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and eminent in example, stands the virtuous and firm


Archbishop Abbot, who, being at Croydon the day it
was ordered to be read in churches, flatly forbade it to be
read there ; " which the King was pleased to wink at,
notwithstanding the daily endeavours that were used to
irritate the King against him." The " Book of Sports "
is not, however, without its apologists among modern
writers. The following are Mr. DTsraeli's remarks on
the subject : — " The King found the people in Lanca-
shire discontented, from the unusual deprivation of their
popular recreations on Sundays and holidays, after the
church service : ' With our own ears we heard the general
complaint of our people.' The Catholic priests were
busily insinuating among the lower orders, that the
Reformed Religion was a sullen deprivation of all mirth
and social amusements, and thus ' turning the people's
hearts.' But, while they were denied what the King
terms ' lawful recreations ' (which are enumerated to con-
sist of dancing, archery, leaping, vaulting, May-games,
Whitsun ales, morris-dances, and the setting up of May-
poles, and other manly sports), they had substituted some
vicious ones. Alehouses were more frequented, drunk-
enness more general, tale-mongery and sedition, the vices
of sedentary idleness, prevailed, while a fanatical gloom
was spreading over the country. The King, whose gaiety
of temper instantly sympathised with the multitude, being
perhaps alarmed at this new shape which Puritanism was
assuming, published 'The Book of Sports,' which soon
obtained the contemptuous name of The Dancing Book.' "
Life of James, p. 1 35. In reply to this view of the subject,
we shall, for the present, conclude with Dr. Whitaker's
remark, that " The King was little aware of the effects
which the ill-judged licence was likely to produce on the
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common people. The relics of it are hardly worn out
to this day ; and there is scarcely a Sunday evening in
any village of the county of Lancaster which does not
exhibit symptoms of obedience to the injunction of honest
' recreation.'" — Royal Progresses of James I.


On the 15th of August, in the year 1617, a day memor-
able for its heat and brightness, and for the more endur-
ing glory shed over this remote corner of our rejoicing
and gladdened realm, came forth King James, from the
southern gate of his loyal borough of Preston, in a gilded
and unwieldy caroche, something abated of its lustre by
reason of long service and the many vicissitudes attending
his majesty's "Progresses," which he underwent to the
great comfort and well-being of his dominions.

It were needless to set forth the mighty state in which
this war-hating monarch, this " vicegerent of Divinity,"
departed — or the great terror and agitation of Mr. Breares,
the lawyer, when he made a marvellous proper speech at the
town-cross — wiping his forehead thrice, and his mouth
barely once. Nor shall we dilate upon the distress, and
dazzling silk doublets of the mayor and aldermen of this
proud and thrice-happy borough — nor how they knelt to
the soft salute of his majesty's hand. Our whole book were
a space too brief, and a region too inglorious for the wide
pomp and paraphernalia of the time ; and how the bailiff
rode, and the macc-bearer guarded the caroche, it were
presumption, an offensive compound of ignorance and
pride, to attempt the portraiture. Suffice it to say, they
G 4


wore mulberry-coloured taflPeta gowns, carried white staves
and foot-cloths, and were preceded by twenty-four stout
yeomen riding before the king, with fringed javelins, unto
a place beyond Walton, where they departed. Our object
is to notice matters of less magnitude and splendour;
occurrences then too trivial to guide the pen of the
chronicler, lost beneath the blaze and effulgence that
followed on the track of this pageant-loving king. Scraps,
which the pomps and vanities of those days would have
degraded, we thus snatch from oblivion ; a preservation
more worthy, and an occupation more useful, we hope,
than to hand down to admiring ages the colour and cut
of taffeta or brocade.

This " wisest," of earthly kings was an ill-spoiled com-
pound of qualities, the types of which existed in his mo-
nitor and his preceptor; two great men, whom history has
not failed to distinguish — Archie Armstrong and George
Buchanan — the wit and the scholar, which in him be-
came the representatives of two much more useful and
esteemed quahties — fool and pedant !

Attended by his favourite Buckingham and a numerous
train of officials, he "progressed" upon the road to Hogh-
ton Tower, the' spacious and splendid dwelling of Sir
Richard Hoghton, the first baronet of that family, whose
guest he was to continue for a space, to the great envy
and admiration of the whole neighbourhood.

