Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Medieval Single Women – The Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England - Oxford Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Medieval Single Women: The Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England

Cordelia Beattie


This book is a focused study of the use of the category ‘single woman’ in late medieval England. In a culture in which marriage was the desirable norm and virginity was particularly prized in females, the categories ‘virgin’ and ‘widow’ held particular significance. But the law gave unmarried women legal rights and responsibilities that were generally withheld from married women. The pervasiveness of religion and the law in people's day-to-day lives led to a complex interplay between moral and economic concerns in how medieval women were conceptualized. The result is different unmarried women ... More

Keywords: single women, medieval women, classification, marriage, virginity, cultural ideas, gender, age, religion, law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780199283415
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283415.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Cordelia Beattie, author
Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh
Author Webpage