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Women's rights before the Norman Conquest

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula Lofting (paulalofting) | 40 comments Like Carol, I am also very interested in the rights of women at the time of the Conquest. My research has turned up lots of interesting facts that women were far from being the down trodden pawns in a man's world that we often believe historical women to be. Many wills and testaments have turned up just how independent and powerful they could be, with men owing service to their Lady, just through landownership.Women In Anglo Saxon England gives us a great insight into the lives of women before the Normans


message 2: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen I am also quite interested in this..my personal research is that my mother's family, Faunt, from Ireland were in the employ of the Norman kings from the Conquest. They are in Ireland in 1171 as residents of Limerick. DNA shows them to be of a more Southern France origin. Medieval records show a Sir John L'Enfant (Faunt) as Seneschel of Pontheiu in 1169.

As such I am devouring everything I can in print on the subject. I have claimed Emma of Normandy as a distant relative .

Emma definitely was a Peaceweaver in her marriage but she surely had power. Harold's wife was another such female. They had a lot of strength but evading an arranged marriage did not seem to be one although some research shows Harold and Edith as having been attracted to each other first. Harold's mother Gytha another such..

The time prior to the Conquest is so exciting to read about.The Anglo Saxon Chronicles are absorbing..


message 3: by Paula (new)

Paula Lofting (paulalofting) | 40 comments According to the laws of Alfred, women were not to be forced to marry without their consent. However I am sure that it was often a case of "you need to marry this man,Aldith for the sake of peace." Nonetheless, some women I'm sure, were able to call upon the law to defend them if they were not happy to marry a man their family wished them to.


message 4: by Martin (new)

Martin Lake (goodreadscommartin_lake) | 14 comments I guess that having your son as a prisoner of the man responsible for your husband's death did concentrate the mind rather. William fought his wars with every weapon in his arsenal.


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
Paula wrote: "Like Carol, I am also very interested in the rights of women at the time of the Conquest. My research has turned up lots of interesting facts that women were far from being the down trodden pawns i..."

Paula wrote: "Like Carol, I am also very interested in the rights of women at the time of the Conquest. My research has turned up lots of interesting facts that women were far from being the down trodden pawns i..."

Yes there are wills and women did have in theory more inheritance rights than later. Henrietta Leyser is very good on this.


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
Kathleen wrote: "I am also quite interested in this..my personal research is that my mother's family, Faunt, from Ireland were in the employ of the Norman kings from the Conquest. They are in Ireland in 1171 as res..."

It would be great if you could post a source for Harold and Edith being attracted to each other first. They could have been of course. Women, however , were not that independent that they could choose their husbands but they could have land as wills indicate. Gytha was related to King Canute through marriage. She really was an aristocrat! I think she is fabulous. The Irish connection with the Godwins is interesting. Godwin was a slaver. I shall look up that source too. He had connections with Viking Ireland which should interest you, Kathleen. I think the book is Medieval Slavery. Will try to chase it up.


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
Paula wrote: "According to the laws of Alfred, women were not to be forced to marry without their consent. However I am sure that it was often a case of "you need to marry this man,Aldith for the sake of peace."..."

This is indeed true. Absolutely. In fact though.....


message 8: by Kathleen (last edited Jun 10, 2013 11:55AM) (new)

Kathleen Yes Viking Ireland would interest me..besides being a lot Irish, I have a Norwegian Grandfather who came to the US as a merchant sailor and was born north of the Arctic Circle

It was one of the novels I read.. pretty sure it was "I am the Chosen King" they fell in love in their youth..


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
Ah well yes, novels are novels and in novels there is a bit of spinning and speculation , though I would like to imagine it was so. Chosen King takes us as far as mthe Battle and is a lovely book. Novels are wonderful but we don't really know. We can only make informed speculation. Viking Ireland is a fabulous topic. You must visit Dublinia, the Viking exhibition in Dublin if you have not done so yet. It is excellent.


message 10: by Paula (new)

Paula Lofting (paulalofting) | 40 comments Wow, i didn't know that Godwin was a slaver!


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
David A E Pelteret on medieval slavery. Brilliant.


message 12: by Paula (new)

Paula Lofting (paulalofting) | 40 comments Carol wrote: "David A E Pelteret on medieval slavery. Brilliant."

Excellent ! you learn something everyday. thanks so much Carol!


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol McGrath (carolmcgrath) | 158 comments Mod
I think you especially could use this as you are a tad earlier!


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