Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages

Nest of Deheubarth

By Susan M. Johns

Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1110-4
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: May 2016
  • BIC Category: Medieval History, History, Social & cultural history, History & Archaeology, Gender studies: women & girls, European history: medieval period, middle ages, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Humanities / Medieval history, Humanities / Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500, CE period up to c 1500, HISTORY / Medieval, HISTORY / Social History, Humanities / Social & cultural history
  • Series: Gender in History


Nest of Deheubarth was one of the most notorious women of the Middle Ages, mistress of Henry I and many other men, famously beautiful and strong-willed, object of one of the most notorious abduction/elopements of the period and ancestress of one of the most famous dynasties in medieval Ireland, the Fitzgeralds. This volume sheds light on women, gender, imperialism and conquest in the Middle Ages. From it emerges a picture of a woman who, though remarkable, was not exceptional, representative not of a group of victims or pawns in the dramatic transformations of the high Middle Ages but powerful and decisive actors. The book examines beauty, love, sex and marriage and the interconnecting identities of Nest as wife/concubine/mistress, both at the time and in the centuries since her death, when for Welsh writers and other commentators she has proved a powerful symbol.


1. Abduction, conquest and gender
2. Gerald of Wales, Nest, gender and power
3. Charters and contexts: gender, women and power
4. Rediscovering Nest in the early modern period
5. Remaking Nest: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century views
6. Constructing Nest in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
7. Constructing beauty, constructing gender


Susan M. Johns is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Bangor University

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