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Le petit peuple dans l’Occident médiéval

 | 
Pierre Boglioni
, 
Robert Delort
, 
Claude Gauvard

Deuxième partie. Approche économique et sociale du petit peuple. Critères, catégories, hiérarchies

Young, Male and Disabled

Sharon Farmer

Note de l’auteur

This article draws on chapters 1, 2, and 3 of my forthcoming book, Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology and the Daily Lives of the Poor, Ithaca, New York, 2001.

Texte intégral

  • 2 The hospices for women were: Ste.-Avoye, the Haudriettes, «Bonnes fames de la rue aux Fauconniers», (...)
  • 3 P. Bavoux, «Enfants trouvés et orphelins du xive au xvie siècles à Paris», Assistance et assistés j (...)

1The urban geography of thirteenth-and fourteenth-century Paris suggests that propertied Parisians placed poor young men who needed help in crossing the threshold to adulthood near the top of their list of poor people who were in need of charitable assistance. Indeed, only widows and other elderly unattached women outranked such boys. By 1342 Paris had ten shelters for poor unattached women and at least five collèges, or hospices, for poor school boys2. After 1363, moreover, the city included the Hospital of St.-Esprit-en-Grève, a bourgeois foundation that provided lodging, nourishment and practical educations for both boy and girl orphans of legitimate birth, as well as dowries for the girls3.

  • 4 Ibid.; G. Fagniez, Études sur l’industrie et la classe industrielle à Paris au xiiie et au xive siè (...)
  • 5 This discussion is based on an examination of 32 published and unpublished bourgeois Parisian testa (...)
  • 6 R. de Lespinasse and F. Bonnardot eds., Le livre des métiers d’Étienne Boileau, Paris, 1897,21: 5-6 (...)

2In addition to these physical institutions, through which Parisian elites incribed the urban landscape with their charitable priorities, bourgeois Parisians repeatedly expressed their concern, in their testaments, for the poverty of male and female youths and of elderly or mature women. The city itself provided for its orphans by having the provost make arrangements for their care and for their practical training for adult work4, and individuals provided for widows, poor school boys and poor marriageable girls in their testaments. The frequency of testamentary donations, moreover, reflects the same hierarchy of concern that Parisian elites expressed through their institutions: among the thirty-two bourgeois Parisian testaments that I have located, the greatest number of testators (18) gave gifts to hospices for widows or older women, a slightly smaller group (15) gave gifts to collèges for poor school boys, a still smaller group (12) set aside money for dowries for poor girls, and none expressed concern for elderly men5. Additionally, two of the 101 craft gilds that recorded their statutes in the Livre des métiers between 1261 and 1271 assisted poor or orphaned children of gild members by allowing them to become apprentices without paying the required entrance fees, and one other gild allowed its masters to take on one apprentice more than the statutes allowed if that one apprentice was poor6.

  • 7 Ibid., 56: 5, 69: 14, 84: 12, 88: 13, p. 116, 146, 184, 195.
  • 8 J.B.M. Jaillot, Recherches critiques, historiques et topographiques sur la ville de Paris depuis se (...)
  • 9 Fagniez, Études sur l’industrie, p. 39, 290-291.

3Only the gilds-and again, only a very few expressed concern for older men or mature men who had to leave the labor force because of age or disability: in the Livre des métiers the tailors’, glovemakers’, roasters’ and cobblers’ gilds set aside the proceeds of fines for assistance to old or sick members7. In 1399 the goldsmiths-whose members were unlikely to suffer economic hardship anyway-built a hospice for older members of the gild and their widows8. Moreover, in 1319 the squirrel, or vair, curriers established a mutual aid society, which provided members with 3 sous per week during periods of illness. This was, however, a form of insurance rather than a form of charity: those who desired the benefits of the society paid 10 sous as an entrance fee and one denier each week after that9.

  • 10 R. Mols, Introduction à la démographie historique des villes d’Europe du xive au xviiie siècle, 3 v (...)
  • 11 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, confesseur de la Reine Marguerite, Les miracles de Saint Louis, ed. P. B. (...)
  • 12 Ibid. Youths who begged: miracles 8, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20; other male beggars: miracles 9, 45. Women (...)

4Upon first consideration, the asymmetries in elite expressions of charitable concern for the life cycle crises of poor youths and mature women in Paris-the slightly greater concern for boys over girls at the point of entry into adulthood, and a far greater concern for older women than for older men-seem to reflect actual patterns of need. Demographic data from the late middle ages indicate that while a large number of widowed and older women headed their own households, older male heads of household living alone were extremely rare10. Moreover, the sources for the Miracles of Saint Louis point to an imbalance of men and women among both youths and the elderly: among the lay persons of the working and non-working poor who benefited from Louis’ miracles, four of the 18 women and girls (about 22%) were described as old or in their 60s, but only one of the 15 men and boys (about 7%) was so described11. Among those beneficiaries who had to beg for a living before they were cured, six of the eight men (75%) were youths between the ages of 14 and 25, while at least four of the six women (about 67%) were over 3012. Three of those four mature women, moreover, were single or widowed.

5These statistics suggest that elite responses to the needy poor, which emphasized the poverty of young men entering the work force and of older women without men, actually matched the needs of the poor. But was the fit really so neat? Or to put it another way, if formal charitable support matched the needs of the poor, why did at least fourteen of the beneficiaries of Saint Louis’ miracles end up begging in order to survive? This question has to be answered in two parts – one for men in need, one for women. In this paper, I will focus on men in need – and most especially, on young men in need.

  • 13 Ibid., miracles 8, 14, 17, 18, 20. Concerning Moriset, we can assume his youth by the fact that he (...)

6The most obvious disjuncture between elite expressions of charitable concern for young men and the needs of the begging youths of the Miracles of Saint Louis involved differences of status and opportunity: while bourgeois testators directed most of their money to promising boys and youths who were young enough, or already educated enough, to pursue lettered educations, the young men in the Miracles of Saint Louis had already missed the opportunity to begin training for lettered professions; thus they earned their bread, until misfortune befell them, by the sweat of their brows. A young man named Louis, who was deaf and mute from a very early age, trained from the age of eight in the workshop of a smith on a rural estate. Thomas de Voudai became blind when he was 12 years old and already watching pigs for the people of his village. Moriset, also a young swineherd, became lame at some point early in his working life. Guillot de Caux, a migrant to Paris, was presumably working when he began to suffer from a paralysis at the age of 18. Jehan de La Haye began to suffer from dizzy spells and muscular failure while he was migrating to Paris, also at the age of 18, in order to find work. Raou the Cobbler, also an immigrant to Paris, was living and working in Paris when he suffered a leg injury that developed into a debilitating infection13.

  • 14 S. Farmer, «Down and Out and Female in Thirteenth-Century Paris », American Historical Review, 103 (...)

7Disability overtook these young men sometime around the onset of their working lives, and thus its effects were especially devastating. Because they had not been working for long, they would not have had time to build up the nest egg that many young men attempted to accumulate in preparation for marriage. And because they were not married, they could not turn to spouses for support. Of course, help from their natal families might have been forthcoming-we see it in the lives of some of the women migrants to Paris14 But such was not the case with these young men. All of them seem to have been adrift, without any familial anchor. In one case (that of Moriset the swineherd) we know that the parents were dead and a sibling unable to help, in the other five cases, there is simply silence. Pushed out of the familial nest as early as the age of eight, the young men in these stories had to fend for themselves-occasionally finding help in a neighbor, and, in the case of the blind boy, Thomas de Voudai, from a boy guide.

  • 15 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles 2, 7, 17, 18, 20, 49 (this miracle provides approxi (...)

8Migration data from late thirteenth-century Paris, as well as from several other late medieval towns, suggests that unlike girls, many boys left home at an early age, and thus, if troubles beset them, they were likely to find themselves similarly adrift. Among individuals who migrated to Paris and St.-Denis between 1242 and 1282 for whom an age of migration can be determined, seven out of thirteen boys or men migrated by the age of eighteen, four of them by the age of fourteen. By contrast, only one of six women migrated at the age of eighteen; the others were all older. One of these women was in her mid twenties, two were in their late twenties, and two were between twenty and forty15.

  • 16 P. Desportes, «La population de Reims au xve siècle d’après un dénombrement de 1422», Le Moyen Âge,(...)
  • 17 P.J.P. Goldberg, «Marriage, Migration and Servanthood: The York Cause Paper Evidence», in Goldberg (...)

9The evidence in the Saint Louis sources is supported by evidence from fifteenth-century Reims and fourteenth-and fifteenth-century England as well. Although he was not sure how to interpret this aspect of his data, Pierre Desportes found that in the 1422 enumeration of households in Reims the male population of the city showed a bulge among ten-to fourteen-year-olds, and then contracted among men between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, thus suggesting that there was a large influx of male immigrants between the ages of ten and fourteen, and possibly a pattern of reverse migration among boys and men between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. The size of the female population, by contrast, increased only slightly with the ten-to fourteen-year-olds, with a much larger increase among women between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four16. Among the male and female migrants to fourteenth-and fifteenth-century English towns to whom P.J.P. Goldberg was able to assign an age of migration, ten of the seventeen males were below the age of nineteen, and six or seven of those ten were below the age of fifteen. Among the female migrants, three, or possibly four, out of seven were below the age of nineteen, but none were younger than fifteen17. Goldberg did not consider this difference when he analyzed ages of migration.

  • 18 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles. 1-5, 1, 9, 11, 16-20,22-25, 30,34-37, 39, 41-44, 4 (...)
  • 19 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles 17, 18, 20.

10The working populations of high and late medieval cities reproduced themselves through migrations, and migration helped to exacerbate the plight of young men who encountered physical disability. Paris, moreover, was particularly unique among high and late medieval cities because it drew on an extremely large catchment basin. The sources for the Miracles of Saint Louis yield a database of 48 modest lay people who resided, in the 1270s and 80s, in Paris or in nearby St.-Denis, which drew on the same catchment basin. Thirty-two of those 48 (about 67%) were immigrants. Of those 32, which were evenly divided between men and women, half of the women and slightly over half of the men (nine out of sixteen) had moved to Paris from locations that were over 160 kilometers away18. The three young male beggars who resided in Paris had also moved considerable distances: 120, 130 and over 160 kilometers19.

  • 20 Ibid., miracle 14.

11Two of the other three beggars in the Miracles of Saint Louis also began their work lives by migrating, and difficulties related to their disabilities compelled them to migrate again. They traveled considerable distances, and ended up, at least temporarily, in St.-Denis. Moriset, the young swineherd who became lame, was from a village named Ranton, which was near the town of Loudun, about 30 km. south of the Loire, half way between Angers and Poitiers. He began his work life guarding pigs for a cleric in St.-Jean-d’Angely, which was about 120 km. south of Ranton. Feeling ill, in the spring of 1281, Moriset decided to return to Ranton, to the house of his brother Colin. When he awoke the morning after his arrival, he learned that his foot had contracted; from then on he was dependent on crutches. Moriset’s brother was too poor and too burdened with a wife and five children to care for Moriset, so the boy set out for the town of Saumur, which was about 40 km. away, hoping to receive aid from his stepmother, who had taken up work in the Maison Dieu of Saumur after the death of her husband. Upon his arrival in Saumur, however, Moriset learned from his half-brother that his stepmother was dead. He remained at the Maison Dieu for two months, then set out in search of a miraculous cure for his condition. Five months later, after traveling about 275 km. from Saumur, and over 300 km. from Ranton, he wound up at Saint Louis’ tomb in St.-Denis, where he was finally cured. For all we know, he remained in St.-Denis or Paris: after all, there was not much, in terms of property, employment or familial assistance to draw him back to Saumur, Ranton or St.-Jean-d’Angely20.

  • 21 Ibid., miracle 15.

12Like Moriset, Louis, the one deaf-mute in the Saint Louis miracles, also began his work life with a rural migration, and he later moved again because of troubles related to his disability. Sometime around 1254, when he was about eight years old, Louis showed up at Orgelet, a chateau belonging to Jean, count of Chalon, which was located near the Jura mountains, about 55 km. east/south-east of Chalon-sur-Saône. Louis was taken in by the smith at Orgelet, who nourished him and taught him, over the next 12 years, to light the forge, use a smith’s hammer, and assist with other tasks around the workshop. Perhaps because he had finished his training, Louis moved, when he was about 20 years old, to Lyon, which was about 40 km. southwest of Orgelet. There he took up residence, and probably work as well, on estate of the count and countess of Chalon-Auxerre. However, the chamberlain of the estate failed to provision Louis with shoes, thus, in 1271, about two years after he had moved to Lyon, Louis attached himself to the royal entourage that was carrying King Louis IX’s body from Tunis to St.-Denis. He did so not because he knew who King Louis was, but because the members of the entourage were willing to support him with their alms. After following the entourage to St.-Denis, which was about 240 km. from Lyon, Louis lingered on, because he found that he could survive on the abbey’s alms. He probably would have stayed there indefinitely, except that one day, while he was standing in the basilica of St.-Denis-totally ignorant both of Christian doctrine and of King Louis IX’s identity-he began to hear sounds. Terrified by the noise, he retraced his steps to Lyon, and from there to his former home of Orgelet. By then, he realized that he was also able to make sounds. With signs and gestures he communicated to the smith who had originally taken him in that he could now hear and make sounds. Eventually, he was taught to speak, and was ultimately able to recount his story to the panel investigating the miracles of Saint Louis21.

  • 22 Most drew on a region with a radius of 20-30 miles: P.J.P. Goldberg, «Marriage, Migration and Serva (...)

13Both the stories about these beggars and the broader statistics for the immigrant population of Paris and St.-Denis indicate that the catchment basin for the city’s working and non-working poor was extremely large for a pre-modern city22. However, the unusual size of the catchment basin matched the unusual size of the city, which, with a population of around 200,000 in 1300, was at least twice as large as the next largest city in northwest Europe, and probably larger than any Italian city as well.

  • 23 J. Berthelé, «La vie intérieure d’un hospice du xive au xvie siècle: l’Hôpital du Saint-Esprit-en-G (...)

14In addition to rendering familial assistance more difficult than it was for natives, migration exacerbated the plight of young workers because those who had moved on their own to Paris (or any other city) could not benefit from gild charities that were intended for children of gild members. Nor, since they were not actually from Paris, did young migrants qualify for charitable assistance for the city’s orphans23.

  • 24 B. Geremek, Le salariat dans l’artisanat parisien aux xiiie-xve siècles, trans. from the Polish by (...)

15A third factor contributing to the vulnerability of young disabled workers was the fact that many, if not most, Parisian laborers worked outside of the gild structure. During the summer construction season, for instance, 54-59% of the workers at construction sites in Paris were unqualified workers who were not enrolled in the gilds. These workers thus stood outside of the few forms of insurance or assistance that gilds offered to workers who fell ill or who became too disabled or old to work24.

  • 25 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracle 7.
  • 26 Ibid., miracle 58.

16The Saint Louis sources provide some confirmation that gild assistance was rare in the lives of workers: they make no mention of gild assistance for the 28 poor lay people (19 of them living in Paris and St.-Denis) who became disabled. In two cases, however, employers in Paris did provide long-term care for disabled workers who lived in their homes. The vallet fuller Guillot the Cripple (Guillot le Potencier) remained with his employer Robert Reboule for nine years after he began to use crutches because of an infected or cancerous swelling in his leg. For at least part of that time he was unable, we are told, to «earn his bread»25. The wool carder Orenge de Fontenay lived with her employer, Maurice the Weaver, for four years, even though a malady in her arm prevented her from working26.

  • 27 K.L. Reyerson, «The Adolescent Apprentice/Worker in Medieval Montpellier», Journal of Family Histor (...)

17It is nearly impossible to determine the typicality of the assistance provided by these two masters in the cloth industry. However, we do know that most apprenticeship contracts made no mention of sick care, and those that did mention such care either stipulated that the apprentice’s parents were responsible for sustenance in times of illness, or that the master was responsible for only one month of support27.

  • 28 L. Le Grand, «Les Quinze-Vingts: depuis leur fondation jusqu’à leur translation au faubourg Saint-A (...)
  • 29 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles. Blind persons who begged: miracles 8, 59. Blind person who d (...)

18In addition to the disadvantages of youth and immigration, and the near absence of «disability insurance» for workers of this milieu, young disabled men in Paris – as elsewhere – had to contend with a rich accumulation of cultural expectations and prejudices concerning poor disabled persons, especially those who were male. Of course, disabled people were supposed to be near the top of the hierarchy of the «deserving poor. » Nevertheless, institutional responses to the disabled were limited almost exclusively to hospices for the blind. Around 1260, Saint Louis himself had founded the Parisian hospice of the Quinze-Vingts, which could house up to 300 people – blind men and women and their guides, who were often the spouses, children or siblings of the blind residents. The inmates of the Quinze-Vingts, like those of houses for the blind in other cities (as well as the residents of hospices for poor students) were expected to go out begging for support – hence the need to provide lodging not only for the blind of the Quinze-Vingts, but also for their guides28. The Miracles of Saint Louis indicate that in the 1270s and 1280s the Quinze-Vingts was not meeting the needs of all of the blind people in Paris and its vicinity: the three blind people in the miracle stories lived within 40 km. of Paris, but not one of those three became a resident at the Quinze-Vingts or at any other hospice for the blind. Two of those three begged in order to survive29.

  • 30 A. Saunier, «Le pauvre malade» dans le cadre hospitalier médiéval: France du nord, vers 1300-1500, (...)
  • 31 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracle 42.
  • 32 Ibid., miracle 17.

