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How Embarrassing Medieval Dining Can Be?

Dining tables are the hub of your home. Some creative styling will add interest and personality to your entire space, and a simple – or elaborate –  table décor piece can completely elevate your room and make even the most casual gatherings feel special. 

A dining table was once a simple, knockdown affair.

In the Middle Ages, when life was rough and uncertain, “setting the table” meant placing a wooden board on top of two trestles in order to make a somewhat sturdy table. The only ornament used would be a salt cellar, which was important for distinguishing the societal importance of those dining at the table. Those who “sat above the salt” were considered the most honored, and those who sat farthest below the salt were considered the lowest class. People brought their own knives and spoons, and ate on slices of bread instead of plates.There were no napkins, so individuals would wipe their mouths and hands on their clothing.

Luckily we have so many novelty table décor to enjoy in the modern age!

The table at the Prince Regent’s Feast at Carlton House in 1811, was described by Gentlemen’s Magazine as having  “a canal of pure water … flowing from a silver fountain beautifully constructed at the head of the table. Its banks were covered with green moss aquatic flowers; gold and silver fish swam and sported through the bubbling current, which produced a pleasing murmur where it fell, and formed a cascade at the outlet.”

Painting photo: A Day of Celebration by Fanny Brate, 1902. Girls decorate a table with flowers