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London – The First Theatres – 1613 – The Globe


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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’s theatres from the 1100s through to the 1800s.

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London – The First Theatres – 1613 – The Globe

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The Globe Theatre was the scene of Shakespeare’s exertions as an actor, and here many of his best pieces were first performed. The Globe was burnt down on St. Peter’s day, the 29th of June, 1613. The fire originated, according to Winwood, with the mimic discharges in Shakespeare’s play of Henry VIII, when the rushes of the roof caught fire; and he adds, that the attention of the audience was so much engaged with the actors, that they did not notice it. Fortunately, however, there were few or no accidents, a circumstance alluded to in an old ballad of the time, of which the following is the first stanza.


“Now sit thee down, Melpomene,
Wrapt in a sea coal robe;
And tell the doleful tragedie
That late was play’d at Globe:

For noe man that can singe and say e,
Was scar’d on St. Peter’s day.
Oh sorrow, pittifull sorrow; and yett all this
is true.”

The theatre was rebuilt in the following year, in so superior a manner, that Taylor, in his epigram, calls it a stately theatre:

“As gold is better that’s in fire tried,
So is the Bankside Globe, that late was burn’d;
For where before it had a thatched hide,
Now to a stately theatre is turn’d.”

Although the interior arrangements of the theatre in the time of Shakespeare did not, in their leading features, differ from those observed at the present day, yet the construction was rude and inconvenient; galleries were formed on three sides of the house, and beneath them were rooms, which were equivalent to our boxes: and there is reason to believe they were occasionally the property of individuals, and not let commonly. The stage was divided into two parts, namely, an upper and a lower stage; an advantage which was particularly felt in representing the playscene in the tragedy of Hamlet. The musicians did not intervene between the pit and the stage, but were stationed in an elevated balcony, nearly occupying that part of the house now denominated the upper stagebox. At the private theatres seats were placed on the stage for critics and amateurs, a privilege by which Dekker says,

“you have a signed patent to engross the whole commodity of censure; may lawfully presume to be a guider and stand at the helm to steer the passage of scenes.”

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


Further reading and external links

William Shakespeare on Wikipedia

The Globe Theatre on Wikipedia

Sholto and Rueben Percy

London – The First Theatres – 1378 – Parish Clubs


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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’s theatres from the 1100s through to the 1800s.

 Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – The First Theatres – 1378 – Parish Clubs

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The mysteries were succeeded by the moralities, which made a nearer approach to dramatic representation. They were, as Mr. Hone, in his work on Ancient Mysteries, observes, “dramatic allegories, in which the characters personify certain vices or virtues, with the intent to inforce some moral or religious principle. “A curious copy of one of those moralities, entitled the “Castle of Good Perseverance,” was formerly in the library of the late  Dr. Cox Macro, the first leaf of which contains not only directions to the players, but the colour of the dresses they shall wear. The three daughters are denoted to be clad, “i metelys,” that is appropriately; Mercy with righteousness in red altogether, Truth in sad green, and Peace all in black; and the person that plays Belial is particularly cautioned to have gunpowder burning in pipes in his hands, eyes, and other places when he goeth to battle.

When the reformation took place, mysteries and moralities, which had been expressly employed in favour of the Roman Catholic religion, were resorted to in order to overturn it, and was found a good auxiliary for such a purpose.

The parish clubs appear to have been rivalled in the performing of mysteries and moralities by “the children of Powles,” as a body of juvenile actors, to whom the English drama is considerably indebted, was called. They can be traced back as far as the year 1378, when they petitioned Richard II. to prohibit ignorant persons from acting the history of the Old Testament, as they had been at great expense in preparing it for the ensuing Christmas. The place of exhibition was generally their school room near St. Paul’s, where they continued to act their mysteries and moralities until the year 1580, when, on account of the plague, all interludes were prohibited and the house pulled down. The price of admission was about two pence. The children of Paul’s sometimes exhibited before Queen Elizabeth at Whitehall and Greenwich, and after their school had been erased to the ground they performed at Blackfriars.

