THOMAS OF Reading. OR, The sixe worthy yeomen of the West.

Now the fourth time corrected and enlarged By T. D.

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Printed at London for T. P. 1612.

¶ The pleasant Historie of the six worthie Yeomen of the West.

IN the dayes of King Henry the first, who was the first king that instituted the high court of Parliament, there li­ued nine men, which for the trade of Clothing, were famous throughout all England. Which Art in those dais was held in high reputation, both in respect of the great riches that ther­by was gotten, as also of the benefite it brought to the whole Common wealth: the yonger sons of knights and gentlemen, to whom their fathers would leaue no lands, were most com­monly preferred to learne this trade, to the end that therby they might li [...]e in good estate, & dri [...]e forth their daies in prosperity.

Among all Crafts, this was the only chiefe, for that it was the greatest marchandize, by the which our Countrey became famous through all Nations. And it was verily thought, that the one ha [...]e of the people in the landli [...]ed in those daies ther­by, and in such good sort, that in the Common-wealth there was few or no beggars at all: poore people, whom God light­ly blesseth with most children, did by meanes of this occupa­tion so order them, that by the time that they were come to be sixe or seauen yeares of age, they were able to get their owne bread: Idlenesse was then banished our coast, so that it was a rare thing to heare of a thiefe in those dayes. Therefore it was not without cause that Clothiers were then both honou­red and loued, among whom these nine persons in this Kings dayes were of great credit, viz. Thomas Cole of Reading, Gray of Gloucester, Sutton of Salisburie, Fitzallen of Worcester, (commonly called William of Worcester) [...]om Doue of Exce­ter, and Simon of South hampton, alias Sup-broath: who were by the King called, The [...]ixe worthy husbands of the West. Then were there three liuing in the North, that is to [Page] say, Cutbert of Kendall, Hodgekins of Hallifax, and Martin Byram of Manchester. Euery one of these kept a great num­ber of seruants at worke, spinners, carders, weauers, fullers, diars, shéeremen, and rowers, to the great admiration of all those that came into their houses to behold them.

Now you shall vnderstand, these gallant Clothiers, by rea­son of their dwelling places, seperated themselues in thrée se­uerall companies: Gray of Gloucester, William of Worcester, and Thomas of Reading, because their iorny to London was all one way, they conuerced commonly together. And Doue of Exceter, Sutton of Salisburie and Simon of South-hamp­ton, they in like sort kept company the one with the other, meeting euer altogether at Bazingstoke: and the [...]ji northerne Clothiers did the like, who commonly did not meet, till they came to Bosoms Inne in London.

Moreouer, for the loue and delight that these westerne men had each in others company, they did so prouide, that their waines and themselues would euer méete vpon one day in London at Iarrats hall, surnamed the Gyant, for that he surpassed all other men of that age, both in stature & strength: whose meriments and memorable déedes, I will set downe unto you in this following discourse.

How King Henry sought the sauour of all his subiects, espe­cially of the Clothiers. Chap. 1.

THis King Henry, who for his great learning and wise­dome was called Beauclarke, being the third son to the renowned Conqueror: after the death of his brother William Rufus, tooke vpon him the gouernment of this land, in the absence of his second brother Robert Duke of Normandy, who at this time was at warres against the Infi­dels, and was chosen King of Ierusalem, the which he, for the loue he bare to his owne country, refused▪ and with great ho­nour returned from the holy Land; of whose comming when King Henry vnderstood, knowing he would make clayme to the crowne, sought by all meanes possible to winne the good­will of his Nobility & to get the fauor of the Commons by cur­tesie: [Page] for the obtaining whereof hee did them many fauours thereby the better to strengthen himselfe against his brother.

It chaunced on a time, as he, with one of his sonnes, and di­uers of his Nobilitie, rode from London towards Wales, to appease the fury of the Welshmen, which then began to raise themselues in armes against his authority, that he met with a great number of Waine [...] loaden with cloth, comming to London; and séeing them still driue on one after another so ma­ny together, demaunded whose they were: the Waine-men answered in this sort: Coles of Reading (quoth they.) Then by and by the King asked an other, saying: Whose cloth is all this? Old Coles (quoth he:) and againe anone after he asked the same question to other, and still they answered, Old Coles. And it is to be remembred, that the King met them in such a place, so narrow and streight, that he with all the rest of his traine, were faine to stand vp close to the hedge, whilest the carts passed by, the which at that time being in number aboue two hundred, was néere hand an houre ere the King could get roome to be gone: so that by his long stay, he beganne to be dis­pleased, although the admiration of that sight did much quali­fie his furi [...]; but breaking out in discontent, by reason of his stay, he [...]d, hee thought olde Cole had got a Commission for all the car [...]s in the Countrey to carry his cloth. And how if he haue (quoth one of the Wainemen) dooth that grieue you, good sir? Yea good sir, said our King, what say you to that? The fellow séeing the king (in asking that question) to bend his browes, though he knew not what he was, yet being abasht, he answered thus: Why sir; if you be angry, no body can hin­der you; for possible sir, you haue Anger at commandement. The king séeing him in vttering of his words to quiuer and quake, laughed heartily at him, as well in respect of his simple answere, as at his feare: and so soone after the last waine went by, which gaue present passage vnto him and his Nobles: and thereupon entring into communication of the commoditie of clothing, the king gaue order at his home returne, to haue Old Cole brought before his Maiestie, to the intent he might haue conference with him, noting him to be a subiect of great [Page] ability. But by that time he came within a mile of Stanes, he met an other company of waines in like sort laden with cloth, whereby the King was driuen into a further admiration: and demanding whose they were, answer was made in this sort: They be goodman Suttons of Salisbury, good sir: and by that time a score of them were past, he asked againe, saying: whose are these? Suttons of Salisbury (quoth they) and so still, as of­ten as the King askes that question, they answerd, Suttons of Salisbury. God send me many such Suttons, said the king. And thus the farther hee trauelled westward, more waines and more he met continually: vpon which occasion he said to his Nobles. That it would neuer grieue a King to die for the defence of a fertile countrie and faithfull subiects. I alwayes thought (quoth he) that Englands valour was more than her wealth, yet now I see her wealth sufficient to maintaine her valour, which I will seek to cherish in all I may, and with my Sword keepe my selfe in possession of that I haue. Kings and Louers can brooke no partners, and therefore let my brother Robert thinke, that although hee was heyre to England by birth, yet I am King by possession. All his fauourers I must account my foes, and will serue them as I did the vngratefull earle of Shrewsbury, whose lands I haue seized, and banisht his body. But now we will leaue the King to his [...]ourney in­to Wales, and waiting his home returne, in the meane time tell you of the meeting of these iolly Clothiers at London.

How William of Worcester, Gray of Gloucester, and old Cole of Reading, met all together at Reading, & of their com­munication by the way as they [...]ode to London. Chap. 2.

VVHen Gray of Gloucester, and William of Worce­ster were come to Reading, according to their cu­stome, they always called old Cole to haue his com­pany to London, who also duly attended their comming, ha­uing prouided a good breakefast for them: and when they had well refreshed themselues, they tooke their horses and rode on towards the Citie: and in their iourney William of Worce­ster [Page] asked them if they had not heard of the Erle of Moraigne his escape out of the land: what is he fled quoth Gray? I muse much of that matter, being in such great regard with the king as he was: but I pray you, do you not know the cause of his going quoth, Cole? The common report, quoth Gray, is this that the couetous erle, who through a greedy desire, neuer left begging of the King for one thing or other, and his request be­ing now denied him, of méere obstinacie and wilfull froward­nesse, hath banished himselfe out of the land, and quite forsaken the Countrey of Cornewall, hauing made a vow neuer to set foote within England againe, and as report goeth, he with the late banisht Earle of Shrowsbury, haue ioyned themselues wt Robert duke of Normandy, against the king, the which action of theirs hath inflamed the kings wrath, that their Ladies with their children are quite turned out of doores succorlesse & friendlesse, so that as it is told me, they wander vp and downe the countrie like forlorne people, and although many do pittie them, yet few do releeue them.

A lamentable hearing, qd William of Worcester and with that casting their eyes aside, they espied Tom Doue with the rest of his companions come riding to méete them, who as soone as they were come thither, fell into such pleasaunt discourses, as did shorten the way they had to Colebroke, where alwaies at their comming towards London they di­ned: and being entred into their Inne, according to olde cu­stome, good chaere was prouided for them: for these Clo­thiers were the cheefest ghests that trauelled along the way: and this was as sure as an acte of Parliament, that Tom Doue could not digest his meat without musicke, nor drinke wine with out women, so that his hostesse being a merrie wench, would often times call in two or three of her neigh­bours wi [...]es to keepe him companie, where, ere they parted, they were made as pleasant as P [...]es. And this being a con­tinuall custome amongest them when they came thither, at length the womens husbands beganne to take exceptions at their wi [...]es going thither: whereupon great controuersie grew betweene them, in such sort, that when they were most [Page] restrayned, then they had most desire to worke their willes: now gip (quoth they) must we so be tied to our taske, that we may not drinke with our friends? ste, fie, vpon these yellow hose, will no other die serue your turne? haue wee thus long vin your wines, and do you now mistrust vs? verily you eate two much salt, and that makes you grow cholericke, badde li­uers iudge all other the like, but in faith you shall not bridle vs so like Asses, but wee will go to our friendes, when wee are sent for, and do you what you can. Well quoth their hus­bands, if you be so head-strong, we will teme you, it is the du­ty of honest women to obey their husbands sayings. And of honest men (quoth they) to thinke well of their wiues; but who doo sooner inpeach their credite, then their husbands, charging them, if they do but smile, that they are subtill, and if they doe but winke, they account, them willy, if sad of countenance, then sullen, if they be froward, then are they counted shrewes, and sheepish, if they be gentle: if a woman keepe her house, then you will say she is melancholie, if shee walke abroade, then you call her a gadder, a Puritane, if shee be pretise, and a wanton, if shee be pleasant; so there is no wo­man in the world that knowes how to please you, that w [...]s thinke our selues accurst to be married wiues, liuing with so many woes. These men, of whose company you forwarne vs, are (for aught that euer we sawe) both honest and curte­ous, and in wealth farre beyond your selues; then what rea­son is there, why we should refraine to vsite them? is their good will so much to be requited with scorne, that their cost may not be counteruayled with our company? if a woman be disposed to play light of loue, alas, alas, do you thinke that you can preuent her? Nay, wée will abide by it, that the re­straint of liberty inforceth women to belewd: for where a wo­man cannot be trusted, she cannot think her selfe beloued, and if not beloued, what cause hath she to care for such a one [...] there­fore husbands, reforme your opinions, and do not worke your owne woes, with our discredit, These Clothiers, we tel you are tolly fellowes, and but in respect of our curtesie, they would scorne out company.

[Page]The men hearing their wines so wel to plendfor themselues, knew not how to answer, but sayd, they would put the bur­den on their consciences, if they dealt vniustly with them, and so left them to their owne willes. The women hauing thus conquered their husbands conceits, would not leaue the fa­uour of their friends for frownts, and as about the rest Tom Doue was the most pleasantest, so was he had in most reputa­tion with the women, who for his sake made this Song.

Welcome to towne, Tom Doue, Tom Doue,
The merriest man aliue,
Thy company still we loue, we loue,
God grant thee well to thriue,
And neuer will depart from thee,
For better or wor [...]e, my ioy,
For thou shalt still haue our good will;
Gods blessing on my sweete Boy.

This song went vp and downe through the whole countrey, and at length became a dance among the common sort, so that Tom Doue, for his mirth and good fellowship, was famous in euery place. Now when they came to London, they were welcome to the host larrat the Gyant and assoone as they were alighted, they were saluted by the Marchants, who wayted their comming thither, and alwaies prepared for them a cost­ly supper, where they commonly made their bargaine, and vp­on euery bargaine made, they stil vsed to send some tokens to the Clothiers wiues. The next morning they went to the hal, where they met the Northern clothiers, who greeted one an­other in this sort, What, my maisters of the West, wel met: what chéere? what théere? Euen the best chéere our Mar­chantes could make vs, (quoth Gray.) Then you could not chuse but fare well, quoth Hogekins: and you be weary of our company, adien, quoth Sutton, Not so, sayd Martin but shall wée not haue a game ere wée goe? Yes faith for a hundred pounds. Well sayd, olde Cole, sayd they: and with that Cole and Gray went to the dice with Martin and Hogekins; and the dice running on Hogekins side, Coles money began to waste. Now by the Masse, quoth Cole, my mony shrinks as [Page] had as northerne cloth. When they had played long, Gray stept to it and recouered againe the money that Cole had lost. But while they were thus playing, the rest being delighted in contrary matters, euery man satisfied his owne humor.

Tom Doue called for musicke, VVilliam of Worcester for wine, Sutton set his delight in hearing merry tales, Simon of South-hampton got him into the kitchin, and to the pot­tage pot he goes, for he estéemed more of a messe of pottage, than of a venison pastie. Now sir, Cutbert of Kendall was of another minde, for no meate pleased him so wel as mutton, such as was laced in a red petticoate. And you shall vnder­stand, that alwayes when they went to dice, they got into Bosomes Inne, which was so called of his name that kept it, who being a foule slouen, went alwayes with his no [...]s in his bosome, and one hand in his pocket, the other on his staffe, fi­guring forth a description of cold winter, for he alwaies wore two coates, two caps, two or thrée paire of stockings, and a high paire of shooes, ouer the which he drew on a great paire of lined s [...]ippers, and yet he would oft complaine of cold, wher­fore of all men generally he was called Old Bosome, and his house Bosoms Inne.

This lump of cold ice had lately married a yong wife, who was as wily as she was wanton, and in hir company did Cut­bert onely delight, and the better to make passage to his loue, be would often thus commune with her: I muse good wife, quoth he. Good wife, quoth she? Uerily sir, in mine opinion, there is none good but good, and therefore call mee Mistresse. Then said Cutbert, Faire Mistresse, I haue often mused that you being so proper a woman, could fi [...]d in your heart for to match with such a greas [...]e Carle as this, an euill mannered mate, a foule lump of kitchin stuffe, and such a one as is in­déed a scorne of men; how can you like him that all women mislikes? or loue such a loathsome creature? me thinks verily it should grieue you to lend him a kisse, much more to lie with him. Indéed sir, quoth she, I had but hard fortune in this re­spect, but my friends would haue it so & truly my liking and my loue toward him are alike, he neuer had the one, nor ne­uer [Page] shall get the other: yet I may say to you, before I marri­ed him, there were diuers proper young men that were su­tors vnto me, who loued mee as their lines, and glad was he that could get my company, those were my golden dayes, wherein my pleasure abounded, but these are my yeeres of care and griefe, wherein my sorrowes exceede. Now no man re­gards me, no man cares for me, and albeit in secret they might beare me good will, yet who dares shew it? and this is a double griefe, he carries ouer me so iealous a mind. that I cannot looke at a man, but presently he accuseth me of inconstancy, although (I protest) without cause.

And introth quoth Cutb. he should haue cause to complaine for somewhat, were I as you. As sure as I liue, and so he shal, quoth she, if he do not change his bias. Cutb. hearing her say so, beganne to grow further in requesting her fauor, wishing he might be her seruant and secret friend, and the better to obtain his desire, he gaue her diuers gifts, insomuch that she began something to listen vnto him: and albeit she liked well of his spéeches, yet would shee blame him, and take him vp very short sometimes for the same, till in the end, Cutbert shewed himselfe to be desperate, saying he would drowne himselfe rather then liue in her disdaine. O my sweete heart not so, qd she, God forbid I should be the death of any man: Comfort thy selfe, kind Cutbert, and take this kisse in token of further kindnesse, and if thou wilt haue my fauour, thou must bee wise and circumspect, and in my husbands sight I would al­wayes haue thee to finde fault with my doings, blame my bad huswifery, disprayse my person, and take exceptions at eue­ry thing, whereby he will be as well pleased, as Simon of South-hampton with a messe of Pottage.

