Judith Bennett – Wretched Girls and Wretched Boys

Judith Bennett – Wretched Girls and Wretched Boys


– [Amy Froide] Good afternoon, everyone. – [Woman] Good afternoon. – Thank you for coming. Wow, that silenced everybody. (laughs) Thank you for coming to the History Department’s
Annual Webb Lecture, and our Webb lecture is also sponsored by the Humanities Forum, which is part of the Dresher Center for
the Humanities here at UMBC. I wanna give a little shout out, some PR for the Dresher Center. Their next event is on– this is really loud, isn’t it, Tuesday, November 15th. It is called Mill Stories, Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill, film screening and conversations. So we’ll get to hear a little bit about Michelle Stefano and
Bill Shewbridge’s project. And there’s a lot of feedback on this. Do we still have the AV person? – [Judith] He just walked away. – Hello. (audience laughs) – [Judith] Oh, there he is. Brian, he’s there.
– Can I just turn it off? Apologize for everyone. I wanna tell you a little
bit about Bob Webb, since this lecture is named after him. He was a member of the History Department, here at UMBC, much beloved. Can you here me, or is
that just too crazy? (laughs) Bob Webb was born in 1922, and in his youth he
was actually a pianist, but then he switched to history, which people often do, right? (audience laughing) And he enrolled as an undergrad at Oberlin and his college career was cut short, or interrupted by World War II, like it was for many young men. He came back from the war, finished his studies at Oberlin, and then went on to Columbia University, where he studied 19th
century British history. He received his PhD in 1951, went to Wes– oh there we go, went to Wesleyan, thank you, and taught for a few years, and then also taught at Columbia. The thing about Bob Webb that
was progressive for the time is that most British historians
studied high politics, and Bob Webb was actually interested in studying average people. Social and intellectual
movements, as well, of the time. In his first book, he sought
to understand the challenge that a newly literate working class in the 19th century presented, and presented especially to
an ascending middle class, who were attempting to impose their values on that lower class. Bob also worked on religious dissents. He continued this until his last work, working on Unitarians and most notably his biography
of Harriet Martineau. But he maybe was most well-known for his really important textbooks in the fields of British
and European history. Webb’s Modern England, what– Did you use Modern England? – [Judith] I did. I did. – Was just the textbook
for all British historians. It’s how I first came into contact with Bob Webb and his writing. And then he also wrote with Peter Gay Modern European History Since 1815, which many students also remember. He was well-known for his editorship of the American Historical Review, the premier journal for the
American Historical Association. And when he stepped down as editor, UMBC grabbed him up. We were very lucky to have him come to the History Department
where he served as chair. He was much revered for his leadership and also his mentorship
of younger faculty. He took them under his wing, and helped them turn their dissertations into books of great effect, and so he was revered for that. He held almost every
prestigious fellowship that a historian can hold. He had ACLSes, two
Guggenheims, three NEHs. And so his research was
well-known around the world. He retired– oh dear, (laughs) in 1992, and continued to come to
UMBC for the Webb Lecture. And himself gave the Webb Lecture, which it must be a little surreal to give the lecture
that’s named after you, before his decease. And so we still remember him fondly today. I’m pleased to introduce
this year’s Webb lecturer, Judith M Bennet, Professor
Emerita of History and John R Hubbard chair
of British History. Emerita? Wow. At USC. She also taught before
that at UNC Chapel Hill. We’re really lucky to
have Judith Bennett come and speak with us today. She’s one of the most important historians of women’s sexuality and
Medieval social history in the US today. And she’s really had a hand in most of the path breaking scholarship on women in Medieval England and Medieval Europe. Her books are so numerous that
we would sit here all day, and she said, “Please don’t read my vita.” (audience laughing) I want to note a few of them for their importance to the field. I know some of our students
out there have read her History Matters: Patriarchy
and the Challenge of Feminism, in which Bennett talks
about the relationship between the historical
profession and feminist theory and how feminist theory
needs to be informed by a historical perspective. So she really sees the linking of the two. In 1999, she coedited with
some person named Amy Froide Singlewomen in the European Past, and this was a path breaking work in a new field about single women. She also wrote her second monograph, which came out in 1996, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing
World, 1300 to 1600. And in that book she, from a Medieval historian’s perspective, talked about how gender matters
in different occupations, and how women are pushed
out of certain occupations as they become more
valued and more important. And she took brewing as her case study, but you could apply her
theories quite broadly to many other professions. I often compare this to
the nursing field today. She’s also co-authored a string of equally important, if not
more important, articles. Her ‘Lesbian-Like’ and the
Social History of Lesbianisms, which came out in a Journal
of the History of Sexuality in 2000, was one of the first articles to really create a paradigm
for how to look at lesbianism in a time period where we don’t have the greatest resources
or sources and evidence. Her Feminism and History
in Gender and History is still on the reading list
of most Medieval classes today, as is her ‘History that Stands Still’: Women’s Work in the European
Past in Feminist Studies. Those of you who’ve taken
European Women’s History with me are familiar with some
of her other works too, but I won’t go through all of them. – [Judith] Okay, good. (laughs) – Judith has also probably
won every major award that a historian can win. – [Judith] But only once. – Only one Guggenheim. Only one Guggenheim. Only one NEH. So I know. But she is a Fellow of the
Medieval Academy of America and a Fellow of the Royal
Historical Society of Britain. More important to me than
all of those honors, though, are the fact that Judith was the person who molded me into a women’s historian and who was the co-advisor
of my dissertation when I was a graduate student, and I really owe her really,
you know, unstateable debt, I think in a lot of ways.
