Search results

You are looking at 1 - 8 of 8 items for :

  • Author: Jennifer Ward x
  • Manchester Medieval Sources x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Author: Jennifer Ward

This book provides a broad-ranging and accessible coverage of the role of noble women in medieval England. Throughout the Middle Ages the men and women of the nobility and gentry occupied a position at the top of the social hierarchy. Marriage for noble and gentry children was arranged by their families, with the participation on occasion of their lords and of the king, and it was relatively rare for the children themselves to take matters into their own hands. As with marriage, the woman's relationship to her husband and children has to be seen within the framework of canon and common law, the Church being concerned with the marriage itself, and the royal courts with property. 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. Women's landholding is well documented, the amount of land in their hands varying according to the accidents of birth and fortune. The household was the centre and hub of the lady's life and activities, and can be regarded as a community in its own right. Men and women of the nobility and gentry living in the world were encouraged to practise their religion through attendance at Mass, private prayer on behalf of themselves and the dead, works of charity, pilgrimage, and material support of the Church. Although many women's lives followed a conventional pattern, great variety existed within family relationships, and individuality can also be seen in religious practices and patronage. Piety could take a number of different forms, whether a woman became a nun, a vowess or a noted philanthropist and benefactor to religious institutions.

Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on women and marriage. Marriage for noble and gentry children was arranged by their families, with the participation on occasion of their lords and of the king, and it was relatively rare for the children themselves to take matters into their own hands. Marriage has to be set in the framework of the rules and conventions of feudal lordship, and was inextricably linked to property and wealth; personal considerations were rarely mentioned, and even then were probably regarded as subordinate. The marriage contract itself specified the property arrangements, which became more complex as the Middle Ages progressed. The Church's rule forbidding marriage within four degrees of consanguinity meant that many of the nobility and gentry, who were highly interrelated, had to secure a papal dispensation before contracting marriage. The dispensation was essential in order to secure the legitimacy of the offspring.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

Throughout the Middle Ages the men and women of the nobility and gentry occupied a position at the top of the social hierarchy. To understand the position of noble and gentry women, it is essential to see them in the context of their families and of the law of the land. Changes in feudal lordship, and, more particularly, the growing authority of the Crown certainly had an effect on their lives. Many of the records of noble families comprised legal agreements and business documents. They include marriage settlements and an increasing number of estate and household records which throw light on management methods and changing methods of organisation. Such records sometimes enable an assessment to be made of the lady's wealth, and they give information on her lifestyle and standard of living.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on religion. Men and women of the nobility and gentry living in the world were encouraged to practise their religion through attendance at Mass, private prayer on behalf of themselves and the dead, works of charity, pilgrimage, and material support of the Church. Alternatively, they could enter a monastery or nunnery to take up a life of religion. As far as the noblewoman's own religious life was concerned, religious teaching in childhood was regarded as vital, and this was especially important in the later Middle Ages as lay people came increasingly to participate in religious practice. Religious observance during life and at and after death was designed to help the woman towards salvation. Good works were regarded as an integral part of the women's religious activity, and charity was viewed as securing remission of time in Purgatory.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on women and family. As with marriage, the woman's relationship to her husband and children has to be seen within the framework of canon and common law, the Church being concerned with the marriage itself, and the royal courts with property. Throughout the period, the family and its continuity were regarded as of prime importance, and the birth of the heir, preferably a son, was considered crucial. Far more can be learned about family relationships in the later Middle Ages than earlier because of the existence of a wider range of documentation, notably wills and letters, although legal and administrative documents also throw valuable light on the nature of families. Nobles and gentry were aware of wider kindred groups, and knew that death and accidents of inheritance might well lead to a distant relation achieving prominence.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

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.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on wealth and lordship. Women's landholding is well documented, the amount of land in their hands varying according to the accidents of birth and fortune. Land was the basis of wealth, and there is every sign that most noblewomen appreciated and made the most of their riches. Land, however, had to be managed if it was to yield as good an income as possible. Wealth was essential for any member of the nobility to maintain a conspicuous lifestyle, to play a part in local and possibly central politics through the exercise of influence and patronage, and to support and further family interests. Landholding involved service which had to be met by the lady in the absence of a lord. The land of the nobility and gentry was normally held by knight service, either of the Crown, or of a lord, whether ecclesiastical or lay.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500
Abstract only
Jennifer Ward

This chapter contains a selection of translated and annotated texts on women and the household. The household was the centre and hub of the lady's life and activities, and can be regarded as a community in its own right. Much of the information about women's households, however, relates to the time when they were widows. Much of the lady's life was lived in the public gaze, even at the end of the Middle Ages, although there was then greater privacy than earlier on. The importance of the household is underlined by the 'Rules of St Robert', said to have been drawn up by Robert Grosseteste for the widowed countess of Lincoln in c. 1241. He emphasised that the tone of the household was set by the lady who was in overall charge. Most knowledge of the household is derived from household accounts and wills; household accounts are first found in the 1180s and become more numerous after c. 1250.

in Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066-1500