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Eilzabethan Cost of Living

The following are typical Elizabethan prices, most of which come from the 1580s and 90s. These, of course, are not the only possible prices for any given item, but they should give some idea of what was a typical or fair price.

Clothing and Fabrics

  • Canvas for Livery: 4d per yard
  • Clothing for the Earl of Leicester: £563 for 7 doublets & 2 cloaks
  • Broadcloth: £6 for 24 feet
  • Good Shirt: £1
  • Pair of knitted stockings: 15s
  • Courtier's breeches: £7
  • A good pair of boots: £4 - £·10 a pair
  • Shoes for a child: 7d a pair
  • Crimson satin: 3s a yard
  • Beaver hat, edged in silver: £2
  • Pair of Valencia gloves: 10d
  • Velvet: 34s a yard
  • Spanish leather pumps: 1s6d
  • A soldier's coat: 6s4d

Major Outlays

  • Annual household expenses for the Earl of Derby: £3,000
  • Cost of rebuilding Kenilworth: £60,000

Food and Drink

  • A loaf of bread: 2d
  • A quail: 1/2d
  • Oysters: 4d per bushel
  • 200 herrings: 3s
  • A chicken: 1d
  • Raisins: 3d per pound
  • A goose: 4d
  • Best beef: 3d per pound
  • Best mutton: 11/2d per pound
  • Sugar: 1s per pound
  • Bottle of French Wine: 2s
  • A tankard of Ale: 1/2d
  • Cloves: 11s per pound
  • Cinnamon: 10s6d per pound
  • Ginger: 3s8d per pound

Servant's Fines

  • Missing prayer: 2d
  • Cursing: 1d per oath
  • Not making one's bed: 1d
  • Cook finishing dinner late: 6d
  • Missing a button on the Livery: 1d per button


  • Lodging in an Inn: 2d per week (with Laundry)
  • A modest farm with an ancient lease: £4 - £5 per year
  • A modest farm with a new lease: £50 - £100 per year

Odds and Ends

  • Tobacco: 12s 64s per pound
  • A small, undecorated book: 8d
  • A large, ornamented book: 10s or more
  • A doctor's visit: 1 Mark
  • Sea coal: 1s per 100 pounds
  • A Nicholas Hilliard miniature: £40
  • Typical tip for a servant: 3/4d
  • A pair of scissors: 6d
  • A post horse from Dover to London: 3s