which the joyous feelings of the harvesters broke forth in the old times as the last load of grain was carried off the field, and when the lads and lasses, with the older rustics, had partaken of a good supper in the farmer’s kitchen, and afterwards danced to the music of the fiddle or pipes in the barn. There are many references to the feasting and singing and dancing customs of this season in the poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Tusser tells us that:—

“In harvest time, harvest folk, servants and all,
Should make all together, good cheer in the hall,
And fill the black bowl, so blithe to their song,
And let them be merry, all harvest time long.”

Peele, in his “Old Wives’ Tales,” makes his harvesters sing:—

“Lo, here we come a-reaping, a-reaping,
To reap our harvest fruit;
And thus we pass the year so long,
And never be we mute.”

[Pg 246]Stevenson, in his “Twelve Months,” says, “In August the furmety pot welcomes home the harvest cart, and the garland of flowers crowns the captain of the reapers. The battle of the field is now stoutly fought. The pipe and the tabor are now busily set a-work, and the lad and the lass will have no lead in their heels. Oh, ’tis a merry time, wherein honest neighbours make good cheer, and God is glorified in his blessings on the earth.” Tusser’s verse reminds us of another feature of these old celebrations of which little trace remains at the present day, that is, the temporary suspension of all social inequality between employer and employed. There would be less reason to regret this change, however, if, in place of the temporary obliviousness of class distinctions, we could see more genial intercourse all through the year.

The clergy seem to have been less in evidence at the harvest rejoicings of those days than at present. There was a tithe question even two centuries ago, for Dryden, in his King Arthur, makes his festive rustics sing:—

“We’ve cheated the parson, we’ll cheat him again,
For why should the blockhead have one in ten?
One in ten! one in ten!
For staying while dinner is cold and hot,
[Pg 247]And pudding and dumpling are burnt to the pot!
Burnt to pot! burnt to pot!
We’ll drink off our liquor while we can stand.
And hey for the honour of England!
Old England! Old England!”

There is some comfort for the loss of the singing and dancing customs of the old times in that the fact the heavy drinking of the period has also become a thing of the past, and perhaps also in the reflections arising from the misuse of music of which some curious illustrations have been preserved by Mr. Surtees. The historian mentions, in his “History of Durham,” having read a report of the trial of one Spearman, for having made a forcible entry into a field at Birtley, and mowed and carried away the crop, a piper playing on the top of the loaded waggon for the purpose of making the predatory harvesters work the faster, so as to get away before their roguish industry could be interrupted. It may be noted in passing that a similar use of music is shown in the following entry in the parish accounts of Gateshead, under the date of 1633:—“To workmen for making the streets even at the King’s coming, 18s. 4d.: and paid to the piper for playing to the menders of the highway, five several days, 3s. 4d.”

Many local variations exist in the customs[Pg 248] associated with the harvest home festivities observed in different parts of the country, especially in the north, where all old customs and observances, like the provincial dialects, have lingered longest, and still linger when they have died out and been forgotten in the south. In Cleveland, it is, or used to be, the custom, on forking the last sheaf on the wagon, for the harvesters to shout in chorus:—

“Weel bun and better shorn,
Is Master ——’s corn;
We hev her, we hev her,
As fast as a feather.
Hip, hip, hurrah!”

A similar custom exists in Northumberland, where it is called “shouting a kirn.” It consists in a simultaneous shout from the whole of the people present. In some localities the shout is preceded by a rhyme suitable to the occasion, recited by the clearest-voiced persons among those assembled. Mr. James Hardy gives the following as a specimen:—

“Blessed be the day our Saviour was born,
For Master ——’s corn’s all well shorn;
And we will have a good supper to-night,
And a drinking of ale, and a kirn! a kirn!”

All unite in a simultaneous shout at the close,[Pg 249] and he who does not participate in the ringing cheer is liable to have his ears pulled. In Glendale, an abbreviated version of the rhyme is used, with a variation, as follows:—

“The master’s corn is ripe and shorn,
We bless the day that he was born,
Shouting a kirn! a kirn!”

Are these customs observed at the present day? This is an age of change. We have used the present tense in the foregoing references, but it is in the past tense that we read in Chambers’s “Book of Days,” that, “In the North of England, the reapers were accustomed to leave a good handful of grain uncut; they laid it down flat, and covered it over; when the field was done, the bonniest lass was entrusted with the pleasing duty of cutting the final handful, which was presently dressed up with various sewings, tyings, and trimmings like a doll, and hailed as a Corn Baby or Kirn Dolly. It was carried home in triumph with music of fiddles and bagpipes, set up conspicuously at night during supper, and usually preserved in the farmer’s parlour for the remainder of the year. The fair maiden who cut this handful of grain was called the Har’st Queen.” A similar custom prevailed, with local[Pg 250] variations, in Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Devonshire, and other parts of England. In Lincolnshire, and some other counties, handbells were rung by those riding on the last load, and the following rhyme sung:—

“The boughs do shake and the bells do ring,
So merrily comes in our harvest in,
Our harvest in, our harvest in!

Writers on local customs formerly observed in different parts of the country, have preserved the memory of a curious one connected with the last handful of wheat. In some parts the reapers threw their sickles at the reserved handful, and he who succeeded in cutting it down shouted, “I have her!” “What have you?” the others cried out. “A mare!” he replied. “What will you do with her?” was then asked. “Send her to ——,” naming some neighbouring farmer whose harvest work was not completed. This rustic pleasantry was called “crying the mare.” The rejoicings attendant on the bringing in of the last load of corn are thus described in the “Book of Days”:—“The waggon containing it was called the hock cart; it was surmounted by a figure formed out of a sheaf, with gay dressings, [Pg 251]intended to represent the goddess Ceres. In front men played merry tunes on the pipe and tabor, and the reapers tripped around in a hand-in-hand ring, singing appropriate songs, or simply by shouts and cries giving vent to the excitement of the day. In some districts they sang or shouted as follows:—

“Harvest home, harvest home!
We ploughed, we have sowed,
We have reaped, we have moved,
We have brought home every load.
Hip, hip, hip, harvest home!”

In some parts the figure on the waggon, instead of an effigy, was the prettiest of the girl-reapers, decked with summer flowers, and hailed as the Harvest Queen. Bloomfield, in one of his Suffolk ballads, thus preserves the memory of this custom:—

“Home came the jovial Hockey load,
Last of the whole year’s crop;
And Grace among the green boughs rode,
Right plump upon the top.”

These and many other harvest-home customs undoubtedly had their origin in heathen times, in common with those associated with the New Year, the Epiphany, May Day, and many other festivals.

[Pg 252]Not the least important part of the harvest home observances was the supper which closed them, and which took place in the kitchen of the farmhouse or in the barn, the master and mistress presiding. The fare on these occasions was substantial and plentiful, and good home-brewed ale was poured out abundantly—we are afraid too much so. The harvest home supper of the sixteenth century, as graphically portrayed by Herrick, included:—

“Foundation of your feast, fat beef,
With upper stories, mutton, veal,
And bacon, which makes full the meal;
With several dishes standing by,
As here a custard, there a pie,
And here all-tempting frumentie.
And for to make the merry cheer,
If smirking wine be wanting here,
There’s that which drowns all care, stout beer.”

