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Title: Our English Towns and Villages
Author: Hall, H. R. Wilton
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our English Towns and Villages" ***

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Transcriber's Notes

Text appearing in illustrations has been replicated along with the
illustration caption.

Italics are surrounded with _ _ and bold text with = =.

Some presumed printer's errors have been corrected. These are listed
below with the original text (top) and the replacement text (bottom):

  p. 57 Westminster Abbey, As more
        Westminster Abbey. As more

  p. 101 magis-strates [end-of-line hyphen]

  p. 141 plainly At the end
         plainly. At the end







  Library Curator, Hertfordshire County Museum; Sub-Librarian
  St. Alban's Cathedral, &c. Author of "Hertfordshire: a Reading-Book
  of the County", &c.

  I do love these ancient ruins,--
  We never tread upon them but we set
  Our foot upon some reverend history.



Many things connected with the history of our towns and villages
have to be passed over in an ordinary school history reader. In
the following pages an attempt is made to call attention in simple
language, very broadly and generally, to connecting-links with the
past in our towns and villages. There are many relics and customs yet
remaining in many places, which, with a little care and attention to
local circumstances, may be made helpful in teaching history, so that
it shall be something more than a collection of names, dates, battles,
and lists of eminent persons.

The book is intended as a reader, not as a text-book to be worked up
for examination purposes. Its aim is rather to arouse interest in the
"why and the wherefore" of things which can be seen by an intelligent
and observant boy or girl in the place in which he or she lives: to do
for history, and the subjects connected with it, what "nature-lessons"
are intended to do in their "sphere of influence". Attention is being
directed to localities, their special history, physical, political,
industrial, and commercial, as it has never been before in our
Educational history; and all that a special locality can contribute
in the way of illustration and exemplification is worth knowing,
understanding, and utilising.

It is hoped that this book may be of some service in quickening
intelligence in looking out for "things to see". The observation
which is directed to noting the numbers on the motor cars, the names
of locomotives, and the collection of postage-stamps and picture
post-cards, can also be usefully turned, say, to noting the styles of
architecture which really mark broadly great periods of our national
life and development; and may help us, perhaps more than anything else,
to arrange our ideas of the days of old in a proper order and sequence.
An old building may be an excellent date-book.

The chapters are intended to be suggestive, not exhaustive, and may be
expanded by the teacher in conversational or more formal lessons as his
own predilection, taste, and judgment shall direct.

Local and County Histories, Guide-books and Hand-books will be found
of great service to the teacher in dealing with special districts.
The general subject embraces a very wide range of literature, but
amongst books readily accessible may be mentioned _English Towns_, by
E. H. Freeman; _English Towns_ and _English Villages_, by Rev. P. H.
Ditchfield; and the Rev. Dr. Jessopp's Essays in _The Coming of the
Friars_ and _Studies of a Recluse_.

In conclusion, the book is designed for older scholars who already know
something of the dry bones of the history of England, and it is hoped
that it may do something towards covering those dry bones with flesh,
instinct with life and vigour.

            H. R. W. H.
  St. Alban's, _December, 1905_.


  Chapter                                                Page

  I. Introduction                                            9

  II. Men who lived in Caves and Pits                       11

  III. The Pit-Dwellers                                     14

  IV. Earthworks, Mounds, Barrows, etc.                     19

  V. In Roman Times                                         22

  VI. Early Saxon Times                                     26

  VII. Early Saxon Villages                                 28

  VIII. Anglo-Saxon Tuns and Vills                          32

  IX. Tythings and Hundreds--Shires                         36

  X. The Early English Town                                 41

  XI. In Early Christian Times                              44

  XII. Monasteries                                          46

  XIII. Towns and Villages in the Time of Cnut
  the Dane                                                  51

  XIV. Churches and Monasteries in Danish and
  Later Saxon Times                                         56

  XV. Later Saxon Times                                     59

  XVI. In Norman Times                                      62

  XVII. In Norman Times (_continued_)                       66

  XVIII. In Norman Times: The Churches                      68

  XIX. Castles                                              71

  XX. Castles and Towns                                     74

  XXI. In Norman Times: The Monasteries                     78

  XXII. Early Houses                                        81

  XXIII. Early Houses (_continued_)                         85

  XXIV. Early Town Houses                                   88

  XXV. Life in the Towns of the Middle Ages                 92

  XXVI. The Growing Power of the Towns                      98

  XXVII. The Villages, Manors, Parishes, and Parks         102

  XXVIII. Traces of Early Times in the Churches            106

  XXIX. Traces of Early Times in the Churches
  (_continued_)                                            110

  XXX. Clerks                                              114

  XXXI. Fairs                                              118

  XXXII. Markets                                           123

  XXXIII. Schools                                          128

  XXXIV. Universities                                      133

  XXXV. Changes brought about by the Black Death           137

  XXXVI. Wool                                              140

  XXXVII. The Poor                                         143

  XXXVIII. Changes in Houses and House-building            149

  XXXIX. The Ruins of the Monasteries and the New
  Buildings                                                153

  XL. The New Houses of the Time of Queen
  Elizabeth                                                158

  XLI. Larger Elizabethan and Jacobean Houses              162

  XLII. Churches after the Reformation                     166

  XLIII. Building after the Restoration: Houses            169

  XLIV. Building after the Restoration: Churches           174

  XLV. Schools after the Reformation                       179

  XLVI. Apprentices                                        183

  XLVII. Play                                              185

  XLVIII. Government                                       189

  XLIX. Some Changes                                       193




1. A little boy, who had been born in a log cabin in the backwoods of
Canada, was taken by his father, when he was about eight years old,
to the nearest settlement, for the first time in his life. The little
fellow had never till then seen any other house than that in which he
had been born, for the settlement was many miles away. "Father," he
said, "what makes all the houses come together?"

2. Now that sounds a very strange and foolish question to ask; but it
is by no means as foolish a question as it seems. Here, in England,
there are towns and villages dotted about all over the country. Some of
them are near the sea, on some big bay or inlet; others stand a little
farther inland on the banks of tidal rivers; others are far away from
the sea, in sheltered valleys or on the sunny slopes of hills; some
stand in the midst of broad fertile plains, while others are on the
verge of bleak lonely moorlands. What has made all the houses in these
towns and villages come together in these particular spots? There must
be a reason in every case why a particular spot should have been chosen
in the first instance.

3. In trying to find an answer to this question with reference to any
town or village in our country we have to go back, far back, into the
past. We may have to go back to ages long before there was any written
history. As we go back step by step into the past we learn much of the
people who have lived before us--of their ways and their doings, and of
the part they played in the life and work of the country.

4. The little Canadian boy's question can be asked about every town and
village in the land. There are no two places exactly alike; each one
has its own history, which, however simple it may be, is quite worth
knowing. The busy manufacturing town, with its tens and hundreds of
thousands of people, where all is movement and bustle, has its history;
and the lonely country village, where everybody knows everybody else,
has often a history even more interesting than that of the big town; if
we only knew what to look for, and where to look for it.

5. One summer day, a few years ago, a party of tourists was climbing
Helvellyn. One of the party was an elderly gentleman, who was
particularly active, and anxious to get to the top. After several
hours' stiff climbing, the party reached the summit; and there, spread
out before them, was a lovely view of hills and dales, of mountains
and lakes. Most of the party gazed upon this fair scene in quiet
enjoyment; but our old gentleman, as soon as he had recovered his
breath, and mopped his red face with his pocket-handkerchief, gave one
look round, and then said in a grieved tone: "Is that all? Nothing to
see! Wish I hadn't come."

6. He saw nothing interesting because he did not know what to look for,
and he might just as well have stopped at the bottom. He came to see
nothing, _and he saw it_.

     =Summary.=--All towns and villages in England have a history. In
     every case there is a special reason why that town or village grew
     up in that particular place. In trying to find out how this came
     about we learn a great deal of the history of the past, shown in
     old names, old buildings, old manners and customs.



1. Man is a very ancient creature. It is a curious fact that we have
learned most of what we know about the earliest men from the rubbish
which they have left behind them. Even nowadays, in this twentieth
century, without knowing much about a boy personally, we can tell a
good deal about his habits from the treasures he turns out of his
pockets. Hard-hearted mothers and teachers call these treasures
rubbish, but the contents of a lad's pockets are a pretty sure
indication of the boy's tastes.

2. The earliest traces of the existence of man in our part of the
world are found in beds of gravel, which in some places now are many
feet above the level of the sea. There, in the gravel, are the roughly
chipped stone tools and weapons which those early men used; tools
which they lost or threw away. Almost every other trace has quite
disappeared. Remains belonging to the same period have been noticed in
caves in various parts of the world.

  [Illustration: Chipped Flint Weapons]

3. Here, in Britain, caves have been found where these early men have
left their stone implements and remains of their rubbish. Some of the
best-known of such cave-dwellings in Britain are near Denbigh and
St. Asaph in North Wales; at Uphill in Somersetshire; at King's Car
and Victoria Cave near Settle; at Robin Hood's Cave and Pinhole in
Derbyshire; in Pembrokeshire; in King Arthur's Cave in Monmouthshire;
at Durdham Down near Bristol; near Oban; in the gravels in the valleys
of the Rivers Trent, Nore, and Dove; in the Irish River Blackwater;
near Caithness; and in a good many other places.

4. So, you see, the remains of these early men cover a pretty wide
area. In the course of ages rivers and seas have flowed over the
places where these stone tools had been dropped, and year after year
throughout the ages the drift brought down by the rivers covered them
inch by inch and foot by foot. Great changes have taken place in the
surface of the land, some suddenly, but most of them very, very slowly.
The land has risen, and sunk again, and long, long ages of sunshine and
storm, of ice and snow, of stormy wind and tempest, have altered the
surface of the country.

5. Those very ancient men, who lived in the Early Stone Age, are
called =Cave-Dwellers=, because they lived apparently in caves, and
=River-Drift Men= and =Lake-Dwellers=, because the roughly chipped
tools are found in the _drift_ of various rivers and lakes.

     =Summary.=--The earliest remains of man are found in certain
     beds of gravel and in caves. They consist chiefly of roughly
     chipped stone implements. Such _celts_ are found in all parts of
     England, and in caves in North Wales; in Somersetshire at Uphill;
     in Yorkshire near Settle; in Derbyshire at Robin Hood's Cave and
     Pinhole; in Pembrokeshire and Monmouthshire; at Durdham Down near
     Bristol; near Oban; and in the valleys of the Rivers Trent, Nore,
     and Dove; in the Irish River Blackwater; and near Caithness. These
     men are known as the River-Drift Men, the Cave-Dwellers, or the



1. Other remains not so ancient as these oldest stone implements, but
still very ancient, are found nearer the surface than the remains of
the River-Drift Men. They are the remains of people who, like the
Drift Men, knew nothing of metals, and used stone weapons and tools,
but better made. They had learned to shape and finish their tools by
rubbing, grinding, and polishing them, and were, evidently, a more
advanced race of men than the Cave or Drift Men.

2. For the most part we have to go to somewhat desolate parts of
England to find traces of them now. In fact, those traces would long
ago have disappeared had they not been in places which were so wild and
difficult to get at, that it was not worth any man's while to cultivate
them. The spade and the plough would very soon remove all traces of
them. In fact, the plough _has_ removed many traces of these ancient
men, and most of the specimens of their tools and weapons, which
you can see in museums, were found by men employed in ploughing and
preparing the land for crops.

3. You must not suppose that we can fix a date when these men first
appeared, as we can fix an exact date for the landing of Julius
Cæsar, or the sealing of Magna Carta. Neither can we say for how many
centuries they occupied land in what we now call Britain. It was a long
period, at any rate, and during that time their manners and their
customs changed very, very slowly.

  [Illustration: Polished Implements of Flint, Stone, &c.

  Polished Flint Wedge; Granite Wedge or Axe; Stone Axe; Stone Axe; Bone
  Comb; Flint Arrow Heads; Harpoon Head of Flint; Saw-edged Flint Knife;
  Circular-edged Flint Knife.]

4. The lowest forms of savage life seem very much alike, all the world
over. Savages are hunters, and do not as a rule cultivate the soil.
Now hunters must follow their prey from place to place, so that we
should expect these early men to have no settled homes. But even the
earliest Pit Men had advanced beyond this lowest stage, for they had
flocks and herds and dogs. No doubt they hunted as well; but they were
mainly a pastoral people, and at first did not till the soil. Races of
men who did not till the soil are called =Non-Aryan=. They chose for
their settlements the tops of hills, and avoided the narrow valleys and
low-lying lands.

5. The =Pit-Dwellers= are so called from the simple fact that they had
their homes in pits--not, however, dug anywhere and anyhow. The hole
in the ground is the simplest notion of a house. When in your summer
holiday by the sea you see the little boys and girls digging deep holes
in the sand to make "houses", they are doing in play what the early
Pit-Dwellers did in real earnest.

6. The pits were usually some six or eight feet in diameter; and they
probably had cone-shaped roofs, formed by poles tied together, and
covered with peat. In the centre of the hut was the hearth, which
was made of flints carefully placed together. The hut would hold two
or three people, and the fire on the hearth was its most important
feature. The hut in the centre of the group belonged to the head of the
family, and other huts were ranged round it.

7. Surrounding the group was an earthen rampart for further protection;
and these earthworks can still be traced in many parts of the country.
The huts have gone, of course, and all that can be seen in most cases
now is a number of circular patches in the turf, slightly hollowed.
People living in the neighbourhood will very likely speak of them as
"fairy rings". It is from a careful examination of these hollows that
learned men have been able to gather much information concerning the
habits of these Pit-Dwellers.

8. We English folk speak proudly of "hearth and home"; they are the
centre of our social life, and the idea has come down to us through all
these long, long ages. The hearth and the fire upon it was the centre
of the life of these men, and the head of a family was also its priest.

9. Some of the best known of these pit-dwellings are found near
Brighthampton, in Oxfordshire; at Wortebury, near Weston-super-Mare;
and along the Cotswolds, looking over the Severn Valley; and at
Hurstbourne, in Hampshire.

10. In the course of time this race seems to have learned something
in the way of cultivating the ground. The hilltops, where they built
their huts, were only suited for their cattle, and in order to find
soil which they could till they had to go outside their earthwork, and
some distance down the hill-slope. By their way of digging the ground
they gradually, in the course of many years, carved broad terraces, one
below the other, on the hillsides. There are some very marked traces of
such terraces still to be seen near Hitchin and Luton.[1]

11. In the course of time--how long ago it is still quite impossible to
say--a race of men, more advanced than these early Pit-Dwellers, found
their way to this part of the world. They were more civilized, and were
=Aryans=; that is, they were cultivators of the soil. You may be pretty
sure that fighting took place between the two races.

12. The newer race preferred to make their settlements near running
streams. In the middle of each settlement there would be an open space,
or meeting-ground, usually a small hill or a mound, round which their
huts were built. Beyond this was the garden-ground, then the ground
where the grain was grown, and beyond that the grazing-lands. These men
began cultivating at the bottom of the hillsides and valleys, and as
they required more ground they would advance higher up the slopes.

13. Gradually to this race came the knowledge of metals, and we reach
the =Bronze Age=, and so, step by step, we come to the =Iron Age=.

     =Summary.=--The remains of the Pit-Dwellers are found on desolate
     heaths and moorlands. These men used stone weapons, which they
     smoothed and polished. They had a greater variety of tools than
     the Drift Men. They were a non-Aryan race; that is, they did not
     till the soil. They were a pastoral people; that is, they kept
     cattle. Their settlements were on the hilltops. Their houses
     were pits, covered with a rough kind of roof, and were placed in
     clusters. In the centre of each dwelling was a hearth made of
     stones. All that can be seen of them now are circular hollows,
     often called "fairy rings". The clusters of huts were usually
     enclosed by an earthen wall or rampart. In course of time they
     learned to cultivate the ground. They worked _downhill_, and
     carved out many hillsides into broad terraces, which can still
     be traced in some places, as between Hitchin and Luton. An Aryan
     race also found its way here. These cultivated the soil, but their
     settlements were in the _valleys_, near running streams. An Aryan
     settlement had an _open space_ in the centre, or meeting-ground.
     The huts were built round this. Then came the garden-ground, and
     then the grazing-lands. They began cultivating from the _bottom_
     of the hills, and worked upwards. In time they learned the use of
     metal--bronze,--and gradually also they came to know the value of



1. There are still remaining, in many parts of the country, curious
mounds and stones. We can say very little about them here; but though
learned men have discovered much, there is still a good deal to
be explained concerning them. Old-world stories put most of these
strange objects down to the work of witches, fairies, or giants; some
ascribe them to the Romans, or to Oliver Cromwell; others even to the
devil. But most of them really belong to this period of which we are
speaking--the very early part of our history, of which there is no
written record.

2. =Earthworks= are of many kinds, but the very earliest are usually
found on hilltops. There are some which enclose considerable spaces of
ground, bounded by an earthen rampart, with a ditch outside. Sometimes
there are two such ramparts. Frequently they are spoken of as =British
Towns= or =British Camps=. They appear to have been enclosures into
which the cattle were driven in time of danger, and in which a whole
tribe could take refuge and hold out against their enemies.

3. Then there are big mounds or heaps, called =Barrows=. Some of these
are oval in shape, and are called =Long Barrows=; others are round, and
are called =Round Barrows=. The Long Barrows are thought to be the
older kind, and were apparently the burial-places of great leaders. The
Round Barrows were also burial-places; but those who raised them burned
their dead. The great pyramids of Egypt are barrows, only they are made
of stone, not of earth.

  [Illustration: Round Barrow]

  [Illustration: Long Barrow]

  [Illustration: Twin Barrow]

4. The =circles of stones= at Stonehenge and Avebury seem to have been
connected with the worship of these early people. There are many single
stones, especially in Cornwall and Wales, which also seem to have
been connected with religious rites; but of this we know nothing for
certain. In later times they have served as boundary marks.

  [Illustration: White Horse Hill]

5. In various parts of England there are deep lanes or cuttings, which
have received curious local names. There are no less than twenty-two
such cuttings in different parts of England all known as =Grim's
Ditch=. These, no doubt, formed boundaries, separating various tribes.

6. The =White Horse=, cut out of the slope of Uffington Hill, and
several similar objects in Wiltshire, as well as the crosses--also cut
in the turf--at Whiteleaf and Bledlow, may also belong to this period.
Some learned men, however, have thought that they are of a later date.

7. From these early men then the =Ancient Britons= appear to have
descended, and they were settled here a good many centuries before the
coming of the Romans. Many of the wild tales and legends, still told in
country villages, about giants and fairies, have come down to us from
these early times.

     =Summary.=--There are many curious mounds and stones, about which
     wild tales are told. _Earthworks_ are of various kinds. Those
     enclosed by an earthen wall or rampart are often called British
     towns or camps. They were places of refuge. There are two kinds
     of _mounds_, called Long Barrows and Round Barrows. Both were
     burial-places. The Long Barrows belonged to the older race. _Stone
     circles_, like those at Stonehenge and Avebury, had something to
     do with worship, and there are many stones in Cornwall and Devon
     which most likely were put to the same use. There are twenty-two
     old trackway boundaries in England all called Grim's Ditch. The
     _White Horse_ and several other cuttings in the turf possibly
     belong to this same period. The old legends and tales about all
     these are worth keeping in mind, though at present we do not
     understand them.



1. Here, then, at the time the Romans first came to Britain were tribes
of Britons who had been established in the country for centuries,
living their lives according to the customs of their forefathers, and
more or less cultivating the land. The Romans invaded the country,
and, in time, subdued the people. They remained masters here for nearly
four hundred years, but they did not make such a permanent impression
on this country as they did in some countries which they conquered--as
on France and Spain, for instance.

2. We are to-day masters of India; but we have not made India English,
nor are we trying to do so. The natives there go on cultivating the
land according to their custom from time out of mind. They preserve
their own manners, customs, and religions. In places where they come
much in contact with our fellow-countrymen, they are influenced to a
certain degree; but in India to-day the English and the natives lead
their own lives, each race quite apart from the others.

3. So it was with the Romans in Britain. They formed colonies in
various places and built towns all over the land; they had country
villas dotted here and there, some little distance from the chief
towns, and built strong military stations in suitable districts.
These posts were kept in communication by means of good roads. Many
Britons must in the course of time have adopted Roman ways and Roman
civilization; but the bulk of the Britons, living away from the Roman
centres, kept to their own customs, and cultivated the ground in the
way their ancestors had done. They prospered, on the whole, as the
Romans kept the various tribes from fighting with one another.

4. No doubt, in districts such as that which we now call Hampshire,
and along the Thames valley, where wealthy Romans had their country
villas, Roman methods of farming were in use. The Britons would see
something of Roman ways of doing things, and, perhaps, tried to copy

5. But the Romans have not left many marks upon our towns and villages.
It is quite true that a large number of our present towns and cities
are on the _sites_ of, or near, Roman towns; but, in most cases,
we have to dig down into the earth to find Roman remains. The most
important Roman city, Verulam, has quite disappeared; and the most
complete remains of a Roman town, Silchester, are near to what is now
a quiet country village. The present cities of London, Winchester,
Gloucester, Lincoln, Chester, Carlisle, and the towns of Colchester and
Leicester, and several others, can hardly be said to have sprung from
Roman towns, though they stand on their sites.

  [Illustration: Photo. S. Victor White & Co., Reading


6. Most of the Roman cities were built in districts where the Britons
had been strong, or where they were likely to give trouble. Carlisle
and Gloucester were, for instance, =military towns=, because they were
on the borders of the Roman territory. London and Winchester were
=trading cities=, and they developed much in Roman times.

7. But, when the Roman power was withdrawn, there was, in those cities
at any rate, a British population, which had adopted very extensively
Roman customs and ideas. For a time things went on much as they had
done while the Romans were here; in fact, until the struggles with the
Saxons began.

8. As a matter of fact, the coming of the Saxons began a good while
before the Romans actually left. Various tribes of Saxons attacked
different parts of the coast. Colchester had to keep a sharp look-out
for them on the east coast; and the Romans built Portchester Castle, in
Hampshire, to guard the south coast.

9. Christianity had found its way to Britain during Roman times, and
that helped in the work of civilizing the Britons. But we do not know
very much of the early British Church. Christianity probably made more
headway among the population in and near the Roman towns than in the
wilder districts. The foundations of an early Christian church have
been found at Silchester.

     =Summary.=--The Romans held Britain much as we hold India. They
     did not interfere with the manners and customs, or the religion,
     of the Britons. The Romans lived in their towns and villas, the
     Britons in their own settlements. Britons in and near Roman towns
     gradually adopted Roman ways. Verulam was the chief Roman city,
     and there were others at London, Winchester, Gloucester, Lincoln,
     Chester, Carlisle, Colchester, &c. These modern cities, though on
     the _sites_ of these Roman towns, have not sprung from the Roman
     cities. The Saxons began to give trouble before the Romans left.
     Christianity came in Roman times, and the remains of a church have
     been found at Silchester, in Hants.



1. The conquest of Britain by the Saxons took a long time--considerably
over one hundred and fifty years. A great many people are born, and
live their lives, and die, in such a period of time as that. It was
only little by little that the various tribes of Saxons got a footing
in England. They were the stronger and fiercer race, and the Britons
were gradually subdued or driven into the mountainous regions by them.

2. Those early tribes of Saxons, who came to Britain, brought with
them their own special manners and customs. As they settled down, the
face of the country was gradually changed by them. They disliked and
suspected everything Roman, and destroyed the towns and villas. They
hated the idea of walled towns. These, therefore, were left in ruins;
and the great highways, being neglected in most places, were, in the
course of years, overgrown with brushwood and hidden in thick forests.

3. In some parts of the country the Saxons seem to have completely
swept the Britons away, and almost all traces of them vanished; but, in
other parts, there certainly were some of them left, because we have
still their marks upon our language. Although most of the =place-names=
in use now are Saxon or Danish, there are still a good many of British,
or partly British, origin.

4. The names of many of our rivers are British or Celtic, such as Axe,
Exe, Stour, Ouse, and Yare. So are many names of hills; and, in some
parts of the country, the names of the villages are partly British
and partly Saxon. Take, for instance, such a common name as Ashwell.
Some learned men think that it is made up of two words, =Ash= and
=Well=, both meaning pretty much the same thing, _ash_ being British
for "water", and _well_ being Saxon for "watering-place". Now, if the
Saxons had quite got rid of the Britons, they would not have known that
a particular place was called "Ash"--they learned to call it "Ash" from
the natives, but they did not know what it meant. They knew that there
was a spring of water there, which they called a "well"; and so, to
distinguish it from other wells in the neighbourhood, they got into the
habit of calling it "Ashwell"--and the name has stuck to the place.

5. In some such way as this many other place-names, partly British and
partly Saxon, were formed; and they teach us this, that Saxons and
Britons must have lived near each other closely enough for the Saxons
to take up and use some British names.

6. There are some English counties in which you will hardly find
one place-name which is not Saxon. This shows us that the Britons
were either killed or completely driven away. That is the case in
Hertfordshire. But in Hampshire, while most of the names are Saxon,
there are many partly Saxon and partly British. This same thing can be
noticed in the county of Gloucester. The Britons, then, must have been
in these districts long enough for the Saxons to pick up a good many
place-names. They did not understand the meaning of them, and so tacked
on to them names which they _did_ understand.

7. The Saxons made their settlements at first away from the Roman towns
and British villages. In the course of time, in a good many cases, they
made settlements very close to these old sites, and we know that Saxons
lived in such places as Winchester, Gloucester, and London. We find,
especially in Hampshire and Gloucestershire, that near, or in, certain
villages with Saxon names, Roman remains have from time to time been
dug up.

     =Summary.=--The Saxon conquest was gradual. At first the invaders
     destroyed and avoided the remains of Roman cities. In some parts
     of the country the Britons were swept quite away, and British
     names forgotten. The old place names in some places show that the
     Britons and Saxons must have lived side by side, as was the case
     in Hampshire and Gloucestershire. In others, as in Hertfordshire,
     the Britons quite disappeared, as nearly all the place-names are
     Saxon. Roman remains have been found in some places with Saxon
     names, which seems to show that after a time the Saxons took to
     some old Roman sites for their dwelling-places.



