Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Question from Annette - Lower gentry and dowries

a question about lower gentry and dowries.

Hi,just a follow up question from the elizabeth seymour and sir anthony Ueghtard question I asked,
what sort of dowry would have been offered? as sir john seymour was lower gentry what could be offered to make their daughter more worth while and what would sir anthony have bought to the table? how long would negotations have gone on for? does anyone know the exact dowry maybe? i have looked but cannot find any sources.this is for a novel as said previously and i would like it to be near historical accuracy as possible.
Thank you

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

There was no fixed formula for determining the form or the size of a dowry. It might be in the form of land, or goods and chattels (movable property), or (far less commonly) money, or a combination of two or more of these. It might also be quite small, especially if the bride brought something important but less tangible to the match ... social connections, exceptional beauty, etc. My suspicion is that the lower one was on the socio-economic scale, the more likely the dowry was to consist of simple goods and chattels for domestic use and to be quite small.

As for the length of the negotiations, they almost certainly ran the gamut from mere minutes to several weeks. I would think that the less one had to offer in the way of real property and money, the shorter the negotiations would have been. Conversely, the longer the negotiations took, the more likely they were to fail in the end.

You might also want to consider the jointure, or what the groom/husband agreed to provide to the bride/wife for her use and maintenance in the event he died before her. Same parameters apply.