Tudor Life

Tudor Life

Life in the Tudor times was very dangerous. One could get executed for almost any crime, from murdering someone or stealing an object worth more than 5 pence. In fact, more than 54,000 people were executed during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Even if you survived your first birthday, you were lucky because around 14% died before the age of 1.  Reaching adulthood was an achievement, and those 40 years old were considered to have arrived at an old age.

Methods of execution were varied, robbers were hanged, women who were thought to have poisoned their husbands were burned, and people who committed treason were hanged and then drawn and quartered. Henry even executed two of his wives!

You had to watch what you said in public or wrote about the king because any negative comments might be considered treason. Denying that Henry was the head of the Church might also be punishable by death.

Priests who were thought to have committed crimes could ask to claim the “Benefit of Clergy”, where they would be tried in front of a Christian court and not have to be executed.

There were also many sicknesses in Tudor England, which were considered the judgement of God. One of the most feared sicknesses was the mysterious “sweating sickness”, which could kill a victim within 24 hours.

80% of the food that commoners ate was wheat-based products, like bread or pottage, a thick stew. They also ate “white meat”, or dairy products such as cheese or butter. People also ate salted meat, although it was usually reserved for the rich. Both rich and poor ate fish, although the rich could have fresh fish and the poor who lived inland ate salted or pickled fish. Potatoes only reached England in the 1580s

Life was dangerous in the Tudor times because of the illnesses, poor diets, and injustice.