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the walls of the royal manor. This was the case not only with the gentlemen ushers, grooms-in-waiting, and daily waiters (who, be it remembered, in those days actually rendered the services their names imply), and the numerous cup-bearers, yeomen, sewers, and other servants attached to the various offices, but also with the great officers of State, ministers, and privy councillors; so that when the Court was in residence the palace was thronged by at least a thousand persons. It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that so motley an assemblage gave rise to many abuses and disorders at Court, and was by no means easy to keep in control. Accordingly, in 1526, Wolsey found it necessary to draw up the “Ordinances of Eltham” for the regulation of the royal household, and “the establishment of good order and the reformation of sundry errors and misuses” that had crept in. The ordinances were to apply while the Court was residing at the King's manors, at Hampton Court, and elsewhere.
Stringent rules had to be enacted against such practices as purloining of locks off doors, stealing of tables, cupboards, and various household implements, and the keeping by officials and visitors of large numbers of servants within the Court at the King's charge, that they might thus relieve themselves from the burden of maintaining them, or employ them to do their duties for them. Another abuse to be corrected was "the great confusion, annoyance, infection, trouble, and dishonour, that ensueth by the numbers as well of sickly, impotent, inable and unmeet persons, as of rascals, and vagabonds, now spread, remaining and being in all the Court.” Ordinances, also, with a sanitary purpose were laid down, "for the better avoiding of corruption and all uncleanness out of the King's house, which doth engender danger of infection, and is very noisome and displeasant unto all the noblemen and others repairing to the same,” directing a certain number of scullions to sweep and clean twice a day all the courts, galleries, and places within the Court, and forbidding under pain of imprisonment "the leaving of dishes, saucers or vessels about the house, or the throwing away of any reliques of meat, etc."
Another regulation was as follows: "The King's Highness also straightly forbiddeth and inhibiteth, that no person
REGULATIONS FOR THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD. 67
whatsoever he be presume to keep any greyhounds mastives, hounds, or other dogges, in the Court, other than some few small spaniels for ladyes or others, nor bring or leade any into the same except it be by the King's or Queen's commandment; but the said grey hounds and doggs to be kept in kennels, and other meete places, out of the Court, as is convenient, soe as the premises dewly observed, the house
may be sweete, wholesome, cleane and well furnished, as to a prince's honour and estate doth appertain."
It was about the time of which we are writing that the ancient mediæval custom of the whole household dining together in hall was beginning to decline. This was an innovation on the habits of the good old times that Henry regarded with great disfavour. Accordingly one of the ordinances, after reciting that “sundry noblemen, gentlemen and others, do much delight and use to dyne in corners and secret places . . . not repaireing to the King's chamber nor
hall, nor to the head officers of the household by reason whereof the good order of the said household and chamber is greatly impaired and the said officers oftentimes destitute of company at their boards," proceeds to enact that there shall always be a public table, to which those at Court shall be obliged to repair.
The regulations for the ordering of the King's Privy Chamber are very minute and curious. The first declares that “Inasmuch as in the pure and cleane keeping of the King's Privy Chamber, with the good order thereof, consisteth a great part of the King's quiet, rest, comfort and preservation of his health, the same above all things before mentioned is principally and most highly to be regarded ; and considering that right mean persons, as well for their more commodity do retire and withdraw themselves sometimes apart, as for the wholesomeness, sweetness of their chambers do forbear to have any great or frequent resort in the same; much more is it convenient that the King's Highness have his privy chamber and inward lodgings reserved secret, at the pleasure of his grace, without repair of any great multitude.”
Then follow detailed directions as to the duties of the gentlemen and grooms of the privy chamber, which consisted of getting up at six o'clock, lighting the fire, cleaning and sweeping the room, fetching and warming the King's doublet, hose, and shoes, and afterwards dressing him in “reverent, discreet and sober manner.” By other regulations they are enjoined "not to hearken and enquire where the King is, or goeth, be it early or late, without grudging, mumbling or talking of the King's pastime; late or early going to bed ;” nor to repeat any Court gossip,--regulations which, we suppose—such is the discreetness of modern courtiers—would now be entirely superfluous.
The elaborate ceremonial observed in the daily making of the King's bed, the directions for which occupy several pages of print, is a curious instance of Tudor etiquette. First, a groom of the bed-chamber or a page went and summoned four yeomen of the wardrobe, who brought the bedclothes, and four yeomen of the bed-chamber and a gentleman usher. When they entered the bed-chamber, four of the yeomen placed themselves on one side of the royal
MAKING HENRY VIII'S BED.
bed and four on the other, while the groom with his torch stood at the foot, and “the gentleman usher apart, commanding them what they should do." Then "a yeoman with a dagger searched the straw of the bed, that there be no untruth therein.” Next, the feather-bed was placed on the bed,
one of the yeomen tumbling over it for the search thereof,” after which the blankets and sheets, at the word of command from the gentleman usher, were solemnly laid one by one upon the bed by the eight yeomen, who were strictly commanded to lower them in such a way that they should all touch the bed at all points at the same moment. Then follow several paragraphs concerning the tucking up of the bed-clothes, and the smoothing of the pillows; which done, the yeomen made a cross upon, and kissed, the place where their hands had touched. When the ceremony was completed, a page or groom was left in charge "unto the time the King be disposed to go to it."
We find in the Chapter House manuscripts some particulars for the garnishing and painting” and enlarging of one of the bedsteads which Henry used at Hampton Court. This was probably the same magnificent bedstead which was at the palace when the inventory of the King's effects was taken at his death. Its description is interesting as affording an idea of Tudor furniture. The posts, which, as well as the head, were "curiously wrought,” were painted and gilt, and surmounted by four “bullyeons of timber work gilt,” with four vanes of iron painted with the King's arms. The ceiler and tester were of cloth of gold tissue and cloth of silver paned, that is, worked in alternate diamond-shaped pieces together, and embroidered at the seams with a work of purple velvet. Both in the ceiler and on the tester were embroidered the King's arms, crowned with the crown imperial, in a garland of roses and fleurs-de-lys. The fringes and valances were of Venice gold, and the curtains purple and white, paned together, and garnished on both sides with Venice gold.
By the same Ordinances of Eltham ”the diet allowances or “Bouche of Court,” as it was termed, to which any person resident in the palace was entitled, was accurately fixed according to his rank or position. Thus a duke or duchess was allowed in the morning one chet loaf, one manchet, and