Introduction: The pre-reformation furniture

Pages liii-lxx

The Medieval Records of A London City Church St Mary At Hill, 1420-1559. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1905.

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The following pages do not profess to give every reference in the Records to the articles of furniture in St. Mary's church. Where several references occur only those have been mentioned where the use or description of the article is more or less clearly specified.

Alms-box.—p. 304.

Altar leaves.—At p. 293 we find—
"paid for a peyre garnettes for the levys of the high alter before the Images—iiij d."

Apparently these leaves swung to on 'garnettes' or hinges for the protection of the figures or picture within.

Altar hangings.—The various 'haninges' mentioned in the Inventory on pp. 52–3 probably refer to the curtains at the sides of each altar, the curtain hanging above each altar at its back, and that hanging immediately in front of each altar. The curtains of the high altar are mentioned on p. 234. An altar frontal of St. Stephen's chapel was ornamented 'withe the wavys of gold,' p. 316.

Altar stones or slabs.—p. 395.

Aumbries or wall cupboards.—Almery, p. 187.

Banner-staves.—In 1492–3 the wardens paid a penny each for eight banner-staves, p. 186. Banner-poles are mentioned on p. 234.

Banners in Rood-loft.—p. 361.

Banners, Square.—Square banners are mentioned in the Inventory of church goods on p. 31.

Barrels.—Barrels were apparently in use and also tubs at times of consecration, or 'halloyng,' p. 250. The 'Chirche barels' are alluded to on p. 214.

Basins.—Two basins, one of latten, the other pewter, are mentioned in the Inventory of 1553, p. 52.

The use of these basins is perhaps explained by the following extract from a Will of 1456:—
"I begueth ij basins with ij Eures, of Syluer and parcel gilt . . . . not only for to serue vpon the high autier of the same chirch in high principal festis and other festiual daies, But also to wassh in the handes of godfadres and godmoders at cristenying of childern within the same chirch."—Somerset House Wills, Stokton, 60 b.

Basket for Holy Bread.—p. 247.

Basket for dust.—In 1487–8, p. 131, the wardens record the item:—
"to w. paris for his labour for a basket to bear in duste, iiij d."

Bedstead.—The bedstead was apparently for use somewhere in the church, and probably for the Morrowmas priest, whose duty it would be to say the first mass:—
"[a] Bedsted for the preistes chamber þat kepith þe first mas," p. 340.

The 'preistes chamber' would probably be over the porch.

The Bells.—There were six large bells in the church. In the Inventory of 1553, p. 54, we read—
"in the steple v gret belles & one Santes bell," and almost the same words occur in the Inventory of 1496–7, p. 33, where, however, it is added that—
"the iiijth great bell' was clere of þe gyfte of Ioh'n Duklyng, ffysshmonger, as is graved vppon þe bell."

The sanctus bell would not be in use for ringing a peal. The five bell-ringers are mentioned at p. 406. The payment to the bellringers for their labour is rarely mentioned, p. 350.

On p. 33 a silver bell, most probably the sacring bell, is mentioned, the gift of a Mrs. Julyan Roche. The sacring bell is alluded to by name on p. 52.

On p. 131 the four little bells which tinkled on the canopy borne over the Sacrament at the Corpus Christi procession find mention.

On p. 131 the wardens record the purchase for fourteenpence of—
"a latyn bell' to go with' the sacrament," that is, to be carried before the Sacrament when borne to sick people.

At p. 273 is the record of a payment 'to the skryvener for makyng of þe Indentures betwixt William Smyth, bell founder, and the parissh.' Only the year previously William Smyth had been arrested and the bells had been the subject of a law-suit, p. 270.

At the 'halowyng' of the bells in 1520–1 'two burdens of rushes' were strewn beneath them, possibly for those present to stand on, p. 310. But Canon Wordsworth writes:— "Is it not more probable that they were strewn under the bell to receive the washings of holy water, oil and salt with which the bell was smeared all over?" Cp. Maskell Mon. Rit., i. 186.

