Aristocratic female inheritance and property holding in thirteenth-century England

Kersey, H. (2017) Aristocratic female inheritance and property holding in thirteenth-century England. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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This thesis explores aristocratic female inheritance and property holding in the thirteenth century, a relatively neglected topic within existing scholarship.

Using the heiresses of the earldoms and honours of Chester, Pembroke, Leicester and Winchester as case studies, this thesis sheds light on the processes of female inheritance and the effects of coparceny in a turbulent period of English history.

The lives of the heiresses featured in this thesis span the reigns of three English kings: John, Henry III and Edward I. The reigns of John and Henry saw bitter civil wars, whilst Edward’s was plagued with expensive foreign wars. The heiresses discussed here inherited the lands of some of the most important honours in England and the partition of these patrimonies between female coheirs undoubtedly had an effect on landholding and political society. There were numerous instances when the property rights of female coheirs were negotiated and compromised. Nonetheless, the property rights of women with regard to inheritance, marriage portion and dower were protected by law and remained important to the crown. As wives and widows, these women had an interest in the lands they had inherited and regularly participated in the legal disputes surrounding them.

An examination of the roles these heiresses played in these suits and more generally in English society demonstrates the different avenues by which noblewomen could exercise agency in the thirteenth century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA0020 England > DA0028 History > DA0129 By period > DA0130 Early and medieval to 1485
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 10:39
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 16:30

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00