All grammar schools taught Latin and sometimes Greek .
Although education was more widely available by Elizabeth’s reign , it was still limited to boys and men ; nonetheless , only two out of every ten men were to sign their names in the 1550s . It is quite common to find documents from the 16th century where individuals have made their “mark” , a sign or symbol written instead of a signature . Education usually depended upon a person’s social group . Labourers were illiterate , but merchants were generally better educated . Gentlemen were usually literate , and often had the opportunity of attending one of England’s two universities , Oxford and Cambridge , where they could study classical literature , theology , philosophy , medicine , and law . Out of the whole of England’s population , perhaps 4,000 men were studying at Oxford and Cambridge at the end of Elizabeth’s reign .The sons of gentlemen could also study law at one of the Inns of Court in London , where the training could prepare them to be a lawyer in one of the law of the courts or , like William Cecil , 1st Baron Burghley for a career in royal service .
Elizabethan England did not have as many printing presses as some of the European countries , but the industry was a growing business . “Chapmen” , or wandering pedlars , sold “chapbooks” of popular stories and ballads to poorer social groups . Gentlemen could afford more expensive books , often the classical authors such as Livy , Tacitus and Aristotle . Religious books were popular and allowed English Protestants to read works by Martin Luther or John Calvin .