Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 / Edition 1

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Overview


Women brewed and sold most of the ale consumed in medieval England, but after 1350, men slowly took over the trade. By 1600, most brewers in London were male, and men also dominated the trade in many towns and villages. This book asks how, when, and why brewing ceased to be women's work and instead became a job for men. Employing a wide variety of sources and methods, Bennett vividly describes how brewsters (that is, female brewers) gradually left the trade. She also offers a compelling account of the endurance of patriarchy during this time of dramatic change.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a valuable work, not only because of its conclusions, but because of its tackling of the thorny problem of 'historicizing patriarchy.' Highly recommended."--Choice

"This lean, powerfully argued book merits attention both for its central theme and for its many insights into the development of brewing and the lives of those involved in the trade."--American Historical Review

Journal of Interdisciplinary History
[This] us a brilliant and provocative book....Bennett has written a book the conceptual perception of which extends to all historians interested in gender and in power.
Ben R. McRee
Bennett's study is bold in its sweep, thoughtful in its analysis, and provocative in its argument. Its conclusions offer an important challenge to prevailing views of women's work, one that will reshape discussion of the subject for years to come. The questions that it leaves open and to which scholars will now have to address themselves concern the relationship between brewing and other sorts of work in which women were engaged. Bennett has initiated an important discussion that should produce a deeper, more nuanced understanding of women's work in the Middle Ages.
Speculum
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195126501
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,338,497
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith M. Bennett is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has published extensively on the history of women, particularly women in the middle ages. Her books include Women in the Medieval English Countryside (Oxford, 1987) and Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages (co-editor, 1989).

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations xiii
A Brief Note on Conventions and Terms xv
1 Brewsters 3
2 When Women Brewed 14
3 New Markets, Lost Opportunities: Singlewomen and Widows as Harbingers of Change 37
4 Working Together: Wives and Husbands in the Brewers' Gild of London 60
5 New Beer, Old Ale: Why Was Female to Male as Ale Was to Beer? 77
6 Gender Rules: Women and the Regulation of Brewing 98
7 These Things Must Be if We Sell Ale: Alewives in English Culture and Society 122
8 Women's Work in a Changing World 145
Appendix Interpreting Presentments under the Assize of Ale 158
Notes 187
Bibliography 237
Index 251
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