"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Life in the 1500's

Next tike your computer chucks 's a hissy fit or your dishwasher or 
automatic washing machine doesn’t work, instead of getting all hot 
under the collar about it, think of how

much better off we are in so many ways than our ancestors.

Have a look at some of their problems;
LIFE IN THE 1500's
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 and fall 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. (nice clean bed ? these people were only bathing annually)
Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some

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 winterwhen
wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.
As the winter wore on, they addedmore 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."
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?) 
In those old 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 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 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 high acid content 
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.
This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so,

tomatoes were considered poisonous.
 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."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. 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 t have scratch 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... Now, whoever said that History was boring ! ! ! 


Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Very enlightening, it
seems as though there is an explanation to those old sayings.
I enjoyed them all.
Suggest you visit Bubba.
I could not reach JunieRose either
so will put a comment on my site and she may see it. Cheers

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I was thinking about trying to join you in the sayings game, but you are far too far ahead of me. Truly well done, Holtie.

Cliff Morrow said...

Well done Peter. Interesting to say the least.

Hale McKay said...

Very good stuff. Some seem so outlandish, they can only be true.

bubba said...

Now that I read them, do We get a diploma? All this book learning is giving me a headache.

mreddie said...

Way back, while in school, history was not a thing that interested me - today it's much different, I enjoy it very much - in fact, at my age, I'm a part of it. :) ec

Theresa said...

Never before you had I thought history fun to learn!

FTS said...

Hey, tomorrow's Saturday. Bath day. :)

JunieRose2005 said...


I enjoyed this history post very much!

:) I think, as we get older, we enjoy looking back and thinking of how things were in the past!

Lol- even my OWN young years seen so strange and outdated to my kids and grandkids!!

Also- thanks for going to my site> I read what you posted on Merle's site!

I'm disappointed that no one is able to post comments... I guess only AOL users are able to do that! :( not good - and I wasn't even aware of that!

Oh,well! (guess I need to change my blog-spot! :) )


Big Dave T said...

I remember reading this list before and wondering if it all were really true. It sounds like it should be, but I have a hard time believing everything I read anymore. The only site with unvarnished gospel truth anymore is Hoss's.

Carolyn said...

Very good stuff! Thanks for the history lesson ;)

bornfool said...

Very enjoyable. I like to learn something every day. Now I can take the rest of the day off.

poopie said...


Ivy the Goober said...

I just don't get how someone can go that long without a bath. I was reading a story set in the 20's I think and one character bathed once a week, and the other once a month. very strange to me.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Good ones all!

jules said...

Yeah, I'm not sure that even after a once a year bath you'd smell too good. Yuck.

Jamie Dawn said...

This is history really worth learning! Love it, Peter.
I gotta get off here. It's time for my monthly bath.

Anonymous said...

i really enjoyed that Dad. My Mum was a great one for 'sayings' and its always very interesting to know some background where they came from. Anyway, it smells like everyones off to take a bath! Yes Dad it is actually me making a comment for a change! Lyn x