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Title: The Curiosities of Ale & Beer: An Entertaining History - Illustrated with over Fifty Quaint Cuts
Author: Bickerdyke, John
Language: English
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[Illustration: An Ancient Brewhouſe. 1568.]

 _The Curiosities_


 _Ale & Beer_:

 An Entertaining History.

 (_Illustrated with over Fifty Quaint Cuts._)


 John Bickerdyke.

 In Part collected by the late J. G. FENNELL;
   now largely augmented with manifold matters of singular note and
   worthy memory by the Author and his friend J. M. D——.

 [Illustration: “For a quart of Ale is a dish for a King.”—_Shakspere._]







 _Brewers of the United Kingdom_


 _Honest Malt Liquor_.




That the history and curiosities of Ale and Beer should fill a bulky
volume, may be a subject for surprise to the unthinking reader; and
that surprise will probably be intensified, on his learning that
great difficulty has been experienced in keeping this book within
reasonable limits, and at the same time doing anything like justice to
the subject. Since the dawn of our history Barley-wine has been the
“naturall drinke” for an “Englysshe man,” and has had no unimportant
influence on English life and manners. It is, therefore, somewhat
curious that up to the present, among the thousands of books published
annually, no comprehensive work on the antiquities of ale and beer has
found place.

Some years ago this strange neglect of so excellent a theme was
observed by the late John Greville Fennell, best known as a contributor
to _The Field_, and who, like “John of the Dale,” was a “lover of
ale.” With him probably originated the idea of filling this void
in our literature. As occasion offered he made extracts from works
bearing on the subject, and in time amassed a considerable amount
of material, which was, however, devoid of arrangement. Old age
overtaking him before he was able to commence writing his proposed
book, he asked me to undertake that which from failing health he was
unable to accomplish. To this I assented, and at the end of some
months had prepared a complete scheme of the book, with the materials
for each chapter carefully grouped. That arrangement, for which I
am responsible, has, with a few slight modifications, been carefully
adhered to. The work did not then proceed further, as to carry out
my scheme a large amount of additional matter, from sources not then
available, was required. A few months later my friend was taken
seriously ill, and, finding his end approaching, directed that on
his decease all papers connected with the book should be placed at
my disposal. His death seems to render a statement of our respective
shares in the book desirable.

When able to resume work on the book, with the object of hastening
its publication, I obtained the assistance of my friend, Mr. J. M.
D——. By the collection of fresh matter, in amplification of that
already arranged, and the addition of several new features, we have
considerably increased the scope of the work, and, it is to be hoped,
added to its attractiveness. To my friend’s researches in the City
of London and other Records is due the bringing to light of many
curious facts, so far as I am aware, never before noticed. He has also
rendered me great assistance in those portions of the book in which the
antiquities of the subject are specially treated.

The illustrations have been in most part taken from rare old works.
As any smoothing away of defects in such relics of the past would be
deemed by many an offence against the antiquarian code of morality,
they have been reproduced in exact fac-simile, and will no doubt appeal
to those interested in the art of the early engraver, and amuse many
with their quaintness.

As aptly terminating the chapter devoted to an account of the medicinal
qualities of ale and beer, I have ventured to enter upon a short
consideration of the leading teetotal arguments. In extending their
denunciations to ale and beer drinkers, the total abstainers are, in
my opinion, working a very grievous injury on the labouring classes,
who for centuries have found the greatest benefit from the use of malt
liquors. Barley-broth should be looked upon as _the_ temperance drink
of the people or, in other words, the drink of the temperate.

I have gratefully to acknowledge the kindness and courtesy accorded me
during the preparation of this work by the authorities of the British
Museum, by Dr. Sharpe, Records Clerk of the City of London, by Mr.
Higgins, Clerk of the Brewers’ Company, and by several eminent brewers
and a large number of correspondents.







Suppression of Beer-shops in Egypt 2,000 B.C. — Brewing
in a Teapot. — Ale Songs. — Distinctions between Ale and
Beer. — Ale-Knights’ objection to Sack. — Hogarth and
Temperance. — Importance of Ale to the Agricultural Labourer. — Sir
John Barleycorne introduced to the Reader . . . 1


Origin and Antiquity of Ale and Beer . . . 25


Home-brewed Ales. — Old Receipts. — Historical Facts. — Dean Swift on
Home-brew. — Christopher North’s Brew-house . . . 45


Use and Importance of Hops in Beer: Their Introduction and
History. — Hop-growers’ Troubles. — Medicinal Qualities. — Economical
Uses. — Hop-pickers . . . 65


Ancient and Curious Laws relating to the manufacture and sale of Ale
and Beer . . . 96


Brewing and Malting in Early Times. — The Ale-wives. — The Brewers of
Old London and the Brewers’ Company. — Anecdotes. — Quaint Epitaphs
. . . 120


Various Kinds of Ales and Beers. — Some Foreign
Beers. — Receipts. — Songs. — Anecdotes . . . 151


Ale houses: Their Origin. — Hospitality in Mediæval Times. — Old London
Inns and Taverns. — Anecdotes of Inns and Inn-keepers. — Curious
Signs. — Signboard and Ale-house Verses. — Signboard
Artists. — Ale-house Songs and Catches . . . 182


Ancient Merry-makings, Feasts and Ceremonies peculiar to certain
Seasons, at which Ale was the principal Drink. — Harvest Home,
Sheep-shearing, and other songs . . . 232


The Ales. — Ale at Breakfast. — Bequests of Ale. — Drinking
Customs. — A Sermon on Malt. — Excesses of the Clergy. — Anecdotes
. . . 266


Old Ballads, Songs and Verses relating to Ale and Beer . . . 294


Brewing in the Present Day. — Anecdotal and Biographical Account
of some representative London, Dublin, Burton and Country Brewing
Firms. — Edinburgh Ales . . . 331


Porter and Stout. — Circumstances which led to their
Introduction. — Value to the Working Classes. — Anecdotes. — “A Pot of
Porter Oh!” . . . 365


Beverages compounded of Ale or Beer, with a number of
Receipts. — Ancient Drinking Vessels. — Various Uses of Ale other than
as a Drink . . . 378


Old Medical Writers on Ale. — Adulteration of Ale. — Advantages
of Malt Liquors to Labouring Classes. — Temperance _versus_ Total
Abstinence. — Anecdotes. — Gay’s Ballad . . . 408

APPENDIX. — Pasteur’s Discoveries . . . 441






 “For a quart of ale is a dish for a King.”
                                      _Winter’s Tale_, Act iv. Scene 2.

 No doubt it is a very tedious thing
   To undertake a folio work on law,
 Or metaphysics, or again to ring
   The changes on the Flood or Trojan War:
 Old subjects these, which Poets only sing
   Who think a new idea quite a flaw;
 But thirst for novelty can’t fail in liking
 The theme of Ale, the aptitude’s so striking.
                                 _Brasenose College Shrovetide Verses._


Four thousand years ago, if old inscriptions and papyri lie not, Egypt
was convulsed by the high-handed proceedings of certain persons in
authority who inclined to the opinion that the beer shops were too
many. Think of it, ye modern Suppressionists! ’Tis now forty centuries
since first your theories saw the light, and yet there is not a town in
our happy country without its alehouse.

While those disturbing members of the Egyptian community were waxing
wrath over the beer shops, our savage ancestors probably contented
themselves with such drinks as mead made from wild honey, {2} or cyder
from the crab tree. But when Ceres sent certain of her votaries into
our then benighted land to initiate our woad-dressed forefathers into
the mysteries of grain-growing, the venerable Druids quickly discovered
the art of brewing that beverage which in all succeeding years has been
the drink of Britons.

 Of true British growth is the Nectar we boast,
 The homely companion of plain boiled and roast,

most truly wrote an Oxford poet, whose name has not been handed down to

Almost every inhabitant of this country has tasted beer of some kind or
another, but on the subject of brewing the great majority have ideas
both vague and curious. About one person out of ten imagines that pale
ale consists solely of hops and water; indeed, more credit is given by
most persons to the hop than to the malt. In order to give a proper
understanding of our subject, and at the risk of ruining the brewing
trade, let us then, in ten lines or so, inform the world at large how,
with no other utensils than a tea-kettle and a saucepan, a quart or two
of ale may be brewed, and the revenue defrauded.

Into your tea-kettle, amateur brewer, cast a quart of malt, and on it
pour water, hot, but not boiling; let it stand awhile and stir it. Then
pour off the sweet tea into the saucepan, and add to the tea-leaves
boiling water again, and even a third time, until possibly a husband
would rebel at the weak liquid which issues from the spout. The
saucepan is now nearly full, thanks to the frequent additions from the
tea-kettle, so on to the fire with it, and boil up its contents for an
hour or two, not forgetting to add of hops half-an-ounce, or a little
more. This process over, let the seething liquor cool, and, when at a
little below blood-heat, throw into it a small particle of brewer’s
yeast. The liquor now ferments; at the end of an hour skim it, and lo!
beneath the scum is bitter beer—in quantity, a quart or more. After
awhile bottle the results of your brew, place it in a remote corner of
your cellar, and order in a barrel of XXX. from the nearest brewer.

If the generality of people have ideas of the vaguest on the subject of
brewing, still less do we English know of the history of that excellent
compound yclept ale.

 O ale! aurum potabile!
   That gildest life’s dull hours,
 When its colour weareth shabbily,
   When fade its summer flowers.


Old ballad makers have certainly sung in its praise, but it is a
subject which few prose writers have touched upon, except in the most
superficial manner. Modern song writers rarely take ale as their theme.
The reason is not far to seek. The ale of other days—not the single
beer rightly stigmatised as “whip-belly vengeance,” nor even the doble
beer, but the doble-doble beer brewed against law, and beloved by the
ale-knights of old—was of such mightiness that whoso drank of it, more
often than not dashed off a verse or two in its praise. Now most people
drink small beer which exciteth not the brain to poesy. Could one of
the ancient topers be restored to life, in tasting a glass of our most
excellent bitter, he would, in all likelihood, make a wry face, for
hops were not always held in the estimation they obtain at present.
There is no doubt, however, that we could restore his equanimity and
make him tolerably happy with a gallon or two of old Scotch or Burton
ale, double stout or, better still, a mixture of the three with a
little _aqua vitæ_ added.

In these pages it will be our task, aided or unaided by strong ale as
the case may be, to remove the reproach under which this country rests;
for surely a reproach it is that the history of the bonny nut-brown
ale, to which we English owe not a little, should have been so long
left unwritten.

Now ale has a curious history which, as we have indicated, will be
related anon, together with other matters pertaining to the subject.
At present let us only chat awhile concerning the great Sir John
Barleycorn, malt liquors of the past and present, their virtues, and
importance to the labouring classes. Also may we consider the foolish
ideas of certain worthy but misguided folk, halting now and again,
should we find ourselves growing too serious, to chant a jolly old
drinking song, that the way may be more enlivened. If on reaching the
first stage of our journey you, dear reader, and ourselves remain
friends, let us in each other’s company pass lightly and cheerfully
over the path which Sir John Barleycorn has traversed, and fight again
his battles, rejoicing at his victories; grieving over his defeats—if
any there be. If, on the other hand, it so happens that by the time we
arrive at our first halting place you should grow weary of us—which
the Spirit of Malt forbid!—let us at once part company, friends none
the less, and consign us to a place high up on your bookshelf, or with
kindly words present us to the President of the United Kingdom Alliance.

In accusing modern poets of neglecting to sing the praises of our {4}
national drink, we must not forget that in one place is kept up the
good old custom of brewing strong beer and glorifying it in verse. At
Brasenose College, Oxford, beer of the strongest, made of the best malt
and hops, is brewed once a year, distributed _ad. lib._, and verses are
written in its praise. Mr. Prior, the college butler, to whom is due
the honour of having kept alive the custom for very many years, writes
us[1] that it is proposed to pull down the old college brewery. Should
this happen, Brasenose ale will become a thing of the past.

 A fig for Horace and his juice,
   Falernian and Massic,
 Far better drink can we produce,
   Though ’tis not quite so classic—

wrote a Brasenose poet. Alas, that both poets and ale should soon
become extinct!

Among the few prose writers past or present who have taken ale for
their subject, John Taylor, of whom a good deal will be heard in these
pages, stands pre-eminent. His little work, _Drinke and Welcome_,
written some two hundred years ago, and which glorifies ale in a manner
most marvellous, is one of the most curious literary productions
it has ever been our good fortune to read. “Ale is rightly called
nappy,” says the old Thames waterman and innkeeper, “for it will set
a nap upon a man’s threed-bare eyes when he is sleepy. It is called
_Merry-goe-downe_, for it slides downe merrily; It is fragrant to
the _Sent_, it is most pleasing to the _taste_. The flowring and
mantling of it (like chequer worke) with the verdant smiling of it,
is delightefull to the _Sight_, it is _Touching_ or _Feeling_ to the
Braine and Heart; and (to please the senses all) it provokes men to
singeing and mirth, which is contenting to the Hearing. The speedy
taking of it doth comfort a heavy and troubled minde; it will make
a weeping widowe laugh and forget sorrow for her deceas’d husband.
. . . . It will set a Bashfull Suiter a wooing; It heates the chill
blood of the Aged; It will cause a man to speake past his owne or any
other man’s capacity, or understanding; It sets an Edge upon Logick
and Rhetorick; It is a friend to the Muses; It inspires the poore
Poet, that cannot compasse the price of _Canarie_ or _Gascoign_; It
mounts the Musician ’bove Eccla; It makes the Balladmaker Rime beyond
Reason; It is a Repairer of a {5} decaied Colour in the face; It
puts Eloquence into the Oratour; It will make the Philosopher talke
profoundly, the Scholler learnedly, and the Lawyer acute and feelingly.
_Ale_ at Whitsontide, or a _Whitson Church_ Ale, is a repairer of
decayed Countrey Churches; It is a great friend to Truth; so they that
drinke of it (to the purpose) will reveale all they know, be it never
so secret to be kept; It is an Embleme of Justice, for it allowes, and
yeelds measure; It will put Courage into a Coward, and make him swagger
and fight; It is a Seale to many a good Bargaine. The Physittian will
commend it; the Lawyer will defend it; It neither hurts or kils any
but those that abuse it unmeasurably and beyond bearing; It doth good
to as many as take it rightly; It is as good as a Paire of Spectacles
to cleare the Eyesight of an old Parish Clarke; and in Conclusion, it
is such a nourisher of Mankinde, that if my Mouth were as bigge as
Bishopsgate, my Pen as long as a Maypole, and my Inke a flowing spring,
or a standing fishpond, yet I could not with Mouth, Pen or Inke, speake
or write the true worth and worthiness of _Ale_.” Bravo, John Taylor!
He would be a bold man who could lift up his voice against our honest
English nappy, after reading your vigorous lines.

   [1] May, 1886. See also pp. 165; 389.

It is not uninteresting to compare this sixteenth century work
with a passage taken from _By Lake and River_, the author of which
rarely loses an opportunity of eulogising beer. Anglers and many
more will cordially agree with Mr. Francis Francis in his remarks.
“Ah! my beloved brother of the rod,” he writes, “do you know the
taste of beer—of bitter beer—cooled in the flowing river? Not you; I
warrant, like the ‘Marchioness,’ hitherto you have only had ‘a sip’
occasionally—and, as Mr. Swiveller judiciously remarks, ‘it can’t be
tasted in a sip.’ Take your bottle of beer, sink it deep, deep in
the shady water, where the cooling springs and fishes are. Then, the
day being very hot and bright, and the sun blazing on your devoted
head, consider it a matter of duty to have to fish that long, wide
stream (call it the Blackstone stream, if you will); and so, having
endued yourself with high wading breeks, walk up to your middle, and
begin hammering away with your twenty-foot flail. Fish are rising,
but not at you. No, they merely come up to see how the weather looks,
and what o’clock it is. So fish away; there is not above a couple of
hundred yards of it, and you don’t want to throw more than about two or
three-and-thirty yards at every cast. It is a mere trifle. An hour or
so of good hard hammering will bring you to the end of it, and then—let
me ask you _avec impressement_—how about that beer? Is it cool? Is it
refreshing? Does it {6} gurgle, gurgle, and ‘go down glug,’ as they
say in Devonshire? Is it heavenly? Is it Paradise and all the Peris
to boot? Ah! if you have never tasted beer under these or similar
circumstances, you have, believe me, never tasted it at all.”

A word or two now as to the distinctions between the beverages known
as ale and beer. Going back to the time of the Conquest, or earlier,
we find that both words were applied to the same liquor, a fermented
drink made usually from malt and water, without hops. The Danes called
it ale, the Anglo-Saxons beer. Later on the word beer dropped almost
out of use. Meanwhile, in Germany and the Netherlands, the use of hops
in brewing had been discovered; and in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, the Flemings having introduced their _bier_ into England,
the word “beer” came to have in this country a distinct meaning—viz.,
hopped ale. The difference was quaintly explained by Andrew Boorde in
his _Dyetary_, written about the year 1542. “Ale,” said Andrew, “is
made of malte and water; and they which do put any other thynge to ale
than is rehersed, except yest, barme, or godesgood, doth sofystical
theyr ale. Ale for an Englysshe man is a naturall drinke. Ale must have
these propertyes: it must be fresshe and cleare, it muste not be ropy
nor smoky, nor it must have no weft nor tayle. Ale shuld not be dronke
vnder v. dayes olde. Newe ale is vnholsome for all men. And sowre ale,
and deade ale the which doth stande a tylt, is good for no man. Barly
malte maketh better ale then oten malte or any other corne doth: it
doth ingendre grose humoures; but yette it maketh a man stronge.”


“Bere is made of malte, of hoppes, and water; it is the naturall drynke
for a Dutche man, and nowe of late dayes it is moche vsed in Englande
to the detryment of many Englysshe people; specyally it kylleth
them the which be troubled with the colycke, and the stone, and the
strangulion; for the drynke is a colde drynke; yet it doth make a man
fat, and doth inflate the bely, as it doth appere by the Dutche men’s
faces and belyes. If the bere be well serued, and be fyned, and not
new, it doth qualyfy heat of the liquer.”

The distinction between ale and beer as described by Boorde lasted
for a hundred years or more. As hops came into general use, though
malt liquors generally were now beer, the word ale was still retained,
and was used whether the liquor it was intended to designate was {7}
hopped or not. At the present day beer is the generic word, which
includes all malt liquors; while the word ale includes all but the
black or brown beers—porter and stout. The meanings of the words are,
however, subject to local variations. This subject is further treated
of in Chapter VII.

The union of hops and malt is amusingly described in one of the
Brasenose College ale poems:—

 A Grand Cross of “Malta,” one night at a ball,
 Fell in love with and married “Hoppetta the Tall.”
 Hoppetta, the bitterest, best of her sex,
 By whom he had issue—the first, “Double X.”

 Three others were born by this marriage—“a girl,”
 Transparent as _Amber_ and precious as _Pearl_.
 Then a son, twice as strong as a Porter or Scout,
 And another as “Spruce” as his brother was “Stout.”

 _Double_ X, like his Sister, is brilliant and clear,
 Like his Mother, tho’ bitter, by no means severe:
 Like his Father, _not small_, and resembling each brother,
 Joins the spirit of one to the strength of the other.

In John Taylor’s time there seems to have existed among ale drinkers a
wholesome prejudice against wine in general, and more especially sack.
The water poet writes very bitterly on the subject:—

 Thus Bacchus is ador’d and deified,
 And we _Hispanialized_ and _Frenchifide_;
 Whilst _Noble Native Ale_ and _Beere’s_ hard fate
 Are like old Almanacks, quite out of date.

 Thus men consume their credits and their wealths,
 And swallow Sicknesses in drinking healths,
 Untill the Fury of the spritefull Grape
 Mountes to the braine, and makes a man an Ape.

Another poet wrote in much the same strain:—

 Thy wanton grapes we do detest:
 Here’s richer juice from Barley press’d.

        *       *       *       *       * {8}

 Oh let them come and taste this beer
 And water henceforth they’ll forswear.

Our ancestors seem, indeed, almost to have revered good malt liquor.
Richard Atkinson gave the following excellent advice to Leonard Lord
Dacre in the year 1570: “See that ye keep a noble house for beef and
beer, that thereof may be praise given to God and to your honour.”

The same subject—comparison of sack with ale to the disadvantage of the
former—is still better treated in an old ale song by Beaumont; it is
such a good one of its kind that we give it in full:—


 Come all you brave wights,
 That are dubbed ale-knights,
       Now set out yourselves in sight;
 And let them that crack
 In the presence of Sack
       Know Malt is of mickle might.

 Though Sack they define
 Is holy divine,
       Yet it is but naturall liquor,
 Ale hath for its part
 An addition of art
       To make it drinke thinner or thicker.

 Sack; fiery fume,
 Doth waste and consume
       Men’s humidum radicale;
 It scaldeth their livers,
 It breeds burning feavers,
       Proves vinum venenum reale.

 But history gathers,
 From aged forefathers,
       That Ale’s the true liquor of life,
 Men lived long in health,
 And preserved their wealth,
       Whilst Barley broth only was rife. {9}

 Sack, quickly ascends,
 And suddenly ends,
       What company came for at first,
 And that which yet worse is,
 It empties men’s purses
       Before it half quenches their thirst.

 Ale, is not so costly
 Although that the most lye
       Too long by the oyle of Barley;
 Yet may they part late,
 At a reasonable rate,
       Though they came in the morning early.

 Sack, makes men from words
 Fall to drawing of swords,
       And quarrelling endeth their quaffing;
 Whilst dagger ale Barrels
 Beare off many quarrels
       And often turn chiding to laughing.

 Sack’s drink for our masters,
 All may be Ale-tasters,
       Good things the more common the better,
 Sack’s but single broth,
 Ale’s meat, drinke, and cloathe,
       Say they that know never a letter.

 But not to entangle
 Old friends till they wrangle
       And quarrell for other men’s pleasure;
 Let Ale keep his place,
 And let Sack have his grace,
       So that neither exceed the due measure.

“Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink and cloth,” was a
proverbial saying in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and
occurs in many writings, both prose and poetical. John Taylor,
for instance, writes that ale is the “warmest lining of a naked
man’s coat.” “Barley broth” and “oyle of barley” were very common
expressions for ale. “Dagger ale” was very strong malt liquor. The word
“ale-tasters” will be fully explained later on. {10}

The nearest approach in modern times to a denunciation of wine by
an ale-favouring poet occurs in a few lines—by whom written we know
not—cleverly satirising the introduction of cheap French wines into
this country. Cheap clarets command, thanks to an eminent statesman,
a considerable share of popular favour. If unadulterated, they are no
doubt wholesome enough, and suitable for some specially constituted
persons. Let those who like them drink them, by all means.


 No ale or beer, says Gladstone, we should drink,
   Because they stupefy and dull our brains.
 But sour French wine, as other people think,
   Our English stomachs often sorely pains.
 The question then is which we most should dread,
 An _aching belly_ or an _aching head_?

Among famous ale songs of the past, _Jolly Good Ale and Old_, which
has been wrongly attributed to Bishop Still, stands pre-eminent. Of
the eight double stanzas composing the song, four were incorporated
in “a ryght pithy, plesaunt, and merie comedie, intytuled, _Gammer
Gurton’s Nedle_, played on stage not longe ago, in Christe’s Colledge,
in Cambridge. Made by Mr. S——, Master of Art” (1575). According to
Dyer, who possessed a MS., giving the song in its complete form, “it
is certainly of an earlier date,” and could not have been by Mr. Still
(afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells), the Master of Trinity College,
who was probably the writer of the play. The “merrie comedie” well
illustrates the difference of tone and thought which divides those
days from the present, and it is a little difficult to understand how
it could have been produced by the pen of a High Church dignitary. The
prologue of the play is very quaint, it runs thus:—


 As Gammer Gurton, with manye a wyde styche,
 Sat pesynge and patching of Hodge her man’s briche,
 By chance or misfortune, as shee her geare tost,
 In Hodge lether bryches her needle shee lost.
 When Diccon the bedlam had hard by report,
 That good Gammer Gurton was robde in thys sorte,
 He quyetlye perswaded with her in that stound,
 Dame Chat, her deare gossyp, this needle had found.
 Yet knew shee no more of this matter, alas, {11}
 Then knoweth Tom our clarke what the Priest saith at masse,
 Hereof there ensued so fearfull a fraye,
 Mas. Doctor was sent for, these gossyps to staye;
 Because he was curate, and esteemed full wyse,
 Who found that he sought not, by Diccon’s device.
 When all things were tumbled and cleane out of fashion,
 Whether it were by fortune, or some other constellation,
 Suddenlye the neele Hodge found by the prychynge,
 And drew out of his buttocke, where he found it stickynge,
 Theyr hartes then at rest with perfect securytie,
 With a pot of Good ale they stroake up theyr plauditie.

The song, _Jolly Good Ale and Old_, four stanzas of which occur in the
second act, is a good record of the spirit of those hard-drinking days,
now passed away, in which a man who could not, or did not, consume
vast quantities of liquor was looked upon as a milksop. It is given as
follows in the Comedy:—

    Back and syde go bare, go bare,
      Booth foote and hande go colde;
    But belly, God send thee good ale ynoughe,
      Whether it bee newe or olde.

    I can not eate but lytle meate,
      My stomache is not goode,
    But, sure, I thinke, that I can drynk
      With him that wears a hood.[2]
    Thoughe I go bare, take ye no care,
      I am nothynge a colde;
    I stuffe my skyn so full within
      Of jolly good ale, and olde.
          Back and syde go bare, go bare, &c., &c.

 [3]I love no rost, but a nut-brown toste,
      And a crab layde in the fyre;
    A lytle bread shall do me stead,
      Much bread I not desyre. {12}

    No froste nor snow, no winde, I trow,
      Can hurte mee if I wolde,
    I am so wrapt, and throwly lapt,
      Of joly good ale and olde.
          Back and syde go bare, go bare, &c., &c.

    And Tyb, my wife, that as her lyfe
      Loveth well good ale to seeke,
    Full ofte drinkes shee, tyll ye may see,
      The teares run down her cheekes;
    Then doth she trowle to mee the bowle[4]
      Even as a _mault worme_ shuld
    And sayth, sweet hart, I tooke my part
      Of this joly good ale, and olde.
          Back and syde go bare, go bare, &c., &c.

    Now let them drynke, tyll they nod and winke,
      Even as good fellowes shoulde doe,
    They shall not misse to have the blisse
      Good ale doth bringe men to:
    And all poor soules, that have scoured boules,
      Or have them lustely trolde,
    God save the lyves of them and their wyves,
      Whether they be yonge or olde.
          Back and syde go bare, go bare, &c., &c.

   [2] Alluding to the drunkenness of the clergy.

   [3] _Cf_:

      “And sometimes lurk I in a gossip’s bowl,
       In very likeness of a roasted crab.”
                              _Midsummer Night’s Dream_, Act ii. Scene 1.

   [4] The word “trowle” was used of passing the vessel about, as appears
   by the beginning of an old catch:

      _Trole_, _trole_ the _bowl_ to me,
      And I will _trole_ the same again to thee.

Charles Dibdin the younger has, in a couple of verses, told a very
amusing little story of an old fellow who, in addition to finding that
ale was meat, drink and cloth, discovered that it included friends as
well—or, at any rate, when he was without ale he was without friends,
which comes to much the same thing.


 Old Owen lived on the brow of an hill,
 And he had more patience than pelf;
 A small plot of ground was his labour to till, {13}
 And he toiled through the day by himself.
 But at night crowds of visitors called at his cot,
 For he told a right marvellous tale;
 Yet a stronger attraction by chance he had got,
     A barrel of old humming ale.

 Old Owen by all was an oracle thought,
 While they drank not a joke failed to hit;
 But Owen at last by experience was taught,
 That wisdom is better than wit.
 One night his cot could scarce hold the gay rout,
 The next not a soul heard his tale,
 The moral is simply they’d fairly drank out
     His barrel of old humming ale.

For the sake of contrast with the foregoing songs, if for nothing
else, the following poem (save the mark!) by George Arnold, a Boston
rhymster, is worthy of perusal. The “gurgle-gurgle” of the athletic
salmon-fisher, described by Mr. Francis, is replaced by the “idle
sipping” (fancy sipping beer!) of the beer-garden frequenter.


       With my beer
 I sit,
 While golden moments flit:
       They pass
 Unheeded by:
 And, as they fly,
 Being dry,
       Sit, idly sipping here
       My beer.

The new generation of American poets do not mean, it would appear, to
be confined in the old metrical grooves. Very different in style are
the verses written on ale by Thomas Wharton, in 1748. _A Panegyric on
Oxford Ale_ is the title of the poem, which is prefaced by the lines
from Horace:—

               Mea nec Falernæ
 Temperant vites, neque Formiani
 Pocula colles.


The poem opens thus:—

 Balm of my cares, sweet solace of my toils,
 Hail, Juice benignant! O’er the costly cups
 Of riot-stirring wine, unwholesome draught,
 Let Pride’s loose sons prolong the wasteful night;
 My sober evening let the tankard bless,
 With toast embrown’d, and fragrant nutmeg fraught,
 While the rich draught with oft repeated whiffs
 Tobacco mild improves. Divine repast!
 Where no crude surfeit, or intemperate joys
 Of lawless Bacchus reigns; but o’er my soul
 A calm Lethean creeps; in drowsy trance
 Each thought subsides, and sweet oblivion wraps
 My peaceful brain, as if the leaden rod
 Of magic Morpheus o’er mine eyes had shed
 Its opiate influence. What though sore ills
 Oppress, dire want of chill-dispelling coals,
 Or cheerful candle (save the makeweight’s gleam
 Haply remaining), heart-rejoicing Ale
 Cheers the sad scene, and every want supplies.

There exist, sad to relate, persons who, with the notion of promoting
temperance, would rob us of our beer. Many of these individuals may
act with good motives, but they are weak, misguided bodies who, if
they but devoted their energies to promoting ale-drinking as opposed
to spirit-drinking, would be doing useful service to the State, for
malt liquors are the true temperance drinks of the working classes. The
Bill (for the encouragement of private tippling) so long sought to be
introduced by the teetotal party, was cleverly hit off in _Songs of the
Session_, published in _The World_ some years back:—

       *       *       *       *       *

 If with truth they assure us that liquors allure us,
   I don’t think ’twill cure us the taverns to close;
 When in putting drink down, sirs, you’ve shut up the Crown, sirs,
   You’ll find Smith and Brown, sirs, drunk under the rose.

 “Men are slaves to this custom,” you cry; “we can’t trust ’em!”
   Very good; then why thrust ’em from scenes where they’re known
 If the daylight can’t shame ’em, or neighbours reclaim ’em,
   Do you think you can tame ’em in haunts of their own? {15}

 And if in Stoke Pogis no publican lodges,
   It don’t follow Hodge is cut off from good cheer;
 In the very next parish the tap may be fairish,
   And the vestry less bearish and stern about beer.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Men in time will refrain when that goes with their grain;
   Till it does ’tis in vain that their wills you coerce;
 For the man whom by force you turn out of his course,
   Without fear or remorse will soon take to a worse.

Of course, in asserting malt liquors to be the temperance drink, or
drink of the temperate, it must be understood that we refer to the
ordinary ales and beers of to-day, in which the amount of alcohol is
small, and which are very different from the potent liquor drank by the
topers of the past, who were rightly designated malt worms.

It has been said that even pigs drank strong ale in those days, but
the only evidence of the truth of that statement is the tradition that
Herrick, a most charming but little read poet, succeeded in teaching a
favourite pig to drink ale out of a jug. Old ale is now out of fashion,
its chief strongholds being the venerable centres of education. We all
know the tale of the don who, about once a week, reminded the butler
of a certain understanding between them, in these words: “Mind, when I
say ‘beer’—_the old ale_.” Ancient writers are full of allusions to the
potent character of the strong ales of their day. Nor are more modern
authors wanting in that respect. Peter Pindar, who wrote during the
reign of George III., when ale was still of a “mightie” character, thus

 Toper, drink, and help the house—
   Drink to every honest fellow;
 Life was never worth a louse
   To the man who ne’er was mellow.

 How it sparkles! here it goes!
   Ale can make a blockhead shine;
 Toper, torchlike may thy nose
   Light thy face up, just like mine.

 See old Sol, I like his notion,
   With his whiskers all so red;
 Sipping, drinking from the ocean,
   Boozing till he goes to bed. {16}

 Yet poor beverage to regale!
   _Simple stuff_ to help his race—
 Could he turn the sea to Ale,
   How ’twould make him mend his pace!

[Illustration: BEER STREET.]

Hogarth, who was perhaps the most accurate and certainly the most
powerful delineator of mankind’s virtues and vices that the world
has ever seen, has left us in his pictures of “Beer Street” and “Gin
Lane” striking illustrations of the advantages attending the use of
our national beverage, and the misery and want brought about by dram
drinking. In _Beer Street_ everybody thrives, and everything has an
air of prosperity. There is one exception—the pawnbroker, gainer by
the poverty of others. He, poor man, with barricaded doors and {17}
propped-up walls, awaits in terror the arrival of the Sheriff’s
officer, fearing only that his house may collapse meanwhile. Through
a hole in the door which he is afraid to open, a potboy hands him a
mug of ale, at once the cause and consolation of his woes. The bracket
which supports the pawnbroker’s sign is awry, and threatens every
minute to fall. Apart from this unfortunate all else flourishes. The
burly butcher, seated outside the inn with no fear of the Sheriff in
his heart, quaffs his pewter mug of foaming ale, and casts now and
again an eye on the artist who is repainting the signboard. The sturdy
smith, the drayman, the porter and the fishwife—all are well clad and
prosperous. Houses are being built, others are being repaired, and
health and wealth are visible on every side.

 Beer! happy produce of our isle,
   Can sinewy strength impart,
 And wearied with fatigue and toil,
   Can cheer each manly heart.

 Labour and art upheld by thee,
   Successfully advance,
 We quaff thy balmy juice with glee;
   And water leave to France.

 Genius of Health! thy grateful taste
   Rivals the cup of Jove,
 And warms each English generous breast
   With liberty and love.

Look now at the noisome slum where the demon Gin reigns triumphant.
Squalor, poverty, hunger, wretchedness and sin are depicted on
all sides. _Here_ flourish the pawnbroker and the keeper of the
gin-palace—but the picture is too speaking a one to need comment.


 Gin! cursed fiend with fury fraught,
   Makes human race a prey,
 It enters by a deadly draught,
   And steals our life away.

 Virtue and truth, driven to despair,
   Its rage compels to fly,
 But cherishes with hellish care,
   Theft, murder, perjury. {18}

 Damn’d cup that on the vitals preys,
   That liquid fire contains,
 Which madness to the heart conveys,
   And rolls it through the veins.

[Illustration: GIN LANE.]

A medical writer of some thirty years ago says:—

“There are well-meaning persons who wish now-a-days to rob, not only
the poor, but the rich man of his beer. I am content to remember
that Mary, Queen of Scots, was solaced in her dreary captivity at
Fotheringay by the brown beer of Burton-on-Trent; that holy Hugh {19}
Latimer drank a goblet of spiced ale with his supper the night before
he was burned alive; that Sir Walter Raleigh took a cool tankard
with his pipe, the last pipe of tobacco, on the very morning of his
execution; and that one of the prettiest ladies with whom I have the
honour to be acquainted, when escorting her on an opera Saturday to the
Crystal Palace I falteringly suggested chocolate, lemonade and vanilla
ices for her refreshment, sternly replied, ‘Nonsense, sir! Get me a
pint of stout immediately.’ If the ladies only knew how much better
they would be for their beer, there would be fewer cases of consumption
for quacks to demonstrate the curability of.”

The question of beer drinking as opposed to total abstinence, is one
intimately connected with the welfare of the agricultural labourer.
The lives of the majority of these persons are, it is to be feared,
somewhat dull and cheerless. From early morn to dewy eve—work; the only
prospect in old age—the workhouse. Weary in mind and body, the labourer
returns to his cottage at nightfall. At supper he takes his glass of
mild ale. It nourishes him, and the alcohol it contains, of so small
a quantity as to be absolutely harmless, invigorates him and causes
the too often miserable surroundings to appear bright and cheerful.
Contentedly he smokes his pipe, chats sociably with his wife, and
forgets for awhile the many long days of hard work in store for him.
Soon the soporific influence of the hop begins to take effect, and the
toiler retires to rest, to sleep soundly, forgetful of the cares of

Then there is Saturday night, when the villagers meet at the alehouse,
not perhaps so much to drink as to converse, and, with church-wardens
in mouth and tankard at elbow, to settle the affairs of the State.
The newspaper, a week old, is produced, and one, probably the village
tailor or maybe the barber, reads passages from it. “A party of fuddled
rustics in a beer-shop,” exclaims the teetotaler, with a sneer. Not
so; one or two may have had their pewter tankards filled more often
than is prudent, but the majority will be moderate, drinking no more
than is good for them. Drunkenness and crime are not the outcome of
the village alehouse; for them, go to the gin-palaces of the towns.
Nothing, we feel certain, more tends to keep our agricultural labourers
from intemperance than the easy means of obtaining cheap but pure beer.
What we may term temperance legislation (unless it be of a criminal
character, punishing excess by fines) will always defeat its own
object. Shut up the alehouses, Sundays or week-days, and the poorer
classes at once take to dram drinking. This subject will be found fully
considered in the last chapter. {20}

One does not hear much now-a-days of that gallant Knight, Sir John
Barleycorn. The song writers of the past were, however, loud in his
praises, and Sir John used to be as favourite a myth with the people of
England as was our patron saint, St. George. Elton’s play of _Paul the
Poacher_ commences with the following charming verses:—


 Though the Hawthorn the pride of our hedges may be,
   And the rose our gardens adorn,
 Yet the flower that’s sweetest and fairest to me,
   Is the bearded Barleycorn.

               Then hey for the Barleycorn,
               The Bonny Barleycorn,
                 No grain or flower
                 Has half the power
               Of the Bearded Barleycorn.

 Tho’ the purple juice of the grape ne’er find
   Its way to the cup of horn,
 ’Tis little I care—for the draught to my mind,
   Is the blood of the Barleycorn.
               Then hey, &c.

 Tho’ the Justice, the Parson and eke the Squire,
   May flout us and hold us in scorn,
 Our staunch boon friend, the best Knight in the shire,
   Is stout Sir John Barleycorn.

               Then hey for John Barleycorn,
               The merry John Barleycorn,
                   Search round and about,
                   What Knight’s so stout
               As bold Sir John Barleycorn?

A whimsical old pamphlet, the writer of which must have possessed
keen powers of observation, is “_The Arraigning and Indicting of Sir
John Barleycorn, Knight_, printed for Timothy Tosspot.” Sir John is
described as of noble blood, well-beloved in England, a great support
to the Crown, and a maintainer of both rich and poor. The trial takes
place at the sign of the “Three Loggerheads,” before Oliver {21} and
Old Nick his holy father. Sir John, of course, pleads not guilty
to the charges made against him, which are, in effect, that he has
compassed the death of several of his Majesty’s loving subjects, and
brought others to ruin. Vulcan the blacksmith, Will the weaver, and
Stitch the tailor, are called by the prosecution, and depose that after
being first friendly with Sir John, they quarrel with him, and in the
end get knocked down, bruised, their bones broken, and their pockets
picked. Mr. Wheatley, the baker, complains that, whereas he was the
most esteemed by Lords, Knights and Squires, he is now supplanted by
the prisoner. Sir John, being called on for his defence, asks that
his brother Malt may be summoned, and indicates that the fault, if
any, lies mostly at Malt’s door. Malt is thereupon summoned, and thus
addresses the Court:—

“My Lords, I thank you for the liberty you now indulge me with, and
think it a great happiness, since I am so strongly accused, that I have
such learned judges to determine these complaints. As for my part,
I will put the matter to the Bench—First, I pray you consider with
yourselves, all tradesmen would live; and although Master Malt does
make sometimes a cup of good liquor, and many men come to taste it, yet
the fault is neither in me nor my brother John, but in such as those
who make this complaint against us, as I shall make it appear to you

“In the first place, which of you all can say but Master Malt can make
a cup of good liquor, with the help of a good brewer; and when it is
made, it will be sold. I pray you which of you all can live without it?
But when such as these, who complain of us, find it to be good, then
they have such a greedy mind, that they think they never have enough,
and this overcharge brings on the inconveniences complained of, makes
them quarrelsome one with another, and abusive to their very friends,
so that we are forced to lay them down to sleep. From hence it appears
it is from their own greedy desires all these troubles arise, and not
from wicked designs of our own.”

_Court._—“Truly we cannot see that you are in the fault. Sir John
Barleycorn, we will show you as much favour that, if you can bring any
person of reputation to speak to your character, the court is disposed
to acquit you. Bring in your evidence, and let us hear what they can
say in your behalf.”

_Thomas the Ploughman._—“May I be allowed to speak my thoughts freely,
since I shall offer nothing but the truth?”

_Court._—“Yes, thou mayest be bold to speak the truth, and no {22}
more, for that is the cause we sit here for; therefore speak boldly,
that we may understand thee.”

_Ploughman._—“Gentlemen, Sir John is of an ancient house, and is come
of a noble race; there is neither lord, knight, nor squire, but they
love his company and he theirs: as long as they don’t abuse him he will
abuse no man, but doth a great deal of good. In the first place, few
ploughmen can live without him; for if it were not for him we should
not pay our landlords their rent; and then what could such men as you
do for money and clothes? Nay, your gay ladies would care but little
for you if you had not your rents coming in to maintain them; and we
could never pay but that Sir John Barleycorn feeds us with money; and
you would not seek to take away his life? For shame! let your malice
cease and pardon his life, or else we are all undone.”

_Bunch the Brewer._—“Gentlemen, I beseech you, hear me. My name is
Bunch, a brewer; and I believe few of you can live without a cup
of good liquor, nor more than I can without the help of Sir John
Barleycorn. As for my own part, I maintain a great charge and keep a
great many men at work; I pay taxes forty pounds a-year to his Majesty,
God bless him, and all this is maintained by the help of Sir John; then
how can any man for shame seek to take away his life?”

_Mistress Hostess._—“To give evidence on behalf of Sir John Barleycorn
gives me pleasure, since I have an opportunity of doing justice to so
honourable a person. Through him the administration receives large
supplies; he likewise greatly supports the labourer, and enlivens his
conversation. What pleasure could there be at a sheep-clipping without
his company, or what joy at a feast without his assistance? I know
him to be an honest man, and he never abused any man if they abused
not him. If you put him to death all England is undone, for there is
not another in the land can do as he can do, and hath done; for he
can make a cripple go, the coward fight, and a soldier feel neither
hunger nor cold. I beseech you, gentlemen, let him live, or else we
are all undone; the nation likewise will be distressed, the labourer
impoverished, and the husbandman ruined.”

_Court._—“Gentlemen of the jury, you have now heard what has been
offered against Sir John Barleycorn, and the evidence that has been
produced in his defence. It you are of opinion that he is guilty of
those wicked crimes laid to his charge, and has with malice prepense
conspired and brought about the death of several of his Majesty’s
loving subjects, you are then to find him guilty; but, if, on the
contrary, you are of {23} opinion that he had no real intention of
wickedness, and was not the immediate, but only the accidental cause of
these evils laid to his charge, then, according to the statute law of
this kingdom you ought to acquit him.”

Verdict—Not Guilty.

A somewhat lengthy extract has been given from the report of the trial,
because the facetious little narrative contains a moral as applicable
at the present time as on the day on which the worthy Knight was

And now, dear reader, your introduction to Sir John Barleycorn being
complete, it is for you, should the inclination be present, to become
acquainted with all that pertains to him, from the barley-wine of
the Egyptians and other nations of the far past to those excellent
beverages in which the people of this country do now delight. On the
way you will meet with strange things and strange people, queer customs
and quaint sayings and songs; you will watch malting and brewing as
it was carried on five hundred years ago; you will stand by while the
Flemings, who have just come to London, brew beer with the assistance
of a “wicked weed called hoppes;” meanwhile Parliament will re-enact
strange sumptuary laws and order that you brew only two kinds of ale
or beer; you will be at times in the bad company of dissolute alewives
who will whisper sad scandals in your ear; fleeing from them, you will
and drank wisely, let it be hoped, of London or Dublin black beer, of
find yourself in a solemn place where lines on stone tell how, when he
lived, he brewed good ale; then being perhaps sad at heart, you shall
pass into the village ale-house and join the ploughboys in their merry
chorus, or sit awhile with the roystering blades in some London tavern;
later you shall see the sign and learn its signification and history,
and delay a moment to read the verses over the door and admire the
quaint architecture and curious carving. In the ale-house you will have
tasted Plymouth white ale, of old Nappy and Yorkshire Stingo, and as
many more as your head can stand.

Then you shall take part in ancient ceremonies—wassailing, Church ales,
bride ales, and the like; the merry sheep-shearers will sing for you,
and for you the villagers shall dance round the ale-stake; then the
old ballad-writers will lay before you their ballads praising ale, and
headed with wood-cuts, humorous, but sometimes fearful to look upon.
Having rested awhile in perusing these relics of the past, the doors of
John Barleycorn’s greatest palaces will fly open before you, and while
exploring these wonders of the present, you will chat pleasantly with
{24} their founders, Dr. Johnson joining in with ponderous remarks on
the brewery of his friend Thrale. The history of porter shall then be
unfolded to you, after which you shall be introduced to the college
butler, who is in the very act of compounding a noble wassail-bowl,
and who, good man, whispers in your willing ear instructions for the
making of a score or more of ale-cups; then the old Saxon leeches and
their successors shall be summoned, and, in a language strange to
modern ears, they shall relate how ale and certain herbs will cure all
diseases; then shall you see a curious but not a wondrous sight—water
passing through holes in teetotal arguments; and lastly the great
French savant shall take you into his laboratory, and shall make you
see in a grain of yeast a world of wonders. Last of all we beg you to
treasure up in your memory these old lines:—

 He that buys land buys many stones,
 He that buys flesh buys many bones,
 He that buys eggs buys many shells,
 _But he that buys good ale buys nothing else_.





 “What hath been and now is used by the English, as well since the
 Conquest, as in the days of the Britons, Saxons and Danes.”—_Drinke
 and Welcome.—Taylor._

 “Not of an age, but for all time.”—_Ben Jonson._


We must go back several thousand years into the past to trace the
origin of our modern ale and beer. The ancient Egyptians, as we learn
from the _Book of the Dead_, a treatise at least 5,000 years old,
understood the manufacture of an intoxicating liquor from grain. This
liquor they called _hek_, and under the slightly modified form _hemki_
the name has been used in Egypt for beer until comparatively modern
times. An ancient Egyptian medical manual, of about the same date
as the _Book of the Dead_, contains frequent mention of the use of
Egyptian beer in medicine, and at a period about 1,000 years later, the
papyri afford conclusive evidence of the existence even in that early
age, of a burning liquor question in Egypt, for it is recorded that
intoxication had become so common that many of the beer shops had to be

Herodotus, after stating that the Egyptians used “wine made from
barley” because there were no vines in the country, mentions a
tradition that Osiris, the Egyptian Bacchus, first taught the Egyptians
how to brew, to compensate them for the natural deficiencies of their
native land. Herodotus, however, was frequently imposed upon by the
persons from whom he derived his narrative, and no trace of any such
tradition is to be found elsewhere. Wine was undoubtedly made in Egypt
two or three thousand years before his time. {26}

It is maintained by some that the Hebrew word _sicera_, which occurs
in the Bible and is in our version translated “strong drink,” was
none other than the barley-wine mentioned in Herodotus, and that the
Israelites brought from Egypt the knowledge of its use. Certain it is
that they understood the manufacture of _sicera_ shortly after the
exodus, for we find in Leviticus that the priests are forbidden to
drink wine or “strong drink” before they go into the tabernacle, and in
the Book of Numbers the Nazarenes are required not only to abstain from
wine and “strong drink,” but even from vinegar made from either; and
in all the passages where the word occurs it is formally distinguished
from wine. It may be mentioned in passing, that this word _sicera_ has
been regarded as being the equivalent of the word cider. The passage in
Numbers is translated in Tyndale’s version, “They shall drink neither
wyn ne sydyr,” and it is this rendering that has earned for Tyndale’s
translation the name of the cider Bible.

It seems highly probable that the word _sicera_ signified any
intoxicating liquor other than wine, whether made from corn, honey or

In support of the theory that beer was known amongst the Jews, may be
mentioned the Rabbinical tradition that the Jews were free from leprosy
during the captivity in Babylon by reason of their drinking “_siceram
veprium, id est, ex lupulis confectam_,” or _sicera_ made with hops,
which one would think could be no other than bitter beer.

Speaking of this old Egyptian barley-wine, Aeschylus seems to imply
that it was not held in very high esteem, for he says that only the
women-kind would drink it.[5] Evidently the phrase, “to be learned in
all the learning of the Egyptians,” had no reference to a competent
knowledge of brewing. Before leaving the land of the Pharaoh, it may be
mentioned that in that country the labourers still drink a kind of beer
extracted from unmalted barley. A traveller in Egypt some years ago
recorded in one of the London daily papers that his crew on the Nile
made an intoxicating liquor from the fermentation of bread in water; he
says that it was called _boozer_, but whether by himself or crew is not
clear. {27}

   [5] Aesch. Supp. 953.

A goodly number of instances may be found in various old Greek writers
of the mention of barley-wine under the various terms of κρίθινον
πεπωκότες οινον,[6] ἐκ κριθῶν μεθυ, βρῦτον ἐκ τῶν κριθῶν, but it does
not appear that beer was ever a popular beverage in Hellas. Further
north, the Thracians, as Archilochus tells, brewed and drank a good
deal of beer.

   [6] Hipp. 395. 1, Athen. 1 & 10, Aesch. Fr. 116, Archil. 28.

Among the Greek writers, Xenophon gives the most interesting and
complete account of beer in the year 401 B.C. In describing the retreat
of the Ten Thousand, he tells how, on approaching a certain village in
Armenia which had been allotted to him, he selected the most active of
his troops, and making a sudden descent upon the place captured all the
villagers and their headman. One man alone escaped—the bridegroom of
the headman’s daughter, who had been married nine days, and was gone
out to hunt hares. The snow was six feet deep at the time. Xenophon
goes on to describe the dwellings of this singular people. Their houses
were under ground, the entrance like that of a well, but wide below.
There were entrances dug out for the cattle, but the men used to get
down by a ladder. And in the houses were goats, sheep, oxen, fowls and
their young ones, and all the animals were fed inside with fodder.
And there was wheat, and barley, and pulse, and barley-wine (οἶνος
κρίθινος) in bowls. And the malt, too, itself was in the bowl, and
level with the brim. And reeds lay in it, some long, some short, with
no joints, and when anyone was thirsty he had to take a reed in his
hand and suck. The liquor was very strong, says Xenophon, unless one
poured water into it, and the drink was pleasant to one accustomed to
it. And whenever anyone in friendliness wished to drink to his comrade,
he used to drag him to the bowl, where he must stoop down and drink,
gulping it down like an ox. The inhabitants of the Khanns district of
Armenia, through which Xenophon’s world-famed march was made, still
pursue much the same life as they did more than two thousand years ago.
They live in these curious subterranean dwellings with all their live
stock about them, but, alas! modern travellers aver that they have lost
the art of making barley-wine.

Enough has been said as to the use of beer among Eastern nations to
disprove the theory of the old author of the _Haven of Health_, who
asserts, quoting “Master Eliote” as his authority, that ale was never
used as a common drink in any other country than in “England, Scotland,
Ireland, and Poile.” {28}

Ale or beer was in common use in Germany in the time of Tacitus, and
Pliny, who may have tasted beer while serving in the army in Germany,
says, “All the nations who inhabit the west of Europe have a liquor
with which they intoxicate themselves, made of corn and water (_fruge
madida_). The manner of making this liquor is somewhat different in
Gaul, Spain, and other countries, and it is called by various names;
but its nature and properties are everywhere the same. The people of
Spain in particular brew this liquor so well that it will keep good for
a long time. So exquisite is the ingenuity of mankind in gratifying
their vicious appetites, that they have thus invented a method of
making water itself intoxicate.” Among the many various kinds of drink
so made were _zythum_, _cœlia_, _ceria_, _Cereris vinum_, _curmi_, and
_cerevisia_. All these names, except _zythum_, are probably merely
local variations of one word, whose British representative may be found
in the Welsh _cwrw_.

Turning to the earliest records of the use of malt liquors in this
country, we find that, according to Diodorus Siculus, the Britons made
use of a very simple diet which consisted chiefly of milk and venison.
Their usual drink was water; but upon festive occasions they drank a
kind of fermented liquor, made of barley, honey, or apples, and were
very quarrelsome in their cups. Dioscorides wrote in the first century
that the Britons, instead of wine, use “curmi,” a liquor made from
barley. Pytheas (300 B.C.) said a fermented grain liquor was made in

The drinks in use in this island at the time of its conquest by
the Romans seem to have been metheglin, cider, and ale. Metheglin,
or mead, was probably the most ancient and universally used of all
intoxicating drinks among European nations. Cider is in all probability
the next in order of antiquity of the drinks in use amongst our Celtic
predecessors. It was made from wild apples, but its use was probably
not so wide-spread as that of either mead or ale.

The two drinks, mead and cider, are appropriate to nations who have
made but slight advances on the path of civilisation. Tribes of nomads,
or of hunters, would find the wherewithal for their manufacture—the
honey in the hollow tree, the crabs growing wild in the woods. The
manufacture of ale, however, indicates another step forward; it implies
the settlement in particular districts, and the knowledge and practice
of agriculture. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that the
Celtic inhabitants of the midland and northern parts of this country,
at the time of the first Roman attack, knew no drink but mead and
cider; while, in the southern districts, where contact with {29} the
outer world had brought about a somewhat more advanced civilisation
and a more settled mode of life, agriculture was practised, and
_cerevisia_, or ale, was added to the list of beverages.

Given below is a metrical version of the origin of ale. It is put in
this place between the account of the use of ale by the Britons and its
use by the Saxons, because our anonymous poet does not seem to have
quite made up his mind whether he is recording a British or a Saxon
myth. The name of the king would seem to point to a British origin,
whilst some of the gods on whom he calls are Teutonic.


 In a jolly field of barley good King Cambrinus slept,
 And dreaming of his thirsty realm the merry monarch wept,
 “In all my land of Netherland there grows no mead or wine,
 And water I could never coax adown this throat of mine.

 “Now list to me, ye heathen gods, and eke ye Christian too,
 Both Zernebock and Jupiter, and Mary clad in blue;
 And mighty Thor the Thunderer, and any else that be,
 The one who aids me in my need his servant I will be.”

 And as this sinful heathen all in the barley lay,
 There came in dreams an angel bright who soft these words did say—
 “Arise, thou poor Cambrinus, for even all around,
 In the barley where thou sleepest a nectar may be found.

 “In the barley where thou sleepest there hides a nectar clear,
 Which men shall know in later times as _porter_, _ale_ or _beer_.”
 Then in terms the most explicit he “put the monarch through,”
 And gave him ere the dream was out the recipe to brew.

 Uprose good King Cambrinus and shook him in the sun.
 “Away, ye wretched heathen gods—with you I’m quit and done!
 Ye’ve left me with my subjects in error and in thirst;
 Till in our dreadful dryness we scarce know which is worst.”

 It was the good Cambrinus unto his palace went,
 And messengers through all the land unto his lords he sent,
 “Leave Odin, under pain of death!”—his orders were severe,
 Yet touched with mildness—for he sent the recipe for beer. {30}

 Oh, then a merry sound was heard of building through the land,
 And the churches and the breweries went up on every hand;
 For the masons they were hard at work where’er a spot seemed pat,
 And some had bricks within their hods, and some within their hats.

In the sister Island are to be found very early references to ale. The
_Senchus Mor_, which contains some of the oldest and most important
of the ancient laws of Ireland, has the following passages in which
mention of this drink occurs:—

“What is a human banquet? The banquet of each one’s feasting-house to
his chief according to his due (_i.e._, the chief’s), to which his
(_i.e._, the tenant’s) deserts entitle him; viz., a supper with ale, a
feast without ale, a feast by day. The feast without ale is divided; it
is distributed according to dignity; the feeding of the assembly of the
forces of a territory, assembled for the purpose of demanding proof and
law, and answering to illegality. Suppers with ale, feasts without ale,
are the fellowship of the Feini.” It is difficult to understand the
ideas contained in these old Erse laws and customs, but the main thing
for the present purpose is the evidence they give that ale was known
and commonly used in Ireland as early as the fifth century.[7]

From the Brehon law tracts it may be gathered that the privileges
of an Irish king included the right to have his ale supplied him
with food;[8] he was also to have a brave army and _an inebriating
ale-house_. The Irish chief is always to have two casks in his house,
one of ale, another of milk; he should also have three sacks—a sack of
malt, a sack of salt, and a sack of charcoal.

   [7] The _Senchus Mor_ was composed in the time of Lœghaire, son of
   Niall, King of Erin, about A.D. 430, a few years after the arrival
   of St. Patrick in Ireland.

   [8] Doubtless an allusion to the old _food rents_ once common in

Wales was also to some extent an ale-producing country, and we find in
Anglo-Saxon times Welsh ale frequently alluded to as a luxury. When
_Offa_ renders the lands at _Westbury_ and _Stanbury_ to the church
of Worcester, he accepts at _Westbury_ these _services_: 2 tunne full
of clear Ale, and a cumbe (16 _quarts_) full of smaller Ale, and a
cumbe of Welsh Ale, besides other services. There was a payment to the
said church also out of the lands at _Breodune_ of 3 cuppes full of
Ale, 111 _dolea Brytannicæ cervissiæ_ (_i.e._, casks of British Ale),
and 3 hogsheads of {31} Welsh Ale, _quorum unum fit melle dulcoratum_
(_i.e._, of which one was to be sweetened with honey). Henry, in his
_History of England_, in treating of the drinks used in England and
Wales during five centuries before the Norman Conquest, remarks on
the rarity of the use of ale in Wales at that time. “Mead,” he says,
“was still one of their favourite liquors, and bore a high price; for
a cask of mead, by the laws of Wales, was valued at 120 pence, equal
in quantity of silver to thirty shillings of our present money, and in
efficacy to fifteen pounds. The dimensions of a cask of mead must be
nine palms in height, and so capacious as to serve the King _and one
of his counsellors_ for a bathing tub.” By another law its diameter is
fixed at eighteen palms. The Welsh had also two kinds of ale, called
_common ale_ and _spiced ale_, and their value was thus ascertained
by law—“If a farmer hath no mead (to pay part of his rent) he shall
pay two casks of _spiced ale_, or four casks of _common ale_ for one
cask of mead.” By the same law, a cask of _spiced ale_, nine palms in
height and eighteen palms in diameter, was valued at a sum equal in
efficacy to seven pounds ten shillings of our present money; and a cask
of _common ale_, of the same dimensions, at a sum equal to three pounds
fifteen shillings. This is a sufficient proof that even _common ale_ at
this period was an article of luxury among the Welsh which could only
be obtained by the great and opulent. Wine seems to have been quite
unknown even to the Kings of Wales at this period, as it is not so
much as once mentioned in their laws; though Giraldus Cambrensis, who
flourished about a century after the Conquest, acquaints us that there
was a vineyard in his time, at Maenarper, near Pembroke, in South Wales.

Before leaving the subject of the British use of ale, it will perhaps
amuse some of our readers to find that the very name of Britain has
been derived by some from the word βρῡτον, the Greek for beer. The
following extract from Hearne’s Discourses is a good instance of that
reckless ingenuity in guessing derivations, for which our older school
of philologists was ever so justly famed:—“There is one thing,” he
says, “which upon this occasion the antiquaries should have observed,
and that is our Mault Liquor, called βρῡτον in Athenæus. Which being
so, it is humbly offered to the consideration of more judicious persons
whether our Britannia might not be denominated from βρῡτον, the whole
nation being famous for such sort of drink. ’Tis true, Athenæus does
not mention the Britains among those that drunk mault drink; and
the reason is, because he had not met with any writer that had {32}
celebrated them upon that account, whereas the others that he mentions
to drink it were put down in his Authors. Nor will it seem a wonder,
that even those people he speaks of were not called Britaines from the
said liquor, since it was not their constant and common drink, but was
only used by them upon occasion, whereas it was always made use of in
Britain, and it was looked upon as peculiar to this Island, and other
liquors were esteemed as foreign, and not so agreeable to the nature
of the country. And I have some reason to think that those few other
people that drunk it abroad did it only in imitation of the Britains,
though we have no records remaining upon which to ground this opinion.”

It is rather unfortunate that, in the cause of science, our author did
not inform us what that “some reason to think” of his in fact was.
However, let us honour his patriotism if we may not his learning.

It would appear that ale and beer were different words signifying
the same thing, ale being the Saxon _ealu_ and Danish _öl_, probably
connected with our word oil, and beer being the Saxon _beor_. Horne
Tooke, in his _Diversions of Purley_, says that “ale” is derived from a
Saxon verb _ælan_, which signifies to inflame.

The word “beer” has been the occasion of some ingenuity and not a
little diversity of opinion among the philologists. Goldast derived
it _a pyris_, because (he asserts) beer was first made from pears;
Vossius from the Latin _bibere_, to drink, thus: _Bibere_, _Biber_ and
(_extrito b_) _Bier_; Somner from the Hebrew _Bar_, corn. Probably
the true derivation is that which connects the word with the root
of the verb, to _brew_. However this may be, the connection of the
word barley with the word _beere_—denoting a coarse kind of barley—is
unmistakeable. _Beer_ was originally used to denote the beverage and
also the plant from which it was brewed. _Beere_ or _bigge_ is still to
be found growing in some parts of Scotland and Ireland, but in England
it has given place to the more refined _barley_ (_i.e._, _beer-lec_ or
beer plant).

The attempt to connect the word “yule” with “ale” is probably fanciful,
and may have originated from the use of the word “ale” as denoting not
only the liquor, but also any festival at which it formed the principal
beverage (_e.g._ the Whitsun Ale). Yule or Jule is probably derived,
along with the festival it represents, from the Celts. It was a feast
in honour of the sun, the Celtic name for which was _heol_ or _houl_
and was designed to celebrate the time when the Sun-god, after sinking
to his lowest point in the heavens in mid-winter, begins again to
ascend the sky, ushering in a period of warmth and plenty. When the
Saxons {33} were converted to Christianity, their teachers, instead of
entirely doing away with the older forms of religion, allowed them to
remain, adapting them to the new faith. This was very usual in early
days of Christianity, and thus we find the heathen “Yule” merged in the
great Christian festival of Christmas.

The very ancient Anglo-Saxon poem entitled _Beowulf_, a poem which may
be said to be the earliest considerable fragment of our language now
extant, shows that ale was the chief drink amongst our Anglo-Saxon
ancestors in the far-off days, before they had seized upon this land
of England. It contains a mythological account of the rescue by the
hero Beowulf of his friends from the Grendel, a monster who was
constantly slaughtering and carrying some of them away. The feast is
thus described: “Then was for the sons of the Geats, altogether, a
bench cleared in the beer-hall; there the bold in spirit went to sit;
the thane observed his office, he that in his hand bare the twisted
ale-cup; he poured the bright sweet liquor.” Further on, the Danish
queen comes in to greet the victors. “There was laughter of heroes,
the noise was modulated, words were winsome; Wealtheow, Hrothgar’s
queen, went forth; mindful of their races, she, hung round with gold,
greeted the men in the hall; and the freeborn lady gave the cup first
to the prince of the East Danes; she bade him be blithe at the service
of beer, dear to his people. He, the king, proud of victory, joyfully
received the feast and hall-cup . . .”

That it was customary among our ancestors for the lady of the house
herself to fill the guests’ cups after dinner, may be gathered from the
poem called the _Geste of Kyng Horn_, which in its present form is of
thirteenth century date, but is probably founded upon a much earlier
work. The poem thus describes Rymenhild, the queen and wife of King
Horn, performing this duty:—

 Rymenhild ros of benche
 Wyn for to schenche;[9]
 After mete in sale,[10]
 Bothe wyn and ale.
 On horn he bar in honde.
 So laye was in londe,[11] {34}
 Knightes and squier
 Alle dronken of the ber.

   [9] _Schenche_ = to pour out.

   [10] _Sale_ = hall.

      A horn she bare in her hand,
      So was the custom in the land.

These lines also show that ale and beer were used at that time as
interchangeable words.

Our Saxon ancestors seem to have made use of several kinds of beverage;
they had wine and mead, cider, which they called _æppelwin_, and
piment, which was a compound of wine, honey, and spices. Ale and beer,
however, seem, to use the quaint words of old Harrison, to have “borne
the brunt in drincking,” and to have formed the national beverage of
the English people from the earliest times to the present day. Ale,
honest English ale, was the general drink, and wine was a luxury of the
rich, as may be gathered from the old Anglo-Saxon dialogue, entitled
_Alfric’s Colloquy_, in which a lad, on being asked what his drink is,
replies, “Ale, if I have it, water, if I have it not.” To the question
why he does not drink wine his answer is, “I am not so rich that I can
buy me wine; and wine is not the drink of children or the weak-minded,
but of the elders and the wise.”

The _Exeter Book_, which contains a collection of Anglo-Saxon songs and
poems, and was presented to the church at Exeter by Bishop Leofric in
the eleventh century, contains one of those curious rhyming riddles so
popular among the Saxons, which were known as _Symposii Ænigmata_. It
is as follows:—

 A part of the earth is
 Prepared beautifully,
 With the hardest,
 And with the sharpest,
 And with the grimmest
 Of the productions of men,
 Cut and . . . .
 Turned and dried,
 Bound and twisted,
 Bleached and awakened,
 Ornamented and poured out,
 Carried afar
 To the doors of the people,
 It is joy in the inside
 Of living creatures,
 It knocks and slights
 Those, of whom while alive {35}
 A long while
 It obeys the will,
 And expostulateth not,
 And then after death
 It takes upon it to judge,
 To talk variously.
 It is greatly to seek,
 By the wisest man,
 What this creature is.

Those who remember the more elaborate legend of _John Barleycorn_ will
not have far to seek for the solution of this somewhat ponderous riddle.

The Anglo-Saxons, before their conversion to Christianity, believed
that some of the chief blessings to be enjoyed by departed heroes were
the frequent and copious draughts of ale served round to them in the
halls of Odin. Even after the spread of Christianity had dispelled
this heathen notion, all the evidence available seems to point rather
to an enlarged than a diminished consumption of malt liquors. Whether
our forefathers, practically-minded like their descendants, resolved
to make up here upon earth for the loss of the expected joys of which
their new creed had robbed them, it is impossible at this distance
of time to determine; but certain it is that the popularity of our
national beverage has gone on increasing from that day to this.

In these early days rents were not infrequently paid in ale. In 852 the
Abbot of Medeshampstede (Peterborough) let certain lands at Sempringham
to one Wulfred, on this condition, amongst others, that he should each
year deliver to the minster two tuns of pure ale and ten _mittans_
(measures) of Welsh ale. The ale-gafol mentioned in the laws of Ine was
a tribute or rent of ale paid by the tenant to the lord of the manor.
By an ancient charter granted in the time of King Alfred, the tenants
of Hysseburne, amongst other services, rendered six church-mittans of

Ale was also in olden days frequently liable to the payment of a toll
(_tollester_) to the lord of the manor. In a Gloucestershire manor it
was customary for a tenant holding in villeinage to pay as toll to the
lord gallons of ale, whenever he brewed ale to sell. At Fiskerton, in
Notts, if {36} an ale-wife brews ale to sell she is to satisfy the
lord for _tollester_. In the manor of Tidenham, in Saxon times the
villein is to pay to the lord at the Martinmass six sesters of malt;
and in the same manor, in the reign of Edward I., we find the rent
changed into a toll, the tenant at the later period being bound to
render to the lord 8 gallons of beer at every brewing.

Similarly, wages were in some manors paid in kind. At Brissingham,
Norfolk, the tenants, amongst other services, might perform 125
_ale-beeves_ in the year, _i.e._, carting-days, on which attendance
was not compulsory, but on which the tenants, if they did attend, were
entitled to bread and ale in lieu of wages. The word “bever” still
occurs in some places, denoting a harvest-man’s drink between breakfast
and dinner.

The Saxons and Danes were of a social disposition, and delighted in
forming themselves into fraternities or guilds. An important feature of
these institutions was the meeting for convivial purposes, and their
object was to promote good fellowship among the members. The laws for
the regulation of some of these bodies are still in existence, and
it seems were enforced by fines of honey, or malt, to be used in the
making of mead or ale for the use of the members of the confraternity.
It seems that both clergy and laity were members of certain of the
guilds, at any rate at one period of their history, and allusion is
probably made to these mixed fraternities in the Canons of Archbishop
Walter, A.D. 1200, in which he directs “that clerks go not to taverns
and drinking bouts, for from thence come quarrels, and then laymen beat
clergymen, and fall under the Canon.”

During the Middle Ages ale was the usual drink of all classes of
Englishmen, and the wines of France were a luxury, in general only
consumed by the upper classes. In France, however, wine was the common
drink, and ale a luxury. William Fitz-Stephen, in his Life of Thomas
à Becket, states that when the latter went on an embassy to France,
he took with him two waggons laden with beer in iron-bound casks, as
a present to the French, “who admire that kind of drink, for it is
wholesome, clear, of the colour of wine, and of a better taste.”

As an instance of the fame which English ale had attained abroad in
the twelfth century, may be cited the reply of Pope Innocent III. to
those who were arguing before him the case of the Bishop of Worcester’s
claims against the Abbey of Evesham. “Holy father,” said they, “we have
learnt in the schools, and this is the opinion of our masters, that
there is no prescription against the rights of bishops.” His Holiness’s
reply was blunt and somewhat personal: “Certainly, both you and your
masters had drunk too much English ale when you learnt this.” {37}

A curious extract may here be added as indicative of the fame of
English ale amongst foreigners in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. It is taken from a work entitled “_A Relation; or rather
a true account of the Island of England_, A.D. 1500, translated from
the Italian by C. A. Sneyd.” “The deficiency of wine, however,” says
our author, “is amply supplied by the abundance of ale and beer, to
the use of which these people have become so habituated, that at an
entertainment where there is plenty of wine, they will drink them
in preference to it, and in great quantities. Like discreet people,
however, they do not offer them to Italians, unless they should ask
for them, and they think that no greater honour can be conferred,
or received, than to invite others to eat with them, or be invited
themselves; and they would sooner give five or six ducats to provide an
entertainment for a person, than a groat to assist him in any distress.
They are not without vines; and I have eaten grapes from one, and wine
might be made in Southern parts, but it would probably be harsh. The
natural deficiency of the country is supplied by a great quantity of
excellent wines from Candia, Germany, France, and Spain; besides which,
the common people make two beverages from Wheat, Barley, and Oats, one
of which is called beer, and the other Ale; and these liquors are much
liked by them, nor are they disliked by foreigners, after they have
drank them four or six times; they are most agreeable to the palate,
when a person is by some chance rather heated.”

The regulations of the religious houses nearly always make reference to
ale; and it may be inferred from the evidence we possess, that the holy
fathers, who were always strong sticklers for the rights and privileges
of their order, would brook no interference either with the quantity
or quality of their liquor. In the Institutes of the Abbey of Evesham,
drawn up by Abbot Randulf about the year 1223, the directions as to
the diet of the inmates of the Abbey, are of great particularity. The
Prior is to have one measure of ale at supper (except when he shall sup
with the Abbot). Each of the fraternity shall every day receive two
measures of ale, each of which shall contain two pittances, of which
pittances six make up a “sextarium regis.” In the same rules it is laid
down that the monks are to have “two semes of beans from Huniburne,
to make _puddings_ throughout all Lent.” Bean-pudding seems indeed a
mortification of the flesh! Further on we find: “On every day every
two brethren shall have one measure of ale from the cellar, but after
being let blood they shall have one for dinner and another for supper.
The servant who shall let the monks’ blood shall have bread and ale
{38} from the cellar, if he have blooded more than one.” A further
account of the monks as brewers will be found in the succeeding chapter.

The Proverbs of Hendyng (thirteenth century) give good advice as of the
duties of charity and hospitality:—

 Gef thou havest bred and ale
 Ne put thou nout al in thy male[12],
   Thou del hit sum aboute.
 Be thou fre of thy meeles,
 Wherso me eny mete deles,
   Gest thou nout with-oute.[13]
 “_Betere is appel y-geve then y-ete,_”
                        _Quoth Hendyng_.

In the fourteenth century taxes seem to have been occasionally levied
on ale for certain specific purposes. In 1363 the inhabitants of
Abbeville were granted a tax on ale for the purpose of repairing their
fortifications. For each _lotus of ale of gramville_ the tax was one
penny _Parisien_; for each _lotus of god-ale_ the tax was ½d. (Rhymer
2. 712.).

In a curious old poem of the early part of the fourteenth century
entitled _De Baptismo_, by William of Shoreham, it appears to the
poet, necessary to lay down that ale must not be used for purposes of
baptism, but “kende water” (_i.e._, natural water) only. The verse is
as follows:—

 Therefore ine wine me ne may,
 Inne sithere ne inne pereye,
 Ne inne thing that neuere water nes
 Thory cristning man may reneye,
            Ne inne ale;
 For thei hight were water ferst,
 Of water neth hit tale.[14]

   [12] Male = bag or wallet.

      Whether men give any meat away or no,
      Go thou not without (giving).

   [14] See p. 401.

This old English requires some little explanation, and may be rendered
thus:—Therefore man may not renounce (his sins) through christening in
wine, in cider, nor in perry, nor in anything that never was water,
nor yet in ale, for though this (_i.e._, ale) was water first, it is
acounted water no longer. {39}

Whilst Christmas, as far as eating was concerned, always had its
specialities, its liquor _carte_ seems even in the thirteenth century
to have been of a very varied character. An old carolist of the period
thus sings (we follow Douce’s translation):—

 Lordlings, Christmas loves good drinking,
   Wines of Gascoigne, France, Anjou,
 English ale that drives out thinking,
   Prince of liquors, old or new,
 Every neighbour shares the bowl,
   Drinks of the spicy liquor deep;
 Drinks his fill without control,
   Till he drowns his care in sleep.

_Piers the Ploughman_, a poem by William Longland, written towards the
close of the fourteenth century, contains a curious confession of the
tricks played by the ale-sellers upon their customers:—

 I boughte hire Barly heo breuh hit to sulle;
 Peni-ale and piriwhit heo pourede to-gedere
 For laborers and louh folk that liuen be hem-seluen.
 The Beste in the Bed-chaumbre lay bi the wowe,
 Hose Bummede therof Boughte hit ther-after,
 A galoun for a grote, God wot, no lasse,
 Whon hit com in Cuppemel; such craftes me usede.

This, being interpreted, in modern English would read somewhat as
follows:—I bought her barley they brew it to sell; Peny ale (_i.e._,
ale at a penny a gallon) and small perry she poured together for
labourers and poor folk that live by themselves. The best lay in the
bed chamber by the wall, whoso drank thereof bought it (_i.e._, the
penny ale) by the sample (_i.e._, of the best) a gallon for a groat,
God knows, no less, when it came in by cupfulls; such craft I used.

Piers the Ploughman, in describing the scarcity of labour after the
great plague in the fourteenth century and the independence of the
labouring men that arose from the high wages they were enabled to
demand, says that after harvest they would eat none but the finest

 Ne non half-penny Ale In none wyse drynke,
 Bote of the Beste and the Brouneste that Brewesters sullen.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Mai no peny-Ale hem paye ne no pece of Bacun, {40}
 Bote hit weore Fresch Flesch or elles Fisch y-Friyet,
 Both chaud and plus chaud for chele of heore mawe.[15]

   [15] As we should say, “hot and hot,” for chill of their stomach.

Chaucer has many references to ale. The Cook, who was no mean
proficient in his proper art, was a judge of ale as well:—

 A coke thei hadde with them for the nones,
 To boyle the chickens, and the marrie bones,
 And pouder marchaunt tarte, and galengale,
 Well coude he know a pot of London ale.

The Miller prepares himself to tell his tale aright by swallowing
mighty draughts of the same liquor. He knows he is drunk, and is not
ashamed, thinking it quite sufficient excuse to lay the blame upon that
seductive fluid, “the ale of Southwerk”:—

 Now herkeneth, quod the miller, all and some
 But first I make a protestatioun,
 That I am dronke, I know it by my soun;
 And therefore if that I misspeke or say,
 Wite it the ale of Southwerk, I you pray.

The two Cambridge students who lodge a night at the miller of
Trompington’s are feasted by their host in this wise:—

 The miller the toun his daughter sent
 For ale and bred, and roasted hem a goos,
        *       *       *       *       *
 They soupen and they speken of solace,
 And drinken ever strong ale at the best.
 Abouten midnight wente they to rest.

Before they went, however, they had “dronken all that was in crouke,”
and the miller, who appears to have had the lion’s share, had decidedly
imbibed too much.

 Well hath this miller vernished his hed,
 Full pale he was, for-dronken, and nought red.
        *       *       *       *       *
 This miller hath so wisely bibbed ale,
 That as an hors he snorteth in his slepe.

Geoffrey Chaucer, along with other poets and writers of his times, was
unsparing in his denunciations of the vices of the clergy, their sloth,
gluttony, drunkenness and other grievous lapses.

 Thei side of many manir metes,
 With song and solas sitting long; {41}
 And filleth their wombe, and fast fretes,
 And after mete with harp and song,
 And hot spices ever among;
 And fille their wombe with wine and ale.

Piers the Ploughman, in his _Crede_, which is a satire upon the clergy,
makes the Franciscan say, in contrasting his own order with other
religious bodies:—

 We haunten not tavernes, ne hobelen abouten
 At merketes and miracles we medeley us never.

The frequent directions to the monks and clergy to abstain from
taverns, from drinking bouts and revels, all point to the necessity
then felt of tightening the bonds of church discipline, and show the
laxity that had prevailed.

John Taylor, the Water Poet, frequently selected ale as his theme, and,
when once mounted on his favourite hobby, soon travelled into such
realms of marvellous history and miraculous philology, that it almost
takes away one’s breath to follow him. The chief work in which he
glorifies our English Ale has for its full title,

                          DRINKE AND WELCOME
                                OR THE
                            FAMOUS HISTORIE
                           OUR ENGLISH ALE,
                               AS ALSO,
                            By JOHN TAYLOR.
                     PRINTED BY ANNE GRIFFIN 1637.


After speaking of cider, perry, &c., the author goes on to speak of
ale, which “hath been and now is used by the English, as well since the
Conquest as in the times of the Brittains, Saxons, and Danes (for the
former-recited drinks are to this day confined to the Principality)
so as we enjoy them onely by a Statute called the courtesie of Wales.
And to perfect any discourse in this I shall onely induce them into
two heads, viz., the unparalleled liquor called Ale with his abstract
Beere; whose antiquity amongst a sort of Northerne pated fellowes, is,
if not altogether contemptible, of very little esteeme; this humour
served the scurrilous pen of a shamelesse writer[16] in the raigne of
King Henry the third; detractingly to inveigh against this unequal’d
liquor. Thus

 ‘For muddy, foggy, fulsome, puddle, stinking,
  For all of these, Ale is the onely drinking.’

   [16] Henry D’Avranches.

“Of all the Authors that I have ever yet read, this is the only
one that hath attempted to brand the glorious splendour of that
_Ale-beloved_ decoction; but observe this fellow, by the perpetuall
use of water (which was his accustomed drinke) he fell into such
convulsions and lethargick diseases, that he remained in opinion
a dead man; however, the knowing Physicians of that time, by the
frequent and inward application of _Ale_, not onely recouvered him to
his pristine state of health, but also enabled him in body and braine
for the future, that he became famous in his writings, which for the
most part were afterwards spent with most _Aleoquent_ and _Alaborate_
commendation of that admired and most superexcellent Imbrewage.”

“Some there are,” he says, “that affirme that Ale was first invened
by _Alexander the Great_, and that in his conquests this liquor did
infuse such vigour and valour into his souldiers. Others say that
famous Physician of Piemont (named _Don Alexis_) was the founder of it.
But it is knowne that it was of that singular use in the time of the
_Saxons_ that none were allowed to brewe it but such whose places and
qualities were most _Eminent_, insomuch that we finde that one of them
had the credit to give the name of a _Saxon_ Prince, who in honour of
that rare quality, he called _Alle_. Some _ale_adge that it being our
drinke when our land was called _Albion_, that it had the name of the
countrey; _Twiscus_ in his _Euphorbinum_ will have it from _Albanta_ or
_Epirus_, _Wolfgang Plashendorph_ of _Gustenburg_, saies that _Alecto_
(one of the three furies) gave the receipt of it to _Albumazar_, a
Magician, and he (having _Aliance_ {43} with _Aladine_, the Soldan at
_Aleppo_) first brew’d it there, whereto may be _Aleuded_, the story
how _Alphonsus_ of _Scicily_, sent it from thence to the battell of
_Alcazar_. My Authour is of Anaxagoras’ opinion, that _Ale_ is to
be held in high price for the nutritive substance that it is indued
withall, and how precious a nurse it is in generall to Mankinde.

“It is true that the overmuch taking of it doth so much exhilerate the
spirits, that a man is not improperly said to be in the _Aletitude_
(observe the word, I pray you, and all the words before or after for
you shall find their first syllable to be _Ale_), and some writers are
of opinion that the Turkish _Alcoran_ was invented by Mahomet, out
of such furious raptures as _Ale_ inspired him withall; some affirme
Bacchus (_Al’as Liber Pater_) was the first Brewer of it, among the
_Indians_, who being a stranger to them they nam’d it _Ale_, as brought
by an _Alien_: in a word, _Somnus altus_ signifies dead sleepe: _Quies
alta_, Great rest; _Altus_ and _Alta_, noble and excellent: It is (for
the most part) extracted out of the spirit of a Graine called Barley,
which was of that estimation amongest the ancient _Galles_ that their
Prophets (whom they called _Bards_) used it in their most important
prophesies and ceremonies: This Graine, after it had beene watered and
dryed, was at first ground in a Mill in the island of _Malta_, from
whence it is supposed to gaine the name of Malt; but I take it more
proper from the word _Malleolus_, which signifies a Hammer or Maule,
for _Hanniball_ (that great _Carthaginian_ Captaine) in his sixteene
yeeres warres against the Romans, was called the _Maule_ of _Italie_,
for it is conjectured that he victoriously Mauld them by reason that
his army was daily refreshed with the Spiritefull Elixar of _Mault_.

“It holds very significant to compare a man in the _Aletitude_ to be
in a planetarie height, for in a Planet, the Altitude is his motion
in which he is carried from the lowest place of Heaven or from the
Center of the Earth, into the most highest place, or unto the top of
his circle, and then it is said to be in _Apogee_, that is the most
_Transcendant_ part of all, so the Sublunarie of a Stupified Spirit,
being elevated by the efficacious vigour of this uncontrolleable
vertue, renders him most capable for high actions.”

After much more in the same vein, sufficient to astonish the most
reckless of modern punsters, our author winds up his account of the
antiquity of ale as follows:—

“I will therefore _shut up_ with that admirable conclusion insisted
upon in our time by a discreet Gentleman in a Solemne Assembly, who
by a Politick observation, very aptly compares _Ale_ and Cakes with
Wine and {44} Waters, neither doth he hold it fit that it should stand
in competition with the meanest wines, but with that most excellent
composition which the Prince of Physicians _Hippocrases_ had so
ingeniously compounded for the preservation of Mankinde, and which (to
this day) speakes the Author by the name of _Hippocras_. So that you
see for Antiquity—_Ale_ was famous amongst the _Troians_, _Brittaines_,
_Romans_, _Saxons_, _Normans_, _Englishmen_, _Welch_, besides in
_Scotland_, from the highest and Noblest Palace to the poorest and
meanest Cottage.”

Other curious details with respect to the use of ale in the Middle Ages
and in modern times will be found in their appropriate places, and
having established clearly enough the highly respectable antiquity of
the Prince of liquors, old or new, it is time, in the elegant language
of the Water Poet, to “shut up” this portion of the subject; and so
we pass on, concluding here with an extract from the _Philosopher’s
Banquet_, on the pre-eminence of ale:—

 Ale for antiquity may plead and stand
 Before the conquest, conquering in this land;
 Beere, that is younger brother of her age,
 Was not then borne, nor right to bee her page;
 In every pedling village, borough, town,
 Ale plaid at football, and tript all lads down;
 And tho’ shee’s rivall’d now by beere, her mate,
 Most doctors aiwt on herthis shewes her state.





 Heap high the fire, and, O ye Lares, smile;
 And, Innocence, with plenty hither bring
 Hilarity; while Friendship brims the cup
 With home-brewed Ale, and every welcom’d guest
 Forgets the storm . . .
                              _Booker’s Sequel Poem to the Hop Garden._

 I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year,
 With your pockets full of money, and your cellar full of beer.
                                                           _Old Carol._


Hogarth’s _Farmer’s Return_ represents the worthy man just come in from
his morning round or from distant market town. As he rests awhile in
the farmhouse kitchen he draws sweet solace from the pipe brought him
by his daughter, while he eyes with keen expectance the jug of foaming
home-brew which his buxom wife, in her hurry to serve her lord, is
spilling on the tiled floor. These two old friends, firm supporters
of each other, the farmers and home-brewed ale, have almost parted
company. Home-brew, indeed, has become, in some places, an extinct and
almost forgotten beverage. It is a curious fact, however, that between
the years 1884 and 1886 there was a slight increase in the number of
persons brewing their own ale. {46}

[Illustration: THE FARMERS RETURN.]

The late Mr. Wm. Cobbett, writing in 1821 on the subject of brewing,
says, “To show Englishmen, forty years ago, that it was good for them
to brew beer in their houses, would have been as impertinent as gravely
to insist that they ought to endeavour not to lose their breath; for in
those times, to have a _house_ and not to brew was a rare thing indeed.
Mr. Ellman, an old man and a large farmer in Sussex, has recently
given, in evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons, this
fact: that forty years ago there was not a labourer in his parish that
did not brew his own beer; and that now there is not one that does it,
except by chance the malt be given him.”

The decadence of the art of domestic brewing is, for some reasons,
a matter for regret. The causes are not far to seek. The improved
machinery of the modern brewer, which enables him to make an uniformly
excellent beer, and to sell it at a low price; and the railways which
now traverse every part of the country, carrying his single, double,
or treble X, as the case may be, to places where half a century back
no one dreamt of purchasing ale for home consumption—to these great
changes is undoubtedly due the partial downfall of home-brew that has
taken {47} place. Not only has the practice of domestic brewing much
declined, but from the same causes there has been of late years an
extraordinary and lamentable decrease in the numbers of small country

Although the name of home-brew carries with it many old associations
and sentiments which we abandon with regret—memories of bright March
beer and mellow old October, of snug ingle-nooks and raftered ceilings,
and of kind, if homely, welcome—we cannot but admit, as on a hot day
we drain our tankard of Burton bitter, or of world-famed London stout,
that life has still its compensations.

“To make barley-water was an invention which found out itself with
little more than the joyning the ingredients together,” said old
Fuller, in his _Worthies of England_; “but to make mault for drinke,
was a master-piece indeed.” This old writer would seem to give the
maltster more credit than the brewer. In his day, however, the
distinction between the two was slight, for nearly every country
gentleman or farmer was both his own brewer and his own maltster.

In 1610, the justices of Rutland, in settling the rate of domestic
servants’ wages, adjudged that a chief woman, who could bake and brew
_and make malt_, should have the sum of 24_s_. 8_d_. by the year; while
a second best, who could brew but not malt, was to have 23_s_. 4_d_.

The earliest connected account of domestic malting and brewing which
we have been able to find, occurs in a poetical work of the thirteenth
century, called the _Treatise of Walter de Biblesworth_. The treatise
deals with most matters of domestic concern and every-day life, and
the passage in which the malting of barley and the brewing of ale are
described, is so curious that it is given below in full length from the
text to be found in _National Antiquities_, vol. i. (priv. pub. Th.
Wright, Ed.).

 “Seyoms ore entour cerveyse,
  Pur fere gens ben à eyse.
  Alumet, amy, cele lefrenole,[17] {48}
  E kaunt averas manges de brakole,
  En une cuwe[18] large e leez,
  Cel orge là enfoundrez;
  E kaunt sera enfoundré,
  E le ewe seyt escouloé,
  Mountez cel haut soler,
  Si le festes nette baler,[19]
  E là cochet votre blée,
  Taunke seyt ben germée,
  De cele houre appelleras,
  Brès, ke blée avant nomas.
  Le brès de vostre mayn muez
  En mounceus ou en rengeés;[20]
  Pus le portez en un corbel,
  Pur ensechier au toral.[21]
  Le corbel e le corbiloun
  Vous serviront au fusoyn.
  Kaunt vostre brez est molu,
  E de ewe chaude ben enbeu,
  Des bertiz[22] ver cervoyse
  Par art contrové teise.
  Ky fet miracles e merveyles,
  De une chaundelie deus chandelis,
  De homme lay fet bon clerc,
  A homme desconu doune merk,
  Homme fort fet chatoner, {49}
  E homme à roye haut juper,[23]
  Taunt de vertu de la grees
  De servoyse fet de brès,
  Ke la coyfe[24] de un bricoun
  Teyndre seet sanz vermilloun.
  Ceste matyre cy repose,
  Parlom ore de autre chose.”

   [17] Some old Englishman has written in the MS. over difficult
   words his interpretation of them; an interpretation frequently of
   great assistance, but occasionally in itself not a little puzzling.
   This word _lefrenole_, however, he much elucidates by annotating it
   “kex;” in Gloucestershire and in other parts of the country the word
   is still used to signify the hemlock, and may be found in many old
   writers. Lygones, in _A King and No King_, refers to his legs as
   “withered kexes.” The word was probably occasionally used to denote
   a candle, and this is the meaning assigned to it here. Langland, in
   the _Vision of Piers Ploughman_, says that glowing embers do not
   serve the workman’s purpose so well,

     “As dooth a kex or a candle
      That caught hath fire and blazeth.”

   Allusion is also made to the use of stalks of hemlock as candles in
   _Turn. of Tottenham_, 201.

   [18] Our annotator says “a mikel fat.” The word “kive” is found in
   later English for the same utensil.

   [19] Suepet klene.

   [20] “On hepe other on rowe” is the quaint gloss.

   [21] _Toral_ is noted “kulne.”

   [22] _Bertiz_ is probably a form of _bertzissa_, which seems to be a
   barbarous rendering of _wort_.

   [23] _Juper_ is annotated _houten_, _i.e._, to hoot or shout.

   [24] The word _coyfe_ here seems to signify not _cap_, but _head_ or
   _face_; another such use of the word is to be found in the _Chron.
   de Nangis_ (1377), and is mentioned in Sainte-Palaye’s _Hist. Dict.
   of the French Language_.

It is believed that no translation of this curious old poem has been
published, and a rendering is accordingly added in which literal
accuracy rather than poetical elegance has been aimed at.

  Ale shall now engage my pen,
  To set at rest the hearts of men.
  First, my friend, your candle light,[25]
  Next of spiced cake take a bite;
  Then steep your barley in a vat,
  Large and broad, take care of that;
  When you shall have steeped your grain,
  And the water let out-drain,
  Take it to an upper floor,
  If you’ve swept it clean before,
  There couch,[26] and let your barley dwell,
  Till it germinates full well.
  Malt now you shall call the grain,
  Corn it ne’er shall be again.
  Stir the malt then with your hand,
  In heaps or rows now let it stand;
  On a tray then you shall take it,
  To a kiln to dry and bake it.
  The tray and eke a basket light
  Will serve to spread the malt aright. {50}
  When your malt is ground in mill,
  And of hot water has drank its fill,
  And skill has changed the wort to ale,
  Then to see you shall not fail
  Miracles and marvels; Lo!
  Two candles out of one do grow;
  Ale makes a layman a good clerk,
  To one unknown it gives a mark,
  Ale makes the strong go on all fours,
  And fill the streets with shouts and roars.
  The good ale from the malt at length,
  So draws the barley’s pride and strength,
  That a royster’s figure-head
  Needs no dye to make it red.
  Here, then, let the matter rest,
  To talk of other things were best.

   [25] _i.e._, you must rise betimes.

   [26] The word “couch” has still a technical meaning in malting.

As everybody knows, the monks of old were famous for their home-brewed
ales, and the brewer and cellarer, whether in mitred abbey or in the
less distinguished religious houses, were officials of considerable
importance. The office of cellarer was one held in especial
estimation. An old glossary describes his position in the monastery as
follows:—“_Pater debet esse totius congregationis_,” and in the priory
of St. Swithin at Winchester special prayers were offered up for this
functionary. Such a person is depicted on this page. The monk whose
anxious eye proclaims the sad fact that in tasting the liquor entrusted
to his charge he is exceeding his duty, is a cellarer who evidently
makes the most of his opportunities. The drawing is taken from a
manuscript in the Arundel collection.

[Illustration: “Is it in condition?”]


[Illustration: Mediæval Cellarer.]

Some curious entries relating to home-brew are to be found in the
registry of the priory of Worcester, A.D. 1240. At each brewing “_VIII.
cronn: de greu_ and x _quarteria de meis_” were used; which probably
signifies eight cronns or four quarters of growte (here meaning ground
malt), and ten quarters of mixed barley and oat malt. A long list then
follows of the allowances of beer amongst the different officials of
the house. The beer was of three different kinds, _prima_ or _melior_,
_secunda_, and _tertia_. The cellarer is to have one measure of prime
and one of second. In the brewhouse four measures of the prime are to
be distributed, and two measures on the day on which the ale is to
be moved. The servant of the church is to have the holy-water bucket
full of “mixta,” _i.e._, part prime and part second, or, it may be,
a mixture of all three sorts. This “mixta” seems to have been an
anticipation of the “half-and-half” and “three threads” of more modern
times. Each of those who help to carry the ale are to have two measures
of the first and second mixed, and so the list proceeds through all
the officers and servants of the priory. Ale, indeed, seems to have
been their chief drink, and even the invalid (_potionandus_) about to
undergo a course of physicking was allowed his measure of ale. Our
doubts as to the wisdom of this dieting hardly require the confirmation
they receive from the further direction that he was to have pork, fowl
with stuffing, cheese, and eggs.

Sometimes the records tell sad tales of the poor monks being robbed of
their beer by reason of the malt failing.

This misfortune is recorded in the annals of Dunstable as having
happened in 1262. The annalist ruefully mentions that “in this year,
about the Feast of John the Baptist, our ale failed.” Very soon after
this, however, they made provision for the deficiency by purchasing
from H. Chadde £20 worth of malt; the quantity is not mentioned, but
at the rates of the day it would no doubt considerably exceed 100
quarters, so that for some time the monks could have known no want. In
1274 the same disaster occurred:—“At the Feast of Pentecost our malt
failed.” This time the holy fathers were equal to the occasion. “We
drank,” so run the annals, “five casks of wine, and it did us much
good.” {52}

The crimes and misdeeds of Roger Noreys, the wicked abbot of Evesham
at the end of the twelfth century, seem to have culminated when he not
only called the monks “puppies, vassals, and ribalds,” but, adding
injury to insult, compelled them to live for many days on hard bread
and “ale little differing from water.” This was too much, and the monks
petitioned the archbishop against such ill-treatment. The abbot, it may
be remarked, appears from the records of the House to have taken very
good care of himself, though he treated the monks so ill, and it might
have been said of him as it was of another ecclesiastic whose name,
unfortunately, has not accompanied the verse:—

 Bonum vinum cum sapore
 Bibit abbas cum priore
 Sed conventus de pejore
     Semper solet bibere.

John of Brokehampton, who became abbot of Evesham in 1282, had himself
filled the office of cellarer, and amongst many other benefits
conferred by him upon the House during his abbacy, he built a bakehouse
and a brewhouse “not only strongly but sumptuously.”

On certain special days set apart for “_doing the great O_,”[27] which
was a facetious way of saying that they were holidays when nothing was
done, a more liberal allowance of ale was made, and on the occasion
of the election of a Canon for St. Paul’s, foreign wine and other
delicacies were added to the feast.

   [27] “Facere O” in some places had reference to the introit
   beginning “O Sapientia.”

Some slight idea of a monastic feast in the thirteenth century may be
gathered from the accompanying illustration. The presence of women is
significant, and the quaint spit, and the round-bottomed glass which
one of the monks holds in his hand and which cannot be set down until
empty, are noteworthy.

What a gentleman’s cellar ought to contain is thus described by
Alexander Neckam, a twelfth-century writer:—“In promptuario sive
in celario,” he writes, “sunt cadi, utres,[28] dolea, ciphi,[29]
cophini, . . . vina, scicera, cerevicia, sive celia, mustum, claretum,
nectar,[30] medo {53} sive ydromellum,[31] piretum, vinum rosetum,
vinum feretum, vinum falernum, vinum girofilatum.” Some old scribe
has noted this work in the same way as the annotator of the _Treatise
of Walter de Biblesworth_, and taking up the hints he has given, the
passage may be translated:—“In the cellar are barrels, leather bottles
or wine skins, tuns, beakers, baskets, . . . wines, cyder, ale, new
wine, claret, piment, meed or ydromellum, perry, Mount Rose wine,
Falernian, garihofilac, &c. . . .” Not a bad assortment of liquors
for an Early Englishman! Our cut, taken from the Roxburghe ballads,
represents a well-stocked cellar of the olden times.

   [28] Utres is noted ‘coutreus.’

   [29] Ciphi = anaps, cophini = anapers. On this word anaps, or
   hanaps, see page 395.

   [30] Nectar or Piment was a luscious kind of drink compounded of
   wine, honey and spices; it was called after the pigmentarii, or
   apothecaries who prepared it, and was in fact a liqueur.

   [31] Ydromellum is explained in the _Ortus_ as _potus ex aqua et
   melle_, _Anglice mede or growte_ (Growte = wort in an early stage
   of the brewing). In _Alfric’s Colloquy_, however, it is said to be
   _beor_, or _mulsum_. The true explanation of this discrepancy seems
   to be that ydromellum, while properly signifying an inferior sort of
   mead, was also used by analogy to denote the sweet liquor _wort_.




The requisites of a brewhouse of the fourteenth or fifteenth century
are described in a Latin-English Vocabulary of the period:—

 Brasiatrix, a brewster (a female brewer).
 Cima, a kymnelle (a mash tub). Fornax, a furnasse.
 Alveum, a trogh. Brasium, malte. Barzissa, wortte.
 Dragium, draf (grains). Calderium, a caldron.
 Taratantarum, a temse (sieve). Cuvella, a kunlion (small tub).
 Ydromellum, growte. Mola, a quern (handmill).
 Pruera, ling (a broom made of ling).

That graphic old writer, Harrison, in his Preface to _Hollinshed’s
Chronicles_, 1587, gives a capital description of home-brewing as it
was carried on at the end of the sixteenth century; and “once in a
moneth practised by my wife,” as he informs us.

It may be remarked incidentally, that brewing seems to have usually
fallen to the share of the housewife, whose duties in this respect are
indicated in the old Durham rhyme:—

   I’ll no more be a nun, nun, nun,
   I’ll be no more a nun!
 But I’ll be a wife,
 And lead a merry life,
   And brew good ale by the tun, tun, tun.

To return to old Harrison and his home-brew. “Nevertheless,” he says,
“sith I have taken occasion to speake of bruing, I will exemplifie in
such a proportion as I am best skilled in, bicause it is the usuall
rate for mine owne familie, and once in a moneth practised by my wife
and hir maid servants, who proceed withall after this maner, as she
hath oft informed me. Having therefore groond eight bushels of good
malt upon our querne, where the toll is saved, she addeth unto it half
a bushel of wheat meale, and so much of otes small groond, and so
tempereth or mixeth them with the malt, that you cannot easily discerne
the one from the other, otherwise these later would clunter, fall into
lumps, and thereby become unprofitable. The first liquor which is full
{55} eightie gallons according to the proportion of our furnace, she
maketh boiling hot, and then powreth it softlie into the malt, where
it resteth (but without stirring) untill hir second liquor be almost
ready to boile. This doone she letteth hir mash run till the malt
be left without liquor, or at the leastwise the greater part of the
moisture, which she perceiveth by the staie and softe issue thereof,
and by this time hir second liquor in the furnace is ready to seeth,
which is put also to the malt as the first woort also againe into the
furnace, whereunto she addeth two pounds of the best English hops, and
so letteth them seeth together by the space of two hours in summer, or
an houre and a halfe in winter, whereby it getteth an excellent colour
and continuance without impeachment, or anie superfluous tartnesse. But
before she putteth her first woort into the furnace, or mingleth it
with the hops, she taketh out a vessel full, of eight or nine gallons,
which she shutteth up close, and suffereth no aire to come into it
till it become yellow, and this she reserveth by it selfe unto further
use, as shall appeare hereafter, calling it Brackwoort or Charwoort,
and as she saith it addeth also to the colour of the drinke, whereby
it yeeldeth not unto amber or fine gold in hew unto the eie. By this
time also hir second woort is let runne, and the first being taken out
of the furnace and placed to coole, she returneth the middle woort
into the furnace, where it is striken over, or from whence it is taken

“When she hath mashed also the last liquor (and let the second to
coole by the first) she letteth it runne and then seetheth it againe
with a pound and an half of new hops or peradventure two pounds as she
seeth cause by the goodness or basenesse of the hops; and when it hath
sodden in summer two hours, and in winter an houre and an halfe, she
striketh it also and reserveth it unto mixture with the rest when time
dooth serve therefore. Finallie when she setteth hir drinke together,
she addeth to hir brackwoort or charwoort halfe an ounce of arras and
halfe a quarterne of an ounce of baiberries finelie powdered, and then
putteth the same into hir woort with an handful of wheate floure,
she proceedeth in such usuall order as common bruing requireth. Some
in steed of arras and baies add so much long peper onely, but in hir
opinion and my lyking it is not so good as the first, and hereof we
make three hoggesheads of good beere, such (I meane) as is meet for
poore men as I am to live withall whose small maintenance (for what
great thing is fortie pounds a yeare computatis computandis able to
performe) may indure no deeper cut, the charges whereof groweth in this
manner. I value my malt at ten shillings, my wood at foure shillings
which I buie, {56} my hops at twenty pence, the spice at two pence,
servants wages two shillings sixpence, both meat and drinke, and the
wearing of my vessell at twentie pence, so that for my twenty shillings
I have ten score gallons of beer or more, nothwithstanding the loss
in seething. . . . The continuance of the drinke is alwaye determined
after the quantitie of the hops, so that being well hopped it lasteth
longer. For it feedeth upon the hop and holdeth out so long as the
force of the same endureth which being extinguished the drinke must be
spent or else it dieth and becometh of no value.”

