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Full text of "Christmas: its origin and associations, together with its historical events and festive celebrations during nineteen centuries: depicting, by pen and pencil, memorable celebrations, stately meetings of early kings, remarkable event, romantic episodes, brave deeds, picturesque customs, time-honoured sports, royal Christmases, coronations and royal marriages, chivalric feats, court banquetings and revellings, Christmas at the colleges and the Inns of court, popular festivities, and Christmas-keeping in different parts of the world, derived from the most authentic sources, and arranged chronological"

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••■.': BY 

At home, at sea, in many distant lands, 
This Kingly Feast without a rival stands ! 






I q?i9 



Ix the third quarter of the nineteenth century, it fell to my lot 
to write an article on Christmas, its customs and festivities. 
And, although I sought in vain for a chronological account of the 
festival, I discovered many interesting details of its observances 
dispersed in the works of various authors ; and, while I found 
that some of its greater celebrations marked important epochs 
in our national history, I saw, also, that the successive celebra- 
tions of Christmas during nineteen centuries were important 
links in the chain of historical Christian evidences. I became 
enamoured of the subject, for, in addition to historical interest, 
there is the charm of its legendary lore, its picturesque customs, 
and popular games. It seemed to me that the origin and hal- 
lowed associations of Christmas, its ancient customs and festi- 
vities, and the important part it has played in history combine 
to make it a most fascinating subject. I resolved, therefore, 
to collect materials for a larger work on Christmas. 

Henceforth, I became a snapper-up of everything relating to 
Christmastide, utilised every opportunity of searching libraries, 
bookstalls, and catalogues of books in different parts of the 
country, and, subsequently, as a Reader of the British Museum 
Library, had access to that vast storehouse of literary and 
historical treasures. 

Soon after commencing the work, I realised that I had 
entered a very spacious field of research, and that, having to 
deal with the accumulated materials of nineteen centuries, a 
large amount of labour would be involved, and some years must 
elapse before, even if circumstances proved favourable, I could 
hope to see the end of my task. Still, I went on with the work, 
for I felt that a complete account of Christmas, ancient and 
modern, at home and abroad, would prove generally acceptable, 
for while the historical events and legendary lore would interest 
students and antiquaries, the holiday sports and popular 
celebrations would be no less attractive to general readers. 

The love of story-telling seems to be ingrained in human 
nature. Travellers tell of vari-coloured races sitting round their 
watch fires reciting deeds of the past ; and letters from colonists 


viii PREFACE. 

show how, even amidst lorcst-clcariiig, they have beguiled their 
evening hours by telhng or reading stories as they sat in the 
glow of their eamp hres. And in old England there is the 
same love of tales and stories. One of the ehief delights of 
Christmastide is to sit in the united family eircle and hear, tell, 
or read about the quaint habits and pieturesque customs of 
Christmas in the olden time ; and one of the purposes of 
CHRISTMAS is to furnish the retailer of Christmas wares 
with suitable things for re-iilling his pack. 

From the vast store of materials collected it is not possible to 
do more than make a selection. How far I have succeeded in 
setting forth the subject in a way suited to the diversity of tastes 
among readers I must leave to their judgment and indulgence ; 
but I have this satisfaction, that the gems of literature it 
contains are very rich indeed ; and I acknowledge my great 
indebtedness to numerous writers of different periods whose 
references to Christmas and its time-honoured customs are 

I have to acknowledge the courtesy of Mr. Henry Jewitt, 
Mr. E. Wiseman, Messrs. Harper, and Messrs. Cassell & Co., 
in allowing their illustrations to appear in this work. 

My aim is neither critical nor apologetic, but historical and 
pictorial : it is not to say what might or ought to have been, 
but to set forth from extant records what has actually taken 
place : to give an account of the origin and hallowed associations 
of Christmas, and to depict, by pen and pencil, the important 
historical events and interesting festivities of Christmastide 
during nineteen centuries. With materials collected from 
different parts of the world, and from writings both ancient and 
modern, I have endeavoured to give in the present work a 
chronological account of the celebrations and observances of 
Christmas from the birth of Christ to the end of the nineteenth 
century ; but, in a few instances, the subject-matter has been 
allowed to take precedence of the chronological arrange- 
ment. Here will be found accounts of primitive celebrations 
of the Nativity, ecclesiastical decisions hxing the date of 
Christmas, the connection of Christmas with the festivals of the 
ancients, Christmas in times of persecution, early celebrations in 
Britain, stately Christmas meetings of the Saxon, Danish, and 
Xorman kings of England ; Christmas during the wars of the 
Roses, Royal Christmases under the Tudors, the Stuarts and 
the Kings and Queens of jModern England ; Christmas at the 
Colleges and the Inns of Court ; Entertainments of the nobility 
and gentry, and popular festivities ; accounts of Christmas 
celebrations in different parts of Europe, in America and 
Canada, in the sultry lands of Africa and the ice-bound Arctic 
coasts, in India and China, at the Antipodes, in Australia and 
Xew Zealand, and in the Islands of the Pacific ; in short, 
throughout the civilised world. 

In looking at the celebrations of Christmas, at different 


periods and in different places, I have observed that, whatever 
views men hold respecting Christ, they all agree that His Advent 
is to be hailed with joy, and the nearer the forms of festivity 
have approximated to the teaching of Him who is celebrated 
the more real has been the joy of those who have taken part in 
the celebrations. 

Tiie descriptions of the festivities and customs of different 
periods are given, as far as possible, on the authority of con- 
temporary authors, or writers who have special knowledge of 
those periods, and the most reliable authorities have been 
consulted for facts and dates, great care being talien to make 
the work as accurate and trustworthy as possible. I sincerely 
wish that all who read it may tind as much pleasure in its 
perusal as I have had in its compilation. 



The Origin and Associations of Christmas 




The Earlier Celebrations of the Festival . . .10 

Early Christmas Celebrations in Britain . . -23 


Christmas, from the Norman Conquest to Magna Charta . 40 
(a.d. 1066-1215.) 


Christmas, from Magna Charta to the End of the 

Wars of the Roses 

(A.D. 1215-1485.) 


Christmas under Henry VII. and Henry VIII. 
(a.d. 1485-1547.) 



Christm.a,s under Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth 
(a.d. 1 547-1603.) 


Christmas unukk Jamks I. 


(a.d. 1603-1625.) 


Christmas under Charlks the First and thk Commoxwkalth 197 
(a.d. 1625-1660.) 


Christmas, from the Restoration to the Death of 

George II. 

(a.d. 1660-1760.) 


Modern Christmases at Ho:>ie 



Modern Christmases Abroad 



Concluding Carol Service of the Nineteenth Century 


Index . 




BrIN'GIXG IX THE YULK LoG . . . • Fiviilispiccc 

The Hi:kald Axgels . . . ... .2 

ViKGix AXD Child .....•• 5 

Joseph Takixg Mary to p,e Taxed, axd the Nativity Evexts 6 

Till': Nativity {CculraJ portion of Picture in Nationat Galtcry) . 8 

ViKGix AXD Child [RcUevo) ....•• 9 

Group from the Axgels' Serexade . . . .10 

Adoratiox of the Magi {From Pulpit of Pisa) . . .11 

"The Ixxs are Full" . . . . . -14 

Grape Gatherixg axd the Vint.vge {Mosaic in the Churcli of 

St. Consfantine, Rome, a.d. 320) . . . .16 

German Ninth Century Picture of the NATivrrv . . 16 

AxciEXT Roman Illustrations . . . . • 17 

AxciEXT RoMAX Illustr.vtioxs . . . .. .18 

Ancient Agape . . . . . . -19 

Ancient Roman Illustrations . . . . .21 

Early Celebrations in P.ritaix . . . . -23 

OuEEX Bertha ..... ■ ~7 

An Ancient Fireplace . . . . . -3° 


Travellixg IX THE Oldex Time, with a "Christmas Fool" 
ox THE Froxt Seat ...... 

The Wild Boar Huxt: Killixg the Boar 

Adoratiox ok the Magi (Picfiiir of Sluiiwd Glass, Winclwsici 
Callu'tlrul) ....... 

A King at Dixxer ...... 

Blixd Mixstrel .\t a Feast .... 

MixsTRELs' Christmas Serexade at ax Old Bakoxial Hall 

Westmixster Hall ..... 

Straxge Old Stories Illustrated {From Hail. MS.) 

A Cook of the Period (Early Noriuau 

moxk uxdergoixg disciplixe 

Wassailixg at Christmastide 

Panoply of a Crusader 

Royal Party Dixixg in State 

Ladies Lookixg from the Hustings upon the Tournamext 

The Lord of Misrule ...... 

Curious Cuts of Priestly Players ix the Oldex Time 

A Court Fool ....... 

ViRGix AXD Child {Florentine, 1480. Soutli Koisiiiiilon Museum) 

Hexry VL's Cradle ..... 

Lady Musiciax of the Fifteexth Cextury 

Rustic Christm.\s Mixstrel with Pipe axd Tabor 

Martix Luther axd the Christmas Tree 

The Little Orleaxs Madonna of Raphael 

Magdalen College, Oxford 

Bringing ix the Boar's Head with Minstrelsy 

Virgin and Child, Chirbury, Shropshire 

Ridixg a-Mummixg at Christmastide 

A Dumb Show in the Time of Elizabeth 




















The Fool of thi-: Old Play {From a Print by Brciii^licI) 
Thl Acting of oxe of Shakespeare's Plays i\ the Time of 

Queen Elizabeth 
Neighbours with Pipe and Tabor 
Christmas in the Hall 
The Hobby-Horse . 
Servants' Christmas Feast. 
"The Hackin" 
Seafaring Pilgrims . 
An An'cient Fireplace 
A Druid Priestess bearing Misti 
A Nest of Fools 
"The Mask Dance" . 
The Christmas Mummers . 
The Waits 

The Christmas Plum-Pudding 
Italian Minstrels in London, at Christmas, 1825 
Snap Dragon ...... 

Blindman's Buff' ..... 

The Christmas Dance .... 

The Giving Away of Christmas Doles . 
Poor Children's Treat in Modern Times 
The Christmas Bells .... 

Wassailing the Apple-Trees in Devonshire . 

Modern Christmas Performers : Yorkshire Sword-Actors 

Modern Christmas Characters: "St. Peter," "St. Denys" 

A Scotch First Footing ... 

Provenqal Plays at Christm.\stide 

Nativity Picture {Front Bvzantiiw Ivory in the British Musmni) 

Calabrian Shepherds Playing in Rome at Christm.\s 
























WoRSHii'i'iNG THE CHILD Jesus {Fiviii a Picture in llic Miisciiiii 

al Naples) ...••••■ 337 

AxGKi.s AND Men- Wokshippixg the Child Jesus {From a 

Piciurc in Seville Cailiedreil) . . • • -338 

Simeon Received the Child Jesus into his Arms {From 

Modern Slained Glass in Bisliopsgale Clinreh, London) . 348 

Lichfield Cathedral ,..••• 349 

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, 

All seated on the ground ; 
The angel of the Lord came down, 

And glory shone around. 



Lo ! God hath ope'd the glist'ring gates of heaven, 

And thence are streaming beams of glorious hght : 
All earth is bath'd in the effulgence giv'n 

To dissipate the darkness of the night. 
The eastern shepherds, 'biding in the' fields, 

O'erlook the flocks till now their constant care. 
And light divine to mortal. sense reveals 

A seraph bright descending in the air. 

Hark ! strains seraphic fall upon the ear, 
From shining ones around th' eternal gates : 

Glad that man's load of guilt may disappear, 
Infinite strength on finite weakness waits. 

Why are the trembling shepherds sore afraid ? 

Why shrink they at the grand, the heavenly sight ? 
" Fear not " (the angel says), nor be dismay'd. 

And o'er them sheds a ray of God-sent light. 
O matchless mercy ! All-embracing love I 

The angel speaks and, gladly, men record : — 
"I bring you joyful tidings from above : 

This day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord ! " 

Hark ! " Peace on earth, and God's good- will to men ! 

The angels sing, and heaven resounds with praise — 
That fallen man may live with God again, 

Through Christ, who deigns the sons of men to raise. 

W. F, D 






The First Christmas : The Advent of Christ. 

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, 

And bear a Son, 

And shall call His name Imnianuel. 

{Isaiali vii. 14.) 

Now the birth of;] psus Christ was on this wist : When His 
mother Mary had'/oeen betrothed to Joseph/before they came 
together she was foiaid^with child of the Holy Ghost. And 
Joseph her husbandV &inM ^ righteons m^n^lj'anjd not willing to 
make her a public exnn-\plt', \vas minded to pM her away privily. 
But when he thought on 'these things," b.^liold, an angel of the 
Lord appeared unto him in a dreilm, paying, Joseph, thou son 
of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife : for that 
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall 
bring forth a Son ; and thou shalt call His name Jesus ; for it is 
He that shall save His people from their sins. Now all this is 
come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the 
Lord through the prophet, saying. 

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth 

a Son, 
And they shall call His name Immanuel ; 


which is, being interpreted, God with us. And Joseph arose 
from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded 
him, and took unto him his wife ; and knew her not till she had 
brought forth a Son ; and he called His name Jesus. 

{MaftJiezv i. 18-25.) 
And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the 

" There went oul a decree from Ccesar Augustus that all the world should 
be taxed. And Joseph went to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, 
being great with child." (Z«/(v ii. 1-5.) 


Held, and keeping watch by night over their tiock. And an 
angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord 
shone round about them : and they were sore afraid. And the 
angel said unto them, Be not afraid ; for behold, I bring you 
good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people : for 
there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you ; Ye 
shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a 
manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of 
the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

Glory to God in the highest. 

And on earth peace among men in whom He is well pleased. 

And it came to pass, wiien the angels went away from them 
into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go 
even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, 
which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came 
with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the Babe 
lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made know^n 
concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this 
child. And all that heard it wondered at the things which were 
spoken unto them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these 
sayings, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds 
returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that 
.they had heard and seen, even as it w^as spoken unto them. 

{Luke ii. 8-20.) 

The Place of the Nativity. 

The evangelist Matthew tells us that "Jesus was born in 
Bethlehem of Judaea in the days- of Herod the king ; "' and Justin 
Martyr, who was born at Shechem and lived less than a century 
after the time of Christ, places the scene of the Nativity in a 
cave. Over this cave has risen the Church and Convent of the 
Nativity, and there is a stone slab with a star cut in it to mark 
the spot where the Saviour was born. Dean Farrar, who has 
been at the place, says : " It is impossible to stand in the little 
Chapel of the Nativity, and to look without emotion on the silver 
star let into the white marble, encircled by its sixteen ever- 
burning lamps, and surrounded by the inscription, ' Hie de 
1'lrgine Maria Jesus Chrislus natiis est.' ' 

To visit such a scene is to have the thoughts carried back 
to the greatest event in the world's history, for it has been truly 
said that the birth of Christ was the world's second birthday. 

Now, death is life ! and grief is turn'd to joy ! 

Since glory shone on that auspicious morn, 
^Vhen God incarnate came, not to destroy, 

But man to save and manhood's state adorn I 

W. F. D. 


The Word '' Christmas " : Its Orthography and Meaning. 
"Christmas" (pronounced Kris'mas) signifies " Christ's Mass," 
meaning the festival of the Nativity of Christ, and the 
word has been variously spelt at different periods. The fol- 
lowing are obsolete forms of it found in old English writings : 
Crystmasse, Cristmes, Cristmas, Crestenmes, Crestenmas,. 
Cristemes, Cristynmes, Crismas, Kyrsomas, Xtemas, Cristes- 
messe, Cristemasse, Crystenmas, Crystynmas, Chrystmas, 
Chrystemes, Chrystemasse, Chrystymesse, Cristenmas, Christen- 
mas, Christmass, Christmes. Christmas has also been called 
Noel or Nowel. As to the derivation of the word Noel, some say 
it is a contraction of the French iwiivelles (tidings), Ics bonnes 
nonvelles, that is " The good news of the Gospel " ; others take 
it as an abbreviation of the Gascon or Provengal naciai'i, nadal, 
which means the same as the Latin natalis, that is, dies natalis, 
"the birthday." In "The Franklin's Tale," Chaucer alludes 
to "Nowel" as a festive cry at Christmastide : "And 'Nowel' 
crieth every lusty man." Some say Noel is a corruption of 
Yule, Jii-le, or Lie, meaning "The festival of the sun." The 
name Yule is still applied to the festival in Scotland, and some 
other places. Christmas is represented in Welsh by Nadolig, 
which signifies "the natal, or birth" ; in French by Noel ; and 
in Italian by // Natale, which, together with its cognate term in 
Spanish, is simply a contraction of dies natalis, "the birthday." 

CHRISTMAS : blest Feast of the Nativity ! 

H eaven made thy lowly shrine 

R espleiident with the gift of the eternal Deity 

I n whom we live and move, whose large benignity 

S pared not His Son divine : 

T hat well-beloved Son by God was given, 

Mankind to save with His redeeming blood ; 

A nd Jesus freely left the bliss of Heaven, 

S uftering death, to achieve our lasting good. — W. F. 1). 



The Earlier Celebrations. 

The Angels' Song has been called the hrst Christmas Carol, and 
the shepherds who heard this heavenly song of peace and good- 
Avill, and went **with haste" to the birthplace at Bethlehem, 
where they*" found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a 


manger," certainly took part in the tirst celebration of the 
Nativity. And the Wise Men, who came afterwards with 

presents from the East, being led to Bethlehem by the appear- 
ance of the miraculous star, may also be regarded as taking part 
in the first celebration of the Nativity, for the name Epiphany 
(now used to commemorate the manifestation of the Saviour) 
did not come into use till long afterwards, and when it was first 
adopted among the Oriental Churches it was designed to com- 
memorate both the birth and baptism of Jesus, which two events 
the Eastern Churches believed to have occurred on January 6th. 
Whether the shepherds commemorated the Feast of the Nativity 
annually does not appear from the records of the Evangelists ; 
but it is by no means improbable that to the end of their lives 
they would annually celebrate the most wonderful event which 
they had witnessed. 

Within thirty years after the death of our Lord, there were 
churches in jeiiisalem, Ccesarea, Rome, and the Svrian Antioch. 
In reference to the latter, Bishop Ken beautifully says : — 

" Fair Antioch the rich, the great, 
Of learning the niiperial seat, 

Vou readily inclined, 

To light which on you shined ; 
It soon shot up to a meridian flame, 
\'ou first baptized it with a Christian name." 

Clement, one of the Apostolic Fathers and third Bishop of Rome, 
who Nourished in .the first century, says: "Brethren, keep 
diligently feast-days, and truly in the tirst place the day of 


Christ's birth." And according to another of the early Bishops 
of Rome, it was ordained earl)' in the second century, "that in 
the holy night of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour, they do 
celebrate public church services and in them solemnly sing the 
Angels' Hymn, because also the same night He was declared 
unto the shepherds by an angel, as the truth itself doth witness." 
But, before proceeding further with the historical narrative, it 
will be well now to make more particular reference to the hxing 
of the date of the festival. 


Whether the 25th of December, which is now observed as 
Christmas Day, correctly fixes the period of the year when 
Christ was born is still doubtful, although it is a question upon 
which there has been much controversy. From Clement of 
Alexandria it appears, that when the first efforts were made to 
fix the season of the Advent, there were advocates for the 20th 
of May, and for the 20th or 21st of April. It is also found that 
some communities of Christians celebrated the festival on the 
ist or 6th of January ; others on the 29th of March, the time of 
the Jewish Passover : while others observed it on the 29th of 
September, or Feast of Tabernacles. The Oriental Christians 
generally were of opinion that both the birth and baptism of 
Christ took place on the 6th of January. Julius I., Bishop of 
Rome (a.d. 337-352), contended that the" 25th of December was 
the date of Christ's birth, a view to which the majority of the 
Eastern Church ultimately came round, while the Church of 
the West adopted from their brethren in the East the view that 
the baptism was on the 6th of January. It is, at any rate, 
certain that after St. Chrysostom Christmas was observed on the 
25th of December in East and West alike, except in the 
Armenian Church, which still remains faithful to January 6th. 
St. Chrysostom, who died in the beginning of the fifth century, 
informs us, in one of his Epistles, that Julius, on the solicitation 
of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, caused strict inquiries to be made on 
the subject, and thereafter, following what seemed to be the best 
authenticated tradition, settled authoritatively the 25th of Decem- 
ber as the anniversary of Christ's birth, the Fcstonim omnium 
metropolis, as it is styled by Chrysostom. It may be observed, 
however, that some have represented this fixing "of the day to 
have been accomplished by St. Telesphorus, who was Bishop of 
Rome A.D. 127-139, but the authority for the assertion is very 
doubtful. There is good ground for maintaining that Easter 
and its accessory celebrations mark with tolerable accuracy the 
anniversaries of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, 
because w^e know that the events themselves took place at the 
period of the Jewish Passover ; but no such precision of date 
can be adduced as regards Christmas. Dr. Geikie^ says : "The 

' Notes to " Life of Christ." 


season at which Christ was born is inferred from the fact that 
He was six months younger than John, respecting the date of 
whose birth we have the help of knowing the time of the 
annunciation during his father's ministrations in Jerusalem. 
Still, the whole subject is very uncertain. Ewald appears to fix 
the date of the birth as five years earlier than our era. Petavius 
and Usher fix it as on the 25th of December, five years before 
our era ; Bengel, on the 25th of December, four years before our 
era ; Anger and Winer, four years before our era, in the spring; 
Scaliger, three years before our era, in October ; St. Jerome, 
three years before our era, on December 25th ; Eusebius, two 
years before our era, on January 6th ; and Ideler, seven years 
before our era, in December." Milton, following the immemorial 
tradition of the Church, says that — 

" It was the winter wild." 

But there are still many who think that the 25th of December 
does not correspond with the actual date of the birth of Christ, 
and regard the incident of the flocks and shepherds in the open 
field, recorded bv St. Luke, as indicative of spring rather than 
winter. This incident, it is thought, could not have taken place 
in the inclement month of December, and it has been conjec- 
tured, with some probability, that the 25th of December was 
chosen in order to substitute the purified joy of a Christian 
festival for the license of the Bacchanalia and Satnrnalia which 
were kept at that season. It is most probable that the Advent 
took place between December, 749, of Rome, and February, 


Dionysius Exiguus. surnamed the Little, a Romish monk of 
the sixth centurv, a Scythian by birth, and who died a.d. 556, 
fixed the birth of Christ in the year of Rome 753, but the best 
authorities are now agreed that 753 was not the year in which 
the Saviour of mankind was born. The Nativity is now 
placed, not as might have been expected, in a.d. i, but in 
B.C. 5 or 4. The mode of reckoning by the "year of our Lord" 
was first introduced by Dionysius, in his " Cyclus Paschalis," 
a treatise on the computation of Easter, in the first half of the 
sixth century. Up to that time the received computation of 
events through the western portion of Christendom had been 
from the supposed foundation of Rome (b.c. 754). and events 
were marked accordingly as happening in this or that year. 
Anno Urbis CondiUv, or by the initial letters A.U.C. In the East 
some historians continued to reckon from the era of Seleucidaj, 
which dated from the accession of Seleucus Nicator to the 
monarchy of Syria, in B.C. 312. The new computation was 
received by Christendom in the sixth century, and adopted 
without adequate inquiry, till the sixteenth century. A more 
careful examination of the data presented by the Gospel 
history, and, in particular, by the fact that " Jesus was born 



in Bethlehem of Juckea " before the death of Herod, showed 
that Dionysius had made a mistake of four years, or perhaps 
more, in his calculations. The death of Herod took place in 
the year of Rome a.u.c. 750, just before the Passover. This 
year coincided with what in our common chronology 
would be B.C. 4 — so that we have to recognise the fact that our 
own reckoning is erroneous, and to hx B.C. 5 or 4 as the date of 
the Nativity. 

"the inns ,\re full." 

Now, out of the consideration of the time at which the 
Christmas festival is fixed, naturally arises another question, 

The Coxxectiox of Christmas with Axciext Festivals. 

vSir Isaac Newton ^ says the Feast of the Nativity, and most 
of the other ecclesiastical anniversaries, were originally fixed at 

' " Commentary on the Prophecies of Daniel." 


cardinal points of the year, without any reference to the dates 
of the incidents which they commemorated, dates which, by 
lapse of time, it was impossible to ascertain. Thus the Annun- 
ciation of the Virgin Mary was placed on the 25th of March, or 
about the time of the vernal equinox ; the Feast of St. Michael 
on the 29th of September, or near the autumnal equinox ; and 
the Birth of Christ at the time of the winter solstice. Christmas 
was thus fixed at the time of the year when the most celebrated 
festivals of the ancients were held in honour of the return of 
the sun which at the winter solstice begins gradually to regain 
power and to ascend apparently in the horizon. Previously to 
this (says William Sandys, F.S.A.),' the year was drawing to a 
close, and the world was typically considered to be in the same 
state. The promised restoration of light and commencement 
of a new era were therefore hailed with rejoicings and thanks- 
givings. The Saxon and other northern nations kept a festival 
at this time of the year in honour of Thor, in which they 
mingled feasting, drinking, and dancing with sacrifices and 
religious rites. It was called Yule, or Jule, a term of which the 
derivation has caused dispute amongst antiquaries ; some con- 
sidering it to mean a festival, and others stating that lol, or lul 
(spelt in various ways), is a primitive word, conveying the idea 
of Revolution or Wheel, and applicable therefore to the return 
of the sun. The Bacchanalia and Saturnalia of the Romans 
had apparently the same object as the Yuletide, or feast of the 
Northern nations, and were probably adopted from some more 
ancient nations, as the Greeks, Mexicans, Persians, Chinese, 
&c., had all something similar. In the course of them, as is 
well known, mastei's and slaves were supposed to be on an 
equality ; indeed, the former waited on the latter. ^ Presents 
were mutually given and received, as Christmas presents in 
these days. Towards the end of the feast, when the sun was 
on its return, and the world was considered to be renovated, 
a king or ruler was chosen, with considerable power granted to 
him during his ephemeral reign, whence may have sprung some 
of the Twelfth-Night revels, mingled with those in honour of 
the Manifestation and Adoration of the Magi. And, in all 
probability, some other Christmas customs are adopted from the 
festivals of the ancients, as decking with evergreens and mistletoe 
(relics of Druidism) and the wassail bowl. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that Bacchanalian illustrations have been found 
among the decorations in the early Christian Churches. The 
illustration on the following page is from a mosaic in the 
Church of St. Constantine, Rome, a.d. 320. 

' Introduction to "Christmas Carols," 1833. 

- The Emperor Nero himself is known to have presided at the Satiniia/ia, 
having been made by lot the Rex hibeiidi, or Master of the Revels. Indeed it 
was at one of these festivals that he instigated the murder of the young Prince 
Britannicus, the last male descendant of the family of the Claudii, who had been 
expelled from his rights by violence and crime ; and the atrocious act was com- 
• mitted amid the revels over which Nero was presiding as master. 




Dr. Cassel, of Germany, an erudite Jewish convert who is 
Httle known in this country, has endeavoured to show that the 



festival of Christmas has a Juckean orioin. He considers that 
its customs are siKniiticantly in accordance with those of the 
Jewish festival of the Dedication of the Temple. This feast was 
held in the winter time, on the 25th of Cisleu (December 20th), 
havmg been founded by Judas Maccabaeus in honour of the 
cleansing of the Temple in b.c. 164, six years and a half after 
its profanation by Antiochus Epiphanes. In connection with 
Dr. Cassel's theory it may be remarked that the German word 
Wcihnachtcn (from iveilieii, " to consecrate, inaugurate," and 
iiaclit, "night") leads directly to the meaning, "^Night'of the 


In proceeding w^ith our historical survey, then, we must 
recollect that in the festivities of Christmastide there is a 
mingling of the Divine with the human elements of society — 
the , establishment and development of a Christian festival on 
pagan soil and in the midst of superstitious surroundings, 
Unless this be borne in mind it is impossible to understaiid 
some customs connected with the celebration of Christmas. 
For while the festival commemorates the Nativity of Christ, 
it also illustrates the ancient practices of the various peoples 
who have taken part in the commemoration, and not inappro- 
priately so, as the event commemorated is also linked to the 
past. "Christmas" (says Dean Stanley) "brings before us the 
relations of the Christian religion to the religions which went 
before ; for the birth at Bethlehem was itself a link with the 
past. The coming of Jesus Christ was not unheralded or 
unforeseen. Even in the heathen world there had been 
anticipations of an event of a character not unlike this. In 
Plato's Dialogue bright ideals had been drawn of the just 
man ; in Virgil's Eclogues there had been a vision of a new^ 
and peaceful order of things. But it was in the Jewish nation 
that these anticipations were most distinct. That wonderful 




people in all its history had looked, not backward, but torward. 
The appearance of Jesus Christ was not merely the accomphsh- 
ment of certain predictions ; it was the fultilment of this wide 
and deep expectation of a whole people, and thiit people the 
most remarkable in the ancient world." Thus Dean Stanley 
links Christianity with the older religions of the world, as othei 
writers have connected the festival of Christmas with the fes- 
tivals of paganism and Judaism. The first Christians were 
exposed to the dissolute habits and idolatrous practices of 
heathenism, as well as the superstitious ceremonials of Judaism, 
and it is in these influences that we must seek the true origin 
of many of the usages and institutions of Christianity, ihe old 
hall of Roman justice and exchange- an edifice expressive of 
the popular life of Greece and Rome— was not deemed too 
secular to be used as the first Christian place of worship ; 
pagan statues were preserved as objects of adoration, being 
changed but in name; names describing the functions of 
Church officers were copied from the civil vocabulary of the 
time • the ceremonies of Christian worship were accommodated 
as far as possible to those of the heathen, that new converts 
might not be much startled at the change, and at the Christmas 
festival Christians indulged m revels closely resembling those 
of the Saturnalia. 


Christmas in Times of Persecution. 
It is known that the Feast of the Nativity was observed as 
eailv as the first century, and that it was kept by the primitive 
Ch st'ans even in dark days of persecution '' They wandei^ed 
h. deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth 
H eb X ^8) Yet they were faithful to Christ, and the Cata- 
combs' of Rome contain evidence that they celebrated the 

^ Th?opening up of these Catacombs has brought to light 
many most interesting relics of primitive Christianity. In 
Tese Christian cemeteries and places of worship there are 
siens not only of the deep emotion and hope with which they 
buried their dead, but also of their simple forms of worship 
and the festive jov with which they commemorated the Nativity 
of Christ On the rock-hewn tombs these primitive Christians 



wrote the thoughts that were most consohng to themselves, or 
painted on the walls the hgm'es which gave them the most 
pleasure. The subjects of these paintings are for the most part 
taken from the Bible, and the one which illustrates the earliest 
and most universal of these pictures, and exhibits their Christmas 
joy, is " The Adoration of the i\Iagi." Another of these emblems 
of joyous festivity which is frequently seen, is a vine, with its 
branches and purple clusters spreading in every direction, 
reminding us that in Eastern countries the vintage is the great 
holiday of the year. In the Jewish Church there was no 
festival so joyous as the Feast of Tabernacles, when they 
gathered the fruit of the vineyard, and in some of the earlier 
celebrations of the Nativity these festivities were closely copied. 
And as all down the ages pagan elements have mingled in the 
festivities of Christmas, so in the Catacombs they are not absent. 
There is Orpheus playing on his harp to the beasts ; Bacchus 
as the god of the vintage ; Psyche, the buttertiy of the soul ; 
the Jordan as the god of the rivers. The classical and the 
Christian, the Hebrew and the Hellenic elements had not yet 
parted ; and the unearthing of these pictures after the lapse of 
centuries affords another interesting clue to the origin of some 
of the customs of Christmastide. It is astonishing how many 
of the Catacomb decorations are taken from heathen sources 
and copied from heathen paintings ; yet we need not wonder 
when we reflect that the vine was used by the early Christians 
as an emblem of gladness, and it was scarcely possible for them 
to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity — a festival of glad tidings 
— without some sort of Bacchanalia. Thus it appears that even 


(From Withrow's " Cafncoiiihs of Roiiu:" which states that the inscriptions, 
accordint; to Dr. Maitland, should be expanded thus : IRENE DA CAL- 
DA[M AQVAM]—' Peace, give hot water;' and AGAPE MISCE MI 
[VIXVM CVM AQVA]. — "Love, mix me wine with water ;" the allusion 
being to the ancient custom of tempering wine with w.ater, hot or cold.) 


beneath the palaces and temples of pagan Rome the bnlh of 
Christ was celebrated, this early underminmg of paganism by 
Christianity being, as it were, the germ of the hnal victory, and 
the secret praise, which came like muffled music from the 
Catacombs in honour of the Nativity, the prelude to the 
triumph-song in which they shall unite who receive from 
Christ the unwithering crown. 

But they who would wear the crown must hrst bear the cioss 
and these early Christians had to pass through dreadful days of 
persecution. Some of them were made food for the torches 
of the atrocious Nero, others were thrown mto the Imperial 
lish-ponds to fatten lamprevs for the Bacchanalian banquets, 
and many were mangled to death by savage beasts, or still moie 
savage men. to make sport for thousands of pitiless sightseers, 
whilS not a single thumb was turned to make the sign of mercy. 
But perhaps the most gigantic and horrible of all Christmas 
atrocities were those perpetrated by the tyrant Diocletian, who 

became Emperor a.d. 284. The early years of his reign were 
characterised by some sort of religious toleration, but when his 
persecutions began many endured martyrdom, and the storm of 
his fury burst on the Christians in the year 303. A multitude 
of Christians of all ages had assembled to commemorate the 
Nativity in the temple at Nicomedia, in Bithynia, when the 
tyrant Emperor had the town surrounded by soldiers and set 
on lire, and about twentv thousand persons perished. The 
persecutions were carried on throughout the Roman Empire, 
and the death-roll included some British martyrs, Britain being 
at that time a Roman province. St. Alban, who was put to 
death at Verulam in Diocletian's reign, is said to have been 
the first Christian martvr in Britain. On the retirement ot 
Diocletian, satiated with slaughter and wearied with wicked- 
ness Galerius continued the persecutions for a while. But the 
time of deliverance was at hand, for the martyrs had made 
more converts in their deaths than in their lives. It was vainly 


hoped that Christianity would be destroyed, but in the suc- 
ceeding reign of Constantine it became the reHgion of the 
empire. Not one of the martyrs had died in vain or passed 
through death unrecorded. 

" There is a record traced on high, 
That shall endure eternally ; 
The angel standing by God's throne 
Treasures there each word and groan ; 
And not the martyr's speech alone, 
But every word is there depicted, 

With every circumstance of pain — 
The crimson stream, the gash inflicted — • 

And not a drop is shed in vain." 

Celebrations under Constantine the Great. 

With the accession of Constantine (born at York, February 27, 
274, son of the sub-Emperor Constantius by a British mother, 
the " fair Helena of York," and who, on the death of his father 
at York in 306, w^as in Britain proclaimed Emperor of the 
Roman Empire) brighter days came to the Christians, for his 
first act was one of favour to them. He had been present at 
the promulgation of Diocletian's edict of the last and fiercest 
of the persecutions against the Christians, in 303, at Nicomedia, 
soon after which the imperial palace was struck by lightning, 
and the conjunction of the events seems to have deeply im- 
pressed him. No sooner had he ascended the throne than his 
good feeling towards the Christians took the active form of an 
edict of toleration, and subsequently he accepted Christianity, 
and his example was followed by the greater part of his family. 
And now the Christians, who had formerly hidden away in the 
darkness of the Catacombs and encouraged one another with 
" Alleluias," which served as a sort of invitatory or mutual call 
to each other to praise the Lord, might come forth into the 
Imperial sunshine and hold their services in basilicas or public 
halls, the roofs of which (Jerome tells us) " re-echoed with their 
cries of Alleluia," while Ambrose says the sound of their psalms 
as they sang in celebration of the Nativity " was like the surging 
of the sea in great waves of sound." And the Catacombs contain 
confirmatory evidence of the joy with which relatives of the 
Emperor participated in Christian festivities. In the tomb of 


Constantia, the sister of the Emperor Constantine, the only 
decorations are children gathering the vintage, plucking the 
grapes, carrying baskets of grapes on their heads, dancing on 
the grapes to press out the wine. This primitive conception 
of the Founder of Christianity shows the faith of these early 
Christians to have been of a joyous and festive character, and 
the Graduals for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, the 
beautiful Kyrie Eleisons (which in later times passed into 
carols), and the other festival music which has comedown to 
us through that wonderful compilation of Christian song, 
Gregory's Aiitiphoiiary, show that Christmas stood out pro- 
minently in the celebrations of the now established Church, 
for the Emperor Constantine had transferred the seat of 
government to Contantinople, and Christianity was formally 
recognised as the established religion. 

Episcopal References to Christmas axd Cautions against 


Cvprian, the intrepid Bishop of Carthage, whose stormy 
episcopate closed with the crown of martyrdom in the latter 
half of the third century, began his treatise on the Nativity 
thus : *' The much wished-for and long expected Nativity of 
Christ is come, the famous solemnity is come" — expressions 
which indicate the desire with which the Church looked 
forward to the festival, and the fame which its celebrations 
had acquired in the popular mind. And in later times, after 
the fulness of festivity at Christmas had resulted in some 
excesses, Bishop Gregorv Nazianzen (who died in 389), fearing 
the spiritual thanksgiving was in danger of being subordinated 
to the temporal rejoicing, cautioned all Christians "against 
feasting to excess, dancing, and crowning the doors (practices 
derived from the heathens) ; urging the celebration of the 
festival after an heavenly and not an earthly manner." 

In the Council, generally called Conciliiun AfricaniiDi, held 
a.d. 408, " stage-playes and spectacles are forbidden on the 
Lord's -day, Christmas -day, and other solemn Christian 
festivalls." Theodosius the younger, in his laws dc SpectaciiliSy 
in 425, forbade shows or games on the Nativity, and some 
other feasts. And in the Council of Auxerre, in Burgundy, in 
578, disguisings are again forbidden, and at another Council, in 
614, it was found necessary to repeat the prohibitory canons 
in stronger terms, declaring it to be unlawful to make any 
indecent plays upon the Kalends of January, according to the 
profane practices of the pagans. But it is also recorded that 
the more devout Christians in these early times celebrated the 
festival without indulging in the forbidden excesses. 



Early Celebrations ix Britain. 

It is recorded that there were " saints in Caesar's household," 
and we have also the best authority for saying there were 
converts among Roman soldiers. Cornelius, a Roman cen- 
turion, "was a just man and one that feared God," and 
other Roman converts are referred to in Scripture as having 
been found among the officers of the Roman Empire. And 
although it is not known who first preached the Gospel in 
Britain, it seems almost certain that Christianity entered with 
the Roman invasion in a.d. 43. As in Palestine some of the 
earlier converts served Christ secretly '' for fear of the Jews," 
so, in all probability, did they in Britain for fear of the Romans. 
We know that some confessed Christ and closed their earthly 
career with the crown of martyrdom. It is also certain that 
very early in the Christian era Christmas \yas celebrated in 
Britain, mingling in its festivities some of the winter-festival 
customs of the ancient Britons and the Roman invaders, for traces 
of those celebrations are still seen in some of the Christmas 
customs of modern times. Moreover, it is known that Christians 
were tolerated in Britain by some of the Roman governors before 
the days of Constantine. It was in the time of the fourth 
Roman Emperor, Claudius, that part of Britain was first really 
conquered. Claudius himself came over in the year 43, and his 
generals afterwards went on with the war, conquering one after 


another of the British chiefs, Caradoc, whom the Romans called 
Caractacus, holding out the longest and the most bravely. 
This intrepid King of the Silurians, who lived in South Wales 
and the neighbouring parts, withstood the Romans for several 
years, but was at last defeated at a great battle, supposed to 
have taken place in Shropshire, where there is a hill still called 
Caer Caradoc. Caradoc and his family were taken prisoners 
and led before the Emperor at Rome, when he made a remark- 
able speech which has been preserved for us by Tacitus. 
When he saw the splendid city of Rome, he wondered that 
an Emperor who lived in such splendour should have meddled 
with his humble home in Britain ; and in his address before 
the Emperor Claudius, who received him seated on his throne 
with the Empress Agrippina by his side, Caradoc said : " My 
fate this day appears as sad for me as it is glorious for thee. I 
had horses, soldiers, arms, and treasures ; is it surprising that 
I. should regret the loss of them ? If it is thy will to command 
the universe, is it a reason we should voluntarily accept slavery ? 
Had I yielded sooner, thy fortune and my glory would have 
been less, and oblivion would soon have followed my execution. 
If thou sparest my life, I shall be an eternal monument of thy 
clemency." Although the Romans had very often killed their 
captives, to the honour of Claudius be it said that he treated 
Caradoc kindly, gave him his liberty, and, according to some 
historians, allowed him to reign in part of Britain as a prince 
subject to Rome. It is surprising that an emperor who had 
shown such clemency could afterw^ards become one of 
Rome's sanguinary tyrants ; but Claudius was a man of 
weak intellect. 

There were several of the Roman Emperors and Governors 
who befriended the Christians, took part in their Christmas 
festivities, and professed faith in Christ. The Venerable 
Bede says : '' In the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antonius, and 
his partner in the Empire, Lucius Verus, w^hen Eleutherius 
was Bishop of Rome, Lucius, a British king, sent a letter to his 
prelate, desiring his directions to make him a Christian. The 
holy bishop immediately complied wdth this pious request ; 
and thus the Britons, being brought over to Christianity, 
continued without warping or disturbance till the reign of 
the Emperor Diocletian." And Selden says : " Howsoever, 
by injury of time, the memory of this great and illustrious 
Prince King Lucy hath been embezzled and smuggled ; this, 
upon the credit of the ancient writers, appears plainly, that the 
pitiful fopperies of the Pagans, and the worship of their idol 
devils, did begin to flag, and within a short time would have 
given place to the worship of the true God." As this " illus- 
trious Prince King Lucy " — Lucius Verus — flourished in the 
latter part of the second century, and is credited with the 
erection of our first Christian Church on the site of St. 
Martin's, at Canterbury, it seems clear that even in those 


early days Christianity was making prot^ress in Britain. Frt)ni 
the time of Juhus Agricola, who was Roman Commander from 
78 to 84, Britain had been a Roman province, and ahhough 
the Romans never conqnered the whole of the island, yet dnring 
their occupation of what they called their province (the whole 
of Britain, excepting that portion north of the Firths of Forth 
and Clyde), they encouraged the Christmas festivities and did 
much to civilise the people whom they had conquered and 
whom they governed for more than three hundred years. They 
built towns in different parts of the country and constructed 
good roads from one town to another, for they were excellent 
builders and road-makers. Some of the Roman emperors 
visited Britain and others Were chosen by the soldiers of 
Britain ; and in the reigns of Constantine the Great and 
other tolerant emperors the Britains lived like Romans, 
adopted Roman manners and customs, and some of them 
learned to speak the Latin language. Christian churches 
were built and bishoprics founded ; a hierarchy was estab- 
lished, and at the Council of Aries, in 314, three British bishops 
took part — those of York, London, and Camulodunum (which 
is now Colchester or Maiden, authorities are divided, but 
Freeman says Colchester). The canons framed at Aries on 
this occasion became the law of the British Church, and in 
this more favourable period for Christians the Christmas 
festival was kept with great rejoicing. But this settled state 
of affairs was subsequently disturbed by the departure of the 
Romans and the several invasions of the Anglo-Saxons and the 
Danes which preceded the Norman Conquest. Again ix Troublous Times : The Departure of 
THE Romans and the Invasion of the Anglo-Saxons. 

The outgoing of the Romans and the incoming of the Angles, 
the Saxons, and the Jutes disastrously affected the festival of 
Christmas, for the invaders were heathens, and Christianity was 
swept westward before them. They had lived in a part of the 
Continent which had not been reached by Christianity nor 
classic culture, and they worshipped the false gods of Woden 


and Thunder, and were addicted to various heathenish practices, 
some of which now mingled with the festivities of Christmastide. 
Still, as these Angles came to stay and have given their name to 
om- country, it may be well to note that they came over to 
Britain from the one country which is known to have borne the 
name of Angeln or the Engle-land, and which is now called 
Slesw4ck, a district in the middle of that peninsula which parts 
the Baltic from the North Sea or German Ocean. The Romans 
having become weakened through their conflicts with Germany 
and other nations, at the beginning of the iifth century, the 
Emperor Honorius recalled the Roman legions from Britain, 
and this made it much easier for the Angles and Saxons (who 
had previously tried to get in)" to come and remain in this 
countrv. Thus our Teuton forefathers came and conquered 
much the greater part of Britain, the Picts and Scots remaining 
in the north and the Welsh in the west of the island. It was 
their custom to kill or make slaves of all the people they could, 
and so completelv did they conquer that part of Britain in 
which they settled that they kept their own language and 
manners and their own heathenish religion, and destroyed or 
desecrated Christian churches which had been set up. Hence 
Christian missionaries were required to convert our ancestral 
worshippers of Woden and Thunder, and a difficult business it 
was to Christianise such pagans, for they stuck to their false 
gods with the same tenacity that the northern nations did. 

In his poem of " King Olaf's Christmas " Longfellow refers to 
the worship of Thor and Odin alongside with the worship of 
Christ in the northern nations : — 

" At Drontheim, Olaf the King 
Heard the bells of Yule-tide ring, 
As he sat in his banquet-hall. 
Drinking the nut-brown ale, 
With his bearded Berserks hale 
' And tall. 

O'er his drinking horn, the sign 
He made of the Cross divine 

As he drank, and muttered his prayers ; 
But the Berserks evermore 
Made the sign of the Hammer of Thor 

Over theirs." 

In England, too, Christ and Thor were worshipped side by side 
for at least 150 years after the introduction of Christianity, for 
while some of the English accepted Christ as their true friend 
and Saviour, He was not accepted by all the people. Indeed, 
the struggle against Him is still going on, but we anticipate the 
time when He shall be victorious all along the line. 

The Christmas festival was duly observed by the missionaries 
who came to the South of England from Rome, headed by 
Augustine, and in the northern parts of the coiuitry the Christian 



festivities were revived by the Celtic missionaries from lona, 
under Aidan, the famous Cokuiibian monk. At least half of 
England was covered by the Columbian monks, whose great 
foundation upon the rocky island of lona, in the Hebrides, was 
the source of Christianity to Scotland. The ritual of the Celtic 
differed from that of the Romish missionaries, and caused 
confusion, till at the Synod of Whitby (664) the Northumbrian 
Kingdom adopted the Roman usages, and England obtained 
ecclesiastical unity as a branch of the Church of Rome. Thus 
unity in the Church preceded bv several centuries unity in the 

In connection with Augustine's mission to England, a memo- 
rable story (recorded in Green's " History of the English 
People ") tells how, when but a young Roman deacon, Gregory 
had noted the white bodies, the fair faces, the golden hair of 
some youths who stood bound in the market-place of Rome. 
" From what country do these slaves come ? " he asked the 
traders who brought them. " They are English, Angles ! " the 
slave-dealers answered. The deacon's pity veiled itself in 
poetic humour. "Not Angles, but Angels," he said, ''with 
faces so angel-like ! From what countrv come they ? " " They 



come," said the merchants, " from Deira." " De ira ! " was the 
untranslatable reply ; "aye, plucked from God's u'e, and called 
to Christ's mercy! And what is the name of their king?" 
'*^lla," they told him, and Gregory seized on the words as of 
good omen. " Alleluia shall be sung in yElla's land ! " he cried, 
and passed on, musing how the angel-faces should be brought 
to sing it. Only three or four years had gone by when the 
deacon had become Bishop of Rome, and the marriage of 
Bertha, daughter of the Prankish king, Charibert of Paris, with 
^thelberht, King of Kent, gave him the opening he sought ; 
for Bertha, like her Prankish kinsfolk, was a Christian. 

And so, after negotiations with the rulers of Gaul, Gregory 
sent Augustine, at the head of a band of monks, to preach the 
gospel to the English people. The missionaries landed in 597, 
on the very spot where Hengest had landed more than a 
century before, in the Isle of Thanet ; and the king received 
them sitting in the open air on the chalk-down above Minster, 
where the eye nowadays catches, miles away over the marshes, 
the dim tower of Canterbury. Rowbotham, in his " History of 
Music," says that wherever Gregory sent missionaries he also 
sent copies of the Gregorian song as he had arranged it in his 
'* Antiphonary." And he bade them go singing among the 
people. And Augustine entered Kent bearing a silver cross 
and a banner with the image of Christ painted on it, while a 
long train of choristers walked behind him chanting the Kyrie 
Ekisoii. In this way they came to the court of yP^thelberht, 
who assigned them Canterbury as an abode ; and they entered 
Canterbury with similar pomp, and as they passed through the 
gates they sang this petition : " Lord, we beseech Thee to keep 
Thy wrath away from this citv and from Thy holv Church, 
Alleluia ! " 

As papal Rome preserved many relics of heathen Rome, 
so, in like manner. Pope Gregory, in sending Augustine 
over to convert the Anglo-Saxons, directed him to accommodate 
the ceremonies of the Christian worship as much as possible to 
those of the heathen, that the people might not be much 
startled at the change ; and, in particular, he advised him to 
allow converts to kill and eat at the Christmas festival a great 
number of oxen to the glory of God, as they had formerly done 
to the honour of the devil. The clergy, therefore, endeavoured 
to connect the remnants of Pagan idolatry with Christianity, 
and also allowed some of the practices of our British ancestors 
to mingle in the festivities of Christmastide. The religion of 
the Druids, the priests of the ancient Britons, is supposed to 
have been somewhat similar to that of the Brahmins of India, 
the Magi of Persia, and the Chaldeans of Syria. They wor- 
shipped in groves, regarded the oak and mistletoe as objects of 
veneration, and offered sacrifices. Before Christianity came to 
Britain December was called " Aerra Geola," because the sun 
then " turns his glorious course." And under different names. 



such as Woden (another form of Odin), Thor, Thunder, Saturn, 
&c., the pagans held their festivals of rejoicing at the 
winter solstice ; and so many of the ancient customs connected 
with these festivals were modified and made subservient to 

Some of the English even tried to serve Christ and the older 
gods together, like the Roman Emperor, Alexander Severus, 
"whose chapel contained Orpheus side by side with Abraham 
and Christ. " Roedwald of East Anglia resolved to serve 
Christ and the older gods together, and a pagan and a Christian 
altar fronted one another in the same royal temple." ' Kent, 
however, seems to have been evangelised rapidly, for it is 
recorded that on Christmas Day, 597, no less than ten thousand 
persons were baptized. 

Before his death Augustine was able to see almost the whole 
of Kent and Essex nominally Christian. 

Christmas was now celebrated as the principal festival of the 
year, for our Anglo-Saxon forefathers delighted in the festivities 
of the Halig-Monath (holy month), as they called the month 
of December, in allusion to Christmas Day. At the great 
festival of Christmas the meetings of the Witenagemot were 
held, as well as at Easter and Whitsuntide, wherever the Court 
happened to be. And at these times the Anglo-Saxon, and after- 
wards the Danish, Kings of England lived in state, wore their 
crowns, and were surrounded by all the great men of their king- 
doms (together with strangers of rank) who were sumptuously 
entertained, and the most important affairs of state were brought 
under consideration. There was also an outflow of generous 
hospitality towards the poor, who had a hard time of it during 
the rest of the year, and who required the Christmas gifts to 

' Green's " History of the English People." 


provide them with such creature comforts as would help them 
through the inclement season of the year. 

Readers of Saxon history will remember that chieftains in the 
festive hall are alluded to in the comparison made by one of 
King Edwin's chiefs, in discussing the welcome to he given 
to the Christian missionary Paulinus : " The present life of 
man, O King, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is 
unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through 
the hall where you sit at your meal in winter, with your chiefs 
and attendants, warmed by a Are made in the middle of the 
hall, while storms of rain or snow prevail without." 


The " hall " was the principal part of a gentleman's house in 
Saxon times — the place of entertainment and hospitality — and 
at Christmastide the doors were never shut against any who 
appeared to be worthy of welcome. And with such modes of 
travelling as were in vogue in those days one can readily under- 
stand that, not only at Christmas, but also at other seasons, the 
rule of hospitality to strangers was a necessity. 

To this period belong the princely pageants and the 

Christmas Extertainments of King Arthur 

and the Knights of his Round Table. We know that some 
people are inclined to discredit the accounts which have come 
down to us of this famous British King and Christian hero, but 
for our own part we are inclined to trust the old chroniclers, 
at all events so far as to believe that they give us true pictures 



of the manners and customs of the times of which they write ; 
and in this prosaic age it may surely be permitted to us at 
Christmastide to linger over the doings of those romantic days, 

' ' WHen every morning brought a noble chance, 
And every chance brought out a noble knight." ' 

Sir John Froissart tells us of the princely pageants which King 
Arthur held at Windsor in the sixth century, and of the 
sumptuous Christmas banquetings at his Round Table-^ — the 
very Round Table (so we are to believe, on the authority of 
Dr. Milner) ^ which has been preserved in the old chapel, now 
termed the county hall, at Winchester. It consists of stout oak 
plank, perforated with many bullets, supposed to have been 
shot by Cromwell's soldiers. It is painted with a hgure to 
represent King Arthur, and with the names of his twenty-four 
knights as they are stated in the romances of the old chroniclers. 
This famous Prince, who instituted the military order of the 
Knights of the Round Table, is also credited with the reintro- 
duction of Christianity at York after the Saxon invaders had 
destroyed the first churches built there. He was unwearving 
in his warfare against enemies of the religion of Christ. 
His first great enterprise was the siege of a Saxon army at 
York, and, having afterwards won brilliant victories in Somerset- 
shire and other parts of southern England, he again marched 
northward and penetrated Scotland to attack the Picts and 
Scots, who had long harassed the border. On returning from 
Scotland, Arthur rested his wearied army at York and kept 
Christmas with great bountifulness. Geoffrey of Monmouth 
says he was a prince of " unparalleled courage and generosity," 
and his Christmas at York was kept with the greatest jov and 
festivity. Then was the round table tilled with jocund guests, 
and the minstrels, gleeme», harpers, pipe-players, jugglers, and 

. ennyson. 

History of Winchester." 



dancers were as happy round about their log-fires as if they 
had shone in the blaze of a thousand gas-lights. 

King Arthur and his Knights also indulged in out-door amuse- 
ments, as hunting, hawking, running, leaping, wrestling, jousts, 
and tourneys. " So," says Sir Thomas Malory, ' "passed forth 
all the winter with all manner of hunting and hawking, and 
jousts and tourneys were many between many great lords. 
And e\er, in all manner of places, Sir Lavaine got great worship, 
that he was nobly renowned among many of the knights of the 


Round Table. Thus it passed on until Christmas, and every 
day there were jousts made for a diamond, that whosoever 
joust best should have a diamond. But Sir Launcelot would 
not joust, but if it were a great joust cried ; but Sir Lavaine 
jousted there all the Christmas passing well, and most was 
praised ; for there were few that did so well as he ; wherefore 
all manner of knights deemed that Sir Lavaine should be made 

' " History of King Artlnir and His Noble Knit^hts." 


a Knis^lit of tlie Kouiul Tabic, at the next hi^s^li feast of 

The Anglo-Saxon Excesses 

are referred to by some of the old chroniclers, intemperance 
being a very prevalent vice at the Christmas festival. Ale and 
mead were their favourite drinks ; wines were used as occasional 
luxuries. "When all were satisfied with dinner/' says an old 
chronicler, " and their tables were removed, they continued 
drinking till the evening." And another tells how drinking and 
gaming went on through the greater part of the night. 
Chaucer's one solitarv reference to Christmastide is an allegorical 
representation of the jovial feasting which was the characteristic 
feature of this great festival held in " the colde frosty season 
of December." 

" Janus sits by the fire vvilli double beard, 
And drinketh of his bugle horn the wine : 
Before him stands the brawn of tusked swine. 
And ' Nowel " cryeth every lusty man.'' ' 

The Saxons were stronglv attached to iield sports, and as the 
" brawn of the tusked swine " was the hrst Christmas dish, it 
was provided by the pleasant preliminary pastime of hunting 
tlie wild boar ; and the incidents of the chase afforded interest- 
ing table talk when the boar's head was brought in cere- 
moniously to the Christmas festival. 

Prominent among the Anglo-Saxon amusements of Christmas- 
tide, Strutt mentions their propensity for gaming with dice, as 
derived from their ancestors, for Tacitus assures us that the 
ancient Germans would not only hazard all their wealth, but 
even stake their liberty, upon the turn of the dice : ''and he who 
loses submits to servitude, though younger and stronger than his 
antagonist, and patiently permits himself to be bound and sold 
in the market ; and this madness they dignify by the name of 
honour." Chess and backgammon were also favourite games 
with the Anglo-Saxons, and a large portion of the night was 
appropriated to the pursuit of these sedentary amusements, 
especiallv at the Christmas season of the year, when the early 
darkness stopped out-door games. 

" When they had dined, as I can you say, 
Lords and ladies went to ]ilay ; 
Some to tables, and some to chess, 
With other games more and less. " - 

Otir Saxon forefathers were very superstitious. They had 
many pretenders to witchcraft. They believed in the powers 
of philtres and spells, and invocated spirits ; and they relished 
a blood-curdling ghost story at Christmas quite as much as their 
twentieth-century descendants. They confided in prognostics, 
and believed in the influence of particular times and seasons ; 
' "The I-ranklin"s Tale." -' " Romance of Iponndon."' 



and at Christniastidc they derived peculiar pleasure from their 
belief in the immunity of the season from malign influences — 
a belief which descended to Elizabethan days, and is referred 
to by Shakespeare, in " Hamlet " : — 

" Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes, 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, 
The bird of dawning singeth all night long : 
And then, they say. no spirit dares stir abroad ; 
The nights are wholesome ; then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, 
So hallowed and so gracious is the time." 


^11 W'' 

We cannot pass over this period withotit mentioning a great 
Christmas in the history of our Teutonic kinsmen on the 
CtMitinent, for the Saxons of England and those of Germany 
have the same Teutonic origin. We refer to 

ThI', Ckowxixg of Charlemagne Emperor of the 
Romans on Christmas Day. 

The coronation took place at Rome, on Christmas Day, in 
the year 800. Freeman ' savs that when Charles was King of 
the Franks and Lombards and Patrician of the Romans, he was 
on very friendly terms with the mighty Offa, King of the Angles 
that dwelt in Mercia. Charles and Offa not only exchanged 
letters and gifts, but each gave the subjects of the other various 

' " Old English History." 


rights in his dominions, and they made a league together, " for 
that they two were the mightiest of aU the kings that dwelt in 
the Western lands." As conqueror of the old Saxons in 
Germany, Charles may be regarded as the Hrst King of all 
(lermany, and he was the lirst man of any Teutonic nation who 
was called Roman Emperor. He was crowned with the diadem 
of the Caesars, by Pope Leo, in the name of Charles Augustus, 
Emperor of the Romans. And it was held for a thousand years 
after, down to the year 1806, that the King of the Franks, or, 
as he was afterwards called, the King of Germany, had a right 
to be crowned by the Pope of Rome, and to be called Emperor 
of the Romans. In the year 1806, however, the Emperor 
Francis the Second, who was also King of Hungary and Arch- 
duke of Austria, resigned the Roman Empire and the Kingdom 
of Germany. Since that time no Emperor of the Romans has 
been chosen ; but a new German Emperor has been created, 
and the event may be regarded as one of Christmastide, for the 
victorious soldiers who brought it about spent their Christmas 
in the French capital, and during the festival arranged for the 
re-establishment of the German Empire. So it happens, that 
while referring to the crowning of the iirst German Emperor of 
the Roman Empire, on Christmas Day, 800, we are able to 
record that more than a thousand years afterwards the unilica- 
tion of the German Empire and the creation of its hrst Emperor 
also occurred at Christmastide, under the infiuence of the 
German triumphs over the French in the war of 1870. ^The 
imposing event was resolved upon by the German Princes on 
December 18, 1870, the preliminaries were completed during 
the Christmas festival, and on January 18, 1871, in the Galerie 
des Glaces of the chateau of Versailles, William, King of 
Prussia, was crowned and proclaimed first Emperor of the new 
German Empire. 

Now, going back again over a millennium, we come to 

Christmas ix the Time of Alfred the Great. 

During the reign of Alfred the Great a law was passed w ith 
relation to holidays, by virtue of which the twelve days after the 
Nativity of our Saviour were set apart for the celebration of the 
Christmas festival. Some writers are of opinion that, but for 
Alfred's strict observance of the " full twelve holy days," he 
would not have been defeated by the Danes in the year 878. It 
was just after Twelfth-night that the Danish host came suddenly 
— '' bestole," as the old Chronicle says — to Chippenham. Then 
"they rode through the West Saxons' land, and there sat down, 
and mickle of the folk over sea they drove, and of others the 
most^ deal they rode over ; all but the King Alfred ; he with a 
-little band hardly fared after the woods and on the moor-fast- 
nesses." But whether or not Alfred's preparations for the battle 
just referred to were hindered by his enjoyment of the festivities 


oi Chnstmastide xvilh his subjects, it is quite certain that the 
Kin^- wou the hearts of his people by the great interest he took 
n, iheir welfare. This good king-whose intimacy with lis 
people we delight to associate with the homely incident of the 
bur lino- of a cottager's cakes-kept the Christmas festival quite 
as heaiiilv as any of the early English kings, but not so boistei- 
ously as some of them. Of the many beautiful stones told abou 
]nm one might very well belong to Chnstmastide. It is said 
that, wishing to know what the Danes were about and ho^^ 
strong they were, King Alfred one day set out from Athelney in 
he diguise of a Christmas minstrel, and went into the Danish 
camp, and stayed there several clays, amusing the Danes xvith his 
playing, till he had seen all he wanted, and then went back with- 
out any one iinding him out. 
Now, passing on to 

Christmas uxuek the Daxish Kings of Exglaxd, 

we hud that m 961 King Edgar celebrated the Christinas 
festival with great splendour at York ; and m 1013 Etheiec 
kept his Christmas with the brave citizens of London who had 
defended the capital during a siege and stoutly resisted Swegen 
he tyrant king of the Danes. Sir Walter Scott, m his beautiful 
poem of '< Mannion," thus pictures the "savage Dane' keeping 
the great winter festival : — 

•' Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane 
At lol more deep the mead did drain ; 
High on the beach his galleys drew, . 
And feasted all his pirate crew ; 
Then in his low and pine-built hall, 
Where shields and axes deck'd the wall, 
They gorged upon the half-dress'd steer ; 
Caroused in seas of sable beer ; 
V\' hile round, in brutal jest, were thrown 
The half-gnaw'd rib, and marrow bone : 
Or listen'd all, in grim delight, 
While Scalds yell'd out the joys of tight. 
Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie, 
While wildly-loose their red locks fly, 
And dancing round the blazing pile, 
They make "such barbarous mirth the whde, 
As best might to the mind recall 
The boisterous joys of Odin's hall. ' 

When the citizens of London saw that Swegen had succeeded 
all over England except their own city, they thought it was no 
use holding- out any longer, and they too submitted and gave 
hostages. And so Swegen was the first Dane who was king, or 
(as Florence calls him) "Tyrant over all England r and Ethel- 
red, sometimes called the " Unready," King ot the W est Saxons, 
who had struggled unsuccessfully against the Danes fled with 
his wife and children to his brother-in-law's court m Normandy. 
On the death of Swegen, the Danes of his fleet chose his son 


Cnut to be King, but the English invited Etheh-ecl to return from 
Xormandv and renew the struggle with the Danes. He did so, 
and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says : " He held his kingdom 
with great toil and great difficulty the while that his life histed." 
After his death and that of his son Edmund, Cnut was finally 
elected and crowned. Freeman,' in recording the event, says 
that : " At the Christmas of 1016-1017, Cnut was a third time 
chosen king over all England, and one of the hrst things that 
he did was to send to Normandy for the widowed Lady Emma, 
though she was many years older than he was. She came over ; 
she married the new king ; and was again Lady of the English. 
She bore Cnut two children, Harthacnut and Gunhild. Her 
three children by Ethelred \vere left in Normandy. She seems 
not to have cared at all for them or for the memory of Ethelred ; 
her whole love passed to her new husband and her new children. 
Thus it came about that the children of Ethelred were brought 
up in Normandy, and had the feelings of Normans rather than 
Englishmen, a thing which again greatly helped the Norman 

Cnut's first acts of government in England were a series of 
murders ; but he afterwards became a wise and temperate king. 
He even identified himself with the patriotism which had with- 
stood the stranger. He joined heartily in the festivities of 
Christmastide, and atoned for his father's ravages by costly gifts 
to the religious houses. And his love for monks broke out in 
the song which he composed as he listened to their chant at 
Ely : " Merrily sang the monks in Ely when Cnut King rowed 
bv " across the vast fen-waters that surrounded their . Abbey. 
"Row, boatmen, near the land, and hear we these monks sing."- 

" ' All hail I " the monks at Christmas sang ; 
The merry monks who kept with cheer 
The gladdest day of all the year." ^ 

It is said that Cnut, who is also called Canute, " marked one of 
liis roval Christmases by a piece of sudden retributive justice : 
bored bevond all endurance by the Saxon Edric's iteration of 
the traitorous services he had rendered him, the King exclaimed 
to Edric, Earl of Northumberland: 'Then let him receive his 
deserts, that he may not betray us as he betrayed Ethelred and 
Edmund!' upon which the ready Norwegian disposed of all 
fear on that score by cutting down the boaster with his axe, and 
throwing his body into the Thames." + 

In the year 1035, King Cnut died at Shaftesbury, and was 
buried in Winchester Cathedral. His sons, Harold and Hartha- 
cnut, did not possess the capacity for good government, otherwise 
the reign of the Danes might have continued. As it was, their 

' ''.Short History of the Norman Conquest." 

- " History of the I-2nglish People."' ' J. (7. Whittier. 

■* '' Chaniljers's Journal, " Dec. 28, 1867. 


reigns, though short, were troublesome. Harold died at Oxford 
in 1040, and was buried at Westminster (being the iirst king who 
■was buried there) ; Harthacnut died at Lambeth at a wedding- 
feast in 1042, and was buried beside his father in Winchester 
Cathedral. And thus ended the reigns of the Danish kings of 

Now we come to 

The Rkigx of Edward the Coxfessok, 

who, we are told, was heartily chosen by all the people, for the 
two very good reasons, that he was an Englishman by birth, and 
the only man of either the English or the Danish royal families 
who was at hand. He was the son of Ethelred and Emma, and 
at the Christmas festival of his coronation there was great 
rejoicing. As his early training had been at the court of his 
uncle, Kichard the Good, in Normandy, he had learnt to prefer 
Norman-French customs and life to those of the English. 
During his reign, therefore, he brought over many strangers and 
appointed them to high ecclesiastical and other offices, and 
Norman influence and refinement of manners gradually increased 
at the English court, and this, of course, led to the more stately 
celebration of the Christmas festival. The King himself, being 
of a pious and meditative disposition, naturally took more 
interest in the religious than the temporal rejoicings, and the 
administration of state affairs was left almost entirely to members 
of the house of Godwin during the principal part of his reign. 
Many disturbances occurred during Edward's reign in different 
parts of the country, especially on the Welsh border. At the 
Christmas meeting of the King and his Wise Men, at Gloucester, 
in 1053, it '^^'i^ ordered that Rhys, the brother of Gruffydd, the 
South Welsh king, be put to death for his great plunder and 
mischief. The same year, the great Earl Godwine, while dining 
with the king at Winchester at the Easter feast, suddenly fell in 
a fit, died four days after, and was buried in the old cathedral. A 
few years later (1065), the Northumbrians complained that Earl 
Tostig, Harold's brother, had caused Gospatric, one of the chief 
Thanes, to be treacherously murdered when he came to the 
King's court the Christmas before. King Edward kept his last 
Christmas (1065), and had the meeting of bis Wise Men in 
London instead of Gloucester as usual. His great object was 
to finish his new church at Westminster, and to have it hallowed 
before he died. He lived just long enough to have this done. 
On Innocent's Day the new Minster was consecrated, but the 
King was too ill to be there, so the Lady Edith stood in his 
stead. And on January 5, 1066, King Edward, the son of 
Ethelred, died. On the morning of the day following his death, 
the body of the Confessor was laid in the tomb, in his new 
church ; and on the same day — 


Harold was ckowxed King 

in his stead. Thus three very important events — the consecra- 
tion of Westminster Abbey, the death of Edward the Confessor, 
and the crownint^ of Harold — all t)ccurred dnrini^ the same 
Christmas festival. 

In the terrible year 1066 England had three kings. The reign 
of Harold, the son of Godwine, who succeeded Edward the 
Confessor, terminated at the battle of Senlac, or Hastings, and 
on the following 

Christmas Day William thk Conqueror was Crowned 


bv Archbishop Ealdred. He had not at that time conquered all 
the land, and it was a long while before he really possessed the 
whole of it. Still, he was the king, chosen, crowned, and 
anointed, and no one ever was able to drive him out of the land, 
and the crown of England has ever since been held bv his 



(1066 to 1215.) 
Xow we come to the 

Christmas Celebrations under the Normans. 


Lord Macauhiy says " the pohte luxury of the Normans pre- 
sented a striking contrast to the coarse voracity and drunkenness 
of their Saxon and Danish neighbours," And certainly the alcove 
example of a royal dinner scene (from a manuscript of the 
fourteenth century) gives- an idea of stately ceremony which is 
not found in anv manuscripts previous to the coming over of the 
Normans. Thev "loved to display their magnihcence, not in 
huge piles of food and hogsheads of strong drink, but in large 
and stately ediiices, rich armour, gallant horses, choice falcons, 


well-ordered tournaments, banquets delicate rather than abun- 
dant, and wines remarkable rather for their exquisite flavour 
than for their intoxicatini^ power." Quite so. But even the 
Xormans were not all temperate. And, while it is quite true 
that the rehned manners and chivalrous spirit of the Normans 
exercised a powerful influence on the Anglo-Saxons, it is equally 
true that the conquerors on mingling with the English people 
adopted many of the ancient customs to which they tenaciously 
clung, and these included the customs of Christmastide. 

The Norman kings and nobles displayed their j:aste for mag- 
nificence in the most remarkable manner at their coronations, 
tournaments, and their celebrations of Christmas, Piaster, and 
Whitsuntide. The great councils of the Norman reigns which 
assembled at Christmas and the other great festivals, were in 
appearance a continuation of the Witenagemots, but the power 
of the barons became very formal in the presence of such 
despotic monarchs as William the Conqueror and his sons. At 
the Christmas festival all the prelates and nobles of the kingdom 
were, by their tenures, obliged to attend their sovereign to 
assist in the administration of justice and in deliberation on the 
great alfairs of the kingdom. On these occasions the King wore 
his crown, and feasted his nobles in the great hall of his palace, 
and made them presents as marks of his royal favour, after which 
they proceeded to the consideration of State affairs. Wherever 
the Court happened to be, there was usually a large assemblage 
of gleemen, who w^ere jugglers and pantomimists as well as 
minstrels, and were accustomed to associate themselves in com- 
panies, and amuse the spectators with feats of strength and 
agility, dancing, tumbling, and sleight-of-hand tricks, as well as 
musical performances. Among the minstrels who came into 
England with William the Conqueror was one named Taillefer, 
who was present at the battle of Hastings, and rode in front of 
the Norman army, inspiriting the soldiers by his songs. He 
sang of Roland, the heroic captain of Charlemagne, tossing his 
sword in the air and catching it again as he approached the 
English line. He was the first to strike a blow at the English, 
but after mortally wounding one or two of King Harold's 
warriors, he was himself struck down. 

At the Christmas feast minstrels played on various musical 
instruments dilring dinner, and sang or told tales afterwards, 
both in the hall and in the chamber to which the king and his 
nobles retired for amusement. Thus it is written of a court 
minstrel : — 

" Before the King he set him down 
And took his harp of merry soun, 
And, as he full well can, 
Many merry notes he began. 
The king beheld, and sal full still, 
To hear his harping he had good will. 
When he left off his harping, 
To him said that rich king, 



Minstrel, we liketh well thy glee, 

^Vhat thing that thou ask of me 

Largely I will thee pay ; 

Therefore ask now and asay." {S/r Orpheo. 


After the Conquest the first entertainments given by William 
the Conqueror were those to his victorioits warriors : — 

" Every warrior's manly neck 
Chains of regal honour deck, 
Wreathed in many a golden link : 
From the golden cup they drink 
Nectar that the bees produce, 
Or the grape's extatic juice. 
I'lush'd with mirth and hope they hum.'" 

J 'he Gododiu. 

In 1067 the Conqueror kept a grand Christmas in London. 
He had spent eight months of that year rewarding his warriors 
and gratifying his subiects in Normandy, w'here he had held a 
round of feasts and made a grand display of the valuable booty 
which he had won by his sword. A part of his plunder he sent 
to the Pope along with the banner of Harold. Another portion, 
consisting of gold, golden vases, and richly embroidered stuffs, 
was distributed among the abbeys, monasteries, and churches of 
his native duchy, '* neither monks nor priests remaining without 
a guerdon." After spending the greater part^ of the year in 
splendid entertainments in Normandy, apparently undisturbed 
by the reports which had reached him of discontent and 
instirrection among his new subjects in England, William at 


length embarked at Dieppe on the 6th of December, 1067, and 
returned to London to celebrate the approaching festival of 
Christmas. With the object of quieting the discontent which 
prevailed, he invited a considerable number of the Saxon chiefs 
to take part in the Christmas festival, which was kept with 
unusual splendour ; and he also caused a proclamation to be 
read in all the churches of the capital declaring it to be his will 
that " all the citizens of London should enjoy their national 
laws as in the days of King Edward." But his policy of 
friendship and conciliation was soon changed into one of 
cruelty and oppression. 

At the instigation of Swein, the King of Denmark, who 
appeared in the Humber witli a fleet, the people in the north 
of England and in some other parts rose in revolt against the 
rule of the Conqueror in 1068. So skilfullv had the revolt been 
planned that even William was taken by surprise. While he 
was hunting in the Forest of Dean he heard of the loss of York 
and the slaughter of his garrison of 3,000 Normans, and resolved 
to avenge the disaster. Proceeding to the Humber with his 
horsemen, by a heavy bribe he got the King of Denmark to 
withdraw his Heet ; then, after some delay, spent in punishing 
revolters in the Welsh border, he attacked and took the city of 
York. The land in Durham and Northimiberland was still quite 
unsubdued, and some of William's soldiers had fared badly in 
their attempts to take possession. At the Christmas feast of 
1068 William made a grant of the earldom of Northumberland 
to Robert of Comines, who set out with a Norman army to take 
possession. But he fared no better than his predecessors had 
done. The men of the land determined to withstand him, but 
through the help of Bishop ^^thelwine he entered Durham 
peaceably. But he let his men plunder, so the men of the city 
rose and slew him and his followers. And now, says Freeman,' 
William '' did one of the most frightful deeds of his life. He 
caused all Northern England, beginning with Yorkshire, to be 
utterly laid waste, that its people might not be able to hght 
against him any more. The havoc was fearful ; men were 
starved or sold themselves as slaves, and the land did not 
recover for many years. Then King William wore his crown 
and kept his Christmas at York " (1069). 

Now the Conqueror set barons in different parts of the 
country, and each of them kept his own miniature court and 
celebrated Christmas after the costly Norman stvle. In his 
beautiful poem of *' The Norman Baron " Longfellow pictures 
one of these Christmas celebrations, and tells how — 

" In the hall, the serf and vassal 

Held, that night, their Christmas wassail ; 
Many a carol, old and saintly, 

Sang the minstrels and the waits. 

' " Short Histor)' of the Norman Conquest." 



And so loud these Saxon gleemen 
Sang to slaves the songs of freemen. 
That the storm was heard but faintly 
Knocking at the castle-gates. 

Till at length the lays they chaunted 
Reached tlie chamber terror-haunted, 
Where the monk, with accents holy, 
Whispered at the Ijaron's ear. 

Tears upon his eyelids glistened 
As he paused awhile and listened, 
And the dying baron slowly 

Turned his weary head to hear. 

' Wassail for the kingly stranger 
Born and cradled in a manger ! 
King, like David, priest, like Aaron, 
Christ is born to set us free ! ' "' 



According to Strtitt, the popular sports and pastimes preva- 
lent at tlie close of the Saxon era were not subjected to any 


iiKilcnal chaiit^c by the coining of the Xormans. Hut Wilhaiu 
and his immediate successors restricted the privileges ot the 
chase, and imposed great penalties on those who presumed to 
destroy the game in the royal forests without a proper license. 
The wild boar and the wolf "still afforded sport at the Christmas 
season, and there was an abundance of smaller game. Leaping, 
running, wrestling, the casting of darts, and other pastimes 
which required bodily strength and agility were also practised, 
and when the frost set in various games were engaged in upon 
the ice. It is not known at what time skating made its hrst 
appearance in England, but wc lind some traces of such an 
exercise in the thirteenth century, at which period, according 
to Fitzstephen, it was customary ni the winter, when the ice 
would bear them, for the young citizens of London to fasten 
the leg bones of animals under the soles of their feet by tying 
them round their ankles ; and then, taking a pole shod with iron 
into their hands, they pushed themselves forward by striking it 
against the ice, and moved with celerity equal, says the author, 
to a bird Hving through the air, or an arrow from a cross-bow ; 
but some allowance, we presume, nnist he made for the poetical 
hgure : he then adds, " At times, two of them thus furnished 
agree to start opposite one to another, at a great distance ; they 
meet, elevate their poles, attack, and strike each other, when 
one or both of them fall, and not without some bodily hurt ; 
and, even after their fall, are carried a great distance from each 
other, by the rapidity of the motion, and whatever part of the 
head comes upon the ice it is sure to be laid bare." 

The meetings of the King and his Wise Men for the conside- 
ration of state affairs were continued at the great festivals, and 
that held at Christmas in 1085 is memorable on account of the 
resolution then passed to make the Domesday survey, in refer- 
ence to which Freeman says : " One of the greatest acts of 
William's reign, and that by which we come to know more 
about England in his time than from any other source, was 
done in the assembly held at Gloucester at the Christmas of 
1085. Then the King had, as the Chronicle says, ' very deep 
speech with his Wise Men.' This ' deep speech ' in English is 
in French parlciiicitl ; and so we see how our assemblies came 
by their later name. And the end of the deep speech was that 
commissioners were sent through all England, save only the 
Bishopric of Durham and the earldom of Northumberland, to 
make a survey of the land. They were to set down by whom 
every piece of land, great and small, was held then, by whom 
it was held in King Edward's day, what it was worth now, and 
what it had been worth in King Edward's day. All this was 
written in a book kept at Winchester, which men called 
Doiiusilav liook. It is a most wonderful record, and tells us 
more of the state of England just at that moment tlian we 
know of it for a long time before or after." 

The Domesday Book was completed in 1086. and the following 



vcai" (loS/) William ihc Conqueror died, and his son, William 
Rufus, succeeded him. 

The Coroxatiox of William the Red 

took place at W'estminster on September 26, 1087, Archbishop 
Lanfranc officiating. The King kept his hrst Christmas sump- 
tuously at Westminster, and, Freeman says, "it seems to have 
been then that he gave back the earldom of Kent to his uncle, 
Bishop Odo." The character of the Royal Christmases degene- 
rated during the reign of Rufus, whose licentiousness fouled the 
festivities. In the latter part of his reign Rufus reared the 
spacious hall at Westminster, where so many Royal Christmases 
were afterwards kept, and which Pope calls 

" Rufiis's roaring hall." 


It is a magnihcent relic of the profuse hospitality of former 
times. Richard the Second heightened its walls and added 
its noble roof of British oak, which shows the excellence of 
the wood carving of that period. Although Sir Charles Barry 
has shortened the Hall of its former proportions to lit it as a 
vestibule to the New Houses of Parliament, it is still a noble 
and spacious building, and one cannot walk through it without 
in imagination recalling some of the Royal Christmases and 
other stately scenes which have been witnessed there. The 
last of these festal glories was the coronation of George the 


Fourth, wliich took i~)lace in 1821. This grand old hall at 
Westminster was the theatre of Rufus's feasting and revelry ; 
bnt, vast as the edifice then was, it did not eqnal the ideas of 
the extravagant monarch. An old chronicler states that one of 
the King's courtiers, having observed that the building w'as too 
large for the purposes of its construction, Rufus replied, " This 
halle is not begge enough by one half, and is but a bedchamber 
in comparison of that I mind to make." Yet this hall was for 
centuries the largest of its kind in Europe, and in it the Christmas 
feasts were magnificently kept. 

After a reign of thirteen ^^ears the vicious life of William 
Rufus met with a' tragical close. His dead body was found by 
peasants in a glade of the New Forest with the arrow either of 
a hunter or an assassin in his breast. Su" Walter Tyrrel, a 
Norman knight, who had been hunting with the kiug just before 
his death, fied to Normandy immediatelv afterwards, and was 
suspected of being a regicide. The body of Rufus was buried 
in Winchester Cathedral. 

Christmas ix thp: Reign of Henry I. 

Henry the First's Christmas festival at Windsor, in 1126, was 
a memorable one. In that year Henry's daughter Matilda 
became a widow by the death of her husband, Henry V. of 
Germauv, and King Henry determined to appoint her his 
successor to the throne of England and the Dukedom of 
Normandy. On Christmas Day, 1126, a general assembly of 
the nobles and higher ecclesiastics of the kingdom was held at 
Windsor for the purpose of declaring the Empress Matilda (as 
she was still called) the legitimate successor of Henry I., and 
the clergy and Norman barons of both countries swore alle- 
■giance to her in the event of the king's death. This appointment 
of Matilda was made by Henry in consequence of the calamity 
which occurred just before Christmas, in 1120, when he lost 
his much-loved son, Prince William — the only male legitimate 
issue of Henry — through the wreck of La BlaiicJie Xef (the 
White Ship). On board the vessel were Prince William, his 
half-brother Richard, and Henry's natural daughter the Countess 
of Perche, as w^ell as about a hundred and forty young noblemen 
of the most distinguished families in England and Normandy, all 
of whom were lost in their passage home, only a few hours 
after the safe arrival of the king in England. Henry is said to 
have swooned at the intelligence, and was never afterwards 
seen to smile. He had returned home antic'pating a joyous 
Christmas festival, a season of glad tidings, but he was closely 
followed by this sad news of the death of the heir apparent. 
The incident has called forth one of the most beautiful poems 
of j\Irs. Hemaus, from which we quote two verses : — 

" The bark that held a prince went down, 
The sweeping waves rolled on ; 


And wliat was Engkuurs i^loriou.s cruwn 

To him thai wept a son ? 
He lived — for life may long be borne, 

Ere sorrow lireak its chain : 
^Vhy comes not death to those who mourn? 

lie never smiled again I 

He sat where festal bowls went roimd, 

He heard the minstrel sing ; 
He saw the tourne^'"s victor crowned, 

Amidst the kingly ring ; 
A murmur of the restless deep 

Was blent with every strain, 
A voice of winds that would not sleep, — 

fie never smiled again 1 '" 

111 1127 Heiirv invited the king of the Scots to Windsor to 
join in the royal celebration of Christinas, but the festivities 
were marred by an unseemly quarrel between the two primates. 
Thurstan, Archbishop of York, encroaching upon the privileges 
of his brother of Canterbury (William de Corbeuil), insisted 
upon placing the crown upon the king's head ere he set out 
for church. This the partisans of Canterbury would not allow, 
settling the matter by turning Thurstan's chaphiin and followers 
out of doors, and thereby causing such strife between the heads 
of the Church that they both set off to Rome to lay their 
grievances before the Pope. And, subsequently, appeals to 
Rome became frequent, until a satisfactory adjustment of the 
powers and privileges of the two archbishops was arrived at. 
The Archbishop of Canterbury was acknowledged Primate of 
all England and Metropolitan ; but, while the privilege of 
crowning the sovereign was reser\ed for the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, that of crowning the Queen Consort w\as given 
to the Archbishop of York. 

Stkaxge Old Storiks of Christmastidk. 

The progress of literature und'^r the Conqueror and his sons 
was very great, many devoting themselves almost entirelv to 


liteniry pursuits. Lanfrauc aucl Anselm, the Archbishops of 
Cauterhury, had proved themselves worthy of their exaUed 
statiou. Their precepts aud examples had awakened the clergy 
and kindled an ardour for learning unknow;n in any preceding- 
age. Nor did this enthusiasm perish with its authors : it was 
kept alive by the honours which were lavished on all who could 
boast of literary acquirements. During the reign of Henry I. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth published his History of the Britons, 
and William of jMalmesbury assures us that every poet hastened 
to the court of Henry's Queen Matilda, at Westminster, to read 
his verses to the Queen and partake of her bounty. William of 
Malmesbury carefully collected the lighter ballads which 
embodied the popular traditions of the English kings, and he 
tells an amusing storv which is connected with the festival of 
Christmas. In early times dancing developed into a sort of 
passicMi, men and women continually dancing and singing- 
together, holding one another by the hands, and concluding the 
dances with kisses. These levities were at first encouraged by 
the Church, but afterwards, seeing the abuse of them, the priests 
were compelled to reprimand and restrain the people. And the 
story told by William of Malmesbury describes the singular 
punishment which came upon some young men and women for 
disturbing a priest who was performing mass on the eve of 
Christmas. "I, Othbert, a sinner," says the story, " have lived 
to tell the tale. It was the vigil of the Blessed Virgin, and in a 
town where was a church of St. Magnus. And the priest, 
Rathbertus, had just begun the mass, and I, with my comrades, 
lifteen young women and seventeen young men, were dancing 
outside the church. And we were singing so loud that our 
songs were distinctly heard inside the building, and interrupted 
the service of the mass. And the priest came out and told us 
to desist ; and when we did not, he prayed God and St. Magnus 
that we might dance as our punishment for a year to come. A 
vouth, whose sister was dancing with us, seized her by the arm 
to drag her awav, but it came off in his hand, and she danced 
on. For a whole year we continued. No rain fell on us ; cold, 
nor heat, nor hunger, nor thirst, nor fatigue affected us ; neither 
our shoes nor our clothes wore out ; but still we went on 
dancing. We trod the earth down to our knees, next to our. 
middles, and at last were dancing in a pit. At the end of the 
vear release came." 

Giraldus Cambrensis, amongst many ridiculous Christmas 
stories of miracles, visions, and apparitions, tells of one devil 
who acted a considerable time as a gentleman's butler with 
great prudence and probity ; and of another who was a very 
diligent and learned clergyman, and a mighty favourite of his 
archbishop. This last clerical devil was, it seems, an excellent 
historian, and used to divert the Archbishop with telling him old 
stories, some of which referred to the incarnation of our 
Saviour, and were related at the Christmas season. " Before 



the incarnation of our Saviour," said the Archbishop's historian, 
"the devils had great power over mankind, hut after that event 
their power was much diminished and they were obhged to fiy. 
St)me of them threw themselves into the sea ; some concealed 
themselves in hollow trees, or in the clefts of rocks ; and I 
myself plunged into a certain fountain. As soon as he had 
said this, hnding that he had discovered his secret, his face 
was covered with blushes, he went out of the room, and was no 
more seen." 

The following cut (taken from MS. HarL, No. 4751, of the 
end of the twelfth century) represents an elephant^ with its 
castle and armed men, engaged in battle. The bestiaries relate 
many strange things of the elephant. They say that, though so 
large and powerful, and so courageous against larger animals, it 
is afraid of a mouse ; that its nature is so cold that it will never 
seek the company of the female until, wandering in the 
direction of Paradise, it meets with the plant called the 
mandrake, and eats of it, and that each female bears but one 
young one in her life. 

Absurd as we consider such stories, they were believed by the 
Normans, who were no less credulous than the Anglo-Saxons. 


This is evident from the large luimber of miracles, revelations, 
visions, and enchantments which are related with great gravity 
bv the old chroniclers. 

Thk Misrule of Kixg Strphkx. 

Stephen of Blois was crowned at Westminster Abbey during 
the Christmas festival (December 26, 1135). As a King of 
Misrule, he was fitly crowned at Christmastide, and it would 
have been a good thing for the nation if his reign had been of 
the ephemeral character which was customary to Lords of 
Misrule. The nineteen years of his reign were years of disorder 
unparalleled in any period of our history. On the landing of 
Henry the First's daughter, " the Empress Matilda," who 
claimed the English crown for her son Henry, a long struggle 
ensued, and the country was divided between the adherents of 
the two rivals, the West supporting Matilda, and London and 
the East Stephen. For a time the successes in war alternated 
between the two parties. ' A defeat at Lincoln left Stephen a 
prisoner in the hands of his enemies ; but after his escape he 
laid siege to the city of Oxford, where Matilda had assembled 
lier followers. ''The Lady" of the English (as Matilda was 
then called) had retreated into the castle, which, though a place 
of great strength, proved to be insufficiently victualled. It was 
surrounded and cut off from all supplies without, and at 
Christmastide (1142), after a siege of three months, Matilda 
consulted her own safety by taking flight. On a cold December 
night, when the ground was covered with snow, she quitted the 
castle at midnight, attended by four knights, who as well as 
herself were clothed in white, in order that they might pass 
unobserved through the lines of their enemies. The adventurous 
" Ladv " made good her escape, and crossing the river un- 
noticed on the ice, fonnd her way to Abingdon. The long 
anarchy was ended by the Treaty of Wallingford (1153), 
Stephen being recognised as king during his life, and the 
succession devolving upon Matilda's son Henry. A year had 
hardlv passed from the signing of the treaty, when Stephen's 
death gave Henry the crown, and his coronation took place at 
Christmastide, T154. at Westminster. 


The Reign of Henry II., 

it has been truly said, " initiated the rule of law," as distinct 
from despotism, whether personal or tempered by routine, of 
the Norman kings. And now the despotic barons began 
gradually to be shorn of their power, and the dungeons of their 
"Adulterine" castles to be stripped of their horrors, and it 
seemed more appropriate to celebrate the season of glad 
tidings. King Henry the Second kept his first Christmas at 
Bermondsey with great solemnity, marking the occasion by 
passing his royal word to expel all foreigners from the kingdom, 
whereupon William of Ypres and his Flemings decamped 
without waiting for further notice. In 1158 Henry, celebrating 
the Christmas festival at Worcester, took the crown from his 
head and placed it upon the altar, after which he never wore it. 
But he did not cease to keep Christmas. In 1171 he went to 
Ireland, where the chiefs of the land displayed a wonderful 
alacrity in taking the oath of allegiance, and were rewarded by 
being entertained in a style that astonished them. Finding no 
place in Dublin large enough to contain his own followers, 
much less his guests, Henry had a house built in Irish fashion 
of twigs and wattles in the village of Hogges, and there held 
high revelry during Christmastide, teaching his new subjects to 
eat cranes' flesh, and take their part in miracle plays, masques, 
mummeries, and tournaments. And a great number of oxen 
were roasted, so that all the people might take part in the 

Christmas Entertainments at Constantinople. 

In his description of Christian Constantinople, Benjamin of 
Tudela, a Spanish Jew, who travelled through the East in the 
twelfth century (1159 or 1160), describes a "place where the king 
diverts himself, called the hippodrome, near to the wall of the 
palace. There it is that every yeai", on the day of the birth of 
Jesus the Nazarene, the king gives a grand entertainment. There 
are represented by magic arts before the king and queen, figures 
of all kinds of men that exist in the world ; thither also are taken 
lions, bears, tigers, and wild asses, wdiich are made to fight 
together ; as w'ell as birds. There is no such sight to be seen 
in all the world." At Constantinople, on the marriage of the 
Emperor Manuel with Mary, daughter of the Prince of Antioch, 
on Christmas Day, 1161, there were great rejoicings, and 
similar spectacular entertainments to those described by 
Benjamin of Tudela. 

An Archbishop Murdered at Christmastide. 

During the Christmas festival of 1170 (December 29th) 
occurred an event memorable in ecclesiastical history — the 
murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. In 
1162 Becket (who had previously been Chancellor to Henry II.) 


^v;ls made Archbishop, in succession to Archbishop 'rhcobakl. 
Tiic Kins; s<_)on found that he who had served him faithluliy as 
ChanceUor would oppose him doggedly as Archbishop. Heniy 
determined to subject the Church as well as the State to the 
supremacy of the law ; and Becket determined to resist the King 
to the end, thus manifesting his desire for martyrdom in the 
cause of the Church. Henry had greatly offended the Arch- 
bishop by causing his eldest son to be crowned by the Arch- 
bishop of York. For this violation of the rights of Canterbury 
Becket threatened to lay the country under an interdict, which 
he had the power from the Pope to pronounce. A sort of 
reconciliation was effected between the King and the Arch- 
bishop at Freteval on July 21, 1170, but a further dispute arose 
on Becket delaying his return to England, the King being- 
anxious to get him out of France. The Archbishop was full of 
complaints against Henry for the injuries he had done to his 
see, and the King stood upon his dignity, regardless of the 
threatened interdiction. The Archbishop returned to England 
on the ist of December, and was joyfully received by the 
people. His enemies, however, and especially the family of 
De Broc, did all they could to annoy him ; and on Christmas 
Day he uttered a violent anathema against them. He preached 
from the text, '' I come to die among you," evidently anticipating 
what might be the personal consequences of his action. He 
told his congregation that one of the archbishops had been a 
martyr, and they would probably soon see another ; but before 
he departed home he would avenge some of the wrongs the 
Church had suffered during the previous seven years. Then he 
thundered forth his sentence of excommunication against 
Kanuljih and Robert de Broc, and Nigellus, rector of Harrow. 
Meanwhile news had reached the King that Becket had 
excommunicated certain bishops who had taken part in his 
son's coronation. In a fft of exasperation the King uttered 
some hasty words of anger against the Archbishop. Acting 
upon these, four of Henry's knights — Hugh de Morville, 
Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracy, and Richard Brito — 
crossed to England, taking with them Ranulf de Broc and a 
band of men, and murdered the Archbishop in Canterbury 
Cathedral. In the altercation which took place before the 
consummation of the terrible deed, the Primate was asked to 
absolve the bishops whom he had excomnuinicated, but he 
refused in a defiant and insulting manner. "Then die," ex- 
claimed FitzUrse, striking at Becket's head with his weapon ; 
but the devoted cross-bearer warded oft' the blow with his. own 
arm, which was badly cut, so that the Archbishop was but 
slightly injured. One of the attacking party then called out, 
" Fly, or thou diest ! " The Archbishop, however, clasped his 
hands, and, with the blood streaming clown his face, fervently 
exclaimed, " To God, to St. Mary, to the holy patrons of this 
Church, and to St. Denis I commend my soul and the Church's 


cause.'" He was then struck down by a second blow, and the 
third completed the tras^edv ; whereupon one of the murderers, 
puttins;- his foot on the dead prelate's neck, cried, "Thus dies a 
traitor!" In 1173 the Archbishop was canonised, and his 
festival was appointed for the day of his martyrdom ; and for 
three centuries after his death the shrine of St. Thomas at 
Canterbury was a favourite place of pilgrimage, so great was 
the impression that his martyrdom made on the minds of the 
English people. As early as the Easter of 1171 Becket's 
sepulchre was the scene of many miracles, if Matthew Paris, 
the historian, is to be believed. What must have been the 
credulity of the people in an age when an historian could 
gravely write, as Matthew Paris did in 1171 ? " In this year, 
about Easter, it pleased the Lord Jesus Christ to irradiate his 
glorious martyr Thomas Becket with many miracles, that it 
might appear to all the world he had obtained a victory suitable 
to his merits. None who approached his sepulchre in faith 
returned without a cure. For strength was restored to the 
lame, hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, speech to the 
dumb, health to the lepers, and life to the dead. Nay, not only 
men and women, but even birds and beasts were raised from 
death to life." 

Royal Christmases .vr Windsor. 

Windsor Castle appears to have been the favourite residence 
of Henry II. When, in 1175, he had united with him his son 
Henrv in his crown and prerogatives, the two' kings held -an 
assembly at Windsor, attended by the judges,' deputies of 
counties and districts, and all the great officers of state. Henry 
also kept his ensuing Christmas with the magnificence and 
displav peculiar to the times, and all the ancient sports and 
usages ; in w'hich the nobles and gentry of the surrounding 
country assisted with much splendour at the hunt and tourney, 
and bestowed lavish gifts on the spectators and the people. 
After the kingdom was parcelled out into four jurisdictions, 
another assembly was held at the castle, in 1179, by the two 
kings; and, in 1184, Henrv for the last time, celebrated his 
Christmas in the same hall of state : his son, who had shared 
the throne with him, being then dead. 

For the festivals of this period the tables of princes, prelates, 
and great barons were plentifully supplied with many dishes of 
meat dressed in various ways. The Normans sent agents into 
different countries to collect the most rare dishes for their 
tables, bv which means, savs Jt)hn of Salisbury, this island, 
which is naturally productive of plenty and variety of provisions, 
was overflowed with e\erything that could inflame a luxurious 
appetite. The same writer says he was present at an entertain- 
ment which lasted from three o'clock in the afternoon to 
midnight ; at which delicacies were served up which had been 
brought from Constantinople, Babylon, Alexandria, Palestine, 


Tripoli, Syria, unci Pluuiiicia. The sumptuous entertainments 
which the kings of England gave to their nobles and prelates at 
the festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide diffused a 
taste lor profuse and expensive banqueting ; for the wealthy 
barons, prelates, and gentry, in their own castles and mansions, 
imitated the splendour of the royal entertainments. Great men 
had some kinds of provisions at their tables which are not now 
to be found in Britain. When Henry II. entertained his own 
court, the great ofticers of his army, and all the kings and great 
men in Ireland, at the feast of Christmas, 1 171, the Irish princes 
and chieftains were quite astonished at the profusion and variety 
of provisions which tb.ey beheld, and were with difficulty 
prevailed on by Henry to eat the flesh of cranes, a kind ot tood 
to which they had not been accustomed. Dellegrout, maupi- 
gyrum, karumpie, and other dishes were then used, the 
composition of which is now unknown, or doubtful. Persons 
of rank and wealth had variety of drinks, as well as meats ; for, 
besides wines of various kinds, they had pigment, morat, mead, 
hypocras, claret, cider, perry, and ale. The claret of those times 
was wine clarified and mixed with spices, and hypocras was wine 
mixed with honev. 

A COOK OF Tin-: rKKIOli 


The profusion of \iands and drinks, obtained at threat expense 
from different parts of the world for the gratiiieation of the 
animal appetites at such festivals as have been described, 
naturally led to 

ExcKssKs IX Eatixg axd Ukixkixg, 

and from the statements and illustrations in old manuscripts 
it would appear that "the merry monks " were prominent in 
^astronomical circles. And extant records also state that the 
abbots of some of the monasteries found it necessary to make 
regulations restraining the monks, and to these regulations the 
mcniks objected. Consecjuently the monks of St. Swithin at 
Winchester made a formal complaint to Henry II. against 
their abbot for taking away three of the thirteen dishes they 
used to have at dinner. The monks of Canterbury were still 
more luxurious, for thev had at least seventeen dishes every 
day besides a dessert ; and these dishes were dressed with 
spices and sauces which excited the appetite as well as pleased 
the taste. And of course the festive season of Christmas was 
an occasion of special indulgence. Sometimes serious excesses 
were followed by severe discipline, administered after the 
manner shown in the ancient illustration which is reproduced 


But these excesses were bv no means coniined to the 
monks. The Norman barons and gentrv adopted manv 
of the manners of the English among whom they lived, 
and especially was this the case in regard to the drinking 
customs of Christmastide. Instead of commending the 
Normans of his time for their' sobrietv, as he might 
have done their ancestors, Peter of Blois, who was 
chaplain to Henry II., says: ''When you behold our barons 
and knights going upon a military expedition you see their 
baggage horses loaded, not with iron but wine, not with 


lances but cliccses, not with swords but bottles, not with 
sjicars but spits. You would imagine they were going to 
prepare a great feast rather than to make war. There arc 
even too many who boast of their excessive drunkenness and 
gluttony, and labour to acquire fame by swallowing great 
quantities of meat and drink." The earliest existing carol 
known to antiquaries is in the Anglo-Norman language, and 
contains references to the drinking customs of the period : — 

" To Ent^lish ale, and Gascon wine, 
.\nd French, doth Christmas much incline — 

And Anjou's too ; 
lie makes his neighbour freely drink, 
-So that in sleep his head doth sink 

Often by day. 
.May joys tlow from God above 
To all those who Christmas love. 

Lords, by Christmas and the host 
Of this mansion hear my toast — 

Drink it well — • 
Each must drain his cup of wine, 




And I the firsl will loss oH'niine : 

Thus I advise, 
Here then I hid you all I Vassal L 
Cursed be he who will not say Drinkhail." ' 

Proceeding, with our historical narrative we come now to 

The Romantic Rkigx of Kichakd the First, 

surnanicd Coeur de Lion, the second son of Henry II. and 
Eleanor of Aquitaine, who succeeded to the English throne on 

the death of his father 
in ii8y. Richard is 
generally supposed to 
have derived his sur- 
name from a superioritv 
of animal courage ; but. 
if the metrical romance 
bearing his name, and 
written in the thirteenth 
centurv, be entitled to 
credit, he earned it 
noblv and literally, by 
plucking out the heart 
of a lion, to whose fury 
he had been exposed by 
the Duke of Austria for 
having slain his son with 
a blow of his fist. In 
the numerous descrip- 
tions afforded by the 
romance Richard is a 
most imposing person- 
age. He is said to have, 
carried with him to the 
Crusades, and to have 
afterwards presented to 
Tancred, King of Sicily, 
the wonder - working 
sword of King Arthur — 

" The gude sword Caliburne 
tTiat Arthur luffed so well." 

He is also said to have 
carried a shaft, or lance, 
14 feet in length, and 

■ Wassail and Drinkhail are both derived from the Anglo-Saxon. They were 
the common drinking pledges of the age. Wassail is equivalent to the phrase, 
" ^'our health," of the present day. Drinkhail, which literally signifies " drink 
health," was the usual acknowledgment of the other pledge. The carol from 
which the verses are quoted was evidently sung by the wandering minstrels who 
visited the castles of the Norman nobility at the festive season of Christmas. 


" ^Vn axe for the nones, 
To break therewith the Sarasyns bones. 
The head was wrout^ht right wele, 
Therein was twenty pounds of steel." 

Btit, without attempting to follow Richard throtigh all the 
brilliant episodes of his romantic career, there can be no doubt 
that he was a king of great strength and courage, and that his 
valorous deeds won the admiration of poets and chroniclers, 
who have surrounded him with a splendid halo of romance. 
Contemporary writers tell us that while Richard kept mag- 
niiicent Christmases abroad with the King of Sicily and other 
potentates, his justiciars (especially the extravagant William 
Longchani}-), Bishop of Ely) were no less lavish in their 
expendittire for festive entertainments at home. And the old 
romance of '' Richard Coeur de Lion '' assures us that — 

" Christmas is a time full honest ; 

Kyng Richard it honoured with grel feste. 

All his clerks and barouns 

Were set in their pavylouns, 

And served with grete plente 

Of mete and drink and each dainle." 

There is no doubt that the Crusades had a vast intluence 
upon our literary tastes, as well as upon the national manners 
and the festivities of Christmastide. On their return from the 
Holy Land the pilgrims and Crusaders brought with them new 
subjects for theatrical representation, founded on the objects 
of their devotion and the incidents in their wars, and these 
found expression in the early mysteries and other plays of 
Christmastide — that of St. George and the Dragon, which 
survived to modern times, probably owing its origin to this 
period. It is to Richard Coenr de Lion that we are indebted 
for the rise of chivalry in England. It was he who developed 
tilts and tournaments, and under his auspices these diversions 
assumed a military air, the genius of poetrv ilourished, and the 
fair sex was exalted in admiration. How delightful was it then, 
beneath the inspiring gaze of the fair — 

' ' Sternly to strike the quintin down ; 
Or fiercely storm some turf- formed town : 
To rush with valour's doughty swa}', 
Against a Babylon of clay ; 
^\. Memphis shake with furious shock, 
Or raze some flower-built Antioch ! '" ' 

On the death of Richard, in 1199, his brother 


The youngest and favourite son of Henry II., John, was 
humoured in childhood and grew to be an arrogant and 

' Grattan. 


Iictulant niiiii, and was one of the worst of English kings. 
He possessed ability, bnt not discijiline. He could neither 
govern himself nor his kingdom. He was tyrannical and pas- 
sionate, and spent a good deal of time in the gratification of 
his animal appetites. He was fond of display and good living, 
and extravagant in his Christmas entertainments. When, in 
1201, he kept Christmas at Guildford he taxed his purse and 
ingenuity in providing all his servitors with costly apparel, and 
he was greatly annoyed because the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
in a similar lit of sumptuary extravagance, sought to outdo his 
sovereign. John, however, cunningly concealed his displeasure 
at the time, but punished the prelate by a costly celebration 
of the next Easter festival at Canterbury at the Archbishop's 
expense. In consequence of John's frequent quarrels with his 
nobles the attendance at his Christmas feasts became smaller 
every year, until he could only muster a very meagre company 
around his festive board, and it was said that he had almost as 
many enemies as there \\'ere nobles in the kingdom. 

In 1205 John spent his Christmas at the ancient town of Brill, 
in the Vale of Aylesbury, and in 12 13 he kept a Royal Christmas 
in the great hall at Westminster. 

Magna Chakta de:maxdei) at a Christmas Festival. 

The Christmas of 1214 is memorable in English history as the 
festival at which the barons demanded from King John that 
document which as the foundation of our English liberties is 
known to us by the name of Magiui Cliarta, that is, the Great 
Charter. John's tyranny and lawlessness had become intolerable, 
and the people's hope hung on the fortunes of the F"rench cam- 
paign in which he was then engaged. His defeat at the battle 
of Bouvines, fought on July 27, 1214, gave strength to his 
opponents ; and after his return to England the barons secretly 
met at St. Edmundsbiu-y and swore to demand from him, if 
needful by force of arms, the restoration of their liberties 
by charter under the king's seal. Having agreed to assemble 
at the Court for this purpose during the -approaching festi\al 
of Christmas they separated. When Christmas Day arrived John 
was at Worcester, attended only by a few of his immediate 
retainers and some foreign mercenaries. None of his great 
vassals came, as was customary at Christmas, to offer their 
congratulations. His attendants tried in vain to assume an 
appearance of cheerfulness and festivity ; but John, alarmed 
at the absence of the barons, hastily rode to London and there 
shut himself up in the house of the Knights Templars. On the 
Feast of the Epiphany the barons assembled in great force at 
London and presenting themselves in arms before the King 
formally demanded his conlirmation of the laws of Edward the 
Confessor and Henry I. At first John assumed a bold and 
deliant air and met the barons with an absolute refusal and 


threats ; but, lindin,^ the nobles were hrm, he sank to the mean- 
ness of subterfuge, and pleaded the necessity of time for the 
consideration of demands so weighty. With some reluctance 
the barons granted the delay, and ultimately, in 1215, the tyrant 
bowed to the inevitable, called the barons to a conference at 
Kunnymede, anci there signed the Great Charter, whose most 
important clauses protect the personal liberty and property of 
every freeman in the kingdom by giving security from arbitrary 
imprisonment and unjust exactions. 




Soon after the disaster which overtook John's army at the 
Wash the King ended liis wretched career by death. He died 
on October 18, 12 16, in the castle of Newark on the Trent, and 
the old chroniclers describe him as dying in an extremity of 
agonv and remorse. 

Hkxry the Third, 

sometimes called " Henry of Winchester," came to the throne 
in tronblous times, before he was ten years of age. The t}Tanny 
of his father had alienated every class of his snbjects, and the 
barons who had obtained Magna Charta from King John had 
called in Lonis of France. Bnt through the conciliatory 
measures of the Regent Pembroke towards the barons, and the 
strong support which the Roman Church gave the boy-king 
(whose father had meanly done homage to the Pope), the 
foreigners were expelled, and the opposition of the barons was 
suppressed for a time, though in later years they again struggled 
with the crown for supremacy of power. When Henry had 
grown to manhood and the responsibility of government rested 
upon his own shoulders, he still exulted in the protection of the 
Holy See, which found in him a subservient vassal. He fasted 
during Lent, but feasted right royally both at Christmas and 
Easter. In 1234 he kept a grand Christmas in the Great Hall at 
Westminster, and other royal Christmases were celebrated at 
Windsor Castle and at his palace at Winchester. He made 
large additions to Windsor Castle, and some of his mandates 
giving minute directions for the decoration of his palace at 
Winchester are still preserved. He enjoyed the old plays and 
ballets of Christmastide introduced from France at this period. 

Henry the Third's most splendid Christmas was in the twentieth 
year of his reign, when he welcomed Eleanor, daughter of the 
Count of Provence, to whom he was married on January 14, 
1236. The youthful princess left Provence amidst the rejoicings 




of the whole kingdom. She was accompanied by Henry's 
ambassadors and a grand cavalcade, in which were more than 
three hundred ladies on horseback. Her route lay through 
Navarre and France. On reaching England, at Dover, the 


princess and her train proceeded to Canterbury, where Henry 
awaited their coming. It was in that ancient city that the royal 
pair were married by the Archbishop Edmund and the prelates 
who accompanied Eleanor. From Canterbury the newly- 
wedded king and queen set out for London, attended by a 
splendid array of nobles, prelates, knights and ladies. On the 
2oth of Jannarv, Eleanor was crowned at Westminster with 
great splendour. Matthew Paris, the historian, gives an interest- 
ing description of the royal procession, and the loyal welcome of 
the citizens of London : '* There had assembled together so 
great a number of the nobility of both sexes, so great a number 
of religious orders, so great a concourse of the populace, and so 
great a variety of players, that London could scarcely contain 
them in her capacious bosom. Therefore was the city adorned 
with silk hangings, and with banners, crowns, palls, tapers, and 
lamps, and with certain marvellous ingenuities and devices ; all 
the streets being cleaned from dirt, mud, sticks and everything 
offensive. The citizens of London going to meet the king and 
queen, ornamented and trapped and wondrously sported their 
swift horses ; and on the same day they went from the City to 
Westminster, that they might discharge the service of butler to 
the king in his coronation, which is acknowledged to belong to 
them of ancient right. They went in well-marshalled array, 
adorned in silken vestments, wrapped in gold-woven mantles, 
with fancifully-devised garments, sitting on valuable horses 
refulgent with new bits and saddles : and they bore three hundred 


and sixtv K'^)lcl and silver cnps, the king's trumpeters going before 
and sounding their trumpets ; so that so wonderful a novelty 
produced a laudable astonishment in the spectators." The 
literary monk of St. Albans also describes the splendour of 
the feast, and the order of the service of the different vassals of 
the crown, many of whom were called upon at the coronation to 
perform certain peculiar services. According to the ancient 
City records, '' these served in order in that most elegant and 
unheard-of feast : the Bishop of Chichester, the Chancellor, 
with the cup of precious stones, which was one of the ancient 
regalia of the king, clothed in his pontificals, preceded the king, 
who was clad in royal attire, and wearing the crown. Hugh 
de Pateshall walked before with the patine, clothed in a dal- 
matica ; and the Earls of Chester, Lincoln, and Warren, bearing 
the swords, preceded him. But the two renowned knights. Sir 
Richard Siward and Sir Nicholas de Molis, carried the two royal 
sceptres before the king ; and the square purple cloth of silk, 
which was supported upon four silver lances, with four little 
bells of silver gilt, held over the king wherever he walked, was 
carried by the barons of the Cinc]ue Ports ; four being assigned 
to each lance, from the diversity of ports, that one port should 
not seem to be preferred before the other. The same in like 
manner bore a cloth of silk over the queen, walking behind the 
king, which said cloths they claimed to be theirs by right, and 
obtained them. And William de Beauchamp of Bedford, who 
had the office of almoner from times of old, found the striped 
cloth or btircl, which was laid down under the king's feet as he 
went from the hall as far as the pulpit of the Church of West- 
minster ; and that part of the cloth that was ivitliin the Church 
always fell to the sexton in whatever church the king was 
crowned ; and all that was ivitlwiii the church was distributed 
among the poor, by the hands of W^illiam the almoner." The 
ancient records contain many other particulars respecting the 
ceremonies which graced the marriage feast of Henry and 
Eleanor of Provence, but enough has been quoted to show the 
magnihcence of the celebration. 

Year by year, as the Christmas festival came round, it was 
royally celebrated wherever the Court happened to be, even 
though the king had to pledge his plate and jewels with the 
citizens of London to replenish his exchequer. But Henry's 
Royal Christmases did not allay the growing disaffection of his 
subjects on account of his showing too much favour to foreigners ; 
and some of the barons who attended the Royal Christmas at 
Westminster in 1241, left in high dudgeon, because the place of 
honour at the banquet was occupied by the papal legate, then 
about to leave England, ''to the sorrow of no man but the king." 
In 1252, Henry gave in marriage his beautiful daughter 
Margaret, to Alexander, King of the Scots, and held his 
Christmas at the same time. The city of York was the scene 
of the regal festivities. The marriage took place on Christmas 


D;iy, the briclc\i;Tooin and many of his nobles receiving knight- 
hood at the hands of the Enghsh king. Henry seems to have 
concihated the EngHsh barons for a time, for most of them were 
present at the marriage festivities, and he counted a thousand 
knights in his train ; while Alexander brought sixty splendidly- 
attired Scottish knights with him. That the banqueting was on 
no mean scale is evident from the fact that six hundred fat oxen 
were slaughtered for the occasion, the gift of the Archbishop of 
York, who also subscribed four thousand marks (^^2,700) towards 
the expenses. The consumption of meats and drinks at such 
feasts was enormous. An extant order of Henry's, addressed to 
his keeper of wines, directs him to deliver two tuns of white and 
one of red wine, to make garhiofilac and claret ' as usual,' for the 
king at Christmas ; and upon another occasion the Sheriffs of 
Gloucestershire and Sussex were called upon to supply part of 
the necessary provisions ; the first named being directed to get 
twenty salmon, and make pies of them ; while the latter was 
instructed to send ten peacocks, ten brawns with their heads, 
and other things. And all this provision was necessary, for 
while Henry feasted the rich, he did not forget the poor. 
When he kept his Christmas at Winchester in 1248, he ordered 
his treasurer to fill W^estminster Hall with poor people, and 
feast them there for a week. T\\"enty years afterwards, he kept 
his Royal Christmas in London for fifteen days, opening a fair 
meantime at Westminster, and forbidding any shop to be 
opened in London as long as the festival lasted. This pro- 
hibition of business naturally displeased the citizens of London, 
but the king would not withdraw his prohibition until they 
agreed to make him a present of two thousand pounds, upon 
the receipt of which the prohibition was withdrawn. 

We cannot pass over this period without reference to the 
summoning of 

The First English Parliament, 

which was a great event of Christmastide. 

The Barons' Wars interfered seriouslv with the Christmas 
festivities, but they solved the problem of. how to ensure the 
government of the realm in accordance with the provisions of 
the Great Charter. The King (Henry HL) had sworn again and 
again to observe the Charter, but his oath w^as no sooner taken 
than it was unscrupulously broken. The barons, with the 
patriotic Simon de IMontfort at their head, were determined to 
uphold the rights of the people, and insisted on the king's com- 
pHance with the provisions of the Charter ; and this struggle 
with the Crown yielded one of the greatest events of Christmas- 
tide : the summoning of the hrst national Parliament. By 
summoning the representatives of the cities and boroughs to sit 
beside the knights of the shires, the barons and the bishops in 
the Parliament of the realm, Simon de Montfort created a new 
force in English politics. This first national assembly met at 




Westminster, in Jan nary, i^6'5, while the kin^ was a prisoner of 
Earl Simon. The form of national representation thus in- 
augurated had an immense inHuence on the rising liberties of the 
people, and has endured to our own times. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that the adoption of this measure by the great Earl of 
Leicester invested his memory with a lustre which has not been 
dimmed by the lapse of centuries. The paltering of the king 
called forth the patriotism of the people. " So may a glory 
from defect arise." The sevenfold lustre of the rainbow is only 
seen when there is rain as well as sun. 

" Only the prism's obstruction shows aright 
The secret of a sunbeam, breaks its Hght 
Into the jewelled bow from blankest white ; 
So may a glory from defect arise." ' 

The Death of Robix Hood ox Christmas Eve. 

The famous freebooter, Robin Hood, who, according to 
tradition, flourished in Sherwood Forest in the distracted reign 
of Henry the Third, is said to have died on Christmas Eve, in 
the year 1247. The career of this hero of many popular ballads 
is not part of our subject, though Hone ^ records his death as a 
Christmas event ; and Stowe, writing in 1590, evidently believes 
in Robin Hood as an historical personage, for he says, " he 
suffered no wonian to be oppressed . . . poor men's goods he 
spared, abundantly relieving them with that which by theft he 
got from the abbeys, and the houses of rich old earles." 



'■' " Every-day Book," vol. ii. p. 1635. 



From the doubtful doings of the romantic chief and his band 
of freebooters, we now pass on to the 

Rejgn of Edward the First. 

Edward the First was in the truest sense a national king. 
He was English to the core, and he won the love of his people 
by his bravery, justice, and good government. He joined freely 
in the national sports and pastimes, and kept the Christmas 
festival with great splendour. There was much of the chivalric 
in his character, and he shared to the full his people's love of 
hard fighting. He was invested with the honour of knighthood 
and went to foreign courts to display his prowess. Matthew of 
Westminster states that while Edward was travelling in France, 
he heard that a lord of Burgundy was continually committing 
outrages on the persons and property of his neighbours. In 
the true spirit of chivalry Edward attacked the castle of the 
uncourteous baron. His prowess asserted the cause of justice, 
and he bestowed the domains which he had won upon a nobler 
lord. For the sake of acquiring military fame he exposed him- 
self to great dangers in the Holy Land, and, during his journey 
homeward, saved his life by sheer fighting in a tournament at 
Challon. At his " Round Table of Kenilworth " a hundred 
lords and ladies " clad all in- silk" renewed the faded glories of 
Arthur's Court, and kept Christmas with great magnificence. 
In 1277, Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, bidden from his mountain 
fastnesses "with a kiss of peace," sat a guest at the Christmas 
feast of Edward, but he was soon to fall the last defender of his 
weeping country's independence in unequal battle with the 
English King. In 1 281-2, Edward kept his feast of Christmas 
at Worcester, and there was " such a frost and snow as no man 
living could remember the like." Rivers were frozen over, even 
including the Thames and Severn ; fish in ponds, and birds in 
woods died for want of food ; and on the breaking up of the 
ice five of the arches of old London bridge were carried away 
by the stream, and the like happened to many other bridges. 


In 1286 Edward kept his Christmas at Oxford, but the honour 
was accompanied by an unpleasant episode in the hanging of 
the Mayor by the King's command. In 1290, 1292, and 1303, 
Edward the Eirst kept Royal Christmases in the great hall at 
Westminster. On his way to Scotland, in the year 1299, the 
King witnessed the Christmas ceremonial of the Boy Bishop. 
He permitted one of the boy bishops to say vespers before him 
in his chapel at Heton, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and made a 
present to the performers of forty shillings, no inconsiderable 
sum in those days. During his Scotch w^U'S, in 1301, Edward, 
on the approach of winter, took up his quarters in Linlithgow, 
where he built a castle and kept his Christmas ; and during his 
reign he celebrated the festival at other places not usually so 
honoured — namely. Bury, Ipswich, Bristol, Berwick, Carlisle, 
and Lincoln. 

Edward the Second 

succeeded his father in 1307, being the fourth son of Edward I. 
and Eleanor of Castile. He took great delight in the Christmas 
revels and expended large sums of money in the entertainment 
of his court favourites. In 131 1 he kept his Christmas at York, 
rejoicing in the presence of Piers Gaveston, whom he had 
recalled from banishment in utter disregard of advice given to 
him by his father (Edward I.) on his death-bed. Edward II. 
kept his Christmas in the great hall at Westminster in 13 17, 
when, however, few nobles were present, " because of discord 
betwixt them and the King ; " but in 1320 the Royal Christmas 
was kept at Westminster *' with great honour and glorie." In 
1324-5 the King's Christmas was sumptuously observed at 
Nottingham, but the following year found Edward a prisoner at 
Kenilworth, while his wife, who had successfully intrigued with 
Roger Mortimer, leader of the Barons, observed the Christmas 
festivities with her son at Wallingford, glad at the downfall of 
her husband. Edward was an irresolute and weak-minded 
king. He displayed singular incapacity for government, wasting 
almost all his time in frivolous amusements. The chief 
characteristics of his reign were defeat and disgrace abroad, 
and misrule ending in misery at home. Instead of following 
the example of his noble father, Edward I., who has been 
deservedly styled *' the greatest of the Plantagenets," he proved 
himself the weakest of that line of kings, spending his time in 
such trilling diversions as " cross and pile," a game of chance 
with coins. He was so utterly devoid of self-respect that he 
even borrow'ed money of his barber to carry on this frivolous 
pastime, such items as the following being found in his ward- 
robe rolls : — " Item, paid to Henry, the king's barber, for money 
which he lent the king to play at cross and pile, five shillings. 
Item, paid to Fires Barnard, usher of the king's chamber, money 
which he lent the king, and which he lost at cross and pile ; to 
Monsieur Robert Wattewille eightpence." At length the barons, 


tired of Edward's niis^^fovernnicnt, revolted, and made the king 
a prisoner. Durinj^ the Christmas festival of 1326, Edward was 
imprisoned in Kenilworth Castle. While there he was informed 
that in a Parliament held at Westminster, during Christmas 
1326-7, he was deposed, and his son Edward, then, only 
fourteen years of age, elected in his stead. On the 21st of 
September in the same year Edward II. ended his miserable 
career in Berkeley Castle, being, it is supposed, cruelly murdered 
by his keepers. 

Edward the Third's Coroxatiox 

festivities were a sumptuous enlargement of the Christmas 
celebration, which usually extended over Twelfth Night. It is 
said that the banqueting cost the equivalent of forty thousand 
pounds of our money ; and before the young king there 
appeared quite a multitude of minstrels, mimics, and gleemen. 
Professor Henry Morley ' gives a specimen of the metrical 
romances which were translated from the French for recitation 
at the royal and noble banquets of this period. They were 
'' busy with action, and told with a lively freedom ; " and, in 
the one quoted, *' The Fabliau of Sir Cleges," we catch some 
interesting references to the celebration of Christmas : — 

" Every year Sir Cleges would 
At Christmas a great feast hold 

In worship of that day, 
As royal in alle thing 
As he hadde been a king 

For sooth as I you say. 
Rich and poor in the country about 
Should be there withouten doubt ; 

There would no man say nay. 
Minstrels would not be behind, 
For there they might most mirthes find 

There would they be aye. 

" Minstrels when the feast was done 
Withouten giftcs should not gon, 

And that both rich and good : 
Horse, robes and riche ring, 
Gold, silver, and other thing, 

To mend with their mood. 
Ten yeare such feast be held, 
In the worship of Mary mild 

And for Him that died on the rood. 
By that his good began to slake 
For the great feasts that he did make. 

The knight gentil of blood. 

" Kepe Open Court " at Christmas. 
Froissart, in Cap. XIIII. of his " Chronicles," = gives the 

' " Shorter Poems." 

- Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, 
Brittany, Flanders, and the adjoining countries ; translated from the original 
French, at the command of King Henry the Eighth, by John Bourchier, Lord 
Berners. London edition, 1812. 


following account of the Christmas Celebration at which 
Edward the Third was crowned : — 

" After that the most part of the company of Heynaulte were 
departed, and syr John Heynaulte lorde of Beamonde taryed, 
the Queue gave leve to her people to departe, savynge a 
certayne noble knightis the whiche she kept styl about her and 
her sone, to counsell them, and commaunded all them that 
departed, to be at London the next Christmas, for as than she 
was determyned to kepe open court, and all they promysed her 
so to do. And whan Christmas was come, she helde a great 
court. And thyther came dukes, erles, barons, knightis, and all 
the nobles of the realme, with prelates, and burgesses of good 
townes, and at this assemble it was advised that the realme 
coud nat long endure without a head and a chief lord. Than 
they put in wrytynge all the dedis of the kyng who was in 
prison, and all that he had done by evyll counsell, and all his 
usages, and evyll behavyngis, and how evyll he had governed 
his realme, the which was redde openlv in playn audience, to 
thentent that the noble sagis of the realme might take therof 
good advyce, and to fall at acorde how the realme shuld be 
governed from thensforth ; and whan all the cases and dedis 
that the kyng had done and cosented to, and all his behavyng 
and usages were red, and wel understand, the barons and 
knightis and al ye cousels of the realme, drew them aparte to 
cousell, and the most part of them accorded, and namely the 
great lordes and .nobles, with the burgesses of ye good townes, 
accordyng as they had hard say, and knew themselfe the most 
parte of his dedis. Wherfore they cqcluded that such a man 
was nat worthy to be a kyng. But they all accorded that 
Edward his eldeste son who was ther present, and was rvghtful 
heyre, shuld be crowned kyng in stede of his father, so that he 
would take good counsell, sage and true about hym, so that the 
realme from thensforth myght be better governed than it was 
before, and that the olde kyng his father shuld be well and 
honestly kept as long as he lyved accordyng to his astate ; and 
thus as it was agreed by all the nobles, so it was accomplysshed, 
and than was crowned with a crowne royall at the palaice of 
Westminster, beside Lodon, the yong kyng Edward the III. who 
in his dayes after was right fortunate and happy in amies. This 
coronacion was in the yere of our Lorde MCCCXXVI, on 
Christymas day, and as than the yong kyng was about the age 
of XVL, and they held the fest tyl the covercion of saynt Paule 
followyng : and in the mean tyme greatly was fested sir John of 
Heynaulte and all the princis and nobles of his coutre, and 
was gyven to hym, and to his company, many ryche jewels. 
And so he and his company in great feast and solas both with 
lordis and ladyes taried tyll the XH. day." 

Edward Balliol, of Scotland, defeated at Christmas. 
The Christmas of 1332 is memorable in Scottish annals as the 


time of the defeat of Edward Balliol, the " phantom kin^" of 
Scotland. His success was as unreal as a dream. He was 
solemnly crowned at Scone in the month of September, 1332, 
fondly ima.t^anini;" that he had permanently conquered the 
patriotic Scottish nobles who had opposed liim. His reij^n, 
liowever, only lasted for a few months. The leaders of the 
national party suddenly assembled a force, and attacked him, 
while he was feasting at Annan, in Dumfriesshire, where he had 
gone to keep his Christmas. A body of horse under Sir 
Archibald, the young Earl of Moray, and Sir Simon Eraser, 
made a dash into the town to surprise Balliol, and he escaped 
only by springing upon a horse without any saddle, leaving 
behind him his brother Henry slain. Balliol escaped to" 
England and was kindly received by Edward HI., who after- 
wards made fresh expeditions into Scotland to support him. 
" Whenever the English king appeared the Scots retired to 
their mountain fastnesses, while Edward and his army overran 
the country with little opposition, burnt the houses, and laid 
waste the lands of those whom he styled rebels ; but whenever 
he returned to England they came forth again, only the more 
embittered against the contemptible minion of the English 
king, the more determined against the tyranny of England. 
The regent. Sir Andrew Murray, pursued, with untiring activity, 
Balliol and his adherents. When Edward marched homeward 
to spend in London the Christmas of 1336, he left Scotland to 
all appearance prostrate, and flattered himself that it was com- 
pletely subdued. Never was it further from such a condition. 
Only one spirit animated the Scottish nation — that of eternal 
resistance to the monarch who had inflicted on it such 
calamities, and set a slave on its throne." ' 

Cottage Christmas-Keepixg in the Fourteenth Century. 

At this period the greatest of the Bishops of Winchester, 
William of Wykeham, was a schoolboy. He was born of 
humble parents, educated at Winchester school, and afterwards 
became secretary to Uvedale, Lord of Wickham Manor, through 
whom he was introduced to King Edward HL In his inte- 
resting " Story of the Boyhood of William of Wykeham," the 
Rev. W. A. C. Chevalier thus pictures William's Christmas 
holidays : — 

" Three days after William's arrival home was Christmas-eve. 
There were great preparations in the cottage for spending 
Christmas worthily, for if there was one thing more than 
another that John Longe believed in, it was the proper keeping 
of Christmas. It was a part of the worthv yeoman's faith. He 
was a humble and thorough believer in all the tenets of Christi- 
anity, he worshipped the Saviour and adored His Nativity, but 
his faith was a cheerful one, and he thought he best honoured 
his Master by enjoying the good gifts which He sent. Hence 
' Cassell's " History of England." 


it was a part of his creed to be jovial at Christmas-tide. And 
so Dame Ahce had been bnsy all that day, and a part of the 
day before, making Christmas pies, dressing Christmas meats, 
and otherwise making ready for the great festival. John 
Longe, too, had not been idle. He and his men had been 
working hard all day getting in huge Yule-logs for the great 
kitchen lire, whilst William and little Agnes had been employed 
in decorating the kitchen with evergreens and mistletoe, dis- 
playing in great profusion the red berries of the holly bushes. 
Everything was decked v^-ith evergreens, from the cups and 
platters on the shelves to the hams and bacon hanging from the 

At length the preparations were completed ; then came the 
telling of tales and cheerful gossip round the blazing fire on 
Christmas Eve, and the roasting of chestnuts on the embers. 
** Christmas Day passed at the little homestead with all the 
social and religious honours that the honest yeoman could think 
of. The little household attended the service of Mass in the 
morning, and then, with clear consciences and simple hearts, 
spent the rest of the day in domestic and convivial enjoyment." 

Returning to royalty, we next see illustrated Froissart's state- 
ment that " Edward the third was right fortunate and happy in 

Edward the Third's Victories axd Festivities. 

During the invasion of France, 
Edward III. raised the martial glory 
of England by his splendid victories 
at Crecy, Poictiers, and other places ; 
and he kept Christmas right royally 
with his soldiers on French soil. After 
the battle of Crecy, at which the Prince 
of Wales gained the celebrated title of 
the Black Prince, Ed\\ard marched 
upon Calais, and laid siege to it ; 
and at length he took the place. 
During Edward's absence, England 
was invaded by David II. of Scotland, 
who was defeated and taken prisoner 
by the army under Philippa, Edward's 
Queen. The brave Queen then joined 
King Edward on the French battle- 
ground, and they kept the Christmas 
of 1346 with much rejoicing. 
During the Christmas festivities of this period the most noble 
Order of the Garter was instituted by King Edward III. to 
excite emulation amongst the aristocratic warriors of the time, 
in imitation of orders of a similar kind, both religious and 
military, which had been instituted by different monarchs of 
Europe ; and that those who were admitted to the order were 



enjoined to exalt the relii^non of Christ is evident from some 
lines which Chancer addressed to the Lords and KniLjhts — 

And again — 

' Do forth, do fcjrth, continue your succour, 
Hold up Christ's banner, let it not fall." 

' Ve Lordis eke, shining in noble fame, 
To which appropered is the maintenance 
Of Christ 'is cause ; in honour of his name, 
Shove on, and put his foes to utterance." 

In imitation of King Arthur, Edward III. set up at Windsor 
a Round Table, which was consecrated with feasts and tourna- 
ments, and baptized with the blood of the brave. On New 
Year's Day, 1344, he issued his royal letters of protection for 
the safe^coming and return of foreign knights to the solemn 
jousts which he appointed to be held at Windsor on St. Hilary's 
Day, in extension of the Christmas festivities. The festival was 
opened with a splendid supper ; and the next day, and until 
Lent, all kinds of knightly feats of arms were performed. ''The 
queen and her ladies." says an old historian, " that they might 
with more convenience behold this spectacle, were orderly seated 
upon a firm ballustrade, or scaffold, with rails before it, running 
all round the lists. And certainly their extraordinary beauties, 
set so advantageously foiih with excessive riches of apparel, 
did prove a sight as full of pleasant encouragement to the 
combatants, as the fierce hacklings of men and horses, gallantly 
armed, were a delightful terror to the feminine beholders." 


In 1348 Edward III. kept a grand Christmas at Guildford. 
" Orders were given to manufacture for the Christmas sports 
eighty tunics of buckram of different colours, and a large 
number of masks — some with faces of women, some with 
beards, some like angel heads of silver. There were to be 
mantles embroidered with heads of dragons, tunics wrought 
with heads and w'ings of peacocks, and embroidered in many 
other fantastic ways. The celebration of Christmas lasted from 
All Hallow's Eve", the 31st of October, till the day after the 
Puriiication, the 3rd of February. At the court a lord of 



misrule was appointed, who reigned during the whole of this 
period, and was called 'the master of merry disports.' He 
ruled over and organised all the games and sports, and during 
the period of his rule there was nothing but a succession of 
masques, disguisings, and dances of all kinds. All the nobles, 
even the Mayor of London, had an officer of this kind chosen 
in their households. Dancing was a very favourite amusement. 
It was practised by the nobility of both sexes. The damsels of 
London spent their evenings in dancing before their masters' 
doors, and the country lasses danced upon the village green." ' 


A Royal Christmas was kept at Westminster, . with great 
splendour, in 1358, when King Edward had two crowned 
guests at his feast ; but these were present from no choice of 
their own : they were the victims to the fortune of war 
at Poictiers and Neville's Cross. And in 1362, King David 
of Scotland and the King of Cyprus met at King Edward's 
grand entertainments. The later years of his life were spent 
by this great warrior-king in partial retirement from public 
affairs, and under the influence of his mistress, Alice Ferrers, 
while John of Gaunt took a leading part in the government of 
the state. In 1376 Edward the Black Prince died, and the 
same year King Edward III. kept his last Christmas at West- 
minster, the festival being made memorable by all the nobles of 
the realm attending to swear fealty to the son of the Black 
Prince, who, bv the King's desire, took precedence of his uncles 
at the banquet as befitted the heir apparent to the crown. The 
King died on the 21st of June, 1377, having reigned for just 
over half a century. 

The old chronicler, Stowe, refers to a 

Terrihle Christmas Tempest, 
which he savs occurred in 1362 : "The King held his Christmas 

' Creighton's " Life of Edward the Black Prince," 


at Windsore, and the XV. day following a sore and vehement 
south-west winde brake forth, so hideous that it overthrew high 
houses, towers, steeples, and trees, and so bowed them, that 
the residue which fell not, but remained standing", were the 

King Edward the Third's wardrobe accounts witness to the 

Costly Robes 

that were worn at this period. And these accounts also show- 
that Alice Ferrers was associated with the King's daughter and 
granddaughter in the Christmas entertainments. There are 
items in 1376 stating that the King's daughter Isabella (stvled 
Countess of Bedford), and her daughter (afterwards wife of 
Vere, Earl of Oxford), were provided with rich garments 
trimmed with ermine, in the fashion of the robes of the Garter, 
and with others of shaggy velvet, trimmed with the same fur, 
for the Christmas festival ; while articles of apparel equally 
costly are registered as sent by the King to his chamber at 
Shene, to be given to Alice Ferrers. And at a festival at 
Windsor the King caused twelve ladies (including his daughters 
and Alice Ferrers) to be clothed in handsome hunting suits, 
with ornamented bows and arrows, to shoot at the King's deer ; 
and a very attractive band of foresters they made. We have 
also seen that eighty costly tunics were provided for the Christ- 
mas sports and disguisings at Guildford. 
We now come to a 

Comically Cruel Christmas Inxidext, 

recorded by Sir John Froissart, and which he says gave " great 
joye " to the hilarious " knightes and squvers " who kept the 
festival with "the Erie of Foiz " : — 

" So it was on a Christmas day the Erie of Foiz helde a great 
feest, and a plentifull of knightes and squyers, as it is his 
usage ; and- it was a colde day,. and the erle dvned in the hall, 
and with him great company of lordes ; and after dyner he 
departed out of the hall, and went up into a galarye of xxiiii 
stayres of heyght, in which galarye ther was a great chymnev, 
wherin they made fyre whan therle was ther ; and at that 
tyme there was but a small fyre, for the erle loved no great 
fyre ; howbeit, he hadde woode ynoughe there about, and in 
Bierne is wode ynoughe. The same daye it was a great frost 
and very colde : and when the erle was in the galarye, and saw 
the fyre so lytell, he sayde to the knightes and squiers about 
hym, Sirs, this is but a small fyre, and the day so colde : than 
Ernalton of Spayne went downe the stayres, and beneth in the 
courte he sawe a great meny of asses, laden with woode to 
serve the house : than he went and toke one of the grettest 
asses, with all the woode, and layde hvm on his backe, and 
went up all the stayres into the galary, and dyde cast downe. 
the asse with all the woode into the chvmney, and the asses fete 


upward ; whcrof the ciic ot" Foiz had great joye, and so hadde 
all they that were there, and had marveyle of his strength howe 
he alone eame up all the stayres with the asse and the woode in 
his necke." 

Passing on to 

The Reigx of Richard the Second, 
the son of Edward the Black Prince and Joan of Kent, who 
came to the throne (in tutelage) on the death of his grandfather, 
Edward III. (1377), we find that costly banquetings, dis- 
guisings, pageants, and plays continued to be the diversions 
of Christmastide at court. From the rolls of the royal ward- 
robe, it appears that at the Christmas festival in 1391, the sages 
of the law were made subjects for disguisements, this entry 
being made : " Pro XXI coifs de tela linea pro hominibus de 
lege contrafactis pro Ludo regis tempore natalis Domini anno 
XII." That is, for twenty-one linen coifs for counterfeiting 
men of the law in the King's play at Christmas. And Strutt ' 
says that in the same year (1391) the parish clerks of London 
put forth a play at Skinners' Wells, near Smithfield, which 
continued three days : the king, queen, and many of the 
nobility, being present at the performance. 

[On one side is the legend, moneta nova adriam 
STVLTORV pape, the last E being in the field of the 
piece, on which is represented the I'ope, with his double 
cross and tiara, with a fool in full costume approaching 
his bauble to the pontifical cross, and two persons 
behind, who form part of his escort. On the reverse is 
a " mother fool," with her bauble, attended by a gro- 
tesque person with a cardinal's hat, with the oft-recurring 
legend, STVi/roRV infinitvs est nvmervs.] 

' " Sports and Pastimes," 


But the miracle plays and mysteries performed by the 
Churchmen differed greatly from the secular plays and inter- 
ludes which at this period " were acted by strolling companies 
of minstrels, jugglers, tumblers, dancers, bourdours, or jesters, 
and other performers properly qualihed for the different parts 
of the entertainment, w'hich admitted of a variety of exhibitions. 
These pastimes are of higher antiejuity than the ecclesiastical 
plays ; and they were much relished not only by the vulgar 
part of the people, but also by the nobility. The courts of the 
kings of England, and the castles of the great earls and barons, 
were crowded with the performers of the secular plays, where 
they were well received and handsomely rewarded ; vast sums 
of money were lavishly bestowed upon these secular itinerants, 
which induced the monks and othqr ecclesiastics to turn actors 
themselves, in order to obtain a share of the public bounty. 
But to give the better colouring to their undertaking, they took 
the subjects of their dialogues from the holy writ, and performed 
them in the churches. The secular showmen, however, retained 
their popularity notwithstanding the exertions of their clerical 
rivals, who diligentlv endeavoured to bring them into disgrace, 
by bitterly inveighing against the filthiness and immorality of 
their exhibitions. On the other hand, the itinerant players 
sometimes invaded the province of the churchmen, and per- 
formed their mysteries, or others similar to them, as we find 
from a petition presented to Richard II. by the scholars of 
St. Paul's School, wherein complaint is made against the secular 
actors, because they took upon themselves to act plays com- 
posed from the Scripture history, to the great prejudice of 
the clergy, who had been at much expense to prepare such 
performances for public exhibition at the festival of Christmas." 

In his Christmas feasts Richard the Second outdid his 
predecessors in prodigal hospitality. He delighted in the 


neiL;libourhood of Eltham, and spent much of his time in 
feasting with his favourites at the royal palace there. In i3(SC) 
(notwithstanding the still prevalent distress, which had con- 
tinued from the time of the peasant revolt) Richard kept the 
Christmas festivities at Eltham with great extravagance, at the 
same time entertaining Leon, King of Armenia, in a manner 
utterly unjustified by the state of the royal exchequer, which 
had been replenished by illegal methods. And, on the com- 
pletion of his enlargements and embellishments of Westminster 
Hall, Richard reopened it with " a most royal Christmas feast " 
of twenty-eight oxen and three hundred sheep, and game and 
fowls without number, feeding ten thousand guests for many 
days. Yet but a few years afterwards (such is the fickleness 
of fortune and the instability of human affairs) this same king, 
who had seen the '' Merciless Parliament," who had robbed 
Hereford of his estates, who had been robed in cloth of gold 
and precious stones, and who had alienated his subjects by his 
own extravagance, was himself deposed and sentenced to life- 
long banishment, his doom being pronounced in the very hall 
which he had reared to such magnihcence for his own glory. 
Thus ingloriously Richard disappears from history, for nothing 
certain is know^n of the time, manner, or place of his death, 
though it is conjectured that he was speedily murdered. How 
history repeats itself ! Richard's ignominious end recalls to 
mind the verse in which an English poet depicts the end of an 
Eastern king who was too fond of revelling : — 

" That night they slew him on his father's throne, • 
The deed unnoticed and the hand unknown : 
Crownless and sceptreless Belshazzar lay, 
A robe of purple round a form of clay ! " 

Graxd Christmas Tourxamext. 

An example of the tournaments which were favourite diver- 
sions of kings and nobles at this period is found in that held at 
Christmastide'in London in 1389. Richard H., his three uncles, 
and the greater barons having heard of a famous tournament at 
Paris at the enti-y of Isabel, Queen of France, resolved to hold 
one of equal splendour at London, in which sixty English 
knights, conducted to the scene of action by sixty ladies. 


should challcntfe all foreign knis^hts. They therefore sent 
heralds into all parts of En.u'land, Seotland, Germany, Italy, 
Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, and France to proclaim the time, 
place, and other circumstances of the proposed gathering, and 
to invite all valorous knights and squires to honour it with their 
presence. This, says the historian, excited a strong desire in 
the knights and squires of all these countries to attend to see 
the manners and equipages of the English, and others to tourney. 
The lists were prepared in Smithheld, and chambers erected 
around them for the accommodation of the king, queen, 
princes, lords, ladies, heralds, and other spectators. As the 
time approached many important personages of both sexes, 
attended by numerous retinues, arrived in London. On the 
Hrst day of the tournament (Smiday) sixty-hve horses, richly 
furnished for the jousts, issued one by one from the Tower, each 
conducted by a squire of honour, and proceeded in a slow pace 
through the" streets of London to Smithtield, attended by a 
numerous band of trumpeters and other minstrels. Imme- 
diately after, sixty young ladies, elegantly attired and riding 
on palfreys, issued from the same place, and each lady leading 
a knight completely armed by a silver chain, they proceeded 
slowly to the field. When they arrived there the ladies were 
lifted' from the palfreys and conducted to the chambers pro- 
vided for them ; the knights mounted their horses and began 
the jousts, in which they exhibited such feats of valour and dex- 
terity as won the admiration of the spectators. When the 
approach of night put an end to the jousts the company repaired 
to the palace of the Bishop of London, in St. Paul's Street, 
where the king and queen then staying, the supper was pre- 
pared. The ladies, knights, and heralds who had been appointed 
judges awarded one of the prizes, a crow^n of gold, to the Earl 
of St. Paul as the best performer among the foreign knights, 
and the other, a rich girdle adorned with gold and precious 
stones, to the Earl of Huntingdon as the best performer of 
the English. After a sumptuous supper the ladies and knights 
spent the remainder of the night in dancing. The tournaments 
were continued in a similar manner on Monday, Tuesday, 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and on Saturday the 
Court, with all the company, removed to Windsor, where the 
jousts, feasting, and other diversions were renewed, and lasted 
several days longer. Subsequently the king presented the 
foreign ladies, lords, and knights with valuable gifts, and they 
returned to their own countries highly pleased with the enter- 
tainment which they had enjoyed in England. 

Kixci Hkxry thk Fourth 

was born at Bolingbrukc, in Lincolnshire, being tlie eldest son 
of John of Gaunt and of his hrst wife, the heiress of the house 
of Lancaster, and a grandson of Edward III. On the death of 


John of Gaunt in 1399, Richard II. seized his lands, having 
in the previous year banished Henry of Bohngbroke. On 
Henry hearing what had occurred, knowing his own popu- 
hirity and Richard's unpopuku'ity, Henry returned from 
banishment, and succeeded in an attack on Richard, whom 
he made a prisoner. Then summoning a Parliament, at which 
Richard was formally deposed and himself made king, Henry 
came to the throne with the title of Henry IV. Soon, however, 
he found himself menaced by danger. Some of the lords who 
had been stripped of the honours and wealth heaped upon 
them by Richard entered into a conspiracy to assassinate 
Henry the usurper. During the Christmas holidays they met 
frequently at the lodgings of the Abbot of Westminster to plan 
the king's destruction. After much deliberation they agreed to 
hold a splendid tournament at Oxford on the 3rd of January, 
1400. Henry was to be invited to preside, and while intent on 
the spectacle a number of picked men were to kill him and his 
sons. The king w^as keeping his Christmas at Windsor, whither 
the Earl of Huntingdon presented himself and gave him the 
invitation. Henry accepted it, but on the 2nd of January, the 
day previous to the tournament, the Earl of Rutland, who was 
privy to the plot, went secretly to Windsor and informed the 
king of the arrangements which had been made for his assas- 
sination. The same evening, after dusk, the king proceeded to 
London ; and the next day when the conspirators assembled 
at Oxford they were surprised to find that neither the king 
nor their own accomplice, Rutland, had arrived. Suspecting 
treachery they resolved to proceed at once to Windsor and 
surprise Henry, but arrived only to find that he had escaped. 
They afterwards raised the standard of revolt, but their insur- 
rection proved abortive, and the fate of the leaders was 
summary and sanguinary. 

The favourite palace of Henry the Fourth w'as at Eltham, 
where, in the second year of his reign, he kept a grand 
Christmas, and entertained the Emperor of Constantinople. 
At this festival the men of London made a "gret mummyng 
to him of XII. Aldermen and theire sones, for which they had 
gret thanke." Similar festivities were observed at several sub- 
sequent festivals ; then the king's health gave way, and he 
passed the last Christmas of his life in seclusion at Eltham, 
suft'ering from fits of epilepsy, and lying frequently for hours 
in an unconscious state. After Candlemas he was so much 
better as to be able to return to his palace at Westminster, but 
he died there on the 20th of March the same year (1413). The 
final scene and the parting words of the king to his son, who 
became Henry V., have been beautifully depicted by Shakespeare. 

King Henry the Fifth. 

In connection with the Christmas festival in 1414 a con- 
spiracy to murder the king is alleged against the Lollards, 


but the charge has never been satisfactorily proved. " If we 
are to beheve the chroniclers of the times the Lollards resolved 
to anticipate their enemies, to take up arms and to repel force by 
force. Seeing clearly that war to the death was determined 
against them by the Church, and that the king had yielded at 
least a tacit consent to this iniquitous policv, they came to the 
conclusion to kill not only the bishops, but the king and all his 
kin. So atrocious a conspiracy is not readily to be credited 
against men who contended for a greater purity of gospel 
truth, nor against men of the practical and military knowledge 
of Lord Cobham. But over the whole of these transactions 
there hangs a veil of impenetrable mystery, and we can only 
say that the Lollards are charged with endeavouring to surprise 
the king and his brother at Eltham, as they were keeping their 
Christmas festivities there, and that this attempt failed through 
the Court receiving intimation of the design and suddenly 
removing to Westminster." ^ Lord Cobham was put to death 
bv cruel torture in St. Giles's Fields, London, on Christmas Day, 
141 8. 

In the early part of his reign Henry invaded France and 
achieved a series of brilliant successes, including the famous 
victory at Agincourt. The hero of this great battle did not 
allow the hoHday season to interfere with his military opera- 
tions ; but he did generously suspend proceedings against 
Rouen upon Christmas Day and supply his hungry foes with 
food for that day only, so that they might keep the feast of 
Christmas. After his military successes in France Henrv married 
the Princess Katherine, the youngest daughter of Charles VI.. 
King of France, and the king and queen spent their first Christ- 
mas of wedded life at Paris, the festival being celebrated by 
a series of magniiicent entertainments. Henry's subsequent 
journey to England was " like the ovation of an ancient con- 
queror." He and his queen were received with great festivity 
at the different towns on their way, and on the ist of February 
they left Calais, and landed at Dover, where, according to 
Monstrelet, " Katherine was received as if she had been an 
angel of God." All classes united to make the reception 
of the hero of Agincourt and his beautiful bride a most mag- 
nificent one. They proceeded first to Eltham, and thence, 
after due rest, to London, where Katherine was crowned with 
great rejoicing on the 24th of February, 1421. Henry's 
brilliant career was cut short by his death on the last day of 
August, 1422. 

"Small time, hut, in that small, most greatly liv'd 
This star of England : fortune made his sword ; 
By which the world's best garden he achiev'd, 
And of it left his son imperial lord."^ 

• Fabian's account of the stately feast at the coronation of 

' Cassell's " History of England." - Shakespeare. 



Henry the Fifth's newly-wedded consort is an interesting 
picture of the 

Court Life and Christmas Festivities of the Period. 

Queen Katherine was conveyed to the great hall at West- 
minster and there set to dinner. Upon her right hand, at the 
end of the table, sat the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry, 
surnamed the rich Cardinal of Winchester ; and upon her left 
hand the King of Scotland in his royal robes ; near the end sat 
the Duchess of York and the Countess of Huntingdon. The 
Earl of March, holding a sceptre, knelt upon her right side, and 
the Earl- Marshal upon her left ; his Countess sat at the Queen's 
left foot under the table, and the Countess of Kent at her right 
foot. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, was overlooker, and 
stood before the Queen bareheaded ; Sir Richard Xevill was 
carver, the Earl of Suffolk's brother cupbearer, Sir John Steward 
server. Lord Clifford panterer, Lord Willoughby butler. Lord 
Grey de Ruthyn naperer, the Lord Audley almoner, and the 
Earl of Worcester, Earl-]\Larshal, rode about the hall during 
dinner on a charger, with a number of constables to keep order. 

The bill of fare consisted of : First course — Brawn and 
mustard, dedells in burneaux, frument with balien, pike in 
erbage (pike stuffed with herbs), lamprey powdered, trout, 
codling, fried plaice and marling, crabs, leche lumbard 
flourished, and tarts. Then came a subtlety representing a 
pelican sitting on her nest with her young and an image of St. 
Katherine bearing a book and disputing wdth the doctors, 
bearing a reason (motto) in her right hand, saying, in the 
French apparently of Stratford-at-the-Bovv, " Madame le 
Koyne," and the pelican as an answer — 

" Ce est la signe 
Et lu Roy 
Pur tenir ioy 
Et a tout sa gent, 
Elle mete sa entent." 

Second course — Jellv coloured with columbine flowers, white 
potage, or cream of almonds, bream of the sea, conger, soles, 
cheven, barbel wdth roach, fresh salmon, halibut, gurnets, 
broiled roach, fried smelt, crayfish or lobster, leche damask 
with the king's word or proverb flourished " iiiic saiiz plus^ 
Lamprey fresh baked, flampeyn flourished with an escutcheon 
royal, therein three crowns of gold, planted with flowers de 
luce, and flowers of camomile wrought of confections. Then 
a subtlety representing a panther with an image of St. 
Katherine having a wheel in one hand and a roll with a 
reason in the other, saying — 

' ' La royne ma file, 
In ceste ile, 
Par bon reson 
Alues renoun." 



Third course — Dates in composite, cream mottled, carp, 
turbot, tench, perch, fresh sturgeon with whelks, porpoise 
ro;iistecl, memis fried, craytish, prawns, eels roasted with 
lamprey, a leche called ,the white leche nourished with haw- 
thorn leaves and red haws, and a march pane, garnished with 
figures of angels, having among them an image of St. Katherine 
holding this reason — 

" II est ecrit, 

Pour voir et dit 

Per mariage plir 

Cast guerre ne dure." 

And lastly, a subtlety representing a tiger looking into a mirror, 
and a man sitting on horseback fully armed, holding in his arms 
a tiger's whelp, with this reason, " Par force sanz reson il ay 
pryse ceste beste," and with his one hand making a coun- 
tenance of throwing mirrors at the great tiger, the which held 
this reason — 

" Gile de mirror, 
Ma fete distour." 


King Henry the Sixth 

became king in 1422, before he was nine months old, and 
although the regency of the two kingdoms to which he was 
heir had been arranged by Henry V. before his death, the reign 
of the third king of the House of Lancaster saw the undoing of 
much that had been accomplished in the reigns of his father 



Ck^HJlL-^ . 

and grandfather. It was during the reign of Henry VI. that 
Joan of Arc came forward alleging her Divine commission to 
rescue France from the English invader. But it is not part 
of our subject to describe her heroic career. The troublous 
times which made the French heroine a name in history were 
unfavourable to Christmas festivities. The Royal Christmases 
of Henry the Sixth were less costly than those of his immediate 
predecessors. But as soon as he was old enough to do so he 
observed the festival, as did also his soldiers, even in time 
of war. Mills ' mentions that, " during the memorable siege 
of Orleans [1428-9], at the request of the English the festivities 
of Christmas suspended the horrors of war, and the nativity of 
the Saviour was commemorated to the sound of martial music. 
Talbot, Suffolk, and other ornaments of English chivalry made 
presents of fruits to the accomplished Dunois, who vied with 
their courtesy by presenting to Suffolk some black plush he 
wished for as a lining for his dress in the then winter season. 
The high-spirited knights of one side challenged the prowest 
knights of the other, as their predecessors in chivalry had done. 
It is observable, however, that these jousts were not held in 
honour of the ladies, but the challenge always declared that 
if there were in the other host a knight so generous and loving 
of his country as to be willing to combat in her defence, he 
was invited to present himself." 

In 1433 Henry kept his Christmas at Bury, and in 1436 at 
Kenihvorth Castle. Nothing remarkable, however, is recorded 
respecting these festivities. But some interesting particulars 
have been preserved of a 

Christmas Play performed ix 1445 

at Middleton Tower, Norfolk, the family seat of Lord Scales, 

' " History of Chivalry." 


one of the early owners of Sandringham, which is now a 
residence of the Prince of Wales. Mrs. Herbert Jones ' says : — 

" One winter, when he was about forty-six years old, in a 
quiet interval soon after Henry the Sixth's marriage to Margaret 
of Anjou, Lord Scales and his wife were living at Middleton. 
In a south-east direction lay the higher ground where rose the 
Blackborough Priory of nuns, founded by a previous Lady 
Scales ; west of them, at three miles' distance, bristling with 
the architecture of the Middle Ages in all its bloom and beauty, 
before religious disunion had defaced it, prosperous in its self- 
government, stood the town of Lynn. 

" The mayor and council had organised a play to be acted on 
Christmas Day, 1445, before the Lord Scales at Middleton, repre- 
senting scenes from the Nativity of our Lord. Large sums were 
paid by order of the mayor for the requisite dresses, ornaments, 
and scenery, some of which were supplied by the ' Nathan ' of 
Lynn, and others prepared and bought expressly. 'John Clerk' 
performed the angel Gabriel, and a lady of the name of Gilbert 
the Virgin Mary. Their parts were to be sung. Four other 
performers were also paid for their services, and the whole 
party, headed by the mayor, set off with their paraphernalia 
in a cart, harnessed to four or more horses, for Middleton on 
Christmas morning. The breakfast of the carters was paid for 
at the inn by the town, but the magnates from Lynn and the 
actors were entertained at the castle.^ 

"It was in the courtyard that this quaint representation took 
place ; the musical dialogues, the songs and hymns, the pro- 
fusion of ornaments, personal and otherwise, recorded as pressed 
on to the stage, the grotesque angel and virgin, must have fur- 
nished a lively hour under the castle walls on that long-ago 
Christmas Day." 

The Wars of the Roses. 

During the destructive wars of York and Lancaster the 
festivities of Christmas were frequently interrupted by hos- 
tilities, for some of the most bloody encounters (as, for example, 
the terrible battle of Waketield) occurred at Christmastide. The 
wars of the contending factions continued throughout the reign 
of Henry VL, whose personal weakness left the House of Lan- 
caster at the mercy of the Parliament, in which the voice of the 
Barons was paramount. That the country was in a state of 
shameful misgovernment was shown by the attitude of the 
commercial class and the insurrection under John Cade ; yet 
Henry could find time for amusement. " Under pretence of 
change of air the court removed to Coventry that the king 
might enjoy the sports of the field." 3 

The Christmases of Henry were not kept with the splendour 

' " Sandringham Past and Present, 1S88." 

^ King's Lynn Chamherlains' Accounts Rolls, 23rd of Henry \"I. 

- " Chronicles of the White Rose of York.'' 


which characterised those of his rival and successor, Edward IV. 
Henry's habits were rehgious, and his house expenses par- 
simonious — sometimes necessarily so, for he was short of 
money. From the introduction to the " Paston Letters " 
(edited by Mr. James Gairdner) it appears that the king was 
in such impecunious circumstances in 145 1 that he had to 
borrow his expenses for Christmas : " The government was 
getting paralysed alike by debt and by indecision. ' As for 
tidings here,' writes John Bocking, ' I certify you all that is 
nought, or will be nought. The king borroweth his expenses.' " 
Henry anticipated what Ben Jonson discovered in a later age, 

" Christmas is near ; 
And neither good cheer, 
Mirth, fooling, nor wit, 
Nor any least fit 
Of gambol or sport 
Will come at the Court, 
If there be no money." 

And so rather than leave Christmas unobserved the poor king 
" borrowed his expenses." Subsequently Henry's health failed, 
and then later comes the record: ''At Christmas [1454], to 
the great joy of the nation, the king began to recover from his 
painful illness. He woke up, as it were, from a long sleep. 
So decidedly had he regained his faculties that on St. John's 
Day (27th December) he commanded his almoner to ride to 
Canterbury with an offering, and his secretary to present 
another at the shrine of St. Edward." ' 

The terrible battle of Wakefield at Christmastide, 1460, was 
one of the most important victories won by the Lancastrians 
during the Wars of the Roses. The king, Henry YL, had secretly 
encouraged Richard, Duke of York, that the nation would soon 
be ready to assent to the restoration of the legitimate branch 
of the royal family. Richard was the son of Anne Mortimer, 
who w^as descended from Philippa, the only daughter of the 
Duke of Clarence, second son of Edward HL ; and consequently 
he stood in the order of succession before the king actually on 
the throne, who was descended from John of Gaunt, a younger 
son of Edward HI. The Duke of York at length openly 
advanced his title as the true heir to the crown, and urged 
Parliament to confer it upon him. As, however, the Lancas- 
trian branch of the royal family had enjoyed the crown for three 
generations it was resolved that Henry VL should continue to 
reign during his life and that Richard should succeed him. 
This compromise greatly displeased the queen, Margaret, who 
was indignant at the injury it inflicted on her son. She therefore 
urged the nobles who had hitherto supported her husband to 
take up arms oh behalf of his son. Accordingly the Earl 
of Northumberland, with Lords Dacre, Clifford, and Nevil, 
assembled an army at York, and were soon joined by the 
' " Paston Letters." 


Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Devon. '* Parliament being 
prorogued in Dscember, the Duke of York and the Earl of 
Salisbury hastened from London with a large armed force 
towards York, but coming unexpectedly upon the troops of 
the Duke of Somerset at Worksop, their vanguard was de- 
stroyed. On the 2ist of December, however, they reached 
Sandal Castle with six thousand men, and kept their Christmas 
there, notwithstanding that the enemy under the Duke of 
Somerset and the Earl of Northumberland were close by at 
Pontefract " {William Wyrcester). On the 30th of December 
the opposing forces met at Wakefield, and in the terrible battle 
which ensued Richard, Duke of York was slain, his son, Lord 
Rutland, was murdered by Lord Clifford while" escaping from 
the battlefield, and the Earl of Salisbury and others were taken 
as prisoners to Pontefract, where they wQve. beheaded. 

Edward, son of Richard Duke of York, was afterwards joined 
by his cousin, Richard, Earl of Warwick, the famous " king- 
maker." They hastened northwards and met the Lancastrians 
at Towton, where a decisive battle was fought, and won by 
the Yorkists. Edward was then recognised by Parliament and 
proclaimed king as Edward IV., and Henry VI. was attainted 
of high treason. 

Ix 1461 Edward the Fourth 

called his first Parliament at Westminster, and concluded the 
session by the unusual but popular measure of a speech from 
the throne to the Commons delivered by himself. It was during 
this session that the statute was passed prohibiting the great 
and rich from giving or wearing any liveries or signs of 
companionship, except while serving under the king ; from 
receiving or maintaining plunderers, robbers, malefactors, or 
unlawful hunters ; and from allowing dice and cards in their 
houses beyond the twelve days of Christmas (Pari. Rolls, 488). 

The Christmas festival was kept by Edward IV. with great 
magnificence, the king's natural inclinations leading him to 
adopt whatever was splendid and costly. " At the Christmas 
festivities he appeared in a variety of most costly dresses, of a 
form never seen before, which he thought displayed his person 
to considerable advantage " {Croyland Chronicler). Sir Frederick 
Madden's narrative of the visit of the Lord of Granthuse, 
Governor of Holland, to Edward, in 1472, paints in glowing 
colours the luxury of the English Court. On his arrival at 
Windsor he was received by Lord Hastings, who conducted 
him to the chambers of the King and Queen. These apartments 
were richly hung "with cloth of gold arras. When he had 
spoken with the King, who presented him to the Queen's Grace, 
the Lord Chamberlain, Hastings, was ordered to conduct him to 
his chamber, where supper was ready for him. '* After he had 
supped the King had him brought immediately to the Queen's 
own chamber, where she and her ladies were playing at the 


marteaux [a game played with small balls of different colom-s] ; 
and some of her ladies were playing at closhevs [ninepins] of 
ivory, and dancing, and some at divers other games : the which 
sight was full pleasant to them. Also the King danced with my 
Lady Elizabeth, his eldest daughter. In the morning when 
Matins was done, the King heard, in his own chapel. Our 
Lady-Mass, w^iich was most melodiously chaunted, the Lord 
Granthuse being present. When the Mass was done, the King 
gave the said Lord Granthuse a cup of gold, garnished with 
pearl. In the midst of the cup was a great piece of unicorn's 
horn, to my estimation seven inches in compass ; and on the 
cover of the cup a great sapphire." After breakfast the King 
came into the Quadrangle. '' My Lord Prince, also, borne by 
his Chamberlain, called Master Vaughan, which bade the Lord 
of Granthuse welcome. Then the King had him and all his 
company into the little Park, where he made him have great 
sport ; and there the King made him ride on his own horse, on 
a right fair hobby, the which the King gave him." The King's 
dinner was "ordained" in the Lodge, Windsor Park. After 
dinner they hunted again, and the King showed his guest his 
garden and vineyard of pleasure. Then " the Queen did ordain 
a great banquet in her own chamber, at which King Edward, 
her eldest daughter the Lady Elisabeth, the Duchess of Exeter, 
the Lady Rivers, and the Lord of Granthuse, all sat with her at 
one mess ; and, at the same table, sat the Duke of Buckingham, 
my Lady, his wife, with divers other ladies, my Lord Hastings, 
Chamberlain to the King, my Lord Berriers, Chamberlain to the 
Queen, the son of Lord Granthuse, and Master George Barthe, 
Secretary to the Duke of Burgundy, Louis Stacy, Usher to the 
Duke of Burgundy, George Martigny, and also certain nobles of 
the King's own court. There was a side table, at which sat 
a great view (shoiv) of ladies, all on the one side. Also, in the 
outer chamber, sat the Queen's gentlewomen, all on one side. 
And on the other side of the table, over against them, as many 
of the Lord Granthuse's servants, as touching to the abundant 
welfare, like as it is according to such a banquet. And when 
they had supped my Lady Elizabeth, the King's eldest daughter, 
danced with the Duke of Buckingham and divers other ladies 
also. Then about nine of the clock, the King and the Queen, 
with her ladies and gentlewomen, brought the said Lord of 
Granthuse to three chambers of plesance, all hanged with white 
silk and linen cloth, and all the floors covered with carpets. 
There was ordained a bed for himself of as good down as could 
be gotten. The sheets of Rennes cloth and also line fustians ; 
the counterpane, cloth of gold, furred with ermines. The tester 
and ceiler also shining cloth of gold ; the curtains of white 
sarcenet ; as for his head-suit and pillows, they were of the 
Queen's own ordonnance. In the second chamber was likewise 
another state-bed, all white. Also, in the same chamber, was 
made a couch with feather beds, and hanged with a tent, knit 


like a net, and there was a cupboard. In the third chamber 
was ordained a bayne (balli) or two, which were covered with 
tents of white cloth. And, when the King and the Queen with 
all her ladies and gentlemen had showed him these chambers, 
they turned again to their own chambers, and left the said Lord 
Granthuse there, accompanied with the Lord Chamberlain 
(Hastings), who undressed him, and they both went together 
to the bath. — And when they had been in their baths as long as 
was their pleasure, they had green ginger, divers syrups, comhts, 
and ipocras, and then they went to bed. And in the morning 
he took his cup with the King and Queen, and returned to 
Westminster again." 

In 1465 Edward the Fourth and his Queen kept Christmas in 
the Abbey at Coventry, and for six days (says WiUiaiii Wyixcster) 
" the Duke of Clarence dissembled there." 

In 1478 the King celebrated the Christmas festival at West- 
minster with great pomp, wearing his crown, feasting his nobles, 
and making presents to his household ; and in 1482-3 he kept a 
splendid Christmas at Eltham, more than two thousand people 
being fed at his expense every dav. Edward almost entirely 
rebuilt Eltham Palace, of which the hall Vvas the noblest part. 
In that hall he kept the Christmas festival, " with bountiful 
hospitality for high and low, and abundance of mirth and 

One of the continental visitors who participated in the royal 
festivities of this period was Leo von Rozmital, brother of 
George, King of Bohemia. His retinue included Tetzel, who, 
in describing the Court of Edward the Fourth, after remarking 
upon Edward's own handsome person, says, " The king has the 
Hnest set of courtiers that a man may find in Christendom. He 
invited my Lord Leo and all his noble companions, and gave 
them a very costlv feast, and also he gave to each of them the 
medal of his order, to every knight a golden one, and to every 
one who was not a knight a silver one ; and he himself hung 
them upon their necks. Another day the king called us to 
court. In the morning the queen (Elizabeth W^oodville) went 
from child-bed to church with a splendid procession of many 
priests, bearing relics, and many scholars, all singing, and 
carrying burning candles. Besides there was a great company 
of women and maidens from the country and from London, who 
were bidden to attend. There were also a great number of 
trumpeters, pipers, and other players, with forty-two of the 
king's singing men, who sang very sweetly. Also, there were 
four and twenty heralds and pursuivants, and sixty lords and 
knights. Then came the queen, led by two dukes, and with 
a canopy borne over her. Behind her followed her mother and 
above sixty ladies and maidens. Having heard the service sung, 
and kneeled down in the church, she returned with the same 
procession to her palace. Here all who had taken part in the 
procession were invited to a feast, and all sat down, the men 


and the women, the clergy and the laity, each in his rank, tilling 
four large rooms. Al'so, the king invited my lord and all his 
noble attendants to the table where he usually dined with his 
courtiers. Aad one of the king's greatest lords must sit at the 
king's table upon the king's stool, in the place of the king ; and 
my lord sat at the same table only two steps below^ him. Then 
all the honours which were due to the king had to be paid to 
the lord w^ho sat in his place, and also to my lord ; and it is 
incredible what ceremonies we observed there. While we were 
eating, the king was making presents to all the trumpeters, 
pipers, players, and heralds ; to the last alone he gave four 
hundred nobles, and every one, when he received his pay, came 
to the tables and told aloud what the king had given him. 
When my lord had done eating, he was conducted into a costly 
ornamented room, where the queen was to dine, and there he 
was seated in a corner that he might see all the expensive 
provisions. The queen sat down on a golden stool alone at her 
table, and her mother and the queen's sister stood far below 
her. And when the queen spoke to her mother or to the king's 
sister, they kneeled down every time before her, and remained 
kneeling until the queen drank water. And all her ladies and 
maids, and those who w^aited upon her, even great lords, had 
to kneel while she was eating, which continued three hours (!). 
After dinner there was dancing, but the queen remained sitting 
upon her stool, and her mother kneeled before her. The king's 
sister danced with two dukes, and the beautiful dances and 
reverences performed before the queen — the like I have never 
seen, nor such beautiful maidens. Among them were eight 
duchesses, and above thirty countesses and others, all daughters 
of great people. After the dance the king's singing men came 
in and sang. When the king heard mass sung in his private 
chapel my lord was admitted : then the king had his relics 
shown to us, and many sacred things in London. Among them 
we saw a stone from the Mount of Olives, upon which there is 
the footprint of Jesus Christ, our Lady's girdle, and many other 

Cards axd other Chkistm.\s Diversions ix the Fifteenth 


The amusements of the people in the fifteenth century are 
referred to by Thomas Wright, Esq., M.A., F.S.A., who says : 
" In England, in the third year of the reign of Edward IV. 
(1463), the importation of playing-cards, probably from Germany, 
was forbidden, among other things, by Act of Parliament ; and 
as that Act is understood to have been called for bv the English 
manufacturers, who suffered by the foreign trade, it can hardly 
be doubted that cards were then manufactured in England on 
a rather extensive scale. Cards had then, indeed, evidentlv 
become very popular in England ; and only twentv years 
afterwards they are spoken of as the common Christmas game, 



for Margery Paston wrote as follows to her husband, John 
Paston, on the 24th of December in 1483 : — ■' Please it you to 
weet {know) that I sent your eldest son John to my Lady 
Morley, to have knowledge of what sports were used in her 
house in the Christmas next following after the decease of my 
lord her husband ; and she said that there were none disguisings, 
nor harpings, nor luting, nor singing, nor none loud disports, 
but playing at the tables, and the chess, and canh — such 
disports she gave her folks leave to play, and none other. . . . 
1 sent your younger son to the lady Stapleton, and she said 
according to my lady Morley's saying in that, and as she had 
seen used in places of worship {gentlemen's houses) there as she 
had been.' . . . After the middle of the fifteenth century, cards 
came into very general use ; and at the beginning of the follow- 
ing century, there was such a rage for card-playing, that an 
attempt was made early in the reign of Henry VIII. to restrict 
their use by law to the period of Christmas. When, however, 
people sat down to dinner at noon, and had no other occupation 
for the rest of the day, they needed amusement of some sort 
to pass the time ; and a poet of the fifteenth century observes 

' A man may dryfe forthe the day that long tyme dwellis 
With harpyng and pipyng, and other mery spellis, 
With gle, and wyth game.' " 


Another book well known to bibliomaniacs ('' Dives and 
Pauper," ed. W. de Worde, 1496) says : " For to represente in 
playnge at Crystmasse herodes and the thre kynges and other 
processes of the gospelles both then and at Ester and other 
tymes also it is lefuU and cOmendable." 



Edward the Fifth 

succeeded his father, Edward IV., in the dangerous days of 
1483. He was at Ludlow when his father died, being under the 
guardianship of his uncle, Earl Rivers, and attended by other 
members of the Woodville family. Almost immediately he set 
out for London, but when he reached Stony Stratford, on April 
29th, he was met by his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 
who had arrested Lord Rivers and Lord Richard Grey. The 
young king (a boy of thirteen) renewed his journey under 
Gloucester's charge, and on reaching London was lodged in 
the Tower. His mother, on hearing of the arrest of Rivers and 
Grey, had taken sanctuary at Westminster. Lord Hastings, a 
supporter of the king, w^as arrested and executed because he 
would not sanction Gloucester's nefarious schemes for obtain- 
ing the throne. About the same time Rivers and Grey were 
beheaded at Pontefract, whither they had been taken by 
Gloucester's orders. Soon afterwards the Queen was compelled 
to deliver up the young Duke of York to Richard, who sent him 
to join his brother in the Tower. On June 22nd, at the request 
of Richard, Dr. Shaw, brother of the Lord Mayor of London, 
delivered a sermon at St. Paul's Cross, in which he insisted on 
the illegitimacy of Edward V. and his brother. On June 25th 
a deputation .of nobles and citizens of London offered the crown 
to Richard. He accepted it, and began to reign as Richard HL 
And, according to a confession afterwards made by Sir James 
Tyrell, one of Richard's officers, the two young princes remained 
in the Tower, being put to death by their Uncle Richard's 
orders. Thus, atrociously, began the reign of the murderous 


Richard the Thh^d. 
The King kept his lirst Christmas at Kenihvorth Castle, 
having previonsly visited the city of Coventry, at the festival 
of Corpus Clirisfi, to see the plays. The accounts of Kenihvorth 
Castle show that in 1484 John Beauhtz was paid ^'20 '* for 
divers reparacions made in the Castell of Kyllingworth " by 
order of Richard III. At this time, says Philip de Comines, 
''he was reigning in greater splendour and authority than any 
king of England for the last hundred years." The following 
year Richard kept Christmas in the great hall at Westminster, 
celebrating the festival with great pomp and splendour, en- 
couraging the recreations usual at the season, and so attentively 
observing the ancient customs that a warrant is entered for the 
payment of " 200 marks for certain new year's gifts bought 
against the feast of Christmas." The festivities continued 
without interruption until the day of the Epiphany, when they 
terminated with an entertainment of extraordinary magnificence 
given by the monarch to his nobles in Westminster Hall — " the 
King himself wearing his crown," are the words of the Croyland 
historian, "and holding a splendid feast in the great hall, similar 
to that of his coronation." " Little did Richard imagine that 
this would be the last feast at which he would preside — the last 
time he would display his crown in peace before his assembled 
peers." ' An allusion to this Christmas festival, and to the 
King's wicked nature, is contained in a note to Bacon's " Life 
of King Henry VH.," which says : " Richard's wife was Anne, 
the younger daughter of Warwick the King-maker. She died 
i6th March, 1485. It was rumoured that her death was by 
poison, and that Richard wished to marry his niece Elizabeth 
of York, eldest daughter of Edward IV. It is said that in the 
festivities of the previous Christmas the Princess Elizabeth had 
been dressed in robes of the same fashion and colour as those 
of the Queen. Ratcliffe and Catesby, the King's confidants, are 
credited with having represented to Richard that this marriage 
of so near a kinswoman would be an object of horror to the 
people, and bring on him the condemnation of the clergy." 

At a Christmas festival at Rhedon, in Brittany, Henry of 
Richmond met English exiles to the number of 500, and swore 
to marry Elizabeth of York as soon as he should subdue the 
usurper ; and thereupon the exiles unanimously agreed to 
support him as their sovereign. On the ist of August, 1485, 
Henry set sail from Harfieur with an army of 3,000 men, and a 
few days afterwards landed at Milford Haven. He was received 
with manifest delight, and as he advanced through Wales his 
forces were increased to upwards of 6,000 men. Before the 
close of the month he had encountered the royal army and slain 
the King at Bosworth Field, and by this memorable victory had 
terminated the terrible Wars of the Roses and introduced into 
England a new dynasty. 

' Ilalstead's " Life of Richard III." 




Henry the Seventh 

Was the son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, son of 
Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman who had man-ied the widow 
of Henry V. His mother, Margaret, was a great-granddaughter 
of John of Gaunt by Catherine Swynford. In early life Henry 
was under the protection of Henry \T. ; but after the battle of 
Tewkesbury he was taken by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, Earl of 
Pembroke, to Brittany for safety. Edward I\'. made several 
unsuccessful attempts to get him into his power, and Richard 
III. also sent spies into Brittany to ascertain his doings. On 
Christmas Day, 1483, the English exiles, who gathered round 
Henry in Brittany, took an oath in the Cathedral of Rheims to 
support him in ousting Richard and succeeding him to the 
English throne. Henry, on his part, agreed to reconcile the 
contending parties by marrying Elizabeth of York, eldest 
daughter and co-heir of Edward IV., and this promise he 
faithfully kept. After his defeat of Richard the Third at 
Bosworth he assumed the royal title, advanced to London, 
and had himself crowned King of England ; and at the follow- 
ing Christmas festival he married Elizabeth of York. The 
Archbishop who married them (Archbishop Bourchier) had 
crowned both Richard III. and Henry VII., and Fuller c|uaintly 
describes this last official act of marrying King Henry to Eliza- 
beth of York as the holding of "the posie on which the White 
Rose and the Red Rose were tied together." And Bacon says, 
'' the so-long-expected and so-much-desired marriage between 
the King and the Lady Elizabeth was celebrated with greater 
triumph and demonstrations, especially on the people's part, of 
joy and gladness, than the days either of his entry or coro- 

The Christmas festivities were attended to with increasing 
zest during the reign of Henry VH., for the King studied 



magnificence quite as much as his predecessors had done. His 
riding dress was "a doublet of green or white cloth of gold 
satin, with a long gown of purple velvet, furred with ermine, 
powdered, open at the sides, and purpled with ermine, with a 
rich sarpe (scarf) and garter." His horse was richly caparisoned, 
and bore a saddle of estate, covered with gold. His Majesty 
was attended by seven henchmen, clothed in doublets of crimson 
satin, with gowns of white cloth of gold. The Queen appeared 
with equal splendour, ** wearing a round circle of gold, set with 
pearls and precious stones, arrayed in a kirtle of white damask 
cloth of gold, furred with miniver pure, garnished, having a 
train of the same, with damask cloth of gold, furred with ermine, 
with a great lace, and two buttons and tassels of white silk, and 
gold at the breast above." And the royal apartments were kept 
with great splendour. At his ninth Christmas festival (Dec. 31, 
1494) the King established new rules for the government of the 
roval household (preserved among the Harleian MSS.), which 
he directed should be kept " in most straightest wise." The 
Royal Household Book of the period, in the Chapter-house at 
Westminster, contains numerous disbursements connected with 
Christmas diversions. In the seventh year of this reign is a 
payment to Wat Alyn (Walter Alwyn) in full payment for 
the disguising made at Christmas, £is\. 13s. 4d., and payments 
for similar purposes occur in the following years. Another 
book, also in the Chapter-house, called " The Kyng's boke of 
paymentis," contains entries of various sums given to players 
and others who assisted to amuse the King at Christmas, and 
among the rest, to the Lord of Misrule (or Abbot as he is some- 
times called), for several years, " in rewarde for Iris besynes in 
Crestenmes holydays, _^'6 13s. 4d." The plays at this festival 
seem to have been acted by the " gentlemen of the King's 
Chapell," as there are several liberal payments to certain of 
them for plaving on Twelfth Night ; for instance, an entry 
on January 7th, 23 Henry VH., of a reward to five of 
them of £6 13s. 4d., for acting before the King on the 
previous night ; but there was a distinct set of players for 
other times. 

Leland, speaking of 1489, says : " This Cristmas I saw no dis- 
gysyngs, and but right few plays. But ther was an Abbot of 
Misrule, that made much sport and did right well his office." 
In the following year, however, " on neweres day at nyght, 
there was a goodly disgysyng," and " many and dyvers 

That the Christmas festival did not pass unobserved by the 
men of this period who navigated the high seas we know from 
the name of a Cuban port which was 

A Christmas Discovery by Christopher Columbus. 

On Christmas Day, 1492, Christopher Columbus, the cele- 
brated Genoese navigator, landed at a newly-discovered port 


in Cuba, which he named Navidad, because he landed there 
on Christmas Day. 

The Fire at the Royal Residence, Shexe, 

was the event of Christmas, 1497. It broke out in the palace, 
on the evening of December 21st, while the royal family were 
there, and for three hours raged fiercely, destroying, with the 
fairest portion of the building, the rich furniture, beds, tapestry, 
and other decorations of the principal chambers. Fortunately 
an alarm was given in time, and the royal and noble personages 
of the Court escaped to a place of safety. In conseeiuence of 
this iire the King built the fine new palace of Richmond. 

Royal Christmases 

were kept bv Henry VII. at Westminster Hall with great hos- 
pitality, the King wearing his crown, and feasting numerous 
guests, loading the banquet-table with peacocks, swans, herons, 
conger, sturgeon, brawn, and all the delicacies of the period. 
At iiis ninth Christmas festival the Mayor and Aldermen of 
London were feasted with great splendour at Westminster, 
the King showing them various sports on the night following 
in the great hall, which was richly hung with tapestry : " which 
sports being ended /// the nioniiii^, the king, queen, and court 
sat down at a table of stone, to 120 dishes, placed* by as many 
knights and esquires, while the Mayor was served with twenty- 
four dishes and abundance of wine. And finally the King -and 
Queen being conveyed with great lights into the palace, the 
Mayor, with his company iu barges, returned to London by 
break of the next day.'' 

From the ancient records of the Royal Household it appears 
that on the morning of New Year's Day, the King " sitting in his 
foot-sheet," received according to prescribed ceremony a new- 
year's gift from the Queen, duly rewarding the various officers 
and messengers, according to their rank. The Queen also " sat 
in her foot-sheet," and received gifts in the same manner, 
paying a less reward. And on this day, as well as on Christ- 
mas Day, the King wore his kirtle, his surcoat and his pane 
of arms ; and he walked, having his hat of estate on his head, 
his sword borne before him, with the chamberlain, steward, 
treasurer, comptroller, preceding the sword and the ushers ; 
before whom must walk all the other lords except those who 
wore robes, who must follow the King. The highest nobleman 
in rank, or the King's brother, if present, to lead the Queen ; 
another of the King's brothers, or else the Prince, to walk with 
the King's train-bearer. On Tw^elfth Day the King was to go 
" crowned, in his royal robes, kirtle, and surcoat, his furred hood 
about his neck, and his ermines upon his arms, of gold set full of 
rich stones with balasses, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls." 
This ornament was considered so sacred, that " no temporal 
man " (none of the laity) but the King was to presume to touch 


it ; an esquire of the body was to brin^ it in a fair handkerchief, 
and the King was to put it on with his own hands ; he must also 
have his sceptre in his right hand, the ball with the cross in his 
left hand, and must offer at the altar gold, silver, and incense, 
which offering the Dean of the Chapel w'as to send to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and this was to entitle the Dean to 
the next vacant benefice. The King was to change his mantle 
when going to meat, and to take oft' his hood and lay it about 
his neck, " clasping it before with a rich ozvclic." The King and 
the Queen on Twelfth Night were to take the void (evening 
repast) in the hall ; as for the wassail, the steward and treasurer 
were to go for it, bearing their staves ; the chapel choir to stand 
on the side of the hall, and when the steward entered at the hall 
door he was to cry three times, " Wassail ! Wassail ! Wassail ! " 
and the chapel to answer with a good song ; and when all was 
done the King and Queen retired to their chamber. 

Among the special features of the banquets of this period 
were the devices for the table called subtleties, made 
of paste, jelly, or blanc-mange, placed in the middle of 
the board, with labels describing them ; various shapes 
of animals were frequent ; and on a saint's day, 
angels, prophets, and patriarchs were set upon the table in 
plenty. Certain dishes were also directed as proper for 
dift'erent degrees of persons ; as " conies parboiled, or else 
rabbits, for they are better for a lord " ; and " for a great 
lord take squirrels, for they are better than conies " ; a whole 
chicken for a lord; and "seven mackerel in a dish, with a 
dragge of fine sugar," was also a dish for a lord. But the 
most famous dish was " the peacock enkakyll, which is foremost 
in the procession to the king's table." Here is the recipe for 
this royal dish : Take and flay oft' the skin with the feathers, tail, 
and the neck and head thereon ; then take the skin, and all the 
feathers, and lay it on the table abroad, and strew thereon 
ground cinnamon ; then take the peacock and roast him, and 
baste him with raw yolks of eggs ; and when he is roasted, take 
him oft', and let him cool awhile, and take him and sew him in 
his skin, and gild his comb, and so serve him with the last 

Card-Playing was Forbidden except at Christmas, 

by a statute passed in the reign of Henry YII. A Scotch 
writer,' referring to this prohibition, says : "A universal Christ- 
mas custom of the olden time was playing at cards ; persons 
who never touched a card at any other season of the year felt 
bound to play a few games at Christmas. The practice had 
even the sanction of the law. A prohibitory statute of Henry 
VII.'s reign, forbade card-plaving save during the Christmas 
holidays. Of course, this prohibition extended only to persons 
of humble rank ; Henry's daughter, the Princess Mai-garet, 

' " Book of Days." Fdinbnrah, - 





played cards with her suitor, James IV. of Scotland ; and 
James himself kept up the custom, receiving from his treasurer, 
at Melrose, on Christmas Night, 1496, thirty-five unicorns, eleven 
French crowns, a ducat, a ridarc, and a /<!//, in all about equal to 
£j^2 of modern money, to use at the card-table." Now, as the 
Scottish king was not married to the English princess until 
1503, it is quite clear that he had learned to play cards 
long before his courtship with Margaret ; for in 1496, when 
he received so much card-money from his treasurer, the English 
princess was but seven years of age. James had evidently 
learned to play at cards with the Scottish barons who fre- 
quented his father's Court, and whose lawlessness led to the 
revolt which ended in the defeat and melancholy fate of 
James III. (1488), and gave the succession to his son, James 
IV., at the early age of fifteen years. The no less tragic end 
of James IV. at Flodden Field, in 1513, is strikingly depicted by 
Sir Walter Scott, who tells : — 

" Of the stern strife, and carnage drear, 
Of Flodden's fatal field, 
Where shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear, 
And broken was her shield." 

The Reigx of Hexky the Eighth. 

On the death of Henrv VII., who had given England peace 
and prosperity, and established firmly his own house on the 
English throne, in 1509, his son Henry became king as Henry 
VIII. He was a handsome and accomplished young man, and 
his accession was an occasion of great rejoicing. Henry kept 
his first 

Royal Christmas at Richmond, 

with great niagiiiiicence. Proclaimed king on the 22nd of April 
at the age of eighteen, and married on the 3rd of June to 


Katherine of Arra^^on, widow of his deceased brother Arthur, 
Prince of Wales, the youthful Monarch and his Queen were 
afterwards crowned at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and spent the hrst Christmas of their wedded 
life at Richmond. " And a very pleasant time it ought to have 
been to the Queen, for every species of entertainment was there 
got up by the handsome young king and his gallant company of 
courtiers, for her particular gratification. There was a grand 
tournament on the green, before the palace, which was rendered 
brilliant with pavilions, and the other gay structures always 
erected for these chivalrous ceremonies. The King and Queen 
took their places in the customary elevated position, surrounded 
bv the nobles and beauties of the Court, to witness the feats of 
arms of the many gallant knights who had thronged to display 
their prowess before their sovereign ; these, with their esquires, 
the heralds, pages, and other attenclants, mounted and on foot, 
clad in their gay apparel, the knights wearing handsome suits 
of armour, and careering on gaily caparisoned horses, made a 
very inspiriting scene, in which the interest deepened when the 
usual combats between individuals or select companies com- 
menced." ' 

" For every knight that loved chivalry, 

And would his thanks have a passant name, 
Hath prayed that he might be of that game, 
And well was him that thereto chosen was."^ 

The spectacle presented was one of great splendour ; for " the 
commencement of the reign of Henry VIII., who was then 
styled by his loving subjects * the rose without a thorn,' wit- 
nessed a remarkable revival of magnilicence in personal 
decoration. So brilliant were the dresses of both sexes at 
the grand entertainment over which the King and Queen 
presided at Richmond, that it is difficult to convey an adequate 
idea of their splendour. But in the first half of the sixteenth 
century the principal Courts of Europe were distinguished by a 
similar love of display, which, thotigh it fostered habits of 
luxury, afforded an extraordinary impulse towards art." 3 In 
England the love of hnery became so general among the people 
that several stattites were passed during Henry's reign to restrain 
it. But while the King was quite willing that his subjects should 
observe due propriety in regard to their own dress and adorn- 
ments, not exceeding the regulations laid down for their 
particular rank or station in life, he was lavish in his own 
expenditure, and it pleased the people to see Henry dressed 
in kingly fashion. He greatly increased his own popularity by 
taking part in the tournaments, in which " he did exceedingly 
well " ; and he also assisted in the several curious and pictu- 
resque masques of Christmastide. 

' Williams's " Domestic Memoirs of the Royal Family and of the Court of 
- Chaucer. 3 " William's Domestic Memoirs." 


On one occasion the King with some of the chief nobles of 
his Conrt appeared apparehed as Robin Hood and his foresters, 
in which disgnise he entered unexpectedly into the Queen's 
chamber, " whereat," says Holinshed, '' the Queen and her 
ladies were greatly amazed, as w^ell for the strange sight as 
for the sudden appearance." 

The splendour of the Court festivities necessitated 

Inxreased Expenditure for Christmas-Keeping, 

notwithstanding that the King's domestic affairs were managed 
by " a good number of honourable, virtuous, wise, expert, and 
discreet persons of his Council." The preserved bills of fare 
show that the Court diet was liberal generally, but especially 
sumptuous at the grand entertainments of Christmas. And the 
Royal Household Accounts also show increased expenditure for 
the diversions, as well as for the banquetings, of the festival. 
For instance, the payments to the Lord of Misrule, which in 
Henry the Seventh's time never exceeded £6 13s. 4d., were 
raised by Henry the Eighth in his first year to _^8 6s. 8d., and 
subsequently to ^^15 6s. 8d. In the lirst year is a payment to 
** Rob Amadas upon his bill for certain plate of gold stuf bought 
of him for the disguisings," ^451 12s. 2d. ; and another to 
" Willm. Buttry upon his bill for certen sylks bought of hmi for 
the disguisings," ^133 7s. 5d. In the sixth year are charges 
" To Leonard Friscobald for diverse velvets, and other sylks, for 
the disguising," ^247 12s. 7d. ; and "To Richard Gybson for 
certen apparell, &c., for the disguysing at the fest of Cristemes 
last," ;^i37 14s. ^d. Considerable payments are made to the 
same Gybson in after years for the same purpose, particularly in 
the eleventh, for revels, called a Maskelyn. In the tenth year 
large rewards were given to the gentlemen and children of the 
King's Chapel ; the former having ^13 6s. 8d. "for their good 
attendance in Xtemas " ; and " Mr. Cornisse for pla^^ng affore 
the King opon newyeres day at nyght with the children," 
£6 135.^ 4d. 

Hall, in his Chronicle, Henry VIII. folio 15b, i6a, gives the 
following account of a 

Royal Masquerade at Greenwich, 

where the King w'as keeping his Christmas in 1512 : "On the 
dale of the Epiphanie, at night, the King with XI others, wer 
disguised after the maner of Italic, called a maske, a thing not 
seen afore in England ; thei were appareled in garments long 
and brode, wrought all with gold, with visers and cappes of 
gold ; and after the banket doen, these maskers came in with 
six gentlemen disguised in silke, bearing staffe torches, and 
desired the ladies to daunce : some were content, and some that 
new the fashion of it refused, because it was a thing not 


commonly seen. And after thei daunced and communed 
toL,fether, as the fashion of the maske is, thei tooke their leave 
and departed, and so did the quene and all the ladies." 

In 1521 the King kept his Christmas at Greenwich *' with 
great nobleness and open court," and again in 1525. In 1527, 
he received the French Embassy here, and also kept his 
Christmas " with revels, masks, disguisings, and banquets 
royal ; " as he did again in 1533, in 1537, and in 1543 ; the last- 
mentioned year " he entertained twenty-one of the Scottish 
nobility whom he had taken prisoners at Salom Moss, and gave 
them their liberty without ransom." ' 

On all these occasions Henry diverted his guests right 
royally, spending vast sums on the masques and disguisings ; 
but none of the Christmas diversions proved greater attractions 

The King's Tournamext Displays. 

To these splendid exercises Henry gave unremitting atten- 
tion, and not to display proficiency in them was almost to lose 
his favour ; yet some discretion was required to rival, but not 
to excel the King, whose ardent temper could not brook 
superiority in another. But, although victory was always 
reserved for royalty, it is but fair to allow that the King was 
no mean adept in those pursuits for which his bodily powers 
and frequent exercise had qualified him. 

Among the most distinguished Knights of Henry's Court 
Charles Brandon was pre-eminent, not only for his personal 
beauty and the elegance that attended every movement which 
the various evolutions of the game required, but for his courage, 
judgment, and skill, qualities which he displayed to great 
advantage at the royal festivities. This celebrated man was 
the son of Sir William Brandon, who, bearing the standard of 
Henry the Seventh, w'as slain by Richard the Third at Bosworth 
Field. Three sons of the Howard family were also distinguished 
at the royal tournaments. Lord Thomas Howard was one of 
the most promising warriors, and, unfortunately, one of the 
most dissolute men at the Court of Henry. Sir Edward and 
Sir Edmund Howard, the one famed for naval exploits, the 
other less remarkable, but not without celebrity for courage. 
Sir Thomas Knevet, Master of the Horse, and Lord Neville, 
brother to the Marejuis of Dorset, were also prominent in the 
lists of combat. The trumpets blew to the field the fresh, 
young gallants and noblemen, gorgeously apparelled with 
curious devices of arts and of embroideries, " as well in their 
coats as in trappers for their horses ; some in gold, some in 
silver, some in tinsel, and divers others in goldsmith's work 
goodly to behold." Such was the array in which the young 
knights came forth at Richmond, in the splendid tournament 
which immediately succeeded Henry's coronation, " assuming 

' Nichols's " Progresses of Queen Elizabeth." 


the name and devices of the knii^hts or scliolars of Pallas, 
clothed in garments of green velvet, carrying a crystal shield, 
on which was pourtrayed the goddess Minerva, and had the 
bases and barbs of their horses embroidered with roses and 
pomegranates of gold ; those of Diana were decorated with the 
bramble-bush, displayed in a similar manner. The prize of 
valour was the crystal shield. Between the lists the spectators 
were amused with a pageant, representing a park enclosed with 
pales, containing fallow deer, and attended by foresters and 
huntsmen. The park being moved towards the place where the 
queen sat, the gates were opened, the deer were let out, 
pursued by greyhounds, kiJled and presented by Diana's 
champions to the Queen and the ladies. Thus were they 
included in the amusement, not only as observers, but as 
participators ; nor were the populace without their share of 
enjoyments ; streams of Rhenish wine and of claret, which 
Howed from the mouths of animals sculptured in stone and 
wood, were appropriated to their refreshment. Night closed 
on the joyous scene ; but before its approach the King, perceiv- 
ing that the ardour of the combatants had become intemperate 
and dangerous, wisely limited the nuniber of strokes, and closed 
the tourney. 

" It was about this period that the tournament ceased to be 
merely a chivalric combat ; and, united with the pageant, 
acquired more of the dramatic character. The pageant con- 
sisted of a temporary building, moved on biers, generally 
representing castles, rocks, mountains, palaces, gardens, or 
forests. The decoration of these ambulating scenes was 
attended with considerable expense, but was seldom conducted 
with taste or consistency. They generally contained hgures, 
personating a curious medley of nymphs, savages, heathen 
gods, and Christian saints, giants and the nine worthies, who 
descended and danced among the spectators. 

" On the night of the Epiphany (1516) a pageant was intro- 
duced into the hall at Richmond, representing a hill studded 
with gold and precious stones, and having on its summit a tree 
of gold, from which hung roses and pomegranates. From the 
declivity of the hill descended a lady richlv attired, who, with 
the gentlemen, or, as they were then called, children of honour, 
danced a morris before the King. 

" On another occasion, in the presence of the Court, an 
artificial forest was drawn in by a lion and an antelope, the 
hides of which were richly embroidered with golden orna- 
ments ; the animals were harnessed with chains of gold, and on 
each sat a fair damsel in gay apparel. In the midst of the 
forest, which was thus introduced, appeared a gilded tower, 
at the gates of which stood a youth, holding in his hands a 
garland of roses, as the prize of valour in a tournament which . 
succeeded the pageant."' 

