Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland c.1100-c.1750

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Arts and Humanities

Abstract

How did women access and gain justice in Britain before 1750? What choices did they have and what disadvantages did they face? What strategies did women use to engage with courts and court officials? How did these vary according to national boundaries, language, ethnic identity, confessional identity and class? And how did they change over time? This project seeks to provide substantive answers to these questions, utilising evidence from cases heard in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland between 1100 and 1750.

Although the history of women's lives in medieval and early modern Britain and Ireland has formed the subject of numerous studies, necessitating some discussion of the legal frameworks (particularly pertaining to marriage and property) within which they lived, the subject of women's engagement with the law, and experience of justice within the multiple courts and jurisdictions in the regions under scrutiny, has been rather less well researched. When studies appear, they are either narrowly-focused on specific topics or archives, and thus of limited value for assessing women's broader experiences, or claim to take a broader view but in fact base their conclusions on extrapolations from those same, limited case studies. In addition, English cases have dominated the field: if Irish, Welsh or Scottish materials have been explored at all, it has been on rigidly national lines, with little or no comparison or consideration of points of contact and similarity between women's strategies in different judicial environments.

The research team aims to produce a study that can act both as a guide to methodology - critiquing previous work, highlighting gaps in archival resources and studies, and establishing frameworks for applying gender to legal history - and as a conceptual, practical demonstration of the power of comparative history to illustrate underlying structural and ideological constraints on women's agency before the law. That is not to say that we shall be treating women in isolation: we are not 'unmooring' them from the gendered, familial and local contexts within which they lived their daily lives. How they identified themselves, and how they were recorded in court proceedings, reveals for example how using a father's name took on a particular importance over a woman's marital identification in many of the contexts under scrutiny.

The resources for this study will include both records from secular and church courts, and will encompass civil and criminal cases. Samples will range from the Anglo-Norman state (where Jewish women will be considered alongside Christians), the English colony in Ireland, local courts in Wales and the Welsh use of central courts, and women in the legal landscape of Scotland before and after Union. The period studied reflects a time of significant political change and social upheaval in British and Irish history, when the state's physical boundaries, administrative structures and religious identity were all shifting and evolving. The law in some sense provided some continuity through this period, but the complexity of jurisdictions, overlapping, competing, local and central, religious and secular, meant that similar courts in different regions might differ a great deal (for example, there is a marked lack of regulation of sexuality in Irish church courts compared with those in Scotland and England).

We shall consider: the choice of court/s to which a case could be taken; whether male representation was required or requested; what languages were used by the courts and by the plaintiffs and defendants, and how these were recorded; whether women had to undertake lengthy journeys to attend; avenues of appeal; forms of petition; strategies (including absence) employed. True comparison can only be achieved by starting from the court user's perspective, seeking to understand her experience of the law, and applying a common set of questions to all of the samples.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries
Outside the academic community, the existence and activities of the research group will have major benefits for:
* the Women's History Network, whose membership is a mix of academics and non-academics, all interested in the histories of women, but whose activities tend to cluster in the period of modern history. The progress and completion of the proposed study will offer a different perspective on women's agency within the nascent state, as well as presenting some of the challenges of working in an earlier period;

* public events and initiatives linked to women's history, including celebrations of International Women's Day, Women's History Month, public outreach events in Dublin, public engagement events including a workshop about the project hosted in association with the Centre for Public History and the Centre for Gender History in Glasgow, and by the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research in Swansea;

* BBC and independent television and radio in Britain and Ireland, for whom the group's activities are likely to generate stories of public interest, particularly to women, and could form the basis of programming such as Women's Hour, In Our Time and The Long View.

Accessibility
The priority of the research group has to be the generation of a high-quality research projects, whose methodological frame and empirical findings can inform and shape future research into women's engagement with the law, and offer a substantial body of evidence from Britain and Ireland that can be compared with broader European and international cases. The group's activities, however, will include a workshop and symposium setting out the challenges of the project and exploring its eventual achievements and findings. Both events will be fully accessible to a non-academic audience, focusing on specific areas and topics of interest, These events will be open to commentary and feedback through social media feeds.

Impact Measures
Primarily, this project will have an impact on the practice of legal and gender history. But in disseminating its findings beyond academia, the research team hopes to engage the public in broader debates about women's experiences of the law (particularly those from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds engaging with current British and Irish legal systems), including how to shape it and make it more equitable for women. In particular, the project blog will make links with women's organisations in the UK and Ireland to continue the discussions beyond the academic outputs.
 
Description The project has generated a wealth of new research with material drawn from over a dozen national and regional archives in Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh), Ireland (Dublin, Belfast), Wales (Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Flint) and England (London, Winchester, Chester, Nottingham, Hereford). It has covered a broad range of jurisdictions and legal action, and drawn on records little previously studied for female litigation. Notable examples are the Exchequer of the Jews, commissary courts in Scotland, the Quarter Sessions in Wales and courts of the English colony in Ireland. These have opened up new areas of research and challenged assumptions about female litigants in pre-modern Britain that have largely been based on Christian women in England.
It has several major findings. Some have enhanced existing ideas of women's legal activities with new perspectives from regional courts. Our data show that women were always a minority of litigants -never more than a quarter of litigants in secular courts - but it varied according to court, type of case and period. We found, nonetheless, that they acted in as wide a range of disputes as men and were not restricted to certain causes. Gender was most visible in cases like slander and defamation where women were more likely to be prosecuted, but we also questioned the common perception that they dominated overwhelmingly in witchcraft trials. In addition, we have shown that although men were more likely to be engaged in property disputes, women were regularly involved in conflict over land and played an active role in defending property.
Gender, however, was only one determinant of women's experience, and our research demonstrated that there was no singular experience for women. Their access to law was contingent on their multiple marital, familial and legal identities, and it differed according to geography, court, confessional status and ethnicity. Women's marital status had a significant impact on their litigation and legal standing, but our research showed that they had more scope to act than has been previously thought, and it intersected with other issues; wealth and social status being crucial to legal success. Finally, by comparing women's experience across different jurisdictions, we have been able to overturn assumptions often based on the 'norm' of Christian women in the English common law courts. For example, we have revealed the different experience of married women in Scotland where Scots law did not operate within the limits of coverture found within English common law; and we've overturned arguments that both medieval Jewish women and Irish women had more favourable experiences in law than Christian English women.
These conclusions arose out of the collective enterprise that underpinned this research. In addition, the project's workshops, symposium and international conference panels have been instrumental in linking academics working on similar issues in Europe and the US, creating new research collaborations. A major edited collection of comparative essays on female litigants will be one product of this network. A wholescale investigation of Jewish litigation in NW Europe drawing together several international scholars in Europe will be another.
Exploitation Route There are opportunities for other researchers to build on the research, particularly PhD students. In particular, we have identified an untapped seam of material on litigation by Jewish women (and men) in medieval England that draws attention to their widespread activity and illustrates that Britain has long been a country of different legal cultures. The regular interactions between Jewish and Christian women also advance the hypothesis that Jews in England were more intimately entangled within Christian society than traditional models of autonomy and separation allow. The greater inclusion of Welsh, Irish and Scotish legal systems and women into the discussion on female litigation also challenges norms based on research on English women alone. A historical perspective to a woman's ability to access the law may also benefit local support communities and policy makers alike for we reveal the positive stories of women who were able to access justice. Medieval courts acted to support vulnerable women and there was no linear progress in women's ability to access justice across the period - c.1190-c.1750 - we have explored.
Sectors Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description In January 2015, members of the research team collaborated with Wikimedia UK to run the first Wikipedia editathon in Wales to focus on medieval and early modern women. The intention was to bring students, academics, librarians and members of the public together to increase the number and quality of articles on women on Wikipedia. Our findings created 6 new articles and the revision of 10 articles about notable Welsh, English and Irish medieval women. A report on the event can be found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Whistlaw/Jan_28_Editathon and http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/research-projects/women-negotiating-the-boundaries-of-justice/. As a result of the event, Professor Youngs and Dr Booker were invited to write a blog for Wikimedia on the running of the editathon and on women in Wikipedia. This can be found here: https://blog.wikimedia.org.uk/2015/02/women-and-wikipedia-editathon-swansea/. This also formed the basis of a blog by Robin Owain of Wikimedia on the editathon, and we were subsequently approached by Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales to collaborate on an editathon in October 2015, this time focusing on Welsh law: https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Expert_outreach/Wikipedian_in_Residence_at_the_National_Library_of_Wales/Hywel_Dda_Edit-a-thon. During this session we created two new biographies of medieval women that generated considerable discussion on Wikipedia because they were nominated for deletion on the grounds they were not suitably notable. Following support from a number of Wikipedians, the two biographies of Hawise Lestrange and Nest Bloet were allowed to remain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawise_Lestrange and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nest_bloet . This therefore demonstrated not only the gaps in female biographies on Wikipedia, but the resistance encountered when trying to redress the situation. We have continued to be engaged with Wikipedia, updating records where needed, and in September 2017 Professor Youngs and Dr Phipps were part of a team at Swansea University aiming to increase the number of Welsh women on Wikipedia, including the number of female academics working in Wales.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants Scheme
Amount £8,518 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 02/2020
 
