Monday, February 11, 2019

Larson on widows in Durham

Peter L. Larson, University of Central Florida, has published "Widow-right in Durham, England (1349-1660)" in Continuity and Change 33:2 (August 2018), 173-201. Here's the abstract: 
A customary tenant's widow in County Durham had a right to his holdings for her life, and did not forfeit the lands for remarriage or fornication in contrast to customs found elsewhere in England. In this case study of three neighbouring villages, more than 80 per cent of widows with the option exercised this right, and did so consistently over three centuries. The persistence of this pattern indicates that widows as tenants were common and capable of cultivating or managing holdings. It suggests complex interconnections of gender with local social and economic structures, which include marriage, migration, and household formation.
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