William Sandys, F. S. A.
London: John Russell Smith, 1852
Chapter 5 - Teonge's Twelfth Night at sea
Although in the short reign of Edward the Sixth, the splendour of the royal Christmasses was, in general, somewhat reduced, yet, in 1551-2, there was one of the most magnificent revellings on record; for the youthful, king being much grieved at the condemnation of the Duke of Somerset, it was thought expedient to divert his mind, by additional pastimes, at the following Christmas. George Ferrers, of Lincoln’s Inn, being a gentleman of some rank, was appointed lord of Misrule, or master of the king’s pastimes, and acquitted himself so well as to afford great delight to many, and some to the king, but “not in proportion to his heaviness.” George Ferrers seems to have been well adapted for his responsible office; not only being a gentleman, but a person of decision, and determined to carry it through, with due spirit and display; and to see that his officers, as well as himself; were well attended to. He complained to the master of the revels, Sir Thomas Cawarden, that the apparel provided for his counsellors was not sufficient, or fit for the purpose, and no doubt had the defect remedied; as, from the account of the expenses, the dresses were handsome, and his own in particular may be called superb. He also stated he should require John Smyth, as his disard, or clown; besides jugglers, tumblers, and fools, &c.; and a new fool’s coat, with a hood, was made for Smyth, what he had already not being fit for the purpose. The dress of this clown, who was probably a well-known court fool, from his being applied for by name, will show that no expense was spared, even about the officers of this gallant lord of Misrule. He had a long fool’s coat, of yellow cloth of gold, all over fringed with white, red, and green velvet, containing 7½ yards, at £2 per yard, garded with plain yellow cloth of gold, four yards, at 33s. 4d. per yard; with a hood, and a pair of buskins, of the same figured gold, containing 2½ yards, at £5; and a girdle of yellow sarcenet, containing one quarter, 16d. The whole value being £26 14s. 5d., a goodly sum for the dress of a jester.
At the risk of being tedious, the various dresses of the lord of Misrule himself must be mentioned, to give some notion of the style in which this celebrated revelling was got up. On Christmas Day, and during that week, he wore a robe of white baudekyn (a rich stuff, made of silk, interwoven with golden thread), containing nine yards, at 16s. a yard, garded with embroidered cloth of gold, wrought in knots, fourteen yards, at 11s. 4d. a yard; having a fur of red feathers, with a cape of camlet thrum. A coat of flat silver, fine with works, five yards at 50s., with an embroidered gard of leaves of gold, and silk, coloured, containing fifteen yards, at 20s. A cap of maintenance, of red feathers and camlet thrum, very rich, with a plume of feathers. A pair of hose, the breeches made of a gard of cloth of gold, embroidered in panes; nine yards of garding, at 13s. 4d., lined with silver sarcenet, one ell, at 8g., a pair of buskins, of white baudekyn, one yard, at 16s., besides making and other charges, 8s. more., a pair of pantacles, of Bruges satin, 3s. 4d.; a girdle of yellow sarcenet, containing a quarter of a yard, 16s. The whole cost being £52 8s. 8d., independent of the cap of maintenance.
For the remaining dresses, it is unnecessary to state the quantities and particular prices. He had, for New Year’s Day, and that week, a robe of red baudekyn, with an embroidered gard of purple silver; a coat of the same materials, embroidered and garded in like manner; a pair of hose, slopwise; the breeches of cloth of gold figured with red and green velvet, with a cut gard of cloth of gold on it; and a pair of buskins of red baudekyn; the cost being £34 15s. A hunter’s coat, of cloth of gold, figured with red and green velvet church-work, garded with a border of cloth of gold, embroidered, lined with under sleeves of white baudekyn; a hat of plain cloth of gold, garnished with leaves of green satin. The cost £19 14s. 4d. For Twelfth Day, and his progress in London, he wore a robe of wrought purple furred velvet, the inside white and black, like powdered ermine, with a coat, a head-piece, and a scapular, of the same; the garment welted above, with blue and yellow gold tinsel; the hat garnished with purple velvet, striped with threads of silver; and an ell of white and blue taffeta, for laces for the same. A pair of hose, the breeches of purple cloth of silver, welted with purple tinsel and gold. A pair of buskins, striped purple velvet with threads of silver, £33 12s.; the above sums being exclusive of workmanship, and other necessary materials. These dresses, which were supplied from the king’s stores, must have satisfied the cravings of the most finished exquisite: and, taking into account that he was attended by the following attendants of his court, besides Venus, who formed part of the pageant, and that they were all handsomely or appropriately dressed, it was enough to turn any moderate man’s head, His suite was composed of his heir apparent, who was John Smyth, before mentioned, three other sons, and two natural sons (the sons being represented in handsome fool’s dresses), counsellors, pages of honour, gentlemen ushers, sergeant at arms, a provost marshal, under marshal, lieutenant of ordnance, heralds for himself, others for Venus, a trumpeter for himself, and another for Venus, an orator, interpreter, a jailor, footmen, a messenger, an Irishman, an Irishwoman, six hunters, jugglers, a fool for his lordship, and one for Venus.
