Cherry Hubbard gave a vivid picture of life for the Tudor family when she came to our Family History Group meeting. She brought a great variety of household objects which were passed round for the audience to handle, including her authentic dress, handmade and amazingly heavy for everyday wear. The laced front enabled the kirtle to be tightened or let out during pregnancies or lean times as the clothes had to last for years. Cherry explained the processes for making linen from the blue flax which we see grown in fields around Campden today and we were reminded that one plan of Campden House shows the ‘bleaching garden’ where the white linen was laid out to dry.
Food was another topic, particularly comparing the food available to rich and poor, and Cherry described her experience of working on a project at Mary Arden’s house for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which demonstrated the difficulties faced every day in cooking and maintaining the household. One interesting object was a large ‘curfew’ pot, used every night to put out the fire when the curfew was rung (originating as ‘couvre feu’, cover the fire) as the wattle and daub houses posed great risks.
We learned about life expectancy, children growing up, going out to work – so much that gave us a much better idea of life in Campden and other country towns at the time.