Posts Tagged ‘weaving’

Royal fun and games in Newbury

June 10, 2011

Jack of Newbury – Chapter 3

(Thomas Deloney)

Chapters one and two  show John Winchcomb as a young man, courting first a widow and then a young wife.  He makes his fortune, but Deloney also shows him to be generous to the poor and loyal to his country, not to mention clever in detecting and thwarting his enemies.  If the book as a whole follows the seasons, then this chapter of industry and celebration is appropriate to high summer – the time of year for royal progresses, and also for warfare.  Indeed the court clown/jester, Will Sommer, figures largely, with his salacious jokes and sexualised innuendo.  Sommer comes across to me as remarkably unfunny, and it rather seems as if most of the people in this chapter think the same.

How Jack of Newbury went to receive the king as he went a progress into Berkshire, and how he made him a banquet in his own house.

About the tenth yeare of the king’s reign (c.1519), his grace made his progress into Berkshire, against which time Jack of Newbury clothed thirty tall fellows, being his household servants, in blue coats faced with sarcenet, every one having a good sword and buckler on his shoulder; himself in a plain russet coat, a pair of white kersie breeches without welt or guard, and stockings of the same piece sewed to his slops, which had a great codpiece whereon he stuck his pins; who, knowing the king would come over a certain meadow, near adjoining to the town, got himself thither with all his men, and repairing to a certain ant-hill which was in the field, took up his seat there, causing his men to stand round about the same with their swords displayed.

The king, coming near the place with the rest of his nobility, and seeing them stand with their drawn weapons, sent to know the cause.

this is Henry in 1513, aged 22 - 6 years earlier than the events at Newbury, but it gives an idea of the young Henry. He sounds much more cheerful in Deloney's story, though.

Thomas Wriothesly, Garter king at arms, was the messenger, who spake in this sort.

“Good fellow, the kings majesty would know to what end you stand here with swords and bucklers prepared to fight.”

With that, Jacke of Newberie started up and made this answer: “Herald” (quoth he), “reply to his highnesse that it is poor Jacke of Newbury, who being scant marquis of a mole hill, is chosen prince of ants; and here I stand with my weapons and guard about me to defend and keep these my poor and painful subjects from the force of the idle butterflies, their sworn enemies, lest they should disturb this quiet commonwealth, who this summer season are making their winters provision.

The messenger returning, told his grace that it was one Jack of Newbury that stood there with his men about him to guard (as they say) a company of ants from the furious wrath of the prince of butterflies.

With this news the king heartily laughed, saying, “Indeede it is no marvel he stand so well prepared, considering what a terrible tyrant he hath to deal withal. Certainly, my lords” (quoth hee), “this seems to be a pleasant fellow, and therefore we will send to talk with him.”

The messenger being sent, told Jacke he must come speak with the king.

Quoth he, “His grace hath a horse, and I am on foot, therefore will him to come to me; beside that, while I am away, our enemies might come and put my people in hazard, as the Scots did England while our king was in France.”

This one is 1538 - so again he's the wrong age - but his outfit is fun.

“How dares the lamb be so bold with the lion?” quoth the herald.

“Why,” quoth he, “if there be a lion in the field, here is never a cock to fear him; and tell his majestie he might think me a very bad governor that would walk aside upon pleasure, and lead my people in peril. Herald (quoth he), it is written, He that hath a charge must looke to it; and so tell thy lord my king.”

The message being done, the king said: “Truly lords, seeing it will be no other, we will ride up to the emperor of ants, that is so careful in his government at the king’s approach.” Jacke of Newbury and his servants put up all their weapons, and with a joyful cry flung up their caps in token of victory. “Why, how now, my masters (quoth the king), is your wars ended? Let me see where is the lord general of this great campe?”

With that, Jacke of Newberie with all his servants fell on their knees, saying “God save the king of England, whose sight hath put my foes to flight, and brought great peace to the poor labouring people.”