As they came nigh the Tower, nothing could be con-
ceived more beautiful or picturesque. Its embattled
gateway, bartizans, and battlements crowning the summit
of a bold and commanding eminence, became brightly
illuminated, flashing against grim and shapeless masses of


cloud, the shattered rehcs of a storm, that was roUing
away in the distance.

Many of the neighbouring gentry were in attendance,
not disdaining to wear, out of grace and courtesy to Sir
Richard Hoghton, the Uvery of their thrice-honoured

The king's train alone were very numerous, amongst
whom appeared Lord Zouch, Constable of Dover Castle,
and Sir George Goring, Lieutenant of the Gentlemen
Pensioners.* With the latter rode Sir John Finettf,
Assistant Master of the Ceremonies, but who acted the
chief part in this important office during the king's jour-

* " Sir George Goring, of Hurst Pierrepoint, in Sussex, repre-
sentative of a junior line of the respectable family of Goring, which
maintains its importance in that county, was bred at Court, under the
care of his father, one of Elizabeth's Gentlemen Pensioners ; was
knighted May 29. 1608 ; in 1610 occurs as Gentleman in Ordinary
of the Bedchamber to Prince Henry ; and now accompanied the
King to Scotland as Lieutenant of his Gentlemen Pensioners. He
was recommended to James equally by his sagacity and a pecuh'ar
jocularity of humour, and became the King's familiar companion." —
Nichols's Royal Progresses, vol. iii. p. 256.

f Sir John Finett, says Anthony k Wood, (Fasti by Bliss, vol. i.
col. 492.) was son of Sir Robert Finett, of Soulton, near Dover, in
Kent, son and heir of Sir Thomas, son and heir of John Finett, of
Sienna, in Italy (where his name is ancient), who came into England
in quality of servant to Cardinal Campegius, and married a IMaid of
Honour to Queen Katharine. " Sir John was always bred in the
Court, where by his wit, innocent mirth, and great skill in composing
songs, he pleased .Tames the First very much. He v/as sent into
France in 1614, about matters of public concern, and in the year after
received the honour of knighthood at Whitehall ; about which time
(or rather about 1612) he was made assistant to^the master of the
ceremonies, with the reversion of that place." — N'irknls's Progresses,
vol. iii. p. l;53.


ney ; two worthies, of whom it might be said, that for
tempering of the king's humour, and aptness in ministering
to his delights, their like could scarcely have been found.
Such nights of feasting and dancing, such days of hawking,
hunting, and horse-racing, had never before gladdened the
heart of " Merry Englonde," or England's monarchs. It
seemed as if the whole realm were given up to idolatry and
dissipation. The idol pleasure was worshipped with such
ardour and devotion, that all ranks were striving to outdo
each other in tinsel, trumpery, and deeds of worthlessness
and folly.

The King loved such disguises and representations as
were witty and sudden ; the more ridiculous, and to him
the more pleasant. This vain and frivolous humour might
seem unworthy and unbecoming in so great a prince,
whose profundity of wisdom had well entitled him to the
appellation of " our English Solomon," did we not call to
remembrance that the greatest of men have not disdained
to be children in their sports ; the deepest dispositions
of the mind seeming to require the lightest and most
frivolous recreations.

These worthy purveyors to the king's pleasure were of
a temper and capacity widely different. Sir George
Goring was caustic and severe ; Sir John Finett pleasant
and social, delighting in nothing so much as in the hap-
piness and gratification of his friends. But the natural
disposition of his thoughts was wild and melancholic,
taking its hue from some early impression, that was now
fading in doubt and disappointment.

The full burst of his hilarity floated joyously on the
surface, and his loud mirth, blunting the keen edge of his
own feelings, became the more exhilarating in proportion


to their acuteness. He had the warm blood of the Italian
in his veins, being descended from an ancient family of
Sienna; and his rich brown cheek and darkly-speaking
eye belied not the land of his origin. Goring was fat and
swarthy : his nose small and supercilious, and his eye
gray and piercing. He cared not whom he wounded, pro-
vided the shafts he drew were well pointed ; and his wit
quick and well -aimed, causing the king to laugh, and his
victim to writhe during their operation.

