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rosiroo
10-12-2009, 05:41 PM
Hi all,
I'm trying to research into the practice of children being wards of the royal or noble families in medieval times, where parents would send their children to grow up at the royal court or the house of another noble family, for various reasons. I've posted this on the main boards but am having little response as yet.


This would be in the early modern period in Europe.


I'm having trouble finding anything on this, however, as any searches just bring up modern cases! Can anyone help?
Thanks!

dirtsider
10-12-2009, 08:31 PM
You might want to add "fostering" in your Google search. It might be under that term, rather than "ward".

Oh, just remembered. Look up "The Kindness of Strangers". It's about leaving orphans at churches and the like in the Middle Ages. Not exactly what you're looking for but it probably has some thing on it. I didn't get too far since it's for a story I"m currently letting stew. It'll also give you an idea of the mentality of the time period, regarding the subject.

Smiling Ted
10-13-2009, 07:10 AM
Rosie-

I just typed in the words "medieval" and "ward" into Google. This is from the very first entry:

Wardship:
1) The right of a feudal lord to the income of a fief during the minority of its heir. The lord is required to maintain the fief and to take care of the material needs of the ward. When the ward come of age, the lord is required to release the fief to him in the same condition in which it was received.
(MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

2) Right of guardianship exercised by lord over a minor.
(Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village, 246)

3) Right of feudal lord to act as guardian during minority of heir.
(Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 146)

Related terms: Mainpast

Notice that it gives at least two sources for further research: Frances and Joseph Gies and George Sayles.

rosiroo
10-13-2009, 04:39 PM
Rosie-

I just typed in the words "medieval" and "ward" into Google. This is from the very first entry:

Wardship:
1) The right of a feudal lord to the income of a fief during the minority of its heir. The lord is required to maintain the fief and to take care of the material needs of the ward. When the ward come of age, the lord is required to release the fief to him in the same condition in which it was received.
(MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms)

2) Right of guardianship exercised by lord over a minor.
(Gies, Frances and Joseph. Life in a Medieval Village, 246)

3) Right of feudal lord to act as guardian during minority of heir.
(Sayles, George O. The King's Parliament of England, 146)

Related terms: Mainpast

Notice that it gives at least two sources for further research: Frances and Joseph Gies and George Sayles.

Thanks Ted. I was looking more for online information but it does look like books will be the next stop.

Sarpedon
10-13-2009, 04:45 PM
The situation you describe was a more gentil version of the earlier practice of hostage taking. One way to keep your vassals in line was to keep their loved ones within axe range. Another function it served was to allow a young gentleman to be raised in the company of other young gentlemen, so they may learn proper manners and receive teaching that would be unavailable in the sticks. Such boys would be lower in status than the host's son(s), and may serve the function of a 'whipping boy,' which is essentially a boy that gets punished for the infractions of a different, higher status, boy. (after all, you can't give the crown prince a thrashing when he carelessly breaks the priceless vase; you beat his friend instead) Though the guest boys are intended to be friends and companions to the host boy, the expectations of feudalism are also in force; the lower status boys are expected to learn to serve the host boy as their father's do their feudal master.

The reverse would be the fairly common practice of higher status persons sending their illegitimate children to be raised by their vassals.

I agree with Ted in that I think a 'ward' was legally something different than what you describe. I can't remember if there's an official name for what you are talking about.

the addster
10-13-2009, 06:26 PM
You might be able to find something in things like lands or property being granted by a noble person. Or more likely persons being sent to guilds that a noble had some authority over.