De [...]re mistrsse quoth he, I will fulfill your charge to the vttermost, so that you will not take my iest in earnest. Shee answered, Thy foulest speeches I will esteeme the fayrest and take euery dispraise to be a prayse from thee, turning [...]ch word to the contrary: and so for this time adieu, good Cutb. for sup­per time drawes neere, & it is meet for me to look for my meat. With that down comes old Bo [...]ome, calling his wife, saying, [Page] Ho Wiinifred, is supper ready? they haue done playing aboue: Therefore let the Chamberlaine couer the table. By and by husband, qd. shée, it shall be done straight way. How now my masters who wins, qd. Cutb. Our mony walkes to the west, qd. Martin: Cole hath woon forty li. of me, & Gray hath got­ten well: the best is qd, Hogekins, they will pay for our sup­per: Then let vs haue good store of sacke, qd Sutton. Content, sayd Cole, for I promise you, I striue not to grow rich by dice­playing, therefore call for what you will, I wil pay for all. Yea sayd Simon! Chamberlaine, I pray thée bring a whole potle of pottage for me, Now Tom Doue had all the Fidlers at a beck of his finger, which follow him vp and downe the citie, as diligent as little Chickens after a hen, and made a vowe, that there should want no musicke. And at that time, there liued in London a musician of great reputation, named Reior, who kept his seruants in such costly garments, that they might seeme to come before any Prince. Their Coates were all of one colour; and it is sayd, that afterward the nobility of this Land, noting it for a seemely sight, vsed in like maner to keepe their men all in one liuery. This Reior was the most skilfullest musician that liued at that time▪ whose wealth was very great, so that all the instruments whereon his seruants playd, were richly garnished with studdes of sil­uer, and some gold: the bowes belonging to their Uiolins were all likewise of pure siluer. He was also for his wise­dome called to great office in the city, who also builded (at his owne cost, the priory and hospitall of Saint Bartholomew in Smithfield, his seruants being the best confort in the City, were by Tom Doue appointed to play before the yong prin­ces. Then supper being brought to the boord they all sat down, and by and by after comes vp their host, who tooke his place among them and anone after, the goodwife in a red piticoat & a wastcoat, comes among them as white as a Lilly, saying, My masters, you are welcome, I pray you be merry. Thus falling close to their meat, when they had well fed, they found leysure to talke one with another: at what time Cutb. began thus to finde fault, Ywis, my hoast, quoth he▪ you haue a wise [Page] huswife to your wife, heere is meate drest of a new fashion. God sends meat, and the diuel sends cookes. Why what ailes the meat, quoth she; serues it not your turne? better men then yourselfe are content withall, but a paultry compani­on is euer worst to please. Away, you fluttish thing, qd. Cutb. your husband hath a sweete iewell of you: I maruell such a graue ancient man would match himselfe with such a young giglot, that hath as much handsomenes in her as good huswif­ry, which is iust nothing at all. Well sir, sayd she, in regard of my husbands presence I am loth to aggrauate anger, other­wise I would tell thée thy owne. Go to, what neede all this, quoth the company? in good faith. Gutb. you are too blame, you find fault where none is. Tush, I must speake my mind, quoth Cutbert, I cannot dissemble, I trust the goodman thinks neuer the worse of mee, so I haue his good will, what the foule euill care I for his wifes. Enough, quoth Tom Doue, let vs with musicke remooue these brabbles, we meane to be merry, and not melancholy. Then sayd old Cole, Now trust me Cutbert, we will haue our hostesse and you friends ere we part: here, woman, I drinke to you, and regard not his words, for he is brabling wheresoeuer he comes. Quoth the woman, nothing grieues me so much, as that he should thus openly checke me, if he had found any thing amisse, he might haue spied a better time to tell me of it then nowe, y­wis he neede not thrust my had huswifery into my husbands head, I liue not so quietly with him, God wot: and with that she wept. Come Cutb. quoth they drinke to her, & shake handes and bee friendes. Come on, you puling baggage, quoth he, I drinke to you here will you pledge me and shake hands? No quoth shee) I will see thee choakt first, shake hands with thee! I will shake hands with the diuell assoone: Go to, sayde her husband, you shall shake handes with him then, if you will not shake hands, Ile shake you: what, you young huswife! Well husband sayd she, it becomes a woman to obey her husband in regard whereof, I drink to him. Thats well sayd quoth the company: and so she took her leaue & went downe. And within a while after, they payd the shot, & depar­ted [Page] thence to Garrata hall, where they went to their lodging; and the next day they tooke their way homeward all together: and comming to Colebroke, they tooke vp their lodging: and it was Coles custome to deliuer his money to the good wife of the house to kéepe it til morning, which in the ende turned to his vtter destruction, as hereafter shallbe shewed.

How Grayes wife of Gloucester, with one or two more of her neighbours, went to the fayre, where seruants came to be hyred, and how shee tooke the Earle of Shrewesburies Daughter into her seruice. Chap. 3.

IT was wont to be an old custome in Gloucestershire, that at a certaine time in the yeere, all such young men and mai­dens as were out of seruice, resorted to a faire that was kept neare Gloucester▪ there to be ready for any that would come to hire them, the yong men stood all on arow on the one side, & the maydens on the other. It came to passe, that the Earle of Shrewsburyes daughter, whose father was lately banished, beeing driuen into great distresse, and weary with trauayle, as one whose delicate life was neuer vsed to such toyle▪ sate her downe vpon the high way side, making this lamentation.

O false and deceitfull world, qd she! who is in thee that wishes not to be rid of thee, for thy extreamities are great? Thou art deceitfull to all, and trusty to none. Fortune is thy t [...]e sur er who is like thy selfe, wauering and vnconstant, she setteth vp tyrants beateth downe kings, giueth shame to some and renowne to others: Fortune giueth these euils, and we see it not: with her hands she toucheth vs, and we feele it not, she treads vs vnderfoote, and we know it not: she speaks in our eares, and we heare her not: she cries aloud, and we vnderstand her not: And why? because we know her not vntill misery doth make her manifest.

Ah my deare father, well maist thou do. Of all misfortunes it is most vnhappy to be fortunate: and by this misfortune came my fall. Was euer good Lady brought to this extremi­ty? What is become of my rare Iewels, my rich array, my [Page] sumptus us [...], my waiting seruants, my many friends, and all my vaine pleasures? my pleasure is banisht by displeasure, my friends fled like foes, my seruants gome, my feasting tur­ned to fasting, my rich array consumed to ragges, and my iewels decke out my chiefest enemies: therefore of all things the meane estate is best, pouertie with surety, is better than honour mixed with feare: [...]ing God hath alotted me to this misery of life, I wil frame my heart to imbrace humility, and carry a mind answerable to my misfortunes, fle on this vaine title of Ladyship, how little doth it auaile the distressed? No, no, I must therefore forget my birth and parentage and think no more on my fathers house, where I was wont to be ser­ued, now will I learne to serue, and plaine Meg shall be my name: good Lord grant I may get a good seruice, nay any ser­uice shall serue, where I may haue meat, drinke and apparell. She had no sooner spoke these words, but she espied a couple of maidens more comming towards her; who were going to the faire; and bidding her good morrow, asked her if she went to the faire. Yea mary qd she, I am a poore mans child that is out of seruice, and I heare that at the Statute folkes do come of purpose to hire seruants. True it is said the maidens, and thither goe we for the same purpose, and would be glad of your company. With a good will, and I am right glad of yours, said she, beséeching you good maidens you will doe me the fa­uour, to tell me what seruice were best for me; for the more too blame my parents, they would neuer put me forth to know any thing. Why what can you do (quoth the maidens) can you brew and bake, make butter and cheese, and reape corne well? No verily said Margaret, but I would be right glad to learne to do any thing whatsoeuer it be. If you could spin or card said another, you might do excellent well with a clothier, for they are the best seruices that I know, there you shall be sure to fare well, and to liue merily.

Then Margaret wept saying (alas) what shall I do? I was neuer brought vp to these things. What can you doe nothing quoth they? No truly (quoth she) that is good for any thing, but I can reade, and write and sowe, some skill I haue in my [Page] néedle, and a little on my Lute: but this, I see will profit me nothing Good Lord, quoth they, are you bookish? we did ne­uer heare of a mayde before that could read and write. And although you can do no other thing, yet possibly you may get a seruice, if you can behaue your selfe mannerly. I pray you qd. another, seing you are bookish, will you do so much as to read a loue letter that is sent me▪ for I was at a friends of mine with it, and he was not at home, and so I know not what is in it. I pray you let me see it quoth Margaret, and I will shew you. Whereupon she readeth as followeth.

O Ienny my ioy, I die for thy loue,
And now I heare say that thou dost remoue:
And therefore, Ienney, I pray thee recite
VVhere I shall meete thee soone at night.
For why, with my master no more will I stay,
But for thy loue I will runne away,
O Ienny, Ienny, thou puttst mee to payne,
That thou no longer wilt here remayne.
I will weareout my shoes of Neats Leather,
But thou and I will meete together,
And in spite of Fortune, Rat, or Mouse,
VVe will dwell in one house.
For who doth not esteeme of thee,
Shall haue no seruice done of me:
Therefore good Ienny, haue a care
To meete poore Fragment at the fayre.

Now alas, good soule (quoth Ienny) I thinke he be the kin­dest young man in the world. The rest answered, that he se­med no lesse, and surely it appeareth that he is a pretty witty fellow quoth one of them, how finely he hath written his let­ter in time, trust me, I will giue you a good thing, and let me haue a copy of it to send to my sweet hart: that you shall, wt all my heart & so cōming to the faire, they took vp their standing.

[Page]Within a while after, goodwife Gray of Gloucester came [...]hither to store her selfe of diuers commodities and when shee had boght what she would, she told her neighbor she had great néed of a maid seruant or twaine: therefore qd she, good neigh­bor go with me and let me haue your opinion. With a good wil, said her neighbor, and together they went, and looking and viewing the maidens ouer, she tooke speciall notice of Marga­ret. Beléeue me, quoth she, there stands a very proper may­den, and one of a modest and comely countenaunce. Uerily, said her neighbor, so she is, as euer I looked vpon.

The mayden séeing them to view her so well, was so aba­shed, that a scarlet colour ouerspred her lilly chéeks; which the woman perceiuing, came vnto her, and asked if she were wil­ling to serue. The mayd with a low curtesie, and a most gen­tle speach, aunswered it was the onely cause of her comming. Can you spinne or card, said goodwife Gray? Truely Dame, said she, though my cunning therein be but small, my goodwil to learne is great, and I trust, my diligence shall content you. What wages will you take, quoth good wife Gray? I will referre that, said Margaret, to your conscience and curtesie, de­siring no more than what I shall deserue. Then asking what country woman she was the maiden wept, saying, Ah good Dame, I was vntimely borne in Shropshire, of poore parents, and yet not so néedy as vnfortunate, but death hauing en­ded their sorrowes, hath left me to the cruelty of these enui­ons times, to finish my parents tragedy with my troubles. What maiden! qd her Dame, haue you a care to do your bu­sines, and to liue in Gods feare, and you shall haue no care to regard Fortunes frownes and so they went home together.

Now, so soone as the goodman sawe her, he asked his wife where she had that maiden She said, at the faire. Why then quoth he thou hast brought all the f [...]re away and I doubt it were better for vs, to send the faire to another towne, than to keep the faire here. Why man, quoth she, what meane you by that? Woman I meane this, that she will proue a Load­stone, to draw the harts of al my men after her, and so we shal haue wise seruice done of all sides. Then said his wife, I hope [Page] husband, Margaret will haue a better care both to her owne credit, and our commodity then so, and let me alone to looks to such matters. Is thy name Margaret (quoth her master?) proper is thy name to thy person, for thou art a pearle indeed, orient, and rich in beauty.

His wife hearing him say so, began to change her opinion: What husband (quoth she) is the wind at that doore? Begin you to like your maid so well? I doubt I had most need to look to your selfe: before God, I had rather then an angell I had chosen some other: but heare you mayd you shall pack hence, I will not nourish a snake in my bosome, and therefore get you gone, I will none of you prouide a seruice where you may.

The mayden hearing her say so, fell downe on her knees, & besought her saying. O sweet dame, be not so cruell to mee, to turne me out of doores now: alas, I know not where to go, or what to do, if you forsake me. O let not the fading beauty of my face dispoyle me of your fauor: for rather then that shall hinder my seruice, this my knife shall soone dissigure my face, and I will banish beauty as my greatest enemy. And with that her abundant teares stopped her spéech, that she could not utter one word more.

The woman seeing this could not harbour anger longer, nor could her master stay in the roonie for weeping? Well Margaret, sayd her dame (little knowing that a Lady knéeled before her) vsing thy selfe well, I will keepe thee and thou shalt haue my good will, if thou gouerne thy selfe with wisdom; and so she sent her about her businesse. Her husband comming to supper sayd, [...]ow now! wife, art thou so doubtfull of me, that thou hast put away thy mayden? I wis (qd. she) you are a wise man, to stand praysing of a maydes beauty before her face. & you a wise woman (qd. he) to grow iealo [...]s without a cause. So to supper they went, and because Margaret shewed her selfe of finest behauiour aboue the rest, she was appointed to waite on the table. And it is to be vnderstood, that Gray did neuer eate his meate alone but still had some of his neighbors with him before whom he called his mayd, saying, Margaret, come hither. Now because there was another of the same [Page] name in the house, she made answers, I callnot you maiden, quoth he, but Margaret with the lilly white hand. After which time she was euer called so.

How the Kings maiestie sent for the Clothiers, and of the sundry fauours which he did them. Chap. 4.

KIng Henry prouiding for his voyage into France, a­gainst King Lewis and Robert Duke of Normandy his owne brother, commited the gouernement of the Realme in his absence, to the Bishop of Salisbury, a man of great wis­dome and learning, whom the King estéemed highly, and af­terward he thought good to send for the chiefe Clothiers of England who according to the kings appoyntment came to the court, and hauing licence to come before his Maiesty, hee spake to this effect.

The strength of a king is the loue and friendship of his people, and he gouerns ouer his Realme most surely, that ruleth iustice with mercy, for hee ought to feare many, whom many do feare▪ therefore the gouernours of the common wealth ought to obserue two speciall precepts, the one is, that they so maintayne the profit of the commons, that whatsoeuer in their calling they do, they referre it thereunto: the other, that they bee alwayes as well carefull ouer the whole common wea [...]th, as ouer any part thereof, lest while they vpholde the one, the other be brought to vtter decay.

And for as much as I doe vnderstand, and haue partly seene, that you the Clothiers of England are no small benefit to the wealth publike, I thought it good to know from your owne mouths, if there be any thing not yet graunted that may be­nefit you or any other thing to be remoued that doth hurt you.

The great desire I haue to maintayne you in your trades, hath moued me hereunto. Therefore boldly say what you would haue in the one thing or the other, & I wlil grant it you.

With that, they all fell downe vpon their knees, and de­sired God to saue his Maiesty, and with all, requested three dayes respit to put in their answere: which was graunted, And thereupon they departed.

[Page]When the Clothiers had well considered of these matters, at length they thought méete to request of his Maiesty for their first benefit, that all the Cloth measures, through the land might be of one length, whereas to their great disad­uantage before, euery good towne had a seuerall measure, the difficulty thereof was such, that they could not kéepe them in memory, nor know how to keepe their reckonings. The se­cond thing whereof they found themselues greeued, was this, that the people would not take crackt money, though it were neuer so good siluer: whereupon it came to passe, that the Clothiers and diuers other receiuing great summes of money, to take among it much crackt money, it serued them to no vse, because it would not go currant, but lay vpon their hands without profite or benefit, whereof they prayed refor­mation. The third was a griefe, whereof Hodgekins of Ha­lyfax complayned, and that was, that whereas the towne of Halyfax liued altogether vpon clothing, and by the reason of false borderers & other euill minded persons, they were oft robbed, and had their clothes carried out of their fieldes, where they were drying, that it would please his Maiesty to grant the towne this priuiledge, that whosoeuer hee was that was taken stealing their cloth, might presently with­out any further triall be hanged vp. When the day of their appearance approached, the Clothiers came before the King, and deliuered vp their petition in writing, which his Maie­sty most graciously perusing, sayd, he was ready to fullfill their request: and therefore for the first poynt of their petiti­on, he called for a staffe to be brought him, and measuring thereupon the iust length of his owne arme, deliuered it to the clothiers, saying, This measure shalbe called a yard, and no other measure thoughout all the Realme of England shall be vsed for the same, and by this shall men buy and sell, and we will so prouide, that whosoeuer he be that abuseth our sub­iects by any false measure, that he shall not onely pay a fine for the same to the king, but also haue his body punnished by imprisonment. And as concerning the second poynt of your petition, because of my sudden departure out of the land, I [Page] know not better how to ease you of this griefe (of crackt mo­ney) this decrée I make, because they account crackt money not currant I say, none shalbe currant but crackt money. And therefore I will giue present charge, that all the money through the land shalbe [...]it, and so you shall suffer no losse.