– Thank you. – When I came to Duke University
as a graduate student, Judith Bennett was a
professor at UNC Chapel Hill, and I took advantage of this cross class articulation agreement, took a number of classes with her. She really is one of the best and clearest and most accessible
academic writers out there, and Judith taught me how to read, how to think, how to write, and how to teach. Judith was a really popular and well-known Western Civ teacher. How big were those classes? – [Judith] Three hundred students. – Three hundred students. She would pack ’em in,
those UNC football players. – [Judith] Yeah. (laughs) (audience laughing) All voluntarily. (audience laughing) – There was no culture credit involved. And I think that I was really impressed at both her accessibility
and her analytical ability, at the same moment, to mold those two both in the classroom and in print, and really inspired me. So anything that I do
good in the classroom or good on the page is all to Judith’s credit, and everything bad is of course my fault. (audience laughing) Judith also taught me that if
you’re not saying something with which others disagree, then you’re probably not saying something. You’re not saying much that’s important. She has always been
willing to push boundaries and to say things that are provocative, while backing those things
up very well eventually. Always with civil discourse, right? And so–
– No bullying. – (laughs) I think that Judith
was an activist historian before that was cool, and today that model is
something we cherish, and she really pioneered the way. So today we get to hear a little about her new research
on Medieval girlhood, and I’m sure we’re gonna learn a lot. So I’d like to thank Judith,
and introduce her talk, Wretched Girls, Wretched Boys, and the Medieval Origins of
the European Marriage Pattern. Judith Bennett. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Amy. Very sweet. I met Amy just about in the year that Bob Webb retired
from here, the early ’90s. So we’ve known each other a long time. Sort of I was saying to Amy this morning, that I think it was before the Clintons were on the national stage, so we’ve been through a whole generation of American history together. It’s always been a pleasure to know Amy and to work with Amy. I don’t think Amy could say the same to me ’cause she was my student. There were, I’m sure,
unpleasurable moments. But it’s really a
pleasure to be here today, and to be at UMBC. I only met Bob Webb once. He was a marvelous man, just he’s the sort of person you meet him once and you remember. And I think also what he
did at UMBC was remarkable. I don’t know if you can
appreciate the snottiness of academic hierarchies, but here was a Columbia professor
who came to a new campus and made a great history department, and did it in a collegial, kindly way. So it’s nice to give a
lecture in his honor. I’m gonna talk about
women and girls today, and when I thought about
this a few days ago and decided, for example,
to wear a pants suit, I thought it would be a happier occasion. It’s not a happy occasion to talk about women and girls today, and in fact, I’m gonna make it less happy. As you can see, I’m gonna
talk about wretchedness. But I think that while feminism should be
celebratory sometimes, and so should women’s history, that we have to look the hard things straight in the face and think about them clearly. That in fact, there are
a lot of unpleasantries in the world for women
today and in the past, and there are actually a
lot of continuities as well. There’ve been some very
interesting articles recently about misogyny and it’s enduring place in Western culture today, for example. I think we have to talk
about these unpleasant things in order to have strategies
for coping with them and for understanding them. So I’m gonna be grumpy, but hopefully it won’t depress you. Now what I want to talk about today is– is the mic working? Do you need the mic? Is it working? Do I need to stay by it? Did you just lose me, for example? (audience murmuring)
And was that unpleasant? Was it unpleasant to lose me? (audience laughing) No, do I need the mic? – [Audience Members] No. – No? Okay. Let’s get rid of it. I want to talk to you today about women, girls, and
economic development, and what I’m going to do is talk at length about a particular historical case that has really interesting parallels in contemporary development theory. And so I’m gonna be a historian but sort of frame it, in a sense, by a contemporary idea. And so I’m gonna begin
with a contemporary. The contemporary is about
something called girl effect. Today, agencies– oh, now, first snafu. My thing doesn’t work. So I have to– nothing works. – [Man] Click somewhere else. (man whispering) – I’m gonna have to do that? Oh, okay. – Try it now. – Thank you! So am I okay? – Yeah.
