Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/90

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Street, and to pay for the ground they occupied fourpence a yard. Saltwains, whose owners did a thriving trade in days when salted meats formed the staple supply of food, were permitted to stand about the cross in Rother Market. At various points the victuallers were permitted to erect booths. These regulations were needful to prevent strife, and fines for breach of the rules often reached as large a sum as five pounds. The townsmen were anxious to secure for themselves all the advantages of these gatherings, and the council often employed men armed with cudgels to keep Coventry traders out of the town."

In 1547, 1600 people regularly took the sacrament at the Stratford church; and it may be inferred from the householders' reports in 1562 that the population at that time was about 2000.

The majority of the houses were constructed of timber, a heavy framework, of which the squares and triangles formed by the wooden braces were filled with lath and plaster. The roofs of the better houses were of tile; but thatch was the more common material. If the front did not rise in steep gables, the slope of the roof was sure to contain dormer windows peeping out of the thatch. Porches invariably sheltered the door; and, if the house were that of a trader, a penthouse formed a covering beneath which he set up