Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I: Of the Abbey of St....
 Chapter II: Of the writing chamber...
 Chapter III: Of my Sojourn...
 Chapter IV: How I go to Oxford
 Chapter V: Of my Sojourn at Oxford...
 Chapter VI: Of the college of St....
 Chapter VII: Of my friendship with...
 Chapter VIII: Of John Eliot's...
 Chapter IX: Of my life in...
 Chapter X: How I saw the battle...
 Chapter XI: Of bishop William and...
 Chapter XII: Of the Eliots...
 Chapter XIII: Of Edward Norton...
 Chapter XIV: I propose to become...
 Chapter XV: I enter the house of...
 Chapter XVI: Of my Sojourn in the...
 Chapter XVII: I fall sick
 Chapter XVIII: I go to London with...
 Chapter XIX: Of the battle...
 Chapter XX: Of certain things after...
 Chapter XXI: Of the chantry of...
 Chapter XXII: Of my manner of life...
 Chapter XXIII: Of Thomas Caxton...
 Chapter XXIV: Of the battle of...
 Chapter XXV: Of mistress Joan
 Chapter XXVI: My last writing in...
 Chapter XXVII: The epilogue writ...
 Back Cover

Group Title: The chantry priest of Barnet : a tale of the two roses
Title: The chantry priest of Barnet
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053951/00001
 Material Information
Title: The chantry priest of Barnet a tale of the two roses
Alternate Title: Tale of the two roses
Physical Description: xii, 301, 2 p., 16 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Church, Alfred John, 1829-1912
Seeley and Co ( Publisher )
Unwin Brothers (Firm) ( Printer )
Gresham Press ( Printer )
M.&N. Hanhart Chromo Lith ( Lithographer )
Publisher: Seeley & Co.
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Unwin Brothers ; Gresham Press
Publication Date: 1885
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Writing -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sick -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Students -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Monks -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Fiction -- Great Britain -- Medieval period, 1066-1485   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1885   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1885
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Chilworth
Statement of Responsibility: Alfred J. Church ; with sixteen illustrations.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note: Illustrations lithographed by Hanhart Lith.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053951
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224204
notis - ALG4465
oclc - 11233479

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Chapter I: Of the Abbey of St. Alban, of Offa, of Matthew of Paris
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter II: Of the writing chamber in St. Alban's Abbey
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Chapter III: Of my Sojourn at Eton
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Chapter IV: How I go to Oxford
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Chapter V: Of my Sojourn at Oxford and of John Eliot
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Chapter VI: Of the college of St. Mary Magdalen
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Chapter VII: Of my friendship with John Eliot
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Chapter VIII: Of John Eliot's home
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Chapter IX: Of my life in Shropshire
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Chapter X: How I saw the battle of Blore Heath
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Chapter XI: Of bishop William and others
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Chapter XII: Of the Eliots again
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Chapter XIII: Of Edward Norton and his story
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Chapter XIV: I propose to become a monk
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
    Chapter XV: I enter the house of St. Albans
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
    Chapter XVI: Of my Sojourn in the house of St. Albans
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    Chapter XVII: I fall sick
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
    Chapter XVIII: I go to London with the king
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
    Chapter XIX: Of the battle of Barnet
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
    Chapter XX: Of certain things after the battle of Barnet
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
    Chapter XXI: Of the chantry of Barnet
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
    Chapter XXII: Of my manner of life at Barnet
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
    Chapter XXIII: Of Thomas Caxton and others
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
    Chapter XXIV: Of the battle of Flodden
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
    Chapter XXV: Of mistress Joan
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
    Chapter XXVI: My last writing in this book
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
    Chapter XXVII: The epilogue writ by Thomas Bingham
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


The Baldwin Library

I ^ da


,r "

H4 A N/IV A Pr TI. I




Rev. Alfred J. Church, M.A.
Professor of Latin in University College, London
Author of Stories from Homer "

With Sixteen Illustrations


All Rights Reserved




FoR this fiction there is a slight foundation
of fact. Stow, in his Chronicle (first published
in 1565), says that a chapel was built in
memory of those who had fallen in the battle
of Barnet, about half a mile from the town.
"It is now," he writes, "a dwelling-house;
the top quarters remain yet." This somewhat
obscure expression possibly means that, while
the chapel itself had been dismantled, the
priests' chamber above still remained. It has
been conjectured that this dwelling-house still
exists in a building known as Pymlicoe House,
which stands on the west side of Hadley
Green, at about the distance from Barnet
specified by Stow. The name occurs in the
register of Hadley parish, under date February
Jo, 1673-4, "a travelling woman from the


pymblicoe house." I have taken the liberty of
treating this conjecture as if it were a fact.
The personages in this story are of course
imaginary, but I have endeavoured to make
their surroundings historical.
The description of life at Eton is taken.
from a document dating from about the middle
of the sixteenth century. I have ventured to,
ante-date it by about a hundred years. In
so conservative a school the customs of 1550
might very well have been traced back for a
I have post-dated by about as long a time
the armourer whom I describe as occupying
the manor-house of the Frowykes.
There is no historical foundation for the
description of the death of the Earl of War-
wick; I fear that I cannot even plead that
it is probable. The details of the escape of
the Duke of Exeter are imaginary, but the
outlines of the incident are real. This descrip-
tion of the election of an abbot has been trans-
ferred from John of Wheathampstead to his.
I must apologize for having used a style


more modern than the time to which it pro-
fesses to belong. The Paston Letters"
afforded me, indeed, a model which I might
have imitated; but my English would have
seemed intolerably harsh to my readers, and
I preferred to make my chantry priest write
as he might have written had he been born
a century later.
I desire to express my obligations to the
Rev. F. Cass, Rector of Monken Hadley,
whose antiquarian knowledge has been of the
greatest service to me; to Mr. Falconer
Madan, one of the sub-librarians of the Bod-
leian, whose unfailing courtesy and kindness
are known to all readers in that library; and
to Mr. T. J. Jackson, of Worcester College,
who communicated to me some facts about
the Benedictines of Gloucester College.
I am greatly indebted to the Rev. Henry
Anstey's Preface to the Mlznizmenta Academica
in the Master of the Rolls' Series; to Sir
Thomas Duffus Hardy Hardy's Preface to
the Descriptive Catalogue of Materials
Relating to the History of Great Britain and
Ireland," in the same series ; to the Rev.

viii PREFA CE.

Mackenzie Walcott's Church Work and Life
in English Minsters;" to the Rev. Sparrow
Simpson's "Chapters in the History of Old
St. Paul's;" and to Mr. W. Blades' mono-
graph on William Caxton." I have also
drawn much from Mr. Newcome's "History
of St. Albans."

October 18, 1884.



MATTHEW OF PARIS ... ... ... I


ABBEY .. ... *... ... 13

III. OF MY SOJOURN AT ETON ... ... ... 22

IV. HOW I GO TO OXFORD ... ... ... 37


ELIOT ... .* .. ... *** 47



VIII. OF JOHN ELIOT'S HOME ... ... ... 79





XII. OF THE ELIOTS AGAIN ... ... ... 124





ALBANS ... ... ... ... ... 170

XVII. I FALL SICK ... ... ... ... 18




BARNET ... .. ... 215





XXV. OF MISTRESS JOAN ... ... ... 277




KING HENRY VI. ... ... ... ... Frontispiece
OFFA, KING OF MERCIA ... ... ...... 4


THE SCHOLARS AT PLAY ... ... ... 50


THE GAME OF THE CHESS ... ... ... 100

A MONK WRITING ... ... ... ... ... I62


ST. ALBAN'S ABBEY ... *** *** ... I70

THE LEECH'S CHAMBER ... *** *** 184

KING EDWARD IV. ... ** ** ** I88

THE BATTLE OF BARNET ... .. ... ... 208




THE BATTLE OF FLODDEN ... ... .. ... 274







The third day of u'zne, I468.
I IIAVE dwelt in this Abbey for the space of five
years with fair report, as I trust, from them,
that bear rule therein, and not wholly barren.
of good works done for the glory of God and
for the honour of this pious foundation. And
because this Abbey was for many generations.
renowned as a seat of learning and letters, in
which, if I may be suffered to speak in a Pagan
fashion, while all the Muses have been wor-
shipped, special honour hath been had to the
Muse of history, I purpose to write down
certain things which they that shall come after


me shall think it not lost labour to read. But
I shall be content to write only the things
which I have myself seen, or wherein I have
taken a part. Of the history of this realm
or of the other kingdoms of Christendom I
do not presume to speak, not counting myself
equal to them who in this place have dealt
with such things, such as were Roger of
Wendover, Matthew Paris, Thomas Rishanger,
and Thomas Walsingham. But though these
matters are too high for me, and, indeed, at
least in these present days, are best treated by
one that doth live, not in the cloister, but in
the world, of lesser things I do not fear to
write. For that which seemeth of small account
in the present doth often become exceeding
precious by mere passage of time. Even as we
do count the silver cups which Abbot Warren,
in the days of King Richard the First, gave to
the house, though they be both small and thin,
as of more value than the great bowl of silver
gilt which was bought but last year, so we do
love to read of little things, so they be of times
long past, rather than of great things which are
present with us.


