Rich and poor

This package is designed to be loosely chronological, and teachers are welcome to take one or two themes to look at through time, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Alternatively, if concentrating on one period in class, then you may want to look at more topics within that period.

National Curriculum Links

This package ties in to the History curriculum at Key Stages 2 and 3.


History: Key Stage 2

  • 10. A study of some significant events and individuals, including Tudor monarchs, who shaped this period and of the everyday lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.
  • 11a: Victorian Britain. A study of the impact of significant individuals, events and changes in work and transport on the lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.

History: Key Stage 3

  • 9: Britain 1500 - 1750. A study of crowns, parliaments and people: the major political, religious and social changes affecting people throughout the British Isles, including the local area if appropriate.
  • 10: Britain 1750 - 1900. A study of how expansion of trade and colonisation, industrialisation and political changes affected the United Kingdom, including the local area.


You can either give out these worksheets for your pupils to work through in class, or teach the information contained in them yourself and just use the suggested activities with your class. With each worksheet are guidelines suggesting which worksheets should be done in advance, for instance if certain skills like map-reading are needed before doing the suggested activities on that topic. There are also linked worksheets that may be useful to work through to extend that topic.

Tudor and Stuart


Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets: New uses for old buildings; How to date buildingsHouses (Georgian and Victorian)


This worksheet explores the differences between rich and poor houses, their size, building materials and furnishings from the standing buildings and excavations of houses in Buckinghamshire. Many more larger, grander sixteenth and seventeenth century buildings have survived than smaller ones and the children will be invited to explore why that might be. As an extension activity you could get your children to do the New uses for old buildings worksheet to tie in with the demolition of The Kya in Ludgershall, which wasn’t listed and so was scheduled for demolition before it was found that it was sixteenth century. An online activity you can do with your students is to use the virtual reconstructions of a rich and poor Tudor house on Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past to work out what kinds of furniture, decoration and people would go inside each. The reconstructions can also help children write a day in the life of someone who lived there.



Other relevant worksheets: Dress (Georgian and Victorian)


In the sixteenth century there were laws governing what you could and couldn’t wear according to your rank. These had their history in the medieval period but were less and less important in the Tudor and Stuart periods and were finally repealed in 1604. The new trend in the sixteenth and seventeenth century was to wear what you could afford instead of what was fitting to your rank. By looking at pictures and artefacts that have been found from this period, the schoolchildren can build up a picture of the differences between rich and poor people’s dress. Look at Buckinghamshire County Museum for items of sixteenth and seventeenth century clothing You should be able to find several pairs of shoes, a coif and a purse bar.


The Portable Antiquities Scheme website can be found at Look on the Finds database and search for objects found in Buckinghamshire that date to between 1485 and 1714.

Town and country

Prerequisites: How to read maps

Other relevant worksheets: How to date buildings


This worksheet explores life in the town and life in the country from archaeological evidence. A number of case studies will be suggested. Depending on where your school is you can look at Buckingham and Thornborough, Aylesbury and Stone or High Wycombe and West Wycombe. It does not follow that those in the country were necessarily poorer than those in the towns or vice versa but life for both rich and poor was different in the towns to in the country and this worksheet explores that. An extension activity could be How to date buildings to help with identifying Tudor and Stuart buildings in the town and village you are studying.



Other relevant worksheets: Education (Georgian and Victorian)


Few children got an education in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The monasteries provided an education to some children in the medieval and early Tudor period. However, after the dissolution of the monasteries many schools were founded either as separate institutions or attached to cathedrals and churches. Children attended these schools, had tutors at home, took up apprenticeships or worked depending on their place in society. To do some research on Eton College, look at their website


An extension activity could be to have a small Tudor meal one lunchtime, using the advice on table manners given on the worksheet.


An interesting online activity would be to find any books published about Buckinghamshire between 1485 and 1714. You can do this on the free search on the British Library website There are some interesting books on possessions by the devil, highwaywomen and ghostly apparitions as well as several pamphlets about the Civil War.


The maths problem comes from a 1581 book by an anonymous author, An Introduction of Algerisme to Learn to reckon with the penne or with the Counters, in Whole numbers of Broken. There are more in Elizabeth’s London by Liza Pickard. Perhaps you could have a whole Elizabethan maths class.



