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Chronicle and Romance (The Harvard Classics Series)
by Jean Froissart, Thomas Malory, Raphael Holinshed
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These churches are called cathedral, because the bishops dwell or lie near unto the same, as bound to keep continual residence within their jurisdictions for the better oversight and governance of the same, the word being derived a cathedra—that is to say, a chair or seat where he resteth, and for the most part abideth. At the first there was but one church in every jurisdiction, whereinto no man entered to pray but with some oblation or other toward the maintenance of the pastor. For as it was reputed an infamy to pass by any of them without visitation, so it was no less reproach to appear empty before the Lord. And for this occasion also they were builded very huge and great; for otherwise they were not capable to such multitude as came daily unto them to hear the Word and receive the sacraments.

But as the number of Christians increased, so first monasteries, then finally parish churches, were builded in every jurisdiction: from whence I take our deanery churches to have their original (now called "mother churches," and their incumbents, archpriests), the rest being added since the Conquest, either by the lords of every town, or zealous men, loth to travel far, and willing to have some ease by building them near hand. Unto these deanery churches also the clergy in old time of the same deanery were appointed to repair at sundry seasons, there to receive wholesome ordinances, and to consult upon the necessary affairs of the whole jurisdiction if necessity so required; and some image hereof is yet to be seen in the north parts. But as the number of churches increased, so the repair of the faithful unto the cathedrals did diminish; whereby they now become, especially in their nether parts, rather markets and shops for merchandise than solemn places of prayer, whereunto they were first erected. Moreover, in the said cathedral churches upon Sundays and festival days the canons do make certain ordinary sermons by course, whereunto great numbers of all estates do orderly resort; and upon the working days, thrice in the week, one of the said canons (or some other in his stead) doth read and expound some piece of holy Scripture, whereunto the people do very reverently repair. The bishops themselves in like sort are not idle in their callings; for, being now exempt from court and council, which is one (and a no small) piece of their felicity (although Richard Archbishop of Canterbury thought otherwise, as yet appeareth by his letters to Pope Alexander, Epistola 44, Petri Blesensis, where he saith, because the clergy of his time were somewhat narrowly looked unto, "Supra dorsum ecclesiae fabricant peccatores," etc.),[4] they so apply their minds to the setting forth of the Word that there are very few of them which do not every Sunday or oftener resort to some place or other within their jurisdictions where they expound the Scriptures with much gravity and skill, and yet not without the great misliking and contempt of such as hate the Word. Of their manifold translations from one see to another I will say nothing, which is not now done for the benefit of the flock as the preferment of the party favoured and advantage unto the prince, a matter in time past much doubted of—to wit, whether a bishop or pastor might be translated from one see to another, and left undecided till prescription by royal authority made it good. For, among princes, a thing once done is well done, and to be done oftentimes, though no warrant be to be found therefore.

[4] "Sinners build on the back of the church."

They have under them also their archdeacons, some one, divers two, and many four or more, as their circuits are in quantity, which archdeacons are termed in law the bishops' eyes; and these (beside their ordinary courts, which are holden within so many or more of their several deaneries by themselves or their officials once in a month at the least) do keep yearly two visitations or synods (as the bishop doth in every third year, wherein he confirmeth some children, though most care but a little for that ceremony), in which they make diligent inquisition and search, as well for the doctrine and behaviour of the ministers as the orderly dealing of the parishioners in resorting to their parish churches and conformity unto religion. They punish also with great severity all such trespassers, either in person or by the purse (where permutation of penance is thought more grievous to the offender), as are presented unto them; or, if the cause be of the more weight, as in cases of heresy, pertinacy, contempt, and such like, they refer them either to the bishop of the diocese, or his chancellor, or else to sundry grave persons set in authority, by virtue of an high commission directed unto them from the prince to that end, who in very courteous manner do see the offenders gently reformed or else severely punished if necessity so enforce.

Beside this, in many of our archdeaconries, we have an exercise lately begun which for the most part is called a prophecy or conference, and erected only for the examination or trial of the diligence of the clergy in their study of holy Scriptures. Howbeit, such is the thirsty desire of the people in these days to hear the Word of God that they also have as it were with zealous violence intruded themselves among them (but as hearers only) to come by more knowledge through their presence at the same. Herein also (for the most part) two of the younger sort of ministers do expound each after other some piece of the Scriptures ordinarily appointed unto them in their courses (wherein they orderly go through with some one of the Evangelists, or of the Epistles, as it pleaseth the whole assembly to choose at the first in every of these conferences); and when they have spent an hour or a little more between them, then cometh one of the better learned sort, who, being a graduate for the most part, or known to be a preacher sufficiently authorised and of a sound judgment, supplieth the room of a moderator, making first a brief rehearsal of their discourses, and then adding what him thinketh good of his own knowledge, whereby two hours are thus commonly spent at this most profitable meeting. When all is done, if the first speakers have shewed any piece of diligence, they are commended for their travel, and encouraged to go forward. If they have been found to be slack, or not sound in delivery of their doctrine, their negligence and error is openly reproved before all their brethren, who go aside of purpose from the laity after the exercise ended to judge of these matters, and consult of the next speakers and quantity of the text to be handled in that place. The laity never speak, of course (except some vain and busy head will now and then intrude themselves with offence), but are only hearers; and, as it is used in some places weekly, in other once in fourteen days, in divers monthly, and elsewhere twice in a year, so is it a notable spur unto all the ministers thereby to apply their books, which otherwise (as in times past) would give themselves to hawking, hunting, tables, cards, dice, tippling at the alehouse, shooting of matches, and other like vanities, nothing commendable in such as should be godly and zealous stewards of the good gifts of God, faithful distributors of his Word unto the people, and diligent pastors according to their calling.

But alas! as Sathan, the author of all mischief, hath in sundry manners heretofore hindered the erection and maintenance of many good things, so in this he hath stirred up adversaries of late unto this most profitable exercise, who, not regarding the commodity that riseth thereby so well to the hearers as speakers, but either stumbling (I cannot tell how) at words and terms, or at the leastwise not liking to hear of the reprehension of vice, or peradventure taking a misliking at the slender demeanours of such negligent ministers as now and then in their course do occupy the rooms, have either by their own practice, their sinister information, or suggestions made upon surmises unto other, procured the suppression of these conferences, condemning them as hurtful, pernicious, and daily breeders of no small hurt and inconvenience. But hereof let God be judge, unto the cause belongeth.

Our elders or ministers and deacons (for subdeacons and the other inferior orders sometime used in popish church we have not) are made according to a certain form of consecration concluded upon in the time of King Edward the Sixth by the clergy of England, and soon after confirmed by the three estates of the realm in the high court of parliament. And out of the first sort—that is to say, of such as are called to the ministry (without respect whether they be married or not)—are bishops, deans, archdeacons, and such as have the higher places in the hierarchy of the church elected; and these also, as all the rest, at the first coming unto any spiritual promotion do yield unto the prince the entire tax of that their living for one whole year, if it amount in value unto ten pounds and upwards, and this under the name and title of first fruits.

With us also it is permitted that a sufficient man may (by dispensation from the prince) hold two livings, not distant either from other above thirty miles; whereby it cometh to pass that, as her Majesty doth reap some commodity by the faculty, so that the unition of two in one man doth bring oftentimes more benefit to one of them in a month (I mean for doctrine) than they have had before peradventure in many years.

Many exclaim against such faculties, as if there were more good preachers that want maintenance than livings to maintain them. Indeed when a living is void there are so many suitors for it that a man would think the report to be true, and most certain; but when it cometh to the trial (who are sufficient and who not, who are staid men in conversation, judgment, and learning), of that great number you shall hardly find one or two such as they ought to be, and yet none more earnest to make suit, to promise largely, bear a better shew, or find fault with the stage of things than they. Nevertheless I do not think that their exclamations, if they were wisely handled, are altogether grounded upon rumours or ambitious minds, if you respect the state of the thing itself, and not the necessity growing through want of able men to furnish out all the cures in England, which both our universities are never able to perform. For if you observe what numbers of preachers Cambridge and Oxford do yearly send forth, and how many new compositions are made in the Court of First Fruits by the deaths of the last incumbents, you shall soon see a difference. Wherefore, if in country towns and cities, yea even in London itself, four or five of the little churches were brought into one, the inconvenience would in great part be redressed and amended.

And, to say truth, one most commonly of those small livings is of so little value that it is not able to maintain a mean scholar, much less a learned man, as not being above ten, twelve, sixteen, seventeen, twenty, or thirty pounds at the most, toward their charges, which now (more than before time) do go out of the same. I say more than before, because every small trifle, nobleman's request, or courtesy craved by the bishop, doth impose and command a twentieth part, a three score part, or twopence in the pound, etc., out of the livings, which hitherto hath not been usually granted, but by the consent of a synod, wherein things were decided according to equity, and the poorer sort considered of, which now are equally burdened.

