Robert R. (Robert Richard) Pearce.

A guide to the Inns of court and chancery; with notices of their ancient discipline, rules, orders, and customs, readings, moots, masques, revels, and entertainments; online

. (page 8 of 28)
Online LibraryRobert R. (Robert Richard) PearceA guide to the Inns of court and chancery; with notices of their ancient discipline, rules, orders, and customs, readings, moots, masques, revels, and entertainments; → online text (page 8 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Stepkin, Charles Adderly, John Ratcliff, Richard May
and Giles Hungerford.

Soon after these levities, those unhappy civil com-
motions began which, originating in the unconsti-
tutional attempts of the king to set his authority
above all law, finally ended in the bloody tragedy
enacted at Whitehall. A morose fanaticism obtained
ascendency, and acts of parliament were passed, sup-
pressing stage plays, which were denounced as "the
very Pompes of the Divell."




THE revels which were observed in ancient times
in all the Inns of Court, at Allhallowtide, Christmas,
and other joyous seasons, were parts of the national
recreations which were universally kept up in olden
times, by rich as well as poor, throughout " merrie
England." In the houses of the nobility, and in other
great houses, an officer called the master of the revels,
or the lord of misrule, was every year appointed to
manage the Christmas diversions from Allhallow-
eve to Candlemas-day ; and out of doors the populace
were amused with mysteries or miracle plays, with
various sports, pastimes, and exercises. " That nothing
might be wanting for the encouragement of study,"
dancing and revels for recreation and delight, we are
told, were allowed in the halls of the Inns of Court, at
certain seasons. These revels were observed from a
very early date; in the ninth year of the reign of
Henry VI. it was ordered by the bench of Lincoln's
Inn, that there should be four revels that year, and no
more ; one at the feast of Allhallows, another at the
feast of St. Erkenwald, the third at the Purification


of our Lady, and the fourth at Midsummer-day. A
director of the pastimes, or master of the revels,
was annually chosen magister jocorum, revettorum,
et mascarum. In 9 Hen. VIII., it was ordered in
Lincoln's Inn that he who should be chosen King
on Christmas-day, ought then to occupy the said
room if he were present, and in his absence the
marshal for the time being, by the advice of the other
barristers present, to name another; also that the
King of Cockneys on Childermas-day should sit and
have due service; and that he and all his officers
" should use honest manner and good order, without
any waste or destruction making in wine, brawn,
chely, or other victuals," and also that he and his
marshal, butler, and constable marshal, should have
their lawful and honest commandments by delivery of
the officers of Christmas, and " that the said King of
Cockneys ne none of his officers medyl neither in the
buttery nor in the steward of Christmas his office
upon pain of 40s. for such meddling."

Both the Inner and Middle Temples were particularly
celebrated for the splendour of these entertainments.
In the fourth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth,
the Christmas revels of the Inner Temple were kept
with great magnificence. Lord Eobert Dudley, (after-
wards Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Elizabeth,)
a student in that house, was chosen high constable and
marshal, with the title of Pallaphilos, Prince of Sophie,
high constable marshal of the Knights Templars,
and patron of the honourable order of the Pegasus.



Christopher Hatton, afterwards lord chancellor of En-
gland, was " the master of the game," and the prince
was attended by a numerous retinue and a mimic court.
Several days were spent in feasting, dancing, masking,
and tilting ; the pastimes being witnessed by numbers
of the nobility, and graced by the presence of " divers
bewties dames." Gerard Leigh, a member of the
Inner Temple, in his curious discourse on heraldry,*
gives a minute account of the pageantry and festivities,
the processions of the prince, the decorations of the
hall, the discharge of ordnance, the noise of fifes
and drums, the flourishing of trumpets, the order
of the banquets, and the proclamations of the herald.
He describes Pallaphilos as "a soldier placed to
defend the temples dedicated to the gods, as places meet
for Pallas' muses to inhabit, the high constable of the
goddess herself, marshal of the Inner Temple, whose
magnificent court with rare devising of the gods
themselves, brought such admiration to heapes of
ruder number, that although " he adds, " I might see
it, yet could I not approach it, by the length of
Strabo's kenning, when from farre he saw the navy of
Puny, and therein I thought me in Tantalus' pain to
swim in so sweet dewes on every side, yet not able
once to essay thereof."

