Friday, 13 January 2017

Right Royally Drunk

Its no secret that in Europe in the Dark and Middle ages, people could rarely if ever, drink the local water .... and live.

Things Might Have Gone More Soberly If Another Beverage Had Been Available
So in general our leaders were at least mildly drunk most of the time, as they drank what is sometimes called 'small beer', which is a brewed (boiled) beer or ale that contained a lower alcohol level than the more standard beer. It was sometimes left unfiltered, and therefore porridge-like, so also had some food value as well. 

Therefore its hardly a surprise that the Royal households accounts from kings such as King Henry VIII of England, give out some epic beer consumption figures. His court went through about 600,000 gallons of beer per year. This apparently was around 10 pints per courtier and commoner, per person per day for his 1,200 strong entourage (eat your heart out Mariah Carey).
The cost of this drinking was not cheap either .... in modern prices its approx £5.78 million pounds per annum ... and when you think that nearly every duke, knight and earl had similar (if slightly smaller) households, and therefore expenses. Well, you can see why they were called robber barons ..... they needed the money!

Being King came with its rewards, but also its hazards. For instance the same research worked out that King Henry VIII's divorce from Anne of Cleeves in 1540, cost him around £30 million in modern values ... which ain't small beer either.

No wonder he beheaded most of them ..... cheaper.  


  1. The beer drinking probably explains all the wars and fighting in the Middle ages. A bit like a UK town centre on a saturday night.

    1. Very likely true ... I wonder if anyone has written about that? Thanks for the comment.

    2. This was the case up until well onto the 19th century in most urban centred. We are lucky to live in an age of sanitation.

    3. I guess so. Thanks for the comment.


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