A to Z of Elizabethan Times

G is for


Until 1549 there was no significant glassmaking in England except for window-glass. Thinks started to change when a Lorraine glassmaker Carré arrived from Antwerp and set up furnaces in London and Surrey to make drinking glasses. Murano glass was supreme at that time and his own glass was poor when compared with it. Things did not change until he brought a Venetian glassmaker, Jacopo Versiline and installed him at the Crutched Friars Glass-works, on Harte Street behind the Tower of London.

After Carré‘s death in 1572, Verseline obtained Letters Patent from the Queen to make glass “as cheap, or better cheap than that customarily made in Murano.” Verseline retired in 1592, a very rich man, leaving behind a workforce of both native Englishmen and naturalised Venetians, producing glass of a similar standard to Murano. Because they could produce it cheaper than shipping from Murano, they had expanded the market for glass from the sole prerogative of the very wealthy, to the rising Merchant and Liveryman classes.


This three player game was popular in England in the 16th and 17th centuries. The name must be related to the German gleich (equal); a gleek in this game is a set of three equal cards, and four of a kind is called a mournival.

Gleek was a fairly elaborate game in four main stages:

  1. bid for the right to improve your hand by discarding cards and replacing them from the stock;
  2. vie (bet) for who has the best ruff (longest suit);
  3. declare your gleeks and mournivals;
  4. play the cards in tricks; each trick scores and certain trumps have an additional value.

David Parlett http://www.davidparlett.co.uk/histocs/gleek.html gives rules of the game and some historical background.

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