Chapter 12

The Times: 1509-1558

Renaissance humanism came into being in the nation. In this development, scholars in London, Oxford, and Cambridge emphasized the value of classical learning, especially Platonism and the study of Greek literature as the means of better understanding and writing. They studied the original Greek texts and became disillusioned with the filtered interpretations of the church, for example of the Bible and Aristotle. There had long been displeasure with the priests of the church. They were supposed to preach four times yearly, visit the sick, say the daily liturgies, and hear confessions at least yearly. But there were many lapses. Many were not celibate, and some openly lived with a woman and had children. Complaints about them included not residing within their parish community, doing other work such as raising crops, and taking too much in probate, mortuary fees, and marriage fees. Probate fees had risen from at most 5s. to 60s. in the last hundred years. Mortuary fees ranged from 1/3 to 1/9 of a deceased person's goods. Sanctuary was abused. People objected to the right of arrest by ecclesiastical authorities.

Also, most parish priests did not have a theology degree or even a Bachelor's degree, as did many laymen. In fact, many laymen were better educated than the parish priests. No one other than a laborer was illiterate in the towns.

Humanist grammar [secondary] schools were established in London by merchants and guilds. In 1510, the founder and dean of St. Paul's School placed its management in the hands of London "citizens of established reputation" because he had lost confidence in the good faith of priests and noblemen. The sons of the nobility, attorneys, and merchants were starting to go to grammar school now instead of being taught at home by a tutor. At school, they mingled with sons of yeomen, farmers, and tradesmen, who were usually poor. The usual age of entry was six or seven. Classical Latin and Greek were taught and the literature of the best classical authors was read. Secondary education teachers were expected to know Latin and have studied the ancient philosophers, history, and geography. The method of teaching was for the teacher to read textbooks to the class from a prepared curriculum. The students were taught in Latin and expected not to speak English in school. They learned how to read and to write Latin, to develop and amplify a theme by logical analysis, and to essay on the same subject in the narrative, persuasive, argumentative, commending, consoling, and inciting styles. They had horn books with the alphabet and perhaps a Biblical verse on them. This was a piece of wood with a paper on it held down by a sheet of transparent horn. They also learned arithmetic (solving arithmetical problems and casting accounts). Disobedience incurred flogging by teacher as well as by parents. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the philosophy. Schools now guarded the morals and behavior of students. There were two week vacations at Christmas and at Easter. Royal grammar books for English and Latin were proclaimed by Henry in 1543 to be the only grammar book authorized for students. In 1545, he proclaimed a certain primer of prayers in English to be the only one to be used by students.

The first school of humanist studies arose in Oxford with the Foundation of Corpus Christi College in 1516 by Bishop Richard Fox. It had the first permanent Reader or Professor in Greek. The Professor of Humanity was to extirpate all barbarisms by the study of Cicero, Sallust, Valerius Maximus, and Quintilian. The third Reader of Theology was to read texts of the Holy Fathers but not those of their commentators. Oxford University was granted a charter which put the greater part of the town under control of the Chancellor and scholars. The mayor of Oxford was required to take an oath at his election to maintain the privileges and customs of the university. Roman law and other Regius professorships were founded by the king at Oxford and Cambridge. Teaching of undergraduates was the responsibility of the university rather than of the colleges, though some colleges had live-in teachers as students. Most colleges were exclusively for graduate fellows, though this was beginning to change. The university took responsibility for the student's morals and behavior and tutors sometimes whipped the undergraduates. For young noblemen, a more important part of their education than going to university was travel on the continent with a tutor. This exposure to foreign fields was no longer readily available through war or pilgrimage. The purpose was practical - to learn about foreign people and their languages, countries, and courts. Knowledge of the terrain, resources, prosperity, and stability of their countries was particularly useful to a future diplomatic or political career.

The physicians of London were incorporated to oversee and govern the practice of medicine. A faculty of physicians was established at Oxford and Cambridge. A Royal College of Physicians was founded in London in 1518 by the King's physician. The College of Physicians taught more practical medicine and anatomy than the universities. Only graduates of the College of Physicians or of Oxford or Cambridge were allowed to practice medicine or surgery.

Medical texts were Hippocrates and Galen. These viewed disease as only part of the process of nature without anything divine. They stressed empiricism, experience, collections of facts, evidences of the senses, and avoidance of philosophical speculations. Hippocrates had asserted that madness was simply a disease of the brain and then Galen had agreed and advocated merciful treatment of the insane. Galen's great remedies were proper diet, exercise, massage, and bathing. He taught the importance of a good water supply and good drainage. Greek medicinal doctrines were assumed, such as that preservation of the health of the body was dependent on air, food, drink, movement and repose, sleeping and waking, excretion and retention, and the passions. It was widely known that sleep was restorative and that bad news or worry could spoil one's digestion. An Italian book of 1507 showed that post-mortem examinations could show cause of death by gallstones, heart disease, thrombosis of the veins, or abscesses. In 1540 began the practice of giving bodies of hanged felons to surgeons to dissect. This was to deter the commission of felony. There was some feeling that dissection was a sacrilege, that the practice of medicine was a form of sorcery, and that illness and disease should be dealt with by prayer and/or atonement because caused by sin, the wrath of God, or by the devil. Food that was digested was thought to turn into a vapor which passed along the veins and was concreted as blood, flesh, and fat. After 1546, there was a book listing hundreds of drugs with preparation directions, but their use and application was by trial and error.

In 1543, Flemish physician Andreas Vesalius, who had secretly dissected human corpses, published the first finely detailed description of human anatomy. In it, there was no missing rib on one side of man, and this challenged the theory of the woman Eve having been made from a rib of the man Adam.

In the 1540s, Ambroise Pare from France, a barber-surgeon who was the son of a servant, was an army surgeon. Wounds at this time were treated with boiling oil and spurting vessels were closed by being seared with a red-hot iron. After he ran out of boiling oil, he observed that the soldiers without this treatment were healing better than those with this treatment. So he advocated ceasing the practice of cauterizing wounds. He also began tying arteries with cord to stop their bleeding after amputation many other surgical techniques.

Students were beginning to read for the bar by their own study of the newly available printed texts, treatises, and collections of statute law and of cases, instead of listening in court and talking with attorneys.

In 1523, Anthony Fitzherbert wrote "Boke of Husbandry", which set forth the most current methods of arable farming, giving details of tools and equipment, advice on capital outlay, methods of manuring, draining, ploughing, and rick-building. It was used by many constantly, and was often carried around in the pocket. This began a new way to disseminate new methods in agriculture. He also wrote a "Boke of Surveying", which relied on the perch rod and compass dial, and gave instruction on how to set down the results of a survey. In 1533, Gemma Frisius laid down the principles of topographical survey by triangulation. This improved the quality of surveys and produced accurate plots.

Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" was a popular book. Through Chaucer, London English became a national standard and the notion of "correct pronunciation" came into being.

The discoveries and adventures of Amerigo Vespucci, a Portuguese explorer, were widely read. The North and South American continents were named for him.

London merchant guilds began to be identified mainly with hospitality and benevolence instead of being trading organizations. Twelve great companies dominated city politics and effectively chose the mayor and aldermen. They were, in order of precedence, Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Tailors, Haberdashers, Ironmongers, Salters, Vintners, and the Clothworkers (composed from leading fullers and shearmen). The leading men of these guilds were generally aldermen and the guilds acted like municipal committees of trade and manufactures. Then they superintended the trade and manufactures of London much like a government department. They were called Livery Companies and categorized their memberships in three grades: mere membership, livery membership, and placement on the governing body. Livery members were distinguished by having the clothing of the brotherhood [its livery] and all privileges, and proprietary and municipal rights, in the fullest degree. They generally had a right to a place at the Company banquets. They were invited by the governing body, as a matter of favor, to other entertainments. These liverymen were usually those who had bought membership and paid higher fees because they were richer. Their pensions were larger than those of mere members. Those with mere membership were freemen who had only the simple freedom of the trade. The masters were usually householders. The journeymen, yeomanry, bachelors were simple freemen. Most of these companies had almshouses attached to their halls for the impoverished, disabled, and elderly members and their widows and children. For instance, many members of the Goldsmiths had been blinded by the fire and smoke of quicksilver and some members had been rendered crazed and infirm by working in that trade. The freedom and rights of citizenship of the city could only be obtained through membership in a livery company.

A lesser guild, the Leathersellers, absorbed the Glovers, Pursers, and Pouchmakers. These craftsmen then became wage earners of the Leathersellers, but others of these craftsmen remained independent. Before, the Whittawyers, who treated horse, deer, and sheep hides with alum and oil, had become wage earners for the Skinners.

