Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 52 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850.

A reference to the household-books of the Derings, in East Kent, gives the same results.

The wages given by Sir Roger Twysden to his household servants at this time were:—­

“Housekeeper                                  5l. per annum.
maids                                      2l. 10s. and 3l.
men                                   5l. 10s., 5l. and 4l.”

{226}I have added, in most instances, the prices now paid to labourers in these parts, having obtained my information from the farmers of the neighbourhood.

The price of butchers’ meat at present, in this neighbourhood, is from 6d. to 7 1/2d. per lb.; by wholesale, 3s. 6d. or 3s. 8d. per stone.

As far, then, as the relative prices of wages and meat can guide us, the labourer, in these parts, was as well able to purchase meat in 1670 as he is now.

Unhappily for him, the imprudence of early marriage entailing upon him the charge of a family, he is precluded from the indulgence in fresh meat, except as an occasional treat.  Cheese and bacon, however, are still within his reach.  The improvidence of early marriage rarely occurred in former days, and palpably, if our Kentish labourers lived entirely on oats and rye, it was not of necessity that they did so.  I am inclined to think that, in many of the instances given above, especially in haying and harvest, provisions of some sort were found by the employer, over and above the wages.  When I have more leisure, I will endeavour to obtain correct information on this point; and meanwhile, send you the entries just as I find them.  I observe an entry of “peas to boil for the men.”  They had porridge then, at all events, in addition to their wages; and these wages, if they had so chosen, could further have purchased them meat, quite as well as at the present day; though, alas for our poor peasantry, this is not saying much for them; and even of that little smack of meat they will soon be debarred, if the present system—­but I am intruding on sacred ground, and must leave the poor fellows to their hard work and scanty meals.

Lambert B. Larking.

* * * * *


I regret that my communication (No. 13. p. 194.), on the subject of the authorship of The Taming of a Shrew, was too late to be of any avail for the already-published new edition of Marlowe’s works; and, had I been aware of such being the case, I should have waited until I had had an opportunity of seeing a work whose editor may entertain views in ignorance of which, to my disadvantage, I am still writing.  It is, perhaps, a still greater disadvantage that I should appear to depend for proofs upon a bare enumeration of parallel passages; when I know that the space I should require for the purposes of stating the case fully and fairly, and, as I think, conclusively,

Project Gutenberg
Notes and Queries, Number 15, February 9, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook