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| divers inhabitants ol the town of Walsall, in trust, and so it continues in the hand of trustees to this day. In 1539 the first mention appears to have been made of the penny dole. On the twelfth eve, being the anniversary for the souls of Thomas Moseley, and Margaret his wife, the bellman went about with his bell, exciting all to kneel down and pray for the souls of Thomas Moseley, and Margaret, his wife; Thomas Moseley never gave this dole, either by feoffment or will; but, because he had been so good a benefactor, in giving his lands, &c, in Warwickshire, the town, by way of gratitude, yearly distributed a general dole of one penny each, to young and old, rich and poor; strangers, as well as townspeople; and this was the origin of the dole.
"It would be a good thing," says Mr. Cottrell, the author of the Abstract, "if this dole was given up, and the rents of these valuable estates, which are now considerable, were all applied to charitable purposes. The masters of the guild of St. John the Baptist, in Walsall, a religious fraternity, with laws and orders made among themselves, by royal licence, appear at this time to have been the trustees; for they received the rents of these ! estates, and kept court at Barcott. King ; John granted to every arch-deacon in
England a power of gathering from every 'fyer householder,' in every parish, one penny, which were called Peter pence; therefore I am inclined to think this religious fraternity were the beginners of this penny dole, which would enable them immediately to pay their Peter Pence or, perhaps they might stop it in the same manner as the bellman does the lord of the manor's penny."
The dole is now discontinued; and twelve alms-houses, were built with the money in the hands of the corporation.
The current tradition is, that Thomas Moseley, passing through Walsall, on twelfth eve, saw a child crying for bread, where others were feasting, and, struck by the circumstance, made over the estates at Barcott, &c, to the town of Walsall, on condition that every year one penny should be given each person on that day, so that no one might witness a like sadness.
January 6.—Day breaks ... 5 57
CHRISTMAS OUT OF TOWN.
For many a winter in Billiter Lane
My wife, Mrs. Brown, was ne'er heard to complain:
At Christmas the family met there to dine
On beef and plum-pudding, and turkey, and chine;
Our bark has now taken a contrary heel,
My wife has found out that the sea is genteel;
To Brighton we duly go scampering down
In Billiter Lane, at this mirth-moving time,
The lamp-lighter brought us his annual rhyme;
The tricks of Grimaldi were sure to be seen;
We carved a twelfth-cake, and we drew king and queen:
Now we lodge on the Steine, in a bow-windowed box,
That beckons up stairs every zephyr that knocks;
The Sun hides his head, and the elements frown—
At Brighton I'm stuck up in Lucombe's Loo-shop,
Yet, still, I am suffering with folks of renown—
The wind gallops in at the full of the moon,
But would not express what I think for a crown—
The duke and the earl are not cronies of mine;
Next winter I'll prove to my dear Mrs. Brown
St. Distaff's Day.
The day after Epiphany or Twelfth day was called St. Distaff's day by country people, because, the Christmas holidays having ended, good housewives resumed the distaff and their other industrious employments
Is the first Monday after Twelfth Day, when agricultural laborers were accustomed to draw about a plough and solicit money with guisings, and dancing with swords, preparatory to beginning to plough after the Christmas holidays. In a very few places they still drag the plough, but without the sword dance, or any mumming.
From " A Briefe Relation of the Gleanings of the Idiotismes and Absurdities of Miles Corbet esquire, Councellor at Law, Recorder and Burgess for Great Yarmouth,"' it appears, that the Monday after Twelfth Day is called " Plowlick Monday by the Husbandmen in Norfolk, because on that day they doe first begin to plough." Among the Ancients the "Compitalia were Feasts instituted, some say, by Tarquinius Priscus, in the month of January, and celebrated by servants alone, when their ploughing was over." f
There is a curious account of the Sword Dance in Olaus Magnus's History of the Northern Nations. He says that the Northern Goths and Swedes have a sport
wherein they exercise their youth, consisting of a Dance with Swords in the following manner. First, with swords sheathed and erect in their hands, they dance in a triple round : then with their drawn swords held erect as before: afterwards, extending them from hand to hand, they lay hold of each other's hilts and points, and, while they are wheeling more moderately round and changing their order, throw themselves into the figure of a hexagon, which they call a rose: but, presently raising and drawing back their swords, they undo that figure, in order to form with them a four-square rose, that they may rebound over the head of each other. Lastly, they dance rapidly backwards, and, vehemently rattling the sides of their swords together, conclude their sport. Pipes, or songs (sometimes both), direct the measure, which, at first, is slow, but, increasing afterwards, becomes a very quick one towards the conclusions, Olaus Magnus adds of this dance that "It is scarcely to be understood, but by those that look on, how gamely and decent it is, when at one word, or one commanding, the whole armed multitude is directed to fall to fight: and clergymen may exercise themselves, and mingle themselves amongst others at this sport, because it is all guided by most wise reason." -f
Olaus Magnus calls this a kind of Gymnastic rite, in which the ignorant were successively instructed by those who were skilled in it: and thus it must have been preserved andhandeddownto us."Ihave
t See also Sbutt'e Sports 8 vo. p. 214.
been" says Mr. Brand "a frequent spectator of this dance, which is now, or was very lately, performed with few or no alterations in Northumberland and the adjoining counties: one difference however is observable in our Northern sword dancers, that, when the Swords are formed into a figure, they lay them down upon the ground and dance round them.''
