Land
in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
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This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on women and land. The crucial importance of land as the source of wealth for noble and gentry society has been underlined in the discussion of both marriage and the family. As far as women's landholding is concerned, the significance of land is emphasised by the sheer amount of surviving evidence, although the nature of the sources varies over time. Women as landholders are found in the Domesday Survey, although the picture of women's estates and interests is by no means complete. In addition to the types of landholding, a woman with access to royal patronage might well secure additional grants, whether of lands, wardships or annuities. Women with substantial estates are found throughout the Middle Ages. A woman's estates comprised her maritagium and later her jointure, both secured at marriage, her dower, and, for some women, her inheritance, and all these had implications for her family.

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