Charters and contexts
Gender, women and power
in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
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This chapter considers charter evidence as a guide to women’s power in twelfth-century Wales, in order to place the analysis of Nest in a broader analytical framework. Building on the previous chapter’s observations about the portrayal of women within chronicles and the significance of kin structures within the political elite of Wales, this chapter argues that powerful women of the high elite were involved in Welsh politics during this period, and that internal and external factors were promoting this even further, in war, domestic policy, and the formation and dissolution of political alliances. A close and contextualised reading of charter evidence, sensitive to nuances of gender constructions, allows a very detailed picture to be built up as a counterweight to the misogynist assumptions of chroniclers and writers of legal texts.

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