Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8196
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Stafford , Pauline.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Cherchez la femme. Queens, Queens' Lands, and Nunneries: Missing Links in the Foundation of Reading Abbey
  • Source: History: The Journal of the Historical Association 85, 277 (January 2000): Pages 4 - 27. Reprinted in Gender, Family and the Legitimation of Power: England from the Ninth to Early Twelfth Century. By Pauline Stafford. Ashgate Variorum, 2006. Article XII.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Church and State Henry I, King of England Kings Land Tenure Lay Piety Monasticism Patronage, Ecclesiastical Penance Queens Reading, Berkshire, England- Abbey, a Male Cluniac House
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 10-11
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  • Abstract: In 1121 Henry I founded Reading abbey, an event closely connected in time to his second marriage. This article links the lands used to endow Reading with those of late Saxon queens and of female communities themselves linked to queens. It explores lay control of such communities and the circumstances in which such control came to be defined as unacceptable, and thus in which monastic reform advanced. The events of 1120-21, after the tragic death of Henry's only legitimate son, are seen as constituting just such a circumstance. The foundation of Reading abbey, as a male Cluniac house, used former queens' lands and freed the lands of older religious communities. It was simultaneously an act of penance, a celebration of queenship and legitimate dynastic continuity, and an offering for the purification and fertility of the king's new marriage. [Reproduced by permission of Blackwell Publishers].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Liverpool
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00182648
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