Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm

By Susan M. Johns

Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6305-3
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: July 2003
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Medieval history, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, CE period up to c 1500, European history, History & Archaeology, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Medieval History
  • Series: Gender in History


The first major work on noblewomen in the twelfth century and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. Offers an important reconceptualisation of women's role in aristocratic society and suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high middle ages. Considers a wide range of literary sources such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. Asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of aristocratic women. Demonstrates that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.


Literary sources
1. Power and portrayal
2. Patronage and power
Noblewomen and power: the charter evidence
3. Countesses
4. Witnessing
5. Countergifts and affidation
6. Seals
7. Women of the lesser nobility
8. Royal inquests and the power of noblewomen: the Rotuli de Dominabus et Pueris et Puellis de XII Comitatibus of 1185
Appendix one: catalogue of seals from the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries
Appendix two: noblewomen in the Rotuli de Dominabus


Susan M. Johns was Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Huddersfield 1994-97 and now teaches at the University of Sheffield

Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm

By Susan M. Johns

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

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