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They have yearly two learning Vacations, that is to say, Lent-Vacation which beginns the first Munday in Lent, and continueth three weeks and three dayes, the other Vacation is called Summer-Vacation, which beginneth the Munday after Lammas day,* and continueth as the other, in these Vacations are the greatest conferences, and exercises of study that they have in all the year, for in them these are the Orders.
The Exercises of learning in the Vacation. The manner of
reading in the Inns of Court. First, The Reader and Ancients appoint the eldest UtterBarrester in continuance, as one that they think most able for that Roome, to reade amongst them openly in the house, during the Summer-Vacation, and of this appointment he hath alway knowledge about half a year before he shall reade, that in the mean time he may provide therefore, and then the first day after Vacation, about 8 of the clock, he that is so chosen to reade openly in the Hall before all the Company, shall reade some one such Act, or Statute as shall please him to ground his whole reading on for all that Vacation, and that done, doth declare such inconveniences and mischiefs as were unprovided for, and now by the same Statute be [remedied) and then reciteth certain doubts, and questions which he hath devised, that may grow upon the said Statute, and declareth his judgement therein, that done, one of the younger Utter-Barresters rehearseth one question propounded by the Reader, and doth by way of argument labour to prove the Readers opinion to be against the Law, and after him the rest of the Utter-Barresters and Readers one after another in their ancienties, doe declare their opinions and judgements in the same, and then the Reader who did put the case, indeavoureth himself to confute Objections laid against him, and to confirme his own opinion,
August 1. This Vacation is also called the Autumn Vacation, and sometimes the Harvest Vacation.
after whom, the Judges, and Serjeants, if any be present, declare their opinions, and after they have done, the youngest Utter-Barrester again rehearseth another Case, which is ordered as the other was ; thus the reading ends for that day; and this manner of reading and disputations continue daily two houres, or thereabouts.
And besides this, daily in some houses after dinner, one at the Readers' Board, before they rise, propoundeth another of his cases to him, put the same day at his reading, which Case is debated by them all in like forme, as the Cases are used to be argued at his reading, and like order is observed at every messe, at the other Tables, and the same manner alwayes observed at supper, when they have no Motes.
Of those that have read once in the Summer Vacation, and be Benchers, is chosen alwayes one to reade in Lent, who observeth the like forme of reading, as is before expressed in the Summer-Vacation, and of these Readers in these Vacations, for the most part are appointed those that shall be Serjeants.
The Ordering and Fashion of Motying. In these Vacations every night after supper, and every Fasting-day immediately after six of the Clock, boyer ended, (Festival-dayes and their evens onely excepted) the Reader, with two Benchers, or one at the least, cometh into the Hall to the Cuboard and there most commonly one of the Utter-Barresters propoundeth unto them some doubtful Case, the which every of the Benchers in their ancienties argue, and last of all he that moved; this done, the Readers and Benchers sit down on the bench in the end of the Hall, whereof they take their name, and on a forme toward the midst of the Hall sitteth down two Inner-Barresters, and of
the other side of them on the same forme, two Utter-Barresters; and the Inner-Barresters doe in French openly declare unto the Benchers (even as the Serjeants doe at the barr in the King's Courts, to the Judges) some kinde of Action, the one being as it were retained with the Plaintiff in the Action, and the other with the Defendant, after which things done, the Utter-Barresters argue such questions as be disputable within the Case (as there must be alwayes one at the least) and this ended, the Benchers doe likewise declare their opinions, how they think the Law to be in the same questions and this manner of exercise of Moting, is daily used, during the said Vacations.
This is alwayes observed amongst them, that in all their open disputations, the youngest of continuance argueth first; whether he be Inner-Barrester or Utter-Barrester, or Bencher, according to the forme used amongst the Judges and Serjeants.
And also that at their Motes, the Inner-Barresters and Utter-Barresters doe plead and reason in French, and the Benchers in English, and at their reading the Readers' Cases are put in English, and so argued unto.
Exercises of Motes in the Inns of Chancery, during the
Also in the learning Vacations, the Utter-Barresters which are Readers in the Inns of Chancery goe to the house whereunto they reade, Either of the said Readers taking with them two learners of the house they are of, and there meet them for the most part two of every house of Court, who sitting (as Benchers doe in Court at their Motes) hear and argue such Motes as are brought in, and pleaded by the Gentlemen of the same houses of Chancery, which be nine in number, four being in Holborn, which be read of Grayes-Inn and Lincolns-Inn, And have Motes daily, for the most part before
noon, which begin at nine of the Clock, and continue until twelve, or thereabouts, and the other five which are within Temple Bar, which are of the two Temples, have their Motes at three of the Clock in the afternoon.
The Exercises of Learning in the Terme Time.
The onely exercises of learning in the Terme-time, is arguing and debating of Cases after dinner, and the Moting after supper, used and kept in like forme, as is heretofore prescribed in the Vacation-time, and the Reader of the Inns of Chancery to reade three times a week, to keep Motes, during all the Terme, to which Motes, none of the other houses of Court come, as they doe in the learning vacations, but onely to come with the Reader of the same house,
The Exercises of Learning in the Mean-Vacation. The whole time out of the learning Vacation and Terme, is called the Mean Vacation, during which time, every day after dinner, Cases are argued in like manner as they be in other times, and after supper Motes are brought in and pleaded by the Inner-Barresters, before the Utter-Barresters, which sit there, and occupy the roome of Benchers, and argued by them in like forme as the Benchers doe in the Terme-time, or learning Vacation.
The Manner of Christmas used amongst them.
The Readers and Benchers at a Parliament or Pension held before Christmas, if it seeme unto them that there be no dangerous time of sickness, neither dearth of victuals, and that they are furnished of such a Company, as both for their number and appertaines are meet to keep a solemn . Christmas, then doe they appoint and chose certain of the house to be Officers, and bear certain rules in the house during the said time, which Officers for the most part are
such as are exercised in the King's Highness house, and other Noble men, and this is done onely to the intent that they should in time to come know how to use themselves. In this Christmas time they have all manner of pastimes, as singing and dancing, and in some of the houses ordinarily they have some interlude or Tragedy played by the Gentlemen of the same house, the ground and matter whereof is devised by some of the Gentlemen of the house.
The Manner of their Parliament or Pension.
Every quarter, once or more, if necd shall require, the Readers and Benchers cause one of the Officers to summon the whole company openly in the Hall at dinner, that such a night the Pension, or as some houses call it the Parliament, * shall be holden, which Pension or Parliament in some houses, is nothing else but a conference and Assembly of their Benchers and Utter-Barresters onely, and in some other of the houses, it is an Assembly of Benchers, and such of the Utter-Barresters and other ancient and wise men of the house, as the Benchers have elected to them before time, and these together are named the Sage Company, and meet in a place therefore appointed, and there treate of such matters as shall seem expedient for the good ordering of the house, and the reformation of such things as seem meet to be reformed. In these are the Readers both for the Lent and the Summer Vacation chosen; and also if the Treasurer of the house leave off his office, in this is a new chosen. And alwayes at the Parliament holden after Michaelmas, two Auditors appointed there, to hear and take the accounts for the year, of the Treasurer, and in some house, he accounts before the whole Company at the Pension, and out of these Pensions all misdemeanours and offences done by any Fellow of the house, are reformed and ordered according
* At Lincoln's Inn it is called Council.