English Protestants believed that it was important for lay believers to read the Bible , and endowing schools with money considered a moral duty . Many schools were founded between the reign of Elizabeth I’s brother , Edward VI at the end of the 16th century . These were mainly grammar schools , and there were two types : public grammar schools , which were given money by a wealthy or even noble patron to teach both rich and poor boys (not girls) ;and private grammar schools which charget the boys’ parents a fee for education . All grammar schools taught Latin and sometimes Greek .
Although education was more widely available by Elizabeth’s reign , it was still limited to boys and men ; nonetheless , only two out of every ten men were to sign their names in the 1550s . It is quite common to find documents from the 16th century where individuals have made their “mark” , a sign or symbol written instead of a signature . Education usually depended upon a person’s social group . Labourers were illiterate , but merchants were generally better educated .
Gentlemen were usually literate , and often had the opportunity of attending one of England’s two universities , Oxford and Cambridge , where they could study classical literature , theology , philosophy , medicine , and law . Out of the whole of England’s population , perhaps 4,000 men were studying at Oxford and Cambridge at the end of Elizabeth’s reign .The sons of gentlemen could also study law at one of the Inns of Court in London , where the training could prepare them to be a lawyer in one of the law of the courts or , like William Cecil , 1st Baron Burghley for a career in royal service .
Elizabethan England did not have as many printing presses as some of the European countries , but the industry was a growing business . “Chapmen” , or wandering pedlars , sold “chapbooks” of popular stories and ballads to poorer social groups . Gentlemen could afford more expensive books , often the classical authors such as Livy , Tacitus and Aristotle . Religious books were popular and allowed English Protestants to read works by Martin Luther or John Calvin .
Culture and Entertainment
Elizabethan Style , in English art , is a period between the Gothic and Renaissance style . It reached its apogee in the late 1500s , towards the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I , and is often considered the last phrase of the long- lasting of Tudor style . Althought the Elizabethan age produced a certain amount of characteristic sculpture (particularly tomb sculpture) and painting (such as Nicholas Hilliard’s miniature portraits) , the Elizabethan style can be see in the period’s arhitecture – both in the great country houses of the nobility and in the timbered town houses of merchans and tradespeople .
The entertainments enjoyed by groups in Elizabethan society depended on wealth and literacy . Some of their recreational pursuits seem particulary cruel by modern standards : bullbaiting and bearbaiting , were the animals were fought and eventually killed by dogs , were popular and so , too , was cockfighting . Taverns , playhouses , and bowling alleys were all places in which townspeople could entertain themselves . Gambling with cadrs and dice , real tennis , and bowls were forbidden by law , but this did not limit their popularity .
Theatres , too , were popular , with standing room for poorer subjects and expensive seats for merchants and gentry . Elizabethan England saw the beginning of a golden age of theatre . Playwrights and actors such as William Shakespeare , Ben Jonson wrote and acted histories , tragedies , comedies for theatres such as the Globe Theatre in London , abetted by lesser talents such as Thomas Nashe , Thomas Dekker , John Lyly , T. Kid , etc . Courties patronized their own groups of actors , and these often performed at court for Elizabeth . Sometimes , courtiers , like Sir Walter Raleigh wrote poetry to practice their skills and compliment the Queen .
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