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


Further reading and external links

William Shakespeare on Wikipedia

The Globe Theatre on Wikipedia

Sholto and Rueben Percy

Rivington Pike – Bolton – 1588



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Continuing our series on the History of Bolton – an ancient manufacturing town famed as the original seat of the cotton trade. Here we cover the historic site of Rivington Pike –  which was a signalling post used to warn the Spanish Armada was heading towards the English coast.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Rivington Pike – Bolton – 1588

Rivington ChurchBut Rivington and its vicinity have other associations to claim attention not less interesting than the fading memories of the extinct Wiiloughbys. The tower-crowned summit of the Pike, rising to the height of 1,545 feet above the sea level, calls to remembrance the stirring times of the Armada, and the scarcely less anxious days of nearly a century ago when our grandfathers were in daily dread of invasion, and constant watch was kept in order that the beacon fire might flash the signal of danger from hill to hill should their fears be realised; and the “Two-lads,” a double pile of stones on the further side, has its tale of disaster to beguile the time if we care to listen to it.  Those bleak mountain ridges that stretch away towards the south were once included within the limits of the great forest of Horwich, “a place of great sport,” as the old chroniclers have it, with its series of eagles, of hawks, and of herons.

Rivington was for centuries the home of the Pilkingtons, “gentlemen of repute in their shire before the Conquest,” as old Fuller tells us; if tradition is to be relied on, the chief of them bore himself bravely upon the red field of Hastings, and when sought for by the victors for espousing the cause of the defeated Harold, to avoid discovery, disguised himself as a mower, in commemoration of which circumstance his descendants have ever since borne the man and scythe for their crest.

A scion of this ancient house, Richard Pilkington, in the days of the Eighth Harry or shortly after, founded the church of Rivington, and his son, James Pilkington, who had suffered exile for the reformed faith in the time of the Marian persecutions, was nominated by Queen Elizabeth first Protestant bishop of the palatinate see of Durham, and was also founder of the Grammar School at Rivington, an institution that to this day perpetuates his name.

Excerpt from Historic Sites of Lancashire and Cheshire by James Croston published in 1883


Further Reading and External Links

About Rivington

The Opening of Bolton Town Hall – 1873


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Bolton began as a small village becoming more important in the middle ages and allowed to have a fair.  By the mid 17th century it had a population of approx 2,000 growing to almost 20,000 by the early 1800s, and large enough to have its own Town Hall by 1873.  Below we cover the momentus Royal visit and opening of the Town Hall.

The Opening of Bolton Town Hall – 1873

Bolton Town Hall Opened, Thursday, June 5, by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales and a number of distinguished guests from Haigh Hall, the residence of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, where the Royal party had been staying on their visit to open the new Infirmary in Wigan.

The Royal visit to Bolton was made the occasion of an enthusiastically loyal and magnificent demonstration. The streets were profusely decorated with hundreds of Venetian masts and trophies of flags; triumphal arches and street balconies were erected; there was a grand procession of the Mayor and Corporation and leading gentry, with trade and friendly societies, escorted by detachments of Dragoons, Yeomanry Cavalry, and the local Rifle Volunteers, the Prince and Princess being met at the Chorley New Road boundary of the borough and thence escorted through the principal thoroughfares of the town for a distance of about three miles in the presence of immense crowds of spectators.

An address was presented to the Prince by the Corporation and His Royal Highness was presented with a magnificent silver key with which he formally opened the new civic edifice. A grand banquet was given in the afternoon in the Albert Hall at which the Prince and Princess were present, and the Prince on terminating his brief visit expressed his great gratification with the whole of the inaugural proceedings.

In the evening the town was brilliantly illuminated, while there was also a display of fireworks from the Public Park; medals were struck to commemorate the occasion; and Mr. Coxwells balloon “The Alexandra” made an ascent from the Park Recreation Ground, Mr. Coxwells assistant and Mr. Joseph Holliday, a local innkeeper, alone going up in the car, this being the third time Mr. Holliday had ascended in Mr. Coxwells balloons in Bolton.

Towards the decoration and illumination of the town the Corporation voted £1500, but only £1130 of this was spent. On the following evening (Friday) there was a brilliant ball in the Albert Hall; and on Saturday evening the festivities terminated with the performance of “The Creation” in the same Hall.

