Fragrant soaps cheer the spirit
No concrete evidence exists as to where and when soap as we know it was first made or used. One account has it originating in Mt. Sapo, where remains of ash and animal sacrifices washed into the river and women noticed their clothes washed up cleaner wherever these substances accumulated. Soap-like material as well as instructions for mixing fats and ashes were found in excavations of ancient Babylon. Greek physicians recommended soap for hygienic and medicinal use. Bathing habits went into decline during the Dark Ages and no doubt was a large part of diseases and plagues then common.
In the 7th century Spain and Italy made soap with goat fat and Beech tree ashes, while the French started using olive oil to make soap and fragrances were introduced. King Louis XIV of France apparently guillotined three soap-makers for creating a bar that irritated his very sensitive Royal skin.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, soap sales and use went up dramatically. Queen Bess set the fashion for more frequent bathing… it was reported that the Queen took a bath every four weeks “whether it was necessary or not.”
At the Cottage, we have a wide selection of soaps to offer. Of particularly excellent quality, we carry the French Pres de Provence line, quadruple-milled soaps whose legendary fragrances and unrivaled durability have made them a favorite of ours and our customers.