Women had never had any rights unless they happened to be rich widows. When England changed from a Catholic to a Protestant country, in HenryVIII's time, they were stuck with a poor image too! Women were seen as 'grand-daughters of Eve' and second class citizens!
Edward VI was keen to promote education and founded the Edward VI grammar shools - for boys. It was not thought girls were suited to learning reading and writing. But there were some who proved this nonsense. Elizabeth I was a great scholar. Nevertheless she was very proud of her stitching skills too. She would not have considered herself a proper woman unless she could sew beautifully.
In this century came the first provision for poorer girls to learn useful skills. They were taught knitting, lacemaking and button making in the workhouses newly set up by Elizabethan poor laws.
How did rich ladies acquire their sewing skills?
Click the picture for an answer.
|Rich ladies could all sew beautifully. It was important to learn - there were no sewing machines.|