Paul Hentzner.

Travels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites online

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Like flowers in spring, and fair, like them to fade;
Leaving behind unhappy wretched me,
And all thy little orphan-progeny:
Alike the beauteous face, the comely air,
The tongue persuasive, and the actions fair,
Decay: so learning too in time shall waste:
But faith, chaste lovely faith, shall ever last.
The once bright glory of his house, the pride
Of all his country, dusty ruins hide:
Mourn, hapless orphans; mourn, once happy wife;
For when he died, died all the joys of life.
Pious and just, amidst a large estate,
He got at once the name of good and great.
He made no flatt'ring parasite his guest,
But asked the good companions to the feast.

Anne, Countess of Oxford, daughter of William Cecil, Baron Burleigh,
and Lord Treasurer.

Philippa, daughter and co-heiress of John, Lord Mohun of Dunster,
wife of Edward, Duke of York.

Frances, Countess of Sussex, of the ancient family of Sidney.

Thomas Bromley, Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth.

The Earl of Bridgewater, {4} Lord Dawbney, Lord Chamberlain to Henry
VII., and his lady.

And thus much for Westminster.

There are many other churches in this city, but none so remarkable
for the tombs of persons of distinction.

Near to this church is Westminster Hall, where, besides the Sessions
of Parliament, which are often held there, are the Courts of
Justice; and at stated times are heard their trials in law, or
concerning the king's patrimony, or in chancery, which moderates the
severity of the common law by equity. Till the time of Henry I. the
Prime Court of Justice was movable, and followed the King's Court,
but he enacted by the Magna Charta that the common pleas should no
longer attend his Court, but be held at some determined place. The
present hall was built by King Richard II. in the place of an
ancient one which he caused to be taken down. He made it part of
his habitation (for at that time the Kings of England determined
causes in their own proper person, and from the days of Edward the
Confessor had their palace adjoining), till, above sixty years
since, upon its being burnt, Henry VIII. removed the royal
residence to Whitehall, situated in the neighbourhood, which a
little before was the house of Cardinal Wolsey. This palace is
truly royal, enclosed on one side by the Thames, on the other by a
park, which connects it with St. James's, another royal palace.

In the chamber where the Parliament is usually held, the seats and
wainscot are made of wood, the growth of Ireland; said to have that
occult quality, that all poisonous animals are driven away by it;
and it is affirmed for certain, that in Ireland there are neither
serpents, toads, nor any other venomous creature to be found.

Near this place are seen an immense number of swans, who wander up
and down the river for some miles, in great security; nobody daring
to molest, much less kill any of them, under penalty of a
considerable fine.

In Whitehall are the following things worthy of observation:-

I. The Royal Library, well stored with Greek, Latin, Italian and
French books; amongst the rest, a little one in French upon
parchment, in the handwriting of the present reigning Queen
Elizabeth, thus inscribed:-

To the most high, puissant, and redoubted prince, Henry VIII. of the
name, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith;
Elizabeth, his most humble daughter. Health and obedience.

All these books are bound in velvet in different colours, though
chiefly red, with clasps of gold and silver; some have pearls and
precious stones set in their bindings.

II. Two little silver cabinets of exquisite work, in which the
Queen keeps her paper, and which she uses for writing boxes.

III. The Queen's bed, ingeniously composed of woods of different
colours, with quilts of silk, velvet, gold, silver, and embroidery.

IV. A little chest ornamented all over with pearls, in which the
Queen keeps her bracelets, ear-rings, and other things of
extraordinary value.

V. Christ's Passion, in painted glass.

VI. Portraits: among which are, Queen Elizabeth, at sixteen years
old; Henry, Richard, Edward, Kings of England; Rosamond; Lucrece, a
Grecian bride, in her nuptial habit; the genealogy of the Kings of
England; a picture of King Edward VI., representing at first sight
something quite deformed, till by looking through a small hole in
the cover which is put over it, you see it in its true proportions;
Charles V., Emperor; Charles Emanuel, Duke of Savoy, and Catherine
of Spain, his wife; Ferdinand, Duke of Florence, with his daughters;
one of Philip, King of Spain, when he came into England and married
Mary; Henry VII., Henry VIII., and his mother; besides many more of
illustrious men and women; and a picture of the Siege of Malta.

