Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-gsnzm Total loading time: 0.346 Render date: 2022-10-04T04:06:29.067Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

10 - The Worth of Married Women in the English Church Courts, c.1550–1730

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2013

Alexandra Shepard
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
Cordelia Beattie
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Matthew Frank Stevens
Affiliation:
Swansea University
Get access

Summary

When Joanna Remesbury and her husband Richard appeared as witnesses before the bishop of Salisbury's consistory court in 1599, they were both asked to provide an estimate of their net moveable estate. Richard, a shepherd, appears to have declared himself worth £20 in goods, ‘every man being paid’, before revising this estimate to the more modest sum of £10. Joanna, by contrast, responded that she did not know her worth ‘bycause shee is a married woman & therefore during the life of her husband her goodes are at his disposing’. In response to a further question enquiring about how they got a living, they both declared simply that Richard had a copyhold worth £5 per annum in the nearby parish of Purton. Joanna and Richard Remesbury were responding to questions routinely posed to witnesses in the church courts that were designed to test bias and to assess their creditworthiness both concerning the cause in dispute and more widely. As part of these efforts to assess the ‘persons’ of witnesses as well as their ‘sayings’, deponents were commonly asked for an account of their net worth in goods and how they maintained themselves. Such questions were usually asked indiscriminately of all witnesses appearing on behalf of a particular litigant, so that when posed to married women they contravened common law conventions that wives possessed no moveable property and that they should be maintained by their husbands.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×