For historians of the United Kingdom.
In the year 1397 in the parish of Tuttington (Norfolk), a woman whose name is lost to history, frantic to rid herself of the evil spirit that possessed her, turned to suicide. She attempted first to hang herself, but her husband discovered her while life remained in her body, cut down the rope, and comforted her. A few weeks later she tried once…[Read more]
Sara Margaret Butler deposited “Lies, Damned Lies, and the Life of Saint Lucy: Three Cases of Judicial Separation from the Late Medieval Court of York.” in the group British History on Humanities Commons 1 day, 11 hours ago
An examination of three cases of judicial separation from the late medieval court of York.
Since the publication of Philippe Aries’ Centuries of Childhood in the early 1960’s, historians of the family have been intrigued by the prospect of a history of change in familial sentiment. 1 Aries’ study of attitudes about children from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, based primarily on art and material evidence, demonstrates…[Read more]
Sara Margaret Butler deposited “‘I will never consent to be wedded with you!’: Coerced Marriage in the Courts of Medieval England.” in the group British History on Humanities Commons 1 day, 11 hours ago
This paper asks us to rethink the boundaries between consent and coercion in medieval England. From gentle persuasion to threats and abuse, coercion was a part of the courtship process. Although late medieval society expected parents to play an active, even heavy-handed, role in matchmaking, the English church recognized the possibility that…[Read more]
Sara Margaret Butler deposited “The Law as a Weapon in Marital Disputes: Evidence from the Late Medieval Court of Chancery, 1424- 1529.” in the group British History on Humanities Commons 1 day, 11 hours ago
When Isabelle, widow of Richard Vergeons, commissioned the writing of a bill of complaint to Chancery at the end of the fifteenth century, she was clearly at the end of her tether. Six months before the writing of the petition, the wife of Thomas Hyll, a wire monger of London, approached the petitioner’s husband, begging for ‘‘secour and saufg…[Read more]
Sara Margaret Butler deposited “Abortion by Assault: Violence against Pregnant Women in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-century England.” in the group British History on Humanities Commons 1 day, 11 hours ago
According to medieval common law, assault against a pregnant woman causing miscarriage after the fi rst trimester was homicide. Some scholars have argued, however, that in practice English jurors refused to acknowledge assaults of this nature as homicide. The underlying argument is that because abortion by assault is a crime against women, male…[Read more]
Sunday, January 23, 1390 was a day that Ralph Peioun of Wotton (Lincs.) and his wife most likely never forgot. On this day, their one-year-old son, Richard, presumably curious and headstrong like most young toddlers his age, made an unfortunate choice of playthings when he picked up a pair of shears and wounded himself in the throat, a fatal…[Read more]
When confronted with cases of self-killing, medieval jurors had to contend with a vast array of often conflicting concerns, from religious and folkloric condemnations of the act of suicide, to fears for the welfare of the family of the dead, and to coping with royal confiscations of a felon’s goods. All of these factors had a profound impact on t…[Read more]
Scholars of the medieval family would generally agree that the lot of the medieval wife was not an easy one. Medieval husbands held the upper hand in the power relationship, both legally and socially. Although Lawrence Stone’s view of niarried life in the Middle Ages as “brutal and often hostile, with little communication, [and] much wife-beating”…[Read more]
The use of the term “community” in historical studies continues to present problems for many medievalists. Myriad studies have emphasized the inadequacy of the term when describing medieval society. Microstudies of manors and villages, especially in the English context, by historians Barbara A. Hanawalt, J. Ambrose Raftis, and Sherri Olson (am…[Read more]
Art historian Barbara Kellum’s 1973 article on child murder in medieval England paints a picture of a world replete with ruthless and murderous single mothers who escaped the legal consequences of their actions due to an indifferent court system that chose to turn a blind eye to the deaths of young children. Despite the overstated tone of her w…[Read more]
The history of homicidal insanity in the courts of law of medieval England.
Given the hurdles one faced in trying to stay healthy in later medieval England, it should come as no surprise that the medieval English placed a premium on competent medicine. As Carole Rawcliffe has argued, “medieval life was beset by constant threats to health arising from poor diet (at both ends of the social spectrum), low levels of h…[Read more]
Sara Margaret Butler deposited Sacred People, Sacred Spaces: Evidence of Parish Respect and Contempt for the pre-Reformation Clergy.” in the group British History on Humanities Commons 1 day, 11 hours ago
Conflicts between parish clergy and parishioners in late medieval England have been described as acts of both anticlericalism and proclericalism (that is, an attempt to compel clergy into living up to the parishioners’ increasingly high expectations of them). This paper hopes to expand our knowledge of parish conflict by turning to an o…[Read more]
With regard to English common law, medieval women were able to participate in the curial process in only a limited way. This is not true of women as defendants: women could be sued for almost any civil or criminal plaint, but their privileges as plaintiffs were broadly curtailed by marital status and cultural expectation. The legal fiction of…[Read more]
In the year 1304, Matilda Bonamy of Guernsey, a young woman from one of the Anglo-Norman island’smost established and affluent families, found herself in a predicament familiar to many of today’s youth. A liaison with Jordan Clouet, also from a family of long provenance in Guernsey if not as comfortable, had left her pregnant. To Matilda the sol…[Read more]
This essay argues that the changes that occurred in the form, function, material and internal decorative schemes of the Great House before 1660 was less of a transformation and more of a slow evolution. The popularity of plasterwork in the Great House from the Tudors to the Restoration, demonstrates its importance in the evolution of such…[Read more]
This dissertation ‘Inns and Innkeeping in North Hertfordshire: 1660-1815’ addresses the lack of a localised study on this building type and supplements the wider body of work that has been undertaken, on inn form, function and innkeeping lifestyles in other regions of England during the long eighteenth century.
Examines evangelical encounters with the arts as: consumer and performer in the ‘neutral’ sphere of the home; as users of the arts in public worship; as evangelists; and as moralists and reformers of the pursuits of others. It deals mainly with music, literature, the visual arts and drama, and its examples are drawn chiefly from Britain and the…[Read more]
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