SchooIdays - Memories and History
                     Pre 20th. Century



WE know with certainty of only three Cutlers' Halls. They successively occupied the same site, in Church Street. Their dates are I638, I726, I832. The late Mr. John Holland expressed the belief that there had been a still earlier hall, standing at the top of Coal Pit Lane, where, in his young days, there was a grinding wheel. Any evidence of the existence of such a building is wholly lacking. There was, until recently, an old house, with low mullioned windows, immediately above the Coal Pit Lane Chapel, which had been long in the family of Mr. E. Linley, sheep-shear manufacturer. Around this hovered a tradition that it had once been a Cutlers' Hall, but this was probably based on no more substantial foundation than the circumstance that over its door~say a stone shield bore the initials "J. L. S.," with the cross daggers. And the occurrence of Cutlers' Company insignia on houses in Sheffield and the neighbourhoodÑ whether utilised from older buildings, or carved by Masters or private members of the Company in pride of office or as a sort of trade markÑis too frequent for any special stress to be laid on the fact. We are not on firm standing ground until I638, When, John Crooke being Master, the Company " built, at a cost of £I50 I5s. IId., a hall on the site of some old burbage houses opposite the south side of the Church"Ñthat is, in Church Street. Between its incorporatian in I624 and that date, the Company met in a " chamber "Ñprobably, in accordance with the custom of lhe times, a room in some public-house, which would naturally be called " The Cutlers' Inn " or " The Cutlers' Arms. " Dr. Gatty has given* what purports to be a picture of the " Old Cutlers' Hall, erected in I638, taken down in I832." The hall of I638 was taken down not in I832 but in I726. ----------- * " Sheffield Past and Present," p. 333. ----------- This, however, is a minor objection, for the building repre- sented is not the Cutlers' Hall. An oval carving of the arms of the London Cutlers' Company gives it something of an official appearance, but it has always been difficult to reconcile the signboard under this, bearing the inscription, "Cutlers' Inn, by A. Schofield," with the dignity of a Corporate Company. That signboard is, however, a fortunate circum- stance, for it has all the effect of a genuine "trade mark," enabling us to identify the building as what it really isÑnot the Cutlers Hall in Church Street, but the Cutlers' Inn, afterwards known as the Cutlers' Arms, on the west side of Fargate, nearly facing Norfolk Row. We know that Anthony Schofield kept that house as late as I82I. How this erection came to have a medallion of the arms of the (London) Cutlers' Company one cannot tell. The building is possibly coeval with the Act of Incorporation in I624, and if we care to give rein to the imagination it may be that in it was the " chamber" in which the Company met before, in I638, it built a house for itself. This, however, is but guesss-work. Disappointing though it be to abandon the belief that we possess a picture of the first Cutlers' Hall, the drawing is of interest as a specimen of the old Sheffield inns, and as showing how much better was the street architecture at the beginning of the seventeenth century than in the period which followed. If the earliest hall was similar in style to tbis inn, we cannot but regard with regret the decadence marked by contrasting it with the severer and far less artistic conception of its successor, erected in the last years of the reign of George II. (I726). For the frontage is quaint and effective, and is imbued with true architectural feeling. The seventeenth century inn had a central doorway, sur- mounted by a triangular pediment, with wooden pillars at the sides, whose bases enclosed entrance steps. The door was flanked on either hand by two o small windows, with outside shutters on hinges. The windows on the left were somewhat cramped, to leave room for an opening leading to the back of the premises. String courses marked the several storeys, that between the first and second being especially bold. These storeys had each stone mullioned windows, two on one side but three on the other balancing the back entrance below. Between these ranges of windows, breaking the horizontal moulding over the first floor, was the cutlers' device; under it the inn signboard. The attics were in, two effective gables, over an emphatic cornice. The whole was built of rough stone, accentuated with corner quoins. The contrast between this and therelentlessly stiff and formal Cutlers' Hall of the eighteenth century is painful. Sketches which have been preserved show the latter to have been devoid of imagination and expression. There was, indeed, some attempt to give it character by making the corners of projecting stones, large and with deep grooves between, and by surrounding the windows with broad stone borders; but the string courses were feeble and wanting in emphasis. There were two entrance doors balancing one another, surrounded by plain stone mouldings, and with pediments above; between these, two windows, protected by circular iron railings adorned with cross daggers. The upper storeys had each four windows, and in the centre, between them, was the coat of arms of the CompanyÑstill preserved in a wall at the back of the present edifice. We have the late Mr. John Holland's personal testimony to the fact that it was the custom to paint the whole exterior, and that the Master Cutler of one year was very proud of having chosen blue as an appropriate colour. The interior contained a Court-room and a dining-room, each with capacity to seat sixty persons at dinner. The chief of these rooms was wainscoted in I740 at a cost (mark the precision of the halfpenny) of £65 I4S. 0.5d. Then there were the low street room, the blue room, and the red room, into each of which, on occasion, fifty, or nearly fifty, guests could be crowdedÑgiving a total dining accommodation for 260 persons. In the record which has thoughtfully preserved for us these particulars,* it is quaintly if ungallantly added that " the bedroom, if possible, is preserved for the old mistresses ------------- * Memorandum Book of Mr. Joseph Ward, Master Cutler in I790, quoted in Mr. J. D. Leader's " Notes on the Cutlers' Company's Accounts -------------- assisting at the Feast"Ñthat is, in attendance behind the scenes, with true housewifely care looking after the cook and the waiters, and seeing that the dinner was properly served. Many of us are able to recall the time when the preparation of the Feast was entrusted to Mrs. Roome, a very capable local cook, and when the Mistress Cutler considered it by no means beneath her dignity to supervise personally the details of the entertainment for her hushand's guestsÑwhich, perhaps, showed more real hospitality, if less magnificence, than a later practice of giving some London caterer carte blanche, and simply writing a cheque for his bill. A great deal has been written on the origin and growth of the Cutlers' FeastÑan institution which was long regarded as the one great local event of each year. Dr. Gatty was inclined to trace its beginning to the time when the last Earl of Shrewsbury, who died in I6I6, was accustomed to allow the " apron men " to carry off, for a venison feast, as many bucks, turned into a meadow from Sheffield Park for the purpose, as they could kill with their hands.