The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

Book - 2012
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Random House, Inc.
From the author of one of the biggest-selling history books of recent years, the follow-up to The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. The past is a foreign country -- this is your guide.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?

In this book Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England would ask. Applying the groundbreaking approach he pioneered in his bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, the Elizabethan world unfolds around the reader.

He shows a society making great discoveries and winning military victories and yet at the same time being troubled by its new-found awareness. It is a country in which life expectancy at birth is in the early thirties, people still starve to death and Catholics are persecuted for their faith. Yet it produces some of the finest writing in the English language and some of the most magnificent architecture, and sees Elizabeth's subjects settle in America and circumnavigate the globe. Welcome to a country that is, in all its contradictions, the very crucible of the modern world.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? This book answers the key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England would ask.

Publisher: London : Bodley Head, 2012
ISBN: 9781847921147
Branch Call Number: 942.055 MORTI
Characteristics: x, 420 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, color maps ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Elizabethan England


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Oct 11, 2017

This book was a fun yet informative read. It was really interesting throughout the entire thing. It also covered a variety if different things that might be required by a time traveler during Elizabethan England. It was equally as good as the other book in this series that I have read.

Jul 08, 2016

Another fun entry in a very charming series that has an interesting premise as the reader as a time travelers. And of course as readers like time travelers we are outsiders. I considered myself pretty knowledgeable about English history but there were lots of details new to me.

Apr 19, 2015

Brilliant. I love this time in history so it was really interesting to hear what it really would have been like.

Aug 13, 2014

Or, "how not to die in Elizabethan England". This was a very interesting and entertaining read which didn't sacrifice either for the other.

Jan 10, 2014

Learned so much more about Elizabethan England. A dense but pleasurable read if you are interested in this time line. Worth the effort.


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Oct 11, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Oct 11, 2017

It is difficult to give a full summary of this book however I shall list all of the topics/chapters.
The Landscape (towns, the countryside, London)
The People (population, age, social order[Queen Elizabeth, nobility, gentry, professions, merchants, traders, and townsmen, yeomen, husbandmen, and countrymen, poor], women)
Religion (Atheism, Elizabethan Settlement of 1559, establishment of Protestant England 1559-1569, confrontation with Catholicism 1570-1603, confrontation with Puritanism 1570-1603, how to survive in a religious world)
Character (violence and cruelty, bribery and corruption, wit, literacy and printing, education, knowledge of the wider world, attitudes to foreigners, racism, scientific knowledge, superstition and witchcraft, a sense of history)
Basic Essentials (languages, writing, identity and forms of address, time, units of measurement, shopping, money, work, and wages, manners and politeness)
What to Wear (women's clothing, women's hair and headwear, women's accessories, makeup and perfume, men's clothing, men's hair and beards, men's accessories, nightwear, cleaning clothes)
Travelling (road transport [coaches, the state of the roads, bridges, horses, finding your way ], river transport, seafaring [types of ships, seamanship, life at sea])
Where to Stay (inns, stately homes, rural houses [the yeoman's house, worker's houses], town houses)
What to Eat and Drink (mealtimes, food in a wealth household, food in a middling household, food in a poor household, what to drink [wine, beer and ale])
Hygiene, Illness, and Medicine (sanitation [household cleanliness, bodily cleanliness, oral hygiene], illness [plague, other diseases], medical care in the home, medical practitioners)
Law and Disorder (the heart of justice, the criminal underworld, secular courts, punishments, getting away with it or the process of crime detection, ecclesiastical law [moral offences ])
Entertainment (sightseeing, alehouses and taverns, games, outdoor sports [popular sports, baiting games], music and dancing, literature [poetry, the theatre])


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Oct 11, 2017

Violence: Discusses torture, beheading, robbery, rape, murder etc.


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