Why were people poor in Tudor times?
In 1577, William Harrison, a church minister, wrote a book called ‘Description of England’. In it he describes four types of people living in Tudor England. ‘We in England divide our people commonly into four sorts.’ The first are gentlemen, which covers everyone from nobles to professionals; next come the citizens of the cities, who are free men with special privileges; next come the yeomen of the countryside; and finally the poor – farm workers, servants and vagrants, who have ‘neither voice nor authority’. It was often hard for the poor to afford things, since the cost of living kept going up. Life got harder when there was a bad harvest or when the disease of plague struck. There were not often enough jobs because the population was growing fast. Helping the poor – Poor Laws During the reign of Elizabeth l, many laws were passed to help the poor. 1563 — Justices of the Peace were given powers to raise compulsory funds for the relief of the poor. The poor were put into different cat