The Tudor Society

Tudor Life Primary Sources

Here are some resources which I have found useful for researching the social history of the Tudor period. I have given links to and Google books, which are great places to find primary sources, old books and out of copyright books. I have also given Amazon links for secondary sources, but you may also be able to find them at your local bookshop, at and secondhand specialists.

  • Delights for Ladies to Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories, with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes and Waters by Hugh Plat (1630) - A scanned copy of the original text can be bought on Amazon - see
  • The English Housewife by Gervase Markham (1615) - This has been republished and is available from Amazon, see
  • The Private Life of an Elizabethan Lady: The Diary of Lady Margaret Hoby 1599-1605, edited by Joanna Moody, Sutton Pub Ltd, 1998, ISBN 978-0750913492. Also available from Amazon -
  • The Good Housewife's Jewel by Thomas Dawson (1596) - Available from Amazon -
  • The babees' book: medieval manners for the young: done into modern English from Dr. Furnivall's text - This can be read and downloaded for free at
  • The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge Made by Andrew Borde, of Physycke Doctor: A Compendyous Regyment; Or, A Dyetary of Helth Made in Mountpyllier - This can be downloaded for free at Google Books
  • The closet of Sir Kenelm Digby, knight, opened - This can be read online at and includes chapters on recipes for mead, metheglin, and other drinks, and generally cookery recipes. Digby was a 17th century courtier and diplomat.
  • Ordinaunces by Margaret Countesse of Richmond and Derby, as to what preparation is to be made against the Deliveraunce of a Queen, as also for the Christening of the Child of which she shall be delivered - Margaret Beaufort's Ordinances for a royal birth, taken from a manuscript in the Harleian Library (No. 6079) can be read in Joannis Lelandi antiquarii De rebus Britannicis collectanea Third Volume, p279 onwards at

Recommended Secondary Sources

These are wonderful resources for giving information on life in medieval, Tudor and Stuart times, and also for their bibliographies which help the reader to locate primary sources.

  • The English Family 1450 - 1700 by Ralph A Houlebrooke - I got this one secondhand from Amazon, see
  • Early 17th Century Prices and Wages (Living History Reference Books) - This is a tiny pamphlet which is well worth getting hold of if you can find it. The publisher is Stuart Press and its ISBN is 978-1858040066
  • Social History of Britain: Sixteenth Century England by Joyce Youings - Lots of secondhand copies of this on Amazon, see
  • The Tudor Housewife by Alison Sim -
  • "Banquetting Stuffe": Fare and Social Background of the Tudor and Stuart Banquet (Food & Society) edited by C. Anne Wilson - Available from Amazon, see #
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tudors but were Afraid to Ask by Terry Breverton - see
  • The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer - see
  • The Medieval Housewife: & Other Women of the Middle Ages by Toni Mount, see
  • Everyday Life in Medieval London by Toni Mount, see

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. N

    any info about Richard Edwardes, Master of the Children in the Tudor court?

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Tudor Life Primary Sources