A brewhouse was in the sixteenth century an essential for a gentleman’s
house. Boorde, in his directions for building a country house, mentions
this:—“And also” he says, “the backe-house and brew-house shall be a
dystance from the place and from other buyldyng.”

Strutt gives an inventory of the contents of a private brewhouse of
the sixteenth century. “_Im primis_ a meshe fatt—_Item_, a great ledde
(leaden vessel)—_Item_, a brasse panne set in the walle (the copper for
boiling the wort)—_Item_, 6 wort leeds, callyd coolars—_Item_, a greate
c’linge fatt with 2 other fattes, and other tubs and kimnelles.”

The poetic soul of Thomas Tusser, which has condescended to celebrate
in quaint and homely verse most subjects of domestic interest or
savouring of country life, has left us a short effusion on home-brew,
which, though not perhaps so complete as a novice in the art of
brewing might desire for his instruction, yet contains some pithy and,
doubtless, useful rules. The verses are to be found in the _Pointes of
Good Huswiferie_, and run thus:—

           Brew somewhat for thine,
           Else bring up no swine.
 Where brewing is needful, be brewer thyself,
 what filleth the roofe will helpe furnish the shelfe;[32]
 In buying of drinke by the firkin or pot
 the tallie ariseth, but hog amendes not.[33]
                Well brewed, worth cost,
                Ill used, halfe lost.
 One bushell well brewed, outlasteth some twaine,
 and saveth both mault, and expenses in vaine,
 Too new is no profite, too stale is as bad,
 drinke deade, or else sower, makes laborer sad. {57}
               Remember, good Gill,
               Take paine with thy swill.
 Seeth grains in more water, while graines be yet hot,
 and stirre them in copper as poredge in pot,
 Such heating with straw, to make offall good store,[34]
 both pleseth and easeth, what would you have more?

   [32] _i.e._, we presume, brewing which fills the roof with steam is
   good economy.

   [33] The score at the ale-house mounts up, but your pig is none the
   better for it. The allusion is to feeding pigs on the spent grains.

   [34] The grains are to be used again to make “offall,” or small beer.

Pain was not always taken by Gill with her swill, as may be seen by
the sad account of the _Distracted Maid, an Ancient Garland_, in which
the evil results of a pre-occupied mind are shown. One verse of this
effusion will doubtless be deemed sufficient:—

 To tell you as I am true,
   When ever I bake or brew,
 The thoughts of Will come uppermost still,
   I hardly know what to do;
 Instead of malt I put in salt,
   And boils my copper dry;
 The perjured Act, and wicket Fact,
 My brains are rack’d and I am crack’d,
   There’s no body knows but I,
   There’s no body knows but I.

It is interesting to compare the cost of brewing in the sixteenth
century with that at the present day. Harrison’s brewing, as he has
shown us, cost him a fraction over a penny the gallon. The following
account of a brewing in the household of the Duke of Northumberland, in
the eighth year of the reign of Henry VIII., brings out somewhat the
same result, though the “painful scribe” seems to have got a little
confused in his arithmetic towards the end of his account; however,
a good deal must be excused to those who have to work sums in Roman

“A Brewyng at Wresill and carryede to Topclif. Fyrste paide for vj
quarters malt at Wresill after vs. the quarter—xxxs. Item, paide for vj
lb Hopps for the saide Brewyng after j d. ob. the lb—jxd. Item, {58}
paide for v score Faggotts for the saide Brewyng after v faggots j
d—xxd. Item, paide for the Cariage of the saide Brewyng from Wresill
to Borrowbrigg by watir—viz xij Hoggeshedes whiche makith iij Tonns
after iiijs. vd. the Tonne and a penny more at all—xiijs. iiijd. Item
paide for the Hire of iij Wanys for carrying of the said iij Tonne from
Barrow-brigg to Topclyf after viijd for the Hire of every Wayne—ijs.

 “Summa xlvijs. ixd.

“Whereof is made xij Hoggeshedes of Beyr. Every Hoggeshede contenyng
xlviij gallons whiche is in all cccciiij xvj gallons after a Penny the
Gallon and iijd. les at all which is derer by qu in every gallon save
iijs iiijd. les at all—xlvijs ixd.”

Not so many years later the prices of ale and beer seem to have risen
unaccountably, for in the charges for the diet of Mary Queen of Scots
at Tutbury, Chartley, and Fotheringaye the item is to be found “for ale
bought at dyerse pryces 1148 gallons at 9d. the gallon, £43 13s.

“Three hundred and fifty-three tons 2 hogs of beare” were also bought
at an average price of 39s. 11d. the ton, £706 13s. 5d. Burton ale
may even at that time have commanded a higher price than ordinary ale,
and the cost of transit would, no doubt, be heavy. In addition to the
ale bought at “dyerse pryces,” some must have been brewed at home; for
in further accounts are the following items:—“Hopps 1s., a brewinge
fatte with the charges for settyng it up £4 5s. 8d. A new pompe for
the brewhouse 28s. 8d.”

Although brewing, as we have seen, was carried on during every month
in the year for the commoner household uses, March and October were
the favourite months for making strong ale, “the authenticall drinke
of England, the whole barmy tribe of ale-cunners never layd their lips
to the like.” The summer months were especially eschewed by those who
wished to keep their liquor, and hence the old saying:—

 “Bow-wow, dandy-fly,
  Brew no beer in July.”

“Oh! but my grandmother,” says Gluttony, in the _Tragical History of
Doctor Faustus_, “she was a jolly gentlewoman, and well beloved in
every good town and city; her name was Mistress Margery March Beer.”

“_Ale_ and _beere_,” says Harrison, “beare the greatest brunt in
{59} drincking, which are of so many sortes and ages as it pleases
the brewar to make them. The beer that is used at noblemen’s tables,
is commonly of a yeare olde, (or peradventure of twoo yeres tunning
or more, but this is not general) it is also brued in Marche, and is
therefore called Marche bere, but for the household it is usually not
under a monethes age, eache one coveting to have the same as stale as
he might, so that it was not soure.”

And a serious “brunt” it was if the following obituary notice, which
appeared in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ in 1810, may be taken as a
sample of our fathers’ devotion to home-brew:—

“At the Ewes farm-house, Yorkshire, aged 76, Mr. Paul Parnell, farmer,
grazier, and maltster, who, during his lifetime, drank out of one
silver pint cup upwards of £2,000 sterling worth of Yorkshire Stingo,
being remarkably attached to Stingo tipple of the home-brewed best
quality. The calculation is taken at 2d. per cupful. He was the
bon-vivant whom O’Keefe celebrated in more than one of his Bacchanalian
songs under the appellation of Toby Philpott.”

The Journal of Timothy Burrell, Esquire, of Ockenden House, Cuckfield,
Sussex, proves him to have been a true devotee of the rites of
Ceres. With what particularity he mentions his purchases of malt and
hops—“May 3, 1683. Quarter of malt, £1. . . . 23 July. For 28lbs.
of hops I gave 7s. . . . October. I paid Jo. Warden for 30 bushels
of malt, just 4 months, £4 3s.” Then with what care he notes the
day on which he brewed, as thus—“3 May, 1702, _Pandoxavi_” and with
what satisfaction the day on which he tapped the barrel,—“12 June
_Relinivi_”—illustrating his manuscript as he goes along with quaint
sketches of barrels, quart pots, pockets of hops and such-like. John
Coachman, who seems to have been worthy Timothy’s servant for many
years, frequently comes in for a remark by reason of his excessive
devotion to the barley bree:—“Oct. 8th, 1698. Payd John Coachman, in
full of his half year’s wages, to be spent in ale, £2 6s. 6d. I paid
him for his breeches (to be drunk,) in part of his wages, 6s.” “Paid
to John Coachman, in part of his wages, to be fooled away in syder or
lottery, 5s.” “March 26th, 1710, I paid the saddler for John Coachman
falling drunk off his box, when he was driving to Glynde, in part of
his wages, £1 7s. 6d.” Rest well, honest Timothy, thy quaint pen is
still, thy brewing days are over!

In Dean Swift’s _Polite Conversations_ we have the following amusing
dialogue on the subject of home-brew:—

_Lady Smart._ Pray, my lord, did you order the butler to bring {60} up
a tankard of our October to Sir John? I believe they stay to brew it.

 _The butler brings up the tankard to Sir John._

_Sir John Linger._ Won’t your ladyship please to drink first?

_Lady S._ No, Sir John; ’tis in a very good hand; I’ll pledge you.

_Col. Atwit_ (to Lord Smart). My lord, I love October as well as Sir
John; and I hope you won’t make fish of one and flesh of another.

_Smart._ Colonel, you’re heartily welcome. Come, Sir John, take it by
word of mouth, and then give it to the Colonel.

 _Sir John drinks._

_Smart._ Well, Sir John, how do you like it?

_Sir J._ Not as well as my own in Derbyshire; ’tis plaguy small.

_Lady S._ I never taste malt liquor: but they say it is well hopp’d.

_Sir J._ Hopp’d? why if it had hopp’d a little further it would have
hopp’d into the river. O, my lord, my ale is meat, drink, and cloth; it
will make a cat speak and a wise man dumb.

_Lady S._ I was told ours was very strong.

_Sir J._ Ay, madam, strong of the water; I believe the brewer forgot
the malt, or the river was too near him. Faith, it is mere whip-belly
vengeance; he that drinks most has the worst share.

_Col._ I believe, Sir John, ale is as plenty as water at your house.

_Sir J._ Why, faith, at Christmas we have many comers and goers; and
they must not be sent away without a cup of Christmas ale for fear they

_Lady S._ I hear Sir John has the nicest garden in England; they say
’tis kept so clean that you can’t find a place where to spit.

_Sir J._ O, madam; you are pleased to say so.

_Lady S._ But, Sir John, your ale is terribly strong and heady in
Derbyshire, and will soon make one drunk or sick; what do you then?

_Sir J._ Why, indeed, it is apt to fox one; but our way is to take a
hair of the same dog next morning. I take a new-laid egg for breakfast;
and faith one should drink as much after an egg as after an ox.

Thompson, in his _Autumn_, makes reference to the strong October brew.

 Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn
 Mature and perfect from his dark retreat
 Of thirty years; and now his honest front
 Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid
 Even with the vineyard’s best produce to vie.


Seldom, it may be imagined, even in the sphere of domestic brewing, has
so small a “browst” been brewed as that described by Hone in his _Table
Book_ as having been made by Widow Wood, of Beckenham Alms House. She
brewed with her ordinary cooking utensils, and the fireplace of her
little room; a tin kettle served her for boiler, she mashed in a common
butter-firkin, ran off the liquor in a “crock,” and tunned it in a
small beer barrel. She thought that poor folk might do a great deal for
themselves if they only knew how; “but,” said she, “where there’s a
will there’s a way.”

Among modern writers Christopher North has left perhaps the best
description of what a modern private brewhouse should be. “We dare
say,” he says, “that many personages who never in the whole course of
their polished existences dreamed or thought of dreaming of brewing
anything (except mischief), will shrug their shoulders at the idea of
being introduced like his Majesty George the Third, at Whitbread’s,
into an odorous brewhouse, redolent of wash, wort, grains, hops, yeast,
and carbonic acid gas; peeping into pumps—tumbling into vats. Silence,
good exquisite! and let us inform you—(but first take that cigar out
of your mouth, or you will infallibly burn the carpet)—let us inform
you that a _gentleman’s brewhouse_, like his greenhouse, his hothouse,
his dairy, or even his cellar, _is no such unpleasant place_. No place,
indeed, can be so that has anything of the rural about it. There is
our own brewhouse at Buchanan Lodge; it might pass for a summer-house.
We shall describe it to you. It stands, good reader (mark us well),
at the back of the house, just at the edge of the little ravine or
dell, and half hid by the laburnums. It is also separated from the
other offices by a lowish beech hedge. Around, below, and opposite are
growing the wild cherry, the tall chestnut, the sycamore, the fir, the
thorn, and the bramble, which clothe the sides of the deep glen. From
its chimneys, as soon as the soft March gales begin to blow, curls the
white smoke before the hour of dawn. The fire within burns brightly.
Everything is clean and ‘sweet as the newly-tedded hay.’ Precisely as
six o’clock strikes we march forth—ay, even we, Christopher North—with
our old fishing jacket and our apron on; our old velvet study-cap
close about our ears, and our thermometer in our hand. The primroses
are basking in the morning rays; the dewdrops are sparkling the last
upon the leaves; the unseen violets are breathing forth sweets; the
blackbird trills his mellow notes in the thicket; the wren twitters
in the hedge; and the redbreast hops round the door. We enter. All is
right. We try our heat. ‘Donald, a leetle more cold. That will do.
{62} In with the malt. Every grain, you hound.’ ‘Ech! Donald’s no the
man to pench the maut.’ ‘Now stir, for life;’ and the active stirrer
turns over and over the fragrant grain in the smoking liquid. All
is covered up close, and the important mash (twelve bushels to the
hogshead) is completed.

“But of what sort of malt? ‘Another question for the swordsmen,’ for
of ‘malts’ there are as many flavours, almost, as of vintages. They
who think that if malt be but sweet, mealy, and well crushed—that is
all—know, begging their pardons, little of the matter. We have heard
brewers, who thought themselves no fools, assert that the hops alone
give the ale its flavour; and that the difference between pale and
high dried malt is only in colour. They might as well have argued
that the lemon gives all the flavour to punch! We, Christopher North,
aver, that upon the degree of dryness which has been given to the
malt, the distinguishing flavour of malt liquor mainly depends. The
bitter principle of the hop is only the ground or substratum upon
which the skilful brewer builds his peculiar flavour of beer. As more
or less of hops is put in, no doubt the saccharine principle of the
malt is subdued, or is suffered to predominate. But in malt there is,
besides the mere sugar which it contains in common with so many other
vegetables, a flavour peculiar to itself: and this is brought out and
modified by the application of more or less of the great chemical
agent, heat, to the malted barley. In short, fire makes malt more or
less savoury, much as it makes a brandered fowl, or a mutton steak, or
a toasted oaten cake, more or less savoury.”

Countless receipts have been preserved for making, flavouring, and
keeping home-brew from the days of the Saxon Leechbooks down to the
present time. Some of the older ones were supposed to depend for their
efficacy on supernatural intervention. “If the ale be spoilt,” says an
old _Saxon Leechdom_, “take lupins, lay them on the four quarters of
the dwelling, and over the door, and under the threshold, and under the
ale-vat, put the wort (the herb) into the ale with holy water.”

In a Scotch brewer’s instructions for Scotch ale, dated 1793, may be
found a mystical note: “I throw a little dry malt, which is left on
purpose, on the top of the mash, with a handful of salt, _to keep the
witches from it_, and then cover it up.” Perhaps the idea that witches
could spoil the ale by their evil charms gave rise to the phrase “water
bewitched,” signifying very weak beer or other liquor.

The plant, ale-cost (ground ivy), was, during the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, used for “dispatching the maturation” of ale and
beer. {63} Gerard, in his _Herball_ (1579), mentions the same plant
under the name of ale-houve. “The women of our northern parts,” he
says, “do tun the herb ale-houve into their ale, but the reason thereof
I know not.”

Our ancestors either must have had some means of very rapidly
“maturing” their ale, or they must have been content to drink it
unmatured; for it is recorded in the _Munimenta Academica Oxon._ that
a brewer of Oxford was, in 1444, compelled to solemnly swear before
the Chancellor that he would let his ale stand twelve hours to clear,
before he carried it to hall or college for sale; and in London it
was the custom to drink ale even newer, so much so, that on complaint
being made, in the fourteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, that the brewers
deliver ale and beer but two or three hours after it has been cleansed
and tunned, an ordinance was made that the brewers should not deliver
their liquors until eight hours after it had been tunned in the summer
months, and six hours in the winter.

Ivory shavings have been recommended for rapidly maturing beer,
and it is related that a woman, who lived at Leighton Buzzard, in
Bedfordshire, and had the best ale in the town, once told a gentleman
she had drink just done working in the barrel, and that she would wager
it was fine enough to drink out of a glass even before it was bunged.
It was as she said, and the ivory shavings, that she boiled in the
wort, were the cause of it.

Among the many receipts given in old works for “recovering” ale or
beer when it has turned sour, is one directing the housewife to put a
handful or two of ground malt into the beer, stir it well together,
which will make the beer work and become good again. In another receipt
the brewer is directed to put a handful of oatmeal into a barrel of
beer when first laid into the cellar, which will cause it to carry
with it a quick and lively taste. The root of flower-de-luce or iris
suspended in ale is said to be a specific against sourness.

Another plan is to calcine oyster shells, beat them to powder with a
like quantity of chalk, put them in a thin bag into the liquor, hanging
it almost to the bottom, and in twenty-four hours the work will be
effected. It may be suggested that in these cases prevention is better
than cure—drink your beer while it is good, and do not give it an
opportunity of getting sour. An old receipt for preserving small beer
without the help of hops, is to mix a small quantity of treacle with
a handful of wheat and bean flour and a little ginger, to knead the
mixture to a due consistence, and put it into the barrel. “It has been
a common observation,” said an old writer, “that both beer and ale are
{64} apt to be foul, disturbed, and flat in bean season; the same is
observed of wines in the vintage countries. Thunder is also a spoiler
of good malt liquor, to prevent the effects of which, laying a solid
piece of iron on each cask has hitherto been esteemed an effectual
prevention of the above injuries.” In some places, too, an iron pad
fitting closely over the bunghole is used, and in others an iron tray
answers the same purpose. An old receipt book contains the following
remarkable directions for making forty sorts of ale out of one barrel
of liquor.

“Have ale of good body, and when it has worked well bottle it off, but
fill not the bottles within three spoonfuls; then being ripe, as you
use it, fill it up with the syrup of any fruit, root, flower, or herb
you have by you for that purpose, or drop in chimical oyls or waters of
them, or of spices, and with a little shaking the whole mass will be
tinctured and taste pleasantly of what you put in; and so you may make
all sorts of physical ales with little trouble, and no incumbrance,
more healthful and proper than if herbs were soaked in it or drugs,
which in the pleasant entertainment will make your friends wonder how
you came by such variety on a sudden.”

Thus much then, of home-brew; the subject is almost inexhaustible and
pleasant withal, but the laws of space are inexorable, and forbid
further tarrying. As Walter de Biblesworth quaintly remarks:—

 Ceste matyre cy repose,
 Parlom ore de autre chose.





 Then long may here the ale-charged Tankards shine,
 Long may the Hop plant triumph o’er the Vine.
                                _Brasenose College Shrovetide Poem._

 The Hop for his profit I thus do exalt.
 It strengtheneth drink, and it favoureth Malt;
 And being well brewed, long kept it will last,
 And drawing abide—if ye draw not too fast.
                                                    _Thomas Tusser._


The hops used in beer-brewing are the female flowers of the hop
plant known to botanists as the _Humulus lupulus_ of Linnæus. At
first sight it may seem strange that hops and wolves should have
anything in common, but it has been explained that the word _lupulus_
comes from the name by which the Romans called the hop plant—_Lupus
Salictarius_—the idea being that the hop was as destructive among the
willows (where it grew) as a wolf among sheep. Though hops are now
staple articles of a large commerce, and largely cultivated in England,
America, Belgium, France, and our colonies, some few hundred years ago
their valuable qualities were little known in this country.

How, when, and where the flowers of the hop plant were first used to
give to beer its delicious flavour and keeping qualities, is not {66}
accurately known. Pliny, in his _Natural History_, states that the
Germans preserved ale with hops, and there is a Rabbinical tradition,
referring to still earlier times, to the effect that the Jews, during
their captivity in Babylon, found the use of hopped ale a protection
against their old enemy, leprosy. In a letter of donations, the great
King Pepin uses the word “Humuloria,” meaning hop gardens. Mesne, an
Arabian physician, who wrote about the year 845, also mentions hops;
and Basil Valentine, an alchemist of the 14th century, specifically
refers to the use of the hop in beer. Dr. Thudichum, in his pamphlet,
_Alcoholic Drinks_, tells us that in early days of beer production
wild hops only were used, as is the practice at the present day in
Styria, but that in some foreign countries the plant has been largely
cultivated for nearly a thousand years. It is a well-known fact that
in the eighth and ninth centuries, hop gardens, called Humuloria or
Humuleta, existed in France and Germany.

That the hop was known to the English before the Conquest in some form
or other, is proved by the reference to the hymele, or hop plant, in
the Anglo-Saxon version of the _Herbarium_, of Apuleius. Although no
trace of the word hymele now remains in our every-day language, it is
found in Danish as “humle,” and is only the English form of the Latin
_humulus_. The _Herbarium_ just mentioned contains a remarkable passage
with reference to “hymele.” “This wort,” it says, “is to that degree
laudable that men mix it with their usual drinks.” The usual drinks
of the English were undoubtedly malt liquors, and this passage would
go far to show that even in Saxon times the hop was used in English
brewing. Cockayne, the learned editor of _Saxon Leechdoms_, is inclined
to this opinion, and he instances in confirmation of it that special
mention is made of the hedge-hymele, as though there existed at that
time a cultivated hop from which it had to be distinguished; he also
cites the name Hymel-tun, in Worcestershire (now Himbleton), which he
states is mentioned in Anglo-Saxon deeds, and which could hardly have
signified anything less than hop yard. The word _hopu_ (_i.e._, hops)
also occurs in Saxon documents. _Ewe-hymele_ is mentioned in _Saxon
Leechdoms_, and would probably signify the female hop. In the year 822
there is a record that the millers of Corbay were freed by the abbot
from all labours relating to hops, and a few years later hops are
mentioned by Ludovicus Germanicus.

The introduction of hops into England has been generally assigned
to the early part of the sixteenth century. The old but unreliable
distich, {67}

 Hops, Reformation, bays and beer
 Came into England all in one year,[35]

points to a period subsequent to 1520 as the time when the great
improvement of adding hops to malt liquors was first practised in this
country. This rhyme probably refers to the settling of certain Flemings
in Kent, to be mentioned anon, which no doubt gave a great impulse to
the use of hops; it cannot well refer to their first introduction, as
they were known in England for many years previously and were used in
beer-brewing nearly a century before the Reformation.

   [35] Two other versions are to be found:

      “Hops and turkeys, carp and beer
       Came into England all in one year;”


      “Turkeys, carps, hops, pickerel, and beer
       Came into England all in one year.”

   The couplets also err as to pickerel, which are mentioned in
   mediæval glossaries at a date long before the Reformation.

In that curious old work the _Promptorium Parvulorum_ (1440), which is,
in fact, an old English-Latin dictionary, occur some passages which,
when taken in conjunction with the London Records of a slightly later
date, seem to show that the introduction of hops into English brewing
(excepting their possible use in Saxon times) should be assigned to a
period a little before the middle of the fifteenth century.

The word “hoppe” is defined as “sede for beyre. Humulus secundum
extraneos.” “Bere” is defined as “a drynke. Humulina, vel humuli
potus, aut cervisia hummulina.” The inference to be drawn from these
passages is that hops and beer, in the sense of hopped ale, were
known in England some time previous to the year 1440. The compiler,
however, shows by his definition of “bere” as a “drynke,” that the
word required some explanation, for when he mentions “ale,” he simply
gives the Latin equivalent, “cervisia.” He certainly regarded beer
as an interloper, as shown by his note on ale, “Et nota bene quod
est _potus Anglorum_.” Four years after the date of the publication
of the Promptorium, William Lounde and Richard Veysey were appointed
inspectors or surveyors of the “bere-bruers” of the City of London,
as distinguished from the ale-brewers who were at this time a company
governed by a master and wardens. Ten years later an {68} ordinance
for the government of the beer-brewers was sanctioned by the Lord
Mayor. From this date the City Records contain frequent mention of the
beer-brewers as distinct from the ale-brewers. However, beer, “the son
of ale,” as an old writer calls it, did not rapidly attain popularity.
Ten years after the date last referred to, the beer-brewers petitioned
the Lord Mayor and “Worshipfull soveraignes the Aldermen” of the City
of London, in these terms:—“To the full honourable Lord the Maire,
etc. Shewen mekely unto youre good Lordshipp and maistershippes, the
goode folke of this famous citee the which usen Bere-bruyng within
the same, that where all mistiers and craftys of the sd citee have
rules and ordenances by youre grete auctoritees for the common wele
of this honourable citee made, and profite of the same craftys,” but
the petitioners have none such rules, and therefore the citizens
are liable to be imposed upon “in measure of barell, kilderkyns and
firkyns, _and in hoppes and other greynes_ the which to the said
mistiere apperteynen. . . . It is surmysed upon them that often tymes
they make their bere of unseasonable malt the which is of little prise
and unholsome for mannes body for their singular availe, forasmuch as
the comon peple _for lacke of experience cannot know the perfitnesse
of bere as wele as of the ale_,” the petitioners pray that certain
regulations of the trade may be established by authority. Passing
over another period of twenty years, during which the City Records
contain nothing to show whether hops and beer advanced or declined in
popularity, we find that in the first year of Richard III. a petition
was presented to Lord Mayor Billesdon, by the Brewers’ Company, showing
“that whereas by the sotill and crafty means of foreyns[36] dwelling
withoute the franchises . . . . . a deceivable and unholsome fete
in bruyng of ale within the said citee nowe of late is founde and
practised, that is to say, in occupying and puttyng of hoppes and other
things in the said ale, contrary to the good and holesome manner of
bruynge of ale of old tyme used, . . . to the great deceite and hurt
of the King’s liege people. . . . Pleas it therefore your saide good
lordshyppe to forbid the putting into ale of any hops, herbs, or any
other like thing, but onely licour, malte and yeste.” The petition is
granted and a penalty of 6s. 8d. is laid on every barrel of ale so
brewed contrary to the ancient use. This early use of the technical
{69} term “licour,” or liquor, instead of water is noteworthy. We
learn by a note in the Letter-book that the fine on putting hops into
ale was shortly afterwards reduced to 3s. 4d. the barrel, while any
other kind of adulteration is still to subject the offender to the
full fine of 6s. 8d. It will have been observed that it is not the
making of _beer_ which is forbidden, but the putting of hops into
_ale_, and selling the drink as ale. There is abundant evidence to
show that beer continued to be made and sold with the sanction of the
authorities, and that the beer-brewers, many of whom at this time were
Dutchmen, practised a separate craft from that of the ale-brewers. Two
years after the date of the last petition a regulation was made that
no beer-brewer is to be “affered” (fined) more than 6s. 8d., nor
an ale-brewer more than two shillings, for breaking the assize. The
oath of the ale-searchers contains the following passage:—“Ye shall
swear . . . to search and assay . . . that the ale be holsom, weell
soden and able for mannes body, and made with none other stuff but
only with holsom and clere ale-yest, watyr and malt, and such as you
find unholsom for mannes body or brewed with any other thing except
with watyr and malt, be it with rosen, _hoppes_, _bere-yest_, or any
other craft, . . .” you shall duly report for punishment. In the
same year it is recorded that the _beer-brewers_ were ordered to use
“gode clene, sweete, holsom greyne and _hoppes_,” and the rulers of
the _beer-brewers_ are to have powers of inspection of hops and other

   [36] A “foreyn” was one who was not a freeman of the City—no
   reference to nationality.

Prosecutions for the use of hops were frequent, but they were for
putting hops into _ale_, and not for brewing beer. In the twelfth
year of Henry VII., John Barowe was presented by the wardens of the
brewers because he brewed _ale_ with _beer-yeast_, “_quod est corpori
humano insalubre_.” Nine years later Robert Dodworth, brewer’s servant,
confessed that he had brewed “a burthen of _ale_ in the house of his
master in Fleet Street with hops, contrary to the laws and laudable
acts and customs of the city.” In the tenth year of Henry VIII.,
William Shepherd, brewer’s servant to Philip Cooper, “occupying the
feat of bruing,” made a deposition that he had “once since Michaelmas
last brewed _ale_ with hops, but that his master knew not of it,”
but that he had heard that other servants had brewed with hops, “and
that was the cause why he brewed with hoppes, and more he would not
say.” Philip Cooper, however, was evidently suspected, for in the
same records we find that he was compelled to bring into the Court “a
standing cup with a cover of gylt with three red hearts in the bottom
of the cup to stand to the order of the Court touching the brewing
with hoppes.” On {70} payment of a fine of five shillings, his gage
is ordered to be returned to him. Many other passages could be quoted
from the City Records in support of the view that beer-brewing was
not forbidden, but only the adulteration, as it was considered, of
the old English ale with an admixture of hops. We have dwelt somewhat
fully upon this part of the subject, as there appears to be an almost
universal misconception as to the date of the introduction of hops
into England, and as to their use having been for some time altogether
prohibited by the law of the land. The only authority for this last
mentioned idea, seems to be the statement of Fuller, in his _Worthies
of England_, that hops were forbidden as the result of a petition
which was presented in the time of Henry VI. against “the wicked weed
called hops.” No statute to this effect is in existence, no record is
to be found in the rolls of Parliament of any such petition, and the
statement is in opposition to the evidence we have been able to collect
on the subject.

About the year 1524 a large number of Flemish immigrants settled in
Kent, cultivated hops and brewed beer, and soon caused that county
to become famous for its hop gardens and the excellence of their
produce. To these strangers is perhaps due the chief credit of having
enlightened the British mind on the subject of bitter beer, and their
advent is probably the event pointed to in the old couplet already

Among the numerous officials appointed to enforce the regulations of
the City, were persons called hop-searchers, whose duty it was to
search for defective hops, which, when found were burnt. Wriothesley’s
Chronicle mentions that “on the 10th daie of September, 1551, was
burned in Finsburie Field XXXI sacke and pokettes of hopps in the
afternoune, being nought, and not holsome for man’s bodie, and
condemned by an Act made by my Lord Maior and his bretheren the
aldermen the 10th daie of September, at which court six comeners of the
Cittie of London were apoynted to be serchers for a hole yeare for the
said hopps; and they were sworne the fifth daie of this moneth and made
search ymediatlie for the same.”

The popular taste is not a thing to be changed in a day, and at that
happy period of history when railways, penny posts, newspapers, stump
orators and other nineteenth-century methods of enlightenment were
unknown and undreamt of, it may well be understood that the knowledge
of this great improvement spread but slowly. Not only were the
English slow to appreciate what the Flemings had done for them, but
they believed that they were like to be poisoned by the new-fangled
drink which was not in their eyes to be compared to the sweet and
{71} thick, but honest and unsophisticated English ale. The writers
of the day are loud in their abuse of beer. In the passages from
Andrew Boorde’s _Dyetary_ (1542), quoted in Chapter I. (p. 6), ale is
described as being the natural drink of Englishmen, and made of malt
and water, while beer, which is composed of malt, hops, and water, is
the natural drink of a Dutchman, and of late is much used in England,
to the great detriment of many Englishmen. There is a truly insular
ring about this. We should like to enlighten old Andrew’s darkness by a
draught of sparkling Burton. Boorde undoubtedly expresses the popular
opinion of the period, for from Rastall’s _Book of Entries_ we learn
that an ale-man brought his action against his Brewer for spoiling his
ale, by putting in it a certain _weed_ called a _hopp_, and recovered
damages. Even Harry the Eighth, who of all our kings was the greatest
lover of good things—and a few bad ones—was blind to the merits of the
hop, and enjoined the Royal brewer of Eltham that he put neither hops
nor brimstone into the ale. Possibly sulphuring, of which a word or
two anon, was then in use; we cannot otherwise account for the mention
of brimstone. This was in 1530, only six years after the Flemings had
settled in Kent.

Abused by medical writers as drink only fit for Dutchmen, objected
to by the king, and disliked by the majority of the people, the
song-writers of the day, of course, had a good deal to say against the
new drink. In the _High and Mightie Commendation of the Virtue of a Pot
of Good Ale_, it is hardly surprising to find the following lines:—

 And in very deed, the hops but a weed
   Brought over ’gainst law, and here set to sale,
 Would the law were removed, and no more Beer brewed,
   But all good men betake them to a pot of good ale.

        *       *       *       *       *

 But to speak of killing, that am I not willing,
   For that in a manner were but to rail,
 But Beer hath its name ’cause it brings to the Bier,
   Therefore well fare, say I, to a pot of good ale.

 Too many, I wis, with their deaths proved this,
   And therefore (if ancient records do not fail)
 He that first brewed the hop, was rewarded with a rope,
   And found his Beer far more bitter than Ale.


The ale-wives and brewers, however, were wiser than their customers,
and, induced also by the fact that their hopped ale went not sour as of
yore, stuck to their colours—nailed to a hop pole no doubt—and slowly
but surely educated the taste of the people. It was, however, a long

Henry, in his _History of England_, vol. 6, referring to the Scottish
diet about the end of the sixteenth century, writes:—

“_Ale_ and gascony wines were the principal liquors; but mead, cyder,
and perry were not uncommon. Hops were still scarce, and seldom
employed in _Ale_, which was brewed therefore in small quantities, to
be drunk while new. At the King’s table _Ale_ was prohibited as unfit
for use till _five days old_.”

From a whimsical old book, entitled _Wine, Beer, Ale, and Tobacco, a
dialogue_, in which the two leading malt liquors of the day (1630)
converse, and give their own views on the subject, it appears that even
as late as the seventeenth century beer was little known in country
districts, though popular in London.

Beer is introduced making a pun on his own name; he says to Wine,
“Beere leave, sir.” The chief points in Ale’s argument, which
is better than that of any of the others, are contained in the
following passage:—“You, Wine and Beer, are fain to take up a corner
anywhere—your ambition goes no farther than a cellar; the whole house
where I am goes by my name, and is called Ale-house. Who ever heard
of a Wine-house, or a Beer-house? My name, too, is, of a stately
etymology—you must bring forth your latin. Ale, so please you, from
alo, which signifieth nourish—I am the choicest and most luscious of
potations.” Wine, Beer, and Ale at last compose their differences, each
having a certain dominion assigned to him, and join in singing these

   Wine.—I, generous Wine am for the court.
   Beer.—The citie call for Beere.
    Ale.—But Ale, bonnie Ale, like a lord of the soile.
              In the country shall domineere.

 Chorus.—Then let us be merry, wash sorry away,
          Wine, Beer and Ale shall be drunk this day.

In the end Tobacco appears—He arrogates an equality with Wine—“You and
I both come out of a pipe.” The reply is, “Prithee go smoke elsewhere.”
“Don’t incense me, don’t inflame Tobacco,” he retorts; but is told, “No
one fears your puffing—turn over a new _leaf_, Tobacco, most high and
mighty Trinidado.” {73}

In an old play printed a few years later (1659) it is indicated that
ale was still generally made without hops:—

 Ale is immortal:
   And, be there no stops
 In bonny lads quaffing,
   Can live without hops.

If Defoe’s statement on the subject, in his _Tour Through Great
Britain_, is correct, it must, indeed, have been many years before the
use of hops made any headway in the northern portions of the kingdom.
“As to the North of England,” he writes, “they formerly used but few
Hops there, their Drink being chiefly pale smooth ale, which required
no hops; and consequently they planted no hops in all that part of
England North of Trent. . . . But as for some years past, they not only
brew great quantities of Beer in the North, but also use hops in the
brewing of their ale, much more than they did before, so they all come
south of Trent to buy their hops.”

In the reign of Edward VI., by the Statute 5 and 6 Ed. VI. c. 5
(repealed 5 Eliz. c. 2), it was enacted that all land formerly in
tillage should again be cultivated, excepting “land set with saffron
or hops.” This is, we believe, the first mention of hops in the
Statute book. The next Act on the subject was one passed in 1603, by
which regulations were made for the curing of hops, which process had
thenceforward to be carried out under the inspection of the officers
of excise. From a petition presented by the Brewers’ Company to Lord
Burleigh, a few years previously (1591), we learn that the price of
hops was then £3 16s. 8d. to £4 10s. 6d. per cwt., instead of
6s. 8d. as formerly, and was, the Brewers said, in quality well worth
three hundredweight of those sold at that time. Hops were evidently
coming into favour. We gather from an old receipt that about the end
of the century, Beer was made with “40 lbs. of hoppeys to 40 qrs. of

[Illustration: A Perfite Platform of a Hoppe Garden.

Of ramming of Poales.

 “Then with a peece of woode as bigge belowe as the great ende of one
 of youre Poales, ramme the earth that lieth at the outsyde of the

Cutting Hoppe Rootes.

 “When you pull downe your hylles . . . you should undermine them round

Of Tying of Hoppes to the Poales.

 “When your hoppes are growne about one or two foote high, bynde up
 (with a rushe or grasse) such as decline from the Poales, wynding them
 as often about the same Poales as you can, and directing them alwayes
 according to the course of the Sunne.”

About the earliest English work on the culture of hops is an old
black-letter pamphlet published in 1574 “at the Signe of the Starre,
in Paternoster Rowe.” It is entitled, “_A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe
Garden_, and necessarie instructions for the making and mayntenance
thereof, with notes and rules for reformation of all abuses, commonly
practised therein, very necessary and expedient for all men to have,
which in any wise have to doe with hops.” The author was one Reynolde
Scot, and the little volume is adorned with quaint illustrations, and
tastefully designed initial letters. The work is dedicated to {75}
“Willyam Lovelace Esquire, Sergeaunt at the Lawe,” whom the author
desires to accompany him in a consideration of “a matter of profite,
or rather with a poynt of good Husbandrie, (in aparance base and
tedious, but in use necessarie and commodious, and in effect pleasant
and profitable) (that is to saye) to look downe into the bowels of your
grounde, and to seeke about your house at Beddersden (which I see you
desire to garnish with many costly commodities) for a convenient plot
to be applyed to a Hoppe Garden, to the furtherance and accomplishing
whereof, I promyse and assure you, the labour of my handes, the
assistance of my advise, and the effect of myne experience.”

This little work is recommended to the reader (the recommendation
covers four pages) more particularly “as a recompence to the labourer,
as a commoditie to the house-keeper, as a comfort to the poor, and as
a benefite to the Countrie or Commonwealth, adding thus much hereunto,
that there cannot lightly be employed grounde to more profitable use,
nor labour to more certain gaynes; howbeit, with this note, that no
mysterie is so perfect, no floure so sweete, no scripture so holy,
but by abuse a corrupt body, ascending to his venomous nature, may
draw poyson out of the same, and therefore blame not this poore trade
for that it maketh men riche in yielding double profite.” The author
goes on to say that it grieves him to see how “the Flemings envie our
practise herein” and declare English hops to be bad, so that they may
send the more into England. From this it would seem clear that at all
events foreign hops were extensively used in English beer at that date,
and English hop gardens by no means common. Scot, who must have been
a man of common sense, gives good advice to intending hop growers.
They are to consider three things: “First, whether you have, or can
procure unto yourself, any grounde good for that purpose” (_i.e._, the
cultivation of hops). “Secondly, of the convenient standing thereof.
Thirdly, of the quantitie. And this I saye by the way, if the grounde
you deale withall, be not your own enheritance, procure unto your selfe
some certayne terme therein, least another man reape the fruite of your
traveyle and charge.”

From the epilogue, which concludes with a tremendous denunciation
of those who allow strangers from beyond the seas to bring into the
country that which we ought to grow ourselves, we cull the following
quaint passage:

“There will some smell out the profitable savour of this herbe, some
wyll gather the fruit thereof, some will make a sallet therewith (which
is good in one respect for the bellye, and in another for the {76}
Purse), and when the grace and sweetenesse hereof conceived, some will
dippe their fingers therein up to the knuckles, and some will be glad
to licke the Dishe, and they that disdayne to be partakers hereof,
commonly prove to be such as have mountaynes in fantasie, and beggary
in possession.”

Reynolde Scot’s pamphlet is most complete in the directions it gives
concerning hop-growing, and, strange to say, the system of cultivation
seems little changed since then. The author levels the following
remarks at the heads of those who might, yet will not, grow hops:—
“Methinks I might aptlye compare such men as have grounde fitte
for this purpose, and will not employ it accordingly, to ale-house
knightes, partly for the small devotion which both the one and the
other have unto Hoppes, but especially for that many of these ale
knights havyng good drinke at home of their owne, can be content to
drinke moore abroade at an ale-house, so they may sit close by it. Let
them expounde this comparison that buy their hoppes at Poppering, and
may have them at home with more ease, and lesse charge.”

Honest old Thomas Tusser, in his “_Five Hundred Points of Good
Husbandry_” (1580), has a good deal to say about hops. He gives a
charmingly quaint but very practical “lesson where and when to plant a
good hop-yard.”

 Whom fancy persuadeth among other cropps
 To have for his spending, sufficient of hopps,
 Must willingly follow, of choyses to chuse;
 Such lessons approved, as skilful do use.

 Ground gravely, sandly, and mixed with clay
 Is naughty for hops, any maner of way,
 Or if it be mingled with rubbish and stone,
 For drienes and barrennes, let it alone.

 Chuse soile for the hop of the rottenest mould
 Well donged and wrought as a garden plot should,
 Not far from the water (but not overflowne)
 This lesson well noted is meete to be knowne.

 The Sunne in the South, or els southly by west,
 Is joye to the hop as a welcomed gest,
 But wind in the North, or els northely and east,
 To hop is as ill as fray in a feast. {77}

 Meete plot for a hopyard, once found as is told,
 Make thereof accompt, as of jewell of gold,
 Now dig it, and leave it the sunne for to burne,
 And afterwards fence it to serve for that turn.

Among the directions for good husbandry for the various months, Tusser
advises that—

 In March at the furdest, drye season or wet,
 Hope rootes so well chosen, let skilful go set,
 The goeler[37] and younger, the better I love
 Wel gutted[38] and pared, the better they prove.

 Some layeth them crosewise, along in the ground,
 As high as the knee, they do come up round.
 Some pricke up a sticke, in the midds of the same:
 That little round hillocke, the better to frame!

 Some maketh a hollownes, halfe a foote deepe,
 With fower sets in it, set slant wise a steepe
 One foote from another, in order to lye,
 And thereon a hillock, as round as a pye.

        *       *       *       *       *

 By willows that groweth, thy hopyard without,
 And also by hedges, thy meadowes about,
 Good hop hath a pleasure, to climbe and to spread:
 If sonne may have passage to comfort her hed.

   [37] goeler = goodlier.

   [38] gutted = taken off from the old roots.

The process of setting the hop-poles is thus described:—

 Get into thy hopyard with plentie of poles,
 Amongst those same hillocks deuide them by doles,
 Three poles to a hillock (I pas not how long)
 Shall yield thee more profit, set deeplie and strong.

Care must be taken to weed and to fence the hop garden:—

 Grasse, thistle and mustard seede, hemlock and bur,
 Tine, mallow and nettle, that keepe such a stur,
 With peacock and turkie, that nibbles off top,
 Are verie ill neighbors to seelie poore hop.

        *       *       *       *       * {78}

 If hops do looke brownish, then are ye to slow,
 If longer ye suffer, those hops for to growe.
 Now, sooner ye gather, more profite is found,
 If weather be faier, and deaw of ye ground.

 Not break of, but cut of, from hop the hop string,
 Leave growing a little, again for to spring.
 Whos hil about pared, and therewith new clad,
 That nurrish more sets, against March to be had.

 Hop hillock discharged, of every set
 See then without breaking, ecche poll ye out get,
 Which being betangled, above in the tops:
 Go carry to such, as are plucking of hops.

We have quoted rather largely from Tusser’s poem, thinking that it may
interest hop-growers of the present day.

Reynolde Scot’s appeal was not in vain, for in 1608 there is no doubt
that hop plantations were fairly abundant, though the plant was not
sufficiently cultivated for home consumption. In that year an Act was
passed against the importation of spoilt hops. Until 1690, however, the
greater part of supply was drawn from abroad, and then, to encourage
home production, a duty of twenty shillings per cwt. over and above
all other charges, was put upon those imported. Walter Blith, writing
in 1643, speaks of hops as a “national commoditie.” In 1710, the duty
of a penny per lb. was imposed upon all hops reared in England, and
threepence on foreign hops. In subsequent years slight variations were
made in the amount of the duty, and finally it was abolished, when
hop-grounds at once began to increase.

When the duty was high, and hops scarce, substitutes for _Humulus
lupulus_ were experimented with, among others, pine and willow bark,
cascarilla bark, quassia, gentian, colocynth, walnut leaf, wormwood
bitter, extract of aloes, cocculus indicus berries, capsicum, and
others too numerous to mention, picric acid being perhaps the most
modern. None of these have been found to be an equivalent for the hop,
lacking its distinct and independent elements of activity.

So far we have treated solely of the somewhat chequered history of the
hop. Let us now consider its merits and uses. Thus sang the poet:—

 Lo! on auxiliary Poles, the Hops
 Ascending spiral, rang’d in meet array: {80}
 Lo! how the arable with Barley-Grain
 Stands thick, o’er-shadow’d to the thirsty hind
 Transporting prospect!—_These,———_
 _————infus’d an auburn Drink compose_
 _Wholesome of Deathless Fame._

[Illustration: A Perfite Platform of a Hoppe Garden.

Training the Hoppe.

 “It shall not be amisse nowe and then to passe through your Garden,
 having in eche Hande a forked wande, directyng aright such Hoppes as
 decline from the Poales.”

Gathering the Hoppe.

 “Cutte them” (the hop stalkes) “a sunder wyth a sharpe hooke, and wyth
 a forked staffe take them from the Poales.”

But from poets we do not, as a rule, gather much practical information,
except from such as worthy old Tusser. Harrison, in his description
of England, says: “The continuance of the drinke is alwaie determined
after the quantitie of the hops, so that being well hopped it lasteth
longer.” A modern writer puts it thus: “The principal use of hops in
brewing is for the preservation of malt liquor, and to communicate to
it an agreeably aromatic bitter flavour. The best are used for ale and
the finer kinds of malt liquor, and inferior kinds are used for porter.”

“Brew in October and hop it for long keeping,” was the excellent advice
given by Mortimer. Dr. Luke Booker, in his sequel poem to the Hop
Garden, of course devotes some lines to this subject:—

 Hop’s potent essence, Ale.——bring hither, Boy!
 That smiling goblet, from the cask just brimmed
 Where floats a pearly star. By it inspired,
 No purple wine—no Muse’s aid I ask,
 To nerve my lines and bid them smoothly flow.

And in another place:—

             Then whencesoever the Hop,
 That flavouring zest and spirit to my cask
 Imparts, preservative—a needless truth
 ’Twere to reveal. There are, whose accurate taste
 Will tell the region where it mantling grew.

In relation to his allusion to a “pearly star,” Dr. Booker tells
us that, “When ale is of sufficient strength and freshness, there
will always float a small cluster of minute pearl-like globules in
the centre of the drinking vessel, till the spirit of the liquor is

Hops are an essential to the brewer, not only keeping the beer and
giving it an exquisite flavour, but also assisting, if we may be
pardoned for using a technical term in a work intended to be anything
but technical, to break down the fermentation.

Hops are valuable according as they contain much or little of a yellow
powder called lupuline, and technically known as “condition,” which
is deposited in minute yellow adhesive globules underneath the {81}
bracts of the flower tops, and amounts to from 20 per cent. to 30
per cent. of the dry hops. This powder has a powerful aromatic smell,
and is bitter to the taste. It contains hop resin, bitter acid of
hops (flavour familiar to bitter beer drinkers), tannic acid, and
hop oils, the chemical composition of which is not accurately known.
Hops contain most lupuline when the flower is fully matured. Year-old
hops only command about half the price of new. Those two years old
are called “old-olds,” and are still less valuable. After having been
five years in store they are worthless to brewers. Nearly all hops
intended to be kept are more or less (the less the better) subjected
to the fumes of sulphur, which, oxidising the essential oil, converts
it into valerianic acid, and combines with the sulphur to form a solid
body. Thus the oil, which would otherwise be the cause of mould, is
destroyed, and the hops can be kept. We believe it is the practice of
the best brewers to use a mixture of new and old hops, the latter being
slightly sulphured, so slightly, indeed, that the smell of the sulphur
cannot be detected.

Much has been written on the injurious effects of sulphuring, both to
the fermentation and the health of beer-drinkers, and some people have
very strong views on the subject. In 1855 a commission, which included
Liebig among its members, was appointed by the Bavarian Government to
inquire into the matter. After experiments which lasted over a period
of two years, a report was issued in which it was stated that in the
opinion of the commissioners, sulphuring was beneficial to the hops,
and in no way prejudicial to the fermentation. In 1877, a method was
made known of preserving hops without sulphur. The oil which prevents
the hops from keeping was separated from them by a chemical process,
and bottled. The hops were then pressed and kept in the usual way. When
required for brewing, the hops and oil could again be united by adding
ten or twelve drops of the latter to every twenty-two gallons of beer.
This system does not seem to have found favour with hop merchants.

Aloes have occasionally been used to restore decayed hops, though
with such poor success that we should hardly think the experiment was
often repeated. Professor Bradly, a Cambridge professor of botany,
wrote as follows:—“I cannot help taking notice here of a method which
has been used to stale and decayed hops, to make them recover their
bitterness, which is to unbag them, and sprinkle them with aloes and
water, which, I have known, has spoiled great quantities of drink about
London; for even where the water, the malt, the brewer, {82} and the
cellars are each good, a bad hop will spoil all: so that every one of
these particulars should be well chosen before brewing, or else we must
expect a bad account of our labour.”

The age of hops is known by their appearance, odour, and feel. New
unsulphured hops, for instance, when rubbed through the hand feel oily.
In their first year they are of a bright green colour, have an aromatic
smell and the lupuline is a bright yellow. In the second year they get
darker, have a slightly cheesy odour, and the lupuline becomes a golden
yellow. In the third year the lupuline is a dark yellow, the smell
being about the same as in the second year.

In the hedges about Canton is found a variety of hop growing wild. It
has been named the _Humulus Japonicus_. “Although this species,” says
Seemann, in his _Botany of the Voyage of H.M.S. Herald_, “was published
many years ago by Von Siebold and Zuccarini, we still find nearly
all our systematic works asserting that there is only _one_ species
of Humulus, as there seems to be only one species of Cannabis. This,
however, is a very good species, at once distinguished from the common
Hop by the entire absence of those resinous spherical glands, with
which the scales of the imbricated heads of the latter are scattered,
and to which they owe their value in the preparation of beer, making
the substitution of the one for the other for economical purposes an

So much then for the first and principal use of hops—and yet a few
lines more on the same subject; from Christopher Smart’s poem of the
_Hop Garden_:—

                               Be it so.
 But Ceres, rural Goddess, at the best
 Meanly supports her vot’ry, enough for her
 If ill-persuading hunger she repell,
 And keep the soul from fainting: to enlarge,
 To glad the heart, to sublimate the mind
 And wing the flagging spirits to the sky,
 Require the united influence and aid
 Of Bacchus, God of Hops, with Ceres joined,
 ’Tis he shall generate the buxom beer.

But hops have other uses than the generation of “the buxom beer.” The
discovery, which we consider an important one, was made a few years
back that hop-bine makes excellent ensilage. The subject was {83}
first mentioned, so far as we know, in a letter to _The Field_ of
December 6th, 1884, from A. L., probably, agent to H. A. Brassey, Esq.,
of Aylesford. The writer gave an account of the opening of a silo, in
one compartment of which had been placed eight tons of hop-bines, in
the beginning of the previous September. An account of the experiment
was also sent by a visitor at the farm, from whose letter the following
extract seems to us well worth perusal:—“The hop-bine is at present an
entirely waste material, except for littering purposes; and not a few
of the local farmers were anxious to see how it would turn out, and
whether stock would eat the hop-bine ensilage or not. No experiment
could be more satisfactory. The apparent condition and smell of a great
deal of it was even superior to that of several of the other varieties;
and when a bag of it was taken to the homestead and offered to some
fattening steers, which had been well fed just before, and were not
in the least hungry, they devoured it with great alacrity, and seemed
heartily to enjoy the new food; consequently this will be good news to

Early in ’85, the following important letter on the subject appeared in
the _Kentish Gazette_, from Mr. T. M. Hopkins, Lower Wick, Worcester:—

“Having learnt from Mr. Seymour, agent to H. A. Brassey, Esq., that
hop-bine made first-rate ensilage, last Oct. I made two stacks of it
16ft. by 16ft., and 18ft. high. After letting it ferment freely, I
pressed down with Reynolds and Co.’s patent screw press, and next day
filled up again; and, when sufficiently fermented, again pressed down,
and this lasted all through the hop-picking. I have now used nearly the
whole of it, and calculate that it has saved me some 80 tons of hay; no
more hop-bine do I waste in future as I have hitherto done. My horses
have had nothing else for two months, excepting their usual allowance
of corn, and I never had them looking better. I have also had 100 head
of cattle, stores, cows, and calves feeding on it for a fortnight, and
they do well. Dr. Voelcker, chemist to the R.A.S.E., who has analysed
it, says: ‘It has plenty of good material in it, and is decidedly rich
in nitrogen, nor is the amount of acid excessive or likely to harm
cattle.’ Another analyst, Mr. W. E. Porter, F.C.S., says: ‘It contains
more flesh-forming matter and less indigestible fibre than hay dried at
212.’ Planters should leave off growing hops to sell at present average
prices, 40s. to 50s., which is a dead loss. Let the plant run wild,
and they may every season cut two or three immense crops of material
that will make ensilage of unexceptionable quality.” {84}

To this there is little we can add.[39] The importance of the subject
is evident. We may, however, express a hope that hop-growers will not
act on Mr. Hopkins’ suggestion, and only grow hops for the sake of the
bine—English hops are too good for that. We have spoken of hop-bine
ensilage as a discovery, but French farmers have for years mixed green
hop-leaves with their cows’ food, under the belief, rightly or wrongly
we know not, that it increases the flow of milk. Possibly in the far
past hops were cultivated as fodder, and even used as ensilage. Silos
we know were used anciently, though only recently re-introduced owing
principally to the attention called to them in _The Field_ and the
agricultural journals.

   [39] In a letter with which we have recently been favoured by Mr.
   Hopkins, that gentleman says: “I have every reason to believe in the
   great value of Hop-Bine Ensilage . . . milking-cows do well with it,
   and it does not affect the flavour of the milk.”

The stem of the hop contains a vegetable wax, and sap from which can
be made a durable reddish brown. Its ash is used in the manufacture
of Bohemian glass; and it also makes excellent pulp for paper. From
its fibres ropes and coarse textile fabrics of considerable strength
have been made. The Van de Schelldon process of cloth-making from the
stem of the hop, invented, we believe, in 1866, is shortly as follows:
The stalks are cut, done up in bundles, and steeped like hemp. After
steeping they are dried in the sun. They are then beaten with mallets
to loosen the fibres, which are afterwards carded and woven in the
usual way. It is from the thicker stems that ropes can be made.

Several patents have been taken out for manufacturing paper from hops.
One taken out by a Mr. Henry Dyer was for paper made of fresh or spent
hops, or spent malt, alone or combined with other materials. In 1873 a
meeting of paper-makers was held in France, before whom was exhibited
a textile material made from the bark of the hop-stalk, the outer skin
being removed and subjected to chemical treatment. It was in long
pieces, and supple and delicate of texture.

About ten years ago it was announced, in a journal devoted to
photography, that an infusion of hops, mixed with pyrogallic acid,
albumen of eggs, and filtered in the ordinary way, could be used as
a preservative for the plates then in use by photographers. Plates
preserved with this, dried hard with a fine gloss, and yielded
negatives of very high quality. A mixture of beer and albumen was
formerly used {85} for the same purpose, but owing to the varying
quality and properties of the beer, was very uncertain in its action.

The root of the hop is not without its uses, containing starchy
substances which can be made into glucose and alcohol. It also contains
a certain amount of tannin, which, it has been suggested, might be used
with advantage in tanneries.

Until recently trumpeted forth in the advertisements of a certain
patent medicine, it was not generally known outside the medical
profession that hops possessed medicinal qualities of considerable
value. Old medical writers, however, must have changed their views on
the subject within a hundred years after the time of Andrew Boorde,
from whose works we have already quoted a few lines. Wm. Coles,
Herbalist, in his _History of Plants_, published in 1657, states that
certain preparations of hops are cures for about half the ills that
flesh is heir to. Another old writer declares the young shoots of the
hop, eaten like asparagus, to be very wholesome and effectual to loosen
the body (the poorer classes in some parts of Europe still eat the
young hops as a vegetable); the head and tendrils good to purify the
blood in the scurvy and most other cutaneous diseases (which scurvy is
not), and the decoctions of the flower and syrup thereof useful against
pestilential fevers. Juleps and apozems are also prepared with hops for
hypochondriacal and hysterical affections; and a pillow stuffed with
hops is used to induce sleep. This last method, by the way, was taken
advantage of by the medical advisers of George III. That unfortunate
king, when in a demented condition, always slept on a pillow so
prepared. Another writer tells us that the Spaniards were in the habit
of boiling a pound of hop roots in a gallon of water, reducing it to
six pints, and drinking half a pint when in bed of a morning, under
the belief that it possessed the same qualities as sarsaparilla. Dr.
Brooks, in his _Dispensatory_, published in 1753, concurs with the
older writers on the subject.

_Observations and Experiments on the Humulus Lupulus of Linnæus, with
an account of its use in Gout and other Diseases_, is the title of a
pamphlet by a Mr. Freake, of Tottenham Court Road, published in 1806.
The author states that a patient of his, who was in want of a bitter
tincture, found all the usual remedies disagree with him, and after
numerous unsatisfactory experiments, fell back upon a preparation of
hops, which appeared to answer its purpose. This led Mr. Freake to try
further experiments with the hop, when he came to the conclusion that
it was an excellent remedy for relieving the pains of gout, acting
sometimes when opium failed. {86}

Hops have also been employed with good effect in poultices. Dr.
Trotter, in one of his medical works, quotes a letter from an assistant
of Dr. Geach, once senior surgeon of the Royal Hospital at Plymouth, in
which the writer says that he had during six months experimented with
hops, and found that a poultice made of a strong decoction of hops,
oatmeal, and water was an excellent remedy for ulcers, which should
first be fomented with the decoction.

Dr. Paris, writing of the hop about the year 1820, says, “It is now
generally admitted that they constitute the most valuable ingredient in
malt liquors. Independently of the flavour and tonic virtues which they
communicate, they precipitate, by means of their astringent principle,
the vegetable mucilage, and thus remove from the beer the active
principle of its fermentation; without hops, therefore, we must either
drink our malt liquors new and ropy, or old and sour.”

In the introduction to Murray’s _Handbook of Kent_ it is stated that
invalids are occasionally recommended to pass whole days in hop grounds
as a substitute for the usual exhibition of Bass or Allsopp. In hop
gardens the air is no doubt impregnated with lupuline, so there may be
something in this.

At the present day lupuline is often used in medicine. Lupuline was
the name given by Ives to the yellow dust covering the female flower
of hops. Later, Ives, Chevallier, and Pellatau gave that name, not
to the dust, but to the bitter principle it contains. The recognized
preparations of hops are an infusion, a tincture, and an extract. They
are stomachic, tonic, and soporific. Dr. John Gardner, in one of his
works on medicine, says that “bitter ale, or the lupuline in pills
which it forms by simply rubbing between the fingers and warming, are
the best forms for using hops in dyspepsia and feeble appetite, which
they will often relieve.” The lupuline powder is easily separated
from the hops by means of a sieve. A hop bath to relieve pain is also
recommended by Dr. Gardner for certain painful internal diseases. It is
made thus: two pounds of hops are boiled in two gallons of water for
half an hour, then strained and pressed, and the fluid added to about
thirty gallons of water. This bath has been much praised. Hop beer
(without alcohol) is another preparation of the plant which has been

In America the hop is highly appreciated for medicinal purposes. There
are three preparations of it in the authorized code: a tincture, a
liquid extract, and an oleo-resin.

So much, then, for the history and economic and medicinal uses of {87}
the hop. Before we close this chapter it is our intention to give a
short account of the hop-growing countries and districts, of hopfields,
of hop-growers’ multifarious troubles, and some description of what are
perhaps the greatest curiosities of the subject—the hop-pickers.

The European hop-growing countries stand in the following order:
Germany takes the lead with about 477,000 acres of hop gardens,
England following, and then Belgium, Austria, France, and other
states (Denmark, Greece, Portugal, &c.), in which the acreage is
insignificant. According to Dr. Thudichum, 53,000,000 kilogrammes of
hops are produced annually in Europe, and in good years production may
rise to over 80,000,000. In America hops have been cultivated for more
than two centuries, having been introduced into the New Netherlands in
1629 and into Virginia in 1648. Hop-culture is now common in most of
the northern states.

We believe we are correct in saying that the best hop years America
has ever known, were 1866 to 1868, when the amount produced was from
2,400 lbs. to 2,500 lbs. per acre. In 1870 the total production was
25,456,669 lbs. In Australia hops are extensively cultivated; they are
also grown in China and India. In the latter place they have not been
introduced many years, but beer of a fair quality is made in some of
the hill stations. The following table shows approximately the acreage
of hops in England at the present time:

   District.              Acreage.
 Mid Kent                  17,150
 Weald of Kent             12,601
 East Kent                 11,885
 Sussex                     9,501
 Hereford                   6,087
 Hampshire                  2,938
 Worcester                  2,767
 Surrey                     2,439
 Other Counties               251

From the eastern limits of the hop gardens at Sandwich to the western
boundary in Hereford, hard by the borders of Wales, there are, then,
about 65,619 acres of hop gardens, or hop “yards,” as they are called
in some districts, _e.g._, Worcester and Hereford. North Cray, in
Nottinghamshire, formerly grew a good quantity of hops, but the
plantations are now considerably reduced, and this applies also to the
Stowmarket district, in Suffolk, and to Essex. The number of acres
devoted to the cultivation of hops has always been subject to great
{88} fluctuations; thus in 1807 they numbered 38,218; in 1819, 51,000;
in 1830, 46,727; and in 1875, 70,000.

Dr. Booker wrote that for quality of hops, Herefordshire stood first
Worcestershire second, Kent third, and North Cray fourth; but he was
probably mistaken, for the hops of East Kent have always been held
to be the best in all England, pre-eminent alike for strength and
flavour; those of Farnham, however, run them very closely. Our English
hops, indeed, are far superior to most of those imported, and the
foreigners are rarely used in beer without an admixture of home-grown
hops. Immense quantities now come from abroad; in 1828 only 4 cwt. were

Until quite recently, the whole of the hops in this country were poled
upon much the same system as that described in Reynolde Scot’s old
pamphlet—that is, three or four plants would be grown on a hillock,
each having a pole to climb. Now, the poles are largely supplemented
by wires arranged in various ways, sometimes, when covered with bine,
forming bell-tents of hops; and sometimes running from pole to pole.
Other wires leaving them at right angles are attached to pegs in the
ground. The aspect of the gardens is greatly changed, but they are not
less beautiful than of yore. Train the hop as you will, you cannot
make it unlovely. The vines twist lovingly round the slender wires and
tall poles, the former bending under their weight and swaying to and
fro in the breeze. From pole to pole run the topmost shoots, and the
whole field is one large arbour, roofed, if it be autumn, with verdant
foliage and golden green fruit. Then, may be, the sunlight here and
there touches the glorious clusters, giving them still richer colours.
“The hop for his profit I thus do exalt,” wrote old Tusser, “and for
his grace and beauty,” he might have added, but the worthy Thomas was
nothing if not practical. Howitt, in his _Year Book of the Country_
thus writes of the hop country in autumn: “But all is not sombre and
meditative in September. The hopfield and the nutwood are often scenes
of much jolly old English humour and enjoyment. In Kent and Sussex the
whole country is odorous with the aroma of hop, as it is breathed from
the drying kilns and huge wagons filled with towering loads of hops,
thronging the road to London. But not only is the atmosphere perfumed
with hops, but the very atmosphere of the drawing-room and dining-room
too. Hops are the grand flavour of conversation as well as of beer.
Gentlemen, ladies, clergymen, noblemen, all are growers of hops, and
deeply interested in the state of the crop and the market.” {89}

The use of wires is a serious matter for hop-pole growers if the
following calculation, made by some ingenious person, be correct.
Suppose that 45,000 acres of hops are under cultivation, and each acre
annually requires 800 new poles, the total annual requirement will
be 36,000,000 poles. Each acre of underwood from which poles are cut
produces about 3,000. Every year, therefore, 12,000 acres of underwood
must be cut to supply the demand. If each acre produces on an average
2,000 poles, which is nearer the truth than 3,000, then 18,000 acres
must be cut annually to supply the hop-gardens with poles.

Poets, in their search for similes, have not overlooked hops and hop
poles. In Gay’s _A New Song of New Similes_ occur the following lines:—

 Hard is her heart as flint or stone,
 She laughs to see me pale;
 And merry as a grig is grown,
 And brisk as _bottled ale_.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Ah me! as thick as _hops_ or hail
 The fine men crowd about her.

Then Cotton, in his verses to John Bradshaw, Esq., writes:—

 Mustachios looked like heroes’ trophies
 Behind their arms in th’ Herald’s office;
 The perpendicular beard appeared
 Like _hop-poles_ in a _hopyard_ reared.

Hop-growers’ troubles, furnish a theme of which, were we hop-growers,
we fear our readers would weary, for a volume might very well be
filled with a relation of them. Not being hop-growers, and having much
to write about ere we inscribe the sad word “finis,” we must content
ourselves only with such an account as will give our readers a general
idea of the subject. To begin with, the annual outlay per acre in the
gardens is very great, being about £36. A hop acre, be it observed,
is not an ordinary acre, but contains a thousand hop plants in rows,
six or seven feet apart, and is equal to about two-thirds the statutory

No crops are more precarious than the _humulus lupulus_. How said Dr.

 The spiral hop, high mantling, how to train
 _No common care_ to Britain’s gen’rous sons,
 Lovers of “nut-brown ale”—sing fav’ring Muse!


A glance at statistics will show the truth of our statement. In 1882
the return per acre did not average more than 1½ cwt. on account of a
perfect plague of aphides; while in 1859, which is about the best hop
year of the century, the return was 13¼ cwt. per acre. The average
yield during the last seventy-six years is about 6¾ cwt. per acre; not
a very large return for the outlay. In 1839 a certain hop plantation
in Kent of about 21½ acres, produced 15 cwt. per acre, and in the
following year only 1 cwt. per acre.

These extraordinary variations in the production of hop gardens are
caused by insects and the weather. Early in the year, when the vines
appear well grown and sturdy, the hop-grower may with a light heart,
perhaps, prophesy a good crop. In May a few aphides—winged females—are
noticed, and in August the silvery brightness of the delicate bracts
is blackened and spoilt by the filth of the lice—larvæ of the hop
aphis. About September a mighty wind comes; poles are blown down in all
directions, the ground is strewn with the cones blown from the vines,
and branches are bruised, causing the cones on them to wither and
decay before picking-time. Just as the hops are ripening two or three
cold nights perhaps occur, which throw them back and materially reduce
the value of the crop. Then they may be attacked with mildew, or even
when all evils have in most part been avoided, picking-time has all
but arrived, and the hop-grower is congratulating himself on his good
fortune, a shower of hail may happen, stripping the vines and reducing
the value of the crop by three-fourths.

Miss Ormerod, consulting entomologist to the Royal Agricultural
Society, has given much study to, and thrown considerable light upon,
the hop aphis. The course of the attack upon the hop she has discovered
to be as follows:—The aphis first comes upon the hop in the spring in
the form of wingless females (depositing young), which ascend the bine
from the ground. The great attack, however, which usually occurs in the
form of “fly” about the end of May, comes from damson and sloe bushes
as well as from the hop; the hop aphis and the damson aphis being, in
Miss Ormerod’s opinion, very slight varieties of one species, and so
similar in habits that for all practical purposes of inquiry they may
be considered one.

From experiments made on hop grounds in Hereford, the use of various
applications round the hills in the late autumn or about the beginning
of April, completely prevented attacks to the vines of those hills
until the summer attack came on the wing. Paraffin in any dry material
spread on the hills, proved serviceable both as a preventive {91} and
a remedy, and petroleum and kerosine were also used with advantage.
Among the methods of washing, the application of steam power opens up
a possibility of carrying out these operations with rapidity and at
less cost. When the fly is very bad, the common practice is, after
the picking is over, to clear the land of bine and weeds and to place
quicklime round the hills or plant centres.

When the hop is fully formed, shortly before picking, if the weather
be hot and close, almost the whole crop may be destroyed in a few
days. The aphides penetrate the hop and suck from the tender bracts
the juice, some of which exudes; this, the moist weather retarding
evaporation, produces decay at the point of puncture, and a black spot
shows, technically called “mould.” The great enemies to the lice are
the ladybirds, which devour them greedily, and a hop-grower would as
soon destroy a ladybird as a herring fisherman a seagull.

It has been recently suggested that the suitability or not of soil for
hop-growing, depends upon the presence or absence of sulphur, which
is an essential ingredient of hops. There is more than one instance
on record where hops treated with gypsum (sulphate of lime) were free
from mould, while in adjoining gardens the hops not so treated suffered
severely. The hops least liable to blight and mould contain the largest
amount of sulphur. A curious fact has been proved in Germany by careful
analysis. In plants attacked by the hop bug the proportion of sulphur
is much greater in the healthy and unattacked leaves than in those
infested with the bug. This subject hardly comes within the range
of our work, and we merely mention it to bring it into notice among
hop-growers, whom further experiments with gypsum may possibly benefit.
It is obvious that as the chief attack is made by aphis on the wing,
dressings put on the ground with a view to kill the aphides in the soil
are of little avail, for from a neighbouring or even a distant garden
where the hills have been not so treated, may come a flight of aphides
causing desolation in their track. If, however, sulphur can be imported
into the live plant, and such plants are untouched by the fly, it would
seem that we are near a solution of this very vexed problem. We know
of an instance where the hops on one side of a valley were totally
destroyed by the fly, while on the other side they were untouched. The
wind setting in one direction during the flight, had carried the fly
over the sheltered side, and deposited them on the exposed side of the

Not to mention extraordinary tithes in this portion of our subject
would be a serious omission. Formerly our worthy pastors were paid
{92} with a tenth of the actual produce of the land, now they receive
what are in theory equivalent money payments. As orchards, market
gardens, and hop gardens were deemed to yield much greater returns than
other land, the tithe on them was fixed at a much greater rate than
on pasture and arable land. While the tithe on these latter is but
trifling, the tithe on the former is about thirty shillings per acre.
When few foreign hops were imported, these very extraordinary tithes
could be paid, but now they are a most serious, not to say unjust,
tax on the hop-grower who in very bad years may not make thirty or
even twenty shillings per acre. It is common knowledge that a great
agitation is on foot to obtain their abolition, and there appears to
be a very general feeling that no land ought in the future to become
subject to extraordinary tithe by reason of any crop which may be grown
on it. At present the extraordinary tithes are a check on production
and the most advantageous cultivation of land. Being thus prejudicial
to the welfare of the State, they should have been abolished long
ago, and no doubt would have been, but for the circumstance that the
immediate sufferers are comparatively few in number.

The hop gardens of Kent not only provide the brewer with the best hops,
but, as each autumn comes round, afford to some thirty thousand or so
of the poorer classes living in the densely-populated districts of the
east of London a few weeks of country life. The East-Enders, indeed,
look upon hop-picking in Kent, Surrey, and Sussex as their particular
prerogative, and mix but little with the “home” pickers, who, however,
are almost equal to them in numbers.

 “When the plants are laden with beautiful bloom
  And the air breathes around us its rich perfume,”

the grower sends word to the pickers, most of whom have had their names
down for a bin, or a basket, for weeks or even months previously. In
Mid Kent “bins” are used. These consist of an oblong framework of wood
supported on legs, and to which a piece of sackcloth is fastened. The
bins are divided down the centres, so that two families may pick into
one bin. At certain times in the day the hops in each bin are measured
and the number of bushels credited to the pickers. In East Kent baskets
are used; these contain distinct marks for each bushel, so that the
labour of measuring is dispensed with. From the baskets the hops are
emptied into sacks and carried to the oast house to be dried. This is
a simple operation. The oast house is a square brick building with a
chimney of large size in the centre of the roof. The hops are {93}
laid on cloths stretched between beams. The necessary heat is obtained
from a brick fireplace which is open at the top. After having been
sufficiently baked, the hops are allowed to cool, and are then put into
pockets, _i.e._, long sacks, stamped down as tightly as possible, and
are ready for the market.

As in Chaucer’s time pilgrims wound their way through the garden of
England, so now do pilgrims, but with different object, tramp along the
dusty highway or shady lane into that beautiful country. In Chaucer’s
time the monasteries provided food and shelter for the pilgrims; but
now they in most part are content with the blue sky or spreading
branch of tree as a roof, and hedge-row for a wall. If the weather
be but reasonably fine, the life of these latter-day pilgrims is not
a hard one, for the balmy country air, the soft turf and beautiful
surroundings must seem to these poor creatures a kind of paradise after
the dens of filth, disease, and darkness from which they have come.

Not pleasant company are these pilgrims. As a rule they are uncleanly,
their habits coarse, their language foul, and their morality doubtful.
Many persons in Kent prefer to lose several pounds rather than let
their children go into the fields and associate with the mixed
company from the East-End. Poor people! they are after all what their
circumstances have made them; a sweep can hardly be blamed for having
a black face. A few years since men, women, and children all slept
together indiscriminately in barns and outhouses. Now, as regards
sleeping accommodation, there have been changes for the better,

         “And far and near
         With accent clear
 The hop-picker’s song salutes the glad ear:
         The old and the young
         Unite in the throng,
 And echo re-echoes their jocund song,
 The hop-picking time is a time of glee,
 So merrily, merrily now sing we:
 For the bloom of the hop is the secret spell
 Of the bright pale ale that we love so well;
 So gather it quickly with tender care,
 And off to the wagons the treasure bear.”

The high road from London to the hopfields of Kent presents a curious
appearance immediately before the hop-picking season. A stranger
might imagine that the poorer classes of a big city were flying {94}
before an invading army. Grey-haired, decrepit old men and women
are to be seen crawling painfully along, their stronger sons and
daughters pressing on impatiently. Children by the dozens, some fresh
and leaping for very joy at the green fields and sunshine, others
crying from fatigue, for the road is long and dusty. Nearly all these
people carry sacks or baskets, or bundles, and some even push hand
carts laden with clothing, rags, and odds and ends. Most of these
folk are careless, merry people, and beguile the way as did Chaucer’s
pilgrims, with many a coarse jest, but here and there will be seen some
hang-dog bloated-faced ruffian tramping doggedly along, a discontented
weary woman dragging slowly a few yards in his rear, as likely as
not carrying a half-starved sickly child in her shawl. Such as these
cause the coming of the hop-pickers to be regarded with anything but
satisfaction in country districts, and at such time householders are
doubly careful to see that their windows and doors are properly barred.
But the majority of the pickers are well-behaved according to their
lights, and guilty at most of a little rough horseplay towards the
solitary traveller or among themselves.

Towards evening the pickers cease their tramp, and take up their
quarters for the night in woodland copse, or under hedge-row or
sheltering bank. Baskets, sacks, and hand carts are unpacked, and here
and there will be seen a whole family seated round a blazing wood fire,
over which boils the family kettle. Others, less fortunate in having no
family circle to join, betake themselves to more secluded quarters to
munch the lump of bread of which their supper consists.

About half the pickers are taken into Kent by special trains, a larger
number, as might be expected, returning that way. The secretaries of
the South Eastern and London and Chatham Railway Companies have very
kindly furnished us with a few figures on the subject. In 1882—_the_
bad year for hops—the S.E.R. Company only carried 173 pickers to the
fields, and 3,094 on the return journeys; but in previous years the
numbers varied from 6,000 to 17,000 on the outgoing journey, and 9,000
to 19,000 on the return journey. Last year the L.C. & D.R. Company
carried 1,785 pickers to the fields, and brought back 4,035.

But if the pickers are light-hearted and merry on the way to the
fields, with empty pockets, what are they on their return, after work
is over and wages paid? Everything is then the height of merriment,
and of such an uproarious kind as the people of the East End delight
in. Young men and girls, invigorated by their sojourn in the bracing
country air, alike garland themselves with hops, and decorate
themselves with gay ribbons. Laughing, dancing, and singing, they hurry
{95} to the station, or along the road to London. Practical jokes are
played by the score, the railway officials are distracted, the police
look the other way. As train after train full of shouting people leaves
the station, the crowd gradually becomes less thick. Night comes on,
and many return to their barns, obliged to put off their return home
for another day. In a few days this lively throng of humanity has
disappeared; the hopfields, robbed of their bright crops, are again
quiet; and the more nervous of the dwellers in Kent again breathe





 JACK CADE—“There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a
 penny, the three hooped pot shall have seven hoops, and I will make it
 felony to drink small beer.”—_Hen._ VI., Part II. Act iv. Scene 2.


Kings, Parliaments and Local Authorities have, from very early times up
to the present, more or less interfered with the production and sale of
alcoholic liquors. As a rule, the laws and regulations made by them had
the benevolent object of preserving the public health and pocket, but
to modern notions they appear for the most part arbitrary and vexatious
enactments which unduly oppressed an important industry.

Before dealing with the many early references to laws concerning the
brewing and sale of ale, it will be interesting to notice a few of the
curious regulations to be found in the Canons of ancient religious
orders enjoining sobriety on the members of their communities. Almost,
if not quite, the earliest of the kind is attributed to St. Gildas the
Wise, who lived towards the close of the sixth century, and is to the
effect that, if any monk through drinking too freely gets thick of
speech, so that he cannot join in the psalmody, he is to be deprived of
his supper.

The Canons of St. David’s contain further rules on the same matter.
Priests about to minister in the temple of God, and drinking wine or
strong drink through negligence, and not ignorance, must do penance
three days. If they have been warned, and despise, then forty days.
Those who get drunk from ignorance must do penance fifteen days;
if through negligence, forty days; if through contempt, three {97}
quarantains. He who forces another to get drunk out of hospitality,
must do penance as though he had got drunk himself. But he who out of
hatred or wickedness, in order to disgrace or mock at others, forces
them to get drunk, if he has not already sufficiently done penance,
must do penance as a murderer of souls.

That these restrictions were not confined to clerics may be seen
from the decree of Theodore, seventh Archbishop of Canterbury (A.D.
668–693), that if a Christian layman drink to excess, he must do a
fifteen-days’ penance.

King Edgar seems to have gone nearer to the programme of the United
Kingdom Alliance. Strutt says of him that under the guidance of
Dunstan he put down many alehouses, suffering only one to exist in a
village. He also ordered that pegs should be fastened in the drinking
horns at intervals, that whosoever drank beyond these marks at one
draught should be liable to punishment. We find, however, that this
last-mentioned device defeated its own end, and became a provocative
of drinking, so that in 1102, Anselm decreed, “Let no priest go to
drinking bouts, nor drink to pegs (ad pinnas).” The custom was called
pin-drinking or pin-nicking, and is the origin of the phrase, “He is in
a merry pin,” and, doubtless, also of the expression, “Taking him down
a peg.”

The peg-tankards, as they were called, contained two quarts, and were
divided into eight draughts by means of these pegs; they passed from
hand to hand, and each must drink it down one peg, no more, no less,
under pain of fine.

In a code of Dunstan, for the regulation of the religious orders, were
further injunctions to the priesthood, in which it was enjoined that no
drinking be allowed _in the Church_, that men should be temperate at
Church-wakes, that a priest should beware of drunkenness, and should in
no wise be an ale-scop (_i.e._, a reciter at an ale-house). If we may
believe the strange story of St. Dunstan, as recorded by the graphic
pen of the author of the _Ingoldsby Legends_, we shall have little
difficulty in accounting for the Saint’s abhorrence of strong drink.
The legend is a good illustration of the maxim, “A little knowledge
is a dangerous thing.” Lay-brother Peter discovers that the Saint’s
miraculous powers are due to his magical control over a broomstick, and
that, on his uttering certain mystic words, the broomstick is compelled
to do his bidding. Lay-brother Peter determines to apply his knowledge
of the broomstick’s powers to his own temporal advantage. Having spoken
the mystic words, {98}

                     Peter, full of his fun,
 Cries, “Broomstick! you lubberly son of a gun!
 Bring ale!—bring a flagon—a hogshead—a tun!
     ’Tis the same thing to you; I have nothing to do;
 And, ’fore George, I’ll sit here, and I’ll drink till all’s blue.”

Alas! too literally the broomstick obeys the command; and the poor
lay-brother, not having at command the spell that may compel the
broomstick to desist, “after floating a while like a toast in a
tankard,” is at last overwhelmed, and perishes in the brown flood he
has so incautiously called up.

 In vain did St. Dunstan exclaim, “Vade retro
 Strongbeerum! discede a Lay-fratre Petro!”

However, the impression made upon the good Saint’s mind was indelible,
and has left its traces in the regulations made by him relating to

Elfric’s Canons, also, are directed towards putting down the custom of
drinking in churches. They lay down that men ought not to drink and eat
immoderately in churches, for “men often act so absurdly as to sit up
by night, and drink to madness in God’s house.”

Some of the earliest laws directed against a particular custom in
which ale figured as the principal beverage, were the prohibitions to
be met with in the records of the 13th century with regard to what
were called scot-ales. A scot-ale was a meeting for the purpose of
consuming ale, and its name was derived from the fact that the drinkers
_divided_[40] the expenses of the entertainment amongst them. These
feasts were forbidden in the reign of King John by Fitz-piers and Peter
of Winchester, the regents of the kingdom, on the ground that they
were made occasions for extortion. The forests, which then spread over
great tracts of country, were not subject to the common law, but to the
laws of the forest only, and we are told that the foresters and their
minions not only set up ale-houses, but even compelled people living
near to come in and join in scot-ales, for the sake of the revenue
accruing therefrom. In 1256 Giles of Bridport, Bishop of Salisbury,
{99} interdicted scot-ales, and commanded rectors, vicars, and other
parish priests to exhort their parishioners that they violate not
rashly the prohibition. In certain places the term scot-ale was used to
denote one of the services paid by tenants to the lord or his bailiff
on the periodical tour of inspection, and Bracton mentions that the
Itinerant Justices were directed to inquire whether any viscounts or
bailiffs brew their own ale, “which they call scot-ale or filct-ale,”
for the purpose of extorting money from the tenants.

   [40] _Cf._ The modern expressions _scot free_ and _paying the shot_.

Somewhat similar in practice, though distinct in origin and in the
purpose of their institution, were the festivals called Bede-ales.
These curious celebrations are described in Prynne’s _Canterburie’s
Doome_ (1646) as public meetings, “when an honest man decayed in his
fortune is set up again by the liberal benevolence and contribution
of friends at a feast; but this is laid aside at almost every place.”
The custom somewhat reminds one of the saying that the British are
wont to drink themselves out of debt, an allusion, of course, to the
enormous revenue collected on malt and other liquors. We must suppose,
however, that the practice of bede-ale was abused; the more generous
and kindly-hearted a man might be, the more tipsy he would have to
make himself in order to help his unfortunate “decayed” friend in the
manner prescribed. Accordingly we find in ancient records prohibitions
of this custom. One such may be cited from the records of the Borough
of Newport, Isle of Wight: “Atte the Lawday holden here in the 8th day
of October, the second yeare of the Reigne of King Edward the iiijth in
the time of William Bokett and Henry Pryer, Bayliffs, Thomas Capford
and William Spring, Constables, it is enacted furthermore that none
hereafter, whether Burgesse or any other dweller or inhabitant, within
this Towne aforesaid, shall make or procure to bee made, any Ale,
commonly called Bede-Ale, within the liberty, nor within this Towne or
without, upon payne of looseing xxd. to be payde to the Keeper of the
Common Box.”

[Illustration: The Tumbrel.]

About the time of Henry III., we begin to find mention in the records
of the period, of persistent attempts to fix the prices of bread and
ale. Laws made with this end in view were termed collectively the
_Assisa Panis et Cervisiæ_ (_i.e._, The Assize of Bread and Ale). In
the fifty-first year of that reign, we find it enacted that when a
quarter of wheat is sold for iiis. or iiis. ivd., and a quarter of
barley for xxd. or iis., and a quarter of oats for xvid., then brewers
(_braciatores_) in cities ought, and may well afford, to sell two
gallons of ale for a penny, and out of cities to sell three or four
gallons for the same sum. By a statute {100} passed in the same year
it is enacted that if a baker or a brewster[41] (_braciatrix_) be
convicted, because he or she hath not observed the Assise of Bread
and Ale, the first, second, or third time, he or she shall be amerced
according to the offence, if it be not over grievous; but if the
offence be grievous and often, and will not be corrected, then he or
she shall suffer corporal punishment, to wit, the Baker to the pillory,
the brewster to the tumbrel (a cart for ignominious punishment), or
to flogging. (The illustration represents a woman undergoing the
punishment of the tumbrel, and is taken from the MS. _Cent Nouvelles_
in the Hunterian Library.) A jury of six lawful men is to be summoned
in every township, who are to be sworn faithfully to collect all
measures of the town, to wit, bushels, half and quarter bushels,
gallons, pottles and quarts, as well from taverns as from other places.
The jurymen are to inquire how the assise of bread has been kept, and
adjudge accordingly; they are then to inquire of the assise of Ale in
the Court of the Town, what it is, and whether it has been observed;
and if {101} not, they are to inquire what brewsters have sold
contrary to the assises and they shall present their names distinctly
and openly, and adjudge them to be fined or to the tumbrel.

   [41] The old word brewster is here used in its proper signification
   of a female brewer. The Brewster Sessions, as Licensing Sessions are
   called in many parts of the country, preserve the name, though the
   original feminine signification has disappeared. For an account of
   the early brewsters and ale-wives the reader is referred to Chapter

By another statute, of rather uncertain date, but passed about this
period, it is enacted that the standard of bushels, gallons, and ells
(_standardum busselli galonis et ulne_) is to be marked with an Iron
Seale of our Lord the King, and safe kept, under pain of £100, and no
measure is to be used in any town unless it do agree with the King’s
measure, and be marked with the seal of the shire town; and if any do
sell or buy by measures unsealed, and not examined by the Mayor or
Bailiffs, he shall be grievously amerced and all the measures of every
Town, both great and small, shall be viewed and examined twice in the
year; and if any be convict for a double measure, to wit, a greater for
to buy with, and a lesser for to sell with, he shall be imprisoned for
his falsehood (_tanquam falsarius_) and shall be grievously punished.

The manner in which the various standard measures of capacity were
arrived at is worthy of mention. It is enacted that: “One English
penny, called a stirling, round and without any clipping, shall weigh
twenty-two wheat corns in the midst of the ear, and twenty pence shall
make an ounce, and twelve ounces a pound, and eight pounds shall make a
gallon of wine, and eight gallons of wine shall make one bushel London,
and eight bushels one quarter.”

We are glad to observe that a subsequent statute was passed which
provided that both the pillory, or stretch-neck (_collistrigium_) as it
was called, and also the tumbrel, must be of suitable strength, so that
offenders might be punished without bodily peril.

The _collistrigium_ given below is taken from an old drawing in the
City Records, temp. Ed. III.

[Illustration: The Pillory.]

In the City of London the comparative severity of the punishments of
the fraudulent baker and brewer seems to have been the reverse of that
ordained by statute; the baker suffered the heavier penalty, being
condemned to what was called the “_judicium claye_,” or condemnation
to the hurdle, which, as described in the Liber Albus, was certainly
a most unpleasant form of punishment. On conviction for selling short
weight the defaulting baker was to be drawn upon a hurdle from the
Guildhall to his own house, “through the great streets where there be
most people {102} assembled, and through the great streets _that are
most dirty_.” The illustration is taken from the _Assissa Panis_ (temp.
Edw. I.), preserved among the City Records. The defaulting brewer or
brewster, in the reign of Edw. III., for the first offence was to
forfeit the ale, for the second to forswear the mistier (the mystery
or art of brewing), and on the third offence to forswear the City for
ever. However, the penalties varied from time to time, for in the reign
of Henry V., when the Liber Albus was compiled, the punishment of a
brewster convicted of selling ale contrary to the assize was, that for
the first offence she was to be fined 10s., for the second 20s., and
for the third that she should suffer the “punishment provided for her
in Westchepe,” which would probably be the tumbrel or the pillory.
Some confusion as to the appropriate punishment occasionally arose. In
1257, Sir Hugh Bygot, as Grafton’s Chronicle tells us, “came to the
Guylde-hall, and kept his Court and Plees there, without all order of
law, and contrary to the libertyes of the citie, and there punished the
bakers for lack of size by the tombrell, where beforetymes they were
punished by the Pillorye.”

[Illustration: Punishment of the Hurdle.]

Offending brewers and bakers, in some places, suffered on the Cucking
Stool. In the Borrow Lawes of Scotland, speaking of Browsters (“Wemen
quha brewes aill to be sauld,”) it is said, “Gif she makes gude ail,
that is sufficient. Bot gif she makes euel ail, contrair to the use
and consuetude of the burg, and is convict thereof, she sall pay ane
unlaw of aucht shillinges, or sal suffer the justice of the brugh,
that is, _she sall_ be put upon the Cock- stule, _and the aill sall be
distributed to the pure folke_.”

In April, 1745, an ale-wife of Kingston-on-Thames was ducked in the
river, for scolding, in the presence of two thousand or more people.

The following extracts from the old Assembly Books of Great {103}
Yarmouth give some idea of the powers possessed by corporate bodies
for the regulation of trade in olden times:—

“Friday before Palm Sunday, 7 Edwd. VI. Agreed that no inhabitant shall
buy any beer to sell again but such as was brewed in the town, under
pain of 6s. 8d. a barrel.

“Feb. 14. 1 Philip and Mary, 1554. M. Swansey, of Hickling, being a
foreigner, bought of a merchant stranger certain hopps—the buyer to
forfeit the Hopps, and he may buy them again of the Chamberlain.

“March 19. 1 Mary, 1554. No inhabitant shall buy nor no ship shall
receive any beer brewed out of the town, under a penalty of 3s. 4d.
per gallon.

“July 2. 1 Philip and Mary, 1554. No baker or brewer to bake or brewe
in the town unless appointed by the bailiffs.

“Apl. 8. 15 Eliz., 1573. That brewers be ordered to brew with coals
instead of wood, from the latter’s exhorbitant price.”

The Articles of the Free Fair (1658) held at Great Yarmouth, contain
the following regulation:—

“Also that no brewer selle nor doe to be solde, a gallon of the beste
ale above _two pence_: a gallon of the second ale above one pennye
uppon the payne and perrille above sayde.”

The records of the old municipal corporations of England that have
survived the destroying hand of time are very few, but it can hardly
be doubted that they contained very similar regulations to those given
above. In the _Domesday Book of Ipswich_ an order of the reign of
Edward I. provides as to Brewsters, that “after Michelmesse moneth,
whan men may have barlych of newe greyn, the ballyves of the forseid
toun doo cryen assize of ale by all the toun, after that the sellyng of
the corn be. And gif ther be founden ony that selle or brewe a geyns
the assise and the crye, be he punysshed be the forseyed ballyves and
by the court for the trespas, after the form conteyned in the Statute
of merchaundise (13 Edw. I., s. 3) of oure lord the kyng, and after law
and usage of the same toun.”

Ricart’s _Kalendar of the City of Bristol_ contains the following
record: “Item, hit hath be usid, in semblable wyse, the seid maire
anon aftir Mighelmas, to do calle byfore theym in the seide Counseill
hous, all the Brewers of Bristowe; and yf the case require that malt
be scant and dere, then to commen there for the reformacion of the
same, and to bryng malte to a lower price, and that such price as
shall be sette by the maier upon malte, that no brewer breke it, upon
payne of XLs. forfeitable {104} to the Chambre of the Toune. And the
shyftyng[42] daies of the woke, specially the Wensdaies and Satirdaies,
the mair hath be used to walke in the morenynges to the Brewers howses,
to oversee thym in servyng of theire ale to the pouere commens of the
toune, and that they have theire trewe mesures; and his Ale-konner
with hym to taste and undirstand that the ale be gode, able, and
sety keeping their sise, or to be punyshed for the same, aftir the
constitucion of the Toune.”

   [42] The days when the ale was being moved to customers’ houses.

Sometimes a whole township was fined for the default of some of its
members. In 1275 the township of Dunstable was fined 40s., because the
brewers had not kept the assize.

Some curious and amusing entries are to be found in the _Munimenta
Academica_ of the University of Oxford, as to the regulations for the
brewing trade in the fifteenth century. In the year 1434 we find it
recorded that, “Seeing how great evils arise both to the clerks and
to the townsmen of the City of Oxford, owing to the negligence and
dishonesty of the brewers of ale,” Christopher Knollys, commissary,
assembles the brewers together in the church of the Blessed Mary the
Virgin, and commands them to provide sufficient malt for brewing; and
that two or three shall twice or thrice in the week carry round their
ale for public sale, under a penalty of 40s.; and John Weskew and
Nicholas Core, two of their number, are appointed supervisors of the
brewers. Each brewer is then made to swear on the Blessed Evangelists
to brew good ale and wholesome, and according to the assize, “so far as
his ability and _human frailty permits_.”

It would appear that very considerable disorders prevailed in that
ancient seat of learning at this period. The Warden of Canterbury
College, for instance, is accused of having incited his scholars to
make a raid upon the ale of other scholars of the town, which they
accordingly did, and carried off ale to the value of 12d.

The fair brewsters of the period seem to have held much the same ideas
as to the relative importance of the patronage of Town and Gown as
a fashionable Oxford tailor of the present day may be supposed to
entertain. In 1439 Alice Everarde is suspended “ab arte pandoxandi”
(from practising brewing) for ever, because she refused to brew ale for
sale for the common people of Oxford.

In 1444 the brewers were made to swear before the Chancellor that they
would brew wholesome ale, and in such manner that the water {105}
should boil until it emitted a froth, that they would skim the froth
away, and that they would give the ale sufficient time to settle before
they sold it in the University; and Richard Benet swore that he would
let his ale stand twelve hours to clear, before he carried it to hall
or college, and that he would not mix the dregs with the ale when he
carried it for sale within the University.

In 1449 the stewards and manciples of the college swear that nine of
the brewers have broken the assize and have brewed “an ale of little
or no strength, to the grave and no mean damage of the University and
Town, and that they are obstinate and rebels and refuse to serve the
Principals and others of the Halls with ale.” In 1464 John Janyn is
ordered by the Commissary to refund to Anisia Barbour, without the east
gate of Oxford, the sum of 8d., because he had sold her a cask of ale
for 20d., and “in our opinion and that of others who have just tasted
it, it is not worth more than 12d.”

The sister University exercised a similar jurisdiction over the brewing
trade, and it is mentioned in Rymer’s _Fœdera_ (R. 2. 934) that in
the year 1336, on a petition of the Chancellor and scholars of the
University of Cambridge, the _ancient_ privilege of the University,
that, on the demand of the Chancellor, the Mayor and bailiffs should
make trial or assize of the bread or ale, was restored. A curious
survival of the municipal jurisdiction over the vendors of Cambridge
ale is recorded in Hone’s _Every-Day Book_, as existing at the annual
fair on Stourbridge Common during the latter half of last century:
“Besides the eight servants called _red coats_, who are employed as
constables attendant upon the Mayor of Cambridge, who held a court of
justice during the fair, there was another person dressed in similar
clothing, with a string over his shoulders, from whence were suspended
spigots and fossets, and also round each arm many more were fastened.
He was called _Lord of the Tap_, and his duty consisted in visiting all
the booths in which ale was sold, to determine whether it was a fit and
proper beverage for the persons attending the fair.”

In making the ale of Old England, wheat was frequently malted and used
with barley malt. In times of scarcity this practice was now and again
forbidden as tending to unduly enhance the price of bread. In 1316,
ground malt having risen during the preceding fourteen years from 3s.
4d. to 13s. 4d. the quarter, a proclamation was issued prohibiting
the malting of wheat. The regulation, however, was unpopular and
difficult to enforce, and wheat continued to be malted and mixed with
the more appropriate grain. Receipts of more recent times frequently
{106} mention this use of wheat malt. One of these of the sixteenth
century is as follows:—

“To brewe beer. 10 quarters of malte, 2 quarters of wheete, 2 quarters
of oates, 40 pound weight of hoppys—to make 60 barellys of sengyll
beer; the barel of aell contains 32 galones, and the barell of beer 36

The restrictive legislation was not confined to ale, for in 1330 we
find it enacted: “Because there are more taverners in the realm than
were wont to be, selling as well corrupt wines as wholesome, and have
sold the gallon at such price as they themselves would, because there
was no punishment ordained for them, as hath been for them that sell
bread and ale, to the great hurt of the people,” therefore wine must
be sold at a reasonable price. No sum, however, appears to have been
fixed, and we can well imagine that the ideas of the innkeeper and
his customer might not altogether agree on the question of what was a
_reasonable_ price.

Not only was the price of ale fixed, but its strength and quality
were also subjected to the experienced taste of the ale-conner, an
officer appointed to test the goodness of the brew. The ale-conner’s
appellation appears to be derived from his power of conning, _i.e._,
knowing of or judging the liquor, and reminds one of Chaucer’s line:—

 “Well coude he knowe a draught of London ale.”

The ale-conners were appointed annually in the courts leet of every
manor; also in boroughs and towns corporate; and in many places, in
compliance with charters and ancient custom, appointments to this
office are still made, though the duties have fallen into disuse.

The following is the oath of this ale official, taken from the _Liber
Albus_, compiled in the reign of Henry V. by John Carpenter, clerk,
and Richard Whittington, mayor:—“You shall swear, that you shall know
of no brewer, or brewster, cook, or pie-baker, in your ward, who sells
the gallon of best ale for more than one penny halfpenny, or the gallon
of second for more than one penny, or otherwise than by measure sealed
and full of clear ale; or who brews less than he used to do before this
cry, by reason hereof, or withdraws himself from following his trade
the rather by reason of this cry; or if any persons shall do contrary
to any one of these points, you shall certify the Alderman of your ward
and of their names. And that you, so soon as you shall be required to
taste any ale of a brewer or brewster, shall be ready to do the same;
and in case that it be less good than it used to be before this cry,
you, by assent {107} of your Alderman, shall set a reasonable price
thereon, according to your discretion; and if any one shall afterwards
sell the same above the said price, unto your Alderman you shall
certify the same. And that for gift, promise, knowledge, hate or other
cause whatsoever, no brewer, brewster, huckster, cook, or pie-baker,
who acts against any one of the points aforesaid, you shall conceal,
spare or tortuously aggrieve; nor when you are required to taste ale,
shall absent yourself without reasonable cause and true; but all things
which unto your office pertains to do, you shall well and lawfully do.
So God you help, and the saints.” No doubt this oath was regularly
repeated with due solemnity, but we can imagine with what a subtle
irony the official described in _The Cobler of Canterburie_ would have
repeated the part of the oath having reference to absenting himself
when required to taste ale.

 A nose he had that gan show,
 What liquor he loved I trow;
 For he had before long seven yeare,
 Beene of the towne the ale-conner.

Absent himself—not if he knew it!

The ale-conners also had the power of presenting, _i.e._, accusing at
the court leet, any brewer who refused to sell ale to his neighbours
though he had some for sale.

The officials who tested ale bore various appellations. At the Court
Leet of the Manor of New Buckenham, in Norfolk, the name under which
this person was known was the _ale-founder_. In rolls of the same
Manor of earlier date he is called Gustator Cervisiæ. In the records
of the Manor Court of Hale in the 15th century, in a list of persons
fined, occurs the entry, “Thomas Layet, quia pandocavit semel iid., et
quia concelavit le fowndynge pot iiid.;” that is, a fine of 2d. was
inflicted because he brewed in some manner contrary to the custom of
the manor; as by not putting out his sign when he brewed, or by not
summoning the ale-founder to taste the brew as soon as he had finished;
and a fine of 3d. because he concealed the “fowndynge” pot, the
vessel, probably, in which he had brewed.

