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The following arms, &c., were formerly in the windows of Wednesbury Church :
1. A. a bend, cotised Gules.
5. A. on a chief Or, three martlets Sa. impaling quarterly Ermine and Gules . . . in a bordure Az.
6. Arg. three covered cups Sa. 7. Sa. two lions passant Ar. crowned Or. (Heronvile.) 8. The same, within a bordure Or. 9. Or, two lions passant Az. 10. Arg. a fess between two chevrons Az. impaling Az. semée of fleursde-lis, a lion rampant Or. Over it is inscribed, “ Jacobus Beaumont et Eliz. ux. ejus.” But their arms are reversed.
11. A cross charged with 5 roses, impaling on a bend 3 stirrup irons. John Cumberford et Em. sa. feme. 1559.
12. On a bend 3 stags' heads impaling 3 chevronels. Georgius Stanley et Elianor, uxor.
13. Humfry Cumberford et Dor, ux, ejus. Arms: Cumberford and Beaumont as above.
14. John Babington et Johnna ux. Arms: Arg. nine torteauxes, & label of 3 points Az. impaling Beaumont.
15. The same arms. Hum. Babington et Elianor ux ejus.*
The lectern, as a component part of church furniture, may be traced to very early times—indeed, we find it mentioned as soon as churches were by law permitted to be erected. Its place was in front of the chancel, or at the
* Wyrley's Church Notes, 1597.
south side, and was surrounded by the seats appropriated to the choir. From it the Scriptures were accustomed to be read, and, in some instances, commented upon and explained by the officiating minister. As in other matters connected with the internal economy of the Church, the primitive Christians ever strove that all should be done “to edifying," so also with regard to the arrangement of the lectern choir the aim was not overlooked, the idea intended to be conveyed thereby being the manner in which the Saviour's birth was proclaimed to the shepherds. One angel alone declared the glad tidings—an innumerable multitude of the angelic host followed in exulting strains— so one authorised person read the Gospel of Peace, and was followed by the ravishing melody of the choristers, giving praise to God for all the things they had heard.
During the dark and degenerate ages of Popery, the lectern was retained as an article of ecclesiastical furniture. In an illuminated MS. of the tenth century, a desk is represented, in form corresponding with the modern lectern; and we find examples of the existence of such as early as the reign of King John. There is one of great antiquity in the Parish Church of Crowle, Worcestershire; another is preserved in the Abbey House, Wenlock, Salop; a third in the ancient church of Ramsay, Hants; and a fourth in Southwell Minster, Notts. They, for the most part, bear the figure of an eagle-symbolical at once of S. John the Evangelist, and of the angel commissioned to carry “the tidings of great joy” throughout the world.
At the period of the Reformation, lecterns were permitted to remain in their usual place in churches, as they were not considered, in any respect, to minister to superstition
or idolatry, but were viewed rather as a useful, if not a necessary part of the Church's furniture; and it is a fact worth remarking, that of the lecterns existing at this time in England, by far the greater number were made after the Reformation—amongst many others those in York Minster; in S. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol; and in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Coventry. Previous to the Great Rebellion most of our parish churches possessed their lectern, nor were they regarded with suspicion until the fanatical and ignorant Roundheads termed them “remnants of Popery," and forthwith made havoc of them throughout the land, a spirit not altogether extinct in this our day.
That in the Old Church is one of the most ancient wooden lecterns in existence.
It may be as well to remark, that from the earliest times, lay-readers have been appointed, under certain restrictions, to read the lessons in the church, and thus to assist the minister—a custom still authorised by the Anglican Church.
APPENDIX I. The following account of the market held in Wednesbury is taken, by permission, from an unpublished history of the same :
“ It would appear from the Charter, granted to John Hoo, Esq., that two fairs are to be held in Wednesbury, viz. one on the 25th of April, and the other on the 23rd of July (old style,) for the buying and selling of all manner of cattle and beasts, and for all manner of goods, &c., that the market is to be held on the Friday in every week for the buying and selling of corn, flesh, fish, and all other provisions ; that on those days, viz. on the fair and market days, reasonable tolls may be taken for all cattle, goods, &c. sold or exposed for sale in such fairs or markets, and that John
Hoo, Esq. was licensed to hold these two fairs in the year, and this Market on the Friday in every week, together with the court of piepoudre, at the time and times of such fairs; and it would appear that on these fair and market days alone reasonable tolls, tollage, piccage, and stallage for cattle, goods, &c. sold or exposed for sale on such aforesaid days, may be received to the only and proper use and behoof of the said John Hoo, his heirs and assigns for ever. It would then seem that on no other days than the 25th of April and the 23d of July, on which days the fairs are held, and Friday in every week, on which the market is held, can tolls be legally taken by the representatives of the Lord of the Manor.