“Trust me (quoth our king), here be prettie fellows to fight against butterflies; I must commend your courage that dares withstand such mighty giants.”

satirical tales of animal 'parliaments' date back to Chaucer and beyond.

“Most dread sovereign (quoth Jacke), not long ago in my conceit I saw the most provident nation of the ants summoned their chief peers to a parliament, which was held in the famous city Dry Dusty, the one and thirtieth day of September; where as, by their wisdoms I was chose their king, at what time also many bills of complaint were brought in against divers ill members in the commonwealth: among whom the mole was attainted of high treason to their state, and therefore was banished for ever from their quiet kingdom: so was the grasshopper and the caterpillar, because they were not only idle, but also lived upon the labours of other men: amongst the rest, the butterfly was very much misliked, but few durst say any thing to him because of his golden apparel:

Jack is referring to the wealthy and influential Thomas Wolsey. Here he is dressed in scarlet, not gold, though.

who through sufferance grew so ambitious and malapert, that the poor ant could no sooner get an egg into her nest but he would have it away, and especially against Easter, which at length was misliked.

This painted ass took snuff in the nose, and assembled a great many other of his own coat, by windy wars to root these painful people out of the land, that he himself might be seated above them all.

“These were proud butterflies,” quoth the king.

“Whereupon I with my men (quoth Jack) prepared ourselves to withstand them till such time as your majesties royal presence put them to flight.”

“Tush (said the king), thou must think that the force of flies is not great.”

“Notwithstanding (quoth Jacke), their gay gowns make poor men afraid.”

“I perceive (quoth Cardinal Wolsey) that you being king of ants, do carry a great grudge to the butterflies.”

“Aye (quoth Jacke) we be as great foes as the fox and the snake are friends, for the one of them being subtle, loves the other for his craft; but now I intend to be no longer a prince, because the majesty of a king hath eclipsed my glory: so that looking like the peacocke on my black feet, makes me abase my vainglorious feathers, and humbly I yield unto his majestic all my sovereign rule and dignity, both of life and goods, casting my weapons at his feet, to doe any service therein his grace shall command me.”

“God a mercy, good Jack (quoth the king), I have often heard of thee, and this morning I mean to visit thy house.”

Thus the king with great delight rode along until he came to the town’s end, where a great multitude of people attended to see his majesty: where also queene Katherine with all her train met him.  Thus with great rejoicing of the commons, the king and queene passed along to this jolly clothier’s house, where the good wife of the house, with threescore maidens attending on her, presented the king with a bee-hive, most richly gilt with gold, and all the bees therein were also gold, curiously made by art,

The idea of representing concepts physically or pictorially as 'emblems' was extremely popular through the sixteenth century. This, from Whitney's 'Choice of Emblemes', shows a part of the complex political emblem that Jack has staged for Henry.

and out of the top of the same hive sprung a flourishing green tree which bore golden apples, and at the root thereof lay divers serpents seeking to destroy it, whom Prudence and Fortitude trod under their feet, holding this inscription in their hands.

Lo here presented to your royall sight,
The figure of a flourishing common-wealth;
Where vertuous subjects labour with delight.
And beat the drones to death which live by stealth.

Ambition, envie, treason, loathsome serpents be,
Which seeke the downfall of this fruitfull tree.
But Lady Prudence, with deepe searching eye.
Their ill intended purpose doth prevent;

And noble fortitude standing always ny,
Disperst their power prepar’d with bade intent.
Thus they are foiled that mount by meanes unmeet.
And so, like slaves, are trodden under feet.

The king favourably accepted this emblem, and receiving it at the woman’s hands, willed Cardinal Wolsey to look thereon, commanding it should be sent to Windsor castle. This cardinal was at that time Lord Chancellor of England, and a wonderful proude prelate, by whose meanes great variance was set betwixt the king of England and the French king, the emperor of Almaine, and divers other princes of Christendome; thereby the trafficke of those merchants was utterly forbidden, which bred a generall woe through England, especially among clothiers; insomuch that having no sale for their cloth, they were faine to put away many of their people which wrought for them, as hereafter more at large be declared.

