Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1990-08 > 0651078159

From: Kay Allen AG <>
Subject: Re: Age of competency
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 1990 08:02:39 -0700

Comments interspersed.

Renia wrote:
> People will argue about the degree of literacy during this period, but as an
> apprentice, it is more likely that this boy was of a lower class family, and was
> probably unable to read or write.

If so, why was the stipulation for minimal education not included? I
don't know if he signed or marked the document. That is one of the
matters under investigation. However, I do know that he was capable of
signing his name later in life.

Your post, however, suggests that you think
> that he signed with his own name. To be honest, I think that unlikely. Someone
> else must have signed it for him, though I would have thought there would have
> been his mark, or some other indication that another had actually signed. Of
> course, some of this depends on whether you are looking at the original document,
> or a transcription of it, in which such a mark or qualifier may have been missed.
> (In the same period, for example, my ancestors, rich squires, could not sign
> their own name. None of their children went into apprenticeship. They went into
> the private schools and married well.)

I hear that the inability to write a coherent sentence is a mark of the
public schools :-) I suppose it isn't a problem when you can afford a

Kay Allen AG
> Renia
> Kay Allen AG wrote:
> > Ordinarily, I would agree, but I don't think that a child of that age
> > would have been judged competent, legally, to have signed his own
> > apprenticeship papers on his own account. Or is this an incorrect
> > assumption?
> >
> > Kay Allen AG
> >

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