First, then, I will write, but that very briefly,
of this Abbey of St. Alban wherein He who
ordereth the affairs of men hath cast my lot.
'Tis a house of the Benedictines, which Offa,
King of Mercia, second of the name, did found
about the year of our Lord seven hundred
and ninety and three. This Offa was warned
of God in a dream that he should search
out the relics of St. Alban-that was Christ's
first martyr in this realm-and lay them
in a suitable place. Then the King, desir-
ing to obey the heavenly vision, communicated
the thing to Humbert, Archbishop of Lichfield,
and, by his counsel, journeyed to the town of
Verulam, the same that is now called St. Alban's,
a great company of men, women, and children
following him. Nor had he need to search
long time for that which he sought, for he saw
(as may be read in the Greater Chronicle of
Matthew Paris) a ray of light, like unto a great
torch, come forth from the sky, and fall, as
might a flash of lightning, upon the burial-place
of the martyr. (This Alban, I should say, was
a Roman soldier in the camp that was in old
time in the town of Verulamium, and made


confession of his faith, even unto death, in the
days of Diocletian the Emperor.) Now there
had been a church of stone built in this same
place by St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, in the
year of our Lord four-hundred-and-thirty, of
which Baeda, surnamed the Venerable, writes
that it was of a marvellous beauty; which church
had been wholly destroyed by the Saxons, so
that not one stone of it was left. Hence it had
come to pass that a place before known of all
was now known of none. But now King Offa
being, as I have shown, divinely led, found a
coffin of wood, and in the coffin the bones of
the Saint, and with these, relics of all the
apostles and of other martyrs which St.
German had caused to be placed therein. And
all the people wept for joy when they saw this
thing. Afterward the archbishop and bishops
carried the bones very reverently to a certain
church without the town, and laid them in a
shrine made of gold and silver and precious
stones. After this, King Offa journeyed to
Rome, where, when he had visited all the holy
places, he made his petition to Adrian I., being
at that time Pope, for help and favour in the



A .9V 0

omtofis ercog
tenen s' gutk aox tq2pPt heati
,fam p sttom oftc te tera
nate o)4mtrautt tf monaftertft

HA N H A 7 LirH.


building of a house for monks in honour of
St. Alban. This the Pope willingly promised,
saying that he should take counsel with his
bishops and nobles as to the possessions and
privileges which he was minded to give to the
said house, and that he, the Pope, would con-
firm all such gifts, and would adopt it for a
daughter of the Roman Church, and subject it
to his own jurisdiction, exempting it from all
So the King, having returned to his realm
of England, called together a council of his
bishops and nobles at Verulam, and, with their
consent, founded this house, bestowing upon it
many possessions, both of lands and benefices,
and also many privileges, of which the chief was
this-that it should have power to collect from
the whole county of Hertford all the moneys
commonly called Peter's pence, and to divert
them to its own use.
So much having been said of the foundation
of this house, it followeth to speak very shortly
of its outward aspect. On the north side is the
great church, with which for length none in this
realm can compare, and for magnificence but


few only. Of the first building of this church,
of that which hath been added thereto or
changed therein, there is no need to speak; for
it is, as I suppose, known to every man. On the
south side of the church are the cloisters, and
to the east of these the chapter-house where
the brethren meet daily for counsel and edifica-
tion, and to choose to vacant places, when there
chance to be such. And next to the chapter-
house is the great dormitory, and under this the
chamber of those that have been bled (for every
monk must lose blood twice in the year, except
the leech forbid for his health's sake). On the
one side of the dormitory is a chapel, and on
the other the refectory. Eastward, near to the
Holywell Gate, is the infirmary, with a cloister
of wood and a fair garden, wherein the sick may
walk for their health. And to the south of the
refectory is the kitchen, with other offices,
among which is the sartory, or tailor's shop.
(For it is a rule of St. Benedict, who established
our order, that every house should suffice for
itself, having within itself all necessary trades,
so that there should be no occasion for the
service of strangers.) Besides these there is a


great square with cloisters all about it, and a
conduit of water in the middle, and a place for
washing. And there are many other buildings,
of which there is no need to speak, save only to
mention the Abbot's lodgingand his guest-house,
very fine and stately, as it must needs be, since
it hath ever been the custom of the house to
entertain many great and noble guests.
But I must not forget to note the great court
of the Abbey, which lieth to the westward and
the southward of the church. This is girt about
with a wall very high and strong, being four
square in shape, and of four hundred feet every
way. On the north side is a gateway, and over
the gate a tower very strongly fortified, wherein
the Abbot is wont to keep prisoners such as
offend in his jurisdiction.
Our daily manner of life is this. Soon after
midnight the little bells are rung by the keeper
of the church, and we assemble together for
that service of God which is called matins.
Matins being ended, we go back to our sleeping
chamber. A't six of the clock cometh the ser-
vice of prime, to which we are called by the
ringing of the smallest bell, time being given


that we may put on our day habit and cleanse
ourselves in the lavatory. And after prime is
high mass without interval (this is a particular
custom of the house, that the brethren may have
the more time without interruption for study, or
such work as may be laid upon them). Mass
ended, there is given us a breakfast of bread and
wine. Then follow study and work. And at
eleven of the clock the cymbal is sounded that
the brethren may wash their faces and hands at
the conduit, and so make themselves ready for
dinner. After this we go into the choir for
sexts, where we sing together the Fifty-first
Psalm and the Sixty-seventh, and thence to the
burial-place, where we stand among the graves,
our heads bare, that we may have them that are
departed in perpetual recollection. After this,
if it be the summer season, there is time allowed
for sleep; and in winter they that will may
walk. At three of the clock are nones, with
study both before and after, and at five of the
clock supper is served. After supper come
vespers; and then, if the weather be fair, it is
permitted to walk in the garden, or to play at
bowls upon the green set apart and made smooth


for that purpose. There are certain days of
recreation when we may talk together, but on
others such speech only is permitted as is need-
ful. And four times in the year are the bathing
days, and once in each month a day for shaving
and clipping the hair.
Our habit is a black tunic, furred in winter;
and over it an upper frock with great sleeves.
On our heads we have a cowl, split, with pointed
ends in front. In the winter season we have
also a pelisse. Our boots are round toed, and
not after the fashion commonly used, which
maketh them long and pointed out of all reason,
so that I have seen a gallant whose boot-ends
did curl well-nigh up to his knees. Beneath we
have for clothing a shirt of linsey-woolsey; our
hosen are of white cloth, and our breeches
tied with laces. Each man hath also a pouch
wherein are a knife, a comb, a bodkin, needle
and thread, and a writing tablet.
But the thing of which I am chiefly concerned
to write is the scritoriuzm, which may be ren-
dered the chamber for the writing and making
of books; and herein I am constrained, by the
love and honour which I do bear to his name,


to make mention of one who did use this
chamber in time past, to wit Matthew Paris,
who, though he attained not to higher dignity
than to be plain monk of this house, yet hath
a name above that of any abbot that hath ruled
it from the beginning until now.
This Matthew, then, surnamed of Paris,
either because he was born in that city, or, as
I rather think, because he was sometime a
scholar of the University that is therein, took
the monk's habit in the year of our Lord, 1217,
being then seventeen years of age. King
Henry, the third of the name, had him in
great esteem, and commanded his presence on
certain great occasions of state, to the end
that these might find in him a worthy chro-
nicler. Thus in the month of October, in the
year 1247, he sent for him to be present at the
feast of King Edward the Confessor, that
was held at Westminster, and himself desired
him to write an account of what had been
done threat. And when, in the space of three
years afterwards, the king's daughter was mar-
ried to Alexander of Scotland, Matthew of Paris
was present at the marriage. And in the year



1257 the King came to the monastery and
tarried there as a guest for a whole week, during
which time he bade Matthew sit as a guest at
his table, and held much talk with him in his
chamber, telling him many things out of his
own knowledge and experience wherewith he
might enrich and enlarge his history. And
when the University of Oxford was in danger
to suffer from the encroachment of the Bishop
of Lincoln, in whose diocese the said university
is locally situate, the said Matthew prevailed
with the King that the Bishop should not have
his way. Nor was he held in less regard by
them that bare rule in the house. So, when
the House of the Benedictines at Drontheim in
Norway, had fallen into no small trouble and
confusion by reason of the ill-management of its
abbots, this Matthew was sent thither that he
might order things for the better, being held to
be a prudent man and well skilled in affairs.
But his fame chiefly resteth in the books that
he wrote; that is to say, the Greater Chronicles,
in which he recordeth the history of the world,
from the Creation to the year of our Lord 1259
(in which same year he died) ; also the Hislory


of the English, which is, indeed, the said
Chronicles writ short, and the Lives of the
Abbots of St. Alban's. A very great and
notable writer was he, a lover of his country,
and one that set himself against all wrongdoing
and tyranny, by whomsoever it might have
been committed. And he was so skilful with
his pen that he could not only write most elo-
quently therewith, but could also portray that
concerning which he wrote, drawing faces of
men, and battles, and councils, and divers other
things, as may be seen to this day in sundry
volumes yet preserved in this house.
This Matthew died, as I have said, in the
year 1259, worn out by infirmity, though he
had not attained to a great age. But he had
laboured in his calling with diligence too
great, not verily for his fame, but for his
health and life. And, indeed, he had been
constrained for some years before his death
to use the help of others in the writing of
his histories. There is yet to be seen the
likeness of this Matthew, drawn after his
decease, as he lay upon his bed in the infir-
mary, in the habit of a monk.



