Facts about the 1500s:
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here
are some facts about the 1500s:
people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still
smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides
carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of
carrying a bouquet when getting married.
consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the
privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the
women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so
dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the
baby out with the Bath water..
Houses had thatched
roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for
animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived
in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would
slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying . It's raining cats and dogs.
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings
could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had
something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate
floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh
(straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added
more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung
over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate
mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner,
leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next
day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.
Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in
the pot nine days old..
Sometimes they could obtain
pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would
hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring
home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would
all sit around and chew the fat..
Those with money had
plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to
leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with
tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the
burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The
combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone
walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family
would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.
Hence the custom of holding a wake.
England is old and small and the
local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would
dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.
When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch
marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So
they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit
out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell;
thus, someone could be saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer..
And that's the truth...Now, whoever said
History was boring !