Other relevant worksheets: Work and workhouses (Georgian and Victorian); A woman's work (Georgian and Victorian)


Most people in Buckinghamshire would have been farming in the Tudor and Stuart periods. However, there were many other jobs, such as lace-makers, potters, paper-makers, cordwainers, butchers, bakers, millers, maltsters. Merchants started to make lots of money in this period because society was becoming more capitalist. There were, however, many landowners who made their money mainly by charging rent on their property. Others would actually farm the land they owned.  



Other relevant worksheets: Leisure (Georgian and Victorian)


Different types of people enjoyed different leisure pursuits. By the seventeenth century rich people were taking snuff whereas the commoners were smoking pipes. There are no snuff-boxes known to survive in Buckinghamshire but many snuff boxes are held in the Gilbert Collection in Somerset House that you can either visit or see on the Internet: Try to find some clay pipes to look at on the Portable Antiquities Scheme website To search for markets and fairs in Buckinghamshire in the (very) early Tudor period, look at the Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 website


An extension activity could be to look at the pubs and former pubs in your village or town that date back to the Tudor or Stuart periods and try to class them as inns, taverns or alehouses. The inns will be bigger, often with a large archway into a courtyard or back yard for coaches, with rooms upstairs for people to stay. Taverns will be slightly smaller and with no room to house coaches, horses or people and alehouses will be very small, maybe just one room. The name may give some indication too, especially for inns and taverns.  



Other relevant worksheets:


Regulations governing dress also governed what food was suitable for different ranks in the Tudor period. Rich landowners got permission to turn some of their land into deer parks or rabbit warrens. Fishponds were expensive to run but a supply of fresh fish for the many fish days would be a blessing to those who could afford it. In the Stuart period new drinks were coming into fashion, like tea, coffee and chocolate and coffee houses were springing up in all the major towns. The poor were still drinking ale most of the time. A sumptuous, but time-consuming, extension to this worksheet would be to have a Tudor banquet, using table manners learnt in the Education worksheet above, and making some Tudor food, possibly not the ones suggested on the worksheet itself, but you can find Tudor recipes online at or in the book by Peter Brears, All the King’s Cooks.



Other relevant worksheets: Death (Georgian and Victorian)


How people were buried often reflects how rich or poor they were in life. Those of high status in the Tudor and Stuart periods tried to get buried within the church. The poor and criminals were sometimes buried outside the churchyard. This worksheet will explore where burials of this kind have been found outside the churchyard and some explanations for this. High status burials are also explored, such as those of the Dormer family in Wing. A good archive to search is the Buckinghamshire Photograph Database, which has pictures of many tombs (put the word tomb into the objects search line): Many of the tombs and brasses can be visited in their churches or chapels, but always check with the parish office or owner of the chapel first.

Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries



Other relevant worksheets: Houses (Tudor and Stuart)


Are there any Victorian houses in your village or town? This worksheet can be used in conjunction with Date your village’s buildings to do a survey of the village. It also looks at how maps can show where towns and villages got bigger in the Victorian period. You can use the historic maps on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website to look at your own village or town or use the example in the worksheet. Some of the richer houses are also explored. The de Rothschild family built several of the large country houses in Buckinghamshire, including Lilies in Weedon, Mount Tabor House in Wingrave, Eythrope Pavilion, Mentmore Towers, Halton House and Waddesdon Manor. They also built other houses for their workers and businesses.



Other relevant worksheets: Dress (Tudor and Stuart)


This worksheet will look at the evidence available for what people were wearing in the nineteenth century in Buckinghamshire. Old photographs, pictures, jewellery and surviving pieces of clothing will be pieced together to come up with an image of a Victorian man and woman.



Other relevant worksheets: Education (Tudor and Stuart)


Schooling was much more common in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than ever before and in 1880 it was finally made compulsory to go to school up until the age of 10. Up to that point children were often sent out to work or, if they were lucky, take up an apprenticeship. There was a rash of school building after 1870’s Education Act that instructed each district to build enough school places for all the children in the area.

Work and workhouses


Other relevant worksheets: Work (Tudor and Stuart); A woman's work (Georgian and Victorian)


The effect of industrialisation on the landscape of Buckinghamshire has been explored through another worksheet but in this topic the children will be encouraged to think about what life was like for people working in the factories and those whose livelihoods were jeopardised by them. Wycombe Museum has a great deal of information on the Buckinghamshire chair industry and a selection of the chairs that were produced. You can find details of their opening times at:  

A woman’s work


Other relevant worksheets: Work and workhouses (Georgian and Victorian); Work (Tudor and Stuart)


This worksheet will examine what kind of work women were doing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Buckinghamshire. It looks at their role in the paper-mills, lace making, straw plaiting and as farm labourers. To search on the Buckinghamshire County Museum website, go to To search the Buckinghamshire Photographs collection, see  



Other relevant worksheets: Leisure (Tudor and Stuart)


More people were able to indulge in leisure activities thanks to better wages and working conditions for many people. Thanks to the railway, people were able to go to the seaside and visit relatives more easily. Civic societies established new parks for the public to enjoy the outdoors. This worksheet will invite your students to explore these themes through archaeological and historical sources. A map of the railways in 1961 before many of them were shut can be found online at: Click on the image and then the icon in the bottom right hand corner to make the map bigger. You can then explore the map by moving the bars on the right and the bottom of the page. Compare this map with today’s at This is an Adobe Acrobat document. Increase the size of the document at the top to 300% or more to see it better.



Other relevant worksheets: Death (Tudor and Stuart)


There was a trend for very large monuments to commemorate the dead in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Mausoleums were built in the grounds of country houses to mimic classical structures. As the nineteenth century wore on, large monuments in churchyards were seen as vulgar and the trend was for tasteful, unobtrusive monuments. An extension activity could be to do some grave rubbings in your local churchyard. The students could find the earliest, the latest, the oldest and youngest person buried there. Do be careful in graveyards because the ground in often uneven and the gravestones can be unstable.


Tudor and Stuart

Church tombs

Many churches have sixteenth or seventeenth century tombs inside, such as St Mary’s Aylesbury, where there is a tomb to Sir Henry Lee of Quarrendon’s wife, Elizabeth. If you find tombs of this date on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire Past website in your local church, this may be the easiest place to visit. Make sure it’s open by calling the parish office first. Chenies Manor House, with the Bedford Chapel is open between April and October. See the following website for more details: See the Wing church website for contact details Your pupils could draw the tombs they find in their local church to form part of a final display to finish off the topic. The tombs will often have effigies on them in the dress of the time, and this may help children visualise what Tudor and Stuart clothes looked like.



Perhaps this visit can be done in conjunction with the one above to see tombs. Pupils could search for sixteenth and seventeenth century gravestones within and outside the church. You could do rubbings of the gravestones as well. See the Association for Gravestone Studies website for instructions: Some of their advice includes finding out whether gravestone rubbing is allowed in the cemetery, not rubbing fragile stones and using masking tape to hold a piece of paper over the inscription.


St John the Baptist Hospital, High Wycombe

Remains of St John the Baptist Hospital can be seen on London Road in High Wycombe. This was turned into the Royal Grammar School but the latter has changed its location since then. One possible extension activity, combined with a visit, is to find sixteenth and seventeenth century tombstones in All saints church in High Wycombe.


Church Loft, West Wycombe 

The Church Loft in West Wycombe can be seen from West Wycombe High Street. The church is up the hill on the street starting from the arch in the Church Loft. There are many other sixteenth and seventeenth century houses on the High Street and one extensions activity may be to do the date your village’s buildings worksheet in West Wycombe.


Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury

Aylesbury Grammar School was held in the buildings that are know part of Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury, which is open for visits every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. See the website for more details:


Chantry Chapel, Buckingham

The Old Chantry Chapel in Buckingham is owned by the National Trust and open at certain times for visitors. Boarstall Duck Decoy is also managed by the National Trust and can be visited at certain times. See the National Trust website for details Waddesdon Manor is the only Rothschild house that is open for visitors. It is run by the National Trust. Stowe Landscaped Gardens is also run by the National Trust.



Quarrendon medieval village and Tudor gardens has both fishponds and rabbit warrens that you can visit. It is a 15-20 minute walk through fields and over stiles from the A41 Aylesbury to Bicester road. There is a layby on the north side of the A41 just outside Aylesbury where a coach could be parked. You will need to walk back towards Aylesbury to find the public footpath into the fields. Follow the signs to come to the medieval and Tudor complex. The ponds are to the south of the ruined church. The rabbit warrens are up on the skyline towards Aylesbury. Sir Henry Lee had them there so that rabbits could be seen from the house. There is also a moat here, south of the ponds, proving the presence of a Tudor manor house here, associated with ponds and rabbit warrens.



You can visit Haddenham village green if you think your pupils may find it easier to draw a Tudor or Stuart fair after seeing the green. There is parking in Haddenham at the Village Hall, at the bottom end of Churchway. If you walk south up Churchway you will come to the village green. The Baptist cemetery in Haddenham can also be visited. From the Village Hall walk past the row of shops to the corner where there is a bus stop, estate agents and Indian restaurant. Turn left down a pathway marked Stockwell. After five minutes you will come to a large white building on your right, which is the Baptist chapel, and the cemetery on your left. If you want to do any grave rubbings, see the website of the Association for gravestone Studies:


St Rumbold's well, Buckingham

You can visit St Rumbolds well, which is just to the south-west of Buckingham but within walking distance. You can find out more about it on Buckingham University’s website

Georgian and Victorian


Eighteenth and nineteenth century mausoleums are much bigger. You can visit the mausoleum on Church Hill at West Wycombe. If entering West Wycombe from the High Wycombe direction, take the road on the right signposted to Chinnor just as the houses stop and turn left into the garden centre car park. Visitors to Church Hill can use this. There are public footpaths signposted up the hill, or you can take the road that is signposted past the Hellfire Caves for an easier walk. It is still very steep. Up on the top of the hill is an Iron Age hillfort, in which a medieval church was later built. This church was partly rebuilt in the eighteenth century and you will find a graveyard there too. The mausoleum looks out towards High Wycombe.


Brill Common

Brill Common was quarried for clay for the brick and tile industry. It is very clear that it has been dug into and can show your pupils the extent of the industry. There is a car park on the common. On entering Brill you can follow the signs to find it. The common is very bumpy, so you should make sure that children are careful when exploring it.


Beech trees in the Chilterns

A good place to visit some of the beech tree plantations is Common Wood near Penn. You will need OS Explorer map 172 to visit. To search the Buckinghamshire Photographs collection, go to


Lace museum in Olney

You can visit the Cowper & Newtown Museum in Olney (in the old county of Buckinghamshire) for more information about lace-making. See their web pages at



You can visit the town of Winslow to see the listed buildings and work out which is which from the information on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website. There is parking on Market Square, just off the main Aylesbury to Buckingham road (A413). Be careful when crossing this road, as there is a blind bend just next to Market Square. You can take the Date your village’s buildings worksheet with you in order to identify other Victorian buildings that aren’t on the Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past website.


Interactive games

There are two interactive games that you can play with this package. One looks at the Tudor rich and poor in terms of their houses and possessions and the other is a Victorian shopping game. Both are based on the people and places of Buckinghamshire. They are available as Flash games online at:


You could either play these with the whole class (though the website does not like too many people trying to open it at the same time) or on the interactive white-board. If you cannot open Flash games, please contact us at the County Archaeological Service and we will provide a non-Flash version.


The Tudor Rich and Poor game looks at two men, John Greene of Ludgershall and Sir William Longeville of Wolverton. You can see the inventories made after their deaths and look at their reconstructed houses. John Greene's house is based on The Kya in Ludgershall (that has been demolished) and Sir William's on Stewkley Manor House. You can look at the possessions kept in their houses and then do a quiz based on what you have learned to tell the difference between rich and poor. Try to make sure the sound is on as there is a little bit of music and the start of the game and some more when you find the lute later on.


The Victorian shopping game challenges your pupils to buy ingredients to make a steak pie. Read the instructions at the start of the game carefully. The lady moves by using the left and right arrows, goes in to a shop by pressing the enter key and exits a shop - after the shopkeeper has stopped talking - by clicking on the bell. A task your pupils could be doing as they are buying is adding up how much they are spending. This will mean they have to get familiar with imperial money, but in piloting this was not a problem. It should all add up to 5s 11d 1/2, leaving you a halfpenny of your 6s allowance!






There are details of Brunel’s life at: 

Further reading

Page, W (ed.) 1905. A History of the County of Buckinghamshire, Vols I-IV. The Victoria County History of the Counties of England.

Lipscombe, G, 1847. The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckinghamshire. Vols I-IV. London: J & W Robins.


These two books are about London, but they give some good insights into life in towns, leisure, food and drink, education and clothes in the Tudor and Stuart periods: 

  • Picard, L 2003. Elizabeth’s London. Wiedenfield & Nicolson.
  • Waller, M 2000. 1700: Scenes from London Life. Hodder & Stoughton. 

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