Not every young medieval man (or woman for that matter) was thrilled to be packed off to the monastery or nunnery. Aside from those who ‘felt the call’ of dedicating their lives to the glory of God, more often than not religious houses served as an answer to a family’s dilemma; what to do with Romauldus or Matilda if the family was poor with no long term means of supporting them (as well as younger siblings), or in the case of the more affluent, the oldest son got the inheritance, leaving everyone else to a life of religious duty…or perhaps a less honorable means of living.
And these weren’t the only reasons. Say for example at the old age of 18, a woman had no suitors on the horizon, she was packed up along with a nice dowry to ensure her admittance by Mother Abbess. Even less honorable, if a WOMAN was the eldest child in a family of wealth, she could be sent away so that her brother next in line, would inherit. Can you imagine? In any case, these young people were relegated to spend their lives within the cloister, their days and seasons marked by the ‘Hours of Office’, work in the fields, orchards, stables, brewery, infirmary and…the Scriptorium where their days were more than uncomfortable, long and BORING.
In researching material for my historical mystery series, Flight Through Time, I came across this amusing piece showing us that not much has changed through the centuries when young men and women are bored with their studies. Actually I’ve seen this posted in various formats more than once, but have never seen the source cited; perhaps you have. Later today I’ll be leaving Chicago for England’s 12th Century land and hope to be posting while ‘on the road’. In the meantime, I’m sharing these medieval margin notes as some of the notations are quite funny. Now that I read this again…I think these can readily apply to any modern writer who has hopes of producing the next ‘best seller!’