But now for your last request for the towne of Halyfax, where by théeues your clothes are so often stolne from you, séeing the lawes already prouided in that case are not suffici­ent to keepe men in awe, it is indeed high time to haue shar­per punishment for them.

With that Hodgekins vnmannerly interrupted the King, saying in broad Northern spéech, Yea gude faith, mai Liedge, the faule eule of mai saule, gif [...] any thing will kéep them whi­at, till the karles be hangde vp by the cragge. What the dul [...] care they for boaring their eyne, sea lang as they may gae gro­ping vp and downe the countrey like fause lizar lownes, beg­ging and craking?

The king smiling to heare this rough hewne fellow make this reply: Content thee Hodgekins, for we wil haue redresse for all: and albeit that hanging of men was neuer séene in England, yet seeing the corrupt world is growne more bold in all wickednes, I thinke it not amisse to ordaine this death for such malefactors: and peculiarly to the towne of Hallifaxe I giue this priuiledge, that whosoeuer they find stealing their cloth, being taken with the goods, that without further iudge­ment they shalbe hanged vp.

Thus (sayd our king) haue I graunted what you request, and if heareafter you find any other thing that may be good for you, it shall be granted; for no longer would I desire to liue among you, then I haue care for the good of the common­wealth: at which word ended, the King rose from his royall throne, while the clothiers on their knées prayed for both his health and happy successe, and shewed themselues most thank­full for his highnesse fauor. His maiesty bending his body to­ward them, sayd that at his home returne, he would (by the grace of God) visit them.

How the Clothiers had prouided a sumptuous feast for the Kings sonues, prince William and prince Richard at Ger­ [...]ards hall, shewing also what chaunce befell Cutbert of Kendall at that same instant. Chap. 5.

THe Clothiers departing from the court in a merry minde, ioyfull of their good successe, each one to other praised and magnified the Kings great wisedome and vertue▪ commend­ing also his affabilitie and gentle disposition, so that Hodge­kins affirmed on his faith, that hee had rather speake to the Kings maiestie, than to many Iustices of peace. Indéed (said Cole) he is a most mild and mercifull prince, and I pray God he may long raigne ouer vs. Amen said the rest.

Then said Cole, My masters, shall we forget the great cur­tesie of the Kings sonnes, those swéet and gentle princes▪ that still shewed vs fauour in our suite? in my opinion it were rea­son to gratifie them in some sort, that we may not vtterly be condemned of ingratitude: wherefore (if you thinke good) we will prepare a banquet for them at our hoast Garrats, who as you know, hath a faire house, and goodly roomes: Besides, the man himselfe is of a most couragious mind and good behaui­our, sufficient to entertaine a prince; his wife also is a dain­ty fine, Cooke: all which considered, I know not a fitter place in London. Tis true, quoth Sutton and if the rest be content, I iam pleased it shalbe so. At this they all answered, Yea, for (quoth they) it will not be passing forty shillings apéece, and that we shall recouer in our crackt money.

Being thus agréed, the feast wae prepared. Tom Doue quoth they, we will commit the prouiding of musicke to thée: and I said Cole will inuite diuers of our marchants and their wiues to the same. That is well remembred, said Gray. Up­on this they called to their hoast and hostesse▪ shewing their de­terminati [...]n, who most willingly said, all things should be made ready, but I would haue two days liberty, sayd the good wife, to prepare my house and other things. Content, said the Clothiers, in the meane spare we will bid our gests, and dis­patch [Page] our other affaires. But Simon of Southhampton charg­ed his hostise, that in any case shée should not forget to make good store of pottage. It shall be done quoth shée.

It is be to remembred, that while this preparation was in hand, that Cutbert of Kendal had not forgot his kindnes to his hostise of Bosomes Inne. Therefore finding time conuenient when her husband was ouerséeing his haymakers, he gréeted her in this sort, Swéete hostesse, though I were the last time I was in towne, ouer bold with you, yet I hope it was not so offensiue to you, as you made shew for. Bold my Cut quoth she? thou hast vowd thy selfe my seruant, and so being, you are not to be blam'd for doing what I wild you. By my honesty, I could not chuse but smile to my selfe, so soone as I was out of their sight, to thinke how prettily you began your brabble. But now, quoth he, we will change our chidings to kissings, and it vexeth me that these cherry lippes should be subiect to such a Lobcocke as thy husband.

Subiect to him quoth she! In faith sir, no, I will haue my lips at as much liberty as my tongue, the one to say what I list, and the other to touch whom I like: In troth, shall I tell thee, Cutbert, y churles breath smels so strong, that I care as much for kissing of him, as for looking on him tis such a mis­shapen mizer, and such a bundle of beastlynesse, that I can neuer thinke on him without spitting Fie vpon him. I would my friends had carried me to my graue, when they went with me to the Church, to make him my husband. And so shedding a few dissembling teares▪ she stopt. What my sweete mistresse (quoth he) weepe you? Nay sit downe by my side, and I will sing thee one of my country Iigges to make thee merry. Wilt thou in faith (quoth she)? Yes verily, sayd Cutbert: and in troth, quoth she, if you fall a singing, I will sing with you. That is well, you can so suddenly change your notes, quoth Cut. then haue at it.

Man.
LOng haue I lou'd this bonny Lasse,
yet durst not shew the same.
Wo.

Therein you prou'd your selfe an Asse,

Man.
I was the more too blame.
[Page]Yet still will I remaine to thee,
Trang dilly do, trang dilly,
Thy friend and louer secretly.
Wom.

Thou art my owne sweet bully.

Man
But when shall I enioy thee,
delight of thy faire loue?
Wo.
Euen when thou seest that fortune doth
all maner lets remoue.
Man
O, I will fold thee in my armes,
Trang dilly do, trang dilly,
And keepe thee so from sodaine harmes.
Wom.

Thou art my owne sweet bully.

Wom.
My husband he is gone from home▪
you know it very well.
Man

But when will he returne againe?

VVo
In troth I cannot tell:
If long he keepe him out of sight,
Trang dilly do, trang dilly.
Be sure thou shalt haue thy delight.
Man

Thou art my bonny lassy▪

While they were singing this song, her husband being on a sudden come home, stood secretly in a corner and heard all, and blessing himselfe with both his hands, sayd O abominable dis­simulation, monstrous hypocrisie, and are you in this humor? can you brawle together and sing together? Well quoth he, I will let them alone, and see a little more of their knauery. Ne­uer did Catte watch Mouse so narrowely, as I will watch them: And so going into the Kitchin, he asked his wife if it were not dinner time. Euen by and by, husband (quoth she) the meat will be ready. Presently after comes in Hodgekins and Martin, who strayght asked for Cutbert of Kendall. An­swere was made, that he was in his Chamber. So when they had called him, they went to dinner: then they requested that their host and hostesse would sit with them.

Husband, said she, you may go if you please: but as for me, I [Page] will desire pardon. Nay, good wife, go vp said her husband. What woman, you must beare with your ghests. Why hus­bād, qd. she, do you think that any can beare the flerts & trumps which that Northern tike gaue me the last time hee was in towne? now God forgiue me, I had as liefe sée the diuell as sée him: Therefore good husband▪ go vp your selfe, and let me a­lone, for in faith, I shall neuer abide that Iacke while I liue.

Upon these words away went her husband, and though he sayd little he thought the more. Now when he came vp, his ghests bade him welcome. I pray you sit downe, good mine hoast, quoth they, where is your wife▪ what will not shee sit with vs? No verily sayd he, the foolish woman hath taken such a displeasure against Cutbert, that she sweares she will neuer come in his company Is it so, said the other? then trust me we are well agreed. And I sweare by my fathers sale, quoth hée, that were it not more for good will o you, than loue to her, I would neuer come to your house more. I beléeue it well, said old Bosome. And so with other communication they droue out the time, till Dinner was ended.

After they were risen, Martin & Hodgekins got them forth about their affaires, but Cutb. took his host by the hand, saying, My host, Ile go talk with your wife; for my part I thought we had béene friends: but seeing her stomacke is so big & her heart so great, I will see what she will say to me; and with that hee s [...]ept into the kitchin, saying, God speed you hostise. It must be when you are away thē, sayd she. What is your reason sayd the other? Because God neuer comes where knaues are present. Gip gooddy draggletaile qd he, had I such a wife▪ I would pre­sent her tallow face to the diuell for a candle. With that shee bent her browes, and like a fury of hel began to fly at him say­ing. Why, you gag-toothd Iack, you blinking companion, get thee out of my Kitchin quickly, or with my powdered Beefe br [...]th, I will make your pate as [...]alde as a Friers.

Get me gone, quoth he? thou shalt not bid mee twise: out you durty heeles, you will make your husbands hayre gr [...]we through his hood I doubt; and with that hee got him into the Hall, and sate him downe on the bench by his hoast, to whom [Page] he sayd: Tis pitty my host, that your aged yéeres that loues quietnesse, should be troubled with such a scolding queane. I, God help me God helpe me quoth the old man; and so went toward the Stable; which his wife watching, sodainly stept out and gaue Cutbert a kisse.

Within an houre after, the old man craftily called for his Nag to ride to field: but as soone as he was gone, Cutbert and his Hostesse were such good friends, that they got into one of the Ware houses, and [...]ockt the doore to them: but her hus­band hauing set a spye for the purpose, sodainly turned backe, and called for a capcase which lay in the Warehouse. The ser­uant could not find the key by any meanes. Whereupon hée called to haue y lock broke open. Which they within hearing, opened the doore of their owne accord. So soone as her husband spied her in that place, with admiration he sayd O, the passion of my hart, what do you heer? what you two that cannot abide one another? what make you so close together? is your chiding and rayling, brabling and brawling, come to this? O what dis­semblers are these! Why▪ my hoast qd. Cutbert what need you take the matter so hotte? I gaue a Cheese to my country man Hodgekins, to lay vp, and deliuered it to your wife to bee kept▪ and then is it not reason, that she should come and seeke me my Cheese? O, qd▪ the old man, belike the doore was lockt, because the cheese should not run away. The doore said his wife vnknowne to vs clapt to it selfe, and hauing a spring lock, was presently fast. Wel, hus-wife, qd. he; I will giue you as much credit as a Crocadile; but as for your companion I will teach him to come hither to looke cheeses.

And with that he caused his men to take him presently, and to binde him hand and foote. Which being done, they drew him vp in a basket into the smokie louer of the hall, and there they did let him hang all that night, euen till the next day dinner time, when he should haue beene at the banquet with the prin­ces: for neither Hodgekins nor Martin could intreat their in­flamed hoast to let him downe.

And in such a heate was he driuen with drawing him vp▪ that he was faine to cast off his gownes, his coats, and two [Page] paire of his stockings, to coole himselfe, making a vow he should hang there vij. yeares except the kings sonnes came in person to beg his pardon, which most of all grieued Cutbert. When Cole and the rest of the westerne yeomen [...]eard hereof, they could not chuse but laugh, to think that he was so taken t [...]dy.

The yong princes hauing giuen promise to be with the clo­thiers kept their houre, but when al the rest went to giue them entertainment, Simon was so busie in supping his pottage, that he could not spare so much time. Which when the prin­ces sawe, with a smiling countenance they said, Sup Simon, theres good breath, or else beshrew our hostesse: quoth he, ne­uer looking behind him to sée who spake, till the prince clapt him on the shoulder. But good Lord, how blanke he was when he spied them knowing not how to excuse the matter.

Well, the princes hauing ended their banket, Garrat coms, and with one of his hands took the table of 16 foot long quite from the ground ouer their heads, from before the princes, and set it on the other side of the hall, to the great admiration of all them that beheld it.

The princes being then ready to depart, the Clothiers mo­ued them in pleasant maner, to be good to one of their compa­ny, that did neither sit, lie, nor stand. Then he must néedes hang, qd the princes. And so he doth, most excellent princes qd they; and therewithal told them the whole matter. When they heard the story, downe to Bosoms inne they goe, where looking vp into the roose, spied poore Cutbert pinned vp in a basket, and almost smoked to death, who although he were greatly ashamed, yet most pittifully desired that they would get him released.

What is his trespasse, said the prince? Nothing if it shall like your Grace qd he, but for loking for a cheefe. But he could not find it without my wife, said the good man: the villaine had lately dined with mutton, and could not digest his meate without cheese, for which cause I haue made him to fast these twenty houres, to the end he may haue a better stomacke to eate his dinner, then to vse dalliance.

Let me intreate you quoth the prince, to release him: and if [Page] euer hereafter you catch him in the corne, clappe him in the pownd. Your Grace shall request or commaund any thing at my hand, said the old man; and so Cutbert was let downe vn­bound: but when he was loose, he vowed neuer to come within that house more. And it is said, the old man [...]osome ordain [...], that in remembrance of this déed euery yeare once all such as came thither to aske for cheeses should be so serued: which thing is to this day kept.

How Simons wife of South-hampton being wholy bent to pride and pleasure, requested her husband to see London, which being graunted, how she got good wife Sutton of Salisbury to go with her, who tooke Crab to go along with them, and how he prophecied of many things. Chap. 6.

THe Clothiers being all come from London, Suttons wife of Southhampton who was with her husband very mer­ry and pleasant, brake her mind vnto him in this sort.

Good Lord husband, wil you neuer be so kind as let me go to London with you? shall I be pend vp in South-hampton, like a patrat in a cage, or a capon in a coope? I would request no more of you in lieu of all my paines, carke and care, but to haue one weeks time to sée that faire citie: what is this life if it be not mixt with some delight? and what delight is more pleasing than to see the fashions and maners of vnknowne pla­ces? Therefore good husband, if thou louest me, deny not this simple request You know I am no common gadder, nor haue oft troubled you with trauell. God knowes, this may be the last thing that euer I shall request at your hands.

Woman quoth he, I would willingly satisfie your desire, but you know it is not conuenient for both of vs to be abroad, our charge is great, and therefore our care ought not to be small. If you will goe your selfe, one of my men shall goe with you, and money enough you shall haue in your purse: but to go with you my selfe, you sée my busines will not per­mit me.

Husband said she, I accept your gentle offer, and it may [Page] be I shal intreat my gossip Sutton to go along with me. I shal be glad quoth her husband, prepare your selfe when you will.

When she had obtained this licence, she sent hir man Wes­sell to Salisbury, [...]o know of good wife Sutton if she would kéep her company to London. Suttons wife being as willing to go, as she was to request, neuer rested till she had gotten leaue of her husband; the which when she had obtained, ca­sting in her minde their pleasure would be small, being but they twayne; thereupon the wily woman sent letters by col­lerick Crack her man, both to Grayes wife, and F [...]zallens wife, that they would meet them at Reading; who liking wel of the match, consented and did so prouide that they met ac­cording to promise at Reading, and from thence with Coles wife they went al together, with each of them a man to Lon­don, ech one taking vp their lodging with a seuerall friend.

When the Marchants of London vnderstood they were in towne, they ira [...]ited them euery day home to their owne hou­ses, where they had delicate good cheere: and when they went abroade to see the commodityes of the City, the Marchants wiues euer bore them company, being attyred most dainty and fine: which when the Clothiers wiues did sée, it grieued their hearts they had not the like.

Now when they were brought into Cheapeside, there with great wonder they beheld the shops of the Goldsmiths; and on the other side, the wealthy Mercers, whose shops shined of al sortes of coloured silkes; in Watlingstreete, they viewed the great number of Drapers in Saint Martines, Shooma­kers, at Saint Nicholas church, the flesh shambles, at the end of the old change, the fishmongers; in Candlewéeke stréete the Weauers, then came into the Iewes stréete, where all the Iewes did inhabite; then went they to Blackwel hall, where the country clothiers did vse to méete.

Afterward they procéeded, and came to S. Pauls church, whose steeple was so hye, that it seemed to pierce the clouds, on the top whereof, was a great and mighty whethercocke, of cleane siluer, the which notwithstanding seemed as small as a sparrow to mens eyes, it stood so exceeding high, the which [Page] goodly weathercocke was afterwards stolen away, by a cun­ning cripple, who found meanes one night to climbe vp to the toppe of the stéeple, and tooke it downe, with the which, and a great summe of mony which he had got together by begging in his life tune, he builded a gate on the North-west side of the city, which to this day is called Criple gate.

