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black knight traversing a forest; and how completely must it have been realized by the Cliffords within their own domains *!"
The inventories which follow this of 1572 are comparatively scanty. That of 1591, taken towards the latter end of the life of earl George, the celebrated navigator, cannot be expected, from the short period which had elapsed, to add much of what is novel. In the drawing-chamber, however, are mentioned a few fresh articles which convenience or fashion had introduced ; such as tablecloths of green cloth fringed with silk, eleven buffets, five covered with crimson velvet, five with green velvet, and one with cloth of gold; cushions of Turkey work, and andirons of copper. In the best chamber, or chamber of estate, we find enumerated for the first time, a large carpet for a foot-cloth, and “one gret glass gilt, with litel curtain of sarcenet for same.” Pictures also had come into vogue, for thirty-six are noticed as being in the wardrobe. It would appear, however, that the literary taste of the family had greatly degenerated, for the library of the Cliffords is described as occu
* Hist. of Craven, p. 334, note.
pying the “high closet," and consisting but of “ 1 bowke of bocas. 1 greatt owld bowck. I great bowke or grele for singing, and 1 trunk of wickers covert with letter with bowcks and scrowles in.”
To the inventory of 1643, drawn up during the siege of the castle in the great rebellion, we are indebted for a very interesting description of the furniture of the hall, which had been dismissed in that of 1572 with but a single line, namely,
« v boards furnished with formes and one cubbord to remain."
We are now told that " in the great hall,” were, Imprimis, y large peices of hangings, with the earle's armes at large in every one of them, and poudered with the severall coates of the house." “ Five long great tables on standard frames, 6 long forms, 1 short one, 1 court cupbard, 1 fayre brass lantern, 1 iron cradle with wheeles for charcoale, 1 almes tub, 1 great auncyent clock, with the bell, weights, &c. 20 long pikes, 1 great church Bible, 1 booke of Common Prayer, 2 laced cloth cushons for the steward."
On this truly graphical catalogue, such an amusing commentary has been given by the learned and accomplished vicar of Whalley, that it would
be almost injustice to attempt any disquisition on the subject in any other words than his own.
It “ holds up," as he justly declares, “ a very complete and vivid representation ; so that a good painter, with some help from fancy, might give an interior view of the old hall at Skipton. But let us examine the particulars. The court cupboard *, I am persuaded, is the same which has been already noticed, as ordered to remain in the great hall, in 1572. The fayre brass lantern was probably suspended at the upper end, to give light to the
*“ One of this description yet remains. It is about five feet high, rather more than four in width and two in depth. The sides are fluted pannels of Henry 8th's time. In front are three doors and two drawers; on one of the uppermost doors are the arms and pporters of the family, on the other the garter : between them a beautiful gothic tabernacle. It was evidently made in the interval between 1527, when the first earl was installed knight of the garter, and 1542, when he died. Court cupboards, the side-boards of our ancient nobility, were constant appendages to the high table in the hall. See Shakspeare's Romeo and Juliet, act i.
Away with the joint-stools, remove the court cupboard.' Capulet's hall was on this occasion to be converted into a ball-room, and the court cupboard stood in the way.”
high table. The iron cradle for charcoal proves that this hall had no fire-place, but was warmed, like some college halls at present, by a central fire in a moveable grate, the vapour of which escaped through a cupola above. The almes tub was probably in or near the screen below, where the poor received a stated dole of oatmeal ; a primitive and laudable practice, continued in some old families within my recollection. The great auncient clock with the bell was probably over the screen, where the hall bells of colleges are generally found at present.
“ The Bible and Book of Common Prayer might probably be removed out of the chapel, which was much exposed to the enemy's fire, that the garrison might at least perform their devotions without danger.
“ With respect to the laced cushons,' for the steward, the great hall seems to have been the place where he presided on court-days, and where I suppose he was seated, like Mr. Vellum, when he held his courts, in the largest elbow-chair in the house *
See Addison's Drummer, act v. scene i.
“ The outline of the old hall was the same with the present, and something less than sixty feet
In the residue of the inventory of 1643 occur a few articles which mark the progress of luxury and household accommodation. Chairs and floor-carpets are no longer rarities, and we have now both a billiard and a music-room, the former containing not only a board for the game, but numerous pictures and engravings and sixteen maps, and the latter a portrait of the countess of Cumberland, and a statue of her grandfather Burleigh, by Stone; whilst dispersed through the apartments may
be remarked a variety of musical instruments, such as lutes and theorboes, a gettorne, a payre of organs, and a harpsicon, pretty clearly indicating what the account books confirm, that the lady of the last earl had both a taste for, and a practical skill in music.
From these account books, of which the historian of Craven inspected four for the years 1606, 1634, 1637, and 1638, we learn many curious par
* Hist. of Craven, p. 342.