Social Status Calculator Shows How “Classy” You Would Have Been in Shakespeare’s Time


Researchers from King’s, the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham developed a class calculator to explore the cultural and social world of 16th and 17th century England.

The Social Status Calculator was developed as a way to determine how to place people in the changing social world of 16th and 17th century England.

The calculator will allow individuals to see where they would have placed on the social scale during the period 1560 – 1660 and can be used as a research tool to identify the status of historical figures.

The social status calculator, inspired by the BBC Great British Class Calculator 2013, is an educational resource tool that explains what the “average” status would mean for those living in the 16e and 17e century in England – the kind of people who were neither very rich nor very poor.

Professor Graeme Earl of the Department of Digital Humanities helped develop the calculator.

Professor Catherine richardson, professor of modern cultural studies at the University of Kent and principal investigator of the project, said: “We wanted to find a lightweight way to explore the lives of different status groups in early modern England. – a lot of research in archives and museum collections is behind it, but we hope it’s basically a lot of fun to use! It is one of the tools we use to help us reflect on the cultural life of Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the round, and to study the impact of the relationships between wealth, property, occupation, skills and lifestyle – to deepen our understanding of how literacy and creative practices may have affected a family’s social mobility.


Doctor Tara Hamling, The Early Modern Studies reader at the University of Birmingham and co-investigator of the project, said: “We developed the Social Status Calculator as a means of determining how to place people in the changing social world of England. 16th and 17th centuries. Our research reveals how status degrees were understood not only based on what you did for a living or who your father was, but also what assets you owned and how you spent your leisure time. The calculator is a really useful tool for testing our ideas about the classroom against how people in Shakespeare’s day would have thought about and participated in the social mobility of the day.

During this period, society was not only divided between “poor” or “aristocratic”, there were many people in the middle. These people bought beautiful furniture, possessed specialized creative skills, and cultivated complex social networks. These were literate urban households whose members engaged in a variety of cultural forms for work and beyond. The project uncovers untold stories of ordinary men and women who were contemporaries of well-known individuals like William Shakespeare.

Medium culture is a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council that aims to transform our understanding of how reading, writing and material culture fit into the daily lives of ‘average’ people in England during this period. important period in history.

The the social groups calculator is available online.

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