Jump to content

Life in the middle ages.


Recommended Posts

Hi all, Possible answers to old sayings


Life in the Middle Ages



1. 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.



2. 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."



3. 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."



4. 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

sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds

came into existence.



5. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.

Hence the saying "dirt poor."



6. 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."



7. 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."



8. 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."



9. 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.



10. 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."




11. 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."



12. 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."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...