G. G. (George Gordon) Coulton.

A medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation online

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though all men's eyes be upon him ! . . . Mark now,
good folk, how soon his hind legs grow weary ; he hath
raised himself up but a few minutes, and already he
boweth again like a crooked old hag. See how he
draweth in his neck !

Camillus. Thou hast no pity : wherefore terrify him
thus ? I will suifer it no more, for he is a landsman
of mine. Be of good cheer, Johann, for I will defend
thee ; take a glass and pluck up heart of grace. . . . O
butcherly boor ! fearest thou not to dip thy venomous
beak into the cup wherefrom thy most learned masters
drank even now ! Thy drink should be muddy water,
where the beasts go down to the river.

Berthold. Enough now ! is it a small thing that this
tenderly-nurtured youth should be treated like an ox ?
What if his mother saw this, whose only darling he is ?
See, weepeth he not already ? indeed his eyes are wet :
he was moved at the sound of his mother's name.

Camillus. What can we make of him ?

Berthold. He is doubtless come hither to be purged
of his deformities and join the laudable company of
students : go fetch a surgeon. Ha ! what say I ? for
thou, Camillus, art a noble and renowned student in
surgery. Rejoice, Johann, and bless this happy day ;
for now thine hour of salvation is near, wherein thou
shalt be purged of all grossness in body and mind, and
shalt have thy part in every privilege of this our univer-
sity. Haste thee, Camillus.

Camillus. First I will remove his horns ; Berthold,
reach me yonder saw. How, ass ! thou kickest against
thy physician ! ^j^

Berthold. Hold him like an untamed horse ; beware
lest he hurt thee with talon or horn.

Camillus. How tough and deep-rooted are these

672 A Medieval Garner.

horns ! my saw is gapped, and half its stinking teeth
are gone ! {producing a pair of ox-horns :) See here,
thy horns, thou froward beast, which before thou
couldst not see and therefore behevedst not ! Where
now are my tooth-pincers ? Hold out thy mouth. . . .
Berthold, here is one tooth — here now is the second.

Berihold. I will keep these to show at a fair, as men
do with sea-monsters !

Camillus. Bring a bowl and water, and odorous herbs
for his beard — herbs grown at the spot where the sewer
disgorges into our garden. Hold thy chin still ! . . .
The beard is soaked enough : where now is my razor
of stout oak-splinter ? . . . See John, here now is
thy beard, black as the beard of Judas that betrayed
Christ !

Berthold. He grows faint ; he is unaccustomed to
such downright surgery.

Camillus. True : his hue is gone, and the fashion of
his countenance is changed, which is the token of a
fragile complexion. Reach hither the ointment and
the pills. [The unsavoury ingredients of these medicines
have been duly enumerated higher up.] . . . Our remedies
profit little, it seems : lest he die on our hands, it were
safer that he should confess his sins. Lo ! he is half
dead already : his knees bow under him.

Berthold. I too am in holy orders ; that shall be my
care. But where have I laid my surplice ? . . . Now
begin, good Johann, to confess all thy sins, and
without doubt thou shalt be saved. What do I
hear ? . . . geese and chickens ? . . . horrid crime !
And what next ? tell me without fear. . . . kissed ?
— and thy mother's maid ? — Why, this is far
more grievous ! . . . Nevertheless, seeing that pardon
must not be denied to a man truly confessed ; yet
again that a merciful confessor (as I am) must still
enjoin some penance, this then shall be thine. For
these and thine other sins, and for thy most unsavoury
odour, thou shalt refresh these masters here with a
right plenteous repast. But mine office is only to
enjoin penance, and not to give absolution ; wherefore
I send you to the masters who have this authority to

A Farmer^s Will. 673

assoil thee. [Here the tormentor introduces the victim
to each in turn, saying ;] '' Reverend master, behold
the chief of sinners, whose crimes are not to be told ;
I am he who hath authority to enjoin his penance,
wherefore I have determined that he should give his
goods to be scattered broadcast ; and where better
than among us ? He hath promised to refresh us with
most excellent wine, and to spend all the silver which
his father hath wrung from the ancestral farm, together
with every coin which his mother abstracted from her
goodman and hid in her own hoard. Go therefore,
Johann, to this master, and thou shalt obtain his

[When the ivhole ceremony is over, then shall all draw
near and cry Prosit, Johann !]

