Great Housekeeping. Alms Deeds. 245

Great Housekeeping. Alms Deeds.

per, and a Clerk of the Wax, then a Clerk of the Check, (as well upon the Chaplains, as on the Yeomen of his Chamber,) he gave Allowance to them all. He had four Footmen, who were clothed in rich running Coats whensoever he rode on any Journey. Then had he an Herald at Arms, a Serjeant at Arms, a Physician, an Apothecary, four Minstrels, a Keeper of his Tents, an Armourer, an Instructor of his Wards, two Yeomen of his Wardrobe of Robes, and a Keeper of his Chamber continually in the Court. He had also in his House the Surveyor of York, and a Clerk of the Green Cloth. All these were daily attending, down lying and uprising, as we use to say, and at Meals. He kept in his great Chamber a continual Table for the Chamberers and Gentlemen Officers; having with them a Mess of the young Lords, and another of Gentlemen. And besides all these, there was never an Officer, Gentleman, or other worthy Person, but he was allowed in the House, some three, some two, and all other, one at the least, which grew to a great Number of Persons.

His Footmen.

A Herald and Serjeant at Arms.

Surveyor of York, and Clerk of the Green Cloth.

Young Lords and Gentlemen.

Attendants allowed in the House.

Thus far out of the Check Roll: Besides other Officers, Servants, and Retainers, and Suiters, that most commonly dined in the Hall.] So that the Order of his House and Houshold passed all other Subjects of his Time.

West, Bishop of Ely.

Nicholas West, Bishop of Ely, in the Year 1532, kept continually in his House 100 Servants, giving to the one half of them 53s. 4d. a Piece Yearly; to the other half each 40s. a Piece; to every one for his Winter Gown Four Yards of broad Cloath, and for his Summer Coat three Yards and an half. He daily gave at his Gates, besides Bread and Drink, warm Meat to two Hundred poor People.

Lib. Ely.

Edward Earl of Derby.

The Housekeeping of Edward late Earl of Darby is not to be forgotten, who had 220 Men in Check Roll; his feeding Aged Persons twice every Day, 60 and odd; beside all Comers thrice a Week, appointed for his dealing Days, and every Good Friday 2700, with Meat, Drink, and Money.

Thomas Lord Audley.

Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor, his Family of Gentlemen before him, in Coats garded with Velvet, and Chains of Gold, his Yeoman after him, in the same Livery not garded.

William Powlet [or Pawlet] Lord great Master, Marquess of Winchester, kept the like Number of Gentlemen, and Yeomen, in a Livery of Reading tawny; and great Relief at his Gate.

Every Livery Coat had three Yards of Broad Cloth.

Thomas Lord Cromwell, Earl of Essex, kept the like or greater Number in a Livery of gray Marble, &c. the Gentlemen garded with Velvet, the Yeomen with the same Cloth: Yet their Skirts large enough for their Friends to sit upon them.

Thomas Lord Cromwell.

These, as all other of those Times, gave great Relief to the Poor; and I have oft seen in that declining time of Charity, at the Lord Cromwell's Gate at London, more than 200 Persons served twice every Day with Bread, Meat, and Drink sufficient.

Edward, Duke of Somerset, was not inferior in keeping a Number of tall Gentlemen and Yeomen; though his House was then in Building, and most of his Men were lodged abroad.

Duke of Somerset.

The Earl of Oxford, Father to him that now liveth, hath been noted within these Forty Years, to have rid into this City, and so to his House by London Stone, with Fourscore Gentlemen, in a Livery of Reading Tawny, and Chains of Gold about their Necks, before him; and one Hundred tall Yeomen in the like Livery to follow him without Chains, but all having his Cognizance of the Blue Boar, embroidered on their left Shoulder.

Earl of Oxford.

These, I say, and all other Men of Honour and Worship then lodging in this City, or within the Liberties thereof, did without grudging bear their part of Charges with the Citizens, according to their estimated Estates, without the which those Musters of old Time could not have been so great.

Of Charitable Alms in old time given.


These Noble Men before-mentioned observed that ancient and charitable Custom, of liberal Relief of the Poor at their Gates: as all Prelates, Noblemen, or Men of Honour and Worship their Predecessors had done before them; whereof somewhat to note for Example: Venerable Bede writeth, that Prelates of his time, having peradventure but Wooden Churches, had (notwithstanding) on their Board at their Meals one Alms Dish, into the which was carved some good Portion of Meat out of every other Dish brought to their Table. All which was given to the Poor, besides the Fragments left; insomuch as in a hard time, a poor Prelate wanting Victuals, hath caused his Alms Dish, being Silver, to be divided amongst the Poor, therewith to shift as they could, till God should send him better Store.


Alms Dish.

Such a Prelate was Ethelwald, Bishop of Winchester, in the Reign of K. Edgar, about the Year of Christ 963. He in a great Famine sold away all the Sacred Vessels of his Church for to relieve the almost starved People, saying, That there was no reason that the sensless Temples of God should abound in Riches, and lively Temples of the Holy Ghost to lack it.

Bishop of Winchester's Saying touching the Relief of the Poor.

Walter de Suffilde, Bishop of Norwich, was of the like Mind, about the Year 1245. In a time of great Dearth he sold all his Plate, and distributed it to the Poor, every Pennyworth.

Bishop of Norwich sold his Plate.

Robert Winchelsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, about the Year 1093, besides the daily Fragments of his House, gave every Friday and Sunday to every Beggar that came to his Gate, a Loaf of Bread sufficient for that Day; and there were usually every such Alms Day in time of Dearth to the Number of 5000, and otherwise 4000, at the least. More he used every great Festival to give 150 Pence to so many poor People, and sent daily Meat, Bread, and Drink, to such as by Age, or Sickness, were not able to fetch his Alms, and did send Meat, Money, and Apparel, to such as he thought needed it.

Archbishop of Canterbury's Charity.

I read in 1171, that Henry the Second, after his Return into England, did Penance for the Slaughter of Thomas à Becket. By whom (a sore Dearth then increasing) Ten Thousand Persons, from the first of April till new Corn was inned, were daily fed and sustained.

Pater de Joham.

Ten thousand poor People fed and sustained by Henry II.

More I find recorded, that in the Year 1236, the 20th of Henry the Third, William de Haverhall, the King's Treasurer, was commanded, that upon the Day of the Circumcision of our Lord, 6000 poor People should be fed at Westminster, for the State of the King, Queen, and their Children. The like Commandment the said King Henry gave to Hugh Gifford, and William Brown, that upon Friday next, after the Epiphany, they should cause to be fed in the great Hall at Windsor, at a good Fire, all the poor and needy Children that could be found; and the King's Children being weighed and measured, their Weight and Measure to be distributed for their good Estates. These few Examples for Charity of Kings may suffice.

Record of the Tower.

Henry III. fed 6000 poor People in one Day.

I read in the Reign of Edward the Third, that Richard de Berry, Bishop of Durham, did Weekly bestow for Relief of the Poor, Eight Quarters of Wheat made into Bread, besides his Alms Dish, Fragments of his House, and great Sums of Money given to the Poor, when he journied. And that these Alms Dishes were as well used at the Tables of Noblemen, as of the Prelates, one Note may suffice in this Place.

Richard de Berry, Bishop of Durham.

I read in the Year 1452, that Richard Duke of York then claiming the Crown, the Lord Rivers should have passed the Sea about the King's Business, but staying at Plymouth till his Money was