The Town Hall which was thus opened amid so much rejoicing cost altogether, including the site, about £170,000. The architects were Messrs. William Hill, of Leeds, and George Woodhouse, of Bolton, and, the structure has been pronounced by competent critics as one of the handsomest in design and best arranged internally of any civic edifice in the country. It stands on the site of the Old Pot Market on the west side of the then Market Square, since formally designated the Town Hall Square. The style of architecture is Classic, of the Corinthian order, based on Grecian models, the Town Council having resolutely set its face against Gothic. The building, which is of stone, is parallelogram in form, and covers an area of 3863 square yards, including the space occupied by the steps of the portico. The total length of the front is 204 feet, of the side 177 feet; the height to the top of the parapet is 63 feet, and the height of the tower is 200 feet. The portico is approached by a bold flight of 29 steps, having at each side near the top a pedestal on which reposes a sculptured lion, 12 feet in length by 6 feet in height. The portico, with its fine cluster of gracefully carved columns, is surmounted by a pediment filled with sculpture executed by Mr. Calder Marshall, R.A. These figures are full relief statues, 8 feet high, the central one representing “Bolton,” with a mural crown holding a shield that bears the borough arms; on her right is “Manufacture,” with a distaff, and leaning on a bale of goods; near her is a cylinder and wheel, and in the angle is the “Earth” pouring out her gifts from a cornucopia, and a negro boy bearing a basket of cotton; while on the left hand of the central figure is “Commerce” with the caduceus and a helm, and in the angle is the “Ocean” and a boy holding a boat by the bows. The fine domed tower which is placed over the principal entrance vestibule, and which contains one of the largest clocks in the country, having four dials each 12 feet in diameter, gives the building an additionally stately appearance. The clock has five large bells. The principal entrance to the Hall is by the portico in the east front, and this gives access to a vestibule 21 feet square, communicating directly with corridors 10 feet wide on each side and end of the Albert Hall, giving continuous communication round the latter and ready access to the Town Clerk‘ s apartments, the Council Chamber, Borough Court, Mayor’s Reception and Banqueting Room, and other offices.

In the Albert Hall is a magnificent organ by Messrs. Gray and Davison, of London. The decorations throughout the Hall are of the most rich and elaborate character, and were executed by Messrs. Simpson and Son, of London. In the Council Chamber are tablets bearing the names of the Mayors of the borough, with the year of their mayoralty, from the Charter of Incorporation. The Albert Hall is 112 feet in length, 56 feet wide and 56 feet in height, and has a handsome gallery running round three sides. This room will seat on the ground floor 1466 persons, and in the gallery 334, making a total of 1800; whilst if standing instead of sitting there is room for 3000.

Seventy-seven years had elapsed from the first recorded project for the erection of a Town Hall for Bolton; and it is not unworthy of remark that the site selected originally by the old Trustees was the one on which the Town Hall of to-day at length stands.

Excerpt from Annals of Bolton by James Clegg published in 1888 at the Chronicle Office, Knowsley Street, Bolton.



Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1869


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Below is the twelfth installment in our series on Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904). He was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. “A man might achieve great legislative results, do great deeds, and be a most useful member of society, but unless he possessed the gift of personality he would be to the general public as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”  Henry Keppel undoubtedly possessed that gift.


On October 31, 1869, came the end of Keppel’s naval career in China.

Henry KeppelAt Hong Kong every honour was paid him, and, contrary to all precedents, salutes were fired, though all his uniforms were packed up. The ‘Galatea‘ manned yards, and the ‘Little Admiral,’ rigged up in a Norfolk jacket, with his boy Colin clinging to his hand, passed the pier and embarked on the ‘Galateas‘ barge, manned by His Royal Highness and wardroom officers and steered by the Commodore, to take him off; while another barge was manned by the gunroom officers to take his wife and children. Colin, however, refusing to quit his hold of him, partook of the honour of being so conveyed. Never was such a demonstration for an admiral on his leaving his station. His Royal Highness came into his cabin on deck, and there presented him with a gold watch as a souvenir; which he said would do afterwards for Colin, who seized the case containing the watch and insisted that it had been given to him. Harry, however, was never without it till his death.

