Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/227

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The Church Ale was a festival instituted sometimes in memory of the patron saint of the church at which it was given, but more frequently for the purpose of raising funds for the support of the church, for its decoration or repair. Every one was expected to go and to buy his share of ale. The enthusiasm that followed often led persons to contribute far more heavily to the good cause than they would have done had they stayed away and remained sober.

It was not an uncommon thing to have as many as six or eight of these ales annually. Drake quotes the following from a paper in Dodsworth's MSS. in the Bodleian Library: "The parishioners of Elveston and Okebrook, in Derbyshire, agree jointly, to brew four Ales, and every Ale of one quarter of malt, betwixt this (the time of the contract) and the feast of St. John Baptist next coming. And every inhabitant of the said town of Okebrook shall be at the several Ales. And every husband and his wife shall pay two pence, and every cottager one penny, and all the inhabitants of Elveston shall have and receive all the profits and advantages coming of the said Ales, to the use and behoof of the said church of Elveston. And the inhabitants of Elveston shall brew eight Ales betwixt this and the feast of St. John Baptist, at the which Ales the inhabi-