Welcome to the sixteenth 'scent-ury'

Visitor talking to a costumed Tudor lady in the Knot garden

Go on a sensory exploration of smell from a Tudor point of view in this new exhibition with events and demonstrations throughout the year. The Tudors believed that air was one of the ‘six nonnatural things’; areas of everyday life that you could control in order to stay well. Discover the secret of controlling the four humour’s and how air and smell could could keep you well.

How did the Tudors believe air and scent affected them? How did they think their body interacted with the environment around them?

Following on from last year's sleep project we delve further into everyday health and wellbeing from a Tudor perspective. Families can join in the fun with the 'You Smell!' trail and lots of hands on smelly activities. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and picture Little Moreton Hall during the Tudor era. 

 You will be able to sample the aromas of herbs such as tansy, lady’s bedstraw and meadowsweet; rich spices such as cinnamon, cloves and ‘grains of paradise’, and some exotic Tudor perfumes. But not everything will be idyllic. Odours of sweat and damp wool, the smell of the privvy and the stench of rough, harsh tobacco will also be part of the experience.

Country life in Tudor times involved a lot of hard physical toil and nd you were dressed in heavy wool clothes. So some perspiration would be inevitable. You also tended your animals, undertook gruelling work in the dairy and had ‘interesting’ ideas about waste disposal. We would probably not be very happy about some of the smells wafting round. Even some of the perfumes favoured by the Tudors would not be to our taste.

 Sixteenth century ideas of keeping clean and of the way bodies interacted with the environment were not the same as ours. The smells we like or dislike would be different to those the Tudors felt strongly about and the reactions people had to various smells of everyday life in the past can give us a real insight into their way of thinking. All these elements we hope to explore with you as you make your way around the hall.

'Welcome to the sixteenth scent-ury' will be running throughout 2018.