1st Edition

Women in the Medieval Common Law c.1200–1500

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 5, 2021
ISBN 9781472439802
April 5, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book examines the view of women held by medieval common lawyers and legislators, and considers medieval women’s treatment by and participation in the processes of the common law. Surveying a wide range of points of contact between women and the common law, from their appearance (or not) in statutes, through their participation (or not) as witnesses, to their treatment as complainants or defendants, it argues for closer consideration of women within the standard narratives of classical legal history, and for re-examination of some previous conclusions on the relationship between women and the common law. It will appeal to scholars and students of medieval history, as well as those interested in legal history, gender studies, and the history of women.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Women, the common law and the legal historians

Part I: Unions and divisions: women and the common law

1. ‘Their position is inferior to that of men’: differentiation, inclusion, omission

2. Unstable constructions: unity, disunity, property and favour in common law thought on women

Part II: Audible and inaudible; credible and not credible: women in the legal process

3. ‘By the mouth of man’: women as non-party actors in litigation

Part III: Women’s complaints and complaints of women

4. Voice, agency and ‘playing the victim’

5. Limits and accommodation

6. Responsible and irresponsible women: the female defendant

Conclusion: The future of women’s legal past

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Gwen Seabourne is Professor of Legal History in the School of Law, University of Bristol, UK. She specialises in medieval legal history, and has written on medieval crime, economic regulation and medieval women.