Life in the Fifteenth Century

Historians split the past up into separate ‘periods’, or ‘ages’. These are Pre-historic, Ancient, Medieval (or Middle Ages), Early Modern and Modern. The Wars of the Roses happened in the fifteenth century which is at the very end of the Middle Ages.

There are many differences between life in the fifteenth and the twenty-first centuries from technology and building styles to women’s rights or attitudes to religion. Yet there are also sometimes surprising similarities. Teenagers and adults may be interested in The Conversation. This has articles comparing medieval approaches with events in the news today.

If there is an aspect of fifteenth-century life that you would like us to add to the menu here, please do let us know.

The picture below is from a book that was made on instructions from Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. (He was later captured and killed after the Battle of Edgecote by the Earl of Warwick). The picture shows the Wheel of Fortune. This was a very popular image in medieval books and wall hangings, reminding people that their lives could change swiftly and dramatically.


The Wheel of Fortune BL MS Royal 18 D II f. 30 (copyright, British Library)