* The only basis for this is the conjecture that we have a survival of it in the habit of neighbouring noblemen sending presents of venison to the Feast. In I664, the Howards having succeeded the Talbots, the slaughter orgie was discontinued, and the Earl of Arundel sent two bucks, not, be it remarked, for the Cutlers, but for a venison feast for the Free Tenants. The Burgery paid Thomas Scargill 8s. I0d., his charges at the feast, and more- over sent " my lord" a return present of thirteen gallons of wine, costing £I I9s., and 4d. for carriage. They had given to John l~arker 2s. for bringing the two bucks; so that, on the whole, the venison was well paid for. The earliest authentic note we get of the Cutlers' Feast is in I648, ten years after the Company had a hall of its own, when Robert Brelsforth, the Master for the year, was " allowed £I IOs. for ye company dinners, which is ye first on record." By I672 the allowance had been increased to £2 IOs., and it had become the custom to invite neighbouring magnates to attend. Sir John Reresby, of Thrybergh, M.P. for Aldborough --------------------- * " Sheffield Past and Present," p. 77. --------------------- and afterwards for York City, of which he was also Governor, had put himself to much trouble successfully to fight the battle of the smiths of Hallamshire against persistent attempts to levy the hearth-tax on their forges. He records how, in I677, having refused the offer of a handsome present: " I went to dine at Sheffield at the Cutlers' Feast, being invited by the Corporation, where I was received by the master and his assistants in the street with loud music, the shouts of the rabble, and with ringing of bells, and, after being conducted into the Town Hall (? Cutlers' Hall) was enter- tained with a very good dinner and great plenty of wine." * In I679, when "the Master of the Cutlers of Hallamshire came and invited me to their Feast," Reresby, like a shrewd electioneerer, exacted from the members, as the price of his attendance, a promise " to give their votes for the knights of the shire as I should direct them"; but he complained that "they abused me in it, which I afterwards justly resented."+ Sir John, however, when the bitterness of the contest was over, forgave his ungrateful neighbours. Writing on the 2Ist August, I680, he says: " In my return from Buxton, where I went on the eleventh for my wife's health, I returned by Chatsworth, where the good Lord Devonshire received me with great kindness. I sent my wife the direct way, and met her at Sheffield, where the Corporation of Cutlers, and some principal men of the town, hearing that I was to pass that way, came to see me at my inn, and with great importunity prevailed with me, not- withstanding their late ingratitude (for in a neighbourhood where Providence hath placed one to live, and one's family to abide, as one that hath power must sometimes resist ill things, so one must sometimes forgive), to receive a treat they had prepared for me then; as also to dine at their feast a week after, or thereabouts." Accordingly: " August 28th.ÑI went with my wife and family to the Cutlers' Feast at Sheffield, with some neighbours; I took with me the numberer of nearly thirty horse. The Master and War- dens, attended by an infinite crowd, met me at the entrance into the town with music and hautboys. I alighted from my coach and went afoot with the Master to the Hall, where we had an extraordinary dinner; but it was at the charge of the ------------ * Reresby's Memoirs, edited by Cartwright, p. 126. + Ib, p. 176. ------------ Corporation of Cutlers. In the afternoon the burgesses of the town invited me and all my company to a treat of wlne at a tavern, where we were well entertained. So that all things seemed indifferently well over at this time."* What this cost the Cutlers' Company we do not know, but it is on record that the Town Trustees spent £4 2S. 6d. " for wyne, beer, and tobacco for Sir John Rearsby and other jus- tices and servants, and hay and corn for their horses.+ It will be noted that the feast must have been held early in the day, and cannot have been followed by the enormous toast list which after~ards became customary, since there was time for renewed conviviality with the burgesses at a tavern. Sir John Reresby continued to use all his influence in favour of a corrupt Court and a monarch who, unable to obtain supplies from a hostile House of Commons representing a country ripe for rebellion, had accepted the position of a subsidiary vassal of the King of France. The fierce conflict between the Court and the nation for the establishment of a Protestant succession, to the exclusion of the Duke of York, was at its height, and the whole country was in turmoil, with plots and prosecutions and executions on all hands. When the attempt to coerce Parliament by summoning it to assemble at Oxford had failed, Charles II. appealed, in a Royal declara- tion, to the nation at large. Reresby, who attended the Feast in 168I, along with "my Lord Darcy# and several other ---------------- * Reresby's Memoirs, pp . I87, I 88 + Leader's " Records of thefBurgery," p. 2II. # The Darcys of Navan, Ireland, had estates in Yorkshire, and, when living at Aston, were, as conveniently near, often called upon to act as Justices of the Peace in Sheffield matters (temp. Elizabeth and the Stuarts). It was one of the Lords Darcy who proclaimed Charles I. in Sheffield (I625). Mr. William Jessop, of Broomhall (died I734), married Mary, daughter of James Lord Darcy. The title descended, in 173I, to James Jessop, of Broom Hall, the son of this marriage, and so Lord Darcy's grandson. The last Lord Darcy died a bachelor in I733. His sister, Barbara Jessop, married Andrew Wilkinson, of Boroughbridge, M.P. for Aldborough, and their son, Justice Wilkinson, Vicar of Sheffield, inherited the Broomhall estate. The " Mr. Jessop and Lord Darcy," treated by the Town Trustees in I73I-2, at Mr. Watson's and Mrs. Horsfield's taverns (Burgery Records, pp. 360, 36I), were the aforesaid Mr. William Jessop and his son James, who had just become Lord Darcy. --------------- gentlemen of the county," took occasion to urge the Cutlers' Company to follow the example of " most counties and corporations " and send an address in reply. The Cutlers' Company, to their credit, hesitated and took time to consider the matter, but shortly afterwards they overcame their scruples, and sent to Sir John an address to the King, signed by 550 hands, " desiring me to carry it, and offer it humbly to his Majesty when I went up; which I accepted." * This conduct illustrates the effectiveness of the Court policy pursued by both Charles II. and James II. of alternately coaxing and persecuting the Dissenters; and it shows how hard the nation tried to be loyal to, and to think the best of its rulers. Nonconformists were prominent on the governing body of the Cutlers' Company, and they had large personal experience of the cruel mercies of the State. They were devoted followers, often relatives, of the noble men who, having been ejected from their livings in I662,were afterwards harried by Conventicle Acts, and Five Mile Acts, and haled to prison by bigoted constables and justices. William Wadsworth, a member of a notable local family which suffered much for its steadfast adherence to Nonconformity, refused to accept the office of Master Cutler, because he would not comply with the requirements of the Test Act, passed in I673.