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Ancient Customs for Trade. 241

Ancient Customs for Trade.

Ancient Customs for Trade and Merchandise. Whirlicotes. Great Housekeeping in London: And Hospitality. Sports and Pastimes. Comedies and Stage Plays; restrained. Shooting in the Bow. Justs. Cock-fighting. Watches. The Watch at Midsummer. The March then through the City. Customary Punishments; Funerals; Weddings; Christenings.

BY way of Appendix to this First Book, here shall be added some other Things, that will afford a further Light into the Constitution and Practices of this City, in ancient Times: Some whereof Fitzstephen, a Writer in the Reign of King Henry II. hath taken notice of. As, In what Streets and Parts of the City, the several Citizens had their Shops, and used their Trades. Next, From their Business and Employment, to descend to their Sports and Pastimes, wherein, in those Times, they exercised themselves. And because herein many Exorbitances often happened, therefore Watches were appointed. Some Things shall be shewn concerning those Watches. And, Lastly, The Memory of many brave Citizens shall be revived, and their Noble and right Christian Acts be mentioned, for their Honour, and the Imitation of Posterity.

A Transition to divers old Customs and Usages.

J. S.

And first, Concerning the several Streets and Places appropriated for each Trade and Merchandize. Under which, some other Occasional Matters will fall in, from the Relation of Fitzstephen, concerning the Orders and Customs of this City in old Time.]

Trades and Merchandise.

Fitzstephen saith as followeth. "Men of all Trades, Sellers of all Sorts of Wares, Labourers in every Work, every Morning are in their distinct and several Places. "

Men of all Trades in distinct Places.

" Furthermore, in London, upon the River side, between the Wine in Ships, and the Wine to be sold in Taverns, is a common Cookery, or Cooks Row; where daily, for the Season of the Year, Men might have Meat, roast, sod, or fryed: Fish, Flesh, Fowls, fit for Rich and Poor. "

Wine in Ships,and Wine in Taverns.

Cooks Row in Thamesstreet.

" If any come suddenly to any Citizen from afar, weary, and not willing to tarry till the Meat be bought and dressed; while the Servant bringeth Water for his Master's Hands, and fetcheth Bread, he shall have immediately (from the River side) all Viands whatsoever he desireth. "

" What Mulititude soever, either of Soldiers, or Strangers, do come to the City; whatsoever Hour, Day or Night, according to their Pleasures, may refresh themselves. And they which delight in Delicateness, may be satisfied with as delicate Dishes there, as may be found elsewhere. "

" And this Cooks Row is very necessary to the City: And, according to Plato and Gorgias, Next to Physick, is the Office of Cooks, as Part of a City. "

" Without one of the Gates is a smooth [or Smethe] Field, both in Name and Deed; where every Friday, unless it be a solemn bidden Holy-day, is a notable Shew of Horses to be sold. Earls, Barons, Knights and Citizens, repair thither to see, or to buy. There may you of Pleasure see Amblers, pacing it delicately. There may you see Trotters, fit for Men of Arms, setting more hardly. There may you have notable young Horses, not yet broken: May you have strong Steeds, well limbed Geldings, which the Buyers do especially regard for Pace and Swiftness. The Boys which ride these Horses, sometime Two, sometime Three, do run Races for Wagers; with a Desire of Praise, or Hope of Victory. "

Smithfield a plain smooth Ground, so called from Smeth, or Smethie, Market for Horses and other Cattle.

" In another Part of that Field are to be sold, all Implements of Husbandry, as also fat Swine, Milch Kine, Sheep and Oxen. There stand also Mares and Horses, fit for Ploughs and Teams, with their young Colts by them. "

" At this City, Merchant Strangers of all Nations had their Keys and Wharfs. The Arabians sent Gold; the Sabeans, Spice and Frankincense; the Scythians, Armour: Babylon, Oyl; India, Purple Garments: Egypt, precious Stones: Norway and Russia, Ambergrease and Sables; and the Frenchmen, Wine. "

Merchants of all Nations traded at this City, and had their several Keys and Wharfs.

" According to the Truth of Chronicles, this City is ancienter than Rome; built by the ancient Trojans, and by Brute, before that was built by Romulus and Remus; and therefore useth the ancient Customs of Rome. "

The Author's Opinion of this City; the Antiquity thereof.

" This City, even as Rome, is divided into Wards. It hath yearly Sheriffs, instead of Consuls. It hath the Dignity of Senators, in Aldermen. It hath Under-Officers, Common Sewers, and Conduits in Streets. According to the Quality of Causes, it hath General Courts and Assemblies upon appointed Days. "

This City divided into Wards, more than 400 Years since; and also had then both Aldermen and Sheriffs.

" I do not think that there is any City, wherein are better Customs, in Frequenting the Churches, in Serving God, in Keeping Holy-days, in Giving Alms, in Entertaining Strangers, in Solemnizing Marriages, in Furnishing Banquets, Celebrating Funerals, and Burying dead Bodies. "

Customs of London.

" The only Plagues of London, is immoderate Quaffing among the foolish Sort, and often Casualties by Fire. "

Plagues of London, Quaffing and Fire.

" Most Part of the Bishops, Abbots, and Great Lords of the Land, have Houses there; whereunto they resort, and bestow much, when they are called to Parliament by the King, or to Synods by their Metropolitan, or otherwise by their private Business."

Bishops, Abbots, &c. had their Houses here.

Thus far Fitzstephen, of the Estate of these Things in his Time. Whereunto may be added the present; by Comparing whereof, the Alteration will easily appear.

Men of Trades, and Sellers of Wares in this City, have oftentimes since changed their Places, as they have found their best Advantage. For whereas Mercers and Haberdashers used wholly then to keep their Shops in West Cheap; of la-

Changes since Fitzstephen's Time.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY