Tudor Kitchens: Henry VIII's Food Factory

The vast kitchens served the Tudor court with hundreds of meals a day

The vast kitchens served the Tudor court with hundreds of meals a day

A food production line

Ordering, preparing and cooking food on this scale required an efficient system, with raw food arriving at one end and finished dishes ready to be served at the other.

 

Kitchen renovations

Henry VIII expanded and added to the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace, but they weren’t for him. The King had his own private kitchen.

Master Carpenter's Court, looking north-east towards the entrance to King Henry VIII's Kitchens. Wooden barrels stand on either side of the entrance to the kitchens.

Raw materials

Raw produce was brought into the palace through a ‘Tradesman’s’ entrance. All goods passed under an archway into a cobbled courtyard, where they were all unloaded and checked scrupulously. A team of accountants, known as ‘The Board of the Green Cloth’, kept meticulous records to ensure costs were kept under control. Kitchen staff carried the goods into a series of smaller kitchens or to the stores.

 

 

 

Historic Kitchen Staff at Hampton Court Palace prepare roast beef on the spit in early Summer 2016.

Tudor shopping list - The annual meat quantities cooked for the Tudor court were:

Sheep - 8,200
Deer - 2,330
Pigs - 1,870
Oxen - 1,240
Calves - 760
Wild boar - 53

Tudor recipie

Tarte owte of Lent - a really good Tudor cheese tart

The name derives from the fact that it contains all the things you’re not allowed to eat during lent - cheese, cream and eggs, cooked in a light pastry case! If you like a strong cheese taste, then this is the dish for you

From kitchen to table

The kitchens produced a large amount of food and each room had a specific function. Food would be taken from larders and prepared in separate bake-houses. Meat was roasted in front of the big fires in the Great Kitchen.

Dinner is served

The Clerk of the Kitchens, standing at the Serving Place, would allocate dishes to various diners according to their rank

Wine Cellar

All this food was washed down at court with gallons of wine and beer. Entertaining the court in lavish style reflected the magnificence of the monarch. Henry kept his cellars well stocked! Barrels of wine were sent from Europe and kept in cellars next to the kitchens, while beer was stored close to the Great Hall. Water was safe to drink at the palace, but it wasn't very popular.

 

 

Tudor Recipes

Create genuine 16th century dishes in your own home with these easy to follow recipes.

 Fylettys en alentyne

Make this rich pork stew and caramelised onion gravy

 

Tartes owt of lente

A really good cheese tart. If you like a strong cheese taste, then this is the tart for you

Ryschewys close and fryez

A perfect alternative to Christmas mince pies

 

Tudor plumbing

Fresh water for drinking and cooking was piped into the palace from springs three miles away

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Families Things to see
Tudor Kitchens:  The Taste Of The Fire book
An illustrated book, written by palace curators and food archaeologists, explores eating at court and the Tudor diet.

Tudor kitchens: The taste of the fire

An illustrated book, written by palace curators and food archaeologists, explores eating at court and the Tudor diet.

£4.99

Inspired the Hampton Court Palace kitchen garden, this garden berry jam is perfect on toast for your breakfast or tea.

Hampton Court Palace garden berries jam

Inspired the Hampton Court Palace kitchen garden, this garden berry jam is perfect on toast for your breakfast or tea.

£3.99

Six Wives Charm Bracelet.  An intriguing royal heraldic charm bracelet with charms of Henry VIII and his six wives family crests.

Divorced, beheaded, died charm bracelet

Divorced, beheaded, died charm bracelet with each charm representing the fate of Henry VIII’s six wives.

£24.99