Monday, October 12, 2015

Guns over the kitchen hearth

Were guns kept above the fireplace?  During an 1856 flood at Malvern, UK (some of us can relate) one gun kept on hooks on the kitchen chimney floated away and was replaced by chairs as the water receded.  and a couple other examples.

"On this line was the most fearful amount of devastation swept over the country in a torrent nearly 200 yards wide, and, by measurement at Tundridge Mill, Suckley, the water was more than twenty feet above the ordinary level of the brook! Houses and bridges were swept away before it; some orchards were totally destroyed...

All the mills on the line of the brook suffered most severely. The occupier of Tundridge Mill, on arriving home from Worcester, found his house unapproachable; it was submerged, all but the upper apartments, and the inmates had barely time to get clear from the kitchen below. The water washed through the mill, injuring the machinery, blowing up the weir, and whirling barrels from the drink-house to the opposite side of the premises. ..

Some idea may be formed of the state of the flood at Tundridge Mill, from the fact that a fowling-piece, hanging by hooks above the kitchen chimney, was floated off, and in its place chairs were found suspended, when the unwelcome waters retired. A cat, in company with a tea-caddy, was found mounted on a flitch of bacon, hanging from the roof."
Lees, Edwin. Pictures of nature in the silurian region around the Malvern hills ...  Malvern: 1856
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"On the chimneypiece stood, between two tall pewter candlesticks, an alarum clock, loud enough to have broken the rest of the Seven Sleepers. … One other object hung on brass hooks above the chimneypiece. It was a gun."
Chambers's Journal.  April 26, 1879
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The old firelock hung upon two hooks by the kitchen chimney in the dwelling of every farmer…
Foster, Eden Borroughs.  A north-side view of slavery: a sermon on the crime against freedom, in Kansas...  1856

Image: 
Ten Thousand Wonderful Things. Edited by Edmund Fillingham King.  London: 1859, 1894 ed

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
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