Berkshire, Reading, 1520–1
BRO: D/P 96/5/1

p [18] (6 April–29 March) (Receipts)


Item of the hok money gatheryd by the men iiij s. iiij d.
Item of the yong men for the gatheryng with the kyng play xxxv s. viij d.


  • Footnotes
    • hok ... gatheryd: ie, at Hocktide, 16–17 April 1520
    • kyng play: likely held at Whitsuntide, 27–9 May 1520
  • Glossed Terms
    • gatheryng vb n collection, here used to refer specifically to the act of collecting money for the parish; gaderyng gathering; gatheringe; gatherynge;
    • kinge n in phr kinge ale, kynge ale king ale, an inversion of order event in which a king — typically a local young man or farmer — was appointed to preside over the festival from a bower built for the occasion; kyng game, kynges game, king play, kynges play, kyng play synonymous with king ale; in phr king halle, kyng halle king hall, likely the bower built for the king of the king ale
  • Endnote

    Although the heading on p [16] of the 1520–1 account clearly states that the accounting year was to run from Good Friday to 'the same ffest then next followyng' (29 March 1521), the heading for the 1521–2 account states that the accounting year begins on March 25. The small adjustment of four days allowed the parish to change from the awkward dating by a movable feast (Easter) to the stable dating of the feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day–March 25).

  • Document Description

    Record title: St Giles' Churchwardens' Accounts
    Repository: BRO
    Shelfmark: D/P 96/5/1
    Repository location: Reading

    These accounts begin with an accounting year based on Easter. The first three accounts run from Good Friday to Good Friday. Good Friday in 1521 fell on March 29, only four days after the fixed feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day), March 25. The churchwardens took advantage of this small discrepancy and, despite the fact that the heading for the 1520–1 accounts specifies that the account would run until Good Friday 1521, the account for 1521–2 clearly states that it begins March 25. Dating from March 25 became the custom of the parish from that year. St Giles was a parish that followed the custom of wardens serving staggered two year terms. It is likely that the warden who served both these years, Richard Hayne, was instrumental in making the change.
    This volume is very fragile and was consulted only by special permission. The transcriptions were made from a microfilm copy. The first four folios are taken up with rents suggesting that the parish had considerable property holdings. The accounts indicate a full liturgical life with processions on Ascension Day and Corpus Christi with streamers and the ringing of bells. The patronal feast day for St Giles was also celebrated with a procession with banners. The bells were rung when royalty passed through.

    1518–1808; English; paper; i + c 500 + i; 402mm x 287mm; unnumbered; display capitals; binding now broken, originally boards covered in white imitation parchment, title written in script on front cover: 'St Giles Parish in Reading beginning | 1518,' followed by printed title: 'Churchwardens | Register | 1518.'

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