Medieval women and urban justice

Commerce, crime and community in England, 1300–1500

By Teresa Phipps

Medieval women and urban justice


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3459-2
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: Medieval History, Legal history, European history: medieval period, middle ages, England, 15th century, c 1400 to c 1499, 14th century, c 1300 to c 1399, HISTORY / Women, LAW / Legal History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Norman Conquest to Late Medieval (1066-1485), England, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Legal History, Humanities / Medieval history
  • Series: Gender in History


This book provides a detailed analysis of women's involvement in litigation and other legal actions within their local communities in late-medieval England. It draws upon the rich records of three English towns - Nottingham, Chester and Winchester - and their courts to bring to life the experiences of hundreds of women within the systems of local justice. Through comparison of the records of three towns, and of women's roles in different types of legal action, the book reveals the complex ways in which individual women's legal status could vary according to their marital status, different types of plea and the town that they lived in. At this lowest level of medieval law, women's status was malleable, making each woman's experience of justice unique.


1 Women, town courts and customary law in context
2 Commerce, credit and coverture: women and debt litigation
3 Law and the regulation of women's work
4 Violence, property and 'bad speech': women and trespass litigation
5 Public disorder, policing and misbehaving women


Teresa Phipps is Honorary Research Fellow at Swansea University

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