The first Elizabethan age was far from splendid or romantic; in fact it was a time of debt, inflation, plagues, crop failures and famines.
Historians have written that many of the population were reduced to “a diet of acorns, sawdust, grass soaked in milk, and animal blood”.
Anxious to address that level of hardship, Parliament, in 1572, passed the Usury Act making it illegal to charge more than 10 per cent on a loan. Whither progress in this second Elizabethan era? Perhaps it is now time for the Coalition to revisit the ancient ideals when usury was seen a crime against the poor and needy?
I wonder what dish the celebrity chefs on Ready Steady Cook would make if a contestant brought acorns, sawdust, grass, milk and blood?