I WILL now speak more particularly of the
scr0itor7ium, wherein, by the favour of my
lord Abbot, from my very first coming to the
house, I have been suffered to abide. And
for this I am most heartily thankful to him,
and to my good father, now deceased, who
taught me to write fairly, an art wherein he
himself did excel, training my hand to the
work while it was yet tender, and to my
mother, who did first instruct me in drawing
and the using of colours and gold. For I
see that such brethren who are appointed to
the work of the scrzilorizum are, for the most
part, happier than their fellows, who, for want
of that which shall fitly employ them, do
suffer much discontent and weariness. For


though there shall be one whom it sufficeth
to spend his days in devout contemplation,
and another who never wearieth of singing,
and yet a third who can never have enough
of reading and books, yet the greater part do
crave some labour wherewith to occupy their
days, and, for want of it, have many strifes
one with another, or fall into evil ways, or
are even overcome with madness. That some,
indeed, are distraught by much learning, I
know. Thus it was with Alexander of
Langley, sometime a monk in this house,
who, being learned above all his brethren,
became wise in his own conceit. And when
his pride and foolishness could no longer be
endured, the brethren in chapter assembled
visited him with their censure. Afterwards,
when this availed nothing, John de Cella,
being then Abbot, commanded that he should
be beaten with stripes, even to much shedding
of blood. And because his frenzy was yet un-
subdued, he was carried to the cell of the house,
which is at Bynham, in the county of Norfolk,
and shut out from the sight of all men, and
so continued till his death, being bound with


chains, in which also he was buried. This I
forget not ; but, nevertheless, believe that more
are distraught for lack of study or other occu-
pation than for too great abundance thereof.
The scrzitPorium is a quiet chamber, with
broad windows, very fairly glazed, so that
there is no lack of light, and furnished with
stools for sitting, and with desks conveniently
ordered for writing. Twelve of the brethren
do commonly labour therein, but, if there arise
any urgent need, then can place be made for
twenty. Such that have less skill and ex-
perience are set to the copying of letters
and the like tasks-as, for example, when the
Abbot will send a letter of greeting or con-
cerning matters of business to the priors of
the cells that belong to this house. To others
is assigned the copying of books, wherein must
be reckoned books for the service of the Church
(for these, because of their much using, must
needs be often renewed), and for the private
study of the brethren, as commentaries and
homilies and the like, books also of rhetoric
and philosophy, the works of the Romans, and
of the Greeks also (but these last rendered into


Latin), not being forgotten. Of these books
some are copied for our own using, and some
that exchange may be made with other houses
for such as we do not ourselves possess. Some-
times also we borrow the books of others for
copying, first giving due security for their
To one brother is given the charge of the
scriptorium. He assigneth to each his work,
being himself under command of the Abbot, and
seeth that it be done aright, and that no damage
be suffered by any book. Also he keepeth a
list of the books that go forth of the library
with the names of those that borrow them.
And twice or thrice in the year he revieweth all
the books, that such as need restoring, whether
from dampness, or from the devouring of the
book-worm, or from natural decay of time, may
receive due repair. Also he hath charge of
the skins, be they of sheep or goats, on which
the writing is to be made, and of the ink, taking
due care that none be used but such as shall
endure, and of the pens.
It is a law that silence should be kept in the
scriptorium. Therefore, he that hath need of


anything signifies the same by signs. If he
require a book, he must stretch forth his hand,
moving his fingers as though he turned the
leaves. If the book be a missal, he must also
make the sign of the cross; if it be the Gospels,
then he will make the sign of the cross upon
his forehead; if it be a Psalter, then he will
place his hands upon his head as in the shape
of a crown; and if he require the work of a
heathen, then he will scratch the ear with the
hand, after the manner of a dog, because the
heathen are to be counted no better than dogs.
(This custom I like not, holding that these also,
according to their degree, have spoken by the
Spirit of God.)
The time of working varieth according to
the season, for it is not permitted to have
either lamp or candle in the scrizorium, lest
haply the books be damaged by oil or grease
dropping thereon. It must be noted also that
much hindrance is caused by the mists, which
do oftentimes, and more especially in the winter
season, prevail in these parts, so that for many
days together the scribes will sit altogether idle,
or work but for a small part of the day only.


I do gather from that which I have read con-
cerning this matter that Abbot Paul, of Caen
in Normandy, who came to the primacy of this
house in the year of our Lord 1077, did first
set apart a chamber for this work. And this
he did, being prompted thereto by the liberality
of a certain knight of Normandy, who gave to
the house for this end certain tithes in Hat-
field and Redbourn, which tithes are indeed
so applied to this day. The said Abbot found
not, as I understand, any brethren in the Abbey
who had the needful skill, but was constrained
to hire writers from without. But for many
years now past there hath never failed from the
brotherhood itself a sufficient supply of persons
qualified for this work.
Nevertheless it must not be forgotten that
many years before the coming of the said Paul
of Caen, one iElfric was wont to spend in the
transcribing of books such time as the duties
of his office of abbot might leave him.
Four years did I spend in the scrzitorium
with much content, during which time I did,
by the ordering of the governor, give myself
chiefly to the copying of ancient writers in the


Latin tongue, for which work I was judged to
be the more fit because I had pursued these
studies with some applause at Oxford, it being
well that the scribe should have a good under-
standing of that which he writeth. But that
my soul should not suffer for want of spiritual
food, I did make year by year one book of the
Gospels or of the Psalter. But in the beginning
of the fifth year, Brother Roger, that was
illuminator, a man not old and, as one would
judge, hale of body, was taken suddenly with
sickness, and died within the space of one day.
And it was doubted much who should be put into
his place, but in the end I was chosen. From
this choice I did gain no small advantage, not
only from the nature of the work, than which
there can be none more various or delightful,
but because there is set apart for the illuminator
a small chamber, of which he hath the sole
use. And this he hath, not only that he
may do his work in peace and quietness, but
because he hath need of some convenient
place where he may keep his colours, his
washes of gold and silver, and other imple-
ments of his craft, and also-for this is no


small matter-such things as serve him for the
models of his painting. For I have ever, if I
may say so much of my own handiwork, striven
with all my might to picture such things as it fell
to my lot to represent as truthfully and well
as might be. If I had to make the present-
ment of any person, this I did according to
my best conception of what he may have been,
taking for my guidance, in outward matters of
dress and the like, such mention as I could find
in books. And as for trees and flowers, and
birds and beasts, these I have to the best of my
ability copied from the things themselves, if
occasion served, or I could by any means pro-
.cure them. Some, indeed, have I thus been
.able to picture from the life, as lilies and doves
and sparrows, and the like common things.
And once, when I had occasion to picture an
eagle as being the sign of St. John the Evan-
gelist, then, by great good fortune, came the
-forester of the Abbey, that had shot with his bow
.an eagle-that is no common bird in these parts.
But in such things I have been for the most
part content to follow the picturing of them
who have before laboured in this place.


I cannot easily say in words how full of
delight is this chamber to me, for though it
doth not contain the greater treasures of the
house, such as the missal bound in gold and
the psalter incomparably illuminated with the
same, which Abbot Geoffrey gave to the
Brotherhood, yet it hath many precious
volumes, to which I hope to add more than
one of my own workmanship. Verily, though
I have been buffeted with many waves, God
hath brought me into safe haven at last. And
now I will go on to write somewhat of my life
in time past, especially of how, by the order-
ing of God, as indeed I cannot but believe, I
was brought to this place. And that I be not
tedious to any one whom it may please to read
what I have here written, I will pass over such
things as concern the time of my childhood,
and come without loss of time to the year of
my going to school.



ON the fourth day of September, in the year of
our Lord 1450, I, having then ten years of age,
was entered of the college of Eton, the which
college King Henry, sixth of the name, had
founded nine years before. I was the elder
son of one William Aylmer, Serjeant-at-law, a
learned man, as would be testified by others
who speak without the partiality of a son, but
of a small estate. He had been like to be made
a judge of the realm in due course, being not
learned only, but of such honesty as never was
questioned in matters small or great (for, as
Sallust hath it, while it is seen of some how vile
they are even in a small matter of money, others
are discovered only in some great thing).
Courteous also was he, so that there were none
that knew him but had a favour for him. But


it pleased God that he should never have this
promotion; for, being present at the trial of
certain prisoners that had lain in the prison of
Newgate for the space of six months and more,
he was stricken with fever (as was also the
judge and three officers of the court, and of the
counsellors and attorneys twenty at the least)
and died presently, being then scarce forty
years of age. Five children did he leave
orphans, three maids and two boy-children, of
whom I was the elder. Now my mother, being
of the family of Patten, was of the kindred of
William of Waynflete, whom, in the year of our
Lord 1443, King Henry did make Provost of
Eton; and she, being sore burdened with the
charge of her children, made application to the
said William, being then Bishop of Winchester,
for help in the rearing of them; and this he
gave without grudging or delay, being of a most
liberal temper, as is testified and proved, not
only by his right noble and pious foundation
of Magdalen College at Oxford, but also-for
some that do great alms in public are mean
and grudging in private matters-by many
good deeds done secretly. To my mother he


appointed a pension of thirty marks by the year,
making it a charge on certain lands of his own ;
and this he did, not only as considering the
frailty of human life and the uncertainty of
mortal things, but because he would not that the
revenue of a bishop should be burdened with
any charge of his own kindred. And it is con-
venient that I here set down what this said most
worthy bishop hath done for my own people.
Joan, that was the eldest, he gave in marriage to
one Thomas Bradgate, a counsellor learned in
the law. The said Thomas had been wont in
time past to learn of my father things that ap-
pertained to the study of the law, and when he
was of age to plead in the courts had not ceased
to consort with him as with one that was wiser
than himself. And so it came to pass that he
conceived a great love for my sister Joan,
though indeed she was little more than a child.
To him, therefore, was she given in marriage
two years after the death of my father, the
bishop aforesaid furnishing her with a dower of
two hundred marks. The like liberality did
he bestow upon my sister Margery, that was
married, in the year next following, to one


Philip Staples, that was a yeoman in the county
of Worcester, and having a fair estate of three
hundred acres, of which fifty were orchard, and
rich beyond all other lands in the said county,
as he was wont to affirm. My third sister,
Alice, having a call to the religious life, was
entered as a novice in the nunnery of Godstow,
which is hard by the city of Oxford. Of her I
shall have occasion to speak hereafter. My
brother James, that was younger than I by two
years, was bound apprentice to Master Kingsley,
a mercer of the City of London, and hath
married the said Kingsley's daughter, and is in
all respects a prosperous citizen.
And now I will speak of myself. The said
Bishop William procured me to be named one
of the King's scholars in the college of Eton,
the number of the said scholars being three-
score and ten. Of these I was indeed the
latest come, but not the youngest in years, for
some had not more than eight years of age,
nor the least advanced in learning. This last
advantage I owed to the care of my father, who
did not suffer himself to be hindered by any
business of his own from teaching me. So it


was that when I was admitted to the college of
Eton I knew the accidence of the Latin tongue,
so that I would scarce fail therein, and could
read with understanding some of the easier por-
tions of the Sorrows of Ovid, yea, and could
make shift, with some help given, to put together
a distich of Latin. And, indeed, there were not
many so well furnished as I, at least of the
younger sort, so that it came to pass that,
whereas others of my years were put in charge
of the usher, I was taught of the upper master.
Nor was this only a help to me in my learning,
but it did also set me free from certain servile
tasks, as the cleaning of chambers, fetching of
water, making of fires in the winter season, and
the like, which did fall on such as were of lower
place in the school. Verily I remember this
time with much pleasure, and shall not count it
lost labour if I do set down in order some of the
things, both of earnest and of sport, which it
was then our custom to do.
Our manner of life, then, was this. There
were, as I have said, threescore scholars and
ten; and, out of these, four were appointed to
be prrposili, or "prepositors," as it may be


writ in English. We did all sleep in one great
chamber, and one of the said four prepositors had
the charge of the chamber for a week, and, when
the week was ended, another, and so till each
had discharged his duty. In the morning, then,
at five of the clock, the prepositor that had
authority for the time cried with a thundering
voice, Surgite," that is to say, Rise." Then
we did rise altogether, for it fared ill with any
that would ape the sluggard and seek a little
more folding of the hands to sleep, and we put
on our clothing, saying aloud meanwhile certain
prayers. These being ended, each made his
own bed, and swept under and about it, so that
no dust or foulness should remain. And all
that was so swept was gathered together in
heaps, which heaps four of the scholars, ap-
pointed thereunto by the prepositor, would
carry away to the appointed place. After this
we went in order, walking two and two, to wash
our hands. And our hands being washed, we
entered into the school-chamber and took each
his proper place. At six of the clock came
in the usher and said certain prayers kneeling
and heard such things as had been learned over


night, according as time might serve, beginning
with the lowest place. Meanwhile one of the
prepositors wrote down the names of such as
had been absent, if any there were, and gave
them to the usher; and another scanned dili-
gently the faces and hands of the younger sort,
so that none should come to his tasks unwashen.
And if he found any such, he wrote down their
names and gave them to the upper master.
Our manner of learning was this. The master
of the school would give forth in a loud voice
certain sentences in the vulgar tongue. These
sentences such as were of the fourth class would
render into Latin, and such as were of the fifth
would enlarge as their wits might prompt, and
the sixth and seventh, being the highest in
place, would arrange in order of verse. At
other times he would read from a book, making
choice of such passages as for easiness might
best suit the capacity of them that he taught.
And what he read his scholars would write
down; and when they had got such an under-
standing of it as that they might, they would
gather therefrom aught that was noteworthy-
proverbs, to wit, or similitudes, or histories of


notable places or persons, and the like. For
the younger scholars the upper master would
read the Sorrows of Ovid and Viroil's Pastorals,
and for the elder Virgil's E4neid and the
Letters of Cicero. At eleven of the clock we
ate, though, indeed, the most took occasion to
have something before. In the afternoon we
did for the most part rehearse such things as
we had learned in the morning. At six of
the clock, I do remember, certain of the elder
scholars that were set to this task by the masters
did teach the younger. At seven of the clock
we supped, and after this, permission having
been given, played awhile, and so to bed.
On Friday there was inquisition had of
such as had done amiss during the week past,
that they might suffer due punishment. To
these, verily, it was a day of dread, for Rhada-
manthus himself, whom the ancients did feign
to be the judge of the dead, was not more
stern than the upper master, who, though he
chastised not the guilty with the snakes of the
Furies, yet did with his birch rods exact full
penalty of guilt. But to them that had ac-
quitted themselves well, it was a day to be


highly esteemed, seeing that our tasks were
At certain seasons also of the year there was
given to us some indulgence. Thus, on the
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (being
the twenty-fifth day of the month of January),
or on some other day at that season, as the
weather and other occasions might serve, we
went to a certain place named the Mount. There
did we take all scholars that had been added
to the foundation during the year last past,
whom, having first sprinkled with salt, we did
afterwards handle with such wit (which in the
Latin tongue is sal, salt) as we could command.
And it was permitted to us to say what we would,
so only it was said in Latin, and had a certain
elegance, and lacked scurrility. Yet I doubt
me much whether the thing was pleasing to
the said new comers, who did oftentimes add yet
another kind of salt, shedding salt tears. And
at one of the clock we returned to the college
and played till the hour of sleep.
Also on the first day of May, those that would
might rise at four of the clock and gather
boughs of hawthorn wherewith to adorn the


windows of the chamber, provided only that
they did not come thereinto with feet wetted or
Also in September, on some day that the master
did appoint, we would go into the woods to
gather nuts, which we did with great mirth and
jollity. But first it was demanded of us that
we should make verses in the Latin tongue,
praising the fertility of autumn.
Also in November, on the day of St. Hugh,
sometime Bishop of Lincoln, we chose a boy
bishop, who did hold a visitation, and pass
censure on such as seemed to have offended
against the scholars in the year past; yea, and
performed also a certain semblance of the mass.
Writing this I am minded of another custom
touching holy things that seemeth worthy of
note, namely, that on the night of Easter Eve
three or four of the elder scholars, chosen by
the master, at the asking of him that had
charge of the chapel, watched with candles of
wax and torches, as though they watched at
the tomb of the Lord, lest the Jews should
steal the body.
At Christmas-tide we had also much mirth


and sport. And once in the year we were suf-
fered to depart to our homes, or, if the said
homes were too far distant, to the houses of such
friends as were willing to receive us. This
licence was given to us on the Feast of the
Ascension; only a charge was laid on us that
we should return to the college on the eve of
the Feast of Corpus Christi. Such as came
not back at the appointed hour were beaten with
rods of birch; but if any were absent yet longer,
their place in the college was altogether taken
from them. So it came to pass that, if Easter
fell as early as it may, we had near upon three
weeks of holiday; but if, on the other hand, it
fell at latest-that is to say, on the twenty-sixth
day of April-we had none.
Many things might I write concerning my
sojourn in this said school of Eton: how we
did swim in the Thames, which is here a
right noble and beautiful stream, also how we
did angle therein, and catch no small abun-
dance of trout and other fishes; for indeed there
is no river in all Christendom, as I have heard
say, that hath greater plenty of fish than
Thames. And indeed I mind me to this day


of a certain great trout that had ten pounds
and a half of weight, which I did catch
by the mill of Master Roger at Windsor.
For an hour and more was I striving with the
monster, which had well-nigh drawn me into
the water, as the holy youth Tobit was well-
nigh drawn. Once also I verily thought he
had escaped me, having wound my angling line
round a perilous great post that is the mill-tail.
Yet at the last, to my great joy, I handled him,
Master Miller helping with a net, for he loved
ever that the scholars should take their pleasure
in angling, so that they first asked his grace.
This great fish did I give to the upper master,
deeming that it could not worthily be served at
a less honourable table; and he called me and
four other of the scholars with me to supper.
And he gave us a flask, yea, if my memory
serveth, two flasks, of Malmsey wine; and we
had much pleasant talk with him, sitting at
table till ten of the clock, for it was the Feast
of St. John at the Latin Gate, when a certain
licence beyond the usual is allowed. Verily, as
the poet hath it, these things it delighteth me
to remember," only I may not spend too much

time upon them, having weightier matters
whereof to write.
Yet is there one other thing that I must
needs tell. In the month of March, in the year
1452, I, with some seven or eight other of the
scholars, did enter into the garden of the King's
castle at Windsor. And this we were suffered
to do, for the King, having a great kindness
for his scholars of Eton, would have it so;
only it was laid upon us a charge that we
should not thrust ourselves into such places as
the King himself was wont to frequent. Now,
whether we had forgotten this charge, as in-
deed as boys are apt to forget, or whether the
King had wandered beyond the walks wherein
he was wont to keep himself, I know not;
but so it fell that we came upon him unawares,
while he stood looking into a little pool that
there is in the garden. There was no one in
his company save one little page boy of ten
years or thereabouts. Nor had he any of the state
of a king. On his head he had a plain cap of
blue velvet, very dark of hue, without feather
or jewel or badge. His doublet was of black
silk, and his mantle of silk also, dark blue, and


his hosen black. Nor did he carry any sword
or dagger in his girdle; but he had a book in
his hand. Now, when we came upon him, and
this, as I have written, we did unawares, turning
a corner suddenly, we made as though we would
have fled, but he beckoned to us that we should
stay. And when we had made our obeisance
he talked with us, questioning us of our books,
yea, and of our sports also. And when he had
ended his questioning he said as to himself, in
a low voice, but so that we heard him, Happy
ye that are simple scholars, and have not laid
upon you this grievous charge of a crown;"
and after, in a louder voice, "Be ye good boys,
be gentle and tractable and servants of the
Lord." Then he gave to each one of us a quarter-
mark, and bade us God-speed. A comely face
he had, but of a woman rather than a man;
and his regard was sad, and at times, methought,
did wander somewhat; and indeed, not many
weeks after, he was for a time distraught. Verily,
if I may say so much without arraigning of Him
that doth order all things, he was ill set upon
a throne. He had done better as a monk, for
he loved books and learning and quiet ways.


Also he was a lover of God, and walked purely
and discreetly all his days; but to deal with
affairs of state, and to lead armies, and to keep
the peace between turbulent men that sought
each his own advantage-these things he could
not do. And so it fell out that though there
never sat on this throne of England a more
pious and godly prince, yet never hath there
been King under whom the realm hath suf-
fered more grievous loss and damage. I pray
that God lay not this evil to his charge, but
rather reckon to him that he ever loved learn-
ing and virtue and true religion.



