This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.
and queen. 22 Yet the picture deriving from
Matilda’s known central place in the government of Normandy
during William’s absences before 1072 and the unique
representation of her queenship in diplomas both English and Continental
point to her elevation above the aristocracy in a role which defies easy
description. While the adjective ‘vice-regal’ is a
commonplace among historians of the Anglo-Norman
Over eighty years ago, a third, previously unidentified copy of the Anglo-Norman
prose chronicle, Le Livere de Reis de Engleterre(LRE),was discovered in John
Rylands French MS 64. Despite this discovery, and the paucity of witnesses to
this chronicle, scholars of LRE generally pass over the version contained in the
John Rylands manuscript. Through an examination of the sources and variant
readings of LRE, this article argues that this previously overlooked copy of LRE
is more authoritative than the other two. The superiority of the John Rylands
manuscript enables us to determine best text readings of LRE with improved
accuracy. It also allows us to date the chronicle with greater precision than
previously possible, and provides grounds for tentatively locating the origins
of the chronicle to northeastern England.
This study brings emergent methodologies of literary geography to bear upon the unique contents—or more to the point, the moving, artful, frequently audacious contents—of a codex known as London, British Library MS Harley 2253. The Harley manuscript was produced in provincial Herefordshire, in England’s Welsh Marches, by a scribe whose literary generation was wiped out in the Black Death of 1348–1351. It contains a diverse set of writings: love-lyrics and devotional texts, political songs and fabliaux, saints’ lives, courtesy literature, bible narratives, travelogues, and more. These works alternate between languages (Middle English, Anglo-Norman, and Latin), but have been placed in mutually illuminating conversation. Following an Introduction that explores how this fragmentary miscellany keeps being sutured into ‘whole’-ness by commentary upon it, individual chapters examine different genres, topics, and social groupings. Readers from literary history, medieval studies, cultural geography, gender studies, Jewish studies, book history, and more, will profit from the encounter. Harley 2253 is famous as medieval books go, thanks to its celebrated roster of lyrics, fabliaux, and political songs, and owing to the scarcity of material extant from this ‘in-between’ period in insular literary history. England’s post-Conquest/pre-plague era remains dimly known. Despite such potential, there has never been a monograph published on Harley 2253. Harley Manuscript Geographies orients readers to this compelling material by describing the phenomenon of the medieval miscellany in textual and codicological terms. But another task it performs is to lay out grounds for approaching this compilation via the interpretive lens that cultural geography provides.
Identity is contingent and dynamic, constituting and reconstituting subjects with political effects. This book explores the implications of Protestant and 'British' incursions for the development of Irish Catholic identity as preserved in Irish language texts from the early modern period until the end of Stuart pretensions. Questions of citizenship, belonging, migration, conflict, security, peace and subjectivity are examined through social construction, post-colonialism, and gendered lenses from an interdisciplinary perspective. The book explains the issue of cultural Catholicism in the later middle ages, by way of devotional cults and practices. It examines Catholic unionism vis-a-vis Victorian politics, military and imperial service, the crown, and the position of the Catholic Church with relation to the structures of the state in Ireland. In particular the North American experience and especially the importance of the USA for consolidating a particular interpretation of Irish Catholic nationalist identity, is explored. Children studied in English Catholic public schools like Stonyhurst and Downside where the establishment Irish Catholics and rising mercantile classes sought to have the characteristics of the Catholic gentleman instilled in their progeny. The book sets out to detect the voices of those Catholic women who managed to make themselves heard by a wider audience than family and friends in Ireland in the years between the Act of Union of 1800 and independence/partition. It considers what devotional interests both Gaelic Irish and Anglo-Norman actually shared in common as part of a wider late medieval Catholic culture.
Conclusion: Harold Godwinson, the last
Anglo-Saxon in the Welsh borderlands
The Welsh borderlands were a distinctive territory where two peoples
came together throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. This conclusion looks
just past the Norman arrival in England to the continued depiction of
this region as a cultural nexus – both of English and Welsh, and of AngloSaxon and Anglo-Norman England – in the Vita Haroldi. This understudied
thirteenth-century text is, as Stephen Matthews has argued, a work of
‘secular hagiography’1 which claims that Harold was not
The complex entanglement of Norman Italy and crusading has long underpinned research on the region for the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and this includes several important works of Graham Loud, whose enduring guidance and groundbreaking scholarship fundamentally inspire my own work and this chapter in particular. 1 Here, this current chapter re-examines one notable case of such entanglement: the antagonistic encounter between the citizens of Messina in Sicily and the Anglo-Norman contingent stationed nearby during the winter of 1190–91 on its journey on the
literally) to the significance of depictions of the process of justice as portrayed in sculpture and art – both sacred and secular. 2 The aim is to show that ideas which we have hitherto encountered in Latin – of the connection between counsel and mercy, the problems of judicial choice – can be found beyond an ‘exclusive’ Latinate realm, translated into an Anglo-Norman register. In many ways, this may seem obvious: sermons ad populum may be preserved in Latin, but they were not preached in it. This chapter ventures into romance-like prose, even chanson de geste , to