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SOUTHAMPTON :
series of years the experience of the townsmen alternated between attacks by the French—their memory still perpetuated to the inhabitants by " French Street " and the despatch of expeditions to that country. Here Edward III., the town furnishing 21 ships and 576 men, embarked with the Black Prince for the memorable field of dressy, and it requires no great stretch of imagination to conceive the spectacle presented on the Southampton Water as liis sixteen hundred war galleys assembled to bear across the sea to the famous Picard field his army of invasion. Then the black pestilence swept the place; next a fleet left the port with reinforcements for the Black Prince; then the town sustained another attack from the French; now Henry V. embarks here his 24,000 archers and 6,000 men at arms for the brilliant victory of Agincourt, discovering on the eve of his departure a plot to murder him, for which, as will hereafter be seen, three of the king's nobles were executed; next the French blockade the English fleet off here and Portsmouth, and Henry returns the compliment by embarking hence for a second invasion of Prance; and so on throughout the chapter. By-and-bye Edward IV. (1461-83) as one of the results of the Wars of the Koses, came to Southampton in person to execute vengeance upon certain lorkists, who, having defeated the Lancasterian local leaders, thrust them into prison. Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, having sat in judgment on the offenders, 20 of them were condemned, executed, and their heads exhibited in the public streets—such is the misfortune of being on the eventually losing side. Under the Tudors there was high feasting, "the citizens making great cheere and many of them keepinge costlye tables "—so wrote Edward VI. to a friend recording his visit to Southampton on his memorable tour of amusement through the south and west of England for relaxation after an attack of small pox—as though his frame stood in need of much " relaxation " after a heavy attack of that sort. It would appear, however, that " great cheere" was not new to the place, for in the 15th and 16th centuries one of the most frequent items of payment ordered by the Corporation was "rewards to minstrels," and the insight thus given into municipal feastings illustrates what fearful and wonderful stomachs the Southamptonians of that period must have possessed. The eating and drinking at last reached such a pitch, that in the reign of Henry VIII., of pious memory (1509-47), there is an order by the Council:—
"That the maior of the cytie (sic) for the tyme beinge frome hensforthe shall kepe at his dynner at the ffyrst boromote daye not above tenne messes of meate, and at the last boromote to kepe yt as they doo the sessions dynner, without any reward or payment"
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