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is chiefe sovereigne of the citie representing the kinge in his absence, and is yearlie chosen on the daie of St. Michaell out of the company of aldermen, to serve the yeare folowinge and is elected after this manner: They of the Liverey(whiche are the chieffest of every companie)do mete at the Guyldhall, and (after a certayne oration made by the Recorder) there is iij or iiij of the aldermen named, of the whiche one is chosen, who is thought to be worthy such a dignitie and estate. And the choyse is made by most voyces, and by lyftinge upp of handes of the companies afforesayd, or ells by interrogations when it can not be discerned whiche hath most handes. And the Lord Mayor so elected is then sett downe in seat royall, and the Chamberlayne of London then bryngeth forth sceptre, mace, and sworde, which the sayd Chamberlayne taketh (one after another) and kisseth the same, delyverynge it to the old Mayor, who kisseth it and delivereth it to the newe Mayor, who also kysseth yt and delyvereth yt to the Chamberlayne agayne. The day of St. Simon and Jude he entrethe into his estate and offyce, if in the meane tyme he be not founde and prove unworthy of his office and the next daie following he goeth by water to Westmynster, in most tryumphlyke manner. His barge, (wherin also all the aldermen be) beenge garnished with the armes of the Citie; and nere the sayd barge goeth a shyppbote of the Queene's Matie, beinge trymed upp, and rigged like a shippe of warre, with dyvers peces of ordenance, standards, penens, and targetts of the proper armes of the sayd Mayor, the armes of the Citie, of his Company, and of the marchaunts adventurers, or of the staple, or of the company of the newe trades; (if he be any of the said iij companies of merchants) next before hym goeth the barge of the lyvery of his owne company, decked with their owne proper armes, then the bachelers barge, and so all the companies in London in order, every
one havinge their own proper barge garnished with the armes of their company. And so passing along the Thamise, landeth at Westmynster, wher he taketh his othe in Thexcheker,* beffore the judge there (whiche is one of the chiefe judges of England) whiche done, he returneth by water as afforsayd, and landeth at powles wharfe, where he and the reste of the Aldermen take their horses, and in great pompe passe throwgh the greate strete of the citie, called Cheapsyde, as follows. [A list of the companies is here given, with their several arms emblazoned.] Fyrste, it is to be understanded, that the lyveries of every companye do lande before the Lord Mayor, and are redy in Cheapsyde before his comynge, standinge a longe the street redy as he passeth by. And to make waye in the streetes, there are certayne men apparelled lyke deveils and wylde men, with skybbs,‡ and certayne beadells. And fyrste of all cometh great estandarts,§ one havinge the armes of the citie, and the other the armes of the Mayor's company; next them ij drummes and a flute, then an ensigne of the citie, and then about lxx or lxxx poore men marchinge, ij and two togeather in blewe gownes, with redd sleeves and capps, every one bearinge a pyke and a target, wheron is paynted the armes of all them that have byn Mayor of the same company that this newe Mayor is of. Then ij banners, one of the kynges armes, the other of the Mayor's owne proper armes. Then a sett of hautboits playinge, and after them certayne wyfflers, in velvett * i.e. the Exchequer. †i.e. St. Paul's Wharf.
SKYBBS is explained by Fairholt to signify squibs; I should rather imagine it means clubs, though its derivation is a matter of some difficulty.
§ i.e. Standards, or flags.
i.e. whifflers, or wifelers, a word that I have already explained at some length. It may not however be amiss to add the following quotation in further illustration of the subject:
cotes and chaynes of golde with white staves in their handes; then the pageant of Tryumphe rychly decked whereuppon by certayne fygures and wrytinges (partly towchinge the name of the sayd Mayor*) some matter towchynge justice and the office of a majestrate is represented. Then xvj trompeters vij and viij in a company. Then certayne wyfflers in velvet cotes and chaynes with white staves as aforesayde. Then the bachelers ij and two together in longe gownen, with crymson hoodes on their shoulders, of sattyn; whiche bachelers are chosen every yeare of the same company that the Mayor is of (but not of the lyvery) and serve as gentlemen on that and other festivall daies, to wayte on the Mayor, beinge in number accordinge to the quantetie of the company, sometimes 60, 80, or 100. After them xij trompeters more, with banners of the Mayor's company, then the drumme and fluts of the citie, and an ensigne
Next place of office, whiche I doe attaine,
In which hot office when I long have been,
I swaggering leave, and to be stayd beginn."
FAIRHOLT'S HISTORY OF LORD MAYOR'S PAGEANTS, Part I. p. 16— These lines are to be found under a print of the HENCH BOYHarleian MSS. No. 5944-Brit. Mus.
* This alludes to the practice of punning both verbally and by figures on the Mayor's name. The custom continued up to the time of the Revolution.
"A Bacheler," says Minshew, "is so called as being one, who comes out of his novice-shippe. Whereby I thinke those, that be called Bachelers of the Companies of London, bee such of each Companie as have passed Master in a trade, but are not yet sworne of the Companie, but springing towards the estate of such as be imploied in counsell, but as yet are inferiours. For every Companie of the twelve consisteth of one Master, two Wardens, and the Liverie (which are assistants in matter of counsell, &c.) the Bachelers, which are yet but in expectance of dignitie among them, and have their functions onely in attendance upon the Master, and Wardens."
of the Mayor's company, and after, the waytes* of the citie in blewe gownes, redd sleeves and cappes, every one havinge his silver coller about his neck. Then they of the liverey in their longe gownes, every one havinge his hood on his lefte shoulder, halfe black and halfe redd, the number of them is accordinge to the greatnes of the companye whereof they are. After them followe sherriffes' officers, and then the mayor's officers, with other officers of the citie, as the comon sergent and the chamberlayne; next before the mayor goeth the swordbearer, having on his headd the cappe of honor, and the sword of the citie in his right hande, in a riche skabarde sett with pearle, and on his left hand goeth the comon cryer
* Waits, or Wayghtes. Much has been written about this simple word, and, as it appears to me, very little to the purpose, the farthing rush-light of Archdeacon Nares burning particularly bright on the occasion. Minshew tells us that it was used to signify a wind-instrument, a hautboy, and there can be no doubt that such was often the case ; but it is equally clear that in its primitive meaning it signified a watch or watchman. In the PROMFTORIUM PARVULORUM, wayte is explained by " speculator foris"—" explorator foris," and there seems every reason for supposing that it came to us from the old German Wacht, a vigil or watching - Gothicè wahts, -as we find these last words explained in WACHTER'S GLOSSARIUM GERMANICUM. When we consider moreover that not only in Germany, whence the custom was probably derived, but in England, if we go back to a remote period, the watchman sang the hour of night and in rude rhymes warned the town against fire, we shall easily understand how our nocturnal serenaders came by their appellation of waits.
In our old dramatists we find frequent allusion to them. Thus in the CAPTAIN of Beaumont and Fletcher, Act. 2, Scene 2, Jacomo says,
"Hark! are the waights abroad ?"
to which his friend answers,
"Be softer, prythee;
"Tis private music."
And the farther reply of Jacomo shows that the lute was the instrument in question.
of the citie, with his great mace on his shoulder, all gilt. The mayor hathe on a long gowne of skarlet, and on his lefte shoulder a hood of black velvet, and a riche coller of gold of SS. * about his neck, and with him rydeth
* This "collar of gold of SS." or, as Stow calls it (Book iv. p. 1193,) "collar of SS. with a jewel appendant," consisted of two SS. with a knot between them, like those which tie the garters together in the great collar of the Order of the Garter, in addition to which they were placed between two roses,- -a white rose within a red. But, as we shall see presently, the fashion of this badge varied much according to the rank and office of the wearer, and perhaps it was not the same at all periods.
According to Wicelius, (HISTORIA DE DIVIS TAM VET. QUAM NOVI TESTAMENTI, p. 358, Basileæ, 1557,) the order emanated in the first instance from the Society of St. Simplicius in the time of Dioclesian, which was held in commemoration of that martyr, and hence the appellation of the SS. "It was the custom," he says, "of those persons to wear about their necks silver collars composed of double SS. which noted the name of St. Simplicius; between these double SS. the collar contained twelve small plates of silver, in which were engraved the twelve articles of the creed with a single trefoyle. The image of St. Simplicius hung at the collar, and from it seven plates representing the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost."
I have not myself seen the work from which this quotation is made, nor is it in the library of the British Museum, but have given it, as I find it, in BERRY'S ENCYCLOPEDIA HERALDICA, vol. i. under SS.
In the course of time this badge became fashionable throughout Europe, though only by arbitrary assumption, and Trusler in his HISTORIAN'S VADE MECUM says that it was first introduced amongst us in 1407, though according to Anstis it was originally the cognizance of the house of Lancaster. From Selden (TITLES OF HONOUR, chap. v. part ii. p. 691), we learn that in the time of Edward the Fourth esquires were created by bestowing upon them this collar; but Favine in his THEATER OF HONOUR, (vol. ii. book v. chap. 2, p. 67) gives it a yet earlier date. He says that he can find nothing in regard to this badge but what he gathers from the Chronicle of the Ursins, and from that he learns the "collars of Esses were first instituted by King Henry the Fifth, on occasion of the Battle of Agincourt."