When we think of history, we tend to think of the big events: Wars, revolutions, rulers, and sweeping changes.
But of course, there was everyday life back then, too. People lived their ordinary lives just like we do, taking care of their families, spending time with friends, and running errands.
Recently, a little slice of that ordinary life was discovered in Kent, England.
Archaeologists were looking for pieces of history at Knole, a historic country house there. While gold and treasure are maybe a little more romantic, it’s the everyday things that people would have used, like clothing, that really teach us what life was like so long ago.
When they lifted the floorboards in Knole’s attic, that’s exactly what they found.
Under the boards, they found letters dated 1603, 1622, and 1633. The 1633 letter was even more interesting because it contained a 384-year-old grocery list!
Now, it wasn’t a list in the way we might think of one, as just a collection of items in bullet points. Instead, it was written in the form of a letter to a “Mr. Bilby,” and signed by someone named Robert Draper.
The letter instructed Mr. Bilby to pick up some items, and also to bring some things to another estate. It’s just a little snippet of a day in the life of the people who lived in Knole nearly 400 years ago.
It’s not a great treaty or work of literature, nor does it reveal some long lost secret. However, in its simplicity, it tells us so much about how life used to be.