Here are some facts about the 1500′s.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly
bath in May.
They still smelled relatively clean in June. However, since they actually
were starting to smell,
brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour.
The custom continues today; brides of carrying a bouquet when getting
Where did the phrase, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! come from?
This saying has a very interesting history.
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
Hence the saying, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all
pee in a pot.
And then once it was full it the peasants took the urine and sold to the tannery.
If you had to do this to survive you were piss poor.
But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t
even afford to buy a pot.
They actually didn’t have a pot to piss in and were the lowest of the low.
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.
Thus 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
given some protection.
That’s how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
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 added more thresh until, when
you opened the door,
It would all start slipping outside. People placed a piece of wood in
Hence: a thresh hold. which now means the entrance-way.
In those 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
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 a
Hence the rhyme:
Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot
nine days old .
Sometimes they could get pork, which made them feel
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
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
into the food, causing lead poisoning death.
This happened most often with tomatoes,
so for the next 400 years or so, medieval man considered
People divided bread 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.
Medieval people drank ale or whisky in lead cups.
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
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.