History KS3: What was life like for the rural poor in Elizabethan England?

Through a journey back in time, we discover that for many Elizabethans living in the countryside life could be very harsh.

Ian Mortimer visits a reconstructed Elizabethan thatched cottage to experience the living conditions for himself.

Inside it is very basic and its inhabitants would have had few possessions.

Society was strictly divided by class, and these people were among the poorest.

They would have earned a meagre living by labouring on nearby farms.

Without growing some of their own food and making their own clothes, life would have been a real struggle for survival.

This short film is from the BBC series, Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used as a starting point for pupils to do further research into what life was like in Elizabethan rural England.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching history at Key Stage 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at Level 3 in Scotland.

More from Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England:

To what extent was life changing in Elizabethan England?
What was life like in the court of Elizabeth I?
What was life like for the poor in the towns of Elizabethan England?
Who were the rich in Elizabethan England?
Why was London the centre of the Elizabethan world?