facts about the 1500's
(We didn't make these up!)
ost 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.
aths 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."
ouses had thatched roofs - thick straw - piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
dogs, 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."
he 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 the
floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding
more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway - hence, a
n 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 the 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
ometimes 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
ost people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of
wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread which was so old and hard that they could be
used for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times
worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy,
moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."
read was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper
ead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would
sometimes knock them 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."
Whoever said that History was
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