Orme, Nicholas

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Orme, Nicholas

PERSONAL:

Education: Magdalen College, Oxford, M.A., D.Phil., D.Litt., D.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, University of Exeter, Queen's Dr., Exeter, Devon EX4 4RJ, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Exeter, Exeter, England, lecturer, 1964-1981, reader in history, 1981-88, professor of history, 1988-2007, emeritus professor, 2007—. Visiting fellow or professor at Merton College, Oxford; St. John's College, Oxford; University of Arizona, Tucson; University of Minneapolis; and the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Exeter Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee, past chairman; Truro Cathedral, lay canon, 2005.

MEMBER:

Devon History Society (past president), Devon and Cornwall Record Society (vice president), Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (past president), Somerset Archaeological Society (past president).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Nuffield Foundation, resident fellow, 1991-92; Leverhulme Trust fellow, 1993-94; Christianity Today named Medieval Children a top-ten book of 2001; Medieval Academy of America, corresponding fellow, 2003.

WRITINGS:

English Schools in the Middle Ages, Methuen (London, England), 1973.

Education in the West of England, 1066-1548: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, University of Exeter (Exeter, Devon, England), 1976.

The Minor Clergy of Exeter Cathedral, 1300-1548: A List of the Minor Officers, Vicars Choral, Annuellars, Secondaries and Choristers, University of Exeter (Exeter, Devon, England), 1980.

Early British Swimming, 55 BC-AD 1719: With the First Swimming Treatise in English, 1595, University of Exeter (Exeter, Devon, England), 1983.

From Childhood to Chivalry: The Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy 1066-1530, Methuen (London, England), 1984.

Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England, Hambledon (London, England), 1989.

A Guide to St. Peter's Church, Brampford Speke (booklet), self published with N.I. Orme [England], 1989.

(Editor) Nicholas Roscarrock, Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints: Cornwall and Devon (booklet), Devon and Cornwall Record Society [England], 1992, St. Endellion PCC (St. Endellion, Cornwall, England), 2000.

(Contributor) Unity and Variety: A History of the Church in Devon and Cornwall, University of Exeter (Exeter, Devon, England), 1993.

(With Margaret Webster) The English Hospital, 1070-1570, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1995.

White Bird Flying (juvenile), illustrated by Hamesh Alles, Longman (Harlow, England), 1995.

English Church Dedications: With a Survey of Cornwall and Devon, University of Exeter Press (Exeter, Devon, England), 1996.

The Cap and the Sword: Exeter and the Rebellions of 1497 (booklet), Exeter City Council (Exeter, Devon, England), 1997.

Education in Early Tudor England: Magdalen College Oxford and Its School, Magdalen College, Oxford (Oxford, England), 1998.

The Saints of Cornwall, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

Medieval Children, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2001.

(Editor, with David Lepine) Death and Memory in Medieval Exeter, Devon and Cornwall Record Society (Exeter, Devon, England), 2003.

(Editor, with John Chynoweth and Alexandra Walsham) The Survey of Cornwall, Devon and Cornwall Record Society (Exeter, Devon, England), 2004.

Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Renaissance England, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2006.

(Editor) Cornish Wills, 1342-1540, Devon and Cornwall Record Society (Exeter, Devon, England), 2007.

Cornwall and the Cross: Christianity 500-1560, Phillimore (London, England), 2007.

(Editor) The Victoria History of the County of Cornwall: Volume II: Religious History to 1560, Victoria County History (London, England), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

British historian Nicholas Orme has had a long career as a professor with the University of Exeter, in England, and has had appointments as a visiting professor at many colleges and universities, including in the United States at the University of Arizona and University of Minneapolis. Orme's research interests include the social, cultural, and religious histories of England until 1600. Many of his books focus on the history of the area in which he works, and a number of his works have been published by the University of Exeter. He written a guide to St. Peter's Church and a number of books and booklets for the Devon and Cornwall Record Society. Orme produced a local history for the Exeter City Council titled The Cap and the Sword: Exeter and the Rebellions of 1497.

Orme contributed the first and third of the Medieval sections to Unity and Variety: A History of the Church in Devon and Cornwall, a collection of papers from a 1989 symposium held at the Center for South-Western Historical Studies at the University of Exeter.

What we learn from The English Hospital, 1070-1570, which Orme wrote with Margaret Webster, is that Medieval hospitals provided more services than do hospitals today. They offered relief to travelers and cared for the poor and the elderly, as well as the ill. In 1402, St. Giles in the Fields hospital offered a last drink of ale to prisoners who passed on the way to the gallows. The book is divided into two sections, with Orme contributing the second, which is a study of hospitals in Devon and Cornwall. Renaissance Quarterly reviewer Peregrine Horden wrote: "This is antiquarian history of the best sort."

