CCCC front cover

We recommend Mistress Agnes’ own Coffers, Clysters, Comfey and Coifs: the lives of our seventeenth century ancestors, which contains extensive lists that suggest further reading and useful websites.

What follows are just a few of our favourite books for those interested in life in our time. These are both modern and contemporary texts.


Brayshay, Mark Land, Travel and Communications in Tudor and Stuart England: achieving a joined-up realm (Liverpool University Press 2014)

Clark, Alice Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century (Routledge 1982)

Davidson, Caroline A Woman’s Work is Never Done: a history of housework in the British Isles 1650-1950 (Chatto and Windus 1986)

Durston, Christopher & Eales, Jacqueline [eds.] The Culture of English Puritanism 1560-1700 (MacMillan 1996)

Gaskill, Malcolm Witchfinders: a seventeenth century English tragedy (John Murray 2005)

Ginn, Peter and Goodman, Ruth Tudor Monastery Farm: life in rural England 500 years ago (BBC Books 2013)

Goodman, Ruth How to be a Tudor: a dawn to dusk guide to everyday life (Penguin 2015)

Hanawalt, Barbara A The Ties that Bind: peasant families in Medieval England (Oxford University Press 1986)

Hartley, Dorothy Food in England (Piatkus 1954)

Harvey, Barbara Living and Dying in England 1100-1540 (Clarendon Press 1993)

Hubbard, Eleanor City Women: money, sex and the social order in early modern London (Oxford University Press 2012)

Hutton, Ronald The Rise and Fall of Merry England: the ritual year 1400-1700 (Oxford University Press 1994)

Jones, Ann Rosalind & Stallybrass, Peter Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge University Press 2000)

MacFarlane, Alan Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: a regional and comparative study (Routledge  1970)

Maltby, Judith Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (Cambridge University Press 1998)

Mortimer, Ian The Time-Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (Vintage 2013)

Mortimer, Ian The Time-Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain (Bodley Head 2017)

Nagy, Doreen G. Popular Medicine in Seventeenth Century England (Bowling Green State University Popular Press 1988)

Overton, Mark Agricultural Revolution in England: the transformation of the agrarian economy 1500-1850 (Cambridge University Press 1996)

Pelling, Margaret The Common Lot: sickness, medical occupations and the urban poor in early modern England (Longmans 1998)

Pollock, Linda A Forgotten Children: parent-child relations from 1500-1900 (Cambridge University Press 1983)

Rideal, Rebecca 1666: plague, war and hellfire (John Murray 2016)

Sharpe, J. A. Crime in Early Modern England 1500-1750 (Longman Press 1984)

Shepard, Alexandra & Withington, Phil [eds.] Communities in Early Modern England (Manchester University Press 2000)

Slack, Paul The Impact of the Plague in Tudor and Stuart England (Clarendon Press 1985)

Sloan, A. W. English Medicine in the Seventeenth Century (Durham Academic Press 1996)

Spufford, Margaret Contrasting Communities: English Villages in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Cambridge University Press 1974)

Stobart, Anne Household Medicine in Seventeenth Century England (Bloomsbury Academic 2016)

Tannahill, Reay Food in History (Penguin 1988)

Thirsk, Joan [ed.] Agricultural Change: policy and practice 1500-1750 (Cambridge University Press 1990)

Tinniswood, Adrian The Rainborowes (Jonathan Cape 2013)

Tinniswood, Adrian The Verneys: love, war and madness in seventeenth century England (Vintage 2008)

Tittler, Robert Townspeople and Nation: English urban experiences 1540-1640 (Stanford University Press 2001)

Vincent, Susan Dressing the Elite: clothes in early modern England (Berg 2003)

Walter, John & Schofield, Roger [eds.] Famine, Disease and the Social Order in Early Modern Society (Cambridge University Press 1989)

Watt, Tessa Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550-1640 (Cambridge University Press 1991)

Wurzbach, Natascha The Rise of the English Street Ballad 1550-1650 (Cambridge Univesity Press 1990)

