FOOD AND DRINK
IN considering the manners and customs of London during the seventeenth century we are met with the difficulty that a long civil war, followed by a visitation of Plague and a dreadful Fire, cuts the periods into two parts, and that after the war is over and the King restored we find great changes, in religious thought and ideas, in manners and customs, in society and fashions. The seventeenth corresponds in this respect with the nineteenth century; in our own time we have emerged out of eighteenth-century ideas, which prevailed until displaced by the silent though rapid revolution of the Victorian age. In the seventeenth century there is a similar revolution, but violent and created by the sword.
The City of 1670, as we have seen by our study of the map, resembled in very few details the London of 1640. We must endeavour to bear that point very carefully in mind. And if we take the latter, rather than the former half of the century for consideration, it is because the former half offers little change from the London of Queen Elizabeth.
The rents of houses varied, of course, with the site and the size. It would appear that for £30 a year one could rent a house of moderate size in any but the most expensive parts of the town. On Ludgate Hill or in Cheapside the rents were a great deal higher.
Of the furniture in such a house I have an inventory belonging to the year 1680. There were four bedrooms. One of these, the principal room, was furnished with a carved bedstead, which had a canopy and a valence; curtains, a looking-glass, and four chairs. The other three bedrooms were less splendidly furnished. There was, however, a plentiful supply of blankets, pillows, bolsters, and feather beds. There were two parlours. One of these was hung with tapestry; curtains of green cloth and a green carpet adorned it; it contained two tables, a clock case, a leather chair, a plush chair, six green cloth chairs, and two green stools. There was a cupboard and one of the tables had a drawer. The other parlour was more simply furnished, and was hung with grey linsey woolsey and gilt leather.