Page images
PDF
EPUB

on horseback, and calling themselves good (9) In the “Gent. Mag.” for Oct. 1785,
Christians. They were of Lower Egypt, and vol. lv. p. 765, we read: “In a Privy Seal
gave out that not long before the Christians Book at Edinburgh, No. xiv. fol. 59, is this
had subdued their country, and obliged them entry : ‘Letters of Defence and Concurrence
to embrace Christianity, or put them to death. to John Fall, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt,
Those who were baptized were great lords in for assisting him in the execution of Justice
their own country, and had a king and queen upon his Company, conform to the Laws of
there. Some time after their conversion, the Egypt, Feb. 15, 1540."" These are supposed
Saracens overran their country and obliged to have been a gang of Gipsies associated to-
them to renounce Christianity. When the Em- gether in defiance of the state, under Fall as
peror of Germany, the King of Poland, and their head or king: and these the articles of
other Christian princes, heard this, they fell up- association for their internal government, mu-
on them and obliged them all, both great and tual defence, and security, the embroiled and
small, to quit their country and go to the infirm state of the Scotch nation at that time
Pope at Rome, who enjoined them seven years' not permitting them to repress or restrain a
penance to wander over the world without combination of vagrants who had got above
lying in a bed; every bishop and abbot to the laws and erected themselves into a sepa-
give them once 10 livres tournois, and he gave rate community as a set of banditti.
them letters to this purpose, and his blessing. (10) In “ Lodge's Illustrations of British

“ They had been wandering five years when History,” &c., vol. i. p. 135, is a curious they came to Paris. They were lodged by Letter of the Justices of Durham to the Earl the police out of the city, at Chapel St. Denis. of Shrewsbury, Lord President of the Council Almost all had their ears bored, and one or in the North, dated at Duresme, Jan. 19th, two silver rings in each, which they said was 1549, concerning the Gipsies and Faws. esteemed an ornament in their country. The “Pleasyth yo' good Lordship t'understaund, men were very black, their hair curled; the John Roland, oon of that sorte of people calwomen remarkably ugly and black, all their linge themsellfes Egiptians, dyd before us acfaces scarred (deplayez), their hair black, like cuse Babtist Fawe, Amy Fawe, and George a horse's tail, their only habit an old shaggy Fawe, Egiptians, that they had counterfeate garment (flossoye) tied over their shoulders the kyngs maties greate seale: wherupon we with a cloth or cord-sash, and under it a poor caused th' above named Baptist, Amye, and petticoat or shift. Iu short they were the George, to be apprehended by th’officers, who, poorest wretches that had ever been seen in emongst other things, dyd find one wryting France; and, notwithstanding their poverty, with a greate seall moche like to the kings there were among them women who, by look- maties great seall, which we, bothe by the ing into people's hands, told their fortunes wrytinge, and also by the seall, do suppose to et meirent contens en plusieurs mariages : for be counterfeate and feanyd ; the which seall they said, Thy wife has played thee false we do send to your L. herwith, by post, for (Ta femme ta fait coup), and what was triall of the same. Signifieing also to yo" L. worse, they picked people's pockets of their that we have examynet the said Babtist, money and got it into their own by telling Amye, and George, upon the said matter ; these things by art, magic, or the intervention who doithe afferme and saye, with great othes of the Devil, or by a certain knack.” Thus and execracions, that they never dyd see the Pasquier. It is added that they were expelled said seall before this tyme, and that they dyd from France in 1561.

not counterfeate it; and that the said John In the “ Statistical Account of Scotland," Roland is their mortall enemye, and haithe vol. ii. p. 124, parish of Eaglesham, county often tymes accused the said Babtist before of Renfrew, we read: “There is no magistrate this, and is moche in his debte, as appeareth nearer than within four miles; and the place by ther wrytinges redy to be shewed, for the is oppressed with gangs of Gipsies, commonly whiche money the said John doithe falsly all called tinkers, or randy-beggars, because there he can agaynst them, and, as they suppose, is nobody to take the smallest account of the above-named John Roland, or some of them."

[ocr errors]

Says who shall wed, and who shall be be

guild, What groom shall get, and 'squire maintain

the child." Rogers, in his “Pleasures of Memory,” 1. 107, has also described the Gipsy : “ Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blaz'd

The Gipsy's fagot. — There we stood and

gaz'd;

his complices, haithe put the counterfeate seall emongst there wrytyngs; with such lyke sayngs. Wherfor we have co’mit all th'above named Egiptians to the gaoll of Duresme, to such tyme as we do knowe your L. pleasor in the premises. And thus Almightie God

At preserve your good L. in moche honor. Duresme this 19th of Januarye, 1549.