Then was his majestie brought into a great hall, where foure long tables stood readie covered : and passing through that place, the king and queene came into a fair and large parlour hung about with goodly tapestry, where was a table prepared for his highnesse and the queenes grace; all the floor where the king sat was covered with broad clothes in stead of green rushes; these were choice pieces of the finest wool, of an azure colour, valued at an hundred pound a cloth, which afterward was given to his majestie.

The king being set with the chiefest of his councell about him, after a delicate dinner, a sumptuous banquet was brought in, served all in glasse: the description whereof were too long for me to write and you to reade. The great hall was also filled with lords and knights and gentlemen, who were attended by no other but the servants of the house; the ladies of honour and gentlewomen of the court were all seated in another parlour by themselves, at whose table the maidens of the house did wait in decent sort, the serving-men by themselves, and the pages and footmen by themselves, upon whom the prentices did attend most diligently. During the kings abiding in this place there was no want of delicates: Rhenish wine, claret wine, and sacke, was as plentiful as small ale. Then from the highest to the lowest they were served in such sort as no discontent was found any way, so that great commendations redounded unto the good-man of the house. The lord Cardinal, that of late found himself gall’d by the allegory of the ants, spake in this wise to the king.

If it should please your highnesse (quoth he) but to note the vaine glorie of these artificers, you should find no small cause of dislike in many of their actions : for an instance, the fellow of this house, he hath not stocke this day to undo himselfe, onely to become famous by receiving of your majesty: like Herostratus, the shoemaker, that burned the temple of Diana only to get himself a name; more than for any affection he bears to your grace, as may well be proved by this : Let there be had a simple subsidy levied upon them for the assistance of your highness’ wars or any other weighty affaires of the commonwealth and state of the realm, though it be not the twentieth part of their substance, they will so grudge and repine, that it is wonderful; and like people desperate, cry out, they be quite undone.

My Lord Cardinal, quoth the queene (under correction of my lord the king), I durst lay an hundred pound Jacke of Newberie was never of that minde, nor is not at this instant. If ye aske him I warrant he will say so. My selfe also had a proofe thereof at the Scottish invasion, at what time this man, being feoffed but at sixe men, brought (at his own cost) an hundred and fifty into the field.

I would I had more such subjects, said the king ; and many of so good a minde.

Ho, ho, Harry (quoth Will Sommers),

Will Sommers (born after 1491 - d. 1560)

then had not Empson and Dudley been chronicled for knaves, nor sent to the tower for treason.

But then they had not knowne the paine of imprisonment, quoth our king, who, with their subtlety grieved many others.

But their subtleties was such that it brake their necks, quoth Will Sommers. Whereat the king and queene, laughing heartily, rose from the table; by which time Jacke of Newberie had caused all his folks to go to their work, that his grace and all the nobilitie might see it: so indeed the queen had requested. Then came his highnesse, where he saw an hundred looms standing in one room, and two men working in every one, who pleasantly sung in this sort.

The Weavers Song.

When Hercules did use to spin,
And Pallas wrought upon the loome.
Our trade to flourish did begin,
While conscience went not selling broom.

Then love and friendship did agree
To keep the band of amitie.

When princes sons kept sheep in field,
And queens made cakes of wheaten flower.
Then men to lucre did not yield,
Which brought good cheer in everie bower.

Then love and friendship did agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

But when that giants, huge and high
Did fight with speares like weavers beames,
Then they in iron beds did lie.
And brought poor men to hard extremes.

Yet love and friendship did agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

Ther David tooke his sling and stone.
Not fearing great Goliath’s strength
He pierced his braines and broke the bone,
Though he were fifty foot of length.

For love and friendship, did agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

But while the Greekes besieged Troy,
Penelope apace did spin,
And weavers wrought with mickle joy.
Though little gains were coming in.

For love and friendship. did agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

Had Helen then sate carding wool,
(Whose beauteous face did breed such strife)
Shee had not beene sir Paris trull,
Nor caus’d so many lose their life.

Yet we by love did still agree,
To hold the bands of amitie.

Or had king Priams wanton sonne
Beene making quills with sweet content.
He had not then his friends undone
When he to Greece a gadding went.

For love and friendship did agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

The cedar trees indure more stormes
Than little shrubbs that sprout on hie.
The weavers live more void of harmes
Than princes of great dignitie.

While love and friendship doth agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

The shepherd sitting in the field
Doth tune his pipe with hearts delight
When princes watch with spear and shield
The poor man soundly sleeps all night.

While love and friendship doth agree
To hold the bands of amitie.

 Yet this by proofe is daily tried,
For Gods good gifts we are ingrate,
And no man through the world so wide
Lives well contented with his state.

No love and friendship we can see
To hold the bands of amitie.

Well sung, good fellowes, said our king; light hearts and merrie mindes live long without grey hairs.

But (quoth Will Sommers) seldome without red noses.

Well, said the king, there is a hundred angels to make good cheer withall, and look that every year once you make a feast among your selves, and frankly (every yeare) I give you leave to fetch four buckes out of Donington Parke, without any mans let or controlment.[1]

0, I beseech your grace (quoth Will Sommers) let it be with a condition.

What is that? said our king.

My liege, quoth hee, that although the keeper will have the skins that they may give their wives the hornes.

Go to, said the queene ; thy head is fuller of knaverie than thy purse is of crownes.

The poor workmen humbly thanked his majesty for his bountiful liberality: and ever since it hath been a custom among the weavers, every yeare directly after Bartholomewtide, in remembrance of the kings favour, to meete together and make a merrie feast. His majesty came next among the spinners and carders, who were merrily a-working; whereat Will Sommers fell into a great laughter.

What ayles the foole to laugh? sayd the king.

Marrie (quoth Will Sommers) to see these maidens get their living as birds doe eate their meate.

How is that? said the queene.

By going still backward, quoth Will Sommers; and I will lay a wager, that they that practise so well being maides to go backward will quickly learne ere long to fall backward.

But, sirra, said the Cardinal, thou didst fall forward when thou brokest thy face in master Kingsmiles cellar.

But you, my lord, sate forward (quoth Will Sommers) when you sate in the stocks at Sir Amias Paulets.[2]

Whereat there was greater laughing than before. The king and queene and all the nobilitie heedefully beheld these women, who for the most part were very faire and comely creatures, and were all attired alike from top to toe: then (after due reverence) the maidens in dulcet manner chaunted out this song, two of them singing the dittie, and all the rest bearing the burden.

The Maidens Song.

a possible tune for this ancient ballad, collected by Child

It was a knight in Scotland borne,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
Was taken prisoner and left forlorne
Even by the good earle of Northumberland,

Then was he cast in prison strong,
Follow my love, leape over the strand,
Where he could not walke nor lie along,
Even by the goode earle of Northumberland.

And as in sorrow thus he lay.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
The earl’s sweete daughter walkt that way,
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

And passing by, like an angell bright.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
This prisoner had of her a sight.
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

And loud to her this knight did crie,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
The salt teares standing in his eye.
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

Faire lady, he said, take pity on me.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And let me not in prison dye.
And you the faire flower of Northumberland.

Faire sir, how should I take pity on thee.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
Thou being a foe to our countrey.
And I the faire flower of Northumberland ?

Faire lady, I am no foe, he said.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
Through thy sweet love heere was I stayd.
For thee, the faire flower of Northumberland ?

Why shouldst thou come heere for love of me.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
Having wife and children in the country?
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.

I sweare by the blessed Trinitie,
Follow my love, come over the strand,
I have no wife nor children I,
Nor dwelling at home in merrie Scotland.

If curteously you will set me free.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
I vow that I will marrie thee
So soone as I come in faire Scotland.

Thou shalt be a lady of castles and towers.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
And sit like a queene in princely bowers
When I am at home in faire Scotland.

