CENTRE for REFORMATION and RENAISSANCE STUDIES VICTORIA UNIVERSITY TORONTO OLD ENGLISH SOCIAL LIFE AS TOLD BY THE PARISH REGISTERS. OLD ENGLISH SOCIAL LIFE AS TOLD BY THE PARISH REGISTERS. BY T. F. THISELTON-DYER, M.A. OxoN. AUTHOR OF * CHURCH LORE GLEANINGS ETCo LONDON : ELLIOT STOCK, 6z, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C. 898. 0 EEl:. & EN. CONTENTS. PAGE INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER I. PARISH LIFE o - 25 CHAPTER II. PARSON AND PEOPLE o 47 CHAPTER III. SUPERSTITIONS AND STRANGE BELIEFS 6 9 CHAPTER IV. EPIDEMICS - - 81 CHAPTER V. PARISH SCANDALS AND PUNISHMENTS CHAPTER VI. BIRTH AND BAPTISM - - 94 IO 7 vi Contents. MARRIAGE CHAPTER VII. CHAPTER VIII DEATH AND THE GRAVE CHAPTEI IX SOCIAL USAGES PARISH CUSTOMS CHAPTER X. CHAPTER XI. SOME CHURCH CUSTOMS CHAPTER XII. STRANGE NATURAL PHENOMENA CHAPTER XII I. STRANGE SIGHTS LOCAL EVENTS INDEX CH \PTER XIV. I47 7 o t92 204 220 e37 243 255 Introduction. Amongst some of the further disasters that have befallen these ill-used records, we may allude to their being occasionally sold as waste-paper, their destruction by fire at the parson's residence, and their complete loss through being stolen. In a curious work by Francis Sadler (I738 , P- 54), entitled ' Exactions of Parish Fees dis- covered,' it is recorded how one Philips, late clerk of Lambeth, ran away with the register-book, whereby the parish became great sufferers, for no person born in the parish could have a transcript of the register to prove himself heir to an estate. In the Norwich Mercury of August x7, 776, this notice occurs: ' IUroxham Church. Whereas in night between 5th and 6th of this month the Parish Church of Wroxham was forcibly entered, and the chest in chancel broken, from whence the surplice was taken and torn in pieces, and two books, out of which were torn and carried away several leaves, containing the register of christen- ings and burials within the said parish from the year 1732 to the present time: The minister and churchwardens and inhabitants of the said parish offer a reward of twenty-five guineas to any person who will give information whereby the person or persons, or any one of them, concerned as above, may be convicted thereof, which reward of twenty- five guineas I promise hereby to pay on conviction. ' DANIEL COLLYER, Vicar.' Some years ago the registers of few, containing the baptism and marriage of the late Duke of 1--2 4 Social LiJ as Told by Parish Registers. Kent, the father of her present Majesty, and other royal births, deaths and marriages, were stolen. And the following extract from Archdeacon Musgrave's Charge to his clergy in May, I865, is a striking proof, if such were necessary, of the sad havoc which has in the course of past years befallen these parochial archives : ' In the exercise of my duty, I had to assist in recovering some registers carried off to a far-distant part of the country by a late incumbent, and long detained, to the great uneasiness and apprehension of the parish. I might also tell of a missing register-- the one m use immediately before the present Marriage Act--which, at the cost of much anxious inquiry, I traced to another riding, and eventually found among the books and papers of a deceased incumbent. Or I might advert to a mass of neglected, mutilated sheets, with no cover, inci- dentally discovered by myself in an outhouse of a parsonage in Craven; or, to add but one other instance, which, if it were not too irreparable a mischief, might provoke a smile. I have seen the entries of half a century cut away from a parchment register by a sacrilegious parish clerk, to subserve the purpose of his ordinary occupation as a tailor.' And Mr. T. P. Taswell-Langmead, in the Law Magazine and Review for May, 1878 , reminds his readers that 'fire, tempest, burglary,, theft, damp, mildew, careless or malicious injury, criminal erasure and interpolation, loss, and all the other various accidents which have been surely kut gradually bringing about the destruction of these registers, are still in active operation.' On 6 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. favoured certain 'goodies' of the village by giving them the parchment leaves for wrapping their knitting-pins; and in the Report of the House of Commons Committee, in 835 , it is recorded how one sporting parson cut his parchment leaves into labels for the game which he sent to his friends. In another parish, the. register was wanting on the accession of a new vicar, who found that it had been thrown into the village pond during a parish dispute; and there is a tradition handed down that the wife of some parson, rector or curate of Dean, being angry with her husband, revenged herself, as she thought, upon him, but in reality on poor posterity, by throwing a register-book or books into the fire. But how registers should have, occasionally, come to be sold has been a puzzle to many antiquaries. Thus, the register of Shackerstone, which extends from the year 558 to the year x 63% is in the Bodleian Library. It was purchased from a gentleman at Beverley about March, I873 , but how it found its way into Yorkshire does not appear.* The parish register of Somerby, extend- ing from I6cI to 175, is preserved in the British Museum. It was purchased in April, 862, from Mr. C. Devon, but how it came into his possession is not told. According to the ournal of the British -/lrcheological -/lssociation (for March, 882), the register of Papworth-Everard, Cam- bridgeshire, I565-r69_, was also acquired by the See Burn, ' History of Parish Registers,' 86z, pp. 46, 47. See Notes atzdueries, 6th series, vol. v., p. 331. bztroduction. 7 British Museum. Many similar instances might be quoted of registers having been purchased ; the register, of Stevington and part of that of Nuthurst being m the British Museum. The register of marriages, 662-72, of another Cambridgeshire parish, St. Mary's, Whittlesey, also fell by purchase into the hands of an antiquarian bookseller, who returned it to the parish. The register of North Elmham, from 538 to I63, was taken from the parish chest some years ago, and was afterwards purchased by Mr. Robert Fitch, who restored it to the parish on August 5, 186I. And, it may be remembered, there was sold at Messrs. Puttick's auction-room, on April 4, I86O, ' The Original Register of Christenings, Mar- riages, and Burials of the Parish of Kingston-upon- Thames, from June, I54 J, to December, I556.' In the middle of the volume might be seen this entry : ' Mem.--That I, John Bartlett, Clerke, entrynge to be Curate of thys parishe of Kynston-upon- Temyse, began myne entrans the 29 day of September, A.D. I547, to kepe ye boke accordynge to the ordeynance sett forth for chrystenynges, weddynges., and bureynges.' The registers did not wholly escape the sad effects of the ravages of war; thus, the earlier register of Lassington, Gloucestershire, contains this entry : ' The old Register Bookes belonging to the Parish of Lassington were embezzled and lost in the late times of confusion, criminell divisions, and unhappy warts ;' and the leaves of the parish register of Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, containing the entries from I6O 4 to the end of 616 were 8 Social Life as 7bid by Parish Registers. torn out during the civil wars by the Parliamentary soldiers; and the following memoranduna is found in the register of Tarporley, Cheshire, in explana- tion of a break in the entries from I643 to x648 : 'This Intermission hapned by reason of the Great Wars obliterating memorials, vasting for- tunes, and slaughtering persons of all sorts.' Another register remarks that nothing could be entered during the Civil \Vars, 'as neither minister nor people could quietly stay at home for one party or the other ;' and the register of Rotherby thus notices the disturbed state of the country an the time of Charles I. : ' x643, Bellum! 644, Bellum ! Interruption, Persecution! . . . Sequestration by John Mussen Yeoman and John Yates Taylor! 649, 65c), I65, 652, I653, x654, Sequestration! Thomas Silverwood in- truder.' Similar entries occur in the register of St. Mary's, Beverley. Under June 3% 643, it is stated: ' Our great scrimage in Beverley, and God gave us the victory at that tyme, ever blessed be God ;' and the dangers of war on every side caused the parson to exclaim, July 3c), I643 : ' All our lives now at ye stake, Lord deliver us, for Christ His sake.' Paul Church, Cornwall, was burnt by the Spaniards in the year x 595, and the registers prior to that event were destroyed. Indeed, the registers generally seem to have had a rough time ; and taking also into account the many other vicissitudes to which they were exposed, it is a matter of congratulation that Introductioz. 9 they have survived as well as they have. Another reason for the registers not being kept is given in a memorandum in the loughborough register" ' Heare is to be noted and remembered that from the IO day of April in Anno 554 there was no Register keepte, by reason of the alteration of Religion and often chaunginge of Priests in those times and yeares, until the first yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Ladle the Queen's Majesty Elizabeth by the Grace of God, Queen of England, Fraunce and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and until the yeare of God, 1558.' Although, it is true, many registers have been destroyed owing to causes over which their custodians had no control, yet it is only too apparent that culpable negligence and indifference have had a large share in bringing about the present lament- able result. A curious instance of this kind is given by Coventry,' On Evidence' (1832 , p. 49)" ' In a case just laid before the writer, it is stated that the parson's greyhound had made her nest in the chest containing the parish registers, and that, as the reverend gentleman had a greater affection for the progeny of his companion than the off- spring of his parishioners, the requisite registers of baptism, etc., had become obliterated and partially destroyed.' The early registers of a parish in Kent have been lost, 'having been kept at a public-house, to be shown, as they contained some curious entries as to tythes ;' whereas in another we are informed that the clerk employed the leaves of the parish records, amongst other purposes, for ' singeing a goose.' Social L,.fe as 7bld by Parish Registers. persons were stated to have been married on a particular day, but in the parish register there seemed to have been an erasure in the exact place corre- sponding with the entry of the marriage in the copy.' The Huntingdon peerage case was sorely per- plexing because many leaves from the books of Christchurch, Hants, had been used by a curate's wife to line kettle-holders. There is the case of Miss Chudleigh, who, for an iniquitous purpose, wished to conceal her marriage with Lieutenant Hervey. Accompanied by a female friend, she made a visit to Laniston, where the marriage had taken place, and desired to see the register; whilst her friend engaged the attention of the parish clerk, she cut out the page containing the marriage entry, and with that important document returned to London. By a strange irony of fate, the Lieutenant became Earl of Bristol. To be plain Mrs. Hervey was one thing, to be Countess of Bristol another. The lady, however, was equal to the emergency, she took another journey to Laniston, and by the assistance of an attorney, and a bribe to the parish clerk, she got the abstracted leaf reinserted in its proper place in the register. In the Leigh peerage case, in like manner, a baptism which had been expunged from the parish books of \Vigan was found in the Bishop's transcript, and by its presence decided the suit. In the registers of St. Peter's, Cornhill, under June 9_5, 673, this entry occurs: 'Osmund Mordaunt, son of John Lord Mordaunt of Ful- ham, Midd*., and Mary Bulger of Lurgan, N r. Gorey in Ireland, were married this day.' In Introduction. 3 respect of this entry there is preserved in the register a letter from Sir John Page Wood, Bart., Rector of St. Peter's, dated November 3 o, 829, in which he says : ' On minutely investigating the register of marriage of one Osmond Mordaunt with Mary Bulger, dated 673 , I am clearly of opinion that the said entry of marriage is a gross and clumsy forgery. My opinion is formed on the discrepancies which exist between the said entry and those of the same period before and after it. Its handwriting is evidently more modern than those near it; it is not entered like the others, with a specification as to the ceremony's having been performed by the authority of banns or license ; the parchment it is written on is thinner in substance than the rest of the book, as if an erasure had been made. The entry is made at the bottom of the page, and there is no signature thereon, either of incumbent or churchvarden, which occurs in every page of that period.' A pedigree is also given, drawn up by some member of the Heralds' College, by which it appears that Osmond Mordaunt was not more than eighteen years old in 677, and hence would only have been fourteen at the time of this reputed marriage. It may be added that in the baptisms under June 29, 674, is this entry.: 'Peter, the Son of Osmund and Mary.' But it is in a different hand- writing to the other entries, is on the last line at the bottom of the page, and has evidently been inserted after the page had been signed 'Will Beveridge,' as one of the figures of the date crosses that signature, and in every other page a small 14 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. space is left between the last entry and his signature. In the abstract of the returns, printed by authority of Parliament in the year I833 , relative to the number of volumes, dates, and state of preservation of the registers, down to the year 18 2, then in possession of the parish priest, some very interesting facts were given on this point, and the incumbent of Chickerell thus wrote : ' I have minutely examined the registers of this parish, and hope there are no others in the kingdom in which so little confidence should be placed. There are only two old books, one of parchment, the other of paper, the former sadly mutilated and interpolated, the latter so defective that during nay incumbency of one year many certificates have been requested to no purpose, for want of entries. The omissions, I suspect, may be attributed to carelessness; the abuses, to frauds which have been committed on the lord of the manor in favour of the copy- holders; but to particularize all of them would be a very unprofitable work.' Another parson, writing at the same period, tells how the church of Pinner, Middlesex, was broken open, and part of the registers destroyed; and of ]3erwick, Sussex, it is recorded that 'a register of baptisms [was] taken to Peasmarsh by the former minister, which has never been recovered,' and a similar cause for the absence of the register of Althorpe, Lincolnshire, is given: ' There are two register books of earlier date, which were taken away by the Archdeacon in the year 1824.' It is impossible to say, too, how many a register Introduction. 5 may have fallen a prey to damp and other ravages of time, as well as to religious and political troubles. The early registers of Huish-Champ- flower, for instance, are described 'as being mutilated and illegible, occasioned by a storm unroofing the church and wetting the contents of the parish chest'; and the return for Belstone Church, Devonshire, runs thus : ' There are several registers, the earliest dated t552, but so irregular and damaged that no correct account can be given ; about twenty years ago some of the register-books were burnt.' But occasionally a careful Vicar, as we learn from this injunction in the parish of Rodmarton, took care to keep the register from getting damp: ' If ye will have this book last, bee sure to aire it art the fire or in the sunne three or foure times a year, els it will grow dankish and rott ; therefore look to it. It will not be amisse, when you find it dankish, to wipe over the leaves with a dry woollen cloath. This place is very much subject to dankishness; therefore, I say, look to it.' Speaking of fire, it seems that many registers owe their destruction to this cause, that of West Lulworth, Dorset, having been burnt in the year t78o. At St. Bees, a fire broke out one Sunday morning in 1868, when some of the registers were destroyed, and the returns already quoted tell how ' the earlier registers of Little Thornham, Suffolk, were burnt in a fire which consumed the parsonage- house of a neighbouring parish.' One can only regret that an old usage in force at Spitalfields is not equally binding in other parishes. The follow- I 6 8ocia/ L'fie as Told Paris/ Registers. ing statement was made in the year I867, when an appeal was made by the churchwardens, owing to the danger to which the registers of that parish were for a long series of years subjected :. 'By one of the canons governing .ecclesiastical affairs, the churchwardens are bound to provide an iron chest in which to preserve the registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials, and until last summer it was on all hands believed that Spitalfields Church was supplied with a chest of the proper character. During the recent, restoration, it was discovered that the supposed iron register-chest was a large stone box with iron doors; and, if it had ever been subjected to the action of fire, there is no doubt that the extremely valuable and interesting registers of this parish from its creation in 1728 would have inevitably been destroyed.' The register-chest referred to was probably put up during the erection of the church, and was entirely covered with oak framing corresponding with the oak partitioning in the building. It is a matter of satisfaction, however, to know that at last the value of these volumes of social and domestic history has been realized, and that in most parishes they are now carefully preserved as heirlooms of the past. The Harleian Society, also, taking into account the genealogical interest attaching to them, has undertaken their publica- tion, and already the registers of certain City parishes have been given to the world, and thus permanently preserved for all generations to come. But, unfortunately, some of the parish registers which have been printed by private individuals Introduction. 7 have not been published in their entirety, but only such extracts as were, in the opinion of the editor. worthy of note. As records of genealogical and historical value, all such imperfect publications are of comparatively little worth, and are interest- ing only so far as they illustrate the original documents. It may be well here to note that the first orders for the provision of parochial registers date from the year I538, and were rendered necessary in consequence of the dissolution of the religious houses and the cessation of their registers. The first was issued by the Vicar-General Cromwell, in the thirtieth year of Henry VIII., and this order was continued by fresh injunctions in the succeed- ing reigns of Edward VI., Elizabeth, and James I. During the confusion which existed in the reign of Charles I., parish registers were greatly neg- lected, and were for the first time regulated by Act of Parliament. And on Jan. 3, I644-45 an ordinance was made that'a fair register book ot velim' should be provided in every parish, and that the names of all children baptized, and the time of their birth, and also the names of all persons married and buried, should be set down therein by the minister. During the Commonwealth, the system of leaving parochial registration to the clergy seems to have failed. Parliament again interfered, and registrars were appointed. At the Restoration, the charge of keeping the registers again devolved on the clergy, and has continued a part of their duty ever since. Nothing appears to have been done with regard I8 Social LiJb as Told by Parish Registers. to the parish registers in the reign of James II. ; but in that of William lII., in consequence of a duty being imposed on the various entries, the negligent and careless clergy were, for the first time, exposed to the terror of the common informer. Many of the registers, therefore, from this time seem to have been better kept, but as a great number of the clergy were not fully aware of the penalties to which they were subject through non-compliance with the law, in the fourth year of Queen Anne's reign an Act of Indemnity was found necessary. In the year 753 was passed the famous Marriage Act, called Lord Hardwicke's Act, still in force. By this Act, any person convicted ot tampering with or destroying any register of marriage was to be deemed guilty of felony without benefit of clergy. In the year x783 the Stamp Act was passed, which levied a tax upon every entry in the parish register, but it met with such opposition that it was repealed in the year 79-1-- By this Act the rich and poor were taxed alike, and the parson was placed in the invidious and unpopular light of a tax-gatherer. As the poor were often either unable or unwilling to pay the tax imposed u.pon them, the clergyman not unfrequently paid it out of his own pocket rather than run the risk of incurring the ill-will of his parishioners. No change of any material importance took place until the xear x 8 t 2, when an Act, commonly known as ose's Act, was passed for ' the better regulating and preserving parish and other registers' ; and lastly, in the year Itrodzction. 9 1836 , a very stringent and salutary law was made, when it was required that henceforth all future registers should be kept in books specially provided for that purpose, and 'according to one uniform scheme set out in the schedules annexed to the Act.' Since the passing of the Registration Act, in the year 1836 , the value of the parish register as a public record has greatly diminished. The registration of births and deaths has superseded, as far as legal purposes are concerned, that of baptisms and burials; an:l every quarter a copy of the marriages is forwarded by the parson to the Registrar-General; one, too, of the well-known pair of green books, when filled, being likewise sent to the Registrar-General. Such, briefly told, is the history of the parish register, but it is more especially with its contents that we are concerned, as illustrating in a variety of ways the manners and customs of former times. The present printed forms for the several entries of baptisms, etc., it must be remembered, preclude the mention of any other particulars, which abound in the old registers, and must ever be highly valuable from their miscellaneous character. It was a frequent custom to insert occurrences of a memorable or historical nature ; and, as might be expected, highly curious as well as quaint, are many of these entries. \Vhen, as sometimes happened, the parson was of a witty turn of mind, the entries almost verge on the ludicrous and grotesque; and again, from the occasional entries made in a few pithy words of Latin, the refined 2--2 Introduction. instance, while the books themselves are splendidly preserved. The register of Marylebone is a most voluminous affair, and, like that of Limehouse, is a model, of. good order. Stepney....which has a register going back farther than limehouse, is another commendable example, that of St. Martin's- in-the-Fields being equally good. Most of our City churches, too, have full and fair registers, the evil, we are told, of defective ancl badly kept registers being most noteworthy in our rural parishes. At the same time, despite innumerable mischances which have, at one time or another, befallen the parish registers, they represent a con- siderable anaount of documentary evidence, not to be replaced, relating to the obscure past. Indeed, whilst invaluable as genealogical records in con- nection with the rights of property and the assumption of titles, they further afford us an insight into the social life of our forefathers not otherwise obtainable. And, taking into account the value of the parish register, it is highly desirable, as it has been so often urged, that a law should be passed eta- forcing its future safe government in some public office, as exists in Scotland. When a system of registration was introduced into Scotlanl by the 7th and x Sth Vict., c. 8% ' An Act to provide for the better Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland,' passed August 7, x854, old parochial registers were ordered to be trans- mitted to the Registrar-General for preservation in the General Registry Office at Edinburgh. Very many of the present registers, too, are Introduction. 2 3 him and likewise delivered into the hands of the said Thomas Walker the old Register Book (belonging to the said Parish) bearing date from the 27th ofAprill 538 to the 3rd of Aprill I597. In testimony whereof I have hereunder written my hand the 22nd day of September I653. '(Signed) EDVCARDE RoBINSOLTX. ' It appears that Thomas \Valker died on Decem- ber 7, 655, which explains the next memo- randum : ' Whereas ye above said Thomas \Valker being deceased and ye parish of Leyland being void of a Register y Inhabitants of y said parish or y major part of ym have att a Gen'all Meeting by a Certificate under yer hands ellected and chosen Mr. "William Rothvell yeir minister to bee Register of y parish aforesaid with a provisoe yat hee shall relinquish itt when y parish or y greater part yereof shall think fitt to conferr itt upon y Schoole[master]. These are therefore to certifie all whom it may concerne that ye said Mr. Roth- well comeing before mee one of y Justices of Peace for y said Countie of Lanc r and tendered ye said Certificate I have allowed of him to be Register for ye said parish and have tendered and given him ye oth of A Register according to an Act of Parliam of y 24-th August I653 in y case provided, and hath also deliv a to the safe keepeing of y said Mr. Rothwell ye old Register above mentioned. ' Given under my hand att Buckshaw the 25th Januarie, 1656.' 2 4 Soczal LiJF as Tol, t by Parish Registers. So far the parson seems to have kept in favour with his parishioners, but according to the story given in Walker's 'Sufferings of the Clergy,' he had to endure much persecution and hardship between this date and that of the Restoration. Hence the further memorandum : ' Whereas Mr. Rothwell the late Register being displaced and y said parishioners of Leyland meeteing att the P'rish Church of Leyland upon the first day of May 656 the major part then prsent did ellecte and choose Robert Abbott of Leyland above-said yeoman to bee for the tyme prsent Register for the said p'rish and to execute that office till the parish with ye approbac6n of the next Justice of peace should thinke fitt to conferr ye said office upon some other P'son. Fhese are therefore to certifie all whom it may concerne that y said Robert Abbott comeing that day before mee one of the justices of y peace for y said Countie I have approved and allowed of him and hath administered ye oath of a Register to him accordinge to y Acte of Parliam t in that case provided and also hath deliu'ed into his safe keeping the old Register Book menconed in the first Certificate on ye other side. Given under my hand att Buckshaw y 2rid May i656. EDWARD ROBINSOUN.' But it will be seen in an ensuing chapter that Mr. Rothwell's case was far from being an isolated one, further instances having been given in other registers. CHAPTER I. PARISH LIFE. HE parish life of one or two centuries ago was very different from what it is at the present day. Time has wrought many changes: old customs have passed away, railways have linked one village with another, and country life has gradually assimilated itself in tone and char- acter with the practices and habits of neighbouring towns. As formerly, the rural parish is no longer an isolated little community; and hence it has thrown ofF, from year to year, those characteristics of habit and custom which once gave it an indi- viduality of its own. But, happily, many of these traits of parish life have been preserved in local documents--such as the parochial register--which otherwise would have perished and been lost to posterity. An interesting entry relating to the Poor Laws of Edward VI. and 5 Elizabeth occurs in the transcript of the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, for the year 565, where, added to 26 Social Life as 7bht by Parish Registers. the burial on March 6 of' Israel Raynolds s. of James Raynolds',' this note is given" ' Sol. iiijd.' ; and in the transcript of St. George's, Canterbury, under 566, we find that the names of the collectors for the poor were Christopher Lewys and Thomas Kyng, and that they collected four- pence. 