My review of ‘Women’s Lives in the Tudor Era’ by Amy McElroy

(c) Pen and Sword

‘Women’s Lives in the Tudor Era’ aims to focus on the life stages of women and the differences experienced by these women due to their social standing.

McElroy divides up women’s lives into 9 sections: growing up, adolescence, brides, married life, motherhood, working women, recreation, widowhood and wills left by women. I particularly enjoyed the sections on growing up, brides and working women.

While the educations received by Elizabeth I and Lady Jane Grey are well documented, what was really interesting to learn about were the different educational establishments available such as Dame schools and petty schools, which girls could attend when not helping their families.

Katherine and Mary Grey are both known for falling foul of Elizabeth I for marrying without consent, but the author highlights that the records show that this was a particular problem among the middle classes but that the lower classes could not afford to bring court proceedings.

I hadn’t realised how many roles were available to women, that children could be apprenticed by the parish as young as 4 or that this was one of 3 types of service, the others being a contract in husbandry and domestic service.

I would say that McElroy certainly succeeds in her aim, as I came away with a clear understanding of what life was like for Tudor women.

Thank you to Pen and Sword and Net Galley for my review copy

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