English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers

English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers

English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers

English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers

Synopsis

This groundbreaking study argues that the roles of aristocratic women in early modern England constituted careers that had as much public and political significance, and were as crucial for the survival and prosperity of their families and class, as those of their male counterparts.

Excerpt

Dates appear in the Old Style, but the year is assumed to have begun on 1 January rather than on 25 March. Money appears in the predecimal form in effect until 1971: 20S. equaled £I; 12 p. equaled 1s. Spelling and punctuation in quotations have been modernized.

At a time when a laborer in the building trades earned less than £4 a year and a master mason less than £8, the minumum landed income of a nobleman was £1,000 a year and of an average knight £200–£400 a year. These figures give some idea of the aristocracy's relative wealth.

The wives and widows of noblemen were referred to as Lady or by their specific rank within the peerage. Knights' wives were called Lady during their husbands' lives but Dame after they were widowed since knighthood was a status that ended when the men died.

Legal terms, items of clothing, musical instruments, and other obscure terms are explained in the glossary.

References in the notes are in shortened form. Full information appears in the bibliography. in printed works, the numerical reference is to the page number except for collections of primary sources that use item numbers. in the latter case, page and subdivision numbers, in parentheses, follow the item number for clarification; page numbers indicated by “p.” refer to editorial material. in multivolume works, the volume is indicated by a number followed by a colon and the page or item number (e.g., 4:479).

B. J. H.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

September 2001 . . .

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