With most mid-Tudor noble residences lost and survivors like Chesworth Manor in Horsham, Sussex, much altered and stripped of their contents, recapturing the material culture of nearly five hundred years ago is a daunting task. Inventories occasioned by deaths and attainders help document the lifestyles of the then-rich and famous, including Thomas Howard (1473–1554), third Duke of Norfolk, one of the wealthiest and most prominent men in Henry VIII’s England. Although a 1549 inventory of Chesworth was published in 1861, Sir Henry Ellis, the author, was unaware of an earlier and fuller survey made after Norfolk’s attainder in 1547. Copies of both have long lain overlooked in the Surrey History Centre. Comparing and placing them in a wider context of noble consumption and display opens a window into the past, a reminder of both the luxury and the limitations of daily life of the Tudor nobility.
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