Age

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jelayemprins
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Postby jelayemprins » Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:58 pm

Who's the longest living medieval person you know of?

It's a question I often answer with "average age 25, due to infant mortality, but of course some people lived to grand old ages...

Any ideas?

Here's a start- Antoine, Grand Bastard of Burgundy lived to be 83. 8)
1421-1504

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Postby Dave B » Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:08 pm

Fastolf? His date of birth isn't known but he was an adult by 1398, and lived to 1459 so mid-to-late 70's probably. He was still leading men into battle in france up to 1440 when he was proably about 60.


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Postby Lady Cecily » Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:38 pm

William Marshall was 73 apparently.

Henry III reached the age of 63.

Marmaduke de Thweng was I think considered quite elderley at 67.


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Postby jelayemprins » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:02 pm

yEP- That's the sort of thing- but can anyone better the Bastard>?



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Postby Fox » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:21 am

Wasn't Talbot pretty old.....

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Postby Dave B » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:53 am

John Talbot, 1st early of shrewsbury, 1384 - 1453 so 69 (dudes)


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Re: Age

Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:55 am

jelayemprins wrote:Who's the longest living medieval person you know of?

It's a question I often answer with "average age 25, due to infant mortality, but of course some people lived to grand old ages...

Any ideas?

Here's a start- Antoine, Grand Bastard of Burgundy lived to be 83. 8)
1421-1504

Jelayemp


Given that most people probably did not get married until that age I doubt whether 25 is realistic. Perhaps someone could do some maths based on population growth. Of course factors like the black death make a great impact just once so do they count?


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Postby Dave B » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:56 am

Margaret, Duches of Norfolk. 1320 - 1399. so 79.


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Re: Age

Postby DeviantShrub » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:58 am

Lord High Everything Esle wrote:
Given that most people probably did not get married until that age I doubt whether 25 is realistic. Perhaps someone could do some maths based on population growth. Of course factors like the black death make a great impact just once so do they count?


I agree with that statement. To get a fair impression, you need to look at the death-ages of those who survived childhood IMO. If you got through those first 5 years I'd have thought your chances of hitting ripe middle age would be pretty decent.



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Postby DeviantShrub » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:05 am

Eleanor of Aquitaine: 1122-1204 (died aged 82), so close.



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Postby Brother Ranulf » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:21 am

A survey was carried out some time ago on all of the medieval skeletons found in Dartford, Kent (apparently there were very many buried in pits), mostly dating between 1301 and 1500. They were people at the lower end of the social scale and the average age at death was 35 for men and 31 for women.

In the 12th century "marriageable age" was much lower than the 25 quoted above - perhaps 14 (the Matilda who gave king Stephen so much grief later was married to the Holy Roman Emperor at age 11). IMHO this early marriage tendency was due to overall short life expectancy.

Life expectancy for the lower classes can not have been much more than 30 in the medieval period; only those with a more comfortable, less physically-demanding lifestyle could expect to reach their 70s or 80s. Population growth was more to do with extremely high birth rates - check out how many children Eleanor of Aquitaine had!


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Re: Age

Postby Fox » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:22 am

jelayemprins wrote:average age 25


I'm presuming that this is an arithmetic mean, which is what most people mean by average [add up the numbers, divide by the number of entries].

In this case this is very misleading.
I'd me more interested in the median or the mode (say, in 2 year bands) [although the mode might be the up to 2 years of age band, so maybe modal age of deaths over 5].



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Postby RTB » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:27 am

Slightly out of period, but there was a woman who fought with the Duke of Cumberland as a soldier who lived to be 103. I shall look up her name.


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Postby jelayemprins » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:10 am

Yes Fox, thats what I meant this to be. Not just simple avaerages- Sorry.

Across the Board, taking into account of high infant mortality rate, those who survive 'nappy years' etc.

My main point of the post was 'oldest medieval person'.

However If Bother Ranulph [oops sorry Dave should be Brother:) can enlighten me- did that study at dartford include Infant mortality rates of 50% or more?

AS i was told at school- 'you can prove anything with statistics'...

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Postby Mark » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:31 am

Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey and later 2nd Duke of Norfolk.Lived from 1443 to 1524 so thats 81 years old.He commanded the English forces at the battle of Flodden at age 70.
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Postby jelayemprins » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:36 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Dandolo

What a guy! Probably 98!

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Postby m300572 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:51 am

People in the past had the POTENTIAL to live as long as people do today - for the majority that potential was never realised. The distribution of ages would have been different - high infant mortality in the first couple of years of life but no contraception so larger numbers of children than today, high post natal mortality so high death rate among women between (about) 15 and 40, most people dead of disease/accident/worn out by their late forties/early 50s - and the few who lived into their 80s or 90s would have been much more noteable than today.


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Postby Chris, yclept John Barber » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:20 pm

John Howard (Duke of Norfolk)'s mother could be a contender. Neither her birth nor death are recorded, but she had a new gown for Richard III's coronation, when her son was 63.


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Postby Brother Ranulf » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:17 pm

Ian,

I absolutely agree that figures can be used to prove anything you like ("There are lies, damn lies and statistics").

Sadly I don't have full detail of the Dartford survey, but my guess is that infant deaths were left out in the same way that Nikola Koepke and Joerg Baten, of the University of Tuebingen and CESifo, left out children when they estimated the average height of people in their paper "The Biological Standard of Living in Europe During the Last Two Millennia". It's still an immensely important and useful document, though.

:wink:


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Postby gregory23b » Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:41 pm

(John?) Forster - born 1499 died 1601/2 - worked the northern borders, hard as nails and in the saddle in his 90s.


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Postby Mad Mab » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:19 pm

gregory23b wrote:(John?) Forster - born 1499 died 1601/2 - worked the northern borders, hard as nails and in the saddle in his 90s.


He was the warden of the English Middle March, wasn't he? I seem to recall him letting things in the March go to wrack and ruin in his later years but to be fair to him, at that age, still impressive!
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Postby gregory23b » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:21 pm

can't remember his title, vague recollection from Macdonald Fraser's Steel bonnets.

:D


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Postby Mad Mab » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:45 pm

gregory23b wrote:can't remember his title, vague recollection from Macdonald Fraser's Steel bonnets.

:D


If he's who I think he is, he was replaced by Robert Carey, who, judging by his memoirs, had great fun trying to get the March back on track. He would possibly have been an arguement for the scottish administration of the scottish Marches where the wardenry was temporary over the English administration, where the warden held his post permenantly meaning that, if he became infirm or otherwise incapacitated, he continued to hold his post. Course, the English system had it's advantages as well, such as stability.
Sorry, will now bring thread back from Cuba... :oops:
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Postby Neil of Ormsheim » Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:39 pm

Saint Thoedore was created Archbish of Cantebury when he was in his sixties and living in Rome. Two years to get here, then visited every extant church in England (as well as some in Scotland and Wales), held the post for just over 20 years and all this before 793AD.

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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:05 pm

The fact that most people didn't really know when they had been born makes it difficult. When I stayed with some Aborigines in new Arnhems land i met the same thing. "When were you born?" "In the summer." But when?" "Ma, when was i born?" "In the summer. " But when?" "Dunno it was dark." End of converstaion.


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Postby Hraefn » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:34 pm

Olivier de Clisson 1326 – April 23, 1407 which would make him....er.....old and it wasn't like he stayed at home avoiding a scrap took part in Auray(lost an eye) Najera fighting for the English, seige of Brest and Roosebeke amoungst many for the French, changed sides often enough to make some major enemies also survived an assassination attempt when in his 60s.

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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:21 pm

Most of the parish registers round here don't start til the 1590s, so I'd only know about a later period, but it's instructive reading. Very many of my yeoman farmer and farm labouring ancestors lived into their 80s and it was so unremarkable for people to hit their 70s that no comment was made if they died at that age. Ditto infant mortality - we imagine it to be devastating. In the area we've been researching, at least - quite the opposite, unless an epidemic comes along... (And they don't seem to come as often as we'd think). For example, in a family of very poor labourers, out of 7 babies, 6 survive into adulthood - 5 into their 80s. It doesn't seem to relate to social class either, as the one who marries the local gentry actually dies first - in her 50s. From 16thC on, you get the odd person down as over 100 - and even found reference somewhere to a man of 125 (supposedly). That said, a very wealthy (so presumably not too overworked?) yeoman farmer, dying in the late 18thC in his 60s, as cause of death is given 'Worn Out'...

