Maiors and Sheriffs Tables. 246

Maiors and Sheriffs Tables.

spent, and then sending for more, the Duke of Somerset sent him the Image of St. George in Silver and Gold, to be sold with the Alms Dish of the Duke of Gloucester, which was also of great Price, for Coin had they none.

Duke of Gloucester's Alms-Dish.

But let Men call to mind Sir Thomas Cromwell, then Lord Privy Seal, and Vicar general, lying in the City of London, he bare his Charges to the great Muster there [Anno 1599.] consisting of 15000. besides Whifflers and other Waiters, all in bright Harness, with Coats of white Silk or Cloth, and Chains of Gold in three great Battels.

Tho. Cromwell at the great Muster.

He sent his Men (in great Number) to the Miles end, and after them their Armour in Carrs, with their Coats of white Cloth, and the Arms of this City, to wit, a red Cross and a Sword on the Breast and Back, which Armour and Coats they wear amongst the Citizens, without any difference, and marched thorough the City to Westminster.

But now in the Conclusion, to return to the House-keeping in the City.

The great Excess at Maiors and Sheriffs Tables.

The Expences of the Maiors and Sheriffs, and other publick Feasting in the City on solemn Days, were so great in former Times, that an Act of Common Council was made, 1 and 2 Phil. and Mar. for retrenching them, and other Charges in Attendants and Liveries. And these Expences continuing to our Times, it was reprinted Anno 1680, and recommended to the present Observation.

J. S.

The Preamble set forth the Reason, that our ancient wise Forefathers had many times attempted the Redress and Amendment of the great Excess in Fare and other Things, in Maiors and Sheriffs Houses, viz. the Dearth of Victuals, and the Charges of these Offices, which were so huge, that almost all good Citizens fled and refused to serve in this Honourable City; only because of the great Excess, and chargeable Fare and Diet in the said Offices. Hence it was Enacted, That no Maior or Sheriff should have at their Table at Dinner or Supper any more Courses than one. And no more sundry Dishes at one Course, upon the Sunday or other Festival Day, being a Flesh Day, than Six, whether the same be hot or cold. Every Holy Day, being a Fish Day, Seven Dishes of Meat, and not above. And every Working Day, being a Flesh Day, Five Dishes. And Fish Days, Six Dishes of several Meats; Provided, that neither Brawn, Collops with Eggs, Sallads, Pottage, Butter, Cheese, Eggs, Herrings, Sprats, Shrimps, or any Shellfish, nor no kind of Fruit unhashed, shall be accounted for any of the said Number of Dishes of Meat abovesaid. And that the Maior may at his pleasure have, at the said one Course, one Dish of Meat, either Fish or Flesh more than before limited.

Retrenched by an old Act of Common Council.

That neither the Serjeants, nor other Officers of the Lord Maior's House; nor the Serjeants Yeomen, or other Officers of the Sheriffs Houses, shall have more sundry Dishes, either at Dinner or Supper, upon the Flesh Days, than Three, and upon Fish Days than Four.

None of the Aldermen or Commoners of this City to exceed or pass the Number of Dishes of Meat, above limited and appointed for the Sheriffs in their own proper Mansion Houses, Brawn, Sallads, and other Things as aforesaid, excepted.

Nor in any of the Halls or Companies at any Feast or Time. Nor that there be any Swan, Crane, or Bustard, which were wont to be called Head Pools, to be spent at any Feast in any of the Halls or Companies, upon pain of Forfeiture of 40s. toties quoties.

And for the ease of the Aged Persons, and for the avoiding of great Uneasiness, that often hap- pens at Feasts, a certain convenient Number of the Cloathing [i.e. Livery] as well of the principal Crafts, as of the meaner Companies, which were accustomed to dine at the Maiors Feast, shall be abated. And such a certain Number of every Company as hath been accustomed to dine at the said Feast, the Number to be Yearly appointed by the Lord Maior and his Brethren the Aldermen; and they to be served but with one Course, and the same Number of Dishes, viz. of Six or Seven.

Provided, That when any Ambassador, or any of the Privy Council shall be at the said Feast, then for their Board only to be amended and ordered by the Discretion of the said Maior and Sheriffs. And no Banquet after Dinner except Ipocras and Wafers, as in time past hath been used.

The Festival Days, that were wont to be kept by the Maior and Sheriffs in their Houses; that is to say, the three Holidays after Whitsunday, and the Dinners kept at Bartholomewtide, from henceforth to be left and laid down. And the Feasts of Christmas and Easter, with the Holy Days next after, to be used and kept by the Maior and Sheriffs, as heretofore hath been accustomed, and to keep the Order as is foresaid.

The Sheriffs of this City from henceforth shall have but Fourteen Serjeants, and Fourteen Yeomen apiece. The Sheriffs to give to every of their Serjeants and Yeomen two Crowns at the time accustomed, and no other Liveries. And to every other, Clerks of the Counters, and such as have been accustomed to have had Gowns at Christmas, to have only one Livery Gown, and no more.

That from henceforth there shall be no WYTH fetcht home at the Maior's or Sheriffs Houses. Neither shall they keep any Lord of Misrule in any of their Houses.

And forasmuch, as the Lord Maior and Sheriffs, shortly after their Entrance into their several Offices and Rooms, be Yearly at great and exceeding Expences, by reason of the sumptuous Feasts, which they for the Honour and Renown of the same do keep and make in Guildhall, called The Maior and Sheriffs Feasts, as well to and for such Noblemen of the Kings and Queens most Honourable Council, Ambassadors of foreign Realms and Potentates, as are bidden and desired to come unto the same; and also to and for the Aldermen, and Worshipful Commons and Citizens; Therefore it was Ordained and Enacted, That the said Maior and Sheriffs should Yearly thenceforth, at the time of the making their said Feasts, have, of the Free Gift of the City out of the Chamber, of the common Store and Treasure of the City there, towards the Relief of their said Charge and Expence, the Sum of an 100l. This present Act to be a sufficient Warrant and Discharge unto the Chamberlain for the Yearly Payment of the said 100l.

This Act of Common Council was Printed again the Year 1680, with Reasons added; as therein is shewed, that the Fifth Part of the Charge of a Shrievalty is in the Wine.

The Modern Feasts now, viz. the Checker and Spittal Feasts; the first costeth in Wine 80l. The latter costeth above 300l. to each Sheriff.]

And thus I end touching Orders and Customs of this City.

Sports and Pastimes of old Time used in this City.


* Let us now (saith Fitzstephen) come to the Sports and Pastimes, seeing it is fit that a City should not only be commodious and serious, but also merry

* Of Sports & Pastimes in this City.

Every thing hath his Time, a Time to weep, a Time to laugh, a Time to mourn, and a Time to dance, Eccles. 3.