William Camden's Description of the Lyke Wake Ceremony (A)

BL: Cotton MS Julius F VI, item 185

f [9v]

...When any dieth certaine women singe a songe to the dead body, recytinge the iorney that the partie deceased must goe, and they are of beleife (such is their fondnesse) that once in their liues yt is good to giue a payre of newe shoes to a poore man, forasmuch as after this life they are to pass barefoote through a greate Lau‸⸢n⸣de full of thornes & furzen excepte by the meryte of the Almes foresaid they haue redemed their forfeyte; for at the edge of the Lau‸⸢n⸣de an aulde man shall meete them with the same shoes that were giuen by the partie when he was liuinge, and after he hath shodde them he dismisseth them to goe through thicke and thin without scratch or scalle...

  • Document Description

    Record title: William Camden's Description of the Lyke Wake Ceremony (A)
    Repository: BL
    Shelfmark: Cotton MS Julius F VI, item 185
    Repository location: London

    This record, from the miscellaneous letters and papers of William Camden (1551–1623), is a copy of a letter from 'H. Tr.' to Sir Thomas Chaloner concerning antiquities in the area of Guisborough. Camden began his survey of the history, topography, and customs of the counties of England, Britannia, around 1577, with the first edition appearing in 1586. Camden continued throughout his life to assemble relevant material (Wyman H. Herenden, 'Camden, William (1551–1623),' ODNB, accessed 31 December 2020). Sir Thomas Chaloner, naturalist, is often confused with his first cousin, Sir Thomas Chaloner the younger (1563/4–1615), a courtier who was in charge of the household of Prince Henry, son of James I (John Westby-Gibson and Kenneth L. Campbell (rev), 'Chaloner, Sir Thomas, the younger (1563/4–1615),' ODNB, accessed 28 December 2020). The courtier Chaloner held estates in the vicinity of Guisborough, North Riding, where his cousin spent time studying the effects of the presence of alum in the soil on plant growth. Chaloner's interests as a naturalist led him to collect information on local customs as well. His correspondent, 'H. Tr.' (f 462) has not been identified. The letter is introduced in a different hand from the main text 'To Sir Thomas Chaloner, as it seems, about Antiquities in the North parte of England' (f [1]) and concludes in the same hand as the main text 'Your worshippes to comande | H. Tr.' (f [10]).

    undated; English; paper; 10 leaves; 255mm x 190mm. Now foliated 453–62; bound into a volume of 188 items in a 19th-c. half morocco binding, brown and dark blue panels on spine, arms of Robert Cotton stamped on front and back boards, title on spine: 'PAPERS | RELATING | TO SCOTLAND, | TEMP. ELIZA. | HISTORICAL AND | TOPOGRAPHICAL | COLLECTIONS, | TEMP. JAS. I. | BRIT. MUS. | COTTON MS. | JULIUS F. VI.'

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