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remarkable, the apparent knavery of the parties or the attempted legal formalities of the scribe.

1745. This witnesseth an agreement by and between the parishioners below mentioned, on behalf of themselves and the whole parish, and David Stearns, that he the said David Stearns, for and in consideration of a crown bowl of punch, this day paid by him, shall be excused for the future from paying all parish rates, of what name or description soever they be, for the liouse he dwells in, the king's tax only excepted. Signed by David Stearns and eight other parishioners, and witnessed by the vestry clerk.

If the parties in the above agreement had any misgivings as to the legality or honesty of the course they were adopting, we may suppose that, in the words of the old ballad, “they drowned them in the bowl.” Being, however, loyal subjects, they desired that the king's taxes should be paid.

The following extracts were transcribed verbatim from an old rate-book belonging to the parish of Elmstood, near Colchester :

April 28, 1704. Paid for the berrill of Jane Hicks, 4s.-April 2, 1707. Paid for two payer of britches and a neck of moten, 4s. This is an amusing item; “two pair of breeches and a neck of mutton :" food and clothing jumbled together in a rather incongruous manner, and all for the small sum of four shillings. Breeches as well as mutton must have been marvellously cheap in those days. It reminds one of Shakspeare's saying of King Stephen :

King Stephen was a worthy peer,

His breeches cost him but a crown;
He held them sixpence all too dear,

With that he called the tailor-lown.

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By the way, this quotation aptly illustrates Burke's remark, that “there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.' Thus, for instance, the first line conveys to the mind the idea of a grand and magnificent monarch arrayed in all the pomp of

regal splendor; in the next line his majesty's nether garment is exhibited in a ridiculous light, in the same manner that Hogarth's "Simon Gripe, pawnbroker," holds up that necessary article of dress, to satisfy himself that it is neither threadbare nor motheaten. And when at the conclusion we find his royal majesty haggling with his tailor about sixpence in a pair of crown breeches, we come to the conclusion that he was any thing but a liberal monarch. But to return: the next entry we have to notice is under the date of

Oct. 26, 1707. Paid Mr. Phillips for catching a fox, 5s.

It is evident that Mr. Phillips was no fox-hunter, nor the parish officer who paid him this sum, and that, too, out of the poorrates. It appears as if the parishioners were resolved to protect the poultry from reynard's depredations, and therefore set a price upon his head. We may suppose, at the present day, that if any fox-hunter saw an item of this kind in the parish accounts, little hesitation would be felt in drawing a pen across it.

Nov. 19, 1710. Paid at Sidney's, for bear at Goodey Inman's berrill, 1s.Paid for a wascote for Cramphorne's boy, and bleeding and a purg, 3s. The overseer who ordered this was probably a humane personage. It appears that after this poor lad Cramphorne had been well bled and physicked, it being in the dreary month of November, the parish officer generously gave him a waistcoat to keep out the cold. We may say of him, in the words of honest Tom Dibdin

Prized be such hearts; aloft they shall go,

Who always are ready compassion to show. May 6, 1711. Paid for a cofen for Goodey Keebl, 6s.-Paid to the minister and clerk for berren Goodey Keebl, 5s.--April 4, 1743. It is agreed this day that any townsman that has a yearly servant that shall have any bone or bones broken, to be allowed by the parish the charge thereof. As witness our hands ... If the person cannot pay it himself. The concluding proviso shows that the parish officers wished to

guard against the imputation of being too liberal in expending their funds.

April 11, 1748. An agreement between the townsmen of the parish and Robert Freeman, to take the boy Isaac Hunt for nine years, and to release him double suited, and to give him five shillings in his pocket.

There are various entries in the book similar to the above. It appears to have been thought a great favor to possess two suits of clothes and five shillings in money after nine years' servitude. The probable inference is, that these were poor, friendless lads, whom the parishioners thus allotted out amongst themselves according to their own will and pleasure. There is nothing to show that the boys were consenting parties to these arrangements.

Memoranda. I promise, upon being released from the town rates, to bury all, gratis, that are concerned with the parish officer, and don't pay scot and lot.--Allington Harrison, vicar.

