Category Archives: Custom

Conversation Custom Dining Men

We will have a paire of sausages

I haven’t blogged in a while due to lack of time, but today I found myself reading the wonderful John Florio’s First Fruites (1578), an Anglo Italian dictionary and phrasebook. It’s one of my favourite Elizabethan texts since it reveals much about how people interacted with each other in the course of daily life. Regular readers of the blog will already have read my earlier posts from First Fruites, and my little potted biography of Florio, but anyone else interested can find them here.

Today’s extract is a conversation between two men who meet on the street, and their subject matter is surprisingly contemporary.

‘God save you sir.’
‘The like I wishe to you.’
‘I commend me unto your lordship.’
‘When shal we see one another?’
‘When it pleaseth you.’
‘When will your lord come to the Court?’
‘Tomorrow, if it please God.’
‘I have seene a fayre damsell, I wyl goe and make her some musicke with Violes, or els Lute as soon as I have dyned.’
‘Will you that I keep you companie?’
‘Gladly, and I will give you two or three quartes of wine.’
‘I will go with you.’
‘I will knowe of her if shee will please to come and sup with me, I will be glad of her companie.’
‘Methinks she is very courteous.’
‘Verily she is very gallant.’
‘What do you think of the two women that go there together?’
‘Methinkes they are three.’
‘So me thinkes too.’
‘One of them is maried.’
‘It is so certaine.’
‘I would I had the like, and that she were mine.’
‘So would I also.’
‘Well I will go and walk in Cheape to buy something.’
‘And what will you buy?’
‘I will buy a hat, a payre of white Stockens, and I will buy me a payre of Pumpes.’
‘Tell me, how like you this sword and this dagger? Is it good?’
‘Me thinkes it is very good. I would I had the like for a Crowne.’
‘These Gloves, are they well perfumed?’
‘Yes certainly: who hath perfumed them?’
‘An English man.’
‘My garters are a good colour, and so are my Stockens also.’
‘So they are, where bought you them?’
‘On Cheape, they cost me ten shillings.’
‘Me thinks that is cheape.’
‘And me thinks it is deare.’
‘I will ride into the country.’
‘How long will you tarry there?’
‘I will tarry a month.’
‘What will you do so long?’
‘I will see the killing of some Buck if I can, afore I returne to the citie.’
‘Is there a great plentie?’
‘Yes, very great.’
‘Have you a horse?’
‘No sir, but I will buy one or else I will hyre one.’
‘What shall you pay a day?’
‘I know not, but I beleeve a shilling.’

Once his friend has returned from tarrying in the countryside, the two arrange to meet for breakfast:


‘You have tarried long in the country.’
‘I could not come sooner.’
‘Tomorrow morning I will come to you.’
‘Come, and you shall be welcome. I will break my fast with you and we will have a paire of sausages. They please me very well.’
‘And also me.’
‘But we must have some wine.’
‘We will have some, if there be any in London.’
‘I will go and put me on a cleane shirt, because I sweate very much. It is hot.’

Church Custom London Monarchy

Englands pleasant May-Flower

In May 1660, following the death of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the English monarchy, Charles II was welcomed back to London. He was crowned a year later on 23rd April 1661. The following is an account of his Coronation proceedings.

As the King went from Westminster-Hall toward the Abbey, there went first before, the Aldermen of the City of London, Usher’d by a Herauld; next the Knights of the Bath in their Robes, each of them attended by his Esquire and Page; after them the Judges, the Serjeants at Law, the Kings Attorney Generall, and the Masters of Request; then the privy Councellors and the chief Officers of the Kings Houshold; next the Barons in their Parliament Robes with Swords by their sides and bare Headed; after the Barons came the Bishops also bare Headed, in their Scarlet Gowns and Lawn Sleeves; next the Viscounts and Earls in their Coronation Robes, and Coronetted Caps; in the last place went the Officers of State for the day, Viz. The Lord privy Seal, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Earl of Dorset carrying the first Sword, the Earl of Essex the the second Sword, the Earl of Kent the third; the Spurs were carried by the Earl of Montgomery; the Globe with the Cross on it, by the Earl of Sussex; the Golden Cup and Plate for the Communion by the Bishops of London and Winchester: the Scepter was carried by the Earl of Rutland; the Sword of State naked by the Marquesse of Hamilton; the Crown by the Earl of Pembroke: among the Serjeants at Armes, went the Lord Mayor in a Crimson Vellet Gown, each of them carrying a short scepter; next, immediately after the King, went the Earl of Arundel, as Earl Marshall of England, and the Duke of Buckingham as Lord High-Constable for that day.