19The people in the Miracles of Saint Louis who suffered from other long-term disabilities deafness, paralysis, debilitating cancers or other laming diseases – benefited from only occasional, short – term, institutional support. Hospitals frequently passed statutes prohibiting paralytics and other lame people from staying on their premises unless they suffered from fevers as well30. Thus, in the Miracles of Saint Louis, we learn that Jehenne de Serris stayed at the Hôtel-Dieu of Paris only at the onset of her paralysis, until the nuns at the Hôtel-Dieu were able to teach her to use crutches so she could go out begging31. Similarly, Guillot de Cauz, who was crippled for three years, only entered the Hôtel-Dieu of Paris when fevers prevented him from going out to beg32.

  • 33 J. Boswell, The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children from Late Antiquity to the Renai (...)

20Not only were disabled people expected to «work» for their survival by begging in the streets, but for a variety of cultural reasons, elite responses to disabled beggars were extremely ambivalent. First, there was the belief that both disability and poverty could be punishments for sins. According to thirteenth-century manuals of confessors and church synods, for instance, congenital disabilities and illnesses, including lameness, deafness, seizures and leprosy often resulted from intercourse during prohibited times33.

  • 34 Jehan Le Marchant, Le livre des miracles de Notre-Dame de Chartres, miracle 20, ed. M. G. Duplessis (...)

21Additionally, a variety of thirteenth-century religious and secular narratives elaborated the theme that disabled poor people were despicable in their wretched behavior: disabled beggars (and here we are talking about those who did not fake their ailments) were overindulgent, lustful, drunkards, envious, petty, deceitful, and avaricious. Some of them, moreover, failed to pray for the souls of those from whom they received alms34.

  • 35 Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, Ps. C, c. 5, ed. E. Dekkers and J. Fraipont, Sancti Aurelii Aug (...)
  • 36 Decretum Gratiani emendatum, Prima pars, dist. 86, chap. 7, col. 482, gloss to the words Donare and(...)

22On an official level most of the sins that truly disabled beggars committed did not stand in the way of giving alms to the involuntary poor. Drawing on Saint Augustine’s distinction between the hatred that one should have for the sinner, and the love one should have for the person, high medieval moralists maintained that it was lawful to give alms to poor sinners as long as one did so to help them in their poverty rather than to support their sins35. The argument was incorporated into the glossa ordinaria to Gratian’s Decretum, which was compiled around 1247, and it was reiterated by the Dominicans Thomas Aquinas and John of Freiburg36.

  • 37 «Inter quorum pannos et illuviem corporis flagrans libido dominatur», Jerome, Liber contra Vigilant (...)

23Still, stories about the sinful behavior of disabled beggars worked to reinforce the ambivalence and disgust that almsgivers, or would-be almsgivers, already felt in responding to the appeals of the needy. Moreover, such stories bolstered the ideas that poverty and disease were punishments for sin, and that it was preferable to support the voluntary, rather than the involuntary, poor. As Saint Jerome had argued, in a passage that was Irequently quoted by Franciscans and Dominicans in the thirteeenth century, it was better to seek spiritual advocates by giving alms to the poor in spirit rather than to the simple poor, «among whose rags and bodily filth burning desire has domain»37.

  • 38 According to a story that was first recounted in the twelfth century, then repeated again and again (...)

24Almost all of the individuals in narrative tales about sinful beggars were male, suggesting that elites felt a special discomfort with the «softness» and non-productivity of men who were supposed to work with their hands but were prevented from doing so by disability. Such discomfort must have been multiplied even more when the disabled men in question were also young, as was the case with the six young men whose lives and sufferings are revealed to us through the Miracles of Saint Louis, a text that was based on the sworn testimonies of people who were familiar with the individuals who claimed to have been cured by the saint. Men from this social stratum – most especially young men – were supposed to have robust bodies and to use those bodies in productive ways; these disabled men, by contrast, were weak and dependent. One category of fictional story about such men even indicated that they sometimes clung to their disabilities by attempting to avoid miraculous cures because they preferred the «soft» and profitable life of begging to the harsh demands of work38. Such stories expressed elite anxieties about the bodies of lower status males which no longer functioned in a manner that was appropriate to lower status masculinity.

  • 39 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles. Women/girls aged 10 and older receiving help: miracles 2, 4, (...)
  • 40 Ibid. Women who begged: miracles 5, 35, 42, 44, 52, 59. Men/youths who begged: miracles 8, 9, 14, 1 (...)
  • 41 Ibid. Male beggars in their teens: miracles 8, 17, 18 and probably 14.

25The Miracles of Saint Louis indicate that even non-elites felt uncomfortable with the dysfunctional bodies of men from the laboring strata of society, or, at least, that they felt more empathy towards women and teenaged girls in need than towards men and teenaged boys in need. Thus, while families, employers and neighbors provided the most important and sustained care for the men and women in the Miracles of Saint Louis, they appear to have done so less frequently for men and boys than for women. We are told that twelve of the sixteen needy lay women and girls aged 10 or more (75%) in the Miracles received help from family, employers, neighbors and companions, while we are told that only seven of the twelve men and boys aged 10 and older (about 58%) received such assistance39. Similarly, we are told that only six of the sixteen women and girls 10 and older (about 37%) had to resort to begging in order to survive, while the Miracles indicate that eight of the twelve men and youths (about 67%) had to do so40. Moreover, while four, or possibly three, of the eight male beggars were in their teens, none of the six female beggars were that young41. Indeed, when examined together, the evidence concerning ages of migration and ages of male and female beggars suggests that disabled girls in their teens were more likely to receive assistance from their families than were disabled boys in their teens.

  • 42 The following discussion is taken from Gabriel, Student Life. However, my reading of the statutes ( (...)
  • 43 Ibid., p. 98-116; «Statutes of Ave Maria College», p. 322, 345, 347-348.

26The statutes of Ave Maria College, which Jean Hubant founded on the left bank of Paris in 1339, suggest that in their ambivalence about disabled and feeble poor men Parisians sometimes went so far as to give charitable preference to able-bodied men who were willing to work42. According to Hubant’s statutes for the college, Ave Maria consisted of a central institution the college itself which was to provide food and clothing for six regular scholarship holders between the ages of eight and sixteen as well as for two other resident students whose endowment supported them at a lower standard of living. Additionally, the property of the college included several out buildings that provided housing for six more students of the lower status, for ten poor old women (pauperibus mulieribus antiquis) and for ten poor households (pauperibus menagiis)43.

  • 44 Only old women could be servants, the householders could not have young wives, and they had to move (...)
  • 45 Item predicti menagerii heligentur laboratores terrarum et in aliis operibus panem suum lucrantes, (...)
  • 46 Ibid., p. 173 and plate xxii.
  • 47 N. Wilkins, Nicolas Flamel: Des livres et de l’or, Paris, 1993, p. 36.
  • 48 Gabriel, Student Life, p. 105, 323, 352.

27Hubant went to great lengths to assure that none of these dependents of the college would be young women, who, presumably, would have provided too much sexual temptation for the boys44. Perhaps for this reason, he assumed that the poor households would all be headed by men. Concerning these male heads of household, Hubant warned against «false beggars or those living on false begging» stipulating that preference should be given instead «to those working the earth or earning their bread with other work, unless they are blind or have another disability or are old and for that reason have to beg»45. We might conclude from this language that Hubant’s charitable housing was offered equally to laboring, disabled and elderly poor men. However, the illuminations for the statutes suggest that he favored functioning laborers: the illumination depicting the poor householders shows ten male heads of household. Eight of them – a baker, a wine seller, a cobbler, a smith, a tailor, a mason, a carpenter and a butcher – hold the tools of their trade, while only two hold walking sticks, apparently to indicate that they beg for a living46. The illuminations thus give the impression that laboring heads of household were the preferred residents. Similarly, the inscription on the facade of the hospice for the poor that Nicolas Flamel built in 1407 indicated that the house was intended for poor «laborers» rather than for the feeble and disabled47.The sources thus suggest that because of their discomfort with the non-working poor, bourgeois Parisians preferred to extend their charity to able-bodied working men rather than to disabled and elderly men. There was no question, moreover, of including disabled boys among the students at Ave Maria College: Hubant stipulated that the resident students were to be of legitimate birth, from good and poor families, capable of being taught, and free of physical deformities48.

  • 49 Ibid., p. 106-107.
  • 50 R. Trexler, «Charity and the Defense of Urban Elites in the Italian Communes», in The Rich, the Wel (...)

28It is also quite clear that Hubant defined «poor» rather broadly: his statutes state that in the selection of the boys preferential treatment was to go first to his own relations, then to inhabitants of his natal village. We know, in fact, that his own nephew became a resident scholarship holder at Ave Maria, as did the son of the mayor of Ste.-Geneviève49. In the middle ages and renaissance, as Richard Trexler has so convincingly argued, legitimate charity for the poor was extended to all people who met with difficulties in living up to the standards of their social group50. Hence, elites like Hubant gave preference to those forms of charity that helped their own kind, if not their own families. Similarly, bourgeois testators and founders of hospices on the right bank of Paris were more likely to extend their institutional assistance to school boys rather than to laborers, disabled or otherwise.

  • 51 S. Farmer, «Down and Out and Female», p. 345-372.

29In a recent article on poor women in Paris, I implied that patterns of medieval charity serve as reliable indicators of those groups in society that were most vulnerable to the ravages of poverty51. I am no longer certain that was the case. Cultural constructs about the meanings and significance of disability and suffering, and gendered expectations about the appropriate uses of male and female bodies, played important roles in determining who actually benefited from charitable acts, and what shape those charitable acts took. The status needs of elite donors also played a significant role, for in founding shelters for the poor, elites created lasting physical reminders of their own generosity. Older women and working men apparently created more attractive memorials to their benefactors than did disabled men. For all of these reasons, disabled poor men ranked very low on the hierarchy of charity. I suspect, therefore, that disabled men – most especially young disabled men – constituted one of the most vulnerable populations in medieval cities.

Notes

2 The hospices for women were: Ste.-Avoye, the Haudriettes, «Bonnes fames de la rue aux Fauconniers», «Bonnes fames du pont parvum», «Bonnes fames de lospital Andry Marcel», «Bonnes fames de lospital Jehan Gensan», «Bonnes fames de lospital Denys de St. Just», «Bonnes fames de lospital Giefffoy de Flory», «Bonnes fames de lospital Mestri P. Larrent», «Bonnes fames Mestrie Jehanne Mignon»: Paris, AN KK 5, f 368-368v. On Ste.-Avoye, which was founded in 1283, and the Haudriettes, which was founded in 1306, see: L. Le Grand, «Les béguines de Paris», Mémoires de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l’Ile-de-France, 20 (1893), 295-357. We know virtually nothing about the other eight institutions.
The hospices for school boys (as opposed to those for university students) were the Dix-huit, or St.-Christophe’s, founded in 1180; St.-Honoré, founded between 1204 and 1209; St.-Thomas, or St.-Nicolas, of the Louvre, founded before 1210; the Bons Enfants of StVictor, founded before 1248; and Ave Maria College, founded in 1339:
Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, ed. H. Denifle, Paris, 1889, vol. 1, 9, 10, 50; J. M. Reitzel, «The Medieval Houses of Bons-Enfants», Viator. Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 11 (1980), 183, 202; A.L. Gabriel, Student Life in Ave Maria College, Medieval Paris: History and Chartulary of the College, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1955. St.-Christophe’s, which was on the Ile-de-la-Cité, was associated with the Hôtel Dieu. St.-Honoré and St.-Thomas/St.-Nicolas were on the right bank. The Bons Enfants and Ave Maria were on the left bank. Most Parisian testaments refer to the school boys of St.-Nicolas of the Louvre rather than St.-Thomas of the Louvre. Bourgeois testators did not tend to support Ave Maria College.

3 P. Bavoux, «Enfants trouvés et orphelins du xive au xvie siècles à Paris», Assistance et assistés jusqu’à 1610, Actes du 97e Congrès National des Sociétés Savantes, Nantes, 1972, Paris, 1979, 359-370.

4 Ibid.; G. Fagniez, Études sur l’industrie et la classe industrielle à Paris au xiiie et au xive siècle, Paris, 1877; reprint: New York, 1970, chap. 4.

