Elizabethean Culture Project

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by ghuddleston
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
European history

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Elizabethean Culture Project

Elizabethan England consisted of 3 social classes: upper class (nobility), middle class (the Gentry), and lower class. The nobility (upper class) traditionally had power and money. They were recognized for their status and were more likely to socialize with people like the queen than people in alehouses. The Gentry were a major part of the middle class. They were moving upward in society, and many had more money than the nobility. During Elizabeth's reign, the Gentry built luxurious homes and ran the country more than the nobles. The lower class consisted of everyone else. They were extremely poor--an average pay for one day's work of labor was 1 groat, or 4 pence. They were spread among towns and the countryside, and they made up the largest social class. Many people in the lower class could barely afford food for their families, much less the extravagant clothing, homes, and gatherings like the middle and upper classes.

Animal Cruelty

Punishment for even the smallest of crimes was death. Most of the time, convicted criminals were hung. However, major crimes required major punishment. Traitors suffered the terrible fate of being hung til near death, having their entrials cut out (leaving the major organs so the person could live through the ordeal) and burned in front of them, and finally drawn and quartered. Other criminals, such as Catholics, were often tourtured.

Animal cruelty was a common passtime in Elizabethan England. Bear baiting was a "sport" in which a bear was time to a stake by a rope and forced to defend themselves against violent attacks by mastifs. The dogs were considered winners if the bear was killed and losers if the were disabled by the bear or refused to attack. Sometimes, monkeys were placed on horses and forced to outrun packs of dogs.


Plague was a major concern, and there was no cure for it. If infected, the person, their family, and any servants would be boarded up in the home for no less than 6 weeks. Anyone still alive and not yet sick may be allowed out after that point. Hygiene was also an issue. Believing the body had "humors" that caused illness when unbalanced, few people showered or cleansed themselves. Medicine was also primal, and few remedies worked.


Clothing was meant to denote status, so each classha very distinct fashion. Laws known as sumptuary laws were designed to keep each status in its appropriate clothing. While these laws were difficult to enforce, they did emphasise the importance of knowing someone's status at first glace. Fashion also changed and eveloved during Elizabeth's reign, and it was important to stay up-to-date on the lastest trends.

Elizabethan Culture Project




In Elizabethan England, there was a huge divide in religious practices. The queen was the head of the Anglican church, and the English people were expected to pratice this faith. However, Catholics stilllived in some abundance in England, and Catholics that were caught praticing could face punishments as severe as death. Puritans were an offshoot of Anglicans, and they strived to rid to Anglican church of anything resembling Catholic teachings. The Puritans and Catholics fought often and caused division among the English people.


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