Women and wills in early modern England: the community of Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1537-1649

Appleton, Stephanie Jane (2017). Women and wills in early modern England: the community of Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1537-1649. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study employs the entire body of surviving wills for Stratford-upon-Avon, 1537-1649, alongside other documentary evidence including ecclesiastical court depositions, local Court of Record proceedings, and minutes and accounts of the town's Corporation, in order to examine aspects of everyday life in this early modern town. In particular, it uses the wills as a lens through which to examine the 'culture of will-making', kinship, affect, and women's legal status and economic opportunities in Stratford. The focus on the town's women provides important additional knowledge which contributes to the growing scholarship on the experiences of non-elite women in England at this time, while its innovative use of the database Nvivo to classify the bequests and naming patterns found in the wills allows for greater nuance in our understanding of how early modern people may have thought and felt about their friends, family, and possessions.
Methodologically, the thesis argues for a holistic treatment of the wills, and demonstrates their utility and complexity as a source, while its findings challenge some commonly-held assumptions about the nature of kinship and about the financial dealings and legal opportunities enjoyed by middling sort women in early
modern England.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: Other
Other Funders: The University of Birmingham
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7611


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