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x1] FLOORS 159

such fellow, if you can meete with all, let his misdemenor' be pre-
sented, that he may be taught better to vnderstand his office : For
by their abuse the country is oftentimes troubled‘.’ The require-
ments seem to have become more onerous in the reign of King
Charles I, and the abuse of saltpetre digging was swept away
during the Commonwealth.

Mud floors were very dusty and difficult to keep clean, and it
waS'no doubt the dust of a mud floor which Puck had to sweep
behind the door in A Midsummer N {gr/it’s Dream”. The universal
dustiness of mud floors, noticed by Sir Frederick Treves", even in
the huts of Central Africa, must have led to attempts to make the
mud floors less dusty. A simple method was to strew the floor
with rushes or other green and therefore damp plants. In another
method borrowed from Italy at the time of the Renaissance, the
mud for the floor was mixed with a certain proportion of bullocks’
blood, which made it hard and gave to it the appearance of black
marble when polished. Sir Hugh Platt, writing in the jewel House
of Art and Nature, in the year 1594, recommended for ground
floors a composition of fine clay, mixed with ox blood, as making
a smooth, glistening and hard floor, and the composition would also
serve as plaster for a wall“.

Bullocks’ blood was also used as a substitute for paint on wood-
work: it was mixed with soot or ‘rud.’ ‘30 late as 1861 the
south door of York Minster was treated with a composition of rud
and bullocks’ blood5.’

Another method of preventing the mud floors from wear was to
mix with them bones, which presented a resisting surface, and Dean
Aldrich, an amateur architect, and a contemporary of Wren, wrote
in his dull book, the Elements of Civil Are/ziteeture, that in his
day it was quite usual to do so. In the excavations at Chesters,
the station Cilurnum, on the Roman Wall in Northumberland,
quantities of bones were found in the floors, and Dr Collingwood
Bruce took this to be an example of the deterioration of discipline
among the Roman soldiers in the later days of the Roman occu-
pation“: but it seems possible that the bones were the remains of
floors in which the other materials have perished.

1 Notes and Queries, Ist Series, v11, pp. 376, 433, 460, 530.

2 Act V, Scene II. 3 Uganda/er a Holiday, p. 208.
4 Receipt No. 90, page 72, in the edition of 1653.

5 Notes and Queries, 9th Series, XI, p. 499.

6 Ham/book to the Roman W'all, 5th edition, p. 100.

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