This clergyman was probably a quiet, easy, good-natured man, who did not wish to keep a debtor and creditor account with his parishioners, and so this plan was adopted to save trouble.

The following is extracted from Lord Braybrooke's History of Audley End, in which there are various interesting particulars relating to the town of Saffron Walden. Amongst the extracts which are given from the parish registers, we find the following:

1611, May 12. Martha Warde, a young mayd coming from Chelmesford on a carte, was overwhelmed and smothered with certayn clothes which were in the carte, and was buried here.-1623, Sept. 4. Buryed a poore man brought by the Little Chesterford constables, to be examined by the justice ; the justice being a hunting, the poore man died before his coming home from hunting Perhaps the squire had a longer run than usual with the hounds on this occasion.

1716, Nov. 18. The oulde girle from the workhouse was buried.

The corporation accounts contain some singular items. We have entries of money paid for saffron given to the “queen's (Elizabeth) attorney," and of 2s.“ to my Lord Staffourd's players ;” a large honorarium of 10s. having been paid for the mediation of the Earl of Suffolk's secretary; and the sum of 11. 9s. 3d. for "setting uppe the cucking-stole." Bailey designates this

A machine formerly used for the punishment of scolds and brawling women, in which they were placed and lowered into a river or pond, until they were almost choked with water.

Happily for scolds, this ancient method of "taming the shrew has long been abolished. Mrs. Caudle, so graphically described in Punch, would have been a good subject for this sort of discipline.

Paid 4d. for nailing up the Quakers' door twice; and received 10s, for rent of the mountebank.

The following are extracts from an old parish book belonging to St. Giles's, London :

1641. Received of the vintner, at “The Cat” in Queen Street, for permitting of tippling on the Lord's Day, 1l. 10s.-Received of three poore men for drinking on the Sabbath daie at Tottenham Court, 4s.--1645. Received of John Seagood, constable, which he had of a Frenchman for swearing three oaths, 3s.—Received of Mrs. Sunder, by the hands of Francis Potter, for her being drunk and swearing seven oaths, 128.-1646. Received of Mr. Hooker for brewing on a fast-day, 2s. 6d.-Payd and given to Lyn and two watchmen, in consideration of their pains, and the breaking of two halberts, in taking the two drunkards and swearers that paid, 11. 4s.-Received of fairmen travelling on the fast-day, 1s.--1648. Received of Isabella Johnson, at the Cole Yard, for drinking on the Sabbath day, 4s. This was the year previous to that in which King Charles I. was beheaded. It appears that there were persons at that period who could “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” These turbulent subjects could put their sovereign to death apparently without much remorse; but to brew on a fast-day, or to be found travel

ling on those days or on the Sabbath, were enormities that they would by no means tolerate. With respect to their zeal against tippling and swearing, in that they are to be commended.

1652. Received of Mr. Huxley and Mr. Morris, who were riding out of town during sermon time on a fast-day, 118.—1654. Received of William Glover in Queen Street, and of Isaac Thomas, a barber, for trimming of beards on the Lord's day (the sum not stated].-1655. Received of a mayd taken in Mr. Johnson's ale-house on the Sabbath day, 5s.--Received of a Scotchman for drinking at Robert Owen's on the Sabbath, 2s.--1658. Received of Joseph Piers for refusing to open his doores to have his house searched on the Lord's daie, 10s.

1659. There is an entry of " one Brookes's goods, sold for a breach of the Sabbath," but the produce is not set down.

The following memorandum is copied from an old register in the parish of Great Easton :

Matthew Tomlinson, curate of this parish, left Feb. 1, 1730.

To my Parishioners.

Farewell, dear flock, my last kind wish receive,
The only tribute that I now can give.
May my past labours claim a just regard,
Great is the prize, and glorious the reward ;
Transcendent joys, surpassing human thought,
To meet in heaven whom I on earth had taught.

In concluding this account of parish registers, it may be mentioned that, many years since, there was a good old-fashioned farmer, James Biddell by name, who lived at Bradfield St. George, near Bury, who, when he served the office of overseer, used to close his account by putting down, “For bustling about, 10s." The parishioners used to smile at this item in the worthy old gentleman's account, but they all agreed in thinking that it was a very moderate charge for "bustling about” for so long a period on parish business.

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