Leigh describes the coat of arms of the Inner

* ' The Accidence of Armorie ' by Gerard Leigh, printed by
Ballard, A. D. 1597, and dedicated " to the honourable assembly
of gentlemen in the Innes of Court and Chancery ; " with a
prefatory address to the reader, by Richard Argoll, of the Inner


Temple, azure, a Pegasus argent, " called the horse
of honour, whose condition Soares, Emperor of As-
siria, honoured so much for his swift course as he
judged him not framed of the grosse masse of com-
mon horses ; and therefore Gefferie Chaucer built unto
him, after his own nature and condition, a house called
Fame, a place meet for the horse of honour." Leigh's
work is written in the form of a dialogue between
Leigh and Gerard, the latter assuming the character
of a herehaught or herald.

The following is a description of the ceremony of
conferring knighthood in the Inner Temple Hall, on
twenty-three chosen gentlemen, by Pallaphilos :

" Approach ye, therefore approach, ye noble gen-
tlemen who serve so mighty a patroness, with so wor-
thy a captain in so high a fellowship ; and receive the
guerdion of your travail, the honor now offered, that
your living fame may never perish, till couching cow-
ardice by shameful flight, and raging vice, by deadly
dent, are forced to fly the face of the whole earth.
Then your virtue shall prick forth Pegasus to live
aloft with eternal felicitie, who ruleth all in all."

" Thus his persuasion ended, they were called forth
one by one according to their ancienty, and upon every
one attended seven knights that bare the pieces of his
armour. And kneeling in open sight was by the
herehaught armed with the helme of fortitude, who
bade him manly to abide by wisdom the blustering
blasts of swelling envy and froward fortune. Then
was he likewise armed with the breastplate of courage,


that willing he should pursue vice, fearing no peril,
being armed with virtue. After to him was delivered
the targe of Pallas for his defence manfully to invade,
or politikly to defend. Then was he girt with the
sword of justice, to measure by desert, and cut short
the monstrous head of growing pride. Then were deli-
vered to him the spurs of speed to prick therewith the
horse of fame. Then was he covered with the mantle
of Pallas, triple colours, Argent, Or, and Purpure :
that by simple truth, secret counsel, and good advice
to forecast ere he attempt, and then by speed to pro-
secute with effect. Then lastly was put about his
neck the collar of Pallas order with pendant Pegasus,
to link together with loving consent his armed de-
fence ; that so by Pegasus he might to honour mount
a place for a virtuous conqueror. And for a better
assurance thereof Truth held the sword, whilst he was
sworn by the cross thereof, which was thus :

" Wisdom the guide of armed strength,

Uprise your knightlie name :
By force of prowes hawt, to clymb

The loftie tower of fame :
Advance your honours by your deeds,

To live for ever more,
As Pallas knights, by Pallas helpe,

Pallas serve ye therefore."

" And this ended, the high-constable dubbeth him
with a sword, bidding him arise knight by living virtue.
All these observances finished, Pallaphilos biddeth
them to go offer to Pallas the first fruits of their gotten
virtues, giving thanks to the goddess with sacrifice.


And so they departed towards the temple in such
order as they came, saving accompanied with two no-
blemen to every of them. And before them went all
sounds of Mars his music, and officers of arms in their
order : their sacrifice done they returned in like sort
to Pallaphilos Hall, where they prepared prices of
honour for tilt, tournay, and such knightly pastime.
And after for their solace, they masked with
bewties dames, with such heavenly harmony as if
Apollo and Orphews had shewed their cunning. At
length the high-constable departed the hall, anon
after the squires for the body prepared to rest. And
the ushers commanded to avoid, and so I departed to
Pallaphilos' lodging, where I lackt no entertainment."

The following account of the Prince of Purpook,
who, with all his attendants, was invited to court
by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, is taken from
' Gesta Grayorum,' A.D. 1594:

" The great number of gallant gentlemen that
Gray's Inn afforded at ordinary revels, betwixt All-
hallowtide and Christmas, exceeding therein the
rest of the houses of court, gave occasion to some
well wishers of our sports, and favourers of our
credit, to wish a head answerable to so noble a
body, and a leader to so gallant a company; which
motion was more willingly hearkened unto, in regard
that such pastimes had been intermitted by the
space of three or four years, by reason of sickness
and discontinuancies. After many consultations had
thereupon, by the youths and others that were most


forward herein, at length, about the 12th of De-
cember, with the consent and assistance of the
readers and ancients, it was determined that there
should be elected a Prince of Purpoole, to govern
our state for the time, which was intended to be for
the credit of Gray's Inn, and rather to be performed
by witty inventions than chargeable expenses. Where-
upon they presently made choice of one, Mr. Henry
Holmes, a Norfolk gentleman, who was thought to
be accomplished with all good parts, fit for so great
a dignity ; and was also a very proper man of per-
sonage, and very active in dancing and revelling.
Then was his privy council assigned to him, to ad-
vise of state matters and the government of his do-
minions ; his lodging also was provided according to
state, as the presence chamber and the council cham-
ber ; also all officers of the law and of the house-
hold. There were also appointed gentlemen pen-
sioners to attend on his person, and a guard with
his captain for his defence. The next thing thought
upon as most necessary, was provision of treasure,
for the support of his state and dignity. To this
purpose, there was granted a benevolence by those
who were in the court abiding; and, for those that
were not in the house, there were letters directed to
them, in the nature of privy seals, to enjoin them,
not only to be present and give their attendance at
his court, but also that they should contribute to the
defraying so great a charge as was guessed to be requi-
site for the performance of so great intendments."


Letters were addressed to the society of the Inner
Temple, inviting them to attend, which were ac-
knowledged by that house, in becoming form:
" as your kindness, and the bond of our ancient
amity and league, requireth and deserveth, your
assured friend, * The State of Templaria.' *

The following is the order of the Prince of Purpoole's
proceedings, with his officers and attendants, at his
honourable Inthronization, which was likewise ob-
served at all his solemn marches, on grand days and
like occasions, which place every officer did duly at-
tend during the reign of his highness's government.

A marshal. A marshal.

Trumpets. Trumpets.

Pursuivant-at-Arms, Lanye.

Towns men in the Prince's Yeomen of the Guard, three
livery, with halberds. couples.

Captain of the Guard, Grimes.
Baron of the Grand Port, Baron of the Petty Port,

Dudley. Williams.

Baron of the Base Port, Baron of the New Port,

Grante. Lovel.

Gentlemen for entertain- Gentlemen for entertain-

ment, three couples, ment, three couples,

Binge, fyc. Wentworth, Zukendeu, Forrest.

Lieutenant of the Pensioners, Tonstal.
Gentlemen Pensioners, twelve couples, viz.
Lawson. Daniel. Elken.

Devereux. Rotts. Damson.

Stapleton. Anderson. cum reliquis.


Chief Ranger and Master of the Game, Forrest.

Master of the Revels, Lam- Lord Chamberlain of the

bert. Household, Mark/tarn.



Master of the Revellers,
T every.

Captain of the Pensioners,

Sewer,* Archer.

Carver, Mosely.

Another Server, Drewry.

Cup-bearer, Painter.

Groom-porter, Sennet.

Sheriff, Leach.

Clerk of the Council, Jones.

Clerk of the Parliament.

