Dating customs in the 16th century dating bureau rotterdam
However in the case of women the law was often not enforced.
Very often the guilds (who regulated trade) let male members employ their wives or daughters in their workshops.
However women were allowed to join some of the guilds (organisations of tradespeople and skilled workers).
In 1562 a law, the Statute of Artificers, made it illegal to employ a man or a woman in a trade unless they had served a 7 year apprenticeship.
Boys and girls from poor families were expected to start working and contributing to the family income from the time they were about 7 years old.
A housewife (assisted by her servants if she had any) had to bake her family's bread and brew their beer (it was not safe to drink water).
It is a myth that 16th century women were meek and submissive.
Some were strong minded and they had more influence than is sometimes imagined. He made the queen, Catherine of Aragon, Governor of the Realm and Captain-General of the home forces in his absence.
She was also responsible for curing bacon, salting meat and making pickles, jellies and preserves (all of which were essential in an age before fridges and freezers). On top of that she had to cook, wash the families clothes and clean the house. Poor and middle class wives were kept very busy but rich women were not idle either.
Very often in the countryside the housewife also made the families candles and their soap. A farmer's wife also milked cows, fed animals and grew herbs and vegetables. A 16th century housewife was also supposed to have some knowledge of medicine and be able to treat her family's illnesses. In a big house they had to organize and supervise the servants.