309.— a jTarmet's mill.

(Madox, Formulare Anr/licanum, 1702, p. 435).

^N Dei nomine Amen. Vicesimo octavo die
mensis Novembris, Anno Domini Millesimo
cccclxviii. Y Custans Pothyn, hoole & frescli,
make my Wille in this maner. First I
bequeth my sowle to Almyghty God, to
o\vTe blessed Lady, and to all the Holy Company of
hevyn ; My body to be beryed in Chalke chirche. Also
yjbe quethe to the hy Auter viii. d. Also to the Rode
lyght a Cowe with v Ewes. Also to owre Lady of Pete
iii. Ewes. Also to the Lj^ght of Seynt John Baptyste
iiii. Ewes. Also to a Torche vi s. viii d. Also to Alson
Potkyn iiii quarter barly ; Also a Cowe with iiii shepe,
iiii peyre shets parte of the best, with a bord cloth of
diapur, Another of playne, iii Towels of diapur with ii
Keverletts, iii blanketts, a mattras, a bolster, iiii
pelewes, vi Candelstikes. To Marget Crippis ii Candel-
stikes, a peyre shetis, a quarter barly. To Thomas
Harry iii quarter barly, a pejrre shetis, with a blanket.


674 A Medieval Garner.

To Thomas Grippe a peyre shetis. To John Martyn a
peyre shetis. To every gode-child a bushel barly. The
residue of my godes I will that Richard and John my
Sones, myn Executours, have and dispose for the helthe
of my Sowle as they see that best ys.





310.— anotbet.


N the name of God Amen. The ix day of the
moneth of February, the yere of our Lord
God a Mcccclxxiii ; Y Thomas Martyn of
the parish of Chalke in the shire of Kent,
hooll of mynde & in good wit, make my
testament in the manere that folujrth. First y bequethe
my Sowle to Almighti God my Creatur, to our Lady
Seint [Mary], & to all the blessed Seints of hevene ;
My body to be beryed in the Cherche of our
Lady of Chalke forsaid. Item y bequethe to
the hye Awter of the same Cherche, for tythes for geten,
xii d. Item I bequethe to the Hye Cros Lyght v
modershepe. Item to the Lyght of Seint John in the
same Cherche v modershepe. Item to the Lyght of
our Lady Pety v modershepe. Item to the Lyghts of
our Lady & of Mary Magdaleyn v modershepe. Item
y bequethe a blak yonge cowe to the Sustentacion of
the Lyghtys of Seint Anne, Seint Jame, and Seint
Margarete in the forsaid Cherche. Item to the Lyght
of the Lampe in the hye Chauncell v modershepe.
Item y bequethe to the reparacions of the said Cherche
xxvi s. viii d. Item to eche of my Godchildron xii d.
Item y bequethe to Margarete my Dowghter my grete
bras pot, & my grettist Cawdron. Item y will that
a honest Preste synge Masses in the forsaid parish of
Chalke for my Sowle, & for the Sowle of my Fader,
and for all my Frendys Sowlys, by halff a yere ; and y
bequethe to hym his Sallayre v marc. Item y bequethe
to a Mass book to serve in the same Cherche v marc.

