Jack of Newbury Chapter 2 – the story continues

Chapter One was in the freezing cold of winter, but in Chapter Two we move into the Spring.  Jack’s marriage to a young wife take place in lovely weather, and he is now a wealthy man who can be generous to his wife’s family.  The old couple use hilarious malapropisms and strong rural dialect!  Next we are shown preparations for war: the activity traditional to high summer.  Yet Jack is out of place, in a way, since tales of medieval battles normally celebrate the nobility.  Our patriotic tradesman is willing to give his king far more men and equipment than he has been asked for, but he also dresses them as if he were a noble.  Naturally this irritates the lords who are also involved, and Jack deals with them in a dramatic way.  (You might well say, a theatrical way.)  Deloney takes the opportunity to narrate the historical story of Flodden Field and the bloody defeat of the Scots army. Chapter Three follows.


Of Jacke of Newbury, his great wealth and number of servants; and also how he brought the Queene Katherine two hundred and fiftie men, prepared for the warre at his owne cost, against the King of Scots at Flodden field.

Now Jacke of Newbery being a widower, had the choice of many wives, mens daughters of good credit and widowes of great wealth. Notwithstanding, he bent his only liking to one of his own servants, whom he had tried in the guiding of his house a year or two ; and knowing her to be careful in her business, faithful in her dealings, and an excellent good huswife, thought it better to have her with nothing, than some other with much treasure; and beside, as her qualities were good, so was she of very comely personage, of a sweet favour, and faire complexion. In the end, he opened his minde unto her, and craved her good will. The maid (though she took this motion kindly) said she would do nothing without consent of her parents. Whereupon a letter was writ to her father, being a poore man dwelling at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire: who being joyfull of his daughters good fortune speedily came to Newbury, where of her master he was friendly entertained: who, after he had made him good cheer, showed him all his servants at work, and every office in his house.

Within one room, being large and long,
There stood two hundred looms full strong.
Two hundred men, the truth is so.
Wrought in these looms all in a row.

a weaver with his loom, while a woman brings more yarn

By every one a prettie boy
Sat making quills with mickle joy;
And in another place hard by,
An hundred women merrily

the boys were winding yarn onto fine sticks that would then fit into a bobbin for the weaver to use. Deloney seems to be taking us backwards through the weaving process.

Were carding hard with joyfull cheere,
Who singing sat with voyces cleere.
And in a chamber close beside,
Two hundred maydens did abide.

In peticoats of stanimel red.
And milke-white kerchers on their head;
Their smocke sleeves like to winter snow
That on the westerne mountaines flow.

a white kerchief covers her hair; the red petticoat shows under the heavier gown

And each sleeve with a silken band
Was featly tied at the hand;
These prettie maids did never lin.
But in that place all day did spin ;

a French 'great wheel' of the 16th century: English ones were probably very similar

And spinning so with voyces meet,
Like nightingales, they sung full sweet.
Then to another loome came they,
Where children were in poore array,

And every one sat picking wool.
The finest from the course to cull.
The number was seven score and ten,
The children of poore silly men.

And these, their labours to requite,
Had every one a penny at night,
Beside their meate and drink all day.
Which was to them a wondrous stay.

Within another place likewise,
Full fiftie proper men he spies ;
And these were shearemen every one.
Whose skill and cunning there was showne.

idyllic outdoor shearing

And hard by them there did remaine
Full foure score rowers taking paine.
A dye-house likewise had he then.
Wherein he kept full fortie men ;

And likewise in his fulling mill,
Full twenty persons kept he still.
Each weeke ten good fat oxen he
Spent in his house for certaintie,

Beside good butter, cheese and fish,
And many another wholesome dish.
He kept a butcher all the yeare,
A brewer eke for ale and beere.

A baker for to bake his bread,
Which stood his household in good stead.
Five cookes within his kitchen great,
Were all the yeare to dresse his meat.

Sixe scullion boyes unto their hands,
To make cleane dishes, pots and pans.
Beside poore children that did stay
To turne the broaches every day.

The old man that did see this sight
Was much amaz’d as well he might.
This was a gallant clothier sure.
Whose fame for ever shall endure.

When the old man had seen this great household and familie, then he was brought into the warehouses, some being filled with wool, some with flockes, some with woad and madder, and some with broad cloths and kersies readie dyed and drest,

(modern dyes here) - Kersey was a lighter weight cloth than broadcloth. English kerseys were widely exported to central Europe

beside a great number of others, some stretcht on the tenters, some hanging on poles, and a great many more lying wet in other places.

a tentering frame for stretching fabric - from http://www.witheridge-historical-archive.com/fulling.htm

Sir (quoth the old man), I wis che zee you be bominable rich, and cham content you shall have my daughter, and Gods blessing and mine light on you both.

But, father (quoth Jacke of Newberie), what will you bestow with her?

Marry, heare you (quoth the old man), in vaith cham but a poore man, but I thong God, cham of good exclamation among my neighbours, and they will as zoone take my vice for any thing as a richer mans : thicke I will bestow ; you shall have Alice a good will, because che heare very good condemnation of you in every place, therefore chil give you twentie nobles and a weaning calfe, and when I die and my wife, you shall have the revelation of all my goods.

When Jacke heard his offer, he was straight content, making more reckoning of the woman’s modestie than her fathers money; so the marriage day being appointed, all things was prepared meete for the wedding, and royall cheere ordained ; most of the lords, knights, and gentlemen thereabout were invited thereunto: the bride being attyred in a gown of sheepes russet, and a kertle of fine woosted, her head attyred with a habiliment of gold, and her haire as yellow as gold hanging downe behinde her, which was curiously combed and pleated, according to the manner in those dayes.

perhaps it was a little like this Ghirlandaio portrait

- but I like to think it was more like this -

Shee was led to church betweene two sweete boyes with bride laces and rosemary tied about their silken sleeves; the one of them was sonne to Sir Thomas Parry,

(later Sir) Thomas Parry (1505?-1560) - another upwardly mobile family

the other to Sir Francis Hungerford; then was there a faire bride cup of silver and gilt carried before her, wherein was a goodly braunch of rosemarie gilded very faire, hung about with silken ribonds of all colours;

a modern pewter wedding cup - these cups are still connected with rosemary to this day

next was there a noyse of musitians that played all the way before her ; after her came all the cheefest maydens of the countrie, some bearing great bride cakes, and some garlands of wheate finely gilded, and so she past unto the church.

It is needlesse for me to make any mention here of the bridegroome, who being a man so well beloved wanted no companie, and those of the best sort, beside divers merchant strangers of the Stilyard, that came from London to the wedding. The marriage being solemnized, home they came in order as before, and to dinner they went, where was no want of good cheare, no lack of melodie. Rhenish wine at this wedding was as plentiful as beer or ale, for the merchants had sent thither ten tunnes of the best in the Stilyard.

This wedding endured ten dayes, to the great reliefe of the poore that dwelt all about, and in the end the bride’s father and mother came to pay their daughter’s portion: which, when the bridegroome had received, he gave them great thanks: notwithstanding, he would not suffer them yet to depart, and against they should go home, their son-in-law came unto them, saying: Father and mother, all the thankes that my poore heart can yeeld, I give you for your good will, cost and courtesie ; and while I live make bold to use me in any thing that I am able, and in requital of the gift you gave me with your daughter, I give you here twentie pound to bestow as you find occasion ; and for your loss of time, and charges riding up and downe, I give you here as much broadcloath as shall make you a cloake, and my mother a holiday gown, and when this is worne out, come to me and fetch more.

Oh, my good son (quoth the olde woman), Christ’s benizon be with thee evermore, for to tell thee true, we had zold all our kine to make money for my daughter’s marriage, and this zeaven yeare we should not have bin able to buy more: notwithstanding we should have zold all that ever wee had before my poore wench should have lost her marriage.

Aye (quoth the old man) I chud have zold my coate from my back and my bed from under me, before my girle should have gone without you.

I thanke you, good father and mother, said the bride ; and I pray God long to keepe you in health. Then the bride kneeled downe and did her dutie to her parents, who weeping for very joy departed.