In Scrope’s _History of Castle Coombe_ we are told that the rules of
that place in reference to the making and sale of ale were numerous and
perplexing. No one was permitted to brew ale so long as any church-ale
lasted, nor so long as the keeper of the park had any to sell, nor
at {108} any time without licence of the lord or court; nor to sell
without a sign, or, during the fair, without an ale-stake hung out, nor
to ask a higher price for ale than that fixed by the jury of assize,
nor to lower the quality below what the ale-tasters approved, nor to
sell at times of Divine service, nor after nine o’clock at night, nor
to sell at all without entering into a bond for £10, with a surety of
£5, to keep orderly houses. The frequent changes in the price allowed
show the difficulty the authorities had in settling the problem, how
to have good liquor cheap. In the reign of Elizabeth all systematic
attempts to set the price of ale seem to have been discontinued. At
a court held in May in the tenth year of that queen, the tithing-man
reported that “the ale-wyves had broken all the orders of the last
laweday.” The court received the announcement in silence, and made no
order. The ale-wives had conquered; let us hope they used their victory
with discretion.

The practice seems to have prevailed here as elsewhere of compelling a
brewer to put out his sign or ale-stake when he had brewed, as a signal
to the local ale-conner that his services were required. In 1402 we
find that John Lautroppe was presented to the court “quia brasiavit iij
vicibus sub uno signo,” _i.e._, he had brewed three times but had only
displayed the legal signal once. The only penalties recorded as being
imposed for drunkenness appear to be one in 1618 and one in 1631; but
it would hardly be safe to argue that the inhabitants of the district
were an exceptionally sober race, for though the manor rolls of Castle
Coombe date from 1346, no legislative effort to restrain excess in
drinking was made till the reign of James I., and such laws were always
highly unpopular, and were very sparingly or not at all enforced.

Tierney, in his _History of Sussex_, gives the following extract from
the rolls of Arundel: “John Barbs, Roger Shadyngden, and others,
brewers, refuse to sell a gallon of ale for one farthing according to
the proclamation of the mayor, and are consequently fined twopence
each.” The passage in the _Taming of the Shrew_, in which the servant,
seeking to convince Christopher Sly that his former life is nothing but
the delusion of a crazy brain, tells him how he would

 . . . rail upon the mistress of the house,
 And say you would present her at the leet,
 Because she brought stone jugs and no sealed quarts,

shows that this jurisdiction of the manor courts was still in full
force in Shakspere’s day. {109}

Kitchen, in his work on _Courts_ (1663), in writing of courts leet,
says:—“Also if tapsters sell by cups and dishes, or measures, sealed or
unsealed, is enquirable.” It is noted in Dr. Langbaine’s collections,
under January 23, 1617, that John Shurle had a patent from Arthur Lake,
Bishop of Bath and Wells and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, for the office
of ale-taster (to the University). The office required “that he go to
every ale-brewer that day they brew, according to their courses, and
taste their ale; for which his ancient fee is one gallon of strong ale,
and two gallons of less strong worth a penny.”

In some places the office of ale-conner still survives. The appointment
of four ale-conners for the City of London is said to date as far back
as the first charter of William the Conqueror. Originally they were
elected by the folkesmote, afterwards at the wardmote, and from the
time of Henry V. till the present day by the livery. We have before us
an extract from a daily paper of the 16th September, 1884, in which is
recorded the appointment of an ale-taster for the ancient borough of

The following curious application was made in the year 1864 to the
manorial court of the Duke of Buccleuch:—“To the Manorial Court of the
Right Hon. Walter Francis, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury, sitting
at Haslingden, this 18th day of October, 1864.—This is to give notice
to your honourable court, that I, Richard Taylor, by appointment for
the last five years Ale-taster for that part of her Majesty’s dominions
called Rossendale, do hereby tender my resignation to hold that office
after this day, as I am wishful, while young and active, and as my
talents are required in another sphere of usefulness, to devote them to
that purpose. For five successive years your honourable court has done
me the honour of electing me to the above office, which I have held,
and performed the duties thereof efficiently, and without disgrace.
Having won your confidence by holding this office, at a late sitting of
your honourable court it pleased you to appoint me bellman for Bacup,
and while I resign the former office, am wishful to hold my connexion
with his Grace the Duke Francis Walter, to continue to cry aloud as
bellman for Bacup, and, as heretofore, to cry for nothing for those
who have nothing to pay with. Given under our hand and seal this 18th
day of October, in the year of our Lord 1864. Signed, Richard Taylor,
Ale-taster for Rossendale. God save the Queen.”

As early as the days of Edward I. attempts were made to bring about the
early closing of taverns; but the authorities seem to have moved rather
in the interests of peace than of temperance. {110}

In a preamble to a statute passed in that reign it is stated that
“offenders, going about during the night, do commonly resort and have
their meetings and evil talk in taverns more than elsewhere, lying in
wait and watching their time to do mischief.” It is therefore enacted
that taverns are to be closed at the tolling of the curfew bell. And if
any taverner does otherwise, he shall be put on his surety, the first
time by the hanap (a two-handled tankard, sometimes of silver) of his
tavern, or by some other good pledge therein found, and fined 40d.,
with various cumulative punishments for successive offences until on
the fifth conviction he shall forswear such trade in the City for ever.

In the year 1455 it was enacted “that no person that in the County of
Kent shall commonly brew any ale or beer to sell, shall make nor do to
be made any malt in his house, or in any other place to his own use, at
his costs and expences above an C quarters in the year, under penalty
of x li., and this statute is to be in force for the space of 5 years.”
This act appears to have been passed to protect the maltsters of other
places from the competition of the Kentish men. An act was passed in
1496 “against vacabonds and beggars,” which directs two justices of the
peace to “rejecte and put away comen ale-selling in townes and places
where they shall think convenyent, and to take suertie of the keepers
of ale-houses of their gode behavyng, by the discrecion of the seid
justices, and in the same to be avysed and aggreed at the time of their

In 1531 brewers were forbidden to take more than such prices and rates
as should be thought sufficient, at the discretion of the justices of
the peace within every shire, or by the mayor and sheriffs in a city.

By 5 and 6 Edward VI. c. 25, entitled “An Act for Keepers of Ale-houses
to be bounde by Recognizances,” it is enacted that “forasmuch as
intolerable hurts and troubles to the commonwealth do daily grow and
increase through such abuses and disorders as are had and used in
common ale-houses, the Justices of the Peace are authorized to close
such houses at their discretion.” And we find later, in Elizabeth’s
time, that Lord Keeper Egerton, in his charge to the judges when going
on circuit, bade them ascertain, for the Queen’s information, how
many ale-houses the justices of the peace had _pulled down_, so that
the good justices might be rewarded and the evil removed. Surely the
advocates for total suppression of the sale of alcoholic drinks were
born some two or three centuries too late! A quaint jingle, entitled
“Skelton’s Ghost,” which may be attributed to some post-Elizabethan
rhymer, contains an allusion to the legal price of ale. {111}

 To all tapsters and tiplers,
 And all ale-house vitlers,
 Inne-keepers and cookes,
 That for pot-sale lookes,
 And will not give measure,
 But at your owne pleasure,
 Contrary to law,
 Scant measure will draw
 In pot and in canne,
 To cozen a man
 Of his full quart a penny,
 Of you there’s too many.
 For in King Harry’s time,
 When I made this rime
 Of Elynor Rumming,
 With her good ale tunning,
 Our pots were full quarted,
 We were not thus thwarted
 With froth canne and neck pot
 And such nimble quick shot,
 That a dowzen will score
 For twelve pints and no more.

The views of a cozening hostess of the period are amusingly set forth
in a quaint old ballad taken from the Roxburghe collection, a portion
of which finds place on the following page.

The varying prices and qualities of ale and beer, as sanctioned by
legal authority, have been so fully treated of in another part of this
work (Chapter VIII.) that it is not necessary to dwell further upon the

[Illustration: All is ours and our Huſbands, or the Country Hoſtelles

To the tune of _The Carman’s Whiſtle, or High Boys up go we_.

        *       *       *       *       *

 For if any honeſt company
   Of boon good fellows come,
 And call for liquor merrily
   In any private room,
 Then I fill the Jugs with Froth,
   Or cheat them of one or two,
 If I can ſwear them out of both
   The reckoning is my due.

        *       *       *       *       *

 _Roxburghe Ballads._

In the year 1531, brewers were forbidden to make the barrels in which
their ale was sold. The reason for this extraordinary prohibition is
thus given in the quaint words of the preamble of the act:—“Whereas
the ale-brewers and beer-brewers of this realm of England have used,
and daily do use, for their own singular lucre, profit, and gain, to
make in their own houses their barrels, kilderkins, and firkins, of
much less quantity than they ought to be, to the great hurt, prejudice,
and damage of the King’s liege people, and contrary to divers acts,
statutes, ancient laws and customs heretofore made, had, and used, and
to the destruction of the poor craft and mystery of coopers,” therefore
no beer-brewer or {113} ale-brewer is to “occupy . . . the mystery
or craft of coopers.” The coopers are commanded to make every barrel,
which is intended to contain beer for sale, of the capacity of xxxvi.
gallons; ale barrels, however, are to contain but xxxii. gallons, and
so in proportion for smaller vessels. The wardens of the coopers are
empowered to search for illegal vessels, and to mark every correct
vessel with “the sign and token of St. Anthony’s cross.” This cross is
possibly the origin of the X, double X and treble X now in use upon
casks. A correspondent of _Notes and Queries_, however, thinks that the
letter X on brewers’ casks is probably thus derived:—Simplex—single
X or X. Duplex—double X or XX. Triplex—treble X or XXX. This was
suggested by Owen’s epigram, _lib._ xii. 34.

 Laudatur vinum simplex, cerevisia duplex
 Est bona duplicitas, optima simplicitas.

From early times laws concerning our exports and imports were
considered as specially appertaining to the royal prerogative. Corn and
malt, ale and beer, could only be exported by royal licence. This is
instanced by the order of Edward III., in 1366, to the ports of London,
Sandwich, Bristol, Southampton, and eight other places:—

“The King, to the collectors of customs in the port of London, Greeting.

“We command you, that all merchants and others, who wish to export
corn, malt, ale, and other victuals, be allowed, after first taking
an oath or some other sufficient security from them, to export such
things to our town of Calais and to other of our possessions, but not

In later times a considerable revenue was raised for the Crown by the
profits of these export licences. In the reign of Edward VI. the export
of beer was regulated by an act (1543) which provides that no larger
vessel than a barrel was to be used for export purposes, under fine of
6s. 8d., and that every exporter should give security for importing
so much “clapboard” as would be an equivalent for the barrels he took
out of the country. Queen Elizabeth jealously guarded the prerogative
in this matter, and in her thrifty way seems to have made a pretty
penny from the licences. English beer had at that time become widely
famed, and could be obtained in foreign parts, as may be learnt by a
letter from Charles Paget to Walsingham (1582), in which he announces
that he is going to Rouen for his health, and intends to drink _English
beer_. {114}

In 1572, Thomas Cantata, a Venetian, sought permission to export 200
tuns of beer, on condition of his making known to her Majesty certain
inventions useful for the defence of the realm. In the same year one
Th. Smith had licence to export 4,000 tuns of beer.

In 1586, Th. Cullen, of Maldon, Essex, applies to the Council by letter
in which he asks, as a recompense for having discovered Mr. Mantell, a
traitor, that he may have a licence as a free victualler for twenty-one
years, or a licence to transport 400 tuns of beer, or else to have
£40 in money. Even noblemen engaged in the export trade, for in 1603,
licence was granted to Lord Aubigny to export 6,000 tuns of double beer.

The power of granting licences to inns and ale-houses in the days of
Elizabeth and her immediate successors, was frequently given by letters
patent to favourites or to persons prepared to pay for the privilege.
In 1590 Wm. Carr received a licence for seven years, to give leave to
any persons in London and Westminster to brew beer for sale. The abuses
that grew out of this system formed one of the grievances examined into
by Parliament in 1621.

A statute was passed in the fourth year of James I. enacting that
“whereas the loathsome and odious sin of drunkenness is of late
grown into common use, being the root and foundation of many other
enormous sins, as bloodshed, etc., to the great dishonour of God and
of our nation, the overthrow of many good arts, and manual trades,
the disabling of divers good workmen, and the general impoverishment
of many good subjects, abusively wasting the good creatures of God,”
a fine of five shillings is imposed for drunkenness, together with
six hours in the stocks. Some attempt had been previously made at
legislation in this direction. In Townsend’s _Historical Collections_
(1680) an account is found under date Tuesday, November 3rd, 1601, of a
debate on a Bill to restrain the Excess and Abuse used in Victualling
Houses. Mr. Johnson moved, that “bodily punishment might be inflicted
on Alehouse keepers that should be offenders, and that provision be
made to restrain Resort to Alehouses.” In the same bill Sir George
Moore spoke against drunkenness, and desired “some special provision
should be made against it;” and, “touching the Authority of Justices
of the Assize and of the Peace, given by this bill, That they shall
assign Inns, and Inn Keepers. I think that inconvenient: for _an
Inn is a man’s inheritance_, and they are set at great rates, _and
therefore, not to be taken away from any particular man_.” The attempt
of James who, to tell the truth, was himself not by any means free
from “the loathsome and hideous sin,” to {115} make his subjects
sober by compulsion, seems to have met with but poor success, for
in 1609 another statute was passed which, while confessing that,
“notwithstanding all former laws and provisions already made, the
inordinate and extreme vice of excessive drinking and drunkenness doth
more and more abound,” enacts that a person convicted under the former
act shall be deprived of his licence for the space of three years. In
1627 a fine of twenty shillings and a whipping is imposed for keeping
an ale-house without a licence.

Drunkenness seems to have been prosecuted with some severity during
the Commonwealth time, and the entries in the records of convictions
for being “drunk in my view” would seem to point to the fact that the
offenders were haled before the judgment seat ere the effects of their
debauches had passed away.

As early as the middle of the fifteenth century some attempts were made
to bring about “Sunday closing.” They seem to have taken the form, for
the most part, of bye-laws of corporations, and to have been generally
unsuccessful. In 1428 the corporation of Hull prohibited the vintners
and ale-house keepers from delivering or selling ale upon the Sunday,
under penalty of 6s. 8d. for sellers and 3s. 4d. for buyers. In
1444 an act was made by the Common Council of London “that upon the
Sunday should no manner of thing within the franchise of the City be
bought or sold, neither victual nor other things.” The attempt was
apparently unsuccessful, as we are told that “it held but a while,”
but it was renewed from time to time in some form or other. In 1555 an
order was made by the Privy Council of Queen Mary, and directed to the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, whereby taverns, ale
or beer houses, &c., are directed to be closed on “Sondaye, or other
festeyvall or hollye daye duringe all the severall tymes of mattyns,
highe masse, and evynsonge, or of eny sermon to be songe or sayde
within their severall parishe Churches upon payne of ymprysonmente,
as well of the boddyes of every suche howseholder, as also of the
boddyes of every suche persone as shall so presume to eate or drynke.”
A hundred years later many entries occur in parish and other records of
penalties for Sunday drinking.

       *       *       *       *       *

The books of St. Giles’ parish furnish the following extracts:—

 1641. Received of the Vintner at the Catt in Queene
         Streete, for p’mitting of tipling on the Lord’s
         day                                                  £1  10  0 {116}
 1644. Received of three poor men, for drinking on the
         Sabbath daie at Tottenham Court                      £0   4  0
 1646. Received of Mr. Hooker, for brewing on a Fast day       0   2  6
 1648. Received from Isabel Johnson, at the Cole Yard, for
         drinking on the sabbath day                           0   4  0
 1655. Received of a Mayd taken in Mrs. Jackson’s Ale-house
         on the sabbath day                                    0   5  0
       Received of a Scotchman drinking at Robert Owen’s
         on the Sabbath                                        0   2  0
 1658. Received of Joseph Piers, for refusing to open his
         doores to have his house searched on the Lord’s
         daie                                                  0  10  0

In 1641, an amusing pamphlet was published on the subject of Sunday
closing. Its title, frontispiece, and an extract from its contents are
given on the opposite page.

About this period was in vogue that curious old form of punishment
which was known as the drunkard’s, or Newcastle, cloak. This garment
was nothing more nor less than a beer barrel, worn in the manner shown
in the accompanying illustration. Possibly the inventor of sandwich men
derived his idea from this source.


Locke, in his second letter on Toleration, informs us that the
intolerance of the age with regard to Dissent was carried to such
length that hardly any walk in life was free from obstacles thrown in
the way of Dissenters pursuing it. Amongst other things he mentions
that those who had licences to sell ale were compelled to receive the
Sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. We are
unable to find in contemporary records any confirmation of this alleged

[Illustration: The Lamentable Complaints of Nick Froth the Tapſter, and
Ruleroſt the Cooke, concerning the reſtraint lately ſet forth, againſt
drinking, potting, and piping on the Sabbath day and againſt ſelling

 _Cook._—“There is ſuch news in the world will anger thee to heare of,
 it is as bad, as bad may be.”

 _Froth._—“Is there ſo? I pray thee what is it, tell me whatever it be.”

 _Cook._—“Have you not heard of the reſtraint lately come out againſt
 us, from the higher powers; whereby we are commanded not to ſell
 meat nor draw drink upon Sundays, as will anſwer the contrary at our

       *       *       *       *       *

 _Froth._—“I much wonder, Maſter Ruleroſt, why my trade ſhould be put
 downe, it being ſo neceſſary in a Commonwealth.”

Efforts were made by the brewers from time to time to bring about
an alteration in the law restricting the quality of beer to two
sorts, the strong and the small. _The Brewers’ Plea or a Vindication
of Strong Beer_, London, 1647, thus gives the views of the brewers
on the advantages to be obtained by allowing stronger beer to be
brewed:—“For of hops and malt, our native commodities (and therefore
the more agreeable to the constitutions of our native inhabitants), may
be made such strong beer (being well boiled and hopped, and kept its
full time) as that {118} it may serve instead of Sack, if authority
shall think fit, whereby they may also know experimentally the virtue
of those creatures, at their full height; which beer being well brewed,
of a low, pure amber colour, clear and sparkling, noblemen and the
gentry may be pleased to have English Sack in their wine cellars,
and taverns also to sell to those who are not willing, or cannot
conveniently lay it in their own houses; which may be a means greatly
to increase and improve the tillage of England, and also the profitable
plantations of hop grounds . . . and produce at lesser rates (than
wines imported) such good strong beer as shall be most cherishing to
poor labouring people, without which they cannot well subsist; their
food being for the most part of such things as afford little or bad
nourishment, nay, sometimes dangerous; and would infect them with many
sicknesses and diseases, were they not preserved (as with an antidote)
with good beer, whose virtues and effectual operations, by help of the
hop well boiled in it, are more powerful to expel poisonous infections
than is yet publicly known, or taken notice of.”

Another ineffectual plea, somewhat later in date, may be here
mentioned. In _The grand concern of England explained in several
proposals to the consideration of the Parliament_, London, 1673,
petition is made to Parliament that legislation of a protective nature
may be granted to the brewers’ trade. The proposal is “That Brandy,
Coffee, Mum, Tea, and Chocolate may be prohibited,” for these greatly
hinder the consumption of Barley, Malt, and Wheat, the product of our

“But the prohibition of Brandy would be otherwise advantageous to the
Kingdom, and prevent the destruction of his majesty’s subjects; many of
whom have been killed by drinking thereof, it not agreeing with their

“Before brandy (which is now become common and sold in every little
alehouse) came over into England in such quantities as it now doth, we
drank good strong beer and ale; and all laborious people (which are far
the greatest part of the Kingdom), their bodies requiring, after hard
labour, some strong drink to refresh them, did therefore every morning
and evening use to drink a pot of ale, or a flagon of strong beer;
which greatly promoted the consumption of our own grain, and did them
no great prejudice; it hindered not their work, neither did it take
away their senses, nor cost them much money.”

This petition, like the last, seems to have been of no effect, for we
find these “destructive” drinks, brandy, coffee, tea, and chocolate,
still in use in this country, and not yet prohibited by law. {119}

Arriving now at a period where the ancient gives way to the
comparatively modern, this chapter necessarily ends. In the laws of the
present day relating to ale and beer, are curiosities by the score; but
we should hardly earn the thanks of our readers for devoting half this
book to matters which are common knowledge. Suffice it to quote a verse
from the lays of the Brasenose College butler, written, doubtless, at a
time when it was first proposed to repeal the old beer tax, and which
tells in simple words the probable result:—

 Yet beer, they tell us, now will be
   Much cheaper than before;
 Still, if they take the duty off,
   _In duty_ we drink more.





  Come all that love good company,
    And hearken to my ditty,
  ’Tis of a lovely Hoastess fine,
    That lives in London City,
  Which sells good ale, nappy and stale,
    And always thus sings she,
 “My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
    And a little above my knee.”
                                                  _The Merry Hoastess._

 “. . doughty sons of Hops and Malt.”
                                         _A Vade Mecum for Malt Worms._


It seemeth well that before we record the doings of departed brewers,
brewsters, and ale-wives, a page or so should be devoted to the two
principal ingredients—malt and water—used by those ancient worthies in
compounding their “merrie-goe-downe.”

Old Fuller thus moralizes on the art of malting:—“Though commonness
causeth contempt, excellent the Art of first inventing thereof. I
confesse it facile to make Barley Water, an invention which found out
itself, with little more than the joyning of the ingredients together.
But to make mault for Drink, was a masterpiece indeed. How much of
Philosophy concurred to the first Kill of Mault, and before it was
turned on the floor, how often was it toss’d in the brain of the first
inventor thereof. First, to give it a new growth more than the earth
had bestowed thereon. Swelling it in water to make it last the longer
by breaking it, and taste the sweeter by corrupting it. Secondly,
by making it to passe the fire, the grain (by Art fermented) {121}
acquiring a lusciousnesse (which by nature it had not) whereby it doth
both strengthen and sweeten the water wherein it is boyled.”

Those practically engaged in the production of our English national
drink, whether maltsters or brewers, will no doubt be interested to
compare the art of malting as it was carried on three hundred years
ago in this country, with the more familiar processes of to-day. A
description of malting in the sixteenth century is given by Harrison.
“Our drinke,” he says, “whose force and continuance is partlie
touched alreadie, is made of barleie, water and hops, sodden and
mingled together, by the industrie of our bruers, in a certain exact
proportion. But before our barleie doo come unto their hands, it
susteineth great alteration, and is converted into malt, the making
whereof I will here set downe in such order as my skill therein may
extend unto. . . Our malt is made all the yeare long in some great
townes, but in gentlemen’s and yeomen’s houses, who commenlie make
sufficient for their owne expenses onelie, the winter half is thought
most meet for that commoditie, howbeit the malt which is made when
the willow doth bud, is commonlie worst of all, nevertheless each
one indeuereth to make it of the best barleie, which is steeped in a
cesterne, in greater or less quantitie, by the space of three daies and
three nights, untill it be thoroughly soaked. This being doone, the
water is drained from it by little and little, till it be quite gone.
Afterward they take it out and laieng it upon the cleane floore on a
round heape, it resteth so until it be readie to shoote at the roote
end, which maltsters call ‘comming.’ When it beginneth, therefor, to
shoote in this maner, they saie it is ‘come,’ and then foorthwith they
spread it abroad, first thick and afterward thinner and thinner upon
the said floore (as it commeth) and there it lieth (with turning every
day foure or five times) by the space of one and twenty daies at the
least, the workemen not suffering it in any wise to take any heat,
whereby the bud end should spire, that bringeth foorth the blade, and
by which oversight or hurt of the stuffe it selfe the malt would be
spoiled, and turne small commoditie to the bruer. When it has gone or
been turned so long upon the floore, they carie it to a kill covered
with haire cloth, where they give it gentle heats (after they have
spread it there verie thin abroad) till it be dry, in the meane while
they turne it often that it may be uniformelie dried. For the more it
be dried (yet must it be doone with soft fire) the sweeter and better
the malt is, and the longer it will continue, whereas if it be not
dried downe (as they call it) but slackelie handled, it will breed
a kind of worme, called a wivell, which {122} groweth in the floure
of the corne, and in processe of time will so eat out it selfe, that
nothing shall remaine of the graine but even the verie rind or huske.
The best malt is tried by hardnesse and colour for if it looke fresh
with a yellow hew and thereto will write like a peece of chalke, after
you have bitten a kirnell in sunder in the middest, then you may
assure yourselfe that it is dried downe. In some places it is dried
at leisure with wood alone, or strawe alone, in other with wood and
straw together, but of all the straw dried is the most excellent. For
the wood dried malt when it is brued, beside that the drinke is higher
of colour, it dooth hurt and annoie the head of him that is not used
thereto, bicause of the smoake. Such also as use both indifferentlie
doo barke, cleave, and drie their wood in an oven, thereby to remove
all moisture that should procure the fume, and this malt is in the
second place, and with the same likewise, that which is made with dried
firze, broome, &c.: whereas if they also be occupied greene, they are
in a maner so prejudicial to the corne as is the moist wood. And thus
much of our malts, in bruing whereof some grind the same somewhat
groselie, and in seething well the liquor that shall be put unto it,
they adde to everie nine quarters of mault one of headcorne, which
consisteth of sundrie graine as wheate and otes groond . . .”

Though the reasons which caused one kind of water to be more suitable
than another for brewing, were not so well understood in olden days
as they are at present, our ancestors had learned in the school of
experience that the quality of the water had much to do with the
quality of the ale and beer brewed from it. Speaking of brewing,
Harrison says: “In this trade also our Bruers observe verie diligentlie
the nature of the water, which they dailie occupy, and soile through
which it passeth, for all waters are not of like goodnesse, sith the
fattest standing water is alwaies the best; for although the waters
that run by chalke and cledgie soiles be good, and next unto the
Thames water which is the most excellent, yet the water that standeth
in either of these is the best for us that dwell in the countrie, as
whereon the sunne lyeth longest, and fattest fish are bred. But of all
other the fennie and morish is the worst, and the clerist spring water
next unto it.”

The silver Thames—very different then from the turbid noisome sewer of
to-day—by reason of the excellence of its water, formed the ordinary
source of supply for the old London Brewers, many of whom erected
their breweries on or near its banks. As early as 1345, however, there
seems to have been a tendency on the part of certain brewers to get
their water elsewhere. In that year a complaint was made to the {123}
authorities on behalf of the Commonalty of the City of London, “that
whereas of old a certain conduit” (probably the Cheapside conduit
constructed in Henry III.’s reign) “was built in the midst of the City
of London, that so the rich and middling persons therein might there
have water for preparing their food, and the poor for their drink;
the water aforesaid was now so wasted by Brewers and persons keeping
brewhouses and making malt, that in these modern times it will no
longer suffice for the rich and middling, nor yet for the poor.” In
consequence of this state of things, the brewers were forbidden to
use the conduit water under penalty, for the first offence to forfeit
the _tankard_ or vessel in which the water was carried, on a second
conviction to suffer fine, and on the third, imprisonment.

More than four hundred years ago the waters of the Thames were at some
states of the tide too turbid for use, and accordingly in the reign
of Henry VI., the Wardens of the Brewers’ Company were commanded not
to take water for brewing from the Thames when it was disturbed, but
to wait till low water and the turn of the tide. In Queen Elizabeth’s
reign the Thames was beginning to acquire an evil repute, if we may
believe the author of _Pierce Penilesse, his supplication to the
Deuill_ (1592), who refers to the London Brewers in terms of contempt.
“Some” says he, “are raised by corrupt water, as gnats, to which we
may liken brewers, that, by retayling _filthie Thames water_, come
in a few yeres to be worth fortie or fiftie thousand pound.” Stow
remarks of the London Brewers that “for the more part they remain near
the friendly waters of the Thames.” In his time many brewhouses were
gathered together in the parish of St. Catharine, near the Tower, and
are distinguished on the map of London given in the Civitates Orbis by
the name of “Beer Houses.”

Many years ago a canal led up from the Thames to the Stag Brewery at
Pimlico, and provided that now famous brewhouse with water.

All through the reign of Elizabeth, and for some time afterwards,
the Thames in the neighbourhood of the City, continued to afford the
greater part of the water used by the London Brewers. Until the New
River water was brought to London, an event which took place in the
time of James I., the Thames would naturally furnish the chief supply.

The regulations in force touching the Thames water, had regard to the
manner in which it was carried from the river to the Breweries, and
did not in any way seek to restrict the use of the water as unfit for
its purpose. For instance, in the third year of Elizabeth’s reign the
Wardens of the Brewers were called before the Common Council and {124}
charged not to fetch the water of the Thames in a “liquor-cart,”[43]
but to make use of “boge” horses (horses carrying boges, _i.e._
water-barrels), according to the ancient laws and ordinances. The
command was subsequently relaxed in favour of brewers living close to
the River, and drawing water from “the Water-gate at the Tower Hill
or at the Whitefriars.” The reason for this regulation is not stated,
but the partial removal of the restriction would seem to show that it
was intended to prevent the crowding of the narrow thoroughfares of
the City with brewers’ carts passing and repassing. The horse with his
“boge” would pass another horse with ease, while two “liquor carts”
meeting would certainly block the way. This interpretation is rather
confirmed by a subsequent regulation, made three years before the Great
Fire cleared away many of the narrow lanes of the City, that brewers’
drays should not go abroad in the streets after 11 a.m. on account of
the obstruction to traffic thereby occasioned.

   [43] “Liquor” had then, and also at a far earlier date, the same
   technical sense as it now has, and meant water.

Turning now from the ingredients used in brewing to the actual brewers,
it will not surprise any one who has read the chapter immediately
preceding the present one, to be informed that in early times a great
part of the brewing trade was in the hands of the gentler sex. Alreck,
King of Hordoland, is said to have chosen Geirhild for his queen, in
consequence of her proficiency in this necessary art, and what was not
derogatory to the dignity of a queen might of course be performed by a
subject. Accordingly, as has been already shown, even as late as the
seventeenth century the brewing of ale and beer for the household was
looked upon as belonging to the special province of the housewife and
her female servants. Anciently the same custom prevailed in regard to
the brewing of ale for sale, and the brewsters or ale-wives had at one
time a great part of the trade, both in the country and the city. Mr.
Riley, in his preface to the _Liber Albus_, goes so far as to say that
even down to the close of the fifteenth century, if not later, the
London brewing trade was almost entirely in the hands of women, and
he states that Fleet Street was at that time nearly wholly tenanted
by ale-wives and felt-cap makers. With all respect for Mr. Riley’s
intimate knowledge of the ancient lore connected with London Town, it
must be said that this view seems to be incorrect, for in a list of the
London Brewers, made in the reign of Henry V., and still existing in
the City Records, out of about three hundred names, only fifteen are
those of women. {125} The ale-wives of Fleet Street were probably not
brewers, but hucksters or retailers.

The first ale-wife deserving of special mention is the Chester
“tapstere,” whose evil doings and fate are recorded in one of the
Chester Misteries, or Miracle Plays, of the fourteenth century. The
good folk of Chester seem to have had a peculiar dislike to being
subjected to the tricks of dishonest brewers and taverners. Even in
Saxon times it was a regulation of the City that one who brewed bad
ale should be placed on a cucking-stool and plunged in a pool of muddy
water. For the ale-wife of the old play a worse fate was reserved, and
though she was a fictitious person, many of the audience would no doubt
find little difficulty in fitting some of their acquaintances with
the character depicted. With that mixture of the sacred and profane
which to a modern ear is, to say the least, somewhat startling, the
Mystery in question describes the descent of Christ into Hell and the
final redemption of all men out of purgatory—all, save one. A criminal
remains whose sins are of so deep a dye that she may not be forgiven.
She thus confesses her guilt:—

 Some time I was a tavernere,
 A gentel gossepp, and a tapstere
 Of wine and ale, a trusty brewer,
       Which woe hath me bewrought.
 Of cannes I kept no true measure,
 My cuppes I solde at my pleasure,
 Deceavinge many a creature,
       Tho’ my ale were nought.

[Illustration: The Sad Fate of a Mediæval Ale-wife.]


The ale-wife is then carried off into Hell’s mouth by the attendant
demons, and the play closes.

The illustration is taken from a _miserere_ seat in Ludlow Church. The
scene is a very similar one to that just described. A demon is about
to cast the deceitful ale-wife into Hell’s mouth. She carries her gay
head attire and her false measure. Another demon reads the roll of her
offences, and a third is playing on the pipes by way of accompaniment.

Elynour Rummynge, the celebrated ale-wife of Leatherhead in the reign
of Henry VIII., has been handed down to fame by the pen of Skelton, the
Poet Laureate of the day. It may be, as Mr. Dalloway, one of Skelton’s
editors, suggests, that the poet made the acquaintance of Elynour while
in attendance upon the Court at Nonsuch Palace, which was only eight
miles from her abode. That the Laureate had a very intimate knowledge
of this lady, may be gathered from his minute description of her
unprepossessing person:―

 Her lothely lere
 Is nothynge clere
 But ugly of chere,

        *       *       *       *       *

 Her face all bowsy,
 Comely crynkled
 Wondrously wrinkled,
 Lyke a rost pigges eare,
 Brystled wyth here,

        *       *       *       *       *

 Her nose somdele hoked,
 And camously croked,
 Her skynne lose and slacke,
 Grained like a sacke;
 With a croked backe.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Her kyrtel Brystow red
 With clothes upon her hed
 That wey a sowe of led.


[Illustration: Eleanor Rummyng, Alewife.

 When Skelton wore the Laurell Crowne,
 My Ale put all the Ale-wiues downe.


Thus, and with many more unpleasing qualities, does the poet garnish
the subject of his verse, going on to describe how—

 She breweth noppy ale
 And maketh thereof fast sale,
 To trauellers, to tynkers,
 To sweters, to swinkers
 And all good ale drynkers.

So fond are many of her customers of her ale, that they will come to
it, even though they cannot pay in coin of the realm.

 Instede of coyne and monney,
 Some brynge her a conny,
 And some a pot of honny,
 Some a salt, and some a spone,
 Some theyr hose, and some theyr shone.

The writers of the Elizabethan age make frequent reference to
the ale-wives. “Ask Marian Hacket, the ale-wife of Wincot,” says
Christopher Sly, “if she know me not; if she say I am not fourteen
pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave
in Christendom.” One would think that the ale-wife mentioned in _The
Knight of the Burning Pestle_ would have a large, if not a very
lucrative, trade:—

 For Jillian of Berry she dwells on a hill,
 And she hath good beer and ale to sell,
 And of good fellows she thinks no ill,
 And thither shall we go now, now, now,
         And thither shall we go now.

 And when you have made a little stay,
 You need not ask what is to pay,
 But kiss your hostess and go your way,
 And thither will we go now, now, now,
         And thither will we go now.

All ale-wives, however, had not so good a repute as Jillian of Berry.
Harrison, whose knowledge of ale was indisputable, speaking of the
fraudulent ale-wives of his time, says: “Such sleights have they for
the utterance of this drink (ale) that they will mire it with resin and
salt, but if you heat a knife red-hot, and quench it in the ale, so
near the {129} bottom of the pot as you can put it, you shall see the
rosen come forth hanging on the knife. As for the force of salt, it is
well known by the effect; for the more the drinker tipleth, the more
he may, and so dooth he carry oft a drie drunken noll to bed with him,
except his luck be the better.”

The lady, whose tall hat and large white frill appear upon the next
page, went by the unpleasant name of Mother Louse. She is mentioned
by Anthony Wood, in 1673, as an ale-wife of Hedington Hill, and was
supposed to be the last woman who wore a ruff in England. The verses
under the engraving indicate that the dun hat and ruff had gone out of
vogue, and were objects of merriment.

From the _Accounts of the Lord Treasurer of Scotland_ (fifteenth
century) it may be gathered that the customs and regulations respecting
the brewing and sale of ale were much the same in Scotland as in
this country. The price of ale was fixed from time to time “efter
the imposicioune of the worthi men of the toune,” who regulated it
according to the price of malt. “Browster wives” brewed the greater
part of the ale, and kept most of the ale-houses. Their ale was
frequently made from a barley and oat malt, as was the practice in
England at the same date. As in this country, the lack of piquant
flavour, afterwards supplied by the hop, was in those days compensated
by the addition of ginger, pepper, spices, and aromatic herbs. Though
the use of hops spread but slowly into Scotland, a considerable import
trade in beer (hopped ale) was carried on with Germany. In 1455 the
accounts already quoted show a payment for German beer supplied to the
garrison at Dunbar. Some curious entries also appear for the years
1497–8: “Item, to Andrew Bertoune, for ten pipe of cider and beir,
the price of all IX li; item, for _aill that the Kinges horse drank_,
viiijd.; item, for the King’s ships, xij barrellis of ail; for ilk
barrell xiiijs. iiijd.”

[Illustration: Mother Louſe of Louſe Hall, near Oxford.

An Alewife at Hedington Hill (1678) mentioned by Anthony Wood. Probably
the laſt woman in England who wore a ruff.


 You laugh now Goodman two ſhoes, but at what?
 My Grove, my Manſion Houſe, or my dun Hat;
 Is it for that my loving Chin and Snout
 Are met, becauſe my Teeth are fallen out;
 Is it at me, or at my Ruff you titter;
 Your Grandmother, you Rouge, nere wore a fitter.
 Is it at Forehead’s Wrinkle, or Cheeks’ Furrow,
 Or at my Mouth, ſo like a Coney Borrough,
 Or at thoſe Orient Eyes that nere ſhed tear
 But when the Exciſemen come, that’s twice a year.
 Kiſs me and tell me true, and when they fail,
 Thou ſhalt have larger potts and ſtronger Ale.

The following extracts from old Scotch laws show the similarity of
the old English and Scotch usages:—“All women quha brewes aill to be
sould, sall brew conforme to the use and consuetude of the burgh all
the yeare. And ilk Browster sall put forth ane signe of her aill,
without her house, be the window or be the dure, that it may be sene
as common to all men; quhilk gif she does not, she sall pay ane unlaw
(fine) of foure pennies.” “It is statute that na woman sel the gallon
of aill fra Pasch until Michaelmes, dearer nor twa pennies; and fra
Michaelmas untill Pasch, dearer nor ane pennie.” A verse or two of
the “_Ale-wife’s Supplication_; or, the Humble Address of the Scotch
Brewers to his Majesty King George III., for taking away the License
and charging some less {131} duty on Malt and Ale,” must close this
reference to the old Scotch brewing trade:—

 Here’s to thee, neighbour, ere we part,
   But your Ale is not worth the mou’ing
 You must make it more stout and smart,
   Or else give over your brewing.
 It’s nineteen Times ’courg’d thro’ the Draff,
   So whipt by Willy Water,
 That Barm and Hop bears a’ the Scoup;
   I swear I’ve made far better.

 Cries Maggy, then, you speak as you ken,
   Consider our Taxations;
 And brew it stout, you’ll soon run out,
   Of both your Purse and Patience:
 For these gauging Men, with nimble Pen,
   Can count each Pile of Barley;
 And he that cheats them of a Gill,
   Will get up very early.

Returning now to London, it is proposed to give some account of the
brewing trade in olden times, and of the Brewers’ Company.

The first differences that strike one in contrasting the ancient
and modern breweries are that the former were on a very small scale
compared with the huge establishments of to-day, and that originally
nearly every brewer was also a retailer. In Chaucer’s time a brewhouse
was often synonymous with an ale-house:—

 “In al the toun nas brewhouse ne taverne
  That he ne visited with his solas.”

We have no knowledge of any representations of brewhouses at this
early period. The interesting picture of a sixteenth-century brewery
is taken from a rare work by Hartman Schopper, entitled, “Πανοπλια,
omnium illiberalium, mechanicarum, aut sedentariarun artium genera
continens, carminibus expressa, cum venustissimis imaginibus omnium
artificum negociationes ad vivum representantibus,” published at
Frankfort-on-Main, 1568. The illustration would no doubt stand as well
for a brewhouse of a much earlier period, judging from the written
descriptions which we possess. The engraver of _Der Bierbreuwer_ was
Jost Ammon, and the engraving is considered one of the best examples
{133} of the art at this very early period. A plate taken from the
same work, representing a cooperage, will be found on page 334.

[Illustration: Der Bierbreuwer.

 Auß Gerſten ſied ich gutes Bier,
 Feißt und ſüß, auch bitter monier,
 In ein Breuwfeſſel weit und groß
 Darein ich denn den Hopſſen ſtoß,
 Laß den ich denn in Brennten fühlen daß
 Damit ſüll ich darnach die Faß,
 Wohl gebunden und wohl gebicht,
 Denn giert er und iſt zugericht.

 Beschreibung aller Stände (1568).

The old German lines under the engraving of the Beer-brewer may be
thus rendered into English: From barley I boil good beer, rich and
sweet and bitter fashion. In a wide and big copper I then cast the
hops. Then [after boiling the wort] I leave it to cool, and therewith
I straightway fill the well-hooped and well-pitched [fermenting] vat;
then it [the wort] ferments, and [the beer] is ready.

There is no doubt that the brewers’ trade was originally held in little
esteem, and was considered as mean and sordid (_de vile juggement_).
The ignominious punishments and restrictions (some of which have been
already mentioned) to which the old London brewers were subjected,
prove that their status only slowly improved. In the time of Henry
VIII., however, their position had so far advanced in repute that
in the grant of arms then made to them, they are specified as “the
Worshipful Occupation of the Brewars of the City.”

The Records of the City of London are particularly full of details
concerning the brewers and the brewing trade, and it will probably
give the best idea of the conditions under which the business was
carried on in former days to mention a few of the principal regulations
gathered from that valuable body of information, and to supplement them
by extracts from the records of the Brewers’ Company. Truth to say,
the brewers and the City authorities were never the best of friends,
and long accounts are to be found from time to time of disputes
between them as to the legal price and quality of the liquor with
which the lieges were to be supplied—struggles in which the action of
the authorities seems, according to our modern notions, to have been
arbitrary in the extreme. An instance of this tyranny over a trade
is given in the _Liber Aldus_, from which it appears that not only
was a brewer compelled to brew ale of a specified price and quality,
but he was not even allowed to leave off brewing in case he found it
did not pay him to continue. The regulation runs thus: “If any shall
refuse to brew, or shall brew a less quantity than he or she used to
brew, in consequence of this ordinance, he or she shall be held to
be a withdrawer of victual from this city and shall be punished by
imprisonment, and shall forswear his trade as a brewer within the
liberties of the City for ever.”

The same idea, formerly so prevalent, that persons ought to be
compelled by the strong hand to pursue their avocations, and the
arbitrary manner in which the authorities acted in obtaining a supply
of victuals, may be illustrated from the _Annals of Dunstaple_ (1294),
in which it is {134} recorded that the King’s long stay at St. Albans
and Langley “enormously injured the market of Dunstaple and all the
country round. . . The servants of the King seized all victual coming
to the market, even cheese and eggs; they went into the houses of the
citizens and carried away even what was not for sale, and scarce left
a tally with any one. They took bread and ale from the ale-wives, and
if they had none _they made them make bread and ale_.” In 1297 the
Sheriffs of Notts and Derby are ordered by Edward I. (Rymer R. 1. 883)
to proclaim in every town that the bakers and brewers should bake and
brew a sufficient store of bread and ale for certain Welshmen, who were
marching to chastise the Scots, “because the King is unwilling that, by
reason of such victuals failing, the men of those parts should suffer
damage at the hands of the sd Welshmen.”

The persons employed in the malt liquor trade, whether as manufacturers
or retailers, are specified in an ordinance of the reign of Henry
IV. to be Brewers, Brewsters, Hostillers (_i.e._, Innkeepers),
Kewes (_i.e._, Cooks), Pyebakers, and Hucksters. The hucksters were
undoubtedly at one time accustomed to sell their ale in the streets of
London. In 1320 they were prohibited by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen
from selling ale on London Bridge. In the sixth year of Richard II.
Juliana atte Vane, huckster, was charged with selling her ale in
“hukkesterie;” she is asked from whom she bought the ale, and replies
that she bought the said ale, viz., one barrel of 30 gallons, from
Benedicta (brewster), who lived at “Crepulgate.” It was accordingly
adjudged that Juliana had broken the City regulations, and the ale was
forfeited. The brewers were forbidden at this time to sell to hucksters
under pain of forfeiture and imprisonment _at the will of the Mayor_,
the intention apparently being that only a brewer should be a vendor of

By the reign of Henry IV. the brewers, although they had as yet no
royal charter, had joined themselves together for purposes of mutual
protection and social intercourse. They are mentioned in an ordinance
of the seventh year of that reign as the Mystery (_i.e._, trade or
craft) of Free Brewers within the City, and a constitution is ordained
for them by the City Fathers. The freemen of the Mystery are yearly to
elect eight persons, four of the part of the City east of Walbrook,
viz., two masters and two wardens, and four like persons of the part
west of Walbrook. These eight are to make regulations for those using
the mystery of brewing, as to the hiring of servants, the sale of ale,
and such like matters, as they should be charged by the Mayor and
Aldermen; they are also to see “that the good men of the mystery may
{135} have a proper place to go to to transact their own business,”
and are called together upon the proper occasions “by summons of their
beadle in such a manner as other mysteries are;” they are to supervise
those who make and supply ale, and to see that “good, able and seyn
(sound) ale” is brewed according to the legal price, and to report
offenders to the Chamberlain of the City.

Considerable difficulty was at this time experienced in compelling the
sellers of ale to keep to the lawful measures of barrel, kilderkin, and
lesser vessels. On a complaint being made to the Common Council in the
ninth year of Henry IV., that whereas “each barrel ought to contain
thirty gallons of just measure, but each is deficient by two gallons or
more . . . if the dregs are reckoned as clear ale, and that the brewers
will make no rebate in the price on that account to the great deceit
and damage of the Lords, Gentles and Citizens,” therefore the deputies
of the Chamberlain are ordered to mark every barrel as containing 27
gallons, and the half barrel as containing 14 gallons by reason of the
aforesaid dregs. Five years later further evil doings are recorded. The
Brewers and brewsters, “to the displeasure of God and contrary to the
profit of the City, sell their ale three quarts for a gallon, one quart
and a half for a potell (_i.e._, a two-quart measure); and one hanap
(_i.e._ a two-handled tankard), for a half quart of which six or seven
hanaps scarcely make a gallon,” and they are therefore ordered for the
future to sell only by sealed measure and not by hanap, tankard, or any
such vessel.

In the reign of Henry V. the famous Lord Mayor, Richard Whitington, and
the Brewers seem to have been perpetually at daggers drawn.

The records of the Brewers’ Company contain a quaint account of an
information laid against them for selling dear ale; the complainant
in the case being Sir Richard, whose mayoralty had then expired. The
substance of it, translated from the original Norman French, is as

“On Thursday, July 30th, 1422, Robert Chichele, the Mayor, sent for
the masters and twelve of the most worthy of our company to appear
at the Guildhall; to whom John Fray, the recorder, objected a breach
of government, for which £20 should be forfeited, for selling dear
ale. After much dispute about the price and quality of malt, wherein
Whityngton, the late mayor, declared that the brewers had ridden into
the country and forestalled the malt, to raise its price, they were
convicted in the penalty of £20; which objecting to, the masters were
ordered to be kept in prison in the Chamberlain’s company, until they
{136} should pay it, or find security for payment thereof.” Whereupon,
the Mayor and Court of Aldermen, having “gone homeward to their meat,”
the masters, who remained in durance vile, “asked the Chamberlain and
clerk what they should do; who bade them go home, and promised that no
harm should come to them; for all this proceeding had been done but to
please Richard Whityngton, for he was the cause of all the aforesaid
judgment.” The record proceeds to state that “the offence taken by
Richard Whityngton against them was for their having fat swans at
their feast on the morrow of St. Martin.” Whether this unctuous dish
had offended the famous Mayor’s mind by way of his digestion, does not

[Illustration: Whityngton.]

The same Robert Chichele is recorded to have issued the following
curious regulation in 1423:—“That retailers of ale should sell the same
in their houses in pots of “peutre,” sealed and open; and that whoever
carried ale to the buyer should hold the pot in one hand and a cup in
the other; and that all who had cups unsealed should be fined.”

Many other complaints of the “oppressive” acts of Whitington towards
the Company are also recorded. {137}

The Company, as appears from these records, had the power of fining its
members for breach of discipline. In 1421 one William Payne, at the
sign of the Swan, by St. Anthony’s Hospital, Threadneedle Street, was
fined 3s. 4d., to be expended in a swan for the masters’ breakfast,
for having refused to supply a barrel of ale to the King when he was in
France. Simon Potkin, of the Key, Aldgate, was fined for selling short
measure, whereupon he alleged that he had given money to the masters of
the Brewers’ Company, that he might sell ale at his will. This excuse
embroiled him with the Company, who were not to be appeased until he
had paid 3s. 4d. for a swan to be eaten by the masters, but of which,
it is added, “he was allowed his own share.”

In 1420 Thomas Greene, master, and the wardens of the Company
agreed that they should meet at “Brewershalle” every Monday for the
transaction of their business. It would appear that the first Hall
had then been recently erected, for, as we have seen, the Brewers
had in the preceding reign no fixed place to which “the good men of
the mystery” might resort. Many curious accounts are to be found of
election feasts. The presence of females was allowed. The brothers of
the Company paid 12d., and the sisters 8d., and a brother and his
wife 20d. A _menu_ of one of these feasts, given in the ninth year of
Henry V., is subjoined. It shows the nature of these entertainments at
that period.


     _La premier Cours_              _The First Course_

   Brawne one le mustarde          Brawn with mustard
   Caboch à le potage              Cabbage soup
   Swan standard                   Swan standard
   Capons rostez                   Roast capons
   Graundez Costades.              Great costard apples.

    _La seconde Cours_               _The Second Course_

   Venyson en broth one            Venison in broth
   Blanche mortrewes[44]            Mortreux soup {138}
   Cony standard                   Rabbit standard
   Pertriches on cokkez rostez     Partridges with roasted cocks
   Leche Lombard[45]                Leche Lombard
   Dowsettes one pettiz parneux.   Sweetmeats and pastry.

     _La troisme Cours_              _The Third Course_

   Poires en serope                Pears in syrup
   Graundezbriddes one             Great birds and
   Petitz ensemblez                Little ones together
   Fretours                        Fritters
   Payne puff one                  Bread puff
   Un cold bakemete.               A cold baked meat.

   [44] _Mortreux_ was a kind of white soup. Chaucer says of the Cook

      “He coude roste, and sethe, and broille, and frie,
       Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.”

   [45] An old receipt for _leche lombard_ describes it as made of pork
   pounded with eggs; sugar, salt, raisins, currants, dates, pepper,
   and cloves were added; the mixture was put in a bladder and boiled;
   raisins, wine and more spices were added, and the whole was served
   in a wine gravy.

It will be gathered from a study of this bill of fare that, though the
Brewers frequently alluded to themselves in petitions as “the poor men
of the Mystery of Brewers,” “your poor neighbours the Berebruers,” and
such like, they nevertheless fared rather sumptuously than otherwise.
Here is their drink bill for a similar entertainment:—


 item for xxii galons of red wine                      xiiijs. viijd.
 item for iij kilderkyns of good ale at ijs. iiijd.    viis.
 item for ij kilderkyn of iij halfpeny Ale at xxij     iijs. viijd.
 item for j kilderkyn of peny ale                      xijd.

In 1422 Parliament ordered that all the weirs or “kydells” in the
Thames from Staines to Gravesend should be destroyed, and the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen ordained that two men from each of the City
Companies should assist in the work. Thomas Grene and Robert Swannefeld
were accordingly chosen on behalf of the Brewers to go to Kingston. The
expenses were defrayed by a general contribution by the members of the
Company. “These be the names,” says the old {139} writer, “of Brewers
of London, the wheche dede paien diverse somes of monye for to helpe to
destruye the weres yn Tempse for the comynalte of the Cite of London
shulde have the more plente of fissh.” The names of some two hundred
and fifty subscribers are subjoined to the record.

In 1424 the Brewers had a Lord Mayor to their mind in John Michelle,
who was “a good man, and meek and soft to speak with.” When he was
sworn-in, the Brewers gave him an ox, that cost 21s. 2d., and a boar
valued at 30s. 1d.; “so that he did no harm to the Brewers, and
advised them to make good ale, that he might not have any complaint
against them.”

Returning to the ordinances of the City, we find that about this time
(7 Hen. V.) there were some three hundred brewers in the City and
liberties. In that year another precaution was taken to ensure a proper
measure of cask. The coopers were ordered by Whitington to mark with
an iron brand all casks made by them. Each cooper was to have his own
brand, and the marks were to be entered of record. This regulation was
carried into effect, and the mark chosen by each cooper appears on the
City Records with his name annexed, as thus:—


In the sixteenth year of the reign of Henry VI. the first charter
was granted to the Brewers’ Company. It empowered the freemen of
the Mystery of Brewers of the City of London thenceforward to be a
corporate body, with a common seal and powers of taking and holding
land. The Company was yearly to elect four of their number as wardens,
who were to have power to regulate the members of the Mystery and their
brewing operations, and also to govern and rule all men employed in,
and all processes connected with, the brewing of _any kind of liquor
from malt_ within the City and suburbs for ever. This last provision
was probably intended to extend the power of the Company to the
Fellowship of the Beer-brewers, then beginning to come into existence.
Some years afterwards a coat-of-arms was granted to the Company by
William Hawkeslowe, Clarencieux King of Arms of the South Marches of
Ingelond. It is thus described in the grant: {140} “They beren asure
thre barly sheues gold, bound of the same, a cheveron, gowles, in the
cheveron thre barels, Sylvir, garnyshed with sable.”

[Illustration: The Ancient Arms.]

The Brewers had taken for their patron saints St. Mary and St. Thomas
the Martyr, and bore the arms of Thomas à Becket impaled with their
own, until Henry VIII., discovering that St. Thomas was no saint after
all, desecrated his tomb, scattered his dust to the four winds of
heaven, and compelled the Brewers to adopt another escutcheon. The new
coat, discarding the obnoxious saint’s insignia, was a good deal like
the old one, and is borne by the Company to this day. It is described
in the grant as follows: “Geules on a Cheueron engrailed silver three
kilderkyns sable hoped golde between syx barly sheues in saultre of
the same, upon the Helme on a torse siluer and asur a demy Morien in
her proper couler, vestid asur, fretid siluer, the here golde, holding
in either hande thre barley eres of the same manteled sable, dobled

[Illustration: The Arms of the Brewers’ Company.]

With regard to the old Hall of the Brewers’ Company, it occupied the
site of the present Hall, and is described by Stowe as a “faire house;”
it was destroyed in the Great Fire. Of the present edifice, which
sprang Phœnix-like from the ashes of the yet smoking City—it bears date
1666—suffice it to say that it is a fine building, characteristic of
the architectural style of the period, and that for lovers of old oak
carvings its interior is worthy a visit.

This notice of the Brewers’ Company, its foundation, its feasts, and
{141} its troubles has taken us rather in advance of our tale, and we
must hark back to the middle of the fifteenth century.

To judge from an entry in the City Records of the sixteenth year of
Edward IV. the Brewers were sometimes openly resisted by force of arms.
The actual occasion on which this was done is not specified, but it is
recorded that Richard Geddeney was committed to prison for having said
that the Brewers had made new ordinances, and that it would be well to
oppose them, as had formerly been done, with swords and daggers, when
they were assembled in their Hall.

Six years afterwards a petition was presented to the Lord Mayor and
Aldermen by the Brewers, which is so good a specimen of the usual style
of their supplications that some portions of it are given. It begins by
“petieously compleynyng that where in tyme passed thei have honestly
lyved by the meanes of bruyng, and utteryng of their chaffer as well
within the fraunchises of the saide Citee as withoute. And hath ben
able to bere charges of the same citee after their havours and powers
as other freemen of the saide citee. Where now it is so that for lak
of Reules and other directions in the saide Crafte they ben disordered
and none obedience nor goode Rule and Guydyng is hadd within the saide
Crafte to the distruction thereof.” It is therefore prayed—“That eny
persone occupying the Craft or feat of bruying within the franchise or
the saide citee make or do to be made good and hable ale and holesome
for mannys body. . . and that no manner ale after it be clensed and set
on yeyst be put to sale or borne oute to eny custumers hous till that
it have fully spourged (worked).” That no brewer shall occupy a house
or a “seler” _apart from his own dwelling-house_ for the sale of his
ale. That no brewer shall “entice or labour to taak awey eny custumer
from a brother brewer,” or “serve or do to be served any typler
(_i.e._, retailer of ale) or huxster as to hym anewe be comen custumer
of any manner ale for to be retailed till he have verrey knowlage that
the saide typler or huxster be clerely _oute of dett and daunger for
ale to any other person_” . . . . . That every person keeping a house
and being a _brother of Bruers_ do pay to the Wardens of the Company a
sum of 4s. yearly. “That no manner persone of the said crafte . . .
presume to goo to the feeste of the Maior or the Sherriff _unless he
be invited_ . . that members of the crafte shall appear in livery when
so commanded that is to sey gowne and hode . . . That the livery of
the crafte be changed and renewed every third year agenst the day of
the Election of the newe Wardeyns of the crafte . . .” That once a
quarter the ordinances of the Company shall be read to the assembled
brewers in {142} their common hall. That no brewer is to buy malt
except in the market. That malt brought to market must not be “capped
in the sakke, nor raw-dried malte, dank or wete malte or made of mowe
brent barly, belyed malt, Edgrove malte, acre-spired malte, wyvell eten
malte or meddled[46], in the deceite of the goode people of the saide
citee, upon payn of forfaiture of the same.” No one is to buy his own
malt or corn in the market, “to high the price of corn in the Market,”
under pain of the pillory. No one is to sell malt “at the Market of
Gracechurch or Greyfreres before 9 of the clock till market bell
therfor ordeigned be rongen,” and at one o’clock all the unsold malt is
to be cleared away.

   [46] “Capped in the sakke” = probably with some good malt put on the
   top and defective malt beneath. Mowe brent barley = barley that has
   heated in the stack. Belyed = swollen. Acre-spired = with the shoot
   of the plant projecting from the husk. Wyvell-eten = weevil-eaten.
   Meddled = mixed.

All these rules and ordinances the Lord Mayor and Aldermen were
graciously pleased to sanction and confirm.

The records contain many entries showing the difficulties the
authorities had to contend with in keeping the brewers to the legal
price and qualities of ale, a subject already touched on in Chapter
V. The prices being fixed by law, and no allowance being made for the
natural fluctuations of the market, it is not to be supposed that
the brewers would give their customers any better ale than they were
absolutely compelled by law to give. As old Taylor quaintly says:—

 I find the _Brewer_ honest in his _Beere_,
 He sels it for small Beere, and he should cheate,
 Instead of _small_ to cosen folks with _Greate_,
 But one shall seldome find them with that fault,
 Except it should invisibly raine Mault.

Disputes arising between the officers of the Brewers’ Company and any
members of the guild, were sometimes referred for settlement to the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen. In 1520 there was “variance and debate in the
Court of Aldermen between the Master and Wardens of the ale-brewers
and Thomas Adyson, ale-brewer, concerning the making of a growte” by
the latter. The parties having submitted their case to the Court,
it was adjudged that Adyson should go to the Brewers’ Hall, {143}
and there, before the Master and Wardens, “with due reverence as
to them apperteynyng, standing before them his hed uncovered, shall
say these words: ‘Maysters, I pray you to be good masters to me, and
fromhensforth I promytte you that I shall be good and obedient to you
. . and obey the laws and customs of the house.’”

Foreign brewers (_i.e._, brewers not members of the Company) were
only allowed to sell ale within the City on paying 40s. annually to
the use of the City, and in default of payment the Chamberlain “shall
distreyne their carts from tyme to tyme.” There was also a duty called
ale-silver, which had been paid from time immemorial to the Lord Mayor
by the sellers of ale within the City.

Complaints of short measure were still common, and as it is shown that
the barrels were delivered to customers without being properly filled,
so that “thynhabitants of the City paye for more ale and bere than
they doo receive, which is agenst alle good reason and conscience,”
therefore the brewers were ordered to take round “filling ale” to fill
up their customers’ casks.

In the eighteenth year of Henry VIII. a striking instance of the
insubordination of the Brewers is recorded. The four Wardens of the
Company were ordered to produce their books of fines, “the whiche
to doo they utterly denyed.” Therefore the four Wardens and their
Clerk, Lawrence Anworth, “were comytted to the prisn of Newgate ther
to remayne.” This seems to have awakened the Wardens to a sense of
their duties, for on the same day they brought in “ij. boks inclosed
in a whytte bagge.” A committee was appointed to inspect the same,
“forasmuche as it is thought that mayne unreasonable fynes and other
ordynannces be conteyned in theym.”

It has been already mentioned (p. 68) that from the time of Henry VI.
beer had begun slowly to displace the old English ale. The Beer-brewers
had gathered themselves together into a “fellowship” for the protection
of their interests, and were quite distinct from the Ale-brewers,
who composed the Brewers’ Company. Whatever may have been the case
earlier, in the reign of Henry VIII. the Beer-brewers numbered in their
fellowship a certain proportion of Dutchmen. In the twenty-first year
of that reign it was ordained that “no maner Berebruer, _Ducheman or
other_, selling any bere shall, etc.” “Also that no maner of berebruer
_Englise_ or _straunger_, shall have and kepe in his house above the
nomber of two Coblers to amende their vessells.” Constant reference
is made to the Beer-brewers as being a fellowship separate from the
Ale-brewers until the reign of Edward VI., by which {144} time they
had united, apparently without obtaining the sanction of any authority
to the change. In the fifth year of that reign a resolution was passed
by the Court of Common Council that, “forasmoche as the beare-bruers
in the last commen counseyll here holden most dysobedyentlye,
stubborenelye, and arrogantlye behaved theymselfes toward this
honourable Courte,” the whole craft of the Beer-brewers are for ever
disqualified from being elected to serve upon the Common Council; if,
however, the Beer-brewers make humble submission, they may be restored
to their old status, “if your lordship and the wysdomes of this Citee
shall then thynke it mete.” And forasmuch as “most evydently yt hathe
apperyd that this notable stobernes of the beare-bruers hath rysen by
the counseyll and provocatioun of the ale-bruers, which have unyted
to theym all the beare-bruers,” it is ordered that for the future the
two crafts shall not unite, nor shall the Ale-brewers compel any one
to come into their Company. This state of things continued till the
third year of Queen Mary’s reign, when a petition was presented by the
Brewers to the Common Council, which recited that the two crafts had
formerly been united, “as mete and verye convenyente it was and yet
is,” and prayed that the restriction might be removed. The petition
ended thus: “and they with all their hartes accordinge to theire
dueties shall daylye praye unto almightye god longe to prosper and
preserve your honours and worshippes in moche helthe and felycytie.”
This affecting appeal, which would have moved a heart of stone, had
the desired effect, and from that day to the present the Beer-brewers
and Ale-brewers have been united, “as mete and very convenyente it
is” that they should be. Different governance, however, was applied
to the former, and for long after this period four Surveyors of the
Beer-brewers, being “substantyall sadd men,” were elected every year to
supervise the trade.

An instance of the tyranny with which the trades were regulated in
the old days has been already given; a very similar one may be taken
from an order of the Star Chamber in the twenty-fourth year of Henry
VIII., which commands that “in case the Maire and Aldermen of the same
Citie shall hereafter knowe and perceyve or understonde that any of the
saide Brewers of their frowarde and perverse myndes shall at any tyme
hereafter sodenly forbere and absteyne from bruynge, whereby the King’s
subjects shulde bee destitute or onprovided of Drynke,” the brewhouses
of such “wilfull and obstynate” brewers shall be taken possession of
by the City, who are to allow others to brew there, and provide them
materials “in case their lak greynes to brew with.” {145}

Regrators and forestallers (_i.e._, persons who bought large stocks
of provisions with the object of causing a rise in price) were in
old times severely treated by the authorities, who generally checked
their iniquitous dealings by ordering them to sell their stores at a
_reasonable_ price. The forestaller, indeed, might think himself lucky
if he escaped so easily. In the fourth year of Edward VI. four persons
who had accumulated great quantities of hops in a time of scarcity were
ordered to sell their whole stock at once at a reasonable price.

All through the reign of Queen Elizabeth the unfortunate brewers were
vexed with frequent and, in some cases, contradictory regulations: This
beer was to be allowed; that beer was prohibited; prices were still
fixed by law, and qualities must correspond to the City regulations.
Even though a man be ruined, he could not leave off brewing, for fear
of being held a “rebel.”

A curious ordinance, made in the fourteenth year of Elizabeth’s reign,
shows the extreme newness of the ale and beer consumed by the good men
of the City of London in those days. The ordinance is expressed to be
for the reformation of “dyvers greate and foule abuses disorderlye
bigonne by the Brewers,” and, reciting that the Brewers have begun to
deliver their beer and ale but two or three hours after the same be
cleansed and tunned, it provides that no beer or ale is to be delivered
to customers till it has stood in the brewer’s house six hours in
summer and eight in winter.

There seems to have been a smoke question in London even as early as
this period, for in the twenty-first year of Elizabeth we find that
John Platt was committed to prison, “for that he contrarye to my Lorde
Maior’s comaundement to refraine from burninge of seacoles during
her Majestie’s abode at Westminster, he did continually burn seacole
notwithstanding.” A petition from the Brewers to Her Majesty’s Council
about the same period recites that the Brewers understand that Her
Majesty “findeth hersealfe greately greved and anoyed with the taste
and smoke of the seacooles used in their furnaces.” They therefore
promise to substitute wood in the brewhouses nearest to Westminster
Palace. What would have been Her Majesty’s “grief” if she could have
experienced a modern November in London?

In Peter Pindar’s poem on the visit of King George III. to Whitbread’s
Brewery, allusion is made to the once popular belief that brewers’
horses are usually fed on grains. The origin of this idea may possibly
be found in the regulations enforced in London as to the price of and
the dealings in brewers’ grains. In a proclamation of Elizabeth’s {146}
time it is recited that “forasmuche as brewers’ graines be victuall
for horses and cattell as hey and horsebread and other provinder be,”
therefore a price is to be set upon grains by the Lord Mayor, and
the buying of grains to sell again is forbidden. The difficulties of
enforcing the rules as to price and quality of ale and beer are shown
in the frequent complaints of the brewers, and in the numerous trials
that were made from time to time by the City authorities to ascertain
how much drink ought to be brewed from a fixed quantity of malt. In the
thirty-fifth year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, a large Committee was
appointed to make trial, at the charges of the City, of twenty quarters
of malt, to be brewed into two sorts of beer, viz., strong beer at 6s.
8d. the barrel, and “doble” beer at 3s. 4d. the barrel. As a result
of the trial, the brewers promised to draw only five barrels and a
half of double beer from a quarter of malt until the price of malt had
fallen to 18s. the quarter; a strong proof this of the growing taste
for strong ale and beer. Shortly before this time the strongest ale
allowed by law had been this same “doble.” Now the “doble” had taken
the place of the single, and the strong ale of twice the strength of
the “doble” had stepped into its place.

A very summary way had the City authorities in the sixteenth century,
of treating any drink or victual which did not come up to the required
standard of excellence. In 1597 we find it ordered that two and fifty
pipes of corrupt beer, “being nether fitt for man’s body, nor to be
converted into sawce (_i.e. vinegar_) . . . shall have the heades
of all the same pipes beaten owte and the beer poured out into the
channells, part in Cheapside, part in Cornhill and part in Bishopsgate.”

After the reign of Elizabeth the entries concerning the Brewers and
their delinquencies become fewer and farther between. The prices of
ale and beer were still fixed by law, but more common-sense views on
the subject of trade and trade regulation were slowly beginning to
prevail, and we soon lose all traces of the tyrannous and vexatious
regulations of which so many instances occur in earlier times. One
more such instance may be mentioned of an arbitrary attempt to force
trade out of its natural channels, and to lower prices and compel
sobriety at one and the same time. In 1614 the Lord Mayor, “finding
the gaols pestered with prisoners, and their bane to take root and
beginning at ale-houses, and much mischief to be there plotted, with
great waste of corn in brewing heady strong beer, many consuming all
their time and means sucking that sweet poison,” had an exact survey
taken of all victualling houses and ale-houses, which were above a
thousand. As above 300 {147} barrels of beer were in some houses, the
whole quantity of beer in victualling houses amounting to above 40,000
barrels, he had thought it high time to abridge their number and limit
them by bonds as to the quantity of beer they should use, and as to
what orders they should observe, whereby the price of corn and malt had
greatly fallen. The Brewers, however, seem to have been too many for
his Lordship, for though he limited the number of barrels to twenty
per house, and the quality of the two sorts of beer to 4s. and 8s. a
barrel, so that the price of malt and wheat was in a fortnight reduced
by 5s. or 6s. per quarter, yet the Brewers brewed as before, alleging
that the beer was to be used for export, and, “combining with such as
kept tippling houses,” conveyed the same to the ale-houses by night, so
that in a few weeks’ time the price of malt had risen to much the same
figure as before.

In 1626 the Brewers’ Company was in evil case, as may be judged from a
petition presented by them in that year to the City Fathers, in which
they allege that they are in a decayed state and not able to govern
their trade, that their Company consists of but six beer-brewers and a
small number of ale-brewers, and that other brewers are free of other
Companies. The petition goes on to pray that no other person than a
freeman of the Company be allowed to set up a brewhouse in the City.
The petition was referred to a Committee, and nothing more was heard
of it. A similar petition, presented to the Common Council in the year
1752, was considered and the prayer granted.

While, however, the Brewers’ Company had been allowed to fall into
decay, the City regulations of the trade had become less and less
irksome, and the brewers themselves increased in wealth and prosperity.
Many allusions may be found in the writers of the middle of the
seventeenth century, which prove that the status of the brewers had
greatly improved. The old Water Poet thus describes how the brewers
“are growne rich”:—

 Thus Water boyles, parboyles, and mundifies,
 Cleares, cleanses, clarifies, and purifies.
 But as it purges us from filth and stincke:
 We must remember that it makes us drinke,
 Metheglin, Bragget, Beere, and headstrong Ale,
 (That can put colour in a visage pale)
 By which meanes many Brewers are growne rich,
 And in estates may soare a lofty pitch.
 Men of Goode Ranke and place, and much command,
 Who have (by sodden Water) purchast land: {148}
 Yet sure I thinke their gaine had not been such
 Had not good fellowes usde to drinke too much:
 But wisely they made Haye whilst Sunne did shine,
 For now our Land is overflowne with Wine:
 With such a Deluge, or an Inundation
 As hath besotted and halfe drown’d our Nation.
 Some there are scarce worth 40 pence a yeere
 Will hardly make a meale with Ale or Beere:
 And will discourse, that wine doth make good blood,
 Concocts his meat, and make digestion good,
 And after to drink Beere, nor will, nor can
 _He lay a churl upon a Gentleman_.

A somewhat similar moral may be drawn from the humorous little poem,
written a century and a half later by a namesake of the Water Poet:—


  Honest William, an easy and good natur’d fellow,
  Would a little too oft get a little too mellow;
  Body coachman was he to an eminent brewer,
  No better e’er sat on a coach-box to be sure.

  His coach was kept clean, and no mothers or nurses,
  Took more care of their babes, than he took of his horses;
  He had these, aye, and fifty good qualities more,
  But the business of tippling could ne’er be got o’er.

  So his master effectually mended the matter,
  By hiring a man who drank nothing but water,
 “Now William,” says he, “you see the plain case,
  Had you drank as he does you’d have kept a good place.”

 “Drink water!” cried William; “had all men done so,
  You’d never have wanted a coachman, I trow.
  They are soakers, like me, whom you load with reproaches,
  That enable you brewers to ride in your coaches.”

A short space only may be devoted to a record of a few of the more
remarkable brewers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Jan
Steen, of Delph, seems to have been a brewer famed rather for his
eccentricities than for his beer. He flourished in the days of Charles
II., and Arnold Hinbraken, his biographer, says that a whole book might
{149} be filled with droll episodes of his life. “He was so attached
to boon companions, that his Brewery came to grief. He bought wine with
his money instead of malt. His wife, seeing this, said one day to him,
‘Jan, our living is vanishing, our customers call in vain, there is
no beer in the cellar, nor have we malt for a Brew, what will become
of us? You should bring life into the brewery.’ ‘I’ll keep it alive,’
said Jan, and walked away. He went to market and bought several live
ducks, having first told his men to fill the largest kettle with water
and heat it. He then threw a little malt in it, and threw in the Ducks,
which, not accustomed to hot water, flew madly through the Brewery
making a horrid noise, so that his wife came running in to see what the
matter was, when Jan, turning to her, said, ‘My love, is it not lively
now in our Brewery?’ However, he gave up brewing, and turned Painter.”

William Hicks, who died in the year 1740, was one of the most
remarkable Brewers of the last century. He was brewer to the Royal
household, and left behind him a well-earned reputation for honesty and
loyalty. A striking proof of his loyalty may be seen to this day in
the statue of George I., which he set up on the summit of Bloomsbury
steeple, and of which a facetious person wrote:—

 The King of Great Britain was reckon’d before
 The head of the Church by all good Christian people,
 But his brewer has added still one title more
 To the rest, and has made him the head of the steeple.

Another celebrated brewer of last century was Humphrey Parsons, twice
Lord Mayor of London. This gentleman, when upon a hunting party with
Louis XV., happened to be exceedingly well mounted, and, contrary to
the etiquette observed in the French Court, outstripped the rest of the
company, and was first in at the death. On the King asking the name of
the stranger, he was indignantly informed that he “was un chevalier
de malte.” The King entered into conversation with Mr. Parsons, and
asked the price of his horse. The Chevalier, bowing in the most courtly
style, replied that the horse was beyond any price other than his
Majesty’s acceptance. The horse was delivered, and from thenceforward
the _chevalier_ Parsons had the exclusive privilege of supplying the
French Court and people with his far-famed “black champagne.”

It has been the sad reflection of many an one, on wandering in a
churchyard and reading the epitaphs of the departed, that certainly
the most virtuous and highly-gifted of mankind have already passed
{150} away—that is, if the epitaphs are absolutely to be relied on.
Mr. Tipper, the Newhaven brewer, who died in 1785, and lies buried in
Newhaven Churchyard, is an instance in point. Surely none but himself
could have been Mr. Tipper’s parallel. His epitaph runs thus:—

 Reader! with kind regards this grave survey,
 Nor heedless pass where Tipper’s ashes lay.
 Honest he was, ingenuous, blunt and kind,
 And dared do, what few dare do—speak his mind.
 Philosophy and History well he knew,
 Was versed in Physick and in Surgery too.
 The best old Stingo he both brewed and sold,
 Nor did one knavish trick to get his gold.
 He played thro’ life a varied comic part,
 And knew immortal Hudibras by heart.
 Reader, in real truth, such was the man,
 Be better, wiser, laugh more if you can.

The last resting place of Mr. Pepper, sometime brewer of Stamford, in
Lincolnshire, bears these lines:—

 Though _hot_ my name, yet mild my nature,
 I bore good will to every creature;
 I brew’d good ale and sold it too,
 And unto each I gave his due.

The following lines were composed on a brewer who, becoming too big a
man for his trade, retired from business—and died:—

 Ne’er quarrel with your craft,
   Nor with your shop dis’gree.
 He turned his nose up at his Tub
   And the bucket kicked he.

And so the old Brewers are dead and gone, with their virtues and their
faults, their troubles and their successes, and the modern Brewers
reign in their stead.





 “The Almaynes with their smale Rhenish wine are contented; but we must
 have March beere, double beere, dagger ale, and bracket . . .”
            _Gascoygne’s Delicate Dyet for Daintie-Mouthed Droonkards._

 Alum si fit stalum non est malum
 Beerum si fit clerum est sincerum.
                                                           _Old Rhyme._


An attempt to describe, or even to specify, all the ales and beers that
have gained a local or more wide-spread fame, would be a lengthy task.
Nearly every county in England, and nearly every town of any size, has
been at one time or another noted for its malt liquors. The renown of
some localities has been evanescent, having depended probably upon
the special art of some “barmy” brewer or skilful ale-wife, whilst of
others it may be said that years only increase their fame and spread
their reputation.

From a perusal of those queer old collections of quackery, magic,
herb-lore and star-lore, the Saxon Leechdoms, it may be gathered
that our Saxon ancestors brewed a goodly assortment of malt liquors.
They made beer, and strong beer; ale, and strong ale; clear ale,
lithe (clear) beer; and _twybrowen_, or double-brewed ale, the mighty
ancestor of the “doble-doble” beer of Elizabethan times. Besides all
these, there was foreign ale for those whose tastes were too fastidious
to be satisfied with their native productions. {152}

On the authority of the _Alvismál_, it may be said that no distinction
was originally drawn between ale and beer, except, perhaps, that the
latter was considered to be a somewhat more honourable designation; “öl
heitir meth mönnum en meth Asum bjoor” (_i.e._, ale it is called among
men, and among the gods beer).

The _Exeter Book_, a collection of Anglo-Saxon poems, contains the
expressions, “a good beer-drinker,” “angry with ale,” “drunken with
beer,” in close juxtaposition and apparently without any distinction of
meaning. A distinction must, however, have arisen in very early times,
for in the collection of Saxon Leechdoms, mentioned above, a direction
is to be found that a patient is on no account to drink beer, although
he may partake in moderation of ale and wine; and the same work
contains the remarkable and apparently impossible statement that while
a pint of ale weighs six pennies more than a pint of water, a pint of
beer weighs twenty-two pennies less than a pint of water.

The word beer seems gradually to have given place to the word ale,
and though the former may have lingered in some parts of the country,
and the passage from _King Horn_ already quoted shows that in the
thirteenth century it was not quite forgotten—ale became the usual
word to express malt liquor. It was English _ale_ that strengthened
the arm of English bowmen at Crecy and Poictiers, and on many another
well-fought field; and English _ale_ was the “barley-broth” which
“decocted” the cold blood of the dwellers in this land of fogs and
mist “to such valiant heat” and stubborn endurance in their constant
struggles with the valour and chivalry of France.

The old English word “beor,” indeed, had become so weakened and
specialised, even as early as the tenth century, that it is to be
found in a Vocabulary of that date as an equivalent for idromellum, a
word properly signifying an inferior sort of mead, but also denoting
the sweet wort, before fermentation had changed it into _ale_. It is
curious to observe that when next the word “beer” came into common use
in our language, it was by introduction of our neighbours the Flemings,
and was specially applied to malt liquor in which the bitter of the hop
was an important ingredient. The word left us in sweetness, it returned
in bitterness, and so the whirligig of time brings in its revenges.
Beer became the name for hopped ale, but that distinction soon began to
be less significant, for as early as 1616 we find Gervase Markham, in
his _Maison Rustique_, recommends the use of a small quantity of hops
in ale-brewing. {153}

Taylor, in _Drink and Welcome_, dwells upon this distinction between
ale and beer in the seventeenth century as follows:—“Now to write of
Beere I shall not need to wet my pen much with the naming of it, it
being a drinke which Antiquitie was an _Aleien_ or a meere stranger
to, and as it hath scarcely any name, so hath it no habitation, for
the places or houses where it is sold doth still retain the name of
an Alehouse. This comparison needs a _Sir Reverence_ to usher it, but
being Beere is but an Upstart and a Foreigner or Alien, in respect
of _Ale_, it may serve instead of a better; Nor would it differ from
Ale in anything, but onely that an Aspiring _Amaritudinous_ Hop comes
crawling lamely in, and makes a Bitter difference betweene them, but
if the Hop be so crippled, that he cannot be gotton to make the oddes,
the place may poorely bee supply’d with chopp’d Broome (new gathered)
whereby Beere hath never attained the sober Title of _Ale_, for it is
proper to say _A Stand of Ale_, and a _Hoggeshead of Beere_, which in
common sense is but a swinish phrase or appellation.”

That curious ballad entitled _Skelton’s Ghost_, which was probably
the work of a rhymer of the seventeenth century, points to the same
distinction. The ghost of Skelton the Laureate is supposed to be
addressing some of the jovial characters of the period much in the tone
of one who, having lived in the golden age (of liquor), looks down
with pity and scorn at a later-day’s degenerate topers. These are the
particular lines in point:—

 For in King Harry’s time
 When I made this rhyme
        *       *       *       *       *
 Full Winchester gage
 We had in that age
 The Dutchman’s strong beere
 Was not hopt over here,
 To us ’twas unknowne;
 Bare ale of our owne,
 In a bowle we might bring,
 To welcome the King.

At the present day, in the eastern counties, and indeed over the
greater portion of the country, _ale_ means strong, and _beer_ means
small malt liquor; in London _beer_ usually means porter (_i.e._, the
small beer of stout); while in the west country _beer_ is the “mighty”
liquor, and _ale_ the small. In the trade, however, _beer_ is the
comprehensive word for all malt liquors. {154}

Ale was not the only word employed in late Saxon times to signify the
“oyle of barly,” for _wœt_, from the Saxon _swatan_, was in common use
as a synonym, and now, perhaps, finds its representative in the slang
phrase, “heavy wet.” The same term lingers in Scotland, and lovers of
Burns will remember his line, “It gars the _swats_ gae glibber doun.”
In former times wheat and oats were malted, as well as barley, and
though, as has been previously stated (p. 105), the law from time to
time prohibited this use of wheat, as tending to enhance the price of
bread, the practice was stronger than the precept, and continued to
prevail down to a comparatively recent date.

Cogan, in _The Haven of Health_ (1586), thus describes the effect of
the different malts on the resultant liquor:—“For beere or ale being
made of wheat inclineth more to heat, for wheat is hot. If it be made
of barley malt, it enclineth more to cold, for barley is cold. And if
it be made of barley and otes together it is yet more temperate and of
less nourishment.” In the reign of Edward VI. even beans were used in
brewing, for the Brewers’ Company, in a petition to the Common Council
asking for a revision of the prices of ale and beer, complain that the
articles they use in brewing, viz., “wheate, malte, oates, beanes,
hoppes . . . . . . at these days are comen unto greate and exceeding

It has been shown that for several hundred years the prices and
qualities of ale were fixed by law. As a rule, only two kinds were
allowed to be brewed for sale, the better and the second, or, as they
were called in some places, and notably in London, the double and the
single. The prices in Henry III.’s reign for the better kind were fixed
at 1d. for two gallons sold within cities, and 1d. for three or four
gallons sold in country places. In Edward III.’s reign three sorts
of ale might be brewed, the best at 1½d. a gallon, the middling at
1d., and the third at three farthings; and these prices seem to have
been in force in the City of London with slight variations down to the
time of Henry VIII., when the Brewers upon several occasions stirred
themselves to get the prices raised, but met with varying success.
In the early part of the reign the retail price of the best ale was
still 1½d. the gallon, and of the second, called threehalfpenny ale,
1d. per gallon. Double beer was to be 1d. per gallon, and single
½d. and a half-farthing. The wholesale price for beer was also fixed,
and three kinds were allowed, viz., “Dobyll” at 15d. the kilderkin,
“Threehalfpenny” at 12d., and “Syngyll” at 10d.

In the twenty-fourth year of Henry VIII. the Brewers, after much
agitation, got the prices of beer raised to 2s. the kilderkin for the
“doble,” {155} and 1s. for the “syngyll”; but even with that they
were not satisfied, and expressed their dissatisfaction in protests to
the Common Council, who listened to their complaint, “but after long
consideration it was agreed, that whereas the Serjeaunt Gybson hath
exhibited and rote a boke of the gaynes of the said bere-brewers,”
their case should be remitted to the care of a committee appointed
to look into it. In the result no alteration was then sanctioned,
but five years afterwards the price was raised to 3s. 4d. the kil.
for the best, and 2s. 8d. for the threehalfpenny. The strength of
ale usually brewed about this time may be judged from answers given
by London brewers when interrogated on the subject. John Sheffield,
on being asked (36 Henry VIII.) how many kilderkins of _good ale_ he
draws from a quarter of malt, answers, “Little above five.” Other
brewers say much the same thing, though Richard Pyckering evades the
question by saying that “he commytteth the whole to his wife, and what
she draweth from a quarter he knoweth not.” This would point to an ale
of very considerable strength. In the thirty-seventh year of Henry
VIII., another committee was appointed to consider this all-important
question, “on account of the grete derthe and scarcitye at this present
of all kinds of grayne;” but nothing resulted from their deliberations.
The Brewers, however, seem to have stuck to their text with great
pertinacity, and in the fifth year of Edward VI. obtained a decision
of a committee of the Common Council, that they could no longer supply
the City at the then existing prices. Two kinds of beer only are to be
allowed, our old friends, “doble” and “syngyll,” and the strength and
quality are defined as follows: “Of every quarter of grayne that any
beare-bruer shall brewe of doble beare, he shall drawe fowre barrells
and one fyrkyn of goode holsome drynke for mannes bodye,” and double
that quantity of single beer. The price of the double beer is to be
4s. 8d. the barrel, and of single beer 2s. 4d., until the price of
malt is reduced to 15s. the quarter, and of wheat to 12s., when the
old prices are to be revived. Little variations of price occurred until
the reign of Elizabeth, who seems, from contemporary accounts, to have
been frequently exercised by the behaviour of the London Brewers. In
a Royal proclamation of the second year of her reign, she complains
that the Brewers have left off brewing any single beer, but brew “a
kynde of very strong bere calling the same doble-doble-bere which they
do commenly utter and sell at a very greate and excessyve pryce,” and
orders the old rules and rates to be observed; and in particular that
every Brewer shall once a week brew “as much syngyl as doble beare and
more.” Twenty years later the “doble-doble” seems to have been {156}
sanctioned in practice if not in name, for the Brewers are ordered to
sell two sorts of beer only, the double at 4s. the barrel and “the
other sort of beare of the best kynde at 7s. 6d.”

Three years later still the Queen declares that the disorders of the
Brewers, through their “ungodly gredyness,” have grown to such lengths
that something must be done; and an Act of Common Council brings back
the beer to double and single, and applies other remedies.

In 1654 three sorts of beer are allowed—the best at 8s. the barrel,
the second at 6s., and the small at 4s.; and shortly afterwards a
fourth kind was added at 10s. The efforts of the authorities to fix
the prices of ale and beer by arbitrary means were not long afterwards
finally discontinued.

The limitation and classification of ale and beer according to their
strength, was maintained down to quite recent times because of the
duties laid upon them, but on the repeal of those duties ales of every
strength, kind and description were, and have since been, extensively
manufactured. Every want, whim, and fancy of the ale-drinker may now
be gratified. There is old Scotch or old Burton for the lover of
strong beer, porter for the labouring classes, stout for the weakly,
and last, but far from least, that splendid liquid, pale ale, which,
when bottled, vies with champagne in its excellence and delicacy of
flavour, and beats it altogether out of the field when we take into
consideration its sustaining and restorative powers.

A tale is told of a man who asserted that tea was stronger than beer.
“A pot of beer,” said he, “will seldom attract more than a couple of
men about it, but a pot of tea will draw half-a-dozen or more old

A potent drink, much in vogue with the roystering blades of former
times, was that known as “huff-cap.” The name was a cant expression
for strong ale, which was so called because it induced people to set
their caps in a bold huffing fashion. The term huff-cap was also used
to denote a swaggering fellow, as may be gathered from Clifford’s
_Note on Dryden_ (1687):—“Prethee tell me true, was not this huff-cap
once the Indian Emperour, and at another time did he not call himself
Maximine?” _Fulwel’s Art of Flattery_ thus mentions this variety of the
juice of barley:—“To quench the scorching heat of our parched throtes,
with the best nippitatum in this toun, which is commonly called
_huff-cap_, it will make a man look as though he had seen the devil
and quickly move him to call his own father a ———” (naughty name).
Harrison, writing on the food and diet of the English in 1587, also
{157} mentions huff-cap, and speaks of the mightiness of the ale in
which our ancestors indulged; ale, in fact, as an old Proverb has it,
“that would make a cat speak.” “Howbeit,” he writes, “though they are
so nice in the proportion of their bread, yet in lieu of the same their
is such headie ale and beere in moste of them, as for the mightinesse
thereof among suche as seeke it oute, is commonly called huffe cap,
the mad dog, angel’s food, dragon’s milke, etc. And this is more to be
noted, that when one of late fell by God’s prouvidence into a troubled
conscience, after he had considered well of his reachlesse life, and
dangerous estate; another thinking belike to change his colour and not
his mind, carried him straightwaie to the strongest ale, as to the next
physician. It is incredible to saie how our malte bugs lug at this
liquor, even as pigs should lie in a rowe, lugging at their dame’s
teats, till they lie still againe and be not able to wag. Neither did
Romulus and Remus sucke their shee woolfe or sheepherd’s wife Lupa with
such eger and sharpe devotion as these men hale at hufcap, till they be
red as cockes, and little wiser than their combs.” A strong ale, called
“Huff,” is still brewed at Winchester, and is kept for the use of the
fellows (not the boys) of that ancient institution.

Some idea of the strength of the ale usually drunk in the country
districts in Elizabeth’s reign, may be gathered from a passage in a
letter from Leicester to Burleigh, written while the Queen was on
one of her famous progresses through the country: “There is not one
drop of good drink here for her. We were fain to send to London, and
Kenilworth, and divers other places where ale was; her own bere was so
strong as there was no man able to drink it.”

To quote again from old Harrison on the fondness of his contemporaries
for strong ale, speaking of workmen and others attending bride-ales
(_i.e._, marriage feasts) and such like festivities, he says: “If they
happen to stumble upon a peece of venison and a cup of wine or verie
strong beere or ale (which latter they commonlie provide against their
appointed daies) they thinke their cheere so great, and themselves to
have fared so well, as the Lord Maior of London, with whom, when their
bellies be full, they will not stick to make comparison.”

In the year 1680, during the debate on the Act to restrain the excess
and abuse used in Victualling Houses, one member said that he wished
“there might be a reformation of Ale, which is now made so strong, that
he offered to affirm it upon oath, that it is commonly sold for a Groat
a quart. _It is as strong as wine, and will burn like Sack._” {158}

The Water Poet thus describes the different qualities of mild and stale
beer as known to the topers of the seventeenth century: “The stronger
_Beere_ is divided into two parts (viz.), mild and stale; the first
may ease a man of a drought, but the latter is like water cast into a
Smith’s forge, and breeds more heart-burnings, and as rust eates into
Iron, so overstale Beere gnawes aulet holes in the entrales, or else my
skill failes, and what I have written of it is to be held as a Jest.”

Nipitatum or nipitato was another slang name for very strong ale. It is
mentioned in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_:—

 My father oft will tell me of a drink,
 In England found and _Nipitato_ called,
 Which driveth all the sorrow from your hearts.

Another epithet applied to ale, and denoting great strength, was
“humming,” and a reason for the term is shown by the extract from a
letter from John Howell to Lord Ciffe (seventeenth century), who, in
speaking of metheglin, says “that it keeps a humming in the brain,
which made one say that he loved not metheglin because he was used
to speak too much of the house he came from, meaning the hive.” The
humming in the head would be equally applicable to the effects of ale
as of metheglin, though the hive would only apply to the latter. The
same idea is sometimes expressed by the term _hum-cup_, as in the lines
from the old Sussex sheep-shearing song, beginning:—

 ’Tis a barrel then of _hum-cup_, which we call the black ram.

Besides these strong ales and others too numerous to mention,
there was, at the beginning of last century, a certain strong beer
called Pharaoh, which gave its name to an ale-house at Barley, in
Cambridgeshire. The reason of the name is not certainly known, although
it was said in the county that it was so called because it _would not
let the people go_. This drink is no longer made in England, but a
strong beer of the same name is much appreciated in Belgium. The same
liquor is mentioned in the _Praise of Yorkshire Ale_ (1685):

  . . . Coffee, Twist, Old Pharaoh and old Hoc,
 Juniper Brandy and Wine de Langue-Dock.

As there have been many strong and mighty ales since the days when—

 King Hardicanute, ’midst Danes and Saxons stout,
 Carous’d on nut-brown ale and dined on growt, {159}

so there have been an abundance of small poor drinks, which have been
from time to time known by various terms of contempt, the titles
“whip-belly-vengeance” and “rotgut” being, perhaps, on the whole, the
most expressive. Shakspere sums up the humdrum of retired matronly life
in the well-known line, “To suckle fools and chronicle small beer.”
Beer which had been kept so long that it had turned sour was at one
time known as “broken beer,” much as we speak now of broken victuals.
Ben Jonson, in his _Masque of Gypsies_, makes mention of an infant
“very carefully carried at his mother’s back, rock’d in a cradle of
Welsh cheese like a maggot, and there fed with _broken beer_, and blown
wine of the best daily.”

In olden times small beer discharged that friendly office assigned
by later and more fastidious days to soda-water, namely, the cooling
of the parched throat after a too earnest devotion to the rites of

 Welcome to my lips, great king of frolic,
 Stern foe to headache, devils blue, and cholic—
 No dandy soda-water bring to me,
 No Lady’s lemonade, no soft bohea;
 Thy sterner aid I claim, and ask thy might
 To quell the riots of that punch last night;

wrote one of the Brasenose College poets. Christopher Sly, awakening
from his debauch, cries aloud for “a pot of small ale . . . and once
again a pot of the smallest ale,” and Prince Hal “remembers the poor
creature small beer.”

A nameless author, writing in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1746,
describes this function of small beer, and in poetic vein tells how
after a “wine,” awaking from a feverish sleep, he sees before him a
venerable man,

  Old, but not bending with the weight of years;
  His face was ruddy, and he smiled benign,
  As if nor sickness had his form impair’d,
  Nor anxious cares his soul: his silver’d head
  Was bound with wreaths of salutary flow’rs,
  Call’d _Hops_ by men, but _Panace_ by Gods.
 “My son,” he said (and at his voice divine
  New life beat vig’rous in each throbbing vein)
 “Long has my friendly influence mov’d the scorn,
  My name the laughter of the sons of men,
  The sons of men, regardless of their weal {160}
  And health, the greatest sublunary good!
  The genius I of liquor, call’d below
  Small Beer, and doubtless you have heard me damn’d
  Full oft, by Belials rude, outrageous sons;
  But yet, were honour due, to Temp’rance given,
  Mine were the favours of th’ applauding crowd,
        *       *       *       *       *
  ——Here, taste and live, live soberly and well.”
  This said, a vase with steady hand he gave,
  Full to the brim, I quaft’d the tender’d draught;
  Swift the cool stream refresh’d my burning throat,—
        *       *       *       *       *
  In haste my visionary guest retir’d,
  And left me deep in contemplation drown’d
  Resolving reason never more to quench
  In floods _Lethean_ of deceitful wine;
  Deceitful wine! embrew’d with mixtures dire,
  By the curs’d vintner’s art for sordid pelf.
  O! grant me, Heav’n, to live with health and ease,
  My books, a sober friend, _Small Beer_, and sense:
  So shall my years the smiling fates prolong,
  And each auspicious morn shall see me happy.

Even in distant times particular localities became noted for the
excellence of their brewers. London early attained, and has maintained
until the present day, a great reputation for its ale. Chaucer alludes
to the taste of the Cook for a “draught of London ale.” Tyrwhitt says
that in 1504 London ale was of such excellence that it fetched 5s. a
barrel more than Kentish ale. This can hardly be, as we have already
seen that at that period the barrel of London double ale only fetched
4s. Probably Tyrwhitt intended to refer to a tun and not to a barrel.
The occasion referred to was the enthronement of William Wareham as
Archbishop of Canterbury, when the provision made for washing down
the vast stores of eatables was something tremendous. Besides great
quantities of wine of many sorts, there were four tuns of London ale,
six of Kentish, and twenty of English beer.

The malt liquors of London, and especially London porter and stout,
are known from pole to pole, and Burton ales have a no less world-wide
reputation. Indeed, the word Burton has in itself come to be synonymous
with ale, and the expression “a glass of Burton” has become a household
word. {161}

Burton and its famous brew are treated of elsewhere in these pages, and
it must suffice here to insert an old song in praise of this nineteenth
century nectar:—


 Ne’er tell me of liquors from Spain or from France,
 They may get in your heels and inspire you to dance,
 But the Ale of Old Burton if mellow and right
 Will get in your head and inspire you to fight.

 Your Claret and Rhenish and fine Calcavella
 Were never yet able to make a good fellow,
 But of stout Burton Ale, if you drink but enough,
 ’Twill make you all jolly and hearty and tough.

 Then let meagre Frenchmen still batten on Wine,
 They ne’er will digest a good English Sirloin,
 Parbleu they may caper and Vapour along,
 But right Burton can make us both valiant and strong.

 Come here then ye Mortals who’re prone to despair
 From frowns of Dame Fortune or frowns of the fair,
 Whate’er your disorder, three nips will prevail,
 And the best Panacea you’ll find, Burton Ale.

 Then Molly approach with your Peacock and Cann—
 Not Juno herself brought more blessings to Man—
 With nip after nip, all my sorrows beguile,
 And my Fortune and Mistress shall presently smile.

Old strong beer is sometimes known by the name of Stingo, and this
appellation seems, for a couple of hundred years at least, to have been
specially applied to Yorkshire Ale. The estimation in which this liquor
was held at the end of the eighteenth century, and the wonders it was
deemed capable of bringing about, may be learned from a perusal of _The
Praise of Yorkshire Ale_, an old poem, extracts from which may be found
in the chapter devoted to Ballads. We have been given to understand
that the brewers of Yorkshire Stingo have not forgotten their ancient

Our old friend Taylor mentions a goodly number of places where
especially good ale was brewed in his day. “I should be voluminous,” he
says, “if I should insist upon all pertinent and impertinent passages
{162} in the Behalfe of _Ale_, as also of the retentive fame that
_Yorke_, _Chester_, _Hull_, _Nottingham_, _Darby_, _Gravesende_, with
a Toaste, and other Countries still enjoy, by making this untainted
liquor in the primitive way, and how _Windsor_ doth more glory in that
composition than all the rest of her speculative pleasures. . . . .
Also there is a Towne neere _Margate in Kent_ (in the Isle of Thanet)
called _Northdowne_, which Towne hath ingrost much Fame, Wealth, and
Reputation from the prevalent potencie of their attractive _Ale_.”

Derby had as early as the sixteenth century a great reputation for its
ales. Sir Lionel Rash, in _Green’s Tu Quoque_, an Elizabethan comedy,
says: “I have sent my daughter this morning as far as Pimlico to fetch
a draught of Derby Ale, that it may fetch a colour into her cheeks.”
Fuller, in his _Worthies of England_, with an evident conservative
taste for ale, that “authenticall drinke of old England,” mentions
the repute of Derby ale with some circumlocution, but with no stinted
praise. “Ceres being our English Bacchus,” he remarks, “this was our
ancestors’ common drink, many imputing the strength of their Infantry
(in drawing so stiff a bow) to their constant (but moderate) drinking
thereof. Yea, now the English begin to turn to Ale (may they in due
time regain their former vigorousnesse) and whereas in our remembrance,
Ale went out when swallows came in, seldom appearing after Easter; it
now hopeth (having climbed up May Hill) to continue its course all
the year. Yet have we lost the Preservative, what ever it was, which
(before Hops were found out) made it last so long in our land some
two hundred years since, for half a year at least after the brewing
thereof; otherwise of necessity they must brew every day, yea pour it
out of the Kive into the Cup, if the prodigious English Hospitality in
former ages be considered, with the multitude of menial servants and
strangers entertained. Now never was the wine of Sarepta better known
to the Syrians, that of Chios to the Grecians, of Phalernum to the
Latines, than the Canary of Derby is to the English thereabout.”

Manchester at about the same period seems to have had a great
assortment of Ales and Beers, if we are to believe Taylor, who, in his
_Pennyless Pilgrimage_, tells

  How men of Manchester did use me well,
        *       *       *       *       *
  We went into the house of one John Pinners
  (A man that lives among a crew of sinners)
  And there eight severall sorts of Ale we had,
  All able to make one starke drunke or mad. {163}
  But I with courage bravely flinched not,
  And gave the Towne leave to discharge the shot,
  We had at one time set upon the table,
  Good Ale of Hisope, ’twas not Esope fable:
  Then had we Ale of Sage, and Ale of Malt,
  And Ale of Woorme-wood, that could make one halt,
  With Ale of Rosemary, and Bettony,
  And two Ales more, or else I needs must lye.
  But to conclude this drinking Alye tale,
  We had a sort of Ale called scurvy Ale.

The southern district of Devon, which is locally known as South Hams,
has long been famed for a curious liquor known as “white ale.” The
beverage is of great antiquity, and has been subject to tithe from time
immemorial. Kingsbridge is supposed to have been the place where white
ale was first brewed. It used to be made of malt, a small quantity of
hops, flour, spices, and a mysterious compound known as “grout,” or
“ripening,” the manufacture of which was, and may be still, preserved
as a great secret in a few families. In another receipt for making
this ale it is stated that a number of eggs should be added to the
liquor before it is allowed to ferment, and this seems to have been an
essential of the original brew, or at any rate was so considered in
1741. A writer at that date says:—“The Ale-wives, whose province of
making this Ale it commonly falls under to manage from the beginning
to the end, are most of them as curious in their brewing it, as the
Dairy women in making their butter, for as it is a White Ale it soon
sullies by dirt . . . . ; the wort is brewed by the hostess, but
the fermentation is brought on by the purchase of what they call
‘ripening,’ or a composition, as some say, of flower of malt and white
of eggs . .”