Clerk of the Crown, Downes.

Orator, Heke.

Recorder, Starkey.

Solicitor, Dunne.

Sergeant, Goldsmith,

Speaker of the Parliament,

Commissary, Greenwood.

Attorney, Holt.

Sergeant, Hitchcombe.

Master of the Requests,

Secretary of State, Jones.

Lord Admiral, Cecil (Rich.)

Lord Treasurer, Morrey.

Lord Chamberlain, South-

Lord High Constable.

Lord Marshal, Knaplock.

Lord Privy Seal, Lamphew.

Lord High Steward, Kempe.

Lord Chancellor, Johnson.

Archbishop of St. Andrews
in Holborn, Bush.

Sergeant-at-Arms, with the
Mace, Flemming.

Gentleman Usher, Chevett.

Shield of Pegasus for the
Inner Temple, Scevinton.

Chancellor of the Exche-
quer, Kitts.

Master of the Wards and
Idiots, Ellis.

Reader, Cobb.

Lord Chief Baron of the
Exchequer, Briggs.

Master of the Rolls, Hetlen.

Lord Chief Justice of the
Common fleas, Dam-

Lord Chief Justice of the
Prince's Bench, Crew.

Master of the Ordnance,
Fitz- Williams.

Lieutenant of the Tower,

Master of the Jewel House,

Treasurer of the House-
hold, Smith.

Knight Marshal, Bell.

Master of the Wardrobe,

Comptroller of the House-
hold, Bouthe.

Bishop of St. Giles in the
Fields, Dandye.

Steward of the Household,

Lord Warden of the Four
Ports, Damporte.

* One that cometh in before the meat of the king, or other
great personage, and placeth it upon the table.


Sergeant-at-Arms, with the Gentlemen of the Privy

Sword, Glascott. Chamber, six couples.

Gentleman Usher, Paylor. A Page of Honour, Butler

Shield of the Griffin for (Roger.}

Gray's Inn, Wicklijfe. Vice Chamberlain, Butler

The King-at-Arms, Per- (Thos.}

kinson. Master of the Horse, Fitz-

The Great Shield of the Hugh.

Prince's Arms, Cobley. Yeomen of the Guards,

The Prince of Purpoole, three couples.

Holmes. Townsmen in liveries.
A Page of Honour, Wand-

forde. The Family, and Followers.

Upon the 20th of December, being St. Thomas' Eve,
the prince, with all his train, in order as above,
marched from his lodgings to the Great Hall of
Gray's Inn, and there took his place on his throne,
under a rich cloth of state. His counsellors and
great lords were placed about him and before him.
Below the half paces at a table, sat his learned counsel
and lawyers; the rest of the officers and attendants
took their proper places, as belonged to their con-

Then the trumpets were commanded to sound
thrice, which, being done, the king at arms, in his
rich surcoat of arms, stood forth before the prince,
and proclaimed his style as follows:

"By the sacred laws of arms, and authorised cere-
monies of the same, (maugre the conceit of any
malcontent,) 1 do pronounce my sovereign liege
lord, Sir Henry, rightfully to be the high and
mighty Prince of Purpoole, Arch-Duke of Sta-


pulia and Bernardia* Duke of the High and
Nether Holborn, Marquis of St. Giles's and
Tottenham, Count Palatine of Bloomsbury and
Clerkenwell, Great Lord of the Cantons of
Islington, &c., Knight of the most honourable
order of the Helmet, and Sovereign of the

After that the king-at-arms had thus proclaimed his
style, the trumpets sounded again, and then entered
the prince's champion, all in complete armour, on
norseback, and so came riding round about the fire, and,
in the midst of the hall, made his challenge, gaging
his gauntlet as the prince's true knight and champion.

