The Everyday Tudor Woman

In my latest six-day event, I will be joined by two other Tudor historians in delving into the life of the 16th century common woman and unveiling what it was really like to be a woman during the Tudor period. I'm so excited by this event because as interesting as it is to look at the lives of the Tudor queens and Henry VIII's six wives, it's wonderful to spend time looking at how the average woman lived.

Learn all about the Tudor woman in this interactive online event through video talks, Zoom Q&A sessions and Zoom discussions.

Place: Online, here on a private part of this website, and via Zoom. Join in from the comfort of your own home.
Dates: 25 - 30 April, plus four "Tudor talk" Zoom discussions leading up to the event.
Price: $99.

Step into the shoes of the common Tudor woman

Explore the intricacies of her daily life in my new online event, "The Everyday Tudor Woman". Delve into the beliefs surrounding women in Tudor society, discover the varied levels of education for girls, explore rites of passage and the preparations for marriage, as well as the challenges faced in widowhood and by women in business.

Journey through the phases of a Tudor woman's life after marriage, from the joys and challenges of pregnancy to the intricacies of childbirth and the complexities of motherhood. We'll also be lifting the veil on the topic of contraception, shedding light on the practices of the time.

Explore the role of the Tudor housewife, as we take a closer look at the meticulous tasks involved in running a household in the 16th century. From managing laundry and housework to making ale and administering medicine, gain insights into the chores and responsibilities that defined the daily life of a Tudor woman.

Dive into the fascinating world of Tudor fashion, understanding the distinctions in clothing and accessories across different classes. Discover the hygiene practices of the time and how they shaped the lives of common Tudor women.

Finally, savour the flavours of Tudor cuisine as we explore the art of storing and preparing food in this captivating journey through the everyday lives of Tudor women. Join us for an enlightening experience that goes beyond the grandeur of the courts, bringing to life the stories of the resilient and resourceful common Tudor women who played a crucial role in shaping the fabric of history.

Hosted by me, historian and author Claire Ridgway, this completely online event will feature talks and zoom calls with me, Brigitte Webster and Bess Chilver over six days.

Claire Ridgway brings Tudor history to life

If you don’t know me, I'm the author of fourteen history books, including On This Day in Tudor History, and the founder of the Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society sites. I've always enjoyed connecting Tudor history lovers with experts and I became even more passionate about this during the recent worldwide pandemic. People couldn't travel to see historians and authors speak, they couldn't participate in physical events, and some people just don't have the opportunity to do so anyway. I had experience of bringing Tudor history to people online so I decided to create online Tudor history events where people could learn about their favourite era and characters without leaving home, talk Tudor to their heart's content with other like-minded people (not people whose eyes glaze over!), share their views and “grill” reputable historians in real time. It's important to me that I choose experts who are interesting to listen to, who really know their stuff, and who are truly passionate about their subjects and enjoy sharing this passion with others.

I've been overwhelmed by the response to my previous eight events, with many people signing up time after time! I invite you to join us for The Everyday Tudor Woman. Let's learn and have fun while doing it!


  • Thursday 25 April – Talk on Being a Tudor Woman - Claire kicks off our event by examining 16th century beliefs about women, how girls were educated at different levels of society, the rites of passage girls encountered, and how young women prepared for their future. Claire will also look at what life was like for women in business.
    "Get to know you" zoom call hosted by Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Friday 26 April – Talk on Life after Marriage - What was it like to be a married woman in Tudor times? How did a woman navigate pregnancy, childbirth and being a mother? And just what did Tudor contraception entail? Claire will also touch upon widowhood.
    Q&A and discussion on "Being a Tudor Woman" via Zoom with Claire at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Saturday 27 April – Talk on The Tudor Housewife - A Tudor housewife's chores were never done, with her working from dawn until dusk, but what was running a home like in Tudor times? Claire explores the daily life of a 16th century common woman, including laundry, housework, household management, ale making and medicine.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Claire on "Life after Marriage" at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Sunday 28 April – Talk on The Common Woman's Attire: Dress of the Tudor Working Woman - When thinking of women's Tudor dress, we visualise the magnificent gowns as depicted in portraiture of the Tudor period. Iconic images such as Holbein's painting of Queen Jane Seymour or the beautiful full length portrait of Queen Katherine Parr or the numerous images of Queen Elizabeth I. But what does the working woman wear? What were their outfits made of, the layers, the colours, the practicalities of wearing a long dress when working and how this impacted through a woman's life? Historian Bess Chilver will look at the Dress of the Tudor Working Woman with a brief comparison to the dress of the Elite and a little insight in how one does work when wearing such an outfit.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Claire on "The Tudor Housewife" at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Monday 29 April – Talk on The immense changes common housewives experienced in the kitchen between 1500-1600 and the resulting impact on their daily diet - Historian Brigitte Webster will tackle the following topics: Who were the ‘common’ housewives in Tudor England?; religious, economic and political changes (wars, laws) that had an impact on the diet of the common people, difference in diet according to location (Urban, rural, coast, north, south…); natural disasters: drought & flood causing food shortage and harvest failure; the change in attitude of what was considered ‘healthy eating’; and primary sources that allow a glimpse into how the common housewives cooked and preserved food.
    Q&A and discussion via Zoom with Bess Chilver on "The Tudor Woman's Clothes" at 10pm UK / 5pm New York time.
  • Tuesday 30 April – Q&A and discussion via zoom with Brigitte Webster at 8pm UK / 3pm New York time.

You can use to convert the times to your time zone.

Four zoom chats

In March and April, there will be four informal Zoom chats for all registered attendees. This will give participants the chance to get to know each other and talk Tudor.

  • 10th March at 10pm UK / 6pm New York / 9am Sydney (on 11th)
  • 23rd March at 10pm UK / 6pm New York / 9am Sydney (on 24th)
  • 7th April at 10pm UK / 5pm New York / 7am Sydney (on 8th)
  • 19th April at 10pm UK / 5pm New York / 7am Sydney (on 19th)

Meet our Experts

Claire Ridgway

Historian Claire Ridgway is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the best-selling author of 14 history books, including "The Boleyns of Hever Castle" (co-written with Dr Owen Emmerson), "The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown", "George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat" (co-written with Clare Cherry, "The Anne Boleyn Collection", "On This Day in Tudor History", and "On This Day in Tudor History II".

Claire is also the founder of The Anne Boleyn Files and Elizabeth Files blogs, The Tudor Society, and the popular Anne Boleyn Files and Tudor Society YouTube Channel. She contributed to the BBC docudrama "The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family", has written for BBC History Extra and All About History Magazine, and been featured on a number of podcasts and radio stations internationally.

Claire will be doing three talks for us and hosting our zoom call discussions.

Bess Chilver

Bess Chilver is an entirely self-taught amateur historical costumer, who has been familiar with needle, thread and fabric since she was old enough to hold a needle, but caught the "costuming bug" in 1993 when she had to make her gown for her first year at Kentwell Hall's Recreations of Tudor Life in Suffolk, England. Bess’ Tudor roles at Kentwell cover elite and gentry, middle class, and working-class woman.

Bess’ costume wardrobe starts in 1420 (Medieval Queen) and finishes around 1959 (Christian Dior Gown), and includes 18th Century, “Jane Austen”/Regency, Victorian, Edwardian/WWI, and WW2 WAAF Officer. However, her first love is Tudor and Elizabethan dress: the research, the making, and the wearing of gowns through the 16th century – whether elite level, middle class or working class.

This interest has led to Bess giving lectures on Tudor and Elizabethan dress at Costume events in the USA such as Costume Con and Costume College, as well as at other events in the UK. Over the years, Bess has taught and supported other newbie costumers when embarking on making their own Tudor/Elizabethan (or other historical period) clothing – particularly for new participants at Kentwell Hall.

Bess has also been an extra, wearing her own costumes, in various documentaries such as BBC’s “Days that Shook the World: Affairs of the Crown – Execution of Anne Boleyn” (2004). Bess lent her own wedding gown (based on Court gowns of the 1540s) for the lead actress to wear as Anne Boleyn.
Other productions include portraying Anne of Cleves and Mary Queen of Scots in UKTV’s “History’s Ultimate Spies” (2015); carrying the train of a baby Prince Edward, as a noble lady at his christening in the BBCs’ “Britain's Tudor Treasure: A Night at Hampton Court” (2015), and as a working class woman in “Draw on Sweet Night” a film about John Wilbye composer (2015).

Bess’ costume To Do list is long, the Wishlist is longer, and the fabric stash is ever increasing and taking up space in the 14th century house she lives in along with her husband Edmund and Cockatoo Lady Jaffa.

Brigitte Webster

Brigitte Webster is the author of "Eating with the Tudors: Food and Recipes" and a qualified teacher of home economics and history, making her the perfect ‘accomplished’ Tudor housewife in modern-day Britain. As a competent and experienced cook with a deep passion for Tudor history she fully immersed herself in archaeological, experimental cookery which also motivated her to grow period vegetables, herbs and fruits to achieve the most authentic end results. In 2019 she and her husband bought a small Tudor manor that had escaped ruthless modernisation. This will form the hub of their Tudor & Seventeenth-century Experience where guests can enjoy hospitality in a place for like-minded people who can come together and embrace a stepping back into culinary Tudor England. Brigitte has appeared on Professor Suzannah Lipscomb’s TV series Walking Tudor England and is a regular contributor to the magazine Tudor Places. She also appears in popular history podcasts.

What's included

  • 6 days of talks and Q&A sessions.
  • Four zoom call discussions leading up to the event.
  • Membership of our private Facebook group where you can interact with Claire and others who are part of the event.
  • Transcripts - of all the chats and talks for you to enjoy.
  • Recommended reading and resources list.
  • Lifetime access to recordings and transcripts.

By the end of this event, you'll have a fresh understanding of what life was like for the Tudor woman.

Register now for The Everyday Tudor Woman

Full price $99.00 (approximately £79.50, AUD 153.30, €93.00)
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It's been wonderful to listen to the presentations, and I plan to listen to them again! This whole program has been a real pleasure!