'It is hardly necessary,' writes Mr. Meadows Cowper, * 'to say that so long as the monasteries stood there was no need and no thought of a Poor Law ; but when they were suppressed, the ugly fact stared men in the face that there were countless poor, and none to provide for them.' An attempt was made to meet the difficulty, and in the reign of Elizabeth an Act was passed 'touching relieving poor and im- potent persons.' The Act runs thus: ' The poor and impotent persons of every parish shall be relieved of that which every person will of their charity give weekly" and the same relief shall be gathered m every parish by collectors assigned, and weekly distributed to the poor; for none of them shall openly go or sit begging. And if any parishioner shall obstinately refuse to pay reason- ably toward the relief of the said poor, or shall discourage others ; then the Justices of the Peace at the .Quarter Sessions may tax him to a reasonable weekly sum; which, if he refuses to pay, they may commit him to prison.' And, as Mr. Cowper adds, Christopher Lewys and Thomas Kyng we.re the ' collectors assigned,' and if the amount ' iiijd, represents the result of a year's collection, we need not be surprised that "* 'Registers of St. George's, Canterbury,' Introduction, v, vi. Ptzrish Life. 2 7 other Poor Laws were soon required to prevent the people from dying of starvation.' But the condition of many a country parish in the seventeenth century was lamentable owing to those days of contest and confusion. As one of the many instances of the wretched state of parish life at this period, a writer in the ' Sussex Archae- ological Collections' (iv. :259 ) mentions the condition of Wivelsfield. It appears' the tithes, both great and small, belonged to a Mr. More, of Morehouse, whose predecessors had received them by gra,lt from the Crown, on the dissolution of the Monastery of Lewes, previous to which the church had been supplied by a lay-reader, who sometimes on a holiday came over to read a homily. During the time of the Rebellion and the Protectorate, the parish, which before had been supplied by students provided by the family of Mr. More, had been filled successively by a Presbyterian jack-maker, a drummer, and a malt- man.' A memorandum in Mayfield register, made by the parson, dated I646, and signed by him, tells much the same tale: ' I being called upon to the Assembly of Divines, did offer to give up all the tithes due from the parishioners for the maintenance of a minister, but through the backwardness of many in not paying their dues, and it may be by the negligence of some in not being active to procure a fit man for the place, and to give him encouragement, there was no constant minister for some time, and afterwards divers changes, so that the register was neglected for divers years.' 2 8 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. Entries of this kind are of frequent occurrence, and show under what disadvantages parish life was passed. A memorandum m the register of Kibworth, Leicestershire, dated I64I, runs thus : 'Know all men that the reason why little or nothing is registered from this year I64 until the year 649 , was the Civil Wars between Charles and his Parliament, which put all into a confusion till then; and neither minister nor people could quietly stay at home for one party or the other.' Indeed, taking into consideration the many difficulties at this period of our history that attended the keeping of the parish registers, it is surprising that they did not fare far worse in such a time of turmoil. But turning from the political surroundings of parish life, it would seem that occasionally disputes, as at the present day, were the cause of much vexatious litigation; and whilst the parson was struggling with more or less success against the difficulties of his calling, much bitterness and ill- feeling were often caused by such unhappy dis- senslons. Thus, it appears that the old register of the parish of St. Olave, Chester, was lost in a suit between Hugh Harvey and the parishioners in the year I666; and a memorandum carefully inserted in the parish register of Hillingdon, under the date of December 3o, I67o , gives an interest- ing account of a lawsuit which arose as to what parish a certain house belonged. It runs thus : 'Elizabeth, the daughter of John Franklin and Grace his wife, at ye house near Ikenham belong- Parish Li.. 9 ing to this parish, by leave first derived, was christened there, which house ira the time of nay immediate Predecessor, Mr. Bourne, occasioned a very great suit between the two Towns, when at last after a great deal of money spent, it was adjudged to belong to Hillingdon, and so hath been adjudged ever since, without dispute; and to prevent any for time to come, this memoriall is now registered. Four years later we find another entry--this time relating to a burial difficulty--between the same two parishes : 'Janry Sth, I674. The wife of--Beddifont marr at Ikenham and there, by leave first obtained, buried; and not by any }ust right to burie there, as formerly pretended, till it was determined by law after a costly and tedious suit betwixt the two Townes. Salvo itaque in omnibus jure exit sus Hillingdoniensis.' Ira many cases it would seem that boundary parish lines were ill-defined, which gave rise to much dispute; and, as in the case just quoted, there was oftentimes in a parish an unwritten law, the real existence of which, when questioned by some captious or aggrieved parishioner, involved an expensive lawsuit. In the Crosby-on-Eden registers there is a quaint entry which tells its own tale, and from which it would seem that the parishioners of Crosby desired to place on record their triumph over their neighbours of Brampton: ' Whereas the Churchwardens and Overseers of ye Poor for ye pi.la of Crosby ypon Eden made Probably the tithe pig. Parfsdt Life. 3 Order soo made by the said Justices to be confirmed and it is hereby confirmed. Dated the day and year aforesaid.' Any infringement of parish rights seems to have been most obstinately resented, and the following interesting minute of a meetinglspeci- ally convened to consider what steps should be taken to uphold certain privileges belonging to the parish--is written upon a flyleaf at the com- mencement of one of the registers of SS. Peter and Paul, Mitcham : ' It is this day agreed upon by the Inhabitants above named in the behalfe of the rest of the Inhabitants that the common fields shall be layd open so soon as all the come of the said fields shall be carried out. And then and not before it shall be lawfull for the said Inhabitants that have been accustomed and to have benefitt of the common of the said field to put in their cattle until St. Luke Day following, and not after any sheepe or other cattle to be suffered there, but if any be taken they are to be put in the pound or to be trespassers upon paine for every horse six- pence, every cowe four pence, and every hogg threepence, and every sheepe one penny, and for every horse cowe hogg or sheepe that shall be taken in the same field after our Lady Day to double the said penalty, the benefitt of the said Pennelty to goe to the field-keeper. ' And likewise it is agreed upon by the said Inhabitants that all those who have inclosed any part of the common ffields shall take away their gates that their severall inclosures may be co/fion Parish Life. 3 3 agreement be entered into the Church booke and the towne booke. And in them bothe by all the present feoffees and other the cheife Inhabitants subscribed under every one of their hands. Dated this o 'h June, 65.' Many memoranda of this kind occur in the parish registers, and they are interesting as show- mg that our forefathers were equally jealous of what they considered their public rights, and were at all times ready to resist any arbitrary or unjust curtailment of them--an uncompromising attitude which even the parson himself was prepared to maintain, as may be gathered from an entry made in the register of Little Abington, where 'the rights of the Vicaridge' are very minutely corded, a Mr. Colbatch, who compiled the article, making this conclusion: 'Cursed is he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.' But it was not the right of property only which occasionally gave rise to a parish broil, for the administration of the poor-law seems at times to have exercised the mind of the rural parishioner. In the year x674, it appears from an entry that there was paid at Eastbourne to a certain 'J. Russell, for keeping Mary Peeper, two weeks and three days, six shillings; to Goody Russell, for laying her out, one shilling; disbursed for bread and beer at her funeral, two shillings and twopence.' These items when published created a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction, and soon afterwards the parishioners held a meeting in the vestry, and 'declared that great abuses in the administration of the poor-law had taken place,' and as a mark 3 34 Social LiJb as Told by Parish Registers. of their displeasure a resolution was passed that all recipients of relief should wear a badge upon the right side of their upper garment, and if the overseer relieved any other than these, no allow- ance was to be made to him for their account. That this was not an isolated case is evident from a memorandum in Wadhurst register, dated x63o , relating to the misappropriation of certain funds specially intended for the poor: ' Whereas Mr. Thomas Whitefield, of Worth, in the County of Surrey, Esquire, being well affected to the parish of Wadhurst, gave, besides the three almshouses and twelve cordes ofwoode, ten poundes by the yeare, the said ten pounds was, in 633, employed to the payment of the general sesse of the poor, whereby the said money given to be disposed to the maintenance of the poor was diverted from the right ends, and served to abate the charge of the rich assessed in the said sesse. Whereupon John Hatley, Vicar of Wadhurst, then one of the feoffees, opposed this Act as ungodly as unjust; and the writings being showed whereby the ten pounds annuity was conveyghed, it was found that the said ten pounds was by them to be disposed to the extended use of the poor, and not to serve to the abatement of the charge of the rich. This the above-named John Hatley thought fit to set down here, forasmuch as he suffered many foule words for opposing this wrong ; and lest any ill-disposed person should attempt to do it hereafter, or any man not knowing the purport of the conveighance should ignorantly fall into the ruine of sacrilege.' ' Sussex Arch,'eological Collections,' vol. iv., F. 267. 4 o Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. which relates to a custom that had existed from time immemorial with respect to payments for ' the use and reparacon of the Church of Prest- burie,' and which, as far as can be gathered, appears to have been peculiar to the parish--a ley or assessment, resembling in some respects the ordinary church rate, but locally known as serage or cerage silver, the survival, it has been sug- gested, of the 'wax-money,' allowed to the Vicar by the Abbey of St. Werburgh, Chester, in accordance with an agreement made at about the end of the thirteenth, or beginning of the four- teenth century. After reciting ' the duties and 'laudable customs, as of long tyme have been due and accustomed to be paid,' the order sets forth the apportionment for each township liable, with the names of those persons who 'subscrybed did agree and consent' thereto, as well for themselves as the rest of the parish.* The next entry is a copy of a very interesting kind, of' an old Order taken and of long time used by the consent of the whole parish of Prestburie, for the dividing and the better repayringe or mayntenhinge of the Churchyard.' It seems that the residents of each township had been granted a certain portion of the ground in the churchyard, which they undertook to keep fenced, and n order, reserved for their exclusive use--a practice .by no means unusual. Contracts, again, for keep- xng the church in repair are not unfrequently recorded in the registers, and an old one, dated 15 7 8, ' The Register of Prestbury,' edited by James Croston, Record Society, t88t : Introduction, p. xiv. Parzsh Life. 41 is given in the Wragby register, which is a good illus- tration of agreements of this kind: ' It was agreed, upon the xvi h of[No]vemb anno 1 5 7 8 betwixt the Churchwardens and the rest of the parish of Wragbie, and Thomas blilner of Wragbie aforesaid, that he, the said Thomas Milner shall from the xvi th day of November of his own costes and charges, maintaine, uphould, and keepe, all the bells within the Churche of Wragbie with hempe, lether, and greas, with all their furniture belong- inge to the said bells, as often as need shall require ; brass and iron, and wood, for yockes and wheles excepted, whitche is to be found of the charges of the Parish. And the same belle (?) to be so repaired by the said Thomas Milner, as is aforesaid, during the term and space xx ti yeare, yff he the said Thomas Milner do live so long, and continew within the parish of Wragbie, the Churchwardens for the time being painge unto the said Thomas Milner vjs. vijd. everye yeare, that is to say iijs. iijd. at Mychelmes, and iijs. iijd. at the Nunchation of the blessed Virgin Mary by even portions. Indeed, it seems to have been a popular and long-standing notion that the fact of any kind of parish agreement being copied into the register made it all the more binding on the parties concerned, but the chief reason for this practice was, that, if by any accident in after-years a contract should be either mislaid or lost, a copy of it could be seen in the register of the parish. By its being entered, too, in the register, any business transaction had thereby a public lm- 42 Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. portance imparted to it, which made it all the more binding. Thus, we find the Vicar of Aldingbourne, Sussex, making a note in his register of the fees for which he was not liable: 'The Vicarage of Aldingborne is not to pay any pro- curations to the Archdeacon ; neither was the glebe lands or the tythes belonging to the Vicarage ever taxed, within the memory of man, to any payments saving in the year 635, six shillings and eightpence to the shipping.' Agreements of this kind were by no means uncommon, but occasionally they gave rise to future litigation. At the conclusion of the old register- book of Kirk-Leatham is an instance of the valuable efforts and mediation of the Vicar, the compact agreed upon long remaining in force: ' Primo die May, Anno Dffni I622. ' Memorandum.--At the direction of Robert Weemse, then Vicar of Kirkleatham, for the good of the whole parish, I, Nicholas Kildale, have inserted this order hereafter following, to remain ad perpetuam rei memoriam. For after a long suit and controversy, which was between Kirkleatham and Wilton, in the Spirituall Court at York, the matter by the men of Wilton, Lackenby, and Laisenby, was drawne into the Court of Wards in ye minority of Phrediric Cornewallis. And was brought againe from the said Court of Wards by ye meanes of ye said Robert Weemse ; and at last, by ye mutuall consent and assent of the whole parish, as well of Kirkleatham as Wilton, was finally ordered as hereinafter is specifyed, which Parish Lff. 45 Westmoreland, are given the fourteen names of 'the sworne men of Orto' anno d'ni 596, ' after which this memorandum is added, another interesting relic of parish life in olden times : '[n primis that thes be diligent and careful to see and provide that the people be . and behave the'selves honestlie . . . feare of God according to the Holie Word of God and the Good and wholesome laws of this land. Secondlie to see that the Churchwardens be careful and diligent in executinge their office ioyne with thes in sup- pressinge of sinne and such as behave the'selves inordinatlie to reprove and rebuke those wh be found offenders, and if they will not amend to pesent the' to be punished. Thirdlie--to se that the Church and Churchy d be decentlie repaired and mainteyned. Also we as agreed yt everie p'sonnis beinge found faultie by the Churchwardens and p'sented to the sworn me' shall paie xijd. to the poor ma's box. And that whosoever doth not come p'sent the'selves lawfull warning being given either of the xij or Churchwardens to the place appointed shall loose xi(j)to the poore ma's box without a sufficient cause to the contrarie whereof thes are to certifie the rest assembled at... appointed of their meetinge. Lastly that the Churchwardes . . and take the sam forfat . . . p'sent the offenders.' The clause following the third admonition is a little obscure, but the meaning, it has been suggested, is this: ' If any person be deemed by the churchwardens to be guilty of disorderly or immoral conduct he shall be presented to the court 4 6 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. of the twelve sworn men--the list given comprises fourteen names; perhaps the two churchwardens were included- who shall, if the accused is unable to clear himself, thereupon inflict a fine of twelve pence payable to the poor-box, and that if he fails to attend and answer to the complaint, being duly summoned either by the twelve or the churchxvardens, or fails to send sufficient excuse for absence, the same fine shall be imposed. ' It appears to have been customary in some parishes to make once a year a list of the in- habitants of the parish. Such a practice was observed in the parish of St. Mary Aldermary, with additional particulars as to their occupation, religious faith, and the numbers of their respective families. Two such lists, for the years I733 and 1734, were transcribed in the parish register, and these are interesting as illustrating the register itself, and as furnishing details which do not appear elsewhere.j- " See Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, I89I , vol. xi., pp. zSz , z53- "1" These lists have been reproduced by Dr. j. L. Chester in his reprint of ' The Parish Registers of St. Mary Aldermary,' ISSO, pp. z35 and z38. CHAPTER II. PARSON AND PEOPLE. HE relations of the parson with his parish- ioners, unhappily, have not always been of the most friendly kind--a circumstance, it would seem, in some cases owing to his having been appointed in direct.opposition to the wishes of the people. The register of Staplehurst gives an account of a certain Rector who was appointed in this manner : ' Henricus Kent, Cantab et Socius Collegii .Reglis rector ecclesia3 parochialis de Staplehurst, mstl- tutus sexto die novembris, i645 , et ejusdem anni decimo septimo die Nov riS inductus. Hujusdem Ecclesia3 possessionem non sine multorum oppo- sitionibus accepit, sed non- ullorum suffragiis electus, et suo jure legali sustentatus, per ordinens parliamenti specialem liberam tandem pra3dicandi potestatem habuit. O tempora! O mores !' But Henry Kent lived long enough to gain not only the affections of his parishioners, but even the goodwill of his opponents. In the register of 4 8 Social L[/'e as ToM by Parish Registers. East Lavant, some particulars are given respecting another parson who, too, was regarded as an intruder. The entry runs thus : ' 29 'h Oct., 1653. Richard Batsworth was approved of, and sworn to be a parish minister for the sayd parish, according to an Act of Parliament in the case made and provided.' It is further added that 'he was a man of low stature, very violent for the rebels, and a plunderer of the royalists, particularly of the Morley family. He had some learning, a great deal of chicanery, though seldom more than one coat, which for some time he wore the wrong side out,--its right side was seen only on Sundays --till it was almost worn out, and then he had a new one, vhich he used in the same manner.' On November 15, 649 , it appears that Mr. Nalton was chosen 'by very full and general consent to be minister of St. Martin's, .Ludgate Hill, but he did not accept the appointment, whereupon it was decided to offer it to Mr. Warran, minister of Hendon.' Above this state- ment in the register are written these not very complimentary lines : ' 'Tvas Jeroboam's practice and his sport Priests to elect out of the baser sort.' Another curious memorandum in the register of Everley, Wilts, dated September 29, I66o, describes the appointment of one William Eastman, commonly called Tinker, by occupation a brass founder, and his expulsion, on the restoration ot Charles II., and concludes with these amusing lines : ' Exit Tinker, let all men henceforth know A thorn was planted xvhere a vine should grmv ; Parson and People. of the said parsonage, being an impropriation, it is endowed with a Vicarage, and a Vicar presented thereunto, he held himself freed in law from any further charge, and that the said parsonage was in lease with such other-like excuses, but that notwithstanding he was contented to procure them twelve sermons every year ; their Lordships thought fitting this day to call him to the board,' and they then reminded him that, ' beside the great obligations they had as Christians, it behoved them to press his Lordship, notwithstanding the former excuses, to have yet a further care of the teaching so great a multitude--.there being 4,000 people--considering how busy the priests and jesuits are in these days, especially in these parts, not only labouring to corrupt his Majesty's subjects in their religion, but also infecting them with such damnable positions and doctrine touch- ing their allegiance unto his Majesty's sacred person. '\Vhereupon the said Bishop made offer unto the board that he would withdraw the Vicar there now present, and send in his room some learned and religious pastor who should, as it was desired, weekly preach, unto the people, and carefully instruct them m points of faith and religion, of which their Lordships were pleased to accept for the present, and accordingly enjoined him to the performance thereof, and withal ordered that the said preacher now to be presented, should first be approved and allowed by the Lord Archbishop of York in respect of ability and sufficiency.' In the register of Sandwich, under February 4, 4--2 5 - Social L1]/k as Tol, l by Parish Registers. i646-47 , is entered the burial of Mr. Samuel Prichard, minister and preacher of God's Word ; ' and it appears from the books of the Corporation that in the year 6II the Corporation allowed thirty pounds to Mr. Richard Marston, preacher of God's Vord, to be entertained to preach a weekly lecture in the town'; and in the year i6I 4 the same sum was allowed 'for a like service to Mr. Geere, Master of Arts.' On the other hand, sometimes we find a parson over-anxious not to give offence to his parishioners. A memorandum at the end of the register of Newdigate Church, Surrey, made in the year I634, by a cautious Rector, to prevent any rights being compromised by his admitting a parishioner to receive the Holy Sacrament in his church at Easter, is worthy of mention: 'An. Dora. I634. Mart a. Be it known to all men by these presents that I John Butcher dwellinge in a certain tenement of which question hath been made many yeeres whether it lie in Charlewood or Newdigate, and is not yet decided, upon grant and leave given me and to my friends.., and to receye ye Sacrament at Easter next for this one time at ye parish Church of Newdigate yt y same may not be prejudicial to ye parish of Newdigate for ye time to come, and do confesse that I have y said libertie for this time by leave. And in witness hereof I have hereunto set mine hand y day and yeere above written.' Then follows another note in continuation, signed and attested as before: 'Also ye said Ch Butcher desired leave for himselfe and family 54 Social LiJ as 7bM by Parish Registers. 'Feb. x, 749- The Company of Singers, by the consent of the Ordinary, were forbidden to sing any more by the Minister, upon account of their frequent ill-behaviour in the Chancel, and their ordering the Carpenter to pull down part of the Belfry without leave from the Minister and Churchwardens.' On another day, March 8: 'The Clerk gave out the oo th Psalm, and the singers imme- diately opposed him, and sung the 5 th, and bred a disturbance. The Clerk then ceased.' And under x752 it is entered: 'Robert Johnson buried, and a sermon preached to a noisy con- gregation.' But these were not the only cases of insubordination which disturbed the Rector's mind ; for on one occasion, when the Acton ringers came over, the churchwarden ordered the belfry door to be broken open for them to ring, 'contrary to the Canon and leave of the minister.' The parish, in truth, seems to have grown more unruly as time went on; for one day 'the ringers and other inhabitants disturbed the service from the begin- ning of prayers to the end of the sermon, by ringing the bells, and going into the gallery to spit below ' ; and at another time ' a fellow came into Church with a pot of beer and a pipe,' and remained 'smoking in his own pew until the end of the sermon. ' But however unfortunate the Rector of Hayes may have been in being subjected to such scandals, there were equally obstreperous individuals in - See' Parish Registers in the Uxbridge Deanery': the _4tiuar', vol. xviii., p. 6 5. Parson and People. other parishes. Thus, in Middleham register we find this strange entry: 'Burials.--October 29 th 792--1 enter under the head of burials, as spiritually dead, the names of John Sadler, Clerk to Mr. John Breare, Attorney-at-law, of this place, and Christopher Felton, Clerk to Mr. Luke Yarker, Attorney-at- law, of this place: first, for irrelevant behaviour a second time after public reproof on a former occasion of the same sort ; and secondly, when mildly admonished by me not to repeat the same, they both made use of the most scandalous and insolent words concerning myself, for which I thought proper to pass a public censure upon them after sermon--though they were wilfully absent--in the face of the congregation, and enter the mention of the same in this book, that the names of those insolent young men may go down to posterity as void of all reverence to God and his ministers.' And under February I2, I6O, it is entered in the Greystoke registers: 'This daye two Sermons by Mr. p'son one affore none and the other after none and Edward Dawson taylyor did openlye conffess before the Congregation that he had abused the mynister S r Matthew Gibson upon the Saboth daye at Eaven- inge prayer.' Cases of this kind were far from uncommon, and the Rector of Scotter, Lincolnshire, has chronicled this note in his register : ' i667-8. Jan. 19. mere. That on Septuagesima Sunday one Francis Drury, an excommunicate 5 6 Social Lb as Tdd by Parish Registers. person, came into the Church in time of divine service in ye morning, and being admonisht by me to be gon, hee obstinately refused, whereupon ye whole congregation departed ; and after the same manner m the afternoon the same day he came againe, and refusing to againe go out, the whole cong.regation again went home, so yt little or hoe service performed that day. I prevented his further coming in y' manner, as he threatened, by order from the justice upon the Statute of Queen Elizabeth concerning the molestation and disturb- ance of public preachers--O tempora! O mores !' Another parson seems to have been much disquieted in his mind on account of the laxity of the parish clerk in keeping the register, and was afraid blame might one day be given to him by his parishioners. Hence the Vicar of Carshalton thought it his duty to make the following memo- randum in his register, dated March o, 65I , which has the merit of originality : ' Good Reader tread gently : 'For though these vacant yeares may seeme to make me guilty of thy censure, neither will I simply excuse myselfe from all blemishe; yet if thou doe but cast thine eye upon the former pages and see with what care I have kept the Annalls of mine owne tyme, and rectifyed sundry errors of former times, thou wilt begin to think ther is some reason why he that began to build so well should not be able to make an ende. 'The truth is that besyde the miserys and distractions of those ptermitted years which it may be God in his owne wysedome would not Parso, and People. 57 suffer to be kept uppon record, the special ground of that ptermission ought to be imputed to Richard Finch, the p'ishe Clerke, whose office it was by long pscrition to gather the ephemeris, or dyary by the dayly passages, and to exhibit them once a yeare to be transcribed into this registry; and though I often called upon him agayne and agayne to remember his chadge, and he always told me that he had the accompts lying by him, yet at last p'ceaving his excuses, and revolving upon suspicion of his words to put him home to a full tryall I found to my great griefe that all his accompts was written in sand, and his words c6mitted to the empty winds. God is witness to the truth of this apologie, and that I made it knowne at some parish meetings before his own face, who could not deny it, neither do I write it to blemishe him, but to cleere my own integrity as far as I may, and to give accompt of this mis- carryage to after ages by the subscription of my hand.' But, it may be added, the country parsons had often cause to complain of the indiscretions of their parish clerks, whose conduct at times was far from what it should be. Thus, in a small work entitled 'The Exaction and Imposition of Parish Fees Discovered,' by Francis Sadler (738), it is re- corded how 'one Phillips, Clerk to Lambeth Parish, ran away with the register book, whereby the parish became great sufferers; and in such a case no person that is fifty years old, and born in the parish, can have a transcript of the Register to prove themselves heir to an estate.' And Burn 62 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. baptized in this parish Church by an order granted from Sir John Sedley, Knight and Baronett, Sir John Rayney, and Sir Isaac Sedley, Knight : 'Whereas complaints have often been made unto us by many of the principal inhabitants of the Parish of Brenchley, that they having desired Mr. Gilbert minister of the said parish to baptize their Children, and according to the Directorie offered to present them before the Congregation, he hath neglected or refused so to do; whereby divers infants remain unbaptized, some of them above a year old, expressly contrary to the said Directorie. ' \Ve do therefore order that the parents of such children do bring them unto the Parish Church of East Peckham, whereby we desire that Mr. Topping, minister of the said Parish, would baptize them according to the said Directorie, they acquainting him with the day they intend to bring them beforehand.' And in the year 6o 5 a charge was made against the Vicar of Rochdale, that inter alia he did not ' use the Cross in baptism.' This explains why, in the folio.wing year, in several instances, a small cross is made in the margin of the baptismal register. In days gone by, it would seem that the parson was frequently called upon to make wills for his parishioners, and in one of the Sebergham parish registers we find a form, is given which was no doubt the one used for this purpose. Indeed, that the parson was expected to be the legal as well as the spiritual adviser of his parish may be gathered from the register above named, 66 Social LiJk as Told y Parish Registers. occupied by lists of the renters of pews, with the sums paid by each person. At the end of each quarter is added a list of the presents or gratuities which he received in addition to the 'pewage money.' Many of these were from occasional lodgers in the village. In 167c), Sir John Pye made Mr. Wade a present of' Sinopsis Criticorum,' which he valued at thirty shillings. A parson, evidently fond of statistics, makes two long entries on the tenacity of life evinced by his female parishioners, and ventures a joke on the subject. Ten women had buried fifteen husbands,' and might perhaps have buried more, if they had had them, but all the men in Worldham pa.rish, at this time have had buried but three wives. A curious facsimile of early shorthand is given in the register of St. Chad, Saddleworth, Yorkshire. So far as it has been deciphered, it appears to be an extract (rom an old ballad, entitled ' The Gallow Tree Jowrney'; but why it should have been inserted it is impossible to say; although no doubt it had, at the time, some local interest. _And then again, under 1649 , the parson, in the register ot Rodmarton, has given an item of chit-chat : ' In the Windowe by the doore of the South Isle adjoyning to the Chancel, was a little picture in the glasse, of one praying in the habit of a minister cure baculopastorali, and under written, "Richardus Exall," which was broken by children, perhaps he was art the charge of" that window. There is also upon the west side of Cotes Towre, in stone, " Orate pro animabus Ricardi Wiat & Ricardi de Parson and People. 