Law, Land & Family: Aristocratic Inheritance in England, 1300 to 1800


Eileen Spring presents a fresh interpretation of the history of inheritance among the English gentry and aristocracy. In a work that recasts both the history of real property law and the history of the family, she argues that one of the principal and determinative features of upper-class inheritance was the virtual exclusion of females from land homing. Tracing the gradual nullification of common law rules under which 40 percent of English land would have been inherited or held by women, Spring makes possible a fuller understanding of the social history of land law.

"(A) lively and combative book.... It will be quite impossible for social or legal historians in the future to ignore the arguments presented here; the subject will never be quite the same again, and that is a real achievement". -- Times Literary Supplement

"A highly original and provocative book which overturns a great deal of accepted wisdom, with implications for legal, family, and women's history". -- Continuity and Change

"Spring accomplishes an essential goal in writing legal history, she makes a highly technical and complex topic accessible to a wide audience and she does so with a timely twist". -- Law and History Review

A provocative analysis that recasts inheritance law and the history of the family

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chapel Hill, NC
Publication year:
  • 1993


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