Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Medieval Girls

What was it like to be a girl in Medieval England? According to History Today:
There is indeed little reason to believe that relations between daughters and parents were other than the usual mixture of affection and infuriation. Parents no doubt backed moral instruction and discipline with physical chastisement, though the frequently with which they were urged not to spare the rod may tell of parents' own reluctance to strike their off- spring too readily. That many parents sent their daughters into service once they had reached their teens, and, according to contemporary theory, were deemed capable of rational choice is not evidence of a lack of parental concern any more than is the case of the modern parent who sends their child to school. But in going on to write about servants and service, I do not wish to imply that no daughters remained with their parents into adulthood. In rural areas it was not uncommon for daughters to remain, and this may have been especially true where mothers were widowed. In such instances adolescent daughters may have been an essential part of the familial work-force and essential to the mother's survival in old age. In urban society especially, however, it would appear that very few girls in their teens remained at home, but went instead into service. (Read entire article.)

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