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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 



William L. Shelden 



New-street- Square. 

~ ' 




tntioti action 


<ngU0J) antiquities; 


dompanion to t^e l^t'storj) of Snglantt. 



O blessed Letters ! that combine in one 
All ages past, and make one live with all : 
By you we do confer with who are gone, 
And the dead-living unto council call. 










Crutce at Button CottffoUr (grammar jd)0nl, 








THIS book is designed to supply a want long felt by 
the public as well as in the schools and universities 
of England. Works are certainly to be met with, 
devoted to the elucidation of particular branches of 
British Archeology, and full of interesting matter 
and laborious research ; but these are in general 
costly, bulky, and inconvenient ; and hitherto there 
has been no treatise which exhibited, in a form 
adapted for general use, the results of the labours 
of modern antiquaries upon the various subjects 
embraced by the comprehensive term of " English 

Under these circumstances it seemed likely that 
at a period like the present, when a great and grow- 
ing taste for the relics of the past has sprung up 
among all classes, a work illustrating the antiquities 
of England from the earliest times, and comprising a 
general account of its Political Institutions, Religion, 
Learning and Arts, Naval and Military Affairs, Com- 

viii PREFACE. 

merce and Agriculture, Manners and Customs, would 
form a useful acquisition to all who wish to obtain 
information on this important, but hitherto much- 
neglected, branch of study. In its compilation, 
the main object has been to present a convenient 
manual and ready guide for the young student, or 
for those who, having but recently commenced the 
pursuit, might feel embarrassed by the riches around 
them, and be desirous of some compendious digest 
upon which they could consolidate and arrange the 
stores of information gleaned from various quarters. 
But the Author, though he does not profess to in- 
struct the Antiquary, ventures to hope that even he 
will derive some advantage from the systematic form 
into which the enormous mass of existing materials 
have here been reduced. 

As most debateable questions in British archaeology 
have already been settled by competent authority, or 
at least left in such a state that all mere conjectures 
are now precluded to any commentator, it has not 
seemed necessary to encumber the book with constant 
references, as it professes merely to lead the reader 
into the way of studying and judging for himself. 
Copious lists, however, of such authors as may best 
assist those who have taste and leisure for more 
extensive investigations, are given in the Appendix, 
and it will be understood that it is upon their 


authority generally that all statements are made in 
the text. The introduction of illustrations in such 
a work is by no means new, but it is hoped that 
the number and arrangement of the engravings here 
presented, with the care that has been taken to 
procure them from the most authentic sources, will 
tend to give a clearer and more picturesque idea 
of the several subjects to which they are annexed, 
and with which the original design is invariably 

The work has been materially benefited by the kind- 
ness of Mr. Hawkins, Keeper of Antiquities in the 
British Museum, and Mr. Newton, of the same depart- 
ment, with other distinguished Antiquaries, to whom 
the Author desires to return his most sincere thanks 
for their many invaluable attentions throughout its 
progress ; and would add that he will be happy to 
receive from his more experienced brethren any hints 
of correction or addition which their research may 
supply, in the event of a future edition being called 

Chronological Hist 



1066. William I. 
1087. William II. 
1100. Henry I. 
1135. Stephen. 


1154. Henry II. 
1189. Richard I. 
1199. John. 
1216. Henry III. 
1272. Edward I. 
1307. Edward II. 
1327. Edward III. 
1377. Richard II. 


1399. Henry IV. 
1413. Henry V. 
1422. Henry VI. 


1461. Edward IV. 
[1470. Henry VI. (restored.)] 
1471. Edward IV. (restored.) 
1483. Edward V. 
1483. Richard III. 


1485. Henry VII. 
1509. Henry VIII. 
1547. Edward VI. 
1553. Mary. 
1558. Elizabeth. 


1603. James I. 
1625. Charles I. 
1649. Commonwealth. 
1660. Charles II. 
1685. James II. 

1688. William III. 





CHAP. I. Political Institutions - 1 

II. Religion - 7 

III. Learning and Arts - - -13 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - 17 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - 20 

VI. Manners and Customs - - - - 23 


SAXON PERIOD. A.D. 449 1066. 

CHAP. I. Political Institutions - 27 

II. Religion - 40 

III. Learning and Arts - 48 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - - 62 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - 66 

VI. Manners and Customs - - - - 72 


NORMAN PERIOD. A.D. 1066 1216. 

CHAP. I. Political Institutions - - 77 

II. Religion - 90 

III. Learning and Arts - - - 97 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - - 113 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - - 120 

VI. Manners and Customs - - 125 





CHAP. I. Political Institutions - - 131 

II. Religion - 144 

III. Learning and Arts - - 158 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - - 183 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - - 195 

VI. Manners and Customs - - - - - 208 



CHAP. I. Political Institutions - - 224 

II. Religion - 235 

III. Learning and Arts - - 258 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - - 279 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - - 285 

VI. Manners and Customs ----- 300 



CHAP. I. Political Institutions - - 320 

II. Religion - 334 

III. Learning and Arts - - 358 

IV. Naval and Military Affairs - - 393 
V. Commerce and Agriculture - - 399 

VI. Manners and Customs - - 423 







1. THE history of most nations commences with a confession 
of ignorance ; nor is that of the British tribes exempt from 
the general rule. Down to the 17th century, indeed, our 
ancestors were content with the sufficiently extravagant belief 
that they were descended from a colony of Trojans, headed 
by a leader of the name of Brutus, a grandson of ^Eneas, 
whose mighty exploits have been recorded at great length in 
high-sounding verse and no less magniloquent prose. There 
is no doubt, however, that the original inhabitants of these 
kingdoms were a Celtic race, which had in all probability 
migrated hither in successive swarms from the opposite coast 
of Gaul.* The name of BKITAIN, which they gave to the 

* The word Celt has been derived from Caoiltich, a woodland people ; 
from fcs'Xjjf, a horse, and from Gaeltach. Gael is perhaps connected with 
Waelsch, the German for strangers. The Celts and Teutons or Goths, 
the two great peoplers of Europe, though widely differing in many re- 
spects, belong to the same Caucasian family, and their languages sprang 
no doubt from the same ancestral tongue. 



land of their settlement, has been subjected to a great variety 
of interpretations, amongst which the most reasonable per- 
haps are those of Brit-daoine, or painted people, and Bruit-tan, 
the metal or tin land. The Celtic population of Ireland, in 
which a high degree of civilisation seems to have existed at 
a very early period, would appear to have been derived rather 
from Spain than Gaul, and has been traced by some authors 
in a direct line to the Oriental world. The ancient name of 
that island is variously written Eire, meaning the west or 
extremity, and Eirin or Irin, the Sacred Isle. The early 
inhabitants of Scotland were not improbably derived from 
the Teutonic races of Scandinavia, amongst whom a band of 
Irish Celts appear afterwards to have settled, and given birth 
to the numerous clans distinguished by the name of High- 
landers. Whatever may have been the origin of the Scotch, 
they were at first called Caledonians by the Southern Britons, 
an appellation derived from caoill, a wood, and daoine, a people ; 
and afterwards Picts, apparently from the Latin word picti. 
The name of Scotia was originally applied exclusively to 
Ireland) and has been conjectured to be derived from a colony 
of Scuit or Scythians. It was not given to Scotland till the 
llth or 12th century, after the Irish " Scots" had migrated 
extensively to the western coasts. 

The Welsh, who received their name of Wilisc QIC foreigners, 
from the Anglo- Saxons, were long thought to be the genuine 
descendants of the ancient Britons, but have been described 
by later authors as a branch of the Picts, who descended upon 
Wales at some uncertain period from their settlements in 
the east of Scotland. This is partly confirmed by their lan- 
guage, which differs in many points from the Gaelic or Irish. 

2. All our direct information with regard to the condition 
of these various tribes is derived from the writers of Greece 
and Home, who became acquainted with these islands after 
the invasion of Julius Caesar, in the year 55 B. c. At that 
time, according to the geographer Ptolemy, seventeen differ- 
ent peoples inhabited the region of England and Wales, and 
eighteen others were scattered over the barren surface of 


North Britain.* These tribes were far enough from forming 
any thing like a community of nations, and were, indeed, 
generally engaged in bitter war with each other ; yet there 
were certain general ties of feeling if not of nationality which 
bound them together at the approach of a common enemy, 
though without imparting a sufficient degree of union to offer 
any effectual resistance. Their government was, in form at 
least, monarchical ; but under the sovereign in each people the 
heads of clans exercised an authority almost supreme over 
their respective followers. The rules of regal succession 
were not very strict ; but it seems on the whole to have been 
hereditary, though not necessarily vested in the eldest son. 
In the northern parts of England, as for a long time after- 
wards in Ireland and Wales, a successor was named in the 
lifetime of the reigning king, who was called the Tanist, and 
was generally the nearest or most worthy relation. There 
was no distinction of sexes in this succession, and a daughter 
or widow might readily be admitted to the throne of the 
deceased sovereign, if there were no personal objection. The 
power of the monarch, however, was in all cases very limited, 
and his chief prerogative was that of commanding the forces 
in time of war, not without many interruptions even then 
from the subordinate chieftains, and still more from the 
ever-busy Druids. In time of peace it was reduced almost 
to a cipher ; for the Druids monopolised all real authority, 
declared and executed the laws, and pronounced the only 
effectual sentence in the dreadful decree of excommunication, 
by which the unhappy criminal was expelled from all com- 
munion in religious rites or intercourse of society, and placed 
utterly beyond the pale of legal protection. Certain places 
were appointed for the holding of their courts, and a supreme 
tribunal is supposed to have been fixed at the residence of 
the Arch-Druid in the Isle of Anglesey, where some traces 
of a sacred circle still remain. The laws which they adminis- 
tered, and which were believed to be the direct decrees of 

* For their names and arrangement, see the common geographies 
and atlases. 

B 2 


Heaven, were couched in mysterious verse, and forbidden to 
be committed to writing. We may discern, however, the 
institution of marriage, a provision for children by equal 
division of the father's property, and the traces of a rigid 
criminal code. The revenues of the kings were apparently 
scanty and precarious, and the Druids took care to exempt 
themselves from any contributions to these or to any other 
public burdens. 

3. The invasion of the Romans at length substituted the 
regular forms of civilisation for these rude arrangements of 
barbarous life, and introduced personal security, arts, letters, 
and elegance into the wild retreats of the uncultivated Briton. 
Alliances were formed with several tribes, and their chiefs 
encouraged to put themselves under Roman protection. These 
soon became mere vassals of Rome, and even gloried in the 
title: their subjects learnt to speak the Latin language, 
adopted Latin names, clad themselves in rich raiment, and 
vied with the conquerors in every Roman luxury. In other 
districts, particularly toward the eastern side of the island, 
it would seem that the British nobles were wholly swept 
away and the land allotted to Roman colonists, under whom 
the meaner class of natives were soon reduced to the con- 
dition of slaves of the soil. Nor was it only Roman citizens 
who obtained these grants and privileges on the conquered 
territory, for the barbarians of various countries also, who had 
served under the imperial eagle, were often presented with 
whole districts in the hope of retaining their faithful services. 
These Liuti or people, as they called themselves * , were 
planted, indeed, throughout the empire upon the La3tic 
lands, of which they received possession by the direct writ 
of the Emperor. In Britain, upwards of forty barbarian 

* In Anglo-Saxon, Leod (German, leute), whence our English word 
lewd, which for a long time meant simply a man of low station " certain 
lewd fellows of the baser sort." It is probably from the same root as 
Hesychius calls public lands XiY<r. 


legions, some of Teutonic origin, others Moors, Dalmatians, 
and Thracians, were thus settled, chiefly upon the northern 
and eastern coasts, and in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the Roman walls. In these border plantations may be found 
the germ of the feudal tenures (of which more hereafter), 
every successor to property being obliged, at eighteen years 
of age, to join the legion to which his father had belonged. 

4. The city of Verulamium, near the present St. Alban's, was 
made a municipium or free town, and London was admitted 
to similar advantages. Both were soon crowded with in- 
habitants, zealous partisans of Rome, and the latter place in 
particular became a town of great trade and consequence. 
The wise Roman system not only filled the towns with people, 
but in a short time adorned them with temples, theatres, and 
public buildings, and all the monuments of Italian magnifi- 
cence. Before the arrival of Agricola, however, their govern- 
ment was extremely oppressive ; but the Perpetual Edict of 
Adrian (A. D. 131) restrained the tyranny of the provincial 
presidents, and laid down a uniform system for the adminis- 
tration of justice throughout the empire. 

5. Britain was at length divided into five provinces, extend- 
ing, as it appears, from the Firth of Forth to the English 
Channel, and embracing the seventeen South British and 
five of the North British tribes. For the purposes of govern- 
ment they were comprehended in the prefecture of Gaul (one 
of the four great divisions of the empire under Constantine), 
and, taken collectively, were called a diocese, and governed by 
a vicar or deputy, who resided chiefly at London, in great 
pomp and state. Under him were placed the five governors 
of provinces, called presidents or consuls, who collected the 
revenues and administered justice, without any appeal save to 
the Emperor himself. 

6. The military command was intrusted to three principal 
officers, the Comes (count) of the Saxon shore, the Comes of 
Britain, and the Dux (duke) of the Britains.* The entire 

* The Comes Augusti at first meant only the confidential friend of 
the Emperor ; but afterwards these companions were promoted to every 

B 3 


force under these officers is supposed to have been about 
19,200 foot and 1700 horse. 

7. A considerable revenue, calculated by some writers at 
not less than 2,000,0007. a year, was raised by the conquerors 
of Britain from the land tax, pasture tax, and customs ; 
besides legacy duties, and those levied on the sale of slaves, 
auctions of goods, &c. &c. These were collected by an im- 
perial procurator, and generally let out to public farmers, at 
a certain yearly rent. 

8. The influence acquired by these important revenues, 
and the forces placed at their command, induced some of the 
generals stationed in Britain to throw off the yoke of Rome, 
and to set up a little special tyranny for themselves. 

The most remarkable of these was Carausius, a native of 
the country, who assumed the purple and title of Augustus, 
and reigned for some time in great splendour. After the final 
departure of the Romans (A.D. 420), a Roman and a British 
party were formed in the southern parts ; the one headed by 
Aurelius Ambrosius, a descendant of one of the emperors, 
the other by the well-known Vortigern. The rest of the 
island was divided amongst a multitude of petty chiefs, who 
wasted their strength in mad contests with each other, whilst 
religious discord lent her fatal aid, and famine and pestilence 
demoralised the people, until they sank at last under the 
wasting forays of the Picts and Scots, and the more perma- 
nent invasion of the warlike Saxons. 

dignity, still retaining their title. In particular, the Comes Stabuli be- 
came the modern constable. The Saxon shore was the south and east 
coast of Britain, which was much infested by Saxon pirates from the 
time of the third century. 




1. IN the history of this country , religion seems at all times 
to have been mixed up with civil affairs, and the decided ten- 
dency of the people, whether under the reign of Paganism or 
of Christianity, to have been towards a National Church. 
Among the ancient Britons the ministers of religion were 
also the chief legislators and administrators of law, and 
almost the sole depositaries of such knowledge and civilisa- 
tion as the country possessed. Corrupted and false as was 
their religion, they at least deserve the praise of having stu- 
died it with such care that the Gauls, when they desired to 
knoAV its principles more perfectly, usually took a journey 
into Britain for that purpose. The priests who performed the 
rites of this peculiar superstition are well known by the 
name of Druids, a word of which various derivations have 
been given.* 

To this body, which occupied by far the highest position 
in the country, was intrusted the performance of sacred 
ceremonies, the instruction of youth, and the execution of the 
judicial office, in almost all disputes, both public and private. 

2. The religious system of the Druids, like that of most 
ancient priesthoods, was probably twofold, containing one set 
of doctrines suited to the people, and another only commu- 
nicated to the initiated, who were bound by oath to keep in- 
violate the solemn secret. It is said that this esoteric or 
inner teaching was based on the unity of God and the future 
existence of the immortal soul, whilst their exoteric or outer 

* The most probable, however, seems to be that which brings it from 
the Celtic word Drui, an oak, in the plural, Druidhe. This is evidently 
the same as the Greek fyve, and even the English word tree, which in the 
Moesogothic was written triu. 

B 4 


discourses were filled with fables fitted only for the ear of the 
vulgar. The simplest and earliest form seems to have been 
the worship of the sun and moon, and of fire. The sun was 
adored under the name of Bel or Baal, and the moon regu- 
lated the times of their four great religious festivals.* Another 
remarkable principle was the worship of the serpent, and it 
has been conjectured that the great druidical temples, such 
as Stonehenge, were constructed for the united worship of 
the serpent and the sun. Afterwards, however, the number 
of deities was considerably increased, amongst whom the 
chief were Teutates, who resembled the Egyptian Thoth and 
the Latin Mercury ; Hesus, the god of warf ; Jow (young\ 
or Jupiter ; and Taranis, the ruler of thunder. 

The early system does not seem to have admitted covered 
temples or sculptured images of the gods ; but, at a later period, 
material representations were freely introduced. 

3. Their religious ceremonies were performed amidst the 
deep gloom of the dense oak woods, or within huge circles of 
upright stones \ , watered by a holy fountain. Near the site of a 

* These were held on the sixth day of the inoon nearest to tke 10th of 
March (which was their New Year's day), when the mistletoe was 
gathered ; on the 1st of May (still called in Ireland and Scotland Bel- 
tein or Bel fire), when all fires were relighted from the sacred hearths of 
the temples ; on Midsummer eve, when fires and sacrifices were made for 
a blessing on the crops ; and on the last day of October, when they were 
kindled in token of thanksgiving for the harvest. 

f In Hebrew, Hizzuz means very strong, and is applied as an epithet 
to the Almighty, Ps. xxiv. 8. 

| The celebrated druidical monument of Stonehenge, on Salisbury 
Plain, consisted of a double circle of huge stones, in the outer of which 
seventeen still remain in their original position, each fourteen feet in 
height. On their tops a continuous impost of large flat stones, carefully 
fitted in with mortises and tenons, was laid. The inner circle seems to 
have had much smaller stones and no imposts, and within it were five 
distinct erections, each consisting of two very large stones with an im- 
post, and three smaller stones in front, which have been called trilithons. 
The largest stone in the edifice is twenty-one feet six inches in height. 
Within these was a stone now called the altar-stone. The conjectures 
with regard to the character and use of this vast monument of ancient 
times are sufficiently numerous ; but it seems most reasonable to suppose 



temple often rises a sacred mount, from which it is conjectured 
that the priests used to address the people, and in the centre is 
sometimes found the cromlech, or stone of bowing, a flat stone 

laid upon others set perpendicularly in the earth : on this rude 
altar their sacrifices were offered, often of human beings, who 
were sometimes also burnt alive in colossal images of wicker- 
work. The gathering of the mistletoe was an occasion of great 
pomp and show. A solemn procession was made to the sacred 
oak ; two white bulls were bound to the tree by the horns ; 
and a Druid, clothed in white, cut the plant with a knife of 
gold, while it was received by another standing beneath in his 
priestly robe. The sacrifice of the victims and festive rejoic- 
ings followed this great event. 

The origin of Druidism has been sought in the East, 
especially in Persia and India; in Europe it was probably 
confined to Ireland, South Britain, and Gaul, until the 
severity of the Roman edicts drove its priests into Scotland 
and the Isle of JVIan. Its memory is still preserved in bon- 
fires, the tricks of Allhallow-Eve, and other traditional 
customs of the peasantry. 

4. The whole body of priests was divided into three classes, 

that it had a religious character, connected perhaps with the rites of the 
East, in which somewhat similar remains are still to be found. It might 
also have been used occasionally as a seat of justice. 


Druids, Vates, and Bards. The Bards were poets and musi- 
cians ; the Vates, priests and prophets (in Celtic Faidh) ; and 
the Druids, the highest order of priests and sacrificers. Over 
the entire order presided the Archdruid, who was elected from 
among the most eminent of his fellows by a plurality of votes. 
This station was so honourable, powerful, and lucrative, that 
the election sometimes occasioned a contest of arms. The 
Druids proper seem to have lived in a kind of monastic or 
collegiate life, and were allowed particular privileges in dress. 
5. This native priesthood was violently attacked by the 
Emperors Tiberius and Claudius, on the alleged ground of 
their atrocious sacrifices, but in reality, perhaps, from jealousy 
of their influence. The Roman subjects were henceforth 
obliged to build temples, erect statues, and worship after the 
Roman manner ; but the ancient faith long survived in spite 
of persecution, and even after both forms of heathenism had 
ceased to exist, continued to plague the Christian bishops and 
kings by the occasional appearance of its idolatrous rites. 
There is a law of King Canute against the worship of the 
sun, moon, &c., so late as the llth century. 

6. The precise date of the introduction of Christianity into 
Britain cannot be determined ; but it appears certain that it 
was at an early period. Before the close of the first century, 
Christian refugees may have fled thither from the persecutions 
on the Continent, and Christian soldiers and civilians may 
have accompanied the Roman armies. Thus might Christian 
communities be gradually formed, buildings appropriated to 
Christian worship, and the necessary ecclesiastical govern- 
ment established. It has been often ascribed indeed to one of 
the apostles, and especially St. Paul, or to some of the early 
disciples, for which views several arguments may certainly be 
found. Without disputing this point, however, it appears that 
at the beginning of the 3d century, the Church had already 
spread largely throughout the island, and even, as Tertullian 
remarks, into those parts hitherto inaccessible to the Roman 
arms. Its extent and importance soon attracted persecution, 
and, under Diocletian, its first martyr, St. Alban, perished along 


with many others whose names are not recorded. In the 4th 
century, the great change which took place in the Roman 
empire, upon the conversion of Constantine the Great, natu- 
rally embraced Britain, which was henceforth considered as a 
part of the Western Church, and was placed on a full equality 
with the churches of Spain and Gaul. The clergy seem, 
however, to have continued poor, for they alone accepted the 
offer of royal support from Constantius. 

7. In this age the heresy of Arius penetrated into Britain, 
though here it seems to have made but little way.* The 
only ostensible difference with the continental churches 
which had yet arisen was about the time of keeping Easter, in 
which the British followed the computation of Asia instead of 
Rome ; nor was this dispute as yet of the consequence to which 
we shall afterwards find it attain. | A more dangerous inno- 
vator was found in Pelagius, himself a Briton, whose opinions 
spread rapidly throughout his native land in the course of the 
fifth century. The orthodox clergy, not being able to with- 
stand his disciples, invited two Gallican bishops, Germanus 
and Lupus, to their assistance, who obtained a complete vic- 
tory over the Pelagians, at least for the time. Peace was 
not fully restored, however, until the chiefs of the party were 
banished from the island. 

* Arius maintained that the Son was distinct from the Father, though 
still a Divine Being, and the first and noblest of all God's creations. The 
modern Socinians assert that Christ is a mere man, though a very great 
and holy one. 

j" The Romans kept Easter on the first Sunday between the 14th and 
22d day of the first moon after the vernal equinox. The Asiatics, Gal- 
licans, and Britons, on the first Sunday between the 13th and 21st. 
Thus, if the 14th happened to be a Sunday, the one party would hold 
the feast on that day, the other not till the Sunday after, whence the first 
were called Quartodecimans. 

| The chief heads of Pelagianism are said to have been, that Adam was 
naturally mortal, and would have died even though he had not sinned ; 
that Adam's sin affected only himself, but not his posterity ; that children 
at their birth are as pure and innocent as Adam at his creation ; that the 
grace of God is not necessary to enable men to overcome temptation, or 
even to attain perfection, but that they may effect all this by the freedom 
of their own will and the exercise of their natural powers. 


8. Of the government and discipline of the British Church 
we know but little. That it was ruled by bishops appears 
from the fact that three prelates sat as representatives of the 
province at the Council of Aries, in France, A.D. 314 ; and 
again, along with a presbyter and a deacon, at the Councils 
of Sardica (A.D. 347), and of Ariminum (A.D. 359). Their 
attendance at these synods, moreover, is recorded quite as a 
matter of course. It is clear, however, that it was never in 
any way subject to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, or, 
indeed, of any foreign bishop. Pilgrimages to Jerusalem were 
frequent towards the close of this period, and the monastic 
order already presents itself to our view in various quarters. 

9. Copies of the Scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin, 
seem to have circulated freely amongst the British Christians ; 
and there is sufficient evidence to show that the great doc- 
trines of religion were held and explained as in the Church 
of England at the present day. The British Liturgy is be- 
lieved to have agreed with the Gallican, in opposition to the 
Roman, and has thus been ingeniously traced up by some 
writers to St. John, whose disciples are said to have founded 
the Gallican Church. 




1. THE learning of the ancient Britons, as might be expected, 
was chiefly to be found amongst the Druids, to whom was left 
the whole intellectual culture of the nation, and who were 
not very likely to train any students unless intended for 
their own profession. The secrecy in which they wrapped 
their principles, and the law which forbade them to commit 
any thing to writing, have prevented us from obtaining much 
information upon this interesting subject. We know, how- 
ever, that their pupils sometimes remained as long as twenty 
years under tuition, and that they were instructed during 
that time in theology, natural philosophy, astronomy, medi- 
cine, and the art of writing, which they were permitted to 
use upon common occasions. The characters which they 
used are supposed to have been Greek, until the Roman 
alphabet was introduced ; but we find, also, very curious an- 
cient inscriptions, which have been called Ogham or Ogma, 

Ogham Characters. (From a stone found near Ennis.) 

traced upon stones in different parts of Ireland. The branch 
of science which appears to have been most studied, on 




account of its connexion with the prevailing system of reli- 
gion, was astronomy, in which they really seem to have made 
considerable progress. Nor was their knowledge of me- 
chanics contemptible : huge pillars, formed of single stones, 
some of them above forty tons in weight, are still to be 
found in various places, and sometimes, as at the great circle 
of Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain, they support immense 

Plan and Elevation of Stonehenge restored. (The shaded stones are still remaining.) 

blocks laid along their tops. Some of the rocking-stones, 
also, which are hundreds of tons in weight, and poised upon 
points of stone so nicely as to move with a single touch of 
the hand, appear evidently to have been placed by art in 
their strange position.* Eloquence was also assiduously cul- 

* The singular round towers of Scotland and Ireland have been 


tivated, and held in the highest honour; and poetry was 
almost the native tongue of the Celtic tribes. The bards are 
said to have used a great variety of measures and many kinds 
of versification, and sang their songs to the music of the harp. 
Their persons were held sacred, and their performances highly 
rewarded. Magic and divination were also taught, and the 
knowledge of future events was drawn from the entrails of 
victims and the flight and feeding of certain birds, as sys- 
tematically as among the more polished nations of the South. 
2. The common people of Britain spent their time chiefly 
in hunting or tending their cattle, and occasionally, along the 
sea-coast, in agriculture. They lived in caves, or in rude 
hovels made of poles and wattled-work, raised in a circular 
form, with high tapering roofs, and a hole at the top to let 
the light in and the smoke out, both of which offices, no 
doubt, it very imperfectly fulfilled. They displayed their 
greatest skill in the erection of sacred circles and of fortifica- 
tions, which are yet to be seen in many places, admirably 
situated, and strongly walled round in several enclosures. 
Of their knowledge of carpentry we know but little, but 
their instruments (called celts) are often found, and their six 
different kinds of carriages would show that they were not 
deficient in this useful art. Carving was also practised, and 
their wicker-work is mentioned with praise by Juvenal and 
Martial. The British earthenware was but rudely formed 
and imperfectly baked, and its remains are most commonly 
found in sepulchral monuments. The art of working in 
metals was undoubtedly known, and moulds for spear, arrow, 
and axe heads, have been frequently discovered. The metal 
of which the British weapons and tools were made has been 
analysed, and found to consist of one part of tin, and six, 
seven and a half, or ten, of copper. The arts of spinning, 
weaving, and felting woollen cloth were well known, together 
with those of bleaching and dying, especially in blue, which 
was performed with the herb isatis, or woad. The original vest- 
assigned by the latest writers to the period between the 5th and 13th 
centuries, and to an ecclesiastical origin. 


ments of the people were most probably, however, of skins. 
Painting, or, rather, tattooing, was first practised upon their 
bodies, on which they drew figures of beasts, birds, and trees ; 
but after clothing came into general use, they transferred 
this style of ornament with more decency to their shields. 

3. The Roman arts and sciences were introduced by Agri- 
cola, A.D. 78, and were adopted with eagerness by the youths 
of Britain. The Greek and Latin languages were soon gene- 
rally understood and spoken, the Roman laws studied with 
care, and schools established in all the principal towns. 
Amongst the learned men of this time may be mentioned 
Pelagius and his disciple Celestius, with St. Ninian and St. 
Patrick, who, however, belong in part to the next period. 
The Romans taught them also to build houses and group 
them into towns, and in the third century Britain had become 
so famous for its builders and architects that they were often 
sent for to distant countries to work deep mines of tin, lead, 
and iron, and even of silver and gold to make roads, of 
which four great highways may still be traced, and of which 
the famous London Stone, now sunk in the wall of St. 
Swithin's Church, Cannon Street, is supposed to have been the 
great central mile-stone to construct vast walls of defence, 
of which some massy fragments yet remain to coin money 
in more regular forms besides other useful arts, which will 
be recorded in their proper place. 

The condition of Britain was thus greatly improved, and 
we find, in consequence, several glowing panegyrics pro- 
nounced upon its happy state by the orators of the Roman 





1. ALL the youth of the Britons, except the Druids, were 
trained to arms from the earliest age, and their very diversions 
were invariably of a martial cast. Their armies were marshalled 
by clans, each commanded by its own chieftain, and these 
again controlled by the king of their own particular state. 
When two or more states formed an alliance in war, one of the 
allied kings was chosen general-in-chief. This was obviously 
a most disadvantageous arrangement, especially when con- 
trasted with the well-organised and thoroughly united legions 
of the Romans. 

The troops were composed of infantry, cavalry, and 
those who fought from chariots. The infantry were by 
far the most numerous, but were armed only with light 

Ancient British Target and Celts. (In the Meyrick Collection.) 

targets, long pointless swords, dirks, spears, and sometimes 
bows and arrows. The cavalry carried broadswords, long 
spears, and large shields, and were mounted upon small 
but hardy and spirited horses. The footmen used to fight 



amidst their ranks, holding by the horse's mane, a custom 
which was practised by the Highland clans so late as the last 

2. The chariot warriors were, however, the most remark- 
able body, and were chiefly made up of persons of distinction, 
and of the flower of the youth. The war-chariot, which held 
a charioteer and one or more fighting men, was made very 
strong and light, and armed with sharp hooks and scythes on 
the axles, which tore up every thing before them. The 
horses were perfectly trained ; and the drivers used to stop 
them at full speed, run along the pole, rest on the harness, 
and throw themselves back into their places with incredible 
dexterity. This part of the forces, indeed, was a constant 
terror even to the veteran troops of Rome. 

The material and construction of their weapons, which 
were made of copper and tin, or even bones and flints, was 
very much against these bold warriors, who seem to have re- 
lied more upon their activity and address in rapid attacks 
than upon their weight and power in close combat. 

3. The infantry was generally disposed in several lines, 
sloping in the form of a wedge, the sharp point towards the 
enemy. The cavalry and chariots were placed on the wings, 
and in the rear and flanks they fixed their waggons with the 
women and children. Their choice of ground was almost in- 
variably judicious, and their charges were made with great 
impetuosity and dreadful cries. In fortification, as already 
mentioned, they were by no means deficient, though in this, 
as in other matters, they afterwards profited much by the 
example of their invaders. 

4. The military spirit and power of the Britons were at 
length so thoroughly broken by the policy of the Romans, 
that at their departure they were wholly unable to defend 
themselves against the inroads of the rudest tribes, and fell 
an easy prey to the first determined and well-planned attack. 

5. The Celtic tribes, unlike the Teutons, do not seem to 
have loved the sea ; and their boats were but wretched cora- 
cles, made of osier twigs, covered with a hide, such as are 
still used in Wales and Ireland ; or canoes hollowed out of a 



single tree, of which several specimens have been dug up, one 
so perfect as to be used as a boat for some time afterwards. 

Ancient British Canoe. (In the British Museum.) 

The encouragement given by the Romans, however, induced 
the building of larger vessels, in which a considerable coast- 
ing trade was probably carried on. A powerful maritime 
force was maintained by the Romans for the defence of the 
Saxon shore ; and about the end of the third century we meet 
with the first instance of an exclusively British navy under 
Carausius, which was extremely well manned, and con- 
tributed greatly to preserve his superiority over all the at- 
tacks that were made upon his kingdom. 

c 2 




1. BEFORE the Roman invasion agriculture was chiefly 
carried on by the Belgic settlers on the sea-coast, who were 
not unacquainted with manures, especially marl, which they 
used with great effect. The limits of their fields were 
marked by large upright stones, numbers of which still re- 
main, and are called hare or boundary stones. The corn was 
buried in caves, beaten out in small quantities with a stick, 
and ground by hand between two blocks of stone. The 
conquerors introduced an improved system, however, under 
which this island became one of the granaries of the empire, 
and aiforded a large surplus of corn for exportation, which 
was annually carried away by a fleet of ships, and distributed 
amongst the legions at their different stations.* They also 
commenced gardening on a large scale, and even attempted 
to cultivate the vine with some success. 

2. The Phoenicians, the great trading people of antiquity, 
are the first foreigners who are known to have opened a com- 
mercial intercourse with these islands. f The principal com- 
modities purchased by these bold navigators were tin, lead, 
and skins, for which they gave in exchange earthenware, salt, 
and articles of bronze. The tin was found in the Scilly 
islands and in Cornwall, and was disposed of along the 
Mediterranean, and even in India, at a very high price. By 

* Nor was the peculiar food of the Scotchman altogether unknown ; 
for St. Jerome reproaches Celestius with his " great stomach distended 
with Scottish porridge," or hasty pudding. 

f It is impossible to fix any thing like the date at which this intercourse 
commenced. In the oldest recorded voyage, supposed to have ben 
made about 1000 years before Christ, the traffic is spoken of as a custom 
long existing. 

CHAP. V.] 



great care and management the Phoenicians contrived to con- 
ceal the seat of this profitable trade for several ages, till at 
length it was found out by the Greeks and Romans ; which 
latter people seem to have visited Britain long before its sup- 
posed discovery by Caesar. Thus it was extended to the 
whole of the southern coast, especially opposite France ; and 
foreign merchants and ships were perpetually passing and re- 
passing between the two countries. 

After the Roman invasion, the traffic became still more 
considerable, and penetrated more deeply into the interior. 
Tin, lead, iron, gold and silver, corn, cattle, hides and fleeces, 
cheese, horses and dogs (excellent both for hunting and bull- 
baiting), lime, chalk and marl, oysters, jet and pearls, (the 
latter of which were highly prized, and are said by Sue- 
tonius to have tempted Caesar into the island,) baskets of 
osier work, and numerous slaves, were constantly exported to 
the capital of the empire. 

The imports are not so well known, but consisted, no doubt, 
of various manufactured articles of use or luxury. The trade 
with the Continent was chiefly carried on from the mouths of 
the Rhine, Seine, Loire, and Garonne, and no doubt a good 
deal in British bottoms ; whilst the principal ports on this side 
of the Channel were Southampton, Richborough in Kent, and 
London. Customs duties were levied on the exports and 
imports by the Roman governors, which were held in lieu of 
direct tribute, to which the high spirit of the Britons would 
never submit. 

3. The first introduction of money into British commerce 

Coin of Cunobeline.* 

* The first of these coins is no doubt older than the Roman invasion 

c 3 


cannot be distinctly ascertained ; but it seems tolerably cer- 
tain that before the Roman invasion some parts at least of the 
island possessed a native coinage differing entirely from the 
Roman, and most probably copied from Grecian models, 
especially from those of Macedon, which might have been 
brought into the country by the foreign merchants who 
frequented our shores, and afterwards rudely imitated by 
native artists. These early coins are thick and dished, with 
ill-formed designs of horses, human heads with wreaths or 
curls of hair, or wheels, flowers, animals, &c. It is curious that 
Roman letters should sometimes be found on them, which would 
indicate that the Britons were acquainted with the learning 
of that people, in some degree, even before the known period 
of their arrival. This money is of gold, silver, and a base 
metal, more or less pure. It is possible, also, that metallic 
ornaments of various kinds may have been occasionally used 
for the purposes of exchange ; and some small thick rings of 
a peculiar shape can hardly perhaps be assigned to any other use. 
Under the Roman rule the coins of the conquering race were 
naturally imitated, and a very great improvement was the 
consequence, the pieces being struck rather thin and quite 
flat, with regular heads, and well-executed ornaments and in- 
scriptions. The money of C unobeline, in particular, (who is said 
to have been brought up by Augustus, and afterwards reigned 
over a large portion of Britain,) are of elegant workmanship, 
and have been found in great numbers. The proper Roman 
coinage, however, soon superseded the British imitations ; and 
Gildas says that, by an imperial edict, it alone at length was 
allowed to pass current. Immense quantities of this Roman 
money have been turned up from time to time in every part 
of the country. 

the coin of Segonax was probably struck in Kent about the time of Cjesar's 
second landing; and that of Cunobeline during the reign of Augustus. 
The word TASCIO, or TASCIA, which is found on these coins, and is some- 
times united with VA, VAN, VANI, VANIT, or NOVA, has occasioned much 
controversy, but has never yet been satisfactorily explained. 




1. THE manners of the early inhabitants of these islands 
were no doubt as rude as their condition. Their miserable 
huts contained but a few rough stools or blocks of wood, 
baskets, wooden bowls, and articles of coarse earthenware. 
The floor served for a bed, the mantle or a skin for bed- 
clothes, and the luxury of a chimney was unknown. Their 
diet was sufficiently simple, and contracted still farther by 
a strange abstinence from the flesh of hares and of poultry, 
and in the northern parts from fish. If we are, however, to 
believe some ancient writers, they made up for this restriction 
by the practice of the most revolting cannibalism. It is to 
be hoped that this accusation only arose from the frightful 
stories which the people of Gaul used to tell of their wild 
island neighbours. Their drinks were mead and ale, wine 
being little, if at all, known before the Roman invasion. They 
ate twice a day, the last being the great meal, squatted on 
hay or skins, with the meat placed before them on a stool or 
low table, the teeth and nails, with the occasional help of a 
wretched knife, being the only implements employed. Hos- 
pitality has been always a prominent virtue in the Celtic 
character, and strangers at parting generally exchanged arms 
with their host in token of regard. 

2. In personal appearance the Britons were remarkable for 
strength and stature, particularly in the North, and their 
women were famous for the fairness of their hair and com- 
plexions. The Meeata? and Caledonians are described by the 
Romans as living in a state of nudity, but this may have 
arisen from their being generally seen in battle, when all 
the tribes invariably threw off their clothing. Cassar says 
that the inhabitants of the interior were dressed in skins, and 

c 4 



[BOOK 1 

on the coast, at least, they were abundantly supplied with 
cloth of their own manufacture. The ordinary dress was a 
large plaid or mantle of a square form, wide enough to cover 
the whole trunk of the body. Trousers also, or braccae* 
(breeches), were worn, chequered in various colours, but with 

Gaulish Costume. Braccas, tunic, and sagum. (From a statue in the Louvre ) 

a predominating tint of red. The mantles of the Druids 
were entirely white, and probably made of linen cloth. 
Both sexes were ornamented with massy rings and chains of 
gold and silver, copper or iron, and especially with the Torch 
or Dorch, Latinised into torquis, which was apparently a 
mark of nobility or command. They were extremely proud 
of their hair, which they greased abundantly, and dyed with 
herbs. The men shaved all the face except the upper lip, 
where an immensely long mustache was allowed to grow. 
The celebrated tattooing of the skin originated, no doubt, in 
the same motives which have prompted many other barbarous 
nations to the same mode of decoration; thus among the 

* Braccae is formed from the Celtic word breac, spotted or chequered, 
their cloth being generally striped like the modern tartan. A favourite 
cake, in Ireland, is still called the Barn-breac, or spotted cake. 


New Zealanders and the tribes of Africa the rank of the indi- 
vidual or the particular tribe to which he belongs is denoted by 
the figures with which the body is embossed. As clothing came 
to be more extensively worn it gradually disappeared, and 
was at length entirely banished by the full attire of civilisa- 

3. A singular regulation with regard to matrimony is 
mentioned by Caesar as existing in Britain at the time of his 
arrival. Ten or twelve families, it is said, used to live 
under the same roof, the husbands having their wives in com- 
mon, and the different children assigned to the men to whom 
their mother had been first married. Yet conjugal virtue 
seems to have been highly respected, and the women were 
undoubtedly of great consequence in the management of all 
their affairs. Marriages were also solemnised with much 
pomp: all the relations on both sides within the third degree 
of kindred were invited, and rich presents made. The first 
morsel of food was put into an infant's mouth on the point 
of its father's sword, with a prayer that he might prove a 
brave warrior, and die on the field of battle. Youths were 
not allowed to keep company with their fathers, and received 
no regular education, till they had attained the manly age, 
between fifteen and eighteen. 

4. The rites of burial were performed by the Britons with 
great affection and magnificence, and every thing in which the 
deceased had delighted, weapons of war and of the chase, or- 
naments of every kind, with favourite dogs and deer, were 
buried with the corpse, intended, no doubt, for his gratifi- 
cation or defence in the next world. The sepulchres or 
barrows are of different kinds, and exhibit great labour and 
ingenuity ; some are of an oblong form and great size, pro- 
bably designed for chieftains, and of the earliest date ; next 
are the bowl-shaped, then the more elegant bell-shaped, and 
the finest of all are those intended for females, of an oval form, 
which have been improperly called by some the Druid bar- 
rows. The most ancient mode of arranging the body was, 
probably, to place it in a hollow, with the legs bent up to- 
wards the head ; afterwards at full length : in some in- 
stances it was enclosed in a strong wooden coffin rivetted with 



bronze, or an unbarked tree hollowed out in the centre. 
The bodies were frequently burnt also, especially amongst 

a. Long barrow. 

British Barrows. 
t b. Druid barrow. c. Bell-shaped. 

d. Conical, e. Twin barrow. 

the southern Britons, who may have learnt it from the 
Romans. The northern tribes simply laid the body in the 
earth, and raised a cairn of loose stones over it. 

5. The influx of Roman inhabitants made an entire change 
in the customs and appearance of the Britons ; warlike ex- 
ercises and the severer toils of hunting, religious practices 
and superstitions of common life, dress, habits, and manners, 
all disappearing or changing their character under the influence 
of the new regime. Even in the time of Agricola the young 
chieftains had begun to abandon the braccae, and to substitute 
the Roman tunic, and the hair of both sexes was cut and 
dressed after the Italian fashion. Their armour and weapons 
also were suited to the new improvements introduced amongst 
them. The tribes, however, north of Adrian's wall remained 
in their original state ; and when Severus invaded Caledonia, 
in the beginning of the third century, a contemporary author 
describes the Masatag almost in the same terms as Ca3sar had 
portrayed the Britons of the interior upon his first arrival. 


SAXON PERIOD. A. D. 449 1066. 



1. THE warlike tribes of Germany whom the weakness of 
the Britons invited to settle on their shores, and from whom 
the bulk of the present English people and the most distinc- 
tive features of the English character are derived, were three 
in number the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons. They were all 
of the pure Teutonic or Gothic race; and all their kings 
claimed descent from Woden, the first great leader of their 
armies from the shores of the Caspian.* The name of Saxon, 
by which they were generally known, has been variously 
derived from the seax, or short sword with which they were 
commonly armed, and from Sakai-Suna, or descendants of 
the Sacae, a Scythian tribe, who began to make their way 

* This event is supposed by some to have occurred in the century 
before Christ, when Sigge, the son of Fridulph, and chief of the Asi, a 
Scythian tribe, being oppressed by Pompey at the close of the Mithridatic 
war, abandoned his country, and led his followers into the regions along 
the Baltic. There he soon subdued the weaker natives, and was at length 
exalted into Odin the God. It is probable, however, that more than one 
victorious conqueror or subtle priest may have assumed the name of 
Odin, and that in process of time their characters and achievements came 
to be attributed, as in the case of the Grecian Hercules, to a single hero. 
Others assert that Odin was merely a mythological personage, the god 
of war. 


towards Europe so early as the age of Cyrus. The Jutes 
and Angles originally dwelt in the Cimbric Chersonesus (now 
the peninsula of Jutland) and parts of Schleswig and Hoi- 
stein ; the Saxons in the countries now called Westphalia, 
Friesland, Holland, and probably a part of Belgium. The 
Jutes were the first to land in Britain ; and they invited the 
Angles to join them, who were soon followed by the Saxons, 
when the complete reduction of the country commenced. 
The details of their successive landings and occupation of ter- 
ritory in the different kingdoms belong, however, to ordinary 
history ; and we shall only remark, that some late writers have 
questioned the truth of the common story of Hengist and 
Horsa, and reduced the whole affair to a simple piratical inva- 
sion, such as had already frequently occurred along the Saxon 
shore, only more permanent and important in its results. We 
may proceed then, at once, to consider the position in which, 
after nearly 200 years of fierce opposition, they succeeded in 
placing themselves upon the stage of their future greatness. , 

2. The seven great divisions of the island, under the 
Saxons, are well known by the name of the Heptarchy ; a 
phrase, however, which is not very correctly applied to any 
one particular period. 

(1.) The kingdom of Kent, or Cantwara-land, was founded 
by the Jutes about A. D. 455, and is still one of the most 
thoroughly Anglo-Saxon parts of the country : its capital was 
Canterbury.* (2.) The kingdom of Sussex (South Saxons) 
was founded by the Saxons ; and its capital was Chichester. 
(3.) Another band of Saxons established the kingdom of 
Wessex (West Saxons), whose chief city was Winchester. 
(4.) The East Saxons gave name to the kingdom of Essex, in 
which the district of the Middle Saxons was comprised, and 
which probably had London for its capital. (5.) The king- 
dom of East Anglia contained the first bands of Angles, and 
comprised the principal eastern counties : its capital was 
Dunwich, now swallowed up in the sea. (6.) The northern 

* The original British name of Kent was probably Cean-tir, the head 
of the land, the same as Cantire in Scotland. 


counties were erected into the kingdom of Northumber- 
land by the Angles, probably intermingled with Saxons and 
Jutes. It was still divided, however, into the old British 
states of Deira and Bernicia (Deyfyr and Bryneich), the 
first of which had York for its capital, the latter Bamborough. 
(7.) The centre of England was occupied by the kingdom of 
Mercia, (explained either as the March or boundary towards 
Wales, or Myrcna-ric, the woodland kingdom,) belonging to 
the Angles, which had Leicester or Tamworth for its 
chief city. 

In this division the Angles had obviously the balance of 
power, and their name has been alone perpetuated in that of 
the country itself (Angle-land) ; which may be accounted for 
by the fact that, whilst the Saxons and Jutes sent forth mere 
bands of straggling adventurers, the Angles removed almost 
in a body to this island, leaving their homes on the Continent 
nearly desolate. In the latter years of this period England 
appears to have been divided into thirty-two shires, of which 
nine formed the kingdom of Wessex, eight that of Mercia, 
and fifteen the Danelagh, or district of the Danes. Northum- 
berland and Cumberland hardly yet belonged to England 
Proper ; nor was either Cornwall or Wales reckoned a part 
of it, being almost entirely inhabited by Britons.* 

3. The Saxon form of government differed materially, 
after their settlement in Britain, from what it had been 
amidst their native woods. Their chiefs originally bore the 
title of Aldermen (Elders) or Heretogs, and possessed little 
power except in war. In a foreign country, however, they 
speedily acquired extensive domains, and assumed the title 
and station of kings, their claim to which was readily recog- 
nised by their followers, f The title, also, of Bretwalda, or 
Emperor (wielder) of Britain, was given from time to time to 

* Even in the reign of King John, Herefordshire was commonly con- 
sidered a part of Wales. 

j" The word cyning, or king, is variously derived from the Saxon 
konnen, to be able ; cyn, kindred or nation, as being the representative of 
the community ; and from the Celtic cean, a head. The Anglo-Saxon 
kings sometimes took the Byzantine title of Basileus. 




one or other of the kings, of whom Ella, the South Saxon 
(A. D. 510), was the first. The hereditary succession of the 
monarchy was observed with more or less strictness according 
to circumstances and the disposition of the people ; the su- 
preme authority being considered rather as belonging to the 
royal family in right of their descent from Woden, than as 
vested in any particular member of it. It would appear, also, 
that among the Anglo-Saxons, contrary to the practice of other 
Teutons, the crown might descend to a female ; or, as they 
expressed it, " fall to the spindle side." The duties of a 
sovereign in those days consisted chiefly in administering 
justice (with the help of his council) in times of peace, and 
in commanding the armies of the state in time of war. Both 
offices might, however, be fulfilled by deputy. The power 
of the kings was by no means absolute at any period ; and 
the government would seem, indeed, to have been more of an 
aristocracy than any thing else. Their revenues were, pro- 
bably, considerable; and arose chiefly from private estates, 

Great Seal of Edward the Confessor. 

from the crown lands, from the annual payments of the 
towns, customs duties, tolls, and a share of all fines and 
spoils taken from the enemy, &c. With the invasions of the 

CHAP. I.] 



Danes, and the necessity of buying them off from time to 
time, began the custom of taxing the people, with the con- 
sent, however, of the Witenagemot. A tax, first of one 
Saxon shilling, afterwards of two or more, was laid upon 
every hyde of land (100 to 120 acres) in the kingdom ; which, 
as there were 243,600 hydes, (exclusive of houses in towns, 
which were also rated,) would amount to at least 12,180 
Saxon pounds, or in value about 360,0007. sterling. This 
Danegelt (Dane's money) was first levied about A. D. 991, 
and continued till the reign of Edward the Confessor ; but 
it seems, in course of time, to have been appropriated to the 
private purposes of the monarch.* 

In the person of Egbert, king of Wessex, and eighth Bret- 

Coronation of Harold. (Bayeux Tapestry.) 

walda of England, the various sovereignties were at length 
imperfectly united, A. D. 827 ; but the different kings did not 

* The only burdens to which landed property was regularly subjected 
were the three common labours, as they were called Brycg-bote, or 
tax for the maintenance of bridges and highways ; burh-bote, for the 
repairs of walls and fortresses, and fyrd, or military service. Every five 
hydes of land was in time of war obliged to maintain one soldier. 




cease to exist, nor to exercise a considerable independent 
authority. Athelstane (A. D. 937) was the first who assumed 
the title of " King of the English ; " but in reality England 
can hardly be called one kingdom, ruled by one monarch, and 
possessing one supreme legislation, till after the Norman 

4. As the king was the highest magistrate, so the Wite- 
nagemot, or Meeting of Wise Men, was the highest court of 
justice ; and out of it afterwards arose the present English 
parliament. During the Heptarchy there were, of course, as 

The Witenagemote, the King presiding. (Cotton MS.) 

many assemblies as kingdoms ; and even after the union the 
powers of the General Council or Micelgemot ( Great Meeting) 
over the distinct states were but ill defined and uncertain. 
In it sat, by unquestioned right, the bishops of the church 
in Christian times ; the great officers of state ; the earls or 
aldermen; thanes or great landholders; with such other 
counsellors and wise men as might be required. Some of 
these sat in right of their landed property ; others, of their 
station and learning ; and the three orders of the state 
would thus be made out as the Clergy, Nobles, and Land- 
holders ; the king being, as it were, the balance and centre 


of them all. The qualification required for a thane was 
raised in time from five to forty hydes of land, at least in 
some counties. 

The most disputed point about the Witenagemot is the 
character in which the folk, or people at large, appeared, who 
are repeatedly mentioned as being present at its meetings. 
It does not seem, however, that they were directly repre- 
sented ; but that the persons spoken of as attending on their 
part were the representatives, rather, of the magistrates of 
the burghs and townships, who might themselves, it is true, 
have been previously elected by the people. 

The assembly was convened by the king ; and was held at 
stated times, generally in the spring, and at the full or 
change of the moon, while the Saxons were pagans; and, 
after their conversion, at the great festivals of Christmas, 
Easter, and Whitsuntide. 

The members enjoyed several privileges ; and special laws 
were made for the security of their persons in going to or 
returning from the place of meeting, always excepting such 
as were notorious thieves I 

5. The Anglo-Saxons, like the other Teutonic nations, were 
divided into various castes. Next to the king and queen 
was the heir presumptive, called the JEtheling or Most 
Noble, and the princes of the royal family, distinguished by 
the title of Illustrious. Then came the class of nobles or 
thane-born*, who were divided into Sithcundmen or Six- 
haendmen, who did not possess sufficient property to consti- 
tute a lordship, and were subject, in some degree, to the 
other class of Twelfhaendmen, or landed nobility. 

The third caste, or Twihaendmen, was composed of the 
ceorls or villains, (carles, churls, villani,} who were tenants 
bound to the soil. They held a recognised estate in the land 
to which they belonged, and were not to be removed from it, 
nor have a higher rent than usual imposed ; but they were 

* Thane or thegn (synonymous with comes, count} signifies a minister 
or honourable retainer. Knight was not a term of honour till the Con- 
quest, and the Saxon cnichts were mere humble followers or servants, 



still part of the property, and might be given, bequeathed, 
or sold along with it. This condition arose out of the cir- 
cumstances of the Saxon conquest. As each warrior con- 
quered in a district, a number of captives and a proportionate 
grant of land was given to him, which he either parcelled out 
amongst his free retainers and kindred, who rendered him 
military service, and were afterwards called vassals, or 
amongst bondmen, probably the original cultivators of the 
soil, who paid their rents in produce, and were called villains, 
from the Latin villa, a country seat. This distinction be- 
tween the first proprietor and his vassals gave rise to the 
division of estates into allodial and feudal; the former being 
those held without, the latter with, a lord superior. The 
feudal estates (beneficia, fiefs or feuds*) appear to have been 
at first held during the pleasure of the superior, then for a 
fixed time, afterwards for life, and finally to have become 
hereditary. It has been much disputed whether the feudal 
system existed in the Anglo-Saxon period; but it is too 
natural and obvious to a race of conquerors not to have been 
adopted at once, although it was not fully established, in all 
its regularity and extent, till after the Norman Conquest. 

6. There was another division of land into bocland, or that 
portion of the conquered territory apportioned to individuals 
by a boc (book) or written instrument, and folcland, or the 
public property, terra popular is, afterwards called terra regis, 
or crown land. 

7. Below the ceorls were the freedmen and the theowes or 
slaves, who were in exactly the same condition as the negro 
slaves in the West Indies. Some of them may have been 
the offspring of British serfs, but the greater portion were 
freemen who had forfeited their liberty by debt or crimes. 
A culprit who could not pay the penalty for his offence might 
be redeemed from his punishment within a year, but never 

* Feud or fief is derived by some from an abbreviation of Emphyteusis, 
a word used by the Roman lawyers ; by others, from fee odh, or stipendiary 
property. Allodial is uncertain in its derivation. Benefice is still re- 
tained in ecclesiastical matters. 


afterwards. They were very numerous, and employed in 
different offices : if one of them were killed by his master, 
no fine, or but a small one, was required; if by a stranger, 
his price was paid to the owner. The canons of the church, 
however, and the example of the clergy, gradually softened 
the condition of these wretched beings, though they could not 
altogether obliterate it. 

8. The territorial division of the country into counties 
(comitatus) or shires (divisions), hundreds, and tithings, goes 
back apparently to the first settlement of the Saxons. Over 
each of these presided a magistrate ; over the county a count, 
earl, (Jarl, a Danish title,) or alderman, who held both the 
civil and military government, and often assumed all the 
state and dignity of a king. These were assisted by a deputy 
called the shire-reeve (sheriff) or vice- comes, who was himself 
aided by legal assessors. Over the hundred was set a hun- 
dreden or centenary, who was commonly a thane, and whose 
office was both honourable and lucrative. Last came the 
decanus or tithing man, who ruled the tithing or lowest 
division.* Each of these officers held a court in which justice 
was administered, and all the affairs of the district discussed. 
Here, too, the military assemblies were held, whence the 
courts were sometimes called Wapentakes. They were sub- 
ordinate one to another, so that an appeal lay from the tithing 
court to the hundred, and from that to the shiregemot. 

The principle of mutual responsibility was carried out to an 
extraordinary extent in these arrangements, the head of a 
family being answerable for the conduct of its members, and 
even of its guests, and the inhabitants of a tithing for that of 
their neighbours, which was called frank or free pledge. The 

* In some counties there was another magistrate, between the earl and 
the hundreden, called the trithing man, or lathe-reeve, who presided 
over several hundreds. Trithing means the third part of a shire, which 
in Yorkshire has been corrupted into Riding. In Sussex they are called 
rapes, and in Kent lathes. 

It should be added that a tithing was not necessarily confined to ten 
families, but was so called because that was the smallest number of which 
it could be composed. 

D 2 


clergy alone were exempt from this obligation, but they 
often formed voluntary associations (sodalitia) amongst them- 
selves on the same excellent principle. 

9. The larger Saxon towns were distinguished by the name 
of burghs, derived either from the barbarous Latin word bur- 
gus, a fort (TTvpyosi), or from borh, a pledge or bail, from the 
mutual responsibility of the inhabitants. They were governed 
by a burgmot, or portmot (if they were seaports), and a reeve, 
like the country districts, and the burgesses held offices by 
the tenure of property.* 

The origin of cities rested with the Romans ; for the 
Britons had none, properly so called, and the Anglo-Saxons 
planted theirs in the first instance upon the sites of the Roman 
towns and stations. So rapidly did they spread, however, 
that, with very few exceptions, all our present towns, and 
even villages and hamlets, appear to have existed from the 
Saxon times. The division of the country into parishes has 
also descended, almost without alteration, from the 10th cen- 
tury at the very latest. f 

10. The entire population of the country during this 
period cannot be exactly ascertained ; but no doubt the most 
numerous class by far was that of the ceorls. Every lay- 
man, in fact, who was not a thane or a slave, was a ceorl. 
The clergy of all orders ranked with or even above the 
nobility ; for while the oath of an earl was only equal in 
weight to that of six ceorls, that of a priest was equivalent 
to 120; of a deacon to 60; and of a simple monk to 30. 

* The word town, however, or township (in Saxon tun, from tynan, to 
enclose), had not the same meaning as at the present day, but was nearly 
identical with what, after the Conquest, was called a manor. Thus the 
whole country was divided into townships as well as hundreds ; and for 
certain purposes the former had a jurisdiction of their own. The pre- 
siding deputy of the lord of the manor was called the town-reeve, and, 
with four others, represented the township in the courts of the hundred 
and shire. 

f The present number of parishes is about 10,700, and the villages 
perhaps about half as many more. This fact gives an extraordinary idea 
of the extent to which population and its attendant civilisation must have 
spread amongst the Anglo-Saxons. 


The word of a bishop, too, like that of a king, was conclusive 
in itself, and needed no corroborative oath. A ceorl might, 
however, become a thane by crossing the sea three times at 
his own risk, or by owning five hydes of land, held by his 
family for three generations in a direct line. 

11. The Anglo-Saxon laws were not all committed to 
writing, but only some principal ordinances : hence the distinc- 
tion still existing between statute or written law and common 
law ; which latter, although now indeed conveyed in books, 
was not originally founded upon any written act. All England 
was not governed by one code ; but, even after the Norman 
conquest, the West Saxon, Mercian, and Danish laws seem 
to have maintained a separate station, though we can hardly 
tell in what the difference consisted. Edgar the Peaceable 
and Edward the Confessor are said, however, to have exerted 
themselves for their assimilation. The earliest book of laws 
which we possess is that of King Ethelbert, of Kent, A.D. 
561 616, which contains eighty-nine ordinances, chiefly 
against personal offences. A remarkable regard is shown in 
these laws for personal liberty; for they impose little or no 
corporal punishment, no imprisonment, and no capital punish- 
ment which may not be compounded for by a money payment. 
The chief and almost only infliction, indeed, is the wehrgeld, or 
fine which a delinquent was to pay to the injured party or his 
family ; to which was added, in many cases, a certain sum to 
the king or magistrate, as compensation for the violation of 
the public peace.* If the wehrgeld were not paid, he might, 
nevertheless, be reduced to a state of slavery. This system of 
compensation is common to all rude societies, where the law 
alone cannot protect life or property, and yet wishes to avoid 
the constant recurrence of personal revenge for personal 
wrong. The next codes are those of Lothaire and Edric, and 
of Wihtraed, kings of Kent. Then follow those of Ina of 
Wessex; and after the Heptarchy, of Alfred, Edward the 

* The wehrgeld for a king was 240 pounds, equal in value to 7200^. 
sterling, one-half of which was paid to the public as a compensation for 
the loss of their sovereign. 

D 3 


Elder, Athelstane, Edmund, Edgar, Ethelred, and Canute. 
The Latin laws of Edward the Confessor have been rejected 
by antiquaries as spurious. The enactments of Edgar are the 
most numerous, amounting to 163, and next are those of 
Canute, whilst the laws of Alfred only number 66. The great 
merit of this celebrated prince, indeed, seems rather to have 
lain in his strict and impartial administration of justice than in 
any extraordinary additions or improvements upon the laws. 

12. Judges do not appear to have been appointed expressly 
for the trial of causes till at least the time of Alfred. Trials 
took place in the public motes or assemblies, and sentence was 
passed by the ordinary president. The mode of giving evi- 
dence was by compurgation ; that is, by a certain number of 
persons swearing to the innocence of the accused, who was 
acquitted if their oaths were deemed sufficient, which was de- 
termined by their station or " worth." If lie could not pro- 
cure such testimony, he might sometimes appeal to " the 
judgment of God " by ordeal. This was effected by plunging 
the arm into boiling water, or carrying a redhot iron in the 
naked hand for nine paces, Other ordeals were held by draw- 
ing from under a cover one of two pieces of wood ; if the piece 
came out which had the cross cut upon it, he was acquitted, if 
the other, condemned : or by the corsned, a small piece of 
bread, which was believed to stick in the throat of a guilty 
man. Wager of battle, in which the two parties fought out 
their quarrel in presence of the court, was another mode, 
which, although generally supposed to have been introduced 
by the Normans, was probably in use before the Conquest.* 
The choice, however, of these various forms of trial was only 
allowed when the lord or superior of the accused had previ- 
ously borne testimony in his favour. Civil suits were decided 

* It is remarkable that the trial by wager of battle was not abolished 
till the year 1818, when a person named Abraham Thornton, who had 
been tried for a rape and murder in the parish of Sutton Coldfield, and 
acquitted, was indicted under its provisions a second time. The nearest 
of kin being however unwilling to enter the lists, the accused person 
escaped. The solicitor employed for the defence was Mr. Edward Sadler 
of Sutton Coldfield. 


upon precisely the same principle, though with some difference 
in the forms. It is thus evident that a jury, in the modern 
sense, could have had no place in an ancient trial; for the 
finding of the verdict was not a matter of nice deliberation 
upon the facts, but must have been obvious to every one the 
moment the oaths were taken or the ordeal gone through. 
Trial by jury, indeed, could only come in as the ordeal, 
which was an appeal to the Deity, and the compurgation, 
which was an appeal to one's neighbours, (the two kinds of 
beings who were supposed to be best acquainted with the 
character of the accused as well as the circumstances of the 
case,) went out ; and its introduction is, therefore, to be re- 
ferred, not to the Saxon, but properly to the Norman times. 

13. That the old principle of direct decision might be fully 
carried out, not only was a certain value put by law on every 
individual, which determined the amount at which his testi- 
mony as a witness was to be rated, and the damage he could 
claim as plaintiff, or must pay as defendant, but every limb and 
part of the body had its distinct wehr or legal worth. Thus, 
in the oldest laws, a leg was valued at 50s. ; the little finger at 
11 5. ; the great toe at 10s. ; and so on in proportion. 

14. There were some "boteless" crimes, however, in later 
times, for which no compensation would be taken, but were 
always capital; as treason, military desertion, open theft, 
housebreaking, and premeditated murder. The common capi- 
tal punishment seems to have been hanging, or sometimes 
stoning: other punishments were imprisonment, outlawry, 
banishment, whipping, branding, the pillory, amputation of 
the limbs, mutilation of the nose, ears, and lips, plucking out 
the eyes, and tearing off the hair. Summary punishment 
might also be inflicted by any one on a criminal caught in open 
fault, as a thief found " hand-habend " or " back-bearand," 
or a murderer standing by the corpse with the bloody weapon 
in his hand. 

D 4 




T^ Calf of 

1. THE arrival of the Saxons in Britain was for a time almost 
fatal to the Christian religion, for those fierce idolaters made 
war no less upon the faith than upon the possessions of the 
natives, and destroyed the churches and the priesthood as 
widely as their arms could reach. The labouring population, 
indeed, who were probably permitted to remain on the soil 
as bondmen, may have been allowed to retain their religion 
in peace, so far as it could be supported without ordinances 
or a clergy. 

2. The heathenism of the invading tribes was, most likely, of 
the same character as that of the Scandinavians, which has been 
preserved in the two books called the Edda, compiled in the 
llth and 12th centuries from such sacred poems of the an- 
cient Scalds as then survived, and in the Voluspa or Prophecy 
of Vola, of the same date. The tone of this system was wild 
and ferocious, and its great head and centre the famous Wo- 
den or Odin " the father of slaughter, the god that names 
the slain, and carries with him desolation and fire." This 
fearful deity was accompanied by a number of followers, or 
rather children, eleven gods and as many goddesses, some of 
whose names, along with those of the Sun and Moon, have 
been perpetuated in the days of the Christian week, as those 
of the Romans are in the months of the year. There were 
also three Fates, and a crowd of inferior genii ; in opposition 
to whom stood the evil spirits Lok and Hela, who were at- 
tended by the serpent Midgard, the wolf Fenris, the Giants, 
and a dark crowd of malignant demons. On the subject of a 
future state this religion was particularly explicit. The 
brave ascended to Walhalla, where they spent the days in 


fight, and the nights in feasting on the everlasting boar, 
and drinking mead out of the skulls of their enemies. The 
slothful and cowardly sank into Niflheim, the abode of 
Evil, whose palace was Anguish, her table Famine, the 
waiters Expectation and Delay, the threshold Precipice, 
her bed Leanness, and her glances Terror. At the end of a 
certain period, however, this temporary system was all to pass 
away in one universal conflagration, and a new world to arise, 
ruled by a greater and nobler god than Odin, and with new 
standards of vice and virtue. The juncture of these two dis- 
tinct creeds is very curious, and Hit has been supposed that 
the latter was the primitive religion of the European tribes, 
before they were subdued by the more savage Scythians. 

3. The rites of Scandinavian worship were in keeping with 
the spirit of the religion. Vast rugged temples, with gigantic 
images armed with terrible weapons, wild hymns, and horrid 
human sacrifices, even of children by their own parents, dis- 
played the rude and gloomy temper of the northern barbarians. 
Women were viewed as the chosen receptacles of divine inspi- 
ration, and dreaded either as priestesses of the gods, or witches 
endued with fatal power from hell. The position of the 
priests is not so well ascertained, but they probably possessed 
the same influence as in other uncivilised countries. The 
most peaceful form of this sanguinary superstition was, appa- 
rently, held by the Anglo-Saxons; whose habits were soon 
softened by their residence in the tranquil plains and milder 
climate of England, and who were thus not wholly unpre- 
pared for the reception of Christianity. 

4. The celebrated event which gave the greatest, though 
perhaps not the earliest, impulse to the preaching of the Gospel 
amongst the heathen conquerors of Britain, was the sight of 
some young Saxon slaves by Gregory, surnamed the Great, in 
the marketplace of Borne. Deeply interested in their fate, he 
would have himself set out as a missionary to their country 
but for the persuasions of his friends ; and one of his first acts, 
after succeeding to the bishopric of Rome, was to send Au- 
gustin, Prior of the convent of St. Andrew's, with forty monks, 
upon the holy errand. On their journey they were so dismayed 


at the accounts of Anglo-Saxon ferocity that they begged 
permission to return, which Gregory would by no means 
grant ; and thus obliged to proceed, in the year of our Lord 
596-7 they landed in safety in the isle of Thanet. Fortu- 
nately the king of Kent, Ethelbert, who was also Bretwalda 
of the empire, had married a Christian princess, Bertha, 
daughter of the king of France, and a Gallican bishop, named 
Liudhard, had already been in the habit of performing divine 
service in the neighbourhood of Canterbury. The king re- 
ceived them with caution but with kindness, and in a short 
time himself and 10,000 of his subjects were baptized in a 
single day. Upon receipt of these joyful tidings, Gregory 
conferred the primacy of the island and the pall* upon 
Augustin, who was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury 
at Aries in France ; and thus received his orders in a direct 
line, as it is said, from Trophimus, the companion of St. Paul 
and founder of the Arelatensian see. The most important point 
which now presented itself was the abolition of the heathen 
festivals and ceremonies, which it was feared might provoke 
a relapse into idolatry. By the advice of Gregory the pagan 
temples were not destroyed, but consecrated as Christian 
churches ; and the festivals were suffered to remain, only 
devoted to the honour of the saints, whilst sacred joy assumed 
the place of a riotous worship. 

5. The ancient British clergy, who still survived in Wales, 
did not altogether approve of the arrogant demands which 
the new metropolitan made in right of his Roman commis- 
sion ; and in a conference held at Augustin's Oak, on the 
borders of Hereford, they positively refused to comply with 
his requisition, that they should conform to the Roman 
manner of baptizing and of keeping Easter, acknowledge 
the authority of the pope, and join himself in preaching to 
the Saxons, f So incensed was he at this that he invoked 

* The pall is a woollen vestment worn on the shoulders of an arch- 
bishop, originally sent as a mark of brotherhood, but afterwards of 
obedience to the see of Rome. It was often sold for vast sums. Its 
form is preserved in the arms of the archbishops. 

f Their protest, conveyed by Dinoth, Abbot of Bangor, is said to have 


against them the wrath of Heaven and the vengeance of the 
English, the latter of which, at least, was not slack to follow 
the prophecy. 

6. The zealous exertions of the missionaries were not, 
however, without their effect. The kings of Essex and East 
Anglia were converted before the death of Augustin (A. r>. 
604), and three sees, Canterbury, London, and Rochester, were 
founded, to which one for each kingdom was speedily added. 
The first Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury was Bertwald, 
who was consecrated A. D. 690. Through the medium partly 
of the strangers and partly of British, Irish, and Gallican 
preachers, the whole of England was gradually converted, 
though not without many fierce attacks from those who 
longer remained pagans, and several relapses of those who 
had professed Christianity. The last State brought under 
the influence of the Gospel was Sussex, which was converted 
by Wilfred, Bishop of York, A. D. 681. Thus, in somewhat 
more than 200 years from their arrival in the island, and less 
than a century from the coming of Augustin, the Anglo- 
Saxons were freed from their heathen superstitions, and the 
foundations of the Church of England happily laid. 

7. The disputes with the British churches still continued, 
however, and a new one was added about the clerical ton- 
sure *, but they were at length ended by the zeal and pru- 
dence of Theodore of Tarsus, who was consecrated Arch- 
run as follows ; "Be it known and without doubt to you, that we all 
are and every one of us obedient and subject to the Church of God and 
to the Pope of Rome, and to every true and pious Christian, to love 
every one in his degree in perfect charity, and to help every one of them 
by word and deed to be the children of God ; and other obedience than 
this I do not know due to him whom you name to be pope and father of 
fathers, to be claimed and to be demanded ; and this obedience we are 
ready to give and to pay to him and to every Christian continually. 
Besides we are under the government of the Bishop of Caerleon-upon- 
Uske, who is to oversee under God over us, to cause us to keep the way 

* The Romish ecclesiastics wore their hair round the temples in imita- 
tion of the crown of thorns, whilst the Britons, after the Eastern fashion, 
shaved it off the forehead into the form of a crescent, on account of 
which they were said to bear the mark of Simon Magus. 


bishop of Canterbury by Pope Yitalian, A. D. 668. At a 
council called at Hertford, A. D. 673, this active prelate suc- 
ceeded in obtaining a full assent to the canons which he had 
brought from Rome, and a complete agreement in matters of 
faith and worship. The monarch s did not, however, much 
regard the pleasure of the Romish bishop ; for Wilfrid, of 
York, having dared to appeal to his authority, was committed 
to prison by King Egfrid, for his audacity ; and the next king, 
Aldfrid, seconded by his bishops, again refused to listen to 
the interposition of the pope. 

The exertions of Theodore were in many respects highly 
beneficial to the English Church. Large bishoprics were 
divided into more manageable sees; landholders were en- 
couraged to build parish churches by being declared the 
patrons ; the churches themselves, heretofore mostly of timber, 
began to be built of stone ; the cathedral chanting was intro- 
duced into them generally ; and a regular provision was 
made for the clergy by the imposition of a kirk-scot of one 
Saxon penny upon every house that was worth thirty pence 
of yearly rent. 

8. The age of the Church which succeeded its establish- 
ment in England was marked by profuse donations from the 
wealthy, if not by the general payment of regular tithes * ; 
the consequent increase of pomp and magnificence in the 
celebration of religious rites, and the frequent foundation of 
monasteries in all directions. 

Yows of celibacy and poverty were not at first required in 
these monasteries, and they were soon crowded with persons 
of all ranks and characters, not always, perhaps, to the 
honour of religion or the edification of the people. A great 
veneration for relics and pilgrimages, especially to Rome, also 
made its appearance ; and two kings, to whom is owed the 
foundation of the English college at Rome, ended their days 

* It is commonly believed that tithes were first paid by the Mercians, 
in the latter part of the 8th century, at the command of King Offa, and 
that the tax was extended over all England by King Ethelwulf in 855, 
at a council of the whole clergy and nobility. The subject is, however, 
involved in great obscurity ^ 


as monks within its walls.* In 747, a provincial synod was 
held at Cliffe, or Cloveshoe, near Rochester, at which no less 
than thirty canons were passed for the reformation of the 
clergy, and the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs. Many of 
these directions are exceedingly wise and judicious, especially 
with regard to ordination and the practice of study in monas- 
teries ; but they are chiefly remarkable as cautiously avoiding 
any mention of submission to the see of Rome. This silence 
did not, however, prevent appeals being made to the pope, 
and sometimes with success. Two legates were also sent 
by him into England towards the close of the 8th century, 
whose decrees seem to have been received without hesitation. 

9. Now also the great contest about the use of images in 
churches, and the respect which should be paid to them, 
extended to England, where the canons of the second council 
of Nice (A.D. 787), which sanctioned their use and virtual 
adoration, were condemned by the bishops, and the learned 
Alcuin was employed to write directly against them. 

10. A new misfortune befel the Church in the beginning 
of the 9th century, through the incursions of the pagan 
Danes, who once more plundered and destroyed the sacred 
edifices, and slew or sold as slaves great numbers of the 
clergy. The effects of these devastations were such that 
King Alfred complained that on his accession to the throne 
he could find very few priests north of the Humber who were 
able to translate the Latin service into the vulgar tongue, 
and south of the Thames not one. A check was, however, 
put to their ravages by the victories of that great monarch ; 
and a number of the Danes, with their prince, Guthrum, 
agreed to embrace the Christian religion. Scarcely, however, 
had the Church begun to recover her former position, and 
to repair her losses, when intestine divisions arose, and the 

* Ina of Wessex founded a house at Rome for the reception of English 
pilgrims and education of English youth, to which Offa of Mercia after- 
wards appropriated the annual sum of one penny from every house in his 
dominions, called " smoke-silver," and " Peter-pence," because paid on 
the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula. 


famous Dunstan embroiled the clergy by his efforts at a new 
reformation. Himself an unmarried Benedictine monk, he 
sought to enforce the celibacy of the priesthood, and to in- 
crease the powers and privileges of the monasteries. In 
these attempts he was vigorously resisted, but without suc- 
cess. The cause of Dunstan was henceforth completely in 
the ascendant ; and so many persons devoted themselves to 
the cloisters that at length more than one-third of the lands 
of England were in possession of the Church, and conse- 
quently exempted from all taxes, and generally from military 

11. Towards the close of the 10th century the Danes 
renewed their terrible assaults, which terminated at length 
in the elevation of Canute to the throne. This king soon 
became a zealous Christian, and prohibited all practice of 
heathenism in the strictest manner. In the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, Westminster Abbey was rebuilt, and endowed 
with great riches and privileges. It was first founded by 
Sebert of Essex, A. D. 604, by whom also a church was built 
on the site of the present St. Paul's, and Mellitus appointed 
the first bishop of London. 

12. The penitential discipline of those days was ostensibly 
very rigorous. Offenders denounced by the Church were re- 
quired to abstain from flesh-meat and every ordinary comfort ; 
but a convenient loophole was sometimes found in the persons 
of other people, who might be hired to perform part of the 
penance, and in the remission of punishment upon the 
payment of certain fines. In the canons of Aelfric, who 
was archbishop of Canterbury from 995 to 1005, we find 
several curious particulars as that there should be seven 
orders of clergy, of which six were inferior ; the seventh, or 
presbyter, being ranked with the higher class of bishops, ex- 
cept, of course, in the matter of ordination. The books laid 
down as necessary for a priest were the Psalter, Epistle and 
Gospel books, Missal or Prayer Book, Hymn Book, Manual, 
Calendar, Passional, Penitential, and Lectionary.* They 

* The principal Prayer Books were at last united in the Ritual of Sarum, 
compiled by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, about A.D. 1080, and founded 


were to explain the Gospel in English to the people on Sun- 
days and holydays, and to teach them the Creed and Pater- 
noster in the same language. They were forbidden also to 
take money for performing any part of their duty. Oil was 
to be used in baptism and in anointing the sick ; but no 
sick man to be anointed unless he desired it. The reserva- 
tion of the bread consecrated at Easter is forbidden ; and 
water ordered to be mixed with the sacramental wine. 
Aelfric also translated eighty homilies into Saxon for the 
use of the people, from which we learn that the English 
Church understood and explained the important doctrine of 
the Lord's Supper exactly as she does at the present day. 

Of the Scottish Church during this period much is not 
known ; but its ministers (called Culdees) would appear to 
have differed widely both from the English Church and from 
Rome, and were forbidden, in the year 816, to exercise any 
sacred functions in England. 

upon the Sacramentary of Gregory the Great. There were also the 
" Uses " of York, Hereford, Bangor, and Lincoln, which were not united 
into one common form till the time of the Reformation. 

The words mass and missal are derived from the ancient practice of 
announcing to the catechumens that the communion service was about 
to begin and that they must retire " Ite, missa est," i.e. ecclesia. 




I. FROM the rude Teutonic tribes, intent only upon war and 
conquest, no advances in literature could have been expected ; 
and, in fact, there is no proof of their having given any 
attention to study till after the period of their conversion. 
What was the exact form even of their language when they 
first entered Britain, it is impossible to discover we only 
know that the dialects of the three tribes were branches of 
the ancient Gothic, and may conjecture that the Anglo-Saxon 
language was afterwards formed by their intermixture. They 
are supposed, however, like other Gothic nations, to have 
made use of certain mysterious characters called Runes, a 

Runic Characters. (From the font at Bridekirk, Cumberland.) 

word which of itself means secrecy. These letters, which 
(though apparently only variations of the Gothicised Greek 
or Roman alphabet) it is difficult to read with any thing like 
correctness, were supposed to possess the strangest magical 
powers, to stop a vessel in her course, an arrow in its flight, 
excite love or hatred, and even raise the corpse from the grave. 
They were retained by the Continental Danes and the Ice- 
landers so late as the beginning of the 14th century ; but in 
England they were soon discouraged by the Christian mis- 
sionaries, who introduced the ordinary Latin characters in- 
stead. Very good specimens of the Runes may be found 
on a pillar at Bewcastle, and a font in the church of Bride- 
kirk, both in Cumberland. 

2. The mode of writing Latin, however, in the sixth cen- 
tury differed somewhat from that of the Roman empire, a 
difference which is still retained in the printing of Gaelic, 
and (with some slight variations) in the common typographical 




































A a a 

B b b 

EC c 

D b d 

6 e e 

F F / 

& 3 

P h h 

1 i ?! 

K K k 

L 1 / 

GO m m 

Common Abbreviations: ~\, and; t, or; "p, that; 15, bishop; 
k', king ; 3, year ; cp, quoth; kt, kalends. 

The Anglo-Saxon language, which displays much perspi- 
cuity, strength, and harmony, appears to have passed through 
three successive stages, according to the influx of strangers, 
speaking different dialects of the same great mother tongue. 
The first, or British Saxon, was spoken till the invasion of the 
Danes; the Dano- Saxon prevailed till the Conquest, when 
the Norman- Saxon, which was, in fact, a transition to English, 
took its place, until about the time of Henry II. it became the 
language which, after some further changes, continues to be 
spoken to the present day. 

3. During the 6th century learning was confined to the 
Britons and Irish, of whom the latter in particular excelled 
the scholars of every part of the Continent. For a long time 
it was the custom, says Bede, for the English of all ranks to 
retire to Ireland for study and devotion, where they were hos- 
pitably received, and supplied gratuitously with food, books, 
and instruction. Of the eminent men of this century, Gildas 
the historian and St. Columbanus are best known by their 
extant wri tings. f The spirit of Christianity, however, soon 

* Three of these letters are, however, peculiar to the Anglo-Saxon. 
The sign of th was unknown to the Romans, and an ancient rune was 
retained for the purpose, I> or D, or a line drawn through the head of 
the <5. Another rune was employed to denote the sound of w, y. 

f The British language, or some form of it, was not only spoken through- 
out this period in different parts of the country, but continued in Cuinber- 



stimulated the Saxons to literary exertion, and schools were 
speedily founded, from which, before the close of the 7th 
century, learned Englishmen began to proceed. The first 
who wrote in Latin was Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborn, who 
was educated by Mail duff, an Irishman, and died in 709. A 
famous poet also appeared at this time, named Csedmon, a 
monk of Whitby, who died about 680 * ; of whose writings 
several pieces have been preserved. As a specimen, we may 
give part of his first poem, on the Origin of Things : - 

Nu pe fceolan hepian Now we shall praise 

peofen-picer peapb The guardian of heaven's kingdom, 

GOetober mihce The Creator's might 

3 hir mob-jeSonc And his mind's thought. 

IDepa pulbep- pcebep Glorious Father of Men ! 

Spa he punbpa ^ehpcer As of every wonder He 

Gee bpihten Lord Eternal 

Oopb onrtealbe. Formed the beginning-! 

A copy of the Lord's Prayer, written by Eadfrith, Bishop 

land and the south of Scotland till the 13th century, and generally in 
Cornwall till the reign of Henry VIII. The last person who could speak 
Cornish was Dolly Pentrath, an old fish-wife near Penzance, towards the 
middle of the reign of George III. There seems, however, no great 
reason to suppose that Welsh will, for a long time at least, yield to its 
more powerful neighbour. 

* Palgrave doubts, however, whether Csedmon be a real Anglo-Saxon 
name of an individual, as it has no proper meaning in that language, or a 
mere designation taken from the initial word of Genesis in the Chaldaic 
Targum of Onkelos, b'Cadmin (in Hebrew, b'Reschith) in the beginning. 
Cadmon also is a famous cabalistic word signifying originally Eastern, 
and he accordingly supposes that this name may have been assumed by 
some Anglo-Saxon monk or layman, who had resided in the East and 
acquired a knowledge of Chaldee and the Cabala. The style of many of 
his episodes, he adds, is highly Oriental. 

f Anglo-Saxon poetry (of which the principal remains are Caedmon's 
Paraphrases of Scripture, the poem of Beowulf, and some shorter pieces) 
was very simple in its construction, having neither rhymes like English, 
nor regular feet like the Latin, but depending chiefly upon an alliteration 
or recurrence of initial letters, and a kind of loose rhythm determined 
mostly by the ear. At a late period, and in a few instances, there is an 
approach to rhyme. A poet was called scop or sceop, from sceoppen, to 
shape or make ; as the Danes called him scald, from scaldre, to polish. 


of Lindisfarne, about the year 700, will also be interesting, 
and perhaps a little more intelligible : 

" Fabep ujien 8u ap6 in heofnum pe gehalgub noma Sin ; to 
cymeS pic Sm ; pie pillo Sin puselp in heopne 3 in eopSo ; hlap 
upenne opep piptlic pel up tobseg ; ~] popjep up pcylba upna puae uae 
popgepon rcylbjum upum ; anb ne mlaeb upih in coptunge uh jeppig 
upih ppom yple. 

4. Great service was rendered to the cause of letters by 
Archbishop Theodore, who brought from Rome a valuable 
collection of Greek and Latin books, and several professors 
of the sciences, to assist in education.* The 8th and 
9th centuries produced many distinguished men, amongst 
whom may be particularly mentioned Venerable Bede, whose 
entire works amount to eight volumes folio ; Boniface, after- 
wards Archbishop of Mentz, and the famous Irishman 
Alcuin, the tutor of Charlemagne; Virgilius, Bishop of 
Saltzburg, and the noble Joannes Erigena; with Egbert, 
Archbishop of York, Tobias, Bishop of Rochester, and the 
great King Alfred himself, with his learned friend and bio- 
grapher, Asser. 

5. The mass of the people, however, continued very igno- 
rant ; and, indeed, from the simple manners of the age, had 
little occasion for learning; whilst books were generally 
scarce and high priced. Much also was conveyed in poetry, 
orally repeated, which would now-a-days be consigned to 
writing. In fine, the wasting inroads of the Danes destroyed 
for a time both the taste for learning and the means of ac- 
quiring it, by the ruin of the monastic schools and the total 
dispersion of the scholars. 

6. The great restorer of learning after those dreadful days 
was Alfred, himself a monarch distinguished in every noble at- 
tainment. His own love for knowledge was excited at twelve 
years of age, when his mother showed him a volume of poetry 
beautifully illuminated, and promised it as a gift on the con- 

* The circle of knowledge then commonly taught comprised the seven 
liberal arts, viz. grammar, rhetoric, and logic, which were called the 
trivium ; and music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, which consti- 
tuted the quadrivium. 

E 2 


dition of his acquiring the alphabet. When fully settled on his 
throne he took the greatest pains to find out learned men in all 
countries, whom he invited to his court, and treated with the 
utmost respect. He re-founded the old schools, and established 
new ones, and is said to have either founded or restored the 
University of Oxford.* He endowed these seminaries with 
one eighth of his whole revenues, and compelled all owners 
of two hydes of land and upwards to send their sons to school, 
setting the example in his own children. He exerted himself 
also to procure the translation of useful books into Anglo- 
Saxon, and added several with his own hand. Translations 
of the Bible were not unfrequent in those days ; and the 
study of the Scriptures was earnestly and constantly recom- 
mended to both clergy and laity, as the groundwork of their 
common faith. To sacred studies, indeed, profane literature 
was constantly obliged to give way, and classic authors were 
treated as something sinful, which might only be read by 
special permission, f 

7. After the death of Alfred the Danes renewed their 
ravages ; and learning, in consequence, declined considerably. 
It is reported, however, that the University of Cambridge 
was founded by his son, Edward the Elder; but on no very 
certain authority. A new source of science now began to 
open in the East, where the Arabians were zealously culti- 
vating literature and the arts. Their discoveries were com- 
municated to Europe by the famous Pope Gerbert, who had 
studied amongst the Saracens at Cordova ; and our ancestors 
may possibly have participated in the benefit at an earlier 
period than is generally believed. 

8. Canute the Dane, himself distinguished for his poetic 

* University College is said to have been founded by him, and the 
crypt under St. Peter's church bears the name of his friend and tutor 
Grimbald. The first express mention of this university occurs in In- 
gulfus, who wrote immediately after the Conquest, and who says that he 
studied first at Westminster and then at Oxford. 

f When a monk wanted to read a Greek or lloman classic, he scratched 
his ear like a dog, to show his itching for those heathen dogs. Alcuin 
was particularly severe on Virgil, having been sadly frightened when a 
boy by some pretended demons who threatened to " cut his corns " if he 
preferred that poet to the Psalms of David. 


powers, did much to repair the injuries committed by his 
countrymen ; and in the reign of Edward the Confessor the 
schools appear, in some places at least, to have flourished. 
The unsettled state of the country, however, prevented any 
general advance in learning. The most eminent writer of the 
time was Aelfric of Canterbury ; and we have also a very 
valuable work called the " Saxon Chronicle," written, as it is 
supposed, by a series of hands, commencing soon after the 
time of Alfred, and continuing till the year 1154. 

Upon the whole, the literature of the Anglo-Saxon period 
is chiefly valuable in an historical point of view, and as dis- 
playing the foundations of our national tongue, its principal 
compositions being written in Latin, or mere translations 
from Latin authors. It cannot, however, be too strongly 
recommended to the attentive student of English history. 

9. In entering upon the history of the arts practised by 
our forefathers, architecture, and especially church architec- 
ture, claims the first place. That the Saxons erected temples 
of some kind for their Pagan worship there can be no doubt ; 
but of their form or material nothing is known with certainty. 
On their conversion to Christianity, they immediately began 
to build churches, at first, in all probability, of timber, and in 
process of time of stone. To Wilfrid of York and Benedict 
Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth in the 7th century, the intro- 
duction of an improved style of architecture is due ; and 
under their direction several churches and monasteries were 
built with unusual splendour. 

The models from which these and all subsequent churches 
were copied were obviously the Roman edifices remaining 
either in England or on the Continent, from whence the 
first artificers were brought.* The Romans, in turn, had 
borrowed their best architecture from the Greeks, but with 
considerable modifications, which at length changed its cha- 
racter very materially : in particular the introduction of the 
arch, which was not used by the Greeks, clashed with the 
columns, which were still retained, but no longer required as 

* Even the corbel head and zigzag ornament of the 12th century may 
be found on the consoles of Diocletian's palace at Spalatro. 

E 3 




supports : and, with other mixtures and corruptions, gradually 
produced the style which has been called Romanesque, and 
which finally prevailed throughout the empire. 

Foliated Capitals (Romanesque Saxon) Sompting Church, Sussex. 

Another important circumstance was the frequent con- 
version of the basilicas or halls of justice into Christian 
churches, a purpose for which the old Pagan temples were 
unfitted by their size and shape. This afterwards materially 

r L 





. z 

h l 


Plan of the Sessorian Basilica, afterwards the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. 

affected the form of churches, as we shall have occasion to 
point out. From this* original Roman source, then, the whole 
race of conquering Goths drew their notions of building, 
without attempting, for a long time, any serious innovations 
of their own. 




10. Of the early Anglo-Saxon churches previous to the 
Danish invasion there are scarcely any traces remaining, and 
of the older British fabrics still less.* Perhaps Brix worth 
in Northamptonshire may be attributed to the latter part of 
the 7th century, and parts of the church within the walls 
of Dover Castle. These early structures appear to have been 
built, like the Roman basilicas, with a nave (with or without 
aisles) and a chancel. No mention is made of transepts or 
large towers at this period. In the 10th century, however, 
an evident change of style made its appearance on the Con- 

Anglo-Saxon Crypt Repton Church, Derbyshire. 

tinent, which may be traced, perhaps, to the influence of the 
Byzantine school. Of this new style the cruciform plan was 
an important feature, and altogether it approaches that which 
will presently -be described as the Norman. Towards the 
close of the century some indications of it may be found in 
England, at least so far as transepts and a great tower. 

The general character of Anglo-Saxon architecture, even 

* The few remaining fragments of British oratories in Cornwall have 
been more frequently visited and described since the discovery of St. 
Piran's Chapel (Perranzabuloe) in 1835. They are, however, so rude 
and insignificant, as to interest chiefly from their extreme antiquity. 

E 4 

56 SAXON PERIOD. [Booic IT. 

when verging to the Norman, was extremely plain and mas- 
sive, with very thick walls, short clumsy pillars, and plain 
round arches. The doorways were semicircular or triangular 
at top, the windows small and round headed, with deep double 
splays, and very little ornamented. The great peculiarity 
on the outside was the disposition of long and short blocks 
alternately at the angles of a building, and the narrow strips 
of stone which run vertically or horizontally up the face of 

Anglo-Saxon Aiukutccture Earl's Barton Church, Northampton-hire. 

the walls. Bell towers were probably not more than a century 
older than the Conquest, for bells themselves are reckoned 
among " strange and wonderful things " at that period. 

11. Of the domestic architecture of the Saxons we have 
but little knowledge. Houses as well as churches were at 
first built of timber, and even in the time of Alfred the Great 
stone buildings were very rare.* Glass windows had, indeed, 
been introduced before his time, but the difficulty which he 

* The very word tymbrian means to build. 




found in managing the light of his great candle shows that they 
were not in very general use. As contrasted with the Norman 
houses after the Conquest they appeared low and mean, and 
were probably built without much care or elegance. Their 
fortresses must have been of considerable strength, from the 
resistance which some of them made to William's army ; but 
of them also we know little or nothing. 




ctra jb e fh I en aa e-noln-fecU c' 

Illumination Psalter of King Atholstan. 

12. The art of sculpture most probably accompanied the 




introduction of the Roman architecture, and flourished or de- 
cayed from the same causes. Of its excellence or defects, 
however, no monuments of any consequence remain. Paint- 
ing, at least so far as the illumination of MSS., was carried 
to great perfection in Ireland as early as the 6th century, 
and amongst the Anglo-Saxons from the 8th to the llth 
centuries, as many existing works combine to show. Its chief 

Illumination Coronation Oath Book of the Saxon Kings. 

features were extreme intricacy of pattern, and interfacings 
of knots in a diagonal or square form, sometimes interwoven 




with animals, and terminating in heads of serpents or birds. 
Many of these illuminated letters are in a style altogether 
peculiar to the English school, and of a very bold and rich 
character. Embroidery in gold and silver thread and silks 
of various colours was much practised by ladies of rank, and 
great part of the Bayeux tapestry wrought in commemoration 
of the Norman Conquest, is thought to have been executed 

Musical Instruments of the Anglo-Saxons. (Cotton MS.) 

by the compelled labours of the English women. Music was 
also cultivated with ardour, although confined to simple melody 


down to the 1 1th century, when the present system of notation 
was introduced by Guido Arctinus. The Gregorian chant was 
no doubt brought over by Augustin and his companions, but it 
is to Theodore of Canterbury that the first general diffusion 
of superior church music is owing. Permanent schools of 
music were finally established at the monasteries, and a princi- 
pal one at Canterbury. The musical instruments which they 
possessed, besides bells, were the horn, trumpet, flute, drum, 
cymbals, rote or viol, lyre and harp, which last is sometimes 
represented as triangular and sometimes square or oblong, with 
a number of strings varying from four to eleven. It was the 
favourite instrument of festive companies, and was not impro- 
bably borrowed from the Irish.* They were acquainted also 
with the organ, though of a rude and simple kind. 

13. In metals the Anglo-Saxons worked with great skill. 
So early, perhaps, as the 7th century, the English jewellers 
and goldsmiths were eminent in their professions, and great 

Horn of Ulphus York Minster. 

quantities of their trinkets were constantly exported to the 
Continent. Smiths and armourers were highly esteemed, and 
even the clergy thought it no disgrace to handle their tools. 
St. Dunstan, in particular, is celebrated as the best black- 
smith, brazier, goldsmith, and engraver of his time. For 
these purposes the mines of England seem to have furnished 
abundance of materials, and to have been worked to a consi- 
derable extent. The churches were the chief objects of orna- 

* So famous was the church music of the Irish in those times, that the 
daughter of Pepin of France, in the 7th century, is recorded to have sent 
to Ireland for persons qualified to instruct the nuns of Nivelle in 




ment, and were roofed with lead, and filled with gold and 
silver cups, images and crucifixes, and windows of stained glass. 

Enamelled Gold Ring of Ethelwulf, King of Wessi-x. A p. 836838. 
(In the British Museum.) 

14. Carpentry was well understood both for the purposes 
of architecture and for the construction of carts, waggons, 
ploughs, and other implements of agriculture. They built also 
travelling carriages and ships, (both, however, sufficiently rude,) 
with the usual variety of domestic conveniences. Woollen 
and linen cloths were also manufactured, though not, perhaps, 
of a very fine quality. 






