Noblewomen, Aristocracy and Power in the Twelfth-century Anglo-Norman Realm

Noblewomen, Aristocracy and Power in the Twelfth-century Anglo-Norman Realm

By Susan M. Johns
Book Description

This is the first study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a rich mix of evidence to offer an important reconceptualisation of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high middle ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied. This work will be of importance to specialists in history and medieval studies, as well as those interested in the experience of women and those working on lordship and feudalism.

Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Tables and .gures
  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • 1 Introduction
  • PART I Literary sources
  • 2 Power and portrayal
  • 3 Patronage and power
  • PART II Noblewomen and power: the charter evidence
  • 4 Countesses
  • 5 Witnessing
  • 6 Countergifts and af.dation
  • 7 Seals
  • 8 Women of the lesser nobility
  • 9 Royal inquests and the power of noblewomen: the Rotuli de Dominabus et Pueris et Puellis de XII Comitatibus of 1185
  • 10 Conclusion
  • Appendix 1 Catalogue of seals from the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries
  • Appendix 2 Noblewomen in the Rotuli de Dominabus
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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