This luscious liquid has been described as “not the sparkling beverage
brewed from malt and hops, but a milky-looking compound, of which,
judging from the flavour, milk, spice and gin seemed to be among
the ingredients. It does not improve by keeping, and is brewed only
in small quantities for immediate consumption. It is kept in large
bottles, and you will scarcely pass a public-house from Darmouth to
Plymouth without seeing evidence of its consumption by the empty
bottles piled away outside the premises.”

At the present time a considerable quantity of white ale is made in and
about Tavistock. It is now, however, brewed in a simpler manner than
of yore, and consists simply of common ale with eggs and flour {164}
added. The labourers of that part of the country much affect it, and
as it is highly nutritious it is regarded by many of them as “meat,
drink and cloth” combined. A bloated habit of body is said to arise
from a too faithful adherence to this luscious fluid. A former great
connoisseur of this West-country ale, one Bone Phillips, lies buried
just outside the church door at Kingsbridge; the following lines were
inscribed over his grave at his request:—

 Here lie I at the church door,
 Here be I because I’m poor,
 The further in the more you pay,
 Here lie I as warm as they.

While on the subject of epitaphs, the following may be quoted as having
some bearing on the subject specially treated of in this chapter:—

 Poor John Scott lies buried here;
 Tho’ once he was both _hale_ and _stout_,
 Death stretched him on his bitter bier:
 In another world he _hops_ about.

An ale of a similar nature to white ale goes in Cornwall by the rather
uneuphonious title of “Laboragol.” Somewhat similar to the foregoing
was grout[47] ale, which is said by Halliwell, on the authority of
Dean Milles’ MS. glossary, to have been different from white ale, of a
brownish colour, and known only to the people about Newton Bussel, who
kept the method of preparing it a secret. A physician, a native of that
place, informed him that the preparation was made of “malt almost burnt
in an iron pot, mixed with some of the barm which rises on the first
working in the keeve, a small quantity of which invigorates the whole
mass and makes it very heady.” {165}

   [47] The word grout properly signifies ground meal or malt. Kennett
   says that in Leicestershire the infusion of malt and water before
   it is fully boiled is called grout, and after it is tunned up it
   is called wort. Ray explains it as wort of the last running. Pegge
   says it is only drank by poor people, who are on that account called
   “grouters.” See Halliwell’s Dict. of Arch. and Prov. Words. In the
   old play, _Tom Tyler and his Wife_, growt is used to signify a kind
   of ale.

      This jolly growt is jolly and stout
      I pray you stout it still-a,

While mentioning some few of the places specially noted for their
ales, our ancient seats of learning must not be forgotten. Who has
not heard of Trinity audit, and of that scarcely less famous liquor,
Brasenose Ale? Many who have tasted the former have had no words to
express their feelings; some have said that it is as superior to all
other mortal brews as Chateau Lafitte is to vin ordinaire. These may
seem words of extravagant praise; but let the reader who has never
tasted this famous drink reserve his judgment on the point until he
has, and above all let him lose no time in putting his judgment to the
test. Trinity audit would justify the eulogy of the host in the _Beaux’
Stratagem_—“As smooth as oil, sweet as milk, clear as amber, strong as
brandy; fancy it Burgundy, only fancy it, and it is worth ten shillings
a quart.”

 Oh, in truth, it gladdens the heart to see
 What may spring from the Ale of Trinitie,—
 A scholar—a fellow,—a rector blithe,
 (Fit to take any amount of tithe)—
 Perhaps a bishop—perhaps, by grace,
 One may mount to the Archiepiscopal place,
 And wield the crosier, an awful thing,
 The envy of all, and—the parsons’ King!
 O Jove! who would struggle with learning pale,
 That could beat down the world by the strength of Ale!
 For _me_,—I avow, could my thoughtless prime
 Come back with the wisdom of mournful time,
 I’d labour—I’d toil—by night and day,
 (Mixing liquors and books away,)
 Till I conquer’d that high and proud degree,
 M. A. (Master of Ale) of Trinitie.[48]

   [48] A Panegyric on Ale addressed to W. L. Birkbeck, Esq., by Barry

Brasenose College, Oxford, has long been noted for its ale. As each
Shrovetide comes round, the college butler, as a condition of the
tenure of his office, presents a barrel of the strongest nappy, and
celebrates the event in verse, handing on to generations yet unborn the
name and fame of the Brasenose brew. The earlier of these ale poems,
which are in reality the effusions of some poetical undergraduate,
had a fleeting existence, but some years ago Mr. Prior, who was then
and still continues, {166} the butler of the College, published a
collection of them in a small volume, entitled _Brasenose Ale_. In his
little book, which we commend to the perusal of all good ale-knights,
occur the following lines, written by R. J. B., in 1835:—

  Lo! Prior hastens with his motley crew,
  To pour the foaming liquor to our view:
  Clasps his firm hand in all a Butler’s pride
  The cup no Brasenose Fellow e’er denied:
  Yet secret triumph o’er his brow has cast
  That Ale the sweetest, as that brew the last!
 “Away, ye lighter drinks! ye swipes, away,
  Where masters bully, and where boys obey,”
  The brewer cried; and taught the Ale to live
  With all the charms that malt and hops could give.
  Warm’d at his touch, behold the vapours rise
  In all their genuine fragrance to the skies:
  No beer-shops bev’rage, such as Cockneys buy,
  Foul to the taste, and loathsome to the eye;
  No dingy mixture, vulgarly call’d swipes;
  No quassia juice, promoter of the gripes;
  But true proportions of good hops and malt,
  Mingled with care, then stow’d within the vault:
  The hue that tells its potency—the scent
  That breathes as if from blest Arabia sent.
  Still o’er his Ale fond Prior hangs confest,
  And joy and triumph swell his manly breast.
        *       *       *       *       *
  Such, glorious liquor of the olden time,
  When to be drunk with Ale was deem’d no crime;
  When in the morn and eve and mid-day stood
  Upon our fathers’ boards old English food;
  Such hast thou been, ’mid war and change the same,
  Link’d with the poet’s and the scholar’s name,
  Mellow’d by age—but still with flavour higher,
  The pride of Brasenose, and the boast of Prior.

How Brasenose College came by its peculiar name is a much disputed
point. There is a legend that in the far-off time of long ago certain
students of the temporary university at Stamford, the iron ring of
whose door-knocker was fitted in a nose of brass, migrated to Oxford,
{167} and there set up a brazen nose over the entrance of their
college as a souvenir of their former abode. Equally plausible is the
tradition that upon the site of the college brewery once stood King
Alfred’s brasinium (brewhouse), and that the name, clinging to the
place through all the changes and chances of a thousand years, now
appears under the slightly modified form of Brasenose. If the latter
theory be correct, the Shrovetide feast and the yearly ode in praise of
Brasenose Ale may be attributed to the desire to keep green the memory
of the famous brewhouse of the good King, and the mighty liquor therein
brewed for the royal table.

The merits of a celebrated Oxford butler, John Dawson of Christ Church,
are commemorated in the following elegy:—

 Dawson, the butler’s dead. Although I think
 Poets were ne’er infus’d with single drink
 I’ll spend a farthing, Muse; a wat’ry verse
 Will serve the turn to cast upon his hearse.
 If any cannot weep amongst us here,
 Take off his cap, and so squeeze out a tear:
 Weep, O ye Barrels! make waste more prodigal
 Than when our Beer was good, that John may float
 To Styx in beer, and lift up Charon’s boat
 With wholsome waves; and as the conduits ran,
 With claret at the Coronation,
 So let your channels flow with single tiff,
 For John, I hope is crown’d: take off your whiff,
 Ye men of rosemary, and drink up all,
 Rememb’ring ’tis a Butler’s funeral;
 Had he been master of good double Beer
 My Life for his, John Dawson had been here.

For a hundred years or more the town of Nottingham has been famous for
its ales, and the song “Nottingham Ale” commemorates the many virtues
of this justly celebrated “barley-wine.” Amongst others, it has virtues

 Ye bishops and deacons, priests, curates and vicars,
 Come taste, and you’ll certainly find it is true,
 That Nottingham Ale is the best of all liquors,
 And who understand the good creature like you?
 It dispels every vapour, saves pen, ink, and paper;
 For when you’re disposed in the pulpit to rail {168}
 It will open your throats, you may preach without notes,
 When inspired with full bumpers of Nottingham Ale.

This song, which was a great favourite at the end of last century, was
composed by one Gunthorpe, a naval officer, by way of payment for a
cask of the “particular,” received as a present from his brother, who
was a Nottingham Brewer.

To go further north, Newcastle, besides its coals, has long had the
reputation for what, if we are to believe the townsmen of the place, is
the best, the stoutest, the brightest “Stingo” that the heart of man
can desire. As every Jack will have his Jill, so famous ale ever finds
its appropriate verses. The song _Newcastle Beer_, of which a verse is,
given below, extols the wonders wrought by English beer in general, and
by that of Newcastle in particular:—

 ’Twas Stingo like this made Alcides so bold,
   It brac’d up his nerves, and enliven’d his powers;
 And his mystical club, that did wonders of old,
   Was nothing, my lads, but such liquor as ours.
       The horrible crew
       That Hercules slew,
 Were Poverty—Calumny—Trouble—and Fear;
       Such a club would you borrow,
       To drive away sorrow,
 Apply for a jorum of Newcastle Beer.

_Warrington Ale_, a song of last century, describes in glowing terms
the good ale of that Lancashire town, and the poet, if he is to be
believed, is evidently a man of some experience in various drinks:—

 D’ye mind me, I once was a Sailor,
 And in different countries I’ve been;
 If I lie, may I go for a tailor,
 But a thousand fine sights I have seen.
 I’ve been crammed with good things like a wallet,
 And I’ve guzzled more drink than a whale;
 But the very best stuff to my palate
 Is a glass of your Warrington Ale.

De Foe in his _Tour through Great Britain_ eulogises the Lancashire
ale of the period. In travelling through the northern parts of the
county, “though it was but about the middle of August, and in some
places the harvest hardly got in, we saw the mountains covered with
{169} snow, and felt the cold very acute and piercing, but we found,
as in all these northern countries, the people had a happy way of
mixing the warm and the cold together; for the store of good ale which
flows plentifully in the most mountainous parts of this country, seems
abundantly to make up for all the inclemencies of the season, or
difficulties of travelling.”

A certain very strong ale called Morocco is, or was, made at Levens
Hall, in the County of Cumberland. Beef, or other meat, is an
ingredient of this mighty brew, but the exact receipt is kept a secret.
There is a tradition that the method of brewing Morocco was brought by
a Crusader named Howard from certain unknown regions beyond the seas,
and it is said that the receipt was buried during the Parliamentary
wars, and was only unearthed many years afterwards. It is always
brought in an immense and curiously wrought glass to everyone who dines
at Levens for the first time, and the visitor is expected on no account
to refuse the glass, but to take it and say, “To the health of the Lady
of Levens.”

To go a little further north, the ales of Edinburgh are justly
celebrated, old Scotch ale being as favourite a beverage as old Burton.
Scotch brewers are great believers in malt and hops, and at the present
day brew excellent light ales, as well as the mightier brew which has
given them their world-wide reputation.

A curious ale is mentioned in the _Buik of Chroniclis of Scotland_
(fifteenth century). Owing to a very severe winter in the reign of
William the Lion, liquids of many kinds were frozen solid, and ale was
sold by _weight_:—

 So furious ouir all part wes that frost
 Of bestiall that thair wes mony lost;
 The starkest aill of malt that mycht be browin,
 Thocht it war keipit neuir so clois and lowin,
 It wald congeill _and freis into hard yis_.
 The thing of all men thocht wes then most nys
 That this be weycht, and nocht mesour, wes sauld
 That tyme for drink as that my author told.

The wanderings of the _Penniless Pilgrim_ took him to Scotland, and he
wonders much at the powers of ale-suction shown by the natives. “The
Scots,” he says, “doe allow almost as large measure of their miles
as they doe of their drinke, for an English gallon either of ale or
wine is but their quart.” After rising from a repast, he tells how
“the {170} servants of the house have enforced me into the seller or
Buttery, where (in the way of kindnesse) they will make a man’s belly
like a sowse-tub, and inforce mee to drinke as if they had a commission
under the devil’s great seale, to murder men with drinking, with such
a deal of complimentary oratory as, ‘off with your lap,’ ‘wind up your
bottome,’ ‘up with your toplash,’ and many other eloquent phrases,
which Tully and Demosthenes never heard of; that in conclusion I am
persuaded three days fasting would have been more healthfull to mee,
then two hours feeding and swilling in that manner.”

Christopher North, in his _Noctes Ambrosianæ_, mentions some of the
famous Scotch ales of his day. After alluding to the ales of Berwick
and of Giles, he says:—

“Maitland and Davison—again—has inspired my being with a _new_ feeling,
for which no language I am acquainted with can supply an adequate
name. That feeling impels me to say these simple words on behalf of
the Spirit of Ale in general—speaking through me, its organ—_Ale
loquitur_—“If not suffered by Fate to fix my abode in barrels of
Berwick or Giles, where I have long reigned alternate years, in all my
glory, scarcely should I feel myself priviledged to blame my stars,
were I ordered for a while to sojourn in one of Maitland—and Davison.”

A notice of Scoth ales, however short, would be incomplete without some
reference to the great Scotch national poet, who sometimes, at any
rate, would seem to have owed his inspiration to the “barley bree.” The
song of Burns, _O, Willie brew’d a peck o’ maut_, is too well known
to need repetition here. Who does not remember the chorus of this
admirable chanson-à-boire:—

 We are na fou, we’re no that fou,
   But just a drappie in our e’e,
 The cock may craw, the day may daw,
   And aye we’ll taste the barley bree!

The occasion which the song was intended to celebrate is not so
commonly known. The “three merry boys,” Willie, Rob, and Alan were
respectively William Nicol, of the High School, Edinburgh, our poet,
and Alan Masterton, who was a schoolmaster and musical amateur. The
place of meeting was a small farm named Laggan, belonging to Nicol.
The inspiring ale was Nicol’s, the song was Burns’, and the music was
Alan Masterton’s. “We had such a joyous meeting,” says Burns, “that
Mr. Masterton and I agreed, each in our own way, to celebrate the
business.” {171}

To pass to the Principality, Welsh ales were in Saxon times well known
and highly esteemed. In the laws of Hywel Dda two kinds of ale are
mentioned—Bragawd[49], which was paid as tribute to the King by a free
township, and Cwrwf, which was more common, and was paid by the servile
township in cases where the former kind ran short. It may be hence
gathered that in early times the highly-flavoured Bragawd was held in
greater estimation than the Cwrwf; yet the latter has out-lived the
former, and is still to be had in various parts of Wales, where it is
consumed with great gusto by Cambria’s patriotic sons.

   [49] Bragawd or Bragot. See p. 379.

The neighbouring county of Hereford, now a great cider-drinking
locality, had in former times at least one town with a reputation for
good ale. “Lemster bread and Weobley ale” had passed into a proverb
before the seventeenth century. The saying seems, however, to have
been affected chiefly by the inhabitants of the county, who, perhaps,
were not quite impartial. Ray, writing in 1737, ventures to question
the pre-eminence ascribed to the places mentioned. For wheat he gives
Hesten, in Middlesex, “and for ale Derby town, and Northdown in the
Isle of Thanet, Hull in Yorkshire, and Sandbich in Cheshire, will
scarcely give place to Weobley.” Herrick mentions this celebrated
Northdown ale in the lines:—

 That while the wassaile bowle here
 With North-down ale doth troule here,
 No sillable doth fall here,
 To marre the mirth at all here.

Norfolk was once celebrated for a strong ale, bearing the euphonious
name of _Norfolk Nog_. It is mentioned in Vanbrugh’s _Journey to
London_, “Here, John Moody,” says Sir Francis, “get us a tankard of
good hearty stuff presently.” “Sir,” is the reply, “here’s Norfolk
Nog to be had next door.” Swift also knew something of this brew, and
mentions that “Walpole laid a quart of nog on it.” “Clamber-skull” is
probably a variety of this strong Norfolk ale, and earned its name
from the rapidity with which it mounted to the heads of its votaries.
Norfolk still holds a high place as an ale-producing county, and the
ales of Great Yarmouth and Norwich are justly celebrated.

Banbury produced a mighty ale in the seventeenth century, if we may
judge from the couplet in _Wit Restored_:—

 Banbury ale a half-yard pot
 The devil a tinker dares stand to ’t. {172}

It must have been strong indeed, for according to the old proverb—

 Cobblers and tinkers
 Are your true ale drinkers.

Dorsetshire, amongst the southern counties, has long been noted for a
fine pale ale. This is the liquor mentioned in _English Ale_ (1737) as—

 Bright amber priz’d by the luxurious town,
 The pale hu’d Dorchester——

Its strength may be judged from the entry in John Byrom’s diary of
about the same period (1725):—“I found the effect of last night’s
drinking that foolish Dorset, which was pleasant enough, but it did not
agree with me at all, for it made me very stupid all day.” These are
the words of a man who has evidently loved not wisely but too well.

Cox, in his _History of Dorsetshire_ (1700), states that “since by
the French wars the coming of French wine is prohibited, the people
here have learned to brew the finest malt liquors in the kingdom,
so delicately clean and well tasted that the best judges . . . .
prefer it to the ales most in vogue, as Hull, Derby, Burton, &c.”
Great quantities of Dorchester beer were consumed in London during
the seventeenth and the early part of the eighteenth centuries, but
from that time the trade with London, for some reason—probably the
expense of transit—gradually fell away. The excellence of the Dorset
beer depended in a great measure upon the fact that the water of the
neighbourhood possessed peculiarly good qualities for brewing purposes,
and, that advantage being of a permanent character, there seems to be
no reason why the Dorchester ales of the present day should not regain
throughout the country the position they had at the beginning of last
century. In the south and south-western portions of England they are
held in very high esteem.

Barnstaple was famous for its ales in the middle of the last century; a
writer in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ of Jan., 1753, says that they are
as good as Derby ales, though not quite so famous.

Mum, a popular drink early in the last century, was a strong ale brewed
chiefly from wheat-malt with the addition of various aromatic herbs.
Mum-houses were in existence in 1664, for Mr. Samuel Pepys records
that on a certain occasion he went “with Mr. Norbury near hand to the
Fleece, a mum-house in Leadenhall, and there drank _mum_, and by-and-by
broke up.” A receipt of the date 1682, describes the brewing of mum as
follows:— {173}

“To make a vessel of sixty-three gallons, we are instructed that, the
water must be first boiled to the consumption of a third part, then let
it be brewed according to art with seven bushels of wheat-malt, one
bushel of oat-malt, and one bushel of ground beans. When the mixture
begins to work, the following ingredients are to be added: three
pounds of the inner rind of the fir; one pound each of the tops of
the fir and the birch; three handfuls of _Carduus Benedictus_, dried;
two handfuls of flowers of _Rosa solis_; of burnet, betony, marjoram,
avens, pennyroyal, flowers of elder, and wild thyme, one handful and
a half each; three ounces of bruised seeds of cardamum; and one ounce
of bruised bayberries. Subsequently ten new-laid eggs, not cracked or
broken, are to be put into the hogshead, which is then to be stopped
close, and not tapped for two years, a sea voyage greatly improving the

The origin of the word “mum” is somewhat disputed, but the best
derivation seems to be from the name of Christopher Mummer, who is said
to have been the first to brew it. Others assign to the word an origin
from _mummeln_, to mutter, and this seems to have been Pope’s idea when
he wrote the lines:—

 The clamorous crowd is hushed with mugs of mum,
 Till all, turned equal, send a general hum.

Others, again, find the derivation in the word mum, meaning silence.

Brunswick is always given as its birthplace, and it was certainly
known as early as the sixteenth century, for in an old work, _De
generibus ebriosorum et ebrietate vitanda_ (1515), “mommom sive mommum
Brunsvigen” is mentioned as one of the drinks of Germany.

An old book, _England’s Improvement by Sea and Land_ (1677), contains a
remarkable proposition for bringing over the mum trade from Brunswick,
and establishing it at Stratford-on-Avon.

The old writer, from whom the receipt before-quoted is taken,
lays considerable stress on the fact that “the ingredients in its
composition are very rare and choice simples, there being scarcely any
disease in nature against which some of them is not a sure specific,”
the implication apparently being that the combination of these
ingredients would largely increase their healing power.

In one of the 400 letters addressed by Sir Richard Steele to his wife
we find him writing under date December 6th, 1717:—“I went to bed
last night after taking only a little broth; and all the day before a
little tea and bread and butter, with two glasses of mum and a piece
of bread. {174} at the House of Commons. Temperance and your company,
as agreeable as you can make it, will make life tolerable if not easy,
even with the gout.”

A particular variety of this beverage was known as Hamburgh mum, and a
catch in its praise of the early part of last century mentions it as
hailing from that city:—

 There’s an odd sort of liquor
   New come from Hamborough,
 ’Twill stick a whole wapentake
   Thorough and thorough;
 ’Tis yellow, and likewise
   As bitter as gall,
 And as strong as six horses,
   Coach and all.
 As I told you ’twill make you,
   As drunk as a drum;
 You’d fain know the name on’t,
   But for that my friend, _mum_.

Readers of Sir Walter Scott will remember that Mr. Oldbuck is described
at breakfast as despising the modern slops of tea and coffee and
substantially regaling himself “more majorum, with cold roast beef and

An Act of Parliament, which was passed annually during the greater part
of the first half of this century, prescribed certain duties on “malt,
mum, cyder and perry,” and a tale is told that when Mr. Perry, editor
of the _Morning Chronicle_, was indicted for libel, he conducted his
own case, and by his able defence secured a verdict of “Not guilty.”
Cobbett, who was shortly afterwards tried on a similar charge, also
conducted his own defence, but was convicted. Erskine remarked that
Cobbett had tried to be Perry, when he should have been mum.

In the eighteenth century patriotic sentiment was invoked to support
the failing popularity of mum, as may be gathered from the old work
_Political Merriment, or Truths to some Tune_ (1714), in which these
lines occur:—

 Now, now true Protestants rejoice,
   Stand by your laws and King,
 Now you’ve proclaimed the nation’s choice,
   Let traitorous rebels swing; {175}

 Let Royal George, the Papists scourge,
   To England quickly come;
 His health till then, let honest men,
   Drink all in Brunswick Mum.

But all would not avail, and the liquor is now as dead as Christopher
Mummer, the first inventor of it.

There is a tradition lingering in the northern parts of this island,
that the Picts possessed the secret of making an ale from heather. Sir
David Smith, in a MS. in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland,
mentions a large trough cut in the solid rock at Kutchester, near the
Roman wall. “The old peasants,” he says, “have a tradition that the
Romans made a beverage somewhat like beer, of the bells of heather,
and that this trough was used in the process of making it.” The
tradition in Caithness runs that three Picts—an old blind man and his
two sons—survived the rest of their race; that these alone of all
mankind possessed the secret of making heather ale; that they guarded
their secret with jealous care, and that they were in consequence much
persecuted by their conquerors. At last the old Pict, in answer to the
frequent importunities of his persecutors, promised to tell the secret,
on condition that his two sons should be put to death. This was done,
but the task was as far from accomplishment as ever, and nothing could
be got from the old man but the truly Delphic words which are handed
down in the couplet:—

 Search Brockwin well out and well in,
 And barm for heather crop you’ll find within.

The secret died with him.

       *       *       *       *       *

True or false, this is the legend as related in the north, and certain
it is that _a_ heather beer was made until quite recently in some parts
of Scotland and Ireland. The heather, however, is used as a flavouring
rather than as an actual basis for making the drink. The blossoms of
the heather are carefully gathered and cleansed, and are then placed in
the bottom of vessels; wort of the ordinary kind is allowed to drain
through the blossoms, and gains in its passage a peculiar and agreeable
flavour, which is well known to all who are familiar with heather honey.

Pennant, in his _Voyage to the Hebrides_, mentions heather _ale_,
and says that the proportions were two-thirds of the plant to one of
hops (hops being sometimes added); and Mr. Weld, in his _Two Months
in the Highlands_, {176} says that “although the art of brewing the
Pictish heather ale is lost, old grouse shooters have tasted a beverage
prepared by shepherds, on the moors, principally from heather flowers,
though honey or sugar, to produce fermentation, was added.”

In some parts of Ireland there is a tradition that the Danes possessed
the knowledge of making an intoxicating liquor from heather bells;
this drink the peasants speak of as beoir-lochlonnach (_i.e._, strong
at sea), an epithet by which the savage Northmen were known to the
Celtic races. It is possible that there is some connection between this
heather ale and the ale formerly made by the Swedes and flavoured with
the _Myrica gale_. Reference to this plant is made in a Swedish law of
the fifteenth century, in which it is forbidden to gather the blossoms
before a certain period. The probability of this connection seems to
be increased by the fact that in Yorkshire, a county which contains
many descendants of the old Northmen, a beer is still made called “gale
beer,” and is flavoured with the blossoms of a species of heather found
growing on the moors in that part of the country.

As late as the commencement of this century an ale flavoured with
heather, and differing little from the heather ale described, was
brewed in many parts of Ireland. The practice, it is believed, is now
almost if not quite extinct.

Irish moss ale is made in the following manner:—Take one ounce of Irish
moss, one ounce of hops, one ounce of ginger, one ounce of Spanish
juice, and one pound of sugar. Ten gallons of water are added and the
mixture is boiled, fermented, and bottled. The consideration of the
name of this liquor and the actual constituents may possibly remind
readers of the old tale of that very clever person who made soup out of
a stone with the assistance of a few such trifles as beef, vegetables,
and flavourings.

Beer powders have been made, from which a good and refreshing drink
may be procured by the simple addition of water. Various substances
and juices have been used from time to time to improve the flavour or
strength of ale. In Wales berries of the Mountain Ash were once used,
and were said to greatly improve the flavour of the beverage. The sap
of the sycamore tree is mentioned by Evelyn as being a most useful
adjunct to the brewhouse; he says that one bushel of malt with sycamore
sap makes as good ale as four bushels with water alone.

The service tree, the name of which is said to be a corruption of
cerevisia, was so called because in former times a kind of ale was
brewed {177} from its berries. Evelyn says that ale and beer, “brewed
with these berries, being ripe, is an incomparable drink.”

Maize, beet-root, potatoes, parsnips, and other vegetables have
each and all been used in the making of beer, but it seems very
doubtful whether any combination of ingredients will ever equal the
time-honoured partnership of malt and hops.

A writer in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ in 1758 says: “In many parts of
the Kingdom, a beer is made of treacle—thus: to eight quarts of boiling
water put a pound of treacle, a quarter of an ounce of ginger, and two
bay leaves. Boil these for a quarter of an hour, then cool and work
with yeast the same as beer.”

From treacle we naturally come to sugar. This chapter would be very
incomplete without some mention of a kind of beer which is extensively
brewed in England at the present day. It is brewed sometimes wholly
of sugar, or sugar and malt. Occasionally rice is added. Looking at
this sugar-beer from a chemist’s point of view, there is absolutely no
fault to find with it; it is perfectly pure and perfectly wholesome.
Nor is it found to differ, when analysed, from beer made from malt.
There is certainly a popular prejudice against it, which may arise in a
great measure from the love of the people for the historic drink made
from malt. Though analysts cannot distinguish between malt liquors and
beers made from sugar, there is usually a slight difference in flavour
between them. It is a noteworthy fact that most of the largest firms,
having extensive _private_ businesses, brew from malt and hops. Their
success certainly indicates the direction in which the popular taste
runs. If Englishmen prefer malt liquors, it is surely to the interest
of the brewers to give them the genuine barley-bree, and not beer
brewed from sugar, however excellent it may be.

The use of malt by brewers is of no little importance to English
grain-growers, and is rightly looked upon by many as of national
concern. Considerable misconception, however, may exist on this point,
for the brewing trade generally, say that of late years English
barley, from climatic or other causes, has not been found altogether
suitable for brewing purposes, rendering an admixture of foreign grain
necessary. All we can do is to express a hope that the brewers are
somewhat mistaken in their estimate of English barley; but that if they
are correct, England may in future years be accorded its due share of
sunshine—that blessing of which Dame Nature has been somewhat niggardly
of late, so that malt made from English grain alone, may again fill our
mash-tuns. {178}

A distinction between beers arises, in name at least, from the vessels
in which they are contained. We have beer in casks and beer in bottles.
Fuller, in his _Worthies of England_, ascribes the invention of
bottled beer to Alexander Newell, Dean of St. Paul’s and a master of
Westminster School in the reign of Queen Mary. The Dean was a devoted
angler. “But,” says old Fuller, “whilst Newell was catching of fishes,
Bishop Bonner was catching of Newell, and would certainly have sent him
to the shambles, had not a good London merchant conveyed him away upon
the seas.” Newell was engaged in his favourite pursuit on the banks of
the Thames, when such pressing notice of his danger reached him, that
he was obliged to take immediate flight. On his return to England,
after Mary’s death, he remembered, when resuming his old amusement,
that on the day of his flight he had left his simple repast, the liquor
of which consisted of a bottle of beer, in a safe place in the river
bank; there he sought it, and, as the quaint language of Fuller informs
us, he “found it no bottle, but a gun, such the sound at the opening
thereof; and this is believed (casualty is the mother of more invention
than industry) the original of bottled ale in England.” If this be the
true origin of bottled ale, the use of it must have spread rapidly,
for we find it mentioned in many Elizabethan writers. In Ben Jonson’s
_Bartholomew fair_, Ursula calls to the drawer to bring “A Bottle of
Ale, to quench me, rascal,” and many other quotations could be given
proving its use in those days. Of course ale must have been carried in
bottles long before Newell’s time, almost as early, indeed, as bottles
came into use, but the bottled ale referred to is that which has been
so long in bottle as to have acquired a peculiar and delicious flavour
combined with a certain briskness not found in draught ale.

The country which next to our own has for generations stood pre-eminent
in matters of beer and brewing is Germany; there, as here, beer is
the national drink, though the character of the liquors is somewhat
different. The usual German beer is of an exceedingly light character,
and so perishable that it is impossible to preserve it for any length
of time even in the coolest cellar; four-and-twenty hours after a cask
is tapped it must be emptied, or what remains is spoilt. Nearly every
considerable town in Germany gives its name to the beer that is brewed
there and consumed by the inhabitants. The beer of each town has its
own peculiarities, and the worthy burghers are, of course, always
ready to support both in deed and in word the superiority of their
native drink. There is, for instance, the Jena beer, famous in that
university, which is of a very peculiar character, and is only made at
{179} Lichtenhain, a little village adjoining the university town. It
is a species of white beer, and is brewed from wheat malt. The taste
for this liquor must be one not easy of acquisition, for the author
of _German Life in Saxony_ describes it as being much like “cider and
water, with a dash of camomile tea added to it.” The students, however,
assure you that the taste once acquired remains so strong through life
that Lichtenhainer is preferred to any other kind of beer.

So much has been written about student life and drinking customs that
the subject will hardly bear repetition. Suffice it to say that in
Heidelberg, Jena, and other large German universities there exist
elaborate codes of drinking rules, in which _Persons_ are classified in
accordance with their seniority at the university, and the beer-honours
and labours which their position entail; _Things_ are divided into
Principal things, subordinate things and appurtenances; Principal
things are specified as “Lager-beer,” “black Cöstritzer-beer,”
“Lichtenhainer-beer,” and all other white beers; appurtenances are
“cans, doctors (a kind of measure), popes (another measure)” and other
necessities of the drinking bouts. The actual laws of the code are far
too long and complicated to be more than referred to here.

Lager beer is not unknown in England, and is sold at restaurants and
hotels in most of our large towns. Much of it is imported; the rest
comes from Lager-beer brewers, who have, within the last few years,
started business in this country. Neither German nor Anglo-German beers
appear to make much headway over here, nor is this very surprising when
we remember how far superior our own ales and beers are to any brewed
in Germany. The chief difference between lager[50] and English beers
is in the time occupied in the fermentation. Lager-beer brewers keep
the wort at an exceedingly low temperature all through the process, the
result being that fermentation is delayed over several days. Lager beer
simply means beer which can be kept in lagers or stores. Germany has
from very early times maintained a large export trade in Beer. It has
already been shown that in the fifteenth century large quantities were
exported into Scotland, and another instance is to be found in Rymer
(H. 5. 1. 22), where there is a record of an appeal made by the consuls
of Hamburgh to Henry VI. The appeal states “that certain of your
Magnificence’s Subjects and Servants to wit Michael Schotte and Molchun
Poerter of Calais, rulers or captains of a certain great ship of war
specially fitted out, did with their Complices in that present year,
about the feast of St. James the Apostle, hostilely seize, detain, and
carry off at their pleasure two vessels laden with {180} Hamburg ale,
to the no small hurt and injury of our fellow townsmen.” They therefore
pray that the ships may be restored to them and compensation made for
the outrage.”

   [50] Readers curious as to the technical details of the brewing
   of Lager Beer are referred to Liebig’s Chemistry of Agriculture

Roberts, in his _Map of Commerce_ (1638), says of Lubeck: “The place is
famous for the beere made, and hence transported into other regions,
and by some used medicinally for bruises of the body . . . though by
them in use commonly both for their own drinke and food and rayment.”

One of the characteristics of Bavaria is the inordinate love of its
inhabitants for their Bavarian beer, a love remarkable even amongst
the beer-drinking Germans. In the towns the brewhouses are amongst
the most important buildings, and the traveller remarks the number of
beer cellars, whither the inhabitants resort to drink their favourite
liquor. Brewing is the most flourishing trade, and the produce of
Bavarian brewhouses is the best of continental beers. One of its chief
peculiarities is that, although exposed to the air for lengthened
periods, it will not turn acid as other beers do. This valuable quality
is obtained for it by the peculiar management of the fermentation, and
has been already referred to. Very little space can be afforded even
for a general description of German beers, suffice it to say that their
name is legion; there is black beer, white beer, brown beer, thin beer,
strong beer, double beer, bitter beer, and countless local varieties of
each and all these various liquors. One more _special_ variety may be
noted, and that is the strong ten-years-old ale known by the people of
Dortmund as “Adam.” It is mentioned by Corvin in _An Autobiography_,
who relates that “when King Frederick William IV. of Prussia visited
Dortmund a deputation of the magistrates waited upon him, one of them
bearing a salver with a large tankard filled with Adam. When the King
asked what it was, and heard that it was the celebrated beer, he said
‘Very welcome; for it is extremely warm,’ and drained off the contents
of the tankard at a draught. The members of the deputation, who were
better acquainted with old Adam than the unsuspecting King, smiled at
each other, for they knew what would be the result. His Majesty was
unconscious for more than twenty-four hours.”

The best beer brewed in Norway is a more or less faithful imitation
of the Bavarian beer, and travellers should be careful to ask for
“Baiersk öl,” {181} as the ordinary “barley-wine” of the country is
not described as being of a very choice character. Much the same may
be said of Swedish beer, one variety of which, however, has obtained a
place in history. The beer of Arboga was of so seductive a character
that on the occasion of the invasion of Hako and his Norwegian and
Danish levies, a large part of the army loitered behind in the various
inns of the place, quaffing the luscious beverage, and their King, in
consequence, lost the day.

Russia has been behindhand in matters of brewing from the days when
Catherine had to send to Burton for her private supply, even until
now; but during the last few years the gentle Mujik has been taking so
kindly to his “Bavarski Peavah” (Russo-Bavarian beer), that a triumph
apparently awaits John Barleycorn in Russia similar to that old victory
of his over Bacchus commemorated in the song of “Yorkshire Ale,” which
finds place in the chapter devoted to Ballads.





“Come on, you mad-cap. I’ll to the Alehouse with you presently, where,
for one shot of fivepence, thou shalt have five thousand welcomes.”
                             _Two Gentlemen of Verona._ Act ii., sc. 5.

 Whoe’er has travelled life’s dull round,
   Where’er his stages may have been,
 May sigh to think he still has found
   The warmest welcome at an inn.


“No, Sir;” said Dr. Johnson, “there is nothing which has yet been
contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced, as by a good
tavern or inn.” The argument by which the great Doctor leads up to this
oracular deliverance is as follows:—“There is no private house in
which people can enjoy themselves so well as in a capital tavern. Let
there be ever so great plenty of good things, ever so much grandeur,
ever so much elegance, and ever so much desire that everybody should
be easy, in the nature of things it cannot be; there must always be
some degree of care and anxiety. The master of the house is anxious to
entertain his guests, the guests are anxious to be agreeable to him,
and no man but a very impudent dog indeed, can as freely command what
is in another {183} man’s house as if it were his own; whereas, at a
tavern there is a general freedom from anxiety. You are sure you are
welcome, and the more noise you make, the more trouble you give, the
more good things you call for, the welcomer you are. No servant will
attend you with the alacrity which waiters do who are incited by the
prospect of an immediate reward in proportion as they please.” The
Doctor seems most conscientiously to have made his practice square
with his preaching. Till the end of his life, although generally an
abstemious man, he was regular in his attendance at the various taverns
he patronised, and his burly figure was as well known amongst the
frequenters of the inns and taverns of Fleet Street, as that of the
most notorious roysterer of the time.

In his day the tavern—the London tavern especially—attained the highest
point of social importance which it has ever reached; and many of those
convivial and social functions, now for the most part discharged by the
clubs and by private hospitality, were then considered to fell within
its special province. During the last century the tavern gathered
around its hospitable hearth those groups of savants and wits, which
have been the starting points of many a scientific and literary society
of the present day.

It is, of course, impossible for us in the space we are able to devote
to the history of public hospitality in England, to do more than give a
very slight sketch of the subject.

Most of the functions of the modern inn were in early days discharged
by the hospitality of the Church. In the laws and constitutions of
the various religious bodies are to be found directions to the clergy
to observe the rites of hospitality, and a law of Ecgbright commands
bishops and priests to have a house for the entertainment of strangers,
not far from the church. The house here referred to would probably be
the Almonry, where strangers and travellers, too poor or lowly to be
entertained within the walls of the monastery, were fed and tended.

Persons of higher rank were received into the monastery, which
was always furnished with a _hospitium_, or guest hall, for the
entertainment of visitors and travellers. The importance of this
monastic function may be judged from the size of some of the guest
halls belonging to the larger religious bodies: one at Canterbury was a
hundred and fifty feet long, and forty feet wide.

Visitors on their arrival at a monastery were met by the _hosteler_ in
the _parletory_, and after receiving greeting were conducted to the
guest hall, where they were refreshed with meat and drink according to
their {184} rank and importance. A small present was usually given
at the gate on arrival, but, save for that, the entertainment seems
to have been free. The guests were allowed to stay on these terms for
two days and two nights; but on the third day after dinner, unless
prevented by sickness or other just cause, they were to depart in peace.

Many constitutions of religious houses enjoin that hospitality should
be shown to all comers, clerical or lay, and we are told that in some
cases this liberality was much abused. The heirs of persons who had
made large donations to religious houses, when they could not injure
the monks by means of law, did their best to ruin them by constant
visits with large retinues, and thus literally eat them out of house
and home; and to such lengths did this custom extend that, in the reign
of Edward I., it was found necessary to pass certain laws restraining
such abuses.

By the rules of the Benedictine order, an officer was appointed,
called the _terrer_, whose duty it was to see that the guest-chambers
were kept clean. He was always to have on hand two tuns of wine for
the entertainment of strangers, and also provender for their horses;
and four yeomen were appointed to attend upon strangers, that nothing
might be wanting to pilgrims and travellers of whatever rank they might
be. In the middle ages the denial of hospitality was looked upon as
disgraceful, and an ancient anecdote is related of the revenge taken by
a travelling minstrel upon his host, on account of the meagre nature
of the entertainment afforded. The minstrel sought a night’s food and
lodging at an Abbey, when the abbot, a parsimonious man, happened
to be absent. The monk in attendance at the hospitium, acting upon
instructions, gave the poor minstrel nothing but black bread and water
and a bed of straw. Next morning the traveller proceeded on his way,
and meeting the abbot in the course of the journey, took occasion to
thank him in good set phrase for the princely hospitality dispensed at
his house, enlarging upon the choice viands and costly presents he had
received. The abbot hastened home in great rage, and caused the monk,
whom he believed to be guilty of the lavish waste, to be flogged and
dismissed from his office.

One of the few instances of the public hospitality of the religious
orders surviving down to our own days is to be found at the Hospital of
Saint Cross, Winchester, where whoever knocks at the porter’s lodge is
entitled to a slice of bread and a mug of small beer—_very small_, if
rumour lies not.

Side by side with this monastic hospitality were the shelter and {185}
entertainment afforded at the houses of the nobility and gentry when
their owners were absent; and when they were at home, the practice of
keeping open house seems to have been by no means rare. The traveller
of gentle blood would be entertained at the lord’s table, while the
servant, the travelling mechanic, the disbanded soldier, and other
wanderers of lowly rank, would find rest and refreshment in the keep.

In process of time, however, this custom of promiscuous entertainment
seems to have fallen into disuse; the accommodation before provided by
the castle or manor house being now afforded by a separate inn set up
close by, and frequently kept by some worn-out servant of the castle,
who would naturally bear upon his sign the arms of the dominant family,
and would, for the purpose of entertaining travellers, be regarded
as representing the lord. It is possible that to this custom, or the
preceding one, may be attributed the use of the expression landlord, as
signifying the host of an inn.

In towns, those of the citizens who had large enough houses frequently
made a practice of receiving guests, and taking money for their pains,
thus adding the profession of a host to their other callings. Persons
who practised this letting of lodgings were called _herbergeors_
(_i.e._, harbourers), to distinguish them from the hostelers or
innkeepers; and a further extension of the use of coats-of-arms for
signs was thus brought about, the herbergeor frequently taking as his
sign the arms of his most frequent or most influential guest. The
_Liber Albus_ mentions both classes of entertainers, and records that
by the regulations of the City of London herbergeours and hostelers
must be freemen of the City, and persons of a strange land desirous of
being herbergeour or hosteler within the City must dwell in the heart
of the City and not upon the waterside of the Thames.

Although hospitality was so freely exercised by the monks and great
landowners, it must not be imagined that inns were unknown. Even in
Saxon days, to go no further back, inns and village alehouses seem
to have existed. Bracton tells us of a regulation of Edward the
Confessor that if any man lay a third night in an inn he was called a
_third-night-awn-hinde_, that is to say, he was looked upon in the same
light as a servant of the house would be, and the host was answerable
for him if he committed any offence—a curious illustration of that
local and vicarious responsibility for crime which was so prominent a
feature of our ancient polity. In much later times a similar regulation
is to be found applying to “hostelers” in the City of London. The
_Liber Albus_ gives, as {186} one of the City rules, that no hosteler
shall harbour a man beyond a day and a night, if he be not willing to
produce such person to stand his trial, and in case such a person shall
commit an offence, and absent himself, his host shall answer for him.

Goldsmith’s description of a village inn is probably as applicable
to the old Saxon _eala-hus_ of a thousand years ago as it was to the
alehouse of his own time, and as it is to many in the present day:—

 Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,
 Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired;
 Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,
 And news, much older than the Ale, went round.
 Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
 An hour’s importance to a poor man’s heart,

and the following descriptive verses of Leigh Hunt, entitled _The
Village Alehouse, a Picture in Detail_, with but slight alterations,
would serve equally as well:—

 Dear ramblers all—an Alehouse sign
   You’ll own as good a sight as greets ye;
 When summer’s long, long mornings shine,
   Where leisure reigns, and ‘All hail’ meets ye.

 There rests the waggon in its track,—
   A corn bag round each horse’s nose is;
 There comes the miller and his sack:
   And there at ease the beggar dozes.

 There limps the ostler with his pails,
   And there the landlord stalks inspector;
 Two farmers there discuss their sales,
   And drain by turns one goblet’s nectar.

 Hay ricks are near and orchard fruit;
   The cock’s shrill crow and flapping wing;
 The low contented neigh of brute;
   The pipe’s perfume, and tankard’s ding.

 The fiddle’s scrape,—the milking cows,—
   The snapping cork,—the roaring joke:—
 The birds by thousands in the boughs:—
   The creaking wheel and whip’s loud stroke. {187}

 Sunshine strews all the kitchen floor,
   Reposes on the home-field crop—
 Blisters the Doctor’s fine new door,
   And kisses copse and chimney top.

 Clouds fleecy dot the blue immense—
   Farm-houses—cities—vales—and streams—
 And seats and parks and forests dense,
   Sleep stretch’d afar, in floods of beams.

An inn or an alehouse, however, was at the time of the Conquest and
for long after, far to seek. In the reign of Edward I. there were
only three taverns in London, one in Chepe, one in Wallbrooke, and
one in Lombard Street, and in country districts the proportion to the
population would doubtless be as small, the want being supplied in the
manner before alluded to. Even in the year 1552 the following list
of the numbers of taverns allowed for the chief towns in England, no
doubt shows a much smaller proportion to population than is seen at
the present day. There were to be allowed forty in London, eight in
York, four in Norwich, three in Westminster, six in Bristol, four in
Hull, three in Shrewsbury, four in Exeter, three in Salisbury, four in
Gloucester, four in Chester, three in Hereford, three in Worcester,
three in Oxford, four in Cambridge, three in Southampton, four in
Canterbury, three in Ipswich, three in Winchester, three in Colchester,
and four in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

[Illustration: A Mediæval Innkeeper.]

Even parsonages seem to have been licensed as alehouses in very
out-of-the-way districts. A survival of this custom, almost to our own
times, is mentioned by Southey, who states that the parsonage house of
Langdale was licensed as an alehouse, because it was so poor a living
that the curate could not have otherwise supported himself.

The regulation previously mentioned as to the number of taverns, seems
never to have been formally repealed; it could, however, only have been
very slackly enforced, and doubtless soon became a dead letter. It was
not, however, altogether forgotten, for in a letter from {188} the
Lords in Council, in reply to a petition presented in the year 1618 by
the parishioners of St. Mildred, in London, it is stated that “whereas
the number of taverns had been limited to forty, and their places
assigned,” there were then no less than four hundred in the City alone.
The Lord Mayor and Common Council are therefore directed to put some
restraint on this “enormous liberty of setting up taverns.”

The latter part of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth
centuries seem to have been remarkable for a great excess of alehouses,
having regard to the wants of the population at the time. In 1591 a
report of the Queen’s Council on the state of Lancashire and Cheshire
states that the streets and alehouses are so crowded during service
time that there was none in church but the curate and his clerk; that
alehouses were innumerable, and that great abuses prevailed. In 1639
the Justices of Middlesex made presentment to the Council that there
were twenty-four alehouses in Covent Garden, and that most of their
keepers were chandlers who had got licensed surreptitiously at general
meetings, and that the said Justices had reduced the number of the
alehouses to _four_.

Old John Taylor, in _Drinke and Welcome_, gives evidence of the
excessive facilities for drinking afforded at the fairs then so common.
“Concerning the fructifying or fruitfulnesse of ale,” he says in his
quaint way, “it is almost incredible, for twice every yeere there is a
Faire at a small Towne called Kimbolton or Kimolton in Northamptonshire
(as I take it), in which towne there are but thirty-eight Houses, which
at the Faire time are encreased to thirty-nine _Alehouses_, for an
old woman and her daughter doe in those dayes divide there one house
into two, such is the operation and encreasing power of our English
Ale.” Decker, writing in 1632, says that “a whole street is in some
places but a continuous alehouse, not a shop to be seen between red
lattice and red lattice.” This mention of the red lattice recalls the
custom now extinct, but once well nigh universal, for the alehouses
to have open windows to enable the guests to enjoy the fresh air.
Privacy was ensured by a trellis or lattice, which was fixed in front
of the window, and prevented a passer-by from seeing in, though those
within could see out. Whether or not the red colour of the lattices
was intended to harmonise with the noses of the frequenters may be
considered a moot point; the page seems to have intended some such
insinuation when he says of Bardolph, “He called me even now, my Lord,
through a red lattice, and I could see no part of his face from the
window; at last I spied his eyes and methought he had made two holes in
the ale-wife’s new petticoat, and peeped through.” {189}


 A merry new Ballad, bothe pleaſant and ſweet,
 In praiſe of a Blackſmith, which is very meet.

An Ale-Houſe Lattice.

 “Of all the trades that ever I ſee
  There is none which the Blackſmith compared may be.”
                                                    _Roxburghe Ballads._


So usual did the red lattice become that it was regarded as a
distinctive mark, as shown in Marston’s _Antonio and Mellida_, in which
occurs the passage, “As well known by my wit as an alehouse by a red
lattice.” Green lattices were occasionally used, and the memory of them
still survives in the sign of _The Green Lettuce_.

Another feature peculiar to old country inns was the ale-bench, a seat
in front of the house where the thirsty wayfarer might rest and take
his modest quencher. An ancient institution was the ale-bench. It
is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem _Beowulf_ and in the sixteenth
century seems to have been considered the appropriate resting place of
sententious and argumentative persons. One of the old Homilies (1547)
alludes to those “which upon the ale-benches delight to set forth
certain questions.”

Another institution of the old alehouse, corresponding in fact to the
modern _bar_, was called the _ale-stond_, an allusion to which is to
be found in _Marprelate’s Epistle_: “Therefore at length Sir Jefferie
bethought him of a feat whereby he might both visit the ale-stond and
also kepe his othe.”

In the sixteenth century the keeper of an alehouse was fancifully
called an _ale-draper_. Chettle, in his _Kind-Hearts’ Dreame_ (1592),
has the following:—“I came up to London and fell to be some tapster,
hostler, or chamberlaine in an inn. Well, I got me a wife; with her
a little money; when we are married seeke a house we must; no other
occupation have I but an ale-draper.” _The Discoverie of the Knights
of the Poste_ (1597) also contains an allusion to the phrase:—“‘So
that nowe hee hath left brokery, and is become a draper.’ ‘A draper!’
quoth Freeman, ‘what draper? of woollin or of linnen?’ ‘No,’ qd he, ‘an
ale-draper, wherein he hath more skil then in the other.’” Innkeepers
in Whitby are denominated ale-drapers in the parish registers of last

In those good old days before the introduction of mail-coaches, to
say nothing of the more modern means of transit, hospitality to the
traveller was the rule in country districts. The Water Poet tells in
his _Pennilesse Pilgrimage_ that he travelled “on foot from London to
Edinburgh in Scotland, not carrying money to or fro, neither begging,
borrowing or asking meat.” However, from what he goes on to relate,
this description of his journey needs to be accepted with some slight
reservation, for he gives a comical recital of how “from Stamford we
_rode_ the next day to Huntingdon, where we lodged at the Post-master’s
house at the signe of the Crowne.” The landlord appears, and “very
{191} bountifully called for three quarts of wine and sugar and some
jugges of beere. He did drink and begin healths like a horse-leach,
and swallowed downe his cuppes without feeling, as if he had had the
dropsie, or nine pound of spunge in his maw. In a word, as he is a
Poste, he dranke poste, striving and calling by all means to make the
reckoning great, or to make us men of great reckoning. But in his
payment he was tyred like a jade, leaving the gentleman that was with
me to discharge the terrible shott, or else one of my horses must have
laine in pawne for his superfluous calling and unmannerly intrusion.”

The opinion of the great Doctor already quoted was not confined either
to himself or to his times. Bishop Earle, writing in the seventeenth
century of those social functions of the tavern or alehouse, now in
a great measure discharged by the Clubs, sums up his description as
follows:—“To give you the total reckoning of it, it is the busy man’s
recreation, the idle man’s business, the melancholy man’s sanctuary,
the stranger’s welcome, the inns of court man’s entertainment, the
scholar’s kindness, and the citizens’ courtesy. It is the study of
sparkling wits, and a cup of comedy their book; whence we leave them.”

Old Izaak Walton had a lively appreciation of the comforts of an inn
and the virtues of English ale. Piscator, of _The Complete Angler_,
thus addresses the hostess of an inn: “Come, hostess, dress it (a
trout) presently, and get us what other meat the house will afford,
and give us some of your best barley wine, the good liquor that our
honest forefathers did use to drink of; the drink which preserved their
health, and made them live so long and do so many good deeds.”

The quaint old author of _The Haven of Health_ (1584) gives his readers
directions how to find out the best alehouse in a strange town, and
also some prudent maxims as to the behaviour there:—“But if you come as
a stranger to any towne, and would faine know where the best ale is,
you neede do no more than marke where the greatest noyse is of good
fellows, as they call them, and the greatest repaire of beggars. But
withall take good heed that malt bee not above wheat before you part.
For it is worse to be drunke of Ale than wine, and the drunkenness
indureth longer: by reason that the fumes and vapours of ale that
ascend to the head, are more grosse, and therefore cannot be so soone
resolved as those that rise up of wine.”

Malvolio is alluding to the custom of alehouse singing when he says:
“Do you make an alehouse of my lady’s house, that ye squeak out your
cozier’s catches without any mitigation or remorse of voice?”

The English custom of wives following their husbands to the ale {192}
house is mentioned with reprehension by Gascoigne in _A Delicate Diet
for Daintie-mouthed Droonkards_ (1576). “What woman,” he exclaims,
“(even among the droonken Almaines), is suffered to follow her husband
into the Alehouse or Beerhouse?” However, if we are to believe the
author of the following verses, the practice does not always seem to
have been unfavourable to temperance:—


 While I’m at the Tavern quaffing,
   Well disposed for t’other quart,
 Come’s my wife to spoil my laughing,
   Telling me ’tis time to part:
 Words I knew, were unavailing,
   Yet I sternly answered, no!
 ’Till from motives more prevailing,
   Sitting down she treads my toe:
 Such kind tokens to my thinking,
   Most emphatically prove
 That the joys that flow from drinking,
   Are averse to those of love.
 Farewell friends and t’other bottle,
   Since I can no longer stay,
 Love more learn’d than Aristotle,
   Has, to move me, found the way.

Many a tale is told of wordy passages of arms between travellers and
innkeepers. Dame Halders, of Norwich, was a stingy ale-wife. Upon
one occasion a passing pedlar begged of her a mug of water. “You
had better,” said she, “have a jug of my home-brewed.” The pedlar
complied and paid for it, remarking after tasting it that it was a very
satisfying tipple. “Yes,” rejoined the dame, pleased at the supposed
compliment uttered in the hearing of her country customers, “it’s my
own brewing—nothing but malt and hops.” “Indeed,” exclaimed the pedlar;
“what!—no water?” “O yes,” cried the dame, “I forgot the water.” “No,”
quickly added the pedlar, “I’m d—d if you did.”

“I say,” a wag asked of a publican, “if we were to have a Coroner’s
Inquest on your beer, what verdict should we arrive at?” “Give it up,”
said Boniface. “Found drowned,” was the cruel reply.

“Have you a pair of steps?” asked a customer of an ale-wife, who was
notorious for giving short measure. “Yes; what do you want it for?”
{193} inquired the woman. “To go down and get at this ale,” was the
reply pointing to the half-filled pewter.

It is not, however, always the host or the ale-wife who is made the
object of these shafts of wit; as often as not it is Boniface who
assumes the character of the joker. In illustration of his jests, the
following extract is taken from the _Mirror_: “About half a century
ago, when it was more the fashion to drink ale at Oxford than it is at
present, a humorous fellow, of punning memory, established an alehouse
near the pound, and wrote over his door, ‘Ale sold by the pound.’
As his ale was as good as his jokes, the Oxonians resorted to his
house in great numbers, and sometimes staid there beyond the college
hours. This was made a matter of complaint to the Vice-Chancellor, who
was directed to take away his licence by one of the Proctors of the
University. Boniface was summoned to attend, and when he came into the
Vice-Chancellor’s presence he began hawking and spitting about the
room; this the Chancellor observed, and asked what he meant by it.
‘Please your worship,’ said he, ‘I came here on purpose to _clear_
myself.’ The Vice-Chancellor imagined that he actually weighed his
ale and sold it by the pound. ‘Is that true?’ ‘No, an’t please your
worship,’ replied the wit. ‘How do you, then?’ said the Chancellor.
‘Very well, I thank you, sir,’ replied he; ‘how do you do?’ The
Chancellor laughed, and said, ‘Get away for a rascal; I’ll say no more
to you.’ The fellow departed, and crossing the quadrangle met the
Proctor who laid the information. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘the Chancellor wants
to speak to you,’ and returned with him. ‘Here, sir,’ said he when he
came into the Chancellor’s presence, ‘you sent me for a _rascal_, and
I’ve brought you the greatest that I know of.’”

There is a good tale told of a certain innkeeper, who, had he received
the advantages of an university education, would certainly have taken
high mathematical honours. To him came a traveller, who demanded a
tankard of treble X. Thereupon the innkeeper, having hesitated a
moment, left the tap-room, to reappear shortly afterwards with a
foam-crowned pewter. The traveller tasted, and exclaimed angrily, “This
is not what I ordered!” “It is,” shortly replied Boniface; and retired
to avoid discussion. The traveller was a connoisseur in beer, and knew
he had been given table ale. Calling the potboy, he questioned him “No,
master kept no strong beer,” said the lad; “nothing more than double
X.” The traveller then summoned the landlord, and the meeting was
stormy. The traveller asserted, the host denied, and came off finally
triumphant with, “I know I don’t keep treble X, {194} but I can make
it. I just gave you half double X and t’other half single X, and if two
and one don’t make three, my name’s not Boniface.”

[Illustration: Cornelius Caton.]

The very grotesque figure which adorns this page represents Cornelius
Caton, landlord of the “White Lion,” Richmond, about the middle of last
century. Beginning life as a potboy, he rose through various stages
till he became landlord of the house. He was almost a dwarf, and his
whimsical character and unfailing good humour brought him much custom.
The illustration is taken from a very rare print.

The portrait of an old Cumberland landlord of the hard-drinking days
is drawn in the following ballad, which was written by some wandering
bard, in the album kept at the “Rising Sun,” Pooley Bridge:— {195}

 Will Russell was a landlord bold,
   A noble wight was he,
 Right fond of quips and merry cranks,
   And every kind of glee.

 Full five and twenty years agone,
   He came to Pooley Height,
 And there he kept the Rising Sun,
   And drunk was every night.

 No lord, nor squire, nor serving man,
   In all the country round,
 But lov’d to call in at the Sun,
   Wherever he was bound.

 To hold a crack with noble Will,
   And take a cheerful cup
 Of brandy, or of Penrith ale,
   Or pop, right bouncing up.

 But now poor Will lies sleeping here,
   Without his hat or stick,
 No longer rules the Rising Sun,
   As he did well when quick.

 Will’s honest heart could ne’er refuse
   To drink with ev’ry brother:
 Then let us not his name abuse—
   We’ll ne’er see sic another.

 But let us hope the gods above,
   Right minded of his merits,
 Have given him a gentle shove
   Into the land of spirits.

 ’Tis then his talents will expand,
   And make a noble figure,
 In tossing off a brimming glass,
   To make his belly bigger.

 Adieu, brave landlord, may thy portly ghost
   Be ever ready at its heavenly post;
 And may thy proud posterity e’er be
   Landlords at Pooley to eternity. {196}

Rather profane the last verse; but, perhaps, not more so than the
epitaph on one Matilda Brown:—

 Here lies the body of Matilda Brown,
 Who while alive was hostess of the Crown.
 Her son-in-law keeps on the business still,
 Patient, resigned to the Eternal Will.

At King’s Stanley, in Gloucestershire, is the following epitaph to
another hostess, one Ann Collins:—

 ’Twas as she tript from cask to cask,
   In at a bung-hole quickly fell,
 Suffocation was her task,
   She had no time to say farewell.

[Illustration: The George Inn, Salisbury.]

The ancient George Inn, Salisbury, depicted in our illustration, was
in the vicinity of the Royal residence at Clarendon, and four hundred
years ago was one of the best and most commodious inns in the west
of England. In the records of the Corporation of the town a lease of
this house is found, dated April 9th, 1473; it is made to one John
Gryme, a saddler, and contains a description of the rooms of the inn,
and an inventory of furniture. The house contained at that date {197}
thirteen guest chambers, viz.:—The Principal Chamber, the Earl’s
Chamber, the Pantry adjoining, the Oxford Chamber, the Abingdon
Chamber, the Squire’s Chamber, the Lombard’s Chamber, the Garret, the
George, the Clarendon, the Understent, the Fitzwaryn, and the London

[Illustration: The Falcon Inn, Chester.]

There was also the _taberna_ or wine-cellar, the Buttery, the Tap
House, the Kitchen, the Hostry, and the Parlour. The furniture, of
which a full inventory is appended, seems to have been of a very homely
type. No difference seems to have been made between the living and
the sleeping rooms; each room was supplied with beds, the relative
importance of which was measured by the number of _planks_ they
contained, and the only other articles of furniture were tables on
tressels for dining and forms of oak and beech for the guests to sit
at table. The Principal room was distinguished by the possession of a
cupboard, and each room contained three beds.

Another fine old inn is the Falcon of Chester. It is notable as a good
example of old half-timbered work. {198}

Malone, in his _Supplement_ to Shakspere, mentions the fact that many
of our old plays were acted in the yards of Carriers’ Inns, in which,
he says, “in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the comedians,
who then first united themselves in companies, erected an occasional
stage. The form of these temporary play-houses seems to be preserved
in our modern theatre. The galleries are in both ranged over each
other, on three sides of the building. The small rooms under the lowest
of these galleries answer to our present boxes; and it is observable
that these, even in theatres which were built in a subsequent period,
expressly for dramatic exhibitions, still retained their old name, and
are frequently called rooms by our ancient writers. The yard bears a
sufficient resemblance to the pit, as at present in use. We may suppose
the stage to have been raised in this area, on the fourth side, with
its back to the gateway of the inn, at which the money for admission
was taken. Here, in the middle of the Globe, and, I suppose, of the
other public theatres in the time of Shakespeare, there was an open
yard or area, where the common people stood to see the exhibition, from
which circumstances they are called groundlings, and by Ben Jonson,
‘the understanding gentlemen of the ground.’”

At the beginning of the present century the Angel at Islington was a
typical, old-fashioned country inn, long and low, with deep overhanging
eaves, and a central yard surrounded by double galleries, open to the
air and communicating with the bedrooms. Travellers approaching London
from the north would frequently remain at the Angel the night, rather
than venture into London by dark along a road dangerous alike from its
ruts and its footpads. Persons whose business took them to Islington
after dark usually waited at an avenue, which then existed on the site
of John Street, until a sufficient number of them had assembled to go
on in safety to their destination, whither they were escorted by an
armed patrol appointed for that purpose. What a striking picture of the
insecurity of life and limb in districts close to the metropolis not
one hundred years ago!

A curious custom, known as the Highgate Oath, held its ground for many
a long year, and has only fallen into disuse within living memory. When
a traveller passed through Highgate towards London for the first time
he was brought before a pair of horns at one of the taverns, and there
a mock oath was administered to him, to the effect that he would never
drink small beer when he could get strong, unless he liked it better;
that, with a similar saving clause, he would never drink gruel when he
could command turtle soup; nor make love to the maid, when {199} he
could court the mistress, unless he preferred the maid; with much more
to the same effect. In the old coaching days scarcely a coach passed
through Highgate without some of its occupants being initiated and we
may well imagine that copious streams of ale would flow to “wet” the
time-honoured custom. It is to this custom that Byron makes allusion in
Childe Harold:—

     .    .    many to the steep of Highgate hie;
 Ask ye, Bœotian shades, the reason why?
 ’Tis to the worship of the solemn horn,
 Grasped in the holy hand of Mystery,
 In whose dread name both men and maids are sworn,
 And consecrate the oath with draught and dance till morn.

The privileges belonging to a freeman of Highgate who had taken the
oath are described as follows:—“If at any time you are going through
Highgate, and want to rest yourself, and you see a pig lying in the
ditch, you have liberty to kick her out and take her place; but if you
see three lying together, you must only kick out the middle one and lie
between the two others.”

The custom is said to have been originated by a club of graziers who
were wont to tarry at Highgate on their way to London, and who, in
order to keep their company select, would admit none to their society
before he had gone through a process of initiation, which consisted of
kissing between the horns, one of their oxen brought to the door for
the purpose.

Interesting as are many of our old country inns and village ale-houses,
and numberless the tales that might be told of the doings within their
time-stained walls; “of quips and cranks and wanton wiles”; of the
village feast, the village minstrelsy, the “jocund rebeck’s” sound to
ears long since deaf; the song; the toast pledged by lips long since
cold—interesting as all these are, it is when we come to the history of
our old London taverns, fragmentary though it be, that we really find
ourselves face to face with the clearest pictures of the social life
and customs of the past. It is here that memories gather thickest of the

 Peals of genial clamour sent
 From many a tavern door,
 With twisted quirks and happy hits,
   From misty men of letters;
 The tavern hours of mighty wits—
   Thine elders and thy betters.


In the history of the old London taverns may be seen the habits, the
customs, and the amusements of by-gone generations of Londoners.
Innumerable pictures of society, and modes of life and thought, might
be gathered from among the records of these houses of entertainment.
For centuries before these days of telegraphs and newspapers, it was to
the tavern that men resorted to hear the latest news, to exchange ideas
and to refresh their minds, as well as bodies, after the labours of the
day. It was here the traveller told his tale of marvels, of “contrees
and the yles that ben beyond Cathay”; it was here the stay-at-home
gathered what information he possessed of lands and nations over the

Space forbids us to mention more than a very few of these old London
Inns. That old Tabard—what a picture of fourteenth-century life
does its very name recall! The earliest mention of this typical old
Southwark Inn—an inn which after seeing all the changes and chances of
five centuries, fell a victim but yesterday to that modern Vandal, the
improver (save the mark!)—occurs in a register of the Abbey of Hyde,
near Winchester, where we find that two tenements were conveyed by
William de Ludegarsale to the Abbot in 1306, the site being described
as extending in length from the common ditch of Southwark eastwards,
as far as the royal way towards the west. This royal way was none
other than the old Roman road which connected London with Kent and the
south. Stow, writing three centuries later, thus mentions the inn and
its sign: “From thence towards London Bridge,” he writes, “bee many
faire Innes, for receit of travellers, by these signes, the Spurre,
Christopher, Bull, Queen’s Head, _Tabard_, George, Hart, King’s Head,
etc. Amongst the which the most ancient is the Tabard, so called of
the signe, which as wee do now terme it, is of a Jacket or sleevelesse
coate whole before, open on both sides, with a square collar, winged
at the shoulders; a stately garment, of old time commonly worne of
noblemen and others, both at home and abroad in the warres; but
then, (to wit in the warres) their Armes embroidered, or otherwise
depict upon them that every man by his coate of Armes might be knowne
from others: But now these Tabards are onely worne by the Heralds,
and bee called their coates of Armes in service. Of the Inne of the
Tabard, Geffrey Chaucer Esquire, the most famous poet of England, in
commendation thereof, writeth thus:—

 “Byfel, that in that sesoun, on a day
  In Southwark at the Tabard as I lay,
  Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
  To Caunterbury with ful devout corage, {201}

  At night was come into that hostelrie
  Wel nyne and twenty in a compainye,
  Of sondry folk, by aventure i-falle,
  In felawship and pilgrims were thei alle,
  That toward Caunterbury wolden ryden.”

Then follows an unrivalled description of typical fourteenth-century

   The Knight,
                    . . . . a worthy man,
          That from the tyme that he first bigan
          To ryden out, he lovede chyvalrye,
          Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
        *       *       *       *       *
          He was a very perfight gentil knight.”

 —The Squire, whose gay dress is thus described:—
          Embrowded was he, as it were a mede
          Al ful of fresshe flouers, white and reede—

 —The Yeoman attending him, “clad in coote and hood of greene.”

 —The “Nonne, a Prioresse,” so “symple and coy,” whose “gretteste
 ooth was but by seynt Loy”:—
          And Frensch sche spak ful faine and fetysly,
          After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe
          For Frensch of Parys was to hire unknowe.

 —The Sporting Monk, the prototype of the Hunting Parson of more
 recent days:—
          An outrydere that lovede venerye;
          A manly man, to ben an abbot able.
          Ful many a deynte hors hadde he in stable:
        *       *       *       *       *
          Greyhoundes he hadde as swifte as fowel in flight;
          Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
          Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.

 —The easy-going Friar, who “sweetely herde confessioun”:—
          And pleasant was his absolucioun
        *       *       *       *       *
          He knew the tavernes well in every toun,
          And everych hostiler and tappestere. {202}

—The Merchant with his forked beard and “Flaundrisch bevere hat”—The
Clerk of Oxenford—The Sergeant of Law, “war and wys”—The Franklin—The
Ploughman—The Cook, and every other of that goodly company—How fresh
their pictures are to-day! Each touch, each tint, as clear, as bright,
as though the great father of English poetry had but yesterday laid
aside his pencil! And then the Host, none other than the Henry Bayley
of the Tabard, who represented the borough of Southwark in Parliament
in 1376, and again in 1378, how interesting it is to observe his
demeanour, as depicted by Chaucer. Quite at his ease, and on an
equality with his guests, he talks with them, jests with them, in
person presides over the table, acts as umpire and judge of the tales
they tell upon the journey, and generally behaves more like a man who
entertains his friends than a landlord serving his guests; and, be it
remembered, these guests were not by any means of the lowest rank of

 A seemly man our hoste was withal,
 For to have ben a marshall in an hall,
 A large man he was with eyen steep,
 A fairer burgess was there none in Chepe:
 Bold of his speeche, and wys and well y-taught,
 And of manhood him lackede righte noughte.

The old Tabard was partly burnt down in the great Southwark fire in
1676, and on rebuilding the ruined portion “that ignorant landlord or
tenant,” Aubrey tells us, “instead of the ancient sign of the Tabard
put up the Talbot or doge.” In this condition it remained until a few
years ago, when, despite the protests of the antiquarian world, despite
the pages of remonstrance with which the newspapers and magazines
were filled, it was pulled down, and is now replaced by a tall brick
building. Had we not enough and to spare of these tall brick buildings?

[Illustration: The Tabard in 1722.]

At the time when Knight wrote his _History of London_, the original
house was sufficiently complete for him to leave us a description of
the old arched entrance to the inn-yard, the balustraded galleries on
which the bedrooms opened, the gabled roofs, the panelled rooms, and
last, {203} but not least, the Pilgrim’s room, which tradition said
was the veritable scene of the supper on the night before the guests
set out upon their world-famed pilgrimage.

John Lydgate, a Benedictine monk of Bury St. Edmunds, writing about the
same time as Chaucer, mentions that Cornhill was in his time noted for
its taverns, where was “wine one pint for a pennie, and bread to drink
it was given free at every tavern.”

In a black-letter sheet entitled _Newes from Bartholomew Fayre_, of
probably the early part of the seventeenth century, some of the most
famous inns of London are thus whimsically enumerated:—

 There has been great sale and utterance of wine,
 Besides Beer, Ale, and Hippocrass fine,
 In every country, region, and Nation,
 Chiefly at Billings-gate, at the Salutation;
 And Boreshead near London Stone,
 The Swan at Dowgate, a tavern well knowne;
 The Mitre in Cheap, and the Bull-head,
 And many like places that make noses red;
 The Boreshead in Old Fish Street, Three Cranes in the Vintree
 And now, of late, Saint Martin’s in the Sentree;
 The Windmill in Lothbury, the Ship at the Exchange,
 King’s Head in New Fish Street, where Roysters do range;
 The Mermaid in Cornhill, Red Lion in the Strand,
 Three Tuns in Newgate Market, in Old Fish Street the Swan.

Most of these hostelries, famous in their day and generation, were
swept away in the Great Fire of London.

The Boar’s Head in Eastcheap, “near London stone,” was one of the
oldest inns in London. It stood near the site whereon the statue to
William IV. in King William Street has been erected. It was there that
Prince Hal and “honest Jack Falstaff” played their wildest pranks.
Carved oak figures of the two worthies stood at the door of the house
until the Great Fire; and the proud inscription, “This is the chief
tavern in London,” appeared upon the signboard until the house was
finally pulled down in 1831, to make way for the approaches of London
Bridge. In the year 1718 one James Austin, the inventor of “Persian
inkpowder,” whatever that may have been, desiring to entertain his
chief customers, and also, no doubt, to advertise his wonderful powder,
issued invitations for a Brobdingnagian repast to be partaken of at
the Boar’s Head. The feast was to consist of an enormous plum-pudding,
weighing 1,000 lbs., {204} and the best piece of an ox roasted; this
wonderous pudding was put to boil on Monday, May 12th, in a copper at
the Red Lion Inn in Southwark, where it had to boil for fourteen days.
As soon as this mighty feat of cookery was accomplished, a triumphant
procession was formed, and the pudding set out on its journey, escorted
by a band playing _What lumps of pudding my mother gave me_; but, alas,
for the vanity of all things human! the tempting dish had not proceeded
far upon its way, when the mob, goaded to madness by the savoury odour
of the pudding, fell upon the escort, and, having put them to the rout,
tore the pudding in pieces, and devoured it there and then.

[Illustration: The Boar’s Head.]

Some years ago a great mound of rubbish in Whitechapel, supposed to be
the carted remains of the City after the Great Fire, was cleared away,
and the relic, of which we give a representation, was discovered. It is
an oak carving, dated at the back 1568, and had a name written upon it
which was found to correspond with that of the landlord of the Boar’s
Head, Eastcheap, in that year.

A ballad, which assigns to each inn its particular class of customers,
is introduced by Thomas Heywood into his _Rape of Lucrece_:—

 The Gintry to the King’s Head,
   The Nobles to the Crown,
 The Knights unto the Golden Fleece,
   And to the Plough the Clowne. {205}

 The Churchman to the Mitre,
   The Shepherd to the Star,
 The Gardiner hies him to the Rose,
   To the Drum the Man of War.

 The Huntsman to the White Hart,
   To the Ship the Merchants goe,
 And you that doe the Muses love,
   The sign called River Po.

 The Banquer out to the World’s End,
   The Fool to the Fortune hie,
 Unto the Mouth the Oyster-wife,
   The Fiddler to the Pie.

The taverns of the seventeenth century seem in many cases to have
occupied the upper part of a house, the lower portion being devoted to
some other trade. Izaak Walton’s _Complete Angler_ was to be “sold at
his shopp in Fleet Street, under the King’s Head Tavern.” Bishop Earle,
who wrote in the early part of that century, seems to signify that
there was often a tavern above and an alehouse below. “A tavern,” he
says, “is a degree or (if you will) a pair of stairs above an alehouse
where men are drunk with more credit and apology. . . . Men come here
to be merry, and indeed make a noise, and the music above is answered
with a clinking below.”

Amongst the inns and taverns frequented by Shakspere may be mentioned
the Falcon Tavern, by the Bankside, which was the place of meeting
of the mighty poets and wits of the Elizabethan age—of Shakspere,
Ben Jonson, Marlowe, Massinger, Ford, Beaumont, Fletcher, Drayton,
Herrick, and a host of lesser names. An assemblage, indeed, unique in
any country or in any age! Here took place those “wit combats,” of
which Fuller speaks, between Shakspere and Ben Jonson, “which two I
behold like a Spanish great galleon, and an English man-of-war; Master
Jonson (like the former) was built far higher in learning; solid, but
slow, in his performances. Shakspere, like the English man-of-war,
lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack
about, and take advantage of all winds by the quickness of his wit and

An example of the kindly passages of wit between these two great
spirits has come down to us, having been preserved from the oblivion
that shrouds the bulk of them by Sir Nicholas Lestrange, in his {206}
_Merry Passages and Jests_. The passage, in the compiler’s own words
is as follows:—“Shakspere was god-father to one of Ben Jonson’s
children; and after the christening, being in a deep study, Jonson came
to cheer him up, and asked him why he was so melancholy. ‘No, faith,
Ben,’ (says he), ‘not I; but I have been considering a great while what
should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my god-child; and I
have resolved at last.’ ‘I prythee what?’ says he, ‘I ’faith, Ben, I’ll
e’en give him a dozen good Latin spoons (_i.e._ latten, an inferior
metal), and thou shalt translate them.’” Whether the Spanish great
galleon could bring his guns to bear upon his nimble antagonist in this
encounter is left unrecorded; but we can imagine that the great scholar
would not be without a retort to a jest which was directed against his
classic learning by one who had “little Latin and less Greek.”

The great poet seems to have had many god-children. Of one, Sir
William Davenant, while yet a boy, the following tradition remains.
The father of Sir William was host of the Crown at Oxford, and at
this house Shakspere would frequently lodge on his journeys between
Stratford-on-Avon and London. Malicious rumour had it that the lad
was of a closer relationship than that of god-son only, and upon one
occasion, on the poet’s arrival at Oxford, the boy, who was sent for to
meet him, was asked by a grave master of one of the colleges whither he
was going. “Home,” said the lad, “to see my god-father.” “Fie, child,”
said the don, “why art thou so superfluous? Hast not thou yet learnt
not to use the name of God in vain?”

The Mermaid, in Bread Street, was often the place of meeting of these
convivial wits. Beaumont, then a mere lad, addressing Jonson in verse,

       —What things have we seen
 Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been
 So nimble and so full of subtle flame,
 As if that everyone from whence they came
 Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
 And had resolved to live a fool the rest
 Of his dull life: . . . .
 We left an air behind us, which alone
 Was able to make the two next companies
 Right witty;—though but downright fools, mere wise.

Sir Walter Raleigh established a literary club at this house in the
year, 1603. Amongst the members were Shakspere, Jonson, Beaumont
{207} Fletcher, Selden, Donne, and many scarcely less illustrious
names. Herrick, in graceful lyrics, bears witness to similar sparkling
gatherings of a somewhat later date, and to other houses where they
were held:—

       Ah, Ben!
       Say how, or when,
 Shall we thy guests,
 Meet at those lyric feasts
 Made at the Sun,
 The Dog, the Triple Tun?
 Where we such clusters had,
 As made us nobly wild, not mad;
 And yet each verse of thine
 Out-did the meat, out-did the wine.

Ben Jonson, in inviting a friend to sup with him at the Mermaid,
promises him—

 A cup of pure Canary wine,
 Which is the Mermaid’s now, but shall be mine.

The Swan at Charing Cross, however, was the house where Jonson was
always most sure of getting the best draught of his favourite liquor.

Aubrey relates that the poet was upon one occasion dining with King
James, and when called upon to say grace produced the following lines:—

 Our King and Queen, the Lord God blesse,
 The Palsgrave and the Lady Besse,
 And God blesse every living thing
 That lives and breathes and loves the King.
 God blesse the Councill of Estate,
 And Buckingham the fortunate.
 God blesse them all, and keep them safe,
 And God blesse me, and God blesse Ralph.

Whereupon “the King was mighty inquisitive to know who this Ralph was.
Ben told him ’twas the drawer at the Swanne Taverne by Charing Crosse,
who drew him good canarie. For this drollerie his Ma^{tie.} gave him an
hundred pounds.”

The legend of St. Dunstan, who, being tempted of the devil in bodily
form, took the prince of darkness by the nose, and

 With redhot tongs he made him roar
 Till he was heard three miles or more, {208}

was commemorated on the signboard of a celebrated inn in Fleet Street,
which was called “The Devil” for short. The old inn stood on the site
now occupied by Child’s Bank, and it was there that the meetings of
the celebrated Apollo Club were held, and rare Ben Jonson, with other
kindred spirits, passed the sparkling wine and still more sparkling
jest. Here over the entrance of the Apollo Chamber were inscribed the
well-known lines beginning

 Welcome all who lead or follow
 To the oracle of Apollo.

Sim Wadlow, whom Jonson dubbed “the king of skinkers,”[51] was one
of the famous landlords of this house. The following epitaph on this
notorious character is recorded by Camden in his _Remaines_:—

   [51] Skinkers = tapsters; from the old English verb schenchen, to
   pour out.

 Apollo et cohors Musarum,
 Bacchus vini et uvarum,
 Ceres pro pane et cervisia,
 Adeste omnes cum tristitia.

 Dii, Deæque, lamentate cuncti,
 Simonis Vadloe funera defuncti,
 Sub signo malo bene vixit, mirabile!
 Si ad cœlum recessit gratias Diaboli.

These lines may be thus rendered:—

 Apollo and the Muses nine,
 Bacchus the god of grapes and wine,
 Ceres the friend of “cakes and ale,”
 Assembled, list to my sad tale.

 Gods, goddesses, lament ye all,
 At Simon Wadlow’s funeral,
 He lived right well tho’ his sign was evil,
 If heaven he won, ’tis thanks to ‘the Devil.’

Our illustration depicts two innkeepers, who were probably Sim Wadlow’s
contemporaries. {209}

During the last century The Devil Tavern was the resort of the wits and
literary men of the day. Addison and Dr. Garth often dined here; and
Dr. Johnson here once presided at a supper that lasted till dawn peeped
in at the windows. The inn was pulled down in the year 1788.

[Illustration: Innkeepers, 1641.]

Nearly opposite to the Devil stood the Cock Tavern, for centuries, and
until a few months ago, when it was closed for alterations, frequented
by the Templars. We hope that it was not for this reason that its
internal arrangements were spoken of by the Laureate as—

 The haunts of _hungry sinners_,
 Old boxes, larded with the steam
 Of thirty thousand dinners.

This Tavern, once known as the Cock and Bottle, and subsequently as
the Cock Alehouse, was a noted house in the seventeenth century. The
effigy of the Cock, which until recently used to stand over the door,
was reputed to have been carved by the great Grinling Gibbons. At the
time of the Plague of London the following advertisement appeared in
the _Intelligencer_:—“This is to certify that the Master of the Cock
and Bottle, commonly called the Cock Alehouse, hath dismissed his
servants, and shut up his house for this long vacation, intending (God
willing) to return at Michaelmass next, so that all persons who have
any accounts {210} or farthings belonging to the said house are desired
to repair thither before the 8th of this instant July, and they shall
receive satisfaction.” The Cock, however, seems to have soon resumed
its hospitality, for we read that Pepys shortly afterwards went “by
water to the Temple, and then to the Cock Alehouse, and drank, and ate
a lobster, and sang, and mighty merry. So almost night, I carried Mrs.
Pierce home; and then Knipp and I to the Temple again, and took boat,
it being darkish, and to Foxhall, it being now night, and a bonfire
burning at Lambeth for the King’s coronation day.”

A waiter at this house is commemorated in the well-known lines of Will
Waterproof’s Monologue:—

 O plump head waiter at the Cock
   To which I most resort,
 How goes the time? ’tis five o’clock,
   Go fetch a pint of port.

The old Cock alehouse is now no more; but the sign which for two
hundred years has looked down upon the bustling Fleet Street crowds,
together with the “old boxes” and carved oak over-mantel, have found a
resting-place at “The Temple Bar,” on the other side of the way.

The Mitre was the sign of several celebrated London Taverns, the most
famous of all being that situated in Mitre Court, Fleet Street, where
Dr. Johnson and Goldsmith, Boswell, and other lesser lights used to
meet. It was here that Boswell first made acquaintance with the great
Doctor. “He agreed to meet me in the evening at the Mitre. I called on
him, and we went thither at nine. We had a good supper and port wine,
of which he then sometimes drank a bottle. The orthodox, High Church
sound of the Mitre,—the figure and manner of the celebrated Samuel
Johnson—the extraordinary power and precision of his conversation, and
the pride from finding myself admitted as his companion, produced a
variety of sensations and a pleasing elevation of mind beyond what I
had ever experienced.” The great name of Shakspere is also connected by
tradition with this house.

The old Globe Tavern in Fleet Street survived down to about the
beginning of the present century. It was the favourite resort of Oliver
Goldsmith, who took great delight in hearing a certain “tun of a man,”
who frequented the house, sing the song entitled _Nottingham Ale_, in
which Bacchus himself is said to have sprung from a barrel of that
famous liquor:— {211}

 Fair Venus, the Goddess of beauty and love,
 Arose from the froth that swam on the sea,
 Minerva leap’d out of the cranium of Jove,
 A coy sullen slut, as most authors agree;
 Bold Bacchus they tell us, the prince of good fellows,
 Was his natural son, but attend to my tale,
 For they that thus chatter mistake quite the matter,
 He sprang from a barrel of Nottingham Ale,
     Nottingham Ale, boys; Nottingham Ale; no liquor
         on earth is like Nottingham Ale.

This song was a great favourite in the eighteenth century, and was sung
to the tune of “Lilabolero.”

The Crown and Anchor in the Strand was one of the most famous houses
in London during the first part of the present century. A tragic
story is related of how one Thomas Simpkin, the first landlord after
the rebuilding of the house in 1790, on the occasion of an inaugural
dinner, in leaning over a balcony to look into the street, broke the
balustrade and, falling to the ground, was killed on the spot. Here
were held the famous Westminster political meetings, and here the
birthday of Fox was celebrated in 1794, when two thousand persons sat
down to dinner. Many another tavern in this region so famous for houses
of entertainment, brings back memories of the past, but space forbids
us to linger over the recital.

John Taylor, the Water Poet (poeta Aquaticus, as he was fond of calling
himself), who was the author of many whimsical works in prose as well
as verse, was a Thames waterman, and the keeper of an alehouse in
Phœnix Alley, Long Acre. It is related of him that on the death of
Charles I. he changed his sign, which had formerly been the Crown,
into the Mourning Bush, as expressing his grief and loyalty. He was,
however, soon compelled to take this sign down, and he then substituted
the Poet’s Head, his own portrait, with this inscription:—

 There is many a head hangs for a sign;
 Then, gentle reader, why not mine?

At the same time he issued the following poetical advertisement:—

 My signe was once a Crowne, but now it is
 Changed by a sudden metamorphosis.
 The Crowne was taken downe, and in the stead
 Is placed John Taylor’s, or the Poet’s Head. {212}
 A painter did my picture gratis make,
 And (for a signe) I hanged it for his sake.
 Now if my picture’s drawing can prevayle,
 ’Twill draw my friends to me, and I’ll draw ale.
 Two strings are better to a bow than one;
 And poeting does me small good alone.
 So ale alone yields but small good to me,
 Except it have some spice of poesie.
 The fruits of ale are unto drunkards such,
 To make ’em sweare and lye that drink too much.
 But my ale, being drunk with moderation,
 Will quench thirst and make merry recreation.
 My booke and signe were published for two ends,
 T’ invite my honest, civill, sober friends.
 From such as are not such I kindly pray,
 Till I send for ’em, let ’em keep away.
 From Phœnix Alley, the Globe Taverne neare
 The Middle of Long Acre, I dwell there.

An old dodge of some of the London tavern-keepers was to hang up in a
conspicuous place in the taproom, a notice to the effect that no one
could have more than one glass at a sitting. The result of this notable
device was the very opposite to what one might expect; it is thus
quaintly told by old Decker, in his _Seven Deadly Sins, seven times
pressed to death_: “Then you have another brewing called Huff’s ale, at
which, because no man must have but a pot at a sitting, and so be gone,
the restraint makes them more eager to come in, so that by this policie
one may huffe it four or five times a day.”

Last century was pre-eminently the century for Clubs, some literary
some political, and some purely social, many partaking of all these
characters. The October Club, which was so called on account of the
quantities of October ale which the members drank, used to meet at
the Bell Tavern, King Street, Westminster, and drink confusion to the
Whigs. Swift was a member. “We are plagued here,” he writes to Stella,
“with an October Club; that is a set of above a hundred Parliament men
of the country, who drink October beer at home, and meet every evening
at a tavern near the Parliament, to consult affairs and drive matters
to extremes against the Whigs, to call the old Ministry to account, and
get off five or six heads.”

The Mug Houses, famous early in the last century, were distinguished
{213} by the rows of pewter mugs placed in the window, or hung up
outside as in the illustration, which is taken from the _Book of
Days_. In _A Journey through England_ (1722) the original Mug-house
is thus described: “But the most diverting and amusing of all is the
Mug-house Club in Long Acre. They have a grave old gentleman, in his
own gray hairs, now within a few months of ninety years old, who is
their President, and sits in an arm’d chair some steps higher than the
rest of the company, to keep the whole room in order. A harp plays all
the time at the lower end of the room; and every now and then one or
other of the company rises and entertains the rest with a song, and
(by-the-by) some are good masters. Here is nothing drunk but ale, and
every gentleman hath his separate Mug, which he chalks on the table
where he sits as it is brought in; and everyone retires when he pleases
as from a Coffee House. The Room is always so diverted with songs, and
drinking from one table to another to one another’s healths, that there
is no room for Politicks, or anything that can sow’r conversation. One
must be there by seven to get Room, and after ten the Company are for
the most part gone. This is a Winter’s amusement, that is agreeable
enough to a Stranger for once or twice, and he is well diverted with
the different Humours, when the Mugs overflow.”

[Illustration: Mug House.]


A few years earlier, however, “Politicks” had much troubled this House
and others of which it was the parent. “On King George’s accession,”
says the _Mirror_, “the Tories had so much the better of the friends to
the Protestant succession, that they gained the mobs on all public days
to their side. This induced a set of gentlemen to establish Mug-houses
in all the corners of this great city, for well affected tradesmen to
meet and keep up the spirit of loylty to the Protestant succession,
and to be ready, upon all tumults, to join their forces to put down
the Tory mobs.” The frequenters of these houses formed themselves into
Mug-house Clubs after the fashion of their prototype, and discussed
their Whig sentiments—

 “While ale inspires and lends its kindly aid
  The thought perplexing labour to pursue.”

Whenever Tory mobs assembled, these disorderly champions of order would
sally forth and attack them with sticks and staves and divers other
offensive weapons. “So many were the riots,” continues the _Mirror_,
“that the police was obliged, by Act of Parliament, to put an end of
this City strife, which had this good effect, that upon pulling down of
the Mug-house in Salisbury Court, for which some boys were hanged on
this Act, the City has not been troubled with them since.”

A still earlier Club, more renowned than any for its marvellous
powers of suction, was the Everlasting Club, instituted during the
Parliamentary wars; it was so called because it sat night and day,
one set of members relieving another. It is recorded of them early in
the eighteenth century that “since their first institution they have
smoked fifty tons of tobacco, drank thirty thousand butts of ale, one
thousand hogsheads of red port, two hundred barrels of brandy, and
_one kilderkine of small beer_. They sang old catches at all hours
to encourage one another to moisten their clay, and grow immortal by

No work on the Curiosities of Ale and Beer would be complete without
some notice of signboards. Their connection with taverns and alehouses
is so ancient and intimate, and many of them are in themselves so
exceedingly curious, that they may be said to constitute some of the
chief curiosities of the subject. The history of signboards has been
so exhaustively written by Mr. Larwood and Mr. Hotten that it would be
superfluous, even if space did not forbid, to present to our readers
anything but a slight sketch of so voluminous a subject. {215}

Signboards at the present day may be said to inspire their historian
with something of a melancholy feeling. A history of them is a history
of a bygone art, which has long passed its zenith, which has served
its purpose, and which is destined to decay more and more before the
advance of modern education. Truly the glory of signboards is departed!
Though one sees here and there a barber’s pole, a golden fleece, and a
few other signs of divers trades, innkeepers and alehouse-keepers are
the only persons who as a class keep to their old distinctive marks.
Formerly, when persons who could read and write were few, every craft
and occupation had its own peculiar sign, for the huge letters and
notice-boards, now so common, would at that time have been of little

There seems to be no doubt that we derived the signboard from the
Romans; the old Latin proverb _Vino vendibili suspensa hedera non opus
est_ finds its counterpart in the English _Good wine needs no bush_,
and the common sign of the Bush is the lineal descendant of the old
Roman bunch of ivy. In the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii many
examples have been brought to light of signs appropriate to various
trades: thus, a goat is the sign of a dairy; a mule driving a mill is
the sign of a miller or baker; and two men carrying a large amphora
of wine is the sign of the vintner, and brings to mind the well-known
English sign of the _Two Jolly Brewers_ carrying a barrel of ale strung
on a long pole.

The ale-stake, which was a long pole either attached to the front of
the house or standing in the road before the door, seems to have been
the first sign in use with English ale-sellers. In early times every
person who brewed ale for sale was, as has been already mentioned,
compelled by law to exhibit the ale-stake as a signal to the local
ale-conner that his services were required. Very early mention is to be
found of these signs. In 1393 Florence North, a Chelsea ale-wife, was
presented for neglecting to put up an ale-stake in front of her house.
Similar allusions are to be found in many early writers. Chaucer’s
Pardoner when asked to begin his tale—

 “It shall be donn,” quod he, “and that anoon.
  But first,” quod he, “here at this ale-stake,
  I will both drynke and byten on a cake.”

The accompanying cut is taken from a manuscript of the fourteenth
century. The figures are doubtless an ale-wife and a pilgrim. {216}

“The ale-pole doth but signifie that there is good ale in the house
where the ale-pole standeth,” writes an old author, “and will tell him
that he muste go near the house and there he shall find the drinke, and
not stand sucking the ale-pole in vayne.” And again:—

 For lyke as the jolly ale-house
   Is always knowen by the good _ale-stake_,
 So are proude jelots sone perceaved, to,
   By their proude folly, and wanton gate.

[Illustration: An Ale-stake.]

Skelton, writing of the fame of Elynour Rummynge’s “noppy ale,” alludes
to the ale-pole thus:—

 Another brought her bedes
 Of jet or of cole,
 To offer to the _ale-pole_.

[Illustration: Signboard and Bush.]

In process of time it became usual for the publican to affix some
further distinctive mark to his ale-stake. At first a mere bush or
bunch of ivy seems to have been used, and in Scotland a wisp of straw
long served the same purpose. In Chaucer’s time the bush had developed
into an ale-garland of considerable size, as we are informed by the

 A garlond hadde he sette uhede
 As grete as it wer for an ale-stake.

The signboard and bush shown above are taken from a print of Cheapside
in 1638. {217}

Porter’s _Angry Woman_ shows that a mere bush was still frequently used
at that period (1599) by the passage: “I might have had a pumpe set up
with as good Marche beere as this was and nere set up an ale-bush for
the matter,” and the _Country Carbonadoed_ (1632) shows that the bush
had not yet become specialised to the use of the wine-seller. Referring
to alehouses, it is stated that “if these houses have a boxe-bush, or
an old post, it is enough to show their profession, but if they be
graced with a signe compleat, it is a signe of good custome.” Towards
the end of the seventeenth century, the ivy-bush, the sacred emblem of
Bacchus, came to denote that wine as well as ale was sold within. In
_Poor Robin’s Perambulation from Saffron Walden to London_ (1678) the
author mentions that—

 Some ale-houses upon the road I saw,
 And some with bushes, showing they wine did draw.

The following illustrations represent an ancient road-side alehouse and
a hostel by night. The former is taken from a manuscript of the early
part of the fifteenth century. The latter is from an illumination in
the _Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_ in the Hunterian Library at Glasgow, and
is of about the same date. In one a conventional bush appears above
the door; while in the other there is both bush and sign. The absence
of any night attire other than night-caps—the usual custom of the
period—and the number of persons sleeping in one room, are noticeable.
Night-caps were no doubt very necessary in an age when glass windows
were little used.

[Illustration: Ancient Alehouse.]

The next step in the historical development of the signboard was
the addition of a carved and painted effigy of a Swan, a Cock, a
Hen, or some other bird or beast. The effigy was fixed in a hoop and
hung from the end of the ale-pole, and it is suggested that the term
“cock-a-hoop,” signifying a rather offensively jubilant demeanour,
may be traced to the attitude of Chanticleer upon the ale-house hoop.
Hazlitt gives a different origin to the phrase. Quoting from Blount’s
Dictionary (1681), he says: “The Cock was the tap and being taken out
{218} and laid on the hoop of the vessel, they used to drink up the
ale as it ran out without intermission (in Staffordshire now called
stunning a barrel of ale) and then they were _cock-on-hoop_ (_i.e._,
at the height of mirth and jolity).” Old Heywood seems to support the
latter derivation in the lines:—

 He maketh havok and setteth the cock on hoope;
 He is so lavies, the stooke beginneth to droope.

From the painted effigy to the painted signboard was an easy step, and
then began the signboard’s palmy days. If mine host were a man of small
imagination, he might still be content with a bush or with the arms of
some local magnate, but if he were a man of fancy, his imagination, in
quest of a worthy sign, might revel unrestrained through the highways
and byways of history ancient and modern, political and natural. The
sign was and is usually painted on a board and suspended from the front
of the house, or from a sign-post set up in the street in front of the
door. In country places signboard ambition went so far as to erect a
kind of triumphal arch in front of the house, from the centre of which
the signboard swung.

[Illustration: Night Scene in a Fifteenth-century Inn.]

A good example of a signboard stretching across a street may be seen in
the illustration of the Black Boy Inn, Chelmsford, which is taken from
a print by Ryland of the date 1770. {219}

Even as early as the reign of Henry V. the eagerness of the ale-house
keepers to outstrip one another in the size of their signboards had
become obnoxious to the authorities. The _Liber Albus_ contains a
direction to the Wardmotes of the City of London, to make inquiry
whether the ale-stake of any tavern “is longer or extends further
than ordinary,” and the Common Council ordained that “whereas the
ale-stakes projecting in front of taverns in Chepe, and elsewhere in
the said City, extend too far over the King’s highways, to the impeding
of riders and others, and by reason of their excessive weight, to the
great deterioration of the houses to which they are fixed,” therefore
the taverners are ordered that on pain of 40s. fine they shall not
have a stake, bearing a sign or leaves extending over the King’s
highway, of greater length than seven feet at most.

[Illustration: The BLACK BOY INN]

The restriction on the length of the projecting signboards seems to
have been little regarded. Charles I., in his Charter to the City of
London, granted on his accession to the throne, permits the use of
suspended signs, and the Charter contains no mention of any restriction
{220} as to size. The nuisance caused by the extravagant size of
signboards at length became very great, and in the reign of Charles
II. it was ordained that “in all the streets no signboard shall hang
across, but that the sign shall be fixed against the balconies or
some convenient part of the side of the house.” Even this specific
regulation seems to have been generally disregarded, as we learn from
an account written in 1719, by Misson, a French traveller. Speaking
of the signs, he says: “At London, they are commonly very large, and
jut out so far, that in some narrow streets they touch one another;
nay, and run across almost quite to the other side. They are generally
adorned with carving and gilding; and there are several that, with the
branches of iron which support them, cost above a hundred guineas.
. . . . Out of London, and particularly in villages, the signs of inns
are suspended in the middle of a great wooden portal, which may be
looked upon as a kind of triumphal arch to the honour of Bacchus.”

About the middle of last century various Acts of Parliament were
passed, the result of which was that London signboards have from that
time been fixed to the face of the house, and are no longer allowed to
project over the street.

We must go to the country districts, and best of all to one of our old
cathedral towns, to see really old-fashioned signs. In some cases a
signboard may still be seen hanging beneath beautifully scrolled iron
work, from which in more artistic days the “ale-house painted signs”
depended. Even in such a stronghold of conservative and antiquarian
feeling as a cathedral city, these relics of the past are yearly
becoming more and more scarce, though in those out-of-the-world places,
where a change in the situation of the parochial pump must be preceded
by about a proportionate amount of discussion as would attend the
proposal to make a new underground railway for London, the removal of
an old signboard is usually a matter causing grave public agitation.
The authors of the _History of Signboards_ have given an account of
the demolition of the time-honoured sign of Sir John Falstaff, which
for many a generation had gladdened the hearts of the good citizens
of Canterbury. However, as a matter of fact, the signboard was only
removed to be repainted, and in spite of the orders of Local Boards and
City Authorities, in spite of law suits and various other disagreeable
attempts at persuasion, the owner of the house has persisted in
maintaining in its place this fine old sign with its elaborate
iron-work, and there to this day may the gallant knight be seen, with
sword and buckler, ready to make instant assault on those men in
buckram, or on any other foes. {221}

The close connection that existed between the profession of host and
the signboard, may be judged from the fact that the publican who was
deprived of his licence also had his sign removed by the minions of the
law. _A New Way to Pay Old Debts_ illustrates this fact in the lines—

 For this gross fault I here do damn thy licence,
 Forbidding thee ever to tap or draw;
 For instantly I will in mine own person
 Command the constables to pull down thy sign.

In 1629 one Price was forbidden to open a certain house in Leadenhall
Street as a tavern, “whiche house was heretofore never used for a
taverne, and standeth unfitly for that purpose, being neare unto the
Church and two auncient tavernes already neere unto the same in the
same streete.” Price, however, persisted, and accordingly the Common
Council issued orders for the closing of his doors and the taking down
of his bush.

Probably the most elaborate signboard that ever existed, a marvel even
in the palmy days of signs, was hung before The White Hart at Scole, in
Norfolk. Sir Thomas Brown mentions it in the year 1663. “About three
miles further,” he says, “I came to Scoale, where there is a very
handsome inne, and the noblest signnepost in England, about and upon
which are carved a great many stories as of Charon and Cerberus, Actæon
and Diana, and many others; the signe itself is a White Hart, which
hanges downe carved in a stately wreath.” This king of signboards was
built in the year 1655 by James Peck, a merchant of Norwich, and is
said to have cost over £1,000. It was in existence up till the end of
the last century.

