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. 1849 image

"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

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

Thirty-five years… quartered with my regiment… [Ireland]…
“The house is attacked… there are always loaded guns above the kitchen fireplace.”
Maxwell, William Hamilton. Wild Sports of the West. London: 1838

“One afternoon, when I was quite a little chit in a pinafore, I got possession of a horse-pistol which had been hanging up over the kitchen mantel shelf till it was as rusty as an old rat-trap.”
Chambers’s Journal. Nov 3, 1860

"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

“…remarked the double-barrelled gun which hangs over the mantel-piece in the kitchen, and asked me if it were loaded. … My father always kept this gun loaded; as it hung some distance from the ground, and we never had any children staying with us…”
Tinsley's Magazine. London: 1878

Image: Ten Thousand Wonderful Things. Edited by Edmund Fillingham King. London: 1859. Castle of St. Briavel, Gloucestershire in Illustrated London News, May 5, 1849.

Flood: a few months earlier Ellicott City (where I live) had another horrendous flood running down historic Main Street, between two hills, to the river.

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
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