Medieval people living a similar life, touched by the occasional visitation of devastating diseases but not by all the poor hygiene and awful living conditions brought on by industrialisation, presumably had the same chances as these rural descendants. Look in the registers of the nearest city and it's a whole different story. There is a definite rural/urban divide and maybe that must have been true of earlier times?

We tend to see infant mortality in the past generally, via the post industrial Victorian eyes - when various factors combined, eg: living conditions, women being delivered by doctors not the village midwife, etc, people suddenly crammed in vast numbers into small spaces in industrial cities - lots of factors why in the early 19thC, say the average life expectancy was 30 odd. Yet here in the rural areas, from our parish registers anyway, it seems not at all uncommon for even labourers to live into their 60s or 70s.

In a book about Mary Wollstonecraft, (not got to hand so forget the title) it said that only 5 or 6 women out of every 5000 died of childbed - I think that was during delivery or postnatally of things like puerpueral fever. Not bad figures as we imagine them to be far higher. And again, a look at (post medieval) records from many parishes bears this out. It's actually quite unusual to see 'childbed' as cause of death although the historians seem to lead us to believe it was commonplace.

That postnatal death rate shot up to as high as one woman out of every 2 if they went into hospital to be delivered in the late 18thC. Reason being that men took over from midwives, and doctors would think nothing of dissecting a corpse and then attending to a woman in labour without washing their hands - so again, the old rural practice of women being delivered at home by women was statistically far safer and led to far less deaths of women and infants.

In medieval times, there'd be little risk therefore of the spread of puepueral fever which became probably the greatest cause of infant mortality, much later.

I'd suspect rural medieval people who were lucky enough to avoid the various epidemics, had as good a life expectancy as our rural 18th and 19thC ancestors - so long as they kept away from the doctor!



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Postby gregory23b » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:33 pm

Doesn't Barbara Hanawalt have some nice figures on mortality, eg kids drowning in ditches is common as is dying at the fire, later in life (assuming survival) this the nature of death changes to occupationally based ones, eg farming. Hazards are different for men and women as well. She used coroners' reports, so comes at it from the other end so to speak.


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Postby Alan E » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:34 pm

Secondary (arguably tertiary) source: Christopher Dyer's "Making a Living in the Middle Ages" subtitled "The People of Britain 850 - 1520".

In the third section (starts Chapter eight) covering c1350 - c1520, Dyer mentions the Black Death (reached Britain 1348) mortality rates (>40% amongst peasants, 40 - 45% amongst clergy, around 27% knights and gentry with huge variations around these for different regions), then the effects of this and subsequent epidemics on living conditions, land-holding, patterns of work, marriage and child-bearing ("The Rochester Chronicler noted the inversion, whereby those formerly at the top could only afford to eat bread and pottage, while labourers whose wages had risen could buy more expensive food.").

More directly related to this topic is this (from page 275):

"The expectation of life can be calculated by investigating the length of adult active existance. Lives were shorter than they were to be after 1540 (when parish registers provide abundant evidence) and life expectation tended to fall during the fifteenth century. Monks at Westminster lived after the age of twenty for twenty-nine to thirty years in the early fifteenth century, and in the later part of the century for only twenty years after reaching twenty. At Canterbury Cathedral Priory the comparable figures are thirty two years at twenty falling to twenty-four at twenty" ....[skipped explanation as to why].... "Peasants of the late fourteenth century, who were poorer but had a healthier lifestyle, judging from Essex examples, could expect to live for forty-two years after they reached the age of twelve. Those born in the early fifteenth century had an expectation of life of thirty-nine at twelve, and later in the same century of thirty-six years at twelve."
He then discusses effects on health, food production and balance of diet of the changes occurring and other things affecting these, the potential effects of repeated epidemics on population structure and even (relative) female emancipation (!) as well as increasing freedom of wage-earners.

Remembering that he is giving average figures (I assume, he doesn't actually say, let alone if they are arithmetical means or medians); all in all this book is a useful overview, it's relevance here is in the complex factors which change life expectancy, and the complex effect of such changes.

Christopher Dyer was Professor of Medieval Social History at U.of Birmingham then Professor of Regional and Local History at U.of Leicester: I hope he'd be using decent primary sources to give those figures, but the book gives 'Further Reading' rather than direct references (it's one drawback IMO).


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Postby KezT » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:25 pm

Eleanor of aquitaine 's birth and death dates are`pretty certain so if you're looking for definite old age.....

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