Shakespeare. Elizabethan Time Social Classes

During the Elizabethan times there were four main social classes underneath god and the monarchs. There was the Nobility, the Gentry,  the Yeoman and the Poor.

The Nobility. In the Elizabethan times there were 55 noble families which could each support over 150 people. A person could become noble in two ways, one being birth rights(being born into a noble family) and secondly being made noble by grant by the king or queen of the time. Noble titles are hereditary passing from father to oldest son. A noble could lose his/her nobility by committing a serious crime such as treason.


The  Gentry. 5% of the population were classed as Gentry in the Elizabethan times, Gentry were people such as knights, squires, gentlemen and gentlewoman who did not work with their hands for a living. They weren’t born noble but became gentry through wealth and owning properties, some being bought bit by bit over generations. The upper gentry lived like nobles(flash houses, horses and had hundreds of servants).

The Yeomanry. They were between the rich and the poor, they earned and saved enough money to live comfortably but through sickness or bad luck could be into poverty. They were people like farmers, tradesmen, craft workers. They took apprentices, took religion very seriously and usually are literate. Their money could sometimes exceed that plunged of the gentry but the difference was how they spent it. They used it to improve lands/expand it where as the gentry lived like lords building great houses and having unnecessary luxuries.

The Poor. They had little money and lived in poverty and sickness during queen Elizabeth’s time they were not cared for by the churches. They poor made goods such as candles, soap or rope which they could exchange for clean water, a place to sleep or food to survive.

To change social classes you must have sufficient wealth, properties and respect. You must also spend your wealth in a way that fits the social class.

Th social classes decided what you could wear and what events you were welcome to. it also decided what jobs your children could get.


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