As the monarch sate discoursing with the Duke of
Buckingham, being sore heated, he threw open the
windows of his coach, from whence he occasionally
obtruded his wise head for a survey, and a visit from
some vagrant and silly breeze, if any were abroad. The
roads admitted not of aught but the gentlest paces, and
the great clamour and crowd about the procession made
the dust and heat excessively annoying; whereupon the
king, it is said, did apply a very uncourteous epithet to
some of his loving subjects, who came too close upon his
person, which, though not generally averse to being gazed
at, was in too warm an atmosphere at present for enjoy-
ing these kingly exhibitions.

" O' my saul, that meikle stane would build a bra'
chappin-block for my Lord Provost," said royalty, its
head again stationed at the window, surveying with
solemn curiosity an egg-shaped stone of the boulder sort,
which, sure enough, was of a remarkable bigness, though
not of that rarity or infrequence that should have drawn
forth the wonder of a king. His native dialect he gene-
rally employed on jocose and familiar subjects. In affairs
of importance he affected the use of the English tongue,
which he spoke with great formality and pomp.


" Stop," said he. " There be litercE or letters thereon.
Unto what purport?"

But no one could resolve him as to the use of the
stone, or the purport of the writing. His worthy host
protested that the wonder had never before been ob-
served. It was doubtless some miracle worked for the

" But the scriptum or writing will set forth the motive
or argument thereto. The letters be goodly and well-

Many voices recited the inscription, forming the follow-
ing ill-spelled line.

" Tome me ore, an Vic tel thee plaine."

The well-known childish curiosity of the monarch
would not permit him to go away unsatisfied. The day
was hot, and the stone was heavy ; but a long and labo-
rious toil brought to light the following satisfactory in-
telligence : —

" Hot jiorrilch softens hard butter-cakes,
So iorne me o're again." *

" And o' my saul," said the king, " ye shall gang roun'
to yere place again ; for sa meikle as these country gowks
mauna ken the riddle without the labour."

* This stone, the author has been told, was in existence less than a
century ago, though not in the precise situation above alluded to.
He has heard the disappointment of the curious passers by, told with
considerable humour; they, however, generally took care to replace
the stone with its word of promise before the eye, that the next comer
might bestow the same labour for the like result.


So the " muckle stane" was replaced for the next
comer, who had strength and curiosity enough to unriddle
the sphinx.

But James did not relish fooleries wherein he was the
butt. Whether it was devised by some wicked rhymester
and contemner of royalty in the neighbourhood, or placed
there by some of the wits of his own company, was never
ascertained, though he challenged them at random, and
swore lustily that he would know the originator of this
piece of folly and impertinence.

As the king drew nigh to the avenue, there presently
issued forth a goodly flourish of trumpets, which made the
women caper and the horses prance. Sir Richard Hoghton
rode with the king; but his son Sir Gilbert met his
majesty with a great retinue, clad mostly after the same
fashion ; many of the neighbouring gentry, as we have
before observed, not disdaining to put on Sir Richard's
gowns and liveries, to swell the pomp and magnificence of
that memorable occasion.

The javelin-bearers rode two and two : halting at his
majesty's approach, they formed an avenue, through which
Sir Gilbert, sumptuously attired, went forth to salute the
king. His cloak and hose were all glistering and spangled
with embroidery ; his vest was cloth of gold, enriched with
rare and costly stones ; his shirt-bands and ruflBes were
worked in silver ; and his gloves, Spanish, breathing out
the choicest perfume ; his hat was of French murrey, the
brims thick set with gold twist and spangles ; round it was
a band of goldsmith's work, looped with a crystal button.

On approaching the monarch, he gracefully alighted ;
whereupon, James commanded that the carriage should be
stayed, thrusting out his hand in a very gracious sort to


this worthy knight, who, on his knees, received tlie

His majesty then took horse, assisted by Buckingham,
who held the stirrup. But the king's peculiar and un-
steady vaulting was much noticed. Many of the bystanders,
not aware of his majesty's dislike to these equestrian
feats, marvelled not a little at the motion of his leg, and
the disturbed and uneasy position he assumed. The path-
way up the avenue was laid with purple velvet, on which
the glittering cavalcade, horse and foot, formed a noble
pageant, whose pomp was almost dazzling to behold. The
carriages took another path opened for the occasion. The
whole area in front of the Tower teemed with multitudes,
whose shouts and huzzas made the very hills and echoes
loyal, while they rang with acclamations to their sove-
reign. Presently issued forth from the middle gateway
two curiously-attired figures, bearing emblems to indicate
their character and design. These were living allegories,
represented by the house-steward and Hobbe Handycap,
the forester or tienman, keeper of vert and venison, a
« ryghte merrie knave," and one foremost in all pastimes
and " honest recreations ;" a great promoter and per-
former of May-games, morris-dancing, and the like. These
figures were to be conceived as household gods, the
tutelary deities of Hoghton. The first spokesman was
clad in a purple taffeta mantle ; in one hand was a palm-
tree branch, on his head a garland of the like sort, and in
the other hand he carried a dog.