Instead of a formal vote of thanks to the givers of the feast, the prevailing feeling was expressed in a song, one version of which runs as follows:—

“Here’s health to our master,
The load of the feast;
God bless his endeavours,
And send him increase.
May prosper his crops, boys,
[Pg 253]And we reap next year;
Here’s our master’s good health, boys,
Come, drink off your beer!

Now harvest is ended,
And supper is past;
Here’s to our mistress’s health, boys,
Come, drink a full glass.
For she’s a good woman,
Provides us good cheer;
Here’s our mistress’s good health, boys.
Come, drink off your beer!”

Over the greater part of England a harvest-thanksgivings service has, at the present day, taken the place of the festive observances of former times. It would be useless to regret the passing away of the old customs, even if there was much more reason for such a feeling; for change is an inevitable condition of existence, and we can no more recall the old things which have passed away than we can replace last year’s snow on the wolds. Even the harvest-thanksgiving service, with its accompanying cereal and horticultural decorations of church and chapel, seems destined to a change. The decorations are too often overdone. We have seen in some churches piles of fruit and vegetables that would furnish a shop, in addition to sheaves of corn and stacks of quartern loaves. In some instances, a more deplorable display has been made in the shape of a[Pg 254] model of a farmyard, thus turning the place of worship into a show. Sometimes, too, the sermon has no reference to the harvest. Sometimes, again, the service is held before the harvest has been gathered in; or thanks are offered for an abundant harvest when it has notoriously been deficient. Perhaps the need of a collection at this particular time may account for these discrepancies. Such mistakes are easily avoided, however, and no fault can reasonably be found with these celebrations when religious zeal is kept within the bounds of discretion.



[Pg 255]

Curious Charities.


We obtain some interesting side-lights on the condition of the people in the past from old-time charities. Several of the prison charities founded in bygone times are extremely quaint and full of historic interest. One Frances Thornhill appears to have had a desire to make the prison beds comfortable. She left the sum of £30 for the Corporation of the city of York to provide straw for the beds of the prisoners confined in York Castle. The local authorities in these later years appear to have received the interest on the capital without carrying out the conditions of the charity.

Bequests of fuel suggest to the mind the time when persons not only suffered from imprisonment but also from cold. At Bury St. Edmund’s, £10 was left by Margaret Odiam for a minister to say mass to the inmates of the jail, and for providing faggots to warm the long ward in which the poor prisoners were lodged. In 1787, Elizabeth Dean, of Reading, left £156 17s.[Pg 256] 5d., the interest of which she directed to be spent in buying firewood for the county jail.

At Norwich, a worthy man named John Norris left Consols to the value of £300 for buying beef and books for the felons confined in the jail. The prison food is now regulated by law and the charity beef is banished, but we believe the interest is spent in supplying the prisoners with literature. Even as late as 1821, John Hall left Consols to the value of £127 16s. for providing a Christmas dinner of the good old English fare of roast beef and plum pudding for the criminals in the Northampton county prison. In 1556, Thomas Cattell left a rent charge of £35 a year for buying beef and oatmeal for the poor prisoners of Newgate and other London prisons.

A singular bequest was made in the year 1556, by Griffith Ameridith, of Exeter, and it amounted to £524 4s. 11d. in Consols, “for providing shrouds for prisoners executed at Kingswell, and for the maintenance of a wall round the burial ground.” “But,” says a writer on this theme, “probably for want of subjects for shrouds, the income is now, without any authority, applied to a distribution of serge petticoats to old women.” One advantage of the change is that the new[Pg 257] recipients can at least express their gratitude. In the olden time it was by no means an uncommon practice for criminals about to be executed to proceed to the gallows in shrouds. On July 30th, 1766, two men were hanged at Nottingham for robbery. “On the morning of their execution,” says a local record, “they were taken to St. Mary’s Church, where they heard ‘the condemned sermon,’ and then to their graves, in which they were permitted to lie down to see if they would fit. They walked to the place of execution in their shrouds.” At an execution in the same town in 1784, we read in a local newspaper report that the unfortunate men were attired in their shrouds. To add to the impressiveness of the condemned sermon, the coffins in which the condemned criminals were to be buried, were exhibited during the service.

Charities and collections in churches were formerly very common in this country for freeing British subjects from slavery in foreign lands. In 1655, Alicia, Duchess of Dudley, by a deed poll, directed £100 per annum to be drawn from the rents of certain lands situated in the parish of Bidford, Warwickshire, for redeeming poor English Christian slaves or captives from the[Pg 258] Turks. Thomas Betson, of Hoxton Square, London, by will dated 15th February, 1723, left a considerable fortune for the redemption of British slaves in Turkey and Barbary. He died in 1725, and five years later the property was estimated to be worth about £22,000, and the interest on half the amount was to be devoted to ransoming his countrymen from slavery. In the year 1734, it is stated that 135 men were freed by this charity. Between the years 1734 and 1826, the large sum of £21,088 8s. 2½d. was expended in the admirable cause of freeing the captive. Many of the old church books contain entries respecting collections for this object. In the books of Holy Cross, Westgate, Canterbury, is a long list of the names of persons in the parish in March, 1670, contributing £02 07s. 04d., for “Redeeming the Captives in Turkye.”

Sir John Gayer, was in his time a leading London merchant, an Alderman for the ward of Aldgate, and a popular Lord Mayor. He lived in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., and was a man of great enterprise, ready to encounter perils in foreign lands to forward his commercial projects. On one memorable occasion he was travelling with a caravan of merchants across the desert of Arabia,[Pg 259] and by some accidental means managed to separate himself from his friends, and at night-fall was alone. His position was one of great peril: he heard the roaring of wild animals, but failed to find any place of refuge. We gather from the story of his life that:—“He knelt down and prayed fervently, and devoutly promised, that if God would rescue him from his impending danger the whole produce of his merchandise should be given as an offering in benefactions to the poor, on his return to his native country. At this extremity a lion of an unusually large size was approaching him. Death appeared inevitable, but the prayer of the good man had ascended to heaven, and he was delivered. The lion came up close to him. After prowling round him, smelling him, bristling his shaggy hair, and eyeing him fiercely, he stopped short, turned round, and trotted quietly away, without doing the slightest injury. It is said that Sir John Gayer remained in the same suppliant posture till the morning dawned, when he pursued his journey, and happily came up with his friends, who had given up all hope of again seeing him.” The journey was concluded without further misadventure, a ready market found for the goods, and old England reached in safety[Pg 260] with increased wealth. Sir John did not forget his vow, and many were the deeds of charity he performed, more especially to the poor of his own parish of St. Katharine Cree. One of bequests amounting to £200 was left to the needy of that parish on condition that a “sermon should be occasionally preached in the church to commemorate his deliverance from the jaws of the lion.” The sermon is known as the “Lion Sermon.”

In the church of St. Katharine Cree within the altar rails is a carved head of Gayer. On the right hand side is a text, as follows:—“The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers—Ps. 34, v. 15;” on the left hand side this text appears:—“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much—James V., xvi.;” and under the figure this motto:—“Super Astra Spero.” There is a brass bearing the following inscription:—

In Memory of
Founder of the “Lion Sermon” who was descended from
the Old West Country Family of Gayer,
and was born at Plymouth,
and became Sheriff of this City of London in 1635,
and Lord Mayor of London in 1647.

