Monday, 14 April 2014

EARLY MODERN CURFEW: Life in a college residence.

From the 1510 regulations governing the life in Ildefonso College in Alcala:

The Gated Community.
  • The main gate shall always be locked at dusk. Other gates shall be locked between seven and nine, according to the seasons.
  • Fifteen minutes before the gate is locked the large bell shall be rung nine times to warn visitors to leave.  A councilor will then make the rounds to examine the locks of the gates. Any visitor who is caught after the gates are locked will be lowered by a rope from the window. 
  • The gates will only be unlocked in case of an emergency, when there is need for a physician, for example…and only in the presence of the rector and councilors.
  • Anyone who attempts to unlock a gate in other circumstances, shall be expelled from the College and never admitted again.
The Library. 
  • The library will be open four hours a day.
  • The books shall at all times be chained in their proper place so that they may not easily be taken away. And we forbid that they be lent to anyone.
  • Chaplains and fellows will have their own keys and are responsible for locking up again, on penalty of being deprived of their dinner.
  • Anyone taking a book from the library will be deprived of his dinner for fifteen days on the first occasion. The penalty will be doubled on the second infraction. On the third he shall be expelled from College.
  • If the person is a visitor, he automatically incurs a sentence of excommunication.
  • The books must be dusted at least once a month.



  1. Sadly, nowadays there is no need to chain books! Fewer and fewer people read real books. Soon those of us who LOVE to hold and savor a book will have to just re read the one in our keep till they do fall apart! Awful thought!

  2. Absolutely agree with you, except when I'm on the road. Read my Kindle in the dark, on a night-time bus ride! Way to go.