_ In the Middle Ages rich people's houses were designed
for defence rather than comfort. In the 16th century life was safer so
houses no longer had to be easy to defend. It was an age when rich
people built grand houses e.g. Cardinal Wolsey built Hampton Court
Palace. Later the Countess of Shrewsbury built Hardwick Hall in
Chairs were more common than
in the Middle Ages but they were still expensive. Even in an upper class
home children and servants sat on stools.
Chimneys were also a luxury in Tudor times, although they became more common.
wealthy Tudor houses the walls of rooms were lined with oak panelling
to keep out drafts. People slept in four-poster beds hung with curtains
to reduce drafts. In the 16th century some people had wallpaper but it
was very expensive. Other wealthy people hung tapestries or painted
cloths on their walls. In Tudor England carpets were a luxury only the
richest people could afford. They were too expensive to put on the
floor! Instead they were hung on the wall or over tables. People covered
the floors with rushes, reeds or straw, which they sprinkled with sweet
smelling herbs. The flooring was changed once a month.
the 16th century prosperous people lit their homes with beeswax
candles. However they were expensive. In the 16th century the rich had
clocks in their homes. The very rich had pocket watches although
most people relied on pocket sundials. Rich Tudors were also fond of
gardens. Many had mazes, fountains and topiary (hedges cut into shapes).
there were none of the comforts we have today. Water was collected from
village pumps, wells or streams, but streams were 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 themselves, with leaves or moss and the wealthier people used soft lamb's wool.
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.
Lives of the rich
_ Life in Tudor Britain was harsh - the average life
expectancy was just 35 years. This was mainly because of dirty water,
other types of pollution and diseases. Most Tudor people lived in the
countryside, but some people lived in towns or big Tudor cities like
London, Bristol or Norwich.
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.