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Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England by Alison Sim

Posted By Claire on July 1, 2009

Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England“Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England” by historian Alison Sim is a great reference book to use in researching the Tudor era or just to get an idea of what Tudor life was really like.

Decribed by its publishers, The History Press, as “A delightful book detailing the games and ways in which the Tudors amused themselves”, “Pleasures and Pastimes” is written by Alison Sim, a specialist in Medieval and Tudor “social” history, who has also written “The Tudor Housewife”, “Food and Feast in Tudor England” and “Masters and Servants in Tudor England”.

The book is actually much more than a guide to games and amusements enjoyed in Tudor times, it also gives detailed information on subjects like education, religion and the status of women in society.

It is divided into the following chapters:-

  • Introduction – A fantastic introduction to the 16th century which was an age of change with the Renaissance, Henry VIII’s new style of rule, the break with Rome and a “new spirit of questioning”.
  • The Perfect Setting – All you need to know about Tudor houses, interior design, furniture and garden design.
  • Clothing and Fashion – This chapter explains how clothing in Tudor times was a “badge of rank” and the laws regarding clothes, and who wore what, and details the fashions of the time, including Anne Boleyn’s revolutionary French Hood.
  • Tournaments and Pageantry – Henry VIII was renowned for his lavish displays and his love of jousting and tournaments, and this chapter gives a picture of the celebrations and ceremonies that made up the life of a Tudor monarch.
  • Religion and the Ritual Year – The 16th century was a time of religious change and this affected the celebrations and “feast days” enjoyed by the Tudor people. Find out about the Tudor Christmas, Boy Bishop, the Lord of Misrule, Wassailing, Hallowtide and other celebrations in this chapter.
  • Christenings, Weddings and Funerals – Great explanations of the main Tudor rites of passage and how they were marked, including a fascinating look at how old people were when they married, what betrothal meant and illegitimacy statistics.
  • Dancing and Music – We all know how much the Tudors loved dancing and music, but this chapter explains the different types of dances, the instruments that were played and the “manners” and ritual of dance.
  • Reading – The advent of the printing press in the late 15th century changed England for ever and made books available to a wide audience, but what was read and enjoyed by Tudor people?
  • The Theatre – Shakespeare was not the only playwright of the Tudor era. Find out about theatrical entertainment and the famous Globe theatre.
  • Sports, Games and other Pastimes – Anyone who has watched “The Tudors” will know that Henry VIII enjoyed nothing better than hunting or jousting, but many other sports and games were enjoyed by him, other Tudor monarchs and the people of the era – there was even wrestling at The Field of the Cloth of Gold!

And if that is not enough, Alison Sim’s book also includes a list of further reading to find out more about these topics.

Alison Sim’s “Pleasures and Pastimes” really is the definitive guide to the pastimes enjoyed in the Tudor era and builds a detailed and colourful picture of Tudor life, from education to gambling.

“Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England” is published by The History Press and is available for order at Amazon US, Amazon UK or through your chosen bookshop.


One Response to “Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England by Alison Sim”

  1. Karen says:

    Thanks for the review! I will add this to my “must read” list!!

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