Sunshine and showers...but the winds come back with a vengeance..rattling everything that isn't nailed down. I keep a very wary eye on the big barn roof which is corrugated tin and perfectly liable to simply take off in a sudden gust...it's screwed down of course but that doesn't stop it from lifting up and crashing down again...
I spent the morning exploring the Cornish family who were mostly Sirs and Ladies...though that doesn't mean a great deal when it was the 1300 and 1400's. Anyone who wasn't a peasant had titles heaped upon them by the Royal Court...or so it would seem.
It would appear that the plagues and pestilence of the times meant you were lucky to see your fortieth year...with most people dying in their twenties and thirties...and I'm not sure whether women's fertility was low during those centuries but they didn't have many babies...unless they had more who weren't recorded because they didn't survive for long.
A couple of other people researching the same line have put photographs on of the little local church where most of those families were married. It isn't easy to visualise a wedding of the mid 1300's...the bride would have carried a nosegay of garlic and wormwood...hyssop and balm, rather than a bouquet of extravagant roses and lilies...she'd have made certain she wafted the scent about as well because the herbs were thought to ward off not only bad luck but also pestilence.
The church would have had straw on the floor and pigs would have wandered in and out as they pleased with chickens nesting under the two front pews...only two simple wooden pews for the nobility. Everyone else stood up for the service.
A small village church would not have had windows either so it was probably cold and damp inside where the wind and rain had blown through the gaps, in later times, stained glass windows would be installed but the bride of that period would have shivered and her teeth chattered as she said her vows.
And the roof of the church would have been thatched with either rushes or straw depending on what was grown locally...ideal for nesting birds and rats and mice to scamper about...
No long white frock with a flowing veil for the bride...nor would she have had bridesmaids. She would have probably worn either her best frock or one made for the occasion which she'd continue to wear afterwards. We don't know about shoes though...because the portraits painted of the people of the time tend to only portray the sitter from the waist up and skirts were worn very long so women's shoes were rarely seen. We do know men wore soft leather knee length boots...unless you were a peasant and then you went barefoot.
It was a time of political turmoil...the French and English had an uneasy alliance until the Hundred Years War broke out again after Edward 111 had marched into Paris laying the surrounding countryside to waste...the plague arrived in England in 1361 and there was a short famine as a result of loss of the labour force in the country areas...and Scotland was still refusing to allow Edward to rule Scotland as well as England...
These were not easy times to be a nobleman or woman...if your political allegiance was in doubt you were liable to be hung or banished and your home and lands confiscated...most people of noble birth married to form a bond between families rather than for love and if you were a woman...then your husband would either be at Court or away overseas fighting.
Peasants, providing they didn't succumb to the temptation to poach their masters deer or raid his warrens, probably had a better quality of life than did the noble classes. They may not have had money and land and a fine house to live in but they could marry whom they chose and were unlikely to be challenged over their political leanings. Of course the penalties they incurred for transgressing the law were extremely harsh but if they didn't break the laws and kept to their own villages, then I rather imagine that their lives were reasonably content. If you discount the open drains and plague and the village stocks and the threat of leprosy and going hungry after a poor harvest...
I'd still rather have been a peasant.