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The Elizabethan Era Children in England

The Children of Elizabethan England

Back in the days of old Elizabethan England, little boys are often dressed in skirts, which were called “doublets” back then, similar to what his sister wore. But between the ages of 3 and 7 he gets his first pair of breech hose or breeches, but this depends on the assessment of his nurse and parents.

Breeching was an event celebrated with a party; it is a time when the young boy becomes a young man. There were many beliefs for children during the Elizabethan era in England. Like their belief an infant must be wrapped in swaddling bands during the first 6 to 12 months of its life, this is because they believed that letting them use their limbs was unhealthy.

The Children of Elizabethan England

Back in those days, the social classes were distinctly divided. The poor were divided into three groups. The first group, referred to as the Helpless Poor included the old, sick, the disabled the children of Elizabethan England. The children included in this social class were given apprenticeships which were often paid for the parish church.

The parish expects to benefit from this child when they have learned the skill. Boys were often apprenticed by their master until they reach 24 years old. On the other hand, the girls who were lucky to get an apprenticeship would often work with the mistress who took her under her wing until she reaches the age of 21.

Family Life in the Elizabethan Era

But the richer children of Elizabethan England didn’t have to bother themselves with getting apprenticeships. They were more interested in who gets the bigger inheritance. During those times being the oldest son in a rich family is considered both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in such a way that you inherit everything from land to the family title and a curse because when I say you inherit everything,

I meant everything including your family’s debts. The simply rule here is male primogeniture. Even if the eldest child is a girl, the oldest son still gets everything. A bit unfair, yes, but that’s how things were back then. Although there have been occasions, though very rare, when a title and land was passed onto a female in the family line.

Education for Children in Elizabethan era
Education for Children in Elizabethan era

The children of Elizabethan England, at least those who can afford it, went to school in a way that is very different from how we do it now. Back then, only boys went to school while girl’s stayed and studied at home. Noble children, of course, were home schooled and had their very own private tutors. School days differ during the summer and the winter seasons too. School begins at 7:00 am in the winter and 6:00 am during summer.

Children of Elizabethan England

Petty schools are small elementary level schools which is similar to the “dame schools” prevalent during the colonial days. Petty schools are often run by young wives who teach the children in her own house in exchange for a small fee. Children can learn how to read and write in English as well as do sums but the basic idea is for the child to get into grammar school.

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