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Urban Daughters, Their Opportunities, And London Wills

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Chapter Summary

The wishes of parents in late medieval London, expressed through bequests in their wills, shaped the lives of their children. This chapter will explore who testators were and how their characteristics influenced the lives of their daughters specifically. The gender and occupation of the testators affected the types of property they bequeathed to daughters and sons alike, but in different ways. Examining movable property reveals a different pattern of bequests among female and male testators. First, female and male testators both detailed legacies for real estate more often than movable wealth. Second, there is a larger gender difference in recipients of movable property from female testators than male. Women also received more movable property from female testators, which supports other scholars' work that traces legacies among women to other women relatives and friends. There were female testators, but they were predominantly widows or single women rather than wives.

Keywords:bequests; female testators; Medieval London; Testators



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