1. It is with the coming of the Saxons that the history of our towns
and villages really begins. For, though there are not a few places
which show some connection with Romans, Britons, and Pit-Dwellers, it
is mainly from Saxon times that we can follow the history of the places
in which we live, with any certainty.

2. When the Saxons came to Britain they brought their own ideas with
them, of course. Nowadays, when English folk go to settle in a distant
land, they take their English notions with them. They find, however, in
the course of time, that they have to modify or alter them somewhat,
according to the circumstances in which they are placed. They may find
that roast beef and plum-pudding do not at all suit them in the new
climate. If they are wise, they will see whether the foodstuffs used by
the natives, and by folk who have lived out there for many years, are
not more suitable, even though they are inclined to despise such food
at first.

Now the Saxon tribes who first settled in England in the fifth century
belonged to a race of people, bold, strong, fierce, and free. But they
could not make their new homes exactly what their old ones had been in
the land from whence they had come.

3. Like those other Aryan people, who had made their way to Britain in
the Stone Age, they lived together in families. When the family became
too large, some of the members had to turn out, like bees from a hive,
though not in such great numbers, and set out on their travels to form
new settlements, or =village communities=.

4. This idea of a village community had come down to them through many
generations. The early Saxon idea of a village community was something
of this sort:--

5. All the men of the family had equal rights; though there was one
who was the head of the family, and who took the lead. The affairs of
the family were discussed and settled at open-air meetings, called
=folk-moots=. The spot where these were held was regarded as a sacred
place. The tilling of their land, their marriages, their quarrels,
their joining with other villages to make war or peace, were all
settled at the folk-moot. The question whether the younger branches of
the family should leave the village and go out and form another was
fixed by the folk-moot also. In the course of time many such little
swarms left the parent hive, and settled farther away. But they always
looked back upon the old settlement as their home, and the head of the
family as their chief. They were all of one _kin_, and in the course of
time they began to look upon their chief as their king.

6. Now what was the nature of the old Saxon village settlement? In its
general arrangement it was very like the old Pit-Dwellers' settlement.
There was the open space where the men of the village met, the sacred
mound where the folk-moot was held. The houses in which the family
dwelt were placed close together, round the hut of the head of the

Outside these was a paling of some sort, so that all the houses were
within the enclosure, or "tun", as it was called; and here calves and
other young stock were reared near the houses. Beyond the enclosure,
or tun, was the open pasture-ground and the arable land, or land under
cultivation. Beyond these would be the untouched forest-land, or open

7. Each man of the tun had a share in these lands; not to deal with as
he liked, but to use according to the custom of his family. The arable
land was divided into strips, and shared amongst the men. However many
strips of land a man might have, he could not have them for all time.
The strips were apparently chosen by lot, and changed from time to
time, so that all had an equal chance of having the best land. In the
same way the number of cattle a man might turn out to graze on the
pasture-land was regulated. The folk-moot, or meeting of the people,
was a very important assembly, and through it the little community was

8. Such was the mode of life to which the Saxons who came to England
had been used; but they were not nearly as free individually when they
landed here as their ancestors had been. More and more power had come
into the hands of the chief or king, and to him the people looked
for protection and guidance. In times of war, or when the tribe was
invading new lands, the power of the king increased. By the time, then,
that the Saxon tribes began their conquest of England, they were very
much under the rule of their chiefs or kings. The kings had rights
and power over their followers, which had gradually grown up by long
custom, and none of those followers ventured to dispute such rights
and powers.

     =Summary.=--The history of our present towns and villages really
     begins with the Saxons. The Saxons had been used to a settlement
     very like the early Aryan settlement. All the men had equal
     rights, and the business of the community was settled in the
     _folk-moot_. When new settlements were formed they looked back to
     the early settlement as their home: they were all of one _kin_.
     Gradually the chief man of the first home was looked upon as their
     chief or _king_. The land was shared amongst the men in strips in
     the common field, and the shares changed from time to time.

     When the Saxons came to England they were _less free_ than they
     had been; more power was in the hands of the chief or king, and
     they looked to him for leadership in battle, and he had certain
     rights which had grown up by long custom.



1. A good many Britons no doubt settled down with the Saxons as
slaves, and that probably accounts for so many of the natural features
of the country--the rivers and hills--keeping their old British
names. The British villages must have had names, but those villages
were apparently destroyed, and the slaves would be settled near the
homesteads which their conquerors set up.

2. In fixing on a place for a "tun" the Saxons would choose a valley
rather than a hill, usually near a running stream, or a plentiful
supply of water. At the present time nearly all over England we can
find villages which have not been touched by modern improvements and
alterations; and most of these show something even now of their Saxon

3. For instance, in the county of Rutland there is a village named
Exton, which has for many centuries kept several features which show
its connection with Saxon days. Its name Ex-ton seems to be compounded
of the British word "ex", which means "water", and the Saxon "ton" or
"tun", which means the "enclosure"--"the tun by the water". There,
sure enough, flowing by the village, is the River Gwash; just such
a stream as the Saxons loved. In the middle of the village is the
triangular open space, or village green. Round it the houses are
thickly clustered together, with hardly any garden ground at the back
or in front, and most of them with none at all. Outside the ring of
houses are small grass fields or closes, where calves and cows feed,
and poultry run. These little fields form a kind of ring round the
village, and the hedges enclosing them represent the old fence of Saxon
days, which formed the "tun". Beyond this are wider pasture-grounds and
big plough-lands, stretching away in several directions up the gentle

  [Illustration: THE VILLAGE GREEN, EXTON, RUTLANDSHIRE (page 33)]

4. You will be able to find a good many villages which have some
resemblance to Exton; they answer very closely to the Anglo-Saxon
=vill= and the Anglo-Saxon town, for town and village were laid out on
the same principle.

5. Now look at some little sleepy country town, and you will see
much the same arrangement as in the village. The wide open space in
the middle, where the town pump stands, and where the market is held,
answers to the village green. Though this is often spoken of as the
Market Square, it is usually more like a triangle in shape than a

6. The old houses round the market square are built very closely one
into the other, and with queer narrow alleys leading to houses behind
those in front; much in the same way as the houses are clustered round
the village green. Round the outskirts of the town, at the back of the
houses, are small green closes or paddocks. Beyond them are the larger
meadows and pastures; then the wide corn-lands and woods; and, not far
away, the heath or common.

7. The Saxon settlements, the "tuns" or "vills", whether they
afterwards became what we now understand as "towns" or "cities", or
remained what we call villages, had all the same chief features. Just
as ordinary school-rooms are all pretty much alike, because they all
have to serve much the same purpose, so the Saxon settlements were very
similar in their general plan.

8. There was the open place, where people met and the folk-moot was
held, surrounded by the houses of stone or wood, in which the people
lived. Around these lay the grass yards or common homestead; and,
beyond them, the arable and pasture lands, with patches of moorland and

9. But outside the actual "tun" there would be something connected with
the Saxon settlement which you would be sure to notice. After you had
passed the boundary to the tun, you would see no hedgerows, or walls,
dividing the land into fields. The arable land was one huge field.
Its position would depend, of course, upon the nature of the soil
and the lie of the land. You would not expect to find it down in the
water-meadows, through which the river flowed; it would be higher up,
out of the reach of floods; perhaps on the hillsides.

10. Then, you would see the huge field, ploughed in long strips, about
a furlong in length, that is, a "furrow long", and one or two perches
in breadth. Between the ploughed strips would be narrow unploughed
strips, on which, in places, brambles would grow. The heath-lands and
moorlands were uncultivated tracts, where rough timber and underwood
grew, which was cut and lopped by the people of the vill under certain
conditions. There were no formal spinneys[2], nor wide stretches of
old timber, such as we nowadays expect to see in a forest. In places
the forests contained old timber, and were thick with undergrowth, and
infested with wild animals, such as wolves and boars. The name =forest=
was often given to an uncultivated district, not much differing from a
rough common, where sheep, cattle, and swine could pick up a living.

     =Summary.=--Anglo-Saxons _tuns_ and _vills_ were usually in a
     valley near a stream, with a meeting-place or green in the middle,
     and the houses built round it. At the back were small closes, and
     all was surrounded by a fence. Outside was the big common field,
     reaching up the slope, and beyond these the wide pasture-grounds.
     In many old villages and towns something of this arrangement can
     still be seen.



1. Though the Saxons, as they settled down in England, formed "tuns",
which at first had very little to do with one another, that state of
things probably did not last a very long time. In fighting the Britons
they had had to act together; and, for the sake of protection and help,
these separate communities had to combine. Somewhat in this way ten
families in a district would form a =tything=; and the heads of the
villages would, from time to time, meet together, to consult on various
matters in which they were interested.

2. Then larger areas would need to be covered, as the country became
more settled. Ten tythings would make a =hundred=; and, from time to
time, men from all the places in the hundred would meet together and
hold =hundred courts=. Most of the English counties are still divided
into hundreds. In those days the hundreds were not all of the same
size, because, owing to the nature of the soil, some tuns were far
apart from one another, and a tything might cover a wide district, and
a hundred a much larger area. If the hundred was small, that would show
that the tuns were pretty close together, and that the district was
populous. If, on the other hand, the tythings and hundreds were large,
that would show that the district was thinly peopled.

3. We have seen that new settlements were formed by portions of the
family leaving the old home, and making a new tun in the most suitable
place they could find. It would happen, no doubt, in favourable
districts, that new tuns would spring up not very far from the mother
tun; and, in the course of time, there would be a good many more tuns
in the tything than there were originally. The fact seems to be, that
when once the boundaries had been roughly agreed upon, they were not
often altered. From being a combination of families, or tuns, the
tything got to be a =district=; and it kept its name of tything long
after the number of tuns in it had increased.

4. It was much the same with the =hundreds=. In time they were
represented by certain districts, whose borders were known to the
people living in them. The hundreds all over the country have not
altered their boundaries to any great extent until quite recently. In
Hampshire to-day there are thirty-seven hundreds; in Hertfordshire
there are only eight; and Middlesex has now the same six hundreds which
it had twelve centuries ago when a good part of the county was forest

5. As to the time when the hundreds became grouped into =shires= we
cannot say much: the change was brought about gradually, and quite
naturally. It is not at all likely that all the various kingdoms in
England came together on some particular occasion and said: "Now we'll
divide all our kingdoms into shires". But the hundreds did become
grouped into =shires=, doubtless because it was necessary that they
might act together in matters which concerned all.

6. There is nothing like a threatened danger from without to draw
men together. In the tun, no doubt, the villagers fell out with each
other; however fairly the strips of land were shared somebody was
sure to get what he did not like, and to grumble about it. Some of
his fellow-villagers would take his side, and say it was a shame; and
others would take the opposite side. But if the cattle belonging to the
tun over the hills, or on the other side of the marsh, had been seen
on the wrong side of the =mark=, or boundary which separated the lands
of the two tuns, the dispute about the strips in the field would be
forgotten, and away the people would go in a body towards the offending
tun "to see about it".

7. In much the same way, when the boundaries of a tything or hundred
were invaded by another tything or hundred, the differences between the
tuns would be dropped, in order to preserve the rights which they had
in common.

8. There was strife among the Saxon kingdoms which lasted for many
years, especially between the three great rivals, Wessex, Mercia, and
Northumbria. The lesser kingdoms were under the dominion, sometimes
of one, sometimes of another of these rivals. All this fighting and
settling down put more and more power into the hands of the kings.
Instead of each village fighting for itself, and leaving all the others
to fight for themselves, it was found to be a much safer and wiser
policy to join together for common protection. Now if people join
together, whether in peace or war, to win a football match, or to take
a city, somebody must be in authority to give the necessary orders.
Hence the power of the king, and the officers acting under him, grew up
by custom, until the overlordship of the king was so firmly established
that no one dared call it in question.

  [Illustration: Saxon King and Eorlderman]

9. Apparently from the smaller Saxon kingdoms we get our older
=shires=. Whether the overlord happened to be the King of Mercia, or
the King of Wessex, the under-king continued to rule over his old
kingdom, or share. When, at length, in the ninth century, the King of
Wessex was acknowledged as the overlord or King of England, Wessex
and Mercia, and a part of Northumbria, were gradually divided into
_shares_, or shires, over each of which the King of England appointed
a =reeve= to look after his interests--the shire-reeve or =sheriff=.
The King of England still appoints the high sheriff of each county. An
=eorlderman=, who, in the case of the older shires, was at first no
doubt a descendant of the old under-king, looked after the business of
the shire itself.

10. Amongst the older shires we have Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Essex,
Middlesex; while the newer ones were all named after some important
central town, which in each case gave its name to the shire; such are
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

     =Summary.=--In time ten free families or tuns joined together
     for protection, formed a _tything_. Gradually the name _tything_
     was given to the _district_, though many more tuns had grown
     up upon it. Then the tythings had to join together, and ten of
     these formed the _hundred_. These, too, got to be the names of
     districts, and these are still in use in most counties. The
     divisions known as _shires_, or shares, came later. The earliest
     formed were those which had been little kingdoms, like Kent,
     Sussex, Essex, Middlesex, and Surrey. When the bigger kingdoms
     were broken up, they were named after important towns in the
     district, like Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire,
     &c. The king's officer, or reeve, in each county in time was
     called the shire-reeve, or _sheriff_.



1. At first, as we have seen, the Saxons were an agricultural people,
and each village or tun produced all that it needed for its own
support. But in peaceful times a tun might produce more than it needed;
and, by and by, something like trade and exchange between one place and
another would begin. There were many places, as for example London,
which in Roman times had been great places for commerce, to which
ships had come bringing various kinds of goods. In time, as the Saxons
settled down, they began to have new wants, and some of them began to
be attracted towards places where there were more people than in their
native tuns. Some men found that they could make certain articles of
common use better than their neighbours could. Thus certain trades
took their rise. Those who worked at them would gradually give up the
agricultural labour in which everybody else in the tun was employed. We
do not know the causes which led certain of these agricultural tuns to
become trading-places; but it is quite certain that they did gradually
grow to be what we now call =towns=.

2. We find Saxon towns springing up near the places where some of the
Roman towns had been; in some cases on the actual site of the Roman
city. In Gloucester and Lincoln, for instance, some of the streets
to-day follow the actual lines of the Roman streets. These towns are,
however, really Saxon towns, not old Roman towns turned into Saxon
towns. The men of these Saxon towns had lands on the outskirts of the
towns, just as the village men had. Even to-day you will notice that
there are many towns which possess lands called by such names as the
Townlands, Townfield, or Lammas Land.

3. The men in these towns were, from the very first, more inclined to
hold out against an overlord than the men in the villages were. In
the first place, their numbers were greater; and then they had more
varieties of occupation than the villagers, or, as we may say, had
wider interests. In the trading towns, like London and Southampton,
they came in contact with traders from other lands, and trade brought
them more wealth. They, too, had their =folk-moots=, and they had more
business to transact in them than the country villagers had. They were
very particular to keep a tight hold on their rights, and were always
on the look-out to gain fresh privileges if they possibly could.

4. The fence or wall, which surrounded the town, was made much stronger
than that round the village; and men saw the use now of the thick walls
of the old Roman cities which their ancestors had despised, for they
had wealth and goods which needed protection.

5. We have seen that the power of the king gradually increased; and, as
it did so, the king and the town became more necessary to each other.
The town was wealthy; but it could not stand by itself against all the
rest of the country. The king had the power of the country at his back,
and could protect it if he would. The town had to give something to the
king in return for this protection. But we shall presently see more of
the relations between king and town.

  [Illustration: The Water Tower and Wall, Chester]

     =Summary.=--Trading towns, like London, gradually arose: the
     Saxons took to trades and trading; and towns sprang up over the
     land. The townsmen were jealous of any overlord, and better able
     to make a stand against him than the men in the _vills_. Their
     folk-moots were important, and the men held very tightly to any
     privileges which the town had, and were always on the look-out to
     secure fresh rights. Gradually they became rich, and needed the
     king's protection, and both the king and the town had to depend a
     great deal upon each other.



1. One great and important factor in the making of Saxon England was
Christianity. The first Saxons who came were heathen, and they wiped
out the British Christianity, where they settled, as completely as they
wiped out Roman civilization. Towards the end of the sixth century
Christian missionaries were at work in the north and in the south of
what we now call England; and, from that time onwards, the Church
played an important part in the making of the nation.

2. So, side by side with the development and political growth of the
country, came the spread of Christianity and the organization of the
Church. We find that the Saxon kingdoms, following the lead of their
kings, became Christian as a matter of course. Over and over again
we find the kings giving up Christianity and going back to paganism,
and their people following them, also as a matter of course. The
conversion of England took many years to accomplish, and mixed up with
the Christianity was much paganism, which was not overcome for many
centuries. The Dioceses[3] of the early Saxon bishops were, roughly
speaking, of the same extent as the early kingdoms, and the bishops and
their clergy travelled about as missionaries.

3. As the lords or thanes of the various vills, following the example
of their kings, accepted Christianity, their people followed their
example. In the open places of the tuns and vills, where the folk-moots
were held, Christianity was preached and the cross set up. That,
probably, was the origin of most of the =village= and =market crosses=.
Then, in the course of time, in some cases, a church was built on a
part of the old sacred open spaces. You cannot help noticing to-day how
in many towns the chief =church= is by the market-place, and in the
villages by the village green. In other cases we find the church and
manor-house are outside the present village. That may be because the
thane's or lord's land was outside the vill or tun, and he built the
church on his own land, not on the common public land in the middle of
the tun. It may have happened, also, that at the time the church was
first built the houses were there also; but, owing to changes, many
years afterwards, the people have removed to another spot some distance
away--possibly to the side of a busy main road. Then the original
village has dwindled away; the houses, having fallen into ruin, have
been pulled down, and no traces of them left.

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine


  (page 45)]

4. A =priest= would be appointed to work in a tun, and a portion of
land would be set apart in the common fields to maintain him and to
aid in carrying on the services of the church. In course of time there
were certain dues and fees given to him, the paying of which became a
recognized custom. Somewhat in this way =glebe lands= and =tithes= took
their rise, and became a part of the land system of the Saxon people.

5. Along with the growth of churches in the tuns and vills was the
founding of =monasteries=. Small bodies of men bound themselves by
simple rules to live and work and worship together. Frequently they
made their settlements in lonely, desolate places, which they worked to
bring under cultivation. So there sprang up settlements, or convents,
of these religious people, living under their own rules. Work and
worship went side by side. It was a new kind of life, different from
the life in the "tun" which the early Saxons were used to; but, in
time, it had a mighty influence in the land, and played an important
part in the making of England.

     =Summary.=--At the end of the sixth century Christian missionaries
     were working in the north and in the south of England, but the
     progress made was very slow. The early bishops and their clergy
     travelled about as missionaries. In time churches were built in
     the vills and tuns, and a priest left in charge, who had his share
     in the strips of land, and in the course of time had other _dues_
     paid to him. Monasteries, too, sprang up. These were bodies of
     religious people living together to work and worship.



1. The Saxons learned to respect the quiet simple lives of the early
monks. They saw them toiling hard in their fields, bravely facing many
difficulties and hardships, and turning the wilderness into a garden.
At first each monk, from the abbot downwards, had to take his share in
the toil, wherever it was, and the monastery, as well as the vill, had
to produce all that it needed.

2. Men, who were not very good or very religious, began to respect
the lives and works of the monks. We find thanes and kings not only
allowing monks to settle on some of their unoccupied land, but making
over to them some of their own land, on condition that they and their
children after them might always have a share in the prayers of these
good men. We see, too, that whole vills came gradually into the hands
of some monasteries; so that the convent became the lord of the vill,
instead of a thane or a king.

3. Some convents made rapid progress, while others never prospered, but
in the course of time disappeared. We have seen that the vill and the
"town" grew up in much the same way, and were formed on the same plan.
There are, however, a good many towns which grew up round monasteries
in the first instance.

4. For example, King Offa II, at the end of the eighth century, founded
the monastery of St. Alban, giving to it a wide extent of land round
the ruins of the old city of Verulam. The monastery was built, and much
land brought under cultivation. We find the sixth abbot, Ulsinus, two
centuries later, encouraging people to settle round the walls of the
monastery. That monastery lay near one of the great roads of England;
many people were coming and going; so houses were built and a market
was established. Churches, too, were erected for the use of the people
who settled in the town. The abbot was the lord of this "town", and
the people dwelling in it were his tenants. He, like any other lord of
a "tun", or "vill", was responsible for the keeping of order and good
government on his land.

  [Illustration: ST. ALBAN'S CATHEDRAL page 47]

5. St. Edmund's Bury, or Bury St. Edmund's, grew up round a monastery
which had been established in a lonely place; and there, also, arose in
time a flourishing town, under the rule of the abbot.

6. A number of towns, which to-day are cathedral cities, grew up round
the churches where the bishop and his principal clergy had their homes
and chief centres of work.

7. These things only came about very gradually. The monks who settled
first at Bury, or those whom King Offa settled by the ruins of Verulam,
never dreamed that in the years to come their convents would be great
land-owners, with many hundreds of tenants. But it was so; and the
monasteries at length formed one of the most important classes of
land-owners in the country; their special rights and privileges coming
to them so gradually, and so naturally, that no one realized exactly
what was taking place.

8. Those who entered a monastery, or embraced "the religious life",
intended to keep out of the world, and apart from its cares and
worries as much as they could. But the lands left to them had to be
looked after and cultivated. These did not always lie close round
the monastery--very frequently they were tracts of land in distant
counties,--and somebody had to look after them. New possessions mean
new responsibilities; and so we find that the monasteries had not only
to attend to the daily round of worship and work inside the walls of
the monastery, but had to carry on all the business belonging to great
estates as well.

9. So in time a monastery had to use the services of many men besides
monks; the monks became great employers of labour one way and another,
and this attracted to their towns a good many skilled workmen.

10. The times when the Danes ravaged the greater part of the country
were very trying to the life of English villages and towns. These
sea-rovers came, at first, as plunderers, and the destruction of towns,
churches, and monasteries was very great. Some monasteries, like
Crowland[4], suffered several times, and many were never rebuilt. But,
gradually, the invaders settled in England. They did not bring with
them an entirely new land system. As they settled down to farming and
village life, we find that land was held in almost exactly the same
manner as under Saxon customs.

11. Of course there were some differences, and those who have studied
the subject closely can indicate a good many points in which the Saxon
and Danish land customs differed from each other. The dangers to which
the Saxons had been exposed by the attacks of the Danes had put a great
deal of power into the hands of the thanes and the king. Thus, by the
time the Danes had settled in England, every vill and tun had got into
the hands of some lord or thane, or was in the king's hands. In Danish
settlements there seems always to have been an overlord, who led his
people in war and ruled in time of peace; though there was a class of
=freemen= amongst them which had special rights and privileges.

12. But the Danes were something more than tillers of the soil; they
were traders too, and "tuns" became in many places more like our
"towns" and trading-places than ever they had been before. In time
we find the largest towns in the Danish part of England--Leicester,
Lincoln, Derby, Nottingham, and Stamford--binding themselves together
to protect their trading interests.

     =Summary.=--Land was gradually left to monasteries by kings and
     nobles on condition that they and their families should always be
     prayed for. The monasteries became holders of lands, often far
     away from their houses, which had to be attended to. Towns grew up
     round many monasteries, like St. Alban's and Bury St. Edmund's,
     and the monastery was their overlord.

     The Danes brought no new land system with them to England, though
     amongst them there was a class of freemen. Towns grew to be
     greater trading-places in Danish times.



1. Now let us see what an ordinary village was like in the time of King
Cnut, when Saxon and Dane were living pretty comfortably together, side
by side, under good government.

2. We find that each vill or tun had a =lord=, an eorl, or thane, who
practically owned the place and everything in it, though he could not
do entirely as he liked. There was the land which belonged to him, and
which was in his own hands, or occupation, as we say; that was called
his =demesne=. The rest of the land was also his, but it was let out to
people who had lived on the land from time out of mind--the =cheorls=
or =villeins=. The lord's house was on his demesne. The villeins'
houses were all together in the tun, with the grass yards for the
cattle close to them, and the open fields and pasture-lands outside the
tun, just as they had been in the olden days.

3. There seem to have been two classes of villeins--=geburs= and

4. The geburs were the higher class. They seem very frequently to have
held about 120 acres of land; they had to work on the lord's home farm
two or three days a week, or pay him certain produce of the land as a
rent; and they had to provide one or more oxen for the village plough,
when there was ploughing to be done on the lord's farm, or in the
common field.

5. In the Danish part of the country there appears to have been a class
of freeholders in some places, called =socmen=, but there were not very
many of them. They, no doubt, had had their rights granted to them for
distinguished service in the Danish wars.

6. The =cottiers= held only about 5 acres of land. They had to work
for the thane or lord on certain days of the week; but, as they had no
oxen, they had no ploughing to do for him.

7. Below the geburs and the cottiers were the =theows=, =thralls=, or
=slaves=, who could be bought and sold. They were captives taken in
war; or men who, for their crimes, had been doomed to slavery.

  [Illustration: Serf or Theow]

8. We must remember that the overlord might be the king, or a bishop; a
monastery, or a thane. Their rights over their vills and tuns were much
the same in each case, and their duties to those vills and tuns were
also similar.

9. A very large number of vills and tuns were under the lordship of the
various bishops and monasteries. It was so with towns like Winchester,
Reading, Bury St. Edmund's, and St. Alban's. The custom had grown up
quite naturally and in the course of many years.

10. It is pretty clear that the overlord did not always reside in his
vill or tun. The tuns or vills of the bishopric of Winchester, for
instance, were scattered about in various parts of the diocese. It was
the same with other overlords. But we find in every place a =steward=,
and in each town the =king's reeve= or the =lord's reeve=. These
acted for the overlord, whoever he was, and saw that the villeins and
cottiers did their proper proportion of work at the right time; they
saw that the lord's tolls at the markets, fairs, and ferries, were
properly enforced. The steward was a most important officer in every
town and village, and a great deal of power was in his hands.