+ Colleagues with less backbone were subjected to the indignity of being obliged to produce certificates of their having taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. In I668, " three several Dis- senters" had been fined nine shillingsÑone shilling for each " offence," as prescribed by a Statute of James I., " for being absent three Sundaies from Church." But these, and similar tyrannies were forgotten and forgiven when the silken glove was drawn over the mailed fist, Hollow kingly protestations ----- * Reresby's Memoirs, p. 217. + He was the father of the Rev. John Wadsworth, assistant minister and minister of Upper Chapel in I744. The Master Cutler of I679, Joshua Baies, or Bayes, was actictely concerned in the building of Upper Chapel, and was the brother of the minister ejected from Beauchief. His son was a Nonconformist preacher of some note. and his daughter married Mr. De la Rose, who, after being colleague of the Rev. John Wadsworth as assistant minister at Upper Chapel, left with the seceders in 1714, and became the first pastor of Nether Chapel -------- about liberty of conscience were hopefully accepted, and smooth words buttered cruel deeds. The Cutlers' Company showed itself willing, on the accession of James II., to silence the old apprehensions as to his Popish proclivities, and spent £5 I6s. on rejoicings. The Town Trustees' charges on the celebration of his coronation amounted to £32 I4S. Iod., be- sides £1 to the ringers. When we interpret that large sum in terms of present values, and rememher what followed, it must be admitted that " Our Sovereign Lord" proved a very bad bargain. The following episode mentioned in the accounts of the Cutlers' Company, but not in those of the Town Trustees, is curious and puzzling: " Spent this year (I685) upon the Justices, £2 2S. 6d., when they came to proclaim the Duke of Monmouth King." It is impossible to reconcile this with the recorded facts of history. Monmouth did indeed assume the Royal title, and he was proclaimed King in the Market Place of Taunton, June, I685. He put forth several proclamations, headed with his sign manual; but as these documents were ordered to be burnt by the common hangman, and as their author was already under a bill of attainder for high treason, it is impossible to suppose that any justices, outside the western counties, could be found to run the risks attendant on proclaiming him. And what we know of the political senti- ments of the magistrates in this neighbourhood makes any such action inconceivable. Notwithstanding what has been said of the conduct of the Cutlers' Company in these changeful tlmes, we cannot believe that its members, having thrown up their caps for James in January, would eagerly accept the attainted Monmouth in June. The words, " When they came to proclaim the Duke of Monmouth King," are, it is true, very precise; but we assume that the justices came, not to proclaim the usurper Monmouth King, but to confer with the authorities as to the steps to be taken to circulate the proclaiming of him as a traitor. Strength is given to this interpretation by the fact that, ignoring the representatives of the freeholders, who were robust, liberty-loving, and Popery-hating folk, the justices placed themselves in communication with that Cutlers' Company which had shown itself ductile in the hands of the Stuart partisans. If a proclamation of Monmouth as King were intended, the justices of this district were the last men who would attempt it, and the Cutlers' Company was the last body to which they wou]d have come for help. Further, by July Monmouth's rebellion had ended ignobly on the scaffold on Tower Hill; and we may be sure that no local authorities who had made themselves parties to his cause ould have escaped terrible retribution. Yet there is no trace of anything of the kind in our local annals. The incident serves to show that the Cutlers' Company was already beginning to acquire for itself that flavour of Toryism which, not unfamiliar in our own times, had even then placed the Cutlers' Hall in antagonism, politically, with the Whiggish Town Trustees, and with the democratic sentiments of the people. Many indications of the further development of this might be cited. It is enough to note that the line of demarcation came to be drawn, with such emphasis as to be permanent, in the revolutionary period at the close of the eighteenth century. One typical instance of the manner in which the Town Hall and the Cutlers' Hall were pitted against each other must suffice. In June, 1792, Dr. Browne and his friends convened a meeting in the Town Hall, in the hope of carrying " an humble address " thanking George III. " for his gracious and royal proclamation against seditious writings and criminal correspondencies." But the townsfolk would have none of it. The discomfited loyalists took refuge in the Cutlers' Hall, in whose rmore compliant walls the address was agreed to. To the expenditures on coronation rejoicing salready given, the following may be added, as illustrative of what happened whenever an anniversary, a victory, a treaty of of peace, a thanksgiving day, or the presence of distinguished visitors could be made the excuse for tapping barrels at the public cost. On the accession of William and Mary, the Town Trustees spent £I5 4s. 11.5d., and the Cutlers' Com- pany, veiling its love for the exiled James, £5 0s. 6d. The accession of Queen Anne does not seem to have been cele- brated by the Cutlers' Company, but the Burgery paid £IO 2s. IId., including £I IOS. for Town Trustees' dinner, £6 7s. od. for I27 gallons of ale, with 2s. 8d. to two persons for attending and delivering it out; 6s. 3d. for " ribbings for the Waites "; I2S. to the " Mummers "; 2S. 6d. to the " Trumpitter," and so on. When George I. came to the throne, the Town paid £I2 6s. II.5d., including, besides the usual payments for music and ale, sd. for " makeing bonefires, " 7S. 5.5d. for candles, and 3s.5d. for benches at the procession. The Cutlers Company got off for £3 I7S. Id. At the proclaiming of George II., the Town spent £6 I6S. IO.5d., and the Cutlers' Company £6 I9S. 0d. Each body contributed £15 IS. 4d. to celebrating the accession of George III., the Cutlers' Company making the King's Head the scene of its festivities. Needless to say, these amounts were swelled by tavern bills run up at meetings held to settle the manner of the rejoicings. George IV.'s coronation was a costlier affair, the Town Trustees giving £52 IOS. " being the same sum as the other public bodies have agreed to contribute." This in- cluded £I5 I5S. for fireworks, £20 to defray the expense of discharging the great guns, and " a sum not exceeding 25 guineas towards the expense of providing 59 coats and hats, to be given to that number of poor men of the age of the King or upwards, and householders resident in the Parish of Sheffield, provided the Cutlers' Company and the Church Burgesses agree to subscribe each the same sum." Returning, after this digression, to the Cutlers' Feasts, we find that in I68I the Cutlers' Company's allowance to the Master for the Feast was increased from £2 IOS. to £5, and in I682 there was a further advance to £6 IOS.; but perhaps this was because of Mr. John Winter, or Wynter, having been ambitious enough to go in person to invite the Duke of Norfolk and other lords; with the result that the Duke, Lords Clifford, Coniers, Castleton, and Hexington, the Hon. Sydney Wortley Montagu, Sir Henry Marwood, Sir William Wyvill, and Sir Ralph Knight attended. On the first of these occasions the burgesses supplemented the hospitality of the Company by a further symposium, £4 6s. 8d. being spent at Mr. Pegg's " for wyne for the gentlemen who came to the Cutlers' Feast." On the second they took the wiser course of contributing to the Feast itself, paying to the Master Cutler £6 IOS. towards his entertainment. This is the only instance in which the Town Trustees shared the expense with the Company. Nor did they continue the evil practice of giving separate treats to distinguished visitors to the Feast, the only exception, beyond those already noted, being in I711, when they "Spent att Mrs. Peggs in a treat of my Lord Downs and Sir Arthur Key (who had been elected member for the county of York in the previous year) att the Cutlers' Feast," £2 25. 