Londoners went to the fields outside the city for recreation and games. When farmers enclosed some suburban common fields in 1514, a crowd of young men marched out to them and, crying "shovels and spades", uprooted the hedges and filled in the ditches, thus reclaiming the land for their traditional games. The last major riot in London was aroused by a speaker on May Day in 1517 when a thousand disorderly young men, mostly apprentices, defied the curfew and looted shops and houses of aliens. A duke with two thousand soldiers put it down in mid-afternoon, after which the king executed fifteen of the rioters.

Many English migrated to London. There were ambitious young men and women hopeful of betterment through employment, apprenticeship, higher wages, or successful marriage. On the other hand, there were subsistence migrants forced to leave their homes for food, work, or somewhere to live. There was much social mobility. For instance, between 1551 and 1553, of 881 persons admitted as freemen of London, 46 were the sons of gentlemen, 136 the sons of yeomen, and 289 the sons of farm workers. London grew in population about twice as fast as the nation. The fortunes of landowners varied; some went into aristocratic debt by ostentatiously spending on building, clothes, food, and drink, and some became indebted by inefficient management. Some had to sell their manors and dismiss their servants.

There are 26 wards of London as of 1550. This is the number for the next four centuries. Each ward has an alderman, a clerk, and a chief constable. There are also in each ward about 100 to 300 elected officials including prickers, benchers, blackbootmen, fewellers [keepers of greyhounds], scribes, a halter-cutter, introducers, upperspeakers, under speakers, butlers, porters, inquestmen, scavengers, constables, watchmen, a beadle, jurymen, and common councilmen. The wardmote had inquest jurisdiction over immorality or bad behavior such as vagrancy, delinquency, illegitimacy, and disputes. This contributed greatly to social stability. In 1546, Henry ordered the London brothels closed. A small gaol was established in the Clink district of Southwark, giving the name "clink" to any small gaol. London ordinances required journeymen to work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in winter, with a total of 90 minutes breaks for breakfast, dinner, and an afternoon drink, for 7d. In the summer they had to work for two hours longer for 8d. At its peak in the 1540s the court employed about 200 gentlemen, which was about half the peerage and one-fifth of the greater gentry. Henry issued a proclamation ordering noblemen and gentlemen in London not employed by the court to return to their country homes to perform their service to the king.

Though there was much agreement on the faults of the church and the need to reform it, there were many disagreements on what philosophy of life should take the place of church teachings. The humanist Thomas More was a university trained intellectual. His book "Utopia", idealized an imaginary society living according to the principles of natural virtue. In it, everything is owned in common and there is no need for money. All believe that there is a God who created the world and all good things and who guides men, and that the soul is immortal. But otherwise people choose their religious beliefs and their priests. From this perspective, the practices of current Christians, scholastic theologians, priests and monks, superstition, and ritual look absurd. He encouraged a religious revival. Aristotle's position that virtuous men would rule best is successfully debated against Plato's position that intellectuals and philosophers would be the ideal rulers.

More believed the new humanistic studies should be brought to women as well as to men. He had tutors teach all his children Latin, Greek, logic, theology, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy from an early age. His eldest daughter Margaret became a recognized scholar and translated his treatise on the lord's prayer. Other high class women became highly educated. They voiced their opinions on religious matters. In the 1530s, the Duchess of Suffolk spoke out for reform of the clergy and against images, relics, shrines, pilgrimages, and services in Latin. She and the countess of Sussex supported ministers and established seminaries for the spread of the reformed faith.

More pled for proportion between punishment and crime. He urged that theft no longer be punished by death because this only encouraged the thief to murder his victim to eliminate evidence of the theft. He opined that the purpose of punishment was to reform offenders. He advocated justice for the poor to the standard of justice received by the rich.

Erasmus, a former monk, visited the nation for a couple of years and argued that reason should prevail over religious belief. He wrote the book "In Praise of Folly", which noted man's elaborate pains in misdirected efforts to gain the wrong thing. For instance, it questioned what man would stick his head into the halter of marriage if he first weighed the inconveniences of that life? Or what woman would ever embrace her husband if she foresaw or considered the dangers of childbirth and the drudgery of motherhood? Childhood and senility are the most pleasant stages of life because ignorance is bliss. Old age forgetfulness washes away the cares of the mind. A foolish and doting old man is freed from the miseries that torment the wise and has the chief joy of life: garrulousness. The seekers of wisdom are the farthest from happiness; they forget the human station to which they were born and use their arts as engines with which to attack nature. The least unhappy are those who approximate the naiveness of the beasts and who never attempt what is beyond men. As an example, is anyone happier than a moron or fool? Their cheerful confusion of the mind frees the spirit from care and gives it many-sided delights. Fools are free from the fear of death and from the pangs of conscience. They are not filled with vain worries and hopes. They are not troubled by the thousand cares to which this life is subject. They experience no shame, fear, ambition, envy, or love. In a world where men are mostly at odds, all agree in their attitude towards these innocents. They are sought after and sheltered; everyone permits them to do and say what they wish with impunity. However, the usual opinion is that nothing is more lamentable than madness. The Christian religion has some kinship with folly, while it has none at all with wisdom. For proof of this, notice that children, old people, women, and fools take more delight than anyone else in holy and religious things, led no doubt solely by instinct. Next, notice that the founders of religion have prized simplicity and have been the bitterest foes of learning. Finally, no people act more foolishly than those who have been truly possessed with Christian piety. They give away whatever is theirs; they overlook injuries, allow themselves to be cheated, make no distinction between friends and enemies, shun pleasure, and feast on hunger, vigils, tears, labors, and scorn. They disdain life, and utterly prefer death. In short, they have become altogether indifferent to ordinary interests, as if their souls lived elsewhere and not in their bodies. What is this, if not to be mad? The life of Christians is run over with nonsense. They make elaborate funeral arrangements, with candles, mourners, singers, and pallbearers. They must think that their sight will be returned to them after they are dead, or that their corpses will fall ashamed at not being buried grandly. Christian theologians, in order to prove a point, will pluck four or five words out from different places, even falsifying the sense of them if necessary, and disregard the fact that their context was relevant or even contradicted their points. They do this with such brazen skill that our attorneys are often jealous of them.

Attorney Christopher St. German wrote the legal treatise "Doctor and Student", in which he deems the law of natural reason to be supreme and eternal. The law of God and the law of man, as enunciated by the church and royalty, merely supplement the law of natural reason and may change from time to time. Examples of the law of reason are: It is good to be loved. Evil is to be avoided. Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. Do nothing against the truth. Live peacefully with others. Justice is to be done to every man. No one is to wrong another. A trespasser should be punished. From these is deduced that a man should love his benefactor. It is lawful to put away force with force. It is lawful for every man to defend himself and his goods against an unlawful power.

Like his father, Henry VIII dominated Parliament. He used this power to reform the church of England in the 1530's. The Protestant reformation cause, started in Germany in 1517 by Martin Luther posting his thesis, had become identified with Henry's efforts to have his marriage of eighteen years to the virtuous Catherine annulled so he could marry a much younger woman: Anne. His purported reason was to have a son. The end of his six successive wives was: annulled, beheaded, died; annulled, beheaded, survived. Henry VIII was egotistical, arrogant, and self- indulgent. This nature allowed him to declare himself the head of the church of England instead of the pope.

Henry used and then discarded officers of state e.g. by executing them for supposed treason. One such was Thomas Wolsey, the son of a town grazier [one who pastures cattle and rears them for market] and butcher, who was another supporter of classical learning. He rose through the church, the gateway to advancement in a diversity of occupations of clergy such as secretary, librarian, teacher, attorney, doctor, author, civil servant, diplomat, and statesman. He was a court priest when he aligned himself with Henry, both of whom wanted power and glory and dressed extravagantly. But he was brilliant and more of a strategist than Henry. Wolsey called himself a reformer and started a purge of criminals, vagrants and prostitutes within London, bringing many before the council. But most of his reforming plans were not brought to fruition, but ended after his campaign resulted in more power for himself. Wolsey rose to be Chancellor to the King and Archbishop of York. As the representative of the pope for England, he exercised almost full papal authority there. But he controlled the church in England in the King's interest. He was second only to the King and he strengthened the crown by consolidating power and income that had been scattered among nobles and officeholders. He also came to control the many courts. Wolsey centralized the church in England and dissolved the smaller monasteries, the proceeds of which he used to build colleges at Oxford and his home town. He was an impartial and respected justice.

When Wolsey was not able to convince the pope to give Henry an annulment of his marriage, Henry dismissed him and took his property, shortly after which Wolsey died.

