History KS3: Who were the rich in Elizabethan England?

Ian Mortimer discovers an emerging new class of people who were becoming very wealthy in their own right.

They were known as the landed gentry and held positions of increasing influence, such as magistrates, sheriffs and MPs.

On his travels he explores the everyday lives of the gentry, including their homes, hygiene and travel.

While they were comfortably well off, they also had a lot to lose.

Elizabeth I demanded absolute loyalty from her subjects and had an extensive spy network designed at uncovering her enemies.

Once discovered, she showed no mercy as her cousin Mary Queen of Scots and the Babington plotters discovered to their cost.

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

Teacher Notes

Pupils could use this resource as a starting point for their own research into the life of the gentry in Elizabethan England.

They could use additional sources to consider the controversy about the extent of Mary’s involvement in plots to assassinate Elizabeth I, and whether she should have been executed.

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?
What was life like for the poor in the towns of Elizabethan England?
Why was London the centre of the Elizabethan world?