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Living and learning in the past for you

We attempt to give here some values of household commodities in order to reflect the values of the 17th century. Some are common, others less so, but they indicate the problems of trying to carry our own values back thriough time. It is an entirely idiosyncratic list, just for fun!

Typical wages for a labourer were 8d a day for a man, and 6d a day for a woman (but this might well be 2d less in poorer areas such as the north of England).


Candles, 1 pound


Book of Psalms

5 shillings

Wine bottles (6 dozen)

19 shillings

Brimstone, 1 pound


Chalk for cleaning plate, 1 stone


Cloth - cambric, 1 ell

6 shillings

Cloth - canvas, 1 yard

1 shilling to 1s 4d

Cloth - velvet, 1 yard

14 shillings

Razor (shaving)

1 shilling to 2s 6d

Boots, man's

10 shillings

Washballs, 1 dozen

1 shilling to 1s 6d

Paper, 1 quire

4d to 4 d

Feather (plume for hat)

4 to 6 shillings

Felt hat

1 shilling

Pins - 2,000

1 s 6d

Making a lady's ruff


Stockings - silk, pair

1 - 15 - 0

Stockings - other

7d to 4 shillings

Gold weights - set

3s 10d

Sugar loaf (13lb 11 oz)

1 - 7 - 8

Powder sugar

1 shilling to 1s 1d

Wool cards

3d to 2 shillings

Starch - pound



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