– All right. All right. Girl effect. Today, in agencies promoting
third world development, girl effect is all the rage. Everybody is directing
resources at this idea. For example, the Nike
Foundation gives all its money, all its money, and that’s a lotta money, to girl effect. The idea of girl effect is that if you invest in third world girls, you actually invest in
third world economies, more generally. So it’s actually not an idea
that says let’s invest in girls ’cause girls are worthwhile, in a sense. It’s an idea that says
let’s invest in girls because if we invest in
girls, everybody gains. The theory is pretty common
sensical and straightforward. It’s basically if you direct
resources at girls, they will– and here I’m quoting a UN task force, they will, quote, marry later, delay childbearing, have healthier children, earn better incomes that will benefit
themselves, their families, their communities, and their nations. It’s a great idea. As I said, the Nike
Foundation is behind it, the CARE Foundation is behind it, the Cherie Blair Foundation, the Clinton Foundation. You go and Google girl
effect after this lecture, and you’ll just be
overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s centering around girl effect, money raising and money spending. Now what I wanna talk about this afternoon is the historical
equivalent of girl effect, and that’s a notion that
something called girl power– and here’s the copy of the first page that developed this notion, the girl power fueled the growth of Western Europe in the modern era. So again, it’s girls causing
economic development. Girl power is a new word
for a very old idea. And the idea started 50 years ago when a statistician named John Hajnal drew a line from St
Petersburg down to Trieste, and he said that everywhere
west of this line, Europeans married in a
very distinctive way, and he called it the
European Marriage Pattern. He said that west of
this line, Europeans– there are two characteristics to it. One is that people marry late, both young women and young men don’t marry until their mid-20s. This is particularly important for girls, because if girls don’t marry until 25, think about all the
children they haven’t had between, say, 15 and 25. It’s roughly about four children, okay. So it limits fertility. So the first thing is age of marriage, and the second thing, is late, and the second thing
is that a large number of people never marry at all. They die as single women or bachelors. And I’m talking ten, fifteen
percent of the population. Now Hajnal said that
this pattern was unique to pre-modern Europe, and that just about
everywhere else in the world, in the pre-industrial world, brides married in their teens and almost all adults married. Marriage was universal. So he pulled out Europe and said, this is a special place. He also gave the European Marriage Pattern a heavy load of interpretive baggage. He assumed that it was a terrific thing, in both origin and what caused it, and also in the effect it had, that the European Marriage
Pattern arose from prosperity, and from the prosperous classes, it was well-off parents
who first began to delay the marriages of their
children, for example, and that it promoted more prosperity, that it fueled the economic growth of early modern Europe. And he also applied that to women. He said the European
Marriage Pattern grew up in a society where people
treated their women well. And not only arose from
proper treatment of women, it also promoted further
improvement in women’s status. Hajnal’s attitude is
classic for a European in the mid-20th century looking
at a European phenomenon. Basically what he was saying
is aren’t we Europeans great. We treat our women well, and therefore, we’re better
off than everybody else. Okay, so it’s a very
self-satisfied theory. In the last 50 years, we’ve changed all sorts of ideas about the European Marriage Pattern, but we haven’t actually questioned this happy framework. The reigning theory about it today is that it began on both
sides of the North Sea. So it began in the low
countries and in England. After the devastating plagues
of the mid-14th century, after what’s usually
called The Black Death of 1348 to 49. How and why did it start
there and at this time? It works something like this. So many Europeans died in the Plague of 1348 to 49, probably about half of
the European population gone in a year. Okay, so many Europeans died that there weren’t enough people to do the jobs that needed to be done. So there was a shortage of laborers. That led to higher wages, what’s actually called a
golden age of laborers, where if you were a wage worker, you could get good work and
a great wage very easily. So higher wages. That meant that women who were usually at the bottom of the wage
market were able to compete for better jobs than ever before, and because they’re
getting better employed than ever before, they decide to marry later or not at all. And hence, you have the
European Marriage Pattern. This theory also says, moreover, and this is where you get girl power, the choices these well-paid women made not only kickstarted the
European Marriage Pattern, but also set off a
series of chain reactions that fostered economic growth and, in fact, European modernity, which is, of course, the
first modernity in the globe. Historians, and historians are usually
pretty cautious people, but historians have
been remarkably cautious about talking about what the
European Marriage Pattern did. For example, one historian has said that it was the foundation of Europe’s early rise to riches, okay. Another has said the
European Marriage Pattern explains the continuing puzzle of why Western Europe gave birth to the modern world. Okay? So again, just let’s go back to that map and think about Hajnal’s theory. He’s pulling this out, and now historians are saying this is why Europe plunged
ahead of China and India and the Central America and so on. It’s because of this pattern of marriage. It’s a huge claim. And of course, another
huge claim is simply in the title of this article, girl power. It’s the notion that better educated, better paid, less fertile girls fueled Europe’s economic growth. I’m going to argue something
very different this afternoon. And what I’m gonna argue
is that women in England, which is the best documented case we have, began to delay marriage
or never marry at all not after the Plague, not after 1349, but before 1349, in the century before the great Black Death. In the century between 1250 and 1350. And I’m going to argue that
it was economic hardship, not economic opportunity
that drove the change. Rather than a happy history of girl power, I’m gonna give you an unhappy history of wretched girls and wretched boys. Okay, this history is rooted in the English countryside among peasants. Roughly, as I said, between 1250 and 1350. And in the century or so be– and let me just first of
all talk to you about, here’s this chart, what I called on this
chart the Good Old Days, the time before 1250. In the two centuries before
1250, peasants prospered. It was easy for them to get land, it was easy for them to marry, it was easy for them to
raise large families, and population grew accordingly. Population estimates for the Middle Ages are always kind of a joke, but the best estimate is that between 1086 and 1250, so over the course of 200 years, English population rose from about 1.7 million at the time, say, of William the Conqueror, to 4.2 million by 1250. After 1250, everything goes to hell. The rural economy began to sputter in all sorts of ways. There are harvest failures, I put on here just the
