From the Roxburghe Ballads. University of Victoria Library.

The street cries recorded by the composer Orlando Gibbons give some idea of the bustle and variety of London's markets:

Hot codlings [cooking apples], hot. Hot apple
pies, hot.
Hot pippin pies, hot.
Fine pomegranates, fine. Hot mutton pies, hot.
Ha' ye any old bellows or trays to mend?
Rosemary and bays, quick and gentle.
Ripe chestnuts, ripe. Ripe walnuts, ripe.
Ripe cabbage, white young cabbage, white.

Listen to the "Street Cries (music)"

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"Buy any ink, will you buy any pens, very fine writing ink, will you buy any ink?"

"I ha' ripe peascods, ripe. Ripe damsons, fine ripe damsons. Hard garlic, hard. Fine potatoes, fine." [Potatoes were first introduced to England in 1573.]

"What is't ye lack? Fine wrought shirts or smocks. Perfumed waistcoats, fine bone lace or edgings, sweet gloves, silk garters, very fine silk garters, fine combs or glasses. Old doublets, ha'ye any old doublets?"

"Ha' ye any corns on your feet or toes? Will ye buy any starch for a clear complexion, mistress?"

"Will ye buy any aqua vitae, mistress?"

"Ha' ye any rats or mice to kill?"
(Orlando Gibbons, "Street Cries")

Close

The town crier.*

Oyez! If any man or woman can tell tidings of a grey mare, with a long mane and a short tail, she halts [limps] right down before, and is stark lame behind, and was lost this thirtieth day of February. He that can tell any tidings of her, let him come to the Crier, and he shall have well for his hire.

Close

Footnotes

  1. Early commercials

    "Buy any ink, will you buy any pens, very fine writing ink, will you buy any ink?"

    "I ha' ripe peascods, ripe. Ripe damsons, fine ripe damsons. Hard garlic, hard. Fine potatoes, fine." [Potatoes were first introduced to England in 1573.]

    "What is't ye lack? Fine wrought shirts or smocks. Perfumed waistcoats, fine bone lace or edgings, sweet gloves, silk garters, very fine silk garters, fine combs or glasses. Old doublets, ha'ye any old doublets?"

    "Ha' ye any corns on your feet or toes? Will ye buy any starch for a clear complexion, mistress?"

    "Will ye buy any aqua vitae, mistress?"

    "Ha' ye any rats or mice to kill?"
    (Orlando Gibbons, "Street Cries")

  2. The Town Crier

    Oyez! If any man or woman can tell tidings of a grey mare, with a long mane and a short tail, she halts [limps] right down before, and is stark lame behind, and was lost this thirtieth day of February. He that can tell any tidings of her, let him come to the Crier, and he shall have well for his hire.