The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, 1550-1563. Originally published by Camden Society, London, 1848.
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'Note on funerals mentioned', in The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, 1550-1563, (London, 1848) pp. xx-xxxiii. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/camden-record-soc/vol42/xx-xxxiii [accessed 5 March 2024]
NOTE UPON FUNERALS.
As Funerals occupy so large a share of the ensuing pages, it may be acceptable to give references to some other accounts of a ceremonial on which so much time and expense was bestowed in former times.
Of Royal Funerals, that of Elizabeth queen of Henry VII. is printed in the Antiquarian Repertory; that of her son Arthur prince of Wales in Leland's Collectanea; that of king Henry the Eighth is inserted at length in the Appendix to Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials; that of queen Mary is in Leland's Collectanea; and that of queen Elizabeth in the Vetusta Monumenta of the Society of Antiquaries, and Nichols's Progresses of queen Elizabeth. Those of Henry prince of Wales, queen Anne of Denmark, and king James the First, are also printed at length in the Progresses, &c. of king James I. and that of the Protector Oliver in Noble's House of Cromwell.
Of nobility, the funeral of Margaret duchess of Norfolk, 1563, is printed in Lord Braybrooke's History of Audley End; those of George earl of Shrewsbury, 1541, and Francis earl of Shrewsbury, 1560, in Hunter's History of Hallamshire; those of Robert earl of Sussex, 1542, and Henry earl of Sussex, 1556, in Wilson's History of the Parish of St. Lawrence Pountney; those of Muriel viscountess Lisle, 1505, Sir Thomas Lovell, K.G. 1524, and John lord Bray, 1557, in Lysons's Environs of London; that of John Islyppe abbat of Westminster, 1532, in the Vetusta Monumenta, vol. iv.; and that of sir Humphrey Stanley, 1505, in Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum. The dates of all these are antecedent to the regular Funeral Certificates. Of the latter, several have been published in Bigland's Observations on Parish Registers, 1764, in the Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica and its sequel the Topographer and Genealogist, and others interspersed in various topographical works.
The funeral of Edward Earl of Derby, in 1572, is described at great length in Collins's Peerage, edit. 1779, in Dallaway's Heraldry, 4to. 1793, and in Nichols's Illustrations of the Manners and Expenses of Ancient Times, 4to. 1797.
The general writers on Heraldry have of course something to say on Funerals; but it seems little and unsatisfactory when compared with the abundant materials which are stored in the MS. collections of their predecessors. The twenty folio pages devoted to this subject in Edmondson's "Complete Body of Heraldry," are very ill digested, and chiefly occupied with papers belonging to the more recent disputes between the College and the painters from the reigns of Charles II. to George II. when the ancient state and cost of these funeral pomps had nearly fallen into disuetude, and the interested parties were consequently quarrelling (as, indeed, they had often done before,) over the little that remained. In these pages of Edmondson, however, will be found three formularies,—for the funerals of a Countess, an Earl's daughter, and an Earl, all temp. Eliz.; (fn. 1) but he tells us nothing of the funerals of Citizens, upon which the Author of the present Diary details so much, though generally more in the way of eulogy than regular description, and consequently in a manner that seems to require the marshal's staff to restore the confused groups to their original order.
The Editor has consequently selected two or three documents of a more formal character, which will supply that arrangement in which master Machyn's descriptions are deficient, and will render intelligible some matters in which he is occasionally obscure.
The first is the Funeral of an Alderman before the Reformation (in the year 1523,) from the records of the Drapers' Company:
"The right worshipfull sir William Roche knight and alderman, decessyd betwene ix. and x. of the clock before none. On whose soule Jh'u have mercye. Amen. He was buryed the xvth daye of this instant moneth of September at afternone, in this wyse. First, ij. branchys of whyte wax were borne before the priests and clerks in surplesys syngyng. Then a standard of his crest, which was the red roobuck's hedd, with gylt hornes, havyng also ij. wynges, the one of gold, the other verde. Thereafter certayne mourners; then a pynion of his armys, and his cote armour, borne by the herald, which armys was a cheker of warren of sylver and azure, a bull passaunt goules, with hornes of sylver, and iij. roches, also sylver, being all sett in a felde of gold Then the corps borne next after the cote armure, by certayne clerks, and iiij. of the assystans of the Drapers, viz. Mr. Warner, Mr. Blower, Mr. Spencer, and Mr. Tull, who went in their livery and hodes about the said corps. Ther followyd the corse Mr. John Roche his sone, as chief mourner, alone; and after hym ij. coples of mourners more. Then the sword-berer and my lord maire in black. Then the aldermen and sheriffs after theim, and the hole lyvory of this felowshippe, in order. Then the ladys and gentylwomen, as the aldermen's wyfes and others, which, after dirige, cam home to his house and dranke, where they had spice-brede and comfetts, wyne, ale, and beere.
