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As the day began to draw nearer, advertisements of this nature rapidly increased, together with some others relating to the subject, as, for example: “An Earl and Countess's Coronet to be sold;" “ Ermine Skins at reduced prices;” Notices to summon Spectators to their seats on the night preceding the Ceremony, and an announcement that the Westminster Assembly would take place on the evening of the Coronation day, for the entertainment of those who might.“not find it safe nor convenient to venture home.” On this occasion the price of admission was raised from half-a-crown to half-a-guinea. — Having thus given a few memoranda relative to the seats in 1761, it will not be wholly uninteresting to give some account of their value at former ceremonials.
A writer in the London Magazine for the same year, who had enquired into the subject of former prices for seats at Coronations, states, that on consulting Stow, Speed, and other antiquaries, with regard to the sums anciently given, it appears that the amount of a good place at the Coronation of the Conqueror was a blank, and probably the same at that of his son, William Rufus. “At Henry the First's it was a crocard; and at Stephen's and Henry the Second’s a pollard. At Richard's and King John's, who was crowned frequently,* it was a suskin; and rose at Henry the Third's to a dodkin. In the reign of Edward the coins begin to be more intelligible, and we find that for seeing his Coronation a Q. was given, or the half a ferling or farthing; which was the fourth part of a sterling or penny.
* The coins mentioned in the first part of this extract, were a sort of base money of the lowest value, which was at one time imported into England, with many other pieces equally rude in their names. Most of them were, however, prohibited by stat. 3 Henry V.
At Edward II. it was a farthing; and at his son's, Edward III. a halfpenny, which was very well given. In Richard the Second's thoughtless reign it was a penny, and continued the same at that of Henry IV. At Henry V. it was two pennies, or the half of a grossus or groat; and the same at that of Henry VI. though, during his time, Coronations were so frequent, that the price was brought back to the penny or halfpenny, and sometimes they were seen for nothing. . At Edward IV. it was again the half-groat; nor do we find it raised at those of Richard III. or Henry VII.
At that of Henry VIII. it was the whole groat, or grossus; nor was it altered at those of Edward VI. and Queen Mary; but at Queen Elizabeth's it was a testour or tester.
At those of James I. and Charles I. a shilling was given ; which was advanced to half-a-crown at those of Charles II. and James II.
At King William's and Queen Anne's it was a crown; and at George I. was seen by many for the same price. At George'II. some gave half-a-guinea.”
* King Henry the Second and King John were each of them thrice crowned, Henry the Third twice; and in the time of Henry the Sixth, the most magnificent ceremonies of Coronations took place both in England and France.
It has been stated in the foregoing proclamations, that all persons should be assisting at the Coronations whose offices or tenures required them to do so, or who should receive the King's letters missive, summoning them to be there. These letters or precepts have varied but little, save in the language in which they have been written; the earliest which are now on record, bear the date of the first year of Edward the Second, 1307, and the following copy of one addressed to an Earl and his Countess, will give a perfect idea of their nature. The instrument itself will be found in Sandford's Coronation of King James the Second,
Right Trusty and Right Well-beloved Cousin, We Greet You well. Whereas We have appointed the 23 Day of April next, for the solemnity of Our Royal Coronation: These are therefore to Will and Command You, all Excuses set apart, that You make Your Personal Attendance on Us, at the time above-mentioned furnished and appointed as to Your Rank and Quality appertaineth there to do and perform such Services, as shall be required and belong unto you.
And whereas We have also resolved, that the Coronation of Our Royal Consort the Queen, shall be solemnized on the same Day, We do further hereby require the Countess Your Wife, to make her Personal Attendance, on Our said Royal Consort, at the time, and in the manner aforesaid: Whereof You and She are not to fail. And So we bid you heartily Farewel.
Given at Our Court at Whitehal, the 23 day of March, in
the first Year of Our Reign, 1684-5.
But the same Proclamation states that a dispensation of attendance can be allowed by the King, upon special reasons for absence being given; and, accordingly, a specimen of such dispensation, as granted to the Lady Mary Stafford, has been extracted from the papers relating to the Stafford claim of Peerage, page 164.