VII. A small hermitage, half hid in a rock, finely carved in wood.

VIII. Variety of emblems on paper, cut in the shape of shields,
with mottoes, used by the mobility at tilts and tournaments, hung up
here for a memorial.

IX. Different instruments of music, upon one of which two persons
may perform at the same time.

X. A piece of clock-work, an Ethiop riding upon a rhinoceros, with
four attendants, who all make their obeisance when it strikes the
hour; these are all put into motion by winding up the machine.

At the entrance into the park from Whitehall is this inscription:-

The fisherman who has been wounded, learns, though late, to beware;
But the unfortunate Actaeon always presses on.
The chaste virgin naturally pitied:
But the powerful goddess revenged the wrong.
Let Actaeon fall a prey to his dogs,
An example to youth,
A disgrace to those that belong to him!
May Diana live the care of Heaven;
The delight of mortals;
The security of those that belong to her! {5}

In this park is great plenty of deer.

In a garden joining to this palace there is a JET D'EAU, with a sun-
dial, which while strangers are looking at, a quantity of water,
forced by a wheel which the gardener turns at a distance, through a
number of little pipes, plentifully sprinkles those that are
standing round.

Guildhall, a fine structure built by Thomas Knowles. Here are to be
seen the statues of two giants, said to have assisted the English
when the Romans made war upon them: Corinius of Britain, and
Gogmagog of Albion. Beneath upon a table the titles of Charles V.,
Emperor, are written in letters of gold.

The government of London is this: the city is divided into twenty-
five regions or wards; the Council is composed of twenty-four
aldermen, one of whom presides over every ward. And whereas of old
the chief magistrate was a portreeve, I.E., governor of the city,
Richard I. appointed two bailiffs; instead of which King John gave a
power by grant of choosing annually a mayor from any of the twelve
principal companies, and to name two sheriffs, one of whom to be
called the king's, the other the city's. It is scarce credible how
this city increased, both in public and private buildings, upon
establishing this form of government. VIDE Camden's "Britannia,"

It is worthy of observation, that every year, upon St. Bartholomew's
Day, when the fair is held, it is usual for the mayor, attended by
the twelve principal aldermen, to walk in a neighbouring field,
dressed in his scarlet gown, and about his neck a golden chain, to
which is hung a golden fleece, {6} and besides, that particular
ornament {7} which distinguishes the most noble order of the garter.
During the year of his magistracy, he is obliged to live so
magnificently, that foreigner or native, without any expense, is
free, if he can find a chair empty, to dine at his table, where
there is always the greatest plenty. When the mayor goes out of the
precincts of the city, a sceptre, a sword, and a cap, are borne
before him, and he is followed by the principal aldermen in scarlet
gowns, with gold chains; himself and they on horseback. Upon their
arrival at a place appointed for that purpose, where a tent is
pitched, the mob begin to wrestle before them, two at a time; the
conquerors receive rewards from the magistrates. After this is
over, a parcel of live rabbits are turned loose among the crowd,
which are pursued by a number of boys, who endeavour to catch them,
with all the noise they can make. While we were at this show, one
of our company, Tobias Salander, doctor of physic, had his pocket
picked of his purse, with nine crowns du soleil, which, without
doubt, was so cleverly taken from him by an Englishman who always
kept very close to him, that the doctor did not in the least
perceive it.