6d. In I683 Mr. Edward Badger, the Master, was allowed £7 IIS. for the cost of his Feast, but this reckless pace could not last, and in 684 his successor, William Ellis, had to make shift with the normal £2 IOS. It is in the year I7I5 that we come upon the traces of the origin of the smaller dinner now known as " The Forfeit Feast," and celebrated on St. Thomas's Day. At first this was a Christmas dinner, and its earliest mention is when a present of venison by the Duke of Devonshire ~ as utilised in " treating the Company and several gentlemen well wishers to the trade." The Duke's present of " two does " at Christmas became an established custom, given not without an eye to the Derbyshire elections, for an entry in 1767 distinctly associates it with the extension of invitations to the dinner to " The Freeholders of Derbyshire resident in the Corporation, being in regard to the approaching contested election for that county," Lord George Cavendish being a candidate.* In I736 the expenditure on the Christmas Feast was laid down at IS. 6d. a head; but that the guests were expected to contribute towards their own amusement is evident from the sense of grievance expressed in this note of the Master Cutler of I736 (Mr. Joshua Cawton): " Ye company present not paying the musick, I gave the waiter 6s. 8d." By I738 the allowance for the Great Feast had grown to £30; so it may be imagined that the £2 2S. 9d. spent in I749, when good old George Smith was Master, relates to the provisions for the Little Feast, at which the number of diners must have been small. Those present contributed £ I IS., the balance of £I IS. 9d. being --------------- * Sheffeild Independent June 17 , I876, and October 31, 1890. -------------- paid out of the Company's stock.* In I762 the Company's funds were drawn on to the extent of £40 for the Great, and £IO for the Little Feast; in I767, £60 was allowed for the two. In I77I, when Mr. William Trickett was Master, there was a dazzling attendance of nobilityÑthe Dukes of Norfolk, Devonshire, and Leeds; the Marquis of Rockingham (the second and most celebrated of that name, who had been, and was to be again, head of the Government, son of the Lord Malton whose name so often appears in the Records of the Burgery); the Earls of Holderness, Scarbrough, Emngham, Bute (who had also been Prime Minister), and Stafford; Lord George Cavendish, Lord John Cavendish, Lord John Murray, the Hon. John Manners, and Sir George Saville. " The Cutlers' Feast," says the contemporary Courant, " was observed as a great holiday, the bells were kept ringing during the three days it lasted, booths were erected in the Churchyard, High Street, and Church Street, for the sale of fruit, spices, etc., and all business was generally suspended." Towards the end of the eighteenth century the spirit of gallantry was sufficiently active to suggest to the Cutlers the propriety of admitting ladies to a share in their festivities; and it became the custom, kept up for some years, for the Mistress Cutler to entertain the ladies of the town, at a dinner on the Friday afer the male Thurs(lay Feast. The dimensions to which the Feast had grown is shown by the fact that, in I788, Mr. Thomas Nowell (who had succeeded in the chair Jonathan Watkinson, of thirteen-to-the-dozen fame) invited 38I guests to the Feast, and 268 to the ladies' dinner. The next year Mr. Thomas Tillotson invited 340 gentlemen, and the Mistress Cutler 255 ladies; while in I790 Mr. Joseph Ward (father of Mr. Samuel Broomhead Ward, Mount Pleasant, and of Mr. Thomas Asline Ward) capped the doings of his predecessors by inviting 390 gentlen1en and 340 ladies. As the capacity of all the rooms of the old Cutlers' Hall combined could only provide for 260 guests, it is evident that a large margin was -------------- * The details of the expenditure are of interest. "Rump of beef 3s. 4d.; Six fowls 2S. 8d.; Ham 3s.; Pies and puddings 2S. 6d.; Hare IS. 6d.; loin veal IS. 10d. Bread IS.; butter 2S.; roots 4d.; ale and punch 20S. 7d.: dressing, 4s. Total £2 25. 9d." -------------- allowed for refusals. Fourteen gentlemen, of whom it was decreed that eight must be unmarried, had the honour of being selected to dine with the ladies. There was a scrupulous sumptuousness in the careful etiquette, albeit couched in somewhat commercial style, of the invitations: " Letters are written on gilt paper. Ladies and gentlemen's tickets folded in gilt paper. The Company and their wives' tickets folded in paper. Burgesses in do. Town and country friends do." And the custom required every present of a buck or doe to be acknowledged by a gift (presumably to the servants of the donor) of half a guinea, a knife, and razor. For smaller presents, as game, fruit, &c., the return was regulated by their value, " or as you please." * But hard times were at hand, and in the gloomy days of revolutions, and war, and food at famine prices, the Cutlers' annual festival had to be shorn of its glories. In I798, £200, to which figure the expenditure on the Feast had grown, was diverted as a subscription in aid of the exigencies of the Government, and those who attended had to pay for their own dinner. So they had again in 1809, I8IO, and I811 when, "in consequence of the state of their finances," the Company had to charge I5S. apiece for tickets, although in the interval between I798 and I809 there had been a resumption of the system of a ladies' dinner, in addition to the Company's F east. In I807 and I808, the Mistress Cutler had given " an elegant dinner " to the ladies, followed in the evening by an Assembly at the rooms in Norfolk Street. Since that time the ladies have been relegated to the gallery, whence they have had the not very inspiriting privilege of solacing themselves with ices and fruits while watching the men dine. Occasionally a pro- test has been uttered in their behalfÑas in I872, when Mr. William Overend made himself very popular with the occupants of the ladies' gallery by remonstrating against their exclusion from the tables. It may be admitted that the sweeter manners of a new era have removed certain reasons why, in the old days, it would
