Early Elizabethan England – Causes of poverty

Hello and welcome, today we will be studying

What caused a growth in poverty during
Elizabethan England?

By 1558, the gap in provision for the poor and unemployed which had been left by the Dissolution of the Monasteries had become a crisis. The Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII had resulted in the closure of monasteries. Monasteries had been the main source of support for the poor. Nothing was set up to replace the.

Who were the poor?

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  1. What made people poor?
    Copy the diagram, it needs to have room for you to add notes around it.
    Think what might have made people poor in the Elizabethan period.
  2. Listen to the two BBC Teach extracts on the poor below
    Add to your diagram factors that made people poor.
    Link your reasons to specific group if you can i.e sick – can not work, no benefit system.

Elizabethans grouped the poor into two groups:

Deserving poor: These poor were people who were unable to work due to being ill, disabled or simply being too old. Elizabethan society was often sympathetic to these people.

Able bodied / idle poor / undeserving poor: These people were seen as lazy or people who avoided work. They were punished harshly.

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2) Return to your the diagram. Label the groups deserving poor and idle poor.

What caused poverty to grow during the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign, 1558-1588?

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3) Read the coloured cards below.
A – F core reasons.
G – I challenge.

a) List cards that explain short term factors, factors that happened immediately before an event – this might be a few hours, days or weeks.
b) List cards that explain long term factors, factors that existed for a long time before the event it could be years, decades or centuries before.

A) Population boom
The population of England increased by 1.2 million between 1551 and 1601.

B) Bad harvests in 1562, 1565, 1573 and 1590s.
Less crops increased food prices and led to food shortages.

C) Rent rises.
Landlords increased rents for land and homes especially in growing cities during Elizabeth I’s reign. People had less money for other necessities.

D) Inflation.
Food prices rose quicker than wages in the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign.

E) Enclosure.
Land, including common land, had been fenced off (enclosed) for sheep farming. Sheep farming required less employees than crop farming. Farm labourers lost their jobs.

F) Closure of monasteries, 1536-1541.
Henry VIII had closed monasteries which had helped the poor.

G) War.
War prevented trade during Elizabeth I’s reign which added to inflation.

H) Less jobs.
Changes in farming and a growing population decreased jobs.

I) Collapse in cloth trade during the 1550s.
Lots of people lost their jobs.

Click for an example
Challenge: Link cards to show how events impact on each other.

A) Population boom leads to more people seeking employment and B) Bad harvests reduces food and this has a greater impact because the population is increasing leds to D) Inflation is caused by raising demand and less food.

Have a go yourself start with I collapse in cloth trade during the 1550s.

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GCSE style Question

Explain why poverty increased between 1558 -1588.
[12 marks]

Image result for bug the question

* Explain 3 reasons
* No introduction
* PEEL paragraphs: start with a specific point and support using specific details

Click for PEEL paragraph advice

PEEL paragraphs will help you answer the question in a structured way.

POINT: make your point in one sentence. What caused poverty?
Population boom was the most important reason why poverty increased.

EVIDENCE: support your point with facts and examples.
Population boomed between 1551 – 1601 rising by 1.2 million.

EXPLAIN: how your evidence supports your point.
Population boom – more people want jobs – wages decline – greater demand for food – inflation.

LINK: back to the question.
Overall, …

Well done you have completed your learning today.

What to know more?
Grades 9- 7

Find out more poverty in Elizabethan England by reading this article. Use the information to add further detail to your examination response.

Watch this video to find out about the causes in more detail.