Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Question from ? - Education of women in early 16th century

What kind of education would women like Catherine Parr, and other aristocratic and gentlewomen born in the early 16th century, have been given? Thank you :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most women born in noble & gentle families were given an education thought to be fitting to their gender. They would lean how to manage a household, needlework, singing, etc. Sometimes, they would be lucky enough to learn how to read & write, but it was believed then that they would use it to write love letters.

It would be very useful for you to have a look at the education that Sir Thomas More gave his daughters. If I am correct, he had only one son and three or four daughters, and also two wards (girls). He gave his daughters the same education than he gave his son. Because of his influence, educating daughters became almost fashionable. Katherine Parr received a very good education, partly thanks to this. Besides reading & writing, she was taught Latin and French, possibly also Greek or Italian. She was also learned in theology. In adulthood she had an interest in arts, so it is likely it was part of her education too.

As a comparison, Jane Seymour (Henry VIII's third wife) was highly skilled at needlework but could barely read or write. She could sign her name, and that was pretty much it.