--------- * " Notes on thc Cutlers' Company's Accounts," by J. D. Leader, pp. Il, I2 ---------- have been inconvenient for the ladies and gentlemen to dine together. Mr. John Holland, in his memorials of Chantrey, speaking of Mr. Nicholas Jackson, filemaker, of Shemeld Croft, for whom Mather, the poet worked, and with one of whose daughters, Susannah, Chantrey* had a love affair, says: " Ancient guests at the Cutlers' Feast will remember how his loyal songs formerly divided with those of another local worthy, Billy Battie (an eccentric gentleman of convivial dis- position), the applause of the Corporation when sung in the Old Hall, Church Street." The ladies of those days could stand a good deal, but Mr. Battie's songs might well have been too broad for them, and there is no doubt that the Feasts were made occasions for very deep drinking. In course of time it came to be regarded as decent to refrain from deliberate soaking until after the Master Cutler and his chief guests had retired. The convention was not always observed, as many a quaint story tells; and even a noble lord, eminently dis- tinguished for his social and literary talents, has been known to need undignified conveyance to his host's carriage. Still, on the whole, appearances were kept up until the inveterates could settle down in quiet to real work. It does not require a very long memory to recall the period when a select body of topers would have considered the Cutlers' Feast no feast if they had not remained behind to drink far into the night. With such an appalling toast list as the following, which was prepared for the Feast of 1822, when Mr. Thomas Champion was Master, it was necessary to begin early and to end late: The King. The Duke of York and the Army. The Duke of Clarence and the Na~y. Our noble towmsman the Duke of Norfolk. Our venerable and most worthy neighbour and father of the House of Lords, Earl Fitzwilliam. The Duke of Devonshire. The Earl of Surrey. -------------- * Chantrey and Jackson being both Norton men, the young artist was an intimate visitor at a house made additionally attractive by the presence of lively daughters. Susannah Jackson was one of the first to sit to him for a crayon portrait. This was still in the family a few years ago. --------------- The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Riding, the Earl of Harewood. Our worthy representatives, Lord Milton and Mr. Wortley, with thanks for their services. The body of gentlemen who at all times honour US with their presence, whose counsel and influence so greatly contri- bute to the peace, order, and welfare of this great Riding, the Magistrates, particularly those of our own neighbourhood witll thanks for their services to the good old town of Shefiield. The Vicar of Sheffield. Our worthy chaplain, with thanks for his sermon. The body of whom the ratepayers know but little, but I have thought it right you should know there are such gentle- menÑthe overseers of the poor in Sheffield. The worthy historian of Hallamshire, Rev. Joseph Hunter. Colonel Wortley, and the Southern Regiment of Cavalry. The ladies. The Duke of Wellington and the heroes of Waterloo The memory of the immorta] Nelson. Prosperity to the peace of Europe. The memory of the late worthy Vicar, the Rev. James Wilkinson . The land we live in; may it afford plenty and the people he grateful. Lord Fitzalan. Hon. Edward Petre. The friends and supporters of our public charities Fire and water under proper controul (sic), and success to navigation, insurance, and gas. The memory of Dr. Browne. The governors of the Free Grammar School in this town, and may the plan in agitation for erecting another building more airy and suitable for the purpose soon be carried into effect. Mr. Wilson, and may he enjoy the confidence of all his clients, as he does that of the Cutlers' Company. Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle. The landed and commercial interest; may they ever united May we never want a friend to cheer us, nor a bottle cheer him. Mr. Montgomery. Amid all this feasting and drinking the Cutlers ompany was, as the years rolled on, watching, over the interests com- mitted to its charge witll diligence, and with such enlighten- ment as the prevalent notions of trading and economic wisdom suggested. With a beadle, radiant in fineries somewhat out of keeping with his pittance of £2 a yearÑfor his silver badge and chain cost £4 I4S. 2d., and his cocked hat IOS. 6d.Ñand a clerk who began w ith the modest salary of £5, it was binding apprentices and restricting their number; admitting freemen; enlarging its borders by taking in awl-blade-smiths and file- smiths and scythe-smiths; protecting marks; searching for deceitful or unworkmanly-wrought wares; compelling scissor- smiths to play one week a month; fining inconveniently industrious artizans who worked on holidays, and outsiders who had not taken out their freedom; opposing attempts to subject smlthies to the hearth tax; petitioning for the free import of foreign iron; going to law to prevent the exportation of horn tips; and prosecuting those who tempted Sheffield men to take their skill to other countries. At one time it was discouraging those who would employ foreigners here; at another inconsistently helping to attract them hither; now fighting hard against military and magistrates to defeat the enlistment of apprentices, and anon eagerly availing itself of the help of the law to maintain its exclusive privileges. With all this it was not unobservant of public duties. The story of its greatest achievementÑthe fight for the Don Navigation, for which the Company boldly mortgaged its income, has been told elsewhere.* In the alarm caused by the incursion of Prince Charles Edward and his Highlanders in '45, its old Stuart leanings were forgotten, and it contributed £I00 to the raising of men and arms to oppose the rebels. And when Culloden finally extinguished the Young Pretender, there were the usual revelries " at ye Cock," amid the ringing of bells, the notes of the " musicioners," and illuminations. Payments for the help of poor workmen constituted a regular charge, varying in amount, according to the state of trade, from 3s. in I629 to £55 in I72I. In the middle of the eighteenth century three past Masters, not long after they had occupied the chair, were receiving the eleemosynary help of the Company; and its purse was open to casual appeals for charityÑas when it gave three shillings to two gentlemen --------------- * " Records of the Burgery" by J. D. Leader, lv. et. seq. --------------- " towards releasing their fathers, who were taken prisoners by ye Turks;" and half-a-guinea to an Indian Prince. It added a bell to the Parish Church peal, helped to augment the Vicar's income by aiding to buy the title to small tithes, and contributed to the building of St. Paul's Church. It would have been alien from the spirit of the times and the status of journeymen for the founders of the Cutlers' Company, in I624, to make it a genuine guild, or trades union, in which operatives, no less than employers, should have a voice. The absence of any definitions in the wording of the Act may be taken as showing that it never entered into the heads of its framers to conceive of workmen being under the jurestiction of the Company in any capacity than that of subjects, bound, by restrictions administered by others, to obedience to rules in whose making they had no voice. There was nothing, indeed, to prevent a journeyman, when entitled to his freedom, from becoming a master; but no opportunity was given to the freemen, as a body, of influencing the govern- ment of the Company. This makes it the more surprising that the constitution of the Company has been largely misunderstoodÑnot only by outsiders, but even by those intimately associated with its concerns. For instance, Alderman Robert Jackson, who had himself been Master Cutler for two consecutive years (1858-59)~ and who had long taken a prominent part in the Company's affairs, is reported to have told the Social Science Congress, in I865, in answer to a question whether there existed any local guilds with powers of arbitration in trade disputes, that: " The Cutlers' Company was to be elected partly from the masters and partly from the workn1en. The men connected with the various trades composing the Corporation of Cutlers are called together once a year, about a fortnight before the day of election, but at the present time they never attend, and therefore the body which manages the business is elected by the masters, and there are no workmen, strictly speaking members of the Cutlers' Company. They might, if they chose, for they have still the power of sending members to that Company; but it is never done; the Custom has fallen into disuetude." And replying to a further remark that this seemed to indicate an old guild, where masters and men and apprentices all belonged to one body, which had jurisdiction over them and could enforce its will, Mr. Jackson explained that the Company had little or no power in trade matters, its functions being the administration of certain charities and the granting of trade marks. The reason, he thought, of the abstention of freemen was not that they did not possess the statutory power, but that there was not a sufficient number of them to form the required quorum of forty. An examination of the constitution of the Company is wholly antagonistic to this view. The old manorial regula- tions which the Act of James I. superseded had, it is true, the democratic element of being enforced by a jury of twelve men elected from the whole fellowship of cutlers; and that statute decreed " that all persons engaged in those manufactures shall form one body politicÑone master, two wardens, six searchers, twenty-four assistants, and the rest commonalty." But it seems most probable that the juries in the time of Elizabeth were summoned from men trading on their own account, and that the " commonalty " of James meant, not workmen, but such masters as were not, for the time, holding office. The number of persons who, on the passing of the Act of I624~ at once enrolled themselves members of the Company was three hundred and fifty. This is so large as, at first sight, to suggest a doubt whether a town of the then size of Sheffield could pro- duce so many employers, reinforced, as they were, by eighty- one more in the second year, and by an average of some thirty a year until the disturbances caused by the Civil Wars. But the ease with which, in the cutlery trades, the hired workman or apprentice of one day may, on the next, step over the narrow border line and become a "little mester," probably accounts for the numerical size of the Company at its origin. This characteristic of the local industry, had the humbler employers cared to take advantage of their power, might, in spite of the exclusiveness fostered by the method of electing officers prescribed by the Act of Parliament, have done much to base the Company on broad lines. But, failing this, the Corpora- tion was bound to get more and more entirely into the hands of the large manufacturers. Instead of leaving the members to choose their first officers, these were appointed by the Act of Parliament, and to them, not to the Company at large, was entrusted the duty, at the end of the first year, of electing suc- cessors. The government was thus placed in the hands of a narrow co-optative body, and was fixed there so firmly that a mild enlargement offered in 179I has never been used. Under the Act of that year (3Ist George III., c. 58), all master manu- facturers may meet annuallyÑnot to elect Master, Wardens, and Searchers (the only important officers), not even Assistants, but simply to nominate twenty-four persons out of whom the outgoing Court is to elect twelve Assistants. It is not surpris- ing that this hollow privilege has never been claimed and that although the " master manufacturers " are regularly invited to attend on the first Monday in every August, they treat the invitation to take part in a farce with indifference. The Act of I79I put an end to any doubts as to the constitution of the Company. It not only, as we have seen, restricted to "master manufacturers " the right, if they liked to exercise it, of nominating Assistants; but it specified that the persons so nominated must themselves have been master manufacturers for twelve months, and must not, during that time, have laboured as journeymen. We can trace the origin of this more definite exclusiveness. Certain " freemen " of the Company, realising, apparently, the irony of applying such a name to the subjects of a narrow oligarchy, had petitioned Parliament against the system by which the governing body of the Con1pany chose its own successors. The first reply came from "a meeting of the gentlemen, clergy, merchants, and principal inhabitanLs," who, in their wisdom, decreed that the mode of electing the officers of the Cutlers' Company by the Statute of the 2Ist James I., is the best for the order of the town and the interest of the trade." The second reply was the new Act of Parliament, whicll, as we have seen, instead of giving the bread of free election, offered a stone by conceding the hollow sham of nominating twenty-four Assistants, out of whom the officers themselves might choose twelve; and it further limited both nominators and nominees to those ranking as masters; thus practically chalking up the notice, " No journeyman need apply." It took the artizans a long time to realise that, excluded from any voice in the Company's affairs, their obligations as freemen were personally a disadvantage rather than a benefit, since by these they were subjected to restrictions not imposed upon others who did not take out their freedom. The Cutlers' Company, indeed, maintained, even after the Act of 54 George III. (I8I4) had made it lawful for anyone to carry on or work at the corporated trades, although not a freeman, that its bye- laws could be enforced against any persons exercising the cutlery trades within the area of i[s jurisdiction, whether admitted to the freedom or not. But the point was such a doubtful one that the Corporation never took steps to enforce its contention. It took refuge, instead, in a dolorous wail, selecting a very curious placeÑthe foundation stone of St. Mary's ChurchÑfor its pessimistic pronouncement. Under that stone, when laid (I826), there was deposited a portentous document, recording how " by that want of respect which is so common among men to the institutions of their forefathers, our very existence is endangered." The British Parliament, it went on to say, had, in I8I4~ passed an Act which, not content, as it would seem, " with depriving us of the greatest part of our power,by introducing strangers within our limits, and giving tbem the same privileges as our own subjects, without our having any control over them, will, in its opera- tion, at no distant period, cause our body to become extinct, unless the Legislature shall again interfere to prevent so bad a fate." Althougrh tllis gloomy forecast was not realised, the operations of the Company were largely restricted. Deprived of the last vestiges of its claim to restrain industry, and to prevent the manufacture of cutlery without its leave, it became a sort of trade-marks registry. When it was found that the real freedom was outside the Company, the smaller masters saw little advantage in joining it, and workmen refused to handicap themselves by incurring the obligations resting on freemen. So the latter class died out. They still were suffi- ciently munerous to be entertained at dinner " by the Master Cutler and Company"Ña phrase which itself implies they were not regarded as any part of the CompanyÑon the opening of the new Hall in I833. After that their only record is in such obituary notices as these: " I834, Feb. 6th. Decease of George Bradshaw, of Grimesthorpe, aged 94, the oldest Freeman in the Corporation of Cutlers." ~ I836, March 23rd. Decease of Mr. Wm. Wood, aged 92, the oldest Freeman of the Corporation of Cutlers." In view of the history of trades unionism, and of the manner in which the relations between capital and labour have often been severely strained, it may be permissible to conjecture how largely the career of industrial Sheffield might have been influenced for good if the Cutlers' Company, instead of becoming the exclusive possession of the large manufac- turers, had bound masters and men in one union, allying them, not against one another, but in common action against foes without or within. But any such speculation is outside the scope of this book, which deals with what was, not with what might have been. It was in the " Low Street," that is the ground floor, room of the Cutlers' Hall, that tbe local magistrates dispensed what they called justice, but wllat Mather, who was ever railing at their high-handed and too often harsh proceedings, described by less complimentary names. He, no doubt, accurately re- flected current popular opinion, and his nickname of " Bang- beggars' Hall," found large acceptance among those of the townspeople who had, on occasion, to appear there. Why the magistrates sat in the Cutlers Hall, rather than in the old Town Hall at the Church Gates, has not been explained, nor is it clear when this practice began. It arose, presumably, out of the lack of accommodation in the latter building, but it was not a pretty sight to see prisoners brought from " the lobby " into the churchyard, and there awaiting, in gangs, a summons to enter the august presence. All the associations of old in- habitants, up to the time when the Town Hall was removed to Waingate, centre around the Cutlers- Hall as the seat of jus- tice, and it is to this that are attached many stories of odd doings and quaint, in the days when Vicar Wilkinson presided over the Petty Sessions Court. That worthy man, albeit parson, had a large measure of the " Old Adam" in him, and this came out both in his acts and in the broadness of his shrewd languageÑfor he had a habit of " calling a spade a spade." He was a fine type of what came to be called " a muscular Christian," though the muscu- larity was apt to be more evident than the Christianity. His reputation as a fine amateur boxer was wide-spread, and once, when he was dining with other local magnates, at a Watson's Walk tavern, two strangers called, and sent in an urgent re- quest for an audience. The Vicar complying, they told him that, hearing of his pugilistic powers, they had come a long distance in the hope that he would have a bout with them. Nothing could please him better. With great urbanity he complied. Laying aside the habiliments suited to a clergyman and a justice of the peace, he put on the gloves, and treated his visitors to punishment which compelled them to leave with enhanced respect for his prowess in boxing. The magisterial or, should we say patriotic ?Ñinstincts of Vicar Wilkinson, were apt to over-ride his teachings as a clergyman. Thus his anxiety to make up the depletions in the population caused by the ravages of war was so great as to induce him to express encouraging sympathy with those who added to the numbers of the people without the precedent ceremonies enjoined by the Church. Some sayings of his, justifying a convenient blindness to the marriage service if only the gaps made in British ranks by French bullets were filled up, are too broad for reproduction in print; but not long ago they were much chuckled over when related by choice story-tellers. Being called upon on one occasion to arbitrate between a quarrelsome husband and wife, he ordered that they should be locked up together until they could agree. The discipline proved efficacious, for, after a show of obstinacy, the refractory couple came to terms, and announced their contrition by knocking on the wall of their cell, as had been arranged. At another time a lady, having a dispute with her servant, was summoned to appear before the justice. She refused to go before " Old Niddlety Nod " (a nickname given to Justice Wilkinson owing to a peculiar shaking of the head, caused by slight paralysis or palsy), and had to be fetched by a constable. " So you refused to come before ' Old Niddlety Nod,' did you ? You are here now, however, and ' Old Niddlety Nod ' orders you to pay the servant her wages and the court its costs." A little girl in the street was incited by some mischievous fellow to go up to a gentleman as he walked along and to say They burnt his books, And scared his rooks, And set his stacks on fireÑ the well-known doggerel relating to the rioters' attack on Broom Hall. The child innocently went in front of the gentleman, and, bobbing a curtsey, lisped out the lines. " What, my dear ?" asked the Vicar, for it was none other. The child repeated it. " Yes, my dear," said he, " come along with me !" and, leadlng her by the hand, he took her to the Church Gates and had her put into the stocks. Mr. Williinson is described as being, in his later days, a fine, venerable, and stately old man. He was accustomed to drive about in a large family carriage with a pair of horses.* ------------ * This equipage is reported, in one of our best local ghost stories, to have " revisited the glimpses of the moon. " When Bent's Green Lodge before it became the residence of Mr. Albert Smith, was a public-house it ~as the scene of a tragedy, an account of which was written by Mrs Hofland (formerly Barbara Wreaks). One day a carter stopped at the house to drink, leaving his horse awaiting him at the door. During his stay he insulted the landlady, and when he left, the landlord, in a passion followed, overtook him, and as the cart reached the turning where the lane to Whiteley Wood diverges from the Ringinglowe Road, knocked him off the shaft on which he was sitting, when the wheel, passing over his head, killed him. The fatality was attributed to an accldent, it being supposed the man had fallen off the shaft; but remorse preyed on the landlord; his health failed him; and at last, having taken to the bed from which it was evident he would rise no more, he sent for the Curate of Ecclesall, the Rev. George Smith, in order to relieve his soul by con- fession. The day was Sunday, and as it happened that the Rev James Wilkinson, Vicar and Justice of the Peace, was that day taking duty at Ecclesall Church, the two clergymen drove to Bent's Green together in the vicar's coach, and there received the dying man's confession. And the story ls that, occasionally, late at night, the old-fashioned chariot with lamps lit, and the two clergymen seated inside, has been seen to come driving out of Bent's Green Lodge and over the scene of the murder. The late Mr. Blakelock Smith used to declare that, riding home after a long day at Eckington Sessions, he encountered the phantom equipage driving out of the gates; and, determined to see his grandfather (the Rev George Smith) if possible, he put spurs to his horse and galloped after. But before he could overtake it, the carriage was round the corner, and there it disappeared. The late Mr. Jonathan Barber, surgeon, told the writer that he, once passing Bent's Green Lodge at night, was astonished to see an old-fashioned chariot emerge in the same manner. And at that time Mr. Barber had not heard the story. ---------- Almost as well known as the Vicar himself, was Joshua Gregory, his clerk, who was accustomed to stand behind the carriage like a footman. On the death of his master, Gregory went into the table-knife trade, his firm being Wostenholm and Gregory. Alderman William Smith* has preserved two stories of the old Vicar-Justice. On one occasion Mr. Wilkinson's brother, a sea captain, much given to garnishing his conversation with profane expletives, came to stay at Broom Hall, and the Vicar considered it necessary to warn him, on arriving, to be careful not to use language which, however appropriate to the quarter- deck, was not only unseemly in a clergyman's house, but de- moralising to the domestics. The captain agreed, but the unwonted restraint proved very irksome. He was fidgety, did not enjoy his food, and was altogether unhappy. One morn- ing he was seen pacing up and down the garden walks, gesti- culating vigorously, and talking to himself, and altogether so behaving as to raise, in the mind of the Vicar as he watched him, fears as to his sanity. But shortly he returned to the house, and gave this explanation of his restored cheerfulness: " I did as you wished," said he, " but I could bear the restraint no longer. I should have been ill if I had gone on in that way, so I have been in the garden and said a good damn to myself, and I'm all right now" The other story is this: The disputes of a large clan, named Tingle, fro m Grenoside or Ecclesfield, led to their appearance before the magistrates. The complainant and defendant and witnesses were all Tingles. At last the old Vicar's patience was exhausted by the narrative of the family, bickerings. " Tingle, Tingle, Tingle," said he, impatiently. " I think my ears will never cease tingling." --------- * Characteristics," &c., Literary and Philosophical Society, 1889. --------- There are many among us who remember how the late Mr. Albert Smith, by reason of his long experience as Magistrates' Clerk, sometimes almost usurped the functions of the Bench. Across the green table in the old justices' room at the Town Hall, aided by his snuff-box, he would come to the relief of perplexed magistrates. Taking stupid witnesses in hand, and addressing them in the broadest Sheffield vernacular, he dis- entangled the threads of their confused story and speedily got to the root of the matter. In this, there is little doubt, he was true to the traditions of Justice Wilkinson, who was ever ready to meet litigants on their own terms and in their own way, and whose intimate acquaintance with their habits, modes of thought and language, Mr. Albert Smith rivalled. Dr. Stuart Corbett, of Wortley, another clerical justice, who sometimes sat with Vicar Wilkinson in his last years, had not the like knowledge of the townsfolk, but he was one of the same school. A workman summoned his masters before the magistrates in the old Cutlers' Hall, his complaint being that they would find him neither single-hand work nor " a striker." He contended that it was the custom for masters to find strikers. The defendants, on the other hand, denied this, and maintained it to be no part of their duty. Whereupon Dr. Corbett (afterwards an Archdeacon) exclaimed: " If the men don't find strikers, and the masters don't find strikers, then who the devil does find strikers ? " * Not always were the magistrates privileged to have things their own way. The Rev. Charles Chadwick, headmaster of ----------- * There are other stories of judicial wisdom, but of later date. In one case a collier, sued for breach of contract by neglect of work, pleaded that his ~ benk," through accumulation of water not properly cleared out by the management, was unfit to work in. The County Court Judge decided in his favour, on the ground that the owners were bound to care for the lives and health of their workmen, and nothing was easier, he said, than to let out the water by making a hole in the bottom of the mine ! The late Mr. Charles Atkinson, whose numerous malapropisms belong to a period not dealt with in this book, solemnly rebuked a man, rescued from an attempt at suicide in Lead Mill Dam, by telling him he had had a very narrow escape from being " drownded ": and, he added, " If that had happened, in the state in which you then were, you would have found yourself in a very peculiar position indeed." ----------- the Grammar School and Vicar of Tinsley, was riding down Church Street one day, just as the justices were leaving the hall after the usual weekly sitting. " Here's Mr. Chadwick," insolently said one, ~ riding a fine blood horse, while his Master was content with an ass." " Your worship forgets," was the prompt rejoinder of the rider, "that asses are scarce now." ~ How so ?" asked the magistrate. " The Government gets all it can to make just-asses (justices) of," retorted Mr. Chadwick; and he rode on with the complacent conviction that it was not his assailant who had scored. We get a glimpse of the old Cutlers' Hall in another aspect in I795. Mr. Wilberforce, then M.P. for the county of York, had interested himself in steps taken to help the people to meet the sufferings caused by high prices. The leading citizens gathered together and agreed to sign a resolution pledging themselves to the greatest economy in the use of flour. Further, a relief committee arranged to sell it at so low a price that there were public rejoicings. These led to a curious scene, thus described by the Courant: " A number of women, with ribbons and cockades, entered the room at the Cutlers' Hall in which the gentlemen of the corn committee had assembled. After thanking them, they marched in a body up to the head of the table, and told Dr. Browne, the chairman, that they had brought a chaise to the door, and begged leave to draw him through the principal streets of the town. The Doctor escaped by pleading that this would be inverting the order of things, and would be ungallant; and as he would not allow himself to be importuned into it, the women at length retired." In the following month (August) there was another remark- able demonstration, of which we are fortunate in having a contemporary record. Seeing that, with flour at 5s. 6d. a stone, it was no time for half measures if the impoverished people were to have food, Mr. Hartop, a miller of Attercliffe, promptly sent his wagons into the town laden with flour, which was sold at 2S. 7d. This was even lower than Dr. Browne's committee had charged, and, in their gratitude, the people harnessed themselves to a coach and dragged it to Attercliffe, for the purpose of bringing the benevolent miller to Sheffield, and drawing him in triumph through the streets. Like Dr. Browne he declined the honour; but the importunity of the populace induced him to permit his servants to go instead, and the coach proceeded " amidst continual acclama- tions of joy" to the town. As the procession moved up Waingate, the church bells were set a-ringing. Opposite the Tontine a pause was made, and an oration in eulogy of Mr. Hartop was delivered hy one Stanley. Then the coach, bedecked with ribbands and garlands of flowers, was drawn through the principal streets, amid the discharge of cannon, the lighting of bonfires, and the cheers of enthusiastic crowds w1ho "bestowed thousands and millions of blessings on the name of Hartop." After which, the record says, the people, " like good and peaceful citizens, quietly retired to their respective homes to eat the cheap loaves which this worthy man had furnished them."

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