Tudor Society

Social Groups and the Problem of Poverty

Lesson Objectives

1. Investigate social groups in Tudor England
2. Investigate and analyse the problem of poverty in Tudor England
3. Evaluate the Elizabethan Poor Law

Complete the exercise then copy into Word and print
After the class discussion test what you have learnt using the Hoop Shoot and Penalty Shoot out game
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The Church
During the Tudor period the church was very , owning large amounts of land. The people were very religious and attended church services. The church was able to control people's lives by preaching what they wanted them to believe. During the reign of Henry VIII the church became less powerful as Henry made himself of the church, dissolved the and confiscated their land. Archbishops Archbishops were very powerful. They owned large amounts of land and were very rich. They were able to influence the King or Queen and played a part in the government of the country. After the Reformation, Archbishops only remained powerful if they supported the . Bishops The Bishops of the most important churches were rich and powerful, playing a part in the government of the country. After the Reformation they only remained in position if they supported their monarch. Clergymen Clergymen were poorly but were highly respected members of the community that they served. As well as delivering church services they were responsible for the of those members of the community that could afford to pay, for visiting the sick and counselling the bereaved.

The Rich
The King or Queen The Tudor monarch was at the head of the social system. He or she was the person in the land, owning vast amounts of land and many palaces. Both rich and poor alike were bound to serve their monarch, failure to do so often resulted in . The monarch made all the laws of the land and although there was a court system, few judges would dare to pass judgement against the King's wishes. Gentlemen Gentlemen were born rich and came from families with - Barons, Earls and Dukes. Most owned large country estates and were often given important positions in . The Monarch would visit his most notable subjects when he or she went on a progress (tour of the land) and they would be expected to provide board and lodging for the King and his court. Sometimes this could be as many as 300 persons. Yeomen and Citizens Both yeomen and citizens were fairly men. They were not born members of the gentry, but were rich enough to own their own houses and employ servants. Yeomen either owned or rented land from which they farmed. They were successful farmers and were rich enough to be able to afford labourers to do the heavy farming jobs for them. Citizens lived in the . They were rich merchants and craftsmen.
Elizabeth I

The Poor
Labourers Labourers worked for or citizens and were paid a wage for their work. Labourers were employed to do the heavy back-breaking jobs on the farms or in the craft shops. In 1515 an act was passed which fixed a labourers wage at 3d per day for winter months and 4d per day for summer months with bonuses to be paid at time. A labourer could expect to work from sunrise to sunset in the winter and from sunrise to early evening in the summer. Sundays and major saint's days were free. Skilled artisans were to be paid 5d per day during the winter and 6d for summer days. Vagrants/Beggars These formed the lowest and section of the Tudor social system. They did not work and therefore earned no . They were forced to beg on the streets for money or food. In 1536 laws were introduced that punished those who could work but chose not to ( poor). The Church helped those who were unable to work due to ill health or disability.

How Tudor Governments Reacted to the Problem of Poverty

In 1552 Parish of poor were introduced. This meant that there was now an official register of poor in a parish.

In 1563 Justices of the Peace were given the power to raise funds to support the poor. Categories were also drawn up for the different types of poor and that were found on the streets.
Deserving Poor - This category was for those people who wanted to work but were unable to find suitable employment. These people were to be given in the form of clothes, food or maybe money. (Outdoor Relief)
Or Those who were too old, young or ill to work. These people were to be looked after in almshouses, orphanages, or hospitals. Orphans and children of the poor were to be given an apprenticeship to a tradesman. (Indoor Relief)

Undeserving Poor - Also called idle beggars or sturdy beggars, this category was for those who could work but chose not to. They were to be through the town until they learnt the error of their ways.
In 1572 it was made compulsory that all people pay a local poor . The funds raised were to help the deserving poor.
In 1597 It was made law that every district have an Overseer of the Poor. The overseer had to do the following things:
work out how much money would be needed for the numbers of poor in that district and set the poor rate accordingly
the poor rate from property owners
relieve the poor by dispensing either food or money
supervise the parish poor-house
In 1601 An act of Parliament called The Poor Law was passed by . The Act brought together all the measures listed above into one legal document.

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