A YORKSHIBE PLOUGH-DAY.
It is the custom in the North Riding of Yorkshire, when a new tenant enters on a farm, for his neighbours to give him what is called a plough-day ; that is the use of all their ploughs, and the labor of all their ploughmen and plough horses, on a fixed day, to prepare the ground for sowing the grain. The following provision for a plough-day was actually made for such an occasion by a farmer's wife near Guesborough in 1808.
Twelve bushels of wheat were ground, and made into seventeen white loaves and fifty-one dumplings. In the dumplings were forty-two pounds of currants, and fourteen pounds of raisins. Seven pounds of sugar, with a proportionate quantity of vinegar and melted butter, composed the sauce for the dumplings.
One hundred and ninety-six pounds of beef, with a farther quantity which the farmer's wife had not received the account of when she related the circumstance, succeeded the dumplings, and to this was added two large hams, and fourteen pounds of peas, made into puddings.
Three large Cheshire cheeses, and two home-made ones weighing twenty eight pounds each, concluded this mighty repast, which was washed down with ninety-nine gallons of ale, and two of rum.
At this ploughing there were about eighty ploughs. *
On the 8th of January, 1668, Mr. Evelyn says, in his diary, "I saw deep and prodigious gaming at the groom porter's; vast heaps of gold squandered away in a vain and profuse manner. This I looked on as a horrid vice, and unsuitable in a Christian court." To what has been stated previously, concerning this play at the groom-porter's, may be added, that the groom-porler is still an officer of the court, and that lady Mary Wortley Montague, in one of her Town Eclogues (Thursday) thus mentions the practice:—
At the groom-porter's batter'd bullies play, Some dukes at Mary-bone bowltime away.
The Groom Porter.
Chamberlayne says, "The office of groom-porter is to see the king's lodging furnished with tables, chairs, stools, firing; to provide cards, dice, &c.; to decide disputes arising at cards, dice, bowlings, he..
Henry Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, lord chamberlain to Henry VIII. from 1526 to 1530, compiled a book of directions for the service of the king's chambers, and the duties of the officers, in which is set forth "the roome and service belonging to a groome-pcrter to do," to the following effect:—First, a groom-porter ought to bring ladders for the hanging of the king's chambers [with tapestry, &c] To bring in tables, forms, tressels, and stools, strand for beds, rushes (for strewing the floors), and all other such necessaries belonging to the chambers, as the gentleman-usher shall command: he is also to bring to the chamber door, and have ready there, all manner of fuel, as wood and coals; and to have always ready, torches, sises, and other lights for the king's chambers; he is further to see that the keeper sweep and clean the floors, walls, windows, and roofs of all dirt and cobwebs, before any of the king's staff come within the said chambers: wherefore he hath his feet
The groom-porter's is referred to as a place of excessive play, in the statutes of Eltham, for the government of the privychamber of Henry VII I., in the seventeenth year of his reign, 1525, or 6. One of these ordinances directs that the privychamber shall be " kept honestly" in the
• Present state of G. Britain, 1735.
king's absence, by such as are appointed to be there, " without using immoderate or continual play of dice, cards, or tables therein: howbeit, the king can be contented that for some pastime, in the absence of his grace, they shall and may use honest and moderate play;" but "that the said chamber be not used by frequent and intemperate play, as the groom-porter's house."
January 8.—Day breaks .
Sun rises .
h. m. . 5 56 . 7 59 — sets .... 4 1 Twilight ends ..64 The yellow tremella found on old palings.
"OXFORD NIGHT CAPS."
In the evenings of this cold and dreary season, " the dead of winter," a comfortable potation strengthens the heart of the healthy and cheers the spirits of the feeble. This is a book of good intent and purpose, and therefore in its columns will be found occasional directions for compounding agreeable drinks,—a few extracted from manuscript memoranda, and others from publications which are not usually in the collections of notable house-keepers, to whom, however, it is presumed hints of this sort will be acceptable. And, to begin, resort is now made to "Oxford Night Caps,—a collection of receipts for making various beverages used in the university." f From this university tract we are acquainted with the method of making
Egg-pottet, alias Egg-flip,
otherwise, in college language, "rum booze."—Beat up well the yolks of eight eggs, with refined sugar pulverized, and a nutmeg grated. Then extract the juice from the rind of a lemon, by rubbing loaf sugar upon it, and put the sugar, with a piece of cinnamon and a bottle of wine, into a saucepan; place it on the fire, and, when it boils, take it off; then add a single glass of cold white wine; put the liquor into a spouted jug, and pour it gradually among the yolks of eggs, &c.
• Antiq. Rep. ii. 144. t Published in Oxford, by Mr. Slattcr, and in London, by Messrs Longman, and Co 42 pages, royal 18mo.
All must be kept well stirred with a spoon, while the liquor is pouring in. If it be not sweet enough, add loaf sugar; and, lastly, pour the mixture as swiftly as possible from one vessel to another, until it yields a fine froth. Half-a-pint of rum is sometimes added, but it is then very intoxicating, and consequently pernicious. Port wine is sometimes used instead of white, but is not generally so palatable. This beverage should be drank about bed-time, out of wine glasses, and while it is quite hot.—Observe, that if the wine be poured boiling hot among the eggs, the mixture will curdle, and the posset be spoiled.
is a "night-cap" made precisely in the same way as the preceding, with the yolks of twelve eggs, a quart of strong home-brewed beer, a bottle of white wine, half-a-pint of gin, a grated nutmeg, the juice from the peel of a lemon, a small quantity of cinnamon, and sugar sufficient to sweeten it.
This "night-cap" is prepared in the same way, and with the same materials, as "egg-flip," excepting that a quart of strong home-brewed beer is substituted for the wine; a glass of gin is sometimes added, but it is better omitted. In the university this beverage is frequently given to servants at Christmas, and other high festivals, during winter.
The beautiful and brave little Robin, *himVr of the choir of song-birds, advances first, and alone, to give the earliest greeting to the new year, with notes clear and brilliant as his eyes—bold and abrupt as his resolute hoppings and determined stand. He might be called the winter nightingale, only that he never sings after the bright twilight.
From a comfortable room, at this dead season, it is delicious to look out upon a Robin, as he perches on a near tree, among " naked shoots, barren as lances,"
i'erking his sweet tones upon the stillness, n a walk before the grey of evening it is a still higher gratification to find him "far from the haunts of care-worn men," upon a slender spray of some high bank, seemingly unconscious of other living things; pouring upon the dreariness of the dell short liquid carols, with long intervals between; converting the frozen waste and frowning steep into a solemn place of devotion:—winning the childlike passenger to contemplation and thanksgiving—
"And now another day i» gone,
In infancy the Robin was our favorite and familiar, and through life every remembrance of him is pleasurable. Some of our recollections of him are historical. We had in our hands, before we knew how to use a book, the fabled " Death and Funeral of Cock Robin," and learned it by heart before we could read. Then followed the important ballad story, "The Children in the Wood ;" showing—how their parents died, and left them to the care of a cruel uncle, who hired two ruffians to slay them in a wood—how the ruffians quarrelled and fought "about the children's life"—how "he that was of mildest mood " slew the other, and then led them further into the wood and left them, saying, he would bring them food when he came back—and how
These pretty babes, with hand in hand,
Went wandering up and down But never more they saw the man
Approaching from the town;
Were all bettmear'd and dy'd,
They sat them down and cried.
Thus wandered these two pretty babes.
Till death did end their grief; In one another's arms they died.
As babes wanting relief:
Of any man receives,
Bid cover them with leaves.
No one that knew this ditty in childhood can forget the vernal burial of the infants by " Robin-red-breast."
Whatever affection we may have for the old common brown paper " garland * of "The Children in the Wood," with a rude cut of the ruffians in doublets and trunk-hose, fighting in the wood, we must infallibly be delighted with the appearance of this story of infancy in the recent edition. It is more richly embellished than any other "trivial fond record." Its engravings are executed in a masterly manner by Branston and Wright, and other first-rate artists, from delicious drawings by Mr. Harvey. It is the most charming, and must inevitably be the most popular little publication which an indulgent press has yielded to the constant coaxing of lovers of elegant decoration. There is a vignette which might be coveted for a place in this column:—a lone Robin, upon the lowest branch of a leafless oak, in a snowy solitude, keeping company with silence.
1645. At the age of seventy-one, William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, was beheaded on Tower-hill, four years before Charles I. met the same fate at Whitehall. The circumstances which led to the archbishop's death are related by the writers of our national history, upon the authority of impartial annalists, and collectors of facts relating to the troublesome times in which he lived and died. Hume sums up his character impartially, and adds, "It is to be regretted that a man of such spirit, who conducted his enterprises with so much warmth and industry, had not entertained more enlarged views, and embraced principles more favorable to the general happiness of society." He acquired, says Hume, so great an ascendant over Charles as to lead him, by the facility of his temper, into a conduct which proved fatal to that prince and to his kingdom.