The Rich

  • The rich ate some fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Foods that were unprepared was looked at as suspicious
  • They usually served fruits in pies.
  • Vegetables were served in stews and soups
  • Rape, onions, garlic, and leaks were put in Nobles Table.
  • Sometimes eating meat was banned on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Meat also banned on the religious season of Lent and Advent.

The Poor

  • Ate vegetables and fresh fruits
  • Foods that grow from the ground were considered poor people food.
  • Dairy products were eaten by the poor.
  • Nobles lacked Vitamin C, calcium, and fiber.
  • That led to bad teeth, skin diseases, scurvies and rickets.
  • In the Elizabethan era, foods were prepared in several ways, ( Split roasting, baking, smoking, salting, and fried)
  • Food preparation was mostly made in open fires
  • Pots, pans, skillets and cauldrons.
  • Recipes & Spice trade.
  • Foods at this time were changing fast.
  • New foods were being introduced: Potatoes, tomatoes, turkey.
  • Spices were really expensive so only the upper class residents were able to buy it.
  • The trading of spices was really important at the time.


  • Education was mainly for boys in their upper or middle level classes
  • There is a petty school which is for boys ages 5-7 and they are run in a house by an educated housewife
  • Children of noble birth were taught at home in the ages of 7-14 years by a tutor
  • Grammar school is the most common schooling for children in the Elizabethan era
  • In the ages 7-10 at grammar school they are taught by ushers, they are taught parts of speech, verbs, sentence, construction, English Latin translation
  • In the ages 10-14 they learned arithmetic, religious education and a bit of Greek
  • A typical week in the Elizabethan grammar school was, Monday: Exam based on Sundays sermon, Tuesday-Thursday: A basic
  • curriculum, Friday: Exams and punishments, Saturday: the study of catechism and arithmetic
  • Religion was very important in the Elizabethan era
  • The Elizabethan era only had 24 letters, ours today has 26, this is because the letters I and J were the same and the letters U and V were the same.
  • Boys at age 14 went to university.
  • The most popular universities were Cambridge and Oxford University.

Marriage and Family

  • The father was always the head of the house
  • It was considered foolish to marry just for “love” rather than money
  • People had arranged marriages to bring wealth into the family
  • Every woman was expected to get married
  • Woman were considered “property” of husbands
  • Woman were expected to bring “dowry” (an amount of money, property, and goods) to the family
  • Woman run households and provide for children
  • Woman obeyed men
  • Woman were raised to believe they are inferior to men and men knew everything
  • It was legal for men to marry at 14 and girls to marry at 12 (not common)
  • Major elements of family life were determined by whether the family was wealthy or poor
  • Wealthy kids were taught manners and would be severely punished for bad behaviour
  • People got married in the church they got baptised in
  • Every family (wealthy and poor) were expected to attend a protestant church service every Sunday
  • Infant mortality was high, so kids were cherished
  • The most common age to marry was 21 (for males)
  • Childbirth was considered dangerous, so abortions were common- took herbs and other dangerous physical activity to lose the baby
  • Families were very close with each other
  • People were judged/ranked depending on the type of clothing they wore
  • Wealthy families (houses) support 166 people

Elizabethan Era Fashion

  • During the Elizabethan era, fashion expressed who you were, what family or rank you are. It was split into Upper class fashion and lower class fashion. This had to be followed by everyone you couldn’t wear what you wanted. These rules were expressed through the Sumptuary Laws. These laws were used to control behavior, and maintain a certain class structure. Some of the rules were:
  • Only royalty was allowed to wear clothes that were trimmed with ermine
  • Lesser nobles had to wear clothes with fox and other trims.
  • Upper class citizens wore expensive clothes made of velvet (from Italy) , satin, furs, silks (imported from middle east), laces, cottons, and taffeta
  • Lower class citizens wore clothes only of basic material.

Elizabethan shoes

  • Boots (made of smooth/wrinkled leather, used for riding and walking)
  • Gamache ( a high boot)
  • Buskins ( calf-length shoes/ boots)
  • Startups (leather shoes worn as protective coverings for outdoor use)
  • Pumps (light or single soled slip-on shoes)
  • Chopines /Chapines (slip-on overshoes made of wood & covered with leather
  • Clogs (outdoor wooden shoes)
  • Corked shoes (a wedge of cork between the foot and sole)
  • Galoche ( Protective overshoe)
  • Pinsone/ Pinsent ( a delicate shoe)
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


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