' " Recollections of Royalty," by Mr. Charles C. Jones, 1828. 


Christmas Festivities of Noblemex and Others. 

The royal magnificenct; was imitated by the nobility and 
gentry of the period, who kept the Christmas festival with much 
display and prodigality, maintaining such numerous retinues as 
to constitute a miniature court. The various household books 
that still exist show the state in which thev lived. From that 
of the Northumberland family (15 12), it appears that the 
" Almonar " was often "a maker of Interludys," and had "a 
servaunt to the intent for writynge the parts." The persons on 
the establishment of the Chapel performed plays from some 
sacred subject during Christmas ; as " My lorde usith and 
accustomyth to gyf yerely, if his lordship kepe a chapell and be 
at home, them of his lorclschipes chapell, if they doo play the 
Play of the Nativitie uppon Cristynmes day in the mornnynge 
in my lords chapell befor his lordship, xxs." Other players 
were also permitted and encouraged, and a Master of the 
Revells appointed to superintend. And " My lorde useth and 
accustomyth yerly to gyf hym which is ordynede to be Master 
of the Revells yerly in my lordis hous in Cristmas for the 
overseyinge and orderinge of his lordschips Playes, Interludes, 
and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lordship in his hous in the 
XII dayes of Christenmas, and they to have in rewarde for that 
cans yerly, xxs." Another entry shows that 13s. 4d. was the 
price paid to the chaplain, William Peres, iii the 17th Henry 
VIII., "for makyng an Enterlued to be playd this ne.xt 

In this reign the working classes were allowed greater 
privileges at Christmas than at any other part of the year. 
The Act of II Henry VII. c. 2, against unlawful games, ex- 
pressly forbids Artihcers, Labourers, Servants, or Apprentices, 
to play at any such games, except at Christmas, and then only 
in their masters' houses by the permission of the latter ; and a 
penalty of 6s. 8d. was incurred by any householder allowing 
such games, except during those holidays ; which, according to 
Stow, extended from All-hallows evening to the day after 
Candlemas Day. The Act of 33 Henry VIII. c. 9, enacts more 
particularly, " That no manner of Artihcer or Craftsman of any 
handicraft or occupation. Husbandman, Apprentice, Labourer, 
Servant at husbandry. Journeyman, or S;:;rvant of Artificer, 
Mariners, Fishermen, Watermen, or any Serving-man, shall 
from the said feast of the Nativity of St. ^ohn Baptist^ play at 
the Tables, Tennis, Dice, Cards, Bowls, Clash, Coyting, Lega- 
ting, or any other unlawful Game, out of Cliristiiias, under the 
pain of xxs. to be forfeit for every time ; and in Christinas to 
play at any of the said Games in their Masters' houses, or in 
their Masters' presence." 

In his description of the " mummings and masquerades " of this 
period, Strutt ^ says that the "mummeries" practised by the 

' " Sports and Pastimes." 


lower classes of the people usually took place at the Christmas 
holidays ; and such persons as could not procure masks rubbed 
their faces over with soot, or painted them ; hence Sebastian 
Brant, in his " Ship of Fools " (translated by Alexander Barclay, 
and printed by Pynson, in 1508) alluding to this custom, says: " ' 

" The one hath a visor ugley set on his face, 
Another hath on a vile counterfaite vesture, 
Or painteth his visage with fume in such case, 
That what he is, himself is scantily sure. " 

Sandys, I in reference to this period, says : " The lower classes, 
still practising the ceremonies and superstitions of their fore- 
fathers, added to them some imitations of the revelries of their 
superiors, but, as may be supposed, of a grosser description ; and 
many abuses were committed. It was, therefore, found necessary 
by an Act passed in the 3rd year of Henrv VIII. to order that no 
person should appear abroad like mummers, covering their faces 
with vizors, and in disguised apparel, under pain of three months' 
imprisonment ; and a penalty of 20s. was declared against such 
as kept vizors in their house for the purpose of mumming. It 
was not intended, however, to debar people from proper recrea- 
tions during this season, but, on the contrary, we have reason to 
believe that many indulgencies were afforded them, and that 
landlords and masters assisted them with the means of enjoyiufT 
the customary festivities ; listening to their tales of legendary 
lore, round the yule block, when wearv of more boisterous 
sports, and encouraging them by their presence." 

King Hexry VIII. 's " Still Christmas." 
In the 17th year of his reign, in consequence of the prevalence 
of the plague in London, the King kept his Christmas quietlv 
in the old. palace at Eltham, whence it was called the " still 
Christmas." This suppression of the mirth and jollity which 
were the usual concomitants of the festive season did no^t satistv 
tiie haughty Cardinal Wolsey, who " laye at the IManor Jf 
Richemond, and there kept open householde, to lordes, ladies, 
and all other that would come, with plaies and disguisyng in 
most royall maner ; whiche sore greved the people, and in 
especiall the Kynges servauntes, to se hvm kepe an open Court 
and the Kyng a secret Court." ^ 

The Royal Christmases 

subsequently kept, however, made amends for the cessation of 
festivities at the Kyng's " Still Christmas," especially the royal 
celebrations at Greenwich. In 1527 the " solemne Christmas" 
held there was " wath revels, maskes, disguisings, and banquets • 
and on the thirtieth of December and the third of January were 
solemne Justs holden, when at night the King and fifteen other 

' Introduction to "Christmas Carols." = Hall's "Chronicle." 


with him, came to Bridewell, and there putting on masking 
apparell, took his barge, and rowed to the Cardinall's (Woolsey) 
place, where were at supper many Lords and Ladyes, who 
danced with the maskers, and after the dancing was made 
a great Banquet." ' 

During the girlhood of the Princess (afterwards Queen) Marv, 
entertainments were given for her amusement, especially at 
Christmastide ; and she gave presents to the King's players, the 
children of the Chapel, and others. But, Sandys says, that "as 
she grew up, and her temper got soured, she probably lost all 
enjoyment of such scenes." Ellis, in his *' Original Letters," 
gives a curious application from the Council for the household 
of the Lady Mary to the Cardinal Wolsey, to obtain his direc- 
tions and leave to celebrate the ensuing Christmas. In this 
letter the reader is reminded of the long train of sports and 
merriment which made Christmas cheerful to our ancestors. 
The Cardinal, at the same time that he established a household 
for the young Duke of Richmond, had also " ordained a council, 
and stablished another household for the Lady Mary, then 
being Princess of the Realm." ^ The letter which seems to have 
been written in the same year in which the household was 
established, 1525, is as follows : — 

" Please it youre Grace for the great repaire of straungers sup- 
posed unto the Pryncesse honorable householde this solempne 
test of Cristmas, We humbly beseche the same to let us knowe 
youre gracious pleasure concernyng as well a ship of silver for 
the almes disshe requysite for her high estate, and spice plats, 
as also for trumpetts and a rebek to be sent, and whither we 
shall appoynte any Lord of Mysrule for the said honorable 
householde, provide for enterluds, disgysyngs, or pleyes in the 
said fest, or for banket on twelf nvght. And in likewise whither 
the' Pryncesse shall sende any newe yeres gifts to the Kinge, the 
Queue, your Grace, and the Frensshe Queue, and of the value 
and devise of the same. Besechyng yowre Grace also to pardon 
oure busy and importunate suts to the same in suche behalf 
made. Thus oure right syngler goode lorde we pray the holy 
Trynyte have you in his holy preservacion. At Teoxbiuy, the 
xxvij day of November. 

Youre humble orators, 
John Exon 

" To the most reverent Father Jeilez Grevile 

in God the Lord Cardinall Peter Burxell 

his good Grace." John Salter 

G. Bromley 
THO^L\s Audeley." 


The great Reformer, Martin Luther, took much interest in 
the festivities of Christmastide, including, of course, the 

' Baker's " Chronicle." ^ Hall's " Chronicle." 



Christmas-tree. One of his biographers ' tells how young 
Luther, with other boys of Mansfeld, a village to the north-west 


of Eisleben, sang Christmas carols " in honour of the Babe of 
Bethlehem." And the same writer says, *' Luther may be justly 
regarded as the central representative of the Reformation in its 
early period, for this among other reasons — that he, more 
powerfully _ than any other, impressed upon the new doctrine 
the character of glad tidings of great joy." On Christmas Day, 
1521, Martin Luther "administered the communion in both 
kinds, and almost without discrimination of applicants," in the 
parish church of Eisenach, his " beloved town." 

In England, the desire for some reform in the Church was 
recognised even by Cardinal Wolsey, who obtained from the 
Pope permission to suppress thirty monasteries, and use their 
revenues for educational purposes ; and Wolsey's schemes of 
reform might have progressed further if Henry VII L had not 
been fascinated by Anne Boleyn. But the King's amour w-ith 
the " little lively brunette " precipitated a crisis in the relations 
between Church and State. Henry, who, by virtue of a papal 
dispensation, had married his brother's wddow, Katherine, now 

' Peter Bayne, LL.D. 


needed papal consent to a divorce, that he niis^ht marry Anne- 
Boleyn, and when he found that he could not obtain it, he 
resolved to be his own Pope, "sole protector and supreme head 
of the Church and cleri^ry of Ens^fland." And among the events 

'/'l^S l-tTViue. (tDi>'^iu«tAvDO^ M^BOtil4A>-iiV 

of Christmastide may be mentioned the resolution of the King's 
minister, Thomas Cromwell, and his party, in 1533, to break 
the ecclesiastical connection with Rome, and establish an 
independent Church in England. The necessary Bills were 


framed and mtroduccd to Parliament soon after the Christmas 
hohdays by Cronnveh, who for his snccessful services was made 
Chancellor of the Exchequer for life. Authority in all matters 
ecclesiastical, as well as civil, was vested solely in the Crown, 
and the "courts spiritual" became as thoroughly the King's 
courts as the temporal courts at Westminster. The enslave- 
ment of the clergy, the dissolution of the monasteries, and the 
gagging of the pulpits followed, the vears of Cromwell's 
administration being an English reign of terror. But the ruth- 
less mmner in which he struck down his victims sickened the 
English people, and they exhibited their disapprobation in a 
manner which arrested the attention of the King. The time 
of Cromwell himself was coming, for the block was the goal to 
which Henry's favourite minister was surely hastening ; and 
it is only anticipating events by very few years, to say that 
he was beheaded on Tower Hill, July 28, 1540. 

Another Royal Christmas. 

That following the execution of Anne Boleyn (I536), Henry 
spent in the company of his third Queen, Jane Seymour, at 
Richmond Palace, with a merry party, and subsequently crossed 
the frozen Thames to Greenwich. During the following summer 
the Queen went with her husband on a progress, and in the 
autumn retired to Hamj^ton Court, where she gave birth to 
a son (who became Edward VL), and died twelve days after- 
wards, on the 14th of October, 1537. 

During the married life of Queen Jane, the Princess Mary 
was often with the Court at Richmond, affecting affectionate 
attachment for the Queen, apparently to conciliate her father. 
The birth of a prince, followed by the death of the queen, 
it might have been thought would have a chastening effect upon 
Mary, as somewhat altering her prospects ; but "after acting 
as chief mourner to her friendly stepmother, she spent a 
pleasant Christmas at Richmond, where she remained till 
February. Her losses at cards during the Christmas festivities 
were very considerable, for she was fond of gambling. And 
she appears to have also amused herself a good deal with her 
attendant, "Jane the Fool," to whose maintenance she con- 
tributed while staying at Richmond. One curious entry in the 
Household Book of the Princess Mary is : " Item, for shaving 
Jane fooles hedde, iiiid." Another is : " Item, geven Heywood, 
playeng an enterlude with his children before my Ladye's 
grace xls." 

The great event of Christmas, 1539, was 

The Laxdixg oe Axxe oe Cleves, 

at Deal, on the 27th of December. King Henry had become 
alarmed at the combination between France and Spain, and his 
unprmcipled Chancellor, Cromwell, desirous of regaining his 


lost inlluence with the Kini^, recommended a Protestant 
marriage. He told Henry that Anne, danghter of John HI., 
Duke of Cleves, was greatly extolled for her beauty and good 
sense, and that by marrying her he would acquire the friendship 
of the Princes of Germany, in counterpoise to the designs of 
France and Spain. Henry despatched Hans Holbein to take 
the lady's portrait, and, being delighted with the picture pro- 
duced, soon concluded a treaty of marriage, and sent the Lord 
Admiral Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton, to receiye the 
Princess at Calais, and conduct her to England. On her arriyal 
Henry was greatly disappointed. He did not think the Princess 
as charming as her portrait ; and, unfortunately for her, she 
was unable to woo him with winning words, for she could 
speak no language but German, and of that Henry did not 
understand a word. Though not ugly (as many contemporaries 
testify), she was plain in person and manners, and she and her 
maidens, of whom she brought a great train, are said to haye 
been as homely and awkward a bevy as ever came to England 
in the cause of Royal matrimony. The Royal Bluebeard, who 
had consorted with such celebrated beauties as Anne Boleyn 
and Jane Seymour, recollecting what his queens had been, and 
what Holbein and Cromwell had told him should again be, 
entered the presence of Anne of Cleyes with great anticipation, 
but was thunderstruck at the first sight of the reality. Lord John 
Russell, who was present, declared " that he had never seen his 
highness so mnrvellously astonished and abashed as on that 
occasion." The marriage was celebrated on the 6th of January, 
1540, but Henry never became reconciled to his German 
queen ; and he very soon vented his anger upon Cromwell for 
being the means of bringing him, not a wife, but " a great 
Flanders mare." 

Christmas at the Colleges. 

The fine old tower of Magdalen College, embowered in 
verdure (as though decorated for Christmas), is one of the most 
picturesque of the venerable academical institutions of Oxford. 
It stands on the east side of the Cherwell, and is the first 
object of interest to catch the eye of the traveller who enters 
the city from the London Road. This college was the scene of 
many Christmas festivities in the olden time, when it w-as the 
custom of the several colleges to elect a " Christmas Lord, or 
Lord of Misrule, styled in the registers Rex Fabanim and Rcx 
Rt'iiiii Fabannii ; which custom continued till the Reformation 
of Religion, and then that producing Puritanism, and Puri anism 
Presbytery, the profession of it looked upon such laudable and 
ingenious customs as Popish, diabolical and anti-Christian." ' 
Queen's College, Oxford (whose members have from time 
immemorial been daily summoned to dine in hall by sound 

' Wood's " Athenre Oxonienses." 




of trumpet, instead of by bell as elsewhere), is noted for its 
ancient Christmas ceremony of ushering in the boar's head with 
the singing of the famous carol — 

' ' Caput afri differo 

Reddens laiides Domino. 

The boar's head in hand bring I, 

With garlands gay and rosemary, 

I pray you all sing merrily 

Qtii esiis in convivio. " 

Tradition says that this old custom commemorates the deliver- 
ance of a student of the college, who, while walking in the 
country, studying Ai-istotle, was attacked by a wild boar from 
Shotover Forest, whereupon he crammed the philosopher down 
the throat of the savage, and thus escaped from its tusks. 

Warton ' mentions that, " in an original draught of the 
Statutes of Trinity College, at Cambridge, founded in 1546, one 
of the chapters is entitled De Prcvfcdo Liidonnii qui Inipcralor 
(fidtiir, under whose direction and authority Latin Comedies 

' " History of English Poetry." 



and Tragedies are to be exhibited in the hall at Christmas. 
With regard to the peculiar business and office of Imperator 
it is ordered that one of the Masters of Arts shall be placed 
over the juniors, every Christmas, for the regulation of their 
games and diversions at that season of festivity. At the same 
time, he is to govern the whole society in the hall and chapel, 
as a republic committed to his special charge by a set of laws 
which he is to frame in Latin and Greek verse. His sovereignty 
is to last during the twelve days of Christmas, and he is to 
exercise the same power on Candlemas. His fee amounted 
to forty shillings. Similar customs were observed at other 
colleges during Christmastide. In a subsequent chapter of this 
work will be found an account of a grand exhibition of the 
Christmas Prince, at St. John's College, Oxford, in the year 

Christmas at the Iws of Court and Great Houses. 

In the time of Henry the Eighth the Christmases at the Inns 
of Court became celebrated, especially those at Lincoln's Inn, 
which had kept them as early as the reign of Henry VI. The 
Temples and Gray's Inn afterwards disputed the palm with it. 


Every Corporation appointed a Lord of Misrule or Master of 
Merry Disports, and, according to Stow, there was the Hke 
in the house of every nobleman of honour or good worship 
were he spiritual or temporal." And during the period of the 
sway ot the Lord of Misrule, "there were tine and subtle 
disguisings, masks, and mummeries, with playing at cards for 
counters, nails, and points in every house, more for pastime 
than tor gain. ' Town and country would seem to have vied 
with each other as to which should exhibit the greatest extra- 
vagance in the Christmas entertainments, but (as 'in the days of 
Massmger the poet), the town carried off the palm :— 

-ru • 1-- " ^^^^ ™''^^' ^^^'^ of country Christmasses— 

1 heir thirty-pound buttered eggs, their pies of carps' tongues, 

1 heir pheasants drenched with ambergris, the carcases 

Of three fat wethers bruised for gravy, to 

Make sauce for a single peacock'; yet their feasts 

Were fasts, compared with the city's." 

The earliest particular account of the regulations for conduct- 
ing- one of these grand Christmases is in the 9th of Henry 
Vlll.,' when, besides the King for Christmas Day, the Marshal 
and the Master of the Revels, it is ordered that the King of 
Cockneys, on Childermas Day, should sit and have due service 
and ' that Jack Straw, and all his adherents, should be thence- 
torth utterly banished, and no more to be used in this house 
upon pain to forfeit for every time live pounds, to be levied 
on every fellow hapning to offend against this rule." "Jack 
Straw " was a kind of masque, which was very much disliked 
by the aristocratic and elder part of the community, hence the 
amount of the tine imposed. The Society of Gray's Inn, how- 
ever, m 1527, got into a worse scrape than permitting Tack 
Straw and his adherents, for they acted a play (the first on 
record at the Inns of Court) during this Christmas, the effect 
whereof was, that Lord Governance was ruled by Dissipation 
and Negligence, by whose evil order Lady Public Weal was 
put from Governance. Cardinal Wolsey, conscience-smitten, 
thought this to be a reflection on himself, and deprived the 
author, Sergeant Roe, of his coif, and committed him to the 
Heet, together with Thomas Moyle, one of the actors, until 
it was satisfactorily explained to him. 

It was found necessary from time to time to make regulations ' 
to limit the extent of these revels and plays, and to provide for 
the expenses, which were considerable, and they were therefore 
not performed every year. In 1531 the Lincoln's Inn Society 
agreed that if the two Temples kept Christmas, they would also 
do so, not hkmg to be outdone. And later an order was made 
in Gray's Inn that no Comedies, commonly called Interludes 
should be acted in the refectory in the intervals of vacation' 
except at the celebration of Christmas ; and that then the whole 

' Dugdale, " Origines Juridiciales." 


body of students should jointly contribute towards the dresses, 
scenes, and decorations. 

As an example of the Christmas hospitality of the period, we 
refer to the establishment of John Carminow, whose family was 
of high repute in the county of Cornwall in the time of Henry 
the Eighth. Hals says that " he kept open house for all comers 
and goers, drinkers, minstrells, dancers, and what not, during the 
Christmas time, and that his usual allowance of provision for 
those twelve days, was twelve fat bullocks, twenty Cornish 
bushels of wheat {i.e., fifty Winchesters), thirty-six sheep, with 
hogs, lambs, and fowls of all sort, and drink made of wheat and 
oat-malt proportionable ; for at that time barley-malt was little 
known or used in those parts." 

That the beneliced clergy of this period also " made merry " 
with their parishioners is quite clear from the writings of 
" Master Hugh Latimer," who, in Henry's reign, held the 
benefice of West Kington, in W^iltshire. A citation for heresy 
being issued against Latimer, he wrote with his peculiar medley 
of humour and pathos : " I intend to make merry with my 
parishioners this Christmas, for all the sorrow, lest perchance 
I may never return to them again." 

One of the most celebrated personages of this period was 

Will Somers, the King's Jester. 

This famous fool enlivened the Christmas festivities at the 
Court of Henry the Eighth, and many quaint stories are told 
of his drolleries and witticisms. Though a reputed fool, his 
sarcastic wit and sparkling talents at repartee won him great 
celebrity. Very little is known of his actual biography, but 
some interesting things are told about him in a scarce tract, 
entitled "A pleasant History of the Life and Death of Will 
Somers," &c. (which was first published in 1676, and a great 
part of which is said to have been taken from Andrew Borde's 
collection of "The Merry Jests and Witty Shifts of Scoggin "). 
"And now who but Will Sommers, the King's Fool ? who had 
got such an interest in him by his quick and facetious jests, that 
he could have admittance to his Majesty's Chamber, and have 
his ear, when a great nobleman, nay, a privy counsellor, could 
.not be suffered to speak with him : and farther, if the King 
were angry or displeased with anything, if no man else durst ' 
demand the cause of his discontent, then was Will Sommers 
provided with one pleasant conceit or another, to take off the 
edge of his displeasure. Being of an easy and tractable dis- 
position he soon found the fashions of the court, and obtained 
a general love and notice of the nobility ; for he was no carrv- 
tale, nor flattering insinuator to breed discord and dissension, 
but an honest, plain, downright [man], that would speak home 
without halting, and tell the truth of purpose to shame the devil 
— so that his plainness, mixed with a kind of facetiousness, and 



tartness with pleasantry, made him acceptable into the company 
of all men." There cannot, perhaps, be a greater proof of the 
estimation in which Somers was held by King Henry, than 
the circumstance of his portrait having been twice introduced 
into the same piece with that of the King ; once in the line 
picture by Holbein of Henry VHI. and his family, and again, in 
an illuminated Psalter which was expressly written for the 
King, by John Mallard, his chaplain and secretary {^^ Regis 
Orator cl Calaiiio^'), and is now preserved in the British 
Museum. According to an ancient custom, there is pretixed 
to Psalm hi., ''dixit incipcns" in the Psalter, a miniature illumi- 
nation of King David and a Fool, whose figures, in this 
instance, are portraits of Henry VHI. and his favourite Will 
Somers. The King is seated at a kind of altar table, and 
playing on the harp, whilst Somers who is standing near him, 
with his hands clasped over his breast, appears to listen with 
admiration. The King wears a round flat cap, furred, and a 
vest of imperial purple striped wdth gold, and fluted at bottom ; 
his doublet is red, padded with white ; his hose crimson ; on 
his right leg is a blue garter. Somers is in a vest, \\i\h a hood 
thrown over the back ; his stockings are blue ; at his girdle is 
a black pouch. 

When Henry YHI. became old and inactive, his Christmases 
grew gradually duller, until he did little more than sit out a 
play or two, and gamble with his courtiers, his Christmas play- 
money requiring a special draught upon the treasury, usually for 
a hundred pounds. He died on January 28, 1547. 




Christmas under King Edward VI. — George Ferrers 
" Master of the King's Pastimes." 

During the short reign of the youthful monarch Edward the 
Sixth (1547-1553), the splendour of the Royal Christmases 
somewhat abated, though they were still continued ; and the 
King being much grieved at the condemnation of the Duke of 
Somerset, his uncle and Protector, it was thought expedient to 
divert his mind by additional pastimes at the Christmas 
festival, 1551-2. " It was devised," says Holinshed, "that the 
feast of Christ's nativitie, commonlie called Christmasse, then 
at hand, should be solemnlie kept at Greenwich, with open 
houshold, and franke resort to Court (which is called keeping 
of the hall), what time of old ordinarie course there is alwaise 
one appointed to make sport in the court, commonlie Lord of 
Misrule ; whose office is not unknown to such as have been 
brought up in noblemen's houses, and among great housekeepers, 
who use liberall feasting in that season. There was therefore 
by order of the Councell, a wise gentleman, and learned, named 
George Ferrers, appointed to that office for this yeare ; who, 
being of better credit and estimation than comonlie his pre- 
decessors had been before, received all his commissions and 
warrants by the name of the maister of the King's pastimes. 
Which gentleman so well supplied his office, both in show of 
sundry sights and devices of rare inventions, and in act of 
diverse interludes, and matters of pastime plaied by persons, as 
not onlie satisfied the common sort, but also were verie well 
liked and allowed by the Councell, and other of skill in the like 
pastimes ; but best of all by the young King himselfe, as 
appeered by his princelie liberalitie in rewarding that service." 
The old chronicler quaintly adds, that " Christmas being thus 
passed with much mirth and pastime, it was thought now good 
to proceed to the execution of the judgment against the Duke 



of Somerset.'' The clay of execution was the 22nd of januarv, 
1552, six weeks after the passing of the sentence. 

King Edward took part in some of the Christmas masques 
performed at his Court, with other youths of his age and stature, 
aU the performers being suitably attired in costly garments. 
Will Somers also figured in some of these masques. The young 
King seems to have found more amusement in the pageants 
superintended by Master Ferrers than he had gained from some 
of the solemnities of the state in which he had been obliged to 
play a prominent part ; but none of the diversions restored him 
to good health. Large sums of money were expended on these 
Christmas entertainments, and the King handsomely rewarded 
the Master of his pastimes. 

George Ferrers, who was a lawyer, a poet, and an historian, 
was certainly well qualified for his task, and well supplied W'ith 
the means of making sport, as " Master of the King's Pastimes." 
He complained to Sir Thomas Cawarden that the dresses 
provided for his assistants were not sufficient, and immediately 
an order was given for better provision. He provided clowns, 
jugglers, tumblers, men to dance the fool's dance, besides being 
assisted by the " Court Fool " of the time — John Smyth. This 
man w^as newly supplied for the occasion, having a long fool's 
coat of yellow cloth of gold, fringed all over with white, red, 
and green velvet, containing 7^ yards at £2 per yard, guarded 
with plain yellow cloth of gold, 4 yards at 33s. 4d. per yard ; 
W'ith a hood and a pair of buskins of the same figured gold 
containing 2^ yards at _^5, and a girdle of yellow sarsenet 
containing one quarter i6d., the whole value of " the 
fool's dress " being ;^26 14s. 8d. Ferrers, as the " Lord of 
Misrule " wore a robe of rich stuff made of silk and golden 
thread containing 9 yards at i6s. a yard, guarded with 
embroidered cloth of gold, wrought in knots, 14 yards at 
IIS. 4d. a yard ; having fur of red feathers, with a cape of 
camlet thrum. A coat of Hat silver, fine with works, 5 yards 
at 50S., with an embroidered garb of leaves of gold and coloured 
silk, containing 15 yards at 20s. a yard. He wore a cap of 
maintenance, hose buskins, panticles of Bruges satin, a girdle of 
yellow sarsenet with various decorations, the cost of his dress 
being £^2 8s. 8d., which, considering the relative value of 
money, must be considered a very costly dress. 

The oftice which George Ferrers so ably filled had been 
too often held by those who possessed neither the wit nor 
the genius it required ; but, originally, persons of high rank and 
ability had been chosen to perform these somewhat difficult 
duties. Ferrers received ^'100 for the charges of his office ; 
and afterwards the Lord Mayor, who probably had been at the 
Royal festival, entertained him in London. The cost of the 
Royal festivities exceeded ,^'700. 

Stowe, in his "Annals," thus refers to the celebration : " The 
King kept his Christmasse with open houshold at Greenwich, 


George Ferrers, Gentleman of Lincolnes Inne, bein.y; Lord of 
the merry Disports all the 12 dayes, who so pleasantly and 
wisely behaved himselfe, that the King had great delight in his 
pastimes. On Monday the fourth of January, the said Lord of 
Merry Disports came by water to London, and landed at the 
Tower-wharfe, entered the Tower, and then rode through the 
Tower-streete, where he was received by Sergeant Vawce, Lord 
of Misrule to John Mainard, one of the Sheriffes of London, and 
so conducted through the Citie with a great company of young 
Lords and gentlemen, to the house of Sir George Barne, Lord 
Maior ; where he, with the chiefe of his company dined, and 
after had a great banquet ; and, at his departure, the Lord 
Maior gave him a standing cup, with a cover of silver and gilt, 
of the value of ten pounds, for a reward ; and also set a hogs- 
head of wine, and a barrell of beere, at his gate, for his traine 
that followed him ; the residue of his gentlemen and servants 
dined at other Aldermen's houses, and with the sheriffes, and so 
departed to the Tower wharfe againe, and to the Court by water, 
to the great commendation of the Maior and Aldermen, and 
highl}' accepted of the King and Councell." 

Religious Matters 

occupied public attention throughout the reign of Edward VL 
The young king was willing to support the reforming projects 
of Archbishop Cranmer, and assented to the publication of the 
new Liturgy in the Prayer Book of 1549, and the Act of 
Uniformity. And w'ith the sanction of the sovereign, Cranmer, 
in 1552, issued a revised Liturgy, known as the Second Prayer 
Book of King Edward VL, and the Forty-two Articles, which 
were markedly Protestant in tendency. On his health failing, 
the King, acting on the advice of the Duke of Northumberland, 
altered the settlement of the crown as arranged in the will of 
Henry VI I L, and made a will excluding Mary and Elizabeth 
from the succession in favour of Lady Jane Grey, daughter- 
in-law of Northumberland, which was sanctioned by Archbishop 
Cranmer and the Privy Council. Although Cranmer had 
sanctioned this act with great reluctance, and on the assurance 
of the judges, it sufticed to secure his condemnation for high 
treason on Mary's accession. Edward sank rapidly and died 
on July 6, 1553. 

The Duke of Northumberland then 

Proclaimed Lady Jane Grey Queex, 

but the people refused to recognise the usurpation. After a 
brief reign of eleven days. 

The Crown w'as traxsferred to Mary, 

daughter of Henry VHL and CatheFine of Arragon, and Lady Jane 
Grey and her husband were sent to the Tower, and subsequently 



condemned to death. They were kept in captivity for some 
time, and were not executed until after Wyatt's rebelHon in 1554. 

Mary was a firm Roman Cathohc, 
and she looked to her uncle, Charles V. 
of Spain, for assistance and support. 
In January, 1554, much to the disap- 
pointment of her subjects, she con- 
cluded a treaty of marriage with Philip 
of Spain, son of Charles V. After- 
wards her reign was disturbed by 
insurrections, and also by the persecu- 
tion of Protestants by Cardinal Pole, 
who came over to England to push 
forward the Roman Catholic reaction. 

This Troubled Reigx 

was not congenial to Christmas fes- 
tivities, though they were still kept up 
in different parts of the country. Dur- 
ing the Christmas festival (January 2, 
1554) a splendid embassy, sent by the 
Emperor, Charles the Fifth, headed by 
the Counts Egmont and Lalain, the Lord 
of Courrieres, and the Sieur de Nigry, 
-i^jj^a^a^.,>-r. ,-_//.y.,.>,^ ,.;V l^udcd in Kent, to arrange the marriage 
between Queen Mary and Philip. The 
unpopularity of the proceeding was 
immediately manifested, for the men of Kent, taking Egmont 
for Philip, rose in fury and would have killed him if they could 
have got at him. Although an attempt was made to allay the 
fears of the English, within a few days three insurrections broke 
out in different parts of the kingdom, the most formidable 
being that under Sir Thomas Wyatt, who fixed his headquarters 
at Rochester. In city and court alike panic prevailed. The 
lawyers in Westminster Hall pleaded in suits of armour hidden 
under their robes, and Dr. Weston preached before the Queen 
in Whitehall Chapel, on Candlemas Day, in armour under his 
clerical vestments. Mary alone seemed calm and self-possessed. 
She mounted her horse, and, attended by her ladies and her 
Council, rode into the City, where, summoning Sir Thomas White, 
Lord Mayor, and the Aldermen, who all came clad in armour 
under their civic livery, she ascended a chair of State, and with 
her sceptre in her hand addressed them, declaring she would 
never marry except with the leave of her Parliament. Her 
courage gained the day. The rebeUion was speedily quelled 
and the ringleaders put to death ; and the following July the 
marriage took place. Mary's subsequent reign was a " reign of 
terror, a time of fire and blood, such as has no parallel in the 
history of England." ^ 

' Cassell's " History of England.'' 


Christmas D.i versions of Queen Mary. 

■During her " reign of terror " Queen Mary was diverted by 
Christmas plays and pageants, and she showed some interest in the 
amusements of the people. Strutt's " Sports and Pastimes," in an 
rutiele on the " Antiquity of Tumbling," says : " It would seem 
that these artists were reallv famous mirth-makers ; for one of 
them had the address to excite the merriment of that solemn bigot 
Queen Mary. ' After her Majesty,' observes Strype, * had reviewed 
the royal pensioners in Greenwich Park, there came a tumbler, 
and played many pretty feats, the Queen and Cardinal Pole 
looking on ; whereat she was observed to laugh heartily.' " 
Strutt also mentions that " when Mary visited her sister, the 
Princess Elizabeth, during her confinement at Hatiield House, 
the next morning, after mass, a grand exhibition of bear-baiting 
was made for their amusement, with which, it is said, ' their 
highnesses were right well content.' " The idle pageantry of 
the Boy-bishop, which had been formally abrogated by procla- 
mation from the King, in the thirty-third year of Henry VHI., 
was revived by his daughter Mary. Strutt says that '' in the 
second year of her reign an edict, dated November 13, 1554, 
was issued from the Bishoyi of London to all the clergy of his 
diocese, to have a Boy-bishop in procession. The year follow- 
ing, 'the child Bishop, of Panics Church, with his company,' 
were admitted into the Queen's privy chamber, where he sang 
before her on Saint Nicholas Day, and upon Holy Innocents 
Day. After the death of Mary this sillv mummery was totally 

The Christmas entertainments of Philip and Mary at Rich- 
mond are thus described by Folkstone Williams : ' " The Queen 
strove to entertain her Royal husband with masques, notwith- 
standing that he had seen many fair and rich beyond the seas ; 
and Nicholas Udall, the stern schoolmaster, was ordered to 
furnish the drama. An idea of these performances may be 
gathered from the properties of a masque of patrons of gallies 
like Venetian senators with galley-slaves for their torch-bearers, 
represented at Court in Christmas of the first and second years 
of Philip and Mary, with a Masque of six Venuses, or amorous 
ladies, with six Cupids, and as many torch-bearers. Among 
them were lions' heads, sixteen other headpieces, made in 
quaint fashion for the Turkish magistrates, as well as eight 
falchions for them, the sheaths covered with green velvet, and 
bullioned with copper. There were eight headpieces for 
women-masks, goddesses and huntresses. A masque of eight 
mariners, of cloth of gold and silver, and six pairs of chains for 
the galley slaves. Another mask of goddesses and huntresses, 
with Turks, was performed on the following Shrovetide ; and 
one of six Hercules, or men of war, coming from the sea with 
six Mariners to their torch-bearers, was plaved a little later. 

' " Domestic Memoirs of the Royal Family." 


Besides which, we iind mention of a masque of covetous men 
with long noses — a masque of men Hke Argus — a masque of 
women Moors — a masque of Amazons — one of black and tawney 
tinsel, with baboons' faces — one of Polanders, and one of women 
with Diana hunting." 

Nichols (" Progresses," vol. i. p. i8) says that in 1557 the Prin- 
cess Elizabeth was present at a Royal Christmas kept with great 
solemnity by Queen Mary and King Philip at Hampton Court. 
*' On Christmas Eve, the great hall of the palace was illuminated 
with a thousand lamps curiously disposed. The Princess supped 
at the same table in the hall with the King and Queen, next the 
cloth of state ; and after supper, was served with a perfumed 
naiikin and plates of confects by the Lord Paget. But she 
retire:! to her ladies before the revels, maskings, and disguisings 
began. On St. Stephen's day she heard mattins in the Queen's 
closet adjoining to the chapel, where she was attired in a robe 
of white sattin, strung all over with large pearls. On the 29th 
day of December she sate with their majesties and the nobility 
at a grand spectacle of justing, when two hundred spears were 
broken. Half of the combatants were accoutred in the Almaine 
and half in the Spanish fashion. Thus our chronicler, who is 
fond of minute description. But these and other particularities, 
insigniiicant as they seem, which he has recorded so carefully, 
are a vindication of Queen Mary's character in the treatment of 
her sister ; they prove that the Princess, during her residence at 
Hatfield, lived in splendour and affluence ; that she was often 
admitted to the diversions of the Court ; and that her present 
situation was by no means a state of oppression and im- 
prisonment, as it has been represented by most of our 


The Ko:\iish Priestly Practices 
1)11 " Christmass-daye," at this period, are referred to in the 
following translation from Naogeorgus, by Barnaby Googe : — 

" Then comes the day wherein the Lorde did bring his birth to passe ; 
Whereas at midnight up they rise, and every man to Masse, 
This time so holy counted is, that divers earnestly 
Do think the waters all to wine are chaunged sodainly ; 
In that same houre that Christ Himselfe was borne, and came to light. 
And unto water streight againe transformde and altred quight. 
There are beside that mindfully the money still do watch, 
That first to aultar commes, which then they privily do snatch. 
The priestes, least other should it have, take oft the same away, 
^\'hereby they thinke throughout the yeare to have good lucke in play, 
And not to lose : then straight at game till day-light do they strive, 
To make some present proofe how well their hallowde pence wil thrive. 
Three Masses every priest doth singe upon that solemn day. 
With offrings unto every one, that so the more may play. 
This done, a woodden childe in clowtes is on the aultar set, 
About the which l)oth boyes and gyrles do daunce and trymly jet ; 
And Carrols sing in prayse of Christ, and, for to helpe them heare. 
The organs aunswere every verse with sweete and solemne cheare. 
The priestes do rore aloude ; and round about the parentes stande 
To see the sport, and with their voyce do helpe them and their hande." 

The Mummers 
played a prominent part in the festivities of this period, and 
the following ilhistration shows how they went a-mnmming. 



"sf "^ 




Queen Mary died on November 17, 1558, and her half-sister, 


in perilous times, for plots of assassination were rife, and 
England \v;is engaged on the side of Spain in war with France. 
But the alliance with Spain soon came to an end, for Queen 
Elizabeth saw that the defence of Protestantism at home and 
peace with France abroad were necessary for her own security 
and the good of her subjects. She began her reign by regard- 
ing the welfare of her people, and she soon won and neve; lost 
their affection. 

With the accession of Queen Elizabeth there was a revival of 
the courtly pomp and pageantry which were marked character- 
istics of her father's reign. Jiist before the Christmas festival 
(1558) the new queen made a state entry into the metropolis, 
attended by a magnihcent throng of nobles, ladies, and gentle- 
men, and a vast concourse of people from all the country Vound. 
At Highgate she was met by the bishops, who kneeled bv the 
wayside and offered their allegiance. She received them 
graciously and gave them all her hand to kiss, except Bonner, 
whom she treated with marked coldness, on account of his 
atrocious cruelties : an intimation of her own intentions on the 
score of religion which gave satisfaction to the people. In the 
pageantry which was got up to grace her entry into London, a 
hgure representing " Truth " dropped from one of the triumphal 
arches, and laid before the young Queen a copy of the Scriptures. 
Holinshed says she received the book with becoming reverence, 
and, pressing it to her bosom, declared that of all the gifts and 
honours conferred upon her by the loyalty of the people this 
was the most acceptable. Yet Green,' in describing Elizabeth's 
reign, says : " Nothing is more revolting in the' Queen, but 
nothing is more characteristic, than her shameless mendacity. 
It was an age of political lying, but in the profusion and 
recklessness of her lies Elizabeth stood without a peer in 

Sir William Fitzwilliam, writing to Mr. More, of Loseley, 
Surrey, a few weeks after the accession of Elizabeth, as an 
important piece of Court news, says : " You shall understand 
that yesterday, being Christmas Day, the Queen's Majesty 
repaired to her great closet with her nobles and ladies, as 
hath been accustomed in such high feasts ; and she, perceiving 
a bishop preparing himself to mass, all in the old form, tarried 
there until the gospel was done, and when all the people looked 
for her to have offered according to the old fashion, she with 
her nobles returned again from the closet and the mass, on to 
her privy chamber, which was strange unto divers. Blessed be 
God in all His gifts." 

During the Christmas festival (1558) preparations went on for 

' " History of the English People." 



the coroniition of Elizabeth, which was to take place on the 15th 
of January. On the 12th of that month she proceeded to the 
Tower by water, attended by the lord mayor and citizens, and 
Lireeted with peals of ordnance, with music and gorgeous 
pageantry — a marked contrast to her previous entrance there 
as a suspected traitor in imminent peril of her life. Two days 
later the Queen rode in state from the Tower to Westminster, 
" most honourably accompanied, as well with gentlemen, barons, 
and other the nobility of this realm, as also with a notable train 
of godly and beautiful ladies, richly appointed," and all riding 
on horseback. The streets through which the procession passed 
were adorned with stately pageants, costly decorations, and 
various artistic devices, and were crowded with enthusiastic 
spectators, eager to welcome their new sovereign, and to 
applaud '' the signs they noticed in her of a most prince-like 
courage, and great readiness of wit." On the following day 
(Sunday, the 15th of January) Elizabeth was crowned in West- 
minster Abbey, by Dr. Oglethorpe, Bishop of Carlisle, "Queen 
of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith." The 
ceremonials of the coronation were regulated according to 
ancient custom, and the entertainment in Westminster Hall 
was on a scale of great mayniiicence. 

{From Messrs. Cassell & Co.'s "English Plays," by permission.) 


Elizabeth was particularly fond of dramatic displays, and her 
iirst Royal Christmas was celebrated with plays and pageants of 
a most costly description. Complaints, however, being made 
of the expense of these entertainments, she determined to con- 
trol them, and directed an estimate to be made in the second 
year of her reign for the masques and pastimes to be shown 
before her at Christmas and Shrovetide. Sir Thomas Cawarden 
was^then, as he had for some time previous been. Master of 
the Revels. According to Collier, the estimate amounted to 
£22y IIS. 2O., being nearly ;^200 less than the expenses in the 
former year. The control over the expenses, however, must 
soon have ceased, for in subsequent years the sums were greatly 

Nichols ' mentions that on Twelfth Day, 1559, in the afternoon, 
the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and all the crafts of London, 
and the Bachelors of the Mayor's Company, went in procession 
to St. Paul's, after the old custom, and there did hear a sermon. 
The same day a stage was set up in the hall for a play ; and 
after the play was over, there was a fine mask ; and, afterw^ards, 
a great banquet which lasted till midnight. 

In this reign a more decorous and even refined style of enter- 
tainment had usurped the place of the boisterousfeastings of 
former times, but there was no diminution in that ancient spirit 
of hospitality, the exercise of which had become a part of the 
national faith. This is evident from the poems of Thomas 
Tusser (born 1515 — died 1580) and other writers, who show that 
the English noblemen and yeomen of that time made hospitality 
a prominent feature in the festivities of the Christmas season. 
In his " Christmas Husbandry Fare," Tusser says : — 

" Good husband and housewife, now chiefly be glad 
Things handsome to have, as they ought to be had, 
They both do provide against Christmas do come, 
To welcome their neighbour, good cheer to have some ; 
Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall, 
Brawn pudding and souse, and good mustard withal. 

Beef, mutton, and pork, shred pies of the best, 
Pig, veal, goose, and capon, and turkey well dressed ; 
Cheese, apples, and nuts, jolly carols to hear. 
As then in the country is counted good cheer. 

What cost to good husband is any of this ? 
Good household provision only it is ; 
Of other the like I do leave out a many. 
That costeth the husbandman never a penny." 

' " Progresses." 


Grand Christmas of the Inner Temple, 1561-2. 

Professor Henry Morley ' says the lirst English tragedy, 
" Gorboduc," was written for the Christmas festivities of the 
Inner Temple in the year 1561 by two young members of 
that Inn — Thomas Norton, then twenty-nine years old, and 
Thomas Sack^ille, then aged twenty-tive. And the play was 
performed at this '* Grand Christmass " kept by the members 
of the Inner Temple. Before a "Grand Christmas" was kept 
tlie matter was discussed in a parliament of the Inn, held on the 
eve of St. Thomas's Day, December 21st. If it was resolved 
upon, the two youngest of those who served as butlers for the 
festival lighted two torches, with which they preceded the 
benchers to the upper end of the hall. The senior bencher 
there made a speech ; ofiicers were appointed for the occasion, 
" and then, in token of joy and good liking, the Bench and 
company pass beneath the hearth and sing a carol." ^ The 
revellings began on Christmas Eve, when three Masters of the 
Revels sat at the head of one of the tables. All took their 
places to the sound of music played before the hearth. Then 
the musicians withdrew to the buttery, and were themselves 
feasted. They returned when dinner was ended to sing a song 
at the highest table. Then all tables were cleared, and revels 
and dancing were begun, to be continued until supper and after 
supper. The senior Master of the Revels, after dinner and 
after supper, sang a carol or song, and commanded other gentle- 
men there present to join him. This form of high festivity 
was maintained during the twelve days of Christmas, closing 
on Twelfth Night. On Christmas Day (which in 1561 was a 
Thursday), at the Hrst course of the dinner, the boar's head 
was brought in upon a platter, followed by minstrelsy. On 
St. Stephen's Day, December the 26th, the Constable Marshal 
entered the hall in gilt armour, with a nest of feathers of all 
colours on his helm, and a gilt pole-axe in his hand ; with him 
sixteen trumpeters, four drums and fifes, and four men armed 
from the middle upward. Those all marched three times about 
the hearth, and the Constable Marshal, then kneeling to the 
Lord Chancellor, made a speech, desiring the honour of ad- 
mission into his service, delivered his naked sword, and was 
solemnly seated. That was the usual ceremonial when a Grand 
Christmas was kept. At this particular Christmas, 1561, in the 
fourth year of Elizabeth, it was Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards 
Earl of Leicester, who was Constable Marshal, and with 
chivalrous gallantry, taking in fantastic style the name of 
Palaphilos, Knight of the Honourable Order of Pegasus, 
Pegasus being the armorial device of the Inner Temple, he 
contributed to the splendour of this part of the entertainment. 
After the seating of the Constable Marshal, on the same St. 

' " English Plays." - Sir William Dugdale's " Origines Juridiciales." 

126 CHRISniAS. 

Stephen's Day, December the 26th, the Master of the Game 
entered in green velvet, and the Ranger of the Forest in green 
satin ; these also went three times about the hre, blowing' their 
hunting-horns. When they also had been ceremoniously seated, 
there entered a huntsman with a fox and a cat bound at the end 
of a staff. He was followed by nine or ten couple of hounds, 
who hunted the fox and the cat to the glowing horns, and killed 
them beneath the lire. After dinner, the Constable Marshal 
called a burlesque Court, and began the Revels, with the help 
of the Lord of Misrule. At seven o'clock in the morning of St. 
John's Day, December the 27th (which was a Saturday in 1561) 
the Lord of Misrule was afoot with power to summon men to 
breakfast with him when service had closed in the church. 
After breakfast, the authority of this Christmas ofiicial was in 
abeyance till the after-dinner Revels. So the ceremonies went 
on till the Banqueting Night, which followed New Year's Day. 
That was the night of hospitality. Invitations were sent out to 
every. House of Court, that they and the Inns of Chancery might 
see a play and masque. The hall was furnished with scaffolds 
for the ladies who w^ere then invited to behold the sports. 
After the play, there was a banquet for the ladies in the 
library ; and in the hall there was also a banquet for the 
Lord Chancellor and invited ancients of other Houses. On 
Twelfth Day, the last of the Revels, there were brawn, mustard, 
and malmsey for breakfast after morning prayer, and the dinner 
as on St. John's Day. 

The following particulars of this "Grand Christmas " at the 
Inner Temple are from Nichols's " Progresses of Queen Eliza- 
beth " :— 

" In the fourth year of Queen Elizabeth's reign there was kept 
a magnihcent Christmas here ; at which the Lord Robert Dudley 
(afterwards Earl of Leicester) was the chief person (his title 
Palaphilos), being Constable and Marshall ; whose officers were 
as followeth : 

Mr. Onslow, Lord Chancellour. 

Anthony Stapleton, Lord Treasurer. 

Robert Kelway, Lord Privy Seal. 

John Fuller, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. 

William Pole, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. 

Roger Manwood, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. 

Mr. Bashe, Steward of the Household. 

Mr. Copley, Marshall of the Household. 

Mr. Paten, Chief Butler. 

Christopher Hatton, Master of the Game. (He was after- 
wards Lord Chancellor of England.) 

Mr. Blaston ) 

Mn Peiiston [ ^^^^^^^'^ ^^ ^^'^ ^^vells. 
Mr. Jervise 


Mr. Parker, Lieutenant of the Tower. 
Mr. Kendall, Carver. 
Mr. Martin, Ranger of the Forests. 
Mr. Stradling, Sewer. 

" And there were fourscore of the Guard ; beside divers others 
not here named. 

"Touching the particulars of this Grand Feast, Gerard Leigh, 
in his 'Accidence of Armory,' p. 119, &c., having spoken of 
the Pegasus borne for the amies of this Society, thus goes on : 
' After I had travelled through the East parts of the unknown 
world, to understand of deedes of amies, and so arriving in the 
fair river of Thames, I landed within half a league from the City 
t)f London, which was (as I conjecture) in December last ; and 
drawing neer the City, suddenly heard the shot of double canons, 
in so great a number, and so terrible, that it darkened the whole 
ayr ; wherewith, although I was in my native country, yet stood 
I amazed, not knowing what it meant. Thus, as I abode in 
despair, either to return or to continue my former purpose, I 
chanced to see coming towards me an honest citizen, clothed in 
a long garment, keeping the highway, seeming to walk for his 
recreation, which prognosticated rather peace than perill ; of 
whom I demanded the cause of this great shot ; who friendly 
answered, " It is," quoth he, '' a warning shot to the Constable 
Marshall of the Inner Temple, to prepare to dinner." 

" ' "Why," said I, " what, is he of that estate that seeketh no 
other means to warn his officers than with so terrible shot in so 
peaceable a country ? " " Marry," saith he, " he uttereth himself 
the better to be that offtcer whose name he beareth." 

" ' I then demanded, "What province did he govern, that needed 
such an oi'ficer ? " He answered me, " The province was not 
great in quantity, but antient in true nobility. A place," said 
he, "privileged by the most exceUent Princess the High 
Governor of the whole Island, wherein are store of Gentlemen 
of the whole Realm, that repair thither to learn to rule and 
obey by Law, to yield their tleece to their Prince and Common- 
weal ; as also to use all other exercises of body and mind 
whereunto nature most aptly serveth to adorn, by speaking, 
countenance, gesture, and use of apparel the person of a 
Gentleman ; whereby amity is obtained, and continued, that 
Gentlemen of all countries, in their young years, nourished 
together in one place, with such comely order, and daily con- 
ference, are knit by continual acquaintance iii such unity of 
minds and manners as lightly never after is severed, than which 
is nothing more proiitable to the Commonweale." 

" ' And after he had told me thus much of honour of the place, 
I commended in mine own conceit the policy of the Governour, 
which seemed to utter in itself the foundation of a good 
Commonweal ; for that, the best of their people from tender 
years trained up in precepts of justice, it could not choose but 
yield forth a protitable People to a wise Commonweal ; where- 


fore I determined with myself to make proof of what I heard 
by report. 

" ' The next day I thou^i,^ht of my pastime to walk to this 
Temple, and entring in at the gates, I found the building 
nothing costly ; but many comely Gentlemen of face and 
person, and thereto very courteous, saw I to pass to and fro, 
so as it seemed a Prince's port to be at laand : and passing 
forward, entred into a Church of antient building, wherein 
were many monuments of noble personages armed in knightly 
habit, with their cotes depainted in ancient shield ;, whereat I 
took pleasure to behold. Thus gazing as one bereft with the 
rare sight, there came unto me an Hereaught, by name Pala- 
philos, a King of Amies, who courteously saluted me, saying, 
" For that I was a stranger, and seeming by my demeanour a 
lover of honour, I was his guest of right," whose courtesy (as 
reason was) I obeyed ; answering, " I was at his commandment." 

" ' ''Then," said he, " ye shall go to mine own lodging here 
within the Palace, where we will have such cheer as the 
time and country will yield us ; " where, I assure you I was so 
entertained, and no where I met with better cheer or company, 

" * — Thus talking, we entred the Prince his Hall, where anon 
we heard the noise of drum and fyfe. " What meaneth this 
drum ? " said I. Quoth he, " This is to warn Gentlemen of the 
Houshold to repair to the dresser ; wherefore come on with 
me, and ye shall stand where ye may best see the Hall served :" 
and so from thence brought me into a long gallery, that 
stretched itself along the Hall neer the Prince's table, where I 
saw the Prince set : a man of tall personage, a manly counte- 
nance, somewhat brown of visage, strongly featured, and 
thereto comely proportioned in all lineaments of body. At the 
nether end of the same table were placed the Embassadors of 
sundry Princes. Before him stood the carver, sewer, and cup- 
bearer, with great number of gentlemen-wayters attending his 
person ; the ushers making place to strangers, of sundry regions 
that came to behold the honour of this mighty Captain. After 
the placing of these honourable guests, the Lord Steward, 
Treasurer, and Keeper of Pallas Seal, with divers honourable 
personages of that Nobility, were placed at a side-table neer 
adjoining the Prince on the right hand : and at another table, 
on the left side, were placed the Treasurer of the Houshold, 
Secretary, the Prince his Serjeant at the Law, four Masters of 
the Revels, the King of Arms, the Dean of the Chappel, and 
divers Gentlemen Pensioners to furnish the same. 

" 'At another table, on the other side, were set the Master of 
the Game, and his Chief Ranger, Masters of Houshold, Clerks 
of the Green Cloth and Check, with divers other strangers to 
furnish the same. 

" ' On the other side against them began the table, the 
Lieutenant of the Tower, accompanied with divers Captains of 


foot-bands and shot. At the nether end of the Hall be.t^'an the 
table, the High Butler, the Panter, Clerks of the Kitchen, 
Master Cook of the Privy Kitchen, furnished throughout with 
the souldiers and Guard of the Prince : all which, with number 
of tnferior ofticers placed and served in the Hall, besides the 
great resort of strangers, I spare to write. 

" ' The Prince so served with tender meats, sweet fruits, and 
dainty delicates confectioned w^ith curious cookery, as it seemed 
wonder a world to observe the provision : and at every course 
the trumpetters blew the couragious blast of deadly war, with 
noise of drum and fyfe, with the sweet harmony of violins, sack- 
butts, recorders, and cornetts, with other instruments of musick, 
as it seemed Apollo's harp had timed their stroke. 

*" Thus the Hall was served after the nibst ancient order of 
the Island ; in commendation whereof I say, I have also seen 
the service of great Princes, in solemn seasons and times of 
triumph, yet the order hereof was not inferior to any. 

" ' But to proceed, this Herehaught Palaphilos, even before the 
second course came in, standing at the high table, said in this 
manner : " The mighty Palaphilos, Prince of Sophie, High 
Constable Marshall of the Knights Templars, Patron of the 
Honourable Order of Pegasus : " and therewith cryeth, " A 
Largess." The Prince, praysing the Herehaught, bountifully 
rewarded him with a chain to the value of an hundred talents. 

" ' I assure you I languish for want of cunning ripely to utter 
that I saw^ so/orderly handled appertaining to service ; where- 
fore I cease, and return to my purpose. 

'' ' The supper ended, and tables taken up, the High Constable 
rose, and a while stood under the place of honour, where his 
atchievement was beautifully embroidered, and devised of 
sundry matters, w4th the Ambassadors of foreign nations, as he 
thought good, till Palaphilos, King of Armes, came in, his 
Herehaught Marshal, and Pursuivant before him ; and after 
followed his messenger and Calligate Knight ; who putting off 
his coronal, made his humble obeysance to the Prince, by whom 
he was commanded to draw neer, and understand his pleasure ; 
saving to him ; in few words, to this effect : '' Palaphilos, 
seeing it hath pleased the high Pallas, to think me to demerit 
the office of this place ; and thereto this night past vouchsafed 
to descend from heavens to increase my further honour, by 
creating me Knight of her Order of Pegasus ; as also com- 
manded me to join in the same Society such valiant Gentlemen 
throughout her province, whose living honour hath best 
deserved the same, the choice whereof most aptly belongeth 
to your skill, being the watchman of their doings, and register 
of their deserts ; I will ye choose as well throughout our whole 
armyes, as elsew^here, of such special gentlemen, as the gods 
hath appointed, the number of twenty-four, and the names of 
them present us : commanding also those chosen persons to 
appear in our presence in knightly habit, that with conveniency 



we may proceed in our purpose." This done, Palaphilos obey- 
ing his Prince's commandement, with twenty-four vahant 
Knights, all apparelled in long white vestures, with each man a 
scarf of Pallas colours, and them presented, with their names, 
to the Prince ; who allowed well his choise, and commanded 
him to do his office. Who, after his duty to the Prince, bowed 
towards these worthy personages, standing every man in his 
antienty, as he had borne armes in the field, and began to shew 
his Prince's pleasure ; with the honour of the Order. ' " 

" Other Particulars touching these Grand Cliristmasscs, extracted 
out of the Acconipts of the House. 

" First, it hath been the duty of the Steward, to provide five 
fat brawns, vessels, wood, and other necessaries belonging to the 
kitchen : as also all manner of spices, flesh, fow'l, and other 
cafes for the kitchen. 

" The office of the Chief Butler, to provide a rich cupboard 
of plate, silver and parcel gilt : seaven dozen of silver and gilt 
spoons : twelve fair salt-cellers, likewise silver and gilt : twenty 
candlesticks of the like. 

"Twelve fine large table cloths, of damask and diaper. 
Twenty dozen of napkins suitable at the least. Three dozen 
of fair large towels ; whereof the Gentleman Sewers, and 
Butlers of the House, to have every of them one at mealtimes, 
during their attendance. Likewise to provide carving knives ; 
twenty dozen of white cups and green potts : a carving table ; 
torches ; bread, beer, and ale. And the chief of the Butlers 
was to give attendance on the highest table in the Hall, with 
wine, ale and beer : and all the other Butlers to attend-at the 
other tables in like sort. 

" The cupboard of plate is to remain in the Hall on Christmas 
Day, St. Stephen's Day and New Year's Day, from breakfast 
time ended untill after supper. Upon the banquetting night it 
was removed into the buttry ; which in all respects was very 
laudably performed. 

"The office of the Constable Marshall to provide for his 
employment, a fair gilt compleat barneys, with a nest of 
fethers in the helm ; a fair pole-axe to bear in his hand, 
to be chevalrously ordered on Christmas Day and other days, 
as afterwards is shewed ; touching the ordering and settling 
of all which ceremonies, during the said Grand Christmas, a 
solemn consultation was held at their Parliament in this house ; 
in the form following : 

" First, at the Parliament kept in their Parliament Chamber 
in this House, on the even at night of St. Thomas the Apostle, 
officers are to attend, according as they had been long before 
that time, at a former Parliament named and elected to undergo 
several offices for this time of solemnity, honour, and pleasance ; 
of which officers these are the most eminent ; namelv, the 


Steward, Marshall, Constable Marshall, Butler and Master of 
the Game. These officers are made known and elected in 
Trinity Term next before ; and to have knowledg thereof 
by letters, in the country, to the end they may prepare them- 
selves against All- Hallow-tide ; that, if such nominated officers 
happen to fail, others may then be chosen in their rooms. The 
other officers are appointed at other times nearer Christmas Day. 

" If the Steward, or any of the said officers named in Trinity 
Term, refuse or fail, he or they were fined every one, at the dis- 
cretion of the Bench ; and the officers aforenamed agreed upon. 
And at such a Parliament, if it be fully resolved to proceed with 
such a Grand Christmas, then the two youngest Butlers must 
light two torches, and go before the Bench to the upper end of 
the Hall ; who being set down, the antientest Bencher delivereth 
a speech briefly, to the whole society of Gentlemen then present, 
touching their consent as afore : which ended, the eldest Butler 
is to publish all the ofticers' names, appointed in Parliament ; 
and then in token of joy and. good-liking, the Bench and Com- 
pany pass beneath the harth, and sing a carol, and so to boyer. 

''Christmas Eve. — The Marshall at dinner is to place at the 
highest table's end, and next to the Library, all on one side 
thereof, the most antient persons in the company present : the 
Dean of the Chappel next to him ; then an antient or Bencher, 
beneath him. At the other end of the table, the Sewer, Cup- 
bearer, and Carver. At the upper end of the bench-table, the 
King's Serjeant and Chief Butler ; and w^hen the Steward hath 
served in, and set on the table the first mess, then he is also to 
sit down. 

"Also at the supper end of the other table, on the other side 
of the Hall, are to be placed the three jMasters of the Revels ; 
and at the lower end of the bench-table are to sit, the King's 
Attorney, the Ranger of the Forest, and the Master of the 
Game. And at the lower end of the table, on the other side 
of the Hall, the fourth Master of the Revels, the Common 
Serjeant, and Constable- Marshall. And at the upper end of 
the Utter Barrister's table, the Marshal sitteth, when he hath 
served in the first mess ; the Clark of the Kitchen also, and the 
Clark of the Sowce-tub, when they have done their offices in 
the kitchen, sit down. And at the upper end of the Clark's 
table, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and the attendant to the 
Buttery are placed. 

*' At these two tables last rehersed, the persons they may sit 
upon both sides of the table ; but of the other three tables all 
are to sit upon one side. And then the Butlers or Christmas 
Servants, are first to cover the tables with fair linnen table- 
cloths ; and furnish them with salt-cellers, napkins, and 
trenchers, and a silver spoon. And then the Butlers of the 
House must place at the salt-celler, at every the said first three 
highest tables, a stock of trenchers and bread ; and at the other 
tables, bread onely without trenchers. 


" At the iirst course the minstrels must sound their instru- 
ments, and go before ; and the Steward and Marshall are next 
to follow together ; and after them the Gentleman Sewer ; 
and then cometh the meat. Those three officers are to make 
altogether three solemn curtesies, at three several times, between 
the skreen and the upper table ; beginning with the first at the 
end of the Bencher's table ; the second at the midst ; and the 
third at the other end ; and then standing by the Sewer 
performeth his office. 

" When the first table is set and served, the Steward's table 
is next to be served. After him the Master's table of the 
Revells ; then that of the Master of the Game. The High 
Constable-Marshall ; then the Lieutenant of the Tower : then 
the Utter Barrister's table ; and lastly the Clerk's table ; all 
which time the musick must stand right above the harth side, 
with the noise of their musick ; their faces direct towards the 
highest table ; and that done, to return into the buttry, with 
their music sounding. 

" At the second course every table is to be served as at the 
first course, in every respect ; which performed the Servitors 
and Musicians are to resort to the place assigned for them to 
dine at ; which is the Valects or Yeoman's table, beneath the 
skreen. Dinner ended the musicians prepare to sing a song, 
at the highest table : which ceremony accomplished, then the 
officers are to address themselves every one in his office, to 
avoid the tables in fair and decent manner, they beginning 
at the Clerk's table ; thence proceed to the next ; and thence 
to all the others till the highest table be solemnly avoided. 

'' Then, after a little repose, the persons at the highest table 
arise and prepare to revells : in which time, the Butlers, and 
other Servitors with them, are to dine in the Library. 

" At both the doors in the hall are porters, to view the comers 
in and out at meal times ; to each of them is allowed a cast of 
bread, and a caudle nightly after supper. 

**At night before supper are revels and dancing, and so 
also after supper during the twelve dales of Christmas. The 
antientest Master of the Revels is, after dinner and supper, to 
sing a caroll or song ; and command other gentlemen then 
there present to sing with him and the company ; and so it 
is very decently performed. 

"A repast at dinner is 8d. 

*' Chrisliiias Day. — Service in the Church ended, the Gentle- 
men presently repair into the hall to breakfast, with brawn, 
mustard and malmsey. 

"At dinner, the Butler appointed for the Grand Christmas, 
is to see the tables covered and furnished : and the Ordinary 
Butlers of the House are decently to set bread, napkins, and 
trenchers in good form, at every table ; with spoones and knives. 

"At the first course is served in a fair and large bore's-head, 
upon a silver platter, with minstralsye. Two Gentlemen in 


gowns ;lre to attend at supper, and to bear two fair torches 
of wax, next before the Musicians and Trumpetters, and to 
stand above the tire with the musick till the tirst course be 
served in through the Hall. Which performed, they, with 
the musick, are to return into the butterv. The like course 
is to be observed in all tilings, during the time of Christmas. 
The like at supper. 

*'At service time, this evening, the two voungest Butlers are 
to bear two torches Geiicalogin. 

"A repast at dinner is I2d. which strangers of worth are 
admitted to take in the Hall ; and such are to be placed at the 
discretion of the Marshall. 

" S/. Stephen^s Day. — The Butler, appointed for Christmas, 
is to see the tables covered, and furnished with salt-sellers, 
napkins, bread, trenchers, and spoons. Young Gentlemen 
of the House are to attend and serve till the latter dinner, 
and then dine themselves. 

'' This day the Sewer, Carver, and Cup-bearer are to serve 
as afore. After the first course served in, the Constable- 
Marshall cometh into the Hall, arrayed with a fair rich 
compleat harneys, white and bright, and gilt, with a nest of 
fethers of all colours upon his crest or helm, and a gilt pole-axe 
in his hand : to whom is associate the Lieutenant of the Tower, 
armed with a fair white armour, a nest of fethers in his helm, 
and a like pole-axe in his hand ; and with them sixteen Trum- 
petters ; four drums and fifes going in rank before them ; and 
with them attendeth four men in white harneys, from the 
middle upwards, and halberds in their hands, bearing on 
their shoulders the Tower : which persons, with the drums, 
trumpets and musick, go three times about the fire. Then the 
Constable-Marshall, after two or three curtesies made, kneeleth 
down before the Lord Chancellor ; behind him the Lieutenant ; 
and they kneeling, the Constable-]\Iarshall pronounceth an 
oration of a quarter of an hour's length, therby declaring 
the purpose of his coming ; and that his purpose is to be 
admitted into his Lordship's service. 

"The Lord Chancellor saith, 'He will take further advice 

" Then the Constable-AIarshall, standing up, in submissive 
manner delivereth his naked sword to the Steward ; who giveth 
it to the Lord Chancellor : and thereupon the Lord Chancellor 
willeth the Marshall to place the Constable-Marshall in his seat : 
and so he doth, with che Lieutenant also in his seat or place. 
During this ceremony the Tower is placed beneath the hre. 

" Then cometh the Master of the Game, apparelled in green 
velvet, and the Ranger of the Forest also, in a green suit of satten ; 
bearing in his hand a green bow and divers arrows, with either 
of them a hunting horn about their necks ; blowing together 
three blasts of venery, they pace round about the hre three 
times. Then the Master of the Game maketh three curtesies; 


as aforesaid ; and kneeleth down before the Lord Chancellor, 
declaring the cause of his coming ; and desireth to be admitted 
mto his service, &c. All this time the Ranger of the Forest 
standeth directly behind him. Then the Master of the Game 
standeth up. 

" This ceremony also performed, a Huntsman cometh into the 
Hall, with a fox and a purse-net ; with a cat, both bound at the 
end of a staff ; and with them nine or ten couple of hounds, 
with the blowing of hunting homes. And the fox and cat are 
by the hounds set upon, and killed beneath the fire. This sport 
finished the Marshall placeth them in their several appointed 

" Then proceedeth the second course ; which done, and 
served out, the Common Serjeant delivereth a plausible 
speech to the Lord Chancellour, and his company at the 
highest table, how necessary a thing it is to have officers at 
this present ; the Constable-Marshall and Master of the Game, 
for the better honour and reputation of the Commonwealth • 
and wisheth them to be received, &c. ' 

" Then the King's Serjeant at Law declareth and inferreth 
the necessity; which heard the Lord Chancellor desireth 
respite of farther advice. Then the antientest of the Masters 
of the Revels singeth a song with the assistance of others there 

"At Supper the Hall is to be served in all solemnity, as upon 
Christmas Day, both the first and second course to the highest 
table. Supper ended the Constable-Marshall presenteth him- 
self with drums afore him, mounted upon a scaffold, born by 
four men ; and goeth three times round about the harthe, cryin^ 
out aloud, ' A Lord, a lord,' &c. Then he descendeth and goeth 
to dance, &c. And after he calleth his Court every one by 
name, one by one, in this manner : 

" Sir Francis Flatterer of Fowlehiirst, in the county of 

"Sir Randlc Rakabite, of Rascall-HaJh in the county of Rake- 

" Sir Morgan Mnmchance, of Much Monkery, in the county of 
Mad Mopery. ' ^ 

" Sir Bartholomew Baldbreech, of Bnttocks-biirv, in the county 
of Brekeneck. 

"This done the Lord of Misrule addresseth himself to the 
banquet ; which ended with some minstralsye, mirth and 
dancing every man departeth to rest. 

" At every mess is a pot of wine allowed. 

" Every repast is 6d. 

" St. John's Day.— About seaven of the clock in the morning, 
the Lord of Misrule, is abroad, and if he lack any ofticer or 
attendant, he repaireth to their chambers, and compelleth them 
to attend in person upon him after service in the church, to 
breakfast, with brawn, mustard, and malmsey. After breakfast 


ended, his Lordship's power is in suspense, until his personal 
presence at night ; and then his power is most potent. 

" At dinner and supper is observed the diet and service per- 
formed on St. Stephen's Day. After the second course served 
in, the King's Serjeant, orator-hke, declareth the disorder of the 
Constable-Marshall, and of the Common-Serjeant : which com- 
plaint is answered by the Common-Serjeant ; who defendeth 
himself and the Constable- Marshall with words of great efficacy. 
Hereto the King's Serjeant replyeth. They rejoyn, &c., and 
who so is found faulty is committed to the Tower, &c. 

" If any ofticer be absent at dinner or supper times ; if it be 
complained of, he that sitteth in his place is adjudged to have 
like punishment as the offtcer should have had being present : 
and then withal he is enjoyned to supply the office of the true 
absent officer, in all pointe. If any offendor escape from the 
Lieutenant into the Buttery, and bring into the Hall a manchet 
upon the point of a knife, he is pardoned : for the buttry in 
that case is a sanctuary. After cheese served to the table not 
any is commanded to sing. 

'' Chihienuas Day. — In the morning, as afore on Monday, the 
Hall is served ; saving that the Sewer, Carver, and Cup-bearer,, 
do not attend any service. Also like ceremony at supper. 

'' Thursday. — At breakfast, brawn, mustard, and malmsey. At 
dinner, roast beef, venison-pasties, with like solemnities as afore. 
And at supper, mutton and hens i^oasted. 

^' New Yeai^s Day. — In the morning, breakfast as formerly. 
At dinner like solemnity as on Christmas Eve. 

''The Banqiietting NigJit. — It is proper to the Butler's office,. 
to give warning to every House of Court, of this banquet ; ta 
the end that they and the Innes of Chancery, be invited thereto 
to see a play and mask. The hall is to be furnished with 
scaffolds to sit on, for Ladies to behold the sports, on each 
side. Which ended the ladyes are to be brought into the 
Library, unto the Banquet there ; and a table is to be covered 
and furnished with all banquetting dishes, for the Lord Chan- 
cellor, in the Hall ; where he is to call to him the Ancients of 
other Houses, as many as may be on the one side of the table. 
The Banquet is to be served in by the Gentlemen of the House. 

" The ^larshall and Steward are to come before the Lord 
Chancellour's mess. The Butlers for Christmas must serve wine ; 
and the Butlers of the House beer and ale, &c. When the 
banquet is ended, then cometh into the Hall the Constable- 
Marshall, fairly mounted on his mule ; and deviseth some sport 
for passing away the rest of the night. 

" Tivclf Day. — At breakfast, brawn, mustard, and malmsey,. 
aft^r morning prayer ended. And at dinner, the Hall is to be 
served as upon St. John's Day." 


The performance of " Gorboduc " at the Inner Temple was 
received with such great applause, and the services of Lord 
Robert Dudley, first favourite of the Queen, so highly appre- 
ciated at that particular ''grand Christmasse," that Queen 
P:iizabeth commanded a repetition of the play about a fort- 
night later, before herself, at her Court at Whitehall. A con- 
temporary MS. note (Cotton MSS., A'it. F. v.) says of 

The Performance before the Queen, 

that "on the i8th of January, 1562, there was a play in the 
Queen's Hall at Westminster bv the gentlemen of the Temple 
after a great mask, for there was a great scaffold in the hall, 
with great triumph as has been seen ; and the morrow after, 
the scaffold was taken down." An unauthorised edition of the 
play was hrst published, in September of that year, by William 
Griffith, a bookseller in St. Dunstan's Churchyard ;' but nine 
years afterwards an authorised and "true copy" of the play 
was published by John Day, of Aldersgate, the title being then 
altered from "Gorboduc " (in which name the spurious edition 
had been issued) to " Ferrex and Porrex." The title of this 
edition set forth that the play was " without addition or altera- 
tion, but altogether as the same was shewed on stage before 
the Queen's Majestic, by the gentlemen of the Inner Temple." 
The argument of the play was taken from Geofi:'rey of Mon- 
mouth's " History of British Kings," and was a call to Englishmen 
to cease from strife among themselves and become an united 
people, obedient to one undisputed rule : — 

" Within one land one single rule is best : 
Divided reigns do make divided hearts ; 
But peace preserves the country. and the prince." 

It recalled the horrors of the civil wars, and forbade the like 
again : — 

" What princes slain before their timely hour ! 
What waste of towns and people in the land ! 
^yhat treasons heap'd on murders and on spoils ! 
Whose just revenge e'en yet is scarcely ceas'd : 
Ruthful remembrance is yet raw in mind. 
The gods forbid the like to chance again." 

A good description of the play, with copious extracts, is pub- 
lished in Morley's " English Plays," from which it also appears 
that " Queen Mary's expenditure on players and musicians had 
been between two and three thousand pounds a year in salaries. 
Elizabeth reduced this establishment, but still paid salaries 
to interlude players and musicians, to a keeper of bears and 
mastiffs, a-s well as to the gentlemen and children of the chapel. 
The Master of the Children had a salary of forty pounds a year • 
the children had largesse at high feasts, and when additional 
use was made of their services ; and each Gentleman of the 


Chapel had nineteenpencc a day, with board and clothing. 
The Master of the Chapel who at this time had the training 
of the children w^as Richard Edwards, who had written lighter 
pieces for them to act before her Majesty, and now^ applied his 
skill to the writing of English comedies, and teaching his boys 
to act them for the pleasure of the Queen. The new form of 
entertainment made its way at Court and through the country." 

(From a Print hy lirciiiilni.) 

At this period 

The Christmas Revels at the Ixxs of Court 

were observed with much zest and jollitv. Sandys (writing in 
1833 of Elizabeth's time) says : — 

'* The order of the usual Christmas amusements at the Inns 
of Court at this period would cause some curious scenes if 
carried into effect in the present day. Barristers singing and 
dancing before the judges, Serjeants and benchers, would 
' draw a house ' if spectators were admitted. Of so serious 


import was this dancing considered, that by an order in 
Lincoln's Inn of February, 7th James I., the under barristers 
were by decimation put out of commons because the whole 
bar offended by not dancing on Candlemas Day preceding, 
according to the ancient order of the society, when the judges 
were present ; with a threat that if the fault were repeated, they 
should be fined or disbarred." 

Sir William Dugdale makes the following reference to 

The Christmas Revels of the Inner Temple : — 

'* First, the solemn Revells (after dinner, and the play ended,) 
are begun by the whole House, Judges, Sergeants at Law, 
Benchers ; the Utter and Inner Barr ; and they led b-y the Master 
of the Revells : and one of the Gentlemen of the Utter Barr are 
chosen to sing a song to the Judges, Serjeants, or Masters of 
the Bench ; which is usually performed ; and in default thereof, 
there may be an amerciament. Then the judges and Benchers 
take their places, and sit down at the uppei'end of the Hall. 
Which done, the Utter-Barristers and Inner-Barristers, perform a 
second solemn Revell before them. Which ended, the Utter- 
Barristers take their places and sit down. Some of the Gentle- 
men of the Iniier-Barr, do present the House with dancing, 
which is called the Post Revells, and continue their Dances, till 
the Judges or Bench think meet to rise and depart." 

The Hard Frost of 1564 

gave the citizens of London an opportunity of keeping 
Christmas on the ice. An old chronicler says : " From 
2ist December, 1564, a hard frost prevailed, and on new 
year's eve, people went over and alongst the Thames on the ise 
from London Bridge to Westminster. Some plaied at the foot- 
ball as boldlie there, as if it had been on the drie land ; divers 
of the Court, being then at Westminster shot dailie at prickes 
set upon the Thames, and tradition says. Queen Elizabeth 
herself walked upon the ise. The people both men and 
women, went on the Thames in greater numbers than in any 
street of the City of London. On the third dale of 'January, 
1565, at night it began to thaw, and on the fifth there was no 
ise to be scene between London Bridge and Lambeth, which 
sudden thaw caused great floods, and high waters, that bore 
downe bridges and houses and drowned Manie people in 

How Queen Elizabeth went to Worship, Christmas, 1565. 

Nichols' gives the following particular account of Queen 
Elizabeth's attendance at Divine worship, at the " Chappell of 

' ' Progresses." 


Whitehall, Westminster," Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 
1565 :— 

" Item, on Monday, the 24th of December, the Officers of 
Arms being there present, the Queen's Majesty came to the 
evening prayer, the sword borne by the Earle of Warwick, her 
trayn borne by the Lady Strange. 

" Item, on Christmas Day her Majesty came to service very 
richly apparelled in a gown of purple velvet embroidered with 
silver very richly set with stones, with a rich collar set with 
stones ; the Earl of Warwick bare the sword, the Lady Strange 
the trayn. After the Creed, the Queene's Majesty went down to 
the offering, and having a short forme with a carpet, and a 
cushion laid by a gentleman usher,- the . . . taken by the 
Lord Chamberlain, her Majesty kneeled down, her offering 
given her by the Marquis of Northampton ; after which she 
went into her traverse, where she abode till the time of the 
communion, and then came forth, and kneeled down at the 
cushion and carpet aforesaid ; the Gentlemen Ushers delivered 
the towel to the Lord Chamberlain, who delivered the same to 
be holden by the Earl of Sussex on the right hand, and the 
Earl of Leicester on the left hand ; the Bishop of Rochester 
served the Queen both of wine and bread ; then the Queen 
went into the traverse again ; and the Ladie Cicilie, wife of the 
Marquis of Baden, came out of the traverse, and kneeled at 
the place where the Queen kneeled, but she had no cushion, 
but one to kneel on ; after she had received she returned to the 
traverse again ; then the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 
Lord Chamberlain received the Communion with the Mother of 
the Maids ; after which the service proceeded to the end, and 
the Queen returned again to the Chamber of presence strait, 
and not the closet. Her Majesty dined not abroad ; the said 
Oiticers of Arms had a mess of meat of seven dishes, with 
bread, beer, ale, and wine." 

Royal Christmases at Hampton Court. 

In 1568, the Earl of Shrewsbury, writing from Hampton 
Court to his countess, says, ** The Plage is disposed far abrode 
in London, so that the Queene kepes hur Kyrsomas her, and 
goth not to Grenwych as it was mete." Meet or not, Elizabeth 
kept many Christmases at Hampton Court, banqueting, 
dancing, and dicing — the last being a favourite amusement 
with her, because she generally won, thanks to her dice being 
so loaded as to throw up the higher numbers. Writing from 
Hampton Court at Christmas, 1572, Sir Thomas Smith says : 
" If ye would what we do here, we play at tables, dance, and 
keep Christmasse." 



Queen Elizabeth's Singers and Players. 

The Christmas entertainments of Queen Ehzabeth were 
enlivened by the beautiful singing of the children of her 
Majesty's Chapel. From the notes to Gascoigne's Princely 
Pleasures (1821) it appears that Queen Elizabeth retained on 
her Royal establishment four sets of singing boys; which 
belonged to the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Abbey of West-' 
minster, St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and the "Household 
Chapel. For the support and reinforcement of her musical 
bands, Elizabeth, like the other English Sovereigns, issued 
warrants for taking " up suche apt and meete children, as are litt 
to be instructed and framed in the Art and Science of Musicke 
and Singing." Thomas Tusser, the well-known author of " Five 
Hundreth Points of Good Husbandrye," was in his youth a 
choir boy of St. Paul's. Nor is it astonishing, that although 
masses had ceased to be performed, the Queen should yet 
endeavour to preserve sacred melody in a high state of perfec- 
tion ; since, according to Burney," she was herself greatly 
skilled in musical learning. " If her Majesty," says that 
eminent author, " was ever able to execute any of the pieces 
that are preserved in a MS. which goes under the name of 
Queen Elizabeth's Virginal-book, she must have been a very 
great player, as some of the pieces which were composed by 
Tallis, Bird, Giles, Farnaby, Dr. Bull, and others, are so difficult 
that it would be hardly possible to find a master in Europe who 
would undertake to play any of them at the end of a month's 
practice." ^ But the children of the chapel were also employed 
in the theatrical exhibitions represented at Court, for which 
their musical education had peculiarly qualified them. Richard 
Edwards, an eminent poet and musician of the sixteenth 
century, had written two comedies; Damon and Pythias, and 
Palemon and Arcite, which, according to Wood, were often 
acted before the Queen, both at Court and at Oxford. With 

History of Music," vol. iii. p. 15. 



the latter of these Queen Ehzabeth was so much dehghtecl that 
she promised Edwards a reward, which she subsequent!}' gave 
him by making him iirst Gentleman of her Chapel, and in 1561 
Master of the Children on the death of Richard Bowyer. As 
the Queen was particularly attached to dramatic entertainments, 
about 1569 she formed the children of the Royal Chapel into a 

THi: .\,iTlN( 




(/>'_\' pcniiissioii, from Messrs. Casscil & Co.'s " IlluslraL-d Histoiy of England.") 

company of theatrical performers, and placed them under the 
superintendence of Edwards. Not long after she formed a 
second society of players under the title of the "Children of the 
Revels," and by these two companies all Lyiy's plays, and many 
of Shakespeare's and Jonson's, were first performed. Jonson 
has celebrated one of the chapel children, named Salathiel 
Pavy, who was famous for his performance of old men, but 


who died about 1601, under the a.cje of thirteen. In his 
beautiful epitaph of Pavy, Jonson says : — 

" 'Tvvas a child that did so thrive 

In grace and feature, 
As heaven and nature seem'd to strive 

Which own'd the creature. 
Years he number'd scarce thirteen 

When fates turn'd cruel, 
Yet three fill'd Zodiacs had he been 

The stage's jewel ; 
And did act, what now we moan, 

Old men so duly, 
That the Parcce thought him one 

He played so truly." 

The Shakespearian period had its grand Christmases, for 
The Christmas Players 

at the Court of Queen Ehzabeth inchided England's greatest 
dramatist, William Shakespeare ; and the Queen not only took 
delight in witnessing Shakespeare's plays, but also admired the 
poet as a player. The histrionic ability of Shakespeare was by 
no means contemptible, though probably not such as to have 
transmitted his name to posterity had he confined himself 
exclusively to acting. Rowe informs us that "the tip-top of 
his performances was the ghost in his own Hamlet;" but 
Aubrey states that he " did act exceedingly well " ; and Cheetle, 
a contemporary of the poet, who had seeii him perform, assures 
us that he was '' excellent in the quality he professed." An 
anecdote is preserved in connection with Shakespeare's playing 
before Queen Elizabeth. While he was taking the part of a 
king, in the presence of the Queen, Elizabeth rose, and, in 
crossing the stage, dropped her glove as she passed the poet. 
No notice was taken by him of the incident ; and the Queen, 
desirous of finding out w^hether this was the result of in- 
advertence, or a determination to preserve the consistency of 
his part, moved again towards him, and again dropped "her 
glove. Shakespeare then stooped down to pick it up, saying, 
in the character of the monarch whom he was playing — 

' ' And though now bent on this high embassy, 
Yet stoop we to take up our cousin's glove." 

He then retired and presented the glove to the Queen, who was 
highly pleased with his courtly performance. 

Graxd Christmas at Gray's Inx. 

In 1594 there was a celebrated Christmas at Gray's Inn, of 
which an account was published in 1688 under the following 
title :— 

" Gesta Grayorum : or the History of the High and Mighty 
Prince, Henry Prince of Purpoole, Arch-Duke of Stapulia and 
Bernardia, Duke of High and Nether Holborn, Marquis of St. 


Giles and Tottenham, Count Palatine of Bloomsbury and 
Clerkeuwell, Great Lord of the Cantons of Islington, Kentish- 
Town, Paddington, and Knights-bridge, Knight of the most 
Heroical Order of the Helmet, and Sovereign of the same ; 
Who Reigned and Died, a.d. 1594. Together with a Masque, 
as it was presented (by his Highness's Command) for the enter- 
tainment of Q. Elizabeth ; who, with the Nobles of both Courts, 
was present thereat. London, Printed for W. Canning, at his 
shop in the Temple-Cloysters, MDCLXXXVIIL Price one 
shilling." 4to nine sheets, dedicated " To the most honourable 
Matthew Smyth, Esq., Comptroller of the honourable society of 
the Inner Temple." 

The Prince of Purpoole was IMr. Henry Helmes, a Norfolk 
gentleman, " who was thought to be accomplished with all good 
parts, tit for so great a dignity ; and was also a very proper man 
of personage, and very active in dancing and revelling." His 
coffers were filled by voluntary contributors, amongst whom the 
lord treasurer, Sir William Cecil, sent him ten pounds, and a 
purse of rich needlework. 

The performers were highly applauded by Queen Elizabeth, 
who expressed satisfaction in her own peculiar style. When 
the actors had performed their Masque, some of her Majesty's 
courtiers danced a measure, whereupon the Queen exclaimed : 
" What ! shall we have bread and cheese after a banquet ? " 
Finally the Prince and his Ofiicers of State were honoured by 
kissing her fair hands, and receiving the most tlattering com- 
mendations. The whole amusement terminated in fighting at 
barriers ; the Earl of Essex, and others, challengers ; the Earl 
of Cumberland and company defendants, " into which number," 
says the narrator, " our Prince was taken, and behaved himself 
so valiantly and skilfully therein, that he had the prize adjudged 
due unto him, which it pleased her Majesty to deliver him with 
her own hands ; telling him, that it was not her gift, for if it 
had, it should have been better ; but she gave it to him, as that 
prize which was due to his desert, and good behaviour in those 
exercises ; and that hereafter he should be remembered with a 
better reward from herself. The prize was a jewel, set with 
seventeen diamonds and four rubies ; in value accounted worth 
a hundred marks." 

The following is the Gray's Inn list of performers, which 
included some gentlemen who were afterwards " distinguished 
members in the law." 

[From " Gesta Gravorum," page 6.] 

"The order of the Prince of Purpoole's proceedings, with his 
officers and attendants at his honourable inthronization ; which 
was likewise observed in all his solemn marches on grand days, 
and like occasions ; which place every officer did duly attend, 
during the reign of his highness's government. 



A Marshal. I 
Trumpets. ) 

Pursuevant at Arms 

Townsmen in the Prince's Livery I 
with Ilalberts. ) 

Captain of the Guard 

Baron of the Grand Port 

Baron of the Base Port ... 

Gentlemen for Entertainment, three couples 

Baron of the Petty Port 

Baron of the New Port ... 

( A Marshal. 
( Trumpets. 

\ Yeomen of the Guard 
( three couples. 



Binge, &^e. 


I Wentworth. 

Gentlemen for Entertainment, three couples ... ... - Zukenden. 

\ Forrest. 
Lieutenant of the Pensioners ... ... ... ... Tonstal. 

Gentlemen Pensioners, twelve couples, viz. : 
Lawson. ^ TRotts. "j TDavison. 

I I Anderson. I | 




Daniel. J [e 

Chief Ranger and Master of the (; 
Master of the Revels 
Master of the Revellers ... 
Captain of the Pensioners 
Carver ... ..." 

Another Sesver ... 




Clerk of the Council 
Clerk of the Parliament. 
Clerk of the Crown 


Recorder ... 

Solicitor ... 

Serjeant ... 

Speaker of the Parliament 


Attorney ... 

Serjeant ... 

Master of the Requests ... 

Chancellor of the Exchequer 

Master of the Wards and Idiots 


Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer 

Master of the Rolls 

Lord Chief Baron of the Common Pleas 

Lord Chief Justice of the Princes Bench 

Master of the Ordnance ... 

Lieutenant of the Tower 

Master of the Jewel-house 

Treasurer of the House-hold 

Knight Marshal ... 

Master of the Ward-robe 

Comptroller of the House-hold.. 

Bishop of St. Giles's in the Fie.. 

Steward of the House-hold 

Lord Warden of the four Ports . . 

Secretary of State 

Lord Admiral 

Lord Treasurer ... 

Lord Great Chamberlain 

Lord High Constable. 

J i 

cum reliquis. 







Drew cry. 


Ben net. 

Leach . 




Fitz- Williams. 
Bon the. 

Cecil (Richard). 



Lord Marshal ... ... ... ... ... ... Kuapolck. 

Lord Privy Seal ... ... ... ... ... ... Lamphew. 

Lord Chamberlain of the House-hold... ... ... Markhaiii. 

Lord High Steward ... ... ... ... ... Keinpe. 

Lord Chancellor... ... ... ... ... ... Johnson. 

Archbishop of St. Andrews in Holborn ... ... fiitsh. 

Serjeant at Arms, with the Mace ... ... ... Flenuiiing: 

Gentleman- Usher ... ... ... ... ... Chevett. 

The Shield of Pegasus, for the Liner-Temple... ... Scevitigtou. 

Serjeant at Arms, with the Sword ... ... ... Glascott. 

Gentleman-Usher ... ... ... ... ... Paylor. 

The Shield of the Griffin, for Gray's-Lin ... ... IVickliffe. 

The King at Arms ... ... ... ... ... Pcrkiiison. 

The great Shield of the Prince's Arms... ... ... Cobley. 

The Prince of Purpoole ... ... ... ... ... Helnies. 

A Page of Honour ... ... ... ... ... Wandforde. 

Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, six couples. 

A Page of Honour ... ... ... ... ... Bittkr (Koger). 

Vice-Chamberlain ... ... ... ... ... Butler {Tho??ias). 

Master of the Horse ... ... ... ... ... Fitz-Hiti;h. 

Yeomen of the Guard, three couples. 
Townsmen in Liveries. 

The Family and Followers." 

Christmas's Lamext.\tiox 

is the subject of an old song preserved in the Roxburgh Collec- 
tion of Ballads in the British Museum. The full title is : 
" Christmas's Lamentation for the losse of his acquaintance ; 
showing how he is forst to leave the country and come to 
London." It appears to have been published at the end of the 
sixteenth or the beginning of the seventeenth century. The 
burden of the song is that Christmas " charity from the country 
is tied," and the first verse will sufficiently indicate the style of 
the : — 

Christmas is my name, far have I gone, 
Have I gone, have I gone, have I gone, 

witliout regard, 
Whereas great men by flocks there be flown, 
There be flown, there be flown, there be flown, 

to London-ward ; 
Where they in pomp and pleasure do waste 
That which Christmas was wonted to feast, 

Welladay ! 
Houses where music was wont for to ring 
Nothing but bats and owlets do sing. 

Wellada)- ! Welladay \ A\'elladay ! 

where should I stay? 

Old Christmas Returned 

is the title of a lively Christmas ditty which is a kind of replv 
to the preceding ballad. It is preserved in the collection formed 
by Samuel Pepys, some time Secretary to the Admiraltv, and 
author of the famous diary, and by him bequeathed to ]\iagda- 



lene College, Cambridge. The full title and first verse of the 
old song are as follows : — 

" Old Christmas returned, or Hospitality revived ; being a 
Looking-glass for Rich Misers, wherein they may see (if they 
be not blind) how much they are to blame for their penurious 
house-keeping, and likewise an encouragement to those noble- 
minded gentry, who lay out a great part of their estates in 
hospitality, relieving such persons as have need thereof : 

' Who feasts the poor, a true reward shall find, 
Or helps the old, the feeble, lame, and blind.' " 

" All you that to feasting and mirth are inclined, 
Come, here is good news for to pleasure your mind ; 
Old Christmas is come for to keep open house, 
He scorns to be guilty of starving a mouse ; 
Then come, boys, and welcome, for diet the chief. 
Plum-pudding, goose, capon, minc'd pies, and roast beef." 

Christmas-Keeping in the Country 

w'as revived in accordance with the commands of Queen Eliza- 
beth, who listened sympathetically to the " Lamentations " of her 
lowlier subjects. Their complaint was that the royal and public 
pageants at Christmastide allured to the metropolis many country 
gentlemen, who, neglecting the comforts of their dependents in 
the country at this season, dissipated in town part of their means 
for assisting them, and incapacitated themselves from continuing 
that hospitality for which the country had been so long noted. 
In order to check this practice, the gentlemen of Norfolk and 
Suffolk were commanded by Queen Elizabeth to depart from 
London- before Christmas, and " to repair to their counties, and 
there to keep hospitality amongst their neighbours." The 
presence of the higher classes was needed among the country 
people to give that assistance which was quaintly recommended 
by Tusser in his '* Hundreth good Points of Husbandrie" : 

" At Christmas be mery, and thanke God of all : 

And feast thy pore neighbours, the great with the small. 
"\'ea al the yere long have an eie to the poore : 
And God shall sende luck to kepe open thy doore." 

Henry Lord Berkeley, who had a seat in Warwickshire, 
appears to have set a good example in this respect to the 
noblemen of the period, for, according to Dugdale, " the greatest 
part of this lord's abydinge after his mother's death, happenynge 
in the sixth yeare of Queen Elizabeth, was at Callowdon, till his 
own death in the eleventh of Kinge James, from whence, once 
in two or three yeares, hee used in July to come to Berkeley." 
The historic house of Berkeley essentially belongs to Gloucester- 
shire ; but on the death of Edward VL, Henry Lord Berkeley, 


by descent from the ]\Io\vbrays and the Segraves, became 
possessed of the ancient Manor and castellated mansion of 
Calndon, near Coventry, where he lived in splendour, and kept 
a grand retinue, being profuse in his hospitalities at Christmas, 
as well as in his alms to the poor throughout the year. " As 
touchinge the Almes to the poore of 5 & six country p'ishes & 
villages hard adjoyninge to Callowdon were relieved, wdth each 
of them a neepe of holsome pottage, with a peece of beoffe or 
mutton therin, halfe a cheate loafe, & a kan of beere, besides 
the private Almes that dayly went out of his purse never without 
eight or ten shillings in single money of ijd iijd & groates, & 
besides his Maundy & Thursday before Ester day, wherein 
many poore men and women w^ere clothed by the liberality of 
this lord and his first wife, whilest they lived ; and besides 
twenty markes, or twenty povmd, or more, which thrice each 
yeare, against the feaste of Christmas, Ester, and Whitsontide, 
was sent by this Lord to two or three of the chiefest Inhabitants 
of these villages, and of Gosford Street at Coventry, to bee dis- 
tributed amongst the poore accordinge to their discretions. 
Such was the humanity of this Lord, that in tymes of Christmas 
and other festyvalls, when his neighbor townships were invited 
and feasted in his Hall, hee would, in the midst of their dynner, 
ryse from his owne, & goynge to each of their tables in his Hall, 
cheerfully bid them welcome. And his further order was, having 
guests of Honour or remarkable ranke that filled his owne table, 
to seate himselfe at the lower end ; and when such guests filled 
but half his bord, & a meaner degree the rest of his table, then 
to seate himselfe the last of the first ranke, & the first of the 
later, which was about the midst of his large tables, neare the 

Another home of Christmas hospitality in the days of " Good 
Queen Bess" was Penshurst in Kent, the birthplace of the dis- 
tinguished and chivalrous Sir Philip Sidney. "All who enjoyed 
the hospitality of Penshurst," says Mills's History of Chivalry, 
^' were equal in consideration of the host ; there were no odious 
distinctions of rank or fortune ; * the dishes did not grow coarser 
as they receded from the head of the table,' and no huge salt- 
cellar divided the noble from the ignoble guests." That hos- 
pitality was the honourable distinction of the Sidney family in 
general is also evident from Ben Jonson's lines on Penshurst : 

" Whose liberal board doth flow 
With all that hospitality doth know ! 
Where comes no guest but is allow'd to eat, 
Without his fear, and of thy Lord's own meat. 
Where the same beer and bread, and self-same wine, 
That is His Lordship's, shall be also mine." ' 

Gifford's " Ben Jonson," vol. viii. p. 254. 



A reviewer of ''The Sidneys of Penshurst," by Philip Sidney, 
says there is a tradition that the Black Prince and his Fair Maid 
of Kent once spent their Christmastide at Penshurst, whose 
banqueting hah, one of the iinest in England, dates back to 


" A man might then behold, 
At Christmas, in each hall, 
Good fires to curb the cold, 
And meat for great and small." 

that age of chivalry. At Penshurst Spenser wrote part of his 
" Shepherd's Calendar," and Ben Jonson drank and rhymed and 
revelled in this stateliest of English manor houses. 



Queen Elizabeth died on March 2t„ 1603, after nominating 
James VI. of Scotland as her successor, and 

The Accession of Kixg James, 

as James I. of England, united the crowns of England and 
Scotland, which had been the aim of Mary Queen of Scots 
before her death. 



Court Masques. 

