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

On his travels Ian Mortimer explores various aspects of town and city life in the sixteenth century, including the markets, which drew so many people in from the surrounding countryside.

He also looks at how the Elizabethans tackled the problems of crime and disease, which were such a prominent feature of life for the urban poor.

Although life could be tough, he discovers that the introduction of the Elizabethan poor laws did go some way to alleviating the worst times.

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

Teacher Notes

Your pupils could compare crime and punishment in Elizabethan England to the present day.

This short film could be used to help pupils understand some of the reasons why disease spread so quickly in towns and cities, and what they did to try to stop the plague from taking hold.

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 rural poor in Elizabethan England?
Who were the rich in Elizabethan England?
Why was London the centre of the Elizabethan world?