A Bishop^s Banquet. 675

The Residewes of all my godes and cattels not
bequethen, after my detts ben paid, my beryeng don,
and thys my present Testament fulfilled, y bequethe to
Alys [my] wiff, & to Margarete my Doughter. Item
y will that yff hit happe the said Margarete with in the
age of xvi yere deye, that y will that the part of all the
]\Ievabill godes to the same Margarete bequethen,
remayne to Alys hir moder. Item hit is my will, that
all my bequests & all other things that shall bee don
for me, be rulyd and governyd by the advys and dis-
crescion of Thomas Page my Fader in Lawe, and of my
moder his wiff. And to this my present Testament y
make and ordeyne my trewe Executors the forsaid
Alys my Wiff, Stephene Charlys of Hoo, & William
Banaster of Derteforde ; & y bequethe to eche of theym
for her Labour vi s. viii d. Also y will that the said
Thomas Page my Fader be over seer ; & y bequethe
to hym for hys Labour vi s. viii d. Dat. daye and yere

John Morton, afterwards Cardinal, became Bishop of Ely in 1478.
He walked barefoot the two miles from his palace at Downham to the
Cathedral ; whence, after the installation ceremonies, he repaired to his
other palace of Ely with many distinguished guests, " and a great
multitude of common people, for the Banquet was great and costly."
The menu may be found in J. Bentham's History and Antiquities of Ely,
Appendix, p. 35. I have ventured on a few necessary emendations,
and omit all but the first of the long doggerel " rehearsals " inscribed
on the " subtleties," or elaborate symbolical structures of sugar, etc.,
of which the degenerate descendants may still be seen on wedding-cakes.
I have also ventured on one or two necessary emendations of the text.
Leche, according to the Oxford EngUsh Dictionary, was " a dish con-
sisting of shced meat, eggs, fruits and spices in jelly or some other
coagulating material." Leche damaske would be either made of
damsons, or damson-coloured. Stoker might possibly be stock-fish, or
a kind of apple called stoken. Semeca seems unintelligible as it stands.
Boateur is probably botargo, a kind of caviare. Bounce is probably
connected with bun and the French beignet, a kind of pancake : " bugne
is said to be used at Lyons for a kind of fritter." (O.E.D. s.v. hun.)

676 A Medieval Garner,

311.— a TBistop's installation TBanquct.

^ The First Course for the Estates.
A Subtlety of a White Lion : rehearsal.

HINK and thanke, Prelate of greate price,
That it hath pleased the abundant grace
Of King Edward, in all his actes wise,
Thee to promoten hither to his place.
This little I see, while thou hast time and
For to repair do aye thy busy cure ;
For thy reward of heaven thou shalt be sure.

Pure pottage — Frumenty and Venison — Cygnet
roasted — Great pike in sauce — Roe roasted regardant
— Pheasant roasted — Venison in paste — Great custard —
Leche purple.

A Subtlety of the Nativity of St. John.

^ The Second Course.

A Subtlety of the Glebe of Ely.

Jelly to [for] pottage — Stoker roasted — Peacock
flourished — Carp in sops — Rabbits roasted — Bream
freshwater — Fritter Semeca (?) — Orange in paste — Tart
borboyne — Leche damaske.

A Subtlety of God as Shepherd.

% The Third Course.

A Subtlety of Saints Peter, Paul, and Andrew.

Cream of Almonds to pottage — Boateur roasted —
Perch in jelly — Curlew — Plover roasted — A mould of
jelly flourished — Crayfish of freshwater — Larks roasted

English Tails. 677

— Fresh sturgeon — Quinces in paste — Tart poleyn —
Fritter bounce — Leche royal.

A Subtlety of the Eagle on the Tun.*

Sitting at the High Dais : my Lord of Ely in the midst.

On the right hand : The Abbots of Bury and Ramsey,
the Prior of Ely, the Master of the Rolls, the Priors 'of
Barnwell and Anglesey.

On the other hand : Sir Thomas Howard, Sir John
Donne, Sir Jolin Wyngelfield, Sir Harry Wentworth,
John Sapcote, Sir Edward Wodehouse, Sir Robert
Chamberlain, Sir John Cheyne, Sir William Brandon,
Sir Robert Fynes, John Fortescue.

The Abbot of Thorney, and my Lady Brandon, and
other estates, in the Chamber.

* Apparently a punning rebus on Morton's name.

The future Cardinal's installation-feast was a poor thing compared
with that of a Prior of St. Augustine's Canterbury in 1309, as recorded
by a monk of that house and quoted on p. 83 of W. Fleetwood's Chronicon
Preciosum. Six thousand guests sat down to meat, and the bill (includ-
ing presents and gratuities) amounted to £287, or some £5,000 of modern
money. The guests consumed 53 quarters of wheat, 58 quarters of
malt, 11 tuns of wine, 36 oxen, 100 hogs, 200 little pigs, 200 sheep,
1,000 geese, 973 capons, hens, and pullets, 24 swans, 600 rabbits, 16
shields of brawn, 9,600 eggs, with game, spice, and almonds to the price
of more than £1,000 modern. The sole economy was in secondary
appliances ; the dishes, plates and trenchers amounted only to 3,300
for the six thousand, and the drinking cups to 1,400.

312.— (2Bnglis|) Cail0.

(Caxton's Golden Ltgend, Temple Classics, III, p. 201),

]FTER this, S. Austin entered into Dorset-
shire, and came into a town whereas were
wicked people w^ho refused his doctrine
and preaching utterly, and drove him out
of the town, casting on him the tails of
thornbacks, or like fishes ; wherefore he besought
almighty God to show His judgment on them, and God

678 A Medieval Garner.

sent to them a shameful token ; for the children that
were bom after in that place had tails, as it is said, till
they had repented them. It is said commonly that
this fell at Strood in Kent, but blessed be God at this
day is no such deformity.*

* For this curious and widespread legend of English Tails, and the
different causes assigned for the phenomenon by foreigners, see Dr.
George Neilson's Caudatus Anglicus (Edinburgh, 1896).

313.— animal0 bzfotz tfje Lato,

The following is one of the many formal trials and executions of
homicidal animals reported in full, from contemporary records of the
14th and 15th centuries, by Berriat-Saint-Prix in Memoires de la Soc.
des Antiquaires de France (tom. viii., 1829, pp. 403 ff). The author
quotes many other abbreviated notices of similar trials : e.g., the mayor
of Bale, in 1474, condemned a cock to be burned alive for having laid
an egg, in derogation of its proper sex. The last instance quoted is
from the year 1679, when the ParUament of Aix condemned a mare to
the stake. Another very amusing instance is recorded in Didron's
Annales Archeologiques, vol. vi., p. 313 ; and there is an article on the
subject in Merry England for Dec, 1887.

|0 all who shall see or hear these presents,
Jean Lavoisier, Licentiate of Laws, and
Grand Mayor of the church and monastery
of my lord vSaint Martin at Laon, of the
Order of Premontre, together with the
bailiffs of the place aforesaid. Whereas it had been
reported and affirmed to us by the Procurator-fiscal or
Syndic of the monks, abbot, and convent of St. Martin
at Laon, that on the manor [cense] of Clermont-lez-
Montcomet, to the said monks with all rights of high,
mean, and low justice appertaining, a young pig had
strangled and mutilated a young child in its cradle, son
of Jehan Lenfant, cowherd of the aforesaid domain of
Clermont, and of Gillon his wife, calling upon us and
requiring us to proceed in this case as justice and reason
desired and required ; whereas further, in order to
learn and know the truth of the aforesaid case, we had

Animals before the Law. 679

heard and examined upon oath the said Gillon Lenfant,
with Jean Benjamin, and Jean Daudancourt, tenants
of the aforesaid farm, who testified and affirmed to us
upon their oath and conscience that on Easter Monday
last past the said Lenfant being abroad with his
cattle, the said Gillon his wife departed from the farm
aforesaid in order to go to the village of Dizy, leaving
the said child in her house, under charge of a daughter
of hers nine years of age : in and during which time
the aforesaid girl went away to play around the said
farm, leaving the said child in his cradle ; during which
said time the pig aforesaid entered the said house and
mutilated and devoured the face and throat of the child
aforesaid ; so that within a brief space the aforesaid
child, by means of the bites and mutilations inflicted
by the hog aforesaid, departed this life : wherefore we
make known that we, in detestation and horror of this
case aforesaid, and in order to keep exemplary justice,
have bidden, judged, sentenced, pronounced, and
appointed that the said hog, being now bound in prison
under lock and key in the Abbey aforesaid, shall by the
common hangman be hanged by the neck until he be
dead, upon a wooden gibbet near and adjoining to the
standing gallows and place of execution of the aforesaid
monks, which are hard by their manor of Avin. In
witness whereof, we have sealed these presents with our
own seal.

