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3 years ago

Where They Originated. Lets Not Be Too Serious!

Feb 20th 2011 at 3:02 PM


Just think . . . 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 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

dogs, cats and other 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



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's how canopy beds came into



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 -- the straw left

over after threshing grain -- on the floor to help keep their footing. As

the winter wore on, they kept adding more and more thresh until when you

opened the door it would all start slipping outside. To prevent this, a

piece of wood was placed in the entranceway, 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 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 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 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. Often trenchers were made from

stale hays and bread which was so old and hard that they could use them

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."


Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the

loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, the "upper



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 out 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, 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 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

"deadringer." And that's the truth......!!!?!!!


Who said that history was a boring subject?



"don't worry - b 'appy!"

Please to comment
Nov 13th 2013 at 10:37 PM by foxychops
haha ...nice article

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