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What can you find out about Tudor life?

Enquiry

The child is invited to look at two inventories in turn to find out about the lives of people of contrasting status. The inventories are those of Edward Jaxson, a small farmer, and Margery Wren, a wealthy widow. There are questions that guide the child through each of the sources, allowing them to interrogate the material. They are asked to reach a conclusion about the life of each individual. Building upon this activity, the child is then asked to examine nine Tudor objects in turn. Questions prompt the child to decide which person might have owned and used the objects. There is a quiz score at the end and the appropriate level of animated congratulations provided.

Go to enquiry

Sources

  • Inventories of Edward Jaxson and Margery Wren
  • Domestic objects, including a chicken feeder, purse, astronomical clock, jug, salt cellar, grace cup, moneybox and armchair, plus a jewelled tooth pick / tongue scraper / ear wax remover

Learning

An inventory is a list of all the possessions, room by room, with their value, of someone who has just died. The two inventories and the domestic objects provide evidence of how different people lived at different levels of society. Children can then compare the similarities and differences of their own homes with homes in Tudor England. The use of different types of evidence (inventories, artefacts) also raises the issue of what type of evidence survives and what does not. For example, many more artefacts belonging to rich people than poor people survive to the present day. The type of evidence we have affects how we build up our picture of the past.

Supporting materials include:

  • A classroom activity based on the will of Margery Wren, to complement the use of her inventory in the main enquiry
  • A classroom activity with questions on the inventory of Thomas Offley, focusing on a bedroom which pupils can compare to their own room today

Go to supporting material

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The Tudors – Teacher's notes

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