Then followed various speeches, ceremonies, pro-
cessions, dancings, and devices, which were witnessed
by a crowd of distinguished visitors : " And besides
all the stately and sumptuous service that was conti-
nually done to the prince in a very princely manner,
and besides the daily revels and such- like sports
which were usual, there were divers grand nights for
the entertainment of strangers to our pastimes and
sports." There was a grand night on Innocent's
Night, and so great was the crush that some of the
performances were obliged to be suspended. In con-
sequence also of some irregularities in the hall the
Prince of Purpoole issued his commission of oyer and
terminer, and his clerk of the crown preferred indict-
ments against certain offenders. On the 3rd of
January the Lord Treasurer Burghley, the Earls of
Shrewsbury, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Essex,

* Staple Inn and Barnard Inn.


Lords Buckhurst, Windsor, Sheffield, Compton, &c.,
and with a great number of knights and ladies came
to Gray's Inn Hall to see the revels. A masque was
exhibited, and after a banquet " the prince for his
farewell took a lady to dance withal, and so did
the rest of the lords and knights." The next day
the Prince of Purpoole was entertained by the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen, at Crosby Place, attended
by four score Grayians and Templars, every one of
whom wore a feather ; and the procession was escorted
from Gray's Inn through the city by crowds of the
common people, who deemed him, we are informed,
" a very great prince." On the 7th of February the
prince went in state to Blackwall, and there sent a
letter, dated "from our Ark of Vanity, 1 ' to Sir
Thomas Heneage requesting him to convey the prince's
duty to the queen. Her majesty sent a gracious mes-
sage, saying " she liked well his gallant shows;" and
invited him and his retinue to visit her at Greenwich
Palace at Shrovetide. The prince then returned;
and on arriving at the Tower, by the queen's command
he was received with a salute from the Tower guns ;
the procession then passed through Tower Street,
Fenchurch Street, Gracechurch Street, Cornhill, Cheap-
side, and St. Paul's Church Yard. The scholars of
St. Paul's school were here in waiting, and one of the
scholars read an address to his highness in Latin. On
Twelfth Night the prince had another grand night in
Gray's Inn Hall, attended by the wonted honourable
and worshipful company of lords, ladies, and knights ;


when there was a banquet and a show and anti-
masque, with mountebanks, &c. These mountebanks
delivered comic speeches, and sang humorous songs,
in which they took considerable latitude :

" Maids of the chamber or the kitchen,

If you be troubled with an itching,

Come give me but a kiss or two,

I '11 give that shall soon cure you :
No Galen or Hippocrates,
Did ever do such cures as these."

On Shrovetide the Prince of Purpoole was received
at Greenwich by Queen Elizabeth where a masque,
representing Proteus and Tritons, Thamesis and
Amphitrite, sea nymphs, &c., was presented to her
majesty. The queen was much pleased at the per-
formances, and gave her hand to the prince and the
masquers to kiss; praising Gray's Inn " as an
house she was much indebted to, for it did always
study for some sports to present unto her."

The same night there was fighting at ' Barriers ; '
the Earl of Essex and others challengers, and the
Earl of Cumberland and his company defendants.
The Prince of Purpoole, who was among the latter,
appeared in the lists, and behaved himself so valiantly
and skilfully, that the prize a jewel, set with seven-
teen diamonds and fourteen rubies, in value one
hundred marks was awarded to him, and was pre-
sented to the prince by Her Majesty the Queen, with
her own hands, who was pleased highly to commend
"his desert and good behaviour in those exercises."

In the reign of Charles I., the revels at the Middle


Temple were kept up with great magnificence; Sir
Simonds d'Ewes tells us that he felt shocked at the ex-
cesses, saying, " I began seriously to loathe it, though
at the time I conceived the sport of itself to be lawful."
Again, speaking of the 1st of January, 1623, he re-
marks, " at night I came into commons at the Temple
where there was a lieutenant chosen, and all manner
of gaming and vanity practised, as if the church had
not at all groaned under those heavy desolations which
it did."