5 This discussion is based on an examination of 32 published and unpublished bourgeois Parisian testaments written between 1250 and 1348. Only original testaments or copies of entire testaments include information on minor institutions and dowries for poor girls. I have indicated in parentheses the name of the testator, the date of the testament, and whether or not the testator made gifts to dowries for poor girls, hospices for women and/or collèges for school boys: L. Brièle ed., Archives de l’Hôtel Dieu de Paris (1157-1300), Paris, 1894, p. 419-420 (Roger du Four du Temple, 1281); 433-34 (Amoul le Cervoisier, 1286); 550-553 (Thiphaine la Commine, 1295: dowries); J. Depoin ed., Recueil de chartes et documents de Saint-Martin-des-Champs, 5 vols., Paris, 1912-1921, vol. 5, p. 97-98 (Jehanne Argence, 1273: collèges); A. Goldmann ed., «Inventaire de Galeran le Breton et testament de Jeanne de Malaunay, bourgeois de Paris (1299-1311)», Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l’Île-de-France (henceforth BSHP), 19(1892): 167-170 (Jehanne de Malaunay, 1310, collèges, hospices for women, dowries); A. Terroine and L. Fossier eds., Chartes et documents de l’Abbaye de Saint-Magloire, 3 vols. (Paris, 1966), 2: 148 (Pierre la Pie, 1302: collèges, hospices for women); L. Le Grand ed., «Testament d’une bourgeoise de Paris», BSHP, 14(1887): 42-47 (Sédile de Laon, 1316: hospices for women); H. Martin ed., «Testament de Simon Piz-d’Oue, chanoine de Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois (3 Octobre, 1307)», BSHP, 31 (1909): 33-39 (collèges, hospices for women, dowries); Paris, AN LL 387 fol. 73-74 (Adam Le Panetier, 1271: hospices for women); AN L 1043, # 25 (Étienne Haudry, 1312: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN S 6213, # 149 (Gervais Ruffus, 1260: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN L 938, # 61 (Guillaume de Mailly, 1327: collèges, hospices for women); AN S 896, # 17 (Guil laume Fresnel, 1293); AN L 859, #2610 (Jacqueline, widow of Theobald de Morise, 1273); AN L 547 # 1 (Jehan de Fontenoi and Bauteut his wife, 1227: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN L 554A, # 53 (Jehanne Grinell, wife of Jehan Grinell, 1305: hospices for women); AN L 1043, # 24 (Jehanne Haudry, wife of Étienne Haudry, 1309: collèges, hospices for women); AN L 938, # 46 (Jehanne la Fouacière, 1313: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN L 938, # 58 (Margaret wife of Pierre Loisel, 1330: collèges, hospices for women); AN L 840, #99, copied by A. Terroine, «Recherches sur la bourgeoisie parisienne au xiiie siècle», 4 vols. (Unpublished thèse, École Nationale des chartes, 1940), 4, 122-129 (Robert Evrout, 1306: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN L 849, # 100, copied by A. Terroine, «Recherches», 4,130-136 (Marie, widow of Robert Evrout, 1307: collèges, hospices for women, dowries); AN L 1021, # 18, copied by Terroine, «Recherches”, 4, 159-171 (Robert le Vinetier, 1311: dowries); Paris, Archives de l’Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts, ms. 5848, fos 49v-50v (Thomas le Tailleur, 1307); f° 192-192v (Emeline, wife of Nicolas, minister of the Quinze-Vingts, 1303); fos 213-216 (Jehan le Grand, 1310: dowries) fos 236v-238v (Girart de Troyes, 1298: dowries); fos 293-294v (Jehan Langlais, 1316: hospices for women); Archives de l’Assistance Publique (henceforth AAP), Fonds St.-Jacques, # 11 (Guillaume au Long Nez, 1327); AAP, Fonds St.-Jacques, # 13 (Philippe de Corneilles, 1329); AAP, Fonds St.-Jacques, # 14 (Jehanne du Faut, 1330: collèges, hospices for women); AAP, Fonds St.-Jacques, #17 (Jehan de Troyes, 1332: collèges, hospices for women); AAP, Fonds Hôtel-Dieu, Liasse 132, # 765 (Jehanne la Patrice, 1303).

6 R. de Lespinasse and F. Bonnardot eds., Le livre des métiers d’Étienne Boileau, Paris, 1897,21: 5-6,87: 7; 78: 25, p. 49, 189, 171.

7 Ibid., 56: 5, 69: 14, 84: 12, 88: 13, p. 116, 146, 184, 195.

8 J.B.M. Jaillot, Recherches critiques, historiques et topographiques sur la ville de Paris depuis ses commencemens connus jusqu’à présent, vol. 1, part. 3, Paris, 1775, p. 45.

9 Fagniez, Études sur l’industrie, p. 39, 290-291.

10 R. Mols, Introduction à la démographie historique des villes d’Europe du xive au xviiie siècle, 3 vols., Gembloux, 1954-1956, 2, 222; C. Phythian-Adams, Desolation of a City: Coventry and the Urban Crisis of the Late Middle Ages, Cambridge, 1979, p. 92; M. Kowaleski, «History of Urban Families in Medieval England», Journal of Medieval History, 14 (1988), 56.

11 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, confesseur de la Reine Marguerite, Les miracles de Saint Louis, ed. P. B. Fay, Paris, 1931. Lower status lay women identified as old or in their 60s: miracles 4, 35,43, 57; other lower status lay women/girls: miracles 2, 5, 31, 32, 36, 37, 39, 41,42, 44, 51, 52, 58 (this woman is identified as in her 40s in the text, and as «old» in the rubric for the chapter), 59. Lower status man identified as 60 years old: miracle 9; other lower status men/boys: miracles 7, 8, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 25, 28, 33, 45, 47, 48, 49.

12 Ibid. Youths who begged: miracles 8, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20; other male beggars: miracles 9, 45. Women beggars over 30: miracles 5, 35, 44, 52 and possibly 59 (this woman was either over 30 at the time of the inquest or at the time of her cure). Other woman beggar: miracle 42 (no age given, but she was married and had children).

