« ПредишнаНапред »
a seeke,* and all the other kepers shall answer him in blowinge the same, and when they come to the cornellt ageynst the Yue-hall the foremost keper shall blow a recheate, and all the other kepers shall answer hyme in blowinge of the same. And so they shall ride still tyll they come into the church yarde, and then light and goo into the churche in like arrey, and all the minstrells shall play one their instruments duringe the offeringe tyme, and the woodmaster, or in his absence his livetenant, shall offer up the bukk's head mayd in silver, and every keper shall offer a peny; and as soone as the bukk's head is offered uppe all the kepers shall blow a morte§ three tymes; and then all the keepers goo into a chappell and shall there have one of the monks redye to say them masse and when masse is done, all the kepers goo in lyke arreye uppe to the castell to dynner; and when dynner is done, the stewards goo to the prior of Tutbury, and he shall give them yerely xxx s. towards the charges of there dynner; and if the dynner come to more the keipers shall beire it amongst them; and one the morrow after the assumption there is a court kept of the minstrells, at which court the woodmaster or his livetenant shall be ; and shall oversee that every minstrell dwellynge within the honor and makinge defaute shall be amercyed, which amercement the kynge of the minstrells shall have; and after the courte done the pryor shall deliver the minstrells a bull, or xviii s. of money, and shall turne hyme loose amongst them; and if he escape over Dove river, the
* BLOWE A SEEK. Beckwith (p. 532) explains this by, a manner of blowing a huntsman's horn such as is used when they seek a deer." +"CORNELL, an old word used for a thing that standeth in the forepart of an angle, or used for the fore-front of a house."-Minshew's Ductor in Linguas.
"BLOW A RECHEATE-Such as the huntsmen blow to call back the hounds from a false scent."-Beckwith Fragmenta Antiq. p. 532. § BLOWE A MORTE. A particular air that is blown on the horn when the deer is killed, or killing." (being killed). Beckwith, p. 532.
bull is the priour's owne ageyne; and if the minstrells can take the bull ore he gett over the Dove, then the bull is their owne."
The more modern ceremony, though still of an antient date, is given both by Plot,* and Blount,† and is detailed at yet greater length by Beckwith. The first however will be found quite sufficient to satisfy any but a professed antiquarian, and from him therefore I have borrowed the account that follows:
"All the minstrels within the honour come first to the bayliff's house of the manor of Tutbury (who is now the Earl of Devonshire,) where the steward for the court to be holden for the king, as Duke of Lancaster (who is now the Duke of Ormond) or his deputy meeting them, they all goe from thence to the parish church of Tutbury, two and two together, musick playing before them, the king of the minstrells for the year past walking between the steward and bayliffe, or their deputies; the four stewards, or under officers of the said king of the minstrells, each with a white wand in their hands immediately following them; and then the rest of the company in order. Being come to the church, the vicar reads them divine service, chusing psalms and lessons suitable to the occasion. For which service every minstrell offered one penny, as a due always paid to the vicar of the church of Tutbury upon this solemnity.
"Service being ended, they proceed in like manner as before from the church to the castle-hall or court, where the steward or his deputy, taketh his place, assisted by the bayliff or his deputy,§ the king of the minstrels sitting * PLOT'S HISTORY OF STAFFORDSHIRE, p. 437. folio, Oxford, 1686. FRAGMENTA ANTIQUITATIS, p. 171. 8vo. London, 1679.
FRAGMENTA ANTIQUITATIS. Edited by Beckwith, p. 532. 4to. London, 1815.
§ Blount calls him the woodmaster in his account of the custom. See FRAGMENTA ANTIQUITATIS, p. 172, 12mo., London, 1679.
between them, who is to oversee that every minstrel dwelling within the honour and making default shall be presented and amerced, which that he may the better doe, an Oyes is then made by one of the officers, being a minstrel, three times, giving notice by direction from the steward to all manner of minstrels dwelling within the honour of Tutbury, viz.: within the counties of Stafford, Darby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Warwick, owing suit and service to his Majesties court of music here holden at this day that every man draw near and give his attendance upon pain and peril that may otherwise ensue, and that if any man will be assigned of suit or plea, he or they should come in, and they should be heard. Then all the musicians being called over by a court-roll, two juries are impannelled, out of 24 of the sufficientest of them, 12 for Staffordshire, and 12 for the other counties; whose names being delivered in court to the steward, and called over, and appearing to be full juries, the foreman of each is first sworn, and then the residue as is usual in other courts, upon the holy Evangelists.
