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Professor Nicholas Orme explores the beginnings of Children's Literature in Medieval England

29th April 2016
Venue: The Glapthorn Room, Fletton House, Fletton Way, Oundle PE8 4JA
Time: 7.15-8.15pm

Children's literature in England emerges suddenly in the fifteenth century in the form of rhymes, sayings, stories, and practical books especially on good behaviour. Nicholas Orme will explain why this happened, and introduce the range of literature that survives from this period. There will be a chance to see and to buy his anthology of the literature, Fleas, Flies and Friars, after the event.

Medieval children lived in a rich oral culture of poetry: lullabies, nursery rhymes, songs, riddles, tongue-twisters, nonsensical verses and insults. They read or listened to stories in verse: ballads of Robin Hood, romances, and comic tales. Poems were written to teach them how to behave, eat at meals, hunt game, and even to learn Latin and French. Much of this poetry is unknown and lies beyond the interests of literary scholars. Nicholas Orme’s selection is the first attempt to make the whole scope of it accessible to general readers. From a wide knowledge of literary and historical sources, he has brought together an astonishing variety of verses that might have been known to children by about the year 1500, from sayings and songs to stories and school texts.  

Nicholas Orme is emeritus professor of history at Exeter University and an emeritus canon of Truro Cathedral. He is the author of Medieval Children, Medieval Schools, and nearly thirty books on English social, religious, and cultural history; he now lives in Oxford.


Tickets £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 22nd April, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle.

Open hours: 10.00am – 4.00pm Mon to Fri Tel 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk

Any queries call Helen on 07743988181 or email oundlelitfestival@hotmail.co.uk