Author Topic: How common was literacy in the late 1700s?  (Read 220 times)

Offline M_ONeill

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How common was literacy in the late 1700s?
« on: Tuesday 02 April 19 15:34 BST (UK) »
So thanks to a local lookup done by a kind rootschatter, I have a photo of the paper marriage record of my 4x great grandparents in 1798.

The first thing that jumped out at me - I was surprised to discover that my 4x great grandfather (b. 1775) could sign his name. He was a farm labourer in a tiny village, so I always imagined he'd have been illiterate.

I'm aware that I might just have a mistaken idea about how prevalent illiteracy was ay the time - how common would it have been for rural working people to read and write (or at least sign their names)?

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Offline stanmapstone

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Re: How common was literacy in the late 1700s?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 16:14 BST (UK) »
Mapstone, Mapston.
Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline M_ONeill

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Re: How common was literacy in the late 1700s?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 02 April 19 16:19 BST (UK) »
Fascinating thread! Thanks for the link, Stan!