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Christmas waits are not to be confounded with ward-men, whose duty of ward-keeping was also connected with their tenure. The wardmen were a kind of rural police. They were probably maintained on the north side of London until the institution of a general system of police in the time of Edward the First. By the Statute of Winton it was ordered that a watch should be kept by six men at each gate of a city, by twelve men in every borough, and by six men or four men in each rural township every night from the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord to the Feast of St. Nicholas. The watchmen could detain any one unknown to them; any one who would not stand and declare himself, was pursued with hue and cry—with horn and voice
Swarming at his back the country cried.
We suppose that St. Nicholas became the patron of highwaymen, because the watch was intermitted on the day dedicated to St. Nicholas. The wardmen are occasionally noticed in the Domesday of St. Paul's. The survey of 1279 states, that at Sutton, in Middlesex, each tenant who had cattle on the lord's lands to the value of thirty pence, paid a penny at Martinmas, called wardpenny; but this tax was not due from the watchmen of the ward, who waited at night in the king's highway, and received the ward-staff
They wared and they waked,
And the country scathelessIn Essex the wardkeepers had a rope with a bell, or more than one bell, attached to it: the rope may have been used to stop the way. The wardstaff was a type of authority, cut and carried with peculiar ceremony, and treated with great reverence.*
Sexdecim predicti villani redd' xvi sol' de Michilmeth et vi sol de Yolwaytyng. (Boldon-Book.)
Quolibet habens averia super terruras Domini ad valentiam xxx dabit At Chingford the wardstaff was presented in court in Hockday. This day—the second Tuesday after Easter--was another very important day in bygone times. John Ross of Warwick records, that on the death of Hardicanute, England was delivered from Danish servitude, and to commemorate this deliverance, on the day commonly called Hocktuesday, the people of the villages are accustomed to pull in parties at each end of a rope, and to indulge in other jokes.* The Hock-tide sports were kept up at Hexton in Hertfordshire in the time of Elizabeth, and are described in Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire. We notice this account of them, because it has not been noticed in the “ Popular Antiquities.” Hockday was usually set apart for a love-day, law-day, or court-leet. This court could be held but twice in the year, and was generally held at Hocktide and Michaelmas, or Martinmas, since a court on these days would not interfere much with agricultural operations. The leets, like most other gatherings, ended with good cheer. In the thirteenth century, when the officers of East Monkton attended the Hundred courts at Deverell—which were held at Hocktide and Martinmas—they were allowed a loaf and a piece of meat each.t A feast following a court-leet or law-day, was
unum denarium ad festun Sancti Martini, qui vocatur Wardpeny, exceptis illis qui sunt de Ward vigilantes, qui vigilant ad regiam stratam de nocte
et recipient Wardestof. (Dom. S. P. lxx.) Middleton, Camb.) Memorandum quod omnes isti prenominati tam liberi quam
villani qui habent bestias pretii xxx dant domino predicto per annuin pro quadam consuetudine que vocatur Wartpenny.
(2 Hundred Rolls, 453.)
The tale of the Ward-staff is in Palgrave's English Commonwealth; or in Blount's Fragmenta Antiquitatis, 325— 332, and there is an edition of it by the late Mr. Singer in Notes and Queries.
* Hardeknuts mortuo, liberata est Anglia ex tunc a servitute Danorum. In cujus signum usque hodie, illa die, vulgariter dicta Hoxtuisday, ludunt in villis trahendo cordas partialiter, cum aliis jocis. There are allusions to this diversion in the Iliado
Τώ δ' έριδος κρατερής και ομοίου πολέμοιο
Alternately the tug, and still between them strain'd.—(xïï. 358.) | Item Wykemanni debent comedere apud Deverel die beati Martini quando veniunt ad hundred' et quilibet eorum habebit panem et unam
called a leet-ale or scot-ale. An ale is said to mean no more than a feast. There were leet-ales and scot-ales, church-ales,
a clerk-ales, bid-ales, and bride-ales. Scot-ales were often abused, and made means of extortion. The bishops, the judges, and all the king's men tried in vain to suppress them.* All persons present at a scotale paid scot, that is a fine, or fee: the money raised nominally furnished a feast, but was really for the benefit of the chief officer of the court—the portreeve, headborough, or thirdborough. In some places the leet-ale was not entirely supported by subscription. In Tollard, on the edge of Cranborne Chace, the steward was allowed on the law-day to have a course at a deer out of Tollard Park.* At Bovey Tracey the portreeve has the profits of a piece of ground, called Portreeve's Park, to defray the expenses of the
, annual revel. The Glastonbury Rental describes the mode of keeping the scotales at the Deverells, in Wiltshire, during the time of Abbot Michael, who governed Glastonbury between the years 1235 and 1252 :
All the men of Longbridge and Monkton declare that the lord can make three scotales in the year at Longbridge; and
peciam carnis in Vigilia Natalis Domini. Eodem modo habere debent ad hocke. Et ad pasch' quilibet eorum habere debet i panem et v ova et ad hund' de hockeday comedere ut supra. (Add. 17450, f. 215 b.)
