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Everyday life in Tudor and Stuart times

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Life for the Tudor lords

Life for the wealthy became increasingly luxurious and flamboyant during Tudor times.

When describing the rich in Tudor times some things you might think about are:

  • Meals in Tudor times consisted almost wholly of meat – no vegetables. Tudor people drank beer or wine, and ate and drank from pewter plates and mugs.

  • Fashions – in Tudor times, men wore decorated doublets (jackets) with peascod bellies (rounded front) and slashed trunks (short trousers with cuts in the fabric). Women wore fancy kirtles (overskirts) over wooden frames called farthingales, with high collars. Women's fashion favoured white faces, so they painted white lead on their faces. Both sexes might wear elaborate ruffs.

  • Rich lords built huge mansions in the countryside. One famous Tudor mansion is Hampton Court. The long gallery ran along the entire length of the house, where people could walk, or practise sword-fighting when the weather was bad. Keeping warm was a major consideration and Tudor mansions had many chimneys, for the many fires.

    The lord would have a parlour, luxuriously panelled, with painted ceilings and tapestries hanging on the wall, and with high-sided dark wooden chairs. The richest families might even have a carpet on the floor!

  • In a Tudor garden the hedges and flower beds would be elaborately laid out in a pattern called a 'Tudor knot', or even a maze.

  • Tudor entertainments were still energetic – jousting, hunting, dancing, and sports such as tennis.

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