Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History

Paperback | February 1, 1995

byBarbara A. Hanawalt

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When Barbara Hanawalt's acclaimed history The Ties That Bound first appeared, it was hailed for its unprecedented research and vivid re-creation of medieval life. David Levine, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Hanawalt's book "as stimulating for the questions it asks as forthe answers it provides" and he concluded that "one comes away from this stimulating book with the same sense of wonder that Thomas Hardy's Angel Clare felt [:] 'The impressionable peasant leads a larger, fuller, more dramatic life than the pachydermatous king.'" Now, in Growing Up in Medieval London, Hanawalt again reveals the larger, fuller, more dramatic life of the common people, in this instance, the lives of children in London. Bringing together a wealth of evidence drawn from court records, literary sources, and books of advice, Hanawalt weaves arich tapestry of the life of London youth during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Much of what she finds is eye opening. She shows for instance that--contrary to the belief of some historians--medieval adults did recognize and pay close attention to the various stages of childhood andadolescence. For instance, manuals on childrearing, such as "Rhodes's Book of Nurture" or "Seager's School of Virtue," clearly reflect the value parents placed in laying the proper groundwork for a child's future. Likewise, wardship cases reveal that in fact London laws granted orphans greaterprotection than do our own courts. Hanawalt also breaks ground with her innovative narrative style. To bring medieval childhood to life, she creates composite profiles, based on the experiences of real children, which provide a more vivid portrait than otherwise possible of the trials and tribulations of medieval youths at workand at play. We discover through these portraits that the road to adulthood was fraught with danger. We meet Alison the Bastard Heiress, whose guardians married her off to their apprentice in order to gain control of her inheritance. We learn how Joan Rawlyns of Aldenham thwarted an attempt to sellher into prostitution. And we hear the unfortunate story of William Raynold and Thomas Appleford, two mercer's apprentices who found themselves forgotten by their senile master, and abused by his wife. These composite portraits, and many more, enrich our understanding of the many stages of life inthe Middle Ages. Written by a leading historian of the Middle Ages, these pages evoke the color and drama of medieval life. Ranging from birth and baptism, to apprenticeship and adulthood, here is a myth-shattering, innovative work that illuminates the nature of childhood in the Middle Ages.

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From Our Editors

Bringing together a wealth of evidence drawn from court records, literary sources, and books of advice, Barbara Hanawalt weaves a rich tapestry of the lives of the common children of medieval London during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Much of what she finds is eye opening. She shows for example that contrary to the belief of...

From the Publisher

When Barbara Hanawalt's acclaimed history The Ties That Bound first appeared, it was hailed for its unprecedented research and vivid re-creation of medieval life. David Levine, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Hanawalt's book "as stimulating for the questions it asks as forthe answers it provides" and he concluded that...

From the Jacket

Bringing together a wealth of evidence drawn from court records, literary sources, and books of advice, Barbara Hanawalt weaves a rich tapestry of the lives of the common children of medieval London during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Much of what she finds is eye opening. She shows for example that contrary to the belief of...

Barbara Hanawalt is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England and Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300-1348.

other books by Barbara A. Hanawalt

The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History
The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History

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The Western Experience
The Western Experience

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see all books by Barbara A. Hanawalt
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 5.28 × 7.99 × 0.59 inPublished:February 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195093844

ISBN - 13:9780195093841

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From Our Editors

Bringing together a wealth of evidence drawn from court records, literary sources, and books of advice, Barbara Hanawalt weaves a rich tapestry of the lives of the common children of medieval London during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Much of what she finds is eye opening. She shows for example that contrary to the belief of some historians medieval adults recognized and paid close attention to the various stages of childhood and adolescence. For instance, wardship cases reveal that London laws granted orphans greater protection than do our own contemporary courts. And with her innovative narrative style, Hanawalt brings medieval childhood to life, creating composite profiles based on the experiences of real children, such as Alison the Bastard Heiress, whose guardians married her off to their apprentice in order to gain control of her inheritance.Ranging from birth and baptism to apprenticeship and adulthood, here is a myth-shattering, innovative work that illuminates the nature of childhood in the Middle Ages.

Editorial Reviews

"Excellent book for supplemental reading."--Paul Ton, Metropolitan State College