English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, by Barbara J. Harris

By Barbara J. Harris

Pictures of aristocratic girls from the Yorkist and Tudor classes show elaborately clothed and bejeweled the Aristocracy, exemplars in their households' wealth. in contrast to their male opposite numbers, their sitters haven't been judged for his or her expert accomplishments. during this groundbreaking learn, Barbara J. Harris argues that the jobs of aristocratic other halves, moms, and widows constituted careers for girls that had as a lot public and political value and have been as the most important for the survival and prosperity in their households and sophistication as their husband's careers. ladies, Harris demonstrates, have been educated from an early age to regulate their households' estate and families; manage the marriages and careers in their young children; create, maintain, and make the most the client-patron relationships that have been a vital point in politics on the nearby and nationwide degrees; and, eventually, deal with the transmission and distribution of estate from one new release to a different, considering that so much other halves outlived their husbands. English Aristocratic girls unveils the lives of noblewomen whose ancient impact has formerly been pushed aside, in addition to those that turned favorites on the court docket of Henry VIII. via broad archival examine of files belonging to greater than twelve hundred households, Harris paints a collective portrait of upper-class girls of this era. by way of spotting the entire importance of the aristocratic women's careers, this e-book reinterprets the politics and gender family members of early smooth England. Barbara J. Harris is Professor of heritage and Women's reviews on the collage of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her prior works contain Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, 1478-1521.

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

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Although most aristocratic daughters remained at home until they were adolescents, a tiny number lived at court or in the households of the king's relatives and favorites. What parents thought about the effect of these moves on their daughters is unclear, but they apparently could not resist the opportunity of securing royal patronage for them, especially assistance in arranging their marriages. 39 After the birth of Edward VI, the chance of a royal marriage inevitably sparked the imaginations of ambitious families with good connections at court.

78 A much more plausible explanation for poor handwriting and spelling is that aristocratic women and men routinely used scribes or secretaries, most often clerics resident in their households or attached to their parish churches, to do their writing for them, just as they employed servants to perform their other manual tasks. 80 As for their knowledge of spelling, "correct" spelling was not a part or a mark of education in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century England. 81 The evidence for women's ability to read English is more episodic than 36 ENGLISH ARISTOCRATIC WOMEN, 1450-1550 that for their ability to write, but no less convincing.

To set the stage for reconstructing and analyzing them, it begins with a detailed analysis of the patriarchal institutions and practices—ideological, legal, and economic—that shaped their lives. CHAPTER I. STRUCTURES OF PATRIARCHY /^ * f HE SUBORDINATION of Yorkist and early Tudor aristocratic women to I their male kin rested on an interlocking series of economic, legal, -• and political institutions, the most fundamental of which were the common law, with its doctrine of coverture; a primogenital inheritance system reinforced by male entail; and a system of arranged marriages based on the dowry and jointure.

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