L^L 0 Hsl / T«p
BOUT two thousand years ago, the people of this country were savages, and lived in the woods. They were called Britons; but, as we are Britons too, we call them the Ancient or Old Britons, because they were the people of Britain in ancient times.
There were then a great many kings, or chiefs, in Britain, and each kin^ governed his own part of the country, and all the
people that he ruled over were called a tribe; so that there were many tribes, and they often went to war with each other. Their kings were always great warriors, and used to lead them to battle.
The tribes of Ancient Britons that lived near the sea coast, opposite to France, which was then called Gaul, were more clever than those who dwelt in the inland parts of the country; for long before the Romans conquered Britain, which you will read about presently, many people from Gaul had come to live amongst the Britons on the south coast, and had taught them to do many useful things, such as how to spin and weave the wool of their sheep into a strong kind of cloth, and to dye it red, blue, and many other colours, and to make it into garments; so that instead of wearing only skins of animals for clothes, as most of the tribes of Ancient Britons did, they had woollen coats, and trousers, and cloaks, such as the Gauls wore. Their coats were not like those we now wear, but something like a child’s short round pinafore, and were called tunics ; but little children wore no clothes at all, in any part of the country.
In that part of Britain, too, I mean on the south coast, the people had also learned how to cultivate the land, and to grow corn; but as they did not then know how to work in iron, they used stone-headed mattocks, instead of spades, and their ploughs were all of wood, very simple in shape, and drawn by oxen.
They had no flails to thrash out the corn, when it was cut down, nor any mills to grind it; but they used to store it away, when ripe, in caves under ground; and when they wanted to make cakes, they took some out, and, after scorching off the husks over a fire, ground the grain into a coarse flour, between two stones, and then they made it into a sort of bread, in flat cakes, like thick biscuits, and baked them on other stones made hot in their wood fires. They also made butter and cheese.
The Ancient Britons, who lived inland away from the sea coast, seldom, if ever, tasted bread, as they grew no corn, but subsisted on milk and the flesh of animals, both wild and tame; for they kept flocks and herds, and they used to hunt in the woods; but many of them were sometimes badly off for food, and then they ate wild roots, roasted acorns, and beech mast.
I dare say you would like to know what sort of houses the Britons lived in. They were round clay huts, with high pointed roofs, like a sugar-loaf, thatched with branches of trees and rushes. They had no windows or chimneys, only a hole in the roof to let out the smoke.
A British town, which then was always built in a forest, or on a hill, was nothing more than a circle of such clay huts as these : each town had a ditch of water and a wall of earth round it, to keep it safe; and the people used to drive their cattle and sheep over this ditch, and inside the wall, every night, that they might not be carried off by their enemies. /
All the furniture they had, was a few seats of rough wood, and some vessels to hold food, such as jars and pans, made of baked clay; or wooden bowls and dishes; and a variety of baskets, which they made very cleverly. They had no gardens nor fruit trees, but plenty of grassland for their sheep and cattle. They kept fowls and geese too, but did not eat them, because the priests told them it was wrong, and contrary to their religion to do so. This seems very strange to us; but the religion taught by the Druids, or ancient priests of Britain, was a very different religion to ours.
The Britons were famous for basket and wicker work. They even made small' wicker boats, covering them with skins, to keep out the water; and these boats were so light, they could carry them about on their backs, from one river or pond to another, when they wanted to catch fish, or to cross over; and take them home again for safety.
They also made war chariots of wicker
of the /tomans ^British
work, with flat wooden wheels, and thick axeltrees, to which, in battle, they fastened sharp scythes, to cut down their enemies as they drove in amongst them. One or two men stood in each chariot, armed with lances, which had thongs of hides fixed to them, so that every time the lance was thrown, it could be drawn back asfain. Their reins and harness were also made of strips of hides.
As the Britons who lived on the south and west coasts, had more corn and cattle than they required, and plenty of tin, which they dug out of the ground in Cornwall, they used to sell these things to the Gauls, not for money, for they had none, but for other goods, which the Gauls brought over from the French coast, to trade with, such as metal chains and bracelets, cloth, scythes for their chariots, earthenware, and salt, and pieces of hard metal, called bronze, a mixture of tin and copper, of which the Britons made heads for their spears and arrows, and tools for cutting.
The Gauls had large boats, something like our barges, with one mast, and one large sail, made of the skins of animals sewed together. They had no rudders to guide these vessels with, but used two broad oars, or paddles, fastened one on each side, near to the stern, with which they steered their course; and they helped their vessels along with other oars, if the wind was not fair for them.
There was a kind of market in the Isle of Wight, where all this business of exchanging was done ; and besides the things I have mentioned, the Ancient Britons used to sell the prisoners they
J7ie Three. Orders of dncve/U T>novels,. and Temples for Worship. I. High B-iesb,_2 TTte Bard—3 Worker rn Ale/aB
took in war, for slaves; and, I am sorry to say, they also sometimes sold their own children, who were then carried away, and made slaves in other countries.
It is a pity their priests did not teach them better; but perhaps, they knew no better; yet these priests, who were called Druids, were more learned and clever than the rest of the people, for they made the laws, and acted as judges. They were also physicians; and some of them were called Bards, who used to play on an instrument like a small harp, and sing poems, which they composed themselves, about their gods, and the battles of their chiefs: others instructed young men, who were to be brought up for priests, in the knowledge of the Druids.
Their temples, or places of worship, were circles of great stones, and their
priestly dress was a long white woollen garment. They held grand religious festivals in these temples, four times a year, when war ceased, and the people made holiday, enjoying themselves with feasting, music, bonfires, and mirth of various kinds. The fetes still held in some of our country villages on New-year s-day, and Midsummer eve, are remains of the festivals of the Ancient Britons.
And now that I have told you what sort of people lived in this country, I am going to tell how they were conquered by the Romans, who were, at that time, the richest and most powerful people in the world, and great warriors too, so that they had conquered many countries, and among the rest, Gaul. At last, a clever Roman general, named Julius Caesar, came with a great number of ships filled with soldiers; but the Britons fought so bravely, that the Romans did not conquer them then; but after staying some time, to see what sort of place Britain was, and how the people lived, they went away again.
A long time afterwards, when Julius
Caesar was dead, the Romans came again with a larger army, and then some of the tribes of the poor Britons fought against them for several years; but they were not such good soldiers as the Romans, to whom they were obliged to submit at last; and then Britain became a Roman province, that is, a place belonging to Rome.
There were no more Druids in Britain after these wars, for many were destroyed by the Romans; and the others, to save their lives, fled from the country.
When the Britons had given up fight-in", the Romans began to make Britain quite a different place to what it had been. But I must tell you that the Roman Emperors sent great and clever men from Rome to govern the country, and soldiers to guard it; and that many Roman families came here to live, and built fine houses, such as they had in Italy, where the grand city of Rome was, which, at that time, was as large and more beautiful than London is now.
Then, the Roman soldiers were all good workman, or good farmers, and when they were not engaged in fighting, they were employed to build houses, to make roads and bridges, drain marshes, and clear away the forests, to make room for growing corn, and building cities.
The Britons were surprised to see what clever things the Romans could do; and as they were obliged to help them, they became acquainted with all these useful arts, and many others, which they were quite ignorant of before. They learned to plant gardens; for the Romans brought from other countries the seeds and roots of many flowers, as well as vegetables for the table; they also brought grape vines, and cherry, apple, chestnut, and other fruit trees. The great roads they made had mile stones along them; and were so excellent, that many of them still remain.
The Britons could not help admiring the new cities, with their handsome houses, temples, theatres, baths, and market places. All the best British families went to live in these cities, and their sons were allowed to go to school with the sons of the Romans, where they learned the Roman lan^uao’e, which was
o o 7
Latin, and they soon began to dress like the Romans, and imitate them in every thing; so that when the old Britons who had fought with the Romans were dead, their children, and those who came after them, grew up very like the Romans, and became quite friendly with them.
The Romans were not Christians when they first came here; but they changed their religion and became Christians about a hundred years after the birth of our Saviour, and then they turned their temples into beautiful churches, and taught the Britons to be Christians also.
For nearly four hundred years, the Romans kept possession of Britain, and the Britons continued to improve and prosper under their government; pleasant towns, villages, farms, and villas, had been gradually built all over the land,
Vnccenl Jlntons civilized fy the Id mans— learning Irom them the use/ul ulrts.
where before only dismal forests and clay huts could be found; the foundations and lower floors of these houses, with hot and cold baths, and beautiful hell pavements, are frequently being found, to the present day. Some of these pavements have lately been sent to the British Museum.
But at last Italy itself was invaded by immense tribes of warlike savages, who had dwelt for many ages in the extensive forests of Germany, and the Emperor of Rome wanted all the soldiers and great men at home; so they went away, and left the Britons to manage for themselves.
But they could not manage well at all; for, as soon as the Romans were gone, a set of fierce barbarians, called Piets, or Scots, who came from the woods and mountains of Scotland, invaded and pillaged the country, destroying all they
came near, with lire and sword; so the Britons sent to beg the Romans would come back to help them; and they came back once or twice, bringing with them numbers of Roman soldiers, who drove these enemies away; but they could not remain, so the Britons were obliged to do as well as they could without them.
You would be sorry to hear of all the misfortunes that happened to the poor Ancient Britons, and how they were at length conquered by the Saxons, another fierce warlike race, who reduced them to a state of slavery. It is a sad story, and a long one, so in my next I will tell you how this was done, and how seven Saxon kingdoms were established, and seven Saxon kings reigned in Britain at one time.
AM now going to tell you about the Saxons, and how it was that they conquered the Ancient Britons, and settled themselves in this country.
When the Romans had left Britain, a number of ambitious
people set themselves up as chiefs in many parts of the Island, seizing upon small portions of land, over which they ruled with absolute authority, and w^ere called kings. The dominions of these petty sovereigns were so small that there were, in some cases, three or four kings in the space of one county; and to secure their little kingdoms, or to make them into larger ones, they went to war with each other, instead of uniting together to expel the Piets and Scots, who commenced their invasions almost as soon as the Roman soldiers went away again.
The quarrelling of the chiefs caused great distress in the country, for wherever they obtained dominion, they put an end to the good laws and government established by the Romans, who, as long as they ruled in Britain, had allowed the
rerrwnj the Cu.c Rn+ena
people of the chief towns and cities to choose their own magistrates, much as they do now. ^
But the rights and liberties they had then possessed were all lost in the sad strife for power that prevailed, and a stop was put to trade and agriculture, since no merchandize could be sent with safety from one district to another; nor would the farmers plough or sow their land, while they were in fear that an enemy might reap the harvest.
The consequences of this state of things were grievous; for besides the terrible destruction of life by fighting, great numbers of people died of want and sickness, for warfare is sure to produce famine and pestilence in every country.
Another misfortune was, that the people themselves were divided into two par-
ties, unfriendly to each other. One was called the Roman party, and consisted of thousands of Roman citizens, who were settled here on their own estates, with all the native families who were connected with them by marriage, or friendship, or trade; the other was called the British party, and was composed of Britons, who were not bound by any social ties to the Romans, or perhaps looked upon them with dislike. Each elected a kino- the
Romans choosing Aurelius Ambrosius, a descendant of one of the Roman emperors ; the Britons placing at their head, a chief named Vortigern, who, to overpower his rival, as well as to drive away the Piets and Scots, applied for aid to the Saxons.
