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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Sunday, 28 April 2013

The wrong end of the stick

I had always thought that a moat around a castle or large manor house was there as a form of defence. Close the gates, pull up the draw bridge and you could pick off your enemies as they tried to cross the water and scale the walls. So I was curious as to why Ightham Mote was moated as it is not situated in a particularly defensive position being lower than surrounding countryside.

When I put this observation to a local guide I was told that from about the 14th cent onwards they used the mote for hygiene purposes as it had flowing water fed from a local stream. There were pipes in the walls to allow human sewage to be pushed through into the water below. This was done with a wooden stick which they believe is the origin of the phrase ' to get hold of the wrong end of the stick'!

7 comments:

  1. There is a moated manor along the rad from where I live though I'm not the flavor of the month with them for taking photos of the place and putting them on a website.

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  2. Funny story, they were very hygienic for that time. Although the water must have smelled bad.

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  3. I didn't know that, and although I never wondered where that phrase originated, it's good to know why NOT to grab ahold of the "wrong end of the stick." :-)

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  4. That is a a good explanation of getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. I am sure you are correct in your spelling of mote, but why not moat?

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  5. I thought the same as you .... moats were for defence. We learn so much from other bloggers.

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  6. That is interesting. It still doesn't sound very hygienic to me.

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  7. Well, having poo floating in a moat would be some sort of defence perhaps?

    Lovely shot.

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