Johann Geiler, born at Kaisersberg near Schaffhausen in 1445, became
Doctor of Theology at Bale and Freiburg, but accepted, at the invitation
of Bishop and Chapter, the Cathedral Preachership at Strassburg (1478).
Here his spiritual fervour, his hatred of abuses, and the raciness of his
style, raised him to a unique position among contemporary preachers.
He died at his work in 1510, looking forward to an impending catas-
trophe from which his strict orthodoxy shrank, while he fully recognized
its necessity. Preaching before the Emperor Maximihan, a few years
before his death, he cried : " Since neither Pope nor Emperor, kings
nor bishops, will reform our life, God will send a man for the purpose.
I hope to see that day . . . but I am too old. Many of you will see it ;
think then, I pray you, of these words." See L. Dacheux, Jean Geiler,
Paris, 1876.

68o A Medieval Garner.

314.— ^ca^^ickness of tbe %oul

(Fol. xxx.b of Geiler's Navicula Pcenitentice, Augsburg, 1511).

jHE twentieth condition of a voyage is sea-
sickness ; for some mariners fall into so
great sickness and dizziness of brain that
they are compelled to vomit. Why this
should be, ask of the physicians. Mean-
while the Shipman and other expert mariners laugh,
knowing that they stand in no peril of their lives for
such a sickness ; yet others who understand this not,
and the patient himself in his impatience, are sore cast
down thereby, and fear lest they should vomit up their
lungs and liver. So also is it with several simple
christians on board of this Ship of Penitence or of
Christian Life. They are taken with a horrible spiritual
nausea, which tormenteth them grievously, so that
they know not whither to turn, and have in horror all
spiritual food. For there are some who, though they
serve God busily and faithfully, are none the less
wearied with temptations of blasphemy, having foul
thoughts against the honour of God and His Saints,
concerning the Virginity of Mary, and the humanity of
Clirist, and the sacrament of the Eucharist, thinking
that they swallow the Devil when they take it. More-
over they have thoughts against chastity, against the
faith, and so forth ; so that they are like a man who
would fain vomit, twisting themselves to and fro in
their souls, until it seemeth to them that death would
not be so hard as that temptation. This is called
blasphemy of the heart, as St. Thomas [Aquinas] saith
in the Secunda Secundae, and the Author of the Sum
of Vices. Yet the experienced laugh at this, knowing
that no evil will come to them therefrom, so long as
they have no pleasure or consent therein. Of this we
have an example of a certain monk in the desert, who
for twenty years was buffeted with such foul thoughts,
and dared reveal them to no man for the abomination
that he felt in them ; yet at last he confessed them to


Froiilispicci' U> C.ih-r v.mi Kaiscrsl.iTt,'s Saririihi I',nitriiti>-. Slnissbiu-K !'>10.

Sea-Sickness of the Soul. 68 1

an old and experienced Father, not by word of mouth,
for very shame, but in writing. Then said the Father,
laughing : " Lay thy hand on my head ; " which when
he had done, he said, " Upon my head I take all this sin
of thine and the whole weight thereof : have thou
henceforth no more conscience thereof." Whereat the
monk marvelled and would have enquired the cause :
then answered the Father and said " Hath this foul
thought ever pleased thee ? " " God forbid," quoth
he, '" nay, it hath ever displeased me sore." Then said
the other, " It is plain, therefore, that this is no act of
thine, but rather a suffering inflicted by the Enemy,
who thus buffeteth thee that he may at last seduce
thee into desperation. Now therefore, my son, hear
my counsel, and when such foul thoughts invade thee
again, say ' To thyself, foul fiend, and on thine own
head be this blasphemy of thine ! I will have no part
in it, for I revere and adore the Lord my God, and
believe in Him.' " From that time forward this monk
was free from this so grievous temptation, for he
followed the old man's counsel.

