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sultus nostri veteres aiunt) sic fundi dos legitimè assignari potuit.
Chaucer, who flourished during the reign of Edward the Third, alludes to this custom in his Wife of Bath, thus :
“ She was a worthy woman all her live,
Husbands at the church dore had she five."
In the curious collection of prints, illustrating ancient customs, in the library of Mr. Douce, there is one that repre. sents a marriage solemnizing at the church door. [It was customary to baptise, marry people, and to bury them in the church-porch. Hence the “font or piscina” was there placed to hold consecrated water (called by St. Austin sacrarium regenerationis, the sacred laver of regeneration) for the holy baptism; when, after receiving this, the first sacrament of the Christian church, “the child entered it as into the care of a guardian ; she takes him up in all the solemn crises of life, and at his death receives him into her bosom. The church is the general home, the universal mother, the mediator and conciliator between this world and the next, the outward and visible sign of the revelation of the Divine law.” We have many instances of fonts being placed in the porch of our ancient churches ; there is a beautiful hexagon one in the porch of East Dereham church, Norfolk. Until the time of Edward VI. marriages were performed in the church-porch, and not in the church. Edward I. was married at the door of Canterbury cathedral, September 9, 1299, to Margarét, sister of the king of France: and until 1599, the people of France were married at the church-door.)
In a MS. entitled Historical Passages concerning the Clergy in the Papal times, cited in the History of Shrewsbury, 1779, p. 92, notes, it is observed that “the pride of the clergy and the bigotry of the laity were such, that both rich and poor were married at the church doors."
In a MS. Missal of the date of Richard the Second's reign, formerly the property of University College in Oxford, in the marriage ceremony, the man says: “Ich M. take the N. to my weddid wyf, to haven and to holden, for fayrere, for fouler, for bettur for wors, for richer for porer, in seknesse and in helthe, for thys tyme forward, til dethe us departe, zif holichirche will it orden ; and 3erto iche pligt the my treuthe :"
and on giving the ring: “With this ring I the wedde, and this gold and selver ich the zeve, and with my bodi I the worschepe, and with all my worldly catelle I the honoure.” The woman says: “Iche N. take the M. to my weddid husbond, to haven and to holden, for fayrer for fouler, for better for wors, for richer for porer, in seknesse and in helthe, to be bonlich and buxum in bed and at burde, tyl deth us departe, fro thys tyme forward, and if holichirche it wol orden; and 3erto iche pligt the my truthe.” The variations of these missals on this head are observable. The Hereford missal makes the man say: “ I N. underfynge the N. for my wedde wyf, for betere for worse, for richer for porer, yn sekenes and in helthe, tyl deth us departe, as holy church hath ordeyned, and therto y plygth the my trowthe.” The woman says: “I N. underfynge the N. &c. to be boxum to the, tyl deth us departe,” &c.
In the Sarum Manual there is this remarkable variation in the woman's speech : “to be bonere and buxom in bedde and at borde,” &c. Bonaire and buxum are explained in the margin by “meek and obedient.” In the York Manual the woman engages to be “buxom” to her husband; and the man takes her “ for fairer for fouler, for better for warse.”
By the parliamentary reformation of marriage and other rites under King Edward the Sixth, the man and woman were first permitted to come into the body or middle of the church, standing no longer, as formerly, at the door : yet by the following, from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 143, one would be tempted to think that this custom had survived the Reformation :
“The Entertainment ; or, Porch VERSE at the Marriage of Mr. Henry Northly and the most witty Mrs. Lettice Yard.
“Welcome! but yet no entrance till we blesse
First you, then you, and both for white successe:
DRINKING WINE IN THE CHURCH AT
This custom is enjoined in the Hereford Missal.. By the Sarum Missal it is directed that the sops immersed in this wine, as well as the liquor itself, and the cup that contained it, should be blessed by the priest. The beverage used on this occasion was to be drunk by the bride and bridegroom and the rest of the company.
In Lysons's Environs of London, iii. 624, in his account of Wilsdon parish, in Middlesex, he tells us of an “Inventory of the goods and ornaments belonging to Wilsdon church about A.D. 1547,” in which occur “two masers that were appointed to remayne in the church for to drynk in at brideales.”3
In the Workes of John Heiwood, newlie imprinted, 1576, the following passage occurs :
“ The drinke of my brydecup I should have forborne
Till temperaunce had tempred the taste beforne.
I“Post missam, panis, et vinum, vel aliud honum potabile in vasculo proferatur, et gustent in nomine Domini, sacerdote primo sic dicente, • Dominu
inus vobiscum.'” ? “ Benedicatur panis et vinum vel aliud quid potabile in vasculo, et gustent in nomine Domini, sacerdote dicente, Dominus vobiscum.'” The form of benediction ran thus : " Benedic, Domine, panem istum et hunc potum et hoc vasculum, sicut benedixisti quinque panes in Deserto et sex hydrias in Chanaan Galileæ, ut sint sani et sobrii atque immaculati omnes gustantes ex iis," &c.
