Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Girl For All Times Doll - Matilda - I'm Giving One Away!

Yes, on September 1, 2012 I am giving away one Matilda, A Girl for All Time Doll. The story of Matilda is one of a girl who grew up in Tudor times in England. For those of you like me who may not know much about the Tudor times in England, I thought I'd share some information on this period of English history.

Henry the VIII was King of England from 1457 - 1509. According to Wikipedia, "About one-third of the population lived in poverty, with the wealthy expected to give alms to assist the impotent poor. Tudor law was harsh on the able-bodied poor i.e., those unable to find work. Those who left their parishes in order to locate work were termed vagabonds and could be subjected to punishments, including whipping, burning, execution and putting at the stocks. Average life span was 35 years. High rates of child mortality saw only 33–50% of the population reaching the age of 16. Although home to only a small part of the population the Tudor municipalities were overcrowded and unhygienic. Most municipalities were unpaved although this differed in larger towns and cities.

There were no sewers or drains, and rubbish was simply abandoned in the street. Animals such as rats thrived in these conditions. In larger towns and cities, such as London, common diseases arising from lack of sanitation included smallpoxmeaslesmalariatyphusdiphtheriaScarlet fever, and chickenpoxOutbreaks of the Black Death pandemic occurred in 1498, 1535, 1543, 1563, 1589 and 1603. The reason for the speedy spread of the disease was the increase of rats infected by fleas carrying the disease. The majority of the population lived in small villages. Their homes were, as in earlier centuries, thatched huts with one or two rooms, although later on during this period, roofs were also tiled. Furniture was basic, with stools being commonplace rather than chairs. The walls of Tudor houses were often made from timber and wattle and daub, or brick, stone and tiles in the wealthier part of the population's case. The daub was usually then painted with limewash, making it white, and the wood was painted with black tar to prevent rotting, but not in Tudor times; the Victorians did this afterwards. The bricks were handmade and thinner than modern bricks. The wooden beams were cut by hand, which makes telling the difference between Tudor houses and Tudor-style houses easy, as the original beams are not straight. The upper floors of Tudor houses were often larger than the ground floors, which would create an overhang (or jetty). This would create more floor-surface above while also keeping maximum street width. During the Tudor period, the use of glass when building houses was first used, and became widespread. It was very expensive and difficult to make, so the panes were made small and held together with a lead lattice, in casement windows. People who couldn't afford glass often used polished horn, cloth or even paper. Tudor chimneys were tall, thin, and often decorated with symmetrical patterns of molded or cut brick. Early Tudor houses, and the homes of poorer people, did not have chimneys. The smoke in these cases would be let out through a simple hole in the roof.

Mansions had many chimneys for the many fireplaces required to keep the vast rooms warm. These fires were also the only way of cooking food. Wealthy Tudor homes needed many rooms, where a large number of guests and servants could be accommodated, fed and entertained. Wealth was demonstrated by the extensive use of glass. Windows became the main feature of Tudor mansions, and were often a fashion statement. Mansions were often designed to a symmetrical plan – "E" and "H" shapes were popular."

This was the setting in which Matilda Marchmont, the first Girl for All Time Doll, "lived". I'll post more tomorrow about life in Tudor times.

And, as I mentioned, I'm giving away one Matilda, A Girl for All Time doll! If you have "liked" grandma's cookie jar using the tab in the "find us on facebook" box ON THE BLOG, then you are entered in the drawing. In addition, if you "share" this post, you'll receive an additional entry (please be sure to comment to let me know if you share so I can give you your additional entry). Thank you for reading grandma's cookie jar and thank you for sharing it with the people you know!

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