Yor Lordship’s assured,

GEORGE CONYERS,
Robert HYNDMERS,
CUTHBERTT CONYERS,

JERRERD SALVEYN.
To the right honorable and of sing'ler good

Lord th’ Erll of Shrewisburye, Lord Pre-
sident of the Kyng's Maties Counsell in

the Northe. (!!) There is a well-known Scottish song entitled “Johnny Faa, the Gypsie Laddie." There is an advertisement in the “Newcastle Courant,” July 27, 1754, offering a reward for the apprehending of John Fall and Margaret his wife, William Fall and Jane, other. wise Ann, his wife, &c., “commonly called or known by the name of Fawes," &c.

Gipsies still continue to be called “Faws" in the North of England.

(12) Gay, in his “ Pastorals," speaking of a girl who is slighted by her lover, thus decribes the Gipsies: “ Last Friday's eve, when as the sun was set,

I, near yon stile, three sallow Gipsies met;
Upon my hand they cast a poring look,
Bid me beware, and thrice their heads they

shook :
They said that many crosses I must prove,
Some in my worldly gain, but most in love.
Next morn I miss'd three hens and our old

cock,
And, off the hedge, two pinners and a
smock."

The Ditty. The following beautiful lines on the same subject are from Prior's “Henry and Emma." Henry is personating a Gipsy. “ A frantic Gipsy now the house be haunts, And in wild phrases speaks dissembled

wants : With the fond maids in palmistry he deals; They tell the secret first which he reveals :

Gaz'd on her sun-burnt face with silent awe, Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw; Her moving lips, her caldron brimming

o'er;
The drowsy brood that on her back she

bore,
Imps, in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed ;
Whose dark eyes flash'd thro’ locks of black-

est shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog

bay'd: And heroes fled the Sibyl's mutter'd call, Whose elfin prowess scal'd the orchard

wall. As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew, And trac'd the line of life with searching

view,
How throbb'd my fluttering pulse with

hopes and fears
To learn the colour of my future years!"

Strype, in his “Annals of the Reformation,” vol. ii. p. 611, mentions a book written by William Bullein “ Of Simples and Surgery,” A. D. 1562, in which the author speaks of “dog-leaches, and Egyptians, and Jews : all pretending to the telling of fortunes and curing by charms. They (dog-leaches) buy some gross stuff, with a box of salve and cases of tools, to set forth their slender market withal, &c. Then fall they to palmistry and telling of fortunes, daily deceiving the simple. Like unto the swarms of vagabonds, Egyptians, and some that call themselves Jews: whose eyes were so sharp as lynx. For they see all the people with their knacks, pricks, domifying, and figuring, with such like fantasies. Faining that they have familiers and glasses, whereby they may find things that be lost. And, besides them, are infinite of old doltish witches with blessings for the fair and conjuring of cattel.”

52

OBSOLETE VULGAR PUNISHMENTS.

CUCKING-STOOL;

CALLED ALSO

A TUMBREL, (') TRIBUCH, (a) AND TREBUCHET ; (b) ALSO A THEW.(*)

- We have different modes of restraining evil. Stocks for the man; a Ducking-stool for WOMEN ;

and a pound for beasts."-JOHNSON. See Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. iii. p. 313.

quean," &c.

The Cucking-stool was an engine invented to be ducked for scolding, and was accordfor the punishment of scolds and unquiet ingly placed in the chair, and ducked in the women, by ducking them in the water, after

River Thames, under Kingston Bridge, in the having placed them in a stool or chair fixed presence of 2000 or 3000 people." at the end of a long pole, by which they were

These stools (6) seem to have been in comimmerged in some muddy or stinking pond.

mon use when Gay wrote his “Pastorals:” Blount tells us that some think it a corruption they are thus described in the Dumps, 1. 105: from Ducking-stool, (3) but that others derive it from Choking-stool. (4) Though of the “ I'll speed me to the pond, where the high

stool most remote antiquity, it is now, it should seem, totally disused.