The King replaced Wolsey as Chancellor with Thomas More, after whom he made Thomas Cromwell Chancellor. Cromwell, the son of a clothworker/blacksmith/brewer/innkeeper, was a self-taught attorney, arbitrator, merchant, and accountant. Like Wolsey, he was a natural orator. He drafted and had passed legislation that created a new church of England. He had all men swear an oath to the terms of the succession statute. Thomas More was known for his honesty and was a highly respected man. More did not yield to Henry's bullying for support for his statute declaring the succession to be vested in the children of his second marriage, and his statute declaring himself the supreme head of the church of England, instead of the pope. He did not expressly deny this supremacy statute, so was not guilty of treason under its terms. But silence did not save him. He was attainted for treason on specious grounds and beheaded. His conviction rested on the testimony of one perjured witness, who misquoted More as saying that Parliament did not have the power to require assent to the supremacy statute because it was repugnant to the common law of Christendom.

Henry ruled with an iron fist. In 1536, he issued a proclamation that "any rioters or those in an unlawful assembly shall return to their houses" or "we will proceed against them with all our royal force and destroy them and their wives and children." In 1538, he proclaimed that anyone hurting or maiming an officer while trying to make an arrest "shall lose and forfeit all their lands, goods, and chattel" and shall suffer perpetual imprisonment. Moreover, if one murdered such an officer, he would suffer death without privilege of sanctuary or of clergy. In 1540, he proclaimed that there would be no shooting by handgun except on a shooting range. Henry had Parliament pass bills of attainder against many people. For the first time, harsh treatment of prisoners in the Tower, such as placement in dungeons with little food, no bed, and no change of clothes, became almost a matter of policy. Through his host of spies, Cromwell heard what men said to their closest friends. Words idly spoken were distorted into treasonable utterances. Fear spread through the people. Silence was a person's only possibility of safety.

Cromwell developed a technique for the management of the House of Commons which lasted for generations. He promulgated books in defense of royal spiritual authority, which argued that canon law was not divine but merely human and that clerical authority had no foundation in the Bible. A reformed English Bible was put in all parish churches. Reformers were licensed to preach. Cromwell ordered sermons to be said which proclaimed the supremacy of the King. He instituted registers to record baptisms, marriages, and burials in every county, for the purpose of reducing disputes over descent and inheritance. He dissolved all the lesser monasteries.

When Cromwell procured a foreign wife for Henry whom Henry found unattractive, he was attainted and executed.

Henry now reconstructed his council to have a fixed membership, an official hierarchy based on rank, a secretariat, an official record, and formal powers to summon individuals before it by legal process. Because it met in the King's Privy Lodgings, it was called the "Privy Council". It met daily instead of just during the terms of the Westminster courts from late autumn to early summer. It communicated with the king through intermediaries, of whom the most important was the King's Secretary. Because it was a court council, part of it traveled with the king, while the other part conducted London business. When Henry went to war in France, part of the council went with him, and part of it stayed to attend the Queen Regent.

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote the first English Common Book of Prayer. With its use beginning in 1549, church services were to be held in English instead of Latin. The celebration of the Lord's Supper was a communion among the parishioners and minister all sharing the wine and bread. It replaced the mass, in which the priests were thought to perform a miraculous change of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, which the priest then offered as a sacrifice for remission of pain or guilt. This reflected the blood sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross. In the mass, only the priests drank the wine. The mass, miracles, the worship of saints, prayers for souls in purgatory, and pilgrimages to shrines such as that of Thomas Becket, were all to be discontinued. Imprisonment or exile rather than death was made the penalty for heresy and blasphemy, and also for adultery.

After the King dissolved the greater monasteries, he took and sold their ornaments, silver plate and jewelry, lead from roofs of their buildings, and finally much of the land itself. Many maps of manors and lands were made at this time. Three monasteries were converted into the first three treating hospitals in London, one for the diseased, one for the poor, and one, Bethlehem (or "Bedlam" for short), for the mentally ill. But there were still many poor, sick, blind, aged, and impotent people in the streets since the closure of the monasteries. In 1552, there were 2,100 people in need of relief, including 300 orphans, 600 sick or aged, 350 poor men overburdened with their children, 650 decayed householders, and 200 idle vagabonds. The poor often begged at parishes, where they spread disease. London then set up a poor relief scheme. The Bridewell was established to set to work the idle, vagabonds, and prostitutes making feather bed ticks and wool-cards, drawing of wire, carding, knitting, and winding of silk. Parishes were required to give money for the poor in 1563. Other towns followed London's lead in levying a poor rate.

Henry used the proceeds from the sale of the monasteries for building many new palaces and wood ships for his navy. In war, these navy ships had heavy guns which could sink other ships. In peace time, these ships were hired out to traders. Large ships were constructed in docks, made partly by digging and partly by building walls. In 1545, henry issued a proclamation ordering all vagabonds, ruffians, masterless men, and evil-disposed persons to serve him in his navy.

The former land of the monasteries, about 30% of the country's land, was sold and resold, usually to great landowners, or leased. Title deeds became important as attorneys sought the security that title could give. Some land went to entrepreneurial cloth manufacturers, who converted the buildings for the manufacture of cloth. They bought the raw wool and hired craftsmen for every step of the manufacturing process to be done in one continuous process. This was faster than buying and selling the wool material between craftsmen who lived in different areas. Also, it was more efficient because the amount of raw wool bought could be adjusted to the demand for cloth.

Many landowners now could live in towns exclusively off the rents of their rural land. Rents were increased so much that tenants could not pay and were evicted. They usually became beggars or thieves. Much of their former land was converted from crop raising to pasture for large herds of sheep. Arable farming required many workers, whereas sheep farming required only one shepherd and herdsman. There were exceptional profits made from the export of wool cloth. But much raw wool was still exported. Its price went up from 6s.8d. per tod [about 28 pounds] in 1340 to 20s.8d. in 1546.

Villeinage was now virtually extinct. A lord could usually claim a small money-rent from the freeholder, sometimes a relief when his land was sold or passed at death, and occasionally a heriot from his heir.

There was steady inflation. Landlords made their leases short term so that they could raise rents as prices rose. Copyholders gradually acquired a valuable right in their holdings; their rent became light - less that a shilling an acre.

At least 85% of the population still lived in the country. Rich traders built town or country houses in which the emphasis was on comfort and privacy. There was more furniture, bigger windows filled with glass, thick wallpaper, and formal gardens. Use of thick, insulating wallpaper rose with the rise of paper mills. It was stenciled, hand-painted, or printed. Some floors were tiled instead of stone or wood. They were still strewn with straw. The owners ate in a private dining room and slept in their own rooms with down quilts. Their soap was white. They had clothing of white linen and white wool, leather slippers, and felt hats. Men wore long tunics open at the neck and filled in with pleated linen and enormous puffed sleeves.

Henry made proclamations reminding people of the apparel laws, but they were difficult to enforce. Henry also made a proclamation limiting the consumption of certain meat according to status. Seven dishes were allowed to bishops, dukes, marquises, and earls; six to other temporal lords; five to justices, the King's council, sheriffs, and persons with an income of at least 200 pounds yearly or goods worth 2000 pounds; four to persons with an income of at least 100 pounds or goods worth 1000 pounds; and three dishes to persons with an income of at least 100 pounds or goods worth 500 pounds. There were limits on types of meat served, such as a maximum of one dish of great fowl such as crane, swan, and peacock; eight quail per dish; and twelve larks in a dish. People used tin or pewter dishes, platters, goblets, saucers, spoons, saltcellars, pots, and basins. They used soap to wash themselves, their clothes, and their dishes. A solid, waxy soap was from evaporating a mixture of goat fat, water, and ash high in potassium carbonate. They had bedcovers on their beds. Cloth bore the mark of its weaver and came in many colors. Cloth could be held together with pins that had a shank with a hook by which they were closed. People went to barbers to cut their hair and to extract teeth. They went to people experienced with herbs, roots, and waters for treatment of skin conditions such as sores, cuts, burns, swellings, irritated eyes or scaly faces. For more complicated ailments, they went to physicians, who prescribed potions and medicines. They bought potions and medicines from apothecaries and pharmacists. They burned wood logs in the fireplaces in their houses. So much wood was used that young trees were required by statute to be given enough lateral space to spread their limbs and were not cut down until mature.

The King, earls, who ruled counties, and barons, who had land and a place in the House of Lords, still lived in the most comfort. The King's house had courtyards, gardens, orchards, wood-yards, tennis courts, and bowling alleys.

The walls of the towns were manned by the citizens themselves, with police and watchmen at their disposal. In inns, travelers slept ten to a bed and there were many fleas and an occasional rat or mouse running through the rushes strewn on the floor. The inn provided a bed and ale, but travelers brought their own food. Each slept with his purse under his pillow.