We pay also the tenths of our livings to the prince yearly, according to such valuation of each of them as hath been lately made: which nevertheless in time past were not annual, but voluntary, and paid at request of king or pope.[5]...

[5] Here follows a story about the bootless errand of a pope's legate in 1452.—W.

But to return to our tenths, a payment first as devised by the pope, and afterward taken up as by the prescription of the king, whereunto we may join also our first fruits, which is one whole year's commodity of our living, due at our entrance into the same, the tenths abated unto the prince's coffers, and paid commonly in two years. For the receipt also of these two payments an especial office or court is erected, which beareth name of First Fruits and Tenths, whereunto, if the party to be preferred do not make his dutiful repair by an appointed time after possession taken, there to compound for the payment of his said fruits, he incurreth the danger of a great penalty, limited by a certain statute provided in that behalf against such as do intrude into the ecclesiastical function and refuse to pay the accustomed duties belonging to the same.

They pay likewise subsidies with the temporalty, but in such sort that if these pay after four shillings for land, the clergy contribute commonly after six shillings of the pound, so that of a benefice of twenty pounds by the year the incumbent thinketh himself well acquitted if, all ordinary payments being discharged, he may reserve thirteen pounds six shillings eightpence towards his own sustentation or maintenance of his family. Seldom also are they without the compass of a subsidy; for if they be one year clear from this payment (a thing not often seen of late years), they are like in the next to hear of another grant: so that I say again they are seldom without the limit of a subsidy. Herein also they somewhat find themselves grieved that the laity may at every taxation help themselves, and so they do, through consideration had of their decay and hindrance, and yet their impoverishment cannot but touch also the parson or vicar, unto whom such liberty is denied, as is daily to be seen in their accounts and tithings.

Some of them also, after the marriages of their children, will have their proportions qualified, or by friendship get themselves quite out of the book. But what stand I upon these things, who have rather to complain of the injury offered by some of our neighbours of the laity, which daily endeavour to bring us also within the compass of their fifteens or taxes for their own ease, whereas the tax of the whole realm, which is commonly greater in the champagne than woodland soil, amounteth only to 37,930 pounds ninepence halfpenny, is a burden easy enough to be borne upon so many shoulders, without the help of the clergy, whose tenths and subsidies make up commonly a double, if not treble sum unto their aforesaid payments? Sometimes also we are threatened with a Melius inquirendum, as if our livings were not racked high enough already. But if a man should seek out where all those church lands which in time past did contribute unto the old sum required or to be made up, no doubt no small number of the laity of all states should be contributors also with us, the prince not defrauded of her expectation and right. We are also charged with armour and munitions from thirty pounds upwards, a thing more needful than divers other charges imposed upon us are convenient, by which and other burdens our ease groweth to be more heavy by a great deal (notwithstanding our immunity from temporal services) than that of the laity, and, for aught that I see, not likely to be diminished, as if the church were now become the ass whereon every market man is to ride and cast his wallet.

The other payments due unto the archbishop and bishop at their several visitations (of which the first is double to the latter), and such also as the archdeacon receive that his synods, etc., remain still as they did without any alteration. Only this I think he added within memory of man, that at the coming of every prince his appointed officers do commonly visit the whole realm under the form of an ecclesiastical inquisition, in which the clergy do usually pay double fees, as unto the archbishop.

Hereby then, and by those already remembered, it is found that the Church of England is no less commodious to the prince's coffers than the state of the laity, if it do not far exceed the same, since their payments are certain, continual, and seldom abated, howsoever they gather up their own duties with grudging, murmuring, suit, and slanderous speeches of the payers, or have their livings otherwise hardly valued unto the uttermost farthing, or shrewdly cancelled by the covetousness of the patrons, of whom some do bestow advowsons of benefices upon their bakers, butlers, cooks, good archers, falconers, and horsekeepers, instead of other recompense, for their long and faithful service, which they employ afterward unto the most advantage.

Certes here they resemble the pope very much; for, as he sendeth out his idols, so do they their parasites, pages, chamberlains, stewards, grooms, and lackeys; and yet these be the men that first exclaim of the insufficiency of the ministers, as hoping thereby in due time to get also their glebes and grounds into their hands. In times past bishoprics went almost after the same manner under the lay princes, and then under the pope, so that he which helped a clerk unto a see was sure to have a present or purse fine, if not an annual pension, besides that which went to the pope's coffers, and was thought to be very good merchandise.

To proceed therefore with the rest, I think it good also to remember that the names usually given unto such as feed the flock remain in like sort as in times past, so that these words, parson, vicar, curate, and such, are not yet abolished more than the canon law itself, which is daily pleaded, as I have said elsewhere, although the statutes of the realm have greatly infringed the large scope and brought the exercise of the same into some narrower limits. There is nothing read in our churches but the canonical Scriptures, whereby it cometh to pass that the Psalter is said over once in thirty days, the New Testament four times, and the Old Testament once in the year. And hereunto, if the curate be adjudged by the bishop or his deputies sufficiently instructed in the holy Scriptures, and therewithal able to teach, he permitteth him to make some exposition or exhortation in his parish unto amendment of life. And for so much as our churches and universities have been so spoiled in time of error, as there cannot yet be had such number of able pastors as may suffice for every parish to have one, there are (beside four sermons appointed by public order in the year) certain sermons or homilies (devised by sundry learned men, confirmed for sound doctrine by consent of the divines, and public authority of the prince), and those appointed to be read by the curates of mean understanding (which homilies do comprehend the principal parts of Christian doctrine, as of original sin, of justification by faith, of charity, and such like) upon the Sabbath days unto the congregation. And, after a certain number of psalms read, which are limited according to the dates of the month, for morning and evening prayer we have two lessons, whereof the first is taken out of the Old Testament, the second out of the New; and of these latter, that in the morning is out of the Gospels, the other in the afternoon out of some one of the Epistles. After morning prayer also, we have the Litany and suffrages, an invocation in mine opinion not devised without the great assistance of the Spirit of God, although many curious mind-sick persons utterly condemn it as superstitious, and savouring of conjuration and sorcery.

This being done, we proceed unto the communion, if any communicants be to receive the Eucharist; if not, we read the Decalogue, Epistle, and Gospel, with the Nicene Creed (of some in derision called the "dry communion"), and then proceed unto an homily or sermon, which hath a psalm before and after it, and finally unto the baptism of such infants as on every Sabbath day (if occasion so require) are brought unto the churches; and thus is the forenoon bestowed. In the afternoon likewise we meet again, and, after the psalms and lessons ended, we have commonly a sermon, or at the leastwise our youth catechised by the space of an hour. And thus do we spend the Sabbath day in good and godly exercises, all done in our vulgar tongue, that each one present may hear and understand the same, which also in cathedral and collegiate churches is so ordered that the psalms only are sung by note, the rest being read (as in common parish churches) by the minister with a loud voice, saving that in the administration of the communion the choir singeth the answers, the creed, and sundry other things appointed, but in so plain, I say, and distinct manner that each one present may understand what they sing, every word having but one note, though the whole Harmony consist of many parts, and those very cunningly set by the skilful in that science.

Certes this translation of the service of the church into the vulgar tongue hath not a little offended the pope almost in every age, as a thing very often attempted by divers princes, but never generally obtained, for fear lest the consenting thereunto might breed the overthrow (as it would indeed) of all his religion and hierarchy; nevertheless, in some places where the kings and princes dwelled not under his nose, it was performed maugre his resistance. Wratislaus, Duke of Bohemia, would long since have done the like also in his kingdom; but, not daring to venture so far without the consent of the pope, he wrote unto him thereof, and received his answer inhibitory unto all his proceeding in the same....

I would set down two or three more of the like instruments passed from that see unto the like end, but this shall suffice, being less common than the other, which are to be had more plentifully.

