Category Archives: Household

Household Medicine

Two or three egges everie morning

Taken from an Elizabethan medical book, ‘set foorth for the great benefit and comfort of the poorer sort of people that are not of abilitie to go to the physitions’, today’s fragments are a selection of household remedies for managing the symptoms of syphilis.

Take Liverwoort, Sorell, Balme, and Succory, one ounce and seeth these in quart of Whay, having been well clarified, and let the Patient Drinke halfe a pynt thereof at the least, every morning.

Take a good quantity of Oatemeale, and beate it verie smalle, and put it into a quart of new milke, & seeth it, and put therein a good quantitie of Sugar, and when it is well boyled, straine it, and let the Patient eate the milk, and this will helpe him without all doubt.

Take Venice Turpentine, and wash it cleane, in these waters following, Viz. in Plantine water, in Red-rose water, and in water of Licquorice, and when you have washed it verie well, then take the Turpentine, and seeth it with as much white Masticke, & when it is sodden enough it will breake to a powder, it is easily perceived uppon a knives poynt, then take halfe an ounce of Nutmegs beaten to powder, & put to it the like quantitie of the powder of Venice Turpentine, and halfe an ounce of white Sugar, and mingle them verie well together, then let the Patient put a quantitie of this powder into an Egge or two which must bee but reare rosted, and so let him supp it of, and let him eate nothing for the space of an houre after, but if hee eate twoo or three of these Egges everie morning so dressed, it will bee the better, untill such time as he be whole, & then let him drink halfe an ounce of Red-rose water, & halfe an ounce of Plantine water, after such time as he hath eaten his last Egge.
Note that hee must eate Two of these Egges aforesayde in his bed before hee doe arise in the morning, and the third one houre after that he is risen up out of his bedde, and after the space of one houre more, he must drinke the water above saide, and then he must walke a good while after it.

Take two new laide Eggs, & put the whites of them awaye cleane, and set them in the fire, untill they bee bloud warme, then take halfe a Nutmegge, & a good peece of Suger Candie, & a pretty quantitie of Currall finely beaten to powder, then take a litle Cinamon & Amber, of each of them a like quantitie, & mixe all these together, & put them into the Egge, and let the Patient suppe it of, or else let him toste a peece or two of fine white breade, and poure thereon the yolkes of the eggs, and then straw the aforesaid powder uppon it, and soe eate it, and this will presently helpe him. This hath beene proved.

Take Wilde Time, and Parsely, of each of them a good handefull, & boyle them in a quart of strong Ale, and let it boyle, untill the one halfe bee consumed, and let the partie greeved drink the quantitie of halfe a pinte thereof at a time, every Morning and Evening for the space of Nine or tenne daies together, & it helpeth.

Take Woodbinde, Daysies and Plantine leaves, of each of them three good handefulls, and a good quantitie of the best english Honny that you can get, and a peece of Roch Allum as bigge as a Wallnut, then put all these together, in a quart of faire running water, and a good quantitie of Red-rose Water, and boyle them in an earthen pot, or Pipkin, and let it be close covered, for the space of halfe an houre, and then straine it through a fine linnen cloth, and then take of this water being luke warme, & with a sringe squirte it up into the Yarde [penis] of the Patient, and let the Pipe be put in, an inch or somewhat more, and let it be alwaies very stronglye spouted up, whereby the Water may goe beyonde the sore place, and soe use it every day three times for the space of one whole Moneth together, and then he shall be quite sound from this disease for ever after.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved

Christmas Custom Entertainment Food Household

We Were All Merry

These fragments come from the water poet John Taylor, and offer a glimpse into typical Christmas Day celebrations in 17th century England.  I’ve also included a carol, published in 1688, which provides further insight into festive food and the all-importance of Ale.  I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to visit Fragments in the last twelve months, and to wish you all a very merry Christmas!

I was presented with a cup of browne Ale, seasoned with Sinamon, Nutmegs, and Sugar.  When dinner was ready, I was set at the upper end of the Table, my owne company set round about me, and the rest ate with the servants.  We had Brawne of their owne feeding, Beefe of their owne killing; we had brave plum broth in bowle-dishes of a quart.  The White-loafe ranne up and downe the Table, like a Bowle in an Alley, every man might have a fling at him.  The March Beere marched up and downe, and we were all merry without the helpe of any Musicians.  We had good cheere, and good welcome which was worth all, for the Good-man of the house did not looke with a sour or stoicall brow, but was full of mirth and alacrity, so that it made the house merry.

