Law and the regulation of women’s work
in Medieval women and urban justice
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This chapter examines the ways that women were drawn into the local regulatory mechanisms that governed trade and the quality of goods within different towns, drawing largely on evidence from Nottingham and Winchester. These regulations included rules concerning weights and measures, the price and quality of goods and marketing behaviour. Presentments for wrongdoing were made by local officials and thus represented a different form of legal action to those discussed in the previous chapter. This allows for a wider understanding of the ties between women’s commercial activity, trading behaviour and their legal roles, building on the analysis of Chapter 2. The chapter again examines the practical implications of coverture in the way that women were or were not held accountable for their trading behaviour, and the way in which women’s marital and household identities were documented, including the extent to which wives’ brewing activity was hidden behind the identities of their husbands.

Medieval women and urban justice

Commerce, crime and community in England, 1300–1500

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