The Court entertainments of Christmastide in the reign of 
James the First consisted chiefly of tlie magnificent masques of 
Ben Jonson and others, who, by their training in the preceding 
reign, had acquired a mastery of the dramatic art. The 
company to wliich Shakespeare belonged (that of Lord 
Chamberlain's players) became the King's players on the 
accession of James, and several of Shakespeare's plays were 
produced at Court. But very "early in this reign plays gave 
place to the more costly and elaborate entertainments called 
masques, but which were very different from the dumb-show 
masques of Elizabeth's reign, the masquerades of Henry the 
Eighth, and the low-buffoonery masques of earlier times. At 
the Court of James thousands of pounds were sometimes 
expended on the production of a single masque. To the aid 
of poetry, composed by poets of the first rank, came the most 
skilful musicians and the most ingenious machinists. Inigo 
Jones, who became architect to the Court in 1606, shared 
honours with Ben Jonson in the production of the Court 
masques, as did also Henr}- Lawes, the eminent musician. 
In some of the masques the devices of ahire were the work of 
'' Master Jones," as well as the invention and the architecture 
of the whole of the scenerv. D' Israeli ^ says: — "That the 
moveable scenery of these masques formed as perfect a scenical 
illusion as any that our own age, with all its perfection and 
decoration, has attained to, will not be denied by those who 
have read the few masques that have been printed. They 
usually contrived a double division of the scene ; one part was 
for some time concealed from the spectator, which produced 
surprise and varietv. Thus in the Lord's Masc^ue, at the 
marriage of the Palatine, the scene W'as divided into two parts 
from the roof to the floor ; the lower part being first discovered, 
there appeared a wood in perspective, the innermost part being 
of " releeve or whole round," the rest painted. On the left a 

' " Curiosities of Literature." 


cave, and on the right a thicket from which issued Orpheus. 
At the back of the scene, at the sudden fall of a curtain, the 
upper part broke on the spectators, a heaven of clouds of all 
hues ; the stars suddenly vanished, the clouds dispersed ; an 
element of artificial fire played about the house of Prometheus 
— a bright and transparent cloud reaching from the heavens to 
the earth, whence the eight maskers descended with the music 
of a full song ; and at the end of their descent the cloud broke 
in twain, and one part of it, as with a wind, was blown athwart 
the scene. While this cloud was vanishing, the wood, being 
the under part of the scene, was insensibly changing : a per- 
spective view opened, with porticoes on each side, and female 
statues of silver, accompanied with ornaments of architecture, 
filled the end of the house of Prometheus, and seemed all of 
goldsmith's work. The women of Prometheus descended from 
their niches till the anger of Jupiter turned them again into 
statues. It is evident, too, that the size of the procenium 
accorded with the magnificence of the scene ; for I find 
choruses described, 'and changeable conveyances of the song,' 
in manner of an echo, performed by more than forty different 
voices and instruments in various parts of the scene." 

The masque, as Lord Bacon says, was composed for princes, 
and bv princes it was played. The King and Queen, Prince 
Henry, and Prince Charles (afterwards Charles the First) all 
appeared in Court masques, as did also the nobility and gentry 
of the Court, foreign ambassadors, and other eminent per- 

In his notes to " The Masque of Queens," Ben Jonson refers 
several times to " the King's Majesty's book (our sovereign) of 
Demonology." The goat ridden was said to be often the devil 
himself, but " of the green cock, we have no other ground (to 
confess ingenuously) than a vulgar fable of a witch, that with a 
cock of that colour, and a bottom of blue thread, would trans- 
port herself through the air ; and so escaped (at the time of her 
being brought to execution) from the hand of justice. It was a 
tale when I went to school." 

That there was no lack of ability for carrying out the Court 
commands in regard to the Christmas entertamments of this 
period is evident from the company of eminent men who used 
to meet at the " Mermaid." " Sir Walter Raleigh," says 
Gifford,^ " previously to his unfortunate engagement with the 
wretched Cobham and others, had instituted a meeting of beaux 
esprits at the Mermaid, a celebrated tavern in Friday Street. 
Of this club, which combined more talent and genius, perhaps, 
than ever met together before or since, Jonson was a member ; 
and here, for many years, he regularly repaired with Shakes- 
peare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Selden, Cotton, Carew, Martin, 
Donne, and many others, whose names, even at this distant 

' " Memoirs of Ben Jonson." 


period, call up a mingled feeling of reverence and ^^P^^^;' 
Here in the full flow and confidence ot friendship the hxel> 
and interesting - wit-combats " took place between Shakespeai-e 
and Jonson; and hither, m probable allusion to them, Beau- 
mont fondly lets his thoughts wander m his letter to Jonson 
from the country. 

" What things have we seen, 

Done at the Mermaid ? heard words that have been, 

So nimble, and so full of subtle flame, 

As if that every one from whom they came. 

Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,' &c. 

Masques, however, were not the only Christmas diversions of 
royalty at this period, for James I. was very fond ot hunting, 
and Nichols ^ says that, in 1604, the King kept 

A Royal Christmas at Roystox, 

at his new hunting seat there, and " between the i8th of 
December and 22nd of January he there knighted Sir Richard 
Hussev of Salop ; Sir Edward Bushell, ot Gloucestershire ; Sii 
John Fenwick, of Northumberland ; Sir John Huet, of London ; 
Sir Robert Jermyn, of Suftolk ; Sir Isaac Jermyn of Suttolk ; 
Sir John Rowse; Sir Thomas Muschamp, of Surrey. Mr. 
Chamberlame, ma letter to Mr. Winwood troin London 
December i8th, savs : 'The King came back from Roy^ton on 
Saturdav ; but so far from being weary or satisfyed with tho.e 
sports, thit presently after the holy-days he makes reckoning to 
be there againe, or, as some say, to go further towards Lincoln- 
shire, to a place called Ancastcr Heath: ' 

In this letter Mr. Chamberlaine also refers to 

Other Court Amusements of Christmastide, 

for, proceeding, he says :— . 

"In the meantime here is great provision tor Cockpit, to 
entertaine him at home, and of Masks and Revells against the 
marriage of Sir Philip Herbert and the Lady Susan ^ -^'^ -'hich 
is to be celebrated on St. John's Day. The Queen hath hke- 
vise a great Mask in hand against Twelftl^tide for which 
there was ^3,000 delivered a month ago. Her brother, the 
Duke of Hoist, is here still, procuring a levy of men to carry 
Into Hungary. The Tragedy of ' Gowr> ' all Jhe -^lon 
and actors, hath been twice represented by the King . Pla> eis^ 
with exceeding concourse of all sorts of people ; but uhethei 
the matter or manner be not well handled, or that it be thought 
unfit that Princes should be played on the stage m their lite-^ 
time I hear that some great Councellors are much displeased 
Sil, and so 'tis thought forbidden. And so wishing 
a merry Christmas and many a good year to you and Mis. 

» " Progresses of King James the First.' 


Winwood, I committ you to God. Yours, most assuredly, 
John Chamberlaixe.'' 

" On the 26th of January, Mr. Chamberlaine writes thus to 
Mr. Winwood : ' I doubt not but Dudley Carleton hath 
acquainted you with all their Christmas-games at Court, fcr 
he was a spectator of all the sports and shows. The King went 
to Royston two days after Twelfth-tide, where and thereabout 
he hath continued ever since, and finds such felicity in that 
hunting life, that he hath written to the Councill that it is the 
only means to maintain his health, which being the health and 
welfare of us all, he desires them to take the charge and burden 
of affairs, and foresee that he be not interrupted or troubled 
with too imich biisiiiess.' " 

Campion's Masque in honour of Lord Hayes and his bride 
was presented before King James, at Whitehall, on Twelfth 
Night, 1606 ; and in reference to the Christmas festivities at 
Court the following year (1607), Mr. Chamberlaine, writing to 
Sir D. Carleton, on the 5th of January, says : 

" The Masque goes forward at Court for Twelfth-day, though 
I doubt the Xew Room will be scant ready. All the Holidays 
there were Plays ; but with so little concourse of strangers, that 
they say they wanted company. The King was very earnest to 
have one on Christmas-night ; but the Lords told him it was 
not the fashion. Which answer pleased him not a whit; but 
he said, * What do you tell me of the fashion ? I will make it a 
fashion.' Yesterday he dined in the Presence in great pomp, 
with two rich cupboards of plate, the one gold, the other that 
of the House of Burgundy pawned to Queen Elizabeth by the 
States of Brabant, and hath seldom been seen abroad, being 
exceeding massy, fair, and sumptuous. I could learn no reason 
of this extraordinary bravery, but that he would show himself in 
glory to certain Scots that were never here before, as they say 
there be many lately come, and that the Court is full of new 
and strange faces. Yesterday there were to be shewn certain 
rare fire-works contrived by a Dane, two Dutchmen, and Sir 
Thomas Challoner, in concert." 

On Jrnuary 8th, another letter of Mr. Chamberlaine thus 
refers to gaming at Court : " On the Twelfth-eve there was 
great golden play at Court. No Gamester admitted that 
brought not ^^300 at least. Montgomery played the King's 
money, and won him £750, which he had for his labour. The 
Lord Montegle lost the Queen ;^400. Sir Robert Cary, for the 
Prince, ;^30o ; and the Earl Salisbury, ^300 ; the Lord Buck- 
hurst, ;^5oo ; et sic de ccvtcris. So that I heard of no winner but 
the King and Sir Francis Wolley, who got above ;^8oo. The 
King went a hawking-journey yesterday to Theobalds and 
returns to-morrow. 

" Above Westminster the Thames is quite frozen over ; and 
the Archbishop came from Lambeth, on Twelfth-day, over the 
ice to Court. Many fanciful experiments are daily put in 


practice ; as certain youths burnt a gallon of wine upon the ice, 
and made all the passengers partakers. But the best is, of an 
honest woman (they say) that had a great longing to encrease 
her family on the Thames " (Nichols's '' Progresses "). 

The Reigx of James I.'s Favourites 

dates from Christmas Day, 1607, when he knighted Robert 
Carr, or Ker, a young border Scot of the Kers of Fernihurst, 
the first of the favourites who ruled both the King and the 
kingdom. Carr had been some years in France, and being 
a handsome youth — " straight-limbed, well-formed, strong- 
shouldered, and smooth-faced " — he had been led to believe 
that if he cultivated his personal appearance and a courtliness 
of address, he was sure of making his fortune at the Court of 
James. " Accordingly he managed to appear as page to Lord 
Dingwall at a grand tilting match at Westminster, in 1606. 
According to chivalric usage it became his duty to present his 
lord's shield to his Majesty ; but in manoeuvring his horse on 
the occasion it fell and broke his leg. That fall. was his rise. 
James was immediately struck w'ith the beauty of the youth 
who lay disabled at his feet, and had him straightway carried 
into a house near Charing Cross, and sent his own surgeon to 
him. . . . On Christmas Day, 1607, James knighted him and 
made him a gentleman of the bedchamber, so as to have him 
constantly about his person. Such w-as his favour that every 
one pressed around him to obtain their suits with the King. He 
received rich presents ; the ladies courted his attention ; the 
greatest lords did him the most obsequious and disgusting 
homage." ^ He afterwards formed that connection with Frances 
Howard, Countess of Essex, which resulted in her divorce from 
her husband, and, subsecjuently, on his marrying Lady Essex, 
the King made him Earl of Somerset, that the lady might not 
lose in rank. On the circumstances attending the murder of 
Sir Thomas Overbury being brought to light, the complicity of 
Somerset was thought to be involved in the ascertained guilt 
•of his wife. In May, 16 16, the Countess was convicted ; a 
week later her husband shared her fate. After a long imprison- 
ment Somerset was pardoned, and ended his life in obscurity. 

In this reign the Court revels and shows of Christmas were 
imitated at the country seats of the nobility and gentry, and at 
the Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. An account has been 
preserved of one of the most remarkable exhibitions of this 
kind, entitled — 


It took place in the year 1607, at St. John's College, Oxford, 
and the authentic accoimt was published from the original 
manuscript, in 1816, by Robert Tripbook, of 22, Old Bond 

' Casseir.s " History of England."' 


Street, London : '' To the President, Fellows, and Scholars of 
St. John Baptist College, in the University of Oxford, this 
curions Record of an ancient cnstom in their Society, is respect- 
fully inscribed by the Publisher." Of the authenticity of this 
description the Publisher says " no doubt can possibly exist, it 
was written by an eye-witness of, and performer in, the sports ; 
and is now printed, for the first time, from the original manu- 
script preserved in the College Library. 

'' From the Boy Bishop, the Christmas Prince may be sup- 
posed to derive his origin. Whilst the former was bearing 
sway in the ecclesiastical foundations, the latter was elected to 
celebrate the festivities of Christmas in the King's palace, at the 
seats of the nobility, at the universities, and in the Lins of Court. 
The custom prevailed till the ascendancy of the Puritans during 
the civil war ; and some idea of the expense, and general 
support it received, may be formed from the account of the 
Gray's Inn Prince and an extract from one of the Strafford 
Papers. The latter is from a letter written by the Rev. G. 
Garrard to the Earl of Strafford, dated Jan. 8, 1635 : ' 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 lined 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 pensioners, 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. My lord of Salisbury hath 
sent him pole-axes for his pensioners. He sent to my lord of 
Holland, his justice 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 him, which he gave to his 
masters of the requests. He hath a favourite, whom with some 
others, gentlemen of great quality, he knighted at his return 
from church, and dined in great state ; at the going out of the 
chambers 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 satten suit, for so he was clothed that day, having a 
cloak of the same down to his foot, for he mourns for his father 
who lately died. It cost this prince ^2,000 out of his own 
purse. I hear of no other design, but that all this is done to 
make them 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 writer, or narrator, of the events connected with the 


Christmas Prince of St. John's was Griffin Higgs, who was 
descended of a respectable and opulent family in Gloucester- 
shire, though he was himself born at Stoke Abbat, near Henley 
on Thames, in 1589. He was educated at St. John's, and 
thence, in 161 1, elected fellow of Merton college, where he 
distinguished himself, in the execution of the procuratorial 
duties, as a man of great courage, though, says Wood, of little 
stature. In 1627 he was appointed chaplain to the Queen of 
Bohemia, by her brother Charles the First, and during his 
absence, in the performance of his duties, was created a doctor 
of divinity at Leyden by the learned Andrew Rivet. He 
returned, after a residence abroad of about twelve years, when 
he had the valuable rectory of Clive or Cliff, near Dover, and 
shortly after the deanery of Lichheld, conferred upon him. 
During the civil wars he was a sufferer for the roval cause, and, 
losing his preferment, retired to the place of his birth, where he 
•died in the year 1659, and was buried in the chancel of the 
church of South Stoke. 

"Thomas Tucker, the elected Prince, was born in London, 
in 1586, entered at St. John's in 1601, became fellow of that 
house and took holy orders. He afterwards had the vicarage 
of Pipping-burge, or Pemberge, in Kent, and the rectory ot 
Portshead, near Bristol, and finally obtained the third stall in 
the cathedral church of Bristol, in which he was succeeded, 
August 25, 1660, by Richard Standfast." 

The following explanation is given of " the apparently 
strange titles of the Prince of St. John's : ' The most magnifi- 
cent and renowned Thomas, by the favour of Fortune, Prince 
of Alba Fortiinata, Lord St. Johns, high Regent of the Hall, 
Duke of St. Giles, Marquis of Magdalens, Landgrave of the 
Grove, County Palatine of the Cloisters, Chief Bailiff of the 
Beaumonts, High Ruler of Rome, ALaster of the Manor of 
Waltham, Governor of Gloucester Green, Sole Commander of 
all Tilts,' &c. The Prince of Alba Foriunata alludes, as may be 
readily conjectured, to the name of the founder, Sir Thomas 
White ; St. John's, and the Hall, are equally clear ; Alagdalens 
is the parish in which a portion of the college stands, and a 
part of which belongs to the society ; the Grove and the 
Cloisters are again parts of the home domain of the college ; 
Beaumonts is the name of a portion of land belonging to the 
college, on which stands the ruin of the palace of Beaumonts, 
built about the year 1128 by King Henry the First ; Rome is a 
piece of land so called, near to the end of the walk called 
Xon Ultra, on the north side of Oxford. The manor of 
Waltham, or Walton, is situate in the north suburb of Oxford, 
and is the property of the college, as is a considerable portion 
of Gloucester-green, which though now better known as the 
site of an extensive bridewell, was in 1607 literallv a meadow, 
and without any building more contiguous than Gloucester-hall, 
from which house it derived its name." 


Then follows " A true and faithfull relation of the rising and 
fall of Thomas Tucker, Prince of Alba Foiiiiiiata, Lord St. 
Johns, &c., with all the occurrents which happened throughout 
his whole domination." 

" It happened in the yeare of our Lord 1607, the 31 of 
October, beinge All Sayntes Eve, that at night a her was made 
in the Hall of St. John Baptist's Colledge, in Oxon, accordinge to 
the custome and statuts of the same place, at which time the 
whole companye or most parte of the Students of the same 
house mette together to beginne their Christmas, of which 
some came to see sports, to witte the Seniors as well Graduates, 
as Under-graduates. Others to make sports, viz., Studentes of 
the seconde veare, whom they call Poulderlings, others to make 
sporte with all, of this last sorte were they whome they call 
Fresh-menn, Funics of the first yeare, who are by no meanes 
admitted to be agents or behoulders of those sports, before 
themselves have been patient peifourmers of them. But (as it 
often falleth out) the Freshmen or patients, thinkinge the 
Poulderlings or Agentes too buysie and nimble, They them too 
dull and backwarde in theyr' duety, the stanclers by findinge 
both of them too forwarde and violente, the sportes for that 
night for feare of tumultes weare broken upp, everye mann 
betakinge himself to his reste. 

" The next night followinge, beinge the feast of All Sayntes, 
at nighte they mett agayne together ; And whereas it was 
hoped a night's sleepe would have somewhat abated their rage, 
it contraryewise sett a greater edge on theyr furye, they havinge 
all this while but consulted how to gett more strength one 
agaynst another, and consequently to breed newe quarrells and 
contradictions, in so much that the strife and contentions of 
youthes and children had like to have sett Men together by the 
eares, to the utter annihilatinge of all Christmas sportes for the 
whole yeare followinge. 

" Wherfore for the avoydinge both the one, and the other, 
some who studied the quiet of all, mentioned the choosinge of a 
Christmas Lord, or Prince of the Revells, who should have 
authorytie both to appoynt & moderate all such games, and 
pastimes as should ensue, & to punishe all offenders which 
should any way hinder or interrupte the free & quiet passage 
of anv antient & allowed sporte. 

" This motion (for that the person of a Prince or Lorde of the 
Revells had not been knowen amongst them for thirty yeares 
before, and so consequentlye the danger, charge and trouble of 
such jestinge was cleane forgotten) was presentlye allowed and 
greedilye apprehended of all ; Wher upon 13 of the senior 
Under graduates (7 of the bodye of the House & 6 Comoners, 
Electors in such a case) withdrew themselves into the parlour, 
where after longe debatinge whether they should chouse a 
Graduate or an Under Graduate, thinkinge the former would 
not vouchsafe to undertake it at theyr appoyntmentes, the latter 


should not be upheld & backed as it was meete & necessary for 
such a place, they came forth rather to make triall what would 
be done, than to resolve what should be done. And therefore 
at their first entrance into the Hall meeting Sir Towse a younge 
man (as they thought) litt for the choyse, they laid handes on 
him, and by maine strength liftinge him upp, viva voce, pro- 
nounced him Lord. But hee as stronglye refusinge the place 
as they violentlye thrust it upon him, shewing with all reasons 
why hee could by no me mes undergoe such a charge, they gott 
onlye this good by their iirst attempt, that they understood heer 
by how that the whole Colledge was rather willinge a Seniour 
Batchelour at least, if not a junior Master should be chosen in 
to the place rather than any Under graduate, because they 
would rather an earnest sporte than a scoffinge jest should be 
made of it. Wher fore the Electors returninge againe into the 
Parlour and shuttinge the dore close upon themselves begaune 
more seriously to consult of the matter, and tindinge some 
unable, some unwillinge to take the place, at length they con- 
cluded to make the 2 assay but with more formahtie and 
deliberation ; resolvinge, if they were not now seconded of all 
handes, to meddle no more with it. Wherfore, enteringe the 
second time in to the Hall they desired one of the 10 Seniors 
& one of the Deanes of the Colledge to hold the Scrutinye and 
the Vice-President to sitt by as overseer, who willingly harken- 
inge to their request, sate all 3 downe at the highe table : Then 
the Electors went up one by one in senioritye to give their 
voyce by writinge. In the meane time there was great expec- 
tation who should bee the Man. Some in the lower ende of the 
Hall, to make sporte, had theyr Names loudest in their mouthes 
whome they least thought of in their mindes, & whome they 
knew should come shortest of the place. At length all the 
voyces being given and, accordinge to custome, the Scrutinie at 
large being burned, the Vice-president with the rest stoode 
upp, and out of the abstract the Deane read distinctly in the 
hearinge of all present as foUoweth 

" Nominaiiiiir in hoc Scnttiiiio duo qiionini 
\ I Joanes Towse, habet siiffragia sex. 
\ 2^ Thomas Tucker, habet siiffragia scplein. 

"These wordes were not out of his mouthe before a generall 
and loud crie was made of Tucker, Tucker, Vivat, Vivat, &ct. 
After which all the younger sorte rane forth of the Colledge 
crieinge the same in the streets ; which Sir Tucker beinge 
then howsde not farr from the Colledge, over hearinge, kept 
himself close till the companye were past, and then, as soone 
and secretly as he could, gott him to his Chamber ; where 
(after he had been longe sought for abroad in the Towne, and 
at home in the Colledge, haste and desire out runinge it self, and 
seekinge there last where it might hrst hnde) he was in a 
manner surprised, and more by violence than any will of his. 


owne, taken upp & with continuall & jovfull outcries, carried 
about the Hah, and so backe to his Chamber, as his owne 
request was, where for that night he rested, dismissinge the 
Company and desiringe some time to think of their loves and 
goodwill, and to consider of his owne charge and place. 

''About 3 or 4 dayes after, on the 5 of November the Lord 
Elect with the Batchelours, and some of the Senior Under- 
graduates came into the Hall where every man beinge seated in 
his order, many speaches were made by diverse of diverse 
matters, some commendinge a monarchicall state of Govern- 
mente, and the sometimes suddayne necessitye of Dictators, 
others discommendinge both. Some again extollinge sportes 
& revells, others mainely disallowinge them, all of them draw- 
inge some conclusion concerninge the like or dislike of the 
government newly begune, and like for a little space to con- 
tinue amongst them. In the ende the Lord Elect himselfe, to 
conclude all, delivered his owne minde in manner followinge : — 

" QucC beneficia (Viri Elect ores clarissimi) plus difficultatis 
atq.,, oneris apportant collacata, qua debite administrata ; pote- 
runt honoris, caute magis primo in limine credo excipienda qua 
aut imensas dignitatis expectatione appetenda auide, aut boni 
incogniti coeco appetitu app'hendenda temere. Quoru in albo 
(Electores conscripti) cu semper dignitates istiusmodi serio 
retulerim, Vos (pace dica vestrce diligentias) non tam mihi 
videmini gratias debere expectare, qua ipse istud onus suscep- 
turus videor promereri. Na illud demum gratijs excipitur 
beneficiu (pro temporu ratione loquor) quod nee sollicitudo 
vrget nee ofiiciu — Inhnitie autem adeo sunt anxietates, quns vel 
istam dominatus urarinvuxny circumcingunt, vt pauci velint ipsas 
cu dominatu lubenter amplecti, nulli possint euitare, nulli sus- 
tinere. Na vbi veri imperij facies est repriesentanda expectanda 
semper est aliqua curarCx proportio. Veru cum dignitas Electoria, 
amicitia suffragatoria, populi applausus, oniii consensus Demo- 
cratice tollendje causa ad primatum euocauerint, lubens animi 
nostri strenuas renuentis temperabo impetu, et sedulo impenda 
curam, vt Reip : (si vobis minus possim singulis) toti satisfacia. 
Hie ego non ita existimo opportunu progressuu nostroru 
aduersarijs cura imperij promiscuam et indigestam collau- 
dantilT^ respondere, aut stat*^ Monarchici necessitate efferentib''^ 
assentari : Disceptationii vestrarii non accessi judex, accersor 
imperator ; Amori vestro (Viri nobis ad prime chari) lubens 
tribuo gloriai nostrae ortu ; progressu augustu atq, gloriosu a 
vobis ex ofticio vestro exigere, praeter aniore nostrum fore no 
arbitror. Tyrauidem non protiteor, imperiu exercebo. Cujus 
foeliciores processus vt promoueantur, atq, indies stabiliant zeris 
magis quam oris debetis esse prodigi. Quare primitias amuris, 
atq, officij vestri statuo extemplo exigendas, ne aut ipse sine 
authoritate imperare, aut imperium sine gloria capessisse videar 
iro\«7f/«)' Atheniensem sequimur, cujus ad norman Ego ad 
munus regui jam suffectus, Mineru:e, Vulcano et Prometheo 


sacra cu ludorum curatoribus pro moris vsu, prima niea in his 
sacris authoritate lieri curabo. Interim vero (Viri nostra 
authoritate adhnc majores) juxta prcedicta^ Reipublicaj jmagine 
choragos, seu adjutores desidero, qui no tantum ludis pra^pon- 
antur, sed et liberalitate pro opu ratione in Reipublicie impensas 
vtentes, ex aere publico praemia partim proponant, partim de 
sno insumant, hoc nomine quod illoru sint pr:efecti. Qu?e aha 
vestri sunt ofhcij moniti pr^estabitis, quae anioris, vitro (vti 
Spero) offeretis. 

"This was counted sufiicient for his private installmente, but 
with all it was thought necessary that some more publicke 
notice hereof should be given to the whole Universitie, with 
more solemnitie and better fashion ; yet before they would 
venter to publish their private intendements, they were desirous 
to knowe what authoritie and jurisdiction would be graunted to 
them, what money allowed them towards the better going 
through with that they had begune. And not long after the 
whole company of the Batchelours sent 2 bills to the Masters 
lire, the one cravinge duety and alleageance, the other money 
and maintenance in manner & forme foUowinge : 

'* The coppye of a Bill sent by the Lord Elect, and the 
whole Company of the Batchelours to the Masters lire, 
cravinge their duety and alleageance. 
" Not doubtinge of those ceremonious and outward duetyes 
which vourselves (for example sake) will performe, Wee Tlioiiias 
Tucker with the rest of the Bacchelours are bold to entreat, but 
as Tlioinas, Lord Elect, with the rest of our Councell are ready to 
expect, that no Tutor or Officer whatsoever shall at any time, or 
upon any occasion, intermeddle, or partake with any scholler, 
or youth whatsoever, but leavinge all matters to the discretion 
of our selves, stand to those censures and judgementes which 
wee shall give of all offenders that are under our govermente in 
causes appertaininge to our government. All wayes promisinge 
a carefull readinesse to see schollerlike excercise performed, 
and orderly quietnesse mayntained in all sortes ; This as Wee 
promise for our owne partes, so Wee would willingly desire 
that you should promise the performance of the rest of your 
partes, accordinge to that bountye & love which allready you 
have shewed us. 

Yours, Tucker 

Joseph Fletcher Thomas Dowxer 

John Smith Rouland Juxox 

Richard fe.wLYE Johx Huckstepp 

Richard Holbrooke James Bearblocke 

JoHX Towse Johx Exglish 

" This Bill subscribed with all their handes was scene and 
allowed by all the Masters, who promised rather more than 
lesse than that which was demanded. But concerninge the 
other Bill for Subsidyes, it was answered that it was not in their 



power to grant it without the President, whose cominge home 
was every day expected : against which time it was provided, 
and deUveredunto him ; who together with the lo Seniors, was 
loath to grant any thinge till they were certified what sportes 
should bee, of what quality & charge, that so they might the 
better proportion the one to the other, the meanes to the 
matter : They were allso willinge to knowe what particular Men 
would take upon them the care of furnishinge particular nightes. 
For they would by no meanes relye upon generall promises 
because they were not ignorant how that which concerneth all 
in generall is by no man in speciall regarded. Wherfore they 
beinge somewhat, although not fully, satisiied in their demaundes 
by some of the Masters, whom they seemed cheefiy to trust with 
the whole businesse, the Bill was againe perused, and every man 
cea/.ed in manner and forme followinge : 

'' 'The coppye of an auncient Act for taxes and subsidyes 

made in the raygne of our Predecessor of famous 

memorye, in this Parliament held in Aula Regxi the 

vi"" of November 1577 and now for Our Self new 

ratified and published, anno regni j° November 7° 1607. 

" ' Because all lovinge & loyall Subjects doe owe not onely 

themselves, but allso their landes, livinges, goodes, and what 

soever they call theirs, to the good of the Commonwealth, and 

estate under which they peaceably enjoy all. It is further 

enacted that no man dissemble his estate, or hide his abilitye, 

but be willinge at all times to pay such duetyes, taxes, and 

subsidies, as shall be lawfully demaunded & thought reasonable 

without the hinderance of his owne estate, upon payne of 

forfettinge himself and his goodes whatsoever.' 

[List of contributions amounting to 52" xiii* vii ] 

" Though the whole company had thus largely contributed 
towards the ensuinge sportes, yet it was found that when all 
thinges necessary should be layed toegether, a great sum of money 
would be wantinge, and therfore a course was thought upon of 
sendinge out privie Scales to able & willinge Gentlemen which 
had been sometimes Fellowes or commoners of the Colledge 
that it would please them to better the stocke, and out of their 
good will contribute somewhat towardes the Prince's Revells." 

Then followed the form of the writ issued, *' To our trustye 
and welbeloved Knight, or Esquire," &c. " Given under our 
privye Seale at our Pallace of St. John's in Oxen, the seventh of 
December in the first yeare of our rayne, 1607." Then follow 
" the names of those who were served with this writt, and who 
most willingly obeyed upon the receipt thereof," contributing 
altogether xvi'' x' o. " Others were served and bragd of it, as 
though they had given, but sent nothing." 

" For all these Subsidies at home, and helpes abroad, yet it 
was founde that in the ende there would rather be want (as 
indeed it happened) than any superlluitye, and therfore the 


Prince tooke order with the Bowsers to send out warrantes to 
all the Tenantes & other friendes of the Colledge, that they 
should send in extraordinary provision against every Feast, 
which accordingly was performed ; some sendinge money, some 
wine, some venison, some other }")rovision, everyone accordinge 
to his abilitye. 

" All thinges beinge thus sufiiciently (as it was thought) 
jM-ovided for, the Councell table, with the Lord himself, mett 
together to nominate officers & to appoint the day of the Prince's 
publike installment which was agreed should be on St. Andrews 
Day at night ; because at that time the Colledge allso was to 
chouse their new officers for the yeare followinge. 

" Now for that they would not playnely and barely install him 
without any farther ceremonies, it was thought htt that his 
whole ensuinge Regiment (for good lucke sake) should be 
consecrated to the Dcitic of Fortune, as the sole Mistres and 
Patronesse of his estate, and therfore a schollerlike devise called 
.1/7/ Foiiuncv was provided for his installment ; which was 
performed in manner & forme followinge : 





Thesaurarius. Secundus. 

Camerarius. • Tertius. 



[The Drama is not given on account of its length. And it 
will be remarked that, whenever asterisks are substituted, some 
portion of the JMS. has been omitted.] 

" This showe by ourselves was not thought worthve of a stage 
or scaffoldes, and therfore after supper the tables were onlye 
sett together, which was not done with out great toyle & difficulty, 
by reason of the great multitude of people (which, by the 
default of the dorekeepers, and divers others, every man bring- 
inge in his friends) had filled the Hall before wee thought of it. 
But for all this it began before 8 of clock, and was well liked by 
the whole audience, who, how unrulye so ever they meante to 
bee afterwardes, resolved I think at first with their good applause 
and quiet behaviour to drawe us on so farr, as wee should not 
bee able to returne backwardes without shame & discreditt. 
They gave us at the ende 4 severall & generall plaudites ; at the 
2 wherof the Canopie which hunge over the Altare of Fortune 
(as it had been frighted with the noise, or meante to signifie 
that 2 plaudites were as much as it deserved) suddenly fell 
downe ; but it was cleanly supported by some of the standers by 
till the companv was voyded, that none but our selves took notice 
of it. " 


"Some upon the si^^ht of this Showe (for the better enobhnge 
of his person, and drawinge his pedigree even from the Godes 
because the Prince's name was Tucker, and the last Prince 
before him was Dr. Case) made this conceipt that Casus ct 
Fortnna geniienint Tvx^poi' Principcui Foiiiiiuiluiii — so the one his 
father, and the other his mother. 

" Another accident worthy observation (and which was allso 
then observed) was that the Foole carelesly sittinge downe at the 
Prince's feete brake his staff in the midst, whence wee could not 
but directly gather a verye ill omen, that the default and foUye of 
some would bee the very breaknecke of our ensueing sports, 
which how it fell out, I leave to the censures of others ; our 
selves (I am sure) were guilty to our selves of many weaknesses 
and faultes, the number wherof were increased by the crossinge 
untowardnesse, and backwardnesse of divers of the Prince's 
neerest followers, nay the Prince himself had some weaknesses 
which did much prejudice his state, wherof the chief est weere 
his openesse, and familiaritye with all sortes, beinge unwillinge to 
displease eny, yet not able to please all. But to proceede : — On 
St. Thomas day at night the officers before elect were solemnly 
proclaimed by a Sergeant at amies, and an Herauld, the trum- 
petts soundinge beetwixt every title. This proclamation after it 
was read, was for a time hunge up in the Hall, that every man 
might the better understande the qualitie of his owne place, and 
they that were of lower, or no place, might learne what duety to 
performe to others. 

" The manner wherof was as followeth : 
" Whereas by the contagious poyson, and spreadinge malice 
of some ill disposed persons, hath been threatned not 
onelye the danger of subvertinge peaceable & orderlye pro- 
ceedinges, but the allmost utter annihilatinge of auncient & 
laudable customes — It hath been thought convenient, or 
rather absolutely necessarye for the avoydinge of a most 
dangerous ensuinge Anarchic, a more settled order of 
goverment, for the better safetye of all well meaninge 
Subjects, and curbinge of discontented, headstronge persons, 
should bee established. And whereas through wante of good 
lawes by wise and discreet Magistrates to bee duely and 
truely executed, a giddye conceipt hath possest the 
mindes of manye turbulent spirites, of endueringe no 
superiour, hardly an equall, whereby the common-wealth 
might growe to bee a manye-headed monster — It hath 
been provided by the staide and mature deliberations of 
well-experienced governours and provident counsellours,that 
one whose highe deserts might answere his high advance- 
ment should bee sett over all to the rulinge and directinge 
of all — Therefore by these presentes bee it knowne unto 
all of what estate or condicion soever whome it shall 
concerne that Thomas Tucker, an honorable wise & learned 
Gentleman to the great comeforte of the weale-publicjue from 


hcnce-forth to be reputed, taken and obayed for the true, 

onelv and undoubted Monarche of this reveUinjL^e Chmate, 

whom the ^tfenerall consent and joynte approbation of the 

whole Common-wealth hath invested and crowned with 

these honours and titles followinge : 

" The most magnificent and renowned Thomas by the favour 

of Fortune, Prince of Alba Fortunata, Lord St. Johns, 

high Regent of the Hall, Duke of St. Giles, Marquesse 

of Magdalens, Landgrave of the Grove, County Palatine 

of the Cloisters, Chiefe Bailiffe of the Beaumonts, high 

Ruler of Rome, Maister of the Manor of Waltham, Governour 

of Gloster-greene, sole Commaunder of all Titles, Tournea- 

ments, and Triumphes, Superintendent in all Solemnities 


" Now because they whom the unknowne cares, & unweildie 

burdens of a sole regiment shall relie upon, neede extraordinary 

helpe in the more than ordinarye affaires, Hee hath as well for 

the better discharge & ease of those royall duetyes (as it were) 

which attend on his place, as for the avoidinge the odious & 

ingratefuU suspition of a single dominion, and private Tyranye. 

selected and chosen unto himself a grave and learned assistance 

both for Councell and government, whom, and every of which, 

his princely will is, shall in their severall places & dignities bee 

both honoured and obeid, with no lesse respect and observance 

than if himself were there present in person. And that carelesse 

ignorance may bee no lawfuU excuse for the breach of his 

will therin hee hath appointed their severall names and titles,- 

with their subordinate officers and deputies to be signified 

& proclaimed to all his lovinge and leige Subjects, in manner 

followinge : 

" The right gracious John Duke of Groveland, Earle de Bello- 
Monte, Baron Smith, chiefe Ranger of theWooda & Forests, 
great Master of the Prince's Game, hath for his subordinate 
officers. — 

Sir Frauncis Hudson, Keeper of the Parkes, & Warder 

of the Warrens. 

Sir Thomas Grice, Forrester & Sargeaunt of the Wood- 


" The right honourable Rowland Lord Juxon, Lord Chauncelour, 

Keeper of the Great Scale, Signer of all publicke Charters, 

Allower of all Priviledges, hath for his subordinate officers. 

Sir William Dickenson, Master of the Reciuests, & the 

Prince's Remembrancer. 

Sir Owen Vertue, Gierke of the Sit^aiet, and Chafer of 


" The right honourable Thomas Lord Downer, Lord high 

Treasurer, Receaver General of all Rents, Revenues, 

Subsidies, belonginge by Nature, custome or accident to 

the Prince ; the great Payemaster of all necessary charges 


appcrtavninge to the Court, hath for his subordinate 

Sir John Wilhamson, Steward of the Household, Dis- 

burser for the Familye. 
Sir Christopher Wren, Cot^erer, and Clerke of the 
" The right honourable Joseph Lord Fletcher, Lord high 
Adniirall, great Commaunder of all the narrow seas, Hoods 
and passages ; Surveyor of the Navye, Mayster of the 
Ordinance, hath for his subordinate Officers, 

Sir Stephen Angier, Warden of the Cinque Ports, and 

Victualler of the Fleet. 
Sir Anthony Steevens/Captayne of the Guard. 
'' The right honourable Richard Lord Baylie, Lord high 
Marshall, President of all Titles, and Tourneaments, 
Commander in all Triumphes, Suppressor of suddayne 
tumultes. Supervisor of all games, and publique pastimes, 
hath for his subordinate Officers, 

Sir William Blagrove, Master of the Revells. 
Sir John Hungerford, Knight Marshall, severe Com- 
mander of the Wayes for the Prince's passage. 
" The right honourable John Lord Towse, Lord high Chamber- 
layne, Purveyor for the Prince's pallace, Overseer of all 
feasts and iDanquets, furnisher of all Chambers, and 
Galleries, Examiner of all private pastimes, hath for his 
subordinate Officers, 

Sir Richard Swinerton ) the Prince's Wards and 
Sir William Cheyney \ Squiers of his bodye. 
Mr. Edward Cooper, Groome- Porter. 
" The right honourable Richard Lord Holbrooke, Comptroller 
Generall, Chiefe overseer of all Purseavants, Orderer of all 
household Servaunts, hath for his subordinate officers, 

„.^ „, ox 1 ) Sertreaunts at Ar.nes & 

Sir Thomas Stanley Gentlemen Ushers to the 

Mr. John Alford r, ■ 

J ) Prmce. 

Mr. Brian Nailor, Master of the Robes of State, 

Keeper of the Wardrobe, and Surveyor of 


" The right honourable James Lord Berbloke, principall 

Secretarye, Lord privye Scale, designer of all Embasies, 

Drawer of all Edicts and Letters, Scribe to the State, hath 

for his subordinate Officers, 

Sir Thomas Clarke, Master of the Roles, & Protho- 

Mv. Marcheaumount Nedham, Clerke of the Councell- 
" The right honourable John Lord English, Lord Chiefe Justice, 
Examiner of all causes Capitall ; Sessor upon life and 
death. Judge of controversies criminall, hath for his sub- 
ordinate Officers, 


Sir John Alder, Attounicy General], and the Prince's 

Mr. John Sackevile, Baylife Erraunt. 

" Now because good Governours without good laws, carefull 
Magistrates without wholesome Statutes are like dumb (though 
paynted) images, or unweapon'd soldiers — Hee of his absolute 
aiithoritye, conferred upon him in the late free election, doth 
ratilie and establish all such Decrees and Statutes, as Hee now 
lindeth wisely and warely ordayned of his famous Predecessor ; 
promisinge onely by a full and severe execution to put life 
in their dead remembrance. Adding moreover some few 
cautions to be observed in his ensuinge Triumphs." 

These statutes were ratilied and established by the Prince 
"at our Manor of Whites- Hall, December the 21st in the iirst 
of our Raygne." 

" The same night the Prince, with the rest of his Councell 
meetinge at the high table in the Hall, a Bill was preferred 
by the Lord Treasurer for the advancement of Mr. Henery 
Swinarton to the Earldome of Cloyster-sheere, and the over- 
seeingeof the Princes great Librarye." After due consideration, 
" the Prince at length graunted the request, and his title was 
presently drawne by the Gierke of the Councell-table, and 
jironounced in manner followinge : 

"The right honourable Henry Lord Swinarton, Earle of Cloister- 
Sheer, Barron of the Garden, chiefe Master of the Presse, 
and overseer of the Prince's great Librarye, hath for his 
subordinate Officers, 

Mr. Willian^ Kippin, Surveyor of the Walkes. 

Mr. Christopher Riley, Corrector of the Printe. 

'' From this time forward, and not before, the Prince was 
thought fully to be instal'd, and the forme of government fully 
established, in-so-much that none might or durst contradict 
anything which was appoynted by himself, or any of his 

" The Holy-dayes beinge now at hand, his privye-chamber 
was provided and furnisht, wherein a chayre of state was placed 
upon a carpett with a cloth of state hanged over it, newly made 
for the same purpose. On Christmas Day in the morninge he 
was attended on to prayers by the whole companye of the 
Bacchelours, and some others of his Gentlemen Ushers, bare 
before him. At dinner beinge sett downe in the Hall at the 
high table in the Vice-president's place (for the President 
himself was then allso present) he was served with 20 dishes 
to a messe, all which were brought in by Gentlemen of the 
Howse attired in his Guard's coats, ushered in by the Lord 
Comptroller, and other Officers of the Hall. The first messe 
was a Boar's Head, which was carried by the tallest and lustiest 
of all the Guard, before whom (as attendants) wente first, one 
attired in a horseman's coate, with a Boars-speare in his hande. 


next to him an other Huntsman in greene, with a bloody faucion 
drawne ; next to him 2 Pages in tafatye sarcenet, each" of them 
with a messe of mustard ; next to whome came hee that carried 
the Boares-head crost with a greene silk scarfe, by which hunge 
the empty scabbard of the faulcion which was carried before 
him. As they entered the Hall, he sang this Christmas Caroll, 
the three last verses of everie staffe beinge repeated after him 
by the whole companye : 

1. The Boare is dead, 
Loe, here is his head, 

What man could have done more 
Than his head off to strike, 
jMeleager like, 

i\nd bringe it as I doe before ? 

2. He livinge spoyled 
Where good men toyled, 

Which made kinde Ceres sorrye ; 
But now dead and drawne, 
Is very good brawne, 

And wee have brought it for you. 

3.. Then sett downe the Swineyard, 
The foe to the Vineyard, 

Lett Bacchus crowne his fall, 
Lett this Boare's-head and mustard 
Stand for Pigg, Goose, and Custard, 

And so you are wellcome all. 

"At this time, as on all other Holy-dayes, the Princes allowed 
Musitions (which were sent for from Readinge, because our 
owne Town Musick had given us the slipp, as" they use to doe 
at that time when we had most need of them) played all dinner 
time, and allso at supper. The Prince-as ofte as hee satt in the 
Hall was attended on by a Commoner and Scholler of the 
Colledge in tafaty sarcenett. After supper there was a private 
Showe performed in the manner of an Interlude, contayninge 
the order of the Saturnalls, and shewinge the first cause of 
Christmas-candles, and in the ende there was an application 
made to the Day and Nativitie of Christ, all winch was 
performed in manner followinge : 




" This shew was very well liked of our selves, and the better : 
first, because itt was the voluntary service of a younge youth ; 
nexte, because there were no strangers to trouble us. 

" St. Steevens day was past over in silence, and so had St. 
John's day also ; butt that some of the Prince's honest ncis^h- 
bours of St. Giles's presented him with a maske, or morris, 


which th()ui;"h it were Init rudely perfornied, yet itt beint,^ so 
freely and k)vini;'lv protered, it c(juld not hut bee as lovint^ly 

" The same nighte, the twelve daies were suddenly, and as 
it were extempore, brought in, to offer their service to the 
Prince, the holy-daies speaking Latine, and the working-daies 
English, the transition was this : 

Yee sec these working-daies they weafe no satten, 
And I assure you they can speake no Latten ; 
But if you please to stay a-while, 
Some shepheard for them will change the style. 

"After some few daunces the Prince, not much liking the 
sporte (for that most of them were out both in their speeches 
and measures, having but thought of this devise some few 
houres before) rose, and lefte the hall, after whose departure, 
an honest fellow to breake of the sportes for that night, and 
to void the company made suddenly this Epilogue : 

These daunces were performed of yore 
By many worthy Elfes, 
Now if you will have any more 
Pray shake your heeles your selves. 

" The next day being Innocents-day, it was expected, and 
partly determined by our selves, that the Tragedy of Pliiloiiiela 
should have been ptiblickly acted, which (as wee thought) would 
well have fitted the day, by reason of the murder of Innocent 
It is. But the carpenters being no way ready with the stage, or 
scaffolds (whereof notwithstanding some were made before 
Christmas), wee W'ere constrained to deferre it till the nexte 
day, which was the 29th of December. 


Tereus, Rex Thracia;. 
Progne, Regina, Uxor Terei, 
Eugenes, a consilijs Terei. 
Phaulus, Seruus Terei, 
Tres Socii Terei a Classe, 
Ancilla Prognes. 
Philomela, Soror Prognes 
Itis, Filius Pronges et Terei 
-Vncilia Philomeki;. 
Faustulus, Pastor Regius. 
Fauslula, Pastoris Filia. 



" The whole play was wel acted and wel liked. 

" New-yeare's eve was wholly spent in preparation for the 
Prince's triumphs, so that nothing was done or expected that 


" Next day in the morning (beeing New-yeare's-day) the 
Prince sent Mr. Richard Swinnerton, one of the Squires of his 
body to Mr. President with a paire of gloves, charging him to 
say nothing but these two verses : " 

The Prince and his Councell, in signc of their loves, 
Present you, their President, with these paire of gloves. 

"'I here was some what else written in the paper which 
covered them, but what it is uncertaine. 

"At night were celebrated the Prince's triiunphs, at which 
tune onely and never before nor after he was carryed in full 
state from his pallace to the hall, where in the sight of the 
whole University a supplication was presented unto him by 
Tmie and seconded with a shew called Times Coiiiplaiiil. It 
was jierformed in manner and forme following : 


Veritas, the Daughter of Time. 
Opinion I o i n - • 

Error i' '^'^'^"cers of \ eritas. 

Studioso, a Scholler. 
Manco, a lame Souldiour. 
Clinjas, a poore Country-man. 
Humphry Swallow, a drunken Cob 
Goodwife Spiggot, an Ale-wife. 
Philonices, a rangling Lawyer. 
Seruus Philonices. 
Bellicoso, a Casheere Corporall. 


" Worthelie heere wee bring you Time's Complaint 
Whom we have most just cause for to complaine of, 
For hee hath lent us such a little space 
That what wee doe wants much of its true grace. 
Vet let your wonted love that kindelie take. 
Which we could wish were better for your sake. 

£n^er Time wi//i the Musicians to place them. 
Time. O wellsaid, wellsaid ; wellcome, wellcome, faith ! 
It doth mee good to see I have some friends. 
Come, true observers of due time, come on : 
A fitt of musicke, but keepe time, keepe time 
In your remembrance still, or else you jarre : 
These for my sake too much neglected are. 
The world termes them beggars, fidling roagues. 
But come my fidling friends, I like you well. 
And for my sake I hope this company, 
Naie more the Prince himselfe, will like your tunes. 
Here take your place and shew your greatest skill, 
All now is well that is not verie ill. 

Time exjecting t/ie comming of the Prince {to whom hee preferreth a pelition)- 
placeth hitnselfe on the stage titl the traine bee past. 
This waie hee comes, here will I place my selfe, 
They saie hee is an honourable Prince, 
RespectfuU, curteous, liberall, and learn'd : 
If hee bee see hee will not choose but heare mee. 

' This portion is inserted to introduce the Prince's Triumph, as they are termed. 


Poore aged Time was never so abused, 

And in these daies Princes themselves are wrong"*!. 

If not for my sake, yet for his owne good, 

Hee will read over my petition. 

Oft hath the like beene drawne and given up 

To his nobilitie ; But carelesse they 

In theire deepe pockets swallow good men's praiers. 

This his owne hand shall have, or I will keepe it : — 

But here they come, stand close and viewe the traine. 

Enter lirst six Kuighte Mai'shalls men in suitable liveries with 
links and truncheons two by two. 

Next the Knighte Marshall alone in armour and bases with 
a truncheon. 

Then fower other of his men as before. 

After these fower Knightes in rich apparel! with hats and 
feathers, rapiers and daggers, bootes and spurres, everie 
one his Lackie attending on him with torch-light, all two 
by two. 

After these the Master of the Kee|iiests, the Master of the 
Robes in vaste velvet gownes, with Lackies and torches 
before them. 

After these fower Barons in velvet cloakes, likewise attended 
with Lackies and torches. 

After these an Herald at Armes bare, with two Lackies 
attendant bearing torches. 

After these six of the privie Counsell in SchoUars gowaies and 
civill hoods, everie one attended on by a Footman bear- 
ing on his jacket both behind and before his Lord's 
armes according to his offtce (as it is before mentioned) 
with torches alsoe in theire hands. 

After those two Sergeants at armes, with great Maces, and 
two Squiers before them with torches, all bare. 

After these two Hench-men, the one with a sword, the other 
with a scepter, likewise attended by two Squiers with 
torch lights, all bare. 

After these the Prince himselfe in a scholler's gowne and 
civill hood, with a coronett of laurell about his hat, 
attended on by fower footmen in suitable liveries with 

After these the Captaine of the guard alone in hose and 
dublett, hatt and feather, etc., and following him, twenty 
of the guard in suitable guards' coats and halberds in 
their hands, and lightes intermingled here and there. 

" When this traine hrst entered out of the Prince's palace 
there was a volye of shotte to the number of fiftie or three-score 
gunnes, and once againe as it passed through the quadrangle, 
and the third time when the Prince was readie to enter uppon 
the stage in the hall, after which third peale ended, the nobilitie 
iiaving past along some parte of the stage, the rest of the traine 
disposed in places provided for them, and the Prince himselfe 
newlie entered, the showe went forward. 


" It hath bcciie observed if they which performe much in 
these kinde of sportes must needs doe something amisse, or 
at the least such is the danger and trouble of them, that some- 
thing in the doing will miscarry, and so be taken amisse, and 
such was our fortune at this time ; for the Prologue (to the 
great prejudice of that which followed) was most shamefully 
out, and having but halfe a verse to say, so that by the very 
sense the audience was able to prompt him in that which 
followed, yet hee could not goe forward, but after long stay and 
silence, was compelled abruptly to leave the stage, whereupon 
beemg to play another part, hee was so dasht, that hee did 
nothing well that night. 

"After him Good-wife Spiggot, comming forth before her 
tune, was most miserably at a non plus & made others so also, 
whilst her selfe staulked in the middest like a great Harry- Lion 
(as it j-tleased the audience to terme it), either saying nothing 
at all, or nothing to the purpose. 

" The drunken-man, which in the repetitions had much 
pleased and done very well, was now so ambitious of his 
action, that he w^ould needs make his part much longer than 
it was, and stood so long upon it all, that he grew most tedious, 
whereuppon it was well observed and said by one that 

'twas pitty there should bee 

In any pleasing thing satiety. 

^ " To make up the messe of absurdities the company had so 
hl'd the stage, that there was no roome to doe any thing well, 
to bee sure many thinges were mistaken and therefore could 
not but bee very distastfull, for it was thought that particular 
men were aymed at, and disciphered by the drunken-man, and 
Justice Bryar, though it was fully knowne to our-selves that the 
author had no such purpose. 

" In hne, expectation the devourer of all good endeavours 
had swallowed more in the very name and title of the interlude 
than was either provided or intended in the whole matter, for 
wee onely proposed to our selves a shew, but the towne expected 
a perfect and absolute play, so that all things mett to make us 
unhappy that night, and had not Time him selfe (whose lines 
and actions were thought good) somewhat pleased them, they 
would never have endured us without hissing, howsoever in 
the end they gave us two or three cold plaudites, though they 
departed no way satisfyed, unlesse it were in the shew about 
the quadrangle, wherein the Prince was carryd to his chamber 
m the same state that hee came from thence in the beginning 
(as is above mentioned), the whole company of actors'beeing 
added to his traine who immediately followed him before the 
guard in this order : 

First, Time alone, attended, with two pages and lightes. 

Next, Veritas alone, likewise attended. 

Then Error and Opinion, which all the way they went pull'd 


Veritas by the sleeve, one by one and the other by the 
other, but shee would not harken to them. 
After these came Studioso and Philonices, both pleadini^ the 
case, one upon his lni.L;ers and the other with both his 
Then came Manco, the lame souldiour and Philonices his 
man ; the souldiour haulting without his cruch, the other 
beating him with the cruch for counterfeyting. 
After these came Clinias and Bellicoso houlding the halter 
betwixt them, which Bellicoso had found in Clinias his 
Last after these came Humphry Swallow and good wife 
Spiggot, hee reeling uppon her, she pulling and havling 
him for the money he ought her. 
After these came the guard as before, and so the Prince in 

full state was conveyed to his pallace. 
" Here wee were all so discouraged that wee could have 
found in our heartes to have gone no farther. But then con- 
sulting w4th our selves wee thought it no way iitt to leave when 
thinges were at the worst, and therefore resolved by more 
industry and better care of those things which should follow, 
to sue out a line of recovery for our credites. Whereuppon 
the comedy which was already a foote and appointed to bee 
done on 12 day, was revewed and corrected by the best judg- 
ments in the house, & a Chorus by their direction inserted, to 
excuse former faults, all which was a cause that Tvvelfe eve & 
Twelfe day past away in silence, because the comedy beeing 
wholy altered could not bee so soone acted, neyther could any 
other thing bee so suddenly provided to furnish those nights. 

" Heere the Lord-treasurer made a complaint to the King 
and the rest of his councell that his treasure was poore and 
almost exhausted, so that without a fresh supply or new subsidy 
nothing more could bee done. And that this might not seem 
an idle complaint, a bill of some of the particulars and chiefe 
expences was exhibited, wherein it might appeare how costly 
the presedent revels had beene." 

The " Bill of Expences " amounted to Ixiiij'' v' o''. 
" This bill beeing scene and allowed, they begane to cast about 
for more money, whereuppon a new privy scale was drawn in 
Latin." " Those which were served with this writte and 
obey'd " contributed a total sum of 5". 

" This beeing not as yet sufficient there was a new subsedy 
levyed by the Junior Masters and the rest of the Colledge to the 
summe of Six Poundes three shillings, whereuppon finding them- 
selves againe before hand, and resolving to save nothing for a 
deare yeare, they proceeded to new expences and new troubles. 
*' The Suneday after, beeing the last day of the Vacation and 
tenth day of the moneth, two shewes were privately performed 
in the Lodging, the one presently after dinner called Soimiiinii 
Fiindaloris, viz., the tradition that wee have concearning the 


three trees that wee have in the President his garden. This 
interkide by the reason of the death of him that made it, not 
long after was lost, and so conld not bee heere inserted ; but it 
was very well liked, and so wel deserved, for that it was both 
wel penned and well acted. 

" Now because before were divers voutlis whose voyces or 
personages would not suffer them to act any thing in publicke, 
yet withall it was thought iitt, that in so "publicke a buisnes 
every one should doe some thing, therefore a mocke play was 
provided called. The 7 Daycs of the U\rkc, which was to be per- 
formed by them which could do nothing in earnest, and, that 
they should bee sure to spoyle nothing," every man's part was 
sorted to his person, and it was resolved that the worse it 
was done, the better it would be liked, and so it fell out ; for 
the same day after supper it was presented by one who bore 
the name of the Gierke of St. Gyleses, and acted privatelv in 
the lodging in manner and forme following : 



The Gierke of St. Gyleses. 










A Woman 
A Paire of Snuffers. 
Enter the Gierke -with all his Acleurs. 


Gierke. " I am the poore, though not unlettered, Gierke, 
And these your subjects of St. Gyles his parishe, 
Who in this officious season would not sharke 
I5ut thought to greet your highnesse \vith a niorrice, 
Which since my riper judgement thought not fitt, 
They have layd down their wisedomes to my witt. 

And that you might perceive (though seeminge rude) 

Wee savour somewhat of the Academie, 

Wee had adventur'd on an enterlude 

But then of actors wee did lacke a manye ; 
Therefore we dipt our play into a showe, 
Yet bigg enough to speake more than wee knowe. 

The subject of it was not farr to seeke 
Fine witts worke mickle matter out of nifle : 
Nam'd it I have The Seven Dayes of the ]Veeke, 
W^hich though perchaunce grave heads may judge a trifle, 
Vet if their action answere but my penninge, 
Vou shall heare that, that will deserve a lieniminge. 


To tell the aitjunienl, were to forstalle 
And sour the licquour of our swcete conceate ; 
Here are good fellowes that will tell you all 
When wee begin once, you shall (juickely ha'te, 

Which if your grace will grace willi your attention, 
\'nu sliall soone sounde the depth of our invention."' 

[Tlicii follows the mock play in seven Acts.] 

" Nothin<j;, thronghont the whole yeare, was better liked and 
more pleasant than this shewe, in so mnch that, although it 
were more privately done before our selves onely or some few 
friends, yet the report of it went about all the towne, till it 
came to the Vice-chauncellours and L. Clifford's eares, who 
were very desyrous to see it acted againe, and so it was as 
heereafter shal bee specifyed. 

"The next day beeing Munday the 11 of January the terme 
should have begun in the house, but because of the extreame 
cold and froast which had now continued full six weekes and 
better without any intermission, as also by reason the hall was 
still pestered with the stage and scaffolds which were suffered 
to stand still in expectation of the Comedy, therefore it was 
agreed by the President and the officers that the terme should 
bee prorogued for 7 dayes longer in which time it was agreed 
the Comedy should bee publickely acted on Friday, the 15th 
day of January. 

" But heere the President and some of the Seniors in abun- 
dance of care were affrayd to put any thing againe to the 
publicke view of the University, because their last paines at 
The Complaint of Time had so ill thriving. Besides the season 
was so severe and tempestuous with wind and snow, which had 
continued some dayes without ceasing, and the complaint of 
the poore was so grievious for want of wood and meate, which 
by this time were growne very scant and deere, that they urged 
it was a time rather to lament and weepe than make sports in, 
whereupon a streight inhibition was sent out from the officers, 
that no man should thinke of playing that night or any time 
after, till the weather should breake up and bee more temperate, 
for they thought it no way fitt publickly to revell at a time of 
such generall wo and calamity. 

" But yet because all thinges were in a readinesse and the 
expectation of the whole towne was set uppon that night, the 
younger men of the Colledge went forward with their buisnes, 
intending to take no notice of what the officers had aggreed 
uppon, wherefore some of the officers were fayne to come in 
person to forbid the worke-men, and to undo some things which 
were already done, to the great griefe and discouragement of 
all the youth, who, though the weather was extreame cold, were 
themselves most hotte uppon the matter in hand, resolving now 
or never to recover their losse credit. 

''And, as though the heavens had favoured their designes, 
so it happened that about noone the weather brake up and it 


begann to thaw, whereiippon the President was agayne impor- 
tuu'd by the Prince himselfe and his councell for the performance 
of the Comedy that night ; who (seeing they were all so earnest) 
did not so much graunt, as not deny them, their request, where- 
uppon they begann againe to sett forward the buisnes, and what 
they wanted in time they made up by their willingnesse and 
paynes, so that for all these crosses they begann the play before 
7 a clocke and performed it in manner following : 





Motus Locus. 

Quies \'acuum. 

rhilomathes. Sophia. 

Chrysophilos, Senex Avarus. Anlarchia. 

Phantasta, Stolidus Gencrosus. iVnthadia. 

A0ooj'ioc, Filius Chrysophili. Anrea, Mulicr Inupta. 

Chrestophilos, Socius Philomathis. 
Crito, Senex, Pater SophiLt. 
Ciitonis Seruus. 
Cerdoos, Seruus Chrysophili. 
Petinus, Seruus Phantastce. 

" This play was very well acted, but especially the Chorus, the 
stage was never more free, the audience never more quiett and 
contented, so that they went away many of them crieing — 
Abitudc salisfactiiiii est! itt was so well liked and applauded 
of all that saw itt. 

" Here the stage & scaffold were pul'd downe which had 
stood from Cristmas, and it was resolved that upon the 
chaunge of the weather, the terme should begin on the 
Munday following. 

" But in the meane time on Sunday nighte, being the Seven- 
teenth of January, the Vice-chancelor, and the L. Clifford, with 
many other Doctors and Gentlemen were invited to supper in 
the President's lodging, where after supper they were enter- 
tained with a shew before mentioned, to witt, The Sei'cii Daves 
ill llie ]]\'eke, to which, by this time, there was somewhat added, 
but not much : all was most kindly accepted, and the nighte was 
spent in great mirth. For the straungenes of the matter, and 
rarity of the fashion of their action pleased above expectation. 

" At the end of this shew for the more rarity, there was one 
brought in my Lord's Stockes with this speech made uppon itt : 

" * My Lord, I which am the lowest, am now become the 
lowdest, though (I hope) not the lewdest of your Lordshippe's 


servaimtes. And though I come pridic Calcndas, before I am 
cald, yet (I hope) my audacity shaU liave audience, and my 
faithfuhies favor. I am your Lordshippe's Elephaunt and 
heere is your castell, so that where other Lords are brought 
to their castells, heere your castell is brought to you. Est locus 
ill carccre, there is a locke upon your Lordshippe's castell, which 
was committed unto my trust, how faithfull I have been therein 
they can tell who have taken an exact measure of my ofhce by 
the foote : the matter of which your castell is builded is so 
precious, that there is none amongst company but is contented 
to wear of it within his buttons, the end for which it was builded 
is very commendable, that they may bee kepte in order with 
wood, which otherwise would not bee kepte in order, heere 
is fans latus pcdibus tribns, a fountaine to wash three mens legs, 
that they which have bene aiirinin Iciins, over shoes, heere may 
be cniniin tcniis over bootes too. This your Lordshippe's oracle 
or Tripos, out of which malefactors tell the truth and foretell 
of their amendment. Nay, I wil bee bould to compare it to 
your Lordshippe's braine, for what is there designed is heere 
executed. In these sells or ventricles are fancy, understanding, 
and memory. For such as your Lordshippe doth not fancy are 
put in the first hole, such as were dull and without under- 
standing were put in the second hole, but such as your 
Lordshippe threatned (remember this) or I'le remember you, 
were put in the last and lowest dungeon, cum neuiini obtrudi 
potest itnr ad inc. When they cannot bee ruled otherwise they 
are brought unto mee, and my entertainment is strata discuni- 
bitur astro, they straite sett downe att this oister table, where they 
are fast and doe fast, ffor vinitur cxij:^uo uicUiis, they make small 
meales, till the flames of clemency doe mitigate the Salamanders 
of your Lordshippe's severity. Now, my Lord, since I have 
told you what I am, I will bee bold to tell you what you may 
bee — You are mortall — Ergo you must die, the three sisters will 
not spare you, though you were their owne brother, and there- 
fore while you have your good witts about you, fac quid vobis, 
make your will, that wee may know amongst so many well 
deserving men, that doe lay claime to this your castell, to 
whome as rightfull heire itt shall lawfully descend, that 
so all controversies being ended, before your Lordshippe's 
deceasse, hereafter your bones may ly, and wee your subjects 
live, in all rest and quietnes. 

" ' Dixi.' 

" To make an end of this nighte's sporte, all departed merry 
and very well pleased, the actors were much commended, and 
the terme for their sakes prorogued one day longer. 

" On the Thursday following the Prince was solemnly invited 
by the Canons of Christchurch to a comedy called Yiilctide, 
where many thinges were either ill ment by them, or ill taken 
by us, but wee had very good reason to think the former, both 



for that the whole towne thought so, and the whole play was 
a medley of Christmas sportes, by which occasion Christmas 
Lords were much jested at, and our Prince w^as soe placed that 
many thinges were acted upon him, but yet, Mr. Deane him- 
self e, then vice-chancelor, very kindly sent for the Prince and 
some others of our howse, ancl laboured to satisfie us, protesting 
that no such thing was mente, as was reported, whereupon wee 
went away contented, and forebore the speaking of many things 
which otherwise were afterwards intended, for aunswering of 
them in their owne kind. 

" On Candlemas nightc it was thoughte by our selves, and 
reported in the towne, that the Prince should resigne his 
place, but nothing being in readines for that purpose itt was 
deferred, but yet, least nothing should bee clone, there was a 
Vigilate (as they terme it) a watching nighte procured by the 
Prince ancl his Counsell, and graunted by the officers of the 
Colledge, which was performed in manner following. 


" First, about eighte of the Clocke (for then itt was to begin, 
and to continue till fowre in the morning) the Colledge gates 
were shutt, and all the students summon'd by the sounding of a 
Trumpett three times, to make their personall appearance in the 
greate Hall, where after they were all come together, that the 
Prince's pleasure might bee the better knowne, this proclama- 
tion was publikely pronounced by a Serjeant att Armes, in 
the hearing of them all. 

"The high and mighty Thomas by the favour of Fortune Prince 
of Alba Fortunata, Lord St. Johns, High Regent of the 
Hall, &c. To all Presidents, Vice Presidents, Oflicers, 
Readers, Masters, Batchelors, Felowes, SchoUers, Com- 
moners, Under-commoners, Servaunts, Scruitors, sendeth 
Whereas of late by the turbulent spirits of seditious minded 
persons hath bene buzzed into the eares of many of our loving 
and liege subjectes a fearefull and dangerous report of our 
sudden downefall, which according to their libelling speeches 
should att this nighte fall upon us — We ha\"e thought it 
necessary not so much for our owne feares which are none 
at all, as for satisiieing and strengthening our welmeaning 
friends in their love and duty, to publish and by these presents 
to all our loyal subjects of what state and condicion soever, 
that they make their personall appearance to the setting and 
furnishing of a most strong guarde ancl carefull watch as well 
for their security as the safety of our owne royall person, & 
the whole Common-wealth ; In the which generall watch for 
the better comfort and ease of all men, our selfe, with our 
honourable privy Counsell, and the rest of our Nobility, intend 
to bee personally present. 


" But because wee are no way minded to ojipresse any man 
above his power, on our princely bounty, wee give licence to 
such as (for age or infirmity) are not able to perform that duty, 
to forfaite for their absence, yf they plead age ijs. vi''. ; if 
intirmity, xii''., towards the furnishing of his Highnes with a 
tall and sufficient watchman. 

" Now 4-»ecause that which wee have wisely thought, and for 

om- peace and safety, may not proove the cause of new troubles 

and dissentions, wee have thought good to adjoine some few 

cautions, in way of admonitions to bee observed. 

" First, for that the disorders of an unruly and mutinous watch 

doe often open as it were the gate of danger and outrage, 

our princely will and pleasure is, that each man keepe his 

station with out murmuring, performing cheerefully all such 

offices and duties, as shal bee lawfully enjoin'd by us, or 

our offices, upon paine of forfeiting ijs. vi"., as for age. 

" Secondly, because sloth is a kind of disease in a well-ordered 

Common-wealth wee further charge and command by the 

vertue of our absolute authority, that no man bee found 

winking, or pincking, or nodding, much lesse snorting, 

upon paine of forfaiting twelve pence, as for infirmity. 

" Thirdly, for the avoiding of a sudden dearth, or lingring famine 

which may ensue and justly follow the free and undoubted 

liberty of a riotous and luxurious time, yt is by us thought 

necessary that no man should in hugger mugger eate or 

drincke more than is publickly scene and allowed by the 

face of the body civill and politicke, upon paine of paieing 

twise, for such is in a manner stolen provision, and the 

second paiement to bee arbitrary. 

" Given att our Mannor of Whites-hall, the seacond of 
February, and in the first of our Raigne. 

" This proclamation being read and set up in the great hall, 
the Prince called for his officers and servants about him, 
charging every man carefully to execute his office. First the 
steward and buttler (who for their auncient fidelity kept their 
places according as they had long before lx;ene appointed by 
the Colledge) were commaunded to bring their bookes, and by 
tliem to call up all the howse, whereupon (every one beeing first 
charged to aunswere to his name) it presently appeared who 
were present and who were absent. 

'' After this the Master of the Revels and the Knight Marshall 
were willed to appoint severall sportes that> no man might bee 
scene idle upon payne of the Prince's high displeasure where- 
upon presently some w^ent to cardes, some to dice, some to 
dauncing, everv one to some thing. 

" Not long after, for more variety sake, there was brought in 
a maske ; the devise was sudden and extempore, videl : a little 
page attired in his long coats, with these six verses which were 
spoke as soone as he entered the hall. 


" These are six carpet knights, and I one page 
Can easily bring in six that bee of age, 
They come to visile this your highnes court, 
And if they can, to make your honour sport. 
Nay, this is all, for I have scene the day 
A richer maske had not so much to say. 

"After these maskers had finished the measures, , and some 
few other damices, the said page waved them forth with his 
wan, and spake these two verses : 

" There are three they say would shew you an anticke, 
But when you see them, you'll thinke them franticke. 

" Then tliere came in three in an anticke which were wcU 
attyred for that purpose, and daunced well to the great dclitc 
of the beholders. 

" After these had stoUen away one by one, as the manner is, 
it pleased the Prince to aske what was a clocke, it beeing 
aunswered almost twelve hee presently called in for supper. 
But iirst the bill of those which were before noted to bee 
absent was called, to see whether any of them would yet 
appeare, and the Prince would deale favourably with them. It 
was also examined whether any of those which were present 
before were now gon to bed, and accordingly authority was 
given by the Prince to the marshalls of the hall and other 
officers to search the chambers for sleepers, and where they 
made aunswere to aske the reason of their slothfull neglect or 
wilfull contempt of the Prince's commands, and if they pleaded 
either iniirmity or age to take their tine, and so quietly to 
depart, first causing them faithfull to give their words that they 
harboured no other idle or suspicious parsons. But if they 
knoct at any of the chambers of those that were absent and 
nobody would answer, then they had full authority to breake 
open the dores and to make a privy search, and if they found 
any abed they tooke them as they wxre in their shirts and 
carryed them downe in state to the hall after this maimer : — 
" First went the marshals with lights to make room. 

Then came one squire carrying the goune of him whom they 
brought and another that carryed his hatt & band. 

Then came two other squires whereof one carryed his dtiblct 
the other his breeches. 

Then came two with lights. 

Next came he that was in his shirt carryed by two in a chaire 
and covered with a blanket. 

Last behind came one squire more that carryed his slioes & 

"All these beeing entered the hall, the squires made their 
attendance about him, with great observance, every one 
reaching him his apparrell as it pleased him to call for it, and 
then also helping him on with it. And this was the punishment 
of those that were found a bed. 


" Others which were found up in their chambers & would 
not answer were violently brought downe with bills and staves 
as malefactors and by the Knight Marshals appointment were 
committed close prisoners to the Prince's castle, videl. the 
stocks, which were placed upon a table to that purpose, that 
those which were punished might bee scene to the terrour of 

" By this time supper was ready and the sewer called to the 
dresser whereupon the buttery bell was presently rung, as it 
uses to bee at other ordinary meales, besides a trumpet was 
sounded at the kitchen hatch to call the wayters together. 

"After the first messe was served in, the Prince with the rest 
of his counccll satt downe, then all the rest of the howse in 

'* Towardes the end of supper two gentlemen of the second 
table fell out, wee could never distinctly know about what, it 
was verely supposed themselves scarsly knew, but from wordes 
they fell suddenly to blowes, and ere any man was aware, one 
of them had stabbed the other into the arme with his knife to 
the great prejudice of the mirth, which should or would have 
followed that night. But the offender was presently appre- 
hended (and though a gentleman of some worth) put into my 
Lord's stocks, where hee lay most part of that night with shame 
and blame enough. And yet for all that punisliment the next 
day he was convented before the ofticers of the Colledgc, and 
there agayne more grievously pimished ; for the fault was much 
agravated by the circumstances of the time, place and person 
that was hurt, who wns a very worshipfuU knight's sonne and 

"After this the Prince with some of the better sort of the 
howse beein^g much disconted with the mischaunce that had 
happened, retyred themselves into the president lodging, where 
privatly they made themselves merry, with a wassail called the 
live bells of- Magdalen Church, because it was an auncient note 
of those bells, that they were almost never silent. This shew 
for the better grace of the night was performed by some of the 
Masters and officers themselves in manner following : 

" Killer the Gierke of Ma<>tlaleiis alone, 

" Your kind acceptance of the late devise 
Presented by St. Gyles's clerke, my neighbour, 
Hath hartned niee to furnish in a trice 
This nights up sitting with a two houres labour : 

For any thing I hope, though ne're so naghty 

Wil be accepted in a \'igilate. 

I have observed as your sportes did passe all 

(A fault of mine to bee too curious) 

The twelfe night sliptaway without a wassail, 

A great defect, to custome most injurious : 

Which I to mend have done my best endeavmir 
To bring it in, for better lale than never. 


And more, for our more tuneable proceeding, 

I have ta'ne downe the five bells in our towre, 

Which will performe it, if you give them heeding, 

Most musically, though they ring an houre. — 

Now I go in to oyle my bells and pruin them, 

When I come downe He bring them downe & tune them. 


" After a while he returned with five others presenting his 
iive bells, and tyed with five bell-ropes, which after he had 
pulled one by one, they all began a peale, and sang in Latin as 
foUoweth : — 

" Jam sumus la,'tis dapibus repleti, 
Copiam vobis ferimus fluentem, 
Gaudium voltis canimus jocose 

Mvite ]xU. 

Te deum dicunt (venerande Bacche) 
Te deum dicunt (reverenda mater) 
Vos graves vobis removete luctus : 

Vivite \x\.\. 

Dat Ceres vires, hominumque firmat 
Corpora, et Bacchus pater ille vini 
Liberal curis animos molestis : 

Vivite Lv'ti. 

Ne dolor vestros animos fatiget, 
Vos jubet laeta ha?c reniovere curas 
Turba, la;tari feriixque suadent 

Vivite l?eti. 

En Ceres Icetce segctis creatrix, 

Et pater vini placidique somni 

Pocula haec vobis hilares ministrant 

o ' monarcha 

hume • ■ , 

( magister. 

BibiDit oiinics oniine diwi, adores hire ttltima carmitia so'/ii/s lept'tiiut : inox 
singidi toti convciitui sic ordine gratitlantitr. 

Tenor. Reddere fvlicem si quemquam copia possit 
Copia f L-licis nomen haljere jubet, 
Copia lix'tc jubet tristcs depellere curas, 
Copia quam cingit Bacchus et alma Ceres. 

Counter, (^uem non dclcctant moderate pocula sumpta ? 

Tenor. Cujus non animum dulcia vina juvant ? 

Dulcia vina juvant dulcem dant vina soporcm, 
Magnificas ornant dulcia vina dapes. 

Meane. Erugibus alma Ceres mortalia pcctora nutrit, 
Exornant campurn frugibus alma Ceres. 
Si cuiquam desint Cerelia dona, nee illi 
Len:vi patris munera grata placent. 

Nee vobis Cereris nee Bacchi munera desint, 
Annuat et votis Jupiter ipse meis. 

Treble. Alma Ceres vestris epulis lastatur, et ecce 
Copia cum Baccho gaudia laita canunt 

Mox oDines cant antes Exeunt, 


(laiulium Ix'tuni canimus, canemus 
Hoc idem semper, nee eiiini doleic 
Jam licet, hvta' feri;v hie at^iintur 

\'ivite leti. 

Sa'pius nobis leriie revertant, 
Sa?pius vinum liceal potare, 
Saepius vohis hilares canamus 

X'ivite kx'ti. 

" This then was suddenly and extempore clapt to.ijether for 
want of a better, but notwithstanding^ was as wiUin^t^dy and 
cliearefully receaved as it was proferd. 

" By this time it w^as foure a clocke and hberty was given to 
every one to goe to bed or stay up as long as they pleased. 
The Prince with his councell brake up their watch, so did most 
of the Masters of the house, but the younger sort stayed up 
till prayers time, and durst not goe to bed for feare of one 
another. For some, after they had licence to depart, were 
fetcht out of their beds by their fellowes, and not suffered to 
put on their clothes till they came into the hall. And thus the 
day came and made an end of the night's sport. 

" On the sixt of February, beeing egge Satterday, it pleased 
some gentlemen schollers in the towne to make a dauncing 
night of it. They had provided many new and curious daunces 
for the maske of Penelope's Woers, but the yeare beeing far 
spent and Lent drawing on and many other thinges to bee per- 
formed, the Prince was not able to bestow that state upon them 
which their love & skill deserved. But their good will was 
very kindely received by the Prince in this night's private 
travels. They had some apparell suddenly provided for them, 
and these few Latin verses for their induction : 

" Isti fuere credo Penelopes proci 

(luos justa forsan ira Telemachi domo 
Expulit Ulyssis. 

" After all this sport was ended the Prince entertayned them 
very royally with good store of wine and a banquet, where they 
were very merry and well pleased all that night. 

'' Against the next Tuesday following, beeing Shrovetuesdaj', 
the great stage was againe set up and the scaffolds built about 
tlie hall for the Prince's resignation, which was performed that 
night with great state and solemnity in manner and forme 
tollowing : 












Philosophiis. Juridicus. 

Cynicus. Magister Ludorem. 

Alonius. Anteambulo Primus. 

Polycrates. Anteamlxtlo Secundus. 

Philadelphus. Stultiis. 

Minerva Fortiina. 

Eupliemia Tolmcea. 

" Many straungers of all sorts were invited to this shew, and 
many more came tofjether, for the name's sake only of a resig- 
nacon, to see the manner and solemnity of it, for that it was 
reported (and truly) that there was nothing els to bee done or 
seene beside the resignacon and no man thought so much could 
have beene said of so little matter. 

" The stage was never so oppressed with company, insomuch 
that it was verely thought it could not bee performed that night 
for want of roome ; but the audience was so favourable as to 
stand as close and yeeld as much backe as was possible ; so 
that for all tumults it began about 7 a clocke, and was very well 
liked of all. 

" Only some few, more upon their owne guilty suspicion than 
our plaine intention, thinking themselves toucht at that verse of 
Mom us : 

" Dixi et quern dederat cursuni fortuna peregi, 

laboured to raise an hissing, but it was soon smothered, and the 
whole company in the end gave us good applause and departed 
veiy well pleased. 

" After the shew was ended, the sometimes Lord was carried 
in state to his owne private chamber after this manner : 
First went two Squires with lights. 
Next Euphemia and Tolma^a. 
Then 3 other Squires with lightes. 
Next Minerva and Fortuna. 

Then came 4 other Squires with lightes, and in the midst of 

them 4 schollers bearing on their shoulders a tombe 

or sepulcher adorned with scutchions and little flagges, 

wherein all the Prince's honours had bene buried before. 

After this came the Prince alone in his schollers gowne and 

hood as the chiefe mourner. 
Then all the rest of his Counsell and company likewise in 

blacke gownes and hoodes, like mourners, two by two. 
'' All these were said to goe to the Temple of Minerva there 
to consecrate and erecte the sepulcher, and this state was very 
well liked of all that saw itt. 

" Heere wee thought to have made an end of all, and to have 
puld downe the scaffolds and stage, but then many said 
that so much preparacon was too much for so small a show. 
Besides there was an English Tragedy almost ready, which 


they were very earnest should bee performed, but many arj^u- 
ments were alledged a^jainst it: first, for the time, beeause it 
was neere Lent, and consequently a season uniitt for plaies — 
Secondly, the stile for that itt was Eni^lish, a lanfjuage imiitt for 
the Universitie, especially to end so much late sporte with all — 
Thirdly, the suspicon of some did more hinder it than all the 
rest, for that it was thought that some particulars were aimed 
att in the Chorus, which must needs bee distastfull — Lastly, the 
ill lucke, which wee had before with English, made many very 
loth to have anything done againe in that straine. 

" But these objections being aunswered all well as might bee, 
and faithfuU promise being made and taken that if any word 
were thought personal), it should be presently put out, the 
stage was suffered to stand, and the scaffolds somewhat 
enlarged against the Saturday following. Att which time such 
a concourse of people from all places, and of all sorts came 
together presently after dinner, that itt was thought impossible 
any thing should have beene done that night for tumults. Yet 
in the beginning such order and care was taken (everyone being 
willing att the last cast to helpe towardes the making a good 
end,) that the stage was kept voide of all company, and the 
scaffoldes were reserved for straungers and men sorte, better 
than ever they were before, so that it began very peaceably 
somewhat before six a clocke, and was performed in manner 
following : 


The Master ot the Revels. Detraction. 

The Master of the Revels Boj'. Resolution. 

Ingenuity a Doctor ot Physicke. 


Peviander, Tyrannus Corinthi. 

Cypsilus, IL^res Periandri, Stultus. 

LycophroB Prater Cypsili. 

Neotinos, Puer, Satelles Lycoph. 

Lysimachos I ,. ... ^ ^ .... „ . , . 
\ ■ .u ■ Mobiles et a Lonsi 11s 1 enanihi. 

Anstha-us ) J 


P^riterus '-Juuencs Nobiles in ^Vula Periandri. 

Symphilus ) 

Cratiea Mater Periandri. 

Melissa Uxor Periandri. 

Melissae Umbra. 

Eugenia Filia Periandri. 

Promiea I j^^j^ Meritricula; Periandri. 

Zona ) 

Larisscea Soror Philarchis. 

Europe Aristhiei Filia. 

FxmiinK Quatuor Corinthia' cum 4 or Pueris Inseruientibus 

Arion Celebris Musicus. 

Nanta: Quatuor. 

Cines Duo Togati. 

Vigiles Duo. 


Calistus \ 

Stratocles - Satellites Periandri. 

Borius ) 

Tres Aut 4 or Alij Satellites. 


" Gentlemen, welcome ! our great promises 
Wee would make upp, your selves must needs confesse, 
But our small timbred actors, narrow roome, 
Necessity of thrifte make all short come 
Of our fir^t apprehensions ; wee must keepe 
Our auntient customes though wee after creepe. 
But wee forgett times limitts, Nowe tis Lente — 
Old store this weeke may lawfully be spente 
Our former shewes were giv'n to our cai'd Lorde, 
This, and att his request, for you was storde. 
By many hands was Periander slaine. 
Your gentler hands will give him live againe. 


"A certain gentlewoman, upon the hearing of these two last 
verses, made two other verses, and in way of an aunswer sent 
them to the Prince, who having lirst plaied Periander after- 
wards himselfe also pronounced the Epilogue. 

'' The verses were these 

If that my hand or hart him life could give, 
By hand and hart should Periander live. 

" But it is almost incredible to thinke how well this Tragedy- 
was performed of all parties, and how well liked of the whole, 
which (as many of them as were within the hall) were very 
quiet and attentive. But those that were without and could 
not get in made such an hideous noice, and raised such a 
tumult with breaking of windows all about the colledge, throw- 
inge of stones into the hall and such like ryott, that the officers 
of the coll : (beeing iirst dar'd to appeare) were faine to rush 
forth in the beginning of the play, with about a dozen whitlers 
well armed and swords drawne, whereat the whole company 
(which were gathered together before the chapell doore to try 
whether they could breake it open) seeing them come behind 
them out of the lodging, presently gave backe, and ranne away 
though itt was thought they were" not so few as 4 or 500. 

" The officers gave some faire words and some fowle as they 
saw occasion, the whiflers were very heedfuU to marke who were 
the ringleaders of the rest, and having some notice given of 
them by some of our friendes, thev took some of them and 
committed them to the Porter's lodge, where they lay close 
prisoners till the play was done, and" then thev were brought 
forth and punished, and so sente home. 

"After this all was quiet only some were so thrust in the hall, 
that they were carried forth for dead but soone recovered, 
when they came into the aire. 


'' The Chorus of this Traticd}' much pleased for the rarity of 
it. Dclractiou heeing taken from among the company, where 
hee had hked to have been beaten for his sawsines (as it was 
supposed) for nobody at first toke liim for an actor. The 
chiefest in the hall commaunded that notice should be taken of 
him, that hee might afterwards bee punished for his boldnes ; — 
but as soone as it at once appeared that he was an actor, their 
disdaine and anger turned to much pleasure and content. 

" All were so pleased att the whole course of this play, that 
there were at least eight generall plaudites given in the midst 
of it in divers places and to divers persons. 

" In the end, they clapped their hands so long, that they went 
forth of the colledge clapping. 

" But in the midst of all this good liking wee were neere two 
mischaunces, the one. from Lycophron who lost a faire gold 
ring from his finger, which notwithstanding all the hurleburly 
in the end of the play, was soone found againe ; the other from 
Periander, who, going to kill his daughter Eugenia, did not 
so couch his dagger within his hand, but that hee prickt her 
through all her attire, but (as God would have it) it was onely a 
scratch and so it passed. 


'' IManv other thinges were in this yeare intended which neither 
were nor could be performed. As the maske of Penelope's 
Wooer, with the State of Telemachus, with a Controversie of Jrus 
and his ragged Company, whereof a great parte was made. The 
devise of the Embassage from Lubber-land, whereof also a parte 
was made. The Creation of White Knights of the order of 
Aristotle's Well, which should bee sworne to defend Aristotle 
against all authors, water against wine, footemen against horse- 
men, and many more such like injunctions. A lottery for those 
of the colledge or straungers as itt pleased them to draw, not 
for matters of wealth, but only of mirth and witt. The triumph 
of all the founders of the colledges in Oxford, a devise much 
thought on, but it required more invention, more cost than the 
time would affoord. The holding of a court leet and baron 
for the Prince, wherein there should have beene leasses drawne, 
copies taken, surrenders made, all which were not so much 
neglected as prevented by the shortnes of time and want of 
money, better wits and richer dales may hereafter make upp 
which was then lefte unperfect. 

" Here some letters might be inserted, and other gratulatory 
messages from divers friends to the Prince, but it is high time 
to make an end of this tedious and fruitelesse relation, unlesse 
the knowledge of trouble and vanity bee fruitefull. 

" Wee intended in these exercises the practise and audacity 
of our youth, the credit and good name of our colledge, the 
love and favor of the University ; but instead of all these (so 
easie a thing it is to be deceived in a good meaning) wee met 


with peevishnesse at home, perversncs abroad, contradictions 
everywhere ; some never thought themselves entreated enough 
to their owne good and creditt ; others thought themselves able 
to doe nothing if they could not thwarte and hinder some- 
thing ; most stood by and gave aime, willing to see much and 
doe nothing, nay perchaunce they were ready to procure most 
trouble, which would bee sure to yield least helpe. And yet 
wee may not so much grudge at faults at home as wee may 
justly complaine of hard measure abroad ; for instead of the 
love and favour of the Universitie, wee found our selves (wee will 
say justly) taxed for any the least error (though ingenious spirits 
would have pardoned many things, where all things were in- 
tended for their owne pleasure) but most unjustly censured, 
and envied for that which was done (wee dare sav) indifferently 
well : so that, in a word, wee paide deere for trouble, and in 
a manner hired and sent for men to doe us wrong. 

" Let others herafter take heed how they attemptc the like, 
unlesse they find better meanes at home, and better mindes 
abroad. And yet wee cannot complaine of all, some ment well 
and said well, and those tooke good will for good paiment, 
good endevors for good performaunce, and such (in this kind) 
shall deserve a private favour, when other shal bee denied a 
common benefitt. 

'^ Serin 7'ix rcctc agiiosdt, qui Iiidicm ncscit. 

" FIXIS." 

Christmas Tournaments. 

During the reign of James the First there was a revival of 
chivalric exercises, especially in connection with the training of 
the young Prince Henry. Almost as soon as he could wield a 
lance and manage his horse when clothed in complete armour, 
he insisted on taking his place at the lists ; and from this time 
no great tournament took place in England in which his Koyal 
Highness did not take part. The most important of these 
exhibitions was 

The Grand " Feat of Armes " 

which took place on Twelfth Night, 1610, at the palace of 
Whitehall, in the presence of King James I. and his queen, and 
a brilliant assemblage of lords, ladies, and gentlemen, among 
whom were several foreign ambassadors, when the heir-appa- 
rent, Prince Henry, was in the i6th year of his age, and 
therefore arrived at the period for claiming the principality 
of Wales and the duchy of Cornwall. It was granted to him 
by the king and the High Court of Parliament, and the 4th of 
June following appointed for his investiture: "the Christmas 
before which," Sir Charles Cornwallis says, " his highnesse, not 
onely for his owne recreation, but also that the world might 


kiimv what a brave prince they were likely to enjoy, nnder the 
name of Meliades, lord c^f the isles, (an ancient title due to the 
lirst born of Scotland,) did, in his name, by some appointed for 
the same purpose, strangely attired, accompanied with drummes 
and trumpets, in the presence, before the king and queene, and 
in the presence of the whole Court, deliver a challenge to all 
knights of Great Britiiine." The challenge was to this effect, 
" That Meliades, their noble master, burning with an earnest desire 
to trie the valour of his young yeares in foraigne counfrycs, and 
to know where vertue triumphed most, had sent them abroad to 
espy the same, who, after their long travailes in all countreys, 
and returne," had nowhere discovered it, " save in the for- 
tunate isle of Great Britaine : which ministring matter of 
exceeding joy to their young Meliades, who (as they said) could 
lineally derive his pedegree from the famous knights of this 
isle, was the cause that he had now sent to present the hrst 
fruits of his chivalrie at his majesties' feete : then after return- 
ing with a short speech to her majestic, next to the earles, 
lords, and knights, excusing their lord in this their so sudden 
and short warning, and, lastly, to the ladies ; they, after humble 
delivery of their chartle concerning time, place, conditions, 
number of weapons and assailants, tooke their leave, departing 
solemnly as they entered." 

Then preparations began to be made for this great hght, and 
each was happy who found himself admitted for a defendant, 
much more an assailant. " At last to encounter his highness, 
six assailants, and hfty-eight defendants, consisting of earles, 
barons, knights, and esquires, were appointed and clrosen ; 
eight defendants to one assailant, every assailant being to light 
by turnes eight several times fighting, two every time with push 
and pike of sword, twelve strokes at a time ; after which, the 
barre for separation was to be let downe until a fresh onset." 
The summons ran in these words : 

"To our verie loving good fircind sir Gilbert Loughton, knight, geave iheis with 

speed : 
" After our hartie connnendacions unto you. The prince, his highnes, hath 
commanded us to signilie to you that whereas he doth intend to make a challenge 
in his ovvne person at the Barriers, with six other a*isi*itants, to bee performed 
some tyme this Christmas ; and that he hath made choice of you for one of the 
defendants (whereof wee have comandement to give you knowledge), that 
therup])on you may so repaire hither to prepare yourselfe, as you may bee iitt to 
attcntl him. Hereunto expecting your speedie answer wee rest, from Whitehall 
this 25lh of December, 1609. Your very loving friends, 

Nottingham. T. E. Worcester." 

On New Year's Day, 16 10, or the day after, the Prince's 
challenge was proclaimed at court, and " his higlmesse, in his 
own lodging, in the Christmas, did feast the earles, barons, and 
knights, assailants and defendants, until the great Twelfth 
appointed night, on which this great fight was to be performed." 

On the 6th of January, in the evening, "the barriers" were 
held at the palace of VVhitehall, in the presence of the king 


and queen, the ambassadors of Spain and Venice, and the peers 
and ladies of the land, with a multitude of others assembled in 
the banquetting-house : at the upper end whereof was the 
king's chair of state, and on the right a sumptuous pavilion for 
the prince and his associates, whence, " with great bravery and 
ingenious devices, they descended into the middellof the roome, 
and there the prince performed his hrst feates of amies, that is 
to say, at Barriers, against all commers, being assisted onlie with 
six others, viz., the duke of Lenox, the earle of Arundell, the 
earle of Southampton, the lord Hay, sir Thomas Somerset, and 
sir Richard Preston, w'ho was shortly afterwards created lord 

To answer these challengers came hfty-six earles, barons, 
knights, and esquiers. They were at "the lower end of the 
roome, where was erected a very delicat and pleasant place, 
where in privat manner they and their traine remained, which 
was so very great that no man imagined that the place could 
have concealed halfe so many." Thence they issued in comely 
order, ** to the middell of the roome, where sate the king and 
the queene, and the court, to behold the barriers, with the 
several showes and devices of each combatant." Every chal- 
lenger fought with eight several defendants two several combats 
at two several weapons, viz. at push of pike, and with single 
sword. " The prince performed this challenge with wonderous 
skill and courage, to the great joy and admiration of the 
beholders," he " not being full sixteene yeeres of age until the 
19th of February." These feats, and other " triumphant 
shewes," began before ten o'clock at night, and continued until 
three o'clock in the morning, " being Sonday." The speeches 
at " the barriers " w^ere written by Ben Jonson. The next day 
(Sunday) the prince rode in great pomp to convoy the king to 
St. James', whither he had invited him and all the court to 
supper, the queen alone being absent ; and then the prince 
bestowed prizes to the three combatants best deserving ; namely, 
the Earl of Montgomery, Sir Thomas Darey (son of Lord 
Darey), and Sir Robert Gourdon. Thus ended the Twelftide 
court festivities in 1610. 

During the early years of James's reign tournaments divided 
with masques the favour of the Court ; and, as we have just 
seen when Prince Henry reached his sixteenth year, he put 
himself forth in a more heroic manner than usual with princes 
of his time to engage in " feats of amies " and chivalric exer- 
cises ; but after his death (161 2) these sports fell quite out of 
fashion, and George Wither, a poet of the period, expresses, in 
the person of Britannia, the feelings of the nation : — 

" Alas ! who now shall grace my tournaments, 
Or honour nie with deeds of chivalry? 
What shall become of all my merriments, 
My ceremonies, shows of heraldry, 
And other rites ? " 



Religious matters received a s^ood deal of attention from 
James I. in the later years of his reign, and his Majesty's 
proposals raised the question of the observance of 

Thk Christmas Festival ix Scotlaxd. 

In 1617 the King made a journey to Scotland with the 
object of establishing the English Church in all its forms 
and authority as the State Church of Scotland for ever. One 
of the famous Five Articles in which the King set forth his 
will proposed " That the festivals of Christmas, Good Friday, 
Easter, Ascension Day, and Whit Sunday, should be ob- 
served in Scotland just as in England." The Articles w^ere 
received with unequivocal marks of displeasure, many of the 
churches refusing to obey the royal command, and the 
revival of the festival of Christmas was denounced as the return 
of the ancient Saturnalia. Three years later the King obtained 
an Act of Parliament enforcing the Articles on the repugnant 
spirit of the people. " Dr. Laud, whose name we now meet 
for the first time, afterwards to become so notorious, even 
ui-ged James to go further lengths ; but his fatal advice was 
destined to act with more force on the next generation."' 

The King returned to London very much displeased with the 
religious views of his Scotch subjects, and his sourness seems 
to have manifested itself even at Christ mastide, for on December 
2oth of this year Mr. Chamberlaine thus wrote to Sir Dudley 
Caileton : "The King hath been at Theobald's ever since 
\W'dnesday, and came to town this day. I am sorry to hear 
that he grows every day more froward, and with such a kind of 
morosity, that doth either argue a great discontent in mind, or 
a distemper of humours in his bodv. Yet he is never so out of 
tune but the very sight of my Lord of Buckingham doth settle 
and quiet all."- 

Cassell's " History uf England.' 

- Nichols's " Progresses. 


So soothed and softened was the Kuv^ by " my Lord of 
Buckingham " that Mr. Chamberlaine, writ'ing again on the 3rd 
of January, says that on New Year's Day the earl was created 
" Marquis of Buckingham, a dignity the King hath not be- 
stowed since his coming to this crown." And, says the same 
writer, "This night was the Lord Marquiss's [Buckingham's] 

Fe.\st, where were the Kixg .\xd Prin'ce, 

with Lords and Ladies sans minbrc. You may guess at the 
rest of the cheer by this scanthng, that there were said to be 
seventeen dozen of pheasants, and twelve partridges in a dish 
throughout ; which methinks was rather spoil than largess ; 
yet for all the plenty of presents, the supper cost ^600. Sir 
Thomas Edmondes undertook the providing and managing of 
all, so that it was much after the French. The King was 
exceedingly pleased, and could not be satisfied with commend- 
ing the meat and the Master ; and yet some stick not to say, 
that young Sir Henry Mildmay, a son of George Brooke, that 
was executed at Winchester, and a son of Sir William Monson's, 
begins to come into consideration." 

The Failixg Health oe the Kixg 

interfered somewhat with the celebration of the subsequent 
Royal Christmases of this reign ; and Nichols, referring to the 
Court celebrations of Twelfth Day, 1620-1, says : 

" ' On Twelfth Day the King went to Chappel, but they liad 
much ado to support him. He offered gold, frankincence, and 
myrrhe, and touched 80 of the evil.' ' In the evening 'the 
French Ambassador and his choise followers were brought to 
court by the Earle of Warwick to be present at a Maske ; he 
seated as before with the King, the better sort of the other on a 
fourme behind the Lords, the Lord Treasurer onely and the 
Marquesse of Hamilton sitting at the upper end of it, and all 
the rest in a box, and in the best places of the scaffolds on the 
right hand of his Majesty. No other Ambassadors were at 
that time present or invited.'" 

As to 

The Christmas Festivities 

of the next year (1621-2) Nichols ^ says Mr. Meade wrote thus 
to Sir Martin Stuteville : — 

" ' The Lieutenant of Middle Temple played a game this 
Christmas-time, whereat his Majesty was highly displeased. 
He made choise of some thirty of the civillest and best- 
fashioned gentlemen of the House to sup with him ; and, being 
at supper, took a cup of wine in one hand, and held his sword 
drawn in the other, and so began a health to the distressed 

Camden's Annals." 2 (< p 



Lady Elizabeth [the Queen of Bohemia], and having drunk, 
kissed his sword, and laying his hand upon it, took an oath to 
Hve and die in her service ; then delivered the cup and sword 
to the next, and so the health and ceremonie went round. 

