The Tudor Marketplace. Photo courtesy of www.norwich-heritage.co.uk
The farms and gardens at Agecroft Hall provided for most of the basic needs of the people who lived and worked there. Common fruits and vegetables, milk (cow and goat), basic meats (beef, chicken, eggs) and hides and wool were easily available to the manor. Mistress Dauntesey’s herb garden took care of basic health and medicinal needs, and bee colonies provided honey and beeswax.
What if something was needed on the manor that was not produced on site? A tenant farmer might choose to grow crops for money instead of home use, for instance. Manor lords, like those who owned Agecroft, wanted access to luxuries and expensive imported foods and goods.
Tudor markets existed to fill these needs in Tudor England and were the primary medium for the sale and exchange of merchandise. Farm and urban life were intertwined at market, and some market traders and craftsmen worked in agriculture for part of the year.
Most villages were within 6 miles of a local market, and a trip by horse and cart would take between three and four hours. Going to market, either by cart or on foot, would usually take up a whole day. The average distance traveled was a little over four miles.
A bit later in the day we will follow Mistress Dauntesey and her lady’s maid into town for a weekly shopping trip. We will experience the sights and sounds of a bustling marketplace and see what a day away from the manor house was like.