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The wealth of wives : women, law, and economy in late medieval London

Author: Barbara A Hanawalt
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2007.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"London became an international center for import and export trade in the late Middle Ages. The export of wool, the development of luxury crafts and the redistribution of goods from the continent made London one of the leading commercial cities of Europe. While capital for these ventures came from a variety of sources, the recirculation of wealth through London women was important in providing both material and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Hanawalt, Barbara.
Wealth of wives.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2007
(OCoLC)654751265
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Barbara A Hanawalt
ISBN: 9780195311754 9780195311761 0195311752 0195311760
OCLC Number: 122309077
Description: xiv, 317 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Daughters and identities --
Education and apprenticeship --
Inheritance, dowry, and dower --
The formation of marriage --
Recovery of dower and widows' remarriage --
For better or for worse : the marital experience --
Standard of living and women as consumers --
Women as entrepreneurs --
Servants, casual labor, and vendors.
Other Titles: Women, law, and economy in late medieval London
Responsibility: Barbara A. Hanawalt.
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Abstract:

This book argues that an overlooked source of liquid capital for the growth of London's late medieval economy was the wealth that women accumulated through inheritance, dowry, and dower and women's  Read more...

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Hanawalt provides fresh evidence, and is judicious about the claims that she makes. * Journal of Social History * Hanawalt has read the documents in imaginative ways...this book is likely to stand as Read more...

 
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    schema:description ""London became an international center for import and export trade in the late Middle Ages. The export of wool, the development of luxury crafts and the redistribution of goods from the continent made London one of the leading commercial cities of Europe. While capital for these ventures came from a variety of sources, the recirculation of wealth through London women was important in providing both material and social capital for the growth of London's economy. A shrewd Venetian visiting England around 1500 commented about the concentration of wealth and property in women's hands. He reported that London law divided a testator's property three ways allowing a third to the wife for her life use, a third for immediate inheritance of the heirs, and a third for burial and the benefit of the testator's soul. Women inherited equally with men and widows had custody of the wealth of minor children. In a society in which marriage was assumed to be a natural state for women, London women married and remarried. Their wealth followed them in their marriages and was it was administered by subsequent husbands. This study, based on extensive use of primary source materials, shows that London's economic growth was in part due to the substantial wealth that women transmitted through marriage. The Italian visitor observed that London men, unlike Venetians, did not seek to establish long patrilineages discouraging women to remarry, but instead preferred to recirculate wealth through women. London's social structure, therefore, was horizontal, spreading wealth among guilds rather than lineages. The liquidity of wealth was important to a growing commercial society and women brought not only wealth but social prestige and trade skills as well into their marriages. But marriage was not the only economic activity of women. London law permitted women to trade in their own right as femmes soles and a number of women, many of them immigrants from the countryside, served as wage laborers. But London's archives confirm women's chief economic impact was felt in the capital and skill they brought with them to marriages, rather than their profits as independent traders or wage labourers."--Publisher description."@en ;
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