first one in 1257 to -8 because it shocked everyone so much. There are also diseases
of sheep and cattle, which you might think are kind of risible, but in fact are absolutely devastating to the rural economy. There are many poor harvests. Real wages fall, which means you might
still earn a penny a day but you can’t buy for that penny a day what you had been able
to buy a decade before. And also rents are rising. Peasants don’t own their land. They are mostly renters, and they’re having to pay
more and more for their land. By the 1290s, things are really bad for peasants in England. Most peasants were poor, very poor. And then, it only gets worse in the early 14th century. First, there’s what’s
called the Great Famine, from 1215 to– I’m sorry, 1315 to 1322, 10 to 15% of Europeans starved
to death in these years because of bad, heavy rains, bad harvests, and cattle disease. And then things improved very briefly in the decades between, in the 1330s and 40s, and then of course the Black Death hits, and Europe is completely devastated. So that’s economic history in one slide. (audience laughing) Blame for this century of a growing crisis is easy to ascribe, and historians spend a
lot of time debating it. We can talk about rapacious land owners, lords and ladies who
charge too much for rent. We can talk about greedy kings who charge too much for taxes. We can blame peasants who
had too many children. We can do arcane things like talk about shortages
of silver and gold, which affected the supply of coin. Underdeveloped markets,
climate change, depleted soils, and perhaps most fun of all at the moment, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia in 1257, which actually does seem to
have affected the climate, at least for a few years. And that’s obviously fun, has been fun to track
and to theorize about. Whatever the causes for this problem, I don’t care about the causes. What I care about is its
most acute manifestation, and that is scarcity of land. There were too many
people in England by 1250 for the land that was available to them. And worse yet, the scarcity of land was exacerbated by its
unequal distribution, which divided peasants
into haves and have nots. At the top were what we
might call classic peasants, and I searched the web and came up with a picture of a
classic peasant for you. You can see, you know,
he’s got leather boots and a pouch and he’s got a money pouch. He’s eating an apple. Nice hat, et cetera. At the top, were peasants
who had enough land to survive or even prosper. They had usually 20 to 25 acres of land, or maybe as little as 15 acres, which was just enough to get by. They were a small privileged minority in the countryside. This is what you’ll find if
you’re looking for an image of a classic peasant, but the truth is, this is a
small minority of peasants, maybe as much as 25% of peasants. They controlled 90% of the
land that was available. Okay, this isn’t quite
Occupy Wall Street stuff, but it’s still a very, a
badly distributed resource. Below them were what
we call small holders. About 50% of peasants, half
of the peasant population, who divided the remaining
10% of land among them, which meant that a lot of small holders really held very little land at all, just an acre or two, sometimes even less. And they had to survive by combining intensive farming of the little plots of land that they had together with wage work. And also common rights, peasants had the right, for example, to pasture their sheep on common lands or to send their pigs into woodlands. So those were sources of income for them. And also, they had to
survive on the charity of their better off neighbors. In crisis years, they
had to resort to things like theivery, sending
away their children, and even what we call distress selling. Selling what little land
they had in order to survive. This is short term smart,
long term disastrous because then they ended up landless. These small holders had a grim existence, but theirs was better than the
remaining 20% of the rural– 25% of the rural population. I call these people sub-peasants because they were utterly landless. They had no land at all. They weren’t just land poor, they had no land. And they survived by their
wages and wits alone. I think Monty Python is
actually a better image for these people than
that encyclopedia picture. If we could walk through
an English village in say 1290 or 1275, I think we’d see both sorts
of these sorts of people. We might even see some women too. But the better sorts were a
lucky and privileged minority, and I think that’s what’s
critical to keep in mind. Now this poverty is absolutely central to what I want to argue today because scarcity of land, I think, explains the development of the European Marriage Pattern in this population. And that’s because land
was a pre-condition for marriage among these people. Here’s an image of Medieval marriage. I was saying to Amy earlier, I love it ’cause they look so grumpy. (audience laughing) And I also love the huge ring, which is not because
Medieval artists were stupid, but because they wanted
to emphasize the ring as a central part of the ceremony. There were lots of things that
went into making a marriage, but newlyweds were expected, it was the norm for newlyweds to establish a new home and a new economic unit. And to do that, they needed to have land. This is in the jargon of the
field called neo-locality. They moved to a new place to
set up their marital household. Now marriage involved, in the Middle Ages, much more than just getting
land and setting up a household. Priests had a lot to say about how you married and who you married. Manorial lords and ladies did too because they charged
some of their peasants a fine for permission to marry. Some peasants were free
and some were unfree, and it’s unfree peasants who had to pay for permission for their– women had to pay for
permission to marry, not men. Men could marry as they liked. Parents obviously had a lot to do with determining how a marriage proceeded because parents would endow their children with the resource they needed. Neighbors gossiped about it and
also gave gifts at weddings. And actually, this might surprise you, but even the principles themselves by the 14th century were recognized to have a say in their own marriages. The church taught that marriage
required the free consent of both the bride and the groom. A bride could give her
consent from the age of 12 on, And a groom his from the age of 14 on. And that’s one of the
rules that people look at and they think, oh,
marriage must have been really early in the Middle Ages if girls could consent
at 12 and boys at 14. As you’ll see, I think we
have evidence that suggest those are absolute minimums. In all these negotiations though, with priests and parents
and all these others, what really mattered was property. And you can see this in
the major source we have for the lives of Medieval peasants. These are what are called
manorial court rolls, which are every three weeks
everybody in a village, or actually a good size for a village, would all come together and we discuss all the problems we were
having as a community, and it’s recorded in records that we have for England in this period. And then when you look at
these manorial court rolls, again and again, what you see is the link of land and marriage. A boy inherits land and, boom, he marries. Another man buys land
and, boom, he marries. A girl gets land from her
parents, and she marries. A widow gets what’s
called her dower lands, a portion of her husband’s estate that she can keep for
the rest of her life, and as soon as she gets
those lands, a husband– she gets a husband as well. Now before 1250 when
population was relatively low and land was plentiful, it was reasonable to have this
dynamic of land and marriage. Reasonable to expect that
a new couple would have sufficient land to support themselves and the children to come. What’s critical, I
think, is that after 1250 with the tumbling economic situation, this expectation endured, you needed to have land to marry, but the supply of land was exhausted. Now, although both boys and girls grew up aiming to get land and to marry, their route to that destination differed. It took me years to realize this, which is kind of embarrassing to admit. But anyway, parents, when
they looked at their sons and thought about settling them in life, what they aimed to do was
get land for their sons and then a wife would follow. What they aimed for their
daughters was to get a husband for their daughters who had land. Okay, so when you’re plotting to get your children settled in life, it’s land you want for the boys and a husband, which
means a man with land, for your daughters. And so to prove my point to you today, what i have to do is about
the age and frequency of marriage among these people, really my point depends on how readily young men could get land and how readily young women
could get appropriate husbands. So that’s what I want to
explore for you today. And I found it helpful
to anchor these questions in a very specific time and place, which is where I’m gonna take you now. The place is a village called– oh, I don’t know why that was there, but anyway, Weston up here. Oh, dear, I just turned it off. Well, anyway, Weston up there, you can see the red arrow, in England. It’s in a very flat part of England, actually a part of England
reclaimed from the sea. It’s this tiny village. Oh, and I have some pictures here. That’s it’s church. It’s actually Medieval, 12th century, but it was redone in the
Victoria era and sorta tarted up. And that’s the only pub in the town, which has just been
saved by a local farmer, who claims it’s the best gastro pub in South Lincolnshire, which I think is kind of
a dubious distinction. But, so it goes. So I’m gonna take you to Weston. I’m gonna take you to a
particular date, which is 1269. So right quite early in the
century I’m talking about. And that’s when a unique
inventory was made that went through the
village and listed the names of all the serf tenants and
then listed their children and told us what they were doing. There’s really nothing like it, except for this place in this time. And here’s a page from it, it’s in the British Library, and I’ve circled one entry, and this entry says, John Wiseman has two sons
and two daughters, namely– and actually if you’re trying
to read it, that says Thomas. Can you see Thomas? And Richard. Who hold land, and Betta, which is Betty, okay, can you see Betta? Who is married in Spalding. And Elena, Helen, who is a vagabond, okay? (audience tittering) There are 55 of these entries dealing with about, I think, 250 children. So we have 55 parents and
what they’ve managed to do in terms of taking care of their chil– or where their children
are at this time and place. Now the age range of the children in this inventory is very wide. Sometimes the children are
described as young, juvenes, and some of the children,
like Betty, are married. So it’s a huge range of
several decades of children. I’m gonna call them all
Generation W for Weston. And here’s what their
situations look like in 1269. You’re gonna see this
table again and again, so don’t panic. As you can see, it runs from young and living with parents down to dead, and everything in between. This is not a demographically useful list. You can look at it and think, oh, the sex ratio is,
oh, they’re pretty equal. Oh, you know, maybe we can do something with this demographically. But it’s not useful demographically, and you can note that right away because only three children are dead and infant and child
mortality was much higher, or reported as dead, is
much higher than that. So it’s not demographically useful. Also it’s important to remember that Weston is not a closed community. The people of Weston, ah, where’s my date, would have moved within
about a 15-mile radius of their village, all the
time going to markets. They would have married
out of Weston, and so on. So it looks like a closed
community, but it’s not. What I’m gonna use this for is really more illustrative than probative. I think it’s really useful
to think about this, what it’s telling us
these children are doing. But you have to think
about it pulling in data from other places to fill it out. It’s a snapshot, if you will, with all the advantages
and disadvantages of that. Okay, let’s start by considering the sons in Generation W who were
successfully married in 1269. There are 25 of them, and as you can see, I crossed out the two daughters, just ’cause I don’t have
time to talk about them. There are two sisters
who were co-heiresses, and actually interesting
enough, neither of them married. But obviously although I
just talked about them, I’m not supposed to talk about them. Okay. Twenty-five sons hold land, which basically means 25
sons are married as well, although that’s not how
the clerk describes it. Most of these 25 sons were born into the upper crust of their village, and I have a rental so I can look at how much land they held
and their fathers held. And I know, for example, that
the two Wiseman brothers… Thomas held 75 acres of land. That’s a lotta land. Richard held 35 acres. So these are sons who
were very well settled. They’re absolutely from that lucky 25%. These 25 sons are also
at least 20 years old, and I know that because
there is in every village a minimum age to hold land, and it’s usually 20, 21 years old. At Weston, it’s actually
stated in the court rolls, it’s 20 years old. So all of these, all of those 25 sons, had to be at least 20 years
old to be holding land. And that means that the age of 14 years for men to consent to marriage, according to the church,
is absolutely moot. No 14-year-old is gonna have land, so no 14-year-old is going to marry. So that earlier factoid is pretty useless in terms of telling us
about ages of marriage. Once a man gets to the age of 20, how does he get land? So once he’s capable of holding land, how does he get it? Some of them inherited land. Rules vary throughout England, but there’s one rule that was ab– you know, sometimes it
was the youngest son, sometimes the oldest son, sometimes all sons got land. The one rule that was
absolutely always the same is that if there were any sons, they got the land before any daughters. So Emma and Agnes Ringhoff,
the two heiresses there, one thing we know is they had no brothers. That’s the only way they got land. So it’s male inheritance. Sons inherited land. They also got land as
gifts from their parents. They also bought land. They would save money from their wages, maybe get loans from people
