Women, credit, and debt in early modern Scotland

By Cathryn Spence

Women, credit, and debt in early modern Scotland


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9253-8
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: February 2016
  • BIC Category: Cultural Studies, Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Social History, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, Humanities / Social & cultural history
  • Series: Gender in History


This text provides the first full-length consideration of women's economic roles in early modern Scottish towns. Drawing on tens of thousands of cases entered into burgh court litigation between 1560 and 1640 in Edinburgh, Dundee, Haddington and Linlithgow, Women, credit and debt explores how Scottish women navigated their courts and their communities. The employments and by-employments that brought these women to court and the roles they had in the economy are also considered. In particular, this book explores the role of women as merchants, merchandisers, producers and sellers of ale, landladies, moneylenders and servants. Comparing the Scottish experience to that of England and Europe, Spence shows that over the course of the latter half of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century women were conspicuously active in burgh court litigation and, by extension, were engaged participants in the early modern Scottish economy.


1. 'For her interest': women and debt litigation
2. 'Furth of this realm' and 'in her shop': merchants and merchandisers
3. Married partners and single women as producers
4. Owned, loaned and pawned: the control of property
5. Female servants as creditors and debtors


Cathryn Spence is Assistant Professor of European History at the University of New Brunswick - Saint John

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