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Shakespeare’s culture, society, and town life. By: Kelly McHugh Nicole Campbell Skyler Smith Tyler Forman Maria Pfister. Shakespeare’s culture. Shakespeare’s time was during the middle ages so most goods were sent by water.

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shakespeare s culture society and town life

Shakespeare’s culture, society, and town life

By: Kelly McHugh

Nicole Campbell

Skyler Smith

Tyler Forman

Maria Pfister

shakespeare s culture
Shakespeare’s culture
  • Shakespeare’s time was during the middle ages so most goods were sent by water.
  • Guilds controlled the trade in a town. Guilds controlled prices, quality, weights ,and business practices.
  • All repairs to streets were made by house owners. There were possibilities that citizens would try to build their road higher than others.
  • Sanitation was a constant concern . People would throw their garbage and dirty water out their windows.
  • Most people kept pigs because they were cheap but they were constantly roaming the streets.
  • Towns had sanctuary's. This meant If a fugitive managed to reach a church they could claim the right of sanctuary there for a period of 40 days. This meant that someone would have to stand watch outside the church for the entire time to ensure that the fugitive did not escape, a job that no one wanted.
shakespeare s culture1

Shakespeare’s culture

In Shakespeare's culture there was over 1,000 fugitives in England. Fugitives would be fined to a sanctuary for 40 days if they have reached a church. Someone would have to stand every day outside and watch guard. If a fugitive escaped the watch keeper would be fined.

There were many curfews in the town to keep the peace. The curfew bell was approximately rung by 8 or 9 pm. This meant that brewers, Tavernier's, and smith’s could go home from their long day at work.

Many towns people had a fear of fire. Fires were dangerous because of how fast they could spread. The towns people did not have a supply of water.

most houses were build out of wood because of the expenses. Houses started to be made by brick during the Tudor times.

everyone in the town had to keep a full vessel of water by their door step incase of a fire.

town day formally began with a ring of a bell around 5 o’clock each morning. This proclaimed the first mass of the day. Shops opened early 6 o’clock each morning. towns folks had their first meal time around 9 or 10 o’clock AM. This gave them a break from shopping.

markets were very crowded and noisy. Merchants had to “cry the wares” to get customers attention.

Saturday was a day for shop closings.

in the town bells were a great because it helped towns people keep time. Bells are helpful for court cases, fires, or summon civic meetings. Criers were a great cause for news, they also help ring the bell to aware town dwellers.


The rich

The poor

  • Meals
  • Meals were often elaborate and very large
  • Breakfast was usually simple and light
  • Dinner, or the main meal, started at 11 o'clock and lasted 3 hours
  • A lighter supper was prepared at around 6 o'clock but did not compare to the main meal.
  • The richer class usually ate off of silver, glass, or delft from Holland
  • Meals
  • These meals were not even close to the size portions of the rich.
  • Had the main meal at noon
  • A lighter supper at 7 or 8
  • They ate of off wooden vessels or pewter because they were less expensive
town life

Town Life

∙The town was built on trade, and full of merchants. Merchants needed stability, so they supported the king and a strong government. Merchant guilds controlled society but often clashed with craft guilds for power

Merchant Guilds: controlled trade in city

Craft Guilds: controlled quality of workplace

town life1
Town life

Everyday concerns:

-sanitation of streets

-fear of fires

∙buildings were concerned, made out of brick not wood

∙beds in houses were made from straw

Day Routine:

- started with bell at 4/5 o’clock

-shops opened around 6

-first meal around 9/10

town life2

Town Life

Market Day:

-mornings were busiest

- settled down by noon

- most closed at 3 or until the sun went down

- barbers/blacksmiths stayed open until crew few bell



∙early closing day, close around 12


∙supposed to be restful day

∙trades were allowed to work after mass

∙field work could be done before mass

  • Many common games played were paum, cockfighting, and bull and bear baiting.
  • Paum – the ancestor of tennis
  • These Medieval tournaments were quickly replaced by masques.
  • Masques were a sort of play full of allegory and were very popular at this time
  • Fireworks were just invented and sometime incorporated into these masques
works cited

Works Cited

Elizabethan Life, David Ross and Britain express. Web. 2 April. 2012.

Medieval England – daily life in medieval towns, DavidRoss and Britain express.Web.2 April .2012.