Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 2741
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Friedrichs , Rhoda Lange.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Rich Old Ladies Made Poor: The Vulnerability of Women's Property in Late Medieval England
  • Source: Medieval Prosopography 21, ( 2000): Pages 211 - 229.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Gentry Women Heiresses Inheritance Intimidation Law Poverty Power Property Stanhope, Joan, Niece and Heir of Lord Cromwell, Wife of Humphrey Bourchier and Robert Radcliffe Stanhope, Maud, Niece and Heir of Lord Cromwell, Wife of Robert Lord Willoughby, Si
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: It has been argued that although most medieval women had little or no power or autonomy, rich widows with control of property were the exception to this rule. The experience of two fifteenth-century aristocratic sisters, Maud and Joan Stanhope, demonstrates that women's inheritance could be eroded first by reverses in their husbands' political careers, and even further after their husbands' deaths, when they were no longer able to offer anyone a political advantage, and those in power coveted their lands to support others who could. The legalized seizure of the inheritance of Maud and Joan required manipulation of the law that could only happen with the king's approval, which demonstrates that Edward IV condoned blatant abuses of the law on behalf of his favored supporters, although he has often been seen as remedying the perversion of justice that had occurred under Henry VI. [Abstracted with the permission of the Editors of Medieval Prosopography and of Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan].
  • Author's Affiliation: Douglas College
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01989405