By Peter Brimacombe
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Additional info for Life in Tudor England
Tudors at Work THE CITIZENS OF TUDOR ENGLAND were astute, energetic and determined to succeed. Industry and commerce provided numerous new opportunities for advancement. Traditional agricultural practices were transformed due to improved husbandry, enclosure of common land, and the stimulus of providing food for rapidly expanding urban populations. New crops such as hops, turnips and potatoes were introduced, but a growing European demand for English cloth meant that progressively more land was used for rearing sheep rather than growing crops.
Queen Mary had cancer. Queen Elizabeth contracted small-pox, a virulent disease which first appeared in England during 1514. Malaria was rife amidst the marshes of Essex and the Fens and syphilis was as dangerous and as feared as Aids is today, but worst of all was bubonic plague, for which there was no known cure. It wiped out one sixth of the population of London in 1603. ’ ORIGINS OF MODERN HOSPITALS A beneficial by-product of the dissolution of the monasteries was the creation of new hospitals in London.
Town cook-shops selling sheep’s feet, black puddings and meat pies provided the Tudors with fast food. Choice further increased as new products appeared from overseas. Turkeys and tobacco came from the New World and John Hawkins introduced potatoes in 1564. Only periodic poor harvests and resultant famine created shortages, when bread was made from acorns and belts tightened over large Tudor stomachs. TUDOR GARDENS Although the medieval practice of gardening to provide food continued into the 16th century, these gardens often became more stylish and decorative, and can still be seen at many places such as Kenilworth Castle.