IN the month of September, in the year 1455,
the Lord Bishop of Winchester, my good
friend and patron, cometh to Eton; who, after
talk had with the Provost and Master, sendeth
for me. And when I was come into his pre-
sence, and had made him due obeisance, louting
on one knee, and kissing his hand, and he, on his
part, had kissed me on either cheek, he saith,
"Nephew Thomas "-for he would call me
nephew, though I was not, indeed, nearer of kin to
him than cousin in the second degree-" Nephew
Thomas, I hear a good report of thee from
thy teachers, that thou hast made such progress
in honest letters, that there remaineth not much
in this place for thee to learn. Wilt thou, then,
be a scholar of Oxford ? I have it in my mind
to set up there a college for the encouragement


of true religion and sound learning, and, indeed,
have already made some beginning towards the
executing of this purpose. Also I have thereto
the consent and favour of my lord the King,
who, though he would willingly have persuaded
me to build my college at Cambridge, where
he hath set his foundation of King's College,
yet hath approved my design. For when I
set forth to him how I would convert St.
John Baptist Hospital, which King Henry, his
father, did found, into a college, he made
answer, 'Well, Master William, if it be so in
good deed, I am glad to hear of your godly
intentions. What assistance in this matter you
would that I should do, Master William, I will
forthwith do it.' I have for the present, there-
fore, set up a hall, which I have called the Hall
of St. Mary Magdalen, and have put therein
a president and scholars. Now, Master Provost
here telleth me that there is like to be no
vacant place in King's College for some time to
come. If so be, then, that thou desirest to ad-
vance thy studies further, I will make thee of
this said Magdalen Hall, not forgetting to give
thee such sustenance as thou mayest need. And


when my college is founded, which, indeed, I
hope will be, God favouring, within the space
of twelve months at the most, I will take thee
thither, and put thee in a scholar's place. And
verily, so only God help me, thou shalt not be
ashamed of thy college, Nephew Thomas."
And, indeed, already at the date of this writing,
though the work be not yet altogether finished,
there is no fairer foundation in all Christendom,
whether you regard the nobility of the buildings,
or the greatness of the revenues, or the number
and learning of the fellows and scholars that are
nurtured therein. I pray that it may ever have
this pre-eminence, and that it be not corrupted
by riches, as hath befallen other foundations,
wherein the very liberality of benefactors hath
turned to the undoing of their work.
Thereafter the good Bishop spake to me con-
cerning my future life; how should I behave
myself at Oxford. He warned me that I should
not consort with men of violence, or with them
that give themselves overmuch to sport, and
that I should not mix myself with the strifes that
are between the diverse nations of scholars on
the one hand, and between the whole body of


scholars and the townsfolk on the other. Be
reverent," he said, "to thy elders and betters;
fail not to uncover thy head to any that is of a
master's degree; be not abroad from thy cham-
ber after eight of the clock at the latest, except
for grave cause ; and apply thyself diligently to
thy learning. Thou hast now a few years for
seed-time (which will pass but too quickly,
though now they seem long in the looking
forward), but the harvest shall be for all
thy life." And other words he spake-not
many, but weighty concerning faith and
morals, which, indeed, I keep in my heart, re-
membering them as though they were spoken
but yesterday, but will not set down in this
place, because they were for my private ear
His admonition ended, the Bishop took from
his pouch five marks, and gave them to me,
saying, "Thy lodging, and thy meat and drink,
with lights and such other things as thou
needest, will be furnished thee without spending
of thine. But thou must buy the furniture of
thy chamber from him that had it before thee;
and thou wilt also be at some cost for thy journey.


And I would that thou shouldst have something
of money in thy pouch for such needs as may
occur, and especially for almsgiving. Be not
over careful, nor over ready to spend. But fear
not to spend upon books, so only thou buy
them for the goodness of their matter, and not
for the show of their binding, or the bravery of
gold and colours. In this I will bear thee out,
so that thou goest not beyond reason in thy
purchasing. Look not for an inheritance from
me, Nephew Thomas, for of that which is my
own I have made other disposal, and that which
cometh from the Church, to the Church it shall
go back; but I will not spare to furnish thee
well for that station of life to which thou shalt
be called." Then the Bishop, having first
.given me his blessing, departed.
On the fifth day of October there cometh to the
.college one Robert Westby, a fetcher of scholars
to and fro the University of Oxford, having
turned aside somewhat from his way by request
of the Provost that he might take me in his
company. Master Westby had in his train
twenty scholars or thereabouts, whom he had
gathered from divers places in the county of


Kent, to which county he belongeth by birth,
being a citizen of Canterbury, and, when he is
not busied with the fetching of scholars, a
scrivener by occupation. Certain of these twenty
were of tender age, having not more than twelve
years; and there was one only that was of
like age with myself. On the morrow we set
out, and that day we rode to Henley-upon-
Thames, and lay at a certain hostelry that is
hard by the river, having the sign of the
Swan. A fair town and a clean is this same
Henley, and Thames here is yet broader and
fairer to behold than he is at Eton. We had
a sweet lodging at the said inn, and a supper
of flesh and bread and eggs and beer. And
Master Brakespear, that was mayor of the town,
a lover of learning and a kinsman of Nicholas
Brakespear that was Pope under the title of
Adrian IV., sent two flasks of Malmsey for our
better entertainment. I mind me that of these
flasks Master Westby gave one cup to me and
one to my companion of like age, and took the
rest for himself, deeming it better, I doubt not,
that the younger scholars should not be touched
over soon with a liking for strong drink, of


which liking he himself did know how full of
damage it is. The next day we rose at six of
the clock, and came before evening to Oxford,
having rested awhile at Watlington, which lieth
half-way between Oxford and Henley. And
so, having first passed by a ford over a certain
small stream that is called Cherwell, we canie
to the city gate, and, this being passed, to
Magdalen Hall, whither I was bound, the said
hall standing at a furlong's length or there-
abouts from the river upon the left-hand side of
the way.' Here I parted from Master Westby,
and paid him his charges-to wit, for my
supper at Henley, two pence; and to my dinner
at Watlington, two pence; and to the hire of my
horse and his food, four pence.
This done, I was taken by the porter to
Master Horneley, Bachelor of Divinity, being
the President of the said hall, who, having been
advised beforehand of my coming by letter
from the Bishop, wherein I was spoken of, it

The present Magdalen College, which is on the rzht-hand
side of the traveller entering Oxford by the London Road, was
not yet built, and several of Waynflete's scholars dwelt in build-
ings leased from University College, on the opposite side of the


would appear, with praise beyond my deserts,
received me with much courtesy and favour.
Saith he, Master Aylmer, I have a fair cham-
ber for you, which indeed I would not give but
to one that will do credit to the house: and
this, as my good lord the Bishop hath written,
thou art like to do. It looketh towards the
south, and this is of no small advantage, for
the saving of fuel in" the winter season, so that
thou wilt find thine allowance suffice. And in
summer it is not ever hot, because it is not
close under the roof. It hath been built this
hundred years and more, yet never hath any
scholar that dwelt therein died of plague or
fever." Therewith he taketh me to a chamber
that was some fourteen feet each way, and
having nine feet of height. Two windows it
had, fairly glazed. It was, I take it, not less
than thirty feet from the ground.
After this the President taketh from his
pouch a bill of the goods and chattels of him
that had of late dwelt in this chamber. This
bill I have kept, and will here set forth :
I Bed ... ..... ... .... .. ... ... I6d.
I M attress ... ... ... ... ... ... 2od.


2 Blankets ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 16d.
I Coverlet of white and black, with birds
and flowers ... ... ... ... ... ... 6d.
4 Sheets ... ... .. ... .... ... 8d.
I Coffer ... ... ... .. ... ... ... ... 2d.
4 Candlesticks ... ... ... ....... od.
3 hairs ... .. ... ... .. ... ... 3d.
I Curtain for the bed of white ... ...... 2d.
2 Curtains for the windows of red ... ... 6d.
I Lantern ... ... ... ... ...... ..... 2d.
I Table ... ... ... .. ... .. ... ... 8d.
I Bellows for the fire ... ... ... ... Id.
3 Plates, 2 cups, 3 knives, 3 forks ... ... 15d.

The sum of these things was one hundred
and twenty-five pence, that is to say, thirty-five
pence short of one mark. Also there was a
hornpipe which was valued at the price of one
penny; but this I sold to a certain townsman
that dealt in such things for the same money,.
and therefore count it not in my furnishing. But
I find not in this bill aught for towels. Of these
I bought three, paying therefore six pence, and
four pence I paid to the writer of the bill. Also
on the morrow I bought a pen and an inkhorn
and paper, for the which I paid one shilling.
And that which was left out of the mark, being
five pence (for the cost of travelling was eight:
pence) I gave in alms to the poor, that there
might be a blessing on my work, for as the:


Scripture hath it, "Qui dat pauperibus is
-mutuatur Domino." I That which remained to
me of the Bishop's money I gave in charge
to Master Thomas, the Manciple, keeping only
therefrom for present needs one shilling. For
it was my purpose to take counsel of my teachers
touching the buying of books.
S" He that giveth to the poor lendeth unto the Lord."



So much have I said of my leaving the College
of Eton and coming to Oxford, and of my
settling myself in a chamber in Magdalen Hall.
And now I will write somewhat of my manner
of life. And first of outward things. For my
chamber I paid three shillings and sixpence by
the term, and for my commons, that is to say,
for food and drink, twelve pence by the week;
for lectures I paid two shillings by the term;
and of terms there are four in the year. Also
to the servants of the hall, of whom there were
twain, the upper and the lower, one shilling and
four pence by the year. Now these things
being added together, and forty weeks being
reckoned unto the year, it followeth that I was
at a cost year by year of fifty-three shillings and


four pence. Now the Bishop did make to his
scholars an allowance, till his college should
have its revenues duly appointed supplied, of
three pounds by the year. And to me he gave,
by the hands of the Principal, twenty shillings
further for kindred's sake, as he said. And he
was ready also to provide so much more as
should be needed from time to time upon occa-
sions extraordinary, such as the taking of the
degree, when a scholar must give a feast to the
masters that examine him, and also give them
robes or other gifts.
On the feast of St. Benet, being the ninth day
of October and the first of Michaelmas term,
High Mass was said at the Church of St. Mary,
and after a sermon was preached in the Latin
tongue, wherein we scholars were warned, or
such of us at the least as could understand the
words spoken, that we should fear God and be
obedient unto our governors. On the morrow,
and on all the days following, except, indeed, it
was a festival, I heard a lecture from the Pre-
sident at nine of the clock, and another in the
schools at ten in rhetoric, and yet another in
logic at twelve. And after dinner there were


