Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Bartholomew, and the church of St. Bartholomew, all the void ground eighty seven feet in length, and sixty in breadth, adjoining the church westward, or a church-yard. In the first year >f Edward VI. that king confirmed the ;rant to sir Richard Rich, who was creaed lord Rich, and appointed lord chan:ellor of England; but under Mary the ejected monks were restored to the priory, ,where they remained till the accession of queen Elizabeth, who renewed the grant

0 lord Rich and his heirs; and lord Rich ook up his residence in Cloth-fair. The ord Rich ultimately became earl of Warvick and Holland, and the property re;ularly descended to the present lord tensington, through William Edwards, who was son of the lady Elizabeth Rich, and created, in 1776, baron of Kensington >f the kingdom of Ireland.

Henry VIII. having in this way disposed if the priory and church of St. Bartholonew, he gave the hospital, with certain nessuages and appurtenances, to the city >f London. When connected with the priory, it had been governed by a master, 'tether', and eight sisters. ,

On the 13th of January, 1546, the >ishop of R ochester (Holbetch,) preaching it Paul's-c ross, declared the gift of St. Bartholomew's hospital to the citizens

1 for relieving of the poore;" and thereupon the inhabitants of the city were called together in their parish churches, where sir Richard Dobbs the lord mayor, he several aldermen, and other principal citizens, showing the great good of taking he poor from their miserable habitations, and providing for them in hospitals abroad, men were moved liberally to conribute what they would towards such hospitals, and so weekly, towards their maintenance for a time, until they Were ully endowed; and in July 1552 the relaration of the St. Bartholomew's hospial commenced, and it was endowed and urnisjied at the charges of the citizens. * The number of the poor and sick to be naintained therein, was limited under the foundation of Henry VIII. to one hundred; but, at this time, several thousands af persons who need surgical aid are anaually received and relieved, under the management of the most eminent surgeons af our age.

Smithfield, whereon the Fair was held,

[ocr errors]

was likewise a market-place for cattle, hay, straw, and other necessary provisions; and also, saith Stow, " it hath been a place for honourable justs and triumphs, by reason it was unpaid." After it had ceased to be a place of recreative exercise with the gentry, loose serving men and quarrelsome persons resorted thither, and made uproars; and thus becoming the rendezvous of bullies and bravoes, it obtained the name, of " Ruffians'-hall." .The, "sword and buckler" were at that time in use, and a serving-man carried a buckler, or shield, at his back, which hung by the hilt or pommel of his sword hanging before him." Fellows of this sort who hectored and blustered were called "Swash-bucklers," from the noise they made with the "sword and buckler" to frighten an antagonist: " a bully," or fellow all noise and no courage, was called a " swasher."f

With the disuse of pageants, the necessity for Smithfield remaining a ". soft ground" ceased ; and, accordingly, as "it was continually subject to the iniquity of weather, and being a place of such goodly extendure, deserved to be much better respected, it pleased the king's majesty* (James I.) with the advice of his honourable lords of the counsell, to write graciously to the) lord maior and the aldermen his brethren, that Smithfield might be sufficiently paved, which would bee the onely meanes, whereby to have it kept in far cleaner condition: And" says Stow, "as no motion (to any good end and intent) can be made to the city, but they as . gladly embrace and willingly pursue it; even so this honourable motion found as acceptable entertainment, and it was very speedily proceeded withall. Some voluntary contribution in the severall parishes (what each man willingly would give) was bestowed on the worke; but, (indeed,) hardly deserving any report. Notwithstanding, on the fourth day of February, in An. 1614, the city began the intended labour, and before Bartholomew-tide then next ensuing, to the credit aud honour of the city for ever, it was fully finished, and Bartholomew Faire there kept, without breaking any of the paved ground, but the boothes discreetly ordered, to stand fast upon the pavement. The citizens charge thereof (as I have been credibly told by Master Arthur Strangwaies,)

• Maitland,

t Kara.

amounting'well neere to sixteene hundred pounds." This improvement, it will be remembered, was effected in the year wherein '. Ben Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair"_was written. M>,

■ In " The Order observed by the lord mayor, the aldermen, and sheriffes for their meetings, and wearing of their apparell throughout the whole yeere," it is ordained, That

"On Bartholomew Eve for the Fayre in Smithfield:

"The aldermen meete the lord maior and the sheriffes at .the'Guildhall chappel, at two of the clocke after dinner, having on their violet gownes lined, and their horses, but without their cloaks, and there they heare evening prayer. Which being done, they mount on their horses, and riding to Newgate, passe forth of the] gate. Then entring into the Cloth-fayre, there they make a proclamation, which proclamation being ended, they ride thorow the Cloth-fayre, and so returne backe againe thorow the churchyard of great Saint Bartholomewes to Aldersgate: and then ride home againe to the lord mayor's house."

