On this day in 1585, the Recorder of London, William Fleetwood, wrote in a letter to William Cecil, the First Baron Burghley or Burleigh (*).
“[W]e … did spend the daie … searching out … sundrye that were receptors of ffelons … . Amongst our travells this one matter tumbled owt by the waye, that one Wotton a gentilman borne, and sometyme a marchauntt man of good credyte, who falling by tyme into decaye, kept … neere Byllingesgate … a schole howse sett upp to learne younge boyes to cut purses. There were hung up two devises, the one … a pockett, the other … a purse. The pockett had yn it certen cownters and was hunge abowte with hawkes bells … ; and he that could take owt a cownter without any noyse, was allowed to be a … ffoyster: and he that could take a peece of silver owt of the purse … was adjudged a … Nypper. Nota that a ffoister is a Pick-pockett, and a Nypper … a Pickepurse, or a Cutpurse”.
(*) A statesman and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I through much of her reign.
On this day in 1564, Edmund Grindal (then Bishop of London and later Archbishop of Canterbury) wrote in a letter to William Cecil, the First Baron Burghley or Burleigh (a statesman and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I through much of her reign):
“Mr Calfhill this morning showed me your letter to him, wherein ye wish some politic orders to be devised against infection. I think it very necessary … . By search I do perceive that there is no one thing … more like to have renewed this contagion than the practice of an idle sort of people which have been infamous in all commonweals: I mean these histriones, common players, who now daily, but specifically on holidays, set up bills, whereunto the youth resorteth excessively and there taketh infection: besides that God’s word by their impure mouths is profaned … . For remedy whereof in my judgement, ye should do very well to … inhibit all plays for one whole year (and if it were for ever, it were not amiss) within the City or three miles’ compass, upon pains as well to the players as to the owners of the houses where they play their lewd interludes”.