General Sources

    • Early English Books 1475-1640 and Early English Books 1641-1700. A pair of microfilm collections, encompassing an enormous range of early printed materials, and available at large libraries.
    • Giglio, Bob, The English Civil War Society of America Handbook. An extensive manual for ECW re-enactors, containing information on both military and civilian subjects. Contact TBL for information on availability.
    • Harrison, William, Description of England (1968 [1587]). A contemporary description of the country, including information on government, universities, the church. DA 610 H3
    • Holme, Randle, The Academy of Armory [1688]. Holme is an extremely useful source in a number of fields, as he offers vocabulary (and thereby in many cases technical details) pertaining to almost every conceivable field of human activity: tailoring, brewing, games, shoemaking, etc.
    • Jonson, Ben. In some respects, Jonson’s works are even more useful than Shakespeare’s to the re-creator, especially since they are generally placed in a contemporary setting. Three of the best are Volpone, The Alchemist, and especially Bartholomew Fair, all three of which are available in a single Penguin edition.
    • Oxford English Dictionary. This is often a good starting-place for researching any topic, as each entry includes a selection of quotations from primary sources through history.
    • Palliser, D. M., The Age of Elizabeth (1992). HC 254.4 P341. Possibly the best single introduction to Elizabethan society.
    • Shakespeare’s England. An Account of the Life and Manners of his Age (1916). A collection of essays by leading experts of the day on a wide range of topics, including clothing, daily life, entertainments, religion, law, and so on. Time has not greatly diminished its usefulness.
    • Singman, Jeffrey L., The Englishe Breviat: A Concise Guide to Elizabethan and Stuart Living History. TBL Publications 1.
    • Forgeng, Jeffrey L., Daily Life in Elizabethan England, Second Edition (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009). A general account of life in the period, heavily informed by living history, and geared towards living history use; includes patterns, songs, games, etc.
    • William Shakespeare: His World, His Works, His Influence. Vol. 1: His World, ed. John F. Andrews (1985). Comparable to Shakespeare’s England in quality and content. PR 2976 W5341


    • Harrison, G.B. An Elizabethan Journal, 1591-1594 (1928). A detailed nearly day-by-day journal of happenings and gossip based on primary sources. The same author produced two additional volumes: A Second Elizabethan Journal, 1595-98 and A Last Elizabethan Journal, 1599-1603.
    • Harrison, G. B., A Jacobean Journal (1941). As the previous, covering the years 1603-6. DA
    • Neale, J. E., Elizabeth I (1933). Often in print, this is probably the most readable history of the Elizabethan period.
    • Wedgwood, C.V., The King’s Peace (1955) and The King’s War, 1641-1647 (1970). Readable narrative histories of the reign of Charles I.


    • Schofield, John, The London Surveys of Ralph Treswell (1987). DA 680 L86 A vivid and informative collection of ground plans of houses and other buildings in London.
    • Holmes, Martin, Shakespeare’s London (1969). A general account of London in this period.


    • Furnivall, F. J., The Babees Book. EETS (1868). A collection of early etiquette-books.

Material Culture

    • Chinnery, Victor, Oak Furniture. The British Tradition (1979). Sumptuously illustrated account of medieval and renaissance furniture. NK 2529 C491
    • Thornton, Peter, Seventeenth-Century Interior Decoration in England, France and Holland (1978). An excellent and detailed description of furniture and related items in the period.
    • Yarwood, Doreen, The English Home, Batsford. An excellent collection of information on household items and interiors, with very useful illustrations.


    • Arnold, Janet, Patterns of Fashion: The cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620 (1985). An excellent collection of patterns taken from original garments, featuring extensive notes and illustrations in the introduction.
    • Hunnisett, Jean, Period Costume for Stage and Screen (1991). Contains patterns for specific women’s Elizabethan outfits in contemporary paintings.
    • Leloir, M., Histoire du Costume Vol. 8 1610-1643 (Paris: Ernst, 1933). GT 510 L55 A useful text, as it gives patterns of surviving pieces.
    • Poppy, P., Englishwoman’s Dress 1640-1655 (1993). A detailed account of women’s clothing in the period, heavily based on surviving pieces. Available from Caliver Books.
    • Waugh, Norah, The Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900 (1964). Contains patterns derived from original pieces.
    • Waugh, Nora, The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930 (1968). Similar to the preceding.
    • Rutt, Richard, A History of Hand Knitting (1987). An illustrated history, with surviving 16 and 17c examples.
    • 17th Century Knitting Patterns as adapted for Plimoth Plantation, The Weavers Guild of Boston (1990). Can be ordered from Plimoth Plantation. An excellent collection of patterns based on surviving pieces, including thrummed and flat caps, purses, stockings, gloves, etc.

