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u Have you been sworn at Highgate ?" a little artifice easily detected who had is a question frequently asked in every not taken the oath, some perhaps expresspart of the kingdom ; for, that such a cus- ed a wish to submit to the ceremony. It tom exists in this village is known far and often happened however, that before these near, though many who inquire, and are facts could be ascertained “the horns asked, remain ignorant of the ceremony. were brought in by the landlord, and as As the practice is declining, diligence has soon as they appeared, enough were usually been exercised to procure information on present to enforce compliance. the spot, and from every probable source, horns,” fixed on a pole of about five feet concerning this remarkable usage. in height, were erected, by placing the
The village of Highgate take its name pole upright on the ground, near the from the gate across the public road into person to be sworn, who was required London, opposite the chapel, which is to take off his hat, and all present having sometimes erroneously called the church, done the same, the landlord then, in a loud for it is, in fact, only a chapel of ease to voice, swore in the "party proponent." Hornsey church. This road runs through What is called the oath is traditional, and land belonging to the bishopric of Lon- varies verbally in a small degree. It has don, and was made, by permission of the been taken down in writing from the lips bishop in former times, probably when the of different persons who administer it, and whole of this spot, and the circumjacent after a careful collation of the different country, was covered with wood, and part versions the following may be depended on of the great forest of Middlesex, which, as correct. The landlord, or the according to Matthew Paris, was infested appointed by him to “swear in,” proby wolves, stags, boars, and other wild claims aloudbeasts, besides robbers. This gate,
from “Upstanding and uncovered! Sibeing on the great northern eminence to- lence! Then he addresses himself to wards London, was called the high-gate ; the person he swears in, thus :as the land became cleared of wood, houses “Take NOTICE what I now say unto arose near the spot, and hence the village you, for that is the first word of your now called Highgate. It seems probable, oath-mind that! You must acknowthat the first dwelling erected here was ledge me to be your adopted Father, I the gate-house. The occupier of the inn must acknowledge you to be my adopted of that name holds it under a lease from son (or daughter.) If you do not call me the bishop, under which lease he also father you forfeit a bottle of wine, if I do farms the bishop's toll. In the year 1769 not call you son, I forfeit the same. And the old gate-house, which extended over now, my good son, if you are travelling the road, was taken down, and the present through this village of Highgate, and you common turnpike-gate put up. So much, have no money in your pocket, go call for then, concerning Highgate, 'as introduc a bottle of wine at any house you think tory to the custom about to be related. proper to go into, and book it to your fa
“Swearing on the horns," which now ther's score. If you have any friends with is “a custom more honour'd in the breach you, you may treat them as well, but if than in the observance," prevailed at you have money of your own, you must Highgate as a continual popular amuse- pay for it yourself. For you must not ment and private annoyance. An old and say you have no money when you have, respectable inhabitant of the village says, neither must you convey the money out that sixty years ago upwards of eighty of your own pocket into your friends' stages stopped every day at the Red Lion, pockets, for I shall search you as well as and that out of every five passengers three them, and if it is found that you or they
It is a jocular usage of the have money, you forfeit a bottle of wine place, from beyond the memory of man, for trying to cozen and cheat your poor especially encouraged by certain of the old ancient father. You must not eat villagers, to the private advantage of pub- brown bread while you can get white, exlic landlords. On the drawing up of cept you like the brown the best ; you coaches at the inn-doors, particular invi- must not drink small beer while you can tations were given to the company get strong, except you like the small the alight, and after as many as could be col- best. You must not kiss the maid while you lected were got into a room for purposes of can kiss the mistress, except you like the refreshment, the subject of being
maid the best, but sooner than lose a at Highgate" was introduced, and while good chance you may kiss them both.
And now, my good son, for a word or two “mind that !” That is, that that “that,” of advice. Keep from all houses of ill is “ that." repute, and every place of public resort for bad company:
Beware of false friends, for they will turn to be your foes, ministration or taking of this oath, than
There is no other formality in the adand inveigle you into houses where you what is already described ; and the only may lose your money and get no redress, other requisite for “ a stranger in HighKeep from thieves of every denomination. And now, my good son, I wish you a safe gate” to be told, is, that now in the year journey through Highgate and this life. 1826, there are nineteen licensed houses I charge you, my good son, that if you houses the “horns” are kept, and the oath
in this village, and that at each of these know any in this company who have not taken this oath, you must cause them to
administered by the landlord or his
deputy. take it, or make each of them forfeit a bottle of wine, for if you fail to do so you their signs are here enumerated, with the
To note the capabilities of each house, will forfeit a bottle of wine yourself. So pow, my son, God bless you! Kiss the quality of horns possessed by each. horns or a pretty girl if you see one here order, as being best entitled to priority,
1. The GATE-HOUSE is taken first in which you like best, and so be free of Highgate !"
because it has the most respectable acIf a female be in the room she is usually commodation in Highgate. Besides the saluted, if not, the horns must be kissed: usual conveniences of stabling and beds, the option was not allowed formerly. As for parties, and a good assembly-room.
it has a coffee-room, and private rooms soon as the salutation is over the swearerin commands “silence !" and then ad- The horns there are Stag's. dressing himself to his new-made “son,"
2. Mitre, has Stag's horns. he says, “I have now to acquaint you
3. Green Dragon, Stag's horns.
4. Red Lion and Sun, Bullock's horns. with your privilege as a freeman of this
The late husband of Mrs. Southo, the place. If at any time you are going through Highgate and want to rest your present intelligent landlady of this house, self, and you see a pig lying in a ditch you inhabitants, as having been a most face
still lives in the recollection of many have liberty to kick her out and take her
tious swearer in. place; but if you see three lying together
5. Bell, Stag's horns. This house now you must only kick out the middle one and lie between the other two ! God
only known as the sign of the “ Bell,” save the king !". This important privi
was formerly called the“ Bell and Horns.” lege of the freemen of Highgate was first About fifty years ago, it was kept by one discovered by one Joyce a blacksmith, Anderson, who had his “ horns" over his who a few years ago kept the Coach and door, to denote that persons were sworn Horses, and subjoined ihe agreeable in: Wright, the then landlord of the “ Red
there as well as at the Gate-house. formation to those whom “he swore in." When the situation of things and
Lion and Sun," determined not to be
persons seems to require it, the bottle of putrivalled, and hung out a pair of bulwine" is sometimes compounded for by a
lock's horns so enormous in size, and modus of sundry glasses of“ grog," and in the “ Bell and Horns;" at last, all the
otherwise so conspicuous, as to eclipse many cases a pot of porter.
public houses in the village got “horns,"
and swore in. It is within recollection There is one circumstance essential for that every house in Ilighgate had “the a'freeman of Highgate to remember, and horns" at the door as a permanent sign. « that is the first word of his oath,-mind . 6. Coach and Horses, Ram's horns. that !" If he fail to recollect that, he is 7. Castle,
Ram's horns. subject to be resworn from time to time, 8. Red Lion,
Ran's horns. and so often, until he remember that. He 9. Wrestler's,
Stag's horns. is therefore never to forget the injunction 10. Bull,
Stag's horns. before he swears, to take notice what is 11. Lord Nelson,
Stag's horns. said, “ for that is the first word of your 12. Duke of Wellington, Stag's horns. oath--mind that !" Failure of memory This house is at the bottom of Ilighgate is deemed want of comprehension, which IIill, towards Finchley, in the angle is no plea in the high court of Ilighgate - formed by the intersection of the old road
over the hill, and the road through the one of the figures, which not being the archway to Holloway. It therefore com- landlord, who is the most important chamands the Highgate entrance into Lon- racter, no way affects the general fidelity don, and the landlord avails himself of of the scenes sometimes exhibited in the his “ eminence" at the foot of the hill, by parlour of the Fox and Crown. proffering his horns" to all who desire to be free of Highgate.
It is ‘not uncommon for females to be 13. Crown, Stag's horns. This is
sworn at Highgate.” On such occathe first public house in Ilighgate coming sions the word “ daughter” is substituted from Holloway.
for “son," and other suitable alterations 14. Duke's Head,
are made in the formality. Anciently there 15. Cooper's Arms, Ram's horns.
was a register kept at the gate-house, 16. Rose and Crown, Stag's horns. wherein persons enrolled their names 17. Angel,
Stag's horns. when sworn there, but the book unac18. Flask,
countably disappeared many years ago. This old house is now shut It is at the top of Highgate Hill, close by the Query. Is it in Mr. Upcott's collection of
autographs ? pond, which was formed there by a hermit,
There seems to be little doubt, that the who caused gravel to be excavated for the usage first obtained at the Gate-house; making of the road from Highgate to where, as well as in other public houses, Islington, through Holloway. Of this though not in all, at this time, deputies labour old Fuller speaks, he calls it a
are employed to swear in. An old inha“ two-handed charity, providing water on the hill where it was wanting, and cleanli- house, says, “In my time nobody came
bitant, who formerly kept a licensed ness in the valley which before, especially to Highgate in any thing of a carriage, in winter, was passed with difficulty.” without being called upon to be sworn in.