Goldsmith, in making some comments on the influence of signs, relates
how “an alehouse keeper, near Islington, who had long lived at the
sign of the French King, upon the commencement of the last war, pulled
down his old sign and put up that of the Queen of Hungary. Under the
influence of her red face and golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale,
till she was no longer the favourite of his customers; he changed her,
therefore, some time ago, for the King of Prussia, who may probably be
changed in turn for the next great man that shall be set up for vulgar

An anecdote is related which illustrates the danger incurred by
altering a sign. It seems that the landlord of the Magpie and Crown in
Aldgate, a house famous for its ale, was minded to discard {222} the
Magpie and to have his house known by the sign of the Crown only. He
did so, and the results were disastrous, for the customers fancied that
the Crown ale did not taste as good as that formerly sent out from the
Magpie and Crown, and the custom fell off. The landlord died, and the
business came into the hands of a waiter of the house, one Renton, who
restored the Magpie to his old place on the signboard, and with such
good effect that on his death the ex-waiter left behind him an estate
worth some £600,000, chiefly the produce of the Magpie and Crown ale.

Space only permits that we should mention a very few of the more
curious signs in use. The Pig and Whistle is said to be a corruption
of the old sign the Peg and Wassail, alluding to the peg-tankards
introduced in Saxon times. The Goose and Gridiron is a whimsical
variation on the Swan and Harp, which was once common, the inartistic
execution of the latter sign no doubt affording the suggestion. The
Tumbling Down Dick is supposed to be a derisive sign commemorating the
fall of Richard Cromwell.

 Then Dick, being lame, rode holding the pummel,
   Not having the wit to get hold of the rein;
 But the jade did so snort at the sight of a Cromwell,
   That poor Dick and his kindred turn’d footmen again.

The Crooked Billet is a sign for which it is difficult to suggest an
explanation. It is generally represented by a rough untrimmed stick
hanging before the door. Near Bridlington is one such, to which are
appended the following lines:—

 When this comical stick grew in the wood
 Our ale was fresh and very good;
 Step in and taste, O do make haste,
 For if you don’t ’twill surely waste.

On the other side is the verse:—

 When you have viewed the other side,
 Come read this too before you ride,
 And now to end we’ll let it pass;
 Step in, kind friends, and take a glass.

The Bull and Mouth, a favourite London sign in former days, and one
still to be found, is represented by a huge gaping mouth and a small
black bull just within its verge. This sign dates from the time of
{223} Henry VIII., and celebrates his capture of Boulogne Harbour,
or Boulogne Mouth. The Beetle and Wedge at first sight seems a very
strange association, but when we remember Shakspere’s line,

 Filip me with a three-man beetle,

the matter is clear enough. The “three-man beetle” was a hammer or
mallet wielded by three men and used for pile driving. The three
Lubberheads is a corruption of the three Libbards’ Heads, “libbard”
being a popular form of the word leopard; Falstaff is “invited to
dinner at the Libbard’s Head in Lumbert Street to Master Smooth’s the
silkman.” The Two Pots was the sign under which the far-famed ale-wife,
Eleanor Rumyng, brewed her “noppy ale” at Leatherhead, where, according
to Skelton, she made

     thereof fast sale,
   To travellers, to tinkers,
 To sweaters, to swinkers,
   And all good ale drinkers.

The Stewponey Inn, between Kinver and Stourbridge, might suggest to
some that the Parisian Hippophagic Society was not much of a novelty
after all. It is therefore rather disappointing to find that the name
is a popular version of the Stourponte Inn, so called from a bridge
over the Stour hard by.

The Four Alls, though probably once the sign of a house frequented
by the fraternity of Cobblers, now generally presents itself in the
following lines with suitable illustrations:—

 The Ploughman works for All,
 The Parson prays for All,
 The Soldier fights for All,
 And the Farmer pays for All.

It seems sad to think that in some places a pessimistic Publican has
added a fifth “All,” the picture representing the Prince of Darkness,
rampant, and looking anything but “a gentleman,” with the grim legend
writ beneath that he “takes All.” Old Pick-my-Toe would seem to be a
popular perversion of the Roman fable of the faithful slave who carried
his message before he stooped to remove the thorn which was all the
while in his foot. The Shoe and Slap was an old sign, the “Slap” being
a lady’s shoe with a loose sole. {224}

A poetical landlord or a poetical customer has frequently produced
verses, more or less appropriate, for a signboard. We give a selection
of these effusions. At an inn at Norwich, known as the Waterman, kept
by a barber, this couplet is written under the sign:—

 Roam not from pole to pole, but step in here,
 Where nought excels the shaving but the beer.

At an Inn at Collins’ End, where the unfortunate King Charles, while
a prisoner at Caversham, is said to have played at bowls, are these

 Stop, traveller, stop; in yonder peaceful glade,
 His favourite game the royal martyr played;
 Here stripped of honours, children, freedom, rank,
 Drank from the bowl and bowled for what he drank;
 Sought in a cheerful glass his cares to drown,
 And changed his guinea ere he lost his crown.

The Robin Hood and Little John is not an uncommon sign in that part
of the country which was the scene of their exploits, and where their
fame still lingers. The sign is frequently accompanied with a rhyme, of
which the following is a specimen:—

 To Gentlemen and Yeomen good,
 Come in and drink with Robin Hood,
 If Robin Hood is not at home,
 Come in and drink with Little John.

A tale is told of how a poor author, who was once staying at the
sign of the White Horse on the Old Bath Road, after partaking rather
heartily of the good cheer provided, found that he could not discharge
the _shot_. In recompense to his host for letting him off, he wrote
beneath his signboard the lines:—

 My White Horse shall beat the Bear,
   And make the Angel fly;
 Shall turn the Ship quite bottom up,
   And drink the Three Cups dry.

In consequence, it is alleged, of this facetious praise of his own
house at the expense of his rivals, mine host got a good deal of their
custom. On one of the windows of the same White Horse was written:—

 His liquor’s good, his pot is just,
 The Landlord’s poor, and cannot trust;
 For he has trusted to his sorrow,
 So pay to-day, he’ll trust to-morrow.

These lines occur on the signboard of the Waggon and Horses, Brighton:—

 Long have I travelled far and near,
 On purpose to find out good beer,
 And at last I’ve found it here.

The couplet, written on a signboard at Chadderton, near Manchester,
seems, at any rate from the outside of the Inn, to be what a logician
might call a _non sequitur_:—

 Although the engine’s smoke be black,
 If you walk in I’ve ale like sack.

The following doggerel inscription is said in the _Year Book_ to have
been written over the door of an ale house between Sutton and Potton,
in Bedfordshire:—

             Butte Beere, Solde Hear,
               by Timothy Dear.
 Cum. tak. a. mugg of mye. trinker. cum trink.
 Thin. a. ful. Kart. of mye. verry. stron. drink
 Harter, that. trye. a. cann. of mye. titter, cum. tatter
 And. wynde. hup. withe, mye. sivinty-tymes weaker, thin, water.

At Creggin, Montgomeryshire, the Rodney Pillar Inn is distinguished by
a double signboard, on one side of which is the following verse:—

 Under these trees, in sunny weather,
 Just try a cup of ale, however;
 And if in tempest, or in storm,
 A couple then to make you warm:
 But when the day is very cold.
 Then taste a mug a twelvemonth old.

On the reverse are these lines:—

 Rest and regale yourself, ’tis pleasant,
 Enough is all the present need,
 That’s the due of the hardy peasant,
 Who toils all sorts of men to feed. {226}
 Then muzzle not the ox when he treads out the corn,
 Nor grudge honest labour its pipe and its horn.

Another queer old inscription is the following:—

 John Uff
 Sells good ale and that’s enough;
 A mistake here,
 Sells foreign spirits as well as beer.

At a public-house in Devonshire the landlord has painted outside his
door, “Good beer sold here, but don’t take my word for it;” and at the
Bell Inn, Oxford, kept by John Good, are these lines:—

 My name, likewise my ale, is Good,
 Walk in and taste my own home brew’d,
 For all that know John Good can tell
 That like my sign it bears the Bell.

One more example of Boniface’s wit must conclude this notice of
Signboard poesy. At a public-house in Sussex, the sign of which is
the White Horse, there is painted under the figure of that animal the

 To the roadsters who enter a welcome he snorts,
 While they fill up his quarters and empty his quarts.

In addition to signboard verses, inscriptions within the alehouse are
by no means uncommon. Burns, who was fond of this style of composition,
inscribed these lines on the window of the Globe Tavern at Dumfries:—

 The grey-beard, old wisdom, may boast of his treasures,
   Give me with gay folly to live;
 I grant him his calm-blooded, time-settled pleasures,
   But Folly has raptures to give.

Dowie’s Tavern, in Libberton’s Wynd, Edinburgh, was the favourite
resort of Burns, and is said by the able recorder of the _Traditions of
Edinburgh_ “to have been formerly as dark and plain an old-fashioned
house as any drunken lawyer of the last century could have wished to
nestle in.” {227}

Dowie’s was much resorted to by the Lords of Session for “Meridians,”
as well as in the evening for its Edinburgh ale. The ale was Younger’s.
That brewer, together with his friends, instituted a Club there,
which they sportively called the “College of Doway.” Johnnie Dowie is
described as having been the sleekest and kindest of landlords. Nothing
could equal the benignity of his smile when he brought in a bottle of
“the Ale” to a company of well-known and friendly customers. It was a
perfect treat to see his formality in drawing the cork, his precision
in filling the glasses, his regularity in drinking the healths of
all present in the first glass (which he always did, and at every
successive bottle), and then his douce civility in withdrawing. Johnnie
always wore a cocked hat, and buckles at knees and shoes, as well as a
crutched cane.[52] Not so polished as Burns’ verses, but perhaps more
suited to the Genius loci, are the lines written up in a certain old

 He that doath upon the table sit,
 A pot of porter shall for-fe-it.

   [52] Hone’s Year Book.

The following additional specimens of tap-room verse are typical of
their kind, and may be said to contain the be-all and end-all of
the host’s proverbial philosophy. The first is taken from an Inn at
Sittingbourne, where it hangs framed and glazed over the door:—

 Call frequently,
 Drink moderately,
 Pay honourably,
 Be good company,
 Part friendly,
 Go home quietly.

The second is longer, but perhaps not quite so comprehensive:—

 All you that bring tobacco here,
 Must pay for pipes as well as beer;
 And you that stand before the fire,
 I pray sit down by good desire; {228}
 That other folks as well as you,
 May see the fire and feel it too.
 Since man to man is so unjust,
 I cannot tell what man to trust:
 My Liquor’s good, ’tis no man’s sorrow,
 Pay to-day. I’ll trust to-morrow.

It may not be amiss to devote a few lines to the signboard artists. The
following passage in _Whimzies: or a New Cast of Characters_ (1631)
gives an early example of the way in which many a village signboard has
been painted. “He (a painter) bestowes his Pencile on an aged piece of
decayed canvas in a sooty ale-house, when _Mother Redcap_ must be set
out in her Colours. Here hee and his barmy Hostess drew both together,
but not in like nature; she in _Ale_, he in _Oyle_, but her commoditie
goes better downe, which he meanes to have his full share of, when his
worke is done. If she aspire to the Conceite of a Signe, and desire to
have her Birch-pole pulled downe, he will supply her with one.”

It seems that in the last century, the palmy days of signboards, the
best signs were produced by the coach-painters, who derived their
skill from the custom amongst the wealthy of having their coach panels
decorated with a variety of subjects.

Artists of renown have lent their genius to this branch of art. Hogarth
painted a sign called the Man loaded with Mischief, and this sign is
still in existence in an alehouse in Oxford Street; it represents a
man bearing on his back and shoulders a woman, a magpie and an ape. A
similar painting may be seen before an inn on the road to Madingley,
about a mile from Cambridge. Richard Wilson, R.A., painted a sign
called The Loggerheads, which has given its name to a village near
Mold, in North Wales. The Royal Oak, by David Cox, which is the sign of
an inn at Bettws-y-Coed, is well known to all lovers of North Wales,
and was a few years ago the subject of a law-suit. At Wargrave, a
pretty Thames-side village near Henley, is an inn called the George and
Dragon. One side of its sign was painted by Mr. G. D. Leslie, R.A.,
who has chosen the battle with the dragon for his subject. The other
side was painted by Mr. Hodgson, A.R.A., and is a representation of St.
George refreshing himself with a pot of beer after the mighty encounter.

Not often, however, has the signboard been so fortunate as to obtain
the attention of such masters of the limner’s art. {229}

In the vast majority of cases the village sign-painter has been a
person of limited ideas and but small skill, painting and re-painting
the old familiar patterns. The following tale is related illustrative
of this conservative bent of the sign-painter’s mind.

A pious old couple, who had taken a Public wherein they hoped
peacefully to end their days, determined that they would not have any
of your common wordly signs, such as the Crown, the Blue Boar, and the
like, but something of a quite uncommon and even of a quasi-religious
nature, and after much cogitation their choice fell upon the title of
the Angel and Trumpet. The village sign-painter was summoned to the
conclave, and the case was solemnly opened to him.

Landlord: “Well, John, me and my missis have been thinking about this
sign, and we hear as you’re up to painting amost anythink.”

Sign Painter (with proper professional pride): “Yes, mister, I can do
you pretty well what you like; the Red Lion, and so as that.”

L.: “No, John, that a’n’t quite what we wants. Me and my missis has
been a-thinking as we’d like to have the Angel and Trumpet. Now, can
you do it?”

S. P. (doubtfully): “Well, mister, I can do un; but you’d better by
half have the Red Lion; it’s a dell a thirstier sign.”

L. (with decision): “No, John, we must have the Angel and Trumpet, so
if you can’t do un, say so, and we must get some un as can.”

S. P. (driven to bay): “All right; I’ll paint the Angel and Trumpet,
but (aside) I specs it’ll be a good dell like the Red Lion.”

Unfortunately the history breaks off at this point, and we are left in
doubt as to the result. The troubles of the unfortunate sign-painter
may be imagined; the unwilling hands striving to depict the benign
features of the angel; the fierce and truculent visage of the lion
making its appearance, whether the artist would or not.

The unskilfulness of the signboard painter has even been considered
of sufficient importance to form the subject of a Royal Proclamation.
Our good Queen Bess, with that vigour of language which endeared her
to the hearts of her faithful subjects, and proved her to be her
father’s daughter, issued an order, “that portraits of herself, made
by unskilful and common painters, should be knocked in pieces, and
cast into the fire.” The reasons for this summary treatment, and also
a promised remedy for the woes of her faithful subjects, thus deprived
of the counterfeit presentment of her most gracious Majesty, are set
forth in a proclamation shortly afterwards issued. “Forasmuch” said
this weighty {230} document, “as thrugh the natural desire that all
sorts of subjects and people, both noble and mean, have to procure
the portrait and picture of the Queen’s Majestie, great nomber of
Paynters, and some Printers, and Gravers, have already, and doe daily,
attempt to make in divers manners portraictures of hir Majestie, in
paynting, graving and prynting, wherein is evidently shown, that
hytherto none have sufficiently expressed the naturall representation
of hir Majestie’s person, favor, and grace . . . . “Therfor”—after
much more to the same effect—“hir Majestie being as it were overcome
with the contynuall requests of hir Nobility and Lords, whom she can
not well deny, is pleased that for their contentations, some coning
persons, mete therefore, shall shortly make a pourtraict of hir person
or visage,” and, in short, that her loving subjects shall be enabled to
take copies thereof, but in the meantime shall perpetrate no further
libellous “pourtraicts,” under pains and penalties.

The phrase “to grin like a Cheshire cat” is said to have originated
from the well-meant but inartistic attempts of a sign-painter of that
county to depict a Lion Rampant.

This chapter may be appropriately concluded with one of the best
examples of the alehouse catch of former days: _Bryng us in good Ale_,
contained in the Ipswich Song Book (Sloane Collection of MSS.). Our
readers will be better able to comprehend the verses, if they bear in
mind that ys as a termination is used where we should now use es, s, se
or ce.


     Bryng us in good ale, and bryng us in good ale,
     For our blyssyd lady sak, bryng us in good ale

 Bryng us in no browne bred, for that is mad of brane,
 Nor bryng us in no whyt bred, for therein is no game.
                 But bryng us in good ale, etc.

 Bryng us in no befe, for ther is many bonys,
 But bryng us in good ale, for that goth downe at onys.
                 And bryng us in, etc.

 Bryng us in no bacon, for that is passyng fate,
 But bryng us in good ale, and give us i-nough of that.
                 But bryng us in, etc. {231}

 Bryng us in no mutton, for that is often lene,
 Nor bryng us in no trypes, for they be syldom clene.
             But bryng us in, etc.

 Bryng us in no eggys, for ther ar many shelles,
 But bryng us in good ale, and give us nothing ellys.
             But bryng us in, etc.

 Bryng us in no butter, for therin are many herys,
 Nor bryng us in no pygge’s flesch, for that will make us borys.
             But bryng us in, etc.

 Bryng us in no podynges, for therein is al Gode’s good,
 Nor bryng us in no venesen, for that is not for our blod.
             But bryng us in, etc.

 Bryng us in no capon’s flesch for that is ofte der,
 Nor bryng us in no doke’s flesch for thei slober in mer (mire).
     But bryng us in good ale, and bryng us in good ale,
     For our blyssyd lady sak, bryng us in good ale.





Sir Toby.—“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no
more cakes and ale?”

Clown.—“Yes, by Saint Anne; and ginger shall be hot i’ the mouth too.”
                                        _Twelfth Night._ Act ii. Sc. 3.

 England was Merry England then,
 Old Christmas brought his sports again,
 ’Twas Christmas broached the mightiest ale,
 ’Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
 A Christmas gambol oft would cheer
 A poor man’s heart through half the year.


England was merry England then, and whatever may be thought of the
utility of attempting to revive the ancient sports and amusements
of the people, it is undeniable that when the old customs and games
went out of vogue, they left behind them a void which seems without
any immediate prospect of being filled. We have no doubt gained in
many ways by changed habits of life and modes of thought, but it must
not be forgotten that at the same time life has lost much of its old
picturesqueness and variety. These simple, hearty festivals of old,
in which our ancestors so much delighted, served to light up the dull
round of the recurring seasons, and to mark with a red letter the day
in the calendar appropriate to their celebration. It was these that
gained for our country in mediæval times the name of “Merrie England.”
The purpose of this chapter, however, is not to compose a dirge on
the departed {233} glories of our English merry-makings, but rather
to give in short limits some account of the principal feasts and
ceremonies in which the national beverage, personified by the familiar
name of John Barleycorn, figured as a constant and well-tried friend, a
provocative to mirth and good feeling, to jollity and hearty enjoyment.
The principal merry-makings of old England were associated with certain
special days of the year, or with various events, important in the life
of the people, which though not fixed to any particular day in the
calendar, were from their nature connected with certain seasons. May
Day and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Twelfth Night, the Harvest
Home, the Sheep-shearing Supper, and many another minor festival, all
served to make the labourer’s lot seem an easier one, and to vary
the monotonous round of toil. Herrick thus alludes to the number and
variety of the sports and pastimes incidental to the country life in
his day:—

 Thy wakes, thy quintals, here thou hast,
 Thy maypoles too with garlands graced,
 Thy morris dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
 Thy shearing feasts which never fail,
 Thy harvest home, thy wassail bowl,
 That’s tossed up after fox-i’-th’ hole,[53]
 Thy mummeries, thy twelfth-tide kings
 And queens, thy Xmas revellings,
 Thy nut-brown mirth, thy russet wit,
 And no man pays too dear for it.

In many a village at the present day the only representative, if so it
may be called, of all these rustic jollifications, is the annual dinner
of the members of the sick club, if funds will permit, or perhaps tea
and a magic lantern.

   [53] Fox-i’-th’ hole = the tongue.

Where can we begin better than with New Year’s Day and the ancient
custom of the wassail? New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were
anciently, and still are to some extent, celebrated with various
observances; presents and good wishes for the coming year were freely
exchanged, and sometimes the lasses and lads would pay their neighbours
the compliment of singing a carol to bury the old and usher in the
glad new year. But more generally the practice was observed of a {234}
crowd of youths and maidens entering their friends’ houses in the
first hours of New Year’s Day, bearing with them the wassail-bowl
of spiced ale, and singing verses appropriate to the occasion. The
origin of the name wassail and of the ceremonies connected with it, is
well known and better authenticated than that of most of our ancient
customs. Rowena, the daughter of Hengist, on being presented to
Vortigern at a feast which her father had prepared for him, kneeled
before him and offered him a bowl with the words “Louerd king wœs
hœil,” that is, “Lord King, your health.” Vortigern is represented in
_Layamon’s Brut_ as not understanding the phrase—

 The King Vortigerne
 Haxede his cnihtes
 What were the speche
 That the mayde speke.

The answer is—

 Hit is the wone (_wont_)
 Ine Saxe-londe,
 That freond saith to his freond,
 Wan he sal drink
 “Leofue (_dear_) freond wassail,”
 The other saith “drinc hail.”

Old Geoffrey of Monmouth, after relating the legend, remarks that from
that time down to his own day it had been the custom in Britain for
one who drinks to another to say, “Wacht heil!” and for that other who
pledges him in return, to answer, “Drink heil!” The word wassail, from
being used to signify a pledge or greeting, in time came to denote
feasting in general, and in the phrase, “wassail-bowl,” to con-note the
particular liquor, spiced ale, with which the bowl was filled.

Milner, in a dissertation on an ancient cup, supposed to be a
wassail-cup, inserted in the eleventh volume of the _Archæologia_,
states that the introduction of Christianity amongst our ancestors
did not at all interfere with the practice of wassailing. On the
contrary, the custom began to assume a sort of religious aspect; and
the wassail-bowl itself, which in great monasteries was placed on the
Abbot’s table, at the upper end of the refectory, to be circulated
amongst the community at his discretion, received the honourable
appellation of _Poculum Caritatis_. The wassail-bowl is probably the
original of the Grace Cup and Loving Cup. {235}

It was also customary in some places for the poor of a village at
Christmas time or on New Year’s Eve, to go round to the doors of their
richer neighbours, bearing a wassail-bowl, decked with ribbons and a
golden apple, and singing a carol appropriate to the occasion. This
interesting custom is still carried out to the letter at Chippenham,
in Wiltshire. On Christmas Eve five or six burly labourers, carrying
a bowl gaily decorated with ribbons, go round from house to house and
sing a peculiarly quaint rhyme, of much the same character as that
given below, which was once common in Gloucestershire, particularly in
the neighbourhood of “Stow on the Wold where the wind blows cold.”

 Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
 Our toast it is white, and our ale it is brown;
 Our bowl is made of a maplin-tree;
 We be good fellows all;—I drink to thee.

 Here’s to our horse, and to his right ear,
 God send our measter a happy new year;
 A happy new year as e’er he did see,—
 With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

 Here’s to our mare, and to her right eye,
 God send our mistress a good Christmas pie;
 A good Christmas pie as e’er I did see,—
 With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

 Here’s to our cow, and to her long tail,
 God send our measter us never may fail
 Of a cup of good beer: I pray you draw near,
 And our jolly wassail it’s then you shall hear.

 Be here my maids? I suppose here be some;
 Sure they will not let young men stand on the cold stone!
 Sing hey O, maids! come trole back the pin,
 And the fairest maid in the house, let us all in.

 Come, butler, come, bring us a bowl of the best,
 I hope your soul in heaven will rest;
 But if you do bring us a bowl of the small,
 Then down fall butler, and bowl, and all.


From this wassail-song it may be gathered that the persons visited
were expected to contribute to the wassail-bowl. Another example of a
wassailing song begins thus:—

     Here we come a-wassailing
       Among the leaves so green;
     Here we come a wandering,
         So fair to be seen.

 Chorus—Love and joy come to you,
         And to your wassail too,
     And God send you a happy new year—new year;
     And God send you a happy new year;
     Our wassail cup is made of the rosemary tree,
     So is your beer of the best barley.

A quaint custom, doubtless a survivor from pagan times, was wassailing
the fruit trees with a view to a productive crop in the coming year. In
some places the trees were wassailed on New Year’s Eve, in others on
Christmas Eve. The pretty superstition has been commemorated by Herrick
in the lines:—

 Wassaile the trees, that they may beare
 You many a plum and many a peare;
 For more or lesse fruits they will bring,
 As you do give them wassailing.

In Devonshire the eve of the Epiphany was devoted to this custom,
and in that apple-bearing country, cider was the wassail used on the
occasion, and the apple tree the chief recipient of the country folks’
good wishes. The wassailers, with good supply of their favourite
beverage, would proceed to some gnarled and crooked, but productive
apple tree, and there, forming a circle about his ancient trunk, would
drink his health with some such incantation as this:—

 Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
 Whence thou mayest bud, and whence thou mayest blow,
 And whence thou mayst bear apples enow.
       Hats full, caps full,
       Bushel, bushel, sacks full,
       And my pockets full too; hurrah!


A variety of the New Year’s Wassail-Bowl custom was, until a few years
ago, practised in Scotland. What is called a _hot pint_ (_i.e._, a
great kettle full of hot sweetened ale), was prepared, and when the
clock had sounded out the knell of the old year, each member of the
family drank “A good health and a Happy New Year to all.” A move was
then made by the revellers with what remained of the hot pint, and a
store of short-bread and _bun_ to visit their friends and neighbours,
and to give them seasonable greeting. If the party were the first to
enter a friend’s house since twelve o’clock had struck, they were
called the _first foot_, and must come in with hands full of cakes,
of which all the inmates must partake; and so they went from house to
house until either their endurance or that long, long hot pint, failed.
Even within this century the custom was so religiously observed that
the streets of Edinburgh are described as having been more thronged
at midnight than at mid-day. This old practice is said to have
received its death-blow in 1812, when the descent of gangs of thieves
and pickpockets upon the wassailers caused such scenes of rioting
and violence that, after languishing for a few years, it came to an
untimely end.

It was customary at the beginning of the present century for the
inhabitants of the parish of Deerness, in Orkney, to assemble on New
Year’s Eve, and pay a round of visits through the district, drinking
their neighbours’ healths, and singing various old songs, of which the
following may be taken as a specimen:—

 This night it is guid New Year’s E’en night
 We’re a’ here Queen Mary’s Men;
 And we’re come here to crave our right,
 And that’s before our lady.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Gae fill the three pint cog o’ ale,
 The maut maun be aboun the meal.
 We houp your ale is stark and stout
 For men to drink the old year out.

The composition of the wassail-bowl has been dealt with elsewhere, and
it only remains to be added that though the drinking of its spiced
contents was very usual on New Year’s Eve, it was not peculiar to that
day, but accompanied most occasions of mediæval festivity, and, indeed,
was so common that in the days of Queen Elizabeth the wassail-bowl was
frequently referred to by the writers of that Golden Age of English
{238} literature as symbolical of feasting and good cheer in general.
It is thus that Herrick mentions it in his beautiful little poem,
entitled _A Thanksgiving for his House_:—

 Lord, I confess too when I dine,
 The pulse is thine,
 And all those other bits that be
 There placed by Thee.
 The worts, the purslain, and the mess
 Of water-cress,
 Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent:
 And my content
 Makes those, and my beloved beet,
 To be more sweet.
 ’Tis Thou that crown’st my glittering hearth
 With guiltless mirth;
 And giv’st me wassail bowls to drink,
 Spiced to the brink.

Twelfth Night was specially celebrated with wassailing, accompanied
with the consumption of spiced cakes, the combination giving rise to
the phrase “cakes and ale.”

[Illustration: “Cakes and Ale.”

From the “Good-Fellow’s Counsel, or the Bad Husband’s Recantation.”

 (_Roxburghe Ballads_).


The twelfth day after Christmas was celebrated in the old days in
honour of the three Kings, as the Wise Men were called who came out of
the East to worship the Messiah. One of the chief ceremonies connected
with the day was the election of the King and Queen of the Bean. A
large cake—the Twelfth Cake—had been previously made, in which a bean
and a pea were inserted, the cake was cut up and distributed by lot
among the company, and whoever got the piece which contained the bean
was crowned King of the Bean, while the pea conferred the distinction
of Queen upon its happy recipient.

       Now, now the mirth comes,
       With the cake full of plums,
 Where beane’s the king of the sport here;
       Besides we must know,
       The pea also
 Must revell as queene in the court here.

        *       *       *       *       *

       Give then to the king
       And queen wassailing;
 And though with ale ye be whet here,
       Yet part ye from hence,
       As free from offence
 As when ye innocent met here.[54]

   [54] Herrick’s _Twelfth Night_.

Dr. Plot, in his _Natural History of Staffordshire_ (1685), describes
a curious custom called the Hobby-horse dance, which he says had been
practised at Pagets Bromley within memory of persons living when he
wrote. On Twelfth Day a man on a hobby-horse used to dance down the
village street, holding in his hand a bow and arrow, and accompanied by
six men, carrying deers’ heads on their shoulders. “To this Hobby-horse
dance,” says our author, “there also belong’d a _pot_, which was kept
by turnes by 4 or 5 of the _chief_ of the _Tow_, whom they call’d
_Reeves_, who provided _Cakes_ and _Ale_ to put in this _pot_; all
people who had any kindness for the good intent of the Institution of
the _sport_, giving pence a piece for themselves and families; and so
_forraigners_ too, that came to see it: with which mony (the charge
of the _Cakes_ and _Ale_ being defrayed) they not only repaired their
_Church_ but {240} kept their _poore_ too: which _charges_ are not now
perhaps so cheerfully boarn.”

It would be going too far from the special subject of this work
to detail the more elaborate festivities of the Court and the
Universities, or the masques and revels of those ancient abodes of
legal learning, the Inns of Court, where Twelfth Night formed the
annual excuse for much feasting and pageantry. On these occasions,
no doubt, costly wines and liqueurs formed the staple of the liquids

 Both Ippocras and Vernage wine
 Mount Rose and wine of Greek,

and not the honest juice of barley. Suffice it to note in passing
that on the 2nd of February, 1601, John Manningham, a student of the
Middle Temple, records in his Diary: “At our feast we had a play called
_Twelfth Night or What You Will_.” This is the earliest recorded
mention of that grand Twelfth-night revel, and was, perhaps, its first

The appearance of Twelfth Cake is the signal for the disappearance of
mince pies, in accordance with the farewell words an old carolist puts
into the mouth of Christmas:—

 Mark well my heavy doleful tale,
   For Twelfth-day now is come,
 And now I must no longer stay
   And say no word but mum.
 For I, perforce, must take my leave
   Of all my dainty cheer—
 Plum porridge, roast beef, and minced-pies,
   My strong ale and my beer.

A minor festival, Plough Monday, used to be celebrated on the first
Monday after Twelfth Night. A plough, dressed up with ribbons by the
villagers, was taken round from house to house. Its escort consisted of
a number of rustics dressed up in various mummers’ guises, and chanting
verses, the text of which was “God speed the Plough.” The principal
performers were Bessy and the Clown, Bessy being, in fact, a man
dressed up in fantastic female weeds. Bread, cheese, and ale were asked
for at the farmhouses and seldom refused, and a variety of curious
dances and uncouth antics completed the entertainment of the day. {241}

The season of Lent, of course, was marked by no special festivities,
but when Easter Sunday was passed, the reaction from the enforced
restraint of the previous period made the enjoyment of the Easter-week
festivities all the keener. Easter Monday and Tuesday were in some
places noted for the curious custom known as “heaving;” on the Monday
the men “heaved” the women (_i.e._, lifted them off the ground and
kissed them), and on the Tuesday the women’s turn came, and they heaved
the men. “Many a time have I passed along the streets inhabited by the
lower orders of people,” says one who has witnessed the ceremony, “and
seen parties of Jolly matrons assembled round tables on which stood a
foaming tankard of Ale. Woe to the luckless man that dared to invade
their prerogatives! as sure as seen he was pursued, as sure taken,
heaved and kissed, and compelled to pay a fine of sixpence for ‘leave
and license’ to depart.”

The antiquity of the custom is proved by an entry in one of the Tower
Rolls of payments made to certain maids-of-honour for having taken
Edward I. in his bed and “lifted him.”

The second Monday and Tuesday after Easter were known in olden days as
Hock-tide. The Tuesday was the principal day, and was designated Hock
Day. Many derivations have been suggested for the name; the best seems
to be that which connects it with the German _hoch_ (high). Hock Day
would thus denote a day of high festivity. Be that as it may, the name
is of great antiquity. In the Annals of Dunstaple we read that in 1242
“Henry III., King of England, crossed over on _Ochedai_ with a great
army against the King of France.” On Hock Day the women of the village
would go into the streets with cords in their hands, and every one of
the opposite sex whom they could catch, was bound until he purchased
his release by a contribution for the purposes of the common feast. On
this day the feasting seems to have frequently passed into excess, and
sometimes with direful results; the Annalist of Dunstaple tells that on
Hokke-day in the year 1252 the village of Esseburne was “burned down
miserably.” In 1450 a Bishop of Worcester prohibited the celebrations
of Hock-tide, on the ground that they led to dissipation and other
evils. There seems to be no connection between this festival and the
Hock-cart spoken of by Herrick, and to be mentioned anon, save that the
name of each takes its derivation, if our surmise be the correct one,
from the word _hoch_. The Hock Day meaning High Day; and the Hock Cart,
the harvest-home wain piled _high_ with the trophies of autumn.

We next come to the May Day festivities, which in many respects {242}
may be regarded as the most joyous and picturesque of all the year.
Without staying to inquire whether the origin of the festival is to be
traced to the old Roman Floralia, or games in honour of the goddess
who ushered in the spring and strewed the earth with flowers, let us
pause for a while to contemplate the old ceremony of “bringing home the
May,” as it was performed some few centuries ago. On May Day morning
the inhabitants of every village would go out at an early hour into
the fields to gather garlands of hawthorn blossom and other flowers,
with which they decorated the May-pole and every door and window of the
village. These floral trophies were brought home to the tune of pipe
and drum; the fairest maid in all the hamlet was crowned with flowers
as Queen of the May, and, embowered in hawthorn branches, presided over
the mirth and feasting of the day. Stubbe, in his _Anatomy of Abuses_
(1585), describes the ceremony of raising the May-pole, in language
which gives some notion of the pretty scene, and which is all the more
likely not to be overdrawn, from the evident abhorrence of the writer
to what he regarded as the impiety of the whole affair. “They have
twenty or fourtie yoke of oxen,” he writes, “every one having a sweet
nosegay of flowers tyed on the tippe of his hornes, and these oxen draw
home this Maie pole (this stinckyng Idoll rather) which is couered all
ouer with flowers and hearbes bounde rounde aboute with stringes, from
the top to the bottome, and sometyme painted with variable colours,
with two or three hundred women and children following it with great
devotion. And thus being reared up with handkerchiefs and flagges
streaming on the toppe they strowe the grounde aboute, binde green
boughes aboute it, sett up sommer houses, Bowers and Arbours hard by
it. And then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and daunce aboute
it, as the Heathen people did at the dedication of their Idolles,
whereof this is a perfect pattern or rather the thing itself.”

The May-pole once raised, of course the next thing to be done was to
pour a libation in honour of the day, and in most cases this would,
equally of course, be performed with the ale of Old England.

       The May-pole is up,
       Now give me the cup,
 I’ll drink to the garlands around it,
       But first unto those,
       Whose hands did compose,
 The glory of flowers that crown’d it.


In olden days even the King and Queen condescended to mingle with
their lieges, and to assist in commemorating the time-honoured custom.
Chaucer, in his _Court of Love_, describes how on May Day, “Forth goeth
all the Court both most and least, to fetch the flowers fresh.”

Spenser, in his _Shepherd’s Calendar_, thus describes the May Day
festival of Elizabethan times:—

 Siker this morrow, no longer ago,
 I saw a shole of shepherds out go
 With singing and shouting and jolly cheer;
 Before them rode a lusty Tabrere,
 That to the many a hornpipe played,
 Whereto they dancen each one with his maid.
 To see these folks make such jouissance,
 Made my heart after the pipe to dance.
 Then to the green-wood they speeden them all,
 To fetchen home May with their musical;
 And home they bring him in a royal throne
 Crowned as king; and his queen attone
 Was Lady Flora, on whom did attend
 A fair flock of fairies, and a fresh bend
 Of lovely nymphs—O that I were there
 To helpen the ladies their May-bush to bear!

Probably the most famous May-pole that ever existed was the one which
gave its name to the parish of St. Andrew-Undershaft. It was of such a
height that it towered above all the houses and even above the church
spire. Chaucer alludes to this mighty pole in the lines:—

 Right well aloft and high ye beare your head,
 As ye would beare the greate shaft of Cornhill.

When this May-pole was not required for festive purposes, it lay
suspended on great iron hooks above the doors of the neighbouring
houses. In the reign of Edward VI., after a sermon preached at the
cross of St. Paul’s against the iniquity of May games, the inhabitants
of these houses in a fit of pious enthusiasm, desiring, doubtless, to
replenish their wood-cellars and to destroy an “idoll” at the same
time, cut the pole in pieces, each man retaining that portion of it
which had been before his house. The May-pole in the Strand was another
celebrated {244} shaft. It was erected at the Restoration, when there
was a revival of the popular sports which the sour-faced Puritans had
so unsparingly condemned. It was 134 ft. high, and was raised with
great ceremony and public rejoicings.

At Helston, in Cornwall, on the 8th of May, called “Furry Day,” may
still be witnessed a survival of the old May Day festivities. Very
early in the morning the young men and maidens of the place go off into
the country to breakfast. About seven o’clock they return bearing green
branches, and decked with flowers, they dance through the streets to
the tune of the “Furry Dance.” At eight o’clock the “Hal-an-Tow” (Heel
and Toe?) song is sung, and dancing and merriment fill the remainder of
the day.


 Robin Hood and little John,
   They both are gone to fair O !
 And we will go to the merry green wood,
   To see what they to do there O !
 And for to chase O !
   To chase the buck and doe O !
       With Hal-an-tow,
       Jolly rumble O !

 Chorus: And we were up as soon as any day O !
         And for to fetch the summer home,
         The Summer and the May O !
         For Summer is a come O !
         And Winter is a gone O !

 Where are those Spaniards
   That makes so great a boast O !
 They shall eat the grey goose feather
   And we will eat the roast O !
       In every land O !
       The land where’er we go,
         With Hal-an-tow,
           Jolly rumble O !

               Chorus: And we were up, &c. {245}

 As for St. George O !
   St. George he was a knight O !
 Of all the knights in Christendom
   St. George he is the right O !
       In every land O !
       The land where’er we go,
         With Hal-an-tow,
           Jolly rumble O !
               Chorus: And we were up, &c.

 God bless Aunt Mary Moyses,
   And all her power and might O !
 And send us peace in merry England,
   Both day and night O !
 And send us peace in merry England,
   Both now and evermore O !
       With Hal-an-tow,
         Jolly rumble O !
               Chorus: And we were up, &c.

The custom is popularly attributed to the escape of the town from the
threatened attack of a fiery dragon, who, in days when dragons were
more common than they are now, hung in mid-air over the place, driving
the inhabitants to the greenwood tree for shelter. On his disappearance
the people returned with great rejoicings and to this day commemorate
their fortunate escape. The true explanation is probably that the
festival is simply a survival of the old celebration in honour of

In some few country villages a May-pole still survives. One such is to
be seen in the little village of Welford, in Gloucestershire, painted
in stripes of red, white, and blue. It was decked with flowers on May
Day not many years ago, owing to the exertions of some of the local
lovers of things ancient; but the genuine spirit of the festival seems
to have entirely disappeared, and the ceremony has not been repeated.

 What’s not destroyed by Time’s relentless hand?
 Where’s Troy? and where’s the May-pole in the Strand?

In the early days of May occur what used to be known as the Gange Days,
on which the ceremony of beating the parish bounds was, and still {246}
is in some places, undertaken, the work of the day being wound up by
a more or less liberal distribution of buns and ale. Sums of money
were occasionally left to provide the refreshments for these parish
perambulations. At Edgcott, in Buckinghamshire, there was an acre of
land called “Gang Monday Land,” the income of which was devoted to the
provision of cakes and ale for those who took part in the business of
the day; and in Clifton Reynes, in the same county, a devise of land
for a like purpose provides that one small loaf, a piece of cheese, and
a pint of ale, should be given to every married person, and half a pint
of ale to every unmarried person, resident in Clifton, when they walked
the parish boundaries in Rogation week.

When Whitsuntide came round, the time arrived for those quaint
festivals to which Ale gave not only his support, but also his name,
and which were known as Whitsun Ales. The Whitsun Ale was a special
form of the Church Ale, to be mentioned anon. It is thus described by
an old writer:—“Two young men of the Parish are yerely chosen by their
last foregoers to be wardens, who, dividing the task, make collection
among the parishioners of whatsoever provision it pleaseth them
voluntarily to bestow. This they employ in brewing, baking, and other
acates[55] against Whitsuntide; upon which holy days the neighbours
meet at the Church-house, and there merrily feed on their owne victuals
contributing some petty portion to the stock, which by many smalls,
groweth to a meetly greatness: for there is entertayned a kind of
emulation between these wardens, who, by his graciousness in gathering,
and good husbandry in expending, can best advance the churche’s profit.
Besides, the neighbour parishes at those times lovingly visit each
one another, and this way frankly spend their money together. The
afternoones are consumed in such exercises as olde and yong folke
(having leisure) doe accustomably weare out the time withall. When the
feast is ended, the wardens yield in their account to the parishioners:
and such money as exceedeth the disbursement is layd up in store, to
defray any extraordinary charges arising in the parish, or imposed on
them for the good of the country, or the prince’s service: neither of
which commonly so gripe but that somewhat still remayneth to cover the
purse’s bottom.”

   [55] acates = purchases.

The Morris Dancers regarded Whitsuntide as their chief festival.
Introduced into this country from Spain, the Morisco or Moorish {247}
Dance had, in the reign of Henry VIII., attained a great popularity.
There seems to have been at that time two principal performers,
Robin Hood and Maid Marian; then there was a friar, a piper, a fool,
and the rank and file of the dancers. In the parish accounts of
Kingston-on-Thames for the year 1537 the Morris Dancers’ wardrobe, then
in the charge of the churchwardens, consisted of “A fryers cote of
russet and a kyrtele weltyd with red cloth, a Mowren’s (Moor’s) cote of
buckram, and four morres daunsars cotes of white fustian spangelid and
two gryne saten cotes, and disardde’s (fool’s) cote of cotton, and six
payre of garters with belles.”

In Elizabethan times the Morris Dance, and indeed every other kind of
picturesque country festivity, may be said to have reached the zenith
of popularity, soon, alas! to be followed by the chilling austerity of
the Puritans, of whom it was so truly said that they “like nothing; no
state, no sex; music, dancing, etc., unlawful even in kings; no kind of
recreation, no kind of entertainment,—no, not so much as hawking; all
are damned.”

 These teach that Dauncing is a Jezabell
 And barley-break the ready way to Hell,
 The Morrice, Idolls; Whitson-ale can bee
 But profane Reliques of a Jubilee.[56]

   [56] Thomas Randal—_Annalia Dubrensia_.

Whitsuntide, with its lengthening days, was specially set apart for
sports and old-fashioned games, and amongst the many meetings for such
purposes, none attained a wider popularity than the Cotswold or Dover’s
Games. Those who are familiar with the country made classic by its
associations with the great Master of English poetry, know well the
green hill, still called Dover’s Hill, which forms an outpost of the
main body of the Cotswolds, and overlooks the smiling vale of Evesham.
On this spot, time out of mind, rural sports and festivities had been
held under the name of the Cotswold Games. “How does your fallow
greyhound, sir?” says Slender to Page, “I heard say he was outrun at
Cotsale.” This was the site chosen by Robert Dover, an attorney of
Barton-on-the-Heath, for the enlargement and perpetuation of those
national sports in which he took so keen an interest, and which he
{248} hoped would counteract the narrow spirit of bigotry which was
beginning in his day to curtail the innocent amusements of the people.
Armed with a formal authority from King James, Dover was so successful
in his organization of the Games that, with a short interregnum during
the Commonwealth days, their popularity continued until well into
the present century. A curious old volume of poems, called _Annalia
Dubrensia_, published in 1636, contains many quaint descriptions of the
Games and their object. Drayton, Ben Jonson, Thomas Randall and others
of lesser note, contributed each a poem to this collection. One of the
contributors thus eulogises the sports and their patron:—

       . . . . . . Oh most famous Greece!
 That for brave Pastimes, wert earth’s Master-piece!
 Had not our English DOVER, thus out-done
 Thy foure games, with his Cotswoldian one.

Dover himself composed the poem which closes the volume. Some of his
motives he thus describes:—

 I’ve heard our fine refined clergy teach,
 Of the commandments, that it is a breach
 To play at any game for gain or coin;
 ’Tis theft they say; men’s goods you do purloin;
 One silly beast another to pursue
 ’Gainst nature is, and fearful to the view,
 And man with man their activeness to try
 Forbidden is—much harm doth come thereby;
 Had we their faith to credit what they say,
 We must believe all sports are ta’en away;
 Whereby I see, instead of active things,
 What harm the same unto our nation brings;
 The pipe and pot are made the only prize
 Which all our spriteful youth do exercise.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Yet I was bold for better recreation
 T’invent these sports to countercheck that fashion,
 And bless the troope that come our sports to see,
 With hearty thankes and friendly courtesie


[Illustration: Cotswold Games.]

The nature of the sports may be gathered from an inspection of the
curious old cut taken from the frontispiece of the above-named work.
Dancing, tumbling, wrestling, sword-play, quarter-staff, cudgel play,
casting the hammer, dog-racing, horse-racing, coursing—must have made
up a highly varied programme, while the table in the midst of the field
of view shows, both by its conspicuous position and by the size of
the cups and tankards in use, that the good creatures, meat and ale,
were by no means neglected. The wonderful structure at the top of the
picture represents the wooden castle erected every year, and called
Dover Castle in honour of the founder of the sports. The artist does
not appear to have quite done justice to his subject if we may credit
the account of the Castle given by one of the versifiers:— {250}

 What Ingineere, or cunning Architect
 A Fabricke of such pompe did ere erect?
 I’ve heard men talk, of Castles in the aire,
 Inchanted Cells, Towers, Pageants most faire,
 Fortifications, Trophies, Theaters,
 Laborinths, Puppet-workes, strange Meteores,
 Of those that have their substance wholie spent
 To shew their Puppets dauncing with content;
 Of Egypts Pharoes stately glasen Tower,
 Built by King Ptolomies’ art magick power,
 Of Cheops, Pyramids; of Rhodes Colosse,
 Of Joves Olympick golden Ivorie Bosse.
 These to thy famous works compared will be
 Of small account; like them in no degree.

The figure of the founder occupies a prominent place in the foreground.
He used to appear in clothes that had belonged to King James, and it
is said wore them with much greater dignity than did the King. Dover
seems to have been a remarkable person in more ways than one, as may
be gathered from the following quaint note, to be found in one of the
editions of the _Annalia_:—“He was bred an Attorney, who never try’d
but two causes, _always made up the Difference_.”

The next in order of the country celebrations in which ale formed the
principal drink, were the sheep-shearing feasts, formerly so common,
but now in most places things of the past. Many songs have been
preserved which record these old merry-makings when the day’s work
was done, and the farm labourers were gathered round their master’s
hospitable board. One of these, taken from the Sussex Archæological
Collections, is given below. It is a sample of many.

  Come all my jolly boys, and we’ll together go
  Abroad with our masters, to shear the lamb and ewe.

        *       *       *       *       *

  And there we must work hard, boys, until our backs do ache,
  And our master he will bring us beer whenever we do lack.

        *       *       *       *       *

  And then our noble captain doth unto our master say,
 “Come, let us have one bucket of your good Ale, I pray”
  He turns unto our captain, and makes him this reply {252}

 “You shall have the best of beer, I promise, presently,”
  Then out with the bucket pretty Bess she doth come,
  And master says “Mind, mind and see that every man has some.”

  This is some of our pastime while the sheep we do shear,
  And though we are such merry boys, we work hard, I declare;
  And when ’tis night, and we have done, our master is more free,
  And stores us well with good strong beer, and pipes and tobaccee
  So we do sit and drink, we smoke, and sing and roar,
  Till we become more merry far than e’er we were before,
  When all our work is done, and all our sheep are shorn,
  Then home to our Captain, to drink the Ale that’s strong.
  ’Tis a barrel, then, of _hum cup_, which we call the _black ram_,
  And we do sit and swagger, and swear that we are men;
  But yet before ’tis night, I’ll stand you half a crown,
  That if you ha’nt a special care, the _ram_ will knock you down.

[Illustration: The Merry Bagpipes.

The Pleaſant Paſtime betwixt a Jolly Shepherd and a Country Damſel on a
Midſummer-Day in the Morning.

To the tune of _March Boys, &c._

 A Shepherd ſat him under a Thorn
     he pulled out his pipe and began for to play
 It was on a Mid-Summer’s-day in the Morn
     for honour of that Holy-day:
 A Ditty he did chant along
     goes to the tune of Cater-Bordee,
 And this was the burden of his ſong
     if thou wilt pipe lad, I’ll Dance to thee
 To thee, to thee, derry, derry, to thee, &c.

 _Roxburghe Ballads._

The Haymakers’ song given below is, or rather was, a great favourite at
festive gatherings during the hay harvest:—

 In the merry month of June,
   In the prime time of the year;
 Down in yonder meadows
   There runs a river clear;
 And many a little fish
   Doth in that river play;
 And many a lad and many a lass,
   Go abroad a-making hay.

 In come the jolly mowers,
   To mow the meadows down;
 With budget and with bottle
   Of ale both stout and brown.
 All labouring men of courage bold
   Come here their strength to try;
 They sweat and blow, and cut and mow,
   For the grass cuts very dry.

Gratitude to the Giver of all good things has been the mainspring of
rejoicings that in nearly all nations have celebrated the safe {253}
ingathering of the fruits of the earth. In England the festival is
known by the expressive title of the Harvest Home. An ancient ballad
expresses _The Farmer’s Delight in the Merry Harvest_:—

 Come all my Lads and Lasses
   Let us together go,
 To the pleasant Corn-field,
   Our courage for to show,
 With sickle and with knapsack,
   So well we clean our Land,
 The Farmer crys work on Boys
   Here’s Beer at your command.
 In a good old Leather Bottle,
   Of ale that is so brown,
 We’ll cut and strip together,
   Until the Sun goes down;
 Every morning Sun,
   The small Birds they do sing;
 The Echoes of their Harmony,
   Do make the Wood to ring.
 Young Nanny she came to me,
   Some wheat-seed for to lase.[57]
 She is a pretty Creature,
   I must speak in her Praise:
 I wish she was some keeper,
   She is my whole delight
 In the Groves and Forests,
   To range both Day and Night.
 Thus the industrious Farmer
   By the Sweat of his Brow
 He labours and endeavours
   To make his Barley Mow.
 Sir John produces Liquor,
   ’Tis very often said,
 Good Beer makes Good Blood
   Good Blood makes pretty maid. {254}
 When Harvest it is over
   And the Corn secure from Harm
 And for to go to Market,
   We must thrash in the Barn.
 The Flail which we do handle
   So stoutly we do swing,
 And after Harvest Supper,
   So merry we will sing:
 With good Success to the Farmer,
   Or else we are to blame,
 I wish them Health and Happiness,
   Till Harvest comes again.

Beer has always been _the_ drink in the harvest field.

 Beneath some shelt’ring heap of yellow corn
 Rests the hoop’d keg, and friendly cooling horn,
 That mocks alike the goblet’s brittle frame,
 It’s costlier potions, and its nobler name.
 To Mary first the brimming draught is given,
 By toil made welcome as the dews of heaven,
 And never lip that press’d its homely edge,
 Had kinder blessings or a heartier pledge.

   [57] To lase or lease, provincial term for “to glean.”

In most parts of England the grain last cut was brought home in the
Hock Cart or Horkey Cart. The name “Horkey,” is probably a corruption
of “Hock,” and is equivalent to the German _hoch_, the allusion being
to the wain piled _high_ with sheaves. The cart decked with ribbons
and surmounted with a sheaf dressed up to represent a woman—perhaps
Ceres, goddess of the harvest; the horses pranked out in gay trappings;
a crowd of labourers and all the youthful inhabitants of the village
hurrahing in the wake presented such a scene as that described by
Herrick in his poem of the _Hock Cart_:—

 Come, sons of summer, by whose toile
 We are the Lords of wine and oile;
 By whose tough labours and rough hands
 We rip up first, then reap our lands,
 Crown’d with the ears of corne, now come,
 And, to the pipe, sing harvest home.
 Come forth, my Lord, and see the cart,
 Drest up with all the country art. {255}
 See here a maukin, there a sheet
 As spotless pure as it is sweet;
 The horses, mares, and frisking fillies,
 Clad all in linen white as lillies,
 The harvest swaines and wenches bound
 For joy to see the hock-cart crown’d.
 About the cart heare how the rout
 Of rural younglings raise the shout,
 Pressing before, some coming after,
 Those with a shout and these with laughter.
 Some blesse the cart; some kisse the sheaves
 Some prank them up with oaken leaves;
 Some cross the fill-horse; some with great
 Devotion stroak the home-borne wheat;
 While other rusticks, lesse attent
 To prayers than to merryment,
 Run after with their breeches rent.

A verse was sung to start the hock-cart on its way; generally some
thing of this kind:—

 Harvest home, harvest home,
 We have ploughed, we have sowed;
 We have reaped, we have mowed,
 We have brought home every load,
       Hip, hip, hip, harvest home!

In Hampshire it was years ago the custom at the end of harvest to
send to the harvest-field a large bottle containing seven or eight
gallons of strong beer; and the head carter, while the beer was being
discussed, said or sang the lines:—

 Well ploughed—well sowed,
 Well reaped—well mowed,
     Well carried, and
 Never a load overthro’d.

He then raised his hand, and all cheered. This was called the custom of
the Hollowing Bottle. {256}

For a description of the harvest-home supper we may again turn to

 Well, on, brave boyes, to your Lord’s hearth
 Glittering with fire, where, for your mirth,
 You shall see first the large and cheefe
 Foundation of your feast, fat beefe;
 With upper stories, mutton, veale,
 And bacon, which makes full the meale;
 With severall dishes standing by,
 As here a custard, there a pie,
 And here all-tempting frumentie.
 And for to make the merry cheer,
 If smirking wine be wanting here,
 There’s that which drowns all care, stout beer,
 Which freely drink to your lord’s health,
 Then to the plough, the commonwealth,
 Next to your flails, your fans, your vats;
 Then to the maids with wheaten hats;
 To the rough sickle and the crooked scythe,
 Drink, frolic, boys, till all be blithe.

Robert Bloomfield alludes to the horkey-beer as to a brew specially
prepared for the occasion:—

 And Farmer Cheerum went, good man,
   And broach’d the horkey-beer,
 And sich a mort of folks began
   To eat up our good cheer.

When supper was finished the horkey-beer was freely sent about the
board, with the effect noticed by old Lydgate in his _Story of
Thebes_:—“They were in silence for a tyme tyl good ale gan arise.”—Slow
tongues are loosened, and the time is passed in songs and mirth.

The following extracts are taken from old Suffolk songs which have
descended from father to son for generations. They are typical of many
more that might be given:—

       Here’s a health to our master,
         The founder of the feast!
       God bless his endeavours
         And send him increase. {257}
       Now our harvest is ended
         And supper is past,
       Here’s our mistress’ good health
         In a full flowing glass!
       She is a good woman,—
         She prepared us good cheer;
       Come all my brave boys,
         And drink off your beer.

 Drink, my boys, drink until you come unto me,
 The longer we sit, my boys, the merrier shall we be!

 In yon green wood there lies an old fox,
 Close by his den you may catch him, or no;
 Ten thousand to one you catch him, or no.
 His beard and his brush are all of one colour,—
           (_Takes the glass and empties it off._)
 I am sorry, kind sir, that your glass is no fuller.
 ’Tis down the red lane! ’tis down the red lane!
 So merrily hunt the fox down the red lane!”

There is another version of these concluding lines:—

 Down the red lane there lives an old fox,
 There does he sit a-mumping his chops:
 Catch him, boys, catch him, catch if you can;
 ’Tis twenty to one if you catch him or Nan.

The red lane is the throat, and the fox is the tongue.

A favourite old Norfolk harvest-home song was “The Pye upon the Pear
Tree Top,” the following version of which is taken from Mr. Rye’s
admirable _History of Norfolk_:—

 The pye upon the pear-tree top,
     (_The singer holds up a glass of beer_)
 The pear-tree top—the pear-tree top,
 I hold you a crown she is coming down.
     (_Brings down the glass slowly_)
 She is coming down, she is coming down,
 I hold you a crown she is come down.
     (_Offers the glass to his right-hand neighbour._) {258}
 She _is_ come down, she _is_ come down,
 So lift up your elbow, and hold up your chin,
 And let your neighbour joggle it in.

The drinker then tries to drink, and his neighbour tries to prevent him.

During the evening one of the reapers, who had been chosen as “lord,”
would retire from the table, and, putting on a kind of mummer’s garb,
return, calling “Lar-gess.” He then carried a hat or plate round and
collected money to prolong the jollification at the village alehouse.

A laughable custom prevalent at Sussex harvest-homes, was the
following: Each person at the table—perhaps twenty or thirty men—had
to drink, without spilling, a glass of ale placed on the top of a tall
hat; when he had finished, he must toss the glass up in the air and
catch it in the hat as it fell. Sometimes a man would fail four or five
times, and at length get too drunk even to try. Meantime the company
kept up the refrain:—

 I’ve been to London, I’ve been to Dover,
 I’ve been a rambling, boys, all the world over,
 Over, over, over and over,
 Drink up the liquor and turn the bowl over.

These lines were sung over and over again, getting louder at the
critical moments. If the drinker’s effort was crowned with success the
fourth line was changed to—

 The liquor’s drinked up, and the bowl is turned over,

while ill success was greeted by—

 The liquor’s drinked up, and the bowl _ain’t_ turned over.

Another Sussex custom practised not many years ago, and perhaps still,
at harvest-home suppers consisted in a harvester sticking a lighted
candle in a glass of beer and drinking the beer while he held the
candle in position with his nose. The company meantime sing a song, of
which the chorus runs—

 Your nose’s alight, your nose’s alight,
 Your hair’s alight, your hair’s alight,
 Your hair’s alight, afire. {259}

Frequently the greasy candle would slip from between the nose and the
rim of the glass, really bringing about a conflagration of hair or

In Scotland a dish always to be met with at harvest home, or
_Kirn_-suppers, as they are called, is composed of porridge, strong ale
and whisky. Had such dish as this been found at Sabine harvest-homes,
well might Horace have exclaimed, “_O dura messorum ilia!_” Much the
same course of feasting, strong-ale drinking, and singing is observed
as at the English festival—

           —the frothing bickers,[58] soon as filled,
 Are drained, and to the gauntrees[59] oft return.

   [58] The beakers.

   [59] The frame supporting the barrel.

Such were some of the principal ceremonies connected with the
harvest-home. It is to be regretted that such observances are now
comparatively rare. The kindly association of master and man at these
and such-like gatherings, did much to keep alive a mutual spirit of
good will, and to grease the wheels of toil, and it is to be feared
that such feelings when once lost cannot easily be recalled. Bloomfield
well describes this peculiarity of former times, which to that extent,
at any rate, may be called the “good old days”:—

 Here, once a year, distinction lowers its crest,
 The master, servant, and the merry guest,
 Are equal all; and round the happy ring,
 The reaper’s eyes exulting glances fling;
 And, warmed with gratitude, he quits his place,
 With sun-burnt hands, and ale-enlivened face,
 Refills the jug his honored host to tend,
 To serve at once the master and the friend;
 Proud thus to meet his smiles, to share his tale,
 His nuts, his conversation, and his Ale.

Last of all the great festivals of the year comes Christmas, celebrated
from early ages with feasting and hearty boisterous merriment. In
olden times the closing days of the old year, and the opening days
of the new, were devoted to holiday-making. From Christmas Day to
Twelfth Night was one long Saturnalia of feasting, dancing, and {260}
wassailing. One of the chief ceremonies of the time was the bringing
in of the Yule Log on Christmas Eve. Escorted by troops of shouting
men and boys, and greeted with strains of village minstrelsy, the
yule log was drawn from its resting place, lighted in the great hall
fireplace with some of the charred fragments of the last Christmas log,
and consumed as a token of hospitality and good cheer. Herrick thus
describes the ceremony:—

 Come, bring with a noise, my merry, merry boys,
   The Christmas log to the firing,
 While my good Dame she—bids ye all be free,
   And drink to your heart’s desiring.

 With the last year’s brand—light the new block, and
   For good success in his spending,
 On your psaltries play—that sweet luck may
   Come while the log is teending.[60]

 Drink now the strong beare, cut the white loafe here,
   The while the meat is a-shredding,
 For the rare mince-pie, and the plums stand by,
   To fill the paste that’s a-kneeding.

   [60] Blazing.

As an accompaniment to the yule log, an immense candle, called the Yule
Candle, shed its light upon the scene of merriment, and neighbours all

 To quaff brown Ale foam’d high from tall stone jugs
 And pledge deep healths in oft-replenished mugs.

The custom of wassailing the fruit trees has been already mentioned.
In some counties the practice extends to the field and pastures, and a
song is still sung on Christmas Eve in Hampshire, of which the chorus

 Apples and pears with right good corn,
 Come in plenty to every one,
 Eat and drink good cake and hot ale,
 Give Earth to drink and she’ll not fail.


The time-honoured amusement appropriate to Christmas Eve was provided
by the Mummers and the Lord of Misrule.

The Mummers (or Maskers, as the name imports) were to be found in every
village. They dressed themselves to represent various characters, and
the chief pageant exhibited by them was a version of the national
legend of St. George and the Dragon. The principal characters of course
were the gallant Knight, and as close a copy of the Dragon as the wit
and ingenuity of the village could contrive; then there was Old Father
Christmas, the Turk, the Maiden, and a Doctor with a huge box of pills
ready to execute any repairs rendered necessary by the internecine
fury of the Knight, the Turk, and the Dragon. The performance varied a
good deal according to the fancy of the performers, but in all places
there seems to have been a set form of recitation in verse describing
the various antics of the players. The Lord of Misrule, or Master of
Merry Disports, was elected as Master of the Ceremonies, and his term
of office extended from All-hallow Eve to Candlemas Day. He directed
the revels, exercised full power and authority over high and low in
the ordering of the festivities, and played the wit and fool with what
skill nature had endowed him.

And so in mirth and jollity the evening rolls away, and Christmas Day
appears. Sir Roger de Coverley says, or at any rate the _Spectator_
reports that he said: “I have often thought it happens very well that
Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the most dead,
uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very
much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm
fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their
poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my
great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small beer, and set
it a-running for twelve days for everyone that calls for it.”

From _Round about our Coal Fire_ it may be gathered that “an English
Gentleman at the opening of the great day (_i.e._, on Christmas day
in the morning) had all his tenants and neighbours enter his hall by
daybreak. The strong beer was broached, and the black jack went merrily
about with toast, nutmeg, and good Cheshire Cheese.”

It may not be generally known that the _Old English Gentleman_ is but
a version of a very similar song published in 1600, in a book entitled
_Le Prince d’Amour_. The earlier song contains the following verse
relating to our subject:— {262}

 With an old fashion when Christmas was come
 To call in all his neighbours with a bagpipe or drum.
 And good cheer enough to furnish out every old rome,
 And beer and ale would make a cat speak and a wise man dumb
           Like an old Courtier of Queens,
           And the Queen’s old Courtier.

On Christmas Day, and indeed during all the Christmas holidays,
the tables were spread from morn till eve; sirloins of beef, mince
pies and foaming ale formed the chief ingredients of the feast. In
many places, in the houses of the great, the ceremonious custom was
observed of bringing in the boar’s head on a dish of costly plate, the
whole company following in procession, chanting the well-known lines

 Caput apri defero,
 Reddens laudes Domino.

The custom still observed at Queen’s College, Oxford, of bringing in
the boar’s head at Christmas is said to have arisen from the adventure
of a student of that house in far-off legendary days, who, according
to the wont of students in those distant times, was walking abroad
studying his Aristotle, when a wild boar, who happened to be in the
neighbourhood, whether annoyed at having his lair disturbed, or out
of mere malice, charged down upon him with open mouth. However, the
student’s presence of mind did not desert him; with a loud cry of
“Græcum est” he thrust the volume down the throat of the monster, who,
choked by the tough morsel, then and there expired.

Turning from the tables of the great to the cottage of the humble, we
find a description of the effect of Old Father Christmas’s approach
upon the labourer’s home in Bampfylde’s _Sonnet on Christmas_:—

 With footstep slow, in furry pall yclad,
 His brows enreathed with holly never sere,
 Old Christmas comes, to close the waned year,
 And aye the shepherd’s heart to make right glad,
 Who, when his teeming flocks are homeward had,
 To blazing hearth repairs, and nut-brown beer,
 And views well pleased the ruddy prattlers dear
 Hug the grey mongrel; meanwhile maid and lad
 Squabble for roasted crabs—Thee, Sire, we hail, {263}
 Whether thine aged limbs thou dost enshroud,
 In vest of snowy white, and hoary veil,
 Or wrap’st thy visage in a sable cloud:
 Thee we proclaim with mirth and cheer, nor fail
 To greet thee well with many a carol loud.

It is the practice in many parts of Cumberland at Christmas to roast
apples before the fire on a string, and hold under them a bowl of
spiced or mulled ale. The apples roast on until they drop into the ale.

Many an ancient Christmas carol tells of the joviality which at that
time reigned supreme. The following example is taken from a collection
of rare old songs and carols:—

 Mye boyes come here
 Theres capital cheere
 ’Tis Christmas tyme, let myrthe goe rounde
 With a flaggon of ale, by tyme well brown’d.

 Drink boyes drinke
 And never thinke
 Of crustie old tyme, his scythe and his glasse,
 He cannot, nor dare not, this waye passe.

 Drinke and be wise
 Till red Phœbus arise
 And banish colde care from the good waning year:
 The Old year he shall dye, mid plenty of cheere.

 My boyes, come passe
 Your empty glasse,
 And fill them with Ale, as the world is of strife
 And toaste to the widow, the maide and the wife.

 Come drink success
 You cannot do less,
 To the new coming yere, may it be loaded with funne
 And ne’er bring us worse than the old one has done.


Another verse from a good old song specially celebrates our theme—

     Come, help us to raise
     Loud songs to the praise
     Of good old England pleasures:
 To the Christmas cheer,
 And the foaming Beer.
 And the buttery’s solid treasures.

Many pages might be compiled of these old English carols, all in praise
of the same theme, the roast beef and good ale of Old England; but one
more quotation must suffice. It is from _Poor Robin’s Almanack_ (1695):—

 Now, thrice welscome, Christmas!
   Which brings us good cheer;
 Mince pies and plum-pudding—
   Strong Ale and strong Beer;
 But as for curmudgeons
   Who will not be free,
 I wish they may die
   On a two-legged tree.

And so the cycle of the waning year is nearly completed. Midst sounds
of revelry and mirth the old year is dying, and dying hard, and New
Year’s Eve comes round again. The principal customs of New Year’s Eve
have been already described, being inextricably blended with those
appropriate to New Year’s Day.

One scene more; a custom of very ancient origin and still observed.
An ivy-mantled tower, from which to-night, at all events, the moping
owl has been driven, for within are lights and the sounds of busy
preparation. Those who are about to perform the last offices for the
dying year are here assembled, and a great brown bowl of foaming ale
passes from hand to hand. The old church clock, not bating one jot of
his accustomed space from stroke to stroke, for all the impatience of
listeners in many a house and cottage near, but deliberately, and with
a solemnity befitting the occasion, tolls out the hour of midnight. A
moment’s pause; but ere the last echo of its brazen tongue has died
upon the ear, a merry peal of clashing music bursts from the ancient
pile, carrying over hill and dale, over flood and field, on the rapid
wings of {265} sound, the tidings that the old year is dead and the
new year reigns in his place.

As we gaze back on these old scenes of fun and frolic, their rougher
outlines perchance softened by distance, their true-heartiness and
geniality shining through the golden mist of time, which of us will be
found to deny that in some respects the old was better?

 Happy the age and harmless were the days,
   For then true love and amity were found,
 When every village did a May-pole raise,
   And Whitsun ales and May-games did abound.





 “And then satten some and songe at the Ale.”
                                        _The Vision of Piers Ploughman._

 Be mine each morn with eager appetite
 And hunger undissembled to repair
 To friendly buttery; there on smoking crust
 And foaming Ale to banquet unrestrained;
 Material breakfast! Thus in ancient days
 Our ancestors robust with liberal cups
 Usher’d the morn, unlike the squeamish sons
 Of modern times.
                                              _Panegyric on Oxford Ale._


So far we have only considered those merry-makings which were peculiar
to certain seasons of the year. It need hardly be said that there were
also a number of festivals in which ale figured as the chief beverage,
in no way related to any particular day, and these, together with a
variety of curious customs connected with ale and beer, will be now
treated of.

Prominent among the many convivial meetings indulged in by our
ancestors were the _Ales_, at which, as their name indicates, malt
liquor was largely consumed. Such a feast is referred to in Chaucer:

 “And make him grete feestes atte _nale_.”

And in _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, Launce says to Speed, “Thou hast not
so much charity in thee as to go to the _Ale_ with a Christian.”

Ben Jonson also mentions Wakes and Ales in his _Tale of a Tub_:— {267}

 And all the neighbourhood from old records
 Of antique proverbs, drawn from Whitson-lords,
 And their authorities at Wakes and Ales,
 With country precedents and old wives’ tales,
 We bring you now to show what different things
 The cotes of clowns are from the courts of kings.

Of Ales there were several kinds—Church-Ales, Bride-Ales, Scot-Ales and
many others. The Church-Ales, of which the Easter-Ales and Whitsun-Ales
and Wakes were varieties, must be considered the most important of
this class of festival. The grotesque carvings on many old churches
have been considered by some to represent the humours of these curious
gatherings. Their origin is no doubt to be traced to the Agapæ, or
Love Feasts of the early Christian Church. Stubbe, in his _Anatomie of
Abuses_ (1585), gives the following account of the manner and intent
of these Ales: “In certain townes where dronken Bacchus beares swaie,
against Christmas and Easter, Whitsondaie, or some other tyme, the
churchwardens of every Parishe provide half a score or twentie quarters
of mault, whereof some they buy of the churche-stocke and some is given
them of the Parishioners themselves, everye one conferring somewhat,
according to his abilitie; whiche maulte being made into very strong
beere or ale, is sette to sale, either in the church or some other
place assigned to that purpose. Then when this is set abroche, well is
he that can gete the soonest to it, and spend the most at it. In this
kinde of practise they continue sixe weekes, a quarter of a yeare,
yea, halfe a year together. That money, they say, is to repaire their
churches and chappels with, to buye bookes for service, cuppes for
the celebration of the Sacrament, surplesses for Sir John, and other
necessaries. And they maintain extraordinarie charges in their Parish

The account contains some obvious exaggerations. Stubbe was one
of those of whom the Earl of Dorset might have said as he said of
Prynne,—“My Lords, when God made all His works, He looked upon
them and saw that they were good; this gentleman, the devil having
put spectacles on his nose, says that all is bad.” It will not do
for Macaulay’s New Zealander in looking through the files of old
newspapers, discovered in the ruins of the British Museum, to accept
every statement of the modern teetotal platform as representing an
actual fact.

Carew gives an account of the matter which probably represents the
actual state of the case:—“Touching Church-Ales: these be mine {268}
assertions, if not my proofs:—Of things induced by our forefathers,
some were instituted to a good use, and perverted to a bad; again, some
were both naught in the invention and so continued in the practice. Now
that Church Ales ought to be sorted in the better rank of these twaine,
may be gathered from their causes and effects, which I thus raffe up
together:—entertaining of Christian love; conforming of men’s behaviour
to a civil conversation; compounding of controversies; appeasing of
quarrels; raising a store, which might be converted partlie to good
and goodlie uses, as relieving all sorts of poor people; repairing of
bridges, amending of highways, and partlie for the Prince’s service,
by defraying, at an instant, such rates and taxes as the magistrate
imposeth for the countrie’s defence. Briefly, they do tend to an
instructing of the mind by amiable conference, and an enabling of the
bodie by commendable exercise.”

The curious old Indenture of pre-Reformation times given below, is
an agreement between the inhabitants of the parishes of Elvarton,
Thurlaston, and Ambaston of the one part, and the good folk of Okebrook
of the other part, by John, Abbot of the Dale, Ralph Saucheverell,
Esqre., John Bradshaw, and Henry Tithell. It provides that—“the
inhabitants, as well of the said Parish of Elvarton, as of the town of
Okebrook, shall brew four Ales, and every ale of one quarter of malt,
and at their own costs and charges, betwixt this and the feast of St.
John Baptist next coming. And that every inhabitant of the said town of
Okebrook shall be at the several Ales; and every husband and his wife
shall pay two pence, every cottager one penny; and all the inhabitants
of Elvarton, Thurlaston and Ambaston shall have and receive all the
profits and advantages coming of the said Ales to the use and behoof
of the said Church of Elvarton; and that the inhabitants of the said
towns of Elvarton, Thurlaston, and Ambaston, shall brew eight Ales
betwixt this and the feast of St. John the Baptist; at the which Ales,
and every one of them, the inhabitants of Okebrook shall come and pay
as before rehearsed: and if he be away at one Ale, to pay at t’oder Ale
for both, or else to send his money. And the inhabitants of Okebrook
shall carry all manner of Tymber being in the Dale wood now felled,
that the said Prestchyrch of the said towns of Elvarton, Thurlaston,
and Ambaston shall occupye to the use and profit of the said Church.”
Shakspere mentions these festivals in _Pericles_:

 It hath been sung at festivals,
 On ember eves and holy ales; {269}

and an old writer (1544) speaks of “keapinge of Church-Ales, in the
whiche with leapynge, dansynge and kyssynge they maynteyne the profett
of their Church.”

The Church-Ale was usually celebrated in a house known as the Church
House, which was either hired for the festival, or was a house to
which the parishioners had a right to resort upon occasions of this
character. By an old lease, mentioned in Worsley’s _History of the Isle
of Wight_, a house, called the Church House held by the inhabitants
of Whitwell, parishioners of Gatcombe, of the Lord of the Manor, was
demised by them to John Brode on condition “that, if the Quarter shall
need at any time to make a _Quarter-Ale_ or _Church-Ale_, for the
maintenance of the Chapel, it shall be lawful for them to have the use
of the s^d house, with all the rooms, both above and beneath, during
their Ale.”

Considerable sums were raised by these means. The parish books of
Kingston-upon-Thames show that in the year 1526 the proceeds of the
Church-Ale amounted to £7 15s., and an ancient church book of Great
Marlow contains the entry in the year 1592, “Received of the torchmen,
for the profytte of the Whitsun Ale £5.”

No doubt some amount of abuse and excess occurred upon these occasions.
Many writers of the sixteenth century stigmatise the Church-Ales
and Wakes as the sources of “gluttonie and drunkenness,” and other
evils; and Harrison, writing in 1587, states as of a subject for
congratulation, that “The superfluous numbers of idle wakes,
church-ales, helpe-ales, and soule-ales, called also dirge ales, with
the heathenish rioting at bride-ales, are well diminished.” Some,
however, were found to uphold them. Pierce, Bishop of Bath and Wells,
writes in answer to an inquiry of Archbishop Laud, that “Church-Ales
were when the people went from afternoon prayers on Sundays to their
lawful sports and pastimes in the churchyard, or in the neighbourhood,
or in some public-house, where they drank and made merry. By the
benevolence of the people at these pastimes, many poor parishes have
cast their bells and beautified their churches, and raised stock for
the poor.”

The Puritan movement was, of course, strongly opposed to all these
festivals, and the influence of these “unco’ righteous” folk in the
year 1631, procured an order from Judge Richardson, putting an end to
all such gatherings in the county of Somerset, whereupon, on report
being made to the King, an order was made annulling the decree of the
Judge, and seventy-two of the most orthodox and able of the clergy of
the county certified that “on these days (which generally fell on a
Sunday) {270} the service of God was more solemnly performed, and the
services better attended than on other days.”

A previous attempt by the Justices of the Peace to suppress these
gatherings seems to have been equally unsuccessful. In 1596, John
and Alexander Popham, George Sydenham, and seven other Justices of
Bridgewater, ordered that no Church-Ale, Clerk’s-Ale, or tippling
should be suffered; but the decree seems to have been disregarded. A
custom somewhat similar to the Church-Ale was that of “drinking ale at
the Church stile.” Ale and in some cases food as well, were consumed on
certain occasions on the parish account. Pepys, under date April 14,
1661, mentions that “After dinner we all went to the Church stile (at
Walthamstow) and there eat and drank;” and a writer in the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ (November, 1852) states that in an old book of parish
accounts belonging to Warrington the entry occurs: “Nov. 5, 1688. Paid
for drink at the Church steele, 13s.”

Clerk-Ales, or lesser Church-Ales, were held for the maintenance of
the parish clerk. Bishop Pierce, from whom we have before quoted,
says of them that “in poor country parishes, where the wages of the
clerk were but small, the people thinking it unfit that the clerk
should duly attend at the church, and not gain by his office, sent
him in provision, and then came on Sundays and feasted with him; by
which means he _sold more Ale_, and tasted more of the liberality of
the people, than their quarterly payments would have amounted to in
many years; and since these have been put down, many ministers have
complained to me (says his Lordship) that they were afraid they should
have no parish clerks.”

There is a tradition well known in the Vale of the Warwickshire Avon,
which connects the name of Shakspere with the Whitsun-Ale. It is
related that the ale of Bidford was in Shakspere’s day famed for its
potency, and that on the occasion of a Whitsun-Ale held at that place,
young Shakspere and some of his friends attended it, having accepted
a challenge of the Bidford men to try their powers as ale-drinkers.
The Bidfordians proved the better men, and the others endeavoured to
return to Stratford. They had not gone far, however, when, overcome
by the fumes of the ale, they were forced to rest under a crab-tree
about a mile out of Bidford. Here sleep overcame them, and their nap
lasted from Saturday night till Monday morning, when they were aroused
by a labourer who was on his way to his work. Shakspere’s companions
urged him to return and renew the contest, but he refused. “I have had
enough” he said; “I have drunk with {271}

 “Piping Pebworth, dancing Marston,
  Haunted Hillbro’, hungry Grafton,
  Dudging Exhall, papist Wixford,
  Beggarly Broom, and drunken Bidford.”

These villages are all visible from the spot where the Bard’s long
sleep is related to have taken place, and it is said retained
their characteristics until very recently. The Crab, long known as
“Shakspere’s Crab,” was cut down some time in the early part of
this century by the Lady of the Manor, who is said to have given
the somewhat Irish reason for this act of Vandalism, that the tree
was gradually being demolished by curiosity hunters. A new crab has
recently been planted upon the spot, and will, it is to be hoped, hand
down to future generations the memory of the Poet’s youthful escapade.

The term Christian-Ale was in all probability used to denote some kind
of Church or Whitsun Ale. The expression is to be found in a curious
old pamphlet entitled “The Virgins’ Complaint for the loss of their
sweethearts in the present wars . . . presented to the House of Commons
in the names and behalfes of all Damsels both of Country and City,
Jan. 29, 1642, by sundry Virgins of the City of London,” in which
occurs this passage: “Since the departure of the lusty young gentlemen,
and courtiers, and cavaliers, and the ablest prentices and handsome
journeymen, with whom we had used to walk to Islington and Pimlico to
eat Cakes and drink Christian-Ale on holy daies.”

Somewhat akin to Church-Ales were the guild-feasts held by the old
fraternities. The records of the ancient guild at Lynn Regis, in
Norfolk (Rye’s _Hist. of Norfolk_), show that in the time of Richard
II. the annual election of officers of the fraternity was followed by
“a guild-feast,” in which great quantities of ale were consumed. An
alderman’s allowance of ale, “while it lasteth,” was two gallons, a
steward had one gallon, and the dean and clerk a pottle each. The feast
was apparently prolonged night after night, till all the ale brewed
for the occasion was expended, and those brethren who from any urgent
cause were absent, had a gallon of ale reserved for them. Before the
carouse commenced, the guild-light was lit, and the clerk read prayers.
Anybody who “jangled” during prayer-time, or who fell asleep over his
ale afterwards, was liable to a fine.

A curious old custom of a similar nature to the Whitsun-Ale is recorded
in Curll’s _Miscellanies_. It was observed at Newnton, in Wiltshire,
and was intended to preserve the memory of a donation from {272} King
Athelstan of a common, and a house for the hayward (the hay keeper).
“Upon every Trinity Sunday, the parishioners being come to the door of
the hayward’s house, the door was struck thrice, in honour of the Holy
Trinity; they then entered. The bell was rung; after which, silence
being ordered, they read their prayers aforesaid. Then was a ghirland
of flowers made upon a hoop, brought forth by a maid of the town upon
her neck; and a young man (a bachelor) of another parish, first saluted
her three times in honour of the Trinity, in respect of God the Father.
Then she put the ghirland upon his neck and kissed him three times
in honour of the Trinity, particularly God the Son. Then he put the
ghirland on her neck again, and kissed her three times, in respect
of the Holy Trinity, particularly the Holy Ghost. Then he took the
ghirland from her neck, and, by the custom, gave her a penny at least.
The method of giving this ghirland was from house to house annually,
till it came round. In the evening every commoner sent his supper up
to this house, which was called the Eale-house; and having before laid
in there equally a stock of malt which was brewed in the house, they
supped together; and what was left was given to the poor.”

Thoroton, in his _Nottinghamshire_, gives an account of a shepherd who
kept ale to sell _in_ the Church of Thorpe. He was the sole inhabitant
of a village depopulated by inclosure. Besides the _Ales_ already
mentioned, there were Bid-Ales, Bride-Ales, Give-Ales, Cuckoo-Ales,
Help-Ales, Tithe-Ales, Leet-Ales, Lamb-Ales, Midsummer-Ales,
Scot-Ales, and Weddyn-Ales. Some of these are sufficiently explained
by their names. Bid-Ales, or Bede-Ales, and Scot-Ales have been
mentioned in Chapter V. Bride-Ale, also called Bride-bush, Bride-wain
and Bride-stake, was the custom of the bride selling ale on the
wedding-day, for which she received by way of contribution any sum or
present which her friends chose to give her. In the _Christen State of
Matrimony_ (1545) we read: “When they come home from the church, then
beginneth excesse of eatyng and drynking, and as much is waisted in one
daye as were sufficient for the two newe-married folkes halfe a yeare
to lyve upon.” Modern wedding breakfasts and the presents given to the
happy pair are, doubtless, descendants of this old custom. In Norway
at the present day, a peasant’s wedding is celebrated with much the
same ceremony as the old English Bride-Ale. Ale is handed round to the
guests, and they are each expected to contribute, according to their
ability, to form a purse to assist the bride in commencing housekeeping.

Regulations were made in some places to restrain the excesses {273}
attending on the keeping of Bride-Ales. In the Court Rolls of Hales
Owen is an entry:—“A payne ye made that no person or persons that shall
brewe any weddyn ale to sell, shall not brewe aboue twelve stryke of
mault at the most, and that the said persons so marryed shall not keep
nor have above eyght messe of persons at hys dinner within the burrowe,
and before hys brydall daye he shall keep no unlawful games in hys
house, nor out of hys house on payne of 20s.”

The old custom of Cuckoo-Ale appears to have been only of local
observance. In Shropshire the advent of the first cuckoo was celebrated
by general feasting amongst the working classes; as soon as his first
note was heard, even if early in the day, the men would leave their
work and spend the rest of the day in mirth and jollity.

The Tithe-Ale was a repast of bread, cheese and ale, provided by the
recipient of the tithe and enjoyed by the tithe-payers. At Cumnor, in
Berkshire, a curious custom of this kind still obtains. On Christmas
Day, after evening service, the parishioners who are liable to pay
tithe, repair in a body to the vicarage and are there entertained on
bread and cheese and ale. This is not by any means considered in the
light of a benefaction on the part of the vicar, but is demanded as a
right by the tithe-payers, and even the quantity of the good things
which the vicar is to give is strictly specified. He must brew four
bushels of malt in ale and small beer, he must provide two bushels
of wheat for bread making, and half a hundred-weight of cheese; and
whatever remains unconsumed is given to the poor. Leet-Ales, in some
parts of England, denoted the dinner given at the Court Leet of a Manor
to the jury and customary tenants. Another somewhat similar custom
was known by the name of Drink-lean, and was a festive day kept by
the tenants and vassals of the Lord of the Manor, or, as some say, a
potation of ale provided by the tenants for the entertainment of the
Lord or his steward. The origin of the term is not known; it probably
has no connection with the effect which a lover of old ale said that
beverage had upon him. “I always find it makes me lean,” said he.
“Lean!” cries his friend, in amazement; “why, I always thought ale made
folks fat.” “That may be,” was the reply, “but it makes me lean, for
all that—against a lamp-post.”

Another variety of the Ale was called Mary-Ale, and was a feast held
in honour of the Virgin Mary. Foot-Ales seem to have meant not so much
feasts as sums of money paid to purchase ale on a man’s entering a new
situation. We still talk of a man “paying his footing.”

A short consideration may now be devoted to the use of ale in former
{274} times in the household. It is easy to picture to oneself the
English squire or yeoman of old times, an article of whose creed it was

 “Old England’s cheer is beef and beer,
  Soup-meagre is Gallia’s boast,”

as he sat in his hard, uncompromising chair before the fire on a
winter’s evening, with perhaps a few of his cronies gathered round him,
quaffing their bright March beer or mellow old October as they talked
and ruminated in turns on the crops, the market or the hunt. It is not,
however, so easy for the degenerate sons of modern days to realise the
mighty draughts of ale taken at breakfast, soon after daylight. Yet,
before the introduction of tea and coffee, ale was the morning drink
in the palace of the king as in the cottage of the labourer. In 1512
the breakfast of the Earl and Countess of Northumberland on a fast-day
in Lent was “a loaf of bread, two manchetts (_i.e._, rolls of fine
wheat), a quart of beer, a quart of wine, two pieces of salt fish, six
bawned herrings, four white herrings, or a dish of sprats.” On flesh
days “half a chyne of mutton or a chyne of boiled beef” was substituted
for the fish. In the same household, the boys, “my lord Percy and
Mr. Thomas Percy,” were allowed “half a loaf of household bread, a
manchett, a pottle (2 quarts) of beer and three mutton bones boiled.”
“My lady’s gentlewoman” seems to have been a rather thirsty soul; she
was allowed for breakfast “a loaf of bread, a pottle of beer and three
mutton bones boiled.” Even the two children in the nursery were brought
up on this diet of beer; their breakfast consisted of “a manchett,
a quart of beer, a dish of butter, a piece of salt fish and a dish
of sprats.” The _liveries_, or evening meal, produced even a greater
supply of malt liquor. My Lord and Lady then had “two manchetts, a loaf
of bread, a _gallon_ of beer and a quart of wine.”

The allowance of food and drink made from the Court to Maids of
Honour and other attendants, was called the _bouche of Court_, a name
corrupted into the _bouge of Court_, and “to have bouge of Court”
signified to have meat and drink free. In the Ordinances, of Eltham,
17 Henry VIII., Maids of Honour of the Queen are each allowed for
breakfast “one chet lofe, one manchet, _two gallons of ale_, dim’
pitcher of wine.” Lady Lucy, one of the Maids of Honour in the same
reign, was allowed for breakfast—a chine of beef, a loaf, and a gallon
of ale; for dinner—a piece of boiled beef, a slice of roast meat and a
gallon of ale; and for supper—porridge, mutton, a loaf and a gallon of
ale. {275}

Queen Elizabeth’s breakfast seems frequently to have consisted of
little else but ale and bread. In the household accounts for the year
1576, are to be found certain items of her diet. One morning it is
“Cheate and mancheate 6d., ale and beare 3½d., wine 1 pint. 7d:”
another day it is bread as before, “ale and beare 10½d., wine, 7d;”
and considering the prices of the times, the amount of ale represented
by these figures must have been very considerable. Even well into last
century ale was a common drink for breakfast among those who affected
the manners of the old school. Applebie’s Journal, under date September
11th, 1731, makes mention of “an old gentleman near ninety, who has a
florid and vigorous constitution, and tells us the difference between
the manners of the present age, and that in which he spent his youth.
With regard to _eating_ in his time, _Breakfast_ consisted of good
hams, cold sirloin, and good beer, succeeded with wholesome exercise,
which sent them home hungry and ready for dinner.”

In an old song, _Advice to Bachelors; or, the Married Man’s
Lamentations_, occurs this verse:—

 If I but for my breakfast ask
   then doth she laugh and jeer;
 Perhaps give me a hard dry crust
   and strong four shilling beer;
 She tells me that is good enough
   for such a rogue as me;
 And if I do but seem to pout
   then hey, boys, flap goes she.

Between breakfast and dinner there was generally a “nunchion”[61] (noon
draught), a word curious from its having been confounded with lunch,
which signifies a large piece or hunch of bread. When uneducated people
speak of their “nunchions,” they are unconsciously using a more correct
form of word than more refined persons when they speak of “luncheon.”
On any occasion when a drink between meals was needed, it was called
a “russin,” as in the lines of the old poem, _The Land of Cockaigne_
(thirteenth century):—

 In Cockaigne is met and drink,
 Without care, how, or swink,
 The met is trie (choice), the drink is clere,
 To none, _russin_ and sopper. {276}

An evening draught in the religious houses was called a “potatio.”
When the afternoon reading was finished, the monks proceeded “_ad
potationem_” (_i.e._, to take their evening draught of ale).

   [61] From _noon_, and _schenchen_, to pour out.

Ale, generous ale, was the beverage with which all meals alike were
washed down; and ale and beer were in old times considered as having
a peculiar suitability to the stomach of an Englishman. A letter from
John Stile to Henry VIII. (1512) on the condition of the army in France
bears witness to this common notion. “And hyt plese your grace,” he
writes, “the greteyst lacke of vytuals, that ys here ys of bere, for
your subjectys had lyver for to drynk bere than wyne or sydere, for the
hote wynys dothe burne theym, and the syder dothe caste theym yn dysese
and sekenysys.”

The custom of women resorting to ale-houses and taking provisions with
them wherewith to make a common feast, seems to have been an early
form of the modern picnic. In one of the Chester Miracle Plays Noah is
represented as being greatly annoyed at finding his wife eating and
drinking with her gossips in an ale-house when it is time to be getting
into the Ark. Several women meet together, and one of them proposes to
the others an _al fresco_ entertainment of this character.

The ale is recommended in these lines:—

 I know a draught of merry-go-downe,
 The best it is in all thys towne,
 But yet wold I not for my gowne,
 My husband it wyst, ye may me trust.

One of the women says, “God might send me a strype or two, if my
husband should see me here.” “Nay,” said Alice, “she that is afraid had
better go home; I fear no man.”

 And ich off them will sumwhat bryng,
 Gosse, pygge, or capon’s wing,
 Pastes off pigeons, or sum other thyng.
 Ech of them brought forth their dysch,
 Sum brought flesh and sum fysh.

Nor was the “mery-go-downe” forgotten. On going home these revellers
represent to their husbands that they have been _to church_.

It may be gathered from Dean Swift’s satirical advice to servants that
ale and beer in his day formed the principal dinner beverages in polite
society. In his directions to the butler, he tells him, “If any one
{277} desires a glass of bottled ale, first shake the bottle, to see
if anything be in it; then taste it, to see what liquor it is, that you
may not be mistaken; and, lastly, wipe the mouth of the bottle with the
palm of your hand, to show your cleanliness.

“If any one calls for small beer towards the end of the dinner, do
not give yourself the trouble of going down to the cellar, but gather
the droppings and leavings out of the several cups and glasses and
salvers into one; but turn your back to the company, for fear of being
observed. On the contrary, when any one calls for ale towards the end
of dinner, fill the largest tankard cup topful, by which you will have
the greatest part left to oblige your fellow-servants without the sin
of stealing from your master.”

In the seventeenth century there lived an interesting person named
John Bigg, better known as the Dinton Hermit, who subsisted chiefly
on bread and ale supplied him by his friends. He only begged one
thing—leather—with which he patched his shoes in innumerable
places. A portrait of him is to be seen in Lipscombe’s _History of
Buckinghamshire_. Two leather bottles hang at his girdle, the one for
ale, the other for small beer.

Many records are in existence illustrative of the custom of
distributing ale for charitable purposes. The following instances are
selected from a collection of _Old English Customs and various Bequests
and Charities_.

“At Piddle Hinton, Dorsetshire. An ancient custom is for the Rector
to give away, on Old Christmas Day, annually, a pound of bread, a
pint of ale, and a mince pie to every poor person in the parish. This
distribution is regularly made by the Rector to upwards of 300 persons.”

“At Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridgeshire. Before the enclosure, the tenant
of the Abbey Farm in this parish, during those years in which the open
field land was under tillage, used to give a slice of cake and a glass
of ale to all parishioners who applied for it.”

“At Giggleswick, Yorkshire. By the will of William Clapham (1603)
4s. 4d. was left towards a potation for the poor scholars of the
Freeschool there on St. George’s Day; and the custom was formerly to
give figs, bread, and ale.”

“At Edgcott, Buckinghamshire. Robert Marcham, Esq., pays the overseers
£3 a year, a rent charge upon an acre of land.” This was formerly
distributed to the tenants in the shape of two cakes each, and as much
beer as they could drink at the time.

“At St. Giles’, Norwich. By the will of John Ballestin, 1584, the {278}
rent from three tenements was to be distributed to the poor in the
following manner: viz., that in the week before Christmas, the week
before Michaelmas, and the week after Easter, in the Church of St.
Giles, the Minister should request the poor people, all that should
receive or have need of alms, to come to Church, and pray for the
preservation of the Prince, &c.; that the poor should place themselves
four and four together, all that should be above the age of eleven
years, and that every four of them should have set before them a
twopenny wheat loaf, a gallon of best beer, and four pounds of beef and

“At Prince’s Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Up to 1813, a Bull and a
boar, a sack of Wheat, and a sack of Malt were given away to the poor
by the Lord of the Manor, every Christmas morning about six o’clock.”

In many houses small beer was always kept to dispense in charity, Ben
Jonson, in _The Alchemist_, describes a mean, stingy person as—

               . . one who could keep
 The buttery-hatch still locked, and save the chippings,
 Sell the _dole_ beer to aqua vitæ men.

Visitors at Leicester’s Hospital, Warwick, may have noticed a huge
copper beer-tankard reposing on a shelf. This great cup holds six
quarts, and is filled with strong ale thrice a year on _gaudy_ days,
and passed round among the old brethren, pensioners of the house.

In the fourteenth century there was a custom for one of the fishermen
engaged upon the river Thames to present a salmon to the Abbot of
Westminster once a year. The fisherman who bore the tribute had that
day a right to sit at the prior’s table, and might demand bread and ale
of the cellarer; the cellarer on his part might take from the fish’s
tail as much as he could with “four fingers and his thumb erect.”

Superstitious observances were rife in former times. The Roman augurs
observed the flight of birds, and scrutinised the palpitating vitals
of fresh slain victims, thinking thereby to steal a march upon the
future. Our ancestors would draw omens from the barking of dogs, the
cries of wild fowl, or from the manner in which beer, accidentally
spilt from the cup, distributed itself upon the floor. Melton, in his
_Astrolagaster_, observes that “if the beere fall next a man it is a
signe of good luck.”

The customs and ceremonies attending the actual consumption of ale and
other liquors now require some few words. First in order stands the old
custom of pledging, which was in origin distinct from {279} toasting
or health-drinking. William of Malmesbury says that the treacherous
murder of King Edward while drinking a horn of wine presented to him
by his stepmother Elfrida, gave rise to the old custom of pledging. A
person before drinking would ask one who sat next to him whether he
would _pledge_ him. The other thereupon drew his sword and held it over
the drinker as a _pledge_ to him that no secret foe should strike him
in an unguarded moment while he drained the bowl. Others have referred
the origin of the custom to the treachery of the Danes, who would take
advantage of the attitude of a man when drinking a horn of ale or mead,
to stab him unawares. Be the origin what it may, the custom prevailed
for many centuries, and was one of the things noted by that lively and
inquisitive French physician, Stephen Perlin, who visited England about
the middle of the sixteenth century. Amongst many other entertaining
observations made by him is the following:—“The English, one with the
other, are joyous, and are very fond of music; they are also great
drinkers, . . . and they will say to you usually at table, ‘Goude
chere,’ and they will also say to you more than one hundred times,
‘Drind oui,’ and you will reply to them in their language, “I plaigui’
(‘I pledge you’).”

[Illustration: Health-Drinking.]

The custom of health-drinking seems to have been at one time or another
common to all European nations. The Romans had their _commissationes_,
or drinking bouts, and their “_bene te, bene tibi_.” Our own immediate
ancestors the Saxons, as we have already seen, observed the custom of
health-drinking with their “Wacht heil” and “Drinc heil.” {280} The
picture of an Anglo-Saxon dinner-party is taken from a MS., supposed to
be of the tenth century (Tiberius, c. vi., fol. 5, v.). The peculiar
weapons borne by the attendants are, no doubt, spits from which the
guests are carving meat. The preceding illustration occurs in Alfric’s
version of Genesis (MS. Cotton. Claudius, B. IV., fol. 36, v.) and
represents Abraham’s feast at the birth of his child.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxons Feasting and Health-Drinking.]

The Danes, also, were great health-drinkers. It is recorded that
previous to the invasion of England by these ravaging pirates of the
North, in the reign of Sweyne, that monarch gave a great banquet on his
accession to the throne. First, the ale-horns were filled and emptied
in memory of the dead King Harold; the next draught was in honour of
Christ, and the third of St. Michael the Archangel. A writer of the
year 1623 thus describes the ceremonies of health-drinking as practised
at that time:—“He that begins the health first uncovering his head, he
takes a full cup in his hand, and setting his countenance with a grave
aspect, he craves for audience; silence being once obtained, he begins
to breathe out the name, peradventure, of some honourable personage,
whose health, is drunk to, and he that pledges must likewise off with
his cap, kiss his fingers, and bow himself in sign of a reverent
acceptance. When the leader sees his follower thus prepared, he sups
up his broth, turns the bottom of the cup upward, and, in ostentation
of his dexterity, gives the cup a fillip to make it cry _twango_. And
thus the first scene is acted. The cup being newly replenished to the
breadth of a hair, he that is the pledger must now begin his part; and
{281} thus it goes round throughout the whole company.” To prove that
each person had drunk off his measure, he had to turn the glass over
his thumb, and if so much liquor remained as to make more than a drop
which would stand on the nail of his thumb without running off, he had
to drink off another bumper. This latter practice went by the name
of _supernaculm_, and is mentioned in an old ballad, _The Winchester

 Then Phillip began her health,
 And turn’d a beer-glass o’er his thumb,
 But Jenkin was reckoned for drinking,
 The best in Christendom.

The author of _Memoires d’Angleterre_ (1698) mentions the absolute
universality of this practice of health-drinking amongst the English.
“To drink at table,” he writes, “without drinking to the health of some
one in especial, would be considered drinking on the sly, and as an act
of incivility. There are in this proceeding two principal and singular
grimaces, which are universally observed. . . .” The person whose
health is drunk must remain as inactive as a statue while the drinker
drinks, after which the second grimace is “to make him an _inclinabo_,
at the risk of dipping his periwig in the gravy. . . . I confess that
when a foreigner first sees these manners he thinks them laughable.”
And yet one would have thought that a Frenchman’s familiarity with
toasting would have rendered the proceeding not so singular an one
after all, for that custom was carried to an extreme in his own
nation, among the choice spirits of which it was not unusual to give a
toast which necessitated the drinking of a glass to each letter of a
mistress’s name, as illustrated in the lines:—

 Six fois je m’en vas boire au beau nom de Cloris,
 Cloris, le seul desire de ma chaste pensée.

Space forbids that we should go very fully into all these old drinking
customs, though some of them are fantastic and curious enough. One
or two more, however, may be mentioned. In Elizabethan times it was
customary for hard drinkers to put some inflammable substance on the
surface of their liquor, and so to swallow the draught and the blazing
fragment at a gulp. This was called flap-dragoning, and the fiery
morsel was known as a flap-dragon. Shakspere has many allusions to
this practice. Falstaff says of Prince Hal, that he “drinks off {282}
candle-ends for flap-dragons.” And in _Winter’s Tale_ an instance of
the verb occurs in the passage, “But to make an end of the ship; to
see how the sea flap-dragoned it.” The captain in _Rowley’s Match at
Midnight_ asserts that his corporal “was lately choked at Delf by
swallowing a flap-dragon.”

The term hob-nob as denoting pot-companionship, has been said by some
to be a corruption of “Habbe or nabbe?” _i.e._, Will you have or not
have (a drink)? Others suggest a more whimsical derivation. It is said
that the Maids of Honour of the Tudor Court, who we have seen were
ale-ladies, if they cannot be called ale-knights, frequently liked
their beer warm, and had it placed upon the hob of the grate “to take
the chill off.” It was therefore natural for their attendants to ask
the question, “From the hob or not from the hob?” which in process of
time became “Hob or nob?”