"On the morrow, the mourners went again in order to the church, where they had a collacion made by sir Stephen. After which collacion the herald appointed the chief mourners, in order, to offer up the target, sword, and helmet, to the priest; and after they offered in order, and also my lord mayor, the aldermen, the livery, and others, which offering went to the poor. Then the whole communion was ministered. After which done, the herald again going before, there followed him the banner-bearers, and offered the banners also; and then, in order, again the mourners, my lord mayor, and others, returned to the house of the said Mr. Roche, where they dined all, save the livery of this fellowship, which dined in the Drapers' Hall, by reason he had given them towards the same vjl. xiijs. iiijd. which was bestowed by John Quarles and William Berwyck, stewards for the same, the xvj. day of September, in eight mess of meat, as follows: First, brawn and mustard, boiled capon, swan roast, capon and custard. The second course, pidgeons and tarts, bread, wine, ale, and beer. And my lady Roche, of her gentylnes, sent moreover four gallons of French wine, and also a box of wafers and a pottell of ipocras.
"For whose soul let us pray, and all Christian souls. Amen!"
(Herbert's History of the Twelve Companies, vol. i. p. 445.)
After the Reformation we have "The proceedinge to the funerall of a Knight in London," as follows: (fn. 2)
Fyrste, the children of the hospitall two and two.
Then two yeomen conductors, in blacke cotes, with blacke staves in their handes.
Then poor men in gownes two and two.
Then poor weomen in gownes two and two.
Then the quyer.
Then the preacher.
Then the standard borne by a gentleman in gowne and hoode.
Then gentleweomen in gownes.
Then all the aldermen of the cytie that weare blackes.
Then the executors of the defunct.
Then the preacher, yf he be a deane.
Then the penon, borne by a gentleman in gowne and hoode.
Then the healme and creaste borne by a pursuevant.
Then the coate of armes borne by a herald.
Then Clarentius, kinge of armes of the province.
The corpes, covered with a pall of blacke velvett, borne by vj. yeomen in blacke cotes, assisted by iiij. gentlemen in gownes and hoodes, as also betweene iiij. penons of armes, videliz. one of the defuncts, one of the cities, one other of the companie wherof he was free, and the iiijth of the Marchante Venturers or of the Marchants of Muscovye, or such lyke.
Then next after the corpes followeth the chief mourner.
Then other two mourners.
Then other two mourners.
Then followeth the chamberlayne and towne clerke of London.
Then the swordbearer.
Then the lorde maior in blacke.
Then the aldermen havinge no blackes.
Then the estates of weomen havinge blackes.
Then aldermen's wyfes havinge no blackes.
Then the companyes.
Then the masters of the hospitalls, with grene staves.
Then the neyghbours and other parishoners.
Firste the chief mourner to offer aloane, beinge attended on by other iiij mourners.
Then the coate of armes by . . . .
Then the sworde by . . . .
Then the targe.
Then the heaulm and creste.
Then the pennon.
Then the standard.
Then the chief mourner to offer aloane for himselfe.
Then the lorde maior.
Then the other iiij. mourners.
Then the aldermen havinge blackes.
Then the aldermen havinge no blackes.
Then the executors.
Then the chamberlayne and towne clerke.
Then the gentlemen in blacke.
Then the maisters of the hospitalls.
Then the companies.
Then the weomen in blacke.
Then all the aldermen's wyfes and other gentleweomen havinge no blackes.
In "The order observed by the Lord Maior, the Aldermen, and Sheriffes for their meetings and wearing of their apparell throughout the whole yeere," printed in Stowe's Survay, is the following: "For the buriall of Aldermen—the last love, duty, and ceremony one to another. The Aldermen are to weare their violet gownes, except such as have (of their friends' allowance) blacke gownes or mourning. (fn. 3) When an Alderman dieth, master Swordbearer is to have a blacke gowne, or three and thirty shillings and fourepence in money. And if the Alderman deceased doe give the Lord Maior mourning, then master Swordbearer is to have mourning also, or forty shillings in money as the value thereof, and so to carry the Sword in blacke before the Lord Maior. Master Chamberlain is not to weare his tippet but when the Lord Maior or Aldermen doe weare their scarlet or violet."
My friend John Nicholl, Esq. F.S.A. has kindly communicated to me the following entries regarding Funerals, which occur in the books of the Ironmongers' Company, with the contents of which he has made himself very conversant.
1531. Mr. John Guyva gave a herse-cloth richly imbroydered.
1570. It is agreyed at this court that Robart Goodyng and Giles Garton shalbe steuards for the buriall dynnar of the Lady Maris of London, which dynner to be kept at hir burriall daye, viz. the xvij of Julye, at oure hall; and the Lorde Mayor, sir Alexander Avenon, gave to the same dynner the somma of syxe pounds thirteen shyllings and foure pence. vjli. xiijs. iiijd.
1576. Yt is ordred that Robart Benne and Raphe Bright shalbe steuards for the dynner at the buryall of Mr. Alderman Hardyng, and whearas the same Mr. Hardyng dyd gyve to this company the some of tenne pownde, viz. vli. to the poorest of the company, and the other vli. to make the company a dynner; and for the better accomplyshment of the same dynner the steuardes shalbe allowyd them xxxiijs. iiijd.
1580. At this court wear apoynted to be stewards for Mr. Alderman Harvies wyff's burryall, which was appoynted to be the xxvij of June next comyng, beyng Monday, the persons underwrytten, John Masters (?), Harry Page, which persons had tenn pound delyvred unto them to make thear provission for a dynner for the holl lyverye and ther wyves, that had bynne wardens, &c.
1585. At this courte it is ordered that the auncyents, or ensignes, or anye other artilorye or furniture whatsoever pertayninge to the companie shall not be lent without the consent of a courte (the herse clothe appoynted for funeralls onelie excepte) uppon payne of fyve pounds.
1620. A court the 12th March, whereas the lady Harvey hath paid to the wardens xxilb. for a dynner for the companye the 21st of this moneth, being the funerall day of Sir Sebastian Harvey deceased, it is ordered that Mr. Thomas Large and Mr John Wilson shall joine with the wardens for the provision of that dinner, to husband the same to the company's best profit.
1637. From the will of Thomas Willetts. Item, I give unto the master and wardens of the company of Ironmongers of London the sum of twenty pounds of like money to be by them bestowed on a dinner for themselves and such of the livery of the said company as shall go with my corps to the church at my funeral.
1657. Notice being given unto this court that the executors of the lady Cambell did desire the use of this hall upon Tuesday next for the said ladyes funerall, ansuare was returned by this court that they willingly assent thereunto.
1672. Notice being taken that since the rebuilding of severall halls in London there hath not been many funerialls out of this, by reason of the 30s. extraordinary charge layed thereon since the Fire, it is thereupon ordered that from this tyme each funerall shall only pay 50s. amongst the officers for their attendance, and the master and wardens to be invited to each funerall.
1678. It is ordered in the future that 40s. shalbe taken for all funeralls of strangers out of the hall, and of all freemen half that some that are members of this company, which is to be distributed amongst the company's officers, &c.
1719. The master acquainted the court that one John Turney, an undertaker for funeralls, had lately buried one Mrs. Mason from the hall, but had refused to give the master, wardens, and clerk each a ring &c. according to his agreement, the persons invited being served with gloves, hatbands, and rings. Ordered, the said undertaker be compelled to performe his agreement as the master and wardens shall direct.
A few observations may now be added on the various accessories employed at Funerals, and first of the several kinds of flags (to use that somewhat undignified word for want of a better generic term). The more ancient varieties of these insignia were Banners and Penons; the former of which answered to the "colours" of modern armies: the latter was the appendage of a weapon,—the lance.
