We will kick off August with Tudor Monastery Farm. This is a fantastic series to show in a history or an agricultural classroom. While the monks prayed, they rented the monastery lands to farmers. The farmers would work the lands, making money for the monastery as well as themselves. Ruth Goodman, Tom Pinfold, and Peter Ginn are our time travelers going back in time to live as Tudor farmers.
Ruth, Tom, and Peter make their way to Weald and Downland to set up their farm. It is 1500 and the monasteries were almost as powerful as the state. They live during the reign of King Henry VII. England was slowly emerging from the Wars of the Roses. The world was heavily religious and religion weaved its way through everyday life. The people believed they risked eternal damnation or social isolation if they did not follow the religious rules. The church was central in Tudor England. Religion explained everything, from the growth of crops to weather to personal wellbeing.
It is spring. James Clark introduces Tom, Peter, and Ruth to their farm. He explains how the Tudor farm operated. The Monastic Farmers had to have a good head for business. They rented their lands from the Monasteries. Clark brings the time travelers to the house where they will live. Tom, Peter, and Ruth tour the house. Peter comments that the house will be hard to heat. However, Ruth addresses this issue beautifully by stating that a fire in the middle of the room is a better use of heat.
Tudor farmers had to turn a profit to pay their landlords. They have five acres of enclosed fields, as well as access to the common lands and woods. The land was the most valuable asset of the monastery. The Tudor Farmer raised sheep. Sheep tied the farmers and the monasteries together. English wool was of the highest quality. They also planted peas and barley. They may have raised pigs.
Tom, Peter, and Ruth get to work right away. Tom and Peter work on a pig enclosure since it was against the law for pigs to run free. Tom picks up hazel rods for the pig enclosure. There is a good discussion on the rules landlords imposed on their renters. The higher the rent you paid, the more access you had to the supplies you needed for the farm.
Tudor farmers had to master a variety of building skills. Tom and Peter work on the pig enclosure. They weave hazel woods around the fence posts. They also put together a dead hedge to help keep pigs in. They finish the fence. Peter comments that the Tudor building sources its materials from the landscape. The fence they built can keep an elephant in the enclosure.
Peter forms a guild for the Tudor farmers. Guilds were formed to help keep everyone prosperous and to help the transition into the afterlife. There were saints for every day of the calendar year. Peter forms a farmer’s guild with St. Benedict as their patron and St. Scholastica as a supporter.
Tudor Monastery Farm is an excellent show for the classroom. If you need a filler for a substitute teacher or just to share some living history with your students. You can show certain episodes in an agricultural classroom as well. Grab some clips and use this series in the classroom as part of a lecture. You are only limited to your imagination when it comes to using YouTube in the classroom.
You can access the YouTube Video here. The worksheets for this series are available on my Teacher Pay Teachers page.
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