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Tudor Children

Nicholas Orme

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Yale University
08 July 2024
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"The first history of childhood in Tudor England

""Tudor Children is social history at its best. . . . By connecting with our own history as children, Orme invites us to embrace a new way of engaging with the past.""—Joanne Paul, Times (UK)

What was it like to grow up in England under the Tudors? How were children cared for, what did they play with, and what dangers did they face?

In this beautifully illustrated and characteristically lively account, leading historian Nicholas Orme provides a rich survey of childhood in the period. Beginning with birth and infancy, he explores all aspects of children's experiences, including the games they played, such as Blind Man's Bluff and Mumble-the-Peg, and the songs they sang, such as ""Three Blind Mice"" and ""Jack Boy, Ho Boy."" He shows how social status determined everything from the food children ate and the clothes they wore to the education they received and the work they undertook.

Although childhood and adolescence could be challenging and even hazardous, it was also, as Nicholas Orme shows, a treasured time of learning and development. By looking at the lives of Tudor children we can gain a richer understanding of the era as a whole."
Imprint:   Yale University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 127mm, 
ISBN:   9780300276114
ISBN 10:   0300276117
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nicholas Orme is emeritus professor of history at Exeter University. He has written more than thirty books on the religious and social history of England, including Medieval Children, The History of England’s Cathedrals, and Going to Church in Medieval England, which was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize.

Reviews for Tudor Children

“Tudor Children is social history at its best. . . . By connecting with our own history as children, Orme invites us to embrace a new way of engaging with the past.”—Joanne Paul, Times (UK) “Tudor Children is the first general study of the subject. It is crisp and factual and, with lots of enlivening illustration (prints, portraiture and pages of illuminated manuscript), beautiful to regard. . . . Mr. Orme has . . . done a yeoman’s job here of sleuthing out the details of childhood from an epoch that doesn’t seem to have been terribly interested in recording them.”—Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal “Lavishly illustrated and beautifully produced by Yale for a non-specialist audience, it was the product of 50 years’ research, drawing on Orme’s many earlier books.”—Ian Sansom, The Telegraph “As Nicholas Orme shows in this elegant and hugely enjoyable book, once Tudor youngsters stepped out of the frame and into real life, they could be as cheeky and inappropriate as their modern counterparts.”—Kathryn Hughes, Sunday Times “That sense of the ordinary seized by strangeness—or, conversely, of strangeness punctured by recognition—captures exactly the experience of Tudor Children. . . . Encountering his subjects feels like time traveling in a double sense: they are versions of ourselves five hundred years ago and yesterday. Telling their stories takes enterprise, imagination, and tact—a capacity for hovering on the verge of childhood, looking as closely, sympathetically, and unsentimentally as possible without disturbing the scene. Orme does it beautifully, and he allows us to join him at it.”—Catherine Nicholson, New York Review of Books “Orme paints a vivid picture of every aspect of 16th-century children’s lives.”—Ian Sansom, The Telegraph, Summer reading list “Nicholas Orme’s book sets a precedent: historians overlook children to their own loss.”—Anna Parker, Times Literary Supplement “I loved this book for its pin-sharp glimpses of what really went on in the daily lives and minds of children.”—Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Daily Mail “The latest work by one of the most original and perceptive historians of English life writing today. [Orme’s] earlier books on childhood and education broke new ground and this one continues the tradition.”—Jonathan Sumption, The Spectator “The content [is] endlessly eye-opening . . . precise and colourful details . . . rich and compelling study.”—David Robinson, Country Life “Generalities regarding Tudor children are problematic: a child’s life chiefly depended on their status. . . . Yet Orme paints an intriguing world in flux.”—Bess Twiston Davies, The Tablet “This is an exceptionally compelling history book for a wide readership. . . . A much-needed introduction to childhood under the Tudors.”—Théo Rivière, English Historical Review “Tudor Children is that rare thing: a book that will delight specialists and generalists in equal measure.”—Elizabeth Goldring, Literary Review “Orme’s is the first—and much overdue—survey of the period. His succinct and readable style and far-reaching scope will make the book an obvious choice for future undergraduate reading lists.”—Gabriel Bynge, Church Times “This book is a treat . . . an exceptional and beautifully produced work . . . to be treasured.”—Robin Barfield, Global Anglican “A captivating and visually stunning account, embellished with beautiful illustrations that enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject matter.”—Marc Daniel Rivera, KristiyaKnow “An endlessly fascinating and impeccably researched exploration of what it was like for children of all ages and backgrounds to grow up in sixteenth century England. This brilliant book provides the missing piece of the Tudor jigsaw.”—Tracy Borman, author of The Private Lives of the Tudors “Lavishly illustrated, this book is a joy to dip into or fully read. Professor Orme draws on a wide range of written and visual sources to give us vivid and varied descriptions of children’s lives from their birth to early deaths or adulthood.”—Susan Doran, author of Elizabeth I and Her Circle “This book offers the first modern compendium, from a wide range of primary sources and scholarly literature, of sixteenth-century English childhood. Delightfully illustrated and written in very readable style, the book gives a vivid sense of children’s experience. It shows that we gain a much richer understanding of Tudor society if we include its children.”—Glenn Richardson, author of The Field of Cloth of Gold “Wonderfully compelling, Nicholas Orme provides the first comprehensive account of Tudor childhood. Tudor Children is filled with fascinating examples from all levels of society and disproves, once and for all, any notion that childhood did not exist in the sixteenth century.”—Elizabeth Norton, author of The Lives of Tudor Women “A fascinating, detailed insight into Tudor childhood, full of pathos. Glimpsed at play and prayer, among family and avoiding peril, these children’s lives speak vibrantly across the years. Orme’s extensive research brings their distant lives closer in a rich and fulfilling study.”—Amy Licence, author of Anne Boleyn

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