On the long plank hangs o'er the muddy Mr. Lysons, in his “ Environs of London,"

pool, vol. i. p. 233, gives us a curious extract from

That stool, the dread of ev'ry scolding the churchwardens' and chamberlain's accounts at Kingston-upon-Thames, in the year

In his xlviiith. vol. (MS. Brit. Mus.) p. 1572, which contains a hill of expenses (5) for 172, Cole says, “In my time, when I was a making one of these Cucking-stools, which, boy, and lived with my grandmother in the he says, must have been much in use formerly, great corner house at the bridge foot next to as there are frequent entries of money paid Magdalen College, Cambridge, and re-built for its repairs. He adds, that this arbitrary since by my uncle, Mr. Joseph Cock, I reattempt at laying an embargo upon the female member to have seen a woman ducked for tongue has long since been laid aside. It scolding. was continued, however, at Kingston to a late “ The chair hung by a pulley fastened to a period, as appears from the following para- beam about the middle of the bridge, in which graph in the “ London Evening Post,” April the woman was confined, and let down under 27 to 30, 1745 : - Last week a woman

the water three times, and then taken out. that keeps the Queen's Head alehouse at The bridge was then of timber, before the preKingston, in Surrey, was ordered by the court sent stone bridge of one arch was builded.

The Ducking-stool was constantly hanging in

its place, and on the back panel of it was en(a) See Cowel, in v. ex Carta Joh. regis, dat. 11 Jun. anno regni 1.

graved devils laying hold of scolds, &c. Some (b) It is so called in Lambarde's “ Eirenarchia,”

time after a new chair was erected in the place lib, i. c. 12.

of the old one, having the same devils carved on it, and well painted and ornamented. about it. I mention these things as the pracWhen the new bridge of stone was erected, tice seems now to be totally laid aside." about 1754, this was taken away, and I lately This was written about 1780. Mr. Cole saw the carved and gilt back of it nailed up died in 1782. by the shop of one Mr. Jackson, a whitesmith, The stool is represented in a cut annexed in the Butcher Row, behind the town-hall, who to the Dumps, designed and engraved by Lui. offered it to me, but I did not know what to du Guernier. do with it. In October, 1776, I saw in the There is a wooden cut of one in the frontisold town-ball a third Ducking-stool of plain piece of the popular penny history of “ The oak, with an iron bar before it to confine the Old Woman of Ratcliff Highway." (0) person in the seat: but I made no inquiries

NOTES TO CUCKING-STOOL.

() At a court of the manor of Edgeware, He says it was in use even in our Saxon's anno 1552, the inhabitants were presented time, by whom it was called Scealfing.stole, for not having a Tumbrel and Cucking-stool. and described to be “ Cathedra in qua rixosæ See Lysons's " Envir. of London,” vol. ii. p. mulieres sedlentes aquis demergebantur." It 244. This looks as if the punishments were was a punishment inflicted also anciently different.

upon brewers and bakers transgressing the (3) The following extract from Cowel's laws. “ Interpreter," in v. Thew, seems to prove Henry, his “ History of Great Britain," (with the extract just quoted from Mr. Ly- vol. i. p. 214, tells us that “In Germany, sons's “ Environs of London") that there was cowards, sluggarus, debauchees, and prostia difference between a Tumbrel and a Cuck- tutes, were suffocated in mires and bogs," and ing-stool or Tbew. Georgius Grey Comes adds, “it is not improbable that these useless Cantii clamat in maner. de Bushton & Ayton members and pests of human society were pupunire delinquentes contra Assisam Panis et nished in the same manner in this island :" Cervisiæ, per tres vices per amerciamenta, & asking at the same time, in a note, “Is not the quarta vice pistores per pilloriam, braciatores Ducking-stool a relic of this last kind of per tumbrellam, & rixatrices per Thewe, hoc punishment?" est, ponere eas super scabellum vocat. a In the “ Promptorium Parvulorum,” MS. Cucking-stool. Pl. in Itin. apud Cestr. 14 Harl. 221, Brit. Mus.Esgn, or CUKKyn," is Hen. VII."

interpreted by stercoriso : and in the “ Domes(3) An Essayist in the “Gent. Mag." for day Survey,” in the account of the City of May, 1732, vol. ii. p. 740, observes that Chester, vol. i. fol. 262 b, we read, “Vir “The stools of infamy are the Ducking-stool | sive mulier falsam mensuram in civitate faciand the stool of repentance. The first was ens deprehensus, iii. solid, emendab'. Simiinvented for taming female shrews. The stool liter malam cervisiam faciens, aut in Catheof repentance is an ecclesiastical engine, of DRA ponebatur STERCORIS, aut ijii, solid. dab' popish extraction, for the punishment of for- prepotis.”.

