View Full Version : Daily activities for youth of Elizabethan England

04-07-2009, 01:08 AM
I'm writing a YA story, and it goes back and forth from present day U.S.A. to Elizabethan England.

Can you think of day to day activities/vocabulary that would authenticate the descriptions of the life of the girl in England?

For example, what might an average family have for breakfast/lunch/dinner? What would the kids study? What games might they play? etc.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Everybody have a good evening!

04-07-2009, 01:41 AM
Are we talking aristocracy, middle class or peasants?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
04-07-2009, 01:48 AM
This site may help. (http://elizabethan.org/compendium/home.html)

04-07-2009, 01:50 AM
a poor or middle class youth would probably spend most of the day working, while an upper class youth would probably study. Since this is pre-industrialization, the work would probably not be too horrific, most likely they'd work alongside their parents in the family shop or farm. Unless he's part of the urban poor, which would probably mean harsher working conditions for a (small) wage. Picking oakum was an ever popular low income boy's occupation.

04-07-2009, 02:18 AM
Are we talking aristocracy, middle class or peasants?

Middle class, (as of right now, I'm only about 2000 words in and I may change that up).

04-07-2009, 02:34 AM
For a girl it would be all about preparing her for a good marriage. What age girl are we talking about? They married them off young in those days so anything much above 14 and she's married or engaged.

Saint Fool
04-07-2009, 02:56 AM
You've got some serious research ahead of you. From my bookmarks, here are three good resources for you:


http://www.bardweb.net/index.html - there's an excellent section on Elizabethan life. And make sure that you check out the "library


There's also a list of sources on the historical forum that will also be helpful to you.

Although Elizabeth sat on the throne, women had few rights. They did not attend school but were educated inside the home.

The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that childhood was short. By the age of 6 or 7 children were considered to be adults. The concept of being a tweener or a teenager would have been completely alien to the Elizabethans.

Hope this helps.

04-07-2009, 03:46 AM
I think you mean that children started to work at 6 or 7, rather than were considered adults.

04-07-2009, 03:52 AM
I'm thinking that was when children were considered to have reached "the age of reason", meaning they were fully formed people. Before that, not so much.

I may, of course, be quite wrong, but that's how I understood it to be.

04-07-2009, 05:15 AM
Thanks everybody!

Waylander, I had not thought of incorporating marriage into the story at all. Now I may have to start all over!

Sarpedon, Cranky, and St. Fool now I may have to put my character to work too.

She might end up being a married, working gal! So much for childhood.

04-07-2009, 12:59 PM
If she married she'd be expected to be producing children in pretty short order. No such thing as contraception then