In 1511–12 long boards were purchased to keep the bell ropes from fraying against the walls of the steeple, p. 277. At p. 274 we find many details respecting the bells. On pages 273, 274, we read, too, of money being paid a man for his 'labur & his brekefast,' in going from Ludgate to Aldgate 'to here þe iiijth bell in Tewne,' and of expenses for wine and pears at Aldgate when several parishioners went to see if 'Smythes bell were Tewneabill or nat.'

Bell chrisoms are mentioned on p. 250, and grease for the bells on p. 322.

Bench in Choir.—On p. 270 we find a reference to a bench in the choir.

Books for Service.—A sufficient but by no means large number of service books were in use at St. Mary's. There were:—

Antiphoners page 27.
Breviary (portos) " 173.
Epistle book " 27.
Gospel book " 54.
Grayels " 27.
Hymnals " 55.
Legendas " 27.
Manual page 27.
Martiloge " 27.
Mass books " 27.
Ordinal " 27.
Processionals " 27.
Psalters " 27.
Sequence book " 314.

The church books were sometimes written in full by a priest, p. 133; sometimes bought of a stationer, p. 101; sometimes words and music added, and the book mended and rebound by a clerk of a neighbouring parish, p. 131. In 1496 a stationer set the new feasts in the books and repaired them generally, p. 226. Sometimes one of the chantry priests repaired the books, p. 173; and sometimes the repairs were executed by layfolk, p. 140; 'mowth glewe' appears to have been used sometimes for the repairs, 350; some of the books had clasps, p. 131; the mass book had two, p. 140. The 'organ books,' p. 226, may have been special volumes containing the music only of the services, but were more likely to have been copies of ordinary service books: we know that the neighbouring church of St. Margaret's in Fish street possessed a breviary for the organ. The 'Caroll books,' p. 54, would probably be books of Carols for Christmas time? The 'Song books,' p. 54, from the fact that some of them are specified to have been used in the mass, were probably parts of ordinary service books specially arranged for singing.

The 'boke of playnsong of the offices off Ihesus Mas and our ladys Massis for the children,' p. 349, would be only a selection from the common service books. Several books were chained in the chancel, p. 234.

In 1504–5 the wardens—
"payde to þe boke bynder at ledon halle, for coveryng, byndyng & pesyng of iiij Antyfyners, a Masse boke, a manewell, a legentt in ij foloms & iij graylys xlvj s viij d," p. 256.

The reference to "ye bok yat lith affore ye parishe pryste," p. 373, quite possibly, from the date of the entry, may refer to a copy of the Bible ordered by authority.

The following reference at p. 378 is interesting, though what the contents of the 'square bookes' may have been it is not easy to say:—
"Paid to sir marke for carolles for cristmas and for v square bookes—iij s iiij d."

The books were sometimes mended by the parish clerk. Michael Green was parish clerk in 1529–30:—
"paid to Mighell grene for a quayre of papur Ryall for þe prykked song boke and for mowth gleue," p. 350.
"paid to Mighell Grene for Mendyng of þe Antefoners that lye in the quere that [were] torn and broken," p. 350.

In 1513–14 the sum of viij s was paid for—
"Coueryng newe & mendyng off xv bokes grete and Smale, & for x Newe bosys for þe Newe Antefoner, & for clapsis and Burdons," p. 286.

John Norfolk the organist appears in 1529–30 to have prepared some—
"prykkyd song bokes of the whiche v of them be with Antemys and v with' Massis," p. 351.

The cowcher alluded to at p. 225 would be a large service book, one large enough to generally lie or couch, an antiphoner, breviary, or missal probably.

The Gospel book was a beautiful volume with (as was often the case with this service book) substantial silver plates to the cover, p. 393.

Branches.—Branches, apparently of iron or brass-work, were to be found in different parts of the church:—'the braunche of þe Trynite' is mentioned at p. 305; the branch of three flowers at p. 305; 'þe branche byfore þe rode,' p. 255; the branch before a figure of the Virgin in the choir, p. 264; that before the representation of the Salutation in St. Katherine's chapel, p. 264; a 'braunche of v,' p. 225.

Brooms.—These are often mentioned.

Candles, p. 322. Candles of 'talow' for 'dyvine seruise' are mentioned at p. 81.

Candelsticks: the Judas.—The explanation of the 'Iudas' is very clearly given in the accounts:—
"the Ivdas of the Pascall [candle] þat is to sey, the Tymbre that the wax of þe pascall is drevyn vppon," p. 308.