Zell, Michael Industry in the Countryside: Wealden society in the sixteenth century (Cambridge University Press 1994)

Contemporary Books

The dates in brackets are the dates of original publication. Almost all of these are available as reprints, facsimiles or as digital downloads

Cocke, Thomas Kitchen-physick or, Advice to the Poor by way of Dialogue (1676)

Culpeper, Nicholas Book of Birth; a seventeenth century guide to having lusty children Thomas, Ian [ed.] 1985 Webb and Bower (1651)

Culpeper, Nicholas Culpeper’s Compete Herbal 2007 Wordsworth Reference (1653)

Dalton, Michael The Countrey Justice: conteyning the practise of the justices of the peace 2004 The Lawbook Exchange Ltd. (1655)

Dawson, Thomas The Good Housewife’s Jewel 1996 Southover Press (1596/7)

Digby, Sir Kenelm The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened 2007 Echo Library (1669)

Evelyn, John Acetaria, a Discourse of Sallets 1996 Prospect Books (1699)

Fitzherbert, John The Boke of Husbandry (1533)

French, John The Art of Distillation 1653 E Cotes

Gerard, John Gerard’s Herbal 1994 Studio Editions Limited (1633)

Hacket, Thomas A Dairie Booke for Good Huswives (1588)

Harrison, William Description of Elizabethan England 1877 The New Shakespeare Society (1577-8)

Heresbach, Conrad Foure Books of Husbandry (1577)

Hill, Thomas The Gardeners’ Labyrinth Mabey, Richard [ed.] 1987 Oxford University Press (1577)

Hill, Thomas A most Brief and Pleasaunte Tratyse, Teachynge Howe to Dress, Sowe and set a Garden (1563)

Jacob, Giles The Compleat Court Keeper 1713 Bernard Lintot & Thomas Ward

Kempe, William The Education of Children in Learning (1583)

Kettilby, Mary et. al. A Collection of above three hundred Receipts in Cookery, Physick and Surgery; for the use of all good wives, tender mothers and careful nurses 2010 Nabu Press (1714)

Lanfranco of Milan, A Moste Excellent and Learned Worke of Chirurgerie (1565) (originally written in the C13th)

Langton, Christopher An Introduction to Physicke (1545)

Lawson, William The Country Housewife’s Garden 1983 Breslich & Foss (1618)

Lowe, Peter A Discourse of the Whole Art of Chyrurgery (1654)

M., W. The Compleat Cook and A Queen’s Delight 1984 Prospect Books (1655 & 1671)

Markham, Gervase  The English Husbandman 2008 BiblioBazaar (1613)

Markham, Gervase The Second Book of the English Husbandman John Norton (1635)

Markham, Gervase The English Housewife Best, Michael R. [ed.] 1986 McGill-Queens University Press (1615)

Mascall, Leonard The First Booke of Cattell (1591)

Montague, Viscount Anthony A Booke of Orders and Rules (1595)

Murrell, John  A New Book of Cookerie 1972 Da Capo Press (1615)

Parkinson, John Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris: a garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers which our English ayre will permit to be noursed up 1904 Methuen and co. (1629)

Parkinson, John Theatrum Botanicum: the theater of plants, or, an herball of large extent 1640 Thomas Cotes

Raynalde, Thomas The Birth of Mankind: otherwise named the woman’s book Hobby, Elaine [ed.] 2009 Ashgate (1540)

Scot, Reginald The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584)

Sharp, Jane The Midwives’ Book or, the whole art of Midwifry Discovered Hobby, Elaine [ed.] 1999 Oxford University Press (1671)

Stow, John A Survey of London (1598)

Tusser, Thomas Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie 1984 Oxford University Press (1573)

Wolley, Hannah The Compleat Servant-maid: or, the young maiden’s and family’s daily companion Gale ECCO Print  (1677)

Wolley, Hannah The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet 2007 The Essential Book Market (1672)

Woodall, John The Surgeon’s Mate 1978 ed. Kirkup, John Kingsmead Press (1617)