On shoving off the Prince and his crew gave three more parting cheers. The ‘Salsette’ screwed ahead to the eastward, and having gained room, turned round, passing again through the ships, when the cheering was repeated by the foreigners as well as our own men-of-war; even the invalids from the hospital-ships caught the kind infection.

At Singapore a great dinner was given to him. His old friend, Mr. W.H. Read, who is still alive, on taking the chair, came at once to the toast which had brought them together, and went into a long detail of the ships in which he had served and commanded on this station, beginning with the ‘Magicienne.’ A laugh was raised when he alluded to the Tumongong of Muar offering Keppel the hand of his daughter. ‘Then,’ Read said, ‘there was the “Dido.” I remember her well, with her taut spars, sky-sail poles, flying kites, and graceful hull, dashing about the station in every direction, and always in for a fight when one was to be had. The “Maeander” with Sir James Brooke; his merits recognised, the K.C.B. installation took place here. The “Raleigh,” in which 50-gun frigate he sailed into this beautiful harbour from the westward to show his confidence in its safety, and the wisdom of the P. and O. in taking his advice when he told them of its existence in [1849]. Fatshan, “the smartest cutting-out affair of modern times,” Last comes the “Rodney,” of which vessel I can only say we have seen too little; but we endorse the verdicts of Hong Kong and Yokohama: he never undertook what he did not carry out, and a better passport to posterity after such a stirring life no man need possess.’ Read concluded his speech by asking them to drink ‘Long life and prosperity to the gallant Admiral, with three times three and don’t be afraid of bringing the roof down!’

Excerpt from Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West – 1905


Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1866


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Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1866 – The China Command

Chapter X…

…His distinguished services now entitled him to a new command, and on December 14 he was rejoiced at receiving the following letter from the Prince of Wales:


Oakley Park, Scole, Norfolk: December 12, [1866].

My dear Sir Henry,

I am glad to be able to tell you that I received a letter from Sir John Pakington this morning, announcing his intention of offering you, with the Queen’s approval, the China command, as Admiral King is going to give up, and I am only too happy if I have in any small way been the means of getting Sir John to give you this command.

Both he and the whole Admiralty are very well disposed towards you, and I am sure that you will do all in your power to show them that you are anxious to distinguish yourself during this command, as you always have done on previous occasions.

‘Believe me, yours very sincerely,

God bless the Prince of Wales!’ said he.  And now ended his five years of enforced idleness, with an estrangement from professional duties, which he loved, and from the sea which was his natural home. But he had a month to spare, in which he was again invited to Sandringham and Holkham, where the happy associations of his boyhood were renewed.

Before he started to take up his command he was summoned to Windsor, and had an interview with Queen Victoria, who received him, as he relates,’ with one of her pleasantest smiles.

‘Then he was off again to China.  On his way through Egypt he found an old Crimean friend, who took him to visit the works of the Suez Canal, then in progress under M. de Lesseps; of the success of which he formed a high opinion, though in England it was much doubted, and Lord Palmerston ridiculed the idea of its completion.


Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia

Legend of the Stone of Scone

Scotland is in all the news this week, so in an 1866 letter from the Joseph Robertson, of the Register House, Edinburgh we’re covering one of the old legends ‘The Stone of Scone’ – popularly also known as the Coronation Stone and the Stone of Destiny – which today rests in Edinburgh Castle.  It was returned to Scotland on St Andrews Day in 1996 after seven centuries in England.  Whenever there is a coronation in England the stone will travel from Scotland to England and back to Scotland again.

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Excerpt from Historical Memorial of Westminster Abbey by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley – 1869

Legend of the Stone of Scone

Letter from the late Joseph Robertson, of the Register House, Edinburgh, July 7, 1866.

Progress of the Legend of the Stone of Scone.