The above remarks on drinking customs lead to the consideration of the
extravagant drinking and eating of days gone by. Our ancestors, both
Saxon and Dane, were tremendous drinkers, and their sole amusement
after the labours of the day seems to have been drinking down mighty
draughts of ale and mead, and getting themselves under the table as
quickly as possible. An ancient anecdote is told of a Saxon bishop,
who invited a Dane to his house for the purpose of making him drunk.
After dinner “the tables were taken away, and they passed the rest
of the day until evening in drinking.” The cupbearer manages matters
in such a manner that the Dane’s turn comes round much oftener than
that of the others, as, indeed, “the bishop had directed him,” and
the desired end is at last attained. Whether Iago was right when he
gave to the English the palm in drinking over “your Dane, your German,
and your swag-bellied Hollander,” and whether one taught the other
his own particular drinking vices, we cannot stop now to inquire. The
English were always famed for their love of strong ale, and passing
over the intervening centuries and coming down to the Tudor period,
many instances could be quoted from contemporary writers showing the
proneness of our ancestors to drench deep thought in tankards of the
nappy nut-brown ale. Stubbe, in his _Anatomie of Abuses_ (1585), says
that the ale-houses in London were crowded from morning to night with
inveterate drunkards, whose only care was how to get as much heady ale
into their carcases as possible. Ale, strong ale, was all the cry;
one who could not or would not quaff of the strongest was counted a
milksop, {284} while he who could drink longest of it without (or
rather before), getting tipsy, was the king of the company. It must
have been of such an one that Herrick wrote—

 Tap, better known than trusted, as we hear,
 Sold his old mother’s spectacles for beer,
 And not unlikely, rather too than fail,
 He’ll sell her eyes and nose for beer and ale.

The love for the strong and the contempt for the small is illustrated
in the well-known lines of the old song:—

 He who drinks small beer, goes to bed sober,
 Falls as the leaves do fall, that fall in October;
 He who drinks strong ale, goes to bed mellow,
 Lives as he ought to live, and dies a jolly fellow.

Such was the love of strong ale in the sixteenth century that a term
was actually invented to describe madness produced by excessive
ale-drinking. A writer in the year 1598 affords us an instance of
the word in question, when he says that “to arrest a man that hath
no likeness to a horse is flat lunasie or _alecie_.” Harrison, whom
we have frequently had occasion to quote, in speaking of the heavy
ale-drinking of his days, though the ale was then “more thick and
fulsome” than the beer, says, “Certes I know some ale-knights so much
addicted thereunto, that they will not cease from morow until even to
visit the same, clensing house after house, till they either fall quite
under the boord, or else, not daring to stirre from their stooles, sit
still pinking with their narrow eies as halfe sleeping, till the fume
of their adversarie be digested that he may go to it afresh.”

[Illustration: The Ale-Wives’ Invitation to Married Men and Bachelors:


How a good fellow is ſlighted when he is brought to Poverty.

 Therefore take my Counſel and Ale-wives don’t truſt.
 For when you have waſted and ſpent all you have
 Then out of doors ſhe will you headlong thruſt,
 Calling you raſcal and ſhirking Knave,
 But ſo long as you have money, come early or late
 You ſhall have her command, or elſe her maid Kate.
                                    To a new tune, or _Digbys Farewell._

A Ballad ſuppoſed to be ſung by a young man who, having ſpent his money
in Ale-houſes, offers ſome advice on the ſubject.

 “And thus all young men, you plainly may ſee
  This ſong it will learn you good huſbands to be.”
                                           _Collec. Eng. Ballads._

Herrick has left us an epigram upon a person of the class described by

 Spunge makes his boast that he’s the onely man,
 Can hold of beere and ale an ocean;
 Is this his glory? then his triumph’s poore;
 I know the Tunne of Hidleberge holds more.

Profuseness in drinking was accompanied with enormous gluttony in
eating. At one of the feasts of the Court of King James I.—

 They served up venison, salmon, and wild boars,
 By hundreds, and by dozens, and by scores. {285}
 Hogsheads of honey, kilderkins of mustard,
 Muttons and fatted beeves, and bacon swine;
 Herons, and bitterns, peacocks, swan, and bustard.
 Teal, mallard, pigeons, widgeon, and in fine,
 Plum puddings, pancakes, apple pie and custard.
 And therewithal they drank good Gascon wine,
 With mead, and _Ale_, and cider of our own.

This, however, was only a mild repetition of some of the prodigious
feasts of former days. On the enthronement of George Nevile as
archbishop of York, in the reign of Edward IV., the following was the
list of eatables which furnished the tables:—104 oxen, 6 wild bulls,
1,000 sheep, 304 calves, 304 swine, 400 swans, 2,000 geese, 1,000
capons, 2,000 pigs, many thousand of various small birds such as quail,
plovers, &c., 4,000 cold venison pasties, 500 stags, 608 pike and
bream, 12 porpoises and seals, and many other delicacies. These solids
were washed down with 300 tuns of ale and 100 tuns of wine and “one
pynt of hypocrass.”

Nor were the clergy behind the laity in their devotion to good living.
In Saxon times the frequent directions to the monks and friars to
abstain from excess in eating and drinking, from haunting ale-houses
and from acting the ale-scop or gleeman at such places, all tell their
own tale. The frequency with which from that period the intemperance
of the clergy called forth the rebukes of their superiors and the
satire of the writers of the day, show that matters did not mend much
as mediæval times advanced. Friar Tuck, as depicted in _Ivanhoe_, is
probably a type of many a jolly monk of his day. For his drink is
assigned “a but of sack, a rumlet of malvoisie, and three hogsheads of
ale of the first strike. And if,” continues the King, “that will not
quench thy thirst, thou must come to court, and be acquainted with my
butler.” Chaucer describes his monk as a free liver and a jolly good
fellow, whose sentiments with regard to the duties of his order are
shown in the lines:—

 The reule of seynt Maure or of seint Beneyt,
 Bycause that it was old and somdel streyt,
 This ilke monk let olde things pace,
 And held after the newe world the space.

The Friar, too, who “knew the taverns well in every town,” may be taken
as a true portrait of a prominent figure of the times. It is recorded
that the Abbey of Aberbrothwick expended annually 9,000 {286} bushels
of malt in ale-brewing, and a popular satire, perpetuated by Sir Walter
Scott on the monks of Melrose, declares that—

 The monks of Melrose made fat kail
   On Fridays when they fasted;
 And neither wanted beef nor ale,
   So long as their neighbours’ lasted.

The names of some of the drinks in vogue are exceedingly suggestive; we
read of Bishop, Cardinal, Lawn Sleeves, Pope, and others of a similar

The Glutton-masses of the secular clergy, as described by Henry in his
_History of England_, “were celebrated five times a year, in honour of
the Virgin Mary, in this manner. Early in the morning the people of the
parish assembled in the church, loaded with ample stores of meats and
drinks of all kinds. As soon as mass ended, the feast began, in which
the clergy and laity engaged with equal ardour. The church was turned
into a tavern, and became a scene of excessive riot and intemperance.
The priests and people of different parishes entered into formal
contests, which of them should have the greatest glutton mass, _i.e._,
which of them should devour the greatest quantity of meat and drink in
honour of the Holy Virgin.”

The Tudor period seems to have produced but little amendment in this
respect. Satirists of the day make constant allusion to the fondness of
ecclesiastics, both exalted and humble, for strong drink and every kind
of sensual indulgence. Skelton, in _Colin Clout_, speaking of the angry
disputes of churchmen when under the influence of drink, says:—

 Such logic men will chop,
 And in their fury hop
 When the good ale-sop
 Doth dance in their foretop.

In the old Comedy of _Gammer Gurton’s Needle_, already referred to,
the parson is wanted, and the old Gammer gives the boy the following
directions for finding him:—

 Hence swithe to Doctor Rat, hye thee that thou were gone,
 And pray him come speke with me, cham not well at ease,
 Shall find him at his chamber, or els at Mother Bees,
 Els seek him at _Hobfilcher’s_ shop; for as charde it reported
 There _is the best Ale in the Town, and now is most resorted_.


The boy goes forth to seek him as he is ordered; and when he returns,
Gammer thus inquires:—

   “Where did’st thou finde him, Boy? was he not wher I told thee?”

   “Yes, yes, even at _Hobfilcher’s_ house, by him that bought and
            sold me:
    A _cup of ale_ had in his hand, and a _crab_ lay in the fier . .”

Drunkenness amongst the clergy was probably at this period too
common for much mention of it to be made in the various records of
ecclesiastical offences. An occasional prosecution, however, seems to
have been instituted before the Ordinary. One such may be found in the
Records of the Ecclesiastical Court of Chester, 1575, where the Vicar
of Whalley is charged with being “a common dronker and ale-knight.”

The time has happily gone by when a Swift could write of

 “Three or four parsons full of October,
  Three or four squires between drunk and sober,”

or a Pope of “a parson much bemused with beer,” or when the following
old Ballad could be supposed to give a true picture of the habits of
village clergymen:—


  A parson who had the remarkable foible
  Of minding the bottle much more than the Bible,
  Was deemed by his neighbours to be less perplex’d
  In handling a tankard than handling a text.

  Perch’d up in his pulpit, one Sunday, he cry’d,
 “Make patience, my dearly beloved, your guide,
  And in your distresses, your troubles, your crosses,
  Remember the patience of Job in his losses.”

  The parson had got a stout cask of beer,
  By way of a present—no matter from where—
  Suffice it to know, it was toothsome and good,
  And he lov’d it as well as he did his own blood. {288}

  While he the church service in haste rambled o’er,
  The hogs found a way thro’ his old cellar door,
  And by the strong scent to the beer barrel led
  Had knock’d out the spiggot or cock from its head.

  Out spurted the liquor abroad on the ground,
  The unbidden guests quaffed it merrily round,
  Nor from their diversion and merriment ceas’d
  Till ev’ry hog there was as drunk as a beast.

  And now the grave lecture and prayers at an end,
  He brings along with him a neighbouring friend,
  To be a partaker of Sunday’s good cheer,
  And taste the delightful October brew’d beer.

  The dinner was ready, the things were laid snug,
 “Here, wife,” says the parson, “go fetch us a mug,”
  But a mug of what?—he had scarce time to tell her,
  When, “yonder,” says she, “are the hogs in the cellar.

  To be sure they got in when we’re at prayers,”
 “To be sure you’re a fool,” said he, “get you down stairs,
  And bring what I bid you, and see what’s the matter.
  For now I myself hear a grunting and clatter.”

  She went, and returned with sorrowful face,
  In suitable phrases related the case,
  He rav’d like a madman about in the room,
  And then beat his wife and the hogs with the broom.

 “Lord, husband,” said she, “what a coil you keep here,
  About a poor beggarly barrel of beer.
  You should, ‘_in your troubles, mischances, and crosses,
  Remember the patience of Job in his losses_.’”

 “A plague upon Job,” cried the priest in his rage,
 “That beer, I dare say, was near ten years of age;
  But you’re a poor ignorant jade like _his_ wife;
  For Job never had such a cask in his life.”

A curious tale is related of one Mr. Dod, who had a country living near
Cambridge. Being impressed by the intemperance then prevalent in the
University, he on one occasion preached a very vigorous condemnatory
sermon on the vice of drunkenness. Soon after, several of the {289}
undergraduates, who were disporting themselves at some little distance
from the town, perceived Mr. Dod jogging along towards them on his old
horse. Annoyed at the sermon on drinking, which had probably seemed
to them as directed specially against themselves, the undergraduates
rapidly consulted together, and determined in revenge to make the old
man preach a sermon from a text of their own choosing. At first he
declined, but his persecutors were inexorable, and he was forced to
submit with the best grace he could. “Well, gentlemen,” he said, “as
you are thus urgent for my compliance, pray what is the subject I am
to handle?” They answered, “Sir, the word _malt_; and, for want of a
better, here, Sir, is your pulpit,” pointing to the stump of a hollow
tree that stood by. Whereupon the venerable man mounted the rostrum,
and spoke as follows:—


“I am a little man, come at a short warning,—to deliver a brief
discourse,—upon a small subject,—to a thin congregation, and from an
unworthly pulpit.

“Beloved, my text is—

 “M A L T,

“Which cannot be divided into words, it being but one; nor into
syllables, it being but one: therefore, of necessity, I must reduce it
into letters, which I find to be these,


“M—my beloved, is Moral. A—is Allegorical. L—is Literal, T—is

“The moral is set forth to teach you drunkards good manners, therefore:
M—my Masters. A—All of you. L—Listen. T—to my Text.

“The allegorical is when one thing is spoken, and another is intended:
the thing expressed is MALT; the thing signified is the oil of Malt,
which you Bacchanals make: M—your Meat. A—your Apparel. L—your liberty.
T—your Text.

“The Literal is according to the letter: M—Much. A—Ale. L—Little.

“The Theological is according to the effects it produces, which I find
to consist of two kinds. The first respects this life, the second, that
which is to come.

“The effects it produces in this world are in some: M—Murder.
A—Adultery. L—Licentious Lives. T—Treason. {290}

“The effects consequent in the world to come are: M—Misery. A—Anguish.
L—Lamentation. T—Torment.

“Thus, sirs, having briefly opened and explained my short text, give me
leave to make a little use and improvement of the foregoing. First, by
way of exhortation: M—My Masters. A—All of you. L—Look for. T—Torment.

“Now to wind up the whole and draw to a close, take with you the
characteristics of a drunkard. A drunkard is the annoyance of modesty,
the spoil of civility, his own shame, his children’s curse, his
neighbour’s scoff, the alehouse man’s benefactor, the devil’s drudge, a
walking swill-bowl, the picture of a beast, and monster of a man.”

There was a curious custom in vogue at the beginning of the seventeenth
century known as “muggling.” It was thus described by Young, in
_England’s Bane_: “I have seen a company amongst the very woods and
forests drinking for a muggle. Sixe determined to try their strengths
who could drinke most glasses for the muggle. The first drinkes a
glasse of a pint, the second two, the next three, and so every one
multiplieth till the last taketh sixe. Then the first beginneth againe
and taketh seven, and in this manner they drinke thrice a peece round,
every man taking a glasse more than his fellow, so that he that dranke
least, which was the first, dranke one and twenty pints, and the sixth
man thirty-six.” So great was the ale-drinking at this time, that the
headache brought on by it was known by the common expression, “the
ale passion,” and one in liquor was said to have been “kicked by the
brewer’s horse.”

One or two instances, only, of the drinking songs popular in
olden times can be given here. The _Merry Fellows_, a song of the
Restoration, well illustrates the old idea that merriness must be
accompanied with potations “pottle deep”:—

 Now, since we’re met, let’s merry, merry be,
   In spite of all our foes;
 And he that will not merry be,
   We’ll pull him by the nose.

     _Chorus._ Let him be merry, merry there,
                 While we’re all merry, merry here;
              For who can know where he shall go,
                 To be merry another year. {291}

 He that will not merry, merry be,
   With a generous bowl and a toast,
 May he in Bridewell be shut up,
   And fast bound to a post.
             Let him, &c.

 He that will not merry, merry be,
   And take his glass in course,
 May he be obliged to drink small beer,
   Ne’er a penny in his purse.
             Let him, &c.

 He that will not merry, merry be
   With a company of jolly boys,
 May he be plagued with a scolding wife
   To confound him with her noise.
             Let him, &c.

 He that will not merry, merry be,
   With his sweetheart by his side,
 Let him be laid in the cold church-yard
   With a head-stone for his bride.
             Let him, &c.

Cobblers have already been mentioned as devotees of strong malt drinks,
and many a cozier’s catch celebrates this propensity. Here is one:—

 Come, sit we here by the fire-side,
   And roundly drink we here,
 Till that we see our cheeks ale-dyed,
   And noses tanned with beer.

Shoemakers and cobblers used to call a red-herring a pheasant, and in
the same inflated style term half a pint of beer half a gallon, and a
pint of beer a gallon, much after the manner of Caleb Balderstone in
_The Bride of Lammermoor_.

Tinkers, too, swore by Ceres and not by Bacchus, as Herrick shows in
his _Tinker’s Song_.

 Along, come along,
 Let’s meet in a throng
   Here of tinkers; {292}

 And quaff up a bowl,
 As big as a cowl,
   To beer-drinkers.

 The pole of the hop
 Place in the ale shop,
   To bethwack us,
 If ever we think
 So much as to drink
   Unto Bacchus.

 Who frolic will be
 For little cost, he
   Must not vary
 From beer-broth at all
 So much as to call
   For canary.

Last century may be said to have brought the vice of heavy drinking to
its highest pitch. Statesmen, Judges, dignitaries of the Church—all
joined in the riotous living of the time. The usual allowance for a
_moderate_ man at dinner seems to have been two bottles of port. Men
were known as two-bottle men, three and four-bottle men, and even in
some instances _six-bottle men_. Lord Eldon, who was himself inclined
to get a little merry after dinner, relates an amusing story in his
_Anecdote Book_, which is illustrative of the habits of the day. He
tells how Jemmy Boswell, Dr. Johnson’s Biographer, while on assize, so
exceeded the bounds of moderation one evening, that he was found by
his friends lying on the pavement very drunk. His comrades, of whom
Lord Eldon (then Mr. Scott) was one, subscribed a guinea amongst them,
and sent Boswell a bogus brief, instructing him to move the Court
the next day for a writ of _Quare adhæsit pavimento_. Much to the
astonishment of the learned Judge who presided, Mr. Boswell actually
made the application in due course. The whole court was convulsed with
laughter, and the unfortunate counsel, turning this way and that in his
perplexity, knew not what to make of it. At last a learned friend came
to his assistance. “My lord,” he said, “Mr. Boswell _adhæsit pavimento_
last night; there was no moving him for some time. At length he was
carried to bed, and has been dreaming of what happened to himself.”
Where such manners prevailed in the {293} upper ranks of life, the
lower orders were not likely to be more sober. As a matter of fact,
gin ran riot amongst the working classes in the great centres of
population, spreading corruption of morals and ruin of health on every

One more instance of a huge drinker may be given: One Jedediah Buxton
was curious enough in his drinking habits to calculate the number of
pints of ale or strong beer that he had drunk free of cost to himself
since he was twelve years of age, and the names of the gentlemen at
whose houses he had consumed them. The list began with the Duke of
Kingston, 2,130 pints; Duke of Norfolk, 266 pints; Duke of Leeds, 232,
and so on through a long list, of which it need only be said the total
amounted to 5,116 pints or _winds_, as he termed them, because, he
said, he never took more than one wind, or breath, to a pint and two
to a quart. Surely this man deserves to rank among the curiosities
of the subject. Happily times have changed and drunkenness, we may
hope, will soon cease to be counted a national vice. Bearing in mind
the excesses to which drinking was carried in the last century, it
cannot be denied that much progress has been made in the direction of
moderation; and that the habits of the whole people—slow and difficult
as such habits are to change—have undergone a very marked improvement.
Ere the next century has had time to grow from youth to old age, it may
be impossible to find in any rank of the population a man who could say
of an evening’s amusement like the old Scotch Shepherd, “It was a grand
treat, for before the end o’t there was na ane of us able to bite his
ain thoomb!”





 ’Tis Ale, immortal Ale I sing!
 Bid all the Muses throng!
 Bid them awake each slumbering string,
 Till the loud chords responsive ring
   To swell the lofty song!
                                    _Brasenose College Shrovetide Poem._

 These venerable ancient song inditers
 Soar’d many a pitch above our modern writers;
 Our numbers may be more refin’d than those,
 But what we’ve gained in verse we’ve lost in prose;
 Their words no shuffling double meaning knew,
 Their speech was homely, but their hearts were true.


Long ago, in the merry days when the chilling influence of Puritanism
had not yet put an end to the majority of our sports and pastimes, and
when anyone who had ventured to speak of a May-pole as a “Stinckyng
Idoll” would most likely have been ducked in the nearest pond as a
proper reward for his calumny, the lower orders of England were far
more musical than at present; and there existed a great demand for
ballads to be sung at village merry-makings, ale-house gatherings,
and during the long winter evenings which would have been dull indeed
without the cheering influence of song. {295}

Of the quaint old ballads, written mostly in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, a splendid collection was made by the Earl of
Oxford (born in 1661), to whom we are also indebted for the Harleian
MSS., now in the British Museum. These ballads are known as the
_Roxburghe Collection_, and a selection of them is given in this
chapter, together with facsimile reproductions of the curious woodcuts
with which the originals are adorned.[62]

   [62] Most of the Roxburghe Ballads have been reprinted by the Ballad
   Society, and for the very scanty information we have been able to
   gather concerning them we are in a great measure indebted to the
   Editors of these reprints. Our illustrations have been taken in
   every case from the original ballads, and are, we believe, the only
   exact facsimile reproductions in existence.

The most important ballad connected with the subject of ale and beer
is _Sir John Barley-corne_, of which there are many versions. It seems
very probable that the original is not in existence, for at a very
early date songs bearing the same name, and containing in effect the
same words, were known both in the North of England and in the West
Country. In later editions of Sir John Barley-corne old printers seem
to have frequently varied the text, and in recent times Burns has
recast the verses of the old ballad.

The version given below is the oldest in the _Roxburghe Collection_,
and must have been written at some time previous to the reign of
James I. To anyone who has perused these pages so far, the pretty
allegory contained in the ballad will not require explanation, but it
may be well to point out that Sir John is the grain of barley which
the farmer, the maltster, the miller, and the brewer do their best
to destroy. However, after having forced Sir John to go through the
various processes of agriculture, malting, and brewing, a friend,
Thomas Good-ale, comes to the poor fellow’s assistance with mickle
might, and takes “their tongues away, their legs or else their sight.”
The illustration is taken from a later version.


 A pleasant new Ballad to sing both even and morne
 Of the bloody Murther of Sir John Barley-corne.

 To the tune of _Shall I lye beyond thee_. {296}


 As I went through the North countrey,
   I heard a merry greeting,
 A pleasant toy and full of joy,
   two noblemen were meeting.

 And as they walkèd for to sport,
   upon a summer’s day,
 Then with another nobleman,
   they went to make a fray.

 Whose name was Sir John Barley-corne;
   he dwelt down in a dale;
 Who had a kinsman dwelt him nigh,
   they cal’d him Thomas Good-ale.

 Another namèd Richard Beere
   was ready at that time,
 Another worthy Knight was there,
   call’d Sir William White-wine.

 Some of them fought in a Blacke-Jack,
   some of them in a Can;
 But the chiefest in a blacke-pot,
   like a worthy alderman. {297}

 Sir Barly-corn fought in a Boule,
   who wonne the victorie;
 And made them all to fume and swear
   that Barly-corne should die.

 Some said Kill him some said Drown
   others wisht to hang him hie—
 For as many as follow Barly-corne,
   shall surely beggers die.

 Then with a plough they plow’d him up,
   and thus they did devise,
 To burie him quicke within the earth,
   and swore he should not rise.

 With harrowes strong they combèd him,
   and burst clods on his head,
 A joyful banquet then was made,
   when Barly-corne was dead.

 He rested still within the earth,
   till raine from skies did fall,
 Then he grew up in branches greene,
   which sore amaz’d them all.

 And so grew up till midsommer,
   which made them all afeard;
 For he was sprouted up on hie
   and got a goodly beard.

 Then he grew till S. James’s-tide,
   his countenance was wan,
 For he was growne unto his strength,
   and thus became a man.

 With hookes and sickles keene
   into the field they hide,
 They cut his legs off by the knees,
   and made him wounds full wide. {298}

 Thus bloodily they cut him downe,
   from place where he did stand,
 And like a thiefe for treachery,
   they bound him in a band.

 So then they tooke him up againe,
   according to his kind,
 And packt him up in severall stackes
   to wither with the wind.

 And with a pitchforke that was sharpe,
   they rent him to the heart;
 And like a thiefe for treason vile,
   they bound him in a cart.

 And tending him with weapons strong,
   unto the towne they hie,
 And straight they mowed him in a mow,
   and there they let him lie.

 Then he lay groning by the wals,
   till all his wounds were sore,
 At length they tooke him up againe,
   and cast him on the floore.

 They hyrèd two with holly clubs,
   to beat on him at once,
 They thwackèd so on Barly-corne
   that flesh fell from his bones.

 And then they tooke him up againe,
   to fulfill women’s minde,
 They dusted and they sifted him,
   till he was almost blind.

 And then they knit him in a sacke,
   which grievèd him full sore,
 They steep’d him in a Fat, God-wot,
   for three days space and more. {299}

 Then they took him up againe,
   and laid him for to drie,
 They cast him on a chamber floore,
   and swore that he should die.

 They rubbèd him and stirrèd him,
   and still they did him turne
 The malt-man swore that he should die,
   his body he would burne.

 They spightfully tooke him up againe
   and threw him on a Kill;
 So dried him there with fire hot,
   and thus they wrought their will.

 Then they brought him to the mill
   and there they burst his bones,
 The miller swore to murther him,
   betwixt a paire of stones.

 Then they tooke him up againe
   and serv’d him worse then that;
 For with hot scalding liquor store,
   they washt him in a Fat.

 But not content with this, God-wot,
   they did him mickle harme,
 With threatening words they promisèd,
   to beat him into barme.

 And lying in this danger deep,
   for feare that he should quarrell,
 They tooke him straight out of the fat
   and tunn’d him in a barrell.

 And then they set a tap to him,
   even thus his death begun,
 They drew out every dram of blood,
   whilst any drop would run. {300}

 Some brought jacks, upon their backes,
   some brought bill and bow,
 And every man his weapon had
   Barly-corne to overthrow.

 When Sir John Good-ale heard of this,
   he came with mickle might,
 And there he tooke their tongues away,
   their legs, or else their sight.

 And thus Sir John in each respect,
   so paid them all their hire,
 That some lay sleeping by the way,
   some tumbling in the mire.

 Some lay groning by the wals,
   some in the streets downe right,
 The best of them did scarcely know
   what they had done ore-night.

 All you good wives that brew good Ale,
   God turne from you all teene,
 But if you put too much water in
   the devill put out your eyne!

“Printed for John Wright and are to be sold at his Shop in Guilt Spurre
Street at the sign of the Bible.”

Another version commences:—

 There were two brothers liv’d under yon hill,
 As it might be you and I;
 And one of them did solemnly swear
 That Sir John Barley-corn should die.

Burns’ ballad commences:—

 There went three Kings into the East,
 Three Kings both great and high,
 And they have sworn a solemn oath
 John Barleycorn should die, {301}

and ends—

 Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
 Each man a glass in hand,
 And may his great posterity
 Ne’er fail in old Scotland.

Burns, no doubt, founded his ballad on the West Country _Sir John
Barleycorn_, which, according to Robert Bell, in his annotated edition
of ancient ballads, can set up a better claim to antiquity than any
copy in the _Roxburghe Collection_. It commences thus:—

 There came three men out of the West
   Their victory to try;
 And they have taken solemn oath,
   Poor Barleycorn should die.

This, by the way, reads like the origin of a teetotal movement.

Printed on the same sheet as the _Sir John Barley-corne_ of the
_Roxburghe Collection_ is another old ballad of probably the same
date, the author of which is unknown. It has no illustration, and is

 A new Ballad for you to looke on,
 How mault doth deale with everyone.

        *       *       *       *       *

 To the tune of _Triumph and Joy_.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Mas Mault he is a genleman,
 And hath beene since the world began,
 I never knew yet any man,
     That could match with Master Mault, Sir,
 I never knew any match Mault but once,
 The Miller with his grinding stones,
 He laid them so close that he crusht his bones;
     You never knew the like, Sir.
 Mault, Mault, thou art a flowre;
 Thou art beloved in every bowre,
 Thou canst not be missing one halfe howre;
     You never saw the like, Sir.
 For laying of his stones so close
 Mault gave the Miller a copper nose,
 Saying, Thou and I will never be foes,
     But unto thee I sticke, Sir. {302}
 Mault gave the miller such a blow,
 That from his horse he fell full low;
 He taught him his master Mault for to know;
     You never saw the like, Sir,
 Our hostesse maid she was to blame,
 She stole Master Mault away from her dame,
 And in her belly she hid the same,
     You never saw the like, Sir.
 So when the Mault did worke in her head,
 Twice a day she would be sped,
 At night she could not goe to bed,
     Nor scarce stand on her feet, Sir.
 Then came in the Master Smith,
 And said that Mault he was a thief;
 But Mault gave him such a dash in the teeth,
     You never saw the like, Sir.
 For when his iron was hot and red,
 He had such an ach all in his head,
 The Smith was faine to get him to bed,
     For then he was very Sicke, Sir.
 The carpender came a peece to square,
 He bad Mault come out if he dare,
 He would empty his belly and beat his sides bare,
     That he knew not where to sit, Sir.
 To fire he went, with an arme full of chips,
 Mault hit him right betweene his lips,
 And made him lame in both his hips;
     You never saw the like, Sir.
 The shooe-maker sitting upon his seat,
 With Master Mault he began to fret,
 He said he would the Knave so beat,
     You never saw the like, Sir.

The writer, in a number of verses, then shows how “Mas Mault” deals
with the shoemaker, the weaver, the tailor, the tinker, and the sailor,
including the chapman, a person of interest to us as the retailer of
such ballads as these.

 Then came the Chapman travelling by,
 And said, ‘my Masters I will be w’ ye, {303}
 Indeed, Master Mault, my mouth is dry,
     I will gnaw you with my teeth, Sir.
 The chapman he laid on apace,
 Till store of blood came in his face,
 But Mault brought him in such a case,
     You never saw the like, Sir.

Several other persons are then dealt with, and the ballad ends with the

 Thus of my song I will make an end
 And pray my hostesse to be my friend,
 To give me some drink now my money is spend,
     Then Mault and I am quite, Sir.

The tune to which this ballad is to be sung is probably the same as the
old air _Greene Sleeves_.

A song near akin to the foregoing, also showing the effects of barley
wine, is _The Little Barley Corn_. It is evidently of the time of
Charles I., from the allusions it contains to the King’s great Porter,
and to Banks, whose performing horse is mentioned.


       *       *       *       *       *

 Whose properties and vertues here
 Shall plainly to the world appeare;
 To make you merry all the yeere.

 To the tune of _Stingo_.



 Come, and doe not musing stand,
   if thou the truth discerne;
 But take a full cup in thy hand
   and thus begin to learne,
 Not of the earth nor of the ayre,
   at evening or at morne,—
 But joviall boys your Christmas keep
   _with the Little Barley-corn_.

 It is the cunningst alchymist
   that e’re was in the land;
 ’Twill change your mettle when it list,
   in turning of a hand.
 Your blushing gold to silver wan,
   your silver into brasse,—
 ’Twill turn a taylor to a man,
   _and a man into an asse_.

 ’Twill make a poore man rich to hang
   a sign before his doore;
 And those that doe the pitcher bang,
   though rich, ’twill make them poor,
 ’Twill make the silliest poorest snake
   the King’s great Porter scorne;
 ’Twill make the stoutest lubber weak,
   _this little Barley-Corn_.

 It hath more shifts than Lambe ere had,
   or _Hocus-pocus_ too;
 It will good fellowes shew more sport
   then _Bankes_ his horse could doe;
 ’Twill play you faire above the boord,
   unlesse you take good heed,
 And fell you, though you were a Lord,
   _and justify the deed_.

 It lends more yeeres unto old age,
   than ere was lent by nature;
 It makes the poet’s fancy rage,
   more than Castalian water. {305}
 ’Twill make a huntsman chase a fox,
   and never winde his horne;
 ’Twill cheer a tinker in the stockes,
   _this little barley-corn_.

 It is the only Will o’ th’ Wisp
   which leades men from the way;
 ’Twill make the tongue-ti’d lawyer lisp,
   and nought but (hic up) say.
 ’Twill make the Steward droope and stoop,
   his bils he then will scorne,
 And at each post cast his reckoning up,
   _this little barley-corn_.

 ’Twill make a man grow jealous soone,
   whose pretty wife goes trim,
 And raile at the deceiving moone
   for making hornes at him:
 ’Twill make the maidens trimly dance,
   and take it in no scorne,
 And helpe them to a friend by chance,
   _this little barley-corn_.

 It is the neatest serving-man,
   to entertaine a friend;
 It will doe more than money can
   all jarring suits to end:
 There’s life in it, and it is here,
   ’tis here within this cup;
 Then take your liquor, doe not spare,
   _but cleare carouse it up_.

To this ballad there is a second part to much the same effect. We give
the illustration and a few verses. Both parts are in the _Roxburghe

 The Second Part of the Little Barley-corne
 That cheereth the heart both evening and morne.

 _To the same tune._



 If sicknesse come, this physick take,
   it from your heart will set it;
 If feare incroach, take more of it,
   your head will soone forget it;
 Apollo, and the Muses nine,
   doe take it in no scorne;
 There’s no such stuffe to passe the time
   _as the little Barley-corne_.

 ’Twill make a weeping widdow laugh
   and soone incline to pleasure;
 ’Twill make an old man leave his staffe
   and dance a youthful measure:
 And though your clothes be nere so bad
   all ragged rent and torne,
 Against the cold you may be clad
   _with the little Barley-corne_.
        *       *       *       *       *
 Thus the Barley-Corne hath power
   even for to change our nature,
 And make a shrew, within an houre,
   prove a kind-hearted creature:
 And therefore here, I say againe,
   let no man tak’t in scorne,
 That I the vertues doe proclaime
   _of the little Barley-corne_.”

 Printed at London for E. B.

The following song in praise of ale is taken from _London
Chanticleers_, a rude sketch of a play printed in 1659, but evidently
much older. The {307} reference to being “without hops” in the verse
vii. is noticeable. It will be remembered that the ale which our
forefathers drank was made without hops, which “pernicious weeds” were
only used in the “Dutchman’s strong beere.”


 Submit, Bunch of Grapes,
 To the strong Barley ear;
 The weak wine no longer
 The laurel shall wear.


 Sack, and all drinks else,
 Desist from the strife:
 Ale’s the only Aqua Vitæ,
 And liquor of life.


 Then come my boon fellows,
 Let’s drink it around;
 It keeps us from grave,
 Though it lays us on ground.


 Ale’s a Physician,
 No Mountebank Bragger:
 Can cure the chill Ague,
 Though it be with the Stagger.


 Ale’s a strong Wrestler,
 Flings all it hath met;
 And makes the ground slippery,
 Though it be not wet.


 Ale is both Ceres
 And good Neptune too;
 Ale’s froth was the sea,
 From which Venus grew.


 Ale is immortal:
 And be there no stops
 In bonny lad’s quaffing,
 Can live without hops.



 Then come my boon fellows,
 Let’s drink it around:
 It keeps us from grave,
 Though it lays us on ground.

The ballad entitled the _Merry Hoastess_ is probably of an earlier date
than 1664. It bears the initials T. R., and was, perhaps, composed by
Thomas Randal. The tune to which it was sung is a capital one, and is
to be found in Mr. William Chappell’s _Popular Music_. This ballad is
in the first volume of the _Roxburghe Collection_.



A pretty new Ditty, compos’d by an Hoastess that lives in the City,

 To wrong such an Hoastess it were a great Pitty,
 By reason she caused this pretty new Ditty.

 To the tune of _Buffcoat has no fellow_.



 Come all that loves good company,
   and hearken to my ditty,
 ’Tis of a lovely Hoastess fine,
   that lives in London City;
 Which sells good ale, nappy and stale,
   and alwayes thus sings she,
 My ale was tunn’d, when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 Her ale is lively, strong and stout,
   if you please but to taste;
 It is well brew’d you need not fear,
   but I pray you make no waste:
 It is lovely brown, the best in town,
   and alwayes thus sings she,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 The gayest lady with her fan,
   doth love such nappy ale,
 Both city maids and country girls
   that carries the milking pail:
 Will take a touch and not think much
   to sing so merrily,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 Both lord and esquire hath a desire
   unto it night and day,
 For a quart or two be it old or new,
   and for it they will pay,
 With pipe in hand, they may her command
   to sing most merrily,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 You’r welcome all brave gentlemen,
   if you please to come in,
 To take a cup I do intend,
   and a health for to begin:
 To all the merry joval blades,
   that will sing for company,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee. {310}

 Here’s a health to all brave Englishmen,
   that loves this cup of ale;
 Let every man fill up his can,
   and see that none do fail;
 ’Tis very good to nourish the blood,
   and make you sing with me,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.



 The bonny Scot will lay a plot
   to get a handsome tutch
 Of this my ale, so good and stale,
   so will the cunning Dutch:
 They will take a part with all their heart,
   to sing this tune with me,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 It will make the Irish cry A-hone!
   if they but take their fill,
 And put them all quite out of tune
   let them use their chiefest skill. {311}

 So strong and stout it will hold out
   in any company,
 For my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 The Welchman on St. David’s day
   will cry, Cots plutter a nail,
 Hur will hur ferry quite away,
   from off that nappy ale;
 It makes hur foes with hur red nose,
   hur seldom can agree,
 But my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 The Spaniard stout will have a bout,
   ’cause he hath store of gold,
 Till at the last, he is laid fast,
   my ale doth him so hold:
 His ponyard strong is laid along,
   yet he is good company,
 For my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 There’s never a tradesman in England,
   that can my ale deny,
 The weaver, taylor and glover
   delights it for to buy,
 Small money they do take away,
   if that they drink with me,
 For my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 There is Smug the honest Blacksmith,
   he seldom can pass be,
 Because a spark lies in his throat
   which makes him very dry:
 But my old ale tells him his tale,
   so finely we agree,
 For my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 The brewer, baker and butcher,
   as well as all the rest, {312}
 Both night and day will watch where they
   may find ale of the best:
 And the gentle craft will come full oft,
   to drink a cup with me,
 For my ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

 So to conclude good fellows all,
   I bid you all adieu,
 If that you love a cup of ale,
   take rather old than new,
 For if you come where I do dwell,
   and chance to drink with me,
 My ale was tunn’d when I was young,
   and a little above my knee.

The following poem in praise of Yorkshire Ale was written in the
seventeenth century. The author is given on the title page as “G. M.
Gent.” The little volume, somewhat rare nowadays, was printed at York
in 1697, by F. White, for Francis Hildyard, at the sign of the Bible in
Stone Gate.


 Wherein is enumerated several sorts of Drink, and a Description of
 the Humors of most sorts of Drunkards. To Which is added, a Yorkshire
 Dialogue, in its pure natural Dialect, as it is now commonly spoken in
 the North parts of Yorkshire.

  Bacchus having called a Parliament of late,
  For to consult about some things of state,
  Nearly concerning the honour of his Court
  To the Sun, behind th’ Exchange, they did resort:
  Where being met, and many things that time
  Concerning the Adulterating Wine,
  And other liquors; selling of Ale in Muggs,
  Silver Tankards, Black-Pots, and little Jugs:
  Stronge Beer in Rabits, and cheating penny cans,
  Three pipes for two pence and such like Trepans:
  Vintners’ small bottles, silver-mouthed black Jacks, {313}
        *       *       *       *       *
  And many other things were there debated,
  And Bills passed upon the cases stated;
  And all things ready for Adjournment, then
  Stood up one of the Northern countrymen,
  A boon good fellow, and lover of strong Ale,
  Whose tongue well steep’d in Sack begun this Tale.
 “My bully Rocks, I’ve been experienced long
  In most of liquors, which are counted strong;
  Of Claret, White-wine and Canary Sack,
  Renish and Malago, I’ve had no lack,
  Sider, Perry, Metheglin, and Sherbet,
  Coffee and Mead, with Punch and Chocolet:
  Rum and Tea, Azora wine, Mederry,
  Vin-de-Paree, Brag, wine with Rosemary:
  Stepony, Usquebath, besides all these,
  Aqua Cœlestis Cinnamon, Heart’s ease;
  Brave Rosa Solis, and other Liquors fine,
  Rasberry Wine, Pur-royal, and Shampine,
  Malmsey and Viper-wine, all these I pass;
  Frontineack; with excellent Ipocras:
        *       *       *       *       *
 “Tent, Muskatine, Brandy and Alicant
  Of all these liquors I’ve had no scant,
  And several others; but none do I find,
  Like humming Northern Ale to pleas my mind,
  It’s pleasant to the taste, strong and mellow,
  He that affects it not, is no boon fellow.
        *       *       *       *       *
 “It warms in winter, in summer opes the pores,
  ’Twill make a Sovereign Salve ’gainst cuts and sores;
  It ripens wit, exhillerates the mind,
  Makes friends of foes, and foes of friends full kind;
  It’s physical for old men, warms their blood,
  Its spirits makes the Coward’s courage good:
  The tatter’d Beggar being warmed with Ale,
  Nor rain, hail, frost, nor snow can him assail,
  He’s a good man with him can then compare,
  It makes a Prentise great as the Lord Mayor;
  The Labouring man, that toiles all day full sore,
  A pot of ale at night, doth him restore, {314}
  And makes him all his toil and paines forget,
  And for another day’s work, hee’s then fit.
        *       *       *       *       *
 “Oh the rare virtues of this Barly Broth;
  To rich and poor it’s Meat Drink and Cloth.”
  The Court here stopt him, and the Prince did say,
 “Where can we find this Nectar, I thee pray,”
  The boon good fellow answered, “I can tell,
  North Allerton in Yorkshire doth excell
  All England, nay all Europe for strong Ale,
  If thither we adjourn we shall not fail
  To taste such humming stuff, as, I dare say,
  Your Highness never tasted to this day.”

Bacchus’ Court then adjourns to North Allerton, and imbibes the noble
ale kept at Madame Bradley’s, with this result:—

 For arguments some were and learned discourses,
 Som talk’d of greyhounds, som of running horses,
 Som talk’d of hounds, and some of Cock o’ th game,
 Som nought but hawks, and setting dogs did name,
 Som talk’d of Battels, Sieges and great wars,
 And what great Wounds and cutts they had and scars,
        *       *       *       *       *
 Some there were all for drinking healths about,
 Others did rub the table with their Snout
        *       *       *       *       *
 Some broke the pipes, and round about them threw,
 Some smoak’d tobacco till their nose was blew.
 Some called for victuals others for a crust,
 Some op’d their Buttons and were like to bust,
 Som challeng’d all the people that were there
 And some with strange invented oaths did sweer,
        *       *       *       *       *
 Some fill’d the room with noise yet could not speak,
 One word of English, Latine, French and Greek
        *       *       *       *       *
 Some burnt their Hats, others the Windowes broke,
 Some cry’d more liquor we are like to choke,
        *       *       *       *       * {315}
 Lame gouty men did dance about so sprightly,
 A boy of fifteen scarce could skip so lightly,
 Old crampy Capts. that scarce a sword could draw,
 Swore now they’d keep the King of France in awe,
 And new commissions get to raise more men,
 For now they swore they were grown young again;
 Off went their Perriwigs, Coats and Rapers,
 Out went the candles, Noses for Tapers
 Serv’d to give light, while they did daunce around,
 Drinking full healthes with caps upon the ground:
        *       *       *       *       *
 This moved Bacchus presently to call
 For a great jug which held about five quarts,
 And filling to the Brim; come here my hearts
 Said he, wee’l drink about this merry health,
 To th’ honour of the Town, their state, their wealth,
        *       *       *       *       *
 And for the sake of this good nappy ale,
 Of my great favour it shall never fail,

Bacchus and his party having once tasted the ale, drink all the casks

           then out they pull’d the Taps
 And stuck the Spiddocks finely in their hats,

The Court then adjourns to Easingwold—

 With Nanny Driffield there to drink a glass
 For Bacchus having heard of her strong ale,
 He swore by Jupiter, he would not fail
 To have a merry bout if he did find
 Her nappy ale to please his princely Mind;

Bacchus is so delighted with the ale that he grants her letters patent.

 Bacchus Prince of good fellows; To all to whom
 These our brave letters Pattents shall now come,
 Whereas wee’ve been informed now of late,
 That Nanny Driffield our great court and state
 For many years last past has much advanced
 By her strong humming ale. . . .
        *       *       *       *       * {316}
 This land-lady unto the noble state,
 And honour of a countess we create;
 And by our merry fuddling subjects, she
 Countess of Stingo henceforth call’d shall be.

Some townsmen then come in, and a contest is arranged between the
ale-drinkers and the wine-drinkers, in which the latter are of course


 Colonus and Bacchus did meet
 Each one to commend his own liquor;
 The Juice of the Grape was sweet;
 But Barly Oyle ran down the quicker;
 Colonus did challenge the Gods,
 To fight in defence of his Barley,
 But Bacchus perceiving the odds,
 Desir’d a friendly parley.


 They drunk full Bumpers about,
 And Bacchus an health did begin,
 The Bacchanalians gave a great shout,
 The Colonians then thronged fast in:
 They drunk double Tankards around,
 Till the Grape Boyes begun for to glore,
 The Rusticks neer flinch’d their ground,
 Till Bacchus fell down to the Floor.


 Colonus did heartily laugh,
 And about the God they did daunce,
 Full pots about they did quaff:
 Whilest Bacchus lay still in a Trance;
 The grape boyes were beat out of play,
 And at length poor Bacchus did rise;
 To Colonus he yielded the day,
 So the Rusticks obtainèd the Prize.

Bacchus, on coming to, adjourns his court to York, where they again

 Both from North Allerton and Easingwold,
 From Sutton, Thirke, likewise from Rascal Town,
 . . . Ale also that’s called Knocker-down—
        *       *       *       *       * {317}
 They tasted all; And swore they were full glad,
 Such Stingoe, Nappy, pure ale they had found,
 Let’s loose no time said they but drink around.

The Yorkshire Ale, however, proves too strong for Bacchus and his
Court, and a final adjournment South is made, though—

     Bacchus swore to come he would not fail
 To glut himself with Yorkshire nappy ale.
 It is so pleasant, mellow too and fine,
 That Bacchus swore hee’d never more drink wine.

Those who wish to peruse the “Yorkshire Dialogue in its pure natural
Dialect” are referred to the British Museum.

In the _Roxburghe Collection_ are nineteen ballads by Lawrence Price,
a celebrated writer of the time of Charles I. He wrote chap-books,
riddles, and political squibs in rhyme. The following rollicking
drinking song is from his pen. Only one copy of it is known to be in


 The Good-fellowes resolution of strong Ale,
 That cures his nose from looking pale.

 To the tune of _The Countrey Lasse_.



 Be merry my friends, and list a while
   unto a merry jest,
 It may from you produce a smile
   when you hear it exprest,
 Of a younge man lately married,
   which was a boone good fellow,
 This song in ’s head he alwaies carried,
   when drinke had made him mellow,
 I cannot go home, nor I will not go home
   its long of the oyle of Barly;
 Ile tarry all night for my delight,
   and go home in the morning early.

 No tapster stout, or Vintner fine
   quoth he shall euer get
 One groat out of this purse of mine
   to pay his master’s debt:
 Why should I deal with sharking Rookes,
   that seeke poore gulls to cozen,
 To giue twelue pence for a quart of wine,
   of ale ’twill buy a dozen.
         ’Twill make me sing, I cannot, &c.

 The old renowned Ipocrist
   and Raspie doth excell,
 But neuer any wine could yet
   my honour please to swell,
 The Rhenish wine or Muskadine,
   sweet Malmsie is too fulsome
 No giue me a cup of Barlie broth,
   for that is very wholesome,
         ’Twill make me sing, I cannot, &c.

 Hot waters ar to me as death,
   and soone the head oreturneth,
 And Nectar hath so strong a breath
   Canary when it burneth,
 It cures no paine but breaks the braine,
   and raps out oaths and curses,
 And makes men part with heauiy heart,
   but light it makes their purses,
         I cannot go home, &c. {319}

 Some say Metheglin beares the name,
   with Perry and sweet Sider,
 ’Twill bring the body out of frame,
   and reach the belly wider
 Which to preuent I am content
   with ale that’s good and nappie,
 And when thereof I haue enough
   I thinke myself most happy.
         I cannot go home, &c.

 All sorts of men when they do meet
   both trade and occupation,
 With curtesie each other greet,
   and kinde humiliation;
 A good coale fire is their desire,
   whereby to sit and parly
 Theyle drink their ale and tell a tale,
   and go home in the morning early.
         I cannot go home, &c.

 Your domineering swaggering blades,
   and caualiers that flashes,
 That throw the Jugs against the walls
   and break in peeces glasses
 When Bacchus round cannot be found
   they will in merriment
 Drinke ale and beere and cast of care
   and sing with one consent
         I cannot goe home, &c.

The title-page of the following poem tells its history:—

                     VERTUE OF A POT OF GOOD ALE.
                   *       *       *       *       *
             Full of wit without offence, of mirth without
             obscenities, of pleasure without scurrelitie
                 and of good content without distaste
                *       *       *       *       * {320}
             Whereunto is added the valiant battell fought
                     betweene the Norfolk Cock and
                           the Wisbich Cock.
                   *       *       *       *       *


 Written by Thomas Randall.
 Printed for F. Cowles; T. Bates; and J. Wright.


 Not drunk nor sober, (but neighbour to both,)
 I met with a friend in Alesberry vale;
 He saw by my face, that I was in the case,
 To speak no great harm of a Pot of Good Ale.

 And as we did meet, and friendly did greet,
 He put me in mind of the name of the Dale,
 That for _Alesberries_ sake, some paines I would take,
 And not burie the praise of a Pot of Good Ale.

 The more to procure me, then did he adjure me,
 (If the _ale_ I drank last, were nappie and stale,)
 To doe it its right, and stir up my spright,
 And fall to commend a Pot of Good Ale. {321}

 Quoth I, to commend it, I dare not begin,
 Lest therein my cunning might happen to faile,
 For many there be that count it a sin,
 But once to look towards a Pot of Good Ale.

 Yet I care not a pin, for I see no such sin,
 Nor any else that my courage may quaile,
 For this I do find, being taken in kind,
 Much vertue there is in a Pot of Good Ale.

 When heavinesse the mind doth oppresse,
 And sorrow and griefe the heart doth assaile,
 No remedy quicker but take up your liquour,
 And wash away care with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Priest and the Clark, whose sights are dark,
 And the print of the letter doth seeme too small,
 They will con every letter, and read service better,
 If they glaze but their eyes with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Poet divine, that cannot reach wine,
 Because that his money doth oftentimes faile,
 Will hit on the veine, and reach the high straine,
 If he be but inspired with a Pot of Good Ale.

 All writers of Ballads, for such whose mishap
 From Newgate up Holbourne to Tyburne doe saile,
 Shall have sudden expression of all their confession,
 If the Muse be but dew’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Prisoner that is enclos’d in the grate,
 Will shake off remembrance of bondage and jaile,
 Of hunger or cold, or fetters or fate,
 If he pickle himself with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Salamander Blacksmith that lives by the fire,
 While his Bellowes are puffing a blustring gale,
 Will shake off his full Kan, and sweare each true Vulcan,
 Will Hazzard his witts for a Pot of Good Ale. {322}

 The woer that feareth his suit to begin,
 And blushes, and simpers, and often looks pale,
 Thogh he miss in his speech and his heart were at his breech,
 If he liquors his tongue: with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Widdow, that buried her husband of late,
 Will soon have forgotten to weep and to waile;
 And think every day twaine, till she marry againe,
 If she read the contents of a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Plowman and Carter that toyles all the day,
 And tires himself quite at the Plough-taile,
 Will speak no lesse things, than of Queens and Kings,
 If he do but make bold with a Pot of Good Ale.

 And indeed it will make a man suddenly wise,
 Ere while was scarce able to tell a right tale,
 It will open his Jaw, he will tell you the Law,
 And straight be a Bencher with a Pot of Good Ale.

 I doe further alledge, it is fortitudes edge,
 For a very Coward that shrinks like a Snaile,
 Will sweare and will swagger, and out goes his Dagger,
 If he be but well arm’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The naked man taketh no care for a coat,
 Nor on the cold weather will once turne his taile,
 All the way as he goes, cut the wind with his nose,
 If he be but well lin’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The hungrie man seldome can mind his meat,
 (Though his Stomach could brook a Ten Penny Nail,)
 He quite forgets hunger, thinks of it no longer,
 If his guts be but sows’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Reaper, the Mower, the Thresher, the Sower,
 The one with his Sithe, and the other with his flaille,
 Pull ’em out by the pole, on the perill of my sole,
 They will hold up their caps at a Pot of Good Ale. {323}

 The Beggar, whose portion is alwayes his Prayer,
 Not having a tatter, to hang at his taille,
 Is as rich in his rags, as a Churle with his bags,
 If he be but entic’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 It puts his povertie out of his mind,
 Forgetting his browne bread, his wallet, his maile,
 He walks in the house like a six footed Lowse,
 If he be but well drench’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Souldier, the Saylor, the true man, the Taylor,
 The Lawyer that sels words by weight and by tale,
 Take them all as they are, for the War or the Bar,
 They all will approve of a Pot of Good Ale.

 The Church and Religion to love it hath cause,
 (Or else our Fore-fathers, their wisdomes did faile,)
 For at every mile, close at the Church stile,
 An house is ordain’d for a Pot of Good Ale.

 And Physick will flavour _Ale_ (as it is bound)
 And stand against Beere both tooth and naile,
 They send up and downe, all over the towne,
 To get for their Patients a Pot of Good Ale.

 Your Ale-berries, Cawdles, and Possets each one,
 And sullabubs made at the milking pale,
 Although they be many, Beere comes not in any,
 But all are compos’d with a Pot of Good Ale.

 And in very deed, the Hop’s but a weed,
 Brought o’re ’gainst law, and here set to sale;
 He that first brought the Hop, had reward with a rope,
 And found that his Beere was bitter than ale.

 The antient tales that my Grannam hath told,
 Of the mirth she had in Parlour and Hall,
 How in Christmas time, they would dance, sing, and rime,
 As if they were mad, with a Pot of Good Ale. {324}

 Beere is a stranger, a Dutch Upstart come,
 Whose credit with us, sometimes is but small;
 But in the records of the Empire of Rome,
 The old Catholic drink is a Pot of Good Ale.

 To the praise of Gambinius, the old British King,
 Who devised for his nation (by the Welshmen’s tale),
 Seventeene hundred years before Christ did spring,
 The happie invention of a Pot of Good Ale.

 But he was a Pagan, and Ale then was rife,
 But after Christ came, and bade us, _All haile,
 Saint Tavie was neffer trink peere in her life,
 Put awle Callywhiblin_, and excellent Ale.

 All religions and nations, their humours and fashions
 Rich or poore, knave or whoore, dwarfish or tall
 Sheep or shrew, Ile avow, well I know will all bow,
 If they be but wel steep’d, with a Pot of Good Ale.

 O Ale, _ab alendo_, thou liquor of life,
 I wish that my mouth were as big as a Whale,
 But then ’twere to little, to reach thy least title,
 That belongs to the Praise of a Pot of Good Ale.

 Thus many a vertue to you I have showed,
 And not any vice in all this long tale,
 But after the Pot, there commeth a shot,
 And that is the Blot of a Pot of Good Ale.

 Well, said my friend, the blot I will beare,
 You have done very well, it is time to strike saile,
 We’ll have six Pots more, though we dye on the score,
 To make all _this good_ of a Pot of Good Ale.

We may be pardoned for omitting “the valiant battell fought between the
Norfolk Cock and the Wisbich Cock.”

Returning again to the _Roxburghe Collection_. _A Health to all Good
Fellowes_ is a very quaint old drinking song, having beneath its title
a wood-cut no less quaint than the letterpress. It was printed about
the commencement of the seventeenth century, for Henry Gossen. The
author is unknown; possibly he was Martin Parker or Lawrence Price.
{325} No copy beyond that in the _Roxburghe Collection_ is known to be
in existence. The tune is a good one.



The good Companions Arithmeticke.

To the tune of _To drive cold Winter away_.


 Be merry my hearts, and call for your quarts,
   and let no liquor go lacking,
 We have gold in store, we purpose to roar
   until we set care a packing.
 Then Hostis make haste, and let no time waste,
   let every man have his due,
 To save shooes and trouble, bring in the pots double
   for he that made one, made two.[63]

        *       *       *       *       *

 Then while we are here, wee’le drinke Ale and Beer,
   and freely our money wee’le spend,
 Let no man take care for paying his share,
   if need be Ile pay for my friend,
 Then Hostesse make haste, and let no time waste;
   you’re welcome all kind Gentlemen; {326}
 Never feare to carowse, while there is beere in the house,
   for he that made nine made ten.

        *       *       *       *       *

 Now I thinke it is fit, and most requisit,
   to drinke a health to our wives,
 The which being done, wee’le pay and be gone,
   strong drinke all our wits now deprives:
 Then Hostesse lets know, the summe that we owe,
   twelve pence there is for certaine,
 Then fill t’other pot, and here’s money for’t,
   for he that made twelve made thirteen.”

The poet was probably at a loss for a word to rhyme with fourteen, or
the ballad would have been longer.

   [63] The “he that made” is probably the brewer. The numbers increase
   by ones in the last line of each verse, the last verse reaching

Another song of much the same character is _Monday’s Work_, the work
being no work at all, but a day spent at the alehouse. The only known
copy of this ballad is in the _Roxburghe Collection_. The author is



 The Two honest neighbours both birds of a feather
 Who are at the Alehouse both merry together.

 To the tune of _I owe my Hostesse Money_.



 Good morow neighbour Gamble
 Come let you and I goe ramble,
 Last night I was shot,
 Through the braines with a pot
     and now my stomach doth wamble;
 Your Possets and your Caudles,
 Are fit for babies in Cradles;
 A piece of salt Hogge,
 And a haire of the old Dogge
     is good to cure our drunken Noddles.
         Come hither mine host, come hither,
         Here’s two birds of a feather,
         Come hither my host
         With a pot and a tost,
         and let us be merry together.

 I rose in the morning early,
 To take this juice of barly,
 But if my wife Jone,
 Knew where I were gone,
     shee’d call me to a Parley.
 My bones I do not fauour,
 But honestly doe labour:
 But when I am out
 I must make a mad bout
    come here’s halfe a pot to thee neighbour.
         Come hither, &c.

 Gramarcy, neighbour Jinkin,
 I see thou louest no shrinking,
 And I for my part
 From thee will not start,
     come fill us a little more drinke in.
 I’th weeke we aske but one day,
 And that’s next after Sunday
 Our custome wee’le hold
 Although our Wiues scold
    the Maultman comes a Monday.
         Come hither, &c.

 Come let us haue our Liquor about us
 Mine host does not misdoubt us, {328}
 Yet if we should call,
 And pay none at all,
     you were better be without us:
 But we are no such fellowes,
 Though some in clothes excell us
 And yet haue no coyne
 For Liquor to joyne
     yet we haue both whites and yellowes.
         Come hither, &c.
        *       *       *       *       *

There is a second part to this song, which ends with the words:—

 Now lest our wiues should find us
 ’Tis fit we should look behind us
 Let’s see what is done
 Then pay and begone,
     as honesty hath assigned us.
 ’Tis strong ale I conceiue it
 ’Tis good in time to leaue it
 Or else it will make
 Our foreheads to ake,
    ’tis vanity to outbraue it.
         Come hither, &c.

Coming now to works of a later date, the following comicality seems
worthy of reproduction. It is hardly necessary to point out that the
verses are a smart hit upon female ale-bibbers. They are attributed
to Samuel Bishop, M.A., rector of St. Stephen’s, Walbrook (1783). “A
worthy man and generally beloved,” says Dr. Hughson, LL.D., in his


 No plate had John and Joan to hoard,
   Plain folks in humble plight;
 One only tankard crown’d the board,
   And that was filled each night.
 Along whose inner bottom sketched
   In pride of chubby grace,
 Some rude engravers hand had etch’d
   A babys angels face,
 John swallowed first a moderate sup;
   But Joan was not like John; {329}
 For when her lips once touched the cup,
   She swill’d till all was gone.
 John often urged her to drink fair,
   But she ne’er changed a jot;
 She loved to see that angel there,
   And therefore drain’d the pot.
 When John found all remonstrance vain,
   Another card he play’d;
 And where the angel stood so plain,
   He got a devil pourtrayed.
 John saw the horns, Joan saw the tail,
   Yet Joan as stoutly quaffed;
 And ever when she seized her ale
   She cleared it at a draught.
 John star’d with wonder petrify’d,
   His hairs rose on his pate;
 “And Why dose guzzle now?” he cryd,
   “At this enormous rate?”
 “Oh, John,” says she, “am I to blame,
   I can’t in conscience stop;
 For sure ’twould be a burning shame
   To leave the devil a drop.”

A collection of ale ballads and songs would hardly be complete without
at least one on the “guid yill of Scotland.” Burns’ works are so well
known that we fall back upon a capital Scotch song written at the
close of the last century, and bearing the title _A Coggie O’ Yill_.
The author was Andrew Sheriffs of Shirrefs, at one time Editor of the
_Aberdeen Chronicle_. He also wrote a Scotch pastoral entitled _Jamie
and Bess_, which was published in 1787, and a second time in 1790.
Burns, in his Third _Northern Tour_, speaks of Sheriffs, who was a
bookbinder by trade, as “a little decrepit body with some abilities.”
The words of the song were set to music by a celebrated violin player,
named Robert Macintosh.


     A Coggie o’ Yill,
     And a pickle aitmeal,
 And a dainty wee drappie o’ whiskey,
     Was our forefathers dose,
     For to sweel down their brose
 And keep them aye cheery and friskey— {330}
     Then hey for the wiskey, and hey for the meal,
     And hey for the Cogie, and hey for the yill,
     Gin ye steer a’ thegither they’ll do unco weel,
 To keep a chiel cherry and brisk aye.

     When I see our Scots lads,
     Wi’ their kilts and cockauds,
 That sae often ha’e loundered our foes, man:
     I think to mysel’,
     On the meal and the yill,
 And the fruits o’ our Scottish Kail brose, man.
       Then hey, &c., &c.

        *       *       *       *       *

     Then our brave Highland blades,
     Wi’ their claymore and plaids,
 In the field drive like sheep a’ our foes, man:
     Their courage and pow’r—
     Spring from this to be sure,
 They’re the noble effects o’ the brose, man.
       Then hey, &c., &c.

 But your spyndle-shank’d sparks
     Wha sae ill fill their sarks,
 Your pale-visaged milksops and beaux, man:
     I think when I see them,
     ’Twere kindness to gie them—
 A cogie o’ yill or o’ brose, man.
       Then hey, &c., &c.

     What John Bull despises,
     Our better sense prizes,
 He denies eatin’ blanter ava, man;
     But by eatin o’ blanter,
     His mare’s grown, I’ll warrant her,
 The manliest brute o’ the twa, man.
       Then hey, &c., &c.

It would not be difficult to fill a volume of considerable size with
songs and ballads having ale or beer for their subject, but the
foregoing, together with many others to be found in these pages, are
among the best of their kind, and will doubtless give a fair idea of
the poetry of malt liquor.




 “Blessing of your heart, you brew good Ale.”
                            _Two Gentlemen of Verona._ Act iii., Sc. 1.

 “The bigger the brewing the better the browst.”
                                               _Old Yorkshire Proverb._


Passing on to modern times and bidding adieu to the old brewers,
brewsters, ale-wives, and tapsters, it behoves us to devote ourselves
to giving some account of the brewing of the present day, thereby
bringing our history up to date. With this intent, we cannot do better
than commence with a few figures, startling enough, no doubt, to others
than the _cognoscenti_, as to the magnitude of what are commonly called
the Liquor Trades.

From a report drawn up by Professor Leoni Levi in 1878, at the request
of the late Mr. M. T. Bass, M.P., and from recent Parliamentary
returns, it appears that the total amount of capital invested in the
liquor trades of the United Kingdom amounts to about one hundred and
seventeen million pounds sterling. This sum is equal to more than half
the total value of our exports, and is more than double the annual
receipts of all the railways. About one-third of the whole National
Revenue is drawn from this source.

Making due allowance for families, the persons employed directly
in {332} the various trades connected with the production and
distribution of alcoholic drinks are not fewer in number than one and a
half million.

From these startling facts, it follows that teetotallers, before they
can accomplish the total abolition of spirituous liquors, must arrange
for either emigrating or giving employment to over a million persons,
and must be prepared to pay one-third more taxes than they do at

It may be well, before proceeding further, to give a short and very
simple account of brewing as it is now carried on in nearly every
brewhouse in the country, for without a few general ideas on the
subject many of our readers would no doubt be a little puzzled by the
references to mashing tuns, vats, union rooms and such like, which
occur in this chapter.

In brewing there are three principal operations: 1.—Mixing the malt
with hot water; 2.—Adding hops to the infusion obtained and boiling
them together; and 3.—Fermenting the liquid by putting yeast in it.

The malt when brought to the brewery is first screened to remove dirt,
dust and foreign particles; nails and other odds and ends of metal
being caught on a bar magnet over which the malt passes. It is then
crushed between rollers and, by an ingenious mechanical contrivance,
is carried to large bins or hoppers situated above the mash tuns, the
huge tubs in which the malt and hot (not boiling) water are mixed. This
process is called mashing, and was formerly done by merely stirring
water and malt together with a long oar or pole, a practice of course
still followed by home brewers.

 See, the welcome Brewhouse rise,
 See, the priest his duty plies!
 And, with apron duly bound,
 _Stirs the liqour round and round_.
 O’er the bubbling cauldron play
 Mirth and merriment so gay;
 Melancholy hides her head,
 The frowns of Envy, all are fled;
 Youthful Wit and Attic Salt
 Infuse their savour in the Malt.

Mashing is now carried on in various ways, machinery entirely taking
the place of manual labour. Sometimes the water—always spoken of as
“liquor” in a brewery—rises in the tun, and the malt comes in from
{333} above, but in many breweries the malt and water run in together,
a machine mixing them before they enter. When the malt-tea has stood
long enough—huge revolving rakes mixing the mash meanwhile—the amber
infusion (technically “wort”) is drawn off and more water added, until
all the goodness has been extracted from the malt, the empty husks or
“grains” only being left. With grains pigs and cows are often fed, and
not brewers’ horses, as is popularly imagined.

“Mashing” over, the next process is to give the malt-tea its bitter
flavour, and this is done by boiling it in a huge copper with a
quantity of hops. When sufficiently boiled, the hops and wort are run
off from the copper into huge square vessels (technically “hop-backs”)
with perforated bottoms, which act as strainers or colanders, the
liquid passing through the holes, leaving the hops behind, which are
subsequently pressed to get all the liquid out of them. The brewer
has now a quantity of unfermented hot beer, which he must first cool
by passing it among pipes containing icy cold water. Refrigerators
and ice-making machines are, it need hardly be said, of the greatest
assistance to the modern brewer, who without them could only brew in
the cold months. Some firms have spent as much as £8,000 on their
ice-making machines. The beer, which at present is a teetotal drink
devoid of alcohol, having been cooled, is turned into large tubs or
square boxes, and yeast is added to it. Fermentation now sets in, and
by various ingenious contrivances the froth as it rises to the top is
skimmed off or carried away. During this process the beer is kept at a
low temperature by means of cold water-pipes which are taken through
the fermenting tuns. When the fermentation has almost ceased, the beer
is put into smaller vessels,[64] where a little fermentation still goes
on, and the froth either works over the side or is skimmed off or, as
in the “union” system at Burton, works up through pipes. Fermentation
being now practically at an end, the beer goes into huge vats, from
which it is drawn into casks as required. This last operation is termed
“racking.” Even then the bung-holes are left open for a day or two to
allow a little froth to work out.

   [64] There are several varieties of these vessels: Pontoons, unions,
   &c., the most approved being shallow trays. On these the yeast rises
   very quickly. The process is termed “cleansing.”

The foregoing process seems, and is, of a simple character, but to
{334} obtain the very best results great skill is necessary. The
colour of the malt, the temperature of the water in the mash tun,
the temperature during fermentation, the proper proportion of the
materials, and many other matters are of the greatest importance. Some
brewers, and notably Messrs. Guinness & Sons, keep their beer in vats
for a considerable length of time before racking it into the casks, but
the practice is gradually dying out, and huge vats such as that built
some years ago by Messrs. Meux & Co. are now but little used.

The racking room of a large brewery is a wonderful sight. All round the
sides are huge vats—twenty or thirty, perhaps—in each of which fifteen
to twenty people could dine comfortably. These giant tubs tower above
thousands of barrels which line the floor, and which look like pigmies
by comparison.

One of the most interesting portions of a modern brewery is the
cooperage. Coopers are highly-skilled workmen, and it is more or less
of a marvel to see how without any measurement they plane down planks
into staves for casks, and fit them together so closely that the
{335} cask is perfectly sound and incapable of leaking. The length
of the staves is measured, for the rest the Cooper trusts to his eye.
Coopering is a most ancient trade, and appears from the illustration by
Jost Ammon, in Schopper’s rare book, Πανοπλια, to be carried on in much
the same way now as it was in Germany in the year 1568.

[Illustration: Der Bender.

A Sixteenth-century Cooperage.]

Before giving any account of the firm known as Allsopp & Sons,[65] it
is only fitting to devote a few lines to the Pale Ale Metropolis.

   [65] The following Sketches of certain of our great brewing firms
   are in alphabetical order. The task of placing the firms according
   to their importance or size was of a character too invidious to be

The history of Burton has been so exhaustively treated by Mr. Molyneux
that it is not an easy matter to add anything fresh on the subject.
In the monastic establishments which were inaugurated at a very early
date in the neighbourhood of the town, enormous quantities of ale were
brewed. There is no record, however, of any public breweries at that
date (1295), though there is little doubt that the trade of malting
was largely carried on. By the sixteenth century a small local trade
in brewing had been established. In a series of letters written by
Walsingham, in 1584, to Sir Ralph Sadler, governor of Tutbury Castle,
to the inquiry, “What place neere Tutbury beere may be provided for her
Majestie’s use?” is the answer that “beere” may be had “at Burton three
myles off.” Information of the progress of the Babbington conspiracy
is said to have been conveyed to Mary Queen of Scots, while in Tutbury
Castle, by a Burton brewer; and a load of beer on its way from Burton
to Fotheringay was intercepted, and among the casks were found
correspondence throwing fatal light on the plot.

In 1630 the fame of the Burton ale had spread to London, and that
excellent liquor was sold at “The Peacock” in Gray’s Inn Lane. In the
_Spectator_ of May 20th, 1712, is recorded how the writer and Sir Roger
de Coverley visit Vauxhall, where, after inspecting the garden, they
concluded their walk “with a glass of Burton ale and a slice of hung

The history of Burton as a great brewing centre cannot be traced back
much beyond 1708, at least so far as export is concerned. When, as
the result of an Act passed in 1698, water communication was opened
up between Burton and the Baltic ports, the brewers were not slow to
take advantage of their opportunities, and in 1748 a considerable
export trade had been established, the Russians being by far the best
customers. {336} Both Peter the Great and the Empress Catherine were
extremely fond of Burton ale. The Empress, indeed, is said to have
loved it not wisely but too well. In 1791 there were nine brewers
in the town, their names being Bass, Clay, Evans, Leeson, Musgrave,
Sherratt, Wilson (two) and Worthington. Previous to the year 1822
Burton ale was better known on the Continent than in England, but about
that time the brewers turned their attention to increasing their home
trade, and met with marked success. In 1851 the breweries had increased
to sixteen, giving employment to 867 men and 61 boys.

The special recommendation of the spring water at Burton consists in
the fact that whatever saccharine may be put into it, appears to remain
there for any length of time without being chemically injured by those
mineral combinations which are generally present in spring water.

Burton of the present day is a city of breweries. Tall chimneys tower
on all sides, the smell of new beer pervades the air, great red brick
buildings block the way in every direction; engines glide noiselessly
about dragging trucks loaded with casks; burly brewers’ men meet you
at every corner; it is, in fact, the very home of John Barleycorn. The
Breweries of Burton in this present year of grace are thirty in number,
and give employment to about eight thousand men and boys.

In a view of Burton-on-Trent, engraved in 1720, is a small brewery,
which was then the property of one Benjamin Wilson, the founder of the
great firm of S. Allsopp and Sons. Though not the creator of the Burton
Beer trade, he was the first to carry on an extensive business as a
common brewer, and was, it is believed, the originator of the extensive
export trade which Burton carried on during the eighteenth century.
Letters of his are still extant, from which it may be gathered that he
had established a flourishing trade in Burton ales so early as 1748.
His account books show that in 1770 the business done with Russia was
an extensive one, and partly carried on by barter.

In 1774, in a letter to Mr. Charles Best, Mr. Wilson writes: “We have
already two large Brewhouses Employ’d, and are about to use a third,
the whole of which will take all the money I can raise with convenience
to myself, beyond which I do not choose to go.” In a letter dated
Oct. 23, 1775, from Messrs. B. Wilson & Co. to Messrs. J. D. Newman &
Co., St. Petersburg, occur the following interesting passages:—“To
people who have the Credit of their own Manufacture and y inseparable
Interest of their Friends at Heart, we cannot but feel an accumulated
Satisfaction at every additional instance of our Ale proving fine and
distinguishing itself, wch, in Justice to its Character, we have y^e
{337} happiness to say our Friends have universally confirmed. To y^e
several Queries of y^r Letter, we beg leave to acquaint you that tho’
many Merchants from St. Petersburg are supplied with Burton Ale from
our House, yet there are many we are not intimately connected with,
their orders being transmitted through y^e Houses of Hull and London
. . . . . The Price of Ale last year at Burton from y^e extravagant
Price of Grain sold for 17^d per Gallon.”

In the order book for 1770 are many entries which appear curious enough
to modern readers. Some of the customers order their casks to be cased,
_i.e._, enclosed in a larger cask—a process necessary to prevent the
“Gainsboro’ Captains,” as the bargees were called, from “sucking the
monkey.” One customer writes: “Send me 24-gallon casks strong ale and
let y^e casks be iron-hooped at the head.” Another wants “two 14-gallon
casks of strong ale by _sea_” to London, and another “a hogshead by
_land_” also to London, the carriage of which must have been very

There may possibly be persons still living who recollect an old fellow
named Dyche, who was full of information regarding the early history
of the Burton Ale trade. He remembered John Wilson well, and described
him as a kind, hearty, portly, well-favoured old gentleman, somewhat
peppery withal, but never angry without a cause. Dyche’s father worked
for Mr. Wilson during forty years as a sawyer, his business being to
cut up into staves for the coopers, the timber brought from the Baltic
in exchange for ale. At fourteen years of age the younger Dyche was
apprenticed to the cooper at the brewery. The commonest ale was then,
according to Dyche, as strong as the strongest ale now brewed.

Dyche used to tell how old Benjamin Wilson had two sons, and a daughter
renowned far and wide for her beauty. This Miss Wilson became the wife
of Mr. James Allsopp, and her son Samuel was father of the Mr. Henry
Allsopp, now Lord Hindlip of Hindlip, who for many years was head of
the firm.

Benjamin Wilson the younger, having no children, took his nephew Samuel
into the business, much against the wish of Mr. James Allsopp, who had
intended his son for the church. John Walker Wilson, another son of old
Benjamin, also joined the firm, but soon left it and started a brewery
(now Worthington’s) on his own account. On the death of Benjamin Wilson
the younger, who never married, the business came altogether into the
hands of his nephew, Mr. Samuel Allsopp, and was carried on under the
style of “Wilson & Allsopp” until 1822, when the name was changed to
“Samuel Allsopp & Son.” {338}

The Allsopps come of an ancient family. One Hugh de Allsopp (or
Elleshope) went with Richard I. to the Holy Land, and was knighted for
good service during the siege of Acre. He married a niece of Sir Ralph
de Farington, who presented Sir Hugh with certain lands in Derbyshire,
which, for seventeen generations, the Allsopps-of-the-Dale enjoyed as
their patrimony. Anthony Allsopp, who married a daughter of Sir John
Gell of Hopton, sold the family seat in 1691 to Sir Philip Gell, his
brother-in-law. Mr. James Allsopp, whom we have mentioned as being the
first of the name who joined the firm, was a grandson of Anthony. He
married a member of the old Staffordshire family of Fowlers.

Several ancient deeds, some of the early part of the thirteenth
century, in the possession of Lord Hindlip, contain conveyances of
land to and from various members of the Alsop family, the chief names
mentioned being Henry de Alsop, Ranulf de Alsop, and Thomas de Alsop.

In Pepys’ _Diary_ mention is made of a Mr. Alsop, brewer to Charles II.
Whether any connection existed between him and the Allsopp family is
not known.

Returning now to the history of the firm—in 1822 high import duties
were imposed by the Russian Government upon English ales, and this
fact led for a time to the almost total suspension of the trade which
Messrs. Allsopp & Son had for so long carried on with Russia. The
results were not, however, altogether disastrous, for the Burton firm
now saw the necessity of pushing their home trade, and the ales which
had hitherto been better known in St. Petersburg than in London came
into considerable demand in the southern portions of this country.

An eye-witness of a banquet given by Peter the Great has left the
following description:—“As soon as you sit down you are expected to
drink a cup of brandy, after which they ply you with great glasses of
adulterated Tokay and other vitiated wines, and between whiles with a
bumper of the strongest English beer.” Burton ales then were of a very
different character to the excellent bitter of to-day; Dyche spoke as
to their strength, and they were so rich and luscious that if a little
was spilled on a table the glass would stick to it.

At this time a brewer named Hodgson had the whole of the Indian
export trade, but Messrs. Allsopp & Son, at the suggestion of a Mr.
Majoribanks, brewed and exported ale similar to Hodgson’s. Their
venture met with marked success, and for many years the firm held the
{339} chief place among the exporters of Indian Pale Ale. The first
Burton specimen of that beverage, many thousand hogsheads of which are
now brewed annually, was compounded by Job Goodhead, Mr. Allsopp’s
veteran maltster, in a _tea-pot_.

Space forbids a long account of Mr. S. Allsopp’s life. To his
endeavours was chiefly due the bringing of the Derby and Birmingham
railway system close to Burton. In both public and private life Mr.
Allsopp was charitable to a fault, and greatly beloved. He died in
1838, and was succeeded by his two sons, Charles James and Henry. The
latter, so long the head of the firm, is too well known to need mention
here. He it was who took a leading part in refuting certain mischievous
charges, which were to the effect that the Burton brewers used noxious
materials in the manufacture of their bitter beer. He represented
Worcestershire from 1874 to 1880, and in 1880 was created a Baronet. In
the early part of 1886 he had the honour of being raised to the peerage
under the title of Lord Hindlip of Hindlip and Alsop-en-le-Dale, having
retired from the firm for some years in favour of his three sons, the
Hon. Charles, George and Percy Allsopp.

A word now as to the breweries, which rank among the best and most
perfect of their kind. They are three in number, and are connected
together, and with the makings, cooperages, &c., by about ten miles of

The New Brewery is an immense structure, no single building being in
existence which has a greater brewing capacity. The union room is of
very fine proportions, being 375 feet in length and 105 in breadth. It
contains 1,424 unions, which can cleanse 230,688 gallons at one time.
The union rooms, taken altogether, contain about 4,500 unions, each
with a capacity of 695 gallons.

Next to the New Brewery comes the Old Brewery, and lastly the Model
Brewery, which seems a mere toy compared with the others. It is used
chiefly for experiments, and for occasional brews of stout and porter.
The firm also possesses extensive maltings, and, it is almost needless
to say, large cooperages, stables, &c.

A feature in the conduct of Messrs. Allsopp & Sons’ business is the
consideration shown to the employés, who, without counting clerks and
the office staff, number 1,600. For their benefit the firm maintains a
cricket ground, bowling green, a sick and funeral club, and a library
managed by a scripture reader, who also visits the men and their
families. Here and there about the breweries and maltings may be seen
tottering old men, who seem out of place among so much life and {340}
bustle. These are the pensioners, who work as much or as little as
they like. We believe that Messrs. Allsopp and Sons rank third among
the brewing firms of the United Kingdom, and the extent of their
business may be inferred from the simple fact that they have an annual
expenditure of £1,400 to £1,500 in postage stamps alone. In the busy
periods of the year upwards of 20,000 casks pass weekly through their
racking rooms. It would be presumption to attempt to criticise the malt
liquor produced by this firm or, indeed, that of any of our leading

Early in the eighteenth century, as early indeed as the year 1710, if
the Commercial List is correct, a building called the Anchor Brewery
existed on the Surrey side of the Thames, in Southwark, owned by a Mr.
Halsey, whose beer is mentioned in State papers of Queen Anne’s reign
as being exported to Flanders for the use of the army. This gentleman
having amassed a large fortune, and married his daughter to Lord
Cobham, severed his connection with trade, and sold the business to Mr.
Thrale, the member for the Borough of Southwark, and Sheriff for the
County of Surrey. Mr. Thrale died in 1781, and was succeeded by his
son, whose wife Hester was the intimate friend of the great Dr. Johnson.

Even at that time a great business was done by the firm, about 30,000
barrels of beer being produced annually. According to the _Annual
Register_ for 1759, Thrale’s was the fourth largest London brewery,
Calvert’s, Whitbread’s and Truman’s coming before it. It is said that
Thrale lost £130,000 by unfortunate speculations, but so profitable
was the brewery that at the end of nine years he had saved a sum which
enabled him to pay all the debts contracted by reason of his losses.

Dr. Johnson’s friendship with the Thrales commenced in 1765, and
continued until the brewer’s death. The Doctor lived sometimes in a
house near the brewery, and sometimes in the villa at Streatham. Up to
1832, when the brewery was destroyed by fire, a room near the entrance
gate used to be shown, which was said to have been the Doctor’s study.
In Boswell’s _Life of Johnson_ are numerous letters and reports of
conversations relating more or less to the Brewery. One of the last
letters written by the Doctor was to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and contained
proposals for the establishment of a convivial club, as _The_ Club
was getting overweighted with Bishops. The Doctor scoffed at the idea
that persons, however learned, could meet habitually merely for the
purpose of discussing philosophy or the sciences without material
refreshment, and he gravely warned Mrs. Thrale that if she forbade
{341} card-tables in her drawing room, she must at least give her
guests plenty of sweatmeats, else nobody would come to see her. But
the Doctor, and not the bonbons or card-tables, must have been the
loadstone which filled Mrs. Thrale’s reception rooms. At Thrale’s death
Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, and three gentlemen, named Cator, Smith
and Crutchley, found themselves appointed Executors, and determined
to carry on the business; but Dr. Johnson, who by nature could not
help taking the lead in whatever he was concerned, was not born to
be a brewer, and the undertaking was not a success. Mrs. Thrale, in
_Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson_, has left a very lively account of these
amateur brewers’ proceedings. In June, 1781, when the Executors had
made the resolve to sell the business, she wrote: “Dear Dr. Johnson was
somewhat unwilling—but not much at last—to give up a trade by which
in some years £15,000 or £16,000 had undoubtedly been got, but by
which in some years its possessor had suffered agonies of terror and
tottered twice upon the verge of bankruptcy . . . adieu to brewing and
borough wintering; adieu to trade and tradesmen’s frigid approbation.
May virtue and wisdom sanctify our contract, and make buyer and seller
happy in the bargain!”

When the brewery was offered for sale, Dr. Johnson appeared bustling
about with his ink-horn and pen in his buttonhole, like any excise
man. On being asked what he really considered to be the value of the
property, he spoke the celebrated words: “We are not here to sell a
parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond
the dream of avarice.” The brewery was finally sold by private contract
for £135,000 to Messrs. Robert Barclay and John Perkins, who were
associated in the transaction with Mr. David Barclay, junr., and Mr.
Sylvanus Bevan, of the banking firm of Barclay, Bevan & Co. Mr. Robert
Barclay was succeeded by his son Charles, who represented Southwark in
Parliament, and his sons and grandsons. In 1827, the last year of the
old Beer-tax, Barclays’ headed the list of London firms, having brewed
341,331 barrels of beer.

The present brewery and its belongings adjoin Bankside, extend from
the land arches of Southwark Bridge nearly half the distance to London
Bridge, and cover about twelve acres. Within the brewery is said to be
the site of the old Globe Theatre. In an account of the neighbourhood,
dated 1795, it is stated that “the passage which led to the Globe
Tavern, of which the playhouse formed a part, was till within these few
years known by the name of Globe Alley, and upon its site now stands a
large storehouse for porter.” {342}

In the Globe Theatre, which was built by Henslowe and his son-in-law
Alleyn, the founder of Dulwich College, Shakspere produced and acted
in several of his plays. It is curious that with Barclay and Perkins’
brewery should be associated the names of our greatest poet and perhaps
our most brilliant conversationalist—Dr. Johnson—who did so much to
revive the popularity of his predecessor.

A rather amusing anecdote used to be told of Madame Malibran, who, like
many singers, knew the beneficial effects of stout on the voice, and
whose favourite evening’s repast after the Opera consisted of oysters
and bottled stout. Once hearing the name of the Honourable Craven
Berkeley announced in company, she tripped up to him, and, with great
animation, said, “Ah, Mr. Barclay and Perkins, I do owe you so much!”
This reminds us of another anecdote, told of Madame Pasta. When in
England she was asked by a literary lady of high distinction whether
she drank as much stout as usual. “No, mia cara,” was the reply “prendo
half and half adessa.”

Messrs. Barclay, Perkins and Co.’s brewery ranks among the sights of
London, and is visited by thousands of foreigners during the year.
The present brewhouse is nearly as large as Westminster Hall, and
each of the three malt bins could, if required, contain an ordinary
three-storied house. The vats number a hundred and fifty, with
capacities varying from one hundred to three thousand five hundred
barrels; the largest of these weigh when full no less than 500 tons.
The full capacity of the mash tuns is 690 quarters. The water used in
brewing is drawn from an artesian well 623 feet deep, and the firm give
employment to over six hundred men.

Among the collection of Hearne’s Letters, in the Bodleian Library, is
one from Saml. Catherall, dated “Luscom, near Bath, Nov. 2, 1729.” It
contains a few semi-humorous verses on the death of two mutual friends,
named Whiteside and Craster, and ends thus:—

 “Ev’en you alas! with grief o’ercome, shall lend
  Some tears, and lose y^e stoick in y^e Friend:
  So stern Achilles wept—But you, and I
  Observant of Decorum, will not cry
  Like children (for we all were born to Die);
  Basse’s Immortal Ale shall make us gay,
  He Holds out longest y^t dilutes his clay.

                          “Your faithful Friend,
                                       “SAM CATHERALL.
 “To Mr. Thomas Hearne
                                    “At Edmund Hall, in Oxford.
 “By the cross post.”


Though there are records extant of persons bearing the name of Bass
who did various notable things, such as undertaking a pilgrimage to
Canterbury in 1506 (not forgetting a certain Mrs. Laura Bassi, who was
promoted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Bologna, in Italy
“having first passed a strict examination and answered all points with
surprising capacity and learning), this is nevertheless the first
mention of Basse’s ale. Who was this Basse”? Frankly, we cannot say,
but from the date of the letter it is certain that he was not the
founder of the present firm.

The year 1877 was the centenary of that great commercial enterprise
now known as Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton, Limited. It was when George the
Third was King, and Pitt, the youngest Prime Minister this country has
ever known, was in power, that Mr. William Bass, the proprietor of a
considerable carrying business, commenced to brew ale at Burton. His
brewhouse was situated in the High Street, and the building on that
site, still in the hands of the firm, is always spoken of as the “Old
Brewery.” The land occupied was about equal in extent to a moderately
large garden, and the power in the brewery was probably altogether
manual, for Watt had not at that time fully developed the greatest
invention the world has ever known. Bass and Co.’s Brewery and its
belongings now cover forty-five acres of freehold and over a hundred of
leasehold land, on which are thirty-two steam engines of altogether 610
horse power!

Mr. William Bass, finding that his new undertaking was proving a
success, sold his carrying business to the well-known house of Pickford
& Co. The brewery did not, however, begin to take any important place
in the trade until the beginning of the present century, some few years
after Mr. Michael Thomas Bass, grandson of the founder, had been taken
into the business, which then soon began to increase with marvellous
rapidity, owing, there can be no doubt, to the fact that Mr. Michael
Bass’s principal aim was to brew the very best beer that could possibly
be brewed. In 1834 Mr. Ratcliff was taken into partnership, and a few
years later Mr. Gretton joined the firm. In 1853 was built the middle
brewery, between Guild Street and Station Street. In 1864 a third
brewhouse was opened in Station Street, only thirty-six weeks after the
foundations were commenced. Both the Middle Brewery and the New Brewery
have been greatly enlarged within the last few years, and the Old
Brewery has been entirely rebuilt. In 1884 Mr. M. T. Bass died, and was
probably more deeply lamented than any other inhabitant of Burton since
that place became a town. In 1880 the {344} business was turned into a
private Limited Company, of which the eldest son of Mr. M. T. Bass is
the chairman.[66]

   [66] Created (1886) Baron Burton of Rangemore and of
   Burton-on-Trent, in the county of Stafford.

Before attempting to give any idea of the enormous business transacted
by Messrs. Bass & Co., a few words respecting the man by whose strict
integrity, business qualifications, and persistent and successful
efforts to produce the best possible article, and none other, the
name of Bass has been rendered a familiar word throughout the whole
civilised world. He was born in 1799, and entered the business
immediately after leaving school. The trade then done was so limited
that he had for a time to act as a traveller; but year by year
the demand for Bass’s Ale became greater and greater, and for a
considerable period before his death Mr. Bass was at the head of the
greatest pale ale brewery in the world. He was a genial, kindly man,
and had a genuine pride in the success of his great undertaking. Those
who had the pleasure of being his guests will no doubt remember his
translation of two lines from _Martial_, Book vi. Epigram 69:—

 Non Miror quod potat aquam tua Bassa, Catulle!
 Miror quod _Bassi filia_ potat aquam.

“I am not the least surprised, O Catullus, that your nymph Bassa drinks
water; what I _am_ surprised at is that Bass’s daughter drinks water.”
The epigram has also been rendered into English verse:—

 Not strange, my friend, I’m thinking,
 Thy Bassa water drinking,
 Most strange that Bass’s daughter
 Should think of drinking water.

Mr. M. T. Bass represented Derby in Parliament for thirty-five years,
being eight times elected in succession, only resigning in 1883, having
lived to be the oldest member in the House. He gave Derby a Free
Library, a Museum, an Art Gallery, a Public Bath, and a Recreation
Ground, at a cost of £50,000. Railway Companies’ servants have
reason to be grateful to him, for through his endeavours their hours
of labour, though still in some case left far too long, have on many
lines been considerably shortened. For some years many of them worked
sixteen, eighteen, and even twenty hours out of the twenty-four.
He also strenuously exerted himself to obtain the abolition of
imprisonment for debt. His benefactions to Burton are too numerous
to mention. The chief of them were the gifts of St. Paul’s and St.
Margaret’s {345} Churches, with a Parsonage House, Schools, and an
endowment of £500 a year, and a Workman’s Club and Institute at
a total cost of over £100,000. Mr. Bass was repeatedly offered a
Peerage, and as often refused it. We cannot better conclude this short
and very inadequate description than by quoting the words used by Sir
William Harcourt when opening St. Paul’s Institute at Burton-on-Trent:
“We are met here to-day to commemorate the munificent benefaction of
Mr. Bass. He is a man advanced in years, in honour, and in wealth,
which is the fruit of a life of intelligent industry. He was a Liberal
in his youth; he is a Liberal in his age. Years and wealth have not
brought to him selfish timidity. In his grey hairs he cherishes the
generous sentiments which inspired his earlier days. He has received
freely, and freely has he bestowed.”

The liberality of the firm was not confined to Mr. Michael Bass. The
Messrs. Gretton have erected and endowed a Church in the suburbs of
Burton at a cost of nearly £20,000, and Public Baths and Wash-houses,
costing nearly £10,000, have been presented to the town by Messrs.

The firm of Bass & Co. alone contribute to the National Revenue
upwards of £780 per day, and its breweries at Burton-upon-Trent
are the largest of their kind in the world, the business premises
extending, as we have said, over 145 acres of land. Locomotives have to
a large extent superseded brewers’ drays at Burton, and this firm has
connection with the outer railway systems by twelve miles of rails on
the premises, and use as many as 60,000 railway trucks in the course of
six months. The casks required to carry on the business number 600,000,
of which 46,901 are butts, and 159,608 are hogsheads. Some ingenious
calculations have been made with regard to these casks. Piled one above
another they would make 3,300 pillars, each reaching to the top of
St. Paul’s. The great Egyptian Pyramid is 763 ft. square at the base;
the butts, standing on end and placed bulge to bulge, would furnish
bases for _five_ such pyramids, and the other casks would be more than
sufficient for the superstructure 460 ft. high.

Though labour-saving machinery is used as much as possible, Bass & Co.
employ at Burton alone 2,250 men and boys. In 1821 only 867 men and
61 boys were engaged in all the Burton breweries. In the course of a
season the firm now sends out over 800,000 barrels, and manufacture
raw material weighing 85,000 tons. In the year ending June 30th, 1883,
250,000 quarters of malt were used and 31,000 cwt. of hops. The amount
of business now done by the firm in one year cannot be less than
£2,400,000, figures which will give some idea of the capital employed.

A detailed description of the three brewhouses would fill the whole of
the space devoted to this chapter; suffice it, therefore, to say that
the racking rooms on the ground floor of the new brewery cover more
than one and a half acre, the tunning rooms of the same area contain
2,548 tunning casks of 160 gallons each; and the copper house contains
three water coppers that will boil 12,000 gallons each; and eleven wort
coppers that will each boil 2,200 gallons of wort.

On the cooperage great demands are made, for about 40,000 casks, which
are made in part by machinery, are annually exported. The firm has
thirty-two maltings at Burton, and others elsewhere, which, during the
malting season, make 7,600 qrs. per week.

The annual issue of Bass and Co.’s labels amounts to over one hundred
millions. Some idea of this quantity may be gathered from the fact that
if they were put end to end in one long line they would reach to New
York and back again, a distance of five thousand miles.

Both the late Mr. Bass’s sons are members of the firm. The eldest,
Lord Burton of Rangemore, late member for the Burton division of
Staffordshire, represented Stafford from 1865 to 1868, and East
Staffordshire from 1868 to 1886. Mr. Hamar Bass, the second son,
represented Tamworth for some years, and in the general elections of
1885–6 was returned for West Staffordshire.

Between the firms of Bass and Allsopp there is a friendly rivalry as to
which shall brew the best ale. A few years since Sir M. Arthur Bass and
Mr. Charles Allsopp while fishing on Loch Quvich, in Inverness-shire,
were nearly drowned. Sir Arthur had hooked a large fish, and Mr.
Allsopp, eager to see it, stepped on one side of the boat, which at
once capsized. The anglers and their attendants clung to the bottom
of the boat, and were ultimately thrown on an island in an exhausted
condition! The following paragraph shortly afterwards appeared in the
_World_:—“The exciting accident which nearly proved the death of the
rival brewers of Burton-on-Trent, at once so touching in its record
of disinterested friendship, and so highly satisfactory in its sequel
to the world at large, has suddenly inundated me with facetious rhyme
and caustic epigram. This is how one of my correspondents treats the

 Let friends who go fishing for salmon or wrasse,
 Take a hint from the story of Allsop and Bass;
 When you hook a fine fish, of your brother keep clear,
 Or your salmon, when caught, may _embitter your beer_ (bier).


One of the most ancient and important brewing centres in the kingdom
is the city of Dublin. With one exception, all its breweries are
exclusively devoted to the manufacture of stout, that sturdy beverage
the fame of which has gone forth into all lands; and just as Burton
has acquired the right to be termed the Pale Ale Metropolis, so does
Ireland’s chief town contend with London for the honour of being called
the Capital of Black Beer.

It is remarkable that so early as the commencement of the seventeenth
century, Dublin was already a notable brewing centre, producing a
description of brown ale. Barnaby Ryche, writing about that time, gives
a quaint account of the manners and customs of the people, and calls
attention to the great number of alehouses in Dublin during the reign
of James I.

“I am now,” he says, “to speake of a certaine kind of commodity, that
outstretcheth all that I have hitherto spoken of, and that is the
selling of ale in Dublin, a quotidian commodity that hath vent in every
house in the towne, every day in the weeke, at every houre in the day,
and in every minute in the houre: There is no merchandise so vendible,
it is the very marrow of the commonwealth in Dublin: the whole profit
of the towne stands upon ale-houses, and selling of ale, but yet the
cittizens, a little to dignifie the title, as they use to call every
pedlar a merchant, so they use to call every ale-house a taverne,
whereof there are such plentie, that there are streates of tavernes.

“. . . . This free mart of ale selling in Dublyne is prohibited to
none, but that it is lawfull for every woman (be she better or be she
worse) either to brewe or else to sell ale.”

About the time of the Restoration there were ninety-one public
brewhouses in Dublin, and in the early part of the eighteenth century
the trade, though on the decrease, was evidently thriving, the
brewhouses being seventy in number. It seems, however, that, as the
century wore on, the trade died away, for in 1773 there were only
thirty-five Breweries surviving. The decay of so important an industry
was chiefly due to three causes: In the first place, the Irish brewers
were saddled with a heavy tax, and, secondly, English Porter was taking
the place of old Irish brown ale in the popular fancy. An old song on
the Tavern of the Cross Keys, in Dublin, composed about the middle of
the century, opens with the lines—

 When London Porter was not known in town
 And Irish ale or beer went glibly down.


It does not seem that the Dublin brewers, who were frequently
petitioning Parliament for assistance, faced the difficulty by brewing
Porter themselves until the year 1778. The third adverse influence
was the taste for ardent spirits, especially rum and brandy, which
had sprung up; and the Irish records of the day are full of allusions
to the injury which this was working, not only to the trade of the
Brewers, but to the morals and health of the people.

A remarkable letter is still preserved, written by Henry Grattan on
this subject at the close of the century. It appears to be addressed
to the Brewers of Dublin, probably in answer to one of their numerous
petitions for protection. It is as follows:—


“The Health of Ireland and the prosperity of her breweries I consider
as intimately connected. I have looked to your trade as to a source
of life and a necessary means of subsistence. I have considered it as
the natural nurse of the people and entitled to every encouragement,
favour, and exemption. It is at your source the Parliament will find
in its own country the means of Health with all her flourishing
consequences, and the cure of intoxication with all her misery.

“My wishes are with you always. My exertions, such as they are, you may
ever command.

“I have the honour to be your sincere and your humble servant,


At present (1886) there are only seven firms of any note in Dublin;
and of those existing a hundred years ago but two survive—Messrs.
Sweetman’s and the well-known house of Messrs. Guinness, which has long
been at the head of the trade in Ireland. To some English readers it
may come as a revelation that at the present time this Irish firm is
the greatest producer of malt liquors in the whole world.

Some account of the rise and progress of so vast a business cannot but
be of interest to the student of industrial enterprise, but in the
compass of the present work it will of course only be possible to give
the merest outline of its growth.

Arthur Guinness, the great-grandfather of Sir Edward Guinness, the
present owner, purchased the original premises from a Mr. Ransford
in the year 1759. The business appears to have been of very modest
dimensions, for the plant, as acquired by Arthur Guinness, included
only one mash tun and one seventy-barrel copper. The brewery had, even
at that time, been worked for a considerable period, certainly from the
earliest years of the eighteenth century, and probably before that.

The property, about one acre in extent, thus acquired in 1759, forms
the nucleus of the present gigantic establishment. The principal
brewhouse stands to-day precisely on the site once occupied by
Ransford’s mash tun and copper; but since the commencement of the
nineteenth century many additional properties have from time to
time been acquired, until at present the total area occupied by the
brewhouses and their belongings amounts to between forty and fifty
statute acres.

For many years the dimensions of the business were but moderate.
Wakefield, writing in 1809, states that Guinness was then only the
second brewer in Ireland, Beamish and Crawford of Cork, who brewed
upwards of 100,000 barrels a year, standing first.

Without attempting to account for or to describe the advance, since
Wakefield’s day, of the great Dublin firm (made a limited liability
company in October, 1886), we may briefly notice one or two points of
special interest connected with the manufacture.

The materials used are absolutely confined to malt, pale and roasted,
and hops. Of the latter a preference has always been shown for those of
Kent, no other English varieties being used. But of late years American
Hops have been largely consumed as well. The water for brewing is drawn
from the City Watercourses, and not from the Liffey, as some people
unacquainted with Dublin have supposed.

It would be impossible here to describe in detail the process or
the plant of the St. James’ Gate Brewery, and owing to the position
held by the firm it seems almost unnecessary to say that every
modern improvement of the Engineer and the Scientist, whether for
facilitating the operations of Brewing or for ensuring the safety
and welfare of those employed, has been carefully investigated and
judiciously applied. The minute attention which is paid to every detail
of the process, from the manufacture and selection of the malt, to
the treatment and storage of the beer in every stage, is matched by
the liberal provision made for the men engaged in the work and their

To the visitor nothing is more astonishing than the size and number
of the vats. Some of these huge erections of Oak and Iron contain no
less than 90,000 gallons apiece; and to a lengthened storage in these
is due in great measure the peculiar character of the Stout devoted to
the foreign export trade. The tendency in most modern breweries has
been to dispense with lengthened storage in vat. Not so here, and the
erection of vats of great capacity has kept pace with the extension of
the export trade.

