IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 1301: The Lives and Afterlives of Elite Women in Conquest England

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 16.30-18.00

Sponsor:Haskins Society / Battle Conference for Anglo-Norman Studies
Organiser:Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Moderator/Chair:Amy Livingstone, Department of History, Wittenberg University, Ohio
Paper 1301-aThe Afterlives of St Wulfthryth and St Wulfhild at Wilton and Barking
(Language: English)
Casey Beaumont, Department of History & Archaeology, University of Chester
Casey Beaumont, Department of History & Archaeology, University of Chester
Casey Beaumont, Department of History & Archaeology, University of Chester
Index terms: Hagiography, Monasticism, Religious Life, Women's Studies
Paper 1301-bThe Madness of Countess Gode
(Language: English)
Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Gender Studies, Medicine, Social History
Paper 1301-cWhat Happened to Anglo-Saxon Women after the Norman Conquest?
(Language: English)
Berenice Wilson, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Berenice Wilson, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Berenice Wilson, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Gender Studies, Women's Studies
Abstract

The session explores the shape and meaning of women’s lives in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England. The agency of elite women has been a major theme in recent scholarship. Here we bring a new perspective by presenting studies of women whose agency was under tighter than usual constraints: death, madness, and conquest. The meaning and shape of their lives was determined by other people and outside events, and in the context of ‘family’, but not primarily by fathers or husbands. The first paper examines the contrasting ways in which the lives and deeds of two saintly abbesses were represented by the communities where they were venerated. The second paper argues that the later life of Edward the Confessor’s sister Gode was shaped by her ‘madness’. The third paper looks at how the womenfolk of landed families survived the destruction of their social class during the Norman Conquest, and at how some of them acquired agency as the representatives of their families in the transmission of land.