Not long after this, it chaunced while our noble king was making war in France, that James king of Scotland, falsely breaking his oath, invaded England with a great armie, and did much hurt upon the borders:

James IV of Scotland with his wife Margaret Tudor (sister of Henry VIII)

whereupon on the sudden every man was appointed according to his abilitie to be readie with his men and furniture, at an houres warning on paine of death. Jacke of Newbery was commaunded by the justice to set out sixe men, foure armed with pikes, and two calivers, and to meet the queene in Buckinghamshire, who was there raising a great power to go against the faithless king of Scots.

Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife, was then (1513) aged twenty-eight. She had learned spinning and weaving in her youth, as well as a more academic education, and understanding how to command an army.

When Jacke had received this charge, he came home in all haste, and cut out a whole broadcloth for horsemen’s coats, and so much more as would make up coates for the number of a hundred men; in short time he had made readie fiftie tall men, well mounted, in white coates and red caps with yellow feathers, demilances in their hands ; and fiftie armed men on foote with pikes; and fiftie in white coates also, every man so expert in the handling of his weapon as few better were found in the field; himself likewise, in compleat armour, on a goodly barbed horse, rode foremost of the company, with a lance in his hand and a faire plume of yellow feathers in his crest, and in this sort he came before the justices, who at the first approach did not a little wonder what he should be.

At length, when he had discovered what he was, the justices and most of the gentlemen gave him great commendations for this his good and forward mind showed in this action: but some other envying hereat, gave out words that he showed himself more prodigal than prudent, and more vainglorious than well advised, seeing that the best nobleman in the country would scarce have done so much. And no marvell (quoth they), for such a one would call to his remembrance that the king had often occasions to urge his subjects to such charges, and therefore would do at one time as they might be able to do at another: but Jacke of Newberie, like the storke in the spring time thinks the highest cedar too low for him to build his nest in, and ere the yeare be halfe done, may be glad to have his bed in a bush.

storks nesting up high

These disdainful speeches being at last brought to Jacke of Newberie’s eare, though it grieved him much, yet patiently put them up till time convenient. Within a while after, all the soldiers of Berkshire, Hampshire, and Wiltshire, were commanded to shew themselves before the queene at Stony Stratford, where her grace, with many lords, knights and gentlemen, were assembled, with ten thousand men. Against Jacke should goe to the queene, hee caused his face to be smeared with bloud, and his white coate in like manner.

When they were come before her highnesse, she demanded (above all the rest) what those white coates were. Whereupon Sir Henry Englefield (who had the leading of the Berkshire men), made answer: May it please your majestie to understand, that he which rideth formost there is called Jacke of Newberie, and all those gallant men in white are his owne servants, who are maintained all the yeare by him, whom he at his owne cost hath set out in this time of extremitie to serve the king against his vaunting foe; and I assure your majesty there is not, for the number, better soldiers in the field.

Good Sir Henry (quoth the queene), bring the man to mee that I may see him, Which was done accordingly. Then Jacke with all his men alighted, and humbly on their knees fell before the queene. Her grace said : Gentlemen, arise ; and putting forth her lily white hand, gave it him to kisse. Most gracious queene, quoth he, gentleman am I none, nor the sonne of a gentleman, but a poore clothier, whose lands are his looms, having no other rents but what I get from the backs of little sheepe, nor can I claime any cognisance but a wooden shuttle; neverthelesse, most gracious queene, these my poore servants and my selfe, with life and goods, are readie at your majesties command, not onely to spend our bloods, but also to lose our lives in defence of our king and country.

Welcome to mee, Jacke of Newberie, said the queene; though a clothier by trade, yet a gentleman by condition, and a faithful subject in heart; and if thou chance to have any suit in court, make account the queene will be thy friend, and would to God the king had many such clothiers ; but tell mee how came thy white coate besmeared with bloud, and thy face to be scratched?

May it please your grace (quoth he) to understand, that it was my chance to meete with a monster, who, like the people Cynomolgi, had the proportion of a man but headed like a dogge, the biting of whose teeth was like the poysoned teeth of a crocodile, his breath like the basilisks, killing a farre off.

I understand his name was Envie, who assailed mee invisibly, like the wicked spirit of Mogunce, who flung stones at men, and could not bee seene : and so I came by my scratchit face, not knowing when it was done.

a medieval dog-head-ass monster

What was the cause this monster should afflict thee above the rest of thy company, no other men in the field?