Nov/ these Saxons were a fio-htino-, half civilized people, who came from the north
of Germany, and parts of Holland and Denmark; and there were two other nations joined with them, called Jutes and Angles. Many of their chiefs were great pirates, or sea robbers; but piracy was not in those times considered as robbery, nor was killing men thought murder, although it really is so; but plundering merchants at sea by seizing their ships and cargoes, and even taking the lives of the crews, if they resisted, was regarded by the pirates as a brave and noble way of obtaining wealth. Each pirate chief had as many keels or war boats as he could get together; and each vessel contained from about twenty to forty men, with stores of provisions and arms.
Among these adventurers were two brothers, Hengist and Horsa, who were cruising, with their war boats, near the
British coast at the time when Yortigern was made king; so he sent to ask their assistance, which they readily promised; and thus the Saxons became allies of the Britons. The Isle of Thanet, where Margate now stands, then really an island, was given to them for their services.
The Saxons were well furnished with
arms, such as bows and arrows, clubs
spiked with iron, swords and spears of
steel, and ponderous weapons, like sledge
hammers, that would smash in the strono--
est iron helmet at a blow.
Hengist and Horsa, with their warlike bands, soon drove the Piets and Scots out of the country, and as they returned from this victory, they invited King Vortigern to a feast, at which, we are told, he was so charmed with the grace and beauty of a Saxon maiden, Rowena, the daughter of
Hengist, as she knelt to present him with a cup of wine, that he married her, and it is said, made her father king of Kent.
However that might have been, the Saxons were so well pleased with the country, that they began to make conquests for themselves. They fortified the Isle of Thanet, and were joined by other Saxon tribes, chiefly the people of Jutland, called Jutes and Angles, from the latter of whom this country derived the name of Anglia, or England.
The new settlers soon turned their arms against the Britons, and took possession of all Kent, where Eric, the son of Hengist, assumed the title of king. This was the first of the seven kingdoms established by the Saxons, and called the Heptarchy, because that word means a government consisting of seven parts.
Soon afterwards, Ella, another Saxon chief, landed an army of pirates, in Sussex, where he defeated the Britons, and drove them into the vast forests that then existed in that part of the country.
Several of the British princes now forgot their quarrels, and united their forces to repel this invasion; but Ella subdued them, and won a large tract of land along the coast, which he formed into the kingdom of Sussex, or South Saxons.
In this manner, the whole of England was gradually conquered by different Saxon chiefs, and the seven kingdoms were, one by one, established; but the wars lasted for upwards of a hundred and fifty years, for the Britons made a brave resistance, and many songs were sung and tales told by the bards or minstrels, of the valiant deeds of King Arthur and
other British heroes, said to have distinguished themselves during those times.
The Saxons, at that period, understood ' few arts, excepting those connected with war or piracy; therefore, they set but little value on the elegant buildings, beautiful gardens, and other works with which the Romans and Britons had adorned the country. These, with the Christian churches, were nearly all destroyed during the long wars, and many of the cities laid in ruins.
By the time the conquest was completed, very few of the Britons were remaining alive, except in the interior of the country, where they most likely were treated as slaves, and associated with the Saxon thralls, who were slaves. On all the sea coasts of the country, they were either killed in the wars, or obliged to
flee for refuge to the mountains of Wales, and to that part of France which, from them, took the name of Brittany.
Thus the race of ancient Britons, as a separate people, became extinct, and the country was peopled by the Saxons, from whom the greater part of the present population of England is descended.
The seven kingdoms of the Heptarchy were Kent, Sussex, Essex, East Anglia, Northumbria, Wessex, and Mercia. There was a king of each, but one of them was superior to the rest, and bore the title of Bretwalda, or ruler of Britain, because he had some slight degree of authority over the whole country.
Ethelbert, King of Kent, the third Bretwalda, is celebrated as having been the first Saxon monarch who adopted the Christian faith. About the year 579,
lie was converted by a missionary, called St. Augustin, sent from Rome, with forty monks, to preach Christianity in Britain, as we now send out missionaries to convert heathen nations. Before these good men came, the worship of idols was much practised by the Saxons; but from that time, the Christian religion spread, by degrees, among the Saxons; and monasteries and churches were again raised in various parts of the country, the churches being generally built of wood.
Then many learned men, and men of various talents, came from Italy and France, to settle in Britain, by whom the Saxons were much improved in the knowledge of useful arts, and thus they gradually became more civilized. Ethel-bert created the first Rishop of London, and founded St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the
spot where once stood the magnificent Roman temple of Diana. The present St. Paul’s stands in the same place.
The Saxons brought the Feudal system into Britain; that is, the land was divided among the thanes, or nobles, and cultivated by the mass of the people, who were not free, as the people are now, but were bondsmen of the different lords, some being vassals, and others thralls, or slaves. The vassals, who were called Ceorls, or Churls, were the tenants of their lord, and paid him rent in kind; that is, sent him at stated periods, instead of money, a certain quantity of corn, hay, honey, (then used instead of sugar), cloth, which was spun and woven by the women; or other produce of their farms, besides working on his land so many days in the year. In return for these services, each family of ceorls had a cottage to live in, a few acres of land, and the use of a common or wood, to graze their sheep and cattle, and feed their pigs on.
Among these were always some ceorls who practised different trades, such as smiths, carpenters, shoemakers, tanners, ike. These were called Bordars and Cottars, and they also gave a fixed number of days’ labour in the year at their several trades to their lords or owners.
They were all in bondage, so far that they might not leave their lord without his consent; but they had more freedom than the Serfs or Thralls, who were, in fact, slaves; being bought and sold like cattle in the market, given in exchange for goods, and employed in the most menial of the out-door occupations. There were also household slaves, both male and female, who performed the duties of servants of all kinds.
The house of a Saxon chief was like a large barn, two stories high, the ground floor being divided into kitchens, stores, and stables; the upper story containing the hall, and other rooms for the family. The lower part was generally built of rough stones; the upper part of timber, with a thatched roof, and a wooden staircase outside. The house always stood on a piece of land surrounded by a ditch and a wall of earth, which enclosed the huts of the thralls, and the corn, hay, cattle, horses, &c. Close by, was the village, where dwelt the vassals and cottars belonging to the estate.
Rough in appearance as the exterior of a Saxon chiefs dwelling must have been, the interior sometimes possessed comforts and embellishments, according to the notions of people in those rude times. Embroidered hangings, called tapestry, the work of Saxon maidens, lined the walls of some of the rooms; there were heavy carved tables and chairs in a few of the apartments; and as glass was not then used, brightly polished metal mirrors reflected the guests frequently assembled in the hall. Speaking of the few comforts of that time, the absence of chimneys, strikes us, perhaps, as the greatest contrast to the comfort of modern dwellings, when we picture to ourselves the smoke from the fire of our richest Saxon forefathers escaping through a hole in the roof, which was closed, to keep out the cold when the fire was not wanted.
The kingdoms of the Heptarchy were frequently at war with each other, till at
length Egbert, King of Wessex, by the success of his arms, obtained so great a degree of authority over all the seven states, that he is usually called the first sole monarch of this country, to which he gave the name of England, meaning Land of the Angles, or Anglo Saxons. This was in the early part of the ninth century; and thus ended the Heptarchy, about three hundred and seventy-six years after the landing of Hengist and Horsa.
From that time to the Norman conquest, which was two hundred and forty years afterwards, England was ruled (except for a short time,) by a succession of Saxon sovereigns, the best of whom was Alfred the Great, whose life and actions will be related in the next part of our History.
was the grandson of , who was the first England, and was a learned as well as a good prince. His learning was remarkable in those days, when, excepting the monks, very few persons knew how to read. Whilst a child, he was taken to Rome by his father, King Ethelwolf, and presented to the Pope, who publicly gave him his blessing a mark of distinction that was then 7
highly valued; for the Saxons were all Christians by this time, and the Pope was above all the kings and princes of Europe.
Alfred had three brothers older than himself, and although they all reigned in succession before him, he was the only one of the four who could read and write. He was instructed by his mother, of whom a story is related that, in order to induce her sons to study, she promised a volume of Saxon poems to whichever of them should be first able to read it, and it is said that Alfred, although the youngest, won the prize. It must have been an interesting and valuable present; for the art of printing was not known in those days, and books were extremely rare, being all written on parchment, and ornamented round the margin of each
page with pictures, beautifully painted and gilt. The art of ornamenting the pages was called ‘ illuminating,’ and many volumes thus illuminated are still preserved.
During the reigns of Alfred’s father and brothers, England was frequently invaded by the Danes, or Northmen, who, like the ancient Saxons, were pirates, and their chief object was plunder, which they obtained by the most cruel means; killing those who opposed them, and destroying by fire every thing they could not take away.
The Anglo Saxons had by this time become disposed to habits of peace and friendship. They were always a hospitable race of people; and became still more so after they adopted the Christian religion, for theclergy, in general, afforded
bright examples of beneficence and charity, nor were the kings and nobles wanting: in the exercise of those virtues.
It was a sad pity they should have had to contend with such cruel foes as the Danes, who were taught by the pagan priests of their own country to hate and destroy the Saxons, because they had become Christians. And they induced the fierce Danish warriors to take solemn oaths, to spare none of Saxon race;—so wherever they came, their terrible battle axes fell alike on the soldiers and peasants, the shrieking women and helpless children; for in their savage fury, they would frecjuently set fire to a town or village in the night, and strike down the unfortunate inhabitants as they rushed in terror from their blazing cottages.
At the time when Alfred ascended the throne, great numbers of these cruel Danes were established in fortified camps in various parts of the country, which was in a miserable state, owing to their ravages. The young king, with as large a force as he could muster, fought many battles with them, and gained some victories; but the Danes being strengthened by the arrival of fresh bands, his soldiers, unable to contend against them, deserted in great numbers, and Alfred was obliged to fly in disguise to a small place called the Isle of Athelney, a marshy and thickly wooded spot in Somersetshire.
In this island, then formed of rivers and bogs, which have been since drained and cultivated, he was long concealed ;— and the peasant, in whose hut he obtained shelter and food, not suspecting his rank, employed him to mind his cows. A story
is told of his letting some loaves burn while baking on the hearth, on which the peasant’s wife said to him in anger,— “ You man ! you will not turn the bread you see burning, though you will be glad enough to eat it.”
At length Alfred’s friends again assembled, and his hope of being enabled to rid his country of the Danes, was revived. Then, in order to learn the numbers and intentions of the enemy, he went to the Danish Camp disguised as one of the Saxon minstrels, who were in the habit of going from place to place to amuse the people with their harps and songs. The harp was a favourite instrument among the Anglo Saxons, and was not only played by the wandering minstrels or gleemen, but by the rich and great, who at their entertainments used
to pass it round for each to play and sing in turn.
Alfred remained for several days among the Danes, going from tent to tent, amusing them with songs of battles and heroic deeds, so that they had no suspicion he was any other than a Saxon minstrel, and talked freely before him. Thus he found out that they believed he was dead; and he saw that they were quite at their ease, thinking only of feasting and enjoying themselves; so, leaving the Danish camp, he sent messages to his friends to bring all the armed ceorls they could muster on a certain day, to a wood called Selwood Forest, in Somersetshire, where he met them, and led them by night against the Danes, who, being quite unprepared for any attack, were totally defeated, their camp destroyed, and a great number of
them taken prisoners. This was called the battle of Ethandune.
Still they were then so numerous, and held possession of so many places in the eastern part of the country, that Alfred thought it would be best to make friends of them, and induce them to live in peace with the Saxons; so he offered to give them for their own occupation the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk, with a wide tract of country along the coast as far as Northumberland; all which had been so desolated by the long wars, that for many miles together not a sign of cultivation, or of a human dwelling was to be seen.
