"The Wife of Bath's Tale" is set in the time of King Arthur's reign in England. Since there are no reliable historical sources that document a King Arthur who ruled at any time in England, scholars can't pinpoint a definitive year in which "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is set. Speculation ranges from as early as the 5th or 6th century CE to potentially as late as the 10th century CE.

"The Wife of Bath's Tale" is contained in "The Canterbury Tales," a collection of 24 stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer. "The Canterbury Tales" was begun in the 1380s, but was never completed. Accordingly, "The Wife of Bath's Tale" must be set in a time prior to Chaucer's death in 1400.