The poor and attitudes to poverty

The Elizabethan era is associated with the wealth and luxury of the queen and her courtiers but life for ordinary people was often hard and the number of poor people increased during Elizabeth’s reign. Unlike now, there was no welfare system or support for anyone who fell on hard times. Poverty was mostly considered to be your own fault in Elizabethan times - the belief that you had a ‘divinely appointed’ position in society was reinforced every week at church and this attitude was widely held.

Pyramid structure of the Great chain of being