English Church Dedications: With a Survey of Cornwall and Devon is a study of the parish churches in the two counties in which a marked difference in dedications is seen. While Devon, like most of England, revered their spiritual patrons Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Cornwall churches honored Celtic saints. J.R. Maddicott reviewed the volume in the English Historical Review, commenting that Orme "takes an old subject, usually left to antiquarians, and shows what may be made of it through scholarship, learning and local knowledge."

Appropriately, Orme, who earned all of his degrees at Magdalen College, Oxford, completed a study titled Education in Early Tudor England: Magdalen College Oxford and Its School, which includes chapters on the school's founding, buildings, impact, and the lives of the students.

Orme's goal with The Saints of Cornwall is "to furnish all the surviving evidence relating to cults based in Cornwall up to the Reformation and to their subsequent history." The bulk of the volume is a "Dictionary of Saints," and Orme suggests links between Cornwall cults and those in Wales and Brittany.

In Medieval Children, Orme debunks the theory that the loving nuclear family as we know it in contemporary times is a recent development. Based on the writings of a number of scholars who came to their conclusions with little evidence, it was believed by many that these bonds were nonexistent. Foremost in forming this concept was French writer Philippe Aries, author of The Centuries of Childhood, published in English in 1962. Sandra Miesel noted in reviewing Medieval Children for Crisis Online that Aries's book "captured the public's imagination in part because it fed chronological snobbery toward the supposedly benighted Middle Ages. Although the twenty-first century has less to feel enlightened about as it relentlessly sexualizes younger and younger people, the Aries thesis is still a Notion That Will Not Die. It continues to haunt undergraduate classrooms and the minds of journalists, despite the best efforts of medievalists to drive a stake through its heart."

Orme focuses on English Medieval children, statistics for whom tend to provide more information about the upper classes and the end of the Middle Ages. Numbers of children per family tended to be fewer than six during the twelfth century for privileged families and fewer than four for commoners during the sixteenth. Approximately forty percent of children died before reaching the age of ten years, and even the royal family, with all of its resources, lost only slightly fewer. This is the reason why children were baptized at birth to save them from hell, should they die young. Aries claimed that because of the risk of loss, parents did not become emotionally attached to their children. Orme shows this theory not to be any more true than it is today. Songs of the period reflect the love of parents for their children, particularly when death threatened, but did not claim them. Also included are descriptions of toys and games, and Orme notes that literacy was strived for. It was during this period that children's literature appeared, the brainchild of printer William Caxton.

Children were put to work at a young age, and together with injuries sustained from these pursuits, boys tended to be rowdy and often cruel, especially to animals. Girls tended to be ignored and stay in the background, but Orme includes information about their lives as much as possible.

Orme sheds further light on the Medieval child with Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Renaissance England. As Orme points out, contemporary education has its roots in the Medieval era when school schedules were determined by the harvest and the need for additional hands to bring in the crops. Orme writes that education was not confined to the upper classes and that teaching was carried on in private schools, through charitable contributions, and in churches. At some independent schools, such as Winchester, students could remain until they were twenty-five years of age. Bible studies were part of the curriculum, but at Oxford students were also exposed to many of the same disciplines as they are today, including law, math, literature, business, and French.

A Contemporary Review contributor concluded: "This is a beautifully written, illustrated and informative survey which does credit to a lifetime's work."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February, 1986, Lowrie J. Daly, review of From Childhood to Chivalry: The Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy 1066-1530, p. 94; April, 1997, Faye Getz, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 436.

Atlantic Monthly, March, 2002, review of Medieval Children, p. 121.

Booklist, November 1, 2001, Hill Hickman, review of Medieval Children, p. 449.

Choice, February, 1996, G. Eknoyan, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 983; January, 2007, P. Grendler, review of Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Renaissance England, p. 895.

Church History, September, 1994, A. Daniel Frankforter, review of Unity and Variety: A History of the Church in Devon and Cornwall, p. 517; June, 1996, Arthur G. Holder, review of Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints: Cornwall and Devon, p. 279; March, 2001, review of Education in Early Tudor England: Magdalen College Oxford and Its School, p. 162; December, 2001, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 783.

Commonweal, April 5, 2002, Brad S. Gregory, review of Medieval Children, p. 29.

Contemporary Review, summer, 2007, review of Medieval Schools.

