I have invited Anna back this week to talk a little bit more about the research behind her fabulous books, because all historical writers have a wealth of knowledge that may only make it into the story as a passing mention. I enjoyed seeing how Anna used it in her book.
Anna has chosen to share some interesting, and little known facts, about the medieval monarchs' predilection (or not) for the occasional bath...
A Good Medieval Wallow...
It has always been my firm opinion that most people—throughout the ages—have preferred being clean to being dirty. In many of the preceding periods, being clean was also an indication of wealth as it required a not inconsiderable amount of servants and firewood to prepare a nice hot bath in medieval times. But even those who could not afford a bath, or to change their clothes regularly, did wash face, hands and privates.
Those who could afford it, went all out on cleanliness. Medieval banquets often started by the guests being offered basins of clean water in which to wash their hands. Medieval ladies and lords changed their linen frequently, and they most definitely bathed. King John is supposed to have taken a bath every two weeks, and clearly his descendants shared his fondness for lounging in hot water while someone scrubbed their backs. How else to explain the fact that Edward II had his bathrooms tiled and then complained the floors were too cold so he ordered bathroom mats to increase his comfort? Or that in 1351 Edward III ordered hot and cold water taps for his recently refurbished bathroom? I’m telling you, those medieval magnates liked a good wallow—and smelling of roses afterwards!
About UNDER THE APPROACHING DARK
Read an excerpt...
William had insisted they all attend chapel, but when he suggested that Adam and he repair yet again to review the accounts, Kit put her foot down.
“Not tonight.” She held out her hand to Adam. “I have a bath prepared for you.” Besides, she wanted to do a thorough inspection, disconcerted by the new scars on his face.
Stephen added the last of the hot water to the tub just as they entered the solar. Steam rose in wisps, filling the room with the scents of lavender and roses. Kit shooed the page out, closed and barred the door, and turned to look at her husband, already disrobing in front of the hearth. She moved towards him, couldn’t resist the urge to touch him, to splay her fingers wide as she set her hands to his chest, just over his heart. Beneath her palm, she felt his heartbeat, above her fingers was a new scar, pink and hairless.
“A lance.” He sounded offhand, undoing his braies.
Adam sighed. “I was jousting against Lord Roger.” She listened in silence as he told her about the steel-tipped lance and how he was convinced the intention had been to kill Lord Roger.
“Kill him? By your hand?” She slid an arm up to his shoulder, followed the contours of his muscled arm downwards. “And this?” She set her other hand to his face, tracing the scar along his nose, the other below his ear.
“Same incident.” He hooked a finger into her neckline. “Aren’t you joining me?”
“It’s the small tub.”
“We will fit, sweeting.” Deft hands on her laces, and soon enough they were in the tub, she enfolded in his arms and legs. His hands slid up to cup her breasts. “William said it was a difficult birth.”
“It was.” Kit’s stomach tightened in recollection. She craned her head back to look at him. “But it was worth it.” This her third son was an easy child, eating like a horse at regular intervals, in between which he either slept or regarded the world around him with wide-open eyes—grey eyes.
“A beautiful son.” He kissed the top of her head. “Thank you.”