Tudor travel: What exactly was a "litter"? | Tudor Life and Times | Forum


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Tudor travel: What exactly was a "litter"?
October 17, 2013
7:46 am
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March 23, 2011
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I have read that carriages weren’t used for travelling like in the Rococo era, but instead people traveled in “litters”which upon a quick google search look like carriages without wheels and horses, instead carried by people. But this looks impracticable for long travels, unless litters in tudor times meant something different?

"For her behaviour, manners, attire and tongue she excelled them all."— Lancelot de Carles



October 17, 2013
1:19 pm
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January 3, 2012
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Litters were basically a bed that was carried about. They were used mainly by the nobility woman usually, especially if they were pregant as traveling by horse or in a carriage was considered dangerous for the baby’s health or somesuch rubbish anyway. They were also used to transport the old, sick and injured around, again for much the same reason to protect them fom harming themselves or making their injuries worse.
The Romans had much the same idea.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

October 17, 2013
7:43 pm
Binghamton, NY
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February 24, 2010
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I found this explanation on a Tudor question and answer forum.

“i have found a colored illustration of a sided litter in a book called the art of dress by jane ashelford for the national trust isbn number 0707801850 its from 1597 and shows a lady sitting in a box which is in the shape of a tennis racket. made of wood with a large oblong cut out in the middle to get in and out off, which goes up to the roof. to protect from the weather a canopy of green material that seem to be gathered like a blind so it can be raised and lowered are the passenger wishes. the litter is attached with poles on all four sides with two long attached to the side with loops of leather? the long poles then go to the horses or mules the front animal is being ridden and the back one has a saddle on with a loop in the middle, that drops to the height of the top of the animals leg were the pole goes through it. the lady in the litter has a mask on to protect her from the weather and dirt.”

October 18, 2013
12:50 am
La Belle Province
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April 6, 2015
11:52 pm
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March 26, 2015
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A litter could be carried by four men, for short distances, but was commonly slung on poles between two horses, one at the front and one at the back. Litters of this kind had been known since ancient times. They did have carriages but as they were basically unsprung they weren’t very comfortable, most people would have preferred to ride.

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