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Father And Mother Of Their Children

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Chapter Summary

Guardianship did not automatically devolve upon widowed mothers, but rather had to be secured via petition, oft en in accordance with the testamentary desires of their spouses. Guardianship for the fabulously wealthy brought with it the management of immense estates. Toledan widows exercising their rights as guardians would present themselves before public notaries to formalize their pleas. For this reason, notarial registers provide the greatest source of information regarding their activities. Protection of property interests comprised an important weapon in the widow's arsenal of ensuring her children's futures. Widows of lower ranks display a similar capacity to regulate the marriage prospects of family and household members. The glimpse of a quarrel between townswomen over the spiritual merits of marriage reveals the tension between ecclesiastical ideals and wider social preferences.

Keywords: guardianship; property rights; Toledan widows; widowed mothers



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