Litigating Women : Gender and Justice in Europe, c.1300-c.1800 book cover
1st Edition

Litigating Women
Gender and Justice in Europe, c.1300-c.1800

ISBN 9780367230289
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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


  1. Mothers and Daughters and Sons, in the law: Family conflict, legal stories, and women’s litigation in late medieval Marseille

    Susan McDonough
  2. ‘Consent and coercion: women’s use of marital consent laws as legal defense in late medieval Paris’ 

    Kristi DiClemente
  3. Shades of consent: Abduction for marriage and women’s agency in the late medieval Low Countries

    Chanelle Delameilleure
  4. Female Litigants in Secular and Ecclesiastical Courts in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, c.1300–c.1500

    Michaela Antonín Malaníková
  5. Widowhood and attainder in medieval Ireland: the case of Margaret Nugent

    Sparky Booker
  6. Choosing Chancery? Women’s Petitions to the Late Medieval Court of Chancery

    Cordelia Beattie
  7. Gendered roles and female litigants in northeastern England, 1300-1530

    Peter Larson
  8. Property over Patriarchy? Remarried Widows as Litigants in the Records of Glasgow's Commissary Court, 1615-1694

    Rebecca Mason
  9. Women negotiating wealth: gender, law and arbitration in early modern southern Tyrol 

    Margareth Lanzinger and Janine Maegraith
  10. A litigating Widow and Wife in Early Modern Sweden: Lady Elin Johansdotter [Månesköld] and Her Family Circle

    Mia Korpiola
  11. Women litigants in early eighteenth-century Ireland

    Mary O’Dowd
  12. Hidden in plain sight: female litigators, reproductive lives, archival practices and early modern historiography

    Julie Hardwick

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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.