But several 'Iudassis' are mentioned as in the rood loft on p. 309 Canon Wordsworth considers Judas to have been a generic term for holders or savealls. See Wordsworth's Medieval Services, pp. 168–72.

Candlesticks, hanging.—At p. 358 we read of the purchase of "ij hangyng candylstykes for the quyre, v d."

Candlesticks, hand.—Two 'hand canstickes' are mentioned on p. 270.

Candlesticks, bowls.—p. 163.

Candlesticks, skonses.—On p. 270, "iij plattes with nosis for þe skonsis" are mentioned. Also at p. 333, "vj skonses for the queer."

Before the Reformation there were but few candlesticks on the altars. An Inventory tells us that in 1496 there were—
"on the high auter ij gret Candylstykes & iij small. And on sent Stephyns awter ij Candylstykes," p. 32.

The 'nosyng' of candlesticks is referred to on p. 243.

Canopies.—The canopy over the Sacrament, placed or borne, to do honour to the Sacrament, took certainly two forms, possibly three.

First, would be the little covering within which the Sacrament in its pyx would be suspended above the altar.

Secondly, would be the more elaborate and ample canopy, supported on staves which would be used in bearing the Sacrament in procession. 'A canapye to bear ouer the Sacrament on corpus christi daye,' p. 150.

The canopy, supported on four staves, is clearly referred to in the following extract:—
"iiij Canipi staves with iiij Knoppes, gilt," p. 53.

They were apparently supported by leather thongs, such being perhaps attached to the waist of each bearer, p. 301.

Thirdly, it is possible that a substantial projection extended above the Sacrament from the east wall of the church; the following note from p. 226 appears to refer to such:—
"the Iryn at the hye awter that beryth the canapye."

Canopy Crowns.—Crowns, apparently of latten, or mixture largely of brass, were scoured in 1490–1, p. 163. The Inventory on p. 31 refers to—
"a Canape for the pyx, of red velwett with iij Crownys of laton."

Censers.—At p. 51 the Inventory of 1553 records the presence of two heavy silver censers. There are various other references to these articles in our text.

Chairs.—Two chairs of iron for the rectors of the choir are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 31. At p. 351 the mending of a chair is recorded.

Chalices.—There were several chalices belonging to the church, pages 26, 53, etc.

Chest for Documents.—On p. 27 the Inventory of 1431 records the presence of a "cheste with evydens"; and at p. 304 we read of "þe chest wherin the wrytinges lyeth, in the Revestry."

Chest for Easter Sepulchre.—The Inventory of 1553 mentions—
"Item, more, in the Roud loft; a long Chist with the fframe of the Sepvllev[r?] in yt," p. 53.

The Easter Sepulchre chest was a wooden box into which it was customary at Easter to place the pyx containing the Sacrament.

Chest for Plate.—In 1494–5 the wardens paid threepence for— "j key for the Iuell' Chest," p. 215.

Chest for Torches.—In 1477–9 the wardens paid threepence for— "a nywe key to the Chest that the torchis be in," p. 81.

Chest, Tresory.—'ij keyes for the tresory chest in the vestry,' p. 261.

Chest for Vestments.—A vestment chest is mentioned on p. 230.

Chest for Wax.—On p. 278 is a reference to—
"a chest in the quere to ley in olde wax."

Chest for Linen.—Mentioned on p. 317.

Chest for Tunicles and Chasubles.—Mentioned on p. 303.

Church Box, p. 273.

Cloth of hair for the High Altar.—A hair-cloth was (commonly?) placed over an altar slab:—
"for iiij yerdes heer for þe hye Awter," p. 256; also p. 394.

Cloths, Altar.—Pages 32 and 35 contain a long list of the altar cloths of St. Mary's. One appears to have been pictorial, several bore the initials of the donor. At p. 272 we see that money was paid for 'markyng' as well as 'makyng' altar cloths, the marking probably consisting of the initials of a donor or some form of decoration.

Cloth, Cross.—The banner hung on the processional cross at Easter and other festivals:—
"small corde for the Crosse Cloth," p. 234.

Cloth for the Easter Sepulchre.—The Inventory on p. 51 refers to this cloth.

Cloth for the Font.—The Inventories mention two font clothes, one of red silk, the other of gold, p. 54.

Cloth for the Holy Bread.—The holy bread was bread distributed in the church, but not that of the Communion. On p. 35 the holy bread cloth is described as having a fringe and marked with 'k' and 'v' in red silk. The letters were probably the initials of the donor.

Cloths, Housling.—With the exception of a reference to "ij sacrament clothes," on p. 369, the housling cloths are not directly mentioned in our Records, but the long 'towelles' noted in the Inventory on p. 33 were probably used as housling cloths, or long cloths suspended before the communicants during the reception of the communion. The following extract perhaps proves such:—
"I bequeth to the said chirch of seint Dunstone a dyapre towell of xv yardis in lenght to serue ther at the housling tyme of the parisshoners there."—Somerset House Wills, Milles, 265 a.

At p. 36 of our text we read of a towel marked with white thread 'lyke ij Trewlovis.'

Cloths for Cross Staves.—In the Inventory of 1496–7 we meet with the item—
"iij crosse stavys clothes, gyldyd, with Images of golde," p. 31. Possibly these cloths depended from transverse staves hanging from the tops of poles. We read of 'baner clothes of steyned werke,' p. 150.

Cloths, painted.—Painted cloths are mentioned at p. 388.

Cloth for the Pyx.—The pyx cloth was that of the pyx or box containing the holy sacrament. The pyx commonly hung suspended above the high altar: 'the pix cloth ouer the alter,' p. 331. Two of great beauty are described in the Inventory at p. 31.

Cloth before the Rood.—The Inventory of 1553 mentions— "a painted Cloth yat did hang before ye Roud," p. 54.

Cloths, Tabernacle.—p. 230.

'Clothes of the Tower.'—Such cloths are mentioned at p. 381, and appear to have been in use on Palm Sunday. The context seems to indicate that these cloths formed some part of the scenery in connexion with the stage for the Prophets, but the matter is far from clear.

Coffer, Money.—"The mony cofur within the plate chest in þe vpper vestry," p. 331.

Coffer for relics.—A little coffer for relics is mentioned on p. 26.

Corporas.—A corporas is mentioned in the Inventory on p. 33, and the washing of seven corporases on p. 350.

Corporas Case.—A beautiful corporas case given by Elizabeth Gooswell is mentioned in the Inventory of 1496–7, p. 31.

Cruets.—Cruets for the altars are mentioned on pp. 214, 381; two of silver are referred to at p. 26; and those of the high altar at p. 340.

Crismatories.—A silver crismatory weighing fifteen ounces is mentioned in the Inventory on p. 51. In 1535–6, p. 369, xij d was "paid ffor burnysshyng of the Crysmatory." This little vessel contained the holy oils.

Cross, the Mustenaunce, p. 101.—Dr. Cox suggested the reading monstrance cross. This is clearly right, ' the crose of the monestere,' St. A. Hubbard's MSS., leaf 40.

Cross, the Berrell.—pages 305, 361.

Cross, Processional.—On p. 101 the churchwardens record the expenditure of money—
"for mendyng of the crosse that is borne abowte euery day."

Cross Staves.—Two metal cross staves are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 32.

Crosses on the Super-altars.—On p.198 the wardens record the payment of fourpence—
"for makyng of the crossys on þe superaltarys."

Curtain rings and hooks.—On p. 131 the wardens record the purchase of—
"xxxij Corteyn Rynges and hookes to henge the clothe for the newe tabernacle."

But many curtains were suspended from rings on iron rods.

Cushions.—Cushions of down, two of them silk and two fustian, are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 33. Probably they supported the mass book on the altar.

Desk.—A desk of laton is mentioned on p. 32; a 'doble deske,' p. 340.

Desks, Choir.—The mending of the desks in the choir is noted on p. 243. A 'longe Deske' was purchased for the choir in 1523–4, p. 323. Also two more the next year, p. 327.

Desk for Books.—In the Vestry, p. 233.

Desk, Organ.—p. 317.

Discipline Rods.—In 1492–3 twopence was paid by the wardens for—
"dyssplyng Roddys," p. 185.

