Salt was a vital part of Tudor daily life, used not only as a table condiment but also for salting or preserving meat and fish. The salt brought into Tenby was 'bay salt', from around the shores of the Bay of Biscay and Portugal.
It's still produced in the same way, from salt water evaporated in the sunshine in shallow pools or 'salt pans'.
Linen was one of the commonest fabrics in daily use. It’s made from the fibres of the flax plant. Although it was produced in Britain and Ireland, the best linen came from France.
Most wine imported into Britain in Tudor times came from Gascony in southern France. It was imported in large barrels or 'tuns', with iron hoops for strength – you can see an example in the shop.
A tun of Gascon wine cost about £3, about the annual income of a maidservant. A knight might have an annual income of £40. Vinegar, imported to Tenby from Brittany, was a bit cheaper.
Sugar was an expensive luxury and came from the Canary Islands in Portuguese ships. A chest of sugar was valued at £8.
Imports from Ireland included herrings, tallow (meat fat) for candles, flax and lower-grade wool and cloth.
Exports - culm balls
There were exports from Tenby, too. One was coarse woollen cloth suitable for winter clothing and for mariners to wear.
The coal trade was only just beginning, but Tenby was already exporting anthracite to Ireland. 'Culm balls', made of anthracite dust mixed with clay (which burned more slowly), were also popular in Ireland.