From thence they went to the Tower of London, which was builded by Iulius Caesar, who was Emperour of Rome. And there they beheld salt and wine, which had laine there e­uer since the Romans inuaded this land, which was many yeares before our Sauiour Christ was borne, the wine was growne so thicke that it might haue bin cut like a ielley. And in that place also they sawe money that was made of leather, which in ancient time went currant amongst the people.

When they had to their great contentation beheld all this, they repaired to their lodgings, hauing also a sumptuous sup­per ordained for them, with all delight that might be. And you shall vnderstand that when the country weauers, which came vp with their dames, saw the weauers of Candlewike­stréet, they had great desire presently to haue some conference with them, and thus one began to challenge thother for work­manship, quoth VVeasell, ile worke with any of you all for a crowne, take it if you dare, and he that makes his yeard of cloth soonest, shall haue it. You shall be wrought withall, said the other, and if it were for tenne crownes; but we wil make this bargaine, that each of vs shall wynde their owne quilles. Content quoth VVeasell: and so to worke they went, but VVesel lost. Whereupon another of them tooke the matter in hand, who lost likewise: so that the London weauers trium­phed against the country, casting forth diuers frumps.

Alas poore fellowes, quoth they, your hearts are good, but your hands are ill. [...]ush, the fault was in their legges, quoth another, pray you friend were you not borne at home? Whie doe you aske quoth VVeasell? because, said hee, the biggest place of your legge is next to your shoe.

Cutbert hearing this, being cholericke of nature, chafed like a man of law at the barre, and he wagers with them foure [Page] crowns to twain, the others agreed, to work they go: but erab conquered them all. Whereupon, the London weauers were nipt in the head like birds, and had not a word to say.

Now saith Crab as we haue lost nothing, so you haue won nothing, and because I know, ye cannot be right weauers, ex­cept you be good fellowes, therefore if you will go with vs, wee will bestow the ale vpon you. That is spoken like a good fel­low and like a weauer, quoth the other. So along they went as it were to the signe of the red Crosse.

When they were set downe, and had drunk well, they began merrily to prattle, and to ertoll Crab to the skies. Where­upon Crab protested, that he would come and dwell among them. Nay, that must not be, sayd a London weauer? the king hath giuen vs priuilege, that none shal liue among vs, but such as serue seuen yeeres in London. With that Crab, accor­ding to his old manner of prophesing, sayd thus:

THe day is very neere at hand,
VVhen as a King of this faire land
Shall priuiledge you more then so:
The [...] weauers shall in scarlet go.
And to one brotherhood be brought,
The first that is in London wrought,
VVhen other trades-men by your fame,
Shall couet all to doe the same.
Then shall you all liue wondrous well,
But this one thing I shall you tell:
The day will come before the doome,
In Candleweeke streete shall stand no loome.
Nor any weauer dwelling there,
But men that shall more credit beare:
For clothing shall be sore decayed,
And men vndone that t [...]e that trade.
And yo [...] the day some [...]en shall see,
This [...] shall raised be,
[Page]Whenas Bay liffe of Sarum towne,
Shal buy and purchase Bishops downe.
When there neuer man did sow,
Great store of goodly corne shall grow?
And woad, that makes all colours sound
Shall spring vpon that barren ground.
At that same day I tell you plaine,
Who so aliue doth then remaine,
A proper mayden there shall see,
Within the towne of Salisbury.
Of fauour sweete, of nature kind,
VVith goodly eies, and yet starke blind,
This poore blind mayden I do say.
In age shall go in rich array.
And he that takes her to his wife
Shall lead a ioyfull happy life,
The wealthiest Clothier shall he be,
That euer was in that country.
But clothing kept as it hath beene
In London neuer shal be seene:
For weauers then the most shal win,
That worke for clothing next the skin.
Til pride the commonwealth doth peele,
And causeth huswiues leaue their wheele.
Then pouerty vpon each side
Vnto those workemen shall be tide
At that time, from an Egles nest,
That proudly builded in the West,
A sort shal come with cunning hand,
To bring strange weauing in this land.
And by their gaines that great will fall,
They shall maynetaine the weauers hall:
But long they shall not flourish so,
But folly will them ouerthrow.
And men shall count it mickle shame,
To beare that kind of Weauers name,
And this as sure will come to passe,
As here is ale within this glasse.

When the silly soules that sate about him heard him speake in this sort, they admired, and honoured Crabbe for the same. Why my masters, said VVeasel, do you wōder at these words? he will tell you twenty of these tales, for which cause we call him our canuas Prophet: his attire fits his title, said they, and we neuer heard the like in our liues; and if this should be true, it would be strange. Doubt not but it will be true, qd. Weasel, for ile tell you what, he did but once sée our Nick, kis Nel, and presently he powred out this rime.

That kis [...]e O Nel, God giue the ioy,
VVill nine monthes hence breede thee a boy.

And Ile tell you what, you shall heare: we kept reckoning and it fell out as iust as Iones buttockes on a close stoole, for which cause, our maids durst neuer kisse a man in his sight: vp­on this they broke company, & went euery one about his busi­nes, the London weauers to their frames, and the country fellowes to their dames, who after their great banqueting and meriment went euery one home to their owne houses, though with lesse money then they brought out, yet with more pride.

Especially Simons wife of South-hampton, who tolde the rest of her gossips, that shée sawe no reason, but that their hus­bands should mainetaine them, aswell as the Marchants did their wiues: for I tell you what, quoth she, we are as proper women (in my conceit) as the proudest of them all, as hand­some of body, as faire of face, our legs as well made, and our féete as fine: then what reason is there (séeing our husbandes are of as good wealth) but we should be as well maintained?

You say true gossip, said S [...]ttons wife: trust me, it made me blush, to sée them braue it out so gallantly, and we to goe so homely: but before God, said the other, I will haue my hus­band to buy me a London gowne, or in faith he shall haue lit­tle quiet: so shall mine, said another, and mine too, qd. the third: and all of them sung the same note: so that when they came [Page] home, their husbands had no little to do: Especially Simon, whose wife daily lay at him for London apparell, to whome he sayd, Good woman, be content, let vs go according to our place and ability: what will the Bailiffes thinke, if I should prancke thee vp like a Peacocke, and thou in thy attire surpasse their wiues? they would eyther thinke I were madde, or else that I had more money then I could well vse: consider I pray thée good wife, that such as are in their youth wasters, doe prooue in their age starke beggars.

Beside that, it is inough to raise me vp in the Kings books; for many times, mens coffers are iudged by their garments: why, we are country folkes, and must kéepe our selues in good compasse: gray russet, and good home-spun cloth doth best be­come vs; I tell thée wife, it were as vndecent for vs to go like Londoners, as it is for Londoners to go like courtiers.

What a coyle kéepe you, quoth she? are not we Gods crea­tures aswell as Londoners? and the Kings subiects, aswell as they? then finding our wealth to be as good as theirs, why should we not goe as gay as Londoners? No husband, no [...], héere is the fault, we are kept without it, onely because our husbands are not so kind as Londoners: why man, a Cob­ler there, kéepes his wife better then the best Clothier in this country: nay, I will affirme it, that the London Oyster­wiues, and the very Kitchin-staffe cryers, do excéed vs in their Sundayes attyre: nay, more then that, I did see the Water­bearers wife which belongs to one of our Marchants, come in with a Tankered of water on her shoulder, and yet halfe a dozen gold rings on her fingers. You may then thinke, wife (quoth he) she got them not with idlenesse.

But wife, you must consider what London is, the chiefe and capitall City of all the land, a place on the which all strangers cast their eyes, it is (wife) the Kings chamber, and his Maiesties royall seate: [...]o that City repaires of all Nati­ons vnder heauen. Therefore it is most méete and conueni­ent, that the cittizens of such a City should not goe in their apparell like Peasants, but for the credit of our countrey, weare such seemely habites, as doo carry grauity and comeli­nesse [Page] in the eyes of all beholders, But if we of the countrey went so (quoth she) were it not as great credit for the land as the other? Woman qd her husband, it is altogether needlesse, and in diuers respects it may not be. Why then I pray you, quoth she, let vs go dwell at London. A word soone spoken, said her husband, but not so easie to be performed: therefore wife, I pray thée hold thy prating, for thy talke is foolish: yea, yea husband, your olde churlish conditions will neuer be left, you keepe me here like a drudge and a droyle, and so you may keepe your money in your purse, you care not for your credit, but before I will goe so like a shepheardesse, I will first go [...] naked: and I tel you plaine, I scorn it greatly, that you should clappe a gray gowne on my backe, as if I had not brought you two pence: before I was married you swore I should haue any thing that I requested, but now all is forgotten. And in saying this, she went in, and soone after she was so sicke that needes she must goe to bed: and when she was laid, she draue out that night with many grieuous groanes, sighing and sob­bing, and no rest she could take God wot. And in the morning when she should rise, the good soule fell downe in a swowne, which put her maidens in a great flight, who running downe to their master cried out, Alas, alas, our Dame is dead, our Dame is dead. The good man hearing this, ran vp in all haste, and there fell to rubbing and chafing of her temples, sending for aqua vitae, and saying, Ah my sweete heart, speake to me, good wife, alacke, alacke, call in the neighbours, you queanes quoth he. With that shee lift vp her head, fetching a great groane and presently swouned againe, and much adoe iwis, he had to keepe life in her: but when she was come to her self, How dost thou wife qd he? What wilt thou haue? for Gods sake tel me if thou hast a mind to any thing, thou shalt haue it. Away dissembler (quoth she) how can I belieue thée? thou hast said asmuch to mee an hundred times, and deceiued mee, it is thy churlishnesse that hath killd my heart, neuer was woman matcht to so vnkind a man.

Nay good wife, blame me not without cause; God know­eth how dearly I loue thée. Loue me! no, no, thou didst neuer [Page] carry my loue but on the tip of thy tongue, quoth she, I dare sweare thou desirest nothing so much as my death, and for my part, I would to God thou ha [...]st thy desire: but be content, I shal not trouble thee long: and with that fetching a [...]gh, she swouned and gaue a great gr [...]ane. The man séeing hir in this cafe was wondrous woe: but so soone as they had recouered her he said, O my deare wife, if any had conceit hath ingende­red this sickenes, let me know it; or if thou knowest any thing that may procure thy health, let me vnderstand thereof, and I protest thou shalt haue it, if it cost me all that euer I haue.

O husband, quoth she, how may I credite your wordes, when for a paltry su [...]e of apparell you denied me? Well wife quoth he, thou shalt haue apparell or any thing else thou wilt request, if God send thée once health. O husband, if I may find you so kind, I shall thinke my selfe the happiest woman in the world; thy words haue greatly comforted my heart, me thin­keth if I had it, I could drink a good draught of renish wine. Well, wine was sent for: O Lord said she, that I had a péece of a chickin, I féele my stomacke desirous of some meat. Glad am I of that said her husband, and so the woman within a few dayes after was very well.

But you shall vnderstand, that her husband was faine to dresse her London like ere he could get her quiet neither wold it please her, except the stuffe were bought in Cheapeside, for out of Cheapside nothing would content her, were it neuer so good: insomuch that if she thought a tailer of Cheapside made not her gowne, she would sweare it was quite spoiled.

And hauing thus won her husband to her will, when the rest of the Clothiers wiues heard thereof, they would be suted in the like sort too: so that euer since, the wiues of South­hampton, Salisbury, of Glocester, Worcester, and Reading, went all as gallant and as braue as any Londoners wiues.

How the Clothiers sent the King aid into France, and how he ouereame his brother Robert, and brought him into Eng­land, and how the Clothiers feasted his Maiesty and his sonne at Reading. Chap. 7.

[Page]THe Kings maiesty being at the warres in Fraunce, a­gainst Lewis the French king, and duke Robert of Nor­mandy, sending for diuers supplies of souldiers out of Eng­land, the Clothiers at their owne proper cost set out a great number, and sent them ouer to the King.

Which Roger Bishop of Salisbury, who gouerned the realme in the Kings absence, did alwayes certifie the King thereof, with his letters written in their commendations.

And afterward it came to passe, that God sent his Highnes victory ouer his enemies, and hauing taken his brother priso­ner, brought him most ioyfully with him into England, and appointed him to be kept in Cardife castle prisoner, yet with this fauour, that he might hunt and hawke where he would vp and downe the countrey, and in this sort he liued a good while, of whom we will speake more at large hereafter.

The King being thus come home, after his winters rest, he made his summers progresse into the west country, to take a view of al the chiefe townes: whereof the Clothiers being ad­uertised, they made great preparation against his comming, because he had promised to visite them all.

And when his Grace came to Reading, he was entertai­ned and receiued with great ioy and triumph: Thomas Cole being the chiefe man of regard in all the towne, the king ho­nored his house with his princely presence, where during the kings abode, he, and his son, and nobles were highly feasted.

Where the king beheld the great number of people, that was by that one man maintained in worke, whose harty af­fection and loue toward his maiestie did well appeere, aswell by their outward countenances, as their gifts presented vnto him. But of Cole himselfe the king was so well persuaded, that he committed much trust to him, and put him in great authoritie in the towne. Furthermore the king said, That for the loue which those people bore to him liuing, that he would lay his bones among them when he was dead. For I know not said he where they may be better bestowed, till the bles­sed day of resurrection, than among these my friends which are like to be happy partakers of the same.

[Page]Whereupon his Maiesty caused there to be builded a most goodly and famous Abbey: in which he might shew his deue­tion to God, by increasing his seruice, and leaue example to o­ther his successors to doe the like. Likewise within the towne he after builded a faire and goodly castle, in the which he often kept his court, which was a place of his chiefe residence du­ring his life saying to the Clothiers, that séeing he found them such faithfull subiects, he would be their neighbor, and dwell among them.

After his Maiesties royal feasting at Reading, he procéeded in progresse, til he had visited the whole west countries, being wondrously delighted, to sée those people so diligent to applie their busines: and conuning to Salisbury, the Bishop recei­ued his Maiesty with great ioy, and with triumph attended on his Grace to his palace, where his Highnes lodged.

There Sutton the Clothier presented his Highnesse with a broad cloth, of so fine a thréed, and excéeding good workmāship, and therewithall of so faire a colour, as his Grace gaue com­mendation thereof, and as it is said, he held it in such high esti­mation, that therof he made his parliament robes, and the first parliament that euer was in England, was graced with the Kings person in those robes, in requitall whereof his highnes afterward yielded Sutton many princely fauours.

And it is to be remembred, that Simon of Southhampton (séeing the King had ouerpast the place where he dwelt) came with his wife and seruants to Salisbury, and against the K. going forth of that city, he caused a most pleasant arbour to be made vpon the toppe of the hill leading to Shaftesburie, beset all with red and white roses, in such sort, that not anie part of the timber could be séene, within the which sate a mai­den attired like a Quéene, attended on by a faire traine of mai­dens, who at the kings approach presented him with a Gar­land of sweet stoures, yielding him such honour as the Ladies of Rome were wont to doe to their Princes after their victo­ries: which the King tooke in gracious part, and for his fare­well from that country, they bore him company ouer part of the Plaine, with the sound of diuers swéet instruments of mu­sicke. [Page] All which when his Grace vnderstood was done at the cost of a Clothier, he sayd he was the most honoured by those mē, aboue al the mean subiects in his lād: & so his highnes past on to Exceter, hauing giuen great rewards to these maydens.

Thomas Doue and the residue of the Clothiers, against his Graces comming thither▪ had ordained diuers sumptuous shewes; first, there was one that represented the person of Au­gustus Caesar the Emperour, who commanded after the Ro­mane inuasion, that their City should be called Augustus, af­ter his owne name, which beforetime was called Isea, and of latter yéeres, Exeter.

There his Maiesty was royally feasted seuen daies toge­ther, at the onely cost of Clothiers, but the diuers delightes and sundry pastimes which they made there before the King▪ and his Nobles, is too long here to be rehearsed. And therefore I will ouerpasse them, to auoide tediousnes.

His grace then coasting along the country, at last came to Gloucester, an ancient City, which was builded by Glove a Brittish King, who named it after his own name, Gloucester. Here was his maiesty entertained by Gray the Clothier, who profest himselfe to be of that ancient family of Grayes, whose first Originall issued out of the ancient and honorable Castle and towne of Rithin.

Héere was the King most bountifully feasted, hauing in his company his brother Robert (although his prisoner the same time.) And his Grace being desirous to see the maidens carde and spinne, they were of purpose set to their worke, among whom was faire Margaret with the white hand, whose excel­lent beauty hauing pea [...]st the eyes of that amorous Duke, it made such an impression in his heart, that afterward he could neuer forget her: and so vehemently was his affection kind­led, that he could take no rest, till by writing he had bewrayed his mind: but of this we will speake more in an other place: and the King at his departure sayd, that to gratifie them, hée would make his son Robert their Earle, who was the first Earle that euer was in Gloucester.

Now when his Grace was come from thence, he went to [Page] Worcester, where William Fitz-allen made preparation in all honourable sort to receiue him, which man being borne of great parentage, was not to learne how to entertaine his Ma­iesty, being descended of that famous family, whose patrimo­ny lay about the towne of Oswestry. which towne his prede­cessors had inclosed with stately walles of stone,

Although aduerse fortune had so grieuously frowned on some of them, that thier children were faine to become trades­men, whose hands were to them instead of landes, notwith­standing God raised againe the fame of this man, both by his great wealth and also in his posterity, whose eldest son Henry, the Kings god-son, became afterward the Mayor of London, who was the first Mayor that euer was in that Citty, who go­uerned the same 23. yéeres: and then his son Roger Fitz-al­len was the second Mayor.

The Princely pleasures that in Worcester were shewen the king, were many and maruelous, and in no place had his Ma­iesty receiued more delight then here; for the which at his de­parture he did shew himselfe very thankfull. Now when his Grace had thus taken view of all his good townes Westward and in that progresse had visited these clothiers, he returned to London with great ioy of all his commons.

How Hodgekins of Halifax came to the Court, & complai­ned to the King, that his priuiledge was nothing worth, because when they found any offendor they could not get a hangman to execute him: And how by a Fryer a gin was deuised to chop off mens heads of it selfe. Chap. 8.

AFter that Hogekins had got the priuiledge for the town of Halifax, to hang vp such théeues as stole their cloth in the night, presently without any further iudgement, al the clothiers of the towne were excéeding glad, & per­swaded themselues, y now their goods would be safe all night, without watching them at al, so that whereas before, the town maintayned certaine watchmen to kéepe their cloth by night, they were hereupon dismissed as a thing néedlesse to be done, [Page] supposing with themselues, that seeing they should be straight hanged that were [...]ound faulty in this point, y no man would be so d [...]sperate to enterprise any such act. And indeede the matter being noysed through the whole countrey, that they were straight to be hanged that did vse such theeuery, it made many lewd liuers to refraine such theeuery.

Neuerthelesse, there was at that same time liuing. a notable Theese named Wallis, whom in the North they called Migh­ty VVallis, in regard of his valor and manhood: This man beeing most subtill in such kind of knauery, hauing heard of this late priuiledge, and therewithall of the townes security, sayd that once he would venture his necke for a packe of Nor­therne cloth▪ and therefore comming to one or two of his com­panions, he asked if they would be partners in his aduenture, and if (quoth he) you will herein hazard your bodies, you shal be sha [...]ers in all our booties.

At length by many perswasions the men consented: where­upon late in the night, they got them all to a Farriours shop, and called vp the folks of the house. What the foule ill wa [...] you haue (quoth they) at this time of the night▪? Wallis answe­red, saying, good fellowes, we would haue you to remooue the shooes of our Horses feete, and set them on againe, and for your paines, you shalbe well pleased. The Smith at length was perswaded, & when he had pluckt off all the shooes from their horses feete, they would needes haue them all set on againe. quite contrary with the ca [...]kins forward, y should stand back­ward. How fay, fay man, quoth the Smith. are you [...]ck fules? what the deell doo you meane to breake your crags? gud faith I tro the men be wood. Not so, Smith qd they, do thou as wee [...]id thee, & thō shalt haue thy money: for it is an old Prouerbe,

Bee it better, or be it worse
Please you the man that beares the purse.

Gud faith and see I [...]all, qd. the Smith, and so did as he was willed. When VVallis had thus caused their Horses to be shod, to Hallifax they went, where they without any let la­ded their Horses with cloth, and so departed a contrary way.

In the morning, so soone as the clothiers came to the field, [Page] they found that they were robd▪ whereupon one ranne to an­other to tell these tidings. Now when Hogekins heard there­of, rising vp in haste, [...]e wild his neighbours to marke & see, if they could not desc [...]ie eyther the footesteps of men or Horses. Which being done, they perceiued that horses had bin there, and s [...] king to pursue them by their footesteps, they went a cleane contrary way, by reason that the horses were shod backward & when in vaine they had long persube them, they returned, being neuer the [...]éere. Now VVallis vsde his feate so long, that at length he was taken, and two more with him: whereupon according to the priuiledge of the Towne, they put Halters about the théeues neckes presently to hang them vp.

When they were come to the place appointed. VVallis and the rest being out of all hope to escape death, prepared them­selues paciently to suffer the rigor of the law. And there with the rest laying open the lewdnesse of his life, greeuously lamenting for his sinnes, at length commending their soules to God, they yeelded their bodyes to the graue, with which sight the people were greatly mooued with pitty, because they had neuer séene men come to hanging before: but when they should haue beene tyed vp, Hodgekins willed one of his neighbours to play the Hangmans part, who would not by any meanes do it, although he was a very poore man, who for his paines should haue beene possest of all their apparell. When he would not yeeld to y office, one of those which had his cloth stolen, was commaunded to do the deed but he in like maner would not, saying: When I haue the skil to make a man, I will hang a man, if it chance my workmanship do not like me.

And thus from one to another, the office of the Hangman was poasted off. At last a Rogue came by▪ whom they would haue compelled to haue done that deed. Nay, my Masters, qd. he not so: but as you haue got a Priuiledge for the Towne, so you were best to procure a Commission to make a hangman, or else you are like to be without for me. Neighbor Hogekins quoth one, I pray you do this office your selfe, you haue had most losse and therefore you should be the most readiest to hang them your selfe No not I (quoth Hodgekins) though my losse [Page] were ten times greater than it is, notwithstanding look which of these théeues will take vppen him to hang the other, shall haue his life saued, otherwise they shall all to prison till I can prouide a hangman.

When Wallis saw the matter brought to this passe, he be­gan stoutly to reply, saying, My masters of the towne of Ha­lifax, though your priuiledge stretch to hang vp men present­ly that are found stealing your goods, yet it giues you no war­rant to imprison them till you prouide them a hangman, my selfe with these my fellowes haue here yéelded our selues to satisfie the Law, and if it be not performed, the fault is yours and not ours, and therefore we humbly take our leaue: from the gallowes the xviij of August. And with that he leapt from the ladder, and cast the halter at Hodgekins face.

When the Clothiers saw this, they knew not what to say, but taking them by the sléeues▪ intreated to haue their owne againe. Not so qd VVallis, you get not the valew of a plack or a [...]awby: we haue stolne your cloth, then why do you not hang vs▪ Here we haue made our selues ready, and if you wil not hang vs, chuse. A plague on you quoth he, you haue hin­dred me God knowes what, I made account to dine this day in heauen, and you keep me here on earth where there is not a quarter of that good cheare. The foule euill take you all, I was fully prouided to giue the gallows a box on the eare, and now God knowes when I shall be in so good a mind againe: and so he with the rest of his companions departed.

When Hodgekins saw, that notwithstanding their thée­uery, how they flowted at their lenity, he was much moued in mind: and as he stood in his dumps, chewing his cud, ma­king his dinner with a dish of melancholy, a grey Frier reue­rently saluted him in this sort: All haile▪ goodman Hodge­kins, happinesse and health be euer with you, and to all sup­pressors of lewd liuers, God send euerlasting ioyes.

I am sory goodman Hodgekins, that the great priuiledge which our King gaue to this towne, comes to no greater pur­pose: better far had it bin, that it had neuer beene graunted, then so lightly regarded: the towne hath suffred through their [Page] owne yée [...]ishnes, an euerlasting reproch this day, onely be­cause foolish pitty hath hindred iustice.

Consider, that compassion is not to be had vpon théeues & robbers: pitty onely [...]ppertayneth to the vertuous sort, who are ouerwhelmed with the waues of misery and mischaunce. What great cause of boldnes haue you giuen to bad liuers, by letting these fellowes thus to escape, and how shall you now kéepe your goods in safety, séeing you fulfill not the law which should be your defence? neuer thinke that theeues will make any conscience to carry away your goods, when they find themselues in no danger of death, who haue more cause to prayse your pitty, then to commend your wisdome: where­fore in time seeke to preuent the insuing euill.

For my owne part, I haue that care of your good, that I would work al good means for your benefit, & yet not so much in respect of your profit, as for the desire I haue to vpholde iu­stice, and seeing I find you and the rest so womanish, that you could not find in your hearts to hang a theefe, I haue deuised how to make a gin, that shal cut off their heads without mans helpe, and if the King will alow thereof.

When Hogekins heard this he was somewhat comforted in mind, and sayd to the Frier, that if by his cunning he would performe it he would once againe make suite to the King to haue his grant for the same. The Frier willed him to haue no doubt in him: and so when he had deuised it, he got a Carpenter to frame it out of hand.

Hodgekins in the meane time posted vp to the Court, and told his Maiesty that the priuiledge of Halifax was not worth a pudding Why so, sayd our King? Because, quoth Hodge­kins, we can get neuer a hangman to trusse our theeues, but if it shall like your good Grace, (quoth he) there is a feat Frier, that will make vs a deuice, which shall without the hand of man cut off the cragges of all such Carles, if your Maiesty will please to alow thereof.

The King vnderstanding the full effect of the matter, at length granted his petition: whereupon till this day, it is ob­serued in Halifax, that such as are taken stealing of their cloth haue their heads choyt off with the same gin.

How the Bailifes of London could get no man to be a catch pole, and how certaine Flemings tooke that office vpon them, whereof many of them were fled into this Realm, by reason of certaine waters that had drowned a great part of their country. Chap. 9.

THe City of London being at this time gouerned by Bayliffes, it came to passe, that in a certaine fray two of their catch-poles were killed, for at that time they had not the name of [...]ergeants, and you shall vnderstand, that their office was then so much hated and detested of English­men, that none of them would take it vpon him so that the Bayliffes were glad to get any man whatsoeuer, and to giue him certayne wages to performe that office.

It came to passe, as I sayd before, that two of their officers, by arresting of a man, were at one instant slaine, by meanes whereof the Bayliffes were inforced to seeke others to put in their roomes, but by no means could they get any, wherefore according to their wonted maner, they made proclamation, that if there were any man that would present himself before them, he should not onely be settled in that office during their liues, but also should haue such maintenance and allowance, as for such men was by the City prouided: and notwithstan­ding that it was an office most necessary in the common­wealth, yet did the poorest wretch despise it, that liued in any estimation among his neighbours.

At last a couple of Flemings, which were fled into this land, by reason that their country was drownd with the sea, hearing the proclamation, offered themselues vnto the Bai­liffes, to serue in this place, who were presently receiued and accepted, & according to order had garments giuen thē, which were of ij. colors, blue & red, their coats, breeches & stockings, whereby they were known and discerned from other men.

Within halfe a yéere after, it came to passe, that Thomas Doue of Exeter came vp to London, who hauing by his iolli­ty and good felowship, brought himselfe greatly behind hand, [Page] was in daunger to diuerse men of the citie, among the rest, one of his creditors fee [...]d an officer to arrest him. The dutch man that had not been long experienced in such matters, and hearing how many of his fellowes had bin killed for attemp­ting to arrest men, stood quiuering and quaking in a corner of the stréet to watch for Tom Doue, and hauing long waited, at length he spien him; whereupon he prepared his mace rea­dy, and with a pale countenance proceeded to do his office, at what time comming behind the man, sodainly with his mace he knockt him on the pate, saying. I arrest you, giuing him such a blow, that he felld him to the ground.

The catchpole thinking he had killed the man, he left his Mace behind him and ranne away: the creditor hee ran after him calling and crying that he should turne againe: But the Fleming would not by any means come backe, but got him quite out of the city, and took sanctuary at Westminster.

Doue being come to himselfe, arose, and went to his inne, no man hindring his passage, being not a little glad he so es­caped the danger. Yet neuerthelesse, at his next comming to London, another catchpole met with him, and arrested him in the Kings name.

Doue being dismayd at this mischieuous chance, knew not what to do: at last he requested the catchpole that hee would not violently cast him in prison, but stay till such time as he could send for a friend to be his surety; and although kind­nes in a catchpole be rare, yet was he won with faire words to do him this fauor: whereupon Doue desired one to goe to his host Iarrat, who immediatly came vnto him and offred himselfe to be Doues surely.

The Officer, who neuer sawe this man before, was much amazed at his sight: for Iarrat was a great and a mighty man of body, of countenance grim, and exceeding high of stature, so that the catchpole was wonderfully afraid, asking if he could find neuer a surety but the diuell, most fearefully intreating him to con [...]ure him away, and he would doe Doue any fauor. What, wil you not take my word qd Iarrat? sir qd the Catch­pole, if twere for any matter in hel, I would take your word [Page] as soone as any diuells in that place, but séeing it is for a mat­ter on earth, I would gladly haue a surety.

Why thou whorson criket (quoth Iarrat) thou magget a pie, thou spinner, thou paultry spider, dost thou take me for a Diuell? Sirra, take my word, I charge thée, for this man, or else goodman butterfly, Ile make thee repent it. The officer, while he was in the house, said he was content, but so sone as he came into the street, he cried, saying: Help, help, good neigh­bours, or else the Diuell will carry away my prisoner: not­withstanding, there was not one man would sturre to be the Catchpoles aide. Which when he saw, he tooke fast hold on Thomas Doue, and would not by any meanes let him go.

Ia [...]ret seeing this, made no more to doe; but comming to the officer, gaue him such a fillippe on the fore-head with his finger, that he felld the poore Fleming to the ground & while he lay in the stréete stretching his héeles, Iarret tooke Doue vnder his arme and carried him home where he thought him­selfe as safe as king Charlemaine in mount Alben.

The next morning Iarret conueied Doue out of towne, who afterward kept him in the countrey, and came no more in the Catehpoles clawes.

How Duke Robert came a wooing to Margaret with the white hand, and how he appointed to come and steale her away from her masters, Chap. 10.

THE beautifull Margaret, who had now dwelt with her dame the space of foure yeeres, was highly regar­ded and secretly loued of many gallant Gentlemen of the countrey, but of two especially, Duke Robert, and Sir William Ferris. It chaunced on a time, that faire Margaret with many other of her Masters folkes, went a hay-making, attired in a redde stamell petticoate, and a broad strawne hatte vpon her head, she had a hay forke, and in her lappe she bore her breakfast. As she went along, Duke Ro­bert, with one or two of his keepers, met with her, whose amiable sight did now anewe kindle the secret fire of loue. [Page] which long lay smothering in his heart, Wherefore méeting her so happily, he saluted her thus frendly.

Faire maid, good morrow, are you walking so diligently to your labour? Néeds must the weather be faire, where the sun shines so cleare, and the hay holsome that is dried with such splendant raies. Renowned and most notable Duke (qd. she) poore haruest folkes pray for faire weather, and it is the labo­rers comfort to see his work prosper, and the more happy may we count the day, that is blessed with your princely presence: but more happy sayd the Duke, are they which are conuersant in thy company. But let me intreat thee to turne back to thy matters with me, and commit thy forke to some that are fitter for such toile: trust me, me thinks thy dame is too much ill ad­uis [...]e, in setting thee to such homely busines. I muse thou canst indure this vile beséeming seruitude, whose delicate limmes were neuer framed to proue such painefull experimentes.

Albeit, quoth she, it becommeth not mee to controule your iudicical thoughts, yet, were you not the Duke, I would say, your opinion deceiued you: though your faire eyes seeme c [...]eere yet I deemed them vnperfect▪ if they cast before your mind any shadow or sparke of beauty in me: But I rather thinke, be­cause it hath beene an old saying, that women are proude to heare themselues praised, that you eyther speake this, to driue away the time, or to wring me from my too apparant imper­fections. But I humbly intreat pardon, too long haue I fore­flowed my busines, and shewue my selfe oner bolde in your presence: and therewith, with a courtly grace, bending her knees to the courteous Duke, she went forward to the fie [...], and the Duke to the towne of Gloucester.

