Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Question from Rebekah - Lawns and gardens in Tudor times

After looking at many photos of estates in Great Britain where the Tudors lived, I was just wondering about the gardens that are seen now. Did they mow the lawns in the 1600s? It seems a huge job now. I can't imagine how they kept them up without current technology.

6 comments:

PhD Historian said...

A superb question, and one that historians have only recently begun to examine, oddly enough. The history of gardens in Tudor England has become a very trendy topic only in the past 5 years or so! It is so newly trendy, in fact, that only a handful of books have been published about it. Did people in the Tudor era "mow" their lawns in the modern sense, with wheeled mechanical lawn mowers? No. But they did use animals, usually sheep, to keep whatever grass they had in their gardens short, and they also used scythes and other single-bladed cutting tools to hand-cut the grass where they wanted to do so. But mechanical mowers, even the "old" push type with whirling spiral blades, are modern inventions and were not available in the 16th century.

kb said...

How did they keep up the gardens? lots and lots of servants.

Aren't servants wonderful? ;)

Rebekah said...

Really - I kind of knew the servants kept up with it - just wnated to know the mechanism. Strangely, I never even thought about sheep, even though we still use this today in large fields in the state of Texas. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

thanks goodness someone asked this question, it was driving me crazy. but one point/comment to make, if they were using animals to do the lawn work, would they really take the time to pick up after them? I can't envision the "servants" stopping to pick up droppings. And would this be done during the day? If this was done at night, it seems like messes would missed.

LivingHistory said...

Im pretty sure the royals and nobility cared little that servants had to pick up poop. They never show this in film but hell, people were pooping in the corners of castles. London and Paris had literal rivers of human feces and urine running through the streets, I imagine servants and peasants weren't squeamish when it came to defecation - from any source.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this while I was mowing today. Thats pretty interesting. Must been crazy cause Gardens and certain areas with vast vegetation