11. Then in the ordinary country vill there was the =faber=, or smith;
the =mason=; the =pundar=, or man who looked after the fences and
hedges and drove stray cattle into the pound. The simple ordinary
trades were found in the country villages then, as they are now; but
the craftsmen, the most skilled workmen, had become for the most part
dwellers in the towns. Even in very early times we find craftsmen in
towns formed into trades' unions or =guilds=, to protect their special

12. Now the land was shared amongst the villeins and cottiers in
strips, usually containing an acre or a half-acre, in the common fields
of which we have heard before. The villein did not have all the strips
belonging to his holding set out side by side--they lay in different
parts of the great open field. Crops had to be sown according to the
custom of the vill or tun, and according to a fixed order. Wheat and
rye would be sown one year on a part of the great field; barley, oats,
and beans the next year; and the third year the land must be left
fallow. The lord's land had to be treated in the same way.

13. On the pasture-land and in the meadows the villein and cottier had
the right to turn out a certain number of cattle, according to the size
of their holdings. The crops, whether of hay or corn, had to be cleared
from the fields by certain fixed days, so that cattle might be turned
out to graze. You will still find, in some towns, that certain of the
freeholders, or burgesses, have the right to turn a certain number of
cattle on certain lands for a part of the year between fixed dates.

14. Then, on the rough commons or heaths, there were also grazing
rights for the lord and his tenants. The tenants might "top and lop"
the trees growing there at certain times, but they might not cut the
trees down--that was the lord's right. There were also rights of
cutting turf and heather, and the turning of hogs into the forest; all
these rights were ruled by "custom", which bound both the lord and the

15. The lord, or steward, or reeve, held =courts= or meetings at
regular intervals. At first these took place in the open air, like the
old folk-moots; but in time they came to be held in a court-house.
The court was a meeting, presided over by the lord or his steward, to
see that the customs of the place were kept up; to call to account
those tenants who had failed to do their share of the work; to put new
tenants into the places of those who had removed or died; and to punish

16. This last right, of punishing offenders, was one thought to be
of vast importance. In the early days the men of the tun were bound
together to keep the peace, and to see that it was kept; and they were
strong enough to keep evil-doers in check. In the trading tuns or towns
especially, the right was valued very highly; but, at the time we are
now treating of, the right to exercise punishment was in the hands of
the overlord, though the men of the place had still some voice in the
government of their town. The right to have a =gallows= was one eagerly
sought for, and held very firmly; not because people particularly
wanted to hang one another, but because the gallows represented to
them the highest power of government. The towns had lost most of their
rights in this respect, but they had never forgotten those they had
had, and were always on the alert to get back any lost right, or to
gain a new one, which should help them to obtain the privilege of

     =Summary.=--Each vill had an overlord, who might be the king,
     a bishop, a noble, or a monastery. Land held by the lord was
     his _demesne_. Those who lived on the land were _villeins_ or
     _cheorls_. Villeins were divided into _geburs_ and _cottiers_.
     Geburs held about 120 acres each, did so many days' work on the
     lord's land, and supplied an ox for the village plough. Cottiers
     had only 5 acres. In Danish districts there were some _socmen_, or
     freemen. The _thralls_, or serfs, were a lower class still. Each
     vill and tun had a steward, who looked after the lord's interests,
     and courts were held regularly in each. The right of a gallows was
     a sign of right to govern, and so it was much valued, especially
     by the trading towns. The faber or smith, mason, and pundar were
     the common trades in the vills.



1. In speaking of our towns and villages we are obliged to make mention
frequently of churches and monasteries. At the time when Cnut was king,
each vill or tun had its church and its priest to minister in it. There
were parts of the land, in the common fields and pasture, mixed up with
the villeins' strips, set apart for the support of the services of the
Church, the maintenance of the priest, and the care of the poor. In
time various dues and customs were also paid to the priest for certain
things which he was expected to do.

2. There are very few churches still standing which have any parts of
their structure dating from before the time of King Cnut. In the early
days churches were very simple buildings, built mainly of wood, and in
the Danish wars most of them were destroyed.

3. In the tenth century there was a very general belief that the
world was coming to an end at the end of the thousand years after
the establishment of Christianity; so there was not much actual
church-building going on. But in King Cnut's time a revival of interest
in church-building took place, and there are in a good many of the old
churches of England little bits of work in the walls, or very rude
carvings over the doorways, which belong to this time. Unless such work
is pointed out to you by one who understands something about these
matters, you will not be likely to discover it for yourself, any more
than you are likely to discover the traces of the pit-dwellings, of
which we spoke in an early chapter.

4. These parish churches and parish priests were under the control of
the bishop, who had his chief church or =cathedral= in some important
place in his diocese. Those cathedrals were generally served by
colleges of clergy, called canons.

5. These were the =public churches=. But besides them there were
colleges and monasteries, which were =private societies= of men living
together. Some of the religious houses were in towns, as we have seen,
and others were in wild desolate places. Every religious house, whether
a monastery for men or a nunnery for women, had its church, which was
the private chapel of the house, and not open to the public. In the
course of years these private chapels were built as huge churches,
much larger than the parish church. Even now you may see close to a
big college church a much smaller parish church, as for example St.
Margaret's Church, which stands by the side of Westminster Abbey. As
more land came into the possession of these religious houses, the monks
had more business with the outside world, for, as landlords, they had
to see that their lands were turned to good account, and cultivated
according to the notions of the day.

6. The monasteries, especially in their early days, were great centres
of good and useful work. Those who founded them, or gave them lands,
did so because they felt they were doing excellent service for
the people, and they wanted to have a share in the work, and to be
remembered in the prayers of the monks. Founders of religious houses
believed that they were getting something worth having in return for
the lands which they gave.

7. In the wild times of the Danish invasions the monasteries were
looked upon as places of safety for the weak and helpless. But they
were not always safe places. People sometimes, when the country was in
a disturbed state, would send their valuables to the nearest monastery.
In time the Danes got to know of this, and many a religious house was
attacked and sacked by them on account of the tales they had heard of
the marvellous wealth hidden there.

8. A story is told of a worthy person living near St. Alban's
monastery at a time when a visit from marauding Danes was expected.
One market-day he sent a number of heavy iron-bound chests, guarded by
armed men, through the market to the monastery. Everybody, of course,
turned to look, and talked about the affair. As a matter of fact
the chests only contained stones; the treasure was carefully hidden
somewhere else, till all danger was thought to be over. That plan was
used to put the Danes "off the scent", as we should say.

9. All the land that did not go with the tuns and vills in early days
was apparently regarded as belonging to the people, and was called the
=folk-land=. The king came to be regarded as the custodian or guardian
of these folk-lands. Little by little they became the =property of
the king=, until practically he could do what he pleased with them.
It was from these folk-lands--which in early times were probably
scraps of land which nobody thought to be worth very much, since the
nearest vills and tuns had never taken them in--that kings gave land
to bishoprics and monasteries. By and by these rough lands became very
valuable; but in most cases it was the labour, the skill, and the
brains of the monks of the early days which turned the waste lands into
fruitful fields.

     =Summary.=--Each vill had its church, but there are none of these
     old churches now standing. Bits of stone-work belonging to that
     time are sometimes found built into old church walls. The early
     churches were mostly of wood. The monastery churches were often
     very large, but they were not public churches. In times of danger,
     monasteries were looked upon as places of safety. The waste lands
     which did not belong to any tun or vill in early times were called
     _folk-land_, and belonged to the people. The king was regarded as
     the guardian of these lands, but in time they were looked upon as
     his private property. Land given to monasteries was often very
     rough, but the care the monks gave to it in time made it fertile.



1. Every old town and village has got its oldest house, of course. You
will most likely have heard people trying to be funny about it, and
saying they think it must have been built in the year One. There is,
we may pretty safely say, no house now standing exactly as it was in
the days of King Cnut and the later Saxon times. But even yet there are
some buildings standing, and still in use, which have certain parts
which were erected in those times. These buildings are mostly churches,
and in various parts of the country, indeed in almost every county,
something belonging to this age can be pointed out.

2. Churches built of stone in those days had very thick walls with very
small windows. The east end of the chancel was usually semicircular,
forming an _apse_. The wall between the chancel and the nave was
pierced by a narrow, low, round-headed arch. Most of the windows had
plain, round-headed arches, and in some of them, dividing the opening
into two parts or "lights", were stone pillars with bulging stems. Some
of the doorways had triangular heads, others had round heads. There are
some very curious bits of sculpture over some of these doorways. The
meaning of them was quite plain, no doubt, to the people who carved
them, but they are very difficult for us to understand. They represent
the ideas which the Saxons had of good and evil, and of the strife
going on between them.

  [Illustration: Saxon Baluster Window (Monkwearmouth Church, Durham)]

3. King Edward the Confessor had been brought up in Normandy, where
church-building was in advance of anything in England. He encouraged
Norman ideas in building, as well as in other directions, and so
prepared the way for the coming of the Normans. Some parts of the
buildings connected with Westminster Abbey were built at that time.

4. We do not know much of Saxon castles, though the Saxons had their
strongholds and fortified places.

5. The houses in which the people lived were most of them in those
days built of wood. There was not much difference, except in size,
between the house of the king, the thane, and the villein. There was
the hearth, on which was the fire; and the room or hall in which it
was placed was the chief building, close to which, very gradually,
other buildings arose. Apparently the buildings had a framework of
timber, filled in with wood, wattled together like hurdles. In the more
important buildings, stone gradually came into use.

  [Illustration: Saxon Doorway (Tower of Earls-Barton Church)]

6. The monasteries and convents each had the buildings in which the
monks lived grouped round the church. After the Danish wars the
buildings improved, stone taking the place of wood.

7. Even in the towns wood was chiefly used for the ordinary house;
though, as we should expect, stone was used in the more important
buildings, and in the wall round the town.

8. What we understand by comfort in a house was absent. There was the
fire on the hearth in the middle of the floor; in this room the people
of the house, from the highest to the lowest, had their meals; and
there, on the floor, most of them slept at night. Cooking was almost
entirely done in the open air.

     =Summary.=--In most towns and villages the oldest building now in
     use is usually the church. Some churches have remains of Saxon[5]
     work in them. The style was very plain: the chancel usually
     had an apse or semicircular end; the windows were round-headed
     and sometimes had pillars with bulging shafts; doorways were
     round-headed or triangular. King Edward the Confessor prepared
     the way for Normans and Norman ways of building. The Saxons had
     strongholds, but they were not castle-builders. Ordinary houses
     were usually of wood, and consisted of a room or hall, with a
     hearth in the middle; in this room the family slept. Most of the
     cooking was done in the open air.



1. When Duke William of Normandy became King of England, the power
of the Crown was greater than it had ever been before. All the old
folk-land had become =king's land=. Many knights had followed Duke
William from Normandy into England, and expected to be provided for
by their leader. The lands belonging to King Harold, and those of the
Saxon eorls who had died fighting at Senlac, King William regarded as
his own. These he granted to his followers, on condition that they
acknowledged him as their overlord, and followed him in war when
required. This was a stricter condition than had ever before been
required in England. The Normans were used to it, and it did not seem
at all strange to them.

2. Neither was it so very strange to the Saxon nobles and thanes. Most
of them were allowed to keep their estates if they took the =oath of
allegiance= to the king, as the Normans did. Of course they grumbled:
it was only natural that they should do so; but if they did not
acknowledge the king in this way they were looked upon as rebels, and
lost their lands.

3. King William was very careful, in the grants which he made, not to
put too much power into the hands of his nobles. The old =vills= of
Saxon times were now pretty generally called =manors=. When the king
granted land, it was not given in huge slices--whole counties, halves,
and quarters of counties--to this great follower of his or to that one.
Between the old vills, or manors, there were often wide stretches of
the king's own land, the old folk-land. If he had granted to a Norman
knight a quarter of a county, or so, he would have been giving away
much of his own land. Besides that, the king did not mean his followers
to become too powerful.

4. He granted the land in separate manors. It is quite true that in
every county we can, so to speak, put our finger on some Norman knight,
and say that he got the lion's share of the manors in that county. Thus
in Hampshire there was Hugh de Port, and in Hertfordshire Eustace de
Boulogne. But their manors did not all lie side by side, nor were they
conveniently close together. Just as a villein's holding was spread out
in various fields, so the manors, or fief, which a knight held under
King William were often scattered over various counties.

5. At the time of the Conquest a very large number of manors belonged
to bishoprics and monasteries. Now the Normans were a Christian race.
The Norman Conquest was not like the Saxon or the Danish Conquest--a
rush of heathen, bent on plunder and bloodshed. Bitter as the strife
was, it was not as bad as those invasions had been. There was something
which the Normans and the later Saxons both respected, and that was
their =religion=. The Normans were a particularly religious and devout
people, stern and cruel as they were. The lands of the Church and of
the monasteries were not interfered with to any extent. King William,
however, took care that they were in the hands of people whom he could

6. The story is told that the Abbot Frederick of St. Alban's, who did
not love the Normans, once remarked to King William that he owed his
easy conquest of England to the fact that so many of the manors were
held by monks and clergy, who could not and would not bring out their
men to fight.

7. The king replied that that must be mended; for enemies might again
invade the land, and he must have men whom he could depend upon to
meet the foe. At that time a great tract of land between St. Alban's
and London belonged to the Abbey, and the abbot allowed Saxon outlaws
to infest it, who were a great nuisance to the Normans. As the land
had been given by former kings, the king at once took half of it back
again, in order to clear out the outlaws. Abbot Frederick had said too
much. He fled away to the Camp of Refuge at Ely, and King William would
only accept as abbot a Norman and a friend of his--Paul de Caen.

     =Summary.=--After the Conquest the power of the king increased.
     The manors of Saxon nobles who had opposed King William were
     granted to his own followers. Other Saxon nobles kept their lands
     if they took the oath of allegiance.

     The land was given in manors and groups of manors. Between many
     of these there were large stretches of the king's own lands. The
     lands of bishoprics and abbeys were not much interfered with; but
     the king took care that only those were accepted as bishops or
     abbots who would be loyal to him.


IN NORMAN TIMES (_Continued_)

1. The king, then, granted manors to his followers, and to such Saxon
eorls and thanes as were willing to hold their lands on the same
conditions as the Normans. If they objected, as from time to time a
good many of them did, they had to go.

2. Now, though every manor had a lord, where the lord held many manors
it was quite impossible for him to be living in the manor-house of each
of them, and looking after his estate himself. He could, if he chose,
let out some portions of these manors to a man beneath him in rank, on
exactly the same conditions as the king had granted to him. The man
must swear to be his vassal, and appear, when required, with his proper
number of men, to fight his lord's battles. He, in his turn, might let
parts of the lands to others under him.

3. By this means the king could command a pretty large army. He would
summon his great vassals, they would summon their vassals, each of whom
would in turn summon his followers; and so from every manor men would
be called to fight. It was something like the old nursery tale: "The
fire began to burn the stick; the stick began to beat the dog; the dog
began to worry the pig; and so the pig began to get over the stile".

4. If the lord was not living in the manor-house there was someone
there to represent him, and to look after his interests. In scores of
manors the people never set eyes on their overlord; but they felt the
grip of his power through the =steward of the manor=. Now, though the
steward could not go against the customs of the manor openly, there
were many ways in which he could make himself very disagreeable to the
people under his care. He was there to grind what he could out of the
tenants for the lord, and he took care to grind for himself too. It
seems to have been quite an understood thing that he was to get what
he could out of the manor for himself, so that very often villeins and
tenants had anything but an easy pleasant life.

5. The Norman Conquest did not interfere with the customs of the
manors, and the life on an ordinary manor went on very much the same in
King William's reign as it had done under King Edward the Confessor.
About twenty years after King William I had come to the throne, that
great survey, recorded in =Domesday Book=, was made. Learned men who
have studied the Domesday Book closely have discovered many things
connected with the life of people in England at this period. We can
even see what parts of the country suffered by opposing King William,
and which districts had submitted quietly to him.

     =Summary.=--The great tenants could let out their manors to others
     beneath them; and these in turn to others beneath them. In this
     way the king could get together a big army.

     On the manors the _steward_ was a most important officer, and the
     tenants saw more of him than of their lord. The customs of the
     manors were not altered by the Conquest, and the condition of the
     people on the land was very little changed.

     Domesday Book, drawn up twenty years after King William came
     to the crown, gives us much information as to the state of the
     country at that time.



1. When we speak of Norman times we must bear in mind that they lasted
for over 130 years--say from 1066 to 1200. That period covers a good
many years, and consequently a good many changes took place. Now this
period is marked by a particular style of architecture known as Norman
or Twelfth Century.

2. With the coming of William the Conqueror to England began a great
period of building in this country. There was what we may almost call
a "great rage" for =founding= or establishing =religious houses= and
=churches=, and for =building castles=. All the religious houses
have gone, and nearly all the castles, but in their ruins we can see
specimens of Norman work. In a large number of old churches we can see
very good examples of this style. In Hampshire especially there is
scarcely one old church, even in the most out-of-the-way village, which
has not some Norman work to show.

3. You will expect to find that the style of building altered
somewhat during that long time. In the beginning it was very plain,
but gradually it became more ornamental. At first there were plain,
round-headed arches and heavy stone pillars, with boldly cut caps
to them. But in the time of King Henry II, and later, we find the
mouldings of the arches, and the caps of the pillars, ornamented more
and more with bold carvings. There is a vast difference between the
plain, almost ugly Norman work, in St. Alban's Cathedral, which was
begun about the year 1077, and the Norman work which can be seen in
Durham Cathedral, or the west door of Rochester Cathedral. The St.
Alban's builders had no stone at hand to speak of, but any amount of
Roman tiles from the ruins of Verulam. They could not build anything
very ornamental, but they could and did build something vast and
imposing. In most of the cathedrals there are very fine specimens of
later Norman work.

  [Illustration: Cushion Capital]

  [Illustration: Capital--Chapel in Tower of London]

  [Illustration: Transition Norman Capital, hall of Oakham Castle]

  [Illustration: Transition Norman Capital, Canterbury Cathedral]

  [Illustration: Photo. S. B. Bolas & Co.


4. We see, towards the end of the period, from the way in which the
Norman arches were used to intersect each other, and form two pointed
arches within a round-headed arch, that a change in style was showing
itself. Towards the end of Norman times, in the reigns of Richard I
and John, we reach what architects call the =Transition Period=, when
the Norman style was gradually changing into the =Early English=,
or Pointed Style. The choir of Canterbury Cathedral is one of the
best-known specimens of this Transition Period. Just as changes took
place in the style of the buildings, so, too, the life of the nation
changed. All the changes were not improvements; some, indeed, were
changes for the worse.

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine


     =Summary.=--The Norman period lasted for 130 years, from 1066 to
     about the year 1200. The round-headed style of building, called
     Norman, lasted through this period. It became more ornamented
     as the years went on. In the latter part of the time the style
     began to change. St. Alban's Cathedral and Durham Cathedral have
     examples of plain and highly ornamental Norman work. The choir of
     Canterbury Cathedral gives an example of Transition work at the
     end of Norman days.



1. The passion for building castles in England had begun before the
Norman Conquest; but during the Norman period a great many castles
(about 1100, it is said) were built in various parts of the country.
They were not all of the same size, strength, or importance. Some were
royal castles, belonging to the king, who placed each one in charge
of a constable or warden. These were necessary for the defence of the
country. We should expect to find important castles, for instance, at
such places as Carlisle, Ludlow, Gloucester, Dover, and London. We can,
too, trace lines of castles along the Scottish and Welsh borders; and
there were no fewer than twenty-five in the county of Monmouth alone.

2. Many castles were placed on the site of Saxon strongholds, and of
strongholds dating from still earlier times. Others were built where
the overlord thought they would be of service to him in protecting
his interests and keeping his tenants in order. So it often came to
pass that the castles were built close to, or in the very heart of, a
town or city. Frequently the castle was at once the protection and the
terror of the neighbourhood.

  [Illustration: Norman Castle.--From a drawing in Grose's Military
  Antiquities.--1, The Donjon-keep. 2, Chapel. 3, Stables. 4, Inner
  Ballium. 5, Outer Ballium. 6, Barbican. 7, Mount, supposed to be the
  court-hill, or tribunal, and also the place where justice was
  executed. 8, Soldiers' Lodgings.]

3. It is curious to note that some of the greatest castles-builders
of the time were bishops. There was Bishop Gundulph of Rochester, who
built the Keep of Rochester Castle and the White Tower in the Tower
of London. There was Bishop Henry de Blois of Winchester, who built
a number of castles on lands belonging to his bishopric. Strange as
it may seem to us that bishops should be great rulers and leaders
of armies, it did not strike the people of those days as at all
extraordinary or improper. A bishop was as much a ruler as the king,
and had territories to look after and keep in order. In those days he
was quite as able to carry out these duties as the boldest baron of
them all, and could give and take hard knocks with the best of them.

4. The great castle-builders had no love for the traders in towns and
cities; indeed they looked down on that class. But they found them very
useful. Towns attracted traders by land and by water; and every town,
every bridge, and every ferry belonged to some lord or other. No goods
could be brought into or taken from a town, or carried across bridge
or ferry, without paying toll and custom to the overlord. But he had
certain duties to perform in return, in protecting the town and its
trade; and the better the protection the more traders came to pay toll,
and the better it was for everybody concerned.

5. So we find, near many of our ancient towns and cities, a castle, or
its ruins--or perhaps only the site is left--where the lord of the town
kept a number of men to protect the town and district, even when he was
not there himself.

6. If there was no love lost between the lord of the castle and the
townsmen, there was still less between the latter and the soldiers.
The soldiers were inclined to take liberties, and to be insolent and
oppressive. As they had it in their power to "make trouble", if not
kept in good-humour, the townsmen put up with much for the sake of
peace and quietness.

     =Summary.=--The Norman period was a great castle-building age:
     1100 strongholds were then built in England. Castles were not
     all of the same size or importance. There were royal castles,
     especially on the border-lands, as at Carlisle, Ludlow,
     Gloucester, and Dover. Every noble regarded a castle as a
     necessity. Castles were built near towns, partly to protect them,
     partly to keep them in order. Castles and towns were necessary
     for the protection and encouragement of trade. Townsmen and the
     men-at-arms in the castles were very jealous of each other. Some
     of the bishops were great castle-builders, because they were great
     landholders, not because they were bishops.



1. However useful a castle might be in protecting the overlord's
tenants and property, the sense of security was always a great
temptation to quarrel with other lords. With strong kings, like William
I and Henry I, the danger of disorder was not so great, as they knew
how to keep their great barons in check. But in the time of King
Stephen, during the long years of civil war, the barons were divided
into two parties, and each castle became a centre of strife.

2. The baron in his castle had his men to keep. These he did not pay in
regular wages. He fed, clothed, and armed them after a fashion; and,
to give them something to do, would rake up some old grievance with a
neighbouring baron, make an attack upon his property, and let his men
plunder, burn, and kill to their hearts' content. Then the other baron
would retaliate.

3. It is easy to see that the conditions of life in England were most
unsettled in the reign of King Stephen. There was no safety in town
or village, and the dwellers on the manors must have suffered most
severely. Their own lord would send and gather in all their store
to victual his castle from time to time: his enemy would send _his_
men to seize what they could. It made very little real difference to
the villeins which side won; _they_ suffered, as they were heavily
oppressed by both parties. Their own lord expected his dues just the
same, war or no war, famine or no famine, whether he or his enemy
had carried off the best part of the corn and cattle or not; and he
would take his pick of the men on his manors to fill the places of his
men-at-arms who had been put out of action.

4. Many of the barons became little better than monsters of cruelty,
and their castles "nests of devils and dens of thieves". One of the
very worst of these was Geoffrey de Mandeville, who had large estates
in Essex and Hertfordshire. His castle of Anstey, in Hertfordshire,
was a den of fearful wickedness. He and his men neither feared God nor
regarded man; nothing was sacred to them--they spared neither church
nor monastery, town nor village.

5. Dreadful tales are still told of the cruel deeds done in the deep
dungeons of nearly all these old castles by the "bold bad barons" of
the time of King Stephen.

6. When Henry II became king he put a stop to these disorders, and
large numbers of the castles were pulled down; but the evils they had
caused lived long after, and were the source of much trouble.

7. It is said that "Everything comes to those who know how to wait",
and the townsmen, under the rule of a great lord, knew how to wait.
Great as the lord of the town was, whether he was baron, bishop, or the
king himself, he could not do without the town--and the town knew it.
People were sometimes short of ready money in those days, just at the
very time when they needed it most urgently.

8. You will remember that the =Crusades= began in the reign of
King William I. Now and again the crusading "fever" took hold of
some of these Norman barons, and many wanted to go to fight the
Turk--especially when there was not much fighting going on at home. But
crusading was a costly business, and of course there was a good deal
of rivalry between these crusading knights as to who could raise the
best-furnished troop of men. The baron would be glad to get together as
much money as he could. So the chance came to many a town to advance
money to their lord. He, in return, would grant to the town the right
to collect the tolls and customs payable to him for a term of years; or
perhaps on condition that they allowed him so much every year out of
the tolls collected.

9. Bishops, too, were often in urgent need of money, for there were
many calls upon them. The monasteries were, at this period, beginning
to do so much expensive building, that often they, too, were glad to
get money by granting to the townsmen privileges for which they were
willing to pay.

10. Then there were other towns, not depending so closely on a baron
or bishop or monastery, which wanted to gain similar privileges of
levying toll and custom. These would petition the king for the right to
be given to them too, to levy dues, in return for a large sum of money
paid down, or for a yearly payment to the king.

11. The towns were becoming strong, and they gained considerable
rights during this Norman period. As far back as the time of King
Cnut we find, in some districts, towns banding themselves together to
protect their trade and interests. This was the case with Leicester,
Nottingham, Derby, Stamford, and Lincoln.

     =Summary.=--In the time of King Stephen castles became dens of
     robbers, and their owners were nearly always at war with each
     other. The Crusades attracted many fighting barons when there was
     no war at home. They needed money to fit out troops to go abroad,
     and in many cases the towns found the money on condition that
     they got certain rights to levy tolls and customs. Bishops and
     monasteries in want of ready-money often let out or parted with
     their rights to towns in a similar manner.

     Towns began to be very powerful, and sometimes joined together
     to protect their interests. This was the case with the towns of
     Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Stamford, and Lincoln.



