Livin' it up in the Late Middle Ages



How Times Have Changed!
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

their 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










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 dogs, 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 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.



Most people in 16th Century Europe could not

 afford to eat meat very often.  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."

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 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."


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 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."


 And that's the truth...    Now, whoever said that

                            History was boring ! ! ! ! !