On the 4th of January, he went by water, from Greenwich to London, and landed at the Tower wharf, attended by a number of young knights and gentlemen, with trumpets, bagpipes, and flutes, and a morris dance with a tabret. One strange part of the procession, also, was a cart, with the pillory, gibbet, and stocks. He then rode through Tower-street, where he was received by Sergeant Vawce, the lord of Misrule to John Mainard, one of the sheriffs of London, who conducted him to the house of Sir George Barne, the lord mayor, where there was a banquet; and, at his departure, the lord mayor gave him a standing cup, with a cover of silver-gilt, of the value of £10, for a reward. He also set a hogs-head of wine and a barrel of beer at his gate, for the train that followed him.
The motto taken by Ferrers was, semper ferians (always keeping holiday), and his crest was the holm-bush, or evergreen holly. He had himself to incur considerable expenses, independent of the assistance he received from the king’s stores; but the honour qualified this, and, of course, men of family and property were selected for the onerous office.1
In the following year the revels were kept nearly in the same manner; and, on this occasion, the king’s lord of Misrule was graciously pleased to knight the sheriff’s lord of Misrule; and they had a great banquet at my lord Treasurer’s.
Towards the end of the short reign of Edward, it was enacted, that the Eves of Christmas Day, the Circumcision, and the Epiphany, should be kept as fasts. But this was repealed very early in the reign of Mary, who, about the same time, issued a proclamation to prevent books, ballads, and interludes, from touching on points of doctrine in religion; and which, in effect, stopped all interludes and dramas, without special license. Her short reign was not very congenial to Christmas festivities, her own melancholy temperament, and domestic disappointments, interfering with them at court; but they were still kept up throughout the country, although much checked by the persecutions on account of religion. And what more fierce and rancorous than the persecution of man by his fellow-man, of Christian by his so-called fellow Christian, in the name of the All-merciful God; slaying and torturing by fire and sword, for difference in the worship of that Being, who abounds in pity and compassion for the erring sinner! Proud, cold, vindictive man! it will be an awful question to answer hereafter, "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground."
The Christmas masques were not, however, abandoned, and in the first Christmas after the marriage of Philip and Mary, there was one where the characters seem somewhat incongruous with the disposition of Mary, as there were six Venuses, or amorous ladies, with six cupids, and male and female Turks, &c.2
Among the numerous miscellaneous New Year’s gifts presented to Mary in 1556, were the fore part of a kyrtell, and a pair of sleeves, of cloth of silver, richly embroidered all over with. Venice silver, and raised with silver and black silk, given by the princess Elizabeth; a table, painted of the queen’s marriage, by Suete, painter; a smock, wrought all over with silk, and collar and ruffs of damask, gold, pearl, and silver, by the Duchess of Somerset; six sugar loaves, six tapnetts of figs, four barrels of suckets, and orange water, &c., by Lady Yorke, who, apparently, had a sweet tooth; two fat oxen, by Mr. Michael Wentworth — in the present time we should have taken them for granted, as prize oxen; two guinea-cocks, scalded by Gent; a marchpane, and two dishes of jelly, by Burrage, master cook; a fat goose and a capon, by Mrs. Preston; a cake of spice bread, by Kelley, plasterer; nutmegs and ginger, and a long stalk of cinnamon elect, in a box, by Smalwodde, grocer; a basket of pomegranates, cherries, apples, oranges, and lemons; by Harris, fruiterer; three rolls of songs, by Sheparde, of the chapel; a fair lute, edged with passamayne of gold and silk, by Browne, instrument maker.
The lord-mayor kept his state as usual, and in the end of January, 1557, the lord treasurer’s lord of Misrule, — for this officer’s power was frequently extended to Candlemas Day — came to the lord-mayor with his suite, and invited him to dinner.
