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primus uersiculus doing fully all
that their Master
The upper serv ants must be honest and diligent,
and engage no untrusty or unfit man.
Bp. Grossetest's Household Statutes.
[Sloane MS. 1986, p. 193, ab. 1450-60. The last page mentions the 19th year of Henry VI.]
INcipiunt statuta familie bone Memorie dompni
Et alle men be warned pat seruen 30u, and warnyng be 3eue to alle men that be of howseholde, to serue god and 3ou trewly & diligently and to performyng, or the wyllyng of god to be performed and fulfyllydde. Fyrst let seruauntis doo perfytely in alle thyngis youre wylle, and kepe they 3oure commaundementis after god and ry3thwysnesse, and with-oute condicion and also with-oute gref or offense. And sey 3e, that be principalle heuede or prelate to alle 3oure seruauntis bothe lesse and more, that they doo fully, reedyly, and treuly, with-oute offense or ayenseyng, alle youre wille & commaundement that is not ayeynys god. T the secunde ys, that 3e commaunde them that kepe and haue kepyng of 3oure howseholde, a-fore 30ure meynye, that bothe with-in and with-oute the meynye be trewe, honest, diligent, bothe chast and profitabulle. ¶ the thrydde commaunde ye that nomañ be admittyd in 3oure howseholde, nother inwarde nother vtwarde, but hit be trustyd and leuyd that 3e be trewe and diligent, and namely to that office to the whiche he is admyttyd; Also þat he be of goode maners ¶ The fowrethe: be hit sow3ht and examined ofte tymys yf ther be ony vntrewman, vnkunnyng, vnhonest, lecherous,
[* p. 194] quarrelsome, and
must be turned out.
stryffulle, drunke*lewe, vnprofitabulle, yf there be ony suche yfunde or diffamydde vppon these thyngis, that drunken servants they be caste oute or put fro the howseholde. ¶ The fyft: commaunde ze that in no wyse be in the howseholde men debatefulle or stryffulle, but that alle be of ooñ a-corde, of ooñ wylle, euen lyke as in them ys oon mynde and oon sowle. The sixte: commaunde ze that alle tho that seruen in ony offyce be obedient, and redy, to them that be a-bofe them in thyngis that perteynyn to there office. The seuenthe: commaunde vii. ze that 30ure gentilmen yomen and other, dayly bere
and were there robis in 30ure presence, and namely at dress in livery, the mete, for 30ure worshyppe, and not oolde robis and
not cordyng to the lyuerey, nother were they schoon ne fylyd. The viij: Commaunde 3e 3cure almys be kepyd, & not sende not to boys and Order your Alms knafis, nother in the halle nothe oute of pe halle, ne be wasted in soperys ne dyners of gromys, but wysely, temperatly, with-oute bate or betyng, be hit distribute given to the poor and the[n] departyd to powre meñ, beggers, syke folke and febulle. The ix.: Make 3e 30ure owne howseholde to sytte in the alle, as muche as ye mow or may, at the bordis of oon parte and of the other parte, and lette them sitte to-gedur as mony as may, not here fowre and thre there: and when youre chef maynye be sett, then alle gromys may* entre, sitte, And ryse ¶ The x. Streytly for-bede ze that no wyfe be at 30ure x. Let no woman mete. And sytte 3e euer in the myddul of the hye borde, that youre fysegge and chere be schewyd to alle men of bothe partyes, and that 3e may see lyzhtly Let the Master the seruicis and defawtis: and diligently see ze that all. euery day in 30ure mete seson be two men ordeyned to ouer-se youre mayny, and of that they shalle drede zou
[* p. 195] [1 MS, wyse]
dine with you.
show himself to
The xi: commaunde 3e, and yeue licence as lytul xi.
v. All must be of one accord,
obedient to those
and not wear old shoes.
ix. Make all the
together in the
tyme as may with honeste to them that be in 3oure Let your servants howseholde, to go home. And whenne 3e yeue licence go to their homes.
to them, Assigne 3e to them a short day of comyng a
xii. Tell your
wylle or plesyng. ¶ The xij is: command the panytrere
Butler to come to with youre brede, & the botelare with wyne and ale,
the table before
come to-gedur afore 30u at the tabulle afore gracys, And let be there thre yomen assigned to serue the hye tabulle and the two syde tabullis in solenne dayes; And ley they not the vessels deseruyng for ale and wyne vppon the tabulle, but afore you, But be thay layid vnder pe tabulle. The 13: commaunde ye the Tell the Steward stywarde pat he be besy and diligent to kepe the maynye in hys owne persone inwarde and vtwarde, and namely in the halle and at mete, that they be-haue them selfe honestly, with-out stryffe, fowlespekyng, and noyse; And that they that be ordeynyd to sette messys, bryng them be ordre and continuelly tyl alle
to keep good order in the Hall,
and serve every one fairly.
[ MS. affecciori] be serued, and not inordinatly, And thorow affeccion1
to personys or by specialte; And take ze hede to this tyl messys be fully sett in the halle, and after tende ye to 30ure mette. The xiiij: commaunde se þat youre dysshe be welle fyllyd and hepid, and namely of entermes, and of pitance with-oute fat, carkyng that 30 that you may help may parte coureteysly to thoo that sitte beside, bethe
others to it.
Jt. i. wroth] Don't allow grumbling.
Tell off three yeomen to wait at table.
[* p. 196]
xiv. Have your dish well filled
of the ryght hande and the left, thorow alle the hie
xv. Always admit haued as nedythe. The xv: commaunde ye the
officers that they admitte youre knowlechyd men,
[* p. 197] and show them
wh[i]che they knowen you to wille for to admitte and receyue, and to them the whiche wylle you worschipe, and they wylleñ to do that ye wylle to do, that they may know them selfe to haue be welcome to 30u, and you are glad to to be welle plesyd that they be come. ¶ And al so muche as 3e may with-oute peril of sykenes & werynys ete ze in the halle afore 30ure meyny, ¶ For that schalle be to zou profyte and worshippe. ¶ The xvj: xvi. when youre ballyfs comyn a-fore 3oure, speke to them your Bailiffs, fayre and gentilly in opyñ place, and not in priuey,
Talk familiarly to
tenants and store
And shew them mery chere, & serche and axe of them "how fare owre meñ & tenauntis, & how cornys ask how your doon, & cartis, and of owre store how hit ys multiplyed." do. Axe suche thyngis openly, and knowe ze certeynly that they wille the more drede 3ou. The xvij commaunde 3e that dineris and sopers priuely in hid plase be not had, & be thay forbeden that there be no suche dyners nother sopers oute of the halle, For of suche comethe grete destr[u]ccion, and no worshippe therby growythe to the lorde.
Expliciunt Statuta Familie bone Memoric.
Prof. Brewer has, I find, printed these Statuta in his most interesting and valuable Monumenta Franciscana, 1858, p. 582-6. He differs from Mr Brock and me in reading drunkelewe (drunken, in Chaucer, &c.) as drunke, lewe,' and vessels as 'bossels,' and in adding e's to some final g's. He says, by way of Introduction, that, "Though entitled Ordinances for the Household of Bishop Grostete, this is evidently a Letter addressed to the Bishop on the management of his Household by some very intimate friend. From the terms used in the Letter, it is clear that the writer must have been on confidential terms with the Prelate. I cannot affirm positively that the writer was Adam de Marisco, although to no other would this document be attributed with greater probability. No one else enjoyed such a degree of Grostete's affection; none would have ventured to address him with so much familiarity. Besides, the references made more than once by Adam de Marisco in his letters to the management of the Bishop's household, greatly strengthen this supposition. See pp. 160, 170 (Mon. Francisc.). The MS. is a small quarto on vellum, in the writing of the 15th century. It is in all probability a translation from a Latin original."
In this he is probably right. The general custom of editors justifies it. Our printers want a pig-tailed or curly g to correspond with the MS. one.
xvii. Allow no
only those in Hall.
Never mistrust or fail your friend.
Don't talk too much.
Spare your master's goods
as your own.
A lawless youth, a despised old
A Gentleman says the best he can of every one.
Stanzas and Couplets of Counsel.
[From the Rawlinson MS., C. 86, fol. 31, in the Bodleian Library.]
Vtter thy langage wyth good avisement ;
8 What mann pou seruyst, alle wey him drede;
12 Folus lade polys; wisemenn ete pe fysshe; Wisemenn hath in per hondis ofte pat folys after wysshe.
Who so in youthe no vertu vsith,
16 Deame pee best in euery doute
It is þe properte of A gentilmann
20 Si viez dolere tua crimina dic miserere
Permiserere mei frangitur ira dei
Josephus of Lewes þat Nobyl was, the firste Auctour of the booke of Policronica, &c.]