In the same collection of ordinances:—

"On Bartholomew Day for the Wraxtlxng.

"So many aldermen as doe dine with the lord maior, and the sheriffes, are apparelled in their scarlet gownes lined; and after dinner, their horses are brought to them where they dined. And those aldermen which dine with the sheriffes, ride with them to the lord maior's house for accompanying him to the wrastlings. When as the wrastling is done, they mount their horses, and ride backe againe thorow the Fayre, and so in at Alders- gate, and then home againe to the lord maior's house."

"The Shooting Day.

"The next day, (if it be not Sunday,) is appointed for the shooting, and the service performed as upon Bartholomewday; but if it bee Sunday, the Sabbathday, it is referred to the Munday then following."

Ben Jonson's mention, in his "Bartholomew Fair," of " the western man who is come to wrestle before the lord mayor anon," is clearly of one who came up to the annual wrestling on Bartholomew's

day. Concerning this "annual wrestling," it is further noticed by Stow in another place, that about the feast of St. Bartholomew, wrestling was exhibited before the lord mayor and aldermen, at Skinner*well near Clerkenwell, where they had a large tent for their accommodation. He speaks of it as having been a practice "of old time;" and affirms that " divers days were spent in the pastime, and that the officers of the citie, namely the sheriffes, Serjeants, and yeomen, the porters of the king's beanie, or weigh-house, (now no such men," says Stow,) and other of the citie were challengers of all men in the suburbs, to wrestle for games appointed: and on other days, before the said mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, in Ferris bury-field, to shoot the standard, broad arrow, and flight, for games. But now of late yeeres," Stow adds, "the wrestling is only practiced on Bartholomew-day in the afternoone, and the shooting some three or foure days after, in one afternoon and no more." Finally, the old chronicler laments, that "by the means of closing in of common grounds, our archers, for want of roome to shoot abroad, creepe into bowling-alleys, and ordinan; dicing houses, neerer home, where they have roome enough to hazzard their money at unlawful games, and there I learf them to take their pleasures." Another narrator tells of the wrestlers before the lord mayor, aldermen, &c. on Barthok*mew's-day that they wrestled "two r a time;" he says " the conquerors are rewarded by them by money thrown fkrE the tent; after this a parcel of wild rays bits are turned loose in the crowd, am: hunted by boys with great noise, a: which the mayor and aldermen do mad besport themselves".

It was on St. Bartholoraerw's-ere tb the London scholars held logical dispositions about the principles of gramcar "I myself," says Stow, "have yeere': seen the scholars of divers gtimitrschools, repaire unto the churchyard? St. Barthol iomew, the priory in Stnicfield, where, upon a banke boorded abc*r under a tree, some one scholler bs'i stepped up, and there hath opposed as. answered, till he. were by some hetw scholler overcome and put downe; vsthen the overcommer taking the tAaa did like as the first; and in the end, v best opposers and answerers had a

•^Heatzner,

wards." These disputations ceased at best scholars received bows, and arrows he suppression of the priory, but were of silver, for their prizes.

evived, though, "only for a yeare or

waine," under Edward W., where the The Bartholomew Fair of 1655, is the

subject of;

An Ancient Song of Bartholomew Fair.

In fifty-five, may I never thrive,

If I tell you any more than is true,"TM
To London che came, hearing of the fame

Of a Fair they call Bartholomew.

In houses of boards, men walk upon cords,
. As easie as squirrels crack filberds;
But the cut-purses they do lite, and rub away,
But those we suppose to be ill birds.

For a penny you may zee a fine puppet play,

And for two-pence a rare piece of art;
And a penny a cann, I dare swear a man,

May put zix of 'em into a quart.

Their rights are so rich, is able to bewitch

The heart of a very fine man-a;
Here's patient Grizel here, and Fair Rosamond there,

And the history of Susanna.

At Pye-corner end, mark well, my good friend,

Tis a very fine dirty place j
Where there's more arrows and bows,"the Lord above knows,

Than was handed at Chevy Chase."