The Banner was originally oblong in form, that is, about twice the depth of its width, thus corresponding to the early fashion of the shield; but latterly it grew to be nearly square. It displayed the armorial coat of its owner, spread entirely over its surface. The royal standard, as it is now called, is more properly a banner.
The Standard was originally an ensign too large to be borne by a man into battle: it was fixed on a carriage and placed in the centre of the host, where it remained stationary, as their rallying point; or, in the absence of alarm, it was posted at the entrance of the commander's tent. But afterwards standards were also made "to be borne." In the reign of Henry VIII. the King's standard for this purpose was of less dimensions than that set before his pavilion; and those of other persons were graduated according to their owner's rank, from the duke's standard of seven yards and a half in length, to the knight's of only four. (fn. 4) Standards differed from banners, not only in form, but in not bearing the arms of their masters. Every standard and guydon was "to have in the chief (that is, next the staff,) the cross of Saint George; next, the beast (the modern supporter) or crest, with his devise or word (his motto); and to be slit at the end." The standards borne at funerals, as mentioned in the present volume, were made after this model. Standards became more frequent in use than banners. They were borne by knights; but banners were confined to bannerets and persons of higher rank.
The Guydon resembled the standard, but was only two and a half or three yards in length; and it was allowed to esquires, (fn. 5) or lieutenants. Its derivation was the French Guide-homme; but the word was corrupted to guydon, gytton, and geton. (fn. 6)
In the musters described in pp. 12, 19, the distinction of the Banner, Standard, and Guydon may be observed. Only one great Banner appeared, that of the king, carried by his pensioners; the great lords each displayed their Standards; the earl of Warwick (the duke of Northumberland's son), the lord admiral, and master treasurer Cheney had only Guydons.
At funerals banners and bannerolls seem to have been allowed to all peers and their ladies; standards, but not banners, to all knights and their ladies; penons, but not standards, to esquires. Mere gentlemen had no penons, but only scocheons of arms.
In p. 6, therefore, where the word "banners" has been inadvertently supplied to the funeral of a knight's widow, we should read only penons (as before in the same page); and in p. 8 master Henry Williams would be buried only with a penon of arms, like the esquire in the next paragraph. (fn. 7) Sir Anthony Wingfield had a banner at his funeral (p. 24), as had other knights of the Garter; and sir William Sydney (p. 31) had the same distinction, being a knight banneret (see the quotation from his epitaph in p. 329).
The Penon displayed at funerals (at which we do not meet with guydons) also resembled the standard in form, but was of a less size, and was rounded, instead of slit, at the end. It was also entirely different in its charges; as it bore the arms of the party, like the banner. This being the case, it was not superseded where a standard appeared, but always accompanied it, unless there were banners and bannerols.
The Bannerolls were banners of increased width, made to display impalements, representing the alliances of the ancestors of the deceased; as the duke of Norfolk (p. 70) had a dozen of banerolls of his "progeny" or pedigree; and at lady Cobham's funeral were nine banners of arms "of his and her pedigree" (p. 213); and they are sometimes mentioned as banners or bannerolls of marriages (pp. 244, 291, &c.).
But, if banners of arms were confined to persons of high rank, there was another kind of banner which was probably allowed to all who were inclined to pay for it. During the prevalence of the rites of the church of Rome, we meet with Banners of Images, (pp. 59, 61, 70, 81, 83, &c.) which were square, and represented either the personification of the Trinity or the figures of saints. Their number is almost uniformly four, and they were carried about the corpse, "at the four corners" (p. 155), but in two instances only two are mentioned.
The rich citizens of London (fn. 8) increased their funeral pomp with penons of the arms of the city and of the companies to which they belonged, in addition to one of their own arms. Thus, master Hussey (p. 237) had as many as five, which would be, 1. his own; 2. the city's; 3. the merchantadventurers'; 4. the merchants' of Muscovy, and 5 the haberdashers'.
Pensels, the diminutive of penon, penicillus, were very small, like the vanes which sometimes terminate the pinnacles of pointed architecture, or the ironwork of the same period. They were supplied in large quantities, as at the funeral of sir William Goring there was a herse of wax, and eight dozen of pensels, and eight dozen of scocheons; the pensels and scocheons being chiefly, if not entirely, to deck out the herse. The queen of Spain's herse (p. 90) took no less than thirty-six dozen of pensels; and so many as a thousand pensels, as well as flags and streamers, were used to adorn the two pinnaces in the lord mayor's water show in 1555 (p. 96).