In the following year there is a notice of the lord of Misrule, which would be rather strange if we did not know that going to the Poultry Compter in those days was not always a mark of disgrace or difficulty, as in recent times; but after all allowance made, some part of the account is suspicious; however, as we have not got the name of the master reveller, we may give the story, that on New Year’s Eve a lord of Misrule, with his herald, trumpets, and drums, and several attendants, disguised in white, went to London, and was brought to the Poultry Compter, and divers of his men lay all night there, and they went astray home again, by four and six together, to Westminster, on horseback and on foot.3 It is to be hoped that those who came disguised in white did not go home disguised in liquor; but let us give them the benefit of the doubt.
Queen Elizabeth, who, to powerful intellect, joined much of the arbitrary temper of her father, possessed also great vanity and fondness of display. In her time, therefore, the festivities were renewed with great pomp and show; and theatrical entertainments were also particularly encouraged, and were frequently performed before the queen, especially at Christmas time. To restrain somewhat the great expenses of these entertainments, she directed, in her second year, estimates to be made of them previously; but this wholesome practice, judging from the cost of after years, did not exist very long. In 1559, which may be called her first Christmas, the play before her, on Christmas Night, unluckily contained some offensive or indecent matter, as the players were commanded to leave off, and the mask came in dancing. On the Twelfth Night following there was a play, and then a goodly mask, and afterwards a great banquet.4
In 1561, a lord of Misrule, having with him a train of 100 horsemen, richly apparelled, rode through London to the Inner Temple, where there was great revelling throughout the Christmas; Lord Robert Dudley, afterwards Earl of Leicester, being the constable and marshal, under the name of Palaphios; and Christopher Hatton, afterwards chancellor, was master of the game. A sort of parliament had been previously held on St. Thomas’s Eve to decide whether the Society should keep Christmas; and if so, the oldest bencher delivered a speech on the occasion, the oldest butler was to publish the officers’ names, and then, “in token of joy and good liking, the bench and company pass beneath the hearth, and sing a carol, and so to boyer.” It was at this Temple Grand Christmas that Ferrex and Porrex, which may be considered as the first play assuming the character of the regular tragedy, was performed. The revels at these Grand Christmasses generally continued throughout the whole twelve days; Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Twelfth Day, being more particularly distinguished. On this occasion, at the breakfast of Twelfth Day, were brawn, mustard, and malmsey; the dinner of two courses to be served in the hall, and after the first course came the master of the game, apparelled in green velvet, and the ranger of the forest in green satin, bearing a green bow with arrows, each of them having a hunting horn about his neck after blowing three blasts of venery, they paced three times round the fire, which was then placed in the middle of the hall. The master of the game next made three courtesies and knelt down, and: petitioned to be admitted into the service of the lord of the feast, This ceremony having been performed, a huntsman came into the hail with a fox, and a purse-net with a cat, both bound at the end of a staff, and nine or ten couple of hounds, the horns blowing. The fox and cat were then set upon by the hounds, and killed beneath the fire; a pleasant Christmas amusement. This sport being finished, the marshal ushered all in their proper places, and after the second course, the oldest of the masters of the revels sang a song, with the assistance of others present; after some repose and further revels, supper of two courses was served, and when that was finished, the marshal was borne in by four men, on a sort of scaffold or framework, and taken three times round the hearth, crying out, “A lord, a lord,” &c.; after which he came down and went to dance, The lord of Misrule then addressed himself to the banquet, — the unfortunate fox and cat ought to have formed part — which ended with minstrelsy, mirth, and dancing; when they all departed to rest.5
In 1573, there was some urgent expedition necessary in getting the revels ready in time; for a set of unfortunate plasterers were kept at work all night, and as they could not be spared, nor trusted, to go abroad to supper, they were allowed bread, and cheese, and beer, for that meal.6 The queen generally had masks of different kinds before her at Christmas time, of greater or less magnificence; but mention must not be omitted of the celebrated Christmas at Gray’s Inn, in 1594, of which an account was published under the title of Gesta Grayorum. Mr. Henry Holmes, the Christmas Prince, took for his style, “The High and Mighty Prince; Henry, Prince of Purpoole; Arch-duke of Stapulia and Bernardia; Duke of High and Nether Holborn; Marquis of St. Giles and Tottenhana; Count Palatine of Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell; Great Lord of the Cantons of Islington, Kentish Town, Paddington, and Knightsbridge; Knight of the most heroical Order of the Helmet; and sovereign of the same.” According to our views, the entertainments would be considered heavy and pedantic in their nature; but they were in the style of the age, and seem to have given much satisfaction. There was a cessation of sports from Twelfth Night till the 1st of February, the prince being supposed absent in Russia on public affairs. On that day he was received at Blackwall, as if on his return, and that and the following day were spent in revelling and feasting, which then ceased until Shrovetide, when a mask was performed before the queen, containing, as usual, some gross flattery, and she was so much pleased with the performance, that on the courtiers dancing a measure after it, she exclaimed, “What! shall we have bread and cheese after a banquet.”