King James, accustomed to, and expecting these mum-
meries, made a full stop, when, forthwith, began the
purple mantle as follows : —


" This day, great Kinge, for government admired,
Wliich these thy subjects have so much desired.
Shall be kept holy in their heart's best treasure,
And vow'd to James, as is this month to Cassar ; "

with a good score of lines besides, of the like brevity and
metre. In them, he was said to be greater even than the
immortal gods themselves, seeing that they came to render
their homage imto him, together with all things else over
which they bare rule, even as the greater doth include
the less.

Then spake Hobbe, the deity of the chase.

" Greatest of mortals ! "

But he was presently nonplused, and the steward stept
forth to his relief, reciting how that the glorious beams from
his majesty's person had stricken dumb this weaker divinity.
Having finished, the heat being intense, and they mightily
encumbered with garments, did presently turn their
backs on the king's majesty, making all speed towards the
gateway for shelter. This breach of good manners was
not unnoticed by the monarch, who said, wittily we
suppose, for it was much applauded, that these gods were
not of High Olympus, but of the nether sort, inasmuch
as they had turned tail upon their subject.

James and his company, passing through the ponderous
and embattled gateway, entered into the great quadrangle,
an area, it is reported, of sufficient size to contain six
hundred men. Here he alighted, and was conducted in
great state to the oaken chamber, where, royalty being
very hot, a tankard of Rhenish wine, mingled with rose-
water, was handed to him : of this he partook but
sparingly, calling to Buckingham for a cup of muscadine
and eggs.


Goring and Finett were not idle, but each of them fully
employed in their respective vocations. Sir John had
been pierced by a pair of dark eyes from the crowd upon
the staircase, and Goring was ' making all haste for the
royal hunt, his majesty having signified that he would on
that same evening kill a stag. James was, generally, as
quick to resolve as he was impotent to execute ; vacil-
lating, and without any fixed purpose, in matters that
required decision and promptitude of action.

With his usual pusillanimity the king went through
the business of the hunt ; the deer being literally driven
into the very teeth of the dogs. An hour having been
thus occupied, he commanded that they should return,
highly satisfied with his own skill and intrepidity. Ascend-
ing the hill with his favourite. Goring, and discoursing
pleasantly on this noble pastime, the king turned round on
the sudden, as though recollecting something he had lost.

" What ! Jack Finett. Quhere ? quhere, I say, is my
Sienna balsam ? " said he, laying a deep emphasis on the
guttural. This sally was acknowledged with delight by
the courtiers. But " Jack" had not been seen or even re-
membered. Some ti-ick or device was doubtless intended,
and the king held himself in readiness for the expected
surprise ; but none was forthcoming. No magazine of
mirth exploded ; no mine was sprung ; and James entered
into his chamber without any visible expression of jocose-
ness issuing from the fertile brains of Sir John Finett.
The irritation produced by his absence seemed to arise,
not from any need of him, but fi-om that tormenting
desire which mortals universally feel for the possession of
objects beyond their reach. Search was commanded for
the truant, unsuccessfully ; and supper was begun.


The eastern side of the hill on which the tower is
built is bold and rugged, being steep and difficult of
access. At its base the Darwen forces itself through a
narrow channel, its waters tumbling over huge heaps of
rock, and reeling in mazy eddies to the echo of their own
voice. The river seems to have worked itself a passage
through the chasm ; and the boiling and noisy torrent,
struggling to free itself from observation, foams and'
bellows like the gorge of a whirlpool, from whence ori-
ginates its name, " The Orr," not unlike in sound to the
effect that is here produced.