Then parted hence this lady gay,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And got her father’s ring away
To helpe this sad knight into faire Scotland.

Likewise much gold she got by sleight.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And all to helpe this forlorne knight
To wend from her father to faire Scotland.

Two gallant steedes both good and able.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
She likewise tooke out of the stable
To ride with this knight into faire Scotland.

And to the jaylor she sent this ring.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
The knight from prison forth to bring.
To wend with her into faire Scotland.

This token set the prisoner free.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
Who straight went to this faire lady
To wend with her into faire Scotland.

A gallant steed he did bestride,
Follow my love, come over the strand,
And with the lady away did ride.
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

They rode till they came to a water cleare.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
Good sir, how should I follow you heere,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland ?

The water is rough and wonderfull deep,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And on my saddle I shall not keep.
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.

Feare not the ford, faire lady, quoth he.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
For long I cannot stay for thee,
And thou the faire flower of Northumberland.

The lady prickt her wanton steed.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And over the river swum with speed,
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

From top to toe all wet was she,
Follow my love, come over the strand;
This have I done for love of thee,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.

Thus rode she all one winters night,
Follow my love, come over the strand,
Till Edenborow they saw in sight.
The chiefest towne in all Scotland.

Now chuse (quoth he), thou wanton flower,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
Where thou wilt be my paramour,
Or get thee home to Northumberland.

For I have wife and children five,
Follow my love, come over the strand.
In Edenborow they be alive,
Then get thee home to faire England.

This favour shalt thou have to boote.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
He have thy horse, go thou on foote.
Go, get thee home to Northumberland.

O, false and faithlesse knight, quoth shee.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And canst thou deale so bad with me,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland ?

Dishonour not a ladies name.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
But draw thy sword and end my shame.
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.

He took her from her stately steed.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And left her there in extreme need.
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

Then sate she down full heavily,
Follow my love, come over the strand,
At length two knights came riding by.
Two gallant knights of fair England.

She fell down humbly on her knee.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
Saying, Courteous knights, take pittie on me,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.

I have offended my father dear.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And by a false knight that brought me here.
From the good earle of Northumberland.

They tooke her up behind them then.
Follow my love, come over the strand.
And brought her to her father’s againe,
And he the good earle of Northumberland.

All you faire maidens be warned by me.
Follow my love, come over the strand,
Scots were never true, nor never will be,
To lord, nor lady, nor faire England.


After the kings majesty and the queen had heard this song sweetly sung by them, he cast them a great reward : and so departing thence, went to the fulling-mills and dye-house, where a great many were also hard at work ; and his majesty perceiving what a great number of people were by this one man set on work, both admired and commended him: saying, further, that no trade in all the land was so much to be cherished and maintained as this, which, quoth he, may well be called the life of the poor; and as the king returned from this place, with intent to take horse and depart, there met him a great many of children in garments of white silke fringed with gold, their heads crowned with golden bayes, and about their arms each one had a scarf of greene sarcenet fast tied, in their hands they bore silver bowes, and under their girdles golden arrowes.

The foremost of them represented Diana, goddess of chastity, who was attended on by a train of beautiful nymphs,

A costume for Diana: this one dates from a later masque.

and they presented to the king four prisoners. The first was a stern and grisly woman carrying a frowning countenance, and her forehead full of wrinkles, her hair as black as pitch, and her garments all bloody ; a great sword she had in her hand all stained with purple gore ; they called her name Bellona, goddesse of warres,

Statue of Bellona, grim-visaged and crowned with a skull.

who had three daughters : the first of them was a tall woman, so leane and ill favoured that her cheek bones were ready to start out of the skinne, of a pale and deadly colour; her eyes sunke into her head ; her legges so feeble that they could scantly carry the body; all along her arms and hands through the skinne you might tell the sinews, joints and bones; her teeth were very strong and sharp withall; she was so greedy that she was ready with her teeth to teare the skinne from her owne arms her attyre was blacke, and all torne and ragged ; she went barefooted, and her name was Famine. The second was a strong and lusty woman, with a looke pittilesse and unmercifull countenance ; her garments were all made of iron and Steele, and she carried in her hand a naked weapon, and she was called the Sword. The third was also a cruel creature, her eyes did sparkle like burning coales, her hair was like a flame, and her garments like burning brasse; she was so hot that none could stand near her, and they called her name Fire.

