Growing up in Tudor Times A time before teenagers

Many people born in Tudor Times did not survive childhood. Perhaps 25% of children died before their 5th birthday and as many as 40% died before their 16th birthday. Childbirth was also dangerous for Tudor women and many mothers died.

When a child was born it was washed in warm water and then to keep it warm it was rubbed with butter or rose oil. The baby was then swaddled (wrapped in cloths like bandages). Normally the baby was baptized within a few days because the risk of it dying was so high.



Look at the cartoon of life in an Elizabethan school and using your own research.

Make a list of differences and similarities between an Elizabethan school day and your school day.


Wealthy Children Entertainment


The most popular sport for wealthy boys was hunting. Most noblemen took it in turns to arrange hunting parties on their estates, and their sons joined in as soon as they were able to ride. Animals that were hunted included; wild boars, hares and deer. Foxes were not hunted for pleasure. They were merely regarded as vermin and either trapped or shot.

Artist representation of the hunt


After hunting the most popular sport among wealthy boys was hawking or falconry. Poor boys were not able to take part, because the falcons were too expensive to breed and train. Even when they were trained, the falcons still needed a great deal of time and skill to be spent on them, and wealthy people nearly always employed professional falconers. The aim of hawking was to use the falcons to catch other birds.


In the early part of the Tudor period tennis became popular among rich young men. It was always played indoors on specially constructed tennis courts. In later Tudor times tennis was occasionally played out of doors. But it was still only played by the wealthy, who could afford all the equipment. Girls never played. Why not?

Poor Children entertainment


Football was the most popular game with poor boys growing up in the Tudor times. This was a much rougher game in Tudor times than it is today. There were few rules, no lines and no limit to the number of players in a team. Sometimes the players had their necks broken, sometimes their backs and sometimes their legs.

Boys playing football at Grammar School


The object of hurling was to get a ball across open land into the opponent’s goal by any means possible. The ball would be 'boiled in tallow' to make it more slippery. This could mean cheating, fighting, and in some cases using a horse to get an advantage over the opponent. Players would get seriously hurt playing, as was expected. It is surprising that such a violent sport could withstand the test of time. This sport evolved into rugby, which is only slightly less brutal.

But what about girls? What did they do?

Poor girls were generally expected to be at home helping with the chores and taking care of younger children. Girls were generally married off from the age of 14. They did not really have much time for fun and games. If they had attended school and their family had a little money they might read or knit as a past time.

Wealthy girls led a completely different life. They had big expectations on them from their families that they would marry well and be the perfect submissive wife. Until they were married they would basically be trained on how to be a good wife and how to run a house hold. Their entertainment might consist of dancing, playing a musical instrument or reading. They would also make social calls to other wealthy ladies.

Girls in Tudor times led very restricted lives and did not have the same freedoms as boys.


Complete a compare and contrast graphic organizer showing the differences and similarities between children's entertainment from Tudor Times and today. See if you can come up with at least 5 differences and 5 similarities.

Growing Up

Seven was a key early stage for children. Until then, boys were very much in the care of their mothers, dressed and treated the same as girls. From their seventh birthday onwards, their masculinity was asserted, their clothing changed and they entered male company more frequently. Poorer children were expected to work at this age

The next stage was around twelve, when girls could be considered of marriageable age, rising to fourteen for boys.

Fourteen was also the traditional age for apprenticeships and service to begin. Boys and girls could be bound to a master and learn a trade for the next seven years, being sent away from home and working long hours, sometimes for little food or recompense. They had to follow strict rules of conduct or face dismissal and punishment.

At these 3 ages what were you doing? Discuss with a person sitting near you.


Write a paragraph that discusses the following statement, use evidence to support your argument.

'Tudor children grew up with more restrictions than children have today'

Tudor's on Facebook

Your task is to create a facebook profile imagining you are a 12 year old Tudor child wealthy or poor. Use the information you have learnt in class as well as your own research to help build a facebook profile. The aim of this is to see how a child of the 16th Century would fit into modern social media. Your profile will need to reflect the traditions and times of Tudor England. Make sure to include: Profile pic, 3 status updates- 1 about food, 1 about your outfit and 1 about school, who would you be friends with, your DOB and who your family is.


Use this link to get your started:

Once finished send a link to your teacher. If the link wont save, get a screen shot and email it.,

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