Segments in this Video

Introduction: The History of Britain: Episode 1 (01:52)


Tony Robinson will examine life in Britain during the rule of various monarchs. This film focuses on the Tudor Period.

Knackers (06:03)

During the reign of King Henry VIII, living in town was going out of fashion; knackers were the least desirable neighbors. King Henry employed knackers as executioners; only those of royal or noble blood were beheaded. Executioners were social pariahs.

Culinary Workers (06:24)

As a kitchen boy, Richard Roose performed menial labor and likely lived in the manor house. He became the cook for the Bishop of Rochester, who opposed King Henry's divorce. In 1531, Roose was accused of trying to poison the bishop and was boiled alive.

Tudor Farmers (06:26)

Richard Jenkinson and his family spent most of their time working the land. They ate two simple meals a day and slept on a straw mattress, sharing quarters with prized animals. Women spun wool and made clothing. The average life expectancy was 35 years.

Feudal System (07:19)

Englishmen could be called to battle at any time. Jenkins' modified bill hook became a lethal weapon and he may have worn a jack of plate. The army, including women and children, walked to the battlefield where soldiers defeated the Scots at the Battle of Flodden.

Tudor Pubs (06:31)

Festivals, football, and pubs were popular forms of entertainment. Elynor Rummyn ran a pub, brewing ale for her family and patrons. John Skelton wrote a derogatory poem about Rummyn. Alewives were a threat to the brewing industry.

Tudor Sailors (09:08)

Henry VIII expanded the Royal Navy to 40 warships. In 1982, salvagers recovered the king's flagship, Mary Rose; it sunk in 1545. Artifacts and remains gave experts insight into the lives of 16th century sailors.

Credits: The History of Britain: Episode 1 (00:39)

Credits: The History of Britain: Episode 1

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The History of Britain: Episode 1

Part of the Series : The History of Britain
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Tony Robinson takes us back 500 years, to life under Tudor king, Henry VIII. Tudor towns were evil-smelling places but amongst the smelliest homes would have been that of the local ‘knacker’. Tony introduces Thomas Grimes, who chopped up dead animals to make clothes, shoes or glue. But thanks to Henry VIII, who executed more bigwigs than the other Tudor monarchs put together, there was another need for Thomas’s skills: as an executioner! Next, Tony meets Richard Roose, who rose from pot washer to cook, for the Bishop of Rochester. The copious meat dishes that Richard prepared for the Bishop, would have been heaven to ordinary Tudors. Unfortunately, Richard’s boss fell out with the king over his affair with Anne Boleyn and Richard got caught up in it all and was boiled alive for his troubles. Farmer Richard Jenkynson and his wife Anne lived in Yorkshire, ploughing the fields, cooking and weaving. But poor farmers like Richard had to fight for their king when ordered. And suddenly he and his family found themselves off to war, to fight the Scots at the Battle of Flodden. Feisty Elynour Rummynge, was an ‘alewife’, brewing ale and running a pub in Leatherhead. Elynour’s brew became so famous that a poem was written about it, but for all the wrong reasons: it was rumoured to contain chicken droppings! Tony gets on board Henry VIII’s warship, Mary Rose, to meet sailor, ‘John’, one of 500 seamen who died when it sank in 1545, in a battle with the French. John had a hellish job, stumbling around in the dark with a bucket of hot pitch, trying to keep the ship waterproofed. The ship sank so fast that John had no chance of getting off. A disaster that foreshadowed Henry’s own death, just two years later.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL239513

ISBN: 978-1-63722-376-5

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

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