Elizabethan England

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The Elizabethan period of England is equated with the reign of Elizabeth I from 1558-1603. It is considered a Golden Age of English history.


Elizabeth gradually distanced herself from Spain in foreign policy. Religion proved a sticking point between the Catholic Spain and the Protestant Elizabeth. The two counries were soon at war, but a decisive victory over the Spanish Armada meant Spain no longer posed a threat to England.


Main article: Elizabethan English


Main article: Elizabethan Names

Arts and Sciences



Main article: Elizabethan music

Due to restrictive print licensing, most of the printed music from the early part of Elizabeth's reign was written by William Byrd. The madrigal enjoyed an enormous level of popularity, as did the lute song towards the end of her reign.


Main article: Elizabethan Poetry


Dance in Elizabethan England seems to have been closely linked to that of France. Two important 16th century dance sources come from England. The Inns of Court Dances come from a series of manuscripts, and flesh out detail on the pavan and allemand style of dances. The Gresley Manuscript on the other hand, detail dances substantially different from those known from France.


With the attention paid, subsequently, to the works of Master Shakespeare, the Elizabethan era now offers a relatively broad view of London and metropolitan theatre. The sites of the Rose and the Globe theatres are known (and a rough facsimile of the latter built on London's Bankside, and the sites of others (one on Curtain Road in the east of the City of London, another at Blackfriars) have been deduced. We have approximate names of companies and patrons, some Court records of payments made for performances, and even one or two contemporary reviews. We know of half a dozen playwrights (most of whom appear to have tottered in and out of favour like modern boy-bands) and we know that the London theatre was frequently closed due to plague, when the companies would go on the road, calling in at patrons' houses or other notable addresses to deliver their performances.

Fibre arts


Main article: Elizabethan clothing

Primary Sources

External Links