She was particularly partial to theatrical performances, and throughout her reign frequent mention is made of the plays performed during Christmas, at Court, and the rewards given to the players; the children of St. Paul’s also, and the scholars on her new foundation in Westminster, often performed before her at this season.
In 1560 and several following years, Sebastian Westcott, master of the children of St. Paul’s, received £6 13s. 4d., for their services, which seems to have been the usual price paid to regular players for a play, until the end of her reign, when it was increased to £10. Richard Farrant, the master of the children of Windsor, received for their services, in 1574, as much as £13 6s. 8d.
In 1560, Sir Thomas Benger was made master of the revels, succeeding Sir Thomas Cawarden; he dying in 1577, Mr. Thomas Blagrave, who had acted since 1573, held the office for a short time but Mr. Edmund Tylney was appointed in 1579, and died in 1610.7
The play performed on Twelfth Night, 1571, was called Narcissus, in which a live fox was let loose and chased by dogs; so that the introduction of live animals on the stage is not a modern invention. On New Year’s Day 1574, the children of Westminster performed Truth, Faithfulness, and Mercy. The, scholars on the foundation at Westminster, known as the queen’s scholars, have continued the custom of acting plays to the present time, the performances having for very many years past been one of Terence’s plays, of which four are taken in rotation, and excellent acting is in general exhibited to a select and talented audience; the concluding ceremony of the cap, however, reminds one of the usual termination of the country Christmas’ play of St. George. In the beginning of this reign there are references to. the custom, then called an old one, of scholars being allowed, even by their foundation deed, to bar out their masters a week before Christmas and Easter.
At Christmas 1574, she had a company of Italian players, amongst others, one of them was a tumbler. On New Year’s Night 1582, there were also sundry feats of tumbling by the servants of Lord Strange, besides plays during the Christmas, and a mask of ladies. In several following years a tumbler, called Symons, seems to have been famed for divers feats of activity, and the queen apparently took pleasure in such exhibitions. In 1600, a person, called Nycke, tumbled before her, and 14s. are charged for his silk hose. In her latter years we find Edward Allen, John Heming, and Thomas Pope, presenting plays before her. The rewards given to the players, vary from £6 13s. 4d. to £40. As the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’ written at the queen’s request, and other of Shakespeare’s plays, were performed at court, we may fairly presume that some of them were performed at Christmas, and that the great Bard himself may have acted before her.
In 1592, the vice-chancellor, and heads of colleges, at Cambridge, were directed to act a comedy before the queen, at Christmas; but these unfortunate victims of too much learning were obliged to memorialize the vice-chamberlain, stating their inability to act in English, and asking leave to perform in Latin.8 They must have been in their glory in the reign of Elizabeth’s successor, the pedant James, whom, on one occasion, they addressed as Jacobissime Jacobe. Like her predecessors, the queen would play at dice at Christmas time, but she had dice set for her that threw the high numbers only, as fives and sixes; and, as she knew not the trick, she was kept in good humour by her success, as she, of course, won; and her courtiers probably thought it worth some sacrifice to avoid incurring the effects of the paternal temper existing in her.9
Kemp, in his celebrated, morris-dance, from London to Norwich, takes particular notice of the Norwich waits, saying that few cities have the like, and none better; who, besides their excellency in wind instruments, their rare cunning on the viol and violin, had admirable voices, every one of them being able to serve as a chorister in any cathedral church. One Richard Reede, a wait of Cambridge, is particularly mentioned, as having 20s. for his attendance at a gentleman’s mansion, during the Christmas of 1574. Besides these, Puttenham speaks of tavern minstrels, that gave a fit of mirth for a groat, much in the style of our present peripatetic street musicians; their matter being for the most part stories of old time, as the tale of Sir Topas, the exploits of Bevis of Southampton, Guy of Warwick, Adam Bell, and Clymm of the Clough, and such other old romances or historical rhymes, made purposely for recreation of the common people at Christmas dinners, and brideales, and in taverns, and alehouses, and such other places of base resort.
