London – Fairs – 1731

This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

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London – Fairs – 1731

Bartholomew FairIn another bill, of a later period (1731) a piece was performed, entitled, “The Emperor of China,” written by the author of the “Generous Freemason”. Who this author is, is not stated, but we find the latter piece to have been written by William Rufus Chetwood, who was the tutor of the celebrated Barry, and for twenty years prompter at Drury-lane theatre.

Bartholomew Fair theatricals do not appear to have been thought so contemptible formerly as at present, for both Shuter and Yates had booths there in [1761], when the prices of admission were half-a-crown for the boxes, 1s. 6d. the pit, and a shilling to the gallery.

Dramatic representations, or rather misrepresentations, still prevail at the fair, but they are of the most wretched description. Formerly the lord mayor used to proceed in great state to Smithfield, and after proclaiming the fair, wait to see a wrestling match. The proclamation of the fair by his lordship is still continued, but with much less pageantry than formerly.

Two other fairs were held in London, in Tothillfields, and at Stepney; but these have been suppressed, as have those of Bow, Edmonton, Brook Green, and West End, all in the immediate neighbourhood of London. There is another fair, which, though at some distance from town, claims a notice on account of its popularity with almost all ranks in the metropolis. This is Fairlop Fair, which is held on the first Friday of July, in Hainault forest. This fair was founded by Daniel Day, an eminent block maker in Wapping, who, having an estate in Essex, used to assemble a few friends around him on the 1st of July, under a huge oak in the forest, to dine on beans and bacon. Public curiosity was at length attracted to the spot from this circumstance, and a fair established, which, in fine weather, is frequented by thousands from the metropolis, the block-makers proceeding in a huge boat, rigged like a ship, which is mounted on a carriage and drawn by six horses.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Fairs – Elkanah Settle

This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

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London – Fairs – Elkanah Settle

Poor Elkanah Settle, who was the city Laureate, and had what Ben Jonson called the chandlery-shop pension, was, in his old age, reduced to the wretched shifts of writing drolls for Bartholomew Fair, and even to appear in a green leather case as a hissing serpent, vomiting fire, a circumstance alluded to with somewhat unfeeling severity, by  Dr. Young. Bartholomew Fair drolls were succeeded by a nearer approach to the regular drama, as the actors were men and not puppets. The pieces performed by the animated machines were of a less serious cast than those enacted by the puppets; and, in the British metropolis, we are not surprised to find that Whittingtons history should be one of the earliest and most popular of these dramas. The following Bartholomew Fair play-bill is of the reign of Queen Anne, and is copied from the Harleian MS. already alluded to:

“At Ben Johnson’s Booth, (by Mrs. Trynn’s company of actors,) in the rounds in Smithfield, during the fair, will be presented an excellent entertainment, being the famous History of Whittington, Lord Mayor of London; wherein, besides the variety of songs and dances, will be shown an extraordinary view of several stately and surprising scenes; as a rowling sea, bearing a large ship under sayl, with Neptune, mermaids, dolphins, etc; also, a prospect of a Moorish country, so swarming with rats and mice, that they over-run the king and queen’s table at dinner; likewise, a large diverting scene of tapestry, filled with all living figures; and, lastly, concluding with a lord mayor’s triumph, in which are presented nine several pageants, being six elephants and castles, a magnificent temple, and two triumphal chariots, one drawn by two lyons, and the other by two dolphins; in all which are seated above twenty persons, in various dresses; with flags, scutcheons, streamers, etc. The preparation and decoration of which infinitely exceed, both in expense and grandeur, all that has ever been seen on a stage in the fair.

“The chief parts are performed by actors from both theatres. Vivat Regina.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Fairs – 1700s – Roasted Pigs

This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

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London – Fairs – 1700s Roasted Pigs

Pye-corner was also celebrated for roasted pigs, a prominent attraction in the fair, which were sold piping-hot in booths and stalls, and ostentatiously displayed. Various allusions are made to the Bartholomew Fair pig in Ben Jonson’s comedy of Bartholomew Fair, whence we learn that these delicacies were not confined to one particular place in the fair. Littlewit, addressing the puritanical wife, Win-the fight, says,

“Win, long to eat of a pig, sweet Win, i’the fair; d’ye see, i’the heart of the fair, not at Pyecorner.”

Of their attractiveness we have evidence in the Festivous notes of Gayton, who says, “If Bartholomew Fair should last a whole year, nor pigs nor puppet-shows would ever be surfeited of.”

Although Charles II. only confirmed the original charter of Henry II. which limited the fair to three days, yet it appears to have extended to a fortnight’s duration, either in his reign, or soon after, as we find from Ned Ward, who describes “the quality of the fair strutting round their balconies in their tinsey robes and golden leather buskins, expressing such pride in their buffoonery stateliness, that I could but reasonably believe they were as much elevated with the thought of their fortnight’s pageantry, as ever Alexander was with the glories of a new conquest”

The drolls, or “motions,” as they are more generally called in the early accounts of the fair, were a sort of dramatic entertainment performed by puppets, and generally founded on some part of the scripture history. Ben Jonson, in his play, gives the names of several of these motions; and among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, there is a collection of advertisements, about the reign of Queen Anne, in which there are some curious bills of the performances in the fair. Two of these (printed in the Percy Anecdotes of Pastime) are of “Operas,” called the “Old Creation of the World newly Revived” and one of them gives the “addition of Noah’s flood; also several fountains playing water during the time of the play.” The other adds a portion of the history from the New Testament, including the birth of Christ, Herod’s cruelty, the Feast of Dives, his treatment of Lazarus, and concluding with “Rich Dives in hell, and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom; seen in a most glorious object, all in machines, descending in a throne, guarded with multitudes of angels, with the breaking of the clouds, discovering the palace of the Sun, in double and treble prospects, to the admiration of all spectators.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Fairs – Bartholomew Fair

 

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This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

 London – Fairs – Bartholomew Fair

Bartholomew Fair, that annual scene of disorder, is still continued, though reduced in duration from a fortnight, to which it had extended, to three days, the time originally fixed, and it is declining so rapidly, that in a few years it will probably be discontinued altogether without any positive suppression, as has been the case with the fairs in the environs of London, Indeed, some doubts are entertained of the legality of suppressing the fair, as it is held under a charter granted by Henry II. to the priory of Bartholomew, and confirmed by succeeding monarchs. This fair, Stowe says, was appointed to be kept yearly “at Bartholomew-tide, for three days; to wit, the eve, the day, and the next morrow.” It was no doubt originally intended chiefly as a fair of business, as the same historian says, the clothiers of England and drapers of London repaired to it,” and had their booths and standing within the church-yard of this priory closed in with walls and gates, locked every night, and watched for safety of men’s goods and wares.”

The fair soon appears to have been extended in its duration; for the same writer says, in his time three days were devoted to business, and the rest “to see drolls, farces, rope-dancing, feats of activity, wonderful and monstrous creatures, wild beasts made tame, giants, etc.” One of the many instances we find in London of a particular branch of trade clinging to the same place, is connected with this fair; for, leading into Smithfield, there is a narrow lane, principally occupied by clothiers, or woollen drapers, as they are now more generally called, and which retains the name of Cloth Fair.

It is probable, however, that although cloth was the staple, it was never intended to be the only article dealt in; and we find that at one time various parts of Smithfield were appropriated to the sale of particular articles. Near Smithfield Bars, there was a place where shoes were generally sold, and it was therefore called Shoemaker-row; bows and arrows were also sold here as we find from Tom d’Durfey, who, in his “Pills to purge melancholy,” describing the fair in 1655, says,

“At Pye-corner end, mark well, my good friend, Tis a very fine dirty place;

Where there’s more arrows and bows, the Lord above knows, Than was handled at Chevy Chase.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy


London – Fairs – 1700s – The Mint

This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

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London – Fairs – 1700s – The Mint

Plays were enacted as at Bartholomew Fair, and Rich is said to have met withBartholomew Fair Walker, the original Macheath, at this fair, playing in a booth: upon being struck with his talents, he engaged him for the Lincoln’s Inn Theatre. This fair used to continue for upwards of a week; but in September 1743 it was limited to three days, on which the proprietors of booths, who usually made a collection for the prisoners in the Marshal sea, declared they could no longer afford it. This so incensed the prisoners, that they pulled up the pavement, and threw stones over the wall on the bowling-green adjoining the prison, by which a child was killed and several persons wounded. The high constables and magistrates now determined on putting down the fair; but the proprietors of booths and stalls removed to the Mint, a place that had long claimed peculiar privileges on account of the palace which formerly stood there, built by Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. Here the fair was held for some time, until, in the year [1763], it was entirely suppressed.

