Just found this great little hardback book whilst browsing Carnforth Bookshop (which has more than 10,000 second hand books!). Also in this series by A F Scott are titles ‘The Plantagenet Age’, ‘The Tudor Age’ and ‘The Georgian Age.’ Compiled as a series of quotations, each book contains observations about every part of the lifestyle and social concerns of the era, drawn from eyewitness accounts.
Here’s a flavour from Thomas Dekker’s description of London in 1606;
‘In every street carts and coaches make such a thundering as if the world ran on wheels. At every corner men, women and children meet in such shoals, that posts are set up on purpose to strengthen the houses, lest with jostling one another they should shoulder them down. Besides, hammers are beating in one place, tubs hooping in another, pots clanking in a third, water tankards running at tilt in a fourth. Here are porters sweating under burdens, there merchants’ men bearing bags of money. Chapmen (as if they were at leap-frog) skip out of one shop into another. Tradesmen (as if they were dancing galliards) are lusty at legs and never stand still. All are as busy as country attorneys at an assizes.’
The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London
from The Stuart Age
Other books with eyewitness accounts I can recommend are:
Going to the Wars by Charles Carlton (English Civil Wars)
Voices from the World of Samuel Pepys – Jonathan Bastable (Restoration)
And talking of the Seven Deadly Sins, you might like my Seven Deadly Sins of Historical Fiction.