The Castle or Tower of London, called Bringwin, and Tourgwin, in
Welsh, from its whiteness, is encompassed by a very deep and broad
ditch, as well as a double wall very high. In the middle of the
whole is that very ancient and very strong tower, enclosed with four
others, which, in the opinion of some, was built by Julius Caesar.
Upon entering the tower, we were obliged to quit our swords at the
gate and deliver them to the guard. When we were introduced, we
were shown above a hundred pieces of arras belonging to the Crown,
made of gold, silver, and silk; several saddles covered with velvet
of different colours; an immense quantity of bed-furniture, such as
canopies, and the like, some of them most richly ornamented with
pearl; some royal dresses, so extremely magnificent as to raise any
one's admiration at the sums they must have cost. We were next led
into the Armoury, in which are these particularities:- Spears, out
of which you may shoot; shields, that will give fire four times; a
great many rich halberds, commonly called partisans, with which the
guard defend the royal person in battle; some lances, covered with
red and green velvet, and the body-armour of Henry VIII.; many and
very beautiful arms, as well for men as for horses in horse-fights;
the lance of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, three spans thick;
two pieces of cannon, the one fires three, the other seven balls at
a time; two others made of wood, which the English has at the siege
of Boulogne, in France. And by this stratagem, without which they
could not have succeeded, they struck a terror into the inhabitants,
as at the appearance of artillery, and the town was surrendered upon
articles; nineteen cannon of a thicker make than ordinary, and in a
room apart; thirty-six of a smaller; other cannon for chain-shot;
and balls proper to bring down masts of ships. Cross-bows, bows and
arrows, of which to this day the English make great use in their
exercises; but who can relate all that is to be seen here? Eight or
nine men employed by the year are scarce sufficient to keep all the
arms bright.

The Mint for coining money is in the Tower.

N.B. - It is to be noted, that when any of the nobility are sent
hither, on the charge of high crimes, punishable with death, such as
treason, &c., they seldom or never recover their liberty. Here was
beheaded Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII., and lies buried in
the chapel, but without any inscription; and Queen Elizabeth was
kept prisoner here by her sister, Queen Mary, at whose death she was
enlarged, and by right called to the throne.

On coming out of the Tower, we were led to a small house close by,
where are kept variety of creatures, viz. - three lionesses; one lion
of great size, called Edward VI. from his having been born in that
reign: a tiger; a lynx; a wolf excessively old - this is a very
scarce animal in England, so that their sheep and cattle stray about
in great numbers, free from any danger, though without anybody to
keep them; there is, besides, a porcupine, and an eagle. All these
creatures are kept in a remote place, fitted up for the purpose with
wooden lattices, at the Queen's expense.

Near to this Tower is a large open space; on the highest part of it
is erected a wooden scaffold, for the execution of noble criminals;
upon which, they say, three princes of England, the last of their
families, have been beheaded for high treason; on the bank of the
Thames close by are a great many cannon, such chiefly as are used at

The next thing worthy of note is the Royal Exchange, so named by
Queen Elizabeth, built by Sir Thomas Gresham, citizen, for public
ornament and the convenience of merchants. It has a great effect,
whether you consider the stateliness of the building, the assemblage
of different nations, or the quantities of merchandise. I shall say
nothing of the hall belonging to the Hans Society; or of the
conveyance of water to all parts of the town by subterraneous pipes,
nor the beautiful conduits and cisterns for the reception of it; nor
of the raising of water out of the Thames by a wheel, invented a few
years since by a German.

Bridewell, at present the House of Correction; it was built in six
weeks for the reception of the Emperor Charles V.

A Hall built by a cobbler and bestowed on the city, where are
exposed to sale, three times in a week, corn, wool, cloth, fruits,
and the like.

Without the city are some theatres, where English actors represent
almost every day tragedies and comedies to a very numerous
audiences; these are concluded with excellent music, variety of
dances, and the excessive applause of those that are present.

Not far from one of these theatres, which are all built of wood,
lies the royal barge, close to the river. It has two splendid
cabins, beautifully ornamented with glass windows, painting, and
gilding; it is kept upon dry ground, and sheltered from the weather.

There is still another place, built in the form of a theatre, which
serves for the baiting of bulls and bears; they are fastened behind,
and then worried by great English bull-dogs, but not without great
risk to the dogs, from the horns of the one and the teeth of the
other; and it sometimes happens that they are killed upon the spot;
fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are
wounded or tired. To this entertainment there often follows that of
whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men,
standing circularly with whips, which they exercise upon him without
any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain; he
defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all who
come within his reach and are not active enough to get out of it,
and tearing the whips out of their hands and breaking them. At
these spectacles, and everywhere else, the English are constantly
smoking tobacco; and in this manner - they have pipes on purpose made
of clay, into the farther end of which they put the herb, so dry
that it may be rubbed into powder, and putting fire to it, they draw
the smoke into their mouths, which they puff out again through their
nostrils like funnels, along with it plenty of phlegm and defluxion
from the head. In these theatres, fruits, such as apples, pears,
and nuts, according to the season, are carried about to be sold, as
well as ale and wine.

