What were the main changes in terms of society and social class 1509-88?

  • Created by: f_grant
  • Created on: 19-05-19 14:01

What was the impact of population growth?

  • Euan Cameron - increase between 1500 and 1600 of 82.6% from 2.3 million to 4.2 million
  • 1520s and 1540s greatest points of growth - and 1561-86
  • Population rose 1% a year - most populated regions were Kent, Essex, East Anglia and South West
  • Growth not med by food supplies - rise in food prices
  • 90% of pop lived in rural areas - many moved to new towns to seek work
  • Bad harvests did not buck upwards trend despite 6% of population dying 1555-57 
  • Population grew due to better standards of living and stable social and economic conditions in Elizabeth's reign. 
    • Strained resources as state not equipped to deal with population growth - led to poverty and migration to towns.
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What was the impact of the Reformation?

  • Some sections of society benefitted:
    • Monarchy - Court of Augmentations set up to deal with vast sums taken in
    • Nobility and gentry bought new lands 
  • Imposed from above - concerned with money not religion -  PoG and Lincolnshire uprising 1536
  • Change of land ownership did not result in significant upheaval as new landlords hired former tenants to keep estates running
  • Abbots and priors who aquiesced given other church roles or pensions. Ordinary monks given small pensions, could also get other jobs
    • 7000 ex monks and nuns had to find new lives. Nuns and friars had smaller pensions, nuns could not break vows of chastity
  • Educational role not replaced. Schools and hospitals rarely restored.
  • Towns with tourist shrines also lost out 
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What was the impact of enclosures?

  • Increased tensions between social classes
  • Sheep a 'cash crop' due to importance of the wool trade
  • Poor relied on the use of common land and enclosures viewed as way for wealthier to exploit commodities for more proift at the expense of the masses
  • Led to rural depopulation
  • As the population increased, demand to keep fields for common use or arable farming rose but these were ignored. Landless and copyhold tenants suffered the most.
  • Government responses:
    • Thomas More 'Utopia' 1516 - criticised dangers of greed, enclosures and engrossing.
    • Wolsey issued commission into them 1517.
    • 1533 - Sheep and Farms Act tried to restrict a farmer to 2400 sheep
    • Edward VI reign - enclosure commissions established by Somerset 1548.
    • 1549 - Sheep tax introduced
    • Enclosures a cause of rebellion in East Anglia 1549
    • After 1551 less of an issue as cloth industry fell into decline and farmers turned to arable farming.
    • Improved living standards meant less need for scapegoat for poverty
  • Enclosures not the cause of poverty but did make things worse
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What was the impact of urbanisation?

  • 1500 - 10-12% of pop urban. 1600 - 22%
  • Henry VIII - Coventry, York, Canterbury, Ipswich, Leicester and Bristol in decline - affected by London's growth and development of cloth industries in smaller towns
    • Legislation ordered towns to rebuild derelict properties
  • Mary - fined £5 to those who set up a rural cloth business from 1556
  • Towns developed from 1550s when cloth business declined, as a result of new trade routes - York, Bristol, Exeter
  • Gentry families bought houses in new towns
  • Urbanisation highlighted vast differences between the rich and poor. Cities not able to cope - new workers lived in grim conditions
  • Plague wiped out 3000 in Norwich in 1579
  • Statute of Artifices 1563 - attempted to deal with unemployment, JPs ordered to set maximum wages in each county and regualte apprenticeships
  • Led to higher house prices and food shortages
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How and why did the professional classes grow?

Church - had to go to grammar school/ schools attached to monasteries to learn Latin - required for church roles. Priests didn't have to go to university. Some clerics could go to top of church hierarchy and teach at Oxbridge.

Law - growth in no of courts led to need for trained lawyers. Route to royal service. Had to go to Oxbridge and the Inns of Court. 1510-1569 - barristers 10-85. 1590 - 411. 1560 - 200 attorneys. 1606 - 1050. Lawyers also became MPs.

Medicine - Royal college of physicians founded 1518. Issued licenses and punished unqualified doctors. Doctors trained at Oxbridge. Social mobility - rise of gentry

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