Filed under womens rights

Law of Coverture

This law existed in in England and North America for centuries, under which women became legally invisible when they married. Men claimed it was to ensure marital harmony, but as women became more independent, acquired skills and entered the work place, a law that gave all her money and property to her husband became increasingly … Continue reading


Railway Navvies

This book by Terry Coleman shines a light on the private lives of these hard working and hard drinking men, and the – often unfortunate – women who became their partners.¬†These men seem to have had a rather mixed reputation, as I have read of them being romantic characters, in their colourful vests and kerchiefs … Continue reading


I was not sure about seeing this, as it has been condemned by historians for including a fictitious character when there were plenty of real women who could have been in the cast list. But they seem to have been expecting a documentary rather than a really gripping drama which tried and largely succeeded to … Continue reading

Female Fighters

A while ago I knew someone trying to research the very poorly recorded world of female boxers. I would not lie to meet either of these in a dark alley. This is more from News from the English Countryside: A pitched battle was lately fought at Elmstead, in the neighbourhood of Chelmsford, by 2 women; … Continue reading

Burned at the stake in Kent

This is from a book of old newspaper articles,¬†News from the English Countryside 1750-1850. I’m tempted to put about half of them on the blog; there are some really great windows to our past, from a trial at Maidstone, Kent in July 1769: “On wednesday came on the trial of Susannah Lott, for the murder … Continue reading

Stifling Discusion

This is from yesterday’s i newspaper, by Simon Kelner, concerning the outrage on social media against comments made by veteran feminist Germaine Greer: “The veteran … gave her opinion about transgender people last week. “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure,” she explained, “All I’m saying that it … Continue reading


This is a legal term that crops up with reference to women’s marital rights. Most people claim it was a draconian piece of law, but it is far more than this. Like wife selling, lots of people opposed it, and just as lots wanted wife selling made illegal, a lot of people wanted the law … Continue reading

Flirting with the Prosecution?

This seems a case of some legal gents being flumoxed by a pretty face, or was it late in the day and they were desperate for last orders at the local hostelry? This is from 1812: COMMON SCOLD- Hannah Monroe, a decent-looking young woman was indicted for misdemeanour being a Common Scold and disrupter of … Continue reading

No Lesson Learnt

This is a rare account of an actual use of the ducking stool which every parish had to provide and maintain initially for fraudulent measures by brewers and bakers, but they converted to fines, so the punishment is now associated with rowdy women. This is from 1811: Last week a woman notorious for her vocification, … Continue reading

Change Partners

I’m old enough to have been a huge fan of Crosby Stills and Nash from the start, and used to listen to Songs for Beginners by Nash to help me through maths cramming but have always favoured Stills, as a far more cerebral musician – he writes pop music structured more like symphonies, and is … Continue reading