BALH Local History Hour:
Women's lives in 16th century patriarchal society.
The study of women’s history is generally hampered by a lack of data, particularly in official documents relating to trade crafts and town governance, but the development of searchable databases has given the potential for analysing large amounts of material, with the potential to make women’s lives more visible.
Dr Cheryl Butler will use the examples of the lives of three Southampton women of ‘the middling sort’ to illustrate what can be discovered about the lived experience of sixteenth century women based on the Southampton Tudor People Project which created a searchable and freely accessible database of every person known to have lived in Southampton between the years 1485 and 1603. This has become a way of testing assumptions about the lives of people in early modern people Southampton and to reflect whether the Southampton model could provide wider evidence of experiences in the country as a whole.
Jackie Wilkinson will use the casebooks of Winchester Consistory Court for a comparative approach across the three administrative divisions of Hampshire between 1560 and 1610 suggesting that the decline of patriarchy and the emergence of the middling sort did not happen concurrently. Instead, that pre-industrial urban areas developed faster than either a market town and its environs, or an island environment that retained late medieval practices even longer. As the sixteenth century progressed women became increasingly confident in bringing matrimonial and defamation cases to court, during a period when ecclesiastical management was patchy at best and manorial control in some rural areas equally fragmentary. By using case studies topographical differences are also exposed and a much more nuanced approach to understanding Tudor domestic life than has been attempted in other English Dioceses.
Free to BALH Members - Non-members £5.
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