I'm a twit too

Saturday, December 29, 2012


To the tune of When the King enjoys his own again 1642 

Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:
Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.
Holy-dayes are despis'd, new fashions are devis'd.
Old Christmas is kicked out of Town
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
The wise men did rejoyce to see our Savior Christs Nativity:
The Angels did good tidings bring, the Sheepheards did rejoyce and sing.
Let all honest men, take example by them.
Why should we from good Laws be bound?
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
Command is given, we must obey, and quite forget old Christmas day:
Kill a thousand men, or a Town regain, we will give thanks and praise amain.
The wine pot shall clinke, we will feast and drinke.
And then strange motions will abound.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:
They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.
They count it a sin, when poor people come in.
Hospitality it selfe is drown'd.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
The serving men doe sit and whine, and thinke it long ere dinner time:
The Butler's still out of the way, or else my Lady keeps the key,
The poor old cook, in the larder doth look,
Where is no goodnesse to be found,
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.
To conclude, I'le tell you news that's right, Christmas was kil'd at Naseby fight:
Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine,
Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie,
Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found.
Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down
(Thanks Google wikipedia)

Can you imagine your world without Christmas and New Year festivities and rituals?

THE WORLD WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN in the age my Great Grandparents x 11 were alive. 

IT started with the King refusing to accept any criticism from the members of the House of Commons eg over the war in Spain costing a fortune(some things never change) and deciding to rule without Parliament.
It lasted 11 years until all natural and supernatural forces combined to chop off the King's head! The hands that signed the regicide paper saw it as an inevitable conclusion to a civil war the King had provoked and stubbornly persisted with no thought to the people.

Even so, for the Londoners who were used to seeing executions of all kinds of people, King Charles 1 was novel and thousands came to watch...
Execution of King Charles 1
Jan 1649

Life goes on - Midwives like Jane Sharp were called on to assist at the births of  babies or family and neighbours. It was women's business. They relied on each other in these vulnerable life and death  situations.
 Even though John Clark was born into the chaotic warren of mariners and shipwrights housing at Wapping, the area was semi-rural. 

The Midwife and/or the community of women would have participated in the baptism of the baby at home or at church depending on the fragility of the newborn. 
Midwifes were registered by the Anglican church and might have also taken part in the 'churching' of the Mother and child - a formal cleansing of the sin of sex.
There was much debate amongst the clerics of all denominations about these rituals. During the English Republic 'Interregnum' the Puritans banned Churching of Women, but for the women who enjoyed this ritual it is known there were clerics who would perform the rites!

 John Clark junior christened at the  'Sailor's chapel' of Saint John the Evangelist Church, Wapping on 5th April 1629. Parents John and Margaret Clark(nee Lloyd).

New born John, son of a Mariner would later marry another who was baptised in the same chapel, Thomasine Cannady, daughter of a Mariner. 

Meanwhile the Royal Sovereign was enjoying his life with hunting activities in the neigbourhood:
"Friday, 24 July 1629. King Charles having hunted a stag or hart from Wanstead in Essex, killed him in Nightingale Lane in the hamlet of Wapping in a garden belonging to one who had some damage among his herbs by reason of the multitude of people there assembled suddenly."
After the chase, which may reasonably be supposed to have been through Leyton, Old Ford and across Stepney Fields - only six or seven miles - tradition has it that the King, in his saddle, took a refreshing draught of ale at the Red Lion Inn at Wapping.   Tower Hamlets local history articles

Along the tidal defensive WAPPING WALL HIGH STREET were 36 taverns to cater for the sailors and shipwrights, and warehouse labourers and carters. To provide for the needs of these men were the prostitutes.
Growing up in such an environment of excess would have been extraordinary but no more so than the kids growing up in the port city of Bombay today.

The Established Church of England was responsible for the religious and administrative requirements of the parish for the poor and sick, records of birth, deaths and marriages, but Wapping and other Tower Hamlets were known for it's Dissenters and Non-Conformist congregations.
The culture of exchange of ideas about religion and politics was stimulating the minds and spirit of many.

It was usual that a son would follow in his father's occupation, often because they were learning the ropes from a young age; working at Wapping usually meant as a Mariner or Shipwright. For John Clark we know that with the English Civil War turning into a Republic led by Oliver Cromwell, John Clark became a soldier in the New Model Army with his wife Thomasine.
This was Englands first professionally trained army instead of local militia.

Credit to the learned blogger of the 1640's picture book

And thank human ingenuity for the world wide web and You Tube 

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