I met this guy, on my picture, in main avenue of Colonial Williamsburg. He was a historical interpreter costumed in the red uniform. Well, he surely wasn't the famous or rather unfamous Red Army soldier but lower rank Royal, British soldier.
COLOUR OF ARMY
I got to know that red colour for the British Army was adopted in 1645 when first permanent army was raised (12 years after Williamsburg was settled). Why red? I don't know. Most think in order to hide blood stains. Different colours of troops helped to recognize enemy's troops from a distance at a battlefield and avoid friendly fire.
Well, every army adopted certain colours as their national colours::
French - blue,
Russian - green,
British - red.
And later on:
Union (U.S., North) - blue (why blue? maybe because they fought together with already blue French Army against red British Army during the War for Independence)
Confederate (South) - grey.
He was the only gentelman who wore broad brimmed hat in Colonial Williamsburg which was fashionable in... early colonial times in 17th century. His army mate was an officer and wore tricornered hat.
Folks used to dine/drink indoor or in a garden/backyard in the past and the historic town continues this tradition. There are no tables put on a street in front of local restaurants and taverns in Colonial Williamsburg. Instead there are tables hidden in the backyards in some of them.
But just outside strict historic area, at Merchants Square (western end of Duke of Gloucester Street) I found it - Trellis Restaurant And Cafe with tables and umbrellas put outside along a street. Sit down, relax and watch people. I will do it... next time. And I will order Death by Chocolate cake ($6.50) with cafe au lait. Or better I will follow Nat's suggestion and go to eat at Shields Tavern. They have better desserts there too.
I am not sure whether it's unique to Williamsburg (rather not) but I noticed that towers of both Bruton Church and some larger residential houses (mansions) were always octagonal. I have no idea why.
This octagonal, wooden tower of Bruton Church, on my picture, looks strange put on much thicker, red brick, square lower part of the tower. It simply doesn't suit here. And it seems that lack of money forced the church constructor to change design and to put lower and less expensive tower.
There is one church in Colonial Williamsburg - the Bruton Church. It's the Anglican (= Episcopal) church (Church of England). In colonial times the church was supported by taxes of its members. But the tax-payers who disliked centralized church authority, gained control of parish vestries and county courts to secure their power over religious matters.
Well, the Bruton Church, in contrast to many European Roman Catholic churches of 18th century, looked very modest. Does it prove quite different position (and budget) of both churches?
There is no single Anglican Church. World-wide organisation of Anglican Churches (usually national churches of certain countries) is called http://www.anglicancommunion.org]the Anglican Communion. The church originates from Roman Catholic church but it doesn't recognize the primate of Roman Catholic pope. The leader of the Anglican Church is the Archbishop of Canterbury as primus inter pares or "first among equals".
There are a lot of gallows in Colonial Williamsburg. Well, in real the gallows-like structures like this one on my picture are used to hang advertisements of local stores and taverns not to hang criminals. Were they precursors of current tall advertisement poles put by every main highway?
In the past there were real gallows in Williamsburg used to hang people sentenced for various, not always serious, crimes.
Early colonists drank wine in Williamsburg, at the beginning imported from Europe (expensive), then local. Wine is produced in Williamsburg since the early colonial times in 17th century when the law ordered each settler to plant at least 10 vines for the purpose of making wine on his own land.
That's why I saw 7 local different kinds of wine in old-fashionable colonial M. Dubois Grocer in Colonial Williamsburg. They were produced by the Williamsburg Winery which I unfortunately didn't visit :-(.
I saw both beer and cider sold in old-fashionable colonial grocery (M. Dubois Grocer) in Williamsburg.
I got to know that early British colonists of Williamsburg (settled in 1633) had a fairly simple life. The typical immigrant had only three things on their mind: where to get food, how to secure shelter and when would they get their next beer. Well, imported beer was expensive, so they erected a brewhouse as one of their first structures.
DEADLY FRESH WATER
Drinking fresh water could make them deathly ill. In those times people didn't know that boling water can prevent fatal diseases. So, they were looking for more safe drinks for daily use. Is that the reason that most American beers till today are light or very light? Well, can you imagine early settlers and their women and kids drinking strong beer all the day?
As Williamsburg had good climate both for apples orchards and grapes settlers started to make both apple and grape cider very soon. Cider was cheaper than beer because of simpler technology and became the most often used drink in early colonial times especially among lower classes. Tea and later coffee (wine as well) were always more expensive and drank mostly by upper classes.
Colonial houses are put along both sides of main streets in a raw, especially along Duke of Gloucester Street. But, in contrast to many European cities of 18th century, they are never joined. Each house stay as a single unit with own backyard and usually look different than the next one. Houses are always seperated from the neighbouring ones by at least narrow alleyway.
Well, new lands of America offered a lot of space for settlers. Early settlers to America were individualists who wanted to put up different houses than their neighbours. Later on, during my southern trip, I found it a typical feauture of residential and often even business districts of old colonial cities and towns.
I met this guy, on my picture, in main aveniue of Colonial Williamsburg. He was a historical interpreter costumed in the uniform of a Royal, British officer. British troops resided in colonial Williamsburg since early colonial times (17th c.) till the end of British power over Virginia.
Virginia was a British colony till 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress - legislative body of 13 British colonies - in Philadelphia. Well, in reality, changing power was a process not a single date in history and was difficult as British, Royal troops attacked young American army which started the Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783) won by the United States of America.
This costumed lady, on my picture, sat down on front of the Williamsburg's colonial Post Office.
She was costumed in informal dress of typical woman of 18th century. I paid attention to her:
1. cotton cap with some decorative ruffles added at the front edge,
2. casual dress,
3. cape - typical protective outer garment that is shaped to the neck; it covered her shoulders, can be fastened at the center front and was usually shorter than a cloak. A cape was made of either heavy or light fabrics of wool, cotton or silk.
4 protective outer garment with covers her front lower part.
Most of colonial houses have such small structures as on my picture added by the front wall. It is an entrance to cellars or better to say low basement. It is covered by the two-wing flap.
It wasn't comfortable to go to the cellars from outside especially in bad weather but upper classes had servants and slaves in colonial times. By the time the entrance served as a place to load the basement with stuff (food, wine, beer). The entrance to the basement was through the stairs inside the house.
Do you have any rubbish? Do you look for any waste bin to put the rubbish in it? In historic area of colonial Williamsburg do look for such wooden barrels like on my picture. They are numerous all around the town. If you smoke cigarettes don't forget to put your cigarette out before.
I have no idea what natives used for rubbish in the 17th and 18th century. A moveable container for the temporary storage of rubbish was known since 1800s. Before? Hmm... I don't know, they could dig rubbish in the land, to burn them or to throw them into a river or...
Most residential houses of colonial Williamsburgs have brick side chimneys and gable roofs.
The brick chimney is built outside the main building, added to its side wall. Larger houses have two symmetrical chimneys on both side walls.
The sloping roof of an average colonial house is very steep and sometimes it covers two floors of the house - lower one with dormer windows of bedrooms and upper one with no windows.
There are right many costumed trades interpreters in colonial Williamsburg. This one, on my picture, works in metal, share his techniques with children and presents his works to them.
The trades interpretors present themselves as 21st century people, but they use 18th century tools and techniques in their chosen trades. Keep in mind that some of the best craftspeople in the nation worked in the capitol of the wealthiest and most populated British colony in America - Virginia.
Look at the front facade of the Williamsburg's courthouse built in 1771. There is the classical portico above the entrance with the wide steps but there are no columns. Their absence jarred my eye a little at first. The portico with triangle-shape tympanum looks strange, like hang on the air...
I have never seen anything like that before. I got to know that the steps of the courthouse were imported from London but columns didn't arrive... either someone forgot to order them or possibly none columns had ever been intended.