The entry occurs also again at p. 269, but on no other occasion; the demand does not appear to have been excessive.

Dish for the Paschal Candlestick.—In 1426–7 the wardens paid eightpence—
"for a dysch' of peuter for þe Paskall," p. 64.

Dishes for Censers.—In 1428–9 the wardens paid two shillings for—
"ij disches of iron for sensers," p. 70.

Dishes for the Rood Light.—Two dishes, "belongyng to the Rode-lyghte," were purchased in 1504–5, p. 255.

Easter Sepulchre.—As has been noticed elsewhere the Easter sepulchre was a wooden box to contain the holy Sacrament at Easter. The nails for it, and the payment to a carpenter to set it up are mentioned on p. 281. At p. 301, 'iiij Angelles,' belonging either to the box or its resting-place, are mentioned.

Figures and Images.—There were various figures in the church of St. Mary. One, of 'Our Lady of Pity,' namely, a figure of the Virgin with the dead Christ on her lap, is mentioned at p. 226. Other images were set up near the choir door, p. 359. Another figure of the Virgin stood in the choir, before which tapers were sometimes kept burning, p. 233. Somewhere on the south side of the church were the figures of St. Thomas Becket and St. Nicholas, p. 6.

Fire-Pan.—Mentioned at p. 230.

Flags.—'ffor flaggis and garlondis,' p. 100.


Font-Cover.—The making of a cover for the font is recorded on p. 131.

Font, Lock.—Two locks for the font are mentioned on p. 70.

Form, in the Choir.—'The fourme in the quere' is mentioned on p. 270.

Frontal altar shelf.—In the Inventory at p. 30 we read:—
"Item, a frontell' for the schelffe standyng on the alter, of blue sarsenet with bryddes of golde" (golden birds).

And some of the many altar-hangings in our Inventories without doubt refer to frontals.

Glass, painted.—Of the painted glass windows of the church the subjects of only three can be indicated, namely, that of St. John on the north side of the church, p. 313; that of the Seven Works of Mercy, p. 19; and that of the Trinity, p. 252. Both of the latter windows were in the south aisle. In 1525–6 the Trinity window was mended, p. 332.

Some, if not all, of the pieces of glass of the Trinity window were of the well-known lozenge or diamond shape, for on p. 313 we have the entry of money paid:—
"for settyng in of xxiij newe quarrelles in the wyndowe of the Trynyte, whiche was blown downe with the wynde."

Gloves.—The two following extracts are not only unusual, but in conflict to some extent with each other. In the first it will be noticed that the gloves were purchased for a churchwarden and parish clerk:—
"paid for Glouys at Estur for the chirchwarden and þe clerk, vj d," p. 326.

But at the rendering of the accounts for the year the following Memorandum was inserted:—
"Item, more, for that was paid at Estur for ij peyre of gloves for the chirchewardens, the Summa of vj d which shal not be for no presedent hereafter, vj d," p. 330.

Hassocks.—Two hassocks are mentioned on p. 131 as having been purchased for St. Thomas's chapel.

Holy-water stoups.—The vessels containing holy water were apparently of two kinds—stone and metal: that of stone, probably situated at an entrance to the church, is referred to on p. 69:—
"Also payd to Appulby for heweng of þe haly water stop, iij s."

The metal stoups or pots are referred to in the Inventory on p. 33.

Holy water Sprinklers.—The purchase of sprinklers is occasionally recorded in the accounts of the churchwardens, p. 101.

Keys: for the Pyx.—p. 237; roodloft, 117.

Ladle.—'A gret laddyll' apparently in use at consecrations or 'halloyngs,' p. 250.

Lamp and its glasses.—Two "lampe glassis ffor the church," p. 340: 'a lampe with oyle in the quere & high Chauncell . . . to brenne alwey, as wele on Dayes as on nyghtes, before the blessed Sacrament,' p. 17.

Lamp basin.—The 'basen for the lamp' is mentioned at p. 281.

Lantern.—In 1479–81 sixpence was paid for mending "the churche lanterne," p. 100. At p. 290 we have the entry: "Paid for makyng of ij poleys of Iron for þe lanterne—xvj d."