Although, most sovereigne queene, quoth hee, this poysoned curre snarleth at many, and that few can escape the hurt of his wounding breath, yet at this time hee bent his force against mee, not for any hurt I did him, but because I surpast him in heartie affection to my sovereigne lord, and [like] the poore widow offered all I had to serve my prince and country.

It were happie for England, sayd the queene, if in every market towne there were a gibbet to hang up curs of that kind, who, like Aesops dog lying in the manger, will doe no good himselfe nor suffer such as would doe any.

This speech being ended, the queene caused her army to be set in order, and in warlike manner to march toward Flodden, where king James had pitcht his field, but as they passed along with drum and trumpet, there came a post from the valiant earle of Surrey, with tydings to her grace that now shee might dismisse her army, for that it had pleased God to grant the noble earle victorie over the Scots, whom he had by his wisedome and valiancie vanquisht in fight, and slayne their king in battel ; upon which newes her majestie discharged her forces, and joyfully took her journey to London with a pleasant countenance, praysing God for her famous victorie, and yielding thankes to all the noble gentlemen and souldiers for their readinesse in the action, giving many gifts to the nobilite, and great rewards to the soldiers, among whom she nothing forgot Jacke of Newberie, about whose necke she put a rich chaine of gold, at what time he with all the rest gave a great shout, saying : God save Katherine, the noble queene of England ! Many noble men of Scotland were taken prisoners at this battle, and many more slaine, so that there never came a greater foyle to Scotland than this : for you shall understand that the Scottish king made full account to be lord of this land, watching opportunitie to bring to passe his faithlesse and trayterous practice : which was when our king was in France, at Tumey [Tournai], and Turcoin, in regard of which warres the Scots vaunted there was none left in England but beards and ploughmen, who were not able to lead an army, having no skill in martiall affaires. In consideration of which advantage, he invaded the countrey, boasting of historie before he had won, which was no small griefe to queene Margaret his wife, who was eldest sister to our noble king; wherefore in disgrace of the Scots, and in remembrance of the famous achieved historie, the commons of England made this song: which to this day is not forgotten of many.

Flodden Field today

The Song.

King Jamie hath made a vow,
Keepe it well if he may.
That he will be at lovely London
Upon Saint James his day.

Upon Saint James his day at noone
At faire London will I be.
And all the lords in merrie Scotland
They shall dine there with me.

Then bespake good queene Margaret,
The teares fell from her eye :
Leave off these warres, most noble king,
Keepe your fidelitie;

The water runs swift and wondrous deep
From bottom unto the brim,
My brother Henry hath men good enough,
England is hard to winne.

Away (quoth he) with this silly fool,
In prison fast let her lie.
For she is come of the English blood.
And for these words she shall dye.

With that bespake Lord Thomas Howard,
The queenes chamberlaine that day:
If that you put queene Margaret to death,
Scotland shall rue it alway.

Then in a rage king Jamie did say,
Away with this foolish mome.
He shall be hanged, and the other be burned,
So soone as I come home.

At Flodden Field the Scots came in.
Which made our English men faine.
At Brarastone Greene this battaile was seene,
There was king Jamie slaine.

Then presently the Scots did flie.
Their cannons they left behind,
Their ensignes gay were won all away.
Our souldiers did beate them blinde.

To tell you plaine, twelve thousand were slaine
That to the fight did stand ;
And many prisoners tooke that day,
The best in all Scotland.

That day made many fatherlesse child.
And many a widow poore.
And many a Scottish gay lady
Sat weeping in her bower.

Jacke with a feather was lapt all in leather.
His boastings were all in vaine.
He had such a chance with a new morrice dance,
He never went home againe.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Jack of Newbury Chapter 2 – the story continues”

  1. valkyrie1 Says:

    > She had learned spinning and weaving in her youth, as well
    > as a more academic education, and understanding how to
    > command an army.

    Comprehensive! 🙂

    The dialect sent me looking for “Heigh ho, heigh ho, ’chill love no more”, which turns out to be from Though Amaryllis dance in green, set by Byrd. The Norton Anthology had it in a file of anonymous lyrics. There I learned that “chill” came from “(i)ch (w)ill”!

    Interesting reading. Ta!

  2. Woman walking Max Says:

    Fascinating- so many strands woven into together, with beautiful illustrations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: