CHAP. I. OF CATTELL KEPT FOR PROFIT.
THERE is no kind of tame cattell vsually to be seene in these parts of the world, wherof we haue not some ad that great sore in England; as horsses, oxen, shéepe, goats, swine, and fr surmounting the like in other countries, as may be prooued with ease. For where are oxen commonlie more large of bone, horsses more decent and pleasant in pase, kine more commodious for the pale, shéepe more profitable for wooll, swine more wholesome of flesh, and goates more gainefull to their kéepers, than here with vs in England? But to speke of them peculiarlie, I suppose that our kine are so abundant in yéeld of milke, wherof we make our butter & chéese as the like anie where else, and so apt for the plough in diuerse places as either our horsses or oxen. And albeit they now and then twin, yet herein they séeme to come short of that commoditie which is looked for in other countries, to wit, in that they bring foorth most commonlie but one calfe at once. The gaines also gotten by a cow (all charges borne) hath beene valued at twentie shillings yearelie: but now as land is inhanced, this proportion of gaine is much abated, and likelie to decaie more and more, if ground arise to be yet déerer, which God forbid, if it be his will and pleasure. I heard of late of a cow in Warwikshire, belonging to Thomas Bruer of Studleie, which in six yéeres had sixtéene calfes, that is, foure at once in thrée caluings and twise twins, which vnto manie may séeme a thing incredible. In like maner our oxen are such as the like are
not to be found in anie countrie of Europe, both for greatnesse of bodie and swéetnesse of flesh: or else would not the Romane writers haue preferred them before those of Liguria. In most places our grasiers are now growen to be so cunning, that if they doo but sée an ox or bullocke, and come to the féeling of him, they will giue a ghesse at his weight, and how manie score or stone of flesh and tallow he beareth, how the butcher may liue by the sale, and what he may haue for the skin and tallow; which is a point of skill not commonlie practised heretofore. Some such grasiers also are reported to ride with veluet coats, and chaines of gold
about them: and in their absence their wiues will not let to supplie those turnes with no lesse skill than their husbands: which is an hard worke for the poore butcher, sith he through this means can seldome be rich or weathie by his trade' in like sort the flesh of our oxen and kine is sold both by hand and by weight as the buier will: but in yoong ware rather by weight, especiallie for the stéere and heighfer, sith the finer béefe is the lightest, wheras the flesh of buls and old kine, &c: is of sadder substance and therefore much heauier as it lieth in the scale. Their homes also are knowne to be more faire and large in England than in anie other places, except those which are to be séene among the Pæones, which quantitie albeit that it be giuen to our bréed generallie by nature, yet it is now and then helped also by
Athenœus lib. 10. cap. 8.
art. For when they be verie yoong, manie grasiers will oftentimes annoint their budding hornes, or tender tips with honie, which mollifieth the naturall hardnesse of that substance, and thereby maketh them to grow vnto a notable greatnesse. Certes, it is not strange in England, to sée oxen whose homes haue the length of a yard or thrée foot betweene the tips, and they themselues thereto so tall, as the heigth of a man of meane and indifferent stature is scarse equall vnto them. Neuerthelesse it is much to be lamented that our generall bréed of cattell is not better looked vnto: for the greatest occupiers weane least store, bicause they can buie them (as they sale) far better cheape than to raise and bring them vp. In my time a cow hath risen from foure nobles to foure marks by this means, which notwithstanding were no great price if they did yearelie bring foorth more than one calfe a péece, as I heare they doo in other countries.
Our horsses moreouer are high, and although not commonlie of such huge greatnesse as in other places of the maine: yet if you respect the easinesse of their pase, it is hard to saie where their like are to be had. Our land dooth yéeld no asses, and therefore we want the generation also of mules and somers; and therefore the most part of our cartage is made by these, which remaining stoned, are either reserued for the cart, or appointed to beare such burdens as are conuenient for them. Our cart or plough horsses (for we vse them indifferentlie) are commonlie so strong that fiue or six of them (at the most) will draw thrée thousand weight of the greatest tale with ease for a long iourneie, although it be not a load of common vsage, which consisteth onelie of two thousand, or fiftie foot of timber, fortie bushels of white salt, or six and thirtie of baie, or flue quarters of wheat, experience dailie teacheth, and I haue elsewhere remembred. Such as are kept also for burden, will carie foure hundred weight commonlie, without anie hurt or hinderance. This furthermore is to be noted, that our princes and the nobilitie haue their cariage commonlie made by carts, wherby it commeth to passe, that when the quéenes maiestie dooth remooue from anie one place to another, there are vsuallie 400 carewares, which amount to the summe of 2400 horsses, appointed out of the countries adioining, whereby hir cariage is conueied safelie vnto the appointed place. Hereby also the ancient vse of somers and sumpter horsses is in maner vtterlie relinquished, which causeth the traines of our princes in their progresses to shew far lesse than those of the kings of other nations.
Such as serue for the saddle are commonlie gelded, and now growne to be verie déere among vs, especiallie if they be well coloured, iustlie limmed, and haue thereto an easie ambling pase. For our countriemen, séeking their ease in euerie corner where it is to be had, delight verie much in these qualities, but chieflie in their excellent pases, which besides that it is in maner peculiar vnto horsses of our soile, and not hurtfull to the rider or owner sitting on their backes: it is moreouer verie pleasant and delectable in his eares, in that the noise of their well proportioned pase dooth yéeld comfortable sound as he trauelleth by the waie. Yet is there no greater deceipt vsed anie where than among our horssekeepers, horssecorsers, and hostelers: for such is the subtill knauerie of a great sort of them (without exception of anie of them be it spoken which deale for priuat gaine) that an honest meaning man shall haue verie good lucke among them, if he be not deceiued by some false tricke or other. There are certeine notable markets, wherein great plentie of horsses and colts is bought and sold,
and wherevnto such as haue néed resort yearelie to buie and make their necessarie prouision of them, as Rippon, Newport pond, Wolfpit, Harborow, and diuerse other. But as most drouers are verie diligent to bring great store of these vnto those places; so manie of them are too too lewd in abusing such as buie them. For they haue a custome to make them looke faire to the eie, when they come within two daies iourneie of the market, to driue them till they sweat, & for the space of eight or twelue houres, which being doone they turne them all ouer the backs into some water, where they stand for a season, and then go forward with them to the place appointed, where they make sale of their infected ware, and such as by this meanes doo fall into manie diseases and maladies. Of such outlandish horsses as are dailie brought ouer vnto vs I speake not, as the genet of Spaine, the courser of Naples, the hobbie of Ireland, the Flemish roile, and Scotish nag, bicause that further spéech of them commeth not within the compasse of this treatise, and for whose breed and maintenance (especiallie of the greatest sort) king Henrie the eight erected a noble studderie and for a time had verie good successe with them, till the officers waxing wearie, procured a mixed brood of bastard races, whereby his good purpose came to little effect. Sir Nicholas Arnold of late hath bred the best horsses in England, and written of the maner of their production: would to God his compasse of ground were like to that of Pella in Syria, wherin the king of that nation had vsuallie a studderie of 30000 mares and 300 stallions, as Strabo dooth remember Lib. 16. But to leaue this, let vs sée what may be said of sheepe.
Our shéepe are verie excellent, sith for sweetnesse of flesh they passe all other. And so
much are our woolles to be preferred before those of Milesia and other places, that if Iason had knowne the value of them that are bred, and to be had in Britaine, he would neuer haue gone to Colchis to looke for anie there. For as Dionysius Alexandrinus saith in his De situ orbis, it may by spinning be made comparable to the spiders web. What fooles then are our countrimen, in that they séeke to bereue themselues of this commoditie, by practising dailie how to transfer the same to other nations, in carieng ouer their rams & ewes to bréed & increase among them? The first example hereof was giuen vnder Edward the fourth, who not vnderstanding the botome of the sute of sundrie traitorous merchants, that sought a present gaine with the perpetuall hinderance of their countrie, licenced them to carie ouer certeine numbers of them into Spaine, who hauing licence but for a few shipped verie manie: a thing commonlie practised in other commodities also, whereby the prince and hir land are not seldome times defrauded. But such is our nature, and so blind are we in déed, that we sée no inconuenience before we féele it: and for a present gaine we regard not what damage may insue to our posteritie. Hereto some other man would ad also the desire that we haue to benefit other countries, and to impech our owne. And it is so sure as God liueth, that euerie trifle which commeth from beyond the sea, though it be not woorth three pence, is more estéemed than a continuall commoditie at home with vs, which far excéedeth that value. In time past the vse of this commoditie consisted (for the most part) in cloth and woolsteds: but now by meanes of strangers succoured here from domesticall persecution, the same hath béene imploied vnto sundrie other vses, as mockados, baies, vellures, grograines, &c: whereby the makers haue reaped no small commoditie. It is furthermore to be noted, for the low countries of Belgie know it, and dailie experience (notwithstanding the sharpenesse of our lawes to the contrarie) dooth yet confirme it: that although our rams & weathers doo go thither from vs neuer so well headed according to their kind: yet after they haue remained there a while, they cast there their heads, and from thencefoorth they remaine polled without
Shéepe without hornes.
any homes at all. Certes this kind of cattell is more cherished in England, than standeth well with the commoditie of the commons, or prosperitie of diuerse townes, whereof some are wholie conuerted to their féeding: yet such a profitable sweetnesse is their fleece, such necessitie in their flesh, and so great a benefit in the manuring of barren soile with their doong and pisse, that their superfluous numbers are the better borne withall. And there is neuer an husbandman (for now I speake not of our great shéepemasters of whom some one
man hath 20000 but hath more or lesse of this cattell féeding on his fallowes and short grounds, which yéeld the finer fléece, as Virgil (following Varro) well espied Georg. 3. where he saith:
"Si tibi lanicium curæ, primum aspera sylua,
Lappæque tribulíque absint, fuge pabula laelig;ta."
Neuerthelesse the shéepe of our countrie are often troubled with the rot (as are our swine with the measels though neuer so generallie) and manie men are now and then great losers by the same: but after the calamitie is ouer, if they can recouer and kéepe their new stocks sound for seauen yeares togither, the former losse will easilie be recompensed with double commoditie. Cardan writeth that our waters are hurtfull to our shéepe, howbeit this is but his coniecture: for we know that our shéepe are infected by going to the water, and take the same as a sure and certeine token that a rot hath gotten hold of them, their liuers and lights being alredie distempered through excessiue heat, which inforceth them the rather to séeke vnto the water. Certes there is no parcell of the maine, wherin a man shall generallie find more fine and wholesome water than in England; and therefore it is impossible that our shéepe should decaie by tasting of the same. Wherfore the hinderance by rot is rather to be ascribed to the vnseasonablenes & moisture of the weather in summer, also their licking in of mildewes, gossamire, rowtie fogs, & ranke grasse, full of superfluous iuice: but speciallie (I sale) to ouer moist wether, whereby the continuall raine pearsing into their hollow felles, soketh foorth with into their flesh, which bringeth them to their baines. Being also infected their first shew of sickenesse is their desire to drinke, so that our waters are not vnto them " Causa ægritudinis," but "s Signum morbi," what so euer Cardan doo mainteine to the contraries There are (& peraduenture no small babes) which are growne to be so good husbands, that they can make account of euerie ten kine to be cléerelie woorth twentie pounds in cōmon and indifferent yeares, if the milke of fiue shéepe be dailie added to the same. But as I wote not how true this surmise is, bicause it is no part of my trade, so I am sure hereof, that some housewiues can and doo ad dailie a lesse proportion of ewes milke vnto the chéese of so manie kine, whereby their cheese dooth the longer abide moist, and eateth more brickle and mellow than otherwise it would.
Goats we haue plentie and of sundrie colours in the west parts of England; especiallie in and towards Wales, and amongst the rockie hilles, by whome the owners doo reape no small aduantage: some also are cherished elsewhere in diuerse stéeds for the benefit of such as are duseased with sundrie maladies, vnto whom (as I heare) their milke, chéese, and bodies of their yoong kids are iudged verie profitable, and therefore inquired for of manie farre and néere. Certes I find among the writers, that the milke of a goat is next in estmation to that of the woman; for that it helpeth the stomach, remooueth oppilations and stoppings of the liuer, and looseth the bellie. Some place also next vnto it the milke of the ew: and thirdlie that of the cow. But hereof I can shew no reason; onelie this I know, that ewes milke is fulsome, sweet, and such in tast, as except such as are vsed vnto it no man will gladlie yéeld to liue and féed withall.
As for swine, there is no place that hath greater store, nor more wholesome in eating, than are these here in England, which neuerthelesse doo neuer anie good till they come to the table. Of these some we eat greene for porke, and other dried vp into bakbn to haue it of more continuance. Lard we make some though verie little, because it is chargeable: neither haue we such vse thereof as is to be séene in France and other countries, sith we doo either bake our meat with swéet suet of beefe or mutton, and base all our meat with sweet or salt butter, or suffer the fattest to bast it selfe by leisure. In champaine countries they are kept by herds, and an hogherd appointed to attend and wait vpon them, who commonlie gathereth them togither by his noise and crie, and leadeth them foorth to féed abroad in the fields. In some places also women doo scowre and wet their cloths with their doong, as
other doo with hemlocks and netles: but such is the sauor of the cloths touched withall, that I cannot abide to weare them on my bodie, more than such as are scowred with the reffuse sope, than the which (in mine opinion) there is none more vnkindlie sauor.
Of our tame bores we make brawne, which is a kind of meat not vsuallie knowne to
strangers (as I take it) otherwise would not the swart Rutters and French cookes, at the losse of Calis (where they found great store of this prouision almost in euerie house) haue attempted with ridiculous successe to rost, bake, broile, & frie the same for their masters, till they were better informed. I haue heard moreouer, how a noble man of England, not long since, did send ouer an hogshead of brawne readie sowsed to a catholike gentleman of France, who supposing it to be fish, reserued it till Lent, at which time he did eat thereof with verie great frugalitie. Thereto he so well liked of the prouision it selfe, that he wrote ouer verie earnestlie & with offer of great recompense for more of the same fish against the yeare insuing: whereas if he had knowne it to haue beene flesh, he would not haue touched it (I dare saie) for a thousand crownes without the popes dispensation. A fréend of mine also dwelling sometime in Spaine, hauing certeine Iewes at his table, did set brawne before them, whereof they did eat verie earnestlie, supposing it to be a kind of fish not common in those parties: but when the goodman of the house brought in the head in pastime among them, to shew what they had eaten, they rose from the table, hied them home in hast, ech of them procuring himselfe to vomit, some by oile, and some by other meanes, till (as they supposed) they had clensed their stomachs of that prohibited food. With vs it is accounted a great péece of seruice at the table, from Nouember vntill Februarie be ended; but chéeflie in the Christmasse time. With the same also we begin our dinners ech daie after other: and because it is somewhat hard of digestion, a draught of malueseie, bastard, or muscadell, is vsuallie droonke after it, where either of them are conuenientlie to be had: otherwise the meaner sort content themselues with their owne drinke, which at that season is generallie verie strong, and stronger indéed than in all the yeare beside. It is made commonlie of the
Brawne of the bore.
fore part of a tame bore, set vp for the purpose by the space of a whole yere or two, especiallie in gentlemens houses (for the husbandmen and farmers neuer franke them for their owne vse aboue thrée or foure moneths, or halfe a yéere at the most) in which time he is dieted with otes and peason, and lodged on the bare planks of an vneasie coat, till his fat be hardened sufficientlie for their purpose: afterward he is killed, scalded, and cut out, and then of his former parts is our brawne made, the rest is nothing so fat, and therefore it beareth the name of sowse onelie, and is commonlie reserued for the seruing man and hind, except it please the owner to haue anie part therof baked, which are then handled of custome
after this manner. The hinder parts being cut off; they are first drawne with lard, and then sodden; being sodden they are sowsed in claret wine and vineger a certeine space, and afterward baked in pasties, and eaten of manie in stéed of the wild bore, and true it is verie good meat: the pestles may be hanged vp a while to drie before they be drawne with lard if you will, and thereby prooue the better. But hereof inough, and therefore to come againe vnto our brawne, The necke peeces being cut off round, are called collars of brawne, the shoulders are named shilds, onelie the ribs reteine the former denomination, so that these aforesaid péeces deserue the name of brawne: the bowels of the beast are commonlie cast awaie because of their ranknesse, and so were likewise his stones; till a foolish fantasie got hold of late amongst some delicate dames, who haue now found the meanes to dresse them also with great cost for a deintie dish, and bring them to the boord as a seruice among other of like sort, though not without note of their desire to the prouocation of fleshlie lust, which by this their fond curiositie is not a little reuealed: When the bore is thus cut out, ech peece is wrapped vp, either with bulrushes,' ozier péeles, tape, inkle, or such like, and then sodden in a lead or caldron togither, till they be so tender that a man may thrust a brused rush or soft straw cleane through the fat: which being doone, they take it vp, and laie it abroad to coole: afterward putting it into close vessels, they powre either good small ale or béere mingled with veriuice and salt thereto till it be couered, and so let it lie (now and then altering and changing
the sowsing drinke least it should wax sowre) till occasion serue to spend it out of the waie. Some vse to make brawne of great barrow hogs, and séeth them, and sowse the whole, as they doo that of the bore; and in my iudgement it is the better of both, and more easie of digestion. But of brawne thus much; and so much may seeme sufficient.