Lectern in Roodloft.—At p. 243 we find money expended—
"ffor makyng of a lectorne in the Roodlofte."

Lectern, Eagle.—At p. 243 the 'skowryng of the Egull' of laton' is mentioned.

Leystoff.—At p. 382 we find the entry:—
"Payed for the mendyng of the leystoff—iiij d."

Our Records contain no mention of a bier, neither, apparently, do any of the MSS. of other city churches contain any mention of a preReformation bier. And this is remarkable when we bear in mind the fact that in the Middle Ages the bier was a very important article of church furniture, when, as was commonly the case, the body was merely enshrouded and thus borne to the grave without a coffin.

Is it possible that the leystoff above mentioned was the parish bier?

Mats.—Mats were in use in different parts of the church. One was in the confession pew, p. 198. On p. 81 we read of the expenditure of fourpence—
"for iij mattis of wikirs, boght for prestis and clerkis."

Under the little paragraph dealing with choristers several extracts have been given recording the purchase of mats and matting for choristers to stand on.

Mattock.—p. 327.

Money Box.—The church money box with its three keys in different hands is often mentioned, p. 291.

Monstrance.—The Monstrance or little metal altar cross, in the centre of which the Host was placed for demonstration to the congregation, is occasionally referred to in our accounts. For instance on p. 233:—
"Item, for mendyng of the monstyr for the Sacrament, xvj d."

Oil pots.—On p. 101 mention is made of "a stone potte to put in oyle," and at p. 358, "ij pottes to fett oyle in, j d." Probably, Canon Wordsworth thinks, from the Maundy Thursday blessing of oils by the bishop.

The Organs.—There were apparently two organs in St. Mary's, though the term 'pair of organs' is the common medieval designation of one instrument. In our Inventory of 1553 one organ is mentioned as being larger than the other, p. 54; and on p. 278 we meet with a reference to 'the little organs in the choir.' In 1532–3 the organ was tuned, xij d being paid for 'tuenyng of ye pipis,' p. 361. On p. 373 the purchase of 'ij quylles ffor the organs' is recorded.

Padlock.—"a key to a hangyng loke in the Roud loufte," p. 173.

Palls, or Burying Cloths.—Several burying cloths are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 53:—

"a bvring clothe a govld & blacke velvet."

"an ovld bvring Cloth for Chilldren, with a Crvcifix in ye middest."

Patens.—Patens are mentioned on p. 53. The paten was a little circular dish or plate for the priest's bread used in the communion. Canon Wordsworth adds—"The Pyx or ciborium or a chalice was used for taking the hosts to the communicants."

Paxes (for kissing).—Three paxes of silver and gilt are mentioned on p. 26, and the pax for the high altar on p. 359.

The Pews.—It was customary for many years before the Reformation for parishioners to have pews allocated to them, though apparently nothing was then paid for the privilege. Mrs. Maskall and Mrs. Overay sat in a particular pew in 1496, p. 225; another lady, 'Mastres Atclyffe,' in another pew, p. 198; and later on the pews used by various people are more or less frequently alluded to:—The alderman's pew, p. 255; Mrs. Russell's maid's pew, p. 328; Mrs. Roche's maiden's pew, Mr. Roche's pew, etc., p. 323; Mrs. Potter's pew, p. 365. There were special pews for the poor people, p. 215, pews for men, p. 251, and for women, p. 252. One pew, containing a mat, was used for confessions, 'shrevyng,' p. 198; one was known as the 'great pew,' p. 252.

The pews were in various parts of the church,—at the west end, p. 264, next the pulpit, p. 266, in the south aisle, p. 252, in the body of the church, p. 219, at the north door, p. 215, and also in the chapels, pp. 252, 255. They had doors, p. 173, and perhaps were not unlike those of fifty years ago. They were in no sense mere benches, for the distinction between pews and benches is drawn clearly on p. 215. The pews had a wooden flooring, p. 252, and sometimes an elm board on which to kneel, p. 225. Rushes were strewn on the floors of the pews, p. 254.

Apparently the division of the sexes was maintained in the city churches before the Reformation. See Division of the Sexes, p. li.

Pickaxe.—p. 361.

Pillows.—Besides cushions the church owned—
"vij pelewes of selk of diuers colours," Inventory of 1431, p. 27.

