This edited collection, written by both established and new researchers, reveals the experiences of litigating women across premodern Europe and captures the current state of research in this ever-growing field.
Individually, the chapters offer an insight into the motivations and strategies of women who engaged in legal action in a wide range of courts, from local rural and urban courts, to ecclesiastical courts and the highest jurisdictions of crown and parliament. Collectively, the focus on individual women litigants – rather than how women were defined by legal systems – highlights continuities in their experiences of justice, while also demonstrating the unique and intersecting factors that influenced each woman’s negotiation of the courts. Spanning a broad chronology and a wide range of contexts, these studies also offer a valuable insight into the practices and priorities of the many courts under discussion that goes beyond our focus on women litigants.
Drawing on archival research from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Low Countries, Central and Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, Litigating Women is the perfect resource for students and scholars interested in legal studies and gender in medieval and early modern Europe.
Table of Contents
- Mothers and Daughters and Sons, in the law: Family conflict, legal stories, and women’s litigation in late medieval Marseille
- ‘Consent and coercion: women’s use of marital consent laws as legal defense in late medieval Paris’
- Shades of consent: Abduction for marriage and women’s agency in the late medieval Low Countries
- Female Litigants in Secular and Ecclesiastical Courts in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, c.1300–c.1500
Michaela Antonín Malaníková
- Widowhood and attainder in medieval Ireland: the case of Margaret Nugent
- Choosing Chancery? Women’s Petitions to the Late Medieval Court of Chancery
- Gendered roles and female litigants in northeastern England, 1300-1530
- Property over Patriarchy? Remarried Widows as Litigants in the Records of Glasgow's Commissary Court, 1615-1694
- Women negotiating wealth: gender, law and arbitration in early modern southern Tyrol
Margareth Lanzinger and Janine Maegraith
- A litigating Widow and Wife in Early Modern Sweden: Lady Elin Johansdotter [Månesköld] and Her Family Circle
- Women litigants in early eighteenth-century Ireland
- Hidden in plain sight: female litigators, reproductive lives, archival practices and early modern historiography
Teresa Phipps is a social historian of late medieval England and Wales, interested in women, law, and urban society. Publications include a monograph on women and justice in late medieval English towns (2020), a volume on medieval town courts (2019) and articles on coverture, trespass, and credit.
Deborah Youngs is a Professor of History at Swansea University, UK, with research interests in the social, legal and cultural histories of late medieval England and Wales. She is currently researching and publishing on women’s litigation in the English court of Star Chamber.