Quarter Sessions Records


p 8 (4 April)


The Iury for our sovereign Lord the king vpon
°Iohn: Lee:° their oathes do present Iohn Lee of Pickeringe for intertayning and suffering a wandering fellow to play trickes of Legerdemaine or iuggling in his house contrary to the statute &c.


  • Marginalia
    • °Contra formam°

      [Footnote: Contra formam°: Contrary to the form (of the statute)]

  • Footnotes
    • Contra formam°: Contrary to the form (of the statute)
  • Document Description

    Record title: Quarter Sessions Records
    Repository: NYCRO
    Shelfmark: QSM 2/3
    Repository location: Northallerton

    Itinerant performers in the North Riding ranged from individual pipers, fiddlers, jugglers, and others living close to or below the poverty line, to organized companies of travelling players. Most of these did not play under gentry patronage and so were vulnerable to arrest and punishment under the Elizabethan and Stuart poor laws governing 'rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars' (39 Eliz c4; Great Britain, Statutes of the Realm, vol 4, pt 2 (London, 1819; rpt 1963), 899–902). Edward Lister and Richard Hudson, who figure regularly in the presentments of 1616, were the leaders of the small playing company. They were based in Hutton Buscel, just over four miles southwest of Scarborough, but they were active throughout the North Riding. The seven members of the company included three children, Lister's son and Hudson's two sons as well as Christopher Hutchinson, a boy of sixteen. The court is careful to note the ages of the boys in the company since those seven and under formed a separate category under the poor laws (The Workhouse: The Story of an Institution, http://www.workhouses.org.uk/education, accessed 8 October 2021). Between December 29, 1616, and February 18, 1616/17, the company played for thirty-two of the North Riding gentry and yeomen farmers, each of whom was fined 10s following their prosecution in the quarter sessions. Following this extensive tour, the company was arrested and appeared at the Hutton Buscel assize court on 4 April, 1616. They were convicted of being common vagabonds and were sent on for sentencing at the full sessions at Thirsk on 10 April, where Richard Hudson was sentenced to be whipped. This sentence seems to have convinced Hudson to disband his players and nothing further is seen of them.

    1616–20; Latin and English; paper; vol 1: i + 170 + i, vol 2: i + 172 + i; 300mm x 200mm; contemporary foliation (often damaged), modern pagination 1–340, 341–684 (used here); original in very poor condition; casebound 1979 in 2 volumes of tan double buckram with pages mounted individually (original calfskin binding on marbled paper boards slipped in case), original labels on spine of vol 1, upper red, lower black, with gold lettering, respectively: 'Minutes | and | Orders' and '1616 | to | 1620,' new labels (upper red, lower blue) with same text on vol 2.

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