May Fair, which commenced on the first of May, and continued for sixteen days, was held near Piccadilly and Park Lane, on the site now occupied by May Fair Chapel and the adjacent mansions. The place was formerly called Brook fields. More important business appears to have been transacted at this fair than mere drolls, since, in an advertisement of the year [1700], it is stated, that the first three days of the fair were “for live cattle and leather;” but, from its being added, “with the same entertainments as at Bartholomew Fair,” it is probable that the pretended sale of leather was only to give a show of business in order to prevent its being suppressed.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

London – Fairs – Three Fairs

This article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery – it covers the history of London Fairs in the 18th Century particularly the Bartholomew Fair one of the greatest London Fairs of the time.

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London – Fairs -Three Fairs

Bartholomew FairFrom markets to fairs the transition is natural enough, since the latter, according to scriptural and modern acceptation, are fixed meetings of buyers or sellers, or markets on a larger scale; and it appears, from the Northumberland-house book, that in the early part of the 16th century, the stores for the household for a whole year were usually purchased at fairs. Far different, however, are the fairs held in the metropolis and its neighbourhood, where “raree shows are seen, and Punch’s feats, And pockets picked in crowds, and various cheats.”

Three of these fairs were formerly held in the metropolis, Bartholomew fair, Southwark fair, and May fair: the two latter have been abolished, and the former shorn of much of its ancient glory. Southwark fair commenced on the 8th of September, on which day the lord mayor and sheriffs were wont to ride in their scarlet gowns, after dinner, at two o’clock, to St Magnus’s church, where they were met by the aldermen. After evening prayer, they all rode through the fair, as far as Newington bridge, and then retiring to the Bridge house they “refresh themselves with a banquet.” Here, as at all the fairs in London, there was “First of all, crowds against other crowds driving; Like wind and tide meeting, each contrary striving; Shrill fiddling, sharp fighting, and shouting and shrieking; Fifes, trumpets, drums, bag-pipes, and barrow girl squeaking.”

“There was drolls, hornpipe dancing, and showing of postures,
With frying black puddings, and opening of oysters;
With salt-box solos, and gallery folks squalling,
The tap-house guests roaring, and mouth-pieces bawling.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

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Further reading and external links

Bartholomew Fair on Wikipedia

Bartholomew Fair on Inside London

Sholto and Reuben Percy

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Landing Party

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sublej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Landing Party

Charles Beresford
Charles Beresford

So the British and American fleets steamed out to sea, while the Spaniards fired upon Valparaiso from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon, setting the place on fire, and then retired to their anchorage outside. The British and American fleets then returned to the Bay, and I accompanied a landing-party to help to extinguish the conflagration.

Five of us were standing on the top of the high wall of a building whose roof had fallen in, so that the whole interior was a mass of burning wreckage, upon which we were directing the hose, when the men below shouted that the wall was falling. We slid down the ladder, and no sooner had we touched the ground than the whole wall tottered and fell inwards.

We put the fires out, but the inhabitants were so angry with us because we had not prevented the bombardment, that they requested that the landing-party should be sent back to their ships. Then the flames broke out afresh. For years the resentment of the Valparaisians remained so hot that it was inadvisable to land in the town men from British ships.

The meeting of the British and American seamen gave rise to much discussion concerning the respective merits of the British and American theories of gunnery. The Americans advocated the use of round shot to deliver a “racking blow”; the British preferred firing a pointed projectile which would penetrate the target instead of merely striking it. When an American bluejacket asked his British friend to explain the new English system of shell-fire, the British bluejacket said: “We casts our shot for the new gun so many fathoms long, and then, d’ye see, we cuts off a length at a time, regulatin’ the length required according to the ship we uses it against. For your ship, I reckon we should cut off about three and a half inches.”

The Spanish fleet was afflicted with scurvy; and we used to pull over to the Spanish ships in the evenings, bringing the officers presents of chicken, fresh meat and fruit.

Having done with Valparaiso, the Spaniards went to Callao; but there they had a more difficult job; for Callao was fortified, and the Spaniards were considerably damaged by the gun-fire from the forts.