A Herse is occasionally mentioned by our author; but the term was not then applied in its modern sense. With few exceptions the corpse was carried by men, whether on their shoulders or in a bier is not stated. The bodies of king Edward, queen Mary, the earl of Bedford, and the marchioness of Winchester (pp. 40, 83, 182, 187), were conveyed in "charetts;" that of bishop Gardiner in "a wagon with iiij. wheels all covered with black" (p. 101); that of sir John Haryngton "went into the country in a horselitter" (p. 43), and in the same way that of lady Cawarden was conveyed to Blechingley (p. 225). But the Herse was, on grand occasions, ready to receive the corpse when it had arrived within the church: having been erected a day or two before (see pp. 155, 189, &c.) It was a frame "made of timber, (fn. 9) and covered with black, and armes upon the black," (pp. 44, 70). The grandest are often mentioned as being "of five principals," (pp. 111, 155, 173, 189, &c.) and that of lady Anna of Cleves was of seven (p. 145). Bishop Gardiner's was a herse of four branches (p. 97). The marchioness of Winchester's (p. 188) was "a herse of wax, adorned with eight dozen pensells, and arms and scocheons, and garnished with angels and archangels." The term "herse of wax" is one of continual recurrence (pp. 41, 71, 160, &c.), and is to be understood not of the material of the herse itself, but of the candles and tapers with which it was covered, and which, perhaps, in some cases, where economy was studied, were of tallow instead of wax. In the Vetusta Monumenta will be found an engraving of the herse of abbat Islyppe at Westminster, with all its lights burning. In some instances Machyn mentions, in further commendation of the herse, its "fair majesty, and valence gilded and fringed," (pp. 43, 160, 244), which may be supposed to have been a canopy or termination of the whole. The goodliest herse that he ever saw was that erected in Saint Paul's cathedral for the queen of Spain, which he has described in p. 90.
In the absence of a "herse of wax," there was an abundance of other lights; as, for instance, at the funeral of lady Bowes (p. 46), four great gilt candlesticks, four great tapers, and two great white branches, besides twelve staff-torches borne by her servants.
The Herse-cloth was another sumptuous article of funereal pomp. That used at the funeral of the lady Anna of Cleves was "a herse-cloth of gold," (p. 146); and that at the king of Portugal's obsequies (misnamed Denmark's in p. 148), was "a goodly herse-cloth of tensell, the crosse of cloth of silver." Every parish kept a herse-cloth for the use of the inhabitants, for the loan of which at St. Margaret's Westminster the churchwardens received viijd. in the reign of queen Mary. The city companies had still more magnificent herse-cloths for their members, whose funerals they attended, and some of these are still preserved. That of the Fishmongers, which is beautifully embroidered with designs representing their patron Saint Peter, has been engraved in Miss Lambert's volume on Church Needlework. The Sadlers' company also preserve their herse-cloth, (fn. 10) and so do the Brewers.
The wardens of the Goldsmiths in 3 Hen. VIII. showed the company the goodly and rich herse-cloth which was made with the goods of sir Hugh Brice, dame Elizabeth his wife, and dame Elizabeth Terrell; when it was agreed that the said cloth should not be lent to any other person than a goldsmith, or a goldsmith's wife; that, whenever used, the company assembled should pray, as well for the said two donors' souls as for the soul of the said dame Elizabeth Terrell; and that the beadle should have for his safeguard and attendance at least xijd. (fn. 11)
The Drapers had a burial-cloth given to them in 1518 by alderman John Milborne and his lady, "late the wife and executrix of John Chester, whilst he lived Draper of London." It is described as "a beryall-cloth of the value of jc. markes, for the wele of the soul of the said John Chester in especiall, and all other his good friends in generall." (fn. 12)
Nor did the Reformation lead to the disuse of these public funerals, and the corporate provision made for them. In the middle of Elizabeth's reign, in the year 1572, John Cawoode (who had been printer to queen Mary) left to the Stationers' company "a herse-cloth of cloth of gold, pouderyd with blew velvet, and bordered abought with blacke velvet, embroidered and steyned with blew, yellow, red, and green."
