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Testators And Their Influence In Late Medieval London

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Chapter Summary

Perhaps the most dominant gender construct in medieval society was that of a man's activity and a woman's passivity. This even entered the economic sphere, as women in most of medieval Europe were expected to be passive agents in financial affairs. This chapter explores the inheritance of real estate by daughters in the Husting wills and challenges current scholarship that argues that in the Middle Ages, daughters were more likely, even in towns, to receive money and goods and thus were denied an active role in economic matters. Late medieval Londoners presented their daughters with various prospects of economic power. These daughters often inherited real estate such as houses, shops, and land along with their brothers, and were not always limited to legacies of movable property. Trends in inheritance began to change around the year 1400. Inheritance by daughters without sisters and daughters without brothers peaked between 1425 and 1450.

Keywords:Husting wills; inheritance; Late medieval Londoners; Middle Ages; Real Estate



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