Stone of SconeWe have a few Scottish Chronicles, written at various periods from the tenth to the middle or latter part of the thirteenth century; but in no one of these is there notice of the Stone of Scone. Their silence is remarkable, as, although they are for the most part brief, they mention things of less mark.  They show, at the same time, that at least as early as A.D. 906, Scone was a royal city, the meeting-place of a national council or assembly.  We have proof of its being the acknowledged capital of the realm in royal charters of the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.  Thus, King Malcolm the Maiden (A.D. 1163-1164), in a charter to the Abbey of Scone, describes it as ‘in principali sede regni nostri fondate.’  So, again, King Robert Bruce (in A.D. 1325), in a charter to the Abbey of Scone, sets forth, as the cause of his bounty to it. ‘pro eo ‘quod Beges regni ibidem dignitates suas recipiunt et honores.’

Footnote from the Author: I have a melancholy pleasure in printing this letter, which was written (apparently currente calamo) in answer to some questions arising out of a long conversation in 1864.  Even in its present rough state, it is an instance of the extraordinary readiness with which he met every question relating to Scottish  history. 

It is sufficiently certain that, from the beginning of our historical record, about the year 1100, the Scottish Kings were inaugurated at Scone by being placed in the Royal Chair of Stone.

‘in Regiam Sedera,’ ‘in Cathedra Regali,’ ‘in Sede Regali,’ ‘super Cathedram’ ‘Regalem lapideam,’ etc.

But these brief records of inauguration are silent as to the history of the Stone.  So far as I see at this moment, the oldest writer who tells the legend of the Royal Stone is William of Rishanger, who appears to have lived until after A.D. 1327.  Under A.D. 1292, he thus describes the coronation of King John Balliol at Scone.

“Johannes de Balliolo, in festo Sancti Andreae sequenti, collocatus super lapidem Regalem, quem Jacob supposuerat capiti suo, dum iret de Bersabee et pergeret Aran, in ecclesia Canonicorum Regularium de Scone solemniter coronatur.”

The passage is repeated, word for word, in Thomas Walsingham’s ‘ Historia Anglicana,’ and probably in other English Chronicles.

The next writer, in point of antiquity, who speaks of the history of the Stone of Scone, is John of Fordun, a canon of the Church of Aberdeen, who was alive in 1386.  He tells two stories about it.  One is that Milo, King of the Scots in Spain, gave it to his favourite son, Simon Brek, the first King of the Scots in Ireland and that Simon Brek placed it in Tara, where it remained until it was brought to Scotland by Fergus, the son of Erch or Ferchard.

He adds that, according to some, Gathelus, the founder of the race of the Scots (so named from his wife Scots, daughter of King Pharaoh), brought the Stone from Egypt to Spain.  The other story is, that Simon Brek dragged it up from the bottom of the sea, along with the anchor of his ship, during a gale on the Irish coast.  Both stories speak of the Stone as of marble hewn into the form of a chair.

Excerpt from Historical memorial of Westminster Abbey by  Arthur Penrhyn Stanley – 1869


Further Reading and External Links

Edinburgh Castle – Home to Stone of Scone 

Encyclopaedia Britannica – Stone of Scone

The Permanent National Debt – 1693

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The Permanent National Debt (1693); the Bank of England (1694): William had now gained, at least temporarily, the object that he had in view when he accepted the English crown.  He had succeeded in drawing the English into a close defensive alliance against Louis XIV,(3) who, as we have seen, was bent on destroying both the political and the religious liberty of the Dutch as a Protestant people.

The constant wars which followed William’s accession had compelled the King to borrow large sums from the London merchants.  Out of these loans sprang the permanent National Debt.  It was destined to grow from less than a million of pounds to so many hundred millions, that all thought of ever paying it is now given up.  The second result was the organization of a banking company for the management of this colossal debt; together the two were destined to become more widely known than any of William’s victories.

The building erected by that company stands on Threadneedle Street, in the very heart of London.  In one of its courts is a statue of the King set up [1734], bearing this inscription: “To the memory of the best of princes, William of Orange, founder of the Bank of England,” – by far the largest and most important banking institution in the world.


1. Ryswick: a village of Holland, near The Hague.
2. The second (Protestant) daughter of James II. See 542.
3. See Guizot, History of Civilization, Chapter [13.]