1. ALL freemen and proprietors of land, except the ministers 
of religion, were trained to the use of arms, and always held 
ready to take the field at a moment's warning. At certain 
times they met in each tithing, hundred, and county, for mar- 
tial exercises, and there was a general review or wapenshaw of 
all the arms and armed men in each county upon a certain day 
in the month of May. Military service was performed for the 
clergy by their tenants. The troops were composed of the 
infantry or ceorls, and the cavalry or thanes. The first were 
variously armed with spears, long bills or battleaxes, broad 
double-edged swords and clubs, and had little defensive ar- 

Warrior in ringed Mail and common Soldier. (Cotton MS.) 

mour beyond a small oval shield with a boss in the centre, 
a leathern helmet, a breast guard or gorget, and a linen tunic. 
The cavalry were better armed, and added to the linen or 


leathern tunic scales or rings of metal (ma scles), and in very early 
times, perhaps, thin slices of horses' hoofs, sewn carefully on. 
The improvement of detaching the rings from the garment and 
linking them one into the other is generally placed so late as 
Edward L, but from some expressions that occur in an Anglo- 
Saxon poem of the 10th century, it would appear that it was 
then known. In that century the helmet, which was originally 
square or four-pointed, became conical, and shortly after was 
furnished with a nasal or bar of iron hanging over the 
nose. The distinctive seax has been much disputed, but seems 
to have meant a sharp weapon of any kind, whether curved or 
straight. The Danes and Normans of the 10th and llth cen- 
turies were more heavily armed than the Anglo-Saxons, and 
were trained to shoot well with the bow, which the latter 
seem before their arrival to have neglected. The saddles of 
the cavalry were of very simple construction, without crup- 
pers and often without stirrups, and their spurs were the 
simple goad or pryck-spur, fastened with leathers nearly as 
up to the present day. 

2. Every troop had its peculiar standard, to which they 
were very much attached. In battle they were generally 
ranged according to their respective counties, and were thus 
stimulated to fight valiantly by all the ties of neighbour- 
hood and kindred. Regular sieges were hardly known, or long- 
protracted campaigns, for the fyrd or militia-levy was only 
bound to serve forty days at a time, and all the valour and 
skill of the English seems to have been baffled even by the 
hasty encampments of the Danes, the remains of which may 
yet be often seen. 

3. The Saxons had long been famous for their naval enter- 
prises before they attempted the conquest of Britain, although 
their chiules (keels) or war-ships were, down to the 5th century, 
but little better than the osier coracles of the British. After 
their settlement in this island, they, however, completely 
neglected the sea, and it was not till the reign of Alfred that 
they seem to have thought of building a ship, at least for the 
purposes of war. In this abandonment of maritime pursuits 
they acted like their brother Franks on the Continent, whilst 


the Danes and other Northmen continued to pursue their con- 
quests chiefly upon the ocean. Even they too, when they had 
once attained a firm postion on the broad plains of England, lost 
much of their old nautical spirit, which neither commerce nor 
war any longer sufficiently supported. The want of a navy was 
sadly felt by Alfred, but it only aroused the genius of that 
immortal prince. He quickly set about building ships much 
longer and loftier than those of the Danes, and carrying sixty 
or more oars, with proportionate crews. At the close of his 
reign, his whole squadron exceeded a hundred sail, which 
were stationed at different ports round the island or kept 
cruising along the channel. The ships were still, however, 
nothing more than large boats with one mast and a single 
great sail, the prows adorned with heads of men and animals, 
and sometimes richly gilt. 

Ancient Ship. (From the Bayeux Tapestry.) 

4. Alfred encouraged voyages of discovery, and has trans- 
mitted to us with his own hand an account of two, one round 
the North Cape and another up the Baltic. He sent Swithelm, 
Bishop of Sherburn, also on an embassy to the Syrian Chris- 
tians on the coast of Malabar, whence the adventurous tra- 
veller returned with many presents of spices and jewels from 
the grateful children of St. Thomas. 

In the reign of Athelstan A.D. 925 940) the naval 


power of England was respected by all its neighbours, and 
under Ethelred the Unready (A.D. 1008) a very large fleet 
was raised for the defence of the country, by obliging every 
owner of 310 hydes of land to furnish one ship properly 
equipped. Harold had a fleet at sea at the time of the Con- 
quest ; but just before the landing of William, the ships had 
either been called elsewhere, or had returned into port for 
want of pay and provisions, and consequently afforded no 
assistance to their unfortunate master. 






1. THE production of food employed the great bulk of 
the Anglo-Saxon population, although agriculture seems to 
have made but little progress during this period. They were 
indeed more of graziers than ploughmen, almost three parts 
of the kingdom being set apart for the grazing of cattle. Land 
was exceedingly cheap, an acre being frequently sold for the 
price of four sheep, or one third less than the price of a horse. 
All farming operations were of a rude and simple kind, 
although the labourer was not without a sufficient supply of 
serviceable tools. The ploughs, picks, spades, scythes, reap- 
ing-hooks, flails, and axes of the husbandman, as drawn in old 

Ploughing, Sowing, Mowing, Gleaning, Measuring Corn, and Harvest Supper. (Harleian MS.) 

MSS., are of a very good shape, and must have required a 
considerable quantity of iron in the construction. 

Church lands were generally the best cultivated ; and, on 
the properties of the clergy, the great woods and waste lands, 


which spoiled other estates, were kept within much more 
moderate bounds. The great lords commonly retained a part 
of their estates in their own hands, for the supply of their 
own dwelling-houses, and let out the rest to the ceorls at a 
moderate rent, which was fixed by law, and usually paid in 
kind, even on the crown lands.* The boundaries of property 
were carefully marked by a ditch, a brook, a hedge, a wooden 
mark, or some other prominent object. The arable and mea- 
dow lands were protected by gates from the encroachments of 
cattle and swine, which latter were kept in prodigious num- 
bers, and esteemed amongst the most valuable possessions.! 
Sheep seem to have been valued principally for their fleece, 
and not so much for their flesh. With such an imperfect state 
of agriculture it is not surprising that terrible famines should 
often occur, so that in one year (A. D. 1 044) a quarter of wheat 
sold for sixty pence, or about eight pounds of our money, an 
enormous price for the times. 

2. Gardens and orchards were chiefly planted in the neigh- 
bourhood of monasteries, and sometimes produced even grapes, 
as well as figs, nuts, almonds, pears, and apples; nor was orna- 
mental planting altogether neglected, or the management of 
bees, so necessary for the production of the favourite mead. 
Turf, and (as some suppose) even coal, seem to have been 
raised for fuel. Hand-mills for corn were always in use, but 
towards the close of the period watermills and windmills had 
become general. 

3. A singular change in the habits and pursuits of the 
Saxons took place after their settlement in Britain. Before 
that time the sea was their favourite element ; but after they 
had rested in its pleasant vales, they entirely neglected naviga- 
tion for several centuries. The first distinct notice of foreign 

* By the laws of King Ina, a farm of 10 hydes (about 1000 acres) was 
to pay the following rent : viz., 10 casks of honey, 300 loaves, 12 casks of 
strong ale, 30 of small, 2 oxen, 10 wethers, 10 geese, 20 hens, 10 cheeses, 
1 cask of butter, 5 salmon, 100 eels, and 20 Ib. (?) of forage. 

J" The swine fed in great herds amongst the oak and beech groves, 
under the care of numerous swineherds. Bacon is said to be derived 
from the old word bucon, or beech-mast. 

F 2 


trade which we find is not earlier than the close of the eighth 
century. English commodities were then occasionally carried 
abroad, and probably some of those from the Continent brought 
to this country, chiefly by the pilgrims who went on religious 
journeys to Rome. On these goods certain duties were 
exacted at the seaports, according to the custom of the 
Romans, which gave rise to the first commercial treaty on 
record, namely, the letter of the French emperor Charlemagne 
to Offa, king of Mercia. This curious document may be 
assigned to the year 795, and contains a special prohibition of 
all smuggling under the disguise of pilgrimage, which was 
then not unfrequently practised. From this time we have 
little further trace of commerce till the reign of Alfred. 
That great monarch introduced new manufactures, repaired 
the seaports, encouraged the building of vessels and the pro- 
secution of distant voyages, and gave a new character to the 
maritime affairs of England. 

4. His grandson Athelstan ennobled commerce by enact- 
ing that every merchant who should make three voyages 
over the sea with his own ship and cargo should be entitled 
to the rank of a thane, and established mints at the principal 
trading towns, so that merchants, on returning from a voyage, 
might be enabled to convert their bullion into current coin 
without much trouble or expense. Under Ethelred, at the 
close of the tenth century, we find port-dues charged at Bil- 
lingsgate (the famous fish mart of London), and several notices 
of foreign vessels and merchants coming to England, which 
indicate the continued progress of trade. From an old Saxon 
work preserved in the British Museum, it appears indeed 
that the occupation of a merchant was regarded as of con- 
siderable importance. Canute the Dane fostered commerce 
and negotiated an important commercial treaty with several 
foreign powers. The trade of England from his time flou- 
rished exceedingly, and the merchants and seamen gradually 
acquired great weight in the public councils of the kingdom. 

5. Of the exports during this period we have not much 
knowledge. Corn does not seem to have been raised in suffi- 
cient quantities for foreign sale ; but wool may have been taken 
off by the great Flemish weavers; and tin, lead, and iron 


with, perhaps, gold and silver, seem to have been frequently 
carried abroad. Horses also are supposed to have been ex- 
ported, and more certainly slaves. Many of the slave- 
traders were Jews, who found a good market for their 
victims amongst the heathen Saracens in Spain and Africa. 
This gave rise to several canons of the Church against selling 
Christian slaves to Jews or Pagans. Chester and Bristol 
were the great ports for this abominable trade, so far at 
least as related to Ireland, where Saxon slaves were largely 
purchased, probably by the Danish settlers. 

Of the imports books, especially on religious subjects, and 
Bibles and missals for the churches, with relics, pictures and 
images, vestments for the clergy, altar cloths and sacramental 
vessels, formed no inconsiderable portion. Precious stones, 
gold, silver, silk, linen, spiceries, drugs, &c. were brought 
from Yenice and other cities of Italy; wines from Spain 
and France; cloths from Germany and Flanders; and furs, 
deerskins, whale oil, ropes, &c. from Scandinavia. In short, 
the foreign trade of England was so extensive, even at this 
remote period, as to furnish such of her inhabitants as could 
afford to pay for them, with a share of all the commodities 
then known or enjoyed in any part of Europe. 

6. Of the internal trade of the country we know but little. 
It was probably on a small scale, and laboured under great re- 
strictions. By some laws no man was allowed to buy any thing 
above the value of twenty pence, except within a town, and 
in the presence of the chief magistrate and other witnesses. 
Commodities of that value also paid a certain duty to the king 
and the portreeve. On the other hand, it was promoted by 
the institution of fairs and markets, which were copied from 
the Romans. Sunday was at first the usual market day ; but 
by the efforts of the Church, Saturday was, at length, gene- 
rally substituted. Fairs were also commonly held near some 
cathedral church or monastery, and on the anniversary of its 
dedication (ivake), a custom which prevails to this day in 
many places. The old Roman roads still presented con- 
siderable facilities of communication, and were aided, it is 
supposed, in some places by artificial canals. 

F 3 




7. The subject of Anglo-Saxon money is very perplexed and 
obscure. The earliest coins of this period are those known by 
the name of sceattae, but whether they were brought over from 
the Continent at the first settling, or struck in this country 
afterwards, is quite uncertain. They are of silver, but not of 
common occurrence. The types or letters on them have not 
been well explained; but some of them are clearly of Roman 
character, and thus form a connecting link between the Roman 
and Saxon coins. The sceatta was probably of somewhat 
less value than its successor, the penny. The earliest speci- 
mens which we possess are of the kingdom of Kent, one of 
which was probably struck before the establishment of Chris- 
tianity, being without the appropriate symbol of the cross. 
The different coins, or names of coins, which were used at a 
later date, and their probable values, are stated in the fol- 
lowing table : 


Grains Troy of 

Present Value. 

s. d. 

Pound (money of account) - 


2 16 3 

Mark (ditto) - 


1 17 9 

Manctis (ditto probably) 


about 7 

Ora (ditto) - ... 


4 8i 

Greater Shilling (ditto probably) 


1 2 

Lesser ditto (ditto probably) 
Thrimsa (ditto probably) 




Penny (silver coin) - 


2 I 

Halfpenny (ditto) - 
Farthing (ditto perhaps) 



Styca (copper coin), peculiar to 
the north of England 


about A of a farthing. 

These were by no means all real coins ; on the contrary, 
the lowest alone are supposed to have actually existed, whilst 

Saxon Sceatta. 

Silver Penny of Offa, A.D. 757796. 

the others were only money of account, as is noted in the 
table. If the mancus were ever a real coin, it came most 


probably from some foreign mints. It is uncertain whether 
any of them were made of gold, although that metal may have 
been used in its rude state for payments. Silver pennies 
and copper stycas are the only pieces which have as yet been 
found. Great doubt also exists as to the value of the several 
coins or denominations of money, but the most probable 
estimate is given in the table. The mark and ora were 
Danish denominations, and introduced by the Danish settlers. 
Mints were established by the different kings, and by the 
archbishops of Canterbury and York, and great care was 
taken to preserve the weight and purity of the coinage. 

Besides the coins of their own minting, the Anglo-Saxons 
appear to have used several foreign coins, especially the By- 
zantine gold solidi (value forty Saxon pennies, or about 
95. 4|<i), and slaves and cattle were also employed as a circu- 
lating medium of common occurrence.* These were called 
living money., and were used in exchange universally, with 
the honourable exception of the clergy, who would not take 
slaves on any account. 

8. Of the general proportion between the value of money 
in those times and at the present moment, it is difficult to 
form a correct notion ; but it may be said loosely, that an 
Anglo-Saxon could have purchased (at least at some periods) 
twenty animals of any description for the same quantity of 
silver that an Englishman must now pay for one. Some 
articles, however, as for instance books, were infinitely higher 
than they are in these days. 

* Cattle formed so important a part of the commerce of early times, 
that their figures were stamped on the oldest coins, and the very word 
pecunia is derived from pecus. Mulct or multa, a fine, is also said to be 
derived from the old Sabine name for a ram, which is preserved to this 
day in Gaelic, in which a wether is called moll or mult. Hence also our 
word mutton. 

F 4 




r^i U: $oo<a\ England 
1. THE dwellings of our richer Anglo-Saxon ancestors were 
by no means devoid of comfort, being handsomely furnished, 
and hung with silk richly embroidered in gold and colours. 
Their chairs and tables were highly carved and ornamented, 
and their beds fitted up in the most luxurious style. The 
poorer classes were, however, content with much ruder ac- 

2. The dress of the men consisted of a linen shirt, over 
which they wore a tunic of linen or woollen with long 
sleeves, descending to the knee, and plain or ornamented 
round the collar and borders according to the rank of the 
wearer. Over this was worn a short cloak, fastened with a 
brooch. Linen drawers, and stockings of linen or woollen, 

Anglo-Saxon Costume. (Harleiau and Cotton MSS.) 

often cross-gartered from the knee down with strips of cloth, 
linen, or leather, were worn by the better orders ; and shoes 




or boots of some description by all, even by the lowest 
labourers. Coverings for the head are rarely seen, except 
upon figures of warriors. Silks, purple cloth, golden tissues, 
and furs, were used in dress by persons of the higher ranks. 
Men also wore ornaments of gold, silver, and ivory. The 
hair was worn long, except when the clergy were particularly 
earnest against it ; and the beard large, and generally forked. 
It is curious enough that the barbaric practice of tattooing 
the skin should have continued throughout the entire Anglo- 
Saxon period, and be mentioned as a " vice of the English " 
by a Norman historian. 

The female costume consisted of a long and large gown 
(gunnd), worn over a tunic or kirtle ; shoes like those of 
the men ; and a head-dress formed of a long piece of silk or 
linen, wrapped round the head and neck. The ladies paid 
particular attention to the dressing and ornamenting of their 
hair, and delighted in golden bracelets, ear-rings, and neck 
crosses. Gloves appear to have been very rare, five pair 
being considered as a very handsome present to the king from 
a company of German merchants. 

Anglo Saxon Dinner Party. (Cotton MS.) 

3. Sufficient attention was paid to the duties of the table, 
persons of substance having constantly four meals a day, of 




which flesh meat, boiled, baked, or broiled, formed the chief 
portion. An opulent lady is mentioned, who bequeathed her 
cook to one of her friends. Both sexes sat together at table ; 
and many of the little delicacies of society appear to have been 
well understood. Thus the tables were covered with a cloth, 
which sometimes hangs over the knees of the guests, as if a 
substitute for napkins. Knives, horns, bowls, and dishes were 
suitably ranged on the board : and the attendants served the 
meat on spits, kneeling before the feasters, Excessive drinking 
was largely indulged in, and the cup and the harp circulated 
together till a late hour. This passion for convivial pleasures 
penetrated even into the religious houses ; and several futile 
attempts were made by the provincial councils to check the 
monastic scenes of gambling, dancing, and singing, " even to 
the very middle of the night." 

Dance with Lyre and double Flute. (Cotton MS.) 

4. Personal cleanliness was carefully observed. The use 
of warm baths appears to have been general ; and when a 
stranger entered a house, water was always brought to wash 
his hands arid feet. One of the severest penances of the 
Church was the temporary denial of the bath, and of cutting 
the hair and nails. 

5. The treatment of children was, in o-eneral, kind ; and 


legal provision was made for the maintenance of foundlings. 
They were baptized by immersion, and anointed with the 
consecrated oil within thirty days after their birth. The 
connexion between the child and its God-parents was much 
regarded in after life. 

A father, however, if very poor, might give up his son to 
slavery for seven years, if the child's consent were obtained. 
A child of ten years old could give evidence in a court 
of justice. Until a daughter was fifteen years old, her father 
could marry her to whomsoever he pleased ; but after that age 
he lost the power- Literary education of every kind was 
given in the monasteries ; but it was only in later times that 
the children of the higher classes learned any thing beyond 
the arts of war and the chase. 

6. Women were treated with great respect, and relieved 
from the severer labours, even amongst the lower classes. 
They possessed properties in their own right, and were pro- 
tected, in various ways, by special laws. Marriage settle- 
ments were drawn up with great care, and the ceremony itself 
celebrated with proper splendour. In political affairs, also, 
women exercised great influence, and in one or two instances 
were even permitted to fill the throne. Nor were they devoid 
of intellectual cultivation or the graces of manner, and often 
formed the character of the noblest men of their time. 

7. The out-door sports of the Anglo-Saxons were hunting, 
hawking, and fishing, which were pursued with great ardour. 
Game laws were, however, unknown, save when the king 
hunted in person, when no person might interfere with the 
royal pastime. Within doors they amused themselves with 
games resembling chess and backgammon, and with the all- 
important glee-men, who sang, played, danced, tumbled, and 
performed sleight of hand tricks for the pleasure of the 
company. Animals also were trained to go through various 
attitudes ; and some rude outline of the drama may occasion- 
ally be perceived. 

8. The bodies of the dead were originally burnt by the 
Germans; but interment seems to have been the uniform 
practice of the Anglo-Saxons. The use of coffins made of 


stone, wood, or lead, was general ; and linen shrouds, or, 
with the clergy, the official dresses, enveloped the corpse. 
The burial places at first were carefully removed from the 
abodes of men ; but Archbishop Cuthbert, about the middle 
of the eighth century, obtained permission to bury the dead 
within cities. The passing bell was rung, that all within 
hearing might pray for the soul of the deceased ; and a pay- 
ment, called the " soul-sceat," or soul-penny, was made to the 
clergy after a death. For the purpose of procuring honour- 
able interment, burying-clubs or gilds were formed amongst 
the working men, the members of which were bound under 
a penalty to attend the body to the grave. The funerals 
of distinguished persons were conducted with great ceremony, 
and incense was thrown over the corpse, as it lay in the 
tomb, by the officiating priests. 



NORMAN PERIOD. A.D. 1066 1216. 



#j4a,m*r7^: Domes> Boo r<7< 
1. THE great distinctive feature of the Norman rule in Eng- 

land is the establishment of the feudal system, which had, 
indeed, partially existed amongst the Anglo-Saxons, but was 
now introduced in its full perfection. This extraordinary 
institution, many of whose forms, and not a little of the spirit, 
are still preserved amongst us, arose by degrees out of the 
condition in which the northern hordes found themselves 
after the downfal of the Roman empire. The conquered 
lands of Europe were divided by the leaders, at first, perhaps, 
most commonly in full and unconditional ownership. Such 
estates were called alod, a word to which different mean- 
ings have been assigned. In process of time the holders of 
small allodial properties would feel the insecurity of their pos- 
session amidst the constant wars and ravages which surrounded 
them, and would give up to some greater landowner their 
original unconditional right to their property, upon terms of 
mutual assistance and protection. Probably, also, from the 
very first (as has been already pointed out amongst the 
Anglo-Saxons, and even amongst the Romanized Britons) 
some portions of land were granted to the retainers of 
the more distinguished warriors in such conditional way. 
Beneficium was the word made use of from the 5th to 
the 9th century to express this latter sort of tenure; but 
it was afterwards called feodum, a phrase which has been 
variously derived from German, Greek, or Latin. To- 
wards the end of the 10th century, the feudal system was 


fully formed, and aristocratical institutions were predominant 
throughout Europe. 

The feudal lord in those days held with the soil all, or nearly 
all. the rights over the inhabitants, which constitute what we 
call sovereignty, and which are now possessed by the govern- 
ment. This was called holding in fief or fee. This system 
naturally gave society in the middle ages a character of isola- 
tion and of unbridled despotism. The great lord led a life 
of idleness and comparative loneliness in his lofty castle, sur- 
rounded by no immediate equals but his own wife and children, 
whilst his little group of subject husbandmen encircled the 
walls, exposed, without redress, to every caprice of their 
proprietor. In such a condition it is not wonderful that the 
excitements of war and the chase should have been eagerly 
and constantly sought, and that the splendid apparatus of 
chivalry should have arisen to supply the cravings of the 
restless and half-occupied mind of the Norman noble. 

2. It is obvious, also, that over such a crowd of independ- 
ent landholders, all devoted to military affairs, the authority 
of the sovereign, although nominally the greatest feudatory 
of the whole, would be but slight, and that even the general 
sentence of his equals would only affect an offending baron 
so far as he knew and felt their power to enforce it. Much 
greater power, however, was thrown into the hands of the 
monarch in England than upon the Continent, from the cir- 
cumstance that the duke of Normandy transferred to this 
country the exclusive authority which he had been accus- 
tomed to exercise in his own dominions, and received, as king 
of England, the fealty or submission of all the landholders, 
without exception, both of those who held in chief (i.e. from 
the king direct) and of their respective tenants or vassals. 
This was a step far beyond the usual position of the feudal 
lords, to each of whom alone the fealty of his own vassals 
was commonly due. Besides, the Anglo-Norman fiefs were 
much smaller than those of France, and dispersed over various 
counties. William the Conqueror also took care to secure 
immense possessions and the principal towns, as his own 
share ; and had the means of enforcing a greater amount of 

CHAP. I.] 



Great Real of William the Conqueror. 


feudal services, and of collecting a much larger revenue than 
was usual in those days. 

3. The position of the different ranks of the people was 
not much altered by the Conquest. The labouring classes 
remained as before, partly slaves (villains in gross) and partly 
bondmen or boors attached to the soil (villains regardant) ; 
above these were the freemen and tenants, holding estates 
either directly from the king or under a middle lord, 
and exercising various rights, according to their station. 
All the duties of legislation seem originally to have been 
confined to the tenants in chief; but the inferior freeholders 
might perform municipal functions, and sit in some of the 
courts to execute the law. Perhaps even the tenants in 
chief were not all summoned to parliament, but only those 
who had had such a privilege or barony conferred upon them 
by the crown.* The great change appeared in the total 
abolition of allodial property; the Conqueror having assumed 
to himself the dominium directum, or original and supreme 
ownership of all the lands in the kingdom, at the same time 
that he took possession of the throne. 

4. A sort of Parliament, or Common Council of the 
realm, was no doubt occasionally held during this period. 
The great nobles and the bishops of the Church were called 
around the king on solemn festivals and consulted on public 
matters ; but the power of the monarch was raised so much 
higher than that of any vassal, that the real consequence 
of such a meeting must have been but inconsiderable. 
Every public act, indeed, proceeded from the throne ; and 
the public officers of state, by whom the whole machinery of 
government was carried on, always bore the titles of the 
king's household. These were the Grand Seneschal, or 
Dapifer Anglice (the present lord high steward), who was 

* The only titles of nobility at this period were those of Baron, and 
Earl or Count, the latter being in all cases either the possessor or governor 
of a county, and also a baron, which phrase, indeed, meant no more than 
a person holding lands in fee on the usual condition of military service. 
The king's barons were the tenants of the crown, as other tenants were 
the barons of the lordship of which they held. 


next to the king himself in dignity, and at the head of all 
the various departments of the state. This office seems 
afterwards to have been divided into two parts, and com- 
mitted, in its judicial character, to the Chief Justiciary, and, 
in its administrative quality and matters relating to the king's 
palace or household, to the Seneschal, or Dapifer regis. The 
power and dignity of the original office was such that it raised 
the Carlovingians and the Plantagenets to the throne, and was 
held in England by a member of the royal family alone, from 
the attainder of the Earls of Leicester (to whom it had de- 
scended by marriage from the Grantmesnils) under Henry III. 
till its abolition as an hereditary post in the reign of 
Henry IV. The lord high steward has ever since been 
specially appointed, and only upon the particular occasion of 
a peer's trial for treason or felony before the House of Lords.* 
Then came the Comes Stabuli or Constable ; an officer who 
had at first the charge of the king's stable, but afterwards 
took the place of the seneschal as leader of the armies under 
the king : the Mareschal, another military officer, whose name 
is derived from the old German marach, a horse, and schalch, 
a master : and the Chamberlain, whose title sufficiently indi- 
cates his station. 

The Chancellor was not at first of so great importance as 
he afterwards became. He rather resembled the later clerk 
of the closet, who acted as a sort of confidential chaplain and 
secretary to the king. On the decline of the seneschal's office, 
however, the chancellorship grew up by degrees, although it 
has never quite reached the authority of the High Justiciary. 
The first lay lord chancellor was Sir Thomas More ; and the 
last ecclesiastic was Bishop Williams, in 1636. 

The Treasurer was the last of the great officers of state, 
and was mostly a clergyman. His position was also a very 
subordinate one in the beginning, although now (such are the 
mutations of time) the chancellor has become the first in 

* The very name of the House of Stuart arose from their originally 
holding the great office of Steward of Scotland. The present lord steward 
is only an officer of the household, and has no political station. 



dignity, and the first lord of the treasury the highest in 
political power ; whilst the lord steward, lord chamberlain, 
and earl marshal, are mere appendages of the court ; and the 
great high steward, to all ordinary intents and purposes, is 
no longer in existence. 

5. These officers seem not only to have attended to the 
public business of the realm, but also to have administered 
justice in a court which was originally held in the king's 
palace, or wherever he happened to be in person. This court 
was, in course of time, divided into several, now well known 
as the Courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, Chancery, 
and Exchequer. It is uncertain when this division took place, 
but most probably about the time of King John, who fixed 
the moving courts irrevocably in Westminster Hall. 

Great changes, indeed, took place in the administration of 
the law after the Conquest. Trial by jury gradually superseded 
the old Saxon modes of ordeal and compurgation, and careful 
sifting of evidence took the place of direct appeals to the 
judgment of Heaven. This important change may have 
arisen in the felt necessity of examining some of the com- 
purgators more strictly than others ; and the exercise of 
discretion required in such cases on the part of the court 
may have called for the appointment of a select committee 
to conduct such examination, rather than that it should 
be left to a large and variable assembly. The witnesses, 
however, in those days, as being the persons upon whose 
respectability and belief of the prisoner's honour or infamy 
the whole matter rested, would naturally be regarded as the 
real triers of the cause ; and so the committee aforesaid might 
naturally be chosen out of their body not from the court 
itself. Thus the witnesses of the greatest known probity, or 
best acquainted with the facts of the case, would be selected to 
agree among themselves as to how the truth stood ; in fact, to 
try the cause. These would probably be called upon to make 
their depositions with more form and solemnity than ordinary 
witnesses perhaps upon their oath. Their number might also 
after a time come to be definitely fixed, both as conducing to 
fairness, and on account of the popular feeling in favour of 


particular numbers ; and then, by separating the original con- 
nection between these triers and the other witnesses in the 
cause, we should have the precise origin of the much-applauded 
trial by jury. Two instances only of this mode of trial are 
recorded during the reign of William I. ; but afterwards they 
become more frequent. The first enactment which established 
it as a general rule appears to have been one of the laws passed 
by Henry II, at Clarendon, about 1176. By this law the 
justices were to make inquiry by the oaths of twelve knights 
or other lawful men of each hundred, together with the four 
men from each township, of all murders, robberies and thefts, 
&c., since the king's accession to the throne.* 

The ordeal was still permitted, however, as an appeal after 
the verdict of the inquest had been given ; nor was it finally 
prohibited by the Church till the Fourth Council of Lateran, 
A. D. 1215. Its ancient companion, the wager of battle, 
however, still remained uncensured and unabolished. 

6. These changes in judicial proceedings caused a change 
also in the constitution of the courts. Judges were now of 
necessity appointed, and, as early as 1118, justices itinerant, 
or in Eyre, as they were called, were appointed to go on cir- 
cuits through the kingdom. These were made a regular part 
of the judicature in 1176, and the great officers of state 
thereupon gave up their places in the king's court to the 
proper professional lawyers. 

7. The various alterations which were introduced both by 
Danes and Normans into the old Saxon laws, render it almost 
impossible to refer any particular part of our present common 
law to a specific origin; but it is probable that the influence 
of the king's court and of the periodical assizes gave the whole 
system of judicature a decidedly Norman character, and that 
the proportion of the Saxon element is very small indeed. 
Among the decided innovations after the Conquest may be 
reckoned the courts of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the bishops 
being henceforth forbidden to sit, as before, along with lay- 
men in the civil courts. These spiritual courts partially 

* Other acts of the same king appear to have established the inquest 
by twelve lawful men in civil suits also. 

G 2 


established the authority of the canon law in England, and 
the principles and rules of the Roman or civil law were 
also introduced through their influence. Attorneys or agents 
for the management of causes probably arose at this period. 
Written records of judicial procedures appear to have com- 
menced about the reign of Richard I., before which time the 
phrase to record meant simply to testify from memory. 

The common notion that all pleadings were now carried on, 
and deeds and laws drawn up, in Norman-French must be con- 
siderably modified, for no aversion was shown to the Anglo- 
Saxon tongue by the Conqueror or his immediate successors, 
who employed it continually in their charters, and no deed or 
law is found written in French till the time of Henry III. 

8. The great Charters which are usually regarded as the 
bulwarks of English liberty form the most important part of 
the legislation of this period. These famous concessions on 
the part of the monarchs arose from the struggles in which 
they and a portion of their nobles were so frequently en- 
gaged with the rest of the barons, who united upon the old 
feudal basis to resist the constant encroachments of the royal 
power. The contest came, in fact, to be, not between the 
conquering Normans and the discontented Saxons, but 
between royalty and aristocracy, in which the latter were 
generally successful. The first charter granted by the Anglo- 
Norman kings was the confirmation of the Saxon laws of 
Edward the Confessor by William I. It is assigned to the 
year 1070. 

These old laws were further confirmed by the charter of 
Henry I., in which also many rights and liberties were 
granted to the church and kingdom. Stephen gave two 
charters ; one to the clergy, the other to the barons ; and 
Henry II. added a fourth, which, like the others, contained 
many promises which were never performed. The great act 
KecJo,ro : of all, however, was the well-known Magna Charta, which 
was granted by King John at Runnimede on the 15th of 
> 1215. Its enactments may be arranged under three 
heads : Rights of the Clergy, Rights of the Barons, Rights 


X ft* if^** 

\aa\\i j : * O f tne p e0 pi e a t large. In all these divisions it would appear 

\}.\* dV*** 

CHAP. I.] 



that the regulations made for the liberty of the subject were 
founded not so much upon Saxon as upon Norman and feudal 
laws, and were intended chiefly for the better maintenance of 

Specimen of Magna Charta.* 

feudal privileges against the overpowering influence of the 
throne. Great security, however, was, no doubt, intended to 
be given to the free tenantry ; and one slight provision against 
unreasonable fines was made even for the neglected class of 

9. The revenues of the Anglo-Norman kings were much 
larger than those of their predecessors. The crown had ac- 
quired the entire property of above 1400 manors, besides 68 
royal forests, 13 chases, and 781 parks in different parts of 

* Johannes dei gratia rex Anglise, dominus Hyberniae, dux Norman- 
nise, Aquitanise, et comes Andegavise, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, 
comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, forestariis, vicecomitibus, praepositis, 
ministris, et omnibus ballivis, et fidelibus suis, salutem. 

G 3 


the country. The lands, too, which were granted to the fol- 
lowers of the Conqueror were subjected to the payment of 
annual quit rents and of other extraordinary dues of still 
greater amount. Every tenant of the crown was also bound 
to furnish an armed soldier for each knight's fee, and main- 
tain him in the field for forty days every time that the king 
went to war. This was afterwards commuted by Henry II. 
into a money payment of twenty shillings for each knight's 
fee, which was called an escuage or tax for furnishing a bow- 
man. The crown also drew large sums from its prerogatives 
of wardship and marriage over its tenants, and the claim 
upon escheats or landed property of persons who died without 
heirs or were executed for treason or felony. The profits 
of the estates of idiots also belonged to the crown; along 
with treasure trove (money or plate found hidden in the 
earth), waifs (goods thrown away by a thief in his flight), and 
estrays (cattle found wandering without an owner), whales 
and sturgeons caught or thrown ashore, (hence called royal 
fish), all wrecked goods on which no claim was established 
within a certain time, and all spoil taken in war. 

Taxes were also imposed to a considerable extent. The 
old Saxon land-tax, or danegelt, was revived by William, 
and levied by the succeeding kings. Two kinds of hearth- 
money, customs duties, and a property tax or tallage, (cutting, 
from the French tailler,) were added, which last was raised 
very considerably to meet the expenses of the crusades. There 
were various other irregular sources of revenue, some of which 
appear to us highly ludicrous, and others must have been of 
the most injurious character to the interests of commerce. 
Finally, we may add the sums that were frequently obtained 
by downright extortion and robbery, which were practised, 
indeed, most regularly upon the Jews, but often also upon the 
king's most Christian subjects, and even on the churches and 
monasteries. From all these channels the returns must have 
been very great. The income of the Conqueror has been 
estimated at more than 1060/. per day, which would be equi- 
valent in the year to nearly 1,200,0007. of our money, and, in 
actual application, to a much larger sum. Richard I. collected 


a revenue within two years of not less than 1,100,000 marks. 
The rents of the crown lands were chiefly paid in kind till 
the close of the reign of Henry I. 

10. On the whole, the victorious arrival of the active and 
spirited Normans was of infinite value in the formation of our 
English character. They were far superior to the degenerated 
and indolent Saxons in learning and in all the polish of life, as 
well as in the arts of war. Their wealth was spent, not in 
sensual enjoyments, but in works of permanent utility or em- 
bellishment, and they gave a fresh impulse to agriculture and 
commerce. To the immediate possessors of the land, however, 
it was, no doubt, the cause of extensive and extreme suffering. 
The English Conquest was especially one of confiscation and 
plunder, and the alien government was compelled, by the very 
course which it had itself commenced, to exercise the most 
constant and iron despotism. It is true that some Saxon 
families were still left in the enjoyment of their property, 
but the great bulk of the landowners were suddenly driven 
from their domains, and their miseries were perpetuated by 
the grinding exactions which pressed upon every class of 
society alike. In Domesday Book we find a faithful record of 
the extent of spoliation thus inflicted, and, in some degree, 
of the general depression of national prosperity which was 
its immediate consequence. Almost all the chief towns 
throughout the kingdom seem to have been greatly reduced 
in their population and number of houses, whilst the taxes 
levied upon them were, in most cases, fearfully augmented.* 

* Domesday Book is well known as the general survey of the whole 
kingdom, except the counties of Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northum- 
berland, Durham, and part of Lancashire. This great work, which was 
finished in the very short space of one year (A.D. 1085-6), contained a 
statement of the extent of lands in each district, their proprietors, tenures, 
and value, the quantity of meadow, pasture, wood, and arable land which 
they contained, and in some counties the number of tenants, villains, cot- 
tarii, and servi, who lived on them ; and all this at a triple estimate : 
1. as the estate was held in the time of the Confessor; 2. as it was be- 
stowed by King William ; 3. as its value stood at the time of the survey. 

Domesday has been supposed to have an allusion to the day of doom, 
or the last judgment ; but this seems rather forced. Stow says that it is a 

G 4 


The character and execution of the Norman code, especially 
of the forest laws, were awfully severe as regarded the public 
at large ; but the servants and retainers of the court were 
allowed to indulge in the greatest atrocities without restraint.* 

corruption of Domus Dei, the name of the apartment in the king's treasury 
where the volumes were kept. It was formerly placed by the side of the 

Specimen of Domesday Book. 1 

tally court in the exchequer under three different locks and keys. In 
1696 it was deposited in the chapter-house at Westminster, where it still 

* The seizure and wasting of the lands in Hampshire for the formation 
of a royal chase, is one of the most melancholy instances in all history of 
the dreadful abuse of arbitrary power. The whole south-western part of 
the county, measuring thirty miles from Salisbury to the sea, and in cir- 
cumference not much less than ninety miles, was suddenly dispossessed 
of its inhabitants and turned into the vast park, of which a part still re- 
mains in the New Forest. 108 places, manors, villages, or hamlets, with 36 
mother or parish churches, suffered in this sweeping waste, for which not 
a single proprietor received the slightest compensation. In many spots 
the lines of building may still be faintly traced, and the occasional names 
of Church Place, Church Moor, Thomson's Castle, and such like, mark 
out the sites of ancient habitations and places of worship. The laws of 
the New Forest ordained that any one who should kill a stag, deer, or 
wild boar, should have his eyes torn out ; and statutes equally severe 

1 Rex tenet in dominio Stochae. De firma Regis E. fuit. Tune se 
defendebat pro 17 hidis. Nichil geldaverunt. Terra est 16 carucatae. 
In dominio sunt 2a9 carucatae et 24 villani et 10 bordarii cum 20 
carucis. Ibi ecclesia quam Willelmus tenet de Rege cum dimidia hida 
in elemosina. Ibi 5 servi et 2 molini de 25 sol. et 16 acrae prati. 
Silva 40 porcorum et ipsa est in parco Regis. 


Perhaps this very tyranny of the crown had the effect 
of driving the subjects of both races into closer union, and 
so of abolishing much sooner their national distinctions. 
Not long after the Conquest we find the Saxons beginning 
to adopt the superior habits of the Normans, except in the 
article of eating and drinking; which having learned, as 
they said, from their old enemies, the Danes, they now, in 
turn, communicated, with redoubled relish, to their new 
victors. By the time of Stephen the name of Englishman 
had ceased to be a reproach, and was even assumed by the 
Norman barons in their common struggles with the people 
against the power of the throne. 

By the time of Henry II. the English had begun to be 
admitted to offices of honour and profit in the state, and in- 
termarriages had taken place to such an extent that the 
original stock of the freemen could hardly be distinguished. 
The villains, indeed, from their peculiar position still remained 
of pure Saxon blood. With this union of races came a cor- 
responding softening and comprehensiveness of the law, and 
that gradual reform of the constitution of which Magna 
Charta stands forward as the first grand step. 

were made even to protect the hares. " This savage king," says the 
Saxon Chronicle, " loved wild beasts as if he had been their father ! " 
Even his Norman nobles were prohibited from keeping sporting dogs 
unless their forepaws were mutilated ; but to the poor English, whose 
subsistence often depended much upon the chase, these severe restrictions 
were a source of great distress. The preservation of game has, indeed, 
in all ages, been accompanied, necessarily or unnecessarily, by great stern- 
ness both in the formation and execution of the law, though rarely to 
much purpose. 




1. WITH the invasion of the Normans no barbarous heathen 
power rushed in to overthrow the fabric of Christianity in 
England. The invaders and the invaded were of the same 
religion, and differed little even in its minuter forms. Po- 
litical differences, however, naturally created a great division 
amongst the clergy ; and whilst many of the higher digni- 
taries adhered to the Norman interest, the great body of the 
priesthood were warmly attached to the Saxon cause. Amongst 
these the most conspicuous was the Primate Stigand, who was, 
in consequence, deposed by the papal legates, at the instiga- 
tion of William, who, with the consent of his barons, ap- 
pointed Lanfranc, an Italian, as his successor. The new 
archbishop, although nearly in his ninetieth year, soon dis- 
played an extraordinary vigour and spirit in reclaiming the 
possessions of his cathedral, which had been seized by the laity 
during the late confusions. The property thus acquired he 
spent in erecting and repairing churches and monasteries in 
a superior style, and in establishing schools in different parts 
of the kingdom. 

But the great point of ecclesiastical reformation (for such 
they professed to consider it) in which he and the Con- 
queror were engaged, was the substitution of a foreign for a 
native clergy, and the bringing the church into a complete 
uniformity with the civil government. In many cases the 
crime of being an Englishman, or an inability to speak French, 
were reckoned sufficient grounds of deposition, and even the 
Saxon saints shared in the ridicule which was thrown upon 
their priesthood. Some of the unhappy churchmen fled into 
Scotland, others to the forests, where they joined the wild 
bands of independent outlaws ; whilst a few sought safety 
and subsistence by yielding to the will of their master, and 


descending to lower stations in their sacred office. A very 
touching story is told by the chroniclers of the attempted 
deposition of the venerable Wulstan, Bishop of Winchester, 
whose firmness, however, insured his stay ; and at the death of 
William he was the only Saxon bishop who retained his see. 

2. In the midst of these triumphs over the liberty of 
the English church, the Conqueror was surprised by the im- 
perious demand of the Pope (Gregory VII., whose original 
name was Hildebrand), that he should do homage, as the vas- 
sal of St. Peter, for the possession of England. This was 
peremptorily refused by the independent Norman, but he ac- 
knowledged the tax called Peter-pence, the payment of which 
had been of late discontinued, and the Pope made no further 
claim for the present. William added a decree that no pontiff 
should be owned in his dominions without his consent, and 
that all papal letters, before they were published, should be 
submitted to his inspection ; also, that no decision, either of 
national or provincial synods, should be executed without his 
permission ; and that the spiritual courts should neither im- 
plead nor excommunicate any tenant-in-chief until the offence 
had been certified to himself. 

3. For some time there was no uniformity observed in 
public worship, the style of service frequently depending upon 
the caprices of the priest, till a serious riot having arisen at 
Glastonbury, in consequence of the compulsory adoption of a 
particular form, Oswald, Bishop of Salisbury, composed the 
famous Ritual of Sarum, the use of which spread generally 
throughout the realm. 

4. Under Rufus and his servile minister, Flambard, the 
church was thrown into the utmost disorder, the most im- 
portant offices being kept unfilled for years, whilst the re- 
venues were drawn into the king's exchequer, and at last 
shamelessly sold to the highest bidder. It was not till four 
years after his accession that the king appointed Anselm to 
the see of Canterbury, and the moment of his installation was 
the signal for bitter and continued disputes. The first ground 
of open quarrel was found in Anselm's proposing to go to 
Rome for the pall, as was usual in those days ; to which the 


king decidedly objected ; and not without some reason, there 
being at that time two popes in existence (Urban II. and 
Clement III.), who each laid equal claim to supreme authority. 
The pall was at last transmitted to England, on condition that 
Kufus should acknowledge the rights of Pope Urban. Anselm 
afterwards did go to Rome, to complain of the king's confisca- 
tions of religious property ; but the wild monarch rejected the 
pope's message and threat of excommunication with scorn ; 
and persisted in excluding Anselm during the remainder of his 
reign.* He was restored, however, by Henry I., whose de- 
fective title required the sanction of the church. Even their 
harmony was not of long continuance ; and after some years of 
tedious contention, the matter was at length compromised by 
the pope consenting, that if investiture by ring and crozier 
were not insisted on by the king, bishops and abbots should 
be allowed to do homage for their temporalities in the same 
manner as the lay tenants of the crown. 

5. The weakness of Stephen compelled him to grant an ex- 
emption from the royal investiture, and the right of carrying 
ecclesiastical causes by appeal to Rome privileges which 
were by no means neglected by the ambitious servants of the 
papal see. But it is in the reign of Henry II. that the con- 
test becomes of real importance, and leaves impressions be- 
hind it which are not yet effaced. The history and character 
of Thomas a Becket, the first Saxon archbishop after the 
Conquest, are too well known to require a lengthened detail 
in this place, and it will be sufficient to notice the constitu- 

* It was at this time that the famous contest about investitures was 
carried on between the popes and the temporal sovereigns throughout 
Christendom. The question was, whether ecclesiastics, on being inducted 
into bishoprics and abbeys, should receive the ring and crozier by which 
the temporalities of the benefice were understood to be conveyed, but 
which were also symbols of the spiritual power, from the hands of their 
prince or no ? i. e. in other words, whether the civil authorities were to 
retain any influence or control over the officials of the church ? This 
gave rise to terrible contentions and dreadful wars, especially in Germany 
and Italy, and, at length, to the strange spectacle of two popes at the 
same time, one being nominated by the Emperor of Germany, and the 
other by the Romish party. 




tions which were passed during the struggle at the great 
Council of Clarendon, in January, 1164. The particular 
question about which the general rights of the crown and of 
the spiritual estate finally became involved, was this, whe- 
ther the clergy, when accused of crimes, should be tried and 
punished by the ecclesiastical or the civil courts. As the 
ecclesiastical courts were not allowed to punish with death, 
but only with stripes and degradation from office, and as the 

Penance of Henry II. before Becket's Shrine. (From an ancient Painting on Glass.) 

clergy were supposed to entertain a natural partiality for 
their offending brethren, it was contended that they were im- 
proper tribunals before which to bring men who were often 
guilty of the grossest offences. The sixteen constitutions of 
Clarendon, however, went a good deal beyond this special 
point ; for they not only decreed the entire subjection of the 
clergy to the king's court in civil and criminal cases, but they 
established their complete independence of Rome, and vested 


almost all authority over them in the person of the king. Not- 
withstanding Becket's obstinate refusal, these decrees were 
assented to by the barons and prelates, and became, at least 
for a time, the law of the land. Henry was obliged, how- 
ever, to recant them all before obtaining reconciliation with 
the pope in 1172, although they were not formally repealed 
(or rather modified) till the great council at Northampton in 
1176. It was there agreed, though not without great oppo- 
sition from many barons, that the clergy should only be 
brought before the civil courts for offences against the forest 
laws ; and that no bishopric or abbey should be kept in the 
king's hands longer than a year, except under peculiar cir- 
cumstances. This arrangement subsisted throughout the re- 
mainder of this period. 

6. During the reign of Richard I. the crusades engrossed 
both clergy and laity in England, as in all Europe ; but time 
was found by Pope Innocent III. to direct a threatening bull 
to the king and the Archbishop of Canterbury, commanding 
both, in an imperial strain, to lay aside certain proceedings, 
which was submitted to without a murmur by the hero of the 
lion heart. A fresh quarrel arose under John, about an 
appointment to the see of Canterbury. The monks of Can- 
terbury had elected to that office Reginald, their sub-prior ; 
but afterwards, under apprehension of the king's displeasure, 
had removed him, and elected the king's favourite, John de 
Gray, Bishop of Norwich. The pope decided that Reginald's 
appointment had never been legally annulled, and took the 
nomination into his own hands, ordering them to receive 
as their archbishop Stephen Langton, who happened to be then 
at Rome. John's impotent resistance to this nomination, the 
terrible interdict and excommunication which ensued, and the 
final humiliation of the crown of England at the feet of the 
papal legate, are matters familiarly known to every reader of 
English history.* 

* A curious tale is told by old Matthew Paris, that John, in his hour 
of danger, actually solicited aid against the Pope and the King of France 
from the Mohammedans of Spain. To make the story more complete, a 
Christian priest was joined to this embassy to an infidel soldan. The 




7. The internal constitution of the Church of England was 
but little changed by the Conquest. Two new sees (Ely and 
Carlisle) were added to the fifteen Saxon bishoprics, and two 
new orders of monks (the Cistercians and Carthusians) were 




introduced.* The celibacy of the clergy was rigidly enforced 
by Lanfranc and his successors, and gradually became the 
prevailing practice. Pilgrimages continued much in favour, 
especially to the shrine of Becket after his murder, as well as 
to Rome, Loretto, and the Holy Land. Even princes and 

prudent emir, however, privately questioned the ecclesiastic as to the 
character of his master, and being informed that he was a tyrant univer- 
sally hated by his subjects, declined to give him any assistance. 

* The only order of monks in England before the Conquest, was that 
of the Benedictines, which was instituted early in the 6th century, and 
first generally established in this country by Dunstan. In 1128 the Cis- 
tercians came in, who were first established at Citeaux, in Burgundy, 
A.D. 1098, and soon ranked a considerable number of devotees in England 
and Scotland. The Carthusians (founded at Chartreux, in 1080,) ap- 
peared in England in 1180; but probably from the great strictness of 
their rule never became numerous. 

These may both, however, be considered as branches of the Benedictines. 
The general habit of these orders consisted of an under, garment of white 
with a long loose black gown over it, and in some cases a cloak of white in 


prelates abandoned their offices, to put themselves at the 
head of those vast armies of palmers which afterwards sprung 
up into battalions of armed crusaders.* 

Four of the crusades belong to the present period, of which 
the first set out in 1097, the second in 1147, the third (in 
which Richard I. so distinguished himself) in 1189, and the 
fourth in 1203. One of their most remarkable results in con- 
nection with the church was the establishment of the religious 
orders of knighthood, of which the two earliest and most 
distinguished were the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, 
whose chief abode was at Clerkenwell, and the Knights Tem- 
plars, who have left their name to our ancient seat of law. 

8. The first dawn of opposition to the received doctrines of 
the day appeared in 1166, when a synod was held at Oxford, 
in presence of the king, for the trial of certain German 
strangers, accused of heresy. They were said to have spoken 
impiously of the Eucharist, baptism, and marriage, but they 
refused to enter into any discussion upon their peculiar views. 
The canons of the Council of Tours against the Albigenses (to 
whose sect the wanderers probably belonged) furnished a pre- 
cedent for the punishment of these unfortunates, and they were 
accordingly branded in the forehead, publicly whipped, and 
expelled from Oxford. Half naked, in the depth of winter, 
and driven by an arbitrary authority from every place of 
shelter, these poor enthusiasts, who had gone to their punish- 
ment in all the triumph of religious fervour, wandered about, 
dejected and heartbroken, amongst the fields and lanes till 
they miserably died. 

* The name palmer was given from the branches of palm which they 
bore in their hands as the emblem of victory. They also wore cockle or 
scallop shells in their hats in token of having crossed the seas. 




1. IT is not improbable (as already mentioned) that learning 
may have begun to revive in England after the accession of 
Canute, early in the 1 1th century : but still there is every 
reason to believe that it was at but a low pitch at the time of 
the Conquest. The general ignorance of the Saxon priest- 
hood no doubt favoured very materially William's plans for 
the substitution of a foreign clergy ; and certainly no names 
eminent as scholars are recorded at that period in the annals 
of the Saxon church. The Conquest, however, restored to 
England the better preserved learning of the Continent, which 
yet had mainly flowed from the great schools of Alcuin and 
Erigena, the two illustrious Irishmen of the last period. 

A new source of intellectual improvement had now also 
opened in the literature of the East, communicated through- 
out Europe by the brilliant and successful Arabs of Spain. 
At this time Saracenic Spain was the resort of students from 
every country, and many of the Greek authors were first made 
known to the Western world by Latin translations from 
Arabic versions.* It does not fully appear that this new lite- 
rature had made its way to England before the Conquest, but 
it could hardly avoid following at once in its train. The 
Conqueror himself was a most liberal patron of letters, and 

* The Greek writings which the Arabs studied with most eagerness 
were such as related to metaphysics, mathematics, medicine, chemistry, 
botany, and other departments of physical knowledge. The number of 
volumes collected in the Saracen libraries was prodigious. In Egypt 
there were 100,000 MSS., and in Cordova 600,000, elegantly transcribed 
and splendidly bound. Totally extinct as the Arab power has long been 
in Europe, it lasted with little diminution for 500 years, a period long 
enough for the accumulation of an immense mass of literary treasures. 


took great care to fill the most important offices with men of 
distinguished learning. Most of his successors also followed 
his example, having themselves for the most part received a 
polite education. Besides Henry I., surnamed Beauclerc, 
from his attainments, Henry II., and his sons, Henry, 
Geoffrey, and Richard, were all carefully instructed in the 
usual acquirements of the day. 

2. Learning was still, however, chiefly in the hands of the 
clergy, to whom it was considered to belong as a peculiar 
possession, and even the nobility made but small pretensions 
to any thing like scholarship. Yet schools and other semi- 
naries were largely extended in this age, and also elevated con- 
siderably in their character. By the Third General Council 
of Lateran (A. D. 1179) it was ordered that in every cathedral 
a head-teacher or Scholastic (as he was called) should be ap- 
pointed, who, besides keeping a school of his own, should have 
authority over all the other schools in the diocese, and the sole 
right of granting licenses, without which no one should be 
entitled to teach. This office had been formerly held by the 
bishops themselves, but as might be expected from the wide 
range of their other duties, with little effect, whilst after this 
canon it was frequently filled by the most learned persons 
of the time. It would appear also that some of the English 
schools had a broader purpose than the mere education of 
future ecclesiastics, and were intended for the benefit of the 
community at large. 

3. In the twelfth century may be placed the institution 
of universities proper, as we now understand the term, 
though doubtless many of these establishments had existed 
long before in the form of schools or studia* Even Oxford 
does not appear to have been recognised in this sense till the 
reign of Richard I., and Cambridge throughout the twelfth 
century was little more than a very distinguished school, 
without any incorporation or public establishment whatever. 
Many eminent Englishmen still resorted to foreign schools, 

* The oldest university in Europe is that of Bologna. The university 
of Paris ranks about the same with that of Oxford. 


of which the University of Paris was decidedly the chief. 
So many of our countrymen were constantly to be found at 
this great seminary that they formed one of the four nations 
into which its students were divided, and several of its most 
conspicuous teachers were of the English race. Among 
these may be particularly mentioned Robert of Melun and 
Robert White, who afterwards lectured with great success at 
Oxford; also Nicholas Breakspear, who afterwards became 
Pope under the title of Adrian IV., being the only English- 
man who ever enjoyed that distinction; and John of Salisbury, 
who has left us a particular account of the modes of study, 
and of the entire learning of the age. 

4. From this statement it appears that those branches ot 
literary and scientific knowledge which were specially en- 
titled as the Arts, were still divided into the two great classes, 
of which some notice has already been given ; the first or 
more elementary of which, comprehending grammar, rhetoric 
and logic, was called the Trivium. The second, comprising 
music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, the Quadrivium. 
The whole seven used to be thus enumerated in a Latin 
hexameter : 

Lingua, Tropus, Ratio, Numerus, Tonus, Angulus, Astra. 

or, with definitions subjoined, in the two following lines : - 

Gram, loquitur, Dia. vera docet, Rhet. verba colorat, 
Mus. canit, Ar. numerat, Geo. ponderat, Ast. colit astra. 

This old arrangement had now, however, come to be con- 
sidered as too limited, and various new studies had been 
added to the primitive seven in order to complete a liberal 

Theology, in particular, was now first ranked as a dis- 
tinct science, and logic and metaphysics were extensively 
introduced into the discussion of religious questions. The 
system of Aristotle was the great source from which all 
modes of argument were drawn, and the scholastic theology 
rose into shape and order in the celebrated Books of Sentences 

H 2 


of Peter Lombard.* Logic, indeed, occupied an extrava- 
gantly large place in the studies of the young churchman, 
and it would appear that some even devoted the entire twelve 
years, usually given to the general course, to that branch 
alone. This exclusive attachment operated fatally upon 
all politer literature, which it drove out with contempt to 
the makers of songs and the despised laity. 

5. Classical knowledge was almost entirely confined to 
Latin, and even some of the best Roman authors were as yet 
unknown. Some few continental scholars, however, and 
perhaps, some in England, were acquainted with Greek, 
Hebrew, and probably other Oriental languages. The Jews, 
indeed, had schools in many parts of England, which appear to 
have been attended by Christian scholars, and where Hebrew, 
Arabic, and the Arabian sciences were constantly taught. 

It is uncertain whether the Arabic numerals were yet 
known in Europe, and they undoubtedly were not in general 
use. Mathematics were but little studied, or chiefly for the 
purpose of cultivating astrology. " Mathematicians," says 
Peter of Blois, " are those who, from the position of the 
stars, the aspect of the firmament, and the motions of the 
planets, discover things that are to come." The genuine 
science of astronomy was not, however, wholly neglected. 
Ingulphus gives us a curious description of a nadir or 
planetary system which was burnt with the abbey of Croyland 
in 1091, and Latin translations existed of several astrono- 
mical works, f 

* In this age lived St. Bernard, the last of the Fathers, as they are 
called in opposition to the Schoolmen, who introduced the systematising 
spirit of philosophy into all theological studies. John of Salisbury accuses 
the dialecticians of wasting their time on the most ridiculous puzzles ; 
such as, Whether a person who bought the whole cloak also bought the 
cowl ? or, Whether, when a hog was taken to market with a rope tied 
about its neck and held at the other end by a man, the hog was really 
taken to market by the man or by the rope ? These were gravely de- 
clared to be questions which could not be solved, the arguments on both 
sides being exactly equal ! 

f " We then lost," says Ingulphus, " a most beautiful and precious 
table, fabricated of different kinds of metals, according to the variety of 


6. Medicine was principally studied at Salerno and Paris, 
but was confined to the precepts of Hippocrates and Galen, 
with some knowledge of botany and chemistry ; for anatomy 
could hardly be known with accuracy whilst the dissection of 
the human body was not practised. Law was eagerly studied, 
especially the canon law, of which the best systematic com- 
pilation is to be found in the Decretum of Gratian, published 
in 1 151. The civil law also first began to be regularly taught 
after the reported discovery of a perfect copy of Justinian's 
Pandects at Amalphi in Italy, A. D. 1137. It was at first 
violently opposed by the practitioners of the common law ; 
but being favoured by the Church, and at length by the 
government, it triumphed over all their efforts. 

7. Great difficulties were still encountered in the pursuit 
of learning from the scarcity of books, but by no means to the 
same extent as in the last period. In every great abbey there 
was a room called the scriptorium, where many writers were 
constantly engaged in transcribing service-books and MSS. 
for the library. Books were also bound and illuminated in 
these writing-rooms, for the support of which estates were 
often granted by the encouragers of learning. Parchment, 
unfortunately, was not always to be had in sufficient abun- 
dance, and paper made of linen rags does not appear to have 
been known till about the middle of the 13th century.* 

8. Although the notion that William I. deliberately 
planned the abolition of the Saxon language does not rest 
upon any competent authority, yet the substitution of French 
for English, to a great extent, must naturally have followed 
the Norman Conquest. French, indeed, had been the fashion- 
able language of the court in the time of Edward the Con- 

the stars and heavenly signs. Saturn was of copper, Jupiter of gold, 
Mars of iron, the Sun of latten, Mercury of amber, Venus of tin, the 
Moon of silver. The eyes were charmed as well as the mind instructed 
by beholding the colure circles, with the zodiac and all its signs, formed 
with wonderful art of metals and precious stones, according to their 
several natures, forms, figures, and colours. It was the most admired 
and celebrated nadir in all England." 

* Paper made of cotton was, however, in common use in the 12th 

H 3 


fessor ; and the swarms of Norman warriors and churchmen 
whom the Conquest introduced must have spread it still more 
widely over the kingdom. The Anglo-Saxon, however, still 
continued the tongue of the great mass of the people; and 
for nearly a century afterwards it appears (though with con- 
siderable modifications) to have preserved its original cha- 
racter.* From about the middle of the 12th century it is 
generally thought to have been assuming the form which 
finally resulted in our present English ; but as we have no 
authentic specimens of the language taken from the latter 
part of that century, it will be better to reserve the con- 
sideration of this change till the next period. 

Latin was, however, the chief language of literary com- 
position in this age, and all scholars appear to have been 
as familiar with it as with their native tongues. Nay, ser- 
mons were often delivered in it even to the unlearned populace ; 
and, as we are told, with the greater effect the less they were 
understood. A crowd of Latin poets are enumerated by 
Warton in his History of English Poetry, of whom he praises 
most highly a certain bard named Joseph of Exeter, who 
wrote an epic on the Trojan war. 

Of much greater consequence are the numerous historical 
works which this period produced, forming altogether, per- 

* The following is a specimen of our language and poetry at the latest 
period at which they can perhaps, with propriety, be denominated Saxon. 
It is taken from a volume of homilies (in the Bodleian library) supposed 
to have been written in the time of Henry II. : 

De pep bolb jebylb For thee is a house built 

Gp tSu ibopen pepe Ere thou wert born. 

De pef molb imynt For thee was a mould shapen 

6p tm op mobep come Ere thou of (thy) mother earnest. 

De hit nep no ibihc Its height is not determined, 

Ne Sep beopnep imeten Nor its depth measured, 

Nep til iloceb Nor is it closed up, 

pu lonj hit $e pepe However long it may be, 

Nu me Se bpm^eS Until I thee bring 

UUep Su beon pcealt Where thou shalt remain, 

Nu me pceal 8e meten Until I shall measure thee 

(5e molb peoS <5a And the sod of earth. 


haps, a larger body of early contemporary history than is 
possessed by any other nation. First comes the Sax on 
chronicle down to the death of Stephen ; then the life of 
William the Conqueror written by his chaplain, William of 
Poictiers ; and the curious, though not quite genuine, history 
of the abbey of Croyland by Ingulphus, from 664 to 1091. 
The ecclesiastical history of Ordericus Vitalis brings us down 
to 1121, a date which also closes the valuable history of 
Eadmer of Canterbury. The great chronicle of William of 
Malmsbury also ranges from the first arrival of the Saxons 
to the year 1 143 ; and in the memoirs of Simeon of Durham 
and the eight books of Henry of Huntingdon are to be found 
many valuable facts and traces of still more ancient au- 
thorities. To these might be added a long list of such names 
as Giraldus Cambrensis, Roger de Hoveden, &c., and the 
annals and registers of various religious houses.* 

9. In nothing was the magnificence and taste of the Nor- 
mans more strikingly displayed than in their buildings, which 
soon filled every corner of England, and strikingly attested 
the wealth and spirit of their erectors. Amongst the foremost 
appeared the bishops and other ecclesiastics, whose archi- 
tectural skill was generally not less effective than their well 
bestowed riches. 

The Norman style of church architecture may be re- 
garded as an intermediate link between the Roman and 
the Gothic, into the latter of which it very gradually faded 
away. Its principal characteristic is the semicircular arch, 
springing either from a single column, sometimes short 
and massive, sometimes tall and slender, or from a pier 
decorated with half columns or light shafts, in which the 
clustered pillar of later date evidently originated. Mult- 
angular and plain square piers are also to be met with, though 
not so frequently. The capitals are square and heavy, with 

* The style of writing introduced by the Normans corresponded nearly 
with the Lombardic (which was a corruption of the Roman letters by the 
Lombards, who settled in Italy in the sixth century), and continued, with 
little variation, till the time of Edward III. It may be noticed in the 
specimens of Magna Charta and of Domesday Book, already given. 

H 4 




the lower parts rounded off and divided by shallow channels, 
or handsomely carved in imitation of the classical orders. The 
walls are generally built of grouted rubble with a thin face of 
cut stone, and are so excessively thick as to render the but- 
tresses merely ornamental. The windows are mostly small 

Enriched Norman Window St. Cross, 

Early Norman Window 
Kyton Church, Warwickshire 

and narrow, and seldom of more than one light, except in 
belfry windows, which are usually divided by a shaft. Cir- 
cular or wheel-shaped windows were also used in the gables. 
The deep and rich doorways formed by a succession of 
receding arches springing from rectangular jambs and de- 
tached shafts in the nooks, and profusely ornamented, are 
particularly beautiful, and seem to have been carefully pre- 
served in many churches and other edifices where no other 
part was allowed to remain. The semicircular stone at the 
head of the door-arch is generally covered with sculpture 
in rude bas-relief, representing a scriptural subject, a legend, 




or a mere symbol, such as fish, serpents, or chimeras. The 
sitting figure of our Saviour holding in his hand a book, and 


Norman Doorway Queenington Church, Gloucestershire. 

with right hand uplifted, circumscribed by the mystical vesica 
piscis, appears over several Norman doorways. 

The mouldings are few and simple, and apparently of 
Roman origin, but the details are so extremely varied that 
an aspect of great richness is frequently produced. The 
chevron or zigzag is the most remarkable, which remained 
even after every other trace of the style had almost dis- 
appeared. The plainness of the exterior walls is often broken 
by a series of small columns and arches, rising in tiers one 
above another. 

The Latin cross was now the established form for the 
larger churches, terminating at the east end in a semicircular 
apsis. The interior was divided into three stories, the lower 
arches, separating the nave from the aisles ; the triforium, 
or gallery, composed of smaller arches; and the clerestory 
above all, with arches lesser still. The roofs are sometimes 




vaulted and sometimes left open to the timbers ; and gene- 
rally they were not of a very acute pitch. The intersection 
of the cross supports a tower commonly very low and 
massive ; and two other towers are often found at the west 
end. The smaller parish churches consisted of a nave and 
chancel, with a low tower commonly at the west end, but 
sometimes at the chancel arch, which latter was always 
richly decorated. 

1 0. A very important change took place in the Norman 
style during the latter part of the 12th century (if not at an 
earlier period) which gradually led to the adoption (in the 
next century) of the pointed style and the general disuse of 
the semicircular arch. It is denoted by the intersection of 
the semicircular and the occasional use of the pointed arches, 
and a tendency to abandon the peculiarities of Norman 

Intersecting Semi-Norman Arches St. Cross, Winchester. 

ornament.* It may be added that in some particulars there 
is a marked difference between the Anglo-Norman style and 

* The precise origin of the pointed arch has been much contested, and 
is yet by no means a settled point. It might very naturally and easily 
have been derived either from the intersections of the semicircular arches 
or of the vaulting groins of Norman roofs ; but some suppose it to have 
been taken from the mystical figure of a pointed oval shape called the 
vesica piscis, and others ascribe it to an Oriental model. The vesica 
piscis, it may be added, is supposed to have taken its rise in the word 
i which contains the initials of our Saviour's name and titles. 




that of the Continent at the same period, the English 
churches being built in a much more decorative manner, 

Norman Font Drayton Church, Norfolk. 

especially about the doorways, whilst the foreign edifices 
approach in their details more nearly to the classical forms. 
Possibly the native Anglo-Saxon workmen were extensively 
employed upon these structures in England, and introduced 
wherever they could the decorative style which their own 
talent or practice naturally suggested. 

11. The castles of the Norman barons were strictly for- 
tresses, in which every thing was sacrificed to security, and 
possessed, as we may imagine, few of the comforts and con- 
veniences of more peaceful ages. They occupied in general 
a considerable space of ground, and consisted of three great 
divisions; the lower ballium (whence our word bailey) or 
court, the upper court, and the keep. The whole circuit was 
defended by a lofty and strong wall, strengthened at intervals 
by towers, surrounded by a ditch or moat, and protected by 
a pierced parapet for the discharge of missiles. The outer 
entrance was guarded by the barbican or advanced gateway, 
and the archway, besides its heavy gates, was crossed by the 
portcullis, which could be instantly dropped on any emer- 




gency ; the crown of the arch also was pierced with holes, 
through which melted lead and pitch might be poured upon any 

Norman Keep Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

assailants who had won the gate. A second rampart separated 
the two courts, in the upper of which were placed the dwell- 
ing houses and the massive keep or donjon. This was the 
citadel of the whole, and the residence of its baronial master. 
It generally contained three stories, and often four, of which 
the lowest was a dark vaulted basement, used either for store- 
rooms or for dungeons. A well was invariably sunk within 
the keep to supply the garrison with water in case of extremity. 
The lodging rooms in the smaller keeps, notwithstanding 
every contrivance to make use of the thickness of the walls, 
were sufficiently contracted ; and those of the larger differed 
only in size, but were neither more convenient nor less gloomy. 
More roomy structures might, however, be found about the 
walls of the court, in which even chapels were sometimes 




erected, and such mansions as were not directly intended for 
defence were no doubt of a very different character from the 
stern keep of the feudal tyrant. The dimensions of West- 
minster Hall still show the magnificent scale of palace build- 
ing attained in the days of William Rufus, although in other 
respects it has lost its original features. In ordinary houses 
timber was the principal material employed, though several 
stone dwellings still exist in Lincoln and elsewhere. 

Ancient Chest temp. John. 

12. The art of statuary did not flourish during the Norman 
period, and we scarcely find any attempt at the human figure, 
except in low relief. Even on monuments the effigy was 
rarely introduced before the 12th century, and then in a very 
imperfect manner. 

The earliest Norman monuments consist merely of a stone 
coffin with the lid shaped in a ridge or en dos tfdne. The 
coffins were sunk on a level with the ground, in the inter- 
ments of distinguished people, so that the lid rose up over 
the pavement. They were frequently plain, or sculptured 
only with a cross, but afterwards they were raised above 
ground, and architectural decorations introduced. The first 
monarch for whom a full recumbent effigy was sculptured in 
England was King John.* 

13. Of their progress in painting we have little beyond 

* The decorations on his tomb are, however, of a much later date. 




the illuminations in manuscripts to inform us ; but painting 
and gilding were certainly used abundantly, particularly in the 

Tomb of King John at Worcester. 

decoration of ceilings. The MSS. are, however, remarkable 
for a profusion of ornament, with an excess of gold and silver, 
and a graceful but intricate method of illuminating capital 
letters, which renders it easy to recognise the writings of this 
period. Embroidery continued to be the chief occupation of 
ladies of rank. 

14. The improved scale of musical notation, invented by 
Guido of Arezzo, had already given a new form to the science 
of music shortly before the commencement of this age. Great 
attention was now paid to church music, and the clergy fre- 
quently composed pieces for the use of their choirs. Different 
cathedrals had accordingly their own choral services or " uses; " 
as in the north the " use " of York ; in South Wales, that of 
Hereford ; in North Wales, of Bangor ; and in other places, 
that of Sarum or of Lincoln, prevailed. The organ was the 
great ecclesiastical instrument. Secular music was likewise 
very much improved, and often furnished materials for the 
sacred composer. 

15. The plainer arts of life continued, in many respects, 
the same after the Conquest. Windmills were still more 
extensively used in addition to the old water and hand mills ; 
and the fabrication of armour gave a new and higher direc- 




tion to the art of working in metals. Some of the works in 
gold and silver, brought from England, are said to have 

Ordination of a Priest.* 

excited the highest admiration on the Continent. The shoe- 
ing of horses with iron, however, is supposed to have been only 
introduced about this time. Machines were now constructed 
with greater ingenuity, and timber and stone bridges were 
built with considerable care. The art of weaving woollen 
cloth in great perfection was introduced by a colony of Flem- 
ings, whom Henry I. had induced to settle at Ross, in Wales. 
Linen was also manufactured ; and, in the reign of the same 
monarch, the weavers and fullers had guilds or incorpora- 
tions in several towns. Incorporations of artificers (which 

* From a series of drawings illustrative of the life of St. Guthlac, pre- 
served in the British Museum. They form a remarkable instance of the 
beauty of English design during the latter part of the 12th century. 


were intended rather to afford each other mutual support 
than to regulate trade) were not general, however, till the 
next period. Dyeing was generally practised in private 
houses, although the Jews are said to have followed it -as a 
public business; and the importations of woad were very 
extensive. In 1213 the duties paid on this dye-stuff alone 
amounted to nearly 6007. 





1. THE Normans were distinguished for their military pro- 
pensities, and for the many improvements which they intro- 
duced into the science of war. To their good swords they 
owed the possession of England ; and their martial spirit lost 
nothing by the change of clime and country. 

The armour of their warriors did not differ, however, very 
materially from that of the Anglo-Saxons. The hauberk 
(probably halsberg, a protection for the throat,) of flat rings 
or small pieces of iron, sewn upon leather, seems, indeed, to 
have been common to all the northern nations. This has 
been denominated mascled armour, from the Latin macula, 

mesh of a net, from which the well- 
known word mail is also supposed 
to be derived. Instances of rings 
set up edgewise occur towards the 
close of the llth century; and 
scale armour, resembling that of 
the ancients *, was also worn. 

The helmet was conical, with a 
noseguard or nasal, to which the 
collar of the hauberk was occa- 
sionally looped up, so as to leave 
no part of the face exposed but 
the eyes. Cheek-pieces were after- 
wards added; and, under Eichard I., 
the helmet took a cylindrical or 
barrel shape, flat at top, and with 
an oval opening for the face, 
Mascied Armour. (Cotton MS.) w hich, in battle, was covered by a 
perforated plate or grating, called the avantaille or ventaille. 

* When the overlapping plates were of a square form instead of round, 
this armour is called tegulated, of which a specimen is given in the next 





The shield, down to the time of Henry II., was of the form 
called kite, or pear-shaped : in the Bayeux tapestry it is 

Tegiilated Armour Seal of the Constable of Chester. 

quite flat and ornamented with rude figures ; but about the 
time of Stephen it appears of a curved shape. On the first 

Helmets with Avantailes 12th Century. 

great seal of Richard I. it is considerably shortened, and bent 
almost into a semi-cylinder ; and presents, for the first time, 
an undoubted armorial bearing ; namely, a lion counter- 
rampant, or facing the sinister side of the shield.* 

* On the second seal of Richard, struck after his return from captivity, 
we find the shield emblazoned with three lions passant regardant, as they 
have ever since been quartered in the English arms. 


2. The rules of the redoubted Norman chivalry next claim 
our attention. The youth of noble birth was placed, whilst 
yet a boy, under the care of some distinguished knight, whom 
he was obliged to serve as a page, and by whom he was in- 
structed in the forms of courtesy and the military exercises. 
The next rank was that of squire, in which he completed his 
knowledge of riding, tilting, hunting and hawking, and fre^- 
quently of music ; and, if war broke out, he followed his 
preceptor into actual service. 

After spending seven or eight years in this capacity, if he 
Were considered fit to receive the honour of knighthood, a 
most solemn and imposing ceremony took place. The candi- 
date passed several nights in prayer and lonely watching in 
some church or chapel, and received with humility the sacred 
rites of religion. On the appointed day the church was 
decked with all its ornaments : the youth, accompanied by his 
patron, his kindred, friends, and companions, went in pro- 
cession to its holy walls, with his knightly sword hanging in 
a scarf from the neck ; the weapon was blessed by the priest 
at the altar, and the oaths of the highest order of chivalry 
administered. These were, that he would be loyal and 
obedient to his prince; valorously defend the church and 
clergy ; and be the natural champion of all virtuous ladies, 
and especially of the orphan and the widow. Then the 
noble warriors or high-born ladies buckled on his spurs, 
clothed him in his various pieces of armour, and girded 
the sword to his side. The prince or noble from whom he 
was to receive his knighthood then advanced, and, giving 
him the accolade, or three gentle blows with the flat of a 
sword on the right shoulder, exclaimed, " In the name of 
God, St. Michael, and St. George, I dub thee knight ; be 
brave, hardy, and loyal ! " Then the young cavalier leaped, 
in his sounding armour, into the saddle of his war-horse ; 
pranced up and down the church ; and, issuing forth, galloped 
to and fro before the spectators, brandishing his weapons in 
token of his strength and skill. His education was now com- 
plete ; and his future rise in society depended solely on his 
own valour and conduct. 

i 2 




3. Intimately connected with the customs of knighthood 
and war is the science of heraldry, which has not, however, 
equally declined with their changes or extinction. The close 
armour in which each knight was wrapped up, and the 
complete covering of his face with the visor, rendered the 
adoption of some peculiar mark or cognizance absolutely 
necessary for his recognition in the field. 

The earliest sign was probably the figure of some animal 
on the crest, but afterwards it was 
painted on the shield, or some em- 
blematic device substituted. At 
first, however, this would seem to 
have distinguished only the indi- 
vidual, and not his family. The 
Crusades gave a new character to 
these symbols, for the peculiar at- 
tachment which was felt towards 
both the Crusaders and their de- 
vices induced their children to as- 
sume them as a mark of honour, 
and thus they became hereditary 
distinctions. From that time he- 
raldry became a science ; and the 
principal terms of blazon are to be 
found in the metrical romances of 
the day. Mottoes were taken at 
first from the war cries of the leaders, and the heraldic 
crest was afterwards added, as an abridgment, when the shield 
became overloaded with complicated figures.* 

* With these family escutcheons family names had not, however, as 
yet come in, even amongst the members of the royal house, who were 
only distinguished by such epithets as the Bastard, the Eed, the Lion- 
hearted, &c. Titles, however, were given to the chief men from their 
birthplace or patrimonial possession, or from some office held at court, 
as the Steward, the Warden, &c. The nearest approach to a family name 
was the assumption of the father's Christian name in addition to his own, 
by which a man, who had perhaps no other designation, announced his 
Norman descent. The only kind of surname known amongst the English 
at this time seems to have been some epithet descriptive of personal 

English Standard at the Battle of 
Northallerton, A.D. 1138. 


4. The great military sport of the knights was the tourna- 
ment, the origin of which is lost in the darkness of ages. 
This spectacle was absolutely forbidden by William and 
his immediate successors, probably from a fear of teaching 
the nobility their real strength ; but a partial revival took 
place under Richard I. After his reign, however, the tourna- 
ment rose in consequence, and soon came to occupy an 
important station in the national amusements. In the interim 
its place was supplied by several hardy games, such as the 
pel (palus) or post, which the armed youth attacked on foot ; 
and the quintain, or pole and cross-bar, with a shield at one 
end, and a wooden sword or sand-bag at the other, which he 
charged with the lance on horseback. 

The tournament was generally held in honour of some great 
event, as a coronation, a marriage, or a national victory ; and 
heralds were despatched before its commencement to announce 
everywhere the place of meeting, and invite all honourable 
knights to partake in it. The lists were strongly paled in 
and entered by two gates, and round the whole enclosure 
scaffolds were erected for the noble ladies, princes, and judges 
of the conflict. The scene was also enlivened by the presence 
of a crowd of heralds, troubadours, and minstrels, dressed in 
the most gorgeous and picturesque manner. In order to pre- 
vent the intrusion of improper competitors, the shields of the 
proposed combatants were hung up for inspection some days 
previous in the neighbouring church. 

Two different kinds of fighting were practised at the tour- 
nament : one was called justing, or an encounter on horse- 
back with the spear in rest ; the other was either a close 
hand to hand duel, or a general melee, in which the warriors, 
divided into two parties, hewed at each other with battle- 
axes, swords, and maces. The simple just was not reckoned 
so honourable a combat as the latter kind of engagement, 
(which was indeed the tournament proper,) although it 

character ; but the bulk of the people had only one name. When the 
Normans began to take second names, which usually commenced with, 
a De, Le, or Fitz (Fils, .son), it became a mark of low birth or illegitimacy 
to have but one. 

i 3 


lasted to a later period. In the just the great point was to 
hear the point of the spear at full gallop against the helmet 
or shield of the opponent, so as to throw him out of the 
saddle, or to break the spear so fairly as not to be dashed 
backwards by the recoil. Every knight was allowed to bring 
a page into the lists, to supply him at need with a sword or 
lance. Wounds and death were generally the result of the 
tournament, at the close of which the names of those who 
had most distinguished themselves were proclaimed by the 
heralds, and rewards distributed by the ladies, by whom also 
the successful combatants were unarmed, and placed at the 
highest seats in the banquet, where their praise was loudly 
sung by the attendant minstrels. The tournament was often 
denounced by the Church on account of its bloody tendency, 
but with little effect. 

These warlike games of the nobles were imitated by the 
commonalty in their quintains, (which were played either 
on land, or water, or skating on the ice,) in their archery, 
javelin throwing, and sword and buckler play. Archery 
was especially practised with the cross-bow, which was intro- 
duced into this country by the Normans. It was forbidden 
to be employed in war by the second council of Lateran, and 
for a time laid aside, but its use was revived by Richard I., 
who himself perished at last from its too deadly aim. 

5. William the Conqueror must have possessed a consider- 
able navy, if we may judge by the number of the ships in 
which he brought over his troops, amounting, as it is said, to 
about 700 vessels of tolerable size, besides more than three 
times that number of smaller dimensions. He sent a fleet 
afterwards to attack Scotland, and in the time of Rufus 
ships (which may be entitled the first privateers) were fitted 
out by his English subjects to defend the Channel against his 
brother Robert. The Conqueror, indeed, made due provision 
for a naval force being kept up, by his regulations concerning 
the Cinque Ports (originally Hastings, Hythe, Romney, 
Dover and Sandwich), each of which towns was bound, upon 
forty days' notice, to furnish and man a certain number of 


ships of war ; other towns on different parts of the coast 
seem also to have held of the crown by the same kind of 

The fleet which carried out Richard I. and his troops to 
the Holy Land was, probably, the most magnificent that had 
ever left the English shores, far surpassing in size, though 
not in number, the vessels of William or of Henry II. The 
galleys of Creur de Lion carried two tiers or banks of oars, 
and the dromons or busses spread three large sails, each pro- 
bably on a separate mast. Some were armed with that famous 
combustible, the Greek fire, then in general use. In the 
reign of John the first great naval victory was gained by the 
English over the first fleet that the French kings of the 
Capetian line had ever sent to sea. It took place at Damme, 
then the port of Bruges, in the year 1213, and ended in the 
total destruction of the French ships. This was the bright 
commencement of those glorious victories, the illustrious suc- 
cession of which have so justly conferred upon our island the 
title of " Queen of the Sea," 

i 4 




1. THE sudden and striking change which the Conquest 
produced in the condition of all classes of the people was at 
first unfavourable both to foreign trade and national industry, 
which had hitherto flourished to a very considerable extent. 
Henry I., indeed, gave some stimulus to exertion by settling 
the laborious and skilful Flemings in Wales; but this favour 
was probably granted more on account of their warlike than 
their commercial habits. The Jews, who came over in great 
numbers after the Conquest, afforded a greater impulse to 
trade, to which they were entirely devoted. Their possession 
of capital ensured them sufficient protection from the ruling 
powers, notwithstanding occasional acts of violence or oppres- 
sion ; and under ordinary circumstances it does not seem that 
a Jew found any peculiar difficulties in recovering money 
due. Their wealth enabled them to obtain charters from the 
crown, for one of which they are recorded to have paid to 
King John no less a sum than 4000 marks. 

Some trade was carried on with the East during this 
period, of which the most important result was the know- 
ledge of the art of rearing and managing the silkworm. This 
valuable insect was first brought from Greece in 1146, by 
Roger, King of Sicily, and from about this time we find 
silks becoming much more abundant in England. 

2. But it was under the long and successful reign of 
Henry II. that English commerce began to recover from its 
depression, and to rise to a station which it had never known 
since the departure of the Romans. William Fitz Stephen 
says, that no city in the world now sent out its wealth and 
merchandise to so great a distance as the city of London, and 
he enumerates among its imports gold, spices, and frankin- 
cense from Arabia, precious stones from Egypt, purple cloths 


from India, palm-oil from Bagdad, furs and ermines from 
Norway and Russia, arms from Scythia, and wines from 
France; woad for dyeing was also introduced, and occa- 
sionally corn, which was at other times, however, an article 
of export. Its commercial pre-eminence now established 
London as the undoubted capital of England, an honour 
which it had previously shared with Winchester, the ancient 
seat of the West Saxon kings, and the treasury of the early 
Norman monarch s. Exeter was also a magnificent city, 
filled with opulent citizens, and Bristol is mentioned as having 
a great trade with Ireland, Norway, and other countries. 
Gloucester and Winchester are celebrated for wines made 
of native grapes, whilst for foreign wines, Chester was one 
of the chief ports. Dunwich in Suffolk, Norwich, Lynn, 
Grimsby, York, Whitby, Hartlepool, and Berwick are also 
mentioned as towns of trade, and Lincoln was peculiarly 
favoured by a canal of seven miles long, cut by Henry I. from 
the Trent to the Witham, which enabled foreign vessels to 
come close up to the city. 

3. The exports from these various ports consisted of flesh 
and fish, especially herrings and oysters, and " most precious 
wool." Lead and tin were also sent abroad in great quan- 
tities, and, perhaps, hides, skins, and woollen cloths. As 
these exports seem to have far exceeded in amount the im- 
ports, the difference was, no doubt, made up to this country 
in money or bullion. So great, indeed, was the quantity of 
silver in the kingdom, that it could afford to raise 70,000 
marks (equal in weight to nearly 100,OOOZ. of our money) 
for the ransom of Richard I., though certainly not without 
several collections and a good deal of distress. That monarch, 
on his return from the East, passed several laws for the 
regulation of trade, one of which was a prohibition against 
the exportation of corn, " that England," as it stated, " might 
not suffer from the want of its own abundance," and which 
was very rigorously executed in at least one remarkable 

* Some vessels having been seized in the port of Valery, laden with 
English corn for the King of France, Richard burned both the vessels and 
the town, hanged the seamen, and also put to death some monks, who 


4. From the commencement of his reign John appears to 
have favoured the interests of the traders, and to have sought 
their support against the power of the nobility and clergy. 
A considerable number of towns are now mentioned as 
paying the quinzieme (a species of tallage levied on mer- 
chants), and even this list is probably very incomplete. In this 
reign we find the first mention of what may be called letters 
of credit, which speedily assumed the form of bills of ex- 
change, and were generally adopted in foreign commerce.* 
The Flemings were the chief foreign traders that then 
resorted to this country, and after them the French. 

Freedom of commerce was sought to be secured by the 
41st clause of Magna Charta, which commanded the safety of 
all merchants in entering, leaving, or remaining in England, 
except in time of war, when subjects of the enemy should be 
detained, (but without injury to their persons or property,) 
until it should be known how the English merchants were 
treated in their country. 

5. The only coined money of this period, so far as is cer- 
tainly known, was the silver penny, which was then, as now, 
the twelfth part of a shilling, and the shilling, again, the twen- 
tieth part of a pound. The pound, however, was still a full 
pound of silver according to the old standard of 5400 grains. 
As this was equal to 21. 16s. 3d. of our money, the shilling 

would be 2s. 9fd., and the 
penny would contain a little 
more silver than might now 
be purchased for 2f d. Both 
pound and shilling, however, 
were onlv monev of account ; 

Silver Penny of William I. J ^ > 

and no coins of lower value 
than the silver penny have as yet been discovered, although 

had been unfortunately engaged in the transaction. He then divided the 
corn among the poor. 

* It is curious that at this time, although no Christian was allowed to 
take interest even at the lowest rate upon money lent, the Jews were 
put under no restriction whatever upon this point ; but it may be ac- 
counted for by the ease with which the crown squeezed its frequent 
impositions from that people, and which induced it to tolerate so readily 
their monopoly of money lending. 


halfpence and farthings (formed by cutting the pennies) are 
mentioned by writers of the time. The coins, indeed, of the 
earlier Norman kings are of great rarity ; and in Stephen's 
time all the bishops and greater barons are said to have had 
mints of their own, from which very debased money was 
often issued. Henry II., however, put down this bad money, 
and, in the year 1180, called in all the old coins then in cir- 

The value of money during this period may be imperfectly 
estimated from the prices of various articles which we occa- 
sionally find noted : thus the price of labour appears to have 
varied from about three farthings to a penny a day, with 
victuals. The prices of grain varied excessively, even at 
different periods of the same year. Wheat, perhaps, generally 
averaged 4s. the quarter, though in scarce years it sometimes 
rose to a pound. In 1185, sheep were rated at about 5d. 
each ; hogs at 1.9. ; cows at about 4s. 6d. ; and breeding 
mares at less than 3s. Yet, in 1205, ten capital horses were 
rated at 207. each, or nearly 607. of our present money. 
The expense of building two arches of London Bridge in 
1140, was 25Z. 

6. The land after the Conquest still continued to be held 
in large estates, the great proprietors residing in the midst of 
their possessions, and reserving for their own use a portion of 
their demesne, which was cultivated by their own farm 
servants. The classes of field labourers which we find 
enumerated in Domesday Book are ploughmen, shepherds, 
neatherds, cowherds, goatherds, swineherds, and bee-keepers. 
The use of manures was carried to a greater extent than 
before, chalk being applied as well as the ancient marl ; but 
the system of agriculture was still sadly imperfect. The 
monks continued to be the greatest improvers of the land, 
though some laymen honourably sought to divide the praise, 
especially in Cambridgeshire and Lincoln, where the draining 
of the fens was already commenced with success. 

Corn must have been occasionally abundant, for licences 
for its exportation were not unfrequently granted during 
this period ; but these years of plenty were often counter^- 


balanced by terrible scarcities, the result, however, of un- 
favourable seasons and warlike devastations rather than of 
defective husbandry. Gardens, orchards, and vineyards are 
mentioned in the great survey, and the wine of Gloucester 
is said by William of Malmsbury to have been very little 
inferior to the wines of France. The extensive woods and 
bogs still supplied the greater quantity of fuel, although 
coal was now certainly consumed to a small extent. 



1. THE style of household furniture does not appear to have 
been much improved by the introduction of Norman customs. 
The same domestic articles and the same mode of serving 
food prevail in the Bayeux tapestry as in the Saxon illumin- 
ations, and the principal difference is that some of the chairs 
of state and other seats appear to be more elaborately carved 
and ornamented. In the reign of King John, indeed, we 
find mention made of gold and silver salt-cellars, and the 
Saxon hangings of needle-work and embroidery seem to have 
been partially superseded by the fashion of painting the 
walls or wainscot, but still with the same subjects as before. 
Beds were also handsomely fitted up, at least for the rich, and 
provided with the luxury of linen sheets. 

2. So general had been the imitation of Norman fashions 
during the reign of Edward the Confessor, that at the time 
of the Conquest there was little variety in dress or manners 
to introduce, except, perhaps, the foreign custom of shaving 
the upper lip and the back of the head. The Saxons con- 
tinued, however, for some time to be distinguished by their 
flowing locks and the rich embroidery of their dresses. 

The general habit of the Normans consisted of a tunic, a 
cloak, long tight hose, and leg bandages, with shoes or short 
boots. Caps were worn in great variety, but a high cap or 
flat bonnet were most preferred. In female costume the 
change was more in name than in garment. Thus the gunna 
or gown became the robe, and the veil or head-rail the couvre- 
chef or kerchief. The hair occasionally appears long and 
plaited, like that of the modern Swiss. During the reigns 
of Rufus and Henry I. some most extravagant fashions made 
their appearance : the sleeves of the tunics were long enough 




to cover and hang considerably below the hand ; peaked-toed 
boots of the most absurd shapes were worn, and the mantles 
and tunics were worn much longer and fuller, and the former 
lined with the most expensive furs. 

The hair, too, from its former cropped condition, was now 
suffered to grow immoderately long, a practice which was 
denounced both by individual preachers and by councils of 
the Church.* Those who were not fortunate enough to be 
favoured by nature in this respect, made it up by enormous 
wigs of false hair. Nor were these fancies confined to the 
male costume. The sleeves of the ladies' robes, and their 

Norman Ladies. (From an old Psalter.) 

veils, were knotted up to prevent their trailing on the ground 5 
and a rich garment, called the surcote, was worn, which pro- 

* Amongst others, Serlo d'Abon, preaching before Henry I. on Easter 
day, 1105, against the sinfulness of beards and long hair, coolly drew a huge 
pair of scissors from his pocket after the sermon, and taking advantage 
of the effect which it had produced, went from seat to seat mercilessly 
cropping the king and the whole congregation. The heads of the people 
were not liberated from these obtrusive denunciations till the reign of 
King John, when the superior powers no longer thought proper to inter- 
fere in such matters. 




yoked many legislative enactments to put it down. With the 
reign of Henry II., however, a more graceful and becoming, 
though equally splendid, style of dress, seems to have made its 
appearance. Full flowing robes, of a moderate length, girded 
with a rich waistbelt, short mantles fastened by clasps on the 
breast or shoulders, long hose, shoes or boots, caps of various 
forms, and richly jewelled gloves, set off the figures of this 
monarch and his nobles to great advantage. Nor was this im- 
provement confined to the men, for the ladies also of the time 
discarded their fanciful knots and skirts, 
and adopted a close and elegant costume, 
somewhat resembling that of the convent. 
3. A prevailing passion of the Norman 
chiefs was for numerous and splendid re- 
tinues, not, however, very well ordered, 
or always very discreet. Perhaps such 
powerful guards as those of William 
Longchamp, whose train even in time of 
peace consisted of 1000 horse, were 
required by the disturbed state of the 
country, and the reckless avarice of 
many a baronial robber, whose castles 
the wealthy traveller might be obliged to 
pass on his way. Grandeur and dis- 
comfort were, however, the ordinary at- 
tendants of the Norman noble. Even the 
stately palace had no better carpeting 
than a litter of straw or rushes, and the 
royal banquet could not furnish a com- 
mon table-cloth or plain steel fork. Yet 
their style of living was more delicate than 
that of the coarse Saxons, whilst it far exceeded in the 
variety and costliness of its materials. The art of cookery 
was held in great estimation, and several estates were granted 
on the tenure of dressing some particular dainty for the royal 
palate. The boar's head was regarded as a truly regal dish, 
and as it came into the hall, musicians went before it sound- 
ing on their trumpets. The peacock, likewise, was only 

Tomb of Berengaria, 

Queen of Richard I., at 



served up at solemn chivalric banquets; but the crane, 
though highly valued, formed part of their common meals. 
The drinks used by the rich of both nations were spiced wines 
and cordial mixtures, such as hippocras, pigment, morat, and 
mead, whilst the poor were content with humbler cider, 
perry, and ale. 

4. The meals of the Normans, and their appropriate seasons, 
are laid down in the following triplet : 

" Lever a cinque, diner a neuf, 
Souper a cinque, coucher a neuf, 
Fait vivre d'ans nonante et neuf." 

" To rise at five, to dine at nine, 
To sup at five, to bed at nine, 
Makes a man live to ninety-nine." 

In connexion with this custom of retiring to rest at nine 
o'clock, it has been commonly supposed that, by an order of 
the Conqueror, all persons were obliged to put out their fires 
and lights on ringing of the curfew bell (couvre feu, cover- 
fire), which took place at sunset in summer, and about eight 
or nine o'clock in winter. But the curfew (as a precaution 
against fire) appears to have prevailed long before, not only 
in England but in most of the countries of Europe, and was 
continued in this country as a necessary regulation till after 
the beginning of the 16th century. 

5. The chase was the favourite pastime of the Normans, in 
which their ladies frequently joined, along with the prelates 
and clergy. These, however, generally preferred the gentler 
exercise of hawking, in which they excelled. The hawk was 
carried on the wrist, which was protected by a thick glove. Its 
head was covered with a hood, its feet secured to the wrists by 
straps called jesses, and to its legs were fastened small bells, 
toned according to the musical scale. Horse-racing was also 
practised, but in a petty way. The London races were held 
in Smithfield. Cock-fighting was confined to children, who 
regularly brought their cocks to school of a Shrove Tuesday *, 

* In some old grammar schools cockpence are still paid to the master 
as a perquisite upon Shrove Tuesday. 


whilst bear, bull, and horse-baiting were the amusements of 
their sires. 

Of in-door gratifications, the juggler and buffoon afforded 
the greatest supply ; but dramatic representations, of a kind 
so rude and gross as to be condemned by the Church, were 
not wanting also. These the clergy attempted to super- 
sede by the introduction of religious plays ; and thus origi- 
nated the Miracles and Mysteries, which were based upon 
scriptural or ecclesiastical incidents, and performed by the 
scholars of the Church. 

