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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 synonymous with the country of the Amazons: thus the latter says in his Knyht's Tale,
He conquer'd all the regne of Feminee
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
* Hist. of Craven, p. 329, note.
the tapestry of old times, which nothing connected with wainscoting, or modern papering, or staining, can supply.
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, even 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.
period, was usually drank out of bowls; and we have here enumerated two nests of silver bowls, double gilt and embossed, with covers, and accompanied by two standing cups, on the covers of which stood the figures of boys, one with a shield, and the other treading on three eagles. This list of plate, somewhat scanty for such an establishment, closes with the mention of three round silver candlesticks-certainly a remarkably small number; "but our ancestors," observes Whitaker, "were not profuse of light: three silver candlesticks in the hall, or great gallery, at Skipton, must have spread darkness visible *."
Passing by the account of corn and grain in the garners at Skipton, and of cattle and sheep on the domains, as offering nothing worthy of particular notice, we next reach a part of the inventory which throws a strong light on the manners of the age. It is a detail of the
"Ord'nance and munyc'ons at Skipton, with other furniture for the warrs."
The number and distributions of this formidable apparatus throughout almost every part of the castle
Hist. of Craven, p. 331, note.