Earning Your Keep in the Tudor Times

Working life in the Tudor times was far from easy…

How would you like to spend your days hunting game or relaxing in your home, whilst teams of other people work off the land that you own and pay you rent?

This is the kind of existence that well-to-do men and women could look forward to on a day-to-day basis; ordering their servants about, whilst the land surrounding their safe, warm home was worked by peasants. There were, of course, plenty of administrative jobs in major cities, working for solicitors, the church or the government, but this kind of work often required a university education which cost a great deal and required a certain social standing…

Whilst the Tudor times were by no meansĀ easy for any level of it’s rigid class system, the poor arguably had the worst ride. With no welfare system to rely on and a worrying lack of civil rights, the poor had to work their hands to the bone in order to scrape together the most meagre of existences for themselves and their families.

Still – it was possible to work in these times, earn a living and pass down what little you have to your offspring, all that was required of you was a job. These Tudor occupations were undertaken by those of a lowly-class, they paid enough in food or coin to keep a family fed but always hungry:

Farmer of Land

As a peasant farmer you were perhaps in the most stable of occupations, you would have a lease on a stretch of land which you’d farm, often with the aid of your family. Work would begin at the crack of dawn and would continue until sundown, a farmer’s livelihood depended on his farming skills, if he could not grow enough crops he would not be able to pay his rent and would be forced off his land.

Gong Farmer

The Tudor times were not what you’d describe as a clean time. Personal hygiene was less about physically cleaning oneself and more about wearing clean clothes – a job that was nigh on impossible for the town’s Gong Farmer. As far as BBQ cleaning business opportunities go this was the lowest of the low, the job involved shovelling the animal (and human!) manure from the open sewers of the streets.

Water Carrier

Before the advent of plumbing and a centralised water system, the role of a water carrier was a vital one. During the Tudor times, water was both a life-giver and taker. The Tudors knew that they needed it to survive but it also often brought them illness and disease. A supply of fresh, clean water was much coveted and hard to come by. A fit, motivated water carrier could make a solid living by ferrying water day in-day out.

Cloth Weaver

Despite the rustic nature of their attire, clothing was still important to the Tudors. Just like today, there were many highly-prized designers who were sought after for their elaborate creations. These designers sometimes created the clothes themselves but often, just like today, the manual labour was performed by skilled yet underpaid workers. A job as a weaver meant that you could work indoors, but often entailed long working hours.