1st Edition

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

Edited By Teresa Phipps, Deborah Youngs Copyright 2022
    266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.


    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


    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.