To Our Right Trusty and Welbeloved Mary Baronesse Stafford.
well. It having been represented to Us, that You cannot, without great prejudice, attend at the Solemnity of Our and Our Royall Consort the Queen's Coronation, on the twenty-third instant: We have therefore thought fit and accordingly do hereby dispense with Your attendance upon that occasion. And so We bid You heartily Farewell.
Given at Our Court at Whitehall, the 18th day of April, in
the first Year of Our Reigne. Baronesse Stafford.
Previous to the Coronation, the Earl Marshal issued the following
TO BE OBSERVED ON TUESDAY, THE TWENTY-SECOND OF SEPTEMBER, BEING THE DAY APPOINTED FOR THEIR MAJESTIES'
In Pursuance of an Order of Council. These are to give Notice, that it is ordered that all the Peers that do go in the Proceeding, are to meet in the House of Lords, and all the Peeresses at the Painted-Chamber in Westminster, in their Robes and with their Coronets, by Eight of the Clock precisely, on Tuesday Morning next: And all others appointed to go in the said Proceeding (except those who are immediately to attend near their Majesties' Persons) are to meet in the Court of Requests exactly at the same Hour, in their respective Habits usual on such occasion.
That Privy Counsellors who are Commoners, do not wear their Hats in the Procession, but may put them on at Dinner in Westminster-Hall.
That the Military Officers keep their posts and not come into the Choir, that the Gentlemen Pensioners do stand at the foot of the Steps ascending to the Theatre, and come no further, and that the Yeomen of the Guard do stand between the Gentlemen Pensioners and the Choir Door: That all Persons take their places to which the Officers of Arms shall conduct them, and that they continue in their respective places during the whole Ceremony. That no person whose Name is not contained in the Ceremonial, shall presume to attend, or walk in the Procession.
That a way is ordered to be made for Coaches to pass through Parliament-Street, cross the New and Old Palace-Yards, which Coaches, as soon as discharged, are to proceed on directly to Milbank, and from theuce to Hyde-Park-Corner, without making any stop, and none but the Coaches of Peers, Peeresses, and others who attend the Solemnity, are to pass that way after Seven of the Clock that Morning, nor any whatever after Nine: And in the Evening the Coaches are to return the same way; but no Coaches will be permitted to pass back any of those ways, till after their Majesties' return to St. James's.
That after the Peers, Peeresses, and others, are set down, the Servants of such Peers and Persons, are to be dismissed, and immediately pass on the same way with the Coaches to which they belong.
That particular care be taken that no Coaches nor Carts be suffered to hinder or interrupt the said Lord's Coaches, and that no Carriages whatever be suffered to pass over Westminster Bridge on the Day of their Majesties' Coronation, except the Coach of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.*
A Passage will be open for Chairs to pass to the North Door of the Abbey, through King-Street, Charles-Street, Delahay-Street, to Dean-Street otherwise Little-George-Street, and through Westminster Market, and are to return as soon as they have set down
* The ferry at Lambeth formerly belonged to the Archbishops of Canterbury, as Lords of the Manor; but the profits were usually granted by patent, to some officer of the Arcbiepiscopal household, a certain annual rent being reserved. After the building of Westminster-bridge, in 1750, the ferry was taken away, and an equivalent given to the See of Canterbury, as well as to the Patentee, for their interest; the privilege, therefore, mentioned in the Earl Marshal's orders, seems to have arisen out of, and to be a recognition of the Archbishop's Right of ferry. It may not be uninteresting to mention in this place, that, previous to the building of Westminster-bridge, the Bishops used commonly to go by water to the House of Lords, from their several palaces in Southwark, the Strand, and Lambeth, landing at Parliament Stairs. They were rowed in their state barges, by their own protected watermen, in liveries of purple turned up with white. Archbishop Wake, who filled the See from 1715 to 1737, was the last Prelate who displayed this aquatic pageantry.