Another remarkable feature is the large provision of ice machines,
{350} or rather of engines for the cooling, by the evaporation of
ether and ammonia, of fluid brine, which circulates by a complicated
system of copper pipes through every part of the vast storehouses,
and ensures a winter temperature on the hottest summer day. It is the
extent to which this system is applied that is so striking in this
establishment, where all is on so vast a scale that the ordinary units
of measurement seem inadequate to convey a notion of the truth. The
same may be said of the multitude of mains by which the finished beer
is conveyed from the storage vats, a distance of half a mile beneath
one of the principal streets of the city, to the lower portion of the
works where the beer is “racked” into cask.

It is related that the Empress of Brazil, who a few years since visited
the Brewery, went away under the impression—a not unnatural one—what
beer was laid on like gas and water to all the houses in Dublin.

A small railway of 22-inch gauge, and which is altogether about two
miles in length, penetrates every part of the Brewery. The rolling
stock includes six locomotives and upwards of one hundred and sixty
trucks and bogies.

The descent from the Brewery to the lower level of the river side has
been engineered with remarkable skill. In order to avoid crossing the
street which bisects the works a spiral tunnel has been constructed,
by means of which the line descends thirty feet in three circuits, the
diameter of which is only forty yards, while the gradient is 1 in 39.
Much of the internal traffic of the Brewery is thus carried on with
ease and rapidity by means of this unique underground railway.

So far as is possible in a Brewery which has been added to from time to
time, advantage has been taken of the physical features of the locality
in the general arrangement of the plant. Thus the finished beer runs by
gravitation from the Brewery to the Racking Stores, which are situated
upon the Quays. Full advantage has been taken of this excellent
position, and the firm possesses a fleet of steamers and barges which
convey the filled casks to the docks, a distance of a mile and a half.
The Export trade is entirely carried on by river, while a branch line
from the Great Southern and Western Railway terminus bears away many a
train-load of porter every day, to be distributed over the whole length
and breadth of Ireland.

We have already borne witness to the increasing popularity of porte
in Ireland, and feel sure that no better thing could happen to the
“distressful country” than that the drinking of whisky and the bad
substitutes that are sold under that name should be brought within
{351} reasonable limits, and that malt liquor should become the daily
drink of every Irish farmer, who from that source will find, to again
quote Grattan’s words, “the means of Health with all her flourishing
consequences, and the cure of intoxication with all her misery.”

Romford, in Essex, is known to the few as the birthplace of Sir Anthony
Cooke and Francis Quarles, the poet; but to the many it is the source
whence come certain excellent and deservedly popular ales. Through the
town wanders a little stream now called the Rom, but described in old
country Maps as the Bourne Brooke, and which in the fifteenth century
was called the Mercke-dyche.[67] Towards the close of the eighteenth
century there stood by the bridge which carries the High Street over
this rivulet, a small Inn called the Star. The innkeeper, according
to the fashion of the times, brewed his own beer, and at the rear of
his hostel was a small brewhouse. His mash tub was no doubt of modest
dimensions, and his “liquor” was possibly drawn from the Mercke-dyche,
for in that day pure water could be got from most streams and rivers.
Now, sad to say, an unpolluted stream is almost unknown, and nine wells
supply the water which, with a due admixture of malt and hops, forms
that admirable compound known as Romford Ale.

   [67] It is curious that the river now takes its name from the
   town, and not _vice versa_, as is generally the case. “Romford” is
   mentioned in the Red Book of the Exchequer in 1166, when the stream
   was called the Mercke-dyche. Some antiquarians derive the word from
   Roman-ford, but it probably simply means broad-ford, the first
   syllable being the Saxon word for broad and akin to roomy.

In the year 1799 two important events happened in the town. That which
probably created the most profound sensation among the inhabitants
was the death of a most eccentric person, James Wilson, the corpulent
butcher of Romford. This worthy was in the habit of going to church
on Sunday sometime before the hour of service, and loudly singing
psalms by himself, until the minister came to the desk. On the last
fast-day before his death he remained in church between morning and
evening services, repeating the Lord’s Prayer and singing psalms in
each of the pews, only leaving the church when there remained no pew
in which he had not performed his devotions. Another peculiarity was
the peripatetic manner in which he sometimes took his meals. Armed
with a shoulder of mutton in one hand, some salt in the bend of his
arm, a small loaf, and a large knife, he would wander up and down the
street until all was consumed. He was, moreover, an {352} excellent
penman, as the vestry books to this day witness, and his meat bills
were well worthy of framing. One line would be in German text, another
in Roman characters; no two meats being written in the same coloured
ink. The death of such a man naturally attracted more attention than
the second event alluded to, a small commercial transaction, which we
venture to think was of more importance to the community at large than
the decease of the butcher. This was the purchase of the Star Inn and
Brewery by Mr. Ind, who, in conjunction with a Mr. Grosvenor, carried
on the business of a brewer. Seventeen years later the partnership was
dissolved, Mr. John Smith took the place of Mr. Grosvenor, and until
1845 the firm traded as Ind and Smith. In that year Mr. Smith sold
his share in the Brewery, and Mr. O. E. Coope and his brother, George
Coope, joined the firm, which then, for the first time, adopted its
present title of Ind, Coope & Co.

A few years back the following epigram appeared in one of the London
comic papers in connection with the name of the firm and _Drink_, the
English version of the play _L’Assomoir_:—

 The drunkards in the play of _Drink_
   All reeling in a group, O,
 Close on intoxication’s brink,
   Swill stronger stuff than soup, O,
 What is their liquor do you think?—
   It should be Ind and Coope, O (Coupeau).

Mr. Ind, the founder of the Romford Brewery, died in 1848, his place
being taken by his son, the present Mr. Ind. Mr. E. V. Ind, another
son of the founder, was also made a partner, as was Mr. Charles Peter
Matthews, to whose skill as a brewer Romford Ales owe much of their
reputation. In 1858, Mr. Thomas Helme (who has recently assumed the
name of Mashiter) joined the firm, which consisted in 1886 of Messrs.
O. E. Coope; Edward Ind; C. P. Matthews (the general managing partner);
T. Mashiter; together with their four sons, and Major F. J. N. Ind, son
of the late Mr. E. V. Ind.

In 1853 Messrs. Ind, Coope & Co. purchased a brewery at Burton, which,
having been enlarged from time to time, now rivals in size the old
brewhouse at Romford. It is under the direction of Mr. E. J. Bird, the
Burton managing partner.

The mash tuns, vats, coppers, &c., of the Romford brewery differ
but little from those used by other firms of the first rank. In the
brewhouse are thirty-two malt bins, the eight largest of which hold
900 quarters, and are each about as large as a small dwelling-house.
{353} Altogether 10,000 quarters of malt can be stored. Extensive hop
rooms, one of which is 110 feet long by 80 feet wide, afford storage
for 5,000 pockets of hops. There are six coppers, the largest of which
holds 32,400 gallons. In the fermenting room are twenty-four squares
with capacities ranging up to 500 barrels. The stores are in seventeen
buildings connected by tramways, and the tram lines on which the casks
are rolled are about eight miles in length. About 600,000 full casks of
various sizes are sent out from the store every year. In the stores are
twenty-three huge vats used for storing old ale.

The cooperage is one of the largest departments in the brewery, giving
employment to thirty-two coopers and fifty-six assistants. In the
stables are some forty or fifty horses, and the more thoroughly to
dispel the popular delusion that brewers’ horses are fed on grains, it
may be worth while stating that these have each an allowance of 42 lbs.
per day of oats, beans, clover, meadow-hay, oat-straw and bran, all
either cut or bruised and mixed together.

On the brewery are kept three fire-engines (a steamer and two manuals)
and a well organised fire-brigade of ten men, which is ever ready to
render its services at fires in the neighbourhood. A laudable feature
in connection with the brewery is a Friendly Society, to which all
the employés belong, and which ensures their receiving, among other
benefits, a substantial allowance during sickness.

At Romford the firm give employment to three hundred men and boys,
exclusive of officials, collectors, &c., and are large employers of
labour at their London stores (where eighty horses are in use); at
their Burton brewery, and at their twenty-five country depôts. The
firm is a great supporter of the Volunteer movement. For many years
Mr. Coope was Major of the Essex Volunteers, and one company of the
battalion to which he was attached is entirely made up of brewery
employés, “doughty sons of malt and hops.”

Messrs. Ind, Coope & Co. stick to the old-fashioned materials for their
beer, and the large extent of what may be termed their private family
trade is an indication not to be lightly disregarded that we English
still adhere to our ancient friendship for Sir John Barleycorn.

One other Burton Brewery yet remains to be mentioned, that of Messrs.
Thomas Salt & Company, at the head of which firm is Mr. Henry Wardle,
the present (1886) member for South Derbyshire, the other partners
being Messrs. Edward Dawson Salt, William Cecil Salt, and Henry George

To trace the origin of the firm, it is necessary to go back as far as
{354} the year 1774, when Messrs. Salt & Co.’s maltings were worked
in conjunction with the brewery of Messrs. Clay & Sons. It was about
this time that the great-grandfather of two present members of the
firm added a brewery to the malting business, and thus, in the list
of brewers, then few in number, given in the records of the town for
1789, we find the name of Thomas Salt. In 1822 the only Burton Brewers
mentioned in Pigott’s _Commercial Directory_ were S. Allsopp & Co.;
Bass and Ratcliffe; Thomas Salt & Co.; John Sherrard; and William

When in 1823 the Burton brewers determined to brew an ale which could
compete with Hodgson’s then well-known India pale ale, Salt & Co.
were among the first to bring the idea to a practical issue. There
must indeed have been no lack of energy on the part of the firm, for
in 1884 they came off with flying colours at the International Health
Exhibition, gaining a gold medal for the excellence of their ale.

Salt & Co.’s brewery is bounded on the front by the High Street, while
at the back flows the silvery Trent, the waters of which are not used
in brewing, as many people suppose. Even in Burton, famous as it is
for its waters, every well sunk does not produce the right sort of
“liquor,” and Messrs. Salt & Co., after many fruitless borings on their
own premises, were obliged to sink an artesian well a quarter of a mile
distant before they could obtain the water most suitable for their

The firm have several maltings in Burton, the most important of which
is that situated on the Wallsitch. It consists of three huge blocks of
buildings, each of which is seventy yards long, thirty wide, and four
storeys high. As a malting has not yet been described in this book,
some account of the interior of John Barleycorn’s Crematory, taking
that last erected by Messrs. Salt & Co. as a sample, may be read with

On the ground floor is the cistern, into which the barley, after being
cleansed (technically “screened”), is placed for the purpose of being
steeped. At the end of about fifty hours the clear water is drained
off, and the soaked barley is thrown into the couch frame, where
it remains about twenty-five hours. The grain has now commenced to
germinate. The next process is to distribute it over various floors (by
means of baskets lowered and raised by steam windlasses), where it is
spread on clean red tiles, in layers varying from two to four inches
in thickness, according to the temperature of the weather. For four
or five days the barley is left to grow. At the end of that time its
vitality begins to flag {355} for lack of moisture, and more water is
added, the skill of the maltster being taxed to the utmost in assigning
such a proportion of water as will develop the grain into perfect malt.
At the end of about ten days germination is complete. A great and
wonderful transformation has now taken place, the hard stubborn corn
having been reduced to tender friable malt. The next process is to dry
the malt, and for this purpose it is placed in a kiln and subjected
to a high temperature until the vital principle of germination is
extinguished, and the desired colour has been acquired. Any dry
rootlets which adhere to the grain are then separated by trampling,
a second screening takes place, and the malt is measured into sacks,
every precaution being taken to prevent exposure to the atmosphere,
until it is finally placed in the big bins above the mash tub.

In the process of malting the most ingenious apparatus used is the
screen, which may be described as a _multum in parvo_ piece of
mechanism. Of these machines there are three, each being worked by an
endless leathern rope, and by an ingenious system of graduated riddles,
performing four distinct operations. In one compartment the dust is
blown away by revolving fans, in another the broken half-corns are
removed; the third action clears all stones, rubbish, &c., away, and
finally the thin inferior corns are separated.

To avoid repetition, we are obliged to omit a description of the
brewery, those of the first class at Burton being very similar to one
another. In order to give some idea of the extent of Messrs. Salt
and Co.’s operations, it may be mentioned that in the new house are
five mash tubs, each with a capacity of fifty-five qrs. of malt. The
cooperage belonging to this firm is noteworthy, the casks being made
by elaborate machinery worked by steam, a system followed in very few
English breweries, but which is not uncommon in America.

In the archives of the firm of Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co., is a
document bearing the date 1719, which purports to be “An Inventory of
the Goods, Chattels, and Credits of Joseph Truman, which since his
death have come into the hands, possession and knowledge of Benjamin
Truman, Daniel Cooper, and the Executors named in the will of Joseph
Truman.” No earlier written record of the firm is in existence, but
there is a tradition that at some remote period of history there
existed one John Oliver Truman, who carried on the business in Brick
Lane, and to this day all casks leaving the brewery are branded I.O.T.
Even in 1741 the business transacted was considerable. There were then
four partners—Benjamin Truman, John Denne, Francis Cooper and the {356}
executors of Alud Denne. Among the customers were two hundred and
ninety-six publicans, one of whom was John Denne, who retailed the beer
made by this firm.

To the Benjamin Truman above-mentioned must be given the credit of
having made the brewery one of the most important in London. In 1737,
when the Duchess of Brunswick (grand-daughter of George II.) was born,
the Prince of Wales ordered bonfires to be made before Carlton House,
and four barrels of beer to be given to the populace. But the brewer to
the royal household provided beer of the smallest, and the mob threw
it in each other’s faces and into the fire. The Prince good-naturedly
ordered a second bonfire the succeeding night, and Benjamin Truman
supplied the beer. He had the wisdom to send a sturdy brew, the best
his cellars could produce, and the people were greatly pleased. With
such a shrewd trader at its head, it is not surprising that by 1760
Truman’s had taken its place as third among the great London Breweries.
Calvert and Seward came first with 74,704 barrels, Whitbread’s next
with 60,508 barrels, Truman’s following with 60,140 barrels.

Benjamin Truman was knighted by George III., and portraits of him
and his daughter, by Gainsborough, still hang in the drawing room
of the house in Brick Lane. In the same room is a portrait of Mr.
Sampson Hanbury (the first of the name who joined the firm), a famous
sportsman, who for thirty-five years was Master of the Puckeridge
Hounds. He entered the firm in 1780, and was subsequently joined by his
brother. Sampson Hanbury’s sister, Anna, married Thomas Fowell Buxton,
of Earle’s Colne. This gentleman was High Sheriff of his county, and
served the office with special credit. He died in 1792, leaving a
widow, three sons, and two daughters. The eldest son, Thomas Fowell
Buxton, was only six years old at his father’s death. This little
fellow was destined to be, perhaps, the most distinguished partner in
the firm. He was educated at Greenwich, and Trinity College, Dublin,
at which latter place he carried off the highest honours, and when
only twenty-one years of age received an influential requisition to
represent the University in Parliament. This honour he declined. He
had originally been intended for the Bar, but in 1808, when on a visit
to the brewery, his uncles, Osgood and Sampson Hanbury, being struck
with his undoubted abilities, offered him a situation in the business,
and in 1811 made him a partner. The other members of the firm at that
time were Mr. Sampson Hanbury, Mr. John Truman Villebois, and Mr. Henry
Villebois. {357}

To the young partner was soon given the work of re-modelling the
Establishment, a task in which he succeeded admirably. A few years
later he began to take an interest in public affairs, devoting himself
more particularly to a consideration of subjects connected with prison
discipline and the criminal code, into which his early training for
the Bar gave him some insight. In 1818 he was elected for Weymouth,
and, owing in a great measure to his exertions and co-operation, Sir
Robert Peel carried his Bill for the abolition of capital punishment
for trivial offences. Mr. Buxton’s great work was in connection with
the Slavery question. Into the cause of Liberty he threw himself heart
and soul, and to his unceasing endeavours were in great measure due
the glorious results ultimately achieved. The Beer Act, passed in
1830, had Mr. Buxton’s approval. “I have always voted for free trade
when the interests of others are concerned,” he said, “and it would be
awkward to change when my own are in jeopardy. I am pleased to have
an opportunity of proving that our real monoply is one of skill and

In June, 1831, occurred a noteworthy event in the history of the
firm. This was a visit by a number of Cabinet Ministers to inspect
the brewery. Mr. Buxton had provided an elaborate banquet, but Lord
Brougham said that beef-steaks and porter were more appropriate to the
occasion, so of those excellent comestibles the dinner in great part
consisted. Of this visit Mr. Buxton has left a very lively account,
too long, unfortunately, to be given here. Among the guests, who
numbered twenty-three, were the Lord Chancellor, Lord Grey, the Duke of
Richmond, the Marquis of Cleveland, Lords Shaftesbury, Sefton, Howick,
Durham, and Duncannon, General Alava, Dr. Lushington, Spring Rice and
W. Brougham. Mr. Buxton first took them to see the steam engine. Lord
Brougham immediately delivered a little lecture upon steam power, and,
as the party went through the brewery, had so much to say about the
machinery that Joseph Gurney said he understood brewing better than any
person on the premises. At dinner “the Chancellor lost not a moment,
he was always eating, drinking, talking or laughing.” Later on the
Ministers inspected the stables, and the Lord Chancellor surprised
everyone by his knowledge of horseflesh. Some one proposed that he
should mount one of the horses and ride round the yard, which he seemed
very willing to do—such is the power of brown stout!

On the 9th November, 1841, a large new structure was opened, and to
celebrate the event a supper was given to the men. In the midst of it
the good news came that the Queen had given birth to a son. In honour
of Her Majesty’s first-born, a huge vat was christened. “The {358}
Prince of Wales.” The inscription can still be seen. Twenty-five years
later, when on a visit to the brewery, his Royal Highness had the
satisfaction of drinking a glass of stout drawn from his namesake.

In 1837, after twenty years’ faithful service, Mr. Buxton was defeated
at Weymouth. Finding his health demanded repose, though invited by
twenty-seven constituencies to represent them, he determined to leave
Parliamentary life, and in 1841 a baronetcy was conferred on him by
Lord John Russell. Even when out of Parliament he gave himself no rest,
his mind being full of philanthropic schemes. He died in 1845, at the
age of fifty-nine, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

In 1820 Mr. Robert Hanbury, nephew of Mr. Sampson Hanbury, became a
partner in the firm, of which he was the head for many years. He was
born in 1796, and during the few years previous to his death was the
oldest member of the London brewing trade. He is remembered for his
philanthropy and benevolence. During the period when Mr. Thomas F.
Buxton was engaged with public affairs nearly the whole management and
control of the brewery fell on Mr. Hanbury.

In 1814 the first steam-engine was erected in the brewery. Previously
the mashing was accomplished with long oars worked by sturdy Irishmen,
and each brewing occupied twenty-four hours.

At the present time (1886) the members of the firm are Messrs. Arthur
Pryor; C. A. Hanbury; T. F. Buxton; Sir T. Fowell Buxton, Bart.;
Messrs. E. N. Buxton; J. H. Buxton; E. S. Hanbury; A. V. Pryor;
R. Pryor; J. M. Hanbury; and Gerald Buxton. Of these perhaps the
best known to the public is Mr. Edward North Buxton, whose name has
long been before them in connection with many measures of national

Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. have always been a little
ahead of the times, and it is not surprising to find in the brewery
appliances of the most improved description. As an instance of this,
when Lord Palmerston was at the Home Office he ordered that all London
manufacturers should erect smoke-consuming furnaces. Mr. Buxton had,
however, already adopted the principle, so that when the Home Secretary
was abused by the manufacturers for ordering them to do the impossible,
he was able to point out that what he desired had been already done.
Palmerston publicly thanked the firm for this in the House of Commons.

The brewery, cooperage, and stables in Brick Lane cover about five
acres, and near at hand are the Coverley Fields, where are the {359}
signboard and wheelwright shops, cellars, &c., covering about three
and a half acres. As may be imagined, a small army of men is employed
in the brewery, numbering in all about four hundred and fifty.

Worthy of special notice in the brewhouse are the cleansing vessels,
which, being very shallow, do their work with great rapidity. On
the ground-floor is a novelty, one room being completely filled
with shallow slate vessels for holding the yeast in summer. Each of
these vessels has a false bottom, under which cold liquor (in vulgar
parlance, water) constantly circulates, rendering the yeast so cool
that is may be kept for some time in the hottest summer weather.

In the brewery are ninety-five vats, which have a total capacity of
3,463,992 gallons, an amount which it has been calculated is about five
times the capacity of all the swimming-baths in London put together.
These huge vats are, however, but rarely used. Nearly 80,000 casks are
always in use.

When the light ales came into fashion Messrs. Truman & Co. wisely
determined to start a pale-ale brewery at Burton. They carried out
their resolve in 1874. Of this it can only be said that everything
Science could do to make the brewery perfect was done, and that the
pale ales are brewed on the most approved Burton principles.

The founder of the firm of Whitbread & Co. was the son of a yeoman who
lived on a small estate at Cardington, in Bedfordshire. On his father’s
death he improved the property by building, and from one propitious
circumstance to another gradually amassed an immense fortune. It was
in the year 1742 that Mr. Whitbread commenced business as a brewer, at
the Brew House, Old Street, St. Luke’s, the premises now occupied by
the firm of More & Co. In 1750 he removed to Chiswell Street, where
for fifty years previously had been a brewery. Here the business was
developed with great vigour, and from the returns made necessary in
1760 by the imposition of a Beer-tax, we learn that in that year
Whitbread’s brewed no less than 63,408 barrels of beer, only one other
London firm—Calvert & Seward—brewing a greater quantity. In 1785 steam
power was introduced into the brewery. In connection with this event
are two very celebrated names, for the Sun and Planet engine, still
in use, was manufactured by the firm of which Watt was a partner; and
John Rennie adapted the other machinery to the new motive power. About
the same period six huge underground cisterns were made, after designs
by Smeaton, varying in capacity from 700 to 3,600 barrels each. Two
years later Mr. Whitbread had the honour of a visit from King George
and Queen Charlotte, the particulars {360} of which are recorded in
a humorous poem of considerable length, by Peter Pindar (Dr. Walcot),
a few verses from which will suffice to give some idea of what took
place on that auspicious occasion. A more prosaic, and no doubt more
credible, account will be found in the _Daily Chronicle_ of that period.

        *       *       *       *       *
 Full of the art of brewing beer,
     The monarch heard of Whitbread’s fame;
 Quoth he unto the queen, “My dear, my dear,
     Whitbread hath got a marvellous great name;
 Charly, we must, must, must see Whitbread brew—
 Rich as us, Charly, richer than a Jew;
 Shame, shame, we have not yet his brewhouse seen!”
 Thus sweetly said the king unto the queen.
 Red-hot with novelty’s delightful rage,
 To Mister Whitbread forth he sent a page,
     To say that Majesty proposed to view,
 With thirst of knowledge deep inflam’d,
 His vats, and tubs, and hops, and hogsheads fam’d,
     And learn the noble secret how to _brew_.
        *       *       *       *       *

The preparations at the brewery are then described, followed by the
arrival of King, Queen, Princesses and Courtiers. The conversation of
the King, who “asked a thousand questions with a laugh, before poor
Whitbread comprehended half,” was, according to the poet, as “five
hundred parrots, gabbling just like Jews.”

 Thus was the brewhouse fill’d with gabbling noise,
 Whilst drayman, and the brewer’s boys,
 Devour’d the questions that the King did ask:
     In diff’rent parties were they staring seen,
     Wond’ring to think they saw a _King_ and _Queen_!
 Behind a tub were some, and some behind a cask.

 Some draymen forc’d themselves (a pretty luncheon)
 Into the mouth of many a gaping puncheon;
 And through the bunghole wink’d with curious eye,
     To view and be assur’d what sort of things
     Were princesses, and queens, and kings;
 For whose most lofty stations thousands sigh!
 And, lo! of all the gaping clan,
 Few were the mouths that had not got a man!


George III. was no doubt of opinion that a thing worth doing was
worth doing well, and no detail of the manufacture of beer seemed too
insignificant to interest him. “Thus microscopic geniuses explore,”
says Peter Pindar.

 And now his curious majesty did stoop
 To count the nails on ev’ry hoop;
 And, lo! no single thing came in his way,
 That, full of deep research, he did not say,
 “What’s this? he, he? What’s that? What’s this?
     What’s that?”
 So quick the words too when he deign’d to speak,
 As if each syllable would break its neck.

The extent of the business at that time may be gathered from the
following verse:—

 Now boasting Whitbread, serious did declare,
 To make the majesty of England stare,
 That he had buts enough, he knew,
 Plac’d side by side, to reach along to Kew:
 On which the king with wonder swiftly cry’d,
     “What if they reach to Kew then, side by side,
     What would they do, what, what, plac’d end to end?”

To this Mr. Whitbread replies that they would probably reach to Windsor.

After awhile the King began to take notes.

 Now, majesty, alive to knowledge, took
 A very pretty memorandum-book,
 With gilded leaves of asses’ skins so white,
 And in it legibly did write—


 A charming place beneath the grates,
 For roasting chesnuts or potates,


 ’Tis hops that gives a bitterness to beer—
 Hops grow in Kent, says Whitbread, and elsewhere.


 Is there no cheaper stuff? where doth it dwell?
 Would not horse-aloes bitter it as well? {362}


 To try it soon on our small beer—
 ’Twill save us sev’ral pounds a year.
        *       *       *       *       *

   Not to forget to take of beer the cask
     The brewers offer’d me, away.
        *       *       *       *       *
   To Whitbread now deign’d majesty, to say,
     “Whitbread are all your horses fond of hay?”
     “Yes, please your Majesty!” in humble notes,
   The brewer answered—“also fond of oats:
   Another thing my horses too maintains—
   And that, an’t please your Majesty are grains.”

   “Grains—grains,” said majesty, “to fill their crops?
    Grains, grains, that comes from hops—yes, hops, hops, hops.”
 Later on the brewery pigs were reviewed by the King,
    On which the observant man who fills a throne
    Declar’d the pigs were vastly like his own.

After the brewery had been inspected Mr. Whitbread entertained the King
and Queen at a banquet.

For several sessions Mr. Whitbread sat in Parliament as the member
for Bedford. He was a man of much benevolence, and it is said of him
that his charity, which was as judicious as it was extensive, was
felt in every parish where he had property. His private distributions
annually exceeded 3,000. Among the records of the Brewers’ Company we
came upon a conveyance from him to the Company of three freehold farms
in Bedfordshire, the income arising from which was to be devoted to
supporting “one or two Master brewers of the age of fifty years or
upwards, who had carried on the trade of a brewer within the bills of
mortality or two miles thereof for many years in a considerable and
respectable manner with good characters but by losses in the brewing
trade only shall have come to decay or been reduced in circumstances
and want relief.” By another indenture of the same date three dwelling
houses in Whitecross Street, London, are conveyed to the Company,
the income to be devoted towards the “support and relief of poor
freemen of the Co^y. of Brewers being proper objects and their widows
(particularly preferring such objects as shall be blind, lame {363}
afflicted with palsy or very aged).” The date of the gift is 1794. Only
two years later the donor died. His portrait, by Sir Joshua Reynolds,
is still to be seen in the Hall of the Brewers’ Company.

Mr. Samuel Whitbread, son of the founder, and remembered as Mr.
Whitbread the politician, now became the head of the firm, and, having
associated with himself partners, carried on the business as Whitbread
& Co. He sat in Parliament for several years, and was a firm supporter
of the Liberal party. It is related of him that being one evening at
Brooks’s he talked loudly and largely against the Ministers for laying
what was called the _war-tax_ upon malt; every one present of course
concurred with him in opinion; but Sheridan could not resist the
gratification of displaying his ever ready wit. Taking out his pencil,
he wrote upon the back of a letter the following lines, which he handed
to Mr. Whitbread across the table:—

 They’ve raised the price of table drink;
 What is the reason, do you think?
 The tax on malt’s the cause, I hear:
 But what has malt to do with beer?

Mr. Whitbread the politician is mentioned in _Rejected Addresses_, and
it is worthy of note that he took a considerable part in the rebuilding
of Drury Lane Theatre after it had been destroyed by fire.

Since 1760 the business had wonderfully increased. In 1806 we find
Whitbread & Co. stand fourth among the London brewers, brewing 101,311
barrels. In the succeeding ten years the business more than doubled
itself, the beer brewed in 1815 amounting to 261,018 barrels.

Mr. Whitbread, the son of the founder, died in 1820. A writer in the
_London Magazine_ of that date gives a careful study of his character
as a politician. “He was an honest man, and a true Parliamentary
speaker. He had no artifices, no tricks, no reserve about him. He spoke
point-blank what he thought, and his heart was in his broad, honest,
English face. . . . . If a falsehood was stated, he contradicted
it instantly in a few brief words: if an act of injustice was
palliated, it excited his contempt; if it was justified, it roused his
indignation; he retorted a mean insinuation with manly spirit, and
never shrank from a frank avowal of his sentiments.”

Mr. Whitbread the politician left two sons, the younger of whom
represented Middlesex for several years, and died in 1879. Of the
present member for Bedford, grandson of the politician, we need say
but little. {364} He was born in 1830, was educated at Rugby and
Cambridge, has sat for Bedford since 1852, and is one of the most
respected members of the House of Commons.

There are, it need hardly be said, many other brewing firms of the
first rank in the United Kingdom. The length to which this chapter has
grown absolutely prohibits us from giving, as we had intended, a sketch
of a large Edinburgh firm. There is, however, scattered through these
pages continual reference to the good ale—“jolly good ale and old”—of
Scotland. The old ales of Edinburgh are now giving way somewhat to the
pale ales affected by the temperate drinkers of the period, but old
Scotch ale is by no means a thing of the past, and has a world-wide
reputation. Most of the Edinburgh breweries have been established a
very long time, in some cases over a hundred years.

In the earlier portions of this book punning allusions to ale by
old writers have been freely quoted; with them may be compared
the following extract from a modern play, _Little Jack Sheppard_,
written by Messrs. Stephens and Yardley, and which contains facetious
references to some of the firms whose histories have just been related.

  When out at sea the crew set me, Thames Darrell,
  Afloat upon the waves within a barrel.

  In hopes the _barrel_ would turn out your _bier_.

  But I’m _stout_-hearted and I didn’t fear.
  I nearly died of thirst.

                         Poor boy! Alas!

  Until I caught a fish—

                          What sort?

                                    _A bass._
 Then came the worst, which nearly proved my ruin,
 A storm, a thing I can’t _abear, a brewin’_.

  It makes me pale.

                  It made _me pale_ and _ail_.
  When nearly _coopered_ I descried a sail;
  They didn’t hear me, though I loudly whooped.
  Within the barrel I was _inned_ and _cooped_.
  _All’s up_, I thought, when round they quickly brought her,
  That ship to me of safety was the _porter_;
  Half dead and half alive. Ha! ha!

                                  Don’t laugh.
  ’Twas very bitter.

                   No, ’twas _half and half_.




 And what this flood of deeper brown,
 Which a white foam does also crown,
 Less white than snow, more white than mortar?
 Oh, my soul! can this be Porter?
                                                         _The Déjeunè._

 P raised and caress’d, the tuneful Philips sung
 O f Cyder fam’d, whence first his laurel sprung;
 R ise then, my muse, and to the world proclaim
 T he mighty charms of Porter’s potent name:
 E ach buck from thee shall sweetest pleasure taste,
 R evel secure, nor think to part in haste.
                                                        _An Acrostick._


Before the Blue Last, an old public-house situate in Curtain Road,
Shoreditch, there formerly hung a board which bore this legend:—“The
house where porter was first sold.”

Whether this was true or false we cannot say; certain it is, however,
that the drink which has made London and Dublin brewers famed far and
wide had its birthplace not far from this spot.

It appears that in the early years of last century the lovers of malt
liquors in London were accustomed to regale themselves upon three
classes of these beverages; they had ale, beer, and twopenny. Many who
preferred a more subtle combination of flavours than either of these
liquors {366} alone could impart, would ask for _half-and-half_, that
is, half of ale and half of beer, half of ale and half of twopenny, or
half of beer and half of twopenny. Others again—and these were the real
connoisseurs of malt liquors—would call for a pot of three threads,
or three thirds, _i.e._, one-third of ale, one-third of beer, and
one-third of twopenny. The drawer would therefore have to go to three
different casks, and through three distinct operations, before he could
draw a pint of liquor. But the hour had come—and the man. One Ralph
Harwood, whose name is too little known to an ungrateful posterity of
beer-drinking Britons, some time about the year 1730, kept a brewhouse
on the east side of High Street, Shoreditch. In that year, or perhaps
a little earlier, as this great man brooded over the inconvenience and
waste occasioned by the calls for the “three threads,” which became
more and more frequent, he conceived the idea of making a liquor which
would combine in itself the several virtues of ale, beer, and twopenny.
He carried the idea into action, and brewed a drink which he called
“Entire,” or “Entire Butts.” It was tasted; it was approved; it became
the fruitful parent of a mighty offspring; and from that day to this
has gone on increasing in name and fame.

Visitors to the great brewery in Brick Lane are shown a hole from which
steam issues to the accompaniment of awful rumbling noises. “In there
once fell a man,” they are told—“a negro. Nothing but his bones were
found when the copper was emptied, and it is said that the beer drawn
off was of an extraordinary dark colour. Some say this was the first
brew of porter. Oh yes” (this in answer to a question), “we soon learnt
how to make it without the negro.” We must confess that we have some
doubts as to this account of the origin of porter. We do not believe
that brew could have been much darker on account of the accident,
though no doubt, under the circumstances, it contained plenty of
“body.” A similar tale is told of nearly every London porter brewery,
and later on it will be found in verse.

It seems to be to some extent a moot point among the learned how porter
obtained its present name, for no record seems to have been kept of
its christening. Harwood, no doubt, stood godfather to his interesting
infant, but, as we have seen above, he called it “Entire;” and how
or when it came to be known as porter is not quite clear. There are
several theories on the subject, each more or less plausible. One
is that being a hearty, appetizing, and nourishing liquor, it was
specially recommended to the notice of the porters, who then, as now,
formed a {367} considerable proportion of the Shoreditch population.
Pennant, in his _London_ seems, to have held this view; he calls it “a
wholesome liquor, which enables the London porter-drinkers to undergo
tasks that ten gin-drinkers would sink under.” Another explanation
of the origin of the name is that Harwood sent round his men to his
customers with the liquor, and that the men would announce their
arrival and their business by the cry of “Porter”—meaning, not the
beer, but the bearer. Be this how it may, the embodiment of Harwood’s
great idea had not attained its majority before it was known far and
wide by its present name.

       *       *       *       *       *

In _The Student_ (1750) is thus related the first appearance of porter
at Oxford—. . . “Let us not derogate from the merits of porter—a liquor
entirely British—a liquor that pleases equally the mechanic and the
peer—a liquor which is the strength of our nation, the scourge of our
enemies, and which has given _immortality_ to aldermen. ’Tis with the
highest satisfaction that we can inform our Oxford students that _Isis_
herself has taken this divine liquor into her protection, and that the
_Muses_ recommend it to their votaries, as being far preferable to
Hippocrene, Aganippe, the Castalian spring, or any _poetical water_
whatever. Know, then, that in the middle of the High Street, at the
sign of the King’s Arms, opposite to its opposite, Juggins’s Coffee
House, lives Captain Jolly; who _maugrè_ the selfish opposition of his
brother publicans, out of a pure affection to this University, and
regardless of private profit, reduc’d porter from its original price of
Sixpence, and in large golden characters generously informs us that he

     “London Porter
 At Fourpence a Quart.

“As the Captain is a genius and a choice spirit he meets with the
greatest encouragement from the gown, and sends porter to all the
common-rooms. He therefore intends shortly (in imitation of the great
Ashley, of the Punch House, Ludgate Hill) to have the front of his
house new vamp’d up, and decorated with the following inscription:—

           “Pro bono academico.
 Here lives Captain Jolly
                 who first
 reduced Porter to its’ present price
 Brought that liquor into University esteem.”


Though we fear the great Harwood does not fill the niche in the Temple
of Fame to which he is entitled, yet his praises are not entirely
unsung. Gutteridge, himself a native of Shoreditch, has commemorated
the discovery of porter in these lines:—

 Harwood, my townsman, he invented first
 Porter to rival wine, and quench the thirst:
 Porter, which spreads its fame half the world o’er,
 Whose reputation rises more and more;
 As long as Porter shall preserve its fame,
 Let all with gratitude our Parish name.

“It is not in my power,” says Pennant in the work we have before
quoted, “to trace the progress of this important article of trade.
Let me only say that it is now a national concern; for the duty on
malt from July 5th, 1785, to the same day 1786, produced a million
and a half of money to the support of the State, from a liquor which
invigorates the bodies of its willing subjects, to defend the blessings
they enjoy. One of these Chevaliers de Malte (as an impertinent
Frenchman styled a most respectable gentleman of the trade) has, within
one year, contributed not less than fifty thousand pounds to his own

The person to whom the Frenchman applied the title of Chevalier de
Malte was Humphrey Parsons, a brewer of last century, and the incident
which gave rise to the name has already been referred to.

Pennant gives a list of the chief porter brewers of London at the end
of last century, with the number of barrels of strong beer they brewed
from Midsummer, 1786, to Midsummer, 1787. Samuel Whitbread heads the
list with 150,280 barrels, and among the others may be noted Calvert,
now the City of London Brewery; Hester Thrale, now Barclay and Perkins;
W. Read; and Richard Meux. Most of the other names, though famous in
their day and generation, are not familiar to the modern reader. The
total amount produced by some twenty-four of the chief London brewers
was considerably over one million barrels.

It is interesting to contrast the state of the Brewing trade a hundred
years ago with the proportions to which it has attained to-day.
According to a Parliamentary return made in 1884, there are now six
brewers of the United Kingdom who produce annually over three and a
half million barrels of malt liquor, and who pay to the revenue in
Licence and Beer duty nearly one million and a half sterling per annum.

A fine flavour has occasionally been given to stout by extraordinary
means, as witness the following legend, entitled


 A Brewer in a country town
   Had got a monstrous reputation;
 No other beer but his went down.
   The hosts of the surrounding station,
 Carving his name upon their mugs,
   And painting it on every shutter;
   And though some envious folks would utter,
 Hints that its flavour came from drugs,
 Others maintained ’twas no such matter,
   But owing to his monstrous vat,
   At least as corpulent as that
 At Heidelberg—and some said fatter.

 His foreman was a lusty Black,
   An honest fellow;
 But one who had a ugly knack
   Of tasting samples as he brewed,
 Till he was stupefied and mellow.
   One day in this top-heavy mood,
 Having to cross the vat aforesaid,
   (Just then with boiling beer supplied),
 O’ercome with giddiness and qualms he
   Reel’d—fell in—and nothing more was said,
   But in his favourite liquor died,
 Like Clarence in his butt of Malmsey.

 In all directions round about
   The negro absentee was sought,
   But as no human noddle thought
 That our fat _Black_ was now _Brown Stout_,
 They settled that the rogue had left
 The place for debt, or crime, or theft.
 Meanwhile the beer was day by day
 Drawn into casks and sent away,
 Until the lees flowèd thick and thicker,
   When, lo! outstretched upon the ground,
   Once more their missing friend they found,
 As they had often done before—in liquor. {370}

 “See,” cried his moralising master,
   “I always knew the fellow drank hard,
 And prophesied some sad disaster:
   His fate should other tipplers strike,
 Poor Mungo! there he welters like
   A toast at bottom of a tankard!”

 Next morn a publican, whose tap,
   Had help’d to drain the vat so dry,
 Not having heard of the mishap,
   Came to demand a fresh supply,
 Protesting loudly that the last
 All previous specimens surpass’d,
 Possessing a much richer _gusto_
 Than formerly it ever us’d to,
 And begging, as a special favour,
 Some more of the exact same flavour.

 “Zounds!” cried the brewer, “that’s a task
   More difficult to grant than ask;
 Most gladly would I give the smack
   Of the last beer to the ensuing,
 But where am I to find a Black
   And boil him down at every brewing?”

Professor Wilson, writing on brewing,[68] thus relates his conversion
to the porter-drinker’s creed.

   [68] _Blackwood’s Magazine_, vol. xxi.

       *       *       *       *       *

“From ale we naturally get to porter—porter—drink ‘fit for the gods,’
being, in fact, likely to be, now and then, _too potent_ for mere
mortals. With porter we are less imbued than with ale (not but that
for some years we have imported our annual butt of Barclay); and this
we hold to be one of the great misfortunes of our life. We were early
nurtured in love and affection for ‘good ale’ by our great aunt,
with whom we were a young and frequent visitant. Excellent old Aunt
Patty! She was a Yorkshire woman, and cousin (three times removed)
to Mr. Wilberforce (the father). She too hated _rum_ as the devil’s
own brewage, but then she loved sound ale in the same ratio. Thus it
happened, as we derived our faith in malt liquor from her, that we
{371} penetrated not the mysteries of porter until our elder days.
Our heresy was first effectually shaken by Charles Lamb, who, in his
admirable way, proved to us that, in a hot forenoon, a draught of Meux
or Barclay is beyond all cordial restoratives, and after a broiling
peregrination (the stages were all full) from Coleridge’s lodgings at
Highgate to town, gave us a specimen of the inspiring powers of porter
in a perspiration, which we shall remember until the day of our death.”
Lamb was known by all his friends to have an amiable weakness for
porter, and the poet, in _An Ode to Grog_, thus commemorates the fact:—

 The spruce Mr. Lamb (’pon my word it’s no flam)
   With Whitbread’s Entire makes his Pegasus jog;
 I’ll grant he’s a poet, but then he don’t show wit,
   In thinking that Porter is better than grog.

Burns was fond of porter, as of all other extracts of malt. He
addressed the following lines to his friend Mr. Syme, along with a
present of a dozen of bottled porter:—

 O, had the malt thy strength of mind,
   Or hops the flavour of thy wit,
 ’Twere drink for first of human kind,
   A gift that e’en for Syme were fit.

We have given what we believe to be a correct historical account of
the origin of porter. Peter Pindar, in the _Lamentations of the Porter
Vat_, a poem in which he celebrates the bursting of a mighty porter vat
at Meux’s Brewery, gives a somewhat less prosaic account:—

 Here—as ’tis said—in days of yore,
 (Such days, alas! will come no more),
 Resided Sir John Barleycorn,
 An ancient Briton, nobly born,
 With Mrs. Hop—a well-met pair,
 For he was rich, and she was fair.

 Yet they—like other married Folke,
 When their past vows they can’t revoke—
 Were opposite in disposition,
 And quarrell’d without intermission;
 For He alone produc’d the _Sweets_,
 Which She, with _Bitters_ only, meets! {372}

 Howe’er by dint of perseverance,
 By gentle conjugal endearance,
 The _Sweets_ predominating most,
 In strength excelling, _rul’d the roast_;
 Whilst she, obedient, did her duty—
 That greatest ornament of beauty.

 Her _Bitters_, thus by him controll’d,
 Their wholesome properties unfold,
 And give to him superior pow’rs—
 Superior charms for social hours;
 As _Beauty_, with persuasive tongue,
 Tempers the mind, by _passion_ wrung.

 At length, from this domestic Pair,
 Was born a well-known Son and Heir;
 Whose deeds o’er half the world are fam’d,
 By Britons, Master Porter, nam’d.

Meux’s great vat then contained about 3,555 barrels, and was 22 ft.
high. In October, 1814, owing to the defective state of its hoops,
it burst, and the results were most disastrous. The brewery in the
Tottenham Court Road was at that time hemmed in by miserable tenements,
which were crowded by people of the poorer classes. Some of these
houses were simply flooded with porter, two or three collapsed, and
no less than eight persons met their death, either in the ruins or
from drowning, the fumes of the porter, or by drunkenness. At the
inquest the jury returned the verdict: “Death by Casualty.” Seven huge
vats—the largest holding 15,000 barrels—now take the place of the one
that burst. The _Times_ of April 1, 1785, says, “There is a cask now
building at Messrs. Meux & Co.’s brewery in Liquorpond Street, Gray’s
Inn Lane, the size of which exceeds all credibility, being designed to
hold 20,000 barrels of porter; the whole expense attending the same
will be upwards of £10,000.” About this time the London porter brewers
vied with each other in building large vats, a practice they have now

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be difficult to imagine a liquor more suitable for the working
classes than good porter—taken in moderation, of course. Not only
does it afford the slight stimulant which, in another place, we have
shown to be beneficial to the human body, but it also contains much
{373} nutritive matter, both organic and inorganic, together with
saccharine. The old writer who spoke of ale as being meat, drink, and
clothing probably had no highly scientific knowledge of the chemical
properties of the liquor he was extolling, but the statement—based, no
doubt, on experience—can be called an exaggerated one.

Very satisfactory is it to know that in Ireland porter is steadily
displacing whisky. Even in the western portions of the island, the
younger generation—excepting, perhaps, on holidays, at fairs, and on
other festive occasions—are taking most kindly to their “porther.”
It will be a happy thing for that country when “porther” shall have
altogether displaced poteen. The whisky sold at threepence for each
small wine-glassful in most of the country spirit shops in Ireland, and
always taken neat by the natives, is of a most injurious character,
being new, and consequently containing much fusel oil. Far be it from
us to say a word against good, well-matured whisky, which, taken in
moderation, is a most wholesome drink; but, good or bad, it is not the
drink for working men who require a more sustaining and less expensive
liquor. What have the total abstainers to suggest? _Water_, the
diffuser of epidemics, and hardly ever obtained pure by the labouring
classes; _tea_, which is almost as injurious as spirits to the nervous
system, which lacks nutritive properties, and which is by no means an
inexpensive liquor; _coffee_ and _cocoa_, both hot drinks and most
unsuitable to slake the thirst of a labouring man; various effervescing
drinks, all more or less injurious to the digestive organs, when taken
habitually, and of whose composition no man hath knowledge, save the
makers, and _temperance wines_, certain vendors of which were not
long back prosecuted for attempting to defraud the revenue, when this
abstainer’s tipple was found to contain some twenty per cent. of
alcohol. One liquor, alone, have the teetotal party invented, which
is nourishing, inexpensive, and wholesome. This we may term _oatmeal
mash_, or cold comfort. It consists of scalded oatmeal, water, and
some flavouring matter. For harvesters working in the almost tropical
heat of an August sun, this is, no doubt, a wholesome drink, but it
can hardly be called palatable. As a matter of fact, no non-alcoholic
substitute has been put forward by the teetotal party which is in the
least likely to take the place of porter; and until such beverage is
invented—an event which we feel perfectly certain will never come to
pass—the porter and stout brewers of the United Kingdom will have every
opportunity of continuing to confer on the working classes the benefits
of cheap and wholesome liquor. {374}

One temperance drink we had almost overlooked—herb-beer. In the House
of Commons, on May 6, 1886, Mr. Fletcher asked the Chancellor of the
Exchequer why the Excise officers had interfered with the sale of
herb-beer, a non-intoxicating beverage. To this the Chancellor of the
Exchequer replied, that the Inland Revenue did not interfere with any
liquors which contained less than three degrees of proof spirit, though
legally no beer could be brewed under the name of herb-beer which
had more than two degrees of alcohol. Some of these non-intoxicating
liquors, sold as temperance drinks, had been found to be of
considerably greater strength than London porter. For the protection of
the revenue it was necessary—and so on. Comment is needless.

As illustrative of the sustaining powers of brown beer, we may mention
an instance which recently came under our notice. A valuable horse
belonging to a member of the firm of Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, & Co. had
a serious attack of influenza, with slight congestion of the lungs, and
was so ill that it could take no food, and was evidently dying. As a
last resource it was offered stout, which it drank greedily. For two
weeks it entirely subsisted on this novel diet, and at the end of that
time the bad symptoms had almost disappeared. The horse subsequently

The name Stout was used originally to signify strong or stout beer.
This excellent brown beer only differs from Porter in being brewed of
greater strength and with a greater proportion of hops. Swift thus
mentions the liquor:—

 “Should but the Muse descending drop
  A slice of bread and mutton chop,
  Or kindly when his credit’s out,
  Surprise him with a pint of stout;
  Exalted in his mighty mind
  He flies and leaves his stars[69] behind.”

   [69] Cf. Horace’s “_Sublimi feriam sidera vertice_,” which was once
   construed by an ingenuous school-boy, “I will whip the stars with my
   sublime _top_ ! !”

Many actors, actresses and singers imbibe largely of porter, both
for its excellent effects upon the voice and for its restorative and
sustaining powers. Fanny Kemble used frequently to apply herself to
a vulgar pewter pot of stout in the green room both during and after
her {375} performances. Peg Woffington was president of the Beefsteak
Club, then held in the Covent Garden Theatre; and after she had been
pourtraying on the stage “The fair resemblance of a martyr Queen,” she
might have been seen in the green room holding up a pot of porter, and
exclaiming in a tragic voice, “Confusion to all order, let liberty

Macklin, the actor, who lived to be a centenarian, was accustomed to
drink considerable quantities of stout sweetened with sugar, at the
Antelope, in White Hart Yard, Covent Garden. Porson used to breakfast
on bread and cheese and a pot of porter.

A favourite mixture of modern Londoners is known by the name of
“Cooper,” and consists of porter and stout in equal proportions.
The best account of the origin of this name is one which attributes
it to a publican by the name of Cooper, who kept a house in Broad
Street, City, opposite to where the Excise Office stood. Cooper
was a jolly, talkative host, and associated a good deal with his
customers—principally officers of the Excise, bankers’ and merchants’
clerks, and men of that stamp. His guests found on bits of broken
plates, pieces of beef steak and mutton chops already priced with paper
labels. These they had but to choose, mark their name on the ticket,
and carry to the cook at the gridiron, which was in the room in which
they dined. Cooper drank and recommended a mixture of porter and stout,
the fame of which spread very rapidly. The combination became the
fashion in the City, and finally it was brewed entire.

An equally plausible but more invidious derivation of the name is given
by Andrew Halliday in his _Every-Day Papers_. His account is that “Some
brewers who are jealous for the reputation of their beer employ a
traveller, who visits the houses periodically, and tastes the various
beers, to see that they are not reduced too much. This functionary is
called the ‘Broad Cooper.’ When the Broad Cooper looks in upon Mr.
Noggins, and wants to taste the porter, and the porter is below the
mark, Mr. Noggins slyly draws a dash of stout into it; and this trick
is so common, and so well known, that a mixture of stout and porter has
come to be known to the public and asked for by the name of ‘Cooper.’”

It has been well observed that “Porter-drinking needs but a beginning:
whenever the habit has once been acquired, it is sure to be kept up.
London is a name pretty widely known in the world; some nations know it
for one thing, and some for another. But all nations know that London
is the place where porter was invented: and Jews, Turks, Germans,
Negroes, Persians, Chinese, New Zealanders, {376} Esquimaux, copper
Indians, Yankees and Spanish Americans, are united in one feeling of
respect for the native city of the most universally favourite liquor
the world has ever known.” When the Persian ambassador left England
some years ago, many of his suite shed tears. One of them, struck with
the security and peace of an Englishman’s life, when compared to a
Persian’s, declared that his highest ideal of Paradise was to live at
Chelsea Hospital, where for the rest of his life he would willingly sit
under the trees and drink as much porter as he could get.

Much as porter’s praises have been sung, one depreciatory remark is
recorded to have been made by the late Judge Maule. “Why do you,
brother Maule, drink so much stout?” he was asked by one of the judges.
“To bring my intellect down to the level of the rest of the bench,” was
the not very flattering reply. It may be mentioned that Judge Maule’s
joke was not a new one, for L’Estrange has it thus: “One ask’t Sir John
Millesent how he did so conforme himself to the grave justices his
brothers when they mette. ‘Why, in faith,’ sayes he, ‘I have no way but
to drink myselfe downe to the capacitie of the Bench.’”

A song well known in the early part of the century is much heartier,
and redounds with patriotic sentiment:—


 When to Old England I came home,
     Fal lal, fal lal la !
 What joy to see the tankard foam
     Fal lal, fal lal la !
 When treading London’s well-known ground,
   If e’er I feel my spirits tire,
 I haul my sail and look up around
   In search of Whitbread’s best entire.
 I spy the name of Calvert,
   Of Curtis, Cox, and Co.;
 I give a cheer and bawl for’t,
   “A pot of Porter, ho !”
 When to Old England I come home,
 What joy to see the tankard foam !
 With heart so light and frolic high,
 I drink it off to liberty ! {377}

 Where wine or water can be found
           Fal lal, fal lal la !
 I’ve travell’d far the world around,
           Fal lal, fal lal la !
 Again I hope before I die,
 Of England’s can the taste to try;
 For many a league I’d go about
 To take a draught of Gifford’s stout;
 I spy the name of Truman,
   Of Maddox, Meux, and Co.;
 The sight makes me a new man,—
   “A pot of porter, ho !”
 When to Old England I come home,
 What joy to see the tankard foam !
 With heart so light and frolic high,
 I drink it off to liberty.




_Chapter XIV._

 Then hail, thou big and foaming bowl,
 Hail, constant idol of my soul;
 How laughingly the bubbles ride
 Upon thy rich and sparkling tide.
                                  _Brasenose College Shrovetide Verses._

 This, I tell you, is our jolly _wassel_,
 And for twelfth-night more meet too.
                                            _Christmas Masque (Jonson)._


Very few people, when warming themselves in the winter months with
Mulled Ale, know that they are quaffing a direct descendant of that
famous liquor known to our forefathers as the Wassail-Bowl, and near
akin to Lambs-Wool, of which Herrick wrote in his _Twelfth Night_:—

 Next crowne the bowle full
 With gentle Lambs wooll,
     Adde sugare nutmeg and ginger,
 With store of ale too
 And thus ye must doe,
     To make the Wassaile a swinger.

A beverage of still greater antiquity, but certainly a family
connection, is Bragget or Bragot, which is, or was, until quite
recently, drunk in Lancashire. The word, according to the writer of
_Cups and their {379} Customs_, is of Northland origin, and derived
from “Braga,” the name of a hero, one of the mythological Gods of the
Edda. In its Welsh form of Bragawd, the drink is mentioned in a very
ancient poem, _The Hirlas or Drinking Horn of Owen_, which has been
thus rendered into English:—

 Cup-bearer, when I want thee most,
 With duteous patience mind thy post,
 Reach me the horn, I know its power
 Acknowledged in the social hour;
 _Hirlas_, thy contents to drain,
 I feel a longing, e’en to pain;
 Pride of feasts, profound and blue,
 Of the ninths wave’s azure hue,
 The drink of heroes formed to hold,
 With art enrich’d and lid of gold !
 Fill it with _bragawd_ to the brink,
 Confidence inspiring drink;—

We have been at no little trouble to discover the nature of the drink
called bragot, bragawd, &c., and have come to the conclusion that the
composition of the beverages bearing those names varied considerably.
To define Bragot with any degree of preciseness would be as difficult
as to give an accurate definition of “soup.” In the fourteenth century,
according to a MS. quoted in Wright’s _Provincial Dialects_, “Bragotte”
was made from this receipt:—

“Take to x galons of ale iij potell of fyne worte, and iij quartis of
hony, and put thereto canell (cinnamon) oz: iiij, peper schort or long
oz: iiij, galingale (a sort of rush) oz: i, and clowys (cloves) oz i,
and gingiver oz ij.”

Halliwell tells us that Bragot was a kind of beverage formerly esteemed
in Wales and the West of England, composed of wort, sugar and spices.
It was customary to drink it in some parts of the country on Mothering

Bracket must at one time have been a liquor in common use in London,
for in Mary’s reign the constables were ordered to make weekly search
at the houses of the Brewers and “typlers,” to see whether they sold
any ale or beer or _bracket_ above ½d. a quart without their houses,
and above ½d. the “thyrdendeale”[70] within. {380}

   [70] The thyrdendale was a measure containing a pint and a half.

In the _Haven of Health_ (1584) are directions for making bragot, which
are similar to those in the fourteenth-century receipt. “Take three
or four galons of good ale or more as you please, two dayes or three
after it is cleansed, and put it into a pot by itselfe, then draw forth
a pottle thereof and put to it a quart of good English hony, and sett
them over the fire in a vessell, and let them boyle faire and softly,
and alwayes as any froth ariseth skumme it away, and so clarifie it,
and when it is well clarified, take it off the fire and let it coole,
and put thereto of peper a pennyworth, cloves, mace, ginger, nutmegs,
cinnamon, of each two pennyworth, stir them well together and sett them
over the fire to boyle againe awhile, then being milke-warme put it to
the rest and stirre all together, and let it stand two or three daies,
and put barme upon it and drinke it at your pleasure.”

Harrison (1578), in his Preface to _Holinshed’s Chronicles_, relates
that his wife made a composition called Brakwoort, which seems to have
been rather used for flavouring ale than as a distinct beverage. It
contained no honey.

In _Oxford Nightcaps_ metheglin, mead, and Bragon, or Bragget, are all
mentioned as being compounded of honey. Idromellum, which by-the-by did
not always contain honey,[71] was sometimes spoken of as Bragget. In
Chaucer’s _Miller’s Tale_ is mention of Braket:—

 “Hire mouth was sweete as braket or the meth.”

   [71] See p. 53.

The Wassail Bowl, according to Warton, was the “Bowl” referred to in
the _Midsummer Night’s Dream_:—

 Sometimes lurk I in a _gossip’s bowl_,
 In very likeness of a roasted crab,
 And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
 And on her wither’d dewlap pour the _ale_.

In _Hamlet_ our great dramatist uses the word “wassail”:—

 The King doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse,
 Keeps _wassail_, and the swaggering upspring reels.

The chief ingredients of the ancient Wassail Bowl were, without doubt,
strong ale, sugar, spices, and roasted apples. The following {381}
receipt—the best of some half-dozen before us—is the one adopted at
Jesus College, Oxford, where, on the festival of St. David, an immense
silver-gilt bowl, which was presented to the college by Sir Watkin W.
Wynne in 1732, is partly filled with this admirable composition, and
passed round the festive board. Into the bowl is first placed half a
pound of Lisbon sugar, on which is poured one pint of warm beer; a
little nutmeg and ginger are then grated over the mixture, and four
glasses of sherry and five pints of beer are added to it. It is then
stirred, sweetened to taste, and allowed to stand covered up for two or
three hours. Three or four slices of thin toast are then floated on the
creaming mixture, and the wassail bowl is ready. Sometimes a couple or
three slices of lemon and a few lumps of sugar rubbed on the peeling
of a lemon are introduced. The slang term at Oxford for this beverage
is “Swig.” In another receipt it is said that the liquor, when mixed,
should be made hot (but not boiled), and the liquid poured over roasted
apples laid in the bowl.

In some parts of the kingdom there are, it is to be hoped, some few
persons who still adhere to the ancient custom of keeping Wassail on
Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve; and these, if they are orthodox,
should ignore the toast of the Oxford receipt in favour of the roasted
crab. Not that there is much virtue in either apple or toast, the
excellence of the drink being due to the spices, sack, and quality of
the ale. It can easily be understood that when ale was for the most
part brewed without hops, and consequently rather insipid in taste,
many people would have a craving for something more highly flavoured,
and would put nutmeg, ginger and other spices into their liquor. It
is not unlikely that the introduction of hops was the cause which
ultimately led to beer cups going out of fashion. At the present
day they are but rarely compounded, even at the Universities. From
experience we can say that, if skilfully made, they are excellent, and
some of the receipts given in this chapter are well worthy a trial.

Lambs-wool is a variety of the Wassail Bowl. Formerly the first day of
November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, &c.,
and was called _La Mas ubal_ (The Day of the Apple-fruit), pronounced
lamasool. According to Vallancey these words soon became corrupted by
the country people into Lambswool, the liquor appropriate to the day
bearing the same name.

To make this beverage, mix the pulp of half a dozen roasted apples
with some raw sugar, a grated nutmeg, and a small quantity of ginger;
add one quart of strong ale made moderately warm. Stir the whole {382}
together, and, if sweet enough, it is fit for use. This mixture is
sometimes served up in a bowl, with sweet cakes floating in it.

In Ireland Lambswool used to be a constant ingredient at the
merry-makings on Holy Eve, or the evening before All Saints’ Day,
and milk was sometimes substituted for the ale. It is now rarely or
never heard of in that country, having been superseded by more ardent

_The Miller of Mansfield_ contains a reference to Lambswool:—

 Doubt not, then sayd the King, my promist secresye:
   The King shall never know more on’t for mee.
 A cupp of _lambswool_ they dranke unto him then,
   And to their bedds they past presentlie.

Old writers frequently made allusion to the spicing of ale. In
Chaucer’s _Rime of Sir Thopas_ occur these lines:—

 And _Notemuge_ to put in ale
 Whether it be moist or stale—

and again, in _The Knight of the Burning Pestle_, by Beaumont and

 Nutmegs and ginger, cinnamon and cloves,
 And they gave me this jolly red nose.

The ale, apparently, had nothing to do with the colouration.

Even the sublime Milton condescended to make allusion to spiced ale in
his _L’Allegro_:—

 Till the livelong daylight fail
 Then to the _spicy nut-brown ale_.

Wither, in _Abuses Stript and Whipt_ (1613), says:—

 Will he will drinke, yet but a draught at most,
 That must be spiced with a nut-browne tost.

The last quotation is only one out of the many to be found in our
literature having reference to the toast with which the spiced ale was
so often crowned. Perhaps the most curious is one from Greene’s _Friar
{383} Bacon_ (sixteenth century). The Devil and Miles are conversing
on the pleasures of Hell, whence they soon afterwards proceed. “Faith
’tis a place,” says Miles, “I have desired long to see; have you not
good tippling houses there?—May not a man have a lusty fire there, a
pot of good ale, a pair of cards, a swinging piece of chalk, and a
_brown toast_ that will clap a white waistcoat on a cup of good drink?”

Even in the last century toast and spices were not uncommonly put into
ale. Warton, in his _Panegyric on Oxford Ale_, wrote:—

 My sober evening let the tankard bless
 With _toast_ embrown’d, and fragrant _nutmeg_ fraught,
 While the rich draught, with oft-repeated whiffs,
 Tobacco mild improves.

The Anglo-Saxon custom of drinking healths and pledging has been, at
any rate, since the eighteenth century, termed _toasting_. In the
twenty-fourth number of _The Tatler_ the word is connected with the
toast put in ale cups. This is probably correct, though Wedgewood
considers it a corruption of _stoss an!_ knock (glasses), a German
drinker’s cry. The explanation given in _The Tatler_ of the connection
between the two meanings of the word “toast” is, however, open to
question. It runs thus: “It is said that while a celebrated beauty was
indulging in her bath, one of the crowd of admirers who surrounded
her took a glass of the water in which the fair one was dabbling and
drank her health to the company, when a gay fellow offered to jump in,
saying, ‘Though he liked not the liquor, he would have the _toast_.’”

In the reign of Charles II. Earl Rochester writes:—

 Make it so large that, filled with Sack
 Up to the swelling brim,
 Vast _toasts_ on the delicious lake,
 Like ships at sea, may swim.

A very ancient composition was ale-brue, called later ale-berry. It was
composed of ale boiled with spice, sugar, and sops of bread. An old
receipt (1420) for it is:—

   Alebrue thus make thou schalle
 With grotes, safroune and good ale.


Ale-brue was perhaps originally merely a brew of ale, but the word soon
came to mean a peculiar beverage. It is mentioned in _The Becon against
Swearing_ (1543): “They would taste nothing, no not so much as a poor
_ale-berry_ until they had slain Paul,” and in Boorde’s _Dyetary_, “Ale
brues, caudelles and collesses” are recommended for “weke men and feble
stomackes.” The word also occurs in _The High and Mightie Commendation
of the Vertue of a Pot of Good Ale_:—

 Their ale-berries, cawdles and possets each one,
   And sullabubs made at the milking pail,
 Although they be many, Beer comes not in any
   But all are composed with a Pot of Good Ale.

Taylor, in _Drinke and Welscome_, says: “Alesbury (or Aylesbury), in
Buckinghamshire, where the making of _Aleberries_, so excellent against
Hecticks, was first invented.” This is probably only a punning allusion.

All who have been at City festivities have tasted the Loving Cup,
which, so it is stated in _Cups and their Customs_, is identical with
the Grace Cup, a beverage the drinking of which has been from time
immemorial a great feature at Corporation dinners both in London and
elsewhere. Mr. Timbs, in _Walks and Talks about London_, says the
Loving Cups are filled with “a delicious composition immemorially
termed sack, consisting of sweetened and exquisitely flavoured white
wine,” and Will of Malmsbury, describing the customs of Glastonbury
soon after the Conquest, says that on certain occasions the monks had
“mead in their cans, and _wine_ in their _Grace Cup_.” The Oxford Grace
Cup, however, according to _Oxford Nightcaps_ (1835), contains ale.
The receipt runs thus: “Extract the juice from the peeling of a lemon
and cut the remainder into thin slices; put it into a jug or bowl, and
pour on it three half pints of strong home-brewed beer and a bottle of
mountain wine: grate a nutmeg into it; sweeten it to your taste; stir
it till the sugar is dissolved, and then add three or four slices of
bread toasted brown. Let it stand two hours, and then strain it off
into the Grace Cup.”

Many of the cups drunk by our forefathers had medicinal qualities
attributed to them, and did in fact, often contain drugs of various
descriptions. The famous Hypocras, for instance, was flavoured with
an infusion of brandy, pepper, ginger, cloves, grains of paradise,
ambergris, and musk. A Duchess of St. Albans has left us a receipt for
making “The Ale of health and strength,” which, it sufficeth to say,
was a {385} decoction of nearly all the herbs in the garden (agreeable
and otherwise) boiled up in small beer. Old worthies, when induced to
give up their receipts for the public good, described these drinks
under the head of “Kitchen physic.” “I allowed him medicated broths,
_Posset Ale_ and pearl julep,” writes Wiseman in his book on surgery.

The name of the unfortunate Sir Walter Raleigh is dear to Britons in
connection with tobacco and potatoes. He has yet another claim on our
sympathy as the inventor of an excellent receipt for Sack Posset, which
a high authority has declared to show full well the propriety of taste
in its compounder. It runs thus:—“Boil a quart of cream with _quantum
sufficit_ of sugar, mace and nutmeg; take half a pint of sack[72]”
(sherry), “and the same quantity of ale, and boil them well together,
adding sugar; these being boiled separately are now to be added. Heat a
pewter dish very hot, and cover your basin with it, and let it stand by
the fire for two or three hours.”

   [72] There were several kinds of Sack—Sherris, Malmsey, &c. The
   word is derived from _saco_, the skin in which Spanish wines were

“We’ll have a posset at the latter end of a sea-coal fire,” wrote

A favourite drink of the seventeenth century was Buttered Ale. It was
composed of ale (brewed without hops), butter, sugar and cinnamon. In
_Pepys’ Diary_ for December 5th, 1662, “a morning draught of _buttered
ale_,” is mentioned. There is also reference to it in _The Convivial

 And now the merry spic’d bowls went round,
   The gossips were void of shame too;
 In _Butter’d Ale_ the priest half drown’d,
   Demands the infant’s name too.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century Beer Cups were much in
vogue. Cuthbert Bede specifies, but does not describe, cups bearing the
following names: Humpty-dumpty, Clamber-clown, Hugmatee, Stick-back,
Cock Ale and Knock-me-down, and there were others called Foxcomb,
Stiffle, Blind Pinneaux, Stephony and Northdown. Cock Ale was supposed
to be, and no doubt was, a very strengthening and restorative compound.
The receipt runs thus:—“Take a cock of half a year old, kill him and
truss him well, and put into a cask twelve gallons of Ale to which
add four pounds of raisins of the sun well picked, stoned, washed and
dryed; sliced Dates, half a pound; nutmegs and mace two {386} ounces:
Infuse the dates and spices in a quart of canary twenty-four hours,
then boil the cock in a manner to a jelly, till a gallon of water is
reduced to two quarts; then press the body of him extremely well, and
put the liquor into the cask where the Ale is, with the spices and
fruit, adding a few blades of mace; then put to it a pint of new Ale
yeast, and let it work well for a day, and, in two days, you may broach
it for use or, in hot weather, the second day; and if it proves too
strong, you may add more plain Ale to palliate this restorative drink,
which contributes much to the invigorating of nature.”

Among the various beverages which good house-wives deemed it their duty
to brew were Elderberry Beer, or Ebulon, Cowslip Ale, Blackberry Ale,
China Ale and Apricot Ale. Their names indicate to a great extent their
composition. China Ale, however, was not a term applied by wits to tea,
as has been suggested, but was composed of ale flavoured with China
root and bruised coriander seed, which were tied up in a linen bag,
and left in the liquor until it had done working. The ale then stood
fourteen days, and was afterwards bottled. This was the proper China
Ale, but, according to an old cookery book, “the common sort vended
about Town is nothing more (at best) than ten-shilling beer, put up in
small stone bottles, with a little spice, lemon peel, and raisins or

Ebulon, which is said to have been preferred by some people to port,
was made thus: In a hogshead of the first and strongest wort was boiled
one bushel of ripe elderberries. The wort was then strained and, when
cold, worked (_i.e._ fermented) in a hogshead (not an open tun or tub).
Having lain in cask for about a year it was bottled. Some persons
added an infusion of hops by way of preservative and relish, and some
likewise hung a small bag of bruised spices in the vessel. White Ebulon
was made with pale malt and white elderberries.

Blackberry Ale was composed of a strong wort made from two bushels
of malt and ¼lb. hops. To this was added the juice of a peck of ripe
blackberries and a little yeast. After fermentation the cask was
stopped up close for six weeks, the ale was then bottled, and was fit
to drink at the end of another fortnight.

In the _London and County Brewer_ (1744), is this receipt for Cowslip
Ale: Take, to a barrel of ale a bushel of the flowers of cowslip pick’d
out of the husks, and when your ale hath done working put them loose in
the barrel without bruising. Let it stand a fortnight before you bottle
it, and, when you bottle it, put a lump of sugar in each bottle. {387}

The same book enlightens us as to the composition of “an ale that will
taste like Apricot Ale”:—“Take to every gallon of ale one ounce and a
half of wild carrot seed bruised a little, and hang them in a leathern
bag in your barrel until it is ready to drink, which will be in three
weeks; then bottle it with a little sugar in every bottle.”

Egg Ale was a somewhat remarkable composition, and was doubtless
highly nutritious. To twelve gallons of ale was added the gravy of
eight pounds of beef. Twelve eggs, the gravy beef, a pound of raisins,
oranges and spice, were then placed in a linen bag and left in the
barrel until the ale had ceased fermenting. Even then an addition was
made in the shape of two quarts of Malaga sack. After three weeks in
cask the ale was bottled, a little sugar being added. A monstrously
potent liquor truly! Can this have been one of the cups with which “our
ancestors robust with liberal cups usher’d the morn”?

Coming now to beverages more familiar, a word or two as to Purl, once,
and not so long ago either, the common morning draught of Londoners.
Tom Hood, in _The Epping Hunt_, thus puns upon the word:—

 Good lord, to see the riders now,
   Thrown off with sudden whirl,
 A score within the purling brook,
   Enjoy’d their “early purl.”

According to one receipt, common Purl contained the following
ingredients:—Roman wormwood, gentian root, calamus aromaticus snake
root, horse radish, dried orange peel, juniper berries, seeds or
kernels of Seville oranges, all placed in beer, and allowed to stand
for some months. The writer who gives this receipt says a pound or two
of galingale improves it—as if anything could improve such a perfect
combination! According to an anecdote told of George III., a somewhat
simpler beverage in his day went by the name of Purl. One morning
the King, when visiting his stables, heard one of his grooms say to
another: “I don’t care what you say, Robert, but the man at the Three
Tuns makes the best _purl_ in Windsor.”

“Purl, purl,” said the King; “Robert, what’s Purl?”

The groom explaining that purl was hot beer with a dash of gin in it,
in fact, the compound now known to ’bus conductors as “dogsnose,” the
King remarked:—

“Yes, yes; I daresay very good drink; but too strong for the morning;
never drink in the morning.” {388}

A mixture of warmed ale and spirits is called Hot-Pot in Norfolk
and Suffolk, and a similar compound, to which is added sugar and
lemon-peel, used to be called Ruddle.

A somewhat remote ancestor of Purl, Dogsnose, Ruddle and other mixtures
of ale or beer and spirits, was Hum, to which Ben Jonson refers in _The
Devil is an Ass_:—

 Are got into the yellow starch and chimney sweepers
 To their tobacco, and strong waters, _hum_,
 Meath and Obarni.

And it is also mentioned in Beaumont and Fletcher’s _Wildgoose Chase_:
“What a cold I have over my stomack; would I’d some _hum_.” In
Shirley’s _Wedding_ is a reference to hum glasses, the small size being
indicative of the potency of the liquor:—

 They say that Canary sack must dance again
 To the apothecarys, and be sold
 For physic in hum glasses and thimbles.

Flip, once a popular drink, and not altogether without its patrons in
the present day, is made in a variety of ways. The following receipt is
a good one. Place in a saucepan one quart of strong ale together with
lumps of sugar which have been well rubbed over the rind of a lemon,
and a small piece of cinnamon. Take the mixture off the fire when
boiling and add one glass of cold ale. Have ready in a jug the yolks of
six or eight eggs well beaten up with powdered sugar and grated nutmeg.
Pour the hot ale from the saucepan on to the eggs, stirring them while
so doing. Have another jug at hand and pour the mixture as swiftly as
possible from one vessel to the other until a white froth appears, when
the flip is ready. One or two wine glasses of gin or rum are often
added. This beverage made without spirits is sometimes called Egg-hot,
and Sailor’s Flip contains no ale. A quart of Flip is styled in the
_Cook’s Oracle_ a “Yard of Flannel.”

There is a tale told of a Frenchman, who, stopping at an inn, asked for

“There’s no such person here,” said the landlord.

“’Tis not a person I want, sare, but de beer warmed with de poker.”

“Well,” said mine host, “that is flip.” {389}

“Ah! yes,” exclaimed the Frenchman, “you have right; I mean Philip.”

Purl, Flip, and Dog’s Nose have been immortalised by Dickens in his
description of the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters. The tap and parlour
of this hostel were provided with “comfortable fireside tin utensils,
like models of sugar-loaf hats, made in that shape that they might,
with their pointed ends, seek out for themselves glowing nooks in the
depths of the red coals when they mulled your ale, or heated for you
those delectable drinks, Purl, Flip, and Dog’s Nose. The first of these
humming compounds was a speciality of the Porters, which, through an
inscription on its door-posts, gently appealed to your feelings as ‘The
Early Purl House.’ For it would seem that Purl must always be taken
early; though whether for any more distinctly stomachic reason than
that, as the early bird catches the worm, so the early purl catches the
customer, cannot here be resolved.”

Of other receipts for beer cups there are many—too many, indeed, to
be given here; most of them differ from one another more in name than
anything else. Brown Betty, an Oxford cup, deriving its name from
its inventor, a bedmaker, is similar to the Oxford Wassail Bowl. The
famous Brasenose Ale, which is by no means a modern institution and is
introduced at Brasenose College on Shrove Tuesday, immediately after
dinner, consists merely of ale sweetened with pounded sugar, and served
with roasted apples floating on it.

 Not all the liquors Rome e’er had
 Can beat our matchless Beer;
 Apicius self had gone stark mad,
 To taste such noble cheer.

Thus wrote an undergraduate of Brasenose Ale.

A cup bearing the euphonious name of Tewahdiddle had the reputation
of being most excellent tipple. It consists of a pint of beer, a
tablespoonful of brandy, a teaspoonful of brown sugar, a little grated
nutmeg or ginger, and a roll or very thinly-cut lemon-peel.

Among beverages which hold a high place as cool summer drinks is The
Parting Cup, which is made thus: Place in a bowl two slices of very
brown toast, a little nutmeg, a quart of mild ale, and two-thirds of a
bottle of sherry; sweeten the liquor with syrup, and immediately before
drinking add a bottle of soda-water. Another good cup is made with
two quarts of light draught beer, the juice of five lemons, and about
three-quarters of a pound of sugar. The mixture should then be {390}
strained and allowed to stand for a short time. If flat, a little
carbonate of soda should be added.

A very favourite summer drink at Oxford was Cold Tankard; and a certain
fair damsel, who was skilful in the preparation of this pleasant
beverage, was so honoured by the undergraduates that songs were written
in her praise by the boating men and other frequenters of the riverside
inn where she presided. She was, according to one poet, cheerful,
blithe, merry, neat, comely, gay and obliging, and above all she
excelled in making Cold Tankard.

 She looks up the oars, and the old tavern scores,
 And now and then cleans out a wherry;
     The sails she can mend,
     And the parlour attend,
 For obliging’s the Maid of the Ferry.
 She serves in the bar, and excels all by far
 In making Cold Tankard of Perry;
     How sweet then at eve,
     With her leave to receive
 A kiss from the Maid of the Ferry.

Though “perry” is mentioned in the verse, Cold Tankard is also made
with Ale or Cider. The ingredients are the juice from the peeling of
one lemon, extracted by rubbing loaf sugar on it; two lemons cut into
thin slices; the rind of one lemon cut thin, a quarter of a pound
of loaf sugar, and a half pint of brandy. To make the cup, put the
foregoing into a large jug, mix them well together, and add one quart
of cold spring water. Grate a nutmeg into the jug, add one pint of
white wine, and a quart of strong beer, ale, perry or cider, sweeten
the mixture to taste with capillaire or sugar, put a handful of balm
and the same quantity of borage in flower (_borago officinalis_) into
it, stalk downwards. Then put the jug containing this liquor into a tub
of ice, and when it has remained there one hour it is fit for use. The
balm and borage should be fresh gathered.

The use of Borage in cups is very ancient, and old writers have
ascribed to the flower many virtues. In Evelyn’s _Acetaria_ it is said
“to revive the hypochondriac, and cheer the hard student.” In Salmon’s
_Household Companion_ (1710) Borage is mentioned as one of the four
cordial flowers; “it comforts the heart, cheers melancholy, and revives
the fainting spirits.” It may be doubted whether the comforting effects
{391} of this inward application were rightly attributed to the borage
alone. A modern writer has gone so far as to say that he never found
any benefit apparent from the presence of Borage at Lord Mayor’s feasts
and other such festive gatherings, beyond that of so stinging the
noses of those other persons who have desired to drink deeply that the
cup undrained has been. Though granting this undeniable advantage, we
cannot concur that Borage possesses no other qualities, for it gives to
cups a peculiarly refreshing flavour which cannot be imitated.

In _Cups and their Customs_ are three Beer Cups which have not yet been
mentioned. The first of these is Copus Cup. It consists of two quarts
of hot ale, to which are added four wine glasses of brandy, three wine
glasses of noyau, a pound of lump sugar, the juice of one lemon, a
piece of toast, a dozen cloves, and a little nutmeg. Was it of such a
cup as this that the lines were written?—

 Three cups of this a prudent man may take;
 The first of these for constitution’s sake,
 The second to the girl he loves the best,
 The third and last to lull him to his rest.

Donaldson’s Beer Cup is of a more simple and lighter character. To a
pint of ale is added the peel of half a lemon, half a liquor-glass of
noyau, a bottle of seltzer-water, a little nutmeg and sugar, and some

“Hungerford Park” is an excellent beverage, and is especially suitable
for shooting parties in hot weather. To make it—cut into slices three
good-flavoured apples, which put into a jug; add the peel and juice of
one lemon, a very little grated nutmeg, three bottles of ginger-beer,
half a pint of sherry, two and a quarter pints of good draught ale,
sweeten to taste with sifted loaf sugar, stir a little to melt the
sugar, and let the jug stand in ice. “The addition of half a bottle of
champagne makes it _awfully_ good,” wrote a certain Colonel B., in _the
Field_, a few years ago.

Freemasons’ Cup, which may be drank either hot or cold, is of a very
potent character, and consists of a pint of Scotch ale, a similar
quantity of mild beer, half a pint of brandy, a pint of sherry, half a
pound of loaf sugar, and plenty of grated nutmeg. Freemasons must have
strong heads.

It will, no doubt, have been noted ere this that between mulled ale
and the majority of hot beer-cups the distinction is rather in name
than composition, and the various receipts for mulling ale so closely
resemble the Wassail Bowl, Flip, &c., that it is quite unnecessary to
quote any of {392} them. A word or two on cup making. Cups are easily
made and easily marred. All the ingredients must be of good quality,
and the vessels used sweet and clean. Everything required should be at
hand before the mixing commences, and that important process should
proceed as quickly as possible. Few servants can be trusted to brew
cups, but if the matter is placed in their hands you cannot do better
than caution them in terms similar to those addressed by Dr. King to
his maid Margaret:—

 O Peggy, Peggy, when thou go’st to brew,
 Consider well what you’re about to do;
 Be very wise—very sedately think
 That what you’re going to make is—drink;
 Consider who must drink that drink, and then
 What ’tis to have the praise of honest men;
 Then future ages shall of Peggy tell,
 The nymph who spiced the brewages so well.

Yet two more beverages compounded of ale or beer, and then this
portion of the subject is completed. First, Shandy Gaff, the very
writing of which word brings to us visions of a shining river, of
shady backwaters, of sunny days, of two-handled tankards, and of deep
cool draughts well earned. For the sake of the unfortunate few who
are unacquainted with the beverage, the receipt is given: One pint
of bitter beer, one bottle of the old-fashioned ginger-beer mixed
together, and imbibed only on the hottest summer days, after rowing.
Why, we cannot say; but Shandy Gaff always seems to us out of place
anywhere but on the river.

Secondly and lastly—Mother-in-law, which, also, to some of us may bring
visions—but of another kind. The drink of this name is composed of
equal proportions of “old and bitter.”

If there is one season of the year more appropriate than another to hot
beer-cups, be they Wassail Bowls, Lambswool, Flip or Mulled Ale, it is
Christmas. Edward Moxon, a poet who flourished about the commencement
of this century, presents in his _Christmas_ a charming picture of the
merry circle gathered round the crackling yule log, regaling themselves
with mulled ale:—

 Right merry now the hours they pass,
 Fleeting thro’ jocund pleasure’s glass,
 The yule-log too burns bright and clear,
 Auspicious of a happy year: {393}
 While some with joke and some with tale,
 But all with sweeter _mullèd ale_,
 Pass gaily life’s sweet stream along,
 With interlude of ancient song—
 And as each rosy cup they drain,
 Bounty replenishes again.

From the excellent beverages compounded of ale or beer, concerning
which so much has been said in this chapter, let us turn to the cups,
flagons, horns, bowls and other vessels used by ale drinkers, and in
some of which these beverages were compounded.

 “Come troll the jovial flagon,
  Come fill the bonny bowl,
  Come, join in laughing sympathy
  Of soul with kindred soul.”

A few pages must suffice for a very short notice of this interesting
part of our subject.

[Illustration: Anglo-Saxon Tumblers.]

Mr. Sharon Turner, in his _History of the Anglo-Saxons_, gives many
instances of the high estimation in which cups and drinking vessels
were held by our Teutonic forefathers. Even in very early times the
precious metals were largely used in their construction, and gold and
silver cups are frequently the subjects of Anglo-Saxon bequests. In the
old poem _Beowulf_ evidence may be found bearing upon this point. One
of the treasures in the ancient barrow guarded by the dragon Grendel
is “The solid cup, the costly drinking vessel (_drync fœt deore_).”
Drinking vessels are frequently found in Anglo-Saxon tombs. The cups
represented in the cut are made of glass, and were found chiefly in
barrows in Kent. They are of the “tumbler” species, _i.e._, on being
filled they must be emptied at a draught, and cannot be set down with
any liquor in them. Mr. Wright suggests that the example to the left
represents the “twisted” pattern mentioned in _Beowulf_.

The savage custom, observed both by the Celts and Saxons, of drinking
ale or mead from {394} a cup made out of the skull of a fallen foe,
has left a trace in mediæval times in the word “scole,” signifying a
cup or bowl, and may probably still be recognised in the provincial
word “skillet,” which has the same meaning.

Henry, in his _History of England_, relates that the Celtic inhabitants
of the Western Islands of Scotland spoke in their poetical way of
intoxicating liquors as “the strength of the shell,” from the fact that
they used shells as drinking vessels.

Returning to the Anglo-Saxons—besides metal and glass cups, they used
drinking horns, and cups or bowls of wood, and in some respects the
horn was the most important of their drinking vessels. Investiture of
lands was frequently made by the horn both among the Saxons and Danes.
The celebrated Horn of Ulphus, kept in the Sacristy of York Minster,
was, according to Camden, given to the Cathedral by a noble Dane named
Ulphus, who, when his sons quarrelled as to the succession to his
estate, cut short the dispute by repairing to the Minster, and there
enfeoffed the Cathedral with all his lands and revenues, draining the
horn before the high altar as a pledge and evidence of the gift. The
Mercian King Witlaf gave a drinking horn to the Abbey of Croyland “that
the elder monks may drink from it on feast days, and remember the soul
of the donor.”

[Illustration: Cup found in the Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey.]

The peg-tankards of the Anglo-Saxons have been already referred to in
Chapter V. The Glastonbury Peg Tankard, illustrated in the cut, is made
of oak. On the lid is a representation of the Crucifixion, and round
the sides are the figures of the Apostles. It contains two quarts, and
is divided with eight pegs. {395}

While engaged on this subject of measured drinks, it may also be
mentioned that hoops were used as well as pegs by the old topers, and
hence the promise of Jack Cade that “the three-hooped pot shall have
ten hoops.” From the same fact is derived the old phrase, “carousing
the hunter’s hoop,” signifying a prolonged drinking bout. In certain
parts of Essex it has been customary, until quite recently, for topers
to drink out a pot of ale in three equal draughts, and with some
ceremony; the first draught was called _neckum_, the second _sinkum_,
and the third _swankum_.

Passing on to mediæval times, We find, as might have been expected, a
great increase of variety in the drinking vessels in common use. The
tankard, which was one of the chief vessels used for ordinary drinking
purposes, was originally a vessel containing three gallons, and used,
not to drink out of, but to carry water in. Before Sir Hugh Middleton
brought the New River water into London, the inhabitants were supplied
by the tankard bearers. The tankard was usually made of metal and the
common use of pewter in the fifteenth century is shown by an extract
from a letter of that period, in which the recipient is reminded, that
“If ye be at home this Christmas, it were well done ye should do purvey
a garnish or twain of pewter vessel.” The _hanap_ was a kind of first
cousin to the tankard, it came down from Saxon times, and the name
is found in old Vocabularies under the form _hnæp_. The minds of the
learned have been greatly exercised as to the connection of this word
hanap with our word hamper, and with the older form still found in the
term, the Hanaper Office. We would humbly suggest that the old work of
Alexander Neckam, to which we have already had occasion to refer, makes
the matter tolerably clear. The writer, in describing the contents of
a cellar, mentions _ciphi_ and _cophini_, which of course mean _cups_
and _baskets_. An ancient annotator, however, gives us just the hint
we want by writing in the MS. over the word _ciphi_ “anaps,” and over
_cophini_ “anapers.” The hanap therefore was the cup, the hanaper or
hamper was the basket in which the cups were carried.

As an example of the number and value of the various drinking vessels
in use, the following extracts are given from an inventory of the goods
of Sir John Fastolfe, who died in 1459:

 Item j payre galon Bottels of one sorte.

  — j payre of potell Bottellys one sorte.

  — j nother potell Bottell—Item 1 payre Quartletts of one sorte.

 Item iiij galon pottis of lether—Item iij Pottelers of lether.

 Item j grete tankard. {396}

 Item ij grete and hoge botellis.

  — ij Pottis of silver, percell gilte and enameled with violetts and

  — ij Pottes of sylver, of the facion of goods enamelyd on the toppys
 withe hys armys.

Leather was a very usual material for drinking vessels in former times,
and black-jacks were to be seen in every village alehouse. Many such
are still to be found in various parts of the country, though they are
not now used.

The venerable song the _Leather Bottel_ is too well known to bear
repetition, but a verse or two of _Time’s Alterations or the Old Man’s
Rehersal_, an ancient black-letter ballad, may be given to show the
common use of the leather drinking vessel:—

 Black jacks to every man
   Were filled with wine and beer;
 No pewter pot nor can
   In those days did appear:
 Good cheer in a nobleman’s house
   Was counted a seemly shew;
 We wanted no brawn nor souse,
   When this old cap was new.

 We took not such delight
   In cups of silver wine;
 None under the degree of a Knight
   In plate drunk beer or wine:
 Now each mechanical man
   Hath a cupboard of plate for a shew;
 Which was a rare thing then,
   When this old cap was new.

Taylor, the water poet, in his _Jack a Lent_, makes mention of these
vessels (A.D. 1630):—

 ——— nor of Jacke Dogge, Jack Date,
 Jacke foole, or Jack a Dandy, I relate:
 Nor of Black Jacks at gentle Buttry bars,
 Whose liquor often breeds household wars:

A variety of Black Jack was the Bombard, to which Ben Jonson refers
in the lines from the _Masque of Love Restored_. “With that {397}
they knocked hypocrisy on the pate and made room for a bombard-man,
that brought bouge[73] for a country lady or two, that fainted, he
said, with fasting.” Shakspere calls Falstaff “that swollen parcel or
dropsies, that huge bombard of sack.” “Baiting of bombard” was a slang
term for heavy drinking. Small Jacks were also in use. Decker, in
his _English Villaines Seven Times Pressed to Death_, says: “In some
places they have little leather Jacks, tip’d with silver, and hung with
small silver bells (these are called Gyngle-Boyes), to ring peales of

   [73] bouge = an allowance of meat and drink.

The Black Jack was frequently taken for a sign. The house with that
sign-board in Clare Market, London, was once the haunt of Joe Miller,
of comic fame, and from the window of this tavern Jack Sheppard is
said to have made a desperate leap, in escaping from the clutches of
Jonathan Wild and his myrmidons.

Heywood, in his _Philocothonista or Drunkard Opened, Dissected and
Anatomized_ (1635), gives a very full list of the various drinking
vessels in use in his day. “Of drinking cups,” he says, “divers and
sundry sorts we have; some of elme, some of box, some of maple, some of
holly, etc. Mazers, broad-mouthed dishes, naggins, whiskins, piggins,
creuzes, ale-bowles, wassel-bowles, court dishes, tankards, kannes,
from a pottle to a pint, from a pint to a gill. Other bottles we
have of leather, but they are mostly used amongst the shepherds and
harvest people of the countrey; small jacks we have in many ale houses
of the citie and suburbs tipt with silver: black-jacks and bombards
at the court; which when the Frenchmen first saw, they reported at
their return unto their country that the Englishmen used to drink out
of their bootes. We have besides cups made of horns of beastes, of
cockernuts, of goords, of eggs of estriches; others made of the shells
of divers fishes brought from the Indies and other places, and shining
like mother of pearle. Come to plate, every tavern can afford you flat
bowles, french bowles, prounet cups, beare bowles, beakers; and private
householders in the citie, when they make a feast to entertain their
friends, can furnish their cupboards with flagons, tankards, beere
cups, wine bowles, some white, some percell guilt, some guilt all over,
some with covers, others without, of sundry shapes and qualities.”

During the religious feuds that raged so fearfully in Holland, the
Protestant party gave the name of _Bellarmines_ to the bearded jugs
{398} they used. This was done in ridicule of their opponent, Cardinal
Bellarmine. The Cardinal’s figure was stout and squat, and well suited
the form of the stone beer-jug in use. To make the resemblance more
complete, the Cardinal’s face with his great square-cut beard was
placed in front of the jug, which became known in England as the
_Bellarmine_ or _Greybeard_ Jug. Many fragments of these jugs, of the
reign of Elizabeth and James the First, have been exhumed, and the jug
entire is not uncommon. Ben Jonson, alluding to the Greybeard, says
of a drunkard that “the man with the beard has almost struck up his
heels,” and an excellent description of this quaint old jug is to be
found in Cartwright’s play _The Ordinary_ (1651):—

                           ——thou thing
 Thy very looks like to some strutting hill,
 O’ershadow’d with thy rough beard like a wood;
 Or like a larger jug that some men call
 A Bellarmine, but we a conscience,
 Wheron the tender hand of Pagan workman
 Over the proud ambitious head hath carved
 An idol large, with beard episcopal.

The Greybeard Jug is still to be found in some parts of Scotland,
and the following tale, in which it figures, was taken down some
years ago from the conversation of a Scotch Church dignitary. About
1770 there flourished a Mrs. Balfour, of Denbog, in the County of
Fife. The nearest neighbour of Denbog was a Mr. David Paterson, who
had the character of being a good deal of a humorist. One day, when
Paterson came to the house, he found Mrs. Balfour engaged in one of her
half-yearly brewings, it being the custom in those days, each March and
October, to make as much ale as would serve for the ensuing six months.
She was in a great pother about bottles, her stock of which fell far
short of the number required, and she asked Mr. Paterson if he could
lend her any? “No,” said Paterson, “but I think I could bring you a
few greybeards that would hold a good deal, perhaps that would do.”
The lady assented, and appointed a day when he should come again and
bring his greybeards with him. On the proper day Mr. Paterson made his
appearance, in Mrs. Balfour’s parlour.

“Well, Mr. Paterson, have you brought your greybeards?”

“O, yes, they are down stairs waiting for you.”

“How many?”

“Nae less than ten.” {399}

“Well I, hope they are pretty large, for really I find I have a great
deal more Ale than I have bottles for.”

“I’se warrant ye, Mem, ilka ane o’ them will hold twelve gallons.”

“O, that will do extremely well.”

Down goes the lady.

“I left them in the dining-room,” said Paterson. When the lady went in
she found ten of the most bibulous old lairds of the North of Fife. She
at once perceived the joke, and entered into it. After a hearty laugh
had gone round, she said she thought it would be as well to have dinner
before filling the greybeards, and it was accordingly arranged that the
gentlemen should take a ramble and come in to dinner at two o’clock.

The extra ale is understood to have been duly disposed of.

Closely allied to the Greybeard was the Toby Philpot beer jug; it was,
however, a more elaborate article, and represented the whole figure of
a portly toper. Its origin is thus described in the humorous verses
entitled _Toby Philpot_, by Francis Fawkes:—

 Dear Tom, this brown jug, which now foams with mild ale,
 Out of which I now drink to sweet Nan of the Vale,
 Was once Toby Philpot, a thirsty old soul,
 As e’er crack’d a bottle, or fathom’d a bowl:
 In bousing about, ’twas his pride to excel,
 And amongst jolly topers he bore off the bell.

 It chanc’d as in dog days he sat at his ease,
 In his flower-woven arbour, as gay as you please,
 With his friend and a pipe, puffing sorrow away,
 And with honest Old Stingo sat soaking his clay,
 His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
 And he died full as big as a Dorchester Butt.

 His body when long in the ground it had lain,
 And time into clay had dissolv’d it again,
 A potter found out, in its covert so snug,
 And with part of Fat Toby he form’d this brown jug:
 Now sacred to friendship, to mirth, and mild Ale—
 So here’s to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale.

The wooden ale bowls used by the Saxons continued common in England for
many a century, and constant reference to them is to be {400} found.
In the _Miller of Mansfield_ King Henry II. is represented drinking out
of a brown bowl:

 This caus’d the King, suddenlye, to laugh most heartilye,
   Till the teares trickled fast downe from his eyes.
 Then to their supper were they set orderlye,
   With hot bag puddings, and good apply pyes;
 Nappy ale, good and stale, in a browne bowle,
   Which did about the board merrilye trowle.

At the time when the _Liber Albus_ was composed (1419), the gallons,
pottles and quarts used in the City of London were made of wood, as may
be judged from the fact that they are mentioned as shrinking if they
were stamped when _green_.

Dryden mentions the brown bowl as characteristic of the country life:—

 The rich, tir’d with continual feasts,
 For change become their next poor tenant’s guests;
 Drink heavy draughts of Ale from plain brown bowls,
 And snatch the homely Rasher from the coals.

Mr. Pepys records that on the 4th of January, 1667, he had company
to dinner; and “at night to sup, and then to cards, and last of all
to have a flagon of ale and apples, drank out of a wood cup, as a
Christmas draught, which made all merry.” Brown bowls were also the
drinking vessels used in singing the old song, _The Barley Mow_ “which
cannot,” says Bell “be given in words, it should be heard to be
appreciated properly, particularly with the West Country dialect.”

 Here’s a health to the barley-mow, my brave boys,
   Here’s a health to the barley-mow!
 We’ll drink it out of the jolly brown bowl,
   Here’s a health to the barley-mow!
 Chorus:—Here’s a health to the barley-mow, my brave boys,
           Here’s a health to the barley-mow!
 We’ll drink it out of the nipperkin, boys.
           Here’s, &c.

and so it proceeds, “quarter-pint,” “half-pint,” “pint,” “quart,”
“pottle,” “gallon,” “half-anker,” “anker,” “half-hogshead,” “hogshead,”
“pipe,” “well,” “river,” “ocean,” always in the third line repeating
the whole of the previously-named “measures” backwards. {401}

Among curious drinking vessels must be classed the Wager or Puzzle
Jugs, which, in the seventeenth century, were great favourites at
village inns. Some are to be seen in the South Kensington Museum. These
jugs had usually many spouts, from most of which it was difficult to
drink owing to perforations in the neck. But a secret passage for the
liquor up the hollow handle or through one spout or nozzle afforded a
means of sucking out the contents, the fingers of the drinker stopping
up the other spouts and holes during the operation. On many of these
jugs were inscriptions, such as—

 From Mother Earth I claim my birth,
 I’m made a joke to man,
 But now I’m here, fill’d with good beer
 Come, taste me if you can.

One more curious drinking vessel must be mentioned, and then this short
account of a subject upon which a large volume might well be written,
must close.

The “Ale-yard” has been described by a writer in _Notes and Queries_ as
“a trumpet-shaped glass vessel, exactly a yard in length, the narrow
end being closed, and expanded into a large ball. Its internal capacity
is little more than a pint, and when filled with ale many a thirsty
tyro has been challenged to empty it without taking away his mouth.
This is no easy task. So long as the tube contains fluid it flows out
smoothly, but when air reaches the bulb it displaces the liquor with
a splash, startling the toper, and compelling him involuntarily to
withdraw his mouth by the rush of the cold liquid over his face and

The Ale-yard is known at Eton under the name of the “Long Glass.” Those
boys who attain to a certain standing either as Dry Bobs or Wet Bobs
(_i.e._, in the boats or at cricket) are invited to attend “Cellar,”
which is held at “Tap” once a week during the summer term. On attending
the first time the novice has to “floor the Long Glass” (_i.e._, to
finish it without drawing breath). Many have to make several attempts,
and some never succeed.

It is, no doubt, generally supposed that the uses of ale other than as
a drink are but few in number, yet malt liquors have been applied to a
variety of queer purposes. From a letter of Pope Gregory to Archbishop
Nidrosiensi, of Iceland, it would seem that in the thirteenth century
children were sometimes baptized in ale instead of water.

“Forasmuch as we learn from your letter that it has sometimes {402}
happened that infants in your country have been baptized in ale owing
to the lack of water in that region, we return in answer that since the
heart ought to be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, those ought
not to be considered as duly baptized who have been baptized in ale.

“Given at the Lateran VIII. Idus Julii, anno XV.”

In another letter of an earlier date (1237) the use of ale in the
administration of the Eucharist was forbidden, though Nashe, speaking
of the Icelanders in his _Terrors of the Night_ (1594), says: “It is
reported that the Pope long since gave them a dispensation to receive
the Sacrament in ale, since owing to their incessant frosts there, no
wine but was turned to red emagle” (_i.e._, enamel) “as soone as euer
it came amongst them.”

To leave Theology for the Stable, it is worth recording that it is
alleged that during the King’s progress through the country, in Norman
times, such was the extravagance and waste of the royal household that
the servants even washed the horses’ feet in ale. Grooms at the present
day often mix ale with lampblack and oil for rubbing on the hoofs
of horses. Possibly this was all that was done by the royal grooms.
Ancient chroniclers are notoriously inaccurate.

None appreciate good ale more than anglers, and this is clearly
evidenced in the following receipt, written by Christopher North, for
staining gut or hair lines a pale watery green:—“To a pint of strong
ale add (as soon as possible, as it is so apt to evaporate when good)
half-a-pound of soot, a small quantity of walnut leaves, and a little
powdered alum (then drink the remaining pint of ale, if you happen to
have drawn a quart); boil these materials for half or three-quarters of
an hour, and when the mixture is cold, steep the gut or hair in it for
ten or twelve hours.” Yes, good ale is apt to evaporate very quickly;
the moral is obvious.

Dame Juliana Berners, in _The Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle_,
gives two receipts “to coloure your lynes of here,” in which ale is
used. One consists of ale and alum, the other of ale and soot.

When every county had its monasteries, and every monastery its fish
stew well stocked with fine carp for Fridays’ dinners, the fattening of
fish was a matter of no little importance. In an old angling book it is
stated that “Raspins and Chippins of Bread, or almost any scraps from
the Table, placed under a cask of strong Beer or Ale, in such a manner
that the Droppings of the Liquor may fall among them, is excellent Food
for Carp. Two quarts of this is sufficient for thirty, and if they
are fed Morning and Evening it will be better than once a Day only.”
Stilton {403} cheeses, by the way, treated in a similar manner to
that directed for the “Raspins,” are immensely improved in flavour and
general excellence. Brewers’ grains are greedily eaten by most kinds
of freshwater fish, and are used by anglers as groundbait for bream,
roach, and carp in the Eastern counties.

