Legal Education in Late Medieval England: How Did Provincial Scriveners Learn Their Law?

  • Kitrina Bevan
Part of the World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence book series (WHCCV)


Despite representing an understudied group in terms of the history of the legal profession, as legal scribes, provincial scriveners made significant contributions to medieval England’s legal and scribal culture. This chapter identifies some of the many scriveners who worked beyond the control of London’s Scriveners’ Company to examine the various avenues and opportunities available to them to acquire the legal and linguistic literacy required to practise the law at this time. It evaluates how these laymen “learned” their law, passed on their knowledge, and forged their own unique career paths in the countryside. Set against the backdrop of an increasingly “professional” legal profession, this chapter presents evidence to support the theory that scrivening was learned and practised by a largely self-sufficient and self-sustaining community of scribes.


Scriveners Clerks Legal education Legal literacy Legal profession England Middle Ages Scribes Business schools Legal languages 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kitrina Bevan
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarSt. CatharinesCanada

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