The educational situation towards the end of the early modern period in England seems much closer to us than that pertaining at its beginning, a sign of the degree of ‘modernisation’ occurring during the timespan. In 1500 the educational institutions we can trace were for the elite and dominated by Latin: endowed grammar schools and universities. Even great scholars, however, had to begin by learning individual letters, and we know that the elementary learning of letters and then word reading in the vernacular was quite as far as some children got, some obviously informally taught. Each level was in its own way utilitarian, the elite for professionals, the more basic for ‘mechanical arts and worldly business’.
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Helen M. Jewell
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