Early Tudor Interiors c.1485-1558

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The fifteenth century saw the dawn of a new civilization in England, yet it was not until the succession of the Tudors that the rigid atmosphere of old Feudal England was at last dispelled. The invention of gunpowder had almost at once rendered the previously invincible fortress a useless barrier, and a diplomatic tolerance of one's peculiarities replaced the earlier aggressive attitude of interference of the young Knight of an earlier generation. The lengthy struggles between the Lancastrians and Yorkists had ended with the establishment of a centralized monarchy and at the same time served to drain the noble’s of their accumulated wealth. Their lands were split up or confiscated leaving room for a new class of yeoman farmers.

Such noble families that had confiscation found their coffers so depleted by lengthy wars that they were no longer able to support their vast estates, and the land was divided and let to anyone willing to take on the responsibility involved. Domestic in the acquisition of those things that really contribute towards the comfort of the householder began to rank higher in a man's estimation than possession of a fortified castle or a suit of armour.

Therefore at the beginning of the sixteenth century that a new domestic structure is first discernible, no longer ruled by feudal lords and guided by the teaching to the exclusion of every other form of education but a more competitive and constructional generation of freed men desiring them selves homes and establish families to work their lands for their enrichment and comfort began to spread even into the smaller towns and villages, this led to the improvement in the furniture and fittings of homes the of what we know call the Tudor Interiors. This was aided to a large extent by the use of the printing press which greatly aided the spread of new designs of buildings and interiors and living in 15th century Europe.

The New World (America) was discovered and the idea of further discoveries and adventures on the high seas changed a life that had previously been governed by local interest only.

The Great halls of earlier times, which had housed a hundred or more, were unnecessary. The house resolved itself into a less spacious but more comfortable accommodation for the family and all those paid servants necessary to the upkeep of the household and farmlands. The draughty hall with its tapestry hangings and stone floors gave place to a more moderate-sized living room, Wall Panelling or Oak Panelling insulating and sealing Tudor building Interiors against the draughts and cold, sometimes floored with oak or other local woods. Fireplaces with chimneys were no longer a new invention but a necessity that had to be incorporated in every new building and were often the centre around which the whole house revolved. The use of glass in windows, instead of horn and wicker, immediately lightened the atmosphere inside the house and emphasized the new furnishings and Oak Panelling so skillfully worked by the craftsmen in the Tudor Interiors of 15th Century England.

Although fitted furniture is considered a new idea in the equipment of modern houses and flats, this is very far from the truth. As early as the fifteenth century fixed settles or window seats were incorporated in the building of a house, as were cupboards both small and large-the salt cupboard beside the kitchen fire was a necessity when salt was of the utmost value and houses were not supplied with damp-courses to keep walls dry and -, warm.

In the Preface of Mary Evelyn's 'Mundus Muliebris' - a delicious com­mentary on the modes and manners of her time John Evelyn, her father, has written in defense of the `good old days' (obviously early Tudor) the following comfortable vision of his ancestors' domestic simplicity. They (our forefathers) had cupboards of ancient useful plate, whole chests of damask for the table, and stores of fine Golland sheets "white as the driven snow" and fragrant of rose and lavender for the bed; and the sturdy oaken bedstead, and furniture of the house, lasted one whole century; the shove  board and other long tables, both