These pillows probably supported the mass book on the altar.

Plates with spikes for candles, p. 270.

Poles.—Iron poles for the lantern are mentioned at p. 290, and a pole belonging to the cloth of a figure of the Assumption is alluded to at p. 266. The 'poles for the Sacrament,' mentioned on p. 347, were probably two of the four sustaining the canopy borne over the Sacrament. The following reference is not particularly clear; possibly the pole had a broom at the end of it:—
"a poole to swepe the chirch' Roffe, price iiij d," p. 148.

Portatyffis.—In 1526–7 the wardens—
"Rec' of the Orgon Maker for þe olde portatyffis in þe quere, xxvj s viij d," p. 341.

Canon Wordsworth adds, 'small organs, I suppose moved about like our harmoniums.'

The Pulpit.—In 1503–4 a new pulpit was made. The complete account of its cost will be found at p. 251. The pulpit was of wood, was fixed to one of the pillars of the church, and was approached by a ladder, p. 277.

Pyx.—The Inventories record the presence of several pyxes to contain the sacred wafer:—
"a pix of Sillver, wayyig viij oz," p. 51.

One of the pyxes belonging to St. Mary's was evidently a very beautiful little work of art with a representation of the crucifixion, p. 244.

Pyx pulley, p. 347.—This pulley would be for the rope or cord to run over, to raise and lower the pyx containing the sacred wafer, that pyx being suspended above the high altar.

Pyx Plum.—The plum of lead, p. 304, to act as a counterpoise to the weight of the suspended pyx, p. 407.

Pyx Rope.—p. 347.

Rods.—Reeds or Rods to light the candles with are mentioned on p. 251:—
"Payd for ij Reddys to lythe Canddyllys vythe."

Rood.—The great Rood, or Crucifix with its attendant figures of Mary and John, will be found fully described in our text at pp. 224, 228. It appears to have been erected 1496–8, the old Rood being sold 1509–10, p. 271.

Rushes (for pews).—See Pews.

Sconces.—'vj skonces for the queer, viij d,' p. 333.

Scoop.—A 'skop' apparently in use at consecration or 'halloyng,' p. 250.

Settles.—There were several settles in the church, and they seem to have been very similar to the ordinary settle of to-day, with the lower part made to form a box or chest. On p. 53 we find that there were two in the choir, each with a locker, another before the choir, and two long ones in the southern part of the church, 'in the which we were wont to pvt our torchis,' that is, the torches were kept in the box under the seat.

Ships.—The ship was a little vessel which contained the incense from which the censer was filled. On p. 197 the pretty term 'saylyng pece' is used. Two silver ships are mentioned on p. 26. The term 'sauce boat' is in common use to-day.

Shovel.—Shovels of apparently three different kinds are mentioned in our accounts: a 'shode shovyll,' p. 243, for the church; a fire shovel for the vestry, p. 332; 'colys to brenne in the vestrye,' p. 225; and a paring shovel, p. 255, which, according to the Dictionary, was used in the churchyard.

Snuffers.—Snuffers to snuff the candles with are mentioned on p. 296.

Soap.—p. 226.

Sockets.—Sockets of iron "in the Rode lofte to set in the baners," p. 361.

Spoons.—The Inventory of 1553 mentions the presence of "ij shippes with ij spones of silluer," p. 51. The spoons were used to spoon out the incense from the ship or incense boat to the censer.

Stalls in choir.—The stalls in the choir of St. Mary's were probably somewhat more elaborate than ordinary seats. They were newly built or repaired in 1427–8, in which year the accounts record the expenditure of £12—
"for stalles in þe quere," p. 69.

Stools.—Two stools are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 53; a choir stool costing 7s. 10d. on p. 69, and "ij stolys for the Rectours in the quyre" on p. 358.

Streamers.—In the Inventory on p. 31 "viij smale stremers" are mentioned. They apparently belonged to a canopy borne over the Sacrament in procession, for in the Inventory of 1553 mention is made of—
"a canipi cloth of Red bodkin with viij stremars," p. 51.

Tablet for the Bede Roll, p. 234.—Apparently the list of the names of those to be prayed for in church. See Bede Roll, p. 51.

