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fested itself in little more than plundering incursions; and the campaigns in France were few and indecisive. The domestic adminis
tration appears also to have been vigorous, if we judge from results. The robber baron disappears with Fawkes de Breaute; the great justiciary Hubert de Burgh seems to have induced habits of order; and Henry, when he emerged from nonage, succeeded to an authority which had been exercised prudently by his guardian.
"In Henry's reign the baron is no longer the enemy, but the leader of the people. In earlier days, the feudal lord is excoriator rusticorum, as were Robert de Belesme, and most of the old Norman baronage. The English of Henry's reign, who looked on Simon de Montfort as a champion in life, treated him as a saint after death. But Simon's administration in Guienne was not that of a demagogue, nor was his leadership of the feudal opposition-with its customary policy, insurrection-the act of a man who had made terms
with his inferiors, by abandoning and oppressing his own order. We should search in vain for a baron like Simon in any reign before that of Henry III. They are found in plenty after his time, though none perhaps were so capable or so disinterested as this Cromwell of the thirteenth century."
The reign of Edward I. appears to have been disturbed by no markedly important social change at the time, although curiously enough it was the time of the introduction of a legal arrangement, the effects of which greatly influence English society at the present day. The system of entails marks at point in the commencement of the legal history of England which has had a lasting effect. The reign of Edward II. was no period of social, any more than of political prosperity; never, perhaps, were the sufferings of the peasantry greater-unproductive harvests, and a disorganized gov ernment, brought their attendant train of misery. With Edward III. a brighter prospect commences. A cycle of more abundant harvests, improved commercial intercourse with the great cities of Flanders, the introduction of the woollen manufacture into the eastern counties, all greatly assisted the prosperity of the time. The war with France, indeed, was a source of great outflow both of life and of treasure, but even the effect of this drain on the resources of the country, was far exceeded by the influence of that awful
* Vol. i., pp. 3, 4.
scourge, the Black Death. Half the population, according to some estimates, lem of supply and demand was curiously were swept away. The economic probillustrated by the insurrection of the peasantry in the beginning of the reign of Richard II. The people diminished in number, and, so rendered individually more important, felt their strength and resolved to use it. The story of Wat Tyler, and the vengeance taken by him on the tax-gatherer for the insult offered to his daughter, are familiar to all. The sympathy expressed for his act shows the dangerously inflammable condition of the people, while the simultaneousness of the outbreak in Norfolk and in Kent gives evidence of a carefully planned rising.
"Walsingham has preserved a singular rhyming letter, copies of which were, it appears, circulated among the Essex laborers: of York, and now of Colchester, greeteth John Schep, sometime St. Mary, priest John Carter, and biddeth them that they bewell John Nameless, and John the Miller, and ware of guile in borough, and stand together in God's name, and biddeth Piers Plowman go to his work, and chastise well Hob the robber, and take with you John_Trueman and his fellows, and no more. John the Miller hath ground small, small, small. The King's Son of heaven shall pay for all. Beware or be woe, know your friend from your foe, have enough and say hoe. And so well and better, and flee sin, and seek peace and hold you therein, and so biddeth John Trueman and his fellows.'
"The insurrection was crushed by the uning part in fomenting and guiding it. But the sparing execution of all who had taken a leaddisaffection remained, and might hereafter produce effects far more serious than those which society had, as by miracle, escaped.
"Although a single week saw the beginning and end of this servile war, it could not be forgotten that the rioters were nearly successful; that the combination, of which the outbreak was but the expression, was thoroughly organized, and that there could be no possibility of preventing the spread of secret intelligence among those who were so profoundly discontented at their social condition. The harshness with which the rioters were punished did not, I conceive, at that the spirit of the people, or render them tamely time, as it never has at any other time, break submissive to authority, still less acquiescent in that which they believed to be a wrong."
