Thank you Sharon. That was absolutely incredibly interesting!
Elizabethtown, KY USA
> Wish I knew who to credit.
> Sharon P.
> GOOD INFO ABOUT THE WAY WE LIVED IN THE PAST AND SOME TERMS THAT CAME OUT
> EVERYDAY LIFE.
> Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. She married at the
> age of 26. This is really unusual for the time. Most people married
> young, like at the age of 11 or 12. Life was not as romantic as we may
> picture it. Here are some examples:
> Anne Hathaway's home was a 3 bedroom house with a small
> parlor, which was seldom used (only for company), kitchen,
> and no bathroom.
> Mother and Father shared a bedroom. Anne had a queen sized
> bed, but did not sleep alone. She also had two sisters and they
> shared the bed with six servant girls. (this is before she married).
> They didn't sleep like we do length-wise but all laid on the bed
> At least they had a bed. The other bedroom was shared by her 6
> brothers and 30 field workers. They didn't have a bed. Everyone just
> wrapped up in their blanket and slept on the floor. They had no indoor
> heating so all the extra bodies kept them warm.
> They were also small people, the men only grew to be about 5'6" and
> the women were 4'8". So in their house they had 27 people living.
> Most people got married in June. Why? They took their yearly bath
> in May, so they were still smelling pretty good by June, although they
> were starting to smell, so the brides would carry a bouquet of flowers
> hide their b.o.
> Like I said, they took their yearly bath in May, but it was just a big
> tub that they would fill with hot water. The man of the house would
> get the privilege of the nice clean water. Then all the other sons and
> men, then the women and finally the children. Last were the babies.
> By then the water was pretty thick. Thus, the saying, "don't throw
> the baby out with the bath water," it was so dirty you could actually
> lose someone in it.
> I'll describe their houses a little. You've heard of thatch roofs,
> well that's all they were. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood
> underneath. They were the only place for the little animals to get
> warm. So all the pets; dogs, cats and other small animals, mice,
> rats, bugs, all lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery
> so sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Thus the
> saying, "it's raining cats and dogs,"
> Since there was nothing to stop things from falling into the house
> they would just try to clean up a lot. But this posed a real problem
> in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings from animals
> could really mess up your nice clean bed, so they found if they
> would make beds with big posts and hang a sheet over the top it
> would prevent that problem. That's where those beautiful big 4
> poster beds with canopies came from.
> When you came into the house you would notice most times
> that the floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other
> than dirt, that's where the saying "dirt poor" came from.
> The wealthy would have slate floors. That was fine but in the winter
> they would get slippery when they got wet. So they started to
> spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter
> wore on they would just keep adding it and adding it until when you
> opened the door it would all start slipping outside. So they put a
> piece of wood at the entry way, a "thresh hold".
> In the kitchen they would cook over the fire; they had a fireplace
> in the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the
> master bedroom. They had a big kettle that always hung over the
> fire and every day they would light the fire and start adding things
> to the pot.
> Mostly they ate vegetables, they didn't get much meat. They
> would eat the stew for dinner then leave the leftovers in the
> pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.
> Sometimes the stew would have food in it that had been in there
> for a month! Thus the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge
> cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
> Sometimes they could get a hold on some pork. They really
> felt special when that happened and when company came over
> they even had a rack in the parlor where they would bring out
> some bacon and hang it to show it off. That was a sign of wealth
> and that a man "could really bring home the bacon." They would
> cut off a little to share with guests and they would all sit around
> and "chew the fat."
> If you had money your plates were made out of pewter. Sometimes
> some of their food had a high acid content and some of the lead
> would leach out into the food. They really noticed it happened
> with tomatoes. So they stopped eating tomatoes, for 400 years.
> Most people didn't have pewter plates though, they all had trenchers,
> that was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl.
> They never washed their boards and a lot of times worms would
> get into the wood. After eating off the trencher with worms they
> would get "trench mouth." If you were going traveling and wanted to
> stay at an Inn they usually provided the bed but not the board.
> The bread was divided according to status. The workers would
> get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle
> and guests would get the top, or the "upper crust".
> They also had lead cups, and when they would drink their ale or
> whiskey, the combination would sometimes knock them out for a
> couple of days. They would be walking along the road and here
> would be someone knocked out and they thought they were
> dead. So they would pick them up and take them home and get
> them ready to bury. They realized if they were too slow about
> it, the person would wake up; also, maybe not. So they would lay
> them out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, the family would
> gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.
> That's where the custom of holding a "wake" came from.
> Since England is so old and small they started running out of places
> to bury people. So they started digging up some coffins and would
> take their bones to a house and re-use the grave. They started
> opening these coffins and found some had scratch marks on
> the inside.
> One out of 25 coffins were that way and they realized they had still
> 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 to listen for the bell. That is how the saying
> "graveyard shift" was made. If the bell would ring they would know
> that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer".