• Sara Margaret Butler deposited “Runaway Wives: Husband Desertion in Medieval England.” in the group Group logo of Legal historyLegal history on Humanities Commons 2 years, 8 months ago

    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” has since been called into question, more recent historians have still painted a somewhat unflattering picture.’ Judith Bennett writes that “[m]edieval people thought of conjugality as a hierarchy headed by a husband who not only controlled his wife’s financial assets and public behavior, but also freely enforced his will through physical violence.”^ Indeed, she argues that wife-beating was “a normal part of marriage.”