or from their parents, and buy land. There was actually a pretty
active market in land. And some sons got land by agreeing to support a current
tenant until they died. Where’s Terry? Terry. I’m an old decrepit
widow, as you can tell, and I have six acres. Terry could come and say to me, I promise to maintain you
and give you three bushels of wheat every year and
one cloth and so on. And I would say to him,
okay, I give you my land as long as you maintain me. And so Terry would maintain me and then as soon as he died, he would be able to hold that land. And as soon as he made
the agreement with me, he’d be able to marry. We know about these agreements
’cause they often went wrong. (audience tittering) The other way that men got land in this period, and
particularly in this period, is they married– well, actually I just, Terry
could have married me as well, but let’s not go there. They married widows because
widows had dower lands. And after 1350 widows rarely remarried because they’re not desirable
economic properties, but before 1350, in this land hungry
century I’m talking about, almost every widow, as
soon as her husband dies, as soon as she gets her
dower lands and enters them, she gets a husband to help
her manage those lands. So that’s how these boys got land, through inheritance, through
purchase, through gifts, through maintenance agreements,
and also by marrying widows. However they got their tenancy, these 25 boys, men I should probably say, but I always think of them as boys, anyway, were lucky, lucky boys or lucky men, and a lucky minority. If you look at this chart at
who was likely an adult son, so I guess not a boy, I’ll
have to start calling them men. All of these, I think, in
ecclesiastical careers, employed, living away
from home, and vagabonds, these are, I think, grown men, and I think I have somewhere noted, I can’t do math on my own, how many of them are there. I have 32. Yes, let’s hope there are 30– oh, no, there are 32 up there. Oh, it is also 32. And then we don’t know how many of the sons reported
as living with parents are actually grown men living
in the homes of their birth, still living with their parents, so that’s an unknown number. So there are, in Weston in this period, if you think about men
in their 20s or older, there’re more men who are unmarried, landless and therefore, I
think, likely to be unmarried, than there are men who
hold land and are married. This means that for many
of the sons in Weston, for most of them, in fact, the requirement that you had to be 20 years of age to hold
land is absolutely moot. It doesn’t matter. They’re 20 years old,
they’re 25 years old, they’re 30, they’re 35
and they don’t have land, okay, and therefore, in most
cases, they can’t marry. So what are they doing? First of all, there
are a remarkable number of sons going into the church. Almost a dozen boys in this
village were becoming pr– either became priests or monks, and removed themselves,
therefore, entirely from the marriage market because in this period priests and monks were compulsorily celibate. There were roughly 50
thousand celibate clerics in England around 1300, 50 thousand monks and priests. Women, there were 3,000 nuns, okay. So there’s a huge shortfall in terms of lots and lots of careers for men in the church, almost none for women. Other men in this– and here they’re
represented by category six, took up salaried employments. And these are men who were things like shepherds or the prior’s servant. Well, those are the two I
can think of at the moment. They’re being, they’re
working on a yearly salary. They might take a wife, but they don’t need a
wife to do their job. A shepherd is a lonely occupation that doesn’t require a
complex household economy the way being a farmer
and cultivating land does. So these men definitely didn’t marry. These men might have
married, but didn’t have to. There’s a third option,
which is completely obscured in this list but becomes very important in just a few years for
the men in Generation W, and that’s soldiering. In 1272, so three years later, a king, Edward the first
becomes king in England, and he is, to put it mildly,
a very bellicose king. He’s the English king who
conquers Wales and Scotland. And he was very fond of foot soldiers. And every year from 1277 on, every year, almost every year, he fielded armies that required at least 5,000 but often 10 to 15 thousand
foot soldiers for the season. And so, too, into the 14th century, did his son Edward the second, who you might know from Braveheart. Such a lovely king in Braveheart. They’re taking them out of England, 10 to 15 thousand men every year, that’s roughly two men from every parish. So you can think every year of two of these boys being plucked out. Now we don’t actually know much at all about how these men were selected, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that young, unmarried men
were prime candidates, just like today, and I think we can assume that although soldiers often
did go back to their villages, soldiers were at a high risk of death, from illness, from warfare,
from accident as they are today, and they’re also at high risk, even if they survive, to never go home. Once they’ve wandered and been footloose, they might as well wander on. And we do know some soldiers enlisted for further service or
simply settled elsewhere, particularly in the lands
that they had conquered. For some sons simply took
to the road and left, and they basically sought
better fortune elsewhere, and they did this especially in England’s newly conquered colonies, so in Ireland, in Wales, and in Scotland. These colonies offered landless boys good land on good terms, and were really appealing for young men like, I think, the vagabonds noted here, there are eight of them in category nine, who had cut their ties to home. All I know is that these
boys are called vagabonds, but I think some of them could have easily ended up settling in Wales or Scotland, and we know that tens
of thousands of men did. There’re also in this group, although I didn’t create
a category for them, scattered in these
categories, are five other men who are reported as living
across the sea, trans marem, which is an interesting category. These men, who left Weston and found their fortunes elsewhere probably eventually married, but they didn’t marry
local Lincolnshire girls. They married Welsh women,
Irish women, Scots women. There are a lot of landless
men in Generation W who really are not nearly as
resourceful as these other men. They didn’t go into the church or the army or move to the colonies
or get skilled employment. They stayed closer to home
and they supported themselves either working with their par– by living with their parents and working for them, in category two, or by either living on their own in Weston or living on their own away from Weston. Category seven and eight. I think most of these
men were either servants in other peasant households
or wage laborers, getting work by the day and supporting, living in small cottages
and supporting themselves. They hung around, basically, and they hoped they would get land. A lively widow, perhaps. We can see these men
with particular clarity, not in Weston but in
other parts of England, where there are actually
fines levied on them. There are actually manors where every year landless boys who were living in the manor have to pay the lord of the manor for the right to remain. These fines are called
