Tudor Monastery Farm, new for BBC Two

Date: 15.10.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.55
Category: BBC Two; Factual
Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold turn the clock back over 500 years to run a farm at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex exactly as it would have been in 1500, during the reign of the first Tudor King, Henry VII.

The biggest land-owners of the age, other than the King, were the monasteries. These ancient religious institutions dominated the landscape, not just in matters of worship but almost every aspect of life from education and crafts to commerce and the main industry of the era: farming.

With the lives of monks dedicated to prayer and religious rites, they needed ordinary people to supply the agricultural labour on their lands. Ruth, Peter and Tom will be doing the work of tenants on a farm owned by the monastery, using only the tools and materials of the age. At a time when faith provided an explanation for everything, from the state of the weather to the growth of crops, the team takes on new challenges to raise livestock, cultivate period crops and master new crafts under the watchful eye of their monastic landlords.

The turn of the 16th century saw England emerging from the medieval Dark Ages. Under the first Tudor monarch, the country was enjoying a period of peace and stability after years of plague, famine and war. And a new breed of enterprising farmer was boosting food production and profiting from the land as never before.

Episodes 1 and 2 are now available for registered journalists to preview via the BBC Previews site.


Interview with Peter Ginn

Interview with Ruth Goodman

Interview with Tom Pinfold