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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Why one should never wee in the dining room

If you enjoyed my recent post about the Middles Ages, you might like to read about the work of Daniel of Beccles. In about* the 13th century, Daniel wrote Book of the Civilised Man, the first English book of social etiquette. Within it's pages he went into great detail about the standard of behaviour expected of a chap who hope to make his way in society - I say chap because Daniel's advice does not seem to be aimed at women. In fact, I suspect he wasn't keen on anyone who didn't wee standing up**, but, I digress.

While some of the advice on offer seems quite obvious: don't pee in the dining room; some of it is in use today, for example: not talking with your mouth full. The original work was written in Latin, but there is an online translation along with an interesting accompanying essay on the website of The Foxearth and District Local History Society***.

* Contemporary accounts which coincide with references in the book suggest that it was written in the 13th century.

** Just realised, that should be people who wee standing up outside the dining room ;-)

*** The site also contains church records from Pentlow.

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