Durer imagined War, Death, Famine and Plague as horsemen. Jack (or Deloney?) invents even more terrifying female figures.

After this, they retired againe, and brought unto his highnesse two other personages. Their countenance was princely and amiable, their attyre most rich and sumptuous. The one carried in his hand a golden trumpet, and the other a palme tree : and these were called Fame and Victorie whom the goddesse of Chastity charged to waite upon this famous prince for ever. This done, each childe after other, with due reverence, gave unto his majesty a sweete smelling gillyflower, after the manner of the Persians offering something in token of loyalty and obedience.

Gillyflower (pronounced 'Jillyflower'): a relative of the modern carnation, but much more scented than the florist's variety.

The king and queene beholding the sweete favour and countenance of these children, demanded of Jack of Newberie whose children they were: who answered,
‘It shall please your highnesse to understand that these are the children of poor people that doe get their living by picking of wooll having scant a good meale once in a weeke.’
With that the king began to tell (count) his gilliflowers, whereby he found that there was 96 children.

‘Certainly, said the queene, I perceive God gives as faire children to the poor as to the rich, and fairer many times; and though their diet and keeping be but simple, the blessing of God doth cherish them: therefore,’ said the queene, ‘I will request to have two of them to waite in my chamber.’

‘Faire Katharine,’ said the king, ‘thou and I have jumpt in one opinion, thinking these children fitter for the court than the country:’ whereupon he made choice of a dozen; more, foure he ordained to be pages to his royal person, and the rest hee sent to universities, allotting to every one a gentlemans living. Divers of the noble men did in like sort entertaine some of those children into their services; so that, in the end, not one was left to picke wooll, but were all so provided for that their parents never needed to care for them; and God so blessed them that each of them came to be men of great account and authoritie in the land, whose posterities remain to this day worshipfull and famous.

The king, queene, and nobles, being ready to depart, after great thanks and gifts given to Jacke of Newberie, his majesty would have made him knight; but he meekly refused it, saying, ‘I beseech your grace let me live a poor clothier among my people, in whose maintenance I take more felicitie than in all the vaine titles of gentilitie: for these are the labouring ants whom I seeke to defend, and these be the bees which I keep, who labour in this life, not for ourselves, but for the glory of God, and to do service to our dread sovereigne.’

‘Thy knighthood need be no hindrance of thy facultie,’ quoth the king.

‘0, my dread sovereigne, sayd Jacke, honour and worship may be compared to the lake of Lethe, which makes men forget themselves that taste thereof; and to the end I may still keepe in minde from whence I came, and what I am, I beseech your grace let me rest in my russet coat, a poore clothier to my dying day.’

‘Seeing then,’ said the king, ‘that a man’s minde is a kingdome to himselfe, I will leave thee to the riches of thy owne content, and so farewell.’

The queenes majestic taking her leave of the good wife with a princely kisse, gave her a token of remembrance, a most precious and rich diamond set in gold, about the which was also curiously set six rubies and six emeralds in one piece, valued at nine hundred markes; and so her grace departed.
But in this meane space, Will Sommers kept company among the maides, and betooke himselfe to spinning as they did, which among them was helde as a forfeit of a gallon of wine; but William by no meanes would pay it, except they would take it out in kisses, rating every kisse at a farthing. ‘This payment we refuse for two causes,’ quoth the maides: ‘the one, for that wee esteeme not kisses at so base a rate; and the other, because in so doing we should give as much as you.’

Jack of Newbury Chapter 2 – the story continues

December 30, 2010

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

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.

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