Dinner being done, Grace being said, the Cloth taken away, the poore refreshed, we went to the fire, before which lay a store of Apples piping hot, expecting a bowl of Ale to coole themselves in.  Evening Prayer drew nigh, so we all repaired to Church, so went I home againe and passed the time away in discourse while supper, which being ended, we went to Cards. Some sung Carrols, merry songs, some againe to waste the long nights, would tell Winter-tales.  At last came in a company of Maids with Wassell, Wassell, jolly Wassell. I tasted of their Cakes, and supped of their Bowl, and for my sake, the White-loafe and Cheese were set before them, with Mince-Pies, and other meats.  These being gone, the jolly youths and plaine dealing Plow-swaines, being weary of Cards, fell to dancing; from dancing to shew me some Gambols.  Some ventured the breaking of their shinnes to make me sport, some the scalding of their lippes to catch at Apples tied at the end of a sticke, having a lighted candle at the other; some shod the wilde Mare; some at hotcockles, and the like. These Country revels expiring with the night, early in the morning we all tooke our leave of them, being loth to be too troublesome; and rendering them unfained thanks for our good cheere (who still desired that we would stay with them a little longer) we instantly travelled towards the City.

Being entered into it, we saw very few look with a smiling countenance on us, but a few Prentices or Journeymen that were tricked up in their Holiday cloathes. At last the Bells began to ring, every house-holder began to bestirre himselfe, the Maid-servants we saw hurrying to the Cookes shops with Pies, and before we were aware, whole Parishes of people came to invite us to dinner.

 Father Christmas, 1653

(For those who may wonder, nappy, in the context of this carol, means having a foaming head!)

A Carrol for Christmas-day at Night
To the Tune of My Life, and my Death

My Master your Servants
and Neighbours this Night,
are come to be merry,
with love and delight.
Now therefore be Noble,
and let it appear,
that Christmas is still
the best time of the Year.
To sit by the fire,
rehearse an old tale,
and taste of a bumper
of nappy old Ale.

It flows from the Barley,
that fruit of the Earth,
which quickens the fancy,
for pastime and mirth.
And therefore be jolly,
now each bonny Lad,
for we have no reason
at all to be sad.
Remember the season,
and then you’ll ne’er fail,
to bring in a bumper
of nappy brown Ale.

Now some of your dainties
let us freely taste,
my Stomach is ready,
I am now in haste.
And therefore sweet Mistris
I hope you’ll be brief,
to bring out the Sirloin
or Ribs of Roast Beef.
With other choice dainties
I hope you’ll not fail
at this happy season
with nappy brown Ale.

And now let me tell you
what dainties I prize,
I long to be doing
with curious minced-pies,
where plums in abundance
lie crowding for room.
If I come but near it
I’ll tell you its doom,
I’d soon part the quarrel
but hold, let’s not fail
to think of a bumper
of nappy old Ale.

The Pig, Goose and Capon
I’d like to forgot
but yet I do hope they’ll
come all to my lot.
We’ll lay a close siege
to the walls of the Goose,
and storm her strong castle,
there is no excuse
shall hinder our fury,
therefore let’s not fail
to have a full bumper
of nappy old Ale.

All those that are willing
to honour this day,
I hope that they never
will fall to decay;
but always be able
their Neighbours to give,
and keep a good Table
as long as they live.
That love, peace and plenty
with them may ne’er fail
and we may ne’er miss
of good nappy Ale.

Nativity Scene
© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved
Dining Etiquette Food Household

Ill words may provoke blows from a cook

These snippets come from a late seventeenth century household manual, and offer sagacious advice on acceptable behaviour of servants in Great Houses.

First, For the Kitchin, because without that we shall look lean, and grow faint quickly.

The Cook, whether Man or Woman, ought to be very well skilled in all manner of things both Fish and Flesh, also good at Pastry business, seasoning of all things, and knowing all kinds of Sauces, and pickling all manner of Pickles, in making all manner of Meat Jellies; also very frugal of their Lord’s or of their Master’s, Ladies or Mistresses Purse, very saving, cleanly and careful, obliging to all persons, kind to those under them, and willing to inform them. Quiet in their Office, not swearing nor cursing, nor wrangling, but silently and ingeniously to do their Business, and neat and quick about it; they ought also to have a very good Fancy, such a one, whether Man or Woman, deserves the title of a fit Cook.

For the Maid under such a Cook.

She ought to be of a quick and nimble Apprehension, neat and cleanly in her own habit, and then we need not doubt of it in her Office; not to dress her self, especially her Head, in the Kitchin, for that is abominable sluttish, but in her Chamber, before she comes down, and that to be at a fit hour, that the fire may be made, and all things prepared for the Cook, against he or she comes in. She must not have a sharp Tongue, but humble; pleasing, and willing to learn, for ill words may provoke Blows from a Cook, their heads being always filled with the contrivance of their business, which may cause them to be peevish if provoked to it. This Maid ought also to have a good Memory, and not to forget from one day to another what should be done, nor to leave any manner of thing foul at night, neither in the Kitchin, nor Larders, to keep her Iron things and others clean scowred, and the Floors clean as well as places above them, not to sit up junketting and giggling with Fellows, when she should be in bed. Such a one is a Consumer of her Masters Goods, and no better than a Thief; and besides, such Behaviour savoureth much of Levity.  But such a one that will take the Counsel I have seriously given, will not only make her Superiors happy in a good Servant, but she will make her self happy also; for by her Industry she may come one day to be Mistress over others.

