By J. Goldberg
Did medieval girls have the facility to decide on? it is a query on the middle of this ebook which explores 3 complaints from Yorkshire within the many years after the Black demise. Alice de Rouclif used to be a baby heiress made to marry the illegitimate son of the neighborhood abbot after which kidnapped by way of her feudal enhanced. Agnes Grantham was once a profitable businesswoman ambushed and assaulted in a woodland while on her solution to dine with the grasp of St Leonard’s health center. Alice Brathwell used to be a decent widow who attracted the attentions of a supposedly aristocratic conman. those are their tales.
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Extra info for Communal Discord, Child Abduction, and Rape in the Later Middle Ages
The value of this dowry was stated to be either £100 or 100 marks (£66 13s. ), an indication of Alice’s comparative standing as an heiress of gentle birth. 37 At the time of this contract or, to use contemporary terminology, spousals, Alice was in the eyes of the Church still too young to marry then being only ten or eleven years of age. Canon law, however, allowed children to enter into spousals from as young as seven, so there was nothing illicit or improper about this arrangement. 38 In this instance, since John Marrays was almost certainly already adult, this would be in only a A L IC E DE ROU C L I F 25 year or two once Alice had reached twelve.
It is even possible that she welcomed their coming. What we can be sure of is that they would have used as little violence toward her and caused her as little upset as the circumstances would allow. The girl was too precious a commodity. She was Sir Brian’s kinswoman, an heiress and an orphan. The last Sunday in June was another eventful day in the life of Alice de Rouclif. She had grown up in the village of Rawcliffe, then called Rouclif after which she took her name, just outside York. 21 She was a child of her mother’s second marriage; Ellen de Rouclif may well have lost her first husband in the Black Death leaving her with a son, John Fische, then aged about nine.
28 Alice succeeded in name to her father’s lands, but as a girl of seven or eight she was not yet of age to inherit as such. 29 But according to canon law she could not marry before she had reached her canonical majority at twelve years. In the meantime, Alice would be a ward. Her guardian would manage her lands and would have quasi-paternal powers to arrange her marriage so long as she remained a minor. This is precisely what happened. So far as we can tell, Alice continued to live with her mother.
Communal Discord, Child Abduction, and Rape in the Later Middle Ages by J. Goldberg
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