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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Tudor Jobs

Have a good look at the jobs below and choose one for your character. In Tudor times, very few women had jobs, so if you are a girl, think about what sort of job your husband had. It would make a big difference to the sort of life you would live!


If you wanted to learn a trade, you had to start as an apprentice at the age of about 14. For up to 7 years, you would work for someone who was training you in the trade you wanted to learn and he would teach you what he knew. Apprentices weren't paid, but many lived in their master's house and he would give them food and drink. There were strict rules they had to follow, and they weren't allowed to get married until they finished their apprenticeship.

These are some of the jobs you might learn by becoming an apprentice:


A cordwainer made shoes out of leather.


A weaver made cloth by weaving yarn together on a loom. In Tudor times, many people, especially poor people, would make their own clothes, so they would buy cloth from a weaver.


A tailor made clothes for people who could afford to buy them rather than make their own.


A smith was someone who made things out of metal. There were many types of smith, including: goldsmiths, blacksmiths (who worked in iron or black metal) and locksmiths.


A mason was someone who made things out of stone. Usually, they helped to build houses.


A barber was someone who shaved men's beards and trimmed their hair.

Other Jobs


Running a house in Tudor times was very hard work and people who could afford to would hire servants to do some of the work. Rich people would have lots of servants, but a local merchant or tradesman might have just one or two. Being a servant of a rich person, living in a big house and having lots of other servants around you, would be very different to being the only servant in a merchant's house.


Merchants were people who bought goods (perhaps from the person that made them) and sold them to other people. The Tudor period was a time of exploration and lots of new and exciting things were coming into the country from abroad, such as tobacco. People would pay a lot of money for these things and some merchants got very rich.

Rich People

Very rich people didn't work. They owned lots of land and the people who lived there paid them rent, so they had money without needing to work.


When you've chosen a job, let's have a think about what sort of Tudor home you would live in.