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 1500s:
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 canopy 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 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
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 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
Educate someone. Share these facts with a friend