Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/230

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"Church or parish ales, revels, may games, plays and such other unlawful assemblies of the people of sundry parishes into one parish on the Sabbath Day and other times, is a special cause that many disorders, contempts of law, and other enormities are there perpetrated and committed to the great profanation of the Lord's Sabbath, the dishonour of Almighty God, the increase of bastardy and of dissolute life, and of many other mischiefs and inconveniences of the commonwealth."[1]

"In January, 1599, the justices took a long step further, and having discovered that many inconveniences 'which with modesty cannot be expressed' had happened in consequence of these gatherings, they ordered that parish ales, church ales, and revels should thenceforth be utterly suppressed. . . . An order of Easter, 1607, declares that church ales, parish ales, sextons' ales, and all revels are utterly to be suppressed. Yet we find so late as 1622 that war against them was still being carried on."[2]

Ballad singing in the streets was a common custom, as was the frequent hawking about from place to place of new ballads upon contemporary events. These sheets, which usually sold for a

  1. Order of Justice, July, 1595.
  2. Quarter Sessions, Elizabeth to Anne.