The King entred into the Abbey Church, at the West-Gate, under a rich Canopy of state, carried by the Barons of the Cinque Ports, and was himself supported on the one hand by Doctor Niel, Bishop of Durham, on the the other hand by Doctor Lake, Bishop of Bath and Wells; His Train which contained  Yards of Purple-Velvet was held up by the Lord Compton, Master of the Robes, and the Lord Viscount Doncastar, Master of the Wardrope: he was met by Bishop Laud (who supplyed the Deans place) and the Prebends of Westminster in their rich Robes; who delivered into his hand the staffe of King Edward the Confessor, with which he walked up to the Throne, which was framed from the Quire to the Alter.

There were appointed for the King three Chairs: 1. The Chair of Repose. 2. The ancient Chair of Coronation: 3. The Chair of State, which was placed upon a square Ascent of six steps. The King, after he had reposed himself a while, was by the Archbishop of Canterbury Presented bare headed to the Lords and Commons, East, West, North, South; of whom the Archbishop demanded, If they consented to the Coronation of King Charles their lawfull Soveraign? To which after they had exprest their readinesse by an Acclamation made four several times, the King be took himself again to his Chair of Repose, during the time of Sermon; which ended, the King, going to the Communion Table, and kneeling down, the Archbishop askt his Majesty, If he was willing to take the Oath usually taken by his Predecessors? To which he made answer, That he was willing, arose, and went to the Altar, where several interogations were rendred to him by the Archbishop, to each of which distinctly the King gave his Affirmative Answer.

Sir, Will you grant and keep, and by your Oath confirm to the people of England, the Laws and Customs to them granted by the Kings of England, your lawful and Religious Predecessors; And namely, the Laws, Customs and Franchises granted to the Clergy, by the Glorious King St. Edward your predecessor, according to the Laws of God, the true profession of the Gospel established in this Kingdome, agreeable to the prerogative of the Kings thereof, and the ancient Customes of the Realm?

I grant and promise to keep them.

Sir, Will you keep peace and Godly Agreement (according to your power) both to God, the holy Church, the Clergy, and the People?

I will keep it.

Sir, Will you to your power cause Law, Justice, and Discretion, Mercy and Truth to be executed to your Judgement?

I will.

Sir, Will you grant to hold and keep the Laws, and rightful Customes which the Commonalty of this your Kingdome have? and will you defend and uphold them to the honour of God as much as in you lyeth?

I grant and promise so to do.



Then one of the Bishops with a loud Voice before the people read to the King this following Admonition: Our Lord and King, We beseech you to pardon, and to grant, and preserve unto us and to the Churches committed to your Charge, all Canonicall priviledges, and to do Law and Justice; And that you would protect and defend us, as every good King to his Kingdomes ought to be Protector, and Defender of the Bishops, and the Churches under their Government.

The King answereth with a willing and devout Heart: I Promise and grant my pardon, and that I will preserve and maintain to you, and the Churches committed to your Charge, all Canonicall priviledges, and due Law and Justice; And that I will be your Protector, and Defender to my power, by the Assurance of God, as every good King in his Kingdome in right ought to protect and defend the Bishops and Churches under their Government.

Then the King arising was led to the Communion Table, where laying his hand upon the Bible, He, in the sight of all people made a solemn Oath (to observe the premisses) which was as followeth: The Things which I have promised, I shall perform and keep; So help Me God, and the Contents of this Book.

Afterwards his Robes being taken off, and offered at the Alter, the King stood for a while stripped of his Dublet and Hose of Sattin: then led by the Archbishop, and the Bishop of St. Davids, he was placed in the chair of Coronation, having a close Canopy spread over him, and while the Archbishop Anointed his Head, Shoulders, Armes, and Hands with a costly Oyntment, the Quire sung an Anthem of these words; Zadock the Priest Anointed King Solomon.

Thence in his Doublet and Hose, with a white Coif on his Head, he was led back again to the Communion-table, where Doctor Laud the Bishop of St. Davids, who supplyed the Dean of Westminsters place, Vested him with the ancient Habiliments of King Edward the Confessor, and conducting him back to the Chair of Coronation, presented him with King Edwards Crown, which the Archbishop put upon his Head, and in the mean time the Quire sung this Anthem, Thou shalt put a crown of pure Gold upon his Head.

After which, the Earls and Viscounts put on their Coronetted Caps of Crimson Velvet; then every Bishop came severally to the King, and gave him their Benediction and he rising from his Chair bowed to each of them apart. Next King Edwards Sword was girt about him, which he took off himself, and offer’d at the Communion-table, with two swords more, in relation to Ireland and Scotland: His spurs were put on by the Duke of Buckingham, as Master of the Horse; which done he offer’d first gold and silver, then bread and wine, to be used at the Communion.

Thus compleatly Crown’d, the King was conducted by the Nobility to his Throne, where he receav’d the Oath of Homage, (the Quire in the mean time singing Te Deum) The Duke of Buckingham, as Lord high Constable for that Day, who also swore the rest of the Nobility at the Kings Knee, to be Homagers to his Majesty; then the Earls and Barons laid their hands upon the Crown, as it was upon the Kings Head, making a solemn protestation to spend their blood to maintain it to him, and his posterity: the Bishops took no Oath, but kneeling down the King kissed each of them; then the King taking out of his bosome a scrowl of parchment, the effect of which was a promise of pardon under his broad Seal to all that accept it; gave the scrowl to the Lord Keeper, who read it four times, East, West, North, and South.

From the Throne the King went to the Communion-table, and after prayers had been read by the Archbishop, the Nicene Creed sung by the Quire; and the Epistle and Gospel read by the Bishops of Landaff, and Norwich; his Majesty recev’d the Communion, the bread from the Archbishop, the Wine from the Bishop of St. Davids: and at the same time, Gloria Patri was sung; which being ended, the Archbishop reading certain prayers, concluded the Ceremony. After which, the King disrobed himself in King Edwards Chappel, and came forth in a short Robe girt of red Velvet; lin’d with Ermins and a lesser Crown upon his head set with previous Stones, and taking barge with all his Train of Nobles at Westminster stairs, He returned to Whitehall.


Account taken from Anon, The manner of the solemnity of the coronation of His most Sacred Majesty King Charles (1660,OS)

Images from The manner of the solemnity, Anon, England’s pleasant May-Flower (1660), and J.P, The Loyal Subject’s hearty wishes to King Charles the Second (1660)

Church Custom Household London Woodcut

Where you may hear news


Today’s post is taken from the above woodcut, dated 1640 and entitled The severall places where you may hear news. Before the advent of printed newspapers, people in England relied on hearing the latest news via other people. In London, daily life consisted of at least one trip to the precincts of St Paul’s to catch the latest gossip and rumour from both home and abroad. This lovely woodcut reveals the other sources of news available to inhabitants of big cities, and depicts aspects of domesticity in seventeenth century life. Below are some close-up details.










