Sunday, November 02, 2008

Life in the 1500's (part 1)

The 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. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

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 cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip 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 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.

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 (straw) on 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. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a 'thresh hold.'

... more next Sunday



J-Online said...

I'm so glad times have changed! I love me a hot bubble bath (with clear, clean water!)

Mary Christine said...

I bet there was no such thing as OCD back in those days.

Scott W said...

Like any bouquet would mask human stench! Yuk!

Anonymous said...


Bill said...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail offers an accurate and thoughtfully researched view of life in the Middle Ages.

peanut said...

How enlightening ! Thanks very much.

And, dAAve, thank you for the encouragement to celebrate my AA birthday, I am signed up and excited.

Love to you, me

Trailboss said...

I feel smart now. I wish it was May so I could have a bath. We still only take one per year in Kentucky. **sigh**

Cat said...

I liked this!

Syd said...

Interesting stuff. I've been reading a lot about Tudor England. And the straw on the floor was mentioned but I didn't think about the thresh hold.