H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

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in presentments against those laying " muck and mull " upon
the king's highway might reduce the nuisance, but towns were
apt to rely upon crows, jackdaws, rooks, and ravens to clear
the streets. The Venetian ambassador reported that a penalty
was attached to destroying them, as they say that they keep
the streets free from filth. It was the same case with kites,
which were so tame that they took out of the hands of little
children the bread, smeared with butter after the Flemish
fashion, which their mothers had given them, and so, perhaps,
were led to the neglect of their proper duties.

It has been laid to Henry's charge, that having made a
great opportunity for the re-organising of charitable endow-


nil-: OLD oiiDEn cnA.\<;i-:i>.


ments or for undertaking gre;it public works, IK; allowed the
chiince to slip, and raised nothing out of the ruins of all that
he destroyed. His genius did not prove very creative even
in the satisfaction of his own vanity, for though the building
expenses he incurred upon his palaces were large, he was in-
debted to the taste of others rather than to his own for the
splendid buildings and princely collections that fell to his
ownership. Of all his palaces, St. James's and Nonesuch alone
were of his making. He was always on the watch for suitable
houses, conveniently placed for progresses or for the hunting


season, and a curious description of the unfortunate Duke of
Buckingham's houses shows the king ready on his execution
to take advantage of the lucky windfall. Stafford Castle, with
six little chambers fitted with draughts and chimneys, " right
pleasant for the king Avhen making his progress in grease (stag
hunting) time " ; Maxstoke Castle, " a right proper thing after
the old building," with proper lodgings, having chimneys and
draughts, " a suitable castle for the king and queen in the
time of their progress"; Kimbolton "might be made with no
great change a convenient house for the king, when by any
occasion his Grace might be minded to remove from Xewhall,
or for hunting-time in summer." Thornbury had been the

SOCIAL LIFE, 1500-1538.


duke's cherished mansion, and there was his as yet unfinished
castle, " with curious works and stately lodgings" ; a goodly garden
to walk in, a large orchard with many alleys, and in different
parts " roosting-places," or summer-houses. Wolsey's construc-
tive genius as a builder, as well as his artistic sense, was superior
to the king's, and Henry was glad to be made by Wolsey the
owner of Hampton Court with its contents. " One has to traverse
eight rooms before you reach the cardinal's audience chamber,
and they are all hung with tapestry which is changed once
a week." Henry was fonder of having his own and his wives'


portraits painted than of buying the works of great artists in
which other subjects figured. The nucleus of the royal collec-
tion at Hampton Court is believed to have been chiefly Wolsey's
property. Owing to the destruction of Westminster Palace by
fire, the king was badly off for a town house. The " Bishop
of York's" house, "York Place," or Whitehall, fell accordingly
from the hands of Wolsey to the king. In return for the
gift, Wolsey was allowed to lie at Richmond Lodge a poor

One of the most beautiful features at Whitehall was the gate
ascribed to Holbein, built of stones and flint boulder, with
busts in it made of baked clay, coloured and glazed, and orna-


mental mouldings round them. Another gate, called the King's
(late, destroyed in 1723, led to the park, the tennis-conn,
bowling-green, cock-pit, and tilting-yard. It was in adding to
Whitehall, and in building St. James's Palace, which was to
serve as a quiet manor-house, and also in connecting the parks
of Westminster and St. James's that Henry's expenditure was
chiefly incurred. There had been a public thoroughfare through
the Whitehall grounds which was largely used by funeral pro-
cessions going from Charing Cross to St. Margaret's, Westminster.
To close it Henry made a new cemetery in St. Martin's-in-the-
Eields. Whitehall was laid out in galleries and courts after
the then approved modern fashion. The king's City palace
was Bridewell, near the west side of the Fleet ditch. It was
rebuilt to receive the Emperor Charles V. when he visited


England. Here Henry lodged when his divorce case was under

O / O

discussion at Blackfriars. When it fell into decay, Ridley
arranged its conversion to a house of correction for vagabonds.
Eltham, the South London Palace, was frequently used in
Henry's reign, but was considered out of date. The desirability
of a large number of palaces w^as greatly appreciated when the
terrors of the sweating sickness kept the court continually on
the move. The king's favourite winter palace was Greenwich.
Windsor was deemed old fashioned and uncomfortable, too
much like a medieval castle. Edward VI. writes from Windsor,
" Methinks I am in prison. Here be no galleries, nor no gardens
to walk in." Richmond Palace was more domestic, Henry YII.
had built a noble house there in the latest fashion. Nonesuch,
near Kingston, was built for the enjoyment of still greater

That behind the scenes in all the palaces there was a good

*, ii 1 fHH'Hg-


tcTl T . Jr^^n* - .S **

Facade of Richmond Palace in 1705.

