The Pattern Still Remains

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#England

Red Nightgowns

In England, from about the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the color red was thought to be helpful to the sick. To bring down the fever, patients were dressed in red nightgowns and surrounded by as many red objects as possible.

Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts, 1979.

Deodand

By the old common-law of England, anything which had caused the death of a human being became forfeit to the sovereign or lord of the manor, and was to be sold for the profit of the poor.

Harper’s Book of Facts, 1905.

Barley Wine

This term has been used in various epochs to denote a strong beer or ale… The term was used in medieval England, and it still occasionally appears as a poetic alternative to malt liquor.

The World Encyclopedia of Food by L. Patrick Coyle, 1982.

Handsel

The custom of spitting on money is common in various parts of the world. In England it was sometimes called handsel and was reputed to bring good luck.

The Annotated Dracula by Leonard Wolf, 1975.

Sin-Eater

A man who for trifling payment was believed to take upon himself, by means of food and drink, the sins of a deceased person… Usually each village had its official sin-eater to whom notice was given as soon as death occurred.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910. From All There Is to Know by Alexander Coleman, 1994.

General Precedence of Women

  1. queen dowager
  2. princess of Wales
  3. daughters of the sovereign
  4. wives of the sovereign’s younger sons
  5. granddaughters of the sovereign
  6. wives of the sovereign’s grandsons
  7. sisters of the sovereign
  8. wives of the sovereign’s brothers
  9. aunts of the sovereign
  10. wives of the sovereign’s uncles

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910. From All There Is to Know by Alexander Coleman, 1994.

General Precedence of Men

  1. prince of Wales
  2. younger sons of the sovereign
  3. grandsons of the sovereign
  4. brothers of the sovereign
  5. uncles of the sovereign
  6. nephews of the sovereign
  7. ambassadors
  8. archbishop of Canterbury
  9. lord high chancellor of Great Britain
  10. archbishop of York

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910. From All There Is to Know by Alexander Coleman, 1994.

Trial of the Pyx

"The Trial of the Pyx" occurs every five years in England. It is simply the testing of the amount of gold and silver used in the coins issued from the mint.

Curious Questions by Sara H. Killikelly, 1889.

Cheshire Cat

The phrase is much older than Alice in Wonderland. The best theory is that one of the leading families of Cheshire, England, had the face of a lion as part of its coat of arms.  In the hands of local sign painters, the lion’s image gradually got to look like a grinning cat.

Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris, 1977.