Food and Housekeeping

    • Digby, Kenelm, The closet of Sir K. Digby opened [a1648]. Recipes for drinks and food. In print with Falconwood.
    • Driver, Christopher, Pepys at Table. Seventeenth-Century Recipes for the Modern Cook (1984). Adapted recipes from 17c sources.
    • Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, ed. Hilary Spurling (1987). A contemporary book of recipes, currently in print with Penguin.
    • Hess, Karen, Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery (1981). A manuscript collection of recipes from the 17th century, with copious notes: one of the best works on cookery in the early modern period.
    • Loram, Madge, Dining with William Shakespeare (1976). TX 731 L88 Original recipes with modern adaptations.
    • Markham, Gervase, The English huswife [1615], ed. Michael R. Best (1986). Has information on such topics as physic, cooking, brewing, baking, etc. TX 144 M35

Characters and Professions

    • Holme, Randle, The Academy of Armory [1688]. The best starting point for information on a variety of occupations; has been reprinted.


    • Fraser, Antonia, The Weaker Vessel, Alfred K. Knopf, 1984.
    • Thompson, J., The Other Army. Camp Followers of the English Civil War . Available from Caliver Books.


    • Fitzherbert’s Book of Husbandry [1598]. Possibly the best contemporary introduction to the practices of Elizabethan agriculture. Exists in facsimile reprint.
    • Hartley, Dorothy, Lost Country Life (1979). An extremely full and useful description of the yearly cycle and daily life in agrarian England.

The Underworld

    • Kinney, Arthur F., Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars. A New Gallery of Tudor and Early Stuart Rogue Literature (1990).


    • Giglio, Robert, The English Civil War Society of America Handbook. See under TBL Publications.
    • Haythornthwaite, P., The English Civil War 1642-51: An Illustrated Military History (1983).
    • Roberts, Keith, Soldiers of the English Civil War (1): Infantry (1989).
    • Tincey, John, The Armada Campaign. Osprey Elite Series 15 (1988). An excellent brief description of the Elizabethan and Spanish armies and navies, handsomely illustrated.
    • Tincey, John, Soldiers of the English Civil War (2): Cavalry (1990).
    • de Gheyn, Jacob, The Exercise of Armes [1607]. A beautifully illustrated drill-book for the pike and musket. U 101 G42 In print with Falconwood.
    • Morgan, Jeff, and Jeffrey L. Singman, The Elizabethan Trained Bands: An Introduction. TBL Publications 2. A general introduction to the trained bands from the point of view of living history.


    • Cotton, Charles, The Compleat Gamester (1930 [1674]). Rules for dice, card, and board games.
    • Johnston, Dorothy, Cram, David, and Singman, Jeffrey, Francis Willughby’s Treatise on Games. The best single source of period games.
    • Chappell, William, Popular Music of the Olden Time (1859). A very useful collection of popular music of medieval and early modern England. Has been reprinted by Dover.
    • Singman, Jeffrey L., Pious, Bibulous, and Rude: Rounds and Catches of the Elizabethan and Stuart Age. TBL Publications 3. Rounds of the 16-17 centuries.
    • Millar, John FitzHugh, Elizabethan Country Dances (1985). A compendium selected from the various editions of Playford. Millar’s reconstructions are not always reliable, but the book remains very useful. Thirteen Colonies Press, 710 South Henry St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, about US$15.
    • Pugliese, P., & J. Cassaza, Practice for Dauncinge (1980). This collection of 10 almains and a pavan from the English Inns of Court manuscripts (c1570-1670) is a model for works on historical dance. Each dance includes the original text as well as the authors’ reconstruction, with music and useful historical and choreographic notes. Available from P. Pugliese, 120 Walnut St, Watertown, MA 02172.
    • Thomas, Bernard, & Jane Gingell, The Renaissance Dance Book (1987). Among the best of all modern guides, it covers a selection of 16th-century dances. It comes with sheet music and an extremely good tape. Kelischek Workshop, RT1, Box 26, Brasstown, NC 28902.
    • An online version of the fencing treatise of DiGrassi.


    • Burgess, Anthony, A Dead Man in Deptford (1993). A novel about Christopher Marlowe.
    • Cowell, Stephanie, Nicholas Cooke: Actor, Soldier, Physician, Poet (1993). A novel of adventure set in the late Elizabethan period. 828 C8745ni
    • Finney, Patricia, Firedrake’s Eye (London: St Martin’s Press, 1991). An adventure novel of spies, murder and political intrigue set in Elizabethan London.
    • Garrett, George, Death of the Fox (1971) [a novel about Sir Walter Raleigh], The Succession. A Novel of Elizabeth and James (1983), Entered from the Sun. The Murder of Marlowe(1990). 828 G237su Well-researched literary rather than popular novels.
    • Scott, Melissa, and Barnett, Lisa A., The Armor of Light (1988). A fantasy novel set in the last years of Elizabeth’s reign; remarkable for the degree of research which appears to have gone into it, and its presentation of magic within a suitably Elizabethan framework.
    • Tourney, Leonard, The Bartholomew Fair Murders and other works. A highly recommended series of murder mysteries set in Elizabethan England.


