Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

The Third and certainly least important part of the present Collection, has been derived from No. 3890 of the Additional MSS. in the British Museum, the commonplace-book of a Mr. John Collet, as we learn from the following inscription, which is most beautifully written on its first page:













Of Mr. John Collet no further particulars than those he has himself furnished have been obtained. But it is probable he was related to "Old Mr. Collet," of the Record Office in the Tower, who is spoken of by Anthony Wood, in his memoir of Sir William Dugdale.

In submitting the selection which he has made, the Editor has endeavoured to turn the several articles of which it consists to as good an account as his abilities would admit, by identifying the parties, illustrating the customs, and showing, as far as possible, the existence of parallel superstitions. He may, perhaps, in some instances, be considered as having

[blocks in formation]

given “ an intolerable deal of sack ” to the “one half-pennyworth of bread ;” but it will, he believes, in most cases, be found upon examination that he had a purpose in doing so, a method, as it were, in his madness, and that it was not done to make a parade of his very limited reading, but rather, and that more especially in his notes to the Second Part, to call the attention of inquirers to sources of information, which are as yet too little known to the antiquarian students of this country.

It now only remains for the Editor to acknowledge his debt of gratitude to his esteemed friend John Bruce, Esq. F.S.A. for his prompt and valuable assistance upon this as upon many other occasions. He knows that, had he consulted the inclination of that gentleman, these acts of kindness must have been passed over in silence; but he really cannot consent to do so much violence to his own feelings.







The person who now makes his first appearance as a posthumous author, after a lapse of nearly two centuries from the days in which he lived, is one for whose biography the apparent materials are exceedingly scanty, and whose mere existence as a country gentleman of Norfolk is almost all that is recorded. It requires, indeed, a little research before the reader of the “Merry Passages and Jests,” now the MS. Harl. 6395, can satisfy himself of the identity of their collector; for the book contains no contemporary statement that directly specifies his name. But in the course of the volume, and particularly in the catalogue at the end, which gives the authorities from whom the anecdotes were derived, he mentions so many of his relatives, that at length it is fully ascertained that the writer was no other than Sir Nicholas Lestrange, the first Baronet of Hunstanton; the elder brother of a person of considerable reputa

; tion at the latter part of the 17th century, in what is now called periodical literature,—that voluminous essayist and political pamphleteer, Sir Roger Lestrange.

Having arrived at this conclusion, we find that several of the anecdotes which are given on the writer's own knowledge, are marked S. N. L.—the first letter being the initial of his title of knighthood, a

practice which was usual until the frequent occurrence of more than one baptismal name rendered it ambiguous and uncertain.

Sir Nicholas Lestrange was the representative of a junior branch of the Barons le Strange of Knockyn in Shropshire, which, seated on the manor of Hunstanton in Norfolk, had for many generations occupied a prominent station among the knightly houses of that county. But it is not necessary to enter here into the early history of the family. It will be found detailed at length in the History of Norfolk, and in the Baronetage by Wotton, published in 1741; and its most important points have more recently formed the subject of a memoir by Daniel Gurney, esq. F.S.A. in the XXVth volume of the Archæologia, where a long series of domestic accounts of the household at Hunstanton, during a large portion of the 16th century, have been presented to the world. The present notices will be almost entirely confined to the parties mentioned in the MS. volume which has given rise to these remarks.

Sir Nicholas was born in the year 1603; and during the whole of his life, with the exception of fourteen months, was only a heir apparent. His father Sir Hamon Lestrange, who was knighted at the Tower of London immediately on the arrival of King James the First in the metropolis of his new kingdom, on the 13th March 1603-4; and who was afterwards Sheriff of Norfolk in 1609, and M.P. for that county in 1620; was living until the 31st of May 1654, when he died at the

of seventy-one, and was buried at Hunstanton. His epitaph is cha-
racteristic not only of the age in which such quibbling epitaphs were
common, but also of the Anecdotist his son, by whom or with whose
concurrence we may presume it was inscribed :
“ Hamo EXTRANEUS miles ob. 31 Maij 1654, ætat. suce 71.

In terris Peregrinus eram, nunc Incola cceli.
In heaven at Home, o blessed change!
Who while I was on earth was Strange.”

[ocr errors]

More than thirty of Sir Nicholas's anecdotes are given on the authority of “My Father,” or “ Mon Pere;” and a still larger number on that of “ My Mother," or " Ma Mere.” The latter was Alice, the younger daughter and coheiress of Richard Stubbe, of Sedgford in Norfolk, esq. by Anne , daughter and heiress of Richard Goding, of Boston, co. Lincoln, esq. which Anne had been previously the wife of John Lestrange, esq. of Sedgford, a younger brother of Hamon Lestrange, esq. of Hunstanton, the grandfather of Sir Hamon. Alice (Sir Nicholas's mother) was baptized at Sedgford, March 6, 1595 b; and died on the 26th Nov. 1656.

Besides his father and mother, Sir Nicholas quotes the authority of

Der Stubbe, Nos. 67, 68, 90, 108.
My bro. Ham. Nos. 180, 423.
Broth. Ham. S. No. 277.
My Sist, Ham. No. 353.
My bro. Roger, Nos. 179, 236, 242, 243,

564, 565, 566.
My sister Eliz. No. 262.

Mr. Spring, No. 195, and many between

Nos. 201 and 276.
Sir W. Spring, many between No. 202

and the end.
Bro. Spring, many from No. 245 to the

The La. Spr. No. 431.

The preferments of Dr. Stubbe might perhaps be found by turning over the pages of the History of Norfolk, but there is no index to the incumbents. He was probably, however, the same with Edmund Stubbe, S.T.P. whose son John died in 1662, aged 60; and was buried at Thurton, in that county, the arms on whose tomb agree with those of Stubbe of Sedgford.

The greater part of the very numerous anecdotes furnished by the name of Spring were probably derived from one person, Sir William Spring, Bart. of Pakenham, in Suffolk, who married our author's sister Elizabeth. He is first called “ Mr. Spring” before his creation to a

* " A wench came to my Grandmother Stubbe to seeke a service," &c No. 358.

• Pedigree by Le Neve in the College of Arms : but perhaps we should read 1585. Her epitaph at Hunstanton (in the History of Norfolk, 1809, vol. x. p. 326,) states her age at her death to have been 71 ; in which case she was two years older than her husband, which is not improbable, as she was the daughter of his great-aunt.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »