House

A working home

The merchant and his family lived over the shop  © National Trust

The merchant and his family lived over the shop

The house has three floors and was built close to Tenby's busy port so the merchant could keep and eye on the ships coming and going.

His shop and the kitchen are on the ground floor. The family lived in the hall on the first floor and slept in the bedchamber on the second floor.

The hall as it was

Before the work began © Paul Harris Photography

Before the work began

This is how the hall looked before we re-presented it.

We're very grateful to the Museum of Wales and the V & A Museum in London for the loan of the furniture you can see here. Lovely as it was, we wanted you to see the hall as the merchant himself would have seen it in 1500.

The hall today

Rich colours and fine furniture reflect the merchant's wealth © National Trust/Gareth Parry

Rich colours and fine furniture reflect the merchant's wealth

While the house was closed over the winter, we were busy working on the hall where the merchant and his family spent their leisure time.

Take a look below to learn more about the furniture we've had specially made for the hall. The final phase of our project is the bedchamber on the second floor.

Did you know?

  • It was rude to sneeze, pick your teeth, scratch or spit at the table
  • A Latin grace was said before and after the meal
  • You'd be offered warmed rose-water to wash your hands before you ate
  • Only males served at the table
  • There were no forks. You used your hands and a knife to eat with

The ordinaries

Lunchtime at the Temby Tudor Merchant's House © Sue Hicks

If you were a servant or a child, you would've had wooden bowls and horn or pot cups.

The high table

Lunchtime at the Temby Tudor Merchant's House © National Trust/Gareth Parry

If you were the merchant, his wife or an honoured guest you would've eaten from pewter dishes and drunk from glasses

Some of the furniture

  • Design for the oak buffet © John Nethercott

    Oak buffet - the design

    Here's the oak buffet on the drawing board. It's based on an original example from the period.

  • Oak buffet and plate cupboard © Gareth Parry

    The finished article

    The finished buffet based on an original example formerly at Aberpergwm House.

  • Turned yew chair and oak writing table © Gareth Parry

    Writing table and chair

    Turned yew chair based on a  South Pembrokeshire original. The writing table is based on a Flemish ori...

  • High Table in the Tenby Tudor Merchant's House © Gareth Parry

    The high table

    The oak high table painted red, green and yellow. Here's where the merchant and his guests would have dined...

Boarded bench

Boarded bench, by Paul Northwood © Paul Northwood

One of the oak boarded benches being made for the high table.

Oak chest

Oak clamp-fronted chest to store side-tablewares © Gareth Parry

A carved oak chest for high tablewares. It's painted red and the merchant would've kept it locked to keep the contents safe.

Trestle tables

Trestle table and benches © Gareth Parry

We've had two oak tables made. If you weren't important enough to sit with the merchant at the high table, you would've sat here to eat.

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