Then at Smithfleld Bars, betwixt the ground and the stars,

There's a place they call Shoemaker Row,
Where that you may buy shoes every day,

Or go barefoot all the year I tro'.*

In 1699, Ned Ward relates his visit to .' Fair:—

* We ordered the coachman to set us wn at the Hospital-gate, near which we nt into a convenient house to smoke a >e, and overlook the follies of the inmerable throng, whose impatient deN, of seeing Merry Andrew's grimaces, i led them ancle deep into filth and stiness.—The first objects, when we re seated at the window that lay withour observation, were the quality of Fair, strutting round their balconies heir tinsey robes, and golden leather ikskins, expressing such pride in their Sbonery stateliness, that I could but sonably believe they were as much vated with the thought of their fortcht's pageantry, as ever Alexander was h the thought of a new conquest;

looking with great contempt from theis slit deal thrones, upon the admiring mobility gazing in the dirt at our ostentatious heroes, and their most supercilious doxies, who looked as aukward and ungainly in their gorgeous accoutrements, as an alderman's lady in her stiffen-bodied gown upon a lord mayor's festival."f

At the Fair of 1701, there was exhibited a tiger which had been taught to pluck a fowl's feathers from its body.

In the reign of queen Anne the following curious bill relates part of the entertainment at one of the shows:—

"By her majesty's permission, at Heatly's booth, over against the Cross Daggers, next to Mr. Miller's booth,

• Old Ballads.

t Wud'i London Spy.

during the time of Bartholomew Fair, will be presented a little opera, called The Old Creation of the World new Revived, with the addition of the glorious battle obtained over the French and Spaniards by his grace the duke of Marlborough. The contents are these, t. The creation of Adam and Eve. 2. The intrigues of Lucifer in the garden of Eden. 3. Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise. 4. Cain going to plow; Abel driving sheep. 5. Cain killeth his brother Abel. 6. Abraham offered up his son Isaac. 7. Three wise men 6f the east, guided by a star, come and worship Christ. 8. Joseph and Mary flee away by night upon an ass. 9. King Herod's cruelty; his men's spears laden with children. 10. Rich Dives invites his' friends, and orders his porter to keep the beggars from his gate. 11. Poor Lazarus comes a begging at rich Dives' gate, the dogs lick his sores. 12. The good angel and Death contend for Lazarus's life. 13. Rich Dives is taken sick, and dieth; he is buried in great solemnity. 14. Rich Dives in hell, and Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, seen in a most glorious object, all in machines descending in a throne, guarded with multitudes of angels; with the breaking of the clouds, discovering the palace of the sun, in double and treble prospects, to the admiration of all the spectators. Likewise several rich and large figures, which dance jiggs, sarabands,anticks,and country dances, between every act; compleated with the merry humours of Sir Jno. Spendall and Punchinello, with several other things never exposed. Performed by Matt. Heatly. Vivat Regina."

A writer in the "Secret Mercury," of September 9, 1702, says, "Wednesday, September 3, having padlocked my pockets, and trimmed myself with Hudibras from head to foot, I set out about six for Bartholomew Fair; and having thrown away substantial silver for visionary theatrical entertainment, I made myself ready for the farce; but I had scarce composed myself, when bolts me into the pit a bully beau, &c. The curtain drew, and discovered a nation of beauish machines; their motions were so starched, that I began to question whether I had mistaken myself, and Dogget's booth for a puppetshow. As I was debating the matter, they advanced towards the front of the stage, and making a halt, began a singing so miserably, that I was forced to tune my own whistle in romance ere my brains

were set straight again. All. the secret I could for my life discover in the whole grotesque, was the consistency or drift of the piece, which I could never demonstrate to this hour. At last, all the childish parade shrunk off the stage by matter and motion, and enter a hobletehoy of a dance, and Dogget, in old woman's petticoats and red waistcoat, as like Progue Cock as ever man saw; il would have made a stoic split his lungs, if he had seen the temporary harlot sing and weep both at once; a true emblem of a woman's tears. When these Cbtistmas carols were over, enter a wooden horse; now I concluded we should hare the ballad of Troy-town, but I was disappointed in the scene, for a dancing-master comes in, begins complimenting theborse, and fetching me three or four run-bars with his arm, (as if he would have mortified the ox at one blow,) takes a frolic upon the back of it, and translates himself into cavalry at one bound; all I could clap was the patience of the beast. However, having played upon him about half a quarter, the conqueror was pursued with such a clangor from the crusted dutches of the mob in the sixpenny place, that for five minutes together I was tossed on this dilemma, that either a man had not be senses, or I was no man. The stage was now overrun with nothing but merryandrewsand pickle-herrings. This mountebank scene was removed at last, andI was full of expectations that the successor would be pills, pots of balsam, and ornetan; but, alas, they were half empire and therefore exeunt omnes."

We learn something of the excesses s'. the Fair from "The Observator," of August 21, 1703 :—" Does this market of lewdness tend to any thing else but the row of the bodies, souls, and estates of t»_ young men and women of the city * London, who here meet with »U * temptations to destruction? The lotter.es, to ruin their estates; the drolls, coin*"*' interludes, and farces, to poison &c: minds, &c. and in the cloisters strange medley of lewdness has thatplice not long since afforded! Lords and Ms aldermen and their wives, 'squires am fiddlers, citizens and rope-dancers, iiC*' puddings and lawyers, mistresses •* maids, masters and 'prentices I This J not an ark, like Noah's which recei* the clean and unclean; only the unc'.fi beasts enter this ark, and such as have * devil's livery on their backs."

An advertisement in « The Postman," of August 19, 1703, by " Barnes and Finley," invites the reader to "see my lady Mary perform such curious steps on the dancing-rope," kc. &c. Lady Mary is noticed in " Heraclitus Ridens/' No. 7. 'Look upon the old gentleman; his eyes ire fixed upon my lady Mary: Cupid has shot him as dead as a robin. Poor Heralitus! he has cried away all his moisture, and is such a dotard to entertain himself vith a prospect of what is meat for his letters; wake him out of his lethargy, nd tell him the young noblemen and senators will take it amiss if a man of his ears makes pretensions to what is more 'an a match for their youth. Those >guish eyes have brought her more ad lirers than ever Jenny Bolton had." Lady Mary was the daughter of noble ireuts, inhabitants of Florence, who imured her in a nunnery; but she acci;otally saw a merry-andrew, with whom ie formed a clandestine intercourse; an opement followed, and finally, he taught ,'r his infamous tricks, which she exhited for his profit, till vice had made her * own, as Heraclitus proves. The catasThe of" the lady Mary" was dreadful: r husband, impatient of delays or imdiments to profit, either permitted or ftroandeoT her to exhibit on the rope, len her situation required compassionate asideration; she fell never to rise again, r to open her eyes on her untimely ant, which perished in a few minutes er her.

In 1715, Dawks's "News Letter," says, nWednesday, Bartholomew Fair began, which we hear, the greatest number of sick cattle was brought, that was ever iwn.—There is one great playhouse ;ted in the middle of Smithfield for

king's players.—The booth is the est that was ever built." Actors of ibrity performed in the Fair at that e, and in many succeeding years. k recent writer, evidently well acinted with the manners of the period, reduces us to a character mentioned in rmer sheet. "In the midst of all, the lie attention was attracted to a tall, -made, and handsome-looking man,

was dressed in a very fashionable

of white, trimmed with gold lace, a i ruffled shirt, rolled white silk stock

a white apron, and a large cocked 'formed of gingerbread, fringed and lished with £>utch gold. He carried is arm a basket filled with gingerbread

cakes, one of which he held up in the air; while the other hand was stuck with an easy and fashionable manner into his bosom. For this singular vendor of confectionary every one made way, and numbers followed in his train, shouting after him, 'there goes Tiddy Doll i' the name by which that remarkable character was known. He himself did not pass silently through the crowd, but as he went along, he poured forth a multiplicity of praises of his ware, occasionally enlivened by that song which first procured him his name." This was at the Fair of the year 1740, concerning which the same illustrator thus continues: "The multitude behind was impelled violently forwards, a broad blaze of red light, issuing from a score of flambeaux, streamed into the air; several voices were loudly shouting, 'room there for prince George! make way for the prince!' and there was that long sweep heard to pass over the ground, which indicates the approach of a grand and ceremonious train. Presently the pressure became much greater, the voices louder, the light stronger, and as the train came onward, it might be seen that it consisted, firstly, of a party of yeomen of the guards clearing the way; then several more of them bearing flambeaux, and flanking the procession; while in the midst of all appeared a tall, fair, and handsome young man, having something of a plump foreign visage, seemingly about four and thirty years of age, dressed in a ruby-coloured frock coat, very richly guarded with gold lace, and having his long flowing hair curiously curled over his forehead and at the sides, and finished with a very large bag and courtly queue behind. The air of dignity with which he walked, the blue ribbon, and star and garter with which he was decorated, the small three-cornered silk court hat which he wore, whilst all around him were uncovered; the numerous suite, as well of gentlemen as of guards, which marshalled him along, the obsequious attention of a short stout person, who by his flourishing manner seemed to be a player,—all these particulars indicated that the amiable Frederick, prince of Wales was visiting Bartholomew Fair by torchlight, and that manager Rich was introducing his royal guest to all the entertainments of the place. However strange this circumstance may appear to the present generation, yet it is nevertheless strictly true; for about 1740, when the drolls in Smithfield were extended to

« ПредишнаНапред »