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the Drapers again boating to Westminster to present their bill for the reformation of cloth-making. The barge was well supplied with ribs of beef, wine, and pippins. They attended many other ceremonies, such as the coronation of kings and queens.
In 1491 the Merchant Taylors came to a conference at Drapers' Hall, about some disputes in the cloth trade, and were hospitably entertained with bread and wine. In the great riots at the Steel Yard, when the London 'prentices tried to sack the Flemish warehouses, the Drapers helped to guard the depôt with weapons, cressets, and banners. They mustered for the king at Blackheath against the Cornish insurgents, as also at the procession that welcomed Princess Katherine of Spain, who married Prince Arthur. Then in the Lady Chapel at St. Paul's, listening to Prince Arthur's requiem, and again bearing twelve enormous torches of wax at the burial of Henry VII, the Prince's father. Their ordinances are of great interest. Every apprentice on being enrolled paid fees, which went to a fund called "Spoon Silver." The mode of correcting these wayward youths was singular. One of them on court day was flogged by two tall men disguised in canvas frocks, hoods, and vizors, twopennyworth of birchen rods being expended on his moral improvement.
They had a special ordinance in the reign of Henry IV to visit the fairs of Westminster, St. Bartholomew, Spitalfields, and Southwark, to make a trade search and to measure doubtful goods by the "Drapers' ell," a standard said to have been granted them by Edward III. Bread, wine, and pears was the frugal entertainment of the searchers. Howell, in his Letters, has the following anecdote about Drapers' Hall :-" When I went," he says, "to bind my brother Ned apprentice in Drapers' Hall, casting my eyes upon the chimney piece of the great room, I
spied a picture of an ancient gentleman, and underneath 'Thomas Howell.' I asked the clerk about him, and he told me he had been a Spanish merchant in Henry VIII's time, and coming home rich and dying a bachelor, he gave that hall to the Company of Drapers, with other things, so that he is accounted one of the chiefest benefactors. I told the clerk that one of the sons of Thomas Howell came now thither to be bound; he answered that if he be a right Howell he may have when he is free £300 to help to set him up, and pay no interest for five years."
The Vintners.—It is probable that the Vintners, or, as they were first called, the Wine Tunners of Gascoigne, existed from time immemorial. The contentions between the citizens of London and the Gascon wine merchants in Edward I infer that the Vintners had long before acted as a fraternity, though not formally incorporated until Henry VI. Edward I granted them Botolph Wharf, near Billingsgate, in the mayoralty of Henry de Valois, on their paying a silver penny annually at the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Towards the French wars they contributed £23 6s. 8d., a greater sum than that given by the majority of the companies, and in Edward III they sent six members to the Common Council, which showed their wealth and importance. The Saxons had vineyards, and in the Norman times there was a vineyard in the Tower precincts. It is supposed that home-made wine was discarded when Gascony fell into English hands. Some writers, who disbelieve in English wines, declare that the Saxons used the English word "vineyard" for orchard," and that the wine was merely cider. At Bath and other old towns, however, there are streets still called the vineyard. The traffic in Bordeaux wines commenced about 1154, when Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
The Normans were great carriers, and from Guienne most of the English wines came. Those enumerated are Muscadell, a rich wine; Malmsey; Rhenish; Dale wine, a sort of Rhenish; Stam, strong new wine; Gascony wine; Alicant, a Spanish wine, made of mulberries; Canary wine, or sweet sack (the grape of which was brought from the Canaries); Sherry, the original sack, not sweet; and Bummey, a species of Spanish wine. Sack was a term loosely applied at first to all white wines. It was probably those that Fitzstephen, in Henry II, mentions having been sold in the ships and wine cellars near the public places of cookery on the Thames bank. Their charter, confirmed by Henry VI, forbids any but such as are enfranchised by the craft of Vintners to trade in wines from Gascony, and Gascoigners were forbidden to sell wine, except by the tun or pipe. The right of search in taverns, and the regulation of prices, was given to four members of the Company, annually chosen. It also permitted Merchant Vintners to buy cloth, and the merchants of Gascoigne to purchase dried fish in Cornwall and Devon, and herrings and cloth in any other part of the kingdom they pleased. All wines coming to London were unloaded above London Bridge, at the Vintry, so that the king's bottlers and gaugers might there take custom. A famous song occurs at the end of the only known printed pageant of the Vintners. No subsequent one has since been publicly performed. This is therefore the last song of the last city poet, at the last city pageant, and is a good example of his powers:
Come, come, let us drink the Vintners' good health,
Columbus and Cortez their sails they unfurled
To find beds of gold, so far they could roam.
Fools! fools! when the wealth of the world lay at home,
Their numerous charters gave them many valuable privileges and monopolies, the preface of one, dated 1555, offers an excellent illustration of the scope of sovereign power and control in the sixteenth century. It runs thus:-" Philip and Mary, by the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Princes of Spain and Sicilie. Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Milan, Burgundy and Brabant, Counts of Hapsburg, Flanders and Tirol, &c., &c."
The Clothworkers sprang like the Fullers from the ancient guild of Weavers. The trade had formerly several sub-divisions, of which the Fullers, the Burrellers and the Testers were the chief. The Burrellers were inspectors and measurers of cloth. In the reign of Edward VI the Shearmen were separated from the Drapers and Tailors, and were incorporated. Henry VII granted them additional privileges, and Henry VIII united them with the Fullers and gave the joint fraternity the name of Clothworkers. Endless disputes occurred between the Clothworkers and the Dyers for precedence.
At length the Clothworkers settled down as the twelfth and last of the great companies, and the Dyers took rank
as the first of the minor ones. Shearmen, the old title of the Clothworkers had no reference to removing the wool from the sheep, but applied to the manner of clipping the nap in the process of cloth manufacture. They are especially mentioned in a statute concerning the woollen manufacture in Edward VI, which contained clauses requiring the clothiers' seal on the cloth, and forbidding over-stretching and adding chalk or flour or starch, and the use of iron cards. Queen Elizabeth confirmed their rights, as also did Charles I who, as well as his father, was a member of the fraternity. There were five degrees in the company-apprentices, freemen (also called yeomen and bachelors), householders, the fellowship and wardens. The government consisted of a Court of Assistants including those only who had been masters and wardens.* Pepys was a member, and left it a quaint and valuable old cup, which still shines out among the meaner plate on the occasion of their grand dinners. In proof of the honour in which the Clothworkers were held two centuries ago. may be quoted in the words of Elkanah Settle:"The grandeur of England is to be attributed to its golden fleece (which is the crest of this company), the wealth of the loom making England a second Peru, and the back of the sheep, and not the entrails of the earth, being its chief mine of riches. The silkworm is no spinster of ours, and our wheel and web are wholly the Clothworkers'. Thus as trade is the soul of the kingdom, so the greatest branch of it lies in the Clothworkers' hands, and though our naval commerce brings us in both the or' and the 'argent,' and, indeed, the whole wealth of the world, yet when thoroughly examined it will be found 'tis your cloth sends out to fetch them, and thus while the Imperial Britannia
*The freedom was always transmitted on the common principle of hereditary succession which was the essence of their constitution.