that his generosity should have recognition.
So he was given ‘leave to build a pue for himselfe & soe many of his family as may with Convenyance fit therein . . . the pue to be built at the weft corner . . . one side of it to Joyne to the stairs going up into the pulpitt & the other side of said pue to Range with the deacons' seat.’
As ‘charges’ were thus recognized on one side the pulpit, so was ‘quality’ on the other, for here was seated the widow of the wealthiest citizen (Major Jonathan Wade
), and according to custom styled ‘Madam Wade
How long it took to build the fore-gallery we may not know, but it had not been long in use when the town voted, on January 31, 1700, ‘that only men
should sit in the front gallery.’
It seems that Major Nathaniel Wade
had been granted the privilege of building a pew at the south side of the meeting-house, which would remove the two back seats on the women's side; but he was to have it finished by the middle of the May following.
It is open to doubt whether the seat on the men's side, next the wall, was constructed in the same manner as the women's seat, as at this same town meeting it was directed that the seat where ‘Mr Hall
and Mr Wyre
sits’ should be built up the same as where the ‘woman sits.’
That wasn't all, either.
The two back seats were to be taken out and the women were to be seated at each side, at the discretion of the ‘committee to seat the town.’
This committee might seat the town
, but seating the women
was another matter, as we shall see later.
The women were fond of ornament, even two hundred years ago, and the town had, in constructing their
front seat, had a row of nicely turned ‘banesturs’ placed along the top of the ‘borded & battened’ front, forming a grille or screen of pretty effect.
Now the men had their innings, and it was voted the seat on the men's side should be built up the same as that on the women's, and be finished or ornamented likewise with ‘banesturs,’ and the town foot the bill.