As for our churches themselves, bells and times of morning and evening prayer remain as in times past, saving that all images, shrines, tabernacles, rood-lofts, and monuments of idolatry are removed, taken down, and defaced, only the stories in glass windows excepted, which, for want of sufficient store of new stuff, and by reason of extreme charge that should grow by the alteration of the same into white panes throughout the realm, are not altogether abolished in most places at once, but by little and little suffered to decay, that white glass may be provided and set up in their rooms. Finally, whereas there was wont to be a great partition between the choir and the body of the church, now it is either very small or none at all, and (to say the truth) altogether needless, sith the minister saith his service commonly in the body of the church, with his face toward the people, in a little tabernacle of wainscot provided for the purpose, by which means the ignorant do not only learn divers of the psalms and usual prayers by heart, but also such as can read do pray together with him, so that the whole congregation at one instant pour out their petitions unto the living God for the whole estate of His church in most earnest and fervent manner. Our holy and festival days are very well reduced also unto a less number; for whereas (not long since) we had under the pope four score and fifteen, called festival, and thirty profesti, beside the Sundays, they are all brought unto seven and twenty, and, with them, the superfluous numbers of idle wakes, guilds, fraternities, church-ales, help-ales, and soul-ales, called also dirge-ales, with the heathenish rioting at bride-ales, are well diminished and laid aside. And no great matter were it if the feasts of all our apostles, evangelists, and martyrs, with that of all saints, were brought to the holy days that follow upon Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and those of the Virgin Mary, with the rest, utterly removed from the calendars, as neither necessary nor commendable in a reformed church.

The apparel in like sort of our clergymen is comely, and, in truth, more decent than ever it was in the popish church, before the universities bound their graduates unto a stable attire, afterward usurped also even by the blind Sir Johns. For, if you peruse well my Chronology ensuing, you shall find that they went either in divers colours like players, or in garments of light hue, as yellow, red, green, etc., with their shoes piked, their hair crisped, their girdles armed with silver, their shoes, spurs, bridles, etc., buckled with like metal, their apparel (for the most part) of silk, and richly furred, their caps laced and buttoned with gold, so that to meet a priest in those days was to behold a peacock that spreadeth his tail when he danceth before the hen, which now (I say) is well reformed. Touching hospitality, there was never any greater used in England, sith by reason that marriage is permitted to him that will choose that kind of life, their meat and drink is more orderly and frugally dressed, their furniture of household more convenient and better looked unto, and the poor oftener fed generally than heretofore they have been, when only a few bishops and double or treble beneficed men did make good cheer at Christmas only, or otherwise kept great houses for the entertainment of the rich, which did often see and visit them. It is thought much peradventure that some bishops, etc., in our time do come short of the ancient gluttony and prodigality of their predecessors; but to such as do consider of the curtailing of their livings, or excessive prices whereunto things are grown, and how their course is limited by law, and estate looked into on every side, the cause of their so doing is well enough perceived. This also offended many, that they should, after their deaths, leave their substances to their wives and children, whereas they consider not that in old time such as had no lemans nor bastards (very few were there, God wot, of this sort) did leave their goods and possessions to their brethren and kinsfolks, whereby (as I can shew by good record) many houses of gentility have grown and been erected. If in any age some one of them did found a college, almshouse, or school, if you look unto these our times, you shall see no fewer deeds of charity done, nor better grounded upon the right stub of piety than before. If you say that their wives be fond, after the decease of their husbands, and bestow themselves not so advisedly as their calling requireth (which, God knoweth, these curious surveyors make small account of truth, further than thereby to gather matter of reprehension), I beseech you then to look into all states of the laity, and tell me whether some duchesses, countesses, barons' or knights' wives, do not fully so often offend in the like as they? For Eve will be Eve, though Adam would say nay. Not a few also find fault with our threadbare gowns, as if not our patrons but our wives were causes of our woe. But if it were known to all that I know to have been performed of late in Essex, where a minister taking a benefice (of less than twenty pounds in the Queen's books, so far as I remember) was enforced to pay to his patron twenty quarters of oats, ten quarters of wheat, and sixteen yearly of barley (which he called hawks' meat), and another let the like in farm to his patron for ten pounds by the year which is well worth forty at the least, the cause of our threadbare gowns would easily appear: for such patrons do scrape the wool from our cloaks. Wherefore I may well say that such a threadbare minister is either an ill man or hath an ill patron, or both; and when such cooks and cobbling shifters shall be removed and weeded out of the ministry, I doubt not but our patrons will prove better men, and be reformed whether they will or not, or else the single-minded bishops shall see the living bestowed upon such as do deserve it. When the Pragmatic Sanction took place first in France, it was supposed that these enormities should utterly have ceased; but when the elections of bishops came once into the hands of the canons and spiritual men, it grew to be far worse. For they also, within a while waxing covetous, by their own experience learned aforehand, raised the markets, and sought after new gains by the gifts of the greatest livings in that country, wherein (as Machiavelli writeth) are eighteen archbishoprics, one hundred forty and five bishoprics, 740 abbeys, eleven universities, 1,000,700 steeples (if his report be sound). Some are of the opinion that, if sufficient men in every town might be sent for from the universities, this mischief would soon be remedied; but I am clean of another mind. For, when I consider whereunto the gifts of fellowships in some places are grown, the profit that ariseth at sundry elections of scholars out of grammar schools to the posers, schoolmasters, and preferers of them to our universities, the gifts of a great number of almshouses builded for the maimed and impotent soldiers by princes and good men heretofore moved with a pitiful consideration of the poor distressed, how rewards, pensions, and annuities also do reign in other cases whereby the giver is brought sometimes into extreme misery, and that not so much as the room of a common soldier is not obtained oftentimes without a "What will you give me?" I am brought into such a mistrust of the sequel of this device that I dare pronounce (almost for certain) that, if Homer were now alive, it should be said to him:

"Tuque licet venias musis comitatus Homere, Si nihil attuleris, ibis Homere foras!"

More I could say, and more I would say, of these and other things, were it not that in mine own judgment I have said enough already for the advertisement of such as be wise. Nevertheless, before I finish this chapter, I will add a word or two (so briefly as I can) of the old estate of cathedral churches, which I have collected together here and there among the writers, and whereby it shall easily be seen what they were, and how near the government of ours do in these days approach unto them; for that there is an irreconcilable odds between them and those of the Papists. I hope there is no learned man indeed but will acknowledge and yield unto it.

We find therefore in the time of the primitive church that there was in every see or jurisdiction one school at the least, whereunto such as were catechists in Christian religion did resort. And hereof, as we may find great testimony for Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, and Jerusalem, so no small notice is left of the like in the inferior sort, if the names of such as taught in them be called to mind, and the histories well read which make report of the same. These schools were under the jurisdiction of the bishops, and from thence did they and the rest of the elders choose out such as were the ripest scholars, and willing to serve in the ministry, whom they placed also in their cathedral churches, there not only to be further instructed in the knowledge of the world, but also to inure them to the delivery of the same unto the people in sound manner, to minister the sacraments, to visit the sick and brethren imprisoned, and to perform such other duties as then belonged to their charges. The bishop himself and elders of the church were also hearers and examiners of their doctrine; and, being in process of time found meet workmen for the Lord's harvest, they were forthwith sent abroad (after imposition of hands and prayer generally made for their good proceeding) to some place or other then destitute of her pastor, and other taken from the school also placed in their rooms. What number of such clerks belonged now and then to some one see, the Chronology following shall easily declare; and, in like sort, what officers, widows, and other persons were daily maintained in those seasons by the offerings and oblations of the faithful it is incredible to be reported, if we compare the same with the decays and oblations seen and practised at this present. But what is that in all the world which avarice and negligence will not corrupt and impair? And, as this is a pattern of the estate of the cathedral churches in those times, so I wish that the like order of government might once again be restored unto the same, which may be done with ease, sith the schools are already builded in every diocese, the universities, places of their preferment unto further knowledge, and the cathedral churches great enough to receive so many as shall come from thence to be instructed unto doctrine. But one hindrance of this is already and more and more to be looked for (beside the plucking and snatching commonly seen from such houses and the church), and that is, the general contempt of the ministry, and small consideration of their former pains taken, whereby less and less hope of competent maintenance by preaching the word is likely to ensue. Wherefore the greatest part of the more excellent wits choose rather to employ their studies unto physic and the laws, utterly giving over the study of the Scriptures, for fear lest they should in time not get their bread by the same. By this means also the stalls in their choirs would be better filled, which now (for the most part) are empty, and prebends should be prebends indeed, there to live till they were preferred to some ecclesiastical function, and then other men chosen to succeed them in their rooms, whereas now prebends are but superfluous additiments unto former excesses, and perpetual commodities unto the owners, which before time were but temporal (as I have said before). But as I have good leisure to wish for these things, so it shall be a longer time before it will be brought to pass. Nevertheless, as I will pray for a reformation in this behold, so will I here conclude my discourse on the estate of our churches.



CHAPTER VI

OF THE FOOD AND DIET OF THE ENGLISH

[1577, Book III., Chapter 1; 1587, Book II., Chapter 6.]

