May Games. Evil Mayday. 253

May Games. Evil Mayday.

fetch in Maypoles, with divers Warlike Shews, with good Archers, Morice Dancers, and other Devices for Pastime all the Day long; and towards the Evening they had Stage Plays, and Bonefires in the Streets.

Of these Mayings, we read in the Reign of Henry the Sixth, that the Aldermen and Sheriffs of London, being on May Day at the Bishop of London's Wood in the Parish of Stebunheath, and having there a worshipful Dinner for themselves and other Comers, Lydgate the Poet that was a Monk of Bury, sent to them by a Pursuivant a joyful Commendation of that Season, containing Sixteen Staves in Metre Royal, beginning thus:

Bishops Wood.

Bishops Hall by Bethenhall Green.


Mighty Flora, Goddess of fresh Flowers,     
Which cloathed hath the Soil in lusty green,
Made Buds spring, with her sweet Showers,     
By influence of the Sunshine,
To do pleasance of intent full clean,     
Unto the States which now sit here,
Hath Ver down sent her own Daughter dear,

The pleasant Month of May commended.


Making the Vertue, that dured in the Root,     
Called of Clerks, the Vertue vegetable,
For to ascend, most wholesome and most soote,     
Into the Top, this Season so agreeable:
The Bawmy Liquor is so commendable,     
That it rejoiceth with his fresh Moisture,
Man, Beast, and Fowl, and every Creature, &c.

About the Ninth Year of the Reign of King Henry the Eighth, a great Heart-burning and malicious Grudge grew amonst the Englishmen of the City of London against Strangers; and namely, the Artificers found themselves much agrieved, because such Number of Strangers were permitted to resort hither with their Wares, and to exercise Handicrafts, to the great hindrance and impoverishing of the King's Liege People. Which Malice grew to such a Point, that one John Lincolne a Broker, busied himself so far in the Matter, that about Palm Sunday, or the Fifth of April, he came to one Doctor Henry Standish with these Words; "Sir, I understand, that you shall preach at the Spittal on Monday in Easter Week; and so it is, that Englishmen, both Merchants and others are undone by Strangers, who have more liberty in this Land than they; which is against Reason, and also against the Commonweal of this Realm: I beseech you therefore, to declare this in your Sermon, and in so doing you shall deserve great Thanks of my Lord Maior, and of all his Brethren." And herewith he offered unto the said Doctor a Bill, containing the Matter more at large. But Doctor Standish wisely considering, that there might more Inconvenience arise thereof than he would wish, if he should deal in such a Sort, both refused the Bill, and told Lincoln plainly, that he meant not to meddle with any such Matter in his Sermon.

A. M.

The Number of Strangers in London misliked.

John Lincolne, a Broker, Beginner of the Insurrection.

A Bill offered by Lincolne to Doctor Standish.

Whereupon the said Lincolne went unto one Doctor Bell, a Canon of the foresaid Spittal, that was appointed likewise to preach upon Tuesday in Easter Week at the same Spittal, whom he perswaded to read his said Bill in the Pulpit. Which Bill contained (in effect) the Griefs that many found with Strangers, for taking the Livings away from Artificers, and the Intercourse from Merchants, the redress whereof must come from the Commons knit in one. For as the Hurt touched all Men so must all set to their helping Hands. Which Letter he read, or the chiefest Part thereof, comprehending much seditious Matter. And then he began with this Sentence; Calum cœli Domino, terram autem dedit filiis hominum. i.e. "The Heaven to the Lord of Heaven, but the Earth he hath given to the Children of Men." And up- on this Text he intreated, how this Land was given to Englishmen, and as Birds defend their Nests, so ought Englishmen to cherish and maintain themselves, and to hurt and grieve Aliens for respect of their Commonwealth. And on this Text, Pugna pro Patria, i.e. "Fight for your Country" , he brought in, how (by God's Law) it was lawful to fight for their Country; and thus he subtilly moved the People to rebel against Strangers. By this Sermon, many a light headed Person took Courage, and openly spake against Strangers. And by divers mishaps, there had been divers evil Parts of late plaid by Strangers, in and about the City of London; which kindled the Peoples Rancor the more furiously against them.

Doctor Bell undertook to read Lincoln's Bill in the Pulpit.

The Bill contained much seditious Matter.

The Twenty Eighth Day of April, divers young Men of the City picked Quarrels with certain Strangers, as they passed along the Streets; some they smote and buffetted, and some they threw in the Channel; for which the Lord Maior sent some of the Englishmen to Prison; as Stephen Studley, Skinner, Stevenson, Bets, and others.

Quarrels urged to Strangers as they were in the Streets.

Then suddenly rose a secret Rumour, and no Man could tell how it began, that on Mayday next following the City would slay all the Aliens; insomuch that divers Strangers fled out of the City.

Evil Mayday.

This Rumour came to the Knowledge of the King's Council; whereupon the Lord Cardinal sent for the Maior, and other of the Council of the City, giving them to understand what he had heard.

The Lord Maior (as one ignorant of the Matter) told the Cardinal, that he doubted not so to govern the City, but that Peace should be observed.

The Cardinal willed him so to do, and to take good heed, that if any riotous Attempt were intended he should by good Policy prevent it.

The Maior coming from the Cardinal's House, about Four of the Clock in the Afternoon on May Eve, sent for his Brethren to the Guildhall, yet was it almost Seven of the Clock before the Assembly was set. Upon Conference had of the Matter, some thought it necessary, that a substantial Watch should be set of honest Citizens, which might withstand the evil Doers, if they went about any Misrule. Other were of contrary Opinion, as rather thinking it best, that every Man should be commanded to shut in his Doors, and to keep his Servants within. Before Eight of the Clock, Master Recorder was sent to the Cardinal with these Opinions, who hearing the same allowed the latter: And then the Recorder, and Sir Thomas More, late Under Sheriff of London, and now of the King's Council, came back again to the Guildhall, half and Hour before Nine of the Clock, and there shewed the Pleasure of the King's Council; whereupon every Alderman sent to his Ward, that no Man (after Nine of the Clock) should stir out of his House, but keep his Doors shut, and his Servants within, until Nine of the Clock in the Morning.

A Meeting of the Lord Maior and his Brethren at Guildhall.

The Recorder, and Sir Thomas More sent to the Cardinal.

After this Commandment was given in the Evening, as Sir John Mundy, Alderman, came from his Ward, he found two young Men in Cheap playing at the Bucklers, and a great many of young Men looking on them; for the Command seemed to be scarcely published, he commanded them to leave off. And because one of them asked him Why, he would have him sent to the Counter. But the Prentices resisted the Alderman, taking the Young Man from him, and cryed, Prentices, Prentices, Clubs, Clubs; then out at every Door came Clubs and other Weapons, so that the Alderman was forced to flight. Then more People arose out of every Quarter, and forth came Servingmen, Watermen, Courtiers, and others. So that by Eleven of the Clock there were in Cheap

An Alderman resisted,and put to flight.

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