But thou wilt say Whence cometh then such
spiritual sickness or blasphemy, and what remedies
shall we apply against it, lest it come to pass that on
this account we leap forth from the Ship of Penitence
before we reach the haven of eternal bliss ? I answer
that it cometh from five causes. . . . First, from the
inspiration of the Devil, who by such abominations
stirreth the phantistic virtue of simple souls, that he
may thus drive them to despair and withdraw them
from God's service and the way of salvation upon which
they have entered. Whereof we see the proof in
experience, in the case of some devout folk, persons of
the greatest innocence and chastity, who have never
heard with their outward ears such blasphemies and
filth as are inspired into them from within ; so that it
is clear that they could not feel them but by the sugges-
tion of that unseen Enemy ; but this is no marvel,
seeing that he striveth to set stumbling-blocks not only
here but in every divine service, studying how he may
hinder in every place the honour of God and the salva-

682 A Medieval Garner.

tion of men's souls. Lo how, at Church Dedications,*
he setteth up fairs and gluttonous feastings whereby
the worship of God may be undermined, as indeed it is,
for men busy themselves more with merchandize and
feasting than with masses or sermons or prayers ; nay
rather, all the divine services are so ordered as the
Kitchen requireth ; the Preface, the Creed, the Pater-
noster are stretched out or cut short ; the Kirk must
wait at the Kitchen's heels, so that the feast should
rather be called Kitchenweih than Kirkweih. Moreover
the Devil hath set up, in this Holy Week shortly to
come, the Fair of Frankfort, that merchants may be
hindered from making their communion worthily.!
Again, in Lententide he hath brought in greater rejoic-
ings, vanities and dances than are wont to be made at
other times. So also hath he profaned holy places ;
and, whereas monasteries were founded in desert soli-
tudes, he hath surrounded them with towns and cities :
for hardly shalt thou find a convent, built by holy men
in a desert place, but that the Devil hath built hard by
a toAvn or city, or at least a King's highway. . . .

Secondly, this blasphemy of the heart cometh from
indiscretion. . . . Thirdly, from idleness . . . for there
is no thought so foul, so al?ominable, so wicked and
execrable, but that this detestable idleness will find it
out ; as Ezechiel saith : " This was the iniquity of
thy sister Sodom ; pride, fulness of bread, and abund-
ance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither
did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."
... I say thirdly that this example [of St. Anthony's
temptation] should be carefully studied by certain
persons who, under a cloke as though they would spend
all their time on God and devotion, will do no manual
work ; yet the Apostle saith that if any would not work,

* These were yearly anniversaries wliicli still survive in Germany
under the title of Kirmes (Church mass) or Kirckweih (Church dedication).

•j- The large majority of the faithful communicated only once a year,
at Easter. This was one of the customs which the Devon and Cornish
rebels of 1549 demanded back again : " We will have the Sacrament of
the Altar but at Easter dehvered unto the people, and then but in one

A Noble Bishop. 68^

neither should he eat. For although it be not without
labour to spend our time with God in spiritual exercises,
yet it is well sometimes to labour with our hands also.
Wherefore it befalleth sometimes that those who neglect
this, not indeed from bodily weakness but from sloth
and carnal pleasure, fall into great peril to their souls,
not only in evil thoughts, but even sometimes in more
grievous sins ; wherefore St. Bernard saith : " Idleness
is the cesspool of all temptations and evil or unprofitable
thoughts." . . . [One remedy] is not to reveal this
temptation to all men. A devout person should not
confess these grievous temptations to any priest indif-
ferently, even though he be deeply learned, lest per-
chance he fall into an occasion of despair through the
inexperience of many [confessors], as we read elsewhere

Online LibraryG. G. (George Gordon) CoultonA medieval garner; human documents from the four centuries preceding the reformation → online text (page 57 of 61)