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Inside the Tudor Home (Hardback)

Daily Life in the Sixteenth Century

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 16th Century World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Bethan Watts
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781399089272
Published: 11th July 2023


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Power. Politics. Prosperity. Plague.

Tudor England; a country replete with sprawling landscapes, dense forests and twisting urban labyrinths. This is a place of stagnation and of progress; of glorious cultural revolution, where the wheel of fortune is forever turning.

From the plush royal palaces to the draughtiest of wattle-and-daub cottages, sixteenth-century England revolved around the people who formed the beating heart of Tudor society. These people celebrated scientific progress and lamented religious persecution; championed the rights of women and the underrepresented; fell in love with sweethearts, cared for pets and mourned the deaths of their loved ones.

In her first book, Bethan Catherine Watts sheds light on the Tudor home and the everyday lives of those who lived there.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an amazing book! I am a huge Tudor fan and I am so happy I finally got to sit down and read this! Highly recommend for all Tudor fans out there.

NetGalley, Heather Michael

Inside the Tudor Home by Bethan Watts is an interesting read about life in the home in Tudor times.

The book has been well researched and written. You don't have to be a historian to be able to read it so its a great read for anyone interested in Tudor times. This was a great debut book. Looking forward to more books by the same Author.

NetGalley, Hazel Thomson

With a three page listing of Illustrations, an succinct discription of Money Conversion, twenty pages of Notes, a seven page Bibliograpy and Further Reading, and an eight page Index, "Inside the Tudor Home: Daily Life in the Sixteenth Century" is impressively informative, historically useful, and a seminal work of simply outstanding scholarship. Covering an immense diversity of issues ranging from foods and recipes, to childcare, to funerary practices, and so much more, "Inside the Tudor Home" must be considered a core and essential pick for personal, professional, community, college, and university library 16th Century British Cultural History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An entertaining, informative and well research book that will be appreciated by anyone who's interesting in social history.
I learned a lot and found it easy to follow
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been obsessed with any books about The Tudors. This book did not disappoint. Loved it!! It was very enjoyable to read. I look forward to many more books by this author.

NetGalley, Carol Hudson

I have long had a fascination with the Tudor dynasty, so this comprehensive accounting of the details of the time was truly interesting. Obviously extensively researched, the author examines all aspects of Tudor life, from the poor to the wealthy, paining a picture that is often at odds with the perceptions commonly held.

NetGalley, Andrea Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this nonfiction book. I am interested in all things Tudor. Daily life in the Tudor world was especially intriguing to me. I found this book well researched, thorough, and entertaining. You do not have be a Tudor scholar to appreciate the information presented.
I would recommend to people interested in British history, history in general, typical human life throughout history. It would also be a worthwhile accompaniment for readers who enjoy Tudor historical fiction. It gives a clear picture of life for people of different social statuses during this time.

NetGalley, Claudia Ratay

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This meticulously researched debut book is a vibrant portrait of a fascinating time in English history. With its cramped cities, picturesque villages, and vast agricultural expanses, Tudor England was a time of population explosion and cultural transformation. This entertaining and easy-to-read book focuses on the ordinary daily lives of the people as they navigated love, loss, parenting, illness, and celebration.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bethan Watts brings the sixteenth century to life in her deep dive into the daily lives of people living during the Tudor dynasty in England. At first, Watts appears to focus on the Tudor home as a physical space, but it eventually becomes a focus on the Tudor home as a larger social and political entity. Watts focuses on all social classes, from peasants to the aristocracy and even the royal family themselves. Watts draws the reader’s attention to the most mundane events, objects, and experiences -- major life experiences, medical science and disease, and even the concept of breakfast. Watts’ exploration of the sixteenth century brings the entire period under scrutiny, drawing heavily on primary sources and historical records to provide readers with accurate, fascinating, and detailed information to demystify the Tudors and the sixteenth century. Watts’ interest in and commitment to the topic are demonstrably clear; the detail and description of the sixteenth century really adds to the overall quality of the book and the quality of information present throughout the text. Watts’ prose is engaging and helpful, with primary sources and contextual information integrated throughout the chapters, and every aspect of this book is engaging, fascinating, and enjoyable.

NetGalley, Lily Amidon

Comprehensive and clearly well-researched - obviously many books on the Tudor period focus on the royal family and court life, so it's refreshing to read such a great book on how the middle-class lived, especially with so many traditional preconceptions. Brilliant!

NetGalley, Mercy Fowler

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating look at sixteenth century British life. The book is very well researched, including sections on hygiene, transport and entertainment. Well written and very informative.


Inside the Tudor Home by Bethan Watts is a fascinating and well-researched look at life during the relatively short Tudor period. Myths are debunked (such as poor hygiene; in fact, it was quite good for their knowledge at the time) and new facts have come to light. The author begins with what the Tudors did not have to contend with such as nose and pollution from motors and airplanes, scenery-blocking skyscrapers and light pollution. However, they had to live without electricity, anaesthetic, clean baths and proper toilets. In spite of differences in time periods, the author reminds us that we are not so different and that there is less division between "us" or "them" than we think.

The reader learns about the popularization of the horse-drawn carriage, fences around homes, "leather mache" and other building materials, glass window patterns, the difference between cob and daub, flat-reed floormats, toilets, dental hygiene (cleaning teeth with sugar), playing games, cosmetics, the most crucial furniture, one-size-fits-all shoes, rampant disease, "perches", wheelchairs, laundry stain removal, origin of the word "curfew", deviant burials and so much more.

If you are besotted with the Tudor period, this book is for you. Though much of this information was not new to me as a Tudor geek, quite a lot was which is always appreciated. So many memorable details and lightbulb moments.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

I got an excellent feel for the day to day life and social history but also links into the well known characters of the day such as kings and queens so overall a comprehensive guide.
Definitely worth a read, fascinating and also informative.

NetGalley, Helen Frost

Hands up if your perception of ordinary people in Tudor times is that they lived in hovels, had terrible teeth and smelt.
Bethan Watts' charming book will assure you that this was not always the case. They really were just like us.
I'm always intrigued to learn how things we take for granted were actually made 500 years ago, when there were no factories as such. Bricks, for example. They were made from clay collected from riverbeds, kneaded into what looked like dough, and shaped with wooden tools. Once they had dried in the open air, they were fired, usually as close to their desired building site as possible because transportation was difficult.
Tudor homes were generally pre-fabricated from timber frames and erected quite quickly and simply. Some 16th century houses had plumbing. Water was transported to a house through water pumps, which were dug into deep wells and water sources, This ensured the Tudors had fresh, clean water in bathe in and drink, contrary to what most of us believe.
I enjoyed this book for giving us an accurate take on Tudor life. There's a lot of detail around what the houses looked like and how they were furnished; how people earned a wage and spent their spare time.

NetGalley, Gail Hanlon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

‘The Tudor home was dangerous, and so was the world around it. Almost every death in sixteenth-century England had occurred within the hole in some manner, and the threat of danger and death had never been too far away.’

Oh this book was a delight. A brilliant debut novel from Bethan! I can’t wait for this amazing lady to write more books!

The perfect read for Tudor fans, filled with fascinating facts and stories. It consumed me!

I’m grateful that today we have privacy and our own rooms for certain activities. Haha!

NetGalley, Georgi Lvs Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book shines a light on a different perspective of the Tudor period than we are used to seeing in history books. The lives of different classes of people are explored through a study of the way and the places in which they lived. I read it after reading an equally fascinating book about Tudor food and feel both books give true colour and life to the period for any modern reader. A terrifically interesting book.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love the Tudor dynasty so I always look forward to reading books about it. This was a beautifully done nonfiction book. I enjoyed how well Bethan Watts wrote this and can’t wait to read more from them.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Tudor history or home design. It is a fascinating read that will transport you back in time and give you a new appreciation for the intricate details of Tudor homes.

NetGalley, Karen Bull

A book that has clearly been thoroughly researched, "Inside the Tudor Home" can join books like Ian Mortimer's "The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England" and Ruth Goodman's "How to be a Tudor" in giving readers the best idea of what daily life in Tudor England for the everyday person was probably like. Watts does a great job here on the different types of houses in both rural and city life and how the building structures would have changed during the sixteenth century. There is also plenty on food, clothing, hygiene and medicine, Tudor views on death, entertainment, etc.

NetGalley, Anne Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I very, very much enjoyed this. It discusses mostly everything pertaining to the Tudor home. The buildings themselves, the fun and games had within them, the dangers, health and medicine and then finally dying within them. I loved the writing as it was especially fun to read as the book just flowed from chapter to chapter with the author easily switching between subjects. It was also nicely researched. I wanted the narrative to go on and on I just couldn't get enough. Highly recommend.

NetGalley, Leslie Hall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After watching the "Tudor Monastery Farm", as well as reading several books about Anne Boleyn, it was hard not to develop a fascination with the Tudor time period. Dispelling the notion of the time as backward, dirty, or simply regulated to the Royals, "Inside the Tudor Home" presented a detailed look not only focused on the architecture and structure of the Tudor home but on the daily lives of the people during this fascinating time period.

As a scholar, I immediately went to the sources and loved the well-organized section of notes, and references that were used, ensuring "Inside the Tudor Home" on an academic level, would be a beneficial book to have on the bookshelf, whether one is a scholar, a writer, or simply interested in this time period.

The author lays out in a suburb narrative style, unfolding the different aspects of this time period, and helps bring home, some of the misconceptions often had about this time period, sharing with readers, what are not really modern-day ideas, but how especially in the Tudor period, peoples approach to diet, living, and other can in some ways seem forward thinking.

The writing style keeps the reader easily captivated, along with the numerous use of images, and references, making "Inside the Tudor Home", not simply a beneficial reference, but entertaining reading for the individual which isn't simply centered on royal life, but on the day to day life of individuals and groups striving to live their lives during this time period.

NetGalley, Vida Clark

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Inside the Tudor Home by Bethan Watts presents us with a fascinating insight into everyday life in the Tudor period.
This is a very well-researched book and the author has drawn on a wide range of resources. There are notes for each chapter at the end of the book, a bibliography detailing primary, secondary and internet resources and a reading list.
The book is an enjoyable read and highly recommended for all those with an interest in Tudor social history.

NetGalley, Shirley Sinha

Such an interesting book which has obviously been thoroughly researched by the author . A real insight to the living habits of the Tudors at all levels of society .
I learnt so much.

NetGalley, Angela Thompson

About Bethan Watts

Bethan Catherine Watts is a social historian of medieval and early modern history, and specialises in the everyday lives of ordinary people. She is most interested in the lives of children and youths in history, as well as the health, hygiene, and households of past peoples.Bethan holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Medieval History.

Perfect Partner

Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England (Hardback)

The Tudor period has long gripped our imaginations. Because we have consumed so many costume dramas on TV and film, read so many histories, factual or romanticised, we think we know how this society operated. We know they ‘did’ romance but how did they do sex? In this affectionate, informative and fascinating look at sex and sexuality in Tudor times, author Carol McGrath peeks beneath the bedsheets of late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century England to offer a genuine understanding of the romantic and sexual habits of our Tudor ancestors. Find out the truth about ‘swiving’, ‘bawds’,…

By Carol McGrath

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