6 7 Rodmerton"; it may bee it was this Richard which did joyne with the person of Cotes to build that towre.' Another little memorandum, preserved in the register of Woodmansterne, Surrey, is to this effect : 'Thy whom it may concern are desired to take notice that the Chimny in the Hall-Chamber of the Parsonage House hath a Summer not far under one corner of it, soe that it may safely be used for any ordinary occasions for a small fire in a chamber, but it is not fit for soe great fires as the Parlour Chimney-- 16 7 5 2 Oftentimes, again, the register contains a memo- randum by the parson of gifts to the church after the following, which is entered in that of Peckleton, Leicestershire : ' In the beginning of this register--commencing in I7t4--that posterity should know how much it is indebted to the present age, let it be first recorded, that Thomas Boothby, of Tooley Park, Esq., who had some time before, at his own charge, caused very handsome rails to be made before the Communion table of his parish Church of Peckleton, did at this time give to the said Church a very fair silver flagon and cup for the use of the Lord's table. And whereas before this there was but three small bells, about thirteen hundred weight, belonging to the Church: he caused six--about forty hundred weight--to be made and new hung up, and the steeple to be pointed at the same time, at his own sole and proper expence. He gave five pounds to the 5--2 68 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. rector, to defray the charge of underdrawing the Chancel.' Such remarks, whilst chronicling acts of munificence, are pleasing little illustrations of the liberal interest which the parishioner has generally taken in his parish church. We may add that, in some cases, the parson, on taking leave of his parishioners, has bid them farewell in a poetical effusion, after the following fashion: To MY PARISHIONERS. ' Farewell, dear flock, my last kind wish receive, The only tribute that I now can give, May my past labours claim a just regard ; Great is the prize, and glorious the reward ; Transcendent joys, surpassing human thought, To meet in heaven, whom I on earth had taught.' These lines occur in the register of Great Easton, when ' Matthew Tomlinson, curate of this parish, left, Feb. , I73o.' CHAPTER III. SUPERSTITIONS AND STRANGE BELIEFS. OME of the old superstitions connected with our social life in the past have, from time to time, been incidentally noticed in the parish register; and in many instances these have been made the subject of special mention. As might be expected, there are numerous allusions to the great witchcraft movement, the first penal statute .against this form of credulity having been enacted in the year 54t, when Cranmer enjoined the clergy 'to seek for any that use charms, sorcery, enchantments, witchcraft, soothsaying, or any like craft invented by the devil.' An extraordinary occurrence is entered in the parish register of Brandeston, near Wickham Market, which at the present day seems scarcely possible. The facts are stated thus : ' 6th May, 596. John Lowes, Vicar. ' After he had been Vicar here about fifty years, he xvas executed in the time of the Long Rebellion, at St. Edmund's Bury, with sixty more, for being Superstitions and Strange Beliefs. 73 century, persons were supposed to die from the effects of being bewitched. In the re.giste.r of Holy Island, Northumberland, this entry ,s given: '69,. William Cleugh, bewitched to death, buried 6 July'; and in the register of Coggeshall, Essex, under December 27th, 699 , the burial of widow Comon is recorded, 'that was counted a witch.' But one of the most curious cases recorded is one in the register of Wells, dated 583, describing the perishing on the coast of fourteen persons (sea- men?) coming from Spain, 'whose deaths were brought to pass by the detestable working of an execrable witche of King's Ly,m, whose name was Mother Gabley ; by the boyling, or rather labour- ing of certayn eggs in a paylefull of colde water.' In the parish books of Brentford, under August 3, 634, this entry is given: ' Paid Robert Warden, the Constable, which he dis- bursed for carrying away the witches, 6s. ' The witches of Brentford, it may be remembered, were notorious at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and they are alluded to by Mrs. Page in ' The Merry Wives of Windsor' (Act iv., sc. 2) ; and one of the characters in Dekker and Webster's 'Westward Ho' says: 'I doubt that old hag, Gillian of Brainford, has bewitched me.' As recently as December 9, 748, it is recorded in the register of Monk's Eleigh how 'Alice, the wife of Thomas Green, labourer, vas swam of malicious and evil people having raised an ill report of her being a witch.' Kindred forms of superstition are also occa- 74 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. sionally duly noticed. In many a country village, the ' wise-man,' or ' wise-woman,' was an important individual, having been frequently consulted by all classes where superior knowledge was required. In addition to 'casting nativities' such a person was, at any time, ready to give heads of families information as to the recovery of stolen property ; and oftentimes in cases of illness, when medical aid had failed, his or her assistance was sought as a last resort. In the register of St. Margaret's, Durham, we are informed how one 'Christopher Pattison, vulga dict' ye wise-man,' was buried March t 4, I724; and some curious particulars are preserved in the parish of St. Benedict Fink, London, respecting a certain strange prophetess, whose death is thus described : ' On the morning after the fire in Sweetings Alley, July I2, I66O, was buried a strange maid out of Edward Barbour's house, being daughter to a prophetess, who named herself Mima Hecres, but would not declare neither her own right name, nor the maid's; yet the maid being searched was found to die of a fever, and so was permitted to be buried.' The fortune-teller, who plied a brisk trade in years gone by, also obtained due mention in the register, and at Stepney there was buried on September 24, I628, one commonly known as 'William, a dumb man, who died in Ratcliffe Highway, a fortune-teller.' And then, as nowa- days, there was to be met with that kind of con- venient woman who could turn her hand to any- thing, her advice and knowledge having been much Superstitions and Strage Beliefs. 75 in request in any case of emergency. At Attle- burgh, Norfolk, there was buried on August I, 625, ' Mary, wife of Gilberte Greene, hoastess of the Cock, who knew how to gain more by her trade than any other, and a woman flee and kind for any in sickness, or voman in her travail or childbed, and for answering for anyone's child, and ready to give to anyone's marriage.' The use of talismans, amulets and charms, xvhich has generally been a feature of the cunning contrivances of fortune-tellers and others skilled in secret arts--through being thought to savour of the same Satanic influence as witchcraft-- was most severely censured and punished ; and the register of a Scotch parish has this entry under November I o, 1716 : ' Christian Lessels being charged and interrogate up.on threatning mallifice to her neighbour, and using charming for the recovery of ane child yt was sick, she acknowledges both these crimes, and says as to y" threatning she was in a passion and confesses her guilt y'rin, and as to y charm she did it simply and ignorantly being advised y'rto by a north countryman.' Gipsies, again, as dealing in the black arts, were specially sought after by the authorities, and as far back as 22 Henry VIII., there is 'an Act con- cerning Outlandish People, calling themselves Egyptians,' 'using no craft or mercha,adize, but deceiving people, that they by palmistry, bearing them in hand, can tell men's and women's fortunes, and so cheat people of their money, and commit many heinous felonies and robberies.' This Act 8uperstitions and 8trange Beliefs. A curious case of the burial of a reputed gipsy, and of the subsequent exhumation of the body, is entered in the register of Mahnesbury, under September, x 657 : ' John Buckle, reputed to be a Gypsie, deceased September 2x, 657, at John Perins house upon the Fosse, in Shipton Parish, in Gloucestershire, and was buried in King Athelstone's Chappell, by King Athdstone & the Ladye Marshall, within the Abbie Church at Malmsbury. This burial was September 23 ra I 657" Howbeit hee was taken up againe--by means of M r Thomas Frye, esquier, who then lived in the Abbie, C4 by the desyres and endeavours of others--out of the said Chappell, and was removed into the Churchyarde, and there was reburied near the east side of the Church porch, October 7 th 657 , in the p'sence of M r Tho s Frye, of the Abbie, Esq. M r Pleade- well, of Mudgell, esquier, Rich a Whitmore, of Slaughter, in the Countie of Gloucester, C4 Dr" (ui, of Malmesbury, with very many others.' A mode of divination still common among the lower orders is that designated the ' sieve and the shears,' instances of which may occasionally be read in the police-court reports. Accord!ng to the register of Bedworth, Warwickshire, in the year 7x5, a woman called Elizabeth Bott was admonished for 'using curious arts, turning the sieve.' And in the year x79, is denounced in the same register ' the evil of our members going to be touched by a seventh son in order to cure diseases, and then wearing the silver he gives 78 8ocia/ I.ilce as bld /a Paris/, _Registers. them.' This superstition originated in an old belief-also found to a large extent on the Continent--that the seventh son was born a physician, and possessed an intuitive knowledge of the art of healing all disorders, and even occasion- ally the faculty of performing wonderful cures by touching only. In the Dublin University Magazine for August, 1879, the silver charm alluded to above is thus described: ' A particular ceremony must be observed at the moment of the infant's birth, in order to give him his healing power. The person who receives him in her arms places in his tiny hands whatever substance she decides that he shall rub with in after-life, and she is very careful not to let him touch anything else until this has been accom- plished. If silver be the charm, she has provided a sixpenny or threepenny bit; but as the coinage of the realm may change possibly during his lifetime, and thus render his cure valueless,, she has more likely placed salt or meal on the table within reach.' In the 'Diary of Walter Yonge' (Camden Society), we find this entry, which is a curious illustration of this strange belief: ' In January, 1606-7, it is reported from London by credible letters, that a child being the seventh son of his mother, and no woman child born between, healeth deaf, blind, and lame; but the parents of the child are popish, as so many say as are healed by it. The Bishop of London, Doctor Vaughan, caused divers to be brought to the child 8o Social L as ToM y Parish Registers. On the title-page of the register of Alfold, Surrey, is this memorandum : '27, ,.7o. I gave a certificate to be touched for the Evil in these words: Surrey SS. These are to certify to whom it may concern that James --son of Henry--Napper bearer hereof is a legal inhabitant of our parish of _Alford in the County of Surrey aforesaid, and is supposed to have the disease commonly called the Evil, and hath desired this our certificate accordingly.' CHAPTER IV. EPIDEMICS. HE ravages of pestilence from which the country has at intervals suffered, form the subject of occasional mention in the parish register, the terrible mortality caused by such epidemics having been but rarely specially commented upon. Indeed, it is to be regretted that we do not learn more from the registers of the diseases from which our forefathers died. In the register of St. Alphage, Canterbury, we read of Richard Harryse, who 'died of the worms,' and in the year 784 small-pox is mentioned. And in the Hawkshead register under November 8, 577, this memorandum is given: ' A pestilent sickness was brought into the parish by one George Bar- wicke and thirty-eight of the inhabitants died.' The sweating sickness, ' the strange and peculiar plague of the English nation,' as Mr. Froude de- scribes it, first showed itself in the year 485, reappeared in 506, again in 517, and raged with fatal fury in the year 55 - This epidemic 6 84 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. of St. Peter's, Cornhill, where, under the year 1593, this memorandum is entered in the margin : " Thear dyed in London in all- - 25,886 Of them of the plague in all- - 15,003 Within the walles and liberties - 8,598 Without, in & out of liberties - 17,288' Then follow these two entries: ' Innumeros quamius consumpsit, morbida pestis Seruait dominus meq' domumq' meam.' ' In a thousand five hundred ninety & three, The Lord preserved my house and mee. When of the pestilence theare died Full maine a thousand els beeside.' In the year 1594 there was ' the first plague in Ashborne,' and the following curious memorandum occurs in the register of Cranbrook, Kent: ' In this year following, 1597, began the great plague in Cranbrook, the which continued from April the yr afs a to July 13, 1598. I t, it was observed that before this infection that God, about a year or two before, took away by death many honest and good men and women. _-. That the judgment of God for sin was much before threat- ened, especially for that vice of Drunkenness which abounded that. 3- That this infection was in all quarters of the Parish except Hartly quarter. 4- That the same begun in the house of one Brightelling, out of which much theiving was committed, and that it ended in the House of one Henry Grynnock, who was a pott companion, and Epidemics. 8 5 his wife noted much for incontinence, which both died excommunicated. 5- That this infection gott almost into all the hms and Suckling Houses of the Town, places then of much misorder, so that God did seem to punish that himself which others did neglect and not regard. 6. Together with this infection there was a great dirth at the same time, which was cause also of much wailing and sorrow. 7- This was most grievous unto me of all, that this judgment of God did not draw people unto repentance the more, but many by it seemed the more hardened in their sin.' And there is added this note: 'Now also this year others of the plague were buried near to their several dwellings, because they could get none to carry them into the Church, for it was the beginning of this infection, so that none would venture themselves. The certain day of their burials one could not learn.' A memorandum in the parish register of Lough- borough informs us that 'the assizes were kept and held at Loughborough, the 17 'h day of July, because the plague was in Leicester,' and adds, ' there were eight persons executed and buried the I9 'h day of July in this year 1654] Under the year 6o3, it ,_s recorded in the registers of St. Peter's, Cornhill, that from December 23, 1602, there were buried in this parish 58 persons, and 'of them of the plague 87'; and it is added: 'Buried in all this yeare both without and within the liberties ; and in the 8 out parishes from the I4 th July, 38,2,44: of them of the plague 31,578.' And the epidemic 86 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. of 16o 3 is denoted in the registers of St. Dunstan's in the West, London, by a very considerable increase of interments, and by a total absence of persons of rank or importance, for all who pos- sessed means of escape had fled. In the year 16o4, an entry in the register of St. Giles, Durham, tells how ' Ann Ourd, wife of Christopher Ourd, was buried on 25 th Janr,' and significantly adds,' So all the household dyed in the vicitacion at this time, and so ye plague ceased.' The parish register of Nantwich gives the following account of this terrible epidemic: '16o4, July. This yeare together with the former yeare and the year following this Realme of England was vissited with a contagious plauge generally: whereof many thousands in London, and other townes and Cities dyed of the same. The said plauge begane in our Towne of Nampt- wich about the :4 th June 16o4, being brought out of Chester and here dispersed diversly, soe yt presently our Market was spoyled, the town abandoned of all the wealthy inhabitants, who fledd for refuge into dieurs places of the Country adjoyninge. But of those which remained at home ther Dyed from the 2ti June till the 2 'a March followinge about the number of 430 persons of all deseases. Now seeing God in mercy hath withdrawn his punishinge hand, and hath quenched the spark of contagious infection among us, God graunt that we by Repentaunce may prevent further punishment that the remembrance of this plauge past, may remain in our hearts for that purpose for ever. Amen.' Ephtemic. 8 7 Peterborough was in the year 16o6 visited by the plague, for, according to a marginal memo- randum, 'Henry Renoulds came from London where he dwelt, sicke of the plague and died ; so did his sonne, his daughter, and his servant ; only his wyfe and her mayde escaped with Soars. The plague brought by this means to Peterborough continued there till September following.' In the year I625 , we learn from the register of Little Marlow, Bucks, that 'Mary, the wife of William Borlase, July 18, I625, a gratuitous ladye she was, dyed of the plague, as did eighteen more,' showing that the terrible visitation of this year, which is said to have taken off in London alone as many as 35,47 persons, extended its ravages into most parts of the country. The desolation it caused in Cheshire is evident from the subjoined entries in the register of Malpas, relating only to one family" ' I625, Aug. 3- Thomas Dawson of Bradley, Thomas Jefferies his servant, and Richard Dawson, his son, were buried in the night. Ralph Dawson, another son of Thomas, came from London about the 25 th of July past, and being sick of the plague died in his father's house, and infected the said house, and was buried, as was reported, neare unto his father's house.' On August 5 Thomas Dawson was buried at 3 a.m. Later on in the same month we have the harrowing scene of a plague-stricken man digging his own grave, and knowing that the survivors of his family would be unable to bury him. 'Aug. 24. Richard Dawson, brother to the 88 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. above-named Thomas Dawson of Bradley, being sicke of the plague and perceyveing he must die at yt time, arose out of his bed and made his grave, and caused his nefew John Dawson to cast strawe into the grave, w'ch was not far from the house, and went and lay'd him down in the sayd grave, and caused clothes to be layd uppon, and so dep'ted out of this world ; this he did, because he was a strong man, and heavier than his said nefew and another vench vere able to bury. He died about the xxiv th of August. Thus much was I credibly tould he did.' A few days later on his son was seized with the plague, and died in a ditch. 'Aug. 2 9. John Dawson sonne of the above- mentioned Thomas Dawson, came unto his father when his father sent for him being sicke, and haveyng layd him down in a dich, died in the night.' And on September I5 this entry occurs : ' Rose Smyth, servant of the above-named Thomas Davson, and the last of y* household, died of p/ague, and was buryed by W TM Cooke near unto the said hows.' The whole household was thus exterminated. And yet, happily, there seems to have been an exception to this terrible mortality, for a memor- andum in the register of Witham, under the year i625, rnus thus: 'It is remarkable that in this yeare, being a time of plague and mortality over the whole kingdom, there was no buriall. Laus Deo.' In the register of St. Dunstan's in the West, London, all who died, or were supposed to die, of Epidemics. 8 9 the epidemic of I625, are marked with a P, the first entry so distinguished running thus- 'June 25. P. Isabell Cadman, wid', from the backeside of the bell.' It appears that in this visitation as many as 754 persons perished in one parish, part of which was then fields and gardens, and the whole population of which in the year 83I was only 3,443- Scarcely 'any other persons above the untitled commonalty are to be found in the register ; but there is a servant of Lady Bret, and a woman from Sir Robert Rich's? In Nichols''Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica,' v. 384, the ' whole career of this tyrant malady' is given, with the mortality from day to day. An entry from Isham register, under the year 63o, says that ' this yeare was a great plague at Cambridge, so that ther was no Stirbryshe Fair kept, and this was a dear yeare, wheat at eight shillings a strike, Pease six shillings and Mault at six shillings & eightpence--Pease at five shillings never so deare as at this time.' And another outbreak occurred fourteen years later on, in 644, at Egglescliffe, Durham, the register containing this memorandum : ' In this year there died of the plauge in this towne, one a!ad twenty people; they are not all buried in the Churchyard, and are not m the Register.' The circumstances, writes Burn,* 'of persons being buried in the fields, who had died of the plague, will, in many cases, satisfactorily account for the discovery of human bones in the vicinity of towns and villages. A - History of Parish Registers,' p. I I . Epidemics. 9 shire, makes this remark on the parish of Wigston : ' I find no mention of any particular disorder having been in this town, whence it may be concluded to be a healthful situation. In the year I77I the disorder mostly complained of was the ague ; and it was found difficult to cure, chiefiy owing, I apprehend, to the water being suffered to lay in the streets, the passages to carry it off not being properly opened; a real fen, or an artificial one, having the same effect on the human frame.' In the year I'O 3 an epidemic of fever seems to have broken out in the neighbourhood of Coiling- bourne Ducis, connected with which may be quoted the subjoined entries : 'William Brown buryed May I% Memdumw the five last registered died of a feavour which was very fatall in ys and ye upper parish--Coiling- bourne Kingston--and nmre especially to such who were lett bloud in ye time of y sicknesse ; fifteen died in Collingbourne Kingston within ten weekes; y distemper probably caused y late mild winter. ' 1703 . Robert Marshman, of y same distemper June ye 6 th. By experience it was found y a c0mon medicine called Decoctum Sacrum was of excellent use, few dying of yS feavour who made use of y remedy.' Similar scraps of folk-medicine are occasionally entered in the register. Thus, the following recipe for the plague is given at the end of the register for burials belonging to St. Swithun's, East Retford. The writing is much faded, and has 9 . Social Li./} as Told by Parish Registers. been transcribed in a later hand underneath. The original runs as follows: 'In ye time of a plague let ye person either infected or fearfull of ye infection take a penny- worth of dragon water a pennorth of oyle olive, methradate I d & treacle I a then take an onion, fill it full of pepper w you scraped it, y roast it; and after yt put it to y* liquor strain drink it in y* morning, and if you take y* same at night lay soap and bay salt to your feet sweat upon it, with God's blessing you shall recover.' In the parish register of Swettenham, Cheshire, is the following remedy for the bite of a mad dog : ' I7o4--To cure the bite of a mad dog or cat. 'Fake six ounces of rue, small sliced, four ounces of garlic stampt pild, four ounces of mithridate or Venice treacle, four ounces of syruppe, or tilde or scrapt pure English tin or peawter; boyle these in 5 pints of old all over a gentle fire for an hour, then strain it, and keep the liquor in a glass or close vessel. ' And thus you are to use this medicine: 'To a man that is bit you are to give 8 or 9 spoonfulls warm in a morning fasting, and every day apply some of the ingredients which remain after the liquor is strained off" to the wound ; but give it cold to beasts. To a sheep 3 spoonfulls, to a dog 4, to a horse or cow between 16 . I 8, and they must be given 7 or 8 days together after the bite. ' If you add a handfull of ash-coloured liver- wort to this receipt, it hath been found an excellent thing, it grows on all dry grounds.' E[ddemic s. 9 3 With this curious recipe we may compare an equally odd one for curing the bite of a mad dog hung up in Sunninghill Church : 'Six ounces of rue picked from the stalk, and bruised; four ounces of garlic, bruised; four ounces of Venice treacle, & four ounces of scrapings of pewter. These are to be boiled in two quarts of strong ale over a slow fire, until reduced to one quart; the liquor then to be strained off, and kept close corked in a bottle. Nine spoonfuls, warm, to a man or woman fasting, for seven mornings successively & six spoonfuls to a dog. Apply some of the ingredients, warm, to the bitten part.' This recipe, it is said, was taken from Gathorp Church, Lincolnshire, where many persons had been bitten by a mad dog. Those who used the medicine recovered; those who did not died mad. CHAPTER V. PARISH SCANDALS AND PUNISHMENTS. HE severity with which notorious delinquents were punished in olden times forms the subject of many an entry in the parish register. Prompt and stern measures were taken by local authorities to restrain those who endangered the place or created a public scandal, the mode of punishment adopted occasionally serving as a wholesome deterrent to others. Many villages, for instance, had a cucking or ducking stool, in which off'enders against the common weal were placed, and at Kingston-on- Thames we are told how, on Tuesday, August i9, 570.., the wife of a man named Downing, 'grave- maker of this parish, was set on a new cukking stolle made of great hight, and so brought about the Market place to Temes brydge, and there had three duckings overhead and eres, because she was a common scolde and fyghter.' And from the churchwardens' accounts for the same year we may presume that the following bill of expenses were for this cucking-stool : Paris/ Scandals and Punislnents. 97 beggar xvoman of Slapton' was 'whipt at Ment- more,' Oxon; and at Brentford, on February 26, 1698, ' Alice and Elizabeth Pickering, wandering Children, were whipped according to Law and sent with a Pass to Shrewsbury, the place where they were born.' The reference here is to the vagrant laws--in force until the year 1744--which enacted that any persons found begging 'were, by the appointment of the head-borough, or tithing- man, assisted by the advice of the minister of the parish, to be openly whipped till they were bloody, and then sent from parish to parish, until they came to the parish in which they were born.' To quote further instances, in the register of Godalming, under April 26, 1658 , this memo- randum is given : ' Here was taken a vagrant, one Mary Parker, widow with a child, and she was whipped according to law, about the age of thirty years, proper of personage; and she was to go to the place of her birth that is in Gravesend, in Kent, and she is limited to iiij days, and to be carried from tithing to Tything till she comes to the end of the said journey.' And at the end of the register belonging to the Church of St. Mary, at Cerne Abbas, is a copy of the statute of 39 Elizabeth for the suppression of rogues, vagabonds and sturdy beggars, the persons punishable being scholars and wayfaring men, fencers, etc., who were to be whipped and sent out ' of the parish.' _And to show the careful manner in which the law had been carried out, the subjoined memorandum may be quoted : 7 98 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. ' I66I--a registered book for all such rogues and vagabonds as have been punished according to law at Cerne Abbas, in Derbyshire. Oct. I I-- James Balden and E. Balden his wife, Thomas Balden, Robert Balden, and E. Balden, their sons, and Joseph Dallinger rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars, weare punished according to law at Cerne Abbas, and sent with testimoniall from Constable to Constable to Powell, in Cornwall, the place of their ordinary abode, there to worke at hard labour as good subjects ought to do.' Again, at Wadhurst, Sussex, many cases of whipping occurred in the year 1633 , the register having these entries: ' I I th June, Anne Diplock was whipped for a rogue.' ' IO th Dec. John Palmer and Alice, his wife, were whipped for rogues.' ' 23 ra. Thomasina Hemming, John Ballard, Mar- gery Oiles, Robert Spray, and John Sargent whipped.' How universal the practice of whipping offenders was in days of old may be gathered from John Taylor, 'the Water Poet,' who, writing in the year 63o, says : ' In London, and within a mile, I ween, There are jails or prisons full eighteen, And sixty whipping-posts, and stocks and cages.' The register of Kensington parish contains this entry: ' William Laughford was punished as a Roage the 1 t December 1604. William Brewer and Kathren his wyf were pu'shed eodem.' The register of Little Brickhill, which contains the names of flAy-two criminals who were executed Parka Scandals and Punishments. 