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as yet, not capable of any other corn but oats, and that in dry years, and not without continual manuring every third year, and that they have no timber trees within many miles thereof."63_It is difficult to read this account without shivering.
The tenants within the Manor of Bradford, in the County of Wilts, pay a yearly rent, by the name of “ Veal Money,” to their Lord, in lieu of Veal which was paid formerly in kind. 64
63 Whitaker's Hist. of Whalley, p. 177. 64 Beckwith's Fragmenta Antiquitatis, p. 562.
BESIDES the notices of ANCIENT CusTOMs and MANNERS, many.LOCAL PecuLIARITIES and PAYMENTS have likewise been remarked,—which will tend to show, how tenaciously the observances of Antiquity are retained, and how numerous those old Usages are, which still prevail in
many parts of the Country.
At Swerford, in the County of Oxford, the Rector supplies a small loaf for every house in the parish, on Easter Sunday, which is given after Evening Service. It is understood, that this is given on account of a bushel of Wheat, which is payable out of a field, called “Mill Close,” part of the glebe. Each house, whether
inhabited by rich or poor, receives a loaf.1
WHITSUN ALES, AND CHURCH HOUSES.
There is an ancient customary donation of a quantity of Malt, which is made annually at Whitsuntide by the Proprietor of Kempston Mill. The Malt is always delivered to the Overseers of the Poor for the time being, and brewed by them into Ale, which is distributed among all the poor inhabitants of Biddenham, in the County of Bedford, on Whit-Tuesday.”
Mr. AUBREY, in his Introduction to the Survey and Natural History of the North Division of the County of Wilts, p. 32, gives the following curious account of Whitsun Ales,
“ There were no rates for the Poor in my Grandfather's days,—but for Kingston St. Michael (no small Parish) the ChurchAle of Whitsuntide did the business. In every Parish is (or was) a Church House,
1 Rep. XII. p. 281. 2 Rep. vi. p. 33.
to which belonged spits, crocks, &c., utensils for dressing Provision. Here the Housekeepers met, and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people were there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c., the ancients sitting gravely by, and looking on.
All things were civil, and without scandal. The Church-Ale is doubtless derived from the Ayanai, or Love Feasts, mentioned in the New Testament."
And he adds, “Mr. A. Wood assures me, that there were no Alms-Houses, at least they were very scarce, before The Reformation,—that, over against Christ Church, in Oxford, is one of the ancientest. In every Church was a poor man's box, but I never remembered the use of it,nay, there was one at great Inns, as I remember it was before the Wars. These were the days, when England was famous for the grey goose quills.”
In 1648, John HARRIS, in consideration of the love and affection which he bore to the parishioners of Cheriton Fitz
paine, and for the better maintenance of their poor, granted to certain persons
the moiety of a messuage, on the East side of the church-yard, called “ The Church House," and the moiety of a parcel of ground, called “ The Church Hay,” adjoining the church-yard, and used-theretofore as a place of recreation and sporting for the Youth of that parish,-reserving to himself, and his heirs, the use of the chamber of The Church House, called “ The School House,” for holding Courts, -and the feoffees to convert the said chamber to any other use, for the meetings of the Parishioners for the business of the parish.
Near the gate of the Church-yard at Hackney, and adjoining to the street, is an ancient building, which is described in the Chantry-Roll at the Augmentation Office, as “a tenement buylded by the Parishioners, called The Churche-howse, that they might mete together and comen (commune) of matters as well for the
· Rep. X. p. 36.