Tudor Farm Series – Intro and 12th Night Special

Over the next 7 weeks I will be posting about a BBC program called the Tudor Monastery Farm.
I happened across this wonderful show last week and felt the need to share it with you all.

The BBC site describes the series thusly…

Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold turn the clock back 500 years to the early Tudor period to become tenant farmers on monastery land.

But really that is just the beginning. this is a full immersion project with the three presenters living the life learning new skills, and using only what they would have had on hand at the time. They bring in experts to show them how to use different equipment and how their lives would have been structured during the time period they are recreating.

Ruth Goodman is brilliant! She has an extensive knowledge base in historic domestic practices, and Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold combine great insight and humor in such a way that the most menial of tasks seem interesting and even fun.

The first episode in the 7 part series I will be sharing is actually the last but as it is all about the 12th Night celebrations I find the timing too perfect to pass up! The episode follows the preparations for the Tudor 12 night, including the festivities and fasting leading up to it.
Here is the description on the shows site.

Today we think of Christmas as a relatively modern, post-Victorian celebration, but the Tudors took it very seriously indeed. For a start, they celebrated for the whole Twelve Days of Christmas, with many manorial rules stipulating that “villeins are to do no work” on the Lord’s land for the 12 days.

Christmas Day itself, rather than being the culmination of Christmas as it is now, was just the warm-up. The observance of Advent (a month of fasting) ended with Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and kicked off 12 Days of non-stop feasting and merriment, which peaked on New Year’s Day and finally ended on Twelfth Night.

Ruth, Peter and Tom concentrate on three of the big Christmas feast days: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Twelfth Night. They make Tudor decorations, engage in festive revels and prepare Christmas feasting delights such as Boar’s Head, Shred Pies (the fore-runners of Mince Pies, made with meat) and Christmas Pudding.

Along the way, they turn their hands to falconry and archery, and make Tudor bagpipes. They discover the Tudor origins of Christmas Carols, the singing of which was known as wassailing, and find out more about the medieval forerunner of Father Christmas: the Lord of Misrule. This was traditionally a commoner placed in authority over his social betters for the festive period and tasked with directing the Christmas revelry – a figure so popular that even the King himself had one at Court.


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