[Pg 261]He was a member of the Levant or Turkey Company, and of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, London, and President of Christ’s Hospital, London, and a liberal donor to and pious founder of Charities.

This City has especial reason to be proud of him, for rather than withdraw his unflinching assertion of the Native Liberties of the Citizens, and his steadfast support of King Charles I., he submitted to imprisonment in the Tower at the hands of the Parliament in 1647 and 1648, and his “Salva Libertate” became historical.

He resided in this Parish, and “Dyed in peace in his owne house” on the 20th of July 1649, and he now lies buried in a Vault beneath this Church of St. Katharine Cree, Leadenhall St.

This Memorial Brass was subscribed for by Members of and Descendants from the Family of Gayer, and was placed here by them in testimony of their admiration for and appreciation of the noble character and many virtues of their illustrious ancestor.

The work of organising this Memorial was carried out by
Edmund Richard Gayer, M.A. of Lincoln’s Inn, Esq., Barrister at Law,

There are a number of ancient bequests for ringing bells and lighting beacons to guide travellers by night. These were very useful charities, for in the days of old, lands were generally unenclosed, and the roads poorly constructed. It was difficult for the wayfarer to find his way when the nights were dark. At the ancient village of Hessle, near Hull, a bell is still rung every night except Sunday, at 7 o’clock.[Pg 262] Long, long ago, so runs the local story, a lady was lost on a dark night near the place, and was in sore distress, fearing that she would have to wander about in the cold until daylight. Happily, the ringing of the Hessle bells enabled her to direct her course to the village in safety, although she had to wend her weary steps over a trackless country. In gratitude for her delivery she left a piece of land to the parish clerk, on condition that he rang every evening one of the church bells.

A similar story is related respecting a Barton-on-Humber bell ringing custom. Richard Palmer left in 1664 a bequest to the sexton of Workingham, Berkshire, for ringing a bell every evening at eight, and every morning at four o’clock. One reason for ringing this, was “that strangers and others who should happen, on winter nights, within hearing of the ringing of the said bell, to lose their way in the country, might be informed of the time of the night, and receive some guidance into the right way.”

John Wardall, in his will dated 29th August, 1656, provided for a payment of £4 per annum being made to the Churchwardens of St. Botolph’s, Billingsgate, London, “to provide a good and[Pg 263] sufficient iron and glass lanthorn, with a candle, for the direction of passengers to go with more security to and from the water-side, all night long, to be fixed at the north-east corner of the parish church, from the feast-day of St. Bartholomew to Lady-Day; out of which sum £1 was to be paid to the sexton for taking care of the lanthorn.” In 1662 a man named John Cooke made a similar bequest for providing a lamp at the corner of St. Michael’s Lane, next Thames Street.

In past ages churches were frequently unpaved and the floor usually covered with rushes. Not a few persons have left money and land for providing rushes for churches. In these latter days rushes are no longer strewn on the floor for keeping the feet warm in cold weather, but at a number of places old rights are maintained by the carrying out of the custom. At Clee, Lincolnshire, for example, the parish officials possess the right of cutting rushes from a certain piece of land for strewing the floor of the church every Trinity Sunday. The churchwardens preserve their rights by cutting a small quantity of grass annually and strewing it on the church floor. At Old Weston, Huntingdonshire, a similar custom[Pg 264] still lingers. “A piece of land,” says Edwards in his “Remarkable Charities,” “belongs, by custom, to the parish clerk for the time being, subject to the condition of the land being mown immediately before Weston feast, which occurs in July, and the cutting thereof strewed on the church floor, previous to divine service on the feast Sunday, and continuing there during divine service.” At Pavenham, Bedfordshire, the church is annually strewn with grass cut from a certain field, on the first Sunday after the 11th July. “Until recently,” says a well-informed correspondent, “the custom was for the churchwardens to claim the right of removing from the field in question as much grass as they could ‘cut and cart away from sunrise to sunset.’ A few years ago this arrangement was altered into a yearly payment on the part of the tenant of the field of one guinea.” The money is spent in purchasing grass for spreading on the church floor. The parishioners have always taken a deep interest in this old custom. On the benefaction table of Deptford Church is recorded that “a person unknown gave half-a-quarter of wheat, to be given in bread on Good Friday, and half a load of rushes at Whitsuntide, and a load of pea-straw at[Pg 265] Christmas yearly, for the use of the church.” In 1721, an offer of 21s. per annum was accepted in lieu of the straw and rushes, and in 1744, the sum of 10s. yearly in place of the half-quarter of wheat.

John Rudge, by his will dated 17th April, 1725, left a pound a year to a poor man to go round the parish church of Trysull, Staffordshire, during the delivery of the sermon, to keep people awake and drive out of the church any dogs which might come in. Richard Brooke left 5s. a year for a person to keep quiet during divine service the boys in the Wolverhampton church and churchyard.

At Stockton-in-the-Forest, Yorkshire, is a piece of land called “Petticoat Hole,” and it is held on the condition of providing a poor woman of the place every year with a new petticoat.

We will close this chapter with particulars of a novel mode of distributing a charity. At Bulkeley, Cheshire, a charity of 19s. 2d. was given to the poor as follows. The overseer obtained the amount in coppers, placed them in a peck measure, and invited each of the poor folks to help himself or herself to a handful.



[Pg 266]

An Old-Time Chronicler.


We have frequently referred to the writings of John Stow in this work, and we think a short account of his life and labours will prove interesting to our readers.

From the ranks of tailors have sprung many famous men. Not one more worthy, perhaps, than honest John Stow, the painstaking compiler of works which have found a lasting place in historic literature.

Stow was a Londoner of Londoners, born in 1525, in the parish of St. Michael, Cornhill. His father and grandfather were citizens, and appear to have been most worthy men. John Stow was trained under his father to the trade of a tailor. At an early age he took an interest in the study of history and antiquities, and, as years ran their course, his love of research increased. We have had handed down to us from the pen of Edmund Howes, his literary executor, a well-drawn word-portrait of Stow. We learn that he was tall in stature, and, as befits the ideal student,[Pg 267] lean in body and face. His eyes were small and clear, and his sight excellent. As might be expected, through long and active use, his memory was very good. He was sober, mild, and corteous, and ever ready to impart information to those that sought it.

He lived in an historically attractive age. It was a period when some of our greatest countrymen worked and talked amongst men. Gifted authors made the time glorious in our literary annals. Stow’s fame mainly rests on being an exact and picturesque describer of the London of Queen Elizabeth. His Survey is not a mere topographical account of the city, but a pleasantly penned picture, full of life and character, of the social condition, manners, customs, sports, and pastimes of the people.

John Stow was most minute as a writer, and his attention to slight circumstances has caused some critics to make merry over his productions. Fuller, for example, spoke of him “as such a smell-feast that he cannot pass by the Guildhall but his pen must taste the good cheer therein.” It is his consideration of minor matters that renders his book so valuable to the student of bygone times. We may quote, to illustrate this,[Pg 268] a few lines from his Survey of London. After a description of the Abbey of St. Clare, he writes: “Near adjoining to this Abbey, on the south side thereof, was sometime a farm belonging to the said nunnery, at which farm I myself, in my youth, have fetched many a halfpennyworth of milk, and never had less than three ale pints for a halfpenny in the summer, nor less than one ale quart for a halfpenny in the winter, always hot from the kine, as the same was milked and strained. One Trolop, afterwards Goodman, was farmer there, and had thirty or forty kine to the pail. Goodman’s son, being heir to his father’s purchase, let out the ground first for the grazing of horses, and then for garden plots, and lived like a gentleman thereby.”

In about his fortieth year, Stow gave up his business as a tailor and devoted his entire life to antiquarian pursuits. Fame he won, but not fortune. In place of being wealthy in his old age, he, as we shall presently see, suffered from poverty. His principal works include his Summary of English Chronicles, first issued in 1561. In 1580, his Annals; or, a General Chronicle of England was published. His most important work was given to the world in 1598, under the title of a Survey of London and Westminster. Besides writing the foregoing original books, he assisted on the continuation of Holinshed’s Chronicle and Speght’s edition of Chaucer, and he was employed on other undertakings.

 [Pg 269]


[Pg 270] 

[Pg 271]Many a long journey Stow made in search of information. He could not ride, and had to travel on foot. In the midst of great trials it is recorded that his good humour never forsook him. In his old age he was troubled with pains in his feet, and quietly remarked that his “afflictions lay in the parts he had formerly made so much use of.”

We might well suppose that Stow’s blameless life would render him free from suspicion, and that his grateful countrymen would regard with respect his great work in writing the history of England. Such was not the case. It was thought that his researches would injure the reformed religion, and on this miserable plea he was cast into prison, and his humble home was searched. We obtain from the report of the searchers an interesting account of the contents of Stow’s library. It consisted, we are told, of “great collections of his own, of his English chronicles, also a great sort of old books, some[Pg 272] fabulous, as Sir Gregory Triamour, and a great parcel of old manuscript chronicles in parchment and paper; besides miscellaneous tracts touching physic, surgery, herbs, and medical receipts, and also fantastical popish books printed in old time, and others written in old English on parchment.”

John Stow failed to make much money, but on the whole, he lived a peaceful life, enjoying the many pleasures that fall to the lot of the student. Happily for him, to use Howes’ words, “He was careless of the scoffers, backbiters, and detractors.”

It is Howes who also tells that Stow always protested never to have written anything either of malice, fear, or favour, nor to seek his own particular gain or vain-glory, and that his only pains and care was to write the truth.

At the age of four score years, his labours received State acknowledgment. It was indeed a poor acknowledgment, for, in answer to a petition, James I. granted him a licence to beg. Stow sought help, to use his own words, as “a recompense for his labour and travel of forty-five years, in setting forth the Chronicles of England, and eight years taken up in the Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, towards his relief in his old age, having left his former means of living,[Pg 273] and also employing himself for the service and good of his country.”

The humble request was granted, and the document says:—“Whereas our loving subject, John Stow (a very aged and worthy member of our city of London), this five-and-forty years hath, to his great charge, and with neglect of his ordinary means of maintenance (for the general good, as well of posterity as of the present age), compiled and published divers necessary books and chronicles; and therefore we, in recompense of these his painful labours, and for encouragement of the like, have, in our Royal inclination, been pleased to grant our Letters Patent, under our Great Seal of England, thereby authorising him, the said John Stow, to collect among our loving subjects their voluntary contributions and kind gratuities.”

The foregoing authority to beg was granted for twelve months, but, as the response was so small, it pleased the King to extend the privilege for another year. From one parish in the City of London he only received seven shillings and sixpence—a poor reward, to use Stow’s words, “of many a weary day’s travel, and cold winter night’s study.”

[Pg 274]His end now was drawing near, and mundane trials were almost over. On the 5th of April, 1605, his well-spent life closed, and his mortal remains were laid to rest in his parish church of St. Andrew, Undershaft. Here may still be seen the curious and interesting monument which his loving widow erected. It is pleasant to leave the busy streets of the great metropolis and repair to the quiet sanctuary where rests the old chronicler, and look upon his quaint monument, and reflect on ages long passed. When the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the London Stow had so truthfully described, his monument escaped destruction.



Ye Ende



[Pg 275]


Abingdon, customs at, 56

Advertisement, novel, 194-197

Age of Snuffing, 168-185

Alleyn, Edward, founder of Dulwich College, 212

Altrincham, Mayor of, 60-61

Ambassadors, at bear-baitings, 211, 215-216

America, Muffs in, 45-46;
Cold places of worship, 46-47

Anglo-Saxon bread, 134

An Old-Time Chronicler, 266-274

Arise, Mistress, Arise!, 142-143

Armstrong, Sir Thomas, 84-87

Arrows, 152

Ashbourne, custom at, 241

Baker’s dozen, 138

Baiting animals stopped by Act of Parliament, 221

Banbury, customs at, 58

Banks, Mrs. G. L., on hair-dressing, 38

Bankside, plan of, 213

Barber’s shop, 21

Barley bread, 135

Baxter, Richard, on Sunday pleasure, 231

Barbers fined, 32

Barrington, G., poet and pickpocket, 180-181

Barrister’s wig, 18, 19

Barrow bells, 157

Bear-baiting, 132-133, 205-221

Bells as Time-Tellers, 156-167

Bell ringing bequests, 261-262

Beverley, funeral at, 123;
bear-baiting at, 133

Bewdley, custom at, 142

Bish, Mr., on Lotteries, 200-202

Blue-Coat boys, draw at lotteries, 194

Boar’s-head with mustard, 131

Bonfires, 234, 235

Bow bells, 159

Boroughbridge, Battle of, 77

Brandeston, removing a dead body to the church for protection, 117

Bread and Baking in Bygone Days, 134-141

Bread Street, 135

Bribes for the Palate, 63-73

British slaves, freeing, 257-258

Briscoe, J. P., on Nottingham customs, 61-62

Bromley-by-Bow, bakers at, 135

Burial at Cross Roads, 105-114

Burying the mace, 53

Butter and suet, prohibiting the use of in making bread, 140

Byng, Admiral, shot, 45

Cade, Jack, 81

Caius, Dr., on dogs, 145

Cambridge, regulations relating to tobacco, 173

Candles for lighting the streets, 52

Canterbury, curious customs at, 52-53

Capture of snuff, 171

Carlisle, Earl of, beheaded, 78-79

Carlisle, heads spiked at, 92-95

Charles II. and wigs, 7

Charlotte, Queen, gives up using hair-powder, 36;
taking snuff, 176

Christmas rhymes, 142

Chronicler, an Old-Time, 266-274

Churches, snuff taking in, 172-175

Clarinda, Burns on, 178

Clee, custom at, 263

Clergy and the wig, 15-17

Clifton rhyme, 219-220

Clocks, introduction of, 160

Clothiers in eighteenth century, 165

Closing shops, time for, 160

Cobham, Eleanor, trial of, 80
[Pg 276]
Cockledge, murder at, 123

Combing the wig, 10

Concerning Corporation Customs, 48-62

Congleton, bear-baiting at, 217-218

Conspiracy to assassinate William III., 87

Cooper’s Hall, Lotteries at, 193

Cornish Insurrection, 81;
folk-lore, 234-236

Corporation snuff-boxes, 168-169

Craven cartoon, 242

Crop Clubs, 34

Curious Charities, 255-265

Curious window at Betley, 225-227

Curfew bell, 166-167

Dagger Money, 57

Death, Superstitions relating to, 242

Death of William I., 167

Deering on snuff-taking, 178

Detaining the Dead for Debt, 115-121

Derby, suicide, burial of a, 106

Discarding wigs in court, 19

Doctors’ muffs, 42

Dogs, earliest writer on, 145;
in muffs, 44

Droylsden, suicide, burial of, 108-109

Druidical superstitions, 234

Dryden, Haunt of, 182

Ducking Stool, 138

Duels, 106

Earle, Mrs. A. M., on American Muffs, 46

Early closing of public-houses, 167

Eating custom, 242-243

Ecclesfield, tradition at, 220

Edward III., proclamation of, against bear-baiting, 205

Egypt, goose in, 150

Egyptians, invent wigs, 1

Eldon, Lord, objects to the wig, 18

Elizabeth, enjoys baiting animals, 208

Epitaphs, 109, 116, 197, 203-204, 260-261

Erasmus in England, 206

Exeter, salmon given at, 70

False hair, 20, 22

Famous snuff takers, 176

Fathers of the Church denounce wigs, 3

Felo-de-se, Acts relating to, 112-114

Female follies, 30

Fined for arresting the dead, 118-119, 121

Fined for being deficient in elegance, 52

First English lottery, 186-188

Fish, presentation of, 70

Fisher, Bishop, beheaded, 81-82

Fishtoft, burial of a suicide at, 107

Fitstephen on bear-baiting, 205

Fletcher, Captain, 88-89

Folk-Lore of Midsummer Eve, 234-243

France, Mania for Wigs in, 6-7

Funeral, stately, 123

Garrick, Mrs., 178

George II., a selfish snuff-taker, 185

Glayer, Sir John, 258-261

Globe Theatre, 209

Gold-dust used for hair-powder, 28

Gossip about the Goose, 150-155

Great Plague, tobacco and snuff used during, 169-171

Guinea-pigs, 35

Harvest bell, 156, 157-158

Harvest Home, 244-254

Hair, cut off with a bread-knife, 44

Hale, Sir Matthew, 63-64

Hamlet, Grave scene in, 105

Hampton Court Palace, clock at, 162-163

Hannibal and his wigs, 5-6

Hartlepool, strange enactment at, 62

Hawarden attacked, 74

Heart-breakers, 20

Hempseed, sowing, 241

Henzner, Paul, 84

Herrick on harvest customs, 252-253
[Pg 277]
Hilton, Jack of, 152

Hockley-in-the-Hole, 220

Holy bread, 134

Hope theatre, 207

Horse Guards, protect the lottery wheel, 193

Howard’s Household Book, 145

Hull, curious ordinances at, 51-53;
Sheriff to provide his wife with a scarlet gown, 52;
Andrew Marvell and Hull ale, 71-73;
head spiked at, 95;
ducking-stool at, 96;
Mayor slain, 98;
snuff-box at, 168-169

Incorporation of towns, 48

Inscription on bells, 159

Ireland, St. John’s eve in, 236-237

Irish folk-lore, 175

Jackson, John, and his clock, 162-166

Jacobites, defeat of, 102

James I. and tobacco, 173;
orders a bear to be baited to death, 215

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, and his snuff, 182

Judge’s wig, 18

Keeping people awake, 255

Kenilworth, bears baited at, 211

King eating meal and rye bread, 141

Kingston-upon-Thames, Morris Dancers at, 223

Knocking feet in meeting houses, 47

Lady, origin of, 134

Lamb, Charles and Mary, 184

Lanthorns, bequests for providing, 262-263

Last Lottery in England, 198-200

Layer, Councillor, 87-88

Leconfield castle, 123

Leeds bridge, market on, 165

Leicester, mace lowering at, 51;
bear-baiting at, 216-217

Leighton, Robert, poem by, 183-184

Letters from the dead to the living, 11

Licence to beg, 272-273

Lincolnshire geese, 153

Lion Sermon, 258-261

London Bakers’ Company, 135-136

London Bridge, 75-84

London, burials of suicides, 110-111

Love divinations, 238-240

Louth, ringing custom at, 158

Lowering the mace, 51

Ludlow, customs at, 59

Lycians, heads shaven and wigs worn, 5

Mace, as a weapon and as an ensign of authority, 49

Manchester, curious baking regulations, 140

Manorial service, curious, 144, 152

Margarett, Princess, 49, 123-124

Mar, Rising of, 87

Marvell, Andrew, and Hull ale, 71-73

Mary, Queen of Scots, 102

May-pole, 233

Meals in the olden time, 127-129

Medical men and the wig, 17-18

Men wearing Muffs, 40-47

Michaelmas goose, 154

Micklegate Bar, York, 98-99;
heads stolen from, 103

Milk, price of, in the olden time, 268

More, Sir Thomas, beheaded, 83

Morley, custom at, 143

Morris-Dancers, 222-233

Municipal Reform Act, 48

Murder, strange story of a, 137

Napoleon taking snuff, 181;
snuff-box, 177-178

Newcastle-on-Tyne, assize custom at, 56-58;
presents of wine and sugar loaves, 64-66;
brank at, 66, 67;
burial of a suicide, 111

Nobleman’s Household in Tudor Times, 122-133

North Wingfield, dead body stopped at, 115-116

Northumberland Household Book, 125-133
[Pg 278]
Norwich, burial of a suicide, 107

Nottingham, burying the mace at, 53-55;
ale and bread custom, 61-62;
town’s presents, 69;
Goose Fair, 154

Novel mode of distributing a charity, 265

Over, Mayor of, 60-61

O’Connell, D., and his wig, 22-23

Parading a head, 79

Parliament sitting at Shrewsbury, 75

Palm-Sunday, battle on, 101

Penzance, customs at, 235

Pepys and his wigs, 7-9;
muffs, 41;
on the Plague, 170

Percy family, 122-133

Peter the Great obtaining the loan of a wig, 23

Petticoat charity, 265

Pig-tail, 12, 14

Pillory, bakers in the, 137

Pipes and tobacco for judges, 58

Piper playing to workmen, 247-248

Pliny on the goose, 150

Poets’ Corner, Johnson and Goldsmith in, 91-92

Porpoise regarded as a delicacy, 69

Pope on Belinda, 177

Potatoes, preservation of, 70-71

Powdering the Hair, 28-39

Pontefract Castle, head spiked at, 77

Prison charities, 255-256

Punishing bakers, 138-140, 141

Puritans and lotteries, 189

Quill pens, 155

Ramillie Wig, 13

Reading, Morris Dancers at, 224

Rebel Heads on City Gates, 74-104

Revolt against Henry IV., 79

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 184-185

Riot, Wig, 25-27

Rollit, Sir Albert K., 168

Rome saved by the cackling of the goose, 151

Roper, Margaret, 83, 85

Rushes for church floors, 263-265

Rye, authority of Mayor, 62

Rye House Plot, 84-87

Saxons colouring their hair, 28

Scarlet gowns for the Mayoress, 52

Scotland, wigs in, 36-37;
muff in, 42;
body arrested in, 120;
snuff taking in, 171-173

Scott, Sir Walter, on wigs, 37

School-boys obliged to smoke, 170

Schoolmasters forbidden to smoke, 174

Scrope, Richard, beheaded, 96-97

Selkirk, Making a sutor of, 59

Selling the Church Bible to pay for a Bear, 217-220

Sheridan, curious report respecting, 120

Shrewsbury, Parliament sitting at, 75

Shrouds for prisoners, 256-257

Shouting a kirn, 248-250

Slaves, freeing christian, 257-258

Smoking forbidden in the streets, 173-174

Snuffing, earliest allusion to, 169

Southampton, Mayoress of, 50

South Shields, suicide, burial of, 109-110

Sowing hempseed, 241

Sparsholt, dead body detained at, 115

Speaker’s wig, 18

Spice bread, making prohibited, 140

St. Albans, clock at, 161

St. Paul’s Lotteries drawn at the doors of, 188

State Lotteries, 186-204

Stealing wigs, 24-25

Sterne, a snuff taker, 184

Stow, John, 266-274

Stratford-le-Bow, bakers at, 135

Sugar-loaves, presentation of, 62-69

Tamworth, curious bye-law at, 167

Taxing hair-powder, 31, 33;
repealing tax, 39

Taylor, John, on Hull ale, 72-73

Tea and snuff, 178

Temple Bar, 84-92

Test Act, 48
[Pg 279]
Thewes at Hull, 96

Towneley, Colonel, 88-92

Towton-field, battle of, 101

Turnspit, The, 144-149

Twyford, suicide, burial of, 113-114

Unwin, Mrs., fond of snuff, 177

Valuable snuff-boxes, 181

Vesper bell, 167

Wakefield, battle of, 97-98

Wales, subjugation of, 74

Wallace, Sir William, 75

Watches not usually carried, 165

Welsh rebels beheaded, 74

Wesley, Rev. John, and snuff-taking, 175

West Hallam, burial at four lane ends, 107

West Riding lore, 120-121

When Wigs were Worn, 1-27

Whittington, Dick, 159

Whitsun morris dance, 228

Wigs, 1-27;
Riots, 25-27

Wildridge, T. Tindall, on Hull, 95

Winchester, presents of sugar loaves at, 66-69;
curious regulations, 215

Women wearing wigs, 9, 22

Worcester, curious baking regulation, 140

Wressel Castle, 125

Wycombe, customs at, 55-56

York, Duke of, slain, 98;
head spiked, 98

York, Lord Mayor of, 49

York, walls and gates of, 96-104






Antiquities and Curiosities of the Church.

Edited by William Andrews, F.R.H.S.

Demy 8vo., 7s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations.

Contents:—Church History and Historians—Supernatural Interference in Church Building—Ecclesiastical Symbolism in Architecture—Acoustic Jars—Crypts—Heathen Customs at Christian Feasts—Fish and Fasting—Shrove-tide and Lenten Customs—Wearing Hats in Church—The Stool of Repentance—Cursing by Bell, Book, and Candle—Pulpits—Church Windows—Alms-Boxes and Alms-Dishes—Old Collecting Boxes—Gargoyles—Curious Vanes—People and Steeple Rhymes—Sun-Dials—Lack of the Clock-House—Games in Churchyards—Circular Churchyards—Church and Churchyard Charms and Cures—Yew Trees in Churchyards.

“A very entertaining work.”—Leeds Mercury.

“A well-printed, handsome, and profusely illustrated work.”—Norfolk Chronicle.

“There is much curious and interesting reading in this popular volume, which moreover has a useful index.”—Glasgow Herald.

“The contents of the volume is exceptionally good reading, and crowded with out-of-the-way, useful, and well selected information on a subject which has an undying interest.”—Birmingham Mercury.

“In concluding this notice it is only the merest justice to add that every page of it abounds with rare and often amusing information, drawn from the most accredited sources. It also abounds with illustrations of our old English authors, and it is likely to prove welcome not only to the Churchman, but to the student of folk-lore and of poetical literature.”—Morning Post.

“We can recommend this volume to all who are interested in the notable and curious things that relate to churches and public worship in this and other countries.”—Newcastle Daily Journal.

“It is very handsomely got up and admirably printed, the letterpress being beautifully clear.”—Lincoln Mercury.

“The book is well indexed.”—Daily Chronicle.

“By delegating certain topics to those most capable of treating them, the editor has the satisfaction of presenting the best available information in a very attractive manner.”—Dundee Advertiser.

“It must not be supposed that the book is of interest only to Churchmen, although primarily so, for it treats in such a skilful and instructive manner with ancient manners and customs as to make it an invaluable book of reference to all who are concerned in the seductive study of antiquarian subjects.”—Chester Courant.



The Cross, in Ritual, Architecture, and Art.

By the REV. GEO. S. TYACK, B.A.

Crown 8vo., 3s. 6d. Numerous Illustrations.

The author of this Volume has brought together much valuable and out-of-the-way information which cannot fail to interest and instruct the reader. The work is the result of careful study, and its merits entitle it to a permanent place in public and private libraries. Many beautiful illustrations add to the value of the Volume.

“This book is reverent, learned, and interesting, and will be read with a great deal of profit by anyone who wishes to study the history of the sign of our Redemption.”—Church Times.

“A book of equal interest to artists, archæologists, architects, and the clergy has been written by the Rev. G. S. Tyack, upon ‘The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art.’ Although Mr. Tyack has restricted himself to this country, this work is sufficiently complete for its purpose, which is to show the manifold uses to which the Cross, the symbol of the Christian Faith, has been put in Christian lands. It treats of the Cross in ritual, in Church ornament, as a memorial of the dead, and in secular mason work; of preaching crosses, wayside and boundary crosses, well crosses, market crosses, and the Cross in heraldry. Mr. Tyack has had the assistance of Mr. William Andrews, to whom he records his indebtedness for the use of his collection of works, notes, and pictures; but it is evident that this book has cost many years of research on his own part. It is copiously and well illustrated, lucidly ordered and written, and deserves to be widely known.”—Yorkshire Post.

“This is an exhaustive treatise on a most interesting subject, and Mr. Tyack has proved himself to be richly informed and fully qualified to deal with it. All lovers of ecclesiastical lore will find the volume instructive and suggestive, while the ordinary reader will be surprised to find that the Cross in the churchyard or by the roadside has so many meanings and significances. Mr. Tyack divides his work into eight sections, beginning with the pre-Christian cross, and then tracing its development, its adaptations, its special uses, and applications, and at all times bringing out clearly its symbolic purposes. We have the history of the Cross in the Church, of its use as an ornament, and of its use as a public and secular instrument; then we get a chapter on ‘Memorial Crosses,’ and another on ‘Wayside and Boundary Crosses.’ The volume teems with facts, and it is evident that Mr. Tyack has made his study a labour of love, and spared no research in order, within the prescribed limits, to make his work complete. He has given us a valuable work of reference, and a very instructive and entertaining volume.”—Birmingham Daily Gazette.

“An engrossing and instructive narrative.”—Dundee Advertiser.

“As a popular account of the Cross in history, we do not know that a better book can be named.”—Glasgow Herald.



Old Church Lore.


Demy 8vo., 7s. 6d.

Contents—The Right of Sanctuary—The Romance of Trial—A Fight between the Mayor of Hull and the Archbishop of York—Chapels on Bridges—Charter Horns—The Old English Sunday—The Easter Sepulchre—St. Paul’s Cross—Cheapside Cross—The Biddenden Maids Charity—Plagues and Pestilences—A King Curing an Abbot of Indigestion—The Services and Customs of Royal Oak Day—Marrying in a White Sheet—Marrying under the Gallows—Kissing the Bride—Hot Ale at Weddings—Marrying Children—The Passing Bell—Concerning Coffins—The Curfew Bell—Curious Symbols of the Saints—Acrobats on Steeples—A carefully prepared Index—Illustrated.

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“A worthy work on a deeply interesting subject.... We commend this book strongly.”—European Mail.

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“Mr. Andrews’ book does not contain a dull page.... Deserves to meet with a very warm welcome.”—Yorkshire Post.



A Lawyer’s Secrets.


Author of “The Children of Chance,” etc.

Price One Shilling.

“Mr. Herbert Lloyd gives us a succession of stories which may reasonably be taken to have their origin in the experience of a lawyer practicing at large in the criminal courts. It is natural that they should be of a romantic nature; but romance is not foreign to a lawyer’s consulting room, so that this fact need not be charged against this lawyer’s veracity.... The stories, seven in all, cover the ground of fraud and murder, inspired by the prevailing causes of crime—greed and jealousy. Our lawyer is happy in having the majority of his clients the innocent victims of false charges inspired and fostered in a great measure by their own folly; but this is a natural phase of professional experience, and we are only concerned with the fact that he generally manages it as effectively in the interests of his clients as his editor does in presenting them to his audience.”—Literary World.

“A volume of entertaining stories.... The book has much the same interest as a volume of detective stories, except that putting the cases in a lawyer’s mouth gives them a certain freshness. It is well written, and makes a capital volume for a railway journey.”—The Scotsman.

“A very entertaining volume.”—Birmingham Daily Gazette.



Legal Lore: Curiosities of Law and Lawyers.


Demy 8vo., Cloth extra, 7s. 6d.

Contents:—Bible Law—Sanctuaries—Trials in Superstitious Ages—On Symbols—Law Under the Feudal System—The Manor and Manor Law—Ancient Tenures—Laws of the Forest—Trial by Jury in Old Times—Barbarous Punishments—Trials of Animals—Devices of the Sixteenth Century Debtors—Laws Relating to the Gipsies—Commonwealth Law and Lawyers—Cock-Fighting in Scotland—Cockieleerie Law—Fatal Links—Post-Mortem Trials—Island Laws—The Little Inns of Court—Obiter.

“There are some very amusing and curious facts concerning law and lawyers. We have read with much interest the articles on Sanctuaries, Trials in Superstitious Ages, Ancient Tenures, Trials by Jury in Old Times, Barbarous Punishments, and Trials of Animals, and can heartily recommend the volume to those who wish for a few hours’ profitable diversion in the study of what may be called the light literature of the law.”—Daily Mail.

“Most amusing and instructive reading.”—The Scotsman.

“The contents of the volume are extremely entertaining, and convey not a little information on ancient ideas and habits of life. While members of the legal profession will turn to the work for incidents with which to illustrate an argument or point a joke, laymen will enjoy its vivid descriptions of old fashioned proceedings and often semi-barbaric ideas to obligation and rectitude.”—Dundee Advertiser.

“The subjects chosen are extremely interesting, and contain a quantity of out-of-the-way and not easily accessible information.... Very tastefully printed and bound.”—Birmingham Daily Gazette.

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“A happy and useful addition to current literature.”—Norfolk Chronicle.

“The book is a very fascinating one, and it is specially interesting to students of history as showing the vast changes which, by gradual course of development have been brought about both in the principles and practice of the law.”—The Evening Gazette.



In The Temple


Price One Shilling.

This book opens with a chapter on the history of the Temple. Next follows an account of the Knight Templars. The story of the Devil’s Own is given in a graphic manner. A Sketch of Christmas in the Temple is included. In an entertaining manner the reader is informed how to become a Templar, the manner of keeping terms is described, and lastly, the work concludes with a chapter on call parties.

“Amusing and interesting sketches.”—Law Times.

“Pleasing gossip about the barristers’ quarters.”—The Gentlewoman.

“A pleasant little volume.”—The Globe.



The Red, Red Wine.


Crown 8vo., 330 pp. A portrait of the Author and other illustrations.

Price 3s. 6d.

“This, as its name implies, is a temperance story, and is told in the lamented author’s most graphic style. We have never read anything so powerful since ‘Danesbury House,’ and this book in stern and pathetic earnestness even excels that widely-known book. It is worthy a place in every Sunday School and village library; and, as the latest utterance of one whose writings are so deservedly popular, it is sure of a welcome. It should give decision to some whose views about Local Option are hazy.”—Joyful News.

“The story is one of remarkable power.”—The Temperance Record.

“An excellent and interesting story.”—The Temperance Chronicle.



Faces on the Queen’s Highway.


Elegantly Bound, Crown 8vo., price 2s. 6d.

Though oftenest to be found in a pensive mood, the writer of this very dainty volume of sketches is always very sweet and winning. She has evidently a true artist’s love of nature, and in a few lines can limn an autumn landscape full of colour, and the life which is on the down slope. And she can tell a very taking story, as witness the sketch “At the Inn,” and “The Master of White Hags,” and all her characters are real, live flesh-and-blood people, who do things naturally, and give very great pleasure to the reader accordingly. Miss Jackson’s gifts are of a very high order.—Aberdeen Free Press.



The Doomed Ship; or, The Wreck in the Arctic Regions.


Crown 8vo., Elegantly Bound, Gilt extra, 3s. 6d.

“There is no lack of adventures, and the writer has a matter-of-fact way of telling them.”—Spectator.

“‘The Doomed Ship,’ by William Hurton, is a spirited tale of adventures in the old style of sea-stories. Mr. Hurton seems to enter fully into the manliness of sea life.”—Idler.



Chronologies and Calendars.


Crown 8vo., price 7s. 6d.

“It is unlike most books on its subject in being brief and readable to an unlearned student. But its chief interest and its unquestionable value is for those who consider dates more curiously than most men need do in an age in which incorporated societies endeavour to persuade a man to insure his life by presenting him with an illuminated table of days. Those who are engaged in original historical researches will find it invaluable both for study and for reference.”—The Scotsman.

“A large amount of carefully prepared information.”—Aberdeen Free Press.



The Quaker Poets of Great Britain and Ireland.


Demy 8vo., cloth extra, 7s. 6d.

The volume opens with a brief sketch of the Rise of the Society of Friends, and Characteristics of its Poetry. Biographical Notices and Examples of the best Poems of the Chief Quaker Poets of Great Britain and Ireland.

“The book throughout is a good example of scholarly and appreciative editing.”—The Times.

“The book is well worth reading, and evinces signs of careful selection and treatment of themes.”—Liverpool Daily Post.

“Mrs. Armitage’s book was worth compiling, and has claims on others than members of the Society of Friends.”—Newcastle Daily Leader.

“The volume is well worth careful study.”—Manchester Guardian.

“This is a charming and even captivating book.”—Friends’ Quarterly Examiner.



Stepping Stones to Socialism.


Crown 8vo., 140 pp.; fancy cover, 1s.; cloth bound, 2s.

Contents:—In a reasonable and able manner Mr. Maxwell deals with the following topics:—The Popular meaning of the Word Socialism—Lord Salisbury on Socialism—Why There is in Many Minds an Antipathy to Socialism—On Some Socialistic Views of Marriage—The Question of Private Property—The Old Political Economy is not the Way of Salvation—Who is My Neighbour?—Progress, and the Condition of the Labourer—Good and Bad Trade: Precarious Employment—All Popular Movements are Helping on Socialism—Modern Literature in Relation to Social Progress—Pruning the Old Theological Tree—The Churches: Their Socialistic Tendencies—The Future of the Earth in Relation to Human Life—Socialism is Based on Natural Laws of Life—Humanity in the Future—Preludes to Socialism—Forecasts of the Ultimate Form of Society—A Pisgah-top View of the Promised Land.

“A temperate and reverent study of a great question.”—London Quarterly Review.

“Mr. David Maxwell’s book is the timely expression of a richly-furnished mind on the current problems of home politics and social ethics.”—Eastern Morning News.

“Quite up-to-date.”—Hull Daily Mail.



The Studies of a Socialist Parson.

By the Rev. W. H. ABRAHAM, M.A. (London).

Crown 8vo., Price One Shilling.

The volume consists of sermons and addresses, given mostly at the St. Augustine’s Church, Hull. The author in his preface says, “It is the duty of the clergyman to try and understand what Socialism is, and to lead men from the false Socialism to the true.”

Contents:—The Working-man, Past and Present: A Historical Review—Whither are we going?—National Righteousness—The True Value of Life—Christian Socialism—Jesus Christ, the True Socialist—Socialism, through Christ or without Him?—The Great Bread Puzzle—Labour Day, May 1, 1892—The People, the Rulers, and the Priests—Friendly Societies—Trades’ Unions—The People’s Church—On some Social Questions—The Greatest Help to the true Social Life—The Great I Am—God as a present force—Signs of the Times.

“The volume is deserving of all praise.”—Glasgow Herald.

“An admirable contribution to the solution of difficult problems. Mr. Abraham has much that is valuable to say, and says it well.”—Spectator.

“The book is as a whole sensitive and suggestive. The timely words on ‘Decency in Journalism and Conversation’ deserve to be widely read.”—London Quarterly Review.



Yorkshire Family Romance.


Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, Demy 8vo., 6s.

Contents:—The Synod of Streoneshalh—The Doomed Heir of Osmotherley—St. Eadwine, the Royal Martyr—The Viceroy Siward—Phases in the Life of a Political Martyr—The Murderer’s Bride—The Earldom of Wiltes—Blackfaced Clifford—The Shepherd Lord—The Felons of Ilkley—The Ingilby Boar’s Head—The Eland Tragedy—The Plumpton Marriage—The Topcliffe Insurrection—Burning of Cottingham Castle—The Alum Workers—The Maiden of Marblehead—Rise of the House of Phipps—The Traitor Governor of Hull.

“The grasp and thoroughness of the writer is evident in every page, and the book forms a valuable addition to the literature of the North Country.”—Gentlewoman.

“Many will welcome this work.”—Yorkshire Post.



Legendary Yorkshire.


Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, Demy 8vo., 6s.

Contents:—The Enchanted Cave—The Doomed City—The Worm of Nunnington—The Devil’s Arrows—The Giant Road Maker of Mulgrave—The Virgin’s Head of Halifax—The Dead Arm of St. Oswald the King—The Translation of St. Hilda—A Miracle of St. John—The Beatified Sisters—The Dragon of Wantley—The Miracles and Ghost of Watton—The Murdered Hermit of Eskdale—The Calverley Ghost—The Bewitched House of Wakefield.

“It is a work of lasting interest, and cannot fail to delight the reader.”—Beverley Recorder.

“The history and the literature of our county are now receiving marked attention, and Mr. Andrews merits the support of the public for the production of this and other interesting volumes he has issued. We cannot speak too highly of this volume, the printing, the paper, and the binding being faultless.”—Driffield Observer.



In Folly Land.


Crown 8vo., One Shilling.

“‘Folly Land’ is the title of a neatly-produced shilling volume of humorous verse by a writer who—if we are not misinformed—veils a well-known name under the nom de guerre of ‘Cap and Bells.’ Some of the comic poems, ‘A Wicked Story’ and ‘Just my Luck,’ for instance, are funny. A humorous and unhackneyed recitation is always a welcome addition to the not varied repertoire of the professional or amateur reciter, and some of the contents of ‘Folly Land’ are likely to become popular.”—The Star.



Biblical and Shakespearian Characters Compared.

By the Rev. JAMES BELL.

Crown 8vo., 3s. 6d.

Between the Hebrew Bible and Shakespeare there exists some interesting and instructive points of resemblance, especially in respect of their ways of life and character. No doubt certain inevitable differences also exist between them, but these do not hide the resemblance; rather they serve to set it, so to speak, in bolder relief.

The author in this volume treats or this striking resemblance, under certain phases, between Hebrew Prophecy and Shakespearian Drama.

The following are the chief “Studies” which find a place in the work:—Hebrew Prophecy and Shakespeare: a Comparison—Eli and Hamlet—Saul and Macbeth—Jonathan and Horatio—David and Henry V.—Epilogue.

“One of the most suggestive volumes we have met with for a long time.”—Birmingham Daily Gazette.

“A deeply interesting book.”—The Methodist Times.

“A highly interesting and ingenious work.”—British Weekly.



The New Fairy Book.


Price 4s. 6d. Demy 8vo.

This volume contains Fifteen New Fairy Stories by Popular Authors. Many charming original illustrations are included.

It is beautifully printed in bold clear type, and bound in a most attractive style.

“A very delightful volume, and eminently qualified for a gift book.... The stories are bright and interesting.”—Glasgow Herald.

“We hope the book will get into many children’s hands.”—Review of Reviews.

“We can recommend the stories for their originality, and the volume for its elegant and tasteful appearance.”—Westminster Gazette.



Famous Frosts and Frost Fairs in Great Britain.

Chronicled from the Earliest to the Present Time.


Fcap. 4to. Bevelled boards, gilt tops. Price 4s.

This work furnishes a carefully prepared account of all the great Frosts occurring in this country from A.D. 134 to 1887. The numerous Frost Fairs on the Thames are fully described, and illustrated with quaint woodcuts, and several old ballads relating to the subject are reproduced. It is tastefully printed and elegantly bound.

“A very interesting volume.”—Northern Daily Telegraph.

“A great deal of curious and valuable information is contained in these pages.... A comely volume.”—Literary World.

“An interesting and valuable work.”—West Middlesex Times.

“A volume of much interest and great importance.”—Rotherham Advertiser.



Andrews’s Library of Masterpieces of Choice Literature.

This series of works consists of reprints carefully edited, with notes, etc., of a number of works which have long been out of print, but which are of undoubted merit, and volumes that cultured book-lovers will prize. Only the very best works in our literature are included in the series, and are carefully printed on good paper, and suitably bound. In all cases limited editions are printed.

The first three volumes of the series are as follow:—

Crown 8vo., bound in Cloth, 2s. each.

The Months: Descriptive of the Successive Beauties of the Year.


With Biographical Introduction by William Andrews, F.R.H.S.

A Song to David


Edited, with Notes, by J. R. Tutin.

Carmen Deo Nostro, Te Decet Hymnus: Sacred Poems.


Edited by J. R. Tutin.


William Andrews & Co., 5, Farringdon Avenue.




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