A Tudor Christmas

co-authored by Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke


It might be assumed that our modern Christmas owes much to the Victorians. In fact, as we reveal in this book, many of our favourite Christmas traditions date back much further. Carol-singing, present-giving, mulled wine and mince pies were all just as popular in Tudor times, and even Father Christmas and roast turkey dinners have their origins in this period. The Tudor Christmas was a time of feasting, revelry and merrymaking, a twelve-day-long festival, over which the Lord of Misrule held sway, and convention was thrown to the winds. Christmas was so beloved by English people that its traditions survived remarkably unchanged in this age of tumultuous religious upheaval.


A presentation with Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke/

Watch here:

Siobhan Clarke, who works with me at Alison Weir Tours, has a BA in Modern History and an Adult Education Teaching Certificate. She has worked for Historic Royal Palaces for seventeen years and is based at Hampton Court Palace, where she trained as a Costumed Interpreter before becoming an HRP Guide Lecturer. As well as specialising in 16th century dress, she delivers tours and lectures on Hampton Court, The Tower of London and the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace. Siobhan lectures abroad for P&O, Crystal and Viking cruise lines and, within the UK, she has lectured for the Smithsonian, the National Trust, the U3A and the Arts Society. She has featured on BBC Radio Women's Hour and PBS Television Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace. Siobhan has been a friend for many years, and it has been a pleasure to work with her on this book.

A Tudor Christmas originated from a joint talk we gave called A Royal Christmas, and from 'Christmas at the Court of Henry VIII', a chapter I contributed many years ago to Waterstones' Little Book of Light.

"It's the perfect time of year to read A Rudor Christmas by Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke. As this jewel of a book reveals, many of our festive traditions have their origins in the Tudor period." (Tracy Borman, BBC History magazine)

"The Victorians are often credited as the source of our Christmas traditions, but the Tudors celebrated royally . A time of feasting and merrymaking ‘to drive the cold winter away’, carol singing, present-giving, even roast turkey dinners have their origins in this period and here are recipes, poems, carols and curiosities to prove it." (Choice magazine)

A lovely display at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust online shop!

And at Windsor Castle!

You can read our article, 'Tales from a Tudor Christmas' in the Christmas 2018 issue of BBC History magazine.

Ghost of Christmas Past, from the Christmas issue of Surrey Downs magazine (syndicated to other regional magazines).

Lighting up the Bleak Midwinter, in the Christmas edition of All About History.

You can listen to our Vintage podcast here:

Above: preliminary jacket designs

Out in October 2018..