Excerpt from The Leading Facts of English History by David Henry Montgomery – 1904


Further Reading and External Links

William of Orange

History of Britains National Debt

Bank of England on Wikipedia

Bloods Attempt to Steal the Crown

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Regalia in the Tower of London1671 – THE daring attempt made by the ruffian Blood to steal the Crown, is one of the most extraordinary incidents that ever happened within the walls of the Tower of London.

After Sir G. Talbot had been appointed Master of the Jewel House, he assigned the profits which arose from exhibiting the regalia to an old confidential servant of his father, named Talbot Edwards, who was still keeper at the time of the concerted robbery.

About three weeks prior to his attempt, Blood, a disbanded officer of the Protectorate, went to the Tower in the habit of a parson, “with a long cloak, cassock, and canonical girdle,” accompanied by a woman whom he called his wife; his real wife being then in Lancashire.  The lady requested to see the crown, and her wish having been gratified, she feigned “a qualm upon her stomach,” and Mrs. Edwards, after giving her some spirits at her husband’s request, courteously invited her to repose herself upon a bed.  She soon recovered; and, “at their departure, they seemed very thankful for this civility.”

After an interval of a few days Blood returned, and gave Mrs. Edwards four pair of white gloves, as a present from his pretended wife.   At a subsequent visit he told her, that his wife, “could discourse of nothing but the kindness of those good people of the,Tower;”  and that  “she had long studied, and at last bethought her, of a handsome way of requital.”

“You have,” quoth he, “a pretty gentlewoman to your daughter, and I have a young nephew who has two or three hundred a year in land, and is at my disposal.  If your daughter be free, and you approve it, I will bring him here to see her, and we will endeavour to make it a match.”  This was readily assented to by old Mr. Edwards, who invited the disguised ruffian to dine with him on that day: the invitation was willingly accepted, and Blood;  “taking upon him to say grace,”  performed it with great seeming devotion, concluding his  “long-winded”  oration with a prayer for the king, queen, and royal family.

After dinner, “he went up to see the rooms, and seeing a handsome case of pistols hang there, expressed a great desire to buy them to present to a young lord who was his neighbour;”  but this was merely a pretence, by which he thought to  “disarm the house,”  and thus execute his design with less danger.   At his departure, “which was with a canonical benediction of the good company,”  he appointed a day and hour for introducing his young nephew to his future bride; and, as he wished, he said, “to bring two friends with him to see the regalia, who were to leave town early on that morning,”  the hour was fixed at about seven o’clock.

On the appointed morning, (viz. May the 9th, 1671,)  “the old man had got up ready to receive his guest, and the daughter had put herself into her best dress to entertain her gallant, when, behold, parson Blood, with three more, came to the Jewel House, all armed with rapier blades in their canes, and every one a dagger and a pair of pocket pistols.  Two of his companions entered in with him, and a third stayed at the door it seems for a watch.”

Blood told Mr. Edwards, that they would not go up stairs until his wife came, and desired him to show his friends the crown to pass the time till then.  This was complied with; but no sooner bad they entered the room where the crown was kept, and the door as usual been shut, than “they threw a cloak over the old man’s head, and clapt a gag into his mouth, which was a great plug of wood, with a small hole in the middle to take breath at;  this was tied with a waxed leather, which went round his neck.  At the same time they fastened an iron hook to his nose, that no sound might pass from him that way other.”

Thus secured they told him, “that their resolution was to have the crown, globe, and sceptre; and, if he would quietly submit to it, they would spare his life, otherwise he was to expect no mercy.”  Notwithstanding this threat, “he forced himself to make all the noise that he possibly could, to be heard above:”  they then “knocked him down with a wooden mallet, and told him, that if he would yet lie quiet, they would spare his life, but if not, upon his next attempt to discover them, they would kill him, and pointed three daggers at his breast.”  Mr. Edwards, however, by his own account, was not yet intimidated, but “strained himself to make the greater noise.”   In consequence, they gave him “nine or ten strokes more upon the head with the mallet, (for so many bruises were found upon the skull,) and stabbed him into the belly.”  This ferocious treatment occasioned the old man, “now almost eighty years of age,”  to swoon; and he lay some time in so senseless a condition that one of the miscreants said, “he is dead, I’ll warrant him.”  Edwards, who had-come a little to himself heard his words and conceiving it best to be thought so, “lay quietly.”

