It's awfully easy to generalize with history. We read of how, before indoor plumbing, people found bathing such a difficult and complicated process that only the wealthy attempted it. We hear of wooden tubs lined with sheets against splinters (ow!) and laboriously filled with buckets of heated water lugged upstairs by servants. We assume that, with so much work to wash one's self, that it wasn't done very often.
Then we NHG stumble across something that tosses all those assumptions right out the window where they belong.
This little brick building next to the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg isn't a privy, or a guard-house, or a garden folly. It's the governor's outdoor bath house: his bagnio. After a hard day governing the royal colony of Virginia, he'd shut himself inside and strip naked. Then he'd sit on the convenient wooden bench and have
buckets of cold water poured over him. Considering that the bath house was installed by the last royal governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore (1732-1809), a transplanted Scotsman, this ritual was probably the only way he survived the notoriously steamy Tidewater summers.
Being intrepid NHG, we naturally looked inside. (That's an interior picture to the right.) We can also report that we found no naked governors on the bench, but then, it was only April.