Custom Etiquette Love Men Women

To the Faire Murderess of my Soul


More today from the entertaining book of compliments from 1699. The author devotes quite a few pages to guiding his male readers through the process of writing a love letter, and provides some possible greetings and signatures for his readers to adopt. He also presents a series of sample letters which can be copied in an effort to woo the ladies, and below the suggested greetings are two of the most entertaining.


Suggested droll greetings when writing a love letter to a mistress:

To the most gracious Queen of my Soul
To the most illustrious Princess of my Heart
To the Countess Dowager of my Affections
To the Baroness of my Words and Actions
To the Peerles Paragon of Exquisite Formosity
To the Empress of my Thoughts
To the Lilly-white-hands of my Angelical Mistress
To the Ninth Wonder of the World
To the most Accomplished Work of Nature, and the Astonishment of all Eyes
To the Faire Murderess of my Soul
To the Rose of pure Delight
To the Choise Nutmeg of Sweetest Consolation
To her who is Day without Night, a Sun full of Shade, a Shade full of Light, Mistress, Etcetera

Suggested signatures:

Your Gally-Slave
Your Always burning Salamander
Your Continual Martyr
Your poor Worm, that must of necessity die, if trod upon by the foot of your disdain
The Vassal of your Severest Frowns



A Cockney to his Mistress

My Dear Peggie

I have here sent thee these Lines writ with my tears, and a little blacking that our Maid rubs my Father’s Shoes with, that I may unload a whole Cart-load of grief into the Warehouse of thy bosome. Truly Peggie, I think I shall die, for I can neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, nor wake. Nothing that my mother can buy, either in Cheap-side or Newgate-Market will go down with me. My mother sees me looking as pale as the Linen in Moor-fields, and moping in the Chimney corner. She jeers me, saying, What are you love-sick Tom? I cry and make a noise like a Cat upon the Tiles. But let all the world say what they will, I will pout and be sick, and my Father and Mother shall lose their eldest Son, but I’ll have Peggie, that I will. I beseech thee not to omit any occasion of writing to me, that since I cannot kiss thy hand, I may kiss the Letters that thy hand did write. The Bearer hereof is our Cook-maid, one that pitties my condition, and is very trusty. I have therefore engaged her to call and see thee every time she goes to Market. My Mothers Rings are all close lockt up, else I would steal one to send it thee. However I intreat thee to accept of the good will for the deed, and to take in good part the endeavours of thy most faithful servant.


As I was going to steal a ring, my Father came in, taken suddently and desperately ill. The Physicians were sent for, and by their whispering, assure me that he cannot live. As soon as he is dead I shall not fail to visit thee.


A Countrey Bumpkin to his Mistress

Sweet honey, Jone

I have here sent thee a thing, such a one as the Gentlefolks call a Love Letter. T’was indicted by my self after I had drank two or three draughts of Ale. Truly Jone, my parents never brought me up to speak finely, but this I can say in downright terms, I love thee. Marry, Jone, many times and oft have I fetcht home thy Cows when no body knew who did it. Marry, Jone, when thou didst win the Garland in the Whitson-holidayes, I was sure to be drunk that night for joy. I know thou dost love Will the Tayler, but I can tell thee Jone, I think I shall be a better man than he shortly; I am learning to play the Fiddle, so that if thou wilt not yeild the sooner, I will ravish thee with my musick. Tis true I never yet gave thee a Token, but I have here sent thee a piece of silver Ribband. I bought it in the Exchange, where all the folks shouted at me. But what wilt thou give me, Jone? Alas, I ask for nothing but thy self. What a happy day that would be, to see us with our best Cloathes on, at Church, and the Parson saying, I Tom, take thee Jone. I would take thee, and hug thee, and then away to the Alehouse for the Canaries and the Sillabubs and the Shoulder a Mutton and gravie, with a hey down derry and a diddle diddle dee. Thus having no more to say, I rest in assurance of thy good will. Honestly, truly, and blewly.


If you enjoyed this, you’ll enjoy the same author’s hyperbolic compliments for women here at The Stars Borrow Light From Your Radiant Eyes

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