The rich prize was now within the villain’s grasp, and one of them, named Parrot, “put the globe orb into his breeches; Blood held the crown under his cloak,” and the third was proceeding to file the sceptre in two, in order that he might be put into a bag, “because too long to carry,” when their proceedings were interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a son of Mr. Edwards, from Flanders, who, having first spoken to the person who stood on the watch at the door, went up stairs to salute his relations.  Seizing the opportunity, the ruffians instantly “hasted away” with the crown and orb, leaving the sceptre unfiled.

The old keeper now raised himself, and freeing his mouth from the gag, cried “Treason! Murder” which being heard by his daughter, she rushed out of doors and reiterated the cry, with the addition, “the crown is stolen.”

Excerpt from The Cabinet of Curiosities, or Wonders of the World Displayed – 1840


Further Reading and External Links

The King the Crown and the Colonel

Thomas Blood , The Man Who Stole the Crown Jewels

The Origin of the Name ‘Pipe Roll’


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The Pipe Roll Society

The National Archives

The Origin of the Name ‘Pipe Roll’

King Henry II – on the throne at the time of the early Pipe RolsTHE origin and meaning of the name Pipe Roll as applied to the sheriffs’ accounts of the landed and feudal revenues of the Crown seems to have escaped notice.  In fact the name should be ‘Roll of Pipes’ as the pipes were not the Roll itself, but the individual membranes of which the Roll consisted.  This comes out clearly from passages in certain ordinances of the Exchequer issued by  Edward II on 14 June anno sexto decimo (1323), and printed in the Red Book of the Exchequer, iii. 858, where we have the following direction given,

Quant (?Que) le Grant Roule soit escrit saunz rascure et les Pipes annuelement examinez;

while further on the officials are more explicitly directed to see that

soient desore annuelment tutes les pipes de tutz les accomptes renduz en lan bien et pleynement examinez avant qe eles soient mises ensemble, et roule fait de eles.

Each ‘pipe’ of the Roll must be examined before they are put together and the Roll made up.  So again on p.860 we have the ‘pipes’ of the Foreign Accounts as well as those of the sheriffs’ accounts.  From these passages we also learn that the proper name of the series was Le Grant Roule or Magnus Rotulus, but we also find it spoken of as Le roule annal; but it soon came to be known as La Pipe (Rot. Pari., ii. 101, A.D. 1348).  The ‘pipes’ or membranes of which each Roll consists are strips of parchment about 6 feet long, sewn together at one end, and not continuously, as the Patent and Pell Rolls are.  Each strip bears at its head the name of the county whose account it contains, as EBOR.  If one strip does not suffice the supplementary strip is headed ITEM EBOR , and if a third is requisite then it will be ADHUC ITEM EBOR, and so on.  That the ‘pipes’ are the individual membranes, and not the accounts, as suggested in the Oxford Dictionary, seems clear: further, as they were flat strips of parchment, in seeking for the meaning and etymology we may keep clear of the notion of anything tubular and cylindrical on which previous suggestions have run.

Excerpt taken from The English Historical Review Volume 26 – 1911


Further Reading and External Links

The Pipe Roll Society:  Rolls for 8 Richard I and 3 John have been printed in full by the Pipe Roll Society.  The earliest record dates from 1129-30, and then continue in an almost unbroken series from 1155 until 1833.

The National Archives:  The Pipe Rolls are the oldest series of English governmental documents, and were created by the most ancient department of the English government, the Exchequer, which existed by 1110. The earliest survivor dates from the reign of Henry I, and is second only to Domesday Book itself in its antiquity as a public record. They were created principally to record the accounts of the sheriffs of the counties of England, which they made annually before the barons of the Exchequer, but came also to include the accounts of other officials.  The National Archives have extensive information on the Pipe Rolls.  Visit their website to find out more

Pipe Rolls on Wikipedia

Pipe Rolls on Google Books