The Danes consented to make peace on these terms, and became, by degrees, industrious cultivators of the land, gradually adopting the habits and manners of
the Saxons, who had greatly improved in civilization since their conquest of England, although they were still so rude a people, that even a nobleman who could read or sign his name was looked upon as a very learned person.
Ignorance often produces strife and evil, as Alfred well knew; and he knew, also, that education promotes peace and goodness: therefore he took pains to encourage learning, and instituted or revived many schools, particularly one at Oxford, to which the nobles were compelled to send their sons; and this seminary is supposed to have been the foundation of the Oxford University.
All the buildings of that period were of wood, and thatched, except a very few of the churches, which were of stone, roofed with lead. Some had glass windows, but
glass was so rare, that most of the windows, even of churches, monasteries, and houses of the nobles, were only of lattice work, such as we now see in dairies. The poor people wore sheep-skins for clothing, and their furniture consisted only of a few stools, the largest one serving for a table, some coarse earthenware pans, and wooden platters, and a bundle or two of dried rushes, which they spread upon the earthen floor, and used for beds. The furniture of the great was of oak, sometimes carved, and the floors of their houses were strewed with rushes.
When they gave feasts, the joints of meat were brought in on wooden spits by the household thralls, who presented them kneeling to each guest, so that every one might cut off a piece where he liked; and what made this custom more remark*
able was that each guest provided his own knife, which he always carried stuck in his girdle. They used spoons and horn cups, with wooden bowls and dishes; and some of the very rich had silver plate for their tables, which they displayed on grand occasions.
The beds of these rich landowners were only pallets stuffed with straw or dried leaves; some few, indeed, had bedsteads, made of boards, like a child’s crib; but the usual custom was to sleep on the ground on straw, and use a cloak for covering.
As for the Ceorls, their habitations were mere huts, round in shape, and formed of branches of trees stuck into the ground, interwoven with sticks, and plastered on both sides with clay. The covering of the roof was straw or rushes. We can
scarcely imagine that there could have been much comfort in such humble places of abode; and yet, could we have seen the inmates of one of those cottages assembled round their fire, blazing in the middle of the room, half hidden by the smoke which passed out through a hole in the roof, we should have beheld many a happy face, and heard cheerful conversation and merry songs; nor would there have been wanting a fervent thanksgiving for the bounty of Providence.
Some of the nobles had each as many as two hundred dependents, vassals and thralls, on his lands; and their condition was still the same as described in * The Heptarchy.’ A thane or lord sometimes gave freedom to a thrall, as a reward for faithful service; and this was done with a little ceremony:—the master took his
favoured servant to the market-place, when the sheriff was there engaged in public affairs, and giving his hand to the sheriff, told his slave that he was free, and might go where he pleased. This might also be done before the priest at church. Instead of absolute freedom, a grant of land was often given, and the thrall became a Ceorl. From these Ceorls, in course of time, long after the Norman Conquest, arose the middle classes or Free Commons of England; so that they were our own ancestors.
After the peace with the Danes, which was pretty well kept during the life of Alfred, that good prince very greatly improved the state of the country. He rebuilt London and some other cities, which had been totally destroyed by the Danes. He also procured ship-builders
from Italy, who taught the people to build better and larger ships than any known in England before; so that his seamen were enabled to fight with the Danish pirates at sea. He ordered that the laws should be put in force again, and added some very excellent new ones to them; but it was no easy matter to make the people in general obey these laws, for they had been so long without restraint, that they were unwilling to be governed. During the long Danish wars, the magistrates had been afraid to exert their authority, so that no one was safe, and it was almost impossible for the people to obtain justice for any injuries done to them. King Alfred restored ‘ Trial by Jury,’ which had long been discontinued in England.
Some of the old Saxon laws appear
strange to us now, but no doubt those laws suited the state of society then; as for instance, the punishment for murder was to pay a fine, and the amount of the fine depended on the rank of the person murdered; that is, if a man killed a thane, or nobleman, he had to pay a much larger sum than if his victim had been onlyaceorl; and if a thrall were murdered, the fine was not so great as if he had been a ceorl. The king, however, could put no new law in force without the consent of the Witenagemote, or great council of the nation, which was something like our parliament, only there was no house of commons, but all the members were priests and nobles, who held lands of the crown, for which they paid certain dues or taxes, which went to the king.
Alfred encouraged commerce and trade,
and gave prizes to those who displayed their genius by any useful invention. Clocks were then unknown, but the king himself invented a method of measuring time, by marking candles at regular distances, so that they would burn from one mark to another in an hour; and these, being placed in horn lanterns, served for time-pieces.
In short, during the reign of Alfred, peace and order were restored, industry was encouraged, a navy created, the military force strengthened, and the people on the whole made better and happier.
Tins good king reigned twenty-eight years, and died much regretted, in the year 900, which was 166 years before the Norman Conquest; of which event we shall next speak.
DURING THE REIGN OF
HE Norman Conquest was the Conquest of England and its inhabitants, by William, Duke of Normandy, whom we call William the Conqueror. At the time of* his invasion, the English, or Anglo Saxons, were, according to the ideas of those barbarous times, a free people, although two-thirds of them were really in bondage; for the farmers and mechanics were mostly ceorls, or vassals of the great
men; and the servants and labourers were serfs, or slaves, who wore iron collars round their necks; and neither ceorls nor serfs could marry out of their own class.
The ceorls, however, were in general pretty well off, being, in fact small farmers, living under the protection of the lord of the soil. They enjoyed many comforts in their rude cottages, for every one had a portion of land, and when he had paid in produce and labour what was due to his lord, by way of rent, all the rest was his own. Besides these small farmers, the lord of the domain had other ceorls, or vassals, who worked at different trades, such as smiths, carpenters, &c., many of whom lived in the villages, or small towns, in the neighbourhood of his dwelling, and it was their duty to supply him with a certain quantity of the articles they made, or
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to work at their trades for him a certain number of days in every year.
The larger towns were called Burghs, a term used by the Romans for a military station; many of the inhabitants in these burghs were free tradesmen and mechanics, who had gained their freedom for particular services, or by paying a sum of money to their lords, and some had been children of the smaller land-owners, called Franklins, or freemen.
The Saxons were not such good husbandmen as the Romans, so that corn was not so plentiful, and the common people usually made their bread of barley; but they had plenty of meat, for pasture land to feed cattle was cheap, or was in common, and quantities of pigs were fed on acorns in the forests. Sheep were reared chiefly for their wool, of which every
family required a supply, as the clothing of all but the very highest classes was manufactured at home; so that all Saxon women, whatever their station in life might be, were constantly employed in spinning, knitting, weaving, and sewing.
The monasteries were very numerous
at the time of the Norman invasion, and
it is stated that the number of parish
churches and villages was greater than at
the present day; but whether that be true
or not, most of the towns and villages in
this country existed in the Saxon times, *
and were called by the same names as they are now, although they were then much smaller, and the houses little better than sheds. And now for the story of the Norman Conquest.
When Edward the Confessor was king of England, his cousin William, Duke of
Normandy, came on a visit to his court. Edward had been brought up in Normandy, and liked the Normans very much; so he entertained the Duke and his followers very sumptuously, to the great discontent of the English nobles, who did not like them. But more than this, Edward made a will, leaving his crown to Duke William, who returned to Normandy well contented.
The succession to the English crown was not then exactly regulated by law. The eldest son of the king often succeeded; but sometimes the nobles elected a king, and sometimes the sovereign appointed his own successor; but, in either case, it was necessary that the choice should be approved by the Wit-en-age-mote, or Parliament, otherwise it was void; and this was the reason William’s claim was disputed.
When Edward died, his wife’s brother Harold was elected King, being a brave chief, and much beloved by the people. Then William, Duke of Normandy, laid claim to the crown, and invaded England with a large army. He landed near Hastings, in Sussex, where he set up a fortified camp; and as Harold did not come for sixteen days to oppose him, he suffered his soldiers to plunder the surrounding country, and burn down many of the villages, so that the terrified people shut themselves up in the churches for safety.
At length, King Harold, who had been in the north of England to subdue an insurrection of the Danes, arrived at the head of his army, and the famous battle of Hastings was fought on the 14th of October, 1066, which proved an unfortunate day for the English, who not only
lost the battle, but their valient king also, he being shot in the eye with an arrow.
But this was only the beginning of the Conquest, for the Anglo-Saxons were too brave to submit without a hard struggle to a foreign ruler; so the Normans had to fight many more battles, and it was sevdn years before William was fully acknowledged as King of England. During that period the English suffered all kinds of misery. Their towns were burned; their houses, lands, and money taken from them; and many thousands were killed by the invaders.
Soon after the victory at Hastings, the Conqueror marched his troops to Dover, where he took possession of the castle, and set fire to the town. He had been opposed on his way, and had committed dreadful ravages in consequence; but it is said, that
as he returned through Kent, a body of Kentish men, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, suddenly issued from a forest, and offered to acknowledge him as king, provided they might enjoy the same freedom as before. It is added, that he granted a charter, or written promise, to that effect; but there is nothing on record to shew that he kept his word.
He next laid siege to London, and stationed his soldiers round the city, so that no provisions could be carried in; and he burned down all the houses outside the walls, and killed or drove away the people for miles around. The citizens made a brave defence; but at last, fearing they should die of famine, they agreed to receive him for their king, and opened the gates of the city. He did not enter then, but sent part of his army, to prepare for
him a safe abode; and they built a fortress, which was enlarged in after times, and is now the Tower of London. William was crowned in the Abbey of Westminster on Christmas day, 1066; and many Saxon or English chiefs, seeing it was in vain to resist, went to do him homage; and those who did so were promised full possession of their lands and honours; but the wily Conqueror meant to dispossess them of those lands and honours as soon as his power was sufficiently established.
Meantime, the estates of the English nobles, who had not submitted, were given to Normans, who took possession of them by force; while others gained lands by compelling the widows and heiresses of those who had fallen in the battle of Hastings, or who had been killed elsewhere, to marry them. In short, every one who had
followed William to England, expected to be made rich and great out of the spoils of the conquered people, and he was willing to gratify them.
The English monks were driven from their monasteries, to make room for Norman monks. The English bishops, too, were deprived of their benefices; so that even the church and abbey lands, with the ceorls and serfs who cultivated them, passed, like the estates of the Saxon nobles, into the hands of the Normans. Then Norman castles were erected upon most of the large estates, and houses were pulled down in the towns, to make room for them, the inmates being turned out to find homes where they could. The serfs and peasants, both men and women, were compelled to labour at these works, while the Norman soldiers urged them on with their staves.
Churches QjHtuses *J| ' destroy A *r Hampshire
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The forcible impressment of these labourers to build castles was the origin of the press-gangs of former times.
Thousands upon thousands of warlike Normans pouring into England, William gradually became master of the whole country; but every step he gained was marked with violence and bloodshed, and his soldiers were permitted to rob and ill-treat the English with impunity. Some of them were quartered in every land-owner’s house, where they took what they pleased, without paying for it, and made it their sport to insult the family, who dared not resent their insolence; but were often too glad to give up to them the best part of their possessions that they might keep the remainder in peace.
At length the king declared his intention of reducing all the English nobles to a
state of bondage, and giving all the landed property in the country to Norman nobles. Then many men of rank, despoiled of their estates, fled with their family and ceorls to the woods, to live by plunder; and the many bands of robbers, thus formed, were not suppressed for several reigns.
