The Poor in Elizabethan England - Causes of Poverty

  • Created by: Midsummer
  • Created on: 24-03-20 10:15

Increasing Population

  • The population grew from 2.8 million to 4 million, as a result of a decreasing death rate and an increasing birth rate
  • This meant there wasn't enough jobs or food for everyone, resulting in an increase in people living in poverty because people didn't have money and food prices increased
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Economic Problems (Inflation)

  • There were several bad harvests, so there was less food
  • As a result, traders increased food prices and many couldn't afford it
  • Henry VIII debased coins (mixing in cheap metal when making coins so they could be made cheaper), which also resulted in traders increasing the cost of goods because coins had less value than before
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Space for Living

  • Population increase also meant there was less space for people to live
  • As a result, landlords dramatically increased the price of rent
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Closing monasteries

  • Henry VIII dissolved and closed down all monasteries in England
  • Monasteries were places where the poor could go for help (eg. for food and shelter), so the poor lost this support and people working in monasteries lost their jobs, causing further unemployment
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Issues in Agriculture

  • Bad harvests in 1594 and 1598 lead to food shortages, causing an increase in food prices
  • More landowners began to keep sheep rather than grow crops, due to the growing wool trade
  • As a result, less workers were needed than before and less land was rented to people to grow crops. People were left unemployed and unable to feed their families
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