Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, brought the Spanish fashion of eating salads with the main meal to England.
During the Renaissance, most people slept on the rushes strewn on the floor of the great hall. You knew you were the guest of honor if they left the table set up, so you could sleep above the rest of the people and the vermin infesting the rushes.
When the nobility of the Renaissance sat down to eat there was one plate and one cup for every two people, and even though they were provide with a two-pronged fork, spoon, and knife, most elected to eat with their fingers.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when one entered the eating hall, someone would be standing there with a bowl of bread and a bowl of salt. Each diner ripped off a piece of bread, dipped it in the salt and ate it to turn away any bad spirits that might have followed them from the church graveyard.
During the Renaissance, part of a teacher’s education was to be taught how to flog a student.
The plague of 1563 was so severe that the city authorities of London started to compile bills of mortality, recording the numbers of people who died in each parish. This marked the beginning of official health statistics.
During the Renaissance, handkerchiefs measured 12 to 15 in. A smaller variety of 4 to 5 inches were usually given as presents by women to men as love tokens.
Male literacy increased from about 10% in 1500 to about 25% in 1600. Female literacy went from less than 1% to about 10%.
The term "pin money" comes from the 1500s when a woman's garment had pieces literally pinned on (the stomacher in particular) with small straight pins. Some invariably fell out, so a husband provided his wife with a small amount of money to replenish her pin stock - thus her pin money.
Once Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean, he sailed for 98 days before reaching any habitable land.
In 1588, sailors in England's Royal Navy got one pound of biscuits and one gallon of beer per day as their rations.
During the Renaissance, the bright red dye called Scarlet used to dye broadcloth came from Kermes; a parasitic insect that lives on evergreen oaks in the Mediterranean and which, when pregnant, is killed with vinegar, dried in the sun, and open to extract it's wormlike larvae. When rolled into little balls called grains and soaked in water, these produce a bright red dye called grains, hence the word ingrained and, in connection with the worms, Vermilion.
In Stratford in the 1560s there were an average of 63 children baptized every year and 43 children buried. Child mortality was higher in town because of the spread of diseases, but even in rural areas, 21% of children died before they reached their 10th birthday, two-thirds of them in their first year of life.
During the Renaissance, 25% to 30% of all marriages were a remarriage.