Among these dispossessed nobles was one named Hereward, lord of a large domain in Lincolnshire. This brave chief resolved to make an effort to restore his countrymen to freedom : so he established a fortified camp in the Isle of Ely, among the lakes and fens of Cambridgeshire, which was then marshy land, half covered with water, and it became a place of refuge for men of all classes; bishops, abbots, and nobles; who, with the peasants of Ely,most of whom were vassals on the abbey-lands of Ely and Croyland, formed quite an
army. The heavily armed Normans could not find their way through these fens, so that the English often way-laid and cut off parties of them, and made good their retreat to the camp of refuge, by paths known only to themselves.
William tried long to destroy this camp, but in vain; at last he blockaded the Isle of Ely with boats, filled with soldiers, and began to build causeways, to enable the Normans to get into it; but Here ward repeatedly surprised the guards, and attacked and destroyed the works.
At last, provisions grew scarce in the camp, and some of the monks of Ely, despairing of success, sent privately to the Norman castle, which had been erected at Cam bridge, offering to guide the Normans into the island, provided they would promise not to take their abbey. The camp
was thus surprised and taken, and the English treated with shocking barbarity; but the monks who betrayed them were justly punished, by meeting with all kinds of robbery and ill-usage from the Norman soldiers, who were quartered in the abbey.
The English had now been fighting for their liberty upwards of six years, but, after this event, they gave up the contest, and William became absolute King of England, and a great tyrant he was. One of his early acts was to destroy upwards of sixty parishes and thirty churches in Hampshire, under pretence of making a forest for hunting, but, in reality, to keep the city of Winchester, where he resided, with the port of Southampton, clear of Saxons; and he made no compensation to either poor or rich, whom he thus cruelly turned out of their lands and homes.
He then made laws which deprived the people of their ancient right of hunting and killing game in the forests; and these new laws were so severe, that no Saxon was allowed to enter within the boundary of any of the forests and chases, of which there were then more than eighty in England. It was made a greater crime to kill a deer than to kill a fellow-creature; for the murderer was only punished by a fine, but the deer-slayer had his eyes torn out, Such was the origin of our game laws.
The other institutions of the country were not materially altered. There were still three distinct classes of society; the nobles, the vassals, and the serfs. The latter could not be worse off than they were before; but the vassals, who were called villeins by the Normans, instead of ceorls, were greatly oppressed by their new
masters, who exacted from them much more than their Saxon lords had done, and treated them besides with scorn. The Curfew-bell, which was rung at sunset, to warn the people to cover or put out their fires, was established in this reign, and surnames were first used.
Some of the great Saxon families were afterwards restored to a part of their former possessions, and in course of time the distinction between the Norman and Saxon races wore away among the higher classes; but the lower orders were all of Saxon origin, for many centuries. How they gradually became a free and wealthy people, will be seen in the following parts of our History, wherein we shall next show what came to pass in England in
THE FEUDAL TIMES.
a long time after the Norman Conquest, the Saxons were sadly ill-treated by their conquerors. Many who had been rich and noble, were reduced to bondage, while those, who retained their freedom, were so poor, oppressed, and degraded, that the proud Normans used to call them Englishmen, by way of insult. Those who had taken
shelter in the forests, which then covered a great part of the country, continued to live by robbery; and as their children were bred up in the same wretched mode of life, England was long infested with such freebooters. The famous Robin Hood was one of these outlaws.
Still the Norman Conquest produced good as well as evil; for the Normans were a more civilized people than the Saxons, and better acquainted with man}^ arts, especially those of agriculture and architecture. But the clergy were the only men of those times who possessed much useful knowledge. They understood building, farming, and gardening; and it was not uncommon to see a Bishop or an Abbot ploughing, or making hay, with his vassals. The Normans ploughed their lands three times a year, and used
harrows, which were not in use in England before they came.
But I must now tell you why the period that followed the Norman Conquest, is called ‘the Feudal Ages.’ The Feudal system, which I shall presently explain, was first brought into England by the Saxons; but as the feudal laws of the Normans were far more oppressive, we do not speak of ‘ Feudal times ’ till after the Norman Conquest.
This Feudal system was a custom of giving lands for services, instead of rent, and the person who held the land was al-always the vassal of him who granted it, and bound to perform certain services for him. The nobles and bishops were the vassals of the king; the common people were the vassals of the nobles and bishops. The services required by the
king of the crown vassals, as they were called, was to bring him soldiers and money, whenever he was going to war. Thus the armies were raised in the Feudal times, every Baron bringing his train of armed vassals into the field ; for the people were all bound to arm themselves as soldiers, and follow their lord whenever he commanded them to do so; and they were obliged to contribute money also, to , make up the sum wanted by their lord for the king. A Baron had absolute power over his vassals : he could take away their property, if he chose; they could not remove from his land, without his permission, nor could their sons or daughters marry without his consent, for which he, in general, made them pay a sum of Money.
A Norman castle was usually built on
an eminence, surrounded by a wall and moat. The part occupied by the Baron and family was called the Keep; the rest was filled with his retainers and domestics. The retainers were freemen, mostly of noble birth, but poor and dependent on his bounty ; so that they were always ready to fight for him, or serve him in any way he desired.
Close under the castle walls, was the village, where the vassals lived in small wooden huts. The Normans called them villeins, which meant villagers, and each family had a cottage with a few acres of ground; besides which, there was generally a common, where they might feed their sheep, and they paid a small sum for the right of sending their pigs to feed on the acorns in the forests. The Baron, as I said before, was absolute lord over
all these people, who were obliged to obey him in all things. The provisions for his household were furnished chiefly by them; so that some of them were constantly seen carrying poultry, eggs, honey, milk, and other things up to the castle. The people of the towns and burghs within the Baron’s domain, were also subject to him, by the Feudal laws, although they might be freemen; as for instance, every Norman lord had a mill on his estate, to which all the people were obliged to take their corn to be ground, instead of grinding it at home in a hand-mill, as they used to do; and this was a heavy tax, as a part of every measure was taken from them as the Barons due.
Those Norman lords who were not very rich, and had no castles, lived in large rude mansions, like those of the Saxon
chiefs, only better in one respect, which was, that the fire was made on a spacious hearth, with a wide chimney; therefore, you may remember that we owe to the Normans the comfort of not being stifled with smoke, as our Saxon ancesters were.
The Normans were not so fond of feasting as the Saxons were. They had only two meals a day: dinner at nine or ten in the morning, and supper at five. The oaken tables were covered with great wooden dishes of boiled meat and salt fish, with bread, ale, and thin wine; and the roasted meats were brought in on spits, and carried round to the guests, who helped themselves; for in this, as well as many other things, the customs of the Saxons and Normans were alike, and their mode of dress was almost the same.
In course of time, the enmity between
the two races wore away, for the descendants of the Norman conquerors, being born in England, grew up with better feelings towards the Saxon English, and, by degrees began to look on them as countrymen, so that the principal distinction was then, not between Norman and Saxon, but between the free classes, and those who were in bondage.
There was so little learning in those days, that very few of the nobles could either read or write, nor was there much improvement till after the invention of printing, about four hundred years afterwards. It was the want of learning, no doubt, that made the people so rough in their manners, and so fond of war.
The far-famed wars, called the Crusades, were begun in the reign of William Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror. These
wars were carried on in Palestine, or the Holy Land, and their cause was this:— The Turks had taken possession of Jerusalem, which was regarded by Christians as a holy city, because it contained the tomb of our Saviour. Now the Turks of those days hated all Christians, and treated with great cruelty those who went to offer up their prayers at the Holy Sepulchre, unless they each paid a certain tax for permission to enter the city; so a monk, called Peter the Hermit, began to preach throughout Europe that it was the duty of all Christian warriors to deliver Jerusalem from the hands of the Turks. The preaching of this hermit caused such an excitement in Christian countries, that it became the fashion for knights and nobles to seek renown, or glory, by going to fight in the Holy Land;
and hence we have so many stories about Crusaders, for these wars lasted two hundred years.
Young men of high birth, in those days, were trained up to warfare in the castles of the great Barons. They were first pages, then esquires, and in time, if they were faithful and brave, their lord rewarded them for their services with the honor of knighthood, when they were at liberty to leave him, and seek their own fortune; and most of them went to the Holy-wars. This order of knighthood was called chivalry, and the knights were required to make a vow, that they would fight for their religion, and for all who were oppressed by others; but they very often fought for those who paid them well, without caring much whether the cause was right or wrong.
Other orders of knighthood were instituted during the Crusades, particularly that of the Knights Templars, who were military monks, and whose chief residence in England, was the Temple, in Fleet-street, London. The Temple church, in which they used to worship, has lately been restored to its ancient splendour, and is decorated with many ensigns of their order.
Chivalry gave rise to the warlike sports called tournaments, at which a number of knights, in full armour, used to fight with each other, before crowds of spectators, many of whom were ladies of high rank.
A strange custom was brought into England by the Normans, called Wager of battle; by which any one, accused of a crime, might challenge his accuser to fight with him ; and, if the parties were noble,
the battle took place in the presence of the king; but if not, they fought before the lord of the manor; and whichever conquered was declared to be in the right; but it was a very unjust mode of deciding causes.
Henry the First, who succeeded William Rufus, established the first manufactory for woollen cloth in England. The weavers came from Flanders, where the best cloth was made from English wool, sent there for sale by the great landowners.
The great Barons had now grown so powerful, and had so many vassals at their command, that, in the reign of Stephen, Henry’s successor, they began to defy the authority of the king; and caring little for the laws, went to war with each other, all over the country. Then many bad men took advantage of the confusion thus
caused, to build castles, and to keep bands of robbers in them, who plundered and often murdered the poor people in the towns and villages, and these lawless chiefs we encouraged by the nobles, because their bands of armed men were ready to fight for them also, whenever they pleased. .
This unhappy state of things lasted till Stephen died, and Henry the Second came to the throne. Henry was a wise prince, and as soon as he could master them, had all the new castles pulled down, punished the robber chiefs, and began to lessen the power of the nobles, by granting charters to many of the cities; that is, he gave his written promise, which was equal to a law now made by the united parliament, to let people choose their own magistrates, and to build walls and gates round their cities, which they might guard and defend.
Winchester was then the capital of England; for London was but a small city, the houses being built of wood, and thatched with straw; yet many of the London merchants were rich; and in the reign of Richard the First they obtained, for a sum of money, the privilege of having a Lord Mayor to govern them, and to regulate the affairs of the city.
Richard was a great warrior, and to gain glory, he raised an army, and went on a crusade to the Holy Land; but, on his way back, through Germany, was made prisoner by the Duke of Austria, who, like a robber chief, demanded so large an amount of money for his freedom, as to occasion much distress in England; for the people were obliged
to contribute a great part of their money, cattle, corn, and even wool, to raise a sufficient sum to pay his ransom.
The price of an ox, at this period, was about four shillings, and of a sheep ten-pence ; which seems very little to us, but one shilling then, was equal in weight to five now; and the pasture land was very cheap, so it cost but little to feed sheep and cattle. The only coin in use at this time, was the silver penny, stamped with a cross, which the people used to break into halves and quarters, for smaller money. A pound was a pound in weight of silver, and a shilling was the twentieth part of that weight. In the time of King John, who succeeded Richard, the price of bread was regulated by law, the quartern loaf being sold for one farthing;
so that a shilling would buy forty-eight quartern loaves.
John was a bad king; but “ out of evil sometimes cometh good for, in consequence of his tyranny, the Barons went to war with him, and at last compelled him to sign the great charter of England, called Magna Charta, which gave more rights and liberties to all classes of the people. From that time the feudal system began to decline; the free citizens became more independent; and the lower orders were gradually released from bondage, and became a free people; as will be seen in the next portion of this history; which is designed to show—the condition of England and its people, during the
the Middle Acres I mean the thirteenth fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, during which the Feudal system was gradually abolished, and slavery ceased to exist, in England.