99 in this parish between the years 56 and I62o, also has the following important entry: 'Cecely Reves was buried the same day, burned.' A similar entry is given in the registry of All Saints', Derby, under August t, t556: ' A poor blinde woman called Joan Waste of this parish, a martyr, burned in Windmill Pit.' And at Richmond, Yorkshire, it is recorded how Richard Snell was burnt, and buried on September 9; and the following note by Archdeacon Blackburne is ap- pended to this entry: 'Concerning this matter, Mr. John Fox, the Martyrologist, writes thus: " There were two of the Snells taken up for their religion. One, after his toes were rotted off by lying in prison, by order of Dakins, the Bishop of Chester's Commissary, and so went upon crutches, at last went to mass, having a certain sum of money given him by the people; but in three or four days after, drowned himself in a river called Swail, by Richmond. The other Snell was burned."' Under May 6, 64o, a curious and interesting entry relative to military discipline is to be found in the registers of St. Andrew's, Newcastle, which records how two 'sogers for denying the kynges pay was by a kownsell of war appoynted to be shot at a pare of galos set up before Tho Malabars in the byg [-barley] market. They kust lores wich should dy and the lotes did fall on one Mr. Anthone Viccars and he was set against a wall and shot at by six light horsemen, and was bured in owr churchyard the same day May 6.' And in the register of St. Mary Magdalene, 7--2 Parka Scandals and Punis/tments. o 3 And, he adds, there used to be a piece of land in Bilston, as appears from the old rate assessment books, known as ' No Man's Piece,' where the bodies of unfortunate persons, who had been gibbeted, were buried, tip to the last few years a lane between Bilston and "Volverhampton was po.pula.rly designated Gibbet Lane, a local tradition assgmng it as the locality where the gibbet formerly stood. Many remarkable cases of penance performed in the parish church for acts of unchastity have been preserved, it having been required that persons guilty of any such scandal should openly confess the same. Attired in a white sheet, and carryi.ng a faggot, the offender was placed in some conspicuous place in the sacred edifice, where, in the presence of the parishioners, a public acknow- ledgment of the wrong committed was made in a prescribed form of words. The register of Croydon tells us how a certain Margaret Sherioux did not long survive her disgrace. It appears that ' she was enjoined to stand three market days in the town and three Sabbath days in the Church ; in a white sheet, with a paper on her back and bosom showing her sin. She stood one Saturday and one Sunday, and died the next.' \Ve learn from the register of North Aston, Oxfordshire, that aMr. Cooper sent in a form of penance by Mr. Wakefield, of Deddington, that Catherine King should do penance in the parish Church of North Aston on the sixth day of March, I74O, and accordingly she did.' But from the same record it appears that another Social Life as 7bld by Parish Registers. person who had become a mother before she was made a wife left the parish to avoid doing public penance. But not infrequently those convicted of creating a public scandal in the parish tried, as far as possible, to evade punishment, and accordingly an entry m the Grindon registers, dated May 23, I725, runs thus: 'By virtue of a mandate from the Bishop's Court, James Meakin, Jun r was ex- communicated for contempt of the said Court, he being charged with fornication and not appearing to answer the Charge.' But five years afterwards he appears to have been in a better frame of mind, for another entry, dated May I9, I73O , informs us that ' James Meakin, Jun r did penance in this Church and was thereby restored to the Communion of the Church, pursuant to a mandate, and absolution taken out of the Bishop's Court, dated April 23 rd i73o.' Similarly, two young women, as appears from the parish register of Wadhurst, acted in a like manner : ' 677. July I6 'h Eleonora Woodgate et Sarah Moore n Ecclesia. Parochiali inter Divinorum solemnia palam publice et solemniter denunciate et declarate fuerunt pro excommuni- catis.' 'April 5 'h Eleonora .Woodgate et Sarah Moore in Ecclesia Parochiali nter Divinorum solemnia palam publice et solemniter pcenitentiam agebant.' In the eighteenth century, penance for im- morality was of frequent occurrence, and instances are noticed in most old parish documents, a form of public penance for offenders guilty of fornica- Parisl Scandals and Punislments. o 5 tion being preserved in the register of Dalton-le- Dale. At Roxby, l.incolnshire, ' Michael Kirby and Dixon \Vid had two bastard children, one in XT:ZS, ye other in I727, for which they did publick Penance in our Parish Church, Feb. :z 5. 727 for Adultery ;' and on November 25, I77, at Sutton Vallence, Kent, the register tells how'Elizabeth Stace did public penance for ye foul sin of adultery committed with Tho Hutchins, Jun T, in Sutton Vallence Church, as did Anne Hynds fcr ye foul sin of fornication committed with Tho Daws.' But for a lesser offence than adultery it would seem that a person was required to do penance, as may be gathered from the parish-books of the parishes of St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Mary Woolchurch Haw, in the city of London (I538- I76o). One entry, for instance, is to this effect : 'Item, payd a certyficate of penaunce done by Sheppards wyfe and the powlter for openinge there wyndowes one the Sabbath dale (t59 o) sixteen pence.' And in some cases the excommunication of persons for only trivial offences is noticed in our parish records--an evidence of the severity of Church discipline in bygone times. An entry in the register of .Quorndon, Leicestershire, records 'an excommunication against Anne Turlington, the wife of Thomas Turlington, in not sending an inventory by order of the Ecclesiastical Court in Leicester ;' and the register of Shoreditch records how, on June 7, 619, ' John Edwards, being excommunicated, was buried the 7 June in the King's high-waie in Hollywell Laine near the Curtaine.' Io6 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. And among further instances of excommunica- tion may be quoted two or three cases entered in the register of Stokesley, from which we learn that 'Nicholas Mewburn, of Stokesley, weaver, was excommunicated the 3 d day of February, I744-5, for refusing to pay his Easter offerings to the minister.' On February 22, I746 , May Wemes was excommunicated for fornication; and on November I5, i747, Clara Johnson was excorn- municated for contumacy of the Consistory Court of St. Peter's, York, in a cause of slander or defamation with John Heath, of Whitby, gentle- man. And on a flyleaf at the end of one of the Aldbrough registers, Yorkshire, there is a memo- randum to the effect that, in the year 634 , by order of Dr. Easdall, Michael Gilbert, the Vicar, excommunicnted about fifty persons. And again in the year I663 he excommunicated about thirty more by the order of Dr. Burwell. In both instances the names are given in full. And then comes the following : ' MR. GLBErT. If any recusant being excom- municated shall be buryed in any place but in Church or Churchyard, his executors shall forfitt thirtie Pounds by Statute, therefore I conceive you ought to burie him, but let it be accordinge to the forme of the Churche of England, these directions were sent under Dr. Burwell's own hand, Aug. I8, i643 , when Sir Thomas Tanckred was to be buried. THOMAS BVrWELL.' CHAPTER VI. BIRTH AND BAPTISM. HE r.eprese.ntative character of the parish register 1s one of its most remarkable features, for on its pages are enrolled, side by side, the names of the high and low, rich and poor, without distinction. It has been aptly described as the'World's Great Roll,' for, as some lines in a Shropshire register tell us : ' No flattery here, where to be born and die Of rich and poor is all the history ; Enough, if virtue fill'd the space between-- Prov'd, by the ends of being, to have been.' And Lord Eldon once remarked that, ' while the rich had their title-deeds, their parchments, and their sculptured monuments, there was literally no record of the poor man>s birth or death except the parish register, which might not inaptly be called the Charter of the Poor Man. ' But apart from the mere registration of names, much curious information is incidentally given, " Hansard, cxxxii. 576. Birth and Baptism. 0 9 the clock at night ; the father she knew not, but the said Alexander by them that brought the child to be baptized, requested that it might be recorded in his name.' The term ' Children of God' or 'Creatura Christi' was also applied to illegitimate children, but the phrase would seem also to have been applied in the sixteenth century to infants baptized by the midwife, as in the parish register of Staple- hurst, Kent: 'x547. Ther was baptized by the mid-wyffe, and so buried, the childe of Thomas Goldham, called creature.' And in' Piers Plow- man' we find the word used : ' I conjured him at the laste If he were Cristes Creature Anoon me to tellen. "I am Cristes Creature," quod he ; " In Cristes Court by knowe wel, And of his kyn a party."' Occasionally such children lived to be married, as another entry in Staplehurst register shows: ' 579- July 9. Marryed John Haffynden, and Creature Cheseman, young folke.' Connected with the births of illegitimate children, may be noticed the oftentimes pathetic and sad entries relating to foundlings, the naming of whom, at times, sorely taxed our forefathers. But one way out of the difficulty was to give the child the name of the parish in which it was found; and by the Temple register it appears that from the year 728 to 755 as many as o4 foundlings were christened there, all of whom were named Temple or Templer. And from the register of Birth and Bptism. I I I To name an infant, met our village sires, Assembled all, as such events requires. Frequent and full the rural sages sate, And speakers many urged the long debate. Some harden'd knave, who rov'd the country round, Had left a babe within the parish bound. First, of the fact they questioned, "Was it true ?" The child xvas brought--xvhat then remained to do ? "Was't dead or living ?" This xvas fairly proved, 'Twas pinched--it roar'd--and every doubt remov'd. Then by what name th' umvelcome guest to call Was long a question, and it pos'd them all. For he who lent a name to babe unknown, Censorious men might take it for his own. They look'd about, they ask'd the name of all, And not one Richard ansxver'd to the call. Next they inquir'd the day, vhen, passing by, Th' unlucky peasant heard the stranger cry ; This knovn, how food and raiment they might give Was next debated, for the rogue vould live ; At last, xvith all their words and xvorks content, Back to their homes the prudent vestry vent, And Richard Monday to the workhouse sent. Long lost to us, our man at last we trace, Sir Richard Monday died at Monday Place.' Although many of these poor children did not long survive their baptism, yet it is fair to presume that some became founders of families, for, as it has been pointed out by Mr. Nicholls, the surname of Dunstan is found in numerous entries in St. Dunstan's register--among others, Thomas Dun- stan, Pater of the Rolls, buried I6C3--and still remains in the parish. To quote further cases in the register of St. Peter's, Cornhill, there are entries of a vast number of foundlings, who, according to a common custom, were all surnamed Peter, after the saint to whom Social L[fe as Told by Parish Registers. the parish church was dedicated; one of them bears the name of Symon Peter. And the following entry is from the transcripts of St. Mary's, Dover : ' July 24, I7 8. Susanna daughter of Francis and Margaret Hamilton: this poor woman's maiden name is Margaret Brown: her child-birth pains fell upon her at the half-way-house betwixt this and Canterburie, and she brought her child here to my house and I christen'd it. She herself [and] her ancient fither and mother are going to Francis Hamilton in New England, where they say he is settl'd in a plantation left him by his deceased brother who lived there.' And in the registers of St. Antholin, London, under January 8, 1618, this quaint entry occurs: 'Margery dau to William Semer, his wife or quene a vagrant came out from turnebull Street, & thether went againe, till hit belly bee full, shee was delivered at Mrs. Smith's doore one Christmas day, her child was chr 8.' It is remarkable that, during the four years from 758 to I76 inclusive, there are about fifty entries of burials of foundlings in the Twickenham register, from which it has been inferred that either a foundling hospital must have existed in the neighbourhood at that time, or that the exposure of infants upon the unenclosed lands hereabouts must have been frightfully common. But the former conjecture, perhaps, is the more probable, especially as several interments occur in previous -* 'Registers of St. Peter's, Cornhill' (Harleian Society), 877. Preface, xiii. Birth nd Baptism. x 3 years, being described as ' from ye Foundling Hos- pital.'* And a correspondent of Notes and (eries baptized a child Benjamin Simon Jude. On expressing some surprise at the strange con- junction, he was informed that the child was born on the festival of St. Simon and St. Jude, and that it was always considered very unlucky to take the day from the child. Among further entries of a similar kind in the registers of St. Andrew's Church, Newcastle, under February 3, 634 , this curious one occurs: ' Margaret, sup' d [supposed daughter] to Richard Richardson. Suerties. Charles Robson, Margaret Thompson and Margaret Maddison. It was borne under a wayne before Richard Aplbyes dore in a morning in a sore frost and shaw it came of a sudan to us or ells it had p'ished, and wee knew not whence it so wee had nothing.' And a menaorandum in Kensington register records how ' a woman child, of the age of one year and a half or thereabouts, being found in her swadlinge clothes, layed at the Ladye Cooper's gate, baptized by the name of Mary .Troovie, x o th October.' Comical mistakes m the naming of children often seem to have occurredin most cases made by the parents, and afterwards laid by some of them to the parson's charge. In the register of St. Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth, we learn that on December 2 x, x 8 x 8, a child was baptized as Susannah Drury B----, the following note being subsequently added: 'By mistake of the father baptized as a girl--rebaptized Jany 5, 8 9, * Cobbett's ' Memorials of Twickenham,' p. 6 9. 8 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. when the names given were Richard Drury B ' But it is not surprising that mistakes of this kind occasionally happened, for it appears a custom prevailed in Great Yarmouth at the end of the last and commencement of the present century to send the nurse with the infant to the parsonage, a day or two after its birth, sometimes on the very day it saw the light, to have it baptized. One shilling was paid, ostensibly for the trouble of making the entry in the register-book. This shilling was not unfrequently a source of tempta- tion to the bearer, preventing her from reaching the parsonage, and the infant from receiving bap- tism. Baptism was then, we are told, very seldom administered in the church, the parson requiring a fee of two shilling.s and sixpence for each child for public baptism m church on a week-day. ": And in ' Exactions of Parish Fees Discovered,' by Francis Sadler (x738, p. 54), it is recorded how in Battersea their late clerk had been detected registering boys for girls and girls for boys, and ' not one half of the register-book, in his time, was correct and authentic, as it ought to be.' But among baptismal blunders in other parishes we find this strange entry in the register of burials belonging to Bishop Wearmouth, Durham : 'Robert, daughter of William Thompson, hap. 15 Feb. 173o , the midwife mistaking the sex, ebrietas dementat'; and an entry in the register of Hanwell, Middlesex, tells how 'Thomas, son of Thomas Messenger and Elizabeth his wife, was 'St. Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth,' Edward J, Lupson, pp. I3Z , I3t. 6 Social Life as Told b.y Parish Registers. The register, too, of I-Iorstead Keynes records a baptism in which the ceremony was performed by a ' Mr. Griffin, a person unknowne.' The disturbed state also of politics in the seven- teenth century gave rise to many irregularities in baptisms, as entries like the following from the register of Lowestoft show : ' During the Common- wealth, and the Restoration of Charles II., no entries were made in the Parish Register.' The Rev. Jacob Rous, then Vicar, writes that on March 24, i643 , himself, with many others, was carried prisoner by Colonel Cromwell to Cam- bridge ; so that for some time following there was neither minister nor clerk in this town, but the inhabitants were obliged to procure one another to baptize their children, by which means, he adds, there was no register kept. ' Only a few were by myself baptized in those intervals when I enjoyed nay freedom.' And in the register of I-Iorley for the year I649 there is a leaf inserted with this heading: ' These that are regestred in this leaf were not regestred at the time of their birth, but were regestred by the directione of ther parentes by me Henry Shove sworne regester for horley.' From the year I586 up to the commencement of the seventeenth century there are repeated entries in the registers of SS. Peter and Paul, Mitcham, of ' nurse children,' and in one instance such a child is described as from ' drewes nursery '; and under March 25, I595, this entry is given: ' francis Tailor a Comm6 keeper of children was buried,' after which date the baby-farming in Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. memory of it long lingered in the hearts of the people, and down to the eighteenth century babes dying in their innocence were styled chrisoms in the bills of mortality and m parish registers. Under the year I687 , this entry occurs m the register of Westminster Abbey: ' The Princess Ann's Child, a Chrisome bur. 22 Oct.,' a practice reminding us of Keble's beautiful words in his 'Lyra Innocentium ' : ' Radiant may be her glance of mirth, Who wears her chrisom vest, Pure, as when first at her new birth It wrapt her tender breast.' And it may be remembered that in 'Henry V.,' when the death of Falstaff is announced, Mrs. Quickly replies: 'Nay, sure, he's not in hell: he's in Arthur's bosom, if ever man went to Arthur's bosom. A' made a finer end and went away an it had been any christom child.' Bishop Taylor, too, in his 'Holy Living,' makes use of the word in the following beautiful passage: 'This day is mine and yours, but ye know not what shall be on the morrow ; and every morning creeps out of a dark cloud, leaving behind it an Ignorance and silence, deep as mid- night, and undiscerned as are the phantasms that make a chrisome child to smile. ' In the register of Richmond, Surrey, as in most others, there are several entries of chrisom children. Under August 24, i69_6, the burial of 'a Chrisom Child A full account of' Chrisom Child,' by Thomas George Norris, will be found in the Exeter Diocesan Society Publica- tions, 1847. Birth and Baptism. 119 of Reynald Ashen '* is recorded; and under December 7, I636, that of 'a Crisome of Mr. Best, of Kew.' Under March I2, I65O, this entry is given: ' A Chrisome of Sir Harbar Lunsons buried.' Among further instances of this custom, we read in Limpsfield register, under May 29, 629, that 'a Chrysome of Mr. Thomas Greshame' was buried. And the register of Bletchingley, under the year 596, states that 'two Chrisomars of Roger Combers, Win. and Solomon, was buried the xxv of September.' In the register of Maresfield, Sussex, a very interesting entry occurs connected with the mode of baptizing children: 'I644. Baptized Ursula Morgan, the first child baptized after the new fashion.'-]- The old custom of baptism was by immersion, but aspersion, or sprinkling, was allowed if the child happened to be weak, and the practice of administering the Sacrament of Bap- tism m this way 'was gradually introduced by our divines, when they returned from the Con- tinent in Queen Elizabeth's reign. During the latter part of her reign and those of James I. and Charles I. very few children were dipped at the font. After the Restoration the old practice was again gradually introduced, which is probably that alluded to above.' In the parish reg!ster of Hillingdon, Middlesex, there is this curious entry : 'Baptized, Elizabeth, the daughter " See 'Surrey Archaeological Collections,' vol. ii., pp. 85-88 , and 'London and Middlesex Archaeological Society,' vol. ii., p. zII. - ' Sussex Archaeological Collections,' vol. iv., p. I zz Social Life as 7bld by Parish Registers. 'I539. Samuell, son of Sir ,rilliam Smithe Clarke, Vicare of Duddly, was born on Friday morninge, at 4 of the Clock, being the xxviij day of February, the signe of that day was the middle of aquaris ,q ; the signe of the monthe -R-- ; the plenet of that day ? ; plenet of the same ower and the morow day whose name hath continued in Duddly from the Conqueste.' Occasionally the parson has embellished his register with poetical effusions, and in the early part of the register of Ockley, Surrey--which dates from 1539--the Vicar, William Margesson, has transcribed the following old lines, which it as suggested, probably are not original, except in the spelling : ' The new born infant in the cradle lies, and vhen it sleeps not, fills Our ears with cries. Being grovn big with foolish spoorts (sic) and play, The first ten years of life are thrown avay; yet he Injoyes Till those ten years are over, That Innocence (sic) vhich he must boast no more. Poor man xhen Three Score Winters he has told now places all his hops (sic) in Bags of Gold.' And in the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, will be found, under the years 1763 . 1764, and 1772 , mention of three children who were' born in the fore part of the house.' The families referred to lived most likely on the northern side of Burgate Street. The houses, it is said, stand on the boundary dividing the parish of St. Mary Magdalene, on the south, from the rifle of Christ Church--the precincts of the cathedral Birtlz and Baptism. --on the north. A child born ' in the fore part' of the house would be born within the city liberties, and would become a ' freeman'; but it born in the back part of the house, or over the border, it would not be ' free.' Hence the im- portance of distinguishing in which part of the house a child was born. Cases of petty tyranny have occasionally met with deserved rebuke by being made public for all time. A memorandum, for instance, in the Wimbledon register, bearing the date of 723, is as follows: 'Susannah, daughter of Moses and Mary Cooper, Travellers, born in Martin [Merton], and the poor woman being desirous to have it baptized, though she had lain in but a week, carried it in her own arms to Martin Church, to tender it to me to Baptize it there on Sunday last, being June ye 3Oth. But Justice Meriton being informed by the Constable of her being in the Porch with that intention, went out of his seat in time of service to her, and took hold of her, and led her to the Court of his house, being over against the Church, and shut the gate upon her and her husband, and let them not out till sermon and service were over and I was gone home, and made the man's mittimus to send him to the house of correction if he would not cary his wife and child out of the parish without being Baptized, and consequently registered there, which being forced to comply with, she brought up her child 'Registers of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury,' J. M. Cmvper. Introduction, ix. Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. to me, to nay house on this day, being Tuesday, July 91,, complaining of her hard usage, and passionately desiring me to Baptize it, which I did by the name above in the presence of her husband, nay wife, and D r Elir Pitchford. I723 . EDWARD COLLINS.' CHAPTER VII. MARRIAGE. S an evidence of the altered state of things after the Reformation, may be quoted the following extract from the register of Croydon: 'I55I , Oct. 25. Reverend patr Jhos lpus Wynton duxit Marii- Hammond generosa in ista Ecclesia Coram multitudine pchianos psente Revendissimo pre Thoma Cantuar Archiepo cu multis.' This is a singular entry, for, as it has been observed, ' the marriage of a bishop who had himself, in 1549, written a defence of the marriage of priests,' and the presence, too, of Cranmer, now twice married, and the words ' cum multitudine' and ' cure multis,' are no insignificant signs of the times. Only some twenty years previously poor Skelton, Poet Laureate, and Rector of Diss, was found guilty of keeping a concubine, then a far less crime for a parson than marriage. On his death-bed the poet declared that he had kept her as his mistress because he could not marry her, and they had as religiously kept the marriage as I-6 Social Life as 7bld by Parish Registers. though they had been joined man and wife by the Church. It is further added that 'nearly all the clergy were open to the same charge. But the time was at hand when men were to be freed from that forced asceticism which is ever the parent of debauchery.' The clergy, it seems, were very careful in duly entering the ceremony, lest the validity might at any time be questioned, as the subjoined entry in the register of Staplehurst, Kent, shows : ' I549. The ninth day of June, being Whit- sunday (wherein the booke of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Ceremonies and rites of the Churche, after the use of the Church of England, began to be executed), there was baptized Marie, the daughter of Richarde, parsone of this parish churche, born the last Thursday, of his lawful wife Jane, who were married the yeare before, and in the first day that the holy Communion, in the English tongue (after the order that now is), was then ministered ; they both with others, most humblie and devoutlie communicating the same. The parsone christened his own childe.' The words ' lawful wife' have a significant meaning, for 'in those days men's opinions were much divided as to the lawfulness of a priest's marrying, and the power to do so was reluctantly given by the legislature; and those priests who married took special care to declare their right to do so. '-: During Cromwell's Protectorate, the Little ' Sussex Archamlogical Collections,' vol. iv., pp. z46 , z47. Parliament of the year 653 declared that marriage was to be merely a civil contract. Accordingly, it was enacted that the names of parties intending to be married were to be proclaimed either ira church after morning service on three successive Sundays, or in the market-place on three successive market- days, according to the wish of the parties. The pro- clamation was usually made in the market-place by the bellman, and as an example of the operation of this new marriage law, it may be mentioned that the parish registers of Boston, Lincolnshire, show that during the years 656 , x657 and t658, .respectively, the numbers of marriages proclaimed m the market-place were oz, c) 4 and xc)8, and of those announced in church, 48, 3 and 52. Cerne register contains entries of the banns proclaimed in the open market-place. One of them certifies that a couple, after the banns had been three times published in the market-place, and there being no opposition, were, with the consent of their parents, married at Alton Pancras on May 7, 665. This was signed by a justice of the peace. In the register of Acton this entry occurs: 'Thursday the 5 th of Aprill, 655. Richard Meredith Esquire eldest son of S r William Meredith of Leedes m the County of Kent Baronet was marryed unto M Susanna Skippen youngest daughter to right honourable Major General Skippen [Traytor] by S t John Thoroughgood [knave] in the publick congregation within the Parish Church in Acton in the County of Middle- sex Mr Philip Nye at the same time praying and Teaching upon that occasion.' I28 SOCial Lik as Told, y Paris]2 Registers. The words' Traytor ' and ' knave '--here placed in brackets--were inserted by Dr. Bruno Ryves, who came in as Rector after the Commonwealth. But there are in the register of Maidstone, Kent, memoranda of two exceptions to marriages, one of which is as follows: ' Abraham Hawkes, of East Farleigh, servant to Thomas Scultup of the same Free Mason, and Mary Emoett of Boughton Monchalsey, was published in the market-place in Maidstone upon May 4 th, the j Ith, and the I8 th 1654. See an exception page y 8th. ' 'Page 8. Lambard Godfrey Esq ' doth make exception to the proceedinge of the marriage of Abraham Hawkes and Mary Emyott, for that the said Mary Emyott doth seem to be not of com- petent understanding to dispose of herself in marriage.' ' The exception made by Lbert Godfrey Esq TM against the proceeding to marriage of Abraham Hawkes and Mary Emeot above said being heard before Lambert Godfrey aforesaid, George Duke Richard Beale Esq rs and Justices of the Peace of this County, is satisfied and discharged, and the marriage of the said Abraham Hawkes and Mary Emeot afores a was solenmized before the Justices aforesaid the sixth day of July, 1654.' But we must not omit to quote a curious and amusing case of breach of promise noted in the register of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, in which the banns were forbidden, although, it seems, the parties were married afterwards. The memo- randum gives the facts thus : 130 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. ' The weeke following M r George Joyce and Will Shute, both Justices of the Peace, mett at the White Lion in Malmesbury, and desyring to make an end of the differences, sent for the parties, viz. William Waite and Alice Webbe, and heard the whole business debated, Mr Edmond Waite, John Goldney, Richard and Robert Webbe being then present, but noe end could be made. I asked the Justices whether the exception put in by Alice Webbe was sufficient to hinder Will Waites pro- ceedings or noe, they answered, it was not sufficient, for that the said Alice had not inserted any cause in p'ticular in that deniel of hers; whereupon I proceeded to publish the said Will. and Mary, the last time being June 27 t657 , at wh time of publication, Richard Webbe of Malmsbury, brother to the said Alice, in the behalfe of his said sister, delivered mee a note to be read at the same place forbidding the said publication; this was done in the p'sence of Richard Goffe, Thomas Waters, Tho Baker, Robert Fry and many others. A true coppie of the note here followeth : '" M R ROBERT HaRpy.R, I Alce Webb of Malmesbury, in the count of Wiltes, doe forbid the publicat of marridge between Will. Waite and Mary Hobbes, by reason that Will Waight is my lawful husband by pr'mise. Witness my hand the 6 June, 657. '" The Mark X of ALcv. Wv.B." 