chevagium garcionum, it means a head tax on boys basically. And we have particularly good information about them for southwest England where Glastonbury Abbey
kept records for decades about the pennies that they took from these boys every year. And they not only took pennies
from the boys every year, but the pennies were rated
according to how old they were and how much their earning power was. So it begins when they’re 14, and they only have to pay
tuppence, two pennies a day, and then it goes up as
their earning power improves into their mid-20s and
then begins to decline, so they might have to pay
as much as 12 pennies. I’m sorry, did I say two pennies a day? I mean two pennies a year
up to 12 pennies a year, and then it goes back down as
they become old and decrepit. About half of the men who
you can trace in getting, having to pay this wage, this annual tax, about half of them eventually marry. So we know that their
marriages are delayed, but they do eventually get land and marry. And how do they get land? They get land by marriage to widows, by gifts from relatives, and by purchase. These are the boys who’ve missed getting land by inheritance. They hang around, they hope for the best, and eventually for half
of them, the best happens. But it takes time. Their marriages are delayed,
usually by at least 10 years. So we can think of them as marrying more in their 30s than in their early 20s. The other half of these
garcionums, garciones, die as boys. And actually garcio is a
derogatory term in the Middle Ages, so it’s meant to make them
seem, if you will, small. These men died as garciones. They died landless and wifeless. They’re men like Thomas Kuku in Somerset, who paid this fine for forty years, forty years, until he died. It’s noted in the record that he’s no longer paying the fine because he died a
pauper, feeble and blind. Now men like Thomas might have had lovers. They might have even had de facto wives, women they didn’t marry
but with whom they lived for a considerable amount of time, but their liaisons, I think,
were necessarily informal and economically insubstantial. So what we know about peasant boys then, between 1250 and 1350, is this. Some, and let’s say 1/3 to 1/2, I think that’s too
generous, but 1/3 to 1/2, got land quickly after they
reached the age of majority. So they got land and
married in their early 20s, likely in their early 20s. Some took work that
either prescribed marriage or made marriage unnecessary,
like the priests and servants and soldiers I was talking about. Some removed themselves from
the local scene entirely, and if they ever married,
married elsewhere. And some simply hung
around, hoping for land, and laboring in the
meantime for their keep. And half of those hangers
on eventually got land and married, but they married late. And half of them never married at all. So that’s the boys. Now, if I’m correct about the boys, what I think we should expect to find is a lot of daughters under stress. Every daughter, unless
she was a lucky heiress like the two in the table
who I’m not talking about, (audience tittering) every daughter, what she needed to do was find a husband and his land, and therefore, marry. If would be husbands were to happen into the church or to colonies or simply surviving as
poor landless bachelors, then a lot of daughters were fated to either linger long
in their parents’ homes or to have to fend for themselves. Well, that’s what I think
we see in this evidence. And I need to go here, yes. Weston parents were, as I calculate it, roughly as successful by 1269 at settling their daughters as their sons. So you see 43 daughters are married, and only 25 sons have land, you might think, oh well, you know, the daughters are doing much better. But you need to add to that the sons who had been put into
ecclesiastical careers and the sons who have been
put into skilled professions, like being a servant to
the prior or a shepherd. And if you add those up, I
think the column for sons adds up to, it does, to 41, and 43 for the married daughters, so it’s a, I think we can say, parents were roughly
equally successful by 1260 in settling their sons
and their daughters. But what about the daughters
who were not settled in 1269? Some stayed on with their
parents, and it’s interesting, many more daughters stayed on
with their parents than sons. I think that’s an interesting discrepancy, and it’s possible, I think, that parents were slightly more inclined to keep adult daughters
at home than adult sons, or if they had a choice, they might have kept an
adult daughter at home and sent an adult son out, oh, to be a vagabond or something. Although, there are
equal numbers essentially of male and female vagabonds. Anyway, certainly some
daughters stayed at home. And they were luckier
than the other daughters, of whom there are quite a few, who had left home, left
their parentals’ homes, and were living either
in Weston on their own, away from Weston, or were vagabonds. These girls were on their own. I think they were working
as live-in servants, perhaps surviving as day laborers, perhaps leasing small
plots of land to farm. This is a hard life for anyone, and it was a hard life for
the boys who had to do it too, but it was harder for
daughters than it was for sons. Daughters faced more risks, they were able to find
many fewer paid jobs, they made less money
when they did wage work, and they had much, much
less access to land because land holding was
basically a male prerogative. If these women managed to marry, their marriages were delayed, and I think many failed to marry at all. I managed to track the marriages of some of the 42 women
who were living at home with their parents in 1269. I have tracked a dozen
marriages for those people. It’s hard to track marriages. You wouldn’t expect to be able to track marriages for all 42, but what’s interesting is
I’ve tracked a dozen marriages for the women in category two. For the women in category
seven, eight, and nine, I’ve been able to find
no marriages at all. And, in fact, there’s only one who I’ve been able to track later at all, and that’s Helen Wiseman, who’s a vagabond in that first
example that I showed you. Helen Wiseman, who was a vagabond in 1269, so I think she was at least
15 if not much older by then, nine years later is reported in the Weston Court Rolls for fornicating, for having sex while unmarried. So by then she’s at least 25. I think she’s probably likely very poor. She’s not married, but
she’s clearly not chaste. I think it’s fair to assume that Helen Wiseman is not married and she would be married
if she could be married. The late 13th and 14th centuries are, in an odd sort of way, a golden age for landless poor women (chuckles) and one of the ways that you can tell this is that the English language
briefly incorporated new words to describe
them and their activities. These are words like
anilepiwoman, and selfode, and leyrwite and childwite. You’ll be able to throw these out at the Thanksgiving dinner table and impress your relatives. The first word, anilepiwoman,
is richly documented for 13th and 14th century East Anglia, so it comes from eastern England, actually the area where
Weston is in South. It derives from a gender
neutral term, anilepiman, and by the way, I’m impressed with UMBC in all sorts of ways, but I encountered just around the corner, the first gender neutral