In a work entitled _Practical Economy_, published in 1821, persons
desirous of fattening their fowls quickly are recommended to feed them
on ground-rice, milk and sugar, made into a paste, and to let them
drink beer.

The ladies who preside over the culinary department of our households
do not, so far as we know, make any use of ale other than as a drink,
excepting the occasional use of beer in the preparation of Welsh
rare-bits. From old cookery books, however, we gather that this has
not always been the case. Beer mixed with brown sugar was a favourite
sauce for pancakes; red herrings were steeped in small beer before
being broiled; and catsup for sea stores was made principally of beer
and vinegar, a few mushrooms being added for conscience’ sake. Then,
from the same source, we find that beer has other domestic uses. An
admirable method of cleaning crape is to steep it in beer, wring it
gently, and hang it out to dry; stale beer formed, and still forms, the
liquid part of the best blacking; ale or beer plus elbow grease makes
capital furniture polish; and, leaving the interior of the house, beer
grounds have been used for washing the outside of walls and houses
covered with cement to harden the latter, a change which they are said
likewise to effect on bricks and mortar.

Beer mixed with brown sugar or honey is usually rubbed over the
interiors of hives in which swarms of bees are intended to be taken.
A bunch of mint and other sweet herbs forms the brush to spread the
mixture. Not only is the sweet dressing agreeable to the taste and
smell, but the beer has doubtless a lulling and soporific effect on the
bees, and renders them less anxious to leave their new abode.

In the medicine books of the Saxon Leeches are references to the use of
ale in the composition of various lotions. Ale and beer are, indeed,
often prescribed by medical practitioners of the present day, as will
be seen by a perusal of Chapter XV. The valuable properties of bitter
beer as an incentive to appetite and a promoter of digestion, and the
nourishing qualities of the brown beers, are too well known to need

In many breweries large quantities of vinegar are manufactured from
malt liquor. This is an ancient practice, for in the City of London
{404} Records of the time of Good Queen Bess it is stated that
officials were appointed to search the premises of the brewers for
“vyneagre, bear-eagre and ale-eagre,” and to report to the Common
Council touching the same. The words “beare-eagre” and “ale-eagre”
have now gone out of use, and the acid liquid made from malt liquor is
improperly called Vinegar though in no way connected with the Vine.

A use of ale, which is additional rather than alternative to the common
one, is commemorated by the old proverb, “Fair chieve good ale, it
makes folk speak what they think.” Another such supplementary use, but
of a character less commendable, is expressed in the ancient couplet:—

 The Good Noppy Ale of Southwerk
 Keeps many a goodwife from the Kirk.

Moore, in his _Odes of Anacreon_, sings the praise of ale as an
incentive to literary labours:—

 If with water you fill up your glasses,
 You’ll never write anything wise,
 For Ale is the horse of Parnassus
 Which hurries a bard to the skies.

The following curious lines, copied from a MS. in the Cottonian
Library, indicate some other supplementary uses, or to speak more
correctly, the unwished-for effects of the strong ale in which our
forefathers indulged:—

 Doll thi, doll, doll, doll this ale, dole,
 Ale mak many a man to have a doly poll.
 Ale mak many a mane to styk at a brere;
 Ale mak many a mane to ly in the myere;
 And ale mak many a mane to stombyl at a stone;
 Ale mak many a mane to dronken home;
 And ale mak many a mane to brek his tone;
                 With doll.

 Ale mak many a mane to draw hys knyfe;
 Ale mak many a mane to bet hys wyf.
                 With doll.

 Ale mak many a mane to wet hys chekes,
        *       *       *       *       * {405}

 Ale mak many a mane to stomble in the blokkis;
 Ale mak many a mane to mak hys hed have knokkes,
 And ale mak many a mane to syt in the stokkes.
                 With doll.

 Ale mak many a mane to ryne over the falows;
 Ale mak a mane to swere by God and alhalows
 And ale mak many a mane to hang upon the galows.
                 With doll.

A strange use of good liquor was that which anciently prevailed of
partly intoxicating criminals before execution. The ladies of Jerusalem
used to provide such a potion, consisting of frankincense and wine.
There is a curious similarity between this custom and the old practice
of giving to condemned men on their way to Tyburn Tree, a great bowl
of ale as their last earthly refreshment. It is stated in Hone’s _Year
Book_ that a court on the south side of the High Street, St. Giles’,
derives its name of Bowl Yard from the circumstance of criminals on
their way to execution being presented with a bowl of ale at the
Hospital of St. Giles. Different maxims came ultimately to prevail
in reference to this matter, and we are told that Lord Ferrers, when
on his way to execution in 1760, for the murder of his land steward,
was denied his request for some wine and water, the Sheriff stating
that he was sorry to be obliged to refuse his lordship, but by recent
regulations they were enjoined not to let prisoners drink when going to
execution, as great indecencies had been frequently committed in these
cases, through the criminals becoming intoxicated. The old saying that
the “Saddler of Bawtry was hanged for leaving his liquor,” arose from
the following circumstances: Being sick at heart from his impending
death, the Saddler refused the bowl of ale offered him on his way to
the gallows. One minute after the poor fellow’s last struggle his
reprieve arrived, so that had he but tarried to drink the ale he had
been saved.

Very different was the fortune of the Tinkler who had the good luck to

             ——King Jamie, the first of our throne
 A pleasanter monarch sure never was known.

The little incident is best told in the words of the old ballad:—

  As he (the King) was a hunting the swift fallow deer,
  He dropped all his nobles; and when he got clear, {406}
  In hope of some pastime away he did ride
  Till he came to an ale-house, hard by a wood side.

  And there with a Tinkler he happened to meet,
  And him in kind sort he so freely did greet:
 “Pray thee, good fellow, what hast in thy jug,
  Which under thy arm thou dost lovingly hug?”

 “By the mass!” quoth the Tinkler, “it’s nappy brown ale,
  And for to drink to thee, friend, I will not fail;
  For although thy jacket looks gallant and fine,
  I think my twopence as good as is thine.”

 “By my soul! honest fellow, the truth thou has spoke,”
  And straight he sat down with the Tinkler to joke;
  They drank to the King and they pledged to each other;
  Who’d seen ’em had thought they were brother and brother.

In their merry conversation the Tinkler remarks that the King is on the
border chasing deer, and that he would much like to see a King. James
immediately says he will show him one, if he will but mount behind him.
This the Tinkler does, “with his sack, his budget of leather and tools
at his back.” Doubts arising in his mind as to how he shall recognise
the King, James tells him,

 “Thou’lt easily ken him when once thou art there;
  The King will be covered, his nobles all bare.”

Together the two ride through the merry greenwood, and come upon the
nobles, when the Tinkler again asks to be shown the King.

  The King did with hearty good laughter reply,
 “By my soul! my good fellow, its thou or its I!
  The rest are bare-headed, uncovered all round.”
  With his bag and his budget he fell to the ground,

and beseeches mercy. Then says James—

 “Come tell me thy name?” “I am John of the Dale,
  A mender of kettles, a lover of ale.”
 “Rise up! Sir John, I will honour thee here,
  I make thee a Knight of three thousand a year.”


“This was a good thing for the Tinkler indeed,” writes the poet, who
concludes with the verse:—

 Sir John of the Dale he has land, he has fee,
 At the Court of the King who so happy as he?
 Yet still in his hall hangs the Tinkler’s old sack,
 And the budget of tools which he bore at his back.

There are two instances on record of ale being used to extinguish fire.
One January in the seventeenth century occurred a devastating fire
which burnt down the greater portion of the Temple in the neighbourhood
of Pump Court. “The night was bitterly cold,” writes Mr. Jeafferson,
in _Law and Lawyers_, “and the Templars, aroused from their beds to
preserve life and property, could not get an adequate supply of water
from the Thames, which the unusual severity of the season had frozen.
In this difficulty _they actually brought barrels of ale from the
Temple butteries, and fed the engines with the malt liquor_.” If the
ale was old and potent the flare up thereof must have been great indeed.

In the year 1613 the Globe Theatre was burnt down in consequence of
the wadding from a cannon fired off during the performance of _Henry
VIII._, setting fire to the thatched roof. Sir Henry Wotton, in a
letter to his nephew giving an account of the occurrence, wrote: “One
man had his breeches set on fire that perhaps had broiled him if he had
not by the benefit of a provident wit put it out with bottle ale.” To
what base uses may we return!





    “Dieu de batailes! Where have they this mettle?
     . . . can sodden water,
     A drench for sur-rein’d jades, their barley broth,
     Decoct their cold blood to such valiant heat?”
                                    _King Henry V._, Act iii., Scene 5.

 “If every man is to forego his freedom of action because many make a
 licentious use of it, I know not what is the value of any freedom.”
                                              _J. Risdon Bennett, M.D._


Champions of the so-called temperance cause, have gone so far towards
_in_temperance as to say that a moderate drinker is worse than a
drunkard. This absurd declaration stands self-condemned, and without
labouring thrice to slay the slain by disproving an assertion which
carries upon its face the unmistakable marks of a suicide’s death, we
propose in this chapter to prove beyond question, from the works of
ancient, mediæval, and modern writers, that sound malt liquors possess
valuable medicinal and restorative qualities, and that their proper use
is in nowise injurious to health.

In Anglo-Saxon times ale was considered to be possessed of the highest
medicinal virtues. It is mentioned in the _Saxon Leechdoms_ as an
ingredient in many of the remedies therein prescribed, and for the
most serious as well as for the most trifling complaints. In lung
{409} disease a man is to “withhold himself earnestly from sweetened
ale,” to drink clear ale, and in the wort of the clear ale “boil young
oak-rind and drink.” Fever patients are recommended to drink during a
period of thirty days an infusion of clear ale and wormwood, githrife,
betony, bishop-wort, marrubium, fen mint, rosemary and other herbs. For
one “fiend-sick” the receipt runs thus:—A number of herbs having been
worked up in clear ale, “sing seven masses over the worts, add garlic
and holy water and let him drink out of a church bell”; finally the
lunatic is to give alms and pray for God’s mercies. Another remedy for
lunacy is much simpler: “Take skin of a mere-swine (porpoise), work it
into a whip, swinge the man therewith, soon he will be well, Amen.”
Another remarkable receipt runs thus: “Take a mickle handfull of sedge
and gladden, put them into a pan, pour a muckle bowlfull of ale upon
them, boil, and then rub into the mixture twenty-five libcorns. This is
a good drink against the devil.”

For less serious evils the receipts in these Anglo-Saxon pharmacopœias
are numerous. Hiccup is cured thus: Take the root of jarrow, pound it,
and put it into good beer, and give it to the patient to sup lukewarm.“
Then I ween that it may be of good benefit to him either for hiccup or
for any internal difficulty.”

In Anglo-Saxon veterinary surgery beer was also used. “Take a little
new ale and pour it into the mouth of each of the sheep; and make them
swallow it quickly; that will do them good,” says the old _Lœce-boc_.
(_i.e._, Medicine book.)

At the present day, in some country places, cows which have lost their
milk soon after calving, are given warm ale in which aniseed has been
boiled, and ale has often been given to horses with advantage.

Not only as an inward, but also as an outward application, was ale
recommended: For pains in the knees, woodwax and hedge-rife pounded
and put into ale, and used both inwardly and outwardly, was the Saxon

The foregoing receipts are sufficient to show the character of the
medicine prescribed in Saxon times. At a later period ale still held
its high position as a cure for most of the evils to which unfortunate
humanity is subject. In the eighth _Book of Notable Things_, a rare
work, supposed to have been written in the sixteenth century, the
following curious remedies are mentioned:—

No. 45. An excellent medicine and a noble restorative for man or woman
that is brought very low with sickness. Take two pounds of dates and
wash them clean in Ale, then cut them and take out the {410} stones
and white skins, then cut them small, and beat them in a mortar, till
they begin to work like wax, and then take a quart of Clarified Honey
or Sugar, and half an ounce of the Podder of Long Pepper, as much of
Mace of Cloves, Nutmegs, and Cinnamon, of each one Drachm, as much of
the Powder of Lignum Aloes; beat all the Spices together and Seeth the
Dates with the Sugar or Honey with an easie fire, and let it seeth;
cast in thereto a little Powder, by little and little, and stir it with
a spatula of wood, and so do until it come to an Electuary, and then
eat every morning and evening thereof, one ounce at a time, and it will
renew and restore again his Complexion, be he never so low brought.
This hath been proved, and it hath done good to many a Man and Woman.

No. 46. A notable Receipt for the black Jaundice. Take a Gallon of
Ale, a Pint of Honey, and two Handfuls of Red Nettles, and take a
penny-worth or two of Saffron, and boil it in the Ale, the Ale being
first skimmed and then boil the Hony and Nettles therein all together
and strain it well, and every Morning take a good Draught thereof, for
the space of a fortnight. For in that space (God willing) it will clean
and perfectly cure the black Jaundice.

In the Twelfth Book is a receipt which was probably far more effective
than most of the ancient remedies:—

No. 49. For a cough; Take a quart of Ale and put a Handful of Red Sage
into it, and boyl it half away; strain it, and put to the Liquor a
Quarter of a pound of Treacle, drink it warm going to Bed.

In Ben Jonson’s _Alchemist_, of about the same date, is a mention of
ale used as medicine:—

 Yes, faith, she dwells in Sea-coal lane, did cure me
 With sodden ale, and pellitory of the wall,
 Cost me but twopence.

We have before us an old pamphlet bearing the title “_Warme Beere_,
or a Treatise wherein is declared by many reasons, that Beere so
qualified is farre more wholesome than that which is drunk cold. With
a confutation of such objections that are made against it; published
for the preservation of Health. Cambridge. Printed by R. D. for Henry
Overton, and are to be sold at his shop entering into Pope’s-Head Alley
out of Lumbard Street in London, 1641.” {411}

The following verses form an apt commencement to this whimsical old


 We care not what stern grandsires now can say,
 Since reason doth and ought to bear the sway.
 Vain grandames saysaws ne’er shall make me think,
 That rotten teeth come most by warmed drink.
 No, grandsire, no; if you had us’d to warm
 Your mornings draughts, as I do, farre less harme
 Your raggie lungs had felt; not half so soon,
 For want of teeth to chew, you’d us’d the spoon.
 Grandame, be silent now, if you be wise,
 Lest I betray your skinking niggardize:
 I wot well you no physick ken, nor yet
 The name and nature of the vitall heat.
 ’Twas more to save your fire, and fear that I
 Your pewter cups should melt or smokifie,
 Then skill or care of me, which made you swear,
 God wot, and stamp to see me warm my beer.
 Though grandsire growl, though grandame swear, I hold
 That man unwise that drinks his liquor cold.
                                                                   W. B.

After giving instances of the value of warm beer as opposed to cold,
the author gives the following sage account of the reasons he hath
for the faith that is in him:—“When a man is thirstie, there are two
master-qualities which do predominate in the stomach, namely heat
and drinesse, over their contraries, cold and moisture. When a man
drinketh cold beer to quench his thirst, he setteth all four qualities
together by the ears in the stomach, which do with all violence oppose
one another and cause a great combustion in the stomach, breeding
many distempers therein. For if heat get the mastery, it causeth
inflamation through the whole body, and bringeth a man into fluxes and
other diseases. But hot beer prevents all these dangers, and maketh
friendship between all these enemies, viz., hot and cold, wet and
drie, in the stomach; because when the coldnesse of the beer is taken
away by actuall heat, and made as hot as the stomach, then heat hath
no opposite, his enemie cold being taken away, and there only remains
these two enemies, dry and wet in the stomach: which heat laboureth to
make friends. When one is exceeding thirstie, the beer being made hot
and then drunk into the dry stomach, it immediately quencheth {412}
the thirst, moistening and refreshing nature abundantly. Cold beer is
very pleasant when extreme thirst is in the stomach; but what more
dangerous to the health. Many by drinking a cup of cold beer in extreme
thirst, have taken a surfet and killed themselves. Therefore we must
not drink cold beer, because it is pleasant, but hot beer, because it
is profitable, especially in the Citie for such as have cold stomachs,
and inclining to a consumption. I have known some that have been so
farre gone in a consumption, that none would think in reason they could
live a week to an end: their breath was short, their stomach was gone,
and their strength failed, so that they were not able to walk about
the room without resting, panting and blowing: they drank many hot
drinks and wines to heat their cold stomachs, and cure their diseases,
especially sweet wines, but all in vain: for the more wine they drank
to warm their stomachs, the more they inflamed their livers, by which
means they grew worse and worse increasing their disease: But when they
did leave drinking all wine and betook themselves onely to the drinking
of hot beer so hot as blood, within a moneth, their breath, stomach and
strength was so increased, that they could walk about their garden with
ease, and within two moneths could walk four miles, and within three
moneths were perfectly made well as ever they were in their lives.”

Another curious old pamphlet of about the same period, entitled _Panala
Alacatholica_ (1623) follows the text “That ale is a wholesome drinke
contrary to many men’s conceits,” and after a description of the way in
which ale is spoilt in the brewing and rendered injurious we are told:
“But let a neat huswife, or canny Alewright have the handling of good
Ingredients (sweet Maulte and wholesome water) and you shall see and
will say, there is Art in brewing, (as in most actions) and that many
more, even of those that ayme at brewing the Best Ale, doe yet for all
their supposed dexteritie, misse the marke, than hit upon the mysterie.
For you shall then have a neat cup of Nappie Ale (right _Darbie_, not
Dagger Ale, though effectually animating) well boyled, desecated and
cleared, that it shall equall the best Brewed Beere in transparence,
please the most curious Pallate with milde quicknesse of relish, quench
the thirst, humect the inward parts, helpe concoction and distribution
of meate, and by its moderate penetration, much further the attractive
power of the parts (especially being rectified with that Additament
and _Vehiculum_ which the best Alistra boyles with it; to wit, such a
proportion of Hop as gives not any the least tact of bitternesse to
the Pallate after it growes Drinkable) and being free from all those
former foule {413} imputations, doth by its succulencie much nourish
and corroborate the Corporall, and comfort the Animall powers.”

A long description here follows of the manner in which Panala, a
medicated ale, is to be manufactured. Of its virtues our quaint author
gives the following account:—“This Ale neither offends the Eye with the
loathed object of a muddie substance, nor the smell with any ill vapour
or favour, nor the tast nor stomacke with disgust or ingrate relish,
but ’tis a pure, cleere, delicate, and singular Extract impregnated
with the sincere spirits and vertuosities of excellent Ingredients, of
a moderate temperature, indifferently accommodated to every Age, Sex,
and Constitution, and so familiar and pleasing to Nature.”

Medicated ales of this nature were held in high estimation by our
ancestors. Such was the celebrated Dr. Butler’s ale, which held its
sway for many generations; the following receipt for this ale is given
in the _Book of Notable Things_: “Take Senna and Polypedium each four
ounces, Sarseperilla two ounces, Agrimony and Maidenhair of each a
small handful, scurvy grass a quarter of a peck, bruise them grossly
in a stone mortar, put them into a thin canvass bag, and hang the bag
in nine or ten gallons of ale; when it is well worked and when it is
three or four days old, it is ripe enough to be drawn off and bottled,
or as you see fit.” This ale was sold at houses that had Butler’s head
for a sign, and we meet with further mention of it in a news-sheet
of 1664:—“At Tobias’ Coffee House, in Pye Corner, is sold the right
drink, called Dr. Butler’s Ale, it being the same that was sold by
Mr. Lansdale in Newgate Market. It is an excellent stomach drink,
it helps digestion, and dissolves congealed phlegm upon the lungs,
and is therefore good gainst colds, coughs, ptisical and consumptive
distempers; and being drunk in the evening, it moderately fortifies
nature, causeth good rest and hugely corroborates the brain and memory.”

A few years earlier than this Thomas Cogan was advocating in _The Haven
of Health_ (1584), beer for persons inclined to “rewmes and gout.” Such
persons must avoid “idleness, surfet, much wine and strong, especially
fasting, and not condemn Beere as hurtful in this respect which was so
profitably invented by that worthy Prince _Gambrinius_, anno 1786 years
before the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, as Lanquette writeth
in his chronicle.”

The same writer gives a curious receipt for “_Buttered Beere_,” which
is good for a cough or shortness of wind:—Take a quart or more of
Double Beere and put to it a good piece of fresh butter, sugar candie
an ounce, of liquerise in powder, of ginger grated, of each a dramme,
and {414} if you would have it strong, put in as much long pepper and
Greynes, let it boyle in the quart in the manner as you burne wine and
who so will drink it, let him drinke it as hot as hee may suffer. Some
put in the yolke of an egge or two towards the latter end, and so they
make it more strengthfull.“

The following year John Taylor published in _Drinke and Welcome_ many
modes of application of ale in the various ills to which the flesh is
heir. He thus concludes his somewhat remarkable statements:—”_Ale_ is
universale, and for Vertue it stands allowable with the best recipes of
the most antientest Physisians; and for its singular force in expulsion
of poison is equall, if not exceeding that rare antidote so seriously
invented by the Pontique King, which from him (till this time) carries
his name of _Mithridate_. And lastly, not onely approved by a Nationall
Assembly, but more exemplarily remonstrated by the frequent use of
the most knowing Physisians, who for the wonderfull force that it
hath against all diseases of the Lungs, justly allow the name of a
_Pulmonist_ to every _Alebrewer_.

“The further I seeke to goe the more unable I finde myselfe to expresse
the wonders (for so I may very well call them) operated by _Ale_
for that I shall abruptly conclude, in consideratione of mine owne
insufficiency, with the fagge-end of an old man’s old will, who gave a
good somme of mony to a Red-fac’d _Ale-drinker_, who plaid upon a Pipe
and Tabor, which was this:—

 “To make your Pipe and Tabor keepe their sound,
  And dye your Crimson tincture more profound,
  There growes no better medicine on the ground
  Than _Aleano_ (if it may be found)
  To buy which drug I give a hundred pound.”

Prynne, the author of the famous _Histrio-Mastix_, seldom dined; every
three or four hours he munched a manchet, and refreshed his exhausted
spirits with _ale_ brought to him by his servant; and when “he was
put into this road of writing,” as Anthony Wood telleth, he fixed on
“a long quilted cap, which came an inch over his eyes,” serving as a
shade, “and then hunger nor thirst did he experience, save that of
his voluminous pages.” Evidence of the high regard in which English
ale was held among foreign doctors in the seventeenth century may be
gathered from an account given in _Hone’s Table Book_ of how, about
1620 some doctors and surgeons during their attendance on an English
gentleman, who was diseased at Paris, discoursed on wines and other
{415} beverages; and one physician, who had been in England, said
the English had a drink which they call Ale, and which he thought the
wholesomest liquor that could be drunk; for whereas the body of man
is supported by natural heat and radical moisture, there is no drink
conduceth more to the preservation of the one, and the increase of the
other, than _Ale_, for, while the Englishmen drank _only ale_, they
were strong, brawny, able men, and could draw an arrow an ell long;
but, when they fell to wine and _Beer_, they are found to be much
impaired in their strength and age.

English doctors would always, it may be supposed, give their
approbation to the nut-brown ale. There must have been some who even in
the good old days leaned to the doctrines of the abstainers; but such
was the faith of our ancestors in the virtues of the national beverage,
that we may imagine the doctor’s advice was disregarded and, indeed,
was even set down to anything but an amiable motive. This we may see
from a verse of the old ballad, _Nottingham Ale_:—

 Ye doctors, who more execution have done
 With bolus and potion, and powder and pill,
 Than hangman with halter, and soldier with gun,
 Or miser with famine, or lawyer with quill,
 To dispatch us the quicker, you forbid us malt liquor,
 Till our bodies grow thin, and our faces look pale;
 Observe them who pleases, what cures all diseases,
 Is a comforting dose of good Nottingham Ale.

The following receipt is quite gravely given by Dr. Solas Dodd, in
whose _Natural History of the Herring_ (1753) it may be found: “Take
the oil pressed out of fresh Herrings, a pint, a boar’s gall, juices
of henbane, hemlock, arsel, lettuce, and wild catmint, each six
ounces, mix, boil well, and put into a glass vessel, stoppered. Take
three spoonfuls and put into a quart of warm ale, and let the person
to undergo any operation drink of this by an ounce at a time, till
he falls asleep, which sleep he will continue the space of three or
four hours, and all that time he will be unsensible to anything done
to him.” Whether or no we have here an account of a genuine early
anæsthetic we are not prepared to say.

Instances might be recorded without number of the restorative effects
of ale in sickness, and more particularly in fever cases where the
patient has been brought very low, and the loss of tissue has been
great. Of these space only allows us to include a very few. {416}

When Pulteney, afterwards Earl of Bath, lay prostrate with pleuritic
fever, the greatest physicians in the land found their skill avail
nothing; and all the statesman’s alarmed friends got for expending
seven hundred guineas in fees was the cold comfort that everything that
could be done had been done, and the case was hopeless. Whilst those
gathered round the bedside of the supposed dying man listened for his
last sigh, he faintly murmured, “Small beer, small beer.” The doctors
did not think it worth while to say nay, and a half-gallon cup of small
beer was put to the lips of the sick man, who drained it to the dregs,
and then demanded another draught, which he served in the same way:
then turning on his side, he went off into a deep slumber, attended
with profuse perspiration, and awoke a new man.[74] The beneficial
effects of mild ale in fever is commemorated in an old poem, _Small

 Oft known the deadly fever’s flame,
 By the scorch’d patient crav’d, to tame.

   [74] _Chambers’s Journal_, Jan. 2nd, 1875.

In Sir J. Sinclair’s _Statistical Account_, an extraordinary case
is related of a collier, named Hunter, who suffered from chronic
rheumatism or gout. He had been confined to his bed for a year and a
half, having almost entirely lost the use of his limbs. On Handsel
Monday (the first Monday after New Year’s Day) some of his neighbours
came to make merry with him. Though he could not rise, yet he always
took his share of the new ale, as it passed round the company; and, in
the end, became much intoxicated. The consequence was that he had the
use of his limbs the next morning, and was able to walk about. He lived
more than twenty years after this, and never had the smallest return of
his complaint. This took place in 1758.

An account of a cure, in which, no doubt, faith helped the ale, occurs
in the _Merrie Conceited Jests of George Peele_, gentleman, sometime
student at Oxford (London, 1607). “Riding on his way to Oxford, he
stopped all night at Mekham—At supper, he began to talk with the
hostess, who was a simple professor of Chirurgerie, and conceited
therewith.—Peele observing her humour and conceit, upheld all the
strange cures she talked of and praised her, with much flattery, and
promised on his return to teach her something that would do her no
hurt—and added he was on his way to cure a gentleman in Warwickshire,
who was in a consumption. The hostess immediately {417} said there was
a gentleman close by so ill with that complaint, and proposed that
Peele should see him. Peele, knowing as much of doctoring as of music,
declined; but after much pressure, and resisting as long as he could,
was fain to comply. Putting on a bold face he went to the gentleman,
his hostess praising him as a wonderful doctor. After feeling the
pulse, &c., &c., he asked if they had a garden. Yes, they had. He
then went there and cut from every plant, flower, herb and blossom;
boiling the results in _Ale_, straining and boiling again. He told the
patient to take some of this warm, morning, noon, and night. Whether
anything effective was in this _Herbal Mixture_, or from the patient’s
fancy—in eight days after the patient was able to walk about apparently
recovered—and so delighted that he put many pounds in Peele’s pocket.”

A Brown ale called Stitch is mentioned in _The London and County
Brewer_ of 1744 as having being of the greatest benefit in incipient
consumption. It was of the first running of the malt, but of a greater
length than is drawn out of the stout butt beer. It had few hops in it.
Instances of the advantage of good malt liquors in certain cases of
consumption are very numerous. Mons. Frémy, of the Beaujon Hospital, in
Paris, made a series of experiments with malt powder given in the form
of a decoction, and externally by means of baths. The substance was
tried on sixty-four subjects of well-marked phthisis; but the results
were trifling, beyond a certain degree of temporary amelioration.
It was, however, of greater service in cases of chronic bronchitis,
early phthisis, and chronic pulmonary catarrh; its utility being
very marked in this last affection. In some parts of England it is a
common practice for persons in consumption to procure wort (that is an
infusion of malt before the hops are boiled with it for making beer)
from the brewers, and to drink half-a-pint of it daily; and many have
received great benefit from it. The experiments of Dr. Frémy verify the
utility of the English practice.

Of late years various preparations of malt have come to hold a very
high place in popular estimation. A first-rate remedy for a cough is
made thus: Over half a bushel of pale ground malt pour as much hot, but
not boiling, water as will just cover it. In forty-eight hours drain
off the liquor entirely, but without squeezing the grains: put the
former into a large sweetmeat pan, or saucepan, that there may be room
to boil as quick as possible, without boiling over; when it begins to
thicken, stir constantly. It must be as thick as treacle. The dose is
a dessert-spoonful thrice a day. This preparation has a very agreeable
{418} flavour. One of the most easily digested and most nourishing
of foods for those minute but assertive, atoms of humanity called
babies,[75] is malt finely powdered; and chemists keep many kinds of
foods, syrups, lozenges, &c., too numerous to mention, all claiming
their origin from Sir John Barleycorn.

   [75] The author knows a malt-fed baby who never cries.—_Verb. Sap._

Among the many virtues of good ale, that of promoting generosity should
take a high place. This peculiar effect is capitally illustrated in an
anecdote of the Rev. Michael Hutchinson, D.D., of Derby. “The people,”
writes Hutton, “to whom he applied for subscriptions (the church was
in need of repair) were not able to keep their money; it passed from
their pockets to his own as if by magic. Whenever he could recollect a
person likely to contribute to this desirable work he made no scruple
to visit him at his own expense. If a stranger passed through Derby,
the Doctor’s bow and his rhetoric were employed in the service of the
church. His anxiety was urgent, and his power so prevailing, that he
seldom failed of success. _When the waites fiddled at his door for a
Christmas box, instead of sending them away with a solitary shilling,
he invited them in, treated them with a tankard of ale, and persuaded
them out of a guinea._”

Malt liquor has long been regarded by eminent medical men as almost
a specific against the scurvy, that dread disease which in former
times wrought such havoc amongst our brave tars. Sir Gilbert Blane,
M.D., records the following instance of the virtues of porter in this

“I was furnished,” he writes, in his _Observations on the Diseases of
Seamen_, “by Dr. Clephane, physician to the fleet at New York, with
the following fact as a strong proof of the excellence of this liquor:
In the beginning of the war two store ships, called the Tortoise and
Grampus, sailed for America under the convoy of the Dædalus frigate.
The Grampus happened to be supplied with a sufficient quantity of
porter to serve the whole passage, which proved very long. The other
two ships were furnished with the common allowance of spirits. The
weather being unfavourable, the passage drew out to fourteen weeks
and, upon their arrival at New York, the Dædalus sent to the hospital
a hundred and twelve men; the Tortoise sixty-two; the greater part
of whom were in the last stage of the scurvy. The Grampus sent only
thirteen, none of whom had the scurvy.” {419}

In the Geographical Society’s Journal (vol. ii. p. 286) it is recorded
that during a severe winter on the west coast of Africa the crew of the
Etna suffered so much from scurvy that the least scratch had a tendency
to become a dangerous wound. Capt. Belcher states that “the only thing
which appeared materially to check the disease was beer made of the
essence of malt and hops; and I feel satisfied that a general issue of
this on the coast of Africa would be very salutary, and have the effect
especially of keeping up the constitutions of men subjected to heavy
labour in boats.”

Thomas Trotter, M.D., in his _Medicina Nautica_, “an Essay on the
Diseases of Seamen, comprehending the history of the health in His
Majesty’s Fleet under the command of Richard Earl Howe, Admiral, 1797,”
states that in typhus cases he found porter, where preferred by the
patient, more beneficial than wine. During a low fever, he (the doctor)
was entirely supported by bottled beer, of which he speaks very highly.
In his practice at Haslar Hospital he found bottled porter to be one of
the best ingredients in the diet of a convalescent, and never fail to
strengthen them quickly for duty.

Dr. Hodgkin, writing on Health, says, “I can assert, from well-proved
experience that the invalid who has been reduced almost to extremity
by severe or lingering illness, finds in well-apportioned draughts
of sound beer, one of the most important helps for the recovery of
his health, his strength, and his spirits.” Dr. Paris, who is not a
recent authority, but whose remarks on this subject are most cogent
and bear the stamp of common sense, asserts that “the extractive
matter furnished by the malt is highly nutritive; and we accordingly
find that those persons addicted to such potations are, in general,
fat. This fact is so generally admitted by all those who are skilled
in the art of training, that a quantity of ale is taken at every
meal by the pugilist, who is endeavouring to screw himself up to his
fullest strength. Jackson, the celebrated trainer, affirms, if any
person accustomed to drink wine would but try malt liquor for a month,
he would find himself so much the better for it, that he would soon
take to the one, and abandon the other . . . The addition of the hop
increases the value of the liquor, by the grateful stimulus which it
imparts, and in some measure redeems it from the vices with which it
might otherwise be charged where a corresponding degree of exercise
is not taken. . . I regard its dismissal (table or light beer) from
the tables of the great as a matter of regret, for its slight but
invigorating {420} bitter is much better adapted to promote digestion
than its more costly substitutes.”

Dr. Thomas Inman, in a paper read before the British Medical
Association in 1862, advances the proposition that nature has provided
in the salivary glands, the liver, and the lungs of every mammal,
an apparatus “for converting all food, especially farinaceous, into
alcohol, and he gives chemical reasons for believing that some such
process actually does take place. Alcohol, he says, after being taken
is incorporated with the blood, and passing in some form not yet
explained into the circulation, ultimately disappears; a small portion
alone passing from the body, and that in the breath. He further says
that when alcohol is mingled with other food, a less amount of the
latter suffices for the wants of the system than if water had been
used as the drink. Dr. Inman cites his own experience of an attempt to
do without his ordinary allowance of ale at dinner; a large increase
of food was necessited, but the demand for this diminished at once on
resuming the ale. Similar facts were noted in the experience of various
members of his family. No loss of health or strength was experienced,
except when the ordinary amount of solids was taken without the beer.

A celebrated French medical man (Dr. Coulier) published an excellent
article on beer (“Article Bière” in Vol. IX. of the _Dictionnaire
Encyclopédique de Sciences Médicales_) considered from a medical point
of view. He says, in effect, that beer being less rich in alcohol
than even the poorest wines, holds an intermediate place between the
latter and purely watery drinks. It presents, according to its mode
of preparation and composition, a continuous scale of more or less
alcoholic drinks, from porter and ale down to small beer containing
little more than one per cent. of alcohol. Its bitter principles
render it tonic and aperient; while the somnolence and heaviness that
follow an over-allowance of this fluid are due to the action of the
essential oil of the hop. He holds that of all fermented drinks, beer
is the one whose taste _se marie le plus agréablement_ with the use
of the pipe. Beer must be considered in the light of an alimentary
drink. In every hundred parts of beer are five of extract containing
a little nitrogenous assimilable matter and salts favourable to
nutrition, but consisting mainly of respiratory food. “If,” he says,
“fermented drinks have become one of the necessities of civilisation, a
prudent regard for health should make us as far as possible reduce the
excitement which the alcohol occasions. In this respect beer presents a
great advantage over wine. Thus a half-bottle of wine {421} containing
12 per cent. of alcohol, which is the common allowance for an adult,
contains 375 grammes of wine, and consequently 45 grammes of anhydrous
alcohol. A bottle of beer containing 4 per cent, of alcohol is equally
satisfying, and contains only 30 grammes of alcohol. Hence, supposing
two meals are taken daily, the beer-drinker daily imbibes 30 grammes
less of alcohol than the wine-drinker; and this difference amounts
in the course of the year to nearly 11 kilogrammes, or 14 litres
(equivalent to 24 lbs. or 3 gallons), of anhydrous alcohol.”

Examples without number might be collected of men who habitually used
alcoholic drinks sometimes in moderation, sometimes, in what we, in
these latter days, should certainly consider excess, and who yet lived
in health and usefulness to the extreme boundary of human life. Old
Parr, if we are to believe Taylor, who sings his praises, was a drinker
of the moderate kind.

 Sometimes metheglin and by fortune happy,
 He sometimes sipped a cup of ale most nappy,
 Cyder, or perry, when he did repair
 To Whitsun ale, wake, wedding, or fair,
 Else he had little leisure time to waste,
 Or at the ale-house huff-cup ale to taste.

Henry Jenkins, who died in 1670 at the wonderful age of 165 years, took
his ale whenever he could get it. He lived very much in the open air
and spent his time in thatching and salmon-fishing. At one time he was
butler to Lord Conyers, of Hornby Castle, and he has left it on record
that when, as often happened, his master sent him over with messages to
Marmaduke Brodelay, Lord Abbot of Fountains, the abbot “always sent for
him to his lodgings, and, after prayers, ordered him, besides wassel, a
quarter of a yard of roast beef (for that the monasteries did deliver
their meat by measure), and a great black Jack of strong ale.” Have
we not, too, the evidence of epitaphs graven in stone, which are well
known never to lie, all bearing out the truth of the longevity of ale
drinkers? Here are two, the first being in Great Walford churchyard:—

 Here John Randal lies
 Who counting of his tale
 Lived threescore years and ten,
 Such vertue was in ale.
       Ale was his meat,
       Ale was his drink. {422}
 Ale did his heart revive,
 And if he could have drunk his ale
 He still had been alive.
 He died January 5,

The second is in Edwalton, Notts:

       Ob. 1741.
 Rebecca Freeland,
 She drank good ale, good punch and wine,
 And lived to the age of 99.

Macklin, the comedian, who died in 1797, for upwards of thirty years
was a daily visitor at the Antelope, in White Hart Yard, Covent Garden.
His usual beverage was a pint of hot stout; he said it balmed his
stomach and kept him from having any inward pains. Whether from the
effects of this inward “balming” or not, Macklin undoubtedly lived to
the age of 97 years.

In Daniell’s _British Sports_ there is an account of Joe Mann,
gamekeeper to Lord Torrington. “He was in constant morning exercise,
he went to bed always betimes, _but never till his skin was filled
with ale_. This he said, ‘would do no harm to an early riser, and to a
man who pursued field sports.’ At seventy-eight years of age he began
to decline, and then lingered for three years. His gun was ever upon
his arm, and he still crept about, not destitute of the hope of fresh

The next instance, to be found in HONE’S YEAR BOOK, illustrates, not so
much the tendency of beer and ale, when taken in large quantities, to
make men healthy, wealthy, and wise, as to make them fat. On November
30, 1793, died at Beaumaris, William Lewis, Esq., of Llandismaw, in the
act of drinking a _cup_ of Welsh ale, containing about a wine _quart_,
called a “tumbler maur.” He made it a rule, every morning of his life,
to read so many chapters in the Bible, and in the evening to drink
eight gallons of ale. It is calculated that in his lifetime he must
have drunk a sufficient quantity to float a seventy-four gun ship. His
size was astonishing, and he weighed forty stone. Although he died in
his parlour, it was found necessary to construct a machine in form of
a crane, to lift his body in a carriage, and afterwards to have the
machine to let him down into the grave. He went by the name of the King
of Spain, and his family by the different titles of prince, infantas,
&c. {423}

One of the great teetotal arguments against the use of malt liquors,
one which the advocates of total abstinence generally fall back upon
when beaten on every other point, is that beer is adulterated. This
assertion, if it could be substantiated, would undoubtedly cut away
the very foundation of our argument as to the wholesomeness of ale and
beer. We must, then, shortly consider the point. Time out of mind the
brewers have been accused of adulterating their ale and beer, with
what truth, at any rate at the present day, we shall see anon. Opium,
henbane, cocculus indicus, and we know not what noxious drugs besides,
it has commonly, and we think somewhat recklessly, been asserted, find
their way into the brewing vessels. Some time ago M. Payen, a French
chemist of distinction, created quite a panic amongst the drinkers of
pale ale by asserting, in a lecture at the Conservatoire des Arts et
Métiers, that strychnine was prepared in large quantities in Paris
for exportation to England, where it was employed to give, or to aid
in giving, the esteemed bitter flavour to pale ale. This statement
appearing in _Le Constitutional_, and other French papers, soon found
its way into the English journals, to the consternation of the drinkers
and purveyors of this beverage.

The leading firms of Burton ale brewers at once threw open their
breweries and stores in the most unreserved manner, and “The _Lancet’s_
Analytical Sanitary Commission” undertook an inquiry on the subject.
Forty samples of beer, all brewed before the promulgation of the
statement, were analyzed by the commission, as well as samples taken
by other analysts at the request of Messrs. Allsopp and Sons. Needless
to say, not a particle of strychnine was discovered. Half a grain of
strychnine will destroy life, and a grain would be required to impart
to one gallon of beer its ordinary degree of bitterness. The flavour of
hops and strychnine differs. To bitter the amount then brewed at Burton
16,448 ounces of strychnine would be required. Not so much as 1,000
ounces of strychnine were manufactured in the whole world yearly.

In a quaint pamphlet entitled _Old London Rogueries_, the following
statement is made seriously:—“There ought also to be compiled a
delectable and pleasant treatise by such as sell bottle-ale, who, to
make it fly up to the top of the house at the first opening, do put
gunpowder into the bottles while the ale is new, then by stopping it
close make people believe it is the strength of the ale, when, being
truly sifted, it is nothing indeed but the strength of the gunpowder
that worketh the effect, to the great heart-burning of the parties who
drink the same. This is a truly strange and marvellous artifice, and
must be reckoned {424} among the lost inventions.” We wonder if these
cunning retailers of the olden time ever used shot as well as powder
with their bottled ale, which doubtless would have greatly increased
the effect.

In October, 1883, a statement was loudly trumpeted forth from teetotal
platforms that 245,000 cwt. of chemicals were used every year in
England in brewing. After a good deal of discussion on the subject,
it leaked out that the figures had been arrived at by a firm of hop
dealers, anxious to run up the price of hops. By a blunder in their
calculations they had come to the conclusion that there was a deficit
of 245,000 cwt. of hops in this country. From this it was argued that
245,000 cwt. of chemicals were used. This house of cards fell when it
was conclusively proved that there were at the time actually more hops
in England than were required by the brewers.

With regard to the question of adulteration at the present day, it
could be wished that those who are induced by a fanatical hatred of
alcohol in any shape or form to make this alleged adulteration a reason
for further restrictive legislation on the brewing trade, would take
the trouble to look at the reports annually published by the Inland
Revenue Commissioners in which this point is dealt with. Here are a few
extracts from their report for the year 1881, soon after the repeal
of the Malt-tax. “Brewers have no doubt been experimenting with other
descriptions of grain, as might have been expected, but we believe that
barley, from its peculiar fitness for malting, will in the end maintain
its superiority; and we are informed that a new method of preparing
inferior barley for brewing purposes promises to be highly successful.”
“So far as we are aware, no attempts have been made to use materials
in brewing at all detrimental to the public health; and the presence
of the Revenue officers in breweries affords fresh security to the
public—if indeed any such were needed—against all such practices.”

In the same report Professor Bell, the Principal of the Inland Revenue
Laboratory, goes into detail and gives very valuable statistics,
showing the way in which the opinion given by the Commissioners was
arrived at. In 1881, 8,626 samples of beer were tested, of which 4,666
were analyzed to see if any foreign body had been added, as well as
to check the original gravity. Of this large number the whole were
nearly correct, but actually 17 per cent, were found not alone to
be up to the standard test, but above it; and out of nearly 20,000
brewers, which, in round numbers, was then the extent of the trade in
the United Kingdom, only some 300 were even suspected of having used
illegal materials. Of the ninety samples of beer submitted for analysis
as being suspected {425} to have been tampered with, sixty-three were
found to have been “sugared,” but in every instance this occurred at
the public-house or beerhouse, a matter which was beyond the control of
the brewer, and was as much a fraud on him as on the Revenue and the
public. Mr. Bell goes on to state that whatever adulteration prevails
is wholly confined to the publican and the beer retailer, and even
where it does prevail, at the most the practice means nothing worse
than diluting the beer with water and afterwards adding sugar; still,
as Mr. Bell remarks, “Reprehensible as the practice is, as being a
fraud on the public as well as the Revenue, yet it is satisfactory to
know that no adulterant of a poisonous or hurtful character has been

Dr. Thudichum, in a work _Alcoholic Drinks_, published by the Executive
Council of the late Health Exhibition, speaking of the supposition
that hops are sometimes supplanted, entirely or in part, in the
manufacture of beer by absynth, menyanthes, quassia, gentian, and other
matters, regards such adulteration as rare and such as “if practised
persistently would no doubt be discovered, and the liquids produced by
their aid would be declined by the public.”

An Irish brewer told us of a rather comic incident connected with hop
substitutes. A traveller in these commodities was in the habit of
pestering our friend, who informed the man that he believed his wares
were poisonous, and that he ought to eat some to prove the contrary.
With a wry face the traveller swallowed a portion of his sample and
shortly afterwards left. Coming again in a week’s time the same
performance was gone through. The traveller made yet another visit,
when the brewer said the experiment had not satisfied him, as so small
a quantity of the hop had been eaten. This time the traveller outdid
himself, and when and before leaving the brewery promised to write and
inform the brewer if the bitter meal had any evil effects. Whether the
traveller died, or whether he discovered that he had been befooled, we
do not know, but nothing more was heard of him.

We believe that the importance of a supply of good, pure beer to
the labouring classes of this country can hardly be over-estimated,
particularly having regard to the fact—as we shall show with greater
particularity, when we come to discuss the question of total abstinence
as opposed to temperance, that malt liquors undoubtedly assist in the
support of the body, and are in practical effect equivalent to so much
easily digested food.

 “Thou clears the head o’ doited lear,
  Thou cheers the heart o’ drooping care; {426}
  And strings the nerves o’ labour fair,
                  At’s weary toil.
  Thou even brightens dark despair,
                  Wi’ gloomy smile.”

Dr. Paris, from whose works we have already quoted, explains that it is
the stimulus of the beer that proves so serviceable to the poor man,
enabling his stomach to extract more aliment from his innutritive diet.
“Happy is that country,” he writes, “whose labouring classes prefer
such a beverage to the mischievous potations of ardent spirit.”

Barley wine is without doubt the wine of this country, and where shall
we find, all the world over, a more stalwart, muscular, able-bodied
race of labouring men than we find at home? The mighty thews of the
English navigator are renowned, and not at home only, for it is well
known that while the French railways were making, the contractors
actually imported English “navvies” to do the heavy work, paying them
higher wages than their French competitors.

We would commend to the attention of those who, as the phrase goes,
would rob a poor man of his beer, the certainty that, though the evils
of intoxication can hardly be exaggerated, yet in counselling the
labouring classes everywhere, and under all circumstances, to abstain
from all kinds of liquor, they are taking upon themselves a very grave

The following old Somersetshire song has, we believe, at any rate in
this form, never before appeared in print. It was taken down verbatim
from the lips of the singer at a harvest-home. The verses no doubt
lack the elegance of the productions of our greater English poets,
but the composer, whoever he may have been, treated his subject with
commendable vigour of expression, and “Robin Rough, the Plowboy,”
illustrates in a remarkable manner the love of the agricultural
labourer for his beer, and his belief in its health-giving qualities; a
belief, by-the-bye, founded on many centuries of experience:—

 I’ze Robin Rough, the plowboy,
   A plowman’s son am I,
 And like my thirsty feyther,
   My trottle is always a-dry,
 The world goes round, to me it’s reet,
   Why need I interfere?
 For I whistles and sings from morn till neet,
   And I smokes and I drinks my beer. {427}
 For I likes a drop of good beer, I does;
   I’ze fond of a drop of good beer, I is.
     Let gentlemen fine
     Sit down to their wine,
 But I will stick to my beer.

 There’s Sally—that’s my wife, zurs—
   Likes beer as well as me,
 She’s the happiest woman in life, zurs,
   As happy as woman can be.
     She minds her work,
     Takes care of bairns,
 No gossiping neighbours near;
   When every Saturday neet returns,
 Like me she drinks her beer.
   For Sally likes her beer, she does,
 She’s fond of a drop of good beer, she is,
     Let gentlemen fine
     Sit down to their wine,
   But my Sally will stick to her beer.

 Now there’s my dad, God bless him,
   He’s now turned eighty-five,
 Hard work does ne’er distress him,
   He’s the happiest man alive.
     Though old in age
     He’s young in health,
 His head and his heart both clear,
   Possessing these and blest with peace,
 He smokes and he drinks his beer—
   For he’s fond of a drop of good beer, he is,
 He very much likes his beer, he does,
     Let gentlemen fine
     Sit down to their wine,
 But my feyther will stick to his beer.

 Now, lads, need no persuasion,
   But send your glasses round,
 There’s no fear of an invasion
   While barley grows in ground; {428}
 May trade increase
   And discord cease
   In every coming year.
 Possessed of these and blest with peace,
 Why, we’ll smoke and we’ll drink our beer.
   For I likes a drop of good beer, I does,
   I’ze fond of a drop of good beer, I is.
     Let gentlemen fine
     Sit down to their wine
 But we’ll all of us stick to our beer.

The poet Bloomfield, in the _Farmer’s Boy_, may possibly better please
our more critical readers. In describing the harvest-homing, he says:—

 Now noon gone by, and four declining hours,
 The weary limbs relax their boasted pow’rs;
 Thirst rages strong, the fainting spirits fail,
 And ask the sov’reign cordial, home-brew’d ale:

        *       *       *       *       *

 A wider circle spreads, and smiles abound,
 As quick the frothing horn performs its round,
 Care’s mortal foe, that sprightly joys imparts
 To cheer the frame and elevate their hearts.

Shakespere has been called by the teetotallers as a witness in favour
of abstinence from intoxicating liquors. Does he not make Adam, in _As
You Like It_, say—

 Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
 For in my youth I never did apply
 Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
 Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
 The means of weakness and debility;
 Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
 Frosty, but kindly?

Hot and rebellious liquors! yes; but would Shakespere have classed ale
amongst them? It seems far more probable that the reference is to the
strong wines of which the topers of his time drank deeply, the “malmsey
and malvoisie,” the “neat wine of Orleance, the Gascony, the Bordeaux,
the sherry sack, the liquorish Ipocras, brown beloved Bastard, or fat
{429} Aligant,” or to the “aqua vitæ,” the manufacture of which in the
reign of Mary was the subject of restrictive legislation.

Our consideration of the arguments put forward by the teetotal
theorists has so far been slightly delayed by the few pages we have
thought it well to devote to the accusations made against brewers of
adulteration, and of the evident advantages of malt liquor to the
labouring classes—proved beyond doubt without any necessity for learned
disquisitions on chemistry or physiology. In turning now to a more
particular consideration of the much-vexed question of temperance
_v._ total abstinence, we do not propose to attempt the advancement
of any novel or startling theories, but merely to give publicity to
the arguments in favour of the temperate use of alcoholic drinks, as
opposed to the total abstinence therefrom, supporting our arguments, as
it will be found we shall be able to do, by the opinions of some of the
best-known medical and scientific writers of the present day.

One of the first things that strikes an observer who considers, as
impartially as he can, the case put forward by the extreme advocates
of abstinence, is that the controversy itself is a very modern one,
and that, with the tendency to run into opposite extremes which is a
characteristic of human opinion, we pass suddenly from the centuries
in which it was held no shame for a man to be drunk, into these
present years, when there exists a considerable, and in some sense,
an influential body of persons, who not only will not touch alcoholic
drink themselves upon any terms, but who think it their duty to press
for such legislation as would deprive all men, be they temperate or
otherwise, of the power of buying, selling, or drinking any liquor
of which alcohol is a constituent. “Poison!” “Touch not the accursed
thing!” “Away with it!” and so on—very voluble, occasionally eloquent,
sometimes plausible. But will the fierce denunciations of these
apostles of a new religion—a religion not of temperance, but, as it has
been well called, of “intemperate abstinence,” bear the searching light
of calm and quiet argument? We had once a friend who, while fond of his
pipe, was always interested in reading about the terrible evils which
the weed would, according to the infallible dicta of the anti-tobacco
lecturers, be sure in time to bring upon his unfortunate constitution.
Before sitting down to read one of these lectures, he used always to
light a large and favourite briar; he said it enabled him to follow
the lecturer’s points so much better. Now we do not ask our readers
to follow the example of our friend _mutatis mutandis_. We do not say
that such a proceeding would of necessity assist him in following our
arguments. All we claim {430} is a patient hearing, for there never
has been a time in which an unprejudiced discussion of the subject
would be of greater advantage than at present.

Human habit of centuries, of thousands of years, of such time that the
memory and record of the human race, to use a legal phrase, runneth
not to the contrary, is evidence in our favour. Whenever he has had
the requisite skill, man has produced, enjoyed, and, we maintain, has
been improved by drinks in which alcohol formed a constituent part.
The practice of civilised nations for thousands of years is, then,
so far as it goes, an argument in favour of temperance as opposed to
abstinence. We do not wish to put this part of our case too high, and
our meaning cannot be better expressed than by the words of Sir James
Paget, who, in an essay on this subject in the _Contemporary Review_,
writes: “The beliefs of reasonable people are, doubtless, by a large
majority favourable to moderation rather than abstinence, and this
should not be regarded as of no weight in the discussion. For, although
the subject be one in which few, even among reasonable people, have
made any careful observations, and fewer still have thought with any
care, yet this very indifference to the subject, this readiness to fall
in with custom, a custom maintained in the midst of a constant love of
change, and outliving all that mere fashion has sustained—all this is
enough to prove that the evidence of the custom being a bad one is not

It is an indisputable fact that nations who have used alcohol have
attained to a greater perfection in power and will to do good work,
and a longer duration of life in which such work can be performed,
than those who have used no alcohol; and, confining our attention to
Europe, may we not say that these powers of work, these activities of
body and mind in enterprise, in invention, and in production, are more
remarkably developed in the inhabitants of the northern than of the
southern parts of the Continent, that is to say, among those who have
habitually drank more than those who have drank less? And may we not
ask how it is that, if the use of alcohol in moderation be pernicious,
the inherited effects of it have not during these vast periods of time
during which it has been used, made themselves apparent in a marked
degeneracy of the race, since we know that these results will make
themselves very conspicuous indeed in two generations of persons who
are habitually intemperate?

We are told that it is unnatural to make use of alcoholic drinks, and
we are lectured about what man in his natural state would do, or {431}
not do. This is a misuse of terms; the state in which mankind is at
any particular period, the point in his path of development which
he has then reached, and his then environment, these constitute his
natural state, and not some more or less hypothetical state of being
which has been now left far behind.

In order to enable them to thrust their theories upon a certainly
unwilling audience, it would be very convenient for the abstainers
to show, if they could, that alcohol, in any form and no matter how
diluted, is in itself a bad thing. First, then, let us consider whether
alcohol, as such, is food. On this point Dr. Lander Brunton says: “The
argument in favour of alcohol being food is that it is retained in
the body and supplies the place of other foods, so that the quantity
of food which would without it be insufficient, with its aid becomes
sufficient.” He also quotes Dr. Hammond, who observed in his own case
that when his diet was insufficient, the addition of a little alcohol
to it not only prevented him from losing weight, as he had previously
done, but converted this loss into a positive gain.

The late G. H. Lewes, in his _Principles of Physiology_, also speaks
conclusively on this subject, pointing out that alcohol is one of the
alimentary principles. “In compliance with the custom of physiologists
we are forced to call alcohol food, and very efficient food too. If it
be not food, then neither is sugar food.” Mr. Lewes also states that
alcohol taken in large quantities is harmful, depriving the mucous
membrane of the stomach of all its water, but that taken in small
quantities and diluted it has just the opposite effect, increasing the
secretion by the stimulus it gives to the circulation.

The general opinion of the medical world appears to be that alcohol
as such, is a food in a special sense, viz., that it checks the waste
of tissue and enables a person to attain to a high standard of health
and strength mentally and bodily while taking less food than would be
necessary without the alcohol. Moleschott says that “although forming
none of the constituents of blood, alcohol limits the combustion of
those constituents, and in this way is equivalent to so much blood.
Alcohol is the savings bank of the tissues. He who eats little and
drinks alcohol in moderation, retains as much in his blood and tissues
as he who eats more and drinks no alcohol.”

The argument to the effect that alcohol must be useless, because
chemists have as yet been unable to trace the exact form and manner in
which it acts upon the human economy, would seem to be fallacious in
the face of the experience, which shows that it does act, and act {432}
beneficially, when taken in a suitable form and in suitable quantity.
Experience shows, and instances by the hundred could be given, from the
works of medical men, that life can be sustained for long periods of
time solely upon alcoholic drinks. Dr. Brudenell Carter mentions a case
in his own experience of an old gentleman who lived for many months in
moderate strength and comfort and without any remarkable emaciation
upon alcoholic drinks alone. Dr. Thomas Inman, in a paper read before
the British Medical Association, gives an instance of a lady who twice
in succession nursed a child, subsisting upon each occasion during the
greater part of twelve months upon brandy and bitter ale alone; the
children, he adds, grew up strong and healthy.

Dr. Francis E. Anstie, in an article published in the _Cornhill
Magazine_ in 1862, draws attention to the fact that many substances
have an action on the body in small doses, _totally different in
kind_ to that which they exercise in large doses _e.g._, common salt,
arsenic, and many others which are either food or poisons, according
to the dose. “We are compelled, therefore,” he writes, “to believe
that in _doses proportioned to the needs of the system at the time_,
alcohol acts as a food;” and he instances several cases of longevity
in which alcohol was the only aliment, excepting in some cases a
little water, and in others a spare allowance of bread. Decisively
vanquished on this ground, our opponents return to the attack: “You
must abstain,” say they, “because your practice, which is now moderate,
will insensibly become excessive.” Here we again turn to Mr. Lewes’s
work on Physiology, and quote the pithy argument by which he refutes
this fallacy. A portion is italicised for the benefit of tea drinkers:
“To suppose there is any necessary connection between moderation and
excess, is to ignore Physiology, and fly in the face of evidence . . .
Men take their pint of beer or pint of wine daily, for a series of
years. This dose daily produces its effect; and if at any time thirst
or social seduction makes them drink a quart in lieu of a pint, they
are at once made aware of the excess. Men drink one or two cups of tea
or coffee at breakfast with unvarying regularity for a whole lifetime;
but whoever felt the necessity of gradually increasing the amount to
three, four, or five cups? Yet we know what a stimulant tea is; we know
_that treble the amount of our daily consumption would soon produce
paralysis_—why are we not irresistibly led to this fatal excess?”

Let us now return to our authorities, and from the wealth of material
which exists in the published opinions of medical men of distinction,
choose a few more extracts in favour of temperance as opposed to total
{433} abstinence. Professor Liebig, for instance, says that wine,
spirits, and beer are _necessary_ principles for the important process
of respiration, and it would seem that the stomachs of all mankind,
_teetotallers included_, will secrete alcohol from the food which is
eaten. If any man, therefore, is resolved to carry out total abstinence
strictly, he must refuse every sort of vegetable food, even bread
itself; for all such diet contains more or less of alcohol.

Sir James Paget, in the article already referred to, asserts that the
habitual moderate use of alcoholic drinks is generally beneficial, and
that, in the question raised between temperance and abstinence, the
verdict should be in favour of temperance.

Dr. A. J. Bernays, in an essay on _The Moderate Use of Alcohols_,
alluding to water as a proposed substitute, remarks on the wretched
character of the water which is supplied in towns, and the difficulty
of getting it pure. “Water which has gone through some form of
preparation, especially through some form of cooking, as in beer, is
generally better suited for meals than water itself.”

Dr. Carpenter has also drawn attention to the wholesomeness of bitter
beer at meals. “There is a class of cases,” he writes, “in which we
believe that malt liquors constitute a better medicine than could be
administered under any other form; those, namely, in which the stomach
labours under a permanent deficiency of digestive powers.” Bitter beer,
he asserts, assists digestion in cases in which no medicine would be of

This question of the water reminds us of the following tale: A cobbler
was listening to the persuasive eloquence of a teetotaller, and getting
somewhat dry over the prosy argument. “Well,” said the knight of St.
Crispin, “all you say amounts to this—that water is the best thing any
man can drink. Now I am not proud, and am easily satisfied, and don’t
want the best—stout, or ale, or even bitter-beer is quite good enough
for the likes of me.”

It is very often pointed out that the agricultural labourer and
the working classes generally would be better off if they spent the
money devoted to beer in food. This is, however, open to question,
keeping in mind the fact that alcohol enables the human frame to exist
with a smaller amount of food than would be otherwise necessary. Dr.
C. D. Redcliffe, in giving his views on alcohol, in the form of a
conversation between himself and a patient, speaks very positively on
this point. “The glass of malt liquor,” he writes, “or cyder or perry
or common wine, if the man have the luck to live in a wine-growing
country, will {434} cost less than the amount of ordinary food which
must otherwise be eaten in order to preserve health. I have no doubt
of the saving in pocket which will result from the adoption of the
practice recommended . . . . and I am equally certain that the
result will be as beneficial to health as it will be satisfactory
financially.” Liebig also testifies to the same effect, stating that in
families where beer was withheld, and money given in compensation, it
was soon found that the monthly consumption of bread was so strikingly
increased that the beer was twice paid for, once in money and a second
time in bread.

Mr. Brudenell Carter, while he was practising his profession in a
mining district, and daily brought into contact with the results of
drunken habits, determined that he “should be a better advocate of
abstinence if he practised it,” and he accordingly gave up his liquor.
The results we give in his own words:—“After about two months of total
abstinence, the conviction was reluctantly forced upon me that the
experiment was a failure, and that I must give it up.” His symptoms
pointed, he says, “in a perfectly plain way to an excess of waste over
repair. I returned to my bitter beer, and in the course of a week was
well again.”

A volume could be filled with similar experiences, but in summing up
the result of modern medical opinion, we are contented to rest our
case on what has been said on this point by the two great authorities
we have before quoted, viz., Sir James Paget and Dr. Bernays; the
former writes: “As for the opinions of the medical profession, they
are, by a vast majority, in favour of moderation. It may be admitted
that, of late years, the number of cases has increased in which
habitual abstinence from alcoholic drinks has been deemed better
than habitual moderation. But, excluding those of children and young
persons, the number of these cases is still very small, and few of
them have been observed through a long course of years, so as to test
the probable influence of a life-long habitual abstinence. Whatever
weight, then, may be assigned to the balance of opinions among medical
men, it certainly must be given in favour of moderation, not of
abstinence.” Dr. Bernays is still stronger. “The experience of mankind
is better than individual experience, and so, for every medical man of
distinction who is in favour of total abstinence, I would find twenty
men who are against it.” Hardly anyone who has lived among teetotallers
will deny that they are large eaters. Now the greater the amount of
solid food that is required to keep a human being up to the normal
level of health and strength, the greater amount of nervous energy
will be consumed {435} in the process of digestion, and the less
superfluity of energy will that person have in reserve to meet the
other exigencies and activities of life. It therefore seems to follow
with the certainty of a mathematical demonstration, that if, as those
who are best qualified to judge assure us is the case, the moderate
consumption of alcoholic liquors enables a person to keep himself in
health and strength upon a less amount of solid food than would be
necessary without the aid of alcohol, the life of that man, other
things being equal, must be fuller of capacities for all kinds of work,
both mental and bodily, than that of a man who takes no alcohol, and
who is in consequence forced to use up a greater amount of nerve force
in the consumption of a sufficiency of solids to support himself. It
is an uncontrovertible fact that the best work has always been done by
the moderate drinkers. The physical condition of rigid abstainers has
frequently been commented upon; and without wishing to say anything
unkind, or uncharitable, about men who are doubtless honest and
conscientious, though, in our view, misguided, we cannot but suggest
the question—Is the appearance of the average abstainer, who now,
happily for the cause of truth, is known to all the world by the blue
ribbon he wears, such as may be considered a good advertisement for the
opinions he advocates? Does his appearance seem to indicate a physical
or intellectual superiority to the average member of the _genus homo_?
We think there can be but one opinion on this point, and it is that
each and every of these questions must be answered with an emphatic

On the action of the Temperance Societies, Dr. Moxon, in a very able
article, _Alcohol and Individuality_, after relating how a poor cooper,
having a fever caused by a wound, died rather than take the alcohol
which was absolutely necessary to sustain him, says: “I believe that
to a large extent teetotalism lays firmest hold on those who are
least likely ever to become drunkards, and are most likely to want at
times the medicinal use of alcohol—sensitive, good-natured people, of
weak constitution, to whom the Sacred Ecclesiast directed his strange
sounding but needful advice, ‘Be not righteous over much, neither make
thyself over wise: why shouldst thou destroy thyself?’”

In August, 1884, _The Times_ devoted several columns to an exhaustive
consideration of teetotal theories and the use of alcohol, and it
may be said, without fear of contradiction, that neither before nor
since has a more valuable treatise appeared on the subject. The writer
divides total abstainers into three classes. Of the first class
he says: “There are some persons who seem not to require alcohol
because they easily {436} digest a large quantity of solid food, and
especially of saccharine and starchy matters, . . . . but it is fairly
questionable whether their work in life would not be better in quantity
or in quality, or both, if they were to consume less solid food, and
to make up for the deficiency by a little beer or wine. There are
others who have a distinctly morbid tendency towards excess, . . . .
which leaves them no safety except in total abstinence. The difficulty
with these persons is to keep them from drink, however hurtful they
may know it to be, for their condition is one of disease, and they
have seldom sufficient resolution to abstain. When they do abstain
they furnish striking examples of the success of teetotalism by being
changed from a state closely bordering on insanity into responsible
members of society; but the ordinary experience with regard to them
is that they have a succession of relapses into intemperance, and
that they ultimately die, directly or indirectly, from the effects of
drink. . . . The third class of abstainers is formed by those who are
actuated in the main by benevolent and conscientious motives, which,
unfortunately, are seldom controlled by the possession of adequate
knowledge. Many clergymen abstain ‘for the sake of example,’ without
pausing to consider whether the example may not, in some cases, be a
bad one, and whether they would not discharge their manifest duties
more efficiently by help of the added force which alcohol would give.
Many persons get on fairly well without alcohol because their powers
are never subjected to any considerable strain, and these persons too
often break down when any strain comes upon them, unless they will
consent to modify their mode of living. This, as is too well known,
they will not always do; and every medical man has seen instances of
fanatical teetotalism leading to complete destruction of the health of
those who were governed by it.”

With regard to teetotal societies, the writer considers that they do
very little good and a great deal of harm. “They fail,” he says, “to
touch the evils of drunkenness, except in a very limited fashion, and
they take away alcohol from vast numbers who would be better for the
moderate use of it. We think the time has come when philanthropists
should cease to listen to mere declamation, and should try to look
calmly and fearlessly at the results of observation and experience.
Many a good man is injuring his health and diminishing his usefulness
in order to adhere, ‘for the sake of example,’ to a fantastic

To check the evils of drunkenness, we rely not on prohibitory
legislation, which has been tried elsewhere and found wanting, but
on the gradual spread of education and enlightenment; the effects
of public {437} opinion, the improvement of the well-being of the
humbler classes more particularly with reference to their habitations
both in town and country. Perhaps also, but here we speak with greater
diffidence on account of the practical difficulties in which such a
proposal is involved a remedy is to be found in the confinement of
those persons who have shown by their conduct that their inability to
refrain from vile excesses arises from actual mental disease.

Lord Bramwell, in a pamphlet called _Drink_, has written to very
much the same effect. He also calls in question the right of society
to interfere with individual liberty to the extent proposed by the
teetotallers. Is it reasonable, he asks, that because some people drink
to excess, alcoholic liquors are to be denied to millions to whom it
is a daily pleasure and enjoyment with no attendant harm? If a man is
drunk in public, punish him; but it does seem hard that the sober man
should be punished—for withholding a pleasure and inflicting a pain are
equally punishment. “Then see the mischief of such laws,” he continues.
“The public conscience does not go with them. It is certain they will
be broken. Every one knows that stealing is wrong; disgrace follows
conviction. But every one knows that drinking a glass of beer is not
wrong; no discredit attaches to it. It is done, and when done against
the law you have the usual mischiefs of law-breaking, smuggling,
informations, oaths, perjury, shuffling, and lies. Besides, as a matter
of fact, it fails. Nothing can show this more strongly than the failure
in Wales of the Sunday Closing Act.” Lord Bramwell in the end comes to
the conclusion that drunkenness cannot be prevented by legislation.
“Whether it is desirable to limit the number of drink shops,” he
writes, “is a matter as to which I have great doubt and difficulty. But
grant that there is the right to forbid it, wholly or partially, in
place or time, I say it is a right which should not be exercised. To do
so is to interfere with the innocent enjoyment of millions in order to
lessen the mischief arising from the folly or evil propensities, not
of themselves, but of others. And, further, that such legislation is
attended with the mischiefs which always follow from the creation of
offences in law which are not so in conscience. Punish the mischievous
drunkard, indeed, perhaps, even punish him for being drunk in public,
and so a likely source of mischief. Punish, on the same principle, the
man who sells drink to the drunken. But go no further. Trust to the
good sense and improvement of mankind, and let charity be shown to
those who would trust to them rather than to law.”

Other arguments in opposition to those who would introduce what {438}
is known as local option may be briefly summed up as follows:—Such a
system would establish the principle that a majority of ratepayers in
one district may put a stop to any trade or calling to which they may
happen to object, although the same trade remains perfectly legitimate
in other places; it would concentrate the evil, shifting the area of
the sale of drink, and thus intensifying the mischiefs complained of;
it would introduce invidious class distinctions, since its effects
would principally be felt by the poor and the labouring classes, and in
place of a trade which is now subject to inspection and regulation, it
would substitute a secret and irresponsible one.

In this discussion, the balance of experience, of reason, and of
authority is vastly in favour of the temperate man rather than the
abstainer, and it may be said without fear of contradiction from any
reasonable or unbiassed person that, for the great majority of the
people of this country, the most wholesome, the most nutritious, and
the most pleasing alcoholic liquor, is the “wine of the country,” good,
sound ale and beer.

To the reader who has been patient enough to follow us thus far, we
give our best thanks, hoping that he may have found something to amuse,
something, perhaps, to instruct in these pages—our best thanks, we say,
and, as a parting word, a few verses by old John Gay, entitled


 Whilst some in epic strains delight,
 Whilst others pastorals invite,
     As taste or whim prevail;
 Assist me all ye tuneful Nine,
 Support me in the great design,
     To sing of nappy Ale.

 Some folks of cider make a rout,
 And cider’s well enough no doubt
     When better liquors fail;
 But wine that’s richer, better still,
 Ev’n wine itself (deny ’t who will)
     Must yield to nappy Ale.

 Rum, brandy, gin with choicest smack,
 From Holland brought, Batavia rack,
     All these will nought avail {439}
 To cheer a truly British heart,
 And lively spirits to impart,
     Like humming nappy Ale.

 Oh ! whether thee I closely hug
 In honest can, or nut-brown jug,
     Or in the tankard hail,
 In barrel or in bottle pent,
 I give the generous spirit vent,
     Still may I feast on Ale.

 But chief when to the cheerful glass,
 From vessel pure, thy streamlets pass,
     Then most thy charms prevail;
 Then, then, I’ll bet and take the odds
 That nectar, drink of Heathen Gods,
     Was poor compared to Ale.

 Give me a bumper: fill it up:
 See how it sparkles in the cup;
     O how shall I regale !
 Can any taste this drink divine,
 And then compare rum, brandy, wine,
     Or aught with nappy Ale?

 Inspired by thee, the warrior fights,
 The lover wooes, the poet writes
     And pens the pleasing tale;
 And still in Britain’s isle confest,
 Nought animates the patriot’s breast
     Like generous nappy Ale.

 High church and low oft raise a strife
 And oft endanger limb and life,
     Each studious to prevail:
 Yet Whig and Tory, opposite
 In all things else, do both unite
     In praise of nappy Ale.

 Inspired by thee, shall Crispin sing
 Or talk of freedom, church and king,
     And balance Europe’s scale: {440}
 While his rich landlord lays out schemes
 Of wealth in golden South-Sea dreams,
     The effects of nappy Ale.

 Ev’n while these stanzas I indite,
 The bar-bells’ grateful sounds invite
     Where joy can never fail.
 Adieu, my Muse ! adieu, I haste
 To gratify my longing taste
     With copious draughts of Ale.

+ The + End +






One talks glibly enough of fermentation, but the majority of us would
be puzzled if asked to say what it is. For many years it has been known
that minute particles of life are ever present in substances undergoing
fermentation, but until recently proved beyond question by M. Pasteur,
it was not known that the peculiar changes are wholly caused by these
living atoms, which are so small that they can only be seen through the
most powerful microscope. This discovery was the key to many problems.
Pasteur soon traced the diseases of wine to the presence of various
organisms which, fortunately, could be easily destroyed by heat. From
this it followed that wine once heated to a certain temperature could
be kept an indefinite length of time, provided, of course, no exposure
to the air took place, for from the air germs of organisms similar to
those killed by the application of heat might again enter the wine and
multiply themselves.

The method of preserving the wine discovered by Pasteur is simple: In
a suitable metal vessel the bottles of wine are placed, their corks
firmly tied down. The vessel is then filled to such a depth that the
water is level with the wires of the corks. One of the bottles, in
which is placed the bulb of a thermometer, should be filled with water.
The water in the vessel is then gradually heated until the thermometer
shows that the water in the bottle has attained a temperature of 212

Pasteur proved by repeated experiments that the flavour of the wine
is not in any way damaged by this operation. The discovery solved an
important economic question, for wines heated in this manner can now be
exported into all countries, or kept for an almost indefinite period
without losing their flavour or perfume.

We have mentioned Pasteur’s labours for the wine-growers, for on them
were based his studies on beer. {442}

At the close of the Franco-Prussian war, Pasteur, who was then
recovering from an illness which lasted over two years, became eager
to commence an investigation which would bring him again to the study
of fermentation. Influenced, no doubt, by the patriotic wish of making
for French beer a reputation equal to that of Germany, he attacked the
diseases of malt liquors.

Beer is far more difficult to keep than wine, and it is said to be
diseased when it has turned sharp, sour, ropy or putrid. To trace the
causes of these undesirable conditions was Pasteur’s aim, and, as
usual with any investigation undertaken by him, he met with success.
In studying the fermentation of wine, he had discovered a new world
peopled with minute beings of many different species, and in the
fermentation of beer his discoveries were of much the same nature.

In wine the fermentation may be said to take place by itself, the
organisms which cause it, finding their way into the liquid without
the assistance of man; but in beer-brewing a small quantity of certain
organisms (yeast) is put into the sweet wort by the brewer. These
organisms multiply themselves, and, if of the right species, turn the
sugar principally into alcohol and carbonic acid gas. The one remains
in the beer, the other partly escapes and hangs about the surface of
the liquid, as anyone who has put his nose into a fermenting tun has
no doubt discovered. It is absolutely necessary for the production of
drinkable beer that the right species of organism be set to work in
the wort. If the wort was left to itself to ferment, as is wine, the
results would be very unsatisfactory. Various kinds of organisms (from
which wine is protected by its acidity) would enter into it from the
air, divers ferments would take place, and more often than not an acid
or putrid beer would be the result.

Every beer-disease Pasteur found to be caused by its own peculiar
organisms, which enter into the liquid sometimes from the air and
often in the yeast, and the causes of many mysterious occurrences
in breweries at once become clear. Professor Tyndall said of this
discovery: “Without knowing the cause, the brewer not unfrequently
incurred heavy losses through the use of bad yeast. Five minutes’
examination with the microscope would have revealed to him the cause of
the badness, and prevented him from using the yeast. He would have seen
the true torula overpowered by foreign intruders. The microscope is,
I believe now everywhere in use. At Burton-on-Trent its aid was very
soon, invoked.”

The brewer has, therefore, to keep his wort free from foreign organisms
{443} other than the yeast plant. When the wort is boiled, any harmful
organisms it may contain are killed, and it can be indefinitely
preserved even in a high temperature, provided the air with which
it comes in contact is free from the germs of the lower microscopic
organisms. Pasteur’s son-in-law, in the account he has written of
the great _savant’s_ life and labours, says that some brewers have
constructed an apparatus which enables them to protect the wort while
it cools from the organisms of the air and to ferment it with a leaven
as pure as possible. At the Exhibition of Amsterdam were shown bottles
only half full, containing a perfectly clear beer which had been tapped
from the opening of the Exhibition.

As the causes of disease in beer are much the same as in wine, the
same preservative—heating—may be applied. But beer differs from still
wines in containing carbonic acid gas which heat displaces, and as beer
which has lost its briskness is not pleasant drinking, it can only be
advantageously so treated when contained in bottles. Both in Europe and
America, says M. Pasteur’s son-in-law, the heating of beer is practised
on a large scale. The process is called _Pasteuration_ and the beer
_Pasteurised_ beer.

A very high temperature, as we have shown, kills the germs of disease
in wine and beer. Extreme cold has the effect of indefinitely
suspending the action of the ferment. A moderate temperature seems
most favourable to the action of the organisms which work the wondrous
changes in the wort. In England beer is usually fermented at a
temperature of between 60° and 70° Fahr., and the process only lasts
a day or two. In Germany the general practice is to ferment at about
40°, a temperature maintained by means of vessels containing ice, which
are thrown into the fermenting tuns. This lower temperature checks the
action of the ferment and the process lasts for fifteen or even twenty

The only other point to be noticed here in connection with fermentation
is the peculiar fact discovered by Pasteur, that the organisms
causing the ferment can live without air. When the wort is in the
fermenting tun, the sides of the tun, together with the heavy carbonic
acid gas hanging over the surface of the wort, exclude all air from
the organisms, which can only obtain a small amount of oxygen from
the liquid. There is, in fact, life without air. Pasteur made some
interesting experiments which showed that there was a great difference
in the action of the organisms according as they were placed in
deep vats, cut off from the air by the carbonic acid gas, or in
flat-bottomed {444} wooden troughs with sides a few inches high. In
this latter situation the life of the ferment seemed enhanced, but
the amount of sugar decomposed by the organisms was proportionately
different from that decomposed in the vats. In the vats one ounce of
ferment decomposed from seventy to a hundred and fifty ounces of sugar,
while in the troughs the same quantity of ferment decomposed only five
or six ounces of sugar. The experiment showed that the more the yeast
was exposed to the air, the less was its power as a ferment, and that
there is a remarkable relation between fermentation and life without

Dumas once said to Pasteur before the Academy of Sciences: “You have
discovered a third kingdom—the kingdom to which those organisms belong
which, with all the prerogatives of animal life, do not require air for
their existence, and which find the heat that is necessary for them in
the chemical decompositions which they set up around them.”






 Adulteration of Beer … 423–4

 Ale Drinkers, Great … 421

 Ale, English, on the Continent … 414

 Ale-bench, The … 190

 Ale-berry, or Ale-brue … 383

 Ale-bush, The … 216

 Ale-conners … 106, 109

 Ale-draper … 190

 Ale-founder … 107

 Ale-gafol … 35

 Ale-garland, The … 216

 Ale-house Lattices … 188

 Ale-house Poetry … 226

 Ale-houses in Mediæval Times … 187

 Ale-houses in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries … 188, 191

 Ale-houses, Suppression of … 110

 Ale-pole, The … 216

 Ale-sellers in fourteenth century, Tricks by … 39

 Ale-stake … 108, 215, 219

 Ale-taster … 109

 Ale-wives … 104, 124–6, 128–9, 134, 192, 215, 314

 _Ale-wife’s Supplication_ … 129

 Ale-yard, The … 401

 Alice Everade, a Brewster … 104

 _All is ours and our Husbands_ … 112

 Allsopp and Sons, Messrs. … 336

 Ancient Britons, Use of Beer by the … 1, 28

 Angel at Islington, The … 198

 _Answer of Ale to the Challenge of Sack_ … 8

 Apricot Ale … 386

 Arboga, Beer of … 181

 Armenia, Xenophon’s account of Beer in 401 B.C. … 27

 _Arraigning and Indicting of Sir John Barleycorn, Knight_ … 20

 Assize of Ale … 99, 102–3, 129

 Atkinson, Richard, Advice to Lord Dacre … 8


 _Bacchanalian Joys Defeated_ … 192

 “Baiersk öl” … 180

 _Ballad on Ale_, Gay’s … 438

 Banbury Ale … 171

 Baptism in Ale … 38, 401

 Barclay, Perkins & Co. … 341, 368

 _Barrel of Humming Ale, The_ … 12

 Barnstable Ale … 172

 Bass, Ratcliffe and Gretton, Messrs. … 343

 Bavarian Beer … 180

 Bede-ales … 99

 _Beer_, an American Poem … 13

 Beer Brewers, The … 143, 147

 Beer Powders … 176

 Beer Street, Hogarth’s … 16

 Beer, the Temperance Drink … 16, 18

 Bees, Beer used in taking Swarms of … 403

 Ben Jonson … 205

 _Beowulf_, Mention of Ale in … 33

 Bid-ales … 272

 _Birthday Ode, A_, by Peter Pindar … 357

 Bitter Beer, ancient cure for Leprosy among the Jews … 26

 Black Boy Inn, Chelmsford, The … 220

 Black Jacks … 396

 Blackberry Ale … 386

 Blind Pinneaux … 385

 Boar’s Head in Eastcheap, The … 203

 Boorde, Andrew, on Ale and Beer … 6

 Boozer … 26

 Borage … 390

 Boswell, Anecdote of … 292

 Bottled Beer, Origin of, etc. … 178

 Bragget: Bragawd … 171, 378

 Brasenose College Poems, and Ale … 7, 165, 389

 Breakfast, Ale at … 274, 275

 _Brewer’s Coachman, The_ … 148

 Brewers’ Company, Historical Notes on the, etc. … 134, 137, 143, 147

 Brewers of old London, The … 123, 146

 _Brewers’ Plea; or, a Vindication of Strong Beer_ (1647) … 116

 Brewhouse (German) of the sixteenth century … 131

 Brewhouse in sixteenth century, Contents of … 56

 Brewing at the present day … 331

 Brewing in a Teapot … 2, 339

 Brewing Trade in 1297, Legislation concerning the … 134

 Brewing Trade, Regulations for, in the fifteenth century … 104

 Brewsters … 100

 Bride-Ales … 269, 272

 Brown Betty … 389

 βρυτον, “Britain” derived from … 31

 _Bryng us in Good Ale_ … 230

 Burton Ales … 160

 _Burton Ale_; a Song … 161

 Burton-on-Trent, Historical Account of, etc. … 335

 Butler’s Ale, Dr. … 413

 Buttered Beere … 385, 413

 Buxton, Jedediah, a Great Beer Drinker … 293


 Cakes and Ale … 43, 239

 Cambridge Ale at Stourbridge Fair … 105

 Castle Coombe, Ancient Regulations concerning Brewing at … 107

 Caton, Cornelius, of the White Lion, Richmond … 194

 Cereris Vinum … 28

 Cerevisia … 28

 Charity, Ale Distributed in … 184, 278

 Chaucer’s Reference to Ale … 40

 Chavelier de Malte, The … 149

 Chester Ale … 162

 China Ale … 386

 Christian Ale … 271

 Christmas Carol, An Ancient … 263

 Christmas Customs … 239, 264

 Christopher North’s Brewhouse … 61

 Church Ales … 239, 266–70

 Churches, Ale Sold in … 272

 Clamber-clown … 385

 Clerk Ales … 270

 Cobbett on Homebrew, in 1821, 46

 Cock Ale … 385

 Cock Tavern, The … 209

 Cœlia … 28

 _Coggie o’ Yill_, a Song … 329

 Cold Tankard … 390

 Collistrigium … 101

 _Complete Angler, The_, Sold under the King’s Head Tavern … 205

 Consumption cured by Ale … 414

 Cookery, Beer used in … 403

 Cooperage, sixteenth century, A … 334

 Cooper, Origin of the Drink … 375

 Coopers, Brewers forbidden to act as … 113

 Coopers of Old London … 139

 Copus-Cup … 391

 Cornhill, The Taverns of … 203

 Cost of Brewing in the sixteenth century … 57

 Cotswold Games, The … 247

 Country Sports and Pastimes, Herrick upon … 233

 Cowslip Ale … 386

 Crown and Anchor, Strand, The … 211

 Cucking Stool, A Punishment for Ale-wives … 102

 Cuckoo Ales … 272

 Curmi … 28

 Cwrw … 28


 Darby Ale … 162

 Dawson, John, Butler of Christchurch, Oxford … 167

 Derivations of “Ale” and “Beer” … 32

 Devil Inn, Fleet Street, The … 208

 Dietetic uses of Ale … 273

 Dinton Hermit, The … 277

 Distinctions between Ale and Beer … 6, 32, 152

 Dogsnose … 388

 “_Doll thi, doll, doll this Ale, dole_” … 404

 Domestic uses of Ale … 403

 Donaldson’s Beer-cup … 391

 Dorchester Ales … 172

 Dover’s Games … 247

 _Drinke and Welcome_ … 4, 41, 147, 153, 158, 161, 188, 414

 Drinking Customs … 279, 280, 290, 383

 Drinking Vessels … 393

 Drink-Lean … 247

 Drunkenness in Olden Times … 108, 114, 116, 282, 292


 Early Closing, temp. Edward I. … 109

 Edinburgh Ales … 169

 Egg-Ale … 387

 Egg-hot … 388

 Egypt, Ancient use of Beer in … 25

 Egypt, Suppression of Beer Shops in … 1, 25

 Elderberry Beer … 386

 English Ale, famous among foreigners in fourteenth century … 37

 Epitaphs on Ale-drinkers, Brewers, and Innkeepers … 150, 164, 196, 208

 Eucharist, use of Ale in the Administration of the … 402

 Everlasting Club, The … 214

 Export of Ale in Ancient Times … 113

 Extraordinary Tithes … 91


 Falcon Inn, Chester, The … 197

 Falcon Tavern, Bankside, The … 205

 _Farmer’s Delight in the Merry Harvest, The_ … 253

 Farmer’s Return, Hogarth’s … 45

 Fever Cases cured by Ale … 415

 Fire, Ale used to Extinguish … 407

 Fish, Ale used as Food for … 402

 Fishing Lines, Ale used to Stain … 402

 Flip … 388, 389

 Foot Ales … 273

 Fowls, Beer as a Drink for … 403

 Foxcomb … 385

 Francis Francis on Bitter Beer … 5

 Freemason’s Cup … 391

 Frozen Ale … 169

 Furry Day at Helston, The … 244


 Gentleman’s Cellar of the twelfth century … 52

 George Inn, Salisbury, The … 196

 German Beer … 178, 180

 _Geste of Kyng Horn_, Extract from … 32

 Gin Lane, Hogarth’s … 17

 Give Ales … 272

 Glutton-Masses … 286

 _Good Ale for my Money_, a Ballad … 317

 Grace-cup, The … 384

 Grains … 145, 403

 _Grand Concern of England, etc., The_ (1673) … 118

 Greyheards, Anecdote of the … 398

 Grout Ale … 164

 Guild Feasts … 271

 Guinness, Messrs … 348

 Gustator Cervisiæ … 107


 Hacket, Marian, Ale-wife … 128

 _Hal-an-low_, The; a Song … 244

 Halders, Dame, of Norwich, Ale-wife, Anecdote of … 192

 Hanaps … 395

 Harrison on Homebrew and Malting in 1587, 54

 Harvest Home Customs and Songs … 256–9

 Harwood, Ralph, supposed Inventor of Porter … 366

 Haymaker’s Song, The … 252

 _Health to all Good Fellowes_, a Ballad … 325

 Heather Ale … 175

 Heaving … 241

 Help Ales … 272

 Herodotus on Egyptian Brewing … 25

 Herrick … 15

 Hicks, William, Brewer to the King … 149

 _High and Mightie Commendation of a Pot of Good Ale_ … 71, 320

 Highgate Oath, The … 198

 Hobby Horse Dance … 239

 Hock-Cart, The … 254

 Hock-tide … 241

 Hollowing Bottle, The … 255

 Homebrew and Malting, Earliest Account of … 47

 Hop-bine Ensilage … 82

 Hop-Gardens of England … 87

 Hop-Growers’ Troubles … 89

 Hop-growing countries of Europe … 87

 Hop-Pickers … 92

 Hop-poles and wires … 88

 Hop-Searchers … 70

 Hop-Substitutes … 78

 Hop-Substitutes, Anecdote … 425

 Hops, Early Introduction into England of … 67

 Hops, Early Mention of … 66

 Hops in America and Australia … 87

 Hops in Saxon times … 66

 Hops, Legislation concerning … 73, 78

 Hops, Medicinal uses of … 85

 Hops, Mention of, in the City Records … 68

 Hops, Prosecutions for using … 69

 Hops, Various uses of … 82, 84

 Horkey Beer, The … 256

 Horses’ Feet Washed with Ale … 402

 Hospitality in England in Early Times … 183, 190

 Hot Pint … 237

 Hot Pot … 388

 _How Mault doth deale with Everyone_, a Ballad … 301

 Huff-cap … 156

 Huff-cup … 421

 Hugmatee … 385

 Hum-cup … 158, 388

 Humming Ale … 158

 Humpty-Dumpty … 385

 Humulus Japonicus … 82

 Hungerford Park, A Beer Cup … 391

 Hymele … 66

 Hypocras … 384


 Ind, Coope & Co., Messrs. … 351

 Inn-keepers, Anecdotes of … 192

 Ireland, Malt Liquors in … 30

 Isaak Walton on Barley Wine … 191


 Jillian of Berry, Ale-wife … 128

 Johnson, Dr. … 182, 209

 _Jolly Good Ale and Old_ … 11


 Kentish Hop Gardens, Origin of … 70

 Kent, Restrictive Enactment on Malting and Brewing in … 110

 _King James and the Tinkler_, a Ballad … 405

 Knock-me-down … 385


 Laboragol … 164

 Labouring Classes, Advantage of Ale to … 425, 433

 Lager Beer … 179

 Lamb-Ales … 272

 Lambswool … 381

 _Lamentable Complaints of Nick Froth, The_ … 117

 _Lamentations of the Porter Vat, etc._ … 371

 Leet Ales … 272

 Licensing Laws in Ancient Times … 113

 _Little Barley-Corn, The_, a Ballad … 303

 London Ale … 160

 _London Chanticleers, The_, Song from … 306

 London Taverns … 183

 Lord of the Tap … 105

 Loving-Cup, The … 384

 Lupuline … 80, 86

 _Lupus Salictarius_ … 65


 Magpie and Crown, The … 221

 Malt Liquor _v._ Cheap French Wines … 10

 Malt, Medicinal Preparations of … 417

 Malt, Sermon on … 289

 Malting and Brewing by Women Servants in 1610, 47

 Malting in Early Times … 120

 Manchester Ale … 162

 Mary-Ales … 273

 Maule, Mr. Justice, Anecdote of … 376

 May-Day Customs … 241–5

 Measures, Legislation concerning … 101

 Medical Opinions, Ancient and Modern, on Ale and Beer
     … 403, 408, 419, 433

 Mermaid in Bread Street, The … 206

 _Merry Bagpipes_, The … 251

 _Merry Fellows, The_, a Song … 290

 _Merry Hoastess, The_, a Ballad … 308

 Meux’s, Bursting of the Great Vat, etc. … 368, 371

 Midsummer-Ales … 272

 Mitre, Fleet Street, The … 210

 Monasteries, Entertainment at … 183

 _Monday’s Work_, a Ballad … 326

 Monks as Brewers and Beer-drinkers … 37, 41, 50, 96, 285

 Morocco, A Strong Ale … 169

 Moss Ale, Irish … 176

 Mother-in-Law … 392

 Mother Louse, Ale-wife … 129

 Muggling … 290

 Mug House Club, The … 213

 Mulled Ale … 378

 Mum … 172


 _Newcastle Beer_ … 168

 Newcastle Cloak … 116

 _Newe from Bartholomew Fayre_ … 203

 Newnton, Curious Custom at … 271

 Nippitatum: Strong Ale … 157

 Norfolk Ales—Norfolk Nog … 171

 Northdown Ale … 162, 171, 385

 North, Florence, Ale-wife … 215

 Norwegian Beer … 180

 _Nottingham Ale_ … 162, 167, 210


 October Club, The … 212

 _Ode to Sir John Barleycorn_ … 20

 Old Ale, The: an Anecdote … 15

 Old Parr … 421

 Origin of Ale … 25, 42

 _Origin of Beer, The_ … 29

 Origin of Inns, The … 185


 _Panala Alacatholica_ … 412

 _Panegyric on Ale_ … 165

 _Panegyric on Oxford Ale_ … 13

 Parnell, Paul, A Great Beer Drinker … 59

 Parsons, Humphrey, Brewer and Lord Mayor … 149

 _Parson, The_, a Ballad … 287

 Parsonage Alehouses … 187

 Parting Cup, The … 389

 Pasteur’s Discoveries … 441

 _Patent Brown Stout_ … 369

 Peg-tankards … 97, 394

 Pennilesse Pilgrimage, Taylor’s … 162, 169, 190

 _Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden_ … 73

 Pharaoh … 158

 _Philosopher’s Banquet_, Extract from … 44

 Pig Drinking Ale out of a Jug … 15

 Pledging … 383

 Pliny on German Beer … 28

 Plough Monday … 240

 Plum-pudding Weighing 1,000 lbs., The … 203

 _Pointes of Good Huswiferie_, Extract from … 56

 Pope Innocent III., Anecdote of … 36

 Porter at Oxford … 367

 Porter Drinkers, Actors and Actresses as … 374

 Porter in Ireland … 373

 Porter, Origin of … 365

 Porter, Professor Wilson on … 370

 Posset Ale … 385

 _Pot of Porter oh ! A_ … 376

 Proverbs of Hendyng (thirteenth century) … 38

 Purl … 387, 389

 _Pye upon the Pear Tree Top, The_ … 256


 Queen Elizabeth’s Breakfast … 275

 _Quod Petis Hic Est_ … 328


 _Rape of Lucrece, The_ … 204

 Receipts for Keeping and Flavouring Homebrew … 62

 Rents Paid in Ale … 35

 Rheumatism cured by New Ale … 416

 _Robin Rough, the Plowboy_ … 426

 Rouen, English Beer at, in 1582, 113

 _Roxburghe Ballads_, The … 295

 Ruddle … 388

 Rumyng, Eleanor … 126, 216, 223

 Russia, Burton Ale Exported to … 338

 Russia, Burton Beer in … 181


 Salt & Co., Messrs. … 353

 Saxon Leechdoms … 151

 Scarcity of labour in fourteenth century … 39

 Scot-Ales … 98, 267, 272

 Scotch Ales … 169, 170, 171

 Scotland, Ale Brewing and Selling in Early Times … 129

 Scotland, Assize of Ale, etc., in … 129

 Scurvy cured by Ale … 418

 _Senchus Mor_, References to Ale in the … 30

 Shakspere and Ale … 203, 270, 428

 Shandy Gaff … 392

 Sheep-shearing Customs and Songs … 250

 Sicera … 26

 Sign of the Red Lion, The, an Anecdote … 229

 Signboard and Alehouse Poetry … 211, 223–7

 Signboard Artists … 228

 Signboards … 214–20

 _Sir John Barley-corne_, The Ballad … 295

 _Skelton’s Ghost_ … 110, 153

 Small Beer … 159, 160, 277, 284

 Smoke Question in London, Early Mention of the … 146

 _Songs of the Session_, Extract from … 14

 _Sonnet on Christmas_ … 262

 Spiced Ale … 382

 St. Dunstan, Legend of … 97

 Steen, Jan, Brewer, temp. Chas. II. … 148

 Stephony … 385

 Stickback … 385

 Stiffle … 385

 Stout … 374

 Strength of Malt Liquors Compared … 154

 Sugar Beer … 177

 Sulphuring of Hops … 81

 Sunday Closing in Early Times … 115

 Superstitions relating to Beer and Ale … 278

 Swanne Taverne, The, by Charing Cross … 207

 Swift’s _Polite Conversation_ on Homebrew … 59

 _Symposii Ænigmata_, A Saxon Riddle … 34


 Tabard, The … 200

 Tapstere, The Chester … 125

 Taverns of Old London … 188, 203

 Taxes on Ale … 38

 Taylor’s, John, Signboard … 211

 Temperance Drinks … 373

 Temperance _v._ Total Abstinence … 14, 19, 423, 429

 Tewahdiddle … 389

 Thames Water used in Brewing … 122

 Thrale’s Brewery … 340, 368

 _Time’s Alterations, or the Old Man’s Rehersal_ … 396

 Timothy Burrell, Extracts from the Journal of … 59

 _Tinker’s Song_, Herrick’s … 291

 Tithe Ale … 172, 273

 Toasting … 383

 _Toby Philpot_ … 399

 Toll on Ale … 35

 _Toper, drink, and help the house_ … 15

 Treacle Beer … 177

 _Treatise of Walter de Biblesworth_ … 47

 Trinity Audit … 165

 Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co., Messrs. … 355, 366

 Tumbrel, Punishment of the … 100

 Tusser on Hops … 76

 Twelfth-day Customs … 238

 Typhus-fever, Malt Liquor beneficial in … 419


 _Village Alehouse, The_ … 186

 Vinegar made from Malt Liquor … 403


 Wadlow, Sim … 208

 Wages Paid Anciently in Ale … 36

 _Warme Beere_, Verses in Commendation of … 410

 _Warrington Ale_ … 168

 Wassail Bowl, The … 380

 Wassailing … 234

 Wassailing the Fruit Trees … 236

 Weddyn Ales … 272

 Welsh Ales … 30, 171

 Weobley Ale … 127, 171

 Wheat Malt, Ancient Use of … 105

 Whitbread & Co., Messrs. … 359, 368

 White Ale, Devonshire … 163

 Whitington and the London Brewers … 135

 Whitsuntide Ales and Customs … 246, 267

 _Will Russell_, a Ballad … 195

 _Wine, Beer, Ale and Tobacco; a Dialogue_ … 72

 “Wine is but Single Broth” … 9

 Women Brewers … 124


 X, Origin of the Symbol … 113


 Yorkshire Ale … 161

 _Yorkshire Ale, The Praise of_: A Poem … 312


 Zythum … 28


Transcriber’s Note.

Original spelling and grammar have been generally retained, with some
exceptions noted below. Original printed page numbers are shown like
this: {52}. Original small caps are now uppercase. Italics look _like
this_. Footnotes have been relabeled 1–75, and moved from within
paragraphs to nearby locations between paragraphs. The transcriber
produced the cover image and hereby assigns it to the public domain.
Superscripted letters are shown as for examples: “y^e”, or “Ma^{tie.}”.
Original page images are available from archive.org—search for

The poetry indents are approximately correct in limited circumstances.
The indents were measured and adjusted using a monospace font: “Adobe
Source Code Pro”. Variable-width fonts will look less accurate.

Page ii. The third word of the caption seems to read “Bremhouſe”
(printed in what appears to the transcriber to be a variety of bastard
script), but has been rendered herein in the more likely “Brewhouſe”.

Page 25. Changed “What ha h been” to “What hath been”.

Page 27. Changed “οινος”—wherein the omicron was accented with psili
and perispomeni—to “οἶνος”.

Page 35. In the phrase “pay as toll to the lord   gallons of ale”, a
number was missing.

Page 35n. The footnote read “1 The translation is taken from _Nineteen
Centuries of Drink in England_.”, but there was no anchor on the page.
Possibly this note refers to the _Symposium Ænigmata_ that ends at the
top of the page.

Page 38. The first footnote on the page had no anchor. A new anchor was
installed after the word “male,”, on the second line of the poem.

Page 49. Closing quotation mark was added after the line “Parlom ore de
autre chose.”

Page 74, 79. These full-page illustrations have been moved out of
their original locations inside poems to nearby locations below or
above, and the corresponding page numbers have been removed. Full-page
illustrations likewise situated in other places in the book have been
likewise treated.

Page 85. Full stop was added after “sometimes when opium failed”.

Page 100n. There was no anchor for the footnote; a new one has been
inserted after the word “brewster” at the top of the page.

Page 180n. The footnote had no anchor. A new anchor has been inserted
for this note, on page 179.

Page 184. Changed “religous” to “religious”.

Page 208n. The last word, partially illegible, is herein rendered

Page 235. The phrase “bring us a bowl of the bes” was changed to “bring
us a bowl of the best,”.

Page 264. Changed “carry ing over hilland dale” to “carrying over hill
and dale”.

Page 284. Changed “trusted, as we bear” to “trusted, as we hear”, and
“strirre” to “stirre”.

Page 325n. A new footnote anchor was inserted after “he that made, made

Page 342. Full stop added after “dilutes his clay”.

Page 433. Changed “to live in a wine-growing, country will” to “to live
in a wine-growing country, will”.

Page 435. Changed “alcholic” to “alcoholic”.

Page 449. Changed “Weobly Ale” to “Weobley Ale”.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Curiosities of Ale & Beer: An Entertaining History - Illustrated with over Fifty Quaint Cuts" ***

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