King Street Gate in 1723.

Holbein's Whitehall Gate in 17:25.

River Front of Greenwich Palace in 1765


in the

The Great

deal of squalor in the servants' quarters would seem to follow
from Henry's Ordinance of 1526 for the better avoiding of cor-
ruption and all uncleanness out of the king's house. Every
master cook was to receive twenty marks salary to the intent

/ i/

that they shall provide the kitchens with scullions, " who shall
not go naked or in garments of such vileness as they now do, nor
lie in them nights and days in the kitchens by the fireside."
They are to be provided with an " honest and whole course of
garments," but nothing is said of a sleeping apartment for them.

The Spanish courtiers who came with Philip in Mary's reign
complained of the total want of organisation in the royal house-
hold. " All the thirteen councillors and the court favourites live
in the palace. Each of the lords has a separate cook in the
queen's kitchens, and as there are eighteen different kitchens (at
Richmond) such is the hurly-burly that they are a perfect hell.
Although the palaces are so large that the smallest of the four
we have seen is infinitely larger and certainly better than the
Alcazar at Madrid, they are still hardly large enough to hold
the people who live in them."

The control of a household of four or five hundred persons,
such as Wolsey : s, formed no small part of the work of ministers
and noblemen. Every great household was a training school in
manners, and, it might be also, in statesmanship. In the
same way as of old bishops and abbots allowed the younger
sons of noblemen and gentry to become members of their house-
holds. If the bishops were to decline the expense of keeping
these gentlemen, I believe, said a Venetian ambassador, that they
would not be safe in their own churches. Noblemen, bishops
and abbots provided schoolmasters to teach grammar to
the young men in the house, and noblemen kept a troop
of chaplains, more or less occupied in the lord's business,
as surveyors of lands, secretaries, almoners, makers of inter-
ludes, deans of the chapel, or choir-masters. The great
households rivalled each other in the beauty of their
choirs : Wolsey's surpassed that of the royal chapel, and
the Earl of Northumberland was concerned to strengthen the
voices of his basses, counter-tenors, standing tenors and "tribles."
His taberett, lute and rebeck visited the houses of lords at the
great feasts, as theirs visited his, and each household's minstrels
received on these visits their fixed rewards. The king's juggler,

SOCIAL LIFE, 1509-1558.


the king's or the queen's bearward got 6s. 8d, an earl's minstrels
3s. 4d., unless they came but once in two or three years, then
6s. 8d., but the minstrels of an earl who was the lord's special
friend or kinsman got more. The earl's charities had been
reduced to an equally business-like system. His household book
would seem to show' that he had seen the need of domestic re-
trenchment and reform, for such minute attention to expenditure

MUSICIANS (MS. Roy. 2 A. xvi.).

was probably not usual in so magnificent an establishment.
Many of the regulations appear not a little parsimonious. No
extra expense was to be incurred on any day of " exceeding," with-
out reference to him. A most careful price-list was drawn up
showing what dainties he was willing to buy and at what prices.
No chickens were to be served at any mess except the lord's, the
chamberlain's and the steward's, unless they were at a halfpenny
each. " No capons to be bought but only for my lord's own mess..
and the said capons shall be bought for 2d. a piece, lain and fed


in the Poultry." ( Jame of all kinds was only to be served at the
lord's mess; plovers, quails, cranes, redshanks, " bitters," pheas-
ants, curlews, peacocks, widgeons, bustards, terns, were to be served
only at principal feasts. The number of " messes " each joint
should provide, and how fish should be divided was all noted in
the household-book. No herbs might be bought, as they might be
had of my lord's garden. All bread was to be baked at home,
including horse-bread : all beer was to be home-brewed, and the
mustard was to be made at home, not bought, so also vinegar, to
be made of the broken wines at home. Leather jacks were to be
used for drinking, not earthen pots, which were too soon broken.
Pewter and "counterfeit" vessels were to be provided only on rare
occasions, the counterfeit was to be returned to the counting-
house where it was kept ; the pewter vessels are spoken of as
" hired." Special arrangements were made for the feeding of
gentlemen who were in the earl's house at their friends' charges ;
the board wages of servants were rigidly estimated for the
occasions of the lord's absence, at about a shilling a week. The
removal of the earl's household is described in a long series of
regulations. Eighteen servants went in advance to prepare
for him, and eighteen went with him. The tapestry and the
furniture, or a large part of it, moved with him. A " chariot "
with seven great trotting horses carried the heavy goods,
and the feather-beds, bolsters, pillows, fustians, blankets;
counterpanes of counterfeit arras, lined with canvas ; testers,
and carpets.

Fitzherbert recommends a gentleman's servant to learn by
heart the following list of goods which he must remember not to
leave behind in inns : purse, dagger, cloak, night-cap, kerchief,
shoeing-horn, boget (wallet) and shoes, spear, male (trunk) hood,
halter, saddle cloth, spurs, hat, horse comb, bow, arrows, sword,
buckler, horn, leash, gloves, string, brace, pen, paper, ink, parch-
ment, red wax, pomice, books, penknife, comb, thimble, needle,
thread, point (lest that thy girth break), bodkin, knife, and
lingel (shoemaker's thread).

The making of huge accounts and lists of properties was
part of the duty of the cofferer, the clerk of the kitchen, clerk
of foreign expenses, clerk of the works, clerk of brevements
(directing the Avork of others), clerk-avenar (provider of horse
provender) and clerk of the wearing-book. It is not surprising

SOCIAL LIFE, 1509-1558.


to learn that the lord who had to review this great organi-
sation sought relief in periodical retirements " to live in secret,"
and refresh his spirits after household duties of so oppressive

a character.

The high standard of duty in Domestic
household "matters which then pre- Econom y-
vailed exacted the same attention
from humbler persons. The increase
in the number of household posses-
sions and their comparative scarcity
awoke in the breast of the Tudor
householder an abnormal passion
for inventories, Tusser's advice to
the wife is,


(Muyer Museum, Liverpool.)

" Call quarterly servants to court and to

Write every coverlid, blanket and sheet."

The duties of a well-conducted housewife required that she
should sweep the house, provide the meals, tend the daily,
swine, and poultry, bake bread, brew ale, attend to the garden,
prepare flax and hemp in all their stages, spin, weave, winnow
corn, make malt, wash and wring, make hay, shear corn, and
in time of need help her husband to fill the muck-wain or
dung cart, drive the
plough, load hay, corn,
and " such other," go to
market with the produce
of dairy or poultry yard,
with all manner of corn,
and render account to
her husband as he should
to her if he marketed.

Maids should rise at
three o'clock ; the maid
found sleeping past five
o'clock must


(Winchester College.)

" Beware !

Lest your mistress uncover you bare.
Some slovens from sleeping no sooner get up,
Than hand is in aumbry and nose in the cup."



and the

In towns, and in London particularly, devout women who had
servants spent, some time daily in attending mass. The Venetian
account reads as if Englishwomen were then peculiar in doing
what Catholic women on the Continent now do. "They attend
mass every day (1500), say many Paternosters in public, the
women carrying long rosaries in their hands, and any who
can read take the office of Our Lady with them, and with some
companion recite it in the church verse by verse in a low voice


(John lleywooil, ".S/xViv ami l-'lii'," 1556.)

child Life, after the manner of churchmen." There are, however, he adds,
many who have various opinions concerning religion.

