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by lady Eleanor when she pursed her only daughter, afterwards countess of Derby. There are also five kirtles of cloth of gold, crimson damask, and purple tissue ; two pair of sleeves of black velvet and cloth of gold, two girdles of cloth of gold and crimson, two pair of velvet shoes, green, and red and white, and a border of cloth of gold, ornamented with pictures. This attire, probably, remained untouched after the decease of “ the lady Eleanor's grace;" for her husband's second wife, being altogether of a domestic and unostentatious character, was not likely to imitate the costume or covet the robes of her royally-allied predecessor.
Our subject now conducting us from the dress of the proprietors of Skipton Castle to that of their mansion, we are next treated with a list of the furniture of their bed-chambers, which though sufficiently magnificent as far as it goes, is yet materially wanting in many of the accommodations of modern days; for we find neither glasses, carpets, nor chairs, but the beds are of down, the testers of black, purple, and tawny velvet, pinked with gold, and decorated with the family arms, and the curtains of silk, with rich fringes of the same, mingled with gold. We have also cushions, stools, and cupboards, the latter, in all probability, for the purpose both of wardrobe and toilet, together with an enumeration of counterpanes, blankets, bolsters, and pillows, and, lastly, the mention but of eight mattresses for the household servants, a proof that, as the menials of every description amounted to nearly forty in number, those of an inferior cast must have slept on straw.
In the days of the Cliffords of the sixteenth century, arras was the usual covering for the walls of the apartments in the castles and castellated mansions of our nobility. This, which was often extremely rich and gorgeous, was moveable, and only hung up when the apartments were inhabited. Of such a piece of furniture, and of carpets, which were then used, not to cover floors, but tables and cupboards, we might expect a somewhat copious notice in the inventory of Skipton Castle; and accordingly we meet with a pretty long list of them, in which the opening article,
“A vi peice hanginge of ladies of Femynye, strongly reminds us, as Whitaker remarks, of the language of our elder poetry, the term Femynye
being used, both by Gower and Chaucer, as syno-
in his Knyht's Tale,
That whileom was ycleped Scythia. “ Ladies of Femynye, therefore,” the Doctor adds, “ are the Amazons. Nymphs, in the language of this age, were ladies; as · The Lady of the Lake,' in the Princely Pleasures of Kenelworth. Perhaps Milton is the last who used the word in
this sense :
And ladies of the Hesperides
The subjects of a few other suits of tapestry are thus mentioned,
A vi peice hangynge of distruc’un of Troye.
The hall, which I shall notice more fully in a subsequent inventory, appears to have been hung with an arras of sixteen pieces, and amongst the carpets are mentioned four long ones for tables of oversee, that is, of foreign work. It may be added, that there was a sumptuousness and picturesque grandeur in the tapestry of old times, which nothing connected with wainscoting, or modern papering, or staining, can supply.
* Hist. of Craven, p. 329, note.
After a detail of the furniture of the kitchen, larder, pantry, buttery, and out-houses, such as may be said to differ little from that in present use, there is mention made in the cellar of a small portion of wine remaining after the burial of the lately deceased earl, amounting in value to only thirty-six shillings and eight-pence; nor need we wonder at this, for we are told that “ five hoggsheads of red, whyt, and claret wyne," were consumed at his lordship’s funeral, a striking instance of the extraordinary efforts which our ancestors made on these melancholy occasions to banish and to drown their grief.
Of the plate included in this inventory, which is estimated at the rate of about five shillings per ounce, being equal to one pound of the present currency, the articles are not numerous. The tableservice appears to have consisted of twenty-four silver plates, the dishes being of pewter, then considered of such value as to be hired by the year,
in noble families. “ Two great salts” are also mentioned, “ with one cover, havynge knop
pes, duble gilt," and weighing twenty-six ounces each. One of these was placed in the centre of the table, and gave rise to a somewhat invidious distinction ; for as I have elsewhere remarked, “ the rank and consequence of the visitors were marked by the situation of their seats above, and below, the salt-cellar ; a custom which not only distinguished the relative dignity of the guests, but extended likewise to the nature of the provision, the wine frequently circulating only above the saltcellar, and the dishes below it being of a coarser kind than those near the head of the table *.”
For a purpose less objectionable, but peculiar also to the times, we find catalogued under this head a silver basin and ewer : these were handed round to the guests with napkins and water, in order that they might wash their hands before dinner; a custom which is now with more propriety transferred to the close of the same meal.
Wine, before glass came into general use, which did not take place until half a century after this
* Shakspeare and his Times, vol. i. p. 74 and 75; where in proof of this uncourteous custom, I have quoted instances from Shakspeare, Dekkar, Hall, Jonson, Massinger, and Cartwright.