Monday, July 04, 2011
Question from Mary R - Women's rights in Wales and influence on early Tudors
I've read a couple of accounts of women who lived in Wales during the Plantagenet period. Both of these works went into the rights of women in Wales. According to these works, women could not own property because they were considered to be incapable of defending it. However, women were allowed to divorce men for being unfaithful. Also, unlike their Norman brethren, Welshmen were only allowed to beat their wives for three offenses: 1. Gambling away all of the family property. 2.Infidelity. 3.Casting aspersions on her husband's manhood. Also, if a kinswoman of a Welshman's was being abused, or was doing without what she needed, the shame was on the Welsh kinsmen who did not protect or provide for her. How much of this was true? How might have this Welsh influence have affected the behavior of Jaspar Tudor toward Margaret Beaufort and his nephew Henry VII?
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
For what you are saying, it does sound like women in Wales had it any better than women anywhere else in England...correct me if I am wrong...
Whether or not a woman married to a Welshman was "better off" is open to question. My first instinct is to say yes. However, Wales was always a war-torn nation. When they weren't fighting the English, they were fighting each other. If you were a woman married to a Welshman, you had a better than average chance of becoming a widow at a young age. Since, if female, you could not hold property in your own right, you would be completely dependent on your male relatives to fight for the rights of your minor (male) children. To further complicate things, "acknowledged bastard children" had equal rights with children born in wedlock. They, too, had male kinsmen. You see the problem and the reason for constant civil war! This is the reason I asked about Jaspar Tudor's willingness to risk all for his brother's (Edmund Tudor) widow and her son Henry VII. Was this from a Welsh sense of honor/duty? Mary R
opps that should say "doesn't." Really women had it rough back then. Makes you wonder why "women's lib" didn't happen sooner. Then again, if someone had these leanings, they probably would have been burnt as a witch!
Espousing equality for women would have been to challenge the Church; and to challenge the church would have been to challenge God. At best, you'd probably have been considered insane, at worst, a heretic (and, yes, they did burn heretics). It probably would have depended on your social standing,though. That, too would be considered part of the natural order of things. Mary R.
Post a Comment