The situation of our region, lying near unto the north, doth cause the heat of our stomachs to be of somewhat greater force: therefore our bodies do crave a little more ample nourishment than the inhabitants of the hotter regions are accustomed withal, whose digestive force is not altogether so vehement, because their internal heat is not so strong as ours, which is kept in by the coldness of the air that from time to time (especially in winter) doth environ our bodies.

It is no marvel therefore that our tables are oftentimes more plentifully garnished than those of other nations, and this trade hath continued with us even since the very beginning. For, before the Romans found out and knew the way unto our country, our predecessors fed largely upon flesh and milk, whereof there was great abundance in this isle, because they applied their chief studies unto pasturage and feeding. After this manner also did our Welsh Britons order themselves in their diet so long as they lived of themselves, but after they became to be united and made equal with the English they framed their appetites to live after our manner, so that at this day there is very little difference between us in our diets.

In Scotland likewise they have given themselves (of late years to speak of) unto very ample and large diet, wherein as for some respect nature doth make them equal with us, so otherwise they far exceed us in over much and distemperate gormandise, and so ingross their bodies that divers of them do oft become unapt to any other purpose than to spend their times in large tabling and belly cheer. Against this pampering of their carcasses doth Hector Boethius in his description of the country very sharply inveigh in the first chapter of that treatise. Henry Wardlaw also, bishop of St. Andrews, noting their vehement alteration from competent frugality into excessive gluttony to be brought out of England with James the First (who had been long time prisoner there under the fourth and fifth Henries, and at his return carried divers English gentlemen into his country with him, whom he very honourably preferred there), doth vehemently exclaim against the same in open Parliament holden at Perth, 1433, before the three estates, and so bringeth his purpose to pass in the end, by force of his learned persuasions, that a law was presently made there for the restraint of superfluous diet; amongst other things, baked meats (dishes never before this man's days seen in Scotland) were generally so provided for by virtue of this Act that it was not lawful for any to eat of the same under the degree of a gentleman, and those only but on high and festival days. But, alas, it was soon forgotten!

In old time these north Britons did give themselves universally to great abstinence, and in time of wars their soldiers would often feed but once or twice at the most in two or three days (especially if they held themselves in secret, or could have no issue out of their bogs and marshes, through the presence of the enemy), and in this distress they used to eat a certain kind of confection, whereof so much as a bean would qualify their hunger above common expectation. In woods moreover they lived with herbs and roots, or, if these shifts served not through want of such provision at hand, then used they to creep into the water or said moorish plots up unto the chins, and there remain a long time, only to qualify the heats of their stomachs by violence, which otherwise would have wrought and been ready to oppress them for hunger and want of sustenance. In those days likewise it was taken for a great offence over all to eat either goose, hare, or hen, because of a certain superstitious opinion which they had conceived of those three creatures; howbeit after that the Romans, I say, had once found an entrance into this island it was not long ere open shipwreck was made of this religious observation, so that in process of time so well the north and south Britons as the Romans gave over to make such difference in meats as they had done before.

From thenceforth also unto our days, and even in this season wherein we live, there is no restraint of any meat either for religious sake or public order in England, but it is lawful for every man to feed upon whatsoever he is able to purchase, except it be upon those days whereon eating of flesh is especially forbidden by the laws of the realm, which order is taken only to the end our numbers of cattle may be the better increased and that abundance of fish which the sea yieldeth more generally received. Besides this, there is great consideration had in making this law for the preservation of the navy and maintenance of convenient numbers of seafaring men, both which would otherwise greatly decay if some means were not found whereby they might be increased. But, howsoever this case standeth, white meats, milk, butter, and cheese (which were never so dear as in my time, and wont to be accounted of as one of the chief stays throughout the island) are now reputed as food appertinent only to the inferior sort, whilst such as are more wealthy do feed upon the flesh of all kinds of cattle accustomed to be eaten, all sorts of fish taken upon our coasts and in our fresh rivers, and such diversity of wild and tame fowls as are either bred in our island or brought over unto us from other countries of the main.

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of England (whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed Frenchmen and strangers) do most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth over their heads wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth, but also some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates wherein the sweet hand of the seafaring Portugal is not wanting: so that for a man to dine with one of them, and to taste of every dish that standeth before him (which few used to do, but each one feedeth upon that meat him best liketh for the time, the beginning of every dish notwithstanding being reserved unto the greatest personage that sitteth at the table, to whom it is drawn up still by the waiters as order requireth, and from whom it descendeth again even to the lower end, whereby each one may taste thereof), is rather to yield unto a conspiracy with a great deal of meat for the speedy suppression of natural health than the use of a necessary mean to satisfy himself with a competent repast to sustain his body withal. But, as this large feeding is not seen in their guests, no more is it in their own persons; for, sith they have daily much resort unto their tables (and many times unlooked for), and thereto retain great numbers of servants, it is very requisite and expedient for them to be somewhat plentiful in this behalf.

The chief part likewise of their daily provision is brought in before them (commonly in silver vessels, if they be of the degree of barons, bishops, and upwards) and placed on their tables, whereof, when they have taken what it pleaseth them, the rest is reserved, and afterwards sent down to their serving men and waiters, who feed thereon in like sort with convenient moderation, their reversion also being bestowed upon the poor which lie ready at their gates in great numbers to receive the same. This is spoken of the principal tables whereat the nobleman, his lady, and guests are accustomed to sit; besides which they have a certain ordinary allowance daily appointed for their halls, where the chief officers and household servants (for all are not permitted by custom to wait upon their master), and with them such inferior guests do feed as are not of calling to associate the nobleman himself; so that, besides those afore-mentioned, which are called to the principal table, there are commonly forty or three score persons fed in those halls, to the great relief of such poor suitors and strangers also as oft be partakers thereof and otherwise like to dine hardly. As for drink, it is usually filled in pots, goblets, jugs, bowls of silver, in noblemen's houses; also in fine Venice glasses of all forms; and, for want of these elsewhere, in pots of earth of sundry colours and moulds, whereof many are garnished with silver, or at the leastwise in pewter, all which notwithstanding are seldom set on the table, but each one, as necessity urgeth, calleth for a cup of such drink as him listeth to have, so that, when he has tasted of it, he delivered the cup again to some one of the standers by, who, making it clean by pouring out the drink that remaineth, restoreth it to the cupboard from whence he fetched the same. By this device (a thing brought up at the first by Mnesitheus of Athens, in conservation of the honour of Orestes, who had not yet made expiation for the death of his adulterous parents, Aegisthus and Clytemnestra) much idle tippling is furthermore cut off; for, if the full pots should continually stand at the elbow or near the trencher, divers would always be dealing with them, whereas now they drink seldom, and only when necessity urgeth, and so avoid the note of great drinking, or often troubling of the servitors with filling of their bowls. Nevertheless in the noblemen's halls this order is not used, neither is any man's house commonly under the degree of a knight or esquire of great revenues. It is a world to see in these our days, wherein gold and silver most aboundeth, how that our gentility, as loathing those metals (because of the plenty) do now generally choose rather the Venice glasses, both for our wine and beer, than any of those metals or stone wherein before time we have been accustomed to drink; but such is the nature of man generally that it most coveteth things difficult to be attained; and such is the estimation of this stuff that many become rich only with their new trade unto Murana (a town near to Venice, situate on the Adriatic Sea), from whence the very best are daily to be had, and such as for beauty do well near match the crystal or the ancient murrhina vasa whereof now no man hath knowledge. And as this is seen in the gentility, so in the wealthy communalty the like desire of glass is not neglected, whereby the gain gotten by their purchase is yet much more increased to the benefit of the merchant. The poorest also will have glass if they may; but, sith the Venetian is somewhat too dear for them, they content themselves with such as are made at home of fern and burned stone; but in fine all go one way—that is, to shards at the last, so that our great expenses in glasses (beside that they breed much strife toward such as have the charge of them) are worst of all bestowed in mine opinion, because their pieces do turn unto no profit. If the philosopher's stone were once found, and one part hereof mixed with forty of molten glass, it would induce such a metallical toughness thereunto that a fall should nothing hurt it in such manner; yet it might peradventure bunch or batter it; nevertheless that inconvenience were quickly to be redressed by the hammer. But whither am I slipped?

The gentlemen and merchants keep much about one rate, and each of them contenteth himself with four, five, or six dishes, when they have but small resort, or peradventure with one, or two, or three at the most, when they have no strangers to accompany them at their tables. And yet their servants have their ordinary diet assigned, beside such as is left at their master's boards, and not appointed to be brought thither the second time, which nevertheless is often seen, generally in venison, lamb, or some especial dish, whereon the merchantman himself liketh to feed when it is cold, or peradventure for sundry causes incident to the feeder is better so than if it were warm or hot. To be short, at such times as the merchants do make their ordinary or voluntary feasts, it is a world to see what great provision is made of all manner of delicate meats, from every quarter of the country, wherein, beside that they are often comparable herein to the nobility of the land, they will seldom regard anything that the butcher usually killeth, but reject the same as not worthy to come in place. In such cases also jellies of all colours, mixed with a variety in the representation of sundry flowers, herbs, trees, forms of beasts, fish, fowls, and fruits, and thereunto marchpane wrought with no small curiosity, tarts of divers hues, and sundry denominations, conserves of old fruits, foreign and home-bred, suckets, codinacs, marmalades, marchpane, sugar-bread, gingerbread, florentines, wild fowls, venison of all sorts, and sundry outlandish confections, altogether seasoned with sugar (which Pliny calleth mel ex arundinibus, a device not common nor greatly used in old time at the table, but only in medicine, although it grew in Arabia, India, and Sicilia), do generally bear the sway, besides infinite devices of our own not possible for me to remember. Of the potato, and such venerous roots as are brought out of Spain, Portugal, and the Indies to furnish up our banquets, I speak not, wherein our mures[1] of no less force, and to be had about Crosby-Ravenswath, do now begin to have place.

[1] Sweet cicely, sometimes miscalled myrrh. Mure is the Saxon word. At one time the plant was not uncommon as a salad.—W.

But among all these, the kind of meat which is obtained with most difficulty and costs, is commonly taken for the most delicate, and thereupon each guest will soonest desire to feed. And as all estates do exceed herein, I mean for strangeness and number of costly dishes, so these forget not to use the like excess in wine, insomuch as there is no kind to be had, neither anywhere more store of all sorts than in England, although we have none growing with us but yearly to the proportion of 20,000 of 30,000 tun and upwards, notwithstanding the daily restraints of the same brought over unto us, whereof at great meetings there is not some store to be had. Neither do I mean this of small wines only, as claret, white, red, French, etc., which amount to about fifty-six sorts, according to the number of regions from whence they came, but also of the thirty kinds of Italian, Grecian, Spanish, Canarian, etc., whereof vernage, catepument, raspis, muscadell, romnie, bastard lire, osy caprie, clary, and malmesey, are not least of all accompted of, because of their strength and valour. For, as I have said in meat, so, the stronger the wine is, the more it is desired, by means whereof, in old time, the best was called theologicum, because it was had from the clergy and religious men, unto whose houses many of the laity would often send for bottles filled with the same, being sure they would neither drink nor be served of the worst, or such as was any ways mingled or brewed by the vinterer: nay, the merchant would have thought that his soul should have gone straightway to the devil if he should have served them with other than the best. Furthermore, when these have had their course which nature yieldeth, sundry sorts of artificial stuff as ypocras and wormwood wine must in like manner succeed in their turns, beside stale ale and strong beer, which nevertheless bear the greatest brunt in drinking, and are of so many sorts and ages as it pleaseth the brewer to make them.

The beer that is used at noblemen's tables in their fixed and standing houses is commonly a year old, or peradventure of two years' tunning or more; but this is not general. It is also brewed in March, and therefore called March beer; but, for the household, it is usually not under a month's age, each one coveting to have the same stale as he may, so that it be not sour, and his bread new as is possible, so that it be not hot.

The artificer and husbandman makes greatest account of such meat as they may soonest come by, and have it quickliest ready, except it be in London when the companies of every trade do meet on their quarter days, at which time they be nothing inferior to the nobility. Their food also consisteth principally in beef, and such meat as the butcher selleth—that is to say, mutton, veal, lamb, pork, etc., whereof he findeth great store in the markets adjoining, beside sows, brawn, bacon, fruit, pies of fruit, fowls of sundry sorts, cheese, butter, eggs, etc., as the other wanteth it not at home, by his own provision which is at the best hand, and commonly least charge. In feasting also, this latter sort, I mean the husbandmen, do exceed after their manner, especially at bridals, purifications of women, and such odd meetings, where it is incredible to tell what meat is consumed and spent, each one bringing such a dish, or so many with him, as his wife and he do consult upon, but always with this consideration, that the lesser friend shall have the better provision. This also is commonly seen at these banquets, that the good man of the house is not charged with anything saving bread, drink, sauce, house-room, and fire. But the artificers in cities and good towns do deal far otherwise; for, albeit that some of them do suffer their jaws to go oft before their claws, and divers of them, by making good cheer, do hinder themselves and other men, yet the wiser sort can handle the matter well enough in these junketings, and therefore their frugality deserveth commendation. To conclude, both the artificer and the husbandman are sufficiently liberal, and very friendly at their tables; and, when they meet, they are so merry without malice, and plain without inward Italian or French craft and subtlety, that it would do a man good to be in company among them. Herein only are the inferior sort somewhat to be blamed, that, being thus assembled, their talk is now and then such as savoureth of scurrility and ribaldry, a thing naturally incident to carters and clowns, who think themselves not to be merry and welcome if their foolish veins in this behalf be never so little restrained. This is moreover to be added in these meetings, that if they happen to stumble upon a piece of venison and a cup of wine or very strong beer or ale (which latter they commonly provide against their appointed days), they think their cheer so great, and themselves to have fared so well, as the Lord Mayor of London, with whom, when their bellies be full, they will not often stick to make comparison, because that of a subject there is no public officer of any city in Europe that may compare in port and countenance with him during the time of his office.

I might here talk somewhat of the great silence that is used at the tables of the honourable and wiser sort generally over all the realm (albeit that too much deserveth no commendation, for it belongeth to guests neither to be muti nor loquaces[2]), likewise of the moderate eating and drinking that is daily seen, and finally of the regard that each one hath to keep himself from the note of surfeiting and drunkenness (for which cause salt meat, except beef, bacon, and pork, are not any whit esteemed, and yet these three may not be much powdered); but, as in rehearsal thereof I should commend the nobleman, merchant, and frugal artificer, so I could not clear the meaner sort of husbandmen and country inhabitants of very much babbling (except it be here and there some odd yeoman), with whom he is thought to be the merriest that talketh of most ribaldry or the wisest man that speaketh fastest among them, and now and then surfeiting and drunkenness which they rather fall into for want of heed taking than wilfully following or delighting in those errors of set mind and purpose. It may be that divers of them living at home, with hard and pinching diet, small drink, and some of them having scarce enough of that, are soonest overtaken when they come into such banquets, howbeit they take it generally as no small disgrace if they happen to be cupshotten, so that it is a grief unto them, though now sans remedy, sith the thing is done and past. If the friends also of the wealthier sort come to their houses from far, they are commonly so welcome till they depart as upon the first day of their coming; whereas in good towns and cities, as London, etc., men oftentimes complain of little room, and, in reward of a fat capon or plenty of beef and mutton largely bestowed upon them in the country, a cup of wine or beer with a napkin to wipe their lips and an "You are heartily welcome!" is thought to be a great entertainment; and therefore the old country clerks have framed this saying in that behalf, I mean upon the entertainment of townsmen and Londoners after the days of their abode, in this manner:

"Primus jucundus, tollerabilis estque secundus, Tertius est vanus, sed fetet quatriduanus."

[2] Neither "silent" nor "garrulous."

The bread throughout the land is made of such grain as the soil yieldeth; nevertheless the gentility commonly provide themselves sufficiently of wheat for their own tables, whilst their household and poor neighbours in some shires are forced to content themselves with rye, or barley, yea, and in time of dearth, many with bread made either of beans, peas, of oats, or of altogether and some acorns among, of which scourge the poorest do soonest taste, sith they are least able to provide themselves of better. I will not say that this extremity is oft so well to be seen in time of plenty as of dearth, but, if I should, I could easily bring my trial. For, albeit that there be much more ground eared now almost in every place than hath been of late years, yet such a price of corn continueth in each town and market without any just cause (except it be that landlords do get licences to carry corn out of the land only to keep up the prices for their own private gains and ruin of the commonwealth), that the artificer and poor labouring man is not able to reach unto it, but is driven to content himself with horse corn—I mean beans, peas, oats, tares, and lentils: and therefore it is a true proverb, and never so well verified as now, that "Hunger setteth his first foot into the horse-manger."[3] If the world last awhile after this rate, wheat and rye will be no grain for poor men to feed on; and some caterpillars there are that can say so much already.

[3] A famine at hand is first seen in the horse-manger, when the poor do fall to horse corn.—H.

