This month’s Flower comes from the Northumberland border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. The borough account book records some youthful shenanigans in the streets of Berwick in the early 1540s.
An undated order from 5 Edward VI (1541/42) records that children in the town are ‘suffered’ (allowed) ‘to run abroad and make cryings’ and cause mayhem in the streets, and that in the evenings sundry youths and others ‘make great revel and misrule’, and ‘play many bad and lewd parts’:
We fynde and presente a greate faulte that children are suffered to
Rune abroade & make crynges misrule in the strete in the eveninges yt
Is a thinge not comely nor lawfull in this place, It were good that
The parentes were generallye varned hereof that they may restrain
The order continues:
Alsoe there are sundrye youthes in the towned & otheres yt
Will com abroade on the nyhte tyme & make a great revell & misrule
Upp & downe the towne & playe many badd & lewde partes it were good
They were watched & taken & trewlye punished for it is againste
The order(es) & statutes of thys towne.*
It is not quite clear what the ‘many bad and lewd parts’ the sundry youths of Berwick were playing, but clearly the city authorities took issue and wanted something done about it!
*record from the Berwick Borough Account Book 1603-1610, 36r, order #21
This month’s Flower was kindly provided by Professor Suzanne Westfall, editor of REED: Northumberland.