‘Educating the Tudors’ by Amy McElroy

Thanks to Pen and Sword Books for a copy of this to review.

This was a really interesting read. Amy’s book was published on the same day as mine which I was really excited about! We’ve talked a few times about publishing and history, and she’s such a lovely person as well as a great writer and historian. This is her debut book and I hope it won’t be her last as she has such a way of making the topic accessible.

This book looks at education in the Tudor period from the royal family, through the nobility, and down to the common people, in easily digestible chapters. It also looks at the effects of religion, pastimes, and books, music and drama on education, as well as royal tutors like Roger Ascham, John Skelton, and John Aylmer. It’s not a subject that I’m aware a book has been written about before, and this is a great book on the subject, well-researched, and obviously a passion of the author’s as well.

Things changed in the Tudor period when it came to education. It became more common for women to be educated and of course there were huge adjustments with the Reformation and the religious changes sweeping England and Europe. Elizabeth I we know was highly educated, and Katherine Parr was the first English queen to publish a book in her own name. Education wasn’t strictly academic, and this book also looks at music, dance, and sports as learning.

My only real bugbear with it is that there is no index. It’s something I just really don’t like with non-fiction history books; perhaps as a researcher and writer myself it annoys me that I can’t look up a particular person or event easily. But I think that’s personal preference rather than anything else. (Update: Amy has told me that her index was missed off the print run but that it will be in future print runs).

There was some repetition throughout, but I think that helps to hammer home the points being made and it certainly didn’t take away from the fantastic writing, research, and passion that has obviously gone into it.


  1. Educating Henry
  2. Royal Children
  3. All the King’s Children
  4. Tutors of the Tudors
  5. Educating the Aristocracy
  6. Educating the Common People
  7. Religion as Education
  8. Books, Music & Drama
  9. Pastimes for All

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