'Hereupon Will Waite, by the advice of Simon Gawen, summoned Alice Webb to appear at the uarter Sessions, held at Warminster, but shee Life as ToM by Parish Registers. whom it may concerne that, according to the late Act of Parliament, entuytled an Act touching marriages, and the registering thereof etc. Publi- cation was made in the publique meeting-place, in the Parish Church of the Parish of Martins in the Fields in the County of Middlesex, upon three several Lord's Days, at the Close of the morning exercise, namely, upon the xxv day of October MDCLVII, as also upon the i and viii day of November following, of a marriage agreed upon between the Honb le Robert Rich of Andrew's Holborne, and the Right Honorable the Lady Frances Cromwell, of Martins in the Fields in the County of Middlesex. All which was fully per- formed according to the Act, without exception.' And a further entry adds that they were ' Married xi. November, MDCLVII, in the pre- sence of his highness the Lord Protector, the Right Honb le the Earls of Warwick and Newport-- Robert Rich and Mountjoy Blount--the Lord Strickland, and many others.' This form of marriage ceremony is further exemplified in Elvetham register, Hants, where this record is given: ' I654 , I, A. B. do here in the presence of God, the searcher of all hearts, take thee C. D. for my wedded wife, and doe, also, in the presence of God, promise unto thee to be a loving and a faith- ful husband. Thomas Patrick of Hartley Witney, and Lucie Watts of Elvetham, were married before Robert Reynolds Esq TM in the presence of Ambrose Iver and Thomas Townsend. March I6 th, I654 , Robert Reynolds, Justice of the Peace.' Marriage. 3 5 ceremony being regarded invalid ; and, by a kind of compromise, it became customary for marriages to be solemnized before the Mayor and minister of the parish conjointly. Some idea of what the clergy felt at this violation of the Church's sacred rite may be gathered from an entry made by the parson in Elwick register, Durham : ' Maryinge by justices, election of registers by parishioners, and the use of ruling elders, first came into fashion in the time of the Rebellion under that monster of nature and bludy tyrant, Oliver Cromwell.' And a further strange abuse is mentioned by Burn, who says that 'the marriages in the Parish of Dale Abbey were, till a few years previous to the Marriage Act, solemnized by the Clerk of the parish, at one shilling each, there being no minister.' Turning from the civil to the clerical side of the marrmge ceremony, it would appear that in olden times the discipline of the Church was somewhat severe, marriages having been prohibited during Advent, Lent, and Whitsuntide, as the following lines--of which there are more than one version--in the register of Everton, Notts, show : 'Advent marriages doth deny, But Hilary gives the liberty ; Septuagesima says thee nay, Eight days from Easter says you may ; Rogation bids thee to contain, But Trinity sets thee free again.' And in a register belonging to Cottenham, this direction is given as to when matrimony should be solemnized : Social Life as 7bM by Parish Registers. ' Conjugiu Adventus phibet, Hilariq relaxat ; Septuagena vetat, sed pasche octava remitter, Rogamen vetitat, concedit Trina potestas.' Many of the old almanacks give directions for marrying, and in one published for the year 1642 are these restrictions: ' Times prohibiting marriage this yeer. ' From the 2 7 of November till January 3. ' From Februarie 6 untill April 18. 'From May 16 until June 5-' And in the Twickenham register it is recorded, under the year 165, that 'Christopher Mitchell and Anne Colcott [were] married June 4, by per- mission of Sir Richard Chaworth, it being within the octaves of Pentecost.' A most important preliminary of marriage in bygone times was the betrothal or nuptial con- tract, termed 'sponsalia,' which generally took place before a priest, and was always confirmed by gifts, several allusions to which have been given by Shakespeare. In 'Twelfth Night' (Act IV., Scene 3)we have a minute description of such a ceremonial, for when Olivia is hastily espoused to Sebastian, she says: ' Now go with me, and with this holy man, Into the chantry by: there, before him, And underneath that consecrated roof, Plight me the full assurance of your faith.' Although it has not been usual 'to keep a register of espousals contracted in facie ecclesi,e, one entry of them has been discovered in the I 3 8 Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. band. Therefore I do now vowe and promise, in the sight, of God and this Companie, to take thee agame as mine owne, and will not onelie forgive thee, but also dwell with thee, and do all other duties unto thee as I promised at our marriage." ' The Woman's Speech : " Ralphe, nay beloved husband, I am right sorie that I have in thy absence taken another man to be nay husband; but here, before God and this Companie, I do renounce and forsake him, and do promise to kepe nay sealfe onelie unto thee duringe life, and to perform all duties which I first promised unto thee m our marriage." ' The Prayer : " Almightie God, we beseech Thee to pardon our offences, and give us grace ever hereafter to live together in Thy feare, and to perform the holie duties of manage one to another, accordinge as we are taught in thy holie word, for thy deare Son's sake, Jesus. Amen." 'I Aug. i6o 4. Ralphe Goodchilde of the parish of Barkinge in Thames Street, and Eliza- beth his wife, were agreed to live together, and thereupon gave their hands one to another, making either of them a solemn vowe so to do, etc.' According to Hilton register, Dorsetshire, celi- bacy was apparently punished in the last century, for under the year i739 this entry is gwen: ' Ordered that all young unmarried persons above seventeen years of age do forthwith go to service, or be proceeded against according to law.' And Hawstead register tells how a certain William Caustone, on account of his marriage, ' is liable to Marriage. 1 4 1 hearte, and holdinge up his handes toward heaven. And to show his continuance to dwell with her till his lyres etude, he did it by closing his eyes, and digging out of earth with his foote, and pulling as though he would ri,g a bell.' And another memorandum in the register of St. Botolph, Aldgate, tells us how' Thomas Speller, a dumb person, by trade a Smith, of Hatfield Broadoake, in the county of Essex, and Sarah Earle, daughter to one John Earle, of Great Paringdon, in the same county, yeoman, were married by licence, granted by Dr. Edwards, Chancellor of the Diocese of London, the seventh day of November, Anno Dni I618, which licence aforesaid was granted at the request of Sir Francis Barrington, Knight, and others of the place above- named, who by their letters certified Mr. Chan- cellor that the parents of either of them had given their consents to the said marriage, and the said Thomas Speller the dumb parties willingness to have the same performed, appeared, by taking the Book of Common Prayer and his licence in one hand and his bride in the other, and coming to Mr. John Briggs, our minister and preacher, and made the best signs he could to show that he was willing to be married, which was then performed accordinglie. And also the said Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, as Mr. Briggs was informed, was made acquainted with the said marriage before it was solemnized, and allowed to be lawful. This marriage is set down at large, because we never had the like before.' Again, not the least curious feature of the Marriage. 4 Vicar from the year x654 to x659. Thus, an entry under November 29, x659 , records the marriage of a Mr. Roland Ingrain, of St. Martin's, Ludgate, and Mrs. Ann Gorst, of Tottenham, ' their intention of marriage having been first published in the said Parish Church on 3 Lord's days, no exception being made against the said marriage on any of the said times of publishing.' From the Serbergham registers, it would seem that the consent of parents was required, even when the bride was over twenty-one, in cases of marriage by licence. To quote an instance of this custom, we read that : 'John Hodgson, of the Parish of St. Mary's in the City of Carlisle, Surgeon, aged 32 , and Esther Simpson, of this Parish, Spinster, aged 2 t, were married in this Church by License, with consent of John Simpson, Esquire, Father of the said Esther, this twelfth Day of December, in the year I7767 Under x 787 this curious entry occurs : ' Thomas Furnace, of this Parish, aged --, and Margaret Wood, of this Parish, likewise aged --, were married in this Church by license (with con- sent of Mary McKie, her mother, formerly married to Daniel Wood deceased) in this Church by License could not be procured for this couple, as the girl was a minor, and the Lord High Chan- cellor her guardian.' The above was inserted too prematurely; for although the ' Lord High Chancellor' may well have objected, the marriage took place .: 'I787 . Thomas Furnace, of this Parish, Marrfage. 4 5 plentifully poured upon them. The new-married couple, to consummate their marriage, were at length put to bed, to the side of which that well- polished and civilised company were admitted; the stocking was thrown, the posset drank, and the whole concluded with all the decorum, decency and order imaginable.' It seems that the bride did not live many days after her marriage, for the subjoined parag-aph is dated for the same month--January, 1753 : ' We are informed that last Sunday died at Sheldon, near Bakewell, the old gentlewoman who was married the 6th instant to a young lad, aged about fourteen. Her corpse was brought to Bake- well Church on Tuesday last, where she was hand- somely interred, and a funeral sermon preached on the occasion to a numerous and crowded audience by the rev. gentleman who had so lately performed the nuptial ceremony.' But sometimes it would seem that the aspirants to matrimony not only disregarded the law, but caused the parson to do the same, as the following entry from one of the Glaisdale registers shows: ' David Morley and Mary Fenwick m a October 8, I753 . June 7, 754: then received of the Rev. M r Robinson, Curate of Glaisdale, the sum of ten shillings as an acknowledgment for his having infringed upon the Parish Church of Danby, marrying the said David Morley, though by a surrogate's license, in the said Chapel of Glaisdale, without leave or a Certificate first obtained from the Curate of the Parish of Danby aforesaid. I say, received by me--James Deason, IO CHAPTER VIII. DEATH AND THE GRAVE. PART from its importance as recording the deaths ' of all sorts and conditions' of men, the parish register illustrates in a unique manner the historical lore associated with man's exit from the world. Little incidents, too, and fragments of gossip relating to the burial usages of the past are here briefly chronicled, oftentimes throwing light on the domestic life of the past. Thus, amongst some of the many curious scenes witnessed at funerals, ,are are told in the register of Christchurch, Hants, how a certain Christina Steevens was 'buried by women' on April 4, 6o4,' for she was a papishe'; and at Bishop Middleham, Durham, 'a Scotsman and soldier, dying at Cornforth, the soldiers themselves buried him without any minister, or any prayers over him, on the 4 th November, I644.' Entries of this kind are by no means infrequent, and those relating to the interment of excommunicated persons are equally strange. In an appendix, for 10--2 Death and the Grae. t 5 the jury " Non compos mentis."' Shakespeare speaks of this law in the case of poor Ophelia- ' Laertes. What ceremony else ? Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarged As we have warranty: her death was doubtful ; And, that but great command o'ersways the order, She should in ground unsanctified have lodged Till the last trumpet ; for charitable prayers, Shards, flints, and pebbles, should be thrown on her, Yet here she is allowed her virgin crants, Her maiden strewnments, and the bringing home Of bell and burial. Laertes. Must there no more be done ? Priest. No more be done ! We should profane the service of the dead, To sing a requiem, and such rest to her, As to peace parted souls.' In the register of Blatchington it is recorded that in the year 653 'Sarah Reynolds, servant, came to an untimely end, as it was thought, May the I t at night, for from that time she was not seen living, and she was then found in a pond at the lower end of the parish; she was laid in the ground the 5 th June.' And a similar case happened at Newhaven, when a mother, whose child had died and was buried, drowned herself two days afterwards in the harbour, and was refused Christian burial. But the register of Wadhurst informs us that occasionally the rites of burial were forfeited on account of the person dying of some infectious disease, as happened on November I, I674, when a woman named Damaris, the wife of Robert Gower, was buried, ' Sine exequiis non ob malum Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. morale sed ob infectionem morbillorum '--a good Christian. In the reign of Elizabeth it was customary to bury merely in a winding.sheet, without any coffin. The register of Poynings, Sussex, tells us how on 'the eighteenth day of April, 6o8, was buried John Skerry, a poore man, that died in the place stable, and being brought half naked with his face bare, the parson would not bury him so, but first he gave a sheete, and caused him to be sacked therein, and they buried him more Christian- like, being much grieved to see him brought so unto the grave ; and at this time did one Thatcher dwell at the place.' The parson's indignation was probably roused not because the body was brought in a winding-sheet, but on account of the insuffi- ciency of it. In the re.giste.r of Great and Little Abingdon this entry s gwen, a curious combination of business and sentiment : ' Burial without a coffin, s; for a grave in the church, 6 S 8'; in the chancel, 3 4 *. But the most honourable Grave of any man whatsoever is in the Churchyard, because that shows most honour to God's house. The great first Christian Emperor Constantine, and many of his successors, were buried in the Churchyard.' On the other hand, the register of St. Michael's, Lichfield, in 63z states, as something worthy of note, ' that Andrew, the sonne of William Burnes, was buried with a coffin.' Then there were the so-called ' solemn burials,' " ' Sussex Archaeological Collections,' vol. iv., p. 277. Death and the Grave. 15 3 which seem to have been attended with much pomp and ceremony, and oftentimes the prepara- tions were so extensive that the funeral had to be postponed for several weeks after the interment. In the parish of Iselham, Cambridge, under the year S9 o, this entry occurs: 'Mr. Robert Peyton, Esquier, died 19 Oct., and was solemnly buried i2 Nov. next morning." Such ' solemn burials' no doubt consisted of the funeral sermon, with a display of the hearse, adorned with armorial ensigns, etc. ; at the same time the wine, wafers, gloves, and rosemary were probably distributed. A memorandum in the register of Stock Har- ward, Essex, under 642 , runs thus : ' That vertuous : religious : humble : and trulie Charitable Gentlewoman, M rs Juliet Coo, the wife of William Coo Esquire, departed this mortal life in the Cittie of London on Wednesday May I8. And was from thence conveyed in a coach to this towne where she dwelt; and was there solemnly interred (as beseemed her ranke), in the Chancell belonging to this Parish Church on Friday May 2% where her worth and eminent vertues (to her eternall memory) were both elegantlie and trulie related in a learned-funerall-sermon, by that Reverend man of God Mr. William Pindar, rector there.' And, to quote another case, the register of St. Bartholomew, Broad Street, records under I58 the burial of Mr. Francis Bowyer, Alderman, in St. Michael's Church ; but, it adds, the ' solemnities of his funeral were ministered in this, the 7 th of August.' 54 Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. And a memorandum in the register of Cople, Bedfordshire, tells how Nicholas Luke, who died on July 4, I63, 'att Rouney, was buried the 5 tb July m the north Chauncell of Cople, whose funerall was kepte w th great solemnitie the 4 tb day of August ensueinge.' When a person of distinction died, the funeral service was frequently performed--with an effigy of the deceased--in the various churches with which he had been connected, and such a funeral was entered in the parish register; and when persons of rank died in one parish and were buried in another, it was the usual custom to record the burial in the registers of both parishes. Again., the following interesting entry in Hilling- don registers throws some light on the burial usages of the past : 'Anno. x663. July. 6. This day the Hearse of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, some time Lord High Tresurer of England, going to Oxford, where he was to be interred, had Buriall here offered by mee, meeting it at the Church gate with the service book, a surplice and hood, attended with the Clark, and the great bell solemnly tolling all the while, according to the ancient and laudable custom in like cases.' As it has been observed, 'we might suppose that the vicar intended to pay special reverence to the body of the Archbishop--better known as Bishop--Juxon, the loyal and devout prelate who performed the last religious offices for Charles I. on the scaffold. But the words used, " according " The .4ntifuary, vol. xviii., pp. 64, 65. Social Life as 7bld by Parish Registers. thus referred to: ' And one man child brought up in the town which no man could show who ought him buried.' The law of Edward VI. for enforcing the removal of the aged poor to the place of their birth, or last residence--an act which was sometimes attended with fatal results--is noticed in the register of Staplehurst : 'I578 , There was comytted to the earth the body of one Johan Longley, who died in the highway as she was carried on horseback to have been conveyed from officer to officer, till she should have corn to the parish Rayershe.' Then there was the mortuary fee, an arbitrary exaction forbidden by 2I Henry VIII., and which was actually at times levied on those who at death had no property in goods or chattels. But although the levying of these mortuaries or corse presents ' from travelling or wayfaring men in the places where they fortuned to die' was expressly for- bidden by statute, the law seems oftentimes to have been disregarded. Thus, the Rector of Ripe, Sussex, tells us how on February 22, i634 , he buried one Alice Whitesides, 'who, being but one xveeke in the parishe of Ripe, died as a stranger, for whose mortuary, I, John Goffe, had a gown of Elizabeth her daughter, price t os. ' On another occasion the same parson has made this entry : ' qlliam Wade, who died as a stranger, for whose mortuary, I, John Goffe, Parson of Rype, had his upper garment, which was an old coate, and I receaved for the same 6s. ' Social Lik as ToM by Parish Registers. the Church of England, these directions were sent under Doctor Burwell's own hand, Aug. zS, z663, when S r Thomas Tanckird was to bee buried.' During the reign of Charles II. a singular Act was passed, which has left a conspicuous mark on parish records. The object of this Act was to 'lessen the importation of linen from beyond the seas, and to encourage the woollen manufacture of this kingdom'; and on this account it provided that the dead should be buried in woollen only. Compliance with its requirements was often noted in the registers;and a prejudice still existing among the lower classes in favour of shrouds made of flannel is no doubt an outgrowth from the now obsolete compulsory usage of two hundred years ago.* But the higher classes disliked the ,act, and tried as much as possible to evade the law, a fact which is notified m many of the parish registers. Pope, it may be remembered, wrote of Mrs. Oldfield, who was buried in Westminster Abbey in a Brussels lace headdress, a holland shift with tucker, and double ruffles of the same lace, and a pair of new kid gloves, these lines : ' " Odious ! in voollen ! 'twould a saint provoke !" (Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke) ; " No, let a charrning chintz and Brussels lace Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face."' In the register of St. Mary le Bow, Durham, it is entered that ' Christopher Bell, Gent., was lapped in linen, contrary to the late Act, Dec., t678 '; and numerous entries to the same effect occur See Cornhill Magazine, ' The Story of the Registers,' ,879, vol. xl., p. 3zo. Death and the Grave. 15 9 elsewhere. At Harmondsworth, in 726, it is noted that six guineas and fifty shillings were given to the poor for a burial in linen ; and at Hayes that an informer--who would have half the fine--gave sworn information of one who had been buried in a coffin with velvet; of another, that she left in her will that she should be buried in linen, and had her desire. And in the register of Aldborough, Yorkshire, under i716, is this entry : ' The In- formation of Margaret Robinson, made on Oath before M r Thomas Wilkinson, her grandchild, that she the said M TM Eliz: Wilkinson was buryed in Linning on the fifth day of Feb: x7x7, contrary to the Act of Parliament for bureying in woolen.' On the other hand, there are frequently found in parish registers' lists of the affidavits brought, in pursuance of the Act, to the clergyman on the burial of individuals of their being shrouded in linen; and these often afford information not to be met with in the registers themselves.'* A specimen of one of these affidavits we quote below : 'Dec. 2o, 768, recd this affidavit. Com. Lanc. Manchester, Dec. 2o, 7 I8, which day Ann wife of Sam Hampson of Stretford, in the parish of Manchester, Thatcher made oath yt the body of Sarah wife of Tho. Tipping, of the township and parish aforesaid, Husbandman, lately deceased (December I4), was interr'd according to the Act of Parliament for burying in wollen.'J- And the following form of oath taken on such Burn, ' History of Parish Registers,' p. z 9. f Reliquary, vol. lxxiii., p. 93. Social Lfe as Told by Parish Registers. an occasion is duly registered in the church books of Frant : 'John Beale, of the parish of Frant, labourer, maketh oath that the corps of a child of his, lately deceased, was not putt in, wrapt, or wound up, or buried, in any shirt, shift, sheet, or shroud, made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, or hair, gold, or silver, or other than what is made of sheep's wool, nor in any coffin lined or cased with any cloth, stuff, or any other thing whatsoever made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, gold or silver, or any other material but sheep's wool only. x678.' The custom of taking out the heart of the deceased and burying it apart from the body has prevailed even up to recent times. Oftentimes, too, when it was desired to remove the body to a great distance for burial, it was considered neces- sary to deprive it of its internals, which were generally buried where the person happened to die. In the register of Norton, Durham, this memo- randum is given under March 22, 756: 'Bur: the heart and bowells of the right honorable James Earl of Wemyss. The remains were buried with his ancestors at Wemys Castle, in Scotland, the 8 th day of April.' An entry in the register of St. Mary's, Reading, under t63 , records the death of Sir Edward Clarke, Knight, Steward of Reading, and adds, 'his bowells interred in St. Marie's, his body carried to Dorchester, in Oxfordshire, Jan. t.' It is said that Henry Spencer, Earl of" Sunderland, who received his death wound at the fatal Battle of Newbury, ' was buried in the Church Death and the Grave. 6 t at Brington, which is the parish of Althorp, the family seat. This, however, does not appear to be at all certain, as there is no entry in the register .recording the fact; but a leaden drum deposited m a vault in the church is supposed to contain his heart. This case has no inscription, or even date, upon it. 'e The register of Denham informs us that the heart of Sir Robert Peckham, Knight, was ' buried in the vault under the chappell.' In pursuance of the same fashion, it is recorded in the Richmond register, Surrey, under November I2, I599, that ' M r8 Elizabeth Ratcliff one of the maids of honor died, and her bowells buried in the Chancell at Richmond.' In the register, again, of St. Bridget, Farringdon Without, under April 20, 16o8, it is recorded that ' the bowells of the right hon. lord treasurer, Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset were interred.' Another entry in the register of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West states that on December 8, 65I, 'the bowells of the Right Hon. Elizabeth Countess of Kent was buried at the upper end of the Chancel, who died ye 7 h of this month.' And under July 24 , 16oo, this entry occurs : ' Sir Anthony Paulet, Knight, died at Kew, whose bowells were interred at Rich- mounte.' Sir Anthony Poulet was made Governor of the Isle of Jersey on the death of his father, September 26, 1588, and was Captain of the Guard to (ueen Elizabeth, who conferred the honour of knighthood upon him. * 'Enshrined Hearts of Warriors and Illustrious People,' Emily Sophia Hartshorne, p. z9z. r See Surrey Archa:ological Society's Proceedings,' 1864, vol. ii., p. 84. II 62 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. In many registers great care was taken to give the exact position of the person buried, a practice which gave rise to such entries being made in a somewhat quaint fashion. Thus, under March 25, 172o , the Greensted register informs us that 'John Pool of Sayers was buryed in woollen June 13 th 172o under the seats near the Isle on the north side of the Church his feet lye to the head of M r Glascock his father whoge feet reach within a foot of the Desk.' And under 1721 it is stated that 'Nicholas son of John Clarke Esq TM aged about 2I months was buryed in woollen as p. affidavit, Dec rye 21st i721 his corpse was set upon the feet of his mother's in the new vault, who dyed in childbed of this son as above the time buryed.' Likewise, oftentimes full particulars are given as to the kind of grave in which the person was interred. In the same parish, for instance, ' M r Thomas Wragg Clerk was buryed in woollen Sepr the lO h I723 at the East End of the Churcyard w in 5 foot of the Pales over ag st the Chancell window. The grave work't up with Brick 3 foot high then covered with Plank and Earth upon it.' Notices of this kind are very common, and are interesting as illustrating n- dividual eccentricities. In. the registers of St. Mary-on-the-Hill, Chester, 'it is noteworthy that in the burials the exact situation in the church or churchyard in which the interments were made is carefully set out ';e and in a measure this also applies to some of the burial * ' Notes on the Ancient Parish Books of the Church of St. Mary-on the-Hill,' J. P. Earwaker, I887. 6 4 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. have been made in the handwriting of the Rev. Purchas Deuchfield, who was presented to the living in I742 , and died in i774. It is said, too, that his widow was buried in a similar manner. Burials in gardens, however, have occurred from time to time, and the register of Toddington, Berkshire, has this entry: 'I658. Nov. I4. Thomas Matthew, died the 2th day of November and was buried the 4 th day of November I658 in his garden late taken out of his orchard.' It may be noted that the first grave of the cele-- brated John Wilkinson, known in his day as ' the great ironmaster and the Father of the Iron trade,' was in his own garden at Castlehead, and his last in the quiet little churchyard at Lendal-in-Cartmel. In giving an account of Dr. xVilliam Bentley, a celebrated physician, who died September 3, I68O, and was buried at Northwich, Ormerod's ' History of Cheshire' mentions that ' the body of Dr. Bentley is interred in a vault at the summit of the garden, where his tomb was discovered in taking down a summer-house built over it.' In St. Peter's. Cornhill, under October 0_3, 1594, this memorandum is given: ' William Ashboold, soune of M r William Ash- boold, Parson of this Church, a toward young child, and nay scholler, he lieth buried in the Chauncell under a small blewish stone, hard by the South dore: whose death wroong from me these suddain verses: ' My sweet and little boy, my lif, nay joyful sight ; Thou wast thy father's earthly joy, and mother's chief delight ! Death and the Grave. 16 7 appeared in evidence that the deceased, having been for some time indisposed, had received proper medical advice, and had at last succumbed to her disease. Further, that a gentleman with whom she had lived, being forced to leave for the Conti- nent, was desirous of seeing her previously interred. That it was at her own request the pin was inserted by her medical adviser after the body had been piaced in the coffin, to prevent the possibility of her being buried alive. These facts having been proved, the coroner's jury returned a verdict,' Died by the visitation of God.' In the register of Bowes, Yorkshire, it is recorded how' Rodger Wrightson, j un., and Martha Railton, both of Bowes,' were ' buried in one grave on t 5 th March, i714. He died in a fever, and upon .tolling his passing bell, she cryed out, " My heart is broke," and in a few hours expired, purely, as was supposed, from love, aged about twenty years each.' The melancholy fate of these lovers is immortalized in Mallet's ballad of' Edwin and Emma ' ' I feel, I feel, this breaking heart Beat high against my side ; From her white arm down sunk her head, She shivering, sighed and died.' In Arlingham register, under t763, there is a singular entry of burial : 'Stephen Aldridge, who was suffocated by a flat-fish, which he unadvisedly put betwixt his teeth when taken out of the net ; but by a sudden spring it made into his throat, and killed him in Death and the Grave. x 6 9 Redivivum' (iv. 358), 'may serve as an useful hint to some surgical or medical reader, who may learn from it that their predecessors disposed of the remains of a fellow-creature in a decent and proper way.' It is as follows:' t 6 t 5- Feb. 28. was buried an anatomy from the College of Physicians.' And we may quote here an entry from Croydon parish register, dated June 21, I615, which is quaint: 'Thomas Afworth, gent., wounded the xvii day of May, lay long languishinge under the handes of surgeons unto the xx day of June and then dyed, and was buried the xxi day, t6t 5, in the middle chancell in Croydon Churche.' And a further entry from the same register tells how 'James Mersh pulled ye eagle in ye church upon him, and curt his hand, and blead to death, about 8 yeares old, and [was] buried ye II. June, 729 .' Under May 2, I6II, the register of Saffron Walden tells how ' Martha Warde, a young mayd coming from Chelmsford on a carte, was over- whelmed and smothered with certayn clothes which were in the carte, and was buried here '; and under September 4, t623, ' buryed a poore man brought by the Little Chesterford constables to be examined by the justice ; the justice being a hunting, the poore man died betire his coming home from hunting.' It has been suggested that perhaps the squire had a longer run than usual with the hounds on this occasion. And under November 8, x 7 t6, it is recorded that ' the oulde girle from the work- house was buried.' CHAPTER IX. SOCIAL USAGES. ANY of the social usages of bygone cen- turies which have long ago fallen into disuse, and may be reckoned amongst the for- gotten things of the past, have been preserved in our parish registers. An important personage, who by his absurd antics and comic behaviour excited merriment, not only in the houses of the wealthy, but even at Court, was the domestic fool, allusions to whose wit and humour are frequently to be found in the literature of the period. In the register of St. Anne's, Blackfriars, under March 2I, I580 , the death is recorded of 'William, fool to nay Lady Jerningham.' And another en.try in the register of Chester-le-Street, Durham, is to this effect: 'Ellis Thompson, Insipiens, Gul Lambton Militis, bu r. 26 April, I627.' It may be noted, however, that this eccentric individual had not always a very happy time, for, we are told, ' if he was too dull, he was sent away; if too witty, he was sent to the porter 7 2 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. That fools should be so deep contemplative ; And I did laugh, sans intermission, An hour by his dial.'* An entry in the register of St. Giles', Cripple- gate, under February 9, I6O4, records the burial of one 'William Fox, son of William Fox, mynstrell.' Numbers of minstrels lived in this parish ; they were incorporated by King Edward IV., and were frequently admitted to the houses of the great. It was formerly customary also for the upper servants m great households to be 'persons of gentle blood and slender fortune,' an instance of which occurs in the register of Allhallows, London Wall : ' x598, July 2o. M r Randall Crew, Counsellor at the Law in Lincoln's Inn, and M TM Julian Clipsbie, gentlewoman attending on my Lady of Shrewsbury, of this parish, were married.' Mr. Chester Warters, in his ' Parish Registers,' amongst instances of this usage quotes that of Catharine, wife of John Willson, who addressed a petition in the year x634 to Lord Cottington, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which she states: ' I am the daughter of George Dyer, late of Grove Park, Warwickshire, who was brother to your Lordship's brother. After nay father's death I was for a while brought up by nay uncle, George Dyer, and by him put to service to a Mistress, who by a blow struck on nay nose dejected my "As You Like It,' Act II., Scene 7. Social Usages. 173 fortunes in marriage. Ever since I have been enforced to take hard pains for nay living, as nay poor husband does for his.' And speaking of servants, it would seem that a bond of apprenticeship xvas thought worthy of insertion in the parish register. At Frantfield, as early as the year I6o4, a case was entered of a servant in husbandry as below : ' I6o4, 2o July. George Job, with his mother's consent, put himself apprentice to Thomas Page, of Frantfield, for seven years following, being bound with seven single pence. The said Thomas is to teach the said George the full knowledge of husbandry, and to find him sufficient meat, drink, and cloth, linen and woollen, hose and shoes, good lodging, and all things needful for such an appren- tice, both in sickness and in health, and to double apparel at the end of his years, and also to give the said George fourpence every quarter; and to this end the said Thomas hath received of widow Job two good sheep and ten shillings in money. Also the said George is faithfully, honestly, and truly to perform the duties of such servant, in doing his master's business, in keeping his secrets lawful to be kept, in not using to ale-houses, nor unlawful games without his master's consent, and all other duties needful for such a servant, and not to marry without his master's consent.' And in the register of Elstead, Surrey, is a memorandum, dated I558, probably made by a son of one of the churchwardens for the time : 'Be it knone that I Rycharde Grover have fully passed out of my yerse of prentyst wyth nay Social Usages. r 75 the said John Callcock, otherwise than to be humble petitioners unto Almighty God for the health of our said dear son, and the prosperity of John Callcock his said master. And in witness of the truth unto these premises we have put our hands the day and year above said,' etc. In the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canter- bury, is a fragment of an entry relating apparently to an agreement to pay half a crown, ' beeginning November the 28, and to continue to the day I696 '; and a further memorandum runs thus: ' November the 8 692 : then John Wingate and Thomas Smith hatter agreed by the yeare that Thomas Smith is to find him in hatts for twenty shillings the yeare during life.' This bargain was most likely made at the alehouse, and the parish clerk, being present, undertook to register the agreement. It is noteworthy that many occupations and trades, some of which have long ceased to exist, are preserved in the parish register. Thus, in that of St. Oswald, Durham, this entry is given : 'Ann, daughter of Thomas Forcer, virginall master, bap. Feb. I4 th, I64o.' The term ' virginal master' is now an obsolete term. The virginal was an instrument of the spinet kind, made quite rectangular, like a small pianoforte, probably so called from being used by young girls. In an old play the instrument is thus alluded to: ' This was her schoolmaster, and taught her to .play the virginals. ''x" And an entry m the registers of St. Andrew's, Newcastle, records the burial on ' Honest Whore,' iii., 359. Social Usages. 77 Pannyer-man of the Middle Temple.' Then we meet with, in the year 599, a 'dreaman,' and in 6oo with an' ale-bruer.' An entry in the year 6o8 speaks of a ' woodmonger,' and reference is made to a ' tomb-maker.' 'The Writer of the Court Letter' was the designation of a scrivener prior to the grant of the royal charter in the year 66, an allusion to which occurs in the registers of St. Mary Wool- noth ; and amongst the many other obsolete terms found in this register may be mentioned ' pasteler,' gfa ' ' gon truer, and ' pryntagger.' Another personage who was by virtue of his trade somewhat notorious in the seventeenth century was the saltpetre-man, the burial of a man of this description being recorded in the register of St. Nicholas', Durham: 'John Haward, Saltpetre- man, bur. 9 Sept., 6ou.' ' Before the discovery and importation of Indian nitre, saltpetre was manufactured from earth impregnated with animal matter, and, being the chief ingredient of gun- powder, was claimed in most countries as a State monopoly. Patents for making saltpetre were expressly exempted in 6u 4 from the statute against monopolies, and the saltpetre-man was empowered to break open all premises, and to dig up the floors of stables, and even dwelling-houses.' But this vexatious prerogative of the Crown was annulled in 656, when it xvas enacted that no saltpetre-man should dig within any houses or lands without previously obtaining the leave of the owner. Then we find 'lutenists,'' f idlers,' and ' musi- I2 I78 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. tians' spoken of ; and in one register the burial of 'a singing man' is mentioned, and in the register of St. Mary-le-Bow, Durham, there is entered the burial of' Mr. Thomas Edlin, a strainger, one which taught to dance.' Occasionally the anti- quated mode of spelling is noticeable, such as ' up- holster,' ' pictor-maker,' and ' aquavity-man,' or seller of drams. In days past the term 'aqua- vita3' was in use as a general phrase for ardent spirits, and as such occurs in ' Twelfth Night' (Act II., Scene 5), where Maria asks,' Does it work upon him ?' to which Sir Toby replies, ' Like aqua- vita3 with a midwife.' According to Fosbroke, aqua-vite was made and sold by barbers and barber-surgeons. Ben Jonson speaks of selling ' the dole beer to aqua-vite men,' and in Beau- mont and Fletcher's 'Beggar's Bush' the cry of the aqua-vita3 man is, 'Buy any brand wine, buy any brand wine.' It is such a person who is indi- cated in the following entry from the register of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, where on June 8, 67, the burial is recorded of' the daughter of Richard Michell, aquavity-man.' According to Malcolm, several aqua-vita3 dealers lived in this parish, and he adds that the nature of this beverage may be imagined from the following' Reasons for the Grauntes unto Mr. Drake, for the making of aquavite, aqua composita, berevinger, beereeger, and alliger. ' That whereas dyversse of greedye and covetous myndes, for their owne lucre and gainelw'hout the dew regarde of the health and wellfayre of our subjects, or the p'fit and benefit w may grow to Social Usages. x79 us and our Comonwealth, by the trew and right making of the same of trew and wholsome lyquor --have, do use make the foresayde drynkes and sauces of most corrupt, noysom, and lothsom stuff; viz., the washing tonnes, colebacks, laggedragge, tylts, and droppings of tappes, and such other noysom stuff used in tymes past to feed swyne.' Mention is made in the Nantwich registers of a resident jockey, dancing-masters, and comedians, which is interesting, associated as they were with the gaieties and amusements of the town in former days ; and in the same registers early notices occur of the Post-Office, such entries as the following occurring : ' t62. March 3. Thomas Cheshire, a letter bearer.' [Buried.] ' t622. Ap. I-_. Mr. Roger Mainwaring, Post maister.' [Buried.] ' x635. Feb. 9- Elizabeth, wife of Mathew Alvaston, foote-post.' [Buried.] The way in which our forefathers occasionally settled their local differences in days of old is certainly worthy of imitation nowadays. An entry in the Twlckenham register, dated April 3, 568, tells us how' in the presence of the hole paryshe of Twycknam was agreement made betwyxt M r Packer and his wyffe, and Hewe Rytte and Sicylye Daye upon the aforesaid Mr. Packer '; and another entry, of April I c of the same year, records a similar agreement made between Thomas Whytt and James Herne, who 'have consented that whosoever geveth occasion of the breaking of Christian love and charyty betwixt them, to forfeit I2-2 Social Usages. Wharton, knights, who were both slaine at that time.' But Islington seems to have been remark- ably fatal to the duellists of that day, for the following year, under April 2z, i6io, an entry informs us that John Egerton, son of Sir John Egerton, Knight, was buried. Mr. Egerton was killed in a duel on April 20, and is said to have been slain'basely by his antagonist one Edward Morgan who was himself sorely hurt.'* A singular duel is described in the register of Tottenham. It appears that on Thursday, being November 8,'there was a meeting of the neigh- bouts to warme M r John Syms, his house, the Signe of the Swanne at High Cross, among whom came John Nelham and John Whiston, who having some grudge or quarrell between them, dinner being done, they two did use sore private speches within themselves; taking leave of the company, went to their houses, either of them taking his pickstafe in their handes, mett in a field behinde M r Edward Barkham's house, commonly caull'd or knowne by the name of Baldwin's, theare they two fought till John Nelham receyed a wound by John Whiston in his throate, fell down dead, and never spake word after; so the coroner, upon the Saturdie next sate upon him; was burried the same dale being the IO th of November, 161o.' In the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canter- bury, under March 8, 696, this entry occurs: ' Then M r Fiche Rooke and a Ensigne his name was Antho Buckeredg they fought a duell in the Nelson's 'History and Antiquities of Islington,' 823, PP- 334, 335. Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. North Homlbes and boath dyed in the ffield : Colonel name he be : longue to was Marques Depusaw.' On this entry Mr. Joseph Meadows Cowper writes - ' " Anthony Buckeridge, an Ensigne," was buried in St. Alphage churchyard, March 9, 1696-7, and Finch Rooke was buried at St. Paul's. In neither case is any reference made to the cause of death; and the sole memorial that remains is a small stone in the wall by the North Holmes. This stone, much defaced, is near the eastern jamb of a bricked-up gateway, by which egress was obtainable from the orchard--now Major Plum- mer's--to the footpath leading from St. Martin's Church to St. Gregory's. The inscription on the stone, as I read it, is as under: July ROOKE Died I696 Bucker[idge]. 'So far, I have failed to find any record or otherwise of the duel. I have been referred to "Tales of a Cabin," but the story as therein related is absurdly wrong and utterly valueless, unless we accept as traditionary the statement that two men fought in the night and without seconds, and that nothing was known until their dead bodies were discovered in the early morning. '* The following extract from a letter which appeared in the Standard is of interest, as referring " Registers of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury.' Intro- duction, pp. iv, v. Social Usages. I 8 3 to a duel, and to the disappearance of the old register in which it was recorded : ' In the days of Charles I., Giles Nanfan, who then resided at the old manor-house of Bistmorton Court, in this neighbourhood, fought a duel with the lover of his sister Bridget, and slew him. We know the "Bloody Meadow" where the duel was .fought, and how the unfortunate lover was buried in the Berrow Churchyard, the parish in which he was killed, and Bridget Nanfan left a charge upon the "Bloody Meadow" by will, for the preaching of a sermon by after incumbents against the sin of duelling. But we did not know the name of the lover who was killed, or the time when the duel took place. Some years ago I went, accompanied by Sir William Guise, to examine the parish registers respecting the name and the date of the burial of Bridget Nanfan's lover. We found the entry, and I made a copy, which was lost. Years after . . again I went with Sir Win. Guise to examine the registers of the period, but the book had disappeared altogether, and was nowhere to be found.' Much valuable matter treating of the social life of the sixteenth century, as far as the poor were concerned, is found in parish documents. Here, for instance, is a picture of London life taken from the registers of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West : ' x573. Jan. 5- a poore man buryed out of the pride.' ' 586. Feb. 9 a maide buried out of the fielde.' 1589" March 18 a poor maide that died in the fielde.' Social Usages. x 8 5 and under March 27, I623, it is recorded, ' the same daye buried a poore hunger sterven begor child Dorothie the daughter of Henry Patterson, Miller.' And another entry in the same register, dated March, 583, is to this effect: ' Tewsday, the xii day was buried one ppofer Buckbarrow w ch went about for god sake.' The same phrase occurs again in the year x6o2, applied to a ' poore woman'; both were, m all probability, licensed beggars. Pensioners, both male and female, occasionally occur in St. Dunstan's registers, and an almshouse was established in the Friars, which is mentioned in the entries below: ' 593- June . Agnes Grandige, one of the sisters of the fryers.' ' x6o8. July 30. Joane Dennys, vidowe, out of the alines house in the Friers.' ' 6o 3. March 23. Anne Pilsworth, one of the 7 sisters in the Fryers.' It may be noted that the Friars--sometimes designated the White Friars--was the site of the house of the Carmelites, placed on the south side of Fleet Street. As a sanctuary for debtors, and the consequent resort of dissolute characters, it subsequently became notorious, and under the slang name of Alsatia its fame has been widely spread by Sir Walter Scott's ' Fortunes of Nigel.' It was not, however, entirely given up to the lower classes ; for, as Stowe says, ' in place of this Friers Church, bee now many faire houses builded, lodgings for noblemen and others.' Another locality inhabited by very poor persons, z86 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. but not as almsfolk, was called St. Dunstan's Hall. Thus, on September 4, 593, one John Miller was buryed out of St. Dunstan's Hall; and on August I 8, 16o3, 'Roger Brooke, Waterman, out of St. Dunstan's Hall. ': Occasionally, when any deserving case that seemed worthy of support was brought under the parson's notice, he made a memorandum of the same in his register. Thus, in one of the Knares- borough registers there is entered an appeal to the benevolent from one Richard Coates, which is couched in the following terms: 'The bearer Richard Coates, a taylor by his trade, but being overcharged by a great many children was forced to take up another method to get his Bread. Which is so publickly known it needs no further demonstration. In which way, for ease and readinesse of going to the adjoing markets, he kept a little Horse which was stoln from him about ---- months ago, and not finding him, by all enquiry he can make, has brought the Justice of Peace to give him Leave to begg the Charitable Constitution of this neighbourhood only to help to gett another. And if you please to grant this Favour, he, as in duty bound, shall hold himself under great obligation,' etc. But in the same register we find an application to the Commissioners of H.M. Revenue duly entered, which is a somewhat unique memorandum. It runs thus: ' To the Hon ue Corn rs and Gov TM of his Ma ties Revenues of Excise of Beer & Malt &c. Nichols, 'Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica,' vol. v., pp. 3, 4. Social Usages. 8 7 ' These are to certifye that Joseph Leeming in the pish of Knaresburgh in the County of York, is a likely man to make a good officer, is a Brisk healthy man, not incumbered with debts, a young man, unmarried, about one-and-twenty years of age, of a good family, sober life and conversation, well affected to the pres t Goven t, of the Com- munion of ye Church of England & bred a grocer. Proposeth for his securities M" James Collins and M r W TM Broadbett of Knar. afors a" He desires to be instructed by Bernard Calvert, officer of Knaresborough. ' These are to Certifye, whom it may concern that Joseph, son of Joseph Leeming, was Baptized at Knar. in Yorkshire ye day of June I686. '" The number of persons, again, slain in brawls at inns and taverns, and in the streets, in olden days, is noteworthy. Thus, referring once more to the register of St. Dunstan's-in-the-Vest, we find entries of this kind : 'x572. Aug. 22. Luce, which was slain at hearnes the Cooke in Chancery Lane.' ' x579- June 20. M r Marten which was slain at Lyons Inne.' 'x59. April x 9. Will'm Gifford slaine in Symon Canon's house.' And on January 5, x595, according to the registers of St. Mary 'vVoolnoth, rilliam Backe, 'one of her Majesty's servauntes of the Guarde was slaine in the Taverne called by the name of the Bishopp's Head.' "* See ' Yorkshire Registers,' the tntifuar)', 88z, vol. vi., pp. 9 o, 9 . 88 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. Under 16 IO the register of St. Gregory-by- Paul's gives this entry: 'John Fitzwilliams, servant to Sir Edward Dymmocke, Knight, slain in a Tavern, buried 14 February, 16 o.' And after this fashion the entries in our London registers proceed, proving how powerless was the arm of the law. Drink is also mentioned as an evil in the seventeenth century, and the register of St. Benedict Fink has a curious memorandum, dated April 23, 1673, concerning the death of ' Mr. Thomas Sharrow, clothworker, late Churchwarden of this parish, killed by an accidental fall in a vault, in London "vVall, Amen Corner, by Paternoster Row, and who it was supposed had lain there eleven days and nights before anyone could tell where he was. Let all who read this take heed of drink.' We may compare, too, an entry in the register of Newington Butts: ' 1689, John A,ais and Derwick Farlin in one grave, being both Dutch soldiers; one killed the other drinking brandy, buried [Nov. It. ' And at Rye, under December 2, 656 , a memorandum informs us how Francis Gill and William Grogervill, two soldiers o,a guard at Strand- gate, broke open a cellar, and drank so much strong waters as made six men dead drunk. Grogervill never came to himself, and Gill, the corporal, going his rounds, fell down and broke his skull. They were buried together in one grave, no shot fired over them, and no one attend- ing but the bearers. These men, by thus bringing themselves to a disgraceful end, were thus buried ' without those honours usually paid to meritorious soldiers.' Another case is entered in the registers x9 o Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. nor never did knowe anybody though many came to see him and soe he died.' It does honour to the memory of Thomas Percy, the author of' Reliques of English Poetry,' to find him usefully employed in preserving the humble annals of his parish for the benefit of those that should come after him. The title-page to the registers bears the following inscription in his own hand: ' These old registers were rescued from destruction, and for their further preservation gathered into this volume in 767 ;' and at the end of the volume is a fragment of an ancient book of rates, which was thought a curiosity that deserved to be preserved: ' Memorandum. ' Feb. 25 th I767. This day I transcribed into the three following Leaves of Parchment all the Articles of Births, Baptisms, and Burials, during the years I756-I766 (inclusive) which I found entered in a Paper Register of the Baptisms and Burials of this parish of Wilbye, viz.--all that happened since I have been Rector of this Parish ; and after a very exact collation of this copy with the said originals, I hereby declare it to be very correct and perfect.' The 'fragment' of the ' ancient book of rates' contains many curious and interesting entries relating to the period when the Court of Charles I. took up its abode at Wellingborough, in order that the Queen might drink the chalybeate water of the' red well.' And it appears from them-- Social Usages. 91 some of which we quote below--that the adjoining parish of Wilby was laid under contribution for the supplies of Her Majesty's household: ' A levy made for the 6 th July, 627, for her Majesties household, at xij a yard land--sum total - - - xxxiij S xi d 627. Layings out for her Majesties house. Sc. Payd for carrying six chicken and a capon to Wellingborougge iiij d It. Payd for carring four strikes ofxvheat to ye Courte - - vj d It. Payd for six chickens and a capon iiij s It. Payd to Thomas Hericke for driving a load of Charcole to the Courte - xij d It. Payd for twenty pound of butter vj s viii d It. Payd for the caridge of the same iiij d. It. Payd to the Ringer when her Majestie went through the town to Northton vj d It. Payd to sx women for gatheringe rushes (?) - xij d It. Payd for tow quarter of oates xxi s iiij d It. Payd for a load of wood for the Courte - - - viij d To the men to load the wood, and goinge to Wellingborough w th it - viii d Sum totl xliij iiii a' CHAPTER X. PARISH CUSTOMS. HE old custom of ringing the curfew-bell, which Milton has gracefully described- ' On a plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off curfew sound, Over some wide, watered shore, Swinging slow, with solemn roar'-- is still kept up in a few villages. For many years past the practice has been kept u.p at St. Margaret's- at-Cliffe, Kent, during the winter months, with regard.to the due ringing of which there is an entry In the register, the minute of a vestry meeting held in the month of September, I696: 'Whereas there has been, and is at this time a parcel of land in this parish, called by the name of the " Curfew Land," consisting of five rods more or less ; which for some time since hath been given by a shepherd, who one night fell over the Cliff, yet lived so long as to make the said bequest for ringing of a Curfew-bell at Eight of the Clock every night for the Winter half-yeare, viz., from Parish Customs. 93 Michaelmas Day to Lady Day; and now, finding the great neglect for some yeares past in the due ringing thereof, and to prevent, for the future, any danger which may ensue to travellers and others being so near the Cliffe, for want of the due and constant ringing, if possible the like sad Providence may not befall any others,--we the Minister, Churchwardens, and others, the Parishioners, whose names are underwritten, in reference to the per- formance of the donor's good intent, do hereby order and decree that the said Curfew Bell be hereafter rung--as at the neighbouring parishes it is--con- stantly every night in the week, all the aforesaid winter half-yeare, the full time of a quarter of an hour at the least, without any exceptions of Sunday nights or Holy-day nights, and he that rings is to have and receive the benefit and profit of the said Curfew-Land, provided that he whoever is or shall be Clerk of the Parish shall have the refusal of it before any other, if he will accord- ingly perform the contents above specified. But, if not, then it shall be at the Minister's and Churchwardens' disposal to let any other have it, who will ring it accordingly. And in case it shall not be constantly rung, as is afore specified, it shall be lawful for the said Minister and Churchwardens to receive the rent from him who occupies the said land, and to deduct out of it, for every night it shall not be rung, two pence for any commission which shall be given to the poor that come con- stantly to Church.' There are numerous traditions to the same purport, and one current at Barton, Lincolnshire, , I3 94 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. tells how an old lady, being accidentally benighted on the wolds, was directed on her journey by the ringing of the evening bell of St. Peter's Church. Out of gratitude for arriving at her destination in safety, she gave a certain piece of land to the parish clerk, on condition that he should ring one of the church bells from seven to eight every evening, except Sundays, commencing on the day of the carrying of the first load of barley in every year, till Shrove Tuesday next ensuing inclusive. A curious little incident connected with the ringing of the curfew is recorded in the register of Penn, Staffordshire : 'i75o, March 25. Mary Penn, foundling, bapt. The child was found tied up in a cloth, and hung to the ring upon the south door of Penn Church, about eight o'clock p.m. by William Baker, as he was coming out of church after the ringing of the Curfew Bell.' And in connection with bell-ringing, may be quoted a memorandum in the Leyland registers, relative to the fees of ringers, similar regulations occasionally occurring in other registers : ' November the 4 th 664. It is concluded upon by Mr. Rothwell Vicar and the Churchwardens now in being that the ringers appointed by them shall obserue to ringe in due time on Sundaies and take the benefit of ringing at Burialls and other times to bee diuided amongst them by equall portions and received and distributed by Peter Tootell Clarke or Robert Sargeant and hereunto the ringers doe subscribe their names the day and year aboue written.' Parish Customs. 