1. The hundred years after the Norman Conquest was a great period of
building. It was a time for establishing or _founding_ new =religious
houses=. Something like 389 such houses were opened during this period,
so that they played a very important part in the history of the times.
The Normans were not very much interested in the English religious
houses which they found already established here. In fact, a good many
of them, since the times of the Danish invasion, 200 years before, had
got into very bad order, and were in need of reform. Little by little,
as Norman bishops and abbots were appointed over these Saxon religious
houses, reforms did take place, but not always very easily or quietly.

2. At the time of the Conquest the religious houses in Normandy were
in a far better state than those in England. Their members lived
better lives, did better work, and set a much better example of godly
living and working. There were several =new orders= or societies of
monks, which had their head-quarters on the continent of Europe.
These interested King William's companions more than the old English
monasteries, because they and their fathers had helped to establish

3. So we find, as the Normans received lands here in England, and
founded religious houses, most of them were connected with the
monasteries across the sea, and were ruled by abbots who lived across
the sea. Such branch houses were generally called =priories=, and
the kings and barons who founded them gave them manors and parts of
manors, sometimes taking them from the older Saxon monasteries and

4. Then, too, there were the old Saxon houses, like St. Alban's
Abbey, Westminster Abbey, and Glastonbury Abbey: they were reformed
and improved, and to them, too, lands were given in various parts of
the country, often far away from the mother house. Thus St. Alban's
Monastery had important lands in the neighbourhood of the River Tyne,
and a daughter house was opened there called =Tynemouth Priory=.
So, you see, there were two kinds of priories in England: one class
attached to English religious houses, and the other to Norman or
foreign religious houses. In time the foreign priories received the
name of =alien priories=.

5. All these religious houses had some interest in the land, and all of
them, to a greater or less degree, were landlords. In some cases the
lands given to them were manors which had been managed and tilled in
the same way for hundreds of years. The only change was that the lord
of the manor might be a society or religious house instead of a baron.
Each of the manors had its steward, its villeins, and so forth, like
any other in the land. But a good deal of the land given to these new
religious houses had never been occupied before.

6. Though some of the monasteries, like St. Alban's and St. Edmund's
Bury, were in towns, there were others, especially those founded in
these Norman times, far away from towns, in pathless woods or deep
dales, like Rievaulx, in Yorkshire. Others, like Ramsey and Thorney,
were in lonely fens and marshes. Here the monks themselves set to work,
as in the earlier days, and tilled the ground, keeping up their regular
services in their little church most carefully--praying and working.
Gradually their lands improved; other lands came to them; more labour
was needed; and so, little by little, tenants took holdings on their
lands, and farmed them for the "house", on much the same conditions as
in the older manors.

7. We find that in many of the monasteries attention was given to other
occupations besides agriculture. Some, especially those in towns, like
St. Alban's, became in this period great seats of learning. All of them
wrote the books they used, and some of them were particularly famed for
their writing and illuminating. In fact, they were the =book-producers=
of the age, and very little of the work of learned ancient scholars
could have come down to us had it not been for the careful, painstaking
work of simple monks quite unknown to history.

8. Some of the abbeys in the west of England, like Bath Abbey, had a
good deal to do with opening up the =wool trade=, which in the Middle
Ages became the staple trade of the south and west of England. Flaxley
Abbey, in Gloucestershire, developed =iron-smelting=.

9. In the monasteries men could quietly think and work, and use
the talents they had, without being called away to fight or do the
unskilled work of the world. In these early times there were no other
places where men could lead quiet, thoughtful lives, and "think things
out", and then put them into practice. The men in the monasteries were
not all equally good or religious or clever, but the work done in and
through these old institutions was most important and most valuable to
the country.

     =Summary.=--Many new religious houses were founded[7] in Norman
     times. The Norman barons were more interested in establishing
     branch houses of Norman monasteries than in those they found[8]
     in England. Branch houses of the various monasteries were called
     _priories_, and those which belonged to foreign monasteries were
     called _alien priories_.

     All the monasteries were landholders. Some of them took over old
     manors, others had uncultivated land given to them which in time
     became manors.

     Some monasteries, like St. Alban's, Westminster, and Glastonbury,
     became great centres of learning. Others, in out-of-the-way
     places, encouraged various trades--Bath did much for the wool
     trade of the west of England; Flaxley developed iron-smelting.



1. When we go from a big modern manufacturing town into an old town
or village, we cannot help noticing the old buildings, the ancient
churches, the old town-hall, the alms-houses, and the old houses with
their plastered fronts, tiled roofs, and huge chimney-stacks.

2. As years go by, the number of these old houses gets less and less.
In the course of time many of the smaller ones especially, which have
been neglected and allowed to fall into bad repair, become dangerous
to live in. The sanitary inspector and the medical officer of health
condemn them as unfit for human habitation, and the houses are shut
up. Then, perhaps, they stand empty for some years; mischievous boys
throw stones and break the glass left in the queer little windows;
bill-posters paste notices of all kinds on the doors, walls, and
window-shutters; holes are knocked in the plaster, bits of the
woodwork are torn away, chalk-marks are scrawled on the walls, and the
buildings very shortly look disgracefully untidy. Then some day the
"house-breaker" appears on the scene, and the houses, which have stood
for centuries, are cleared away, and modern buildings take their places.

3. Thoughtful people, who know something of the history of the town or
village, are always sorry to see old buildings disappear; because there
is much to be learned from them, and they help us to recall many things
of great value and importance which we very easily lose sight of.

4. But, old as the houses in our streets and villages are, there are
very few of them which date back more than three hundred or three
hundred and fifty years. Most of them only date back to the time of
Queen Elizabeth--the latter part of the sixteenth century.

5. There are, however, a number of fine old houses which have work in
them of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and some people can
point out to you traces of work in some old houses of an earlier date
than that. There is at Lincoln, for instance, a fine old stone house
called "the Jew's House", which was built late in the twelfth century.
But stone houses for ordinary people, both in towns and villages, were
very rare then--wood was the common material. Of course in parts of the
country where stone was plentiful and wood scarce, stone would be very
largely used. For instance, amongst the Cotswolds stone has always
been the handiest material for building walls, and for covering roofs.

  [Illustration: Norman Dwelling.--The Jew's House, Lincoln]

6. Nowadays, both in town and country, houses are commonly "bunches of
bricks". The Romans knew how to make bricks or tiles, and in places
near old Roman cities Roman tile is still to be seen, which has been
used up over and over again in the walls of old buildings. The big
tower of St. Alban's Cathedral is built of Roman tiles which had been
used centuries before in the walls of Roman houses in Verulamium. That
tower has been standing as it is now for over 800 years.

7. But in Saxon times the _art_ of brick-making was lost, and Saxons
and Normans, it appears, were quite ignorant of it. There is an old
brick house--Little Wenham Hall, in Suffolk--which is believed to have
been built in the latter part of the thirteenth century. That is the
oldest brick house in England. In the fifteenth century the art of
brick-making had been rediscovered, and it seems to have been imported
from Flanders. The old palace at Hatfield is one of the brick buildings
of this period; but brick did not come much into use until quite a
century later. In the county of Middlesex, where there is found clay
which is very suitable for brick-making, the art was not used to any
great extent till the time of King James I. After the Great Fire of
London, in the year 1666, there was a great demand for bricks, and the
use of that material has quite changed the character of the houses in
our towns and villages.

  [Illustration: THE OLD PALACE, HATFIELD (page 84)]

     =Summary.=--The oldest buildings in a town are usually the church,
     the town-hall, and alms-houses. Most of the houses with gabled
     roofs and plastered fronts do not go back farther than the time
     of Queen Elizabeth. There are a very few houses older than this:
     one at Lincoln, called the Jew's House, dates back to the twelfth
     century. Wood was the common material for house-building; but in
     _stone districts_, like the Cotswolds, stone took the place of
     wood. Brick is now the _ordinary_ material for house-building. The
     Romans made and used tiles, but the art was lost. The earliest
     _brick_ houses, like Little Wenham Hall in Suffolk, were built
     of material brought from Holland. The art of brick-making began
     to revive in this country in the fifteenth century, but was not
     very extensively practised till after the Great Fire of London, in
     1666, in the neighbourhood of the metropolis.


EARLY HOUSES (_Continued_)

1. For many centuries the houses of the villeins and cottiers did not
alter very much in their general plan. You will remember that in those
old pit-dwellings the hearth and its fire was the centre of the home.
The room, or space round the fire, gradually became larger, especially
in the houses of the thanes and eorls, till we get the hall, with the
hearth in the middle, and the hole in the roof to let out the smoke.

2. All through the later Saxon and Danish times, and in the Norman
period, the hall was the most important part of the house. As the years
went on, and the style of building altered, the walls, the windows,
and the roof became more beautiful and ornamental, becoming most
magnificent in the fourteenth century, or Decorated Period. Gradually
other buildings were added to the hall for comfort and convenience.

3. So far as we know, the house or hut of the villein was a very simple
affair before the time of the Norman Conquest. Two pairs of poles were
set up, sloped and joined at the top, and connected by a ridge pole
something after this fashion--


The space between was then filled in by other poles and wattle-work.
This was plastered with clay, and covered with turf or rough thatch.
There seems to have been a pretty regular length for this building,
which was long enough to take four stalls for oxen. That required about
16 feet, and was called a "bay". The villein and his oxen were all
housed under one roof at first. When another bay was added, the size of
the house was doubled, and so on. In the course of time the houses were
improved; side walls were raised of wood framing, and the sides were
filled in with wattles and covered with clay.

4. In the course of years these houses or huts grew out of date,
and were replaced by others in much the same style, but gradually
improving in comfort and workmanship. In the villages there was not
much alteration down to the fourteenth century. When a house in a manor
or village was pulled down, and was to be rebuilt, the manor court kept
a sharp eye upon the building operations to see that the new walls did
not encroach upon the highway, or upon the lord's land. No addition
could be made to the house without the consent of the overlord. Customs
in the villages changed very, very slowly, and so it is that, though
the houses in out-of-the-way villages have been rebuilt over and over
again, there are many lath-and-plaster houses standing now round
village greens, built between two and three hundred years ago, on old
foundations which date back to Saxon times.

5. So for many hundreds of years an ordinary village house was, to our
way of thinking, a very wretched, comfortless place. Even as late as
the time of Queen Elizabeth a countryman's house is thus described:--

    "Of one bay's breadth, God wot, a silly cote,
    Whose thatchèd spars are furred with sluttish soote
    A whole inch thick, shining like blackmoor's brows
    Through smoke that down the headlesse barrel blows.
    At his bed's feete feaden[9] his stallèd teame,
    His swine beneath, his pullen[10] o'er the beam."

     =Summary.=--The _hearth_ was the central feature in the
     early pit-dwellings. The space round it gradually became
     larger and grew into the hall in Saxon days, and the hall, or
     house-place, remained the chief part of the house for centuries.
     As architecture improved, so did the appearance of the halls in
     important houses. Gradually other rooms were added.

     The hut of the villein was very simple. At first only like a
     rough roof, with sloping sides, in time this roof was raised on
     side walls. They usually were about 16 feet in length, and such a
     length was called a bay. Though built and rebuilt time after time,
     the style did not vary much for centuries for such houses as these.



1. Houses in towns have been more frequently rebuilt and altered in
various ways than those in the villages. The chief material used in
building was wood, as it was in the villages, and one of the great
dangers in the Middle Ages was that of fire. In the towns this danger
was greater than in the villages, and fires happened more frequently.

2. The leading men in a town had more money to spend, and the increase
of business, or a desire for change, led them to improve their
houses. It was easier for a wealthy townsman to get leave from the
"corporation" or guild to rebuild his house than it was for the villein
in the village to get the leave of the manor court.

3. The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries all saw a great
growth in architecture; they were the Early English, the Decorated, and
the Perpendicular Periods of architecture. In most of the old churches,
and in many of the old mansions, we have specimens of all these
periods; but not very many of the town houses founded in the Middle
Ages, and still standing, are much earlier than the fifteenth century.
In that age there was a great development of wood-work, and there is
hardly one old town which has not some wood-work of that time in some
of its old houses.

4. The rich and prosperous townsman rebuilt his house according to the
fashion of his time; but through all the three centuries the general
arrangements of the dwelling-house did not alter very much.

5. In some parts of London, and in many country towns, you can see that
some of the shops in the main street are reached from the pavement by
a little flight of steps. Below the shop there is a big light cellar,
and the small boy or girl who wants to look in at the shop window has
to "tiptoe" very much in order to do so. Now, that arrangement is just
a little relic of the old town house of the Middle Ages.

6. The house was usually quite narrow, and had a gable facing the
street. It was built over a cellar of stone, often arched and vaulted
very much like a church. There were steps from the street down to the
cellar, and these steps had to be protected, or accidents were certain
to happen to careless foot-passengers. Then, too, there were steps
up to the room over the cellar, which formed the shop and workroom in
one. The front of the shop would be open, like a stall, and there would
probably be a passage through to the back of the house.

7. Above the shop would be another room or rooms, over which, in the
open space under the roof, was the great attic running through the
house. This attic was often kept as a store-room, and goods were
hoisted from the street by a crane; but, in later times, it would be
formed most likely into little sleeping-rooms, very small, very dark,
and very unhealthy.

8. Most of the work would be done in the shop, where the master, his
workmen, and apprentices all did their share. The apprentices would
sleep in the shop at night, and very probably the workmen as well. It
was quite a usual thing for all the establishment to work and live and
sleep on the premises. The rooms occupied by the master and his family
at first were few in number; separate bedrooms only came into use very
gradually indeed.

9. The walls of the house above the cellar were usually of wood, and
the front towards the street was often skilfully and beautifully
carved. In some English counties still there are very fine specimens of
these old town houses; those at Chester, Shrewsbury, and Ludlow, for
instance, are famed all over the world.

  [Illustration: Photo. Catherine Ward


10. We must not suppose that all the houses were equally splendid, or
equally well built; there was then, no doubt, bad building as well
as good. In fact there must have been some very careless building
in early days, and especially so in Norman times. It is a curious
fact that almost every big Norman church tower tumbled down because
it was badly built, even though Norman work looked very massive and

11. Merchants and wealthy tradesmen took great pride in their houses,
and the wood-work and furniture in them were splendid. Kings and nobles
were no better housed than these wealthy townsmen, nor did they have
more of the comforts of life.

12. But the poor! There were always the poor and the outcast in every
town; but they did not exist in the enormous numbers of later years, or
of the present day. Their wretched little hovels were huddled together
in close alleys, and life in them must have been very cheerless. It
was, however, somebody's business to look after them. The religious
houses, the churches, the colleges, all did their part in distributing
food at their gates daily. Many wealthy people, both nobles and
citizens, did likewise; and to give =alms to the poor= was a work of
charity which no self-respecting citizen thought of shirking. Then,
too, the guild or corporation kept a sharp look-out upon the poor;
strangers were turned out of the town, and the people punished who had
taken them into their houses.

     =Summary.=--Town houses were often rebuilt, owing to the fact
     that fires were common, and townsmen had more money to spend on
     building. They consisted of a cellar of stone, a shop, a room or
     rooms above, and a big attic. All the work was done in the shop,
     and there the men and apprentices slept at night. The wooden
     fronts of these houses were often very handsome, and specimens
     of those built in the fifteenth century may be seen at Chester,
     Shrewsbury, and Ludlow.

     All the building of those days was not equally good, but some
     of the best has lasted. Wealthy townsmen were as well housed as
     kings and nobles. The poor were not crowded in the towns. It was a
     work of mercy to look after the poor, and the poor were kept very
     largely by the places to which they belonged. Strangers were not
     admitted into the towns, and so many wanderers were kept away.



1. Disease was one of the great dangers always lurking in a town.
Plague of some kind or other was never very far away, and it frequently
made its presence felt. People had not realized the sinfulness of dirt.

2. The best-drained buildings were the monasteries and colleges. Near
the ruins of every big monastery, from time to time, underground
passages have been discovered, many of them big enough for a man to
walk along upright, and leading nobody knows where. When these were
found, people shook their heads and said: "Ah, those old monks; you
don't know what they were up to. They made these secret passages, going
for miles and miles underground, so that they might get in and out of
the monastery, and be up to all sorts of mischief, without anyone being
the wiser."

3. Many wonderful tales have been told about these underground
passages; but, as a matter of fact, most, if not all of them, have
turned out to be =sewers=, which the monks made from their monasteries
to some water-course, so that the sewage might be safely carried away.
The monks were usually in advance of the townsmen of those days in
sanitary matters. No doubt a sanitary engineer of the present day would
be able to point out how much better the drainage-works could have been
carried out; but the monks set an example in this matter which, bit by
bit, the rest of the nation began to follow.

4. The chief streets of the town and the market-place were paved with
huge lumps of stone, sloping towards the middle of the street from the
houses on each side of the way, a gutter or "denter" running down the
middle. When a heavy shower of rain fell, the water flushed the gutter
more or less. If the street happened to be pretty level, the gutter,
or denter, was just an open sewer all the year round; and it did its
deadly work in poisoning the worthy citizens, high and low, rich and
poor, though they did not realize it. Those towns were the best drained
which were perched on a steep slope, so that the contents of the gutter
found their way speedily to the nearest water-course.

5. There were no great manufacturing towns in those days. Most of the
ordinary articles used by the townsfolk were manufactured in the town
itself, and much of the work went on in the open air. The butcher
killed his animals in the street, before his shop, and that added to
the horrors of the gutter. But then all the butchers in a town were
located in one part of it. Even now most old towns have got a Shambles,
or Butchers' Row, or Butchery Street, or place of similar name, near
the market-place. Other trades had their own parts of the town, where
they made and sold their goods. Cordwinder Street or Shoemakers' Row
are still common street names. The smith and the armourer did much of
their work out in the open street; the joiner put together there any
big piece of wood-work which he had in hand; the wheel-wright "shut"
his tyres; the chandler melted fat and made candles. The streets of the
town must have been very noisy and very "smelly".

6. There were no footways for passengers. Wagons, drays, and
wheel-barrows there were, but carriages had hardly been invented, and
coaches and light-wheeled vehicles had not been dreamt of.

7. No doubt the tradesmen were expected to clear up the mess they
made in front of their houses, and the apprentices had to sweep up.
But that usually meant only drawing the rubbish together to the great
refuse-heap close to the house, which the fowls and the pigs, to say
nothing of the children, speedily managed to scatter. Now and then
these heaps would be carted away to a spot outside the town; but
usually the street was looked upon as the handiest place into which to
fling any refuse from the houses. However clean the citizens' houses
might be inside, and however richly ornamented the wood-work, plague
and pestilence was always very near.

8. Still, though many persons died, and were buried close by in the
little churchyard, where for hundreds of years the dead had been
buried, people lived, and throve, and did good work. For one thing,
they lived a great deal in the open air, and they were not so much
afraid of draughts in their houses as we are.

9. The =water-supply= of a town was a very important matter. Here,
again, the monasteries and colleges frequently led the way, and showed
how water might be brought by pipes from a distant spring. It was not
an uncommon thing for water to be brought in this way to a "conduit" in
the market-place, whence the people fetched it as they needed. Many a
good wealthy citizen has performed the pious work of providing his town
with a supply of water. Parts of old water-pipes, some of wood and some
of lead, laid for such a purpose, have often been discovered in recent

10. Usually, however, a town had to depend upon wells for its
water-supply; and with open gutters running through the town it is very
easy to see that many of these wells supplied water which, at times,
could not have been pure, however bright and clear it may have looked.

11. In the villages the dangers arising from want of proper drainage
and from impure water were not quite so great as in the towns. Yet even
now, in this twentieth century, how to drain our villages properly,
and provide them with a good water-supply, are questions needing
attention in many places. We have seen that the houses in the villages
were usually close together, and men had not realized that dirt is one
of the greatest enemies of mankind. There are a good many people, even
in our time, who see no great harm in having pigsties, refuse-heaps,
and manure-heaps close to their houses.

12. One of the most loathsome of the diseases common in the Norman
times and later was =leprosy=. The lepers _were_ kept out of the towns,
but at first very little was done for them. The refuse of the markets,
and the food that was so bad that it had to be carted outside the town,
was thought to be good enough for them. Gradually, however, we find
=hospitals for lepers= established. They were not what we understand
by hospitals, places where sick folk could be doctored and nursed and
cured; they were religious houses which poor lepers might enter, and in
which they might have safe shelter, care, and attention for the rest of
their sad lives. They were always built outside the walls of the towns.

13. =Other hospitals= for poor and suffering people were also
established. They were not large buildings, with wards holding scores
of people. They were little religious houses, each with its chapel
and priests to carry on its services, providing homes for small
numbers--perhaps half a dozen or a dozen.

14. Kings, bishops, earls, and citizens all took part in this good
work. Every founder expected that every day "for ever" he and his
family should be prayed for by the inmates. Some hospitals were
"founded" or established as thank-offerings for escape from some great
danger; some to "make up" for some wrong that had been done and could
never be put right, and to show that the founder was "really sorry";
some were built for good reasons, others for selfish reasons. Nowadays
we arrange fêtes and demonstrations for our hospital funds, and we
are asked to buy tickets, because "it's a good cause". We get some
enjoyment for ourselves and help the hospital; thus, as it were, doing
good and receiving good at the same time.

     =Summary.=--The monasteries in the Middle Ages were the
     best-drained buildings. "Underground passages" often met with
     near old monastery ruins were, for the most part, _sewers_. The
     gutter which ran down the middle of the town streets formed a kind
     of sewer. Towns on the slope of a hill were the best drained. In
     the Middle Ages there were no big manufacturing towns. Each town
     supplied most of its own wants. Different trades had their own
     quarters in the town, which is shown in some old street-names.
     Refuse was left lying about the streets, and the dead were buried
     in churchyards in the town. In some cases water was brought from
     a distance in wooden or leaden pipes to "conduits" in the town.
     Most towns depended on wells, which were often tainted with sewage
     matter. _Leper hospitals_ were founded and placed outside the
     walls of nearly all the towns. Other hospitals sprang up in the
     towns. None of them were large, or at all like our hospitals.
     They were alms-houses and homes, not places where folk went to be



1. Back in early Saxon times we find that the inhabitants of a town
were banded together to keep the peace, thus forming a society pledged
to each other--the Peace or Frith Guild. It lost nearly all its _real_
power in later Saxon and Norman times. But it did not actually die out,
and it appears that from this Frith Guild what we now understand by a
=corporation= took its rise. The guild was a great power in some of
the Saxon towns; only those belonging to it could trade in the town,
and its members were very slow to admit outsiders to share in their

2. We have seen that the free, or nearly free, =tuns= gradually came
under the power of an overlord--the king, a bishop, a baron, or a
monastery, as the case might be, and very little real power was left
to the guild. The overlord appointed a =reeve= to look after his
interests, and the government of the place was in his hands. Yet the
old Frith Guild seems to have regulated matters connected with the
_customs_ of the town, which did not interfere with the lord's rights.

3. When we reach Norman times we have come to a period during which the
towns improved their position. The Norman Conquest led to increased
trade with the Continent. The great building operations here attracted
skilled workmen and craftsmen to this country. These men naturally
found their way to the towns rather than to the villages. They were
protected and encouraged by the Norman nobles, who preferred _their_
work to that of the Saxons. Although they might be foreigners, these
strangers had ideas of freedom and liberty which fitted in very well
with the town's ideas of self-government. Then, too, these craftsmen
were bound together in trade societies or guilds, and that made them
strong and worthy of consideration in the places where they settled.

4. A =charter= to a town granted and secured to it certain privileges,
and a town with a charter became a =borough town=. The king granted
a good many charters to towns during the Norman Period. A town which
wished a charter had to pay heavily for it. But it was quite worth
while for the town to secure the right which a charter gave it--the
right to manage its own affairs. What a town most desired was to be
free from the authority of the king's officer, to choose its own
port-reeve, who could preside over the court of the town, so that the
town might not have to appear before the hundred court. By paying an
annual rent to the king, however heavy the amount might be, the town
hoped to escape from the many extra fees and taxes which the king's
officers put upon it. It could then settle its own disputes, raise its
own taxes as it needed them, and punish its own evil-doers.

5. In many cases bishops, barons, or religious houses were the
overlords of districts containing important towns, and those towns
managed to get charters from their overlord as other towns had from
the king. By so doing they could get out of the power of the sheriff
or shire-reeve. Charter or borough towns have most of them been very
particular to preserve their rights and privileges.

6. If you live in a small country borough town, or city, you will
notice that two different benches of =magistrates= sit in the town-hall
to hear police cases; and there are two different =courts of justice=,
though held often in the same room. There are first of all the =Borough
Sessions=, at which the =mayor= of the borough presides, and which deal
with cases arising in the borough, whether trifling or serious. Then,
on another fixed day in the week, in the very same building, another
body or bench of magistrates sits. These gentlemen usually come in from
country places outside the town, and the cases brought before them have
to do with the mischief done in the villages and country parishes.
These magistrates have nothing at all to do with offences committed
within the borough. These are the =county magistrates=, and their court
is called the Petty Sessions, or the =County Sessions=.

7. Some offences are too grave for the borough or county magistrates
to settle, and they have to be tried by a higher court of justice,
which has greater powers than the Court of Petty Sessions, the Court of
=Quarter Sessions=. The bench of this court is made up of magistrates
drawn from all parts of the county, and a jury of twelve men,
householders, from different parts of the county, has to be sworn to
hear the evidence in the cases to be tried. The jury decides whether
the man is proved to be guilty or not, when they have heard all that
can be urged for and against him, and the magistrates decide what his
punishment is to be, according to law.

8. There are some cases too grave or too complicated for the Court
of Quarter Sessions to decide, and these have to stand over to the
=Assizes=. These Assizes are held three times a year in the county town
of each county, and every prisoner in the county jail must be accounted
for. The court is presided over by one or more of the =king's judges=.
These are trained lawyers, and they attend in the king's place, and are
treated with much pomp and ceremony.

     =Summary.=--The Frith or Peace Guild in Norman times had lost
     most of its power in the towns, but it did not die out. Our
     _corporations_ have sprung from these. Towns were always trying to
     get out of the power of the overlords' reeve or the shire-reeve,
     and gradually many of them got the right of appointing their own
     reeve. That right was granted by _charter_, usually from the
     king. That is the beginning of our present _borough towns_. The
     mayor in them is the chief magistrate. In many country towns two
     different courts are often held in the same building: the _Borough
     Sessions_, at which the mayor presides, deal with offences done
     in the town; and _County Sessions_, at which magistrates from the
     country district round deal with offences outside the borough.
     _Quarter Sessions_ deal with graver matters four times in the
     year, and about three times a year one or more of the king's
     judges comes to the county town, and _Assizes_ are held for graver
     matters still.