During the progress of hostilities between the Chilians and the Spaniards, the Chilians constructed one of the first submarines. It was an American invention worked by hand and ballasted with water. The Chilians intended, or hoped, to sink the Spanish fleet with it. The submarine started from the beach on this enterprise; but it was never seen again. It simply plunged into the sea, and in the sea it remains to this day.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Valparaiso

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sutlej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Valparaiso

When we put into Valparaiso the Spanish fleet was threatening to bombard the town. Rather more than a year previously, in [1864], Spain had quarrelled with Chile, alleging that Chile had violated neutrality, and had committed other offences. In March, [1864], Spain began the diplomatic correspondence with Chile in which she demanded reparation, which was refused. Chile sent artillery and troops to Valparaiso. The Spanish admiral, Pareja, then proclaimed a blockade of the Chilian ports, and Chile declared war.

The European residents in Valparaiso, who owned an immense amount of valuable property stored in the customhouses, were terrified at the prospect of a bombardment, and petitioned Admiral Denman to prevent it. An American fleet of warships was also lying in the Bay. Among them was the Miantonomoh, the second screw ironclad that ever came through the Straits of Magellan, the first being the Spanish ironclad Numancia.

When the Miantonomoh crossed the Atlantic in [1866], The Times kindly remarked that the existing British Navy was henceforth useless, and that most of its vessels “were only fit to be laid up and ‘ painted that dirty yellow which is universally adopted to mark treachery, failure, and crime.'”

The British and American admirals consulted together as to the advisability of preventing the bombardment. The prospect of a fight cheered us all; and we entered into elaborate calculations of the relative strength of the Spanish fleet and the British-American force. As a matter of fact they were about equal The Spanish admiral, Nunez, who had succeeded Pareja, visited the Sutlej and conversed with Admiral Denman. It was reported by the midshipman who was A.D.C. to the admiral that, upon his departure, the Spaniard had said: “Very well, Admiral Denman, you know your duty and I know mine.” The information raised our hopes; but at the critical moment a telegram forbidding the British admiral to take action was received from the British Minister at Santiago.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Old Yarn

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Sutlej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – Old Yarn

In those days we had little bright-work, but plenty of whitewash and blacking. The test of a smart ship was that the lines of white or black should meet with absolute accuracy; and a fraction of error would be visited with the captain’s severe displeasure. For he employed condemnation instead of commendation. There was an old yarn about a mate of the main deck, who boasted that he had got to windward of his captain. We used to take live stock, poultry and sheep to sea in those days. The captain found fault with the mate because the fowls and coops were dirty. The mate whitewashed the chickens and blacked their legs and beaks. Now the poultry in question belonged to the captain. Thereafter the fowls died.

It was the custom for the admiral to take a cow or two to sea, and the officers took sheep and fowls. There is a tradition in the Navy that the cow used to be milked in the middle watch for the benefit of the officer on watch; and that, in order that the admiral should get his allowance of milk, the cow was filled up with water and made to leap backwards and forwards across the hatchways. Another tradition ordains that when the forage for the sheep ran short, the innocent animals were fitted with green spectacles, and thus equipped, they were fed on shavings.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – The Sutlej

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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard HMS Sutlej.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1866 – The Sutlej

We arrived at Valparaiso towards the end of January. I continued to discharge my duties in the Tribune until the middle of February, when I was transferred to the Sutlej. I was as happy on board the Tribune as I had been in the Marlborough and the Clio, and for the same reason: the splendid seamanship and constant sailorising.

The Sutlej was a steam frigate pierced for guns, of 3066 tons and 500 h.p., flagship of the Pacific station. Before I joined her, the commander-in-chief of the station was Admiral Kingcome, who had (as we say) come in through the hawse-pipe. It was the delight of this queer old admiral to beat the drum for night-quarters himself. He used to steal the drum, and trot away with it, rub-a-dub all along the lower deck, bending double beneath the hammocks of the sleeping seamen. On one of these occasions; so runs the yarn; a burly able seaman thrust his bare legs over the edge of his hammock, clipped the admiral under the shoulders, swung him to and fro, and, with an appropriate but unquotable objurgation, dispatched him forward with a kick.

Such (in a word) was the condition of the flagship to which Rear-Admiral the Honourable Joseph Denman succeeded, after the enjoyment of twenty-five years’ profound peace in the command of the Queen’s yacht.

The captain, Trevenen P. Coode, was tall and thin, hooked-nosed and elderly, much bent about the shoulders, with a habit of crossing his arms and folding his hands inside his sleeves. He was a taut hand and a fine seaman. He nearly broke my heart, old martinet that he was; for I was mate of the upper deck and the hull, and took an immense pride in keeping them immaculately clean; but they were never clean enough for Captain Trevenen P. Coode.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project