3 In Coates's History of Reading, p. 225, under the year 1561, in the churchwardens' accounts of St. Lawrence's parish, is the following entry : “ Bryde-past. It. receyved of John Radleye, vis. viijd.” A note says: “Probably the wafers, which, together with sweet wine, were given after the solemnization of the marriage." See the account of the ceremony of the marriage between Frederick Count Palatine of the Rhine and the Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King James the first, on St. Valen. tine's day, 1613, in Leland's Collectanea, vi. 335. So, at the marriage of Queen Mary and Philip of Spain, “ wine and sops were hallowed." Leland, iv. 400.
In the Compleat Vintner, 1720, p. 17, it is asked:
“What priest can join two lovers' hands,
But wine must seal the marriage-bands?
Had finished what the priest begun.' The pieces of cake, or wafers, that appear to have been immersed in the wine on this occasion, were properly called sops, and doubtless gave name to the flower termed Sops-in-wine. The allusions to this custom in our old plays are very numerous; as in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, where Petruchio calls for wine, gives a health, and having quaffed off the muscadel, throws the sops in the sexton's face.
In the beginning of Armin's History of the Two Maids of Moreclacke, 1609, the serving-man, who is perfuming the door, says : “ The muscadine stays for the bride at church.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, i. 1:
“If my wedding-smock were on,
T'he hippocras and cakes eat and drunk off.” In the articles ordained by Henry VII. for the regulation of his household, Article for the Marriage of a Princess, we read: “Then pottes of ypocrice to bee ready, and to be put into the cupps with soppe, and to be borne to the estates ; and to take a soppe and a drinke,” &c. In Dekker's SatiroMastix, 1602, we read : “And when we are at church bring the wine and cakes.” At the magnificent marriage of Queen Mary and Philip in Winchester Cathedral, 1554, this was practised: “The trumpetts sounded, and they both returned, hand in hand, to their traverses in the quire, and there remayned until mase was done; at which tyme wyne and sopes were hallowed, and delivered to them booth.”—Leland, Collectan. ed. 1770, iv. App. 400. Dr. Farmer has adduced a line in an old canzonet on a wedding, set to music by Morley, 1606 : “Sops in wine, spice, cakes are a dealing." In Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady, the wine drank on this occasion is called a “knitting cup.”
1 This custom, too, has its traces in Gentilism. It is of high antiquity, says Malone, for it subsisted among our Gothic ancestors : “Ingressus domum convivialem sponsus cum pronubo suo, sumpto poculo, quod maritale, vocant, ac paucis a pronubo de mutato vitæ genere prefatis, in signum constantiæ, virtutis, defensionis et tutelæ, propinat sponsæ et simul morgennaticam (dotalitium ob virginitatem) promittit, quod ipsa grato animo recolens, pari ratione et modo, paulo post mutato in uxorium habitum operculo capitis, ingressa, poculum ut nostrates vocant, uxorium leviter delibans, amorem, fidem, diligentiam, et subjectionem promittit." Stierubook de Jure Sueorum et Gothorum vetusto, 4to. 1672, p. 163.
The Jews have a custom at this day, when a couple are married, to break the glass in which the bride and bridegroom have drunk, to admonish them of mortality. This custom of nuptial drinking appears to have prevailed in the Greek Church.
A wedding sermon was anciently preached at almost every marriage of persons of any consequence. In the account of the parish of Driffield, in Gloucestershire (Fosbrooke's Hist. ii. 476), we read : “One John Humphries, M.A., in Feb. 1742, published a sermon preached at a wedding here. The Marriage Psalm, on the first Sunday of the couple's appearance at church, still continues.” In the British Museum, is a Sermon preached at Trafford, in Lancashire, at the Marriage of a daughter of the right worshipfull Sir Edmund Trafford, knight, the 6th of September, Anno 1586, by William Massie, 12mo. Oxford, 1586.
In a curious account of Irish marriage customs about 1682, in Piers's Description of Westmeath, in Vallancey, i. 122, it is stated, that “in their marriages, especially in those countries where cattle abound, the parents and friends on each side meet on the side of a hill, or, if the weather be cold, in some place of shelter about mid-way between both dwellings. If agreement ensue, they drink the agreement bottle, as they call it, which is a bottle of good usquebaugh (i. e. whisky, the Irish aqua vitæ, and not what is now understood by usquebaugh), and this goes merrily round. For payment of the portion, which generally is a determinate number of cows, little care is taken. Only the father or next of kin to the bride, sends to his neighbours and friends, sub mutuæ vicissitudinis obtentu, and every one gives his cow or heifer, which is all one in the case, and thus the portion is quickly paid; nevertheless, caution is taken from the bridegroom, on the