When he came thither, he made his keeper great cheere, in­treating them they would giue him respite to be a while with old Gray; for we twaine must haue a game or two, quoth he: and for my safe returne. I gage to you my princely word, that as I am a true Knight and a Gentleman, I will returne saf [...] to your charge againe.

The keepers being content, the Duke departed, and with old Gray goes to the field, to peruse the workefolkes, where [Page] while Gray found himselfe busie in many matters, he tooke op­portunity to talkewith Margaret She who by his letters be­fore was priuy to his purpose, gest before hand the cause of his comming: to whom he spake to this effect.

Faire maide. I did long since manifest my loue to theeby my letter; tel me therefore, were it not better to be a Dutches then a drudge? a Lady of high reputation, then a seruant of simple degree? with me thou mightest liue in plasure, where here thou drawest thy dayes foorth in paine; by my loue thou shouldst be made Lady of great treasures: where now thou art poore and beggerly; all manner of delights should them at­tend on thee, and whatsoeuer thy heart desired, thou shouldst haue: wherefore seeing it lies in thy owne choise, make thy selfe happy, by consenting to my suite.

Sir (quoth she) I confesse your loue deserues a Ladyes fa­uor, your affection a faithfull friend, such a one as should make but one heart and mind of two hearts and bodies; but farre vnfit is it that y Turtle should match with the Eagle; though her loue be neuer so pure, her wings are vnfitte to mount so high. While Thales gaz'd on the ftarres, he stumbled in a pit. And they that clime vnaduisedly, catch a fall suddenly; what auayleth high dignity in time of aduersity? it neyther helpeth the sorrow of the heart▪ nor remoues the bodies misery: as for wealth & treasure, what are they, but fortunes baits to bring men in danger? good for nothing but to make people forget thē selues: and whereas you alle [...]ge pouerty to be a henderer of the hearts comfort, I find it in my selfe contraty, knowing more surety to rest vnder a simple habite, then a royall robe: and verily there is none in the world poore, but they that think themselues poore▪ for such as are indued with content, are rich hauing nothing els: but he that is possessed with riches, with­out content, is most wretched and miserable. Wherefore most noble Duke, albeit I account my life vnworthy of your least fauour yet I would desire you to match your loue to your like, and let me rest to my [...]ake, a [...] vse my Forke for my liuing,

Consider, saue Margaret (quoth he) that it lies no [...] in mans power to place his loue where he [...]s [...], being the worke of an [Page] high deity. A bird was neuer séene in Pontus, nor true loue in a fléeting mind; neuer shall I remoue the affection of my heart, which in nature resembleth the stoue Abiston▪ whose fire can neuer be cooled: wherefore sweet mayden giue not obstinate de­niall, where gentle acceptance ought to be receiued.

Faire sir quoth she) consider what high displeasure may rise by a rash match, what danger a Kings frowns may breed, my worthlesse matching with your royalty, may perhaps regaine your liberty, and hazard my life; then call to mind how little you should inioy your loue, or I my wedded Lord.

The Duke at these words made this reply, that if she consen­ted, she should not dread any danger. The thunder (quoth he) is driuen away by ringing of belles, the Lions wrath quali­fied by a yeelding body: how much more a brothers anger with a brothers intreaty? By me he hath receiued many fa­uors, and neuer yet did he requite any one of them: and who is ignorant that the princely crowne which adorneth his head, is my right? all which I am content he shall still enioy, so he requito my kindnesse. But if he should not, then would I be like those men (that eating of the tree Lutes) forget the coun­try where they were borne, and neuer more should this clime couer my head, but with thee would I liue in a strange land, being better content with an egge in thy company, then with al the delicates in England.

The mayden hearing this, who with many other words was long wooed, at last consented; where yeelding to him her heart with her hand, he departed, appointing to certifie her from Cardiffe Castle what determination he would-follow: so taking his leaue of Gray, he went to his brothers, and with them posted to Cardiffe.

Now it is to be remembred, that sir VVilliam Ferres with­in a day or two after came vnto Graies house, as it was his ordinary custome, but not so much I wis for Graies company, as for the mind he had to Margaret his maide, who although he were a marryed man, and had a faire Lady to his wife, yet he layd hard siege to the fort of this maydens chastity, hauing wt many faire words sought to allure her, and by the offer of sundry rich gifts to tempt her. But whē she saw, that by a hun­dred [Page] denials she could not be rid of him, she now chanced on a sudden to giue him such an answer, a [...] droue him from a de­ceit into such a conceit, as neuer after that time he troubled her.

Sir William Ferrers being very importunate to haue her graunt his desire, and when after sundry assaults she gaue him stil the repulse, he would néeds know the reason why she would not loue him: quoth he, If thou diddest consider who he is that séeketh thy fauor, what pleasure he may doe thée by his purse, and what credit by his countenance, thou wouldst neuer stand on such nice points. If I be thy friend, who da­reth be thy foe? and what is he that will once call thy name in question for any thing? therefore swéet gerle, be better ad­uised, and refuse not my offer being so large.

Truly ūt William (quoth she) though there be many rea­sons to make me deny your suite, yet is there one about the rest that causes me I cannot loue you. Now I pray thée, my wench, let me know that quoth he, and I wil amend it what soeuer it be. Pardon me sir, said Margaret, if I should speak my mind, it would possibly offend you, and do me no pleasure, because it is a defect in Nature, which no phisicke may cure. Sir VVilliam hearing her say so, being abashed at her spéech, said, Faire Margaret, let me (if I may obtaine no more at thy hands) yet intreat thée to know what this defect should be. I am not wry neckt▪ crook-legd, stub footed lame-handed, nor bleare-eied: what can make this mislike: I neuer knew any body that tooke exceptions at my person before.

And the more sorie am I quoth she, that I was so mala­pert to speake it, but pardon my presumption, good sir VVil­liam, I would I had béene like the Storke tonguelesse, then should I neuer haue caused your dis quiet. Nay, swéet Marga­ret, quoth he, tell me deare loue, I commend thy singlenesse of heart, good Margaret speake. Good sir VVilliam let it rest quoth she, I know you will not belieue it when I haue re­uealed it, neither is it a thing that you can help: and yet such is my foolishnesse, had it not beene for that, I thinke verily I had graunted your suite ere now. But séeing you urge me so [Page] much to know what it is, I will tell you: it is sir, your ill fauored great nose▪ that hangs sagging so loathsomly to your lippes that I cannot find in my hart so much as to kisse you.

What my nose quoth he? is my nose so great and I neuer knew it? Certainly I thought my nose to be as comely as any mans: but this it is, we are al apt to think wel of our selues, and a great deale better than we ought: but let me sée, (my nose!) by the masse [...]is tru [...], I do now feele it my selfe: Good Lord, how was I blinded before? Hereupon it is certaine, that the knight was driuen into such a conceit, as none could perswade him but his nose was so great indeed; his Lady, or any other that spake to the contrarie, he would say they were flatterers, and that they lied, insomuch that he would be rea­dy to strike some of them that commended or spake well of his nose. If they were men of worship or any other that contra­ried him in his opinion, he would sweare they flowted him, and be ready to challenge them the field. He became so asha­med of himselfe, that after that day he wold neuer go abroud, whereby Margaret was well rid of his company.

On a time, a wise and graue gentleman seeing him groun­ded in his conceit so strongly, gaue his Lady counsell, not to contrary him therein but rather say that she would séeke out some cunning Phisition to cure him: for, said he, as sir VVil­liam hath taken this conceit of himselfe, so is he like neuer to beare other opinion, till his owne conceit doth remoue it, the which must be wisely wrought to bring it to passe.

Whereupon the Lady hauing conferred with a Phisition that bare a great name in the country, hee vndertooke to re­moue this fond conceit by his skill. The day being appointed when the Phisition should come, and the knight beeing tolde thereof, for very ioy [...]e would goe forth to méete him, when a woman of the towne saw the knight, hauing heard what ru­mor went because of his nose, she looked very stedfastly vpon him: the knight casting his eye vpon her, seeing her to gaze so wistly in his face, with an angry countenance, said thus to her, Why how now good huswife, can you not get you about your busines? The woman being a shrewish queane, answe­red [Page] him cuttedly. No mary can I not qo she. No, you drab▪ What is the cause, said the knight? Because quoth she, your nose stands in my way. Where with the knight being verie angry, and abashed, went backe againe to his house.

The Phisition being come, he had filled a certaine blad­der with shéepes blood, and conueyed it into his fléeue, where at the issue of the bladder he had put in a peece of a swans quid through the which the blood should runne out of the bladder so close by his hand, that he bolding the knight by the nose, it might not be perceiued, but that it issued thence. All things being prepard he told the knight, that by a foule corrupt blood wherewith the veines of his nose were ouercharged, his im­pediment did grow, therefore [...]d he, to haue redresse for this disease you must haue a veine opned in your nose. whence this foule corruption must be taken; whereupon it wil follow, that your nose will fall againe to his naturall proportion, and ne­uer shal you be croubled with this griefe any more, and there­upon will I gage mylife.

I pray you master doctor said the knight, is my nose so big as you make it? With reuerence I may speake it, said the phisition, to tell the trueth, and auoyd flattery, I neuer sawe a more mis-shapen nose so foule to [...]ight. Loe you now Ma­dam, quoth the knight, this is you that said my nose was as well. as handsome, and as comely a nose as any mans.

Alas sir quoth she I spake it (God wot) because you should not grieue at it, nor take my words in ill part, neither did it indeed become me to mislike of your nose.

All this we will quickly remedy▪ said the phisitian, haue no doubt: and with that, he very orderly prickt him in the nose, but not in any veine whereby he might bleed: and presently hauing a tricke finely to vnstop the quill, the blood ranne into abason in great abundance: and when the bladder was emp­ty, and the bason almost full the Phisition seemed to close the veine, and asked him how he felt his nose, shewing the great quantitie of filthy blood which from thence he had taken.

The knight be holding it with great wonder, said he thoght that no man in the world had béene troubled with such abun­dance [Page] of corrupt bloud in his whole body, as lay in his mis­shapen nose, and therewithall he began to touch and handle his nose, saying, that he felt it mightily assuaged. Immediatly a glasse was brought wherein he might behold himselfe. Yea mary qd he now I praise God, I see my nose is come into some reasonable proportion, and I feele my selfe very wel ea­sed of the burden thereof; but if it continue thus, thats all. I will warrant your worship, said the phisition, for euer being troubled with the like againe. Whereupon the knight recei­ued great ioy, and the Doctor a high reward.

How Thomas of Reading was murdred at his hoasts house of Colebrooke, who also had murdred many before him, how their wickednes was at length reuealed. Cha. 11.

THomas of Reading hauing many occasions to come to London, as wel about his owne affairs, as also the kings businesse, being in a great office vnder his Maiesty, it chanced on a time, that his host and hostesse of Colebrook, who through couetousnes had murdred many of their ghests, and hauing euery time he came thither great store of his money to lay vp, appointed him to be the next fat pig that should be kil­led: For it is to be vnderstood, that when they plotted the mur­ther of any man, this was alwayes their terme, the man to his wife & the woman to her husbād, Wife, there is now a fat pig to be had, if you want one. Whereupon she would answere thus, I pray you put him in the hogstie till to morrow. This was, when any man came thither alone without others in his company, and they saw he had great store of money.

This man should be then laid in the chamber right ouer the kitchin, which was a faire chamber, and better set out then a­ny other in the house; the best bedsted therein, though it were little and low, yet was it most cunningly carued, and faire to the eye: the feet whereof were fast naild to the chamber floore, in such sort, that it could not in any wise fall, the bed that lay therein was fast sowed to the sides of the bedsted: Moreo­uer, that part of the chamber whereupon this bed and bed­stéed [Page] stoode, was made in such sort that by the pulling out of two yron pinnes below in the kitchin, it was to be let downe and taken vp by a draw bridge, or in maner of a trappe doore: moreouer in the kitchin, directly vnder the place where this should fall: was a mighty great caldron, wherein they vsed to séethe their liquor when they went to brewing. Now, the men appointed for the slaughter, were laid into this bed and in the dead time of the night when they were sound a sléepe hy pluc­king out the fore said iron pinns, downe would the man fall out of his bed into the boyling caldron, and all the cloathes that were vpon him: where being suddenly scalded and drowned, he was neuer able to cry or speak one word.

Then had they a little ladder euer standing ready in the kit­chin, by the which they presently mounted into the sayd cham­ber, and there closely tooke away the mans apparell, as also his money, in his male or capcase: and then lifting vp the sayd fal­ling floore which hung by hinges, they made it fast as before.

The dead body would they take presently out of the Caldron and throw it down the riuer, which ran néere vnto their house, whereby they escaped all danger.

Now if in the morning any of the rest of the ghests that had talkt with the murthered man ouer eue, chanst to aske for him, as hauing occasion to ride the same way that hée should haue done, the goodman would answere, that he took: horse a good while before day, and that he himselfe did set him forward: the horse the goodman would also take out of the stable, & conuay him to a hay-barne of his, that stood from his house a mile or two, whereof himselfe did alwaies keepe the keies full charily, and when any hay was to be brought from thence, with his owne hands he would deliuer it: then, before the horse should go from thence, he would dismarke him: as it he ware a long taile, he would make him curtall, or else crop his eares, or cut his maine, or put out one of his eyes; and by this meanes he kept himselfe a long time vnknowne.

Now Thomas of Reading as I sayd before, being markt, and kept for a fat pig, he was laied in the same chamber of death but by reason Gray of Gloucester chaunst also to come that: night, he escaped scalding.

[Page]The next time he came, he was laid there againe, but be­fore he fell asléepe, or was warme in his bed, one came riding through the towne, and cried piteously, that London was al on a fire, and that it had burned downe Thomas Beckets house in West cheape, and a great number more in the same stréet [...], and yet (quoth he) the fire is not quencht.

Which tidings when Thomas of Reading heard, he was very sorrowfull, for of the same Becket that day had he recei­ued a great peece of money, and had left in his house many of his writtings and some that appertained to the king also: ther­fore there was no nay but he would ride back againe to Lon­don presently, to see how the matter stood; thereupon making himselfe ready, departed. This crosse fortune caused his hoast to frowne, neuerthelesse y next time (quoth he) will pay for all.

Notwithstanding, God so wrought, y they were preuented then likewise, by reason of a great [...]ray that hapned in the house betwixt a couple y fel out at Dice, insomuch as the murderers thēselues were inforced to cal him vp, being a man in great au­thority, that he might set the house in quietnes, out of the which by meanes of this quarell, they doubted to lose many things.

Another time when he should haue beene layd in the same place he fell so sicke, that he requested to haue some body to watch with him, whereby also they could not bring their vile purpuse to passe. But hard it is to escape the ill fortunes wher­unto a man is allotted: for albeit that y next time that he came to London his horse stumbled and broke one of his legges, as he should ride ho [...]ewa [...]d, yet hired he another to hasten his owne death: for there was no remedy but he should go to Col­brook that night: but by the way he was so heauy a sleepe, that he could scant keepe himselfe [...] the [...]ddle; and when he came neere vnto the Towne his nose burst out suddenly ableeding

Wel, to his Inne he came, and so heauy was his heart, that he could eate no meate: his hoost and hoastise hearing he was so Melanchely, came vp to cheere him, saying, Iesus, Master Cole, what ayles you to night? neuer did wee see you thus sad before: will it please you to haue a quart of burnd sack? With a good wil (quoth he) and would [...]o God Thomas Doue were [Page] her, hée would surely make me merry, and we should lacke no musick: but I am sory for the man withall my heart, that hee is come so farre behind hand: but alasse, so much can euery man say, but what good doth it him? No no, it is not wordes can helpe a man in this case, the man had néede of other reliefe then so. Let me see: I haue but one child in the world & that is my daughter, and halfe that I haue is hers, the other halfe my wifes. What then? shall I be good to no body but them? In conscience, my wealth is too much for a couple to possesse, and what is our Religion without charity? And to whom is charity more to be shewne then to decaied housholders?

Good my hoast lend me a pen and inke, and some paper, for I will write a letter vnto the poore man straight, and some­thing I will giue him: that almes which a man bestowes with his own hands he shalbe sure to haue deliuered, and God knows how long I shall liue.