Chingesford . . .faciebat suitam hundredi de Waltham cum preposito et duobus hominibus, et veniebant homines ejusdem tenementi ad scotallam prepositi. (Dom. S. P. 144, also lxx.)
De parvis ballivis qui faciunt cervisias quas quandoque vocant Scotalas, quandoque fulstales, ut extorqueant pecuniæm a sequentibus hundredum et eorum subditis ; et de aliis qui cervisiam non faciunt garbas in autumno colligentibus, et bladum pauperum indebite distrahentibus. (Burton Annals, Gale 339.)
Charta Forestæ VII. Letters of Peter de Blois. Quart. Rev. No. cxvi. Horne's Mirrour, 35, Ed. 1768.
† In March 1618, Joseph Compton, of Yeovil, deposed that . . during the tyme he was deputie Ranger of Cranborne Chase, he had been once or twice present at a Court Leete holden for the Manor of Tollard, which court was holden yearly at or near a place called Lavermere Gate, lying near to the way that divides Dorsetshire and Wiltshire, and adjoyning to Tollard park; and the Steward of the said Court at the Court soe holden did chalenge a Custome to have a Course at a deare out of Tollard parke
. . It was called the Tollard Lawday Course. (Original Deposition.)
all the married men and bachelors claim to come on the Saturday after dinner, and to drink as at cunninghale, and to be helped thrice to drink; and on Sunday the bridegroom and the bride shall come with their penny, and likewise on Monday; and the bachelors shall come on Sunday with a halfpenny, and on Monday they claim to come and to drink freely without payment, as long as they drink standing; if they sit down they must pay.*
Cunninghale was probably the name of a Guild, or festive association. The customs above described are very like the customs of ancient Guilds. By the rules of the Guild of the Holy Ghost at Abingdon (dissolved in 1547) members who sat down at dinner paid one rate, and members who stood for want of room paid another. There is a good account of the village wakes of the seventeenth century in a report addressed to Archbishop Laud by Pierce, bishop of Bath and Wells. But we cannot undertake to be chroniclers of all kinds of revelry. We have been obliged to notice Christmas-dinners and Scotales, because they used to be incidents of tenure.
* Omnes homines de longponte et munketun' dicunt quod dominus potest facere tres scotallas per annum in longo ponte et presunt omnes sponsi et juvenes venire die sabbati post prandium et potare sicut ad cunninghale et habebunt ter ad potandum et die dominica sponsus et sponsa venient cum denario suo et die lune similiter. Juvenes vero venient die dominica cum obolo et die lune presunt venire et potare libere sine argento, ita quod non sunt inventi sedentes super scamnum, et si inventi fuerunt dabunt argentum sicut ceteri. (Add. 17450, f. 66.)
Damerham] Item potabit ii scotalles scilicet unam ante festum Sancti Michaelis per ii dies cum uxore sua et dabit iiia et si habet famulum vel famulam et undersetles quilibet dabit ob' et potabunt per unum diem. Item potabit ii scotall' post festum S. Michaelis dabit ad unam pro se et uxore sua iis ob' et ad alteram ii et potabit per ii dies et si famulus vel famula vel undersetles venerint quisque dabit ob' per diem et si extraneus venerit dabit ob'. (f. 50.)
Lothers, near Bridport, ao 1305] si fuerit uxoratus capiet iii lagenas cervisie vel seisare de scotallo domini, et reddet pro eis i denarios et obolum. (Delisle, Classe Agricole en Normandie, 87.)
OUR METROPOLITAN LOCAL
By ALEXANDER PULLING, Esq. THE absence of system which is characteristic of the local
government of London, we can observe in the constitution of its local tribunals. The numerous Courts for the administration of justice, both in civil and criminal cases within the metropolitan area, like the municipal institutions which in former times were so freely called into existence under royal charters or special Acts of the Legislature, have their origin in a succession of patchwork attempts specially to provide for each supposed occasion during the progress of London from a walled town, covering about 700 acres, with a population half mercantile, half military, living in a labyrinth of courts and alleys, the majority being, as appears from an old proclamation, “ heaped up together, and in a sort, half smothered,” to the majestic city of our day ; spreading over more than 120 square miles,* and containing two thousand six hundred miles of streets, flanked by three hundred and sixty thousand inhabited houses, with a population of three millions, and an assessed annual rental of £13,000,000.
Modern London embraces important portions of the four adjacent counties, and has swallowed up not only the old district which is still designated “the City,” and its ancient
" suburbs, but numberless places formerly existing as distinct towns, villages, and hamlets, which in days gone by had their separate systems of local government. The various tribunals which then served for the administration of civil and criminal justice throughout the large but unevenly peopled area so par
The whole area of the Metropolitan Police District is about 700 square miles. VOL. XIV.-NO. XXVIII.