Archiver > SCT-ISLEOFMULL > 2001-04 > 0986304521

From: Kate Price <>
Subject: Facts from the 1500's
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 06:28:41 -0700 (PDT)

Most people got married in June because they took
their yearly bath in May and were still smelling
pretty good by June. However, they were starting to
smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide
the body odor.

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 pet dogs, cats and the
small animals: mice, rats and 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 really mess up your
nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a
sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That
is 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 on the
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 entryway-hence a "threshold."

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 mostly ate
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 in
there for a 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 and 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
a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach
onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This
happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400
years or so tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Most people did not have pewter plates, but had
trenchers, a piece of wood, with the middle scooped
out like a bowl. Trenchers were never washed and a lot
of times worms got into the wood. After eating off
wormy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."

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 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."

England is old and small and they started running out
of places to bury people. So, they would dig up
coffins and would take their bones to a house and
reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out
of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the
inside and they realized they had been burying people
alive. So they thought they would tie a string on
their wrist and 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. "

RESEARCHING GENEALOGY OF: Allaway (Holloway), Attwood, Bourne, Butler, Chalmers, Coote, Cracknell, Crockatt, Dike, Gillard, Giles, Greenham, Hancock, Hatcher, Hillier, Hodgson, Holmes, Howell, Keay, McCallum, McIntyre, Patrick, Peckford, Potts, Price, Ross, Sainsbury, Spiers, Thexton, Wilcock, Young.

ALSO INTERESTED IN: Atkinson, Beaton, Biggs, Parsons, Pearson, Thomas, Wickham, Wilkinson

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