Life In The 1500’s

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Life In The 1500’s

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 1500’s:
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 odour. 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. 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, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old…

Sometimes they could obtain a leg of 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 the 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.

Scotland 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 ringer.

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

Educate someone. Share these facts with a friend.


Marriage of ‘the Thistle and the Rose’, James IV and Margaret Tudor.

Around the world …
1503 Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.

The Carver Choir Book.

Earliest dated Scottish book.

Around the world …
1509 Accession of Henry VIII of England; marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

James IV killed at Flodden.

Asloan Manuscript.

Around the world …
1517 Martin Luther issues his Ninety-Five Theses, beginning his conflict with the Catholic Church.

James V, aged 12, installed as king.

Around the world …
1512 Hernando Cortés destroys Aztec empire.

Protestant heretic Patrick Hamilton burnt as a heretic in St Andrews.

Around the world …
1529 The Turks besiege Vienna.

James V marries Princess Madeleine of France, who dies in the same year

Around the world …
1533 Henry VIII splits with Rome.

James V marries Mary of Guise.

Around the world …
1540 Pope Paul III approves the establishment of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

Earliest Printed Act of Parliament.

Mary Queen of Scots born at Linlithgow.

Around the world …
1543 Nicholas Copernicus publishes his theory that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Cardinal Beaton assassinated by Protestant rebels.

Around the world …
1546 Death of Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer.

Battle of Pinkie: Scots defeated by English.

Around the world …
1547 Accession of Edward IV leads to a radical Protestant regime in England.

Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots, becomes Regent.

Around the world …
1553 Accession of Mary Tudor in England: Catholicism re-established as State religion.

‘The Monstrous Regiment of Women’.

Mary Queen of Scots marries heir to French throne.

Around the world …

1558 Elizabeth I of England crowned: Protestantism re-established by State.

Latin Mass prohibited in Scotland.

Mary returns to Scotland after nearly 13 years in France.

Around the world …
1562 Outbreak of French wars of religion.

Mary marries Henry, Lord Darnley.

Around the world …
1564 Birth of William Shakespeare.
1565 The pencil is invented!

King James IV born

Around the world …
1566 Death of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificant.

Mary deposed. James VI crowned in Stirling.

Mary flees to England.

Bannatyne Manuscript.

First Scottish medical book.

Around the world …
1568 Beginning of Dutch revolt against Spain.

First Map of Scotland.

First New Testament printed in Scotland by Bassandyne.

Around the world …
1577 Sir Francis Drake sets out around the world.

Edinburgh University founded.

Around the world …
1582 Gregorian Calendar first instituted: still used today.

The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots. Read it Here

Mary Queen of Scots beheaded.

Around the world …
1588 Spanish Armada.

North Berwick witch-hunt.

Around the world …
1590 Toyotomi Hideyoshi unifies Japan.

King Charles I born in Dunfermline.

Around the world …
1598 Edict of Nantes grants limited religious tolerance to French Protestants.


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