Of bread made of wheat we have sundry sorts daily brought to the table, whereof the first and most excellent is the manchet, which we commonly call white bread, in Latin primarius panis, whereof Budeus also speaketh, in his first book De asse; and our good workmen deliver commonly such proportion that of the flour of one bushel with another they make forty cast of manchet, of which every loaf weigheth eight ounces into the oven, and six ounces out, as I have been informed. The second is the cheat or wheaten bread, so named because the colour thereof resembleth the grey or yellowish wheat, being clean and well dressed, and out of this is the coarsest of the bran (usually called gurgeons or pollard) taken. The ravelled is a kind of cheat bread also, but it retaineth more of the gross, and less of the pure substance of the wheat; and this, being more slightly wrought up, is used in the halls of the nobility and gentry only, whereas the other either is or should be baked in cities and good towns of an appointed size (according to such price as the corn doth bear), and by a statute provided by King John in that behalf.[4] The ravelled cheat therefore is generally so made that out of one bushel of meal, after two and twenty pounds of bran be sifted and taken from it (whereunto they add the gurgeons that rise from the manchet), they make thirty cast, every loaf weighing eighteen ounces into the oven, and sixteen ounces out; and, beside this, they so handle the matter that to every bushel of meal they add only two and twenty, or three and twenty, pound of water, washing also (in some houses) their corn before it go to the mill, whereby their manchet bread is more excellent in colour, and pleasing to the eye, than otherwise it would be. The next sort is named brown bread, of the colour of which we have two sorts one baked up as it cometh from the mill, so that neither the bran nor the flour are any whit diminished; this, Celsus called autopirus panis, lib. 2, and putteth it in the second place of nourishment. The other hath little or no flour left therein at all, howbeit he calleth it Panem Cibarium, and it is not only the worst and weakest of all the other sorts, but also appointed in old time for servants, slaves, and the inferior kind of people to feed upon. Hereunto likewise, because it is dry and brickle in the working (for it will hardly be made up handsomely into loaves), some add a portion of rye meal in our time, whereby the rough dryness or dry roughness thereof is somewhat qualified, and then it is named miscelin, that is, bread made of mingled corn, albeit that divers do sow or mingle wheat and rye of set purpose at the mill, or before it come there, and sell the same at the markets under the aforesaid name.

[4] The size of bread is very ill kept or not at all looked unto in the country towns or markets.—H.

In champaign countries much rye and barley bread is eaten, but especially where wheat is scant and geson. As for the difference that it is between the summer and winter wheat, most husbandmen know it not, sith they are neither acquainted with summer wheat nor winter barley; yet here and there I find of both sorts, specially in the north and about Kendal, where they call it March wheat, and also of summer rye, but in so small quantities as that I dare not pronounce them to be greatly common among us.

Our drink, whose force and continuance is partly touched already, is made of barley, water, and hops, sodden and mingled together, by the industry of our brewers in a certain exact proportion. But, before our barley do come into their hands, it sustaineth great alteration, and is converted into malt, the making whereof I will here set down in such order as my skill therein may extend unto (for I am scarce a good maltster), chiefly for that foreign writers have attempted to describe the same, and the making of our beer, wherein they have shot so far wide, as the quantity of ground was between themselves and their mark. In the meantime bear with me, gentle reader (I beseech thee), that lead thee from the description of the plentiful diet of our country unto the fond report of a servile trade, or rather from a table delicately furnished into a musty malt-house; but such is now thy hap, wherefore I pray thee be contented.

Our malt is made all the year long in some great towns; but in gentlemen's and yeomen's houses, who commonly make sufficient for their own expenses only, the winter half is thought most meet for that commodity: howbeit the malt that is made when the willow doth bud is commonly worst of all. Nevertheless each one endeavoureth to make it of the best barley, which is steeped in a cistern, in greater or less quantity, by the space of three days and three nights, until it be thoroughly soaked. This being done, the water is drained from it by little and little, till it be quite gone. Afterward they take it out, and, laying it upon the clean floor on a round heap, it resteth so until it be ready to shoot at the root end, which maltsters call combing. When it beginneth therefore to shoot in this manner, they say it is come, and then forthwith they spread it abroad, first thick, and afterwards thinner and thinner upon the said floor (as it combeth), and there it lieth (with turning every day four or five times) by the space of one and twenty days at the least, the workmen not suffering it in any wise to take any heat, whereby the bud end should spire, that bringeth forth the blade, and by which oversight or hurt of the stuff itself the malt would be spoiled and turn small commodity to the brewer. When it hath gone, or been turned, so long upon the floor, they carry it to a kiln covered with hair cloth, where they give it gentle heats (after they have spread it there very thin abroad) till it be dry, and in the meanwhile they turn it often, that it may be uniformly dried. For the more it be dried (yet must it be done with soft fire) the sweeter and better the malt is, and the longer it will continue, whereas, if it be not dried down (as they call it), but slackly handled, it will breed a kind of worm called a weevil, which groweth in the flour of the corn, and in process of time will so eat out itself that nothing shall remain of the grain but even the very rind or husk.

The best malt is tried by the hardness and colour; for, if it look fresh with a yellow hue, and thereto will write like a piece of chalk, after you have bitten a kernel in sunder in the midst, then you may assure yourself that it is dried down. In some places it is dried at leisure with wood alone or straw alone, in others with wood and straw together; but, of all, the straw dried is the most excellent. For the wood-dried malt when it is brewed, beside that the drink is higher of colour, it doth hurt and annoy the head of him that is not used thereto, because of the smoke. Such also as use both indifferently do bark, cleave, and dry their wood in an oven, thereby to remove all moisture that should procure the fume; and this malt is in the second place, and, with the same likewise, that which is made with dried furze, broom, etc.: whereas, if they also be occupied green, they are in manner so prejudicial to the corn as is the moist wood. And thus much of our malts, in brewing whereof some grind the same somewhat grossly, and, in seething well the liquor that shall be put into it, they add to every nine quarters of malt one of headcorn (which consisteth of sundry grain, as wheat and oats ground). But what have I to do with this matter, or rather so great a quantity, wherewith I am not acquainted? Nevertheless, sith I have taken occasion to speak of brewing, I will exemplify in such a proportion as I am best skilled in, because it is the usual rate for mine own family, and once in a month practised by my wife and her maid-servants, who proceed withal after this manner, as she hath oft informed me.

Having therefore ground eight bushels of good malt upon our quern, where the toll is saved, she addeth unto it half a bushel of wheat meal, and so much of oats small ground, and so tempereth or mixeth them with the malt that you cannot easily discern the one from the other; otherwise these latter would clunter, fall into lumps, and thereby become unprofitable. The first liquor (which is full eighty gallons, according to the proportion of our furnace) she maketh boiling hot, and then poureth it softly into the malt, where it resteth (but without stirring) until her second liquor be almost ready to boil. This done, she letteth her mash run till the malt be left without liquor, or at the leastwise the greatest part of the moisture, which she perceiveth by the stay and soft issue thereof; and by this time her second liquor in the furnace is ready to seethe, which is put also to the malt, as the first woort also again into the furnace, whereunto she addeth two pounds of the best English hops, and so letteth them seethe together by the space of two hours in summer or an hour and a half in winter, whereby it getteth an excellent colour, and continuance without impeachment or any superfluous tartness. But, before she putteth her first woort into the furnace, or mingleth it with the hops, she taketh out a vessel full, of eight or nine gallons, which she shutteth up close, and suffereth no air to come into it till it become yellow, and this she reserveth by itself unto further use, as shall appear hereafter, calling it brackwoort or charwoort, and, as she saith, it addeth also to the colour of the drink, whereby it yieldeth not unto amber or fine gold in hue unto the eye. By this time also her second woort is let run; and, the first being taken out of the furnace, and placed to cool, she returneth the middle woort unto the furnace, where it is stricken over, or from whence it is taken again, when it beginneth to boil, and mashed the second time, whilst the third liquor is heat (for there are three liquors), and this last put into the furnace, when the second is mashed again. When she hath mashed also the last liquor (and set the second to cool by the first), she letteth it run, and then seetheth it again with a pound and a half of new hops, or peradventure two pounds, as she seeth cause by the goodness or baseness of the hops, and, when it hath sodden, in summer two hours, and in winter an hour and a half, she striketh it also, and reserveth it unto mixture with the rest when time doth serve therefore. Finally, when she setteth her drink together, she addeth to her brackwoort or charwoort half an ounce of arras, and half a quarter of an ounce of bayberries, finely powdered, and then, putting the same into her woort, with a handful of wheat flour, she proceedeth in such usual order as common brewing requireth, Some, instead of arras and bays, add so much long pepper only, but, in her opinion and my liking, it is not so good as the first, and hereof we make three hogsheads of good beer, such (I mean) as is meet for poor men as I am to live withal, whoso small maintenance (for what great thing is forty pounds a year, computatis computandis, able to perform?) may endure no deeper cut, the charges whereof groweth in this manner. I value my malt at ten shillings, my wood at four shillings (which I buy), my hops at twenty pence, the spice at twopence, servants' wages two shillings sixpence, with meat and drink, and the wearing of my vessel at twenty pence, so that for my twenty shillings I have ten score gallons of beer or more, notwithstanding the loss in seething, which some, being loth to forego, do not observe the time, and therefore speed thereafter in their success, and worthily. The continuance of the drink is always determined after the quantity of the hops, so that being well hopt it lasteth longer. For it feedeth upon the hop, and holdeth out so long as the force of the same continueth, which being extinguished, the drink must be spent, or else it dieth and becometh of no value.

