Nicholas Le Strange, Merry Jeasts

Lippincott, 1974

‘The Deane of Glocester having some merry Divines at dinner with him one day, and amongst other discourses, they talking of reconciling the Fathers in some points, he told them he would shew them the best way in the world to reconcile them in all points of difference; so after dinner he carryed them into his study, and shewed them all the Fathers ... classically ordered with a quarte of sacke betwixt each of them, and told them that he ever found that the best way of reconciling them.’

‘Two Divines, whome my Lord oc Canterbury equally favourd, and intimate friends, were bragging one to another of their posibilities of preferment; I protest sayes the one, I hope the Lord places me it he Front of his Favour, for I dind with him lately, and he usd me very graciously, and sent me a Cheese next day; nay faith sayes the other that’s but an Ill Omen, for thou knowst afer Cheese comes Nothing; and so it fell out at last. ‘

[Mr Loades]

Thomas Cataline relates that his aunty Caatline was carving a Boxe of Marmelade at the upper end of roome, Mr Pricke minister [being] at [the] lower end, she had many distributions to make before she could come at him ‘observing that he leerd much that way, she whisperd to one that was by her, doe but marke, sayes she, how the very sight of this same makes Mr Teeths Prick water; in stead of Mr Pricks Teethwater.’

‘One Doctor Warren, a Divine in Degree and profession, yet seldome in the pulpitt or church; but a Justice of Peace, and very pragmaticall in secular businesse; having a fellow before him good refractorie and stubborne, well Sirrha, sayes he, goe your wayes, Ile teach you lawe, Ile warrant you: Sir sayes he I had rather you rworshippe would teach us some Gospell.

[Doctor Garnons]

‘A loose Minister in Bury walking with his Cassocke girt about him, two Serjeants came to Arrest him; and offerd to clapp hold of his girdle; Avant, yea prophane Villaines, sayes he, touch not my Girdle, ‘tis sactifyde; Sir sayes one of them, wee’le have your Body then, for I beleeve that is not; and away they carryed him’

[Doctor Garnons]

‘Prebend Robarts of Norwich, Riding into the Country, pass’d by a plaine fellow house, whose Child he had formerly answered for; and enquring for his God-sonne, the good Father over-joyd, fell into such superlative Commendations of him, as if it might by much suspected by his forward pregnancie that he would not be long-liv’d; He was glad to Heare, but loath to see, by reason of his Hast of businesse at that Time; yet th extreame importunitie of his Gossippe, and hope to finding something admirable in the child, made him dismount; and coming into the house, he found his God-sonne Cagd up among the joynt-stooles on the farther side of a long Table; His Father calls him, and woo’d him to come out and aske Blessing; I won’t sayes he; Then his Godfather tempted him with faire word, and promises of Plummes, and such good things; I won’t Goodman Snott-gall sayes the Boy; and this was all, that the Authoritie of the One, or Rhetoricke of the Other, could gett from this witty Child, the Grave Prebend bad his Gossipp be of good Comfort, for truly sayes he, I see Nothing by my God-sonne, but that he may live long; and so with much sorryow for his lost Time, he hasted away.’

[My Couzzen Do: Gourny]

‘Mr Sumpter a minister, ( and a Bakers Sonne in Norwich) called by Some Panis Domini; a Witty, and able Divine, but of a very corpulent Body; wondring at his owne Grossnesse, considering he usd exercise and Eate little: says a Merry Companion to him, Thou tak’st it of thy Father; nay sayes Sumpter, how can that be, when he is but Plumpe and Well; yes Faith sayes the other, He Putt too much Gods-Good into the ‘

[Mr Pepis]

‘A Minister Examining diverse of his Parish, for the beter Assurance who might be fitt Communicants; askt one Fellow, (among other familiar chatechisticall questions) What art Thou by nature? A Taylor Sir, sayes he

[Mr Honywod [Michael Honywood, Dean of Lincoln]

‘An Arch-Conventicling Mechanicke, whose constant fashion was to rush uon a Text, as an Hors einto the Battell, or Mule ( or Asse) without understanding..’ took the Text ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully Made’ and read it ‘very Audibly and Distinctl, I am fearfully and wonderfully Mad’

[Couzen John Pell]

Anecdote of Mr Homes of the Chappell ‘who sang very bravely, but had one false Eye of Glasse’ pulling out his eye and sang ‘I can bring my Eye as neere as I will to the Booke’

[Mr Jenkins]