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A WOMAN'S LIFE

AT HOME

BIRTHS

WEDDINGS

DIVORCES

DEATHS

MANNERS

EDUCATION

EMPLOYMENT

RECREATION

SEX
PLEASE NOTE!
ADULT THEMES!

A Medieval Woman's Life

In spite of the often harsh life in the medieval period which some women encountered, celebrations, whether religious or personal, were fairly frequent. Education and employment opportunities did exist for girls in many cases. Men were defined by their jobs and their rank in society while medieval women were defined by their marital status. They were either Virgins, Wives or Widows. Whether wealthy or poor, a woman's lot depended on which of these she was.

A girl was an infant until 7 years of age, a child until 14, a youth until 28 and then an adult. Generally, a girl stayed with her mother until 7 years of age unless she was an orphaned heiress, where she may have been removed from her mother and put into 'suitable' care, although in many cases, mothers were able to apply for guardianship of their own child. Such an appeal may or may not have been successful depending on the enormity of the child's holdings.

A great deal of the fortunes of medieval women depended on her rank in society and her marital status. Everything from her clothes, diet, work, social and legal opportunities, dental care to familial obligations, her role in births, deaths and marriage options, all depended on her financial and social position at the time of her birth. According to legal historian Frederick Maitland, at certain times a medieval woman:

can hold land, even by military tenure, can own chattels, make a will, sue and be sued. A married woman will sometimes appear as her husband's attorney. A widow will often be the guardian of her own children; a lady will often be the guardian of the children of her tenants.

On the following pages you will find a general overview of each of these topics. This is by no means the complete guide to each occasion.

AT HOME
What the medieval woman did at home

BIRTHS
A look at the practices surrounding childbirth

WEDDINGS
Medieval wedding celebrations

DIVORCES
The rights of the divorcing woman

DEATHS
Funerals and death practices

MANNERS
Manners at table and in society

EDUCATION
Opportunities for women

EMPLOYMENT
Where women worked

RECREATION

Holidays, hobbies, pet-keeping and passtimes

SEX
Sex, abortion, contraception and sexual health
This page contains ADULT THEMES!

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