Elizabethan Popular Culture by Leonard R. N. Ashley

By Leonard R. N. Ashley

Leonard R. N. Ashley delights readers with a suite of evidence and folklore of the folks of Queen Elizabeth I’s period. He describes activities and pursuits, faith and superstition, cooking, existence on the town and state, and the emerging bourgeois category. In chapters titled as "Cakes and Ale," "The Playhouse and the Bearbaiting Pit," and "Hey nonny nonny," Ashley paints an enlightening portrait of a time made memorable through Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

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The famous Sidney family has left us accounts of the 1560s and 1570s which give a hint as to prices in those days. For instance: 1572: For making a pair of crimson satin hose for Mr. Robert Sidney [aged 9],10 s[hillings]. 1574: Gowns of purple and white purled mockadoes and petticoats of frysadoes [imitation velvet and woollen cloth] for Mary Sidney [aged 13] and her sister Ambrosia [9], [6. 1576: 2 pairs long white hose, 16 s[hillings]. Velvet hat with a gold band and gold feather, 40 s[hillings].

And now to the art of crossbiting. The art of Cross-Biting The cross-biting law is a public profession of shameless cozenage, mixed with incestuous whoredoms, as ill as was practiced in Gomorrah or Sodom, though not after the same unnatural manner. ) being outcasts from God, vipers of the world and an excremental reversion of sin, doth consent-nay, constrain-their wives to yield the use of their bodies to other men, that, taking them together, he may crossbite the party of all the crowns he presently can make.

1576: 2 pairs long white hose, 16 s[hillings]. Velvet hat with a gold band and gold feather, 40 s[hillings]. ) 1577: Black velvet, 25 s[hillings] a yard. White satin, 13 s[hill ings] 4d[pence] a yard. Carnation velvet, 20 s[ hillings]. carnation satin, 15 s[ hillings]. For making a doublet of the carnation satin, 4 s[ hillings]. Carnation lace, 4 s[ hillings] 6d [pence] a yard, and 2 112 dozen carnation [covered] buttons, 2 s[ hillings] and 6d [pence]. From servants (whom great lords overpaid then): 1573-1574: Cleaning your lordship's pew at Penshurst, 1 s[hilling].

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