Amersham in 1580: a busy market town
We have presented the museum’s collection around five key dates, that reflect particular and important moments in the town’s history. For each of those dates we have considered what the town looked like, who lived in the town and related that to objects in our collection.
Amersham is a busy market town. There are traders making a wide range of goods and farmers working the land. They sell their produce at the weekly market and annual fair.
Who would I meet in 1580?
This is Richard Saunders, the wealthiest person living in Amersham. He lives at the Bury. His grandfather, also Richard, was fined for being a Lollard and holding secret meetings in his home. Lollards wanted to be able to read the Bible in English and they opposed the wealth of the Church. In the 16th century six men and one woman were convicted of heresy and burnt on the hill north of Amersham.
Where would I live in 1580?
The museum’s timber framed building is part of a late medieval hall house. A hall house is a building with one big room, rather like a barn. It was built in 1480 and joined to an earlier cross wing, which stands at right angles to the hall. In 1580 a chimney is added with a fireplace on the ground floor and another on a newly inserted first floor. Find out more here.
What’s new in 1580?
The King’s Arms inn, High Street, is built in the 1570s, occupying an older hall house (the eastern end of the current pub).
Bury Farm House, Bury End is built in the early 1560s. This is probably the most important home in the town. In the past the landlord’s tenant lived at the Bury, collecting rents from tenants and holding court.
The Gables is built in the 1550s, an impressive house close to the Market Hall.
Population: 800-900 people
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