19. Fox and Crown . .Ram's Horns. There was so much doing in this way at This house, commonly called the “ Fox” and the “ Fox under the Hill,” is nearly man as a 'swearer-in:' I have sworn in
one period, that I was obliged to hire a at the top of the road from Kentish Town from a hundred to a hundred and twenty to Highgate, and though not the most in a day. Bodies of tailors used to come remarked perhaps, is certainly the most remarkable house for “ swearing on the up here from town, bringing five or six
new shopmates with them to be sworn; horns.” Guiver, the present landlord, and I have repeatedly had parties of la(January 1826) came to the house about dies and gentlemen in private carriages Michaelmas 1824, and many called upon him to be sworn in; not having Highgate in the same way.”
come up purposely to be made free of practised he was unqualified to indulge
Officers of the guards and other regithe requisitionists, and very soon finding, ments repeatedly came to the Gate-house that much of the custom of his house de- and called for “the horns.” Dinner parties pended on the “custom of Highgate," and
were formed there for the purpose of iniimagining that he had lost something by tiating strangers, and as pre-requisite for his indifference to the usage, he boldly admission to sundry convivial societies, determined to obtain "indemnity for the
now no more, the freedom of Highgate past, and security for the future. There
was indispensable. upon he procured babiliments, and an assistant, and he is now an office-bearer as regards the aforesaid “manner" of High Concerning the origin of this custom, gate, and exercises his faculties so as to there are two or three stories. One is, dignify the custom. Robed in a domino that it was devised by a landlord, who had with a wig and mask, and a book wherein lost his licence, as a means of covering is written the oath, he recites it in this the sale of his liquors ; to this there seems costume as he reads it through a pair of no ground of credit. spectacles. The staff with “ the horns" is Another, and a probable account, is, to held by an old villager who acts as clerk, this effect_That Highgate being the place and at every full stop, calls aloud, nearest to London where cattle rested on « Amen !" This performance furnishes their way from the north for sale in Smiththe representation of the present engrave field, certain graziers were accustomed to ing from a sketch by Mr. George Cruik- put up at the Gate-house for the night, shank. He has waggishly misrepresented but as they could not wholly exclude
strangers, who like themselves were tra- from his stores an illustration of the velling on their business, they brought an curious fact it relates to. “ It may be ox to the door, and those who did not mentioned,” The Times says, as a sinchoose to kiss its horns, after going gular species of infatuation, that many through the ceremony described, were not Portuguese residing in Brazil as well as deemed fit members of their society. Portugal, still believe in the coming of
Sebastian, the romantic king, who was It is imagined by some, because it is so killed in Africa about the year 1578, in a stated in a modern book or two as likely, pitched battle with the emperor Muley that the horns were adopted to swear Moluc. Some of these old visionaries this whimsical oath upon, because it was will go out, wrapped in their large cloaks, tendered at the parish of Horns-ey, where- on a windy night, to watch the movein Highgate is situated.
ments of the heavens, and frequently, if The reader may choose either of these an exhalation is seen flitting in the air, origins; he has before him all that can be resembling a falling star, they will cry known upon the subject.
out, “there he comes !" Sales of horses
and other things are sometimes effected, An anecdote related by Mrs. Southo of it was this fact that induced Junot, when
payable at the coming of king Sebastian. the Red Lion and Sun, may, or may not, asked what he would be able to do with be illustrative of this custom. She is a
the Portuguese, to answer, what can I do native of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, with a people who are still waiting for where her father kept the Griffin, and she the coming of the Messiah and king Sesays, that when any fresh waggoner came bastian?" to that house with his team, a drinking
This superstitious belief is mentioned horn, holding about a pint, fixed on a
in a MS. Journal of a Residence at Lis. stand made of four rams' horns, was
bon in 1814, written by an individual brought out of the house, and elevated personally known to the editor, who exabove his head, and he was compelled to tracts from the narrative as follows :pay a gallon of beer, and to drink out of the horn. She never heard how the usage the master of the family to cater for the
It is the daily practice at Lisbon for originated ; it had been observed, and wants of his table himself. According to the stand of rams' horns had been in the ancient usage, he must either employ and house, from time immemorial.
pay a porter to carry home his purchases
at market, or send a servant for them. A NATURALISTS' CALENDAR.
certain doctor, well known to be a lover
of fish, and an enthusiastic expectant of Mean Temperature... 35 • 52.