" ' The Gentlemen of Graye's Inne, to make an end of Christ- 
mas on Twelfe-night, in the dead time of the night, shot off 
all the chambers they had borrowed from the Tower, being as 
many as tilled four carts. The King, awakened with this noise, 
started out of his bed, and cryed, "Treason, treason," &c., and 
that the Cittie was in an uprore, in such sort (as it is told) that 
the whole court was raised and almost in armes, the Earle of 
Arundell running to the Bed-chamber with his sword drawne as 
to rescue the King's person.' " 

In this reign many accomplished writers assisted in the 
Christmas festivities. Professor Henry Morley ^ mentions that 
in December, 1623, the name of Philip Massinger, poet and 
dramatist, tirst appeared in the office book of the Master of the 
Revells, when his '' Bondman " was acted, and the play was 
hrst printed in 1624. 

King James I. died at Theobald's, Herts, on the 27th March, 
1625, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

King James I. and Bishop Axdrewes on Christmas D.-ws. 

The remarkable fact that Bishop Andrewes preached seven- 
teen sermons on the Nativity before James I. gives an unusual 
interest to the Christmas Day services of this reign. Nichols 
makes the following references to them : — 

1605. " On Christmas Day the King attended Divine Service 
at Whitehall, where Dr Lancelot Andrews, then recently 
promoted to the Bishoprick of Chichester, preached before his 
Majesty, on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, ii. 16." 

1606. '' On Christmas Day, the King attended Divine Service 
at Whitehall, where Bishop Andrews, now decidedly the King's 
favourite Preacher, discoursed on Esaias i.x. 6." 

1607. " On Thursday, being Christmas Day, the King attended 
Divine Service at Whitehall, and there heard Bishop Andrews 
preach on i Tim. iii. 16." 

1609. " Monday, December 25, being Christmas Day, the 
King attended Divine Service at Whitehall, and there heard 
the Bishop of Elv, Dr. Andrews, on Galat. iv. 4, 5." In a note 
Nichols says : "This sermon was much admired by the King. 
This was probably the reason that it was printed in 16 10, 
together with that the Bishop preached on the same occasion 
in that year, under the following title : ' Two Sermons preached 
before the King's Majestic at Whitehall ; of the Birth of Christ ; 
the one on Christmas Day, anno 1609, the other on Christmas 
Day last, anno 16 10. By the Bishop of Elie, his Majestie's 

' "Library of English Literature." 


Almoner. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to 
the King's most excellent Majestie, anno 1610.' " 

1610. " On Tuesday, the 25th December, Christmas Day, the 
King attended Divine Service at Whitehall, where Bishop 
Andrews preached on Luke ii. 9, 10." 

161 1. " On Christmas Day the King attended Divine Service 
at Whitehall and Bishop Andrews preached on John. i. 14." 

161 2. " On Friday, 25th December, Christmas Day was kept 
as usual at Whitehall ; where the King attended Divine Service, 
and Bishop Andrews (as usual) preached." 

1613. " Saturdav, 25th December, being Christmas Day, was 
kept with the usual solemnities ; the King attended Divine 
service at Whitehall, and Bishop Andrews preached." 

1614. " His Majesty returned to keep Christmas Day, as was 
customary, at Whitehall. Bishop Andrews addressed him from 
the pulpit as usual." 

1615. '' ' On Christmas Day, the King, being sorely troubled 
with the gout, was not able to go to Divine service ; but heard 
a sermon in private, and took the Sacrament.' The Preacher 
was, as usual, Bishop Andrews." 

1616. " On Christmas Day, Thomas, Earl of Arundel, who 
was educated from his youth in the Popish Religion, and had 
lately travelled all over Italy detesting the abuses of the Papists, 
embraced the Protestant religion, and received the Sacrament 
in the King's Chapel at Whitehall, where Bishop Andrews 
preached, as was customary, a sermon suited to the Festival of 
the Nativity." 

1618. "On the 25th [December], Bishop Andrews resumed 
his po^t as preacher on Christmas Day, before the King at 
Wliitehall. His text was from Luke ii. 12, 13." 

1619. " Christmas was kept by the King at Whitehall, as had 
ever been his practice ; and Bishop Andrews preached then 
before him, on Saturday, the 25th." 

16^0. " During the month of December, before the King left 
the country, he knighted at Newmarket, Sir Francis Michell, 
afterward degraded in June 162 1 ; and at Theobalds, Sir Gilbert 
Cornwall. On the 23rd, his Majestie * came to Westminster, 
but went not to Chappel, being prevented by the gout.' On 
Monday, the 25th, however, being Christmas Day, Bishop 
Andrews preached before him at Whitehall, on Matt. ii. i, 2 ; 
and during Christmas, Sir Clement Cotterell and Sir Henry 
Carvell were there knighted." 

1622. "On the 25th [December] Bishop Andrews resumed 
his Christmas station in the pulpit at Whitehall, and thence 
preached to the King and his Court on the same text 
as he had adopted on the same occasion two years before, 
Matt. ii. I, 2." 

1623. "The King kept inviolate his old custom of being at 
Whitehall on Christmas Day, and hearing there a sermon from 
Bishop Andrews, who this year preached on Ephes. i. 10." 



1624. " On Saturduy, the 25th of December, Bishop Andrews 
preached before his Majesty at Whitehall, on Psalm ii. 7, it 
being at least the seventeenth, as it was the last, Christmas Day 
on which King James heard that favourite preacher." 

The unique series of '* Seventeen Sermons on the Nativity, 
preached before King James I. at Whitehall, by the Right 
Honourable and Reverend Father in God, Lancelot Andrewes, 
sometime Lord Bishop of Winchester," were preserved to 
posterity by an order of Charles L, who, after Bishop Andrewes's 
death, commanded Bishops Laud and Buckeridge to collect 
and publish his sermons. This series of sermons on the 
Nativity have recently been reprinted in " The Ancient and 
Modern Library of Theological Literature," and the editor, after 
referring to the ability and integrity of Bishop Andrewes, says : 
*' An interest apart from that which must be created by his 
genius, learning, and character, belongs to him as the exponent 
of the mind and practice of the English Church in the years 
that intervened between the Reformation and the Revolution." 

The Popular Amusements of Christmastide 

at this period are thus enumerated bv Robert Burton in his 
" Anatomy of Melancholy," published in 1621 : — 

*' The ordinary recreations which we have in winter are 
cards, tables and dice, shovelboard, chess-play, the philosopher's 
game, small trunks, billiards, music, masks, singing, dancing, 
ule games, catches, purposes, questions ; merry tales of errant 
knights, kings, queens, lovers, lords, ladies, giants, dwarfs, 
thieves, fairies, goblins, friars, witches, and the rest." 

The following curious cut is from the title-page of the amusing 
story of the great " Giant Gargantua " of this period : — 

The legends of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, 
Bevis of Southampton, Guy of Warwick, Adam Bell, and 
Clvmme of Clouoh, were favourites anions' the lovers of 



romance ; but the people of this age, bemg very superstitious, 
were very fond of stories about ghosts and gobhns, beheving 
them to be founded on fact, and also attributing feats performed 
by conjurors and jugglers to supernatural agency. The King 
himself was equally superstitious, for Strutt in describing the 
tricks of jugglers says : " Our learned monarch, James I., was 
perfectly convinced that these, and other inferior feats exhibited 
by the tregetours, could only be performed by the agency of 
the devil, * who,' sa^'s he, ' will learne them many juglarie 
tricks, at cardes and dice, to deceive men's senses thereby, and 
such innumerable false practiques, which are proved by over- 
many in this age.' " ^ 

Looking back to the ancient superstitions about ghosts and 
fairies, Dryden, the poet, has some lines which may fitly close 
this chapter : — 

" I speak of ancient times, for now the swain 
Returning late may pass the woods in vain, 
And never hope to see the mighty' train ; 
In vain the dairy now with mint is dressed, 
The dairy-maid expects no fairy guest, 
To skim the bowls and after pay the feast. 
She sighs and shakes her empty shoes in vain, 
No silver penny to reward her pain : 
For priests, with prayers and other godly gear, 
Have made the merry goblins disappear." 

' " Da;monologie," by King James I. 





King Charles the First 

was the second son of James I. and of Anne, daughter of 
Frederick III., King of Denmark, and he came to the throne 
on the death of his father in March 1625. As Prince Charles 
he had taken part in the Court entertainments of Christmastide, 
and had particularly distinguished himself in Ben Jonson's 
masque, "The Vision of Delight." These magnihcent Christ- 
mas masques were continued after Charles's accession to the 
throne until the troubles of his reign stopped them. Gifford ' 
mentions that Jonson's " Masque of Owls " was presented at 
Keniiworth Castle, " By the Ghost of Captain Cox mounted on 
his Hobby-horse, in 1626 " : — 

" Enter Captain Cox, on his Hobby-horse. 

Room I room I for my horse will wince, 

If he come within so many yards of a prince ; 


' Works of Ben Jonson."' 


HOTHAH STRAUS BRftNQH ?^ E^S^ 3?nd street 


And though he have not on his wings, 

He will do strange things, 

He is the Pegasus that uses 

To wait on Warwick Muses ; 

And on gaudy-days he paces 

Before the Coventry Graces ; 

For to tell you true, and in rhyme, 

He was foal'd in Queen Elizabeth's time, 

When the great Earl of Lester 

In this castle did feast her." 

Jonson's " The Fortunate Isles, and Their Union," a masque 
designed for the Court, was presented on Twelfth Night, 1626 ; 
and " Love's Triumph through Callipolis " (a masque invented 
by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones) was presented at Court 
in 1630. 

The Lord of Misrule 

also made merry at Christmas at this period ; but it sometimes 
happened that when he went forth with his band of merry men, 
they got into trouble. An instance of this, which occurred in 
1627, is recorded in one of Meade's letters to Sir Martin Stute- 
ville. The letter is worth reprinting as an illustration of the 
manners of the age, and as relating to what was probably the 
last Lord of Misrule elected by the barristers. Meade writes : — 
" On Saturday the Templars chose one Mr. Palmer their Lord of 
Misrule, who, on Twelfth-eve, late in the night, sent out to 
gather up his rents at live shillings a house in Ram-alley and 
Fleet Street. At every door they came to they winded the 
Temple-horn, and if at the second blast or summons they 
within opened not the door, then the Lord of Misrule cried 
out, ' Give fire, gunner ! ' His gunner was a robustious Vulcan, 
and the gun or petard itself was a huge overgrown smith's 
hammer. This being complained of to my Lord Mayor, he 
said he would be with them about eleven o'clock on Sunday 
night last ; willing that all that ward should attend him with 
their halberds, and that himself, besides those that came out of 
his house, should bring the watches along with him. His lord- 
ship, thus attended, advanced as high as Ram-alley in martial 
equipage : when forth came the Lord of Misrule, attended by 
his gallants, out of the Temple-gate, with their swords all armed 
ill cuerpo. A halberdier bade the Lord of Misrule come to my 
Lord Mayor. He answered. No ! let the Lord Mayor come 
to me ! At length they agreed to meet halfway : and, as the 
interview of rival princes is never without danger of some ill 
accident, so it happened in this : for first, Mr. Palmer being 
quarrelled with for not pulling off his hat to my Lord Mayor, 
and giving cross answers, the halberds began to fly about his 
ears, and he and his company to brandish their swords. At 
last being beaten to the ground, and the Lord of Misrule sore 
wounded, they were fain to yield to the longer and more 
numerous weapon. My Lord Mayor taking Mr. Palmer by the 


shoulder, led him to the Compter, and thrust him in at the 
prison-gate with a kind of. indignation ; and so, notwithstanding 
his hurts, he was forced to he among the common prisoners for 
two nights. On Tuesday the King's attorney became a suitor 
to my Lord Mayor for their hberty: which his lordship granted, 
upon condition that they should repay the gathered rents, and 
do reparations upon broken doors. Thus the game ended. 
Mr. Attorney-General, being of the same house, fetched them 
in his own coach, and carried them to the court, where the 
King himself reconciled my Lord Mayor and them together 
with joining all hands ; the gentlemen of the Temple being this 
Shrovetide to present a Mask to their majesties, over and besides 
the King's own great Mask, to be performed at the Banquetting- 
house by an hundred actors." 
We get other glances at 

The Christmas Festivities in the 17TH Century 

through contemporary writers of the period. Nicholas Breton, ^ 
writing in merry mood, says : " It is now Christmas, and not a 
cup of drink must pass without a carol ; the beasts, fowl, and 
hsh come to a general execution, and the corn is ground to 
dust for the bakehouse and the pastry : cards and dice purge 
many a purse, and the youth show their agility in shoeing of 
the wild mare : now, good cheer, and welcome, and God be 
with you, and I thank you : — and against the New Year provide 
for the presents : — The Lord of Misrule is no mean man for his 
time, and the guests of the high table must lack no wine : the 
lusty bloods must look about them like men, and piping and 
dancing puts away much melancholy : stolen venison is sweet, 
and a fat coney is worth money : pit-falls are now set for 
small birds, and a woodcock hangs himself in a gin : a good 
lire heats all the house, and a full alms-basket makes the 
beggar's prayers : — the maskers and the mummers make the 
merry sport, but if they lose their money their drum goes dead : 
swearers and swaggerers are sent away to the ale-house, and 
unruly wenches go in danger of judgment ; musicians now make 
tiieir instruments speak out, and a good song is worth the 
hearing. In sum it is a holy time, a dut}' in Christians for the 
remembrance of Christ and custom among friends for the main- 
tenance of good fellowship. In brief I thus conclude it : I hold 
it a memory of the Heaven's love and the world's peace, the 
mirth of the honest, and the meeting of the friendly. Farewell." 
In 1633, William Prynne, a Puritan lawyer, published his " His- 
triomastix," against plays, masques, balls, the decking of houses 
with evergreens at Christmas, &c., for which he was committed 
to the Tower, prosecuted in the Star Chamber, and sentenced 
to pay a line to the King of _;^'5,ooo, to be expelled from the 
University of Oxford, from the Society of Lincoln's Inn, and 

' " P'antasticks," 1626. 


from his profession of the law ; to stand twice in the piliory, 
each time losing an ear ; to have his book burnt before his face 
by the hangman ; and to suffer perpetual imprisonment : a most 
barbarous sentence, which Green ' says, "showed the hard cruelty 
of the Primate." 

Milton's masque of '' Comus" was produced the following year 
(1634) for performance at Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire, which 
was the seat of government for the Principality of Wales, the 
Earl of Bridgewater being then the Lord President, and having 
a jurisdiction and military command that comprised the English 
counties of Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford and Shropshire. 
Ludlow Castle was to the Lord President of Wales of that 
period what Dublin Castle is to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 
in the present day ; and, as hospitalitv was one of the duties of 
the Lord President's office, the Earl and Countess of Bridge- 
water gave a grand entertainment to the country people, in 
which the masque of " Comus " was an important feature. The 
music was composed by the eminent musician Henry Lawes, 
and the masque was adapted for performance by the family 
of the earl and countess, who then had ten children — eight 
daughters and two sons. 

It is quite refreshing to think of the author of " Paradise 
Lost," with his friend Lawes, the musician, among the country 
■dancers, listening to the song of the attendant spirit : — 

" Back, shepherds, back ; enough jour play 
Till next sun-shine holiday : 
Here be, without duck or nod. 
Other trippings to be trod 
Of lighter toes, and such court guise 
As Mercury did first devise 
With the mincing Dryades, 
On the lawns, and on the leas." 

" But Milton was a coiuiier when he wrote the Masque at 
Ludlow Castle," says Charles Lamb, "and still more of a 
courtier when he composed the 'Arcades'" (a masque, or 
entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby, at 
Harefield, by some noble persons of her family). "When the 
national struggle was to begin, he becomingly cast these varie- 
ties behind him." 

From " Archasologia " (vol. xviii. p. 335), we learn that 
^' Richard Evelyn, Esq., High Sheriff" of Surrey and Sussex in 
1634, held a splendid Christmas at his mansion at Wotton, 
having a regular Lord of Misrule for the occasion : and it 
appears it was then the custom for the neighbours to send 
presents of eatables to provide for the great consumption 
consequent upon such entertainments. The following is a list 
of those sent on this occasion : two sides of venison, two half 
brawns, three pigs, ninety capons, live geese, six turkeys, four 

' " History of the English People." 


rabbits, eight partridges, two pullets, live sugar loaves, half a 
pound of nutmeg, one basket of apples, two baskets of pears." 

Hone' states that " in the ninth year of King Charles I. the 
four Inns of Court provided a Christmas mask, which cost 
^^2,400, and the King invited a hundred and twenty gentlemen 
of the four Inns to a mask at Whitehall on Shrove Tuesday 
following." And Sandys says that on the 13th December, 1637, 
a warrant under Privy Seal was issued to George Kirke, for 
;^'i5o to provide masking apparel for the King ; and on the ist 
of the same month Edmund Taverner had a warrant for ;^' 1,400 
towards the charge of a mask to be presented at Whitehall the 
next Twelfth Night. A similar sum for a similar purpose was 
granted to Michael Oldisworth on the 3rd of January, 1639. 

In connection with the entertainments at the Inns of Court, 
vSandys mentions that by an order, 17th November, 4th Charles 
I., all playing at dice, cards, or otherwise was forbidden at 
Gray's Inn, except during the 20 days in Christmas. 

As indicating the prolongation of the Christmas revels at this 
period, it is recorded that in February, 1633, there was a 
celebrated masque, called " The Triumph of Peace," presented 
jointly by the two Temples, Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn, which 
cost the Societies about ;^'20,ooo. Evelyn, in his " Memoirs," 
relates, that on the 15th December, 1641, he was elected one of 
the Comptrollers of the Middle Temple revellers, ''as the custom 
of ye young students and gentlemen was, the Christmas being 
kept this yeare with greate solemnity " ; but he got excused. 

An order still existed directing the nobility and gentry who 
had mansions in the country "to repair to them to keep 
hospitality meet to their degrees ; " for a note in Collier's 
History states that Sir J. Astley, on the 20th of March, 1637, 
in consequence of ill-health, obtained a license to reside in 
London, or where he pleased, at Christmas, or any other times ; 
which proves such license to have been requisite. 

At this period noblemen and gentlemen lived like petty 
princes, and in the arrangement of their households copied 
their sovereign, having officers of the same import, and even 
heralds wearing their coat of arms at Christmas, and other 
solemn feasts, crying largesse thrice at the proper times. They 
feasted in their halls where many of the Christmas sports were 
performed. When coals were introduced the hearth was com- 
monly in the middle, whence, according to Aubrey, is the saying, 
" Round about our coal-tire." Christmas was considered as the 
commemoration of a holy festival, to be observed with cheer- 
fulness as well as devotion. The comforts and personal gratifi- 
cation of their dependants were provided for by the landlords, 
their merriment encouraged, and their sports joined. The 
working man looked forward to Christmas as the time which 
repaid his former toils ; and gratitude for worldly comforts then 

' " Year Book." 


received caused him to reHect on the eternal blessings bestowed 
on mankind bv the event then commemorated. 


Of all our English poets, Robert Herrick, a writer of the 
seventeenth century, has left us the most complete contem- 
porary picture of the Christmas season. He was born in 
Cheapside,. London, and received his earlv education, it is 
supposed, at Westminster School, whence he removed to Cam- 
bridge, and after taking his M.A. degree in 1620, left Cambridge. 
He afterwards spent some years in London in familiar inter- 
course with the wits and writers of the age, enjoying those " lyric 
feasts " which are celebrated in his " Od'e to Ben Jonson " :— 

" Ah Ben ! 

Say how or when 

Shall we, thy guests 

Meet at those lyric feasts 

Made at the Sun, 

The Dog, the Triple Tun ; 

Where we such clusters had 

As made us nobly wild, not mad? 

And yet each verse of thine 

Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine. 


In 1629 he accepted the hving of Dean Prior, in Devonshire, 
where he hved as a bachelor Vicar, being ejected by the Long 
Parhament, returning on the Restoration under Charles the 
Second, and dying at length at the age of eighty-four. He was 
buried in the Church at Dean Prior, where a memorial tablet 
has latterly been erected to his memory. And it is htting that 
he should die and be buried in the quiet Devonshire hamlet 
from which he drew so much of his happiest inspiration, and 
which will always be associated now with the endless charm 
of the " Hesperides." 

In " A New Year's Gift, sent to Sir Simeon Steward," included 
in his " Hesperides," Herrick refers to the Christmas sports of 
the time, and says : — 

" No new device or late-found trick 

We send you ; but here a jolly 

Verse crowned with ivy and with holly ; 

That tells of winter's tales and mirth, 

That milk-maids make about the hearth, 

Of Christmas sports, the Wassail bowl, 

That's tossed up after Fox-i'-th'-hole ; 

Of Blind-man's-buff, and of the care 

That young men have to shoe the Mare ; 

Of Twelfth-tide cake, of peas and beans, 

Wherewith ye make those merry scenes. 

When as ye choose your king and queen. 

And cry out, ' Hey for our town green.' 

Of ash-heaps in the which ye use 

Husbands and wives by streaks to choo.'^e : 

Of crackling laurel, which fore-sounds 

A plenteous harvest to your grounds ; 

Of these, and such like things, for shift. 

We send instead of New-year's gift. 

Read then, and when your faces shine 

With bucksome meat and cap'ring wine, 

Remember us in cups full crowned. 

And let our city's health go round, 

Quite through the young' maids and the men. 

To the ninth number, if not ten. 

Until the fired chestnuts leap 

For joy to see the fruits ye reap. 

From the plump chalice and the cup 

That tempts till it be tossed up. 

Then as ye sit about your eml)ers, 

Call not to mind those fled Decembers ; 

But think on these, that are t' appear, 

As daughters to the instant year ; 

Sit crowned with rose-buds and carouse, 

Till Liber Pater twirls the house 

About your ears, and lay upon 

The year, your cares, that's fled and gone. 

And let the russet swains the plough 

And harrow hang up resting now ; 

And to the bagpipe all address 

Till sleep takes place of weariness. 

And thus, throughout, with Christmas plays, 

Frolic the full twelve holy-days." 


Sir Isaac Newton's Birth, ox Christmas Day, 

at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, was the most important Christmas 
event of the memorable year which saw the outbreak of the 
Civil War (1642). In the year of the Restoration he entered 
Cambridge, where the teaching of Isaac Barrow quickened his 
genius for mathematics, and from the time he left College his 
hfe became a series of wonderful physical discoveries. As early 
as 1666, he discovered the law of gravitation, but it was not 
till the eve of the Revolution that his "Principia" revealed to 
the world his new theory of the universe. 

The Customs of Christmastide ix the Seventeexth 

"A Christmas Carol," by George Wither, a well-known 
poet ot this period, contains many allusions to the customs of 
Christmastide : — 

So, now is come our joyful'st feast ; 

Let every man be jolly ; 
Each room with ivy leaves is drest, 

And every post with holly. 
Though some churls at our mirth repine, 
Round your foreheads garlands twine ; 
. Drown sorrow in a cup of wine. 

And let us all be merry. 

Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke, 

And Christmas blocks are burning ; 
Their ovens they with baked meats choke, \ 

And all their spits are turning. 
Without the door let sorrow lie ; 
And if for cold it hap to die, 
We'll bury 't in a Christmas pie, ■ 

And ever more be merry. 

Now every lad is wondrous trim, 

And no man minds his labour ; 
Our lasses have provided them 
^ A bag-pipe and a tabour ; 
Young men and maids, and girls and boys, 
Give life to one another's joys ; 
And you anon shall by their noise 

Perceive that they are merry. 

Rank misers now do sparing shun ; 

Their hall of music soundeth ; 
And dogs thence with whole shoulders run, 

So all things there aboundeth. 
The country folks themselves advance 
With crowdy-muttons ' out of France ; 
And Jack shall pipe, and Jill shall dance. 

And all the town be merry. 

Ned Squash hath fetched his bands from pawn, 

And all his best apparel ; 
Brisk Nell hath bought a ruff of lawn 

With droppings of the barrel ; 

' Fiddlers. 


And those that hardly all the year 
1 lad bread to eat, or rags to wear, 
Will have both clothes and dainty fare. 
And all the day be merry. 

Now poor men to the justices 

With capons make their errants ; 
And if they hap to fail of these ; 

They plague them with their warrants ; 
But now they feed them with good cheer. 
And what they want they take in beer ; 
For Christmas comes but once a year, 

And then ihey shall be rnerry. 

Good farmers in the country nurse 

The poor that else were undone ; 
Some landlords spend their money worse, 

On lust and pride at London. 
There the roys'ters they do play, 
Drab and dice their lands away, 
Which may be ours another day ; 

And therefore let's be merry. 

The client now- his suit forbears, 

The prisoner's heart is eased : 
The debtor drinks away his cares, 

And for the time is pleased. 
Though other purses be more fat, 
Why should we pine or grieve at that ? 
Hang sorrow ! care will kill a cat. 

And therefore let's be merry. 

Hark ! how" the wags abroad do call 

Each other forth to rambling : 
Anon you'll see them in the hall 

For nuts and apples scrambling. 
Hark ! how the roofs with laughter sound I 
Anon they'll think the house goes round. 
For they the cellar's depth have found, 

And there they will be merry. 

The wenches with their wassail bowls 

About the streets are singing ; 
The boys are come to catch the owls, 

The wild mare in is bringing. 
Our kitchen-boy hath broke his box,' 
And to the dealing of the ox 
Our honest neighbours come by flocks. 

And here they will be merry. 

Now kings and queens poor sheep cotes have, 

And mate with everybody ; 
The honest now may play the knave. 

And wise men play the noddy. 
Some youths will now a mumming go. 
Some others play at Rowland-ho 
And twenty other gambols mo, 

Because they will be merry. 

Then wherefore in these merry days 

Should we, I pray, be duller? 
No, let us sing some roundelays, 

To make our mirth the fuller. 

' An allusion to the Christmas money-box, made of earthenware which required 
to be broken to obtain possession of the money it held. 


. And, whilst thus inspired we sing, 
Let all the streets with echoes ring, 
Woods and hills, and everything, " 
Bear witness we are merry. 

The preceding poem was evidently written by Wither before 
the Civil War troubles of the reign of Charles the First had 
interfered to damp the national hilarity, or check the rejoicings 
at the festive season of Christmas. 

The Defeat of the Royalists, 

the overthrow of the monarchy, and the changes resulting there- 
from at Christmastide are alluded to in " The Complaint of 
Christmas, written after Twelftide, and printed before Candle- 
mas, 1646," by old John Taylor, the Water Poet, who says : 
" All the liberty and harmless sports, the merry gambols, dances 
and friscols, with which the toiling ploughman and labourer 
once a year were wont to be recreated, and their spirits and 
hopes revived for a whole twelvemonth, are now extinct and 
put out of use, in such a fashion as if they never had been. 
Thus are the merry lords of bad rule at Westminster ; nay, 
more, their madness hath extended itself to the very vegetables ; 
senseless trees, herbs, and weeds, are in a profane estimation 
amongst them— holly, ivy, mistletoe, rosemary, bays, are 
accounted ungodly branches of superstition for your entertain- 
ment. And to roast a sirloin of beef, to touch a collar of brawn, 
to take a pie, to put a plum in the pottage pot, to burn a great 
candle, or to lay one block the more in the lire for your sake, 
Master Christmas, is enough to make a man to be suspected and 
taken for a Christian, for which he shall be apprehended for 
committing high Parliament Treason and mighty malignancy 
against the general Council of the Directorian private Presby- 
terian Conventicle." 

With the success of the Parliamentcnrians, certain changes 
came in the ruling manners of the age ; but 

The Attempt to Abolish Christmas Day 

was, of course, a signal failure. The event commemorated 
made it impossible for the commemoration to cease. Men 
may differ as to the mode of celebration, but the Christ must 
and will be celebrated. 

"In 1642," says Sandys, "the first ordinances w^ere issued 
to suppress the performance of plays, and hesitation was 
expressed as to the manner of keeping Christmas. Some shops 
m London were even opened on Christmas Day, 1643, P^^'^ of 
the people being fearful of a Popish observance of^the day. 
The Puritans gradually prevailed, and in 1647 some parish 
officers were committed for permitting ministers to preach upon 
Christmas Day, and for adorning the church. On the 3rd of 
June in the same year, it was ordained by the Lords and 


Commons in Parliament that the feast of the Nativity of Christ, 
with other hohdays, should be no longer obser\ed, and that all 
scholars, apprentices, and other servants, with the leave and 
approbation of their masters, should have such relaxation from 
labour on the second Tuesday in every month as they used to 
have from such festivals and holy days ; and in Canterbury, on 
the 22nd of December following, the crier went round by 
direction of the Mayor, and proclaimed that Christmas Day and 
all other superstitious festivals should be put down, and a market 
kept upon that day." 

In describing " The First Christmas under the Puritan 
Directory," the Saturday Rcvieiv (December 2j, 1884) says : — 
" It must have been taken as a piece of good luck by the 
Parliamentary and Puritanical masters of England, or, as they 
would have said, as ' a providence,' that the Christmas Day of 
1645 fell upon a week-day. It was the first Christmas Day after 
the legislative abolition of the Anglican Prayer-book and the 
establishment of ' the Directory ' in its stead ; and, if it had 
fallen upon a Sunday, the Churches must have been opened. 
A ' Sabbath ' could not be ignored, even though it chanced to be 
the 25th of December. There can be small doubt that, if the 
Presbyterian and Independent preachers who held all the 
English parishes subject to the Parliament had been obliged to 
go into the pulpits on the 25th of December 1645, they would 
again have irritated the masses of the people' by ferociously 
' improving the occasion.' The Parliament had not the courage 
to repeat the brutal experiment of the previous year. It was 
easy to abolish the feast by an ordinance ; but it was risky to 
insist by an ordinance that the English people and English 
families should keep the dearest and most sacred of their 
festivals as a fast. The rulers knew that such an ordinance 
would not be obeyed. They resolved simply to ignore the 
day, or treat it as any ordinary Thursday. Doubtless many of 
the members kept up some sort of celebration of the old family 
festival in their own private houses. But the legislators marched 
solemnly to the Lower House, and the ' divines ' marched as 
solemnly to the Assembly in the Jerusalem Chamber, affecting 
to take no notice of the unusual aspect of the shops and streets, 
which everywhere bore witness to the fact that there was a deep 
and fundamental estrangement between 'the State ' and 'the 
people,' and that the people were actually keeping the festival 
which the ' Synod ' had declared to be profane and superstitious, 
and which tne Parliament to please the Scots, the Noncon- 
formists, and the Sectaries, had abolished by law. ' Notwith- 
standing the Ordinance,' wrote a Member of the House of 
Commons, the Erastian Whitelock, in his 'Memorials,' 'yet 
generally this day, in London, the shops were shut and the day 
observed.' The Christmas number of the Mcrciiriiis AcaJciiiiciis 
(December 25 to 31, 1645), states that General Browne, who 
was a Presbyterian zealot, ' proclaimed ' the abolition of Christ- 


mas Day at Abingdon, and ' sent out his warrants for men to 
work on that day especiahy.' .... The Pariiamentary news- 
paper, The Weekly Account, (LI 1 1, week, 1645), has the bald 
record : ' Thursday, Decemb. 25. The Commons sate in a 
Grand Committee concerning the privileges of members of then- 
House.' The news in the Tuesday paper. The Kingdom e's 
Weekly Intelligencer (No. 152), is equally thin : ' Thursday, 
Decemb. 25, vulgarly known by the name of Christmas Day, 
both Houses sate. The House of Commons more especially 
debated some things in reference to the privileges of that House, 
and made some orders therein.' .... The Presbyterian and 
Independent divines spent Christmas Day in the 'Synod' of 
Westminster. December the 25th, 1645, was entered in their 
minutes as 'Session 561.' .... The City newspaper of that 
period, Meirurius Civicns, or London's Intelligencer, in what we 
may call its Christmas number (No. 135, December 18 to 
December 24, 1645), printed an article explaining to the 
citizens of London the absurdity, if not the impiety, of keeping 
Christmas Day. Every good citizen was expected to open his 
shop as usual on the coming Thursday, and compel his appren- 
tices to keep behind the counter. The City newspaper stated, 
that it was more probable that the Saviour was born in Septem- 
ber than in December, and quotes ' a late reverend minister's 
opinion, that God did conceale the time when Christ was borne, 
upon the same reason that He tooke away the body of Moses, 
that they might not put an holinesse upon that day.' If the 
apprentices want a holiday, ' let them keep the hft of November, 
and other dayes of that nature, or the late great mercy of God 
in the taking of Hereford, which deserves an especiall day of 
thanksgiving.' The mass of the English folk meanwhile pro- 
tested by all such ways as were open to them against the 
outlandish new religion which was being invented for them. 
The Mercnricns Civicus complained that, ' Many people in these 
times are too much addicted to the superstitious observance of 
this day, December 25th, and other saints days, as they are 
called.' It was asked in a ' Hue and Cry after Christmas,' 
published anonymously at the end of the year 1645, 'Where 
may Christmas be found ? ' The answer is, ' In the corner of a 
translator's shop, where the cobbler was wont so merrily to 
chant his carols.' The Moderate Intelligencer, which devoted 
itself to ' impartially communicating martiall affaires,' in its 
forty-third number (December 25, 1645, to January i, 1646), 
expressed itself as scandalized at the zeal with which the 
English people, in spite of Parliament and the Assembly, had 
kept their Christmas. Social phenomena lay beyond the usual 
ken of the military chroniclers ; but ' we shall only observe,' 
they wrote, ' the loathnesse of the People to part with it, which 
certainly argues a greater adoration than should have been. 
Hardly forty shops were open within the lines upon that day. 
The State hath done well to null it out of this respect, as Moses 


did the Brazen Serpent.' The Scriptural knowledge of the 
Puritan military newsmen was curiously at fault ; they evidently 
confounded Moses with Hezekiah, unless they substituted the 
lawgiver for the king, because they thought it unwise to repre- 
sent the King as the foe of idolatry. The traditional scorn of 
the Pharisee for the common people which know not the law 
comes out in the ironical passage with which the ' martiall ' 
organ concludes its reference to the distressing social symptom ; 
' Sure if there were an ordinance for recreation and labour upon 
the Lord's Day, or Sabbath (like the prelatical Book of Sports), 
these would want no observers. Unwillingness to obey, in a 
multitude, argues generally the goodnesse of a law, readinesse 
the contrary, especially in those laws which have anything of 
religion in them.' Hence the puritanical tyrants thought the 
observation of Christmas Day should be visited in future years 
with more severe penalties. A few days after Christmas a 
pamphlet was issued under the title of * The Arraignment, Con- 
viction, and Imprisonment of Christmas.' A letter from a 
' Malignant scholar ' in Oxford, where Christmas had been 
observed as usual, to * a Malignant lady in London,' had con- 
tained the promise or threat, according to the pamphleteer, 
that the King would shortly appear in London, and restore to 
his poor people their old social and religious liberties. ' We 
shall soon be in London, and have all things as they were wont." 
There was small chance, six months after Naseby, of the fulhl- 
ment of the prediction. The puritanical pamphleteer, however, 
owns that it would be welcome to ' every 'prentice boy,' because 
the return of the King would have meant the return of a free 
Christmas, which he sorely missed. * All popish, prelatical, 
Jesuitical, ignorant, Judaical, and superstitious persons,' said he, 
' ask after the old, old, old, very old grey-bearded gentleman 
called Christmas, who was wont to be a very familiar ghest [sic). 
Whoever hnds him again shall be rewarded with a benediction 
from the Pope, a hundred oaths from the Cavaliers, forty kisses 
from the wanton wenches, and be made pursuivant to the next 
Archbishop.' 'The poor,' he added, 'are sorry for it. They 
go to every door a-begging, as they were wont to do, ' Good 
Mistress, somewhat against this good time.' Instead of going 
to the alehouse to be drunke, they are fain to work all the holy 
dayes.' Again, ' The schoUars come into the hall, where their 
hungry stomacks had thought to have found good brawne and 
Christmas pie, roast-beef and plum-porridge. But no such 
matter. Away, ye profane ! These are superstitious meats ; 
your stomacks must be fed with sound doctrine.' " 

In the National Ma<^aziiic (1857), Dr. Doran, on " The Ups 
and Downs of Christmas," remarks upon the stout resistance 
given by the citizens of London to the order of the Puritan 
Parliament, that shops should be opened and churches closed 
on Christmas Day. " We may have a sermon on any other 
day," said the London apprentices, who did not always go to 



hear it, '* why should we be deprived on this day ? " " It is no 
longer lawful for the day to be kept," was the reply. " Nay," 
exclaimed the sharp-witted fellows, " you keep it yourselves by 
thus distinguishing it by desecration." "They declared," says 
Dr. Doran, " they would go to church ; numerous preachers 
promised to be ready for them with prayer and lecture ; and 
the porters of Cornhill swore they would dress up their conduit 
with holly, if it were only to prove that in that orthodox and 
heavily-enduring body there was some respect yet left for 
Christianity and hard drinking — for the raising of the holly was 
ever accompanied by the lifting of tankards. 

" Nor was the gallant Christmas spirit less lively in the countrv 
than in the capital. At Oxford there was a world of skull- 
breaking ; and at Ipswich the festival was celebrated by some 
loss of life. Canterbury especially distinguished itself by its 
violent opposition to the municipal order to be mirthless. There 
was a combat there, which was most rudely maintained, and in 
which the mayor got pummelled until he was as senseless as a 
pocket of hops. The mob mauled him terribly, broke all his 
windows, as well as his bones, and, as we are told, ' burnt the 
stoupes at the coming in of his door.' So serious was the riot, 
so complete the popular victory, and so jubilant the exultation, 
that thousands of the never-conquered men of Kent and Kentish 
men met in Canterbury, and passed a solemn resolution that if 
they could not have their Christmas Day, they were determined 
to have the King on his throne again." 

Of the Canterbury riot an account is given in a rare tract, 
published in 1647 (preserved in the British Museum), and 
entitled — 

" The Declaration of many thousands of the city of Canter- 
bury, or county of Kent. Concerning the late tumult in the 
city of Canterbury, provokt by the Mayor's violent proceed- 
ings against those who desired to continue the celebration of 
the Feast of Christ's Nativity, 1,500 years and upwards main- 
tained in the Church. Together with their Resolutions for the 
restitution of His Majestic to his Crown and dignity, whereby 
Religion may be restored to its ancient splendour, and the 
known Laws of this Kingdom maintained. As also their desires 
to all His Majesties loyall subjects within his Dominions, for 
their concurrence and assistance in this so good and pious a 

The resolutions of the Canterbury citizens were not couched 
in the choicest terms, for the tract states that the two Houses 
of Parliament " have sate above seven years to hatch Cocatrices 
and Vipers, they have tilled the kingdom with Serpents, blood- 
thirsty Souldiers, extorting Committees, Sequestrators, Excise- 
men ; all the Rogues and scumme of the kingdom have they 
set on work to torment and vex the people, to rob them, and to 
eat the bread out of their mouthes ; they have raised a causelesse 
and unnaturall Warre against their own Soveraigne Lord and 


King, a most pious Christian Prince, contrary to their allegiance 
and duty, and have shed innocent blood in this Land. Religion 
is onely talkt of, nothing done ; they have put down what is 
good," &c., &c. And further on the tract says : — "The cause of 
this so sudden a posture of defence which we have put our 
selves into was the violent proceedings of the Mayor of this 
city of Canterbury and his uncivill carriage in persuance of 
some petty order of the House of Commons for hindering the 
celebration of Christ's Nativity so long continued in the Church 
of God. That which we so much desired that day was but a 
Sermon, which any other day of the weeke was toUerable by' 
the orders and practise of the two Houses and all their 
adherents, but that day (because it was Christ's birth day) we 
must have none ; that which is good all the yeer long, yet is 
this day superstitious. The Mayor causing some of us to be 
beaten contrary to his oath and office, who ought to preserve 
the peace, and to that purpose chiefiy is the sword of justice 
put into his hands, and wrongfully imprisoned divers of us, 
because we did assemble ourselves to hear the Word of God, 
which he was pleased to interpret a Ryot ; yet we were 
unarmed, behaved ourselves civilly, intended no such tumult 
as afterwards we were forc'd unto ; but at last, seeing the 
manifest wrong done to our children, servants, and neighbours, 
by beating, wounding, and imprisoning them, and to release 
them that were imprisoned, and did call unto our assistance our 
brethren of the county of Kent, who very readily came in to 
us, as have associated themselves to us in this our just and 
lawfull defence, and do concurre with us in this our Remon- 
strance concerning the King Majestic, and the settlement of 
the peace in this Kingdome." And the tract afterwards ex- 
presses the desire that " all his Majesties lovall subjects within 
his Dominions " will " readily and cheerfully concurre and 
assist in this so good and pious a work." 

Among the single sheets in the British Museum is an order of 
Parliament, dated the 24th of December, 1652, directing, 

'' That no observation shall be had of the five and twentieth 
day of December, commonly called Christmas Day ; nor any 
solemnity used or exercised in churches upon that day in 
respect thereof." 

Referring to the celebration of Christmas Day in 1657, 
Evelyn says : — 

" I went to London with my wife to celebrate Christmas Day, 
Mr. Gunning preaching in Exeter Chapel, on Micah vii. 2. 
Sermon ended ; as he was giving .us the Holy Sacrament the 
chapel was surrounded with soldiers, and all the communicants 
and assembly surprised and kept prisoners by them, some in 
the house, others carried away. It fell to my share to be 
confined to a room in the house, where yet I was permitted to 
dine with the master of it, the Countess of Dorset, Lady 
Hatton, and some others of quality" who invited me. In the 


afternoon came Colonel Whalley, Goft'e, and others from 
Whitehall to examine us one by one ; some they committed to 
the Marshal, some to prison. When I came before them they 
took my name and abode, examined me why, contrary to the 
ordinance made that none should any longer observe the 
superstitious time of the Nativity (as esteemed by them), I 
durst offend, and particularly be at Common Prayers, which 
they told me was but the mass in English, and particularly pray 
for Charles Stuart, for which we had no Scripture. I told 
them we did not pray for Charles Stuart, but for all Christian 
kings, princes, and governors. They replied, in so doing we 
prayed for the King of Spain too, who was their enemy and a 
Papist ; with other frivolous and ensnaring questions and much 
threatening, and, finding no colour to detain me, they dismissed 
me with much pity of my ignorance. These were men of high 
flight and above ordinances, and spake spiteful things of our 
Lord's Nativity. As we went up to receive the sacrament the 
miscreants held their muskets against us, as if they would have 
shot us at the altar, but yet suffering us to finish the office of 
communion, as perhaps not having instructions what to do in 
case they found us in that action ; so I got home late the next 
day, blessed be God ! " 

Notwithstanding the adverse acts of the Puritans, however, 
and the suppression of Christmas observances in high places, 
the old customs and festivities were still observed in different 
parts of the country, though with less ostentation than formerly ; 
and various publications appeared which plainly showed that 
the popular sentiments were in favour of the festivities. The 
motto of No. 37 of Mercitrius Deiiiociitus, from December 22, 
1652, begins : 

" Old Christmas now is come to town 
Though few do him regard, 
He laughs to see them going down 
That have put down his Lord." 

In " The Vindication of Father Christmas," 1653, a mock 
complaint in the character of Father Christmas, he laments the 
treatment he had received for the last twelve years, and that he 
was even then but coolly received. " But welcome, or not 
welcome, I am come," he says, and then states that his " best 
and freest welcome was with some kinde of country farmers 
in Devonshire," thus describing his entertainment among 
them : — " After dinner we arose from the boord, and sate by 
the fire, where the harth was imbrodered all over with roasted 
apples, piping hot, expecting a bole of ale for a cooler, which 
immediately was transformed into warm lamb wool. After 
which we discoursed merily, without either prophaneness or 
obscenity ; some went to cards ; others sung carols and pleasant 
songs (suitable to the times), and then the poor laboring Hinds, 
and maid-servants, with the plow-boys, went nimbly to dancing ; 


the poor toyling wretches being glad of my company, because 
they had httle or no sport at all till I came amongst them ; and 
therefore they skipped and leaped for joy, singing a carol to the 
tune of hey, 

" Let's dance and sing, and make good chear, 
For Christmas comes but once a year : 
Draw hogsheads dry, let flagons fly, 

P'or now the bells shall ring ; 
Whilst we endeavour to make good 
The title 'gainst a King. 

" Thus at active games, and gambols of hot cockles, shooing 
the wild mare, and the like harmless sports, some part of the 
tedious night was spent." 

The National Troubles 

were not brought to an end by the execution of Charles I. on 
the 30th of January, 1649. In addition to the rioting caused 
by the attempt to abolish the festival of Christmas by law, the 
Lord Protector (Oliver Cromwell) had to struggle against dis- 
contented republicans and also against fresh outbreaks of 
the Royalists ; and, although able to carry on the Protectorate 
to the end of his own life, Cromwell was unable to secure a 
strong successor. He died on September 3, 1658, having 
on his deathbed nominated his son Richard to succeed him. 
Richard Cromwell was accepted in England and by the 
European Powers, and carried himself discreetly in his new 
position. A Parliament was assembled on January 17, 1659, 
which recognised the new Protector, but the republican 
minority, headed by Vane and Haseh'ig, united with the 
ofiicers of the army, headed by Lambert, Fleetwood, and 
Desborough, to force him to dissolve Parliament (April 22, 
1659). The Protector's supporters urged him to meet force 
bv force, but he replied, " I will not have a drop of blood 
spilt for the preservation of my greatness, which is a burden 
to me." He signed a formal abdication (May, 1659), in return 
for which the restored Rump undertook the discharge of his 
debts. After the Restoration Richard Cromwell tied to the 
Continent, where he remained for many years, returning to 



England in 1680. A portion of his property was afterwards 
restored to him. He died at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, in 1712. 
On Richard Cromwell declining to uphold the Protectorate 
by force of arms, the only hope of establishing a settled form 
of government and of saving the country from a military 
despotism seemed to be in the restoration of the monarchy ; 
therefore, chiefly through the instrumentality of General Monk, 
Charles, the son of Charles I. and Henrietta Maria, was invited 
to return to England. He at once responded, and entered 
London in triumph as Charles H., on May 29, 1660, having 
previously signed the declaration of Breda. By this declara- 
tion the King granted a free and general pardon to all "who 
within forty days after the publishing hereof shall lay hold upon 
this our grace and favour, and shall by any public act declare 
their doing so," except such as the Parliament of both houses 
should except. 




The Restoration of the 

under Charles II., sometimes styled 
the " Merry Monarch," was an 
occasion of great rejoicing, and the 
spirit in which the so-long-fugitive 
Prince, who once eluded his pur- 
suers by hiding in an oak, was now 
welcomed as " Charles our King " 
by "the roaring, ranting" portion 
of the populace is set forth in the 
following ballad, written for the 
iirst Christmas after the Restoration, 
printed in London the same year, 
and now copied from a collection 
of illustrated broadsides preserved 
in the Library of the British 
Museum : — 



The Milk-maid's New Year's Gift. 

When Lads and Lasses take delight, 

together for to be ; 
They pass a.way the Winter night, 

and live most merrily. 

To the tune of, Hej' boys tip go we. 

Come, come my roaring ranting boys 

lets never be cast down, 
We'l never mind the female toys, 

but Loyal be to th' Crown : 
We'l never break our hearts with care, 

nor be cast down with fear, 
Our bellys then let us prepare 

to drink some Christmas Beer. 



Then here's a health to Charles our King, 

throughout the world admir'd, 
Let us his great applauses sing, 

that we'so much desir'd. 
And wisht amongst us for to reign, 

when Oliver rul'd here. 
But since he's home return'd again, 

come fill some Christmas Beer. 
These holidays we'l briskly drink, 

all mirth we will devise, 
No Treason we will speak or think, 

then bring us l^rave minc'd pies : 
Roast Beef and brave Plum-porridge, 

our Loyal hearts to chear, 
Then prithee make no more ado, 

but bring us Christmas Beer. 


!;l^,"i''Af'' T'T^u^'^^r'^^.^P'!^ '''"^ sparkling, the Hnckin must be boiled by Daybreak or else two 
of hef hzfnes°s'?' 'f^^J'^'J"? ^7 '^e Arms and run her round the Market Plaice, till she was a hamed 
ot her lazmess. -Rouud about our Coal Fire, or Christinas Entertainments, published in 1740.] 


Many of the popukir songs of this period complain of the 
dechne of the Christmas celebrations during the time of the 
Commonwealth, and some of them contrast the present with 
former celebrations. In a ballad called " 'J'he Old and Young 
Courtier," printed in 1670, comparing the times of Queen 
Elizabeth with those of her successors, the fifth and twelfth 
verses contain the following parallel respecting Christmas : — 

" With a good old fashion, when Christmasse was come, 
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum, 
With good chear enough to furnish every old room, 
And old liquor, able to make a cat speak, and man dumb. 

Like an old Courtier of the Queen's, 

And the Queen's old Courtier." 

" With a new fashion, when Christmas is drawing on. 
On a new journey to London straight we all must begone. 
And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John, 
Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone ; 
Like a young courtier of the King's, 
And the King's young courtier." {Percy''s Reliques.) 

Another called " Time's Alteration ; or, the Old Man's 
Rehearsal, what brave dayes he knew a great while agone, 
when his old cap was new," says : — 

" A man might then behold, 
At Christmas, in each hall, 
* Good fires to curb the cold. 

And meat for great and small ; 
The neighbours were friendly bidden, 

And all had welcome true. 
The poor from the gates were not chidden. 
When this old cap was new. 

Black jacks to every man 

Were filled with wine and beer ; 
No pewter pot nor can 

In those days did appear : 
Good cheer in a nobleman's house 

Was counted a seemly shew ; 
We wanted no brawn nor souse. 

When this old cap was new." {Evans's Ballads.) 

Referring to the Restoration of the monarchy, and contrasting 
it with the Protectorate period. Poor Robin s. Almanack, 1685, 
says :— 

" Now thanks to God for Charles' return, 
Whose absence made old Christmas mourn ; 
For then we scarcely did it know. 
Whether it Christmas were or no. 

To feast the poor was counted sin. 
When treason that great praise did win. 
May we ne'er see the like again. 
The roguish Rump should o'er us reign." 


After the Restoration an effort was made to revive the 
Christmas entertainments of the Court at Whitehall, but they 
do not appear to have recovered their former splendour. The 
habits of Charles the Second were of too sensual a nature to 
induce him to interest himself in such pursuits ; besides which 
the manners of the country had been changed during the sway 
of the Puritans. Pepys states that Charles II. visited Lincoln's 
Inn to see the Christmas revels of 1661, " there being, according 
to an old custom, a Prince and all his nobles, and other matters 
of sport and charge." And the diary of the Rev. John Ward, 
vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon, extending from 1648 to 1679, 
states: "The Duke of Norfolk expended ^20,000 in keeping 
Christmas. Charles II. gave over keeping 'that festival on this 
account ; his munificence gave great ofl:'ence at Court." Sandys 
mentions that a pastoral called Calisto, written by Crowne, was 
acted by the daughters of the Duke of York and the young 
nobihty. About the same time the Lady Anne, afterwards 
Queen, acted the part of Semandra in Lee's " Mithridates." 
Betterton and his wife instructed the performers, in remem- 
brance of which, when Anne came to the throne, she gave the 
latter a pension of ^100 a year. 

The Inns of Court also had their Christmas feasts ; but the 
conduct of them was evidently not so much coveted as in 
former times, for there is an entry in the records of Gray's 
Inn on November 3, 1682, "That Mr. Richard Gipps, on his 
promise to perform the office of Master of the Revels, this and 
the next Term, be called to the Bar of Grace," i.e., without 
payment of the usual fees: thus holding out a reward for his ' 
services, instead of allowing him, as in former times, to spend 
a large portion of his private fortune unrequited, except by the 
honour of the temporary office. 

Among the principal of the royal amusements in the time 
of Charles the Second were horse-racing and theatrical per- 
formances. The King kept an establishment at Newmarket, 
where, according to Strutt, " he entered horses and ran them 
in his name." And the author of some doggerel verses, referring 
to Burford Downs, says : — 

" Next for the glory of the place, 
Here has been rode many a race, — 
King Charles the Second I saw here ; 
But I've forgotten in what year." 

Chkistm.^s at Sea in 1675. 

The Rev. Henry Teonge, chaplain of an Enghsh ship of war, 
gives in his diary a description of the manner in which the 

Christmas was spent on board, in 1675 : — "Dec. 25, 1675. 

Crismas clay wee keepe thus. At 4 in the morning our trum- 
peters all doe flatt their trumpetts, and begin at our Captain's 
cabin, and thence to all the officers' and gentlemen's cabins ; 


playins^ a levite at each cabine door, and bidding good morrow, 
wishing a merry Crismas. After they goe to their station, viz., 
on the poope, and sound 3 levitts in honour of the morning. 
At 10 wee goe to prayers and sermon ; text, Zacc. ix. 9. Our 
Captaine had all his officers and gentlemen to dinner with him, 
where wee had excellent good fayre : a ribb of beife, plumb- 
puddings, minct pyes, &c. and plenty of good wines of severall 
sorts ; dranke healths to the King, to our wives and friends, 
and ended the day with much civill myrth." 

Christmas-Keeping ix the Country, 

at this period, is referred to by different writers. 

Among the Garrick Plays in the British Museum is " TJie CJin'st- 
Jinis Ordinary^ a Private SJioiv ; wherein is expressed the jovial 
Freedom of that Festival : as it was acted at a Gentleman's 
House among other Revels. By W. R., Master of Arts, 4 to. 
London, 1682." 

The Memoirs of the hospitable Sir John Reresby (Camden 
Society) contain references to the Christmas festivities at 
Thrybergh. In 1682, there assembled on Christmas Eve 
nineteen of the poorer tenants from Denby and Hooton ; on 
Christmas Day twenty-six of the poorer tenants from Thrybergh, 
Brinsford, and Mexborough ; on St. Stephen's Day farmers and 
better sort of tenants to the number of fifty-four ; on St. John's- 
day forty five of the chief tenants ; on the 30th of December 
eighteen gentlemen of the neighbourhood with their wives ; on 
the ist of January sixteen gentlemen ; on the 4th twelve of the 
neighbouring clergymen ; and on the 6th seven gentlemen and 
tradesmen. Among the guests who lodged at the house were 
" Mr. Rigden, merchant of York, and his wife, a handsome 
woman," and " Mr. Belton, an ingenious clerg}-man, but too 
much a good fellow-." How the " ingenious clergyman " 
became "too much of a good fellow" may be easily guessed 
from Sir John's further observation th^t ^^ the expense of liquor, 


both of wine & olhcrs, ivas considerable, as of other provisions, 
and my friends appeared well satisfied." In 1684, writes Sir 
John, " I returned to Thrybergh, by God's mercy, in safety, to 
keep Christmas amongst my neighbours and tenants. I had 
more company this Christmas than heretofore. The four hrst 
days of the new year all my tenants of Thrybergh, Brinsf(M-d, 
Denby, Mexborough, Hooton Roberts, and"Rotterham dined 
with me ; the rest of the time some four-score of gentlemen and 
yeomen with their wives were invited, besides some that came 
from York ; so that all the beds in the house and most in the 
town were taken up. There were seldom less than four-score, 
counting all sorts of people, that dined in the house every dav, 
and some days many more. On New Year's-day chiefly" there 
dined above three hundred, so that whole sheep^ were roasted 
and served up to feed them. For music I had four violins, 
besides bagpipes, drums, and trumpets." 

At Houghton Chapel, Nottinghamshire, says an old writer, 
" the good Sir William Hollis kept his house in great splendour 
and hospitality. He began Christmas at All Hallowtide, and 
continued it till Candlemas, during which time any man was 
permitted to stay three days without being asked who he was, 
or from whence he came." This generous knight had many 
guests who rejoiced in the couplet : — 

" If I ask not my guest whence and whither his way, 
'Tis because I would have him here with me to stay." 

It is no part of our purpose to enter into details of the 
events which led up to the Revolution. Suffice it to say, that 
during the reign of Charles II. began the great struggle between 
the King and the people, but Charles steadily refused to alter 
the succession by excluding his brother James' He died on the 
6th of February, 1685, and 

James II. came to the Throne 

in the midst of an unsettled state of affairs. James made a 
bold, but unsuccessful, attempt to restore the power of Roman- 
ism in England, and, ultimately, consulted his own safetv bv 
fleeing to France, landing at Ambleteuse, in Brittanv,"^ on 
Christmas Day, 1688, 

The Christmas of the Revolution. 

The flight of James put an end to the struggle between Crown 
and people, and the offering of the Crown,"with constitutional 
limitations, to William, Prince of Orange, and his wife Mary, 
daughter of King James II. and granddaughter of King Charles 
I. of England, speedily followed. 


William axd Mary 

accepted the invitation of the English people, and began their 
reign on February 13, 1689. They both took an interest in the 
sports and pastimes of the people. Strutt says William 
patronised horse-racing, '' and established an academy for 
riding ; and his queen not only continued the bounty of her 
predecessors, but added several plates to the former donations." 
The death of Queen Mary, from small-pox, on the 28th of 
December, 1694, cast a gloom over the Christmas festivities, 
and left King William almost heart-broken at her loss. As to 

The Christmas Festivities 

Brand says that in " Batt upon Batt," a Poem by a Person of 
Quality (1694), speaking of Batt's carving knives and other 
implements, the author asks : — 

" Without their help, who can good Christmas keep ? 
Our teeth would chatter and our eyes would weep ; 
Hunger and dullness would invade our feasts, 
Did not Batt find us arms against such guests. 
He is the cunning engineer, whose skill 
Makes fools to carve the goose, and shape the quill : 
Fancy and wit unto our meals supplies : 
Carols, and not minc'd-meat, make Christmas pies. 
'Tis mirth, not dishes, sets a table off ; 
Brutes and Phanaticks eat, and never laugh. 

When brawn, ivith poiudred zv/g; comes swaggering in, 

And mighty Serjeant ushers in the Chine, 

What ought a wise man first to think upon ? 

Have I my Tools? if not, I am undone : 

For 'tis a law concerns both saint and sinner. 

He that hath no knife must have no dinner. 

So he falls on ; pig, goose, and capon, feel 

The goodness of his stomach and Batt's steel. 

In such fierce frays, alas ! there no remorse is ; 

All flesh is grass, which makes men feed like horses : 

But when the battle's done, off goes the hat. 

And each man sheaths, with God-a-mercy Batt. ' " 

" Batt upon Batt " also gives the following account of the 
Christmas Gambols in 1694 : — 

" O mortal man ! is eating all you do 
At Christ-Tide ? or the making Sing-songs ? No : 
Our Batt can dance, play at high Jinks with Dice, 
At any primitive, orthodoxal Vice. 
Shooing the wild Mare, tumbling the young We7iches, 
Drinking all Night, and sleeping on the Benches. 
Shew me a man can shuffle fair and cut, 
Yet always have three Trays in hand at Putt : 
Shew me a man can turn up Noddy still, 
And deal himself three Fives too when he will : 
Conclude with one and thirty, and a Pair, 
Never fail Teti in stock, and yet play fair, 
If Batt be not that Wight, I lose my aim." 


Another enumeration of the festive sports of this season 
occurs (says Brand) in a poem entitled Christmas— 

" Voung Men and Maidens, now 
At Feed the Dove (with laurel leaf in mouth) 
Or Blindman's Buff, or Hunt the Slipper play, 
Replete with glee. Some, haply. Cards adopt ; 
Of It to Forfeits they the Sport confine, 
The happy Folk, adjacent to the fire. 
Their Stations take ; excepting one alone. 
(Sometimes the social Mistress of the house) 
Who sits within the centre of the room. 
To cry the pawns ; much is the laughter, now, 
Of such as can't the Christmas Catch repeat, 
And who, perchance, are sentenc'd to salute 
The jetty beauties of the chimney black. 
Or Lady's shoe : others, more lucky far, 
By hap or favour, meet a sweeter doom, 
And on each fair-one's lovely lips imprint 
The ardent kiss." 

Poor Robin's ^////a//^zc/^ (1695) thus rejoices at the return of 
the festival : — 

" Now thrice welcome, Christmas, 

Which brings us good cheer, 
Minc'd-pies and plumb-porridge, 

Good ale and strong beer ; 
With pig, goose, and capon, 

The best that may be, " 

So well doth the weather 

And our stomachs agree. 

Observe how the chimneys 

Do smoak all about. 
The cooks are providing 

For dinner, no doubt ; 
But those on whose tables 

No victuals appear, 
O may they keep Lent 

All the rest of the year ! 

With holly and ivy 

So green and so gay ; 
We deck up our houses 

As fresh as the day, 
With bays and rosemary, 

And laurel compleat. 
And every one now 

Is a king in conceit. 

But as for curmudgeons, 

Who will not be free, 
I wish they may die 

On the three-legged tree." 

At Christmastide, 1696, an Act of Attainder was passed against 
bu- John Fenwick, one of the most ardent of the Jacobite 


conspirators who took part in the plot to assassinate the Kini;". 
He was executed on Tower Hill, January 28, 1697. This was 
the last instance in English history in which a person was 
attainted by Act of Parliament, and Hallam's opinion of this Act 
of Attainder is that " it did not, like some acts of attainder, 
inflict a punishment beyond the offence, but supplied the 
deficiency of legal evidence." 

Peter the Great, of Russia, kept the Christmas of 1697 in 
England, residing at Sayes Court, a house of the celebrated 
John Evelyn, close to Deptford Dockyard. 

Christmas, 1701. 
[From Poor Robin's Almanack.'] 

Now enter Christmas like a man, 
Armed with spit and dripping-pan, 
Attended with pasty, pknn-pie. 
Puddings, phnn-porridge, furmity ; 
With beef, pork, mutton of each sort 
More than my pen can make report ; 
Pig, swan, goose, rabbits, partridge, teal, 
With legs and loins and breasts of veal : 
But above all the minced pies 
Must mention'd be in any wise. 
Or else my Muse were much to blame, 
Since they from Christmas take their name. 
With these, or any one of these, 
A man may dine well if he please ; 
Yet this must well be understood, — 
Though one of these be singly good, 
Vet more the merrier is the best 
As well of dishes as of guest. 

But the times are grown so bad 
Scarce one dish for the poor is had ; 
Good housekeeping is laid aside. 
And all is spent to maintain pride ; 
Good works are counted popish, and 
Small charity is in the land. 
A man may sooner (truth I tell ye) 
Break his own neck than fill his belly. 
Good God amend what is amiss 
And send a remedy to this. 
That Christmas day again may rise 
And we enjoy our Christmas pies. 


The Christmas customs of this period are thus referred to by 
the '* Belhnan, on Christmas Eve " : — 

" This night (you may my Ahimnack believe) 
Is the return of famous Christmas Eve : 
Ye virgins then your cleanly rooms prepare, 
And let the windows bays and laurels wear ; 
Your Rosemary preserve to dress your Beef, 
Not forget me, which I advise in chief." 

Christmas, at Haddox Hall, 

was magnificently kept in the early part of the eighteenth 
century. The amount of good cheer that was required for the 
table may be readily imagined from the magnitude of the 
culinary furniture in the kitchen — two vast fireplaces, with irons 
for sustaining a surprising number of spits, and several enormous 
chopping-blocks — which survived to the nineteenth century. 
John, the ninth Earl and first Duke of Rutland (created Marquis 
of Granby and Duke of Rutland in 1703), revived in the ancient 
spirit the hospitality of Christmastide. He kept sevenscore 
servants, and his twelve days' feasts at Christmas recalled the 
bountiful celebrations of the " King of the Peak," Sir George 
Vernon — the last male heir of the Vernon family in Derbyshire 
who inherited the manor of Haddon, and who died in the 
seventh year of Queen Elizabeth's reign. "The King of the 
Peak " was the father of the charming Dorothy Vernon, the 
fair heiress, whose romantic elopement is thus depicted in 
" Picturesque Europe" : — " In the fullness of time Dorothy loved, 
but her father did not approve. She determined to elope ; and 
now we must fill, in fancy, the Long Gallery with the splendour 
of a revel and the stately joy of a great ball in the time of 
Elizabeth. In the midst of the noise and excitement the fair 
young daughter of the house steals unobserved away. She 
issues from her door, and her light feet fly with tremulous 
speed along the darkling Terrace, flecked with light from the 
blazing ball-room, till they reach a postern in the wall, which 
opens upon the void of the night outside dancing Haddon. At 
that postern some one is waiting eagerly for her ; waiting with 
swift horses. That some one is young Sir John Manners, second 
son of the House of Rutland, and her own true love. The 
anxious lovers mount, and ride rapidly and silently away ; and 
so Dorothy Vernon transfers Haddon to the owners of Belvoir ; 
and the boar's head of Vernon becomes mingled, at Haddon', 
with the peacock of Manners. We fancy with sympathetic 
pleasure that night-ride and the hurried marriage ; and — 


forgettins;' that the thing happened • ages Icng agone ' — we 
\vish, with fuU hearts, all hapj^ness to the dear and charming 
Dorothy 1 " 

From the boar's head of Vernon and the peacock of Manners, 
thought passes quite naturally to the boar's head and peacock, 
which were principal items of Christmas fare in the olden time. 

In her " Collected Writings," Janetta, Duchess of Rutland, 
gives an interesting account of a revival of some of the ancient 
glories of Haddon : 

" In the winter of 1872 the late Duke entertained the Prince 
and Princess of Wales in the banqueting hall at luncheon, 
when the boar's head and peacock in pride were carried m, 
and formed part of the fare, as in olden days : while once more 
musicians filled the minstrels' gallery, great logs blazed in the 
huge fireplace, and scarlet hangings were spread over the walls." 


On the 20th of Februarv, 1702, King William III. fell from 
his horse, breaking his collar-bone and sustaining other serious 
injuries, which terminated fatally on Sunday, the 8th of March. 
He was succeeded by Queen Anne, who was the second daughter 
of' King James II., and the last of the Stuart sovereigns. 

Queen Axxe kept .\ Rov.'^l Christm.-vs 

at Windsor, in 1703, and entertained the new King of Spain, 
who arrived at Spithead on the 26th of December. '' The Queen 
dispatched the Dukes of Somerset and Marlborough to conduct 
him to Windsor, and Prince George met him on the wav at 
Petworth, the seat of the Duke of Somerset, and conducted him 
to Windsor on the 29th. The King was entertained in great 
state for three days at Windsor, during which time he was 
politic enough to ingratiate himself with the Duchess of 
Marlborough. When the Duchess presented the basin and 



napkin after supper to the Queen for her to wash her hands,, 
the King gaUantly took the napkin and held it himself, and on 
returning it to the Queen's great favourite, he presented her 
with a superb diamond ring. After three days the King 
returned to Portsmouth, and on the 4th of January, 1704, he 
embarked on board the Heet commanded by Sir George Rooke, 
for Portugal, accompanied by a body of land forces under the 
Duke of Schomberg. The voyage was, however, a most stormy 
one, and when the fleet had nearly reached Cape Finisterre, it 
was compelled to put back to Spithead, where it remained till 
the middle of February. His next attempt was more successful, 
and he landed in Lisbon amid much popular demonstration, 
though the court itself was sunk in sorrow by the death of the 
Infanta, whom he went to marrv." ^ 

At the Christmas festivities the following year (1704) there 
were great rejoicings over the return home of the Duke of 
Marlborough from the continental wars. " He arrived in 
England in the middle of December, carrying with him Marshal 
Tallard and the rest of the distinguished officers, with the 
standards and other trophies of his victories. He was received 
with acclaim by all classes, except a few Ultra Tories, who 
threatened to impeach him for his rash march to the Danube. 
As Parliament had assembled, Marlborough took his seat in the 
House of Peers the day after his arrival, where he was com- 
plimented on his magnificent success by the Lord Keeper. 
This was followed bv a deputation with a vote of thanks from 
the Commons, and by similar honours from the City. But 
perhaps the most palpable triumph of Marlborough was the 
transferring of the military trophies which he had taken from 
the Tower, where they were first deposited, to Westminster 
Hall. This was done by each soldier carrying a standard or 
other trophy, amid the thunders of artillery and the hurrahs of 
the people ; such a spectacle never having been witnessed since 
the days of the Spanish Armada. The' Royal Manor of Wood- 
stock was granted him, and Blenheim Mansion erected at the 
cost of the nation." 

Christmas-kekpixg in the Country. 

The country squire of three hundred a year, an independent 
gentleman in the reign of Queen Anne, is described as having 
" never played at cards but at Christmas, when the family pack 
was produced from the mantle-piece." " His chief drink the 
year round was generally ale, except at this season, the 5th of 
November, or some gala days, when he would make a bowl of 
strong brandy punch, garnished with a toast and nutmeg. In 
the corner of his hall, by the fireside, stood a large wooden two- 
armed chair, with a cushion, and within the chimney corner 

' Cassell's " History of England." 


were a couple of seats. Here, at Christmas, he entertained his 
tenants, assembled round a glowing tire, made ol the roots of 
trees, and other great logs, and told and heard the traditionary 
tales of the village, respecting ghosts and witches, till fear made 
them afraid to move. In the meantime the jorum of ale was in 
continual circulation." ' 

" This is Yuletide I Bring the holly boughs, 

Deck the old mansion with its berries red ; 
Bring in the mistletoe, that lover's vows 

Be sweetly sealed the while it hangs o'erhead. 
Pile on the logs, fresh gathered from the wood, 

And let the firelight dance upon the walls, 
The while we tell the stories of the good, 

The brave, the noble, that the past recalls." - 

Many interesting tales respecting the manners and customs of 
the eighteenth century are given by Steele and Addison in their 
well-known series of papers entitled the Spectator. Charity and 
hospitality are conspicuous traits of the typical country gentle- 
man of the period, Sir Roger de Coverley. '* Sir Roger," says 
the Spectator, " after the laudable custom of his ancestors, 
always keeps open hotise at Christmas. I learned from him, 
that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season ; that he had 
dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours ; 
and that in particular he had sent a string of hog's puddings 
with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. ' I 
have often thought,' says Sir Roger, ' it happens well that 
Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the 
most dead uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor 
people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if 
they had not good cheer, warm iires, and Christmas gambols to 
support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season^ 
and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a 
double quantity of malt to mv small beer, and set it running for 
twelve days to everyone that calls for it. I have always a piece 
of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and am wonder- 
fully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in 
playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our 
friend Will Wimble is as merrv as any of them, and shows a 
thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions." 

Puppet-shows and other scenic exhibitions with moving 
figures were among the Christmas amusements in the reign of 
Queen Anne. Strutt quotes a description of such an exhibition 
" by the manager of a show exhibited at the great house in the 
Strand, over against the Globe Tavern, near Hungerford Market ; 
the best places at one shilling and the others at sixpence each : 
' To be seen, the greatest Piece of Curiosity that ever arrived in 
England, being made bv a famous engineer from the camp 

' Grose. ^ Herbert II. Adams. 




before Lisle, who, with great labour and industry, has collected 
into a moving picture the following figures : first', it doth repre- 
sent the confederate camp, and the army lying intrenched 
before the town ; secondly, the convoys and the mules with 
Prince Eugene's baggage ; thirdly, the English forces com- 
manded by the Duke of Marlborough ; likewise, several vessels 
laden with provisions for the army, which are so artificially 
done as to seem to drive the water before them. The city and 
the citadel are very fine, with all its outworks, ravelins, horn- 
works, counter-scarps, half-moons, and palisades; the French 
horse marching out at one gate, and the confederate army 
marching in at the other ; the prince's travelling coach with two 
generals in it, one saluting the company as it passes bv ; then a 
trumpeter sounds a call as he rides, at the noise whereof a 
sleeping sentinel starts, and lifts up his head, but, not being 
espied, lies down to sleep again ; beside abundance more 
admirable curiosities too tedious to be inserted here.' He then 
modestly adds, ' In short, the whole piece is so contrived by art 
that it seems to be life and nature.' ' 

Tumbling and feats of agility were also fashionable during the 
Chri-tmas festival at this period, for in one of the Tatlers^(No. 
115, dated January 3, 1709) the following passage occurs : " I 
went on Friday last to the Opera, and was surprised to find a 


thin house at so noble an entertainment, 'till I heard that the 
tumbler was not to make his appearance that 
night." The sword-dance — dancing " among the 
points of swords and spears with most wonderful 
agility, and even with the most elegant and graceful 
motions" — rope-dancing, feats of balancing, leap- 
ing and vaulting, tricks by horses and other animals, 
and bull-baiting and bear-baiting were also among 
the public amusements. And Hot Cockles was one 
of the favourite indoor amusements of Christmas- 
tide. Strutt, in his " Sports and Pastimes," says, 
Hot Cockles is from the French haiitcs-coqiiilles, 
" a play in which one kneels, and covering his 
eyes, lays his head in another's lap and guesses 
who struck him." John Gay, a poet of the time, 
thus pleasantly writes of the game : — 

" As at Hot Cockles once I laid nie down, 
And felt the weighty hand of many a clown, 
Buxoma gave a gentle tap, and I 
Quick rose, and read soft mischief in her eye."' 

On the death of Queen Anne 
(August II, 1714) Prince George 
Louis of Hanover was proclaimed 
King of England as 

George the First. 

There was little change in the 
Christmas festivities in this reign, 
for, as Mr. Thackeray savs in his 
lively sketch of George I.: *' He 
was a moderate ruler of England. 
His aim was to leave it to itself 
as much as possible, and to live 
out of it as much as he could. 
His heart was in Hanover." The 
most important addition to the 
plays of the period was 

The Christmas Pantomime. 

In his " English Plays," Pro- 
fessor Henry Morlev thus records 
the introduction of the modern 
English pantomime, which has 
since been the great show of 
Christmastide : — 

" The theatre in Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, which Christopher Rich 
had been restoring, his son, John 
Rich, was allowed to open on 



the i8th of December, 1714. John Rich was a clever mimic, 
and after a year or two he found it to his advantage to compete 
with the actors in a fashion of his own. He was the inventor 
of the modern Enghsh form of pantomime, with a serious part 
that he took from Ovid's Metamorphosis or any fabulous history, 
and a comic addition of the courtship of harlequin and colum- 
bine, with surprising tricks and transformations. He introduced 
the old Itahan characters of pantomime under changed con- 
ditions, and beginning with 'Harlequin Sorcerer' in 1717, 
continued to produce these entertainments until a year before 
his death in 1761. They have since been retained as Christmas 
shows upon the English stage." 

In a note to "The Dunciad," Pope complains of "the extra- 
vagancies introduced on the stage, and frequented by persons 
of the first quality in England to the twentieth and thirtieth 
time," and states that ''all the extravagances " in the following 
lines of the poem actually appeared on the stage : — 

' ' See now, what Dulness and her sons admire ! 
See what the charms, that smite the simple hear 
Not touched by nature, and not reach'd by art. 
His never-blushing, head he turn'd aside, 
(Not half so pleased when Goodman prophesied) 
And look'd, and saw a sable Sorcerer rise. 
Swift to whose hand a winged volume flies : 
All sudden, gorgons hiss, and dragons glare, 
And ten-horn'd fiends and giants rush to war. 
Hell rises. Heaven descends, and dance on earth : 
Gods, imps, and monsters, music, rage, and mirth, 
A fire, a jig, a battle, and a Ijall, 
Till one wide conflagration swallows all. 

Thence a new world, to nature's laws unknown, 
Breaks out refulgent, with a heaven its own : 
Another Cynthia her new journey runs, 
And other planets circle other suns. 
The forests dance, the rivers upward rise, 
Whales sport in woods, and dolphins in the skies ; 
And last, to give the whole creation grace, 
Lo I one vast egg produces human race." 

David Garrick, the eminent actor, wrote in a similar strain, 
finding it hard to hold his own against the patrons of the 
pantomime : — 

" They in the drama find no joys, 
But doat on mimicry and toys. 
Thus, when a dance is in my bill. 
Nobility my boxes fill ; 
Or send three days before the time. 
To crowd a new-made pantomime." 

" Old Merry PLExtiFUL Christmas," 

atlthis period, is sketched by a writer in Poor Robin's Almanack, 
for 1723, thus : — "Now comes on old merry plentiful Christmas. 
The Husbandman lays his great Log behind the lire, and with a 



few of his neighbours, over a good hre, taps his Christmas beer, 
cuts his Christmas cheese, and sets forward for a merry Christ- 
mas. The Landlord (for we hope there are yet some generous 
ones left) invites his Tenants and Labourers, and with a good 
Sirloin of Roast Beef, and a few pitchers of nappy ale or beer, 
he wisheth them all a merry Christmas. The beggar begs his 
bread, sells some of it for money to buy drink, and without fear 
of being arrested, or call'd upon for parish duties, has as merry 
a Christmas as any of them all." 

So the people made merry at Christmas throughout the rpigu 
of George L, who died on June 10, 1727, and was succeeded by 
his son. 

George the Second. 

In this reign the customs of Christmas were kept up with 
unabated heartiness, and liberality to the poor was not for- 
gotten. The customary distributions of creature comforts on 
Christmas Eve were continued, and, in some instances, pro- 
vision for the maintenance of them was made in the wills Of 
worthy parishioners. An instance of this kind is recorded in 
Devonshire. " It appears, from a statement of charities in an 
old book, that John Martyn, by will, 28th of November, 1729, 
gave to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the 
parish of St. Mary Major, Exeter, twenty pounds, to be put out 
at interest, and the prohts thereof to be laid out every Christmas 
Eve in twenty pieces of beef, to be distributed to twenty poor 


people of the parish, such as had no rehef on that day, for 


Christmas Housekeeping i\ London, 

at this period, was excellent, both as to quantity and quality is 
evident, from a contribution made to Read's Weekly foimiaJ oi 
Saturclay, January 9, 1731, by Mr. Thomas North, who thus 
describes the Christmas entertainment and good cheer he met 
with in London at the house of a friend : - It was the house 
of an eminent and worthy merchant, and tho', sir, I have been 
accustomed in my own country to what may very well be called 
good housekeeping, yet I assure you I should have taken this 
dinner to have been provided for a whole parish, rather than 
tor about a dozen gentlemen : 'Tis impossible for me to give 
you ha tour bill of fare, so you must be content to know that 
we had turkies, geese, capons, puddings of a dozen sorts more 
than I had ever seen in my life, besides brawn, roast beef, and 
many things of which I know not the names, minc'd pyes in 
abundance, and a thing they call plumb pottage, which may be 
good for ought I know, though it seems to me to have so 
different tastes. Our wines were of the best, as were all the 
rest of our liquors ; in short, the God of plenty seemed to reim 
here, and to make everything perfect, our company was polite 
and every way agreeable; nothing but mirth and loyal healths 
went round. If a stranger were to have made an estimate of 
London from this place, he would imagine it not only the most 
rich but the most happy city in the world." 

Another interesting item of this period is the following— 

Curious Christmas Advertisement, 

which has been cut from some publication and (by the late 
^^\- io^eph Hasltwood) inserted between pages 358 and 3=50 of 
thd British Museum large paper copy of Brand's "Antiquities " 
and dated December, 1739 •' — 

T"This clay is published. Price 6d 
encouraging his Majesty's subjects in Idleness, Drunkenness 
Uaming Rioting, and all manner of Extravagance and 
Debauchery, at the Assizes held in the city of Profusion before 
the Lord Chief Justice Churchman, Mr. Justice Feast, Mr 
Justice Gambol, and several other his Majesty's Justices of Over 
and Terminer, and Gaol- Delivery. ^ 

"To which is added a Diary found in the Pocket of Old 

father Christmas, with Directions to all Lovers of him how to 

welcome their neighbours ; likewise the Judge's sentence and 

Opinion how Christmas ought to be kept ; and further Witty 

" Old English Customs and Charities," 1842. 


Tales and Merry Stories designed for Christmas Evenings 
Diversion, when ronnd about our Coal Fire. 

By Josiah King, 

Pi-inter for T. Cooper, at the Globe in Pater-noster Row ; and 
sold by the Pamphlet-shops of London and Westminster." 

Now we come to a quaintly interesting accoimt of 

Christmas Extertaixmext ix the Oldex Time. 

The manner of observing the Christmas festival in the time 
of George the Second is described in an amusing little book 
entitled " Round about our Coal Fire, or Christmas Entertain- 
ments," published in 1740, and " illustrated with many diverting 
cuts." We quote the following extracts : — 



" O you merry, merry souls, 
Christmas is a coming, 
We shall have flowing Bowls, 
Dancing, piping, drumming. 

Delicate minced Pies, 

To feast every Virgin, 
Capon and Goose likewise, 

Brawn and a dish of Sturgeon. 

Then for your Chiistmas Box, 
Sweet Plumb-cakes and money, 

Delicate Holland Smocks, 
Kisses sweet as Honey. 

' Hey for the Christmas Ball, 
Where we shall be jolly, 

Jigging short and tall, 

Kate, Dick, Ralph, and Molly. 

Then to the Hop we'll go. 
Where we'll jig and caper. 

Maidens all-a-row. 
Will shall pay the Scraper. 

' Hodge shall dance with Prue, 
Keeping Time with Kisses 
We'll have a jovial Crew, 
Of sweet smirking Misses. 




" First acknowledging the sacredness of the Holy Time of 
Chrishnas, I proceed to set forth the Rejoicings which are 
generally made at that great Festival. 

" You must understand, good People, that the manner of 
celebrating this great Course of Holydays is vastly different now 
to what it was in former days : There was once upon a time 
Hospitality in the land ; an English gentleman at the opening 
of the great Day, had all his Tenants and Neighbours enter'd his 
Hall by Day-break, the strong Beer was broach'd, and the 
Black Jacks went plentifully about with Toast, Sugar, Nutmeg, 
and good Cheshire Cheese ; the Rooms -were embower'd with 
Holly, Ivy, Cypress, Bays, Laurel, and Missleto, and a bouncing 
Christmas Log in the Chimney glowing like the cheeks of a 
•country Milk-maid ; then was the pewter as bright as Clahnda, 


and every bit of Brass as polished as the most retined Gentle- 
man ; the Servants were then running here and there, with 
merry Hearts and jolly Countenances ; every one was busy 
welcoming of Guests, and look'd as smug as new-lick'd Puppies ; 
the Lasses as blithe and buxom as the maids in good Queen 
Besses Days, when they eat Sir- Loins of Roast Beef for Breakfast ; 
Pl'<> would scuttle about to make a Toast for John, while Tom 
run lianiiii scaniiii to draw a Jug of Ale for Margery : Gaffer 
Spriggins was bid thrice welcome by the 'Squire, and Gooddy 
Goose did not fail of a smacking Buss from his Worship while 
his Son and Heir did the Honours of the House : in a word, 
the Spirit of Generosity ran thro' the whole House. 

"In these Times all the Spits were sparkling, the Hackin 
must be boiled by Day-break, or else two young Men took the 
Maiden by the Arms, and run her round the Market-place, till 
she was ashamed of her Laziness. And what was worse than 
this, she must not play with the Young Fellows that Day, but 
stand Neuter, like a Girl doing penance in a Winding-sheet at 
a Church-door. 

" But now let us enquire a little farther, to arrive at the Sense 
of the Thing ; this great Festival was in former Times kept 
with so much Freedom and Openness of Heart, that every one 
in the Country where a Gentleman resided, possessed at least a 
Day of Pleasure in the Christinas Holydays ; the Tables were 
all spread from the first to the lasf, the Sir-Loyns of Beef, the 
Minc'd-Pies, the Plumb- Porridge,- the Capons, Turkeys, Geese, 
and Plumb-Puddings, were all brought upon the board ; and 
all those who had sliarp stomachs and sharp Knives eat heartily 
and were welcome, which gave rise to the Proverb — 

Merry in the Hall, when Beards wag all.'''' 

'* There were then Turnspits employed, who by the time 
Dinner was over, would look as black and as greasy as a Welch 
Porridge-pot, but the Jacks have since turned them all out of 
Doors. The Geese which used to be fatted for the honest 
Neighbours, have been of late sent to London, and the Quills 
made into Pens to convey away the Landlord's Estate ; the 
Sheep are drove away to raise Money to answer the Loss of a 
Game at Dice or Cards, and their Skins made into Parchment 
for Deeds and Indentures ; nay even the poor innocent Bee, 
who used to pay its Tribute to the Lord once a Year at least in 
good Metheglin, for the Entertainment of the Guests, and its 
Wax converted into beneficial Plaisters for sick Neighboui's, is 
now used for the sealing of Deeds to his Disadvantage. 

" But give me the Man wJio has a good Heart, and has Spirit 
enough to keep up the Old way of Hospitality, feeds his People 
till they are as plump as Partridges, and as fat as Porpoises 
that every Servant may appear as jolly as the late Bishop of 
WincJicsters Porter at Chelsea. 


"The News- Papers however inform us, that the Sph-it of 
Hospitahty has not quite forsaken us ; for three or four of 
them tell us. that several of the Gentry are gone clown to their 
respective Seats in the Country, in order to keep their Christmas 
ni the Old Way, and entertain their Tenants and Trades-folks 
as their Ancestors used to do and I wish them a merry Christ- 
mas accordingly. I must also take notice to the stingy Tribe, 
that if they don't at least make their Tenants or Tradesmen 
drmk when they come to see them in the Christmas Holydays, 
they have Liberty of retaliating which is a Law of very ancient 
Date. " ^ 

"A merry Gentleman of my Acquaintance desires I will 
msert, that the old Folks in Days of yore kept open House at 
Christmas out of Literest ; for then, says he, they receive the 
greatest Part of their Rent in Kind ; such as Wheat, Barley or 
Malt, Oxen, Calves, Sheep, Swme, Turkeys, Capon, Geese, and 
such like ; and they not having Room enough to preserve their 
Grain, or Fodder enough to preserve their Cattle or Poultry, 
nor Markets to sell off the Overplus, they were obliged to use 
them in their own Houses ; and by treating the People of the 
Country, gained Credit amongst them, and riveted the Minds 
and Goodwill of their Neighbours so hrmly in them, that no 
one durst venture to oppose them. The "'Squire's Will was 
done whatever came on it ; for if he happened to ask a Neigh- 
bour what it was a Clock, they returned with a low Scrape, it is 
what your W'orship pleases. 

" The Dancing and Singing of the Benchers in the great Inns 
of Court in Christmas, is in some sort founded upon Interest ; 
for they hold, as I am informed,, some Priviledge by Dancing 
about the Fire in the middle of their Hall, and singing the Song 
of Roiimi about our Coal Fire, &c. 

" This time of year being cold and frosty generally speaking, 
or when Jack-Frost commonly takes us by the Nose^the Diver- 
sions are within Doors, either in Exercise "or by the Fire-side. 

" Country- Dancing is one of the chief Exercises. 

"Then comes Mumming or Masquerading, when the 'Squire's 
W^ardrobe is ransacked for Dresses of all Kinds, and the coal- 
hole searched around, or corks burnt to black the Faces of the 
Fair, or make Deputy-Mustaches, and every one in the Family 
except the 'Squire himself must be transformed from what they 
were. ... 

" Or else there is a Match at Bliiui-Mau's-Buff, and then it 
is lawful to set anything in the way for Folks to tumble 
over. . . 

" As for Puss ill the Comer, that is a very harmless Sport, and 
one may romp at it as much as one will. 

" The next game to this is Ouestious ami Commauds, when the 
Commander may oblige his Subject to answer any lawful Ques- 
tion, and make the same obey him instanHy, under the penalty 
of being smutted, or paying such Forfeit as may be laid on the 


Aggressor ; but the Forfeits being generally iixecl at some 
certain Price, as a Shilling, Half a Crown, &c., so every one 
knowing what to do if they shonld be too stubborn to submit, 
make themselves easy at discretion. 

" As for the Game of Hoop and Hide, the Parties have the 
Liberty of hiding where they will, in any part of the House ; 
and if they happen to be caught, the Dispute ends in Kiss- 
ing, &c. 

" Most of the other Diversions are Cards and Dice, but they 
are seldom set on foot, unless a Lawyer is at hand, to breed 
some dispute for him to decide, or at least have some 
Party in. 

"And now I come to another Entertainment frequently used, 
which is of the Story-telling Order, viz. of Hobgoblins, Witches, 
Conjurers, Ghosts, Fairies, and such like common Disturbers." 

At this period 

David Gakrick's Christmas Acting 

won him great applause. At Christmas, 1741, he brought out 
at Goodman's Fields a Christmas Farce, written bv himself, 
entitled "The Lying Valet," wherein the great actor took the part 
of " Sharp." It was thought the most diverting farce ever per- 
formed. *' There was a general roar from beginning to end. 
So great was his versatility that people were not able to deter- 
mine whether he was best in tragedy or comedy." On his 
beneiit, when his real name was placed on the bills for the lirst 
time, there was an immense gathering, and the applause was 
quite extraordinarv. 

The Christmas festivities of 1745 were marred by the 

Disturbances of the Jacobites, 

under the romantic " Prince Charlie," whose attempted invasion 
of England speedilv collapsed. 

Pointer, in his O.voiiieiisis Acadciiiia (1749) refers to 

An Old Christmas Custom 

of this period. He states that at Alerton College, Oxford, the 
Fellows meet together in the Hall, on Christmas Eve, to sing a 
Psalm and drink a grace-cup to one another (called Pociihim 
CJniritalis), wishing one another health and happiness. 
The Christmas of 1752 was 

The First Christmas under the " Xew Style," 

and manv refused to observe the festival eleven days earlier than 
usual, but insisted on keeping " Old Christmas Dav." Whv 
should they be robbed of eleven days bv a new Act of Parlia- 
ment ? It was of no use to tell them that it had been discovered 
that the fractional few minutes which are tailed on to the davs 


and hours which make up the year had, by neglect through 
many centuries, brought us into a wrong condition, and that 
to set us right it would be necessary to give credit for eleven 
days which nobody was conscious of having enjoyed. The 
law, however, had said that it should be so. Accordingly, the 
day after the 2nd of September, 1752, was called the 14th, to 
the great indignation of thousands, who reckoned that they had 
thus been cut off from nearly a fortnight of life which honestly 
belonged to them. These persons sturdily refused to acknow- 
ledge the Christmas Eve and Day of the new calendar. They 
averred that the true festival was that which now began on the 
5th of January next year. They w^ould go to church, they said, 
on no other day ; nor eat mince-pies nor drink punch but in 
reference to this one day. The clergy had a hard time of it 
with these recusants. It will be well, therefore, to quote one 
singular example to show how this recusancy was encountered. 
It is from a collection of pamphlet-sermons preserved by 
George III., none of which, however, have anything curious 
or particularly meritorious about them save this one, which was 
preached on Friday, January 5, 1753, " Old Christmas Day." 
Mr. Francis Blackburne, "one of the candid disquisitors," 
opened his church on that day, which was crowded by a con- 
gregation anxious to see the day celebrated as that of the 
anniversary of the Nativity. -The service for Christmas Day, 
however, was not used. " I will answer your expectations so 
far," said the preacher in his sermon, " as to give you a sermon 
on the day ; and the rather because I perceive you are dis- 
appointed of soniething else that you expected." The purport 
of the discourse is to show that the change of style was desir- 
able, and that it having been effected by Act "of Parliament, 
with the sanction of the King, there was nothing for it but 
acquiescence. " For," says the preacher, " had I, to oblige you, 
disobeyed this Act of Parliament, it is very probable I might 
have lost my benefice, which, you know, is all the subsistence I 
have in the world ; and I should have been rightly served ; for 
who am I that I should fly in the face of his Majesty and the 
Parliament ? These things are left to be ordered by the higher 
powers ; and in any such case as that, I hope not to think 
myself wiser than the King, the whole nobility, and principal 
gentry of Great Britain " ! ! 

The peasants of Buckinghamshire, however, pitched upon a 
very pretty method to settle the question of Christmas, left so 
meekly by Mr. Blackburne to the King, nobility, and most of 
the gentry. They bethought themselves of a blackthorn near 
one of their villages ; and this thorn was for the nonce declared 
to be the growth of a slip from the Christmas-Howering thorn 
at Glastonbury. If the Buckinghamshire thorn, so argued the 
peasants, will only blossom in the night of the 24th of December, 
we will go to church next day, and allow that the Christmas by 
Act of Parliament is the true Christmas ; but no blossom no 


feast, and there shall be no revel till the eve of old Christmas 
Day. They watched the thorn and drank to its budding ; but 
as it produced no promise of a flower by the morning, they 
turned to go homewards as best they might, perfectly satished 
with the success of the experiment. Some were interrupted in 
their way by their respective " vicars," who took them by the 
arm and would fain have persuaded them to go to church. 
They argued the question by field, stile, and church-gate ; but 
not a Bucks peasant would consent to enter a pew till the parson 
had promised to preach a sermon to, and smoke a pipe with, 
them on the only Christmas Dav they chose to acknowledge. 

Now, however, this old prejudice has been conquered, and 
the " new style" has maintained its ground. It has even done 
more, for its authors have so arranged the years and leap years 
that a confusion in the time of Christmas or any other festival 
is not likely to occur again. 



King George the Third 

came to the throne on the death of his grandfather, George II. 
(October 25, 1760), and the hrst Christmas of his reign "'was 
a high festival at Court, wiien his Majesty, preceded by heralds, 
pursuivants, &c., went with their usual state to the Chapel 
Royal, ancl heard a sermon preached by his Grace the Arch- 
bishop of 'York ; and it being a collar day, the Knights of the 
Garter, Thistle and Bath, appeared in the collars of their 


respective orders. After the sermon was over, his Majesty, 
Prince Edward and Princess Augnsta went into the Chapel 
Royal, and received the sacrament from the hands of the 
Bishop of Durham ; and the King offered the byzant, or wedge 
of gold, in a purse, for the benefit of the poor, and the royal 
family all made offerings. His Majesty afterwards dined with 
his royal mother at Leicester House, ancl in the evening returned 
to St. James's."' 
At this period 

The Favourite Christmas Diversion 
was card-playing. The King himself spent a great deal of his 
time in playing at cards with the ladies and gentlemen of his 
court. In doing so, however, he was but following the example 
of George II., of whom the biographer already quoted (Mr. 
Huish) says : — 

" After the death of Queen Caroline, the King was very 
fond of a game at cards with the Countess of Pembroke, 
Albemarle, and other distinguished ladies. His attachment to 
cards was transferred to his attachment for the ladies, and it 
was said that what he gained by the one he lost by the other.'' 
Cards were very much resorted to at the family parties and 
other social gatherings held during the twelve days of Christ- 
mas. Hone makes various allusions to card-playing at Christmas- 
tide, ancl Washington Irving, in his " Life of Oliver Goldsmith," 
pictures the poet " keeping the card-table in an uproar." 
Mrs. Bunbury invited Goldsmith down to Barton to pass the 
Christmas holidays. Irving regrets *' that we have no record of 
this Christmas visit to Barton ; that the poet had no Boswell to 
follow at his heels, and take notes of all his sayings and doings. 
We can only picture him in our minds, casting off all care ; 
enacting the Lord of Misrule ; presiding at the Christmas 
revels ; providing all kinds of merriment ; keeping the card- 
table in an uproar, and finally opening the ball on the first day 
of the year in his spring-velvet suit, with the jessamv Bride for 
a partner." 

From the reprint additions made in the British Museum large 
paper copy of Brand's "Antiquities," by the late Mr. Joseph Hasle- 
wood, and dated January, 1779, we quote the following verses 
descriptive of the concluding portion of the Christmas festivities 
at this period : — 


Now the jovial girls and boys, 

Struggling for the cake and plumbs, 
Testify their eager joys, 

And lick their fingers and their thuml)S. 

Statesmen like, they struggle still. 

Scarcely hands kept out of dishes. 
And yet, when they have had their fill. 

Still anxious for the loaves and fishes. 

Huish's " Life of George the Third.' 


Kings and Queens, in petty state, 

Now their sovereign will declare, 
But other sovereigns' plans they hate. 

Full fond of peace — detesting war. 

One moral from this tale appears, 

Worth notice when a world's at stake ; 
That all our hopes and all our fears. 

Are but a struggling for the Cake. 

Other particulars of the 

Popular Christmas Festivities 

in the latter part of the eighteenth century are gleaned from 
contemporary writers : — 

'* At Ripon, on Christmas Eve, the grocers, send each of their 
customers a pound or half of currants and raisins to make a 
Christmas pudding. The chandlers also send large mould 
candles, and the coopers logs of wood, generally called Yule 
clogs, which are always used on Christmas Eve ; but should it 
be so large as not to be all burnt that night, which is frequently 
the case, the remains are kept till old Christmas Eve." ' 

In Sinclair's Account of Scotland, parish of Kirkden, county 
of Angus (1792), Christmas is said to be held as a great 
festival in the neighbourhood. " The servant is free from his 
master, and goes about visiting his friends and acquaintance. 
The poorest must have beef or mutton on the table, and what 
they call a dinner with their friends. Many amuse themselves 
with various diversions, particularly with shooting for prizes, 
called here wad-shooting ; and many do but little business all the 
Christmas week ; the evening of almost every day being spent 
in amusement." And in the account of Keith, in Banffshire, 
the inhabitants are said to "have no pastimes or holidays, except 
dancing on Christmas and New Year's Day." 

Boyhood's Christmas Breaking-up is thus described in a 
poem entitled " Christmas " (Bristol, 1795) : — 

"A school there was, within a well-known town, 
(Bridgwater call'd), in which the boys were wont. 
At hreakitig-iip for Christmas' lov'd recess. 
To meet the master, on the happy morn. 
At early hour ; the custom, too, prevail'd, 
That he who first the seminary reach'd 
Should, instantly, perambulate the streets 
With sounding horn, to rouse his fellows up ; 
And, as a compensation for his care, 
His flourish'd copies, and his chapter-task. 
Before the rest, he from the master had. 
For many days, ere breaking-up commenced. 
Much was the clamour, 'mongst the beardless crowd, 
Who first would dare his well-warm'd bed forego. 
And, round the town, with horn of ox equipp'd. 
His schoolmates call. Great emulation glow'd 
In all their breasts ; but, when the morning came, 

Gentleman'' s Magazine, 1 790. 


Straightway was heard, resounding through the streets, 

The pleasing blast (more welcome far, to them, 

Than is, to sportsmen, the delightful cry 

Of hounds on chase), which soon together brought 

A tribe of boys, who, thund'ring at the doors 

Of those, their fellows, sunk in Somnus' arms. 

Great hubbub made, and much the town alarm'd. 

At length the gladsome, congregated throng, 

Toward the school their willing progress bent. 

With loud huzzas, and, crowded round the desk, 

Where sat the master busy at his books, 

In reg'lar order, each receiv'd his own. 

The youngsters then, enfranchised from the school, 

Their fav'rite sports pursued." 

A writer in the Geiitlcinaii's Ma<^aziiieior February, 1795, gives 
the following account of a Christmas Eve custom at the house 
of Sir Holt, Bart., of Aston, near Birmingham : 

" As soon as supper is over, a table is set in the hall. On it 
is placed a brown loaf, with twenty silver threepences stuck on 
the top of it, a tankard of ale, with pipes and tobacco ; and 
the two oldest servants have chairs behind it, to sit as judges if 
they please. The steward brings the servants, both men and 
women, by one at a time, covered with a winnow-sheet, and 
lays their right hand on the loaf, exposing no other part of the 
body. The oldest of the two judges guesses at the person, by 
naming a name, then the younger judge, and lastly the oldest 
again. If they hit upon the right name, the steward leads the 
person back again ; but, if they" do not, he takes off the 
winnow^-sheet, and the person receives a threepence, makes a 
low obeisance to the judges, but speaks not a word. When the 
second servant was brought, the vounger judge guessed first 
and third ; and- this they did alternately, till all the money was 
given away. Whatever servant had not slept in the house the 
preceding night forfeited his right to the money. No account 
is given of the origin of this strange custom, but it has been 
practised ever since the family lived there. When the money 
is gone, the servants have full liberty to drink, dance, sing, and 
go to bed when they please." 

Brand quotes the foregoing paragraph and asks : '' Can this 
be what Aubrey calls the sport of ' Cob-loaf stealing ' ? " 


A New Song by R. P. 

(Tune — " Since Love is my Plan.") 

In the Poor Soldier. 

When Christmas approaches each bosom is gay, 

That festival banishes sorrow away. 

While Richard he kisses both Susan and Dolly, 

When tricking the house up with ivy and holly ; 

For never as yet it was counted a crime, 

To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

For never as yet, &c. 


Then comes turkey and chine, with the famous roast beef, 

Of English provisions still reckon'd the chief ; 

Roger whispers the cook-maid his wishes to crown, 

O Dolly ! pray give me a bit of the brown ; 

For never as yet it was counted a crime, 

To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

For never as yet, &c. 

The luscious plum-pudding does smoking appear. 
And the charming mince pye is not far in the rear. 
Then each licks his chops to behold such a sight, 
But to taste it affords him superior delight'; 
P"or never as yet it was counted a crime, 
To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

For never as yet, &c. 

Now the humming October goes merrily round, 
And each with good humour is happily crown'd. 
The song and the dance, and the mirth-giving jest, 
Alike without harm by each one is expressed ; 
For never as yet it was counted a crime, 
To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

P'or never as yet, &c. 

Twelfth Day next approaches, to give you delight. 
And the sugar'd rich cake is display'd to the sight, 
Then sloven and slut and the king and the queen, 
Alike must be present to add to the scene ; 
For never as yet it was counted a crime. 
To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

For never as yet, &c. 

May each be found thus as the year circles round. 

With mirth and good humour each Christmas be crown'd. 

And may all who have plenty of riches in store 

With their bountiful blessings make happy the poor ; 

For never as yet it was counted a crime. 

To be merry and cherry at that happy time. 

For never as yet, &c.' 

Charles Lamb on Christmas. 

In his essay on " Recollections ot Christ's Hospital," Charles 
Lamb thus refers to the Christmas festivities of his schoolboy 
days : — 

'' Let me have leave to remember the festivities at Christmas, 
when the richest of us would club our stock to have a gaudy 
day, sitting round the fire, replenished to the height with logs, 
and the pennyless, and he that could contribute nothing, par- 
took in all the mirth, and in some of the substantialities of the 
feasting ; the carol sung by night at that time of the year, 
which, when a young boy, I have so often lain awake to hear 
from seven (the hour of going to bed) till ten when it was sung 
by the older boys and monitors, and have listened to it, in their 
rude chaunting, till I have been transported in fancy to the fields 
of Bethlehem, and the song which was sung at that season, by 
angels' voices to the shepherds." 

' Copied from an undated leaflet inserted in the British Museum copy of 
Brand's "Antiquities,'" by the Inte Mr. Joseph Ilazlewood. 


In a sonnet sent to Coleridge, in 1797, Lamb says : — 

" It were unwisely done, should we refuse 
To cheer our path, as featly as we may — 
Our lonely path to cheer, as travellers \ise, 
With merry song, quaint tale, or roundelay. 
And we will sometimes talk past troubles o'er, 
Of mercies shown, and all our sickness heal'd, 
And in His judgments God remembering love : 
And we will learn to praise God evermore, 
P'or those ' glad tidings of great joy,' reveal'd 
By that sooth messenger, sent from above." 

Writing to Southe}', in 1798, Lamb tells the poet that Christ- 
mas is a " glorious theme " ; and addressing his " dear old friend 
and absentee," Mr. Manning, at Canton, on December 25, 1815, 


{From an old print.) 



Lamb says: — ''This is Christmas Day, 1815, with us; what it 
may be with you I don't know, the 12th of June next year per- 
haps ; and if it should be the consecrated season with you, 
I don't see how you can keep it. You have no turkeys ; you 
would not desecrate the festival by offering up a withered 
Chinese bantam, instead of the savoury grand Norfolcian holo- 
caust, that smokes all around my nostrils at this moment from a 
thousand firesides. Then what puddings have you ? Where 
will you get holly to stick in your churches, or churches to stick 
your dried tea-leaves (that must be the substitute) in ? Come 
out of Babylon, O my friend." 


(Fro//i a sketch of thai period.) 

" Ranged in a row, with guitars slung 
Before them thus,"they played and sung ; 
Their instruments and choral voice 
Bid each glad guest still more rejoice ; 
And each guest wish'd again to hear 
Their wild guitars and voices clear." ' 

The Christmas Games 

at the beginning of the nineteenth century include the old 
Christmas game of Forfeits, for every breach of the rules of 
which the players have to deposit some little article as a forfeit, 

' Hone's " Every-day Book," 1826. 



to be redeemed by some sportive penalty, imposed by the "Crier 
of the Forfeits" (usuahy a bonnie lassie). The " crying of the 
forfeits " and paying of the penalties creates much merrinaent, 
particularly when a bashful youth is sentenced to '* kiss through 
the fire-tongs " some beautiful romp of a girl, who delights 
playing him tricks while the room rings with laughter. 

Some of the old pastimes, however, have fallen into disuse, as, 
for instance, the once popular game of Hot Cockles, Hunt the 
Slipper, and "the vulgar game of Post ami Pair"; but Cants 
are still popular, and Snapdragon continues such Christmas 
merriment as is set forth in the followintj verses : — 


Here he comes with flaming bowl, 
Don't he mean to take his toll, 

Snip ! Snap I Dragon I 
Take care you don't take too much, 
Be not greedy in your clutch, 

Snip I Snap ! Dragon 1 

With his blue and lapping tongue 
Many of you will be stung. 

Snip ! Snap I Dragon I 
For he snaps at all that comes 
Snatching at his feast of plums, 

Snip ! Snap ! Dragon 1 


But old Christmas makes him come, 
Though he looks so fee ! fa ! fum ! 

Snip ! Snap ! Dragon ! 
Don't 'ee fear him, be but bold — 
Out he goes, his flames are cold, 

Snip I Snap I Dragon ! " 

" Don't 'ee fear him, be but bold," accords with the advice of 
a writer in " Pantalogia," in 1813, who says that when the brandy 
in the bowl is set on fire, and raisins thrown into it, those who 
are unused to the sport are afraid to take out, but the raisins 
may be safely snatched by a quick motion and put blazing into 
the mouth, which being closed, the fire is at once extinguished. 
The game requires both courage and rapidity of action, and a 
good deal of merriment is caused by the unsuccessful efforts of 
competitors for the raisins in the flaming bowl. 

Blixdmax's Buff, 

A favourite game of Christmastide, is thus described by Thomas 
Miller, in his " Sports and Pastimes of Merry England" : — 

" The very youngest of our brothers and sisters can join in 
this old English game : and it is selfish to select only such 
sports as they cannot become sharers of. Its ancient name is 
' hoodman-blind ' ; and when hoods were worn by both men 
and women — centuries before hats and caps were so common 
as they are now— the hood was reversed, placed hind-before, 
and was, no doubt, a much surer way of blinding the player than 
that now adopted — for we have seen Charley try to catch his 
pretty cousin Caroline, by chasing her behind chairs and into 
all sorts of corners, to our strong conviction that he was not 
half so well blinded as he ought to have been. Some said he 
could see through the black silk handkerchief ; others that it 
ought to have been tied clean over his nose, for that when he 
looked down he could see her feet, wherever she moved ; and 
Charley had often been heard to say that she had the prettiest 
foot and ankle he had ever seen. But there he goes, head over 
heels across a chair, tearing off Caroline's gown "skirt in his fall, 
as he clutches it in the hope of saving himself. Now, that is 
what I call retributive justice ; for she threw down the chair for 
hnn to stumble over, and, if he has grazed his knees, she suffers 
under a torn dress, and must retire until one of the maids darn 
up the rent. But now the mirth and glee grow 'fast and furious,' 
for hoodman blind has imprisoned three or four of the youngest 
boys in a corner, and can place his hand on whichever he likes. 
Into w^hat a small compass thev have forced themselves ! But 
the one behind has the wall at' his back, and, taking advantage 
of so good a purchase, he sends his three laughing companions 
sprawling on the floor, and is himself caught through their 
having fallen, as his shoulder is the first that is grasped by 
Blindman-bufl: — so that he must now submit to be hooded." 



B L I N D M A N S 1! U F F . 

{/n the last century.] 

The Christmas Danxe. 

" Again the ball-room is wide open thrown, 

The oak beams festooned with the garlands gay ; 
The red dais where the fiddlers sit alone, 

Where, flushed with pride, the good old tunes they play. 
Strike, fiddlers, strike I were ready for the set ; 

The young folks' feet are eager for the dance ; 
We'll trip Sir Roger and the minuet, 

And revel in the latest games from France.'" ' 

" Man should be called a dancint^ animal," SRid Old Florentine ; 
and Burton, in his ''Anatomy of Melancholy," says, "Young 
lasses are never better pleased than when, upon a holiday, after 
even-song, they may meet their sweethearts and dance." And 
dancing is just as popular at Christmas in the present day, 
as it was in that mediaeval age w'hen (according to William 
of Malmesbury) the priest Rathbertus, being disturbed at his 
Christmas mass by young men and women dancing outside 
the church, prayed God and St. Magnus that they might 
continue to dance for a whole year without cessation — a 
prayer which the old chronicler gravely assures us was 

' Herbert H. Adams. 




Christmas Eve ix the Oldex Time. 

And well our Christian sires of old 
Loved when the year its course had roll'd, 
And brought blithe Christmas back again, 
Witt! all his hospitable train. 
Domestic and religious rite 
Gave honour to the holy night : 

On Christmas Eve the bells were rung ; 
On Christmas Eve the mass was sung : 
That only night in all the year, 
S^w the stoled priest the chalice rear. 
The damsel donn'd her kirtle sheen ; 
The hall was dress'd with holly green ; 
Forth to the wood did merry-men go, 
To gather in the mistletoe. 
Then open'd wide the Baron's hall 
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all ; 
Power laid his rod of rule aside, 
. And Ceremony doffed his pride. 
The heir, with roses in his shoes. 
That night might village partner choose. 
The lord, underogating, share 
The vulgar game of " post and pair." 
All hail'd, with uncontroH'd delight, 
And general voice, the happy night 
That to the cottage, as the crown, 
Brought tidings of salvation down ! 

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied, 
Went roaring up the chimney wide ; 
The huge hall-table's oaken face, 
Scrubb'd till it shone, the day to grace 
Bore then upon its massive board 
No mark to part the squire and lord. 


Then was brought in the lusty brawn 

By old blue-coated serving man ; 

Then the grim boar's-head frowned on high, 

Crested with bays and rosemary. 

Well can the green-garbed ranger tell 

How, when, and where the monster fell ; 

What dogs before his death he tore, 

And all the baiting of the boar. 

The wassail round in good brown bowls, 

Garnish'd witli ribbons, blithely trowls. 

There the huge sirloin reek'd ; hard by 

Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas-pye ; 

Nor fail'd old Scotland to produce, 

At such high tide, her savoury goose. 

Then came the merry masquers in, 

And carols roar'd with blithesome din 

If unmelodious was the song. 

It was a hearty note, and strong. 

Who lists may in their mumming see 

Traces of ancient mystery ; 

White shirts supplied the masquerade, 

And smutted cheeks the visors made ; 

But oh ! what masquers, richly dight. 

Can boast of bosoms half so light I 

England was merry England when 

Old Christmas brought his sports again. 

'Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale, 

'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale ; 

A Christmas gambol oft could cheer 

The poor man's heart through half the year. 

Sir Walter Scott, 1808. 

Lyson's " Magna Britannia " (1813) states the following as an 
Old Exglish Custom. 

" At Cumnor the parishioners, who paid vicarial tithes, claimed 
a custom of being entertained at the vicarage on the afternoon 
of Christmas Day, with four bushels of malt brewed into ale and 
beer, two bushels of wheat made into bread, ^nd half a hundred 
weight of cheese. The remainder was given to the poor the 
next morning after divine service." 

Mason ('' Statistical Account of Ireland," 1814) records the 

Irish Christmas Customs : — 

"At Culdaff, previous to Christmas, it is customary with the 
labouring classes to raffle for mutton, when a sufficient number 
can subscribe to defray the cost of a sheep. During the 
Christmas holidays they amuse themselves with a game of 
kamman, which consists in impelling a wooden ball with 
a crooked stick to a given point, while an adversary endeavours 
to drive it in a contrarv direction." 


A writer in "Time's Telescope" (1822) states that in York- 
shire at eight o'clock on Christmas Eve the bells greet " Old 


Father Christinas " with a merry peal, the children parade the 
streets with drums, trumpets, bells, or perhaps, in their absence, 
with the poker and shovel, taken from their humble cottatre 
hre ; the yule candle is lighted, and— 

"High on the cheerful fire 
Is blazing seen th' enormous Christmas brand." 

Supper is served, of which one dish, from the lordly mansion 
to the humblest shed, is invariably furmetv ; yule cake, one of 
which IS always made for each individual in the family and 
other more substantial viands are also added. ' 

Some Social Festivities 

of Christmastide are sketched by a contributor to the New 
Monthly Magazine, December i, 1825, who says :— 

" On the north side of the church at M. are a great many 
holly-trees. It is from these that our dining and bed-rooms are 
furnished with boughs. Families take it by turns to entertain 
their friends. They meet early; the beef and pudding are 
noble ; the mince-pies— peculiar ; the nuts half play-things and 
half-eatables ; the oranges as cold and acid as they ou^rht to be, 
furnishing us with a superfluity which we can afford" to laugh 
at ; the cakes indestructible ; the wassail bowls generous, old 
English, huge, demanding ladles, threatening overflow as they 
come in, solid with roasted apples when set down. Towards 
bed-time you hear of elder-wine, and not seldom of punch. At 
the manorhouse it is pretty much the same as elsewhere. Girls, 
although they be ladies, are kissed under the mistletoe. If any 
family among us happen to have hit upon an exquisite brewdnt?, 
they send some of it round about, the squire's house included" • 
and he does the same by the rest. Riddles, hot-cockles, forfeits,' 
music, dances sudden and not to be suppressed, prevail among 
great and small ; and from two o'clock in the day to midnight, 
M. looks like a deserted place out of doors, but is'full of life and 
merriment within. Playing at knights and ladies last year, a 
jade of a charming creature must needs send me out for a piece 
of ice to put in her wine. It was evening and a hard frost. I 
shall never forget the cold,_ cutting, dreary, dead look of every 
thing out of doors, with a wind through the wiry trees, and the 
snow on the ground, contrasted with the sudden return to 
warmth, light, and joviality. 

" I remember we had a discussion that time as to what was 
the great point and crowning glory of Christmas. Many were 
for mmce-pie ; some for the beef and plum-pudding ; more for 
the wassail-bowl ; a maiden ladv timidly said the mistletoe • 
but we agreed at last, that althotigh all these were prodigious,' 
and some of them exclusively belonging to the season, the Jire 
was the great indispensable. Upon which we all turned our 
faces towards it, and began warming our already scorched 
hands. A great blazing Are, too big, is the visible heart and 


soul of Christmas. You mav do without beef and phuu-pudchn^ ; 
even the absence of mince-pie mav be tolerated ; there nuist be 
a bowl, poetically speaking, but it need not be absolutely wassail. 
The bowl may give place to the bottle. But a huge, Jieaped-up, 
oi'cr heaped-up, all-attracting hre, with a semicircle of faces 
about it, is not to be denied us. It is the lar and genius of 
the meeting ; the proof positive of the season ; the representa- 
tive of all our wiU"m emotions and bright thoughts ; the glorious 
eye of the room ; the inciter to mirth, yet the retainer of order ; 
the amalgamater of the age and sex ; the universal relish. 
Tastes may differ even on a mince-pie ; but who gainsays a 
fire ? The absence of other luxuries still leaves you in pos- 
session of that ; but 

' WTio can hold a fire in his hand 
With thinking on the frostiest twelfth-cake ? ' 

" Let me have a dinner of some sort, no matter what, and 
then give me my hre, and my friends, the humblest glass of 
wine, and a few penn'orths of chestnuts, and I will still make 
out my Christmas. What ! Have we not Burgundy in our 
blood ? Have we not joke, laughter, repartee, bright eyes, 
comedies of other people, and comedies of our own ; songs, 
memories, hopes ? [An organ strikes up in the street at this 
word, as if to answer me in the affirmative. Right thou old 
spirit of harmony, wandering about in that ark of thine, and 
touching the public ear with sweetness and an abstraction ! 
Let the multitude bustle on, but not unarrested by thee and 
by others, and not unreminded of the happiness of renewing 
a wise childhood.] As to our old friends the chestnuts, if 
anybody wants an excuse to his dignity for roasting them, let 
him take the authority of Milton. ' Who now,' says he lamenting 
the loss of his friend Deodati, — ' who now will help to soothe 
my cares for me, and make the long night seem short with his 
conversation ; while the roasting pear hisses tenderly on the 
fire, and the nuts burst away with a noise, — 

* And out of doors a washing storm o'erwhelms 
Nature pitch-dark, and rides the thundering elms ? ' " 




From Grant's " Popular Superstitions 
of the Highlands" Hone gathered the 
following account : — 

"As soon as the brightening glow of 
the eastern sky warns the anxious house- 
maid of the approach of Christmas Day, 
she rises full of anxiety at the prospect 
of her morning labours. The meal, 
which was steeped in the soivans-bowie 
a fortnight ago, to make the Prechdachdan 
sour, or sour scones, is the first object of 
her attention. The gridiron is put on 
the fire, and the sour scones are soon 
followed by. .hard cakes, soft cakes, 
buttered cakes, brandered bannocks, and 
pannich perm. The baking being once over, the sowans 
pot succeeds the gridiron, full of new sowans, w^hich are 
to be given to the family, agreeably to custom, this day 
m then- beds. The sowans are boiled into the consistence 
of molasses, when the Lagan-k-vricli, or yeast bread, to 
distinguish it from boiled sowans, is ready. It is then 
poured into as many bickers as there are individuals to partake 
of it, and presertly served to the whole, old and young. It 
would suit well the pen of a Burns, or the pencil "of a 
Hogarth, to paint the scene which follows. The ambrosial 
food is despatched in aspiring draughts by the family, who 
soon give evident proofs of the enlivening effects of the Lagan- 
le-vrich. As soon as each despatches his bicker, he jumps out 
of bed — the elder branches to examine the ominous signs of the 
day,^ and the younger to enter on its amusements. Flocking to 
the swing, a favourite amusement on this occasion, the youngest 
of the family get the first 'shoulder; and the next oldest in 
regular succession. In order to add the more to the spirit of the 
exercise, it is a common practice with the person in the swing, 
and the person appointed to swing him, to enter into a veiy 
warm and humorous altercation. As the swinged person 
approaches the swinger, he exclaims, Ei mi in dial, ' I'll eat 
your kail.' To this the swinger replies, with a violent shove, 
Cha ni u mu dial, ' You shan't eat my kail.' These threats and 
repulses are sometimes carried to such a height, as to break 
down or capsize the threatener, which generally puts an end 
to the quarrel. 

" As the day advances, those minor amusements are terminated 
at the report of the gun, or the rattle of the ball clubs— the gun 
inviting the marksman to the ' Kiavamudid,' or prize-shooting, 
and the latter to ' Liidid-vouil,' or the ball combatants— both 

' '' A black Chrislmas makes a fat kirk-yard." A windy Ghristmas and a calm 
Candlemas are signs of a good year. 


the principal sports of the day. Tired at lent^th of the active 
amusements of the iield, they exchans^e them for the substantial 
entertainments of the table. Groaning under the 'sonsy haggis,' ' 
and many other savoury dainties, luiseen for twelve months 
before, the relish communicated to the company, by the 
appearance of the festive board, is more easily conceived 
than described. The dinner once despatched, the flowing 
bowl succeeds, and the sparkling glass files to and fro like a 
weaver's shuttle. As it continues its rounds, the spirits of the 
company become more jovial nnd happy. Animated by its 
cheering intiuence, even old decrepitude no longer feels his 
habitual pains — the fire of youth is in his eye, as he details 
to the company the exploits which distinguished him in the 
days of ' aiild langsviie ; ' while the young, with hearts inflamed 
with ' lore and glory,' long to mingle in the more lively scenes 
of mirth, to display their prowess and agihty. Leaving the 
patriarchs to finish those professions of friendship for each 
other, in which they are so devoutly engaged, the younger 
part of the company will shape their course to the ball-room, 
or the card-table, as their individual inclinations suggest ; and 
the remainder of the evening is spent with the greatest pleasure 
of which human nature is susceptible." 

Sword Daxcixg at Christmas. 

Hone's "Table Book" (vol. i.), 1827, contains a letter 
descriptive of the pitmen of Northumberland, which says : — 

'' The ancient custom of sword-dancing at Christmas is kept 
up in Northumberland exclusively by these people.. They may 
be constantly seen at that festive season with their fiddler, bands 
of swordsmen. Tommy and Bessy, most grotesquely dressed, 
performing their annual routine of warlike evolutions." 

And the present writer heard of similar festivities at Christ- 
mastide in the Madeley district of Shropshire, accompanied by 
grotesque imitations of the ancient hobl^y-horse. 

' The "savoury haggis" (from /ta^ to chop) is a dish commonly made in a 
sheep's maw, of its kings, heart, and Hver, mixed with suet, onions, salt, and 
pepper ; or of oatmeal mixed with the latter, without any animal food. 



"A. W. R.," writing to Hone's "Year Book/' December 8, 
1827, says :— 

" Nowhere does the Christmas season produce more heart- 
inspiring mirth than among the inhabitants of Cumberland. 

" With Christmas Eve commences a regular series of ' fes- 
tivities and merry makings.' Night after niglit, if you want the 
farmer or his family, you must look for them anywhere but at 
home ; and in the different houses that you pass at one, two, 
or three in the morning, should you happen to be out so late, 
you will find candles and fires still unextinguished. At Christ- 
mas, every farmer gives two ' feasts,' one called ' t' ould foaks 
neet,' which is for those who are married, and the other ' t' 
young foaks neet,' for those who are single. Suppose you and 
I, sir, take the liberty of attending one of these feasts unasked 
{which by the bye is considered no liberty at all in Cumberland) 
and see what is going on. Upon entering the room we behold 
several card parties, some at ' whist,' others at ' loo ' (there 
called * lant '), or any other game that may suit their fancy. 
You w^ill be surprised on looking over the company to find that 
there is no distinction of persons. Masters and servants, rich 
and poor, humble and lofty, all mingle together without restraint 
— all cares are forgotten — and each one seems to glory in his 
own enjoyment and in that of his fellow-creatures. It is pleasant 
to hnd ourselves in such society, especially as it is rarely in one's 
life that such opportunities offer. Cast your eyes towards the 
sideboard, and there see that large bowl of punch, which the 
good wife is inviting her guests to partake of. with apples, 
oranges, biscuits, and other agreeable eatables in plenty. The 
hospitable master welcomes us with a smiling countenance and 
requests us to take seats and join one of the tables. 

" In due time some one enters to tell the company that supper 
is waiting in the next room. Thither we adjourn, and find the 
raised and mince pies, all sorts of tarts, and all cold — except 
the welcomes and entreaties — with cream, ale, &c., in abun- 
dance ; in the midst of all a large goose pie, which seems to 
say ' Come and cut again.' 

" After supper the party return to the card room, sit there 
for two or three hours longer, and afterwards make the best of 
their way home, to take a good long nap, and prepare for the 
same scene the next night. At these * feasts ' intoxication is 
entirely out of the question — it never happens. 

" Such are the innocent amusements of these people." 

" With gentle deeds and kindly thoughts, 
And loving words withal, 
Welcome the merry Christmas in. 
And hear a brother's call."' 

' F. Lawrence. 

Provision for the Pooh ox Christmas Day. 


By the will of John Popple, dated the 12th of March, 1830, 
_:^'4 yearly is to be paid unto the vicar, churchwardens, and 
overseers of the poor of the parish of Burnham, Buckingham- 
shire, to provide for the poor people who should be residing in 
the poorhouse, a dinner, with a proper quantity of good ale and 
likewise with tobacco and snuff on Christmas Day.^ 

This kindly provision of Mr. Popple for the poor shows that 
he wished to keep up the good old Christmas customs which 
are so much admired by the " old man " in Southey's " The 
Old Mansion " (a poem of this period). In recalling the good 
doings at the mansion " in my lady's time " the *' old man '' 
savs : — 

" A woful day 
'Tvvas for the poor when to her grave she went ! 

" Old Knglish Customs and Charities,"' 1S42. 



Were they sick ? 
She had rare cordial waters, and for herbs 
She could have taught tht? doctors. Then at winter, 
When weekly she distributed the bread 
In the poor old porch, to see her and to hear 
The blessings on her 1 And I warrant them 
They were a blessing to her when her wealth 
Had l;een no comfort else. At Christmas, sir I 
It would have warmed your heart if you had seen 
Her Christmas kitchen ; how the blazing fire 
Made her fine pewter shine, and holly boughs 
So cheerful red ; and as for mistletoe, 
The finest l)ough that grew in the country round 
Was mark'd for madam. Then her old ale went 
So bountiful about I a Christmas cask, — 
And 'twas a noble one ! — God help me, sir I 
But I shall never see such days again." 

The Royal Chkistmases 

In the reigns oi George IV. and William IV., tlioiigh not kept 
with the grandeur of earlier reigns, were observed with niucli 
rejoicing and festivity, and the Royal Bounties to the poor of 
the metropolis and the country districts surrotinding Windsor 
and the other Royal Palaces were dispensed with the customary 
generosity. In his " Sketch Book/' Washington Irving, who was 
born in the reign of George III. (17^3), and lived on through 
the reigns of George IV., and William IV., and the lirst two 
decades of the reign of Queen Victoria, gives delightful 
descriptions of the 

Festivities of the Nobility and Gentry 

of the period, recalling the times when the old halls of castles 
and manor houses resounded with the harp and the Christmas 
Carol and their ample boards groaned under the weight of 
hospitality. He had travelled a good deal on both sides of the 
Atlantic and he gives a pictiiresqtie account of an old English 


static coach journey " on the day preceding;' Christmas." The 
coach was crowded with passengers. " It was also loaded with 
hampers of t^ame, and baskets and bo.xes of delicacies ; and 
hares huns;" dangling their long ears about the coachman's bo.\, 
presents from distant friends for the impending" feast. I had 
three hne rosy-cheeked schoolboys for my fellow-passengers 
inside, full of thq buxom health and manly spirit which I have 
observed in the children of this country. They were returning 
home for the holidavs in high glee, and promising themselves a 
world of enjoyment. It was delightful to hear the gigantic 
plans of the little rogues, and the impracticable feats they were 
to perform during their six weeks' emancipation from the 
abhorred thraldom of book, birch, and pedagogue." 

Then follows Irving's graphic sketch of the English stage 
coachman, and the incidents of the journey, during which it 
seemed " as if everybody was in good looks and good spirits. 

" Game, poultry, and other luxuries of the table, were in brisk 
circulation in the villages ; the grocers,' butchers,' and fruiterers' 
shops were thronged with customers. The house-wives were 
stirring briskly about, putting their dwellings in order ; and the 
glossy branches of holly, with their bright red berries, began to 
appear at the windows." 

" In the evening we reached a village where I had determined 
to pass the night. As we drove into the great gateway of the 
inn, I saw on one side the light of a rousing kitchen hre beam- 
ing through a window. I entered, and admired, for the 
hundredth time, that picture of convenience, neatness, and 
broad, honest enjoyment, the kitchen of an English inn. It of spacious dimensions, hung round with copper and tin 
vessels highly polished, and decorated here and there with a 
Christmas green. . . . The scene completely realised poor 
Robin's [1O84] humbleidea of the comforts of mid-winter : 

' Now trees their leafy hats do bare 
To reverence winter's silver hair ; 
A handsome hostess, merry host, 
A pot of ale now and a toast, 
Toljacco and a good coal fire, 
Are things this season doth require.' " 

Mr. Irving afterwards depicts, in his own graphic style, the 
Christmas festivities observed at an old-fashioned English hall, 
and tells how the generous squire pointed with pleasure to the 
indications of good cheer reeking from the chimneys of the 
comfortable farmhouses, and low thatched cottages. " I love," 
said he, ''to see this da}' well kept by rich and poor ; it is a 
great thing to have one day in the year, at least, when you are 
sure of being welcome wherever you go, and of having, as it 
were, the world all thrown open to you ; and I am almost 
disposed to join with poor Robin, in his malediction on every 
churlish enemy to this honest festival : 


" ' Those who at Christmas do repine, 

And would fain hence despatch him, 

May they with old Duke Humphry dine, 

Or else may Squire Ketch catch 'em.' 

" The squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of the 
games and amusements which were once prevalent' at this 
season among the lower orders, and countenanced • by the 
higher ; when the old halls of castles and manor-houses' were 
thrown open at daylight ; when the tables were covered with 
brawn, and beef, and humming ale ; when the harp and the 
carol resounded all day long, and when rich and poor were 
alike welcome to enter and make merrv. ' Our old games and 
local customs,' said he, 'had a great effect in niaking the 
peasant fond of his home, and the promotion of them by the 
gentry made him fond of his lord. They made the times 
merrier, and kinder and better ; and I can truly sav with one of 
our old poets : 

■' ' I like them well — the curious preciseness 
And all-pretended gravity of those 
That seek to banish hence these harmless sports, 
Have thrust away much ancient honesty.' "' 

The Christmases of Queen Victoria 

have been kept with much bountifulness, but after the gracious 
manner of a Christian Queen who cares more for the welfare of 
her beloved subjects than for ostentatious display. Her 
Majesty's Royal bounties to the poor of the metropolis' and its 
envn-ons, and also to others in the country districts surrounding^ 
the several Royal Palaces are well known, the ancient Christina"^ 
and New Year's gifts being dispensed with great generosity 
The number of aged and afflicted persons usually relieved by 
the Lord High Almoner in sums of 5s. and 13s. exceeds an 
aggi-egate of 1,200. Then there is the distribution of the beef 
—a most interesting feature of the Roval Bounty— which takes 
place in the Riding School at Windsor Castle, under the 
superintendence of the several Court officials. The meat 
divided into portions of from three pounds to seven pounds' 
and decorated with sprigs of holly, is arranged upon a table 
placed m the middle of the Riding School, and covered with 
white cloths from the Lord Steward's department of the .palace 
During the distribution the bells of St. John's Church ring a 
merry peal. There are usuallv many hundreds of recipie^nts 


and the weis^ht of the beef allotted amounts t(j many thousands 
of pounds. Coals and clothing and other creature comforts are 
liberally dispensed, according to the needs of the poor. In 
times of war and seasons of distress hospitable entertainments, 
Christmas-trees, &c., are also provided for the wives and 
children of soldiers and sailors on active service ; : nd in many 
other wavs the Koyal Bounty is extended to the poor and 
needy at Christmastide. 

The Chktstmas at Windsor Castlk, ix 1841, 

is thus referred to in the '* Life of the Prince Consort " (by 
Theodore Martin) : — 

"When Christmas came rcnmdwith its pleasant festivities and 
its shining Christmas-trees, it had within it a new source of 
delight for the Roval parents. ' To think,' savs the Queen's 
' journal,' ' that we have two children now, and one who enjoys 
the sight already, is like a dream ! ' And in writing to his 
father the Prince expresses the same feeling. ' This,' he says, 
' is the dear Christmas Eve, on which I have so often listened 
with impatience for your step, which was to usher us into the 
present-room. To-day I ha\e two children of my own to give 
presents to, who, they know not why, are full of happy wonder 
at the German Christmas-tree and its radiant candles.' 

"The coming year was danced into in good old English 
fashion. In the middle of the dance, as the clock finished 
striking twelve, a fionrish of trumpets was blowm, in accordance 
with a German custom. This, the Queen's ' Journal ' records, 
' had a fine solemn eftect, and quite affected dear Albert, who 
turned pale, and had tears in his eyes, and pressed mv hand 
very warmlv. It touched me too, for I felt that he must think 
of his dear native countrv, which he has left for me.' " 

Christmas at Osborne. 

Writing from Cowes, on Christmas Eve, in reference to the 
Christm:is festivities at Osborne in the last decade of the 
nineteenth centurv, a correspondent says : — 

" After transacting business the Queen drove out this after- 
noon, returning to Osborne just as the setting sun illumines with 
its rosv rays the Paladin Towers of her Majesty's marine 
residence. The Queen desires to live, as far as the cares of 
State permit, the life of a private lady. Her Majesty loves the 
seclusion of this lordly estate, and here at Christmas time she 
enjoys the society of her children and grandchildren, who meet 
together as less exalted families do at this merry season to 
reciprocate the same homely delights as those which are 
experienced throughout the land. 

" This afternoon a pleasant little festivitv has been celebrated 
at Osborne House, where her Majesty, with an ever-kindly 
interest in her servants and dependants, has for nianv years 
inaugurated Christmas in a similar way, the chiUhcn of her 


tenantry and the old and iniirm enjoying by the Royal bounty 
the first taste of Christmas fare." The Osborne estate now 
comprises 5,000 acres, and it includes the Prince Consort's 
model farm. The children of the labourers— who are housed 
in excellent cottages — attend the Whippingham National 
Schools, a pretty block of buildings, distant one mile from 
Osborne. About half the number of scholars live upon the 
Queen's estate, and, in accordance with annual custom, the 
mistresses of the schools, the Misses Thomas, accompanied by 
the staff of teachers, have conducted a little band of boys and 
girls— fifty-four in all— to the house, there to take tea and to 
receive the customary Christmas gifts. Until very recently the 
Queen herself presided at the distribution ; but" the Princess 
Beatrice has lately relieved her mother of the fatigue involved ; 
for the ceremony is no mere formality, it is made the occasion 
of many a kindly word the remembrance of which far outlasts 
the gifts. All sorts of rumours are current on the estate for 
weeks before this Christmas Eve gathering as to the nature of 
the presents to be bestowed, for no one is supposed to know 
beforehand what they will be ; but there was a pretty shrewd 
guess to-day that the boys would be given gloves, and the girls 
cloaks. In some cases the former had had scarves or cloth for 
suits, and the latter dresses or shawls. Whatever the Christmas 
presents may be, here they are, arranged upon tables in two 
long lines, in the servants' hall. To this holly-decorated apart- 
ment the expectant youngsters are brought, and their delighted 
gaze falls upon a huge Christmas-tree laden with beautiful toys. 
Everybody knows that the tree will be there, and moreover tliat 
its summit will be crowned with a splendid doll. Now, the 
ultimate ownership of this doll is a matter of much concern ; it 
needs deliberation, as it is awarded to the best child, and the 
judges are the children themselves. The trophy is handed to 
the keeping of Miss Thomas, and on the next ist of May the 
children select by their votes the most popular girl in the school 
to be elected May Queen. To her the gift goes, and no fairer 
way could be devised. The Princess Beatrice always makes a 
point of knowing to whom the prize has been awarded. Her 
Royal Highness is so constantly a visitor to the cottagers and to 
the school that she has many an inquiry to make of the little 
ones as they come forward to receive their gifts. 

"The girls are called up first by the mistress, and Mr. Andrew 
Blake, the steward, introduces each child to the Princess 
Beatrice, to whom Mr. Blake hands the presents that her 
Royal Highness may bestow them upon the recipients with a 
word of good will, which makes the day memorable. Then the 
boys are summoned to participate in the distribution of good 
thmgs, which, it should be explained, consist not only of 
seasonable and sensible clothing, but toys from the "tree, 
presented by the Queen's grandchildren, who, with their 
parents, grace the ceremony with their presence and make the 


occasion one of family interest. The Ladies-in-Waitini^ also 
attend. Each boy and girl gets in addition a nicelv-bound 
storv-book and a large slice of plnm pndding neatly packed in 
paper, and if any little one is sick at home its portion is 
carefully reseryed. But the hospitality of the Queen is not 
limited to the children. On alternate years the old men and 
women resident on the estate are given, under the same 
j-ileasant auspices, presents of blankets or clothing. To-day it 
was the turn of the men, and they received tweed for suits. 
The aged people have their pudding as well. For the farm 
labourers and boys, who are not bidden to this entertainment, 
there is a distribution of tickets, each representing a goodly 
joint of beef for the Christmas dinner. The festivity this after- 
noon was brought to a close by the children singing the 
National Anthem in the courtyard. 

" The Queen is accustomed to spend Christmas Day very 
quietly, attending service at the Chapel at Osborne in the 
morning, and in the evening the Royal family meeting at dinner. 
There are Christmas trees for the children, and for the servants 
too, but the houshold reserves its principal festivity for the New 
Year — a day which is specially set aside for their entertain- 

The Christmas Ff.stivitiks at Saxdrixgham 

are observed with generous hospitality by their Royal High- 
nesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, who take special 
interest in the enjoyment of their tenants, and also remember 
the poor. A time-honoured custom on Christmas Eve is the 
distribution of prime joints of meat to the labourers employed 
on the Royal estate, and to the poor of the live parishes of 
Sandringham, West Newton, Babinglev, Dersingham, and Wol- 
ferton. From twelve to iifteen hundred pounds of meat are 
usually distributed, and such other gifts are made as the incle- 
mency of the season and the necessities of the poor require. 
In Sandringham '' Past and Present," 1888, Mrs. Herbert Jones 
says : — " Sandringham, which is the centre of a generous hospi- 
tality, has not only been in every way raised, benelited, and 
enriched since it passed into the royal hands, which may be 
said to have created it afresh, but rests under the happy glow 
shed (H'er it by the preference of a princess 

" ' Whose peerless feature joined with her hirth, 
Approve her fit for none hut for a king.' 

Shakespeare's Henry 7Y." 

Thk Christmas Gf.xerosity of thf lath Dukf of 

In a letter to the press a lieutenant of Marines makes the 
following reference to a Christmas entertainment given by 
H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1886 : "Last night a large 


party consisting of many officers of the Fleet, including all the 

old ships of the Duke, and three or four midshipmen from 

every ship m the Fleet, were invited to a Christmas-tree at 

t.J?'''' ,f f; ^" ^^'^ ^"""^""^^ °^" ^^^^ evening two lotteries 
weie drawn all the numbers being prizes, each guest conse- 
quently gettmg two. I have had an opportunity of seeing 
many of these, and they are all most beautiful and useful objects 
rangmg m value from five shillings to perhaps three or" four 
pounds. I should think that at least half the prizes I have seen 
were worth over one pound." 

Other Seasonable Hospitaeity and Benevolence. 

The good example set by royalty is followed throughout the 
land, f-riendly hospitalities are general at Christmastide, and 
m London and other large centres of population many thou- 
sands of poor people are provided with free breakfasts, dinners 
teas, and suppers on Christmas Day, public halls and school- 
rooms being utilised for purposes of entertainment ; children 
m hospitals are plentifully supplied with toys, and Christmas 
parties are also given to the poor at the private residences of 
benevolent people. As an illustrative instance of generous 
Christmas hospitality by a landowner we cite the following:— 

Christmas Dlnner to Five Thousand Poor. 

On Christmas Eve, 1887, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart 
the largest landowner in the Principality of Wales, gave his 
annual Christmas gifts to the aged and deserving poor through"- 
out the extensive mining districts of Ruabon, Rhosllanerchrugoo- 
Cern, and Rhosymedre, Denbighshire, where much dish-e?s 
prevailed in consequence of the depression in trade Several 
fine oxen were slain in Wynnstay Park, and the beef was dis- 
tributed m pieces ranging from 41b. to ylb., according to the 
number of members in each family. A Christmas dinner Mas 
thus provided or upwards of 5,000 persons. In addition to 
this, Lady Williams Wynn provided thousands of yards of 
flannel and cloth l^or clothing, together with a large number of 
blankets, the aged men and women also receiving a shilling 
with the gift. The hon. baronet had also erected an elaborat'e 
spacious hospital to the memory of his uncle, the late Sir 
Watkin Williams Wynn, M.P., and presented it to the parish. 

Distributions of Christmas Fare to the Poor 

are liberally niade from various centres in different parts of 
London and thus many thousands of those who have fallen 
below the poverty line share in the festivities of Christmastide 
This illus ration of Christian caterers dispensing creature 
comforts to the poor children may be taken as representative 
ot many such Christmas scenes in the metropolis. For over 



forty years the St. Giles' Christian Mission, now under the 
superintendence of Mr. \\\ M. Wheatley, has been exercising 


a beneiicial influence among the needy poor, and, it is stated, 
that at least 104,000 people have through this Mission been 
enabled to make a fresh start in life. Many other Church 
Missions are doing similar work. In addition to treats to poor 
children and aged people at Christmastide, there are also great 
distributions of Christmas fare : — Joints of roasting meat, plum- 
puddings, cakes, groceries, warm clothing, toys, &c., &c. 

At a recent distribution of a Christmas charity at Millbrook, 
Southampton, the Rev. A. C. Blunt stated that one of the 
recipients had nearly reached her 102nd year. She was born 
in Hampshire, and down to a very recent period had been able 
to do needlework. 

In many cities and towns Christmas gifts are distributed on 
St. Thomas's Day, and as an example we cite the Brighton 
distribution in 1886, on which occasion the Brighton Police 
Court was tilled by a congregation of some of the "oldest 
inhabitants." And there was a distribution from the magistrates' 
poor-box of a Christmas gift of half a sovereign to 150 of the 
aged poor whose claims to the bounty had been inquired into 
by the police. Formerly 100 used to be cheered in this way, 
but the contributions to the box this year enabled a wider circle 
to share in the dole. There was a wonderful collection of old 
people, for the average age was over 83 years. The oldest was 
u venerable widow, who confessed to being 96 years old, the 


next was another lady of 94 years, and then came two old 
tellows who had each attained 93 years. Many of the re- 
cipients were too inhrm to appear, but the oldest of them all 
the lady of 96 came into court despite the sharpness of the 
wind and the frozen roads. 

The Christmas at Belvoir Castle, 

kept with generous liberality by the Duke of Rutland, in i88s 
may be cited as an example of Christmas customs continued hy 
the head of a noble house : 

"The usual Christmas gifts were given to the poor of Knipton 
Uoolsthorpe, and Redmile— nearly two hundred in number—- 
consisting of calico, flannel dresses, stockings, and handker- 
chiefs, each person at the same time receiving a loaf of bread 
and a pint of ale. Twenty-one bales of goods, containing 
counterpanes, blankets, and sheets, were also sent to the clerg? 
of as many different villages for distribution amongst the poor 
Ihe servants at the Castle and workmen of the establishment 
had their. Christmas dinner, tea, and supper, the servants' hall 
having been beautifully decorated. At one end of the room 
was a coronet, with the letter ' R ' ; and at the opposite end 
iree coronets, with the 'peacock in pride,' being the crest of 
the Rutland family. The following mottoes, in large letters 
were conspicuous, 'Long live the Duke of Rutland,' ' Lonc^ 
live Lord and Lady John Manners and family,' and ' A Merry 
Christmas to you all.' These were enclosed" in a neat border 
bvom the top of the room were suspended long festoons of 
linked ribbons of red, white, blue, and orant^e. All present 
thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as it was the wish of his Grace 
they should do." 

Similar hospitalities are dispensed by other noblemen and 
gentlemen m different parts of the country at Christmas. 

The lordly hospitality of Lincolnshire is depicted in 
" The Baron's Yule Feast : 

A Christmas Rhyme ; by Thomas Cooper, the Chartist " (1846) • 
which IS inscribed to the Countess of Blessin^ton, and in the 
advertisement the author offers "but one apoioi^y for the pro- 
duction of a metrical essay, composed chiefly of ^imperfect and 
immature pieces : The ambition to contribute towards the fund 
of Christmas entertainment." The scene of the Baron's Yule 
t-east IS depicted in Torksey's Hall, Torksey being one of the 
hrst towns in Lincolnshire in the Saxon period. ' After some 
introductory verses the writer says : 

It is the season when our sires 

Kept jocund holiday ; 
And, now, around our charier fires, 

Old Vule shall have a lay :— 


A prisnn-liard is once more free ; 
And, ere he yields his voice to thee, 
His song a merry-song shall be ! 

Sir Wilfrid de Thorold freely holds 

What his stout sires held before — 
Broad lands for plough and fruitful folds, — 

Though by gold he sets no store ; 

And he saith, from fen and woodland wnlds 

From marish, heath, and nioor,- 

To feast in his hall 

Both free and thrall. 

Shall come as they came of yore. 

Now merrily ring the lady-bells 

Of the nunnery by the Fosse : — 
Say the hinds their silver music swells 
' Like the blessed angels' syllables, 

At His birth who bore the cross.' 

And solemnly swells Saint Leonard's chime 

And the great bell loud and deep : — 
Say the gossips, ' Let's talk of the holy time 

When the shepherds watched their sheep ; 
And the Babe was born for all souls' crime 

In the weakness of flesh to weep.' — 
But, anon, shrills the pipe of the merry mime 

And their simple hearts upleap. 

' God save your souls, good Christian folk I 
God save your souls from sin I — 

Blythe Yule is come — let us blythely joke ! ' — 
Cry the mummers ere they begin. 

Then, plough-boy Jack, in kirtle gay,— 

Though shod with clouted shoon, — 
Stands forth the wilful maid to play 
Who ever saith to her lover, ' Nay ' — 
When he sues for a lover's boon. 

While Hoi) the smith with sturdy arm 

Circleth the feigned maid ; 
And, spite of Jack's assumed alarm, 
Busseth his lips, like a lover warm, 

And will not ' Nay' be said. 

Then lofife the gossips, as if wit 

Were mingled with the joke : 
Gentles, — they were with folly smit, — 
Natheless, their memories acquit 

Of crime — these simple folk 1 

No harmful thoughts their revels blight, — 
Devoid of bitter hate and spite, 

They hold their merriment; — 
And, till the chimes tell noon at night. 

Their joy shall be unspent I 

Come haste ye to bold Thorold's hall. 

And crowd his kitchen wide ; 
For there, he saith, Ixith free and thrall 

Shall sport this good Vule-tide," 


In subsequent verses the writer depicts the bruioinu- ni of the 
yule lo^- to the Baron's Hall, 

" Where its brave old heart 
A glow shall impart 
To the heart of each guest at the festival. 

^ They pile the "\'ule-log on the hearth,— 

Soak toasted crabs in ale ; 
And while they sip, their homely mirth 
Is joyous as if all the earth 

For man were void of hale I 

And why should fears for future years, 
-Mix jolly ale with thoughts of tears 

When in the horn 'tis poured ? 
And why should ghost of sorrow fright 
The bcjid heart of an English knight 

When lieef is on the hoard ? 

De Thorold's guests are wiser than 

The men of mopish lore ; 
For round they push the smiling can 

And slice the plattered store." 

And round they thrust the jionderous cheese, 

And the loaves of wheat and rye : 
None stinteth him for lack of ease— 
For each a stintless welcome sees 

In the Baron's blythesome eye. 

The Baron joineth the joyous feast — 

But not in pomp or pride ; 
He smileth on the humblest guest 
So gladsomely— all feel that rest 

Of heart which doth abide 
Where deeds of generousness attest 
The welcome of the tongue professed 

Is not within belied." 

In subsequent verses a stranger minstrel appears on the festive 
scene, and tells his tale of love in song, acquitting himself 

" So rare and gentle, that the hall 
Rings with applause which one and all 
Render who share the festival.'' 

Soine of the poets of this period have dealt playfully with the 
est.vities of Chnstmastide, as, for example, Laman i31anchard 
(164^) in the following ehusion : — 



In a Large Family Circle. 

"The day of all days we have seen 

Is Christmas," said Sue to Eugene; 

" More welcome in village and city 

Than Mayday," said Andrew to Kitty. 

" Why ' Mistletoe's' twenty times sweeter 

Than ' May,'" said Matilda to I'eter ; 

" And so you will find it, if I'm a 

True prophet," said James to Jemima. 

" ril stay up to supper, no bed," 

Then lisped little Laura to Ned. 

" The girls all good-natured and dressy, 

And bright-cheeked," said Arthur to Jessie ; 

" Ves, hoping ere next year to marry, 

The madcaps !" said Charlotte to Harry. 

" So steaming, so savoury, so juicy. 

The feast," said fat Charley to Lucy. 

" (Quadrilles and Charades might come on 

Hefore dinner," said Martha to John. 

" Vou"ll find the roast beef when you're dizzy, 

A settler," said Walter to Lizzy. 

"Oh, horrid ! one wing of a wren, 

With a pea," said Belinda to Ben. 

" Sublime 1 " said — displaying his leg — 

George Frederick Augustus to Teg. 

" At Christmas refinement is all fuss 

And nonsense," said Fan to Adolphus. 

" Would romps-— or a tale of a fairy^ 

Best suit you," said Robert to Mary. 

" At stories that work ghost and witch hard, 

I tremble," said Rosa to Richard. 

" A ghostly hair-standing dilemma 

Needs ' bishop,' " said Alfred to Emma ; 

" What fun when with fear a stout crony 

Turns pale," said Maria to Tony ; 

" And Hector, unable to rally. 

Runs screaming," said Jacob to Sally. 

" While you and I dance in the dark 

The polka," said Ruth unto Mark : 

" Each catching, according to fancy. 

His neighbour," said wild Tom to Nancy ; 

" Till candles, to show what we can do. 

Are brought in," said Ann to Orlando ; 

" And then we all laugh what is truly a 

Heart's laugh," said William to Julia. 

" Then sofas and chairs are put even. 

And carpets," said Helen to Stephen ; 

" And so we all sit down again. 

Supping twice," said sly Joseph to Jane. 

" Now bring me my clogs and my spaniel. 

And light me," said Dinah to Daniel. 

" My dearest, you've emptied that chalice 

Six times," said fond Edmund to Alice. 

" We are going home tealess and coffeeless 

Shabby ! " said Soph to Theophilus ; 

" To meet again under the holly, 

Ei cefera," said Paul to fair Polly. 

" Dear Uncle," has ordered his chariot ; 

All's over," said Matthew to Harriet. 

" And pray now be all going to bedward." 

Said kind Aunt Rebecca to Edward 1 



Christmas Eve, 1849, 

is the tiine of Robert Browiiin-'s heautitL.l poem of " Christmas 
Eve and Easter Day," in which the poet sings the son^ of man's 
mimortahty, proekuming, as Easter Day breaks and Christ rises, 

" Mercy every way is infinite. 

.T^cy'^^^^Ai^-^^tf .**■' 

And, in his beantiful poem of " In Memoriam," Lord Tennyson 
associates some of his hnest verses with the ringing of 

The Christmas Bells. 

" Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, 
The flying cloud, the frosty light : 
The year is dying in the night ; 
King out, wild bells, and let hiui die. 

Ring out the old, ring in the new. 

Ring, happy bells, across the snow : 

The year is going, let him go ; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 

Rnig out old shapes of foul disease ; 
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold 
Ring out the thousand wars of old. 

Ring in the thousand years of peace. 

King in the \aliant man and free, 
The larger heart, the kindlier hand ; 
Ring out the darkness of the land, 

Rmg in the Christ that is to be." 




IllE CHRISTMAS lihl.l.>. 

As the poet Lont^fellow stood on the lofty tower of Bruges 
Cathedral the belfry chimes set hiiu musing, and of those 
chimes he says : 

" Then most musical and solemn, brinLjing hack the oklcn limes. 
With their strange, unearthly changes, rang the melanchuly chimes. 
Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the muis sing in the chi)ir ; 
And the great bell tolled among them, like the chanting of a friar. 
Visions of the days departed, shadowy phantoms filled my brain : 
They who live in history only seemed to walk the earth again.'' 

Christmas and New Year Cards 

were lirst circulated in England in 1846. That year not more 
than a thousand copies were printed, and that was considered a 
large sale. The numbers distributed annually soon increased to 
tens and hundreds of thousands, and now there are millions of 



them. Ml. J. C. Hoi-sley, a member of the Royal Academv, 
designed this hrst card which was sent out in 1846 It repre- 
sents a family party of three generations-orandfather and 
grandmother, father and mother, and little children— and all 
are supposed to be joining in the sentiment, "A Merry Christ- 
mas and a Happy New Year to you." The card was issued 
from the olhce of one of the periodicals of the time, Felix 
Summerky s Home Treasury. It was hrst lithographed, and 
then it was coloured by hand. 

Christmas and New- Year Cards became very popular m the 
decade 1870-1880. But then, however, simple cards alone did 
not suffice. Like many other things, they felt the inHuence of 
the latter-day renaissance of art, and by a sort of evolutionary 
process developed cards monochrome and coloured, " Christmas 
Bell cards, palettes, scrolls, circular and oval panels, stars, fans 
crescents, and other shaped novelties ; embossed cards the 
iridescent series, the rustic and frosted cards, the foldim;- series 
the jewel cards, the crayons, and private cards on which the 
sender s name and sentiments are printed in gold, silver or 
colours ; hand-painted cards with landscapes, seascapes, and 
fioral decorations ; paintings on porcelain ; satin cards, fringed 
silk plush Broche, and other artistically made-up novelties ; 
art-gem panels ; elaborate booklets, and other elerant 
souvenirs of the festive season. Many of the Christmas booklets 
are beautifully illustrated editions of popular poems and 

Cell OlS. 

"Quartette " cards, " Snap " cards, and other cards of -ames 
tor the diversion of social gatherings are also extensively used 
at Christmastide. ^ 

Rustic Christmas Masque. 

In compliance with a wish expressed by the Ladv Londes- 
borough, a Masque, entitled, " Recollections of Old Christmas " 
was performed at Grimston at Christmas, 1850, the following 
prologue being contributed by Barry Cornwall •— 



When winter nights grow long, 

And winds without blow cold, 
We sit in a ring round the warm wood-lire, 

And listen to stories old I 
And we try to look grave (as maids should be), 
When the men bring in boughs of the laurel tree. 
O the laurel, the evergreen tree ! 
The poets have laurels — and why not we ? 

How pleasant when night falls down, 

And hides the wintry sun. 
To see them come in to the blazing fire, 

And know that their work is done; 
Whilst many bring in, with a laugh or rhyme, 
(jreen branches'of holly for Christmas time ! 
O the holly, the bright green holly ! 
It tells (like a tongue) that the limes are jolly I 

Sometimes — (in our grave house 
Observe this happeneth not ;) 

])Ul at times, the evergreen laurel boughs, 
And the holly are all forgot I 

And then I what then? Why the men laugh low. 

And hang up a branch of — the misletoe I 

Oh, brave is the laurel ! and brave is the holly 
Hut the misletoe banisheth melancholy ! 

Ah, n(il)ody knows, nor ever s/ia/ZVinnw, 

What is done under the misletoe I " 

A printed copy of the Masque, which bears date, " Tuesday, 
XXIV December, MDCCCL./' is preserved in the British 


(Which speak) 

Old P\ather Christmas 
Young Grimston 
Baron of Beef . . . 
Plum-Pudding ... 
Wassail- Bowl ... 

Hon. Mr. Thelluson 
Hon. Mr. Denison 
Hon. Miss Thelluson 
Hon. Miss Denison 
Hon. Miss Selina Denison 
Hon. Miss Isabella Denison 


(Which do not speak, or say as little as possible — all that they are requested 

to do) 
Ursa Minor ... ... ... ... Hon. Miss Ursula Denison 

Baby Cake ... ... ... ... Hon. Henry Charles Deni.son." 



Under the Holly Bough. 

Ye who have scorn'd each other 
Or injured friend or Ijrother, 

In this fast fading year ; 
Ve who, by word or deed, 
Have made a kind heart l)leed, 

Come gather here. 
Let sinn'd against and sinning, 
Forget their strife's beginning ; 
Be Hnks no longer broken, 
Be sweet forgiveness spoken, 

Under the holly bough. 

Ye who have lov'd each other, 
Sister and friend and brother, 

In this fast fading year : 
Mother, and sire, and child, 
Young man and maiden mild, 

Come gather here ; 
And let your hearts grow fonder, 
As memory shall ponder 

Each past unbroken vow. 
Old loves and younger wooing. 
Are sweet in the renewing, 

Under the holly bough. 

Ye who have nourished sadness, 
Estranged from hope and gladness. 

In this fast fading year. " 
Ye with o'er-burdened mind 
Made aliens from your kind, 

Come gather here. 
Let not the useless sorrow 
Pursue you night and morrow, 

If e'er you hoped — hope now — 
Take heart : uncloud your faces, 
And join in our embraces 

Under the holly bough. 

Charles Mac/cay, LL.D. 

The author of this beautiful poem (Dr. Charles Mackay) was' 
born at Perth in 1814, and died on Christmas Eve, 1889 at his 
residence, Longridge Road, Earl's Court, Brompton. 

Ghost Stories. 

Everybody knows that Christmas is the time for ghost stories 
and that Charles Dickens and other writers have supplied us 
with tales of the true blood-curdling tvpe. Thomas Hood's 
" Haunted House," S. T. Coleridge's " Ancient Mariner " and 
some other weird works of poetry have also been found service- 
able in producing that strange chill of the blood, that creeping 
kind of feeling all over you, which is one of the enjoyments of 
Chnstmastide. Coleridge (says the late Mr. George Dawson) ' 
'' holds the first place amongst English poets in this objective 
teaching of the vague, the mystic, the dreamy, and the iniagina- 

' '' Biographical Lectures." 


tive. I defy any man of imati,inati()ii or sensibility to have ' The 
Ancient Mariner ' read to him, by the flickering tireHght on 
Christmas night, by a master mind possessed by the mystic 
spirit of the poem, and not hnd himseh' taken away fi"om the 
good regions of ' abiUty to acconnt for,' and taken into some far- 
off dreamland, and made even to start at his own footfall, and 
almost to shndder at his own shadow. You shall sit round the 
hre at Christmas time, good men and true every one of you ; 
you shall come there armed with your patent philosophy ; that 
creak you have heard, it is only the door — the list is not care- 
fully put roimd the door, and it is the wintry wind that whistles 
through the crevices. Ghosts and spectres belong. to the olden 
times ; science has waved its wand and laid them all. We have 
no superstition about us ; we walk enlightened nineteenth-cen- 
tury men ; it is quite beneath us to be superstitious. By and 
bye, one begins to tell tales of ghosts and spirits ; and another 
begins, and it goes all round ; and there comes over you a 
curious feeling — a very unphilosophical feeling, in fact, because 
the pulsations of air from the tongue of the storyteller ought not 
to bring over you that peculiar feeling. You have only heard 
words, tales — confessedly by the storyteller himself only tales, 
such as may figure in the next monthly magazine for pure 
entertainment and amusement. But why do you feel so, then ? 
If you say that these things are mere hallucinations, vague air- 
beating or tale-telling, why, good philosopher, do you feel so 
curious, so all-overish, as it were ? Again, you are a man 
without the least terror in you, as brave and bold a man as 
ever stepped : living man cannot frighten vou, and verily the 
dead rise not with ^'ou. But you are brought, towards midnight, 
to the stile over which is gained a view of the village church- 
yard, where sleep the dead in quietness. Your manhood begins 
just to ooze away a little ; you are caught occasionally whistling 
to keep your courage up ; you do not expect to see a ghost, but 
you are ready to see one, or to make one." At such a moment, 
think of the scene depicted by Coleridge : — 

" 'Twas night, calm night, the iiiodn was liigh ; 
The dead men stood together. 

All stood together on the deck, 

For a charnel-dungeon fitter : 
All fixed on me their stony eyes, 

That in the moon did glitter. 

The pang, the curse, with which they died. 

Had never passed away : 
I could not draw my eyes from theirs, 

Nor turn them up to pray."' 

With this weird tale in his mind in the mystic stillness of mid- 
night would an imaginative man be likely to deny the reality of 
the spirit world ? The chances are that he would be spellboiuid ; 
or, if he had breath enough, would cry out — 

" Angels and ministers of grace, defend us ! " 



"In the year 142 1, the widow of Ralph Cranbourne, of 
Dipmore End, in the parish of Sandhnrst, Berks, was one 
midnight alarmed by a noise in her bedchamber, and, looking 
up, she saw at her bedfoot the appearance of a skeleton (which 
she verily believed was her husband) nodding and talking to her 
upon its fingers, or linger bones, after the manner of a dumb 
person. Whereupon she was so terrified, that after striving to 
scream aloud, which she could not, for her tongue clave to her 
mouth, she fell backward as in a swoon ; yet not so insensible 
withal but she could see that at this the iigure became greatly 
agitated and distressed, and would have clasped her, but upon 
her appearance of loathing it desisted, only moving its jaw- 
upward and downward, as if it would cry for help but could 
not for want of its parts of speech. At 'length, she growing 
more and more faint, and likely to die of fear, the "spectre 
suddenly, as if at a thought, began to swing round its hand, 
which w^as loose at the wrist, with a brisk motion, and the 
finger bones being long and hard, and striking sharply against 
each other, made a loud noise like to the springing of a watch- 
man's rattle. At which alarm, the neighbours running in, stoutly 
armed, as against thieves or murderers, the specti-e suddenly 
departed." ^ 

" His shoes they were coffins, his dim eye reveal 'd 

The gleam of a grave-lamp with vapours oppress'd ; 

And a dark crimson necklace of blood-drops congeal'd 

Reflected each bone that jagg'd out of his breast." = 

Welcome to Christmas. 
By Mary Howitt. 

He comes— the brave old Christmas ! 

His sturdy steps I hear ; 
We will give him a hearty welcome, 

P'or he comes but once a year ! 

' " History of Iknks," vol, xxv. 

" Grim, King of the Ghosts, 


And of all our old ac(|vuunlancc 

'Tis he we like ihe hest ; 
There's a jolly old way about him— 

There's a warm heart in his breast. 

lie is not too proud to enter 

Your house though it be mean ; 
Vet is company fit for a courtier, 

And is welcomed by the (^neen I 

He can tell )'ou a hundred stories 

Of the Old World's whims and ways, 
And how they merrily wish'd him joy 

In our fathers' courting days. 

/ He laughs with the heartiest laughter 
[ That does one good to hear ; 
'Tis a pity so brave an old fellow 
Should come but once a year ! 

But once, then, let us be ready, 

With all that he can desire — 
With plenty of holly and ivy, 

And a huge log for the fire ; 

With plenty of noble actitjns, 

And plenty of warm good-will ; 
With our hearts as full of kindness 

As the board we mean to fill. 

With plenty of store in the larder, 

And plenty of wine in the bin ; 
And plenty of mirth for the kitchen ; 

Then open and let him in 1 

Oh, he is a fine old fellow — 

His heart's in the truest place ; 
You may know that at once by the children, 

Who glory to see his face. 

For he never forgets the children, 

They all are dear to him ; 
You'll see thai with wonderful presents 
^ His pockets are cramm'd to the brim. 

Nor will he forget the servants. 

Whether you've many or one ; 
Nor the poor old man at the corner ; 

Nor the widow who lives alone. 

He is rich as a Jew, is Old Christmas, 

I wish he would make me his heir ; 
But he has plenty to do with his money, 

And he is not given to spare. 

Not he — bless the good old fellow I 

He hales to hoard his pelf ; 
He wishes to make all people 

As gay as he is himself. 


So he goes to the parish unions- 
North, south, and west and east — 

And there he gives the paupers, 
Al his own expense a feast. 

■ He gives the old men tobacco, 

And the women a cup of tea ; 
. And he takes the pauper cliildren, 
And dances them on his knee. 

I wish you could see those paupers 

Sit down to his noble cheer, 
You would wish, like them, and no wonder, 

That he stayVl the livelong year. 

Yes, he is the best old fellow 

That ever on earth you met ; 
And he gave us a boon when first he came 

Which we can never forget. 

So we will give him a welcome 

Shall gladden his old heart's core ! 
And let us in good and gracious deeds 
Resemble him more and more I 
December 21,1 850. 

Wassailing the Apple-tkkes. 
Writing on this subject, in the Anliqiiarx, March, 189s Alr 
Harry Hems, of Exeter, introduces the reduced copy^of an 
illustration which appears on the following page, and which 
he states was pubhshed in the lUustmtcd London Neivs, Tanuarv 
II, 1851. 

The picture (says Mr. Hems) " presents, as will be seen a 
frosty, moDiihght night, with a brilliantly-lit old farmhouse '111 
the background. In the fore are leafless fruit-trees, and three 
men hring guns at them, whilst the jovial farmer and another 
man drmk success to the year's crop from glasses evidently hlled 
from a jug of cider, which the latter also holds a-high. A crowd 
of peasants— men, women and children— are gathered around 

and the following description is appended : " ' 

Amongst the scenes of jocund hospitality in this holiday 
season, that are handed down to us, is one\vhich not only 
presents an enlivening picture, but offers proof of the supersti- 
tion that still jM-evails in the Western counties. On Twelfth- 
even, in Devonshire, it is customary for the farmer to leave his 
warm hreside, accompanied by a band of rustics, with guns, 
blunderbusses, &c., presenting an appearance which at other 
tmies would be somewhat alarming. Thus armed, the band 
proceeds to an adjoining orchard, where is selected one of the 
most fruitful and aged of the apple-tiees, grouping round which 
they stand and offer up their invocations in the following quaint 
doggerel rhyme : — 

" ' Here's to thee, 
Old apple-tree ! 
Whence thou mayst bud. 
And whence thou mayst blow, 


. And whence ihuu niuysl bear 

Apples enow : 

Hals full, 

Caps full, 
Bushels, bushels, sacks full, 
,Vnd my pockets full loo ! 

Huzza I huzza I ' 

The cidci-jii^i; is ihcir passed round, and, with many a hearty 
shout, the party tire off their ^uns, charged with powder only, 
amidst the branches, sometimes frightening the owl from its 
midnight haunt. With conlident hopes they return to the 
farmhouse, and are refused admittance, in spite of all weather, 


till some lucky wight guesses aright the pecnliar roast the 
maidens are preparing for their comfort. This done, all enter, 
and soon right merrily the jovial glass goes round, that man who 
gained admittance receiving the honour of King for the evening, 
and till a late hour he reigns, amidst laughter, fun, and jollity. 
The origin of this custom is not known, but it is supposed to be 
one of great antiquity. 

"'The illustration is from a sketch by Mr. Colebrooke, 
Stockdale.' '" . 

We may add that, in the seventeenth century, a similar 
custom seems to have been observed in some places on Christ- 
mas Eve, for in Herrick's Hespcrides the wassailing of fruit trees 
is among the Christmas Eve ceremonies : — 


" Wassail the trees, lliat they may beaie 
^■()u man)' a phim, and many a peare ; 
For mure or less fruits they will bring, 
As you do give them wassailing. " 

Christmas Mokxixg ix Exeter Cathedral. 

\ynting from Exeter, in 1852. a correspondent says "the 
custom of welcoming this season of holy joy ^yith ' psalms and 
hymns and spn-itual songs' lingers in "the cathedral city of 
Exeter; where, during Christmas Eve, the parish clion-s 
perambulate the streets singing anthems, with instrumental 
accompannnents. The smgmg is protracted through the night, 
when the celebration often assumes a more secular character 
than IS strictly in accordance with the festival. A more sacred 
commemoration is, however, at hand. 

"At a quarter-past seven o'clock on Christmas mornin- the 
assemblage of persons in the naye of Exeter Cathedral is usually 
very numerous : there are the remnants of the previous vigil 
with unwashed faces and sleepy eyes ; but a large number are 
early risers, who have left their beds for better purposes than a 

"S \ u, '^^ 'f '' ^''^""^ "'"'^^'' of t^^e choir, and the fine Old 
Hundredth Psalm is sung from the gallery to a full organ, whose 
billows ot sound roll through the vaulted edifice. The scene is 
strikingly picturesque : all is dim and shadowy ; the red light 
from he fiarmg candles falling upon upturned faces, and here 
and here falling upon a piece of grave sculpture, whilst the 
grey light of day begins to stream through the antique windows 
adding to he solemnity of the scene. As the last verse of the 
psalm peals torth, the crowd begins to move, and the spacious 
cathedral is soon left to the more devout few who remain to 
attend the morning service in the Lady-chapel." 

A Welsh Christmas. 

Fi-om the " Christmas Chronicles of Llanfairpwllycrochon," by 
K. P. Hampton Roberts, in Xolcs and Oncncs, December 21, 1878 
we quote the following : ' / ^ 

" Now Thomas Thomas, and Mary Jones, and all their neigh- 
bours, had great veneration for Christmas, and enjoyed much 
pleasure in ookmg forward to the annual recurrence of the 
east. Not that they looked upon it as a feast in any ecclesias- 
■l^J'^'r^: ' Llanfairpwllycrochon was decidedly Calvinistically 
Methodist, and rejected all such things as' mere popish 
superstition. ^ ^ 

''The Christmas goose was a great institution at Llanfair- 
}n\-llycrochon. The annual goose club had no existence there, 
It IS, true, but the annual goose had nevertheless. Thomas 
Ihomas, after his memorable visit to London, came home 
imbued with one English idea which startled the villagers more 
than anything had done since the famous bonfire on the outlying 


hill wiicn the heir eame of age, and it was a long time before 
they reeovered from their surprise. It was nothing less than a 
proposition to substitute beef for the Christmas dinner instead 
of a goose. Here was a sad falling off from the ways of 
Llanfairpwllycrochon ! And Thomas Thomas was a man who 
persisted in an idea once it entered his mind — an event of rare 
occurrence, it is true, and consequently all the more stubborn 
whenever it did occur. Thomas Thomas had, however, sufficient 
respect for the opinion of his neighbours to make him compromise 
matters by providing for himself alone a small beefsteak as an 
adjunct to the time-honoured goose. 

"Another Christmas institution at Llanfairpwllvcrochon was 
the universal pudding, mixed as is wont by every member of the 
family. Then there was the bun-loaf, or banibrilli, one of the 
grand institutions of Llanfairpwllvcrochon. Many were the 
pains taken over this huge loaf — made large enough to last a 
week or fortnight, 'according to the appetites of the juvenile 
partakers— and the combined *' Christmas-boxes " of the grocer 
and baker went to make up the appetising whole, with much 
more in addition. 

*' Christmas Eve was a day of exceeding joy at Llanfairpwlly- 
crochon. The manufacture of paper ornaments and ' kissing 
flushes,' radiant with oranges, apples, paper roses, and such like 
fanciful additions as might suit the taste or means of the house- 
holder, occupied most of the day. And then they had to be put 
up, and the house in its Christmas decorations looked more 
resplendent than the imagination of the most advanced villager 
— at present at school, and of the mature age of five and a half 
vears, the rising hope of the schoolmaster, and a Lord Chancellor 
in embryo in hne — could have pictured. As a reward for the 
dav's toil came the night's sweet task of making cyfiaUi, i.e., 
toifee. Thomas Thomas, and those who spoke the Saxon 
tongue among the villagers, called it 'taffy.' Once had 
Thomas Thomas been corrected in his pronunciation, but the 
hardy Saxon who ventured on the bold proceeding was silenced 
when he heard that he was not to think he w-as going to persuade 
a reasonable man into mutilating the English tongue. ' Taffy 
it iss, and taffy I says,' and there was an end of the matter. 
Without taffy the inhabitants of Llanfairpwllycrochon, it w-as 
tirmly believed by the vicar, would not have known the differ- 
ence between Christmas and another time, and it is not therefore 
matter for surprise that thev should so tenaciously cling to its 
annual making. At midnight, when the syrupy stuff was sufti- 
ciently boiled, it would be poured into a pan and put into the 
open air to cool. Here was an opportunity for the beaux of the 
village which could not be missed. They would steal, if possible, 
the whole, pan and all, and entail a second making on the 
unfortunate victims of their practical joke. 

" Sometimes the Christmas Eve proceedings would be varied 
by holding a large evening party, continued all night, the principal 



amusement at winch would he the boiling ,)t toffee, one arm 
aknig, when another was tired, the large wooden spoon, and 
turnnig the boihng mass of sugar and treacle, this process beim>- 
contniued for many hours, until nothing would be left to partakS 
ot but a black, burnt sort of crisp, sugary cinder. Sometimes 
he long boiling would only result in a soft mass, disagreeable to 
the taste and awkward to the han:', the combined efforts of each 
member of the party failing to secure consistency or strength in 
the mixed ingredients. 

"And then there were the carols at midnight, and many more 
were the Christmas customs at Llanfairpwllycrochon." 


" These ChrisUiias decorations are so jolly ! '' 
She cried, zeal shining in her orbs of blue. 

•'Don't you like laurel gleaming under holly ? " 

He answered, " /love mistletoe over vew ! "—J'li/nh. 


Yorkshire Sword-actors. 
Under this title, Mr. T. M. Fallow, M.A., F.S.A., writin- 



the Aitliqiiarv, Alav, 1H95, gives an aecount of rustic perfor- 
mances which were witnessed at Christmastide in the neigh- 
bourhood of Leeds about fifteen years earher, and he iUustrates 
the subject with a series of pictures from photographs taken at 
the time, which are here reproduced. Tiie play depicted is 
that of the " Seven Champions of Christendom," and in the 
picture on the preceding page " St. George " is shown engaged 
in combat with "St. Peter," while "St. Andrew" and " St. 
Denys " are each kneeling on one knee, a sign of their having 
been vanquished. 

" It may be well to point out," says Mr. Fallow, " that in the 
West Riding, or at any rate in the neighbourhood of Leeds, the 
sword-actors were quite distinct from the ' mummers.' They 
generally numbered nine or ten lads, who, disguised by false 
beards as men, were dressed in costume as appropriate to the 
occasion as their knowledge and finances would permit, and who 
acted, with more or less skill, a short play, which, as a rule, was 
either the ' Peace Egg' or the ' Seven Champions of Christendom.' 
The following illustration shows two of the ' champions,' as 
photographed at the time stated : — 

" ST. I'ETER." 


" There was a little indei'miteness," says Mr. Fallow, " as to 
the characters represented in the play, but usually they wefe the 


King of Enyi^t, his clau-htcr, ;i fool or jester, St. Ceoroe St 
Andrew, St. Patrick, St. David, St. Denys, St. James, and a St' 
1 hewhs, who represented a Northern nation— Russia, or sonie- 
tmies Denmark— and whose exact identity seems obscure, 'i^he 
seven champions occasionally included St. Peter of Rome as in 
the group whose .photograph is given. St. Georije engaged in 
mortal combat with each champion in succession, iightiniv for 
the hand of the King of Egypt's daughter. When' at length 
each of the six was slain, St. George, having vanquished them 
all, won he fair lady, amid the applause of the bystanders. 
1 lien at the conclusion, after a general clashing and crossing of 
swords, the fool or jester stepped forward, and wound up 'the 
performance with an appeal for pecuniary recognition." 

Other Christmas Performances. 

In a Christmas article, published in i86g, Dr. Rimbault 
mentions the performance of " St. George and the Dragon " in 
the extreme w^estern and northern parts of the country The 
following hve characters are given : Father Christmas, Turkish 
Knight, king of Egypt, St. George, Doctor. Other writers 
mention similar plays, with variations of characters, as seen in 
the rural parts of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Stafford- 
shire, and the present writer has himself seen such plays at 
Madeley, in Shropshire. 

S. Arnott, of Turnham Green, writing in Notes and Oiicnc^, 
December 21, 1878, says: "When I was living at Holhnoton 
near Hastings, in the year 1869, the village boys were in the 
habit of visiting the houses of the gentry at Christmas time to 
perform a play, which had been handed down by tradition " 
1 he description of the play which then followed shows that it 
was another variation of the well-known Christmas play and 
mcluded the "Turkish Knight," the "Bold Slasher," and other 
familiar characters. 

A Scotch First Footing;. 

Writing on " Mid-winter Customs in the North," Mr. Edward 
Garrett says " it is not easy to write of ' Christmas customs in the 
North,' because many of them, even though connected with the 
Christmas festival, do not take place till January 6th, that being 
Christmas Day, Old Style, while most of them are associated 
with the New Year, either Old or New Style, one of the most 
striking celebrations coming off on January nth, regarded as 
' New Year's Eve.' " 

"Christmas itself has never been a national Scottish festival 
since the Reformation. On its purely festive side,.it has become 
somewhat of a ' fashion ' of late years, but its ancient customs 
have only lingered on in those districts where Episcopacy has 




taken deep root. Such a district is ' Buchan ' — a track of 
country in the north-east of Aberdeenshire — a phice which 
cannot be better described than in the words of one of its own 
gifted sons, Dr. Walter Smith : — 

" ' A treeless land, where beeves are good. 

And men have quaint, old-fashioned ways, 
And every burn has ballad lore, 

And every hamlet has its song. 
And on its surf-beat, rocky shore 

The eerie legend lingers long. 
Old customs live there, unaware 

That they are garments cast away, 
And what of light is lingering there 

Is lingering light of yesterday.' " 

YuLETiDK Customs ix Shetland. 

The inlierent ScancUnavianism of the Shetlander, which leads 
him to repudiate the appellation of Scotchman, and to cherish 
in secret the old customs and superstitions of his ancestoi's, 
asserts itself yearly in the high jinks with which he continues to 
honour the old holy days of Yule. Until within the last two or 


three years, he pertinaciously adhered to the old style in his 
observance o these festivities. On Christmas Eve, New Year's 
i^ve, and Lphelya— the twenty-fourth day after Yule and that 
on which the holy or holidays are supposed to be 'up -tl^^^^ 
youths ot Lerwick, attired in fantastic dresses, go '' ^uising ^ 
about the town in bands, visiting their friends and Acquaintances 
and leproducmg in miniature the carnival of more southern 
climes. On one or other of these occasions a torchlight proces- 
sion forms part of the revelry. Formerb- blazing tar blrrels wei e 
ragged about the town, and afterwards, x^.th the first break of 
mo ning, dashed over the Knab into the sea. But this ancient 

The ^^r ™?.r''^°"' ^'^' ''^^■>' ^''''P^'^y ^ee" discontinued. 
1 he di esses of the guisers are often of the most expensive and 
fanciful description. Highlanders, Spanish cavaliers, neg o 

rnrW ' "^^'l'"'' '^ '^" ^''""^'^ ^''^^^«' ^^erseymere breeches, ^id 
sea let coats turned up with buff, of the reign of Georc^e II 
Robin Hoods, and Maid Marians xvere found in the motley 
throng. Some, with a boldness worthy of Aristophanes himself 
caricature the dress, the walk, or some other^ccentricity f 
leading personages in the town ; others-for the spirit of "the 
Happy Land" has reached these hyperborean regions-make 
p easant game of well-knoxMi political characters. ' Each band 
of guisers has its fiddler, who walks before it, playing "Scallo 

oi'Lu^otC "■ "?' T""^'-^ ""''''" ''' ''The'Nip'pin' G^nc/- 
oi some other archaic tune. Thus conducted, and blowinLx'a 

doSrs c^ In I "°'"' u' wf " ^^^^^"■°''^^^' '''' "^^^kers enter The 
cloors of all houses which they find open, dance a measure with 
he inmates, partake of and offer refreshment, and then depar 
to repeat the same courtesies elsewhere. At daylight the horn 
of the Most Worthy Grand Guiser, a mysterious iSonage whose 
personality and functions are enveloped in the^leepest^co ceal- 
ment, is heard summoning all the bands to end the r revel , and 
when, in he cold grey dawn of the winter morning, the wm^hy 
citizens of Lerwick awake to pursue their wonted avocations not 

Ramn^i'in'r"%"n'''v '"'"""''^^^''^ °^ '''' ^^^^^^ before.-Sh'enf^^ 
Kampim, in Good TT ords. 

Now, passing from the islands to the sea itself, it is pleasant 
to note that in recent years Christian hearts have carried 

Christmas Cheer to the North Sea Fishermen 

l^^t^^Z^t" '^ ""u"' ^f Fishermen " twelve thousand 
biave and haidy fishermen have been cheered at Christmastide 

snr4'a "d bt.''' '?"°"'^ ^""^'^ "°^^- ^'^^^ -edical I^kI 
su gical aid books and magazines, woollen garments and 

he'onc'etnd' ' 'rT""''' ^ ''''^''''- ^-^^^^^^^^ -^' -- turnTig 
the once wild and desperate ocean roughs into clean-livine 
sailors and good husbands and fathers-thSrefore are these chvf 
on the North Sea better far than those that are gone. Thoi^and 
of these brave men turn at Christmas to the MJ3.S.F flag as to 
the one bright link which binds them to friendlv hearts fshoie 


assuring them that in England's Christmas festivities they and 
their hke have a real part, and are no longer forgotten. 

Some facts recorded by the Rev. John Sinclair ' illustrate the 
dangers of the wild winter sea, and also set forth some 

Christmas Experiences ix the Orkney Isles. 

They were related to Mr. Sinclair by Mr. Traill, chief of the 
clan, with whom he stayed on the occasion of his visit to the 
island of Pappa Westra. The first of the two incidents was as 
follows: — "One Christmas Day," says Mr. Traill, "during a 
heavy gale, I wrapped my cloak about me, and started off with 
my telescope to walk upon the cliffs. Coming to the other side 
of the island, on which the surf was beating violently, I observed 
a vessel a few miles off fire a signal of distress. I hastened to 
the nearest point, and with the help of my glass perceived that 
she was Dutch built, and that, having lost her rudder, she was 
tiuite unmanageable. She fired several guns at short intervals, 
and mv people came in large numbers to give assistance. But 
tlie surf was so fearful that nothing could be done. No boat 
could have lived a moment in such a sea. We w^ere all utterly 
helpless. As the vessel drifted towards us, I could see the 
whole tragedy as distinctly as if it had been acted on the stage. 
Immediately below me were a number of my fellow-creatures, 
now alive and in health, and in a few moments they would all 
be mangled corpses. I could make out the expression of their 
features, and see in what manner each was preparing for inevit- 
able death. But whether they climbed up into the shrouds, or 
held by ropes on deck while the sea was washing over the 
bulwarks, their fate was the same. The first wave lifted the 
vessel so high that I almost thought it would have placed her 
upon the land. She fell back, keel upwards. The next wave 
struck her w'ith such terrific force against the cliffs that she was 
shivered at once into a thousand pieces ; hardly two planks held 
together. It seemed as if she had been made of glass. Not a 
soul escaped. One or two bodies, with a few planks and casks, 
were all that ever reached the shore." Well might Mr. Traill 
add, " I was haunted for months by the remembrance of that 
heartrending sight." 

The other story related by Mr. Traill shows that a Christmas 
party may be detained indefinitely in one of these remote 
islands, should the weather prove unfavourable. At Christmas- 
tide, a former Laird of Westra " collected a numerous party 
from all the neighbouring islands to celebrate the christening of 
his eldest son." His hospitalities cost him dear, A storm 
arose ; his guests could not get away ; instsiid of enjoying their 
society for a few days, he w^as obliged to entertain them at 
a ruinous expense for many weeks. His larder, his cellar, and 
his barns, were by degrees exhausted. His farm stock had all 

' " Old Times and Distant I'laces," 1S75. 


been slaughtered, except the old hull, which he was reserving 
as a hist resource, when at length the wind abated, and a cahii 
delivered him from this ruinous situation. 

Thus it appears that in these remote islands of Scotland 
Chris mas is not forgotten. But a writer in a well-known 
bcx)tch journal says the surest sign of the general joy is 
Christmas in the Workhouse " :— 

"Christmas was gay in the old squire's hall, 

Ciay at the village inn, 
Cheery and loud by the farmer's fire, 

Happy the manse within ; 
But the surest signs of the general joy, 

Am\ that all the world was happy— very, 
Were the sounds that proved at the workhouse door 

That even ' the paupers ' were merry." 

A Remarkable Christmas Gathering. 

The Greenwich Hospital for Sick Seamen of all Nations 
presented on Christmas Day, 1880, a remarkable i^atherino- of 
national representatives. There were 179 sailors, represen'im-- 
31 nationalities, belonging to ships of 19 distinct nations Thev 
were summed up thus :-England, yy ; Wales, 3 ; Scotland, q"- 
Ireland, 11 ; Norway, 10; Sweden, 9; Finland, 6; United 
States, 5 ; Denmark, 5 ; British India, 4 ; France, 3 ; Germany, 
3; Nova Scotia, 3 ; Russia, 2; Austria, 2; Italy, 2; Cape de 
\eid Islands, 2; Chih, 2; Jamaica, 2; Barbadoes, 2- St 
Thomas, 2 ; Spain i ; Portugal, i ; Canada, i ; New Bruns- 
wick, i ; Transvaal, i ; Gold Coast, i ; Brazil, i • St Kitts i • 
Mauritius, i ; Society Islands, i. The mercantile marines 
represented were no bad index to the proportion of the carrying 
trade of the world each nation undertakes r—Englanci 96 vessels 
reland 3 ; Scotland, 16 ; Wales, 4 ; Norway, 7 ; Sweden, s ;' 
, Lnited States, 6 ; Denmark, 2 ; France, 2 ; Germany, 3 • Nova 
Scotia, 7 ; Russia, 2 ; Netherlands, 4 ; Channel Islands, 2 ; New 
Brunswick, 2 ; Italy, i ; Zanzibar, i ; Spain, i. 

The early morning brought warm Christmas wishes to the 
patients. Each found by his bedside a packet addressed to him 
by name. Some good lady had taken the enormous pains to 
work a pretty, and, at the same time, stout and serviceable 
wallet, with the inscription, "My letters,"' embroidered there- 
upon, and to accompany this little gift, in every case, with 
a short and seasonable letter of Christmas wishes, using other 
languages than English, to suit the convenience of every 
'""S^'n^h J^'^J'^'^'^'^l ""^^e^" ^^-hich these offerings came were 
■ ^-.^-y- , C*ther gifts, Christmas cards and Christmas read- 
ing in the shape of magazines and illustrated papers were "ladly 
welcomed. t- .' 

The decorations of the corridors and rooms had yiven 
occupa ion to the sick sailors for several days, and sentiments 
ot loyalty to the Queen and the Royal Family were abundantly 


displayed, together with portraits of members of the Royal 
Family which had been drawn from fancy. 

The officers and nurses had dedicated to them some specimens 
of real sailor poetry, conibining the names of the staff. With 
grim humour,, the " operation room " bore above it " Nil 
despcrandum " ; and the decorated walls of the hospital told 
the onlookers that " small vessels should keep in shore," that 
"windmills are not turned by a pair of bellows," that "good 
things are not found in heaps," that " hasty people fish in 
empty ponds," that " plenty, like want, ruins many," &c. 

The dinner at one o'clock was a great success. All who 
could get out of bed made it a point of honour to be present. 
But' for adverse winds keeping ships from entering the 
Thames, the guests would have been more numerous. But,.^ 
as it was, the patients under the roof numbered 179. There 
were, of course, difticulties of language ; but no " jack " ever 
ploughed the sea who does not understand a Christmas dinner ; 
and, besides, the hospital in its nurses and staff possesses the 
means of conversing in seventeen different languages. 

The scene w^as a thoroughly Christmas one ; and many other 
festive scenes, almost as interesting, were seen in all parts of 
England. Whether recorded or unrecorded, who does not 
rejoice in such efforts to promote " goodwill amongst men," 
and long for the time — 

"When peace shall over all the eartli 
Its ancient splendours fling, 
And the whole world send back the song, 
Which now the angels sing." 

Christmas Crackers. 

One of the popular instittitions inseparable from the festivities 
of Christmastide has long been the "cracker." The satisfaction 
which young people especially experience in pulling the ojiposite 
ends of a gelatine and paper cylinder is of the keenest, accom- 
panied as the operation is by a mixed anticipation — half fearful 
as to the explosion that is to follow, and wholly delightful with 
regard to the bonbon or motto which will thus be brought to' 
light. Much amusement is afforded to the lads and lassies by 
the fortune-telling verses which some of the crackers contain. 
But the cracker of our early days was something far different 
from what it is now. The sharp "crack" with which the 
article exploded, and from which it took its name, was then its 
principal, and, in some cases, its only feature ; and the exclama- 
tion, " I know I shall scream," which John Leech, in one of his 
sketches, puts into the mouth of two pretty girls engaged in 
cracker-pulling, indicated about the all of delight which that 
occupation afforded. Since then, however, the cracker has 
undergone a gradual development. Becoming by degrees a 
receptacle for bon-bons, rhvmed mottoes, little paper caps and 



aprons, and similar toys, it has passed on to another and higher 
stage anc IS even made a vehicle for high art illustrations. 
Considerable artistic talent has been introduced in the adorn- 
ment of these novelties. For instance, the " Silhouette " crackers 
are illustrated with black figures, comprising portraits of well- 
known characters in the political, military, and social world 
exquisitely executed, while appropriate desions have been 
adapted to other varieties, respectively designated -Cameos," 

th?t Thp"^?'' V ^^?:f ^^ ^^°^'''" '^'•' '''''^ it ^^ q^ite evident 
that the education of the young in matters of good taste is not 
overlooked in the provision of opportunities for merriment. 


Hang up the ha])y'.s stocking ! Be 
sure you don't forget ! The dear 
little dimpled darling, she never 
saw Christmas yet ! But I've 
told her all about it, and she opened 
her big blue eyes ; and I'm sure 
she understood it— she looked so 
funny and wise. *^* Dear, what 
a tiny stocking ! It doesn't take 
much to hold such little pink toes 
as baby's away from the frost and 
cold. But then, for the baby's 
Christmas, it will never do at all. 
\yhy ! Santa wouldn't be look- 
ing for anything half so 
small. *^* I know what 
will do for the baby. I've 
thought of the very best 
plan. I'll borrow a 
stocking of Grandma's, 
the longest that ever 
I can. And you'll 
hang it by mine, 
dear mother, right 
here in the corner, 
so ! And leave a 
letter to Santa, and 
fasten it on to the 
toe. *^* Write— this 
is the baby's stocking, 
that hangs in the corner 
here. You never have 
seen her, Santa, for 
she only came this 
year. But she's 

just the blessed'st 
baby. And now 
before you go, 
just cram her 
stocking with 
goodies, from 
the top clean 
down to 
t h e 
toe ! 


Fatally Bi'rxt ix Christmas Costumes. 

The Cliristmasticlc ol" 1885-6 was marred by two fatal 
aecidents which again illustrate the danger of dressing for 
entertainments in highly-inflammable materials. In the first 
case a London lady, on Boxing Night, was entertaining some 
friends, and appeared herself in the costume of Wiiiler. She 
was dressed in a white robe of thin fabric, and stood imder 
a canopy from which fell pieces of cotton wool to represent 
sncnvllakes, and in their descent one of them caught light at the 
candelabra, and fell at deceased's feet. In trying to put it out 
with her foot her dress caught fire, and she was immediately 
enveloped in flames. So inflammable was the material that, 
although prompt assistance was rendered, she was so severely 
burnt as to become unconscious. A medical man was sent for, 
and everything possible was done for her ; but she sank 
gradually, and died from exhaustion. The second of these 
tragical incidents plunged a Paris family in deep sorrow. The 
parents, who lived in a beautiful detached house in the Rue de 
la Bienfaisance, had arranged that their children and some 
youthful cousins were to play before a party of friends on New 
Year's Night on the stage of a little theatre which had just been 
added to their house. The play was to represent the decrepit 
old year going out and the new one coming in. The eldest 
daughter, a charming girl of fourteen, was to be the good genius 
of 1886, and to be dressed in a loose transparent robe. On the 
appointed evening, after the company had assembled, she 
donned her stage costume and ran into her mother's bedroom 
to see how it became her. While looking at herself in a mirror 
on the toilette table her loose sleeve came in contact with the 
flame of a candle and blazed up. She screamed for help and 
tried to roll herself in the bed clothes ; but the bed, being 
covered with a lace coverlet and curtained with muslin was also 
set on fire, and soon the whole room was ablaze. By the time 
help arrived the girl's clothes were all burning into the flesh ; 
but such was her vitality that, in spite of the dreadful state in 
which every inch of her body was, she survived the accident 
many hours. 

Similar disasters occurred at Christmas festivities in 1889, at 
Detroit, and in 1891, at Wortley, Leeds. In the former several 
little children were fatally burnt, and in the latter fifteen 
children were set on fire, eleven of them fatally. 


Christmas Literature 

is too Lirge a subject to enter upon at length, for a bulky 
volume would scarcely suflice to describe the niunerous 
Christmas annuals, illustrated Christmas numbers, newspaper 
supplements and variety papers which have become popular 
at Christmastide since the iirst appearance of Dickens's 
" Christmas Stories." The development of the Christmas trade 
in this light literature has been marvellous, and it is increasing 
year by year. And the same may be said of the charming gift- 
JDOoks which are published annually just before Christmas. 

Christmas Letter Missions. 

Through the various letter missions that have been established 
thousands of Christmas letters and illustrated missives, bright 
with anecdote, are despatched annually to the inmates of 
convalescent homes and hospitals, and are heartily welcomed 
by the recipients, for every one likes to be remembered on 
Christmas Day. 

The Post-Office Officials and Postmex 

have, however, been very heavily weighted with these new 
Christmas customs. They have inflicted upon postmen and 
letter-sorters an amount of extra labour that is almost incredible. 
The postal-parcel work is also very heavy at the festive season. 

The Railways at Christmas. 

" Home for the holidays, here we go ; 
Bless me, the train is exceedingly slow ! 
Pray, Mr. Engineer, get up your steam, 
And let us be off, with a puff and a scream I 
We have two long hours to travel, you say ; 
Come, Mr. Engineer, gallop away I " ' 

This familiar verse recalls the eagerness of the schoolboy to 
be home for the Christmas holidays. And adults are no less 
eager to join their friends at the festive season ; many travel 
long journeys in order to do so. Hence the great pressure of 
work on railway employes, and the congested state of the 
traffic at Christmastide. Two or three clays before Christmas 
Day the newspapers publish what are called *'' railway arrange- 
ments," detailing the privileges granted by this and that 
company, and presenting the holiday traveller with a sort of 
appetising programme ; and any one who will spend an hour 
at any of the great termini of the metropolis at this period can 

' Eliza Cook. 



see the remarkable extent U) which the pubhc avail themselves 
of the facilities offered. The growth of railway travelling at 
Christmastide has, indeed, been marvellons in recent years, and 
it becomes greater every year. The crowded state of the rail- 
way stations, and the trains that roll out of them heavily laden 
with men, women, and children, wedged together by parcels 
bursting with good cheer, show most unmistakably that we 
have not forgotten the traditions of Christmas as a time of 
happy gatherings in the family circles of Old England. 

But, as there is also much Christmas-keeping in other jiarts 
of the world, we pass now to — 


Christmas-Kekpixg in the Arctic Regions, 1850-1. 

''The bluejackets are generally better hands than the red- 
coats at improvising a jollification — Jack, at any rate, does not 
take his pleasures sadly. The gallant bands that have from 
time to time gone forth to a bloodless campaign in the icy 
north, have always managed to keep their Christmas right 
joyously. Certainly they could not complain of uncongenial 
skies or unseasonable temperatures ; while, so far as snow and 
ice are necessary to thorough enjoyment, the supply in the 
Arctic regions is on a scale sufficient to satisfy the most ardent 
admirer of an old-fashioned Christmas. The frozen-in Investi- 
gators under McClure kept their first Arctic Christmas soberly, 
cheerfully, and in good fellowship, round tables groaning with 
good cheer, in the shape of Sandwich Island beef, musk veal 
from the Prince of Wales's Strait, mince-meat from England, 
splendid preserves from the Green Isle, and dainty dishes from 
Scotland. Every one talked of home, and speculated respecting 
the doings of dear ones there ; and healths were drunk, not 
omitting those of their fellow-labourers sauntering somewhere 
in the regions about, but how near or how far away none could 
tell. When the festival came round again, the Iiivcstiilator and 
Enterprise were alone in their glory, and they were separated by 
miles of frozen sea ; but they had solved the great problem.' 
On board the Investii^ator, frost-bound in the Bay of Mercy, 
things went as merry as the proverbial marriage-bell. After 
divine service, everybody took a constitutional on the ice until 
dinner-time ; then the ofBcers sat down to a meal of which the 
piece de resistance was a haunch of Banks' Island reindeer, 
weighing twenty pounds, with fat two inches thick, and a most 
delicious flavour ; while the crew were regaling upon venison 
and other good things, double allowance of grog included ; and 
dinner discussed, dancing, singing, and skylarking filled up the 

'The discovery of the North- West Passage for navigation from the Atlantic 
Ocean to the Pacific, by the northern coasts of the American continent ; first 
successfully traversed by Sir R. McClure in 1 850-1. 


holiday hours till bedtime ; the fun beins;- kept up with unllag- 
ging humour, and with such propriety withal as to make their 
leader wish the anxious folks at home could have witnessed the 
scene created amidst so many gloomy influences, by the crew 
of a ship after two years' sojourn in those ice-bound regions 
upon their own resources. Another Christmas found the brave 
fellows still coniined in their snowy prison ; but their table 
boasted plum-pudding rich enough for Arctic appetites, Banks' 
Land venison, Mercy Bay hare-soup, ptarmigan pasties, and 
musk-ox beef — hung-beef, surely, seeing it had been dangling 
in the rigging above two years. The poets among the men 
wrote songs making light of the hardships they had endured ; 
the painters exhibited pictures of past perils ; comic actors 
were not wanting ; and the whole company, casting all anxiety 
to the winds, enjoyed themselves to the utmost." ' 

In the spring of 1870, before the breaking out of the Franco- 
German war, Germany sent out two ships, the Gennania and 
the Hansa, with the hope of reaching the North Pole. As is 
usually the case in Arctic expeditions, little could be done 
during the first season, and the ships were obliged to take up 
their winter-quarters off the east coast of Greenland. They 
had already been separated, so that the crew of one vessel, had 
no idea of the condition of the other. An officer upon the 
Gcniiaiiia gives the following interesting account of their 
Christmas festivities in the Arctic regions : — 

"To the men who have already lived many weary months 
among the icebergs, Christmas signifies, in addition to its other 
associations, that the half of their long night — with its fearful 
storms, its enforced cessation of all energy, its discomfort and 
sadness — has passed, and that the sun will soon again shed its 
life and warmth-giving beams on the long-deserted North. 
From this time the grim twilight, during which noon has been 
hardly distinguishable from the other hours, grows daily lighter, 
until at length all hearts are gladdened, and a cheerful activity 
is once again called forth by the first glimpse of the sun. 
Christmas, the midnight of the Arctic explorer, thus marks a 
period in his life which he has good cause to consider a joyful 

" For days before the festival, an unusual activity was observ- 
able all over the ship ; and as soon as the severe storm which 
raged from December i6th to the 21st had abated, parties 
were organised, under our botanist, Dr. Pansch, to certain points 
of Sabine Island, near to which we were anchored, where, in a 
strangely sheltered nook, several varieties of a native Greenland 
evergreen plant, Aiidrouicda {ctragoiia, were to be found. A 
great quantity of this plant was conveyed on board, to be con- 
verted into a Christmas-tree. Under the orders of Dr. Pansch, 
the Andromeda was wound round small pieces of wood, several 

' Chaiiihers's Journal, December 25, 1S69. 


of which were attached, Hke fir-twigs, to a large bough ; and 
when these boughs were fastened to a pole, they formed a very 
respectable fir-tree. 

"After dinner on Christmas Day, the cabin was cleared for 
the completion of the preparations ; and on our recall at six 
o'clock, we found that all had assumed an unwontedly festive 
appearance. The walls were decorated with the signal-flags 
and our national eagle ; and the large cabin table, somewhat 
enlarged to make room to seat seventeen men, was covered 
w^ith a clean white cloth, which had been reserved for the 
occasion. On the table stood the ' fir ' tree, shining in the 
splendour of many little wax-lights, and ornaments ^vith all 
sorts of little treasures, some of which, such as the gilded 
walnuts, had already seen a Christmas in Germany ; below the 
tree was a small present for each of us, provided long before- 
hand, in readiness for the clay, by loving friends and relatives 
at home. There was a packet too for each of the crew, con- 
taining some httle joking gift, prepared by the mirth-loving Dr. 
Pansch, and a useful present also ; while the officers were each 
and all remembered. 

" When the lights burned down, and the resinous Andromeda 
was beginning to take fire, the tree was put aside, and a feast 
began, at which full justice was done to the costly Sicilian wine 
with which a friend had generously supplied us "before we left 
home. We had a dish of roast seal ! Some cakes were made 
by the cook, and the steward produced his best stores. For 
the evening, the division between the fore and aft cabins was 
removed, and there was free intercourse between officers and 
men ; many a toast was drunk to the memory of friends at 
home, and at midnight a polar ball was improvised by a dance 
on the ice. The boatswain, the best musician of the party, 
seated himself with his hand-organ between the antlers of a 
reindeer which lay near the ship, and the men danced two and 
two on their novel flooring of hard ice ! 

" Such was our experience of a Christmas in the north polar 
circle ; but the uncertainties of Arctic voyaging are great, and 
the two ships of our expedition made trial of the widely difterent 
fates which await the travellers in those frozen regions : and 
while we on the Germania were singularly fortunate in escaping 
accidents and in keeping our crew, in spite of some hardships, 
hi sound health and good spirits, the Haiisa was crushed by the 
ice, and her crew, after facing unheard-of dangers, and passing 
two hundred days on a block of ice, were barelv rescued to 
return home." 

Yet even to the crew of the ill-fated //az/sa Christmas brought 
some festivities. The tremendous gale which had raged for 
many days ceased just before the clay, and the heavy fall of 
snow with which it terminated, and which had almost buried 
the black huts that the shipwrecked men had constructed for 
themselves upon the drifting icebergs from the debris of the 


wreck, had produced a considerable rise in tlie temperature, 
and there was every indication that a season of cahn mi,u;ht now 
be anticipated. 

The lot^-book of the Haiisa thus describes the celebration of 
the festival : — '* The tree was erected in the afternoon, while 
the t^reater part of the crew took a walk ; and the lonely hut 
shone with wonderful brightness amid the snow. Christmas 
upon a Greenland iceberg ! The tree was artistically put 
together of firwood and mat-weed, and Dr. Laube had saved a 
twist of wax-taper for the illumination. Chains cf coloured 
paper and newly-baked cakes were not wanting, and the men 
had made a knapsack and a revolver case as a present for the 
captain. We opened the leaden chests of presents from 
Professor Hochstetter and the Geological Society, and were 
much amused by their contents. Each man had a glass of 
jiort wine ; and we then turned over the old newspapers which 
we found in the chests, and drew lots for the presents, which 
consisted of small musical instruments such as fifes, jew's-harps, 
trumpets, &c., with draughts and other games, puppets, 
crackers, &c. In the evening we feasted on chocolate and 

" We observed the day very quietly," writes Dr. Laube in his 
diary. " If this Christmas be the kist we are to see, it was at 
least a cheerful one ; but should a happy return home be 
decreed for us, the next will, we trust, be far brighter. May 
God so grant ! " 

Christmas ix the Crimea. 

The Christmas of 1854 was a dismal one for the soldiers in 
the Crimea, witnessing and enduring what Lord John Russell 
spoke of as "the horrible and heartrending scenes of that 
Crimean winter.'' 

"Thanks to General Muddle," says a journal of the period, 
" the Crimean Christmas of 1854 was anything but what it ought 
to and might have been ;.and the knowledge that plenty of good 
things had been provided by thoughtful hearts at home, but 
which were anywhere but where they were wanted, did not 
add to the merriment of our poor overworked, underfed army ; 
and although some desperate efforts were made to be jolly on 
dreary outpost and in uncomfortable trenches, they only resulted 
in miserable failure. The following Christmas was doubly 
enjoyable by comparison. The stubborn fortress (Sebastopol) 
had fallen at last to its more stubborn assailants ; habit had 
deprived frost and snow of their terrors, and every hut ran over 
with hams, preserves, vegetables, and mysterious tins, till it 
resembled a grocer's store. The valleys of Miscomia, too, were 
rich in mistletoe, to be had for the trouble of gathering ; but 
few cared to undergo that trouble for the sake of what only 
reminded them of unattainable sweets, and made them sigh for 
the girls they had left behin^lU-hja ailLj ->^ 




In 1855, IMessrs. Macmillan & Co. published a poem by 
H. R. F., entitled " Christmas Dawn, 1854," i" which the writer 
pictures the festivities marred by war : — 

" A happy Christmas ! 
Happy ! to whom ? Perchance to infancy, 
And innocent childhood, while the germ of sin. 
Yet undeveloped, leaves a virgin soil 
For joy, and Death and Sorrow are but names. 
But who, that bears a mind matured to thought, 
A heart to feel, shall look abroad this day 
And speak of happiness ? The church is deckt 
With festive garlands, and the sunbeams glance 
From glossy evergreens ; the mistletoe 
Pearl-studded, and the holly's lustrous bough 
Gleaming with coral fruitage ; but we muse 
Of laurel blent with cypress. Gaze we down 
Yon crowded aisle ? the mourner's dusky weeds 
Sadden the eye ; and they who wear them not 
Have mourning in their hearts, or lavish tears 
Of sympathy on griefs too deeply lodged 
For man's weak ministry. 

A happy Christmas 1 
Ah me I how many hearths are desolate ! 
How many a vacant seat awaits in vain 
The loved one who returns not ! Shall we drain 
The cheerful cup — a health to absent friends ? 
Whom do we pledge ? the living or the dead ? " 

Thus did the poet, '' sick at heart," explore " the realm of 
sorrow" ; and then again he mused : 

" In humbler mood to hail the auspicious day, 
Shin^forth rejoicing in thy strength, O sun, 
Shine through the dubious mists and tearful show'rs 
That darken Hope's clear azure ! Christ is born. 
The life of those who wake, and those who sleep — • 
The Day-spring from on high hath looked on us ; 
And we, who linger militant on earth, 
Are one in Him, with those, the loved and lost. 
Whose early graves keep the red field they won 
Upon a stranger shore. Ah ! not in vain 
Went up from many a wild Crimean ridge 
The soldier's pray'r, responsive to the vows 
Breathed far away in many an English home. 
Not vain the awakened charities, that gush 
Through countless channels — Christian brotherhoods 
Of mercy ; and that glorious sister-band 
Who sow by Death's chill waters ! — Not in vain. 
My country 1 ever loved, but dearest now 
In this thine hour of sorrow, hast thou learnt 
To bow to Him who chastens. We must weep — 
We may rejoice in weeping." 

Christm.-\s IX Abyssinia. 

Wherever Englishmen are on the 25th of December, there is 
Christmas. Whether it be in the icy regions of the Arctic zone, 
or in the sweltering heat of tropical sunshine, the coming round 
of the great feast brings with it to every Englishman a hearty 


desire to celebrate it duly. And if this cannot be done in 
exactly home-fashion, the festival is kept as happily as circum- 
stances will allow. In this spirit did our soldiers keep Christmas 
in Abyssinia, in 1867, with the thermometer at seventy-live in 
the shade, and even here the edibles included at least one 
traditional dish — a joint of roast beef. There was al«o an 
abundance of spur-fowls, guinea-fowls, venison, mutton, &c., 
and the place in which the festive board was spread was 
decorated with branches of Hr and such other substitutes for 
holly and mistletoe as could be found. 

Christmas-kkefixg IX India 

at different periods shows the same determination of cnir British 
soldiers to honour the Christmas festival. 

In 1857, the saviours of our Indian Empire very nearly lost 
their Christmas. The army was encamped at Intha, within 
sight of Nepaul, waiting for the rain to clear off and the tents to 
dry, ere it moved on to drive the Sepoys into the Raptee. The 
skies cleared on Christmas morning, and Lord Clyde was for 
marching at once, but relented in time to save the men's 
puddings from being spoiled — not only relented, but himself 
gave a Christmas banquet, at which the favoured guests sat 
down to well-served tables laden with barons of beef, turkeys, 
mutton, game, hsh, fowls, plum-puddings, mince-pies, &c. 
To allay the thirst such substantial fare created, appeared 
beakers of pale ale from Burton and Glasgow; porter from 
London and Dublin ; champagne, moselle, sherry, and old port, 
' rather bothered by travelling twenty miles a day on a camel 
back.' Following the chief's example, each regiment had a 
glorious spread, and throughout the wide expanse of tents 
sounds of rejoicing were heard, for the soldiers kept Christmas 
right merrily. 

The British Soldiers and Sailors ix South Africa 

did their best to observe the Christmas festival in good old 
English style, even during the sieges of Ladysmith, Kimberley, 
and Mafeking, when provisions were to be had only at famine 
prices. The ingenious Tommy Atkins, in distant lands, has 
often found sylvan substitutes for mistletoe and holly, and native 
viands to take the place of plum-puddings and mince-pies, but 
it is not so easy to iind substitutes for the social circles in old 
England, and when the time comes round for the Christmas 
dance Tommy's thoughts " Return again to the girl I've left 
behind me." 

Moreover, it sometimes falls to the lot of soldiers and war 
correspondents to spend their Christmas in most outlandish 
places. Mr. Archibald Forbes has left on record (in the Eti<ilisli 
Illiislrated Ma^i^aziiw, 1885) an interesting account of his own 


Christmastide IX THE Khybek Pass. 

In his graphic style the intrepid war correspondent describes 
the "ride long and hard" which Kinloch and he had through 
the Khyher to Jeiahdxid plain to fulhl "the tryst they had made 
to spend Christmas Day with the cheery comrades "of Sir Sam 
Browne's headquarter staiT." They had an adventurous journey 
together from the Dakka camp to Jumrood, where Forbes left 
Kinloch with Maude's division. 

Further on, Mr. Forbes says : " I am not prepared to be 
definite, after live years, as to the number of plum-puddings 
forming that little hillock on the top of my dak-gharry between 
Jhelum and Peshawur, on the apex of which "sat the faithful 
John amidst a whirl of dust. At Peshawur the heap of Christ- 
mas gifts were loaded into the panniers of a camel, and the ship 
of the desert started on its measured solemn tramp up through 
the dehles of the Khyber." Then Mr. Forbes tell us how he 
joined Kinloch again at General Maude's headquarters at Jum- 
rood. Kinloch " had not forgotten his tryst, but meanwhile 
there were military duties to be done." After the discharge of 
these "military duties," which included a night march to surprise 
a barbarous clan called Zukkur-Kehls, Forbes and Kinloch 
joined General Tytler's column on its return march to Dakka, 
because at Dakka they would be nearer to their friends of Sir 
Sam Browne's headquarters. " Tytler determined to make his 
exit from the Zukkur-Kahl Valley by a previously unexplored 
pass, toward which the force moved for its night's bivouac. 
About the entrance to the glen there was a line forest of ilex and 
holly, large, sturdy, spreading trees, whence dangled long sprays 
of mistletoe ; the mistletoe bough was here indeed, and" Christ- 
mas was close, but where the fair ones whom, under other 
circumstances, the amorous youth of Our column would ha\'e 
so enthusiastically led under that spray which accords so sweet 
a license ? The young ones prattled of those impossible joys ; 
but the seniors, less frivolous, were concerned by the increasing 
narrowness of the gorge, and by the dropping hre that hung on 
our skirts as we entered it. However, there was but one 
casualty — a poor fellow of the 17th Regiment had his thigh 
smashed by a bullet — and we spent the" night under the ilex 
trees without further molestation. ... It was Christmas Eve 
when we sat chatting with young Beatsou in his lonely post by 
the Chardai streamlet ; but a few hours of morning riding would 
carry us to Jellalabad whither Sir Sam Browne's camp had been 
advanced, and we were easy on the score of being triie to tryst. 
As in the cold grey dawn we resumed our journey, leaving the 
young officer who had been our host to concern himself with 
the watchfulness of his picquets and the vigilance of his patrols, 
there was a sound of unintentional mockery in the conventional 
wish of a ' Merry Christmas ' to the gallant lad, and there was a 
wistfulness in his answering smile. . . . The road to the encamp- 


ment, the white canvas of whose tents showed throui^di theinter- 
venin,!^ hills, was traversed at a hand gallop ; and presently 
Kinloch and myself found ourselves in the street of the head- 
quarter camp, shaking hands wnth friends and comrades, and trving 
to reply to a medley of disjointed questions. The bugles weix' 
sounding for the Christmas Day Church Parade as we finished a 
hurried breakfast. Out there on the plain the British troops of 
the division were standing in hollow square, the officers grouped 
in the centre. . . . The headquarter street w^e found swept and 
garnished, the flagstaff bedecked with holly, and a regimental 
band playing ' Home, Sweet Home.' Dear old Sir Sam Browne 
did not believe in luxury when on campaign, but now for the 
iirst time I saw him at least comfortable. . . . The mess ante- 
room was the camp street outside the dining tent ; and at the 
fashionable late hour of eight we * went in ' to dinner, to the 
strains of the Roast Beef of Old EiiglaiuL It was a right jovial 
feast, and the most cordial good-fellowship prevailed. He 
would have been a cynical epicurean who would have criticised 
the appointments ; the banquet itself was above all cavil. 
Rummaging among some old papers the other day, I found the 
iiic'iiii, which deserves to be quoted : ' Soup — Julienne, f'ish — 
Whitebait (from the Cabul River). Entrees — Cotelettes aux 
Champignons, Poulets a hi Mavonaise. Joints — Ham and fowls, 
roast beef, roast saddle of mutton, boiled brisket of beef, boiled 
leg of mutton and caper sauce. Curry — chicken. Sweets^ — 
Lemon jelly, blancmange, apricot tart, plum-pudding. Grilled 
sardines, cheese fritters, cheese, dessert.' Truth compels the 
avowal that there was no table-linen, nor was the board 
resplendent with plate or gay with flowers. Table crockery 
was deficient, or to be more accurate, there was none. All the 
dishes were of metal, and the soup was eaten, or rather drunk, 
out of mugs and iron teacups. But it tasted none the worse on 
this account, and let it be recorded that there n^ere champagne 
glasses, while between every two guests a portly magnum reared 
its golden head. Except * The Queen,' of course, there were 
but two toasts after the feast — one was 'Absent Friends,' drunk 
in a wistful silence, and the other, the caterer's health, greeted 
with vociferous enthusiasm. A few fields off the wood had 
been collecting all day for the Christmas camp-lire of the loth 
Hussars, and by ten o'clock the blaze of it was mounting high 
into the murky gloom. A right merry and social gathering it 
was round the bright glow of this Yule log in a far-off land. 
The flames danced on the wide circle of bearded faces, on the 
tangled fleeces of the postheens, on the gold braid of the forage 
caps, on the sombre hoods of lieshliks. . . . The songs ranged 
from gay to grave ; the former mood in the ascendency. But 
occasionally there was sung a ditty, the associations with which 
brought it about that there came something strangely like a tear 
into the voice of the singer, and that a yearning wistfulness fell 
upon the faces of the listeners. The bronzed troopers in the 


background shaded with their hands the fire-flash from their 
eyes ; and as the faniihar homely strain ceased that recalled 
home and love and trailed at the heart strings till the breast felt 
to heave and the tears to rise, there would be a little pause of 
eloquent silence which told how thoughts had gone astraying 
half across the globe to the loved ones in dear old England/and 
were loath to come back again to the rum and the camp fire in 
Jellalabad plain. Ah, how many stood or sat around that camp 
fire that were never to see old England more ? The snow had 
not melted on the Sufed Koh when half a squadron of the 
troopers were drowned in the treacherous Cabul river. No 
brighter soul or sweeter singer round that fire than Monty Slade ; 
but the life went out of Monty Slade with his face to the foe 
and his w^et sword grasped in a soldier-grip ; and he lies under 
the palm trees by the wells of El Teb." 

Christmas in Canada. 

In Canada the severe and long-continued frosts convert a 
good deal of land and water into fields of ice, and skating is a 
very popular amusement of Christmastide. Sleighing is also 
very fashionable, and the large tracts of country covered with 
snow afl:brd ample scope for the pastime. The jingle of the 
sleigh bells is heard in all the principal thoroughfares which at 
the season of the great winter festival present quite an animated 
appearance. The ears of the sleigh drivers are usually covered 
either by the cap or with a comforter, which in very cold 
weather is also wrapped over the mouth and nose. 

"Christmas Day," says an English Colonist, "is spent quietly 
m our own houses. New Year's Day is the day of general 
rejoicing, when every one either visits or receives their friends : 
and so, thinking of the merry times we have had in Old 
England, and comparing them with the quietness of to-day, we 
feel more like strangers in a strange land than ever before. 

" As a special treat, we are to have a real English Christmas 
dmner to-day, and our housekeeper has made a wonderful 
plum-pudding. The turkey is already steaming upon the table, 
and we soon fall to work upon him. He is well cooked, but 
there seems to be something wrong with his legs, which are so 
tough and sinewy that we come to the conclusion that he must 
have been training for a walking match. The rest of the dinner 
passes off very well, with the exception of the plum-pudding 
which has to be brought to the table in a basin, as it firmiy 
refuses to bind. 

" After dinner we retire to the sitting-room, and sit round the 
stove talking, while those of us addicted to the fragrant weed 
have a quiet smoke. Thus passes Christmas afternoon. 

" Tea-time soon comes round, and after we have refreshed 
ourselves, we resolve to end the day by paying a visit to a 
neighbour who possesses an American organ, and Christmas 
evening closes in to the music of those sweet old carols which 


that evening are heard over the whole world wherever an 
English colony is to be found." 

Christmas in Australia. 

Christmas festivities in Australia are carried on in what we 
should call " summer weather." There is no lack of good cheer 
and good living, but cold and snow are at this season unknown, 
and skating and snowballing, as a consequence, are sports unheard 
of at Christmastide by the youth in the Antipodes. Large 
parties and excursions are often arranged for spending a short 
time in the parks and tields, and Christmas picnics partake 
much of the character of English " gipsy-parties." The in- 
habitants being chieily English, many of the ceremonies 
customary in English homes are observed, and the changes 
that are made are enforced for the most part by the difference 
in climate, and by the altered circumstances under which the 
various festivities are arranged. 

In " A Summer Christmas," Douglas B. \V. Sladen thus 
describes the Australian festivities : — 

" The Christmas dinner was at two, 
And all that wealth or pains could do 
Was done to make it a success ; 
And marks of female tastefulness, 
And traces of a lady's care, 
Were noticeable everywhere. 
The port was old, the champagne dry. 
And every kind of luxury 
Which Melbourne could supply was there. 
They had the staple Christmas fare, 
Roast beef and turkey (this was wild), 
Mince-pies, plum-pudding, rich and mild, 
One for the ladies, one designed 
For Mr. Forte's severer mind, 
Were on the board, yet in a way 
It did not seem like Christmas day 
With no gigantic beech yule-logs 
Blazing between the brass fire-dogs, 
And with 100° in the shade 
On the thermometer displayed. 
Nor were there Christmas offerings 
Of tastefu-1 inexpensive things, 
Like those which one in England sends 
At Christmas to his kin and friends. 
Though the Professor with him took 
A present of a recent book 
For Lil and Madge and Mrs. Forte, 
And though a card of some new sort 
Had been arranged by Lil to face 
At breakfast everybody's place. 
When dinner ended nearly all 
Stole off to lounges in the hall. 

All save the two old folks and Lil, 
Who made their hearts expand and thrill 
By playing snatches, slow and clear, 
Of carols they'd been used to hear 


Some half a century ago 

At High Wick Manor, when the two 

Were bashful maidens : they talked on, 

Of England and what they had done 

On byegonc Christmas nights at home, 

Of friends beyond the Northern foam, 

And friends beyond that other sea, 

Yet further — whither ceaselessly 

Travellers follow the old track, 

But whence no messenger comes back." 

Christmas i\ New Zealand. 

In 1887, we received a letter from Mr. \V. M. Stanton, of 
Nelson, New Zealand, giving the following interesting acconnt 
of the colonists' observance of Christmas :— 

"And now, as to Christmas, I wish I could express all I feel 
on this peculiarly English season of ' peace and goodwill.' I 
remember the picturesque snow (seen here only on the distant 
blue mountain tops), the icy stalactites pendant from the leafless 
branches, the twitter of the robin redbreast, the holly, and the 
mistletoe, decorated homes, redolent with the effects of the 
festive cooking, and the warm blazing firelight, the meeting of 
families and of friends, the waits, the grand old peals from the 
belfries ; but, alas, here these childhood associations are dis- 
pelled, half broken, and we acclimatised denizens adapt our 
festivities to other modes — not that we forget the Christmas 
season, but enjoy it difl:'erently, as I will briefly tell you, as you 
ask, ' how we spend Christmas in New Zealand.' ' First, our 
ladies decorate the churches for the Christmas services, not 
with the evergreens of old exclusively ; they do indeed affect 
the holly, ivy, and (New Zealand) mistletoe, but they make 
up with umbrageous and rich ferns, lachipoden, lauristinas, 
Portugal laurels, and our own beautiful evergreen, Ngaio, and 
with all the midsummer flowers at command ; then the clerk, 
the storeman, the merchant, and the mechanic indulge in 
' trips,' or day excursions, in small steamboats, to the neigh- 
bouring bays surrounding small townships, and villages on the 
coast. Others again, take the train for a day's outing and play 
quoits, rounders, lawn tennis, and the like ; the sportsman, 
perhaps, preferring his gun and his dog ; families, again, are 
picnic-mad, for your colonist can rival the Cockney any day for 
making his holiday in the country. It mav be to ' the rocks ' 
he goes to watch his youngsters paddling in the rolling tide, or 
to the toil of clambering up the ' dim mountain,' which seems 
to suit their hardy lungs better than the shade of the 'fern 
glen,' and a journey of eighteen miles to the Maori Pa is as 
nothing. The Union Company's flue coasting steamships run 
passengers at half fares at this season, and "the result is an 
interchange of visits between the dwellers in Nelson, Wellington, 
Marlboro', and Wanjani, amongst whom there is much rivalry 
and more friendship. Then there is the Christmas regatta, the 
performance of the ' Messiah ' by the musical societies, and the 


inevitable cveiiins^ dances, and thus the New Zealand Christmas 
is spent. 

" I am reminded, by my young clerk, that the mail is about 
closing, and that this letter must also close, if it is to go to-dav, 
and thus I must omit the mention of the new year's festivities, 
which properl}^ belong to our numerous Scottish fellow settlers 
who in their own country ignore Christmas as a popish 
superstition ; they are, how^ever, now becoming anglicised 
( ' Englitied ' they call it) in their habits, and similarly the 
Midland county men of England enter into their Caledonian 
custom, from the harmless orgies of ' Hagmenae ' to the frantic 
capers of ' Gillie Cullum,' to the skirl of the panting piper." 

Christmas at the Sandwich Islands. 

In "A Voyage in the Suiibcaiii," Lady Brassey gives an 
interesting account of the keeping of Christmas, 1876, on the 
Sandwich Islands. We quote the following extracts : — 

" Twenty minutes' hard riding brought us to the door of the 
' Volcano House,' from which issued the comforting light of a 
large wood hre, reaching half way up the chimney. 

" Everything at this inn is most comfortable, though the style 
is rough and ready. The interior is just now decorated for 
Christmas, with wreaths, and evergreens, and ferns, and 
branches of white plumes, not unlike reva-reva, made from the 
path of the silver grass. 

" The grandeur of the view in the direction of the volcano 
increased as the evening wore on. The hery cloud above the 
present crater grew in size and depth of colour ; the extinct 
crater glowed red in thirty or forty different places ; and 
clouds of white vapour issued from every crack and crevice in 
the ground, adding to the sulphurous smell with which the 
atmosphere was laden. Our room faced the volcano : there 
were no blinds, and I drew back the curtains and lay watching 
the splendid scene until I fell asleep. 

''Sunday, December 2^lh {Christinas Eve) — I was up at four 
o'clock to gaze once more on the wondrous spectacle that lay 
before me. The molten lava still glowed in many places, the 
red cloud over the hery lake was bright as ever, and steam was 
slowly ascending in every direction over hill and valley, till, as 
the sun rose, it became difticult to distinguish clearly the 
suljihurous vapours from the morning mists. We walked down 
to the Sulphur Banks, about a c|uarter of a mile from the 
' Volcano House,' and burnt our gloves and boots in our 
endeavours to procure crystals, the beauty of which generally 
disappeared after a very short exposure to the air. We suc- 
ceeded, however, in iinding a few good specimens, and, by 
wrapping them at once in paper and cotton-wool and putting 
them into a bottle, hope to bring them home uninjured. 

"Monday, December 2^th {Christmas Day) — Turning in last 
night was the work of a very few minutes, and this mt)rning I 



awoke perfectly refreshed and ready to appreciate anew the 
wonders of the prospect that met my eyes. The piUar of lire 
was still distinctly visible, when I looked ont from my window, 
thongh it was not so bright as when I had last seen it, but even 
as I looked it began to fade and gradually disappeared. At the 
same moment a river of glowing lava issued from the side of the 
bank we had climbed with so much difficulty yesterday, and 
slowly but surely overflowed the ground we had walked over. 
You may imagine the feelings with which we gazed upon this 
startling phenomenon, which had it occurred a few hours 
earlier, might have caused the destruction of the whole party. 

" It would, I think, be difficult to imagine a more interesting 
and exciting mode of spending Christmas Eve than yesterday 
has taught us, or a stranger situation in which to exchange our 
Christmas greetings than beneath the grass roof of an inn on 
the edge of a volcano in the remote Sandwich Islands. 

"The ride down to Hilo was as dull and monotonous as our 
upward journey had been. At last we reached the pier, where 
we found the usual little crowd waiting to see us off. The girls 
who had followed us when we first landed came forward shyly 
when they thought they were unobserved, and again encircled 
me with leis of gay and fragrant flowers. The custom of 
decorating themselves with wreaths on every possible occasion 
is in my eyes a charming one, and I like the inhabitants of 
Polynesia for their love of flowers. 

" The w-hole town was en fete to-day. Natives were riding 
about in pairs, in the cleanest of bright cotton dresses and the 
freshest of leis and garlands. Our own men from the yacht 
contributed not a little to the gaiety of the scene. They were 
all on shore, and the greater part of them were galloping about 
on horseback, tumbling off, scrambling on again, laughing, 
flirting, joking, and enjoying themselves generally after a 
fashion peculiar to English sailors. As far as we know the only 
evil result of all this merriment was that the doctor received a 
good many applications for diachylon plaster in the course of 
the evening, to repair various * abrasions of the cuticle,' as he 
expressed it. 

" I think at least half the population of Hilo had been on 
board the yacht in the course of the day, as a Christmas treat. 
At last we took a boat and went off too, accompanied by Mr. 
Lyman. The appearance of the ' Sunbeam ' from the shore 
was very gay, and as we approached it became more festive 
still. All her masts were tipped with sugar-canes in bloom. 
Her stern was adorned with flowers, and in the arms of the 
figurehead was a large bouquet. She w^as surrounded with 
boats, the occupants of which cheered us heartily as we rode 
alongside. The whole deck was festooned with tro]iical jilants 


and Howx'is, and the decorations of the cabins were even more 
beautiful and elaborate. I believe all hands had been hard at 
work ever since we left to produce this wonderful effect, and 
every garden in Hilo had furnished a contribution to please and 
surprise us on our return. 

" The choir from Hilo came out in boats in the evening", sang 
all sorts of songs, sacred and secular, and cheered everybody 
till they were hoarse. After this, having had a cold dinner, in 
order to save trouble, and having duly drunk the health of our 
friends at home, we all adjourned to the saloon, to assist in the 
distribution of some Christmas presents — a ceremony which 
afforded great delight to the children, and which was equally 
pleasing to the elder people and to the crew, if one may judge 
from their behaviour on the occasion. 

"Then we sat on deck, gazing at the cloud of lire over 
Kilauea, and wondering if the appearance of the crater could 
ever be grander than it was last night, when we were standing 
on its brim. 

" So ended Christmas Day, 1876, at Hilo, in Hawaii. God 
grant that there may be many more as pleasant for us in the 
future ! " 

Christmas ox Bo.\kd the "Suxbe.\m," 1879. 

" The wind is chill, 
But let it whistle as it will 
We'll keep our Christmas merry still." 

In " Sunshine and Storm in the East, or Cruises to Cyprus 
and Constantinople," Lady Brassey gives an interesting account 
of the celebration of Christmas on board the Siiiibcaiii, between 
Malta and Marseilles, December 25, 1879: — "We had service 
early and then spent a long busy morning in arranging all the 
presents for the children, servants, and crew, and in decorating 
the cabin. We could not manage any holly, but we had 
carefully preserved one bough of mistletoe from Artaki Bay, 
and had brought on board at Malta baskets full of flowers, so 
that all the jiictures, lamps, and even walls, were wreathed with 
festoons of bougainvilkea, ivy, and other creeping plants ; while 
in every available corner were placed, vases, bowls, and soup- 
plates, containing flowers. If not exactly * gay with holly- 
lierries,' so dear to English hearts from their association with 
yule-tide at home, the general appearance of the cabins was 
highly satisfactory. In the meantime they had been busy in 
the kitchen and pantry departments, preparing all sorts of good 
things for dinner, and pretty things for dessert, in order that 
the crew and servants might enjoy a more sumptuous repast 
than usual. A Christmas tree, a snow man, or an ice cave, for 
the distribution of presents, was not within the limit of our 
resources ; but we decorated our tables and sideboards with 
bright shawls and scarves, and wreathed and divided the 


surface of each with garlands of ilowers, placing in every 
division a pretty Christmas card, bearing the name of the 
recipient of the present, which was hidden away among the 
flowers beneath. . . For the men there was plenty of tobacco, 
besides books and useful things ; for the children toys ; and for 
ourselves, slippers and little remembrances of various kinds, 
some sent from home to meet us, others recent purchases. 
The distribution over, one or two speeches were made, and 
mutual congratulations and good wishes were exchanged. 
Then the crew and servants retired to enjoy the, to them, all- 
important event of the day — dinner and dessert. After our 
own late dinner, we thought of those near and dear to us at 
home, and drank to the health of ' absent friends.' " 

A Missionary's Christmas in China. 

In a letter from Tsing Cheu Fu Chefoo, December 24, 1887, 
the Rev. A. G. Jones, Baptist missionary, says : — 

" Mr. Dawson asks how Englishmen spend Christmas in 
China. Well, it depends. Some spend it at the ports dog- 
racing and eating pudding — having a night of it. The mission- 
aries generally take no notice of it. In our mission we hold 
one of the semi-annual dedication-of-children services on 
Christmas. We think it a very appropriate day for the re- 
cognition of the sacredness of the gift of trust of children. 
The idea is a Chinese one, originating wdth one of our 
Christians, and we adopted it as the day for the custom. To- 
morrow will be Christmas Day, and I have come out twenty 
miles this evening to hold a service of that kind with the 
semi-annual communion as it happens. -It will be a cold, 
cheerless room in a clay-built cabin down in the corner of a 
bare valley in a trap and basalt district with sparse vegetation 
and a bare aspect. A cold spot with a handful of Christians, 
bearing their testimony alone out on the margin of our held of 
work. I hope to see 40 or 50 patients up to sundown, and 
then have worship with them at night. That will be my 
Christmas. This evening — in the city — all the children and 
our wives are having a Christmas tree in the theological 
lecture-room, and on Tuesday next I guess we'll have our 
dinner. John Bull, Paddy, Sandy, and Taffy all seem to agree 
in tlmt feature. My Sunday will only be a sample of others. 
So it goes — working away. Now I must say goodbye. Many 
thanks and many good wishes." 

A Visit to Christmas Island. 

Letters were received in December, 1887, from H.M.S. Egcria, 
Commander Pelham Aldrich, containing particulars of a visit she 
had recently made to Christmas Island, which she w\as ordered 
to explore for scientific purposes. Christmas Island is situated 
in the Indian Ocean, in latitude 11'^ south, longitude 105^^ 30 


east ; it is 1,100 feet above the sea, is twelve miles lon.^ and 
eight miles broad. The offieers and men told off for exploring 
purposes found that the whole place was composed of coral 
and rock ; notwithstanding this, however, it is covered almost 
completely with trees and shrubs, the trees, which are of large 
dimensions, seeming to grow literally out of the rock itself, 
earth surfaces being conspicuous by their absence. It is 
uninhabited by human beings, nor could any traces of animals 
be discovered, but seabirds swarm over every part of the island, 
and about four hundred wood pigeons were shot by the explorers 
while they remained there. No fruits or vegetable matter ht 
for consinnption could, however, be found, nor the existence of 
any supply (^f fresh water, and the belief is that the vegetation 
of the island is dependent for nourishment on the dews and the 
heavy rains that fall. 

Christmas in America. 

Writing just before the Christmas festival of 1855, Mr. Howard 
Paul says the general manner of celebrating Christmas Day is 
much the same wherever professors of the Christian faith are 
found ; and the United States, as the great Transatlantic offshoot 
of Saxon principles, would be the first to conserve the traditional 
ceremonies handed down from time immemorial by our canonical 
progenitors of the East. But every nation has its idiocratic 
notions, minute and otherwise, and it is not strange that the 
Americans, as a creative people, have peculiar and varied ways 
of their own in keeping this, the most remarkable day in the 
calendar. Now and then they add a supplemental form to the 
accepted code — characteristic of the mutable and progressive 
spirit of the people — though there still exists the Church service, 
the conventional carol, the evergreen decorations, the plum- 
puddings, the pantomime, and a score of other "demonstrations " 
that never can legitimately be forgotten. 

Society generally seems to apportion the day thus : Church in 
the mornipg, dinner in the afternoon, and amusements in the 
evening. The Christmas dinners concentrate the scattered 
.members of families, who meet together to break bread in 
social harmony, and exchange' those home sentiments that 
cement the happiness of kindred. To-day the prodigal once 
more returns to the paternal roof ; the spendthrift forsakes his 
boon companions ; the convivialist deserts the wine-cup. The 
beautiful genius of domestic love has triumphed, and who can 
foresee the blessed results ? 

Parties, balls, and fetes, with their endless routine of gaieties, 
are looked forward to, as pleasures are, the wide world over ; 
and all classes, from highest to lowest, have their modes of 
enjoyment marked out. Preparation follows preparation in 
festal succession. Sorrow hides her Gorgon head, care may 
betake itself to any drearv recesses, for Christmas must be a 
gala ! 


There is generally snow on the ground at this time ; if Nature 
is amiable, there is sure to be ; and a Christmas sleigh-ride is 
one of those American delights that defy rivalry. There is no 
withstanding the merry chime of the bells and a fleet passage 
over the snow-skirted roads. Town and country look as if they 
had arisen in the morning in robes of unsullied white. Every 
housetop is spangled with the bright element ; soft flakes are 
coquetting in the atmosphere, and a pure mantle has been 
spread on all sides, that fairly invites one to disport upon its 
gleaming surface. 

We abide quietly within our pleasant home on either the eve 
or night of Christmas. How the sleighs glide by in rapid glee, 
the music of the bells and the songs of the excursionists falling 
on our ears in very wildness. We strive in vain to content 
ourselves. We glance at the cheerful fire, and hearken to the 
genial voices around us. We philosophise, and struggle against 
the tokens of merriment without ; but the restraint is torture. 
We, too, must join the revellers, and have a sleigh-ride. Girls, 
get on your fur ; wrap yourselves up warmly in the old bear- 
skin ; hunt up the old guitar ; the sleigh is at the door, the moon 
is beaming. The bells tinkle and away we go ! 

An old English legend was transplanted many vears ago on 
the shores of America, that took root and flourished with 
wonderful luxuriance, considering it was not indigenous to the 
country. Probably it was taken over to New York by one of 
the primitive Knickerbockers, or it might have clung to some 
of the drowsy burgomasters who had forsaken the pictorial tiles 
of dear old Amsterdam about the time of Peter de Laar, or 
II Bombaccia, as the Italians call him, got into disgrace in 
Rome. However this may be, certain it is that Santa Clans, 
or St. Nicholas, the kind Patron-saint of the Juveniles, makes 
his annual appearance on Christmas Eve, for the purpose of 
dispensing gifts to all good children. This festive elf is 
supposed to be a queer little creature that descends the 
chimney, viewlessly, in the deep hours of night, laden with 
gifts and presents, which he bestows with no sparing hand, 
reserving to himself a supernatural discrimination that he seems 
to exercise with every satisfaction. Before going to bed the 
children hang their newest stockings near the chimney, or pin 
them to the curtains of the bed. Midnight finds a world of 
hosiery waiting for favours ; and the only wonder is that a 
single Santa Clans can get around among them all. The storv 
goes that he never misses one, provided it belongs to a deserving 
youngster, and morning is sure to bring no reproach that the 
Christmas Wizard has not nobly performed his wondrous 
duties. We need scarcely enlighten the reader as to who the 
real Santa Clans is. Every indulgent parent contributes to the 
pleasing deception, though the juveniles are strong in their faith 
of their generous holiday patron. The following favourite lines 
graphically describe a visit of St. Nicholas, and, being in great 


vo.^iie with the youiit;" jx-oplc of America, arc fondly rcprfxluccd 
from vcar to year : — 

" 'Twas the nigliL before Chrislnias, when all lhroui,'li the luKise, 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In the hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there. 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, 
While visions of sugar plums danced through their heads ; 
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, 
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. 
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. 
The way to the window, I flew like a flash, 
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash ; 
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 
Tiave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear 
]5ut a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer ; 
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, 
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. 
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came. 
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name — 
' Now Dasher ! now Dancer I Now Prancer ! now \ixen I 
On Comet I on Cupid ! on Donder and Rlixen ! 
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall ! 
Now dash away ! dash away I dash away all ! ' 
As the leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 
When they meet will) an obstacle, mount to the sky ; 
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew. 
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. 
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof. 
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof; 
As I drew in my head and was turning around, 
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 
He was dressed all in furs from his head to his foot 
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. 
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back. 
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack. 
His eyes, how they twinkled I his dimples, how merry I 
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry ; 
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. 
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. 
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. 
He had a broad face and a little round belly 
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. 
He was chubby and plump — a right jolly old elf; 
.\nd I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head 
.Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 
And nlled all the stockings — then turned with a jerk, 
And laying his finger aside of his nose. 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose : 
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
.Vnd away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 
l>ut I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 
' Hap]iy Christmas to all, and to all a good night I ' " 

A curious feature of an American Christmas is the egg-nogg 
and free lunch, distributed at all the hotels and cafes. A week 


;it least before the 25th fanciful signs are suspended over the 
fountains of the bars (the hotel-keepers, are quite classic in their 
ideas) announcing superb lunch and egg-noggs on Christmas 
Day. This invitation is sure to meet with a large response from 
the amateur epicures about town, who, ever on the qui vivc for 
a banquet gratis, flock to the festive standard, since it has never 
been found a difficult matter to give things away, from the time 
old Heliogabalus gastronomed in Phoenicia up to the present 
hour. A splendid hall in one of the principal hotels, at this 
moment, occurs to us. A table, the length of the apartment, is 
spread and furnished with twenty made dishes peculiar to the 
Christmas cuisine. There are chorodcns and fricassees, ragouts 
and calipee, of rapturous delicacy. Each dish is labelled, and 
attended by a black servant, who serves its contents on very 
small white gilt-edged plates. At the head of the table a vast 
bowl, ornamented with indescribable Chinese figures, contains 
the egg-nogg — a palatable compound of milk, eggs, brandy, and 
spices, nankeenish in colour, wath froth enough on its surface 
to generate any number of Venuses, if the old Peloponnesian 
anecdote is worth remembering at all. Over the egg-nogg mine 
host usually officiates, all smiles and benignity, pouring the rich 
draught w4th miraculous dexterity into cut-glass goblets, and 
passing it to the surrounding guests with profuse" hand. On - 
this occasion the long range of fancy drinks are forgotten. 
Sherry-cobblers, mint-juleps, gin-slings, and punches, are set 
aside in order that the sway of the Christmas draught may be 
supreme. Free lunches are extremely common in the United 
States, what are called " eleven o'clock snacks " especially ; but 
the accompaniment of egg-nogg belongs unequivocallv "to the 
death of the year. 

The presentation of "boxes" and souvenirs is the same in 
America as in England, the token of remembrance having an 
inseparable alliance with the same period. Everybody expects 
to give and receive. A month before the event the fancy stores 
are crowded all day long with old and young in search of suit- 
able souvenirs, and every object is purchased, from costliest 
gems to the tawdriest bahiolc that may get into the market. 
If the weather should be fine, the principal streets are thronged 
with ladies shopping in sleighs ; and hither and thither sleds 
shoot by, laden with parcels of painted tovs, instruments of 
mock music and septuagenarian dread, from" a pennv trumpet 
to a sheepskin drum. 

Christmas seems to be a popular period among the young 
folk for being mated, and a surprising number approach the 
altar this morning. Whether it is that orange-flowers and 
bridal gifts are admirably adapted to the time, or that a longer 
lease of happiness is ensured from the joyous character of the 
occasion, we are not sufficiently learned in hymeneal lore to 
announce. The Christmas week, however, is a merry one for 
the honeymoon, as little is thought of but mirth and gaiety until 


the dawning New Year soberly suggests that wc sliould put 
aside our masquerade manners. 

In (hawing-room amusements society lias a weaUh of 
pleasing indoor pastimes. We remember the sententious 
Question n'linioiis, the hilarious Surprise parties, Fairy-bowl, 
and Hunt-the-slipper. We can never forget the vagabond 
Calathumpians, who employ in their bands everything inhar- 
monious, from a tire-shovel to a stewpan, causing more din 
than the demons down under the sea ever dreamed of. 

What, then, between the sleigh-rides, the bell-melodies, old 
Santa Clans and his iictions, the egg-nogg and lunches, the 
weddings and the willingness to be entertained, the Americans 
iind no difficulty in enjoying Christmas Dav. Old forms and 
new notions come in for a share of observances ; and the young 
coun-tiy, in a glow of good hiuiK^ur, with one voice exclaims, 
" Le bon temps vienara ! " 

President Harrison" as " Santa Claus." 

Writing from New York on December 22, i8gi, a cor- 
respondent says : " President Harrison was seen by your 
correspondent at the White House yesterday, and was asked 
what he thought about Christmas and its religious and social 
inlluences. The President expressed himself willing to offer 
his opinions, and said : ' Christmas is the most sacred religious 
festival of the year, and should be an occasion of general 
rejoicing throughout the land, from the humblest citizen to 
the highest official, w'ho, for the time being, should forget or put 
behind him his cares and annoyances, and participate in the spirit 
of seasonable festivity. W^e intend to make it a happy day at the 
White House — all the members of my family, representing four 
generations, will gather around the big table in the State dining- 
room to have an old-fashioned Christmas dinner. Besides ]\hs. 
Harrison, there will be her father, Dr. Scott, Mr. and Mrs. 
M'Kee and their children, Mrs. Dimmick and Lieutenant and 
Mrs. Parker. I am an ardent believer in the dutv we owe to 
ourselves as Christians to make merry for children at Christmas 
time, and we shall have an old-fashioned Christmas tree for the 
grandchildren upstairs ; and I shall be their Santa Claus mvself. 
If my influence goes for aught in this busv world let me hope 
that my example may be followed in every family in the land.' 

" Christmas is made as much of in this country as it is in 
England, if not more. The plum-pudding is not universal, but 
the Christmas tree is in almost everv home. Even in the tene- 
ment districts of the East side, inhabited bv the labouring and 
poorer classes, these vernal emblems of the anniversary are 
quite as much in demand as in other quarters, and if they 
and the gifts hung upon them are less elaborate than their 
West side congeners, the household enthusiasm which wel- 
comes them is c]uite as marked. As in London, the streets 
are flooded with Christma.s numbers of the periodicals, which, 


it may be remarked, are this year more elaborate in clesi^Li'ii and 
execution than ever. The use of Christmas cards has also 
obtained surprising" proportions. A marked feature of this 
year's Christmas is the variety and elegance of offerings after 
the Paris fashion, which are of a purely ornamental and but 
slight utilitarian character. There are bonbonnieres in a variety 
of forms, some of them very magniiicent and expensive ; while 
the Christmas cards range in prices from a cent to ten dollars 
each. These bonbonnieres, decked with expensive ribbon or 
hand-painted with designs of the season, attain prices as high 
as forty dollars each, and are in great favoiu- among the 
wealthy classes. Flowers are also much used, and, just now, ■ 
are exceedingly costly. 

'' While the usual religious ceremonies of the day are generally 
observed here, the mass of the community are inclined to treat 
the occasion as a festive rather than a solemn occasion, and 
upon festivity the whole population at the present time seems 

"Merry Christmas" with the Negroes. 

A journalist who has been amongst the negroes in the Southern 
States of America thus describes their Christmas festivities : — 

" Christmas in the South of the United States is a time- 
honoured holiday season, as ancient as the settlement of the 
Cavalier colonies themselves. We may imagine it to have been 
imported from ' merrie England ' by the large-hearted Papist, 
Lord Baltimore, into Maryland, and by that chivalric group of 
Virginian colonists, of whom the central historical figure is the 
famous Captain John Smith, of Pocahontas memory. Perhaps 
Christmas was even the more heartily celebrated among these 
true Papist and Church of England settlers from the disgust 
which they felt at the stern contempt in which the Natal Day 
was held by ' stiff-necked Puritans ' of New England. At 
least, while in New England the pilgrims were wont to work 
with exceptional might on Christmas Day, to show their 
detestation of it, traditions are still extant of the jovial 
Southern merrymaking of the festival. Christmas, with many 
of the Old England customs imported to the new soil, derived 
new spirit and enjoyment from customs which had their origin 
in the Colonies themselves. Above all was it the gala season — 
the period to be looked forward to and revelled in — of the 
negroes. Slavery, with all its horrors and wickedness, had at 
least some genial features ; and the latitude which the masters 
gave to the slaves at Christmas time, the freedom with which 
the blacks were wont to concentrate a year's enjoyment into 
the Christmas week, was one of these. In Washington, where 
until the war slavery existed in a mild and more civilised form, 
the negro celebrations of Christmas were the peculiar and amusing 
feature of the season. And many of these customs, which grew 
up amid slavery, have survived that institution. The Washing- 


ton negroes, free, have pretty iiiucli the same zest for their 
time-honoured amusements which they had when under the 
dominion of tlie ohgarchy. Christmas is still their great gala 
and occasion for merry-making, and the sable creatures 
thoroughly understand the art of having a good time, being 
superior, at least in this respect, to manv a blase Prince and 
Court noble distracted with cniiiti. Those who have seen 
the 'Minstrels' may derive some idea, though but a slight 
one, of the negro pastimes and peculiarities. They are, above 
all, a social, enthusiastic, whole-souled race ; they have their 
own ideas of rank and social caste, and they have a humour 
which is homely, but thoroughly genial, and quite the monopoly 
of their race. They insist on the whole of Christmas week for 
a holida}'. * Missus ' must manage how she can. To insist on 
chaining them down in the kitchen during that halcyon time 
would stir up blank rebellion. Dancing and music are their 
favourite Christmas recreations ; they manage both with a will. 
In the city suburbs there are many modest little frame-houses 
inhabited by the blacks ; now and then a homely inn kept by 
a dusky landlord. Here in Christmas time you will witness 
many jolly and infectiously pleasant scenes. There is a ' sound 
of revelry by night.' You are free to enter, and observe near 
by the countless gyrations of the negro cotillon, the intricate 
and deftly executed jig, the rude melody of banjos and * corn- 
stalk iiddles.' They are always proud to have ' de white folks ' 
for spectators and applauders, and will give you the best seat, 
and will outdo themselves in their anxiety to show off at their 
best before you. You will be astonished to observe the scrupu- 
lous neatness of the men, the gaudy and ostentatious habiliments 
of ' de ladies.' The negroes have an intense ambition to imitate 
the upper classes of white society. They will study the apparel 
of a well-dressed gentleman, and squander their money on 
' swallow-tail' coats, high dickeys, white neckties, and the most 
elaborate arts of their dusky barbers. The women are even 
more imitative of their mistresses. Ribbons, laces, and silks 
adorn them, on festive occasions, of the most painfully vivid 
colours, and fashioned in all the extravagance of negro taste. 
Not less anxious are they to imitate the manners of aristocracy. 
The excessive chivalry and overwhelming politeness of the men 
towards the women is amazing. They make gallant speeches 
in which they insert as manv of the longest and most learned 
words as thev can master, picked up at random, and not always 
peculiarlv adapted to the use made of them. Their excitement 
in the dance, and at the sound of music, grows as intense as 
does their furor in a Methodist revival meeting. They have, 
too, dances and music peculiar to themselves — jigs and country 
dances which seem to have no method, yet which are perfectly 
adapted to and rhythmic with the inspiring abrupt thud of the 
banjo and the bones. As they dance, thev shout and sing, slap 
their hands and knees, and lose themselves in the enthusiasm 


of the moment. The negroes look forward to Christmas not 
less as the season for present-giving than that of frolicking and 
jollity. Early in the morning they hasten upstairs, and catch 
' massa ' and * missus ' and ' de chillun ' with a respectful but 
eager ' Merry Christmas,' and are sure to get in return a new 
coat or pair of boots, a gingham dress, or ear-rings more showy 
than expensive. They have saved up, too, a pittance from their 
wages, to expend in a souvenir for 'Dinah' or ' Pompey,' the 
never-to-be-forgotten belle or sweetheart." 

Christmas in France. 

The following account of Christmas in France, in 1823, is 
given by an English writer of the period : — 

" The habits and customs of Parisians vary much from thos.^ 
of our own metropolis at all times, but at no time more than at 
this festive season. An Englishman in Paris, who had been for 
some time without referring to his almanac, would not know 
Christmas Day from another day by the appearance of the 
capital. It is indeed set down as a jour dc fete in the calendar, 
but all the ordinary business life is transacted ; the streets are 
as usual, crowded with waggons and coaches ; the shops, with 
few exceptions, are open, although on other fete days the order 
for closing them is rigorously enforced, and if not attended to, 
a fine levied ; and at the churches nothing extraordinary is 
going forward. All this is surprising in a Catholic country, 
which professes to pay much attention to the outward rites of 

'' On Christmas Eve, indeed, there is some bustle for a mid- 
night mass, to which immense numbers flock, as the priests, on 
this occasion, get up a showy spectacle which rivals the theatres. 
The altars are dressed with flowers, and the churches decorated 
profusely ; but there is little in all this to please men who have 
been accustomed to the John Bull mode of spending the evening. 
The good English habit of meeting together to forgive offences 
and injuries, and to cement reconciliations, is here unknown. 
The French listen to the Church music, and to the singing of 
their choirs, which is generally excellent, but they know notliing 
of the origin of the day and of the duties which it imposes. 
The English residents in Paris, however, do not forget our 
mode of celebrating this day. Acts of charity from the rich 
to the needy, religious attendance at church, and a full obser- 
vance of hospitable rites, are there witnessed. Paris furnishes 
all the requisites for a good pudding, and the turkeys are 
excellent, though the beef is not to be displayed as a prize 

" On Christinas Day all the English cooks in Paris are in full 
business. The cjueen of cooks, however, is Harriet Dunn, of 
the Boulevard. As Sir Astley Cooper among the cutters 
of limbs, and d'Egville among the cutters of capers, so is 
Harriet Dunn among the professors of one of the most 


necessary, and in its results most stratifying professions in 
existence ; her services are secnred beforehand by special 
retainers ; and happy is the peer who can point to his 
pndding, and declare that it is of the true Dunn composition. 
Her fame has even extended to the provinces. For some time 
previous to Christmas Day, she forwards puddings in cases to 
all parts of the country, ready cooked and lit for the table, after 
the necessary warming. All this is, of course, for the English. 
No prejudice can be stronger than that of the French against 
plum-pudding — a Frenchman will dress like an Englishman, 
swear like an Englishman, and get drunk like an Englishman ; 
but if you would offend him for ever compel him to eat plum- 
pudding. A few of the leading restaurateurs, wishing to appear 
extraordinary, have ploiiib-pooiiing upon their cartes, but in no 
instance is it ever ordered by a Frenchman. Everybody has 
heard the story of St. Louis — Henri Qautre, or whoever else 
it might be — who, wishing" to regale the English ambassador on 
Christmas Day with a plum-pudding, procured an excellent 
recipe for making one, which he gave to his cook, with strict 
injunctions that it should be prepared with due attention to all 
particulars. The weight of the ingredients, the size of the 
copper, the quantity of water, the duration of time, every- 
thing was attended to except one trifle — the king forgot the 
cloth, and the pudding was served up, like so much 
soup in immense tureens, to the surprise of the ambassador, 
who was, however, too well bred to express his astonish- 
ment. Louis XVHL, either to show his contempt of the 
prejudices of his countrymen, or to keep up a custom 
which suits his palate, has always an enormous pudding on 
Christmas Day, the remains of which, when it leaves the table, 
he requires to be eaten by the servants, boii grc, iiiaiirais grc ; 
but in this instance even the commands of sovereignty are 
disregarded, except by the numerous English in his service, 
consisting of several valets, grooms, coachmen, &c., besides a 
great number of ladies' maids in the service of the duchesses 
of Angouleme and B.erri, who very frequently partake of the 
dainties of the king's table." 

In his *' Year Book, 1832," Hone says that at Koiien, after the 
Tc Dciini, in the nocturnal office or vigil of Christmas, the 
ecclesiastics celebrated the " ofhce of the shepherds " in 
the following manner : — 

" The image of the Virgin Mary was placed in a stable pre- 
pared behind the altar. A boy from above, before the choir, 
in the likeness of an angel, announced the nativity to certain 
canons or vicars, who entered as shepherds through the great 
door of the choir, clothed in tunicks and amesses. Many boys 
in the vaults of the church, like angels, then began the \<lIoria 
ill cxcchis.'' The shepherds, hearing this, advanced to the 
stable, singing ^ peace, goodK'ill,' &c. As soon as they entered 
it, two priests in dalmaticks, as if women (quasi obstetrices) 


who were stationed at the stable, said, ' Whom seek ye?' 
The shepherds answered, according to the angehc annuncia- 
tion, 'Our Saviour Christ.' The women then opening the 
curtani exhibited the boy, saying, 'The httle one is here as 
the Prophet Isaiah said.' They then showed the mother, 
saymg, ' Behold the Virgin,' &c. Upon these exhibitions thev 
bowed and worshipped the boy, and saluted his mother. The 
ol¥ice ended by their returning to the choir, and sinmng 
Alleluia, &c." ' 

Christmas Day ix Besieged Paris. 

" Christmas, Paris, 
" Sunday, Dec. 25, 1870, 98//? day of the Siege. 

" Never has a sadder Christmas dawned on any city. Cold, 
hunger, agony, grief, and despair sit enthroned at every habita- 
tion in Paris. It is the coldest clay of the season and the fuel 
IS very short ; and the government has had to take hold of the 
fuel question, and the magnificent shade-trees that have for 
ages adorned the avenues of this city are all likely to go in the 
vain struggle to save France. So says the Oflicial Journal of 
this morning. The sufferings of the "past week exceed by far 
anything we have seen. There is scarcely any meat but horse- 
meat, and the government is now rationing. It carries out its 
work with impartiality. The omnibus-horse, the cab -horse, 
the work-horse, and the fancy-horse, all go alike in the mourn- 
ful procession to the butchery shops— the magnificent blooded 
steed of the Rothschilds by the side of the" old plug of the 
cabman. Fresh beef, mutton, pork are now out of the 
question. A little poultry yet remains at fabulous prices 
In walking through the Rue St. Lazare I saw a middling- 
sized goose and chicken for sale in a shop-window, and I 
had the curiosity to step in and inquire the price (rash man 
that I was). The price of the goose was $25, and the 
chicken $7."- 

Christmas ix Paris ix 1886. 

The Paris correspondent of the Daily Telegraph writes :— 
"Ahhough New Year's Day is the great French festival, the 
fashion of celebrating Christmas something after the English 
custom is gaining ground in Paris every year. Thus a good 
deal of mistletoe now makes its appearance on the boulevards 
and in the shop windows, and it is evident that the famous 
Druidical plant, which is shipped in such large quantities every 
year to England from Normandy and Brittany, is fast becoming 
popular among Parisians. Another custom, that of decorating 

' Fosbroke's "British Monachism." 

- '' Reminiscences of the Siege and Commune of Paris," by Ex-Minister E B 


Christinas trees in the Ens^Ush and Cieiinan style, has become 
qnite an annual solemnity here since the inilnx of Alsatians and 
Lorrainers, while it is considered cliic, in many qnarters, to eat 
approximate plum-puddins^ on the 25th of December. Unfortu- 
nately, the Parisian ' blom budding,' unless prepared by British 
hands, is generally a concoction of culinary atrocities, tasting, 
let us say, like saveloy soup and ginger-bread porridge. In a 
few instances the ' Angleesh blom budding ' has been served at 
French tables in a soup tureen ; and guests have been known to 
direct fearful and furtive glances towards it, just as an English- 
man might regard with mingled feelings of surprise and suspicion 
a fricassee of frogs. But independently of foreign innovations, 
Parisians have their own way of celebrating Noel. To-night 
(Christmas Eve) for instance, there will be midnight masses in 
the principal churches, when appropriate canticles and Adam's 
popular ' Noel ' will be sung. In many private houses the 
boudin will also be eaten after the midnight mass, the rich 
baptising it in champagne, and the petit bourgeois, who has not 
a wine cellar, in a cheap concoction of bottled stuff with a 
Bordeanx label bnt a strong Paris flavour. The feast of Noel is, 
however, more archaically, and at the same time more earnestlv, 
celebrated in provincial France. In the south the head of the 
family kindles the yule-log, or buchc-dc-Xocl, which is supposed 
to continue burning until the arrival of spring. Paterfamilias 
also lights the calcii, or Christmas lamp, which represents the 
Star of Bethlehem, and then all repair to the midnight mass in 
those picturesque groups which painters have delighted to 
commit to canvas. The inevitable baraqiies, or booths, which 
are allowed to remain on the great boulevards from Christmas 
Eve until the Feast of the Kings, on January 6, have made their 
appearance. They extend from the Place de la Madeleine to 
the Place de la Kepublique, and are also visible on some of the 
other boulevards of the metropolis. Their glittering contents 
are the same as usual, and, despite their want of novelty, crowds 
of people lounged along the boulevards this afternoon and 
inspected them with as much curiosity as if they formed part of 
a Russian fair w'hich had been temporarily transported from 
Nijni Novgorod to Paris. What was more attractive, however, 
was the show of holly, mistletoe, fir-trees, camellias, tea-roses, 
and tulips in the famous flower-market outside the Madeleine. 
A large tent has been erected, which protects the sellers of 
winter ilowers from the rain, and this gives the market a gayer 
and more brilliant appearance than usual. What strikes one 
more than anything else, however, is the number of French 
people whom one sees purchasing holly bushes and mistletoe, 
which they carry home in huge bundles, after the good old 
English fashion. Notwithstanding the dampness and gloom of 
the weather, which hovers between frost and rain, the general 
aspect of Paris to-day is one of cheerful and picturesque 
animation, and the laughing crowds with whom one jostles 


in the streets are thoroughly imbued with the festive character 
of the season. 

Christmas in Normandy. 

In describing the old-custom-loving people of Lower X'or- 
mandy, a writer on "Calvados," in 1884-5, thus refers to the 
season of Christmas and Twelfth-tide : " Now Christmas arrives, 
and young and old go up to greet the little child Jesus, lying on 
his bed of straw at the Virgin Mother's feet and' smiling to all 
the world. Overhead the old cracked bell clangs exultant, 
answering to other bells faint and far on the midnight air ; a 
hundred candles are burning and every church window shines 
through the darkness hke the gates of that holy New Jerusalem 
' whose hght was as a stone most precious — a jasper-stone clear 
as crystal.' With Twelfth-tide this fair vision suffers a meta- 
morphosis, blazoning out into the paganish saturnalia of bonhres, 
which in Calvados is transferred from St. John's Eve le jour dcs 
Rois. Red Hames leap skyward, fed by dry pine fagots, and 
our erstwhile devout peasants, throwing moderation to the winds, 
join hands, dance, and leap for good luck through blinding 
smoke and embers, shouting their rude doggerel : 

" ' Adieu les R(jis 
Jusqu'a douze mois, 
Douze mois passes 
Les boiigelces.'' " 

Christmas in Provence. 



Hcinrich Heine delighted in the infantile childishness of a 
Provencal Christmas. He never saw anything prettier in his 
life, he said, than a Noel procession on the coast of the 
Mediterranean. A beautiful young woman and an equally 
lovely child sat on a donkey, which an old lisheiman in a 
Iknving brown gown was supposed to be leading into Egypt. 
Young girls robed in white muslin were supposed to be angels, and 
hovered near the child and its mother to supply to him sweetmeats 
and other refreshments. At a respectful distance there was a pro- 
cession of nuns and village children, and then a band of vocalists 
and instrumentalists. Flowers and streaming banners were 
unsparingly used. Bright sunshine played upon them, and the 
deep blue sea formed a background. The seafaring people who 
looked on, not knowing whether to venerate or laugh, did both. 
Falling upon their knees they went through a short devotional 
exercise, and then rose to join the procession and give them- 
selves up to unrestricted mirth. In the chateaux of the South 
of France creches are still exhibited, and creche suppers given to 
the poorer neighbours, and to some of the rich, who are placed 
at a table " above the salt." There are also " Bethlehem Stable " 
puppet-shows, at which the Holy Family, their visitors, and 
four-footed associates are brought forward as dranialis persona'. 
St. Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds are made to speak 
in patois. But the Virgin says what she has to say in classical 
French. In the relinement of her diction, her elevation above 
those with her is expressed. At Marseilles an annual fair of 
statuettes is held, the profits of which are spent in setting up 
Bethlehem creches in the churches and other places. Each 
statuette represents a contemporaneous celebrity, and is con- 
tained in the hollow part of the wax bust of some saint. 
Gambetta, Thiers, Cavour, Queen Victoria, Grevy, the Pope, 
Paul Bert, Kouvier (who is a Marseillais), the late Czar and other 
celebrities have appeared among the pi^iiriiies hidden within the 
saintly busts. 

Christmas i\ Corsica. 

"A Winter in Corsica," by "Two Ladies," published in 1868, 
contains an interesting account of the celebration of Christmas 
in that picturesque island of the Mediterranean which is known 
as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte — " One day shortly 
before Christmas our hostess, or landlady, was very busy with 
an old bodv in the kitchen, who had come to make sundry 
cakes in preparation for that festive season. We were all called 
down to see what was going on, and our attention was 
particularly directed to the great oven which was heated on 
purpose to bake them. One kind of cake was made of chesnut 
Hour, another of eggs and broche (a kind of curds made from 
goats' milk), but the principal sort was composed chiefly of 
ahnonds, extremely good and not unlike macaroons, but thicker 
and more substantial. For several days previously, everybody 


in the house had been busy bhiuehing and pounding ahnonds ; 
not only the two servants, but Rose and Clara, the young work- 
women who were so often staying in the house, and who, 
indeed, at cMie time seemed to form part of the establishment. 
The old cook herself, a stout and dumpy person, was worth 
looking at, as she stood surrounded by these young women, who 
did very little but watch her operations ; and the whole formed 
quite an animated picture of a foreign iiiciiage, which one rarely 
has the opportunity of seeing. 

" Towards Christmas, considerable preparations began to be 
made in the shops for the coming season, but chiefly, perhaps, 
for New Year's Day, which is kept throughout France as a 
grand fete day. Sweetmeats in great variety hlled the windows, 
and especially what were called pralines — an almond comfit 
covered with rough sugar, and of a peculiar Havour. They are 
very good, and cost three francs per pound. 

" It seemed strange writing to friends at home wishing them 
' a happy Christmas,' when we seemed scarcely to have done 
with summer. 

" There was certainly a good deal of novelty in our mode of 
passing Christmas-time in Ajaccio. 

" We had expressed the wish to be present at midnight mass, 
in the cathedral, on Christmas Eve, and our kind hostess readily 
promised to take us, and also said we should have a ptiit soiipcr 
with her on our return. She told us afterwards that she had 
spoken to the organist, and obtained permission for us to go 
into the organ-loft, w^here we should have a good view over the 
church, and not be inconvenienced by the crowd. Accordingly, 
a little before eleven o'clock, we all went downstairs, and, 
accompanied by madame, as well as by a gentleman and his 
daughter, friends of hers, proceeded to the cathedral. 

" As there is no gas in Ajaccio, the church of course is 
lighted only with candles, and very dim and gloomy it looked, 
especially at first, and during a dull monotonous kind of chant- 
ing, which we were told were the offices to the Virgin. 

" By and by, as midnight drew near, and the mass was about 
to commence, a great number of candles were lighted on the 
high altar and in the side chapels, and the scene became more 
brilliant and animated. We looked clown upon a perfect sea of 
heads, the women all wearing the national handkerchiefs, many 
of these of bright colours, and making them conspicuous among 
the men, of whom there were also a very large number. 

" At length the organ struck up, the higher priests entered, 
wearing their richest robes, followed by numerous attendants. 
Each bowed and knelt as he passed the altar, and took his 
allotted place, and then the service began. At one point, 
supposed to be the moment of our Saviour's birth, there was 


quite an uproar. Tlic people clapped their bauds, and stamped, 
and shouted, trumpets sounded, and the organ j^ealed forth its 
loudest tones. 

" Then there was a very sweet hymn-tune played, and some 
beautiful voices sang Adeste Fideles, which was by far the most 
pleasing part of the service to our minds. Next came the read- 
ing of the Gospel, with much formality of kissing and bowing, 
and incensing ; the book was moved from side to side and from 
place to place ; then one priest on his knees held it up above his 
head, while another, sitting, read a short passage, and a third 
came forward to the front of the enclosed space near the altar, 
Ihnging the censer ronnd and about. Then the little bell 
tinkled, and all that mass of heads bowed down lower, the Host 
was raised, the communion taken by the priests, and at one 
o'clock all was over. 

" We gladlv regained the fresh air, which, though rather cold, 
was much needed after the close atmosphere of the crowded 
cathedral. The moon was very bright, and we hastened home 
with appetites sharpened by our walk, for what proved to be a 
handsome dinner, rather than a pctil soiipcr. 

" P'or ourselves, we did not forget the old home custom of 
Christmas decorations, and took some pains to dress our salon 
with evergreens, which we brought down from the hills the 
previous, day. Although we had neither holly nor mistletoe, we 
found good substitutes for them in the elegant-leaved lentiscus, 
the tree heath and sweetly perfumed myrtle ; while round the 
mirror and a picture of the Mrgin on the opposite wall we 
twined garlands of the graceful sarsaparilla. The whole looked 
extremely pretty, and gave quite a festive appearance to the 

" On Christmas Day we joined some English friends for a 
walk, about eleven o'clock. It was a charming morning, bright 
and hot, as we strolled along the shore to the orange-garden of 
Barbacaja, where we gathered oranges fresh from the trees. 

" On returning home to din?ier no plum-pudding or mince-pies 
awaited us certainly, but we had tolerably good beef, for a 
wonder, and lamb, merles, and new potatoes. 

" Christmas Dav in Corsica is observed by the people as a 
religious festival, but not as a social one ; and there are no 
familv gatherings as in England and Germany. This arises, no 
doubt, from that non-existence of true domestic life which must 
strike all English taking up a temporary residence in France. 

" There was a succession of fete days throughout Christmas 
week, when the shops were shut and the people dressed in holiday 
attire. But the great day to which every one seems to look 
forward is the first of the year, le ^oitr dc VAii. Presents are 
then made by everybody to everybody, and visits of congratula- 



tion, or merely of ceremony, received and expected. The gifts 
are sometimes costly and handsome, but generally they are 
trifling, merely valuable as works of remembrance, consisting 
chielly of bonbons, boxes of crystallised fruits, and other con- 

Christmas in Chios. 


The preceding illustration of Eastern art belongs to the same 
period as many of the Christmas customs which have survived 
in Chios, and it carries our thoughts back to the time when 
Byzantium was the capital of the Greek Empire in the east. 
From an interesting account by an English writer in the 
ConiJiill Magazine, for December, 1886, who spent a Christmas 
amongst the Greeks of this once prosperous isle of Chios, 
it appears that, two days before Christmas, he took up his 
quarters at " the village of St. George, a good day's journey 
from the town, on the slopes of a backbone of mountains, which 
divides Chios from north to south." On the morning following 
the arrival at St. George, " echoes of home " were heard which 
caused the writer to exclaim : " Surely they don't have 
Christmas waits here." Outside the house stood a crowd of 
chil 'ren singing songs and carrying baskets. From the window, 
the mistress of the house was seen standing amongst the 
children " talking hard, and putting handfuls of something into 
each basket out of a bag." " On descending," says the writer, 


" I inquired tlie cause of this early invasion, and learnt that it is 
customary on the day before Christmas for children to go round 
to the houses of the village early, before the celebration of the 
liturgy, and collect what is called * the luck of Christ ' — that is 
to say, walnuts, almonds , hgs, raisins, and the like. Every 
housewife is careful to have a large stock of these things ready 
overnight, and if children come after her stock is exhansted she 
says, ' Christ has taken them and passed b3\' The urchins, who 
are not always willing to accept this excuse, revile her w ith 
uncomplimentary remarks, and wish her cloven feet, and other 
disagreeable things." 

The writer visited the chief inhabitants of St. George, and 
was regaled with " spoonfuls of jam, cups of coffee, and glasses 
of mastic liquer " ; and, in a farmyard, " saw oxen with scarlet 
horns," it being the custom, on the day before Christmas, for 
" every man to kill his pig, and if he has cattle to anoint their 
horns with blood, thereby securing their health for the coming 

"It is very interesting to see the birthplace of our own 
Christmas customs here in Greece, for it is an undoubted fact 
that all we see now in Greek islands has survived since Byzan- 
tine days. Turkish rule has in no way interfered with religious 
observances, and during four or hve centuries of isolation from 
the civilised world the conservative spirit of the East has 
preserved intact for us customs as they were in the earlv days 
of Christianity ; inasmuch as the Eastern Church was the first 
Christian Church, it was the parent of all Christian customs. 
Many of these customs were mere adaptations of the pagan to 
the Christian ceremonial — a necessary measure, doubtless, at a 
time when a new religion was forced on a deeply superstitious 
population. The saints of the Christian took the place of the 
gods of the '' Iliad." Old customs attending religious observances 
have been peculiarly tenacious in these islands, and here it is 
that we must look for the pedigree of our own quaint Christian 
habits. We have seen the children of St. George collecting 
their Christmas-boxes, we have spoken of )iig-killing, and we 
will now introduce ourselves to Chiote Christmas-trees, the 
rhaiiiiuv, as they are callecl here, which take the form of an 
offering of fruits of the earth and flowers by tenants to their 

'' The form of these offerings is varied : one tenant we saw 
chose to make his in the shape of a tripod ; others merely 
adorn poles, but all of them effect this decoration in a similar 
fashion, more gaudily than artistically. The pole is over a yard 
in height, and around it are bound wreaths of myrtle, olive, and 
orange leaves ; to these are hxed any ilowers that may be 
found, geraniums, anemones, and the like, and, by way of 
further decoration, oranges, lemons, and strips of gold and 
coloured paper are added. 

" On Christmas mornintr the tenants of the numerous gardens 


of Chios proceed to the houses of their hmdlords, ridin_s;" on 
mules ;uul carryiut^ :i liitiiiiiui in front of them and a pair of 
fowls behind. As many as three hundred of these may be seen 
entering the capital of Chios on this day, and I was told the 
sight is very imposing. At St. George we had not so many of 
them, but sufhcient for our purpose. On reaching his landlord's 
house the peasant sets up the trophy in the outer room, to be 
admired by all who come ; the fowls he hands over to the 
housewife ; and then he takes the large family jars or auiphora-, 
as they still call them, to the well, and draws the drinking water 
for his landlord's Christmas necessities. 

''In the afternoon each landlord gives ' a table ' to his tenants, 
a good substantial meal, at which many healths are drunk, 
compliments exchanged, and songs sung, and before returning 
home each man receives a present of money in return for his 
offerings. A Greek never gives a present without expecting an 
equivalent in return." 

Another Christmas custom in Chios which reminded the 
writer of the English custom of carol-singing is thus described : 
" There are iive parishes in the village of St. George, each 
supplied with a church, priests, acolytes, and candle-lighters, 
who answer to our vergers, and who are responsible for the 
lighting of the many lamps and candles which adorn an Eastern 
church. These good people assemble together on Christmas 
Day, after the liturgy is over, and form what is called ' a musical 
company ' ; one man is secured to play the lyre, another the 
harp, another the cymbals, and another leads the singing 
— if the monotonous chanting in which they indulge can be 
dignified by the title of singing. The candle-lighter, armed 
with a brass tray, is the recognised leader of this musical 
company, and all day long he conducts them from one house to 
another in the parish to play, sing, and collect alms. These 
musicians of St. George have far more consideration for the 
feelings of their fellow-creatures than English carol-singers, for 
the candle-lighter is always sent on ahead to inquire of the 
household they propose to visit if there is mourning in the 
house, or any other valid reason why the musicians should not 
play, in which case the candle-lighter merely presents his tray, 
receives his offering, and passes on. Never, if they can help it, 
will a family refuse admission to the musicians. They have not 
many amusements, poor things, and their Christmas entertain- 
ment pleases them vastly. 

" The carols of these islands are exceedingly old-world and 
quaint. When permission is given the troupe advance towards 
the door, singing a sort of greeting as follows : * Come now and 
open your gates to our party ; we have one or two sweet words 
to sing to you.' The door is then opened by the master of the 
house ; he greets them and begs them to come in, whilst the 
other members of the family place chairs at one end of the 
room, on which the musicians seat themselves. The first carol 


is a (Genuine Christmas one, a sort ot rclitiious recoLinition of the 
occasion, according to our notions fraught with a frivohty 
ahiiost bordering on blasphemy ; but then it must be remem- 
bered that these peasants have formed their own simple ideas of 
the life of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints, to which they have 
given utterance in their songs. A priest of St. George kindly 
supplied me with the words of some of their carols, and this is 
a translation of one of the prefatorv songs with whicli the 
musical companv commence : — 

" ' Christmas, Christmas ! Christ is born ; 
Saints rejoice and devils mourn. 
Christmas, Christmas ! Christ was fed 
On sweet honey, milk, and bread, 
Just as now our rulers eat 
Bread and milk, and honey sweet.' 

After this the company sing a series of songs addressed to 
the various members of the family, to the father, to the mother, 
to the daughters, to the sons ; if there chances to be a betrothed 
couple there, they are sure to be greeted with a special song ; 
the little children, too, are exhorted in song to be good and 
diligent at school. Of these songs there are an infinite number, 
and many of them give us curious glimpses into the life, not of 
to-day, but of ages which have long since passed away. 

" The following song is addressed to the master of the house, 
and has doubtless been sung for centm-ies of Christmases since 
the old Byzantine days when such things as are mentioned 
in the song really existed in the houses. This is a word-for- 
word translation : — 

" ' We have come to our venerable master ; 
To his lofty house with marble halls. 
His walls are decorated with mosaic ; 
With the lathe his doors are turned. 
Angels and archangels are around his w indows, 
And in the midst of his house is spread a golden carpet 
And from the ceiling the golden chandelier sheds light. 
It lights the guests as they come and go. 
It lights our venerable master.' 

On the conclusion of their carols the musicians pause f(ir rest, 
the cymbal-player throws his cymbal on the floor, and the 
candle-lighter does the same thing with his tray, and into these 
the master of the house deposits his gifts to his parish church, 
and if they are a newly-married couple they tie up presents of 
food for the musicians in a handkerchief — hgs, almonds, &c., 
which the cvmbal-player fastens round his neck or ties to his 

" Before the musicians take their departure the housewife 
hurries off to her cupboard and produces a tray with the 
inevitable jam thereon. Coffee and mastic are served, and the 
compliments of the season are exchanged. Whilst the candle- 


lighter is absent lookini;- for another house at which to sing, the 
musicians sing their farewell, ' We wish health to your family, 
and health to yourself. We go to join the pallicari.' 

" In villages where the singing of carols has fallen into disuse 
the inhabitants are content with the priestly blessing only. To 
distribute this the priest of each parish starts off on Christmas 
morning with the candle-lighter and his tray, and an acolyte to 
wave the censer ; he blesses the shops, he sprinkles holy water 
over the commodities, and then he does the same by the 
houses ; the smell of incense perfumes the air, and the candle- 
lighter rattles his tray ostentatiously to show what a lot of 
coppers he has got." 

Christmas in a Greek Church. 

"Swan's Journal of a Voyage up the Mediterranean, 1826," 
gives the following account of Christmas in a Greek Church : — 

"Thursday, January 6th, this being Christmas Day with the 
Greek Catholics, their 'churches are adorned in the gayest 
manner. I entered one, in which a sort of raree-show hacl been 
set up, illumed with a multitude of candles : the subject of it 
was the birth of Christ, iwho was represented in the background 
by a little waxen iigure wrapped up in embroidery, and reclining 
upon an embroidered cushion, which rested upon another of 
pink satin. This was supposed to be the manger where he was 
born. Behind the image two paper bulls' heads looked unutter- 
able things. On the right was the Virgin Mary, and on the left 
one of the eastern Magi. Paper clouds, in which the paper 
heads of numberless cherubs appeared, enveloped the whole ; 
while from a pasteboard cottage stalked a wooden monk, with 
dogs, and sheep, and camels, goats, lions, and lambs ; here 
walked a maiden upon a stratum of sods and dried earth, and 
there a shepherd flourishing aloft his pastoral staff. The 
construction of these august figures was chieily Dutch : they 
were intermixed with china images and miserable daubs on 
paper. In the centre a real fountain, in miniature, squirted 
forth water to the ineffable delight of crowds of prostrate 

Christmas in Rome. 

Hone^ states that after Christmas Day, during the remainder 
of December, there is a Presepio, or representation of the 
manger, in which our Saviour was laid, to be seen in many of 
the churches at Rome. That of the Ara Coeli is the best worth 
seeing, which church occupies the site of the temple of Jupiter, 
and is adorned with some of its beautiful pillars. On entering, 
we found daylight completely excluded from the church ; aiul 
until we advanced, we did not perceive the artificial light, which 

' " Year Book." 


(From Hone's " Eveiy-day Hook," 1.S26,) 

was so managed as to stream in ilnctuating rays, from interven- 
ing silvery clouds, and shed a radiance over the lovely babe and 
bending mother, who, in the most graceful attitude, lightly holds 
up the draperv which half conceals her sleeping infant from the 
bvstanders. He lies in richly embroidered swaddling clothes, 
and his person, as well as that of his virgin mother, is orna- 
mented with diamonds and other precious stones ; for which 
purpose, we are informed, the princesses and ladies of high 
rank lend their jewels. Groups of cattle grazing, peasantry 


engat^ed in different occupations, and other objects, enliven 
the picturesque scenery ; every Hving creature in the group, 
with eyes directed towards the Presepio, falls prostrate in 
adoration. In the front of this theatrical representation a little 
girl, about six or eight years old, stood on a bench, preaching 
extempore, as it appeared, to the persons who tilled the church, 
with all the gesticulation of a little actress, probably in com- 
memoration of those words of the psalmist, quoted by our 
blessed Lord — '' Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings 
Thou hast perfected praise." In this manner the Scriptures are 
acicd ; not " read, marked, and inwardly digested." The whole 
scene had, however, a striking effect, well calculated to work 
upon the minds of a people whose religion consists so largely in 
outward show. [From " A Narrative of Three Years in Italy."] 

As at the beginning, so in the latter part of the nineteenth 
century, the church celebrations of Christmas continue to be 
great Christmas attractions in the Eternal City. 

From the description of one who was present at the 
Christmas celebration of 1883, we quote the following 
extracts : — 

'' On Christmas morning, at ten o'clock, when all the world 
was not only awake, but up and doing, mass was being said and 
sung in the principal churches, but the great string of visitors to 
the Imperial City bent their steps towards St. Peter's to witness 
the celebration of this the greatest feast in the greatest Christian 

" As the heavy leather curtain which hangs before the door 
fell behind one, this sacred building seemed "indeed the world's 
cathedral ; for here were various crowds from various nations, 
and men and women followers of all forms of faiths, and men 
and women of no faith at all. The great church was full of 
light and colour — of light that came in broad yellow beams 
through the great dome and the high eastern windows, making 
the candles on- the side altars and the hundred ever-burning 
kimps around the St. Peter's shrine look dim and yellow in the 
tulness of its radiance ; and of colour combined "of friezes of 
burnished gold, and brilliant frescoes, and rich altar pieces, and 
bronze statues, and slabs of oriental alabaster, and blocks of red 
porphyry and lapis lazuli, and guilded vaulted ceiling, and walls 
of inlaid marbles. 

" In the large choir chapel, containing the tomb of Clement 
IX., three successive High Masses were celebrated, the full 
choir of St. Peter's attending. In the handsomely carved old 
oak stalls sat bishops in purple and rich lace, canons in white, 
and minor canons in grey fur capes, priests and deacons, and a 
hundred acolytes wearing silver-buckled shoes and surplices. 
This chapel, with its life-size marble figures resting on the 
cornices, has two organs, and here the choicest 'music is 
frequently heard. 

" Of course the choir chapel was much too small to hold the 


great crowd, which, therefore, overtiowed into ihe aisles and 
nave of the vast church, where the music could be heard like- 
wise. This crowd broke up into groups, each worthv of a 
study, and all combining to afford an effect at once strange and 
picturesque. There are groups of Americans, English, French, 
Germans, and Italians promenading round the church, talking 
in their respective native tongues, gesticulating, and now and 
then pausing to admire a picture or examine a statue. 
Acquaintances meet and greet ; friends introduce mutual 
friends ; compliments are exchanged, and appointments made. 
Meanwhile masses are being said at all the side altars, which 
are surrounded by knots of people who fall on their knees at 
the sound of a little bell, and say their prayers quite undisturbed 
by the general murmur going on around them. 

" Presently there is a stir in the crowd surrounding the choir 
chapel; the organ is at its loudest, and then comes a long 
procession of vergers in purple and scarlet facings, and cross 
and torch bearers, and censer bearers, and acolytes and deacons 
and priests and canons and bishops, and a red-robed cardinal 
in vestments of cloth of gold wrought and iigured with many a 
sacred sign, and, moreover, adorned with precious stones ; and 
High Mass at St. Peter's, on Christmas Day, is at an end. 

" During the day most of the shops and all the Government 
offices were open. Soldiers were drilled all day long in the 
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and were formally marched to their 
various barracks, headed by bands discoursing martial music ; 
whilst the postmen delivered their freight of letters as on 
ordinary davs of the week. In the afternoon most of those who 
were at St. Peter's in the morning assembled to hear Grand 
Vespers at the handsome and famous church of San Maria 
Maggiore, one of the oldest in Christendom, the Mosaics on the 
chancel arch dating from the fifth centiuv. The church was 
illuminated with hundreds of candles and hung with scarlet 
drapery, the effect being verv fine ; the music such as can alone 
be heard in Rome. On the high altar was exhibited in a 
massive case of gold and crvstal two staves said to have been 
taken from the manger in which Christ was laid, this being 
carried round the church at the conclusion of Vespers. Almost 
everv English visitor in Rome was present." 

Christmas at Moxtk Carlo. 

" Every one has heard of the tiny principality of Monaco, with 
its six square miles of territory facing the Mediterranean, and 
lying below the wonderful Corniche-road, which has been for 
ages the great highway south of the Alps, connecting the South 
of France with Northern Italy. Of course many visitors come 
here to gamble, but an increasing number are attracted by the 
beauty of the scenery and the charm of the climate; and here 
some hundreds of Englishmen and Englishwomen spent their 
Christmas Day and ate the conventional plum - pudding. 


Christmas had been ushered in by a salvo of artiUery and a 
High Mass at the cathedral at eleven on Christmas Eve, and 
holly and mistletoe (which seemed strangely out of place 
amongst the yellow roses and hedges of geraniums) were in 
many hands. As illustrating the mildness of the climate and 
the natural beauty of the district, the following flowers were in 
full bloom in the open air on Christmas Day : roses of every 
variety, geraniums, primulas, heliotropes, carnations, anemones, 
narcissus, sweetwilliams, stocks, cactus, and pinks ; and to 
these may be added lemon trees and orange trees laden with 
their golden fruit. As evening wore on a strong gale burst 
upon the shore, and Christmas Day closed amongst waving 
foliage and clanging doors and clouds of dust, and the iierc'e 
thud of angry surf upon the sea-shore below. 

"January 2, 1890. J. S. B." 

Christmas Eve Festivities ix German v. 

In ''The German Christmas Eve," 1846, Madame Apolline 
Flohr recalls her " childish recollections " of the Christmas 
festivities in the ''happy family" of which she was a member. 
They met amid the glare of a hundred lights, and according to 
an old-established custom, they soon joined in chaunting the 
simple hvmn which begins : — 

" Now let us thank our God ; 
Uplift our hands and hearts : 
Eternal be His praise, 

Who all good things imparts ! " 

After the singing (says the writer), I ventured for the first time, 
to approach the pile of Christmas gifts intended for my sisters, 
my brothers, and myself. 

The Christmas tree, always the common property of the 
children of the house, bore gilded fruits of every species ; and 
as we gazed with childish delight on these sparkling treasures 
our dear parents wiped away the tears they had plentifully 
shed, while our young voices were ringing out the sweet hymn, 
led by our friend, Herr Yon Clappart, with such deep' and 
solemn emotion. 

Now, as the dear mother led each child to his or her own 
little table — for the gifts for each were laid out separately, and 
thus apportioned beforehand — all was joy and merriment. 

A large table stood in the midst, surrounded by smaller ones, 
literally laden with pretty and ingenious toys", the gifts of 
friends and kindred. We liked the toys very much indeed. 
We were, however, too happy to endure quiet pleasure very 
long, and all prepared to assemble around the Christmas tree. 
After a delightful dance around the tree, and around our dear 
parents, our presents were again examined ; for the variety of 
offerings made on these occasions would much exceed the 
belief of a stranger to our customs. Every article for children's 


clothing was here to be found, both for ornament and use ; nor 
were books forgotten. It was then I received my hrst Bible 
and Prayer-book ; and at the moment the precious gift was 
placed in my hand, I resolved to accompany my parents to 
church the following morning at live o'clock. (This early 
attendance at public worship on Christmas morning is a 
custom observed in Central (lermany, and is called Christ- 

The ceremony of withdrawing, in order to attire ourselves in 
some of our new dresses, having been performed, we re-entered 
the apartment, upon which the great folding-doors being 
thrown open, a second Christmas tree appeared, laden with 
lumdreds of lights. This effect was produced by the tree being 
placed opposite some large looking-glasses, which reflected the 
lights and redoubled their brilliancy. 

Here hung the gifts prepared by the hands of the children 
for their beloved parents. 

My eldest sister, Charlotte, had knitted for her mother a 
beautiful evening cap, and a long purse for her father. 

Emily presented each one of the family with a pair of 
mittens ; and the little Adolphine made similar offerings of 
open-worked stockings, her hrst attempt. 

Our parents were also surprised and delighted to receive some 
drawings, exceedingly well executed, by my brothers, accom- 
panied by a letter of thanks from those dear boys, for the kind 
permission to take lessons which had been granted to them 
during the last half-year. 

The great bell had called us together at live o'clock in the 
afternoon, to receive our Christmas gifts ; and though at eleven 
our eyes and hearts were still wide awake, yet were we 
obliged to retire, and leave all these objects of delight behind 
us. All remembered that, at least, the elder branches of the 
family must rise betimes the next morning to attend the Christ- 
Kirche, and to hear a sermon on the birth of the Saviour of 

The great excitement of the previous evening, and the vision 
of delight that still hovered around my fancy, prevented my 
sleeping soundly ; so that when the others w'ere attempting to 
steal away the next morning to go to church, I was fully roused, 
and implored so earnestly to be taken with the rest of the 
family, that at length my prayer was granted ; but on condition 
that I should keep perfectlv still during the service. 

Arrived at the church we found it brilliantly illuminated, and 
decorated with the boughs of the holly and other evergreens. 

It is quite certain that a child of live years old could not 
understand the importance, beauty, and extreme htness of the 
sublime service she so often witnessed in after life ; yet I can 
recollect a peculiarly sweet, sacred, and mysterious feeling 
taking possession of me, as my infant mind received the one 
simple impression that this was the birthday of the Saviour I 



IkicI been taught to love and pray to, since my infant lips could 
lisp a word. 

vSince early impressions are likely to be permanent, it is 
considered most important in my fatherland to surround, 
Christmas with all joyous and holy associations. A day of 
days, indeed, it is with us — a day never to be forgotten. 

So far is this feeling carried, that it is no uncommon pastime, 
even at the beginning of the new year, to project plans and 
presents, happy surprises, and unlooked-for offerings, to be 
presented at the far-off time of Christmas festivity. 

Another writer, at the latter end of the nineteenth century, 
gives the following account of the Christmas festivities at the 
German Court, from which it appears that the long-cherished 
Christmas customs are well preserved in the highest circle in 
Germany : — 

Christmas at the German Court. 

In accordance with an old custom the Royal Family of 
Prussia celebrate Christmas in a private manner at the Emperor 
WiUiam's palace, where the " blue dining-hall " on the iirst 
Hoor is arranged as the Christmas room. Two long rows of 
tables are placed in this hall, and two smaller tables stand in 
the corners on either side of the pillared door leading to the 
ballroom. On these tables stand twelve of the rinest and tallest 
tir-trees, reaching nearly to tlie ceiling, and covered with 
innumerable white wax candles placed in wire-holders, but 
without any other decoration. 

In the afternoon of the 24th great packages are brought into 
this room containing the presents for the members of the 
Imperial household, and in the presence of the Emperor his 
Chamberlain distributes them on the tables under the trees. 
The monarch always takes an active part in this work, and, 
walking about briskly from one table to the other, helps to 
place the objects in the most advantageous positions, and 
fastens on them slips of white paper on which he himself has 
written the names of the recipients. The Empress is also 
present, occupied with arranging the presents for the ladies of 
her own household. The two separate tables still remain 
empty, luitil the Emperor and the Empress have left the room, 
as they are destined to hold the presents for their Majesties. 

At four o'clock the entire Koyal Family assemble in the large 
dining-hall of the Palace for their Christmas dinner. Besides 
all the Princes and Princesses without exception, the members 
of the Imperial household, the chiefs of the Emperor's military 
and civil Cabinets, and a number of adjutants are also present. 

Shortly after the termination of the dinner the double doors 

. leading to the blue hall are thrown wide open at a sign from 

the Emperor, and the brilliant sight of the twelve great hr-trees 

bearing thousands of lighted tapers is disclosed to view. This 


is the great nioiueut of the German Christmas Eve celebration. 
The Imperial conples then form in procession, and all proceed 
to the Christmas room. The Emperor and the Empress then 
jx-rsonally lead the members of their honseholds to the presents 
which are grouped in long rows on the tables, and which com- 
prise hundreds of articles, both valuable and useful, objects of 
art, pictures, statuary, &c. Meanwhile, the two separate tables 
still remain hidden under white draperies. In other rooms all 
the officials and servants of the palace, down to the youngest 
stable-boy, are presented with their Christmas-boxes. At about 
nine o'clock the Imperial Family and their guests again return 
to the dining-room, where a plain supper is then served. 
According to old tradition, the menu always includes the 
following dishes: "Carp cooked in beer" (a Polish custom), 
and " Mohnpielen," an East Prussian dish, composed of poppy- 
seed, white bread, almonds and raisins, stewed in milk. After 
the supper all return once more to the Christmas room, where 
the second part of the celebration — the exchange of presents 
among the Royal Family — then comes off. 

The Emperor's table stands on the right side of the ballroom 
door, and every object placed on it bears a paper with an 
inscription intimating by whom the present is given. The 
presents for the Empress on the other table are arranged in 
the same manner. Among the objects never missing at the 
Emperor's Christmas are some large Nuremberg ginger cakes, 
with the inscription '' Weihnachten " and the year. About 
half-an-hour later tea is taken, and this terminates the Christmas 
Eve of the lirst family of the German Empire. 

Christmas throughout Germany, 

it may be added, is similarly observed in the year 1900. 
From the Imperial palace to the poor man's cottage there is 
not a family in Germany that has not its Christmas tree 
and "Weihnachts Bescheerung " — Christmas distribution of 
presents. For the very poor districts of Berlin provision is 
made by the municipal authorities or charitable societies to give 
the children this form of amusement, which they look forward 
to throughout the year. 

The Christmas Festivities ix Austria 

are similar to those in Germany, the prominent feature being 
the beautifully-adorned and splendidly-lighted Christmas-tree. 
At one of these celebrations, a few years ago, the numerous 
presents received by the young Princess Elizabeth included a 
speaking doll, lifted with a phonograph cylinder, which created 
no small astonishment. Among other things, the doll was 
alile to recite a poem composed bv the Archduchess Marie 
Valerie in honour of Christmas Eve. 

The poor and destitute of Vienna are not forgotten, for, in 


addition to the Christmas-tree which is set up at the palace for 
them, a hirge number of charitable associations in the various 
districts of Vienna have also Christmas-trees laden with presents 
for the poor. 

Christmas Eve in St. Mark's, Venice. 

You t^o into the Duomo late on Christmas Eve, and find the 
time-stained alabasters and dark aisles lit up with five hundreds 
of wax candles over seven feet high. The massive silver lamps 
suspended across the choir have the inner lamps all ablaze, as 
is also the graceful B^'zantine chandelier in the centre of the 
nave that glitters like a cluster of stars from dozens of tiny glass 
cups with wick and oil within. In the solemn and mysterious 
gloom you pass figures of men and women kneeling in devotion 
before the many shrines. Some are accompanied by well- 
behaved and discreet dogs, who sit patiently waiting till their 
owners' prayer shall be over ; whilst others less well trained, 
run about from group to group to smell out their friends or 
growl at foes. You slowly work your way through the throng 
to the high altar. That unique reredos, brought from Con- 
stantinople in early times — the magnificent '' Pala d'Ora," an 
enamelled work wrought on plates of gold and silver, and 
studded with precious stones — is unveiled, and the front of the 
altar has a rich frontispiece of the thirteenth century, which is 
of silver washed with gold, and embossed figures. Numbers of 
ponderous candles throw a glimmer over the treasures with 
which St. Mark's is so richly endowed, that are profusely dis- 
played on the altar. Bishops, canons and priests in full dress 
are standing and kneeling, and the handsome and much-beloved 
Patriarch of Venice officiates, in dress of gorgeous scarlet and 
cream-coloured old lace, and heavy-brocaded cope, that is 
afterwards exchanged for one of ermine, and flashing rings and 
jewelled cross. There is no music, but a deep quiet pervades 
the dim golden domes overhead and the faintly-lighted tran- 
septs. Stray rays of light catch the smooth surface of the 
mosaics, which throw oft" sparkles of brightness and cast deeper 
shadows bevond the uncertain radiance. After the midnight 
mass is celebrated you pass out with the stream of people into 
the cold, frosty night, with only the bright stars to guide you 
through the silent allevs to your rooms, where you wish each 
other " A Merry Christmas ! " and retire to sleep, and to dream 
of the old home in England. — Oitccn. 

Christmas in Naples. 

An English writer who spent a Christmas in Naples a tew 
years ago, says : — 

In the south Christmas is bright and gay, and in truth noisy. 
The fcsla natalizie, as it is called in Naples, is celebrated by 
fairs and bonfires and fireworks. In the Toledo, that famous 




street known to all the world, booths are erected beside the 
shops, flaming in colour, and filled with all sorts of tempting 
wares. Throughout Christmas Eve an immense crowd of men, 
women, and children throng this street, nearly a mile in length. 
The vendors shriek at the top of their voice, praising them- 
selves and their goods, and then, with merry peals of laughter, 
exhibit with Neapolitan drollery all the arts of their trade. 
The crowd catch the contagious spirit of fun, and toss witti- 
cisms to and fro, until the welkin rings with shouts and 
laughter. A revolution in Paris could not create greater excite- 
ment, or greater noise, than the Christmas fair at Naples, the 
largest, and certainly the merriest, in the world. As night 



draws on the mirth grows uproarious ; improvisations abound. 
Pulcinello attracts laughing crowds. The bagpipes strike with 
their ear-piercing sounds, and arise shrill above the universal 
din. Fireworks are let oft" at every street corner, llaming 
torches carried in procession parade the streets ; rockets rise in 
the air, coloured lamps are hung o\-er doorways, and in the 
midst of the blaze of light the church bells announce the mid- 
night Mass, and the crowd leave the fair and the streets, and on 
bended knee are worshipping. 

Christmas in Spain. 

Spain in winter must be divided into Spain the frigid and 
Spain the semi-tropic ; for while snow lies a foot deep at 


Christmas in the north, in the south the sun is shinin^f brightly, 
and flowers of spring are peeping out, and a nosegay of heho- 
trope and open-air geraniums is the Christmas-holly and 
mistletoe of Andalusia. There is no chill in the air, there is no 
frost on the window-pane. 

When Christmas Eve comes the two days' holiday com- 
mences. At twelve the labourers leave their work, repair 
home, and dress in their best. Then the shops are all ablaze 
with lights, ribbons and streamers, with tempting fare of sweets 
and sausages, with red and yellow serge to make warm petti- 
coats ; with cymbals, drums, and zaniboiiibas. The chief 
sweetmeats, peculiar to Christmas, and bought alike by rich 
and poor, are the various kinds of preserved fruits, incrusted 
with sugar, and the famous tiirnii. This last, which is of four 
kinds, and may be called in English phraseology, " almond rock," 
is brought to your door, and buy it you must. A coarse kind is 
sold to the poor at a cheap rate. Other comestibles, peculiar 
to Christmas, are almond soup, truffled turkey, roasted chest- 
nuts, and nuts of every sort. 

Before the Noclie-biicna, or Christmas Eve, however, one or 
two good deeds have been done by the civil and military 
authorities. On the twenty-third or twenty-fourth the custom 
is for the military governor to visit all the soldier prisoners, in 
company with their respective defensores, or advocates ; and, 
lit' officio, there and then, he liberates all who are in gaol for 
light offences. This plan is also pursued in the civil prisons ; 
and thus a beautiful custom is kept up in classic, romantic, Old- 
world Spain, and a ray of hope enters into and illuminates even 
the bitter darkness of a Spanish prisoners' den. 

It is Christmas Eve. The poor man has his relations round 
him, over his humble piichcro (stew) : the rich man likewise. 
Friciuh have not come, "for it is not the custom." In Spain 
only blood relations eat and di'ink in the house as invited guests. 
Families meet as in England. Two per cent, of the soldiers 
get a fortnight's leave of absence and a free pass ; and there is 
joy in peasant homes over peasant charcoal pans. The dusky 
shades of evening are stealing over olive grove and withering 
vineyard, and every house lights up its tiny oil lamp, and every 
image of the Virgin is illuminated with a taper. In Eija, near 
Cordova, an image or portrait of the Virgin and the Babe 
new-born, hangs in well-nigh every room in every house. And 
why ? Because the beautiful belief is rooted in those simple 
minds, that, on Christmas Eve, ere the clock strikes twelve, the 
Virgin, bringing blessings in her train, visits every house where 
she can find an image or portrait of her Son. And many a 
girl kneels clown in robes of white before her humble portrait 
of the Babe and prays ; and hears a rustle in the room, and 
thinks, " the Virgin comes : she brings me my Christmas Eve 
blessing ; " and turns, and lo ! it is her inotlicr, and the Virgin's 
blessing is the mother's kiss ! 


In Northern Andalusia you have the zaiiiboiiiba, a flower-pot 
perforated by a hollow reed, which, wetted and rubbed wath the 
linger, gives out a hollow, scraping, monotonous sound. In 
Southern Andalusia the panderita, or tambourine, is the chief 
instrument. It is wreathed with gaudy ribbons, and decked with 
bells, and beaten, shaken, and tossed in the air with graceful 
abandon to the strains of the Christmas hymn : 

" This night is the good night, 
And therefore is no night of rest ! " 

Or, perhaps, the Church chant is sung, called " The child of 
God was born." 

Then also men click the castanet in wine-shop and cottage ; 
and in such old-world towns as Eija, where no railway has 
penetrated, a breast-plate of eccentrically strung bones — slung 
round the neck and played with sticks — is still seen and 

The turkeys have been slaughtered and are smoking on the 
lire. The night is drawing on and now the meal is over. 
Twelve o'clock strikes, and in one moment every bell from every 
belfrey clangs out its summons. Poltroon were he who had 
gone to bed before twelve on Nochc-biiena. From every 
house the inmates hurry to the gaily-lit church and throng its 
aisles, a dark-robed crowd of worshippers. The organ peals 
out, the priests and choir chant at this midnight hour the 
Christmas hymn, and at last (in some out-of-the-way towais) the 
priests, in gaudiest robes, bring out from under the altar and 
expose aloft to the crowds, in swaddling-clothes of gold and 
white, the Babe new-born, and all fall dow^n and cross themselves 
in mute adoration. This service is universal, and is called the 
" Misa del Gallo," or Cock-crow Mass, and even in Madrid it 
is customary to attend it. There are three masses also on 
Christmas Day, and the Church rule, strictly observed, is that if 
a man fail to attend this Midnight Mass he must, to save his 
religious character, attend all three on Christmas Day. In 
antique towns, like Eija, there are two days' early mass 
(called " Misa di Luz ") anterior to the " Misa del Gallo," 
at 4 a.m., and in the raw morning the churches are thronged 
with rich and poor. In that strange, old-world town, also, 
the chief dame goes to the Midnight Mass, all her men- 
servants in procession before her, each playing a different 

Christmas Eve is over. It is 1.30 a.m. on Christmas morning, 
and the crowds, orderly, devout, cheerful, are wending their way 
home. Then all is hushed ; all have sought repose ; there are 
no drunken riots ; the dark streets are lit by the tiny oil lamps ; 
the watchman's monotonous cry alone is heard, " Ave Maria 
purissima ; las dos ; y sereno." 

The three masses at the churches on Christmas Day are all 
chanted to joyous music. Then the poor come in to pay their 


rent of turkeys, pi.i;'s, olives, or wiiiit not, to their lanclloid, and 
he i^ives them a Christmas-box : such as a piece of salt lish. 
or money, or what may be. Then, when you enter your house, 
you will find on your table, with the headins^, "A Happy 
Christmas," a book of little leaflets, printed with verses. These 
arc the petitions of th.e postman, scaven£.(er, tele,t^n-aph man, 
newsboy, &c., asking you for a Christmas-box. Poor fellows ! 
they get little enough, and a couple of francs is well bestowed 
on them once a year. After mid-day breakfast or luncheon is 
over, rich and poor walk out and take the air, and a gaudy, 
pompous crowd they form as a rule. As regards presents at 
Christmas, the rule is, in primitive Spain, to send a present to 
the Ciira (parish priest) and the doctor. Many Spaniards pay a 
tixed annual sum to their medical man, and he attends all the 
family, including servants. His salary is sent to him at Christmas, 
with the addition of a turkey, or a cake, or some tine sweet- 

On Christmas Eve the provincial hospitals present one of 
their most striking aspects to the visitor. It is a feast-day, and 
instead of the usual stew, the soup called cahio — and very weak 
stuff it is — or the stir-about and fried bread, the sick have 
their good sound meats, cooked in savoury and most approved 
fashion, their tumbler of wine, their extra cigar. Visitors, 
kindly Spanish ladies, come in, their hands laden with sweets 
and tobacco, &c., and the sight of the black silk dresses trailing 
over the lowly hospital couches is most human and pathetic. 
At last niglit — the veritable Christmas Eve comes. The chapels 
in these hospitals are generally on the ground floor, and 
frequentlv sunk some feet below it, but open to the hospital ; 
so that the poor inmates who can leave their beds can hobble 
to the railing and look down into the chapel — one mass of 
dazzling lights, glitter, colour, and music : and thus, without 
the fatigue of descending the stairs, can join in the service. At 
half-past eleven at night the chapel is gaily lit up ; carriage 
after carriage, mule-cart after mule-cart rattles up to the 
hospital door, discharging crowds of ladies and gentlemen 
in evening dress ; thus the common people, chiefly the 
young, with their tambourines and zambombas, pour into 
the chapel from Caiiipo, and alley, and street, and soon the 
chapel is tilled ; while above, sitting, hobbling, lying all 
round the rails, and gazing down upon the motley and noisy 
throng below, are the inmates of the hospital. The priest 
begins the Midnight Mass, and the organs take up the service, 
the whole of which,, for one hour, is chanted. Meanwhile, the 
tambourines and other musical instruments are busy, and join 
in the strains of the organ ; and the din, glitter, and excite- 
ment are most exhilarating. And thus the occupants of the 
Spanish provincial hospitals join in the festivities of Christmas- 
tide, as seen bv one who has dwelt " Anioiii^ I lie Spanish 


Christmas Customs ix Norway. 

A writer who knows the manners and habits of the people of 
Norway, and their cnstoms at Christmastide, says : — 

At Christiania, and other Norwegian towns, there is, or used 
to be, a dehcate Christmas custom of offering to a lady a brooch 
or a pair of earings in a truss of hay. The house-door of the 
person to be complimented is pushed open, and there is thrown 
into the house a truss of hay or straw, a sheaf of corn, or a bag 
of chaff. In some part of this " bottle of hay " envelope, there 
is a " needle " as a present to be hunted for. A friend of mine 
once received from her betrothed, according to the Christmas 
custom, an exceedingly large brown paper parcel, which, on 
being opened, revealed a second parcel with a loving motto on 
the cover. And so on, parcel within parcel, motto within 
motto, till the kernel of this paper husk — which was at length 
discovered to be a delicate piece of minute jewellery — was 
arrived at. 

One of the prettiest of Christmas customs is the Norwegian 
practice of giving, on Christmas Day, a dinner to the birds. On 
Christmas morning every gable, gateway, or barn-door, is 
decorated with a sheaf of corn hxed on the top of a tall pole, 
wherefrom it is intended that the birds should make their 
Christmas dinner. Even the peasants contrive to have a 
handful set by for this purpose, and what the birds do not eat 
on Christmas Day, remains for them to finish at their leisure 
during the winter. 

On New Year's Day in Norway, friends and acquaintances 
exchange calls and good wishes. In the corner of each 
reception-room is placed a little table, furnished all through the 
day with wine and cakes for the refreshment of the visitors ; 
who talk, and compliment, and llirt, and sip wine, and nibble 
cake from house to house, with great perseverance. 

Between Christmas and Twelfth Day mummers are in season. 
They are called " Julebukker," or Christmas goblins. They 
invariably appear after dark, and in masks and fancy dresses. 
A host may therefore have to entertain in the course of the 
season, a Punch, Mephistopheles, Charlemagne, Number, Nip, 
Gustavus, Oberon, and whole companies of other fanciful and 
historic characters ; but, as their antics are performed in 
silence, they are not particularly cheerful company. 

Christm.^s IX Russia. 

With Christmas Eve begins the festive season known in 
Russia as Siyatki or Svyatiiie Vechem (Holy Evenings), which 
lasts till the Epiphany. The numerous sportive ceremonies 
which are associated with it resemble, in many respects, those 
with which we are familiar, but they are rendered specially 
interesting and valuable by the relics of the past which they 


have been the means of jireservint^f — the Irai^nicnts of ritual 
song whieh refer to the ancient paj^^anism of the land, the time- 
honoured customs which originally belonged to the feasts with 
which the heathen Slavs greeted each year the return of the 
sun. On Christmas Eve commences the singing of the songs 
called Kolvadki, a word, generally supposed to be akin to 
KalciuiiV, though reference is made in some of them to a 
mysterious being, apparently a solar goddess, named Kolvada. 
" kolyada, Kolyada ! Kolyada has come. We wandered about, 
we sought holy Kolyada in all the courtyards," commences one 
of these old songs, for manv a vear, no doubt, solemnlv sung by 
the young people who used in olden times to escort from 
liomestead to homestead a sledge in which sat a girl dressed in 
white, who represented the benignant goddess. Nowadays 
these songs have in many places fallen into disuse, or are kept 
up only by the children who go from ■ house to house, to 
congratulate the inhabitants on the arrival of Christmas, and to 
wish them a prosperous New Year. In every home, says one 
of these archaic poems, are three inner chambers. In one is 
the bright moon, in another the red sun, in a third many stars. 
The bright moon — that is the master of the house ; the red sun 
— that is the housewife ; the many stars — they are the little 

The Russian Church sternlvsets its face against the old customs 
with which the Christmas season was associated, denouncing the 
" hendish songs," and " devilish games," the " graceless talk," 
the " nocturnal gambols," and the various kinds of divination 
in which the faithful persisted in indulging. But, although 
repressed, they were not to be destroyed, and at various seasons 
of the year, but especiallv those of the summer and winter 
solstice, the '' orthodox," in spite of their pastors, made merry 
with old heathenish sports, and, after listening to Christian 
psalms in church, went home and sang songs framed by their 
ancestors in honour of heathen divinities. Thus century after 
century went by, and the fortimes of Russia underwent great 
changes. But still in the villages were the old customs kept up, 
and when Christmas Day came round it was greeted by survivals 
of the ceremonies with which the ancient Slavs hailed the 
returning sun god, who caused the days to lengthen, and lilled 
the minds of men with hopes of a new year rich m fruits and 
grain. One of the customs to which the Church most strongly 
objected was that of mumming. As in other lands, so in Russia 
it was customary for mummers to go about at Christmastide, 
visiting various homes in which the festivities of the season 
were being kept up, and there dancing and performing all kinds 
of antics. Prominent parts were always played by human 
representatives of a goat and a bear. Some of the party would 
be disguised as "Lazaruses," that is, as the blind beggars who 
bear that name, and whose plaintive strains have resounded all 
over Russia from the earliest times to the present day. The 


rest disguised themselves as they best eoiild, a certain number 
of them being generally supposed to play the part of thieves 
desirous to break in and steal. When, after a time, they were 
admitted into the room where the Christmas guests were 
assembled, the goat and the bear would dance a merry round 
together, the Lazaruses would sing their " dumps so dull and 
heavy,'' and the rest of the performers would exert themselves 
to produce exhilaration. Even among the upper classes it was 
long the custom at this time of year for the young people to dress 
up and visit their neighbours in disguise. Thus in Count Tolstoy's 
" Peace and War," a novel which aims at giving a true account 
of the Russia of the early part of the present century, there is a 
charming description of a visit of this kind paid by the younger 
members of one family to another. On a bright frosty night 
the sledges are suddenly ordered, and the young people dress 
up, and away they drive across the crackling snow to a country 
house si.x miles off, all the actors creating a great sensation, but 
especially the fair maiden Sonya, who proves irresistible when 
clad in her cousin's hussar uniform and adorned with an elegant 
moustache. Such mummers as these would lay aside their 
disguises with a light conscience, but the peasant was apt to 
feel a depressing qualm when the sports were over ; and it is 
said that, even at the present day, there are rustics who do not 
venture to go to church, after having taken part in a mumming, 
until they have washed off their guilt by immersing themselves 
in the benumbing waters of an ice-hole. 

Next to the mumming, what the Church most objected to 
was the divination always practised at Christmas festivals. 
W^ith one of its forms a number of songs have been associated, 
termed podblyiidniiiya, as connected with a biyiido, a dish or 
bowl. Into some vessel of this kind the young people drop 
tokens. A cloth is then thrown over it, and the various objects are 
drawn out, one after another, to the sound of songs, from the 
tenor of which the owners deduce omens relative to their future 
happiness. As bread and salt are also thrown into the bowl, 
the ceremony may be supposed to have originally partaken of 
the nature of a sacrifice. After these songs are over ought to 
come the game known as the " burial of the gold." The last 
ring remaining in the prophetic bowl is taken out by one of the 
girls, who keeps it concealed in her hand. The others sit in a 
circle, resting their hands on their knees. She walks slowly 
round, while the first four lines are sung in chorus of the song 
beginning, "See here, gold I bury, I bury." Then she slips the 
ring into one of their hands, from which it is rapidly passed on 
to another, the song being continued the while. When it 
comes to an end the ''gold burier " must try to guess in whose 
hand the ring is concealed. This game is a poetical form of 
our " hunt the slipper." Like many other Slavonic customs it 
is by some archccologists traced home to Greece. By certain 
mythologists the " gold " is supposed to be an emblem of the 

Modern christmases abroad. -545 

sun, lout;' hidden by envious wintry clouds, but at this time of 
year beginning to prolong" the hours of daylight. To the sun 
really refer, in all probability, the bonfires with which Christmas- 
tide, as well as the New Year and Midsummer is greeted in 
Kussia. In the Ukraine the sweepings from a cottage are 
carefully preserved from Christmas Day to New^ Year's Day, 
and are then burnt in a garden at sunrise. Among some of the 
Slavs, such as the Servians, Croatians, and Dalmatians, a 
badiiyak, or piece of wood answering to the northern Yule-log, 
is solemnly burnt on Christmas Eve. But the signiiicance 
originally attached to these practices has long been forgotten. 
Thus the grave attempts of olden times to search the secrets of 
futurity have degenerated into the sportive guesses of young 
people, who half believe that they may learn from omens at 
Christmas time what manner of marriages are in store for them. 
Divinings of this kind are known to all lands, and bear a strong 
family likeness ; but it is, of course, only in a cold country that 
a spinster can hud an opportunity of sitting beside a hole cut in 
the surface of a frozen river, listening to prophetic sounds 
proceeding from beneath the ice, and possibly seeing the image 
of the husband who she is to marry w'ithin the year trembling 
in the freezing w-ater. Throughout the whole period of the 
Svyalki, the idea of marriage probably keeps possession of the 
minds of many Russian maidens, and on the eve of the Epiphany, 
the feast with which those Christmas holidays come to an end, 
it is still said to be the custom for the village girls to go out 
into the open air and to beseech the " stars, stars, dear little 
stars," to be so benignant as to 

"Send forth through the christened world 
Arrangers of weddings." 

W. R. S. Ralston, in Xoics and Queries, Dec. 21, 1878. 

Christmas-keepixg IX Africa. 

"A certain voung man about town" {•^^.ys Chambers s yoiinial, 
December 25, 1869), "once forsook the sweet shady side of Pall 
Mall for the sake of smoking his cigar in savage Africa ; but 
when Christmas came, he was seized with a desire to spend it 
ii^ Christian company, and this is how^ he did spend it : 'We 
b^nglish once possessed the Senegal ; and there, every Christmas 
Eve, the Feast of Lanterns used to be held. The native women 
picked up the words and airs of the carols ; the custom had 
descended to the Gambia, and even to the Casemanche, where 
it is still preserved. A few minutes after I had ridden up, 
sounds of music were heard, and a crowd of blacks came to the 
door, carrying the model of a ship made of paper, and illiuTii- 
nated within ; and hollowed pumpkins also lighted up for the 
occasion. Then thev sang some of our dear old Christinas 


carols, and anions^ others, one which I had heard years ago on 
Christmas Eve at Oxford : 

Nowel, Nowel, the angels did say, 

To certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay — 

In fields as they lay keeping their sheep, 

One cold winter's night, which was so deep. 

Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, Nowel, 

Born is the King of Israel. 

You can imagine with what feehngs I listened to those simple 
words, sung by negresses who knew not a phrase of English 
besides. You can imagine what recollections they called up, as 
I sat under an African sky, the palm-trees rustling above my 
head, and the crocodiles moaning in the river beyond. I 
thought of the snow lying thick upon the ground ; of the keen, 
clear, frosty air. I thought of the ruddy tire which would be 
blazing in a room I knew ; and of those young faces which 
would be beaming still more brightly by its side ; I thought of 
— oh, of a hundred things, which 1 can laugh at now, because I 
am in England, but which, in Africa, made me more wretched 
than I can well express.' 

" Next day, sadness and sentiment gave way, for a w^iile at 
least, to more prosaical feelings. When Mr. Reade sat down 
to his Christmas dinner, he must have wished, with Macbeth, 
* May good digestion wait on appetite,' as he contemplated the 
fare awaiting discussion, and to which a boar's head grinned a 
welcome. Snails from France, oysters torn from trees, gazelle 
cutlets, stewed iguana, smoked elephant, fried locusts, manati- 
breasts, hippopotamus steaks, boiled alligator, roasted crocodile 
eggs, monkeys on toast, land crabs and Africa soles, carp, and 
mullet — detestable in themselves, but triumphant proof of the 
skill of the cook — furnished forth the festival-table, in company 
with potatoes, plantains, pine-apples, oranges, papaws, bananas, 
and various fruits rejoicing in extraordinary shapes, long native 
names, and very nasty flavours ; and last, but not least, palm- 
cabbage stewed in white sauce, ' the ambrosia of the gods,' and 
a bottle of good Bordeaux at every's man's elbow. When even- 
ing came, Mr. Reade and a special friend sought the river : 'The 
rosy wine had rouged our yellow cheeks, and w^e lay back on 
the cushions, and watched the setting sun with languid, half- 
closed eyes. Four men, who might have served as models to 
Appelles, bent slowly to their stroke, and murmured forth a 
sweet and plaintive song. Their oars, obedient to their voice, 
rippled the still water, and dropped from their blades pearls, 
which the sun made rubies with its rays. Two beautiful girls, 
who sat before us in the bow, raised their rounded arms and 
tinkled their bracelets in the air. Then, gliding into the water, 
they brought us flowers from beneath the dark bushes, and 
kissed the hands which took them, with wet and laughing lips. 
Like a dark curtain, the warm night fell upon us ; strange cries 
roused from the forest ; beasts of the waters plunged around us, 



and my honest friend's hand pressed mine. And Christmas Day 
was over. We mis.jht seek loni^ for a stranger contrast to an 
Enghshman's Christmas at home, although — to adapt some 
seasonable lines — ■ 

An English heart exists to do and dare, 
Where, amid Afric's sands, the lion roars, 
Where endless winter chains the silent shores, 
W^iiere smiles the sea round coral islets bright. 
Where Brahma's temple's sleep in glowing light — 
In every spot where England's sons may roam. 
Dear Christmas-tide still speaks to them of Home I 






Now, returning from the celebrations of Christmas in distant 
parts of the world, we conclude our historic account of the 
great Christian festival b}' recording the pleasure with which we 
attended the 

Concluding Carol Sekvick of the Nineteenth Ci-:nti'ry 
at a hne old English cathedral — the recently restored and 

Jid'fcy (maiT^ 


(/j'v pennission of Mr. A. C. I.omax's Sncassois, Lichfield.) 

beautiful cathedral at Lichheld, whose triple spires are seen and 
well known by travellers on the Trent valley portion of the 
London and North-Western main line of railway which links 
London with the North. 



Christmas carols have been sun<r at Lichfield from long before 
the time of " the mighty Oi'fa," King of the Mercians, in whose 
days and by wliose influence Lichfield became for a time an 
archiepiscopal see, being elevated to that dignity by Pope 
Adrian, in 785. And, in the seventeenth century, the Deanery 
of Lichfield was conferred upon the Rev. Griffin Higgs, the 
writer of the events connected w^ith the exhibition of *' The 
Christmas Prince " at St. John's College, Oxford, in 1607, whose 
authentic account of these interesting historical events will be 
found in an earlier chapter of this work. 

The Christmas carols at Lichfield Cathedral, sung by the full 
choir at the special evening service on St. Stephen's Day 
(December 26th), have, for many years, attracted large and 
appreciative congregations, and the last of these celebrations in 
the nineteenth century (on December 26, 1900) was well 
sustained by the singers and attended by many hundreds of 
citizens and visitors. Eight Christmas Carols and an anthem 
were sung, the concluding Carol being '' The First Nowell " ; 
and the organist (Mr. J. B. Lott, Mus. Bac, Oxon) played the 
Pastoral Symphony from Sullivan's " Light of the World," 
Mendelssohn's March (" Cornelius "), the Pastoral Symphony 
from Handel's " Messiah," and other exquisite voluntaries. 
From the anthem, E. H. Sears's beautiful verses beginning 

" It came upon the midnight clear, 
That glorious song of old," 

set to Stainer's music and well sung, we quote the concluding 
predictive stanza : 

" For lo, the days are hast'ning on, 

By prophet-bards foretold, 
When with the ever-circling years 

Comes round the age of gold ; 
When peace shall over all the earth 

Its ancient splendours fling, 
And the whole world give back the song 

Which now the angels sing." 


Abbot (if Misrule, 95 (sec also Lord of 

Abbot of Westminster, 80 
Abdication of Richard Cromwell, 213 
Abingdon, 51, 208 
Aboard the Siiiibeaiii, 307 
Abolition of Christmas celebration 

attempted, 206 
Abraham, 29 
Abyssinia, 29S 
" Adam Hell," 193 
Adam's Xoi'l, 319 
Adams. Herbert H., 227, 249 
Addison, 227 
Adcste Fidcles, 323 
Allien les Rois, 320 
Adrian, Pope, 330 
Advent of Christ, the, 5 ; season of the, 

12 ; date of the, 14 
Advertisement, curious, 232 
" Aerra Geola " (December), 28 
Africa, 345 
Africa, South, 299 
Agincourt, 81 

Agrippina, wife of Claudius, 24 
Aidan, Columbian Monk, 27 
Ajaccio, 322 
Alban, St., 20 

Albert, Prince Consort, 261 
Albemarle, Lady, 241 
Aldrich, Commander Pelham, 308 
Ale, 26, 55, 37, 231, 231, 238, 239 
Alexander, King of the Scots, 64 
Alexander Se\erus, 29 
Alexandria, 34 
Alfred the Great, King, 36 
AllHallowtide, 73, 131 ' 
Almaine accoutrements, 120 
" Almes " at Christmas, 14S, 237-8 
Almoner, Lord High, 260 
Alsatians, 319 
Ahvyn, Walter, 95 
Aniadas, Rob, 100 
Ambassadors, foreign, 132 
Anibleleuse, Brittany, 220 
Ambrose, St., 21 
America, 309-316 
Amours of Henr^- VI IL, 106 
Amusements, 33, 153, 195,246-9 
.Ancaster Heath, 133 
Andalusia, 339 

Andrew, St., 283 

Andrewes, Bishop, 193 

Andromecln tetrngoiiu, 293 

Angel, the, appears unto Joseph, 5 ; 

unto the shepherds, 7 
Angels' Song, 10, 12 
Anger, 13 

" Angieesh blom-bodding," 311) 
Angles, King of the, 34 
Anglo-Xorman language, 37 
Anglo-Saxon Kings, 29 
Anglo-Saxons, 23, 28 
Angoulenie, Duchess, 317 
Angus, Scotland, 242 
Anjou wine, 57 
.■\nnan. Dumfriesshire, 71 
.Anne, daughter of Frederick III., King 

of Denmark, 197 
Anne, Queen, 226 
Anne, wife of Richard III., 93 
Annunciation, the, 13, 15 
Anointing cattle, 325 
Anselm, Archbishop, 49 
Antioch, 59 ; the church at, i r ; Prince 

of, 52 
Antiochus Epiphanes, 17 
.Antipodes, 303 
Ara C<tli, Church of, 328 
" Arch;eologia," 200 
Archbishops' Quarrel, 48 
Archduchess ^larie Valerie, 335 
Arctic regions, 294-6 
Aristophanes, 286 
Armenian Church, the, 12 
Armour under robes, 118 
Arnot, S., 284 

"Arraignment of Christmas," the, 209 
.\rtaki 'l?ay, 307 
.Arthur, King, and his Knights, 30, 67, 

Arthur, Prince of Wales, 99 
.Arundel, Earl of, 190, 193. 194 
Astley, Sir John, 201 
Aston, near Birmingham. 243 
Athelney, 36 
Attainder, 222 
Attire, magnificent, 99 
Attorney-General, 199 
Aubrey, 142, 201, 243 
Audley, Lord, 82 
Augusta, Princess, 241 
Augustine, St., 26, 28 
.Australia, 303 



Austria, 288, 335 

Austria, Archdul<e of, 35 ; Duke of, 58 


" Babe Cake," 273 

Babingley, 263 

Babyloii,"s4, 59 

Bacchanalia, 13, 15, 19 

Bacchus, 19 

Bacon, Lord, 93, 94, 152 

Baden, Marquis of, 139 

Bagpipes, 220 

Baker, Chronicler, 105 

Balancing, feats of, 229 

Balliol, Edward, 71 

Balls, 249, 250, 309 

Baltimore, Lord, 314 

Banks Island reindeer, 294 

Banquetings, 31, 88, 126, 146-9, 219, 220,23; 

Banqueting-night ceremonies, 135 

Barabrith, 281 

Barbadoes, 288 

Barclay Alexander, 104 

Barne, Sir George, 117 

'■ Baron of Beef," 273 

"Baron's Yule Feast," 266 

Barons, 55, 60 

Barriers, at, 189 

Barristers singing and dancing, 137 

Barrow, Isaac, 204 

Barry, Sir Charles, 46 

Bartiie, Master George, 88 

" Batt upon Batt," 221 

Bay of Mere}', 294 

Beamonde, Lord of, 70 

Bear-baiting, 119, 229 

Beatrice, Princess, 262 

Beaufitz, John, 93 

Beaumont, 152 

Beauties, Court, 99 

Becket, St. Tliomas, 52 

Bedchambers, lifteenth centurv, 88 

Bede, the Venerable, 24 

Bedford, 64 

Bellman, the, 224 

Bells, Christmas, 270, 271 

Belshazzar, 78 

Belton, Mr., 219 

Belvoir Castle, 224, 266 

Benevolence, 260-6 

Bengel, 13 

Berkele\', 69, 146 ; Lord Henry, 146 

Berkshire, 276 

Berlin, 335 

Bermondsey, 52 

Berners, Lord, 69, 88 

Berri, Duchess, 317 

Bertha, Queen, 27 

Berwick, 68 

Besieged Paris, 318 

Bethlehem, 7, 14 

Betterton, 218 

Bevis of Southampton, 195 

Billiards, 195 

Bills of fare, fifteenth century, 82 

Bird, 140 

Birds' dinner, 342 

Birth of Christ, 5 ; date of, 14 

Blackborough Priory, 85 

Blackburn, Mr. Francis, 238 

Black Prince, 149 

Blake, Mr. Andrew, 262 

Blanchard, Laman, 268 

Blenheim Mansion, 226 

Blessington, Countess of, 266 

Blindman's Buff, 236, 248, 249 

Blue Jackets, 294 

Boar, wild, 32, 33, 45, no 

Boar's Head ceremony, 109-11, 125, 167 

Bocking, John, 86 

Bohemia, Queen of, 193 

" Bold Slasher," 284 

Bok'vn, .Anne, 106 

Bdlingbroke, Henry of. So 

Bonbonnieres, 314 

Bonfires, 320, 336 

Bonner, Bishop, 122 

Boswell, 241 

Bosworth Field, 93, loi 

Bountifulness, 96, 260 

Bounty Royal, 260 

Bourcliier, Archbishop, 94 

Bourchier, John, 69 

Bouvines, battle of, 60 

Bowyer, Richard, 141 

Boy Bishop, 68, 119, 156 

Boyhood's Christmas breaking-up, 242 

Boy-king taken to Tower, 92 

Brabant, States of, 1 54 

Brahmins, 28 

Brand, 221, 232, 243, 244 

Brandon, Charles, loi 

Brandon, Sir William, loi 

Brant, Sebastian, 104 

Brassey, Lady, 305 

Brave, blood "of the, 73, 99, 190 

Brawn, 96, 232 

Brazil, 288 

Breda, 214 

Breton, Nicholas, 199 

Bridgewater, 242 

Bridgewater, Earl of, 200 

Brill, Vale of Aylesbury, 60 

Brilliant episodes, 59, 73, 84, 93, 99 

Brinsford, 219 

Bristol, 6S, 242 

British India, 288 

British Museum, 114, 145, 210,211,232, 

241, 244, 324 
Brito, Richard, 53 
Britons, Ancient, 23, 28 
Brittany, 318 
Brompton, 274 
Brooke, George, 192 
Brothers, Royal, at the Tower, 92 
Browne, General, 207 
Brown, Sir Sam., 300 
Browning, Robert, 66, 270 
Bruges, 116, 271 
Buchan, 285 
Buche-de-Xo'cI, 319 
Buckeridge, Bishop, 195 
Buckhurst, Lord, 154 
Buckingham, Duke of, 88 
Buckingham, Lord, 191 
Buckinghamshire peasants, 23S 
Bull, Dr., 140 
Bull-baiting, 229 
Bunbmy, Mrs,, 241 



Bun-loaf, 2.S1 

Hiirfoid Dcnvus, 218 

liuryundv, Duliu nl, 88 

lUirj^undy, Huiisu oi, 154 

l!urle3qut; Court, 126 

I'lurney, 140 

Huruluuii, Buckiuj;hauisliirt;, 257 

ISurton, Robert, H)^ 

JUiry, 68, 84 

ISusiiell, Sir Kilward, 153 

lUittry, William, 100 

Hyclnyak, or Yule-log, 345 

Byzantium, 324 


Cabul River, 302 

Cade, John, 85 

Caer Caradoc, 24 

C;esars, the, 35 

Cxsarea, the Clnuxh at, 1 1 

Cakes, 36, 265, 321 

Calais, 72, Si, 109 

Calathumpians, the Vagabund, 313 

Caledonian custom, 303 

" Caliburne," the " gude sword," 58 

Caludon, near Coventry, 146 

Calvados, 320 

Cambridge, 204 

Camden Societv, 219 

Camp lire, 301 

Campion, 154 

Camulodunum, Bishop of, 25 

Canada, 288, 302 

Candle illuminations, 168, 322, 331 

Candlemas, 80, 138, 178 

Canning, \V., 143 

Canons of Christchurch, 177 

Canterbury, 63, 86. 210 ; monks of, 56 

Canterbury Cathedral, 53 

Canterbury, Archbishop of. 60, 82. 99, 139 

Canute, King. 37 

Cape de Verd Islands, 288 

Cape Finistcrre, 226 

Caradoc (called Caractacus), 24 

Card-playing, 87, 91, 97, 98, 108, 195, 237 
241, 247, 256, 313 

Carew, 152 

Carleton, Sir Dudley, 154, 191 

Carlisle, 68 

Carminow, Jolm, 113 

Carnival, 286 

Carols, 37, 204, 327 

Carol service, 349, 350 

Carol-singer Luther, 106 

Carol-singing, 326 

Caroline, Queen, 241 

Car, or Ker, Robert, 155 

Larvell, Sir Henry, 194 

Cary, Sir Robert, 154 

Casemanche, 345 

Cassel, Dr., Germany, r6 

Castanet, 340 

Castellated mansion, 148 

Castles, 52, 55, 57, 58 

Catacombs of Rome, 19 
Catches, 195 

Catesby, 93 

Cawarden, Sir Thomas, 116. 124 
Cecil, Sir William, 143 

Celebrations in times ot |iersecution. 18 

Central Ciermany, 333 

Ceremonies for Christmas Day, 167 

Ceremonies for Grand Cliristmas, 132 

Cern, 264 

Chaldeans, 28 

Challon, 67 

Challoner, Thomas, 154 

Chamberlain to the King, 88 

Chamberlain to the Queen, 88 

Chamberlaine, Jolm, 153, 154, 191 

Chambers of Pleasance, 88 

Chamber of Presence, 139 

Champions of Diana, 102 

Channel Islands, 288 

Chapel Royal, 138, 140, 241 

Chardai, 300 

Charibert, King, 28 

Charlemagne, Emperor, 34, 342 

Charles .Augustus, Emperor, 35 

Charles I., 152, 195, 197, 212, 213 

Charles II., 214 

Charles, Prince, hiding in an uak, 215 ' 

Charles V. of Spain, 118 

Charter, The Great, signed, 61 

Chaucer, 9, 33, 73, 99 

Cheetle, 142 

Cherwell, log 

Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, 214 

Chess, 33, 91, 195 
. Chester, Earl of, 64 

Cheu Fu Chefoo, 308 

Chevalier, Rev. W. A. C, 71 

Chichester, Bishop of, 64, 193 

Childermas Day, 112, 135 

Children of the Chapel Royal, 100. 140 

Children's Treat, 264, 265 

Chili, 288 

China, 308 

Chios, 324-8 

Chippenham, 35 

Chit-chat, 268', "269 

Chivalric usages, 59, 84, 155, 190 

Christiania, 342 

Chrisi-Kiniw, 333 

Christmas — tlie origin and associations 
of, 5 ; the word " Christmas," its 
orthography and meaning, 8 ; words 
in Welsh, Scotch, French, Italian, and 
Spanish representing Christmas, 9 ; 
an acrostic spelling Christmas, 9 ; the 
earlier celebrations of, 10 ; lixing the 
date of, 12 ; Christmas the Fcstoniin 
oiiiniuin inelropolis, 12 ; its connection 
with ancient festivals, 14 ; Christmas- 
boxes and presents, 15, 29, 30, 89, 90, 
96, 148, 257, 258, 26CMS, 300, 312, 325, 
334-5. 341; caudles, 168, 322, 331; 
cards, 271 ; ceremonies, 132, 167 ; 
customs depicted in a carol, 204 ; Eve, 
125, 131, 250-1, 286, 332-5 ; " Grand," 
125 ; Island, 308 ; Lord, 95, 100, iO(}, 
112, 115, 126. 198, 200; Prince, 155: 
at sea, 95, 96, 218, 307 ; Tree, 106, 261, 
263, 264, 296. 313, 325, 332 (see also 
other items in the index arranged 
Chrysostom, St., 12 
Church Parade, 301 




Cluircli rcioniis of Cardinal Wolsey, 

1 06 
ChurclV shows, 316 
Cicilii.', Ladit, 139 
Cider, 55 

Cinque Ports, Barous of, 64 
City and country feasts compared, 112 
Civil war, 156 
Clappart, Herr Von, 33- 
Clarence, Duke of, 86, Sy 
Classical and Christian elements, icj 
Claudius, fourth Roman Emperor, 23 
Clement of Alexandria, 12 
Clement IX., tomb of, 330 
Clerical plaj-ers, 77 
Cleves, Anne of, 108 
Clifford, Lord, 82, 86 
Closheys (ninepins), 88 
Clothini^, 265 
Cloth of gold, 88 
Clyde, Lord, 299 
Clymmeof Clough, 195 
Cnut, King, 37 
Cobham, Lord, 81 
" Cob-loaf stealing," 243 
Cockpit, 153 . 
Collar-day at Court, 240 
Colebrooke, Mr., 279 
Coleridge, S. T., 274 
Colleges' festivities, 109, 110, in, 155 
Collier, 124, 201 
Colonist, English, 302 
Columbine, 230 
Columbus, Christopher, 95 
Combats, inspiriting, 99 
Comedies and Tragedies, Latin, no 
Comedies, 1 12 

Comicailv cruel incident, 75 
Commonwealth, 197 
Communicants apprehended, 21 r 
" Complaint of Christmas," 206 
Coiiciliiiiu AfricaiiHiii, 22 
Conger, 96 
Conjurors, 237 
Consort, Prince, 261-2 
Conspiracy" against the King, 80 
Constable Marshal, 125 
Constantine the Great, 21 ; Church of St. 

Constantine, 16 
Constantinople, 52, 54, ^07 ; Emperor of. 

Cooper, Sir Astley, 316 
Cooper, T., 233 
Co(jper, Thomas, 266 
Corbeuil, Archbishop, 48 
Cordova, 339 

Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, 23 
Cornhill, London, 210 
Corniche Road, 331 
Cornisse, Mr., 100 
Cornwall, 113, 156 
Cornwall, the Duchy of, 188 
Cornwall, Barry, 272 
Cornwall, Sir Gilbert, 194 
Cornwallis, Sir Charles, 188 
Coronation of Edward IIL, 69 
Corpus Christi, festival of, 93 
Corsica, 321 
Costly garments, 116 
Costumes ablaze, 291 

Cottage Christmas-keeping, tourteenth 

century, 71 
Cotterell, Sir Clement, 194 
Cotton, 152 
Cotton MSS., 136 
Council of Aries, 25 
Council of Auxerre, 22 
Councils, Great, 41 
Country festivities, 219, 226, 227 
Courrieres, Lord of, 118 
Court entertainments, 151, i()7. (See other 

items under Sovereigns' names.) 
Court Fool, 77, 113, 116 
Court Leet and Baron, 187 
Court Masques, 151-2 
Coventr}', 85, 89, 93, 148, 198 
Cox, Captain, 197 
Crackers, 289 
Cranbourne, Ralph, 276 
Cranes' flesh, 55 
Cranmer, Archbishop, 1 1 7 
Crecj', 72 
Creighton, 74 
Crimean Christmas, 297 
Croatians, 345 
Cromwell, Oliver, 213 
Cromwell, Richard, 213 
Cromwell, Thomas, 107, 108 
Crowne, 218 

Crovliiiid Chronicler. 87, 93 
. Crusades, The, 58, 59 
Cuba, 96 
Cuisine, 312 
Cumberland, 256 
Cumberland, Earl of, 143 
Cumnor Custom, 231 
Cupids, 1 19 
Cyflath, 281 
Cymbals, 339 

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 22 
Cvprus, 307 ; King of, 74 
CatII, St., of Jerusalem, 12 


Dacre, Lord, 86 

Dakka, 300 

Dalmatians, 345 

" Damon and Pythias," 140 

Dancers, 32, 49 ; dancing, 74, 132, 195, 

224, 236, 249, 250, 261, 294, 296 
Dane, a firework artificer, 154 
Danes, 29, 35, 36, 38 
Danube, 226 
Darev, Sir Thomas, 190 
David, City of, 7 
David, King of Scotland, 72, 74 
David, St., "284 
Dawson, Mr. George, 274 
Day, John, Aldersgate, 136 
Davs of " Good Queen Bess," 148 
De Beauchanip, William, 64 
De Broc, The family of, 33 
December, 28, 29, 33 
Decking, 15, 204, 227, 273, 282, 305, 318 
Decline of Christmas, 217 
De Comines, Philip, 93 
Decorations, 323. (See also "decking.") 
D'Egville, 316 
" Delights of Christmas," 243 



Uellegrout, 55 

De Molis, Sir'Nichokxs, 64 

Dcmoiiology, 152, 196 

Dc Montfort, Sinum, 65 

Deiiby, 219 

Uenisoii, Hon. Mr. ;uul llic Mi.sacs, 

Denis, St., 5^,, 28^ 
Denmark, 2S4, 288 
De Patteshall, Hugh, 64 
Depeiuk-nts feasting, 202 
Deposition of Edward II., O9 
De Pnvfcclo Ludoniiu, no 
Deptford Dockj'ard, 223 
Derby, Countess Dowager of, 200 
Dersingbani, 2O3 
Desborougb, 213 
De Tracy, XV'illiani, 53 
Detroit, 291 
Devon, Earl of, 87 
Devonshire, 213, 278 
De Worde, \V.,'9i 
Diana, 102 

Diana Hunting, a masque, 120 
Dice, 195, 237 
Dickens, Cliarles, 274, 292 
Dieppe, 43 
Dimmick, Mrs., 313 
Dinah, 316 
Dingwell, Lord, 190 
Dinners to 5,000 poor, 264 
Diocletian's atrocities, 20 
Dionj-sius Exiguus, 13 
Dipmore End, 27O 
Disguisings, 75, 76, 91, 95, 100 
D'Israeli, 151 

" Dissipation and Negligence," 112 
Dissolution of Monasteries, 108 
Distributions to the poor, 257, 2O0, 264 
Diversions, 76, 91, 95, loi, 119, 

153. 205, 246-7, 251 
Diverting ditties, 233-7 
Divinings, 345 

" Doctor," 284 ; medical, 341 
" Domesday Book," 45 
Donne, 152 
Doran, Dr., 209, 210 
Dorset, Coimtess of, 211 
Dorset, Marquis of, loi 
Dover, 63, 81 
Dragon's heads, &c., 73 
Dramatic displays, 123, i3')-7, 140-2, 153 
Dramatist, England's greatest, 142 
Drinkhail, 58 

Drinks, 55 (see " Ale," " Mead," &.c.) 
Druidical plant, 228,318 
Druidism, 15, 28,228 
Drums, 220, 339 
Dryden, 196 
Dublin, 52 

Dudley, Lord Robert, 1 26 
Dugdale, Sir William, 112, 125. 138, 

Dunn, Harriett, 316 
Dunois, 84 

Dunstan's Churchyard, St., 136 
Durham, 43 

Durham, Bishop of, 241 
Dutchmen display lire works, 154 
Dwarfs, 195 


Ealdred, Archbisliop, 39 

Earl Marshal, 82 

Early celebrations in Britain, 23 

I'^astern Churches, the, ii, 12, 325 

Edgar, King, 3O 

Edinburgh, the late Didie of, 263 

Edniondes, Sir Thomas, 192 

Edmund, Archbishop, 63 

Eclmundsbury, St., 60 

Eclnumd, son of Ethelred, 37 

Edric, the Saxon, 37 

Edric, Earl of Xorthumberland, 37 

Edward the Confessor, 38 

Edward, Prince, 241 

Edward, St., 86 

Edward L, 67 

Edward II., 68 

Edward III., 69 

Edward IV., 86, 87, 88, 89 

Edward Y., 92 

Edward VI., 108, 115, 116, 117 

Edward the Black Prince, 74 

Edwards, Richard, 137, 140 

Edwin's Chiefs, King, 30 ■ 

Effect of Season, 282 

"Egeria," H.M.S., 308 

Egg-nogg, 311 

Egg Saturday, 1S3 

Egmont, Count of, 1 18 

Eija, 339, 340 

Eisenach, io6 

Eisleben, 106 

Eleanor of Aquitane, 58 

Eleanor of Castile, 68 

Eleanor of Provence, 62 

Eleutherius, Bishop of Rome, 24 

Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward I\'. 

Elizabeth, Princess (afterwards Queen), 

119, 120 
Elizabeth, Princess of Austria, 335 
IClizabeth, Queen, 122, 138, 140, 142, 150 
Elizabeth of York, 93 
liUis, 105 
El Teb, 302 

Eltham, 78, 80, 81, 89, 104 
I*;h-, Bishop of, 193 
Ely, Monks of, 37 
Emma, the Ladv, 37, 38 
England, 288 
English Court, 38 
English exiles, 93 

Entertainments, 30, 77, 112, 218, 233, 294 
Epiphany, 11, 60, 93,97, 192, 345 
Episcopal cautions, 22 
Ernalton of Spayne, 75 
Errant, Knights, 195 
Essex, Earl of, 143 
Ethelbert, King of Kent, 28 
Ethelred, King, 36, 37, 38 
Ethelwine, Bishop, 43 
Eusebius, 13 

Evelyn, John, 201, 211, 22], 
Evelvn, Richard, 200 
Ewald, 13 
Excursionists, 310 
I'",xeter, 232 
Exeter Cathedral, 280 



Exeter Cluipel, 211 

Exeter, Duchess of, 88 

Excesses, Anj^lo-Saxon, 33 ; Xorman, 56 

Expenditure for Christmas-keeping;, loo-i 

Experiences, Christmas, 2S7 

Fabian, 81 

" Fabhau of Sir Cleges," 69 

Fair, Cliristmas, 337 

Fairies, 195, 237 

Fairv-bowl, 31s 

Fallow, Mr. T/M., F.S.A., 282-3 

Fare, enormous, 65 

Farnab}-, 140 

Farrar, Dean, 7 

Fatally Burnt in Christmas Costiinies, 291 

" Father Christmas," 284 

Favourites of James I., 155 

Feast in the hall, 148 

Feats of arms, 59, 67, 72, 73, 81, 99, 188 

Fenwick, Sir John, 153, 222 

Ferrers, Georj^e, 115, 116 

" Ferrex and Porrex," 136 

Fcstti Natalazie, 336 

Festival in Scotland, the, 191 

Festivities in the seventeenth century, 199 

Fetes, 309 

Finland, 288 . 

Fire, the all-attracting, at Christmas, 201, 

217, 253, 259 
Fire at King's Palace, 96 
Fire in middle of halls, 30, 201 
First English Tragedy, 125 
First Footing in Scotland, 285 
" F"irst Nowell," the, 346, 350 
Fitzstephen, 45 
Fitz Urse, Reginald, 53 
Fitzwilliam, Lord Admiral, 109 
Fitzwilliam, Sir William, 122 
Five Articles of James I , 191 
"Five Bells of Magdalen Church," 182 
Fleet, the, 112 
Fleetwood, 213 
Flemings, 52 
Fletcher, 152 
Flodden Field, 98 
Flohr, Madame Appuline, ^^2 
Florentine, Old, 249 
Flowers, 306, 307 
Foiz, Erie of, 75 
"Fool's Dance," the, ii6 
Fool, or Jester, 77, 113, 116, 284 
Forbes, Mr. Archibald, 299 
Forest of Dean, 43 
Foresters, Lady, 75 

Foresters and htmtsnien in pla\', 100, 102 
Forfeits, 246-7 
Forte, Mr., 3C53 
Fosse, the, 267 
Foster, Birket, illustrations by, 2, 32, 44, 

57, III, 202, 234, 240, 250, 257, 271 
" Foula Reel," the, 286 
France, 63, 72, 108, 288, 316-321 
Francis II., Emperor, 35 
Franco-German War, 35 
" Franklin's Tale," the, 33 
Eraser, Sir Simon, 71 
Free-lunches at hotels, UI 

Freeman, William, 25, 37, 43, 45 

French Embassy, loi 

Fretevel, 53 

Friars, 195, 271 

Friday Street Tavern, 152 

Friscobald, Leonard, 100 

Froissart, Sir John, 31, (x), 75 

Frost, hard, of 1564, 138 

Frozen regions, 296 

Fuller, 94 

Fur-clad revellers, 310 

Gairdner, Mr. James, 86 

Gaities, 309 

Gala, 309 

Galerius, 20 

Gambia, 345 

Gambols, 213, 221, 228, 247, 251 

Games, 33, 88, 98, 102, 154, 205, 24*) 

Garden of pleasure, 88 

Ciarrard, Rev. G., 156 

Garrett. INIr. Edward, 284 

Garrick, David, 219, 230, 237 

Gascoigne, 140 

Gascon wine, 57 

Gaul, 28 

Gaunt, John of, 94 

Gay, John, 229 

Geikie, Dr., 12 

Generosity, 31, 263 

Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, 136, 141 

Gentleman's Magazine, 243 

Gentry, 55, 91. {Also see items under 

names of " Gentry.") 
Geoffrej' of Monmouth, 31, 49, 136 
Geological Societj', 297 
George I., 229 
George II., 231 
George II., costumes, 286 
George III., 240 
George IV., 258 

George's Chapel, St., Windsor, 140 
George, King of Bohemia, 89 
George, Prince, 225 
George, St., village of, 324 
George, St., and the Dragon, 59, 2S4 
Germans, 33, 35, 288, 332, 333, 334 
Germany, Emperor and Empress of, 334 
" Gerniania," 295 
Gesla Grayornni, 142 
Ghost Stories, 33, 237, 274, 276 
Giants, 195 
Gifford, 152, 197 

Gifts, 30, 42, 69, 89, 96, 148, 170, 300, ^2^ 
Giles, 140 

Giles's Christian Mission, St., 265 
Giles Fields, St., London, 81 
" Gillie Cullum," 305 
Gipps, Mr. Richard, 218 
Giraldus Cambrensis, 49 
Gleemen, 31, 6g. {Also see " Minstrels.") 
*' Gloria in Excelsis," 317 
Gloucester, 38, 45 
Gloucester, Duke of, 92 
Gloucestershire, Sheriff of, 65 
Goblins, 195, 342 
Gods of the " Iliad," 325 
Goddesses and huntresses, 119 


Godwin, House of, "^8 

Goffc, 212 

Gold Co.-ist, 288 

Golden play at Court, 154 

Goldsmith, Olixxr, 241 

" Good old fashion," 14O 

Googe, Karnabv, 121 

Goose-pie, 256 

" Gorboduc," 125, 136 

Gorgeous apparellinj;', loi 

Gostord Street, Coventry, 14S 

Gospatrie, 38 

Gourdon, Sir Robert, iqo 

" Governance Lord," 112 

" Gracious time," a, 34 

Graduals, 22 

Grand entertainments, gg, 100-2 

'•Grand Christmas" ceremonies, 132 

Grand Guiser, 286 

Grant, 254 

Granthuse, Lord of, 87 

Grape gathering, 16 

Grattan, 5g 

Gray's Inn, in, 112, 142, 143, 144, T45. 

ig3, 218 
Gray's Inn List of Performers, 143-3 
Great houses, in 
Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop, 22 
Gregory the Great — His AiiiiphoiKiry, 

22 ; his story about English slaves, 27 ; 

sends Augustine to England, 28 
Greek Church show, 328 
Greek Empire, 324 
Green, J. R., 122, 200 
Greenland, 2g5, 2g6 
Greenwich, 100, loS, 115, lig 
Greenwich Hospital Gathering, 288 
Grey de Ruthvn, Lord, 82 
Grey, Lady Jane, and her husband, 117 
Grev, Lord Richard, g2 
Griffiths, William, 136 
" Grimston, Young," 273 
Groceries, 263 
Grose, 227 
Guildford, 60, 73 
Guising, 286 
Gunhild, 37 
Gunning, Mr., 211 
Gustavus, 342 
Guy of Warwick, ig5 
Gvbson, Richard, 100 


" Hackin, the," 216, 233 

H.-iddon Hall, 224, 223 

Haninciuie, 305 

" Halig monatli '' (Holv month), 20 

Hallam, 223 

Hall, chronicler, 100, 104 

Hall, a gentleman's, 30, 201 

Halstead, 93 

Hamilton, ^L^rqnesse of, 192 

" Hamlet," 34, 142 

Ham]itoii Court, 108, 139 

Handel, 350 

Hanover. 229 

" Hansa," the, 293 

" Happy Land,'' the, 286 

Harefieid, 200 

Harefleur, g3 

Hare soup, 293 

Harleian, MS., 30, 93 

Harlequin, 230 

" Harlequin Sorcerer," 230 

Harold L, son of Canute, 37 

Harold II., son of Godwin, 39 

Harpers, 31, 41, 91 

Harrison, President, and Mrs., 313 

Harthacnut, 37 

Haselrig, 213 

Haslewood, Mr. Joseph, 232, 241, 244 

Hastings, battle of, 39 

Hastings, Lord, 87, 88 

Hatfield House, iig, 120 

Hat of Estate, roj-al, 96 

Hatton, Lady, 211 

Hawaii, 307 

Hawking, 32, 154 

Hay, Lord, 190 

Heathenish practices, 26 

Helirew and Hellenic elements, 19 

Heine, Henrich, 321 

Helena of York, 21 

Heliogabalus, 312 

Helnies, Mr. Henrv, 143 

Hemans, Mrs., 47 

Hems, Mr. Harry, 278 

Hengest, 28 

Henley-on-Thames, 157 

Henrietta Maria, 214 

Henry, Cardinal of Winchester, 82 

Henry L, 47 

Henrv H., 52, 36 

Henry IIL, 62,^64 

Henry IV., 79 

Henrv V., 80 ; widow of, 94 

Henry VI., S3, 85, 86, 87 

Henry of Richmond, 93 

Henrv VII., marries Elizabeth of York, 

94 ' 
Henry VIII. ,98 ; becomes head of Church, 

Henry V. of German}', 47 
Henry, Prince, Son of James I., 132, 188 
" Henry, Prince of Purpoole," 142 
Herald .Angels, the (a poem), 3 
Heralds and pursuivants, 89 
Herbert, Sir Philip, 133 
Hereford, Duke of, 78" 
Herod, King, 7 
Herons, 96 

Herrick, Robert, 202, 279 
" Hesperides," the, 203, 279 
Heton, 68 

Heynalte, Syr John, 70 
Heywood, a player, 108 
Higgs, Griffin, writer of the " Christmas 

Prince," 157, 350 
High Festival at Court, 240 
Highgate, 122 
Highlands, 234 
Hiiarv's ])av, St., 73 

Hinds' and maids' festivities, 213 
Hippodrome, 52 
Hobbyhorse, the, 197 
Hobgoblins, 237 
Hochstetter, Professor. 297 
Hogges, village of, 32 



Holl-iein, Hans, 109, 114 

Holinslied, 100, 115, 122 

Holland, Governor of, 87 

Holland, Lord, 156 

Hollinsjiton, near Hastini^s, 284 

Hollis,' Sir William, 220 

Hoist. Duke of, I53 

Holt, Sir, 24s 

Hollv, 273, 282 

" Ht)lly Bough, under the," 274 

Holy evenings, 342 

Holy Land, 67 

Homage in the fifteenth century, go 

Hone, 66, 241, 317 

Honey and wine, 55 
Hood, Thomas, 274 

Hoop and hide, 237 

Hooton Roberts, 220 

Horses gaily caparisoned, gg 

Hospitality," 30, 124, 145, 146, 220, 256, 
260-6, 278 ' 

Hostilities suspended for Christmas-day, 

Hot cockles. 229, 247, 252 

Houghton Chapel, 220 

Household Booktif Henry \'II., 93 

Household Book of Henry VIII., too 

Housekeeping, Christmas, 232 

House of Commons, 207 

House of Peers, 226 

Howard family, loi 

Howard, Frances. Countess of Essex, 

Howitt, Mary, 276 
" Hue and Cry after Christmas," 208 
Huet, Sir John, 153 
Huisli, 241 
Humher, the, 43 

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, 82 
Hungary, 153 ; King of, 35 
Hunting, 32, 54 
Huntingdon, Earl of, 7() ; Countess of. 

Hunt the Slipper, 247, 313 
Hussars, loth, 301 
Hussey, Sir Richard, 153 
Hypocras, 53 

Iceberg, Christmas upon an, 2g7 

Ice-bound regions, 295 

Ice sports, 43, r s8, i 34-5 

Ideler, 13 > 

Illuminations at Hampton Court, 120 

Immanuel, 3, 6 

India, 299 

Indian Ocean, 308 

Ingenuities and devices, 63 

Inner Temple, 125, 136, 138 

Innocents' Day, 38, iig, 169 

Inns of Court,"iii, 112, 137, 201, 218 

Interludes, 103, 112 

Interruptions of festivities, 83, 206 

" Investigator," the, 294 

lona, the monks of, 27 

Ipomydon, Romance of, 33 

Ipswich, 68, 210 

Ira Sen Tiniiiiliis Foiiime, i8-^ 

Ireland, 52, 288 

Irish customs, 251 

Irish Princes and Chieftains, 35 

Irving, Washington, 241, 258 

Isabel, Queen of France, 78 

IsabelhC daughter of Edward III., 73 

Isaiah, the Prophet, 3 

Italy, 288 

Italian characters, 230 

Italian Masque, 100 


"Jack Straw," a masque, 112 

Jacobites, 237 

Jade, a charming, 232 

Jamaica, 288 

James I., 138, 150, 191, 193- 10 

James IL, 220, 223 

James III. of Scotland, 98 

James IV. of Scotland, 98 

James's, St., 241 

"Jane the Fool," 108 

Jellalabad Plain, 302 

Jermyn, Sir Isaac, 133 ; Sir Robert, 153 

lerome, St., 13, 21 

Jerusalem, the church at, 1 1 

Jerusalem Chamber, 207 

" Jesus, the Nazarene," 52 

Jhelum, 300 

Jinks, high, 285 

Joan of Arc, 84 

Joan of Kent, 76, 149 

Jocund holiday, 266 

John's College", St., Oxford, in 

John III., Duke of Cleves. 109 

John's Day, St., 86, 134, 153, 219, 320 

John, King, 39 

John of Gaunt, 74 

John of Salisbury, 54 

John the Baptist, 13 

Joints of meats, 265 

Jones, Rev. A. G., 308 

Jones, Mr. Charles C, 102 

Jones, Mrs. Herbert, 85, 263 

Jones, Inigo, 151 

Jones, Mary, 280 

Jonson, Ben, 86, 141, 148, 149, 151, 152. 

190, 197 
Jordan, 19 
Joseph, 5, 6 
Jousts, 32, 120 
Judas Maccabruus, 17 
Juda;an origin of Christmas, supposed, 

Jugglers. 31 
Juie {sec Yule) 
"" Julebukker," 342 
Julius Agricola, 23 
Julius I., Bishop of Rome, 12 
Jupiter. 132 
Justin Martyr, 7 
Justiciars' extravagance, 59 


Katherine of Arragon, 99 
Katherine, wife of Henry V,, 81 
Kalends of January, 22 
Karumpie, 33 
Ken. Bishop, 11 



Kenilworth Castle, 67, 68, 69, 84, 93 

Kent, iiS 

KliU. earldom of, 46 

Kent, Countess of, 82 ; Fair Maid of 

" Kepe Open Court," 69 

" Kepe open thy door," 30, 146. 220 

Kilaue, 307 

Kimberley, 299 

Kiui; and Council, 117 

King at Lord Buckingiiam's, 192 

Kinj4, Josiah, 233 

Kinf^ of Christmas, 112 

" Kin}« of the Cockneys,^' 112 

" King of the Peak," 224 

King of Egypt antl his daughter, 284 

King's deer, 75 

King's Lynn, 85 

King's players, 151, 153 

King's singing men, 89 

King's train-hearer, 96 

" Kingdonie's Weekly Intelligencer," . 

Kinloch, 300 

Kirke, George, 201 

Kissing Bush, 250, 281 

Kitts, St., 288 

Knevet, Sir Thomas, lor 

Knights and Ladies, jilaying at, 252 

Knights of the Round Table, 30 

Knights in armour, 99 

Knight Templars, 60 

Knipton, 266 

Kyrie Eliesons, 22, 28 

Im Blanche Xcf. 47 

Ladies-in-waiting, 263 

Lady-bells ring, 267 

Ladv-Mass, 88 

"Lady Public Weal," 112 

Ladysmith, 299 

Lalain, Count of, 118 

Lamb, Charles, 200, 244-6 

Lamheth, 38, 138 

" Lamentation," 145 

Lancastrians, 85, 86 

Lanfranc, Archbishop, 46, 49 

Lanterns, Feast of, 345 

" Largess," a, 129 

Latimer, Hugh, 113 

Latin and Greek verse, in 

Laube, Dr., 297 

Laud, Dr. (Archbishoji), 191, 195 

Launcelot, Sir, 32 

Laurel, 273, 282 

Laurel blent with cypress, 298 

Lavaine, Sir, 32 

Lavish entertainments, 59 

Law, Christmas, ancient, 35 

Lawes, Henry, 151 

Leaping, 32, 229 

Leech, John, 289 

Lee's " Mithridates," 218 

Leeds, 283, 291 

Legend of St. Xicholas, 310 

Leicester, Karl of, 66, 131) 

Leigh, Gerard, 127 

Leland, 95 

Lenox, Duke of, 190 

Leo, Pope, 35 

197 Leon, King of .Armenia, 78 

Leon von Rozmital, 89 

Leonard's chime, St., 267 
149 Lerwick, 286 

I^etter Missions, 292 

Leyden, 157 

Library, St. John's College, 136 

Lichlield Cathedral, 349, 350; Deanery 

"f. 157. 350 
Lincoln, 51, 68 
Lincoln, Earl of, 64 
Lincoln's Inn, ill, 112, 138 
Lincolnshire, 266 
Linlithgow, 68 

Lion and antelope as performers, 102 
Lions' lieacls, 119 
Lisbon, 226 
Lists of combat, 10 1 
Literature, 292,313 
Llanfairpyllycrochon, 2S0 
208 Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, 67 

Log-fires, 32, 301 
Lollards, 80 

London, 36, 38, 43, 45, 51, 60, 63, 71, 78, 138 
London, Bishop of, 25, 79 
Longchamps, William, Bishop of Ely, 

Longe, John, 71, 72 
Longfellow, 26, 43, 44, 271 
Lord Chamberlain, 87, 139 
Lord Chamberlain's players, 151 
Lord ]Mayor of London, 116 
Lord Mayor and Lord of Misrule at 

loggerheads, 198 
Lord of Misrule, 74, 93, 100, 105, 109, 112, 

115, 125, 126, 198, 200, 218 
Lord President of Wales, 200 
Lord Treasurer, 192 
Lorrainers, 319 
Loseley, Surrey, 122 
Lott, Mr. J. B.', 350 
Louis of France, 62 
Lambert, 213 
Louis, St., 317 
" Love's Triumph," i()8 
Lucius Verus, 24 
" Luck of Christ," the, 325 
Ludlow, 92, 200 
Luke, St., (), 7 
Luther, Martin, 106 
" Lying Valet," 237 
Lyly's Plays, 141 
Lvson's " Magna Britannia," 251 


Macaulav, Lord, 40 

Machinists, ingenious, 151 

Mackay, Dr. Charles, 274 

Madden, Sir Frederick, 87 

Madeley, Shropshire, 255, 284 

Mafeking, 299 

Magdalen College, Oxford, la), no 

Magdalene College, Cambridge, 145 

Magi, the, 11, 19, 28 

Miigini Cluirlii, 60 

Magnilicence, 40, 87 

Magnus, St., 49 

Maid of Kent, Fair, 76. 149 

Maid Marians, 286 



Mainard, John, 117 

Mallard, John, 1 14 

■Malory, Sir Thomas, 32 

Malta, 307 

IManger, superb substitutes for, 32(S 

Manners, Lord and Lady John, 266 

Manners, Sir John, 224 

Manor, ancient, 148, 140 

Mansfeld, 106 

Mansions, 55 

Manuel, Emperor, J2 

Maori Pa, 304 

March, Earl of, 82 

Marcus Aurelius Antonius, 24 

Margaret, daughter of Henrv IIL, 64 

Margaret of Anjou, 85, 86 

Margaret, daughter of Henrv VII., 97 

Mark's, St., Venice, 336 

Marlboro', 304 

Marlborough, Ducliess of, 22;^ ; Duke of, 

" Marmirn," 36 
Marriage festivities, 62, 63, 64, Si, 99, 

1 51-2 
Marseilles, 307 

Alarteaux (a game with halls), 88 
Martial-music, 84 
Martignv, George, 88 
Martin, 152 

Martin's, St., Cantcrhurv, 24 
Martyn, John, 231 
Martyrs, British, 20 
Marv, the mother of Jesus, 5, 6, 
Mary, St., 53 
Mary, Princess (afterwards Queen), 105 ; 

her accession, 117 ; Queen, 119, 136 
Marj-land, 314 

Mary, Queen, wife of Willi:iin III., 221 
Mason, 251 

Masquer.-ide, 100, 102, 236 
M.'isques, 52, 99, 119. 120, 143, 151, 152, 

153, 154, 168, 192, i()5, 197, 201 ; rustic 

masque, 272 
Massacres of Christians, 20 
Massinger, Philip, 112, 193 
" Master Christmas," 206 
Master of the Children, the, 136 
Master of the Revels, 74, 112, 125,218 

( see also Lord of Misrule) 
Matilda, Empress, daughter of Henry I., 

47. 51 
Matilda, Queen of Henrv I., 49 
Matins, 88 
Matthew, St., 6 
Maud, General, 300 
Maupigvrum, 55 
Mauritius, 288' 

Maj'or and Aldermen of London, 74, 96 
Mayor of Canterbury mobbed, 210 
McClure, Sir R., 2()4" 
Mead, 55 

Meade," Mr., 192, 198 
Mediterranean, 307, 321, 331 
Medley of Nymphs, savages, &c., 102 
Melbourne, 303 
" Meliades,""iS"9 
Melrose, 98 
Memphis, 59 
Mendelssohn, 350 
Men of Kent, 210 

Mephistopheles, 342 

Mercia, 34, 35 

" Merciless Parliament," 78 

" MciTiirius Acadciuictis" 207 

'' Meiriiriiis Ciriais," 208 

Mermaid Inn, 152 

" Merry Boys of Christmas," 215 

Merry Disports, Lord of, 117 (see also 

Master of the Revels) 
" Merry in the hall," 235 
Merry tales, 195 
Merton College, Oxford, 237 
" Messiah," 304, 350 
Metrical Romance, 69 
Mexborough, 219 
Michell, Sir Francis, 194 
Middle Temple, 156, 192 
Middleton Tower, Norfolk, 84 
Midnight Mass, 316, 323 
Midwinter Customs in the north, 284 
Mildmay, Sir Henry, 192 
Milford Haven, 93 
Millbrook, Southampton, 265 
Miller, Thomas, 248 
Mills, 148 
Milner, Dr., 31 
Milton, 13, 200, 253 
Mimics, 6g 
" Mince-pie," 273 
Minerva, the Goddess, 102 
Minstrels, 31, 41, 42, 43, 44, 58, 69, 313 
Miracles at Becket's Sepulchre, 54 
Miracle Plays, 52, 77 
" Misa del Gallo," 340 
" Misa di Lux" 340 
Miscomia, 297 

Misrule (see " Lord of Misrule ") 
Missionary's Christmas, 30S 
Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, 286 
Mistletoe, 28, 228, 250, 273, 282, 307, 318, 

M'Kee, Mr. and Mrs., 313 
Modern Cliristmases at home, 240 
Modern Christmases abroad, 294 
" Modern Intelligencer," The, 20S 
Mohupielen, 335 
Monk, General, 214 
Monks, merry, 37. 36 
Monson, Sir William, 192 
Monstrelet, 81 
Monte Carlo, 331 
Montegele, Lord, 154 
Montgomery, 154, 190 
Morat, 55 
Moray, Earl of, 71 
More, Mr., of Loseley, 122 
Morle}', Lady, 91 
Morley, Professor Henry, 69, 123, 136, 

193." 22Q 
Morrice Dance, 102 
Mortimer, Anne, 86 
Morville, Hugh de, 53 
Mosaics, 16, 331 
Mother of the maids, 139 
Motley throng, 286 
Mowbrays, 148 
Movie, "Thomas, 112 
Muddle, General, 2()7 
Mununing, 52, So, 121, 234, 236, 267 
Murray, Sir Andrew, 71 



Muscliamp, Sir Tlionias, 153 
Music, iqt 
Musicians, i2q 
Musk veal, 294 
Mysteries, 77 

" Nnogcorgiis," 121 

Naples, 336 

Napoleon IJonaparte, 321 

Nasebj-, 2og 

Nativity, place of the, 7 ; Church and 

Convent of the, 7 ; feast of the, 15 ; 

massacres at the, 20 ; sermons on the, 

Navarre, 63 
Navidad discovered, 96 
Negroes' merry Christmas, 314 
Negro minstrels, 286 
Neighbours and Tenants, 146, 220 
Nelson, New Zealand, 304 
Nero, 15, 20 
Netherlands, 28S 
Neville's Cross, 74 
Neville, Sir Richard, S2 
Nevil, Lord, 86, loi 
Newark-on-Trent, 62 
New Brunswick, 288 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 68 
New England Puritans, 314 
New Forest, 47 
Newmarket, 194, 218 
New style, 237 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 14, 204 
New Year's Day, 93, 95, 96, 100, 130, 133, 

169, 170, 189, 199, 203, 260, 263, 271, 

284, 286, 291, 323, 342 
New Zealand, 304 
Nicholas's Day, St., 119 
Nichols, 120, 124, 126, 153, 155, 191, 192, 

Nicomedia, 20 
Nigellus, 53 
Novgorod, 319 
Nip, 342 

" Nippin Grund," the, 286 
Noblemen, 99, 124 (see others named) 
Xoche-buctia, 340 
Nocturnal OlVice, 317 
Noel or Nowell, 9, 33, 319. 321, 346, 

Nonconformists, 207 
Norfolk, 143, 146, 218 
" Norman Baron," the, 43-4 
Norman celebrations, 40, 41 
Norman Conquest helped, 37 
Norman-French customs, 38 
Normandy, dukedom of, 47 
Normandy, 42, 318, 320 
Northampton, Marquis of, 130 
Northamptonshire, 284 
North. Mr. Thomas, 232 
Nortliern nations, 15 
North Pole, 295 
North Sea fishermen, 286 
North West Passage, 294 
Northumberland, 43, 253 
Nortlnmiberland, Earl of, 37, 86 ; earldom 

of, 43 ; Duke of, 1 17 
Northumberland Household Book, 103 

Xortlumibrians, 27, 38 
Norton, Thomas, 123 
Norway, 288, 342 
Nottingham, 68, 189 
Nova Scotia, 288 
Nuns, 267, 271, 321 


Oberon, 342 

Odo, Bishop, 46 

Offa, "the mighty," 34, 350 

Oflicers of "Grand Christmas," list of, 

126 ; of Christmas Prince, i63-(')-7 , 

officers. Royal, of Arms, I3() 
Oglethorpe, Bishop, 123 
Oiaf, King, 26 

" Old Christmas," 145, 230, 273, 276 
"Old and Young Courtiers," 217 
Oldisworth, Micliael, 201 
" Open Court " of Cardinal Wolsey, 104 
" Open House," 113, 220 
Opera, the, 228 

Order of the Garter instituted, 72 
Ordinances of the Puritans, 207 
Orkney Isles, 2S7 
Orleans, 84 
Orpheus, 19, 29, 152 
Osborne House, 261-3 
Othbert, 49 

Ovation to Henry V., 81 
Overbury, Sii Thomas, 133 
Ovid, 230 
Oxford, 38, 51, 68, 109, 140, 210 

Paganism, 19, 20, 22, 28 

Pageantry, 31, 63, 122 

Paget, Lord, 120 

I'alatine, marriage of, 151 

" Palemon and Arcite," 140 

Palestine, 54 

" Pallas, Knights of," 102 

Palmer, Mr., Lord of Misrule, 19S 

Pansch, Dr., 295 

Panting Piper. 305 

Pantomime, 229, 230 

Papal Legate, 64 

Pappa Wcstra, 287 

Paris, 35, 291, 316, 317, 318 

Paris, Matthew, 34, 63 

Paris Tournament, 78 

Parker, Lieutenant and Mrs., 313 

" Parlement," 45 

Parliamentarians, 206 

Parliament, new Houses of, 46 

Parliament, the first English, 65 

Parson makes merry with parishioners, 

Parties, 309 

" Paston Letters," 86, 91 
Pastoral, "Calisto," 21S 
Patriarch of Venice, 336 
Patrick, St., 284 
Piudiinis, Missionary, 30 
Paul, Mr. Howard. 30() 
Paul's Cathedral, St"., 140 
Paul's Church, St., 1 19 
Paul's Cross, St., 92 



Paul St., Earl of, 79 

Paul's School, St., 77 

Paupers, merry, 288 

Paw, Salathiel, 142 

Peacocks, 96, 97 

Pej<asus, 198 

Pemhroke, the Kej^ent, 62 

Pembroke, Countess of. 241 

" Penelope's Wooer," 187 

Penshurst, Kent, 148-9 

Pepys, Samuel, 145, 218 

Perche, Countess of, 47 

Peres, William, 103 

Performers, various, 41, 77 

" Periander," a traj^edy, 185 

Periodicals, 292, 313 

Period of Christmas, 12, 35, rii, 125, 227 

Perrers, Alice, 74, 75 

Perth, 274 

Perry, 55 

Peshawur, 300 

Peta villa, 13 

Peter of Blois, ^6 

Peter, St., 283 

Peter the Great, of Russia, 223 

Peter's, St., Rome, 330 

J't'lit Soiipcr, 322 

Petworth, 225 

Philip of Spain, 118 

Philip and Mar\', 119 

Philippa, Queen, 72 

" Philomathes," 176 

" Philomela," a traijedy, 169 

Philosopher's game, 195 

Phienicia, 55 

Picnics, 304 

Picts and Scots, 26, 31 

" Picturesque Europe," 224 

Piece dc resistance, 294 

Piers Gaveston, 68 

Pisijment, 55 

Pilgrims, 59 

Pires Barnard, 68 

Pipers, 31, 89 

Place de la Madeline, 319 

Place de la Republiqiic. 319 

Plague, the, 139 

Plantagenets, 68 

Plato's Dialogue, 17 

Plays, Christmas, 76-7, 84, 91, 95, 102, 

112, 125, 136-7, 142, 284, 320-1 
Playing Cards, qo 
Plum-pudding, 245, 263, 265, 273, 317, 

Pocahontas, 314 

I'oculuni charitatis, 237 

Poetic pictures of Christmas, 33, 34, 43-4, 
6q, 203, 204-5, 217, 221-2," 227, 230, 
258, 274, 276-8, 288, 298, 330 

Poictiers, 74 

Pointer, 237 

Poleaxes for Pensioners, 136 

Pole, Cardinal, 118, 119 

" Pompey," 316 

Pontefract, 87, 92 

" Poor Robin's .Almanack," 217, 222, 22'?, 

Pope, poet, 46, 230 

" Popish Customs," so called, 109 

Popple, John, 257 

Popular festivities, 242 

Portugal, 226, 288 

Post and Pair, 247, 250 

Post-oflice and postmen, 292 

Poverty at Court, 86 

Prayer Hooks of Edward W., 1 17 

Presbytery, 109 

Presents, 15, 42, 69, 88, 312, 323, 326, 

.1,1 5 
Presentation in the Temple, 348 
Presepio (manger), 328 
Preston, Sir Richard, 190 
Priestess, Druid, 228 
Priests bearing relics, 90 
Priestly practices, 121, 317, 328 
Primate's cruelty, 200 
Primitive celebrations, 19 
" Prince Charlie," 237 
Prince of Wales, 83, 225, 263 
Prince of Wales's Strait, 294 
Princes of Germany, 35, 109 
Princes play in masques, 152, i()7 
Privy Council, 117 
Prolongaticm of Revels, 201 
Prometlius, 132 
Protectorate, the, 213 
Protestantism of Queen Elizalieth, 122 
Proven(;al Plays, 320-1 
Provence, 320, 321 ; Eleanor of, 62-4 
Provision for the poor, 257-8, 26o-() 
Prowess, 67, 72, 73, 84, 99, 190 
Prussian Royal Familv, 334 
Prynne, William, 191) 
Psyche, 19 

Ptarmigan pasties, 295 
Pnnch, 282, 342 
Puppet shows, 227, 321, 328 
Purification, the, 73 
Puritan Directory, 207 
Puritanism, 109 
Purposes, 195 
Puss-in-the-Corner, 236 
Pynson, printer, .104 


Quadrangle, Royal, 88 
■' Quartette " cards, 272 
Queen's College, O.xford, 109 
Queen's Gentlewomen, 88 
Questions and Commands, i()5, 236 
Ouintin, 45, 59 


Races, 218 

Railways, the, 292 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 152 

Rampini, Sheriff, 286 

Ratcliffe, 93 

Rathbertus, a priest, 40 

Reade, Mr., 346 

" Read's Weekly Journal," 232 

" Recollections of old Christmas," 

Recreations, 11)5, 315 

Redcoats, 294 

Rcdmile, 261') 

Rcedwald, 29 

Reformation, 106, 109 

Regatta, the Christmas, 304 



"Regis Omtor I'l Culauio," 114 
Regulations for a giaiul Christmas, 

Reindecr-sleigii of St. Xick, 3 1 r 
Rejoicings on Krcncli battle ground, 72 
Relics, sacred, ()0, 331 
Religious matters, 1 1 7 
Rennes cloth, SS 
Reresby, Sir John, 219 
Restoration, the, 215 
Reunions, 313 

Re\els resembling Saturnalia, 18 
Revels, called a Maskelyn, 100 
Revels, Master of the, 112 (sec also " Lord 

of Misrule") 
Revels, 132, 133, 180, 181, i()2, i<)3, 218, 

Revolution, 220 
AV.v Fa [yam 111, lot) 
Riiedon, 93 
Rheims Cathedral, 94 
Rhosllanerchrugog, 264 
Rhosvmedre, Denbighshire, 264 
Rhys; brother of Gr'uffydd, 38 
Richard I. (" C(fiur de Lion "), 58 
Richard II., 76 

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 92 
Richard IIL, 93, lor 
Richard, Dukeof York, 86, 87 
Richard tlie Good, of Normandv, 38 
Rich, Christopher, 229 
Rich, John, 229 

Richmond, 96, 98, 99, 102, 108, lu) 
Richmond, Duke of, 105 
" Richemond Manor," open house at, T04 
Riding School, Windsor, 260 
Riddles, 252 
Rigden, Mr., 219 
Ripon, 242 

Rivers, Lady, 88 ; Earl, 92 
Rivet, Andrew, 157 
•• Roast Beef of Old England," 301 
Robert of Comines, 43 
Robes, costlv, 75 
Robin Hood, 66 
Robin Hood and his foresters depicted, 

100, 286 
Rochester, 1 18 
Rochester, Bishop of, i3() 
Roe, Sergeant, 1 12 
Roger de Coverlev, Sir, 227 
Roger Mortimer, 68 
Roland, Captain of Charlemagne, 41 
Roman Church, 62 
Roman Catholic reaction, ii8 
Roman Empire, 35 
Roman invasion of Britain, 2j!, 
Romantic davs, 3 1 
Rome, early Church at, 1 1 
Rome, 328 

Romish priestly practices, 121 
Rooke, Sir George, 226 
Rope-dancing, 229 
Roses united in marriage, 94 
Rotterham, 220 
Rouen, 81, 317 

" Round about oiu' Coal Fire," 201, 23^ 
Round Table, 30, 67, 73 
Royalists, 206, 215 
Royal Bounties, 258, 260 

Royal festivities, 54, 94, 99, 141, 261 {see 
also other festivities recorded under 
the names of different Sovereigns) 

Rowbotham, 28 

Rowe, 142 

Rowse, Sir John, 153 

Royston, 153 

Roxburgh Collection (British Museum), 

Ruabon, 264 
Rufus's revelries, 47 
Rmnp, the, 213, 217 
Running, 32 
Runnvmede, 60 
Russell, Lord John, 297 
Russia, 284, 288, 342 
Rutland, Duke of, 224, 266 ; Janetta, 

Duchess of, 225 ; Lord, 80, 87 

Sabine Island, 293 

Sackville, Thomas, 125 

Sailors' gathering, 288 

Salisbury, Earl of, 87, 154, 136 

Salom Moss, loi 

Sanctuarv at Westminster, 92 

Sandal Castle, 87 

Sandhurst, Berkshire, 276 

Sandringham, 85, 263 

Sandwicli Island, 294 

Sandwich Islands, 303 

Sandvs, William, F.S.A., 13, 104, 137, 201, 

San Maria Maggiore Church, 331 
Saracens, 59 
Santa Claus, 290, 310 
" Saturday Review," 207 
Saturnalia, 13, 15, 19, 29, 168, 191, 320 
Saxon chiefs, 43 
Saxon sports, 44 
Scales, Lord and Lady, 84, 83 
Scaliger, 13 

•• Scalloway Lasses," 286 
Scandinavianism, 285 
Scenic magnificence, 132 
Schon berg, Duke of, 226 
Scottish annals, 48, 68, 71. 82, 98, 134. 

191, 207, 242, 2=4, 284-8 
Scotch first-footing, 283 
Scott, Dr., 313 

Scott, Sir Walter, 36, 98, 230 
Scripture history plays, 77 
Sea celebr.itions, 95, 218, 307 
Sears, E. H., 330 
Sectaries, 207 
Segraves, 148 
Selden, 152 
Seleucus Nicator, 13 
Senegal, 345 
Senlac, battle of, 39 

'• Seven Champions of Christendom," 283 
"Seven Daves of the Weeke," the, 174 
Sermons, Christmas, i()3 
Servants' feasts, 202, 2 1 2-3, 263 
Servians, 343 
Settlers, iMiglish, 314 
Seville Cathedral, 338 
Seymour, Jane, 108 
Shaftesbury, 37 



Shakespeare, ^4, So, Si, 141, 142, 

152, 153, 26.-^ 
Shaw, Dr., 92 
Shene, 75, g6 
Shepherds, 7, 317 
Sherwood Forest, 66 
Shetland, 285 

'• Shewes," triuniph.uit, i()0 
Shipwreck on Christmas-dav, 287 
Shopping in sleighs, 312 
Shovelboard, 195 
Shrewsbury, Earl of, 139 
Shrine of St. Peter, 330 
Shropshire, 24, 118, 253, 284 
Shrove Tuesday-, 1S3 
Sicily, King of, 59 . 
Sidney, Sir Philip, 14S 
Sieur de Nigry, 118 
Silurians, King of, 24 
Simeon, 348 
Sinclair, Rev. John, 2S7 
Singing, 140, 195, 294, 326. 350 
Sirloin of roast beef, 231 
Siward, Sir Richard, 64 
Skating, 45 (see " Ice Sports") 
Skeleton at bed foot, 276 
Skinner's Wells, 76 
Skylarking, 294 
Slade, Monty, 302 
Sladen Douglas, B. W., 303 
Slavs, 345 
Sleighing, 302, 310 
Smith, Captain John, 314 
Smith, Dr. Walter, 285 
Smith, Sir Thomas, 139 
Smithfield, London, 79 
Smyth, John, court fool, 116 
Smyth, Matthew, 143 
" Snap " cards, 272 
Snapdragon, 247 
Social festivities, 252 
Society Islands, 288 
Somerset, Duke of, 87, 115, 223 
Somerset, Earl of, 155 
Somerset, Sir Thomas, 190 
Somersetshire, 31 
Somers, Will, king's jester, 113 
" Sons}- haggis," 255 
" Sonva," 344 

Soutliampton, Earl of, 190 
Southern merrymaking, 314 
Sou they, 257 
Souvenirs, 3 1 2 
Spain, 75, loS, 120, 190, 212, 22^, 

Spanish cavaliers, 2S6 
Spectacular entertainments, 52, 99 
" Spectator," the, 227 
Speech from the throne, 87 
Spenser, 149 
Spithead, 225 

Sports, 33, 54, 154, 169, 19S, 203, 247 
Stacj', Louis, 88 
Staffordshire, 284, 349, 350 
Stained glass, modern, 34S 
Stainer, 350 
Stanley, Dean, 17 
Stanton, Mr. W. M., 304 
Stapleton, Lady, 91 
Star of Bethlehem, 319 


Star Chamber, 156 

State meetings, 29, 38, 45, 54 ; State 

worship, 96-7 
Steele, 227 
Steplien, King, 51 
Stephen's Day, St., 120, 126, 130, 133, 

168, 219, 350 
Steward's Department, Lord, 260 
Steward, Sir John, 82 
"Still Christmas " of Henrv VIII., 104 
Stoke Abbat, 157 
Stony Stratford, 92 
Stories of Christmastide, 48, 49, 237, 274, 

273, 276, 287 
Stowe, 66, 74, 102, 112, ri6 
Strafford papers, 136 
Strange, Ladv, 139 
Stratford-upon-Avon, 2 1 S 
Strutt, 44, 76, 103, 119. 21S 
Strype, 119 
Sturgeon, 96 

Stuteville, Sir Martin, 192, 198 
Subtleties, 83, 97 
Sufed Koh, 302 
Suffolk, 146' 
Suffolk, Earl of, 84, 189 
Sullivan, 350 

Sumptuous feasts of Normans, 34 
Superstitions, 33, 34, 283 
Sussex, Earl of, 139 
Sussex, Sheriff of, 65 
Swans, 96 
Sweden, 288 
Sweetmeats, 322 
Swegen, King, 36 
Swein, King of Denmark, 43 
Swithin, St., Winchester, 56 
Sword-dance, 229, 253 
Sword actors, 282-4 
Sword of King Arthur, 38 
Swynford Catherine, 94 
" Synod of Westminster," 208 
Synod of Whitby, 27 
Syria, 53 

Tacitus, 24, 33 

Taillefer. Xorman minstrel, 41 

Talbot, Sir John, 84 

Tallard, Marshal, 226 

Tales, weird, 274-5 

Tallis, 140 

Tambourine, 340 

Tancred, King, 58 

"Tatler," the, 228 

Taverner, Edmund, 201 

Taylor, John, 206 

'J'c Dcinii, 317 

Telesphorus, St., Bishop of Rome. 12 

Tempest, great, 74 

Templars' sports, 198 

Temple-horn winded, 198 

Temple of Minerva, 1S4 

Temples, the, ill 

Tenants' and labourers' feast, 231 

Tennyson, 31, -270 

Teonge, Rev. Henrv, 21S 

Tetzel, 89 

Teuton forefathers, our, 26 



'reutoii kins'iicii, 34 

Tewkesbury, 04 

Thackeray, Mr.,' 229 

Thames, 108, 127 

Thauet, Isle of, 2,S 

Theatrical exliibitions, 141, 229, 230 

Thelhisoii, Hon. Mr. and Miss, 273 

Theobald, Arclibishop, 53 

Theobalds, 154, 193, 194 

Theotlosius the younger, 22 

Thewlis, St., 284 

Thomas, St., 54 

Thomas, St. (a place), 288 

Thomas's Day, St., 130, 164, 265 

Thomas, Thomas, 280 

Thomas, the Misses, 262 

Thor, 15, 26, 29 

Thorolci, Sir Wilfrid de, 267 

Thunder (see Thor), 29 

Thurstan, Archbisho]"i, 48 

Thrybergh, 2ig 

Tilting, 155 (see also Tournanieul) 

"Time's Alteration," 217 

"Time's Complaint," 170 

"Time's Telescope," 251 

Tolxacco, 259, 278 

Ti)ffee, 28 1 

Tommy .4tkins, 299 

Torchlight procession, 2SO 

Torksey Hall, 266 

Tostig, Earl, 38 

Tournaments, ^2, 52, by, 73, 78, 99, loi, 
155. 189- 100 

Tower of London, 79, 92, 117, 123, 
223, 226 

Towton, 87 

Toys, 265 

Tragedy of " Gowrv," the, 153 

Traill, Mr., 287 

Transatlantic Sa.xons, 309 

Transvaal, 2S8 

Travelling, ancient, 31 

"Treason! treason!" cried James 1., 

Tricks by animals, 229 
Trinity College, Cambridge, no 
Trinity Term, 131 
Triphoi)k, Robert, 155 
Tripoli, 55 

Triumphs of the tournament, 10 1 
Trumpeters, 89 
Trumpets, 220, 261 
Trunks, small, 195 
"Truth," in pageautrj-, 122 
Tucker, Thomas, the elected Prince, 

Tudela, Benjamin ot, 52 
Tudor, Edmund, Jasper, Owen, 94 
Tumbling, 119, 228 
Turkeys, 246, 340 
'■ Turkish Knight," 284 
"Turkish Magistrates," 119 
Turnham Green, 284 
Tusser, Thomas, 124, 140, 146 
Twelfthtide, 15, 35, 95, 97, 100, 102, 125, 

I3.S> 153. 154. 188, 190, 193, 198, 201, 

-41, 320, 342 
Twelve days of Christmas, 35, in, 125, 227 
Tyrrel, Sir Walter, 47 
Tytler, General, 300 


Udall, Nicholas, 119 

Ukraine, 345 

Ule (sec Yule) 

Uniformity, Act of, 117 

United States, 288, 3a;- ^l() 

Uphelya, 286 

" Ups and Downs of Christmas, ' tiie, 2ckj 

" Ursa Minor," 273 

Usher, 13 

Ushers, Gentlemen, I3() 

Uvedale, Lord of Wickham Manor, 71 

Valorous deeds, 59 

Vane, 213 

Variety of players, 63 

Vaughan, ALister, 88 

Vawce. Sergeant, 117 

" Venetian Senators," 119 

Venice, 190, 336 

Vere, Karl of Oxford, 75 

Vere, Lady Susan, 153 

Vernon, Doroth}', 224 

Versailles, 35 

Vespers, 331 

Viands, 55 

Victoria, Queen, 258, 260-3 

Victoria's grandchildren, Oueen, 262 

Vienna, 336 

Vigil of Christmas, 49, 317 

Vigilate, a, 178 

" Vindication of Father Christmas," the, 

Vineyard of pleasure, 88 
Vintage, the, 16 
Violins, 220 
Virgil's Eclogues, 17 
Virginian Colonists, 314 
\'irgin Mary, image of the, 317 
Visors tlepicted in verse, 104 
Vivian, Sir Francis, 15O ; Mr. Vi\ian, 15O 
Vijlcano, 305 


Waits, 44, 240 

Wakefield, battle of, 86 

Wales, 38, 188, 200, 280, 2S8 

Wales, Prince and Princess of, 85, 225, 263 

Wallingford, 51, 68 

Wanjani, 304 

Ward, Ke\-. John, 218 

Warning shots, 127 

Warren, Earl of, 64 

Warrior-King (Edward III.), 74 

Warriors rewarded, 42 

Wars of Barons, 65 

Wars of Roses, 85 

Wars of Roses ended, 93 

War suspended for Christmas, 81, 84 

Warton, author, no 

Warwick, Earl of, 87, 93, 139, 192 

Warwick muses, 198 

Warwickshire, 146, 284 

Wash, the, O2 

Wassail, 15, 58, 97, i8i 

" Wassail Bowl," 15, 273 



\V;issailiiii; the apple-trees, 278-9 , 

Washburn, Ex-Minister E. B., 318 

Washiiij^ton negroes, 314 

Watt-wille, Monsieur Robert, 68 

" Weekly Account," the, 208 

" Wcihnacten," 335 

" ]\'ciliiiactt's Bescliccriiiif<." 335 

•■ Welcome to Christmas," 276 

Welcome to all comers, 30, 148, 220, 

Wellington, 304 

Welsh border, 38, 43 

Welsh Christmas, 280-2 

Western Church, the, 12 

West Kington, 1 13 

Westminster, 4O, O2, 64, 74, 87, 8y, 1 

Westminster Abbey, 38, 51, 123, 140, 

Westminster Hall, 4O, Oo, 64, 68, 7 

118, 123, 226 
Weston, Dr., 118 
West Riding of Yorkshire, 282-4 
West Newton, 263 
Whallev, Colonel, 212 
Wheatley, Mr. W. M., 265 
Whippingham, 262 
White, Sir Thomas, 1 18 
Whitehall, 118, 154 
Whitelock, 207 
" Wliite Rose of York," 85 
Whittier, J. G., 37 
Wild Boar, 32, 33, 45, no 
William, Prince of Orange, 220 
William and Mary, 221 
William IV., 258 
William the Almoner, 64 
William the Conqueror, 39 
William, King of Prussia, 35 
William Rufus, 46 
William, son of Henry I., 47 
William of Malmesbury, 49 
William of Ypres, 52 
Williams, 99 
Willoughby, Lord, 82 
Winchester, 31, 34, 37, 47, 65 ; rnonl^ 

Winchester, Bishop of, 195 
Winchester Palace, 62, 65 
Winchester School, 71 
Windsor, 31, 47, 48, 54, 62, 75, 80, 87, 

Wine and honey, 55 
Winer, 13 

Winters, hard, 67, 138, 154-5 
Winter solstice, 15, 29, 295 
Wiuwood, Mr., 153 
Wise Men (Magi), 11, 19, 28 
Wise Men (the King's), 29, 38, 45 


S, 93. 

Witches, 195, 237 

"Wit-combats," 153 

Witenagemot, 29 

Wither, George, 190, 204 

Wizard of Christmas, 310 

Woden, 2=;, 29 

Wolf, 45 ^ 

Wolferton, 263 

Wolley, Sir Francis, 154 

Wolsey, Cardinal, 104, 106, 112 

Women masks, 1 19 

Wood, Mr., log, 140, 157 

Woodstock, 226 

Woodville, Elizabeth, 89' 

Woodville family, 92 

Woolsthorpe, 204, 266 

Worcester, 52, 60, 67 ; Earl of, 82, 189 

Workhouse, Christmas at, 28S 

Worksop, 87 

Worship in State, 96-7 

Wortley, near Leeds, 291 

Wotton, 200 

Wrestling, 32 

Wright, Thomas. F.S.A., 90 

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 118 

Wvkeham, William of, 71 

Wvnn, Ladv Williams, 264 

Wynn, Sir W. W., Bart., 264 

Wynnstay Park, 264 

Uyrccf.tcr, William, 87, 89 


Xtemas, 9 

Yeoman, 124 

Yew, 282 

York, 31, 36, 43, f>4, ()8, 80 

York, Archbishop of, 65, 240 

York, Bishop of, 25 

York, Duchess of, 82 

York, Duke of, the young, 92 

York, wars of, 83 

Yorkshire, 251, 282-4 

Yule, Jule, or Ule, 9, 15, 195, 285 

Yule-log, I, 268, 302, 319, 345 

" Yuletide," 177, 227, 267, 285 


/ainhoiiihiiSy 339 
Zanzibar, 288 
Zukkur Kehls, 300 



Elliot Stock, Paternoster Row, London.