Gambling was but too common, and the more intellectual 
game of chess is commonly supposed to have been imported 
from the East by the crusaders, though some think that 
it was known to the Anglo-Saxons before the Conquest. 
Tumbling and balancing were not without their admirers; 

Sword Dance. (Royal MS.) 

and in these feats not only human beings, but apes, bears, 
and horses were taught to take a part. Bowls, nine-pins, 
and the stick-and-snuffers of our modern fair, were also 
common amusements. Most of the tricks played by the 
peasantry on the eve of All-hallows, and so vividly described 
by Burns, are probably much older than the Norman or even 
the Saxon Conquest. The well-known game of bob-apple 
is also found portrayed, with great spirit, in a MS. of the 
present period. 

6. The burial of the dead displayed some solemn forms 



which yet remain amongst us. The nearest relative, as in 
the earliest ages of antiquity, closed the eyes of the corpse. 
The face was then covered with a linen cloth, and the body 
washed, anointed, and laid out for burial. A suit of the 
deceased's ordinary apparel served for a shroud. The body 
was carried to the grave on the shoulders of the mourners, 
or if the distance was great, on a sledge or car, and commonly 
laid in the tomb without a coffin. Coffins, indeed, were not 
in general use till the reign of Henry III., and for some time 
before that date they seem to have been confined to people of 
high rank. Even the Conqueror was buried without a coffin. 
A rude attempt was made to embalm the body of Henry I., 
and Richard I. was buried by piecemeal, in Carlisle, Rouen, 
and Fontevraud. 

Kings, princes, and prelates, were entombed with the in- 
signia of their rank beside them. But those who died under 
excommunication were cast out like unhallowed things, or 
hastily buried in silence and secresy by some pitying friend. 






1. THE history of this period is marked by features suf- 
ficiently striking the complete amalgamation of the Saxon 
and Norman races, the decline of arbitrary royalty, the 
rise of the commonalty and of representative government, 
and the important alterations in our judicial system, are cir- 
cumstances deserving of the closest and most careful atten- 
tion. Before its termination, indeed, the constitution imposed 
upon the country at the Conquest had in a great measure 
passed away, arid a new order of things had arisen, in which 
may be distinctly traced at least the rude outline of our 
present institutions. The government was now no longer 
either that of the king alone, as it may be said to have been 
under the Conqueror and his sons, or of the king and barons, 
as it afterwards became but (at least in profession and in 
design) from the time that Edward I. came to the throne, a 
mixed government of king, lords, and commons, such as it 
has remained to this day. 

2. In order to trace these great changes with distinctness, 
we must first examine into the formation and influence of the 
Houses of Parliament.* In the Norman times, as has been 
observed, the Commune Concilium or Great Council of the 
Realm, was composed only of the tenants in chief, amongst 
whom were reckoned the bishops and mitred abbots, who sat 

* Matthew Paris gives the name of parliament (from parler, to talk) 
to the great council of the barons, for the first time in 1246. It seems 
anciently to have been used for any kind of conference. 

K 2 




either in right of their temporal baronies, or, as some say, 
simply on the ground of their ecclesiastical position as the 
representatives of religion (questions concerning which were 
often debated in those mixed assemblies), and also as being 
more learned and enlightened councillors than the lay nobles, 
whom they often rivalled, moreover, in the extent of their 
possessions. The lay portion of the council consisted merely 
of the earls and barons holding immediately under the king.* 
Changes, however, were gradually introduced; and in the 
year 1265 (49 Hen. III.), the great principle of Representa- 
tion of the People was proclaimed by the king's writ issued 
to all the sheriffs of the kingdom, directing them to return 
two knights for each county, and two citizens or burgesses 

Parliament assembled for the Deposition of Richard II. (Harleian MS.) 

for every city or borough. By whom the knights were at 
first elected, however, whether by the king's tenants only, or 
by all freeholders without distinction, is a disputed point. 

* The mode of creating barons varied from the reign of Henry III. 
Formerly it was only by tenure, then it might be by writ, (that is, by the 
king's summons to parliament), or by statute, and finally by letters patent, 
as at present, which last form was introduced by Richard II. in 1387. The 
spiritual peers outnumbered the temporal in the House of Lords, till the 
time of the Reformation. 


Nor did the burgesses at first take any important station in 
the national council, but were summoned mainly for the pur- 
pose of granting money when required by the state,* 

It has been generally supposed that at the time of their first 
admission, the houses of parliament were not divided as they 
are now ; but it appears more likely that, although they may 
have sat in the same chamber for some time, yet the commons 
were always distinct from the lords, presented separate peti- 
tions, and devoted themselves to their especial business, the 
redress of grievances, and the supply of the necessities of the 
crown. The House of Lords thus came to consist of the 
greater barons only, and the lesser barons were held to be 
commoners, as their representatives, the great body of the 
landed gentry, are at this day. 

3. The influence of such a body as this could not long be 
unfelt ; and accordingly we find in the reign of Edward I, 
a most important statute passed (de Tallagio non concedendo), 
which declares that no tallage or aid should be imposed or 
levied by the king or his heirs without the will and assent of 
the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses, 
and other freemen of the land. It strictly limits also the old 
exactions of the king's purveyors, by the consent of the 
owner of the articles required, and adds a general declaration 
in favour of the liberties of the subject. By other statutes 
of the same king, it is enacted that elections shall not be 
influenced by force of arms, malice, or menacing of any man. 
The royal prerogative f had, indeed, declined considerably 

* In the first parliament of which we have any very clear account (that 
held by Edward I. in his twenty-third year), there were present 200 
citizens and burgesses. Under Edward III. and his immediate successors, 
about 90 places, on an average, returned members, making 180 of this 
class of representatives : with whom also sat 74 knighls of the shire. 

f The word prerogative (from prae and rogo, to ask before) signifies 
something that is demanded in preference to all others ; and hence it has 
been applied to those rights and capacities which the king alone enjoys. 
The line of limitation, however, was very indistinctly marked down to a 
late period of English history, all discussion of the question being inter- 
dicted, not only to the people at large, but even to the parliament. 

Blackstone divides prerogatives into direct and incidental. The for- 

K 3 



[BooK IV. 

from Henry II. to Edward I., and sank still lower in the 
feeble hands of Edward II. Nor was the fall recovered 
even under the vigorous rule of Edward III., as is testified 
by the continued statutes concerning purveyance and other 
matters, the numerous royal confirmations of the supreme 
authority of the law, and ordinances for the frequent sum- 
moning of parliament. 

Towards the latter end of this reign the commons first 
begin to appear as prosecutors, and amongst other petitions 

The King with his Privy Council. (Harl. MS.) 

to exhibit accusations for crimes and misdemeanours against 
offenders who were thought to be out of the ordinary reach 
of law. In these prosecutions, the king and lords were 
considered as judges, and thus began prosecution by im- 
peachment of the commons. The decline of the courts of 
the Steward and Marshal, which formerly, under the arbi- 

mer are substantial parts of the character of sovereignty, as the right ot 
sending ambassadors, creating peers, and making war or peace. The latter 
he describes as only exceptions, in favour of the crown, to those general 
rules that are established for the rest of the community, such as that no 
costs shall be recovered against the king, that he can never be a joint- 
tenant, and that a debt to him shall be considered before one due to any 
of his subjects. 


traiy rule of the sovereign, exercised such immense sway, 
shows also the gradual rise of an independent power in the 
country, and the boldness with which the law was now set 
up against the real or supposed pleasure of the king. A 
great portion of the original power of the steward's court had 
in fact passed over to the court of King's Bench. 

Under Richard II. the influence of the commons increased 
to a still greater extent, and they even dared to impeach (and 
with success) the lord chancellor, in opposition to the declared 
will of the king, and obtained a commission for the purpose 
of reforming acknowledged abuses. Yet this weak monarch 
upon one occasion foiled both lords and commons, and ob- 
tained a parliament completely subservient to his wishes. 
The result, however, was fatal to himself, and added, no 
doubt, to the ease with which Henry IV. seized upon the 

4. At the accession of Henry IV. a remarkable attention 
was shown to the formalities of the constitution, and some 
difficulty was experienced in organising a new parliament 
under a monarch who had no legal authority to convoke it. 
The commons had, indeed, by this time gained in effect 
three capital points: that money could not be levied, and 
that laws could not be enacted without their consent ; and 
that the administration of parliament was subject to their 
inspection and control. The great principle of controlling the 
public money was steadily maintained by the parliament 
under the house of Lancaster, and other demands made, 
which, however, were not quite so successful. 

o. At this time also an expression occurs in reference to 
parliament, namely, " Estates of the Realm," which it is 
proper to explain. It appears, then, from the general tenor 
of ancient records and law-books, that this phrase at that 
time implied the Nobility, the Clergy, and the Commons of 
England and not, as it is now commonly understood, the 
sovereign and the two houses of parliament.* 

* The lower house of parliament is not in itself properly an estate of 
the realm, but only the representative of the real third estate namely, 
the Commons. 

K 4 


6. The state of the royal revenue presents us with another 
proof of the balance of power in the constitution during this 
period, inasmuch as the king came now to depend for his 
income chiefly upon parliamentary grants. This was effected 
by the several charters of liberties, which had considerably 
curtailed the ancient resources of the crown ; and the greater 
part of its hereditary estates had been dissipated by Richard, 
John, and Henry III. The principal support of this last 
monarch was indeed derived from the clergy and the Jews, 
from whom he extorted immense sums ; and yet he was obliged 
to declare himself in debt to the amount of nearly 300,000 
marks towards the end of his reign. 

Edward I. more wisely relied upon the parliament, though 
not till it had itself compelled him; and many of the old 
arbitrary forms of taxation were still kept up. Edward III. 
still farther established the custom of seeking supplies from 
his faithful commons, yet not without adding many illegal 
imposts of his own. 

A peculiar tax imposed in the second year of Richard II, 
is said to have been the first that was distinguished by the 
name of a subsidy, afterwards the common title for a parlia- 
mentary grant to the crown. It was, in fact, a poll or capita- 
tion tax (such as had been already levied under Edward III.), 
and shortly afterwards gave rise to the famous insurrection 
under Wat Tyler. The first parliamentary grant for life was 
also made to this king, consisting of a duty on the exportation 
of wool, wool fells, and leather. Now, too, the parliament 
passed an act offering a discount off these duties to all 
merchants who would pay the Calais dues beforehand, which 
is supposed to be the first attempt ever made to anticipate 
the revenue a practice which in later times gave rise to the 
national debt. 

Under the house of Lancaster the monarch was more 
than ever dependent upon parliament for the means of carry- 
ing on the government of the country. Its ordinary grants 
were sometimes withheld in such a manner as to show a 
keen sense of its authority, and the occasional subsidies 
were sometimes evaded by a proposition to seize all or part of 


the property of the Church.* This, however, was too bold a 
measure to be yet entertained. The distribution of the royal 
revenue was, moreover, controlled rather arbitrarily by the 
parliament, and Henry Y. was often reduced to such diffi- 
culties as to pawn the crown jewels, and even the crown itself. 

The reign of Henry VI. presents the first known in- 
stance of money being borrowed for the Crown upon parlia- 
mentary engagements, former kings having obtained relief only 
on their own personal security. Edward IV. was reduced to 
still greater straits, and was obliged often to depend upon his 
own personal applications to his subjects, and upon his suc- 
cessful speculations in trade. f All these circumstances, of 
course, very much contributed to the consequence and au- 
thority of parliament. 

7. The condition of the people at large next demands our 
attention. In the course of the present period a great change 
was effected by the gradual transformation of the villains 
into freemen ; for the villain regardant (as he was called), or 
serf proprietor of land, obtained by degrees a fixed amount 
of services to be performed, and next a commutation for a 
money payment in lieu of all service. Thus he became a 
tenant in villenage, or what we now call a copyholder J, 
and completed his emancipation under the reign of Ed^- 
ward IV., when he was permitted to bring an action of 

18 The ordinary grants of parliament commonly consisted of the cus- 
toms' duties, called tonnage and poundage, the rates of which varied con- 
siderably at different times. The tonnage was levied on every tun of 
wine imported, and the poundage on every pound of other merchandise 
either imported or exported. 

The occasional subsidies were generally a tenth or fifteenth (disme or 
quinzieme) of the income of each individual, as estimated by commissioners 
appointed for the purpose. 

f It is said that upon one occasion this jovial monarch applied to a 
rich and elderly widow, who was so delighted with his appearance that 
she promised him 20Z. for the sake of his handsome face. Edward testified 
his gratitude by gallantly giving the old lady a kiss, which drew from her 
in return a donation of 20Z. more. 

\ So called because the tenant had nothing to show as a title to his 
property but customary right, which was proved by the copies of entries 
regarding such custom upon the rolls of the courts baron. 


trespass against his lord for violent dispossession. The 
villain in gross again, or the slave labourer, was at the 
same time gradually becoming a free workman, being either 
emancipated by his master, or taking advantage of the law 
which gave him liberty after a residence of a year and a 
day within a walled town. Thus by the middle of the 
fourteenth century a large body of free labourers had grown 
up in England ; and although the king and the parliament 
passed several acts to impede it, villenage gradually dis- 
appeared from the whole face of the country. It is remark- 
able that in 1380 Wat Tyler and his associates demanded 
chiefly the abolition of slavery, and made no claim to poli- 
tical rights ; but in 1 450 Jack Cade and his insurgents said 
not a word of villenage, which had then almost passed away, 
but boldly demanded the general redress of grievances, and 
remonstrated against the illegal interference of the nobility 
in elections for knights of the shire. 

The effect of the civil wars between the houses of York 
and Lancaster was, no doubt, to loosen the hold of the 
feudal barons (many of whom were slain or impoverished 
in the contest) upon the people, and to increase the conse- 
quence of the latter body, which was naturally courted by both 
parties. A considerable rise in wages was also the result, and 
the price of field labour advanced from 50 to 100 per cent, 
between 1388 and 1444, which produced a corresponding im- 
provement in the dress and comforts of the labourer, to restrain 
which severe sumptuary laws were occasionally enacted. 

8. The abolition of villenage involved, however, one great 
evil the introduction of English pauperism, which could not 
of course make its appearance so long as every individual had 
a legal right to food and shelter from his lord, even when 
past his labour or broken down by sickness. But from the 
moment that the working man became his own master, and of 
course obliged to provide for himself under all circumstances, 
the destitute poor begin to present themselves, and often to 
enforce their demands with threats or violence. The earliest 
notice of this new state of things is in the Ordinance of La- 
bourers, enacted in 1349, in which an edict is issued against 


giving any thing to " valiant beggars." The power of appre- 
hending and examining vagabonds was not, however, given 
to justices of the peace till 1383, and still severer measures 
were subsequently passed. The first approach to the present 
law of settlement is in 1388, when beggars "impotent to 
serve " were commanded either to abide in the towns where 
they were dwelling at the issue of the statute, or to with- 
draw to other towns within the hundred in which they were 
born, and there to abide continually for their lives. The 
last enactment on this subject during the present period is 
one of Richard II. (confirmed 4 Hen. IV.), which orders 
that in every future appropriation of any parish church the 
diocesan shall direct a convenient proportion of the fruits and 
profits of the benefice to be distributed yearly to the poor 
parishioners in aid of their subsistence and living for ever. 

9. The body of English laws attained to considerable perfec- 
tion under Edward I., and Wales was put by the Statuta Wal- 
lise on the same footing, in a great measure, as England. The 
terrible punishment of the peine forte et dure, by which prisoners 
who obstinately refused to plead at their trial, were pressed to 
death with heavy weights (a sharp stone or piece of timber 
being sometimes as a favour laid under the back to hasten 
destruction), is supposed by some to have arisen out of one 
of this king's ordinances, in which silent persons (if notorious 
felons) are required to be put in prison forte et dure, peine 
being probably substituted for prison in after times.* The 
administration of justice was also improved by the introduc- 
tion of judges of assize and nisi prius^ in place of the ancient 

* This dreadful torture was sometimes submitted to with the view of 
avoiding corruption of blood and escheat of lands, which might have fol- 
lowed conviction after a plea. Instances of its application, or of an 
unsanctioned preliminary of tying the thumbs together with whipcord, 
occurred as low down in our history as 1734. At length it was put a stop 
to by the statute 12 Geo. III. c. 20., which enacted that every prisoner who, 
being arraigned for felony, should stand mute or not answer directly to 
the offence, should be at once held convicted and punishment awarded. 

f The phrase nisi prius is derived (as is usual) from the terms of the 
statute, which declares that the trials in any county should be held at 
Westminster, unless first (nisi prius) the judges of assize should come to 
those parts, which they were, of course, certain to do. 


justices in eyre, and by several new forms of law proceedings 
which it would be difficult to explain to general readers. 

Several excellent law books were now written; such asFleta, 
Britton, the Mirror of Justices, &c., all worthy successors of 
Bracton, and of the still earlier Glanvill. Under Edward II. 
the Year Books began ; so called because published annually 
from the notes of the crown reporters. They contain reports of 
cases adjudged from the beginning of this reign to the end of 
Edward III., and from the beginning of Henry IV. to the 
end of Henry VIII. Now, too, we find mention of hostels or 
inns of court, which derive their name from the fact of their 
inhabitants being members of the king's courts. The first of 
these was Lincoln's Inn, founded by William Earl of Lin- 
coln, a great patron of legal studies.* A Master of the Rolls 
was also appointed to relieve the Chancellor of the labour of 
keeping the rolls and records of his court. 

10. Under Edward III. the statutes begin to appear in a 
more regular form, and their titles are almost always given in 
English, though the body of the decree continued to be in 
French. The most important in this reign is the Statute of 
Treasons, which defines that crime with greater particularity 
than any previous law. Pleadings were now ordered to be 
carried on in the English tongue, and inrolled in Latin, al- 
though French remained for some centuries the written lan- 
guage of the laws, and many of its terms and phrases were 
still retained in debate. 

11. During the civil wars of the Roses an important legal 
form was introduced called Common Recoveries, which, by a 
collusive proceeding between the grantor and grantee barring 
all entails, remainders, and reversions to which a freehold 
might be subject, conveyed it in fee simple to the purchaser or 
recoverer, and thus emancipated the land from the restraints 

* A student in the inns of court could not live at this time under 287. 
a year, and that without a servant. For this reason law students were 
generally sons of persons of quality, who were, however, often placed 
there, not so much for the learning of the law as of manners ; for, says old 
Fortescue, " All vice was there discountenanced and banished, and every 
thing good and virtuous was taught." 


of the ancient feudal law. * Bad as Richard III. is usually 
represented, he appears to have been no injudicious legislator, 
especially for the common people. To the time of the civil 
wars belong the two great law writers Fortescue and Littleton. 

12. Jurors in the time of Edward I. appear still to have 
been regarded as witnesses ; and to call other witnesses before 
them for examination, would, in consequence, have been in- 
consistent with their recognised position. The present con- 
stitution of a jury was not, indeed, perfectly settled till the 
time of Edward VI. and Queen Mary. Trial by duel was, 
however, discouraged under that monarch in some degree. 

There was a law officer of the crown called the king's 
attorney, but no king's solicitor till the reign of Edward I Y., 
when we find also the first mention of the " attorney-general 
in England." The jurisdiction of the different courts under 
Edward I. ran in this order : 1. The High Court of Parlia- 
ment, which, for a long time after its full establishment, had 
more the character of a judicial than of a legislative assembly. 
2. The Court of the Seneschal or Steward, who filled the abo- 
lished place of the Chief Justiciary in certain cases. f 3. The 
Court of Chancery, over which was set some discreet person, 
as a bishop or other dignified ecclesiastic, to whom was com- 
mitted the keeping of the great seal. It was not made a 
Court of Equity till the reign of Richard II., and the first 
chancellor who was properly qualified by a legal education 
was Sir Thomas More. 4. An Auditor's Court, appointed 
by the king. 5. The King's Justices, justices of the Ex- 
chequer, &c. Besides these king's courts, were the county, 

* In a common recovery (for which a process of ejectment is now sub- 
stituted), a fictitious action is brought by the grantee (or person to whom 
the land is intended to be conveyed) either against the grantor (or seller 
of the land), or some other person, so as to involve the grantor in the 
proceedings, and is so conducted that, for want of a sufficient defence, 
judgment is given against the grantor, which judgment afterwards forms 
the title to the property to all posterity. 

| The title of chief justiciary of England ended in Philip Basset, and 
the first who held the office of chief justice of the King's Bench was 
Kobert de Bruis, both in the time of Henry III. The salary of a justice 
of the King's Bench in that reign was 407. per annum, and of the Common 
Pleas 100 marks. 


town, and hundred courts, and those established on the king's 

13. The state of the country, notwithstanding the increased 
machinery and power of the laws, was even before the civil 
wars far from being orderly or secure. Jurors, it is affirmed, 
would rather suffer strangers to be robbed than convict their 
own offending neighbours, and very strict regulations were 
consequently imposed, especially in towns. Strangers were to 
be treated as suspected persons until answered for by some 
sufficient inhabitant ; and if found in the streets between 
sunset and sunrise, to be immediately apprehended by the 
watch. Highways were also to be cleared of wood for 200 
feet on each side to prevent lurking robbers, and every man 
was required to provide himself with arms according to his 
station, so that, in case of resistance to justice, the hue and 
cry might be instantly and effectively raised. 

Probably the remissness of the people in these matters was 
increased by the natural opposition between the old Saxon 
spirit of retaining the maintenance of order and the repression 
of crime a good deal in their own hands, and the Norman 
institutions, which tended to concentrate all power and 
authority in the crown, and regarded popular interference 
in the administration of the law with extreme jealousy and 
aversion. Thus the justices of peace (first invested with 
this title and with the power of trying felons under Ed- 
ward III.), when once appointed by the crown, and not as 
formerly by the freeholders, were viewed with great suspicion 
by the people, and their authority at times even petitioned 
against by the commons. No small addition was made to 
this feeling by the abuse of the law itself, which was often 
made the instrument of oppression, both by the crown and by 
individuals, so that it was necessary to pass repeated acts 
against the conspiring together to bear down a solitary victim 
by legal acts, which was commonly practised by the great 
lords in conjunction with their ready retainers. This practice 
was carried to an enormous height during the dissensions by 
which the country was torn, when legal proceedings were 
sometimes taken clandestinely, and a man deprived of his 
property by a decree, before any notice was even given him 

CHAP. I.] 



of the charge. In such cases he defended his right, if he 
could, by force of arms, whilst the law and its ministers 
quietly looked on. 

14. All the existing ranks of English nobility, except 
that of Viscount, were introduced by the time of Richard II. 
The first English Duke was the Black Prince, who was 
created Duke of Cornwall in 1337, and the first Marquis, 
Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who was created Marquis 
of Dublin by Richard II. in 1386. The first Viscount was 
John Beaumont, who was created by Henry VI. in 1439. 
The title of Earl had existed, as we have seen, from the Saxon 
times, and that of Baron generally succeeded to the appella- 
tion of Thane after the Norman Conquest. 

Autographs of English Monarchs. (Cotton MS. and Paston Letters.) 

1. Signature of Richard II. (LE ROY RCD.) Believed to be the earliest extant. 

2. Signature of Henry IV. (H. R.) 

3. Ot Henry V. (R. H.) 

4. Of Henry VI. (HENRY.) 

5. Of Edward IV. (R. E.) 

. . . 

/. Of Richard III. (RicAROus REX.) 




1. THE 13th century witnessed the extremest height of the 
papal dominion, which was extended, without even an attempt 
at resistance, over all the kingdoms of the West. The insolent 
conduct, however, of the popes and their instruments was 
even now exciting a spirit of discontent, and sowing the seeds 
of a revolution, which began to manifest itself early in the 
next century, and was at last fully developed in the Reforma- 
tion. In no country were the exactions of the Roman pontiffs 
carried to a greater length than in England. Throughout 
the 13th century the English bishoprics were filled either by 
the direct nomination of the pope, or by his arbitration in the 
case of a disputed election, and inferior benefices were dis- 
posed of entirely at his will. Up to the time of Gregory IX., 
indeed (A. D. 1227 1241), the recommendations of the pope 
were not distinctly avowed to be of an authoritative character ; 
but from that period they became more and more pointed, till 
at last, Clement IV. in 1266, plainly asserted his universal 
right of nomination to Church livings. 

By what was called a reservation, moreover, the pope now 
assumed the power of reserving to himself the next presenta- 
tion to any benefice he pleased, which was not at the time 
vacant ; or by another instrument called a provision, he at 
once named a person to succeed the actual incumbent. The 
English livings were thus filled by Italian priests, who either 
never resided in the country, or knew nothing of its language 
if they did, and yet rarely appointed any substitutes to per- 
form their important duties. In the three last years of Gre- 
gory XI. it is said that three hundred Italians were thus 
provided for in our Church, and it was solemnly stated by 
the English envoys at the council of Lyons (A.D. 1245), that 
these foreigners drew from England 60,000 or 70,000 marks 
a year, a sum greater at that time than the whole revenue of 


the crown. Some of them, it is affirmed, held fifty or sixty 
livings together, the entire income of which was spent out of 
the country. When a curate again was appointed by these 
wealthy non-residents, he was paid in the most wretched 
manner, perhaps with four or five marks a year, or two marks 
and his board. 

Another means of increasing the wealth of the Roman see 
was found in the imposed necessity of trying all ecclesiastical 
cases of importance at Rome. Gregory IX. is said in one 
way or another to have extracted from England, in the course 
of a very few years, not less than 950,000 marks, a sum 
which has been estimated as equivalent to 15,000,0007. of 
our present money. 

2. The Church was considerably aided in its contest with the 
civil power (for these extortions were not submitted to with- 
out occasional remonstrance) by the extended and systematic 
form given to the Canon law in the course of the 13th century. 
To the Decretum of Gratian, the old text book on this head, 
were now added five books of Decretals by Gregory IX., 
consisting of the rescripts issued by himself and his imme- 
diate predecessors. In these books, which soon became the 
most essential part of the Canon law, we find a regular and 
copious system of jurisprudence, derived in a great measure 
from the Civil law, but with some improvements of its own. 
Boniface VIII. added a sixth part, itself divided into five 
books, composed of the decisions promulgated since the time 
of Gregory IX. 

The whole tendency of the Canon law (which rested almost 
entirely on the legislative authority of the pope) was to 
enforce the complete subservience of the temporal to the 
ecclesiastical authority, and the right of the pope to depose 
princes, and absolve subjects from their allegiance, in case of 
disobedience to his Holiness. Nay, the bishops of Rome 
assumed a still higher power than that of declaring or even 
making the law, for they asserted a right of dispensing with 
its strongest obligations at their own mere will and pleasure, 
especially in the case of marriages contracted under canonical 
impediments, and of oaths, the natural foundation of all con- 



tracts and obligations.* It was expressly laid down, not only 
that any oath extorted by fear might be annulled by ecclesi- 
astical authority ; but also, that an oath disadvantageous to 
the Church was essentially, and from the very first, without 
force, whether it were formally dispensed with or not. The 
pope also claimed the right of removing illegitimacy of birth, 
at his own pleasure, in any case. 

3. Monasteries continued to be founded in various directions 
at this time, and landed property bequeathed to the Church, 
though not quite to the same extent as in the 12th century. 
Indeed there was evidently the less occasion for such bequests, 
since, in the early part of the 14th century, it is calculated 
that very nearly one half the soil of the kingdom was in the 
hands of the clergy, and that their annual revenue amounted 
to the enormous sum of 730,000 marks, more than twelve 
times the whole civil revenue during the reign of Henry III. 
Perhaps, also, the laity did not like to see so much of their 
property go into the hands of foreigners. 

But the law itself now began to impose some restraints 
upon the lavish donations to the Church, and the statutes 
of Mortmain f (first passed 7 Edward I. A.D. 1279) strictly 
prohibited the appropriation of lands or tenements by gift 
or conveyance to the religious corporations. The church- 
men, however, soon found a method of evading this law, by 
setting up a fictitious title, and bringing an action against 
their friend the proprietor, who, by collusion, made no de- 
fence, and thus the land was recovered upon a supposed prior 
title. From this practice arose the legal fiction called Com- 
mon Recoveries, already noticed ; but this was again attacked 

* By the ancient laws of the church, espousals were forbidden between 
relations by blood or marriage within the seventh degree. This rule 
was not considered liable to dispensation till the time of Innocent III. in 
the 12th century. Afterwards dispensations became usual, and by the 
fourth council of Lateran, in 1215, marriages beyond the fourth degree 
(or what we call third cousins) were formally permitted. 

j~ Lands are said to go into mortmain (i. e. mortuum manum, the dead 
hand,) when made over to any corporate body, whether clerical or civil ; 
but the term seems at first to have been used solely with reference to 
religious bodies (which were then the only proper corporations) whose 
members were considered as dead in law. 




by another statute in 13 Edward I. Another provision was 
made by the same monarch, to check the exportation of eccle- 
siastical property into foreign countries. 

4. A new class of active ministers of the Church arose 
during the 13th century in the Mendicant Friars, of whom 
there were at first an immense variety, but who were after- 
wards reduced to four principal orders, namely, the Domini- 
cans or Black Friars (called also Friars Preachers), instituted 
by St. Dominic de Guzman ; the Franciscans or Grey Friars 
(called also Cordeliers), founded by St. Francis of Assisi; 
the Carmelites or White Friars; and the Augustines, also 
called Grey Friars, from the colour of their respective habits. * 

Franciscan or Grey Friar. 

Dominican or Black Friar. 

Like their luxurious brethren in the monasteries, these 
zealous travellers supported their title of mendicants for no 

* The Dominicans founded their first English house at Oxford in 1221, 
and soon after another at London. In 1276 the mayor and aldermen 
gave them two whole streets by the Thames, which place is still called 
Blackfriars. The Franciscans came in the reign of Henry III., and first 
settled at Canterbury : from their title of Friars-minors, the Minories 
takes its name. The Carmelites have given the name of White Friars to 
another district on the Thames, and Austin Friars, near the Bank of 
England, still preserves its ancient appellation. 

L 2 


great length of time, but whilst it lasted the effect of their 
ostentatious poverty was prodigious. They were extremely 
active in preaching also, and in all the ministrations of re- 
ligion, and took great pains to gain the favour of the multi- 
tude. Amongst the Franciscans and Dominicans, too, the 
most distinguished scholars were soon to be found ; and their 
fame for learning gave a new charm to the austerities of their 
appearance. By the middle of the 13th century, the parish 
churches were, in consequence, almost deserted ; confessions 
were made to the friars alone ; and in less than ten years after 
the institution of the Franciscans, the delegates to its general 
chapter formed of themselves a crowd of 5000 persons.* 

All these orders were bound most strongly to the church, 
not only by their vows, but also by the strict imposition of 
celibacy, which separated them from the world and its con- 
nections. The secular clergy were now, it is true, also 
forbidden to marry ; but still their benefices and other ties 
linked them more closely with the world. 

With these new agents a fresh instrument of spiritual coer- 
cion also appeared in the dreaded INQUISITION, of which St. 
Dominic is commonly reputed the founder, or, at least, the 
first suggester. Fortunately, this horrid court never reached 
the shores of merry England, at least under its original form. 

5. The famous body of Knights Templara, which had at- 
tained to immense wealth and power since the 1 2th century, 
and numbered in its ranks the noblest of every country, was 
early in the 14th century totally suppressed throughout 
Christendom. Their ruin began in France with king Philip 
le Bel and his ally pope Clement V. who coveted the rich 
possessions of the Red Cross Knights. In one hour every 
Templar throughout the kingdom was seized, and the most 
horrible tortures applied to force a confession of the most 
improbable crimes ; fifty-four Knights were burnt at once in 
Paris, and numbers of others condemned to perpetual im- 

* By a calculation made so late as the 1 8th century, although the 
Reformation must have diminished their numbers at least one third, it 
was found that there were still in Europe 28,000 Franciscan nuns main- 
tained in 900 nunneries, and 115,000 friars in 7000 convents, besides 
many others not included in the return. 


prisonment. This cruel measure was followed by the over- 
throw of the order in other countries, but, in England at 
least, without being accompanied by equal severities. The 
number of Templars seized in this country was about 250, 
who were sent into different monasteries, and their lands 
given up to the Knights of St. John. * 

With these famous champions disappeared also the Cru- 
sades, which had for some time been carried on with but 
little spirit. The fifth Crusade took place in 12 18, the sixth in 
1248, when St. Louis of France was taken prisoner, and the 
seventh in 1270, when he died; and ere the century had 
closed, the Christians were driven for ever from the Holy 
Land. A new species of Crusades, however, arose in the 
West, namely, military expeditions against the Jews, Albi- 
genses, and other heretics, which were carried on with great 
cruelty and slaughter. 

6. All the power and exertions of the ecclesiastical au- 
thority failed, however, in wholly checking the spirit of 
resistance amongst the laity, and especially the sovereigns of 
England. Even during the feeble reign of Henry III. con- 
siderable progress was made in restraining the jurisdiction 
of the spiritual tribunals. The judges in the king's courts 
now came to be common lawyers instead of clergymen, and 
these soon began to assert the supremacy of their jurisdic- 
tion, and to check the ecclesiastics in all matters beyond 
their own province. The question was finally settled in 
13 Edward I., when the limits of the spiritual courts were 
strictly defined. Clerks charged with felony were now also 
ordered to be first indicted in the King's Bench, and, if there 
found guilty, their property appears to have been forfeited 
to the Crown. 

* It is worth observing that during the trial of the Templars in Eng- 
land, the pope urged the king (Edward II.) to make use of torture ; but 
there was no instrument of the kind to be found in the country, nor had the 
practice ever been heard of before ! The Archbishop of York charitably 
inquired of his clergy whether, under such circumstances, he might not 
send abroad for some little tormentor, so that the prelates might not be 
chargeable with negligence ! None, however, seem to have been used 
upon the occasion. 

L 3 


The constitution of the English Convocation or synod of 
the church may be regarded as part of the policy of Edward I. 
It now differed from those of other Christian kingdoms (which 
consisted wholly of bishops) by his admission of the inferior 
clergy, whose representatives in each province formed the 
lower house, whilst the bishops sat in the upper, and the 
archbishop presided with regal state, so as to present an exact 
counterpart to the houses of parliament ; and, as there also, all 
questions must pass both houses before any final settlement. 
By this means he was enabled to secure the taxing of benefices 
through consent of the convocation, and the inferior clergy 
obtained a direct share in the formation of ecclesiastical canons. 

Edward II. yielded in some measure to the pope, but 
Edward III., after some fruitless expostulations, positively 
defied his authority, and enacted several statutes against pro- 
visors, i. e. that the court of Rome should not present or collate 
to any bishopric or living in England, and that whoever should 
disturb any patron in his presentation to a living on the ground 
of a papal provision, should pay fine and ransom to the king 
at his will, and be imprisoned till he removed such provision ; 
and the same punishment was inflicted on such as should cite 
the king or any of his subjects to answer in the court of Rome. 
Finally, by the famous statute of Praemunire (16 Richard II. 
A. D. 1392) it was " ordained and established," that any per- 
son purchasing provisions, excommunications, bulls, or any 
instruments in the court of Rome or elsewhere, or bringing 
them into the realm, should be put out of the king's protec- 
tion, and his lands and goods forfeited. * The popes resisted 
this statute for some time, but without success, and Avere at 
last obliged humbly to issue their presentations in favour of 
those who were known previously to be nominated by the 

7. A still more formidable spirit was displayed in the 

* This statute derives its name from the words " Prsemunire " or 
" Prsemonere facias," used to command a citation of the party named 
in the writ issued for the execution of this and of preceding statutes 
respecting provisions. It does not clearly appear that it was ever re- 
gularly passed by the parliament, but it has been repeatedly recognised 
as a statute by subsequent acts of the legislature. 




writings and discoveries of the first great reformer of Eng- 
land, John de Wycliffe *, who, beginning with the extravagant 
authority claimed by the popes, attacked in succession the 
Mendicant orders and all classes of ecclesiastics with the most 
unsparing and bitter invective. He was warmly supported 
by the great Duke of Lancaster and other noblemen, and 
made a great impression upon the popular mind. 

The peculiar views of this excellent man which produced 
the greatest effect were those respecting the constitution of 
the church and the subject of ecclesiastical authority. 

On the point of doctrine he met with less sympathy at the 
time; but his great principles of the sole authority of Scrip- 
ture and the undeniable right of private judgment were by 
no means lost upon his hearers. The curiosity which his 
constant quotations from Scripture had excited, he subse- 
quently gratified by a translation of the Old and New Testa- 
ments into the English tongue the oldest that is now ex- 
tant, and next in antiquity to the Saxon version attributed 
to Alfred. English translations of many parts, and even 
perhaps of the whole, of the Scriptures existed indeed before 
the time of Wycliffe ; but they are lost to us, and appear to 


Specimen of Wyeliffe's Bible - in the British Museum. 

have been unknown in their own time to the great body of 
the people. 

* Wycliffe was born about 1324 in Yorkshire, and died in 1384 at his 
rectory of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. 

L -i 


8. The popular feeling was still more alienated from the 
prevailing system of church government during the 15th cen- 
tury; but, on the other hand, it was more vigorously supported 
by the state, which now no longer dreaded it as a rival, and 
felt, perhaps, that it contributed largely to the maintenance of 
a high respect for establishments of all kinds. A main cause 
of this decay of authority may undoubtedly be found in the 
great Western schism which broke out on the death of Gre- 
gory XI. in 1378, and divided the Latin church for the space 
of half a century. After the decease of that pontiff, Urban VI. 
was elected by the unanimous voice of the cardinals, but in five 
months after they assembled secretly at a distance from Rome, 
excommunicated their own nominee as an apostate and anti- 
Christ, and announced as the true pope of their free election 
Clement VII. 

The different nations of Europe received this twofold 
election according to their geographical position or national 
feelings. Most of the Italians adhered to their countryman 
Urban, and were supported by England, Portugal, the Ne- 
therlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, chiefly 
through hatred to France, which, backed by Scotland, Na- 
varre, Castile, Arragon, Savoy, Sicily, and Cyprus, maintained 
the cause of the Frenchman Clement. A series of four suc- 
cessive popes on one side and two on the other, continued this 
disgraceful contest till 1409, when both the pretenders to the 
tiara were solemnly deposed by the council of Pisa, and a 
Greek priest put in their place. This vote was not, however, 
universally respected, and so another was only added to the list 
of claimants, till the Council of Constance in 1417 deposed 
all three, and set up Martin V., who yet was not fortunate 
enough to put an end to the schism till the year 1429, when 
his last antagonist publicly submitted to his authority.* The 

* This council of Constance is remarkable, amongst other things, for 
the bold and successful stand which was made by the English ambas- 
sadors, in defence of their national right to be considered as an indepen- 
dent body, equal to any of the others, in opposition to the French, who 
asserted that Christendom was properly divided into four great parts, 
Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, and that England and other lesser 
kingdoms should be classed under one or other of those great divisions. 

CHAP. II.] HE1.IGION. 153 

effect of this contest was, however, to shake the temporal 
authority of the pontiffs, and expose their weakness and their 
vices ; and after this time their imperious mandates to kings 
and princes were generally replaced by insinuating entreaties 
and repeated concessions. 

9. The arbitrary power of the pope met also with serious 
resistance during this period from the clergy assembled in two 
councils, which are called General by the Church of Rome. 
The Council of Constance asserted the rights of a general 
council with some boldness, but it was far surpassed by the 
Council of Basil (1431 1443), which, declaring the positive 
superiority of such a synod, assumed an attitude of actual revolt 
against the sovereign pontiff, prohibited him from creating new 
cardinals, and suppressed the annates, or tax upon benefices, 
which constituted a large portion of his revenue. This attack 
was met by the calling of a rival council at Ferrara, for which 
act the pope was formally deposed by the Council of Basil, 
and another appointed in his stead. In this fresh schism the 
English clergy, or, at least, the lower house of convocation of 
the province of Canterbury, took part at first with the old 
pope, but afterwards with the council, till the death of one 
pontiff and the abdication of the other terminated a contest 
which has never since been renewed. 

10. The crown and the clergy in England maintained, at 
this time, a close and friendly connection, which was not 
broken even by the novel execution of Archbishop Scrope 
for high treason, by Henry IV., A. r>. 1405. For this daring 
act, which, in former times, would have shaken his throne to 
the foundation, the pope merely issued a general sentence of 
excommunication, which was revoked upon Henry's sending 
in a justification of his conduct to the court of Rome. Still 
the royal favour did not fully make up for the weakening of 
the popular affection ; and new and striking measures were 
thought necessary to revive the ancient hold of the priesthood 
over the minds of the multitude. Amongst these, accusations 
of heresy seemed the most plausible and most effective, and 
were, besides, extremely useful in getting quietly rid of 
avowed and dangerous foes. 

Till this period differences of doctrine had but little 


troubled the Church of England, and the old laws upon 
the subject were accordingly comparatively mild, the writ de 
h&retico comburendo (if, indeed, it were a part of the ancient 
common law) never having been acted upon till after the 
commencement of the 15th century. About the time of 
Henry IV., however, the Lollards, or Wycliffites, as they are 
often styled, made a considerable stir, and the zeal of the 
established clergy was forthwith aroused for their destruction. 
These " heretics" are generally considered as the followers of 
John Wycliffe ; but they seem rather to have been a sect of 
foreign origin, whose opinions resembled those of that great 
reformer. Their name has been variously derived from 
lolium, tares (in allusion to the parable of the wheat and the 
tares), and from the old German word, lollen, or lullen, to 
sing as a nurse, in reference to their practice of psalm-sing- 
ing ; but more probably still from the German reformer, 
Walter Lolhard, who was burnt at Cologne in 1322. 

The English Lollards were declared enemies of the esta- 
blished church, and of all the pretensions of the Romish hier- 
archy, and protested against the principal errors in doctrine, 
such as tran substantiation, exorcisms, extreme unction, prayers 
for the dead and to images, &c. They also asserted the ab- 
solute sinfulness of taking away human life under any cir- 
cumstances, and the unlawfulness of certain trades, such as the 
goldsmith and sword-cutler, under the Christian dispensation. 

11. The commons were not slack at first to join the clergy 
in a petition against these unfortunate people, and the result 
was, the passing of the famous statute 2 Hen. IV. c. 15. By 
this act imprisonment, fines, and, lastly, the dreadful punish- 
ment of burning at the stake, were solemnly decreed against 
all who taught or favoured the teachers of any thing " con- 
trary to the Catholic faith or determination of the Holy 
Church." The first victim of this formidable statute was Wil- 
liam Sawtre, rector of Lynn, in Norfolk, and afterwards 
priest of St. Osythe's, in London. The principal charge 
brought against him before the primate Arundel and the 
convocation, was his denial of worship to the cross and of 
transubstantiation. He was condemned as a relapsed heretic, 
degraded, deposed with great solemnity, and then delivered 


over to the secular power to be dealt with according to the 
law. This first martyr was burnt in Smithfield in March, 
1401, amidst a vast concourse of spectators. 

The next recorded case is that of William Thorpe, a 
distinguished priest, who directly ascribed his knowledge 
of the truth to John Wycliffe and his disciples. His fate 
is not distinctly known, but it is not improbable that he 
died in prison. The second victim who actually perished 
at the stake, was John or Thomas Badby, a mechanic, 
who, for denying transubstantiation, in 1410, was burnt in 
Smithfield, stedfastly refusing the Prince of Wales' offer of 
pardon and support on condition of recantation. A loftier 
mark was found in Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, under 
Henry V., who added force of arms, however, to his heretical 
opinions, and drew a number of poor Lollards into his own 

12. Arundel was succeeded by Archbishop Chicheley, who 
apprehended the heretics in such numbers that the prisons 
were crowded to excess, and several were burnt. It was he 
who built the addition to Lambeth Palace, still known as 
the Lollards' Tower, from the small room at the top, in 
which they were confined by iron rings, which yet remain 
fixed in the walls. After his time the most remarkable 
charge of heresy which was brought was that against 
Reginald Peacock, or Pocock, Bishop of Chichester, in 1457. 

The great offence of this good prelate seems to have been 
a disposition for toleration and quiet reasoning with men 
accused of erroneous notions, rather than for severe and sud- 
den punishment. The only doctrine that he was charged 
with positively denying was, that of infallibility. He would 
have been put to death, no doubt, immediately, but that he 
recanted his obnoxious opinions at Paul's Cross; he was, 
however, sent to prison in Thorney Abbey, where he died, 
after a confinement of three years. The persecution of the 
Lollards was at length suspended by the more exciting wars 
of the Hoses, the progress of which contributed no doubt to 
clear away many old hereditary prejudices in religion as in 
other matters. 


13. The nation appears, indeed, at this time, to have been 
divided into three parties : the avowed enemies of the Esta- 
blished Church ; the members of the church who desired its 
reform, but not its overthrow ; and the bigoted adherents 
to the existing order of things. The national spirit under 
the Lancastrian princes was certainly as strong as ever; 
the statutes against provisors were renewed and extended, 
and great anxiety shown to prevent any undue inter- 
ference on the part of Rome. The parliament, also, stea- 
dily maintained the supremacy of the civil over the eccle- 
siastical courts, notwithstanding an attempt on the part 
of the bishops and clergy to overthrow it. The clergy, 
however, set their face against all reforms or concessions 
to the spirit of the age ; and the ancient popular super- 
stitions were sanctioned by the church as fully as in the 
earliest and darkest ages. During this period the cup in the 
Lord's Supper was gradually taken from the laity, as it con- 
tinues to be in the Church of Rome to the present day. 

Pilgrimages to Rome were still frequent, and a few even 
made their way to Jerusalem. The last Crusades, or rather 
attempts at Crusades, took place in the 15th century, when 
Pope Martin V. proclaimed war against the Hussites of 
Bohemia. Cardinal Beaufort was appointed captain-general 
of the crusaders, and raised an army of 5000 English archers 
and 500 lances to act against the heretics. This force, how- 
ever the last ever levied in England for such a purpose 
was speedily laid hold of by the Duke of Bedford, then 
warring in France, and applied to his own more important 

14. At the accession of Edward IV., who was anxious 
to conciliate the pope and the clergy, a short glimpse of 
their ancient power was conceded by a charter which dis- 
pensed with the statute of praemunire, and deprived the tem- 
poral courts of all power of punishing ecclesiastics for any 
offences. This charter, however, was not confirmed by par- 
liament, and had no lasting effect. 

15. The general conduct and character of the clergy of 
this age are not handed down to us in a very favourable 




light. We have the authority of the University of Oxford 
and of Archbishop Bourchier for describing the churchmen 
of the 15th century as frequently devoid both of literature 
and capacity, profligate, abandoned, and rapacious. This 

Passage of the Host. Cripples worshipping. (Cotton MS.) 

character of the secular clergy threw great influence into the 
hands of the friars, who were publicly accused, under 
Henry IV., of seducing the most promising youths into their 
ranks, especially from the universities ; and they were for- 
bidden, in consequence, to take into their order any infant 
under the age of fourteen, without the consent of his relations 
or guardians. 

16. The style of preaching at this time may be gathered, in 
some degree, from the constitutions of a convocation at York, 
held in 1466. It is there ordered that every parish priest 
should preach, either personally or by substitute, four times 
in the year ; to use plain English speech, and to explain the 
fourteen articles of faith, the ten commandments (of which 
the second is omitted and the tenth divided), the two pre- 
cepts of the Gospel, the seven works of mercy, seven mortal 
sins, and seven sacraments. What specimens remain of the 
sermons of this date are by no means discreditable to the 
learning and piety of the reverend fathers. 




1. THE taste for elegant literature, throughout the 13th and 
14th centuries, was wholly overpowered and borne down by 
the prevailing passion for metaphysical disputations. Almost 
the only Latin poet of that time was a foreigner William 
the Breton who wrote an epic on the actions of Philip 
Augustus of France. In the university of Paris, and pro- 
bably in all other schools, the classics had nearly ceased to be 
read, and the habit of speaking Latin with purity was gene- 
rally lost throughout the world of scholars. Almost the only 
studies now pursued were the Aristotelian logic and meta- 
physics, which had, however, made their way against much 
opposition, especially on the part of the church. It was an 
age, nevertheless, of great intellectual activity and of a very 
general diffusion of such education as the schools afforded. 
At the beginning of the 14th century there were 30,000 
students at the university of Oxford, and probably a still 
larger number at that of Paris. 

2. Some of the most distinguished scholastic doctors of the 
day were natives of Britain. Amongst them may be men- 
tioned, in particular, Alexander de Hales, styled the Irre- 
fragable, famous as the master of St. Bonaventure, and the 
first commentator on the Four Books of Sentences; Duns 
Scotus, the Subtle Doctor, a man of wonderful vigour and 
penetration of thought ; William Occam, the Invincible, the 
restorer of the doctrine of Nominalism, or the opinion that 
general ideas are merely names, and not real existences, as 
was contended by the Realists a doctrine which long 
divided the sect of logicians with bitter contests. These were 
all members of the Franciscan order. 

In the mathematical and physical sciences Roger Bacon is 
by far the greatest name, not only of the 13th century, or of 
England, but of all Europe, and for some ages after his own 


time. The preserved works of this truly great man (who was 
born at Ilchester, about 1214, and died in 1292,) show that 
his investigations included almost every possible branch of 
human knowledge, and with a success much beyond that of any 
of his predecessors or contemporaries. In optics, for instance, 
he not only understood the general laws of light, and had at 
least conceived such an instrument as the telescope, but had 
made some advances towards an explanation of the rainbow. 
He appears to have known the composition and effects of 
gunpowder (which, however, there is other evidence for be- 
lieving to have been then understood in Europe), and was 
evidently familiar with mechanical principles and the power 
of many natural agents. Another eminent mathematician 
was his friend and patron Eobert Grostete, Bishop of Lin- 
coln who wrote a treatise on the sphere. Sir Michael 
Scott, also, better known as an astrologer and magician, was 
deeply versed in the secrets of natural philosophy, and is said 
to have written a work on physiognomy and a history of 

3. The Arabic numerals had certainly found their way into 
Europe before the middle of the 14th century, but they do 
not appear to have come into general use till a considerably 
later date. Arithmetic, therefore, could not have taken a 
very high place amongst the sciences. Astronomy, however, 
was sufficiently cultivated at the university of Paris to enable 
some of its members to predict an eclipse of the sun in 1310 : 
its study being, no doubt, favoured by the general belief in 
astrology, or the science of predicting future events by the 
stars ; just as chemistry was advanced by the universal passion 
for alchemy, or the transmutation of all metals into precious 
gold and silver. Of this latter art, Raymond Lully, who 
visited England in the reign of Edward I., on the king's in- 
vitation, was the most celebrated professor. 

The earliest English writer on medicine, whose works have 
been published, is Gilbert English, who flourished in the 13th 
century. Medicine, although still a superstitious and quackish 
art, had now been taken a good deal out of the hands of the 
clergy ; and was somewhat improved by the writings of the 
Arab doctors. The distinction between the physician and 


apothecary was well understood, and surgery had begun to 
be followed as a separate practice.* In geography, and the 
customs and institutions of distant countries, a great deal of 
information had already been given in the accounts of tra- 
vellers ;' especially those of Marco Polo, who penetrated as 
far as Tartary and China in the latter part of the 13th cen- 
tury, and of Sir John Mandeville, who travelled about 100 
years later. 

4. About the middle of the 13th century, the universities, 
both of England and of other countries, began to assume a new 
form by the erection of colleges for their members, as separate 
communities.! The zeal for learning displayed in these munifi- 
cent endowments is one of the most honourable characteristics 
of the age ; and they gave to the universities themselves a 
permanent establishment, which, cramped as they had for- 
merly been for room, and unable to exercise any effectual dis- 
cipline over the students, they could scarcely as yet have 
been said to possess. In almost all these endowments, pro- 
vision was made for the constant maintenance of a body of 
poor scholars; and private liberality was, no doubt, exten- 
sively shown in a variety of other ways. 

5. Although Latin was no longer spoken with elegance or 
correctness, yet it continued to be the common language of 
the learned and of learned books. In it were written the 
chronicles and histories, which were mostly compiled in the 
monasteries, and of which the most eminent is that of Mat- 
thew Paris, a Benedictine rnonk, of St. Alban's, remarkable 

* If we may believe Guy de Cauliac, who published a system of surgery in 
1363, the surgeons of that day depended upon very simple methods indeed 
for their success. " The first sect," says he, " follow Roger and Roland and 
the four masters, and apply poultices to all wounds and abscesses ; the 
second follow Brunus and Theodoric, and in the same cases use wine only ; 
the third follow Saliceto and Lanfranc, and treat wounds with ointments 
and soft plasters ; the fourth are chiefly Germans, who attend the armies 
and promiscuously use charms, potions, oil and wool ; the fifth are old 
women and ignorant people, who have recourse to the saints in all 

f In Oxford were founded, during the 13th and 14th centuries, seven col- 
leges, and in Cambridge nine colleges and halls ; for the respective dates 
and founders of which the college calendars may be properly consulted. 


for the singular freedom with which it speaks of the usurpa- 
tions of Rome and the vices of the great. Latin was also, 
for a long time, the language of written law and of the 
charters of liberties. The first statute in French is the 
3 Edward I., A.D. 1275. French became more frequent 
under Edward II. ; and was almost exclusively used under 
Edward III. and Richard II. It was now also extensively 
employed in literary compositions. 

There had existed, for some time, two great dialects of 
the French tongue, known as the langue d'oc and the langue 
cVoyl, from the two words for yes, which were oc (perhaps 
from the Latin hoc) in the one, and oyl (probably from illud 
afterwards oy or oui) in the other. The langue d'oc, or 
Provencal tongue, was the popular speech of the southern, 
and the langue d'oyl of the northern, provinces of France*; 
from which latter the Norman French brought over to Eng- 
land was of course derived, and which was employed in legal 
documents at all times. It was also much written in by the 
northern trouveres, or poets, both Norman and English, al- 
though the langue d'oc had received an earlier cultivation 
at the hands of the southern troubadours, and was a great 
favourite in England under Richard I. 

One eminent French writer of the 14th century deserves 
to be mentioned under this head, both from his intercourse 
with England and from the almost entire devotion of his 
chronicle to English affairs; namely, the celebrated Sire 
Jean Froissart, whose work is a perfect tableau of the 
manners and character of the time. 

* From the Langue d'Oyl (originally spoken only to the north of the 
Loire) the modern French has been principally formed. Both these 
dialects were called Romance, or Romana Rustica, as being the provin- 
cial Roman or Latin tongue of Gaul, in opposition to the ancient Celtic 
language of the people. 

The original speech of the Franks was German, or rather Flemish, 
which they continued to use for several centuries after their conquest of 
Gaul. At length they gradually adopted that of the conquered nation, 
and French became the modified Latin which we now find it. 



6. The Saxon tongue still kept its hold upon the great bulk 
of the natives, and was but slightly affected by the introduc- 
tion of Norman phrases for nearly two centuries after the 
Conquest. Its forms, however, were materially affected in 
the course of the llth and 12th centuries ; but whether by the 
influence of the foreign language or by some natural process 
of change within itself, it would be difficult to decide. Its 
sounds were much altered ; syllables were cut short in the pro- 
nunciation ; and the terminations and inflections of words, dis- 
tinctions of gender, and government of prepositions greatly 
modified or entirely lost. This was the first step towards 
modern English, which the subsequent intermixture of the 
Norman vocabulary served to complete. 

Before the time of Edward I. there are but a few and un- 
important compositions that can be said to be written in 
English, as distinguished from Anglo-Saxon*; but in 1280, 

* We must except, however, a little song, probably of the early 
part of the 13th century, which was set to music at a somewhat later 

Sumer is icumen in, 

Lhude sing cuccu ; 
Groweth sed, 
And bloweth med, 

And springeth the wode nu, 
Sing cuccu. 

Awe bleteth after lomb, 

Lhouth after calve cu ; 
Bulluc sterteth, 
Buck verteth, 

Murie sing cuccu, 

Cuccu, cuccu. 

Well singes thu cuccu, 

N"e swik nauer nu : 
Sing cuccu nu ; sing cuccu ; 
Sing cuccu ; sing cuccu nu. 

And the earliest love-song in English, which Warton places about 1200, 
and which begins thus : 


we find the rhyming chronicle of Robert of Gloucester, and 
about 20 years later, that of Robert Mannyng ; in both of 
which, the proper English language appears, but still in its 
rudest state.* The greatest improver of this stiff and un- 
graceful tongue before the time of Chaucer was Laurence 
Minot, who flourished in the earlier part of Edward III., 
and wrote a series of poetical pieces of considerable merit. 
Towards the close of the same reign, Robert or William 
Langland wrote the curious satirical poem of (t Piers Plough- 
man's Vision," which seems to have been framed upon a 
Saxon model, many obsolete words being revived, and the 
old principle of alliteration adopted instead of the more 
modern rhyme. 

7. At length arose the great father of English literature, 
GEOFFREY CHAUCER, who first gave enduring vigour and 
consistency to our national poetry as well as language. The 
early pieces of this great master (born in London, about 
1328, died 1400,) comprise every species of verse in which 
his predecessors or contemporaries had made themselves 
famous ; and his Canterbury Tales alone include nearly every 
variety of gay or serious poetry. f A man of the world as 

Blow northern wynd, 

Sent thou me my swetynge ; 

Blow northern wynd, 

Blow, blow, blow. 

* The following is a specimen of Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle in 
the original spelling : 

" Engelond ys a wel god lond ich wene of ech lond best, 
Yset in the ende of the world as al in the west. 
The see goth hym al about he stont as an yle. 
Here fon heo durre the lasse doute, but hit be thorw gyle 
Of folc of the selve lond as me hath yseye wyle. 
From south to north he ys long eighte hondred myle." 

f The Canterbury Tales are too well known to require a description, 
but a few lines may be quoted as a specimen of the language 

" The miller was a stout carl for the nones, 
Ful bigge he was of braun and eke of bones 
M 2 


well as a student, he enjoyed the friendship of the learned 
and the patronage of his sovereign, and was the first poet 
who was buried in Westminster Abbey. His contemporary, 
but far inferior as a poet, was John Gower, who wrote a 
great quantity of Latin and French verse as w r ell as English. 
Nor were the Scotch behindhand in poetical literature, two 
poems in the Lowland Scotch (which closely resembles the 
English of that date) being still to be found ; namely, the 
Bruce of John Barbour, and the Cronykil of Andrew Wyn- 
ton, both written in the latter part of the 14th century and 
beginning of the 1 5th. 

Of the English prose literature of the 14th century we 
have preserved, besides some smaller pieces, Wycliffe's Trans- 
lation of the Scriptures, Trevisa's Translation of Higden's 
Polychronicon, some writings of Chaucer, and Sir John 
Mandeville's Travels.* 

8. The studious enthusiasm of the 14th century seems to 
have worn itself considerably out by the beginning of the 
15th. The 30,000 students of Oxford had, even in 1357, 
dwindled down to 6000; and the popular veneration for 
learning sank with the spirit of its professors. Instead of 
lofty honours and admiring crowds, the profound scholar was 
now received with general indifference, and, in some instances, 
even reduced to the necessity of begging his bread. Several 
new colleges were, however, added both to Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, the latter of which was especially honoured, at the hand 
of King Henry VI., by the foundation of King's College on a 

That proved wel for over all ther he came, 
At wrastling he wold here away the ram 
He was short shuldered brode a thick gnarre, 
Ther n'as no dore that he n'olde heve of barre 
Or breke it at a renning with his hede." 

* From this last writer, whose book is a singular collection of the most 
marvellous stories, a brief passage may be extracted : 

" And zee schull vnderstonde that Machomete was born in Arabye, 
that was first a pore knaue that kept Cameles that wenten with Marchantes 
for marchandise, and so befell that he wente with the marchandes in to 
Egipt, and thei were thanne cristene in tho partyes," &c. &c. 


scale of great liberality and magnificence. As a nursery for 
this college the same monarch established the great school of 
Eton. The New Schools were also erected at Oxford, in 
1439, by Thomas Hokenorton, Abbot of Osney, for the de- 
livery of lectures in metaphysics, natural and moral philosophy, 
astronomy and geometry, music, arithmetic, logic, rhetoric, 
and grammar. The foundation of a divinity school and of a 
public library were laid in the same university, about 1427, 
which, when completed in 1480, formed the most magnificent 
building of which it had yet to boast ; and public schools 
were also erected in Cambridge at the expense of the univer- 
sity. The first Scottish university that of St. Andrew's 
was founded early in this century, and was shortly after- 
wards followed by that of Glasgow. 

9. Notwithstanding the inauspicious beginning of this age, 
yet from its close dates the revival of letters throughout the 
kingdoms of the West. This great crisis in the intellectual 
world arose chiefly from two events, the importance of either 
of which can hardly be overrated. The first was the influx of 
learned Greeks into the West, occasioned by the course of poli- 
tical events which at last ended in the capture of Constanti- 
nople by the Turks, A. D. 1453. The new literature which these 
foreigners introduced, was hardly known to England, how- 
ever, till the very close of this period. The second was the 
ever-memorable invention of the art of PRINTING, with 
which the world was blessed about the middle of the 15th 

This great discovery had been practised nearly thirty 
years in Germany, before it was brought into either Eng- 
land or France. At length William Caxton, a native of 

* The three towns of Haarlem, in Holland, and of Mayence and Stras- 
burg, in Germany, contend for the honour of the discovery the first 
asserting that one of its citizens, Laurence Coster, invented both printing 
and type-founding ; whilst the Germans ascribe printing with moveable 
types to John Gutenberg, and of type-founding to Peter Schoeffer, with 
whom John Fust is usually associated as a companion, 

M 3 




the weald of Kent 



~<j5c5^ ,1 


S^ j& 
S^fe- o<y 

^ co 2^* 
^ ISua^ 

>* *H 

(born about 1412), and a citizen of 
London, having resided for some 
time in the Low Countries, learned 
the art, and there printed his first 
work in the year 1471. The 
earliest book supposed to have 
been printed by him in England, 
is the " Game and Playe of the 
Chesse," a folio volume, which is 
stated to have been " finished the 
last day of March, 1474." In 
1477 he is certainly known to 
have had a press at work in the 
Almonry, near Westminster Ab- 
bey, where he continued to print, 
with indefatigable industry, till his 
death in 1491 or 1492. His pupils 
or assistants, Theodore Rood, John 
Lettow, William Machilena, and 

Printer's Mark of Wynkyn de Worde. 

Wynkyn de Worde, foreigners, and Thomas Hunt, an Eng- 
lishman, worthily maintained the honour of his name ; and 
other presses were also soon established about the country. 
It is remarkable, as showing the spirit and taste of the age, that 
religious books and romances constitute the larger part of the 
works published by the great father of English printing. 


Gower's, Chaucer's, and Lydgate's works were also produced, 
and some translations from the classics ; but no works in the 
original Latin. The new art did not at first materially dimi- 
nish the price of books; and MSS. and transcriptions long 
remained of as much value and cost as ever. 

10. The increase of learning, which appeared in England 
during the 15th century, was much owing to the taste and 
exertions of Humphry, duke of Gloucester, and the Lords 
Worcester and Rivers, men distinguished not more for their 
own talents than for the liberal patronage which they be- 
stowed upon men of genius. Science was as yet, however, 
but little understood ; and the wild notions of astrology and 
alchemy still distracted most who turned their attention to 
mathematical or natural philosophy. Medicine and surgery 
seem to have made no further progress, although the opera- 
tion of lithotomy was once performed successfully at Paris. 

Nor were the literary productions of the age of a very high 
stamp, with the exception of the poems of King James I. of 
Scotland, whose King's Quhair (quire or book) is the most 
tender and elegant composition that remains to us between the 
time of Chaucer and of Spenser. Of seventy other English 
poets, John Lydgate, the monk of Bury, who flourished about 
the year 1430, is the only one worth mentioning, not only 
on account of his poetical genius, but also because his English 
approaches more nearly to that of modern times than can be 
found in any preceding writer.* The Life of Wallace by the 
well known minstrel, Blind Harry (about the close of the 
15th century), deserves notice, however, as a specimen of 
vigorous versification, as well as of the peculiarities of the 
ancient Scottish dialect. 

* A specimen of Lydgate's verse may be given on this account. 

" Then unto London I did me hie, 

Of all the land it beareth the price. 
Hot peascods, one began to crie, 

Strawberry ripe and cherries in the rise. 
One bad me come near and buy some spice 
Pepper and saffron they gan me beed, 
But for lack of money T might not speed." 

M 4 


The orthography of the language was strangely unsettled 
even down to the time of Queen Elizabeth, every writer 
considering himself at liberty to put together any combina- 
tion of letters which he thought would best express the 
sound, without any regard to the usage of other authors, or 
even of himself in a different place. Our French conquests 
and education, and the Latin church service, introduced, be- 
sides, many new words and changes of terms, to which some 
additions were purposely made, by men of learning, both from 
the Latin and from the Greek. 

1 1. Among the Latin historians, Thomas Walsingham may 
be accounted the chief. He wrote a history of England, 
from 1273 to the accession of Henry VI. ; and also one of Nor- 
mandy. The Chronicon of John de Whethamstede, Abbot 
of St. Alban's, extending from 1441 to 1461, is also much 
esteemed. John Rouse, of Warwick, moreover, wrote a 
curious History of the Kings of England, which, with great 
propriety, begins at the creation of the world ! There are 
some English chroniclers, too, amongst whom Caxton, the 
printer, may be reckoned. The English transactions in France 
are recorded by the French writers Monstrelet and Philip de 

12. In this period the Romanesque character of architec- 
ture, which had been maintained, though with great vari- 
ations, throughout the Norman style, entirely disappears, 
and the pure Gothic, as it is called, now takes its place. The 
difference between classical and Gothic architecture (forming, 
indeed, the greatest possible contrast) rests chiefly upon the 
predominance of horizontal lines in the former and of vertical 
in the latter. An observation of any building erected in the 
Grecian style, along with a church of the middle ages, will 
immediately present this fundamental distinction to the eye 
of the student. The introduction of the Roman arch was the 
first great step which led to such an alteration ; and the pecu- 
liar construction of the Christian Basilica, with the general 
use of vaulted roofs, gradually led to the vertical principle of 
which Gothic architecture is the full development. This style, 
during the 13th century, was nearly uniform throughout the 




different countries of Europe ; but after that time it diverges 
into various national peculiarities, which are nowhere more 
strongly marked than in our own island. 

13. The character of the first or EARLY ENGLISH style, 
which prevailed throughout the 13th century, is that of great 
lightness and simplicity, and is strongly marked by the 
pointed lancet arch, the slender detached shafts, and the 

Clustered Column and Foliated Capital Bicester Church, Oxfordshire. 

tapering spire into which the Norman pinnacle, or pointed 
roof, was now very generally elongated. 

A peculiar ornament, called the dog's tooth moulding, be- 
longs to this style, and the trefoil is largely used in the deco- 

Dog-tooth Moulding. 

rations. The roofing begins to advance, also, in richness. 
In the general arrangement of churches, the suppression of 
the apsis at the east end may be noticed, which was probably 
caused by the frequent addition of a Lady-chapel. At a later 
date the long and narrow window became broader, and was 




divided into two or even four lights, with foliated circles in 
the heads, which indicate the transition to the succeeding or 


Early English Lancet Window, Beverley Minster. 


Early English Transition Window, St. Giles's, Oxford. 

This style, which prevailed during the 14th century, derives 
its name from the greater abundance of chaste ornament than 


was usual in the preceding age, and, from its graceful lines 
and flowing tracery, has been generally considered the most 
beautiful species of English architecture. The lancet arch is 
now rarely seen ; and the enlarged heads of the windows are 
filled with the geometrical or flowing tracery which forms the 
chief characteristic of the style. At this time the great east and 

Decorated Window Llan Tysilio Church, Anglesey. 

west windows were introduced in England, which is a striking 
deviation from the continental Gothic, the west fronts of 
which depend for their effect upon their lofty and gorgeous 
portals and wheel-windows. The shafts of the piers are no 
longer detached from the main columns, but worked in the 
same stone, forming a perfect clustered pillar. The capitals 
are more varied, and the foliage is much more rich and natural 
than before. One ornament, called the ball-flower, is altoge- 
ther peculiar to the mouldings of this period. 

Ball-flower Ornament. 

The vaulting of the roofs continues to advance in decoration; 
and, on the outside, open parapets come into use, surrounded 



[Boos IV. 

by battlements, either plain or pierced. The gradation to the 
style which follows, or from the Early English to this, is, 

Diaper Work in Stone, A.D. 1304 Canterbury Cathedral. 

however, extremely gradual, and can only be clearly traced 

Decorated Font Ingworth Church, Norfolk. 

through the examples afforded by a period when the change 
was fully completed. The architects of the 13th and 14th 




centuries added materially to our national monuments, many 
parts of our finest cathedrals having been erected during those 

14. Great alterations took place, during the Early English 
era, in the style of sepulchral monuments. The first change 
was the general adoption of the altar-tomb a flat raised table, 
on which the recumbent effigy of the dead is placed. The flat 
gravestone, with the inscription deeply cut and filled with 
metal, was also introduced very early in the 1 3th century ; 
so that the coffin en dos (fane became generally superseded. 
The next important step was the enriched monumental canopy, 

Sculpture of the 14th century, temp. Edward III. Chapel on Wakefield Bridge, Yorkshire. 

of which many magnificent specimens remain. The art of 
statuary advanced in a corresponding degree, and the effigies 
on tombs are now sculptured with equal grace and spirit. 
Basso-relievo was also cultivated with extreme success ; and 
Flaxman pronounces the figures on the front of Wells Cathe- 
dral to be not inferior to the best compositions of Italian art. 
This is the more pleasing, as there is some reason to suppose 
that few but native artists were employed in England till a 
later period. During the 14th century, however, sculpture 
seems to have somewhat declined. Sepulchral brasses ap- 


pear to have been adopted about the middle of the 13th 
century ; the earliest known specimen being that at Stoke 
Dabernon, in Surrey, which is supposed to be the memorial 
of Sir John D'Aubernon, who died in 1277. Next to this 
occur the brasses of Sir Roger de Trumpington, in Trump- 
ington Church, Cambridgeshire, A.D. 1289 ; of Robert de 
Buers, at Acton, Suffolk, about 1302 ; and of one ecclesiastic, 
Adam Bacon, at Oulton, also in Suffolk. The earliest speci- 
mens are extremely beautiful, and were probably all engraved 
in England, although the metal itself was imported from 
Germany and Flanders, there being no manufactory of brass 
in England till the year 1639. 

Of painting there was now a profusion in private houses, 
where it completely superseded the ancient hangings of needle- 
work; and the first notice occurs of painting on glass of 
which there were several windows executed in the Tower of 
London and at Nottingham Castle during the 13th century,, 
These were worked in small medallions of different forms, 
inlaid upon a mosaic of various patterns and of the most 
brilliant colours. Beautiful scroll or arabesque work suc- 
ceeded ; and, in the 14th century, figures of larger size were 
introduced, standing in niches, decorated with canopies, 
columns, and buttresses. Painted glass was also not unfre- 
quently used in ordinary houses. 

15. Before passing to the next era of ecclesiastical archi- 
tecture, it may be well to notice the state of castellated and 
domestic buildings previous to the 15th century. Castle- 
building receives a new character with the reign of Ed- 
ward I., when the warlike fortress begins to unite some of the 
magnificence and comforts of the social palace. Perhaps the 
latest building constructed with Norman solidity, and for real 
purposes of defence, is Guy's Tower, at Warwick, erected by 
Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in the reign of 
Richard II.* Windsor Castle is also partly of this age. This 
had always been a royal residence, but was rebuilt and greatly 

* The machecoulis, a contrivance for casting missiles on the enemy 
through the apertures of parapets projected upon corbel stones, be- 
longs to the time of Edward L, and was retained as a picturesque orna- 
ment long after it had ceased to be of any real use. 




enlarged by Edward III., who employed, as his architect, 
William of Wykeham, afterwards the thrice-noble Bishop of 

Towards the close of the 13th century the embattled and 
moated manor-house made its appearance, of which Stoke 

A House of the 14th Century Ilium. MS. in British Museum. 

Castle, in Shropshire, may be taken as an existing specimen. 
Houses of a meaner description are as yet very simple in their 
outlines, but the decorations are often elegant and highly 
finished. Specimens may still be seen in the city of Lincoln, 
16. Of other arts it may be observed that chairs and 
tables, bedsteads*, and other furniture were constructed with 
great elegance, in the style of the pointed architecture of the 
day. One of the most interesting examples is the coronation 
chair in Westminster Abbey, called the Chair of St. Edward, 
in which all our sovereigns have been crowned since the days 
of Edward II. Clocks, or horloges, that struck and chimed 
the hour, are mentioned as early as the close of the 13th 
century, as part of the furniture of a mansion. The workers 

* In speaking of beds we may remark that the earlier coverlet was called 
a pane, either from pannus, a cloth, or from panneau, a square or pane of 
glass, with which the diamond pattern of the modern quilt agrees. This 
was succeeded by the counterpane, contrepointe, or cloth having the knot- 
ted threads stitched through. 


in metal seem to have retained all their ancient celebrity, and 
silver and gold plate was wrought with great richness and 
taste.* A pair of knives, with silver sheaths, enamelled, and 
a fork of crystal, are mentioned in the wardrobe accounts of 
Edward I. Forks are said, indeed, to have been used in 
Italy so early as 1330, but they were not employed at table 
in England till the reign of James I. Fire-screens, and fire- 
dogs with feet and stands, were also now manufactured. 

Little cloth was made in this country, and that of a coarse 
description, till Edward III., in 1331, invited over weavers, 
dyers, and fullers, from Flanders, who established the first 
manufactory of fine woollen cloths. Foreign goods, however, 
long continued to be imported in considerable quantities. A 
list of the forty-eight trades or " mysteries " of London, under 
the same monarch, presents most of the ordinary employ- 
ments of civilised society, along with some which belong only 
to a purely warlike period. Of the more elegant occupations, 
music seems to have made the least progress, although it 
was still very generally practised. 

17. To the 15th century belongs more exclusively the 
merit of having produced the PERPENDICULAR or florid style 
of architecture, although traces of its peculiar character may 
be found so early as 1377, and continue to be observed as late 
as the middle of the 16th century. This eminently English 
style has received one of its distinguishing names from the pro- 
fusion and minuteness of its ornamental detail ; and the other 
(by which it is now best known) from the perpendicular 
direction of the mullions in the windows, and of the subdi- 
visions in their heads. 

Panelling is the grand source of ornament in this style, 
and the interior of most rich buildings presents only a series 
of panels. A peculiar arch, called the depressed, four-centred, 

* One article of plate deserves attention as probably giving rise to the 
title of the Hanaper office of the court of Chancery. In this office writs 
are preserved, anciently (as has been generally supposed) in a hamper ; 
but it appears that in the 14th century the term hanapes was applied to 
vessels of silver with lids ; perhaps from hand, and napf, a bowl, bason, or 




or Tudor arch, now makes its appearance, along with nume- 
rous square heads over the door-ways, and vaulted roofs of 
very elaborate fan-tracery. 

The architects of this age depended chiefly upon the multi- 
plicity of parts for richness of effect, and heraldic sculptures, in 

A. The nave. 

B B. The aisles. 

C C. The western towers. 

D. North transept and aisles. 

E. South ditto ditto, 

F. Organ screen. 

G. Chapter House. 
H. Record room. 

,T J. Aisles of choir. 

K. The choir. 

L L. Vestries, formerly chapels. 

M. Central tower. 

N. Lady chapel. 

O. The altar. 

P. Vestibule of chapter House. 

Q. Consistory court. 

Plan of York Minster. 

particular, are introduced in profusion. Thus in the chapel of 
Henry VII., at Westminster Abbey, the whole history of 
his royal descent and connexion with both branches of the 
house of Plantagenet is indicated by the heraldic insignia 
which appear 011 every part. The lion of England, the 
dragon of Cadwallader, and the greyhound of York may be 





seen on the buttresses and turrets, whilst the portcullis of 
his maternal ancestry of Beaufort, with the rose and fleur-de- 

Perpendicular Window New College Chapel, Oxford. 

lis, cover the walls. To these are added the Yorkist cogni- 
sance of the falcon and fetterlock, and the Lancastrian device 

Wooden Roof St. Mary's, Leicester. 

of the Marguerite, or daisy, adopted by his mother, the 
Countess of Richmond. 


The open timber roofs are now far more numerous and 
richly ornamented than before, and aid in producing that 
great lightness of construction which is a peculiar charac- 
teristic of the style. The wooden screens and stalls, also, 
which have existed to the present day, generally belong to this 

The greatest work of the age is the nave of Canterbury, 
which was begun in 1400. The west tower of York was 
also erected in 1402, besides other beautiful buildings too 
numerous to mention. The minor additions and alterations 
received by our churches during this period are so extensive 
that full one half of the windows in the kingdom have been 
conjectured to be of Perpendicular character. 

Monumental architecture partook largely of the sumptuous 
style of the day : the canopies over tombs were expanded into 
small chapels, or chantries, and ornamented with extraordi- 
nary care ; and the greater part of the sepulchral brasses in 
our churches belong to this and the succeeding century. 

18. The distinction between castellated and domestic 
buildings begins now to be lost ; although an appearance of 
defence was still kept up in many mansions. In houses of a 
smaller class the domestic character predominates, and many 
are built in a highly ornamental style, of which the projecting 
oriel or bay-window forms a principal feature. For the accom- 
modation of the numerous crowds of retainers, every mansion 
of consequence was provided with abundance of bed-rooms 
and offices, and a great hall, with a raised dais at the upper 
end for the master of the feast. The internal fittings were 
still in a rude state, but the chimney-pieces were often richly 
carved, particularly with armorial bearings and devices. 

A curious circumstance is the revival of building with brick, 
which is used in at least two castles and one great hall of this 
period. The art of making the Roman brick was probably 
never lost in England, for it is found during the Norman 
period under circumstances which seem to preclude the notion 
that it was the mere spoil of demolished Roman buildings ; 
but it was superseded by the Flemish brick (used to this 
day) perhaps so early as Edward II. Tiles were certainly 

K 2 




made at all periods, but brick constructions of a date earlier 
than Richard II. are of extreme rarity. 

The inns or town-houses of the great nobles were now 
of considerable extent, so as to lodge, upon occasion, from 
500 to 1000 men. The names of several of these man- 
sions still remain ; but a portion of one building alone has 
been preserved, namely, Crosby Hall, in Bishopsgate Street, 
built in 1466. Timber was profusely employed in street 
houses, of which Coventry still presents some very fine 

Old Timber Houses in Coventry. 

19. Painting in the 15th century did not keep pace with 
its sister arts; and the illuminators of MSS. were almost 
the only artists who deserved the name. Some specimens of 
statuary are, however, extremely well executed. Early in 
the century music began to show something of its proper 
character, and was carefully practised by every person of 
liberal education. The victory of Agincourt (A. D. 1415) 
gave birth to the first known English piece which can be 
considered as a regular musical composition. It is preserved 




in the Pepysian collection, Magdalen College, Cambridge.* 
The minstrel profession was regularly chartered by Ed* 
ward IV. in 1469 ; and its members were at that time well 
paid, and of respectable position in society. 

Painted Glass of the 15th Century Great Malvern Church, Worcestershire.! 

20. Woollen cloths continued to be manufactured in great 
quantities, although not of the finest sorts ; and worsted and 
silk were also woven. Artisans of all kinds, and especially 

* The following are the words of this old piece : 

" Oure kynge went forth to Normandy, 
With grace and mygt of chy valry ; 
The God for hym wrougt marvlusly, 
Wherefore Englande may calle and cry, 
Deo Gratias ! Anglia ! 
Redde pro victoria ! " 

f Subject, the grant of Edward the Confessor to the church. 

N 3 


workers in the metals, were both numerous and highly- 
valued.* Among the new articles of English manufacture 
may now be mentioned gunpowder and guns, which occur in 
a license of export granted in 1411. Collieries were also 
much more generally worked, and the trade of the fisherman 
was briskly plied both in the rivers and seas of Britain. f 

The rates of wages were often regulated by statute, and 
the prices of manufactured articles very arbitrarily fixed. 
The most remarkable restriction, perhaps, is that on the 
number of attorneys in Norfolk and Suffolk, who were 
limited to six for each county, and two in the city of Nor- 
wich, on account of their improper practices in " coming to 
every fair, market, or other places where there is any as- 
sembly of people, exhorting, procuring, moving, and inciting 
the people to attempt untrue and foreign suits for small 
trespasses, little offences, and small sums of debt." 

* The armourer and goldsmith were in particular esteem. The latter 
tradesman seems already to have practised some of the peculiar tricks of 
his craft, for an act passed in 1403 strictly prohibits the gilding or sil- 
vering of copper or latten cups and ornaments, unless for churches, 
because of " many fraudulent artificers imagining to deceive the common 

f Dugdale mentions with particular unction a certain great pie made 
of four breams caught in the pools of Sutton Coldfield Chase, which was 
sent to the Earl of Warwick in Yorkshire (A.D. 1453), the cost of which 
was 165., including the wages of two men employed for three days in 
taking them, the flour and spices for baking, and the charge of their 
conveyance. The price of a bream was then 20c?., and the pools of Sut- 
ton were rented at 120 breams, or 101. yearly. The herring fair at Yar- 
mouth was also well attended and of great note. 





1. THE armour of the 13th century was materially altered 
in the succeeding age, by the gradual admixture of iron plate 
with the various sorts of old Norman mail. At first it was 
confined to caps for the knees, and guards for the shoulders 

A. Helm, or H-aume. On Us apex is a staple for 

appending the kerchief of pleasaunce, and it is 
furnished with a chain attached to the girdle, 
to secure it if knocked off in a fray. 

B. Coifdemailles. 

C. Ailettes for the shoulders. 

D. Hauberk. 

E. Surcoat. 

F. Chausses de mailles. 

G Genouillieres, or knee-pieces, of iron plate. 
H. Spur, with single point, slightly bent upwards. 

Armour of the 13th Century.* 

and elbows. Greaves for the legs occur at an early period, 
but not frequently, the hands and feet being still covered 
chiefly with mail. Mail gloves were now divided into fingers, 

* From the sepulchral brass (in Trumpington Church, Cambridge- 
shire) of Sir Roger de Trumpington, a crusader, about 1290. This is 
one of the earliest extant specimens of such brasses in England. 

N 4 


and leather gauntlets were occasionally worn, but as yet 
without iron plates. Quilted or padded armour of silk, 
buckram, &c., named pourpoint or counterpoint, came still 
more into use ; and chain mail, properly so called, is supposed 
to have been introduced from Asia, under Henry III. It is 
not improbable, however, that it had been known at an 
earlier date. 

Over the chain shirt was worn a surcoat, or cyclas, of 
silk and rich stuffs, which was in after times emblazoned 
with the arms of the wearer ; this came down to the middle 
of the leg, and the edges were often fancifully scalloped. 
A heavy barrel-shaped helmet, with an aperture for sight, cut 
in the transverse bar of a cross, covered the whole head, and 
rested on the shoulders of the well-armed knight ; whilst 
skullcaps of various forms, with or without nasals, were 
worn by the common men-at-arms. The archers wore mail 
jackets, or habergeons, with sleeves reaching to the elbow, 
over which were strong vests of leather, defended by four 
circular iron plates. 

The armorial bearings of the knight were emblazoned on 
his banner, which was oblong, or on the pennon, a triangular 
standard ; over his shield, which was flat and triangular in 
shape, and along the housings of his horse. The helmet, too, 
came in time to bear the heraldic crest, and was adorned, 
besides, with a gay kerchief or scarf. The rowelled spur is 
first met with under Henry III., but did not become general 
till the reign of Edward I. 

To the offensive weapons were added the falchion, a pecu- 
liarly-shaped broad-bladed sword ; the estoc, a small stabbing 
sword ; the anelace, a broad tapering dagger ; the coutel or 
coutelas (whence our cutlass)} the mace, and perhaps the 
cimetar, both the last being of Oriental origin. 

2. Towards the close of the reign of Edward I. a curious 
ornament was added in a pair of plates, fastened to the 
shoulders, square, oblong, or round in shape, and decorated 
with the wearer's arms, or a St. George's cross. These 
ailettes, or little wings, disappeared under Edward II., in 
whose reign the mass of plate was increased by greaves for 



the legs, brassarts, and vanbraces (avant Iras] for the arms ; 
and mamalieres, or round plates, fastened on the breast, over 

Mail and Plate Armour. (From a Window at Tewkesbury.) 

the surcoat. From these breast- plates were hung by chains 
the sword of the knight and his helmet, which last was now 
only worn in actual battle, when it was placed over the 
usual headpiece, called a bascinet, the successor of the old 

Effigy of the Black Prince at Canterbury. 

chapel de fer, which, with its nasal, disappears about this 
time. A neckguard of chain, called the cam ail, was fastened 


to the edge of the baseinet. and, falling upon the shoulders, 
left a shield- shaped opening for the face. Sometimes a vizor 
worn with it. in which case the helmet was not required. 
During the 14th century plate armour begins to supersede 
the mail almost entirely. The legs and arms were soon 
completely defended by plate, gussets of mail being only 
worn under the arm and at the bend of the elbow. The 
feet were guarded by pointed shoes, formed of over-lapping 
plates, called sollerets, and the leathern gauntlets were 
similarly cased on the backs with steel. On the knuckles 
were placed small spikes or knobs, called gads or gadlrcc- : 
breast -plate, called a plastron, kept the chain shirt from ] 
ing on the chest, or a pair of plates for back and breast ren- 
dered it altogether superfluous ; and then a short apron of 
chain alone hung from the waist over the hips. The surcoat 
was gradually replaced by an upper garment called a jupon 
or guipon, made of velvet, and richly embroidered with the 
wearer's arms. This was confined at the waist by a magni- 
ficent belt, to which, on the right side, was hung a dagger, 
on the left a sword. 

3. Under Richard II. a moveable vizor was attached to the 
bascinet, which was henceforth exclusively worn in war, the 
great helmet with its crest and wreath being reserved for the 
stately tournament. The cuisses or thigh pieces were often 
covered with pourpoint, and thick leathern gaiters worn on 
the legs. The triangular shield began about the close of 
this reign to be rounded off at the bottom, and a nick was 
made in it at the top or at one side, called the bouche 
(mouth), which served as a rest for the lance. 

4. The use of fire-arms in war is probably as old as the 
tune of Edward IIL The Scottish poet Barbour speaks of 
two " noveltyes" used by the English while fighting against 

'untrynien in 1327, of which one was Sl crakys of war. 
Ducange shows that the French employed cannon in 1338, 
and a contemporary Italian writer mentions four cannons being 
used with great effect by Edward III. at the battle of Crecy. 
This circumstance is not, however, alluded to by Froissart, 
An ancient cannon which was raised from the Goodwin Sands 



is supposed, from a coat-of-arms on it, to have been made 
about 1370. 

Old English Cannon, former'y in the Tower of London. 

Ancient Cannon, and Mode of Mounting. (From Froissart Royal MS.) 

5. The spirit of knightly chivalry attained its highest and 
most complete development from the time of Edward I. to 
that of Edward III. Its effects upon the national mind, or 
more properly, perhaps, upon the minds of the nobility, were 
undoubtedly good ; it inspired a thousand generous thoughts 
and heroic actions, and laid the foundation of that most perfect 
character, the true English gentleman ; but it often degene- 
rated into the oddest extravagancies, and gave additional 
fierceness to the most savage passions. Thus the knights 
who joined one of Edward's French expeditions are re- 
corded to have gravely worn a patch over one eye, under a 
vow that it should not be removed till they had performed 
some deed of arms worthy of their mistresses; and the 
splendid arena of the tournament was frequently defiled with 
the most reckless and brutal slaughter. Edward III., who 
saw in chivalry an agent well suited to his mighty schemes 
of conquest, established a Bound Table at Windsor of 200 
feet in diameter, at which his knights were feasted with vast 
expense, and instituted the Order of the Garter, the ceremo- 
nies of which were performed with great magnificence. 

6. Passages of arms were either held by a baron in his 


own tilt yard for the entertainment of his friends; or a 
certain number of knights formed themselves into a band, to 
contend with all comers ; or a simple joust was tried by two 

Knights jousting. (Royal MS.) 

knights upon a challenge issued to each other " in all love 
and courtesy." Sometimes the danger of the sport was in- 
creased by a choice of rough ground, or a narrow bridge 
with a deep river beneath, into which a single false step might 
precipitate the combatants. The display of taste and splen- 
dour at a tournament was extremely great, the armour and 
accoutrements of the knights were of the richest description, 
and the scaffolds erected for the accommodation of the noble 
spectators were heavy with embroidery of gold and silver. 
The jousts were performed generally with headless lances, 
and the great aim was the vizor or crest, which were very 
difficult to hit. The loss of a stirrup was counted a defeat. 

In the tournament proper or melee the disabled knights were 
dragged by their victors to the extremities of the lists, where 
they remained as prisoners until one side or the other was 
so weakened by captures as to desist from the combat. In 
the midst of their fiercest excitement, however, the voice of 
the president, when he threw down his warder and cried 
" Ho ! " was sufficient to put an end to the conflict. Rich 
prizes were then distributed by some fair lady to the vic- 
torious knights, and the night was spent in feasting and 

7. In connexion with these martial sports the ordeal 
combats seem to have become more frequent under Richard II., 
and regulations for these judicial duels were formally settled 
by that king's uncles. In a place appointed by the king the 
combatants (having first sworn that they " dealt with no 


witchcraft, nor art magic, nor had about them any herb, 
stone, or other kind of experiment wherewith magicians use 
to triumph over their enemies") were to fight, first with 
spears, then with swords, and lastly with daggers (or, in the 
case of plebeians, with quarter-staves with sand-bags at the 
ends) till one or the other died, or confessed his guilt. 

8. Under Henry V. the final change at length takes place 
from mail to complete plate armour ; the camail is superseded 
by the haussecol or steel gorget ; and the mail apron by a set 
of long horizontal steel plates, called taces or tassets, extending 
from the waist to about the middle of the thigh ; the armpits 
were guarded by circular steel palettes hung on points or 
tags ; and even the jupon and surcoat were occasionally dis- 
carded. Over the pauldrons (or shoulder plates), however, 
long scalloped sleeves of rich stuff, or a cloak with such 
sleeves attached, were still worn. The vizored bascinet alone 
was used in actual war, and was furnished with a small pipe, 
into which was now first inserted the pennache, or plume of 
feathers. Of these knights are said to have worn three, king's 
esquires two, and all other esquires a single feather; but 
this is uncertain. 

The armour of Henry VI. and Edward IV. is marked by 
the addition of the sallet and the casquette to the list of head- 
pieces. The breast-plate is now often composed of two pieces, 
the lower one, called the placard, rising to a point in the 
centre, and fastened over the other with a screw or orna- 
mental buckle. One or both of these plates were covered 
with silk of different colours. A jazerant jacket was now 
also worn, composed of small over-lapping plates of iron 
covered with velvet, the gilt heads of the rivets which 
secured the plates coming through, and forming the exterior 
ornament. Plates called tuilles, hanging from the tasses or 
skirts of the armour, over an apron of chain mail, first appear 
under Henry VI. The jupon was superseded by the loose 
tabard, or coat of arms, toward the close of the reign of Ed- 
ward IV. The spurs were now screwed into the heels of 
the sollerets, instead of being fastened by straps, and were 
made of an enormous size. Under Richard III. the paul- 




drons, or shoulder-plates, appear very large ; the elbow and 
knee-pieces shaped like a fan and elaborately wrought ; the 
breast-plate globular, and the sallet encircled with a wreath 
of the wearer's colours and a single feather at the side. 

Armour temp. Richard III. 
Effigy of Sir Thomas Peyton Isleham Church, Cambridgeshire, 

During the latter half of the 15th century, we find among 
the new weapons of offence, the langue-de-boeuf, a species of 
sword, so called from its shape; the halbert, of the same 
form as at present ; the genetaire, a kind of Spanish lance, 
and especially that which was yet to take the place of them 
all, the hand-gun, or hand-cannon, as it was originally 
called. This instrument was used by the Flemings, who 
landed with Edward IV. in 1471, and was improved under 
Richard III. into the hackbut or harquebus.* 

* Arquebus is said to be derived from the Italian arca-bouza (cor- 
rupted from boccd) signifying a bow with a mouth. Hackbut, or hagbush, 
is perhaps from the old German hakenbiische, a hook and a gun, or any 
cylindrical vessel. 



The art of attacking fortified places was now closely 
studied, and its various manoeuvres, such as drawing lines of 
circumvallation, making approaches by entrenchments and 
mines, and direct assaults by battering engines, artillery, and 
moveable towers, filled with archers and men-at-arms, were 
constantly practised, and with great success. 

Machine for throwing Stones temp. Henry III. 

9. From the time of Edward III. the spirit of chivalry 
began to decline, and continued to do so with rapidity 
throughout the 15th century. The few combats that now 
occurred were generally judicial encounters upon charges of 
treason or other criminal accusations ; the tournaments were 
less frequently held, and with little spirit, and their ancient 
attendants, the minstrel and the herald, were now but slightly 
valued. This change arose naturally out of the alterations 
in the character both of war and of society. Gunpowder 
and improved military manoeuvres had lessened the import- 
ance of individual valour, and the civil wars of the Roses 
had left no time or disposition for sports even of a martial 
character. Probably, too, the bulk of the people had acquired 
a more thoughtful turn since the invention of printing and 
the rise of free religious enquiry, and the monarchs of the 
time were too deeply engaged in the bitter realities of war to 
devote much attention to its mere semblances. 




Edward IV., indeed, endeavoured to revive tilts and 
tourneys, but with little effect. A code of laws for the 

Tournament. (Harl. MS.) 

tournament was, however, drawn up by the famous John 
Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, and constable of England, which 
contains a number of minute but spiritless regulations. 
The security of the tilters was now better provided for by 
the introduction of barriers, on either side of which they ran, 
thus avoiding the heavy shock of the war steeds in full 
caparison; and by degrees the renowned passage of arms 
sank into a mere display of skill in horsemanship and the use 
of the lance. 

10. An all-important discovery in naval affairs was made 
towards the close of the 12th century, in the mariner's com- 
pass*, which was probably in common use by the middle of 
the 13th. Although we have not much information on the 

* Flavio Gioja, of Amalfi, in Italy, is supposed to have been the first 
who attached a card divided into points to the needle, but he seems to 
have only marked eight. The people of Bruges are said to have intro- 
duced the present thirty-two points of the compass. 



subject, this great invention no doubt soon gave a great 
impulse to navigation. Henry III. had some ships of his 
own, and Edward I. probably possessed a considerable navy ; 
in his reign, at least, the title of Admiral first occurs. 

Ship of the Time of Richard II. (Harl. MS.) 

The dominion of the four seas was first distinctly claimed 
by Edward III. ; and the Cinque Ports were bound by their 
charter to have fifty-seven ships in readiness at all times for 
the king's service. The fleet which that monarch employed 
at the siege of Calais, in 1346, consisted of 25 ships of his 
own, carrying 419 mariners ; 37 foreign ships, with 780 men ; 
1 vessel from Ireland, carrying 25 sailors; and 710 pressed 
barks from English ports, the crews of which amounted to 
14,151 persons. None of these, perhaps, were of any great 
size, for a ship manned by thirty men, which was fitted out 
at Yarmouth in 1254, to carry over Prince Edward to the 
Continent, is spoken of with admiration for its singular mag- 
nitude. In 1360, Edward III., in an order for pressing all 





the. vessels in the kingdom upon a contemplated expedition, 
directed that the largest should be able to carry forty mariners, 
forty men-at-arms, and sixty archers. 

English Ship of War of the 15th Century. (Harl. MS.) 

Henry V., however, built some large dromons at Southamp- 
ton ; and his own vessel, the " King's Chamber," was fitted up 
with great sumptuousness, and carried a sail of purple silk, 
with the arms of England and France embroidered on it. The 
ships of the 15th century were, indeed, of considerable size; 
and under Edward IV. we find barks mentioned of 400, 500, 
and even 900 tons ; but they w r ere still very clumsily built, 
with only a great square sail or two, which was lowered down 
to the deck, or propelled by oars, as in the case of the boats 
known by the name of galleys. Towards the close of the latter 
monarch's reign the crown was possessed of no fewer than six 
ships of its own ; probably the greatest royal navy that Eng- 
land had seen since the days of the Conqueror. 