In markets, sellers set up booths for their wares. They sold grain for making oatmeal or for sowing one's own ground. Wine, butter, cheese, fish, chicken, and candles could also be bought. Butchers bought killed sheep, lambs, calves, and pigs to cut up for selling. Tanned leather was sold to girdlemakers and shoemakers. Goods bought in markets were presumed not to be stolen, so that a purchaser could not be dispossessed of goods bought unless he had knowledge that they were stolen.

The ruling group of the towns came to be composed mostly of merchants, manufacturers, attorneys, and physicians. Some townswomen were independent traders. The governed class contained small master craftsmen and journeyman artisans, small traders, and dependent servants. The major streets of London were paved with stone, with a channel in the middle. More water conduits from hills, heaths, and springs were built to provide the citizens of London with more water. The sewers carried only surface water away. Households were forbidden to use the sewers. Privies emptied into cesspools.

The Merchant Adventurers' Fellowship brought virtually all adventurers under its control and organized and regulated the national cloth trade. It had a General Court of the Adventurers sitting in the London Mercers' Hall. Various companies were granted monopolies for trade in certain areas of the world such as Turkey, Spain, France, Venice, the Baltic, and Africa. These were regulated companies. That is they obtained complete control of a particular foreign market, but any merchant who cared to join the company, pay its dues, and obey its regulations, might share in the benefits of its monopoly. The companies generally confined trade to men who were primarily merchants and not shopkeepers. In 1553 explorer Sebastian Cabot formed the Muscovy Company, which was granted a monopoly in its charter for trade with north Russia. It was oriented primarily to export English woolen cloth. It was the first company trading on a joint stock, which was arranged as a matter of convenience and safety. The risks were too great for any few individuals. It hired ships and assigned space to each member to ship his goods at his own risk. The dividend was return to the subscribers of the capital put in plus an appropriate share of any profits made on the voyage. I.e. the money was divided up. The members began leaving their money with the company for the next voyage. A general stock grew up. In 1568 were the first industrial companies: Mines Royal, and Mineral and Battery Works. The cloth, mining, iron, and woodcraft industries employed full-time workers on wages. In the ironworks and foundries, the furnace blowing engines were worked by water wheels or by a gear attached to donkeys or horses. The forge hammers were worked at first by levers and later by water wheels. The day and night hammering filled the neighborhood with their noise.

Land held in common was partitioned. There were leases of mansion houses, smaller dwelling houses, houses with a wharf having a crane, houses with a timber yard, houses with a garden, houses with a shed, shops, warehouses, cellars, and stables. Lands with a dye-house or a brew-house were devised by will along with their dying or brewing implements. There were dairies making butter and cheese.

The knights had 70% of the land, the nobles 10%, the church 10%, and king 5%.

Citizens paid taxes to the king amounting to one tenth of their annual income from land or wages. Merchants paid "forced loans" and benevolences. The national government was much centralized and had full-time workers on wages. A national commission of sewers continually surveyed walls, ditches, banks, gutters, sewers, ponds, bridges, rivers, streams, mills, locks, trenches, fish- breeding ponds, and flood gates. When low places were threatened with flooding, it hired laborers, bought timber, and hired carts with horses or oxen for necessary work. Mayors of cities repaired water conduits and pipes under their cities' ground.

The organ and the harp, precursor to the piano, were played.

All people generally had enough food because of the commercialization of agriculture. Even the standard meal of the peasant was bread, bacon, cheese, and beer or cider, with beef about twice a week. Also, roads were good enough for the transport of foodstuffs thereon. Four-wheeled wagons for carrying people as well as goods. Goods were also transported by the pulling of barges on the rivers from paths along the river. A plough with wheels was used as well as those without.

The matchlock musket came into use, but did not replace the bow because its matchcord didn't remain lit in rainy weather. The matchlock was an improvement over the former musket because both hands could be used to hold and aim the matchlock musket because the powder was ignited by a device that touched a slow-burning cord to the powder when a trigger was pulled with one finger.

After the break with Rome, cooperation among villagers in church activities largely ceased. The altars and images previously taken care of by them disappeared and the paintings on the walls were covered with white or erased, and scripture texts put in their place. People now read the new Bible, the "Paraphrases" of Erasmus, Foxe's "Book of Martyrs", and the works of Bishop Jewel. The Book of Martyrs taught the duty and splendor of rising above all physical danger or suffering. The canon law of the church was abolished and its study prohibited. Professorships of the civil law were founded at the two universities. The Inns of Court grew. Attorneys had more work with the new laws passed to replace the church canons of the church. They played an important role in town government and many became wealthy. They acquired town houses in addition to their rural estates.