And what was the general state of the country during, that period ? The chief towns, now so large and handsome, were but small poor places, the streets not
paved, the houses little better than wooden sheds, and no shops except the workshops of blacksmiths, carpenters, curriers, and others of a similar description. Provisions, and all things for daily use, were bought at the weekly markets; and at all the principal places, both towns and villages, a fair was held once a year, to which goods were brought for sale by travelling merchants, who were forced to pay a toll to every baron through whose estate they passed ; and, wherever the fair was held, the Lord of the Manor exacted a duty on every article sold there. The shops, or rather stalls of the merchants, were ranged in long rows, like streets; nor were there any other kind of shops, even in London, at that time; for the retail dealers did not sell goods at their houses, but in a sort of market-place, called the Chepe,
which stood on the spot now occupied by East-cheap and Cheapside. Some of the fairs lasted fourteen days.
The poor country folks looked forward to the fair-time with great delight; and families of higher rank went there, or sent a trusty person, called a factor, to buy silks, fine cloth, ornaments, spices, and a variety of things they had no other opportunities of obtaining; for many of them never saw London, or any other large town, in the course of their lives, as a journey in those days was a very perilous undertaking. The forests and highways were infested with robbers, and there were no inns, nor any public conveyances on the roads, which were not such roads as we have now, but like the worst of our cross country lanes, bad and lonely. Then there was no mode of
travelling but on horseback, and in many of the towns no accommodation to be had, so that the few persons who did travel used to stop at some castle, or monastery, where they were always entertained with hospitality, according to the notions of those times; that is, they were supplied with coarse bread, and meat, and porridge, and some straw to sleep upon. If, however, the traveller was of high rank, he was received by the Lord of the Castle, or the Abbot of the monastery, and treated as a friend.
Robbery was so common in the reigns of John and Henry the Third, that the next king, Edward the First, appointed justices of the peace, and ordered that there should be watchmen, at night, in every city. Many men were, perhaps, driven to adopt a wicked course of life
by the ill-treatment of the Normans, and the want of employment; for there were no manufacturers of any consequence to give employment to the labouring poor, whose numbers were always increasing; nor were there so many workmen wanted for building and other arts, until the towns came to be enlarged and improved.
Famines were frequent both in England and Scotland during those times; and it was after a dreadful scarcity of food, in the time of Edward the Third, that the rate of wages was fixed by law. A master carpenter was paid three-pence a day, a labourer two-pence, or one-third less, with meat and drink. The wages of the agricultural labourers were about the same; but two-pence would then buy more than enough bread and meat, and ale, for the day’s provision of a whole
family. The lower orders could generally get more meat than they can now, but less bread, and no wholesome vegetables; for none were then cultivated in England. Their food, therefore, consisted of poor unfatted meat, coarse brown bread, and ale.
All this while the condition of the lower orders was undergoing a change. The nobles were constantly giving freedom to their serfs and villeins; some because they thought it a Christian duty, but many more because they wanted money, and so permitted their bondsmen to purchase their liberty, and the liberty of their wives and children. Most of these freedmen settled in various towns, as artizans, and thus the number of free citizens was continually increasing. Then the Commons, as those people were called who were not of noble birth, began to rise to some importance in
the country. In the reign of Henry the Third, they were first allowed to send members to Parliament; and although it was a long time before those members were suffered to take a part in making the laws, yet some of them ventured to represent the grievances of the people to their rulers; and this was the beginning of our House of Commons. At first, every householder that paid rates and taxes, had a right to vote at the election of members of Parliament; but in the * time of Henry the Sixth, the elective franchise, or right of voting, was limited to those who had freehold property to the value of forty shillings a year,—equal to twenty pounds of our money.
In the reign of Richard the Second, there was a terrible insurrection among the working classes, usually called Wat
Tvler’s rebellion, because it was headed by a man of that name. It was occasioned by an annual tax of a shilling a head for every member of a family above the age of fifteen; and the poor people thought it unjust that they should have to pay as much as the rich land-owners, as it fell hard on those who had large families. Therefore they resolved to demand that this oppressive tax should be abolished, and certain rights granted to them that were then enjoyed by the higher classes. They desired that slavery should be entirely abolished ; that trade should be free, that is, that no tolls or duties should be paid on goods sold at the fairs and markets ; and that the villeins should pay a fixed rent for the land, instead of rendering feudal services to their lords.
Thousands of men marched to London
in a riotous manner, and were met by the king and the city magistrates in Smith-field ; when the king promised to grant their demands, and to pardon the rioters; but no sooner had they dispersed, and returned to their homes, than he broke his word, and caused great numbers of them to be seized, and hanged on the nearest trees, without even a trial.
It was in this reign that Whittington was Lord Mayor of London. You have, no doubt, read the story of Whittington and his Cat, but perhaps you do not know that the real Whittington never was a poor boy, but was the son of a knight, and a great coal merchant. It was about this time that coals were beginning to be generally used for firing, instead of wood, and the coal mines in the north of England to be extensively worked.
The great land-owners still lived in castles, or in large rudely-built mansions, surrounded by a broad moat, or ditch. They had their marshals, stewards, heralds, trumpeters, and other officers, who wore their lord’s livery, and often oppressed and ill-treated his peasantry and lower dependants, who were not privileged to wear it. Priests and choristers formed part of every great household; and in the castle was always a chapel, where cathedral service was daily performed. The dinner was served at ten o’clock in the forenoon, in the great hall, where the lord of the castle took his place at an upper table, with the ladies and visitors of high rank; while a numerous host of retainers, with guests of less distinction, sat at a lower table. The difference of rank was always shown by a large salt cellar,
the superiors sitting above the salt, and the inferiors below it; and this custom was continued down to a late period in country mansions. The fare was plentiful, but served in a rough way, in great wooden dishes, placed on the oak tables without table cloths. The plates were also of wood, and called platters; knives were used, but as forks were not invented, people used their fingers instead. It was usual to hire rope dancers, jugglers, and minstrels, to amuse the company; and every great man kept a jester, whose office was to say funny things, to make people laugh. Some of the best apartments of very rich people, at this period, were hung with tapestry, and painted glass windows were becoming more general in the dwellings of the great; but these luxuries were still very rare, nor did they become com-
mon till after the civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster.
These wars were begun in the reign of Henry the Sixth, in consequence of a claim made to the crown, by Richard, Duke of York, who contended that he, and not the King, was the true heir to the throne. Each had his partizans, and a war broke out, which lasted for many years, and caused a great deal of misery in the country. It was called the War of the Roses, because the friends of each party were known by wearing a white or a red rose, as a badge.
Very few of the barons had now any vassals remaining on their lands, but they enlisted in their service as many of the knights and common people as they could support, so that every nobleman raised an army of his own. Many men took up arms, not because they cared who was king, but because they were fed well in the castles of their chiefs. It is said that the famous Earl of Warwick had thirty thousand retainers in his different castles, who lived entirely at his expense, which was no trifle, if it be true, as we are told, that six oxen were killed every morning to breakfast the people at his town house, in Warwick-lane, London.
Ten great battles were fought in the course of sixteen years in various parts of the kingdom; and many of the chief nobility, with thousands of the people, fell in tliis unhappy contest. The Duke of York himself was killed at the battle of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, but his son carried on the war, and at length gained
7 cj O
possession of the throne. This was Edward the Fourth.
During these wars, many of the old Norman castles were destroyed; and we hear no more of knights of chivalry, and their warlike sports, as described in the History of the Feudal Times.
And now let us turn from warfare to a more pleasing subject. In the reign of Edward the Fourth, the art of printing was brought into England from Germany. This wonderful invention made a great change all over the world; for when books could be more readily obtained, people began to read and gain knowledge. For a long time, however, it was only among the higher classes, in England, that learning made any progress, so that people of the middle ranks were still unable to read and write.
In the next reign, that of Richard the Third, a post was first established in England, but it was only to carry government letters and dispatches.
The usual dress of the middle classes, in those times, consisted of a close coat, tight pantaloons, short boots, and a cloth cap. The coat was like that now worn by our blue-coat boys, with a leather belt round the waist, in which every one carried a knife to cut his meat. Noblemen wore embroidered jackets, with short mantles of satin or velvet, and velvet caps. The clothing of the country people was made of coarse wool, woven generally at home; and its texture was similar to our blankets.
Richard the Third was an usurper, that is, he had no right to be king, and the civil war was resumed for the purpose of placing on the throne Henry, Earl of Richmond, who was heir of the House of Lancaster. A battle was fought at Bosworth, in 1485, when Richard was killed, and his rival proclaimed king, by the title of Henry the Seventh. He married the princess Elizabeth, a very amiable lady, who was the daughter of Edward the Fourth, and heiress of the House of York; so that the two families, whose quarrels for the throne had caused so much bloodshed, were thus united, and peace restored.
This happy event was followed by great changes in the state of society, as you will find in the next part of this book, called
‘ ENGLAND in the SIXTEENTH and SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES.1
’ AND ITS PEOPLE, (
SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES.
HIS period of English History commences during the reign of Henry the Seventh, which began in the year 1485, and it ends with the death of William the Third, in 1702.
It has already been related in that part of our history which is called “ England during the Middle Ages,” how Henry the Seventh became king, and put an end to those dreadful civil wars, the Wars of the Roses, by marrying the good princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward the Fourth.
It was in the reign of Henry the 7th that America was discovered by Columbus, and the first voyage made to India, round the Cape of Good Hope. The merit of these, and other great maritime discoveries, belongs to the Portuguese, who were the best sailors of the age; but the example set by them led the English to improve their shipping, and make voyages of discovery also, for the purpose of increasing trade and commerce.
England had no navy at this period; for a shameful custom had long existed of pressing, that is, seizing by force, merchants’ vessels for the service of the king, whenever he wanted to raise a fleet. The first ship of the present British navy was built by order of Henry the Seventh, who
named it the Great Harry; but ship-building did not go on very rapidly, for there were only thirteen ships of war in the time of Queen Elizabeth, the government still depending on the unjust system of seizing merchants’ vessels whenever ships were required for warfare.
The next king, Henry the Eighth, made a great revolution in this country, by changing the established religion, which till then had been Roman Catholic. Having quarrelled with the Pope, he chose that the Protestant form of worship should be adopted; so he abolished all the Catholic churches and monasteries throughout the kingdom, seized all their treasures, and sold the lands belonging to them.
The monks and nuns were turned out of their homes, and their property seized for the use of the state. Pensions were
granted to a few, but thousands were left destitute, and might be seen wandering about the country, or sitting by the waysides, begging for their daily bread.
No people can be treated in so unjust a manner now; but the sovereigns of England were then despotic, that is, they could do what they pleased, without regard to the laws. It was to get rid of this arbitrary kind of government that Charles the First was afterwards beheaded, and James the Second deprived of the crown.
The change from the Catholic to the Protestant religion, was called the Reformation ; but it caused great distress at the time, especially among the poor, who had been used to go to the monasteries and convents for relief in all their wants, as there were no poor laws at that time, nor any hospitals for their benefit.
During the whole of the sixteenth century, there was also great distress among the peasantry, owing to the decrease of farm labour; for the large land-owners, having now no serfs to cultivate their lands, converted vast tracts into pastures for sheep; so that, instead of wanting a great many people to work in the fields at seed time and harvest time, they only required a few shepherds to look after their sheep; and as the wool fetched a great price in Flanders, they found it more profitable than growing corn.
Many landowners, who had become possessed of what were formerly church lands, pulled down whole villages, and enclosed the commons, where the rustics used to feed a few sheep of their own; so that, what with this new system, and the destruction of the monasteries, many thou-
sands of the country people had no means of living but by begging, or stealing; nor was their condition improved till about the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when laws were made for the relief of the poor, and the lands again brought under cultivation.
The landowners were not all noble, now, as they were in the Feudal Times; as a law had been made by Henry the Seventh, by which Commoners were enabled to purchase landed estates, which, formerly, they were not allowed to do; and thus arose a new class of people in England, such as are now called country gentlemen; that is, great landed proprietors who are not noblemen.
In the reign of Henry the Eighth, most of the vegetables that are common now, such as cabbages, turnips, carrots, and let-
tuces, were first grown in this country, the seeds and roots being brought from Holland; but potatoes were not known in England till the time of Queen Elizabeth, and were then only seen at the tables of very rich people. Market gardening became a trade, towards the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth; but all the best gardeners, at first, were Dutchmen.
Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, were all children of this monarch. Mary was a Roman Catholic, and endeavoured to restore that religion. Elizabeth was a Protestant, and a clever but tyrannical woman. She is sometimes called the good Queen Bess, from a mistaken notion that an old song, which celebrates one of our Queens by that title, related to her. But the real good Queen Bess, was the wife of Henry the Seventh
Iii the time of Elizabeth were made severe laws against those who still professed the Catholic faith; and great numbers were fined and imprisoned, because they would not attend the Protestant Churches.
Still the country prospered in her reign, owing to the increase of trade and manufactures. Sir Francis Drake then made his first voyage round the world ; colonies were settled in America; and the East India Company was formed. The Royal Exchange was also built by Sir Thomas Gresham, a rich Merchant, of London.
The City of London was then very different to what it is now. The streets were very narrow, and as they were neither paved nor lighted, nor well watched, it was usual for all respectable people, when they went out in the evening, to be attended by their apprentices, who carried clubs and lanterns, to protect them from thieves and to light the way. The citizens, at this period, usualty had their shops at their houses, which were all built of wood ; and as glass was then more generally used, most of their houses had small casement windows.
Coaches were first known in this reign, but did not become general till the time of Charles the Second; and there were no stage coaches till the reign of William the Third; so that the families of country gentlemen scarcely ever came to London, even once in their lives. They lived on their own estates, in large mansions, built of timber, with a great hall, where the whole family, domestics included, took their meals. The furniture was rough, and most of the articles for domestic use were made of wood or pewter; for china-ware, and glass for the tables, were luxuries unknown at that period.
Children were brought up so strictly, that even when grown to men and women, they dared not sit down, or talk, in the presence of their parents, without permission. The daughters of people of fortune used to assist in all domestic duties, such as washing, cooking, making butter and cheese, and keeping the house in order. These, with spinning, sewing, and embroidery, were the chief accomplishments of young ladies, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; for very few were taught to read or write.
The want of education made the people rough in their manners, so that the middle and higher classes were fond of sports that are now practised only by the worst characters among the lowest orders, such as bull-baiting, dog fighting, cock fighting, and many other such vulgar amusements. Theatres were only just then coming into fashion, and were very small and mean; yet it was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that Shakspere wrote his fine plays.
The merriest time in the whole year was Christmas, which, in every house throughout England, was then kept up for twelve days, with feasting, and romping games of all kinds.
The costume of this period was, for men of the middle class, a jacket reaching a little below the waist, fastened with a belt; stockings made of cloth, such as men now wear for coats, and called hose; with boots, a short cloak, a high crowned hat, and a sword. The women, in general, wore gowns and petticoats of woollen stuff, with cloth hose, and high heeled shoes. The citizens’ wives, who used to wear large hoods over their heads out of doors, now appeared in velvet bonnets; their gowns were open in front, with a stiff* boddice, and a large ruff round the neck, made yellow with starch. Rich silks were much worn by rich people of both sexes. Knitted stockings were invented in this reign; and a pair being presented to the Queen, she would never afterwards wear those made of cloth.
Queen Elizabeth was succeeded by her cousin James, king of Scotland, whose family name was Stuart; and thus England and Scotland were united into one kingdom, called Great Britain, but had separate parliaments till the time of Queen Anne.
The next king was Charles the First, who wanted to exercise too much power, and govern without a parliament, contrary to the laws; so many of the people thought it would be better to have no king; and a civil war was commenced, which lasted several years, when Charles was made prisoner, tried, and beheaded, January 30th, 1649. Then Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the Republicans, that is, of those who wished to have no king, took the head of the government, with the title of Protector of the Commonwealth. He was the son of a country gentleman, and ruled with great ability for six years; but it was not a very merry time in England; for the greater portion of the republicans were of a religious sect, called Puritans, who considered it sinful to indulge in any kind of gaiety; therefore, all private entertainments, as well as public amusements and festivals, were forbidden by law ; so that even at Christmas, if any body indulged in mirth and feasting, it was in secret. Still the condition of the people had become much better; the value of land had more than doubled ; and the foreign trade of England was greatly increased. Coffee was first brought from Turkey during the Commonwealth ; and sugar from the West indies; but tea was not brought here till some time afterwards.
When Oliver Cromwell died, Charles the Second, the son of the late king, was restored to the throne. The great plague, or fever, which in a few months destroyed one-third of the inhabitants of London, and the great fire, which laid the city in ruins, both happened in this reign; after which the city was rebuilt in a better manner, the houses being constructed of brick, instead of wood, and the streets made wider, and paved.
About this period, but more especially in the reign of the next king, James the Second, many thousands of French arti-zans, driven from France by religious persecution, came to settle in this country, and greatly improved our useful arts and manufactures, which, till then, were far inferior to those of France. Glass, paper, silks, cutlery, clocks, and watches, were now made as well in England as abroad, and these, with the woollen manufactures, afforded plenty of employment for the working people. The first charity schools were founded in this reign.
The arbitrary conduct of James the Second, who succeeded Charles, caused a conspiracy of the nobility and landed gentry to be formed against him, and he was obliged to give up the crown, and take refuge in France; while his son-in-
ENGLAND in the 16tii and 17th CENTURIES.
law, William, Prince of Orange, who had married his daughter Mary, was invited to come over from Holland, and take possession of the throne. This had been offered to him on account of his being a Protestant, and on condition that he would sign an act, called the Bill of Rights, by which he, and all future sovereigns, were bound to govern entirely according to the laws of the land, and not by their own will. This event, which is called the Revolution, took place in the year 1688, and the people of England have enjoyed more liberty ever since.
In this reign the Bank of England was established; and Greenwich Hospital, which had been a palace, was made into an asylum for old and disabled sailors. William the Third died in 1702.
HEN King James the Second was dethroned, and obliged to leave the country, he had three children, two daughters and an infant son. One daughter was Mary, whose husband, William Prince of Orange, was made king, instead of her father; and the other was Anne, who was married to the Prince of Denmark, and became Queen, on the death of William the Third, in 1702.
If Prince James, the brother of those ladies, had been a Protestant, he would
have been allowed to reign; but he was brought up in the Catholic faith, and our Parliament had, in the year 1689, made a law, that the Sovereign of Great Britain must be a Protestant; so that was the reason his sister Ann was chosen instead of him to succeed King William.
In the reign of Queen Anne, the English went to war with the French, and a great many battles were fought in Germany, which cost the lives of thousands of our brave English soldiers; yet it was for no better reason than to settle a dispute whether a German or a French Prince should be king of Spain. It costs a great deal of money to carry on a war, and the government gets the money from the people, by making them pay more taxes; so in consequence of that foolish quarrel, in the time of Queen Anne, the
taxes were so heavy, and trade so bad, that the people were almost ruined. One good thing was done in this reign, which you ought to remember, which was, to unite the Scottish with the English Parliament, and so have only one Parliament for the whole of Great Britain.
Queen Anne died in 1714, and was succeeded by George the First, a German Prince, who was the son of a grand-daughter of James the First. But he was not much liked in England ; for he was neither a good nor a clever man, besides being a stranger, and not able to speak the English language. These causes, added to the distresses occasioned by the late wars, made many people think that it would perhaps be better to let the Prince James Stuart be king; and almost all the Scotch people were of that opinion,for you
will recollect that the Stuarts were the royal family of Scotland, and that James the First was king of that country when he succeeded our Queen Elizabeth.
Then secret meetings were held in many parts of England, by the friends of the Prince, who was usually called the Pretender; and they formed plans with the people of Scotland, with a view of placing him on the throne. When King George learned what was going on, he sent troops into the north, and two battles were fought with the rebels, who were defeated, and many thousands of them killed or made prisoners. Most of the prisoners, I am sorry to say, were sold for slaves; which was a dreadful thing for themselves, and a sad affliction to their friends, who, no doubt, wished they had been contented with the monarch then on the throne.
George the First whose German title was that of Elector of Hanover, died in 1727, and was succeeded by his son, George the Second, who was also a German.
The English had been at peace for some time, but they very soon had to go to war with the Spaniards, who behaved very ill on the seas, by interfering with our merchant ships that traded to the West Indies. They even seized some British vessels, and sold the crews for slaves ; so the English government at last declared war against Spain, and this war lasted nine years. While it was going on, the kings of France and England also went to war, so that there were a great many soldiers and sailors wanted; and numbers of poor working men were impressed into the service; that is, they were seized by parties of armed men, called press-gangs, carried by force on board ships, and made sailors of, against their will.
In the midst of these troubles, another rebellion broke out in Scotland, which lasted much longer, and created far more disturbance than the former one. It was headed by Charles Edward Stuart, the son of the former Pretender, who landed in Scotland, in the year 1745, and was joined by so many of the people that he soon had a large army at his command. After some months of civil war, which caused great suffering and sorrow in the families of those who joined the young Pretender, that unfortunate Prince was defeated at the battle of Culloden, in Scotland, and escaped in disguise to France. This was the last battle fought in Great Britain, and the last attempt made to restore the Stuarts to the throne.
In the reign of George the Second, most of the principal towns of England were enlarged, and manufactures of various kinds were more extensively carried on in them. New roads were made, harbours built for shipping, canals formed, new bridges erected, and the land better cultivated ; so that the labouring classes found plenty of employment.
In this reign our first great conquests were made in India, and our trade with that country was so increased, that Indian goods, as well as tea from China, were brought here in large quantities. It was then that the custom of drinking tea began to be adopted by all who could afford it; but the cups and saucers used at that time were not larger than doll’s tea things, and were very expensive, being brought from abroad, as no china was made in England
ENGLAND IN THE EIGHTTENTH
till the reign of George the Third. The best sort of earthenware then made was the common white glazed kind, which was thought very handsome, as every body had, before that time, been accustomed to use pewter or wooden plates and dishes. You may judge, therefore, how much the English have improved in this kind of manufacture within the last hundred years; for English china is now as good and beautiful as any in the world.
The style of dress had been very much altered since the time of James the Second; for our Dutch and German Sovereigns brought new fashions into the country. Ladies wore hoops under their dresses, and powdered their hair, and frizzed it out till their heads looked three times as large as they really were; and little girls were as stiffly dressed as
their mothers. Gentlemen wore wigs, curled and powdered, with three-eor-nered hats bound with gold lace, like our parish beadles. Their coats were stiff and ugly, and of gayer colours than they wear now, with large cuffs and lace ruffles; their waistcoats were made with long flaps nearly down to the knees, and they wore coloured silk stockings and swords.