13 Ibid., miracles 8, 14, 17, 18, 20. Concerning Moriset, we can assume his youth by the fact that he is given a diminutive name, and that he is identified as «the son of the deceased Jehan Poilebout of Ranton», ibid., p. 45.

14 S. Farmer, «Down and Out and Female in Thirteenth-Century Paris », American Historical Review, 103 (1998), 356, 368.

15 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles 2, 7, 17, 18, 20, 49 (this miracle provides approximate ages of migration for a husband and wife), 54; H.-F. Delaborde ed, «Fragments de l’enquête faite à Saint-Denis en 1282 en vue de la canonisation de Saint Louis», Mémoires de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l’Île-de-France, 23 (1896), 1-71, testimony of witnesses 5-1, 5-3, 5-6, 41-1,41-2,41-3,41-4, 41-5,41-6, 51-3, 51-6. The two women for whom I assign a migration age between 20 and 40 had already married and had a child when they migrated. One was still married and the child was still young; the other could have migrated much later, perhaps as a widow.

16 P. Desportes, «La population de Reims au xve siècle d’après un dénombrement de 1422», Le Moyen Âge, 72 (1966), 498-500. On Desporte’s age pyramid, the male population increases from 4.5 at age 9 to 8.25 at age 14, then decreases to 7.1 at age 24; the female population increases from 4.2 at age 9 to 5.5 at age 14 and to 8.5 at age 24. It is not clear what the multiplier should be for the numbers on the pyramid. The total number of individuals in his database from the two parishes (out of 13) for which the 1422 survey survives, was 3175: Desportes, p. 479.
After reviewing the evidence from Paris and England I am inclined to interpret Desporte’s data as an indication that girls or women in fifteenth-century Reims migrated at an older age than did boys. If this was indeed the case, then about two thirds of the girl servants under the age of fourteen were local girls.

17 P.J.P. Goldberg, «Marriage, Migration and Servanthood: The York Cause Paper Evidence», in Goldberg ed., Woman Is a Worthy Wight: Women in English Society c. 1200-1500 (Wolfeboro Falls, New Hampshire, 1992), 10-11.

18 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles. 1-5, 1, 9, 11, 16-20,22-25, 30,34-37, 39, 41-44, 48-49, 51-54, 58. I have left out miracle 38, which involved a cleric, and miracles 26-27, which involved the children of the man cured in miracle 25. For children who received a cure I have counted only the parent who is first mentioned by Guillaume de St.-Pathus. If no place of origin is clearly mentioned, I have counted the individual as a native-even if that person is given a surname that could describe a place of origin. Information for the place of origin for miracle no. 4 comes from Guillaume de Nangis, Vie de Saint Louis, Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France (RHGF), Paris, 1840, 20, 462. Information for the place of residence for miracle 48 is in Guillaume De Chartres, De vita et actibus regis Francorum Ludovici et de miraculis, RHGF 20: 40. To the sample of 34 individuals from Guillaume de St.-Pathus I have added the fourteen non-clerical witnesses in the Latin fragment of the inquest into Saint Louis’ miracles who do not overlap with the individuals already counted from Guillaume de St.-Pathus: «Fragments de l’enquête», ed. Delaborde.

19 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracles 17, 18, 20.

20 Ibid., miracle 14.

21 Ibid., miracle 15.

22 Most drew on a region with a radius of 20-30 miles: P.J.P. Goldberg, «Marriage, Migration and Servanthood», p. 12; J.-P. Poussou, «Mobilité et Migrations», in Histoire de la population française, ed. J. Dupâquier et al., Paris, 1988, 2, 118-120; P. M. Hohenberg and L. Hollen Lees, The Making of Urban Europe, Cambridge, Mass., 1988, p. 95, citing A. Perrenoud, La population de Genève du seizième au début du dix-neuvième siècle: étude démographique (Geneva, 1979); and J. Patten, «Patterns of Migration and Movement of Labor to Three Pre-Industrial East Anglian Towns», Journal of Historical Geography, 2 (1976), 111-129.

23 J. Berthelé, «La vie intérieure d’un hospice du xive au xvie siècle: l’Hôpital du Saint-Esprit-en-Grève à Paris», L’Hôpital et l’aide sociale à Paris, 7 (Jan.-Fév., 1961), 81-91; 8 (Mars-Avril, 1961), 225-235; 9 (Mai-Juin, 1961), 375-383; 10 (Juillet-Août, 1961), 537-541; 11 (Sept.-Oct., 1961), 687-703; 12 (Nov.-Dec., 1961), 847-852.

24 B. Geremek, Le salariat dans l’artisanat parisien aux xiiie-xve siècles, trans. from the Polish by A. Posner and C. Klapisch-Zuber, Paris, 1982, 70-71.

25 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracle 7.

26 Ibid., miracle 58.

27 K.L. Reyerson, «The Adolescent Apprentice/Worker in Medieval Montpellier», Journal of Family History, 17(1992), 363; F. Michaud-Fréjaville, «Bons et loyaux services: les contrats d’apprentissage en Orléanais (1380-1480)», in Les entrées dans la vie: initiations et apprentissages, Congrès de la Société des historiens médiévistes de l’enseignement supérieur public (Nancy, 1982), p. 205; Fagniez, Études sur l’industrie, p. 65.

28 L. Le Grand, «Les Quinze-Vingts: depuis leur fondation jusqu’à leur translation au faubourg Saint-Antoine, xiiie-xviiie siècles», Mémoires de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l'Île-de-France, 13 (1886), 113-125.

29 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles. Blind persons who begged: miracles 8, 59. Blind person who did not beg: miracle 51.

30 A. Saunier, «Le pauvre malade» dans le cadre hospitalier médiéval: France du nord, vers 1300-1500, Paris, 1993, p. 13.

31 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles, miracle 42.

32 Ibid., miracle 17.

33 J. Boswell, The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance, New York, 1988, p. 338-339.

34 Jehan Le Marchant, Le livre des miracles de Notre-Dame de Chartres, miracle 20, ed. M. G. Duplessis, Chartres, 1855, p. 113-115; Le garçon et l’aveugle: jeu du xiiie siècle, lines 113-42, 207-08, 224-28, ed. M. Roques, trans. into modem French by J. Dufournet, Paris, 1989, p. 100-101, 106-109; Guillaume le Clerc de Normandie, Le Besant de Dieu, lines 1113-1114, 1117-1120, ed. P. Ruelle, Brussels, 1973, p. 99. On the susceptibility of poor witnesses to bribes, and thus their propensity to deceive in court, see: Gratian, Decretum, Secunda pars, causa 4, quaest. 2 et 3, c. 3, Decretum Gratiani emendatum, Rome, 1588, col. 910. Thomas of Chobham implies that beggars fail to pray for their benefactors when he warns that to do so is a mortal sin: Summa confessorum, art. 6, dist. 4, quest. 6, ed. F. Broomfield, Louvain, 1968 (Analecta mediaevalia Namurcensia, 25), p. 297.

35 Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, Ps. C, c. 5, ed. E. Dekkers and J. Fraipont, Sancti Aurelii Augustini Enarrationes in Psalmos LI-C, Turnhout, 1956 (Corpus christianorum series latina, 39), p. 1410.

36 Decretum Gratiani emendatum, Prima pars, dist. 86, chap. 7, col. 482, gloss to the words Donare and Talibus; Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, 2a-2ae, quaest. 31, art. 2, resp. ad 2, ed. and trans. Blackfriars, 61 vols., London, 1973, 34: 226-227; Thomas Aquinas, In quattuor libros sententiarum, liber 4, dist. 15, quaest. 2., art. 6, resp. ad 2, ed. Robertus Busa, S. Thomae Aquinatis Opera omnia, Stuttgart, 1980, 1: 510; John of Freiburg, Summa confessorum reverendi patris Joannis de Friburgo, Lyon, 1518, liber 3, tit. 8, quaest. 8, f° 102.

37 «Inter quorum pannos et illuviem corporis flagrans libido dominatur», Jerome, Liber contra Vigilantium, 14, PL 23: 350; trans. W. H. Freemantle, The Principal Works of St. Jerome, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 6, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1954, 422; Thomas Aquinas, Contra impugnantes dei cultam et religionem, chap. 7, in Sancti Thomae Aquinatis Doctoris Angelici Ordinis Praedicatorum Opera Omnia, 25 vols., Parma, 1852 73, 15: 43; Bonaventure. Apologia pauperum contra calumniatorem, chap. 12, ed. College of St. Bonaventure, Doctoris Seraphici S. Bonaventurae Opera Omnia, 10 vols., Quaracchi, 1882-1902, 8:329.

38 According to a story that was first recounted in the twelfth century, then repeated again and again in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries, two disabled beggars did not wish to be cured of their disabilities because they would have to give up their soft life and go to work. In the twelfth-century version of the story, when the prospect arose of being cured by Saint Martin, one of the beggars said to the other: «Behold, brother, we live a life of soft leisure [...] and it is this infirmity by which we are cast down that lays claim to all of this for us. But-God forbid!-if we were to be cured, manual labor, to which we are unaccustomed, would weigh us down by necessity»: De reversione beati Martini a Burgundia tractatus, ed. A. Salmon, Supplément aux chroniques de Touraine, Tours, 1856, p. 31-32. On the date of this text, see S. Farmer, Communities of Saint Martin: Legend and Ritual in Medieval Tours, Ithaca, 1991, p. 305-306. The story was probably written between 1137 and 1156. Jacques de Vitry included a version of the story in his collection of ad status sermons, and Jacob of Voragine included a version in The Golden Legend: G. Cohen, «Le thème de l’aveugle et du paralytique dans la littérature française», Mélanges offerts à Émile Picot par ses amis et ses élèves, Paris, 1913; reprint: Geneva, 1969, 2: 393-404.

39 Guillaume de St.-Pathus, Les miracles. Women/girls aged 10 and older receiving help: miracles 2, 4, 5, 31, 32, 37, 39, 44, 51, 57, 58, 59. Women/girls 10 and older, no evidence of help: miracles 35, 42, 43, 52. Men/boys aged 10 and older receiving help: miracles 7, 9, 15, 17, 25, 28, 33. Men/boys aged 10 and older, no evidence of help: miracles 8, 14, 18, 20, 45. The boys and girls in miracles 36, 41, 48, and 49 were clearly younger than 10; the boy in miracle 47 was probably younger than 10.

40 Ibid. Women who begged: miracles 5, 35, 42, 44, 52, 59. Men/youths who begged: miracles 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 45.

41 Ibid. Male beggars in their teens: miracles 8, 17, 18 and probably 14.

42 The following discussion is taken from Gabriel, Student Life. However, my reading of the statutes (which Gabriel publishes) is not always the same as that of Gabriel.

43 Ibid., p. 98-116; «Statutes of Ave Maria College», p. 322, 345, 347-348.

44 Only old women could be servants, the householders could not have young wives, and they had to move out when their daughters or other female household members reached the age of 10: «Statutes of Ave Maria College», p. 323-324, 375.

45 Item predicti menagerii heligentur laboratores terrarum et in aliis operibus panem suum lucrantes, non trutenni et trutenniter viventes nisi essent ceci vel alias debillitati vel antiqui quod propter hoc necessario haberent mendicare, «Statutes of Ave Maria College», p. 375.

46 Ibid., p. 173 and plate xxii.

47 N. Wilkins, Nicolas Flamel: Des livres et de l’or, Paris, 1993, p. 36.

48 Gabriel, Student Life, p. 105, 323, 352.

49 Ibid., p. 106-107.

50 R. Trexler, «Charity and the Defense of Urban Elites in the Italian Communes», in The Rich, the Well-Born, and the Powerful: Elites and Upper Classes in History, ed. F. Cople Jaher, Urbana, Ill., 1973, 64-109.

51 S. Farmer, «Down and Out and Female», p. 345-372.

Auteur

University of California, Santa Barbara

© Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2002

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