Women and the adoption of charters in Scotland north of Forth, c. 1150–1286



 
 Women and the adoption of charters in Scotland north of Forth, c. 1150–1286

By Matthew H. Hammond

The Innes Review, Vol. 62.1 (2011)

Abstract: This article traces the adoption of charters by women in Scotia, the core region of the kingdom of the Scots north of the Firth of Forth, in the twelfth century, and the developments in charter diplomatic employed primarily by monastic beneficiaries over the course of the following century. Initially, charters were produced in the name of countesses making donations of churches and lands to religious houses, and monastic scribes developed idiosyncratic methods of ‘strengthening’ these gifts through the confirmation of a husband or male relative. In the thirteenth century, charters in the name of women became more plentiful, especially in the case of widows, and more standard formulas emphasising the ‘lawful power of widowhood’ were employed widely. Charters also increasingly recorded donations and other acts by married women across the social scale, either on their own or jointly with their husbands. Moreover, gifts by men of lands which came to them de jure uxoris included standard diplomatic phraseology recording the consent of the wife. This article examines these trends broadly as well as through several case studies. The appendix lists 160 documents relating to women during this period.

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