LIFE IN THE 1500s  

HardNhorneee 52M
127 posts
10/24/2005 12:08 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm


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:

These are interesting...

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


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 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

the 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."

(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, "Peasporridge


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


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


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 to 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


And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring ! ! !

Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend

redmustang91 57M  
8599 posts
10/24/2005 1:22 pm

Nasty, brutish and short was the description of life for early man and it applies anytime prior to 1925 or so in the developed world, and still applies elsewhere today.

brattygodess 39F
28 posts
10/24/2005 2:02 pm

very interesting facts

HardNhorneee 52M

10/27/2005 11:16 am

Amazing how things become what they are now...

Become a member to create a blog