Monday, September 05, 2022

Question from Chris - Average height

What was the average height around this time period? I know most Medieval/Tudor era knights were expected to be like, over 6, preferably like, 61 or 62, or taller. The peasants and surfs probably were quite a bit shorter, and the ladies, (unless she was aristocratic/wealthy) werent quite as tall as the men. So, on average, how tall were most average citizens? (Both male and female). A good estimate from someone, or another blogger would be helpful. Thanks.


  1. Just your average historianSeptember 05, 2022 10:46 PM

    Greetings Chris, I’d say “average” height was around 5’8” for men, and 5’3” for women. Contrary to popular belief, “average” (adult) height was actually slightly taller in this era, (and before), than it became, later, like in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Yes, knights were definitely expected to be taller. Probably anywhere from 6’0” to 6’5” was ideal! (In a way, kind of like how runway/catwalk models are expected to be taller). The monks and the abbots height ranges probably varied, anywhere from only 5’5” to a whopping 6’2” tall probably wouldn’t have been too unusual! (However, usually, the knights were skinnier, while the monks were portlier, but that’s another story). And as for the ladies, depending on her wealth, social status, and proper nutrition, she could’ve been probably anywhere from about, only under 5’0”, to a very statuesque 6’0”! Btw, Anne Boleyn, herself, I think, was 5’5”, and so was her daughter Queen Elizabeth I, and at least a couple other of Henry VIII’s wives were 5’8”.

  2. Hello there, as far as your question goes about “average height” in this time, I can’t really give you, what you may call a “direct exact, answer”, however, I can share with you how tall some of my (distant, and also not so distant) ancestors were. And yes, I realize that despite the misconceptions, “average height” was actually taller back in the Middle Ages, but then somewhere between the 16th or 18th century, was when it plummeted. (All of my ancestors were rather on the taller side). My Georgian/Regency England aristocratic, rich male ancestor, (on my mother’s side, I’m pretty sure), was about 6’4”, next up, my Victorian era female ancestor, (who was also of nobility), was a rather statuesque 5’10”! She was, approx., 10 inches taller than Queen Victoria, herself, and the last one(s) I’m going to mention are my father who served in WW2, and my grandfather who served in the trenches in WW1. My dad was 5’11”, and my grandfather was 6’0”, maybe closer to 6’1”. Sorry for being so long-winded, and for rambling, but I hope you find my reply interesting. I am no historian, though, so you might want to take your question to someone else, or find a professional who could help answer your question, specifically.

    Kinds regards, Rose. 👵🏻

  3. My goodness, gracious! Lol! I feel so bad for your grandfather, Rose. Being 6’0 3/4” tall must’ve been miserable in the trenches, where “average” was only 5’5”-5’7”! I’m sure your father also stood out, a little, too, because average height for WW2 soldiers was only 5’6”-5’8”. That’s very interesting, thanks for sharing!

  4. I am curious, "Just Your Average Historian," what your sources are for the information that you provided. Perhaps a survey of skeletal measurements from graves of the period? Or an anthropology journal article or text book? I would be interested in reading your sources so that I can learn more about the topic of average height in the 16th century.

  5. Hey everyone, I just found out about this site. I love it, Lara, please keep up the great work! Anyways, what I was going to say, in response to your comment(s) was, I was only 20-21 years old when WW2 started. When I fought, I was 5’10”, but I looked slightly taller, anyways, since I was a rather skinny/lean young man. My father (who fought in WW1) was about a rather imposing 6’4”, and my mother was about 5’7”-5’8”, (so, she pretty much towered over all of her other lady/female friends, and even a few of the men). Sorry, this may not be a “Tudor history answer”, but this is my family history.

    God Bless, Earl.

  6. Omg! You’re 103 years old, Earl?! Congratulations!😊 Anyways, that’s so fascinating! (Btw, being 6’4” tall in a trench must’ve been extremely miserable, I feel sorry for your dad, looking back). Anyway, thanks for sharing. I appreciate it. God bless you, too!


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