October 29, 2008

Life in the 1500's

Vintage car
© Photographer: Gmv | Agency: Dreamstime.com
LIFE IN THE 1500'S

The 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 1500's:

Most 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 odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting
married.

Baths 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 four poster
beds came into existence.

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 thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In 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 again 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 the upper crust.

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 realised 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..

1 comment:

Abbey Renee Hoffman said...

This is fantastic!!! SOOOOO interesting!!!!