The reign of Queen Elizabeth I was the golden age in English history and it is also the time of Renaissance in this country. The Elizabethan period is usually associated with the rich nobles dressed in embroidered clothes and their extravagant living in grand palaces. However, famous Elizabethans we know from period dramas made up a very small part of the erstwhile society. The majority of the population consisted of poor peasants and vagrants.
The sixteenth century loomed the growth of cities and towns. People moved to cities which promised them a better living because of the developing cloth industry and other trades. However, rather few country people experienced prosperity of their new residence because there were few jobs for unskilled workers. The luckiest of the peasants had a job but still could barely earn a living, and the rest of migrants became jobless. London was a perfect example of the division between powerful nobles and the lower class which could barely combat starvation. Diseases, crime, and prostitution were widespread in the city streets. Vagrants who accelerated petty crimes were in excess. Besides, there was no sanitation so that sewage ran through the streets. Few people in Elizabethan era could live a long life and the average lifespan of the poor people was even less than 40 years.
Education in Elizabethan England came down to petty schools. These were classes given by an educated woman (usually the wife of a noble) at her home. At petty schools, children aged five to seven years old learned to read and write in English as well as to behave properly. Children from seven to fourteen years old attended grammar schools where they learned how to read and write in Latin. In the sixteenth century, more middle-class boys attended universities where they studied arts and sciences.