16 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
now fetch. Of course, the value of money has depreciated; a sovereign, a shilling, and a penny 250 years ago were worth double or treble their present value. But, even allowing for this, an ox which weighed "6oolbs. the foure quarters," would be very cheap at £9. 10s., and 2s. 3d. the stone of 81bs. for mutton would be very acceptable to consumers of butcher's meat. Lambs, too, at 6s. 8d. each (the weight is not specified) would not be dear. And these were the prices of 1610 for meat, whilst those for wheat and eggs may be learnt from the following stanzas of an old ballad :—
I'll tell what, old fellowe,
Before the friars went hence, A bushell of the best wheate
Was sold for fourteen pence. And forty egges a penny
That were both good and newe, And this, I say, myself have seene,
And yet I am no Jewe.
Forty eggs for a penny! Will not that make our modern housewives' mouths water ?
In 1662 wheat was 30s. per quarter; peas, 24s. per ditto; lime, 12s. per load—so that even in the half century which followed 1610 prices had risen. And they have not ceased to do so from that time to this.
The diary of the Rev. Giles Moore bore testimony to the low rate of educational charges in the Charles's day, and the Stapley diaries confirm it. But we should note that we have now reached the Stapley Diarists proper. These were the two sons of the before-mentioned John Stapley, the Trainband Captain, and successively the owners of Hickstead Place, namely, Richard Stapley up to 1724 and Anthony up to 1738. These two Stapleys systematically recorded their expenses and the chief events of their lives from 1657, which is contemporaneous with Giles Moore's diary, and when Oliver Cromwell was England's ruler, until 1738, when George the Second was King; and Richard Stapley, the son of Anthony, adds a closing memorandum in 1743. What a momentous period in the history of this country! What vast changes—social, < t