1. We have seen that in Norman times the whole country was, so to
speak, the king's. There were the great lords who held "fiefs" or
possessions directly from the king, which consisted of manors in
various parts of the country--sometimes a number of manors pretty close
together,--often with big stretches of unoccupied land between them,
over which the king had full control. Out of these unused districts the
king could, and did, often make new grants of land.

2. As years rolled on, the =manors= became more valuable, and new
manors were formed. In the earlier days the manor and the =parish=
meant much the same thing; but in course of time, though the boundaries
of the parish did not alter much, the number of manors increased in
some parishes from one to two or three, or even more.

3. In many cases the mode of life on these manors went on unchanged for
centuries, the tenants of these different manors going to the original
=parish church=, and the parish priest ministering to the people in all
the manors in his parish. In other cases daughter churches, or =chapels
of ease=, were built in the newer manors, and provision was made
for the support of a priest to minister to them. These have in some
instances been erected in the course of time into separate parishes;
but many remained as parts of the mother parish, though they might be
several miles away from the parish church.

4. All through the Norman times there was a tendency to make new
manors, and this gave rise to so many difficulties that the practice
was stopped in the time of King Edward I.

5. In all parts of England to-day we have =parks=, belonging to big
mansions; and our big towns and cities have their =parks= too, which
are usually recreation-grounds for the people. A park in Norman and in
Early English times was very different in appearance from our parks,
whether in town or country. Just as the king had his great forests for
hunting wild beasts, so in the later Norman times the great lords were
anxious to enclose pieces of waste and forest land for the same purpose.

6. As we have seen, there were in early times vast tracts of wild,
uncultivated, unenclosed land, partly wooded and partly heath lands,
between the manors, which belonged to the king. The king alone could
give leave to make a park. In the reign of King Henry III especially we
find many such parks were "empaled". Of course the nobles had to give
something to the king for this privilege.

7. Many of the old parks in England, now celebrated for their fine
timber and beautiful scenery, date back to this period; but they were
at first much wilder, and the trees then were neither so many nor so
fine as they are now. The deer in them to-day just serve to remind us
of the "wild beasts" with which they were stocked.

8. The laws for preserving the wild beasts and the game in these
parks and forests and chases were very strict, harsh, and severe.
Many of these new parks took away from the villeins, who lived in the
neighbourhood, certain rights and privileges which their forefathers
had had "time out of mind".

9. Though the land could not be bought and sold outright, manors became
divided and subdivided, let and underlet, for various terms of years,
and in many curious ways, so that in time the profits, or the income,
of a manor, instead of going straight to the lord of the manor, might
be going to half a dozen different persons and places. For instance,
the half of a manor might be divided amongst several people for, say,
twenty years, or for the lives of three or four people; but at the end
of the twenty years, or on the death of the last of those persons, it
must go back to the lord of the manor, who could keep it in his hands,
or let it out in other ways to quite a different set of people.

10. It is not very difficult to understand that the management of an
estate of many manors, broken up into many small portions, became very
complicated. =Records= of all these various transactions had to be made
in writing and carefully kept, and copied and re-copied time after
time. People who understood all the "ins and outs" of the laws relating
to the possession of land became very important and very busy.

11. There are immense numbers of documents, some of them dating back
to Norman and even earlier times, still in existence. The =Record
Office=, in London, has many thousands of documents connected with the
king's business; the monasteries each had their own records, but most
of them disappeared in the sixteenth century; every old estate has such
documents; and many of the old manors have still records going back
many centuries. Of course thousands more of these old documents have
been lost, some destroyed purposely, and others through carelessness
and ignorance. Some have been burnt in times of danger, when their
owner, knowing that there were documents amongst them which might get
him into trouble, and cost him his head, set fire to bundles of papers
and parchments. Others have been stored away in dark, damp cellars,
and forgotten for years and years; and rats and mice have nibbled them
away, or mildew and damp have caused them to rot.

12. Those that we have left can still be read, and it is surprising to
find in many cases how well they have been preserved all through the
centuries. The letters are very often beautifully formed, and the whole
still clear and distinct. They were written in Norman French and Latin,
the latter being the language in which law business was carried on for
many centuries.

     =Summary.=--New grants of land were constantly being made by the
     king out of his own land. Manors were divided and new manors made
     down to the time of King Edward I. Then a single manor would often
     be let out in different portions to various tenants for a term
     of years, but they always came back to the lord of the manor. He
     could not sell his land outright.

     _Parks_ for hunting were portions of "forest" taken in by leave
     of the king. They began to be common in the time of King Henry
     III. The trees were not as fine as they are now. Only the deer in
     them remain to remind us of the "wild beasts".

     The manors being let out in so many portions, there was much
     writing to be done relating to them. Many of these documents are
     still in existence, and can be read. The Record Office in London
     is the place where most of the old records belonging to the king
     are kept. All towns have their records, and a large number of
     manors have them also. The documents of that period were always
     written in Latin or Norman French.



1. In most villages the =church= is the chief old building in the
place, and it is a good thing to be able to tell the time to which
its different parts belong. It will help us to fix in our minds the
different periods, or steps, in the history of our country. Never be
ashamed to ask questions about an old building. It will be a very
strange thing, indeed, if you cannot find, in every town and village,
_somebody_ who has a keen interest in old buildings, and who will
delight in pointing them out to you. Nearly every local newspaper in
the country, from time to time, prints odds and ends connected with
the history of the neighbourhood. If there is anything about an old
building that you want explained, you can easily write a short letter
to the editor of the paper, and there is sure to be someone who will
take the trouble to answer your question, and help you to understand.

  [Illustration: Architectural Features

  Long and Short Work (Saxon); Anglo-Saxon Doorway; Anglo-Saxon; Double
  Window; Norman Curving; Norman Doorway; Lancet Windows; Doorway, 14th
  Century; Window, 15th Century]

2. An old parish church has a good deal to tell us about the history of
the parish and its people, and if you know something of the history of
the place in which you live, you will know something _worth knowing_ of
the history of your country, which will help you to be a good citizen.

3. There are, as we said in a former chapter, some few churches which
have little bits of Saxon work left in their walls and windows. In a
great many more we shall see some Norman work, especially in pillars
and arches and doorways. That Norman Period takes in the reigns of all
the kings from William I to the time of King John, from the middle of
the eleventh century to the end of the twelfth, down to the time of
Magna Carta.

4. When we come to the time of Magna Carta we are in the thirteenth
century, when pointed arches came into use. Through the reigns of King
Henry III and King Edward I a great deal of building in that style
went on. In almost every parish some alteration was made in the church
in that century; and probably in the chancel there are one or two old
windows, which will be pointed out to you as having been first put in
during that century.

5. You may, perhaps, find a very old battered figure of a man in chain
armour, the sort of armour in which King Edward I went fighting in the
Third Crusade, in Wales, and in Scotland; in which Simon de Montfort
and Wallace and the Bruce fought. Some of these effigies have the legs
crossed--some at the ankles, some at the knees, and some at the thighs.
It used to be said that these represented crusaders; but nobody seems
really to know what was the meaning of the cross-legged effigies.

  [Illustration: Effigy with Crossed Legs in the Temple Church, London]

6. Then there are some flat stones, lying in the pavement, with
inscriptions running round the edge in strange worn letters, with
perhaps an ornamental cross also cut the whole length of the stones.
These are the cover-stones of the graves where some great baron or
land-owner was buried, and they belong to the thirteenth century, and
some are even of earlier date. They are called =incised slabs=.

7. In this same century another kind of cover-stone for a grave came
into use, especially in the southern and eastern parts of England.
Metal was fixed in the incised slabs, and the portrait of the knight
and his lady, the merchant or the lawyer, the bishop or priest was
engraved on the metal, showing the person in the kind of dress he wore
during life. It is said that there are about 4000 of these =brasses=
still left in England. Some of them have been sadly damaged and worn.
They do not all belong to the thirteenth century, as this kind of
memorial of the dead was used during several centuries--in fact, well
on into Queen Elizabeth's reign, at the end of the sixteenth century.
The oldest brass in England, showing a man in armour, is in Surrey, in
Stoke D'Abernon Church. Brasses are very valuable, as they show us the
kinds of armour and dress worn in particular centuries.

     =Summary.=--There is not much Saxon work left in any of the old
     churches, but a good deal of Norman work, in round-headed arches
     and doorways. The Norman period lasted from King William I to
     King John. Pointed arches then came in, and in the thirteenth and
     fourteenth centuries there was much church-building and alteration.

     Battered _effigies_ of cross-legged figures in armour belong to
     this period. _Incised slabs_ were originally the cover-stones of
     graves. In the thirteenth century _brasses_ came into fashion, and
     they show us changes in costume, as they were used down to the
     time of Queen Elizabeth.



1. The fourteenth century is covered by the reigns of King Edward II,
King Edward III, and King Richard II. The architecture became much
more ornamental, and there is a good deal of fine stone-carving. Many
beautiful window-heads and doorways belong to this period. A good many
aisles were added to the old naves; many of the old Norman towers were
rebuilt, and crowned with graceful spires; but the work is not all
equally good.

2. There are a great many =tombs= in the churches in various parts of
the country, and much money was spent upon them in this and in the
next century. They are raised some two or three feet from the ground;
the sides are divided into panels and ornamented with rich carvings
and shields of arms, brilliantly coloured and gilded. On the top of
the tombs are to be seen effigies carved in stone of the man and his
wife, lying on their backs, with hands clasped. The men are usually in
armour, and their wives in the dress of the time, with strange-looking
head-dresses. Many of the effigies are much defaced and battered, but
there are others of them well preserved still. It was in the latter
part of the fourteenth century that great attention began to be paid to
shields of arms, and heraldry became an important science.

3. But in the middle of the fourteenth century, during the reign of
King Edward III, there came a time of great distress. There were the
long years of war with France, years of famine and the =Black Death=.
That meant a period of great distress for the country; all classes
suffered, and there was much discontent and disorder. These bad times
left their mark upon the buildings, especially upon the churches. In
some churches work can be pointed out to you which was begun before the
time of the Black Death on a grand scale, but finished off in a much
plainer manner--apparently years after it was begun. The work had been
started, but bad times stopped it, and it had to wait. Those who had
begun it never saw it finished, for the pestilence carried them away;
and, long afterwards, those who did finish it were not well enough off
to carry out the design as it was at first intended.

4. Still, all through these centuries much was spent on the churches,
not only by the great nobles, not only in monastery buildings and the
cathedral churches, but on the ordinary town and village churches as

5. The wealthy =wool-merchants=, especially in the fourteenth century,
spent much on the building and decoration of churches. Some of the
finest churches in the eastern and western counties of England owe much
to them. Then, too, it was quite a common thing for the various =trade
guilds= in a town to have a little chapel, or an aisle, or an altar
in the parish church, which the guild undertook to keep up. One guild
tried to outdo the others in this matter. All the craftsmen of those
days belonged to a trade guild of some sort, and much good artistic
work was done, which found a place in the churches.

6. People took much interest in their churches, and we find them
leaving money towards their upkeep, towards making a statue, or doing
some carving, or even keeping a light burning. Whatever may have been
their reasons for so doing, the fact that they did so is very clear.

7. They used their churches in ways that may seem strange to us; but
they looked upon them as their own, and were evidently in many cases
proud of them. Each parish annually chose its =churchwardens=, who had
charge of the buildings and the furniture, and these were responsible
to the bishop, as well as to the people of the parish. Every now and
then the bishop visited the parish, or sent someone to do so in his
name. Enquiry was made as to how the priest and the people carried out
their duties towards each other. Complaints were heard, and attempts
made to set matters right. Some of the reports which were made on such
occasions have come down to us, and show often much disorder, and at
times much that was evil. But we must not forget that good was also
being done then, which was not talked much about.

    "The evil that men do lives after them,
    The good is oft interred with their bones."

     =Summary.=--The kings of the fourteenth century were Edward II,
     Edward III, and Richard II. There was much ornamental stone-work
     then done; _aisles_ were added to the naves, and towers and
     spires built. _Altar tombs_ came much into use, with effigies,
     panelled sides, coloured shields of arms, and rich carving. The
     _Black Death_ divided the century into two parts, and work done
     after that time was often much poorer than before, because the
     country was poorer. As the century went on, building revived.
     The great _wool-merchants_ of the east and west of England were
     great church-builders. _Trade guilds_ often looked after parts
     of churches. People were proud of their churches, and often left
     presents to them in their wills. _Churchwardens_, who had charge
     of the churches, were important officers at that period.



1. Changes took place much more slowly in the Middle Ages than they do
now. First of all, the population was very much smaller, and hundreds
and hundreds of acres, now covered by big manufacturing towns, were
then unoccupied land.

2. At the time of the Norman Conquest the whole population of England
only numbered about 2,000,000 people; and in the time of King Henry
VII it was only 4,000,000; so that, in the course of 400 years, the
population had only doubled itself.

3. The people were not crowded into the towns. For instance, in the
time of King Edward III, Colchester was one of the large towns, yet it
had only 350 houses, in which 3000 people lived, all told. There were
only nine larger towns in the country at that time.

4. The bulk of the people were living in the villages, in the various
manors, not in the towns. Many things prevented the population from
growing very rapidly--disease, famine, and war kept it down. Death was
the punishment for a very large number of offences, so that it is not
to be wondered at that the population did not increase very fast.

5. The population was divided into two distinct classes--those who
were =clergy=, or =clerks=, and those who were not. By "clergy" we
understand, in these days, "ministers of religion"; but the word had a
very different meaning in the Middle Ages.

6. In early Saxon times religion and learning were very closely
related. Colleges and monasteries were centres of learning, and
bishops, abbots, priests, and monks took the lead in matters in
which a knowledge of reading and writing was required. Folk who had
a leaning towards learning naturally became connected with colleges
or monasteries. They began as scholars, and then were admitted, or
=ordained=, to one of the lower orders of the ministry--often when they
were still only boys.

7. There are many thousands of boys to-day who are choir-boys. In early
times those admitted to such an office as that had to be ordained, or
set apart for the purpose, by the bishop. That ordaining made them
=clerks= or clergy; and they were under the authority of the bishop or
his officers. If they did wrong, they were tried and punished in the
=bishop's court=.

8. In the course of years there grew up, side by side, two different
sets of courts of justice, the =Church Courts= and the =King's Courts=,
which were guided by different laws. The laws which ruled the Church
Courts were much more merciful than those which ruled the civil or
King's Courts. Death was the punishment for almost every offence tried
in the King's Courts and in the Manor Courts; but in the Church Courts
the punishments were much less severe, and the culprit had a much
better chance of "turning over a new leaf".

9. If a man was brought before the King's Court charged with a crime,
he could call for a book. If he could read a few sentences, that was
taken to show that he was a clerk, and he could claim to be tried by
the Church Court. That is, he could claim "benefit of clergy".

10. You can readily see that such a state of things, however good
it may have been at the first, was dreadfully abused in the course
of time. What at first had been merciful and just became in time
mischievous and dangerous. The great struggle between King Henry II and
Archbishop Thomas à Becket had to do with the power of these two sets
of courts, the Church Courts and the King's Courts--it had to do with
government, _not_ with religion and religious matters.

11. Clerks, or the clergy, were drawn from all classes of society, from
the royal family down to the serfs on the manors. In fact, before the
time of the Black Death, the only way in which a serf could become a
freeman was by buying his freedom or by becoming a clerk. A serf who
wanted his son to rise to a better position than his own would try to
get him made a clerk; for the moment he became a clerk he was a =free

12. But to attain his purpose the serf must first have the permission
of his master or overlord. All overlords were not tyrants by any
means. The serf might do his master a good turn--save his life, for
instance--and in return his master would set him free, or allow his son
to be taught by the priest and ordained; or he might let him join a
college or monastery.

13. Many and many a priest, clerk, or monk, rose from being a serf
or a villein in this way; so many, in fact, that a writer in the
twelfth century complains that villeins were attempting "to educate
their ignoble offspring". Later still, Piers Plowman complains that
"bondsmen's bairns could be made bishops".

14. There was a very sharp line of division between clerks and those
who were not clerks, and the privileges which clerks had, led to much
squabbling and many disorders.

15. Kings and nobles employed clerks on their business, for the simple
reason that they were able men. From the clerks, too, were drawn the
men whom we should now call =lawyers=. We have seen that there was a
vast deal of writing to be done in those days in connection with the
towns and the manors. Amongst these clerks were good men and bad men;
some who loved learning for its own sake; some who found that it paid
better than anything else; and others who misused their privileges, did
much evil, and brought the name of "clerk" into sad disgrace.

     =Summary.=--The population of England in the Middle Ages was
     small. At the Conquest it numbered 2,000,000, and in the time of
     King Henry VII it was only 4,000,000. It was kept down by famine,
     wars, and death-punishments, as well as by disease.

     The population was divided into two great divisions, _clerks_
     and those who were _not clerks_. Religion and learning in early
     days went together. Clerks were under the rule of the bishop,
     other folk under the king's rule. "Benefit of clergy" in time was
     misused. Clerks were needed for the king's business, and to do
     all sorts of work where learning was required. From them sprang
     the _lawyers_. Clerks were drawn from all classes of society, and
     they were very popular, because it was the only way by which the
     son of a serf might become a _free man_. Many of the greatest
     clerks rose from very humble origin. Many of these clerks greatly
     misused their privileges, and in time their order, or class, got
     to be much disliked.



1. The word "Fair" calls up to our minds all sorts of wonderful sights
and sounds--the stalls with their wonderful "fairings" and "goodies";
the shows and the shooting-galleries; the "flying horses" and the
"conjurors"; the wonderful caravans and cocoa-nuts; the musical
instruments of all sorts, from the mouth-organ and "squeaker" to the
steam-organ of the roundabout.

2. Many such fairs are still held in every county, and they connect
the present day very closely with the life of bygone days. It is "all
the fun of the fair" which draws people to them mostly nowadays, but
in some of them there is still important business done; people are
attracted to them for =trade= as well as for =pleasure=.

3. Some of these fairs are held in big towns, such as Lincoln and
Carlisle. At Barnet a great horse fair is held every year in September.
But some big fairs are held away from any large town, such as the big
sheep fair at Weyhill, in Hampshire. At Stourbridge, in Cambridgeshire,
a fair is still held; it is quite an ordinary one now, but in the
Middle Ages it was one of the most important fairs, not only in
England, but in Europe--a kind of Nijni-Novgorod, where East and West

4. In some places the business part of the fair has now quite died out,
and a few stalls, a roundabout, a shooting-gallery, and swings are all
that can be seen on a fair-day.

5. The word "fair" comes from an old word which means a "feast" or
festival. There are many villages which still have their annual
=village feast=, more important to the village than Christmas or a
"Bank Holiday". Houses are turned out and cleaned from top to bottom;
everything must be made fit to be seen "for the feast". It is a great
meeting-time for families, and the boys and girls who have gone away to
work in some big town try to get back for a few hours to their native
village, to "the old house at home".

  [Illustration: STOURBRIDGE FAIR, IN THE MIDDLE AGES (page 119)]

6. In the beginning the village feast was connected with the parish
church--it was the festival of the saint after whom the church was
named. That day was a holiday, and all the people went to church as a
matter of course. The church was the gathering-place, and, in the porch
and the churchyard, and on the village green, friends, neighbours, and
relatives met and had a time of rejoicing.

7. So many people coming together attracted pedlars and hawkers, who
spread out their goods on the green, in the churchyard, and in the
church porch itself. People who met but seldom used the chance of doing
a little business with each other. Little by little, then, the "feast"
became a "fair", and in many cases was a very important business and
trading meeting.

8. Now it did not suit the ideas of people in those days that outsiders
should come into their village and buy and sell as they chose. You know
how the boys living in one street even nowadays object to the boys from
another street coming to play in their street--"You go and play in
your own street". So in very early times the lord of the manor began
to regulate these things. Outsiders who brought their goods for sale
had to pay a "due" or "toll" to the lord of the manor to be allowed
to trade; and the right of receiving tolls for fairs became one of an
overlord's privileges.

9. The people in the towns, who were more interested in trade than the
people in the villages, saw how very important and profitable a fair
was--that it was something "with money in it"--and the towns were very
anxious to get the right to hold one or more annual fairs. But the
overlord, the king, had a voice in the matter, because each stall set
up, and each bale of goods, brought in "by right" an income.

10. The king had the right to grant, almost to whom he pleased, the
privilege of holding a fair; and the privilege was much sought after.
Towns, as we saw in a former chapter, got =charters= from the king,
which very often gave to them this right. But it was quite a common
thing for the king to make a grant of an annual fair to a religious
house which he wanted to benefit, without much cost to himself, and the
profits of the fair went to support the house. The king's nobles did
the same kind of thing.

11. All the shops in the place where the fair was held had to be shut
while the fair was on, and nothing could be bought or sold except in
the fair. The tradesmen of the place had to pay their tolls to the
person or public body to whom the fair had been granted, just as the
strangers coming into the town did.

12. Fairs lasted in some cases for only one day; in others for two,
three, or more days, and sometimes as long as a fortnight, during which
time, whether the inhabitants liked it or not, all trade had to be
carried on only in the fair. That was one of the things which caused
jealousy between the trading class and the religious houses, and often
led to much ill-feeling and disorder.

13. Then, too, the king could grant to any person the right to go to
any fair in the country without paying toll and duty. Of course those
persons to whom the king granted this right had to pay him very heavily
for this privilege, but you can see that it was quite worth their
while. Foreign merchants and Jews[11] often had such privileges granted
to them, and that partly accounts for the great dislike there was to
these classes of people.

14. Many of the religious houses had entered into trade too, and very
often the same privilege of putting their goods on the market was
granted to them. Members of a religious house could often travel from
place to place without having to pay tolls and duties which other folk
had to pay. That might be quite right and reasonable when they were on
some religious duty or errand of mercy, but when it was connected with
buying and selling the goods produced or manufactured on the monastery
lands it was "rather hard", as we should say, on the traders. The
grievance grew up gradually, but it caused very often a bitter feeling
between the towns and the religious houses in them.

     =Summary.=--Fairs are usually now only for pleasure, though
     in many places, like Lincoln, Carlisle, and Barnet, they are
     important business meetings. The most important fair in the
     Middle Ages in England was at Stourbridge. It was a kind of

     The Fair was at first the "feast-day" of the parish church. It
     brought people together, and pedlars began to sell their goods on
     such occasions. Gradually the overlords regulated these meetings,
     and strangers had to pay toll. Kings granted the right to hold
     fairs to towns and religious houses, and the privilege was much
     sought after.

     Freedom from paying tolls was also a privilege which the king
     could grant. It led in time to many squabbles between townsmen and
     the religious houses.



1. One of the pleasantest sights, to a Londoner at any rate, is the
market-place of an old-fashioned country town on a market-day. In many
such towns the weekly market is held, in the open air, in the same
place where it has been held for centuries. Probably none of the houses
round the market square are as old as the market, but the buildings,
altered and rebuilt as they have been, take us back several centuries,
and speak of days long gone by.

2. A good many towns have built covered markets. Some of them are near
the =old market-place=, but in other cases the market is now held
in quite another part of the town. Cattle-markets, which used to be
held in the open street in a busy thoroughfare, are now often held in
places more suitable for that purpose some distance away from their old

3. Corn-markets are held in most market-towns, frequently on the same
day as the general market, and many towns now boast a =corn exchange=.
Then, too, in some places there are markets held in connection with the
chief trade of the neighbourhood.

4. The =market-house= is often a curious building. You may almost
speak of it as "a big room on legs". There is a large room standing on
stone or wooden arches. The open space underneath serves to shelter
some of the market stalls, and a staircase leads up from the street
to the room above, where the town council holds its meetings. On the
roof of this building is a turret containing a clock, and perhaps a
fire-bell and a market-bell. There is such a quaint old market-house
still standing at Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, but so many of these
old buildings have been pulled down to make way for larger structures,
in which the town can carry on its business, and where the various
officers can have their offices, that the town-hall is mostly now a
smart modern building.

5. The =stalls= set up on the market-day are of the same simple
kind as those which have been used for centuries. It is curious
to notice how the different trades keep to different parts of the
market-place--butchers in one place, green-grocers in another, and
fishmongers in another. Just as the trades had their special quarters
in town, so they had in the market. Things have altogether changed as
far as the shops are concerned, but the setting out of the market is
almost exactly the same to-day as it was five hundred years ago.

6. The =market-cross= still remains in some towns, but the cross itself
has in many cases disappeared long ago. In some places the steps and
the lower part of the cross still remain, but there is a kind of open
shed built round it to form a shelter. Some of these shelters are
very ornamental, like those at Chichester and Winchester. It is not
an uncommon thing for such a cross as that to be called the Butter
Cross, from the fact that around the cross was held the butter-market.
Some of these shelters are quaint rather than beautiful, and cover
the town pump, which is now carefully locked up. In some places a
drinking-fountain stands where once the cross stood. At the cross a
good deal of business was done. The mayor or his officers would read
out public notices there on the market-day, that everybody might
hear. Not far from the cross was the =cage=, where folk who had been
"taken up" were set for a time. The =stocks=, the =pillory=, and the
=whipping-post=, in the seventeenth century, were usually here in the
market-place, not far from the cross.

  [Illustration: Market Cross and portion of Shelter, Winchester]

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine


7. There is much to see in a market-place on a market-day. If the
market-day is Saturday, you will find the place thronged with people,
especially at night; and even quite small towns are then so crowded
that you wonder where the people come from.

8. Fairs, in the Middle Ages, provided for much of the =wholesale
trade= of the country, and markets for the =retail trade=. The two were
very much alike, and the rights to hold an annual fair and a weekly
market mostly went together.

