Thanks to the help of the students in this class (ENG406: The Seventeenth Century, Spring 2002 at Florida Southern College), I am pleased to present a list of sites related to Renaissance/Early Modern women in England. Each address is accompanied by one (or more) reviews of the site. The assignment asked students to find an internet "factoid" about women during the period. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me. This site may change during the course, so check back.
I gathered information on women being divided into 3 different classes during the Ren. period: virgins, wives, and widows. Also, it touched on the difficulty female writers had in preserving their individuality because of being forced into arranged marriages with strangers. As a result, a number of restraints were placed on what they could and could not write. --Lacey Emmerling
I found interesting information on the education of 17th Century women. According to the site, Protestant leaders of the time believed that both men and women should be able to read, but they also believed that women should only be taught to read so that they could read the Bible and other religious texts. Women of higher rankings were taught French, needlework, a little geography, music, and dancing. --Julie Christian
Renaissance Women Online: New Knowledge, New Questions
"Among the conservative strategies for this transgression are "translation," allowing women to put men's texts into English (as with the Countess of Pembroke's Antonius), and the dream convention (as in A Godlie Dreame, by Elizabeth Melvill, Lady Culros)." (Foreword by Susanne Woods) --Elizabeth Peloso
Caroline Vincent's Goodwife Pages
This is a website that addresses 17th century women's clothing and expected dress of the time period. It was designed as help for re-enactors. --B.J. Pitzen
This website has many facts on the dress of Seventeenth Century working women. Full of interesting details about styles, this site proved to be informative and entertaining.--Danielle Whaley
Life in Elizabethan England (site currently down 4/1/08)
This site provides several facts about life in Elizabethan England. The site includes information about marriage, language, religion, food, games, and popular names of the time period. It's a great glimpse into the lifestyles of men and women of the time. Facts: 1) With parental permission, boys are legal to marry at 14, girls at 12. One comes of age at 21. 2) Widows are entitled to one-third of their husband's estate if he has an heir and all of the estate if he has none (unless he writes her out of the will). --Sarah Lanius
The Trial of the Bideford Witches (site no longer available)
This site features Frank Gent's booklet "The Trial of the Bideford Witches." It provides information about witchcraft beliefs in the seventeenth century. Gent presents an interesting account of the dangers of being an independent woman in the seventeenth century. Fact: Independent women who did not conform to the proper idea of female behavior were stereotyped as witches. "Witches" were assertive, did not nurture men and children, and did not require or give love. They had the power of words--to defend themselves or curse. --Sarah Lanius
Religious and Legal Norms (Norton Online)
This is an excerpt taken from The Law’s Resolutions of Women’s Rights; Or, the Law’s Provision for Women, and written by an anonymous author known only as T.E. The work deals with a woman’s life in three stages: the unmarried virgin, the married wife, and the widow. This excerpt outlines how a woman’s age affects her eligibility in society.
Sect. iv. The ages of a woman.
The learning is 35 Hen[ry] 6 fol. 40 that a woman hath diverse special ages. At the seventh year of her age, her father shall have aid of her tenants to marry her. At nine years age, she is able to deserve and have dower. At twelve years to consent to marriage. At fourteen to be hors du guard. At sixteen to be past the Lord's tender of a husband. At twenty one to be able to make a feoffement. And per Ingelton therein the end of the case. A woman married at twelve cannot disagree afterward. But if she be married younger, she may dissent till she be fourteen.
For Women in the Seventeenth Century
For Women in the Renaissance/Early Modern
last updated 1/04