Sleep Tight

The entrance to Stang End looks like an entrance. Why wouldn’t it? It is where you come in and go into the other rooms. But in this moorland farmhouse, as I think I mentioned in my first post, no space is wasted. Every square inch needed to earn its keep. The entrance was no exception.

The entrance is the threshing floor. It is where the owners threshed the corn to get the grain. It is from there we get the term “crossing the threshold.” It is crossing the place where the threshing activity is held in order to then get to the rest of the house.

Today I learned another interesting term that derives from the Stang End farmhouse (and other buildings at the time). At one end of the house is the bedroom. Only its not called a bedroom back then. Its a parlour! So, rather than inviting people to come through to the parlour as a sitting area in the daytime its a bedroom. The whole family are sleeping in that one room together as well. Not much by way of privacy as you can imagine.

There’s another building further up into the museum. Its similar to Stang End being a farmhouse as well. That building is presented as it would be about about 150 years earlier than Stang End.

In that other building the owners are sleeping on the floor. The animals are inside the home. The fire is there in the middle of the floor. It is more or less one large room albeit with sections or areas within.

Stang End is the moorland farmhouse presented in 1704. There’s a chimney and a real fireplace now. The kitchen/dining room is a reasonable size. It is a separate room off the entrance, the threshing floor.

The parlour at Stang End has a bed. It has several beds. The main bed is a four poster with a sackcloth canopy over it. Ropes join the frame of the bed to support the bedclothes on top.

When the owners would sleep on the bed for a while, who knows how long it would take, the ropes would eventually slacken. As the ropes sagged the bed would become increasingly uncomfortable.

To restore comfort to the hard working owners, it was the custom to re-wind the ropes and make them taught again. This routine would bring the return of much needed comfort and hopefully a restful night’s sleep.

It is from this custom that we get the term “Good night. Sleep Tight.” In other words, sleep with your ropes tight under your bed.

I love telling visitors about these stories. And the visitors seem to enjoy hearing them. Sometimes being a volunteer can feel a bit like being a historical entertainer. Its great.


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