The want of affection shown by English parents to their
children was also a matter for comment with foreigners. The
poor apprenticed their boy-children away from home at the
age of seven if possible, and the rich despatched theirs, both
girls and boys, to be brought up in the houses of strangers.
" On inquiring their reason for this severity, they answered
that they did it in order that their children might learn better
manners. But I, for my part, believe that they do it because

SOCIAL LIFE, 1509-1558.


they like to enjoy all their comforts themselves, and that they

are better served by strangers than they would be by their

own children.'' Of the much-talked-of cruelty to children, the

known records are few but convincing. Ascham's account of

Lady Jane Grey's childhood can never be forgotten. While

her parents were hunting he found her reading Plato's Ptuedo

in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen

would read a merry tale in Boccaccio. Asked why she did

not hunt with the others, she answered that the sharpness and

severity of her parents and her gentle schoolmaster had made

her love her books. " For when I am in presence either of

father or mother, whether I speak,

keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat,

drink, be merry or sad, be sewing,

playing, dancing or doing anything

else, I must do it as it were in

such weight, measure, and number,

even so perfectly as God made the

world, or else I am so sharply

taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea,

presently sometimes with pinches,

nips, and bobs, and some ways

which I will not name for the

honour I bear them, so without

measure misordered, that I think

myself in hell." Only in learning

with good master Avlmer did she


taste happiness. It was not girls

only who suffered thus. Sir Peter Carew, for playing truant
at Exeter Grammar School, was leashed by his father like a
dog and coupled to one of his hounds. Tusser never forgot
his sufferings as a chorister or as a schoolboy.

" O painful time ! for every crime
What touzed ears, like baited bears,
"What bobbed lips, what jerks, what nips !
What robes how bare, what college fare,
What bread how stale, what penny ale!"

Sent to Eton " to learn straightway the Latin phrase," fifty-
three stripes were given him at once

" For fault but small, or none at all ''


(Naycocl; Brass, Hoatli, Kent.)


" See, Udall, see, the mercy of tliee
To ine, poor lad ! "

student But when Tusscr found himself at college he was happy.

Life "

Here the hours were early, the food scanty, and the lectures
many, but there was independence. From 5 to 6 a.m. was
common prayer with an exhortation of God's Word in a common
chapel, and from 6 to 10 either private stud)' or common
lectures. At 10 o'clock generally came dinner, most being content
with a penny piece of beef amongst four, " having a few potage
made of the broth of the same beef, with salt and oatmeal and
nothing else." After this slender dinner the youth were either
teaching or learning until 5 p.m., when they have a supper
" not much better than their dinner." Immediately after, they
went either to reasoning in problems or unto some other
study until 9 or 10 of the clock, and then, being without tire,
were fain to walk or run up and down half an hour to get
a heat on their feet when they went to bed. Thus speaks
Thomas Lever, preaching at St. Paul's Cross in 1550. The
correspondence of the reformers gives an equally favourable
account of the ardour of Oxford students. The scheme of
work for a student in medicine was : 6 to 7 a.m. readings of
Aristotle on physics ; 7 to 8, commonplaces of Galen ; 8-9,
Aristotle on morals, on civil government; 9-10, Peter Martyr
lectured on the Epistle to the Romans; 10-11, another lecture
on Galen; 11-12, dinner; 12 o'clock, some questions in moral
and natural philosophy are proposed for our discussion ; 3 to 4,
Galen on simple remedies. A law student's course was this :
" I devote the hour 6-7 a.m. to Aristotle's Politics, from which
I derive a twofold advantage both a knowledge of Greek and
an acquaintance with moral philosophy ; 7-8 I employ upon
the Digest, or Pandects; 8-9 in the reconsideration of this
lecture"; 9-10, Peter Martyr; 10-11, dialectics: after dinner,
Cicero's Offices and practice in the Ciceronian style. " At 3
I learn the institutes of civil law, which I so read aloud as to
commit them to memory. At 4 are read privately, in a certain
hall in which we live, the rules of law . . . after supper the time
is spent in various discourse, for, either sitting in our chamber
or walking up and down some part of the college, we exercise
ourselves in dialectical questions."

Each college was distinguished for zeal in a special study

SOCIAL LIFE, 1509-1558. 241

Greek was taught in one, Hebrew in another. Here the
mathematicians flourish, there the poets, here divines and
metaphysicians, there students of music and civilians ; in all
alike rhetoric and logic were primary studies. In spite of
this activity, the English universities were thought to be
still behind the university of Paris and the schools of Italy.
They were also thought expensive by foreigners. The
cost of university living had risen greatly, from 20 French
crowns to 40, or, according to another, to 50 florins. " In
these latter days, when avarice is everywhere increasing and
charity growing cold, and this by a divine scourge, everything
has become almost twice as dear as it was " (1550). Fewer of
the nobles, and now no monasteries, maintained poor students
at the universities. Learning in most circles was contemned,
and few valued any teaching " but only that they may write
and read and learn the tongues." The scarcity of scholars and
the solitude of the universities declared this to be true.