In this trade also our brewers observe very diligently the nature of the water, which they daily occupy, and soil through which it passeth, for all waters are not of like goodness, sith the fattest standing water is always the best; for, although the waters that run by chalk or cledgy soils be good, and next unto the Thames water, which is the most excellent, yet the water that standeth in either of these is the best for us that dwell in the country, as whereon the sun lieth longest, and fattest fish is bred. But, of all other, the fenny and marsh is the worst, and the clearest spring water next unto it. In this business therefore the skilful workman doth redeem the iniquity of that element, by changing of his proportions, which trouble in ale (sometime our only, but now taken with many for old and sick men's drink) is never seen nor heard of. Howbeit, as the beer well sodden in the brewing, and stale, is clear and well coloured as muscadel or malvesey, or rather yellow as the gold noble, as our pot-knights call it, so our ale, which is not at all or very little sodden, and without hops, is more thick, fulsome, and of no such continuance, which are three notable things to be considered in that liquor. But what for that? Certes I know some ale-knights so much addicted thereunto that they will not cease from morrow until even to visit the same, cleansing house after house, till they defile themselves, and either fall quite under the board, or else, not daring to stir from their stools, sit still pinking with their narrow eyes, as half sleeping, till the fume of their adversary be digested that he may go to it afresh. Such slights also have the ale-wives for the utterance of this drink that they will mix it with rosen and salt; but if you heat a knife red-hot, and quench it in the ale so near the bottom of the pot as you can put it, you shall see the rosen come forth hanging on the knife. As for the force of salt, it is well known by the effect, for the more the drinker tippleth, the more he may, and so doth he carry off a dry drunken noll to bed with him, except his luck be the better. But to my purpose.

In some places of England there is a kind of drink made of apples which they call cider or pomage, but that of pears is called perry, and both are ground and pressed in presses made for the nonce. Certes these two are very common in Sussex, Kent, Worcester, and other steeds where these sorts of fruit do abound, howbeit they are not their only drink at all times, but referred unto the delicate sorts of drink, as metheglin is in Wales, whereof the Welshmen make no less account (and not without cause, if it be well handled) than the Greeks did of their ambrosia or nectar, which for the pleasantness thereof was supposed to be such as the gods themselves did delight in. There is a kind of swish-swash made also in Essex, and divers other places, with honeycombs and water, which the homely country wives, putting some pepper and a little other spice among, call mead, very good in mine opinion for such as love to be loose bodied at large, or a little eased of the cough. Otherwise it differeth so much from the true metheglin as chalk from cheese. Truly it is nothing else but the washing of the combs, when the honey is wrung out, and one of the best things that I know belonging thereto is that they spend but little labour, and less cost, in making of the same, and therefore no great loss if it were never occupied. Hitherto of the diet of my countrymen, and somewhat more at large peradventure than many men will like of, wherefore I think good now to finish this tractation, and so will I when I have added a few other things incident unto that which goeth before, whereby the whole process of the same shall fully be delivered, and my promise to my friend[5] in this behalf performed.

[5] Holinshed. This occurs in the last of Harrison's prefatory matter.—W.

Heretofore there hath been much more time spent in eating and drinking than commonly is in these days; for whereas of old we had breakfast in the forenoon, beverages or nunchions[6] after dinner, and thereto rear suppers generally when it was time to go to rest (a toy brought into England by hardy Canutus, and a custom whereof Athenaeus also speaketh, lib. 1, albeit Hippocrates speaks but of twice at the most, lib. 2, De rat vict. in feb ac). Now, these odd repasts—thanked be God!—are very well left, and each one in manner (except here and there some young, hungry stomach that cannot fast till dinner-time) contenteth himself with dinner and supper only. The Normans, misliking the gormandise of Canutus, ordained after their arrival that no table should be covered above once in the day, which Huntingdon imputeth to their avarice; but in the end, either waxing weary of their own frugality, or suffering the cockle of old custom to overgrow the good corn of their new constitution, they fell to such liberty that in often-feeding they surmounted Canutus surnamed the Hardy. For, whereas he covered his table but three or four times in the day, these spread their cloths five or six times, and in such wise as I before rehearsed. They brought in also the custom of long and stately sitting at meat, whereby their feasts resembled those ancient pontifical banquets whereof Macrobius speaketh (lib. 3, cap. 13), and Pliny (lib. 10, cap. 10), and which for sumptuousness of fare, long sitting, and curiosity shewed in the same, exceeded all other men's feasting; which fondness is not yet left with us, notwithstanding that it proveth very beneficial for the physicians, who most abound where most excess and misgovernment of our bodies do appear, although it be a great expense of time, and worthy of reprehension. For the nobility, gentlemen, and merchantmen, especially at great meetings, do sit commonly till two or three of the clock at afternoon, so that with many it is a hard matter to rise from the table to go to evening prayer, and return from thence to come time enough to supper.[7]...

[6] This word is not obsolete. South coast countrymen still eat nuntions and not luncheons.—W.

[7] Here follows a disquisition upon the table practices of the ancients.—W.

With us the nobility, gentry, and students do ordinarily go to dinner at eleven before noon, and to supper at five, or between five and six at afternoon. The merchants dine and sup seldom before twelve at noon, and six at night, especially in London. The husbandmen dine also at high noon as they call it, and sup at seven or eight; but out of the term in our universities the scholars dine at ten. As for the poorest sort they generally dine and sup when they may, so that to talk of their order of repast it were but a needless matter. I might here take occasion also to set down the variety used by antiquity in their beginnings of their diets, wherein almost every nation had a several fashion, some beginning of custom (as we do in summer time) with salads at supper, and some ending with lettuce, some making their entry with eggs, and shutting up their tables with mulberries, as we do with fruit and conceits of all sorts. Divers (as the old Romans) began with a few crops of rue, as the Venetians did with the fish called gobius; the Belgres with butter, or (as we do yet also) with butter and eggs upon fish days. But whereas we commonly begin with the most gross food, and end with the most delicate, the Scot, thinking much to leave the best for his menial servants, maketh his entrance at the best, so that he is sure thereby to leave the worst. We use also our wines by degrees, so that the hostess cometh last to the table: but to stand upon such toys would spend much time, and turn to small profit. Wherefore I will deal with other things more necessary for this turn.



CHAPTER VII

OF OUR APPAREL AND ATTIRE

[1577, Book III., Chapter 2; 1587, Book II., Chapter 7.]

