Blaker Family of Sussex - Reminiscences

Reminiscences

The Patten.



ANOTHER accessory to locomotion, which I have not seen in use for half a century, was the patten. When our country roads in wet weather and nearly all the winter were covered with mud an inch or more in thickness, inter-spersed with small pools of water, and when the stone and brick floors n many of our houses were washed by throwing buckets of water on them and scrubbing them with a long birch broom, some-thing was required to keep the servants', and at times the mistress's feet dry, and this was furnished by the patten. The patten consisted of a flat piece of tough wood, half an inch or more thick, shaped like the sole of a boot, with the sides quite straight. To this was attached a band of iron, round or slightly oval, about half an inch broad and a quarter of an inch thick, by means of two upright pieces of iron, about three quarters of an inch wide and two inches long, which were fixed by screws, one to the heel and the other to about the middle or tread of the wood, so that the shoe of a person standing on the patten would be about three inches from the ground. Two pieces of leather were nailed to the sides of the wood; these were narrowed to about two inches, when they approximated in front of the ankle, where they were fastened together by a lace. The patten was not secured to the foot in any other way, and when women wished to put it on they simply stood behind it and put their toes through the space left above the wooden sole. It required almost an education to keep the patten on, but women began to learn the art as children, and when it was acquired, could walk some distance, two or three miles, without difficulty. They had a great attraction for puppies, and I well recollect the state of excitement and anger the women got into when the puppies ran away with their pattens.

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