    • 1588. Music from the Time of the Spanish Armada. The York Waits [Saydisc]. A spirited collection of popular late Elizabethan music, primarily instrumental, with a few songs in late sixteenth century pronunciation.
    • The Art of the Bawdy Song. Baltimore Consort [Dorian]. An excellent collection of 17c bawdy songs.
    • Chari Vari. A fine collection of songs of the period. Available from Chari Vari, PO Box 1548, Plymouth MA 02360.
    • From Plot to Playford. Fairfax. Popular music of the seventeenth century. Available from Hautbois Musicians, Rich and Helen Heavisides, The Post Office, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire YO5 9AA.
    • ‘How the World Wags’. Social Music for a 17th Century Englishman. The City Waites [Hyperion]. A rollicking collection of songs, dances, and miscellaneous music.
    • In the Streets and Theatres of London. Elizabethan Ballads and Theatre Music. The Musicians of Swanne Alley [Virgin Classics]. This disc is of very high quality, although not as earthy as the title might seem to suggest.
    • The King’s Delight. The King’s Noyse [Harmonia Mundi]. Popular ballads of the period.
    • Low and Lusty Ballads [Sound Alive]. A good collection of popular songs of the 16th and 17th centuries.
    • Music for Roundheads and Cavaliers. St. George’s Canzona [ASV]. English music of the mid-seventeenth century.
    • Music From the Time of Elizabeth I. The Academy of Ancient Music [L’Oiseau Lyre]. A variety of courtly and popular music.
    • ‘New Fashions’. Cries and Ballads of London. Circa 1500 and Redbyrd [CRD Records]. A pleasant collection of popular music.
    • O for a Muse of Foyre. A basic introduction to the pronunciation of early seventeenth-century English; available from Caliver Books.
    • Penny Merriment. English Songs from the Time of the Pilgrims. A highly recommended collection of popular music; available from Plimoth Plantation.
    • Popular Music from the time of Queen Elizabeth I. The Camerata of London [Saga Classics]. Court and popular music of the period.
    • The Punk’s Delight. The York Waits [Huntsup]. A lively rendition of country dance tunes of the period.
    • A Reasonable Facsimile. About as close as you can get. Street and Popular Music of the Renaissance. A lively collection of songs, dances, miscellaneous music, and a few narratives, primarily Elizabethan,. Available from Second from the Bottom Records, P. O. Box 294, Rochester, Michigan 48308-0294.
    • Shakespeare Songs and Consort Music. Deller Consort [Harmonia Mundi]. Mostly songs which appear in Shakespeare.
    • So Quick, So Hot, So Mad. New York Ensemble for Early Music [MusicMasters Classics]. A variety of Elizabethan songs dealing with love and sex.
    • Songs and Dances from Shakespeare. The Broadside Band [Saydisc]. A substantial and diverse collection of music appearing or alluded to in Shakespeare.
    • The Tale of Ale [Free Reed Records (England)]. A collection of English songs and brief recitations about ale and beer through history: the first of the two disks is essentially from the 17th century and before. The performances throughout are most delightful, well-instrumented, and full of jovial chorus songs very well suited to the living history enthusiast.
    • There were three Ravens. The Consort of Musicke [Virgin Classics]. An enjoyable collection of popular songs published in 1609-11.
    • Watkins Ale. Music of the English Renaissance. The Baltimore Consort [Dorian Recordings]. A lively collection of popular and fashionable songs and music of the period.


    • Cromwell. As a representation of historical events, this film is worth than useless, since it substantially and significantly falsifies history for dramatic purposes. However, the battle scenes offer a glimpse of the nature of warfare in the age of Pike and Shot.
    • Cyrano de Bergerac (1990). Set in the mid-17th century, this film is well researched and has much to offer anyone interested in recreating the age.
    • Elizabeth R. This remarkable BBC tv-series follows the reign of Elizabeth with unique faithfulness. Sets and costumes are quite accurate, and much of the script is taken from original sources.
    • The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers. This rollicking pair of films recreates the civilisation of mid-17c France with a degree of authenticity unusual in a popular film.
    • Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Produces a series of educational videos on historical subjects; titles include The Defeat of the Spanish Armada: Twelve Summer Days, 1588 ($89.95); Tudor and Stuart London 1500-1666 ($89.95). PO Box 2053, Princeton NJ 08543-2053; 800-257-5126.

Links checked 05/20/2013