“To what extent the fairs and markets were carried on after the grant of the Charter we cannot ascertain; but certainly, from the evidence of some of the oldest inhabitants, there was little business transacted at them about the close of the last century. Friday could scarcely be distinguished from any other day in the week as a day of business; and for some time after, five or six stalls of meat constituted the whole of the market of Wednesbury. At that time one Joseph Harrison was town crier, keeper of the pin-fold, and beadle of the Parish Church, from which latter office he was dismissed in the year 1818. In what year Harrison began to receive tolls on the fair and market days cannot be ascertained, but certainly, at the time of his death, some fees were received by his son for the loan of stalls, and for stallage of goods sold or exposed for sale.
“ About this time a few stalls might be seen in Wednesbury on the Saturday evening, and persons who brought goods for sale were accustomed to borrow stalls of Harrison, and pay him for the use of them. This led to an attempt to take tolls on the Saturday evening, and by lapse of time this impost has been claimed as a matter of right; and tolls are now demanded as on the regular market day. On the death of Harrison, which took place in 1822, Peter Ellis was appointed to the vacant office. At this time no rent was received by the Lords of the Manor, and Ellis was appointed on the same terms and conditions as his predecessors, viz.
without paying any acknowledgment in the form of rent.' This appointment, however, was very soon cancelled. Joseph Harrison, the son of the old beadle, at the suggestion of one Michael Toney, obtained an interview with some one in authority, and by offering the stewards a small annual payment (about £10 per annum), induced them to place him in his late father's office. At the wake, the constable had, for many years past, been in the habit of collecting small gratuities from some booth and showmen, and paying them over to the treasurer of the Sunday School. Soon after Harrison's appointment, he laid claim to these gratuities, and in order to settle the dispute, a copy of the original Charter was obtained in 1826 by Mr. Joseph Dawes, the churchwarden, who caused it to be printed This at once decided the matter, so that Harrison forthwith resigned his claim, and confined his collections at the wake time to those persons for whose accommodation he provided stalls. Harrison died in the month of March, 1840, and was succeeded by Thomas Tibbets, who had for many years been parish constable. The annual rent was now advanced to the sum of £20 per annum. Tibbets, when constable, had for some time collected the gratuities from the booth and showmen, and at the wake, and paid them over to the treasurer of the Schools: this he did both before and after he was appointed collector of the tolls, but being excluded from the office of constable, he ceased to pay any more. In 1845 Tibbets paid the sum of £5, and with this year the custom ceased.
“Previous to the time of the wake, in the year 1848, it was determined not to allow the large booths to be erected in the Market Place, and orders were given to the police to that effect. On the Monday morning, however, in the wake week, a person of the name of Douglas, master of a company of strolling players, came into the town and began to prepare to erect his booth in the most conspicuous part of the Market Place. When told by the Superintendent of the Police that he would not be allowed to proceed, he replied, “Oh! but I have taken the ground a month ago, and paid £5 for the use of it.” Thus, the very Market Place was let for an illegal purpose, the Charter only authorising toll to be taken for goods and merchandise exposed for sale on market and fair days. Douglas was told that Tibbets (with whom he had agreed for the ground) had no right to let it to any one, much less to a gang of players. After some demur, however, the booth was suffered to be erected, but subsequently Douglas summoned Tibbets for obtaining money under false pretences. The following is a copy of the summons : County of Stafford.—To the Constable of the Parish of Wednesbury, in the
said County, and to all other Constables and Peace Oficers for the said County.
These are, in Her Majesty's name, to require you, upon sight hereof, to summon Thomas Tibbets, collector of tolls of the parish of Wednesbury, in the said county, personally to appear before such of Her Majesty's