conceded. The result was, that the condition of the great mass of the population was suddenly and permanently elevated. The rise in the wages of labor was not all clear gain to the laborer; part of it was required to compensate him for the rise in the price of provisions, occasioned by the years of dearth and famine which accompanied the pestilence. Nevertheless, the fact remained evident, that the scarcity of labor was greater in proportion than the scarcity of provisions. Before the Plague, when the laborer's provisions were found him, the wages given were one-half the ordinary rate of pay without food; after it, the wages given were two-thirds. Thus it is obvious that the ordinary gains of a laborer left him, when he had provided for his food, a larger balance to spend on other things after the Plague than before. Wages were not entirely uniform over the kingdom. London and its neighborhood were dear places to live in during the period under notice, exactly as in the present time. Curiously enough, another point in the social economy of the time has been exactly reproduced in modern days. The influence which manufacturers exercised over the rate of wages, was marked in the middle ages exactly as at the present time. The scale on which these manufactures were carried on was extremely minute as compared with our modern ideas. Those were not the days of Arkwright or of Watt, of the spinning-jenny or the steam-loom. The manufacturing districts of the time of the Third Edward, were as unlike the Lancashire or the West Riding of Yorkshire during the reign of Victoria, as is possible. Never theless the carrying on of such occupations, even with the scanty means at their disposal, sufficed to produce an effect on prices in their vicinity. Quiet rural villages in East Anglia, were then the sites of the advanced intelligence of the country. The shuttle is now almost unheard; the loom is now almost unknown among them. The remembrance of the past lingers only among dim traditions and scanty remnants of departed splendors: yet some mouldering evidences exist. The liberality of the manufacturer of that date is still attested by many a decaying ecclesiastical edifice, the result of devotion to the
priest, the record of anxious piety. Traces of the industry and of its principal site, have even left their mark on the English language; for the antiquarian traces without difficulty the designation of our worsted manufacturers, to the name of a village otherwise scarcely known. The wealth of the district was comparatively large. The State as well as religion claimed its share of the profits. Professor Rogers gives a very curious table illustrative of the incidence of taxation in the time of Edward III., grounded on the proportion paid by every county of England towards a tax of 30,000 sacks of wool. This subsidy was granted in 1340, by the Commons to the King. The tax was levied to de fray expenses incurred in the war with France. The calculation of the propor tion of the burden to be borne by each county contributing seems to have been very minute, and gives a good idea of the comparative position of the different portions of the country at the time as regards wealth. From the absence of sufficient data, it is impossible to esti mate what ratio the tax bore to the population; but comparing by acreage, the proportion borne by Norfolk was nearly eight times that borne by Lancashire. So completely in later days has the course followed by manufactur ers and wealth changed, that at the present day this proportion, calculating according to the same standard, is nearly reversed. The Income tax paid by Lancashire is now about five times that paid by Norfolk.
As we continually survey the remains of ancient structures and mediæval in dustry scattered over the face of the country, the questions sometimes occur to us, How were these great undertak ings performed? How was the labor organized? How was it paid in proportion to our own times? Without some explanations on these points, many chapters of past history are almost inexpli cable. We find men possessed certainly of less wealth, and with the assistance of infinitely fewer material resources than are at our command at the present day, ignorant-even among their more cultivated classes of points in applied mechanics and chemistry, which are familiar to almost every skilled artisan among us; yet carrying out undertakings
which would tax heavily even our existing means. Professor Rogers devotes a very important chapter to these questions, including the kindred subjects of the relative efficiency, as well as the relative cost of labor in the middle ages and at the present time. And here we may remark a curious instance of the light which these volumes throw on the social history of the time. Our natural idea is that in those days of thorough ritualism and deep subservience to the papacy, a vast number of Church holidays were compulsory on the mass of the people. On the contrary, to our surprise, an entirely different state of things appears to have prevailed. We find on the authority of Walter de Henley, whom, for want of a better comparison, we may call the Times' Correspondent of those days, that 308 working days were reckoned in the year. This computation gives only five holidays besides Sundays, in the twelvemonth. The practice of the time appears to have come fully up to this high standard of industry. The accounts quoted mention a mason and a boy employed for a year, and who were paid for 312 days. There are not many workmen equally industrious in any modern country, and as neglectful of the observance of the feast day of that most odious saint in the calendar, "Saint Monday." Such continuous labor implies efficient labor. A very careful supervision of the work done appears also to have been maintained. It is extremely difficult to make an exact comparison, but Professor Rogers gives very good reasons in support of his belief, that labor was far more effective in the 13th and 14th centuries than now. Though the fact appears undoubted, all the causes are not equally clear. The main reason assigned seems, however, a very probable "Men worked for employers, not for contractors." There was all that difference between the energy of their work which is implied by the old adage, "If you want to have a thing done, go; if you want it not. done, send." The employer went himself, and looked after things himself. Also most of the larger works of the age were for some religious purpose. The members of the ecclesiastical body formed a well-organized corporation, compacted together by a com
mon self-interest, bound by a common
"A question of great interest arises in connection with the remuneration of day-work in the time before us,-What was the comparative effectiveness of labor in the middle ages as compared with the cost of production; and what the contrast with labor in our own time? The only materials that would be the analysis of the charges incurred could supply an inference on this subject, in building some structure at that time, and which is still existing; and comparing its cost with a modern estimate for the same, or a similar amount of work. I have no bill of charges for the period comprised in these volumes which fulfils these conditions; but I can, by anticipating certain information which at a somewhat later date, arrive perhaps at a is in my possession as to the cost of building conclusion on this subject.
"In the spring of the year 1448, Merton College resolved to build or rebuild the belltower of their chapel, and appointed Thomas
Edwards, probably one of the fellows, as superintendent of the work. The necessary funds were supplied, partly from the resources of the college, partly from donations made for the purpose, partly from specific legacies bequeathed to the Society, and amounting to about fifty pounds.
"The work lasts for nearly two years; beginning on the 20th of May, 1448, and ending on the 9th of the same month, 1450. The total charge of the whole structure is
£141 19s. 4d.
"The laborers are well paid. The chief mason, besides an annual pension of twenty shillings, receives, whenever he is at work, 8d. a day. It appears that he resided in Oxford, for the college purchases hay and straw of his wife. The other masons get a fraction under 7d. a day for the greater part of the year, and from 54d. to nearly 6d. in the three winter months. The carpenters, who are merely engaged in rough work, are paid 4d. a day, as are also the laborers who seem to wait on the masons. The quarrymen are paid from 41d. 44d. These wages may, if we estimate them in modern money, be still reckoned by the multiple of 12, and fully bear out that which has often been stated, that the condition of laborers relatively to the price of the necessaries of life, was high, not only in the period before us, but, as in this case, fifty years afterward; for the price of wheat during the first half of the fifteenth century was actually below the general average of the fourteenth,
"It cannot, I think, be doubted that labor was for certain reasons more effective in the fifteenth century-and by implication, in the thirteenth and fourteenth, when it was not so highly paid-than it is now. Multiplied again by 12, the bell-tower cost, in modern money, £1,703 12s. 6d. ; and it must be re
membered that not a few of the items in the bill represent tools and machinery, which, after the work was over, would be sold for whatever they might fetch. Thus, for instance, two cranes (antemnæ) are purchased in order to raise the stone on the scaffold of
the building, each of which weighs 268 lbs., the former being brought (according to the custom of the time) at 2d., the latter at 24d. the lb. But no person, I should think, would imagine that such a structure could be built at present under from three to four thousand pounds. Although iron-work is incomparably cheaper, carriage could hardly be so high, and labor is, relatively speaking, not paid better, if indeed it be paid so well." * Professor Rogers, among the stores of information contained in his volumes, gives incidentally many particulars of the extent to which commercial enter
*Vol. i., pp. 257–260.
prise at the time had extended, as well as of the limitations to which it was subject. Among these, we select a curiously illustrative account of the purchase of the stones required for the mill at Cuxham. Mills, besides being as economically important in the middle ages as they are now, were then especially valu able as property. On most manors, the sole right of grinding corn rested with from the monopoly formed a very im the lord of the manor; and the gains portant part of his yearly income. Mills were turned both by water and by wind, the latter being the more common of the two, especially in Norfolk, where the flatness of the country afforded few streams running with sufficient velocity of the mill itself was generally of a very to give a motive force. The machinery simple and rough description. The most expensive portion was the millstone. Four different kinds of stones were in use, the best were imported from abroad-some from the neighborhood of Paris, some from the lava-quarries near Andernach, on the Rhinequarries which have been worked from very early times, and which are believed to have supplied the Roman legionary. Others were made of native materials, and procured from Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, and from Monmouthshire. These last were the cheapest. But Robert Oldman, the bailiff of Cuxhama manor in the possession of Merton College--a careful and intelligent bailiff, as the completeness and accuracy of his accounts testifies to this day, was not the man to be satisfied with any sort of stone but the best. He knew that the best article answered the best in the long run, and went to London for the best foreign millstones. We will let Professor Rogers narrate the history in his own words:
"Robert Oldman, the Cuxham bailiff, was, many years, a serf of the manor. like his father, who had held the office for He must have journeyed on that road to London which passes through Worth, Wycombe, and Uxbridge. The lower route, through Dorches ter, Nettlebed, and Henley, had not been may argue from a map of England now premade, or, if made, was not frequented, if we served in the Bodleian Library, and certainly drawn at about the middle of the fourteenth century, which gives roads and distances. This upper route, lying for a considerable