lectures again, or disputations of those that dis-
puted for their degrees, from one of the clock
till three. These exercises being ended, I
would walk abroad in the fields for my recrea-
tion, or sometimes would play at ball with my
fellows, or stand and watch when certain of the
higher sort of scholars (for to none others was
it permitted) would contend together at tennis.
And sometimes there was a match of shooting
at a mark with the long-bow or the cross-bow,
and at other times there would be leaping and
wrestling. These all I liked well to see, but
took no part therein, having loved quieter ways
from my youth.
And now to tell of certain things that came
to pass while I dwelt at Oxford. I do re-
member that on the morrow of All Souls, in
the first year of my sojourn, while I sat in the
School of Logic, about half-past ten of the clock
there came a great knocking at the door, which
when one of the scholars had opened, appeareth
threat the Bedell, crying with a loud voice,
"Master Willoughby," for he it was that
lectured, "hast thou here one John Weston ? "
Now the said Weston sat by me, and when he

heard his name, he rose up in his place, and
said, "What seekest thou of me, Master Bedell ?"
And he answered, I have authority to take
thee before the Chancellor, or his deputy, for
that thou didst draw thy dagger upon William
the Tailor, in St. Ebbe's, at four of the clock
in the afternoon on the feast of All Saints."
Then all the scholars that sat in the chamber
rose up and followed the Bedell and Master
Weston to Lincoln College, whereof the
Rector, Doctor John Beke, was deputy for the
Chancellor. And as we went I heard not a
little whispering and murmuring from certain
friends and companions of the said Weston.
Thus one did say, This William the Tailor is
a sorry villain, and it had been no loss, but rather
a gain, if Weston had slain him. He did take
half a mark of me for a doublet and cloak of
blue cloth but six months since, and the doublet
hath holes already." "Yea," said another, he
played me a like scurvy trick ; and when I was
loth to pay, haled me before the Chancellor
and so compelled me." Then said a third,
"Shall we take him out of the hands of the
Bedell?" "Nay," answered one that seemed

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older and of greater authority, that were ill
done. See, there be six stout fellows with arms
that are ready to help the Bedell, so that it is
most like ye will harm yourselves and do no
good to \Iaster Weston." And when we came
to Lincoln College, which is a fair building but
unfinished, the greater part tarried without; but
two or three friends went with Master Weston
before the deputy. These, coming forth in no
long space, said that the deputy had bound him
to keep the peace towards William the Tailor,
and put upon him a fine of four shillings, and
that he should be imprisoned in the Castle of
Oxford till the said fine should be paid. And
there will he lie," saith one, "for he hath not
four shillings-no, nor the half of it." Nay,"
the other made answer, we will order it better
than that. For, though he hath not money, he
hath that whereof money may be made." And
when I inquired of one that stood by what these
words meant, he answered, Come, if thou
wouldst know-for I perceive that thou art new
to this place-to the Church of St. Mary the
Virgin, on the Feast of St. Andrew, at nine of
the clock; for Master Weston must even lie in

prison for so long." So on the Feast of St.
Andrew I went to the said church. Hard by
the screen of the altar was a great chest, bound
with iron, and having on the lid a great lock..
And there stood by the chest two priests wearing
gowns, and over their gowns black capes, and.
over the capes hoods of white fur. These,"
said he that had spoken to me, for he also had
come, be the keepers of the chest, and one is.
of the northern nation and one of the southern.
And he that hath the hood of red is the Bursar
of Lincoln College, who is also joined in the
trust." But," said I, "what meaneth this
chest ?" And he laughed, but softly and under
his breath, as remembering in what place he
stood, and made answer, Happy thou, young
sir, if thou shouldst never have occasion to.
know. But hearken. This is the chest of William
Audley, Bishop of Lincoln. He left there-
with one hundred marks to the end that such
scholars of this University that had need might
borrow on pledges. These pledges are kept in
the chest, and this day is appointed for the:
redeeming of them, and for lending the money
afresh. And he that standeth by, with an ink-


horn and a pen in his girdle, is Master More,
the stationer, whose charge it is that a pledge
be rightly appraised, and that the chest suffer
no loss. But note what shall be done." Then
I saw that one of the two keepers put his key
into the lock and turned it, and then the other,
and after him, again, the Bursar of Lincoln
College. And when the three keys had been
so turned, the lock was opened. After this
there came not a few, both masters and
bachelors and scholars, with money in their
hands wherewith to redeem their pledges. The
pledges were for the most part books; but I
noted also sundry cups, and daggers with hilts
of silver. And when all had come and departed,
having paid their money, and taken that which
they sought, there yet remained five or six
pledges that were not redeemed. "These,"
said my companion, "will be presently sold;
only Master More will not suffer that they
should be sold for less than their true worth.
But note, my friend, that the cups and daggers
are redeemed all of them, but the pledges that
are left are books. 'Tis ever so, for men love
feasting and fighting better than learning."


Nevertheless, when the books were sold there
lacked not purchasers. After this the money
was counted. And I saw that the two keepers
differed from each other in the counting, which
they did, not once or twice only, but many times.
But at the last the Bursar of Lincoln, who, they
say, is a notable man in such matters, did put
the matter right. After this followed the
lending out of money upon pledges. First
cometh the Bursar of Brasenose College that
would borrow sixty shillings (for more may not
be lent upon pledges) upon a missal, very fairly
bound in white vellum and gold, and with
rare pictures within, as I saw, when he showed
the book to Master More. And after him
certain masters with books and cups and the
like. And after the masters the bachelors,
and after the bachelors the scholars. Of these
last, one would fain have borrowed certain
moneys upon a cross-bow, to whom one of the
keepers spake roughly, Nay, Sirrah, we lend
not the Bishop's money on such goods as thine.
And what hast thou to do with cross-bows and
such gear ? Knowest thou not that it is not
lawful for scholars to carry arms ? 'Tis well


for thee that there is no Proctor at hand, else
wouldst thou lose it altogether and suffer a
fine also." Then the poor lad turned away,
not without tears, though these he was fain to
hide. And I had knowledge of him that he had
sat nigh me many times when Master Williams
lectured on rhetoric, and that he was ill-clad
and as, I judged, ill-fed, but of a keen wit, if
ever wit can be seen in a man's countenance,
and most intent upon learning. After him
cometh up Master Weston's friend with a
dagger, having a silver hilt in his hand. I.
would borrow six shillings upon this," saith he.
" Nay," said the keeper, when he had talked
awhile with Master More, thou canst have
but four only." Ye are over-hard," saith the
scholar, for this is a true blade of Damascus,.
and the silver is of the best, and the workman-
ship of no mean skill. Also there is a jewel of
amethyst in the upper part of no small worth..
MIoreover it is the chattel of a poor scholar that.
must lie in a prison except he can pay his fine."
" I care not for thy poor scholar," saith Master
Keeper, for whom doubtless prison is the fittest
place. But I will look again at the dagger,


Didst see the amethyst, Master More ?" "'Tis
no great matter," said he, yet ye may lend
five shillings and sixpence more without damage
to the chest." And this was done. Then, for
there were none other pledges to be dealt with,
the chest was locked again with the three
keys, and the people departed from the church.
But as I went back to the hall I was aware
of the poor scholar with the cross-bow. And
God, for I doubt not that it was He, put it into
my heart that I should speak to him. So I
said, I pray thy pardon that I should speak,
being a stranger, but I have seen thee in Master
Williams his logic lecture, and I would fain help
thee, for thou seemest to be in trouble." I
thank thee," answered he, "for thy good will;
but my trouble is past thy help." And he made
as if he would turn away. But I, though I be
not by nature bold and confident with strangers,
would not leave him, for something within me
seemed to forbid; and, at the last, after much
insistency on my part, he told me his story. I
am," said he, "a yeoman's son at Peckwater
Hall. And because I was a lover of books
from the very first, my father sent me to this


place. But he has had a hard shift to keep me
here, for the farm is but poor land, and there
are three of us besides myself-that is to say,
three sons and two daughters. And now things
go the worse with us by reason of the wars.
This week he had thought to send me ten
shillings; but the soldiers came forth out of
Shrewsbury town and took a flock of geese,
forty in all, fat birds, which he had ready for
the market, so that he could send me nought.
And now I owe to the Principal four shillings
and ten pence for commons, though I live as
sparely as I can, for I have not paid aught
since the beginning of this term. And if I
discharge not the debt, or at the least pay
somewhat, I must depart, for such goods as I
possess are but of little worth. And if I depart,
then is all my time and labour lost, and I have
been in this place for six years and more. Nor
can I dig or follow the plough. Only one thing
remaineth. The sword hath never enough to
devour, and I will make my living out of that
which hath brought me to ruin." Then I thought
to myself that I should not ill spend good
Bishop William's money if I helped this poor


scholar. And this, that I dwell not over-long
on my own doing, I did, lending him ten shil-
lings. After he became my fast friend; and
though through this friendship I did suffer, as I
shall tell hereafter, if my strength suffice, such
grievous sorrow as had like to bring me to the
grave, never have I repented thereof; yea, and
to this hour I love John Eliot-for that was the
poor scholar's name-with my whole soul, and I
do thank God who put it into my heart to help



