Homelife | Tudor Food | Tudor Towns
Poor Tudors | Rich Tudors l Entertainment
Tudor Punishment l Tudor Sports l Tudor Music
Life in Tudor Britain was harsh - the average life expectancy was just 35 years.
Most Tudor people lived in the countryside, but some people lived in towns or big Tudor cities like London, Bristol or Norwich.
Tudor England was a farming society. Most of the population (over 90 %) lived in small villages and made their living from farming. Under Tudor rule England became a more peaceful and richer place. Towns grew larger and the mining of coal, tin and lead became very popular.
There were none of the comforts we have today. Water was collected from village pumps, wells or streams but was often polluted.
Toilets were called 'Privies' and were not very private at all. They were often just a piece of wood over a bowl or a hole in the ground.
People would wipe their bottoms with leaves or moss and the wealthier people used soft lamb's wool.
In palaces and castles, which had a moat, the lords and ladies would retire to a toilet set into a cupboard in the wall called a garderobe. Here the waste would drop down a shaft into the moat below.
Wealthy Tudors loved to show of their riches. The clothes they wore and the homes they lived in were all signs of their place in society.
Click here to read about the clothes people wore and the homes they lived
Food was another show of wealth. The rich could afford all kinds of meats and fish and expensive French wine. The best food was considered to be roast veal and venison.
People also ate robins, badgers, otters, tortoises and seagulls.
Find out more about food eaten
The types of sports or pastimes a person did was another sign of their rank or wealth. The rich had time for falconry, hunting, jousting, tennis and bowls.
Find out more about entertainment
The poor had to work hard and struggled to survive. They worked six days a week and only had holy days and public holidays off work. They ate coarse grey bread made from rye and barley. Soups were made from vegetables and herbs. Meat was a luxury but poor people sometimes kept animals to provide milk, cheese and eggs.
Life for the poor in Tudor times was harsh. When the harvest failed it was tempting for poor people to steal food. When people did break the law, they risked public flogging or being hanged.
More information on the poor
Tudor Sports and Pastimes