صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

evenness of temper, which is above all things to be preserved in this friendship contracted for life. A man must be easy within himself before he can be so to his other self. Socrates and Marcus Aurelius are instances of men, who, by the strength of philosophy, having entirely composed their minds, and subdued their passions, are celebrated for good husbands, notwithstanding the first was yoked with Xantippe, and the other with Faustina. If the wedded pair would but habituate themselves for the first year to bear with one another's faults, the difficulty would be pretty well conquered. This mutual sweetness of temper and complacency was finely recommended in the nuptial ceremonies among the heathens, who, when they sacrificed to Juno at that solemnity, always tore out the gall from the entrails of the victim, and cast it behind the altar.

I shall conclude this letter with a passage out of Dr. Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, not only as it will serve to fill up your present paper, but, if I find myself in the humour, may give rise to another; I having by me an old register belonging to the place hereunder mentioned.

Sir Philip de Somervile held the manors of Whichenovre, Scirescot, Ridware, Netherton, and Cowlee, all in the county of Stafford, of the earls of Lancaster, by this memorable service. The said Sir Philip shall find, maintain, and sustain, one bacon-flitch, hanging in his hall at Whichenoyre, ready arrayed all times of the year but in Lent, to be given to every man or woman married, after the day and the year of their marriage he past, in form following.*

“Whensoever that any one such before named will come to inquire for the bacon, in their own person, they shall come to the bailiff, or to the porter of the lordship of Whichenovre, and shall say to them in the manner as ensueth :

6. Bailiff, or porter, I do you to know, that I am come for myself to demand one bacon-flyke hanging in the hall of the lord of Whichenovre, after the form thereunto belonging.'

66 After which relation the bailiff or porter shall assign a day to him, upon promise by his faith to return, and with him to bring twain of his neighbours. And in the mean time, the said bailiff shall take with him twain of the freeholders of the lordship of Whichenovre, and they three shall go to the manor of Rudlow, belonging to Robert Knightleye, and there shall summon the aforesaid Knightleye, or his bailiff, commanding him to be ready at Whichenovre the day appointed, at prime of day, with his carriage, that is to say a horse and a saddle, a sack and a pryke, for to convey the said bacon and corn a journey out of the county of Stafford, at his cottages. And then the said bailiff shall, with the said freeholders, summon all the tenants of the said manor, to be ready at the day appointed at Whichenovre, for to do and perform the services which they owe to the bacon. And at the day assigned, all such as owe services to the bacon shall be ready at the gate of the manor of Whichenovre, from the sunrising to noon, attending and awaiting for the coming of him who fetcheth the bacon. And when he is come, there shall be delivered to him and his fellows, chapelets, and to all those which shall be there to do their services due to the bacon. And they shall lead the said demandant with trumps and tabors, and other manner of minstrelsy, to the hall door, where he shall find the lord of Whichenovre, or his steward, ready to deliver the bacon in this manner:

* There was a similar institution at Dunmow in Essex, for an account of which see Leland's Itinerary.

“He shall inquire of him which demandeth the bacon, if he have brought twain of his neighbours with him ; which must answer, . they be here ready.' And then the steward shall cause these two neighbours to swear, if the said demandant be a wedded man, or have been a man wedded ; and if since his marriage one year and a day be past; and if he be a freeman or a villain.* And if his said neighbours make oath that he hath for him all these three points rehearsed, then shall the bacon be taken down and brought to the hall door, and shall there be laid upon one half-quarter of

* Villain, in the language of the time, signified a servant or bondman.

wheat, and upon one other of rye. And he that demandeth the bacon shall kneel upon his knee, and shall hold his right hand upon a book, which book shall be laid upon the bacon and the corn, and shall make oath in this manner :

6. Hear ye, Sir Philip de Somervile, lord of Whichenovre, maynterer and gyver of this baconne; that I A sithe I wedded B my wife, and sithe I had hyr in my kepying, and at my wylle, by a year and a day after our marriage, I would not have chaunged for none other ; farer ne fowler; richer ne pourer ; ne for none

other descended of greater lynage ; slepying ne • waking, at noo tyme. And if the seyd B were

sole and I sole, I would take her to be my wife before all the wymen of the world, of what condiciones soever they be, good or evylle; as help me God and his seyntes, and this flesh and all fleshes.'

“ And his neighbours shall make oath, that they trust verily he hath said truly. And if it be found by his neighbours before named, that he be a freeman, there shall be delivered to him half a quarter of wheat and a cheese ; and if he be a villain, he shall have half a quarter of rye without cheese. And then shall Knightleye, the lord of Rudlow, be called for, to carry all these things tofore rehearsed ; and the said corn shall be laid on one horse, and the bacon above it : and he to whom the bacon appertaineth shall ascend upon his horse, and shall take the cheese before him, if he have a horse. And if he have none, the lord of Whichenovre shall cause him to have one horse and saddle, to such time as he be passed his lordship: and so shall they depart the manor of Whichenovre with the corn and the bacon, tofore him that hath won it, with trumpets, taborets, and other manner of minstrelsy. And all the free tenants of Whichenovre shall conduct him to be passed the lordship of Whichenovre. And then shall they all return except him to whom appertaineth to make the carriage and journey without the county of Stafford, at the costs of his lord of Whichenovre.'

I here present à list of several persons, who from time to time demanded the flitch of bacon of Sir Philip de Somervile, and his descendants; as it is preserved in an ancient manuscript, under the title of " The Register of Whichenovre-hall, and of the bacon-flitch there maintained.”

In the beginning of this record is recited the law or institution in form, as it is already printed in your last påper: to which are added two by-laws, as a comment upon the general law, the substance whereof is, that the wife shall take the same oath as the husband, mutatis mutandis ; and that the judges shall, as they think meet, interrogate or cross-examine the witnesses. After this proceeds the register in manner following:

« السابقةمتابعة »