Church reforms included abolishing church sanctuaries. Benefit of clergy was restricted. Parsons were allowed to marry. Archbishops were selected by the king without involvement by the pope. Decisions by archbishops in testamentary, matrimonial, and marriage annulment matters were appealable to the Court of Chancery instead of to the pope. The clergy's canons were subject to the King's approval. The control of the church added to the powers of the Crown to summon and dissolve Parliament, coin money, create peers [members of the House of Lords who received individual writs of summons to Parliament], pardon criminals, order the arrest of dangerous persons without customary process of law in times of likely insurrection, tax and call men to arms without the consent of Parliament if the country were threatened with invasion.

About 1550 there began indictments and executions for witchcraftery which lasted for about a century. One of the reasons for suspecting a woman to be a witch was that she lived alone, which was very unusual.

Henry ordered all alien Anabaptists, who denied the validity of infant baptism, to leave the realm.

In Switzerland, Theophrastus Paracelsus, an astrologer and alchemist who later became a physician, did not believe that humor imbalance caused disease nor in treatment by bloodletting or purging. He believed that there were external causes of disease, e.g. toxic matter in food, contagion, defective physical or mental constitution, cosmic influences differing with climate and country, or affliction sent Providence. He urged that wounds be kept clean rather than given poultices. In 1530, he pioneered the application of chemistry to physiology, pathology, and the treatment of disease by starting clinical diagnosis and treatment of disease by highly specific medicines, instead of by cure-alls. For instance, he used alkalis to treat disease, such as gout, indicated by certain substances in the urine, which also started urinalysis. He perceived that syphilis was caused by contagion and used mercury to cure it. He found curative powers also in opium, sulphur, iron, and arsenic. Opium was made by drying and cooking the capsule of the poppy and was one of the few really effective early drugs. Paracelsus urged alchemists to try to prepare drugs from minerals for the relief of suffering. He claimed to acquire knowledge of cures through spiritual contacts to occult wisdom. He believed that a human being has an invisible body as well as a visible one and that it is closely attuned to imagination and the spiritual aspect of an individual. He noticed that one's attitudes and emotions, such as anger, could affect one's health. He sometimes used suggestion and signs to help a patient form mental images, which translated into cures. He saw insanity as illness instead of possession by evil spirits.

Understanding of the celestial world began to change. Contemporary thought was that the nature of all things was to remain at rest, so that movement and motion had to be explained by causes. The earth was stationary and the heavens were spherical and revolved around the earth every twenty-four hours. The universe was finite. The firmament extended outward in a series of rotating, crystalline, ethereal spheres to which were attached the various points of celestial geography. First came the circle of the moon. The sun orbited the earth. The fixed stars rotated on an outer firmament. Finally, there was the abode of God and his heavenly hosts. Different principles ruled the celestial world; it was orderly, stable, ageless, and enduring. But the world of man changed constantly due to its mixed four elements of air, earth, fire, and water each trying to disentangle itself from the others and seeking to find its natural location. The heavenly spheres could affect the destinies of men, such as through fate, fortune, intelligence, cherubim, seraphim, angels, and archangels. Astrologers read the celestial signs and messages.

Then a seed of doubt was cast on this theory by Nicholaus Copernicus, a timid monk in Poland, who found inconsistencies in Ptolemy's work, but saw similarity in the movements of the earth and other planets. He inferred from the "wandering" planetary movements with loops that their motion could be explained simply if they were revolving in circular paths around the sun, rather than around the earth. In his book of 1543, he also expressed his belief that the earth also revolved around the sun. This idea so shocked the world that the word "revolution" became associated with radical change. He thought it more likely that the earth rotated than that the stars moved with great speed in their large orbits. He proposed that the earth spins on its own axis about once every twenty-four hours, with a spin axis at about a 23 1/2 degree tilt from the orbital axis, thus explaining a slow change in the overall appearances of the fixed stars which had been observed since the time of Ptolemy. He deduced from astronomical measurements that the correct order of the planets from the Sun was: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The church considered his ideas heretical because contradictory to its dogma that man and the earth were the center of the universe. A central sun evoked images of pagan practices of sun worship.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook