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Jack of Greatness

Dreamed by Mistress Abbot of Guilford, spring or summer 1562

When Archbishop Abbot's mother (a poor clothworker's wife in Guilford) was with child of him, she did long for a Jack, and she dreamt that if she should eat a Jack, her son in her belly should be a great man. She arose early the next morning and went with her pail to the river-side (which runneth by the house, now an ale-house, the sign of the three mariners) to take up some water, and in the water in the pail she found a good Jack, which she dressed, and eat it all, or very near.

Several of the best inhabitants of Guilford were invited (or invited themselves) to the christening of the child; it was bred up a scholar in the town, and by degrees, came to be Arch Bishop of Canterbury.


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