In the first decades of the twelfth century, a wandering preacher was reported to have ‘advised’ the young men of Le Mans to marry the prostitutes of the town in order to save these ‘unchaste women’ (feminae quae minus caste vixeruni) from their lives of sin: ‘On his advice many of the young men married the unchaste women for whom he bought clothes to the value of four solidi, just enough to cover their nakedness.’ At the end of the same century, something very similar occurred in Paris, where another preacher was praised for encouraging the scholars and burghers either to marry prostitutes or to donate towards their dowry fund:
Almost all the public prostitutes, no matter where the athlete of Christ went, abandoned their brothels and flocked to him. He himself led most of these women to marriage.
Others, however, who were unable to remain chaste on account of fear of weakness, he gave a not insubstantial sum of money as dowries and reformed them with legal marriage. To this goal the Parisian students collected two hundred and fifty silver pounds and the burghers over a thousand.