In the 16th century, England experienced economic and population growth that resulted in comfortable lifestyles for the noble and middle working class, but difficult lifestyles for the poor, lower class farmers. The economic industries available to the working population were varied, creating a wide chasm between the social classes.
During the 16th century, England began to increase its mining of coal and metals, which allowed it to expand its trading routes farther throughout Europe and into Asia. This resulted in a significant increase in wealth for those who owned mines or businesses that traded or sold products. For the first time, the noble, upper middle class were able to afford and produce a higher quality of life.
Most of the population lived in smaller settlements and villages, with the homes of the wealthy and powerful acting as focal points. These homes were able to be built upon, adding new architectural features and functional renovations. The rich were also able to afford better quality food in great quantities. Banquets and feasts for celebrations were a common occurrence during this time.
The poor, however, struggled to find jobs outside of farming or dangerous mining, and were paid minuscule wages in comparison to the value of the goods they handled.