FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
pcese were only permitted to sell at fixed prices, as, in the language of honest old Stowe, "This year (1299), was made an act of common council, fixing the prices of victuals to he sold at London, by consent of the King and nobility. Ihe price of poultry was to be this : a fat cock three pence, two pullets three halfpence, a fat capon two pence halfpenny, a goose four pence, a wild duck three halfpence, a partridge three pence, a pheasant four pence, a heron five pence, a plover one penny, a swan five shillings, a crane twelve pence, two woodcocks three halfpence." The
rice of a fat lamb was fixed at one shiling and three pence, from Christmas to Shrovetide, and four pence during the rest of the year. According to "Herbert's City Companies," the tariff of prices of fish limited the best soles to three pence per dozen, the best turbot to six pence, the best mackarel in Lent to one penny each, the best pickled herrings to the twentieth of a penny, fresh oysters to two pence per gallon, a quarter of a hundred of the tost eels two pence, and other fish in proportion; congers, salmon, lampreys, and sea-hogs are enumerated. Sturgeons and whales were considered great delicacies, and reserved as royalties for the King and his court; the whales were sliced up, salted down, and kept in casks.
To return to the subject of these me
moirs, it appears that, on the departure
of Edward for Scotland, Margaret, in
compliance with his desire, took up her
residence at Windsor, whence she pro
ceeded to London shortly after Christ
mas, and passed the spring in the Tower,
then the only royal residence in London,
as the palace at Westminster had been
burnt down in March, 1290, and the
new building was not yet completed.
On approaching London, the Queen was
met by six hundred of the citizens, four
miles without tbe gates, each citizen
being mounted on a charger, and dressed
in a livery of white and red, with the
badge of his mystery or trade embroi
dered on his sleeve. Thus caparisoned,
and in line of procession, the loyal Lon
doners escorted Margaret on her first
visit to her metropolitan residence.
At the close of the spring, the Queen quitted the Tower, and taking up her residence at the little village of Jirotherton, on the banks of the Wherfe, in Yorkshire, was delivered of her firstborn, usually styled Thomas of Brotherton, on the first of June, 1300. On receiving intelligence of Margaret's accouchement, Edward hastened to her presence, and remained by her side till she was in a state to leave her chamber, when, after her churching had been performed with due reverence, he conducted her to Cawood Castle, near the city of York. At this period, Edward appears to have passed much of his time in the company of his beloved consort, travelling from place to place as business or pleasure demanded. In these excursions the royal pair made frequent offerings at the shrines of the neighbouring religious houses, and were accompanied by Edward's eighth daughter, Elizabeth. This Princess, on the recent death of her husband, the Earl of Holland, had returned to England, and become at once the friend and companion of her juvenile stepmother.
According to the Wardrobe Books of Edward the First, the royal party were at Pose Castle, in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, in September, and two months afterwards, they, in company with the Prince of Wales, visited the cathedral at Ripon, whence journeying through Doncaster, Newstead, Stamford, and Okenham, they reached Leicester in December, made an offering at the shrine in the cathedral, and proceeded to Northampton, where they spent a truly merry Christmas. Throwing off the Tubes and cares of royalty, they invited persons of every grade, high and low, to partake of their hospitable cheer, and themselves indulged in the rude, but joyexciting sports then in vogue, with a freedom that in the present age would be deemed unbecoming in the highest degree. On the approach of night, the merry company assembled in the hall, drank wassail to their heart's content, and listened with delight to the wild lay of the minstrel, and the thrilling tales of romance recited by the merry jesters, I travelling tale tellers, described oy the