The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #75102   Message #1320994
Posted By: Nerd
08-Nov-04 - 09:38 PM
Thread Name: Wee pen knife
Subject: RE: Wee pen knife
Actually, Julia, that wouldn't be entirely write---er, right. In the Middle Ages, writing was considered a form of skilled manual labor. Most lords did not do it, but hired others to do it for them. The exception would be any aristocrat who went into the clergy (most bishops, abbots, etc) and the third or fourth sons of nobles, destined to be managers for their wealthier siblings. Some noble women learned, just as they learned other skilled manual labor such as embroidery.

Otherwise, those who carried penknives would be students, clerks, scribes, and anyone who needed to keep accounts: in other words, the rising middle classes that Chaucer was part of and wrote about.