There are fifteen colleges within and without the city, nobly built,
with beautiful gardens adjoining. Of these the three principal

I. The Temple, inhabited formerly by the Knights Templars; it seems
to have taken its name from the old temple, or church, which has a
round tower added to it, under which lied buried those Kings of
Denmark that reigned in England.

II. Gray's Inn. And,

III. Lincoln's Inn.

In these colleges numbers of young nobility, gentry, and others, are
educated, and chiefly in the study of physic, for very few apply
themselves to that of the law; they are allowed a very good table,
and silver cups to drink out of. Once a person of distinction, who
could not help being surprised at the great number of cups, said,
"He should have thought it more suitable to the life of students, if
they had used rather glass, or earthenware, than silver." The
college answered, "They were ready to make him a present of all
their plate, provided he would undertake to supply them with all the
glass and earthenware they should have a demand for; since it was
very likely he would find the expense, from constant breaking,
exceed the value of the silver."

The streets in this city are very handsome and clean; but that which
is named from the goldsmiths who inhabit it, surpasses all the rest;
there is in it a gilt tower, with a fountain that plays. Near it,
on the farther side, is a handsome house built by a goldsmith and
presented by him to the city. There are besides to be seen in this
street, as in all others where there are goldsmiths' shops, all
sorts of gold and silver vessels exposed to sale, as well as ancient
and modern medals, in such quantities as must surprise a man the
first time he sees and considers them.

Fitz-Stephen, a writer of English history, reckoned in his time in
London one hundred and twenty-seven parish churches, and thirteen
belonging to convents; he mentions, besides, that upon a review
there of men able to bear arms, the people brought into the field
under their colours forty thousand foot and twenty thousand horse.
VIDE Camden's "Britannia," Middlesex.

The best oysters are sold here in great quantities.

Everybody knows that English cloth is much approved of for the
goodness of the materials, and imported into all the kingdoms and
provinces of Europe.

We were shown, at the house of Leonard Smith, a tailor, a most
perfect looking-glass, ornamented with gold, pearl, silver, and
velvet, so richly as to be estimated at five hundred ecus du soleil.
We saw at the same place the hippocamp and eagle stone, both very
curious and rare.

And thus much of London.

Upon taking the air down the river, the first thing that struck us
was the ship of that noble pirate, Sir Francis Drake, in which he is
said to have surrounded this globe of earth. On the left hand lies
Ratcliffe, a considerable suburb: on the opposite shore is fixed a
long pole with ram's-horns upon it, the intention of which was
vulgarly said to be a reflection upon wilful and contented cuckolds.

We arrived next at the royal palace of Greenwich, reported to have
been originally built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and to have
received very magnificent additions from Henry VII. It was here
Elizabeth, the present Queen, was born, and her she generally
resides, particularly in summer, for the delightfulness of its
situation. We were admitted, by an order Mr. Rogers had procured
from the Lord Chamberlain, into the presence chamber, hung with rich
tapestry, and the floor, after the English fashion, strewed with
hay, {8} through which the Queen commonly passes on her way to
chapel. At the door stood a gentleman dressed in velvet, with a
gold chain, whose office was to introduce to the Queen any person of
distinction that came to wait on her; it was Sunday, when there is
usually the greatest attendance of nobility. In the same hall were
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, a great number
of Councillors of State, officers of the Crown, and gentlemen, who
waited the Queen's coming out; which she did from her own apartment
when it was time to go to prayers, attended in the following

First went gentlemen, barons, earls, Knights of the Garter, all
richly dressed and bareheaded; next came the Chancellor, bearing the
seals in a red silk purse, between two, one of whom carried the
Royal sceptre, the other the sword of state, in a red scabbard,
studded with golden FLEURS DE LIS, the point upwards: next came the
Queen, in the sixty-fifth year of her age, as we were told, very
majestic; her face oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her eyes small, yet
black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow, and
her teeth black (a defect the English seem subject to, from their
too great use of sugar); she had in her ears two pearls, with very
rich drops; she wore false hair, and that red; upon her head she had
a small crown, reported to be made of some of the gold of the
celebrated Lunebourg table; her bosom was uncovered, as all the
English ladies have it till they marry; and she had on a necklace of
exceeding fine jewels; her hands were small, her fingers long, and
her stature neither tall nor low; her air was stately, her manner of
speaking mild and obliging. That day she was dressed in white silk,
bordered with pearls of the size of beans, and over it a mantle of
black silk, shot with silver threads; her train was very long, the
end of it borne by a marchioness; instead of a chain, she had an
oblong collar of gold and jewels. As she went along in all this
state and magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first to one,
then to another, whether foreign Ministers, or those who attended
for different reasons, in English, French, and Italian; for, besides
being well skilled in Greek, Latin, and the languages I have
mentioned, she is mistress of Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch. Whoever
speaks to her, it is kneeling; now and then she raises some with her
hand. While we were there, W. Slawata, a Bohemian baron, had
letters to present to her; and she, after pulling off her glove,
gave him her right hand to kiss, sparkling with rings and jewels, a
mark of particular favour. Wherever she turned her face, as she was
going along, everybody fell down on their knees. {9} The ladies of
the court followed next to her, very handsome and well-shaped, and
for the most part dressed in white. She was guarded on each side by
the gentlemen pensioners, fifty in number, with gilt battle-axes.
In the ante-chapel, next the hall where we were, petitions were
presented to her, and she received them most graciously, which
occasioned the acclamation of "Long Live Queen Elizabeth!" She
answered it with "I thank you, my good people." In the chapel was
excellent music; as soon as it and the service were over, which
scarce exceeded half an hour, the Queen returned in the same state
and order, and prepared to go to dinner. But while she was still at
prayers, we saw her table set out with the following solemnity:-

A gentleman entered the room bearing a rod, and along with him
another who had a table-cloth which, after they had both kneeled
three times with the utmost veneration, he spread upon the table,
and, after kneeling again, they both retired. Then came two others,
one with the rod again, the other with a salt-cellar, a plate, and
bread; when they had kneeled as the others had done, and placed what
was brought upon the table, they too retired with the same
ceremonies performed by the first. At last came an unmarried lady
(we were told she was a countess), and along with her a married one,
bearing a tasting-knife; the former was dressed in white silk, who,
when she had prostrated herself three times in the most graceful
manner, approached the table and rubbed the plates with bread and
salt with as much awe as if the Queen had been present. When they
had waited there a little while, the yeomen of the guards entered,
bareheaded, clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose upon their backs,
bringing in at each turn a course of twenty-four dishes, served in
plate, most of it gilt; these dishes were received by a gentleman in
the same order they were brought, and placed upon the table, while
the lady taster gave to each of the guard a mouthful to eat of the
particular dish he had brought, for fear of any poison. During the
time that this guard, which consists of the tallest and stoutest men
that can be found in all England, being carefully selected for this
service, were bringing dinner, twelve trumpets and two kettledrums
made the hall ring for half an hour together. At the end of all
this ceremonial, a number of unmarried ladies appeared, who, with
particular solemnity, lifted the meat off the table, and conveyed it
into the Queen's inner and more private chamber, where, after she
had chosen for herself, the rest goes to the ladies of the Court.

The Queen dines and sups alone with very few attendants, and it is
very seldom that anybody, foreigner or native, is admitted at that
time, and then only at the intercession of somebody in power.

Near this palace is the Queen's park, stocked with deer. Such parks
are common throughout England, belonging to those that are
distinguished either for their rank or riches. In the middle of
this is an old square tower, called Mirefleur, supposed to be that
mentioned in the romance of "Amadis de Gaul;" and joining to it a
plain, where knights and other gentlemen use to meet, at set times
and holidays, to exercise on horseback.

We left London in a coach, in order to see the remarkable places in
its neighbourhood.

The first was Theobalds, belonging to Lord Burleigh, the Treasurer.

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Online LibraryPaul HentznerTravels in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and Fragmenta regalia; or, Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favourites → online text (page 2 of 9)