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“ Vpon a Stage-Play which I saw when I was a child.” In the City of Gloucester the manner is, (as I think it is in other like corporations,) that when Players of Enterludes come to towne, they first attend the mayor to enforme him what noble-man's servants they are, and so to get licence for their publicke playing; and if the Mayor like the Actors, or would show respect to their Lord and Master, he appoints them to play their first playe before himselfe, and the Aldermen and common-Counsell of the City; and that is called the Mayor's play, where every one that will, comes in without money, the Mayor giving the players a reward as hee thinks fit, to shew respect unto them. At such a play, my father tooke me with him, and made me stand betweene his leggs, as he sate upon one of the benches, where we saw and heard very well. The play was called The Cradle of Security, wherein was personated a King, or some great Prince, with his Courtiers of severall kinds, amongst which three ladies were in speciall grace with him; and they, keeping him in delights and pleasures, drew him from his graver Counsellors, hearing of sermons, and listning to good counsell admonitions, that in the end they got him to lye downe in a cradle upon the stage, where these three ladies, joyning in a sweet song, rocked him asleepe, that he snorted againe, and in the meane time closely conveyed under the cloaks where withall he was covered, a vizard like a swine's snout upon his face, with three wire chaines fastened thereunto, the other end whereof being holden severally by those three ladies who fall to singing again, and then discovered his face, that the spectators might see how they had transformed him, going on with their singing. Whilst all this was acting there came forth by the other door at the farthest end of the stage, two old men, the one in blew with a serjeant-at-armes, and his mace on his shoulders; the other in red with a drawn sword in his hand, and leaning with the other hand upon the other's shoulder; and so they two went along in a soft pace round about by the skirt of the stage, till at last they came to the Cradle, where all the Court was in greatest jollity, and then the foremost old man with his Mace stroke a fearfull blow upon the Cradle; whereat all the Courtiers with the three Ladies and the vizard all vanished; and the desolate Prince starting up barefaced, and finding himselfe thus sent for to judgement, made a lamentable complaint of his miserable case, and so was carried away by wicked spirits. This Prince did personate in the morall, the wicked of the world; the three Ladies, Pride, Covetousnesse, and Luxury; the two old men, the end of the world and the last judgement. This sight tooke such impression on me, that when I came towards man's estate it was as fresh in my memory as if I had seen it newly acted. From whence I observe out of my owne experience, what great care should bee had in the education of children, to keepe them from seeing of spectacles of ill examples, and hearing of lascivious or scurrilous words ; for that their young memories are like faire writing tables, wherein if the faire sentences or lessons of grace bee written, they may, by God's blessing, keepe them from many vicious blots of life, where withall they may otherwise bee tainted; especially considering the generall corruption of our nature; whose very memories are after to receive evill then good; and that the well-seasoning of the new Caske at the first, keepes it the better and sweeter ever after; and withall wee may observe how farre unlike the Plaies and harmlesse morals of former times are to those which have succeeded, many of which, by report of others, may be termed schoolmasters of vice, and provocations to corruptions, which our deprived [sic] nature is too prove unto: nature and grace being contraries.”
Copies of the above, containing important variations, will be found in European Magazine, IX. (1786) 395-6; in Collier's History of English Dramatic Poetry, II., 273; and of the larger portion of it in Baker's Biographia Dramatica (1812) II., 140. In the latter it is termed an interlude; but perhaps its more correct name would be a morality play, the successor of the religious play performed by trade guilds at an earlier period. The same work assigns the date of its composition to some year between 1560 and 1570. Its representation was witnessed by Willis probably about 1575. No copy of this play is known to exist either in print or manuscript. It is mentioned in “A Tragedy on the History of Sir Thomas More” in Harl. M.S. 7368. Also in the following passage copied from “The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissel,” written by Dekker, &c., in 1599, and published in 1603:
Enter Babulo with a Cradle. “Come, where be the infidels ? here's the Cradle of Security." (ed. of 1841, p. 61). As a notice possibly of the earliest reference to the performance of a stage play in Gloucester the foregoing is of much interest. T. N. BRUSHFIELD, M.D.
Gloucestershire Wills. D ROM time to time we shall give short abstracts of miscell
aneous Wills of Gloucestershire persons. The value of these to genealogists and local antiquaries is happily now well known, and doubtless they will be welcomed by many readers who have no opportunity of making searches themselves in the Probate Registries at Gloucester and Somerset House. F. L. M. R.
John Trye, of Clinger, gentleman. Will dated 4 July, 1681, appoints his wife Lydia, executrix, and directs his heir-at-law to pay his daughter Lydia Trye £ 100 at 21 years of age.
Witnesses-Hen. Weston, Chr. Hanby, sen., the mark of Daniell Bendall. Proved at Gloucester.
Timothie Steevens, of Chavening, Horsley, Glouc., bachilor. 19 Sept., 1638.-To be buried in the churchyard of Tetbury; to my aunt Margaret Steevens, of Charlton, £10; to my aunt Katherine Masters, of Charlton, £10; Toby Pegler and his son William Pegler; to five of my uncle Dockett's children, £ 50; residuary legatee and executor, William Dockett the younger, of Woodchester; overseers : Thomas Miller and Jonathan Wickes. Signed, the mark X of Thomas Steevens, Jonathan Wickes, the mark X of William Webb. Proved 24 October, 1638.
P.C.C., Lee 128. Mary Estcourt, of Lashborowe, widow. 23 May, 1643. Directs my cousin Charles Estcourt, clerk, son of my cousin Edmund Estcourt, Esq., to preach my funeral sermon; my cousin Thomas Estcourt, of Shipton Moigne, Esq., by the name of T. E., of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., is bound in £1000 to be paid at the Tolsey House, Tedbury, upon the 183rd day after my death ; names his brother Edmund; bequest to William Savage, now living with me, son of my cousin Francis Savage, of Tedbury, when of age, remainder to the other children of Francis Savage; bequest to Anne Master, now living with me, daughter of Sir William Master, of Cirencester, at the day of her marriage or 18, with remainder amongst my god-children, Thomas, George, and Mary Master, the three other children of Sir William Master; my god-daughter, Mary Sperte, now living with me, daughter of Robert Sperte, gent., deceased; the poor of Dursley, Cirencester, and NewtonBagpath; gives legacies to servants, specific bequests to the
Master family; names also, besides other legatees, cousin John Savage, son of Anthony Savage, Esq., deceased; cousin Charles Savage, Esq., of Tedbury, deceased; Mary Savage, daughter of my brother Giles Savage; my sister Savage, of Elmley; brother George Savage; cousin Mary Daston; cousin Edward Hungerford, Esq., of Cadnam; cousin Francis Savage, of Tedbury; cousin John Savage, now living with me; cousin Sir Giles Estcourt, Knt. ; cousin Thomas Savage, son of my brother Giles Savage; cousin John Shepphard, of Tedbury; cousin Thomas Estcourt, of Shipton Moigne, and his brother Edmund; cousin dame Alice, wife of Sir William Master, Knt.; cousin Edmund Estcourt, of Newton-Bagpath. Proved 14 Nov., 1646. P.C.C. Twisse, 163.
Sir John Bridgeman of Prinknash, Knight, chief justice of Chester. Dated 5 February, 1637. Lady Frances, my wife; my son, George Bridgeman; John Bridgeman, son of my son George; my son, John Bridgeman; my daughter Mary; my cousin, Anne Catchnay. Proved at Gloucester, 23 March, 1637.
Richard Hall, of Beverston, clerk. 1 January, 1637. To be buried in the chancel of the parish church of Beverston. Wife, Elizabeth Hall, was sole executrix. Witnesses, Henry Bolde, Lucy Hyde, Thomas Woodroffe, clerk, Thomas Hyde.
On the seal are three..., heads erased between 9 roundels.
Mr. Hall died 30 June, 1638, and his will was proved at Gloucester.
For particulars of this rector of Beverston, see Blunt's Dursley and its Neighbourhood, p. 156.
Joane Purnell, of North Nibley, widow. 16 January, 1617. Names my son, Thomas Purnell; son, Francis Purnell; daughters, Elizabeth Milwater, Mary Cole, Agnes Marten, Joane Flower, and son-in-law, Robert Flower, and son-in-law, Morris Andros; five of my daughters, Mary Cole, Ellinor Andros, Edith James, Jane James, and Joane Flower; to the Poor, 205.; Elizabeth Milwater, daughter of Thomas Milwater; Margaret Cole and Alice Cole, daughters of Thomas Cole; Mary, daughter of George James; Rebecca, daughter of Jane James; and the rest of my children's children; Mary, daughter of Thomas Milwater; Elinor, daughter of Thomas Andros: god-children, Joan Hoskins and her daughter Joan, Elizabeth Cole, and Robert Jobbins; Edith Androes; Joan Trotman, late wife of my son, Robert Purnell.
Executor, son, Thomas Purnell; overseers, sons, Thomas and Francis; witnesses, Ambrose Doninge, John Robertes, Frauncis Phelps, Margerie Purnell, Elizabeth Fowler. Proved 5 June, 1619, by Thomas Purnell, the son.
P.C.C. Parker, 58. John Shakespeare, of the parish of Newington Bagpath, cooke. 24 December, 1623, bequeaths all his goods and chattells to his wife Margerye Shakespeare, and appoints her sole executrix. Signed, John Shakespeare, x his mark. Witnesses, Edward Selwin, Jane Selwin, x her mark. Proved at Gloucester.
Frocester Chapel. THE reader will be glad to learn that at length steps have
I been taken to place the old chapel at Frocester in a proper state of repair. In reply to some inquiries made respecting it, a correspondent in Frocester, who has taken much interest in the matter, has supplied the following account of the chapel. It is from the pen of the present vicar of Frocester, the Rev. William Symonds, M.A. It will be seen that further money is required to complete the repairs to the building. Subscriptions for this purpose may be sent to the vicar of Frocester.
EDITOR. In 1883, in the January number of Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, vol. II., p. 283, attention was called to the neglected and decayed state of the interesting old Jacobean Chapel at Frocester. This building has lately been repaired, some work having been taken in hand in December, 1888, and continued at various intervals until January, 1891, and the building is now in regular use for divine service. Frocester Chapel was erected on its present site between 1676 and 1691, the year 1680 being the probable date. The materials of which it was constructed were brought from Frocester Court on the demolition of the private chapel there, being given by the executors of Viscount Downe, Sir William Ducie, Bart, K.B., whose niece and heiress, Elizabeth Ducie, brought the estates of Woodchester, Frocester Court, etc., to the Moretons. The arms of this old family of Ducie, of Frocester Court, are displayed on the oak ceiling of the chancel of the Chapel, upon the second boss from the east end (or, a fesse vair between three cinquefoils gules).