information about how Elizabeth dealt with the poor **

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  • Created on: 21-05-10 08:41
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How did Elizabeth deal with the problems of poor people and beggars?
At this time there was no unemployment pay or sickness benefit at the time. There were also no pensions for
old people. If people didn't work they would starve so they would have to do one or the other. Most people could
not find work so they took to the streets. They then became tramps and begged for food. The Tudors named
these people vagabonds. During the 16th century the situation got worse. Henry VIII had closed the
monasteries, which had helped to look after to poor!
Many landowners stopped growing crops altogether. There was a immense demand for wool, so they took up
sheep-farming instead.
This meant fewer jobs! Some labours had to leave their manors and look for work elsewhere.
Prices were going up faster than wages and people discovered that their pay did not buy as much as it used to.
So the poor were getting poorer.
There were so many of them that there were different special names for vagabonds that made their living in a
different way.
Angler ­ They spend their days begging and loafing round the streets of towns carrying a long wooden stick
which was then used to hook clothes off of peoples washing lines.
Clapperdudgeon- These people rip their skin off and tie old dirty rags to their wounds to make the
bleeding visible.
How did Elizabeth deal with the problems of poor people and beggars?
Some vagabonds were sick or too old to work. Rogues were another type of beggar. They were fit to work but
found that begging and stealing was an easier way of life. Rogues and Vagabonds were one of Elizabeth's
biggest problems. Often people called them sturdy beggars.
One writer reckoned that there were over 10 000 of them out of a population of less than five million. Gangs
of them roamed the country, also sleeping very rough on streets and terrorising lots of people in lots of towns
and Villages.
Wandering beggars who appeared to be healthy were punished cruelly. They were called vagrants or
There was no unemployment in Elizabeth's time ­ nor was there any sick benefit. Also there were no pensions
for the old. Every one had to either work or starve. Many people took to the streets because of the lack of work.
They were tramps and often begged for food. Tudors called them vagabonds. It grew worse during the
sixteenth century. Henry the V11 closed the monasteries that looked after the poor. There were lots of them,
each with special names.
The "angler" spent his time begging around a rich town with a long wooden staff. He fixed a hook to his
staff and stole clothes that were hung out on washing lines. The" clapperdudgeon" tied rags to his skin and
put salt on himself to make himself bleed.


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