George the Second died in 1760, and was succeeded by his grandson, George the Third, who was by birth an Englishman. At this time all that part of America, now called the United States, belonged to England, and was governed by our king. The reason was, that it was first colonized by English emigrants; that is, the first people who went to settle there, when the country was in a wild uncultivated state, were English families,
who, from misfortune, or religious persecution, resolved to leave their native land. In course of time these colonies became large populous places; and then, as they were governed by the English laws, and the people paid taxes to this government, they thought they ought to be allowed to send members to Parliament; and as this was refused, they would not be governed by the king of England any longer, but would choose their own rulers and make their own laws. This dispute gave rise to a war, which lasted about eight years, when the king was persuaded to put an end to it by giving up his authority over the Americans, who thus became an independent people.
In the first year of the present century, 1800, the Parliament of Ireland, which used to be held at Dublin, was united to that of Great Britain; which was a very good thing for the Irish people, because the United Parliament could do more good for them than the Irish Parliament could do by itself.
They did not like this union at first, any more than the Scotch people liked their union with England, in the time of Queen Anne, until they began to feel the benefit of it, The united government has abolished several bad laws, and made many good ones, for the benefit of the people of Ireland, since the Union; especially one for establishing free schools throughout all the country; and one for making poor laws, and building workhouses for orphan children, and for the infirm and aged poor; instead of suffering them to die of starvation, as was the case until poor laws were established for their relief.
For twenty-two years, England was at war with France. This dreadful war, in which all Europe was at last engaged, began in the year 1793, and was carried on till the year 1815. Since that time, Great Britain has enjoyed more peace and prosperity than at any other period of her history. Wonderful improvements have been made in all the arts and sciences; the people are in general much better educated, and all the comforts and luxuries of life are more plentiful, and more easily obtained, because they are cheaper; for, since that war was ended, heavy taxes have been taken off very many things that we eat, drink, wear, and use.
George the Third died in 1820, when his son, George the Fourth, became king; but he had already governed the country for ten years, under the title of Prince
Regent, because his father had been in very bad health.
In the time of George the Fourth, new laws were made, by which the Roman Catholics obtained more privileges than they had enjoyed in this country since the Reformation, especially the right of sitting in Parliament; for until then, no one of that religion could be elected a member of the House of Commons.
During this reign, too, gas lights and steam boats were brought into general use; but there were no railways till after the death of George the Fourth, which happened in 1830. He was succeeded by his brother, William the Fourth.
Travelling on rail roads, by steam, is the grand invention of the present age, and has been of more benefit to the world than any discovery ever made, except the art of printing. The speed with which people can now travel enables them to visit places they never would have seen, if railways and steam vessels had not been invented; besides which, more business is done; letters and goods are conveyed in a shorter time to and from distant places; and people gain more knowledge by seeing more of the world.
Two of the most important laws passed by Parliament, in the reign of William the Fourth, were, one for greatly increasing the number of voters, or electors of members of Parliament; and another for the total abolition of slavery in the West Indies, and other British Colonies.
You know, I dare say, that many thousands of black slaves used to be employed in the plantations of the West India Islands. Now it had long been thought
very wicked to keep people in slavery; so at last our Parliament passed a law, that all the slaves should be made free; and to compensate their owners, the British government paid to them a very large sum of money, and then set the slaves at liberty, on the first of August, 1834; which must have been a joyful day for the many thousands of poor negroes, and their poor little slave children.
William the Fourth died in the year 1837, when his niece, her present Majesty, Queen Victoria, came to the throne. She was crowned in Westminster Abbey, June 28th, 1838; and in February 1840, was married to Prince Albert, of Saxe Coburg.
At the present time, there is no country in the world equal to Great Britain for its wealth and commerce, arts and manufactures; and there is no city in Europe
ENGLAND in the 18th and 19th CENTURIES.
equal to London for its large size, and the number of its inhabitants. Great improvements are making in the drainage of towns, in opening spacious burial grounds at a distance from our dwellings, and in building more healthy habitations for the working people. Our ships bring to us all kinds of luxuries from every part of the world; the necessaries of life are cheap and abundant; the children of the poorest people can now gain useful knowledge, by means of national and other free schools: we have for years had a cheap penny postage to and from all parts of Great Britain and Ireland; and as we are in the full enjoyment of peace and prosperity, we ought to be a happy and thankful people.
PKAK AND on, raiNTKK*, TURX4DRKIULX*ITBII1.
nil IknksBta, ^tntiara, kt.
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Miss Corner has acquired a deserved celebrity for the singularly-attractive and intelligible manner she has in narrating history.—Critic.
THE HISTORY OF SCOTLAND;
New Edition ; with Chronological Table: Tenth Thousand ; 2*. 6d. cloth, lettered; or bound up with Questions on the History, 3#.
Illustrated with a Map, and three Historical Engravings.—1. Coronation of the Infant King David II. and his Queen, at Scone. 2. .James V. taking refuge at Sterling Castle. 3. Queen Mary’s Escape to England.
“ We sincerely recommend this history as peculiarly suited to the meridian
of schools.”—Ayr Observer.
“ This meritorious work is written in a very easy and agreeeble style, perfectly adapted to the capacities of the young- persons for whom it is intended.”—
" We have perused this history with much interest, delighted with the ease and perspicuity of style, and with the clearness and force of the narrative.”— Edinburgh Chronicle.
“ Peculiarly adapted for instructive family reading.”—Caledonian Mercury.
THE HISTORY OF ROME;
From accepted English and Foreign authorities, as Macpher-son’s Annals of Commerce, Keightley’s Roman History, Smith’s and Adam’s Greek and Roman Antiquities; Dr Arnold, Niebuhr, &c. With Questions to each Chapter, a Chronological Table, and a Map of the Roman Empire; 3*. fid. bound in cloth, lettered. 7th thousand.
“Miss Comer’s History of Rome will assuredly ere long supersede all the Roman histories at present used in schools: it is well written, and the historical facts elicited by the learned labours of Niebuhr, Arnold, &c , are made to take the place of the fabulous accounts which have hitherto passed current as authentic history; at the same time the popular early legends are not omitted, but their doubtful nature pointed out.”—Westminster Review.
“ An excellent feature in this history is the continual effort to open out to the young reader the household life and social customs of the Romans, tor without this, ancient history can have no reality for Children.”—Educational Times.
“Its contents form a correct history of the Roman empire, from its beginning.”— Church of England Journal.
THE HISTORIES of SPAIN and PORTUGAL;
New Edition, Fifth Thousand; 2#. dd. cloth, lettered; or bound up with Questions on the Histories, 3#.
Illustrated with a Map, and three Historical Engravings,—1. Inez De Castro entreating the King to save her life. 2. Interview of Columbus with Queen Isabella. 3. The Cortez taking the Oath of Allegiance.
Miss Corner gives a clear and striking account of the different kingdoms that at various times were founded in Spain."—Edinburgh Review.
“ So concise and plain as to be at once adapted to the capacities and volatility of young people, while they are useful compendiums for adults.”—Times.
THE HISTORY OF FRANCE;
Eleventh Thousand, New Edition, with continuation of events to the Presidency of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. With Chronological Table.
2s. dd. cloth, lettered; or bound up with Questions on the History, 3s.
Illustrated with a Map, and three Historical Engravings,—
1. The Coronation of Charles VII. 2. A French Tilt, or Tournament. 3. Bonaparte’s Expedition across the Alps.
“The Writer has borne in mind throughout, that simplicity of style was essential to her purpose, and has selected those facts which are best adapted to give an idea of the events and the customs of the successive ages.”—Baptist Magazine
" Miss Cornerappears to be an excellent historian for the school room. She narrates with fluency and clearness, and in a concise and lively manner, the leading facts, so as to convey the spirit of history, and indicate the characteristics of the people and the country, as well as the rulers and famous characters.”—Spectator.
“We look upon Miss Corner’s work with great interest, as being peculiarly adapted to the minds of young people, and being free from that inversion of facts by which history is so often made subservient to party purposes.”—
THE HISTORY OF DENMARK, SWEDEN, AND NORWAY;
2s. 6d. cloth, lettered; with a Map, and two elegant Historical Engravings.
1. A Norwegian Family listening to the Songs of their Scalds.
2. Submission of the Order of Nobles to Frederick III.
“ The two chief qualities of a good book are usefulness of subject and cleverness of handling, and these requisites Miss Corner’s histories exhibit in an eminent degree. The frequent intermixtures of government between the three countries have indeed tended materially to embarrass this portion of European history, but Miss Corner, by an accurate arrangement of dates, and a judicious connection of events, has set every thing in a clear light.”—Post Magazine.
THE HISTORY OF POLAND AND RUSSIA;
3s. 6d. cloth, lettered; with a Map, and three elegant Historical Engravings.
1. Assassination of Demetrius. 2. John Cassimer, worn out by misfortune, resigning his crown to the Diet. 3. Flight of the Inhabitants of Moscow at the approach of the French army.
“ This volume forms one of a series of histories for the use of young persons; the present volume is, however, more descriptive than historical, which we onsider an advantage, the living manners of the PolesaDd Russians being much more instructive and entertaining to young English readers.”—Tait’s Magazine.
“ Miss Corner has succeeded in compressing into a small compass all the leading events of history, without the slightest obscurity, or without sinking her book into a dry chronicle of facts.”—Britannia.
THE HISTORY OF TURKEY AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE; including Greece, Syria, and the Holy Land;
3*. 6d. cloth, lettered; with a Map, and three elegant Engravings.
1. Selim II., receiving the Ambassadors of Maximilian, Emperor of Germany. 2. Mahomet expounding the Koran at Medina. 5. Reschid Pacha reading the Hatti Scheriff of 1839 to the Ambassadors and Great Officers of State.
“The narrative is so well arranged and so agreeably diversified by occasional remarks on individual and national character, as to render history attractive even to the very young; and the information is conveyed in a style remarkable for its unaffected simplicity and clearness.”—Morning Post.
“ The leading features of Turkish manners, laws, and policy, are accurately and forcibly pourtrayed, while the narrative is distinguished for simplicity perspicuity, and completeness.”—Conservative Journal.
THE HISTORY op ITALY and SWITZERLAND;
3s. 6d. cloth, lettered; with a Map, and three elegant Historical Engravings.
1. Pope Martin V. riding through the streets of Rome, the Emperor and Elector leading his Horse. 2. Massaniello haranguing the Populace. 3. William Tell and the other Swiss Patriots holding their nightly meetings.
“ Brief, clear, and correct) well adapted for young persons.”—Leamington Spa Chronicle.
“ Written with great care and ability.”—John Bull.
“Avery useful educational book.”—Literary Gazette.
THE HISTORY op HOLLAND and BELGIUM;
2s. 6d. cloth, lettered ; with a Map, and two elegant Historical Engravings.
1. Assassination of William of Orange. 2. Admiral Van Tromp shot whilst animating his sailors.
“ The present, like the preceeding histories from the pen of this intelligent lady, is distinguished for its conciseness, elegance of expression, and clearness of detail.”—Manchester Times.
“A condensed mass of knowledge, well put together, and prettily illustrated.”—Church and State Gazette.
“ To a pleasing, fluent, narrative style, Miss Corner unites a nice discrimination, and never suffers matters which sully the mind to appear in her pages.”—Surplice.
We cannot too strongly recommend these admirable Histories, and we feci satisfied that no parent or preceptor can place better works in the hands of & youth.”—Academic and Collegiate Circular.
THE HISTORY OP GERMANY AND THE GERMAN EMPIRE;
New Edition, with additions, and Chronological Table and Index.