The nobility, as in former times, imitated the court in the manner of keeping Christmas, and the gentry followed in their steps; but they were allured to town by the superior festivities in the metropolis, to the neglect of their friends and dependents in the country, besides dissipating their means in London, and thus causing an inability to preserve proper hospitality and charity in their own neighbourhood. In order to check this practice, an order was made in 1589, directing the gentlemen of Norfolk and Suffolk to leave London before Christmas, and repair to their own countries, there to keep hospitality among their neighbours. Their presence also would not only enable them to increase the real enjoyment of their dependents, but would serve to control any tendency to riot or debauch at the country alehouses, at this time the resort of many idle strollers, under the guise of minstrels, jugglers, revellers, &c., and would, if right-minded themselves, give a proper direction to the festivities.
“At Christmas be mery, and thanke god of all;
And feast thy pore neighbours, the great with the small.”
In 1581, there was a book written by Thomas Lovell, published by John Aides, against the ‘Use and Abuse of Dauncinge and Mynstralsye.’ It is of a puritanical nature, being a supposed dialogue between Custom who defends them, and Verity who attacks them and is made victorious. Custom, however, pleads hard for dancing at Christmas time, showing that it had been a usage of long standing.
Christmas is a mery time, -
good mirth therfore to make;
young men and maids together may
their legs in daunces shake;
Wee se it with some gentlemen
a common use to be,
At that time to provide to have
some pleasant minstrelsie.”
Towards the end of the Queen’s life, when she herself failed in health and spirit, there was in general a great abatement in Christmas festivities; the country taking the tone from the monarch. In ‘Summer’s Last Will and Testament,’ written about this time, Autumn talks of Christmas, as—
".....a pinch-back, cut-throat churl,
That keeps no open house, as he should do,
Deighteth in no game or fellowship,
Loves no good deeds and hateth talk;
But sitteth in a corner turning crabs,
Or coughing o’er a warmed pot of ale;”
and in ‘Father Hubbard’s Tales,’ by Middleton, the Ant’s Tale, referring probably to the time about the end of this reign, and showing the nature of the amusements in vogue at Christmas, the writer says, “Do but imagine now what a sad Christmas we all kept in the country, without either carols, wassail-bowls, dancing of Sellenger’s round in moon shiuc about maypoles, shoeing the mare, boodman-blind, hot-cockles, or any of our old Christmas gambols; no, not so much as choosing king and queen on Twelfth Night.”
With Elizabeth’s fondness for luxury and dress, and her passion for adulation, it may well be imagined that her New Year’s Gifts were rigidly expected, or exacted, from all classes connected with, her; from Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, down to Smyth the dustman; and they were of a most miscellaneous description. In the preceding reigns, when she was princess, she was in the habit of giving and receiving them, but in a comparatively quiet and unobtrusive manner, frequently consisting of presents of gilt plate, and the messengers with gifts to her always receiving rewards; but on one occasion she gave her brother, King Edward, a translation in Latin, in her own hand, of an Italian sermon of Occhini; her pride of scholarship even then showing itself. There are many instances of authors giving compositions of their own as New Year’s Gifts, and of books being printed with that name, no doubt by way of attracting at this season. On New Year’s Day, 1561, Newell, Dean of St. Paul’s, who preached before the queen on that day, got much blamed by her, for having laid on her cushion, as a New Year’s Gift, a prayer-book richly bound, having several fine cuts and pictures of the stories of saints and martyrs; for she considered these as being contrary to the proclamation against images, pictures, and Romish relics in churches, and desired such mistake might never occur again. One can fancy the venerable Dean shrinking under the stern rebuke of the peremptory young lady on a point of ecclesiastical discipline. In return for the gifts presented to her, she generally gave articles of gilt plate, as cups, bowls, salts, &e., varying according to the rank of the person; from 400 ounces to Sir Christopher Hatton, to two ounces to Mrs. Tomysen, the dwarf; and also presents of money to the servants. It would be useless to insert a long list of these gifts, a few will show the variety, the value and taste of some, and the strangeness, according to our ideas, of others.
In 1660, she had a pair of silk stockings given her by Mrs. Montagu, her silk-woman, which by some are said to have been the first pair worn in England; however, they became common soon afterwards. It may be mentioned, as an act of kindness, that in this year she gave sixty French crowns, as a New Year’s Gift, to ——— Penne, widow, who had been formerly nurse to King Edward. In the following year she received presents in money from £40 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a red silk purse in demy sovereigns, to £4 by Lady Cheeke, in a russet silk purse; also various articles of dress, most of them richly wrought, among which were smocks worked in silk; and standing collars and partelets wrought with gold, silver, and silk; and miscellaneous articles, from handsome pieces of jewellery, down to one pye of quinces, by John Betts, servant of the pastry, who received two gilt spoons in return. In subsequent years the gifts are much of the same nature, and a few only need be particularised. Some may be considered as partaking of a professional character: her doctors generally giving a pot of orange blossoms and a pot of ginger, or something similar; and her apothecary a box of lozenges, or a pot of conserves; while her cook gave a marchpane, made into some kind of device; and her serjeant of the pastry, a quince pie, and sometimes a pie of quinces and wardens gilt.
In 1574, the favourite, Earl of Leicester, gave her a splendid fan, that ladies now might envy, being of white feathers, set in a handle of gold; one side of it garnished with two very fair emeralds, one of them especially fine, and garnished with diamonds and rubies; and the other side garnished with diamonds and rubies; and on each side a white bear and two pearls hanging, a lion rampant with a white muzzled bear at his foot. Handsomely wrought smocks are frequently mentioned. This article, as is well known, was different from that in present wear, the ornamental part could be safely exhibited, and gentlemen could present them without breach of decorum; though in our present fastidious days, a New Year’s Gift to a lady of a chemisette, berthe, or gilêt, might be considered as a somewhat eccentric qage d’amour.
In 1578, Philip Sidney gave a cambric smock, which may be considered as quite in the florid or decorated style of workmanship; the sleeves and collar being wrought with black work, and edged with a small bone lace of gold and silver; and a suite of ruffs outwork, flourished with gold and silver, and set with spangles. In the same year, Sir Gawen Carew gave one worked with Venice gold, and edged with a small bone lace of Venice gold; Smyth, the dustman, gave two bolts of cambric; her doctors and apothecary, pots of ginger and candy; and Mark Anthony, a violl.
In the following year, Morrys Watkins, whoever he might be, gave eighteen larks in a cage, and received 20s. in reward. In several years there are handsome gowns, petticoats, kirtles, doblets, and mantles, some embroidered with precious stones, bracelets, and other ornaments; so that it does not appear so very surprising that at her death, Elizabeth left a hoard of 2000 dresses behind her. It must be presumed, however, that she was not in the habit of giving away any of her apparel, or her ladies’ maids would have had rich perquisites.
In 1582,10 Lady Howard gave her a jewel of gold, representing a cat and mice playing with her, garnished with small diamonds and pearls; typifying perhaps the queen and her maids and she received from eight maskers a flower of gold, garnished with sparks of diamonds, rubies, and opals, with an agate of her majesty’s “phisnamy,” and a pearl pendant, with devices painted in it.
In 1589, she had a jewel of gold, like an alpha and omega, whatever that might be, garnished with sparks of diamonds. Sir Francis Drake also gave her a fan of white and red feathers, the handle of gold, enamelled with a half moon of mother of pearl, within that a half moon garnished with sparks of diamonds, and a few seed pearls on one side, having her majesty’s picture within it, and on the other side a device with a crow over it. Lord North, in his Household Book, charges £40, as his New Year’s Gift to the queen, and £16 10s. given at court at New Year’s tide. It need scarcely be observed that the custom of New Year’s Gifts was prevalent among all classes, and many examples might be given of payments on account of them in the domestic records of the age.
The customs in France about this time were very similar to ours. In Sully’s ‘Memoirs,’ 1606, it is stated, “Les cérémonies du jour de l’an, des rois et jours suivans, se passèrent a l’accoustumée, en présens, festins, banquets, balets, mascarades, courses de bague, et autres réjouissances et magnificences, le roy, la reine, et la reine Marguerite vous ayant envoyé vos estrennes, et a madame vostre femme aussi.”
Notes from Sandys:
1. Particulars of George Ferrer's Misrule will be found in Stow's Annals, Baker's Chronicle, Losely MS. 45, &c. and Machyn's Diary, 13, &c. Return
2. Loseley MS. 90. Return
3. Machyn's Diary, 162. Return
4. Machyn's Diary, 222. Return
5. Dugdale Origines Jurid. Return
6. Account of Revels, 28. Return
7. See Collier, i. 196, &c., for this page. Return
8. Landsdowne MS. 71. Return
9. Ben Jonson's Conversations with Drummond, 23. ReturnReturn