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The fixe worthie Yeomen
Now the fixth time corrected and enlarged
N the Dayes of King Henry the First, who was the first King that instituted the High Court of Parliament, there lived nine Men, which for the Trade of Clothing, were famous thorowout all England. Which Art in those Dayes was held in high Reputation, both in respect of the great Riches that thereby was gotten, as also of the Benefit it brought to the whole Common-wealth: the younger Sons of Knights and Gentlemen, to whom their Fathers would leave no Lands, were most commonly preferred to learne this Trade, to the End, that thereby they might live in good Estate, and drive forth their dayes in Prosperity.
Among all Crafts this was the onely Chiefe, for that it was the greatest. Merchandize, by the which our Country became famous thorowout all Nations. And it was verily thought, that the one Halfe the People in the Land lived in those Dayes
therby, therby, and in such good Sort, that in the Common-wealth there were few or no Beggers at all: poore People, whom God lightly blessed with most Children, did by Meanes of this Occupation so order them, that by the Time that they were come to be five or seven Yeeres of Age, they were able to get their owne Bread: Idlenesse was then banished our Coast, so that it was a rare Thing to heare of a Thiefe in those Dayes. Therefore it was not without Cause that Clothiers were then both honoured and loved, among whom these nine Persons in this N/ Kings Dayes were of great Credit, viz. Tho. Cole of Reading, Gray of Glocester, Sutton of Salisburie, Fitzallan of Worcester, (commonly called William of Worcester) Tom Dove of Excester, and Simon of South-hampton, alias Supbrotb: who were by the King called, The Sixe worthy Husbands of the West. Then were there Three living in the North, that is to say, Cutbert of Kendall, Hodgekins of Hallifax, & Martin Byram of Manchester. Every one of these kept a great Number of Servants at Worke, Spinners, Carders, Weavers, Fullers, Dyers, Sheeremen, and Rowers, to the great Admiration of all those that came into their Houses to behold them.
Now you shall understand, those gallant
Clothiers, Clothiers, by Reason of their dwelling Places, separated themselves in three severall Companies: Gray of Glocester, William of Worcester, and Thomas of Reading, because their Journey to London was all one Way, they conversed commonly together: And Dove of Excester, Sutton of Salisburie, and Simon of South-hampton, they in like Sort kept Company the one with the other, meeting ever all together at Bazingstoke: and the three Northerne Clothiers did the like, who commonly did not meet till they came to Bosomes Inne in London.
Moreover, for the Love and Delight these Westerne Men had in each others Companie, they did so provide, that their Waines and themselves would ever meet upon one Day in London at Jarrats Hall, surnamed the Gyant, for that hee surpassed all other Men of that Age, both in Stature & Strength: whose Merriments and memorable Deeds I will set downe unto you in this following Discourse.