460 CHRISTMAS DAY. [DEC. 25.
their rule at Allhallowed Eve, continued the same till the morrow after the Feast of the Purification, commonly called Candlemas Day, in which space there were fine and subtle disguisings, masks, and mummeries, with playing at cards for counters, nayles, and points, in every house, more for pastimes than for game."
Leland (Collectanea de Bebtis Angiitis, 1770, vol. iii., Append, p. 256), speaking of the year 4 Henry VII., 1489, says :—" This Christmas I saw no disguisings, and but right few playes; but there was an Abbot of Misrule that made much sport, and did right well his office." It appears that large sums of money were expended by this king upon these masquerades and sports, as the following extracts from his " Privy Purse Expenses" will show :—
" Dec. 24 (1491). To Eingley, Lorde of Mysrewle, upon a preste, 5/.
" Oct. 24 (1492). To Eingley, Abbot of Mysreule, 51
" Jan. 2 (1494). For playing of the Mourice daunce, 21.
"Jan. 15 (1494). To Walter Alwyn, in full payment for the disguising made at Christenmas, 14Z. 3s. 4d.
" March 3 (1490). To Jacques Haulte, in full payment for the disguising at Christenmas, 32Z. 18s. 61/2d.
"Jan. 2 (1503). To the Abbot of Misrule, in rewarde, 61 13s. 4d.
" Feb. 12 (1503). To Lewis Adams, that made disguysings, 10Z."
The Lord or Abbot of Misrule at Court, says Hampson, (Med. Mm Kalend. vol. i. p. 117) was usually a writer of interludes and plays, and the office was not unfrequently held by a poet of some reputation. Such, for example, was George Ferrers, " in whose pastimes Edward the Sixth," we are told by Warton, " had great delight." There can be no doubt, however, that scandalous abuses often resulted from the exuberant licence assumed by the lord of misrule and his satellites, and consequently we find their proceedings denounced in no measured terms by Prynne, and other zealous puritans.—See Book of Days, vol. ii. p. 742.
Stubbes, a morose puritan in the days of Elizabeth, denominates the lord of misrule "a grand captaine of mischiefe," = aud has preserved a minute description of all his wild doings