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Book now on the table, so far at least as regards the provision of food. (Appendix, No. iv.) I have never seen this visit of Henry into Wiltshire mentioned in books, so we may reckon it as a small "fragment recovered from the wreck of time." The items of the account are curious enough, but being too long to read now will do very well to print, as a specimen of the formal and careful way in which kitchen expenses were controlled in those days. It would not be amiss if in great modern establishments some such just and proper register were kept for every day. There would be much less waste and robbery, without any diminution of hospitality. The book itself also is a very fair specimen of its class. Our Elizabethan forefathers were very stately in these things. They did not use those insignificant pass books in red leather, stamped with the butcher or baker's name, which supply our ladies with a little exercise in arithmetic every Monday morning, but they kept large substantial and portly volumes, strongly bound, with arms, devices, and sometimes groups of sacred subjects stamped on the cover, The paper (all of foreign manufacture) is as thick, and almost as durable, as parchment. The expenses of every kind, for every meal, with the number of guests and names of visitors, are duly entered; and in many instances, every page, or at least monthly summary, is formally signed by the master or mistress with as much solemnity as if he or she were executing a will.
Another of the Earl's account books corroborates the tradition about the old barn having been used for the wedding dance (1536), for when King Henry came down to Wulfhall on the occasion I am now speaking of, in 1539, the old barn, being the largest room they had, was again in requisition.
"Paid to Cornish the paynter for dyvers colours by him bought, for makyng certeyn fretts & antiques on canves for my lord's Barn and House at Wulf haull agenst the King's coming thether 9th Aug. and for his cost in being sent to London for the same colours."-31s. 8d.
It seems, from the next entry, that the Earl of Hertford and family gave up the house at Wulfhall to make room for the King, and occupied the old barn themselves :-
"Paid by the hands of Thomas Hethe to certain painters, joynera, carpenters masons and others, for their wages in preparing and trimming of the Barne at Wulf hall wherein my lord lay and kept his house during the King's abode
there, and also for the ridding cleansing and garnishing of the Manor of Wulfhall wherein the King lay, and also to Penham Lodge, where my Lord's mother and children lay.-£68 10s. 10d."
The King, with his whole household and nobility, arrived at Wulfhall, Saturday, 9th August, 1539. They remained Sunday, Monday and Tuesday following. How or where so many were lodged does not appear; but " covers as we should call them," messes as the book calls them, were laid for 200 the first day. There are only two meals a day accounted for and as it appears all through the book, that on Saturdays as well as Fridays, no meat was eaten, the King's supper, on his arrival, consisted only of fish. Country places in Wiltshire must have been better supplied with that article than they are now; for the bill of fare presents (for 200, observe) pikes, salmon, gils, tenches, lobsters, bream, plaice, trouts, congers, carps, roach, eels, potted sea-fish, and salmon pasties,a sack of oysters, salt "haberdine" (codfish salted at Aberdeen), soles and whitings.
The next day being Sunday, there were messes for 400, and the provision amounted to 6 oxen, 24 muttons, 12 veals, 5 cygnets, 21 great capons, 7 good capons, 11 Kentish capons, 3 doz. and 6 coarse capons, 70 pullets, 91 chicken, 38 quails, 9 mews, 6 egrets, 2 shields of brawn, 7 swans, 2 cranes, 2 storks, only 3 pheasants, 40 partridges, 4 peachicks, 21 snipe, besides larks and brewes-whatever they were.
Perhaps an error for Tottenham Lodge, which is sometimes miscalled in these old papers, Topenham.
1 Abstinence from flesh on those two days was ordered by a Royal Proclamation, not only for health and discipline, but "for the benefit of the commonwealth and profit of the fishing trade." This view of the matter is also (somewhat curiously) taken up in one of our old Homilies (" On Fasting, Part 2.,,) where the eating of fish (as a variety of abstinence) is recommended " upon policy, not respecting any religion at all in the same: as whereby the increase of victuals on the land may the better be cherished, to the reducing of the price to the poor, and also fisher-towns bordering on the sea be maintained for the increase of fishermen, of whom do spring mariners, to the furniture of the navy and defence of the realme."
2 This fowl is mentioned as a dish on King Richard the Second's table (Antiq. Repertory i., 78), where a commentator suggests "perhaps grouse." Also at a feast, temp. Hen. VII. (Leland's Collect. iv., 227) in company with "fesaunt" and " partricche : but in this instance the word is spelled "browes." Not finding it in any dictionary at hand, the only conjecture I can offer is that it was some kind of moor-fowl: a "moor cock" in French being "coq bruyant,” and a black cock, "coq de bruyére."
The number of mouths is accounted for, when I find that the gentry of the neighbourhood who were invited thought it becoming their dignity to bring a rather large part of their respective establishments with them: for among others are my Lady Hungerford with six servants and gentlewomen; Sir Anthony Hungerford, my Lady his wife and 8 servants; Master Wroughton with 5; my Lady Darrell with 4; Sir John Brydges with 8.
The expense of all this seems however not to have fallen upon the master of Wulfhall. The King's own officers and purveyors provided the greater part of it, and presents from the neighbours came in aid.
The particulars, of which I have given only a few, relate solely to the King's visit to Wulfhall; but in other account-books of this Earl of Hertford (afterwards Protector Somerset) there is a vast number of curious miscellaneous entries, which supply a good deal of information as to the modes of living and state of the country in those days. In fact it is chiefly from obscure sources of this kind that we really learn most about the manners and habits of our forefathers. In stately and elaborate histories, such things are omitted. There the great personages pass before us on the stage in their solemn dress of State Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers, Cardinals, &c., just as you see them at a play; but the household and private accounts of a great man, admit us, as it were, behind the scenes, and we see how they lived and what they did, in a nearer and more familiar way.
Lord Macaulay is one of the few who are not indifferent to these things. "It will be my endeavour," he says, "not to pass by with neglect, even the revolutions which have taken place in dress, repasts, and public amusements. I shall cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history, if I can succeed in placing before the English people of the nineteenth century a true picture of the life of their ancestors."
We may not perhaps all of us agree with Lord Macaulay in the political complexion of his history, or approve the use he has made of his materials, but nobody, I suppose, reproaches him for having descended below the dignity of history, in giving us such details.
But where did he get them from? Why, either by himself, or others for him, raking into venerable rubbish, digging into repositories of old family papers, and the like; using, as Lord Chancellor Bacon bade us, antiquities and archæology as one branch of history.
A few extracts from these account books (see more in Appendix, No. v.) bring the Earl of Hertford before us in his Wiltshire life. His journies, for instance, about the neighbourhood, were attended with an expense to which a "Special train" would be a trifle :
"Paid for 36 horses of my Lord's Train standing in divers places when my Lord lay one night at my Lord Hungerford's at Farley Castle.
For the same one night at Sir Henry Long's.
For the same one night in the Abbey of Malmesbury.
For 37 horses one night when my Lord lay at Bradstoke Abbey.
For 40 horses one night at The Devizes when my Lord lay at Mr. Ernley's. For shoeing horses bringing up my Lord's revenues.
His very rents were brought up in coin on horseback, there being no cheques and penny stamps in those days.
Then his little boy, Lord Beauchamp, has to be sent on a visit, and to be brought home again :
"Paid to Mr. Seymour for his own and 2 carters' and 4 horses' expenses, bringing a wagon from Wulfhall to Twickenham to carry my Lord Beauchamp, and returning to Wulfhall again."
Sometimes I find him hunting wild boars in Savernake Forest, and paying 4d. for hempen halters to bind their legs with; sometimes hawking in Collingbourne Woods.
In 1541 are entries of little amusements in very respectable company-Losing 18. 4d. "unto the Bishop of Rochester at Guildford,
• The drivers being called "carters," it might at first sight be supposed that the "wagon " was the same kind of broad wheeled heavy conveyance with lumbering cart-horses, as that which is now so called. But before coaches were introduced, a lighter vehicle of that name was commonly used by the highest classes. "In 1583, the day after Lady Mary Sidney entered Shrewsbury in her wagon, that valiant Knight Sir Henry Sidney, her husband, made his appearance in his wagon, with his Trumpeters blowing, very joyfully to behold." (Nichols's Progresses, 11, 309). There is a very old Wiltshire tradition that Sir Thomas Hungerford, of Farley Castle, when he went up to London to take his seat in Parliament, as First Speaker of the House of Commons, travelled in a wagon. Collins, in his Peerage, also mentions that the body of Sir John Thynne, the Builder of Longleat, was carried in a wagon to Longbridge Deverill Church. In both these cases, the lighter kind of carriage is most probably meant. But both before and after this period tho words cart and carter were used for a chariot and charioteer. "The carter over-ridden with his cart" (Chaucer, The Knight's Tale). "Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round Neptune's salt wash " (Hamlet),
at shooting." Again, winning 35s. at cards, "which my Lord did. win that same night he did sup at Lambeth with my Lord of Canterbury."
King Henry's visit to Wulfhall, just described, was in August, 1539. He was there again in 1543-as I find some of his servants quartered at Burbage, and a bill for their expenses. (Appendix, No.vi.)
He died about four years afterwards, viz., on 28th January, 1547, and Jane Seymour's son, Edward VI., then between 9 and 10 years old, became King of England. His uncle, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, became Protector of his nephew, and by that title we must now call him. Sir John Thynne, the founder of Longleat (though this house was not built for many years afterwards), had been through life one of the most confidential friends of Protector Somerset, and whilst the Protector attended to affairs of State, Sir John conducted for him all private business and matters relating to his property. Hence it happens that so many of the Protector's private papers are preserved at Longleat. His purchases and grants of land were enormous. The mere names of the manors fill two or three columns. He had several residences in or near London, as at Richmond, Sion House, and elsewhere; so that I fear our old timber house at Wulfhall, outside Savernake Forest, did not receive much attention. It would probably be unable to contain so great a man as Protector Somerset, suddenly elevated from the rank of a Wiltshire gentleman to be King over the King of England It is well-known that one of the charges brought against him by his rivals was that he had dropped the ordinary singular pronoun "I," and began his communications with the Royal plural "We." Of this there are several instances in his letters at Longleat. It used to be in former days "Good Mr. Thynne, I have received your letters, &c., ending,
1Sir John Thynne held at this time by a lease of 1546 the Prebend or Parsonage of Great Bedwyn from the Earl of Hertford: and Sir John seems also to have held the lands at Wulf-hall: for in 1547, being abroad with the Earl on the expedition to Boulogne (which ended in the peace made between Guisnes and Ardres), he writes from Newhaven (Havre) to his steward Mr. Dodd, "Further I wol you forget not to sell all my olde Jads (jades) at Wulfehaull whiche before I willed you to sell, & see that my mares & colts be marked, & sende me word how many I have of all sorts at Wulfhaull or Elvetham." VOL. XV.-NO. XLIV.