1. THE history of commerce during this period is the history 
of incessant checks and restrictions, as incessantly overcome 
by the indomitable spirit of trade with which the national 
mind becomes by degrees more and more strongly imbued. 
One of the causes which retarded our early English commerce 
may be found in the constant variations of the Staple, a term 
which occurs very prominently in the foreign mercantile 
transactions of the age. The Staple appears originally to 
have meant a particular port, or other place to which cer- 
tain commodities (such as wool, tin, leather, &c., hence 
called staple goods) were brought to be weighed or measured 
for the imposition of customs' duties previous to being ex- 
ported or sold. The exporters of such articles were incor- 
porated under Edward II. as Merchants of the Staple, and 
possessed, at first, the power of fixing the place or staple 
whither alone their goods were to be carried for sale. This 
privilege was soon, however, assumed by the king and the 
legislature, whose interferences rapidly became both constant 
and arbitrary. These continual changes of the market-place 
and of its regulations must have been very oppressive to the 
merchants who dealt in staple goods. 

Another prerogative exercised by the crown was that of 
restricting all mercantile dealings whatever for a certain time 
to one particular place ; the object being, no doubt, to grasp 
more readily the tolls and other dues of the favoured market. 
Thus Henry III., in 1245, proclaimed a fair to be held for 
fifteen days at Westminster, during which time all other fairs 
throughout England were suspended, and the London traders 
obliged to shut up their shops, and carry their goods to West- 
minster for sale. 

2. The peculiar national jealousy of foreigners contributed 

o 2 


also to shackle the energies of trade, in the profits of which 
the English were unwilling that any strangers should share. 
Thus, in 1261, a law was passed to prohibit the exportation 
of wool, and enforce the wearing of home-made cloth, although 
it could not as yet be made of sufficient fineness. This restric- 
tion, however, was not of very long continuance ; and all sub- 
sequent attempts to stop the natural intercourse between the 
English producers and the Flemish manufacturers were 
equally unsuccessful. 

Oppressive and troublesome enactments were, however, 
constantly imposed upon foreigners even when admitted to 
the English market, and none were allowed to reside in the 
country, except by special license from the king, till the time 
of Edward I. Even then the whole body of foreign resi- 
dents were still held liable for the debts or crimes of any 
individual amongst them. In 1353, however, this law was 
altered by the Statute of the Staple, although the practice 
was not wholly discontinued till long afterwards. 

Edward I. imposed another strange restriction upon foreign 
trade, by prohibiting (A.D. 1307) either coined money or bul- 
lion to be carried out of the kingdom on any account, which 
obliged the stranger merchants either to barter their goods for 
the produce of the country, or, having sold them, to invest the 
proceeds in other goods before they could return home. 
Although this statute long continued to be regarded as law, 
exemptions were frequently granted, and evasions continu- 
ally practised, till at length permission was given, under 
Richard II., to carry away one half of the money for which 
the goods were sold ; and under Henry IY. the law itself 
was annulled, as being " hurtful and prejudicial, as well for 
the king and his realm as for the said merchants, aliens, and 
strangers." It is curious enough, that whilst the exportation 
of solid metal was thus prohibited, the prices of commodities 
might yet be exported freely under the form of bills of ex- 
change, which, by preventing money from coming in, had 
just the same effect as if it had been actually carried abroad. 

Foreign cloths were also ordered, under Edward III., to be 
measured by the king's aulnagers, and all that were not of a 
certain specified length and breadth were forfeited to the 


king a regulation which was, however, repealed, per force, 
long before the close of his reign. 

3. The laws against forestalling, regrating, and engrossing, 
i. e. against buying up large quantities of corn or provisions, 
and keeping them till a time of scarcity, when, of course, 
they must command a much higher price, belong also to this 
period, the first having been passed under either Henry III. 
or Edward I. These laws were formally renewed and ex- 
tended under Edward VL, 'and were not finally repealed till 
the 12th Geo. III. 

The assize (or assessment from time to time) of bread and 
ale is of prior date, but the oldest extant law upon the sub- 
ject is commonly assigned to the 51st Henry III. By this 
assize the prices of bread and ale were determined, on a scale 
regulated according to the market prices of grain, so that the 
prices really fixed were those of baking and brewing. It was 
re-enacted at the beginning of the 1 8th century, and was only 
abolished in London about thirty years ago. In the case of 
other articles, such as wine, fish, wood, coal, &c., the assize 
was perfectly arbitrary, without any reference to occasional 
circumstances. In connexion with these regulations for pro- 
visions may be placed the acts passed to fix the wages of 
labour, by which the justices of peace were every year to 
declare, " according to the dearth of victuals," how much 
every artisan or labourer should charge for his work by the 
day, whether in harvest or at other times. 

4. The progress of English commerce was, however, very 
considerable during the 13th and 14th centuries. The number 
of ships was greatly increased, and many ports throughout 
the kingdom possessed nearly as many vessels as the port 
of London itself. They were not, however, of very large size. 
The most ancient record presenting a general view of our 
foreign trade is preserved in the Exchequer, and bears the 
date of 1354. The total value of the exports therein men- 
tioned is 212,3387. 5s., and the duties paid on them 81,8467. 
12s. 2d. These would seem to have been derived almost 
wholly from wool, which constituted about thirteen-fourteenths 
of the whole exports, and was taxed at upwards of 40 per 

o 3 


cent, on its value. The total value of the imports is 38,383/. 
165. Wd. It may be added that the imports do not contain 
one single article of raw material, whilst the exports are 
almost entirely made up of such articles, showing the singular 
inferiority of England, at that time, as a manufacturing 
country. It is probable, however, that this record only con- 
tains the goods on which customs' duties were levied, for it 
does not mention tin, lead, butter, &c., in which a consider- 
able trade was nevertheless carried on. 

Corn appears to have been sometimes exported, some- 
times imported, but seemingly never without the special 
license of the Crown. Its export was accordingly sometimes 
encouraged, sometimes discouraged. 

The frequent use of coal as an article both of foreign trade 
and domestic consumption may, probably, be referred to this 
time ; the earliest authentic document in which it is distinctly 
mentioned being an order of Henry III. in 1245. The smoke 
or smell of a coal fire was then thought to be highly noxious, 
and a proclamation was issued in 1306 forbidding its use, 
which, however, was not very long regarded. Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne was from the outset the great seat of the coal trade. 

The chief staple of the kingdom was undoubtedly wool, 
which was in great request amongst the manufacturers 
of France and Flanders. In 1331, Edward III. invited 
weavers, dyers, and fullers from Flanders, to settle in this 
country, and teach their trades to his subjects, which was 
accepted by several artisans, who introduced the manufacture 
of fine woollen cloth. It was long before it became general, 
however, and large quantities of wool still continued to go 
abroad. In 1391 the customs on such exportation amounted 
to 160,0007., which is said to have been a considerable falling 
off from former years. 

5. The principal society of foreign merchants at this time 
established in England, appears to have been that of the 
merchants of Cologne, who had a guildhall or factory in 
London, and permission to attend fairs in any part of Eng- 
land ; but the greater part of the foreign trade was in the 
hands of the native merchants of the staple, otherwise called 
the Merchants of England. A singular plan was proposed 


to Richard II. in 1379, by a wealthy merchant of Genoa: 
he suggested that Southampton should be made the deposit 
and mart of all the Oriental goods, which the Genoese used to 
carry to Flanders, Normandy, and Bretagne ; so that those 
countries should be wholly supplied from England. It is 
not clear what advantage the Italian importers of these goods 
would have reaped from this scheme, which was, however, soon 
put a stop to by the murder of the projector in the streets of 
London, probably by the hand of some jealous rival. It is 
remarkable, however, that Southampton should now be the 
port from which our most constant communication with the 
East is kept up. 

Spices and fruits were then the chief commodities of the 
Eastern trade, silk being produced and manufactured in the 
south of Europe for the Western market. Both Scotland 
and Ireland shared considerably in the commerce of this time, 
especially the latter country. 

6. The incorporation of several of the great city companies 
now took place, and these soon reckoned both the nobility 
and royalty of the kingdom amongst their honorary members. 
Much of the trade of the country was transacted, however, at 
fairs and markets, and even the great London establishments 
in the Cheap were more like stalls than shops, whilst their 
owners travelled occasionally from place to place. The mercers, 
who lived between Bow Church and Friday Street, dealt in 
drugs, spices, and all kinds of small wares ; and the drapers 
were originally makers, not sellers, of cloth. The haberdashers 
dealt in a great variety of articles ; and one branch, from 
selling goods of Milan, were called by the special name of 
milliners. The division of employments, however, was most 
complete in the woollen manufactures. 

In the provincial towns trade was conducted on a petty 
scale. Under Edward III., Colchester, which was the centre 
of a large district, and ranked but nine towns in the kingdom 
superior to itself, contained only 359 houses, some built of 
mud, others of timber, and the number of inhabitants was 
only 3000. 

The total value of a carpenter's tools at that place and 

o 4 




time were only Is., and of a blacksmith's 12s. A mercer's 
stock was estimated at 31. , and his household property at 
21. 9.9., which, even allowing for the difference in the value 
of money, gives us no very high idea of the consequence of 
these traders. 

7. The denominations and relative values of English coin 
continue much the same as in the preceding period. Groats, 
half-pence, and farthings, however, make a more frequent 
appearance from the time of Edward I., and all money was 

Groat of Edward I. 

now struck of a round shape. Counterfeit and clipped coin 
abounded at all times ; and under Edward I., 280 Jews 
were hanged in London alone, for circulating debased money. 
Edward himself, however, began in the latter part of his reign 
to depreciate the coin by diminishing its legal weight, in con- 
sequence of which 243 pennies, instead of 240, were coined 
out of the pound of silver. He also struck the new piece 
called the gross, or groat (z. e. the great penny), equal in value 
to four silver pennies. Edward III. carried this depreciation 
still farther, causing 266 and 270 pennies to be made out of 
the pound.* Upon his coins we first find the motto Dieu et 
mon Droit, which was originally adopted in allusion to the 
French crown, of which he sometimes also assumes the title. 

* The quantity of silver in each penny was thus reduced from 22* to 
20 grains. This would depreciate the penny by the amount of about -- 
of a farthing, and the nominal pound (which was still held to contain 20 
shillings or 240 pence) by about 6s. 6d. in our present money, or from 
56*. 3d. to something less than 50s. The groats, or fourpenny pieces, 
carried this depreciation still farther, each of them weighing only 72 grains 
instead of 90. A shilling paid in these groats was worth only about 2s. 3d. 
of our present money, instead of 2s. 9. 1 rf., its original value; and a pound 
would have been about 46 of our present shillings. 


The coins of Richard II. are nobles, half-nobles, quarter- 
nobles, groats, half-groats, pence, and half-pence. 

Even the legal coins of this time are generally rude in 
workmanship, and vary much in the standard of weight. That 
which was adopted under Henry III. or Edward I. was an 
English penny to " thirty-two grains of wheat dry in the midst 
of the ear." This is the origin of what is still called a 
penny-weight, though it is now said to contain only twenty- 
four such grains. The pieces were struck with a hammer, 
which rude method, indeed, was continued so late as 1663, 
when milled money was introduced in its stead. 

8. In agriculture it appears that a change was now taking 
place in the proportions of meadow and arable land, the 
former being to the latter at one period (on at least one 
known estate) as twenty-four to one, but afterwards only as 
about eleven to one. Tillage, indeed, was now regarded as 
essentially connected with the prosperity of the realm, and 
attracted great attention accordingly; yet cultivation could 
not have been of a very perfect kind, since there was little 
internal trade in grain, and dreadful famines often occurred. 
The manor-houses do not seem, however, to have been 
generally deficient in provisions, which were occasionally 
dispensed with a liberal hand. 

The tenants, many of whom were mere labourers or cot- 
tiers, were not very strictly bound to any particular course 
of husbandry, and there was generally a good deal of jealousy 
existing between them and their landlords. It has been sup- 
posed that 4d. an acre was the average rent of land towards 
the close of the 13th century ; the average price of wheat per 
quarter 4. 6d. ; and its produce about 12 bushels per acre. 
Some attention appears to have been paid to the quality of 
seed, and the value of manure was well understood; thus 
the tenants on many manors were not permitted to fold their 
flocks in their own inclosures, but compelled to drive them 
at nights to their lord's land, whence such places as the 
Driffold have derived their name. 

The steward on a manor held the manorial courts and 
kept accounts of the farming stock and farming expenditure. 


Next to him was the bailiff, or practical farmer, and then came 
the head harvest man, who was annually elected by the te- 
nantry, and was allowed a seat at the lord's table. Harvest 
and seed time were the only seasons of real labour, and one 
great object with the farmer seems to have been to finish 
both in the shortest time. The former task was wound up 
with the usual feasting and gaiety of harvest home. 

9. In the 15th century we find somewhat more attention 
paid to the commerce of the country by its monarchs. 
Henry IV. took active measures to protect the property of 
his subjects and to secure regularity of payment from their 
foreign debtors, and concluded several treaties on the basis of 
mutual freedom of intercourse with the Hanse Towns in Ger- 
many, with Castile, Portugal, Flanders, Brittany, and other 
countries. The increasing consequence of the foreign trade 
during this reign is also indicated by the frequent applications 
made by different merchants for incorporation, and by the 
appointment of governors of the English traders abroad, whose 
functions somewhat resembled those of consuls in modern times. 

Another most important circumstance is the establishment 
of banks in various parts of Europe, of which the first appears 
to have been the Tabula de Cambi, or Table of Exchange, 
opened at Barcelona in 1401.* English money was now to 
be found in every part of the Continent, and, indeed, almost 
formed a common European currency. The first navigation 
act of the English parliament (5 Rich. II.), which forbade all 
exports or imports of merchandise in any other than English 
ships, must at this time have been relaxed in its execution, 
for we often find mention of foreign ships richly laden with 
purely English commodities. 

Under Henry V. the attention of the public was much 
distracted from the peaceful pursuits of trade by the dazzling 
victories on the Continent, although commerce still furnished 
the greater part of the revenue, and now presented a new 
article of export, namely, guns and gunpowder. Fortunately, 

* There had been at Venice, since 1171, an office for the payment of 
the interest on the debts of the republic, out of which a bank afterwards 
arose, but the Barcelona institution is the first which can be properly 
called a bank. 


indeed, for the interests of the mercantile world, their inter- 
course was not allowed to be interrupted in those days even 
by the bitterest wars. 

10. The best English wool was now superior even to that 
of Spain, which had long been the greatest wool-growing 
country in Europe ; but our cloths were still very inferior in 
fineness to the Spanish and the Flemish, although in the 
coarser fabrics we had already attained to considerable excel- 
lence. Foreign and Oriental goods of all kinds were purchased 
with wool, cloth, tin, &c. from the Venetians, Genoese, and 
other nations, and the English are said to have been greater 
buyers in the markets of Flanders than all other nations put 
together. A trade for stock fish was also carried on with 
Iceland from Scarborough, Bristol, and other ports, which 
the Danish government repeatedly but vainly attempted to 

11. Individual merchants now frequently rose to great 
wealth and power through their active pursuit of trade, of 
which the old Dukes of Suffolk may be quoted as a memorable 
example. The founder of this noble house was William de 
la Pole, a merchant of Hull, who flourished in the time of 
Edward III. He was reputed the greatest merchant in Eng- 
land, and on one occasion lent the king no less than 18,5007., 
an immense sum for the age. His son, also a trader, was 
created Earl of Suffolk by Richard II. ; his grandson was 
made Marquis, and then Duke of Suffolk, and subsequently 
lord chancellor, lord high admiral, and almost absolute ruler 
of the kingdom. His son married the Princess Elizabeth, 
sister of Edward IV., but the family became extinct under 
Henry VII. 

Another great merchant, in the reign of Henry VI., 
was William Canyng of Bristol ; but a name still better 
known is that of the famous Dick Whittington, whose 
cat, however, must, unfortunately, be banished to the re- 
gion of pure romance. He was the son of Sir William 
Whytington, and was elected lord mayor of London three 
several times. In a loan to king Henry IV., he contri- 
buted the sum of 10007., whilst the most opulent of the no- 
bility only gave 5007. He was surpassed, however, by two 


brother traders of London, John Norbury and John Hende, 
who gave 20007. each. It is worthy of remark, that every 
wealthy man of that day felt it his duty to bestow a large 
part of his abundance in the foundation of churches, alms- 
houses, and colleges, many of which remain to this hour as 
monuments of their piety and munificence. 

12. So honourable, indeed, had commerce now become, that 
kings and nobles, with some of the higher clergy, might be 
classed amongst the list of traders, a rank which they some- 
times disgraced by very equivocal transactions. The Cister- 
cian monks took such advantage of the freedom from customs' 
dues appropriated to religious persons, that they became the 
greatest wool dealers in the kingdom, till, in 1344, the par- 
liament interfered, and prohibited them for the future from 
practising any kind of commerce. The tempting practice 
was long carried on, however, in defiance both of the tem- 
poral and spiritual authorities. 

13. Commerce, although checked for a time by the civil wars 
of England, soon began to recover its vigour ; and, under 
Ed ward IV., we find many important commercial treaties made 
with foreign powers, and great opulence displayed amongst the 
sons of trade. The merchants of Calais (then the great staple 
or market for exported goods) alone lent their sovereign upon 
one occasion upwards of 40,0007. The size *and value of the 
different vessels employed at that time may be estimated from 
a few notices found in public documents. Thus we read of a 
Newcastle ship of 200 tons valued at 4007. ; of a cog from 
Hull which with its cargo of cloth was valued at 2007. ; of a 
Falmouth barge laden with salt and canvas of Brittany valued 
at 3337. 65. 8d.; of a Yarmouth vessel with salt, cloth, and 
salmon, valued at 407. ; and of a Lynne crayer * with her 
cargo valued at 6437. 145. 2d. 

14. The attention of Richard III. and his parliament was 
a good deal called to foreign trade, and several acts were 
passed, which cannot, however, be praised for any advance in 
intelligent legislation, being chiefly directed against foreigners 

* Grayer, crare, or cray, was a small sea-boat, from the old French 
word craier. 


(especially those of Italy), who had now got into their hands 
a great part of the internal trade of England, both in the 
articles which themselves imported from abroad, and in the 
natural produce of the country. This "great trouble" was 
attempted to be checked (as in former reigns) by all manner 
of restrictions upon the operations of foreign dealers, and, 
indeed, upon the importation of foreign commodities of all 
kinds. One important exception was made in favour of books 
and printers, and a curious order was issued that along with 
every butt of Malmsey brought by the Venetians or others, 
should be imported ten good and able bow-staves ; the Lom- 
bards having, as it was alleged, entered into a seditious con- 
spiracy to raise the price of such staves from 40s. to 8/. the 
hundred. The high price of the companion Malmsey seems also 
to have given great annoyance to its genial but thrifty con- 
sumers, for it is bitterly complained that a butt of wine whicli 
formerly held from 126 to 140 gallons, might have been 
bought for 50^., the " merchant stranger" taking in payment 
two parts in woollen cloth, wrought in this realm, and one- 
third in ready money whilst now the wine merchants had, 
" by subtle and crafty means," got the price up to 51. 6s. 8d., 
all paid in ready money, the butt at the same time holding 
scarcely 108 gallons. The remedy ordained was to require 
that the butt should be of the old measure, with which, 
perhaps, the old price was expected to return. 

The manufactures and commerce of Scotland appear to have 
advanced considerably in the 15th century; but of the trade 
of Ireland, the notices are too scanty to form an opinion. 

15. In connexion with the spread of commercial and other 
intercourse may be mentioned the establishment of public 
posts for the conveyance of intelligence, which were originated 
in France by Louis XL, A.D. 1476, and introduced into Eng- 
land by Richard III. (then Duke of Gloucester) in 1481. 
By means of post horses, changed every 20 miles, letters could 
then be carried at the rate of 100 miles a day. The post, how- 
ever, was reserved exclusively for the service of government. 

16. The coins of this century were, with one exception, of 
the same denominations as before. They had undergone, how- 
ever, considerable diminution in weight ; the pound of silver 


being coined by Henry IV. into no less than 360 pennies, by 
which the amount of silver in each penny was reduced to 15 
grains, and its value to less than 2d. ; of the shilling to 
about Is. I0d. ; and of the pound to I/. 17s. 9d., of our 
present money. The reason assigned for this depreciation 
was the great scarcity of money in the realm. 

A still greater alteration was introduced by Edward IV. ; 
who made 450 pennies out of the pound, which brought 
the penny down to 12 grains, or little more than l~d. of 
our present money; the shilling to about Is. 6d., and the 
pound to about 30s. ; a standard which continued through- 
out the remainder of the period. Henry V. and Henry VI., 
besides their English money, struck various French coins as 
kings of France ; and Edward IV. introduced two new 
English coins, called the angel and angelot, in place of the 
noble and half-noble. They were considerably inferior in 
weight, however, to those coins, although they were ordered 
to pass at the same rates, namely, 6s. 8d. and 3s. kd. 

17. Agriculture, in the 15th century, continued to suffer 
from the violent conduct of the nobles ; who, encouraged, no 
doubt, by the laxity and disorder of civil war, often made 
forcible entries into other men's lands, and robbed them of 
their goods and chattels. The conduct of their superiors 
in this respect was worthily imitated by the hostlers, brewers, 
and victuallers, who used to purchase letters patent to take 
perforce horses and carts for the carriage of the king, under 
colour of which they seized frequently upon such vehicles, 
and having detained them for some time at their hostelries, 
fraudulently demanded the price of their keep from their 
unfortunate owners. Nor was this remedied by statute until 

The growing value of wool, however, the increase of trade 
and manufactures, and the gradual rise of a superior class of 
cultivators paying money rents, enabled the agriculturist to 
bear up against these evils, and even to export a portion of his 
produce. The exportation of corn was permitted by several 
statutes whenever wheat was at 6s. Sd. and barley at 3s. per 
quarter. In 1463 the first symptom of a protective corn law 
appears in a statute which enacted, that no importations from 


foreign countries should be allowed but when wheat and 
barley exceeded the prices just mentioned. The variations 
in prices were still of an extraordinary character ; thus, in 
1416, wheat was 16s., and in 1463 only 2s. per quarter; a 
difference which was probably caused by the increased diffi- 
culty of circulating agricultural produce. 

The known bearing of land on one estate in this century 
was about 6 bushels of wheat per acre ; of barley, 12 do. ; of 
pease, 12 ; and of oats, 5 ; but this seems to have been a low 

18. At this time the arable lands, which had increased in 
extent during the 13th century, were to a great degree re-con- 
verted into pasture ; owing chiefly to the scarcity of labourers, 
who, when emancipated, frequently betook themselves to other 
employment * ; and to the rise of wool, which rendered flocks 
more profitable than grain. The ordinary value of land has 
been very variously estimated (at ten, twenty-five, or even but 
two years' purchase) ; but, in consequence of the circumstances 
just mentioned, it may, perhaps, have sunk a little below the 
centuries immediately preceding. One rental in 1420 men- 
tions eight acres of arable land let at 6d. an acre ; another in 
1421, thirty-eight acres at 9d. an acre, and a garden at the 
old rent of 10s. a year. In 1491, land was let by the Abbot 
of Bury for eighty years at k\d. an acre. 

Horticulture almost entirely declined during this century ; 
and the commonest garden herbs are said to have fallen 
absolutely out of use between the time of Henry IY. and 
the beginning of Henry VIII. 

* Several statutes were passed to remedy this evil, ordering that no 
person should put his children apprentice to any craft or other labour 
within any city or borough, unless he had land or rents to the value of 
at least 20s. a year, but that they should be put to farming labour under 
penalty of imprisonment and fine at the king's will. The wages fixed by 
these acts, including meat and drink (except for the common labourer) 
were 23s. 4d. a-year for a bailiff, and for clothing, 5s. ; for a chief hind, 
carter or shepherd, 20s., and for clothing, 4s. ; a woman servant, 10s., 
with clothing ; a boy under fourteen, 6s., with ditto ; and a labourer, 
15s., and clothing, 40d. In harvest, wages were higher, but a mower 
was not to exceed 4d. a day with diet, or 6d. without, and others in pro- 




i-a V7 

1. THE decorations of houses were a good deal altered about 
the 13th century; the walls and ceilings being generally 
painted with subjects from the Scriptures, or the romances of 
the day, instead of the old hangings of needlework. Painted 
glass windows also appear in private houses as early as the 
reign of Henry III., and they were now made to open and 
shut with lattices. The furniture of wealthy dwellings was 
richly carved and ornamented; and tressels for tables, and 
carpets for the floor, seem to have been introduced during the 
14th century. The bedsteads resembled our children's cribs, 
surmounted by a tester, but were often magnificently adorned, 
covered with fine linen sheets, and hung with silk, satin, or 
velvet, embroidered with the owner's arms in gold and silver. 
Rich cupboards of plate also marked the opulence of the man- 
sion; and the stock of household linen was both large and 
diversified. People of the meaner ranks were, however, but 
poorly furnished in every respect. 

2. The costume of this age differed little from that of the 
kings Richard and John. The tunic with tight sleeves, tight 
pantaloons, and shoes or short boots, with long pointed toes, 
still formed the ordinary dress of the middle classes. Caps of 
singular shape and cowls or coifs covered the head, whilst 
large cloaks with sleeves and hoods defended the person in bad 
weather, and robes and mantles adorned it in good. These 
latter were made of velvet, or of splendid gold and silver stuffs 
manufactured in Greece and the East. The edges of garments 
were fantastically scalloped, or " slyttered for queintise," 
whence they were called cointises. Mantles lined with ermine 
are first mentioned under Henry III., but furs do not make 




their appearance on the outside of dresses till the reign of 
Edward I. The most curious distinction of general dress 
under the latter monarch consisted in a row of buttons very 
closely set from the wrist almost up to the elbow of the under 
tunic. Gloves were now also more generally worn. 

Ladies' Head Dresses temp. Henry III. (Royal MS.) 

3. Ladies' hair at this time, instead of being plaited as before, 
was turned up behind, and enclosed in a network of gold, 

Ladies' Costume temp. Edward I. (Sloane MS.) 

silver, or silk thread, over which the veil was worn, and 
sometimes a round hat or cap. Chaplets of metal were also 


worn, or wreaths of natural flowers over or without the net- 
work. The wimple or head-kerchief continued, however, to 
be used by aged women, matrons, and widows ; to which a 
very close and unbecoming neck-cloth called the gorget was 
added towards the close of Henry III. The poets of the 
day do not spare the ladies in their satirical verses for their 
whimsical head tires and extravagant trains. The destructive 
practice of tight lacing is also continually mentioned, and 
about their " myddles smal " they wore rich girdles set with 
precious stones. 

4. Under Edward II. we are presented with party co- 
loured habits, which afterwards became very fashionable, and 
the sleeves of the upper tunic or surcoat terminate at the 
elbow in lappets, which, in the reign of Edward III., grew 
into long narrow streamers reaching to the ground. The 
cowl or capuchon, twisted into fanciful shapes, was carried 
lightly as if merely balanced on the head. Aprons were now 
also worn by females. 

At the close of the 13th century the distinctive dress of 
lawyers is very plainly marked. As they were originally 
priests, they had, of course, the clerical tonsure ; but when 
they became laymen they left off that practice, and wore the 
coif instead. This was first made of linen, and afterwards 
of fine silk, but never assumed an elegant or dignified ap- 
pearance. Some judges wore caps and capes of fur, and had 
a peculiarly shaped collar of the same or of some white stuff 
round the neck. The ecclesiastical costume was exceedingly 
sumptuous ; some of their habits being almost covered with 
gold and precious stones, or carefully embroidered with figures 
of animals and flowers. The episcopal mitre had taken its 
present form by the time of Edward I. The red hat is said 
to have been given to cardinals by Innocent VI. at the 
council of Lyons, in 1245, and was first worn by them in 
the ensuing year. 

5. Under Edward III. we meet with a total change of 
costume, the long robes, cyclases, and cointises of the pre- 
ceding reigns having entirely disappeared. A very short 
close-fitting garment called a cote-hardie, buttoned down the 




front and confined over the loins by a splendid girdle, was now 
the general habit of the male nobility. Its simplicity of form, 
however, was compensated by the richness of material, and it 
was besides magnificently embroidered, and sometimes party 
coloured, with sleeves occasionally terminating at the elbow, 

Male and Female Costume temp. Edward III. (Royal MS.) 

from which hung long white streamers. A very long mantle 
lined with silk or furs, the edges indented or cut in the form 
of leaves, and fastened upon the right shoulder by large 
buttons, was worn over this cote upon state occasions. 

The changes in dress were now so incessant that the com- 
mons presented a complaint on the subject in the parliament of 
1363, and a sumptuary law was accordingly passed to restrain 
them. Long beards came in again during this reign, and 
beaver hats were worn along with the knightly chapeau, which, 
in the royal family, was decorated with an ostrich feather.* 
The ladies also wore the cote hardie with its long tippets, or a 
sideless gown with very full skirts, so worn over the kirtle as 

* As this was worn by Edward III. as well as all his sons, with a dif- 
ference only in the blazoning for distinction's sake, the common story of 
the Prince of Wales deriving his plume from the Bohemian crest seems 
rather doubtful, especially as the latter was not three feathers, but an 
entire wing, or two wings endorsed. 

p 2 



to make it appear like a jacket in front. It was generally 
bordered with fur or velvet, and sometimes had a stomacher 
of the same materials ornamented with jewels, which in- 
creased its peculiar appearance. 

At tournaments the ladies rode in party coloured tunics 
with short hoods and liripipes (or long tails to the hoods) 
wrapped round their heads like cords. Their girdles were 
adorned with gold and silver, and they wore small swords 
stuck through pouches in front like the men. Mourning 
habits are first noticed in this reign, being sometimes com- 
posed of an entire suit of black, or again merely a mourning 
cloak worn over the ordinary clothes. 

6. Under Richard II. an universal rage for fine clothes 
prevailed amongst all ranks, even down to the menial servants, 
who are described as dressed in silks, satins, and scarlet cloths. 
The fashion of cutting the edges of garments into leaves 
and other devices was now carried to excess. Letters and 
mottos were embroidered on the gowns, and their sleeves 
were so long and wide that they trailed on the ground. 
Jackets of an awkward shortness were, on the other hand, 

Male and Female Costume temp. Richard II. (Harl. and Royal MSS.) 

worn by many, with party coloured hose attached to them. 
The shoes had enormous long pointed toes, sometimes bend- 




ing upwards in the old Polish fashion, (whence they were 
called crackowes), and described by some authors as fas- 
tened to their knees with chains of silver. Hats and 
caps of singular forms were still used (one very like a muff 
or the cap now worn by Turkish officers), and the hoods 
resemble much more a bundle of cloth than a head-dress. 
The hair was worn long and carefully curled. 

7. The trains of the great nobles were still numerous and 
even more splendid than before, each striving to outdo his 
neighbour in the greatness and magnificence of his retinue. 
An extraordinary expenditure was, of course, constantly in- 
curred. Richard II., we are told, entertained 10,000 per- 

Dinner-table of the 14th century. (Ilium. MS. in British Museum.) 

sons daily at his various tables, and the Earl of Lancaster, 
grandson of Henry III., is said to have spent in one year 
about 22,000 pounds of silver in this manner; there being 
drunk of wine alone in his household, during that time, 371 
pipes. The variety of dishes at a banquet in high life was 
astonishing, being frequently reckoned by thousands, although 
Edward II. and Edward III. repeatedly attempted to cur- 
tail them. The meals, indeed, were nominally but two a 
day, but with the help of intermeats and refections they 
managed to engross the greater part of the twenty-four hours. 
The art of cookery advanced in proportion, and combined 
many ingredients of the most heterogeneous kind, and all 
"brennyng like wyld-fire." Jellies, tarts, and rich cakes 
filled up the measure of mensal luxury. The wines were 

p 3 




either compounded, as hippocras, pigment, and claret, or pure, 
which latter were mostly brought from France, Spain, 

Mazer Bowl temp. Richard II.* 

Greece, and Syria. The habits of the common people were 
still, however, sufficiently plain, and ale, cider, and mead 
washed down plebeian viands more abundant than delicate. 

8. Hunting and hawking continued to be the favourite 
amusements of the higher ranks and of the clergy, and falcons 
were sold at very great prices, and guarded with jealous care. 
The wolf still appears as a beast of chase in England. Within 
doors the older games, with the addition of cross and pile, 
served to pass the time. Chess and draughts were particu- 
larly esteemed, the former of which was sometimes played on 
a circular chess board. The domestic jester lent his aid to 
enliven the circle, and troops of jugglers (who were generally 
thought to deal with the Devil), tumblers, rope-dancers, 
buffoons, minstrels, and glee-singers, with their attendant 
animals horses dancing on tight ropes, or oxen riding upon 
horses and holding trumpets in their mouths crowded in gay 
confusion around the festive hall. 

* The name mazer is derived from the material of which the bowl is 
made (maple, in Dutch, maeser). The rim of this bowl is of silver gilt, 
with the inscription 

" In the name of the trinite 

Fille the kup and drinke to me." 
the mazer bowl was very highly valued by our ancestors. 


9. Mummings, a rude kind of masquerade, in which the 
actors commonly imitated beasts as well as men, were also a 
great source of amusement, and splendid pageants accompanied 
the intermeats at great public banquets. Miracles and Mys - 
teries still made up the sum of theatrical entertainments, and 
were performed in the rudest and most grotesque way, 
although founded upon purely scriptural subjects.* Dancing 
was essential to the character of the perfect knight, and always 
followed the feast or the tournament. 

The chief popular exercise was archery, for the better cul- 
tivation of which all other sports were sometimes forbidden 
by law. The bow of a yeoman was made the height of the 
bearer, the arrows generally a yard in length, notched to fit 
the string, and fleched with the feathers of the goose, eagle, or 
peacock. The cross-bow does not seem to have been much 
encouraged in England. The people were also fond of mum- 
mings, particularly of the famous Feast of Fools, which took 
place at Christmas, and, like the Saturnalia at Rome, over- 
threw, for a time, all the usual distinctions of society ; the 
clown became a pope, the buffoon a cardinal, and the lowest 
rabble priests and abbots. Thus disguised they went into the 
churches, parodied the service, and delivered the most pro- 
fane discourses as sermons. This wild sport did not reach the 
same mad height at any time in England as on the Conti- 
nent, and it was soon put down either by the authority of 
the church, or by the native good sense of the people. 

One drollery peculiar to this country, however, was the 
institution of the boy-bishop, in which the choir boys of the 
collegiate churches, on the feast of St. Nicholas or of the 
Innocents, dressed themselves in full pontificals, and set up 
one of their body as a prelate in full attire, with mitre and 

* The plays performed at Chester upon one occasion, during the Whit- 
sun week, embraced the most important events recorded in the Bible, 
beginning with the Creation, and ending with the Day of Judgment. 
The different parts were undertaken by the various corporations of the 
city (as the Deluge by the dyers, the Ascension by the tailors, &c.) ; and 
the person of the Almighty, as well as of other spiritual beings, was 
represented with the utmost unconsciousness of any impropriety. 

p 4 


crozier. They then mimicked the mass and sermon as be- 
fore, and received contributions from the people. Proper 
dresses for the purpose were kept in most collegiate churches, 
and the play survived till the time of Henry VIII. Mary 
endeavoured to revive it ; but after her death it entirely dis- 
appeared. There is a tomb of the boy-bishop dressed in his 
robes at Salisbury.* 

10. In the 15th century a return was made to tapestry 
(generally manufactured at Arras in Flanders, whence its 
name) for the decoration of chambers in place of painting. 
The furniture was now even more finely carved than before, 
and beds in particular were fitted up with great magnificence. 
Clocks with strings and weights, something like our Dutch 
clocks, hung against the walls, and handsome chandeliers of 
metal lighted the rooms. 

In dress there was little alteration under Henry IV. and 
Henry V. The chaperon, or hood, however, arrived at its 
final shape, namely, a sort of turban surrounding a skull cap, 
and having a long tippet hanging on one side, by which it 
could be suspended from the girdle or neck when necessary. 
The hair, too, was cropped close, and the face shaven, except 
by aged or official personages and military men, who occa- 
sionally wore moustaches. The collar of SS. is first seen on 
monuments of this period, and is traced, with some pro- 
bability, to the initial letter of Henry IV.'s motto 
Souveraine. The female costume under that monarch is as 
little changed as that of the men, except in the head-dress, 
which assumes a most monstrous set of shapes called the re- 
ticulated and heart-shaped, but of which the most extra- 
ordinary is the horned head-dress, projecting far on either 
side of the head, which came in under Henry V. The 
gown, however, excepting the long trailing sleeves, was not 
inelegant. It was made high in the neck, and was confined 
at the waist by a band and buckle as at present. 

* Some traces of these sports may still be found amongst our Christmas 
games, and the Eton Montem has been conjectured to have sprung from 
the procession of the boy-bishop. 




11. From the accession of Henry VI. to the end of 
Richard III. all the former fashions reigned in still wilder 
extravagance, which the few additions that were made during 
those reigns rather increased than diminished. These consisted 
in high caps with a single feather drooping behind, enormous 
high padded shoulders to the short jackets and long gowns, 
loose robes with armholes, and gowns with great hanging 
sleeves of fur. The doublets began to be slit at the elbows 
under Edward IY. so as to show the shirt, a custom which 
led to the absurd slashing and puffing of the next century. 
The boot toes were now widened instead of lengthened, and 
a law was consequently passed forbidding them to be made 
broader than six inches. Long toes were not entirely aban- 
doned, however, till Henry VII., notwithstanding many a 
"cursing by the clergy" as well as severe legal penalties 
upon their makers. The hair was now again allowed to fall 
in large masses called side locks, and to cover the forehead 
so as to hang into the eyes. Stomachers were also worn by 
the men towards the close of the century exactly like those 
of women. 

By a sumptuary law of Edward IV. cloth of gold or silk 

Male and Female Costume temp. Henry VI. (Harl. MS.) 

of a purple colour was confined to the royal family, cloth of 
gold of tissue to dukes, and plain cloth of gold to lords; 


velvet and damask satin were permitted to knights, and 
damask or satin doublets, and camlet gowns, to esquires 

Male and Female Costume temp. Edward IV. (Cotton and Royal MSS.) 

and gentlemen. Under Henry VI. the female dress nearly 
lost the surcoat and other outer robes, and is distinguished 
by short waists and long trains, with strange horned and 
heart-shaped head-dresses. Afterwards arose the steeple 
head-dress, a high pointed cap, which still exists in Nor- 
mandy ; but about the close of Edward IV. this again dis- 
appeared, and a velvet cowl was worn turned back on the 
forehead and hanging in plaits behind, or a caul of gold 
net ornamented with two wings of gauze like those of a 

12. The nobles of the 15th century were still followed by 
crowds of retainers, rendered more necessary, indeed, than 
ever, by the troubles of the civil wars. The great Earl of 
Warwick, " the King-maker," is said to have maintained 
30,000 men at his different castles, and at his house in 
London six oxen were usually eaten by his attendants at 
breakfast. Besides the out-of-door followers, the domestic 
servants of a great lord were almost as numerous as those 


of the sovereign, and arrayed with all the regal distinctions 
of treasurers, marshals, heralds, &c. ; and a sufficient body of 
priests and choristers performed service in the private chapel 
of the noble with all the pomp and grandeur of a cathedral. 

13. The ordinary meals were now increased to four a day 
breakfast at seven in the morning, dinner at ten, supper 
at four in the afternoon, and " liveries," which were taken in 

Dinner Party Saying Grace. (Royal MS.) 

bed, between eight and nine at night. These latter, as well 
as the breakfast, were of no light or unsubstantial character, 
consisting of good beef and mutton (or salt fish in Lent), 
with beer and wine in the morning ; and of a loaf or two, 
with a few quarts of mulled wine and beer, at night. At 
dinner the huge oaken table, extending the whole length of 
the great hall, was profusely covered with joints of fresh and 
salt meat, followed by courses of fowl, fish, and curious made- 
dishes. The lord took his seat on the. dais or raised floor at 
the head ; his friends and retainers were ranged above or 
below the salt according to their rank. As forks were not 
yet in use, the fingers were actively employed, whilst wine 
and beer in wooden or pewter goblets were handed round by 
the attendants. Over head the favourite hawks stood on their 
perches, and below the hounds reposed on the pavement. 
The dinner generally lasted for three hours, and all pauses 


were filled up by the minstrels, jesters, and jugglers, or by 
the recitation of some romance of chivalry.* At the end of 
each course was sometimes introduced a dish called a sub- 
tlety, composed of curious figures in jellies or confectionary, 
with a riddling label attached for the exercise of social wit. 
The monasteries were especially noted for good dinners, and 
the secular clergy, not to be outdone in hospitality, invented 
glutton-masses in honour of the Virgin. These were held 
five times a year in the open churches, whither the people 
brought food and liquor, and vied with each other in this 
religious gormandizing. The general diet of the common 
people continued, however, to be coarse and poor, and severe 
famines not unfrequently occurred. 

14. The sports of the higher classes continued much the 
same as before, but in hunting the battue system was now 
introduced, the deer being driven out of the forests in front 
of hunting booths, where they were shot down at pleasure. 
Mummings and pageants were still in high favour, the latter 
of which were occasionally got up on a grand scale to wel- 
come a monarch to his faithful city of London or other towns. 
The Mysteries or theatrical exhibitions of the period were 
of a very gross and profane character, and contained the 
boldest representations of God and the devil, hell and heaven ; 
but these were in time superseded by the drier and more 
decent Moralities a species of allegorical drama, in which 
abstract qualities were represented as real personages, and 
generally with sufficient tediousness and lack of invention, f 

* At the installation feast of JSTevil, Archbishop of York, 104 oxen, 
6 wild bulls, 1000 sheep, 304 calves, as many swine, 2000 pigs, 500 stags, 
bucks, and roes, 204 kids, and 22,512 fowls of all sorts, were solemnly 
served up. These were followed by mountains of fish, pasties, tarts, 
custards, and jellies; and 300 quarters of wheat were used for the accom- 
panying loaves. Of liquids there was a proportionate supply ; 300 tuns 
of ale, 100 tuns of wine, and a pipe of hippocras. Among the dishes 
were twelve seals and porpoises. 

f One of the most amusing Moralities is entitled " The Condemnation 
of Feasts, to the praise of Diet and Sobriety, for the benefit of the Human 
Body." Towards the close a trial is introduced, of Feasting and his 
attendant Supper, before the Lord Chief Justice, Experience ! They are 




Cards must now be added to the in-door amusements, for 
we have no proof of their being used in England before this 

^m yj] fry 

Court Mummers. (Harl. MS.) 

century. At first they were painted or illuminated by hand, 
and cost a considerable sum ; but afterwards, and even before 
printing had been applied to books, the outlines of the figures 
were stamped from wooden blocks, and the colours afterwards 
put in by hand. The oldest and most favourite games seem 
to have been trump and primero, the latter of which is sup- 
posed to have resembled whist. 

The most popular amusements of the lower classes were 
wrestling, bowling, quoit and ninepin playing, and games at 
ball. In wrestling the Cornwall and Devonshire men ex- 
celled, and a ram, or sometimes a cock, was the prize of the 

solemnly arraigned for gorging four persons to death ; and poor Feasting 
is condemned to death, and strangled by Diet, the public executioner. 
Supper is only bound to load his hands with lead, to hinder him from 
putting too many dishes on the table, and to remain at the distance of six 
hours' walking from Dinner upon pain of death ! which he tremulously 
engages to do, and is accordingly dismissed. 


victor. Bowling alleys were commonly attached to the houses 
of the wealthy, and to places of public resort. Among the 
games at ball we find tennis, trap-ball, bat and ball, and the 
balloon-ball, in which a large ball filled with air was struck 
from one side to the other by two players with their hands 
and wrists guarded by bandages. Archery was now on the 
decline, owing to the introduction of fire-arms ; nor could all 
the legislative enactments of the day revive its constant use. 
The quarter staff was also a favourite weapon of sportive 
fence, which was a staff about five or six feet long, grasped 
in the middle with one hand, while the other slid up and down 
as it was required to strike or to ward a blow. 

The citizens of London enjoyed themselves in winter with 
skating on the Thames, (the old shankbones of sheep having 
now been superseded by regular skates, probably introduced 
from the Netherlands,) and in summer with sailing and 
rowing.* Dice and cards, prisoner's base, blindman's buff, 
battledore and shuttlecock, bull-baiting, and cock-fighting, a 
rude species of mumming, the dance of fools at Christmas, and 
other games, completed the gratifications of the populace. 

15. The professional fool continued, indeed, to be a very 
important personage, nor was he altogether disbanded at court 
till the time even of Charles II. A real idiot was also added in 
some great houses, and formed a constant source of cruel mirth. 
The fool's dress consisted of a party coloured coat, sometimes 
hung with bells at the skirts and elbows, breeches and close 
hose, the legs often of different colours, or a jacket and 
petticoat fringed with yellow. His hood was shaped like a 
monk's cowl, decorated with asses' ears, or terminating in the 
neck and head of a cock garnished with a single feather. His 
usual instrument was the bauble or short staff with a carved 
head, and sometimes a blown bladder fastened to the end. 

16. One characteristic of English manners at this time 
ought not to be omitted, as it has but too long been a national 

* The annual procession on lord mayor's day was first conducted on 
the water by John Norman, the lord mayor of London in 1453. Plea- 
sure boats also now became very numerous on the Thames. 


disgrace, and one which has always attracted the particular 
notice of foreigners. This was the practice of profane swear- 
ing, which had grown to be so conspicuous that an English- 
man was calJed on the Continent a " God-damme," from his 
favourite expression. To the credit of the Lollards, it should 
be recorded, that one of the signs of their heretical member- 
ship was the discouraging of this most superfluously wicked 






1. THE period upon which we are now about to enter, pre- 
sents a number of very important changes in the condition 
both of the country and of the people ; so much so, indeed, 
that it may be regarded as an era entirely new, and as dis- 
tinct from the ages which preceded it as our own is from 
itself. For besides the complete revolution in the affairs of 
the church, to which we shall presently allude, a great altera- 
tion took place from its very commencement in the relative 
positions of the holders of civil power and in the circum- 
stances of the people at large. The consequence of this alter- 
ation was an evident and irresistible impulse to national and 
individual improvement, which never afterwards relaxed until 
it finally placed our beloved country upon its present height 
of unrivalled prosperity. 

2. The wars of the Roses in the last period and the general 
course of events for the thirty years before the accession of 
Henry VII. had greatly weakened the power of the nobles, 
formerly so dangerous to the crown. Many of the old families 
had been overthrown and almost destroyed, and an immense 
amount of landed property had been confiscated to the crown. 


This change of power was diligently increased and made per- 
manent by Henry VIL, who set himself earnestly to dimi- 
nish both the influence and the retinues of the great lords, 
whilst he accumulated treasures for himself and exacted the 
constant attendance of the royal followers. A legal measure 
also which he introduced, called the Statute of Fines, tended 
still more to the same object, by increasing the facilities of 
alienating estates, and so encouraging the unsettlement and 
transfer to other persons of the old landed property of the 
great houses.* The smallness of their number, too, paralysed 
the nobility in the first parliament of Henry VII. There 
were then in the House of Lords only twenty-eight temporal 
peers, and in the first of Henry VIII. only thirty-six, whilst 
the subsequent additional creations were naturally more at- 
tached to the crown than to the aristocracy. 

The power of the king thus became paramount, and was 
particularly displayed in the extensive authority exercised 
by his privy council, or as it was now commonly called, 

* The claim to landed property established by fines and recoveries 
(which is now abolished and processes of ejectment substituted) has been 
already alluded to (p. 140.), but may require some further explanation. 
The word fine does not here mean a penalty, but (in the strict meaning 
of the Latin finis) the termination of a suit. This was effected, of course, 
by producing the title on which the land was held or claimed, which was, 
in ancient times, the charter of feoffment granted by the king. The 
occasional loss of this charter, however, or the difficulty of proving it 
after a lapse of years, gave rise to a new species of assurance, which was 
a fictitious suit entered, as if by an adverse claimant, against the estate, 
and then settled in court with the consent of the judges in favour of the 
real owner. This agreement was entered in the records of the court, 
and so was not only not liable to be lost or defaced like a charter, but 
was held good as a judgment of that court at all times. The effect of 
Henry's statute was to give these fines (finis, or finalis concordia, from 
the words with which the writ of assurance generally begins), when an 
estate was sold under them, the power of breaking through the entail 
(i.e. its necessary descent in the line of the first owner), a power which 
was finally confirmed under Henry VIII., so that henceforth a person 
buying a property was not liable to have it reclaimed by the heir of 
the seller. The first great decision, however, upon this point, had 
already taken place so early as the 12 Edward 1Y. 



the Star Chamber.* To this body was now entrusted the 
sole examination and punishment of all offences that might be 
brought before them, under the plea of sundry defects ex- 
isting in the ordinary inquest by jury. 

3. The reign of Henry VIII. may probably be taken as 
the period at which the royal prerogative reached its greatest 
height. The monarch was then, indeed, all in all, and might 
with real propriety have replied in the old form to every 
appeal from his subjects, Le Roi s'avisera. One great step 
of Henry VIII. was to denounce as treasonable every act or 
word that might be construed as tending to affect the royal 
dignity. For the discovery of this mortal offence new oaths 
were introduced, and new methods devised, which at any 
former period would have quickly roused his haughty barons 
to arms, but which now were borne in sullen silence or sup- 
pressed murmurs. The king's proclamation was also to be 
regarded as if it were an act of parliament, and any one 
disobeying it and then contemptuously going out of the king- 
dom, was declared guilty of high treason. 

It was high treason too, to attempt to deprive the king of his 
lawful style and title, which was settled, with great solemnity, 
in the following form of words : <( Henry VIII. by the 
grace of God King of England, France, and Ireland, De- 
fender of the Faith, and of the Church of England, and 
also of Ireland, on earth the Supreme Head." As for his 
tyrannical and contradictory statutes on matters of religion, 
they were all to be obeyed implicitly at the utmost peril of 
the transgressor. Most of the treasons and felonies thus 
created were, however, abolished by Edward VI., and a 
more liberal standard of royal rights set up. This was at 
first confirmed by Queen Mary, although she afterwards 
created some new species herself, as by declaring coiners or 

* This name is taken from the room in which the king's council used 
to sit, which was called the Star Chamber (translated in French by La 
Chambre des Estayers, in Latin, Camera Stellata), probably from the 
contracts and obligations of the Jews (starra or starrs, corrupted from 
Shetar, a covenant}^ which were kept in it. 


forgers of the queen's seal or sign manual to be traitors. 
Mary, indeed, appears to have been perfectly well disposed 
to restore all things to the state in which they were in the 
early part of her father's reign. 

4. A new and most dangerous power was placed in the 
hands of Elizabeth by the creation of the Court of High 
Commission, which was originally intended to inquire into 
and amend heresies and schisms in religious matters, but 
which was easily converted into an instrument of tyranny 
for any purpose, temporal or spiritual. The first commission 
under this court was issued in 1559; and the powers with 
which it was successively invested extended not only to the 
suspension, deprivation, and other punishment of obstinate 
or unworthy clergymen, but to the correction of all errors, 
heresies, and schisms, and, moreover, of all misbehaviours in 
matrimonial affairs. The commissioners were directed to 
make inquiry of offences by all ways and means which they 
could devise words which seem to authorise every species 
of inquisitorial cruelty, even to the rack, torture, and impri- 
sonment; and, with the help of the Star Chamber, were 
enabled to maintain the royal authority to an excessive pitch. 
The government of Elizabeth, however, although full as 
arbitrary as that of her father, was not so much disliked, 
partly because it was seen to be seriously exerted for the 
advancement of great national objects, and partly because, 
being of an economical cast, it did not require such oppres- 
sive exactions from the pockets of the people. The threats 
and insolence of foreign powers also, and the hearty way in 
which, in times of danger, the "good Queen Bess" threw 
herself upon the affections of her subjects, no doubt con- 
tributed much to her personal popularity. 

With this period commenced the regular succession of Prime 
Ministers in England. The earlier kings had often been 
their own chief ministers ; but, from the time of Wolsey, 
we always find some one member of the council distinctly 
acting in that capacity. 

5. The revenues of the crown were raised to an enormous 
height by the robberies of Henry VII., and his creatures, 

Q 2 


Empson and Dudley. At his death he is said to have left 
treasure to the amount of 1,800,000 marks; or, in weight of 
silver, between 2,000,0007. and 3,000,0007. of modern money. 
His demands were all, however, carefully based upon some 
law or right, though often of an obsolete character ; but his 
bolder and less frugal son did not hesitate to throw aside 
every legal form, and, having first exhausted all ordinary 
sources, regular and irregular, to seize at once upon the im- 
mense property of the monastic orders. It has been calculated 
that the rental of the lands which he thus obtained was not 
less than 6,000,0007. sterling. A century after the suppres- 
sion of the religious houses, the estates of the Abbey of 
St. Alban's alone are said to have brought in 200,0007. a 
year. Henry's average revenue, thus mightily swollen, has 
been calculated at 800,0007. a year, which is twice as much as 
his father (the wealthiest of all preceding kings) is supposed 
to have enjoyed. 

Edward's income was raised by means quite as dishonest, 
though not so extensive ; and the chantries, free chapels, and 
colleges throughout the kingdom, to the number of between 
2000 and 3000, soon followed the fate of the monastic esta 
blishments. Even the churches were robbed, not only of 
their superstitious furniture, but often of the plate and linen 
necessary for the decent celebration of the Lord's Supper. 
The young monarch, whose average income is calculated at 
400,0007. per annum, died nevertheless in debt to the 
amount of more than 300,0007. Mary was equally arbitrary 
in her exactions, though not precisely in the same direc- 
tion ; but she managed also to die deeply in debt, although 
enjoying a revenue of more than 300,0007. 

A better system, however, began with Elizabeth, who 
scrupulously discharged both principal and interest of her 
brother's and sister's debts, and restored their debased coinage 
to its former purity ; and this notwithstanding great military 
expenses, subsidies and loans to foreign powers, a splendid 
court, and lavish bounty to personal favourites ; whilst the 
parliamentary grants, during the whole of her reign, were 
unusually sparing, the whole receipts of this kind, both 
from temporal and spiritual sources, being only about 65,0007. 


per annum. Her revenue from all quarters, towards the 
close of her reign, appears to have been about 500,000/.* 
Our great queen seems, indeed, to have well understood 
the whole subject of revenue and taxation, when she won the 
hearts of her lieges by remarking, that money in her people's 
purses was as good to her as in her own Exchequer ! 

6. Still more important than the elevation of the crown 
upon the depression of the nobles, was the gradual rise of 
what are called the middle classes, which now begin to present 
themselves to our view throughout England. This invaluable 
order was produced partly by the growth of trade and manu- 
factures, which had been going on ever since 1331, when 
Edward III. first invited over the woollen-weavers from the 
Netherlands, and had made rapid strides under the more 
tranquil Tudor dynasty ; and partly by the new facilities of 
purchasing land from the great but needy proprietors, which 
soon converted the wealthy merchant or industrious farmer 
into an independent country gentleman. 

This tendency was vastly increased by the circumstances 
of the Reformation, and the wonderful excitement and free- 
dom of thought which that great change naturally induced. 
Still the full vigour of the middle class was hardly yet felt ; 
and the crown, backed by the newly-created nobility and the 
Church, of which it was now the acknowledged head, main- 

* This proceeded from the parliamentary grants, from the crown 
demesnes (now much increased by the late seizures of church lands), the 
rents of the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, the profits of the old 
feudal prerogatives about wardships, marriages, &c., the customs of ton- 
nage and poundage, the first fruits and tenths of benefices, the tempo- 
ralities of vacant bishoprics (which were sometimes kept open for years), 
occasional appropriations of the landed property of sees, the sale of 
licences to Roman Catholics and Nonconformists (exempting them from 
penalties for non-attendance on public worship, from which about 
2o,OOOZ. a year is said to have been derived), New Years' gifts taken 
from persons frequenting the court (usually amounting to 15,000/. or 
20,000/.)> embargoes on ships and merchandise, compulsory loans, and 
the sale of monopolies in articles of merchandise. These last rose to so 
great a height that the House of Commons was forced to complain of 
them in 1601. Elizabeth wisely anticipated any farther proceedings, by 
at once declaring all the patents of monopoly null and void. 

Q 3 


tained its dominant power and repressive influences to the 
close of the period. 

7. The great officers of state, or of the king's court, were 
arranged, under Henry VIII., in the following order, which 
continues to the present day : the Lord Chancellor, Lord 
Treasurer, Lord President of the Council, Lord Privy Seal, 
Great Chamberlain, Constable, Marshal, Lord Admiral, 
Lord Steward, King's Chamberlain, King's Chief Secretary, 
The jurisdiction of the Lord Steward, which had been re- 
duced to a mere shadow of its former greatness, was partially 
restored by Henry VIIL, with reference to criminal acts 
committed within the king's residence, the special punish- 
ment for which was chopping off the right hand. The autho- 
rity of the Court of Chancery, on the contrary, was greatly 
enlarged by Cardinal Wolsey ; but, after his removal from 
the chancellorship, the business of that court sank to a lower 
pitch. The hearing of causes by the Master of the Rolls, 
however, which the extraordinary number of Chancery suits 
had originally introduced, was continued even after they had 
somewhat diminished in number. 

Another jurisdiction, erected by Henry VIIL to preserve 
the peace of the northern counties (some disturbances having 
broken out in Lincolnshire and Lancashire upon the suppres- 
sion of the monasteries), called " The President and Council 
of the North," made some noise in succeeding reigns, par- 
ticularly in that of Charles I. The authority of this court, 
which was framed on the model of the king's council, was 
not very well defined; and its habitual acting under secret 
instructions gave rise to much clamour, and, at length, to its 
dissolution, in the sixteenth year of the latter monarch. 

8. The general administration of criminal law was of a 
very arbitrary character under Henry VIIL The lives of 
the people were entirely in the hands of the crown ; and a 
trial was little more than a formal method of signifying the 
will of the prince, and of displaying his power to gratify it. 
Torture was freely resorted to even by such men as the 
Chancellors More and Wriothesly, from whom a greater 
degree of wisdom and humanity might have been reasonably 


expected. Indeed, down to the close of the present period, 
the whole frame of the law was of an excessively severe and 
despotic texture.* 

The release from punishment by " benefit of clergy," which 
was originally intended for felonious ecclesiastics alone, had 
in course of time been gradually extended to all who could 
read, and so were capable of becoming clerks ; but this indis- 
criminate delivery from the consequences of crime was wisely 
restricted under Henry VII., who allowed laymen their 
benefit of clergy only once in their lives, upon which occasion 
they were to be branded on the left thumb for distinction. 
It was also wholly taken away in the case of any person who 
should deliberately murder his lord or master. Several other 
offences, and especially murder, were further exempted from 
benefit of clergy by Henry VIII. 

9. The Game laws were first enacted under Henry VIL, 
under the title of " The Forfeiture for taking of Pheasants 
and Partridges, or the Eggs of Hawks or Swans." The first 
statute of Bankrupts occurs under Henry VIII., and was 
extremely rigorous, treating the bankrupt as a criminal, and 
seizing summarily upon both his person and the whole of 
his property for the benefit of the creditors. A curious sta- 
tute of the same monarch relates to gipsies or " Egyptians," 
at that time new comers in this country, but distinguished 
by the same singular habits as at present. These poor wan- 
derers were to forfeit all their goods and chattels, and to leave 
the kingdom within fifteen days after command so to do, on 
pain of imprisonment. 

Gambling was vigorously attacked by the 33 Henry VIII. 
c. 9., which still remains in force, and strictly forbids any 
person to keep a public house or alley for tables, tennis, dice, 
cards, bowls, or quoits ; or to haunt such houses and plays. 
Masters, however, might license their servants to play at 

* Henry VIII. is recorded in the course of his reign to have hanged 
no fewer than 72,000 robbers, thieves, and vagabonds. In the latter 
days of Elizabeth scarcely a year passed without 300 or 400 criminals 
going to the gallows. In 1596, in the county of Somerset alone, 40 
persons were executed, 35 burnt in the hand, and 37 severely whipped. 

Q 4 


curds, dice, or tables with themselves, or with any other 
gentleman, provided it were in their house or in their pre- 
sence; and persons possessing 100/. per annum might license 
them to play at all manner of games within their own pre- 
cincts. All classes might also play without restriction at 
Christmas time, but still in the presence of their masters. 

The privilege of sanctuary was a good deal altered in this 
reign. Formerly a person accused of any crime (except treason 
or sacrilege) if he fled to any church or churchyard, and within 
forty days after went in sackcloth before the coroner *, con- 
fessed his guilt, and took an oath that he would abjure the 
realm and never return without leave from the king, saved his 
life, although his blood was attainted and his goods and chat- 
tels forfeited. But as many useful artificers were thus lost to 
the country, it was now provided that such offender should 
merely abjure his natural liberty of free passage through the 
realm, and remain for life in whatever sanctuary the coroner 
might direct. If he came out of such sanctuary, he was to 
suffer death, and if he committed any felony in it, he lost the 
benefit of his place of refuge. The privileges of sanctuary were 
also much abridged by the diminution as well of its retreats 
as of the classes of offenders who might make use of them. 
Under James I. they were at length abolished altogether. 

10. A severe enactment occurs under Elizabeth against 


those who used any invocation of evil spirits, or practised 
any enchantments whereby any one might be killed or de- 
stroyed, which was to be felony without clergy ; if the victim 
of sorcery should only be lamed or waste away, the offender 
was to be imprisoned for a year, and to stand in the pillory 
once a quarter during the time. This statute was repealed 
by James I. 

11. The practice of drawing up the statutes in English is 
generally assigned to the commencement of the reign of 

* The office of coroner (coronator, as being principally concerned with 
pleas of the crown) is of equal antiquity with that of sheriff, the two 
being ordained together to keep the peace when the great earls gave up 
the wardships of the counties. His usual duties in presiding at inquests 
are too Avell known to require further notice. 


Richard III., but under that monarch they often occur in 
French. From the fourth year of Henry VII. however, down 
to the present day, they are universally written in English. 
The law reports of the latter reign are contained in the Year 
Books and some private collections. It does not appear that 
these were as yet printed, although the statutes were as they 
came out, by De Worde and Pynson. Under Henry VIII. 
the Year Books end altogether, and the reports contained in 
different collections are henceforth alone to be depended upon 
for precedents in law. The first person who published his 
notes of trials for the use of the profession was Edmund 
Plowden, who brought out the first part of his Commentaries 
in 1571. He was followed by Dyer, Coke, and several others 
in the reign of Elizabeth. 

12. The most eminent writers upon law under Henry VIII. 
are Anthony Fitzherbert, Judge of the Common Pleas, and 
John and William Rastell, who combined the occupations of 
lawyers and printers, and were the first to publish an abridg- 
ment of the statutes at large. The first writer who has 
treated the subject of criminal law professedly and in detail, 
was Staunforde, who flourished in the reign of Queen Mary. 
But it is in the golden age of Elizabeth that we find the great 
lawyer Sir Edward Coke and his mighty compeer Lord Bacon 
first appear, and present names, decisions, and expositions of 
law which can never be surpassed or forgotten. 

13. The members of the Middle Temple in the time of 
Henry VIII. were divided into two companies, called Clerks 
Commons and Masters Commons ; the first consisting of young 
men under two years' standing, and the latter above that 
date. These were again subdivided into No Utter Barrister, 
who, either from low standing or neglect of study, were not 
called upon to argue before the benchers Utter Barristers, 
who enjoyed this privilege, being of five or six years' 
standing and Benchers, who had been Utter Barristers in 
the house for fourteen or fifteen years. These last had first 
been chosen by the elders of the house to read, expound, and 
declare some statute openly to the society, during which season 
they maintained great dignity, and were attended by four 




ancient barristers of the house in their readings, four stewards 
in their feastings, and ten or twelve men to wait generally 
on their persons. 

The Temple Church was the great gossiping place of the 
younger students, and is described as being in term time 
quite as noisy as " the pervyse (church-portico) of Pawle's." 
Under Queen Mary it was ordered that no attorney should 
be admitted into the four inns of court, nor should the 
members wear their study gowns further into the city than 
Fleet Bridge or Holborn Bridge, or westward than the 
Savoy, on pain of forfeiting 3s. 4d., and for the second 
offence expulsion. The wearing of the appropriate dress at 
commons was also rigorously observed. 

Autographs of English Monarchs. (Cotton and Harl. MSS.) 

1. Henry VII. 4. Mary 

2. Henry VIII. 5. Elizabeth. 

3. Edward VI. 




1. THE history of religion forms by far the most important 
chapter in this period, and might, indeed, with great pro- 
priety, be allowed to give a name to the whole era. Through- 
out the reign of Henry VII. it is true, and for the first half 
of his successor's, there was no outward change in the esta- 
blished faith of the country, and not much, perhaps, even 
within the secret breasts of men. The Roman church, indeed, 
shone forth with extraordinary lustre at that time, and her 
great son the Cardinal Wolsey exercised a wider and more 
undisputed power than even Becket in his best days. All 
the highest offices of the state were still in the hands of the 
clergy, and they were both the ministers of the crown at 
home and its ambassadors and chief agents abroad ; a pre- 
ference which their superior learning and qualifications for 
the most part deserved. 

2. This undisputed authority did not, however, wholly re- 
lieve the church from her anxious fears of heretical opinions, 
which were now punished with a degree of severity before un- 
known. In 1494 the first female martyr suffered in Smithfield. 
This was a widow named Joan Boughton, a disciple of Wy cliffe, 
who was upwards of eighty years of age. Her daughter soon 
after was also burned for holding the same opinions. One or 
two others, who have attracted but little attention, went at first 
to the stake, but in general those who were convicted of heresy 
were content to recant and bear the significant fagot in proces- 
sion, or be branded on the cheek for penance. Heresy, how- 
ever, continued to spread, especially upon the points of merit 
in good works, worship of images, efficacy of penance and 
pilgrimage, the duty of praying to the Virgin and other saints, 
of acknowledging the pope as successor to St. Peter, and the 


transuhstantialion of the bread and wine in the Holy Sacra- 
ment. An outcry began also to be raised against the dis- 
solute lives of many of the clergy, which roused the eccle- 
siastical authorities a little, and several orders were made for 
the regulation of their dress and conduct at the synod of 
Canterbury in 1487. Innocent VIII. also issued a bull in 
1490, in which he strongly reprobated the profane lives of 
the English monks, and directed the primate to admonish 
them severely, which was accordingly done, but apparently 
without much effect. 

3. At the time of the accession of Henry VIII., the 
churchmen, both secular and regular, had got into several 
quarrels amongst themselves, in which some gross impostures 
were mutually disclosed, and also with the civil authorities 
upon the point of clerical immunity from the sentences of 
the courts of law. Ever since the abrogation of the Con- 
stitutions of Clarendon, under Henry II., it had been ruled 
that an ecclesiastic was not liable to the jurisdiction of a civil 
court, which induced many persons, after committing the 
greatest crimes, to get into orders, when they became almost 
entirely free from ordinary punishment. In the fourth year 
of Henry VIII., a temporary bill was passed ordaining that 
this " benefit of clergy " should be wholly denied to all mur- 
derers and robbers, except within the orders of bishop, priest, 
or deacon, which gave great satisfaction to all but the clergy, 
who denounced it as an infringement upon the laws of God 
and the privileges of the church. The matter was brought 
first before the king in council, and then before the parlia- 
ment and the convocation, and gave rise in all these places 
to the most alarming contentions between the church and the 
secular power. 

4. A circumstance which occurred in the year 1514 added 
fuel to the flame. A citizen of London, named Richard 
Hunne, having been sued on some trifling claim in the 
spiritual court by the parson of a parish, took out a writ of 
praemunire against his pursuer for bringing the king's subject 
before a foreign jurisdiction, the court sitting under the 
authority of the papal legate. This bold act inflamed the 


clergy, and Hunne was thrown into prison, where he was 
shortly afterwards found dead, hanging by a hook from the 
ceiling. The coroner's jury charged the bishop of London's 
summoner and the bell ringer with the act, and the bishop in 
return began a new process of heresy against Hunne's dead 
body, which was actually burnt in consequence in Sraithfield. 
The affair was now brought before parliament, which reversed 
the forfeiture of the poor man's goods, but a diversion was 
made by the convocation, which summoned Dr. Standish, 
who had lately, in a debate before the king, defended the 
rights of the civil power, to account for his declarations 
upon that occasion. In the course of this trial Wolsey 
begged that the matter might be referred to the decision 
of the pope at Rome, but Henry, having consulted with 
Fineux, his chief justice, made answer that he would 
maintain the rights of the crown and of his temporal 
jurisdiction in the same manner that his predecessors had 
always done. The bishop's chancellor was also obliged to 
surrender on account of Hunne's death, and to resign his 
benefit of clergy by submitting to the court, and pleading 
" not guilty," on which condition he was allowed to depart. 
This was the only shock that was given to the sway of the 
established religion during the first eighteen years of Henry's 

5. Much of the influence which the church possessed at 
this period was no doubt owing to the master-character of 
Henry's prime minister, the famous cardinal Wolsey. This 
extraordinary man, the son of a butcher at Ipswich *, at- 
tracted the especial favour of his sovereign about the year 
1512, being then in the forty-first year of his age, and in a 
few years was promoted to the highest offices, received pen- 
sions from the pope, the king of France, the emperor, and 
other foreign princes, and held his royal master for a time 
completely under his control. His story is too well known 

* Hence the well known alliterative couplet, so remarkable for its 
intense bitterness of spirit, 

" Begot by butchers, but by bishops bred, 
How high his honour holds his haughty head." 


to require repetition, but it is to our purpose here to observe 
that so long as Wolsey maintained his authority, it was im- 
possible that the spiritual power could suffer much from any 
external attack, although he did both it and himself serious 
injury all the while by his ostentatious and oppressive acts ; 
but the moment that his power was crushed, the body to 
which he belonged was left fully exposed to the strong spirit 
which had long been gradually growing up against it. 

6. In order to trace the history of the English Reformation 
with clearness, we must go a little abroad and consider what 
had been passing for some time on the Continent. Eight 
years after Henry VIII. came to the throne (A.D. 1517) the 
celebrated opposition to the sale of indulgences in the city of 
Wittemberg was made by Martin Luther, (then an Augus- 
tinian monk and professor of philosophy in its university,) 
which led by degrees to the great reform in Germany. In 
the course of this immortal contest, our king Henry adven- 
tured to do battle with the champion of Protestantism, and, 
in 1521, wrote a book on the seven sacraments against 
Luther, which was publicly presented by his ambassador to 
Pope Leo X., who, in token of gratitude, gave his royal 
supporter the title of Defender of the Faith, which has been 
retained by our sovereigns to this day. This act of the king 
is said to have been contrived by Wolsey in order to engage 
him more firmly against heresy and heretical books, which 
were now brought over in great numbers from the Continent, 
and were diligently sought out for destruction by the eccle- 
siastical authorities. 

7. An event of a different kind was Henry's passion for 
Anne Boleyn, which induced several scruples about the law- 
fulness of his marriage with Queen Catherine of Arragon, 
who had been originally espoused to his deceased brother 
Arthur. For two years he used every persuasion, and even 
threat, to bring the court of Rome into his views, but without 
success, till at length, in 1529, the famous Cranmer, then a 
tutor in a private family, ventured to propose that the ques- 
tion should be decided by learned and holy doctors, upon the 
sole authority of the Word of God, without any further re- 


ference to the pope. This suggestion pleased Henry so much, 
that an appeal to the universities, both at home and abroad, 
was immediately made, which, being suitably backed by 
menaces and bribes, was, after a good deal of delay and 
opposition, at length generally acceded to. The pope, 
however, persisted in issuing a brief forbidding the marriage 
under pain of excommunication, in which he was supported 
by the Emperor Charles V., who was a near relation of Queen 
Catherine. The king, following the advice of Thomas Crom- 
well, refused to attend to this mandate, and even went so 
far in his wrath as to declare himself the proper head of 
the English church. The clergy, of course, opposed this 
bold step, but they were quickly indicted in a body for 
breaking the statutes of provisions and pra3munire, by having 
acknowledged the legatine authority of Cardinal Wolsey, 
and at length they agreed to recognise the claim of the king, 
with the formal limitation " so far as might be allowed by 
the law of Christ;" an insertion which was purchased at 
the price of 100,000/. present to the crown. 

8. In 1532 a most important statute was passed, abolishing 
the payment of annates, or first fruits of benefices, to the court 
of Rome, from which act we may properly date the overthrow 
of its power in this country. Under the patronage of Queen 
Anne Boleyn, Archbishop Cranmer*, and prime minister 
Cromwell, the remaining fragments of Romish authority were 
rapidly swept away, and, in 1534, Henry VIII. was formally 
proclaimed " The only Supreme Head on Earth of the Church 
of England," with the sole right to reform and correct all 
heresies by his own authority, to appoint to all bishoprics, 
and to claim the first fruits and a yearly tenth of all spiritual 
livings throughout the land. Penalties were soon imposed 
for denying the king's supremacy or attacking his marriage, 
and a number of people, amongst whom were the illustrious 
Sir Thomas More and Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, with 

* Cranmer, the first Protestant archbishop of England, was consecrated 
30th March, 1533, by Longlaml, Bishop of Lincoln, Vesey of Exeter 
(the munificent endower of his native place, Sutton Coldfiekl), and 
Standish of St. Asapb. 


a poor silly woman called the Maid of Kent, were publicly 
executed, whilst on the other hand, Bilney, Frith, and 
many others, both Lollards and Anabaptists, were burnt at 
the stake to show the royal attachment to the ancient faith. 
This even-handed cruelty was, indeed, the characteristic of 
the rest of his reign, in which the Roman Catholics had at 
least the advantage that they were hanged or beheaded instead 
of being burned alive. 

9. The next great step of the monarch and his adviser Crom- 
well (who, though a layman, had been appointed vicar-general 
of the clergy, with all the spiritual authority belonging to the 
king deputed to him), was the confiscation of monastic pro- 
perty and the dissolution of the convents. The pretext was the 
necessary reformation of the irregular conduct of the monks 
(which no doubt was sufficiently required), but the real object 
was to replenish the royal exchequer, and at the same time to 
revenge the opposition which they had made in the matter of 
the supremacy and the queen's divorce.* The visitation of the 
commissioners began in October 1535, and within four years 
the possessions of 644 convents, 90 colleges, 2374 chantries 
and free chapels, and 110 hospitals were annexed to the 
crown. The clear yearly value of all these houses was, at the 
rents actually paid, only about 130,0007., but Burnet affirms 
that their real value was at least ten times as much ; and a 
vast amount of plate, jewels, and goods of all kinds must also 
have been obtained. 

The visitation was carried on with the utmost violence 
and coarseness. The beautiful ornaments and glorious \vin- 

* It is a curious fact, which may perhaps be regarded as an early indi- 
cation of Henry's intentions towards ecclesiastical property, that John 
Harnian or Vesey, Bishop of Exeter, who had always been in high favour 
with the king, and employed in many important transactions, when he 
founded the grammar school of Sutton Coldfield, A.D. 1527-8, (the very 
year in which the king's passion for Anne Boleyn is supposed to have 
commenced,) allotted it to " a learned and skilful layman" as it has ever 
since continued, and appropriated the revenues of the corporation of the 
same place (also founded by him) to " pious secular uses," apparently with 
the view of screening them from the approaching grasp of pretended 


dows of the chapels were smashed down, the church bells 
were gambled for and sold into foreign countries, horses 
were tethered to the altars, and cattle stalled in the re- 
cesses of the shrines, whilst the valuable libraries were torn 
up to scour boots and candlesticks, or sold to grocers and 
soapboilers for the meanest purposes. In the course of 
spoliation Becket's tomb at Canterbury was broken open, 
and this former saint summoned, after the lapse of 400 years, 
to answer a grave charge of rebellion, treason, and con- 
tumacy ! The case was formally argued in Westminster 
Hall, and ended in his bones being sentenced to be burnt, 
and the rich offerings at his shrine (which filled two immense 
coiFers) being confiscated to the crown. The abbeys were 
partially spared when their chapels happened to be parish 
churches also, to which circumstance we owe the happy con- 
tinuance of a few splendid erections, such as St. Alban's, 
Bath, Tewkesbury, &c. 

To gain over popular feeling upon the subject, it was 
given out that its effect would be to relieve the people 
for the future from all services and taxes ; that in place 
of the monks and nuns thus driven out, there would be 
raised and maintained 40 new earls, 60 barons, 3000 knights, 
and 40,000 soldiers ; that a better provision would be made 
for the poor, and that preachers should be handsomely paid 
to go about everywhere and proclaim the true religion. It 
is almost needless to say that these promises were wholly 
unfulfilled, that pauperism rapidly increased, education de- 
clined, proper preachers (owing to the scantiness of their 
stipend) almost disappeared, and that a great part of the 
money so iniquitously procured was turned to the uphold- 
ing of dice playing, masking, and banqueting. Nay, the 
king had the conscience to demand from parliament a 
compensation for the expenses which he had incurred in 
reforming the religion of the state, and actually got a subsidy 
in consequence. Only about 8000/. per annum was granted 
to endow the six new bishoprics of Westminster, Oxford, 
Peterborough, Bristol, Chester, and Gloucester, and to place 
canons in several cathedrals. 



The whole country was disturbed in consequence, and a 
formidable insurrection, under the banner of the " Five 
Wounds " (i. e. of our Saviour), was not put down without 
some trouble and many terrible executions. 

10. But, whatever might be the secret or avowed motives 
of the king or his counsellors, the deep Protestant feeling 
which had now gone abroad amongst the people would not 
allow itself to be put down, and several circumstances com- 
bined to strengthen and extend it. Amongst these must be 
placed, by far the first, the publication of the Scriptures, 
under royal authority, in the vulgar tongue. 

In 1526, indeed, a private translation of the New Testa- 
ment, by William Tyndal, had appeared at Antwerp, and 
was eagerly purchased and read in England. The very pro- 
hibition which was issued against it by Wolsey, and the zeal 
of Bishop Tunstall in buying up the copies for public bon- 
fires, increased its spread ; and the latter circumstance, in 
particular, besides increasing the author's means for a second 
edition, gave the people a deep impression that there must 
be some palpable contradiction between the doctrines of the 
Bible and of the clergy who were so eager to destroy it. 
Another translation was also completed on the Continent, by 
Miles Coverdale, and dedicated to the King of England, by 
whom it was not ill received. In 1536 an order was given 
by the king, upon the motion of Cranmer, in convocation, for 
an authorised English translation, which was immediately set 
about, and completed in 1539. This Bible, known by the 
name of Cranmer's, or the Great Bible, was executed by 
hands unknown to us, but it is generally supposed that Co- 
verdale was one of the principal persons employed. Injunc- 
tions were now issued by Cromwell, directing each incumbent 
to provide a copy, one half at his expense, and one half at 
that of the parishioners, which was to be set up in some 
convenient place within the church, for general perusal. 

The king, however, gave strict orders that this liberty 
should not be used with arrogance or much diversity of 
opinion ; and that the mutual recriminations of " papist " and 
" heretic," which were found to arise out of it, should be 


carefully avoided. The throngs of people round the pillars 
where the books were chained were very great, and their dis- 
putations soon became so frequent and loud that Bonner 
threatened to take away the several copies which were fixed 
in St. Paul's. 

11. But although the reading of the Bible was thus publicly 
sanctioned, very confused notions as yet prevailed on the 
subject of religion, as may be seen in a work called (( King 
Henry's Primer," the second edition of which appeared in 1535. 
It consists of a collection of tracts on the different parts of 
divine worship, which are written in a half Popish half Pro- 
testant fashion. Of the latter style the boldest instance is, 
the attack upon prayers for the dead, and the doctrine of 
purgatory. A circumstance which occurred in 1536 tended 
to draw Henry to a more strictly Protestant declaration of 
faith. This was an address from the Lutheran princes of 
Germany, whose friendship was of great consequence to him 
against the emperor, who was enraged about his treatment of 
Catherine. He refused, however, to adopt their peculiar 
system of religion, known by the name of the Augsburg 

In a convocation held that year certain articles were 
agreed upon which, after some corrections by the king's 
own hand, were signed by Cromwell, Cramner, and seven- 
teen other bishops, forty abbots and priors, and fifty arch- 
deacons and proctors of the lower house, and were finally 
confirmed and published by royal authority. Beyond the 
great principle, however, of recognising the supremacy of the 
Bible, to which were added, as standards of faith, the three 
ancient creeds, and the decisions of the first four general coun- 
cils, little appeared in these articles that could be called de- 
cidedly Protestant in its character. Latimer entitled them 
" a mingle mangle, a hotch potch, partly popery and partly 
true religion, mingled together," and the people at large, 
although inclined to regard them as an advance in the right 
direction, were at least as much puzzled as edified by their 
statements. In 1537 the "Institution of a Christian Man," 
or "Bishops' Book," appeared, which was re-edited in 1540 

R 2 


by other hands, and with a decided bias in favour of Romish 

12. In 1537 a new onset was made by Cromwell and his 
associates in the destruction of images, relics, and shrines, so 
long the objects of popular veneration. During the re- 
searches of the commissioners in the monasteries many ridi- 
culous objects of extraordinary reverence were discovered: 
such as, some of the coals that roasted St. Lawrence, parings 
of St. Edmund's toes, pieces of the " true cross" enough to have 
made an entire cross of themselves, and, in particular, a crucifix 
of enormous size, commonly called the Rood of Grace, which 
was kept at a place called Boxley, in Kent. This image was 
so contrived that it could move its head, hands, and feet, and 
even its whole body, roll its eyes, and bend its brows, accord- 
ing as the offering laid before it was pleasing or otherwise to 
its masters. Another was the crystal vial, at Hales, in Glou- 
cestershire, which contained, as was pretended, the blood of 
Christ, which its visitors saw or could not see, according as 
they were more or less plunged in mortal sin, In reality it 
was the blood of a duck, renewed every week, and made 
visible or invisible as required, by turning the thick or thin 
side of the glass. 

A most unjustifiable use was made of one famous wooden 
image in Wales, called David Darvel Gatheren, of which it 
had been predicted that it should set fire to a whole forest, 
a poor friar, named Forest, who had abused the oath of 
supremacy, being slowly burnt over it in Smithfield, whilst 
Latimer preached a controversial sermon, and the chief people 
of both court and city looked on. Fresh instructions against 
images and pilgrimages were issued in 1538, but now rather 
for their proper usage than total abolition. 

13. In this year, however, a change came over the temper 
of the king, and besides burning John Lambert for his denial 
of transubstantiation, he forbade the reading or printing of 
all heretical books, and the marriage of priests, and, in effect, 
gave himself very much up to the guidance of Gardiner, 
bishop of Winchester, who was gradually guiding him back 
into the full profession of the former religion. In 1539 the 


parliament passed the famous act for abolishing diversity of 
opinions, popularly called the Statute of the Six Articles, 
the Six-stringed whip, and the Bloody Statute, which con- 
firmed the resolutions already passed in convocation, in 
favour of transubstantiation, refusing the cup to the laity, 
celibacy of priests, vows of chastity, private masses, and 
auricular confession. For the rest of the reign this statute 
remained the rule of faith in the English Church, and many 
martyrdoms took place amongst those who refused to acknow- 
ledge its decrees. Its fierce show of opposition against the 
pope, who had published a bull of excommunication, and 
endeavoured to engage the king of France and the emperor 
in a war with England, was, however, still kept up, and 
hangings and quarterings went on without remission for 
denials of the supremacy, and resistance to the wholesale 
seizures of ecclesiastical property. Not unfrequently a Papist 
and a Protestant were drawn to Smithfield on the same 
hurdle ; and the extreme difficulty of balancing opinions, so 
as to suit the temper of the monarch, caused foreigners to 
wonder how any man could possibly continue to exist in 

14. In 1543 an act was passed for the Advancement of True 
Eeligion and the abolishment of the contrary, which contains 
some curious clauses. Amongst these is a restriction upon 
the doctrines hereafter to be set forth in the Interludes, or 
religious plays, which had now taken the place of the old 
Mysteries and Moralities, but without their primitive sim- 
plicity of spirit. They were, in fact, ludicrous and often 
indecent satires upon the old religion, although written by 
grave divines, and generally performed beneath the roof of 
churches or chapels. It appears, also, that the clergy at 
this time were not unfrequently in the habit of resorting 
to alehouses and taverns, of using unlawful games, arraying 
themselves in unseemly apparel, and carrying armour and 
deadly weapons about with them. 

In the same year the " Necessary Doctrine and Erudition 
of a Christian Man," or " King's Book," was drawn up by a 
committee nominated by the monarch, who himself wrote a 

B 3 


great part of it. This compendium of doctrine permitted the 
free reading of the Scriptures to the clergy, but declared that 
from the laity they might be taken away or no, according 
to the will of the prince and policy of the realm. Tran- 
substantiation and the seven sacraments are still asserted, 
and other popish rites and ceremonies are, at least, not 
openly censured. In the public services of the Church 
no alteration was made to the very close of Henry's 
reign beyond the omission of a few collects for the pope, 
and the offices of Thomas-a-Becket and some other saints. 
The prayers for public ecclesiastical processions and the 
Litanies were, however, translated into English. To the 
very death of the tyrant the system of persecution continued 
with little abatement, and within the last four years of his 
reign fourteen Protestants were burnt for heresy, and ten 
Papists hanged and quartered for high treason. 

15. A new era opened with the accession of Edward VI., 
A.D. 1547, the very first year of whose reign witnessed the 
overthrow of the Romish system of religion, and the founda- 
tion of a really Protestant Church. The first parliament 
which met under the young king repealed the statute of 
the Six Articles and all the old acts against heresy, and 
directed that the sacrament should be administered to the 
people in both kinds. This measure had been preceded by 
a general visitation of the dioceses by a number of com- 
missioners, partly lay and partly clerical. The injunctions 
under which these officers acted were of an extremely mo- 
derate and cautious character ; almost the only change or- 
dered in divine service being that at high mass the Epistle and 
Gospel should be read in English, and that every Sunday and 
holiday the priest should read at matins one chapter out of 
the Old Testament in English, and at evensong another out of 
the New. Superstitious ceremonies, such as sprinkling with 
holy water, ringing bells to drive away spirits, and burning 
blessed candles for the same purpose, were discountenanced, 
and all images which had been abused by pilgrimages or offer- 
ings were to be taken down, an order which was finally ex- 
tended to images of every kind. Rich shrines and their plate 

CHAP. II.] liELIGIOX. 247 

were also broken up and confiscated to the use of the king, 
and a fresh seizure made of such chantries, colleges, and free 
chapels, as yet remained untouched. The funds thus acquired 
were to have been laid out in the erection of grammar schools, 
the augmentation of the universities, and better provision for 
the poor and needy, promises which were, however, but par- 
tially observed in the end. 

16. In the same year an important addition was made to 
the list of theological treatises in the first Book of Homilies, 
drawn up by Cranmer and his associates, for reading in 
churches by priests who could not preach. To the imitation 
of these printed discourses may be attributed the practice of 
reading the sermon, which in olden times had been delivered 
extempore, and generally with great fire and animation. 

Early in 1548 a new communion service was published, 
but, being only preparatory to a more general service, it pre- 
sented few changes of consequence, beyond the partial aban- 
donment of auricular confession. In midsummer of that year, 
however, the great work was completed of a new English 
Prayer-book, which entirely superseded the old Latin office 
of the mass. This all important task was performed by a 
committee of bishops and other divines, of whom Cranmer 
and Ridley were undoubtedly the chief. These first began 
by collecting and examining all the various offices that had 
been used in different parts of the kingdom, namely, the 
rituals of Sarum, York, Hereford, Bangor, and Lincoln. 
The chief differences of the new book consisted in its omis- 
sion of such parts of the old service as were considered 
superstitious, and in its being wholly written in English. 
The principal addition was the litany, which has since received 
but little alteration. A preface concerning ceremonies (still 
retained) was placed before this work, which was entitled 
" The Booke of the Common Prayer and Administracion of 
the Sacramentes, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the 
Chvrche ; after the vse of the Chvrche of England." 

A new edition appeared in 1551-2, which had been revised 
by two learned foreigners, Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr, 
and in which considerable additions were made to the services, 

B 4 


and such rites as the use of oil in baptism, the unction of the 
sick, prayers for souls departed and for the descent of the 
Holy Ghost at the consecration of the eucharist, were laid 
aside as savouring of superstition. Simultaneously with the 
publication of the first book acts of parliament were passed re- 
pealing all laws against the marriage of priests, and placing 
the duty of fasting at Lent and other times upon a new 
ground, namely, the encouragement of the national fisheries ! 

17. In 1552 the doctrine of the Church was still more 
permanently settled by the issue of forty-two articles of re- 
ligion, which did not differ very materially from those which 
are at present recognised. Another great work of the arch- 
bishop and his colleagues was the reformation of the Canon 
Law, which had also engaged the attention of King Henry 
VIII. from the moment of his separation from the see of 
Rome. Nothing, however, effectual was done till 1550, when a 
commission was granted appointing Cranmer and seven others 
to confer upon the subject : these soon produced a complete 
body of ecclesiastical laws, which was afterwards printed in 
the reign of Elizabeth under the title of " Reformatio legum 
ecclesiasticarum : " but, as these regulations never received 
the royal sanction, they have never become the law of the 
land. It may be mentioned, however, that the provisions 
against heresy and blasphemy were very severe, and that 
capital punishment on account of religious opinions was by 
no means unknown to this new and improved code. Persons 
guilty of idolatry, witchcraft, or magic, were also to be 

No Romanists, it is true, were burned in this reign, but two 
persons named Joan of Kent and Van Parris, a Dutchman, 
suffered at the stake for heresies with regard to the nature of 
Christ. Nor were the officers of the Church itself wholly 
spared for any peculiar opinions which they might presume 
to entertain ; for Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, on account of 
his obstinate scruples about wearing the episcopal robes, was 
committed, for contumacy, to the Fleet, until he consented 
to a compromise. 

18. The first year of Queen Mary's reign (A.D. 1553), like 

fcHAP. II.] RELIGION. 249 

that of her predecessor, witnessed a total change in matters of 
religion. The parliament which met in that year repealed by 
a single statute all the Protestant acts of the last govern- 
ment, and directed that divine service should again be per- 
formed as it had been under Henry VIII. The old popish 
bishops were soon restored to their sees, the reformed prelates 
deposed, and some of them sent to the Tower. The Cardinal 
Pole soon after arrived from Rome, and was duly received 
as the pope's legate ; and acts were passed reviving all the 
old laws against heresy, and repealing all statutes, articles, 
and provisions, made against the Roman see since the twentieth 
year of Henry VIII., and resuming all spiritual and eccle- 
siastical possessions which had thereby been conveyed to the 
laity. Such omnipotent power had the royal mandate in those 
days, when it could change the whole system of faith in an 
entire nation by a single word. About half of the English 
bishops conformed to the alterations, and those who did not 
were treated so roughly that all the Reformers who could 
escape made their retreat to the continent, where they estab- 
lished religious societies amongst themselves, which were 
soon, however, involved in the bitterest quarrels between the 
puritanical members and those who held more strictly to 
what they conceived to be the primitive order of the Church. 
The fires of Smithfield soon began to blaze once more, and 
a series of executions took place, which have justly given to this 
Queen the title of Bloody Mary. The first victim was John 
Rogers, a prebendary of St. Paul's, who was burnt on the 4th 
of February, 1555. He was speedily followed by a train of 
illustrious sufferers, amongst whom Hooper, Taylor, Ferrar, 
Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer, are the most distinguished. 
All the worst practices of the Inquisition were adopted by the 
ecclesiastical commission appointed to extirpate heresy; in- 
formers of the lowest class were openly encouraged, and the 
most fearful tortures resorted to without the slightest scruple. 
The total number of persons who perished in the flames for 
their religion during this reign has been variously reckoned 
at 277 and 288, amongst whom were 5 bishops, 21 divines, 
8 gentlemen, 84 artificers, 100 husbandmen, servants, and 


labourers, 26 wives, 20 widows, 9 unmarried women, 2 boys, 
and 2 infants, of which last one was whipped to death by the 
savage Bonner, and the other springing out of the mother's 
womb at the stake was mercilessly thrown back into the 
fire. The number of those that died in prison was also 
very great. Yet England may be considered as compara- 
tively free from persecution during this period, for all over 
the continent the victims of bigotry were reckoned, not by 
hundreds, but by thousands, and in the Netherlands alone 
50,000 persons are said to have lost their lives in the 
religious wars of the Spaniards. 

19. A. D. 1558. Although the private feelings of our 
great Queen Elizabeth leaned strongly to many of the ancient 
forms and doctrines, yet it is under her rule that we are to 
look for the final settlement of the English Church in that 
shape in which it has descended to us of the present day. 
Her course at first was very cautious and careful, but in 
1559 the acts of Henry VIII. against the jurisdiction of the 
pope, and the statute of Edward VI. ordaining communion 
in both kinds, were revived ; the old laws against heresy again 
repealed ; an oath of supremacy enacted ; the Book of Com- 
mon Prayer (which was, however, revised with some concilia- 
tory alterations) imposed by an Act of Uniformity, with 
severe penalties for its neglect or abuse ; the first fruits and 
tenths of benefices restored to the crown ; and the marriage 
of the clergy, though not positively favoured by the queen, 
allowed at least to pass without notice. The oath of supre- 
macy was at once rejected by all the bishops, with one 
exception, (Kitchen of Llandaff,) and they were all, in con- 
sequence, deprived of their sees, but were not generally 
treated with any further rigour.* Their places were soon 

* The oath of supremacy ran as follows : 

" I, A. B., do utterly testify and declare that the queen's highness is 
the only supreme governor of this realm, and all other her highness's 
dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual and ecclesiastical things 
or causes as temporal, and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, 
or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, 
pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm ; 


filled up by the more eminent exiles of Queen Mary's time, 
who now returned in great numbers from abroad.* 

20. Meanwhile preparations were being made for a general 
visitation of the national clergy, and a set of injunctions drawn 
up for its guidance. According to the report of these visitors, 
out of 9,400 beneficed clergy in England, all who chose to resign 
their benefices rather than comply with the reformed system, 
were (besides the bishops) only 6 abbots, 12 deans, 12 arch- 
deacons, 15 heads of colleges, 50 prebendaries, and 80 rectors; 
so that almost the whole body of parochial clergy adopted the 
Reformation without murmur or opposition. Stability and 
order were also given to the Church by the publication of 
the Thirty-nine Articles as revised by the bishops and adopted 
by the convocation in 1562. They were subscribed again in 
English, as well as Latin, in 1571, when subscription to 
them was also made imperative upon all ecclesiastics. 

Another inestimable help to true religion was a new trans- 
lation of the Scriptures (called Parker's or the Bishop's Bible, 
from the share which Archbishop Parker took in it), which 
appeared in 1568, and was reprinted in 1572. This was the 
authorised edition ; but another version, executed by Cover- 
dale at Geneva, and published in 1560, was the favourite of 
the English and Scottish Puritans till the present authorised 
version came out under James I. 

21. From the moment of its permanent foundation the 
Reformed Church of England was exposed to the bitterest 

and therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdictions, 
powers, superiorities, and authorities, and do promise that from hence- 
forth I shall bear faith and true allegiance to the queen's highness, her 
heirs and lawful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all 
jurisdictions, pre-eminences, privileges, and authorities, granted or be- 
longing to the queen's highness, her heirs and successors, or united and 
annexed to the imperial crown of this realm." 

