Tudor Merchant’s House in Tenby
Looking back into the past helps us move forward as a society, so there is no better way to experience life as a 16th century merchant than a visit to the Tudor Merchant’s House in Tenby.
Built from stone back in the late 15th century, this stunning Tudor home has become a popular destination and site of interest for visitors to the town of Tenby. And with good reason, too. This property is now Tenby’s oldest standing house and is a throwback to a time long forgotten. Its importance to the local community, not to mention our heritage, is evident in its Grade I status.
The Tudor Merchant’s House is now in the safe hands of the National Trust, which has been running it as a tourist site for many years now. Since taking ownership of the building in 1938, the National Trust has valiantly put a lot of resources into restoring the property and ensuring its well-being so that the house can be enjoyed for years to come.
Back in the day
Of course, what we need to remember is that this house was once fully operational and pivotal to Tenby’s success as a commercial port town. It would have been occupied by a merchant, who would trade with the goods that were imported and exported through Tenby’s busy harbour. Thus, this house was both a commercial and private property.
The lower floor would have been distinctly used as a shop, where the merchant would conduct all of his trading business. The middle and top floor would be used by the merchant’s family, making up the living space (middle floor) and the sleeping quarters (top floor). This allowed the merchant to always be close to home even when hard at work. A massive contrast to the modern lifestyle of travelling great distances to work!
A living museum
Times have moved on, and now under the management of the National Trust, the Tudor Merchants House has become a nostalgic glance into how life was back in the 16th century. Operating as a historic house museum, the property now provides schools and history buffs with the chance to experience living conditions in Tenby during the 1500s.
The property has been refurbished to reflect its times, with authentic Tudor design and furniture adorning the halls and rooms of this aged building. Visitors can start off with a visit to the merchant’s shop on the ground floor, where they can experience how a merchant would have traded in Tenby back in the day.
The first floor kitchen is alive and kicking, too, with the chance to see how a traditional Tudor home would have been run. Activities are offered that give families, school children and history fans the chance to live like a Tudor this includes dressing in authentic Tudor style clothing, cooking traditional dishes, and learning more about what it was like to be alive back in those times.
All in all, visitors can expect an immersive and interactive learning adventure upon arrival. The living museum is more than just a reminder of how this historic building was once used; it plays a much more important role in showcasing historic Tenby and Britain during the Tudor period.
Restoring a little bit of history
The National Trust is continuing on their quest to restore the Tudor Merchants House to its former glory, with recent renovation work including the addition of colourful Tudor cloth and furniture in the first floor corridor.
Working with renowned historic interiors expert Dr Charles Kightly, the museum will carry on its restoration work in order to become a true reflection of its Tudor past. In the future visitors can expect to experience such things as buying items that would have been sold back in the 16th century, and the opportunity to experience a classic Tudor garden landscaped with traditional herbs from that era.
With dedicated staff and volunteers working at the building, the future is bright for the Tudor Merchant’s House. Don’t just take our word about this amazing experience, step back into the past today and make the Tudor Merchant’s House a part of your next visit to Tenby.