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Medieval Single WomenThe Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England$
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Cordelia Beattie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283415.001.0001

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‘Singlewoman’ as a Personal Designation

‘Singlewoman’ as a Personal Designation

Chapter:
(p.124) 5 ‘Singlewoman’ as a Personal Designation
Source:
Medieval Single Women
Author(s):

Cordelia Beattie (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283415.003.0006

In 1413, the Statute of Additions attempted to standardize personal designations (or additions) in legal writs and appeals. When justices in the king's courts discussed what additions were appropriate for women, the term ‘singlewoman’ was suggested for unmarried women, including widows. Yet, because ‘widow’ continued to be seen as an appropriate designation, ‘singlewoman’ was largely, although not exclusively, applied to the never married. It is argued that while in theory the Statute only applied to certain kinds of legal documents, in practice it had an impact on a wide range of documents over the course of the 15th century and beyond. This is demonstrated with particular reference to York's civic records. The argument has implications for early modern evidence too and some of this is briefly considered.

Keywords:   Statute of Additions, additions, widow, legal, civic records, early modern, York

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