[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

people's hands, told their fortunes et meirent contens en plusieurs mariages ; for they said, “Thy wife has played thee false (Ta femme ta fait coup), and what was worse, they picked people's pockets of their money and got it into their own by telling these things by art, magic, or the intervention of the devil, or by a certain knack.” Thus far Pasquier. It is added that they were expelled from France in 1561.

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, ii. 124, parish of Eaglesham, county of Renfrew, we read : “There is no magistrate nearer than within four miles; and the place is oppressed with gangs of gipsies, commonly called tinkers, or randy-beggars, because there is no body to take the smallest account of them.”

In Scotland they seem to have enjoyed some share of indulgence; for a writ of privy seal, dated 1594, supports John Faw, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, in the execution of justice on his company and folk, conform to the laws of Egypt, and in punishing certain persons there named, who rebelled against him, left him, robbed him, and refused to return home with him. James's subjects are commanded to assist in apprehending them, and in assisting Faw and his adherents to return home. There is a like writ in his favour from Mary Queen of Scots, 1553 ; and in 1554 he obtained a pardon for the murder of Nunan Small. So that it appears he had staid long in Scotland, and perhaps some time in England, and from him this kind of strolling people might receive the name of Faw Gang, which they still retain.

In Lodge's Illustrations of British History, i. 135, is a curious letter of the Justices of Durham to the Earl of Shrewsbury, Lord President of the Council in the North, dated at Duresme, Jan. 19, 1549, concerning the Gipsies and

In the Gent. Mag. for Oct. 1785, vol. lv, p. 765, we read : “In a Privy Seal Book at Edinburgh, No. xiv. fol. 59, is this entry: • Letters of Defence and Concurrence to John Fall, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt, for assisting him in the execution of Justice upon his Company, conform to the laws of Egypt, Feb. 15, 1540.'” These are supposed to have been a gang of Gipsies associated together in defiance of the state, under Fall as their head or king; and these the articles of association for their internal government, mutual defence, and security, the embroiled and infirm state of the Scotch nation at that time not permitting them to repress or restrain a combination of vagrants who had got above the laws and erected themselves into a separate community as a set of banditti.

ties ma

Faws:- “Pleasyth yo” good Lordship t’understaund, John Roland, oon of that sorte of people callinge themsellfes Egip. tians, dyd before us accuse Babtist Fawe, Amy Fawe, and George Fawe, Egiptians, that they had counterfeate the kyngs

greate seale; wherupon we caused th' above named Babtist, Amye, and George to be apprehended by th' officers, who, emongst other things, dyd find one wryting with a greate seall moche like to the kings maties great seall, which we, bothe by the wrytinge, and also by the seall

, do suppose to be counterfeate and feanyd; the which seall we do send to your L. herwith, by post, for triall of the same. Signifieng also to y' L. that we have examynet the said Babtist, Amye, and George, upon the said matter ; who doithe afferme and saye, with great othes and execracions, that they never dyd see the said seall before this tyme, and that they dyd not counterfeate it; and that the said John Roland is their mortall

enemye, and haithe often tymes accused the said Babtist before this, and is moch in his debte, as appeareth by ther wrytinges rely to be shewed, for the whiche money the said John doithe falsly all he can agaynst them, and, as they suppose, the above named John Roland, or some of his complices, haithe put the counterfeate seall emongst there wrytings; with such lyke sayngs. Wherfor we have co’mit all th' above named Egiptians to the gaoll of Duresme, to such time as we do knowe your L. pleasor in the premises. And thus Almightie God preserve your good L. in moche honor. At Duresme this 19th of Januarye, 1549."

There is a well-known Scottish song entitled Johnny. Faa, the Gypsie Laddie. There is an advertisement in the Newcastle Courant, July 27, 1754, offering a reward for the apprehending of John Fall and Margaret his wife, William Fall and Jane, otherwise Ann, his wife, &c., “commonly called or known by the name of Fawes," &c. Gipsies still continue to be called “Faws” in the North of England. According to Mr. Halliwell, Dictionary, p. 349, the term appears to be now confined to itinerant tinkers, potters, &c.

Gay, in his Pastorals, speaking of a girl who is slighted by her lover, thus describes the Gipsies :

“ Last Friday's eve, when as the sun was set

I, near yon stile, three sallow Gipsies met;

Upon my hand they cast a poring look,
Bid me beware, and thrice their heads they shook ;
They said that many crosses I must prove,
Some in my wordly gain, but most in love.
Next morn I miss'd three hens and our old cock,

And, off the hedge, two pinners and a smock.” The Ditty. The following beautiful lines on the same subject are from Prior's Henry and Emma. Henry is personating a Gipsy.

“A frantic Gipsy now the house he haunts,

And in wild phrases speaks dissembled wants :
With the fond maids in palmistry he deals;
They tell the secret first which he reveals :
Says who shall wed, and who shall be beguild,

What groom shall get, and 'squire maintain the child.” Rogers, in his Pleasures of Memory, 1. 107, has also described the Gipsy :

“Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blaz'd

The Gipsy fagot.—There we stood and gaz'd ;
Gaz'd on her sun-burnt face with silent awe,
Her tatter'd mantle, and ber hood of straw;
Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er;
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore,
Imps, in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed;
Whose dark eyes flash'd thro' locks of blackest shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bay'd :
And heroes fled the Sibyl's mutter'd call,
Whose elfin prowess scal’d the orchard wall.
As o'er my palm the silver she drew,
And trac'd the line of life with searching view,
How throbb’d my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears

To learn the colours of my future years!" Strype, in his Annals of the Reformation, ii. 611, mentions a book written by William Bullein, of Simples and Surgery, A.D. 1562, in which the author speaks of “dog-leaches, and Egyptians, and Jews : all pretending to the telling of fortunes and curing by charms. They (dog-leaches) buy some gross stuff, with a box of salve and cases of tools, to set forth their slender market withal, &c. Then fall they to palmistry and telling of fortunes, daily deceiving the simple. Like unto the swarms of vagabonds, Egyptians, and some that call themselves Jews, whose eyes were so sharp as lynx. For they see all the people with their knacks, pricks, domifying, and figuring, with such like fantasies. Faining that they have



[ocr errors]

familiers and glasses, whereby they may find things that be lost. And, besides them, are infinite of old doltish witches with blessings for the fair and conjuring of cattel.”

Since the repeal of the act against this class of people, which, if I mistake not, took place in 1788, they are said not to be so numerous as before; they still, however, are to be met with, and still pretend to understand palmistry and telling fortunes, nor do I believe that their notions of meum and tuum are one whit less vague than before. Perhaps, in the course of time, they will either degenerate into common beggars, or be obliged to take to a trade or a business for a livelihood. The great increase of knowledge in all ranks of people has rendered their pretended arts of divination of little benefit to them, at least by no means

to procure them subsistence.

[ocr errors]




The cucking-stool was an engine invented for the punishment of scolds and unquiet women, by ducking them in the water, after having placed them in a stool or chair fixed at the end of a long pole, by which they were immerged in some muddy or stinking pond. Blount tells us that some think it a corruption from ducking-stool,1 but that others derive it from choking-stool. Though of the most remote antiquity,

1 An essayist in the Gent. Mag. for May, 1732, vol. ii. p. 740, observes that “ the stools of infamy are the ducking-stool and the stool of repen

The first was invented for taming female shrews. The stool of repentance is an ecclesiastical engine, of popish extraction, for the punishment of fornication and other immoralities, whereby the delinquent publicly takes shame to himself, and receives a solemn reprimand from the minister of the parish.” A very curious extract from a MS. in the Bodleian Library bearing on this subject may be seen in Halliwell's Dictionary, p. 285.

2 Blount finds it called “ le Goging Stole” in Cod. MS. “ de Legibus, Statutis, et Consuetudinibus liberi Burgi Villæ de Mountgomery a tempore Hen. 2," fol. 12 b.

He says it was in use even in our Saxons' time, by whom it was called Scealping-stole, and described to be “ Cathedra in qua rixosæ mulieres sedentes aquis demergebantur.” It was a punishment inflicted also anciently upon brewers and bakers transgressing the laws.



it is now, it should seem, totally disused. It was also called a tumbrel, a tribuch or trébuchet, and a thew.2

Henry, in his History of Great Britain, i. 214, tells us that "In Germany, cowards, sluggards, debauchees, and prostitutes, were suffocated in mires aud bogs, and adds, “it is not improbable that these useless members and pests of human society were punished in the same manner in this island;" asking at the same time, in a note, “Is not the ducking-stool a relic of this last kind of punishment ?”

In the Promptorum Parvulorum, MS. Harl. 221, Brit. Mus. Esgn, or CUKKYN," is interpreted by stercoriso; and in the Doomsday Survey, in the account of the city of Chester, i. 262, we read : “ Vir sive mulier falsam mensuram in civitate faciens deprehensus, iiii. solid. emendab.' Similiter malam cervisiam faciens, aut in CATHEDRA ponebatur STERCORIS, aut iii. solid. dab' prepotis."

Mr. Lysons, in his Environs of London, i. 233, gives us a curious extract from the church wardens' and chamberlains' accounts at Kingston-upon-Thames, ip the year 1572, which contains a bill of expenses 3 for making one of these cuckingstools, which, he says, must have been much in use formerly, as there are frequent entries of money paid for its repairs. He adds, that this arbitrary attempt at laying an embargo upon the female tongue has long since been laid aside. It was continued, however, at Kingston to a late period, as appears from the following paragraph in the London Evening

1 At a court of the manor of Edgeware, anno 1552, the inhabitants were presented for not having a tumbrel and cucking-stool. See Lysons's Envir. of London, vol. ii. p. 244. This looks as if the punishments were different.

? The following extract from Cowel's Interpreter, in v. Thew, seems to prove (with the extract just quoted from Mr. Lysons's Environs of London) that there was a difference between a tumbrel and a cuckingstool or thew. “ Georgius Grey Comes Cantii clamat in manner. de Bushton et Ayton punire delinquentes contra Assisam Panis et Cervisiæ, per tres vices per amerciamenta, et quarta vice pistores per pilloriam, braciatores per tumbrellam, et rixatrices per thewe, hoc est, ponere eas super scabeilum vocat. a cucking-stool. Pl. in Itin. apud Cestr. 14 Henry VII.“ 1572. The making of the cucking-stool

88. 0d. Iron work for the same

0 Timber for the same

7 6 3 brasses for the same and three wheels 4 10





[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »