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now adverting. The entry in the accounts of St. Margaret, Southwark, 28th Henry VI., is in these terms:
“ Item, peyd vpon seynt Lucy day to the
The same entry is repeated in the next year, and on both occasions the performances were restricted to St. Lucy's day; but in 29th Henry VI. we meet with a new charge, thus expressed :
“ Also peyd for Wyne to the Clerkes ......... vjd." and an item for “ Holme and Ivy, and for grene candell, xvd." immediately follows the memorandum of the cost of the play. Whether the sum of viijd “peyd to the Clerkes on Gangmonday” (the day when the bounds of the parish were beaten) had any connexion with their dramatic employment may be doubted.
Among the items in the receipts, besides the sums gathered in the church on St. Margaret’s and St. Lucy's days, we meet with several others, in 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, and 34th Henry VI., which seem to require notice. Following the entry of 8s. 1d., collected on St. Margaret's day, we read as follows:
“ Also receuyd in dawnsing mony of the
iijs viija.” Exchequer, &c., from Henry III. to Henry VI.” 8vo. 1837. p. 244. It is from the Issue Roll of Easter, 14 Richard II.
“ 11th July. To the clerks of the parish churches, and to divers other clerks in the city of London. In money paid to them in discharge of £10, which the Lord the King commanded to be paid them as his gift, on account of the play of The Passion of our Lord and the Creation of the World, by them performed at Skynnerwell, after the feast of Saint Bartholomew last past. By writ of privy seal, amongst the mandates of this term .... 101."
See also “ Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," i., 18.
which I am not able to explain, unless the “ dancing maidens” were in some way incidental to the play. The gatherings in the church also at this date became much more frequent, including All Saints and various others in the calendar, besides the four usual feasts of the year. If " Surcoat” might be taken in the sense of Tabard, the documents before us would show that Chaucer's famous inn was the property of the church of Saint Margaret: among the receipts are these :
“ Also receuyd of William Fox for rent...
Also receuyd of the Wyfe at the Syrcote iijo jiija." If the 38. 4d. were not paid for rent, our conjecture as to the ownership of the Surcoat may not be borne out. Among the gatherings, already alluded to, we meet with the following :
“ Also gaderyed on Hocke Tewisday This was no doubt for the repairs of the church. “Hock-tide" (Mr. Halliwell informs us) “was an annual festival, which began the fifteenth day after Easter. Money was formerly collected at this anniversary for the repairs of the church,"? &c. In this instance, it could have nothing to do with the performance of the Hock-Tuesday play, described by Langham in his “ Letter from Kenilworth," 1575.
Returning to the payments, it appears that the day for the representation of the play was again changed to the feast of the saint to whom the church was dedicated in 1451. In the
| Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, p. 453. In a subsequent part of the same accounts, and applicable to the year 1458, we read the following memoranda, which show that money was collected at Hocktide both by men and women:
"Item, receyuid in Hoke mony, gaderyd by the men
xiiijo." No wonder the women were employed, seeing that their applications for contributions were so much more successful.
account headed “ Anno Henrici Sexti xxx°," it forms the first item.
Fyrste, peyd to the Pleyrs vpon Seynt
vije.” which is the earliest mention of " players” by profession in these documents : possibly they were only the Parish Clerks under another designation ; but, if so, the fact that at this date they were called indifferently“ players,” or “clerks,” deserves observation. It seems more likely that they were not the Parish Clerks, because a new charge is also made for the hire of garments, as if the players employed in 1451 were not furnished with apparel for the purpose : it is in these words :
“ Also peyd for hyryng of Germentes xiiija." which immediately succeeds an item of xvjd paid “to the Mynstrell for the procescion,” which is the first we hear of such a musician in these accounts. The payment to the
Organ pleyer” was xxxiiis iiijd, most likely for his services during the whole year.
No play was performed in the next year, but there is a charge of 8d for “flags and garlands,” which were carried in procession on Corpus Christi day. The play upon St. Margaret's day was revived in 32nd Henry VI., but we are not told who acted it, and the same remark will apply to the three next years. At
At this time, St. Lucy's day seems to have been neglected, excepting as far as the gatherings in the church were concerned. In 1456, we find that occasional professional singers were hired, and they seem to have supplied the absence of players : thus we have“Payed for a Synger in Crystmas
This last was the day on which, as has been seen, it had been the custom to have a play performed, and in the next year we meet with precisely the same memorandum. St. Lucy's day, 1456, seems to have been celebrated by the performance of children under a person of the name of Harvey, but whether it consisted of singing or acting we are not informed. The entry runs thus :
“ Item, paid to Harvy for his Chyldren, vpon
Seynt Lucy day
These were, possibly, theatrical children, educated for the performances of dramas, similar to those, about seventy years afterwards, under the management and instruction of John Heywood. If so, it is a much earlier instance of the kind than any yet upon record. In 1458, a new mode of celebrating the day of the holy patroness of the church was employed, at least we do not hear of it before, viz :
“ Item, gaderyd in the strete for woode to seynt
but in the next year we again meet with a notice of the performance of a play in her honour :
“ Item, payd vpon Seynt Margretes day for a
and singers were employed and a bonfire lighted on the same occasion, as we learn from the ensuing memorandum :
“ Item, payd for wode to the fyre, and to the
iiij.” They are thus mentioned, among other places, in the “Privy Purse Expences of the Princess Mary,” under date 1537-8:
“ Item, giuen to Heywood playeng an enterlude
Princess Mary's Household-book, edited by
Sir F. Madden, 8vo., 1831, p. 62.
After the accession of Edward IV., we have no farther tidings of the representation of dramas in the church of St. Margaret; the words “play” and “players” are never again used in the extant accounts, but minstrels and singers are not unfrequently mentioned, and were no doubt employed instead : thus, under date 5th Edward IV., the following items occur
Fyrste, payd vpon seynt Margretes day
ja.” Again, in the next year :
“ Firste, paid for Syngers at St. Mar-
ja." In the year following, St. Margaret's day is called “the dedication day,” but greater economy was observed, for, although the singers were allowed wine, for which fourpence was paid, they received only ninepence for their services, and the minstrel had only fourpence. This is the last we hear of any
The documents from which these curious and novel particulars are extracted contain much valuable information of a different kind, relating to the history of the church of St. Margaret, its furniture, plate, property, and possessions, and its connexion with the borough of Southwark; but, as these, of course, do not come within the objects of the Shakespeare Society, although interesting matters of general antiquity, I refrain from quoting them.
J. PAYNE COLLIER. Kensington, 10th October, 1846.