MountainWings A MountainWings Moment
#1150 Wings Over The Mountains of Life

Facts of Life

Facts Of Life In The 1500s

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.......in the "good old days"!

Here are some facts about life in the 1500s:

1) 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."

2) 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 dogs."

3) 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 existence.

4) 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 
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 
entry way-hence, a "thresh hold."

5) 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."

6) 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."

7) 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.

8) 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 paysan 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."

9) 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 "upper crust."

10) Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. 

The combination would some times 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."

11) 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 "dead ringer."

Author Unknown

Still in a big hurry to get back to "The Good Old Days?"

When you hear people talk about how terrible things are these 
days, email them a copy of this and remind them that you 
couldn't have even sent them this in the good old days, unless 
you sent it by horse.

Note: Many of these are not historically verifiable and may not
be true, but you get the point. Each age has plusses and minuses.

Thank you for inviting MountainWings in your mailbox. 
See you tomorrow.
Help friends with their mountains in life. 
Refer them to MountainWings.com or simply click 
the "Forward" button to send this issue to a friend.

To Rate an issue, Subscribe, stop your free subscription,
Ask Advice, Submit a Quote, Joke, or Inspirational Story, 
simply click http://www.mountainwings.com