There were also other insignia which were necessary adjuncts of the funeral furniture, as they were offered at the altar before the conclusion of the ceremonies (see pp. xxii. xxiii.), and afterwards suspended in the church. These were usually carried by the heralds. At the earl of Bedford's funeral (p. 83) there officiated (besides master Garter) five heralds, who bore, 1. his helmet, mantles, and crest; 2. his banner of arms; 3. his target with the garter; 4. his coat-armour; and 5. his sword. With the exception of the banner and the garter, those several articles will be found mentioned on every occasion; and, in place of the banner, the standard or the penon were substituted for inferior ranks, as already stated.
The Helmet is still seen lingering in some country churches: it is seldom found to be more than a fictitious helmet, made for the purpose to which it is applied. In early times a knight's real helmet was offered; but such have now almost entirely disappeared, having proved too tempting objects of antiquarian curiosity or cupidity.
The Mantles, which used to be made of black velvet (see pp. 126, 127), and the Crest, have now generally perished from decay; and the tattered fragments of the banner and standard have fallen from their poles.
The Target was a shield of the arms of the defunct, the successor of the knight's real shield, like that of Edward the Black Prince, which is still suspended over his tomb at Canterbury. (fn. 13)
The Coat-Armour was made like a herald's tabard, worked or painted before and behind with the same arms, and which were also repeated on its short sleeves.
The Sword was generally of the same description as the helmet, made rather for show than for use.
The lowest description of heraldic ensign allotted for Funerals was the Scocheon. Mere gentlemen had no penon; but as many scocheons as were desired. "Master Coldwell gentleman, and a lawyer" was buried "with half a dozen scocheons of buckeram" (p. 309). Mistress Draper (p. 144) had two dozen. A gentleman of Gray's Inn, who, perhaps, had no arms of his own, was buried with six "scocheons of arms of the house," i. e. the arms of his Hon. Society.
But the funerals of the higher ranks were also provided with scocheons, (fn. 14) in addition to their other insignia, and that sometimes profusely,—to the extent of four, six, or eight dozen; and at the funeral of sir Ralph Warren alderman there were no less than twelve dozen: together with his standard as a knight, and five penons, like master Hussey, already instanced. These scocheons were the prototypes of our modern hatchments. Originally made of some perishable material, and fastened up in the churches, they were required to be painted on panel, in order to last longer; and from these small atchievements on panel (still to be found in some country churches) they have grown into the large and unwielding frames of canvas now spread on the front of modern mansions, or stretched on the roof of the chancel or aisle, the walls of which scarcely offer sufficient space for their accommodation.
In p. 291 master Machyn is communicative as to the materials of which his articles were made. He there mentions scocheons of metal, of silk, of buckeram, of paper royal, and of pasted paper. In p. 290 he speaks of a herse of velvet and a pall of velvet; in p. 293 a black velvet pall with a white cross of satin and arms upon it; in p. 297 a pall of black velvet with arms upon buckeram scocheons. Heelsewhere mentions a coat-armour as made of damask (p. 116). The royal mantles for the French king (p. 209) were of cloth of gold; but they were usually of black velvet, as is repeatedly mentioned.
The appearance of a set of funeral trophies, as left suspended in a church, is shown in the following engraving, from a sketch by Nicholas Charles in the MS. Lansdowne 874. They are those of sir John White, who was lord mayor of London in 1563, and was buried in 1573 in the church of Aldershot in Hampshire (see a note respecting him in p. 405). He had, it will be seen, a standard as a knight; four penons, of his own arms, the city of London, the merchant-adventurers, and the grocers; a coat-armour; a target; helmet, crest, and mantles; and sword. His armorial coat was, Per fess azure and or, a pale counterchanged, three fountains two and one, and three lion's heads one and two. The crest, a lion's head erased quarterly azure and or, guttee de sang in each quarter.
It will be observed that peculiar rests of iron were made for the reception of these trophies, which were inserted in the wall of the church. Suspended on these, they were left to testify to the worldly grandeur of the defunct so long as their fragile materials might endure.