Holy Orders

I have been searching around for an answer to this question, but not coming up with anything helpful. So I thought I'd ask here, since there is so much historical knowledge floating through this forum...

During the 13th century, at what age could a boy be sent to a monastery? And at what age could he receive holy orders to become a priest?


Arguably, a boy could be sent to a monastery at any age. One even hears tales of babies being left on altars of churches while still in infancy (oblates).

As far as holy orders are concerned, though, one would have to wait at least until adulthood, though in the middle ages this starts pretty young. In many areas 14 was officially the age at which one reached adulthood!

Of course, you would normally also have to have reached the requisite level of training or knowledge to take holy orders.

Bear in mind also that in the middle ages a lot is affected by local custom, so you can fluff things a bit.

I hope that this helps.

Thanks. That was the answer I was hoping for.