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some would gain twopence, some threepence, some fourpence),—but when all were heard what they had newly learned the week before, the rest of the time was spent in hearing of them also to say what they had formerly learned; which was the chief end of his design, that they should learn all, and keep perfectly all they had learned: and many of the children did strive who should learn most weekly, to gain most money, and keep those they had learned most perfectly.
30. It growing now half an hour past ten, the minister of the next parish' having read divine service at his own church, then came down with his
them to be catechisers and to task many poor people with catechistical questions ; which when they come and can make answer thereunto, they are rewarded with money and their dinners, and so they pretend they feed the poor's bodies and souls. But their catechism or catechistical questions (some say) are strange ones and far different from our orthodox catechisms."— Armirian Nunnery in Hearne’s Langtoft, CXxxvii. See Lenton in Peckard, 303, 304. Compare Bull's practice (Nelson, sect. 65).
1 Steeple Gidding. See Lenton in Peckard, 290. The puritan libeller says: “This priest-like pregnant prolocutor answered but slubbringly, That sometimes a neighbour parson would come and preach in their chapel ; and to the other, That their calling (forsooth) was to serve God, which he took to be best. On the stupid and blind devotion of these people, for men and women, in health of able and active bodies and parts, to have no particular callings, and betake themselves to I wot not what new form of fasting and prayer, and a contemplative idle life, a lip-labour devotion, and a willworship!”—Hearne's Langtoft, cxxx.
parishioners to Little Gidding, where he preached on Sunday mornings. The bell then rung again to go to church. So the whole family, with the psalmchildren, met him. Being all in, Nicholas Ferrar went up into the chancel, and at the communiontable with an audible voice there read the second service. Which done, a psalm sung, the minister went up into the pulpit and preached.
31. That done each returned home; and in the same order they went, came back to the house, where they found long narrow trestles, as to be removed from place and room, as the season of the year was: and the children all standing ready, old Mrs. Ferrar with her daughters and others came in, servants brought in the baked pudding and other meat, the old gentlewoman setting the first dish upon the table. Grace said', the children orderly and with silence stand to the table, for sit they did not. This done, some were left to see all dispatched in good order (their moneys, that they had earned, given before, at that time when each had said their psalms). Then the bell was rung, and the old gentlewoman's dinner serving in, she and all the family standing in their great dining-room, a hymn was sung by them, the organs playing. Then grace said before any sat down, they went to dinner;
1 Peckard says by the minister of the parish. Children often said grace.
“At the board and in private it very well becometh children's innocency to pray, and their elders to say, Amen."—Hooker, E. P. v. 31, $ 2.
word being brought the psalm-children had done, and were gone all home to their own parishchurches in the afternoon, there to be with their parents. Whilst they were thus in feeding their bodies, one whose turn it then was (as every one took his turn at meal-time) of the younger sort read a chapter in the Bible on Sunday meal-times, that so their ears and hearts might not want the best spiritual food: which done, they also sat down to meat, and lost not by that deed.
32. Dinner ended, all had liberty to repair where they pleased, some to walk in the garden, orchard, &c., and some to their closets and privacy. About two o'clock the bell rung, so all came together and went up to Steeple Gidding church to a sermon there, and when come home, they went all into the great chamber, and said all those psalms that day at one time, which they said at the other days of the week at the set hours and time. This done they again departed every one where they pleased. At supper-time, which was commonly in summer about five and winter six, the bell rung, they all came again into the great parlour, and the organ began to play and they to sing all the while the meat was bringing in to be set on the table. Which done, grace was said and all sat down, and a while after one read a chapter, and then another, that had first supped, went to the desk and read
1 Distant a quarter of a mile.
a story out of the Book of Martyrs'. Supper done, grace said, in summer all again went where they pleased, walking abroad, and in winter warmed themselves, if they pleased, a great fire being made in the room to heat it all over, and those that would, had candles and went away: and Nicholas Ferrar, his mother and the elder people found some good discourse or other to pass the time with.
33. When eight o'clock came, the bell rung again to prayers, all went up into the great chamber, and then they sung a hymn on the organs all the time; which ended, they went to prayers. That done, all her children came and asked the old gentlewoman's blessing, and so all bid each good night, and to their several apartments each went, the younger sort to bed, and the elder were in their chamber or closets, till they went to bed; for it was an order, that none must after prayers go up and down, but keep in their chambers.
34. But we ought not to forget here to make known Nicholas Ferrar's special care, that all in the family, high and low, children and servants, should
1 Hear our libeller. “For another show that they would not be accounted popish, they have gotten the Book of Martyrs in the chapel ; but few or none are suffered to read therein, but only it is there (I say) kept for a show.”—U. 8. cxxxviii.
2 In the devastation of Gidding the organs (which were peculiarly obnoxious to the puritans; see Prynne's Histriom. 285 seq., Herbert's Epigr. Apolog. 23, 24) were broken up as fire-wood, and some sheep from the estate roasted. Peckard.
have no occasion to be absent from church, and as much freedom that day from bodily employment as might be. He so ordered, that what was for dinner should be all performed with the least and speediest loss of time, as might be: that was by causing ovens to be heated, and all the dinner to be set into them before church-time; and so all the servants were ready to go to church, not any left at home. And for supper, church ended in the evening, then the spits were laid down for meat to be roasted at the fire.
35. And one thing else besides will not be amiss to be recounted, concerning the servants. It was the custom of that family, that having a communion the first Sunday of each month throughout the year (besides the great festival times, Christmas, New-Year's day, Easter and Whitsuntide) they stood at lower end of the table where the old gentlewoman sat, and there dined that day?
36. Thus much for the Lord's day. Now come we to the employments in the weekdays, from Monday morning to Saturday night. First, for their rising (the bell ringing), it was about four
1 This too was a crime. “It seems moreover that at their monthly receiving the sacrament (which this defendant deacon performeth and consecrateth the bread and wine) their servants, when they received, were attended by their master and mistress, and not suffered to lay or take away their own trenchers, as it is reported."-Arminian Nunnery, cxxxvi, which professes to be taken from Lenton's account (Peckard, 303), where this report is called “a frivolous fable.”