* The first Archbishop of Canterbury under Elizabeth was Matthew 
Parker, consecrated at Lambeth on Sunday the 17th December, 1559, 
by Barlow, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Scory of Chichester, Coverdale of 
Exeter, and Hodgkin, suffragan Bishop of Bedford. From this prelate 
all our bishops derive their orders, and the Roman Catholics have accord- 
ingly made many a desperate attempt to disprove the validity of his 
consecration, but all in vain. 


hostility from two most opposite quarters the Roman 
Catholic party on the one hand, and the daily growing body of 
Puritans on the other. To counteract the influence of the first, 
two acts were passed in 1559, one of which enforced the oath 
of supremacy upon all persons holding any office spiritual or 
temporal, on pain of deprivation, and punished all writing or 
preaching against it with fine and imprisonment ; and for the 
third offence with the loss of life on the scaffold. The exe- 
cution of this law was entrusted to the Court of High Com- 
mission, and became an instrument of terrible power in the 
hands of the crown. The other enjoined the universal use 
of King Edward's Prayer Book by the clergy, under the 
penalty of deprivation and imprisonment, and punished all 
speaking against that service book, or the use of other forms, 
with fine and imprisonment for life. A fine of a shilling was 
also imposed upon every person absent from Church, without 
reasonable cause, on any Sunday or holiday. Prosecutions 
under these acts began, as a matter of course, almost as soon 
as they were passed. 

In 1571 the religious insurrections of the Earl of Northum- 
berland and the lately published Bull of Excommunication, 
issued against the queen by Pope Pius V.*, rendered still 
more stringent measures necessary, and several new acts were 
passed upon the subject of treason, especially directed against 
the adherents of Rome. But the penal laws, properly so called, 
as being expressly aimed at the open profession of Popery, 
commence with the year 1581. In that year, and afterwards 
in 1585, 1587, and 1593, statutes were passed making it high 
treason to absolve the queen's subjects from their allegiance, 
or to receive such absolution, or to withdraw them to the 
Romish religion, or to be so withdrawn. Jesuits and other 
priests ordained out of England, if they came into the realm, 
and all English subjects educated in foreign colleges, who did 
not immediately return home and take the oath of supremacy, 

* This bull was daringly nailed with a dagger to the Bishop of London's 
gate by a man named John Felton, who was hanged, drawn, and quar- 
tered for his crime. 


were involved in the same capital charge, and the receivers of 
such priests were made felons without benefit of clergy. The 
fines for saying or hearing mass and for neglect of the Church 
service were raised to an immense height ; and, finally, all 
" popish recusants convict " over sixteen years of age were 
forbidden to move five miles from their place of abode without 
written license from the bishop or deputy lieutenant of the 
county, on pain of forfeiting their goods, and the profits of 
their lands during life. Those who had not goods enough 
to make the fine sufficiently grievous were obliged to abjure 
the realm, or be deemed felons without benefit of clergy. 
Under these severe laws scarcely a year passed without 
several Roman Catholics being sent to the gibbet always, 
it is true, under the convenient colour of a political offence. 

22. The Nonconformists on the Protestant side were not 
less troublesome nor less hardly treated during this reign. 
The first symptoms of variance had originally appeared under 
Edward VI., when some foreign divines who had been in- 
vited into England, and some Englishmen who had travelled 
or studied abroad, started a few objections to the discipline 
of the Church, especially to the wearing of the square cap, 
tippet, and surplice. This spirit was much increased by the 
large emigration of English Protestants, under Queen Mary, 
to the continent, where many of them imbibed the peculiar 
opinions of the foreign reformers. These mostly retired to 
Geneva, where they established a new form of service, bor- 
rowed from that of the French Protestants, without litanies 
or responses, and accompanied by hardly any rites or cere- 
monies ; whilst the warmer adherents of the English system 
remained in the city of Frankfort, where they scrupulously 
kept up the Prayer Book of King Edward. 

These latter supplied nearly all the episcopal sees upon 
their return, whilst their Puritan brethren at Geneva became 
in due time the fathers of modern dissent. The early dis- 
putes were, however, still confined to ceremonial matters 
(although the Act of Uniformity prohibited their " schis- 
matical" notions upon these points quite as much as the 
"heresy" of the Papists), but these shortly led to higher 


subjects, and, at length, to the avowed intention of substi- 
tuting the entire Geneva system for that of the Church of 

23. At first, however, many of the puritans overcame their 
scruples, and accepted livings in the Establishment ; whilst 
their insignificant deviations from the appointed forms were 
winked at by the authorities. Indeed, had they not done so, 
the churches would have been but poorly furnished with 
preachers, for scarcely any were to be found in the country 
qualified for the office. Archbishop Parker, however, was 
greatly dissatisfied with this laxity ; and at length proceeded 
to suspend all who refused to subscribe an agreement of sub- 
mission to the queen's injunctions in regard of habits, rites, 
and ceremonies. Great numbers of ministers were thus 
ejected from their cures, and thrown upon the world in a 
state of destitution. Some of these having ventured to write 
in vindication of their opinions, an order was issued by the 
Star Chamber that no person should print or publish any 
such book, upon pain of forfeiting all the copies, suffering 
three months' imprisonment, and being held incapacitated from 
ever again exercising the art of printing. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the ejected clergymen resolved to separate 
entirely from the Establishment, and set up a service of their 
own in such places as they might safely assemble in for its 
use. This separation first took place in ]566.f 

* The system of Church government adopted by Calvin at Geneva 
was more like that of the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland than any form 
assumed by English dissent, but innovations were not long in making 
their appearance, and various sects of dissenters accordingly arose in 
this country, united chiefly by their common hatred of the Church. 

j" At this time their principal objections to the Church are said to have 
been, the asserted right of bishops to a superiority over presbyters, and 
their temporal dignities ; the titles and offices of deans and chapters, &c., 
and the jurisdiction of the spiritual courts ; the promiscuous admission of 
all persons to the communion ; the responses in the service, and some 
passages in the offices of matrimony and burial, with the prohibition of 
extempore prayers ; the use of godfathers and godmothers ; the custom of 
confirmation ; the reading of the apocryphal books in the church ; the 
observance of Lent and of holydays ; the cathedral worship, chanting, 


24. These private meetings gave rise to the new offence 
of " frequenting conventicles," for which great numbers were 
brought before the commissioners, and fined and imprisoned 
for contumacy. The flame was spread still wider by the 
preaching and writings of Thomas Cartwright, professor of 
divinity at Cambridge, a most learned, eloquent, and 
courageous nonconformist. Being deprived of his professor- 
ship and expelled from the university, he fled beyond sea, 
and found means, notwithstanding the strict prohibition of his 
pamphlets, to circulate them extensively throughout England. 
For one result of these attacks we ought, however, to be 
thankful, since they aided in calling forth the " Ecclesiastical 
Polity" of the immortal Hooker the greatest work that 
has ever been written in defence of the Church of England. 

Puritan principles had now made their way into parlia- 
ment, and were favoured by the ambitious Earl of Leicester ; 
but there they were suddenly checked by the determined 
will of the queen, who even suspended Archbishop Grindal 
from his archiepiscopal functions for a considerable time on 
account of his mildness towards the nonconformists. This 
was followed by increased severities against the latter, several 
of whom were even put to death under an act now passed 
concerning " seditious words and rumours uttered against the 
Queen's most Excellent Majesty." Undeterred by these 
threats, however, a new race of dissenters arose the 
Brownists, or Independents, so named from their founder, 
Robert Brown, who boldly renounced all communion with 
the Church of England, denying her wholly to be a true 
Church, or her ministers true ministers of Christ. 

25. The most severe governor of the Church under Eliza- 
beth was Archbishop Whitgift, who succeeded Grindal in 
1583. Within a few weeks after his appointment he sus- 

and the use of organs ; pluralities and non-residency ; and the appoint- 
ment of ministers by presentation from the crown, bishops, or laymen, 
instead of by the election of the people. Yet these objections, some of 
which are in themselves of no mean consequence, they were willing to 
waive had they been allowed a license in such unessential matters as the 
sign of the cross in baptism ; kneeling at the sacrament ; bowing at the 
name of Jesus ; the ring in marriage ; the cap, and the surplice ! 


pended many hundreds of the clergy for refusing subscription 
to a new set of regulations which he had just issued, and 
obtained from the queen a new commission, with such ex- 
traordinary powers of inquisition and of punishment, that the 
parliament thought it necessary to interfere. They were 
stopped, however, by a violent message from Elizabeth, who 
commanded the Speaker not to read any bills for ecclesias- 
tical reformation that might be presented to him. 

A special act against nonconformists was also passed in 
1592, in which it was decreed that all persons, above 
sixteen years of age, who should refuse to attend Church 
service, or should go to unlawful conventicles, or persuade 
others to dispute the queen's authority in Church matters, 
should be committed to prison; and, if not conforming 
within three months, should abjure the realm, a return 
from which exile was death without benefit of clergy. This 
order the moderate Puritans evaded, by going to church 
just as prayers were over, and receiving the sacrament in 
places where their peculiarities were overlooked; but the 
Brownists, who could not admit the services at all, felt it 
with peculiar weight. About four or five years before the 
close of the reign, however, both parties became more quiet, 
and punishments and resistance were alike relaxed in the 
expectation of a change of government. It must be observed, 
in conclusion, that the Puritans were not treated more severely 
than they would themselves in all probability have treated 
others, their own principles being marked at that time by 
a total want of toleration. 

26. The old practice of burning for heresy had not yet 
entirely gone out of use, two German anabaptists having 
been consigned to the stake in Smithfield, July 22d, 1575. 
Fox, the martyrologist, ventured to interfere on behalf of 
these unfortunate men, but his petition was sternly rejected. 
A Socinian was also burnt at Norwich; but then he was 
charged moreover with " words of blasphemy against the 
Queen's Majesty!" 

Such poor remains of the monastic establishments as still 
survived the ruin of their property were now totally de- 


stroyed, three whole convents of monks and nuns being 
transferred to the Continent at the very beginning of the 

27. Statutes against false prophets, conjuration, enchant- 
ments, and witchcraft were still issued at intervals, which, as 
usual, had only the effect of increasing the number. 

28. In Scotland the powerful exertions of John Knox and 
his companions succeeded in establishing, during this period, 
a Protestant form of worship and Church government, 
modelled, as far as possible, on the system of Geneva. The 
reformed religion had been early introduced into Ireland 
amongst the English settlers ; but the natives continued firm 
in their old faith ; and the efforts of their masters to force 
them into conformity only aided in causing repeated and 
desperate insurrections. The first Protestant archbishop in 
Ireland was George Brown, consecrated in 1535-6 by 
Cranmer, assisted by Shaxton, Bishop of Salisbury, and 
Hilsey, of Rochester. 




1. WITH this period the history of English literature may 
almost be said to commence, so rapid and powerful was the 
outbreak of mind after the Reformation and its concomitant 
events had broken the shackles under which it had formerly 
been held. From the 15th century the men of this age 
derived the habit of founding colleges and schools to a 
great extent: thus, Oxford received six new colleges from 
1511 to 1571; Cambridge eight, between 1496 and 1594. 
In Scotland a new university was erected at Aberdeen and 
another at Edinburgh, and two colleges were added to that 
of St. Andrew's ; and, in Ireland, the University of Dublin 
was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1591. A great number 
of Grammar Schools were also endowed at this time, among 
the chief of which were St. Paul's School (by Dean Colet 
in 1509), Christ's Hospital (by Edward VI. in 1553), and 
Merchant Tailors' in London ; Cardinal Wolsey's at Ipswich 
(afterwards suppressed); and Westminster, founded by 
Queen Elizabeth in 1560. In Scotland the High School of 
Edinburgh was established, by the magistrates of that city, 
in 1577. 

2. Classical learning, and especially the study of Greek 
(which was publicly taught, for the first time in this country, 
in 1512, by William Lilly, master of St. Paul's School), was 
much promoted by these new schools and colleges, and was 
particularly patronised by the great Cardinal Wolsey, whose 
example the Reformers took care diligently to follow. A 
violent opposition was, however, raised by the older divines and 
scholars, especially when it was seen what use was made of the 
Greek Scriptures by the advocates of the Reformation, and 
how commonly an inclination in favour of the new opinions 


went along with the study of the new language. The learned 
Erasmus for some time attempted to expound the Greek 
grammar of Chrysoloras in the schools at Cambridge ; but his 
lectures were deserted, his edition of the Greek Testament 
proscribed, and a severe fine imposed upon any member of 
the university who should be found with it in his possession.* 
Both the English and continental universities were now, 
indeed, divided into two hostile parties, called Greeks and 
Trojans ; and even a more correct pronunciation of Greek 
gave rise to a new division in the first party, which, like all 
the disputes of the time, took the colour of religion, the Ro- 
manists favouring the old pronunciation, the Protestants the 
new. Gardiner employed the authority of the king and 
council to suppress these quarrels, and succeeded in preserv- 
ing our barbarous native sounds by threats of whipping, 
degradation, and expulsion ! 

3. The various discussions to which the progress of the 
Reformation gave rise, tended, however, to withdraw men's 
minds from the pursuit of classical learning, to which also 
the general robbery of the Church and the suppression of the 
monasteries greatly contributed. The schools which had 
been so extensively connected with those seats of retirement 
from the world, were but ill replaced by the comparatively 
scanty supply of grammar schools afterwards founded ; and 
extreme ignorance continued to be very general amongst 
the people, at least in the rural districts. The children of 
the higher ranks were, however, educated for the most part 
at home, and seem to have been carefully instructed in 
English, French, Italian, Latin, Greek, writing, arithmetic, 
history, and music, besides the manly exercises suited to 
their age and condition. 

* This book was published in 1516, and with the magnificent Complu- 
tensian Polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes, published in 1522, formed the 
earliest editions of the Greek Testament which were given to the world. 
Upon their appearance in England some of the monks exclaimed from 
the pulpit " that there was now a new language discovered called Greek, 
of which people should beware, since it was that which produced all 
heresies ; and there had also another language started up which they 
called Hebrew, and they who learnt it were termed Hebrews ! " 

s 2 


4. The hostility of the Reformers was particularly directed 
against the old scholastic theology and the canon law, the 
study of both which was formally suppressed by Cromwell's 
visitors in 1535. Strange and miserable as the old system 
had been, this violent overthrow had yet a very injurious 
effect for some time upon the cultivation of divinity. Upon 
the whole, however, although the universities did not produce 
the same number of scholars as in former times, this may 
well be called a learned age, if we consider the extent to 
which the learned languages entered into general education, 
and the eminence of the names which it has presented to 
the world.* 

5. Towards the close of the 16th century the English 
language arrived at its full maturity, and presented very 
nearly the same form as at the present day. At its com- 
mencement, however, our native speech was of a very dif- 
ferent character, and only settled into its final shape by 
successive and gradual alterations. A few extracts from 
writers of the time, arranged in chronological order, will 
serve to mark the variations of a tongue which was at 
length crowned with the undying compositions of a Shakspere 
and a Hooker. 


I am the first foole of all the whole navie 

To keepe the pompe, the helme, and eke the sayle : 

For this is my minde, this one pleasure have I, 
Of bookes to have great plentie and apparayle. 
I take no wisedome by them, nor yet avayle, 

Nor them perceave not, and then I them despise : 

Thus am I a foole, and all that sue that guise. 

* Such as Cranmer, Ridley, Tunstal, Gardiner, Cardinal Pole, Sir John 
Cheke, Dean Colet, Lilly the grammarian, Grocyn (one of our best early 
Grecians), Leland the father of English antiquities, Linacre, More, 
Ascham, Haddon, Buchanan, Parker, Andrewes, &c. Women also dis- 
tinguished themselves highly in classical literature, and Queen Elizabeth 
herself was an excellent scholar. 


But if it fortune that any learned men 

Within my house fall to disputacion, 
I drawe the curtaynes to shew my bokes then, 

That they of my cunning should make probation : 

I kepe not to fail in alterication. 

And while they commen, my bokes I turne and winde, 
For all is in them, and nothing in my minde. 


It had a velvet cap, 

And would sit upon my lap, 

And seke after smal wormes, 

And sometimes white bread crommes. 

Sometime he wold gaspe 

When he saw a waspe, 

A flye or a gnat, 

He wold fly at that, 

And pretely he wold pant 

When he saw an ant. 

Lord, how he wold hop 

After the gressop. 

Si in i qui ta tes 

Alas I was evil at ease, 

De profundis clamavi 

When I saw my sparowe dye. 


Of the prowde Cardinall this is the shelde, 
Borne up betwene two angels off Sathan, 
The six blouddy axes in a bare felde, 
Sheweth the cruelte of the red man, 
Whiche hath devoured the beautifull swan, 
Mortal enmy unto the whyte Lyon, 
Carter of Yorke, the vyle butcher's sonne. 


Some prieste, to bring up a pilgrimage in his parishe, may devise some 
false felowe fayning himselfe to come seke a saint in hys church, and 
there sodeinly say that he hath gotten hys syght. Than shall ye have 

s 3 


the belles rong for a miracle, and the fond folke of the countrey soon 
made foles. Than women commynge thither with theyr candels. And 
the Person byenge of some lame begger iii. or iiii. payre of theyr olde 
crutches, with xii. pennes spent in men and women of wex, thrust 
thorowe divers places, some with arrowes, and some with rusty knyves, 
will make his offerynges for one vij. yere worth twise hys tythes. 


But now the wounded quene with heavie care 
Throwgh out the vaines doth nourishe ay the plage, 
Surprised with blind flame, and to her minde 
Gan to resort the prowes of the man 
And honour of his race, whiles on her .brest 
Imprynted stake his wordes and forme of face, 
Ne to her lymmes care graunteth quiet rest. 


In the vii. of John, the priestes sente out certayne of the Jewes to 
bryng Christ unto them vyolentlye. When they came into the Temple 
and harde hym preache, they were so moved wyth his preachynge that 
they returned home agayne, and sayed to them that sente them, Nunquam 
sic locutus est homo ut hie homo, there was never man spake lyke thys 
man. Then answered the Pharysees, Nwm et vos seducti estisf What, 
ye braynsycke fooles, ye hoddy peckes, ye doddye poulles, ye huddes, do 
ye beleve hym ? are ye seduced also ? Nunquis ex principibus credidit 
in eum ? Did ye se any great man or any great offycer take hys part ? 
Doo ye se any boddy follow hym but beggerlye fyshers and suche as have 
nothynge to take to ? 

6. In this period commenced the great improvement of 
English prose literature. Perhaps the earliest instances are 
those of Sir Thomas More, especially his " Life and Reign 
of King Edward V.," written about 1513, in a very sweet 
and easy style ; his friend, Sir Thomas Elyot, also wrote 

* This is remarkable as being the first specimen of blank verse written 
by an Englishman ; but whether he invented it or borrowed it from 
the Italian is disputed. Surrey also introduced the sonnet into our 
poetry. The next writer of blank verse was Nicholas Grimoald, who was 
followed by Sackville, Earl of Dorset, in his tragedy of Gorboduc, which 
established its general use, at least in dramatic pieces. 


some pieces, and distinguished himself by executing a Latin 
and English dictionary. Among the leaders of the Reform- 
ation the best English prose writer was Cranmer, whose 
works are indeed sufficiently copious. 

The style of this time is remarkable for its simplicity, 
and even carelessness; it was formed entirely upon the 
popular dialect, especially as given in Chaucer and the other 
old poets, and was wholly free from those laboured ornaments 
with which authors of the later Elizabethan era abound. 
The first critical writer of his own language was Roger 
Ascham, tutor to Queen Elizabeth, who published his Toxo- 
philus (A.D. 1545), as a model of a pure English prose style. 
The general direction " to the Gentlemen and Yeomen of 
England," (borrowed from Aristotle,) is most admirable : " To 
speak as the common people do, to think as wise men do." 
He was followed by Thomas Wilson in his " Art of Rheto- 
rick " (1553), who complains bitterly of the number of foreign 
terms and phrases with which some were in the habit of " pow- 
dering their talk," whilst others were wont " so to Latin their 
tongues," that simple persons must think they spake by a 
revelation from heaven. A brother critic, Puttenham, whose 
" Arte of Poesie " appeared in 1582, after similar lamentations, 
lays down as the correct rule for speech or writing, "the 
usual speech of the court, and that of London, and the shires 
lying about London within sixty miles, and not much 

7. In spite of these well meant efforts, however, a singular 
affectation, called Euphuism, at length set in, and for a time 
bore all down before it. This extraordinary style, abounding 
in pedantic and far-fetched allusions, strange new words, 
roundabout sentences, constant puns and alliterations, de- 
rived its name from the " Euphues " of John Lyly, who 
wrote about the year 1578. So infatuated did the court be- 
come with this fantastical English, that it was considered 
unfashionable to speak in ordinary language. Partly in this 
style, but distinguished by a most poetical flow and a grace- 
ful stateliness of diction, is the celebrated " Arcadia " of the 
no less celebrated Sir Philip Sydney, which was published in 

s 4 


1593, several years after the death of the lamented author. 
Spenser, the poet, also stands forth as a prose writer in his 
"View of the State of Ireland," written about 1580. The 
greatest, however, of all, and perhaps of all writers that have 
ever appeared, was the illustrious Hooker, whose eight books 
of " The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity," published at in- 
tervals from 1594 to 1632 (the last long after his death), 
have ever since served as a perfect model of the dignified 
elaborate English style. 

8. The poetry of this great age, however, claims our chief 
attention. In the time of Henry VII. we find two names of 
some note, Stephen Hawes and Alexander Barklay. Their 
compositions, however, are not of a very high order, nor are 
they much surpassed by the rude yet free verses of the sati- 
rical Skelton in the early part of Henry VIII. Another 
bitter poetical satirist of that day was William Roy, the 
assistant of Tyndal in his translation of the New Testament, 
and a fierce opponent of Cardinal Wolsey. 

In this time, also, flourished John Heywood, the epigram- 
matist, who wrote besides some interludes and a long bur- 
lesque allegory upon the differences of religion, in which, 
saith old Harrison, " he dealeth so profoundly and beyond all 
measure of skill, that neither he himself that made it, neither 
any one that readeth it, can reach unto the meaning thereof.'' 
Indeed, at this time the Scottish poets were far superior to 
their brethren in England ; and one of them, William Dun- 
bar, excellent alike in serious and comic verse, may well de- 
serve to be called the Chaucer of Scotland. He flourished 
during the close of the 15th and beginning of the 16th cen- 
tury. He was followed by Sir David Lyndsay, a writer of 
great spirit, wit and variety. 

9. But a higher and nobler school of poetry soon arose in 
England, with the exquisite productions of Howard, Lord 
Surrey, whose career was sadly shortened by the capricious 
tyranny of Henry VIII. He was beheaded in his twenty- 
seventh year, on an obscure charge of treason, in 1547, a few 
days before the king's death, which his father, who was in- 
volved in the same accusation, more happily outlived. This 


gallant knight and accomplished poet sought his best models 
in Italy, and thence imported a refinement and polish which 
the language had hardly known before. The first publica- 
tion of his poems in 1557 comprised also those of Sir Thomas 
Wyatt, a less gentle but more forcible composer, who also 
exercised a considerable influence upon the general style of 
the day. Two years after appeared two pieces of Thomas 
Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, which exhibit a strength 
and splendour of imagination superior to almost any thing 
which had gone before. 

But all these bards sink into the shade before the genius 
of EDMUND SPENSER, the most truly poetical of all our 
ancient poets. His great work, the Faery Queen, presents 
the most extraordinary grouping of purely imaginative 
visions following each other in an endless series, and the 
most vivid embodiment of strictly allegorical characters, that 
have ever appeared in the English tongue. It was published 
in 1590 and 1596, though (to our irreparable loss) in an un- 
finished state. Side by side with this immortal spirit, stand 
the earliest pieces of WILLIAM SHAKSPERE, namely, his 
Venus and Adonis (1593), Tarquin and Lucrece (1594), 
Passionate Pilgrim (1599), and his Sonnets, which did not, 
however, appear in print till 1609.* Shakspere's early poetry, 
though full of his peculiar genius, is much involved in the 
quaintnesses and conceits of the day, and cannot by any 
means be placed upon a level with his incomparable Plays. 
These latter, together with the productions of the other great 
dramatists towards the close of the Elizabethan age, may be 
taken more conveniently in connexion with the succeeding 
period, to which they partly belong, and in which their art 
was carried to its utmost perfection. It may be well, how- 
ever, to repeat, that the origin of the drama in England may 
be found in the old miracle plays, and their successors, the 
moralities, which, along with the physique of the stage, will 
be again noticed under the head of Manners and Customs. 

* Need it be added that Shakspere was born at the far-famed War- 
wickshire town of Stratford-on-Avon, in the year 1564, and died at his 
native place in 1616 ? 


10. Before the close of the 16th century, scientific spe- 
culations had made rapid advances throughout the Continent, 
and extended in some degree to England : trigonometry, 
algebra, and arithmetic, had been brought almost to perfec- 
tion in Germany and Italy ; the true system of the universe 
had been pointed out by Copernicus ; and the instruments of 
astronomical observation vastly improved by Tycho Brahe: 
the variation of the compass had been observed by Columbus ; 
and mechanics and optics had received the most important 
aids. The eye, in particular, which had been assisted by 
spectacles since the early part of the 14th century, was now 
carefully studied, and some of its peculiarities displayed. 
The structure and functions of the human body were also 
diligently examined, both in Italy and France ; and the 
Hippocratic method in medicine cultivated and advanced, 
as well as new and improved systems of treatment introduced. 
The foundations of modern zoology had been already laid by 
Gesner and Aldrovandus ; botany was revived by Brunfels 
and Fuchs (from whom the well known plant Fuchsia 
derives its name) ; and chemistry pursued in a more scientific 
fashion by Agricola, Paracelsus, Bartholetus, and others ; 
several new metals were discovered, and the science of 
mineralogy, with some indications even of geology, opened 

In England medicine was practised, and taught on the 
principles of the ancient physicians, early in the 16th cen- 
tury, by the learned Linacre, founder of the medical lec- 
tureships at Oxford and Cambridge, and first President of the 
College of Physicians founded by Henry VIII. in 1518. 
He was followed by John Key or Caius, who endowed 
Caius' College at Cambridge, and lived through the dreadful 
sweating sickness which ravaged this country at intervals 
from 1485 to 1551, when, in Westminster alone, it carried 
off 120 persons in one day. In botany and zoology some 
valuable works were published by William Turner in 1551, and 
in subsequent years ; the north and south poles of the magnet 
were described by Robert Norman in 1581 ; and at the head 
of the modern sciences of navigation and electricity stands 


Dr. William Gilbert, the supposed inventor of artificial 
magnets, whose treatise appeared in 1600. Bishop Tunstall 
published a Latin treatise on arithmetic in 1522, but of no 
great merit. The first English writer of any excellence who 
wrote in his native tongue on arithmetic, geometry, or as- 
tronomy, and to whom we owe, moreover, the introduction of 
algebra, and, perhaps, of the Copernican system, was William 
Recorde, whose first work appeared in 1551. A contemporary 
Copernican was John Field, although the system of Ptolemy 
was still openly taught. In 1573 the first English transla- 
tion of Euclid was published by Dr. Dee, the famous astro- 
loger and magician, but the work was probably executed by 
Sir Henry Billingsley.* Dee wrote some other astronomical 
works, and, in conjunction with Recorde and Leonard, and 
Thomas Digges (the latter of whom gave the first notice in 
English of spherical trigonometry), may be placed at the 
head of mathematical science in this country during the 16th 

11. The history of ecclesiastical architecture, which had 
reached its extreme point of richness in the 15th century, 
may be considered as terminating with the reign of 
Henry VII., no building of consequence being originated 
under his successor, or even in the 16th century, except the 
abbey church of Bath, which was begun in 1500. This, of 
itself, is sufficient to show that there is no such intimate 
connexion between the measures of the Reformation and the 
decline of architecture, as has been often supposed ; although 
the destruction of the monastic revenues may have no 
doubt assisted in producing a less expensive or laborious 
mode of building. 

The DEBASED style of Tudor Gothic may be dated from 

* The first Latin translation of the " Elements of Euclid," by Cam- 
panus, appeared at Venice in 1482, and the original Greek was printed 
in 1530. In 1543 they were turned into Italian by Tartalea, into German 
by Scheubel and Holtzmann, in 1562 and 1565, and into French by 
Henrion, probably in 1565. Dee's translation seems to have been either 
originally made, or at least corrected, from the Greek text, and contained 
the whole of the fifteen books commonly considered as the Elements. 




the year 1540, and continued to about the middle of the 
17th century, although it is difficult to assign a precise date 

Late Perpendicular Roof Chantry, Tong Church, Salop. 

for either its introduction or discontinuance. Its charac- 
teristics are a general heaviness and negligence of detail ; 
doorways with exceedingly depressed arch-heads, or plain 
round tops keystoned after the Italian semi-classic style, 
which now began to prevail ; square-headed windows, with 
plain vertical mullions and undecorated lights, or pointed, 

Debased Window Ladbrook Church, Warwickshire. 

with simple intersections and wretched tracery. Shallow and 
flat carved panelling, with round arches, arabesques, scroll 




work, and other nondescript ornaments, adorned the pews, 
pulpits, and screens ; and, as if to immortalise the peculiarities 
of their barbarism, the builders generally introduced a stone 
in the masonry, or a carved board in the woodwork, with the 
date of erection, staring forth in broad unmistakeable figures. 
By the commencement of the 18th century, however, this 
coarse mixture of impure Gothic and half classical forms had 
entirely disappeared, and the unblended Italian mode appears 
to have generally prevailed. 

12. The internal arrangements of churches also under- 
went a considerable change during this period. The seats 
for the congregation were anciently a solid mass of masonry 
raised against the wall, and open wooden benches or pew- 
work are rarely found before the 15th century; nor was it 
till about the middle of the 17th century that high closed 

Rood Sherbourne Church, Dorsetshire. 

pews and galleries were set up, ornamented with the flat 
shallow carved work of the time. Pulpits, whether stone or 


wooden, are but seldom found of an earlier date than the 
15th century, and even then not universally. Those of the 
reign of Edward VI. are also rare, and even of Elizabeth 
not very common. Their ornaments varied of course with 
the style of the period. The splendid carved roodlofts, with 
their figures of our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and St. John, 
were generally destroyed at the Reformation, and the royal 
arms set up over the chancel arch ; but the rood-screen on 
which they had been supported, and which extended across 
the opening from the nave into the choir, was not unfre- 
quently allowed to remain, as were also the curiously carved 
stalls in the choir. The ancient reading desk was a small 
moveable lectern, like those still seen in cathedrals ; and the 
large modern reading-pew or desk is first noticed in the 
canons of 1603. 

But the greatest change was in the altar, which, from a 
massive stone slab marked with crosses, covered with rich 
frontal cloths, consecrated and anointed, and fitted up with 
crucifix, candlesticks, pix and monstrance, wine and water 
cups, sacring bell, pax table, holy water stoup, thurible or 
censer, chrismatory, offering basin, chalice and paten ; with 

Decorated Piscina and Tomb Long Wittenham Church, Berks. 

its accompaniments of sedilia, piscina, credence table, locker 
or aumbry for the paten and chalice, holy sepulchre, reredos, 




and enclosed relics *-, was suddenly converted into a wooden 
table left purposely loose from the wall, decently covered with 
carpet or silk, and ornamented only with the ten command- 
ments painted up on either side. These communion-tables were 

Ancient Communion Table Sunningwell Church, Berks. 

often richly carved in the legs, and were first enclosed with rails 
in the beginning of the 17th century. The credence table 

* The pix was a small box in which the host was reserved for the 
sick ; the sacring bell was rung upon its elevation and adoration, and 
the monstrance was a vessel of glass or crystal, in which it was exposed to 
the view of the congregation ; the pax table of silver or metal was placed 
to receive the kiss of peace before the communion was received ; the 
chrismatory for the sacred oil used in extreme unction ; the sediiia were 
a row of stone seats varying from one to five in number, in the south 
wall of the chancel for the officiating priest and his attendants ; the pis- 
cina, a hollow stone drain in an ornamented niche in the wall, into which 
the priest poured the water in which he washed his hands or rinsed the 
chalice before and after the consecration of the elements ; the credence 
table (from the Italian, credenzare, to taste beforehand, from the practice 
of cup-bearers tasting the wine at feasts), a shelf of stone or wood over 
the piscina, on which the necessary vessels were placed ready for use 
(in the early church this was supplied by a side table called the TrpoBtm^ 
or table of preparation) ; the holy sepulchre was a moveable wooden 
structure placed in a large arch in the north wall on Good Friday, for 
the reception of the crucifix and host, which were solemnly watched there 
till Easter Sunday ; and the reredos was a rich screen of tabernacle work 
at the back of the altar. 


was, however, occasionally retained, and the altar-like re- 
verence still shown to the communion-table was a frequent 
cause of complaint amongst the rigid Puritans ; who, at length, 
during the Commonwealth, took it entirely away from the 
east end of the church, and placed it so that the communicants 
might sit quite round it. The fresco paintings of Scriptural 
subjects on the walls were obliterated by coats of whitewash, 
and texts of Scripture inscribed in their place. Even in 
matters indifferent, the ardour of Reformation often led to 
such wanton spoliation and needless injury, that the royal 
authority was at length called in to suppress the total dese- 
cration of churches by the rude hand of pretended improve- 

13. What was lost, however, in ecclesiastical architecture, 
was in some degree made up in domestic, which now assumed 
an air of magnificence unknown to the old castellated times. 
The first instance of an English royal palace (that happy 
combination of house and castle) built upon a regular plan 
and in the peculiar Tudor style, is the palace of Sheen, at 
Richmond, erected by Henry VII. The most striking cha- 
racteristics of this style are the multiplicity of domed turrets, 
gables, and richly ornamented groups of chimnies, with im- 
mense surfaces of window, and large projecting oriels of fine 
character. The gateways, indeed, retain much of their old 
castellated forms and proportions, but are also frequently 
decorated with lofty oriel windows. Tracery is now almost 
entirely laid aside, carving sparingly introduced, and the 
cornices and other mouldings reduced to the most simple 
forms. Brick had by this time come into great use as a 
material for building, and much of the rich effect in our old 
mansions depends upon the lively contrast between it and 
the surrounding stone work. 

14. The foreign artists who entered the service of Henry 
VIII. brought with them the classical architecture which 
they had just seen revived in Italy, in which country, indeed, 
the Gothic had never been perfectly received. The effects 
of this innovation upon ecclesiastical buildings have been 
already noticed, and it now remains to trace its influence 


upon the residences of the higher ranks. Until the middle 
of the 16th century, however, it was only perceived in the 
decorations, the design and construction of the fabric being 
still left to native genius ; traces of this character may be 
especially found in the old drawings of the celebrated palace 
of Nonsuch, at Cheam in Surrey, built by Henry VIII. 

From the arrival of John of Padua and his appointment to 
the office of "Deviser of his Majesty's Buildings," in 1544, 
may be dated the complete introduction of Italian or Palladian 
architecture into England. This architect was a pupil of the 
Lombard School, to which Venice owes so many picturesque 
edifices, and erected his first great mansion in London for the 
use of the Protector Somerset. From this time a combina- 
tion of the Gothic and the richer classical styles universally 
took place, but in very various degrees, and with more or 
less propriety of union, according to the taste and skill of the 

15. By the progress of this new style the whole plan and 
arrangement of the mansion, both within and without, was 
soon materially affected. Now first came in the stately 
Terrace, with its broad flights of steps descending into an 
Italianised garden filled with marble fountains and grottos, 
vases and mythological figures, and all manner of quaint 
conceits. The great hall was now appropriated to its 
modern use of a mere entrance, and the Italian mode of 
placing the principal apartments on the upper floor led to the 
enlargement and decoration of the staircase, henceforth a main 
feature in the construction of a house. The great gallery on 
the upper floor was also found to be a necessary appendage 
for the splendid pageants and immense entertainments of the 
age. Fine existing specimens of the larger mansions may be 
found at Longleat, Burleigh, Hatfield, Hardwick Hall, &c. &c. 

16. The smaller country houses of the Anglo-Italian school 
show an equal advance in social comforts, but town buildings, 
so long, at least, as they continued to be built of timber, pre- 
served their ancient form, by which their perishable material 
was best protected from destruction, and the utmost economy 
of room obtained by tiers of overhanging stories. In their 





ornamental details, however, they conformed generally to the 
taste of the day. Meaner dwellings were still so wretched 


The Duke's House, Bradford. (Richardson's Elizabethan Architecture.) 

that Erasmus justly attributes the frequent attacks of sweating 
sickness to their defective ventilation, as well as to the ex- 
treme uncleanliness of the inhabitants; the close fixed windows 
keeping out the air when it was really wanted, and the 
numerous chinks in the walls letting it in when it was 
positively injurious. The general introduction of chimneys, 
however, which took place in the 16th century, would, no 
doubt, remedy, in a great degree, this inconvenience. 

17. Painting and sculpture had attained their greatest 
excellence in Italy at the beginning of the 1 6th century, and 
the names of Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaelle, Michael Angelo, 
&c., had already shed an everlasting light upon the memory 
of foreign art ; but in England either the pressure of sterner 
business, or the native disposition to purchase rather than 
produce, seems to have quenched the home-born genius of 


the land. To stranger artists, and especially to our dear 
foster-son, Hans Holbein, do we owe our connexion, in any 
way, with the progress of painting in the early part of this 
period. This eminent man first arrived in England, with an 
introduction to Sir Thomas More, in 1526, but ere long the 
king took him into his own service, and assigned him an 
apartment at Whitehall, with a salary of 200 florins, besides 
separate payment for each of his pictures. In this country 
his pencil was almost entirely devoted to portraits, although 
in former times he had successfully studied the higher 
branches of the art. The great sculptor under Henry VIII. 
was Pietro Torregiano, a Florentine, who executed (with 
the help of some English assistants) the splendid tomb of 
Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey. Henry VIII. had de- 
signed a magnificent monument for himself and Jane Sey- 
mour, to be wrought by another Italian^ but it was discon- 
tinued at his death, and its remains were melted down by 
the parliament in 1646. He formed, moreover, a collection 
of pictures, which contained some of the best Italian and 
Flemish productions, and became the nucleus of that under 
Charles I. 

18. Under Mary we find a Dutch painter of some merit, Sir 
Antonio More, who came over to paint her portrait, but at 
the queen's death he returned to the continent. Elizabeth 
seems to have had no real taste for the arts, and to have en- 
couraged portrait painting chiefly for the gratification of her 
own vanity. Most of her artists were still of Dutch or Flemish 
origin, with the exception of one Italian (Zucchero) ; but 
native genius at length appears in our Nicholas Hilliard, a 
very talented miniature painter, and his still superior pupil, 
Isaac Oliver. Sculpture during the latter part of the 16th 
century has little to present to our notice, except that the 
kneeling attitude was substituted on tombs for the recum- 
bent. The figures, however, were of a poor cast, and deco- 
rative sculpture was in little better condition. This state of 
the art in England was strongly contrasted with that in 
France, where a finished school of sculpture was now flourish- 
ing in high perfection. 

T 2 


1 9. In music, however, our countrymen had begun to distin- 
guish themselves, and to rival, and even surpass, their brethren 
on the Continent. The actual invention, indeed, of music in 
parts, written freely, and not restrained by the laws of simple 
counterpoint, has been ascribed by an Italian writer to John 
of Dunstable, who flourished about the middle of the 15th 
century, and was highly esteemed both in his own and in 
foreign countries. It is certain, however, that the anthems 
and madrigals of Christopher Tye (admitted Doctor in Music 
in 1545) were superior to most of the continental productions 
of his time. Contemporary with him were Tallis and Birde, 
who united in composing a noble collection of sacred music 
with Latin words, which is still highly esteemed. Tallis's 
pieces, indeed, are familiar to this hour in our cathedrals, and 
Birde is generally admitted to have been the author of that 
inimitable canon, Non nobis, Domine. Another composer of 
the day was Marbeck, whose Preces and Responses are still 
retained in use. Henry VIII. himself honoured the art with 
his services, and a very tolerable motet and an anthem by the 
royal musician have been preserved. The age was, in fact, 
decidedly musical, every gentleman being expected to play or 
sing in company, and even the grave chancellor, Sir Thomas 
More, thought it not beneath him to dress occasionally in a 
surplice and join the choir in Chelsea church. The musical 
establishment of Edward VI., who was himself a proficient, 
was upon an extremely grand scale, consisting of 1 14 persons, 
besides boy-choristers, the annual expense of which was 22097. 
Amongst his Gentlemen of the Chapel were Richard Farrant, 
a most devout and tender composer, and Dr. Bull, first pro- 
fessor of music at Gresham College, and very famous in his 
own time. 

Under Elizabeth the madrigal attained its perfection, and 
amongst its more distinguished votaries were Thomas Morley, 
John Dowland, and especially John Wilbye, the first madri- 
galist, perhaps, that ever wrote in any country. The name 
of John Bennet may also be added, and of John Milton 
(father of the poet), which latter composed many good psalrn 
tunes, and in particular the one so well known as York 


20. Of the popular music of the 16th century we do not 
know quite so much, but although it was certainly inferior in 
pathos to the Irish melodies of the same date, it appears to 
have been quite equal to any thing produced on the Continent. 
Several airs have been preserved in the Virginal Book of 
Queen Elizabeth, who was well skilled in music, and sang 
and played with some sweetness. It is strange that no popu- 
lar ballad was produced on the defeat of the Armada, but a 
graceful sort of hymn was written just before its descent, 
which has come down to our times. The light and joyous 
air of Green Sleeves, composed in the reign of that queen, 
was subsequently introduced in the Beggar's Opera, and will 
in consequence never be forgotten. 

21. The manufacture of woollen cloth both for the home and 
foreign market still retained its old pre-eminence, and gave 
employment to several distinct classes of workmen, besides 
many artisans engaged in the construction of its necessary 
tools. It was carried on, indeed, on a small scale, as the 
policy of the times discouraged the introduction of machinery ; 
and the clothiers were often of a very humble class. The 
West Biding of Yorkshire and the West of England were 
already great seats of this manufacture, and clothing towns 
arose during this period in several other counties : Man- 
chester being especially noted for its rugs and friezes. The 
worsted manufacture was chiefly seated in the Eastern 
counties, where many foreign workmen had settled, who were 
driven out of the Netherlands by the wars in the latter part 
of Elizabeth's reign. These new-comers were exceedingly 
useful, and introduced many unusual processes in manufactures. 
Connected with the business of the clothier is the art of 
making soap, which was brought into London about 1524, 
and of dyeing, which was now much improved by the impor- 
tation of new dye woods from Brazil. In 1552 the colours 
of cloths to be sold in the kingdom were strictly settled by 
statute, as, indeed, legislation attempted, at that time, to in- 
terfere most vexatiously with every branch of manufacturing 

The linen manufacture was not of much consequence during 

T 3 


this period ; but some encouragement was afforded to it by 
parliament under Henry VIII. ; nor was silk weaving in 
much better condition. The stocking-frame was invented by 
William Lee, an Englishman, about 1589 ; but not meeting 
with any assistance at home, he carried his improvement to 
France. Sail-cloth was not made in this country till about 
1591 ; cables and ropes for ships were then mostly made at 
Bridport in Dorsetshire. The manufacture of woollen caps, 
which had formerly employed a great number of persons, and 
been carefully guarded by law from the encroachments of 
machinery, was now gradually superseded by the use of felt 
hats, notwithstanding several prohibitions of their use. 

22. Iron works were extensively carried on in Kent, Sussex, 
and Surrey, with wood for fuel, which was, however, growing 
scarcer and scarcer every day ; and iron wire was drawn by 
machinery, in 1565, in the Forest of Dean. The manufac- 
ture of pins was now also introduced, previous to which ladies' 
dresses were fastened with ribbons, laces, clasps, and " skewers" 
of brass, silver, or gold. Some improvements were made in 
the tanning of leather, by which the process was rendered 
more rapid. 

Of the ordinary mechanical crafts we have but little informa- 
tion, but they, no doubt, partook of the general advancement 
of the time. So great was the number of foreign artificers 
in London, especially in the more costly articles, and so bitter 
the jealousy of the natives, that, in 1517, a fatal insurrection 
against all strangers, fomented unhappily by a clergyman, 
broke out in the city, where it was long after remembered 
with sorrow under the name of " Evil May Day." 




1. THE military costume under Henry VII. is distinguished 
by the war helmet, which was shaped to the head and fur- 
nished with a pipe behind instead of on the top, from which 
one or more feathers of great length trailed down the back. 
Passguards or plates rising perpendicularly on the shoulders 
to guard the neck, belong to this reign, as well as the globular 
breast-plate of one piece with a petticoat or puckered skirt of 
velvet over an apron of mail, and sometimes a steel skirt 
made in imitation of the velvet, and called lamboys, from 
the French lambeaux, shreds. Fluted suits of armour now 
first appear, and the toes of the sollerets are preposterously 
wide instead of being pointed. Long cuishes, composed of 
overlapping plates down to the knee, below which the armour 
was occasionally discontinued, were worn by the demi-lancers 
and infantry. The tilting-helmet is very flat topped, with a 
sharp angle in front, and surmounted by the chaplet and 
crest ; and the shield is very fantastically shaped. The tabard- 
of-arms now ceased to be generally worn, and altogether dis- 
appeared after this reign. 

Of offensive weapons the sword is marked by a ridge 
down the centre on both sides, and the halberd has become a 
regular weapon of the infantry. The harquebus, furnished 
with a matchlock shaped like the letter S reversed, was now 
brought into common use, and the yeomen of the guard, who 
were established by Henry VII., were armed half with guns 
and half with bows and arrows. 

2. The great peculiarity of the armour of Henry VIII. is 
the revival of what is called the tapul on the breast-plate, by 
which, from being globose, it was sloped off to a sharp ridge 
down the centre. Raised armour now appears, the ground 

T 4 




being kept black, and the pattern (which was raised about the 
tenth of an inch) carefully polished. It was also sometimes 

Suit of Armour presented to Henry VIII. by the Emperor Maximilian. (In the Tower.) 

puffed and ribbed in imitation of the slashed dresses of the 
day. The tilting helmet now goes out altogether, and is 
superseded by what is called a coursing-hat with a menton- 
niere or throat-piece, which was, however, but a revived variety 
of the sallet and gorget of the preceding age. The wheel- 
lock gun was now introduced from Italy, and the dag or 
pistol, so called from its being made at Pistoia in Tuscany. 
Many splendid specimens of armour worn at this time are 
still preserved in the Tower. 


3. Under Mary and Elizabeth the armour began generally 
to terminate at the knee, complete suits being used only 
for jousting. The peculiar head-piece, called the morion, first 
appears under Mary, but it underwent various alterations 
during the reign of Elizabeth. The breast-plates were now 
made very thick, so as to be bullet proof, and towards the 
close of the latter reign came down very low on the body, 
like the doublets of the day, from which article of dress 
the armour, indeed, generally borrowed its prevailing shape. 
The fire-arms were increased by the addition of carabines, 
petronels, and dragons. Troops called carabins are first men- 
tioned as a sort of light cavalry in 1559. The petronel was 
so called from its being fired from the chest (poitrine), and 
the dragon from being ornamented with the head of one, 
whence the troops using it were called dragoons. The art 
of making gunpowder and of casting cannon was much 
improved in the reign of Elizabeth. 

4. The present period witnessed the complete extinction 
of the once all-ruling spirit of chivalry, although its outward 
form still appeared to grace the royal festivals; but the 
military character of the joust and tournament was now 
scarcely recognisable ; the spears were pointless, the swords 
edgeless, the number of blows regularly measured, and the 
whole spectacle reduced to a mere holiday sport or pageant. 
Henry VIII., indeed, in the commencement of his reign, 
being himself a lusty j ouster, strove hard to revive its former 
glories, but without success ; whilst Edward and Mary dis- 
countenanced the tilt-yard, and it was only re-opened under 
Elizabeth for the display of horsemanship and elegant de- 
meanour. In its place came the graceful exercise of riding 
at the ring, and the less laudable practice of the duello or duel, 
from which last an entirely new system of fence gradually 

Instructors in the use of the sword soon became very 
numerous, and so important, that under Henry VIII. they 
were formed into a corporation by letters patent, and certain 
titles and privileges conferred on them according to their 
degrees of proficiency. The first mode of fighting thus in- 
troduced was with sword and buckler, in which they only 


struck with the edge, and never below the girdle. A des- 
perate fellow, named Rowland York, however, in the time 
of Elizabeth, brought in the more dangerous rapier, whose 
fatal thrust was parried by a dagger in the left hand. Oc- 
casionally two rapiers were used, one in each hand, and, as 
the length of the weapon naturally gave a great advantage, 
some bullies wore their tucks or swords extravagantly long ; 
but this was put down by Elizabeth, who stationed grave 
citizens at every gate of London to break the points of any 
rapiers which were more than a yard in length. One happy 
consequence of the alteration in fencing was, that quarrels 
grew less frequent as the weapons employed became more 

5. In archery also a great change took place during this 
period. Under Henry VII. and Henry VIII. the long-bow 
was still the principal arm of the English army, and pro- 
ficiency in its use was attempted to be kept up by statutes 
imposing heavy fines on such as employed the cross-bow or 
hand-gun, and requiring constant practice in shooting from 
such as were able to use the ancient weapon. But the more 
effective fire-arm soon carried the day, and in a very few 
years after the death of the latter king the "cloth yard shaft" 
was scarcely to be seen in battle. Towards the close of 
Elizabeth full liberty was given on the subject of shooting, 
and the long-bow was henceforth appropriated to the purposes 
of the chase or of mere exercise. The art of warfare was 
now much improved, and under Elizabeth young men of dis- 
tinction were in the habit of frequenting the wars on the 
Continent for practice in military affairs. 

6. The permanent royal navy of England owes its origin to 
Henry VIII. At first that monarch had but one ship of his 
own, the Great Harry (built in 1488), to which a second was 
added by the capture of a Scottish pirate's vessel. In 1512, 
however, he built the Regent at Woolwich, which is described 
as the largest ship yet seen in England, weighing 1000 
tons, and calculated to carry 700 men.* Henry VIII. also 

* This ship was unfortunately blown up with all her 700 men on board, 
in an engagement with the French fleet a few months after she put to 



instituted the first navy office, with the naval yards and 
storehouses at Woolwich and Deptford, and founded the 
Corporation of the Trinity House for the regulation of pilots 
and the ordering of beacons, lighthouses, buoys, &c., to which 
he afterwards added subordinate establishments at Hull and 

The Ship Harry Grace a Dieu. (From a Drawing in the Pepysian Library, Cambridge.)* 

Newcastle. He also, about 1525, erected, at great expense, 
the first pier at Dover, and exerted himself to improve the 
harbours of Devonshire and Cornwall. At the close of his 
reign the royal navy (classed as ships, galeasses, pinnaces, 
and row-barges) amounted to 12,455 tons of shipping. It 
declined, however, a good deal under Edward and Mary. 

7. Under Queen Elizabeth, the "Kestorer of Naval Glory" 
and " Queen of the Northern Seas," as she is entitled by old 

sea ; on which another, still larger, was built, named the Grace a Dieu, 
which carried 80 guns of various sizes, and was the first English three- 

* Built by Henry VIII. in the fourth year of his reign. 


Camden, the navy received considerable accessions of force, 
and at the close of her reign amounted to 17,110 tons. The 
greatest of her ships at that time is said to have measured 
1000 tons, and to have carried 340 seamen and 40 cannon; 
but she appears to have had some still larger in the course 
of her reign. For the better defence of her ships she built 
a castle on the Medway, which was then the usual harbour 
for the fleet, and made the service more popular by aug- 
menting the mariner's pay. 

The little fleet which so gallantly encountered the Armada 
in 1588, consisted, according to one account, of 117 ships, 
containing 11,120 men; and by another of 181 ships, of 
which 34 were men-of-war (five of these being from 800 to 
1000 tons each), and the rest private adventurers or pressed 
merchant vessels. In the Armada itself there were only 
three ships superior in size to the largest English vessel 
(the Triumph, of 1100 tons), but then there were 45 ships 
ranging from 600 to 1000 tons; and though the English 
fleet really outnumbered the Spanish, its entire tonnage was 
less by one half. The superior seamanship and gunnery of 
the English upon that great occasion are too well known 
to require further notice here, as are also the names and 
characters of the great naval officers Hawkins, Frobisher, 
Cavendish, and Drake. 




1. THE spirit of enterprise and commercial adventure,, 
which so peculiarly distinguishes the English nation, sprang 
up in the 16th century with a power and might which had 
never been felt before. The encouragement of trade had, it 
is true, been a subject of much consideration with Henry 
VII., but the policy of that monarch was not much in advance 
of preceding ages. Several commercial treaties of importance 
were entered into, however, especially with Denmark and 
Florence, and the company of Merchant Adventurers of 
London (incorporated in 1505) rose to a consequence which 
they soon abused by assuming an entire monopoly of the 
foreign trade ; nor did Henry's parliament altogether deny 
the extravagant claim of these merchants to exact a payment 
from private individuals for the privilege of trading, but 
merely limited their charge to the sum of ten marks. 

The wealthiest and most important cities at this time in 
England were London, York, Coventry, Norwich, Chester, 
Worcester, Exeter, Bristol, Southampton, Boston, Hull, and 
Newcastle-on-Tyne. As trade and manufactures advanced, 
however, the old corporate towns began to decay, and less 
fettered places to outrival them. 

2. Two grand events in the history of discovery occurred 
in the reign of Henry VIL, which soon gave an entirely new 
direction as well as character to the commerce of Europe. 
These were the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope 
(discovered by Bartholomew Diaz in 1487, and afterwards 
completed by Vasco de Gama in 1497-98), and the disclosure 
of the New World by the memorable voyage of Columbus 
in 1492. The honour of this last exploit might have been 


largely shared by England had not an unfortunate circum- 
stance prevented Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of the 
great Christopher, from reaching the court of Henry VII. in 
time to procure the patronage which he sought, but which 
his brother had, in the mean time, found in Spain. This loss 
was, however, partly made up by the enterprise of John Cabot 
and his son Sebastian, Venetians settled at Bristol, who set 
off on a voyage of discovery under the sanction of the king, 
in 1497, and succeeded in making the north-eastern coast of 
America, and afterwards the Gulf of Mexico. Sebastian 
Cabot was also employed by the king in 1517 to discover 
a north-west passage, and is said to have actually entered 
Hudson's Bay. In 1500 and again in 1502 Henry issued 
fresh commissions for the discovery and investing of new 
lands ; none of which, however, were attended with any 
success, nor does any advantage seem to have been taken 
of the countries which the Cabots had already placed in 
his power. 

3. The channel of intercourse opened with India round the 
Cape changed almost immediately the current of commerce, 
which shifted from the Venetians to the Portuguese, whose 
capital soon became the grand centre of Eastern commodities. 
The trade also increased prodigiously, and it has been calcu- 
lated that the value of the spices alone brought from Lisbon 
to the intermediate mart of Antwerp exceeded a million of 
crowns yearly. New articles, too, such as sugar, ginger, and 
other productions of the Spanish West Indies, now began to 
come into the market, besides vast quantities of gold. The 
force of this influx could not but be felt in England, although 
our country had not as yet directly embarked in either trade, 
and a decided increase accordingly took place in the wealth 
and general comforts of all classes during this reign. 

4. Under Henry VIII. the foreign trade with all its ad- 
vantages continued to spread rapidly throughout the land, 
and being chiefly carried on with the great emporium of 
Antwerp, it was of consequence sufficient to put a stop to a 
threatened war with the emperor in 1528, which would have 
necessarily destroyed its course. Trading voyages to distant 


quarters were now occasionally undertaken by the English, 
amongst whom we find, in 1530, the enterprising Captain 
William Hawkins of Plymouth sailing to Guinea and Brazil 
for elephants' teeth, &c. These voyages soon became com- 
mon. A great trade was also commenced in 1511 with the 
Levant and Syria in woollen cloths, calfskins, &c., which 
were exchanged for silks, camlets, cotton, spices, and wines. 
A voyage of this kind generally occupied a whole year, and 
was considered very difficult and dangerous. 

An important restriction was taken off commerce in the 
last year of this monarch's reign by the total repeal of 
the old usury laws, and by the permission to take interest 
at the rate of ten per cent, per annum. Towards its close 
the internal trade of the country was also aided by the 
attention which was paid to the repair of streets and highways. 
The first act in the Statute Book on this important subject 
was passed in 1523, and had reference to the weald of Kent. 
In 1532-3 an act was passed for the paving of that "very 
noyous, foul, and jeopardous" highway, the Strand, by 
the owners of houses and lands along its course, a measure 
which was soon extended to the other thoroughfares in and 
about London. The country roads at this time were, no 
doubt, wretched enough, but still so much improved that 
government expresses could be conveyed from London to 
Edinburgh in about four days. 

5. In 1548 Sebastian Cabot returned to England, and was 
gladly received by Edward VI., who bestowed on him a 
pension of 250 marks (1667. 13s. 4e?.), and consulted him upon 
all matters relating to navigation and trade. By his advice 
in 1553 a company of merchants was formed, of which he 
was chosen governor, for the prosecution of maritime dis- 
covery, especially in reference to the much desired northern 
passage to China and other eastern countries. Three ships 
were subsequently sent out under Sir Hugh Willoughby ; but 
the crews of two with their commander were frozen to death 
in Russian Lapland, and the third alone, commanded by 
Richard Chancellor, found its way into the White Sea, 
which had not been visited by a vessel from England since 


the days of Alfred. Chancellor made good use of his happy 
escape, for he obtained from the Czar Iwan Basilowitz some 
valuable trading privileges, out of which arose, in the next 
reign, the English Russia Company, a very flourishing and 
important association. 

The cod-fishery of Newfoundland had been carried on for 
a long time by foreign ships, but the English had made no 
attempt to engage in it till 1536 ; this trade became of 
consequence, however, in the time of Edward VI., who freed 
it from some restrictions unwisely imposed by the Admiralty. 
A less sensible act was that of 1552, which restored, on pro- 
fessedly religious grounds, the old usury laws, and prohibited, 
on pain of forfeiture of the principal, besides fine and im- 
prisonment, all taking of interest whatsoever. The effect of 
this statute was simply to increase the usury which it sought 
to check, and accordingly, in 1571, it was repealed, and the 
act of Henry VIII. revived. 

The most important measure of this reign in relation to 
foreign trade was the abolition of the privileges of the Steel- 
yard Company. This ancient association of the German or 
Hanseatic merchants in England had latterly lost a good 
deal of its power through the various changes in the track of 
commerce, which had raised Antwerp so much above Lubeck, 
Hamburgh, and Dantsic, and other companies and even 
private traders were beginning to compete successfully with 
them. Their greatest rivals were the Merchant-adventurers, 
who succeeded, at length, in obtaining the withdrawal of 
their exclusive rights in 1552 ; but they still struggled on 
till 1597, when Elizabeth, taking advantage of an attack 
upon the Merchant-adventurers in Germany by the Emperor 
Rodolph, shut up their house and put an entire end to their 
existence as a company. The presence of these privileged 
foreigners had, indeed, been necessary in former times, when 
native capital and enterprise hardly existed in the country, 
but now that these had attained to full vigour, their old 
fosterers were found to be sadly in the way. 

6. Under Mary the Russian Company actively prosecuted 
its commercial schemes, and sent out an agent to Russia, who 


exerted himself to open a trade with Persia, and conducted 
their affairs with great prudence and success. The event 
which most affected foreign commerce in this reign was the 
taking of Calais by the French in 1558. This ancient port, 
which had been held by England for 211 years, and which 
had dispensed our wool, lead, tin, and rude manufactures, 
over the continent, was now replaced as a staple by Bruges 
in the Netherlands. 

The first general statute for repair of the highways, passed 
in the second and third of Philip and Mary, may serve to 
show the growth of the internal trade of the country. It 
enacts, that two surveyors of the highways shall be annually 
elected in every parish, and that the parishioners shall attend 
four days a year for the repair of the roads, with wains, 
oxen and horses, and able men, according to the quantity of 
land occupied by each; householders, cottagers, and others 
not having land, to hire labourers or give their personal work 
and travail. Upon this statute were founded all our highway 
acts till the time of Charles II., when regular tolls or turn- 
pikes were first introduced. 

7. The reign of Elizabeth ushers in a busier scene of 
national industry, and commerce from this moment assumes 
something like the wonderful expansion of modern times. 
In her very first parliament a greater liberality of thought 
and feeling is evinced by a statute considerably relaxing the old 
navigation laws. These laws, which prohibited the export or 
import of merchandise by English subjects in any but English 
ships, had provoked measures of retaliation on the part of 
foreign princes, by which the English merchants were " sore 
grieved and endamaged." Goods were now allowed to be 
exported and imported in foreign bottoms upon payment of 
the aliens' customs ; and the two great companies of Merchant- 
adventurers, and Merchants of the Staple, were further em- 
powered twice in the year to export from the Thames in 
foreign vessels, on payment only of the ordinary duties. 

At this time the trade between England and the Nether- 
lands was very great greater, perhaps, in proportion than any 
which we now carry on with any single country on the earth. 



The value of the wool yearly exported to Bruges is reck- 
oned at 250,000 crowns, the articles of English drapery at 
5,000,000; and the whole annual amount of merchandise 
exported, at more than 12,000,000 crowns, or about 2,400,000/. 
sterling. At Antwerp*, the English Bourse, or Exchange, 
was the great resort of all merchants, although the French 
residents were by far the more numerous, and from thence our 
cloths were exported to all parts of Italy, to the northern 
countries, and to Germany; in which last country they were 
received as "a rare and curious thing, and of high price." 
Marine insurances are said to have been first introduced 
by the merchants engaged in this trade. 

8. A more disgraceful branch of English commerce, is 
generally supposed to have begun in 1562, when the celebrated 
Sir John Hawkins having heard that negroes brought a good 
price in Hispaniola, fitted out three ships and procured a 
cargo of slaves on the coast of Guinea, with which he made 
a very prosperous adventure. Two subsequent voyages pro- 
cured for this adventurer the unenviable distinction of an 
addition to his arms, consisting of " a demi-moor proper, 
bound with a cord;" but we do not hear much more of the 
African slave trade till after the present period. 

9. In 1566 the building of the Royal Exchange was begun 
in London by Sir Thomas Gresham, who was styled the Queen's 
Merchant, from his transacting all her money concerns with 
foreign countries.! Before this time the merchants used to 
meet in Lombard Street in the open air. The Lord Mayor 
and citizens of London purchased the ground for 3,532/. ; 
the houses on which, eighty in number, were sold for old 

* Antwerp continued to be the greatest commercial city in the world, 
till its capture and sack by the Duke of Parma, in 1585. Amsterdam 
then took its place as an emporium of trade, and a great part of its 
manufacturing industry was transferred to England, where a new spirit 
arose with its arrival. 

j- It was by his advice that the experiment was first tried (in 1569) of 
raising a loan for the crown from native capitalists, instead of resorting 
to foreigners. It was so successful that it was generally followed after- 


materials at 47 8 1. The building itself was erected by Sir 
Thomas at his own charge, and was at first called the Burse: 
but, in 1570, having been visited by her majesty, it was ordered 
to be called the Royal Exchange. The original structure 
perished in the great fire of 1666, and has since been very 
recently destroyed in the same way, and rebuilt with addi- 
tional splendour. It is vested equally in the corporation and 
the mercer's company. 

10. In 1567, a series of voyages of discovery, chiefly for 
the purpose of attaining a new passage to India, commenced 
with the expedition of Martin Frobisher, who set sail with 
two barks of only twenty-five tons each, and a pinnace of 
ten tons. After reaching Hudson's Bay, however, and 
taking possession of part of the coast, the loss of some of his 
men obliged him to return home without further success. 
Some stone, however, which he brought with him, and which 
was believed to contain gold, excited such an interest that he 
was soon enabled to proceed a second time, with one of the 
royal vessels added to his squadron. Although the black 
stone, which he this time procured in considerable quantities, 
was not very satisfactory when tested, yet so decided was the 
feeling concerning it, that Frobisher was again sent out with 
fifteen ships in 1578. These expeditions were so far useful 
that they much improved our knowledge of the Polar Seas, 
and a strait in those regions is still known by the name of 
the gallant commander. 

At the same time that the last was being carried on, 
Francis Drake was performing the second circumnavigation 
of the globe, the first having been executed by the Portuguese 
navigator, Fernando de Magalhaens. The object of Drake's 
voyage was chiefly to plunder the towns and ships of the 
Spaniards, with whom we were then, notwithstanding, at 
peace ; and it was, in consequence, not publicly sanctioned 
by the queen. His purpose, however, he achieved most 
satisfactorily, having run up along the western coast of 
America higher than any navigator had ever ventured before, 
collecting an immense booty as he went along. From thence 
he sailed across the Pacific to Java, and returned home by 

u 2 


the Cape of Good Hope in the year 1580, after an absence 
of nearly two years and ten months. The queen received 
him very graciously, knighted him, and banqueted in his 
ship, which was afterwards preserved at Deptford till it was 
quite decayed, when a chair was made of one of the planks, 
and presented to the University of Oxford. The treasure 
which he brought home was partly paid away in compensations 
to some Spanish merchants ; but the greater part was pro- 
bably divided amongst the captors, and Drake's successes 
enabled Elizabeth to take a very bold tone with the Spanish 

In 1586 another voyage round the world was performed 
by Thomas Cavendish, with the same object, and with much 
the same success. Three voyages were also undertaken to the 
Polar regions, between 1585 and 1587, by John Davis, who 
discovered the strait which still bears his name. Several 
South Sea expeditions were also prosecuted, in one of which 
the Falkland Islands were discovered. 

11. By this time a direct commercial intercourse with In- 
dia had been opened by the English. The Turkey merchants 
(incorporated 1581) sent two agents, in 1583, by an overland 
route through Bagdad to the Persian Gulf, whence they sailed 
to Goa, from which place one of them visited Agra, Bengal, 
Pegu, Ceylon, and Cochin, before returning to England in 
1591. This route, however, did not answer; and accord- 
ingly, in 1591, three trading ships sailed round by the Cape 
of Good Hope, one of which, after many disasters, reached 
India, and took in a cargo of spices at Ceylon. This unfortunate 
bark was afterwards lost in the West Indies, and the captain 
and crew brought home by a French vessel. Other attempts 
were equally unhappy ; and the India trade was for some 
time quietly left in the hands of the Dutch and Portuguese. 
But at length, in 1600, a royal charter was granted to "The 
Governor and Company of the Merchants of London trading 
into the East Indies," of which Mr. Thomas Smith, an alder- 
man of London, was the first president. Four ships of the 
company, the best that could be found in England, set sail 
in the course of the next year, but did not reach Sumatra till 


more than twelve months had elapsed. The history of this 
most important commerce will therefore be found in the next 

12. Towards the close of Elizabeth's reign, an attempt 
was made to plant settlements in some of the newly-disco- 
vered countries of the world. In 1576 Sir Humphrey Gil- 
bert, " the father of our plantations," sailed for North 
America, and repeated his voyage in 1583 ; but both times 
without success. His step-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, who 
had accompanied him, made a third attempt, and succeeded 
in discovering and fixing a small colony on that part of the 
continent which the queen afterwards honoured with the 
name of Virginia. This early settlement had a very unhappy 
issue, and no further progress was made in the work of colo- 
nisation under Elizabeth. 

13. A new species of maritime adventure, in which the 
English also began to engage in this reign, was the whale 
fishery. The first notice of this trade occurs in the year 
1593, when some ships made a voyage to Cape Breton for 
the purpose. The oil at that time seems alone to have been 
valued, as there is no mention made of the fins or the whale- 
bone. A new company was also established in 1579, called 
the Eastland Merchants, with the exclusive right of trading 
to Norway and the countries along the Baltic, a privilege 
which was not lost till the time of the Revolution. 

14. The internal trade of England still depended much 
upon the periodical fairs or markets held in the different towns, 
whilst the great annual mart for the whole country was St 
Bartholomew's fair in Smithfield; to which merchants resorted 
in crowds to make their wholesale purchases. 

15. The currency continued to be depreciated, and even 
more than in former times, during the greater part of this 
period. Henry VII., it is true, adhered to the standard of 
Edward IV. and Richard III., by which the pound of silver 
was coined into 450 pennies, or 37s. 6d. nominal money. 
Shillings, which had hitherto been only money of account, 
were first struck by this king in 1504. They were distin- 
guished likewise by the head being struck in profile instead 

u 3 


of a full face, as in former coinages. From this practice, 
which was generally followed in subsequent reigns, the 

Shilling of Henry VII. 

shillings were often called testoons, from the French teste 
(tete) a head. The number of the royal succession was also 
added to the name, and on the reverse of the silver money 
the royal arms were substituted for the usual pellets and 
place of mintage. A new gold coin now appears, called the 
sovereign, rose-real, or double rose-noble, of the value of 
205. ; and there were also half-sovereigns, and double sove- 
reigns : all these are so scarce, however, that it has been 
supposed that they were only struck as coronation medals. 

Henry VIII. greatly debased both his gold and silver 
coins, which he alloyed with copper to a great extent. The 
proportions of the pound, indeed, in 1546, amounted to 8 oz. 
of alloy to 4 oz. of silver, which constituted a positively 
base coin, the old allowance having been but 18 penny- 
weights of alloy to 1 1 oz. and 2 pennyweights of silver. His 
depreciations were equally daring ; for out of the pound of 
silver he now coined 576 pennies or 48s. The gold coins of 
this monarch were sovereigns, half-sovereigns, or rials, half and 
quarter rials, angels, half and quarter angels, George nobles *, 
and forty-penny pieces. In this reign the immemorial privi- 
lege of the sees of Canterbury, York, and Durham, for coin- 
ing small money, was abandoned, the last Bishop that used 
it being Wolsey's successor, Edward Lee. 

* So called from having on the reverse St. George and the Dragon : 
its value was 65. 8e?., whilst the angel was raised to 7s. 6d. Gold was at 
this time valued in the Mint at twelve times its weight in silver. 


16. Edward VI. carried both depreciation and debasement 
still farther; but towards the close of his reign he was obliged 
to restore the currency to something like the ancient standard. 
He was the first that issued crowns, half-crowns, and six- 
pences. Little alteration was made by Mary, beyond striking 
coins with her husband's head as well as her own ; but under 
Elizabeth the coinage was, at length, completely recovered 
from its debasement, the old proportion of 18 pennyweights 
of alloy being restored, which has continued to the present 
day. The number of shillings struck out of the pound of 
silver was not lessened, however ; for it continued to be 
sixty, as in the preceding reign, till 1601, when it was in- 
creased to sixty-two; at which rate it went on to 1816, when 
it was raised to sixty-six, at which it now remains. Her 
gold coins are much the same as before, but are distinguished 
by having the edges milled for the first time. Shortly before 
her death she had intended to coin farthings and other small 
pieces of copper, a metal which had not yet been made use of 
in this country. 

17. The condition of the husbandman during this period is 
sufficiently curious to deserve our attention. At its com- 
mencement the stout English yeoman usually lived in a rough 
dwelling of timber, the walls formed of wattle and plaster, 
not always furnished with a chimney, and with but few 
household conveniences. His bed was a straw pallet covered 
only with a sheet and coarse rug, or perhaps a flock mattress, 
and a bolster of chaff or a good round log of wood ; the farm 
servants slept upon straw, and not always with a coverlet to 
throw over them. All dined alike off wooden trenchers and 
used a spoon of the same material; four or five pieces of 
pewter plate being the mark of a substantial farmer, who 
was also exceedingly elated if he could pull out at an alehouse 
a purse containing six mighty shillings. Only the gentry 
could eat wheaten bread all the year through ; the servants 
and the poor being content with barley or rye, and in dear 
years with bread made of beans, peas, or oats, or perhaps all 
mixed together ; and in very great scarcity even these were 
replaced by tares and lentils. The coarse clothes of the family 

u 4 


were spun by the careful housewife from the wool and flax 
produced on the farm ; from which, indeed, came almost 
every article required in the house. The want of money for 
the payment of their low rents seems, however, to have been 
their principal hardship, the necessaries of life being generally 
produced, and no doubt consumed, in rude abundance. 

18. Under Henry VIII., however, rents began greatly to 
rise, land being let for twice or four times its former value, 
whilst the numerous enclosures deprived the poor cottager of 
many of his former resources. Another change which greatly 
affected the agricultural population, was the extensive con- 
version of tillage into pasturage, occasioned by the increasing 
demand for wool, and which the legislature vainly endeavoured 
by repeated statutes to check. Penalties were now also 
imposed for not keeping farm-houses in repair, or for building 
cottages without some land attached, but with equally slight 
effect. At the same time, the " gentlemen-graziers," instead 
of residing on their estates like their honest forefathers, were 
constantly induced, either by inclination or by the inability 
of their revenues to maintain their bountiful country life, to 
betake themselves to town, where they lived in a small way 
upon the produce of their wool and cattle. Many labourers 
were thus thrown upon the world, who finding relief no 
longer at the charitable gates of the monastery, and swelled 
in numbers by the constantly increasing population*, be- 
came at length a huge mass of pauperism and mendicancy, 
which absolutely required the direct interposition of the 
state. So widely, indeed, had this evil extended, even 
before the suppression of the religious houses, that students 
of the universities were not unfrequently in the habit of 
begging with a license from their chancellor ; a practice 
which many useless statutes were in vain passed to control.f 

* That the population had increased greatly in the 16th century, is 
proved by a comparison of the capitation papers in 1377, when the total 
population of England and Wales did not apparently exceed two millions 
and a half and the military musters in 1574 and 1575, when it is variously 
calculated at 4,690,000 and 6,254,000. It cannot, at all events, have been 
much below 5,000,000, or about twice its amount two centuries before. 

f By several of these acts, beggars and sturdy vagrants were committed 


The principle of compulsory relief was at length introduced 
in 1562, when authority was given to the justices in sessions 
to assess persons obstinately refusing to contribute to the 
poor of their own town or parish, and to commit them to 
prison till the assessment was paid. In 1597 the legislation 
respecting paupers begins to separate itself from that con- 
cerning rogues and vagabonds ; and, in 1601, the celebrated 
act of the 43d Elizabeth matured and established the plan 
for maintaining and employing the poor by means of parochial 
assessments, which continued unaltered down to a very recent 

19. The changes to which we have alluded were, notwith- 
standing, of great benefit to agriculture. The prices of pro- 
duce rose considerably*, and with them the careful cultivation 

to prison, set in the stocks, publicly whipped, deprived of part of the 
right ear, and finally left at the mercy of any one who might seize them 
and compel them to work : if they ran away from such service they were 
branded on the breast with a V, and adjudged to be slaves to their em- 
ployer for two years, during which time every cruelty on the part of the 
master was legally sanctioned ; for a second offence they were branded on 
the cheek or forehead with an S, and made slaves for life ; and, for a third, 
they were held as felons and put to death without benefit of clergy. All 
beggar's children also, male or female, between the ages of five and four- 
teen, might be taken without consent of their parents and bound appren- 
tices or put to service, from which if they ran away they were made 
slaves, and punished in chains until they attained the age of twenty-four. 
This mild and merciful act (which was repealed, however, in two years 
after enactment, on the ground of its absolute inutility) was the happy pro- 
duct of the first year of Edward VI., and was re-established for a time by 
Elizabeth in 1572. A better trait in some of these statutes was their re- 
commendations to magistrates, churchwardens, and clergy, to procure and 
distribute the alms " of good Christian people " amongst the really im- 
potent poor. 

* The quarter of wheat was sold for 3s. 4d. in 1485, whilst throughout 
the latter half of the 16th century it averaged II. In 1500, an ox was 
sold for 11s. 8d. ; a heifer for 9s. ; a wether, undipped, Is. 8d. ; 100 eggs, 
6d. or 7d. ; a goose, 4e?., &c. &c. In 1589, a fat cow was sold for 31. ; a 
milch cow for I/. 13s. 4d. ; a fat goose, Is. 2d., &c. Stafford's Dialogue, 
published in 1581, makes one of the speakers say, that within thirty years 
a pig or goose had risen from 4d. to 12c?., and poultry to double and 
triple their former prices. Other commodities advanced proportion ably ; 
a cap for 13f?., now cost 2s. 6d. ; a pair of shoes, 12cZ., formerly sold for 
6d., and so on. 


of the soil. New manures were now used, such as limestone, 
sand, street sweepings, and " stone-coal dust," which made one 
acre bring forth as much as two had done before. The average 
yield per acre (well tilled and dressed), after the middle of the 
16th century, was 20 bushels of wheat, 32 of barley, and 40 
of oats or pulse. The rotation of crops, indeed, does not show 
as yet any very great advance in agricultural knowledge ; after 
wheat or rye they sowed barley or oats in the spring, and 
then came a fallow. Clover was, however, introduced under 
Elizabeth from the Netherlands, and was productive, no 
doubt, of great advantages in the way of winter food for the 
cattle. A number of sensible agricultural precepts are em- 
bodied in old Tusser's quaint poem entitled " A Hondreth 
Good Points of Husbandrie," which was published in 1 557. 

The exportation of corn and provisions was forbidden in 
1534, and several attempts were made to regulate their price 
at home. In 1554 exportation was again permitted, so long 
as the price of wheat should not exceed 6s. 8d. per quarter, 
rye 4s., and barley 3s. ; this liberty was farther extended in 
1562, and again in 1592, when the standard price was raised 
to 205. By a law passed in 1571, the averages were ordered 
to be struck once a year by the lord president and council of 
the North, by the corresponding body in Wales, and by the 
justices of assize, within their respective jurisdictions; and 
friendly countries were permitted to have wheat at all times, 
except there were a proclamation to the contrary. The law 
of 1463, prohibiting importation so long as wheat was under 
6s. 8d., rye 4s., and barley 3s. the quarter, seems not to have 
been formally repealed, but was in all probability practically 

The breed of live stock was now much improved, although 
most of the meat was still eaten in a salted state; and a 
decided change for the better had taken place in the general 
condition of the farmer. His house was now generally built 
of brick or stone, with rooms of tolerable size, and outhouses 
farther removed from the dwelling. The cupboard was not 
without its little treasure of silver plate, pewter had super- 
seded the wooden trencher, and the coarse mattress and 


bolster were replaced by good feather beds ; money was more 
abundant too, and the substantial yeoman could often show 
several years' rent in hand. Wood had become scarce, indeed, 
but coal was beginning to supply its place ; and in the mean 
time peat, heath, and gorse, were resorted to by the country 
people. The Christmas fare of the jolly farmer in Tusser's 
time was 

" Good bread and good drink, a good fire in the hall, 
Brawn, pudding and sauce, and good mustard withal ; 
Beef, mutton, and pork, shred pies of the best, 
Pig, veal, goose and capon, and turkey well drest ; 
Cheese, apples, and nuts, jolly carols to hear, 
As then in the country is counted good cheer." 

Nor was the labourer altogether excluded from the advan- 
tages of the period. On the contrary, the money wages of 
most kinds of labour appear, notwithstanding many fluctu- 
ations, to have fully doubled in the course of the 16th century, 
many country people were profitably absorbed amongst the 
artisans of the towns and villages, and trade generally in- 
creased. Some labourers appear still to have been in the 
condition of bondmen or niefs, although the old class of villains 
had disappeared, and instances of their emancipation occur 
even after the close of the century. 

20. The art of gardening received greater improvements 
during this period than even that of agriculture. The hop (at 
first a garden plant) was introduced from the Netherlands 
about 1524, as were also salads, cabbages, the pale gooseberry, 
and, according to some, the apricot and musk melon. The ar- 
tichoke was first cultivated some time in the reign of Henry 
VIII. ; pippins came in about 1525; currants, from Zante, 
in 1555 ; cherries about 1540; and several varieties of plums, 
brought from Italy by Thomas Cromwell, about 1510; the 
gillyflower, carnation, and several kinds of roses, also came 
over about 1567. 




1. SEVERAL novel additions were made to the furniture of 
houses during the 16th century, such as looking-glasses, 
brought from France, which superseded the small mirrors of 
polished steel, in which the dames of former times used to 
survey themselves ; round tables with pillar and claw, brass 
fenders, and clocks of very curious manufacture. Richly 
carved buffets, sometimes of silver, elegant beds (of which 
the great bed of Ware is a fine specimen), splendid chairs, 
generally straight and high backed, with the centre and 
bottoms stuffed and covered with velvet, decorated the rooms 
of the wealthy, and even chamber organs were not unknown. 
Turkey carpets and others of English work were used, but 
rather for covering tables than floors, which latter were gener- 
ally matted or strewed with rushes. A rich green cloth was 
spread before the royal throne, whence knights dubbed upon 
it at coronations, &c., were called carpet knights, to distinguish 
them from those made in the field. Forks were as yet un- 
heard of, but knives (which were first made in England in 
1563) and spoons were ornamented with some care. 

2. The male costume of the wealthier classes in the reign 
of Henry VII. consisted of a fine shirt of long lawn, embroid- 
ered round the collar and wristbands with silk; a doublet, the 
sleeves of which were sometimes made in two pieces tied at 
the shoulder and elbow, and sometimes only slashed, the shirt 
sleeve protruding from beneath ; a stomacher, over which the 
doublet was laced, and a petticoat ; a long coat or gown with 
hanging sleeves, and broad turned-over collars of velvet or fur ; 
long hose of several colours, and broad-toed shoes or high 
riding-boots. The hood was now confined to official habits, 




and broad felt hats or caps, and bonnets of velvet and fur 
laden with feathers, were worn in its place. The hair was worn 
exceedingly long, and the face closely shaved, soldiers and 
aged persons alone wearing beards or mustaches. Fops wore 
rich chains round their necks, and their fingers full of rings. 

The female dress is chiefly remarkable for the slashing of 
the sleeves, the square cut of the body in the neck, and the 
laced stomacher. High head-dresses are now seldom seen, and 
simple cauls of gold network, from under which the hair hung 

Ladies' Head-dresses in the 16th Century. (Repton's Tapestry.) 

negligently down, turbans of magnificent size, and a new sort 
of hood take their place ; whilst the great novelty in ornament 
is the rich girdle with chains or ends hanging nearly to the 

3. Under Henry VIII. and Edward VI. the men dressed 
in a doublet with very full skirts and large sleeves, over 
which was worn a short full cloak with arm-holes and loose 
sleeves occasionally attached ; it had also a broad rolling 
collar of fur, velvet, or satin. The hose were either long and 
fitting close to the shape, or divided into two parts, called the 
upper and nether stocks, the latter of which finally retained 
the name of stocking. Caps bordered with feathers, and Milan 
bonnets of a great variety of shapes, set off the head of the 
fashionable gentleman ; the shoes were exceedingly broad at 
the toes, and, like the rest of the dress, slashed and puffed. 




The clothes of the better sort were of the most magnificent 
description, and the unceasing attempts of the common people 
to imitate them were restrained by a sumptuary law in the 
24th year of Henry VIII.* The apprentices of London at this 

Costume temp. Henry VIII. (From Holbein's Dance of Death.) 

* Shakspere thus describes the great lords at the meeting of Henry 
and Francis I., near Calais, in 1520. 

" To-day the French 

All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods 

Shone down the English ; and to-morrow they 

Made Britain, India. Every man that stood 

Shewed like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were 

As cherubims all gilt." King Henry VIII. 

Dr. Andrew Borde, physician to the king, ridicules the vanity of the 
time in some verses placed under the picture of an Englishman standing 
naked, with a roll of cloth in one hand and a pair of scissors in the 
other : 

" I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, 

Musing in my mind what garment I shall wear ; 

For now I will wear this, and now I will wear that, 

Now I will wear I cannot tell what. 

Yet above all things new fashions I love well, 

And to wear them my thrift I will sell." 


time wore blue coats or gowns (the badge of servitude), their 
stockings being of white broad-cloth sewed close up to their 
round slops or breeches. The hair was now cut remarkably 
close by order of the king, but beards and mustaches were 
worn at pleasure. 

The principal novelty of Edward's time is the very small 
flat cap (like those still worn by the boys of Christ's Hospital, 
founded by him) placed jauntily on the side of the head, 
and sometimes ornamented with a small tuft of feathers or 
jewels. The ladies' gown was cut square in the neck, but 
open in front to the waist to show the kirtle or petticoat, 
sometimes with long trains, and sometimes none, according 
to the fashion ; the sleeves were detached, and generally much 
richer than the gown itself. Waistcoats are now mentioned 
for women as well as men, and made of the richest stuffs. 
The neck was covered with a sort of habit-shirt, with a high 
collar and small ruff called a partlet. The French hood and 
Milan bonnet almost concealed the hair ; but a great variety 
of other head-dresses were worn, one of which has become 
well known as the " Queen of Scots' cap." 

4. Under Mary there is not much to be noticed beyond the 
extravagance of the square-toed shoes, which were at length 
prohibited by solemn proclamation; but, with Elizabeth, an 
entirely new style comes in, with an infinite train of ever- 
changing fashions. In the early part of her reign the general 
dress was the doublet, but without its long skirts or bases, 
and showing the trunk-hose breeches or slops, which were 
distinguished according to their cut or ornament into French, 
Gallic, or Venetian.* At first these were immensely large, 

* An English beau, indeed, of the time of Elizabeth, was a sort of 
composite of all the fashions of the known world. Old Puttenham says, 
in his " Arte of Poesie," " May it not seeme enough for a courtier to 
know how to weare a feather and. set his cappe aflaunt, his chain en 
echarpe, a straight buskin al Inglese, a loose a la Turquesque, the cape 
alia Spaniola, the breeches a la Frangaise, and by twentie maner of new 
fashioned garments to disguise his body, and his face with as many coun- 
tenances, whereof it seems there be many that make a very arte and 
studie who can shewe himselfe most fine, I will not say most foolish and 


then very close, and, finally, the large breeches came into 
fashion again. The doublet, too, fitted the body closely at 
the outset, but by degrees it lengthened in the waist, and 
towards the close of the reign, by help of stuffing and 
" bombasting," assumed a form not unlike that of Punch in 
the show. 

The well-known ruff appeared soon after Elizabeth's acces- 
sion, and gradually increased to a most monstrous size, which 
caused the queen to give the grave citizens who broke the 
overlong rapiers orders for cutting also of all ruffs which were 
more than a nail in depth. Over the doublet was worn a 
cloak of Spanish, French, or Dutch fashion, bordered with 
bugles and glass, or a jacket called a mandevil, with or with- 
out sleeves. Conical and steeple-crowned hats came in to- 
wards the close of this reign, constructed in silk, velvet, taffety, 
wool and beaver. The stockings were now first ornamented 
with quirks or clogs (clocks) about the ancles, and the shoes 
were richly ornamented in different colours ; pantoufles, or 
slippers, were also worn, which went " flap, flap, up and down 
in the dirt, casting up mire to the knees of the wearer." 

5. The female dress partook largely of the French fashion 
under Mary, and abounded in cloth of gold and gay colours. 
Afterwards gowns of velvet and other rich stuffs came in, with 
short sleeves ending at the elbow, but raised to a great height 
on the shoulder, the under dress being a sort of waistcoat, 
like a man's, with a rich cloth-of-gold or silver petticoat, fully 
shown by the opening of the gown. Indeed, the female ap- 
parel often bore as strong a resemblance to the male at that 
time, as the riding-habit does now-a-days. The ruff of lawn, 
or cambric, was first worn in the second year of Elizabeth, 
having before that time been made of holland. A terrible 
difficulty occurred in the way of stiffening these ruffs, which 
was not overcome till 1564, when Mistress Dinghem Van 
der Plasse, a Fleming, well skilled in the art of clear-starch- 
ing, came to England, and soon acquired as much reputation 
and more money than the late celebrated Beau Brummel, 
for her elegant mystery. About the middle of the reign the 
enormous fardingale was introduced, which well matched the 




huge trunk-hose of the gentlemen, stuffed out as they were 
with rags and feathers to a truly portentous size. 

6. The hair was now curled and crisped in wreaths and 
folds most elaborately, and false hair was much worn, especi- 
ally by Queen Elizabeth, who had wigs of several colours. 

Queen Elizabeth going in State. (From an old print.) 

Fair hair was the general favourite, and various compositions 
were used for dyeing darker locks to the proper hue. Hats, 
caps, and hoods, of all sorts and sizes, cauls of wire net with 
cloth of gold beneath, and lattice caps with three horns or 
corners " like the forked caps of popish priests," decorated 
the well-dressed gentlewoman's head. Stockings of knit 
silk and of worsted were first made in England during this 
reign, with which the queen was so pleased, that she wholly 
abandoned her old cloth hose. The slippers and shoes were 
fancifully worked in various colours, and perfumed gloves 
richly embroidered were introduced from Italy by De Vere, 
Earl of Oxford, to the great delight of his royal mistress. 
Jewellery of all descriptions was worn to excess, and masks 


of black velvet were so much used by the ladies that the un- 
gallant Stubbs declares, that " if a man knew not their 
guise he would think he met a monster or a devil." Under- 
neath, the faces were painted most carefully, and a profuse 
application of washes and pomatums preserved the fading 
splendour of the complexion. The bath was constantly used, 
and was frequently made of wine or milk, that of asses being 
considered the best. 

When ladies had thus painfully set themselves off to ad- 
vantage, they were vain enough to sit at the door to exhibit 
their fine clothes to the passers by, and they seldom went 
abroad without a small mirror to rectify any disorder of dress 
or appearance. It is with regret we add, that their teeth 
were at this time generally black and rotten, a defect which 
foreigners attributed to their inordinate love for sugar, but 
which may, perhaps, be quite as reasonably ascribed to their 
frequent habit of taking the Nicotian weed to excess. 

7. The immense retinues of the nobles were now much 
curtailed, although the change had come on by slow degrees. 
Under Mary, some of the greater lords had still 200 retainers 
in their train ; but Elizabeth would not sanction more than 
100 with any person. These were not fully armed, either, as 
before, but carried simply a sword and buckler, and afterwards 
a rapier and dagger. Even this array was confined to parti- 
cular occasions ; and, at ordinary seasons, the nobleman was 
content with a few of his unarmed domestics, and a page who 
carried his sword behind him. The royal train, however, 
continued to be excessively large ; and Elizabeth is said upon 
some occasions to have required an incredible number of 
horses for the conveyance of her household. At her approach 
the people expressed their homage by falling on their knees 
and remaining in that attitude till the royal procession had 
passed by. 

The attendants of the nobles were of three different classes; 
first came the gentlemen of good family, and younger sons of 
knights and esquires, who lived upon terms of semi-feudal 
service with their lord and patron ; then the retainers proper, 
who were of inferior rank, though not obliged to perform any 


menial office these only marched forth upon solemn occa- 
sions, and were rewarded with a hood and a suit of clothes, 
annually, together with daily maintenance and occasional gra- 
tuities ; last, were the servants who lived in the house and 
wore livery, which was generally a blue coat with a badge of 
silver, shaped like a shield, on the left arm, on which was 
engraven the arms or device of their master ; the badge was 
also worn by the retainers. These aristocratic trains were 
imitated by persons of lower rank, and even the citizens of 
London had their apprentices to attend them in state with a 
lantern and club when going out at night. 

8. Pageants of great pomp were still kept up, with all 
their absurd accompaniments of giants, dragons, hobby- 
horses, monsters, virtues, vices, religious personifications, and 
the everlasting nine worthies of the world all ushered in 
with the blaze of fireworks, the thunder of cannon, and the 
clangour of intolerable music " For the English," says 
Hentzner, " be vastly fond of great noises that fill the ear, 
such as the firing of cannon, beating of drums, and ringing 
of bells." This last passion (which is still peculiar to Eng- 
land) seems to have quite astounded our foreign visitors, who 
used to say, either that we had too much money, or did not 
know how to get rid of it. It is much, however, to the 
praise of Elizabeth's good sense, that once, in the city of 
Norwich, she preferred a show of mechanical ingenuity, ex- 
hibited by the weavers, to all the wonderful devices of 
angels, Mercuries, and dragon combats. The most eminent 
of these pageants was that with which the great queen was 
welcomed to Kenilworth in 1575, and which, through the aid 
of Sir Walter Scott, is too well known to require description. 
The curious reader may find both the tracts which describe 
this grand ceremony in all its parts reprinted in Nichols' 
Progresses of Queen Elizabeth. 

9. The ludi, or court spectacles of former times, had now 
risen to something between a masque and a pantomime : they 
were especially cultivated by Henry VIII. and his favourite 
Wolsey, in whose shows a moving mountain would some- 
times enter the great hall, adorned with trees, flowers, and 

x 2 


herbage, and studded with wild beasts and savage men, which, 
opening suddenly, would send forth a gay throng of knights 
and ladies, or allegorical personages, who having danced and 
sung before the guests, retired again to their place of conceal- 
ment. Regular masquerades began as early as Henry VII., 
and were carried to great perfection by his son and by Queen 

For the amusement of the people there were first the mo- 
ralities, that quaint species of dramatic representation which 
had succeeded to the miracle plays and mysteries (whose reign 
had lasted in all from, perhaps, the beginning of the 12th 
century to the commencement of the 15th); and, then, the 
regular drama.* The apparent object of both mysteries and 
moralities was not only to amuse the people, but to improve 
them in scriptural knowledge ; and they were often acted, as 
well as written, by clergymen in the older times, and pre- 
sented in churches and abbeys on Sundays and holidays. 
Thin, shadowy, and allegorical characters, drawn from these 
early and half finished pieces, exercised for a long time an in- 
fluence upon dramatic compositions, and may be occasionally 
recognised even in the singularly real plays of Shakspere. 
The whole apparatus of the stage was at first miserably defi- 
cient the theatre was a shed, the dresses of the actors little 
better than their common attire, and the scenery wretched 
enough to make the shifts of Bottom and his companions, in 
the Midsummer Nighfs Dream, a sad reality ; often, indeed, 
there was none at all, and, to direct the imaginations of the 

* The difference between the mysteries and the moralities, lay chiefly 
in the characters of the former being always actual personages, whether 
historical or imaginary ; whilst, in the latter, not a history but an apologue 
was represented, and all the characters were allegorical. In this respect 
the miracle plays approached much more nearly to the regular drama, by 
which both were finally superseded. The Devil of the miracles was, how- 
ever, retained in the Vice of the morals, who relieved the dryness of the 
long dialogues by flourishing his dagger of lath, and uttering constant 
bursts of wild buffoonery. This character was even carried into the 
Shaksperian'" drama, where the introduction of the clown into the most 
pathetic parts of tragedy was in full accordance with the popular taste of 
the day- 


audience, a label was hung over the front of the stage to tell 
in what place or country the action was going on. * 

10. When a regular theatre was at length established, 
plays were acted at first only on Sundays, but the actors 
soon contrived to " make four or five Sundays a week." The 
hour at which the play usually commenced was one o'clock 
in the day, when a flag was hoisted on the top of the build- 
ing, where it remained till the close of the entertainment, 
which lasted generally about two hours. Placards also 
announced the play which was to be performed. The price 
of admission was usually trifling, but it was somewhat raised 
when a new piece was brought out. Instead of stage-doors, 
there were strips of curtain, over each of which was written 
the name of the character which was to make its entrance 
through it, and every actor was required to keep during the 
play to his own strip. The stage itself was strewed with 
rushes ; a cresset, like that by which churches were lighted, 
was hung over it ; and, if it happened by good fortune to 
possess a solitary piece of scenery, this remained stationary 
till the end of the performance. At the back of the stage 
was a gallery eight or ten feet high, into which those per- 
formers retired who were required, by the stage directions, 
to overlook the characters below. 

The more fashionable part of the audience sat upon the stage, 
and paid sixpence for their private stools, whilst their pages 
stood behind, to supply them, at proper intervals, with pipes 
and tobacco : the common folk were crowded into the pit, 
where, during the intervals of the play, they amused them- 
selves with criticising its merits, playing at cards, drinking ale, 
and smoking. The piece was usually prefaced by a prologue, 
the reciter of which was dressed in a long black velvet cloak, 
and introduced with a flourish of trumpets. The actors played 
in masks and perukes, and the parts of women were performed 
by young men and boys. One play only was acted in the 

* An attempt was made, with some success, to revive this practice at 
the Haymarket Theatre a short time ago, and several plays of Shakspere 
were performed with a single stationary scene, painted boards being stuck 
up to mark the necessary alterations. 

x 3 


day ; and as all the audience required matter suited to their 
tastes, the tragedy and farce were happily jumbled together 
in the same piece. Hissing, caterwauling, and other hideous 
sounds of public disapprobation, were plentifully heaped upon 
an unfortunate drama or performer. 

