Hundreds of Years of Asking Parents for Money

To their very dear and respectable parents M. Matre, knight, and M. his wife, M. and S., their sons, send greetings and filial obedience.

This is to inform you that, by divine mercy, we are living in good health in the City of Orleans, an are devoting ourselves wholly to study, mindful of the words of Cato, ‘To know anything is praiseworthy.’ We occupy a good dwelling, next door but one to the schools and market-place, so that we can go to school every day without wetting our feet. We have also good companions in the house with us, well advanced in their studies and of excellent habit — an advantage which we well appreciate, for as the Psalmist says, ‘With an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright’. Wherefore lest production cease from lack of material, we beg your paternity to send us by the bearer, B., money for buying parchment, ink, a desk, and other things which we need, in sufficient amount that we may suffer no want on your account (God forbid!) but finish our studies and return home with honour. The bearer will also take charge of the shoes and stockings which you have to send us, and any news as well.

The gist of this letter, written in 12th-century France by two brothers is, “Hey, mom and dad, can you send us some money?” College kids have been asking their parents for money since the beginning of time — or at least since the Middle Ages, according to An example of historic recurrence if you need one!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.