Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 16880
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bennett , Judith M.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Writing Fornication: Medieval Leyrwite and Its Historians (Read 4 July 2002) [In the Appendix the author lists the printed editions of primary sources that she consulted. She also includes brief comments on the situation for south-western England (Devon and Cornwall), since leyrwite was exceptionally high in Cornwall.].
  • Source: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. Sixth Series 13, ( 2003): Pages 131 - 162.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Courts of Law Fines and Penalties Leyrwite, Fine on Peasant Women for Sexual Misdemeanors Marriage Peasantry Poverty Sexuality Unmarried Mothers
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 13- 14
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: Leyrwite was a fine for fornication levied on the bondwomen of many medieval English manors. This essay traces the distinctive chronological history of leyrwite (it flourished especially c. 1250-1350), its regional distribution (leyrwite was levied only in England and only in some regions of England), its socioeconomic implications (leyrwite was directed especially at the poor and more at bastardy than fornication) and, most of all, the significance of its focus on women (leyrwite served as one means of regulating poor women and their families). [Reproduced by permission of the Royal Historical Society].
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2003.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00804401
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: