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The Tudor period is one of the most exciting eras in English history. Kids will first learn about the Tudor times in Year 3, and are bound to be fascinated by the Tudors.
The Tudor times lasted from 1485, the date of the Battle of Bosworth Field when the first Tudor monarch Henry VII gained the English throne, to 1603, when his childless granddaughter Elizabeth I died. Five monarchs ruled during the Tudor era. These are Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Tudor period is famous for its religious turmoil, political changes and cultural developments.
The lives of ordinary people during the Tudor times are also very interesting, and kids are sure to love discovering all about these cool Tudor jobs - whether they'd love to be a Tudor merchant or a wealthy courtier.
Why not check out this ultimate guide to Tudor jobs below to find out some Tudor facts for kids?
Lower Class Jobs In Tudor England
Most people in Tudor England had to work to pay their rent, and there were a lot of different jobs they could do. Children from poorer families often had to work as well.
Tudor Peasants who lived in the countryside were often farmers who grew food and raised cattle so they could sell their produce. This meant they could pay their rent to landowners who allowed peasants to farm on their land, and they sometimes paid in crops as well as cash. Peasants in the southeast of England usually cultivated crops and raised animals, while in the northwest animal farming alone was more common. Many peasants also spun wool at home to make some extra money.
During the Tudor times, mining also became an important job. Coal was mined in Northern areas such as Durham, while lead was mined in Southern areas like Kent.
Another job that ordinary Tudor people did was being a servant to wealthier people. There were many different types of servants. Women and girls could work as laundresses for a household or do domestic chores as a maid. Men and boys might be a personal servant to the master of the house. You could also be a cook. Many people were servants in the Tudor times. It was common to live in someone else's house as a servant until you had earned enough money to establish your own household, although some people were servants for life.
Middle Class Jobs: Tradesmen And Merchants
These Tudor jobs provided a comfortable income for a family.
In the Tudor times, people could also work in a trade, which means a job requiring special skills. Tradesmen were typically wealthier than peasant farmers and servants. Examples include being a cordwainer, who created leather shoes, a weaver who wove cloth for people to buy to make things like clothes or curtains or a mason, who built things from stone. You could also work as a tailor who made clothes, a barber who cut facial hair and hair or a 'smith'. Smiths constructed metal objects. One example of a smith is a goldsmith, who forged objects from gold.
To become a tradesman you had to be an apprentice to a master of the trade for seven years. Apprentices acted like assistants to their masters, and they did not get paid at all. However, completing an apprenticeship often meant a stable future job, and apprentices often lived in their master's homes, where they were looked after. Apprenticeships usually started when a boy was around the age of 11.
You could also be a merchant in Tudor England. Merchants exchanged goods with others, and during the Tudor period, cloth and wool was the main thing sold by English merchants. Merchants would exchange English cloth for goods sold by other merchants abroad. They would return to England to sell goods such as fine wine and expensive materials like silk. Antwerp in Belgium was one important area where English cloth was sold in exchange for other goods. You could become extremely wealthy as a merchant.
Did You Know? The cloth trade made up 90% of all English exports in the Tudor times.
Being a writer was another Tudor job. Writers in the Tudor times include playwright William Shakespeare and political writer Thomas More.
Upper Class Jobs In Tudor England
The wealthiest Tudors might also have jobs, although wealthy noblemen and gentry (lesser noblemen) would gain most of their income from owning land, which peasants had to pay to live and farm on. Many would stay at the royal court with the monarch of the day, where they acted as friends and advisors. They were called courtiers.
However, some of the wealthiest Tudors were important churchmen, such as major bishops and Archbishops. Often, the second sons of the gentry became churchmen, while the eldest son would inherit the family estate. Even though there were very strong class divisions in Tudor England, rising up the ranks in the Church meant even people of originally humble status could become wealthy and powerful.
Did You Know? One powerful Tudor churchman was called Cardinal Wolsey. He was the son of a butcher! Cardinal Wolsey was an important advisor to Henry VIII.
Being King or Queen was another job in the Tudor times. The monarch's job was to make important political decisions, such as whether to go to court.
Mia is a student from London who loves spending time with her family and two younger siblings. As a History student, she especially enjoys family days out to museums, and loved reading all about the past as a child. Her favourite historical book series as a child was The Lady Grace Mysteries by Patricia Finney. Mia also loves exploring London’s restaurants, theatres and parks, and finding new and exciting things to do in her local area.