Description 'King John 800': conference celebrating the 800th anniversary of the death of King John (Dublin Castle) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell was invited to speak at this three-day conference on King John. She presented a paper entitled 'King John and Matilda de St Valery', about the notoriously antagonistic relationship between the king and one of the leading female powerbrokers of the Welsh March - a relationship which ultimately ended in Martilda's death by starvation in a royal dungeon. Emma has been asked by one of the organisers to co-edit a volume of outputs from the conference with him.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.kingjohn800.com/
 
Description 'Disorderly daughters and family feuds: gender, household and litigation in late medieval English towns' Social History Society Conference. Keele University, June 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Paper given at Social History Society conference at Keele University as part of a panel on families and the law, organised by research project members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 'Disorderly daughters? Gender and household in borough court trespass pleas' International Medieval Congress. University of Leeds, July 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Paper at Leeds IMC as part of a series of panels on women negotiating justice, organised by the research project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Berkshire Conference, Hofstra, USA 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities occurs every three years, in an international 4-day event, hosted by an academic institution in North America. For the conference in 2017 at Hofstra, USA, PI Deborah Youngs organised a conference session 'Women negotiating the boundaries of justice: the female litigant in Britain and Ireland, c.1400-c.1800', that comprised papers by Co-I Alexandra Shepard and RAs Sparky Booker and Teresa Phipps. The audience, as in all Berkshire events, was a mix of established academics, postgraduates and activists. It was a packed event where questions of continuities and change in the position of women in relation to the law and the law courts were discussed. A full report can be found here: http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/23/women-negotiating-the-boundaries-of-justice-at-the-berkshire-conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/23/women-negotiating-the-boundaries-of-justice-at-the-berksh...
 
Description Blog on the Dangerous Women Project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Written by RA Teresa Phipps, this blog post on the Dangerous Women Project website raised the question of who was considered a 'dangerous' woman was in the Middle Ages and how the category was constructed. It was intended to challenge modern assumptions of the weak and feeble woman and a violent, unlawful middle ages.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://dangerouswomenproject.org/2017/02/08/law-violence-dangerous-women-medieval-england/
 
Description Blog posts on WomenHistLaw project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I made two extended blog-posts, entitled 'Death in Gloucester: the strange case of Solomon and Comitissa Turbe' (2015) and 'Conversion and coercion: rough justice in the Jewish community of thirteenth-century London' (2016), to our project website These were intended to communicate the first (most headline-grabbing) findings of my research into Anglo- Jewish women's litigation, by highlighting Jewish women's engagement in violence-related litigation at the Exchequer of the Jews. These cases will feed into an article I am currently writing on Jewish women and the prosecution of violence in medieval England. The posts immediately attracted attention and comment on the internet from people interested in the research being produced by our team, and in particular those interested in the medieval Jews of England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/9/death-in-gloucester-the-strange-case-of-solomon-and-comiti...
 
Description Cardiff University Society for Women Graduates (CUSWG) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact CUSWG provides a platform for female researchers, to engage with current research being undertaken at this University, and to provide a network of support and mentorship for women graduates. Among other things, they regularly host talks by academics to which all graduate students, male and female, of any discipline, along with members of the public, may come. The idea is to engage people working in different disciplines or from outside the university in a variety of different subjects. I spoke for 40mins on women in medieval Wales, and this was followed by 20 mins of questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Conference paper at IMC, Leeds 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a conference paper delivered to the International Medieval Conference at Leeds, 2-5 July, 2018. This was one of two panels and a roundtable organised by the project to showcase our results. The papers generated a lively discussion on women and litigation from a full audience, particularly among the postgraduate community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Coverture talk in Chester 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Sparky Booker delivered a paper to the University of Chester's History seminar series in January 2016. Entitled 'Women, law and the operation of coverture in the English colony in Ireland, 1300-1500', this was a development of her earlier research on coverture. Presenting the paper to historians of England allowed for discussions on comparisons to be made between the Colony and mainland England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Economic History Society Women's Committee Workshop: Women's Legal Histories 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact On 25 November 2017 the project hosted the annual workshop of the Economic History Society's Women's Committee at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. Invited speakers from institutions across the UK, both established academics and postgraduates, presented research addressing various aspects of women's engagement with the law, with many papers considering the ties between women's economic roles and legal action. The event covered the medieval to modern periods, allowing attendees to connect with researchers outside their immediate field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Female litigants in medieval English towns: status and strategy in the case of Agnes Halum, Berkshire Conference, Hofstra University and Litigating Women symposium, Swansea University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Two versions of this paper were given at the Berkshire Conference on Women's History at Hoftstra University, USA, and at the Litigating Women symposium at Swansea University. The paper discussed the legal status and litigation of one woman from medieval Nottingham. Feedback from leading women's historians has helped the development of this paper into a book chapter for a forthcoming volume on medieval town courts (ed Goddard and Phipps).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Fifteenth Century Conference, Reading 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This paper entitled 'She hath no remedy by course of commyn law: legal options and objectives in early Star Chamber' was delivered at the annual Fifteenth Century Conference, held in Reading University, September 2018. The questions prompted me to think more deeply about the archive I was using, and enabled a productive discussion to take place with employees at The National Archives at Kew. It has since been developed into an article.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Glasgow Workshop: Parenting and the Law 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact On May 22, 2017, the project team joined forces with the Centre for Gender History in Glasgow University to hold their annual public engagement workshop in Glasgow Women's Library. Organised by PhD student Rebecca Mason, the event on 'Parenting and the Law' was designed to explore the allocation and legal regulation of parental rights and responsibilities both in the past and in the present. The workshop brought together historians from a wide range of backgrounds, legal experts, women's rights campaigners, and charities such as Shakti Women's Aid. After a series of fascinating, interactive presentations, a roundtable discussion focused on what had changed and what could be changed in legally supporting parents, notably mothers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/22/parenting-and-the-law-a-public-engagement-workshop-at-the...
 
Description Harlaxton Medieval Symposium (Harlaxton Manor) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell gave a talk ('The aristocratic household in times of stress: some thirteenth-century evidence') on the medieval great household and its involvement in political intrigue during the period of the Anglo-Welsh wars (1276-82). This focused on the noble woman's household in particular.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://harlaxton.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Harlaxaton-2016-Programme-Final1.pdf
 
Description Historical Association, Cardiff Branch (Cardiff University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell gave a paper, entitled 'Looking at women in medieval Wales', aimed at communicating her research into medieval women (in England and Wales) to a wider audience. This look in particular at the contrasting rights of women in medieval Wales who were subject to native law and those, in the Welsh Marches for example, who could expect to be governed by the common law of England. The talk was open to the public and many audience members reported that they had been fascinated by the talk and had learned new things.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In May 2016 the project sponsored a session on medieval women and the law at the International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo (University of Western Michigan). Two project members - Sparky Booker and Deborah Youngs - gave papers on women of Ireland and Wales and they were joined by two scholars from the University of Guelph (Ontario) and Simpson College (Iowa, US) who discussed their research on women in Scottish and Irish courts respectively. The session explored different strategies women adopted across a range of legal and local jurisdictions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/11/women-and-justice-at-kalamazoo
 
Description Johns Hopkins talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Professor Shepard delivered a paper entitled 'Mothers, others and care in Early Modern England, 1550-1800' at Johns Hopkins University, USA, in December 2015. This enabled her to showcase her latest research on motherhood and parental relations as displayed in the court records.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Leeds IMC 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The project organised a two panels to present findings. I gave a 20-minute paper on one of these panels, on the subject of Jewish women and the prosecution of violent crime. My paper and generated a lot of discussion on the question of Jewish women's legal right.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Leeds International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell delivered a paper ('How the other half litigate: Jewish women and the court of the Exchequer of the Jews in thirteenth-century England') quantifying Jewish women's litigation at one particular tribunal (the Exchequer of the Jews) in thirteenth-century England. The paper generated a lot of discussion and exhange of ideas and materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Manorial Courts talk, Dublin 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Sparky Booker presented a paper entitled 'The manorial courts of Maynooth and Lucan' at the Milestones of Medieval Dublin lecture series, Dublin, November 2015. There are few manorial records surviving from Medieval Ireland and Dr Booker looked at some of the best in the context of what they can tell us about medieval women. This is another area where women and their legal rights have been under-explored and this paper demonstrated what can be gleaned on women's active use of this type of court.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Mortimer History Society Annual Conference (Hereford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell presented an hour-long talk (''Intelligence and Intrigue in the March of Wales: Maud Mortimer and the fall of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, 1274-82') on the topic of Maud Mortimer and the struggle against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, to the Mortimer History Society. The audience comprised members of the public, amateur (and some professional) historians, fiction writers, students, patrons of the society and so on. The paper generated considerable discussion and interest, and requests for further involvement in activities of the MHS.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Naming women in medieval court records, In the Name of History conference, Sheffield University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact I gave a paper on the way that women's names were recorded in borough court records. This represents prelimary research and ideas for a larger project on women's names across multiple medieval jurisdictions in Britain, and the feedback received from this conference went in to producing a Leverhulme early career fellowship on this project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Project blog for Womens History Month 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Our project website includes an active blog that showcases recent research on women. Team members have themselves contributed blogs over the last year: Emma Cavell on the thirteenth-century Jewish community (June 2016), and PhD student Rebecca Mason on gender, law and the economy in early modern Scotland (December 2016). This year we decided to celebrate Women's History Month by showcasing the research of academics from across the globe writing on women's history. We sent out a call for interest, selected subjects to show the breadth of research in terms of geographical focus and timeframes, and published the following during March 2017:
Rebecca Mason (Glasgow): 'The 'Remarrying Relict' and the burgh court in early modern Scotland'
Sarah Joan Moran (Utrecht):' Women's Property Rights in Early Modern Flanders and Brabant'
John M. Collins (Eastern Washington University): 'Women Waging Martial Law'
Charlotte Garside (Hull), 'Women and Secrecy in the Late Seventeenth-century English Court of Chancery: Bethell v. Robinson'
Molly Corlett (KCL): "A poore and beggarly woman": gender and poverty in seventeenth-century slander cases'
Charlie Berry (IHR): 'Women, reputation and the courts in late medieval London: the case of Agnes Cockerell'
Nell Darby (freelance writer): ' "A complaint against her husband": marital violence and the law in the long eighteenth century'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog
 
Description Roundtable at IMC, Leeds, 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The project organised a roundtable to discuss the future direction of the study of women's litigation. Chaired by Phipps and with Youngs as a participant, the roundtable also included academics from the universities of York and Edinburgh (UK), Ohio State (US) and Palacky (Czech Republic). This generated a lot of discussion on the differences in approaches to the study of women across time and place.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar Cyfraith Hywel (Aberystwyth University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell presented a paper entitled 'Some thoughts on the operation of custom in medieval Welsh law' to specialists in medieval Welsh law. This paper explored the way in which custom could be seen to operate native Welsh law and practice, especially where it was related to elite widow's land-rights.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2017
 
Description Social History Conference, Keele 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Delivery of a conference paper on Jewish women and the prosecution of violence. This paper was part of one of two sessions at the Social History Conference showcasing the work of members of the project. This was an opportunity to engage with social historians from across different periods and to consider comparisons/contrasts across centuries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Social media 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project has both a Twitter account and a website that promote project events and findings of the researchers. Our Twitter account @womenhistlaw currently has 1087 followers (as of 14/3/18). Between March 2017 and March 2018 we had approximately 239,600 impressions (the number of times users saw tweets). With our focus on Britain and Ireland, it's perhaps to be expected that 57% of our readers are from the UK and 9% from Ireland, but we also have readers from the US (16%), Australia (3%) and Canada (3%). Our project website womenhistorylaw.org.uk has had nearly 4000 views since it was set up in 2015. Between March 2016 - March 2017 the top 5 countries from which users have accessed the site are: UK (36%), Russia (22%), USA (13%), Germany (5%) and Iraq (3%).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/
 
Description Swansea Symposium: Litigating Women 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In June 2017, we held a two-day symposium at Swansea University on 'Litigating women'. This was a comparative event, aimed at exploring how women across centuries and continents had attempted to negotiate justice for themselves and for their families: what were the causes, and how successful were they. The papers and discussions spanned 6 centuries, nine countries and over a dozen legal jurisdictions, and the speakers/delegates themselves came from 10 countries and 29 different institutions. This made for a highly fruitful two days where topics of discussion homed in on female speech, periodisation and patriarchy, evidence interpretation and context.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://womenhistorylaw.org.uk/en/blog/1/24/litigating-women-challenges-comparisons-and-continuing-co...
 
Description Talk at Womens History Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Sparky Booker delivered the paper 'Women and Law in fifteenth and sixteenth-century Ireland' at the Women's History Network Conference at the University of Kent, Canterbury, September 2015. The network comprises academics, local historians, activists and other interested parties enabling discussion to be had on the continuities and change in women's interaction with the law across centuries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Talk on coverture at TCD, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a paper delivered by Sparky Booker entitled 'Coverture in the courts of the English colony in Ireland' at the Women in medieval Irish History conference at Trinity College, Dublin in November 2015. No-one had researched and charted the existence of coverture in the English colony and so Dr Booker was able to show the fruits of her research to an audience focused on Irish women. This helped her place her own ideas in the broader context of women's status in the Colony.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Voices of Law Conference (Cambridge University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Emma Cavell delivered a paper entitled 'Foreign practices and native agreements: widows and their dower in pre-conquest Wales', which explored the development of non-orthodox landholding (English-style dower) among native Welsh elites before 1282, and the role/s of women in furthering these changes. The paper sparked considerable discussion about legal developments in Wales and change's to women's rights.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://voicesoflaw.wordpress.com/
 
Description WHA of Ireland, 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In February 2018, Dr Booker used material generated from her research on the project to present a paper at the Women's History Association of Ireland. It was entitled 'Wife, widow or single women: legal history and the concept of "women"'. She used multiple legal jurisdictions to argue for the flexibility of coverture and how it was not consistently applied in medieval Irish law.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Welsh women and abduction, Cardiff University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a paper delivered by Deborah Youngs entitled 'Unlawful pleasure: women and abduction in early Tudor Wales', and delivered at the Historicising Rape Conference held at Cardiff University in July 2015. The papers ranged across periods from the medieval to the modern day and sparked questions on the politicisation of rape, victim blaming/shaming, and the general treatment of women, continuities and change across time. The sessions were productive and fed into a volume of essays on medieval Wales.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Women negotiating justice project workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In April 2016 we organised a one-day workshop on women and the law in medieval and early modern Britain and Ireland. Eleven speakers participated from a range of universities in England (Hull, Leicester, Nottingham, Chester, Cambridge), Scotland (Edinburgh, Aberdeen) as well as Canada (Nova Scotia and Ontario) and Australia (Melbourne). All introduced pre-circulated papers on the theme of women negotiating the boundaries of justice and these were discussed with project team members, invited guests and PhD students. Selected papers will form part of an edited journal in 2017/18.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Women's Archive Wales Annual Conference 2018 (in collaboration with the School of Management, the Department of History and the Morgan Academy, Swansea University) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I took part in a panel conversation on diverse women's histories in Wales, led by Professor Trish Skinner (History Dept, Swansea), and including also Norena Shopland (author 'Forbidden Lives: LGBT stories from Wales') and Uzo Iwobi (CEO of Race Council Cymru). The purpose of the panel was to challenge the delegates to re-examine their interpretations of women's history. We each spoke from the context of our own fields of study or professional expertise.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description conference paper at the Social History Conference, Keele 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Delivery of a conference paper entitled 'Maintenance, lewd behaviour and abandonment: why wives took their husbands to court in early Star Chamber' at the Social History Conference, Keele University, June 2018. This paper was part of one of two sessions at the Social History Conference showcasing the work of members of the project. This was an opportunity to engage with social historians from across different periods and to consider comparisons/contrasts across centuries. This sparked questions and led to discussions that will form the basis of a paper I will now deliver in Montreal in May 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description women as a category in historical research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In May 2016 Sparky Booker delivered a paper 'Women as a category in historical research' at the Tyrannous Constructs: Conceptual History Workshop at Trinity College, Dublin. The purpose was to ensure that women - and gender history more broadly - were considered in a workshop on concepts and constructs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016