11. At the commencement of this period domestic com- 
forts were comparatively unknown, notwithstanding the 
pomp and glitter of external life. Henry VIII. had in his 
bed-chamber only a pair of cupboards, a joint stool, two 
andirons, a fire-fork, a pair of tongs, a fire-pan, and a steel 
mirror covered with yellow velvet; and the magnificent 
Wolsey had hardly a better material of furniture in his palace 
than plain deal. The great luxury of the time was a soft 
warm bed, which was often distinguished by lofty titles of 
honour, and regarded with the greatest affection. The 
spread of household comforts, however, throughout all classes 
was very great before the close of the period. In diet, too, 
there was a marked change for the better ; and although still 
far behind foreign habits, the great banquet now began to 
exhibit a character of superior refinement. The meals of the 
upper classes were still taken at eight o'clock, noon, and six 
in the evening ; but, so late as Henry VIII., an after-noon 
and an after-supper occurred in the intervals. Joints of beef 
and mutton, roast or boiled, bread, and flowing beakers of 
ale characterised all these repasts alike, wine being used 
chiefly at the after-supper. At dinner, however, a greater 
and more elegant variety of dishes appeared ; and, instead of 
crowds of jesters, tumblers, and harpers, a stately and cere- 
monious silence was observed by the polite. The guests 
washed before dinner with rose-water and perfumes, and 
were ushered in dignified order to the table according to 
their several ranks. The hat seems to have been generally 
worn at table. After dinner the remains were sent to the 
waiters and servants, and their fragments again distributed 
amongst the poor who sat humbly at the gate. As for the 
royal table of Elizabeth, nothing could surpass the solemn 
order in which it was laid out, or the number of triple genu- 
flexions which accompanied every movement of the noble and 


gentle waiters ; all this, too, was only for show ; for the meat 
was finally taken off the table into an inner room, where the 
queen herself dined in the utmost privacy and simplicity. 

12. Table-cloths and napkins came in with the general 
progress of refinement, and descended at length even to the 
houses of tradesmen and mechanics. Of the different kinds 
of bread now used, the manchet was made of the finest 
wheat ; the chete-bread was of coarser quality, and the 
ravelled and brown (or maslin bread) were of still inferior 
class. The bread and meat were presented together on the 
sharp point of a carving-knife ; and the fingers of the left 
hand, in the absence of forks, were necessarily brought into 
constant play. The hospitality of the table had now become 
a recognised matter ; and the Lord Mayor of London had 
commenced that career of official good living which so 
eminently distinguishes the city, being required during his 
year to keep open house for natives and strangers alike. 

13. Fifty-six different kinds of French wines, and thirty- 
six of other sorts (of which the strongest were the best liked), 
are said to have been now imported into England, at the rate 
of 30,000 tuns a year ; and, besides this, the nobility were 
allowed to import a certain quantity free of duty. These 
were generally concocted with sugar, lemon, eggs, and spices ; 
and compound wines were in great demand. Distilled liquors, 
especially rosa-solis and aqua-vitae, were also largely manufac- 
tured and drunk. Ale and beer, moreover, were brewed in 
great variety as well as abundance ; and the finer sorts, espe- 
cially the March ale, which was not drunk for two years 
after making, were often as richly compounded and as highly 
valued as the best wines ; nor was the art of adulterating 
both ale and wine altogether unknown to the tapsters, as the 
readers of Shakspere will remember. Cider, perry, and mum, 
were still drunk ; but metheglin was now chiefly confined to 
the Welsh. 

With all this abundance of good liquors drunkenness could 
not fail to increase, although Camden ascribes it, with a 
laudable spirit, to the long wars in the Netherlands, previous 
to which we had been, it seems, " of all the northern 

x 4 


nations the most commended for sobriety ! " This idea is 
somewhat confirmed, indeed, by the barbarous terms for- 
merly used in drinking matches, which are all of Dutch, 
Danish, or German origin. Many statutes were passed 
against this prevailing vice, especially under James I., but 
no doubt without much effect. 

14. More intellectual amusements were, however, making 
their way amongst both sexes in the higher ranks ; and, ladies 
in particular, besides a knowledge of Greek, Latin, French, 
Italian, and Spanish, were instructed in many elegant as well 
as useful accomplishments, such as singing, playing on the 
virginals, lute, or cittern, dancing, needlework, and em- 
broidery. Both Mary and Elizabeth were industrious needle- 
women ; the latter presented to Edward VI., as a new year's 
gift, a cambric shirt of her own making ; and Anna Boleyn 
embroidered the tester of a bed for her royal husband. The 
duties of the household were also not neglected, even by the 
daughters of the nobility ; and the making and setting off of 
dresses were diligently studied. Mrs. Dinghem Van Plasse 
used to receive 4Z. or 57. for teaching ladies how to starch, 
and 20. to seethe starch. There was still a good deal of 
domestic barbarism, however, and the parental authority was 
generally maintained by downright fear of corporal chastise- 
ment, which was administered without regard of age or sex 
so long as the children remained under their father's roof. 

15. Weddings were scenes of great state and festivity; 
the bridegroom presented to all the friends and kindred who 
assembled to make merry, scarfs, gloves, and garters of his 
favourite colours, and received in return gifts of plate and 
other articles, whilst the whole affair was wound up with 
banquets, masques, and laboured epithalamiums. In lower 
life, a gay procession was formed round the bride on her way 
to church, whilst a bride-cup of silver was borne before her, 
filled with wine and rosemary, and hung round with brilliant 
ribbons. Musicians followed, with troops of maidens bearing 
great bride-cakes and garlands of wheat finely gilded, and all 
the spectators shouted joy and blessings. If, after a year 
and a day, the happy couple could swear that they had never 


had a cross word, or once repented their union, waking or 
sleeping, they might demand a flitch of bacon, either from 
Dunmow Priory in Essex, or Whichenovre in Staffordshire ; 
an event, however, which (such is the lamented weakness of 
human nature) but rarely occurred. 

16. Travelling was generally performed on horseback, but 
for the sick or aged a horse-litter was provided about the com- 
mencement of this period. This was improved into a kind 
of waggon, under Mary, but as it had no springs, ladies 
naturally preferred the saddle or the pillion. The coach was 
first introduced in 1564 by William Boonen, a Dutchman, 
who became coachman to the queen, and great was the 
astonishment of the people at beholding it. " Some said 
it was a great crab shell brought out of China, and some 
imagined it to be one of the pagan temples, in which the 
cannibals adored the devil." Notwithstanding its uncouth 
appearance and heavy structure, however, this luxury soon 

Queen Elizabeth's State Carriage. (From an old Print.) 

came into general use, at laast where the roads would permit 

The royal progresses, or visits to different parts of the 
kingdom, increased greatly under the reign of Elizabeth. It 
has been suggested that she wished thus to exhaust the 
resources of her too powerful nobility, and certainly it was a 
most effectual method ; on one occasion, for instance, Lord 
Buckhurst was obliged to send for provisions to Flanders, all 
the food, both of his own and of the neighbouring counties, 
having been forestalled to prepare for the queen. She some- 
times let her trembling subject off, however, for a handsome 
present, if properly offered. 


17. The progress of building in London, which was ex- 
tremely great under Elizabeth, filled up many of the old tilt- 
yards, shooting-grounds, and race-courses around the city, 
and curtailed many of the old facilities for manly sports and 
exercises. The sedentary life thus enforced, joined with a 
more luxurious mode of living, soon began to produce some 
novel ailments, and the gout (then emphatically named the 
Enemy') showed itself pretty plainly amongst the higher 
classes of society. The active games of their forefathers 
were now, indeed, exchanged for the cockpit, the theatre, 
the bear-garden, the eating-houses and taverns, dicing-houses 
and smoking ordinaries, which sprang up rapidly in every 
street. To these places the buffoon and juggler, with the 
masters of motions (puppetshows), now forbidden the stately 
palace and the castle, naturally resorted, along with the poor 
crest-fallen minstrel, sadly sunken into a common street 
singer or taproom fiddler. These hapless classes, once the 
life of the highest circles, were now ranked with rogues and 
vagabonds, thieves and ruffians, or, still worse, with heretics 
and pagans, liable to the severest and most merciless 

18. In the country, hunting, hawking, and fowling were 
still followed, and various devices were used to allure the 
game of all kinds. Hawking, indeed, both attained its 
height during this period, and fell gradually into disuse, 
partly from the great expense of keeping falcons, and partly 
from the novel charms of the fowling-piece. After the reign 
of Elizabeth the sport will requise in consequence no farther 

Horse-racing now commenced as a regular amusement, 
and was favoured even by the puritans, who bitterly opposed 
almost every other sport. Early in the reign of Elizabeth 
the saddlers of Chester gave races, at which a silver bell, 
value 85. 6d., was bestowed on the winner, and this example 
was soon followed in other parts of the country. By this 
means our breed of horses, which had hitherto been remark- 
ably poor, was greatly improved. The less innocent and 
praiseworthy amusements of bear and bull baiting, continued 


to delight all classes ; and even the queen herself rejoiced 
greatly in this cruel sport. Cock-fighting, and throwing at 
cocks, which were regularly introduced in public schools, 
served to increase the ferocity of the people ; to which also 
the number of executions, the ghastly exhibition of traitors' 
heads over the city gates, and the brutal punishments of 
whipping and branding, lent no small aid. 

19. Within doors dancing became a great source of enjoy- 
ment ; and Sir Christopher Hatton was rewarded for his skill 
in graceful measures by the gift of the chancellorship. The 
chief court dances were corantos, galliards, and trenchmores ; 
but the great favourite was the old chivalric pavin (peacock), 
which consisted of a series of stately movements, like those 
of that bird. The lavolta, also, which seems to have re- 
sembled our gallopade, or waltz, gave abundant display of the 
high boun dings which constituted much of the merit of a 
dancer. Besides the games already mentioned, shove-groat 
and shovel-board were now much played, on a board divided 
into nine numbered compartments, into which a silver groat 
was spun, counting according to the number on which it 
rested ; a rustic form of this game was the merelles, or nine- 
men's-morris, played with holes in the ground and a round 
stone. A more varied amusement was afforded by back- 
gammon, but cards still held the sway over all other pastimes ; 
none of the games at cards would, however, be at all in- 
telligible at the present day. 

20. The great festivals of the Church were still honoured 
with all their peculiar usages, and presented a scene of 
universal sport and merriment. At the high feast of Christ- 
mas all work and care were thrown aside, carols were trolled 
in every street, masquerades and plays abounded in all direc- 
tions, the houses were dressed up with holly and ivy, the 
churches resembled leafy bowers, and standards, bedecked 
with evergreens, were danced round in the streets. At table 
the boar's head was ushered in to the great banquet, upon a 
huge silver platter, amidst a general flourish of music, whilst 
the yule log blazed merrily on the hearth. In every parish 
and great household a Lord of Misrule, or King of the Bean, 


was elected by the breaking of a cake (like our present king 
and queen of Twelfth Night), to preside over the wild revels 
of his laughing subjects. This madcap rout, with their hobby- 
horses, dragons, and other monsters, marched off to the churches 
with all manner of noise and outcry, pranced in amongst the 
wondering congregation, and issuing forth to the church- 
yard, there set up a host of booths and arbours, in which 
they made their Christmas cheer, to the great annoyance of 
the more solemn puritans, and the utter astonishment of all 
foreigners. The first Monday after Twelfth Day was called 
Plough Monday, when the ploughmen went about from 
house to house, begging money to drink ; in the northern 
counties they dragged a plough about with them, and 
ploughed up the ground before the door of him who refused 
a contribution. 

21. Next to Christmas in importance was May Day, the 
night before which was spent in the woods, amidst various 
sports. On their return in the morning, the people brought 
with them birchen boughs, and branches of trees, with the 
great May-pole, drawn by twenty or thirty yoke of oxen, 
and gaily ornamented with flowers and streamers. The 
dance round the May-pole was not confined to the country ; 
and in London, in particular, a great shaft was set up in 
Cornhill, higher than the steeple of St. Andrew's church, 
which was thence called St. Andrew Undershaft. The lord 
and lady of May were identified with Robin Hood, the bold 
outlaw, and his beloved Maid Marian ; and they were sur- 
rounded by the whole band, with Friar Tuck, Little John ? 
&c., who danced and paraded beside the everlasting hobby- 
horse and dragon. The morris-dance was also performed by 
persons whose antic habits were hung with small bells, of 
various scales ; and the milkmaids careered about with whole 
pyramids of cups, tankards, and salvers, on their heads. 

22. Another great festival was Midsummer Eve, the vigil 
of St. John the Baptist, upon which the houses were orna- 
mented with branches of birch, long fennel, St. John's rush, 
and orpin ; and a large fire was kindled in the street, round 
which the young folks danced till midnight ; to this fire certain 


magical virtues were attributed. In ancient times the watch 
was set in London on this night with great splendour and a 
mighty pageant, but this was abolished by Henry VIII. 
Previous to the Keformation Palm Sunday was solemnly 
observed, in commemoration of Christ's entry into Jerusalem ; 
a wooden ass was placed before the door of the church, 
whilst the people threw palm branches, flowers, and pieces 
of cloth upon the ground, which were thus believed to be 
made a preservative against storms and thunder. This custom 
was abolished in 1548. 

23. On New Year's Day presents were given to friends, 
and the mighty wassail bowl filled with spiced ale was carried 
about by young women, to whom every one that drank gave 
a trifle in return. On Shrove Tuesday cocks were thrown at 
with cudgels. The Easter holidays were celebrated by games at 
hand-ball for tans3^-cakes. The Tuesday following the second 
Sunday after Easter was called Hock Tuesday or binding- 
day, the women being accustomed to bind the men in sport, 
or to stretch ropes across the road which none could pass 
without paying hock-money ; this custom is supposed to have 
originated in the deliverance of the English from the Danish 
yoke at the death of Hardicanute. Harvest-home was also 
observed, but not with so much ceremony as in after times. 

24. On Maundy Thursday the washing of the disciples' 
feet by our Saviour was commemorated by the king, queen, 
and nobles, washing and kissing the feet of as many paupers 
as they were years old; after which, money and food were 
given to them out of a basket, whence, probably, the name 
maund, signifying a basket in the Saxon. The latter part of 
this ceremony is still observed by the king or queen of 
England at Whitehall. St. Valentine's Day is supposed to 
have been substituted by the Church for the pagan Luper- 
calia, in the course of which the names of young women 
used to be enclosed in a box and drawn by their future 
partners, in accordance with which practice, on this festival, 
valentines were chosen by throwing the names of an equal 
number of males and females into two heaps, after which a 
general drawing took place on both sides. When the whole 




party had thus been paired by chance, the men gave balls and 
treats to their mistresses, wearing their billets for several days 
on their breast or sleeve. Another mode was to look out of 
the door or window early in the morning, and the person 
first seen, if unmarried, was considered to be the destined 

25. Besides these general festivals, there were the parish, 
Easter, and Whitsun ales, which originated in some early 
methods of raising money for the repair of churches. A 
large quantity of strong ale was set up for sale in the church- 
yard, and, under the influence of half-devotional, half-carnal 

Grotesque Figure on the Porch of Chalk Church, Kent.* 

feelings, was soon purchased and drank up by the eager 
villagers. Still more ancient in their origin were the wakes 

* Supposed to illustrate the humours of a church-ale, and to have 
been carved early in the 16th century. 


or feasts on the dedication-day of a church, or birthday of the 
saint in whose name it was consecrated which, in course 
of time, came to be turned into fairs, as in some places they 
still continue to be. 

26. One English habit, which afterwards entirely went 
out, was generally observed at this period the embracing 
and kissing of acquaintances, of both sexes, as an ordinary 
mode of salutation. A less pleasing practice was that of 
profane swearing, which seems now to have reached its 
height, and was curiously classified according to the rank and 
profession of the swearer. The masculine daughter of the 
bluff Harry was particularly distinguished by the terrible 
vigour and roundness of her oaths. 






1. THE decline and (for a time) the total extinction of the royal 
authority, so paramount during the last era, with the extra- 
ordinary rise and influence of the people, are enough of them- 
selves to render this period particularly exciting. The power 
of the great Anglo-Norman barons had been broken to pieces 
during the civil wars, and the regal prerogative, which they 
had formerly kept in check, had risen to a pitch of despotism 
under Henry VIII., which was maintained throughout several 
succeeding reigns. But a new force, namely, that of the Com- 
mons, which had hardly been recognised before, was in the 
meantime gaining ground, partly through the increased facili- 
ties for purchasing the landed estates of the nobility, by which 
the class of "gentry" was gradually created, and partly through 
the general stir communicated to men's minds by the great 
changes and exciting movements of the Reformation. By 
degrees the smaller landowners united with the citizens and 
burgesses, and, when the junction was complete, the " Com- 
mons of England" stood up boldly for their rights, and at 
length gave battle to their sovereign, and defiance to the 
whole world. This event was, no doubt, much hastened, if 
not mainly brought on, by the personal character of the suc- 
cessive monarchs of England and of their principal advisers. 
The wavering policy of Henry VIII., constant only in its 
tyranny, was not more fatal to the religion and the throne of 


the country than was the stern unrelaxing severity of Eliza- 
beth, followed, so unhappily, by the absurd bluster and 
irritating spitefulness of her successor, and the false pride and 
ill directed sense of honour of his hapless son. 

2. James I. carried (though not without opposition) the 
pretensions of royalty still farther than any of his predecessors; 
for he endeavoured to base his authority directly upon the 
Scriptures, and to prove that kings held their power immedi- 
ately from God, and were accountable to him only for its 
exercise ; and, moreover, that monarchy was the form of 
government, for which above all others God had himself ex- 
pressed a decided preference. This bold statement of the jus 
divinum had never been made even by the most daring 
Tudors, although they had acted commonly enough upon its 
principles. It was readily adopted, however, by his son 
Charles, who was, no doubt, strengthened in the impression 
by the sight of absolute supremacy in Spain and the predi- 
lections of his French wife, Henrietta Maria ; but he was 
unfortunate enough in taking up such a belief, and in acting 
upon it with all the earnestness of his nature, at a time when 
several influences were powerfully setting men's minds in the 
very opposite direction. Amongst these may be noticed the 
vehement and not always discreet searching of the Scriptures, 
which having first brought about the effectual questioning of 
the Romish dogmas in religion, induced also an inquiry into 
constituted authorities of all kinds, and a disposition to ques- 
tion every command of men until it could be proved to have 
some ground in the declared will of God. Joined with this was 
the now frequent study of the classic orators, from whose dis- 
courses strong contrasts of popular government and monarchy, 
under the names of liberty and tyranny, were constantly drawn. 
These speculative notions were invigorated and rendered 
practically formidable by the increasing wealth of the trading 
towns, and the spirit of independence which it naturally en- 
gendered ; and, as if nothing should be wanting, the growing 
sturdiness of the commons was perpetually roused by the 
insolence of the royal retainers and the positive acts of injus- 
tice which they ventured to commit. 



3. The accession of Charles I. was hailed with delight ; but 
his very first parliament showed plainly that the English 
people were no longer to be ruled by mere arbitrary power ; 
for it exhibited throughout a spirit of distrust and resistance, 
demanded boldly a redress of grievances, and after a sitting of 
only two months was suddenly dissolved by the king. The 
next parliament insisted, though in vain, upon an inquiry into 
the conduct of the royal favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, 
before voting the supplies, and was also dismissed. The third 
presented the famous Petition of Right, in which they prayed 
for the rights and liberties of the subject, especially in person 
and goods, founding their claims upon Magna Charta and 
the statute of Edward I., de tallagio non concedendo, to 
which Charles was at length compelled to give a reluctant 
assent. This great act was passed on the 7th of June, 1628. 

On the re-assembling of parliament in 1629, after some 
violent quarrels, the king resolved, with the help of his 
favourites, Laud and Strafford, to do without such meetings 
altogether a determination which he was not induced to 
retract till the year 1640. During this interval, the long 
series of unhappy events occurred which are recorded in 
every history the tyranny of the ministers ; the illegal 
levying of rates and taxes, and imposition of extraordinary 
fines * ; the resumption of obsolete forest rights, and 
forcible imparking of private estates, for the use of the 
king ; the revival of oppressive monopolies ; the severe 
punishments inflicted upon all who questioned any royal 
claim, real or pretended ; and a thousand acts of overbearing 
authority, which at length roused the nation to resistance, and 
gave a spirit to the " Long Parliament," upon which Charles 
and his advisers had not sufficiently calculated. Previous to 
calling this celebrated parliament, the king had conceived the 
idea of summoning the great council of peers of the realm 

* The celebrated tax of ship-money, which had been long unused in 
England, was hunted up by William Noy, the Attorney-general, in 1634. 
The twelve judges were also induced to declare that in a case of necessity 
the king might impose this tax, and that he was himself the sole judge 
of such necessity. 


the old feudal Magnum Concilium to meet at York, but he 
soon abandoned so visionary a conceit. 

4. At the opening of the session of 1640 there seem to 
have been three distinct parties arrayed upon the popular 
side first, those who disliked the present acts of government, 
but thought that the ancient institutions possessed a remedial 
power within themselves, and, above all, that royalty was still 
something sacred; these were such men as Clarendon, Falkland, 
Colpepper, and Capel. Next, were those who thought that 
royalty should be retained, indeed, in form, but that the poli- 
tical preponderance should be placed (as at the present day) 
in the House of Commons such as Hampden, Hollis, Pym, 
&c. Last of all came the fierce republicans, Ludlow, Har- 
rington, Yane, and Milton, with their less ardent followers, 
Cromwell, Ireton, Lambert, &c. ; who were for an entire and 
perfect democracy. But these two last parties were much 
mixed up together, and at different stages of the conflict the 
same men, according to their particular constitution of mind, 
often expressed very different opinions. With the political 
struggles, also, of the day, religion was deeply intermingled, 
and often displayed itself in the wildest excesses of fanaticism 
on the one side, and the blindest devotion to the established 
system on the other. 

5. The first great constitutional question was brought be- 
fore the House by John Pym, in the well-known impeach- 
ment of the Earl of Strafford for attempting to subvert the 
fundamental laws of the kingdom. It must be owned that 
this alleged offence came in no way under the statutes of 
treason, on which condemnation was sought ; and so the Com- 
mons evidently felt, for they changed his impeachment into a 
bill of attainder, under which he perished on the 12th of May, 
1641. By the same process Archbishop Laud, nearly four 
years after, was also brought to the block. In 1642 all 
measures were finally broken between the king and his parlia- 
ment, and both parties entrusted their cause to the bloody 
decision of a civil war. 

6. The next great constitutional question is the trial of 
King Charles a sovereign by his subjects which occurred 

Y 2 


in January 1648-49. On the 1st of that month it was 
adjudged by the Commons, that by the fundamental laws of 
the land it is treason in the king of England, for the time 
being, to levy war against the parliament and kingdom ; and 
on that ground a high court of justice was erected for the 
trial of the unfortunate Charles. It is clear that this charge 
of treason was utterly groundless, for all statutes against that 
crime were originally made to protect the king and not the 
subject, and therefore their whole right to proceed against 
their monarch must rest upon the alleged necessity of self- 
preservation, which, it has been contended, was then so strong 
as to annul all positive laws. 

7. The state being now fairly placed upon the basis, that 
" the people are, under God, the origin of all just power," and, 
that " the Commons of England, in parliament assembled, 
being chosen by representing the people, have the supreme 
power in this nation " their acts having the force of law to 
bind all men, without requiring the consent of either king or 
house of peers*, and a new Great Seal being formally ordered 
in their name, the republicans might (one would think) have 
had it all their own way, but that their arbitrary conduct f, 
dissensions, and uncertainties, gave room for the bold chief- 
tain, Oliver Cromwell, to step in and end the dispute by 
seizing supreme power under the bashful title of Lord Pro- 
tector. The legislation of Cromwell was scarcely so ad- 

* A sort of make-shift House of Lords was afterwards established, it 
being found impossible to carry on the government with one single irre- 
sponsible chamber. The tenure was intended to be for life (like the 
present French Chamber of Peers), but the real nobles of the land re- 
fused, with very few exceptions, to sit in so uncertain and debased an 

f Hardly was the king dead until the parliament, which had clamoured 
so loudly against his tyranny, revived all its worst points, without the 
plea of divine authority upon which Charles had so boldly taken his stand. 
Thus they made it treason to affirm, in speech or writing, that the Common- 
wealth was unlawful, usurped, or tyrannical, or to deny the supremacy 
of parliament treated insignificant sayings as capital offences, converted 
simple sedition into high treason, and shackled the press as closely as 


mirable as his actions in the field; but his foreign policy was 
perfect, and at home he introduced some of the greatest legal 
reforms, such as the establishment of new trials, the abolition 
of feudal tenures, and, in Ireland, the formation of the Civil 
Bill Courts, which were revived at the beginning of the last 
century with very great advantage to that country. 

8. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, all the 
laws of the Commonwealth were, of course, held as void, and 
nothing to be of force beyond the last act of parliament to 
which Charles I. had given his assent in proper form, previously 
to leaving London in 1642. The most important reforms 
had, indeed, been carried before that date ; as, the necessity 
of holding parliaments after an interval of three years at 
farthest, the regulation of the privy council, and the abolition 
of the Court of Star Chamber and of High Commission, the 
declaration of the illegality of ship-money, the reform of 
the stannary courts, the limitation of the forest laws, and the 
discontinuance of compulsory knighthood, which (with other 
more questionable changes) had left but little of permanent 
legislation for the republican government to attempt. The 
consequence, however, of the late terrible outbreak of the 
people was, that in the reign of Charles IT. the privileges of 
the subject were somewhat more respected, and the royal 
prerogative was carried higher in principle than in practice. 
No illegal taxation was attempted, no effort made to revive 
tyrannical courts ; and, although both judges and jury were 
often more submissive to the court than justice would permit, 
yet the regular channels of law were well defended by the 
high spirited members of the bar. Towards the close of his 
reign, however, Charles grew more arbitrary, and his temper 
and the power of the crown became once more irresistible 
for a time. 

9. The crown did certainly try to check or destroy the 
activity of the press, but in this it had the example not only 
of all former reigns, (in which nothing had been legally pub- 
lished without a license,) but of the Long Parliament itself, 
which had laid severe restrictions upon the printing of 
" scandalous and unlicensed papers." At one time, indeed, 

T 3 


it was ordered that no printing should be carried on any 
where but in the city of London and the two universities, 
and all London printers were to enter into a bond of 300/. 
not to print any thing against the government, or without 
the name of the author, (or, at least, of the licenser), on the 
title-page, in addition to their own. 

The law of the Restoration merely revived the old restric- 
tions upon unlicensed books, specifying, perhaps, a little more 
particularly the persons from whom each class of books was to 
receive its imprimatur. Thus, books on the common law were 
to be licensed by the lord chancellor, chief justices, or chief 
baron ; on history or affairs of state, by one of the secretaries of 
state ; on heraldry, by the earl marshal, or by Garter and one 
other of the kings-at-arms ; and all other books, by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury or the Bishop of London. Printing 
was likewise restricted to London, the universities, and one 
press at York for books of divinity, when duly licensed by the 
archbishop. These invidious regulations continued to the 
time of the Revolution. 

10. An important change was now made in the case of royal 
proclamations setting aside the law, a practice which almost 
entirely ceased after the Restoration ; and with this also dis- 
appeared illegal imprisonment, the use of torture, and the 
coercion of juries by fine or imprisonment, which last was 
scarcely ever attempted under Charles II. Both Lords and 
Commons took advantage of this new state of things to extend 
their power and privileges beyond their ancient limits. The 
Lords, in particular, succeeded in gaining the ultimate juris- 
diction in causes brought before them by writs of error from 
the common law courts, and in appeals from the Court of 
Chancery, a right which had belonged to them at a very 
ancient date, either as representatives of the whole parliament, 
or of the old aula regia, or as delegates of the crown, but 
which had lain dormant from the beginning of the 15th cen- 
tury till towards the end of the 16th. The Commons also 
established their right of being, not only the originators, but 
the entire framers, also, of all money bills, and of all clauses 
in any bills imposing pecuniary burdens upon the subject. 


Grants of supply appear to have been anciently made by the 
two Houses, separately; nor was it till the middle of the 14th 
century that they began to join in such grants, nor till nearly 
two centuries later that these generally assumed a complete 
legislative form. Under Elizabeth and James I. the usual enact- 
ing words were, that the Commons made the grant with the 
assent of the Lords ; but in the first parliament of Charles I. 
the Commons began to recite the grant in the preamble as if 
it were wholly their own, and in the enacting words to intro- 
duce the name of the Lords as in other statutes, which has 
continued to be the practice ever since. 

11. The application of the money granted was in ancient 
times left entirely (with a few exceptions) to the king and 
his ministers. Special appropriations to particular purposes 
grew more common under Henry VII. and Henry VIII., 
and were carried with a very high hand by the parliament 
under James I. and Charles I. Cromwell would permit no 
such clauses of appropriation in his supplies ; but after the 
Restoration a precedent was again established, and was 
generally followed throughout the reign of Charles II., 
although it was dropped under James II. After the Revo- 
lution it once more became the practice, and in the 9 & 10 
Will. III. may be found the first instance of a general appro- 
priating act for the whole session, such as is now in use. 

12. The representation of the people in the Lower House, 
as it remained down to the Union with Scotland, was com- 
pleted within this period, the right of returning members 
being granted by statute, in 1672, to the county and city of 
Durham, and in 1673, by charter, to the borough of Newark, 
which was the last instance of the crown exercising its an- 
cient prerogative of creating a parliamentary borough.* The 
charters of nearly all the corporations were wrested from them 
by Charles II., in 1683, and self-legislation, for a time, en-? 

* In the reign of Charles II. the political designations of Whig and 
Tory came into common use, the first being taken from the Scotch 
Covenanters, who were so called from a Scotch word signifying sour 
buttermilk, and the latter from the Irish rapparees, who used the word 
Toree, give me i.e. your money in the course of their depredations. 

Y 4 


tirely suspended ; nor were they afterwards restored without 
considerable exactions. 

13. The arbitrary disposition of James II., and its results, 
are too well known to require repetition. The project of that 
monarch undoubtedly was, to reduce all the business of the 
state under his own control, and to make both legislative and 
executive power centre in the sovereign. Possibly he might 
have met with more success in this scheme, but for his natural 
weakness and detested inclinations towards popery, which at 
length raised the nation bodily against his authority, and 
placed in his stead a sovereign who was willing to abide by 
the constitution under which he exercised his power. 

14. The earliest entry in the journals of the Commons, 
relating to the printing of any parliamentary papers, is on 
the 30th July, 1641, when the House ordered certain resolu- 
tions to be printed ; though before that time some of its pro- 
ceedings were probably made public in some way or other. 
In 1680-1 a general order was issued for printing the votes 
and proceedings of the House, a custom which has never since 
been interrupted, save once in 1702. This was a great tribute 
to public opinion, which, indeed, was eagerly cultivated on all 
sides from the day on which the Long Parliament was opened, 
and which has ever since continued the best check and safe- 
guard of the public business. 

15. The contrivance of appointing trustees to preserve 
contingent remainders is said to have been invented by Sir 
Orlando Bridgman and other eminent counsel during the 
civil wars, so as to secure in family settlements a provision for 
the future children of an intended marriage, who, before, were 
usually left at the mercy of the tenant for life. A species of 
conveyance, also, called lease and release, which is now the 
most common of all, had by that time come into general use. 

A great improvement in the criminal law, for which we are 
indebted to the Commonwealth, is the disuse of torture, a 
practice which, although wholly unwarranted by the common 
law, and expressly prohibited by Magna Charta, had been 
regularly carried on under the royal warrant down to the 
very year of 1640. This abolition of a long-recognised exer- 


else of the royal prerogative in direct opposition to the law of 
the land, is one of the most curious instances of the great 
change in the idea of sovereign power now effected by the in- 
dependent parliament of England. With the use of the tor- 
ture, also, disappeared the tyrannical questioning of juries 
for their verdicts, the frequent exclusion of oral testimony, 
and other injurious interferences of the prerogative with the 
ordinary course of law. * 

Torture had been applied, down to the close of Elizabeth, 
to the investigation of all kinds of crimes; but after that 
time it was chiefly confined to state offences. Its favourite 
instrument was the dreadful rack, or break, traditionally said 
to have been introduced under Henry VI. by John, Duke of 
Exeter, constable of the Tower, whence it was called the 
Duke of Exeter's Daughter. A milder punishment was in- 
flicted by Skevington's gyves, which compressed the victim 
closely together, whilst the rack distended his whole frame in 
the most painful manner. In 1588 the manacles were intro- 
duced, and soon became the most usual mode of torture, but 
their precise character is not well understood. A variety of 
instruments of torment are still shown in the Tower, taken, 
it is said, out of the Spanish Armada, but at all events admi- 
rably suited to the gloomy dungeon wherein they appear, and 
in which half-starvation, and the horrid cells called Little 
Ease and the Rats' Dungeon (the latter placed below high 
water mark and totally dark, so that the rats crowded in as 
the tide rose,) added to the sufferings of the poor victim when 
released for a brief space from the fell grasp of the prison- 
ministers. Torture was not abolished in Scotland till 1708 ; 
in France till 1789 ; in Russia till 1801 ; in Bavaria and 
Wurtemberg till 1806; in Hanover till 1822; nor in the 
Grand Duchy of Baden till 1831 ! 

16. Several other legal changes were made under the 
Commonwealth, which may be briefly enumerated. The old 
report books and other law books were ordered to be trans- 
lated into English, (which was never executed, however,) and 

* A barbarous practice prevailed, however, for a long time after, 
namely, the selling of criminals, whose sentence had been commuted to 
transportation, as slaves in the American plantations. 


all law proceedings were hereafter to be conducted in the same 
language, and the writings to be executed in the common 
character, and not in court hand ; this order was reversed at 
the Restoration, and, although enforced again in 1730, has 
never been universally approved of. In 1653 an act was 
passed, appointing in every parish a registrar of births, 
deaths, and marriages, to be chosen by the resident house- 
holders, and allowing marriages to be contracted before jus- 
tices of the peace, by a simple declaration of the parties 
that they took each other for man and wife, which has since 
been re-enacted in 1836. The Court of Chancery was at one 
time proposed to be abolished, and was, in fact, limited in its 
jurisdiction ; and the court of wards and liveries (which took 
cognisance of the feudal exactions of the crown) was entirely 
put down, and all tenures in capite and knights' fees abolished 
an alteration which was afterwards allowed to remain. 
The introduction of fresh trials and of special juries is also 
traced to this time. 

With the Restoration came several new laws such as 
the corporation act, passed in 1661 (by which all persons 
holding municipal offices were required to take the Lord's 
Supper according to the forms of the established church, 
and abjure the solemn league and covenant and the law- 
fulness of taking up arms under any pretence whatsoever 
against the king) ; the several acts for conformity mentioned 
under the head of religion ; an act by which the soliciting or 
procuring more than twenty petitions to the king or parlia- 
ment, for alterations in church or state, unless the petitions 
had been previously agreed to by three justices of the peace 
or the majority of the county grand jury, was made punish- 
able by fine and imprisonment ; and one which declared the 
command of the militia, and of all sea and land forces, and 
places of strength, to be the undoubted right of the crown. 

The greatest constitutional measure under Charles II. is the 
celebrated Habeas Corpus Act (31 Car. II. c. 3.). The prac- 
tice of taking bail for persons accused of felony was, indeed, 
known in England from the earliest times, and writs of habeas 
corpus may be traced back to the reign of Henry VI. At 


that period, however, it was only used between subject and 
subject; but under Henry VII. it seems to have been employed 
even against the crown ; and, in the time of Charles I., was held 
to be an admitted constitutional remedy. In 1679, however, 
it was put into a more distinct and perfect form, and the 
great privilege of being released upon bail until trial in all rea- 
sonable cases was finally secured to the subject. The writ de 
hceretico comburendo was abolished in 1677, and several regu- 
lations made with regard to wills, which have all been re- 
cently altered by 1 Viet. c. 26. 

17. The national revenues were very much increased 
during this period, both by the introduction of new modes of 
taxation and by the greater productiveness of the old. The 
average annual income of James I., indeed, from all sources 
crown lands, feudal prerogatives of purveyance, wardship, 
&c., customs' duties of tonnage and poundage, parliamentary 
supplies, sales of titles of nobility, patents of baronetcy, 
and of monopolies (which last were abolished by statute 
in 1623), extraordinary aids (levied for the last time in 
1612), loans, benevolences, fines, and foreign monies did 
not exceed 600,0007., and by the year 1610 he had managed 
to get into debt to the amount of 300,0007. 

The parliamentary subsidies granted to Charles I. were at 
all times inconsiderable, but the growth of commerce raised 
the customs' duties to the annual sum of 500,0007. Ship- 
money is calculated, for four years that it was levied, to have 
produced 200,0007. a year, to which were added the dispensa- 
tions from the penal laws against popery, and many other 
forced and irregular exactions. His entire annual revenue, 
from 1637 to 1641 inclusive, has been estimated at not less 
than 895,0007. Government lotteries (first established in 
1569) were sometimes resorted to during these reigns to raise 
money for particular expenses. 

18. After the breaking out of the civil wars the king raised 
money by pawning the crown jewels, and by laying assess- 
ments on those parts of the country where his authority was 
still admitted, as well as by the voluntary contributions of his 
adherents. On the other hand, the parliament exacted large 


subsidies, and received great donations from the enthusiasm of 
the people ; and, at length, laid on a regular monthly assess- 
ment, which of itself produced a far larger revenue than had 
ever before been collected from all other sources put together. 
A new tax called the Excise, originally placed upon beer, wine, 
tobacco, sugar, c., and afterwards upon bread, meat, salt, and 
other necessaries, was first imposed in 1643, and produced 
500,0007. a year. Coals were also subjected to a duty, and 
the price of one meal a week was exacted for six years from 
every individual. The Post Office, first established in 1635, 
brought in about 10,0007. a year, and the old feudal preroga- 
tives were not wholly abandoned till 1656. The sale of crown 
and church lands, and the sequestrations of livings and private 
estates, with compulsory loans, &c., swelled the parliamentary 
revenue to the immense sum of 4,400,0007. per annum. This 
estimate must, however, be received with caution as coming 
from a royalist's pen. The war certainly did not swallow up 
the whole, whatever may have been its amount, but when it 
is considered that the members voted themselves weekly 
wages, and frequently held valuable offices, which were all 
paid for out of the public revenue, our astonishment at the 
consumption of so large an income amidst such confused 
times, will hardly be so great. Cromwell's income, as Pro- 
tector, is stated to have been about 1,900,0007., which was, 
at all events, better dispensed than that of the parliament. 

19. With the Restoration properly begins the modern 
history of the revenue. The regular income of the crown 
was now raised from the customs' duties, (of which the Great 
Statute of the 12th Car. II. is the foundation); the excise 
upon beer, ale, and other liquors sold within the kingdom ; 
and hearth-money, which was levied at the rate of 2s. on 
every fire, hearth and stove in all dwelling-houses worth more 
than 205. per annum. Besides these three great branches, 
which were conferred for life, there were the crown lands, 
worth about 100,0007. a year; first-fruits, and tenths of bene- 
fices, the post office, and a variety of other miscellaneous 
items not always of a creditable kind. Four subsidies were 
likewise granted by parliament (for the last time, however,) in 


1663; assessments, poll and property taxes, were also laid on, 
and the stamp duty was first imposed in 1 67 1 . From all sources 
Charles II. may have derived an average income of 1,800,0007. 
a year. His expenses were, however, necessarily greater 
than in former periods, a regular naval and military force 
being now kept up at all times, and a variety of debts falling 
heavily upon his shoulders. The king's debt (or, as we should 
now call it, the national debt) amounted in 1676 to about a 
million and a half (if we may take the 100,0007. interest then 
paid as being at 6 per cent), the greater part of which seems to 
have consisted of money unjustly seized in 1672 by the shutting 
up of the exchequer (an act which amounted to an avowed 
national bankruptcy), and upon which interest was paid to 
the owners till the close of the reign. The expenses of the 
civil list were at that time estimated at about 500,0007. a 
year ; but in this the judges' and ambassadors' salaries, and 
the expenses of managing the excise and customs were 

20. The financial history of this reign was distinguished 
by the appropriation of the parliamentary supplies (mentioned 
in page 327), and by the abolition of the ancient practice of 
self-taxation amongst the clergy, which, although the houses 
of convocation were revived at the Restoration, was willingly 
given up by them in 1664. In return they were allowed to 
vote at the election of knights of the shire. 

Under James II. the revenue increased considerably; and 
in 1688, it is said to have amounted to more than 2,000,0007., 
which was carefully and economically expended by that 
monarch, although he had the large number of 30,000 regular 
troops in pay in P^ngland alone, besides a powerful navy to 




1. THE contest which had raged so fiercely between the 
Churches of Home and of England was now transferred with 
equal violence to the various sects of protestantism, which soon 
began to defy the authority of the latter body, and at length 
succeeded in overthrowing it entirely for a time. To this 
great revolution the course of events in Scotland, in which 
country puritanism had been the pervading spirit of the 
Reformation, very seriously contributed; and a slight sketch 
of Scottish Church history will, therefore, enable us the better 
to understand that of the sister kingdom. 

The reformed cast of church government in Scotland had 
been moulded upon the discipline established by Calvin at 
Geneva, but it was not at first strictly presbyterian in its 
character. Even Knox addressed the English bishops as 
"brethren," and wished to appoint twelve superintendents 
with superior authority to other ministers; but, at all events, 
the Scottish parliament would not admit of the presbyterian 
constitution, and bishops continued to be appointed as before 
to all vacant sees. This was very much disliked, indeed, by 
the people and by the General Assembly of the clergy, 
who made frequent appeals to the various regents during 
the minority of James I., and afterwards to the young king 
himself, but without effect. The episcopal revenues, it is 
true, were sadly despoiled by the fraudulent encroachments of 
the nobles; but the order of bishops, with its adjuncts of deans 
and chapters, was perseveringly maintained, as well as their 
temporal dignity of a seat in parliament, and even the old 
Romish names of abbot and prior did not disappear for a long 
time. The General Assembly, however, with equal vigour 


continued its opposition to the ecclesiastical polity of the 
country, and in 1580 went so far as to declare the office of 
bishop to be " unlawful in itself, as having neither founda- 
ment, ground, nor warrant, in the word of God," and boldly 
commanded all such as exercised it to leave it off forthwith, 
under pain of excommunication. 

2. Fierce collisions with the king and his council were the 
result, in which the clergy generally came by the worse mea- 
sure. A real blow, however, was struck at episcopacy, in 
1587, by the subtraction of all the temporalities of benefices 
and such church lands as remained unalienated to the crown, 
the tithes alone being reserved for the maintenance of the 
pastor. It was justly argued from this that few would take 
the responsible office of a bishop when there were no revenues 
to support it, which was so far verified that the friends of 
presbyterianism soon found themselves in a condition to renew 
their attacks, and with more success. In 1592, in a very dis- 
turbed state of public affairs, James was reluctantly induced 
to give his assent to an act of parliament establishing, for the 
first time, the whole system of general assemblies, synods or 
provincial assemblies, presbyteries, and kirk sessions. Epis- 
copacy was not yet, however, positively abolished, and the 
bishops, such as they were, still retained their seats in parlia- 
ment, although their number grew less and less every day, 
and their places were gradually occupied by laymen, upon 
whom their titles and temporalities had been bestowed. The 
clergy now waxed more and more violent and outrageous, and 
claimed a total exemption from the civil courts, in what they 
called "matters spiritual," in as high a tone as ever did Thomas 
a Becket himself, adding no obscure intimation that it was the 
duty of the king's subjects to take so ill used a sword out of 
his hand at once. The king, however, was too powerful for 
them, and even succeeded (in 1597) in re-establishing the 
hated episcopacy, and its connexion with the State. In the 
assembly of 1602, it is still distinctly recognised as part and 
parcel of the national ecclesiastical system, though with as 
much inward ill will on the part of every body, except the 
king and his principal nobles, as ever. 


3. At the date of James' accession to the throne of Eng- 
land the great body of Puritans in this country do not seem 
to have adopted either the presbyterian principle of church 
government, or even the whole of the Scotch notions of rites 
and ceremonies in public worship. They were not, indeed, as 
yet a considerable body, nor was any open profession of sec- 
tarianism tolerated by law. Only 800 ministers (much less 
than one-tenth of the clergy), and those confined to one- 
half of the kingdom, signed the famous Millenary Petition 
(presented to King James on his first entrance into London), 
and their demands were only for some minor reforms in the 
Church service. In the beginning of the following year (1 604) 
a great conference was held at Hampton Court between nearly 
twenty bishops and other dignitaries on the one side, and four 
Puritan preachers (Doctors Eeynolds and Sparkes from Ox- 
ford, and Knewstubbs and Chatterton from Cambridge) on 
the other, with the king himself as moderator. 

Preaching at St. Paul's Cross. (From an old Drawing.) 

The Puritans demanded that the Book of Common Prayer 
should be revised, and the square cap and surplice, sign of the 


cross in baptism, baptism by women, churching of women, 
confirmation, use of the ring and certain expressions in mar- 
riage, reading of the Apocrypha, and bowing at the name 
of Jesus, laid aside ; non-residence, pluralities, and bishops 
holding livings in commendam *, abolished, along with unne- 
cessary excommunications, and the issuing of ecclesiastical 
censures by lay chancellors. They required, further, the 
introduction of the high Calvinistic Articles of Lambeth 
(prepared by Whitgift in 1594), of a new and longer 
catechism, a new translation of the Bible, the suppression 
of unlawful and seditious books, the planting of learned 
ministers in every parish, the establishment of clerical meet- 
ings for prophesying (reading and expounding the Scrip- 
tures) every three weeks ; and, finally, that all the clergy of 
each diocese should meet in an episcopal synod, where, under 
the presidency of the bishop, such matters might be heard as 
could not be determined in the subordinate assemblies. This 
last proposition savoured a little of moderate presbyterianism, 
and drew from James the hasty exclamation, that " a Scottish 
presbytery agreed with monarchy as God might with the 
devil!" In fine, the poor Puritans were dismissed to the cold 
looks and abusive reception of their disappointed party with 
no better comfort than the royal aphorism, " No bishop, no 
king ! " 

A few alterations were, indeed, made soon after in the 
Liturgy, and the catechism was lengthened by the addition 
of an article on the sacraments ; but this was done by a 
royal proclamation, in which men were admonished not to 
expect any farther alterations, and strict conformity in all 
things was absolutely commanded. 

4. The chief result of this conference was, however, the 
new translation of the Bible (the same that we now use), for 
the execution of which the king's commission, directed to 

* All preferments which a clergyman may have previously held be- 
come void the moment that he is consecrated bishop. By the favour of 
the crown, however, he may continue to hold such livings in commendam, 
i.e. till proper pastors be provided for them, which holding may be made 
either temporary or perpetual. 



fifty-four of the most eminent divines of both universities, was 
issued in 1604. The work was not actually begun, however, 
till 1606, when the number of translators had been reduced, 
by death, to forty-seven; and it was finished and sent to press 
in 1611. It was founded upon the Parker's or Bishop's 
Bible, from which the version of the Psalms in the Book 
of Common Prayer is still retained. 

5. But whilst James continued exceedingly bitter against 
the Puritans, he manifested great tenderness towards Popery 
(of which he professed, indeed, to abhor chiefly the political 
part), although he did not hinder his first parliament from 
confirming the severe statutes of the preceding reign. What 
toleration he might afterwards have shown, the terrible out- 
break of the Gunpowder Plot interfered effectually to prevent ; 
immediately after which, besides the fining, imprisonment, 
and execution of many individual Roman Catholics, the most 
oppressive laws were enacted against the whole body. No 
popish recusant was to appear at court, to live in London, or 
within ten miles of the city, or to remove, upon any occasion, 
more than five miles from his home without a special license 
signed by at least four magistrates. None were to practise 
in surgery, physic, or law, to act as judge, clerk, or officer, in 
any court or corporation, or perform the office of adminis- 
trator, executor, or guardian. Every Roman Catholic ne- 
glecting to have his child baptized by a Protestant minister 
within a month of its birth, was to pay 100Z., and 201. if he 
buried any one elsewhere than in a churchyard. If he 
kept Roman Catholic servants, he paid for each 10/. a month, 
and the same sum for every guest of his own religion whom 
he might wish to entertain. In fine, he was declared to be 
in all respects excommunicated all rights of property 
ceased with regard to him his house might at any time 
be broken open and searched, his books and furniture, 
"having any relation to his idolatrous worship," burnt, and 
his horses and arms taken away at the order of the magistrate. 
A new oath of allegiance was also devised, containing a formal 
renunciation of the temporal power of the pope, and his right 
of interfering in the civil affairs of England ; those who re- 


fused this oath might be imprisoned for life, and their personal 
property and rental confiscated. Those who complied were, 
however, still subject to the former penalties, until they had 
completely recanted their ancient faith and become professed 
members of the Church of England as by law established. 

6. One fashion of the good old times of popery this protest- 
ant king was, however, not unwilling to revive, namely, the 
burning of heretics, for two unfortunate Arians or Socinians 
were consumed in the fires of Smithfield, A. D. 1612-1613. 
A third victim was ready for the flames, but the feeling of the 
people was now so averse from these horrid executions, that 
the lawyers questioned the legality of the proceedings, and the 
bishops doubted whether they were really useful to the Church. 
" The king accordingly," says Fuller, " preferred that heretics 
hereafter should silently and privately waste themselves away 
in prison ! " Nor would our gracious monarch have confined 
his burning zeal within his own dominions had he been per- 
mitted to exercise it elsewhere, for he arrogantly admonished 
the states of Holland that the Arminian heretic, Yorstius, 
deserved the stake, although he kindly left it to their own 
"Christian wisdom" whether they should burn him or not. 
Fortunately for the credit of our nation, James I. was the last 
English monarch who signed the awful writ De h&retico 

7. In the first convocation of the clergy under James (A.D. 
1603-4) a book of canons was adopted to serve as a substitute 
for the old canon law, which had been swept away by the 
Reformation. These canons are 141 in number, and relate 
chiefly to the officers and proceedings of the ecclesiastical 
courts the ordinary duties of ministers, churchwardens, 
parish clerks, &c. the observance of certain rites and cere- 
monies, and the imposition of the oaths of allegiance and 
supremacy upon all clergymen, with an assent to the Book of 
Common Prayer and the Thirty-nine Articles. For all 
offences against the established form of religion excommuni- 
cation is largely denounced, concluding with a comprehensive 
anathema against every man, whether of the clergy or laity, 
who might deny the authority of the synod which produced 

z 2 


these decrees, or his own rightful subjection to them in every 
respect. These canons still constitute a principal portion of our 
ecclesiastical law, and are held to be binding upon the clergy 
of the Established Church, although, as they were never con- 
firmed by act of parliament, but only by the king's letters 
patent under the great seal, they have no legal force what- 
ever in respect to the laity. This discovery was not made, 
however, till a long series of oppressions had taken place 
under pretext of their authority. The principal promoter of 
these violent decrees was Bishop Bancroft, who was shortly 
after raised to the primacy, left vacant by the death of the 
wiser Whitgift. 

8. The new archbishop quickly began to put his favourite 
laws in force, and his frequent deprivations of ministers for 
non-conformity soon gave rise to bodies of separatists more 
extensive and more determined than before.* Many fled to 
the Low Countries, where they joined the English Presbyter- 
ian congregations, and others to the American plantations ; 
but this last course was ere long stopped by proclamation of 
the king. As yet, however, the Puritans were much divided 
in their opinions, some being for keeping still within the pale 
of the Church, (through fear of incurring the guilt of schism,) 
whilst others, as the Brownists, urged that it was no true 
church, but a limb of antichrist, or at least a mere creature of 
the state ; and that even if it were a true church, yet they 
had as much right to separate from it as it had from the 
Church of Rome. The bolder spirits gradually prevailed, 
and so early as 1607 we find the foundations of the system, 
afterwards called Independency, clearly laid down in a treatise 
of the Rev. M. Bradshaw, entitled "English Puritanism." f 

* The Puritan writers say, that in the course of his primacy (which 
lasted about six years), 300 ministers were silenced or deprived; but 
only 45 of these appear to have been actually driven from their benefices, 
the rest being merely prohibited from preaching until they should con- 

f The main feature of Independency, or Congregationalism, as it is 
now called, is well known to be the independence of every particular 
congregation from the rule of any other, or synod of others, each being 


In this work, however, the king's supremacy is still rigidly 
maintained, at least in civil matters, and the pope anathema- 
tised as antichrist for interfering with it ; but this resulted 
from what the Presbyterians would have called an Erastian 
view of the supreme power of the civil magistrate to rule all 
churches within his dominions, and to punish ecclesiastical 
officers for the abuse of their spiritual offices. On this point 
the Presbyterians and Independents quarrelled very bitterly 
at all times. 

9. The active zeal of Primate Bancroft extended itself even 
to the Channel Islands, where the French churches had long 
enjoyed, without molestation, a kind of Presbyterian consti- 
tution, and which James himself had guaranteed to protect. 
He was successful in Jersey ; but in Guernsey a better stand 
seems to have been made, and the archbishop was defeated. 
The great object, however, of both himself and the king was 
the final demolition of Presbyterian discipline in Scotland, for 
which purpose a series of attacks upon its stronghold, the 
General Assembly, were planned and executed with equal 
dexterity and boldness. Its meetings were arbitrarily pro- 
rogued by the royal authority three times in rapid succession, 
and when some of its members ventured, notwithstanding, to 
hold a sort of conference, they were prosecuted and convicted 
of high treason ; the sentence of death was, however, com- 
muted into perpetual banishment. The synods were some time 
after prohibited from assembling, as being seditious bodies, the 
bishops were restored to their temporalities (more nominally 
than really, however), and two courts of high commission 
erected at St. Andrew's and Glasgow, with the metropolitans 
at their head, and invested with arbitrary power of the most 
extensive kind. The Scottish clergy protested, but in vain, 
and old Andrew Melvil, their sturdiest advocate, was com- 
mitted to the Tower for four years, and only released on con- 
dition of his leaving the kingdom for ever. At length, in 
1610, an assembly of the kirk was held at Glasgow, which, 

governed by its own pastor and officers, and confined in all respects to 
its own members. For ordinations, however, and for missionary pur- 
poses, a union of pastors and of congregations is admitted. 

z 3 


being well packed by the crown, was induced to recognise the 
king's supremacy, and the right of bishops to ordain and in- 
duct into churches, whilst the old powers of the presbyteries 
and other church courts were contracted into as narrow a 
space as possible. These regulations were confirmed and 
enlarged shortly after by the Scottish parliament. 

The Scottish prelates had not hitherto been ordained by 
bishops, but now three of their number, Spotswood, Archbishop 
of Glasgow, Lamb, Bishop of Brechin, and Hamilton of Gallo- 
way, were sent up to London, and received episcopal conse- 
cration at the hands of the Bishops of London, Ely, and 
Bath, neither York or Canterbury being allowed to meddle 
with the procedure, lest they should be supposed to be claim- 
ing their ancient superiority over the northern church. On 
their return to Scotland these three consecrated Archbishop 
Gledstanes, and then their other brethren, in the same man- 
ner as they had been ordained themselves, and from this 
source the line of bishops in the modern Scottish Episcopal 
Church has been derived. 

10. Immediately after this event Bancroft died, and Dr. 
George Abbot was appointed his successor, who, being of a 
high Calvinistic turn, was disposed to show more lenity to the 
Puritans. The Scottish people, too, were quiet, and bore 
even the celebration of such festivals as Easter without 
resistance or remark. In the general assembly of 1616, an 
uniform order of Liturgy was ostensibly commanded to be 
read in all kirks, with a new book of canons and confession 
of faith, to which last all persons were hereafter to swear 
and set to their hand. In the following year, however, the 
clergy ventured again to protest, and with success, against a 
proposed statute giving the force of ecclesiastical law to all 
enactments of the king made with the advice of the arch- 
bishops and bishops ; but there their courage failed them, and 
the most important ceremonial differences between the two 
churches were at length completely altered without any effec- 
tual opposition. In their practical operation, however, neither 
clergy nor people were found to agree, and then followed, as 
in England, suspensions, deprivations, fines, banishments, and 


imprisonments for non-conformity, in abundance. The con- 
sequence was, that the people began to meet in secret conven- 
ticles, which, in their turn, drew down the most menacing 
and abusive proclamations. 

11. It may be observed that at this time both Presby- 
terians and Episcopalians in Scotland were equally Calvinistic 
in doctrine, although in practice the latter may have somewhat 
modified that rigid system. Under James, indeed, any thing 
like Arminianism would at one time have met with no favour 
anywhere, and that monarch exerted himself very much to se- 
cure a profession of the strictest predestinarian principles at 
the great Protestant synod of Dort in Holland (A. D. 1618). 
Nevertheless the milder doctrine secretly made its way amongst 
the Episcopalian clergy, and even the king found the gloomi- 
ness of the high Calvinists so disagreeable, that he published a 
book of sports for the encouragement of recreations on the 
Sunday, in open defiance of the Puritan principles. By 
degrees, too, the force of political movements drove James 
into the patronage of Arminian divines, and Laud and others 
were promoted, whilst Abbot, the Calvinistic archbishop, fell 
into proportionate disfavour. The discussion of such points 
as predestination and election was even forbidden to mere 
parish ministers in the injunctions of 1622. In retaliation 
the Puritans loudly accused the court clergy of inclinations 
towards popery (always a convenient cry), and in this transi- 
tion-state the Church was left at the death of the royal theo- 
logian and the accession of his less fortunate son. 

12. The first years of Charles I. threatened Presbyterianism 
with a still lower fall than before, the general assemblies being 
totally prohibited in Scotland, and everything in the synods 
and presbyteries controlled by their perpetual moderators, the 
bishops, so that the great body of the clergy was reduced to 
complete insignificance. The Scottish primate, Spots wood, 
was also rebuked on account of his laxity, and conformity was 
urgently enforced on the ministers by the express desire of 
the king. The two great objects, indeed, of Charles, in re- 
lation to Scotland, were the recovery of the tithes and church- 
lands, and the imposition of a Liturgy upon the kirk. The 

z 4 


first was but a trifling matter, for he got nothing back with- 
out a sufficient compensation to the holders, but the second 
set the whole kingdom in flames, and contributed no little to 
the ruin of both king and church in England also. The first 
proposal for the introduction of a Liturgy was made in 1630, 
at a convention of the clergy called for the express purpose 
of considering how the whole order of the Church of England 
might be adopted. Nothing was done, however, till 1633, 
when Charles went down to Edinburgh to be crowned, and 
when, as Clarendon thinks, the simple Prayer Book of the 
English Church might have been carried without opposition. 
The Scottish bishops, however, desired to have one of their 
own, and it was accordingly determined that a Liturgy and 
Book of Canons should be drawn up in Scotland, and revised 
afterwards by Laud (now Archbishop of Canterbury), and his 
brother prelates, Juxon and Wren. 

The Book of Canons was the first finished, and was con- 
firmed by royal letters patent in 1635, but, unfortunately, 
without being first presented to any assembly of the clergy, 
or even to the lords of the Scottish council, whilst, moreover, 
they enjoined a punctual compliance with a form of worship 
which had not as yet been published. An unlimited extent 
was also assigned by these canons to the royal prerogative, 
which was declared to be according to the exact pattern of 
the kings of Israel, and some severe restrictions were laid 
upon ecclesiastics which they were not very likely to bear, 
besides many novelties in doctrine peculiarly offensive to the 
Scottish Kirk. All these circumstances tended to swell the 
storm which had so long been brooding, and was at length 
to break forth with so much fury. 

13. In 1636 the Liturgy was published, and its use 
enjoined by royal proclamation. An experiment was, how- 
ever, first made in the churches of Edinburgh, and a memor- 
able scene was the result. On the 23d of July, 1637, in St. 
Giles' Church, the dean of Edinburgh began to read the new 
service book before an immense crowd of people; the arch- 
bishops and bishops, the lords of session and the magistrates 
were all present by command; but scarcely had he begun 


when the church was filled with outcries, and the Bishop of 
Edinburgh, in striving to allay the tumult, had a stool flung at 
his head by a woman named Jenny Greddes, which happily 
was turned aside by a bystander. The city magistrates ex- 
pelled the rioters with much difficulty, and the service was 
proceeded with, but the poor bishop, on leaving the church, 
was thrown down and nearly trodden to death. Similar 
scenes took place at other churches, both in the morning and 

14. The severe measures adopted in consequence of these 
outrages only served to fan the flame which spread rapidly to 
all classes of the community, and " Four Tables," or repre- 
sentative committees of lords, gentlemen, ministers, and 
burgesses, were soon established in Edinburgh, with sub-com- 
mittees in the country parts, which rapidly organised an 
extensive and powerful scheme of insurrection. The result 
was the general signing of the celebrated National Covenant, 
in which they undertook to maintain at all hazards the old 
form of worship and the confession of faith, as subscribed by 
James I. and the people at large in 1580 and 1590.* This 
was followed by the meeting of the general assembly at 
Glasgow, in November, 1638, which publicly declared for 
unqualified Presbyterianism, and deposed all the bishops 
forthwith, along with some of the more zealous Episcopalian 

From this time down to the conquest of the country by 
Cromwell in 1651, the Kirk reigned supreme, and, itself wholly 
uncontrolled by the state, ruled both the governors and the 
people of the country with the most absolute sway. It is 
not surprising that amongst its first demonstrations of freedom 
should be a tyrannical censorship of the press, severe laws 
against Papistry, and divers most absurd and cruel enact- 
ments against " the abundance and increase of witchcraft," 
under which numbers of poor creatures were burnt alive or 
otherwise executed. Even the proceedings which do it most 

* This engagement was afterwards generally taken by the English 
Puritans under the title of the " Solemn League and Covenant." 


honour, such as its efforts for the advancement of national 
education, are marked with the strong lines of spiritual domina- 
tion, and the most perfect control over places of public educa- 
tion was given to the presbyteries and other ecclesiastical 
courts. In those palmy days, indeed, of Presbyterianism, it 
is impossible to avoid tracing the close resemblance which its 
system of church government bore to that of its old enemy, 
popery, especially in their mutual intolerance of dissent, dis- 
regard of the rights of the laity, and high assumption of the 
divine right of ministers as independent of, or superior to, the 
civil power. All this was backed by the most prying and 
intolerable espionage and interference with the domestic pri- 
vacy of all classes, compared with which auricular confession 
was scarcely more effective and infinitely less distressing. 

15. In the mean time matters were going on no less un- 
favourably in England. Charles and his favourite Laud were 
bent upon enforcing conformity to the established religion, 
and the courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, with 
their accessaries, the pillory, the brand, and the scourge, 
were kept in full employ.* The Puritans came in for the 
greater share of these severities, for after a few fines and 
other punishments in the early part of the reign, the Roman 
Catholics escaped farther persecution through the influence of 
the queen and their own strong professions of loyalty to the 
crown. This toleration unfortunately appeared to confirm 
the popular notion of Laud's semi-popish Arminianism, which 
his own love for striking forms and ceremonies did not fail 

* In particular may be mentioned Alexander Leighton, who for his 
" Zion's Plea against Prelacy," was publicly whipped, placed in the 
pillory for two hours, had both ears cut off, his nostrils slit, and was 
branded on the cheeks with the letters S. S. (or sower of sedition), after 
which he was imprisoned for life. Prynne suffered the same punishment 
twice for his " Histrio-Mastix," an attack upon stage plays, which was 
supposed to reflect upon the queen, and Burton and Bastwick for writing 
seditious, schisniatical, and libellous books. In consequence of these 
persecutions, many persons left England and settled in North America, 
amongst whom were some of the Dutch and French congregations, whom 
the Duke of Alva, to the great benefit of our country, had formerly 
driven into England. 


to increase. The licensing of books was also conducted in a 
still more arbitrary manner than before, and Fox's Martyrs, 
Bishop Jewel's works, and other books formerly printed by 
authority, and much admired by churchmen, were now 
actually forbidden to be republished. 

At length the tone of the Puritans began to rise with the 
progress of political events and the success of their friends in 
Scotland, and the Long Parliament was not more distin- 
guished for its boldness in matters of civil than of ecclesiasti- 
cal government. The primate Laud was impeached and 
committed to the Tower *, whither he was soon followed by 
ten of the bishops, and two others were debarred of their seats 
in the House, for protesting against the legality of the acts com- 
mitted in their absence. Finally, on the 14th of February, 
1642, the whole episcopal order was formally incapacitated 
from sitting in parliament, and the courts of Star Chamber 
and High Commission having been already abolished, the 
entire system of the Church was thus virtually severed from 
the State. A summary process of ejectment was also com- 
menced against the " malignant " clergymen, under various 
pretexts of immorality and scandalous offences, and numbers 
of pious and learned divines were driven from their cures, 
imprisoned, or obliged to leave the country. 

16. Presbyterianism had not as yet spread sufficiently in 
England to take at once the place of the Episcopal Church. 
Those who desired the total abolition of episcopacy were, at first 
indeed, few in number, and leaned rather to Independency than 
to a more regular form of dissent. For two years in consequence 
the country was left without any established form of worship, 
and the clergy read the Liturgy and continued the old cere- 
monies or not just as they pleased. The cathedral service 
was, indeed, everywhere put down, and an ordinance was 
issued by the parliament (in 1643) that all altars and tables 
of stone should be taken away, communion tables removed 
from the east end of the church, their rails pulled down, and 
all candlesticks, tapers, and basins, standing upon them, taken 

* Laud was kept in prison till the 10th of January, 1645, when he was 
publicly executed on Tower Hill. 


away ; and all crucifixes, images or pictures of God and the 
saints, with all superstitious inscriptions, obliterated or other- 
wise destroyed. In the execution of this order the sacred 
edifices were often sadly injured, and St. Paul's Cross, 
Charing Cross, and that in Cheapside, were levelled to the 
ground. The name, style, and dignity of archbishops and 
bishops, were not, however, openly expunged till 1646. 

17. At length the visit of the Scotch commissioners to 
London determined their wavering English friends, and the 
settlement of a new ecclesiastical polity was entrusted to 
the assembly of divines, which met at Westminster on 
the 1st of July, 1643. In doctrine these ministers were 
generally agreed, being all Calvinists, but in church-govern- 
ment they held very different opinions indeed. A few 
were still attached to the old episcopacy, but these finding 
themselves in a hopeless minority soon retired. Of the re- 
mainder the great majority seem to have been at first inclined 
to such a modified episcopacy as Knox's First Book of Disci- 
pline had presented, in which bishops should appear as mere 
superintendents, and without any secular rank or authority. 
This party at last, through Scottish influence, became 
thoroughly Presbyterian (some even adopting the principle of 
the divine right of presbytery), and from it proceeded all the 
creeds and compendiums successively published in the name of 
the assembly the Directory for Public Worship, the Confes- 
sion of Faith, and the larger and shorter Catechisms formu- 
laries which are mainly retained in the Church of Scotland 
to the present day. The Directory, which was intended as a 
substitute for the Liturgy, was established by the parliament 
in 1645, but the Confession of Faith was never sanctioned by 
any act of the English legislature. 

18. A vigorous opposition was, however, made to the 
Presbyterians by the Independents and Erastians *, who es- 
pecially distressed them by maintaining the principle of a 

* So called from Erastus, a German divine of the preceding century, 
who maintained that the church, or the clergy as sueh, possessed no 
inherent legislative power of any kind, and that the national church, in 
its form and discipline, was in all respects the mere subject and creature 
of the civil magistrate. 


general toleration of all sects, though the Independents had 
some scruples about including popery and prelacy in' the 
list. In the parliament and the army the dissenters carried 
the upper hand, and although Presbyterianism was partially 
established by way of experiment in 1646, and fixed without 
qualification in 1649, many difficulties were still presented to 
its general extension over the kingdom, and, in fact, it never 
did attain a perfect and universal establishment. Some of 
the benefices were still retained by the old Episcopalian in- 
cumbents, a considerable number were held by Independents, 
and a few by some of the minor sects encouraged by Cromwell's 
general spirit of toleration. Even the laity seem to have occa- 
sionally been admitted to the pulpits if they only possessed an 
" edifying gift" of utterance. At last, in March 1653, a board 
of Triers was appointed, thirty-eight in number, of whom 
part were Presbyterians, part Independents, and a few Bap- 
tists, to which was entrusted, without any instructions or 
limitations whatever, the power of examining, approving, or 
rejecting all persons that might be appointed to any living in 
the Church. Cromwell, indeed, represented this measure as 
really a restrictive one, but it evidently sanctioned the opening 
of the Church to all, at least, of the sects represented in the 
board, which continued to sit and to exercise its functions till 
a short time after the Protector's death. 

Cromwell, also, by his deputy Monk, enforced the principle 
of toleration in Scotland, much to the chagrin of the Pres- 
byterian clergy, who were at length put down by force of 
arms in 1652, and never dared to assemble again till their 
conqueror had ceased to exist. 

19. During the general stir and upheaving of all principles, 
civil and religious, in the 17th century, a swarm of sectaries, 
the " maggots of corrupted texts," naturally arose, and made 
dissent tenfold more discordant than before. In 1646 no less 
than sixteen distinct and flourishing species are enumerated 
by Edwards in his " Gangra3na," a violent Presbyterian denun- 
ciation of such unhallowed consequences of Church-revolt.* 

* These were Independents, Brownists, Millenarians, Antinomians, 
Anabaptists, Arminians, Libertines, Familists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Per- 


The indolence of the Presbyterian army-chaplains, who, when 
they had got into good livings, did not care to go out any 
more with their regiments, gave these innovators great op- 
portunity, which they did not fail to improve, and the army 
in consequence became entirely sectarian, and soon drove the 
more orderly dissenters to the wall. The result of this vic- 
tory was a reign of general toleration, popery and prelacy 
always excepted, which lasted till the Restoration, a space of 
nearly eleven years. 

20. The principle of religious liberty was maintained by 
some writers on the Continent soon after the Reformation, 
but its first assertion in England, at least on a wide and 
general scale, was in a work of Leonard Busher, entitled 
" Religious Peace, or a Plea for Liberty of Conscience, long 
since presented to King James and his High Court of Parlia- 
ment," which was first printed in 1614, and again in 1646. 
The first founder of a religious body upon this principle is 
said to have been Roger Williams, a clergyman of the Es- 
tablished Church, but who having embraced Puritan views, 
emigrated, in 1631, to the youthful colony of Massachussetts 
in New England. There, however, he found as little peace as 
at home, and being banished from the settlement i( as a dis- 
turber of the peace of the church and commonwealth," he re- 
tired to Rhode Island with a few followers, and commenced the 
plantation still known by the name of Providence. A charter 
was obtained for this colony in 1643, and another in 1662, 
from Charles II., in which the most unrestricted religious free- 
dom was secured by the exertions of Williams, and which 
presented, perhaps, the very first instance of a government 
with which no religious sect or party was in any way con- 

At that time no people in the world presented a more re- 
markable display of bigotry and intolerance than the Puritan 
colonists of New England, who had themselves but just 
escaped from what they deemed an insupportable tyranny at 

fectists, Socinians, Arians, Anti-Trinitarians, Anti-Scriptnrists, and 
Sceptics. Some of these had appeared, however, in the preceding cen- 


home. All who did not communicate with the state church 
(which was a form of Independency) were deprived of civil 
privileges ; the worship of images was made punishable with 
death, and any one who might be pronounced a heretic was 
banished without mercy. The new sect of Quakers were 
especially persecuted, being liable to have their ears cropped, 
their tongues bored through with a red hot iron, and even 
executed on returning after banishment, a sentence under 
which several persons actually suffered. 

21. The founder of the Society of Friends, commonly 
called Quakers*, was George Fox, who was born at Dray ton 
in Lancashire, in 1624. This remarkable man, who was 
originally a shoemaker, having fancied that he heard a voice 
from Heaven when he was about nineteen years of age, com- 
menced a wandering life as a stranger in the world, with 
many odd habits and gestures, and professed illuminations 
and visions from the Holy Spirit. As his mode of proceed- 
ing did not seem very respectful to the precise Puritan mi- 
nisters, he and his followers soon got into serious trouble, 
which they endured with singular patience and meekness. 
Even Cromwell did not always choose to interfere on their 
behalf, although their half-lunatic behaviour seems generally 
to have deserved compassion rather than severity. Of these 
enthusiasts the most extravagant was James Naylor, who 
aspired to divine honours as being the especial temple of 
Christ, and was very nearly put to death for his impiety. He 
escaped, however, with whipping, branding, tongue-boring, 
the pillory, and two years' imprisonment. 

22. Amongst other sects who, equally with the Quakers, 
held the paramount authority of the inward voice of the 
Spirit, were the Millenarians or Fifth-monarchy men (who 
believed in the immediate coming of Christ to reign per- 
sonally on the earth for 1000 years, with the saints as his 
ministers and local vicegerents), the Banters, the Behmenists, 
the half- sceptical Seekers, and the all-credulous Muggletonians 

* The name Quaker was given from Fox desiring a magistrate, who 
once took him up, to " quake and tremble at the word of the Lord." 


(who put unbounded faith in "those two last prophets and 
messengers of God, John Reeve and Ludowick Muggleton"). 
These last, however, found out that the light of the Quakers 
was nothing but darkness and the very spirit of antichrist! 
and sentence of damnation was solemnly pronounced upon 
the whole of the rival body by their leaders. 

These sectaries naturally united with the Independents 
to oppose the Restoration, which obviously threatened their 
overthrow, the Quakers only excepted, who had endured too 
much from all parties not to hope for some benefit, at least, 
from the change. The poor Friends were, however, unfor- 
tunately confounded with a mad outbreak of Venner and the 
Fifth-monarchy men, and suffered severely for a time. 

23. It was plain enough that the Restoration would pro- 
duce, at least in England, the re-establishment of episcopacy, 
(which, indeed, was the general wish of the nation,) but the 
Presbyterians were not disposed to part altogether with their 
former power, and they strained every nerve accordingly to 
secure the mixed system which had been proposed some years 
before by Archbishop Usher, in which the episcopal office and 
authority was to be combined with synods of the clergy for 
the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs. By this scheme it was 
provided that the archbishops and bishops should continue as 
before, but that a body of suffragan bishops should be created, 
equal in number to the rural deaneries that a synod of his 
own clergy should be assembled by every suffragan once a 
month, a diocesan synod once or twice a year by the bishop, and 
a provincial synod, consisting of all the bishops and suffragans 
with delegates from the clergy of each diocese, every third 
year, by the archbishop ; if the parliament should be sitting, 
the two provincial synods might join and form a national 
assembly, wherein all appeals from inferior meetings might be 
received, their acts examined, and all church matters what- 
soever finally determined. This plan hardly differed from the 
Scottish, except that the prelates were made constant moder- 
ators in their own church courts instead of being elected on 
each occasion by the members, and that the power of ordina- 
tion might still be left exclusively in their hands. 


24. This scheme was formally proposed at a conference 
held in 1660, without any effect ; but in a few days after 
the king published a " healing declaration," announcing a 
variety of arrangements upon the required points, which gave 
general satisfaction to the Presbyterians, some of whose 
leaders immediately accepted office in the Church. The in- 
tended measures, however, were lost in the next parliament, 
and, it has been said, by a manoeuvre of the court. Imme- 
diately after the old incumbents were restored to their livings, 
and numbers of ministers who had been introduced during the 
time of the Commonwealth were unceremoniously dispossessed 
of their usurped seats. 

25. Something, however, was done to satisfy the dissenters 
in the calling of the famous Savoy Conference, (March 25th, 
1661,) at which twelve bishops and twelve of the principal 
Presbyterian divines, with nine assistants on each side, assem- 
bled to revise the Book of Common Prayer, and to make such 
alterations as might be " expedient for the giving satisfaction 
to tender consciences and the restoring and continuance of 
peace and unity in the churches under his majesty's govern- 
ment and protection/'* A good many objections were made 
at this conference to the old Service Book, and it was proposed 
that a new Liturgy should be drawn up, which was done by 
the celebrated Baxter in the short space of a fortnight. This 
hurried composition was at once rejected, and after much 
useless wrangling the meeting was broken up without anything 
decisive having been concluded. Shortly after, the Convoca- 
tion was desired to review the Prayer Book, and after several 
amendments, the principal of which were, that the lessons 
should be read instead of sung, the substitution of a few col- 
lects, the addition of prayers for the parliament, and for " all 
conditions of men," and the General Thanksgiving; the taking 

* Amongst the Episcopalians were Fruen, Archbishop of York, 
Sheldon, Bishop of London, Cosins of Durham, Morley of Worcester, 
Sanderson of Lincoln, Drs. Earles, Heylin, Gunning, Barwick, Pearson, 
Sparrow, Mr. Thorndike, &c. Amongst the Presbyterians, Bishop Rey- 
nolds of Norwich, Drs. Spurstow, Manton, and Lightfoot, Mr. Calamy, 
Mr. Baxter, &c. 

A A 


of the epistles and gospels from the last translation instead of 
the Bishop's Bible ; the additional office of " baptism for 
those of riper years," and of forms of prayer " to be used at 
sea," and for the 30th of January and 29th of May ; a slight 
increase of the holidays and alteration in the lessons the 
whole book was brought into the order in which it now stands, 
and was fully and finally established by the Act of Uniformity, 
passed on the 19th of May, 1662. By this famous act all 
ministers not already ordained by episcopal hands or disposed 
to be so ordained immediately, or refusing to yield unfeigned 
assent and consent to all and every thing prescribed in the 
Book of Common Prayer, or declining to abjure the solemn 
league and covenant and the lawfulness of taking up arms 
against the king on any pretence whatever, were peremptorily 
ordered to quit their benefices on the ensuing 24th of August, 
the noted Feast of St. Bartholomew. 

26. On that fated day a few were brought to conform, but 
the great bulk of the ministers (amounting, say their own 
party, to 2000,) preached their farewell sermons on the pre- 
ceding Sunday, and quietly took leave of their flocks. A great 
outcry was subsequently made because they were not allowed 
the fifths of their livings for their support, as the republican 
party had professed to do for the Episcopalian clergy upon their 
dispossession ; but, besides that the right of possession was 
nothing like so great on the one side as the other, those old 
allowances of the parliament had been in reality of a very 
nominal and unsatisfactory character. Nor would the noncon- 
formist ministers have readily consented to give up the ex- 
ercise of their voices against the established order of the 
realm, a practice which it would have been very inconsistent 
in the government to sanction and support by a positive 
pension. The nation at large had but little sympathy with 
the ejected preachers, who, nevertheless, went sturdily on in 
spite of imprisonment and every trial, defying the Service 
Book and the Church which they were compelled by law to 
frequent, and for opposing which a little too fiercely their 
followers occasionally found their way to the gallows. 

27. The established clergy and the government soon de- 
nounced this conduct as schismatical and rebellious, and by 


the Five-mile Act it was made penal for any nonconformist 
minister to teach in a school, or come within five miles (except 
as a passing traveller) of any city, borough, corporate town, 
or any place in which he had preached or taught since the 
passing of the Act of Uniformity, unless he had previously 
taken the oath of non-resistance. In 1673 the Test Act was 
passed (only repealed in 1828,) by which all who refused to 
take the oaths and receive the sacrament according to the rites 
of the Church of England, along with a formal renunciation of 
the popish doctrine of transubstantiation, were debarred from 
all public employments. Professedly this was done to check 
the growth of popery, but in effect it restricted the Dissenters 
quite as completely. 

28. Towards popery the king himself was not ill inclined, 
but the Protestant feelings of the people were highly excited 
during the reign of Charles II. by the memorable popish 
plot and its pretended witnesses, Gates and Bedloe, an ac- 
count of which may be found in all the histories. A number 
of violent measures were proposed by the Commons in con- 
sequence, and several Jesuits and other Roman Catholic 
priests and monks were executed. The much-desired result 
of these impartial persecutions was the strengthening and 
extension of "that most necessary doctrine" of passive obe- 
dience and non-resistance, as the true " badge and character 
of the Church of England." 

29. This dogma was very much shaken, however, by the 
arbitrary and avowedly popish inclinations of James II. , and 
both Oxford and Cambridge strenuously resisted his attempts 
to thrust in Roman Catholic members upon their foundations. 
The better to carry out his views, the king issued a proclama- 
tion suspending the penal laws against all nonconformists, 
whether Protestants or Roman Catholics. But this apparent 
act of toleration, besides its asserted illegality, was strongly 
suspected by the Protestants as only intended for a blind, and 
certain to be withdrawn the moment that popery was re-esta- 
blished in the land. The command to read the declaration of 
indulgence in the churches at length afforded a vent for the 
hostile feelings which had been accumulating so long, and not 

A A 2 


more than 200, out of the whole 10,000 clergy in the kingdom, 
would comply with the royal will. The Church of England 
now presented its strongest and most decided character, and 
being w T armly backed by the Protestant Dissenters, the con- 
test was no longer doubtful. The jury acquitted the seven 
bishops who were tried for petitioning against the fatal mea- 
sure, the people and the army applauded the verdict, and 
every thing prepared the way for the succeeding Revolution, 
which established the Protestant religion on a basis too firm 
to be ever again disturbed even for a moment. 

30. In Scotland, as in England, presbyterianism was put 
down at the Restoration, and episcopacy re-established in a 
still fuller and more absolute supremacy than before, although 
Charles II. had taken the covenant whilst he was in Scotland, 
and had solemnly sworn to defend the Kirk. All meetings 
of synods and presbyteries were forbidden under pain of a 
charge of treason, and by insisting on the oaths of allegiance 
and supremacy and the abjuration of the national covenant, 
the Presbyterians were driven from all offices in either Church 
or State, and not a few were sent into perpetual exile. Only 
one Scottish bishop of Laud's ordination was now alive, but 
others were soon consecrated by the archbishop of Canter- 
bury, amongst whom was the famous Sharp, created arch- 
bishop of St. Andrew's. This ardent prelate, assisted by the 
civil power and the army, pressed the Conventicle Act 
severely on the people, and filled the prisons with those who de- 
clined to attend at or use the Church Service.* The Scottish 
spirit would not, however, brook this violence, and an insur- 
rection broke out amongst the Whigamores (as they were 
called), which was at first put down with much bloodshed and 
horrid tortures, but only to break out again with fresh vigour. 
In vain were the fierce dragoons and the wild Highland sol- 
diery quartered at large upon the country, and the hill-side 
meetings of the Covenanters broken up with merciless 
slaughter, the stern Presbyterians rose again and fought with- 

* A new invention was employed by Sharp to extort confessions, 
called the boot, in which the leg was crushed by a wedge driven forcibly 
in. Thumbikins were afterwards invented for squeezing the fingers. 


out ceasing for their cherished faith, though with little success 
beyond slaying the persecuting archbishop. Till the conclusion 
of this period the Church of England remained the established 
system of religion in Scotland, although it was upheld entirely 
by force. 

In Ireland also episcopacy was restored, but without any 
similar necessity for violence, the native population being 
wholly indifferent as to what form was imposed by their 
masters, since none contributed to their emancipation. Under 
James, however, the Protestants in that country were very 
cruelly treated, and popery was almost entirely re-established 
for some time before the Revolution. 

31. Superstition still prevailed strongly in England, not- 
withstanding the purer light of the reformed faith, and was 
even countenanced by the learned of the day, including King 
James I., who wrote a grave book on demonology or witch- 
craft. The favourite mode of divination amongst these wise 
scholars was the Sortes Virgilianae, or opening at hazard a 
copy of the ^Eneid and reading the passage which first struck 
the eye.* Fortune-telling and astrology was a common trade, 
and omens of all kinds were religiously observed, the appear- 
ance of a comet in 1618 having frightened even the court into 
a temporary sobriety. Exorcism of devils had long been prac- 
tised with great success by the Romish clergy ; but at length 
the Puritans, jealous of their fame, took up the adjuration 
book and drove out many a vulgar spirit like Purr and Flib- 
bertigibbet. The imaginary sin of witchcraft was awfully 
punished, no less than 3000 persons having been executed, as 
it is said, between 1640 and 1660, besides all that had already 
perished under James. 

* Charles I., when at Oxford, is said to have thus lit upon those re- 
markable verses in the JEneid (book iv. vv. 615 620.), which so strikingly 
describe his own untimely fate, 

" At, bello audacis populi vexatus et armis, 
Finibus extorris, complexu avulsus lull, 
Auxilium imploret, videatque indigna suorum 
Funera ; nee, cum se sub leges pacis iniquse 
Tradiderit, regno aut optata luce fruatur ; 
Sed cadat ante diem, mediaque inhumatus arena." 

A A 3 




1. THE commencement of this period, taken in connexion 
with the conclusion of the last, forms undoubtedly the most 
brilliant era in our national literature, the very prime of that 
splendid world of thought which English intellect has so 
proudly opened to us, and from whose overflowing wells so 
many later minds have drunk their highest and purest in- 
spiration. We shall first consider the dramatic literature of 
the age, from its rude beginnings up to the perfection to 
which it was raised by Shakspere and his successors. 

Long before the old Moral, or even the Miracle Plays had 
ceased to be performed, a new style of dramatic performances, 
with characters drawn from real life, had arisen, of which the 
earliest specimens are, perhaps, the Interludes of John Hey- 
wood, some of which must have been written before 1521. 
The first true English comedy, however, is Ralph Roister 
Doister, written by Nicholas Udall, a master at Eton, in im- 
itation of Plautus and Terence ; its date is not exactly known, 
but it was printed at least in 1551. This play is divided 
into regular acts and scenes, and the characters are drawn 
with much force and humour. The next is Gammer Gur- 
ton's Needle, of which the oldest edition is dated 1575. 
This was written, as it is supposed, by John Still, afterwards 
bishop of Bath and Wells, and was played before the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, but is remarkable for little besides coarse 
merriment and grossness of expression. Perhaps a little 
earlier than this piece is the Misogonus, although the only 
extant copy (which is in MS.) is dated 1577. All these pro- 
ductions are composed in rhyme. 

2. Tragedy may be said to have made its appearance at 
the same early date in the shape of Chronicle Histories, in 


which certain passages of history were thrown by the annalists 
into a dramatic form, without much regard to chronology. 
Of this an example is presented in Bale's drama of Kynge 
Johan, written in all probability some years before the middle 
of the 16th century. In this piece the characters of real life, 
such as King John, Cardinal Pandulph, &c., are strangely 
jumbled up with the allegorical figures of the old Morals, 
such as Widowed Britannia, Imperial Majesty, Order, Sedi- 
tion, &c. Several other productions of the same mixed sort 
appear in the latter half of the same century, as Tom Tiler 
and his Wife (supposed to have been first printed about 1578), 
the Conflict of Conscience, 1581, &c., &c. 

Before these nondescript pieces had expired, however, the 
era of genuine historical tragedies had commenced, and on 
the 18th of January, 1562, was presented "before the queen's 
most excellent majesty, in her highness's court of Whitehall, 
by the gentlemen of the Inner Temple," the tragedy of Gor- 
boduc (otherwise named of Ferrex and Porrex), written by 
Thomas Sackville, afterwards Earl of Dorset, and by Thomas 
Norton, said to have been a Puritan clergyman, and one of 
the assistants of Sternhold and Hopkins in their metrical 
version of the Psalms, This is but a dull piece, without the 
true spirit of dialogue and of dramatic action, but the lan- 
guage is singularly correct, and often poetical ; and it may 
be remarked that blank verse is here used for the first time 
in dramatic composition. It retains one of the old contrivances 
in the Dumb Show, which precedes every act, and represents 
by a sort of allegorical exhibition the part of the story which 
is to follow ; this practice was long continued on the stage, 
as Shakspere has shown by prefixing it to the play in Hamlet, 
Another custom, which Shakspere has also twice made use 
of, is kept up in Gorboduc, namely, a chorus consisting of 
" four ancient and sage men of Britain," who moralise upon 
the proceedings in each act, something after the fashion of 
the ancient Greek drama. 

3. From 1562 to 1570 the Morals contested the field with 
some few attempts in tragedy, comedy, and dramatic history ; 
but from that time they gradually gave way to their more 

A A 4 


intelligible rivals, although they are still mentioned in the 
licence for playing granted in 1603 to Burbage, Shakspere, 
and their associates. The regular plays, however, for twenty 
years after the appearance of " Gorboduc," have for the most 
part been only preserved in their names, and it is difficult to 
determine precisely to what class they belonged. The greatest 
playwright of that day seems to have been Richard Edwards, 
who introduced stories from profane history upon the stage. 
Some plays were also translated or adapted from the ancient 
and from foreign languages, as the " Andrian " of Terence, 
the tragedies of Seneca, and one piece of Ariosto. It is remark- 
able that in the second editions of these works (so rapid was 
the change now going on in the English tongue) long glos- 
saries of words newly introduced, or which but a few years 
before had been in common use, were often absolutely neces- 
sary for their perfect comprehension. 

4 A higher class of dramatic writers arose, however, after 
1580, of whom one of the first was George Peele, whose 
earliest work was printed in 1584. His most famous piece 
is the " Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe ; " but his 
greatest merit is a certain elegance of fancy and smoothness 
of versification. Contemporary with him was the coarse and 
farcical Robert Greene, one of the earliest specimens of the 
Grub Street school. Christopher Mario w, who flourished at 
the same time, is admitted to have been the greatest play- 
writer before Shakspere, and his " Tragical History of Doctor 
Faustus," " Edward II.," and Rich Jew of Malta," are pe- 
culiarly fine specimens of the poetry of the stage. He died 
unfortunately at an early age in 1593. Amongst other names 
of this time may be mentioned John Lyly, the Euphuist, 
Thomas Kyd, and Thomas Lodge, one of whose pieces is 
supposed to have given the original idea of " As You Like 
It." Almost all these early writers were classical scholars 
and men who had received an university education, from 
which circumstance the English drama received at the outset 
a certain learned air and classical form of diction. 

5. But we must now turn to the great head and leader of 
all, the real creator of the modern stage, the immortal SHAK- 


SPERE, whose brilliant light has long since thrown most of 
the compositions of his predecessors into the deepest shade. 
As elaborate criticism, however, is not our business here, and 
would be indeed entirely superfluous, we shall simply date 
the principal works of the great master, according to the 
best information or conjectures which we possess. 

William Shakspere was born in 1564, and after passing a 
boyhood and youth with which all are familiar, is found to be 
enumerated amongst the proprietors of the Blackfriars Theatre 
in 1589. In 1592 it would seem, from some satirical expres- 
sions of Robert Greene, that he had acquired considerable re- 
putation as a dramatist and as a writer in blank verse, and in 
1598 he is spoken of by a critic of the day as indisputably the 
greatest of English dramatists both in tragedy and comedy. 
" Titus Andronicus " (if that play be really Shakspere's) was 
first published in 1594. " Richard II.," " Richard III.," and 
"Romeo and Juliet," in 1597. "Love's Labour Lost," and 
the " First Part of Henry IV.," in 1598. " Second Part of 
Henry IV.," " Henry V.," " Midsummer Night's Dream," 
"Much Ado about Nothing," and the "Merchant of Venice," 
in 1600. " Second and Third Parts of Henry VI." (if they 
are by Shakspere, for the " First Part " apparently is not) 
in the same year. The " Merry Wives of Windsor " in 1602. 
" Hamlet," in 1603. " Lear," in 1608, " Troilus and Cres- 
sida " and " Pericles of Tyre," in 1609. " Othello," not till 
1622, (six years after the author's death,) and the remainder 
of the plays not till the first folio edition in 1623. Shakspere 
himself, indeed, took no great care of the publication of his 
works, which came forth at first in very imperfect shapes, 
until his friends Heminge and Condell collected, revised, and 
brought them out in the edition just named. They were 
reprinted in 1632, and again in 1664 and 1682, after which 
editions of all kinds are sufficiently numerous. The great 
poet died in 1616, and was buried in his native town of 

6. Contemporary with Shakspere were George Chapman, 
who wrote some twenty plays, besides the most spirited trans- 
lation that we yet possess of the Iliad and Odyssey ; Webster, 


whose " White Devil " and " Duchess of Malfy " are much 
celebrated ; Middleton, whose comic power was considerable ; 
Decker, a writer of very lively fancy ; Marston ; Tailor ; 
Tourneur ; Rowley ; and Thomas Hey wood, the most rapid 
and voluminous of English authors. Many plays of this time 
were, however, written by a junto of poets, each taking some 
one part to himself. 

Far superior to all those who have been named, and 
worthy to be rated next to Shakspere, stand forth the illus- 
trious pair, Beaumont and Fletcher, whose poetical part- 
nership was so perfectly managed, that it is impossible to dis- 
tinguish the several parts in their mutual productions which 
belong to each author. Beaumont died in 1616, Fletcher in 
1625, after having written, either separately or in conjunction, 
fifty-three plays between the two. Their drama is distin- 
guished by its exquisite poetry and fertility of plot and inci- 
dent, and was for a time a much greater favourite on the 
stage than that of Shakspere ; but it is far inferior in the 
development and preservation, as well as in originality and 
variety of character, and is disgraced by a grossness of 
thought and expression which renders it in its original state 
wholly unfit for modern representation. 

A new style was attempted by the " rare " Ben Jonson, 
who sought to revive the classic Roman drama, and wrote his 
plays upon the models of Terence, Plautus, and Seneca. He 
died in 1637, after having written above fifty pieces of various 
kinds. Massinger also had a learned turn, but is particularly 
excellent in his villains, of whom Sir Giles Overreach, in the 
" New Way to Pay Old Debts," and Luke in the " City 
Madam," are fine specimens. A writer of deep pathos is found 
in John Ford, whose versification is also of frequent and 
extreme beauty. The last name of this great age is that of 
Shirley, whose first play was published in 1629. He is 
the author of about forty pieces, lively, clear, and pure in 

7. Previous to the civil wars, there appear to have been 
no less than five different companies of public players in 
London: 1st, the "King's Company" (to which Shak- 


spere belonged), which acted at the Globe Theatre on the 
Bankside, Southwark, in summer, and at the Blackfriars 
Theatre in Winter. 2. The Queen's Players, who occupied 
the Cockpit (or Phoenix) in Drury Lane, the origin of the 
present theatre. 3. The Prince's Players at the Fortune 
Theatre, in Golden Lane, Cripplegate. 4. The Salisbury 
Court Company. 5. The Children of the Revels, who are sup- 
posed to have performed at the Red Bull, at the upper end of 
St. John's Street. When the plague happened to rage in town 
the theatres were shut up, and the players went down to the 
provinces; but their absence seems to have been generally 
borne with great impatience. With the gloomy spirit of 
puritanism dramatic entertainments did not well accord, and 
by an ordinance of the Lords and Commons, in 1642, "public 
stage plays" were ordered henceforth " to cease and be 
forborne."* This order was, however, frequently infringed, 
and severer measures were consequently adopted, the theatres 
being stripped of their fittings, the poor players treated as 
rogues and vagabonds, and condemned upon the first offence 
to public whipping, and on the second, to all the penalties of 
incorrigible roguery ; and all persons found present at a per- 
formance fined in 5s. for the use of the poor. In the provinces 
and country houses of the nobility, however, a few actors still 
ventured to perform, and Sir William Davenant gave enter- 
tainments of declamation and music, which he called Operas, 
without molestation, even in London. A great comic genius, 
too, Robert Cox, under the pretence of rope-dancing, contrived 
to fill the Red Bull with vast audiences, whom he entertained 
with the richest scenes of Shakspere, Marston, Shirley, &c., 
compressed into one piece, and called Humours or Drolleries. 
One good result of this dreary interval was, however, the 

* This hatred to theatrical representations, which the parliament pro- 
fessed to be founded upon purely religious feelings, is attributed by a poet 
of the time, Alexander Brome, to political and even personal motives : 

" Tis worth our note, 

Bishops and players both suffer'd in one vote : 
And reason good, for they had cause to fear them, 
One did suppress their schisms, and t'other jeer them!" 


publication of many MS. plays, which had hitherto been 
jealously hoarded by the respective companies, but which 
they were now obliged to print for their bread. 

