Jobs and Occupations of Elizabethan EnglandMichael Sylvester

Any time you hear about the Elizabethan Era you are hearing about the years 1550-1650. This time period gave birth to many modern day ideas. It started the creation of modern eduacation, religion, and many other things. One of these is modern day occupations and bussinesses. In Elizabethan England you could recive on the job training you would recive at a trade school as a apprentice, the guilds of those days are much like modern day companies, and many jobs from this time are similir to what we have today.



Now a days if you want to get on the job training you go to a trade school. In Elizabethan England on the job training was one of the only ways to learn. When you were going to learn and become part of a trade you were sent to a master of the trade and became his apprentice. As an apprentice you had to do what ever your master said whenever he told you to do it (Olsen 522). In return your master would provide modest clothing, a room, food, and all the information you would need in the trade (522). A usual apprenticeship lasted for about seven years (522). However only a few apprentices lasted that long. Many became fed up with their masters and ran away from their masters (522). When a child completed his seven years he became a journeyman, and eventually a master, much like graduating trade school.


Modern day companies bear a strong resemblance to the guilds of the 1500s. Companies today decide which people work in their field, who sells what, and which people work where. Guilds were very similar. In Elizabethan England there were guilds to represent all of the major trades of the cities such as merchants, blacksmiths, and weavers. The guilds decided everything in their trade. They decided which people could opperate in that practice, how much the workers could charge for a product and even who they could do bussiness with (Andrews 170). They also had total control of apprecticeships. They set up the terms of the apprenticeships such as how long a child was in service, who was sent to which master, and things of that nature (Olsen 522).

Today when you walk down a street you can expect to see bakers, department stores, supermarkets, and family owned bussinesses. In the 1500 you would see almost everything but the department stores and supermarkets. You would however see weavers, bakers, tradesmen, and blacksmiths and almost all of them were family owned and operated. If you did not hold a job like that and lived in the city, you offered differnt services. "Professions would vary from a simple task of catching a rabbit to working with the queen" (Elizabethan England Occupations). You could be a night watch (Dodd 44) a chimney sweep, a town crier who would shout out the time of day, a cartman, among other things (Olsen 522). If you became a solider, life was very difficult. You hardly ever got the money promised to you or the amount of food. You were however given permission to beg without being whipped ().

In the end occupations are one of the many things passed to us from Elizabethan England. You can see influences of this era everywhere you look. It has all been made more efficient but the basic ideas are all the same.