beyond all precedent, though some, who fitted up houses and scaffolds on this occasion, lost considerably through the greatness of their demands. The ground-rent where the scaffolding was built, was proportionably extravagant. That in the Broad Sanctuary was 31. 13s. 6d. per foot; and that within the rails inclosing the Abbey, was five guineas.

But a better idea of the appearance of the streets may be conceived by the following extract from the account of an eye-witness, published at the time." Conceive to yourself the fronts of the houses in all the streets that could command the least point of view, lined with scaffolding, like so many galleries or boxes, raised one above another to the very roofs. These were covered with carpets and cloths of different colours, which presented a pleasing variety to the eye, and if you consider the brilliant appearance of the spectators who were seated in them (many being richly drest), you will easily imagine that this was no indifferent part of the show. Add to this that though we had nothing but wet and cloudy weather for some time before, the day cleared up, and the sun shone auspiciously as it were in compliment to the grand festival.”

The following are also some curious specimens of advertisements connected with those seats, which appeared in the public prints for 1761.

"To be Lett, for the Coronation, a whole House in New Palace-yard, which has a full view of the Champion and Procession, with Beds in it,

and all other conveniences, to bring their own servants for their attendance; or it may be divided for separate companies, not less than twelve in each, all to be within doors. Enquire at the Sadler's the corner of Parliament Street."

Public Advertiser, Friday, Sept. 11, 1761.

"CORONATION. Places to be let on scaffolding in the front of a House in King Street, with the use of the furniture, and rooms adjoining to each story, with all convenient and necessary accommodations."

"CORONATION Row. To be Lett, for seeing the Procession, an entire first floor, consisting of a commodious Balcony and Dining Room, with a large Bedchamber, in a substantial Brick House, which commands an uninterrupted view of the Procession and the Spectators for above 200 yards, and has a back door, through which a most convenient access may be had directly into the house at any hour, without coming through the crowd. No house has a more extensive prospect of the Procession or the Company, nor more convenient accommodations."

Public Advertiser, Saturday, Sept. 12, 1761.

In a notice for the commencement of the Westminster Assembly, it is stated, that "the view of the Coronation is as various and extensive as the best, and the apartments and conveniences far exceed any in the neighbourhood, especially for the Ladies."

As the day began to draw nearer, advertisements of this nature rapidly increased, together with some others relating to the subject, as, for example: “An Earl and Countess's Coronet to be sold;""Ermine Skins at reduced prices;" Notices to summon Spectators to their seats on the night preceding the Ceremony, and an announcement that the Westminster Assembly would take place on the evening of the Coronation day, for the entertainment of those who might "not find it safe nor convenient to venture home.” On this occasion the price of admission was raised from half-a-crown to half-a-guinea. Having thus given a few memoranda relative to the seats in 1761, it will not be wholly uninteresting to give some account of their value at former ceremonials.

A writer in the London Magazine for the same year, who had enquired into the subject of former prices for seats at Coronations, states, that on consulting Stow, Speed, and other antiquaries, with regard to the sums anciently given, it appears that the amount of a good place at the Coronation of the Conqueror was a blank,* and probably the same at that of his son, William Rufus. "At Henry the First's it was a crocard; and at Stephen's and Henry the Second's a pollard. At Richard's and King John's, who was crowned

* The coins mentioned in the first part of this extract, were a sort of base money of the lowest value, which was at one time imported into England, with many other pieces equally rude in their names. Most of them were, however, prohibited by stat. 3 Henry V.

frequently, it was a suskin; and rose at Henry the Third's to a dodkin. In the reign of Edward the coins begin to be more intelligible, and we find that for seeing his Coronation a Q. was given, or the half a ferling or farthing; which was the fourth part of a sterling or penny. At Edward II. it was a farthing; and at his son's, Edward III. a halfpenny, which was very well given. In Richard the Second's thoughtless reign it was a penny, and continued the same at that of Henry IV. At Henry At Henry V. it was two pennies, or the half of a grossus or groat; and the same at that of Henry VI. though, during his time, Coronations were so frequent, that the price was brought back to the penny or halfpenny, and sometimes they were seen for nothing. Edward IV. it was again the half-groat; nor do we find it raised at those of Richard III. or Henry VII. At that of Henry VIII. it was the whole groat, or grossus; nor was it altered at those of Edward VI. and Queen Mary; but at Queen Elizabeth's it was a testour or tester. those of James I. and Charles I. a shilling was given; which was advanced to half-a-crown at those of Charles II. and James II. At King William's and Queen Anne's it was a crown; and at George I. was seen by many for the same price. At George II. some gave half-a-guinea."



* King Henry the Second and King John were each of them thrice crowned, Henry the Third twice; and in the time of Henry the Sixth, the most magnificent ceremonies of Coronations took place both in England and France.

It has been stated in the foregoing proclamations, that all persons should be assisting at the Coronations whose offices or tenures required them to do so, or who should receive the King's letters missive, summoning them to be there. These letters or precepts have varied but little, save in the language in which they have been written ; the earliest which are now on record, bear the date of the first year of Edward the Second, 1307, and the following copy of one addressed to an Earl and his Countess, will give a perfect idea of their nature. The instrument itself will be found in Sandford's Coronation of King James the Second, page 18.


Right Trusty and Right Well-beloved Cousin, We Greet You well. Whereas We have appointed the 23 Day of April next, for the solemnity of Our Royal Coronation: These are therefore to Will and Command You, all Excuses set apart, that You make Your Personal Attendance on Us, at the time above-mentioned furnished and appointed as to Your Rank and Quality appertaineth there to do and perform such Services, as shall be required and belong unto you. And whereas We have also resolved, that the Coronation of Our Royal Consort the Queen, shall be solemnized on the same Day, We do further hereby require the Countess Your Wife, to make her Personal Attendance, on Our said Royal Consort, at the time, and in the manner aforesaid: Whereof You and She are not to fail. And So we bid you heartily Farewel.

GIVEN at Our Court at Whitehal, the 23 day of March, in the first Year of Our Reign, 1684-5.

But the same Proclamation states that a dispensation of attendance can be allowed by the King, upon special reasons for absence being given; and, accordingly, a specimen of such dis

« ElőzőTovább »