Laws and Privileges.15

Laws and Privileges.

Sport upon the Ice.

When that great Moor, which washeth Moorfields, at the North Wall of the City, is frozen over, great Companies of young Men go to sport upon the Ice; then fetching a Run, and setting their Feet at a Distance, and placing their Bodies sidewise, they slide a great Way. Others take Heaps of Ice, as if it were great Mil stones, and make Seats: Many going before, draw him that sits thereon, holding one another by the Hand; in going so fast, some slipping with their Feet all fall down together: Some are better practised to the Ice, and bind to their Shooes, Bones, as the Legs of some Beasts, and hold Stakes in their Hands, headed with sharp Iron, which sometimes they strike agianst the Ice; and these Men go on with Speed, as doth a Bird in the Air, or Darts shot from some warlike Engine: Sometime two Men set themselves at a Distance, and run one against another, as it were at Tilt, with these Stakes, wherewith one or both Parties are thrown down, not without some Hurt to their Bodies; and after their Fall, by Reason of the violent Motion, are carried a good Distance one from another; and wheresoever the Ice doth touch their Head, it rubs off all the Skin and lays it bare; and if one fall upon his Leg or Arm, it is usually broken: But some young Men being greedy of Honour, and desirous of Victory, do thus exercise themselves in counterfeit Battels, that they may bear the Brunt more strongly when they come to it in good Earnest.

Sport with Birds and Dogs.

Many Citizens take Delight in Birds, as Sparhawks, Goss-Hawks, and such like, and in Dogs to hunt in the wooddy Ground. The Citizens have Authority to hunt in Middelsex, Hertfordshire, all the Chilterns, and in Kent, as far as Gray-Water.

The Valour of Londoners.

The Londoners, once called Trinovants, repulsed C. Julius Cæsar, who commonly paved his Way with Blood: Whereupon Lucan;

He was afraid, and foil'd by Briton's Hand,
That first presumed to invade their Land.

Natives of London.

The City of London hath brought forth some who have subdued many Kingdoms, and the Empire of Rome to themselves; and many others who being Lords of this World, were deified in another; as Apollo's Oracle did promise Brute:

Brute, thou shalt find an Iland in the West,     
Beyond the Gaules, environ'd with the Main;
Direct thy Journey thither for thy Rest,     
And there a second Troy shall rise again.
Kings from thy Heirs, and Conquerors shall spring,
Who will the World into Subjection bring.

And in Times of Christianity, it brought forth the noble Emperor Constantine, who gave the City of Rome and all the Imperial Arms to God, and to St. Peter, and Silvester the Pope, whose Stirrop he refused not to hold, and pleased rather to be called, Defender of the holy Roman Church, than Emperor any more. And lest the Peace of our Lord the Pope should suffer any Disturbance, by the Noise of secular Affairs, he left the City, and bestowed it on the Pope, and founded the City of Constantinople for his own Habitation. London also in these latter Times hath brought forth famous and magnificent Princes: Maud the Empress, King Henry the Third, and Thomas the Archbishop, a glorious Martyr of Christ, than whom no Man was more innocent, or more devoted to the general Good of the Latin World.

That no modern Ears may be offended with this Language, remember by whom it was writ; a Monk, the Pope's sworn Creature, and when; namely, about 500 Years ago, in the very Depth of Popery.]

J. S.

Both in the Latin Tract of this Fitz-Stephen, as well as in the English Translation of it, in the former Editions of Stow, I have made innumerable Corrections, Emendations and Additions, by the Help of an authentic MS. and by diligently comparing the Print with it. It is, or was, kept in the Chamber of London. Mr. Petyt, the late Keeper of the Tower Records, and a most elaborate and exact Antiquarian, had told me that he had seen that MS. there, going up Stairs to the Repertory, as well as another old Book, called Britannia, and so marked on the Back. And, knowing that I had Access thither, by the Favour of the Court of Aldermen, desired me earnestly to enquire for it, and prayed me to get it transcribed for him. And withal told me, there was more in it than in the printed Book; and particularly, what a great Force of Men the Londoners sent out against the Empress Maud. This I thought fit to insert in Vindication of the Alterations and Insertions I have made, as may be seen comparing this with the former Editions.]

An ancient MS. of Fitz-Stephen.

J. S.