The injury done by the Reformation to the endowed schools The
of the country was in part the result of accident, as has been schools,
shown lately in records published by Mr. Leach. In almost
every town and village there had been schools in connection with
chantries or guilds, either endowed by the founders or started
by the chantry priests to eke out their subsistence. Chantries
and religious guilds were swept away by reformers, who saw
in their continued existence a sure maintenance of the doctrines
of purgatory and of those " masses satisfactory " to be done for
the souls of the departed, which they desired to abolish. The
existence of grammar schools was to be carefully noted by the
commissioners, that these might be saved while the institutions
to which they were attached were abolished. But the support
which the Edwardian Government supplied took the form of
fixed stipends, at a time when the value of money was rapidly
falling, and money proved in consequence to be a poor substitute
for the original endowment in land. In the process of disruption
many schools not reaching the dignity of grammar schools
were for ever lost sight of. No provision was made for the
continuance of the old song-schools and writing-schools, or
for the university exhibitions. Many ancient benefactions for
these and other public works, such as bridge-building, repair
of highways, and the making of sea-banks, went to the hands





of the spoilers. A good grammar school had been a source

of wealth to sonic small country towns. At Ledbury the teacher

Sir William Wheeler is described as a man of good conver-

sation, daily occupied in teaching
of children grammar, having for
his salary the clear revenue of
certain lands given to maintain
a priest to pray for the founders
in the parish church, and beyond
this no other livelihood but the
little reward of the friends of the
scholars. By the said Wheeler the
inhabitants had not only had profit
and advantage by the keeping of
the school, but also in boarding
and lodging his scholars, and there

was profit also to the outlying districts in " uttering their
victuals " there by means of the said scholars. The petitioners
urge that Wheeler may remain for the erudition of youth, " a
charitable deed, if so it may please his Highness."

The sons of the rich were not sent to grammar schools, but
taught at home by tutors, and to avoid the tedium of solitude
an only son would be taught in company with other youths,
who were chosen out as suitable companions. Edward VI.
was taught in this way, and " two noble primroses " of nobility
contended with him in their zeal for their books. Gregory
Cromwell, a dull youth, was " accompanied in learning " by two
young friends who strove with him in honest envy who should
do best in the French tongue (the tutor having invented a
wondrously compendious, facile, prompt, and ready way to learn
it), and also in writing, playing at weapons, casting of accounts,
and pastimes of instruments. The childish hand was first
exercised in writing one or two hours ; the boys then read
Fabyan's Chronicle as long; the residue of the day was spent
in playing upon the lute and virginals, and riding, the tutor
improving the time with some history of the Romans or the
Greeks, which Gregory was " caused to rehearse again/'
Hawking and hunting, and shooting with the longbow were
deemed essential parts of education, and the training was
begun very young.

SOCIAL LIFE, 1509-1558.


The regulations for the Princess Mary's education were that The . Edu -
she should pass her time most seasons at her virginals or other Girls,
musical instruments, and without fatigation attend to her
learning of the Latin tongue and French. She was to dance,
and use moderate exercise for taking open air in gardens, mete
and wholesome places and walks. Her frequent ill-health pre-
vented her from regular exertion. As a musician and as a Latin
scholar she attained to some distinction. At twelve she was
" ripe in the Latin tongue that rathe (rarely) doth happen to
the women sex." She had some slight knowledge of Greek,
also of Italian and Spanish, which she understood but could
not speak. Her translation of the Paraphrases on St. John's
Gospel, Katharine Parr recommended her to publish under
her own name, but she preferred to leave its publication to Udall,
who put the finishing touches to it. Lady Jane Grey's corre-
spondence is an extraordinary testimony to her precocity. In
1550, when she was fourteen, Ascham wrote to Sturm on
the subject of what he calls her almost incredible skill in

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 68)