On the opposite shore the rock is nearly perpendicular,
the dog-rose and the bramble hiding its crevices, and
the crawling campanula wreathing its bright bells about
the sterile front, from which its sustenance was derived,
like youth clinging to the cold and insensate bosom of
age. The declivity sloping abruptly from the tower
was then covered with a wild and luxuriant underwood,
stunted ash, and hazel twigs, thinly occupying a suc-
cession of ridges to the summit. Here and there a
straggling oak threw its ungraceful outline over a narrow

path, winding immediately under the base of the hill,

its bare roots undermined by oozings from above, and
giving way to the slow but certain operation of the de-
stroyer. From the heat and dryness of the season the
torrent was much diminished, rushing into a succession of
deep pools, which the full free light of heaven had
scarcely ever visited. Now dimly seen through the hot
gleams of a summer evening, they seemed wavering in
the lurid reflection from surrounding objects.

Up this narrow gorge had strayed Sir John Finett with
a companion, too busily engaged, it might seem, in their

vol,. II. H


own converse to note the laspe of time, and the probable
consequences of the king's displeasure.

" Fair lady," said the gay cavalier, " I am not more
bold than my vocation holdeth meet. Your cousin, at
Myerscough, was so liberal of his own suit, and my coun-
tenance therein, that he hath intrusted this love-billet to
my keeping, warning me that I should let none but your-
self be privy to its delivery."

" Would that my cousin had eschewed letter-writing !
I am averse to his suit, and yet he ceaseth not to vex me
continually with his drivelling ditties. His ballad-mon-
gering to these ' eyne ' alone would set up one of your
court rhymesters for a twelvemonth."

" Yet may aversion cease, and your mislikings be not
over difficult to assuage," said the courtier.

" I doubt not but Sir John Finett speaks of the capri-
cious and changeable humours he hath witnessed: — our
country fashion holdeth not so lightly by its affection or

" Then there be, doubtless, of those stout vessels that
shall never leak out a lady's favour. That this lot were
mine ! "

Sir John, perhaps unconsciously, threw his dark eyes
full upon the lady, who blushed deeply ; but the gloom
concealed this outward show of feeling, too unformed and
indefinite for thought. She spoke not ; but the knight,
under cover of his errand, continued the discourse with-
out awakening her alarm. He excelled in that specious,
though apparently heedless raillery, which is so apt to
slip without suspicion into a lady's ear ; and he could ply
his suit, under this disguise, with such seeming artless-
ness and unconcern, that a lodgment in the citadel was


sometimes effected ere the garrison was aware of the

This fair dame, Grace Gerard, was of gentle blood, a
daughter of the Gerards of Ashton Hall, near Lancaster.
At the earnest solicitations of the Hoghton family, she
was induced to remain a guest with them during the
royal visit. Of a sweet and excellent temper, her form
and face were its very image and counterpart. The
world was to her untried — fresh, fair, unblemished — she
looked upon it as though she were newly alighted on
" some heaven-kissing hill," from whence the whole round
of life's journey was blent and mingled with the glowing
beam that now encompassed her. Alas ! that youth should
so soon pluck and eat of the *' Tree of Knowledge ! "
that a nearer approach should dissipate the illusion!
that our path, as it winds through those scenes we have
looked on from afar in the light of our imagination, should
at every step discover the tracks of misery, — a world of
wretchedness and of woe !

Sir John, with all his faults, inseparable it may be
from the society into which he had been thrown, was not
vicious. Loving and beloved, he existed but as the object
of woman's regard. This foible he indulged not farther.
But, many a bright eye waxed dim, — many a fond heart
was withered, in the first spring-tide of its affection.

" Now that I have granted you this audience for my
cousin's sake, and given him my reply, it is needful that
we return. Besides, the night is coming on. The king
and the feast demand your presence."

" Nay, thou cruel tyrant, tell me not of my chain. The
king's humour I can control, but "

" Presume not on the favour of princes ; an ancient,
H 2


but wholesome caution," said the maiden laughing at Sir
John, who, for the first time, seemed to be aware of his
duty, and was puzzling his brains for an excuse. ,

The bell now rang out lustily from the Tower, increas-
ing the knight's perplexity. The innocent cause of this
delay only laughed at his concern, singing, as though to

' " The bell has been rung, and the mass hath been sung,
And the feast eat merrily,

Merrily ! '

and the king's master of the ceremonies absent."

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