Now to the Butler.

He ought to be Gentle and Neat in his Habit, and in his Behaviour, courteous to all people, yet very saving of his Masters Goods, and to order himself in his Office as a faithful Steward, charge and do all things for the honour of his Master or Lady, not suffering their Wine or Strong Drink to be devoured by ill Companions, nor Pieces of good bread to lie to mould and spoil. He must keep his Vessels close stopped, and his Bottles sweet, his Cellars clean washed, and his Buttery clean, and his Bread-Bins wholsome and sweet, his Knives whetted, his Glasses clean washed that there be no dimness upon them when they come to be used, all his Plate clean and bright, his Table, Basket and Linnen very neat. He must be sure to have all things of Sauce ready which is for him to bring forth, that it may not be to be fetched when it is called for, as Oil, Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Mustard, Oranges and Limons, and also some Pepper. He must also be very neat and handy in laying the Cloths for the Chief Table, and also the Side boards, in laying his Napkins in several Fashions, and pleating them, to set his Glasse, Plate, and Trencher-Plates in order upon the Side-Boards, his Water-Glasses, Oranges or Limons. That he be careful to set the Salts on the Table, and to lay a Knife, Spoon and Fork at every-Plate, that his Bread be chipped before he brings it in; that he set drink to warm in due time if the season require. That he observe a fit time to set Chairs or Stools, that he have his Cistern ready to set his Drink in, that none be spilt about the Room, to wash the Glasses when any one hath drunk, and to wait diligently on them at the Table, not filling the Glasses too full; such an one may call himself a Butler.

To the Carver.

If any Gentleman who attends the Table, be employed or commanded to cut up any Fowl or Pig, or any thing else whatsoever, it is requisite that he have a clean Napkin upon his Arm, and a Knife and Fork for his use. That he take that Dish he should carve from the Table till he hath made it ready for his Superiours to eat, and neatly and handsomly to carve it, not touching of it so near as he can with his Fingers, but if he chance unawares to do so, not to lick his Fingers, but wipe them upon a Cloth, or his Napkin, which he hath for that purpose; for otherwise it is unhandsome and unmannerly; the neatest Carvers never touch any Meat but with the Knife & Fork. He must be very nimble lest the Meat cool too much, and when he hath done, return it to the Table again, putting away his Carving Napkin, and take a clean one to wait withal; he must be very Gentle and Gallant in his Habit lest he be deemed unfit to attend such Persons.

To all other Men-Servants or Maid-Servants who commonly attend such Tables.

They must all be neat and cleanly in their Habit, and keep their Heads clean combed, alwaies ready at the least Call, and very attentive to hear any one at the Table, to set Chairs or Stools, and not to give any a foul Napkin, but see that every one whom their Lord or Master is pleased to admit to their Table have every thing which is fit for them, and that they change their Plates when need shall be. They must wait diligently, and at a distance from the Table, not daring to lean on the Chaires for soiling them, or shewing Rudeness; for to lean on a Chair when they wait is a particular Favour shewn to any superiour Servant, as the Chief Gentleman, or the Waiting Woman when she rises from the Table. They must not hold the Plates before their mouths to be defiled with their Breath nor touch them on the right side. When any Dish is taken off the Table, they must not set it down for Dogs to eat, nor eat it themselves by the way, but haste into the Kitchin with it to the Cook, that he may see what is to be set away, and what to be kept hot for Servants. When all is taken away, and Thanks given, they must help the Butler out with those things which belong to him, that he may not lose his Dinner.  They must be careful also to lay the Cloth for themselves, and see that nothing be wanting at the Table, and to call the rest of the Servants to Meals, whose Office was not to wait at the Table, then to sit down in a handsome manner, and to be courteous to every stranger, especially the Servants of those Persons whom their Lord or Master hath a kindness for.  If any poor Body comes to ask an Alms, do not shut the door against them rudely, but be modest and Civil to them, and see if you can procure somewhat for them, and think with your selves, that though you are now full fed, and well cloathed, and free from care, yet you know not what may be your condition another day.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved

Custom Household

Illustrated Life

These images come from a children’s book published in the mid 17th century. The book was designed to both instruct children about the world around them via the illustrations, and also teach them some Latin basics. The value of this book today is in its depictions of the mechanics of everyday life in early modern England.

The Seven Ages of Man
The Bath
The Barber
The Taylor
The Shoo Maker
The Blacksmith
Bread Baking
The Making of Honey
Monstrous and Deformed People
The Bookseller
Singing Birds
Flying Vermin
The Study
A Buriall
© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved
All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove

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