portion of its course on high land, the north slope of which is the Vale of Aylesbury, is one of the most picturesque highways in the southern part of England. At dawn, in the midsummer of 1331 (for the charges incurred are written at the foot of the roll), bailiff, servant, and horse start on their expedition, and achieve the distance, more than forty miles, in the course of the day, through the beech-woods of Buckinghamshire and the rich pastures of Middlesex. Arrived in London, they take up their lodging at one of the numerous hostels in the city, and according to the fashion of the time, cater for the needs of themselves and their horse. Early next day, Oldman sets about the serious business on which he had come, and finds the merchant at the wharf which lay below the southern city wall. Having chosen the stones which suit the two mills, his own, and that at Oxford, he adjourns to his inn, or to some tavern near, in order to discuss the terms of his bar
gain. We may be certain that the chaffering was long and anxious, and that, in Oldman's opinion, at least, the time and money were not idly spent, when he aids his bargaining by the liberal order of five gallons of Gascony. It is not every day the merchant finds a customer whose demands are so large, or who has set his heart on the best articles which can be found in his selda, or warehouse. These deep potations are at last ended by the merchant abating something of his morning price, the bargain is struck, the lucky penny is delivered, and there are witnesses to the transaction. After so unaccustomed a de
bauch, the bailiff returns next morning by the same route to his farm and his duties. But he must journey again to London, in order to negotiate the terms at which his goods shall be carried, and to pay for the millstones. On this occasion more time is consumed; possibly in waiting for such a vessel as would be able to carry these heavy articles, possibly in another keen bargaining about the amount to be paid for the service. No doubt other potations were deemed necessary for the completion of these arrangements; but in dealing with sailors and wharfingers, less costly beverages sufficed, and no special note was made of the consumption. This contract, however, is settled at last, and the stones are laid on board, payment being made for wharfage. Now comes the toll for the city wall, and, free at last, the vessel works its way with the tide up the great river, whose waters were as yet undefiled, through the rich salmon-fisheries of Westshene, between the winding banks of the Royal Forest, and beneath the hill not yet crowned with the great palace which the young king would hereafter delight to build. Then on to Maidenhead, where a further murage, due probably, as the former was, to the city of London, whose jurisdiction over NEW SERIES-VOL. VI. No. 4.
the Thames extended at least thus far. then they traversed the fairest part of the river scenery, the horseshoe, namely, which lies between the wooded hills of Maidenhead, Wycombe, and Marlow, till the boat rested at Henley, then the highest point to which the navigation of the Thames was ordinarily possible. The bailiff is present to receive his goods, and soon gets ready the service which he finds it will be more convenient to employ on the spot, by purchasing iron and steel, by hiring a smith to fashion his steel into picks or awls, and by engaging the services of three men for three days in the labor of boring the stones-a labor of no trifling character, as the smith is perpetually occupied in sharpening the tools."*
For the benefit of all who may be interested we subjoin the details:
"Five stones of foreign origin, ‘e partibus 3s. 4d. each. Argentum Dei, i.e. the luck or transmarinis,' are bought in London, at £3 bargain penny, 1d.; five gallons of wine bought for the same, pro beveria, 2s. 1d.; loading in a ship at London, 5s.; wharfage, 74d.; murage, 10d.; carriage, London to Henley, 11s. 2d.; murage at Maydenchurch, 10d.; journey of bailiff, servant, and horse, to and from London, 3s. 01d., the Expenses on journey taking three days. the carriage of the stones, 4s. Expenses of another occasion, for four days, in seeing to three men for three days at Henley, boring the stones, and the expenses of two carters carrying two stones to Cuxham, 38. 9d. Iron bought, 24d.; steel bought for 'biles' to bore the stones, 9d.; smith, for making the biles and sharpening them again and again, 2s. Two hoops bought for carrying two stones to Oxford, 6d." t
This little narrative, besides the interest of its own, curiously throws light on the facilities for travelling in those days. Man and horse were both, probably, weary enough when they reached London; but their rate of travelling would, even so short a time as sixty years since, have been considered anything but despicable. Even more recently than that time, the journey from Oxford to London would have left very little margin out of the day. Nor can the roads have been intolerably bad, as, after the interval of one day only, both the horse and his rider were able to return home. We are apt to assume that the period was one of little inter-communication. But the habit of travel
*Vol. i., pp. 506–508. † Vol. i, p. 505.