9. Some places had, and still have, more than one market a week. In
many places the market has quite died out now, but in the early days
one of the first steps of a "tun" towards becoming a "town" was to
obtain the right to hold a market. There are many of our modern towns
which have grown up in manufacturing districts, near great railway
centres, or near docks and railway-stations, which have no market.
Nearly all of our old towns, however small they may be, have, or at one
time _had_, the right of holding markets.

10. Nobody can set up a stall in the market as he pleases. On the
market-day you will see the =beadle= going about from stall to stall
taking the toll from each stall-holder. In many cases he wears an
old-fashioned dress trimmed with gold lace. Now this reminds us of the
time when no one except a freeman of the town could trade freely. The
stall-holders were outsiders--"foreigners"--and had to pay to the town
a toll, or due, for permission to sell in the town. In our day you can
go and settle in any town you please, and open a shop just as you like,
but you cannot so easily take a stall and sell in the market: you must
pay the =market toll= even now. Such tolls go towards the expenses of
the town, and help to keep down the rates.

11. In the market the town and the country meet. In these days, when
the produce of the country can be quickly sent into the heart of
the largest town, the country provision-markets are not of as much
importance as they once were, but they are very useful and very popular

12. There are many places where the market beadle rings a =bell=--in
some towns it is a handbell, in others a bell in the clock-tower--to
give notice of the opening and closing of the market. In former days,
if a man dared to sell anything before the bell was rung in the
morning, or after it had rung in the evening, he was very severely

13. There were proper town officers appointed by the mayor and
corporation to look after the markets, and to see that goods were sold
at the proper market price, and that there was no cheating in weight
and measure.

     =Summary.=--Markets in the open are often held on the same spots
     where they have been held for centuries. In some towns covered
     markets have been built, and more convenient cattle-markets.
     Different kinds of provisions are sold still in different parts of
     the market. In some places the Market Cross is called the Butter
     Cross. Here public notices were given out, and ill-doers flogged,
     put in the _stocks_ or _pillory_, or in the _cage_. Markets are
     still very popular, especially on Saturday nights. Stalls in a
     market have to be paid for, and the tolls are usually paid to the
     market beadle. Town and country meet in the market, and in olden
     times they were the chief means for providing the towns with food.



1. The earliest schools in England were held in the =monasteries=, and
were intended for boys and young men who were to be trained as priests,
missionaries, or monks. There were famous schools at Canterbury, York,
and Jarrow in the seventh and eighth centuries. In King Alfred's time,
at the end of the ninth century, great attention was paid to the
teaching of both girls and boys. Later still, in the tenth century, we
find the teaching of the young attracting great attention.

2. Latin was taught in these schools, and many of the scholars became
famous students and deep thinkers. In the course of time others,
besides those intending to become monks and priests, were also taught,
and became clerks and found various employments, as we have seen, in
civil business.

3. Gradually =other schools= sprang up, outside the monasteries and
cathedrals, which were not meant for monks or priests, though they were
at first connected with monasteries, colleges, and cathedrals. For
instance, in Norman times, not very long after the Conquest, there were
=grammar-schools= at Derby, St. Alban's, and Bury St. Edmund's.

4. When we think of these schools we must not picture to ourselves
great buildings to hold two or three hundred boys, such as we see now;
nor must we suppose that there was a great rush of pupils to them.
Boys did not go to school from nine till twelve, and from two till
four, with plenty of time for cricket, football, and sports of all
descriptions. School work was very hard, and was regarded as a serious
business. There was a great deal of learning by heart to be done. You
see, books were few and costly, and a man's best reference library was
his own well-stored memory. No doubt this hard work helped to train the
memory, and was good discipline for the scholar.

5. In the monasteries and colleges, where boys were trained to sing in
the =choir=, they had to learn their services by heart. In the ordinary
services there were long psalms and passages of Scripture attached
to them which differed for every day, and the boys had to know these
perfectly in Latin. For hours and hours every day the little fellows
were drilled in the services till they were word-perfect. There were
something like seven services to be learned for each of the three
hundred and sixty-five days of the year.

6. We talk of Latin nowadays as a dead language, but it was anything
but a dead language in the Middle Ages. School was held all day long,
from quite early in the morning; and during school-hours woe betide the
lads if they talked in any other language but Latin.

7. Choir-boys had to be taught in the =song-school= as well, how to
sing their services, and the music was just as difficult as the words
and had also to be learned by heart.

8. In the parish churches the priest and the parish clerk had boys whom
they trained to help in the services. The services were much simpler
and shorter than those in the monasteries; but they were in Latin, and
had to be known by heart.

9. In the grammar and other schools the boys were drilled in the works
of old Latin scholars in much the same way, and in some cases in Greek
authors as well, with a certain amount of arithmetic and science.

10. There were no long weeks of holidays to look forward to at
Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, and in the summer; but during the year
there were many holy days kept, which were holiday, on which neither
school-boys nor villeins did their ordinary work. Thus, no doubt,
school-boys managed to get a fair amount of play, and found time for
getting into mischief.

11. For instance, at St. Alban's we read that in the year 1310 the boys
were forbidden to wander or run about the streets and roads without
reasonable cause. If a lad did so, he was to be sought for and punished
by the master "in the accustomed way"; and every boy knows what that
was. Then, too, the scholars must not bear arms, either in school
or out of school. That was to prevent them from fighting with the
townspeople. It is very curious to notice that even nowadays there is
often no love lost between "grammar boys" and "town boys"; they can get
up a quarrel almost as easily in the twentieth century as they did in
the thirteenth.

12. Boys took part in acting the =earliest plays= that were represented
in England. At first the plays dealt with religious subjects, and were
called "Mysteries" and "Miracles"; and these plays and shows became
very popular in England. Geoffrey de Gorham, in early Norman days,
taught a school at Dunstable, and wrote one of these plays called St.
Catherine. He borrowed vestments from St. Alban's Abbey, in which to
dress some of his characters; but on the following night his house
somehow caught fire, and his books and the borrowed vestments were
destroyed in the flames.

13. In the cloisters of some of our old cathedral churches and
colleges, such as Gloucester and Westminster, on some of the old
stone benches, there are holes and scratches still to be seen where
school-boys of long ago played games with marbles and stones.

14. By the thirteenth century there seem to have been schools in all
the chief towns. Though they may not have held very many scholars, they
were not intended for the sons of well-to-do people only; they were
for =poor scholars= as well. Thus, at St. Alban's, provision was made
for sixteen poor scholars, and the same kind of provision was quite
common. There was some chance, even in those days, for a lad with
"brains" to get on in the world. In fact, we know that in those Middle
Ages a good many men rose "from the ranks" to hold high office in the
state. There was, for instance, Thomas à Becket. He was born in London,
and not ashamed to be known as Thomas of London. Then there was Thomas
Scot, who rose to be Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England in
the fifteenth century, who was known as Thomas of Rotherham, after
the place where he was born. William of Wykeham, that great founder
of schools, is still known by the name of the little out-of-the-way
Hampshire village where he was born--Wykeham. Winchester College, the
first of our =public schools=, was founded by him. His real surname was
Longe, and the motto he chose, "Manners Makyth Man", is worth putting
up in every school in the land.

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine


15. But there were dunces in those days too, who made little or no use
of their opportunities, and others who turned them to bad purposes.

     =Summary.=--Schools began in the monasteries, and those at
     Canterbury, York, and Jarrow were famous in the seventh and eighth
     centuries; and King Alfred was a great promoter of schools. Soon
     after the Conquest other schools began at Derby, St. Alban's, and
     Bury St. Edmund's. Learning had to be by heart, as books were
     few. Latin was the great language of learning in the Middle Ages.
     There were frequent holidays, though they did not last for weeks
     at a stretch. Boys took part in the early _Mystery Plays_, which
     were the origin of our stage plays. By the thirteenth century
     there were small schools in most towns, and provision was made
     for poor scholars. Many great men, like Thomas à Becket, Thomas of
     Rotherham, and William of Wykeham, rose from such schools as these.



1. Now, just as the tide flows and ebbs, so in England did interest in
learning rise and fall during the Middle Ages. Schools of all kinds had
their good times and their bad times. Sometimes we find the thirst for
learning being shown in one direction; then it almost died away for a
time; revived again, and took another direction.

2. At first we see it going in the direction of making monks and
priests and missionaries; then in making able men who could take part
in the civil business of the manor, the town, and the country; and
then, in the thirteenth century, it began again to take a turn towards
learning for learning's sake.

3. As we get near to the thirteenth century, we find the beginnings of
our English =universities=. A university was a corporation or body of
learned men who bound themselves together to teach, and who got the
sole right of appointing teachers in their districts. A man could only
have leave to teach after his knowledge and ability had been well tried
by them; and when that leave was given he was said to take his =degree=.

4. The opportunity of getting wider knowledge and higher teaching
attracted scholars, lads and young men who had had their early teaching
in the small college and grammar-schools. They were encouraged and in
many ways helped to go to the university. Gifts were left to their old
schools to help the likely boys to go to the university; many of the
monasteries and colleges sent their pupils there, and it was looked
upon as a pious work and a work of mercy to help poor scholars in this

5. Scholars flocked in hundreds to various universities, and we find
Oxford and Cambridge rising as university towns. We cannot say exactly
when this began, but we read that in King John's reign, in the year
1209, there was a great "town and gown" riot at Oxford. Three of
the gownsmen were hanged as a punishment; so about 3000 of the rest
left Oxford and went to other universities, and Oxford was deserted
for a time. These facts show that by the beginning of the thirteenth
century, just when the Early English style of architecture was coming
into fashion, universities, with their "higher education", were very

  [Illustration: Photo. Taunt & Co., Oxford


6. At first it seems that the scholars at the university lived in the
town, where they chose or where they could, attending the various
lecture-halls. Then various people seem to have hit upon the plan of
setting up houses in the town, and letting the rooms to the scholars,
so that a number of them might live together. Thus they were divided up
into different sets. These houses were called =hostels=, and we find
them at Cambridge in the beginning of the thirteenth century.

7. Early, too, in this same century a new religious order found
its way to England--the =Friars=. The Dominican Friars were a very
learned teaching order, and when they settled at Oxford they greatly
strengthened the work of the university and kept it alive and active.

8. A Surrey man, Walter de Merton, Chancellor and Bishop of Rochester,
was the inventor or founder of =colleges= at the universities as we
know them to-day. In the hostels the scholars did pretty much as they
pleased, chose their own officers, and made their own rules. There
was much disorder after a while; many quarrels and fights took place
between one hostel and another, as well as with the townsfolk. Merton
spent twelve years in thinking out his plan, and at last, in the year
1264, he founded or established the first of the Oxford Colleges.

9. The old monasteries and colleges in the early times had been
founded to keep up a continual round of worship, work, and learning;
the special work of these new colleges was to promote learning and
fellowship. In many ways they were like the older convents; but the
work of education was the chief object of these new foundations, and we
find teachers and taught, governors and pupils, living under the same
roof, under rule and order.

10. Merton's idea was soon afterwards followed at Cambridge, where
Peterhouse College was opened in the year 1284. During this century,
too, we find a rival university springing up at Stamford; but, owing
to the opposition of Oxford and Cambridge, it was snuffed out,
though there are still standing some interesting buildings which were
connected with it. College after college, at both Oxford and Cambridge,
has been founded since then; each one has its own special laws and
government, which have been altered from time to time, and for many
centuries now they have been cities of colleges, unlike anything else
in the country.

11. Many old customs are kept up still at Oxford and Cambridge; the
scholars and officials of the colleges and universities go about in
their gowns, as they have done for centuries, and each university has
still rights and privileges in the government of the town which have
naturally come to it in the course of time. The town and the townsfolk
have their interests and government; so that there are two authorities,
side by side, responsible for law and order. The gown and the town
depend upon each other; and in days gone by they have, times without
number, misunderstood each other, and quarrelled, and fought.

12. In the reign of King Edward III Oxford was the most famous seat
of learning in Europe. Many of its students were foreigners, but, as
everyone could talk Latin as well as he could his native language, they
had no real difficulty in making themselves understood.

     =Summary.=--Our _universities_ began about the thirteenth century.
     A university is a corporation, or body of learned men banded
     together to teach. Scholars were attracted to the universities
     from the schools, and encouraged and helped to go to them.
     _Hostels_ were gradually started for scholars in the university
     town. The Dominican Friars were a great teaching order. Walter
     de Merton was the founder of the first Oxford College; by that
     means the teachers and taught lived together. The object of these
     colleges was to promote learning. Stamford had a university for
     a time. Many old customs are still observed in a university
     city. Oxford in the reign of King Edward III was the most famous
     university in Europe.



1. In the middle of the fourteenth century, in the reign of King Edward
III, came the Black Death. It carried off half the population of the
country at least, and all classes of society felt its effects.

2. We have said that in some of the old parish churches you can see, by
some of the work done just after this time, that the builders were very
much poorer than they had been, and had to finish off in a very plain
fashion work begun on a grand scale. You must remember, too, that there
were several different kinds of land-owners or overlords--the king, the
great lords, bishops, colleges, and monasteries. The manors, of which
these estates were made up, in the course of centuries were divided and
subdivided in many ways as the land became more valuable. Many people
might thus have an interest in one manor which a couple of hundred
years before had been in the hands of one person only. That made law
business very complicated when these little parcels of land changed

3. Though manors could not be bought and sold outright, little by
little money was paid to have bits of manors and the various rights
in manors let out, or =leased=, for a term of years. This was
especially the case with property in towns, and with lands belonging to
corporations, like colleges and monasteries, which were often scattered
about in various parts of the country.

4. On the manors in the country districts the same thing was going
on, though perhaps more slowly than in the towns. It became much more
convenient for the villeins and cottiers, and other tenants of a manor,
to pay a =rent= to the lord instead of actually working on the lord's
land. At first this rent was paid in the produce of the land--a few
hens or eggs, a calf or a lamb, or so much corn, till by and by we find
actual payments in money as rent.

5. Then, too, a class of =labourers= had gradually sprung up on
the manors. As the tenants and villeins began to pay to the lord a
quit-rent, instead of working so many days a week on the land, the lord
of the manor had to employ persons to do the work on his home-farm.
These would naturally be the cottiers and serfs on the manor--the
"landless men"--who thus became what we know as labourers.

6. All these had to be accounted for in the =manor court=, which was
held regularly every few weeks. If a labourer was missing he was sought
for, and brought back to the manor, which he might not leave without
his lord's permission. It is quite true that if he could only remain
unclaimed in some borough town for a year and a day he was no longer
bound to the lord of his native manor; but the towns did not encourage
strangers, as we have seen. If, however, labour happened to be wanted
in the town, no doubt his being there would be "winked at", and no
notice would be taken of his "harbouring" there.

7. But it was not an easy matter for a labourer to get away from his
native manor. After the Black Death, labour became very scarce, for
on some of the manors almost every tenant and labourer died. All over
the country land-workers were wanted badly; and tenants and landlords,
when they were so hard pushed, were glad to employ almost any man who
appeared, and they did not trouble to ask whose "man he was" or whence
he came.

8. The wages of the labourers, of course, went up; but before very long
the landlords saw that that would not do; it made their farming so much
more expensive, and so their incomes were less and less. Law after law
was passed to get the labourers back to their native manors, and to
keep down the price of labour.

9. All classes of overlords, and especially the colleges and
monasteries, had much difficulty in working their lands, and so the
custom of letting them out in =farms= increased a good deal after the
Black Death.

10. At first the owners let out these farms with a certain amount of
stock on them. They were let for so many years, or for so many lives.
At the end of the time the farm had to be given up and the stock
replaced as it had been at the first. The land belonging to the farm
was mixed up with the land of other tenants in the manor, in the big
unenclosed fields, and had to be farmed still according to the old
customs of the manor. Some of the very oldest farms existing to this
day began in this kind of way, and there are possibly a few of the very
oldest farmhouses which were first built early in the fifteenth century.

     =Summary.=--Manors were much broken up and underlet in various
     ways, and _rent_ was gradually being paid in place of personal
     service. _Labourers_ had taken the place of serfs, but until after
     the Black Death they were tied to their native manors.

     After the Black Death land began to be _farmed out_; that is the
     beginning of our oldest farms. The farms were not compact, but the
     land lay about in strips in the big common fields.



1. The two great industries of England in the Middle Ages were
=agriculture= and =wool-raising=. The wool was the finest grown in
Europe, and attracted hither merchants from the Continent. They
travelled through England--in the Cotswold and Hampshire districts, for
instance--and bought wool largely. But in pretty early days England
began to =manufacture cloth= of various kinds; and that, too, became an
important article of export. This manufacture was especially strong in
the eastern and western parts of the country.

2. Weavers from Flanders were encouraged to settle in various parts
of England, by several of the Norman kings, soon after the Conquest.
This was the case in Gloucestershire, for example; but the manufacture
declined in the reigns of King John and King Henry III. In the reign of
King Edward III it was again introduced.

3. As the country began to recover from the effects of the Black
Death, the cloth trade became a very flourishing industry, and English
=wool-merchants= became a very wealthy and powerful body. These have
left their mark on the churches of the land pretty plainly. At the end
of the fourteenth century, and in the fifteenth, some of the finest
Decorated and Perpendicular work was done, and a large number of
churches, especially in Suffolk, Gloucestershire, and Somersetshire,
have magnificent towers, which were built at this period. It is pretty
safe to say that where to-day you find a little village with a big
church--very much larger than the place now needs--with a good deal of
work belonging to the Decorated and early Perpendicular periods, that
those places were once engaged in some branch or other of the wool and
cloth trades.

4. Many of the fine brasses of which we spoke in a former chapter cover
the graves of merchants "of the staple", as these great wool and cloth
traders were called. Then, too, some of the very finest timbered
houses, with their richly carved fronts, as in Chester and Shrewsbury,
were built at this same time.

5. We have spoken before of the =trade guilds=. These, too, after the
Black Death period, increased in power and wealth. Each guild looked
well after the interests of its own craft. It regulated the number
of apprentices which a craftsman might have, the hours of work, the
rate of pay; it made provision for helping its members in sickness
and need; and it saw to burying them decently when they died. Guilds
took a lively interest in their parish churches, helped sometimes in
forming new schools, hospitals, and alms-houses, and had regular times
for meeting together for business and for feasting. They were good to
their members, but very hard on those who were not of their number.

  [Illustration: Guildhall, London. From an old print in the British

6. From the members of these trade guilds in a town the town guild, or
=corporation=, was formed to rule the town according to its ancient
customs and charters, and to obtain for the town as many new rights
and privileges as possible. There is much in the corporation of a
great city like London, with its many companies, or guilds, which is
connected with city life and work of the Middle Ages.

     =Summary.=--_Wool_ and _agriculture_ were the great industries
     of the Middle Ages in England. English wool was an article of
     export, and English cloth also, in later times. Norman kings had
     introduced Flemish _cloth-workers_ here, but the trade died down
     in the time of King Henry III.

     After the Black Death it revived greatly, and _wool-merchants_
     became a very rich and powerful body. Many of the fine church
     towers, in Suffolk, Gloucestershire, and Somersetshire especially,
     were built by them. This was a period, too, when _trade guilds_
     were very strong.



1. From early Christian times in England to =relieve the poor= was
looked upon as a Christian duty, and every church and religious house
took its part in the work as a matter of course. You will remember that
in early days there was not much moving about of people from one manor
to another, so that it was not at first difficult to know the sick and
the needy in each place, whether in town or country. Many religious
houses or hospitals were founded for the purposes of relief. They
were not on a large scale, but there were a good many of them. In the
fourteenth century =pilgrimages= were very popular, and many pilgrims
were always to be found on the road.

2. We must remember that there was another side to a pilgrimage besides
the religious one. A pilgrimage was one way of travelling and seeing
the world. Indeed it was almost the only means by which a poor man
could travel and have change of scene. Permission was given for that
purpose because it was regarded as a religious act. It is not at all
surprising that folk who wanted to see the world often took advantage
of a pilgrimage from no very religious motive. Pilgrims could always
find food and lodging at a religious house on their way, and there were
scores of places in England to which pilgrimages might be made, to say
nothing of a journey to the Holy Land, or to the shrine of St. James of
Compostello, which were two grand pilgrimages.

3. In time pilgrimages became somewhat of a nuisance, for many of the
people taking part in them were anything but pious; and, towards the
end of the fourteenth century, strict measures were taken to prevent
beggars and servants from wandering from one hundred to another on
pretence of going on a pilgrimage. Each had to have a letter, properly
signed by an officer of the hundred, giving him leave.

  [Illustration: Canterbury Pilgrims]

4. But beggars and wanderers increased. We find some towns, in Tudor
times, taking steps to put down =beggars=. In the early part of the
sixteenth century vagabonds found in London were to be "tayled[12]
at a cart's tayle", and collections were made for the poor weekly,
and distributed at the church door. In the year 1536 there were
fifteen hospitals and four lazar-houses in the city of London. At
the dissolution of the religious houses all these were seized, but
the city managed to save St. Mary Spital, St. Thomas's Hospital, and
St. Bartholomew's Hospital. The city found that it could not get
enough money to keep even one of these going, so a tax was levied for
the purpose. Bishop Ridley and others tried to draw up a scheme for
finding work for the poor, teaching them to make caps, feather-bed
ticks, nails, and iron-work.

5. Other towns tried the same plan, and the king and Parliament issued
many orders about the treatment of the poor and vagabonds. But it was
much easier to issue these orders than to carry them out, and the
beggars increased in numbers and in impudence in spite of all. In 1547
it was ordained that a sturdy beggar might be made a slave for two
years, and if he ran away, then he was to remain a slave for life. The
sons of vagabonds were to be apprenticed till they were twenty-four
years old, and their daughters till they were twenty years of age, and
if they rebelled, they were sent to slavery. The idea was to train them
to work.

6. In all this the difficulty was, how to find the money to carry out
these schemes. The king had swept away all the goods and gifts which
had been made to monasteries, churches, and hospitals; the free-will
offerings of many generations had gone into the pockets of the king;
the institutions which had been founded to help the poor had become
the private property of the king's favourites. It was not likely that
people would be very keen to offer their money for the relief of the
poor, and though urged to give what they could, they were very backward
in doing so. Later on, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, the dwellers in each
parish were urged to find work for the labourers in their parish; but
the beggars still wandered and the poor still abounded.

7. In the year 1572 some very =severe laws= were made concerning
vagabonds. A man who was convicted a third time of being a vagabond was
to be punished with death. Habitations were to be found for all the
poor belonging to a parish; no strangers were to be allowed to settle
in a parish; and each parish was to be taxed for the relief of the
poor. At the same time, every parish was to find something to do for
all the poor who were able to work. Usually a stock of wool, hemp, and
flax was bought, and the poor were supposed to be taught to spin. Each
county was also to provide a House of Correction, where those who would
not work should be forced to do so.

8. To keep down the number of poor people in a parish, order was given
that only one family might live in one house, and no new house might be
built in the country unless it had 4 acres of ground attached to it. In
the cities of London and Westminster, and for three miles round them,
no houses were to be built except for persons worth a specified amount.
Houses might not be divided into tenements, nor might lodgers be taken

9. All this was to keep people as much as possible in the places where
they belonged. The =churchwardens and overseers= had to attend to the
relief of the poor. There are, belonging to a good many parishes in
England, =old account-books=, showing how these officers raised and
spent money on the =relief of the poor=. Some of these books go right
back to this time, though most of them begin a good deal later. These
officers had to keep a very sharp look-out. Of course they did not want
the poor-rate to be any higher than they could help, so strangers
coming into the parish were quickly tracked and hindered from gaining a
settlement there. Vagabonds and strolling players were hurried out of
the parish, and in some cases whipped. The stocks, the whipping-post,
and the cage were set up near the churchyard gate, and they were in
pretty constant use.

10. The officers were very anxious, too, to prevent any =travellers=
from falling ill in their parish. Those who were sick, and could
possibly be moved, they shifted on to the next parish, lest they should
become chargeable to the parish. Some parishes spent a good deal of
money, and the officers much time, in conveying people out of their
bounds. That led, we may imagine, to many disputes between parishes,
and gave the court of Quarter Sessions a lot of work to do; for amongst
the many things which Quarter Sessions had to attend to was the
carrying out of the Poor-Laws.

11. Parishes had to look after and to support their own poor in much
the same way right down to the early part of the nineteenth century,
less than a hundred years ago.

     =Summary.=--_Relieving the poor_ was, in early times, a Christian
     duty. The poor belonging to a place were then easily known.
     Wandering from place to place was discouraged. _Pilgrimages_
     became very popular, as it was the chief way by which poor people
     could travel and see the world. In later times pilgrims were often
     idle vagabonds.

     In the sixteenth century some attempts were made to restrain
     vagrants, and to find work for the poor. After the religious
     houses had been got rid of, the duty of doing this was thrown on
     the parishes, and gradually _rates for the relief of the poor_
     came into being. The officers who specially looked after the
     poor were called _overseers_. Most parishes have still the old
     account-books, which show how the money was raised and spent for
     about two hundred years. Our present poor-law came into being less
     than 100 years ago.



1. In the time of King Edward III, that is, in the fourteenth
century, there was a great change in the arrangement of castles and
castle-building. We cannot say much about it here, it would take too
long; but the changes made show that there was a desire to make the
castle, not merely a strong defence against an enemy, but also a
dwelling-place for the baron, his family, his servants and men-at-arms.
Many buildings were added for comfort and convenience. In fact, a
castle became a kind of little town.

2. William of Wykeham, that great master-builder, was not only a
builder of churches and colleges, but a castle-builder as well. The
great Round Tower at Windsor Castle, and other parts of that building
still in use, are his work. The general arrangement of the Tower of
London will give us an idea of the sort of habitation a castle of the
fourteenth century was intended to be. In fact, we may say that every
old castle, which is still inhabited, has considerable indications
of work done in this and the following centuries, to fit it to be a
comfortable dwelling-place as well as a fortress.

  [Illustration: The Round Tower, Windsor Castle]

3. A good many houses, too, were protected by walls, and sometimes
even called "castles", though they were not what we usually understand
by the term. Many of these were =moated houses=, the moat forming the
first line of protection. Then came the battlemented wall, within which
the house proper was built.

4. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were stirring war times, and
the nobles kept up bands of armed men, who lived close to, and even in,
their strong houses and castles. In the fifteenth century, during the
long period of the Wars of the Roses, there was much work for these
"men-at-arms to do". This constant warfare weakened at length the power
of the barons. Sometimes the Yorkist king, sometimes the Lancastrian
king was in power; and whichever side got the upper hand the king
seized the property of the nobles on the other side.

5. As a matter of fact the nobles killed each other off, and when Henry
Tudor, a Lancastrian, became king, there was an enormous amount of
power in his hands; and he used it so as to keep a closer grip of it.

6. The towns and the traders had no liking for war, and they were quite
satisfied to see the government of the country in the hands of a strong
king. The new nobles, whom King Henry VII made, had most of them sprung
from the merchant and trading class.

7. These new men, and even the king's own friends and supporters, were
not allowed to keep bands of armed servants or retainers, able to
turn the scale of a battle against the king. The Earl of Warwick, the
"King-maker", had played that game several times; and it was through
Lord Stanley bringing his men over from King Richard III's side to the
side of Henry in this way that he had won the Battle of Bosworth, and
placed the English crown on Henry's head.

8. After becoming king, Henry VII determined that these bands of armed
men, who would follow the whistle of their lord, must be put down. He
therefore set to work cautiously, but he had his way. The nobles might
no longer keep hosts of servants in livery as they pleased. The king
cut down the numbers, so that he might be in a position to say to any
of his nobles that his good word he did not want, and his bad word he
cared nothing at all about.

9. You will remember the story of King Henry VII and the Earl of
Oxford. The king went to pay the earl a visit, and his host, to show
him honour, had two long lines of stout retainers, all armed and
dressed in his livery, drawn up to meet him. He did all in his power to
show honour to the king. When the visit was over, the king said to the

"I thank you, my lord, for your good cheer, but I may not endure to
have my laws broken in my sight; my attorney must speak with you."

10. Then there was "trouble"; and the earl thought himself very
fortunate in getting out of the "scrape" by paying a small fine of
£10,000. It was very awkward for a man to be a noble in Tudor times. He
never knew exactly where he was. The king might be making a great fuss
with him one day, clapping him in the Tower a few days after, and then
chopping off his head and ornamenting London Bridge with it.

11. Well, this did away with the necessity for big fortified houses
which might contain barracks for soldiers, and so we find that the new
houses, built in Tudor times, were less like fortresses than they had
been before. More attention was now paid to the size and convenience
of the rooms. This sixteenth century was a great time for the building
of large houses; indeed, the new nobles had better ideas of what a
comfortable house was than the older barons had.

     =Summary.=--In the time of King Edward III many Norman castles
     were altered so as to be more comfortable dwelling-places. Most of
     them could hold bands of men-at-arms.

     King Henry VII put down these large bands of retainers, and the
     new nobles whom he made were not allowed to keep up bands of
     men-at-arms. The need for castle-dwellings was gone. The new
     nobles were most of them raised from the merchant class. They had
     great ideas of comfort, and the age of Tudor houses began.



1. In early Tudor times our towns were much more picturesque than they
are to-day. That was chiefly owing to the fact that there were in every
town so many religious houses, colleges, and hospitals. These buildings
all had grounds of their own in the town, some more, some less; but
these open spaces and garden grounds, though they were not open to the
public, all helped to make the town airy, and to give variety to the

2. The buildings themselves were all different, and many of them were
hundreds of years old. Towers, spires, turrets, gables, gateways, and
archways in all styles of architecture abounded. There were, of course,
many things in the towns which we should not have liked, but they had a
pleasant variety which our modern towns have not. Thousands of streets
in our towns are just rows and rows of houses, all alike, all ugly, and
very dull and dreary to look at and to live in.

3. In the reign of King Henry VIII all the religious houses were
suppressed, and given up into the king's hands. The life that had gone
on in them for centuries came to an end. Both in town and country
districts there were many people besides those who actually lived in
them to whom this made a great difference--people who, in one way or
another, got their living out of the monasteries. Shutting up the
monasteries threw all these people, so to speak, out of work. That
meant a great deal of suffering.

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine

  VIII (page 154)]

4. Nowadays, if a factory which has employed a number of people is
suddenly closed, it means suffering for those who have been employed
there and for their families. Now, though the monasteries did not
employ people in the way in which a factory does, it did affect in many
ways those who lived and worked and depended on them.

5. In these days, if people are thrown out of employment in one place
they are free to go and seek it in another; but that was not the case
in the reign of King Henry VIII. If they wandered from their native
towns and villages they were treated as vagabonds. It is true that the
new persons, to whom the monastery lands were granted, were supposed
to do for the people on the land--the poor and the sick--what the
monasteries had done for them. But what they were _supposed_ to do and
what they _did do_ were very different things.

  [Illustration: Old Timbered House, at Presleigh, Radnorshire, dated

6. It is pretty easy to see how things worked. A wealthy man managed
to get a grant of the property of several monasteries at a very cheap
rate. He did not want these places to live in; he wanted to make money
out of them. The first thing that he did was to strip the buildings of
everything which would fetch any money. The lead was usually the most
valuable part of what the king had left. The roofs would be stripped,
the graves broken open to get at the leaden coffins, and the windows
smashed for the sake of the lead. Then the building was left standing
a ruin. The poor people of the district had been used to receive food
daily at the monastery gate, and no doubt had grumbled at the quality
and quantity of the food often enough. But now it was no use going to
the monastery gate, for the place was a ruin. They could not go to the
new lord's house, for that might be miles away. Even if they did find
him, he might be the owner of three or four such ruined monasteries.
How could he be quite sure that they were the poor he was bound to
relieve? And so the poor folk lost the daily food on which they had

7. Then as regards the land. The new landlord, perhaps, might farm his
fields; in which case the rents, instead of going to the monastery,
went to him. But he was not always on the spot, and very frequently the
land was let out to tenants; an agent or steward collected the rents,
and the tenants never saw the landlord. But many of these new owners
found that the management of the estates caused them a lot of trouble;
and, naturally enough, they wanted to get as much money out of the
property as they could at the least cost to themselves.

8. Now there was in this sixteenth century still a great demand for
wool, and many of these landlords found it would save trouble to turn
these monastery lands into =sheep-runs=. A very few men could look
after a great many sheep, and there would be no bother about keeping
up buildings and barns. If the people were got off the land, there
would be no poor to bother about relieving. So it came to pass that
much land, which had been cultivated for many centuries, went out of
cultivation, and the people were turned adrift. It was a hard state of
affairs. The rights which they had had to relief from the religious
houses were taken from them, and the means of getting their living also
taken away; they were robbed of their employment, and punished for
wandering, for not working, and for begging.

9. There were, of course, many instances in which the new landlord
came and lived near the old monastery. In some cases the old buildings
were altered and turned into a dwelling-house; in others the building
material was used for building a brand-new house close by. Where this
was the case the old custom of relieving the poor who came to the gate
did not quickly die out.

10. For instance, at Standon in Hertfordshire, there was a house
belonging to the Knights Hospitallers. When the house was dissolved,
much of the property at Standon went to Sir Ralph Sadleir, who had
been secretary to Thomas Cromwell, the "hammer of the monks". He owned
Standon Lordship, and when the poor were no longer relieved at the
Hospitallers' House, in the village, they trooped from Standon up to
Standon Lordship, about fifty of them, every day. That custom of
relieving the poor was kept up there for many years.

     =Summary.=--Most of the picturesque buildings belonging to the
     religious houses were stripped of all that was valuable and let
     go to ruin. The new owners, many of them, lived away from their
     property; and, as _wool-farming_ was very profitable then, much
     arable land was turned into sheep-runs. That threw many out of
     employment, and increased the number of _vagrants_. The new owners
     were expected to do for the people on their lands what the monks
     had done, but very few of them did so. The custom of relieving the
     poor at the gate of the great house was kept up in some few cases,
     as at Standon Lordship, in Hertfordshire.



1. There were, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, in all parts of the
country, hundreds of bare, gaunt ruins where once had been flourishing
houses and centres of life and work. It may seem strange to us that the
materials left were not sold and cleared away, and the sites made tidy.
We must remember, however, that people could not build houses either
in town or country as they chose. In Queen Elizabeth's reign the laws
against building new houses were very strict indeed, so that there was
not a very great demand for building material. Then, too, the quantity
of such stone and wood in all these many buildings, in every town and
almost every village, was enormous, so that the material was not worth
much. The ruins were left, a sad and sorry sight, for many a long year.

2. In the towns some of the buildings were turned by their new owners
into private houses, and the parts of the monastery were put to strange
uses. Nobody seemed to mind; the spirit of destruction seemed to be in
the air. Then, as years went on, and buildings needed repair, or roads
wanted mending, the old ruins were the handiest places from which to
get a load of stone; and so, with leave or without, many loads of stone
were carted away from them.

3. We said just now that there was no encouragement given to the
building of new houses in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and yet most
of the most picturesque old houses in our towns and villages still
standing were built at that time. These, however, were not new houses;
they were rebuilt on old sites, _improved_ according to the ideas of
the time.

4. You will notice in country places a great many houses built somewhat
after this style. Many of them are now cottages, but they were not
built for cottages; they were the ordinary houses in which yeomen lived
in the sixteenth century.

5. There was the hall or house-place--an oblong room in the centre,--on
to which other rooms were built, forming a wing at one end, or often a
wing at each end, with gables towards the street, and projecting upper
stories. A great deal might be said about this kind of house, but there
is only space for a very short account of it.

6. The house was built upon a foundation of stone or brick, so that
the wooden sill should be above the ground-level. Into this wooden sill
strong upright posts of timber, quite rough, some 8 or 9 inches square,
were set. The posts at the angles were larger, often being butts of
trees placed roots upwards, so that the upper story might project. Then
on the main posts beams were laid, the ends projecting, upon which the
framing of the upper story was set. It was just a timber skeleton, into
which other timbers were set 8 or 9 inches apart. In later times these
timbers were wider apart, and curved or diagonal braces were often
used, but at first the uprights were pretty closely set.

  [Illustration: Old English House]

7. The spaces between the uprights were then filled in with lath and
plaster, flush with the wood-work. In some parts of the country
brick was used instead, set in a herring-bone fashion. In later times,
when the lath and plaster had decayed, the spaces were often filled in
with brickwork laid in the ordinary way. Then again, in other cases
the wood-work of the house shrank and left gaps between the lath and
plaster and the wood, so the whole of the outside has been covered with
plaster, or weather-boarded and painted or tarred, or hung over with

8. The windows were small, and sometimes in the upper story one was
built out, forming an oriel. The roofs were high pitched, in many cases
tiled, but more often thatched. In these old houses the =chimney-stack=
is a great feature outside, and the huge fireplace, with its wide
chimney-corners, takes up half the house-place inside. From most of
these nowadays the old hearth is gone, and a small chimney-breast has
been bricked up to take a modern range; but the old chimney-corner,
with its funny little window, can usually still be traced.

9. There are quite a large number of =village inns= of this kind. Very
often these are the oldest and most picturesque buildings left in a
village, except the church. It is these old-fashioned houses which make
village scenery so pleasing to the eye after the dreary rows of bunches
of brick, with holes in them for windows, covered in with slate, which
fill the streets of our towns, all alike and all ugly.

     =Summary.=--There were ruins in every town and nearly every
     village in the days of Queen Elizabeth. Gradually the stones were
     carted away for building purposes and for road-mending. There
     were many restrictions on building new houses. Most of the quaint
     old houses, with overhanging stories and high-pitched roofs,
     belong to the time of Queen Elizabeth. They were built on older
     foundations. The wood-work in later times has been in some cases
     filled in with brickwork, in others covered with boarding or hung
     with tiles. In those houses the chimney is usually at one end of
     the house, and the queer little window on one side shows where the
     chimney-corner once was.

  [Illustration: An Elizabethan Interior]



1. We have said that the Tudor period was a time of building of big
houses and mansions. Every county in England has some such houses to
show. Many of them were built of =stone=, some partly of =brick and
stone=. Their style shows that the English or old fashion of Gothic
building was dying out. Italian ideas and Italian ornament were
coming into favour. No doubt one reason why so much of the old work
was ruthlessly destroyed was because it was out of fashion. It is
astonishing, even in these days, how much good work is destroyed just
because it has gone out of date. Among the most famous of these houses
we may mention Burleigh House "by Stamford Town", Haddon Hall, and
Knebworth; and, belonging to a rather later date, Hatfield House.

  [Illustration: Photo. Photochrom Co., Ltd.


2. For a big house the idea was to build it round a quadrangle. Smaller
houses were in plan very like the half-timbered houses of the yeomen,
only on a larger scale, and more richly ornamented. The hall and its
wings were extended considerably, and, with a handsome porch, formed in
plan a big capital =E=, thus:--


Some people have thought that this plan was chosen in honour of Queen
Elizabeth, but the truth is that it was the most convenient form,
and fitted in best with the ideas of the time. It had grown up quite
naturally, in the course of many generations, from the simple hall with
the hearth in the middle, the beginnings of which we saw in the huts of
the pit-dwellers.

3. Quite early in the fourteenth century =brick= had begun to come
into use for building, but the first bricks were probably imported
from Flanders. Hull, which had been founded by King Edward I, had many
buildings of brick, and by about the year 1320 it had brick-yards
of its own. Flemish weavers were encouraged to settle in England by
King Edward III, and they used brick in buildings which they set up.
There are a good many houses in the eastern counties and in Kent still
standing, which show Flemish and Dutch ideas.

4. Cardinal Wolsey's palace at Hampton Court is a good specimen of the
brickwork of his time; and all through the reign of King Henry VIII
the chief material used was brick, terra-cotta[13] being employed for
mouldings and ornament. This was chiefly the work of Italian artists,
and they produced also some very beautiful ceilings in plaster-work[14]
for many of their fine houses.

  [Illustration: Photo. Photochrom Co., Ltd.


5. After King Henry VIII's quarrel with Rome fewer Italians were
employed, and English artists were left to work out these new ideas in
their own way. From about the middle of the sixteenth century the use
of terra-cotta dropped out, and moulded and shaped bricks began to be
used, though stone was used for the more ornamental portions.

6. When we reach the reign of King James I, we find that the leading
architect was Inigo Jones. We do not hear very much of =architects=
during the Middle Ages. The man employed to do the actual work was
allowed to select his own materials and carry out his own ideas pretty
much in his own way. But in the sixteenth century the architect became
a more important person than the craftsman, and the craftsman had to
work according to the pattern and design provided for him.

7. The =Jacobean[15] houses= show that the old English styles of
building were being left behind, and a newer type of house, plainer and
heavier, was taking its place. The Civil War was a very bad time for
architects and craftsmen, but after the Restoration a better time came
to them again.

8. The Great Fire of London, which swept away almost every mediæval
building in the city, gave a great _impetus_, or push forward, to
building. You can quite understand that, with so much building going
on, the work would be somewhat hurried and very much plainer than it
had been. So London became a city of bricks and mortar. Middlesex has
large quantities of good brick-earth; and, though bricks were made
in that county long before the Great Fire, the Great Fire developed
the industry greatly. There was a worthy old Royalist knight of
Hammersmith, Sir Nicholas Crispe, who, after the execution of King
Charles I, went over to Holland, as so many other Royalists did. There
he watched very closely bricks and brick-making, and when he came back
to England he introduced many improvements in the art of brick-making
along the Thames valley.

     =Summary.=--Italian ideas gradually were adopted in place of
     Gothic. Many of the finest houses, like Burleigh House and Haddon
     Hall, belong to this time. The Elizabethan house often took the
     form of a letter =E=.

     Brick has been used in Hull and in other places on the east coast
     from the thirteenth century, but the brick at first was imported
     from Flanders. It came into fashion about the time that Cardinal
     Wolsey built Hampton Court Palace. Italian artists were much
     employed at first, and _terra-cotta_ and _plaster_ were much used.

     After the Great Fire of London brick became the chief building
     material in London, and the houses became much plainer. Sir
     Nicholas Crispe, after the Restoration, introduced many
     improvements into brick-making along the Thames valley.



1. Not very long after the dissolution of the monasteries the churches
had a very bad time to go through. It is perfectly marvellous how
rapidly some people, who were in power, discovered that the valuable
ornaments and fittings in them were so very wicked and superstitious,
that the only thing to do was to seize them for the use of the king as
his private property. No attempt was made to apply the money taken
for the benefit of the parishes; it was shamefully and shamelessly
squandered. The buildings were very badly treated, and everything in
some of them that could be defaced and destroyed was so treated. The
changes made in religion under the Tudor kings and queens were so many,
and so violent, that ordinary everyday people could not understand
them, and deeply religious people were driven in opposite directions.
There was bitter persecution for all who did not fall in with the will
of the Tudor sovereign, whether Catholic or Protestant, and good men
had to suffer and to die on both sides for their faith.

2. All who did not attend their parish church, and take part in the
services which those in authority considered to be most fitting,
were regarded as bad citizens, and treated as such. We cannot wonder
that the parish churches were allowed to go to decay. English people
had spent much money on their churches right up to the time of the
Reformation. Then they saw the gifts they and their forefathers had
made abused or stolen. People were not disposed to do much for their
churches after that. In some cases, especially in country places, where
the leading people were Catholics or Puritans, it seems as if they
purposely let the parish church, to which they were compelled to go by
law, get so thoroughly out of order that they might be able to say that
there was no church to go to.

3. Many of the houses built during Tudor times had =secret chambers=
and hiding-places, which were known only to a very few persons. And
such hiding-places were much used, in the times of Queen Elizabeth and
King James I, by priests, who ministered in secret to those who clung
to the old faith.

4. But though the churches were much out of repair, in some of them
stately and costly =monuments= were erected in the sixteenth and
early part of the seventeenth centuries. They were different from the
monuments set up before the Reformation, and were usually built against
a wall. They were of various coloured marbles, the effigies lying under
circular-headed canopies, supported by columns in the Italian style.
The effigies of man and wife were usually represented clad in robes
of state, coloured, their children kneeling round the tomb in various

5. By and by, instead of the effigies being represented as lying on
their backs, with hands clasped, they were shown lying on one side,
supporting their heads on their hands. There are many such monuments in
Westminster Abbey, and in almost every old town church one or more can
be seen.

6. It became a very common practice for one of the old =chapels=, built
on to the parish church, to be set apart as the private burial-place
of a great land-owner. Many new chapels were built for this special
purpose. In them we may see specimens of the different fashions in
monuments from Tudor days, or earlier, right down to the present time.

     =Summary.=--Much was destroyed in the churches during the violent
     changes made in the form of worship. In some cases the churches
     were let go to decay, so that there might be no church to go to.
     There were secret chambers built in many Tudor houses, where those
     in danger might hide.

     It was a great time for setting up splendid monuments in the
     Italian style, usually brilliantly coloured and ornamented.



1. The most notable architect after the Great Fire of London was Sir
Christopher Wren, and his master-piece is, of course, St. Paul's
Cathedral. He designed, too, most of the city churches. The style
was adopted in various parts of the country by various noblemen for
building great houses. Brick was regarded as too mean a material for
such very grand houses, and stone was used for facing them.

  [Illustration: Photo. Valentine

  (page 169)]

2. In the houses which Wren built brick was very largely used. He
introduced rubbed bricks, and had them laid with very close joints. We
have some very fine examples of such brickwork in gables of various
forms in the early part of the eighteenth century--the reign of Queen

3. Designs for houses did not improve in beauty as the eighteenth
century went on. Many of the houses were very substantially built,
and were arranged with an eye to comfort and convenience. The hall,
which had been the centre of the old English home, became smaller and
smaller; the kitchens were placed below the ground-level, and in towns
were often reached by a flight of steps down from the street to the
=area=, which is still so common in London streets.

  [Illustration: House in Queen Anne style, South Kensington]

4. The =front door= of the house became the great ornamental feature
of the building, approached by a flight of steps often protected by
very handsome iron railings. Attached to many of the railings still are
light upright posts for carrying an old-fashioned oil-lamp. Just a few
of these =lamp-carriers= have extinguishers, which were for the use of
the link-boys, when on dark nights they had safely lighted the master
of the house through the dangers of the streets to his own front door.

5. The brickwork of these houses had become very plain, and less and
less stone was used for ornament--a little over the principal windows,
and the boldly cut quoins at the angles of the house. Most of the
windows were merely oblong openings in the blank wall.

6. The great point aimed at was to get a handsome =doorway=.
Sometimes a portico was built out, supported by stone pillars having
richly-carved capitals. In other cases a canopy, supported by
half-columns, or by brackets, was placed over the doorway. Stone was
sometimes used for these canopies, but wood was more common. These
wooden canopies and brackets are often very fine pieces of joinery and
wood-carving. The canopy sometimes takes the form of a kind of big
shell, the ornaments and pattern being finely moulded, and the cornice
being deeply and boldly cut. These canopies were painted, and the tops
covered with lead to protect them from the weather. As you walk along
the streets of an old town, which has not been too much modernized, you
will be almost sure to see some specimens of this kind of work.

7. The thick panelled doors of these houses are often grand pieces of
work, which would rejoice the heart of a joiner who loves his craft. So
many boys now are taught something of joinery at school that there must
be a good many of them who know enough to see the beauty there is in a
good piece of work, even though it may be quite plain.

8. Another feature in these doorways is the window over the door,
intended to give light to the hall. We call it the =fan-light= because
it was usually made somewhat in the shape of an open fan, and you will
find in fan-lights some very pretty designs cleverly put together.

9. About the middle of the eighteenth century =stucco= came into
fashion. It was easy to handle, and ornamental patterns could be
readily produced. The ornamental stone and wood-work was imitated in
plaster. Like all mere imitations of good work, it soon became poor,
and showed itself to be a sham; but it was very fashionable. There was
such a rage for it that the brickwork of a house was often covered with
a smooth coat of it, and the whole painted white, or cream colour.
Some of the old houses of good sound brick were covered in this way,
and it was often used to cover up very poor bricks and brickwork. Good
plaster-work, no doubt, often served a purpose in keeping out damp, but
it was very formal, and not very beautiful.

10. In the middle of the same century a fancy for =Gothic architecture=
revived, and many brick buildings were built with pointed arches,
doorways, and windows, with turrets and pinnacles, all covered with
plaster-work and cement, imitating Gothic mouldings and carvings; but
it was only sham Gothic, and not at all satisfactory.

11. Indeed we may say that, as the century went on, houses did not
become more beautiful. As the population increased in the town,
streets of houses sprang up, some large, some small, built in rows and
crescents and terraces, in which all the houses were alike; and very
dull and drab and mean-looking many of them have become. When they
were built they were made to look neat, or even smart, in front, but
little care was taken about the appearance and convenience of their
backs. They were not arranged in such a way that each might have a
proper amount of light, and that a free current of air could pass
through them and around them.

12. In some respects we have improved our houses, but we have much to
learn yet. We have, for instance, yet to see that _all_ houses, however
small, shall have a proper number of bedrooms, large, light, and
airy--for we spend one-third of our lives in them. We have also to see
that both beauty and fitness shall be properly considered in building a
house. Too often no care is taken to provide proper places where food
and clothing can be kept, and where that very necessary but unpleasant
process of washing and drying of clothes can be carried on without
spoiling the comfort and health of the household. Every house needs
a bath-room as much as a grate, for where dirt is there is disease,
suffering, and death.

     =Summary.=--Stone was used for facing large brick houses in the
     time of Sir Christopher Wren and at the beginning of the next
     century (Queen Anne's reign). Wren introduced _rubbed brick_,
     laid with close joints, and the specimens of that period are very
     good. As the eighteenth century went on, beauty declined. The hall
     became a mere passage, and the windows were oblong holes in the
     brick walls. The _doorways_ were often handsome, with porticoes
     and canopies, some of stone, some of wood. Many of these remain
     in old town and village streets. The _iron-work_ of that date is
     often very good indeed. The doors themselves were usually plain,
     but well made and solid. The windows over the doors, usually
     called _fan-lights_ from their original shape, give many varieties
     of shape.

     _Stucco_ came into use about the middle of the eighteenth century,
     and became very fashionable, carving being imitated in plaster,
     and often covering very poor work. Gothic began to revive, but
     plaster, not stone, was used, and it was a very poor imitation.
     The fashion for building whole streets, rows, and terraces of
     houses in the same style came into use.



1. After the Reformation the churches, as we have said, were much
neglected for a long time. They were used in a different way from what
they had been in the Middle Ages--a great deal more was thought of
preaching and hearing sermons. People grew to be very particular as to
where they sat in church, and to have a seat in accordance with their
dignity and importance. =Pews= became very important things. Churches
were not heated in those days, though the services were very long, for
sermons often lasted for an hour or two. No doubt one reason for making
pews so high was to keep off draughts. The great people of the parish
seemed to try to outdo each other in the height of their pews. Some
of the grand pews had canopies to them, like old-fashioned four-post
bedsteads, and they were hung round with curtains. In later times they
even had fireplaces, with poker, tongs, and shovel all complete.

2. Gradually the whole floor-space got filled up with pews, some
square, some oblong, all shut in with doors, and with seats like
shelves running round them. The fashion of having pews shut in with
doors lasted for several centuries; indeed you may see them still in
some churches, though they are not nearly as high as they once were.

3. The churches needed repairs from time to time in the seventeenth
century, and a few, a very few, new ones were built. But money was not
spent upon them as it had been in the Middle Ages. They were patched up
and mended for the most part as cheaply as possible. In very few cases
was any attempt made to make them as beautiful as the houses which were
being built at the time.

4. After the Restoration there arose a great interest in =bells= and
bell-ringing. At the end of the seventeenth century a great many rings
of bells were hung in the old steeples and belfries, which had to be
altered to receive them.

5. The =monuments= set up in the churches in the reign of King
Charles II were somewhat smaller than they had been. They were often
=tablets= on the walls, ornamented with curious carvings of skulls and
cross-bones, cherubs' heads, curtains, and festoons of flowers and
fruits, often finely carved. You will not find in churchyards many
=grave-stones= or tombs of an earlier date than 1660. The =head-stones=
were then very small, and had little on them except "Here lyeth the
body of" so-and-so, and the date.

6. A great many churches were built in London after the Fire. They
were furnished with high pews, usually all of the same height, and
having doors. The wood-work, especially of the pulpit, reading-desk,
and organ-case, in these churches is mostly very fine. A celebrated
carver of this period was Grinling Gibbons, and he and his pupils did a
great deal of such work, both in churches and houses.

