Keeping Clean!

Bathrooms were very rare in Tudor houses. On average Tudors took a full bath about twice a year. Rich Tudors probably washed quite often using a bowl of water, soap and a cloth - there are lots of recipes for soaps of various sorts! A poor Tudor who could not get clean water probably hardly ever washed! Ugh!

Water for washing at Blakesley Hall was brought in from the well, heated over the kitchen fire and carried upstairs to the bedchambers and poured into a bowl. A full bath would be a lot of work!

There are lots of recipes for powders to clean teeth. Most people used soot from the chimney to rub over their teeth, then chalk or salt as a whitener. There are some strange recipes for tooth powders though! Here is one - but do not try it at home!


Mouse Head Tooth Powder - for squeaky clean teeth!

First catch some mice. Cut off their heads. Cook them in a pan until they are burned. Pound them up to a gritty powder. Then use the powder to clean your teeth.

a mouse trap!

This is the corridor leading to the toilet chute. There would have been a box at the end of the corridor - over the space now covered by a trapdoor.

corridor leading to the toilet chute

The chute was on the back wall of the Tudor house. It was covered up when Richard Smalbroke's grandaughter, Barbara, added a kitchen building at the back of the Hall. The chute was rediscovered in the 1970s and dug out. You can now look into it - if you want!

the inside of the toilet chute

The chute had to be cleared out regularly - when it filled up. Quite often it was easier to use a chamberpot, which could then be emptied down the chute or outside. Today this would be called a 'potty'.

a chamberpot