Collection Description

Culture Name

British (1485-1603)

Culture Description

The British during the years 1485-1603 lived under the monarchical rule (tempered by a Parliament) of the Tudor dynasty, within a territory spanning England and Wales and, by the end of the period, all of Ireland. Talent mobility was possible within a social order ranging from small farmers and other laborers, to wealthy yeoman farmers, to prominent townspeople, to the ruling gentry and nobility. What was, at the outset, a fundamentally agro-pastoral society based on grain, cattle and sheep, transitioned to a more commercial economy. The signal event in the cultural foment of the Tudor period was the English Reformation, with rejection of the authority the Roman Catholic Church and establishment of the Protestant Church of England.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Europe --British Isles


United Kingdom

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

Elton (1974) is a general historical survey of the Tudor period, providing a good background for the other sources in the file. It emphasizes the political and religious changes that took place in the 1530's under Henry VIII. In a complementary survey, Pearson (1957) largely ignores issues of church and state, instead giving a wide-ranging and detailed account of Elizabethan era social life and customs. Jones (1918) describes the organization and management of noblemen's households, based on numerous manuscripts, account books, and published guides for servants. Emmison (1964) provides additional focus on aspects of household life among the nobility, based on documents from Ingatestone Hall, built by Sir William Petre, a high government official during the middle of the period.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Leon G. Doyon

Abbot of Misrule – see “Lord of Misrule”

Banquet house, banqueting house – structure on the grounds of an estate dedicated to celebratory feasting

Conduct books – literature intended to instruct the reader in social norms – use "LITERATURE (538)" with an additional topic, e.g. "GENDER STATUS (562)" for lessons in gender appropriate behavior; also see "TRANSMISSION OF CULTURAL NORMS (867)"

Enclosure – conversion of common lands to private property – use "LAND USE (311)" and/or "REAL PROPERTY (423)"

English Reformation – see Reformation, religious

Gild – see Guild

Guild – craft association (also see "Livery company") – use "LABOR ORGANIZATION (467)"

Inns of Court – institutions for legal education

Livery company – mercantile associations (also see "Guild") – use "MERCANTILE BUSINESS (441)"

Lord of Misrule – also, Abbot of Misrule – person who presides over Christmas festivities

Noble household, management of – use "STANDARD OF LIVING (511)" and/or "HOUSEHOLD (592)"

Reformation, religious – use "RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE AND MARTYRS (798)"

Ward system – guardianship of minors – use "ADMINISTRATION (429)"

Indexing Notes by

M. Marlene Martin

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