English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages

Overview

The attempt to recover, and to understand, the contribution that women have made to the societies of the past is often hampered by the shortage and incidental nature of the suviving evidence. This is particularly true for the women of the Middle Ages, who - unless they were nuns, saints or queens - made little mark in the contemporary record, and have even less chance of emerging from that record as individual personalities today. In the later Middle Ages, however, enough material can be gathered and sifted about...
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Hardcover Fine UNUSED, VERY GOOD, NOT EX-LIBRARY, 192 pages. (The book fills gaps in medieval and social history, and in the rapidly expanding field of women's history. It ... views the noble lady in the terms of her respective life roles; as a marriageable asset, wife, widow, mother, administrator of a major household and as religious and cultural patron) *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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English Noblewomen in the Later Middle Ages

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Overview

The attempt to recover, and to understand, the contribution that women have made to the societies of the past is often hampered by the shortage and incidental nature of the suviving evidence. This is particularly true for the women of the Middle Ages, who - unless they were nuns, saints or queens - made little mark in the contemporary record, and have even less chance of emerging from that record as individual personalities today. In the later Middle Ages, however, enough material can be gathered and sifted about the noblewomen of England for a start to be made in portraying the lives of women in at least the upper strata of lay society. This is what Jennifer C. Ward notably achieves in her vivid and pioneering study. The later Middle Ages saw a number of formidable dowagers at the forefront of English society; and Dr. Ward uses one of these - Lady Elizabeth de Burgh 1295-1360, youngest sister of the last Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, who was killed at Bannockburn - as a continuing case-study through the book, to place the various 'life-roles' of her kind and class in a specific context. Dr. Ward examines these women in their different roles - as daughters and heiresses, as wives and mothers, as widows, as patrons and religious benefactors. Their political opportunities were few, and in a male-dominated world their concerns and status were those of their menfolk: yet, as Dr Ward shows, they could be powerful figures themselves. For, in a landed society, although noblewomen were married by their families in the family interest, as wives they took on the responsibility of running their households, and often their estates, during the frequent absences of their husbands. Moreover, if the wife became a widow, she often became responsible for her late husband's affairs, and for the defence of her inheritance on behalf of her children and her family. Noblewomen enjoyed a luxurious and showy lifestyle, using wealth and display to enhance their standing and pr
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Ward's search is meticulous and highlights some of the under-explored areas of upper-class women's lives, alongside the more usual marriage, family and religion ... This is an excellent introduction."

The Innes Review (Journal of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582059665
  • Publisher: Longman Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Series: The Medieval World Ser.
  • Pages: 190

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Editor's Preface
Preface
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Marriage 12
Ch. 2 The Widow and her Lands 34
Ch. 3 The Household 50
Ch. 4 Lifestyle and Travel 70
Ch. 5 Children, Kinsmen and Friends 93
Ch. 6 Estates and Revenue 108
Ch. 7 Lordship and Patronage 129
Ch. 8 Religious Practice 143
Conclusion 164
Appendix: Glossary of Terms 171
General Bibliography 174
Index 180
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