History events at the IHR

Growing Up and Going to School in the Middle Ages

05 March 2013, 17:15 - 19:15

Event Type: Seminar


Sarah Lynch  (University of Leeds)



Childhood is intrinsically linked with participation in education and training, with preparing for adulthood. This was very much the case in the Middle Ages as it is today. While it was in no way available to every child, education was far more widespread than once thought and was seen by contemporaries as an important stage in the cycle of life. This paper will explore the nature of the process of medieval elementary and (Latin) grammar instruction, the levels which saw the greatest participation. There will be a particular focus on when this education began and ended and why the years between the ages of seven and fourteen were almost universally seen as the time to go to school. The paper will also look at how education was meant to form the moral character of a pupil, as well as imparting academic knowledge and skills such as reading and writing. While children are usually silent in the literature and documentation of the Middle Ages, they were the focus of rules and legislation in archival sources (college statutes, chapter proceedings) and a large body of pedagogical literature (that was especially concerned with the more theoretical considerations related to beginning and completing education and the character formation aspects of instruction).

Venue: Room 102 (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.

Related Events: Life-Cycles History