8. With the Restoration the theatres opened once more, 
but with an entirely new turn and taste, and even a new lan- 
guage. Wit and liveliness of dialogue, with highly artificial 
plots, and a general broadness and grossness of style, were now 
chiefly cultivated, and it must be owned with great success. 
The plays of this period sparkle, indeed, with the most 
brilliant points throughout, but they are hardly fit even for 
private perusal, and, with a few exceptions, are now never 
brought upon the stage. Amongst the most eminent drama- 
tic writers of the day were Dryden, whose touching tragedies 
are still occasionally performed, Davenant, Otway, Lee, 
Crowne, Etheridge, Wycherley, and Southerne. These were 
followed by Farquhar, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Mrs. Behn, and 
Mrs. Centlivre, who for the most part rival them in both their 
best and worst qualities. Cowley, Waller, Buckingham, and 
Sedley, also wrote or altered several pieces for the stage. 

9. Of poets not dramatic above 230 have been made out 
as flourishing in the lifetime of Shakspere ; and if the cata- 
logue were extended to the Restoration perhaps the number 
would not be far short of 400 ; but of these only a few de- 
serve any particular notice. The first who appear are Samuel 
Daniel and William Warner, the latter remarkable for his 
Albion's England, which was first published in a complete 
form in 1606. It is a legendary history of England written 
in the old fourteen-syllable verse, without much poetic feeling, 
although by his contemporaries the author was placed upon 
a level even with Edmund Spenser. Then comes Michael 
Drayton, a most voluminous writer, but whose fame rests 
chiefly on his Polyolbion, a minute topographical description 
of England, contained in some 30,000 Alexandrine lines, which 
presented itself in 1612 and 1622, and is remarkable both for 
its poetic merits and for its varied learning. After these follow 
Giles and Phineas Fletcher, cousins of the dramatist, and both 
clergymen. Phineas, in particular, published, in 1633, a most 
singular allegory called the Purple Island, in which the human 


body was mysteriously figured forth, and a detailed system 
of anatomy and psychology wrapped up in a series of poetic 
riddles. These last two writers were great favourites with 
Milton, as was also Joshua Sylvester, who was chiefly eminent, 
however, as a translator from the French. Another great trans- 
lator was Edward Fairfax, who published Tasso's Jerusalem 
Recovered, done into English verse, in 1600. Sir Hichard 
Fanshawe also produced versions of Camoen's Lusiad, Gua- 
rini's Pastor Fido, Mendoza's Querer por Solo Querer, and 
some translations from the Latin. 

A curious philosophical poem of this time is Sir John Da- 
vies' " Nosce Teipsum," which is written with singular skill in 
the heroic ten-syllable measure, disposed in quatrains, a most 
difficult kind of verse, which even Dryden gave up after a 
few trials. He wrote also the best acrostics which have ever 
been penned, upon the name of Queen Elizabeth. A far 
finer composition, however^ is the " Cooper's Hill" of Sir 
John Denham, published in 1643, and one of the noblest 
pieces of its kind in the world. 

10. The metaphysical school of poetry was founded in this 
age by Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul's, whose lyrics, satires, 
epistles, and other poems, are crowded with the most extra- 
ordinary conceits, and look at first like so many ingenious 
enigmas. Yet they are not without a considerable vein of wit 
and delicate fancy, and the truest tenderness and depth of feel- 
ing. His great follower was Cowley, who, with a less fantas- 
tical manner, had much less passion and earnestness ; Milton, 
however, declared that the three greatest English poets were 
Spenser, Shakspere, and Cowley, and the last was certainly ex- 
tremely popular for a length of time. Among the minor poets 
may be mentioned Crashaw and Herrick, some of whose verses 
are very beautiful, and the better known George Herbert, the 
most poetical of our religious lyrics. Of a different class, but 
equally excellent in their way, are the three exquisite writers 
of light songs and short pieces, Carew, Suckling, and Lovelace. 
These gentlemen were Cavaliers ; but the Puritan side had its 
counterbalance in Andrew Marvell and George Wither, 
whose early poetical flights are as sweet as their later political 


prose is vigorous and stinging. An elegant Scottish bard of 
the time of James I. is Drummond of Hawthornden, who 
was, moreover, the first of his countrymen who aspired to 
write in English rather than Lowland Scotch. 

11. Theology engrossed a large portion of the prose liter- 
ature of the day, and the interest which all men felt in religi- 
ous controversies drew forth even the monarch on the throne, 
both James I. and Charles I. having left us a considerable col- 
lection of their performances, not always, however, of a very 
first-rate character. One of the most eminent preachers under 
Elizabeth and James was Dr. Andrews, bishop of Winchester, 
whose sermons are remarkable for learning and ability, though 
often spoiled by an affected quibbling and playing with words, 
which his example contributed but too largely to spread. 
Donne, the poet, has also left a folio volume of sermons deeply 
imbued with his quaint and subtle mode of thought ; but a 
happier style is that of the celebrated Joseph Hall, bishop of 
Norwich, whose poetic temperament, forcible and picturesque 
language, and unaffected manner, have preserved him with 
justice in the favour of the public to the present day. Hales 
and Chillingworth are chiefly remarkable as controversialists, 
especially the latter, whose polemical treatises have never 
been excelled for closeness and keenness of reasoning. The 
greatest name, however, amongst the English divines of the 
whole century is that of JEREMY TAYLOR (born 1613, died 
bishop of Down and Connor 1667,) whose very prose is 
swelled almost into poetry by the excessive richness of his 
imagination and the splendour and melody of his diction. 
His "Sermons," his "Golden Grove," "Holy Living and Holy 
Dying," and " Contemplations on the State of Man," are, 
indeed, scarcely to be paralleled by any other English writer. 
The " Discourse on the Liberty of Prophesying " may also be 
mentioned as one of the noblest pleas for freedom of conscience 
in the world. 

12. Amongst the theological writers may be placed Fuller, 
the droll and eccentric author of the " Church History of 
Britain," and of the "Worthies of England;" and Milton, 
who wrote several controversial treatises, especially against 
prelacy. In these as in his other prose works (some of which 


were written in Latin) the laboured classical style of the 
great poet often loses in ease and grace what it gains in lofti- 
ness and splendour, and forms, upon the whole, by no means 
a good general model. The diction of the authorised transla- 
tion of the Bible does not belong exclusively to this period, 
for it was studiously framed upon the basis of the Bishop's 
Bible, which itself was founded upon that of Cranmer, written 
under Henry VIII. With all its abundant beauties, therefore, 
it is not perhaps a fair specimen of the language of the reign 
in which it was actually produced. 

13. In secular literature the greatest master was undoubt- 
edly the illustrious Bacon.* To this noble intellect we owe 
a considerable stimulus to the prosecution of natural philoso- 
phy, and the most profound and original views of moral and 
political science. In no other philosophical writer do we 
find such extraordinary depth of thought and splendour of 
eloquence so wonderfully united, and although his services to 
physical science may have been overrated, yet none can esti- 
mate too highly his unrivalled investigation of the powers and 
operations of the human mind. Another writer of a very 
peculiar stamp is Sir Thomas Browne, the author of those 
singular works, " The Religio Medici," " Inquiries into 
Vulgar Errors," " Urn Burial," and The Garden of Cyrus, 
or Quincuncial Lozenge of the Ancients, Artificially, Na- 
turally, and Mystically considered," which appeared between 
1642 and 1658. These treatises are full of uncommon 
thoughts and striking passages, and are remarkable for 
their studious and quiet character at a time when the whole 
kingdom was convulsed, and literary men of all parties deeply 
engaged in the sternest conflict. 

" The Anatomy of Melancholy," that curious web of in- 
terwoven quotations, was first published in 1621. Robert 
Burton, the author (who was educated at Button Coldfield 
School) died in 1640. Harrington's original political romance 
" Oceana" appeared in 1656. 

* Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, was born in 1561, and died in 1626. 
His "Essays" were first published in 1597, "Advancement of Learning" 
in 1605, " Wisdom of the Ancients " in 1610, " Novuin Organum " in 
1620, and the "De Augmentis Scientiarum " in 1623. 




14. In this period, too, came forth the great work of the 
accomplished Raleigh, "The History of the World," com- 
posed during his imprisonment in the Tower. It possesses 
much literary merit, and is written in a more modern style 
than almost any of its contemporaries. A more valuable 
book as a record of facts, however, is " Knolles' History of 
the Turks," published in 1610. Precisely the opposite 
quality is displayed in " Daniel's History of England ;" but 
the most masterly historical piece of the time is "Bacon's 
Reign of Henry VII.," next to which may be placed 
"Thomas May's History of the Long Parliament," and 
" Breviary of the History of the Parliament." The old po- 
pular histories were continued by the publication of Hall's, 
Grafton's, Holinshed's, and Baker's Chronicles, which last 
was a great favourite for a considerable time. Of far greater 
value, however, were the antiquarian researches of Stow and 
Speed, published between 1565 and 1614, which form the 
very basis of our knowledge of national antiquities. 

15. English newspapers date from the first year of the 


Heading of an early Newspaper. 

Long Parliament, the oldest that has been discovered being 
a quarto pamphlet of a few leaves, entitled " The Diurnal 


Occurrences, or Daily Proceedings of Both Houses, in this 
great and happy parliament, from the 3d of November, 1640, 
to the 3d of November, 1641. London : printed for William 
Cooke, and are to be sold at his shop at FurnivaPs Inn Gate, 
in Holborn, 1641."* More than 100 papers with different 
titles appear to have been published from this time to the 
death of the king, and upwards of 80 from that date to the 
Restoration. These were at first published weekly, but as 
the interest increased, twice or thrice a week ; and even it 
would seem, daily, at least for a time. Such were the 
French Intelligencer, the Dutch Spy, the Scots Dove, &c. ; 
but Mercuries of all sorts were the favourite title. Thus 
they had the Mercurius Acheronticus, Mercurius Democritus, 
Aulicus, Britannicus, Laughing Mercury, and Mercurius Mas- 
tix, which last faithfully lashed all the rest. The great news- 
paper editors of the day were Marchmont Needham on the 
Presbyterian and Sir John Birkenhead on the Royalist side. 
These were followed by Sir Roger L'Estrange, who has also 
been ranked amongst the patriarchs of the newspaper press. 
Pamphlets were also issued in prodigious numbers during 
those troubled times, the average being calculated at four or 
five new ones every day. 

16. Hardly any great work in the line of ancient scholar- 
ship appeared before the Restoration, except a noble edition 
of St. Chrysostom, in eight vols. folio, by Sir Henry 
Savile, printed at Eton in 1612. Greek and Latin were 
both largely read, however, though not very critically, and a 
number of books were written in Latin by Englishmen, which 
still retain their celebrity ; such as Camden's " Britannia" 
and " Annales Rerum Anglicarum regnante Elizabetha," 
"Lord Herbert's Treatise de Veritate," Milton's " Defensio 
pro Populo Anglicano," and "Defensio Secunda," and 

* Occasional gazettes had, however, been published at the time of the 
Spanish Armada, which, besides the news of the day, contain advertise- 
ments of books, &c. The original invention of newspapers, "that folio 
of four pages, happy thought ! " has been variously claimed by the Italians, 
French, and English. No doubt the same necessities in all those countries 
gave unassisted birth to the same expedient. 

B B 


Archbishop Usher's "De Primordiis Ecclesiarum Britanni- 
carum," and " Annales Utriusque Testament!." 

17. From the appearance of his minor poems in 1645 
MILTON had published no poetry (except one trifling sonnet) 
till he gave the world his immortal " Paradise Lost" in ten 
books, in 1667. In 1671 appeared his " Paradise Regained," 
and " Samson Agonistes;" in 1673 some new sonnets and 
other pieces, and in 1674 the second edition of his "Paradise 
Lost," now divided into twelve books ; the same year com- 
pleting both his great work and his life. The productions 
of this noble intellect, although principally published after 
the Restoration, belong in everything else to the preceding 
age, and possess a good deal of the Italian character, on 
which the elder poetry is so closely framed. From classical 
literature and the pure fount of the Hebrew Scriptures he 
also drank largely, and colouring all with his own fervid and 
lofty spirit, presented the world of English literature with the 
most perfect poem that it has ever seen ; perfect even to its 
minutest point, for its blank verse is the happiest specimen of 
that metre beyond the region of the drama. 

18. A singular contrast to the deep and solemn tempera- 
ment of Milton is displayed in the grotesque satirical verses 
and doggrel rhymes of Samuel Butler, the celebrated author 
of "Hudibras," a poem which was first published in 1663. 
Waller, who lived through nearly the whole of the 17th 
century, exhibits very strongly the growing influence of 
French literature upon the English school, his pieces being 
distinguished by an extreme neatness and point, but without 
much depth of passion or earnestness of feeling. Sedley, 
Buckingham and Rochester carried this style still farther, and 
unfortunately increased all its grossness and indelicacy. To 
these writers may be added the Earl of Roscommon, the lively 
Earl of Dorset, the Marquis of Halifax, Lord Godolphin, Sir 
William Davenant, Bishop Spratt, and Charles Cotton, the 
well known companion of pleasant old Izaak Walton. 

19. But of all the poets who lived quite through this 
century the greatest by far is John Dryden. His first verses 
were published in 1649, and in the most extravagant style of 


Donne and Cowley ; but he soon abandoned this unnatural 
method, and attained a character of vigorous conception and 
full and easy flow of versification, which has placed him 
amongst the ranks of our best authors. His latest and most 
excellent works, "Alexander's Feast" and the "Fables," 
were published in 1700, only a few months before the author's 
death. The school which Dryden carried to its greatest 
perfection differed materially from that of Milton and the 
older giants of poesy, being modelled chiefly on the Roman 
classics and the modern French literature, although not 
without much of the genuine English strain. 

20. In prose Dryden excelled as highly as in verse. Another 
great prose-writer of the time is Lord Chancellor Clarendon, 
although his " History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars " 
was not published till 1702, nor his Life and Continuation of 
the History till 1759. His style is remarkable for its singular 
clearness and copiousness, even whilst labouring under all the 
defects of the most negligent grammar. The first English 
writer, indeed, whose language is uniformly careful and 
correct, was Hobbes of Malmsbury, one of our most distin- 
guished names in metaphysical, ethical, and political philo- 
sophy, as well as in literature. This great author, born in 
1588, published for the first time, in 1628, a translation of 
Thucydides ; but his first original work was a Latin treatise, 
"De Cive," in 1642. The English writings upon which his 
fame is founded, however, are his philosophical essay, entitled 
" Leviathan," in 1651, and his "Behemoth, or History of the 
Causes of the Civil Wars," in 1679. For perspicuity and 
precision, force and terseness, Hobbes' writings are the very 
model of such compositions, and none can deny his mind the 
praise of great originality and acuteness. Unfortunately his 
literary excellence is counterbalanced by a scoffing and scep- 
tical turn, which goes, in fact, to deny the existence of any 
essential distinction between right and wrong, of conscience 
or the moral sense, or, indeed, of anything beyond mere 
sensation in either emotion or intelligence. 

21. The unbelieving philosopher was met, however, with 
equal power by the pious Cudworth, whose "True Intel- 


lectual System of the Universe" (published in 1678) displays 
not only a vast extent of learning and subtlety of speculation, 
but also a singularly vigorous and well formed style. "With 
this writer may be mentioned his friend, Henry More, who 
fell into the opposite extreme of imaginative Platonism, and 
exhibited a strange union of the most obscure notions with 
the clearest mode of expression, and of the greatest credulity 
with the highest powers of reasoning. Two other great theo- 
logical writers of the time were Richard Baxter, the Puritan 
minister, and Robert Leighton, archbishop of Glasgow. The 
first would no doubt have written better had he written less, 
but it is certainly difficult to produce nearly 200 works, of 
which three are large folios, without falling into many im- 
perfections, and a very loose way of writing ; the second has 
always been deservedly admired for his graceful piety. A 
still greater divine was Dr. Isaac Barrow, who, besides being 
one of the best mathematicians next to Newton, has left us 
a series of sermons of the very highest cast of thought. 

One of the most copious writers of the age was Bishop 
Stillingfleet, whose "Irenicum" appeared in 1659, and who 
for five and twenty years afterwards engaged the public eye 
with a rapid succession of publications, of which his " Origines 
Britannicse," a work on the history of the English Church, is 
perhaps the most valuable. Bishop Bull is also celebrated 
for his " Harmonia Apostolica, " directed against Calvinism, 
his "Defensio Fidei Nicaenae," and "Judicium Ecclesiae Ca- 
tholicse," all learned and laborious works. But perhaps the 
most active prose-writer of all was the well known Gilbert 
Burnet, bishop of Salisbury. The longest of his numerous 
compositions are the " Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton," 
" History of the Reformation of the Church of England," 
.and the " History of his own Times." The great excellence 
of this author is his faculty of collecting and arranging in- 
telligence, and of telling his story in a lively way ; but to the 
higher merits of composition he can lay no claim. His expo- 
sition of the Thirty-nine Articles is indeed still a theological 
text book, though, it must be owned, simply for want of a 
better. Archbishop Tillotson is familiarly known by his 


sermons, once very popular, but far inferior, as regards literary 
merit, to those of Dr. South, which, although sparkling per- 
petually with wit and puns, yet display a masculine spirit 
and a clear and vigorous style. The writings of John Locke 
belong properly to a later period, his " Essay on the Human 
Understanding " and other English works having all appeared 
after 1690. 

Nor should honest John Bunyan and that wonderful 
allegory, the " Pilgrim's Progress," pass without the praise 
which is due to the delight of our childhood and the instruc- 
tion of our riper years. But the list of English prose-writers 
now grows inconveniently large, and with gossiping Pepys, 
gentle Izaak Walton, pleasant John Evelyn, and the lively 
essayist, Sir William Temple, we must here be allowed to 
close our account. 

22. The history of science in England during this period 
is illuminated at its very outset by the great Napierian dis- 
covery of logarithms. Baron Napier of Merchiston published 
his Mirifici Logariihmorum Canonis Descriptio at Edinburgh 
in 1614; but the improved shape in which we now possess 
them, and in framing which he was much assisted by his 
friend, Henry Briggs, first appeared in 1618. The uses of 
this wonderful invention in the pursuit of mathematical and 
physical science are innumerable, and it has, moreover, the 
rare merit of being presented in such original perfection 
as never afterwards to have received any material improve- 
ment. Algebra was considerably advanced at this time by 
Thomas Harriot, who also appears to have discovered the 
solar spots and the satellites of Jupiter simultaneously with 
Galileo. Henry Briggs made the first step towards the 
discovery of the Binomial Theorem in algebra, which was 
finally traced out by Newton. 

The great early astronomer of the age was Samuel Hor- 
rocks, who died in 1641, at the immature age of 22. He was 
the first who saw the planet Venus on the body of the Sun, and 
anticipated even Newton in the theory of the lunar motions. 
Crabtree, Gascoigne (who introduced two convex glasses and 
the wire micrometer into the telescope, and applied that in- 

B B 3 


strument to the quadrant), Milbourn^ Shackerley, Gunter 
(the inventor of the well-known Gunter's scale, of the sector 
and the surveyor's chain, author of the terms cosine, cotangent, 
&c., and first observer of the fact that the variation of the 
compass itself again varies), Greaves (author of the first good 
account of the Pyramids of Egypt), and Gellibrand, were also 
distinguished for their astronomical genius, and some of them 
lent their powerful aid to the advancement of science as pro- 
fessors in the very valuable foundation of Gresham College. 

23. In the physical sciences the grandest event is the dis- 
covery of the circulation of the blood by Dr. William Harvey. 
This most important fact had indeed been distantly observed 
by Aristotle and Galen, and more closely noticed after the 
revival of anatomy by Mondino, Berenger, Michael Servetus, 
and others; but the merit of the discovery (in any proper 
sense of the word) is undoubtedly due to Harvey, who was 
led to it by tracing (under the direction of his great Italian 
master, Fabricius ab Aquapendente,) the existence of valves 
in the veins, which prevented the flow of blood from the 
heart but permitted it to that organ. The full announcement 
of this magnificent idea was made in 1619, in his Exercitatio 
Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus. At 
first it was received with almost universal disbelief, ridicule, 
and opposition, but in time it worked its way and effected a 
complete revolution in medical science.* Other eminent names 
in this department of knowledge are Drs. Highmore, Glisson, 
Jolyffe, Wharton, Willis, and Lower, who are celebrated as 
the first accurate anatomists of the brain and nerves. 

24. The general state of physical science was still, how- 
ever, sufficiently miserable till after the middle of the 17th 
century, and the most obvious discoveries of Copernicus, Ga- 
lileo, Torricelli, Des Cartes, and our own countrymen, were 
still occasionally treated as gross absurdities, and that by men 
of acknowledged station and presumed attainments. Better 
notions, however, began to prevail through the influence of 

* The old notion was, that the veins were a sort of canals filled with 
stagnant blood, and the arteries merely air-tubes. 


the Royal Society, the origin of which may be traced to one 
Theodore Haak, a German gentleman, who, about the year 
1645, induced a number of persons interested in the new phi- 
losophy to meet once or twice a week in different places in 
London. These early associates were Dr. Wallis, the ma- 
thematician, Goddard, a physician and astronomer, Wilkins 
(afterwards bishop of Chester), Ent, Glisson, and Merret, 
with Haak, Samuel Foster, professor of astronomy in 
Gresham College, and probably the Honourable Robert 
Boyle, with several others whose names have not been 
handed down. Some of them afterwards went to Oxford, 
and there established a similar institution, which was joined 
by Dr. Seth Ward, Bathurst, Willis, Petty, and others. 
During the Rebellion this meeting of philosophers was some- 
what disturbed ; but after the Restoration they came out in 
still greater force, and (apparently through the interest of a 
member, Sir Robert Moray, who was a sort of private secre- 
tary to Charles II.) obtained the especial favour of the king, 
who gave them, in 1662, a charter of incorporation under the 
name of the Royal Society, of which William Lord Brouncker 
was constituted the first president. 

The more important papers read before this society began 
to be published in 1665, under the name of the Philosophical 
Transactions, a work which has been continued to the present 
day without interruption, except in the four years from 1679 
to 1683, the three years from 1687 to 1691, and some shorter 
intervals, amounting in all to nearly a year and a half more, 
previous to October 1695. The chief subjects of inquiry were 
at first mechanical, astronomical, optical, anatomical, chemical, 
agricultural, &c. ; and for some time little more than mere 
accounts of observations and experiments, or unmathematical 
explanations and hypotheses were furnished. The society 
was, however, highly useful as a stimulus to the great minds 
of the age, and a means of bringing them in contact with 
congenial spirits, so that its history is, in fact, nearly the 
history of English science throughout the remainder of this 

25. One of the greatest mechanical geniuses of the age was 

B B 4 


the Marquis of Worcester, whose "Century of Inventions" is 
noted as containing the first available idea of a STEAM-ENGINE. 
This he calls ff an admirable and most forcible way to drive 
water up by fire," and describes " one vessel of water rarefied 
by fire" as driving up forty feet of cold water.* In 1683 
Sir Samuel Morland claimed this invention as his own, though 
not very boldly ; but the first real improvement was made in 
1690 by Denis Papin, a Frenchman resident in England, who 
discovered the action of the piston and its reaction by conden- 
sation of the steam. He also invented the safety-valve, but 
applied it only in his well-known digester, where steam was 
used simply for the purpose of producing heat. The first 
practical engine was constructed in 1698 by Captain Savery, 
which was employed, however, only for the raising of water. 
Improvements were afterwards effected by Newcomen (in 
1711), Desaguliers (in 1718) and Beighton; all forerunners 
of that day when the immortal Watt produced the iron- armed 
giant of modern times in all its marvellous plenitude of power. 
26. Amongst the leading scientific men of the latter part 
of this era was the Honourable Robert Boyle, youngest son 
of the first Earl of Cork, who made considerable improve- 
ments in the air-pump (invented a few years before by Otto 
von Guericke of Magdeburg) and in the science of pneu- 
matics, along with some advances in chemistry. Another dis- 
tinguished person was Robert Hooke, who, besides being a 
superior chemist, is believed to have been the great improver 
of the pendulum and of pendulum watches. William Lord 
Brouncker, too, first president of the Royal Society, was a 
good mathematician, and first noticed the theory of continued 
fractions in arithmetic and the method of squaring the hyper- 
bola. Dr. John Wallis, besides his many learned and ingenious 
works on algebra, geometry, and mechanical philosophy, was 
the author of a plan for teaching deaf and dumb persons to 
speak, which seems to have been tolerably successful. A more 

* The Marquis may have gathered the idea from a work published at 
Paris, forty years before his own, by a French engineer, one Solomon de 
Caus, which contained a principle apparently the same. 


singular character was the famous bishop of Chester, Dr. John 
Wilkins, whose best known works are the " Discovery of a 
New World," in which he attempts to prove the practicability 
of a passage to the moon, and " Essay towards a Real Cha- 
racter," which was a scheme for a universal language. Dr. 
Isaac Barrow and Sir Christopher Wren were also distin- 
guished by their valuable contributions to mathematical 
science. Dr. James Gregory, a Scottish professor, and in- 
ventor of the reflecting telescope, with his nephew David, are 
celebrated for their geometrical and analytical works, and 
Collins, Cotes, Robert Smith, and Brook Taylor, are names 
of no inconsiderable note in the annals of mathematics. 

27. But the glory of the age in this department is un- 
doubtedly the undying name of Sir ISAAC NEWTON, who 
lived between 1642 and 1727. The splendid career of this 
unrivalled mathematician began at a very early period of life, 
and continued without interruption almost to his death. At 
twenty-two he is believed to have discovered the Binomial 
Theorem in algebra, a year later the doctrine of fluxions 
(now known as the Differential Calculus), and in the next the 
great principle of gravitation, which was not, however, even 
mentioned to any one for sixteen years, when a more accurate 
calculation of the earth's diameter enabled him to correct the 
apparent contradictions of his theory in the case of the moon's 
movement round the earth and that of bodies falling towards 
the earth. His great work, the PRINCIPIA, was published at 
the expense of the Royal Society in 1687. In the interim 
he had made his other grand discovery of the separable cha- 
racter of a ray of light and the different refrangibility of its 
separate parts, thus revolutionising the whole science of optics. 
From the time of Newton, indeed, a new system of the uni- 
verse was established, and every science connected with it 
proceeded henceforth upon principles hitherto unknown. 

28. Astronomy, in particular, as might be expected, bene- 
fited largely by these new and striking theories. The Royal 
Observatory was founded at Greenwich by Charles II. in 
1676, and put under the care of the famous John Flamsteed, 
whose astronomical observations are justly regarded as form- 


ing the foundation of modern practical astronomy. His 
catalogue of the stars, in particular, (of which he noted above 
3300) has served as the basis of selection and nomenclature 
for all that have succeeded. He was followed by Edmund 
Halley, whose history belongs, indeed, in great part to the 18th 
century. In 1679, however, he published a catalogue of the 
Southern Stars (besides many papers in the Philosophical 
Transactions), and in 1680 observed the comet, since known 
by his name, the return of which, in the years 1758 and 1835, 
he was the first to predict. 

29. In chemistry many new and important facts, relative 
to respiration and combustion, were announced in the tracts 
of John Mayow, a physician of Oxford, published in 1674, 
which were followed by the first general theory of combustion, 
promulgated about the beginning of the next century, by the 
German chemist Stahl. In medical science the greatest 
name is that of Sydenham, whose practice and writings mark 
a new era in medicine. Anatomy was somewhat advanced 
by Humphrey Eidley and William Cowper before the close 
of this period, and some progress made in zoology and com- 
parative anatomy. Botany assumed quite a new form under the 
hand of the great Ray, whose works were published between 
1670 and 1705. The botanical garden at Oxford had, however, 
been founded by Earl Danby so early as 1632. Ornithology 
and ichthyology may be said to have been introduced into 
England by Francis Willughby, and conchology by Dr. Lister 
during the latter half of the 17th century. In geology some 
facts were collected by Ray, Woodward, and others, and a few 
general principles began to be perceived; but the fanciful 
speculations of Thomas Burnet and William Whiston upon 
the structure, origin, and destiny of the earth, for a time at- 
tracted far more attention. 

30. The ancient and modern styles of English architecture 
are, at length, clearly separated under the reign of James I., 
from which time the semi-classical school carried all before 
it ; and in the hands of the famous Inigo Jones, excelled for 
a space that of any nation in Europe. This great architect 
was born in 1572, and studied his art in Italy, where he 


acquired a high reputation, and is even said (though with 
little certainty) to have designed the Grand Piazza at Leg- 
horn. At that time Italian architecture was in but a doubtful 
state ; the feeble followers of Michael Angelo had perverted 
his original conceptions into monstrous forms ; but a better 
taste was prevailing in the school of Palladio and his com- 
peers, who were earnestly and successfully adapting the great 
models of antiquity to the wants and character of their own 
times. Trained amongst these men to the highest concep- 
tions of modern art, Inigo Jones returned to England, and 
was soon appointed architect to Prince Henry, and afterwards 
surveyor to the government. His first great work was a 
design for the palace of Whitehall, which, having grown, 
after its purchase by the crown under Henry VIII., into a 
huge, irregular mass of building, extending from Scotland 
Yard on the north to Cannon Row on the south, and from the 
Thames on the east to the top of Downing Street in the 
west, King James had resolved to replace by a more uniform 

The magnitude of this design may be judged by its dimen- 
sions it extended no less than 874 feet in length on the east 
and west sides, and 1152 on the north and south, the interior 
being distributed around seven different courts. Had this 
palace been finished, it would perhaps have been the finest 
specimen of modern architecture in Europe; but a single 
part only was executed, the Banqueting House, now the 
Royal Chapel of Whitehall. Other works of Inigo Jones 
are Lyndsay House, in Lincoln's Inn Fields; St. Paul's 
Church, Covent Garden (the earliest introduction of the 
temple form for the purposes of a modern church) ; and one 
which, with the whole building to which it belonged, has long 
disappeared from the earth, namely, a splendid portico to 
Old St. Paul's, which, although most inappropriately attached 
to a Gothic building, was yet in itself one of the most perfect 
structures that has ever been produced; besides numerous 
mansions in different parts of the country. 

31. With the foundation of Whitehall the new era com- 
menced the Palladian style became the prevalent fashion ; 


and, with the exception of Wren and Yanbrugh and their 
respective followers, all the architects of the 17th and 18th 
centuries implicitly obeyed its laws. Jones himself, however, 
occasionally attempted a few adaptations of the old national 
style, the additions to St. John's College, Oxford, and Heriot's 
Hospital, Edinburgh, being of good semi-Gothic character. 
At this time the dangers and inconvenience of using so 
much timber in private houses caused several prohibitory 
proclamations, and brick and stone began to be used more 
generally in street fronts. Of these brick buildings an early 
specimen remains in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn 
Fields, not improbably the work of the great architect him- 
self. Timber houses were still, however, pertinaciously erected 
till the great fire of London in 1666, when the legislature 
interposed with more effect. 

32. The great architect, Sir Christopher Wren, whose 
name has raised the latter half of the 17th century to an 
honourable rivalry with the first, well deserves a separate 
section. Educated in a manner by no means professional, 
this distinguished genius, at the early age of eighteen, had 
already made himself known as a mathematician, astronomer, 
and mechanician of no mean powers, and was selected as one 
of the members of the Royal Society. To architecture he ap- 
pears, however, to have always paid considerable attention ; 
since, in 1661, he was called on by the king to assist Sir John 
Denham in his office. Not long after he was joined in a com- 
mission to undertake a survey of the cathedral of St. Paul, 
and to furnish plans for its restoration. At that time the whole 
of the ancient fabric was found to be in a state of ruinous dila- 
pidation, brought on by time, or, still more effectually, by the 
rude hand of profane violence. During the Rebellion the body 
of the Church had been converted into a horse-barrack ; the 
beautiful pillars of Inigo Jones' portico shamefully hewed 
and defaced, to support the timber work of shops which were 
set up along the colonnade ; and several places in the roof 
had wholly fallen in. Wren's first plan was to rebuild the 
entire, on the model laid down by Jones in his portico ; but 
this was not permitted by his fellow-commissioners, who would 


have been well satisfied with any insignificant patching 
which might barely enable it to stand. The prejudices of the 
people were also strongly against the removal of the old 
tower, of which they were traditionally proud. Even the 
Great Fire did not at first put an end to the vain attempts at 
restoration, which were blindly persevered in for two years, until 
a second fall of the nave warned all of their utter absurdity. At 
length, in the year 1675, nine years after the fire, and twelve 
years after the first commission had been issued, the whole of 
the mighty work, from its commencement, was put into the 
hands of the genius which seemed to have been especially 
produced for the very purpose of its completion. The architect 
presented several designs for St. Paul's, of which his own 
favourite was not adopted ; and the one which was underwent 
considerable alterations, at the suggestion of the Duke of 
York, in order to suit it to the Roman worship, which he 
already intended to revive. Similar treatment was expe- 
rienced in his design for the Monument on Fish Street Hill, 
which differs widely from the original intention of the 

33. To Wren was also entrusted the restoration of London 
at large ; and he produced a plan accordingly for rebuilding 
it anew upon a regular and consistent design. In this scheme 
the streets were to be uniformly laid out at widths of ninety, 
sixty, and thirty feet; the Exchange, Mint, Post Office, 
Excise, and other public offices, to occupy a grand central 
piazza, from which streets should radiate to all the principal 
points of the city, the parish churches being distributed at 
distances as nearly equal as possible, and each so placed as to 
form the termination of a vista. It may be added that these 
churches were to be completely isolated, and churchyards to 
be entirely banished to the suburbs. Towards the river a noble 
quay was to extend from London Bridge quite to the Temple. 
Private interest, however, and opposition of various kinds, 
prevailed, and the whole city, at length, rose up very little 
the better for all its opportunities, beyond the substitution of 
stone or brick houses for timber, the building of sufficient 
party-walls, and the fixing of rain-water pipes instead of 
" malicious spouts and gutters overhead." 


34. The other works of Wren consist of fifty-one churches, 
erected from his designs in the city of London, and which 
may be divided into three classes namely, domed churches ; 
basilical, i. e. with nave and side aisles; and simple rectangular 
plans, without columns. Of these different kinds the most ex- 
cellent are those of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, St. Magnus, Bow 
Church, and St. Lawrence Jewry. The spires and lanterns 
of all his churches deserve attention, not only from the judi- 
cious prominence which is given to them in the crowded 
positions which the buildings occupy, but also from the happy 
adaptation of Italian detail to Gothic forms. He also pro- 
duced at an early period the Sheldon Theatre at Oxford ; the 
Library of Trinity College, Cambridge ; the beautiful qua- 
drangle called Neville's Court, and the chapels of Pembroke 
and Emmanuel Colleges, in the same university ; at a later 
date the Royal Exchange and Temple Bar ; the palace of 
Charles II. at Greenwich (afterwards enlarged under Queen 
Mary into the Royal Hospital), the Royal Hospital at Chel- 
sea, the College of Physicians, Hampton Court, Palace of 
Winchester (left incomplete), some works at Windsor, Marl- 
borough House, several halls of city companies, and numerous 
works of lesser note. 

One of his latest employments was the repair of West- 
minster Abbey, to which he added part of the western 
towers, and proposed to erect a spire in the centre. He also 
made designs for a mausoleum at Windsor to Charles I. the 
money for which (70,OOOZ.) was actually voted, but fell un- 
happily into the hands of Charles II., and for the palace of 
Whitehall after the fire. He died in 1723, after witnessing 
the completion of St. Paul's, of which he laid the last stone 
in the 79th year of his age, and was buried in the vault under 
the south aisle of the choir, with these memorable words 
quent history of architecture under Yanbrugh, Gibbs, c., 
belongs to a period too modern for our range. 

35. Sculpture was not patronised so extensively as archi- 
tecture during this period, and few remains appear except 
monuments, which seldom rise above mediocrity. Before 


the time of Charles L, indeed, the sculptor seems to have 
been hardly regarded as an artist, and the first Englishman 
of any eminence, Epiphanius Evesham, has left us no trace by 
which we can distinguish his works from those of others. 
The tombs of Sir Francis Vere, however, and of Lord Norris, 
in "Westminster Abbey (both executed early in the 17th cen- 
tury), present us with figures of great beauty and expression. 
Nicholas Stone is the best known sculptor under King 
James, but his works are chiefly remarkable for their trans- 
ition to the modern style of monumental composition and 
the adoption of the Roman costume, afterwards so universal. 
Under Charles I. several foreign artists of distinction came 
over, of whom Hubert Le So3ur was the chief, and, indeed, 
the first of this time who successfully followed the highest 
branches of the art. He executed many works in bronze, 
of which the beautiful equestrian statue of his royal patron 
at Charing Cross still remains. This relic was condemned to 
be broken up by the parliament, but was concealed by the 
brazier, John Rivet, who bought it as old metal, and was 
replaced in 1678 ; in the mean time the worthy brazier sold 
its pretended fragments at a good profit to the ardent 
royalists. Charles had also a bust taken of himself by Ber- 
nini, from a picture painted for the purpose by Vandyke ; 
what became of this bust is not certainly known. 

36. After the Restoration sculpture was almost exclusively 
applied to decoration, and only two artists have at all dis- 
tinguished themselves. The fame of Cibber rests upon his 
two figures of Raving and Melancholy Madness in the hall 
of Bethlem Hospital, and Grinling Gibbons has executed 
little beyond his marble statue of Charles II. in the Royal 
Exchange, and bronze figure of James II. in the Privy 
Gardens. It is as a carver in wood, however, that the name 
of Gibbons is best known, and in that branch his exquisite 
productions, which rival the lightness and delicacy of nature 
herself, have certainly never been surpassed. 

37. In painting the country was enriched by an admirable 
collection made by Charles I. immediately after his accession. 
Amongst these were the famous cartoons of Rafaelle, and 


many works of Titian, Correggio, Julio Romano, Guido, and 
Parmegiano. The living painters who visited England, how- 
ever, were chiefly of the Flemish and Dutch schools (now in 
the zenith of their fame), of whom the great Vandyke became, 
under the liberal patronage of Charles, so much associated 
with this land that he is scarcely ever considered as a 
foreigner. As a portrait painter this artist is only second 
to Titian, and his works, which are widely distributed around 
our mansions, no doubt contributed largely to form the great 
English school in this line. Rubens himself came over in 
1630, at first as an envoy of the King of Spain, but was soon 
prevailed upon to assume the pencil, and paint the ceiling of 
the Banqueting House at Whitehall with the apotheosis of 
James I., for which he received 3000/. The celebrated enamel 
painter, John Petitot, remained in England till the death of 
the king, by whom he had been knighted as a mark of esteem. 

38. With his accustomed taste and magnificence, Charles 
had intended to found an academy of arts on a most extended 
scale for the encouragement of native genius, but the stern 
hand of the parliament crushed his noble project, and soon after 
broke up his fine collection at Whitehall, commanding that 
all pictures with any superstitious representations should be 
burnt. The parliamentary leaders had, however, somewhat 
better taste and judgment, and quietly secured for themselves 
or profitably disposed of the destined victims of puritanic 
zeal. Cromwell bought the cartoons for 300/., and as soon 
as he came into power put a stop to the further dispersion of 
the gallery, but not before many of the finest gems had been, 
unhappily, sold into foreign countries. 

39. One of the best native artists of this time was a 
Scotchman, George Jamieson, who studied under Rubens 
with considerable success. Vandyke's favourite pupil in 
England was William Dobson, whose works are often taken 
for his master's ; another of his scholars was Robert Walker, 
the chief portrait painter to Cromwell, who sat to him many 
times. In miniatures the English stand pre-eminent, and the 
Olivers, father and son, Hoskins, and especially Samuel 
Cooper, raised this branch of art to its very highest perfection. 


40. Under Charles II. French taste became predominant in 
the arts, and the most distinguished foreigner invited to this 
country was Antonio Verrio, a mediocre painter of ceilings 
and staircases, some of whose works, with those of his imita- 
tor Laguerre, still remain at Windsor and Hampton Court. 
A more valuable visitor came of his own accord, the great 
portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely, a native of Westphalia, but 
whose style was formed in England upon the models left by 
Vandyke. Lely was made for the luxurious court of Charles, 
and in delicacy and softness of handling he is inimitable, but 
there is too great a sameness of expression in all his female 
portraits, though in these he particularly excelled. Several 
other Dutch portrait painters came over, of whom the most 
eminent was William Wissing ; but at length Sir Godfrey 
Kneller overcame all competition, and was universally acknow- 
ledged the first artist of his day. Unfortunately his love of 
money was greater than that of art, and the consequence of 
his pernicious example was an almost total degradation of 
English art for some time. Painters of still life were now 
highly valued, the most exquisite of whom were Yarelst, the 
Dutch flower-painter, Hondius, the animal painter, and the 
two Yandeveldes, who passed many years in England to the 
great honour of their patrons. 

41. As a decorative painter Sir James Thornhill, who 
painted the cupola of St. Paul's and the halls at Greenwich 
Hospital and Blenheim, stands very high. Of English 
artists there were also Isaac Fuller, who studied in France, 
and executed some tolerable wall-pieces. In the same line 
were John Freeman, who painted scenes for the theatres, and 
Robert Streater, serjeant-painter to the King, one of whose 
ceilings still remains in the theatre at Oxford. Hayls, 
Wright (a Scotchman), Anderton, Biley, Flatman, and 
Greenhill, were all portrait painters, and of considerable 

42. The sister art of engraving, in which England has 
since excelled all Europe, now begins to claim our attention. 
Engraving is, indeed, as old as printing, for the earliest 
English printers introduced small blocks for their devices, 

c c 


and Caxton's "Golden Legend," published in 1483, has 
many cuts dispersed through the body of the work. The 
first book that appeared with copper-plates was a medical 
work, published by Thomas Raynalde in 1540, but there is 
no engraver's name affixed. The earliest English copper- 
plate engraver whose name we know is Thomas Geminus, 
who executed the plates for another medical book, about the 
close of Henry VIII. Before the end of the 16th century, 
however, the English engravers had attained sufficient re- 
putation to be engaged in foreign countries, and Thomas 
Geminus and Humfrey Lluyd engraved the plates for "Or- 
telius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum," published at Antwerp in 
1570. Ralph Aggas is also famous for his plans and views, 
especially of London, executed under Elizabeth, and to 
Christopher Saxton we are indebted for the first publication 
of county maps. Early in the 17th century a Dutch family 
of the name of Pass settled in this country, one of whom was 
the master of John Payne, the first English engraver of 
any merit as an artist ; but he was too idle to prosecute his 
profession to any great extent. Vandyke's fame as a painter 
brought Robert de Voerst and Luke Vostermans into Eng- 
land to engrave his portraits, who were also the first in this 
country to execute historical works. 

43. But the best known foreign engraver who made Eng- 
land his home was Hollar, a German by birth, brought over 
by the great Earl of Arundel in 1637 *, who devoted himself to 
minute works, such as shells, furs, and especially views, plans, 
maps, and elevations, in which he certainly displayed himself 
as a most finished artist. His engravings, according to Ver- 

* This distinguished nobleman, the father of virtu in England, was 
a great collector of statues and pictures, which he liberally displayed to 
all who might derive any advantage from the exhibition. His treasures 
were dispersed during the wars ; but they were fortunately caught up 
and preserved in different places. His statues and inscriptions (the 
famous Arundelian marbles) are at Oxford, the busts principally at 
Wilton, and the gems in the great Marlborough collection. The nobles 
of the court of Charles I. were in general, indeed, well qualified to ap- 
preciate and to patronise the productions of superior genius. 


tue's catalogue, amount to the extraordinary number of 2384, 
and many of them from his own drawings. A higher style 
of art was followed by Peter Lombart, a native of Paris, who 
came over about 1654, and engraved a set of female half- 
lengths after Vandyke with great success. It is said that he 
erased the face of Charles I. from a plate to make way for that 
of Cromwell, and replaced the king's at the Restoration. 

Under Charles II. engraving rose to a very high pitch, 
chiefly in the hands of William Faithorne, who executed por- 
traits with singular force, freedom, and delicacy ; his son and 
John Fillian were amongst his best pupils. The other prin- 
cipal artists of the day were of German or Dutch extraction. 
The invention of mezzotint is an epoch in the art which 
belongs to this period, and (according to common report) to 
Prince Rupert, who discovered it from observing the effects 
of rust on a gun-barrel. It has been shown, indeed, that this 
is not true, as mezzotint may be traced so far back as 1643 ; 
but its introduction into England may, at all events, be as- 
cribed to that accomplished prince, who laboured earnestly 
for its improvement, and was rewarded by seeing it become a 
thoroughly English art, which no other country has ever yet 
been able to rival. 

44. Connected with this subject is that of coinage, which 
was improved in a surprising manner during the Common- 
wealth (a period otherwise so unfavourable to the arts) by an 
Englishman named Thomas Simon, pupil of the French artist 
Nicholas Briot, who was engraver to the mint in the time 
of Charles I. Simon's head of Oliver Cromwell on the 
Commonwealth money can hardly, indeed, be excelled. He 
was succeeded at the Restoration by the brothers Rotier, sons 
of a Dutch banker, who were excellent medallists, but by no 
means equal to Simon. 

45. In music the reign of James I. was not deficient, though 
he himself was singularly devoid of taste or ear. He had 
wit enough, however, to increase the salaries of his gentle- 
men of the chapel to 407. a year, and to establish a company 
for the entertainment of his son, Prince Henry, with the 
same stipend. To the latter band belonged Thomas Ford, 

c c 2 


one of the sweetest maclrigalists in the world; a style of 
music in which two others, Ward and Weelkes, also excelled. 
But the great composer of the age was Orlando Gibbons, 
organist of the Chapel Royal, whose cathedral music retains 
the character of extreme science and dignity, combined with 
great effect, and whose madrigals are in no way inferior to his 
cathedral music. In 1622 a music lecture was founded at 
Oxford by William Heyther, Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. 

Charles I., like all James's children, was well instructed in 
music, and is said to have played well on the viol da gamba. 
His organist, Dr. Child, does honour to the English school, 
and one of his servants was Henry Lawes, whose works are 
well worthy of being better known. With the progress of 
puritanism and the din and hurry of the wars, music fell 
into much disuse, and church music in particular, with its 
sublime instrument, the organ, was violently denounced from 
a, feeling which exists amongst the Scotch Presbyterians to this 
day.* Cromwell, however, ordered the great organ which 
had been forcibly taken from Magdalene College, Oxford, 
to be brought to Hampton Court, where he entertained 
himself with its solemn sounds during his leisure hours. 
Kingston, his organist, had a salary of 1 007. per annum ; 
and the Protector attended frequent concerts at his house. 
Some of the cavaliers too kept up their musical meetings, 
as did also the University of Oxford, and stiff old Dr. Busby, 
master of Westminster school, insisted upon keeping and 
using an organ in utter defiance of the parliament. 

46. With the Restoration naturally returned the full 
choral service, that is, as soon as organs and musicians could 
be found, the first having been generally removed and some- 
times destroyed, and the second dispersed in many different 
directions. The only four organ builders who remained were, 
however, soon set to work, some of the former musical staff 
again collected, and a book of directions for choirs published 
by order of the University of Oxford. The master of the 

* Church organs were all taken down by an ordinance issued in 1644, 
to which a characteristic reference is made in the index of ScobelFs col- 
lection " Organs, see Superstition'' 1 


children at the Chapel Royal at this time was Cook, amongst 
whose pupils Humphrey, Wise, Blow, and Purcell, have at- 
tained the most distinguished name. Of Purcell in particular, 
it is impossible to speak too highly, for he had no equal in 
England, either before or during his own time, and was supe- 
rior to any of the contemporaneous musicians on the Continent. 
His sacred music is very fine, but is exceeded by his secular 
compositions, especially those written for the theatre, which 
are of the most extraordinary beauty ; his King Arthur may 
be considered indeed as the parent of the English opera. This 
truly great composer died in 1695, in his 37th year, and was 
buried in Westminster Abbey. 

47. Charles II. had unfortunately a taste for French 
customs, in music as in every thing else, and attempted to 
introduce a band of violins, like that of Louis XIV., into 
the Chapel Royal, which gave great offence, and was soon 
withdrawn. At that time church music was quite the 
fashion, and ladies were attended to the afternoon anthem as 
they would now be escorted to the opera. The Universities 
did their utmost to promote the melodious art ; but in London 
the first assembly deserving the name of concert was estab- 
lished by a singular man of the lowest class, dwelling in an 
obscure street ( Aylesbury Street, Clerkenwell), with a ladder 
to mount to his crowded concert-room. This was Thomas 
Britton, the famous musical small-coal man, at whose meet- 
ings Pepusch and often Handel played the harpsichord, and 
the highest nobility and most elegant ladies were but too 
happy to attend. Music-houses were soon opened in dif- 
ferent parts of the metropolis, of which Sadler's Wells was 
one of the first ; and public concerts, both English and Italian, 
vocal and instrumental, became fashionable and frequent 
before the close of the 17th century. 

48. Of theatrical music an early specimen is Lock's music 
to Macbeth, brought out in 1674, which has in no degree 
lost its power to please at the present day; and several 
operas and other pieces appear before Purcell's great works, 
which did not come on the stage till after the Revolution. 
Several scientific treatises were now written on music, espe- 

c c 3 


cially by Sir Francis North, keeper of the great seal, who may 
be considered as the father of musical philosophy. 

49. Popular songs and ballads still retained all their excel- 
lence as well as attractions, although Charles's taste had set 
the current strongly against British composers. The National 
Anthem, " God save the King," is supposed to have been pro- 
duced under James IL, as was also the favourite political 
song Lillibullero, thought to be by Purcell. James, however, 
had neither time nor inclination to encourage the fine arts, 
and so music remained stationary till the Revolution had 
brought about a more settled period and orderly state of things. 

50. The woollen manufacture continued to maintain all 
its former importance, being, as an old writer observes, " like 
the water to the wheel that driveth round all other things." 
Under Charles I. some clothiers employed as many as 500 
persons, who generally carried on their work under their own 
roofs no large factories existing as in modern times. The 
art of dyeing was very imperfect till, in 1643, a Dutchman 
established himself at Bow, and taught the method of pro- 
ducing the fine scarlet dye of foreign cloths ; and about the 
same time the method of fixing the dye of logwood was dis- 
covered. In 1666, also, some Flemings began to dress white 
woollen cloths in a superior style, and an improved weaving 
machine was brought over from Holland. Many new de- 
scriptions of woollen stuffs were now made, as baize, perpe- 
tuanos, sayes, &c., and sundry attempts were made to imitate 
the strange articles of dress which were newly brought from 
India. In order to promote the woollen manufacture, the 
export of wool, sheep, and fuller's earth was prohibited, and 
the dead were ordered to be buried universally in woollen, 
under a penalty of 51. for each offence. Guernsey and Jersey 
were partially exempted, however, from the exportation act, 
and those islands soon became famous for stockings and hosiery. 

51. Great exertions were made at this time to fix the silk 
manufacture in England, and it is supposed that most of the 
old mulberry trees (including the famous one in Shakspere's 
garden) were planted in consequence of a proclamation to 
that effect, issued by James I. in 1608, along with which 


10,000 plants were sent to each county for sale at a very low 
rate, accompanied by instructions for the breeding and rearing 
of silkworms. This part of the plan was rendered unnecessary, 
indeed, by the importation of raw silk from India ; but the 
manufacture itself went on, workmen were invited from other 
countries, and incorporated in 1629, and so early as 1660 the 
silk-throwsters alone employed above 40,000 men, women, 
and children. A still greater impulse was given to this trade 
in 1685, when, by the revocation of the edict of Nantes, 
Louis XIV. compelled many thousands of French artisans to 
seek refuge in this country ; many of these settled in Spital- 
fields as silk-weavers, and their superior taste and skill was 
soon displayed in the fine silks, satins, brocades, and lutestrings 
which the looms of England produced. London was the chief 
seat of this manufacture, although a weaver might here and 
there be found in the country towns. 

52. Linens were for a long time chiefly made at home, and 
for domestic purposes. In 1622 hemp and flax were imported 
ready dressed, and linens brought from Germany. In 1666, 
however, an act was passed to encourage the linen trade and 
hemp dressing; and in 1669 some French Protestants settled 
at Ipswich, and made linens so fine as to be sold for 15s. an 
ell : the linen manufacture, introduced by the Scotch into the 
north of Ireland, was now also gradually rising in importance. 
Manchester was distinguished for its cotton manufactures so 
early as 1641 ; and the printing of calicoes, in imitation of 
Indian goods, commenced in London in 1676. Fine writing- 
paper and glass were much improved in quality by the French 
refugees and some Venetians about the close of this period. 

53. The prejudices against using coal in houses continued 
to be very strong, but it now began to be employed more ex- 
tensively in the arts. In the act of 1624, for putting an end 
to monopolies, a patent was excepted, granted to the Earl of 
Digby, for the process of smelting iron with coal. Before the 
close of the century both coal and iron works were in exten- 
sive operation in Staffordshire, the Forest of Dean, and other 
counties ; and Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton, &c. 
were fully employed in the various manufactures thence 

c c 4 


arising. The art of tinning plate-iron was brought from 
Germany by an Englishman who went over to learn the pro- 
cess ; and a Dutchman erected the first wire mill at Rich- 
mond, in Surrey. 

A yellow metal, resembling gold, was now invented, and 
called Prince's Metal, from Prince Rupert, the same inge- 
nious nobleman who patronised a curious floating machine, 
worked by horses, for towing ships against wind and tide, 
and a diving machine, in which Sir William Phipps brought 
up a treasure from a Spanish ship lost in the West Indies. 
Alum was first made in England at the commencement of 
this period, and in 1608 the use of foreign alum was pro- 
hibited. In 1658 pocket- watches were first made here. 

54. This country had for some time been famous for its 
ordnance; and, in 1629, Charles I. had 610 pieces cast in 
the Forest of Dean for the States General of Holland. Ship- 
building is indebted for many improvements to the East 
India Company, who sent out much larger and finer vessels 
than before. All kinds of furniture and cabinet work were 
also incomparably better executed than in former times. 

55. Since the cities and incorporated towns had begun to 
lose their exclusive privileges, the number of persons living 
by trade and industry had greatly increased. The " ruin " of 
market-towns was accordingly predicted, from the number of 
petty shopkeepers who were found to be living in country 
villages, assisted by persons who had never served any ap- 
prenticeship, and, worst of all, in defiance of all propriety, 
actually carrying on a flourishing trade ! 




1. WITH the progress of improvements in fire-arms the cum- 
brous armour of our ancestors gradually disappeared, and by 
the close of this century very little remained to mark the 
man of war. James I., indeed, declared that its use was 
quite as much to keep the wearer from harming others as 
from being harmed himself; but James would certainly 
never have made a knight of renown in any age. In 1632 
the English cavalry was divided into four classes: 1. The 
Lanciers, who were the fullest armed, and who wore a 
close casque or head-piece, gorget, breast and back plates 
(pistol and caliver proof), pauldrons, vambraces, gauntlets, 
tassets and cullessetts to guard the lower parts of the body, 
culets or garde-de-reins, jack-boots, and a buff coat with 
long skirts between their clothes and their armour. Their 
weapons were a long sharp sword, a lance of eighteen feet, one 
or two large pistols, with a powder-flask, cartouch-box, and 
all necessary appurtenances. 2. The Cuirassiers, with back, 
breast, and head-piece, sword and pistols. 3. Harquebussiers 
or Carabineers, who, with the same arms and armour, carried 
also a harquebuss or carabine. 4. The Dragoons, first raised 
in France in 1600, wore only a buff coat with deep skirts, 
and an open head-piece with cheeks, and sometimes bars in 
front. These last were divided at first into pikemen and 
musketeers, according to their weapon ; but in 1 645 they ex- 
changed the heavy musket for the shorter piece called the 
dragon (whence their name) ; and again, in 1649, for the still 
lighter caliver or culiver (corrupted from calibre, as being of 
the bore ordered by government). The modern firelock was 
invented about 1635 ; and the old musket-rest and swine's fea- 
ther (the precursor of the bayonet) were abandoned during 


the civil wars. The Infantry were variously armed, and 
carried matchlocks, pikes, or swords and bucklers, with a 
sight hole, and a slit to thrust the sword through in 

2. The faint image of chivalry which had hovered around 
the court of Elizabeth was entirely banished by her peaceful 
and bookish successor, after the first year or two of his reign. 
His gallant son Henry, indeed, was fond of the exercises of 
the tournament, but the English nobles did not care to follow 
an example which he lived not long enough to enforce. 
The rapier and dagger now superseded the lance and battle- 
axe, and the duello was constantly resorted to, not only in 
private and personal quarrels, but even upon the great public 
questions of the day. Sometimes the gentlemen duellists 
had a good set-to with cudgels before the more fatal fight 
began, and all manner of unfair practices were resorted to 
until the appointment of seconds was generally adopted, after 
which the clothes of the combatants were also searched, or 
they stripped and fought in their shirts, to preclude the idea 
of treachery. Men of nice honour observed great form and 
ceremony in their challenges, which were delivered orally with 
hat in hand, profound bows, and great protestations of respect, 
or by letter, in which the length of the challenger's sword and 
the terms of combat were gravely stated. If the party chal- 
lenged declined the engagement the bearer formally stuck the 
cartel on the point of his sheathed rapier and again presented 
it : if it were again refused, the weapon was gently lowered 
till it fell at the recusant's feet. Duelling, however, was soon 
abandoned for more serious warfare, and under the Puritan 
government it was no longer tolerated. The principal exer- 
cise for the martial spirit of soldiery was on the Continent 
and in Ireland, until the course of events at home supplied 
them with a less happy arena for their courage and skill. 

3. Before the commencement of the civil wars the citizens 
of London were carefully trained four times a year in the 
use of the musket and pike, to the no small weariness of 
those quiet shopkeepers. When once the excitement of 
actual battle came on, however, they proved themselves truly 


gallant soldiers, and their despised ranks were often more 
than a match for the fiery cavalry of Prince Rupert. Their 
military manoeuvres were much improved by the genius of 
Cromwell, whose troops were always the best disciplined and 
officered, and best supplied with artillery ; his army, when it 
served afterwards in Flanders, was highly complimented by 
Louis XIV. 

4. After the Restoration the defensive armour of the ca- 
valry consisted simply of a back-piece, breast-piece, and open 
pot helmet (the latter two pistol proof) ; the rest being 
composed entirely of buff leather : the weapons were a 
sword and case of pistols, the barrels of which were not to be 
under fourteen inches in length. The infantry were armed 
with a musket (the barrel not less than three feet long), 
a collar of bandeliers, (or cartridges, afterwards superseded 
by a cartridge box of tin,) and a sword ; or a pike of 
stout ash, not under sixteen feet, with back, breast, head- 
piece, and sword. Officers wore a helmet and cuirass, or 
sometimes only a large gorget over the buff coat. The bayonet 
was invented in the reign of Charles II. at Bayonne, in 
France, whence its name. It was sometimes triangular, 
sometimes flat, with a wooden hilt like a dagger, and was 
screwed or merely stuck into the muzzle of the gun. 

5. The modern names of regiments were first given in this 
reign, the Coldstreams or Foot Guards being formed in 1660, 
when two regiments were added to one raised about ten years 
before by General Monk at Coldstream on the borders of 
Scotland; to these were added the 1st Royal Scots, brought 
over from France at the Restoration. The Life Guards 
were raised in 1661, with the Oxford Blues (so called from 
their first commander Aubrey, Earl of Oxford) ; and also the 
2d or Queen's Foot. The 3d or Old Buffs were raised in 1665, 
and the 21st Foot or Scotch Fusiliers (from their carrying 
the fusil, which was lighter than the musket) in 1678. In 
that year the Grenadiers (so named from their original weapon, 
the hand grenade) were first brought into our service, and in 
1680 the 4th or King's Own were raised. James II. added 
to the cavalry the 1st or King's Regiment of Dragoon 


Guards and the 2d or Queen's ditto in 1685 : to the infantry 
in the same year the 5th and 7th, or Royal Fusiliers, and in 
1688 the 23d or Welsh Fusiliers. 

6. Duelling was carried to an awful extent at this time, 
and fatal encounters for the most trifling causes were of daily 
occurrence. An odd sort of armour, made of wadded silk, was 
got up on the alarm of the terrible Popish Plot, something 
on the plan of James the First's dress of proof, " in which any 
man dressed up was as safe as in a house, for it was impossible 
any one could go to strike him for laughing, so ridiculous was 
the figure, as they say, of hogs in armour." With this strange 
mail was combined a weapon called the Protestant Flail, 
made of heavy wood, and easily carried in the huge pockets 
of the day. 

- 7. The royal navy continued to increase during this period 
both in number and magnitude of vessels. Elizabeth's navy 
proper is said at her death to have comprised but thirteen 
ships, but James I. had twenty-four whilst her largest ship 
was but of 1000 tons, and carried only 40 cannon, and he built 
the Prince, of 1400 tons, which was armed with 64 guns. A 
still greater was built by Charles I. in 1637, named the Sove- 
reign of the Seas, which carried above 100 guns, and was 
estimated at 1680 tons' burden. In his reign the navy was 
sufficiently numerous to be divided into six rates, as at the 
present day, each rate consisting of two classes, to which 
different complements of men were assigned. 

The Barbary corsairs were, however, bold enough still 
to interrupt our trade up the Mediterranean, where they 
used to sail with a fleet of forty tall ships, blocking up the 
ports and cruising all along the coast. In 1621 an attempt 
was made by Sir Robert Maunsell, Vice Admiral of Eng- 
land, with eight royal ships and twelve armed merchantmen, 
to burn the barks at Algiers, but in vain ; and on his de- 
parture the pirates immediately sallied forth and captured no 
less than forty English vessels. Under Charles I. these 
daring rovers entered (as they had sometimes done before) 
the English Channel, disembarked, pillaged the hamlets, and 
carried off the inhabitants into slavery to the number of 


several thousands ! At the same time the English flag was 
insulted with impunity by every maritime power of Europe. 
The navy, indeed, was so sadly neglected at times under 
Charles, that when an expedition was about to be sent to 
France only one ship could be found fit to put to sea. In 
one way or another, however, eighty sail were soon after 
mustered for a cruise against the Spanish galleons ; but every 
thing was mismanaged on board, the expected prizes were 
totally missed, and the fleet returned in disgrace. The 
hundred ships conducted by Buckingham to the Isle of Rhc 
might, perhaps, have avoided a similar disaster had their com- 
mander been more prudent. 

8. But these reproaches were soon wiped off by the energy 
and talent of Cromwell, supported by the valiant Admiral 
Blake, in whose first engagement with the famous Dutch 
officer, Van Tromp, twenty English ships successfully en- 
countered twice their number. The spirit of the British sea- 
man now rose again, and in every quarter, though not always 
crowned with victory, he, at least, maintained his ancient 
reputation. In a subsequent battle with Van Tromp, Blake 
mustered eighty men of war, and after three days' fight in the 
Channel, succeeded in taking or destroying eleven ships of 
war and thirty merchantmen, having himself lost only a 
single vessel. In the final conflict, in which the gallant 
Dutchman lost his life, his nation was deprived of thirty 
ships, whilst the English lost but two. With the Barbary 
pirates and the Spanish fleets Blake was equally victorious, 
and the ports of England began once more to be filled with 
the rich prizes of the sea. 

9. At the Restoration the tonnage of the royal navy was 
57,463 tons, and in 1685 it was 103,558, but during the reign 
of James II. it declined to 101,892, although that monarch is 
said to have paid great attention to this branch of the service, 
and bestowed upon it a liberal expenditure. The naval battles 
fought with the Dutch under Charles II. were not at first 
very distinguished, the commanders never seeming to possess 
the determined courage of old Blake, the officers generally 
being raw and inexperienced, and the seamen often left in a 




miserable state for want of pay. De Ruyter bad upon one 
occasion nearly destroyed the English fleet, but he was 
shortly afterwards himself defeated, and the Dutch coast rav- 
aged at will. He was not long in avenging his discomfiture, 
however, and in 1667 he boldly sailed up the Thames with 
eighty sail and many fire-ships, burnt Sheerness and three of 
our best ships, and would probably have reached London had 
not Prince Rupert thrown up some batteries at Woolwich 
and sunk a number of vessels in the river to stop his passage. 

Ship of War temp. Charles II. (from a medal struck on the appointment of the Duke of 
York as Lord High Admiral.) 

In the subsequent conflicts with the sturdy Dutchmen no 
better result attended the English arms, and at length peace 
was concluded without any redress of the national honour. 
France, too, at this time raised a magnificent navy manned 
by 60,000 sailors, and exacted homage in every direction ; 
whilst England seemed for a space to have wholly resigned 
the sovereignty of the seas. Bombships, the invention of a 
Frenchman, were introduced into this country in 1688. 




1. IT would appear that at the commencement of this period 
our countrymen were as yet no match for the laborious and 
active Hollanders in the pursuits of commerce ; thus in the 
ordinary trade with Holland the Dutch usually employed 
some 500 or 600 vessels, but the English not one-tenth that 
number, and our own fisheries were almost monopolised by 
Dutch boats, which are said to have carried off nearly 
2,000,0007. worth every year, whilst we had scarcely any trade 
in fish at all ; nor did our wool, cloth, lead, tin, and other 
native products, employ anything like the number of English 
vessels which they ought. In fact the busy commercial states 
of Holland had secured nearly the whole carrying trade of the 
world, notwithstanding the many natural advantages of this 
island, and its own numerous and rich articles of produce. 

During the entire of James the First's reign English com- 
merce advanced but slowly, and its greatest evil, the heavy 
custom-dues, were rather augmented than relieved. Yet that 
upon the whole there was some increase, is plain from the state 
of the shipping and of the exports and imports at different pe- 
riods. At James' accession it is said that there were not more 
than 400 ships in England of 400 tons burden ; but a consider- 
able list of vessels is given in 1615, some of which were of very 
large size. In 1613, again, the exports and imports taken to- 
gether amounted in value to 4,628,5867., in 1622 to 4,939,7517. 
The highest of these amounts may be about the twentieth part 
of the present value. A more rapid progress was made under 
Charles I.; and although commerce necessarily suffered 
greatly during the civil wars, yet upon the restoration of tran- 
quillity both the parliament and Cromwell took great pains 
to secure its revival, in which they were tolerably successful. 


But it was between the Restoration and the Revolution 
that the trade of England chiefly throve, and made its 
steadiest and most permanent advances. From the returns of 
the customs., which we possess for the whole of that time, 
it appears that, in 1661, the produce of the past year was 
only about 361,3567., whilst for the three years ending at 
Michaelmas, 1688, it averaged annually about 815,874/., or 
fully double the former sum. The exports and imports, 
too, taken together, amount in 1663 to 6,038, 83 1/., and in 
1669 to 6,259,413Z. ; but the notices on this head are too 
scanty to carry us any farther. The mercantile shipping, 
again, in 1688 was in tonnage nearly double what it had 
been in 1666. Our old rivals the Dutch were now in 
their turn beginning to dread our commercial power, and in 
De Witt's "Interest of Holland," published in 1669, may 
be found the most lively expressions of apprehension at the 
growth of English manufactures and our " great navigation." 
In several branches of trade, indeed, particularly in the fish- 
eries, they were still far ahead of us ; but as the general com- 
merce of the country was much more extensive and profitable 
than ever before, the English merchants may have purposely 
neglected these as not so advantageous as others. Yet the 
great plague of 1665 and fire of 1666 must have been con- 
siderable shocks ; but in thirteen or fourteen years they appear 
to have been fully recovered, and the national wealth to have 
augmented even faster than before. 

2. The first adventure of the East India Company was 
completed in 1603, when their captain, Lancaster, returned 
with his four ships full laden with pepper, cloves, cinnamon, 
and India cloths, the last of which had been not very legiti- 
mately obtained from a captured Portuguese carrack. The sale 
of these goods, however, was but slow, and the government 
broke its faith to the company by allowing private merchants 
to trade in the eastern seas, which, joined with a popular out- 
cry against the expensiveness and great mortalities of the new 
trade, had nearly induced them to abandon the business al- 
together. Another expedition was sent out, however, of 
which a single ship only realised much profit ; but her cargo of 


spices sold so well as to produce a dividend of 2 1 1 per cent. A 
new charter, too, was gained in 1609, making their privilege 
of exclusive trade perpetual, a power, however, being reserved 
to the government of dissolving them, at any time, upon 
three years' notice. They now built the largest merchant ship 
yet seen in England (being of more than 1000 tons' burden), 
at whose launch the king and many nobles were present; 
but, unfortunately, this noble bark was lost on her first 
voyage. Their affairs continued, nevertheless, to prosper, 
and amongst many instances of extraordinary profits may be 
mentioned one dividend of 340 per cent, upon a voyage of 
only twenty months. Their stock, indeed, now sold at 203 
per cent. 

The Portuguese and Dutch endeavoured to thwart this 
successful trade by every means in their power, but for some 
time in vain ; their ships were defeated in action, and their 
intrigues at the native courts overthrown by the appoint- 
ment of an English ambassador at the court of the great 
Mogul, and by the establishment of numerous factories. 
At length the Dutch, by a long course of persevering hos- 
tilities and a dreadful massacre at Amboyna, embarrassed 
the Company so much, that they got into debt to the amount 
of 200,000/. ; and towards the close of James I. had serious 
thoughts of giving up the trade altogether. Still more 
grievous difficulties were imposed upon them, in 1635, 
through the violation of their charter by Charles I., who 
granted licences to several adventurers to trade for five years 
among their settlements. These new traders, after having 
injured the old company to the extent of 100,0007., and by 
their bad conduct procured the expulsion of the English 
from the ports of China (where they were not again admitted 
till 1680), failed in 1646 with a loss to themselves of 
150,0007. Although little trade was carried on for some time, 
the East India Company obtained two of their most import- 
ant possessions at this period, namely, Madras and St. Helena, 
and procured a compensation of 85,OOOZ. from the Dutch 
government for the injuries inflicted by its subjects. 

3. In 1657 anew charter was granted for seven years, just 

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as they were on the point of dissolution, upon which fresh 
stock was immediately raised, and the trade was recommenced 
with spirit and success. In 1661 they were reincorporated 
by Charles II., with all their ancient privileges, and the ad- 
ditional rights of erecting forts in India and St. Helena, and 
appointing judges to try both civil and criminal causes ; of 
making peace and war with any people, not being Christians, 
within the limits of their trade ; and of seizing all English 
subjects found without their licence in India or the Indian 
seas, and sending them home to England. The king also 
gave them the island of Bombay, which he had received 
from Portugal in the dower of his queen, to be held at an 
annual rent of 107., and afterwards permitted them to coin 
money in India, with other important privileges. 

In 1676 they were enabled to double their capital out of 
the accumulated profits, upon which their stock rose imme- 
diately to 245 per cent. At that time they employed from 
thirty to thirty-five ships, from 300 to 600 tons burden, and 
carrying from 40 to 70 guns each; their annual exports 
amounted to about 430,0007., namely, 320,0007. in bullion, 
and the rest in cloth and other goods ; whilst the imports in 
calico, pepper, saltpetre, indigo, silk, drugs, &c., in the year 
1674, produced 860,0007., and often much more. A large 
private trade was allowed, besides, to their commanders, 
factors, and even seamen, in diamonds, pearls, musk, am- 
bergris, &c. Of the exports in goods, 40,000/. or 50,0007. 
worth consisted of foreign commodities, and the rest of 
English, such as drapery, tin, and lead; of the imports, 
about 600,0007. worth were re-shipped to foreign countries, 
and the rest consumed at home. Pepper was then sold at 
8d. a pound, which had formerly been 3s. 4d., and which the 
Dutch would probably have kept up to that price, had they 
retained the power, as they did with other spices. In 1683 
the company lost one of their oldest and best establishments, 
Bantam in the island of Java, which was taken by the 
Dutch ; but they immediately set up a new factory at Ben- 
coolen in Sumatra, by which they still preserved the great 
pepper trade. 


In 1687 the humble foundations of the now, magnificent 
capital of CALCUTTA were laid at the village of Sootanutty, 
to which the little Bengal factory had been removed from 
Hoogly, on the other side of the Ganges, in consequence of 
a quarrel with the nabob. Many years, however, elapsed 
before that singular course of events arose which at length 
placed a trading company upon the throne of Hindostan. and 
established the British Empire amidst the immense regions 
of the East. 

4. In connexion with the East India Company it may be 
mentioned that our favourite beverage tea was first brought 
into England during this period. The earliest European 
writers who notice this invaluable herb are the Jesuit mis- 
sionaries, who visited China and Japan about the middle of 
the 16th century, who describe it under the names of cha and 
ihee. It appears to have been first imported, at least in any 
quantity, by the Dutch East India Company, early in the 
1 7th century ; but it is not mentioned in any English act of 
parliament till 1660, when it is placed under excise, along 
with chocolate, coffee, &c. ; the tax was then levied upon the 
liquor when made and sold (which it was at the rate of Sd. 
a gallon), and not upon the imported commodity itself till the 
Revolution. Queen Catherine seems first to have made it 
at all fashionable in this country ; but the quantity imported 
was for some time so small, that the East India Company 
could only procure, in 1664, 2lb. 2oz. (costing 405. a Ib.) 
when they wished to present some superior varieties to the 
king. Their own first importation was in 1669, when they 
received two canisters, containing 143|lbs. from Bantam, 
which they did not however sell, but gave away as presents, 
or used for the private refreshment of their committees. It 
was not, indeed, till after the Revolution that the use of tea 
began to be at all general in England. 

5. In 1605 a new company was incorporated under the 
name of the Levant or Turkey Company, which exists to this 
day. By it considerable quantities of woollen goods, lead and 
tin, and afterwards of watches, jewellery, Indian goods, &c., 
were exported to Constantinople, commodities which used to 

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be carried entirely by the Venetians. It is said that the or- 
dinary returns of this company were at first three to one upon 
the investments, and it continued to flourish till the close of 
the period. An English minister was also appointed, for the 
first time, at the court of the Grand Seignior, and consuls 
were nominated at the different ports frequented by its 
vessels. Among the productions of the East subsequently 
imported by the Levant Company, was coffee, which was first 
introduced in 1652 by a Turkey merchant, named Edwards, 
whose Greek servant, Pasqua Eosee, set up a coffee-house 
in St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, where the Virginia Coffee- 
house now stands. Many satires appeared at first against 
this " syrop of soot and essence of old shoes," but the sober 
drink soon established its reputation, and coffee-houses spread 
in all directions. Chocolate-houses came in a long time 

6. The company of Merchant Adventurers had now 
managed to get the whole woollen trade with the Netherlands 
into their hands, to the exclusion of the older merchants of the 
staple, and comprised, in fact, the whole body of English mer- 
chants trading to those countries, which, in the latter part of 
James the First's reign, amounted to about 4000 individuals. 
In return they brought back tapestry, cambrics, fine linens, 
hops, steel, wines, soap, wire, &c. &c. The great staple of 
the woollen trade was fixed at Hamburgh in 1651. Local 
companies were also established in some of the great towns, 
such as Exeter and Southampton, to which very comprehen- 
sive monopolies were granted. These exclusive privileges 
were sometimes denounced in parliament, but a few judicious 
new-year's-gifts to the great officers of state generally secured 
them to the purchasers once more. 

7. A more ruinous as well as unconstitutional system of 
monopolies may be found in the patents for the exclusive 
sale or manufacture of particular commodities in England, 
which James I. issued by his mere prerogative to any one 
that was willing to go to the expense of the purchase ; these 
were soon, however, so loudly clamoured against, that he 
was obliged to follow Elizabeth's example, and consent to 


their revocation. The abuse was, nevertheless, quickly re- 
newed, and again overthrown by the same means, although 
James took care to assure the House " in the heart of an 
honest man, and by the faith of a Christian king, which both 
ye and all the world know me to be," that he had known 
nothing about the matter, and that the patentees and the 
officers who had granted the patents were the only persons to 
be blamed. No one, however, at that time went the length 
of asserting that the crown did not rightfully possess this privi- 
lege, but it was merely argued that some patents (especially 
those of keeping inns and alehouses, and of making gold and 
silver thread) were prejudicial to the public interest, or had 
been grievously abused by their holders. 

8. Amongst other branches of industry, one of particular 
consequence was now the northern fisheries, for, besides 
whales, the Greenland ships began to kill sea-horses, whose 
teeth were esteemed more valuable than ivory. This busi- 
ness was soon taken up by the Russia Company, who, having 
gained an exclusive charter, attempted, but in vain, to drive 
away all other pretenders. In 1617 the earliest mention is 
made of fins or whalebone brought home with the blubber. 
The mode of fishing then was much easier than afterwards, 
for the whales never having been much disturbed before, were 
found close along the shore, where they were killed, and 
their blubber landed at once and boiled in standing coppers ; 
but after a time the fish became shy, and then they were 
obliged to pack it in casks to be boiled and purified in 
England, which made the fishing so troublesome that it was 
wholly laid aside for a considerable time. 

9. Under James I. the trade to Spain and Portugal was 
in a very low state, owing to the wars with those countries 
under Elizabeth, but it subsequently revived, and after the 
year 1640 was more than trebled in extent. An attempt was 
made in 1618 to renew the trade with Guinea, by chartering 
an exclusive company, but it got involved in disputes with 
the private adventurers, by which both were at last ruined, 
and the trade for some time abandoned altogether. With 
the progress of our West India settlements, however, it was 

D D 3 


again restored, and in the time of Charles II. became, under 
the auspices of the Royal African Company, of considerable 

10. Notwithstanding the disastrous attempts to found a 
colony in North America under Elizabeth, a considerable in- 
tercourse was kept up with the Indians on the coast by the 
London and Bristol merchants, who purchased furs and skins 
at a good profit, with beads, knives, and worthless trinkets. 
In 1606 James I. chartered two companies, called the Lon- 
don Adventurers, or South Virginia Company, whose range 
extended over the regions since known as Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, and North and South Carolina ; and the Plymouth 
Adventurers, who had all to the north of the others, in- 
cluding Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New 
England. In the same year the Londoners founded James- 
town in Virginia, and in 1610 obtained from the king all 
the privileges of self-government, which were afterwards 
reclaimed, however, by Charles I. The settlers (at first 
only 100 in number) soon fell into quarrels, not only with 
the natives, but also with some colonists from France and 
Holland, and many perished by sickness, want, or mas- 
sacre.* The Plymouth Company did not succeed in esta- 
blishing a plantation in their territory till 1620, when a 
settlement called Plymouth was founded, and the whole 
country received from the Prince Charles the name of New 
England. Before the close of the century the plantation 
trade, i. e. the trade with the North American settlements, 
had risen into some consequence. 

Various, but unsuccessful schemes were also tried for 

* The royal charterer must have been sadly distressed afterwards to 
find that his faithful colonists of Virginia devoted themselves so indus- 
triously to the raising of that " stinking drug " tobacco, against which he 
not only directed his famous " Counterblast," but also the heavier metal 
of several violent proclamations. His fury was appeased, however, by a 
view of the profits likely to arise from the licensing of certain persons 
for its sale, and he confined himself accordingly to prohibiting its culti- 
vation in our own island, where nevertheless it was largely planted for a 
long time after. 


establishing English colonies in Newfoundland and on the 
eastern coast of South America. In 1612 a settlement was 
formed in the Bermuda or Somers' Isles, by .a company who 
purchased them from the Virginians, whose pretended claim 
was founded on a story of their having been discovered by 
one of their captains, Sir George Somers. The Island of 
Barbadoes was also settled, in 1624, by a merchant of 
London, under the authority of the Earl of Marlborough, to 
whom it had been given for ever by the king.* 

11. This last-named property was soon transferred to the 
Earl of Carlisle (to whom all the Caribbee Islands were also 
granted by Charles I. in 1629) ; but till the year 1641 its pro- 
duce consisted only of some very bad tobacco and a little cotton 
and ginger. In that year, however, a few sugar canes were pro- 
cured from Brazil (from which country all our sugar formerly 
came), which throve so well that a little sugar mill was set 
up, a manufacture which soon increased, and brought in large 
fortunes to the planters in a wonderfully short time. In 1659 
upwards of 100 sail were employed in the trade of this single 
island, and, we must add with sorrow, in carrying slaves from 
the coast of Africa to cultivate its soil. Barbadoes was a 
great resort of the Royalists during the triumph of the parlL 
ament, and continued in a state of opposition to the new 
government till 1652, having actually proclaimed Charles II. 

* Nearly all the West India islands not previously settled on were 
colonised about this time. In 1627 an English and a French company 
divided St. Christopher's between them, and the next year the English 
took in the adjacent islet of Nevis, and sent off settlers to Barbuda, and 
afterwards to Montserrat and Antigua. In 1629 the Bahamas were 
granted in perpetuity to Sir Robert Heath and his heirs, along with the 
province of Carolina on the mainland, which was afterwards conveyed to 
the Earl of Arundel, who had begun to plant it, when he was disturbed 
by the civil wars. In 1632 a part of Virginia was granted to Lord 
Baltimore, and called Maryland, in honour of the queen Henrietta 
Maria. As Lord Baltimore was a Roman Catholic, this colony became 
the main refuge of those of that religion who were forced by the penal 
laws from England, much to the annoyance of their Puritan neighbours, 
who made several attempts to drive them out. In 1641 a plantation 
was made by Lord Willoughby at Surinam, in South America. 

D i> 4 


as king, and received Lord Willoughby as his governor. With 
a view, perhaps, of punishing this rebellious conduct of the 
colonies, as well as of overthrowing the carrying trade of the 
Dutch, the parliament passed its famous Navigation Act, in 
1651, prohibiting all importation of Asiatic, African, or 
American merchandise, in any but English built ships, be- 
longing to English subjects, and manned by, at least, three- 
fourths of English seamen or of European goods in any but 
English ships, or ships of the particular country from which 
the articles were brought. The wealth and importance of 
Barbadoes were more effectually reduced, however, by the 
conquest of Jamaica, in 1656, to which many of the planters 
subsequently removed, being attracted by the greater cheap- 
ness of the land. 

12. The Navigation Act of the Rump Parliament was re- 
enacted by Charles II., with a slight alteration, confining its 
second provision to goods from Russia or Turkey, and certain 
specified articles from other European countries ; these articles 
were, however, amongst the most valuable imports, so that the 
act continued to be nearly as stringent as ever; whilst the same 
restrictions were now extended also to exports from England 
to the Continent. All this was done to deprive the Dutch of 
their carrying trade, and to foster the mercantile, and through 
it the naval marine of England ; but both in those days and 
the present the wisdom of this policy has been severely ques- 
tioned. A great outbreak of commercial jealousy, joined 
with political and religious zeal, occurred in 1678, when 
trade with France was entirely prohibited, under the idea 
that this country was sustaining a vast annual loss by the 
" balance of trade " being against us, i. e. that large sums of 
money were given instead of goods for the French com- 
modities imported ; a superabundance of money being long 
considered as the only real wealth of a kingdom, and every 
means accordingly taken to retain solid coin and bullion 
within its precincts. This strange act was not repealed till 
1685, and was again renewed, after the Revolution, for a 
short time, though not without strong suspicions of its im- 
policy amongst the wiser heads of the age. 


13. Out of these various questions and the new and strong 
impulses given to trade in every direction, began to arise in 
a more systematic shape than before the science which we 
now call Political Economy.* The prevalent theories of the 
day were what are called the mercantile and manufacturing 
systems, of which the first assumed that nothing was wealth 
but gold and silver, and consequently that the sole test of 
the profitableness of a trade was, whether, on the whole, it 
brought more money in than it took out. The second laid it 
down as a rule, that a trade was only profitable whenever, by 
means of restrictions or exclusive privileges, it could be made 
extravagantly gainful to the capitalists by whom it was carried 
on, and to the manufacturers who supplied the material. The 
interest of the consumer was entirely left out of view, it being 
assumed that he must be benefited by the increase of the trader's 
wealth. Connected with both these principles was the great, 
and, at one time, almost exclusive system of carrying on 
foreign trade by great chartered companies, which were not, 
indeed, without their uses in so imperfect a commercial state 
as then existed. The most noted writers upon these sub- 
jects in the 17th century were Thomas Mun, Sir Josiah 
Child, and Sir William Petty. The immediate object of 
the two first was to defend the East India Company against 
the assailants of its exclusive privileges on the one side, and 
those who denounced it as injuring the balance of trade on 
the other. 

Before this controversy arose the general belief was, that 
the exportation of gold and silver ought, as far as possible, to 
be prevented, and this the government had, in fact, constantly 
attempted to do, till, in 1663, it was at length made lawful to 
export coin or bullion. Then it was thought that a trade, 
even though it should at first occasion such export, might still 
be profitable, if its imports by being re-exported should bring 

* A curious tract had been written on this subject so early as 1581 
by W. S. (now supposed to mean William Stafford, but at one time 
attributed to Shakspere), discussing very acutely the origin and dis- 
tribution of wealth. 


back again more money than had at first been carried out. 
On this 'principle Mun and Child attempted to prove the 
value of the Indian trade, our eastern commodities being 
advantageously re-shipped to the various European markets. 
This was so far, at least, an advance upon the old notion, 
and Sir William Petty carries it a little further ; but the 
promulgation of really sound views upon the subject did not 
occur till long after the close of the present period. 

14. The legal rate of interest on money was reduced, in 
1624, from ten to eight per cent., (with the usual protests 
against usury,) where it rested till 1651, when it was further 
lowered to six per cent, at which rate it continued for the re- 
mainder of the period. A regular trade in the lending of 
money had now grown up from the following circumstance ; 
the usual place for London merchants to keep their cash was, 
at one time, in the Royal Mint at the Tower, but Charles I. 
having destroyed the security of this spot by seizing a deposit 
of 200,0007. (under the name of a loan), shortly before the 
meeting of the Long Parliament, it became customary (it is 
said, though to us it seems strange enough) for men in business 
to entrust money to the keeping of their clerks and apprentices, 
who, at the breaking out of the civil war, often took to 
running away and joining the armies ; so that at last, about 
1645, commercial men first began to place their specie with 
the goldsmiths, whose business, up to that time, had been 
merely in plate and foreign coins. This new occupation was 
soon extended to the clandestine taking in of money left in 
the hands of merchants' clerks at about six per cent., and then 
lending it out again to necessitous traders at a high interest, 
discounting bills, and receiving rents of estates remitted to 
town, allowing some interest to all who let money lie in 
their hands for any time. This was found so great a con- 
venience that many availed themselves of it, and thus the 
whole practice of modern banking gradually arose, even to 
the lending of money to government in advance of the 
revenue, although no regular bank, like those already existing 
in Amsterdam and some of the Italian states, was established 
in England during the present period. 


15. The fineness and weight of the silver currency was not 
altered, throughout this era, from the standard fixed in 1601, 
that is to say, the pound of mint silver still contained eighteen 
pennyweights of alloy, and was coined into sixty-two shil- 
lings. The first coinages of James I. are distinguished by 
the words ANG. Sco. (for England and Scotland), instead of 
MAG. BRIT., which were soon afterwards adopted. The 
value of the pound of gold in proportion to silver was gra- 
dually raised in his reign, owing to the great importations of 
silver from the mines of Peru and Mexico, from 337. 10$. to 
447. The first English copper coinage now appeared, con- 
sisting of farthings, which were issued in 1613, the private 
tokens of lead and brass, formerly made and used by dealers 
in their payments, being at the same time abolished. 

Under Charles I. there was an extraordinary scarcity of 
silver and abundance of gold, owing to the advance of the 
latter in price, and men would give two pence in the pound 
to get twenty shillings in silver in exchange for a sovereign. 
Several lead mines were tried for silver under this king, but 
the only productive ones were those of Aberystwith (which 
yielded at one time about 100 pounds a week), of Slaith- 
borne, in Lancashire, of Barnstaple, in Devonshire, Court- 
Martin, in Cornwall, and Miggleswicke and Wardel, in 
Durham, the largest produce from any of which was ten per 
cent, of silver. The ore was tried by workmen brought over 
from Germany. 

16. A new method of coining by machinery was invented, 
under Charles I., by Nicholas Briot, a Frenchman ; but its 
advantages were lost to the king upon the breaking out of the 
Avars, and his rude pieces coined at Shrewsbury, Oxford, 
York, and other places, seem often rather the work of a smith 
than a graver, and have evidently been coined in the greatest 
hurry and confusion. Various tokens were also used by the 
royalists, called siege pieces, shaped in different ways 
lozenge-formed, octangular, and round, or even mere bits of 
silver, about an inch and a half long, with a rude representa- 
tion of a castle stamped upon them. 

The first coins of the parliament bore the usual impressions, 




and only differed from those of the king by the letter P, for 
parliament, being employed as a mint mark. They afterwards 
coined gold and silver pieces having on the obverse an antique 
shield with St. George's cross, encircled by a palm and a 

Siege Pieces. 

laurel branch, and circumscribed THE COMMONWEALTH or 
ENGLAND ; on the reverse two antique shields conjoined, the 
first with the cross, the other with a harp, and circumscribed 
GOD WITH us. Their smaller coins have only the above arms, 
without any legend or inscription. The mint mark was a 
sun. Most of their money was hammered, as of old, but 
there are some silver coins of 1651 grained upon the outer 
edge, which is the earliest English silver coinage completely 
milled, the milled money of Elizabeth and Charles I. being- 
only marked on the flat edge ; two halfcrowns of this date 
have even words inscribed upon the rim. Some copper far- 
things of various impressions were likewise struck by the 

The first money bearing the head of Cromwell has the 
date of 1656, though he did not formally undertake the 
royal authority till the following year. His coins were 
admirably executed by Simon, the pupil of Briot, the cir- 
cumscription around the head being OLIVAR. D. G. R. P. 


ANG. Sco. HIB. &c. PRO. On the reverse, under the royal 
crown, is a shield bearing in the first and fourth quarters St. 
George's cross, in the second, St. Andrew's cross, and in the 
third a harp, with the Protector's paternal arms (a lion ram- 
pant) on an escutcheon in the centre, and the circumscription, 
PAX QU^RITUR BELLO, with the date 1656 or 1658. There 
is also a copper farthing of Cromwell's with CHARITIE AND 
CHANGE on the reverse. A few Pontefract coins or tokens 
were issued after the king's death in the name of Charles II. 

17. The money of the Commonwealth was all called in 
after the Restoration, and a new gold and silver coinage im- 
mediately struck similar to that of Charles I. These first 
pieces were formed by hammering, Cromwell's minters having, 
it is supposed, withdrawn themselves and their machinery 
from fear of punishment; but, in 1662, milled money was 
again coined superior to any that had been yet produced, and 
with graining or letters on the rim. In this year the guinea 
was first struck, so called from its being made of gold brought 
from Guinea by the African Company. On all Charles II. 's 
English money coined after this date his head is turned to 
the left, which was the contrary direction to that of his 
father, and ever since it has been the rule to make two suc- 
cessive sovereigns look opposite ways on their respective 
coinages. Private halfpence and farthings of copper and 
brass had again come into use under the Commonwealth, and 
continued to circulate till after the Restoration, when they 
were supplanted by an issue of the same kind of money from 
the royal mint in 1672. In 1684 Charles coined farthings 
of tin, with only a bit of copper in the middle. On the cop- 
per coinage of this reign the figure of Britannia sitting on a 
globe, holding in her right hand an olive branch and in her 
left a spear and shield, appears for the first time, having been 
modelled, it is said, after the celebrated court beauty, Miss 
Stewart, afterwards Duchess of Richmond. 

The money of James II. is of the same kind with that of 
his brother ; his only farthings and halfpence being also of 
the like debased character with those struck by Charles in 
the last year of his reign. After his abdication he coined 


money in Ireland out of old brass guns and kitchen utensils, 
and attempted to make it pass current as sterling silver. After- 
wards even brass failed, and he was obliged to fabricate 
crowns, halfcrowns, shillings, and sixpences of pewter. 

18. The growth of national activity and prosperity in this 
period is considerably indicated by the various improvements 
that were now introduced. The means of conveyance, for in- 
stance, were considerably increased; at first of course chiefly in 
and about the metropolis, where hackney coaches appeared for 
the first time in 1625; they were then only twenty in number, 
and did not ply in the streets, but were sent for to their stables 
by those who required them. Ten years after, however, they 
had become numerous enough to call forth a royal proclama- 
tion, which, after declaring that they were a great disturbance 
to the king and queen and their nobility in passing through 
the streets, that they broke up the pavements, and made the 
price of hay extremely great, concludes by prohibiting the 
use of any hired coach in London or Westminster, unless 
they are to travel at least three miles out of town. Two 
years later his majesty found out that these condemned ve- 
hicles might be of some little use, and he accordingly licensed 
fifty hackney coachmen for the capital (but each to keep no 
more than twelve horses), and so many in other cities and 
towns of the kingdom as might be deemed necessary, all 
others being strictly prohibited. In 1652 the number was 
raised to 200, and in 1654 to 300, the government and 
regulation of them being placed in the court of aldermen ; 
and in 1 662, 400 were licensed. Stage coaches were in 
1673 tolerably numerous and cheap for some twenty or 
thirty miles round London, but on the long roads they 
were almost confined to the great Exeter, Chester, and York 
lines. The fare to any of those towns was 405. in summer 
and 45s. in winter, besides the coachmen's gratuities. In 
1634 sedan chairs were brought from the Continent by Sir 
Sanders Duncomb, to whom the king granted the sole 
privilege of letting them to use for the space of fourteen 

19. The next year produced a more important mode of 


communication, namely, a regular, though limited, system of 
internal posts. James I. had, indeed, established a post office 
for the conveyance of foreign letters, but, up to 1635, there 
had been no certain means of intercourse between England and 
Scotland. The postmaster for foreign parts was, therefore, 
ordered to settle a running post or two to run (i. e. ride on 
horseback) night and day between Edinburgh and London, 
going and coming in six days, and taking all letters directed 
to any post town in or near the main road ; bye posts were 
at the same time fixed to carry letters to Lincoln, Hull, and 
other towns. A similar post was also appointed to Chester 
and Holy head, and another to Exeter and Plymouth, and 
others were promised as soon as possible along the Oxford 
and Bristol, and the Colchester and Norwich roads. The 
rates of postage were fixed at 2d. the single letter for any 
distance under 80 miles; 4d. up to 140 miles; 6d. for any 
greater distance; and 8^. to any place in Scotland which 
prices were continued after the Restoration. No other mes- 
sengers or foot posts were to carry any letters, unless to 
places to which the king's posts did not go, with the exception 
of common known carriers, or messengers sent on a special 
purpose, or persons carrying a letter for a friend. This pro- 
ject, it is believed, was not fully carried into effect at the 
time, the original private contractor being found guilty of 
abuses in his office, for which he was superseded in 1640, 
and the post office taken under the immediate control of the 

20. In 1652 the postage of letters in England was farmed 
out to John Manley, Esq. for 10,0007. a-year, and four years 
after it was thoroughly revised and placed upon a more stable 
footing than before. In 1663 the post office revenue was 
settled on the Duke of York and his heirs male, along with 
the produce of the wine licences ; at this time the office of 
postmaster-general was farmed at a yearly rent of 21,5007., 
thus indicating that the number of letters had been more 
than doubled in the interim. On the accession of James II. 
the post office revenue was calculated at 65,0007. per annum. 
Connected with this subject may be mentioned the first 


erection of toll-gates, which is supposed to have been in 
1663, under an act for repairing the highways within the 
counties of Hertford, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, where 
the roads were then in a very bad state and almost im- 
passable. These early turnpikes were ordered to be placed 
at "Wadesmill in Hertfordshire, Caxton in Cambridgeshire, 
and Stilton in Huntingdonshire. 

21. The city of London continued to grow and spread with 
the advancing prosperity of the country, and the repeated 
proclamations of James and Charles I. forbidding (as Eliza- 
beth had done before them) the further erection of new 
houses within three miles of the gates, or any idle visits of 
country folks to the capital (who were sometimes forcibly 
driven out, bag and baggage), are sufficient to show the 
rapid increase of population which would flow in notwith- 
standing all these royal efforts to prevent it. The union of 
the two crowns under James I. contributed also to unite the 
two cities of London and Westminster (which were once 
above a mile asunder, with broad green fields between), as 
the Scottish nobles and gentry came much to live about the 
court, and peopled by degrees the line of the Strand, which 
had before contained little but mud walls and thatched 
cottages. James did not greatly like this influx of his 
countrymen, however, and tried in vain to stop it, by 
threatening the skippers who brought them with fines and 
confiscation of their vessels. When that failed he sought in 
return to plant whole colonies of Londoners on the waste 
lands of Scotland, that he might at all events get rid of 
the surplus somehow. Some years after his accession we 
still find St. Giles-in-the-Fields spoken of as a separate 
town, and Drury Lane, which led from it to the Strand, 
was then merely a lane, and a very deep, dirty, and dangerous 
one too. Before the beginning of the civil wars, however, 
all that part of the present capital was joined to the rest of 
the town, chiefly, perhaps, through Co vent (Convent) Garden 
having been handsomely laid out by Inigo Jones, and be- 
coming a fashionable residence. The names of the older 
streets about that ancient haunt are taken from the royal 


family of the day, such as James Street, King Street, Charles 
Street, Henrietta Street, &c. ; others are of the date of 
Charles II. , as Duke Street, York Street, Catherine Street, 
&c. To the latter period also belong Bloomsbury and the 
various streets at the Seven Dials, with Leicester Fields, 
and almost all St. James' and St. Anne's parishes (which 
were only separated in 1685, being previously included in 
St. Martin's-in-the-Fields), and great part of St. Martin's 
and St. Giles', with St. James Street, Pall Mall, the Hay- 
market, &c. Even some parts within the bars of the city 
remained unbuilt upon till the time of Charles I., as all the 
ground between Shoe Lane and Fetter or Fewters' Lane, so 
called from the number of Fewters (idle people) loitering 
about there to enjoy the open breeze. 

The increase of population did not for a long time much 
increase the comforts of the capital. The houses of timber, 
or timber and brick, generally mean and ill built, still rose 
story over story along the narrow crooked streets till the 
light of day was almost quite shut out ; the streets them- 
selves were unpaved, damp, and dirty, even in dry weather, 
and in rainy almost knee-deep in mud ; to this cause 
foreigners ascribed the constant coughing heard at every 
place of public intercourse, and the fearful consumption 
which seemed to be a national disease. The accumulated 
filth was so excessive that kites and ravens were cherished 
for its destruction, and bonfires were frequently lighted to 
avert a visit of the plague. After the fire of 1666, however, 
the streets were built much straighter and wider, with good 
brick houses, separated by thick party walls, instead of the 
old and dangerous tenements of wood. The new buildings 
now spread rapidly in every direction, notwithstanding the 
last faint exercise of the royal prerogative to restrain them 
in 1674. In 1687 Sir William Petty estimated the popula- 
tion of London at 696,000, founding his calculation upon the 
number of burials within the bills of mortality (the annual 
average of which he makes to be 23,212), and on the assump- 
tion that one person in every thirty died in the course of the 
year. Ten years later Gregory King, calculating from the 

E E 


number of houses as ascertained by the hearth -money returns, 
reckons the population at only 530,000; but probably the one 
estimate is as much too low as the other may be too high. 

An important metropolitan improvement was the cutting 
of the New River in 1609 by Sir Hugh Middleton, citizen 
and goldsmith of London, by which the greater part of the 
metropolis is still supplied with water. * 

22. The practice of publishing a price-current for the use 
of the commercial world had been long known abroad before 
it was introduced into London, which was in 1634, when a 
certain broker was allowed the sole privilege of vending one 
for fourteen years to come. The first regular Board of Trade 
appears to have been established in 1668, under the name of 
the Council of Commerce, consisting of a president, vice- 
president, and nine other members, all with regular salaries. 
It remained in existence, however, only for a few years, the 
expense, probably, being found inconvenient. 

23. Down to the accession of Charles II. few improve- 
ments of consequence had taken place in the art of cultivating 
the ground ; some instructions, indeed, we had received from 
our Dutch neighbours, particularly in the draining of fens and 
reclaiming land from the sea, and several new seeds had been 
introduced and novel practices of husbandry ; but they made 

* Other towns had also shared by this time in the general prosperity, 
and early in the century were already growing up to something like their 
present magnitude. Thus Plymouth had sprung from a mere fishing 
village into a small town, as also had Poole in Dorsetshire. Portsmouth 
was very populous in time of war, but not so much so in peace ; and 
Lynn, in Norfolk, though of comparatively recent origin, was " beyond 
dispute the best town " in its own county, Norwich having considerably 
declined from its ancient greatness. Birmingham, or Bromicham, is repre- 
sented as " swarming with inhabitants and echoing with the noise of 
anvils." Halifax had risen on the cloth trade, notwithstanding its barren 
soil, to 12,000 inhabitants, rich and well to do. Hull, though of no great 
antiquity, and the older Beverley, were celebrated for their trade, and 
Rochdale, Preston, Bury, and, above all, Manchester, were eminent in 
Lancashire. Liverpool, however, though populous and neat, is chiefly 
mentioned as the most convenient place for setting sail to Ireland. New- 
castle had become the glory of Northumberland, carrying on a great 
trade in coal, as well with the Continent as with other parts of England. 


slow progress in a country where every one was content to 
follow the usages of his forefathers, and where those usages 
varied in every county and almost in every parish. Several 
works were published, however, before the Restoration, in 
which sound practical recommendations were given, such as 
the growing of clover and cultivation of turnips for the 
winter feed of cattle, as practised in Flanders. 

Some alterations were made in the corn duties under 
James I. ; but in 1660 an entirely new scale was introduced. 
When the price of wheat was under 44s. per quarter the ex- 
port duty was 5s. 6d. 3 if above 44s. 6s. 8d., and exportation 
was permitted free whenever it did not exceed 40s. per quar- 
ter. The demand at home was not found, however, to be 
always sufficient for the supply, and accordingly, for the en- 
couragement of the farmer, the export duty was somewhat 
reduced in 1663, and still farther in 1670; foreign corn being 
at the same time loaded with a prohibitory duty. Har- 
vests were abundant throughout a great part of the 17th 
century, of which the poor found the benefit, and were even 
saucy enough at times, as the writers of the day complain, 
to use none but the finest wheat bread. The crops proved 
defective, however, from 1673 to 1678, the consequence of 
which was a considerable extension of tillage and rise in the 
price of wheat. These years of scarcity were followed by 
twelve others of abundance, during which wheat sank as low 
as 27s. 7e?., a price which effectually precluded any competition 
on the part of the foreign corn grower. The agriculturists 
were, nevertheless, very much depressed, which they sought 
to relieve by procuring a bounty on the exportation of corn, 
In 1670 a new mode was established of striking the corn 
averages, namely, by the justices of the peace at the quarter 
sessions, upon the oaths of two persons duly qualified and 
not being corn dealers, or by such other means as they 
should see fit ; the consequent statement of the market price, 
duly certified on oath, was to be hung up in some public 
place, and also sent to the chief custom-house officer in each 

The current price of land in 1621 was no more than 12 years' 

BE 2 


purchase; in 1666 it was 14 or 16, and afterwards it rose to 
17 or 18, and in the best districts even to 26 and 27 years' 
purchase. Dr. Davenant, who wrote in 1698, calculates that 
the whole land of England, at 12 years' purchase, was only 
worth 72,000,0007. in 1600, whilst in 1688, at 18 years, it 
was worth 252,000,000/., or 3J times as much as before. 

The art of gardening made a greater progress than that of 
agriculture, and the trim walks of the old parterres were 
enlivened with a number of plants and flowers hitherto un- 
known in England. Vegetables for the table were planted 
for the first time at the commencement of this period, and 
were for a long time but partially raised ; by the middle of 
the century, however, cabbage and cauliflowers, turnips, car- 
rots, parsnips, and early peas were pretty generally known, 
with liquorice, saffron, cherries, apples, pears, and some other 
fruits, but onions were still very deficient. Nurseries for 
young fruit trees were as yet unknown, so that those who 
wished for a new variety in their gardens were often obliged 
to send nearly 100 miles for it; but several persons now 
devoted themselves with great zeal to this pursuit, and the 
elder Tradescant in particular entered himself on board a 
privateer, fitted out against Morocco, solely with a design 
of stealing apricots into Britain, in which he appears to have 
succeeded. To his family, indeed, " grandsire, father, son," 
the gardens of England are deeply indebted. 

24. The condition of the labouring classes now began to 
improve in every respect, and the increase of their numbers 
went on in a proportionate degree. At the death of Elizabeth 
the entire population of England and Wales did not, perhaps, 
much exceed 5,000,000 ; but at the Restoration it had grown 
to about 6,500,000, an estimate which may be considerably 
increased by the close of the period ; some derangement 
would no doubt be experienced during the civil wars, but it 
was amply made up by the general advance after their termi- 
nation. Down to that date the wages of a farm-bailiff in the 
county of Rutland were set down at 52.9. a year ; of a farm- 
servant of the best sort, 5 ()s. ; of a common ditto, 40s. 
Mowers had 5d. a-day, with their meat, and reapers 4d., or 


double without; every other labourer had 3d. with meat, or 
7d. without, from Easter till Michaelmas ; and from Michael- 
mas to Easter 2d., or6d. Master carpenters had Is. 2d., and 
masons Is. ; gardeners, Is. ; and tailors, 8d. ; all these without 
meat. In 1661 the rates fixed by the justices in the county 
of Essex raised the common labourer to Sd. with meat, or 
Is. 2d. without, for one half the year; and 6d. or Is. for the 
other; mowers had lOd. or Is. 6d., and reapers Is. or Is. lOd. 
The yearly wages of a bailiff were to be 61. ; of a chief hus- 
bandman, or carter, 5/. ; and of a common farm-servant, 
37. 10s. These wages, however, being arbitrarily settled by 
the magistrates, varied considerably in various counties and 
different years. 

25. Pauperism was as yet but imperfectly relieved by the 
acts founded upon the 43d of Elizabeth. In many places r it 
is said, no rates were made for twenty, thirty, or forty years 
after the passing of that act, and in most cases the sums 
raised were so inadequate that numbers of persons were left 
to perish for want. A great increase of beggars was also 
occasioned, in 1630, by the disbanding of the Irish army, 
and afterwards by the civil wars. Houses of correction were 
accordingly built, and severe statutes enacted against disor- 
derly persons, but probably with no better effect than before. 
The same state of things continued till after the Restoration, 
when the foundation of the modern law of settlement was 
laid by the 13 & 14 Car. II. c. 12., which, in fact, reduced 
the great body of the labouring population pretty much to 
their old condition of ascripti glebce, or fixtures on the soil of 
the parish. By this act it was provided that any two jus- 
tices of the peace, upon complaint made by the churchwar- 
dens and overseers of the poor, might, within forty days after 
the arrival of any stranger in the parish, remove him by force 
to the parish where he was last legally settled (either as a 
native, householder, sojourner, apprentice, or servant), unless 
he either rented a tenement of 1 01. a-year, or could give suf- 
ficient security against his becoming burdensome to the 
parish. By a subsequent act the forty days' residence was 
reckoned from the time when he gave in a notice in writing 

E E 3 


of his abode and number of family, to one of the churchwar- 
dens or overseers, so as to prevent clandestine residences. 
During the full operation of this law (which lasted till 1795) 
a poor man's parish was, in fact, or might be made, his prison. 
The old modes of acquiring, a settlement were considerably 
extended, however, by these and subsequent statutes. 

The earliest information on the amount of the poor-rates 
is in 1673, when they are estimated by an anonymous writer 
at nearly 840,0007. a-year. A more trustworthy account, 
perhaps, is that of Davenant, in 1695, who makes the total 
for England and Wales 6 65,362 /. Complaints were not un- 
frequently made of the injurious effects upon industry of this 
provision for the poor, and various schemes for their profitable 
employment were occasionally broached by several benevolent 




1. DURING the 17th century the furniture of mansions 
assumed a style of splendour and comfort hardly surpassed 
even in the present day, and of which numerous specimens 
yet remain. Beds, as usual, were particularly rich, and cloth 
of gold and silver, gold and silk fringes and lace, crimson 
velvet, damask and satin, were largely bestowed on their 
hangings and garniture. Paper and leather hangings for the 
walls were invented early in the century, and the rooms of 
the great were adorned with the noblest specimens of ancient 
and modern art. Ornaments of chinaware had been brought 
from Italy in the time of Elizabeth ; but by the year 1631 
they were regularly imported by the East India ships. Even 
the middling classes had now their Turkey and Persian car- 
pets to cover the tables, the floors being still universally 
spread with matting or rushes, excepting in throne or bed- 
rooms, where small carpets were laid down as a distinguished 

The costume of the latter part of Elizabeth's reign continued 
for some time after the accession of James I. The king, how- 
ever, had all his clothes made still larger, and thickly quilted, 
through fear of assassination, the breeches being worked in 
particularly huge plaits, and enormously stuffed ; afterwards 
they were worn in round full plaits, ending half way down the 
thigh. The hats were high and conical, with broad flapping 
brims, decorated with rich bands, jewels, and feathers. Silk 
and thread stockings were now generally worn by the gentry, 
those of woollen cloth having gone quite out of fashion. 
Short jackets or doublets, with false sleeves, were worn to- 
wards the end of this reign, and the ruff was succeeded by the 





band and collar, or peccadilloe, from a noted shop for the sale 
of which Piccadilly is said to take its name. The bands and 
ruffs were for some time stiffened with yellow starch, said to 

Costume temp. James I. (From a Print of the Period.) 

have been brought from France by a Mrs. Turner ; but 
when that lady was executed (for the poisoning of Sir 
Thomas Overbury) with one of her own ruffs on, the fashion 
was dropped. Ladies of rank still wore the huge fardingale 
and ruff, but they were gradually superseded by the more 
elegant band and skirts, which were not unlike those of the 
present day. 

2. The costume of Charles I., that most exquisite period of 
English dress, has been made familiar to us by the numerous 
prints of the monarch and of other distinguished personages of 
the day. At first, however, some of the old fashions remained, 
and Charles himself is occasionally represented in long pud- 
ding-bag breeches, pinned up, a dress which was borrowed from 
Holland. A more elegant sort of these long breeches hang 
loose below the knee, fringed, or with a row of points meet- 
ing the wide tops of the boots, which were ruffled with lace or 
lawn, and made with very high heels, and sometimes with a 
false sole. The beautiful Vandyke dress consisted of a short 




doublet of silk or satin, with slashed sleeves, a falling collar 
of rich point lace, a short cloak, worn carelessly over one 
shoulder, and a broad-leafed Flemish beaver hat, with one or 
more feathers hanging gracefully from it ; and a very broad 
and richly embroidered sword-belt, in which usually hung a 
Spanish rapier. Occasionally the silk doublet was exchanged 
for a buff coat, reaching half way down the thigh, with or 
without sleeves, and sometimes laced with gold or silver. 
In this case the cloak was replaced by a scarf of silk or 
satin, worn round the waist or over the shoulder, and tied in 
a large bow behind or on the hip. Over this coat the steel 
gorget, or a breast and back plate, was placed, and then the 
wearer, with the addition of a headpiece, was equipped for 

Cavalier in Buff, and Puritan. (From the Meyrick Collection and Jeffrey's Dresses.) 

The cavaliers (a term introduced from Spain under 
James I.) wore their hair in long ringlets, while the round- 
heads were so called from their close-cropped polls ; but both 
wore the mustache and peaked beard. The Puritans also 
avoided silks and satins, wearing cloths and stuffs of coarser 


material and more sober colours, and the old high-crowned black 
hat instead of the low Flemish beaver. Similar distinctions 
were adopted by the ladies on either side ; the royalists wear- 
ing ringlets and feathers, while the Puritan dames covered 
the head closely, with hood, cap, coif, or high-crowned hat. 

Countrywoman with Muffles, and Lady of Quality temp. Charles I. (From Speed's Map of 
England and Hollar's Ornatus Muliebris.) 

Masks were much used by ladies of the higher ranks, and 
mufflers by elderly women of lower station. Muffs of fur, 
and elegant fans of ostrich feathers, were also carried by 
women of fashion. 

3. The chief amusements of James I. and his court were 
masques and emblematic pageants, which were chiefly com- 
posed by the great dramatic writer, Ben Jonson. The 
audience, however, probably insisted upon many introduc- 
tions which the good taste of the composer would have re- 
jected, for the most ridiculous scenes and figures constantly 
occur. In the succeeding reign, however, these absurdities 
were all banished, and the fine taste of Charles, aided by the 
lively wit of Buckingham, and the accomplishments of Jon- 
son, Lawes the musician, Inigo Jones, and Gerbier, the 
painter, the bosom friend of Rubens, produced the most 


splendid and exquisite entertainments. The Masque was 
composed of dialogue, singing, and dancing, combined, on the 
basis of some ingenious fable, into a regular and harmonious 
whole. Its very essence was pomp and glory ; moveable 
scenery of the most costly kind was provided, all the vocal 
and instrumental excellence of the kingdom* summoned to its 
aid, and the characters were performed by the noblest in the 
land. It was got up at prodigious expense, often costing 
from one to five thousand pounds ; and one, in particular, 
presented at Whitehall by the Inns of Court, in 1633, is 
said to have amounted to the enormous sum of 21,000/. 

In the masque of " The Night and the Hours," the first 
scene introduced a double valley, one side with dark clouds 
hanging before it, on the other a green vale, with trees, nine 
of which were covered with gold and were fifteen feet high. 
From this grove towards the " State," or seat of the king, 
extended a dancing place, with the bower of Flora on the 
right, the house of Night on the left ; between them a hill, 
hanging like a cliff over the grove. The bower of Flora was 
spacious, garnished with flowers and leafy branches, with 
frequent lights sparkling between ; the house of Night ample 
and stately, with black columns studded with golden constel- 
lations ; within was nothing but clouds and twinkling stars, 
while about it were placed, on wires, artificial bats and owls, 
continually moving. Night appears in her house, her long 
black hair spangled with gold, amidst her Hours, their faces 
black, and each bearing a lighted black torch. 

In the Lords' masque, upon another occasion, the scene was 
divided into two parts, the lower being first discovered, in 
which there appeared a wood in perspective, on the left a cave 
and on the right a thicket, from which issued Orpheus. At 
the back of the scene, on the sudden fall of a curtain, the upper 
part appeared a heaven of clouds of all hues ; then the stars 
suddenly vanished, the clouds dispersed, artificial fire played 
about the house of Prometheus, with a bright and transpa- 
rent cloud, reaching from the heavens to the earth, whence 
eight maskers descended, with the music of a full song. On 
their reaching the ground the cloud broke in twain, and one 


part of it, as with a wind, was blown athwart the scene. 
While it was disappearing, the wood insensibly changed ; 
a perspective view opened, with porticoes on each side, and 
female statues of silver, filling the end of Prometheus' house, 
which descended from their niches, and moved about, till the 
anger of Jupiter turned them into statues again. With these 
gorgeous entertainments was usually presented the Anti- 
masque, a humorous parody of the more solemn show. To 
the prevalence of this species of exhibition we owe Milton's 
beautiful compositions of Comus and Arcades. 

4. The last links of feudalism were now broken for ever, and 
the noblest and wealthiest could no longer exercise arbitrary 
sway over a troop of obedient vassals ; but some pomp was 
still maintained in their domestic establishments, one of the 
largest of which (the Lord Treasurer Dorset's) contained no less 
than 220 servants, besides workmen and occasional attendants. 
The younger sons of respectable families still attached them- 
selves in this way to the most powerful patrons, and served 
them at court or in war, for which they were allowed sepa- 
rate retinues of men and horses, with gratuities in money, and 
promises of promotion. Nay, the spendthrift gentleman often 
sank into the common serving man, and stood with his fellows 
in St. Paul's Walk, holding up a placard stating his qualifica- 
tions and desire of employment. A company of actors and a 
band of musicians sometimes took the place of the old jugglers 
and tumblers in a nobleman's mansion, and were styled his 
servants. A grave steward in a velvet dress and gold chain 
presided over the motley household, and a special clerk re- 
gulated the affairs of the kitchen. With the growth of real 
comforts, however, and the many new modes of spending 
money, these cumbrous appendages gradually disappeared, 
and many a gallant and a courtier contented himself with a 
single page, who walked behind him, carrying his cloak and 

5. Dress, indeed, must have swallowed up almost everything 
at a time when James and his courtiers set the fashion of ap- 
pearing in a new garb almost every day. When the Duke of 
Buckingham was sent to France to bring over Henrietta 


Maria, he provided, amongst others, one suit of white uncut 
velvet, and a cloak set all over with diamonds, valued at 
80,0007. ; besides a feather made of great diamonds, and 
sword, girdle, hatband, and spurs, thick set with the same. 
Another suit of purple satin, embroidered all over with pearls, 
was valued at 20,0007. At the marriage of the Princess 
Elizabeth with the Palatine, Lady Wotton wore a gown pro- 
fusely ornamented with embroidery that cost 507. a yard ; 
and Lord Montague spent 15007. on the dresses of his two 
daughters for the same occasion. By this account it would 
seem that the ladies were, at all events, not more expensive 
in their attire than the gentlemen. 

Feasting, too, was carried to a riotous excess, and the 
household expenditure of James I. was twice as much as that 
of Queen Elizabeth, amounting, indeed, to 100,0007. a year. 

Silver Fork and Girdle Knife, A.D. 1610. 

Their cookery was not, however, very refined, the most hor- 
rible compounds being used, with snails and legs of frogs 
dressed in a variety of ways. At a feast in 1661 four huge 
pigs were brought up, bitted and harnessed with ropes of 
sausages, and all tied together to a monstrous bag-pudding. 
A great variety of wines and an immoderate style of 
drinking still prevailed, which was not a little increased by 
the example of the Danish king and his courtiers upon their 
visit to England, under James I. The Danish custom of 
drinking healths was also scrupulously observed, and in a com- 
pany even of twenty or thirty, every person's health was re- 
quired to be drunk in rotation ; sometimes a lady or an absent 
patron was toasted on the knees, and, as a proof of love or 
loyalty, the pledger's blood was even mingled with the wine. 


The high price of good liquor had the effect, however, of 
making the poor more temperate than before. Under the 
Commonwealth greater moderation, as well as simplicity, 
prevailed, and Cromwell's table was particularly plain. The 
civic feasts, too, were at that time very orderly and decorous, 
without the old overflowing healths or boisterous cordiality. 

6. At the commencement of this period the country 
knight or squire still lived in his huge mansion, half house, 
half castle, crowded with servants in homespun blue coats, one 
half of them for ever in the others' way ; but then they were 
born in his worship's service, and so, as a matter of course, they 
expected to live and die in it. Daybreak roused all the family, 
who assembled to prayers, which were read by the family chap- 
lain. Then came a mighty breakfast, after which the master of 
the house and his sons got into the saddle and rode off with their 
attendants to hunt the deer after their leisurely fashion, or ad- 
ministered justice to the country folks, whilst the lady and 
her daughters superintended the dairy and buttery, gave out 
the day's task for the spinning-wheels, and the bread and 
meat to the poor at the gate, or made up all manner of medi- 
cines for their sickly neighbours, and confections and pre- 
serves for their healthy selves. Then came spinning and 
sewing, or the embroidery of some everlasting piece of work, 
sufficient to employ several generations. At noon dinner was 
served in the great hall, whose walls were hung with stags' 
horns, casques, brands and calivers, or still older bows, the bell 
which summoned the family, proclaiming, also, a general invi- 
tation to all within hearing; after dinner sack and home-brewed 
October filled up the time till sunset, when all retired to an 
early repose. When the weather prevented their going out 
of doors, a variety of games, or the huge folios of Froissart, 
Hall, or Holinshed, with the lighter Gestes of Robin Hood, 
and the Seven Champions of Christendom, or the graver 
studies of the old blackletter Bible, and Fox's Acts and 
Monuments, helped to pass away the weary hours. 

7. In such a life, so monotonous and unexciting, the return 
of the great holidays was an extraordinary event, and between 
preparations and recollections might well fill up a long month 


of unusual happiness. Then did the lord of the manor assume 
almost regal state, as he marched forth with all his family to 
witness the sports and bestow the prizes of his elated tenantry, 
or sat at tlte head of his old hall, whilst the merry pipes and 
fiddles set the whole crowd of his dependants in joyous motion, 
and the ox roasted whole, with its accompanying cask of potent 
ale, renewed their fading vigour at the door. But these primi- 
tive habits did not long survive the accession of James L, when 
the novel pleasures and gaieties of a town life drew the squires 
rapidly from the country, despite all proclamations to the 
contrary, and as rapidly did their ancient estates melt away, 
sometimes even the names of the owners being obliterated for 
ever. Gambling, too, added its fatal snares, and, as the age 
was not remarkable for honour in any way, loaded dice and 
all the tricks of the table were constantly resorted to by 
the more knowing hands. 

8. Education amongst the better classes was confined a 
good deal to Latin and Greek, and the discipline of teachers, 
both public and private, was still extremely harsh and severe, 
it being the highest recommendation to be a " learned and 
lashing master!" The boys indemnified themselves, however, 
at "barring-out time," when the schoolmaster lost all his autho- 
rity for a space, and was forcibly excluded from his own school- 
room. In some of the public schools plays were performed 
before large audiences, and in others there were annual com- 
petitions in athletic sports, as at Harrow, where the boys shot 
with the bow for a silver arrow. The Eton Montem (which 
probably arose out of the festival of the boy bishop) was prac- 
tised as early as the reign of Elizabeth, and consisted, as now, 
of a captain and his officers, who inarched with the school in 
military procession to Salt Hill, shouting " Salt I Salt ! " and 
receiving money from the spectators, for which they bestowed 
salt in return. Salt being an ancient emblem of great wit, it was 
largely used also at the jocular initiation of freshmen in their 
respective colleges, where they were stripped of their gowns 
and bands by the senior students, and in a vile dress obliged to 
declaim from a form placed upon a table. Those who spoke 
well got caudle out of a huge pot that stood on the fire before 


them, but those who gave less satisfaction had it mixed with 
salt, or were drenched with salted beer, and pinched severely 
on the chin. 

The dissoluteness of the students, both at Oxford and 
Cambridge, is often complained of, and, as might be ex- 
pected, they were much divided by the theological and 
political disputes of the day. Youths were trained, also, in 
active exercises, particularly of a military character, so that 
at the breaking out of the civil wars most gentlemen were 
ready at once for service. The tour of the Continent was also 
thought necessary for the young aristocracy ; but great pains 
were taken to prevent them from remaining long in cities 
where popery and Jesuitism predominated. 

9. Female education seems to have unfortunately gone 
back during this era, and the manners of the English ladies 
are described as singularly coarse and low, common taverns 
being no uncommon place of resort, and desperate gambling 
their frequent amusement. Dress, however, was most carefully 
attended to, it being as tedious, it was declared, to attire a 
fine lady as to rig a ship of war. The hair was particularly 
complicated between false and true, endless ringlets, and 
loads of jewellery. Then there were patches to be disposed 
on the face, lotions and ointments to be applied, and, perhaps, 
a coat of paint delicately laid on, a practice which did not go 
entirely out even under the Jezebel-hating Commonwealth. 
The gentlemen, on the other hand, scented, painted, and 
adorned themselves with no less nicety and care, and carried 
orangeade and comfits about with them for the refreshment of 
their dainty palates. Others affected a rough sort of military 
dandyism, patched their faces to look like scars, swaggered 
about with monstrous swords, or even hung their unwounded 
arms in an ostentatious sling. 

10. Merchants and tradesmen were now a prosperous and 
important race, but were still regarded with affected disdain by 
the haughty nobility, who borrowed their money and elbowed 
them from the wall at the same time. The shops of that day 
were little booths or cellars, generally without doors or win- 
dows, in front of which the owner or his 'prentice paced up and 


down, calling out incessantly, " What d'ye lack, sir ? what 
d'ye lack ?" with a loud list of the medley articles in which he 
dealt. The houses of the principal merchants were, however, 
splendidly furnished, and even rivalled the palace of the 
nobleman. Only the chief merchants were allowed to prefix 
" Master" to their name, and "Worshipful" was the highest 
title to which any could aspire; had they ventured upon 
" Gentleman " or " Esquire " the whole court would have 
risen in arms against their monstrous presumption. In the 
streets at night, courtiers were lighted with torches, mer- 
chants and lawyers with links, and mechanics with humble 
lanthorns. The mayoralty was the great prize of city am- 
bition, and eagerly was it regarded by the thriving and 
advancing tradesman. 

11. The " London 'prentice bold" was a great plague in 
those days, for being of a reckless temper and closely united 
with all his fellows, he was at the head of every riot and 
squabble in the metropolis. If a bull were to be baited, or 
a play hissed down, an infamous person to be carted through 
the streets with the rude music of pans, kettles, and keys, 
or a scold to be solemnly ducked at the cucking-stool, the 
'prentices were all in a muster, and the slightest offence 
offered to any of the fraternity was sufficient to raise the cry 
of " 'prentices ! 'prentices ! clubs ! clubs ! " which rang forth- 
with through the city, and was responded to in every quarter. 
In vain did the city-guard oppose their ancient bills and 
partisans, and even the military could hardly repress their 
reckless violence. Foreigners were particular objects of their 
hatred, and with the hot young Templars they were at con- 
stant feud. 

12. A more dangerous roamer of the streets was the 
rogue and ce masterless man," whose audacity was at one 
time so great that Elizabeth herself, while taking an airing 
in her coach near Islington, was once surrounded by so for- 
midable a troop that she was obliged to send a footman to 
the mayor and recorder for help. Fleetwood, the recorder, 
a very active magistrate, caught seventy -four of them by 
next morning, some of whom are described as " blind, and 

F F 


yet great usurers, and very rich." Of cheats, or coney- 
catchers, as they were called, under the same queen, there 
are estimated to have been in all parts of the kingdom not 
less than 10,000. Under James and Charles I. they seem to 
have increased in numbers, and to have organised themselves 
into a regular profession, with a peculiar language and syste- 
matic training for their younger members.* Ring-dropping 
and all the other tricks of the present day were already 
practised upon the country bumpkins, who in a hapless hour 
visited the great haunt of men. Another set went about 
with sweetmeats to allure children, whom they stripped and 
sent off to the plantations to be sold for slaves. 

13. The highways were equally infested by the bolder 
robbers, who, in bands mustering from ten to forty men, 
armed with long spiked poles, bows and arrows, guns and 
pistols, and disguised with vizors, false beards and wigs, and 
even false tails to their horses, scoured the country and made 
it often positively unsafe to travel, except in numbers and well 
armed. These desperados were joined by many a gay Cavalier 
after the ruin of the royal cause, who satisfied his conscience 
by abstaining from all of his own party and robbing only his 
natural foe, the triumphant Roundhead. The English rob- 
bers were at this time distinguished above those of other 
countries for their humanity, seldom inflicting wounds or 
death save in the case of obstinate resistance. 

14. A very suspicious set of characters were also to be 
found in the Jesuits or seminary priests, who were obliged 
to assume a variety of shapes, to escape detection and punish- 
ment for remaining in the kingdom. Sometimes they ap- 
peared in the extreme of the fashion, and sometimes out- 
rivalled the strictest Puritan in plainness of dress and fervour 

* One of their lessons (said to be still practised in the metropolis) was 
to hang a pocket from the ceiling with small bells all round it, which the 
young scholar was to pick without making any alarm. Purses were in 
those days worn on the outside of the dress suspended by a string, hence 
they were easily cut off by the cut-purse, who used instruments of the 
finest steel for the purpose, made by the best workmen of Italy. Many 
of the tricks of these worthies aie alluded to in the curious and rare 
pamphlets by Robert Greene. 


of spiritual discourse. This latter was, indeed, a favourite 
trick, one great object being to drive the nation into all kinds 
of religious extravagance in the hope that the reaction might 
bring about a return to Rome. A more harmless but quite 
as impudent a set of rogues were the literary scribblers, 
who went about the country with some wretched pamphlet, 
headed by an epistle dedicatory, to which they professed to 
affix the name of any gentleman on whom they called, 
receiving in return a present of three or four angels from 
the gratified patron. When diurnals or newspapers com- 
menced, these fellows made good gain by selling their services 
to one or both parties, or to some individual, whose marvel- 
lous acts they specially lied forth after their fashion. 

15. People of rank and fashion in this era lived in the 
Strand, Drury Lane, and the neighbourhood of Covent 
Garden ; merchants resided between Temple Bar and the 
Exchange; bullies, ruined gamesters, and criminals of all 
grades huddled together in Alsatia, (or Whitefriars,) by the 
Temple, which still possessed the right of sanctuary, and 
whose avenues were guarded by scouts, who proclaimed the 
approach of danger by the sound of a horn. The narrow 
lanes branching from Camion Street towards the river were 
crowded with proscribed conventicles. Leukner's Lane and 
its neighbourhood were the haunts of the profligate, and the 
" devilish Ranters " held forth in Whitechapel and Charter- 
house Lane. Hyde Park and Spring Garden were pleasant 
places to walk in, though the former was restricted under 
the Commonwealth by a tax of Is. for every coach, and 6d. 
for horses ; whilst the latter, on account of its improper uses, 
was entirely shut up. But the great centre of recourse was 
the middle aisle of St. Paul's, where, from eleven to twelve 
at noon and from three to six in the evening, lords, mer- 
chants, and men of all professions the fashionable, the 
busy, and the idle met and mingled together in familiar 
talk, or listened to the prognostications of the busy politicians, 
who relieved themselves there of their little budget of most 
important news. 

16. The streets were by no means such pleasant promenades, 

F F 2 


for, besides their dirty and crowded state, bulls and bears 
for baiting were often driven through them, and rows were 
of constant occurrence. If a coach were called, the mob, who 

Hackney Coach. (Old Print.) 

hated those conveyances, and called them " hell carts," might 
take it into their head to upset it, passenger and all, in the 
kennel, and everything aristocratic in appearance was sure, 
after the commencement of the wars, to meet with the roughest 
treatment. At night the lurking ruffians of all sorts came forth 
and committed all manner of depredations, so that it was quite 
unsafe to walk out after nine o'clock ; desperate men, also, 
who had plunged themselves into deep debt, banded together 
against the law, under the name of Roaring Boys or Pri- 
vados, who naturally chose the night for their excursions, 
and held frequent battles with the sheriff's officer and the 
city watch. At Christmas all these rabblements were swelled 
by the revels of the season, especially those of the Lord of 
Misrule from the inns of court, which riotous chieftain in the 
end became too troublesome for the peace of the city, and 
being taken prisoner by the lord mayor's own hand, probably 
put a stop to the sport. 

17. Popular sports and games were less pursued now than 
formerly, from the various changes in the mode of living. 
James I., indeed, delighted in hawking, which kept that 
sport in a little longer. His son Henry and most of the 
courtiers spent much time in tennis and the new game 
of pall-mall, which consisted in striking a ball through 
a loop at some distance from the ground. Billiards were 


also growing very fashionable, but the old rough sports of 
bull and bear-baiting and cock-fighting remained for the stern 
hand of Cromwell and his officers to put down. In order 
to encourage the people in their games and vex the Presby- 
terians, who had annoyed him by their rigid observance of 
the Sabbath, James put forth a Book of Sports allowable to 
be used on Sundays after prayers and holidays, which was read 
throughout the parish churches of the kingdom, and was 
afterwards revived by Charles I. under the advice of Laud. 
The common games of the populace were dancing, leaping, 
vaulting, archery, May-games and poles, Whitsun-ales, 
morice dances, and the decoration of churches on feast days 
with rushes and branches. These were permitted, and even 
enjoined on all church folks after divine service, but baitings, 
interludes, and bowling were forbidden on Sundays. Horse- 
racing was now very much extended, and the breed of horses 
greatly improved in consequence ; furious riding and driving 
were reckoned, indeed, among the characteristics of an En- 
glishman. The amusements of the citizens chiefly consisted 
in bowling, cards and dice, billiards, musical entertainments, 
dancing, masques, balls, plays, and club meetings. The lord 
mayor kept a pack of hounds, which had the privilege of 
hunting in Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Kent. The lower 
classes of Londoners enjoyed themselves with foot ball, wrest- 
ling, cudgel playing, nine pins, shovel board, cricket, quoits, 
bell-ringing, pitching the bar, cock-throwing, and bull and 

18. Furniture began to assume a still more magnificent 
character, at least in point of ornament, after the Restoration, 
the splendid carved and gilt articles of the Louis Quatorze 
style having come into use towards the close of the century, 
although it was not general till the reign of Queen Anne, 
The famous Gobelin tapestry, also, the manufacture of which 
was established in France in 1677, soon appeared upon our 
walls, and the new invention of oil-cloth introduced a better 
material for the covering of floors than the old surface of 
matting or rushes. Chairs remained much the same in shape 
as before, but cane was now occasionally used in both their 

F F 3 


backs and seats. Tables, cabinets, wardrobes, &c. now began 
to exhibit that beautiful style of workmanship still known 
by the name of Marqueterie, from its originator M. Marquet. 

In costume citizens' wives and countrywomen continued to 
wear the high-crowned hat, the French hood, laced stomacher, 
and yellow starched handkerchief; but amongst ladies of 
rank and station a total change took place, and bare necks and 
arms, full and flowing draperies, and long trains of the 
richest satins and velvets, superseded the high and straight- 
laced dresses of former times. Face painting was also com- 
monly used, with patches, and the hair frizzed up or perukes 
worn, which the ladies seem to have been the first to intro- 
duce. Masks and riding habits, which in the upper part 
exactly resembled male attire, were also much worn, and the 
French sacque now first began to appear, with some other 
fashions, which flourished more extensively in the following 

19. In 1659 an English gentleman dressed in a short- 
waisted doublet and petticoat breeches, the lining (being 
lower than the breeches) tied above the knees, the breeches 
themselves ornamented with ribands up to the pocket and for 
half their breadth upon the thigh, the waistband also set out 
with ribands and the shirt hanging over it. The hat was 
high-crowned and with a plume of feathers, afterwards low- 
crowned and the feathers laid upon the brim ; beneath the 
knee hung long drooping lace ruffles, and a rich falling collar 
of lace, with a cloak, hung carelessly over the shoulders. The 
shoes were worn high in the heels and tied with ribands. 
Periwigs were introduced from the court of Louis XIV. in 
1 664, no natural head of hair being sufficiently luxuriant for 
the taste of the times. 

The first great change was in 1666, when the king began 
to wear a long close vest almost to the feet, of black cloth 
or velvet pinked with white satin, a loose surcoat or tunic 
over it, of an Oriental character, and tied round the body 
with a sash, and instead of shoes and stockings, buskins 
or brodequins. This fashion did not continue, however, 
more than two years, Louis and his courtiers having con- 




temptuously put their servants into it; but to the vest so 
formed we probably owe the long square-cut coat, and to 

Costume temp. Charles II. (Old Print.) 

Costume temp. James II. (Old Print.) 

the tunic the almost equally long waistcoat which succeeded 
them. The sleeves of this coat came only to the elbows, 

F F 4 


where they were turned back in a large cuff, the shirt bulging 
out from beneath, ruffled at the wrist, and profusely adorned 
with ribands ; both coat and waistcoat had buttons and 
button-holes all down the front. A neckcloth or cravat of 

Brussels' lace tied with ribands under the chin, the end 


hanging down square, took the place of the stiff band and 
falling collar, and the broad hat, which was turned up or 
cocked behind, was sometimes entirely surrounded by short 
feathers, which fell curling over the brim. Round hats 
with very small brims, ornamented with cockades or favours, 
something like the jockey cap now worn by the state trum- 
peters, also appear. Small buckles instead of shoe strings 
were worn by Charles II. in 1666, but came into general 
use only in the reign of Queen Anne. These fashions 
continued with little variation under James II. The hat- 
brims were frequently turned up on both sides, and parti- 
cular cocks were adopted according to taste or circumstances, 
20. The Puritans had affected a singular plainness of dress 
and gravity of manners, with a drawling and snuffling tone, 
and everlasting quotations from Scripture, whilst the cavaliers 
went into the contrary extreme of lightness and profanity, 
which, unfortunately, became but too prevalent after the 
Restoration. The nation was, indeed, in 1660, heartily tired 
of the gloom and severity of the Commonwealth, and broke 
out in one general burst of loyal joyousness, with bonfires, 
may-poles, bell-ringing, dances, and an unlimited flow of 
potent liquors. It was to Charles, however, and his French- 
ified court that the great increase of debauchery was owing, 
and under his profligate rule every good old English virtue 
was set aside, and the coarsest licentiousness took possession 
of all public places. Swearing, gambling, and the most blas- 
phemous jests, were now the marks of a thorough-bred 
courtier, with a total disregard of all noble feeling, and even 
of the natural pride of birth and connexions. 

Politics had now become a matter of universal discussion, 
and clubs and coffeehouses afforded men of every condition 
an opportunity of settling the affairs of state, much to the 
aimoyance of the old aristocracy. The most remarkable of 




these institutions was the King's Head Club, composed of 
friends of the Earl of Shaftesbury, who were especially eager 
in maintaining the Protestant religion, and burning the Pope 
and the King of France in effigy. 

21. The streets were by no means quiet or orderly at 
this period, for, besides the quarrels of precedence between 
the foreign ambassadors (which were not always conducted 
without bloodshed) and the attacks of the mob upon unpopu- 
lar strangers, the 'prentices were as turbulent as ever, and the 
butchers and weavers added to the fray by their constant and 
furious encounters. At the bear gardens sword-fighting was 
added to the amusements, and the spectators sometimes con- 
tended so fiercely about the merits of the performers, that a 
general battle arose. To crown all, the gentlemen Scowerers 
swept the streets by nights, broke windows, stormed taverns, 
thrashed innocent passengers, and fought with the watch 
till they were overpowered and lodged in the watch-house, 
where they did not always meet with a sufficiently severe 
punishment. With all this brutality, nevertheless, was united 
an extreme foppery in dress, manners, and conversation. 


Coach temp. Charles II. (Old Print.) 

22. The bulk of the people were, however, mostly free 
from these vices, and even in the metropolis kept up a good 
deal of the true old English spirit and fashions. In the 
country the plain manners and cookery of former days still 
prevailed, and the ancient good feeling between landlord and 
tenant was carefully preserved. 


Music was now generally studied, and play-going had 
become even a badge of loyalty ; the theatres were crowded 
in consequence, and many novelties were introduced to 
please the more extended audiences of the day. Moveable 
scenery (introduced by Sir William Davenant) of the most 
gorgeous character, foreign singers and dancers, and the 
whole splendour of the Opera, brilliant lights, rich costumes, 
and female actors (first mentioned in 1660), combined to 
make the stage attractive, and the actors so haughty, 
that they divided the town with their factions, and uttered 
severe remarks upon persons in power, for which they 
were occasionally committed to prison, and their theatres 
shut up. The court pageants still retained a good deal of 
their former quaintness and oddity, and masques and dancing 
were the chief amusements of the palace. 

An ancient court practice (as old, indeed, as the time of 
Edward the Confessor) was still retained, namely, the prac- 
tice of touching for the scrofula or king's evil, which the 
legitimate sovereigns of England, and they alone, were sup- 
posed to be able to cure by a single application of the royal 
hand. There is a regular service for this ceremony in some 
of the old prayer books, and the popular belief in its efficacy 
was still undiminished. 

23. All classes of people were at this time equally diverted 
with the adventures of Punch and other puppet shows, which 
were not unfrequently founded on Scripture tales. Monkeys 
were also dressed up and taught to act in pantomimes, and to 
dance on the tight-rope. Feats of strength and dexterity, 
and juggling of all kinds, such as drinking plain water and 
returning it changed into wine, rope-dancing, and lifting im- 
mense weights, were favourite entertainments, not only at 
such places as Bartlemy or St. Margaret's Fair, but at private, 
and even royal banquets. Athletic exercises were not alto- 
gether neglected, swimming, foot-racing, tennis, skating 
(now either introduced or revived from Holland), boat and 
horse racing, and some military sports, being still great fa- 
vourites with the court and the nobility. Bear, bull, and 
even horse-baiting, were revived at the Restoration, but soon 


became less fashionable amongst the higher classes. Bowls 
were still a popular game, and card-playing, billiards, chess, 
backgammon, cribbage, and ninepins, with the occasional aid 
of a circulating library, helped largely to pass the vacant 
hour. Even the homely games of blindman's buff and handy- 
cap were not wholly despised amongst the splendid masques 
and private theatricals which enlivened the mansions of the 

24. Many of the old holidays were still observed as in the 
ancient time. On Valentine's Day the gallants sent presents 
of gloves, silk stockings, garters, or jewellery, to their valen- 
tines. On the 1st of May the maidens repaired to the fields 
to gather May dew for their fair faces ; milk-maids danced 
in the streets with their pails wreathed with garlands, and ac- 
companied by lively music. On New Year's Day inferiors 
presented gifts of homage to their patrons, and some courtiers 
are even said to have derived their entire income from this 
not very laudable custom. 

WITH the REVOLUTION, the history of English Antiquities 
may properly be said to close, since we then enter on a period 
of which every important characteristic has been handed 
down, with more or less of modification, to the present day. 
The changes, too, which would present themselves under 
every head of our work are so numerous and remarkable, 
that henceforth it would seem almost like reading the history 
of a different country, or of a new people. 

In political institutions the alterations are marked with es- 
pecial clearness and decision. The breach of the royal suc- 
cession, and the singular circumstances under which William 
III. was placed on the throne, put the English monarchy 
from this time on an entirely different footing ; the old basis 
of hereditary right and paramount prerogative being swept 
away, and the whole foundation of future sovereignty rested 


upon the will of the parliament and people. The external 
form and peculiar offices of the monarchy were not, indeed, 
remodelled, but the right to retain and exercise them hence- 
forth goes no higher than the convention of 1688. By the 
Bill of Rights and Act of Settlement the limits of the regal 
prerogative, and the privileges of the subject, were now strictly 
defined, and equally placed upon the sole basis of the law. 
The subsequent incorporation of the kingdoms of Scotland 
and Ireland effected, also, a great change in the position of 
those countries towards the central state. 

In religion an avowed toleration was displayed towards all 
orthodox dissenters, with a proportionate and long continued 
rigour towards Romanists and Socinians. Presbyterianism 
was publicly established in Scotland, and the English Houses 
of Convocation were (in the year 1717) effectually silenced. 
In learning and arts new lines and schools appeared, and old 
ones declined, much to the injury of some branches, and the 
manifest benefit of others. The consequence was, at all events, 
a decided change in the public taste in almost every respect. 

In naval and military affairs new methods and weapons of 
warfare rapidly superseded the clumsy tactics of former times, 
the musket and bayonet took the place of the pike, the car- 
touch-box of the bandelier, and the gorget, the last remaining 
piece of ancient defensive armour, sank into a stiff leathern 

In commerce and agriculture a complete revolution oc- 
curred, the seats and markets of manufactures being partially 
or wholly changed, the range of maritime adventure vastly 
increased, new instruments and processes of husbandry intro- 
duced, and the ancient breeds of domestic animals subjected 
to a series of experiments, which have incalculably raised 
their character and enhanced their utility. 

Lastly, the manners and customs of the English people, 
from the highest to the lowest, now assumed that character, 
of which so deep and broad a trace is still retained, and 
which even the total lapse of the late generation will scarcely 
be sufficient to destroy. 





Ammianus Marcellinus, Historia. Notitia Imperii (in Gravius's Roman 
Antonini Iter Britannicum (edited Antiquities, vol. vii. An account 
by Gale). of the British part in Horsley's 

^Caesar's Commentaries. Britannia Romana). 

' Dio Cassius, Historia Romana. Pliny, Historia Naturalis. ^ 

Diodorus Siculus, Historia. Ptolemy, Geographia. 

Festus Avienus, Geographica (in Strabo, Geographica. K 

WernsdorfFs Poetas Latini Mi-.^sSuetonius, De Vitis Imperatorum. v 
nores). -^Tacitus. ^ 

^ 'Lucan, Pharsalia. 


There are no writings extant of this period, strictly speaking ; unless 
a few pieces of Pelagius, Celestius, and St. Patrick may be included in 
it. A full collection, however, of the writers of the two succeeding periods, 
who have treated on British affairs, will be found in 

Commeline, Rerum Britannicarum theJBritons (as being themselves 

Scriptores Vetustiores ac praeci- of that race), and the curious ro- 

pui. Folio. Heidelberg, 1587. mance of Geoffrey of Monmouth % 

j Gale, Histories Britannicae, Sax- (with its probable original, the 

onicae, Anglo-Danicae, Scriptores Brut of Tysilio, published in the 

XV. Folio. Oxon, 1691. Welsh Archaeology, and trans- 

Bede's Ecclesiastical History Gil- lated by Roberts, London, 1810), 

das' and Nennius' Histories of may be particularly mentioned. 



Akerman, Coins of the Romans re- Lyson's Magna Britannia. 

lating to Britain. Reliquiae Romanae. 

Archaeologia, passim (a series of Machell Stace's British Historical 

volumes published yearly by the Intelligencer. 8vo. Westm. 1829. 

Society of Antiquaries of Lon- /Moore's History of Ireland. 

don. The earlier volumes are Musgrave's Belgium Britannicum. 

particularly full of British mat- . Palgrave's Rise and Progress of the 

ters). English Commonwealth. 
Archaeological Journals, passim / History of England. 

(published by the Archaeological Pelloutier, Histoire des Celtes. 

Institute, and the British Archaeo- Petrie's Essay on the Ecclesiastical 

logical Association.) Architecture of Ireland. 

Betham's Gael and Cymbri. ^Pictorial History of England. 

Bloxam, Glimpse at the History of Prichard's Eastern Origin of the 

Monumental Remains. Celtic Nations. 

Borlase's Antiquities of Cornwall. ^Roberts' Early History of the N^ 
, Britannia after the Romans. Lon- Cymry. 1803. 

don, 1836. Rowland's Mona Antiqua. 

/ Britton's Architectural Antiquities. X Roy, Military Antiquities of the 
Camden's Britannia. Romans in Britain. 

Chalmers' Caledonia. 1807. A Sharon Turner's History of the 

Davies' Celtic Researches. 1804. Anglo-Saxons. 

Douglass' Nenia Britannica. Stackhouse on Pagan Architecture 

Duncan's Caledonia Romana. of Britain. 

Ellis, Metrical Romances. Stukeley, Iter Curiosum. 

Fosbroke's Encyclopaedia of Anti- / Toland's History of the Druids. 

quities. Transactions of the Royal Irish 

Gough's Sepulchral Remains of Academy, passim (particularly 

Britain. the papers by Mr. Petrie). 

j Grose's Antiquities. /Wart en's 1 1 isl ory of English Poetry. 

1 1 uwkins' Silver Coins of England. Wellbeloved's Eboracum, or York 
/Henry's History of England. under the Romans. 

Hoare's History of Ancient Wilt- Welsh Archaeology. 1801. 

shire. Whitaker, History of Manchester. 

Horsley, Britannia Rom:ma. Young, History of Whitby. 

King's Munimenta Antiqua. 


Aclfric, Homilies, by Thorpe Alfred's Translation of Bode, by 
(printed for Aelfric Society. Wheloc. Folio. Cambr. 1644; 
1843). ;nd Smith, Camb. 1722. 



Alfred's Translation of Boethius, 
by Cardale. 8vo. 1829. 

Epitome of Orosius, by 

Ingram (at end of Inaugural 
Lecture, 1807). 

Bede's Ecclesiastical History (lately 
edited by Dr. Giles). 

Beowulf, Poem of. 12mo. Lon- 
don, 1833. (Translated by 
Kemble. 12mo. London, 1837.) 

Caednion's Paraphrase, edited by 
Thorpe. 8vo. London, 1832. 

Concilia, by Spelinan. 

, by Wilkins. 

Durham Book, containing the Gos- 
pels (described in Brayley's 
Graphic Illustrator). 

Leges Anglo- Saxonicae, by Wilkins. 1 
Folio. London, 1722. 

MSS., Harleian, Cotton, Royal. 

Saxon Chronicle, by Ingrain. 4to. 
London, 1823. 

and Latin Psalter, by Spel- 

man. 4to. London, 1640. 

Wharton's Anglia Sacra. Folio. 
London, 1691. (A collection of 
early ecclesiastical writers.) 


Allen's Enquiry into the Rise and 
Growth of the Royal Prerogative 
in England. 
Archseologia, passim, 
Archaeological Journal, passim. 
^ Blackstone's Commentaries. 

Bloxam's Principles of Gothic Ec- 
clesiastical Architecture. 
' Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon Grammar. 

British Historical Intelligencer. 
| Conybeare's Illustrations of Anglo- 
Saxon Poetry. 

Edinburgh Review on Courts of 
Common Law, vol. xxxvi. 

Glossary of Architecture. Oxford, 

^Hallam's Middle Ages. 

Hawkins' Silver Coins of England. 

Henry's History of England. 

Heywood's Ranks of the Anglo- 
Saxon People. 

Hickes' Linguarum Veterum Sep- 
tentrionalium Thesaurus. Folio. 
Oxon. 1705. 

^Mackintosh's History of England. 

Macpherson's Annals of Commerce. 
fcMait hind's Dark Ages. 

Mallet's Northern Antiquities. 

Meyrick's Ancient Costume of the 

British Islands. 

Palgrave's History of England, v 
Rise and Progress of the 

English Commonwealth, 
ifr Pictorial History of England. 
Quarterly Review, on the Sources 

of Early English History. No. 67. 
Rask's Anglo-Saxon Grammar, 

edited by Thorpe. 
Rickman's Letters on Architecture. 

Archaeologia, vol. xxv. 
Ruding's Annals of the Coinage. 
Spelman's Glossary. 
Life of Alfred. 

Strutt's Chronicle of England. 

Horda Angel-Cynnan. 

English Dresses (re-edited 

by Planchd). 

Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Insti- 
tutes of England, to Edward the 

Analecta Anglo-Saxonica, 

or First Book for Students. 

Turner's History of the Anglo- 

Wright's Biographia Britannica Li- 




Bayeux Tapestry, published in the 
Vetusta Monumenta, vol. vi. 

Benedictus Abbas, De Vit. Hen. II. 
etRic.L, byHearne. 8vo. Oxon. 

Benoit, Chronique des Dues de 
Normandie, by Michel. 4to. 
Paris, 1836-1838, 

Black Book of the Exchequer, by 
Hearne. 8vo. Oxon. 1728. 

Camden's Anglica, Normanica, Hi- 
bernica, Cambrica, a Veteribus 
Scripta. Folio. Frankfort, 1603. 

Domesday Book. Folio. London, 
1 1783. (The Indexes were printed 
in 1811, and an additional volume 
in 1816.) 

, Sir H. Ellis' In- 
troduction and Indexes to. 

Duchesne's Hist. Normannorum, 
Script. Antiq. Folio. Paris, 
1619. (Abridged by Maseres. 
4to. London, 1807.) 

Eadmer, Histor. Novorum. Folio. 
London, 1623. 

Fitzstephen's Description of Lon- 
don (in Stowe's London, and 
translated by Pegge . 4to. Lon- 
don, 1722.) 

Florence of Worcester, Chronicon. 
Folio. Frankf. 1601. (The ear- 
liest Anglo-Norman chronicler.) 

Fulman's Rer. Ang. Script. Vett. 

Folio. Oxon. 1684. 
Gale's Hist. Anglic. Script. V. 
Folio. Oxon. 1687. 

(Giraldus Cambrensis, Itinerarium 
et Descriptio Cambrise, by Hoare. 
4to. London, 1806. 
Glanvil's Tract, de Legibus Angliae. 
4to. London, 1673. (Translated 
by Beanies. 8vo. London, 1812). 

Great Rolls of the Norman Exche- 
quer, by Soc. of Antiquar. 

Jocelin de Brakelonda, Chronica 
de Monast. S. Edmund, edited by 
Gage Rokewode, for the Camden 
Soc. 4to. London, 1840. (Trans- 
lated by Tomlins, for Whittaker 

MSS., Royal, Harleian, Cotton, 
Bodleian, Magna Charta. 

Richard of Devizes, Chronicon 
Ric. I., by the Historical Soc. 
8vo. London, 1838. 

Roman du Saint Graal, by Michel. 
8vo. Bordeaux, 1841. 

Rotuli Curias Regis, by Palgrave. 

Savile's Rerum Anglicarum, scrip- 
tores post Bedam prsecipui. Folio. 

London, 1596. Frankfort, 1601. 

Spelman's Concilia. 

Statutes of the Realm, published by 
the Record Commission. 

Twysden's Histories Anglicanse 
Scriptores X. Folio. London, 

Wace, Brut d'Angleterre, by Le 
Roux de Lincy. 8vo. Rouen, 

, Roman de Rou (Rollo), by 

Pluquet. 8vo. Kouen, 1827. 

, translated into Early English 

by Layamon. (Quoted in Ellis' 
Specimens of the Early English 
Poets, and translated by Taylor 
for W. Pickering.) 

Rymer's Fcedera. 

Wharton's Anglia Sacra 

William of Malmesbury, Gesta 
Regum Ang., by Hardy. 8vo. 
London, 1840. (Translated by 
Sharpe. 4to. London, 1815.) 



William of Newburgh, Hist. Ang. 
by Hearne. 8vo. Oxon. 1719. 

Wilkins' Concilia. 

[The various collections in the 
above list contain the chronicles of 
Ingulphus, William of Poictiers, 
Ordericus Vitalis, William of 
Jumieges, Turgot, Simeon of 
Durham, John and Richard of 
Hexham, Ailred of Rivaulx, 

Henry of Huntingdon,Tloger de 
Hoveden, Ralph de Diceto, Ger- 
vase of Canterbury, Vinesauf's 
Itiner. Regis Ric. I. in Terrain 
Hierosol., and the Monastic Re- 
gisters of Melrose, Margan, Wa- 
verley, Ramsay, Ely, Holyrood, 
Abingdon, Durham, Peterbo- 
rough, Burton, &c-] 


Allen's Inquiry into the Rise and 

Growth of the Royal Prerogative 

in England. 
Archasologia, passim. 
Archaeological Journal, passim. 
Barrington, Observations on the 


Blackstone's Commentaries. 
Bloxam's Principles of Gothic Ar- 


British Historical Intelligencer. 
Britton's Architectural Antiquities. 
- Cathedrals. 

Dugdale's Monasticon. 

Edinburgh Review. History of 

English Legislation. No. 69. 
Ellis' Introduction to Domesday 


Fairholt's Costume in England. 
Fosbroke's Encyclop. of Antiquities. 
Glossary of Architecture. 

Leake's Historical Account of 

English Money. 
Lower's Curiosities of Heraldry. 

English Surnames. 

Mackintosh's History of England.^ 
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce. 
Madox's History of the Exchequer. 
Meyrick on Ancient Armour. 
Mills^History of the Crusades. -^ 
Palgrave's History of England. 

^Pictorial History of England. 
Rickman's Essay on Architecture. 
Shaw's Illuminated Ornaments. 

Dresses and Decorations. 

Sketches of English Literature. 

(Knight's Weekly Volume, vol. 

Stothard's Monumental Effigies. 

Strutt's English Sports and Pas- 

Parker, ^Thierry, Histoire de la Csnquete V 
d'Angleterre. (Translated by 

Oxford, 1846. 

of British Heraldry. Ox- Hazlitt.) 

ford, 1846. -^ Turner's History of England.*. 

^Hallam's Middle Ages. Warton's History of English Poetry. 

Henry's History of England. Wheaton's History of the Northmen. 

Hussey's Domestic Architecture. Wright's Biographia Britannica 

Kerrick's Collection of Notes and Literaria. 
Drawings (in the British Mu- 

G G 




Barbour, The Bruce, by Jamieson. 
4to. Edinb. 1820. 

Blind Harry, The Wallace, by Ja- 
mieson. 4to. Edinb. 1820. 
^Chaucer, by Tyrwhitt. 8vo. 

Chronicle of Lanercost, edited by 
Stephenson. 4to. Edinb. 1839. 

English Metrical Romances, by 

Fabyan's Concordance of Histories, 

by Ellis. 4to. London, 1811. 
^Froissart's Chronicle. 

Gower. 4to. London, 1818. 

Harrowing of Hell, a Miracle Play, 
temp. Edward II., by Halliwell. 

Havelock le Danois, edited by Sir 
F. Madden. 4to. London, 1828. 

James I. of Scotland, King's Quair, 
by Chalmers. 8vo. London, 1824. 

John de Whethamstede, Chronicon, 
by Hearne. 8vo. Oxford, 1732. 

Law Treatises Bracton, Britton, 
Fleta, Mirror of Justices. 

Lawrence Minot, Poems, by Ritson, 
8vo. London, 1793, and 1825. 

Layamon. (Edited for the Soc. of 
Ant. by Sir F. Madden.) 

Lydgate's Poems, by Halliwell. 

8vo. London, 1840. 
^r Mandeville, Travels, by Halliwell. 
8vo. London, 1839. 

Marie de France, Lays, published 
by Roquefort. 8vo. Paris, 
1820. (Translated by Ellis, Me- 
trical Romances.) 

Matthew Paris, Historia Major. 
Folio. London, 1571. 1640. and 
1684. Paris, 1644. (Edited by 
M. Huillard-Breholles. 8vo. Pa- 
ris, 1840.) 

Metrical Romances, by Ellis. 

'MSS., JIarleian, Sloane, Cotton, 

Arundel, Royal, Douce, Bod- 

Paston's Letters, by Fenn. 1787 
1789. 1823. and recently re-pub- 

Piers Ploughman's Vision, by 
Wright. 12mo. London, 1842. 

Creed (same 


Promptorium Parvulorum. (Edited 
for the Camden Soc. by Mr. Way.) 

Reliques of English Poetry, by 

Robert of Gloucester, Metrical 
Chronicle. 8vo. London, 1810. 

Robert de Brunne, Metrical Chro- 
nicle, by Hearne. 8vo. Oxford, 

Roger de Wendover, Chronica, 
edited by Coxe. 8vo. Lond. 1841. 

Rotuli Curias Regis, by Palgrave. 

Rymer's Foedera. 

Staluta Wallise. 

Statutes of the Realm. 

Thomas Walsingham, Histories of 
England and of Normandy, pub- 
lished by Archbishop Parker. 
Folio. London, 1574. 

Trevisa's Translation into English 
of Higden's Polychronicon. Folio. 
Caxton, 1482. Folio. Wynken 
de Worde, 1485; afterwards in 
1517 and 1527. 

Wicliffe, New Testament. (Bag- 
ster's English Hexapla. 4to. 
London, 1841.) 

Wilkins' Concilia. 

William Rishanger, Historia, (at 
end of Wats' edition of Matthew 
Paris. London, 1640.) 

, De Bellis Lewes 

et Evesham, edited by Halliwell. 
4to. London, 1840. 




Allen's Royal Prerogative. 

Archaeologia, passim. 

Archaeological Journal, passim. 

Barrington on the Statutes. 
^fBlackstone's Commentaries. 

Blore, Monumental Effigies. 

Bloxam on Gothic Architecture. 

Monumental Architec- 
ture and Sculpture. 

Brande's Popular Antiquities. 

Brayley and Britton's History of 
the Houses of Parliament. 

British Historical Intelligencer. 

Britton's Architectural Antiquities. 

Cotton's Abridgment of the Rolls 
of Parliament. 

Eden's State of the Poor. 

Fosbroke's Encyclopedia of Anti- 

Glossary of Architecture. 

Grose's Glossary. 

Hallam's Middle Ages. 
l Halliwell's Early History of Free- 
masonry in England. 

. Dictionary of Archaic 

and Provincial Words. 

Hawkins' Silver Coins of England. 

Hawkins' History of Music. 

Henry's History of England. 

Hussey's Domestic Architecture. 

Knight's Biography of Caxton. 

Latham's Lectures on the English 

Leake's Historical Account of 
English Money. 

Lower on Heraldry. 

Mackintosh's History of England. 

Macpherson's Annals of Commerce. 

Madox's History of the Exchequer. 

Meyrick's Ancient Armour. 

Mills' History of Chivalry. 

Nichols' Illustrations of the Man- 
ners and Expenses of Ancient 

Palgrave's History of England. 
^Pictorial History of England. 

Pugin's Examples of Gothic Archi- 

Reeve's History of English Law. 

Rickman on Architecture. 

Rise and Progress of the English 

Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica. 

Shaw's Alphabets and Devices of 
the Middle Ages. 

Illuminated Ornaments. 

Sinclair, History of Public Re- 

Sketches of Literature and Learn- 
ing in England. (Knight's 
Weekly Volume.) 

Stothard's Monumental Antiquities. 

Strutt's English Sports. 

Regal and Ecclesiastical 


Turner's History of England. 

Waller's Brasses. 

Walpole's Historic Doubts. 

Warton's History of English Poetry. 

Wright's Chester Masteries. 


Legends of Purgatory, &c. 

[In the collections of Gale and Twysden may be found the Chronicles 
of John of Bromton, Wiccius, Hemingford, Henry de Knyghton, 
Stubbs, Thome, Higden's Polychronicon, and Fordun's Scotichronicon 
(the last two in part only).] 

G G 2 




Ascham's Epistles. 

Books of Common Prayer, from 
Edward VI. to Charles II. (re- 
printed by Pickering). 

Burghley Papers. 

Cecil's Diary. 

Chronicles of Hall, 1548 ; Grafton, 
1569 ; Holinshed, 1577. 

Cranmer's Works (by the Parker 

Dunbar's Poems, by Laing. 8vo. 
Edinburgh, 1834. 

Foxe's Acts and Monuments. 

Harrison's Description of England. 

Hentzner's Itinerary (translated by 
Walpole, 1757). 

Holbein's Portraits. 

Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, by 
Keble. 8vo. Oxford, 1836. 

Journals of the House of Commons, 
from 1547 (by Record Commis- 

Letters of the Kings of England, 
by Sir H. Ellis. 

Lord Surrey's Works. 4to. Lon- 
don, 1815. 

Lyly's Euphues, 1578. 1581. 

Marbeck's Common Prayer, with 
musical notes. Pickering. 

MSS. Harleian, Cotton, Royal, 

Ashmolean, Lansdowne. 

Puttenham's Art of English Poesie, 

Rymer's Fcedera. 

Shakspeare. (First edition, folio, 

Sir Thomas More's Works, by 
Rastell. 4to. 1557. 

Skelton's Poetical Works, by Dyce. 
8vo. Lond. 1843. 

Spenser's Faery Queen. 

State Papers of Henry VIII. (pub- 
lished by Record Commission, 

State Papers and Letters of Sir 
Ralph Sadler. 

Statutes of the Realm, by the Re- 
cord Commission. 

Stowe's Summary of the English 
Chronicles, 1565 

Annals, 1573. 

Chronicle of England, 1580. 

Survey of London, 1598. 

Flores Historiarum, 1600. 

Stubbs' Anatomy of Abuses. 

Sydney's Arcadia, 1593. 

Valor Ecclesiasticus, Henry VIII. 
(by Record Commission). 

Vetusta Monumenta. 

Wilkins' Concilia. 

Year Books. 


Aikin's Memoirs of the Court of 

Queen Elizabeth. 
Allen's Prerogative. 
Anderson's History of Commerce. 
Archseologia, passim. 
Archaeological Journal, passim. 
Barrington on the Statutes. 
Blackstone's Commentaries. 
Bloxam on Architecture. 

Brande's Popular Antiquities. 
British Historical Intelligencer. 
Britten's Architectural Antiquities. 
Collier's Annals of the Stage. 
Douce's Illustrations of Shakspeare. 
Eden's State of the Poor. 
Fosbroke's Encyclopedia of Anti- 
Grose's Glossary. 



Grose's King Henry VIII.'s scheme 
of Bishoprics. Lond. 1838. 

Military Antiquities. 

. Hallam's Constitutional History of 

Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes of 

Archaic Dictionary. 

Hawkins' Silver Coins of England, 

Hawkins' History of Music. 

Hussey's Domestic Architecture. 

Leake's English Money. 

Lodge's Illustrations of British His- 
tory, Biography, and Manners. 

Macpherson's Annals of Commerce. 

Madox's History of the Exchequer. 

Meyrick's Ancient Armour. 

Nash's Old Mansions of England. 

Nichols' Illustrations of the Man- 
ners and Expenses of Ancient 

Progresses of Queen Elizabeth. 

Palgrave's History of England. 

^Pictorial History of England. 

Reeve's History of the English 

Richardson's Elizabethan Archi- 

Rickman on Architecture. 

Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica. 

Shaw's Specimens of Ancient Fur- 

Sinclair, History of Public Re- 

Sketches of Literature in England 
(Knight's weekly vol.). 

Smith's Topography of London. 

Soames' History of the Reform- 

Stothard's Monumental Antiquities. 

Strutt's Sports and Pastimes. 

Tytler's Life of Henry VIII. 

Life of Raleigh. 

Warton's History of English Poetry. 

Wright's Queen Elizabeth and her 



Autobiography of Joseph Lister, by 
Wright, 1844. 

Baker's Chronicle, 1641. 

Burnet's History of his Own Times. 

Camden's Britannia. 


Clarendon's History of the Rebel- 
lion and Life. 

Collection of National Airs, by 

Collier's Ecclesiastical History. 

Dowsing' s Journal. (Reprinted at 
Woodbridge, 1818.) 

Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwick- 


Early Dramatists, by Dyce. 

Evelyn's Diary. 

Fuller's Church History. 

Fuller's Worthies. 

Harrington's Nugse Antiquse< 

Heylin's Life of Laud. 

Howell's Familiar Letters. 

King James I.'s Works: Folio. 

Laud's Diary. 

Ludlow's Memoirs. 

May's History of the Long Parlia- 

Neal's History of the Puritans. 

North's Life of Lord Keeper Guild- 

Old Plays, by Dodsley, 1780. 

(with notes by Collier, 


G G 3 



Peck's Desiderata Curiosa. 
"*Pepys's Diary. 

Rushworth's Collection. 

Rymer's Foedera. 

Scobell's Collection of Parliament- 
ary Ordinances. Folio. London, 

Somer's Tracts. 

Speed's Theatre of the Empire of 
Great Britain, 1 606. 

Speed's History of Great Britain. 
State Trials. 
Statutes of the Realm. 
Stowe's Survey of London. (En- 
larged, 1633. and 1720.) 
Strafford's Letters and Despatches. 
Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials. 
Winwood's Memorials. 
Wood's Athenas Oxonienses. 


Aikin's Court of James I. 

Charles I. 

Allen's Prerogative. 

Archaeologia, passim. 

Birch's Life of Prince Henry. 
.^Blackstone's Commentaries. 

Brande's Popular Antiquities. 

British Historical Intelligencer. 

Collier's History of Dramatic 

Shakspeare Library. 

Cook's History of the Church of 

Eden's State of the Poor. 

Fairholt's Costume in England. 

Flaxman's Lectures on Sculpture. 

Forster's Life of Strafford. (Lard- 
ner's Cabinet Cyclopcedia.} 

Fosbroke's Encyclopaedia of Anti- 

Gough's History of the Quakers. 

Grose's Military Antiquities. 
V&Hallam's Constitutional History of 

-r Literature of Europe. 

Halliwell's Dictionary. 


Harris. Life and Writings 

Charles I. 

Hawkins' Silver Coins. 
Hawkins' History of Music. 

Hone's Every Day Book, and Year 

Jardine's Criminal Trials. 

Essay on Torture. 

Leake's English Money. 

Lodge's Illustrations. 

Macpherson's Annals of Commerce. 

M'Crie's Life of John Knox. 

Mead's Discourse on Pestilential 

Meyrick's Armour. 

Nash's Mansions of England. 

Nichols' Progresses of James I. 

JSTugent's Memoirs of Hampden. 
^Pictorial History of England. 

Reeve's History of English Law. 

Rimbault's Bibliotheca Madriga- 

Robinson's Vitruvius Britannicus. 

Sinclair's History of Public Re- 

Stothard's Monumental Antiquities. 

Strutt's Sports and Pastimes. 

Sylva Britannica. (Old 

Forest Trees of England.) 

Dresses and Habits, by 


Tytler's History of Scotland, 
of Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting. 
Warton's History of English 


Principal Collections of MSS. in the British Museum. 
Harleian Lansdowne Cotton Royal Sloane Arundel. 

MSS. at Oxford. 
Ashmolean Bodleian Douce. 


1. Abbotsford Club. 

2. Aelfric Society. 

3. Anglia Christiana Society, 

4. Archaeological Association, 
5. Institute. 

6. Ashmolean Society. 

7. Auchinleck Press. 

8. Bannatyne Club. 

9. Berkshire Society. 

10. Cambridge Antiquarian Society. 
11. Camden Society. 

12. Camden Society. 

13. Ecclesiastical History Society. 

14. English Historical Society. 

15. Hakluyt Society. 

16. lona Club. 

17. Irish Archa3ological Society. 

18. Lichfield Architectural Society. 

19. Lincolnshire Topographical Society. 

20. Maitland Club. 

21. Norwich and Norfolk Archaeological Society. 

22. Oxford Architectural Society. 

23. Parker Society, 

24. Percy Society. 

25. Philological Society. 

26. Roxburghe Club, 

27. Royal Irish Academy. 

28. Royal Society of Literature. 

29. Shakspeare Society. 

30. Society of Antiquaries of London 

31. of Newcastle^ 

32. of Scotland. 

33. Spalding Club. 

34. Spottiswoode Club. 

35. Surtees Club. 

36. Warwickshire Archaeological Society 

37. Wodrow Society. 

G G 4 





Caer Hebrauc - Eboracum, York. 

Ceint - Canterbury, or Ceint, Anglesey, 

Gurcoc - Ceirchiogg, Anglesey ? 

Guorthegern Gwitheryn, Denbighshire ? 

- Gusteint - Llan-Gustenin, Carnarvonshire ? 

Guorancgon - Worcester, or Warrington. 

Segeint - Silchester, or Segont on the Menai. 

Guintrius - Norwich, or Gwynnys, Cardiganshire. 

- Merdin - Carmarthen. 

Peris - Llan Peris, Carnarvonshire f 

Lion - Caer leon, Monmouthshire f 

Mencipit - Mansell, Herefordshire ? 

Caratauc - Carrog, Cardiganshire f 

Ceri - Kerry, Montgomeryshire ? 

Gloui - Gloucester, or St. Gluvias, Cornwall. 

Luilid - Carlisle. 

Graunt - Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. 

Daun - Doncaster, Yorkshire. 

Britoc - Bristol, or St. Breock, Cornwall. 

Meguaid - Meivod, Montgomeryshire. 

Guent - Caer Gwent, Monmouthshire. 

Mauiguid - Menigid, Anglesey, or Mwynglawd, Denbigh' 


Ligion - Chester, or Llanligan, Montgomeryshire. 

Collon - Colchester, or St. Colan, Cornwall. 

Londein - London. 

Guorcon - Warren or Woran, Pembrokeshire f 

Lerion - Leicester. 

Draithou - Drayton, Shropshire. 

Pensavelcoit Ilchester, Pen-Selwood. 

Teun - Teyn Grace, Devonshire ? 

Urnahc - Llan Fernach, Pembrokeshire ? 

Celemion - Kilmaen Llwyd, Pembrokeshire ? 
Loitcoit - Ludlow, or Lytchett, Dorsetshire ? 





As, Abban, Abing, Abbots, from abba, abbot, an abbot (genitive 

abban, abbocer), as Abingdon, Abbotsbury. 
ABER, Aver, Iver, Yaver, Yar, from aber (British), the mouth of a 

river, ford, or lake, as Abergavenny, Aberford, Lochaber, Yaver- 

land, Yarmouth. 

Ac, Ock, Oke, Auck, from ac, an oak, as Acle, Ockley, Okeford, Auck- 
land, Baldock. 
AED, Ead, Ed, from eabij or eaSij, easy, happy, bold, as Edgar, Edric, 

A EL, Eal, Al, Alh, Alch, Ealch, from aelc or eal, each or all, as Ael- 

mund or Ellman, Alfred, Ealchstan or Elston, Alaric or Alric. 
AESC, Esc, Ash, Ashen, As, Osc, Os, Es, from aej'C, an ash (implying 

strength or courage}, as Aescwine, Ashton, Ashendon, Aston, Oscar, 

Oscar, Osborne. 

AETHEL, Aegel, Egil, Ayl, El, from ae)>el, noble, as Ethelbert, Aylmer. 
AL, Addle, Adling, Adding, Adden, from sefel, noble, and aejjelmjar, 

nobles, as Althorp, Addlestrop, Allington, Addington, Addenbrook. 
AL, Aid, Au, A, from ealb, old, as Albourne, Aubourn, Abury. 
ALLER, Eller, Alder, Arle, Aries, from alp, an alder, as Allerton, 

Ellerton, Alrewas, Alresford. 
AN, Ean, Ian, from an (in the sense of unique, particular, qui solus), 

as Eanberht, lanberht, Eanbald, Anfred. 
AT, Ad, Od, Ot, from aec, at, as Atford, Adstock, Odstock, Otford. 

BAD, Bed, Bid, Biddes, from Bieba ? (name of a chief?) as Badbury J 

Badham, Bedhampton, Biddesden. 
BAM, Bern, Bamp, from beam, a beam of timber, as Bamfleet, Bemfleet, 

BAR, Ber, Bere, from bap, a boar, bejie, barley, or bappe, a barrow, 

as Barton, Berwick, Bere. 

BEN, Bin, from bean, a bean, as Bennington, Binfield. 
BEORHT, Berht, Briht, Bright, Burt, from beophc or bpyhc, bright, as 

Beorhtwald or Bertold, Brihtric, Brighthelmstone. 
BEORN, Bern, Barn, Bron, Brun, Bruin, Browne, from beopn (by 

metathesis bpeon), highborn, as Bernard, Barnet, Brunet or Burnet, 

Brown rig. 

BRAD, Brat, from bpab, broad, as Bradford, Bratton. 
BRAN, Braun, Brown, Bourne, from bpun or bupn, a brook, as Bran- 

ston, Brownsover, Wmterbourne. 


BRI, Brig, Brix, from bjiicj, a bridge, as Bristol, Brigstock, Brixworth, 

BROM, Broom, Birm, from bpom, broom, as Bromwich, Bromwicham 
or Birmingham. 

BROOK, Brookes, from bpoc, a brook, as Brooksby. 

BUR, Burn, Burg, Brough, Borough, Bury, Pury, Perry, from bup, a 
bower, buph, bupjh, beopj, bypi, a town, a place of retreat or 
defence, as Burton (by metathesis Bruton), Broughton, Edinburgh, 
Sudbury, Hartpury, Waterperry, De Burgh, Varibrugh, Ahlborou^h. 

BY, Bye, Bee, from bye (Danish), a habitation, as Derby, Harrowby. 

CAR, Char, Chard, Ciren, from cyppan, to turn, as Char, Chard, 

Charing Cross, Cirencester. (CAR in British names is derived from 

cae'r, castrum, for which the Saxons used the word cearcep). 
CARL, Charl, Chorl, Churl, Chur, from ceopl, a churl, as Carlton, 

Charlton, Chorleywood, Churton. 
CAN, Ken, Keene, Kin, Chin, Coen, Cohen, Conn, from cen, keen, 

cynnan, to ken or observe, or cyn, kindred, as Kenrick, Chinnery. 
CEOL, Col, Kell, from ceol, the keel, as Ceolric or Coleridge, Ceolwulf 

or Joliffe, Colson, Kelson. 
CHIP, Cheap, Chippen, Chipping, from cyppan, to cheapen or buy, as 

Cheapside, Chippenham, Chipping Norton. Compare Copenhagen, 

the haven of merchants, KaTnjAo*. 
CLEVE, Cliff, Cleugh, Clew, Cleo, Clough, from clip or cloujh, a cliff 

or cleft, as Cleveland, Clifton, Cleobury, Clewer, Cloughton, Buc- 

COMB, Combe, Comp, from comb, cumb, or cwm (British), a confined 

valley, as Castlecomb, Winchcombe, Compton, Cumberland. 
CONING, Conis, Cunning, Kings, from cyning, a king, as Coningsby, 

Conisborough, Cunningham, Kingston. 
COT, Cotten, Cotting, Coate, Coates, Cotts, Kyte, Keate, Kett, Kytel, 

Kettle, from coc, cyce, cycel, a small sheltered habitation, as Cots- 
wold, Wolvercot, Cotter, Keating, Thurkytel or Thurtell. 
CRAG, Cray, Crick, from cpecca, a creek, crag, ravine, or fissure, as 

Crayford, Cricklade. 
CUTH, Cud, Coote, Cutts, Coutts, from cu]?, cu)>a, well known, as Cuth- 

bald or Cobbold, Cuthbert, Cuthburg or Coburg, Cuthwulf or Cuffe. 
CwfN, Wen, Quin, Gwynne, Wynn, from cpen, fair (gwyn, British), 

as Queenborough, Wenman. 

DAN, Dane, Dean, Den, Ten, from ben, a valley, or Dane, as Danbury, 

Danesfield, Deanston, Denham, Tenby, Walden. 
DER, Deer, Dyr, from beop, deer, as Derham, Deerhurst, Dyrham. 
DON, Dun, Down, from bun, a down or hill, as Doncaster, Huntingdon, 

Dunstable, Downton. 
DOR, Dur, Durn, from dwr, water (British), as Dorchester, Durweston, 


EA, Ey, Eye, Y, Hey, from ea, water, 13 or eje, an island, as Eaton, 


Eye, Mersey, Avery, Heyford (but hey is perhaps derived from ha^a, 

an inclosure, as Lancelot's Hey). 
ECG, EC, Eg, Edge, from ecj, an edge, army, &c., as Egbert, Ecbard, 

Edge worth (or perhaps from eje, an eye, awe, &c.). 
EALD, Eld, Aid, Old, Al, Ol, from ealb, old, as Ealdferth or Alford, 

Aldrich, Aldhelm, Aldam, Oldham. 
EL, Ellen, from ellen, strength, or from JElla (a Saxon king), as Elton, 

ENGLE, Ingel, from angel or enjel, an angle, angel, &c., as Engleheart, 


FLAM, Flem, Flim, Flin, from Flyminjap, the Flemings, as Flam- 
borough, Fleming, Flimby, Flinton. 

FLEOT, Flet, Fled, Fleet, Flot, from fleet or flob, a food, as Fleetditch, 
Fledborough, Northfleet, Elvet. 

FORD, Forth, Frith, from popb, a ford, as Oxford. 

FRITH, Frid, Firth, Ferth, Freod, Fred, Frod, from ppib, peace, freedom, 
security, as Ethelfrith, Aldfrid, Sifferth, Freothogar, Frederic, 
Froude, Geoffrey, Humphrey or Homefrith. 

GAR, Ger, Jar, from jap, a weapon, a place of defence or security, as 

Garrett, Gerard, Jarrett, Gerald, Garulf or Gough, Edgar, Ethelgar. 
GARS, Grass, Gres, from gaepr, gross, as Garsington, Grassington, 

Garsden, Gresham. 
GATE, Yate, Gates, Yates, Yatten, from ac, a goat, or gate, a gate, as 

Gateshead, Yatcomb, Yatesbury, Woodyates. 
GEWIS, Wise, from pip or pipe, wise, as Guise, Wise. 
GLO, Glou, from ^leap, bright, glowing (gloyw, British), as Gloucester 

(but some derive this from Claudius). 
GRAF, Grave, Grove, from gpsep, an entrenchment, grave, or grove, as 

Grafton, Graveley, Groveley, Gravesend. (The titles of Landgrave, 

Margrave, &c., are derived from *,epepa, a ruler). 
GUTH, God, Good, from jiih, job, good, as Guthere or Goodyear, Guth- 

lac or Goodlake. 

HAL, Heale, Hall, Hell, from healle, a hall or covered abode, as Halton, 


HALD, Heald, Hele, Hild, Hold, from healban, to hold, or holb (a 
Danish chieftain), as Haldiman, Hilding, Holden, Machthild or Matilda, 

Hildigarda, Reginald, Thorold or Tyrrell. 
HAM, Hamel, Hem, Kernel, from ham, hamol, a sheltered habitation, 

as Hamstead, Kernel- Hempstead, Waltham. 
HAR, Hare, Hard, Her, Herd, Hor, Hur, from hap, a hare, hepe, an 

army, or heopb, a herd, as Harwich, Harewood, Hardwick, Horwood, 

HAT, Had, Head, Heding, Eding, from haef, heath, as Hatton, Had- 

leigh, Headley, Hedingham, Edington. 
HEARD, Hard, Herd, Ard, Ert, from heopb, a herdsman, as Colthard. 

Lambard, Herdric, Hoggart, Shepherd. 


HELM, Elm, Emm, from helm, a helmet, as Kenelm, Nothelm or 

Needham, Ordhelm or Or am, Wulfhelm or William. 
HERE, Har, Er, Her, from hepe, an army, as Herman, Hereward 
HITHE, Eth, Iff,, from hy]?e. a landing-place, as Queenhithe, Rother- 

hithe, Lambhithe or Lambeth, Maidenhead or Maidenhithe. 
HOE, Hoo, Hough, Hock, Hook, from hoh, high, as Ivinghoe, The 

Hoo, Houghton, Hockley, Hook-Norton. (Haughley is perhaps 

from haja-lea^;). In Yorkshire Hooe means a barrow or tumulus. 

See Young's Whitby. 
HOLM, Hollym, Hulme, Hulmp, Lump, Lum, from holm, which has 

various senses, but generally signifies extent or length, as Holmwood, 

Holmpton, Collumpton, Lumley. 
HOLT, Hot, Hod, Hots, from hole, a wood, as Sparsholt, Evershot, 

Hoddesdon, Hotspur. 
HURST, Herst, Est, Hest, from hyprc, a thick wood, as Midhurst, Herst- 

monceux, Fingest, Hurstley, Worstley. 

ING, Ving, Vang, Vane, Fane, Wing, Wink, Wan, Age, from ing, a 
meadow, as Ingham, Wingfield, Winkfield, Ivinghoe, Wantage. (Wan- 
stead may perhaps come from panac, a want). Ing also signifies a 
son (the same as mnj, young), as Godwulfmg or Godolphin. 

LEOD, Lid, Lud, from leob or hlo5, a people or army, as Leodgar or 
Ledger, Leodwall or Liddell, Hlothwig or Ludovicus. 

LAY, Lea, Lee, Leigh, Ley, from leaj, a plain or unfilled land, as 
Layton, Leebrookhurst, Bromley. 

Low, Lowe, Loe, Loo, from hlaep, an extensive tract of land, as Houns- 
low, Lowestoft. 

MARSH, Mars, Mers, Mas, from meprc, a marsh, as Marshlands, 

Marston, Mersham, Aldermaston. 
M^ER, Mar, Mer, Mor, More, Moore, from msep or maepa, large, great 

(mawr, Brit.), as Mears, Ethelmaer or Aylmer, Morrell, Morehead, 

MERE, Mir, Mor, Moore, More, from mepe, a lake, or mop, a moor, 

as Merton, Mirfield, Moreton, Westmoreland, Highmoor. 
MOD, Mit, Mot, Motte, from mob, the mind, as Osmod, Wulfmot or 

MUND, Mond, from munb, peace, as Alkmund or Hammond, Edmund, 

Gifmund or Gibbon, Ceolmund or Cholmondeley, Sigismund or 


NESS, Nesse, Nase, from naef or nerre, a promontory or rising ground, 

as Holderness, Naseby, The Nase. 
NOTH, Nott, Natt, Noad, Nutt, from neob or nyb, need, aid, utility, as 

Athelnoth or Allnutt, Ceolnoth or Gillett. 

OARE, Ore, Or, Er, from opa, an extremity, as Stonor, Windsor. 
ORD, Orde, Word, Worth, from opb, origin, beginning, as Ordhelm or 
Orme, Orderic or Horrocks. 


OVER, from ojrep, over ; as Overy, opep ea, over the water. 

OUSE, Ose, Use, Ex, Ux, Wis, from ire, irca, Ufa (perhaps from the 

Gaelic uij-ge. water}, a general name for a slow river, as Ouse, Oseney, 

Usk, Exeter, Exmouth, Uxbridge, Wisbeach. 

PREST, Pres, from ppeort, a priest, as Preston. 

RJED, Read, Reid, Rod, Rudd, Reoda, Routh, from paeb, a counsel, as 
Ethelred, Baldred, Rodbert or Robert, Rodger, Ruddiman. 

Ric, Rich, from pic, a kingdom, as Ethelric, Richard, Wulfric or Wool- 

RIG, Ridge, from hpic or hpicj;, a ridge, as Rigsby, Doveridge. In 
Yorkshire the Roman roads are called in many places The Rig. 

So AW, Sco, Sho, Shoe, Shaw, from rcoj or rcob, a wood (Danish), as 

Scawby, Schon'eld, Shoebury, Shawbury. 
SEL, Sil, from rel, large, as Selwood, Silchester. 

SIGE, Se, Sy, from fi^e, victory, as Sighere or Sayer, Siward. 

STAD, Stead, Sted, Stod, from rteab or rcaefe, a station, as Stadhamp- 

ton, Hampstead, Stedward or Stewart, Stodhart, Wigsted. 
STAM, Stan, Stone, from rcan, a stone, as Stamford, Stonehouse, 


STOCK, Stoke, from rcoc, wood, fuel, as Woodstock, Stockport. 
STOW, Sto, from f cop, a place of residence, as Godstow, Stowey. 

THORP, Throp, Trop, Thrap, Threp, Trep, Trip, from ]>opp, a village, 
as Towthorp, Heythrop, Addlestrop, Thrapston. 

THOTH, Taute, Toute, Tot, Tet, Tut, Tad, Ted, Dod (from the Celtic 
god Thoth, or Mercury Teutates, to whom many Toot-hills were con- 
secrated) ; as Tottenham, Tettenhall, Tadcaster, Tutbury, Dodderhill. 

THUNNOR, Tonner, Towner, Thor, Torr, Thur, Tur, from Dop (sup- 
posed to be contracted for Dunnop), the God of thunder, as Thoresby, 
Thorold, Thurkytel, Turtou. 

THWAITE, Waite, from ppaece, a watery spot, as Thwaites, Postlethwaite. 

TON, Tone, from tun, an inclosure, a town, as Taunton. (Tun and 
bun are sometimes confounded). 

WAU, Wat, from paeb or paeS, a place that may be waded, as Wadham, 

WALD, Walt, Weald, Wild, Wold, Would, from pealb or polb, a wild 

tract (whether with or without wood), as the Wealds of Kent and 

Sussex, and the Wolds of Yorkshire. Hence Waldershare, Waltham, 

Wildon, Kingswould. 
WALD, Weld, Wild, Wold, from palb, power, strength, dominion, as 

Bertwald, Oswald. 
WEARD, Ward, Werd, Word, from peapb, a guard, as Edward, Aelf- 

word, Ethelweard, Hereward. 
WERTH, Worth, Worthy, from peopft, a village or town near the head 

of a river, as Tarn worth, Worthington, Head bourn- Worthy. 


WICK, Wichen, Wish, from pic, a retreat, as Harwich, Wichenford 

or Wishford. 
WIG, Wige, Wye, Wice, Weo, from pije, a battle, or piga, a warrior, 

as Aelfwig or Elwy, Oswy, Wiglaf. 

WIGHT, Whit, from pihu. active, strong, as Wightwick or Whittick. 
WIN, Wen, Wine, from pin, a contest or victory, or pine, beloved, as 

Bedwin, Winslow, Wenden, Windermere, Edwin, Ethelwin or Elwin. 
WOOD, Wool, Wot, from puba, wood, as Wootton or Wotton, Brentwood. 


ABINGDON, 2bben-bun, Abbot's Hill, Abbandonia (Florentius), Abben- 

dune (Ethelred, Abbot of Rivaulx), Abbingdon (Bede), Abendon, 

Abyndon (Knyghton). 
AXMINSTER, Xcran-mynrtep, Minster of the Oaks, Axan minster (Flor.), 

Acseminster (Henry of Huntingdon). 
ATHELNEY, -fl8ehnja ij^e, the island of nobles, Aethelingreg (Asser), 

Ethelingceige (Flor.), Adelingia (William of Malmesbury), Ethelin- 

geie (Henry of Hunt., Matthew of Westminster), Edelingeheie 

(Ethelred), Ethelynghei (Bede). 
APLEDORE or APPLEUORE, Y pwl y dwr, a pool of water (British), 

Apoldore (Eth.), Apultrea (Flor.). 

BERKSHIRE, Beappucpcipe, Beappucfcipe, Bappucrcipe, " Ita vocatur 
a Berroc Sylva ubi buxus abundantissime nascitur" (FJor. from 
Asser), Berrocscire (Ass.), Bearrucscire, Barrocscire, Bearrocscire, 
Barocessire (Flor.), Berruchescire (Will, of Malm.), Bearrucscire, 
Bercscire, Bercsire (Hen. of Hunt.), Bearrukeschire, Berkesire 
(Roger de Hoveden), Barocschire, Barcshire, Barkshire (Bede). 

BRISTOL, Bpicjjrop, Bpiftop, place of the bridge, Brichstou (Ordericus 
Vitalis), Bricstowa (Flor.), Brigestou, Bristou (Hen. Hunt.), Bryc- 
stoue (Simon Dunelmensis), Brikestow, Bristohw (Rog. Hov.), 
Bristowe (Knyghton). 

CHARFORD, Cepbicerpopb, Cerdics Ford, Cerdicesforda (Eth.), Cer- 

ticesford (Hen. Hunt.). 
CROYLAND, Epulanb, Epoylanb, foul, muddy land, Crowland 


DERBY, Deopaby, Deopby, habitation of wild beasts, Dereby, Derebi 

(Hen. Hunt.)/ 
DORSETMEN, Dopnraetar, Dopj'aetaf, (British, Durotriges; dwr, water, 

trig, an inhabitant), Dorset, Dorsete (Bede). 

ELY, 6h& eh-bypij, 61y, the island of eels, Ely (Bede). 


FLANDERS, Flanbper, Flan bpan, land of fugitives (Fie onbpa-lanb, from 
flyma, a vagabond, exile) 

" Abel lay slane upon the ground, 
Curst Cain fiemit and vagabound." 

David Lyndsay. 

GLOUCESTER, HJleapan-ceartep, Hrleyceftep, Eloucertep, the bright city, 
(Caer Gloyw, British), Glaecestria (Will. Malm.), Gloecestre (Sim. 
Dun.), Gloucestre (Hen. Hunt.). 

HERTFORD, peoptpopb, stags' ford, Herudford (Bede), Hertford 

ROCHESTER, ppoper-ceaptep, Roue-ceartep, Roff's city, Rhovecestre 
(Flor.), Rovecestria (Will. Malm.), Roueceastre (Hen. Hunt.). 

LICHFIELD, Licetpelb, the field of corpses, Lichfeld(Ingulphus), Liceth- 
feld (Sim. Dun.), Lichesfeld (Gervase), Lichefelde (Bede), Lychefeld 
(Knyghton.) Compare Lichgate, the entrance gate to a churchyard ; 
Lykewake, the funeral feast. 

MERTON, GOepantun, GOepebune, marshy town, Meretun (Flor.), Meri- 
tona (Matt. West.), Merton (Bede). 

THE NORE, Nopo'-muft, north mouth. 

OXFORD, Oxnapopb, Oxenpopb, ford of the oxen, Oxneforda (Flor.), 
Oxineford (Hen. Hunt.), Oxneford (Bede). 

SECKINGTON, Seccanbun, the hill of the battle, Secandune (Bede). 
STAINES, 8cane, from the stone set up to mark the boundary of juris- 
diction of the city of London. 

TORKSEY, Tupcerije, island of boats, Torchseige (Hen. Hunt.), Torkesei 
(Rog. Hov.). 

WARWICK, paepmjapic, paepm^pic, from peping, a rampart, or guarth, 
a garrison (British), Warewic(Hen. Hunt.), Wyrengewyke (Bede), 
Warrewych, Warwyk (Knighton). 

WALTHAM, peatyam, a habitation in the woods, Walteham (Hoved.), 
Waltham (Gervase). 



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