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Assets to the Country: Countesses in Fourteenth Century England

Assets to the Country: Countesses in Fourteenth Century England

By Janine Honey Sutter

MA Thesis, Clemson University, 2017

Detail of miniature of a female figure teaching three women, British Library, Additional 29986 f. 152v.

Abstract: This thesis is a study of the lives of English Countesses in the fourteenth century. Past historians have often overlooked the role of females in society. When they were mentioned, it was in connection with their male counterpart (‘his wife’) or in a role that was non-traditional. Their day-to-day lives and their importance in their world have not been studied and compiled in one place.

Surviving sources can tell us much about medieval noblewomen, even if many earlier historians ignored them. We learn that these women were strong and intelligent, and can answer questions about their childhoods, their abilities to choose marriage partners, their daily and annual schedules, and their experiences during widowhood. These and many other questions were researched to compile this thesis about fourteenth century countesses in England.


One will find that these women were able to manage a manor like a present-day CEO, delve into politics like a lobbyist and yet act as demure and womanly as any medieval man could want. It is my hope that future scholars will research the women of other classes and time-periods so we have a better understanding of every class of people in every era of history. Until then, we cannot have a complete view of our past.

Click here to read this thesis from Clemson University

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