Assise of Bread [John Powell,editor] ,1608 - table of permitted weights of loaves, p.D2r.

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Date:1608

Description:Contemporary unrest provided ideas for the food riots in Coriolanus.

This page shows bakers at work above the official charts published for authorized legal weights of loaves of bread. In 1608 famine conditions in the English Midlands led to violence and high prices when there was insufficient barley for malt. The subsequent riots in Warwickshire and nearby Leicestershire may have inspired Shakespeare when writing the opening scene in Coriolanus when the Roman citizens propose to riot, as there is a shortage of corn for the poor: ‘ You are all resolved rather to die than to famish. ... I speak this in hunger for bread not in thirst for revenge.’ (Coriolanus, 1,1, line 4).

[See accompanying 'exhibition' of the 'noate of corn and malte' a contemporary document.]


Full title: The Assise of Bread, newly corrected and enlarged together with sondry good and needful ordinances, for Bakers, Brewers, Inholders, Victuallers, Vintners, and Butchers; and also other Assises in weightes and measures, etc. [revised by John Powell], London, printed by John Windet and sold by Edward White, 1608.


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1570s
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Donor ref:SR 93.02 [37,832] (32/10551)

Source: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Library

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