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Ceremony and CivilityCivic Culture in Late Medieval London$
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Barbara A. Hanawalt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190490393

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190490393.001.0001

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Civic Lessons for the Masses

Civic Lessons for the Masses

(p.134) 6 Civic Lessons for the Masses
Ceremony and Civility

Barbara A. Hanawalt

Oxford University Press

The educating of the illiterate, other than the public shaming and time on the pillory, was done through the public reading of the city ordinances and a variety of city institutions. When a man entered the city, he was given three nights to become a member of the frankpledge, taking an oath before an alderman to uphold the laws. The ward was the basic unit of government. Parish churches were inclusive of all parish inhabitants regardless of their social status, but the governance of the finances belonged to elite members. The social and religious gilds that were connected to the parish church were mostly for those of middling rank in the city and, again, had a hierarchical structure. Wards and parishes served an educative function in civic behavior, as did the parishes themselves. Finally, there was the oral culture of the streets and the visual culture of the public buildings.

Keywords:   illiterate, public proclamation, tavern, ward, frankpledge, parish church, parish gild, hierarchy, public statute, oral culture

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