Lifestyles of Rich and Poor
Rich Lifestyles in the Elizabethan Age
- Nobility and wealthy merchants made up the rich in Elizabethan England. They often lived in large, comfortable houses in the city or country estates.
- Income sources were various, including rents from landownership, trade profits, court positions, and allowances from the Crown.
- Rich Elizabethans had a wide variety of foods available, with meat, fish, dairy, and a range of fruits and vegetables.
- Entertainment was vast and included music, theatre, gambling, falconry, and attending the Court. They would also host lavish parties and feasts.
- Many rich Elizabethans were patrons of the arts, sponsoring playwrights, musicians, and artists.
- The rich were expected to display their wealth through extravagant clothing, made of expensive materials like silk and velvet, often adorned with jewels.
- They had access to education, which was usually provided by private tutors. Education included Latin, Greek, history, mathematics, and etiquette.
Poor Lifestyles in the Elizabethan Age
- The poor included labourers, servants, and vagrants. Many lived in small, cramped houses, or had no home at all.
- They had limited income resources, often made from low paying jobs or begging on the streets.
- Their diet was far less varied than the rich. It was often dominated by bread, cheese, and vegetables, with meat being a rare luxury.
- Their options for leisure activities were limited. They involved simple games, storytelling, and occasional visits to public plays.
- Clothing for the poor was functional, made from cheap materials like wool or leather, and usually handed down or mended until it could no longer be used.
- Only a small fraction of poor Elizabethans were literate, and formal education was pretty much non-existent among the lower classes.
- The Poor Laws of 1597 and 1601 were introduced to help deal with poverty. Local parishes were made responsible for looking after their poor, funded by a local tax.