ON the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen, in the
year 1456, the Lord Bishop of Winchester did
by God's blessing and favour fulfil the purpose
which was in his heart, founding his college,
which he named after the said saint, to whose
honour he had ever a most special devotion.
Let no one, indeed, think that he has at this
time altogether finished the said college. Verily,
at this present writing much yet remaineth to
be done. Nevertheless, he at this time made a
beginning, yea, and such a beginning as would
have contented one of a less princely heart for
an end. For on the feast day aforesaid there
were finished for use lodgings for the President.
of the said college, and chambers for certain
of the fellows and demies (for he called the
scholars demies as having half commons). Also


there were built such necessary things as a
kitchen and a buttery. But the chapel and
the hall were not yet finished. For the Bishop
was minded that these should be of such an
excellence as should not be surpassed in any
college of Christendom. And for the sustenta-
tion of this said college he had given sundry
manors. Certain benefices also had he given,
that when they that taught therein had fulfilled
a certain number of years they might for greater
,ease and rest-for the Bishop knew how much
toil and trouble they have who teach-be pre-
sented to the said benefices. Now the order of
the doings on this day were as I shall now write.
First, there was the singing of High Mass
in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, at which
many were present, and not a few notable per-
sons--bishops, and abbots, and nobles, and the
Chancellor, George Nevill, of Balliol College,
and the principals of all the colleges, being
seven in number, for the Rector of Lincoln
College, Master Beck, came not, being hindered
by the sickness of which not long after he died.
Mass having been sung, the Bishop cometh to
the Hall of St. Mary Magdalen, which was


indeed to the college of the like name even as
in the Commonwealth of the Jews the taber-
nacle was to the temple. In the said hall were
gathered together the President and masters
and scholars, and all others that did partake of
the Bishop's bounty. And all the place about,
even to the housetops, was crowded with an
innumerable company of spectators. Then the
Bishop leadeth across to the college the whole
company of masters and scholars, the people:
making a great shouting, and not a few praying
to God that He would bless this great work..
Even as in old time some man of renown
would lead a colony from a city whose borders,
were too strait for its inhabitants, so did the
Bishop lead his company. And verily, as such
founders of colonies were ever held in especial
honour throughout all generations, so shall the
Bishop be held in honour by all that enjoy his.
benefactions in time to come; yea, and by all
Christian men. Truly, the lines have fallen in
pleasant places to them that have a part in this,
college. For, not to speak of the beauty and
conveniency of the buildings, the place itself is
by nature delightsome. Here Cherwell floweth


"with a clear stream, bordered with fair trees;
and there is a park of deer, such as a baron or
*earl might gladly possess. And when the
Bishop, the President and masters and scholars
following him, had compassed the whole domain,
he gathered the whole company together under
a great tree that there was, they of the college
"standing nighest to him, and the rest-that is
to say, all the notable persons both in the
University and in the city of Oxford-being
without, and made an oration, of which I will
here set down the substance. Ye see here the
beginning of a work which I have purposed to
do for the glory of God, and for the commemo-
ration of the Blessed Saint Mary Magdalen,
and for the setting forward of religion and
sound learning in this University and realm.
And now, not for the glorifying of myself,
but for the more effectual carrying out of
my purpose, I will declare what is in my
heart to do. I will that there be a President
and Fellows of this college, the said Fellows
being forty in number, priests all of them, but
given to various studies such as are commonly
followed in this place; and because there hath


been. talk elsewhere of favour and partiality in
the choosing of fellows, I will that these be
taken from various shires and dioceses in this
realm as shall be ordered hereafter. And there
shall be thirty scholars who shall be called
demies. And for the more decent performance
of divine service there shall be chaplains
skilled in singing, also singing men and sing-
ing boys, and for the teaching of the said
boys and of others dwelling in this town, a
schoolmaster and an usher. And I do lay a
charge on all that are now or shall be hereafter
partakers of this benefaction that they use such
good things as shall be provided soberly and in
the fear of God, and for the promoting of true
religion and sound learning. And because the
frailty of man is such that he needeth oversee-
ing, I have ordained that the Bishop of Win-
chester shall be visitor of this college, with
power to correct all disorders and abuses, so
only that he change not the statutes that are
made for its good government."
This oration ended, the Bishop took from the
hands of his notary sundry parchments and gave
them to the President. Here," said he, ye


have the titles of sundry manors and benefices
which I have given, even as God hath given
them to me, for your sustentation. Take heed
that ye waste them not." After this the notary
read aloud the charter under the hand of the
King, whereby the President, fellows, and
demies of the College of St. Mary Magdalen
were made a Corporation with power to hold
lands. And this done, the Bishop gave to the
President a seal, saying, Ye shall use this seal
when ye shall have occasion to make any deed."
After this we went to the Church of St. Mary
the Virgin, the chapel of the hall being too
strait for the company, where the clerks sang
the Te Deum Laudamus. This ended, it being
now one of the clock, there was a great feast
held. Of this I have kept the bill, and will
here set it forth, knowing that such matters,.
though they are but of little moment to them
that read at this present, will seem notable to
them that come after. For do we not ourselves
read with much pleasure how the ancients did
eat and drink, at what price they did buy flesh
and fish and wine, and many other matters of the
same kind ?


First. Brawn and mustard, with Malmsey.

A subtlety of St. George (that is to say, a figure of St.
George slaying the Dragon done in sugar and wax).
Soup of meat of Cyprus.
Partridge in Red sauce.
Pestles I of Vension roast.
Swan roast.
Fatted Capons.
Teals roast.
Pike salted.
Woodcocks baked.
Partridge in jelly.
A Dolphin in paste, a subtlety.
A Hart, a subtlety.

Crane roast.
Cony roast.
Heronshaw roast.
Curlewe roast.
Venison baked.
A Dragon, a subtlety.
Jelly of Damascus.
Samson, a subtlety.

Dates in paste.
Peacock with his beak gilt.
Rabbits roast.
Partridges roast.
Plovers and Quails roast.
Larks roast.
Tench in jelly.
Venison baked.

Marchpane of filberts, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, and
rosed sugar.
Also Wafers and Hippocras when dinner was done.

Dinner ended, the Bishop drank to the
President, and after gave him the cup out of
the which he drank, a fair goblet of silver gilt,
having three handles, which might hold three
quarts at the least, saying, "This shall be thy
.cup, Master President, and of them that shall
sit after thee in thy place." And the Chancellor
.drank to the Bishop. After this the company
rose up and went each man to his own place.
The same day, after evensong, which the
Bishop did sing himself, for he is not one who
will do all such things by his chaplain, the
Bishop sendeth for me, and, after he had ques-
tioned me of my welfare and of my studies,
putting to me sundry questions in logic and
philosophy which, by the favour of the Saints, I
answered not amiss, he said, Thy elders speak
well of thee, Nephew Thomas. Now, as this
is a day of benefactions, ask what thou wilt;
and if it be within reason, as I doubt not it will,
it shall be done unto thee." Then I bethought
me of John Eliot, and that haply I might


further his fortunes. So I set forth to the
Bishop his poor estate and his great love of
learning, saying at the last, "One hath helped
him that he is not in any present need; but I
doubt me much how it shall fare with him in
the time to come; for he came to this place, he
telleth me, but ill-taught, and can scarce answer
for his degree for three years." Then said the
Bishop, "And who is it that helped him?
Nay, answer not, for thy blush bewrayeth thee.
Thou shalt have thy desire. I must needs ask,
if it be but for form's sake, of the Principal of
Peckwater, what manner of life he hath followed.
And if, as I doubt not, the report be good, thy
friend shall have a demy's place in the college."
And this, that I be not tedious, was done the
day following. After this the friendship that
was between us two grew yet stronger and
closer, seeing that we had not only as before
oneness of temper, but also oneness of place.



I DOUBT me much whether there be anywhere
in the world friendship so fast and so little
marred by strife or jealousy or any such thing
as that which doth sometimes spring up between
young men that, being under the roof of one
college, do follow in company both study and
sport. Nor is it of necessity for such friendship
that the two should be altogether like in temper
and liking and manner of life. Thus there
was between John Eliot and me something of
difference, notably in this that he was of a
fiercer temper and was over ready with his
hands when there was any occasion of strife.
Very stalwart was he and strong, standing, like
Saul the son of Kish, by head and shoulders.
above the people, for he had six feet and inches.
as many of stature, and a mighty boxer withal,.
having both strength and skill, so that I was


wont to say not Castor himself, whom the
ancients fabled to be prince of boxers, could
have surpassed him. Now there were in the
days of which I write such strifes and dis-
putings, yea and such riots and tumults, as had
scarce before been known since King Alfred of
pious memory first did erect his University at
Oxford. The place is always somewhat un-
quiet, ay and always will be, so long as the
blood of youth shall be hot. But now not only
were there the accustomed feuds, the Northern
men contending with the Southern men, and
the Welshmen, of whom there were many in
the University, with the English, but the strife
which was even then beginning to divide this
whole realm, if I may so speak, into two
armies did rage furiously, some following the
House of York and some the House of Lan-
caster, so that not only were colleges divided
against colleges, but often times a college would
be divided against itself. Verily I have seen
blood flowing and heads broken, and battles that
but for the intervening of the older and wiser
sort had ended in death, in the very quadrangle
and hall of our college.

I do remember that there was a great fight
between the scholars of Peckwater Hall and
the scholars of Merton College, which fell out,
if my memory serveth me well, after dark in the
month of November. Of this, indeed, the first
cause and beginning was no great matter, but a
thing altogether mean and trifling. For nation
did not rise against nation, nor they that
favoured the white rose contend with them that
loved rather the red; but a certain scholar of
Merton did in a frolic snatch a can of beer
which a citizen was carrying to his home. Of
this a scholar of Peckwater, being his acquain-
tance that was robbed of the beer, took note.
And so both parties crying "Rescue," there was
within a short space of time a mighty uproar;
and this all the more because it chanced to be
a feast-day, and the hearts of some were lifted
up within them with strong drink. For first
the men of Merton drave back the men of
Peckwater to their gate, so that they were fain
to shut themselves within it. Then again
these, having gathered their strength together,
issued forth, and, taking their adversaries un-
aware, put them to flight, being not a little


helped therein by the strong arm of John Eliot.
For it so chanced that he and I had that day
walked abroad, it being, as I have written, a.
holiday, and were now returning later than was.
our wont. So as we came up the street which
is called High Street, returning towards our
college from the village of Cumnor, we heard a.
great shouting. And when John Eliot discerned
in this, for there was indeed a very Babel of
voices, the cry Peckwater," nothing would con-
tent him but he take his part in the fray, having
been, as I have written before, at the first a
scholar of this said hall. So he ran down the
lane that is called Oriel Lane, I following him,.
for though I loved not his more turbulent mood,
I would not leave him. And when we came.
to the space that is between Peckwater and
Merton it was a very field of battle, into which
straightway plungeth Master John, having no,
arms but those which nature provideth-for so,
far he was law abiding-but using these with
all his might. And in a short space he came
to the gate of Merton, which was now open to,
receive them that fled, and he would fain-so
carried away was he by the fury of battle-have

entered therein, even as Turnus in Virgil's
" /Eneid" entereth alone into the camp of
Trojans, but that I caught him by the doublet,
and besought him that he would take heed.
" For this," I said, "is no quarrel of thine ; and
they that meddle with strife that concerneth
them not will verily repent them of their foolish-
ness. Think too," I said, of the good Bishop,
thy patron." When he heard this he held his
hand, and stood aside from the fray. There-
upon the men of Merton recovered their
ground, even as did the Trojans when Achilles
came no longer into the battle. Then I said,
" Shall we not depart, for surely they that make
so great an uproar will answer for it." Nor
did he refuse to listen to me. So we departed,
very much to our profit, for we had scarce
gone when came the Southern Proctor with his
company and ran between the combatants to
part them. But they, so eager were they for
the battle, took no heed of him, yea and
wounded him, smiting him with a stone upon
the cheek so that his jaw was well-nigh broken,
and with a staff upon the right arm so that he
could not use it for the space of three months.