With that, his hoastise dissemblingly answered, saying. Doubt not. Master Cole, you are like enough by the course of nature to liue many yéeres. God knowes (quoth he) I neuer found my heart so heauy before. By this time, pen, inke and paper was brought, setting himselfe to writing, as followeth.

In the name of God, Amen I bequeath my soule to God, and my body to the ground, my goods equally betweene my wife Elenor, and Isabel my daughter. Item I giue to Thomas Doue of Exeter one hundred pounds, nay that is too little, I giue to Thomas Doue two hundred pounds, in money, to be payd vnto him presently vpon his demaund thereof by my sayd wife and daughter.

Ha, how say you my hoast (qd he) is not this well? I pray you reade it. His hoast looking thereon, sayd, why Maister Cole, what haue you written h [...]e? you sayd you would write a letter, but me thinkes you haue made a will, what néed haue you to doe thus? thanks be to God, you may liue many fayre yéeres. Tis true (quoth Cole) if it please God, and I trust this writing cannot shorten my dayes: but let me sée, haue I made a will? Now I promise you, I did verily purpose to write a letter: notwithstanding. I haue written that that God put in­to my mind: but look once againe my hoast, fs it not written [Page] there, that Doue shall haue two hundred pounds, to be payd when he comes to demand it? yes indéed, sayd his hoast. Well then, all is well sayd Cole, and it shall go as it is for me. I will not bestow the new writting thereof any more.

Then folding it vp, he sealed it, desiring that his hoast would send it to Exeter. He promised that he would, notwithstanding Cole was not so satisfied: but after some pause, he would needs hire one to carry it. And so sitting downe sadly in his chaire a­gaine, vpon a sudden he burst foorth a weeping: they deman­ding the cause thereof he spake as followeth:

No cause of these teares I know: but it comes now into my minde (sayd Cole) when I set toward this my last iourney to London, how my daughter tooke on, what a coy [...]e she kept to haue me stay: and I could not be rid of the little baggage a long time, she did so hang about me: when her mother by vio­lence tooke her away, she cried out most mainely, O my father, my father, I shall neuer see him againe.

Alas, pretty soule, said his hostesse, this was but meer kind­nesse in the girle, and it seemeth she is very fond of you. But alasse, why should you grieue at this? you must consider that it was but childishnesse. I, it is indeed, sayd Cole, and with that he began to nod. Then they asked him if he would go to bed. No sayd he, although I am heauy, I haue no mind to go to bed at all. With that certaine musicions of the towne came to the chamber, and knowing Master Cole was there, drue out their instruments, and very solemnely beganne to play.

This musicke comes very well (said Cole) and when he had listned a while thereunto. he said, Me thinks these instruments sound like the ring of S. Mary Outries bells, but the base drownes all the rest: and in my eare it goes like a bell y rings a forenoones knell, for Gods sake let them leaue off, and beare them this simple reward. The musicions being gone, his hoast asked if now it would please him to go to bed; for (quoth he) it is welneare eleuen of the clocke.

With that, Cole beholding his hoste and hostesse earnestly, began to start backe, saying, what aile you [...]o looke so like pale death? good Lord, what haue you done, that your hands are thus bloudy? what my hands, said his host? Why you may see [Page] they are neither bloudy nor foule: either your eies do greatly dazell, or else fancies of a troubled mind do delude you.

Alas my hoast, you may sée, saide he, how weake my wits are, I neuer had my head so idle before. Come, let me drinke once more, and then I will to bed, and trouble you no longer. With that he made himselfe vnready, and his hostesse was very diligent to warme a kerchefe, and put it about his head. Good Lord said he I am not sicke, I prayse God, but such an alteration I find in my selfe as I neuer did before.

With that the scritch owle cried pitteously, and anone after th [...] night rauen sate croking hard by his window, Iesu haue mercy vpon me. quoth he, what an ill fauored crie do yonder carrion birds make! and therewithall he laid him downe in his bed, from whence he neuer rose againe.

His host and hostesse, that all this while noted his troubled mind, began to commune betwixt themselues thereof. And the man said, he knew not what were best to be done. By my consent (quoth he) the matter should passe, for I thinke it is not best to meddle on him. What man (quoth she) faint you now? haue you done so many, and do you shrinke at this? Then shewing him a great deale of gold which Cole had left with her, she said, Wpuld it not grieue a bodies heart to loose this? hang the old churle, what should be do liuing any lon­ger? he hath too much, and we haue too little: [...]ut husband, let the thing be done and then this is our owne.

Her wicked counsell was followed, and when they had list­ned at his chamber doore, they heard the man sound asléepe. All is safe, quoth they, and downe into the kitchin they goe, their seruants being all in bedde, and pulling out the yron pins, downe fel the bed, and the man dropt out into the boyling caldron. He being dead, they betwixt them cast his body into the riuer, his clothes they hid away, and made all things as it should be: but when he came to the stable to conuey thence Coles horse, the stable doore being open, the horse had got loose, and with a part of the halter about his necke, and straw trussed vnder his belly, as the ostlers had dressed him ore eeue, he was gone out at the backe side, which led into a great field [Page] ioyning to the house, and so leaping diuers hedges, being alu­ [...]ie stond horse, had got into a ground where a mare was gra­sing, with whom he kept such a coile, that they got into the high way, where one of the towne méeting them, knew the mare, and brought her & the hurse to the man that owd her.

In the meane space the Musitians had béene at the Inne, and in requit all of their euenings gift, they intended to giue Cole some musicke in the morning, The goodman told them he tooke horse before day: likewise there was a guest in the house that would haue borne him company to Reading; vnto whom the hoste also answered, that he himselfe set him vpon horse backe, and that he went long agoe. Anone comes the man that owed the mare, inquiring vp and downe to know and if none of them missed a horse, who said no. At last hee came to the signe of the Crane where Cole lay: and calling the hostlers he demanded of them if they lackt none: they said no. Why then said the man, I perceiue my mare is good for something; for if I send her to field single, she wilcome home double: thus it passed on all that day and the night folowing. But the next day after, Coles wife musing that her husband came not home, sent one of her men on horse-backe, to sée if he could méet him; and if (quoth she) you méet him not betwixt this and Colebrooke, aske for him at the Crane, but if you find him not there, then ride to London; for I doubt he is either sicke, or else some mischance hath fallen vnto him.

The fellow did so, and asking for him at Colebrooke, they answered, he went homeward from thence such a day. The seruant musing what should be become of his master, and ma­king much inquiry in the towne for him; at length one tolde him of a hor [...]e that was found on the high way, and no man knew wh [...]nce he came. He going to sée the horse, knew him presently▪ and to the Crane he goes with him. The hoast of the house perceiuing this, was blanke, and that night fled se­cretly away. The fellow going vnto the Iustice desired his help, presently after word was brought that Iarman of the Crane was gone; then all man said he had surely made Cole away: and the musitions told what Iarman said to them whē [Page] they would haue giuen Cole musicke. Then the woman be­ing apprehended & examined confessed the truth. Iarman soone after was taken in Winsor forest. He and his wife were both hangd after they had laid open al these things before expressed. Also he confessed, that he being a carpenter made that false falling floore, and how his wife deuised it. And how they had murdred by that means lx. persons. And yet notwithstanding all the money which they had gotten thereby, they prospered not, but at their death were found very farre in debt.

When the king heard of this murder, he was for the space of vij. dayes so sorrowfull and heauy as he would not heare any suite, giuing also commaundement, that the house should quite be consumed with fire wherein Cole was murdred, and that no man should euer build vpon that cursed ground.

Coles substance at his death was excéeding great, he had daily in his house an hundred men seruants and xl. maids; he maintaind beside aboue two or three hundred people, spinners and carders, and a great many other housholders. His wife after neuer married; and at her death she bestowed a mightie summe of money toward the maintaining of the new builded monastery. Her daughter was most richly married to a gen­tleman of great worship, by whom shee had many children. And some fay, that the riuer whereinto Cole was cast, did euer since carry the name of Cole, being called, The riuer of Cole, and the towne of Colebrooke.

How diuers of the Clothiers wiues went to the churching of Suttons wife of Salisbury, and of their meriments. Cha. 12.

SVttons wife of Salisbury which had lately bin delluered of a sonne, against her going to Church, prepared great theare: at what time Suttons wife of South-hampton came thither, and so did diuers other of the Clothiers wiues, one­ly i [...] make merry at this Churching feast: and whilest these Dames sate at the [...]able, Crab. VVeasell, and Wren wai­ted on the boord, and as the old Prouerbe speaketh, Many women many words▪ so [...]ellit out at that time: for there was [Page] her, wherein he requested, that she would be ready to méete him in the forest, betwixt Cardiffe and Gloucester.

The young Lady hauing secretly receiued his message, vn­knowne to her master or dame, in a morning betime made her readye and got foorth, walking to the appointed place, where her loue should méete her.

During her aboad there, and thinking long ere her lone came, she entered into diuers passions, which indéed presaged some disaster fortune to follow. O my déere Loue, sayd shée, how slacke art thou in perfourming thy promise▪ why doe not thy déeds agrée with thy inditing? see, these are▪ thy words, Come my deere Margaret, and with Cupids swift wings flie to thy friend, be now as nimble in thy footing, as the Camels of Bractria, that runne an hundred miles a day, I will waite and stay for thee, so I stay not too long. There is no countrey like Austria for ambling horses, & to carry thee I haue got one.

O my Loue (quoth she) heere am I, but where art thou? O why doest thou play the trewant with Time, who like the winde slides away vnseene? An ambling gennet of Spaine is toe flow to serue our turnes. A flying horse, for flying Louers were most meete. And thus casting many lookes through the Siluane shades, vp and downe to espie him, she thought euery minuse, an houre, till she might see him, sometimes she would wish herselfe a bird, that she might flye through the aire to meet him, or a pretty squirell no clime the highest tree to discry his comming: but finding her wishes vaine, she began thus to ex­cuse him and perswaded her selfe, saying.

How much too blame am I, to finde fault with my friend? Alasse men that lacke their liberty, must come when they can, not when they would, poore prisoners cannot doe what they desire, and then why should I be so hasty? Therefore if safe­ly I may lay me downe▪ I will beguile vnquiet thoughts with quiet s [...]eere: it is sayd that Galino breedes no Serpents, nor doth Englands forrests nourish Beares or Lions, therefore without hurt I hope I may test a while. Thus leauing fayre Margaret in a sweete slumber, we will returne to Duke Ro­bert, who had thus plotted his escape from his keepers.

[Page]Hauing liberty of the King to hawke and hunt, he determi­ned on a day, as he should folow the chase, to leaue the hounds to the Hart, and the hunters to their hornes and being busse in their sport, himselfe would fly, which he perfourmed at that is time, when hee appointed Margaret to méete him, and so comming to the place, his Horse all in a water, and himselfe in a sweate, finding his Loue a sléepe, he awaked her with a kisse, saying. Arise, fayre Margaret, now comes the time wherein thou shalt bée made a Quéene: and presently setting her on horsebacke he posted away.

Now when the Keepers saw they had lost his company, and that at the killing of the game, he was not present, they were among themselues in such a mutiny, that they were ready one to stabbe another. It was thy fault, sayd one, that he thus escapt from vs, that had more minde of thy pleasure, then of thy prisoner, and by this meanes we are all vndone. The o­ther sayd as much to him▪ that he had thought he had followed him in the chase: but leauing at last this contention, the one posted vp to the King. while the others coasted vp and downe the countrey to search for the Duke, who hauing kild his horse in traueling, was most vnhappily met on foote with fayre Margaret, ere he could come to any Towne, where he might for money haue another. But when he spyed his Kéepers come to take him, he desired Margaret to make shiftfor her selfe, and to seeke to escape them. But she being of a contrary mind, sayd, she would liue and dye with him.

The Duke séeing himselfe ready to bée surprised, drew out his sword, and sayd, he would buy his liberty with his life, be­fore he would yeeld to be any more a prisoner; and thereupon began a great fight betwixt them, insomuch that the Duke had killed two of them: but himselfe being [...]ore wounded, and faint with euermuch bleeding, at length fe [...] downe, being not able any longer [...]o stand: and by this meanes the good Duke was taken with his fayre loue, & both of them cammitted to prison.

But in the meane space, when Graies wife had mist her mayde, and saw she was quite gone, she made great lamenta­tion for her among her neighbours: for she▪ loued her as dearely [Page] as any child that euer she bore of her owne body. O Margaret (quoth the) what cause hadst thou thus to leaue mee? if thou did it mislike of any thing why didst thou not tell me? If thy wages were too little, I would haue mended it: If thy appa­rell had béene too simple, thou shouldest haue had better: If thy worke had beene too great. I would haue had help for thée.

Farewell. my sweete Meg, the best seruant that euer came in any mans house many may I haue of thy name, but neuer a­ny of thy nature, thy deligence is much in thy hands I laid the whole gouernment of my house, and thereby eased my selfe of that care which now will [...]umber me.

Heere she hath left mée my keies vnto my chests, but my comfort is gone with her presence, euery gentle word that shee was wont to speake, comes now into my mind, her courteous behauiour shall I neuer forget: with how sweete and modest a countenance would shee qualifie my ouer-hasty nature? It re­pents my ha [...]t that euer I spoke foule word vnto her. O Meg, wert thou here againe, I would neuer chide thee more: but I was an vnworthy dame for such a seruant: what will be­come of me now, if I should chance to be sicke, seeing shee is gone, that was woont to be both my Apoticarie and Phisition?

Well, quoth her neighbours, there is no remedy now, but to rest content, you shall one day heare of her, doubt you not and thinke this, that shee was not so good, but you may get an­other as good, and therfore do not take it so heauily. O neigh­bour, blame me not to grieue, seeing I haue lost so great a iewell, and sure I am perswaded, that scant in a bodies life time, they shall meete with the like.

I protest, I would circuit England round about on my bare feete to meete with her againe. O, my Meg was surely stole away from me, else would she not haue gone in such sort. Her husband on the other side grieued as much, and rested not night nor day riding vp and downe to seeke her: but shee, poore soule, is fast lockt vp in prison, and therefore cannot be met withall.

But when the King vnderstood of his brothe [...] escape, he was maruellous wrath, giuing great charge and commande­ment when he was taken, that both his [...]ies should be put out, [Page] and he kept in prison till his dying day; appoynting also, that the maid should lose her life for presumption in louing him.

This matter being rumored ouer all England, it came to the eares of Gray and his wife, who hearing that Margaret also was there in prison appointed to die, the good aged woman neuer rested til she came to the court, where knéeling before the King, with many teares she besought his Maiesty to spare the maidens life, saying, Most royall king consider I humbly beséech you, that the duke your brother was able to intice any woman to his loue, much more a séely maiden, especially pro­mising her marriage, to make her a Lady, a Dutchesse, or a Quéene, who would refuse such an offer, when at the instant they might get both a princely husband and a high dignitie? if death be a Louers guerdon, then what is due to hatred? I am in my heart persuaded, that had my poore Margaret thought it would haue bred your highnes displeasure, she would neuer haue bought his loue so deare. Had your Grace made it kno­wen to your commons, that it was vnlawful for any to mar­ry the duke your brother, who would haue attempted such an action? if she had wilfully disobeyed your Graces commande­ment, she might haue bin thought worthy of death; but sée­ing ignorantly she offended. I beseech your Grace recall the sentence, and let me still inioy my seruant, for neuer will I rise till your Maiestie haue graunted my petition.

His Highnes, who was of nature mercifull, be holding the womans aboundant teares, tooke pitty on her, and graunted her suite; which being obtained, she went home with all haste possible. And from thence, she with her husband taking their iorny to Cardiffe castle, they came at that very instant when the maiden was led toward hir death, who went in most ioy­full sort to the same, saying▪ that they were not worthy to be accounted true Louers, that were not willing to die for loue: and so with a smiling countenance she passed on, as if she had eaten Apium Ri [...]us, which causeth a man to die laughing: but her dame Gray seeing her, fell about her necke, and with ma­ny kisses imbraced her, saying, Thou shalt not die my wench, but goe home with me, and for thy deliuerie, behold heere the [Page] Kings letters; and with that she deliuered them vp to the go­uernor of the Castle, who reading them found these words written: We pardon the maids life, and graunt her libertie, but let her not passe, till she see her louers [...]ies put out, which we wil haue you to do in such sort, that not only the sight may perish, but the eie continue faire, for which cause I haue sent downe doctor Piero that he may execute the same.