£.s. d. nication and other immoralities, whereby the (5) “ 1572. The making of the delinquent publicly takes shame to himself,

Cucking-stool 08 0 and receives a solemn reprimand from the

Iron work for the minister of the parish."

0 3 0 (4) Blount finds it called “le Goging Stole"

Timber for the same 0 7 6 in Cod. MS. “ de Legibus, Statutis, & Con

3 brasses for the suetudinibus liberi Burgi Villæ de Mount

same and three gomery a tempore Hen. 2.," fol. 12 b.

wheels

0 4 10."

[ocr errors]

same

[ocr errors]

Cole (MS. Brit. Mus. vol. xlii. p. 285) in his extracts from Mr. Tabor's book, among instances of Proceedings in the Vice-Chancellor's Court of Cambridge, Ist Eliz., gives

“ Jane Johnson, adjudged to the Duckingestoole for scoulding, and commuted her pe

nance.

“Katherine Sanders, accused by the churchwardens of St. Andrewes for a common scold and slanderer of her neighbours, adjudged to the Ducking-stool."

There is an order of the corporation of Shrewsbury, 1669, that“A Ducking-stool be erected for the punishment of all scolds." See the History of the Town, 4to. 1779, p. 172.

In Harwood's “ History of Lichfield,” p. 383, in the year 1578, we find a charge “For making a Cuckstool with appurtenances, Es.”

(6) Misson, in his “ Travels in England,'' p. 40, thus describes the Cucking-stool. It may with justice be observed of this author that no popular custom escaped his notice:

“ Chaise. La maniere de punir les femmes querelleuses et debauchées est asssez plaisante en Angleterre.

« On attache une Chaise à bras à l'extremité de deux especes de solives, longues de douze ou quinze pieds et dans un eloignement parallele, en sorte que ces deux pieces de bois embrassent, par leur deux bouts voisins, la Chaise qui est entre deux, & qui y est attachée par le côte comme avec un essien, de telle maniere, qu'elle a Jeu, et qu'elle demeure toujours dans l'etat naturel & horisontal auquel une Chaise doit être afin qu'on puisse s'asseoir dessus, soit qu'on l'éleve, soit qu'on l'abaisse.

On dressee un pôteau sur le bord d'un etang ou d'une rivierre, & sur ce poteau on pose, presque en equilibre, la double piece de bois à une des extremitez de laquelle la Chaise se trouve au dessus de l'eau. On met la femme dans cette Chaise, et on la plonge ainsi autant de fois qu'il a été ordonné, pour rafraichir un peu sa chaleur immoderée.” See Ozell’s Transl. p. 65.

In “ Whimzies, or a New Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631, p. 182, speaking of a Xantippean, the author says : husband) vowes therefore to bring her in all disgrace to the Cucking-stoole ; and she vowes againe to bringe him, with all contempt, to the stoole of repentance."

In “ The New Help to Discourse,” 3rd edit. 12mo. 1684, p. 216, we read :

On a Ducking-stool. “ Some gentlemen travelling, and coming near to a town, saw an old woman spinning near the Ducking-stool : one, to make the company merry, asked the good woman what that chair was made for? Said she, you know what it is. Indeed, said he, not I, unless it be the chair you use to spin in. No, no, said she, you know it to be otherwise : have you not heard that it is the cradle your good mother has often layn in ?":

In Miscellaneous Poems, &c., by Benjamin West, of Weedon Beck, Northamptonshire," 8vo. 1780, p. 81, is preserved a copy of verses, said to have been written near sixty years ago, entitled “ The Ducking Stool." The description runs thus : " There stands, my friend, in yonder pool,

An engine call'd a Ducking-stool :
By legal pow'r commanded down,
The joy and terror of the town,
If jarring females kindle strife,
Give language foul, or lug the coif;
If noisy dames should once begin
To drive the house with horrid din,
Away, you cry, you'll grace the stool,
We'll teach you how your tongue to rule.
The fair offender fills the seat,
In sullen pomp, profoundly great.
Down in the deep the stool descends,
But here, at first, we miss our ends;
She mounts again, and rages more
Than ever vixen did before.
So, throwing water on the fire
Will make it but burn up the higher.
If so, my friend, pray let her take
A second turn into the lake,
And, rather than your patience lose,
Thrice and again repeat the dose.
No brawling wives, no furious wenches,
No fire so hot but water quenches.

In Prior's skilful lines we see
For these another recipe :
A certain lady, we are told,
(A lady too, and yet a scold)
Was very much reliev'd, you'll say,
By water, yet a different way;

“ He (her

« PreviousContinue »