7. In other parts of the country Wren's work was imitated in some of
the new churches then built, and in some of the old ones which were
altered or rearranged. One of the best specimens of work done at this
time is to be seen at Whitchurch, in Middlesex.

8. Not very many new churches, however, were built until the beginning
of the nineteenth century, except in some of the towns which had grown
up from country villages. In and round London most of the villages
increased so much in size that the little old parish church was much
too small for the population. Galleries were put up in them in all
sorts of queer places, to provide more seats. More room still being
wanted, many churches were pulled down, and larger buildings set up.

9. The new churches of the latter part of the eighteenth and the early
years of the nineteenth centuries were simply big oblong rooms. The
outsides were often copies of parts of Grecian temples. They were
crowned with towers and spires somewhat like those on Wren's churches,
but not nearly so handsome.

10. Inside, the church was fitted up with a gallery running along
two sides and across one end. In the end gallery a big organ was
placed, and on either side of it, high up, near the ceiling, were
smaller galleries, one for the charity-school boys, the other for the
charity-school girls of the parish. The galleries and floor of the
church were filled with high pews. On the floor opposite the organ were
three huge boxes, rising one above the other. The lowest box was for
the parish clerk, the middle one was the reading-desk, and the highest
was the pulpit, which was often provided with a sounding-board, not
unlike an umbrella. The altar was in a little niche behind the pulpit.
Chapels were fitted up in much the same way.

11. Under all these churches and chapels were =vaults=, in which people
were buried, but not in the earth. The coffins were placed on shelves,
one above the other, round the vault. On the walls of the church above
were often =tablets= to the memory of people lying in the vaults below.
These, by the nineteenth century, were for the most part simply slabs
of white marble, with black or grey borders. There was hardly any
carving at all on them; only inscriptions or epitaphs, and texts.

12. The =churchyards= were used for burials, and by the middle of the
nineteenth century most of them were crowded with tombstones. In London
nearly all are now laid out as open spaces; many of the grave-stones
have quite disappeared, and those which remain are rapidly perishing.

13. When we remember that the churchyards of the old churches had
been used as burial-places in many cases since the early days of
Christianity, and even before that, we can easily grasp the fact that
the earth had been used over and over again for burials. About the
middle of the nineteenth century the nation came to the conclusion that
burials in churches and crowded town churchyards should no longer be
allowed. The practice was dangerous to the living. So =cemeteries= were
opened in districts away from the towns and homes of the people. Towns
have grown so fast that many of these cemeteries are now surrounded by
houses, and are the centres of big populations.

14. About the year 1840 interest began to be taken in the old English
styles of building, and a taste for =Gothic architecture= arose again.
Since that time places of worship of all descriptions have for the most
part been built in some sort of Gothic. When you read that such and
such a church or building is in the fourteenth or fifteenth century
style, you must understand that it is not a copy of a church built
in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, but that its window-heads,
doorways, arches, and fittings are _in the style_ of the fourteenth or
fifteenth century. Most of these modern buildings are of brick, only
faced or dressed with stone. It is pretty safe to say that there is no
old church standing which was built entirely in the fourteenth century,
and has remained unaltered from that day to this.

15. In our towns almost every tower and spire which we see is a modern
building, though the _styles_ may vary from Norman to Perpendicular
and seventeenth century. Modern buildings, churches, halls, public
offices, and private houses are mostly imitations of the work of past
ages. There is no nineteenth-century style of English architecture.
Some day, perhaps, England may develop a new style of architecture,
such as the world has never yet seen, but at the present time we can
only copy and adapt the work of those who have gone before us.

     =Summary.=--_Pews_ came much into use in churches after the
     Reformation, and the sides were very high. In the seventeenth
     century very few new churches were built, but many rings of
     bells were placed in the towers. The _monuments_ became tablets,
     ornamented with skulls, cross-bones, &c. The oldest _tombstones_
     in churchyards are not earlier than 1660. In Wren's churches there
     is much fine woodwork.

     In the eighteenth century the new churches built were oblong
     rooms, fitted up with galleries on three sides, having _high pews
     and a tall pulpit_. Corpses were buried in _vaults_ under these
     churches and chapels, but by the middle of the nineteenth century
     burials in town churches and churchyards came to an end.

     About 1840 a liking for _Gothic architecture_ revived, and the
     churches and chapels since then have been built mostly in one or
     other of the Gothic styles. The nineteenth century has no style of
     architecture of its own.



1. A little of the property which had belonged to the religious houses
was saved and turned to useful purposes. Just a very few of the old
alms-houses were allowed to continue their work, like St. Cross at
Winchester, and some schools and colleges were founded.

2. There are some of those schools which bear the name of King Edward
VI. But Edward VI was only a lad of sixteen years of age when he died,
so that he had practically nothing to do with either the good or the
evil which was done in his name. In other towns, besides London, good
men set to work and managed to get back some small part of the property
of old religious houses for school work. In some places they were
allowed to have part of an old ruin, which they patched up and made
to serve as a school-room. This was the case, for instance, at St.
Alban's, where the Lady Chapel of the monastery was the grammar-school
until about twenty-five years ago.

3. It is quite true to say that many of our present =grammar-schools=
rose out of the ashes of the monasteries. But they were not great
buildings to hold scores of scholars. Many of them were only founded
for ten or twelve scholars from a particular town or district. The sum
set apart for a master to teach them was very small, so that he was
usually allowed to take other scholars who paid for their education.

4. These schools had their "ups and downs", but many of them in the
eighteenth century were in a very bad way. Some had scarcely any
scholars, and the buildings were much out of repair. However, most of
them are alive and active to-day, and many of them have histories of
which they may be proud, and a past which should help them to excel in
the future.

5. Children were often taught in the church and =church porch= in
country places. John Evelyn was so taught in the early part of the
seventeenth century, and many more people could read and write than we
sometimes imagine; but knowledge was not within the reach of all.

6. The condition of the poor occupied a good deal of attention, and
the =poor-laws= were used to improve matters in many ways. At Norwich,
for instance, in the year 1632, a children's hospital was provided
for boys between the ages of ten and fourteen. They were to be taught
useful trades, and fed and clothed. For dinner they were to have 6
ounces of bread, 1 pint of beer, and, on three days of the week, 1 pint
of pottage and 6 ounces of beef; on the other four days, 1 ounce of
butter and 2 ounces of cheese. For supper they were to have 6 ounces of
bread, 1 pint of beer, 1 ounce of butter, and 2 ounces of cheese. For
breakfast every day they had 3 ounces of bread, 1/2 ounce of butter,
and 1/2 pint of beer.

7. About the year 1685 the Middlesex magistrates established a "College
for Infants", as they called it, where poor children might be trained
and taught; and the same plan was followed in other places.

8. Then, too, about the same time, we find private persons establishing
=charity schools= for a similar purpose. The boys and girls, however,
in these schools were not always boarded and fed, but lived at home
and went to school day by day. The rules drawn up for them by their
founders seem very quaint and almost laughable to us. We must remember
that there were good reasons for those rules when they were made.
There were charity schools in almost every town, and most of them were
carried on in the old way till well into the nineteenth century.

9. The =dress= of the school-boys looks queer to us, because it is
the style of dress worn when the school was founded. A =blue-coat=
boy wears still the dress worn in the sixteenth century. The little
=charity-school boys= wore leather breeches, coloured stockings, coats
of a quaint cut of brown or blue or green or grey, and flat caps, with
two little pieces of fine linen fluttering under their chins--bands as
they were called. This was the boys' dress of the seventeenth century,
and they wore it long after it was out of fashion. The girls, too, had
frocks and cloaks of a wonderful cut and colour, white aprons, and
"such mob-caps".

10. They went to school in queer old buildings on Sundays and on
week-days. They were often taken to church, where they were perched
up aloft by the organ in dreadfully uncomfortable galleries, so
uncomfortable that it is a wonder that some of them did not fall over
into the church below. There they led the singing--what little there
was. Their hours in school were pretty long, but they managed to get
in a very fair amount of play, and always had time for falling into

11. People often laugh at these old-fashioned charity schools, and
the work they did. That is a pity, because they were founded long
before Parliament troubled itself about the education of the people.
All honour to those good old-fashioned men and women who did what they
could to provide teaching and training for poor boys and girls, and to
put them in the way of being able to earn their own living.

     =Summary.=--Most of Edward VI _grammar-schools_ were founded out
     of small portions of property which had belonged to religious
     houses. Generally they were only for a small number of scholars.
     In the eighteenth century many of these schools were in a very
     poor condition. Most of them now are alive and flourishing. In
     the seventeenth century a good many attempts were made to teach
     the children of the poor on a small scale. Some took charge of
     the children altogether; others, the _charity schools,_ were
     day-schools. These lasted without much change till the middle of
     the nineteenth century. The blue-coat boys' dress and the dress of
     these charity children was the dress of the time when they were



1. From many of these old-fashioned schools boys and girls were
apprenticed. Connected with old parishes there are still funds for so
placing out boys and girls.

2. All through the Middle Ages the only way by which a man could
become a craftsman was by being first of all an =apprentice=, and the
rules by which a lad was bound to a master were very strict. Things
did not alter much in this respect in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and
eighteenth centuries. An apprentice was always bound for seven years in
the presence of magistrates. The master had to find his apprentice in
food, clothing, lodging, and to instruct him in his art, or "mystery"
as it was called. The apprentice lived in his master's house, and was
bound to serve him.

3. His master could chastise him if he was idle or "saucy", and even
have him sent to the house of correction for further punishment. Both
masters and apprentices could complain of each other to the magistrates
at the Quarter Sessions, and the hearing of the complaints often
took up a lot of time. According to many of the complaints, of which
records still exist, some of the apprentices must have had rather a
hard time--"seven years, hard". Some complained of having to eat mouldy
cheese and rotten meat; others, of their ragged clothes; others, that
their masters beat them with pokers, hammers, pint-pots, to say nothing
of whips and sticks; prevented them from going to church; and others,
that their masters turned them out-of-doors, or ran away and left them.
The masters, on their side, often complain that their apprentices are
idle, that they rob them, that they stop out at night and keep company
with bad characters, and so on. So it seems they did not always get on
well together.

4. But then there were the others--those who made the best of it.
Where the master did his duty, and the apprentice took pains to learn,
they got on pretty well together. It was not an easy life for the
apprentice, but it made him a craftsman.

5. In some parts of the country, in manufacturing districts, there
were little schools where children were taught =straw-plait= and
=lace-making=. Then, especially in villages, the parish clerk, or some
old lady, kept a =small school=, in which a few boys and girls picked
up a little reading, writing, and arithmetic.

6. =Elementary schools=, out of which our present schools have grown,
began about a century ago. Many and great changes have taken place
since then, and knowledge is within the reach of every boy or girl

     =Summary.=--Many boys and girls were put out as _apprentices_
     from old charity schools, and many parishes have still funds for
     apprenticing boys and girls to trades. For centuries a man could
     only become a craftsman who had been an apprentice. The apprentice
     had to serve for seven years, and the life was often very hard
     and trying, but it made good craftsmen in many cases. There were
     _plait schools_ and _lace-making_ schools in some parts of the
     country, and almost every village had its _little school_ taught
     by the parish clerk or an old lady. Our present _elementary
     schools_ began less than a century ago, and they have passed
     through many changes already.



1. In all the many centuries of our history there have been boys and
girls; and, whatever has been going on in the world around them,
they have found time to play. Many of their games go back so far
in the history of man that their origin is forgotten. Yet there
are games which children play now just as they did in the days of
Queen Elizabeth; and those queer rhymes, which you know so well, and
understand nothing about, have been repeated, some of them, since
England began to be England.

2. There is plenty to say about games, but not enough space to say it
all here. There are some games which come and go as regularly as the
seasons. The queer part of it all is: Who starts the game? As sure as
the early spring evenings arrive you will find boys playing at marbles.
Town or country, it does not matter, all at once "marbles are _in_".
Nobody says it is "marble season"; nobody ever yet found the boy who
brings out the first marble of the season. Somehow a _something_ inside
a boy tells him it is "marble" time, and the marbles appear in his

3. It is just the same with "tops"; they come and they go with absolute
regularity. They come as if by magic, and by magic they disappear. When
the errand-boy, who has left school a month or two, stops, basket on
arm, to watch the game, you may be sure that it is the height of the
season. When the ground is occupied by the little chaps who have just
come up from the infant school, and the errand-boy passes whistling by
on the other side, it is quite certain that the season is over and gone.

4. These are games that want no clubs, associations, nor subscriptions.
Yet they are governed by time-honoured rules, which have never been
written down, but must be strictly observed, or there is much talking
and wrangling over the game.

5. =Sports= have an important place in the life of towns and villages
nowadays; but, though cricket and football are old games really, they
have not always been as popular as they are now. =Cricket=, in some
form or other, was played in the thirteenth century; indeed all games
where a ball is used are more or less ancient. It seems to have been
played at Guildford as early as 1598, but modern cricket only dates
from the middle of the eighteenth century. Kent seems to have led the
way, and Hampshire was the home of the game in 1774.

6. =Football= has almost driven every other game out of our towns, but
it is only within the last thirty years that it has become so popular.
Football of some kind has been played for many centuries, especially
in the streets of towns. Kingston, Chester, and Dorking, amongst other
places, have a custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday. The story
as to how the custom arose is the same in most of these places.

7. Far back in the ninth century a party of Danes ravaged the district
and attacked the town. The townsmen made a brave stand against them
till help came. Then the Danes were defeated, their leader slain, his
head struck off, and kicked about the streets in triumph. That is said
to have given rise to the custom; but it was a very hideous football.

8. Football was not always regarded with favour. Folk often wanted to
play football when their lords and masters wanted them to practise with
their bows and arrows. So the young men and apprentices were frequently
told what a dangerous game it was, and over and over again it was
forbidden. Football was always apparently a game over which the players
fell out, much as they do now. Nearly four hundred years ago a worthy
gentleman wrote of the game:--

"It is nothyng but beastely fury and extreme violence, whereby
procedeth hurte, and consequently rancour and malice do remayne with
thym that be wounded".


9. There are some places where the school-boys of long, long ago have
left their marks. In the cloisters at Westminster Abbey and Gloucester
Cathedral, for instance, are some roughly cut marks in the old stone
benches, forming the "tables" or "boards" on which they played some
almost forgotten games with stones.

     =Summary.=--_Children's games_ are very ancient, and the rhymes
     have been handed down from very early times, so that we do not
     know now what they mean. Marbles, tops, and hop-scotch are games
     which come and go regularly, and are governed by unwritten rules.
     _Football_ and _cricket_ are old games. Both games have altered
     very much. The marks of some old games, which were played with
     stones, are still to be seen in the cloisters at Westminster and
     Gloucester. (See cut on previous page.)



1. There was not much change for many centuries in the way in which
towns and villages were governed.

2. The borough towns, which gained their charters back in the days of
King John, or King Henry III, had them confirmed by various kings in
later times; but the powers of the towns were not much altered. The
=corporation= of a borough was usually made up of men chosen by the
freemen; but if the freemen did not admit many persons to the freedom
of the borough, the power of electing, in the course of years, fell
into the hands of a very few people.

3. This was what actually happened in a very large number of cases, and
at the end of the eighteenth century there were many old boroughs which
were governed by "close corporations"--the bulk of the people living
in the borough having no voice in the management of the affairs of the
town. All that was altered in the early part of the nineteenth century.
Many of the old boroughs lost their privileges, as they had become such
small unimportant places. All other boroughs now have regular elections
of town councillors by the rate-payers each first of November. The
councils elect the mayor on each 9th of November.

4. The =mayor=, and some of the inhabitants of the borough, are also
magistrates and attend to police cases; while the =town council= looks
after matters connected with sewers, lighting, paving, and cleansing
the streets of the town. It has now also charge of educational affairs.

5. In London and large towns, where there is much =police-court
business=, there are special magistrates who attend to nothing else.

6. In country places, for centuries, the =manor court= governed the
manor; but gradually, and by Tudor times, most of the power of the
manor court, or court leet as it was sometimes called, had passed into
the hands of the =Vestry=. This consisted of the parish officers and
rate-payers in the whole parish. It was called the Vestry, because its
meeting-place was the vestry of the parish church, or even the church

7. The relief of the poor and the care of the highways provided the
vestry with most of its business. The =churchwardens= had special
care of the property of the Church, but in Tudor times they were also
charged with the relief of the poor. To help them in this work two
=overseers=, at least, in each parish, were chosen every year. All the
rate-payers were liable to serve in turn if elected, unless they could
show a good reason for not serving. The elections took place about Lady
Day. The vestry fixed what rates were to be made, and the overseers
collected them. But the overseers had to be admitted to their office,
and all rates allowed, by two justices of the peace, before they were

8. It became necessary, as the poor-law business increased, to have
constables to help the overseers in keeping an eye on strangers,
vagrants and beggars who came into the parish. These, too, had to serve
for one year. In big parishes they were assisted by a =beadle=, and
had, with the help of all the inhabitants in turn, to keep =watch and
ward= at night. Very unpleasant work they had to do in towns and places
just outside towns. This duty of watching and warding had to be carried
out until towards the middle of the nineteenth century, when our
present system of =police= was established. Beadles and constables had
to see to the whippings, which were so common, and to setting people in
the stocks and the cage; to moving sick and diseased wretches on to the
next parish, and other unpleasant duties.

9. The =surveyors of the highways= had to see that each person who
was liable did his share of the work of the highways, or paid for
having it done. But by far the most important business was that of the
churchwardens and overseers. They had to settle in what houses the poor
folk were to live, who were to look after them, what allowance was to
be made for them. The poor usually had their money paid to them at
church, monthly. Then the overseers had to see that every able-bodied
man was at work, often having to provide the work, to place out
apprentices, and to supply flax or wool for the women and children
to spin. Sometimes the poor were boarded out; some of them lived in
cottages, or in the poors' house which the parish built. Then, too,
these officers had to relieve beggars, and persons passing through the

10. This work of providing for the poor was very difficult and very
anxious, especially at the end of the eighteenth and in the early part
of the nineteenth century.

11. Then =poor-law unions= were formed, and =union workhouses= built,
in which the helpless poor might be better cared for, and vagrants and
wanderers find a night's lodging. We have not a perfect plan yet, by
any means. The difficulties of how to deal with the poor who, through
no fault of their own, cannot help themselves, and how to deal with
those who are lazy and will not work, are very great.

12. The work of the old vestries has now passed to the =Parish
Councils,= the =District Councils,= and the =County Councils=. The
work is important, and has much to do with the welfare of our towns
and villages. We must not expect that these bodies can do everything
at once, or that they will make no mistakes. If we know something of
the past history of our towns and villages it will help us to form a
right judgment concerning difficulties which have to be met in the
present, and so to act that those who come after us may be able to go
on building upon our work, that there may be nothing to undo, nothing
to blame, but that future years may say of our times:

"They knew how to work, and they worked on right principles".

     =Summary.=--In the course of centuries the government of most
     boroughs got into the hands of few people. This was altered early
     in the nineteenth century. Borough towns now choose a certain
     number of members, and the councils elect a mayor. The mayor is
     a magistrate; in the large towns of England trained lawyers are
     appointed magistrates to act in the police courts.

     In country places much of the power of the manor court got into
     the hands of the vestry. The vestry made the rates required, and
     chose churchwardens, overseers, surveyors of highways, every year.
     In towns the inhabitants had to keep "watch and ward" in turn,
     till the police force was organized in the nineteenth century.
     Each parish looked after and provided for its own poor till early
     in the nineteenth century.

     The work of the vestries is now done by Parish Councils, District
     Councils, and the County Councils.



1. There was not much alteration in the outward appearance of the
villages and the "look" of the country round them for many centuries.
Indeed even now many of the villages themselves are not greatly altered
in their general arrangement. Down to the times of the Tudor kings the
old land and manor customs had gone on since Saxon days, changing but
very slowly. Many of the class which had been villeins in the Middle
Ages had become yeomen; some had got lands of their own, and some
land on the old manors, which they rented. But they did not alter very
much the old way of treating the land, and it was only gradually that
=farmhouses= sprang up away from the villages.

2. In some parts of the country these lonely farmhouses are more
common than in others. There are, for instance, a good many in the
Weald of Sussex which sprang up first as huts in forest clearings, and
afterwards became houses with farm-buildings attached to them.

3. On the borders of great lonely heaths and commons we can often see
very old and very small cottages, with walls of clay, or wood, or
stone, according to the district in which they happen to be. Long ago
some =squatter= built his little hut here, and out of pity, perhaps, or
carelessness, the lord of the manor took no notice. There he remained,
year after year, until custom allowed him to look upon it as his own;
and in time it actually became his private property. Such squatters
in lonely places were often looked upon more or less with fear by the
timid folk living in the distant village. They did not care to do or
say anything to upset the stranger, fearing for the safety of their
sheep, cattle, and poultry. Many little holdings and small farms began
in this way.

4. Many of the =farms=, though they were separate holdings, still
had strips in the big fields of the parish. The crops were sown and
gathered according to the ancient customs, and the cattle turned into
them and out on the waste lands at certain seasons, just as they had
been in the Middle Ages.

5. But about the beginning of the eighteenth century there was a pretty
general movement towards breaking up these big fields into separate
parts, and letting each farmer have his portion to himself, so that
he might know exactly what land was his and what belonged to his
neighbour. So it came to pass that =Enclosure Acts= were passed for
parish after parish. The old common arable fields were divided amongst
those who had rights in them. Then many of the old wastes, heaths,
commons, and marshes were treated in the same way.

6. That caused a great change in the appearance of the parish. Instead
of the fields in long, straight strips, with unploughed balks between
them, the strips belonging to each farmer were thrown into one, and
=hedgerows= planted. In time they became smooth fields, separated from
each other by hedges, in which grew here and there timber trees. The
old cart-tracks, winding across and round the common fields, in time
became =lanes= bounded by high hedges. The trackways across many of the
old wastes and commons in a similar way were turned into lanes, and
the waste broken up into fields. Still a good deal of the waste land
was left, and has never yet been enclosed. So far as we can see now,
this is not likely to happen, because we feel more and more every year
that, for the sake of the health and recreation of the people, it is
absolutely necessary to preserve them as open spaces.

7. The fields, the hedgerows, and the lanes which delight us so much in
the country are, most of them, some two hundred years old.

8. When the farm had its own separate fields allotted to it, it became
convenient for the farmer to live in the midst of his land. So we find
the farmhouse and its buildings, with a few labourers' cottages, a long
way out of the village, and away from the church. If you take notice
you will find that from this outlying farmhouse there is usually a
pretty straight field-path to the parish church.

9. Then, too, in parishes through which a big main road ran, as the
traffic on the road increased, houses of entertainment for man and
beast became necessary; =ale-houses= and =inns= sprang up, with little
farmsteads round them. =Coaches= were put on many roads in the time of
King Charles II, and had regular stopping-places, and these little inns
often became important centres of business. Gradually hamlets sprang up
round many of them.

10. The roads were so bad that horses frequently cast their shoes,
tires came off wheels, and wheels came off carts and coaches; so under
many "a spreading chestnut-tree" a little smithy and wheel-wright's
shop arose. A smithy is always a centre of life and news, as everybody
knows. You can see to-day, along many of our roads, sheds and shops
being opened, where broken-down cycles and motor cars can be repaired
and supplied with odds and ends which they may happen to need.

11. Thus =hamlets= have grown up away from the old village green, its
church, and its manor-house. In scores of places the hamlet has become
of more importance than the old village, and has grown into a little
town, where new churches and chapels and public buildings have sprung

12. Then there are the =districts= where new industries and
manufactures have been planted. That is too large a subject to deal
with here, but think of the great changes these have wrought on the
face of the country in the coal and mineral districts of England in the
last two hundred years.

13. Again, there are the =railways=. Notice how little townships have
grown up round the railway-stations, especially on the main lines in
districts near a big town. Houses spring up for the hosts of people
who, like streams of human ants, hurry to the station to catch the
early morning trains, and, as the afternoon wears into evening, come
again from the station to snatch a few hours' rest at home.

14. We have said nothing of

    "The beauty and mystery of the ships,
    And the magic of the sea",

and the part they have had in the making of our towns and villages.
This subject would require a book all to itself, and then we shall only
just have begun to think about it, and to find out how little we know
and understand of the things which go to make up our daily lives.

15. Yes, the life of our towns and villages is a very interesting
subject. Nature and Man each works for and with the other; both are
full of mystery, life, and beauty, if we could only use our eyes to
see, our intelligence to understand, our hearts to sympathize, and our
hands to work.

     =Summary.=--The earliest _farmhouses_ began as settlers' huts in
     such forest regions as the Weald. _Squatters_ gradually got little
     holdings near lonely heaths and commons. _Separate farms_, with
     farm-buildings and labourers' cottages attached to them, date from
     about the middle of the eighteenth century, when the _old common
     fields_ began to be enclosed. _Fields and hedgerows and country
     lanes_, as we see them now, mostly began then. _New hamlets_
     sprang up by main roads as coaches came into use: an ale-house and
     a forge were usually the first buildings.

     _New towns_ have sprung up in manufacturing districts and round


[1] Also between Hitchin and Cambridge, at Clothall, in Herts, in the
Chiltern Hills, on the steep side of the Sussex Downs, in Clun Forest,
in Carmarthenshire, and in Wilts.

[2] Spinneys are plantations of trees growing closely together.

[3] A diocese is the district over which a bishop rules.

[4] In the Fens.

[5] When we speak of Saxon work in buildings we mean work done between
the time of King Cnut and the Norman Conquest--the first half of the
eleventh century.

[6] The Cistercian houses here in England, however, were always known
as _abbeys_, though Citeaux, their head-quarters, was in France.

[7] _founded_, that is, established.

[8] _found_, that is, discovered.

[9] _feaden_, that is, feed.

[10] _pullen_, that is, poultry.

[11] The Jews were expelled from England A.D. 1290.

[12] That is, whipped at a cart's tail.

[13] _Terra-cotta_ is a compound of pure clay, fine sand, or powdered

[14] See the picture on p. 162.

[15] _Jacobean_ means of the time of James I and on to James II.

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