Christina Bothwell                                                    15th February 2001

Thomas Sawer-My Life (1541-1580)

I was born in 1541 and named Thomas Sawer by my parents. I lived a relatively poor life, attended school and had many friends. At the age of fourteen, I left home and school to become an apprentice to a Cordwainer. In exchange for my work, my master fed and clothed me so throughout this time, I lived a simple life.

Though I did not know about Politics at the time, it was quite easy to understand the situation occurring in Western Europe. Due to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, many Catholics in the Netherlands were turning against the will of the Pope and becoming Protestant. The King of Spain (who had a good stronghold on the Netherlands) and his fellow Catholics were persecuting the Protestants, causing them too flee to England. The majority settled in East Anglia, causing outrage amongst the folk of Norwich. ‘The Strangers’, as we had nicknamed them, were ‘stealing’ business from many local Tradesmen, causing a dramatic fall in sale prices. People who relied on their income to relieve themselves of poverty were now being swamped into the depths of poor life. All that I could do was to watch on by. How could these foreigners call themselves worthy people of our town? They had no right to deprive those who needed their business. I held a deep resent of their good fortune. Why had they inflicted many wounds upon those who could not fight? I admit their crafts were of a far better standard and quality than ours but they had not realised how much suffering they were causing. The arguments went on and on. Days passed, weeks, months until finally we came to an agreement. However, people still retained a deep hatred towards those who caused such pain.  

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After a few years, toiling hour after hour, making many pairs of shoes, I was finally given permission to take my best work to the                   . To my delight, I was praised for my never-ceasing work and was given permission to sell shoes for the people of Norwich. I returned to my master, thanked him for his help and continued to my parents house, where I resided for a few weeks.  

I soon became the proud owner of a small house and a stall, found in the Market square. I ...

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