Garrard, in one of his letters to Strafford, gives us
the following account of the doings of one of these
Christmas princes.* " The Middle Temple House
have set up a prince who carries himself in great
state, one Mr. Vivian, a Cornish gentleman, whose
father, Sir Francis Vivian, was fined in the Star
Chamber about a castle he held in Cornwall about
three years since. He hath all his great officers
attending him, lord keeper, lord treasurer, eight
white staves at the least, captain of his pen-
sioners, captain of his guard, two chaplains who
on Sunday last preached before him, and in the
pulpit made three low legs to his excellency before
they began, which is much laughed at. My lord
chamberlain lent him two fair cloths of state, one hung
up in the hall, under which he dines, the other in his
privy chamber; he is served on the knee, and all
that come to see him kiss his hand on their knee.

* Letters and despatches of Thomas, Earl of Strafford, 8th of
January, 1635.


My lord of Salisbury hath sent him pole-axes for his
pensioners. He sent to my lord of Holland, his jus-
tice in eyre, for venison, which he willingly sends
him ; to the lord mayor and sheriffs of London for
wine ; all obey. Twelfth day was a great day ; going
to the chapel many petitions were delivered to him,
which he gave to his masters of the requests. He
hath a favourite whom, with some others of great
quality, he knighted on his return from church, and
dined in great state. At the going out of the cham-
bers into the garden, when he drank the king's health,
the glass being at his mouth, he let it fall, which
much defaced his purple sattin suit, for so he was
clothed that day, having a cloke of the same down
to his foot, for he mourns for his father, who lately
died. It costs this prince 2000/. out of his own
purse; I hear of no other design, but all this is
done to make him fit to give the prince elector a
royal entertainment, with masks, dancings, and some
other exercises of wit in orations or arraignments
that day that they invite him."

The Czar of Muscovy, Peter the Great, was present
at the Christmas revels in the Temple, 1697-8. A
masque was presented on the occasion, when there
was " a riotous and revelling Christmas according to

The last of the revels in the Inns of Court took
place in the Inner Temple Hall, on the elevation
of Mr. Talbot to the woolsack, in 1733.*


Hittcoltt's Inn.

LINCOLN'S INN* is built on the
site of an episcopal palace erected
in the time of King Henry III., by
Radulphus de Nova Villa, other-
wise Ralph Nevil, Bishop of Chi-
chester, and Chancellor of Eng-
land, and partly on the ruins of Black Friars House,
Holborn, which, prior to the year 1276, was in-
habited by a religious community, who, about that
period, removed to a new convent near Baynard's
Castle, situate in Upper Thames Street, near the pre-

* Lincoln's Inn comprises 1. The Old Buildings. 2. The
Garden. 3. Serle Court, or New Square. 4. Stone Buildings.



sent Black Friars Bridge. The land was granted by
King Henry III. to the Bishop of Chichester ; it is
described as all that place with the garden and ap-
purtenances which John Herlirum* forfeited in the
street called New Street, which was the original
name of Chancellor's Lane, now called Chancery
Lane, which place was escheated to the crown by
the liberty of the city of London, as acknowledged
in the pleas of the crown of that city in his Majesty's
court at the Tower of London. The following copy
of grant made by the king to Nevil, is taken from
a record preserved in the British Museum :

" Henricus dei gra Rex Anglic Dns Hiberme Dux
Normanie Acquitaine et Comes Andeg. Archiepiscopis
Epis Abbatibus Prioribus Com Baronibus Justic Vicecoin
pposit ministris et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis Saltm
Noveritis nos dedisse concessisse et hac carta nra con-
firmasse venerabili patri Rado Cycestrensi Epo Can-
cellerio nro placearn illam cu gardino et pertinency's suis

Online LibraryRobert R. (Robert Richard) PearceA guide to the Inns of court and chancery; with notices of their ancient discipline, rules, orders, and customs, readings, moots, masques, revels, and entertainments; → online text (page 8 of 28)