Tablet for the Ordering of the Choir.—p. 326. Apparently a list of directions on a parchment fixed to a board.

Tablet, Font.—At. p. 275 we meet with a reference not easily understood:—
"Paid for settyng of the hoke þat the Table hangith on by the ffownte—iiij d."

At p. 273 is also a reference to the iron work—
"to the Table by þe founte."

Tablet of the Trinity:—
"a gylt Table of the Trynete for to sett on the high' Aulter," p. 33.

Table in Vestry:—
"Item, payd for a table & a payr [of] trestellis to stand in the vestry, to ley the copis apon in festyvall' days—ij s," p. 100.

Tapers, Round.—Round tapers are mentioned on p. 149.

Torch iron.—'a crokid Iron to pike torchis withall, iij d,' p. 343.

Torches.—Torches are often mentioned. They appear to have been employed on special occasions, and were apparently kept in stock by the wardens and let out to burn at funerals, the hire being so much. See page 366, etc.

Torches, Staff.—Staff torches appear to have been those used at the altar step:—
"iij staf torches of wex to hold at the levacion," p. 361.

In other words, to burn at the elevation of the Sacrament. At p. 364 we find the entry:—
"iiij staff torches ffor the highe awter."

Towels.—St. Mary's appears to have been especially rich in towels. Towels "to wype on handes" are mentioned on p. 27. Pages 33, 34 contain a long list of towels.

Trestles.—In 1492–3 a pair of trestles were purchased, p. 185, and in 1519–20 five trestles were made, p. 306.

Tubs.—Apparently these tubs were in use at the time of consecration, or 'halloyng,' p. 250. They belonged to the church, p. 269.

Veils for Lent.—The chancel veil for Lent is noticed on p. 343.

Vestments.—An interesting bill for the repair of vestments will be found at p. 150.

Albs.—Several albs are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 31, six for children on p. 33. Altar cloths and towels were at times made out of old albs, p. 273.

Alb girdles.—See pp. 31, 251.

Almuces.—Almuces, or furry capes for the two rectors of the choir, are probably indicated in the reference to the purchase of 'Greyes skynnes' on p. 358.

Amices.—Several amices are mentioned at p. 31.

Chasubles.—See p. 31.

Copes.—Copes of various designs are described at p. 31; also six for children. On p. 51 eight children's copes are mentioned. Some of the copes, probably all connected with the Cambridge Chantry, were ornamented with the armorial bearings of William Cambridge, p. 256.

Fanons.—These articles are mentioned in the Inventory of 1496–7, p. 31.

Mitre.—The mitre referred to at pp. 27, 31 was probably that worn by a chorister on St. Nicholas's Day, at which time it was customary in most churches for a child to be arrayed in diminutive episcopal vestments:—
"a Myter for a bysshop at seint Nicholas tyde," p. 31.

Rochets.—Seven rochets for children are mentioned in the Inventory at p. 33; and nearly the same number on p. 238:—
"Item, to Margeret Sotton ffor the makyng off vj Rochettes ffor Chelderne to were in the quyre, xij d."

Stoles.—Stoles are mentioned in the Inventory on p. 31.

Surplices.—Surplices are often referred to. On p. 33 the Inventory mentions eight—
"for the quere, of þe whiche ij haue no slevys."

The surplice was similar to the ample garment in use in the English Church to-day, and was worn by the parson, p. 282; the parish priest, p. 266; the clerk, p. 173; the Sexton, p. 260; and the choirmen and boys, p. 321. The boy choristers, as has been noted, wore rochets in the choir, p. 238; and albs, 244.

Tunicles.—The Inventories tell us of several tunicles, p. 31.

Waterpot.—At p. 333 a "pewtur pott for watur for the preistes" is noticed.

Wheelbarrow.—The church wheelbarrow is occasionally referred to, as, for instance, at p. 269.

Window for the Sacrament.—p. 406, for lepers?

Wire for the Roodloft.—At p. 370 a wire and two staples for the Roodloft are mentioned.


  • 1. The whole subject of Church Furniture will be dealt with very amply in a forthcoming volume of The Antiquary's Books, by Dr. J. C. Cox and Mr. Harvey.