« AnteriorContinuar »
of their children.55 This mode of maintenance has long been disused here. But it is not wholly obsolete in Westmorland.
COCK-PENNIES, AND HAT MONEY,
The Cock-Fightings, and Cock-Throwings, in England, which, much to the credit of the present generation, have been gradually sinking into disuse, were formerly general throughout the Kingdom, -and their decline is to be attributed, in some measure, to the vigilance of our Magistrates, who have refused Licenses to those Publicans who promoted assemblages of persons for such cowardly and cruel diversions,-and still more, it is to be hoped, to the increased morality of the people.56
The boys at school now throw at a wooden, instead of a living Cock,—and near the Metropolis, even the vulgar have long disused this brutal custom, substituting in it's stead, oranges,
65 Rep. v. p. 53. 56 Brady's Clavis Calendaria, vol. i. p.212.
tobaccoboxes, and other articles, placed upon sticks,-all of which, out of compliment to the original, are denominated“ Cocks,” and, as such, are thrown at with bludgeons, by those who are tempted to strive for their possession.57 A gratuity, called a
“ Cock-Penny,” is now presented at Shrove-tide to the Masters of several of the Northern Schools, partly in lieu of their providing Cocks for that disgraceful practice, and partly from the improved rents of the School estates. At the time that Cock-Pennies used to be paid to the Master of Crosthwaite, there was a Cock-fight close to the school, when a great scene of confusion took place, attended with injury to the premises. The cock-fight and the payment of the CockPenny were both abolished, when the rent of the school land increased, so as to
67 Brady's Clavis Calend. vol. i. p. 220.
afford a sufficient remuneration to the Master without such payment.58
There is a small sum of 1l. 6s. 8d. paid by The Corporation of Bristol to the Head Master of The Grammar School there, and 13s. 4d. to the Under-Master, called “ Hat Money,” which has been so paid for a great number of years, but the origin of such payments cannot now be traced. 59
By a Statute which passed in the reign of HENRY the Eighth, beef and pork were ordered to be sold at a halfpenny a pound, -mutton and veal at a halfpenny half a farthing, money of that age, butchers were required to sell, between the 24th of October and the Nativity of St. John, at those prices. 61
The preamble of the Statute says, that
60 — and
58 Rep. v. p. 73. 59 Rep. vi. p. 486.
these four species of butcher's meat were the food of the poorer sort. This Act which was afterwards repealed, was evidently intended to regulate the Markets at that Season, when it was the custom to lay in a stock of meat to be salted.
The custom of salting meat about the festival of St. Martin (the 11th of November), for winter consumption, was universal in this Island, and in all the Nations on the Continent of Europe. The Stock of Salted meat which was then prepared, was to last throughout the whole of the inclement months, until vegetation again became sufficiently forward to enable them to resume the use of fresh provisions, by the pasturage afforded to the flocks and herds.
There is a curious illustration of this remnant of old manners in the Will of THOMAS WILLIAMSON, of the County of Cumberland, who, in 1674, left the rent of certain lands, to be bestowed upon poor people, “ in mutton or veal at Martinmas
yearly, when flesh might be thought
cheapest, to be by them pickled or hung up and dried, that they might have something to keep them within doors
upon stormy days,” 62_that is, when the boisterous weather in these mountainous regions interrupted the husbandman in his work, he might have a stock upon which he could depend at those gloomy. moments, and invigorate his strength against the season of renewed labour.
The old inhabitants of the Parish of Whalley, in the County of Lancaster, describe the soil and climate of their Forests with great truth and simplicity,—" We find,” say the Jurors, (in the reign of JAMES the First,) “ that the quality of the said boothes and vaccaries is cold and barren, yet, by manuring, marling, and tilling, will yield a certain grain, called Oats, and, after such marling and tillage, in a short time it will grow to heath, ling, and rushes." —And, in a humble petition to the King, they declare, “ that the soil of their country is extremely barren, and,
62 Rep. V. p. 82.