"Then to move them the better to mind their duties to the king and their own good the steward proceeds to give them their charge; first commending to their consideration the original of all musick, both wind and string music, the antiquity and excellency of both, setting forth the force of it upon the affections by divers examples; how the use of it has always been allowed (as is plain from Holy Writ) in praising and glorifying God; and the skill in it always esteemed so considerable that it is still accounted in the schooles one of the liberal arts, and allowed in all Godly Christian commonwealths; where by the way he commonly takes notice of the statute, which reckons some musicians amongst vagabonds and rogues, giving them to understand that such societies as theirs, thus legally founded and govern'd by laws, are by no means
intended by that statute, for which reason the minstrells belonging to the manor of Dutton in the county palatine of Chester are expressly excepted in that act. Exhorting them upon this account (to preserve their reputation) to be very carefull to make choise of such men to be officers amongst them, as fear God, are of good life and conversation, and have knowledge and skill in the practise of their art. Which charge being ended the jurors proceed to the election of the said officers, the king being to be chosen out of the 4 stewards of the preceding year, and one year out of Staffordshire and another out of Darbyshire interchangeably; and the 4 stewards, two of them out of Staffordshire, and two out of Darbyshire; 3 being chosen by the jurors, and the fourth by him that keeps the court, and the deputy steward or clerk.
The jurors departing the court for this purpose, leave the steward with his assistants still in their places, who in the mean time make themselves merry with a banquet, and a noise of musicians playing to them, the old king still sitting between the steward and bayliff as before;
* Not to appropriate Gifford's merits to myself, by borrowing his information and clothing it in other words to hide the theft, after the manner established by some of our modern editors of old plays, I give a note of his upon this term, "noise," as I find it in his excellent edition of Ben Jonson.-"This term, which occurs perpetually in our old dramatists, means a company or concert. In Jonson's days they (fidlers) sedulously attended taverns, ordinaries, &c., and seem to have been very importunate for admission to the guests. They usually consisted of three, and took their name from the leader of their little band. Thus we hear of Mr. Sneak's noise,'' Mr. Creek's noise,' and in Cartwright of Mr. Spindle's noise.' These names are probably the invention of Shakespeare and the rest; but they prove the existence of the custom. When the term went out of use I can not tell; but it was familiar in Dryden's time, who has it in his Wild Gallant and elsewhere-'I hear him coming and a whole noise of fidlers at his heels.'-Maiden Queen."-GIFFORD'S BEN JONSON, vol. iii., p. 402.
but returning again after a competent time, they present first their chiefest officer by the name of their King; then the old king arising from his place, delivereth him a little white wand in token of his sovereignty, and then taking a cup filled with wine drinketh to him, wishing him all joy and prosperity in his office. In like manner doe the old stewards to the new; and then the old king riseth, and the new taketh his place, and so doe the new stewards of the old, who have full power and authority, by virtue of the king's stewards warrant, directed from the said court, to levy and distrain in any city, town corporate, or in any place within the king's dominions, all such fines and amercements as are inflicted by the said juries that day upon any minstrells for his or their offences committed in the breach of any of their ancient orders, made for the good rule and government of the said society. For which said fines and amercements so distrained, or otherwise peaceably collected, the said stewards are accountable at every audit; one moyety of them going to the king's majesty, and the others the said stewards have for their own use."-Thus far Dr. Plot.
After enjoying the dinner prepared for them, the minstrels went anciently to the abbey gate, now a little barn by the town side, in expectance of the bull which was then turned out in the manner already mentioned. In time however, other changes took place, and, in lieu of the old mode of catching the bull, the young men of Staffordshire and Derbyshire contended, with cudgels about a yard long, to drive the bull into their respective counties, in which humane diversion many heads would occasionally get broken. The king of the minstrels and the bailiff also compounded, the bailiff giving his musical majesty five nobles in lieu of his right to the bull, which he then sent to the Earl of Devon's manor at Hardwick to be fed and given to the poor at Christmas. This