The gouernour of the Castle hauing read the Kings letter, said thus to the maiden. The Kings maiesty hath pardoned thy life, and allowed thy liberty. but you must not passe be­fore you see your louers eies put out. O sir, said the maiden, mistake not your selfe, they are my eies that must be put out, and not the Dukes: as his offence grew by my meanes, so I being guiltie, ought to receiue the punishment.

The kings commaundement must be fulfilled, said the go­uernor: and therewithall D Robert was brought forth, who hearing that he must lose his eies, said thus: the noble mind is neuer conquered by griefe, nor ouercome by mischance: but as the Hart reneweth his age by eating the serpent, so doth a man lengthen his life with deuouring sorrow: my eyes haue offended the King, and they must be punished, my heart is in as great fault, why is not that killed?

The Kings maiesty said the gouernor. spares your life of méere loue, and onely is content to satisfie the Law with the losse of your eies, wherefore take in good part this punishment and thinke you haue deserued greater than is granted.

With this Margaret cried out, saying, O my deare loue, most gentle Prince, well may you wish that I had neuer bin borne, who by séeing of me must lose your sight; but happie should I count my selfe, if it so please the King, that I might redeeme thy eies to my selfe, or else, that being an equal offen­dor, I might receiue equall punishment: hadst thou sustained this smart for some [...]u. or Princesse of high bloud, it might with the more ease be borne, but to indure it for such a one as I, it must néeds cause atreble griefe to be increased.

Content thée faire Margaret said the duke, for honor ought to be giuen to vertue, and not riches: for glory, honor, nobility [Page] and riches, without virtue, are but clokes of maliciousnes. And now let me take my leaue of thy beauty, for neuer must I behold thy face: notwithstanding I account my eies wel lost, in that I do forgo them for so péerlesse a paragon. Now faire heauens, farewell, the Sunne, Moone and Starres shall I in this world neuer behold againe; and farewel also the fruitfull earth: wel may I féele thée, but those poore windowes of my body are now denied to view thee any more: and though the world hath neuer bin my foe, yet wil I bid it farewell too, and farewell all my friends; whiles I liue here in this world, I must suppose to sléep, & wake when I come in heauen, where I hope to sée you all againe. Yet had it pleased the King, I had rather haue lost my life than my eies. Life, why what is it but a floure, a bubble in the water, a spanne long, and full of miserie? of such small account is life, that euery souldier will sell it for six pence. And trust me I doe now detest life, worse than a goate doth hate basill.

With that the Doctor prepared his instrument, and being ready to set to the Dukes eies, he said, O stay master doctor, till I haue conueyed my loues countenance downe into my heart: Come hither my swéete, and let me giue thée my last kisse, while my eies may direct me to thy cherry lippes. Then imbracing her in his armes, he said, O that I might giue thée a kisse of xx yeares long, and to satisfie my gréedie eies with thy faire sight: yet it doth somwhat content me because thou art present at my punishment, that I may hold thee by the hand, the comfort my heart at the sodaine pricke of my eie.

This being said, the Doctor performed his duetie, and so put out the cristall sight; at what time D. Robert started vp, and with a most manly courage said, I must thanke his Ma­iesty, that though he depriueth me of my sight, yet he leaueth me eies to weep for my sinnes. But so soone as Margaret be­held the deede, she fell downe in a swowne, and much adoe her dame had to recouer hir life: which when the duke vnderstood, he was wondrous woe, groaping for her with his bleeding eies▪ saying. O where is my loue? for Gods sake haue regard to her. And I pray you most heartily good goodwife Gray, let [Page] her haue this fauour for my sake, that she may be vsed kindly. And with that the Kéepers led him into the castle, and Mar­garet was caried away wondrous sicke and ill: but her dame was most tender ouer her, and would suffer her to lacke no­thing. When she was somewhat well recouered, her dame [...]ray set her on horse backe: and at her comming to Glouce­ster there was no small ioy.

How Tom Doue being fallen to decay, was forsaken of his friends, and despised of his seruants: and how in the end he was raised againe through the liberatity of the Clothi­ers. Chap. 14.

SUch as seeke the pleasure of this world, follow a shaddow wherein is no substance: and as the adder Aspis tickleth a man to death so doth vaine pleasure flatter vs, till it makes vs forget God, and consume our substance, as by Tom Doue it is apparant, who had through a free heart, and a liberall mind wasted his wealth, and looke how his goods consumed, so his friends fled from him: And albeit he had béene of great ability, and thereby doue good vnto many, yet no man regar­ded him in his pouerty, but casting a scornefull countenance vpon him, they passed by him with slender salutation: neither would any of his old acquaintance do him good, or pleasure him the value of a farthing; his former friendship done to them was quite forgot, and he made of as much account, as Iob when he sate on the dunghill.

Now when his wicked seruants sawe him in this disgrace with the world, they on thother side beganne to disdaine him. Notwithstanding that hee (to his great cost) had long time brought them vp, yet did they nothing regard it, but behinde his backe in most scornfull sort derided him, and both in their words and actions greatly abuse him, reuerence they would do none vnto him but when they spake, it was in such mala­pert sort, as would grieue an honest mind to heare it.

At last it came to passe, that breaking out into meere con­tempt, they said they would stay no longer with him, and that it was a great discredit to them, to serue a person so beggarly: [Page] whereupon they thought it conuenient to séeke for their bene­fits elsewhere. When the distressed man found the matter so plaine, being in great griefe, he spake thus vnto them. Now doe I find, to my sorrow, the small trust that is in this false world. Why my masters (quoth he) haue you so much forgotten my former prosperitie, that you nothing regarde my present ne­cessity? in your wants I forsooke you not, in your sicknes I left you not, nor despised you in your great pouerty: it is not vnknowne, though you doe not consider it, that I tooke some of you vp in the high way, other some from your needy parents, and brought the rest from meere beggery to a house of boun­ty, where from paltry boyes, I brought you vp to mans estate, and haue, to my great cost, taught you a trade, whereby you may liue like men. And in requitall of all my [...]urteste, cost and good will, will you now on a sodaine forsake me? is this the best recompence that you can find in your hearts to yeeld me?

This is farre from the minds of honest seruants. The fierce Lion is kind to those that do him good: plucke but one thorne out of his foote, and for the same he will shew manifold fauors. The wilde Bull will not ouerthrow his Dam: and the very Dragons are dutifull to their nourishers. Bee better aduised, and call to mind, I beseech you, that I haue not pluckt a thorne out of your feete, but drawne your whole bodies out of perils, and when you had no meanes to help your selues, I only was your support, and he, that when all other forsooke you did com­fort you in all your extemities.

And what of all this, quoth one of them? because you tooke vs vp poore, doth it therefore follow, that wee must bee your slaues? We are youngmen, and for our partes, we are no fur­ther to regard your profit, then it may stand with our prefer­ment: Why should we lose our benefit, to pleasure you? If you taught vs our trade, & brought vs vp from boyes to men, you had our seruice for it, whereby you made no small benefit, if you had as well vsed it, as we got it. But if you be poore, you may thanke your selfe, being a iust scourge for your prodiga­litie, and it is my opinion plaine, that to stay with you, is the next way to make vs, like you, neither able to help our selues, [Page] nor our friends therefore in briefe, come pay me my wages, for I will not stay, let the rest doe as they will for I am resolued.

Well sayd his Master if needs thou wilt be gone, here is part of thy wages in hand, and the rest, so soone as God sends it, thou shalt haue it: and with that, turning to the rest. he sayd. Let me yet intreat you to stay and leaue me not al [...]ogether destitute of helpe: by your labours must I liue, & without you I know not what to doe. Consider therefore my neede, and regard my great charge. And if for my sake you will doe nothing, take compassi­on on my poore children, stay my sliding foote, and let me not vt­terly fall through your flying from me.

Tush (quoth they) what do you talke to vs▪ we can haue bet­ter wages and serue a man of credit. where our fare shal be far better, and our gaines greater: therefore the world might count vs right coxcomes, if we should forsake our profit, to pleasure you: therefore adieu, God send you more mony, for you are like to haue no more men: and thus they departed.

When they were gon, within a while after they met one with another, saying What cheere? are you all come a way: In faith I what should we doe else (quoth they; but hear'st thou, sirra, hast thou got thy wages? Not yet saith ye other but I shall haue it, and that is a good, tis but [...]. shillings, Saist thou so (quoth he now I see thou art one of God almighties idiots, Why so, saith the other? Because (quoth he) thou wilt be fed with shales: but Ile tell thee on thing, t were best for thee quickly to arrest him, lest some other doing it before there be nothing left to pay thy debt hold thy peace, faire words make fooles faine and it is an old saying One bird in hand is worth two in bush: if thou dost not arrest him preseutly. I will not giue thee two pence for thy ten shillings. How shall I come by him (quoth the other)? Giue mee but two pots of ale, and Ile betray him saieth he. So they being agreed, this smooth▪ fac'd Iudas comes to his late Master and told him that a friēd of his at the doore would speak with him. The vnmistrusting man thinking no euill. went to the doore, where preseently an Officer arrested him at his mans suite.

The poore man seeing this, being strucken into a sudden [...]or [Page] row, in the griefe of his heart spake to this effect: Ah thou lewd fellow, art thou the first man that seekes to augment my misery? Haue I thus long giuen the [...] bread, to bréede my [...] ­uerthrow? and nourisht thee in thy neede, to worke my destruc­tion? Full little did I thinke, when thou so often didst dippe thy false fingers in my dish, that I gaue foode to my chiefest foe: but what booteth complaints in these extremes? go wife, quoth he vnto my neighbours, and see if thou canst get any of them to be my baile. But in vaine was her paines spent. Then he sent her to his kins [...]olks▪ and they dented him: to his bro­ther, and he would not come at him, so that there was no shift, but to prison he must: but as hée was going, a messenger met him, with a letter from Master Cole. wherein as you heard, he had promised him two hundred pounds: which when the poore man read, he greatly reioyced, and shewing the same to the officer, he was content, to take his owne word. Whereup­on [...]om Doue went presently to Reading, where, at his com­ming he found all the rest of the Clothiers lamenting Coles vntimely death, where the wofull widdow paid him the mo­ney, by which déede all the rest of the Clothiers were induced to do something for Doue. And thereupon one gaue him ten pounds, another twenty, another thirtie pounds, to begin the world anew: and by this meanes (together with the blessing of God) he grew into greater credit then euer he was before. And riches being thus come vpon him, his former friends came fawning vnto him, and when he had no néede of them, then euery one was ready to proffer him kindnesse. His wic­ked seruants also that disdained him in his distresse, were after glad to come creeping vnto him, intreating with cappe and knee for his fauour and friendship. And albeit he seemed to forgiue their trespasses done against him, yet he would often say, he would neuer trust them for a straw. And thus he euer after liued in great wealth and prosperitie, doing much good to the poore. and at his death, left to his children great landes.

How fatre Margaret made her estate and high birth knowne to her master and dame: and for the intire loue she bore to Duke Robert, made a vow neuer to marry, but became a Nun in the Abbey at Glocester. Chap. 15.

[Page]AFter faire Margaret was come againe to Glocester, ne­uer did she behold the cleare day, but with a weeping eye: and so great was the sorrow which she conceaued for the losse of Duke Robert her faithfull Louer, that she vtterly despised all the pleasures of this life, and at last bewraid her selfe in this sort vnto her Dame.

O my good Master and Dame, too long haue I dissembled my parentage from you, whom the froward distinies do pur­sue to deserued punishment. The wofull daughter am I of the vnhappie Earle of Shrewsbury, who euer since his banish­ment haue done nothing but drawne mischance after me: wher­fore let me intreate you (deere Master and Dame to haue your good wills, to spend the remnant of my life in, some blessed Monasterie.

When Gray and his wife heard this, they wondred great­ly, as well at her birth, as at her strange demaund. Whereup­on her dame knew not how to call her, whether Maiden or Madam, but said O good Lord, are you a Lady and I knew it not? I am sory that I knew it not before. But when the folkes of the house heard that Margaret was a Lady, there was no small alteration: and moreouer her Dame said, that she had thought to haue had a match betwéene her & her sonne: And by many perswasions did séeke to withdraw her from being a Nun saying in this manner, What Margaret, thou art young & faire the▪ world (no doubt) hath better fortune for thée, whereby thou mayst leaue an honourable issue behind thée, in whom thou mayst liue after death.

These and many other reasons did they alleadge vnto her, but all in vaine, she making this replie, Who knoweth not that this world giueth the pleasure of an howre, but the sorrow of many daies? for it payeth euer that which it promiseth, which is nothing els but continuall trouble and vexation of the mind. Do you thinke, if I had the offer and choice of y mightiest prin­ces of Christendome, that I could match my selfe better then to my Lord Iesus? No no, he is my husband, to whom I yeeld my selfe both body and soule, giuing to him my heart, my loue, and most firme affection: I haue ouerlong loued this vile world? therefore I beseech you farther dissuade me not.

[Page]When her friends by no meanes could alter her opinion, the matter was made knowne to his Maiestie, who against the time that she should be receiued into the monasterie, came to Glaucester with most part of his Nobility, to honour her action with his princely presence.

All things being therefore prepared the yong Lady was in most princely wise attired in a gowne of pure white sattin, her kertle of the same, imbrodered with gold about the skirts, in most curious sort, her head was garnished with gold, pearles, and precious stones, hauing her haire like thréeds of burnisht gold, hanging downe behind her, in maner of a princely bride: about her iuory necke iewels of inestimable price were hung, and her handwreasts were compassed about with bracelets or bright shining diamonds.

The streets through the which she should passe, were plea­santly deckt with greene [...]aken boughs. Then came the yong Lady most like an heauenly Angell out of her masters house; at what time all the bells in Gloucester were solemnly rung, she being led betwixt the Kings maiesty, hauing on his royall robes and imperiall crowne, and the chiefe Bishop wearing his Miter, in a Cope of cloth of gold, ouer her head a Canopy of white silke, fringed about in princely manner: before her went an hundred priests singing, and after her all the chiefe Ladies of the land: then all the wiues and maidens of Glou­cester followed, with an innumerable sort of people on euerie side standing to behold her. In this sort she passed on to the cathedrall church, where she was brought to the Nunry gate.

The Lady Abbesse receiued her: where the beautiful mai­den knéeling downe, made her praier in sight of all the people: then with her own hands she vndid her virgins faire gowne, and tooke it off, and gaue it away to the poore: after that, her kertle, then her iewels, bracelets and rings, saying. Farewell the pride & vanity of this world. The ornaments of her head were the next she gaue away: and then was she led on one side, where she was stripped, and instead of her smocke of soft silke, had a smocke of rough haire put vpon her.

Then came one with a paire of sheares, and cut off her gol­den [Page] coloured lockes, and with dust and ashes all bestrewd hir head and face. Which being done, she was broght again into the peopls sight barefoot and barelegd, to whom she said: Now farewell the world, farewell the pleasures of this life, farewell my Lord the King, and to the Dukes swéet loue farewell; now shall my eies wéep for my former transgressions, and no more shal my tongue talke of vanity: farewell my good master and dame, and farewell all good people.

With which words she was taken away, and neuer after séene abroad. When duke Robert heard thereof, hee desired that at his death, his body might be buried in Gloucester: in that towne, quoth he, where first my cleare eies beheld the heauenly beuty of my loue, and where for my sake she forsooke the world: which was performed accordingly.

The King also at his death requested to be buried at Rea­ding, for the great loue he bare to that place, amongest those Clothiers, who liuing, were his hearts comfort. Gray dying wonderous wealthy, gaue land to the monastery, whereinto Margaret was taken. William. Fitzallen also died a most rich man, hauing builded many houses for the poore, whose sonne Henry after was the first Maior that euer was in London.

Sutton of Sailsbury did also at his death much-good, and gaue an hundred it. to be yearely lent to poore weauers of the towne to the worlds end, Simon of South-hampton gaue a most bounteous gift towards the building of a monasterie at Winchester. Hodgekins of Halifax did also great good, and so did Cutbert of Kendall, who had married xx: ij couples out of his owne house, giuing ech of them x. li. to beginne the world withall. Martin Byram of Manchester gaue toward the buil­ding of a frée schoole in Manchester, a great masse of money. And thus (gentle Reader) haue I finished my Storie of these worthy men, desiring thée to take my paines in good part, which will incourage me to greater matters perceiuing this cur­teously accepted.

FINIS.

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