Economic History Review, August, 1996, Carole Rawcliffe, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 601.

Economist, October 6, 2001, review of Medieval Children, p. 122; August 5, 2006, review of Medieval Schools, p. 75.

English Historical Review, July, 1990, Penry Williams, review of Early British Swimming, 55 BC-AD 1719: With the First Swimming Treatise in English, 1595, p. 732; November, 1995, J.R. Maddicott, review of Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints, p. 1266; June, 1997, Paul Slack, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 710; June, 1998, J.R. Maddicott, review of English Church Dedications: With a Survey of Cornwall and Devon, p. 695; February, 2001, William M. Aird, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 184; April, 2002, R.C. Finucane, review of Medieval Children, p. 457.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, June 1, 2002, Charlotte Allen, review of Medieval Children, p. 55.

Historian, spring, 1997, R.C. Finucane, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570.

History: Review of New Books, winter, 2002, Cullen J. Chandler, review of Medieval Children, p. 73.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, February, 1987, Lionel K.J. Glassey, review of Early British Swimming, 55 BC-AD 1719, p. 129; February, 1993, W.B. Stephens, review of Unity and Variety, p. 71; June, 1995, A.K. McHardy, review of Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints, p. 295; October, 1997, A.K. McHardy, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 670; January, 2000, Andrew Brown, review of English Church Dedications, p. 119.

History Today, April, 1995, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 57.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, February 28, 1996, John Muendel, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 645.

Journal of British Studies, October, 1997, Peter Heath, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 453.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 1991, Alan B. Cobban, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England, p. 154; April, 1995, Dorothy Owen, review of Unity and Variety, p. 313; April, 1996, R.N. Swanson, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 347; July, 1998, Karen Jankulak, review of English Church Dedications, p. 531; October, 2002, C.N.L. Brooke, review of Medieval Children, p. 800; October, 2002, David Rollason, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 782.

Journal of Social History, spring, 2003, Joel T. Rosenthal, review of Medieval Children, p. 792.

Lancet, November 4, 1995, Roy Porter, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 1215.

Library Journal, June 1, 1995, Kathy Arsenault, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 138.

London Review of Books, February 22, 2007, Tom Shippey, review of Medieval Schools, p. 19.

Medieval Review, February, 2004, Isabelle Cochelin, review of Medieval Children.

Medium Aevum, fall, 1996, Miri Rubin, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570.

New England Journal of Medicine, January 11, 1996, J. Gordon Scannell, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 126.

New Statesman, May 17, 1985, Sarah Lawson, review of From Childhood to Chivalry, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, November 5, 2001, review of Medieval Children, p. 54.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 1997, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 96.

Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1997, Peregrine Horden, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 1221; spring, 2000, John F. McDiarmid, review of Education in Early Tudor England, p. 277; summer, 2000, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 615.

Review of English Studies, August, 1991, Christina von Nolcken, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England, p. 433.

School Library Journal, May, 2002, Molly Connally, review of Medieval Children, p. 182.

Sixteenth Century Journal, summer, 1990, Richard L. DeMolen, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England; fall, 1999, Joseph S. Freedman, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England.

Spectator, November 17, 2001, review of Medieval Children, p. 43; November 17, 2001, review of Medieval Children, p. 45.

Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, July, 1994, Dorothea French, review of Nicholas Roscarrock's Lives of the Saints, p. 865; July, 1997, Philip Niles, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 869; January, 2002, Elissa R. Henken, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 230; July, 2004, Louis Haas, review of Medieval Children, p. 819.

Times Educational Supplement, June 23, 1989, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England, p. 23; September 14, 2001, review of Medieval Children, p. 22; July 7, 2006, Sean Lang, review of Medieval Schools, p. 18.

Times Higher Education Supplement, January 19, 1996, Philip R. Schofield, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570.

Times Literary Supplement, May 26, 1989, Jeremy Catto, review of Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England, p. 584; September 15, 1995, Vivian Nutton, review of The English Hospital, 1070-1570, p. 26; August 11, 2000, review of The Saints of Cornwall, p. 31; March 15, 2002, Linda A. Pollock, review of Medieval Children, p. 10; September 22, 2006, Nigel Saul, review of Medieval Schools, p. 24.

Virginia Quarterly Review, December 22, 2002, Everett U. Crosby, review of Medieval Children, p. 766.

ONLINE

Crisis Online,http://www.crisismagazine.com/ (December 22, 2007), Sandra Miesel, review of Medieval Children.

University of Exeter Web site,http://www.exeter.ac.uk/ (February 8, 2008), author profile.