An Englishman, endeavouring sometime to write of our attire, made sundry platforms for his purpose, supposing by some of them to find out one steadfast ground whereon to build the sum of his discourse. But in the end (like an orator long without exercise), when he saw what a difficult piece of work he had taken in hand, he gave over his travel, and only drew the picture of a naked man[1], unto whom he gave a pair of shears in the one hand and a piece of cloth in the other, to the end he should shape his apparel after such fashion as himself liked, sith he could find no kind of garment that could please him any while together; and this he called an Englishman. Certes this writer (otherwise being a lewd popish hypocrite and ungracious priest) shewed himself herein not to be altogether void of judgment, sith the phantastical folly of our nation (even from the courtier to the carter) is such that no form of apparel liketh us longer than the first garment is in the wearing, if it continue so long, and be not laid aside to receive some other trinket newly devised by the fickle-headed tailors, who covet to have several tricks in cutting, thereby to draw fond customers to more expense of money. For my part, I can tell better how to inveigh against this enormity than describe any certainty of our attire; sithence such is our mutability that to-day there is none to the Spanish guise, to-morrow the French toys are most fine and delectable, ere long no such apparel as that which is after the high Almaine fashion, by-and-by the Turkish manner is generally best liked of, otherwise the Morisco gowns, the Barbarian fleeces, the mandilion worn to Colley-Weston ward, and the short French breeches make such a comely vesture that, except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not see any so disguised as are my countrymen of England. And as these fashions are diverse, so likewise it is a world to see the costliness and the curiosity, the excess and the vanity, the pomp and the bravery, the change and the variety, and finally the fickleness and the folly, that is in all degrees, insomuch that nothing is more constant in England than inconstancy of attire. Oh, how much cost is bestowed nowadays upon our bodies, and how little upon our souls! How many suits of apparel hath the one, and how little furniture hath the other! How long time is asked in decking up of the first, and how little space left wherein to feed the latter! How curious, how nice also, are a number of men and women, and how hardly can the tailor please them in making it fit for their bodies! How many times must it be sent back again to him that made it! What chafing, what fretting, what reproachful language, doth the poor workman bear away! And many times when he doth nothing to it at all, yet when it is brought home again it is very fit and handsome; then must we put it on, then must the long seams of our hose be set by a plumb-line, then we puff, then we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our clothes may stand well upon us. I will say nothing of our heads, which sometimes are polled, sometimes curled, or suffered to grow at length like woman's locks, many times cut off, above or under the ears, round as by a wooden dish. Neither will I meddle with our variety of beards, of which some are shaven from the chin like those of Turks, not a few cut short like to the beard of Marquess Otto, some made round like a rubbing brush, others with a pique de vant (O! fine fashion!), or now and then suffered to grow long, the barbers being grown to be so cunning in this behalf as the tailors. And therefore if a man have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otton's cut will make it broad and large; if it be platter-like, a long, slender beard will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like a bowdled hen, and as grim as a goose, if Cornells of Chelmersford say true. Many old men do wear no beards at all. Some lusty courtiers also and gentlemen of courage do wear either rings of gold, stones, or pearl, in their ears, whereby they imagine the workmanship of God not to be a little amended. But herein they rather disgrace than adorn their persons, as by their niceness in apparel, for which I say most nations do not unjustly deride us, as also for that we do seem to imitate all nations round about us, wherein we be like to the polypus or chameleon; and thereunto bestow most cost upon our arses, and much more than upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do likewise upon their heads and shoulders. In women also, it is most to be lamented, that they do now far exceed the lightness of our men (who nevertheless are transformed from the cap even to the very shoe), and such staring attire as in time past was supposed meet for none but light housewives only is now become a habit for chaste and sober matrons. What should I say of their doublets with pendant codpieces on the breast full of jags and cuts, and sleeves of sundry colours? Their galligascons to bear out their bums and make their attire to fit plum round (as they term it) about them. Their fardingals, and diversely coloured nether stocks of silk, jerdsey, and such like, whereby their bodies are rather deformed than commended? I have met with some of these trulls in London so disguised that it hath passed my skill to discern whether they were men or women.

[1] (COS.)

"I am an English man and naked I stand here, Musying in my mynde what rayment I shall were; For now I will were thys, and now I will were that; Now I will were I cannot tell what. All new fashyons be plesaunt in me; I wyl haue them, whether I thryve or thee."

From Andrew Boorde's Introduction (1541), and Dyetary (1542), edited by F.J.F. for Early English Text Society, 1870, p. 116. (A most quaint and interesting volume, though I say so.)—Furnivall.

Thus it is now come to pass, that women are become men, and men transformed into monsters; and those good gifts which Almighty God hath given unto us to relieve our necessities withal (as a nation turning altogether the grace of God into wantonness, for

"Luxuriant animi rebus plerunque fecundis,")

not otherwise bestowed than in all excess, as if we wist not otherwise how to consume and waste them. I pray God that in this behalf our sin be not like unto that of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose errors were pride, excess of diet, and abuse of God's benefits abundantly bestowed upon them, beside want of charity towards the poor, and certain other points which the prophet shutteth up in silence. Certes the commonwealth cannot be said to nourish where these abuses reign, but is rather oppressed by unreasonable exactions made upon rich farmers, and of poor tenants, wherewith to maintain the same. Neither was it ever merrier with England than when an Englishman was known abroad by his own cloth, and contented himself at home with his fine carsey hosen, and a mean slop; his coat, gown, and cloak of brown, blue, or puke, with some pretty furniture of velvet or fur, and a doublet of sad tawny, or black velvet, or other comely silk, without such cuts and garish colours as are worn in these days, and never brought in but by the consent of the French, who think themselves the gayest men when they have most diversities of jags and change of colours about them. Certes of all estates our merchants do least alter their attire, and therefore are most to be commended; for albeit that which they wear be very fine and costly, yet in form and colour it representeth a great piece of the ancient gravity appertaining to citizens and burgesses, albeit the younger sort of their wives, both in attire and costly housekeeping, cannot tell when and how to make an end, as being women indeed in whom all kind of curiosity is to be found and seen, and in far greater measure than in women of higher calling. I might here name a sort of hues devised for the nonce, wherewith to please fantastical heads, as goose-turd green, peas-porridge tawny, popingay blue, lusty gallant, the devil-in-the-head (I should say the hedge), and such like; but I pass them over, thinking it sufficient to have said thus much of apparel generally, when nothing can particularly be spoken of any constancy thereof.



CHAPTER VIII

OF THE MANNER OF BUILDING AND FURNITURE OF OUR HOUSES

[1577, Book II., Chapter 10; 1587, Book II., Chapter 12.]

The greatest part of our building in the cities and good towns of England consisteth only of timber, for as yet few of the houses of the communalty (except here and there in the West-country towns) are made of stone, although they may (in my opinion) in divers other places be builded so good cheap of the one as of the other. In old time the houses of the Britons were slightly set up with a few posts and many raddles, with stable and all offices under one roof, the like whereof almost is to be seen in the fenny countries and northern parts unto this day, where for lack of wood they are enforced to continue this ancient manner of building. It is not in vain, therefore, in speaking of building, to make a distinction between the plain and woody soils; for as in these, our houses are commonly strong and well-timbered (so that in many places there are not above four, six, or nine inches between stud and stud), so in the open champaign countries they are forced, for want of stuff, to use no studs at all, but only frankposts, raisins, beams, prickposts, groundsels, summers (or dormants), transoms, and such principals, with here and there a girding, whereunto they fasten their splints or raddles, and then cast it all over with thick clay to keep out the wind, which otherwise would annoy them. Certes this rude kind of building made the Spaniards in Queen Mary's days to wonder, but chiefly when they saw what large diet was used in many of these so homely cottages; insomuch that one of no small reputation amongst them said after this manner—"These English (quoth he) have their houses made of sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as the king." Whereby it appeareth that he liked better of our good fare in such coarse cabins than of their own thin diet in their prince-like habitations and palaces. In like sort as every country house is thus apparelled on the outside, so is it inwardly divided into sundry rooms above and beneath; and, where plenty of wood is, they cover them with tiles, otherwise with straw, sedge, or reed, except some quarry of slate be near hand, from whence they have for their money much as may suffice them. The clay wherewith our houses are impannelled is either white, red, or blue; and of these the first doth participate very much of the nature of our chalk; the second is called loam; but the third eftsoons changeth colour as soon as it is wrought, notwithstanding that it looks blue when it is thrown out of the pit. Of chalk also we have our excellent asbestos or white lime, made in most places, wherewith being quenched, we strike over our clay works and stone walls, in cities, good towns, rich farmers' and gentlemen's houses: otherwise, instead of chalk (where it wanteth, for it is so scant that in some places it is sold by the pound), they are compelled to burn a certain kind of red stone, as in Wales, and elsewhere other stones and shells of oysters and like fish found upon the sea coast, which, being converted into lime, doth naturally (as the other) abhor and eschew water, whereby it is dissolved, and nevertheless desire oil, wherewith it is easily mixed, as I have seen by experience. Within their doors also, such as are of ability do oft make their floors and parget of fine alabaster burned, which they call plaster of Paris, whereof in some places we have great plenty, and that very profitable against the rage of fire. In plastering likewise of our fairest houses over our heads, we use to lay first a line or two of white mortar, tempered with hair, upon laths, which are nailed one by another (or sometimes upon reed of wickers more dangerous for fire, and make fast here and there saplaths for falling down), and finally cover all with the aforesaid plaster, which, beside the delectable whiteness of the stuff itself, is laid on so even and smoothly as nothing in my judgment can be done with more exactness. The walls of our houses on the inner sides in like sort be either hanged with tapestry, arras work, or painted cloths, wherein either divers histories, or herbs, beasts, knots, and such like are stained, or else they are ceiled with oak of our own, or wainscot brought hither out of the east countries, whereby the rooms are not a little commended, made warm, and much more close than otherwise they would be. As for stoves, we have not hitherto used them greatly, yet do they now begin to be made in divers houses of the gentry and wealthy citizens, who build them not to work and feed in, as in Germany and elsewhere, but now and then to sweat in, as occasion and need shall require it.

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