SOME COOL HISTORICAL FACTS (and these are supposedly ALL true):

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 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 offthe 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 really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts
and a sheethung 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 kept adding 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."

* * * * * *

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 the 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 and 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 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 ! ! ! ! !

Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend

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Nancy C. Janyszeski All rights reserved.     Information submitted remains, to the extent the laws allows, the property of the submitter who by submitting it agrees that it may be freely copied, but never sold or used in a commercial venture without the knowledge and permission of the rightful owners.   

This website was created as a guide to the history and genealogy of Bucks County Pennsylvania. All efforts have been made to be accurate and to document sources. Some of the material has been contributed and published, with permission, in good faith. All effort has been made to be accurate as possible, and to refer to sources used. If you see an error, please let me know. This website was designed to be informative, a guide to Bucks County history and genealogical research, and hopefully fun. I can't guarantee that all the data is accurate.

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