Tagged with The Wealth of Wives

Regional Differences

One of the recurring themes of Barbara A Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Wives, was the unusual status of women in early Medieaval London, and some other towns and cities of England and the Low Countries. I am intrigued as to why, when so many countries concentrated their wealth on the male lines, with many … Continue reading

Were They Happy?

We tend to think of arranged marriages as generally bad things, as they often only present in the news as involving kidnapping or some sort of abuse, but, even now, these are a minority, and as with most things, they happened differently back then.  The world was much smaller and much more dangerous, so people … Continue reading

Punishing the Wrong Ones

Again, dipping into Barbara A Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Wives, there are many  anecdotes of how female servants were treated – less well than apprentices who were bound by legal agreements, but this incident seems to have been particularly unfair. After the Black Death there was a Europe wide shortage of labour, so servants were in … Continue reading

Didn’t the Boys Notice?

In Barbara A Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Wives, there are mentions of the abuse and mistreatment of women, including them being forced into occasional acts of prostitution to make ends meet. She writes of the region of Southwark being notorious for its public baths or stews, which were often used for this purpose. She … Continue reading

New Treasons

I have reported a few times on the imbalances in the British legal system with respect to capital crimes, for example, that women were burnt at the stake for murdering their husbands as this was deemed an act of treason. This is due to an amendment to the Statute of Treason of 1352. It originally covered … Continue reading

Mediaeval Coming of Age

In Barbara A. Hanawalt’s book, The Wealth of Women, there is much discussion about the value of women in marriage, but she notes that it is hard to establish when girls became women. Across Europe, evidence of physical puberty is scant, but suggest it was between 12 and 15. the church allowed girls to marry … Continue reading

Women and Wealth

I’ve just started on a wonderful book, The Wealth of Wives Women, Law and Economy in Late Medieval London. The title sounds a bit dry, but it is really fascinating as the author, Barbara A. Hanawalt has spent years trawling through the various London archives to piece together some idea of the role of women … Continue reading