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Visiting the Tudor Merchant's House

View of a Tenby street and the harbour
Tenby street near Tudor merchant's House, Tenby | © National Trust / James Dobson

This narrow town house was once lived in by a local merchant in Tenby. The Tudor merchant’s house is typical of the type of prosperous merchant’s house which sprang up when Tenby was a thriving port in the late Middle Ages. Step inside and see how a wealthy merchant may have lived.

Things to see inside the Tudor Merchant's House

It consists of three levels and is built from lime and sandstone rubble. It has a circular chimney stack and original exposed roof trusses. Today the house is filled with a remarkable collection of locally made reproductions. The furniture, pewter, wall hangings and ceramics have been expertly copied from existing Tudor pieces commonly used in the area.

Trading area

The merchant who lived here would have placed his shop at the front of the house. The shop would have opened onto the street to gain easy access to people walking by. A merchant of this time would sell goods traded through the port in the harbour. Popular goods at this time included wool cloth, sea coal, vinegar and ceramic pots.

The trading area inside Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire, which has a low, wooden-beamed ceiling, flagstone floor, barrels and a green sideboard with terracotta bowls on it.
The trading area inside Tudor Merchant's House | © National Trust Images/James Dobson


The kitchen was situated at the back of the house. It was centred around a large open fire. The ironwork shows how food could be cooked with an open fire. This ranged from hanging equipment to raise or lower the cooking pots or long spits to turn the food.

Filling the senses

The kitchen garden is full of aromatic herbs that would have been used to add flavour and colour to meals. Lavender plants helped to keep flies out of the kitchen as well as creating a base for popular scented pomanders.

Hall chamber

This room would have been the main living area of the house. Brightly painted replica Tudor furniture is displayed throughout the room.

The painted cloths hanging on the walls show the kind of images the merchant might display on his walls around 1500. One of these hanging cloths shows a typical ship from the Middle Ages called a Carrack. The other painted hanging shows the town buildings including the historic fortified walls surrounding the town.

Inside the bedchamber at Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire, which has a vaulted, wooden-beamed ceiling and a four-poster bed.
The bedchamber at Tudor Merchant's House | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

A room with a view

The bed chamber has one of the clearest views of the coastline and harbour. In this room some replica Tudor clothes have been crafted for you to try on.

Look out for the special painted crib that swings to help settle a baby to sleep.

A modern convenience

Look out for the toilet which features a latrine tower and cess pit. This vertical stone or brickwork shaft would lead down to the cess pit at the base. Often called a ‘long drop’ due to the height and distance involved. This was advanced because many houses did not have a feature like this. A modern equivalent today is an ensuite bathroom attached to your bedroom.

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The trading area inside Tudor Merchant's House, Pembrokeshire, which has a low, wooden-beamed ceiling, flagstone floor, barrels and a green sideboard with terracotta bowls on it.

History of the Tudor Merchant’s House 

In Tudor times, Tenby was a hub for overseas trade importing a wide variety of stock, including salt, linen and wine from France. Discover more in the busy Tudor Merchant’s shop.