Husbandry in the 16th Century

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Book of Husbandry

Did you know? In the Tudor Era work wages varied from Summer to Winter, as the days were longer or shorter. There was also no Welfare state. Poor people begged and were provided for by the charity of the wealthy merchants, nobility, and royalty. In fact, one main role of the Queen was to provide and care for the poor and orphans. Queens who did a good job, were hailed as good queens, were very popular and loved by the people. This was an important part of acceptance for her as usually she was foreign and needed to establish a good relationship with the people of her new home. Queens who did not do a good job were disliked and put themselves in more difficult and even often times dangerous situations. A queen consort was as secure as she was according to the love of her people. This love was gained by being generous and providing heirs. For the working and peasant classes, while men folk toiled, women also had their work to do. According to The Book of Husbandry by Sir Anthony Fitzherbert a hubsand’s wife must:

Clean the house
Feed the calves
Feed the pigs
Got to market if her husband was not available
Help her husband fill and empty the muck cart
Know how to make hay, winnow corn and malt
Look after the poultry and collect eggs
Make clothes from wool by spinning and weaving
Make butter and cheese
Prepare all her husband’s meals
Prepare the milk
Supervise servants (if she had any)
Wake and dress the children

Keep in mind, these women had no birth control, only the most basic rights, and no underwear… They still had to do their chores pregnant, during their monthly cycles, or not feeling well. It was that or starve. (At least there was no Facebook to distract them 😉 .)

P.S. You can find the old 1534 print of this book for 8.713,38 Euros or about 11,809.77 US dollars at this rare book site: http://www.biblio.com/rare-books.html (Some nice books there 😉 )

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