After this came a great posse of masters whom
the Chancellor's deputies had gathered together
with the constables of the town and laid hands
upon all whom they found. On every one of
these, and also on all whom by inquisition held
they could learn to have taken part in this uproar,
was there laid a fine of three shillings. Out of
this there was paid to the Proctor six marks for
the solacing of his hurt and for the payment of
the physician that did wait upon him. And as
for the student that by his frolic did first give
occasion for strife, he was banished from the
University for the space of one whole year. As
for John Eliot, he escaped without fine or
.censure, for all that he was known to many on
either side.
We two had other sport also, and of a more
laudable kind. Thus John Eliot would take
his cross-bow-for which weapon both he and I
had no small liking, as being that which at the
first had brought us together-and shoot hares
and rabbits in Bagley Wood and the fields
thereabouts, having first obtained the grace of
Master John Dennis, to whom the said wood
and its appurtenances belonged. And I would

go with him, but the cross-bow I never handled,
being better content to see him handle it, which
indeed he did with a skill that was beyond com-
pare. So sure of aim was he, that the keeper
of the deer in the park would make request to
him that he would kill such as were needed for
the table, a thing which may not be done at
hazard or by an unskilful hand. Verily the
keeper who should lodge a bolt in the haunch
of a stag, as is not unlike to happen when it
flieth before him, would of a surety lose his place.
Then again I would take my angle, sometimes
to Cherwell and sometimes to Thames, for in
both of these rivers there is a notable store of
fish, if you are content to go somewhat far afield,.
as to Sandford and Bablock and Islip. And in
the matter of angling I did get much instruction
from one Master Hevor, Prior of the scholars of
the Black Friars at Gloucester Hall. Master
Hevor was a monk of St. Albans, and had
charge of such scholars as purposed to take
the vows in the said Abbey (of which matter I
shall say more hereafter). He did lend to me
for my reading a certain little book which was.
written by Dame Juliana Berners, Prioress of


the Convent of Sopwell, on this same topic of
angling; from which said book I learned many
things, especially about the taking of pikes and
roaches. And as I would stand by and mark
John when he did shoot, so would John stand by
when I handled the angle, for which pastime he.
had small liking, affirming that it needed more
patience than he could command. Of watch-
ing the line," he would say, I weary right soon ;
but of talking to thee, friend Thomas, I weary
not." And I do verily believe that he loved me
even as I have ever loved him.
In the year 1459, being the fourth year of
my sojourning at Oxford, we two purposed to
answer of our degree of Bachelor. And this we
did, beginning on the eighth day after Ash-
Wednesday, and continuing to answer for nine
days (nor was this time beyond that which is.
customary, and indeed I have heard that the
questioning hath been continued even until the
end of the term). There are two-and-thirty
masters that sit in the schools; and all these
have the right to lose, for so the putting of
questions is called, but some are content not to
exercise it. Also they may put what questions


"they will, only the Chancellor, or his deputy, or
the Proctors, may intervene, if it should seem
to them that such questions go beyond fair-
ness and reason. And of this I had myself
experience, to my no small thankfulness. For
one Master Lawrence, posing in a book of Aris-
totle, being one that loved the reputation of
asking such questions as none could answer,
was like to have put me into a sore dilemma.
Saith Master Lawrence, Doth not St. Paul
the Apostle commend the virtue of humility as
being singularly fitting to a Christian man, and
that more than once ?" "Yea," answered I,
"he doth." "And doth not Aristotle, when
he placeth virtue in the mean between two
extremes, name humilitas or humility as an
extreme which erreth by defect, even as arro-
gance erreth by excess, greatness of mind being
in the mean ? How dost thou reconcile these
two ? Dost thou hold with Aristotle, or with
Paul ? And when I knew not what to answer,
saith one of the Proctors, Nay, Master
Lawrence, thou dealest with this lad as thou
wert a bishop, holding inquisition of a Lollard
or other heretic. Why dost thou shut him


f "= -.-"-. -
I- : -




up to a choice which he may not conveniently
make either this way or that ?" So did I joy-
fully escape from the jaws of Master Lawrence.
Verily I would not praise myself; yet may I
say that I answered not without applause, as.
also did John Eliot, for we were in close com-
pany during this whole time. Especially well did
we acquit ourselves in the School of Rhetoric,,
where one Master Butler, a master of Exeter
College, did question us about the eighth and
ninth book of the Elhica of Aristotle, wherein
friendship is treated of. For these books, it so
chanced, we had read together with notable
care. And when Master Butler asked us of
Cicero's treatise on Friendship, commonly called
the Laelius, here also he found us well prepared.
And when desirous to know whether we knew
more of Cicero, it so chanced that he lighted
upon his book Concerning the Orator," which
book also we had but lately read. Thus did
we gain reputation beyond our deserts, being
favoured by Fortune, who though she never
helpeth them that are altogether without deserv-
ing, doth undoubtedly impart of her favour
more liberally to some than to others.


The posing ended, we were admitted to the
,degree of Bachelor. And after, we that were
.so admitted gave to the Masters gowns and
hoods, or a composition in money to such as
$chose money; also we gave a feast plentifully
furnished both with flesh and fish, though indeed
it was the season of Lent, for we had a dispen-



AFTER the Commemoration of Founders and
Benefactors in this same year, the vacation
being now nigh at hand, saith John Eliot,
Thinkest thou not, Thomas, that we two have
applied ourselves to our books as never yet did
two since this University was set up-or, shall I
rather say, since books were first writ ? What
sayest thou to a holiday ?" Yea, with my
whole heart," said I. Then saith he, "And where
shall we better spend it than at my father's
house ? He hath had somewhat to say to thee
these three years and more, and blameth me in
every epistle that I do not bring thee. I too
would fain see him, for he growth old, and
hath been somewhat shaken of late with sick-
ness. There is my mother also, and the maids
my sisters, and young Will my brother, who


must be grown a proper lad. It is nigh upon
six years since I saw them. Canst thou be
content to bestow thyself for a matter of two
months or thereabouts in a yeoman's house-
hold ? Thou shalt be welcome for my sake at
thy first coming, and after, I know it well, for
thine own. Of sport thou shalt have that which
thou lovest best, angling to thy heart's desire,
for Severn limiteth my father's farms on the one
side, a stream which may compare with Thames
himself. In him thou shalt take the very king
of fishes, even the salmon, who seemeth to
me not to love Thames overmuch, so seldom
doth he come, but is as frequent in Severn
as are the chevenders in Cherwell, where he
floweth under the shadow of trees. And if
thou canst not be content to live so long with-
out books, we have more than be often found,
yea, even in a knight's household. For my
mother was sister's child to Sir Richard War-
rington, a very learned clerk, that was Parson of
Wednesbury in Shropshire, and had the inherit--
ance of his books. And as for travelling, there
has come in our way such a chance as could
not have been looked for. Yestereven I found


at the door of the Angel hostelry a certain
priest from Shropshire that is of my kindred.
\Vhen we had greeted one another, saith he,
Well met, Cousin John. I was even now
about to seek thee at thy college, having a
certain matter wherein thou canst serve me.
I am lately promoted by favour of the Lord
Chancellor to a benefice in London, and am
even now on my way to take possession. And
I have with me Thomas Ball, that hath been
my servant for these twenty years past, as
perchance thou knowest. The simple fellow
would not leave me, but must with me to
London, though what he will do in the city
God knoweth. But Thomas was ever master in
such things, and I was content to obey. So we
two have ridden hither from Shrewsbury, and,
if I could sell our horses to no great damage,
so I would do, and finish our journey in the
waggon. Knowest thou then any honest man
in Oxford with whom I may safely have
dealings in this matter?' 'Thou askest a hard
thing, Cousin Edward,' I made answer, 'for
honesty and the buying and selling of horses
are not close friends. Yet doubtless I can


help thee.' Then, as I pondered the matter
by myself, there came into my head, in one
flash as it were, this counsel : We two will buy
my cousin's horses, and will ride them slowly
and carefully to Shrewsbury, so that they shall
be in good case when we are arrived thither.
And I will sell them at Shrewsbury fair, not, I
warrant thee, without profit. So shall we have
somewhat of advantage, and my cousin no
damage. But, say, wilt thou come ? for verily
if thy good will be wanting, my whole counsel
is naught." Yea," said I, I will come. And
thy counsel concerning the horses is notably
wise. Say, shall we leave being scholars, and
become chapmen in horses ? Thou shalt be the
master, and I the man." That will we con-
clude," saith he, "when we have counted the
profit on our first venture. But now let us
away to my cousin the priest." And when
we were come to the Angel we found him in
the stable, looking with a countenance some-
what rueful at his horses. And when he
turned and saw us, he said to John Eliot-for I
lagged somewhat behind as being a stranger-
" And is this thy honest dealer, Cousin John ?

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