3*. 6d. cloth, lettered. With a Map and three historical plates, 1. The forced abdication of Henry IV.—2. The murder of Albert I. Emperor of Germany.—3. Maria Theresa presenting her infant son to the assembled States.
“ Altogether we do not know of a more agreeable or instructive present for youth ; and each history is illustrated with a map and engravings, which considering the price of the work, are of a superior description.”—Times.
“The authoress shows much discrimination in conveying in language suited to her readers the results of the laborious investigations of other scholars.”— Educational Times. •
AN ACCURATE HISTORY OF GREECE.
From accepted Authorities, English and Foreign; as Grote’s and Chambers’s Histories of Greece, Smith’s Greek and Roman Antiquities, Thirlwall and Wordsworth’s Greece, Smith’s Mythology and Biography, Annals of Commerce, Library of Useful Knowledge, &c. With Questions to each Chapter, a Chronological Table, Index, and a coloured Map of the Greek States. Price 3«. in cloth, lettered.
We have not met with any History of Greece that contains, within the same compass, so large an amount of interesting and valuable information. Miss Corner writes concisely, perspicuously, and sensibly.— Wesleyan Banner.
A concise History of Greece, well adapted for Schools.— Cambridge Independent Press.
This is a very excellent compendium of Grecian History, and such are the merits of the Work that we shall not be surprised at its becoming a popular educational book.—The British Mother's Magazine.
Remarkably clear in its arrangement, while the simple and easy style in which it is written, peculiarly fits it for popular use: it displays much careful research on the part of its Author.—Englishwoman's Magazine.
Miss Corner has the art of writing so as to be understood by youthful readers.—London Literary Journal.
By far the best introductory School History of Greece we have ever seen.— The British Banner.
A combination of simplicity of narrative, with comprehensiveness of detail, admirably adapted for the use of the School-room —Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly News.
With feminine delicacy, Miss Corner omits what should be omitted, giving meanwhile a narrative of the broad character and features that mark the progress of a nation.—Express, Evening Paper.
The results of the best modern scholarship are here given.—Leader.
Miss Corner’s Histories require no recommendation of ours to bring them into notice. This Volume, her History of Greece, is written with great clearness and fluency, the fabulous tales which disfigure so many professedly authentic histories of the Greeks are discarded. We cordially recommend this work for the School-room, or family circle.—Gospel Herald.
DEAN’S SCHOOL AND FAMILY ELEMENTARY ATLAS AND GEOGRAPHY.
Containing Seven distinctly engraved Maps, with engravings, and Geographical information about the Five Continents.
Is. plain, or 2s. coloured.
THE FIRST HISTORY OF ENGLAND THAT
SHOULD BE PLACED IN THE HANDS OF A CHILD. Second Edition. By Miss Corn’Kr : Author of the Play Grammar, Every Child’s History of England, &c. Containing,
An interesting description of the Ancient Britons, and their Civilization by the Romans ; the Conquest of the Romans and Britons by the Saxons; the life and Times of Alfred the Great; the Norman Conquest; the Feudal Times; the Manners and Condition of the People of England in the Middle Ages; in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries, to the present time.
Printed in large type; with twenty-five pages of illustrations. 3s. fid. bound, suitable for a present, in blue cloth, gilt edges; Or, in Eight Parts, fid. each, stitched in fancy wrappers.
EVERY CHILD’S HISTORY OF ENGLAND:
WITH A MAP, AND QUESTIONS TO EACH CHAPTER.
Particularly suited for Children, and for Home, or Infant School Reading. By Miss Corner : Author of the Play Grammar, &c.
Is. sewed; or with the map coloured, Is. fid. in cloth. “ This little History for Children will be an invaluable assistant in the nursery, and in all schools,”—Evangelical Magazine.
*• Very clearly and attractively written; it may be safely recommended, and safely employed.”— Atlas.
“ As a school-book we can cordially recommend it to all who are anxious that their children should imbibe the purest mental food."—People's Journal.
GUIDE TO USEFUL KNOWLEDGE:
BY CHARLES BUTLER.
Containing, in the popular form of an easy and familiar Catechism, the newest and most useful information connected with the Arts, Sciences, and the various Phenomena of Nature. For the use of Schools and Families.
Fifth edition, corrected. Is. 6d. bound in cloth. AN EASY GUIDE TO GEOGRAPHY: for the use of
SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE INSTRUCTORS. BY CHARLES BUTLER. A new, pleasing, and concise description of the Five great divisions of the Globe; the empires, kingdoms, and states, into which they are divided; and the natural, mineral, and vegetable productions of the several countries; with the number, and the manners and customs o. their inhabitants.
New edition, (7ththousand) ls.6d. bound in cloth;—or, with Seven Glyphographic Maps, and the Use of the Globes, 2s. bound.
"This is truly what it professes to be * An Easy Guide.’ We recommend it without hesitation.—Athenteum.
“ We know of none superior to it, as an elementary book, for the use of schools, and private families.”—North British Review.
“ We recommend this Geography as an important addition to our stock of sterling school books.”—Surplice.
" Evidently most carefully compiled.”— Edinhora' Weekly Post.
PAPA and MAMMA’S EASY LESSONS in GEOGRAPHY; OR, ELEMENTS OF GEOGRAPHY, IN A NEW AND ATTRACTIVE FORM.
By Anna Maria Sargkant, Author of Bible Geography, Tales o( the Reformation, &c. Embellished with many Illustrations: and a companion to Miss Comer’s Play Grammar. 3rd Edition.
Price Is. stitched, or Is. 6d. bound in cloth. " Full of information, conveyed in the simplest language.” Literary Gazette. “ Geography amusingly imparted.”—Church of England Quarterly Review “ For young people, this is one of the best elementary geographical works we have ever met with.”—Church and State Gazette.
“ Admirably adapted for the purpose.”—Wesleyan Penny Magazine.
PAPA AND MAMMA’S EASY LESSONS in ARITHMETIC. By T. T Morell. With 30 illustrations. Same size and style as MISS CORNER’S PLAY GRAMMAR, and MISS SARGEANT’S PAPA and MAMMA’S EASY LESSONS IN GEOGRAPHY.
Price Is. stiff cover, or Is. 6d. cloth.
THE PLAY GRAMMAR; or, the Elements of Grammar
EXPLAINED IN SHORT AND EASY GAMES.
By Miss Corner. Is. 6d. cloth lettered, with richly coloured frontispiece, and numerous engravings on wood; or, Is. sewed in fancy covers, with plain frontispiece. 7th Edition. “ Miss Comer’s Play Grammar is, beyond all comparison, the best contrivance we have seen for teaching this difficult science to young Children.”—Critic.
“ One of the piettiest and cheapest of children’s books, and at the same time one of the most successful attempts to simplify the rudiments of grammar that we have seen.”—Watchman.
EASY AND INTERESTING HISTORIES-FOR LITTLE FOLKS,
BY MISS CORNER, Author of the Historical Library, &c.
Price six-pence each; printed in large type, and embellished with four pages of descriptive tinted plates, and sewed in fancy wrappers.
THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
Describing their Manners and Customs; and how they were conquered, and Britain was governed, by the Romans.
6d. With four pages of plates.
THE CONQUEST OF THE ROMANS AND BRITONS BY THE SAXONS; and an interesting Account of the Saxon Heptarchy, or the Seven Saxon Kingdoms in England.
6d. With four pages of illustrations.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALFRED THE GREAT:
an interesting Narrative. 6d. Four pages of illustrations.
THE NORMAN CONQUEST;
And the manner in which the People of England lived during the Reign of William the Conqueror. An interesting Narrative.
6d. Four pages of illustrations.
ENGLAND, AND ITS PEOPLE, IN THE FEUDAL TIMES.
6d. Four pages of Illustrations.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND; WITH THE MANNERS
AND CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE, IN THE MIDDLE AGES.
6d. With four pages of illustrations.
AN INTERESTING DESCRIPTION OF ENGLAND IN THE
SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES.
And how the people lived and dressed, during the Reign ol Henry the Seventh, to the death of William the Third. fid. With four pages of illustrations.
ENGLAND IN THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH
Exhibiting the Condition of the People, and their modes of life; from the Reign of James the Second, to that of Queen Victoria. 6d. With Four pages of illustrations.
These Eight Histories may be had, bound in One Volume, in fancy cloth, gi/t sides and edges, suitable for a present, price 3». 6d.
AINSWORTH’S ENGLISH-AND-LATIN AND LATIN
AND ENGLISH DICTIONARY:
Designed for the use of Schools and Families, by Thomas Morell, D.D. Stereotype edition;—carefully revised and corrected from the best authorities, by JAMES ROSS, LL. D. ,, , ,
ENTICK’S NEW SPELLING DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE:
In which the Parts of Speech are accurately distinguished,—and to which is prefixed, a Comprehensive English Grammar. The who I revised, corrected, and improved, by John Robinson.
New edition, 2s. 6d. bound in green sheep, lettered.
SHERIDAN’S PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
Revised and improved throughout,bySTKPHBN Jovns. A new edition, further corrected and improved, with the addition of several hundred words frequently occurring in the Arts and Sciences, and in the works of modern Authors; by William Birkim.
3s. 6d. strongly bound in sheep, and lettered.
HOWARD’S SPELLING AND READING BOOK.
Third edition, Is. bound in leather.
HOWARD’S READING LESSONS for HOME and DAY SCHOOLS. With frontispiece and neat engravings.
Third edition, 6d. sewed in stout covers,
HOWARD’S POETRY LESSONS for HOME and
DAY SCHOOLS. From various Authors, adapted to different Ages.
6d. sewed, in stout covers, with neat frontispiece.
PRETTY PRIMER, a First Book for Children,
many engravings. 3d. sewed.
ELEMENTARY & PROGRESSIVE DRAWING-BOOK:
Comprising examples of Still Life, Figures, Animals, and Landscape, Shipping, &c. By C. ROBINSON.
In thirteen Numbers, 6d. each; or the set in one vol. 7s.
ELEMENTS OF PERSPECTIVE DRAWING,
An easy mode of acquiring the knowledge of Drawing in Perspective, by progressive lessons. BV SYMNS AND CROUCH.
3s. neatly bound.
ELEMENTS OF PERSPECTIVE DRAWING,
Suitable for the practice of beginners. With 8 pages of illustrations! By AUGUSTUS DEACON.
WORSLEY’s NEW DRAWING-BOOK,
On$PROGRESSIVE PRINCIPLES. Commencing with designs in outline, to half and full shade, and on to perfect finished specimens.
Five sorts, Is. each; or 5s. 6d. bound.
DRAWING-BOOK OF TREES; with Pictorial Illustrations of their Uses to Man placed round each Tree. Four large plates in each book. In Four Part3) 8d. each.
NEW DRAWING BOOK OF ANIMALS.
By J. BARFOOT.
In Seven Parts.
SUITABLE FOR INFANT SCHOOLS.
Royal Nursery Picture Instructors! price is. each, coloured. Royal Nursery Clock,—on stout cardboard, with moveable hour and minute hands.
Royal Nursery Alphabet.
Royal Nursery Musical Alphabet.
Royal Nursery Mariner’s Compass.
Royal Nursery Calendar.
Royal Nursery Peep into the Royal Road to Learning.
Royal Nursery Peep into Geography.
Royal Nursery Astronomy.
Royal Nursery Peep at the Flags of all Nations.
Royal Nursery Peep at Natural History.
Royal Nursery Kings and Queens of England; or a Peep into History.
Amusement and Instruction are here blended, and Learning made a pleasure in lieu of a task.
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