Don Sebastian, was watched several days in the fish market by some knavish youths,
who contrived a trick upon him. One January 18.
morning, they observed him very intent
upon a fine large fish, yet disagreeing St. Priscian.
with the fishmonger as to its price. One In the church of England calendar. of these knaves managed to inform the
man, if he would let the doctor have the OLD TWELFTH DAY.
fish at his own price he would pay the This is still observed in some parts of difference, and the fishmonger soon conEngland.
cluded the bargain with the doctor. As
soon as he was gone, one of the party, Don Sebastian.
without the fishmonger's knowledge, inIn default of holiday making by the sinuated down the fish's throat a scroll of editor, who during the Christmas season parchment curiously packed, and shortly has been employed in finishing the afterwards, the doctor's servant arrived indexes, which will be in the readers’ hands for his master's purchase. On opening in a few days to enable them to complete the fish, in order to its being cooked, the the first volume of this work, he has now parchment deposit was found, and the and then turned to his collections to re credulous man, to his astonishment and lieve the wearisomeness of his occupation, delight, read as follows :and finding the following anecdote in “Worthy and well-beloved Signor “ The Times" of Dec. 1825, he subjoins
respected by the saints and now
revered by men. From our long observ. NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. ation of thine heart's integrity, and in
Mean Temperature 36. 12. full knowledge of thy faith and firm belief, thou art selected as the happy instrument of our return; but know, most worthy Signor, the idea of a' white
January 19. horse in clouds of air, is a mere fable invented by weak men. It will be far
Feast of Lanthorns. otherwise, but be thou circumspect and secret, and to thee these things will be
This is a festival with the Chinese on explained hereafter. Know, that by the the fifteenth day of the first month of their element of water, by which we make this year. It is so called from the great numknown, we shall return. Not far from ber of lanthorns hung out of the houses, Fort St. Juliana is a spot thou knowest and in the streets; insomuch that it rawell, a smooth declivity towards the sea ;
ther appears a season of madness, than of it is there we first shall touch the shore feasting. On this day are exposed lantof our loved Portugal to-morrow's night horns of all prices, whereof some are said at twelve. Be thou there alone, and
to cost two thousand crowns. Some of softly gliding on the water's surface a
their grandees retrench somewhat every small boat shall appear. Be silent and re- day out of their table, their dress, their main quiet on our appearance, for until we equipagę, &c. to appear the more magnican join our prayers with thine thou must ficent in lanthorns. They are adorned with not speak; load not thyself with coin, for gilding, sculpture, painting, japanning, soon as dawn appears á troop of goodly &c. and as to their size, it is extravagant; horse from Cintra's Road will rise upon
some are from twenty-five to thirty feet thy view. But be not destitute of where- diameter; they represent halls and chamwith to bear thine expense. All thy future bers. Two or three such machines togelife shall be thy prince's care.
ther would make handsome houses. In
lanthorns of these dimensions the Chinese « SEBASTIAN.”
are able to eat, lodge, receive visits, have
balls, and act plays. The great multiThe trick succeeded; for the next day tude of smaller lanthorns usually consist the doctor left Lisbon as privately as pos
of six faces or lights, each about four feet sible, while his trepanners who had watch- high, and one and a half broad, framed ed him quickly followed, two in a boat in wood finely gilt and adorned; over hired for the purpose, and two on shore, these are stretched a fine transparent silk, to make a signal. The boat arrived at curiously painted with flowers, trees, and the appointed hour, and the doctor ex sometimes human figures. The colours pected nothing less than the landing of are extremely bright; and when the the long expected and well-beloved Sebas- torches are lighted, they appear highly tian. It reached the shore, and by those beautiful and surprising. who stepped out and their confederates concealed on the beach, the doctor was eased of some doubloons he had with
French Lark Shooting. him, received a cool dip in the water, and was left on the beach to bewail his folly. To the gentleman whose letter from The story soon got wind, and now (in Abbeville, descriptive of “ Wild fowl 1814) there are wags who, when they shooting in France,” is on p. 1575 of vol. observe the doctor coming, affect to see I., the editor is indebted for another on something in the sky; this hint con- “ Lark shooting,” which is successfully cerning Don Sebastian's appearance is practised there by a singular device unusually intimated beyond the reach of the known to sportsmen in this country.* doctor's cane.
* To his former letter J. J.H. are printed as the initials by mistake, instead of J, H. H