95 Among the old entries in church books, reference is occasionally made to the parish bull, a charge having been levied upon the parson for keeping a bull for the use of his parishioners. As the Rector was entitled to the tithe of calves, it was to his interest to promote increase of tithable produce. A correspondent of Notes and Queries (sth S., x. 334), says that, 'by custom of the parish of (uarley, Hants, the parson was bound to keep a public boar and bull for the use of the parish This he had neglected to do, whereupon his parishioners refused to give him the tithe of milk.' A memorandum dated April, I683, at St. Nicholas', Durham, affirms that ' it is ordered that Simors Lackenby is to keep in lieu of his Entercommon ground, one sufficient Bull for the use of the City and Borough kyne, for three years next ensuing ; and to give ten shillings towards a silver plate for a Course.' From a copy of a Court Roll of the Manor of Isleworth Syon, dated September 29, 675, it appears that Thomas Cole surrendered four acres and one rood of customary land lying in several places in the fields of Twickenham, called the Parish Land, anciently belonging to the inhabitants of Twickenham, for keeping a bull for the common use of the inhabi- tants in trust for the use of the said inhabitants, for keeping and maintaining a sufficient bull for the use aforesaid.* The baiting of a lion, too, was an event not to be despised, and in the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury, this entry is gven: See Edwards, 'Remarkable Charities,' p. 66. I96 Social Life as "IbM by Parish Registers. ' December the : 6 : 1687- Then the lion was baited to death in the White Hart Yarde with dogges.' Great attention was paid, in days gone by, to preserving the parish boundaries, disputes relating to which were not of infrequent occurrence. Hence, the custom of beating the parish bounds is occasionally noticed in church-books, the subjoined memorandum occurring in the register of Arling- ham : ' Mem.--that I, Henry Childe, Vicar of Arling- ham, went in perambulation with some of my parishioners, on Rogation Monday and Tuesday, 16o6. Upon the Tuesday I went to the utmost confines of our parish, eastward and from north to south, not for any superstitious sake, but to see the bounds of the parish.' And we may also quote 'a true account of the bownds of the parish ofRingmer , taken by M r John Lillie, Vicar, with several of the parishioners in rogation week, being the I4 th 1 5 th and 16 tla dayes of May 168.3.' The procession was as follows : ' Monday ye i4th of May, after divine service at our parish church, we went from thence along the King's highway, to a place called Stone Street * * * And over the hedge at a Crab Tree. * * * From thence we went to the house of M r Henry Plummer, where both men and boys were worthily entertained at a plentiful good dinner, and thus ended our first day's perambulation.' The second day they ended at the house of Lady Springett, 'where there was a collation provided for the parishioners, and soe ended the second day's perambulation.' Parish Customs. 197 The close of the third day, it seems, brought them back to the Crab Tree, at which place 'wee sange a psalm, and our Minister read the Epistle and Gospel, to request and supplicate the blessing of God upon the fruites of the Earth. There did M r Richard Gunn, by reason of his building a new apartment to his house at Middleham, invite all the company to the Clerk's house, where he expended at his own charge a barrell of beer, besides a plentiful supply of provisions brought from his own house ; and so ended our third and last day's perambulation.' The register of Radipole, Dorchester, contains an account of the perambulations made by the parish officers periodically for the purpose of ascertaining the bounds of the parish; and on Ascension Day, 1747 , 'after morning prayer at Turnworth Church [Dorset], was made a publick Perambulation of ye bounds of ye parish of Turn- worth by one Richd. Cobbe, Vicar, W m Northover, Churchwarden, Henry Sillers and Richard Mullen, Overseers, and others, with 4 boys; beginning at the Church Hatch and cutting a great "I" on the most principal parts of the bounds. Whipping y boys by way of remembrance, and stopping their cry with some half-pence; he returned to church again, which Perambulation and Possessioning had not been made for 25 years last past.' On May 14, 1706, the parson of Collingbourne Ducis duly attended the beating of the parish boundaries, and has made in his register the following memorandum on the event : ' I made a perambulation round my parish, 198 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. where we renewed ye old bounds and sett our land marks according to ye directions of some of ye oldest inhabitants who were present. We observed yt y bridge over ye brooke between Sunton Collingborn and us stands within ye limits of our parish, but this is only upon leave given, and ye inhabitants of Sunton are obliged to renew and repair ye s a bridge whenever it wants either repairing or reneval. Ira est. Guil. Sherwin. Rector.' Occasionally interesting details are given re- specting old parish charities. At Wilmington, Kent, a copy of a terrier is entered in the register, wherein it is stated that from the establishment of the Dean and Chapter of Rochester, in the time of Henry VIII., in their leases of the parson- ages of Sutton and Wilmington, their lessees had covenanted to deliver to the parishioners of Sutton and Wilmington a certain quantity of wheat and grain at Eastertide annually, to be distributed by the churchwardens of these parishes to the needy persons within the same; and that in their lease of the said rectories, granted November 25, 1772, the lessee covenanted to deliver twenty bushels of peas to be distributed amongst the most needy persons in Sutton, and twelve bushels of peas amongst the like persons in Wilmington; and also to deliver three bushels of wheat, to be distributed amongst the poor of Sutton and Wilmington; and it is added that the usage had been for the poor of Wilmington to receive only one out of the three bushels of wheat.* " See Edwards, 'Remarkable Charities,' I842 , p. 32. Parish Customs. 99 It is stated in the register of Harlington, Middlesex, under the year x683, that half an acre of land was given by some person, whose name was forgotten. But, it adds, it has always been understood that this piece of land was given for the benefit of the bell-ringers of the parish, to provide them with a leg of pork on November 5- The ground is known as the Pork Acre, and used to be let for fifty shillings a year, which was paid by the parish officers to the bell-ringers. Similarly, the old register of Bushey, Hertford- shire, informs us that a ' M " Gale gave a Haber- dine fish [barrelled cod, so called from Aberdeen, which was formerly famous for curing this kind of fish] & half a peck of blue peas, to twenty widows and widowers o,ace a year. Half a peck loaf and two pounds of cheese to each person are given instead.' In the Parliamentary Report on Charities, made some years ago, it was stated that the owner of a field, consisting of about five acres, lying in the parish of Bushey, vas in the habit of distributing annually, some time in Lent, forty quartern loaves and forty pounds of cheese among twenty widows and twenty widowers of the parish selected by the Rector. And in one of the Hayton parish registers this memorandum is given : 'John Hall of the Head's Nook, by his last will and testament, left to the Parishioners of Head's Nook, Faugh, and Moss (Know?) the sum of five pounds, the use whereof was to be I-d. the pound yearly, and to defray the charges of church repairs for the three townships afore- Parish Customs. o 3 cause sometimes to visit here; they are humbly hereby intreated, that they will be pleased to visit the school also, and to be favourable to good scholars which shall be trained up here ; and shall be found fit to be perfected, and want means and friends for their preferment. 'A deed from the right honble lord Stanhope, lord of the manor to twelve inhabitants of this town, concerning liberty to build a school house there, is depo.s'ed in a box inthe Chest of this Chapel, and is registered in the Guildhall, in London, and to be registered in Christ Church in Oxford, in the eighth year of the reign of King James. Those that shall survive are to be remembered to convey their interest to other inhabitants, and like to continue dwellers in the Town, when the number shall by death or other- wise come to four, or sooner if they shall find cause. Those who shall survey and direct the building are entreated to be careful that it be strong and plain, and that the main bearing posts be set upon stone, somewhat above the ground, and the windows all clear stories. It is conceived that thirty-six feet for the length, and eighteen feet for the breadth, will be a sufficient proportion.' CHAPTER XI. SOME CHURCH CUSTOMS. N olden times stage plays were performed on a Sunday, not only in the churches, but in the theatres, references to which are frequently made in many old church-account books. The Bewdley chapel-warden's accounts, for instance, give this entry: ' Paid unto the queenes plaiers m the Church, six shillings and eightpence.' And the register of Syston, under the year I6O2, contains this item, ' Paid to Lord Morden's players because they should not play in the Church, xijd.,'thus show- ing that the players claimed a sort of prescriptive right to use the house of God for their performances. But prior to this period several attempts had been made to check this abuse, and Bonner Bishop of London, issued in the year 542 a proclama- tion to his clergy, prohibiting all manner of common plays, games, or interludes to be played, set forth, or declared within their churches or chapels. And the author of a tract published in See Kelly's 'Notices of Leicester,' pp. I-2 5. Some Church Customs. 2o 5 the year I572 also censures in severe terms the practice of the clergy neglecting their duties, and encouraging, stage-plays in churches : ' He again posteth it over as fast as he can gallop; for he either hath two places to serve, or else there are some games to be played in the afternoon, as lying the whetstone, heathenish dancing of the ring, a beare or bull to be baited, or else jack-an-apes to ryde on horseback, or an interlude to be played, and if no place else can be gotten, it must be done in the church.' A writer in the North British Review for February, 1863 (t94), remarks that even in Scotland, 'long after the Reformation, such plays were performed, and sometimes still upon a Sunday, for the people saw no harm in this, and petitioned the National Assembly that it might be allowed. But the Reformed Ministers had now begun to entertain stricter notions of the day of rest, and forbade on that day the performance of plays.' It may be added that many curious particulars illustrative of the performance of plays in churches, consisting of extracts fr6m the accounts of St. Margaret's Church, Southwark, will be found in the Shakespeare Society Papers (III.), contri- buted by Mr. J. Payne Collier, who also com- municates a note that 'on June 7th, 1483, the citizens of Lincoln had leave to perform a play in the nave of the cathedral, as had been their custom upon the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.' And from Hayes register it appears that in the eighteenth century the favourite anausement during Divine service was cock-throwing in the church- 206 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. yard, once, as it is noted, ' in spite of the justice, minister, parish-officers, and constables.' But two years later things grew far more serious, for the justice gave up the matter. The Rev. C. Manning writes : ' Feb. 27 th 1754. Being Shrove Tuesday, Divine service was performed in the afternoon, and no care was taken to prevent the throwing at cocks, rioting, and swearing In the churchyard, at the same tmle ; though I gave previous notice of the same to the churchwardens and the magistrate, and desired that it might be prevented for the honour of God and a public good; but his answer was this :--" I know no law against throwing at cocks, even in the churchyard."' And from a parish-book belonging to St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, we learn that in the year 1584 the inhabitants of Astley were complained against for playing at bowls on a Sunday. It was ordered that'they shall adorn and repair their chapel at their own expence, as a commutation.' But church life was not the same in all parishes, for there is a memorandum, dated 1613, in Buxted register, of the combination of the parishioners for the better observance of the Sabbath. It runs thus : 'Because God hath commanded us to have a care that the Sabbath daye be kept holy, both by ourselves and others, as farre as we are able, there- fore, upon consideration that the Lord's Day hath been many and divers ways profaned by unlawful meetings and feastings for manie years past, we, whose names are undersigned, doe give our con- Social LiJb as To/d by Paris/, Registers. in pietie and true Religion both in Publique & private. ' 2 it is ordered and agreed if any butcher wthin this pish shall, by himselfe or any other, kill any beast or sell any victualls on the Lords day, he shall pay vj s viij a for every such offence. ' 3 if any p'son shall exercise or be p'sent at any wrastlings, bowlings, frechings, ringerings . or any . . whatever . the like, if he be [over] fifteen years he shall pay. for every such ofence, and [if he be under] that age his maister or his parents shall pay twelve pence. '4 and if any p'son be on the Lord's day in any hm . . . alehouse or dwellinge house, except for Lodgeinge or for some other ocasion Mowed by the Justice, or if he shall be found drinkeinge or p'phaining by swearinge or Raileringe in any of these houses he shall pay lO 8 and they yt . . him shall pay IO s, '5-if any man shall grind or cause to be ground any corne in the mill upon the Lord's day except in case of nessessitie, shall pay IO 8 for every such offence. ' Item that all head oficers and inferior oficers make diligent search to find out and punish the sev'all ofenders against the several Acts made for the observation of the Lord's day. 'IL Concern abuses.I it is ordered and agreed that if all p'sons shall demean them- selves decently and Reverently in the church. '2 it s ordered and agreed that if any p'son shall abuse or . . a dead corps in the church or church yard issuing after the interment, for the Some Church Customs. o 9 same he shall be ordered at the next sessions following and shall suffer punishment according to Law. '3 it is ordered and agreed that if any shall Ringe bells for pleasure, on the Lord's day he shall surer according to Law. '4 if any man shall Ringe the bells upon ordinarie dales without the consent of ye minister or churchwardeners he shall be indicted for the ofence at the next Sessions following. '5- it is ordered and agreed that if any man shall send for stronge drinke to tipple in the Church or take to... he shall be complaned and surer punishment for the misdemeanor. ' 6. [llegible].' Then follow the signatures of the Rector, churchwardens, and twenty-five of the parishioners. And, speaking of the observance of the Sabbath, a curious accident, which brought a somewhat severe and uncharitable stricture from the parson, is recorded on a loose leaf in one of the registers of Kirkandrews-upon-Esk : 'Upon Nov. I. 696 yet happened a very sad accident 28 people were drowned at Canabie Boat as yY were passing yt water from church. Six persons come to years of discretion went from own church to Canaby. Every soul of y" was drowned. These six lived in nay parish. There happened in ye company, two boys of 9 and years old. They were xn ye midst of y pool See 'Yorkshire Parish Registers,' the It, tiquary, 88-, vol. vi., p. 9 z. t4 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. over head and ears in water w ye rest of ye people yt were drowned and yet by a distinguishing privilege yss two only got out of y water safe. Surely God Almighty thereby showed his dis- pleasure to these persons who being of age passed by yr own parish Church to Canaby, but shewed his mercy to y boys, who knew not w t yeX did but went for company sake. In suffering persons of age yt were of my parish to be drowned and in .preserving y two lads safe even in as great danger in all human probability as y rest. This is so distinguishing a evidence yt everyone ought to take notice of it, and take heed how they run from yeir own parish Church.' Another strange accident is incidentally alluded to in the register of burials of St. Anne's, Black- friars, under October 28, 623: 'Dorothy, wife of Mathew Sommers. She was slain at a priest's sermon. Mary Clement, waiting-woman to the said Dorothy, slain with her mistress.' 'The horrid accident thus noticed,' writes Malcolm in his' Londinium Redivivum' (ii. 372), 'occasioned a number of pamphlets, intolerant and bigoted in the extreme ; amongst which was, "Something written by occasion of that fatal and memorable accident in the Black Friers on Sunday, being the 26 th of October, 623, 8tilo antiquo, and the 5 th November, Stilo r, ovo, or Roman, i623."' It appears that a certain Father Drury, ,a member of the Society of Jesuits, and in priest s orders, had the reputation of being a fervent preacher, and hence drew large congregations, by no means confined to Roman Catholics. One account of the Some Church Customs. -I I disaster informs us that over the gateway of the hotel of the French Ambassador, in Blackfriars, which was of stone and brick, was a gallery, or attic story, of 40 feet in length and 17 feet in width, the third in height from the ground. There were two passages to this room, one from the street, the other from the Ambassador's with- drawing-room. The lower floor had a vault of stone. Twelve feet were taken from the length of the gallery by a deal partition, and this apartment served as a vestry-room for the priest ; so that an auditory of near 300 persons were compressed within a space but 28 feet in length and t7 feet in breadth. As the architect who erected this building could never have supposed so many people would have assembled in it, he had taken no precautions calculated to sustain so great a weight; on the contrary, it was found that the principal beam of the floor had been almost severed by two mortices facing each other in the centre, leaving little more than 3 inches of solid wood. A few chairs were occupied by the superior classes of the congregation before the priest, who had a table near him, but the remainder stood literally wedged together. Drury made his appear- ance, and took his text from the parable of the servant and ten thousand talents, and scarcely half an hour had elapsed when the dreadful catastrophe occurred, which in an instant precipitated the whole mass of unfortunate listeners through a floor beneath them, ' where they were engulphed in a torrent of timber, laths, and dust, after a descent of twenty- I4--2 Some Church Customs. 2 3 us that in the year I6I 8 a license was granted to Lady Barbara Hastings 'to eat flesh in Lent on account of her great age.' The same license is granted more formally in the following case recorded in the parish register of Staplehurst : ' Be it known unto all men by these presents, that I, James Bowyer, Clarke, and Curate of the Churche of Staplehurst, in the County of Kent, have licensed, and by these presents do license, William Tanner, yeoman, being at this tyme sicke and visited by the mighty hand of God, to eate fleshe, and to use such meates as shall seem best to him for the recovery of his health.' The register of Wolverton tells us how Sir Thomas Temple had to pay thirteen shillings and fourpence for a license to eat flesh on days pro- hibited, and a further case may be quoted from the last page of the Bampton register : ' Whereas the Right \Vorshp n Sir Thomas Hood knight and his worthy lady, having upon undeniable evidence made it appear that they are not in bodily health, and therefore according to the lawe m that case provided have obtained a licence to eat flesh during the time of their Indis- position of bodies; But since the Date of eight dayes allowed by the Statute is expired, and they are still in a sickly condition, upon their request the said licence is longer indulged them to dress Flesh and accordingly registered. March I8, I66O.' In spite, however, of the severity of the law, it was not always observed; for in the'History of Henley' (1861) a list of persons is given who Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. were presented (38 Eliz.) for eating flesh in Lent : ' Robt. Chamberlin for roasting a pigg in his house the xxiij, day Marche, w ch was spent at Thomas Seywell's house, the cobbler. 'Henry Wanlar for seething ij p'ce of bacon.' Turning to Easter, we find from a memorandum in the Tottenham register, dated 1577, that 'the vestry resolved that every parishioner, rich or poor, should at Easter pay quartera.ge for the Church, and providing bread and wine at the Communion seven-pence, and every person having one or more houses to pay the same for every empty house, and to the Clark's wages such sum or sums according to ancient collection'; and as illustrating Church life in the seventeenth century, we may incidentally quote the subjoined notice from the parish rate-books at Hampsthwaite, published in the year 1786 by the parson for the information of his parishioners as to his arrange- ments for Eastertide : ' I give notice to all the Parishioners within ye p'ishe of Hampsthwaite that I intend (God willing) to administer ye Blessed Com. on those days following, viz., Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Even, Easter day m the [church], and here will be sermons and homelys on Good Friday and Easter Even by myselfe or some other, and I pray do not drive all till last day. On Tuesday in Passion Week at Thornthwaite Chapel. On Monday morning after Palme Sunday to ye sicke & lame of Holme Sinders Hills. 'On Tuesday morning, before I begin at Some Church Customs. z 15 Chappell, to the sick and lame people of Thorn- thwaite & Padside. 'On Wednesday morning to ye sick of ye Hamblett of Birtsw th and felicliffe, and on Thurs- day morning to ye Hamb t of Hamp. ye Church- wardens are to give notice ye night before to attend in y Hambletts. ' I desire all ye pihioners of this p'ish to take notice & others not of" y p'ish y are concerned, that they come and reckone and pay yr compts betwixt [now] and Easter day to me or some other I shall appoint. The reck will be taken in y Church. ' I shall be at home or in ye Church every day after now until Easter except Monday and Tues- day in Passion Week, when I am to be at Lawrence Buck's to reteine y reck & compts of" all persons that live within the compasse of" Sinders Hills. ' I desire the Church wardens will take notice, as much as in them lyes, of those persons that do willfully absent ymselves from Sacrament, y are above 6 years of age. I give notice I will take no recks: nor any for me, on Sunday morn: nor on Good Friday morning nor on Saturday morning. ' The Church wardens are to provide bread and wine ag t those days I have appointed, at y charge of y p'ish. If any person be able to go or ride to Church or Chappell let them not expect me at their houses. ' A great Sickness I fear this ensuing year. I pray God's Blessing from plag: & pestilnssis--L d Some Church Customs. z 17 records that seven shillings and sixpence was paid 'for dogs wipping' xn 78, whereas from the Castleton parish records we learn that the salary of the sluggard-waker in 722 was ten shillings. Apropos of this custom, Mr. J. c. Cox informs us that in the church of Baslow, Derbyshire, there still remains the weapon of the ancient parish functionary, the dog-whipper. It was his duty to whip the dogs out of church, and generally to look after the orderly behaviour of both bipeds and qua.drup.eds during Divine service. The whip in questxon xs a stout lash, some 3 feet in length, fastened to a short ash stick, with leather bound round the handle. We believe it to be a unique curiosity, as we cannot hear of another parish in which the whip is still extant. There is said, also, to be still in existence in the church of Clynnog Vawr, in North Wales, an instrument for .dragging dogs out of church, which has a long pair of curiously shaped tongs with sharp spikes fixed at the ends--an interesting relic of the church discipline of the past. Similarly, many bequests were made in years gone by for the strewing the church with rushes, a custom which was, it may be remembered, in many country parishes attended with all kinds of festive formalities. In the parish register of Kirkham, Lancashire, are entries to this effect: '16o4. Rushes to strew the church cost this year nine shillings and sixpence.' And under the year 63 : ' Paid for carrying the rushes out of the church in sickness time five shillings.' But after the year 634 disbursements for rushes never Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. appear in the Kirkham register, when the church was flagged for the first time. In the parish account-books of Hailsham, Sussex, charges occur for strewing the church floor with straw or rushes; and, in accordance with an old bequest, it has been customary for the Mayor to go to St. Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol, on Whir Sunday, when the church is strewn with rushes. The alteration of the Style of the Calendar is noticed in one of the registers of Kirkandrews- upon-Esk : ' Whereas our old English Stile, or year of our Lord, did not commence till the 25 t day of March w c was attend'd with great many Inconveniencys : But by our Act passed in the 24 t year of the Reign of King George the Second, and in the year of our Lord 75. This old Stile ceased; and for the future the first day of January is to be taken deem'd and accounted the first Day of every year. Andbvthes aAct days in the month of 7 br were annihilated and then the new stile took place. N.B. The days were dropt betwixt 2 na and 4 h of 7 br 752? And apropos of this change in the calendar, a curious entry occurs in one of the Glaisdale register books: ' Sept. 2. The new style, or Gregorian account, took place by Act of parliament; so eleven days were cut off or annihilated, and the 2 a of September, 752, was reckoned the 3 th, the next day the 4 th, and so on. This was well enough till Christmas came, when some would--yea, a great many--keep old Christmas, and some the CHAPTER XII. STRANGE NATURAL PHENOMENA. ANY unusual events connected with our physical and natural history are recorded in the parish register. Indeed, the allusions to storms, earthquakes, meteors, floods, frosts, droughts, and such-like occurrences, constitute one of the most unique and authentic sources of information. Such entries, too, often give the most graphic details of the fearful havoc and destruction caused by these, as they were com- monly called,' visitations of Providence.' Thus, in August, 577, an alarming thunderstorm, chronicled in the register, occurred at Bungay one Sunday at prayer-time, causing the death of two men in the belfry--an event which gave rise to the wonderful legend of the 'blacke dogge of Bungay,' or the ' divel in such a likenesse,' that ran down the body of St. Mary's with great swiftnesse and incredible haste, ' and wrung the necks of two men.' According to the register of Holy Trinity, Dorchester, on August 22, 65I, 'at night there Strange Natural P]enonena 9_9_ I was great thunder and lightning, such as had not been known by any living in this age, and there fell with it a great storm of hail, some of the stones of which were seven inches about, with abundance of rain, and it continued all night and great part of next morning till eight or nine of the clock.' Under July 6, 666, an entry in Lambeth parish register records the burial of John \Yard, who'was killed with a thunderbolt.' It appears that on July I2, I787, in the same parish, another death of a similar kind occurred, which is thus described in the Gentleman's lagazine : 'July x 9., died at his house, near the Bishop's Palace, Lambeth, at about a quarter before six in the evening, by a flash of lightning, Mr. Bacon, Clerk to the Salt Office. At the beginning of the storm he was drinking tea with his wife ; the back windows of the one pair of stairs to the south having been open all day, he went up for the purpose of shutting them, and in the action of lifting up his right arm received the stroke, which tore his coat eight inches in length, and four in breadth; whence it entered his right side, nearly opposite his heart, went through his body, and out at the left hip, and down his left leg to his buckle --which melted--and tore the upper leather of the shoe from the sole. His dog being at that foot, was also struck dead ; after which the light- ning penetrated the wainscot and floor of the o,ae pair of stairs, and made its way into the front parlour, north, where it tore the wainscot in a singular manner, and went off with an explosion Strange Natural P]enomena. - -3 never seene in these parts by hoe man liveinge ; for it did throw downe some houses and mills and tooke away severall briggs... The water did run through houses and did much hurte to houses; besydes the water washt upp greate trees by the roots, and the becks and gills carried them with other greate trees, stocks and greate stones a greate way off and layd them on men's ground; yea further the water did so fiercely run dow,le the bye-wayes and made such deepe holes and ditches in them that att severall places neither horse nor foote could passe, and besydes the becks and rivers did soe breake out of their waves as they brought spreadinge greate sand beds into men's ground art many places which did greate hurte the never like was known. I pray God of His greate mercy grant that none which is now living may never see the like againe.' It is remarkable how frequently destructive storms of this kind are reported to have occurred, producing floods which may well have filled our forefathers with dismay. Thus, the register of Arlingham describes a flood that took place Tuesday in the forenoon, on January 2o, 6o6- 7 : ' There was an exceeding great fludd, and the greater by reason of the south west winde, so hye that one might have morde a boate at Thomas Kinges gate; when many lost their sheepe and other cattle and their goods, Horsecroft and New- bridge being then sowde with wheat, and all over- flowde ; and had it not been for the C---- boate, which was commonly used upon IO th daye, and in the Tenure of M r Robert Yate and Thomas 224 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. manye about the number of twenty, had lost their lives, or, at the least, binne greatly endangered to be pined or starved to death. M r Thomas Yate and his eldest son, M r Richard Yate, were then hemm'd in upon Glass Cliffe with the water. I say it is an admirable memorandum, because it exceeded the fludd that was about forty-six years before a foot and a half at the least higher than it was then. Cursed be the hand that raseth this memorable Recorde out of this Booke. Upon the same day M r Anne,-- who then was not churched,--for feare of the waters, was with M r Childe, then Vicar, and his familie, fain to be hurried over with the boate from the Vicaridge. And this day was just three weekes after Elizabeth Childe was born. ''a- Another flood on Tuesday, November 4, 628, is described in a lengthy memorandum: 'Flood over . yard high in Vicarage Barn'; and one in the following year, February 3, I629, 'ranne not into Vicarage.' ' Thrice have I seen a fearful inundation Within the space of two-and-twentie years, As few of my coate have in all their station ; Which when it comes (as't will) into men's eared, What hart so hard that can abstain from teares ? But woe is me that I am first to dwell Where seas, enradge with windes, so Froudlie swell! God knows who shall survive to see the next-- To be, as I have binne, with feare perplext.' In June, I645, a memorandum in the parish register of Loughborough informs us that ' there fell a strange storm in that part of Leicestershire See ' Gloucestershire Notes and ueries,' vol. i., p. z46. Strange IVatural Phenomena. both, it being on the Market Day Thursday. The brooks from the Forest came down with such violence that in the space of an hour ran through all the houses on the left hand the Malt Mill Lane over the Door Thresholds and thro' the yards down to the Shambles. And both streams meeting at the end of the Shambles ran over the highest place on the Conwall ; and thro all the houses Gats places and low Rooms on the West side of the Market Place insomuch that the waters stood up to their Bed sides in their Parlers and floated their vessels in the cellars, and would take a Horse up to the Belly ; and at the bottom of the Swan Street up to the Saddle, and ran over the walls of the Bridge going into the Rushes, and burst down a garden wall on the right hand the Bridge, and so got more Liberty and then speedily abated to the astonishment of all the Spectatours: which might say with the Psalmist, 'Oh come hither and behold the Works of the Lord what Destruction He hath brought upon the .earth and likewise- ' Thou art a God that doth foreshow thy wonders every Hour And so doth make the Pcople know thy virtue and thy Power The Clouds that were both thick and Black did rain most plentiously The Thunder in the air did crack his shafts abroad did to conclude from Lightning and Tempest from Plague Pestilence and Famine from battel and Murder and from Sudden Death Good Lord deliver us. Amen.' Perhaps one of the most extraordinary storms 228 Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. recorded is the great snow-storm of January I6, t6t4-I5, one of the many accounts of which is preserved i,1 the parish register of Youlgrave, Derbyshire, under the heading' A Memoriall of the Great Snow Storm.' ' It covered,' runs the narrative, ' the earth five quarters deep upon the plain, and for heaps or drifts of snow, they were very deep, so that passengers, both horse and foot, passed over gates, hedges and walls. It fell at ten several times, and the last was the greatest, to the great admiration and fear of all the land, for it came from the four pts of the world, so that all the c'ntryes were full, yea, the South p'te as well as these mountaynes. It continued by daily encreasing until the I 2 th day of March (without the sight of any earth, eyther upon hilles or villeges) uppon w ch daye, being the Lorries Day it began to decrease ; and so by little and little consumed and wasted away, till the eight and twentieth day of May, for then all the heapes or drifts of snow were consumed, except one upon KinderLScout, w ch lay till Witson Week.' And the Croydon register, under February i4, 1614-I 5, says : ' This was the day of the terrible snow, and the Sunday following a greater.' It seems that this storm was followed by a drought, and from the same source we learn that ' there was no rayne fell uppon the earth from the 25 t day of March till the 2 na day of May, and then there was but one shower, after which there fell none tyll the 18 ' day of June, and then there fell another ; after yt there fell none at all till the 4 t day of August, after which tyme there was Strange Natural Phenomena. Another great frost was that of 683-84. It was of eight weeks' duration, and is made the subject of a memorandum in the register of Holy Rood Church, Southampton" ' This yeare was a great Frost, which began before Cristmasse, so that ye 3ra & 4,h dayes of this month of February ye river of Southampton was frossen all over and covered with ice from Calshott Castle to Redbridge and Tho: Martaine ma r of a vessell went upon ye ice from Berry near Matchwood to Milbrook Point. And y river at Ichen Ferry was so frossen over that severall persons went from Beauvois Mill to Bittern Farme forwarde & backwards." On the other hand, occasional reference is made to the excessive heat. The register of Lough- borough, for instance, records the great heat of the summer of the year I8(Z8, and adds that on I "th the heat was so intense ' \Vednesday, July o , that n consequence thereof many People died, especially they that were at work in the fields, also a great number of Horses, particularly coach- horses drawing stage-coaches. The thermometer as high as 9z. ' And according to the Arlingham register just two centuries beforehand, ' there was a most extreame hott son-ier, in so much that many died with heat.' But, as nowadays, the weather in most years has varied, and an entry in the parish register of Mayfield, Sussex, gives some interesting particulars respecting the season of I626: ' In the former part of this summer there was an extraordinary great fall of raine, and apparent Strange Natural Phenomena. And so, with dread forebo.dings, was penned the following memorandum xn the register of Nantwich : 'This yeare last past, 618, in the month of November many times there appeared eastward a Blazing Starr, betokenninge godds judgements towards us for Sine. the lord xn mercye be mercifull unto us.' The arrival in the year 1680 of another comet seems to have caused some excitement, an event which was considered worthy of being registered by the parson of Crowhurst, Sussex, who has left this memorandum : 'A blazing starre appeared in ye kgdom in ye yeare 168o: it did first shew itself o th December yt yeare 80 which did stream from y south west to y middle of y heaven broader yn that a Raine Bow by farre, and continued till y latter end of February.' _At Collumpton, Devon, on March 19, 7t9, 'in the evening between seven and eight a great light was seen'; and a similar one is recorded as occurring at Huddlesceugh, Cumberland, in x 653. On March 30, 716, 'a strange sort of light in the aire' is noted in the parish register of Chapel- en-le-Frith, which was, no doubt, an unusually brilliant appearance of the [Northern Lights. The same night on which this appearance was noted at Chapel-enTle-F.rith it also caused con- siderable consternatmn m other Peak villages. _At Hartington, along with a similar appearance which was noticed on the 6th of the same month, it was so vivid and caused so much alarm as to Strange Natural P]enomena. 2 3 5 In the register, too, of Langtree, Devon, we find this entry : ' March ye 19, 17 t 8, ab 8 in ye evening a great amazing meteor Light was seen m ye air; after yis an uncommon Thunder was heard; and y Light separating ab y middle soon disap- peared.' Earthquakes, again, are noticed. Thus a quaint entry in the Nantwich register speaks of an earth- quake in I612-I 3 thus: ' This same yeare on the I8 tu March chaunced a terrible earthquake between 7 and 8 of the Clocke in the forenoone w c came with a most fearfull noyse and horrible shakeinge, the space of 3 minutes, w c is noe doubt a sure signe that the cominge of Christ is at hand, and even at the Dores.' A memorandum in the Aylestone registers, under June I, I684, chronicles a collection made for Runswick, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 'the town sunk by earthquake, and the in- habitants loss besides houses, above twelve hundred pounds.' The sum collected amounted to six shillings and sixpence. In the register of St. Mary Magdalene, Canter- bury, the following entry has been crossed out: ' The great shake of y earth was September ye 8, 69.' After it comes an entry relating to one Richard Kingnorth, who was hanged for ' stealeing a hors,' and then follows: 'The greate shake of the earth was September the 8 : 69.' But, as it has been pointed out, the wrong date is given for this earthquake. The event was CHAPTER XIII. STRANGE SIGHTS. HE love of the marvellous has never failed to attract attention, and at all times sensa- tional shows have proved a lucrative venture. At the same time, one would scarcely expect to find instances of these recorded in the parish register, amongst matters of serious and religious import. But oftentimes the parson jotted down anything that peculiarly interested him, and which had come under his observation in the course of the week. Thus, the register of St. Nicholas', Durham, has this curious entry: ' x568. Mere. That a certaine Italian brought into the Cittie of Durham the eleventh day of June, in the year above sayd a very strange C4 monstrous serpent in length sixteene feet, in quantitie and dimensions greater than a horse; which was taken and killed by speciall pollicie in (Ethiopia within the Turkes Dominions. But before it was killed it had devoured--as it is Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. credibly thought--more than one thousand per- sons, and destroyed a whole country.' Shows of the Barnum type were very common in days gone by, bands of travelling conjurers and showmen going from town to town with their highly sensational bills of fare. An entry in Loughborough register records how in the year 579 a man was slain by a lioness 'which was brought into the towne to be seen of such as would give money to see her. He was sore wounded in sundry places, and was buried on the 26 th day of August.' The stories, too, are very varied in their character, but, from whatever source derived, they savour strongly of the mar- vellous. Thus, according to the statement of the parish clerk of Firmingley, Notts, the following extraordinary occurrence happened in July, 7o7, of which he was himself an eye-witness: 'Zachariah Bolton, riding with his gun on M r Barnardiston's bay horse into "Auckley Colt Field," found five stags herded about two hundred yards west from ye bottom of the "Long Hedge." He fired amongst them, and disabled one in the hinder parts; then quitting his horse, he caught the stag by the hind leg, and called to Jarah Wood and myself, who were not far off, for help, but the stag struggling and braying, the horse took him by the neck, and beat him with his fore-foot till he lay still, then we took him alive, laid him on the horse and carried him to the parsonage house at Firmingley, into the little court-yard before the kitchen door, where he was killed and drest, by the order of John Harvey Strange Sights. z 39 Esq TM of Ickwell Bury, who was there present, and had before given us an order to go about the said transaction. The truth of this I am ready to attest upon oath if so required.' A gruesome and highly strange occurrence is recorded in Baunton parish register as having taken place in the year 646, which we quote below : 'In this parish of Baunton, in the Clarkes House--one Richard Syfolly--upon St. Matthias Day, 1646 , about eleven of the Clock in the forenoon there rose out of an old dry table bord of birch,won which bord I Henry Topp minister there now wright these words Aug st 94th being St. Bartholomew's Day--a water, reddish of the colour of blood, and so continued till rising and runninge alonge and downe the Table, all that afternoone, and the nighte followinge till the next day, and about the hour when it first began, and so ceased. That same day, St. Matthias (I re- member) I read prayers in the chaple but was not called to be an eye witness of this strange sight, and was informed of it by the eye witnesses the very next Lordes Day when I came to officiat in the Chapell. Many of the neighbours heard their reports as well as my selfe Henry Topp who have it avered under their said hands and marks. '* Equally curious is a ghost story which forms the subject of a memorandum in the register of Brisley, Norfolk, and which is deserving of notice : See 'Gloucestershire Notes and Queries,' 887, vol. ii., P. 7- 24o Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. 'Dec. % x7o6. I, Robert Withers, M.A. Vicar of Gately, do insert here a story which I had from undoubted hands, for I have all the moral certainty of the truth of it possible :-- ' Mr. Grove went to see Mr. Shaw on the 2 a of August last. As they sat talking in the evening, says Mr. Shaw, "On the 2I st Of the last month as I was smoking my pipe and reading in nay study between eleven and twelve at night, in comes Mr. Naylor--formerly Fellow of St. John's College, but had been dead full four years. When I saw him I was not much affi'ighted, and I asked him to sit down, which accordingly he did for about two hours, and we talked together. I asked him how it fared with him. He said, 'Very well.' ' Were any of our old acquaintances with him.' ' No' (at which I was much concerned); 'but Mr. Orchard will be with me soon, and yourself not long after.' As he was going away I asked him if he would not stay a little longer, but he refused. I asked him if he would call again, 'No; he had but three days' leave of absence, and he had other business.'" ' N.B. Mr. Orchard died soon after. Mr. Shaw is now dead. He was formerly fellow of St. John's College, an ingenuous good man. I knew him there, but at his death he had a college living in Oxfordshire, and here he saw the apparition.' A correspondence which passed between the Rev. John Hughes, of Jesus College, Cambridge, and the Rev. Mr. Bonwicke, very shortly after the event referred to took place, was subsequently 4 Social Life as ToM by Parish Registers. impost, an impost, and so died. A most sad storm of wind immediately ensued.' An entry in the Croydon register records 'a description of a monstrous birth, born of the body of Rose Easterman, wife of John Easterman, being a child with two heads, four arms, four legs, one body, one navel, and distinction of two male children, and was born the 27 of January, I72I-2.' And among the burials of the register of Trinity Church, Chester, this memorandum is given : 'John Brookes Mason who poynted the Steple i6io and made many showes and pastymes on the Steple of Trinity, and also on the toppe of St. Peter's Steple as many thousands did witnesse, dyed o July and bur : July in the Church Yard (614) broke his necke going down a payre of stayres by the Church.' CHAPTER XIV. LOCAL EVENTS. N many parishes the register served as a kind of note-book for the parson, and oftentimes contains miscellaneous memoranda of local interest --' brief but pregnant notes on passing events, and the ever-varying circumstances of parochial life.'* Dr. Kennett, Bishop of Peterborough i728), in his first Visitation to his clergy, marked on this subject : ' One more thing I would intimate to you, that you are not only obliged to enter the day and year of every christening, wedding, and burial, but it is left to your dis- cretion to enter down any notable incident of times and seasons, especially relating to your own parish and the neighbourhood of it.. If such memorable things were fairly entered, your parish registers would become chronicles of many strange occurrences that would not otherwise be known, -'The Registers of Prestbury,' Record Society, 188I. Introduction, pp. xii, xiii. z44 Social Life as Told by Parish Registers. and would be of great use and service for posterity to know.' Some parsons seem to have acted on this prin- ciple, and to have entered even the most ordinary and trivial occurrences. Church robberies are occasionally noticed. An entry in Hackney register, dated October, I689, runs thus : ' Stolen out of the vestry of St. John, Hackney, on the 23 rd inst, one new green bible, two sur- plices, an old gown, a green velvet Case for the pulpit Cushion, the hearse Cloth, one green pulpit Cloth, and a small sum of money.' And under the year I633 , the following curious entry occurs in the parish register of North Wing- field : ' Upon the first day of August or there aboute their was a great clock plum stolen out of the steeple, which was eight or nine stone weight, sum strong body did steal yt or else it could not have been carried away for I could not lift it with one hand, at the same time there was a kaye left in at Booth (?) Savage house which did unlock the Chapple door when they pleased to goe and ringe when I was out . . . And manie times the Churche doores was left open when I never did know of it by this means allso by going into the Chappell window & breaking the . . . door into the Chancell. At there pleasure the Church was made common and doores left open alnight manie times.' vVe may also quote another curious entry which Local Events. 245 occurs in the register of Bexley, under the year I683: ' Fhat in the week before Palm Sunday about the I8 th March, I Benjamin Huntington, Vicar of Bexley, in the County of Kent, for ye discharge of my duty and conscience, did certifie to the Churchwardens of the parish aforesaid, that there were severall pieces of plate, vizt two Silver Flagons and Silver Almes Dish (a Bason) alienated from the use of the Church, to which they were given by pious and generous benefacto TM and had been ever mnce the times of the late horrid Rebellion. And did then likewise according to the best Information acquaint them yt they were de- posited by M r Nicholas Franckwell, sometime Vicar, in the hands of M TM Anne Grymes.' A fire, as nowadays, occasionally caused no small excitement in village life, as may be gathere.d from the following memorandum, recorded in Mayfield register under the year 1611 : 'Upon the Saboath daye, being the 15 th daye of Maye, about 8 o'clock in the night arose a great fire in the house of Thos. Stephen, at the west end of Mayfield towne, and burnt downe both his house and the next house adjoining, and sett on fire another house and also a barne. The fire by God's providence was put out, the whole towne being n great danger, by reason of the violence of the wind, which then was towards the west.' And a memorandum in the Nantwich register relates how 'upon Thursday, the 29 th October in this yeare , about 12 of the Clocke in the Local 1Events. z 5 the entries in the parish registers that his father, John Russell, had three daughters and two sons-- William, born in 668, and Thomas in 672 ; and it is probable that the above person (com- monly known as 'Betsy the Doctress') was one of these. Lysons tells that, in the course of his wanderings, this eccentric individual 'attached himself to itinerant quacks, learned their remedies, practised their calling, and that this knowledge, combined with his great experience, gained for him the reputation of being a most infalfible doctress.' In his disguise he was a very convivial old.lady, it being his practice to treat his com- pamons at the village ale-house. _A similar case bearing on our subject is reported to have happened early in the present century. The person who acted as parish clerk, and was always dressed as a man, and had, moreover, been married to a woman some time before her death, was found at her decease to be a woman. _And in the register of St. Bodolph, Aldgate, under July 17, 655, we find this entry : ' William Clark, son of John Clark, a soldier, and Thomasine, his wife, who herself went for a souldier, and was billetted at the Three Hammers, in East Smithfield, about seven months, and after was delivered of this child She had been a souldier by her own confession, about five years, and was some time Drummer to the Company.' On the fly-leaf of one of the Bampton registers is this memorandum: ' The origin of the name of Mount-Owen was as follows: Some persons were passing by, when Social Limb as Toht by Parish Registers. the cottage at the top of the hill was in building ; anaong whom was an eccentric old shoe-maker named John Neal, and he was asked to give it a title. He said it must be called Mount-Owen, the Rev. Hugh Owen being Vicar of one of the portions of Bampton at that time.' To quote another entry in which the eccen- tricity of woman is further illustrated, we find in the register of Chapel-en-le-Frith, under March I a, 1717, the following strange adventure of a young girl narrated. It appears she was about thirteen years of age, and her name was .Alice Phenix. She 'came to this town to a shop for half a stone of towe for her master, being an apprentice to W TM \Vard of the Peak Forest. She went from this town in the evening and called at Peter Downs house, who lived then at Laneside. They sent her away in good time to have gone home. She turned again and was found at the house when they were going to bed. Peter called her in and sent her to bed with his daughter, next morning calling her up very soon he sent her away, but as they were going to plough found her again, and his son did chide her very ill, and she seemed then to make best haste home, but sitting down between two ruts in George Bouden's Part on Paislow, sat there that day and next, and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday till noon. Two of which days, the I5 th and I6 th was the most severe snowing and driving that had been seen in the memory of man. This girl was found about one o'clock on Monday, by William Jackson, of Sparrowpit, and rilliam Longden, her neighbour Local Events. 2 5 3 in the Fforest. They carried her to the same house back again, to Peter Downe's house, and after she had got some refreshment, a little warm milk, could warm herself at the fire afterwards, and could turn her & move her legs, with her hands, and after was carried to her master's house that night, & is now--March 25, 77--quite well, but a little stiff in her limbs. This was the Lord's doings.' According to the State Papers, dated June 3 o, 1631 , special measures were adopted for the relief of the poor in the hundred of Nantwich, with the result that in the following year the principal owners of property in the town signed an agree- ment, which was entered in the burial register as follows : ' Mem'--It is covenanted, promised and agreed by us the gentlemen and others the inhabitants of this Towne whose names are subscribed. That by reason our Tovne is greatly oppressed with Inmates and Strangers continually cominge to reside anaongst us without any restraynt, in regard whereof our own poore cannot so well be re- sieuved [received] as otherwise they might. That from henceforward, wee will not sett or let any of our houses or cottages to strangers dwellinge out of our Towne except they shall be such as shall be able to secure the Towne, by bond to the Churchwardens, for the time beinge, from any change that they or their ffamilies might draw upon ytt.' An interesting memorandum in the second register-book of Mildenhall informs us that ' there INDEX.. ACC)T, fatal, at Blackfriars, 212, 2I 3 Advent marriages, I35 Adventure, strange, of a young girl, 252 Agreements inserted in registers, 4-43, Ale-bruer, I 7 Almanacks, rules for marrying in, I36 Apparition, curious, 24o, Apprenticeship, 89, I9o Aquavity-man, 78 Astrology, I2I, 122, 241 Baby-farming, tI6, II7, Banns of marriage proclaimed in market-place, I27, I28 Barber-surgeon, 76 Base-gotten children, Io8 Bastards, o8 Beggars, rules relating to, 97 Bell-ringing customs, I94 Bet, curious, I89, I9o Betrothal ceremonies, 36 Bloody Meadow, duel fought at the, I83 Boat accident, 2o 9 Boundaries, parish, beating of, I96, 97 Bowels, burial of, 6I Bowls on Sunday, 2o6 Brawls, fatal, 87 Bridal couple, putting of, to bed, I44, 45 Briefs, 36-39 Bull, parish, I95 Bungay, black dog ol r, 22o Burial at midnight, 48, 49 by soldiers, I47, 48 -- by women, 47 -- fees, I55 -- gardens, I64 -- in woollen, 58-6o --of suicides, I5o , 15I -- solemn, I52-54 -- usages, I47 Bye-blow, illegitimate child, lO8 Calendar, change of style, Cat, cure for bite of, 92 Caul, superstition relating to, 121 Charities, parish, I98 , 99 Charms, 75 Children, illegitimate, Io8, IO 9 -- of God, --wrongly named, 3, x4 Chrisoms, 7, Church, backside of, 48 -- customs, 2o4-219 --robberies, 3, 244 Civil marriages, I33 Cock-throwing, 2o5, 2o6 Index. Coffin, burial without a, 152 Comedians, t79 Comets, 232 Commonwealth, registers during the, 133 Contracts entered in registers, 40, 41 Creatura Christi, IO9 Crom eli's daughter, marriage I32 Croydon almshouses, 200, 2oi Court letter writer, I77 Curfew-bell, I92-I94 Curfew-land, 193 Dancing-masters, I79 Deaf and dumb, marriages of, I4 o Death and the grave, I47-I69 Deaths, strange, I65, I66 ]Debtors. sanctuary for, 185 Disputes, how settled, I79-I8I Dog-whippers, 216. 217 Dog-whippers' Marsh, 216 Dreaman, a, I77 Drink, fatal effects of, I86, I87 Drought, great, 228 Duels, fatal, I83, 184 Earthquakes, 235 Easter dues, 214, 215 Eclipses, 233 Epidemics, 81-93 Excommunicated, burial of the, I48, 49 Excommunication, Io 5 , lO6 Fewters, idle people, 184 Fields, burial in the, 89 Fires, some disastrous, 24_5 Folk medicine, 91 Fools and jesters, Fortune-tellers, 74 Foundlings, lO9-111 -- hospital for, II 3 Frosts, great, 229-23 I Garden, burial in, I64 Ghost story, 239 Gipsies, 75-77 Gowrie plot, 249 Graves, position of, I6Z, I63 Hardwicke's _Act. Lord, I8 Heart burial, I6o, I6I -- death from broken, I67 Heat, great, 231 Hunt, royal, 248, 249 Illegitimate children, Io8, Io9 Jockeys, I79 Jolly rant, the plague so called, 83 Lent, meat in, 212, 2I 3 Light, strange, seen, 233 Lightning, death from, 22I, 222 Lion, baiting of, I95, 196 Lutenist, I77 Mad dog, cure for bite of, 92 Market-place, banns declared in, I27, I28 Marriage, I24- I46 -- by justice of peace, I3I -- contracts, I37 -- tax, I39 -Merry-begotten, illegitimate chil- dren so called, IO8 Meteors, 233-235 Midnight burials, I48-I9I Midwife, baptism by, IO 9 Military discipline, 99 Mistakes, comical, in registers, 113 Moles, 254 Mortuary fees, 56, 157 Nativities, casting of, 74 Natural phenomena, 220 No Man's Piece, land so called, lO 3 Nuptial contracts, I36 Nurse children, II6 Occurrence, mysterious, at Baun. ton, 239 Orchard, burial in, I63 Palmistry, 75 Pannyer-man, I77 Parish broils, 33-36 -- clerks, 56-58 --- customs, I92-2o 3 fees, 58-6o Index. 257 Parish lands, 35 -- life, 25-46 -- pews, 60-63 -- rights, 3 o, 3 I --scandals and punishments, 94-IO6 Parson and people, 49-65 Pewage money, 66 Pictor-man, x75 Plays in church, 2o 5 Poor Laws, 25-27, 33 Pork Acre, I99 Posting sickness, plague so called, -Rates, old, I9O , -- burnt, 3, 4, 8, 15, 246 Registers damaged through negli- gence, 9 -- interpolations in, IO-I2 -- lost, 9 -- mutilation of, 2-4 IO, 11, 13 -- preservation of, 16, I7 --sold, 6, 7 --- stolen, 3 --value as legal evidence, IO- I2 Registration Act, the, I9, 21 Rose's Act, Royal touch, the, 79, 80 Rushes for churches, 217 Sabbath, observance of, 2o6-2o8 Saltpetre-man, 177 Scape-begotten, illegitimate chil- dren so called, IO8 Scrofula, cure for, 79 Sermons, 77"79 Serpent, a huge, 237 Servants, persons of quality as, 172 Seventh son, superstition relating to, 77"79 Shorthand, curious specimen of, Shows, curious, 238 Sieve and shears, 77 Singing-man, 178 Small-pox, $I Smocks, marriage in, 14o Snow-storms, gceat, 228, 229 Social usages, 7o- 19 I Solenn burials, I52-I54 Spinsters, 142 Sponsalia, 136 Stamp Act, I8 Stealing, death for, IOO Stocks, parish, 95 Stop-gallant, plague so called, 82 Storms, destructive, I5, 223-225 Strangers, decision relating to, 253 Strange sights, 237-242 Suicides, burial of, I5O , 15I Sun, curious appearance in, 236 Superstitions, 69-80 Sweating sickness, 8I Thunderbolt, death by, 221 Tithes, 27 Tomb-maker, I77 Torchlight burials, I49 Trades, curious, I75 , -- obsolete, 177 Virginal master, I52 , I75 Want, death from, 184, 185 "Vater-bearer, I76 Wey-house, the, 176 Whipping, customs relating to, 96-98 Whitsuntide, marriage forbidden at, 135 Wife's debts, I39 Wills made by parson, 62, 63 Winding-sheet, burial in, I52 Wise man, 74 Wise woman, 75 Woodmonger, a, 177 Worms, death from, $I THE END. Elliot Stock, 6z, Pater, taster Row, London.