Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do you have any quoysshions in your house? Perhaps your ancestor had some.

If you are lucky at least some your ancestors will have left a will - and an inventory of the furnishings of their house has been preserved. To illustrate the sort of information you may find, and the language it is written in, I have posted a detailed article, first published in the Home Counties Magazine of 1904. This describes the goods listed for Tannis, a fourteen bedroomed house in Aspenden, in 1569. Often the lists remind you that, for instance, some of the following would seem odd in a modern kitchen:
iii great beefe potts & ii lyttle brasse potts, iii greate pannes & iiii lyttle pannes, iii posnets, one great chaffer, a morter of brasse wth. a pestle of yron, one latten ladle, one scomer, a grate, ii grudyrons, ii dryppyng pannes. One olde chafyng dyshe, ii plate candlesticks, one stone morter, one payre of greate racks, viii spyttes, iii paier of pothooks and iii payer of pothangers. 
But of course the beef joint would be impaled on a spytte over the great open fire - with drypping pannes to catch the melted fat, while vegetables would be slowly cooking in the brasse potts hanging on pothooks from the pothangers, or boiling away in a greate pott on the grudyrons directly over the flames.

Of course most inventories, for instance for a small farmhouse, will have far fewer goods, perhaps not even the luxury of a quoysshion, but reading the article provides a fascinating peephole into the past, and what the insides of our ancestors houses must have been like.

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