bathroom I’ve ever seen, which was kind of a thrill for me. I’ve read about them, but
never seen one before, so hopefully that won’t
be my happiest memor– anyway. Gender neutral names,
gender neutral bathrooms, it’s all the same. It’s a category, it’s a term
for people who are not married. It literally means only man, only woman. But also people who are not
married who are landless, and who were very loosely
connected to their communities. These people were, as one
clerk in East Anglia put it, the lowest of people. And then he grumbled, he said, “They’re innumerable. We can’t count them. “Sometimes they wax in numbers,
and sometimes they wane.” Women were so prominent among these innumerable
poor people in East Anglia. They’re from the mid-13th century. The female-specific term,
anilepiwoman, develops. And anytime that you get a
female-specific term developing, it tells you there are a lot
of women in that category. Every extant listed these people, whether they’re called
anilepiwomen or anilepimen, includes many women, often mostly women. and sometimes all women. And here is a sample list. It says, actually I can’t– up there at the very top column, it says anilepimen. So this is a list that’s
labeled anilepimen, and if you go through it, well, the first woman is a
Matilda, can you see her? Well, anyway. This list has 19 women in it,
six men, and three children. I’ve looked at the history, I’ve tracked these people in Horsham, and I can tell you more than their names. They weren’t transients. They were actually living
in Horsham over many years. None of the women was married or widowed, but a lot of them had children. Maybe I should say several had children. Interestingly enough, a lot of them lived with another sibling, sometimes with a brother,
more often with a sister. And these people had no land and no sheep, no cattle either. Their survival depended
upon what the better folk of Horsham considered to
be reprehensible behaviors. And that’s what I can see them doing in the court rolls of Horsham. What do they do? They steal wood, they steal hay. They pilfer grain at harvest. They receive and sell stolen goods. They refuse to contribute
to parish fundraising. Imagine that. They dodge repaying debts. They engage in casual prostitution. They would have been very
aggravating neighbors, I think, for fine, upright people like me. But they were doing what
they needed to do to survive. Selfode is an equivalent term, but it’s used in a different
region in northern England. And it’s derivation is utterly unknown, so we don’t really know what it means. I like to think it means
you’re holding yourself, and that’s all, but that’s
just my ignorant fantasy. It’s found in only, we only have about a dozen references to it, and it describes the poorest
of the poor in the north. As one clerk casually put it, these selfodes, these are
paupers who are called selfodes. Who were they? We don’t know. We don’t actually have lists of names like we do for anilepimen
and anilepiwomen. And only a few scattered
references, all in Latin, that’s gender neutral,
except for one instance that uses an adjective
that’s a female adjective. So it’s one of those cases where Medievalists build
a huge amount of stuff on one little fact, and
that’s what I’d like to do, to say that this term that
we’ve taken to be gender neutral and most historians of the English north have assumed describes landless men actually describes a category of people that includes some men but
actually rather more women. Leyrwite and childwite
are fines that were paid in manor courts for sexual
activity outside of wedlock. Leyrwite literally is
a fine for lying down, and childwite is a fine
for a bastard child. You’ll be relieved to know that nobody had to pay both fines. On some manors, women were fined for lying down, for fornication, and on other manors, they were fined for having bastard children. So they were mutually exclusive fines. They were, in a sense, fines created, punishments created for just the sorts of women that I’m talking about, for anilepiwomen and selfodes and women like Helen Wiseman in Weston. They were levied selectively
on women, not men. Men are not paid a fine for fornication, at least in manor courts. On poor women more than
on better off women. On local, settled women,
not migrant women. They didn’t care if a migrant woman wandered through pregnant, but it was the local
women they worried about. And especially on never
married women, on single women, not on wives or widows. I think these fines
were less about morality and more about the
anxiety of local good folk about the poor relief that these women and their children would need. And their heyday is exactly the period I’m talking about, from 1250 to 1350. Once the Black Death
sweeps through England, leyrwite and childwite disappear from manorial court records. I don’t think that’s because
nobody’s fornicating anymore. I think that’s because nobody’s worrying about supporting those little bastards. (audience laughing) Anilepiwomen, selfodes,
and women who paid fines like leyrwite and childwite, were poor, desperately poor, but they were at least settled, living on the margins of their communities but still within communities. There were other women, who were even less lucky and less settled, and the various words that described them between 1250 and 1350 have actually survived in our language. They were called vagabonds. By vagabonds, vagabunda in Latin. Or strangers, extranea, extraneus. And we can barely glimpse these women moving through the countryside, but we can see them. They’re particularly prominent, and much more prominent than men, in records that we have
that describe people who were unwelcome
gleaners at harvest time, poor people trying to get extra crops off the harvested fields. They’re often noted as being harbored by they’re called good folk. Someone like Terry is
hauled into the manor court and fined for allowing a stranger woman to live in his house. Judith, a stranger woman. There are also among people who were cited for being hedge burners. What’s a hedge burner? It’s somebody so poor that
they have to take wood from the hedges in order to have a fire to keep them warm or to cook with. And they’re also, we find
these women among people who are outrightly expelled from villages and towns. In Horsham, for example,
in the late 13th century, there’s something like 150
people who were expelled, 90 of them are women or their children. Some wandering single women who were unwilling or unable to settle, died on the road, and we can even see these
in the records that we have for late Medieval England. Because in Bedfordshire
in the late 13th century, we have the very first
surviving coroner’s records, which tell us about unexplained deaths. And those records tell us, if you sort out the poor
homeless people who are dying in Bedfordshire, in the late 13th century, we see many more women than men. We see a poor woman, a
stranger as she was called, found in a ditch and presumed
to have died of the cold. A migrant laborer known only as Alice, who stopped for the harvest
in a village called Riseley, and was found the next morning, her brains battered in with a pickax. Or Emma Hatch, who begged door to door in Beeston on New Year’s Day 1274, until she was, as the
coroner’s records put it, seized by the cold and died. For women like Emma Hatch or
Helen Wisemen or Agnes Neth, late marriage or no marriage at all were not pleasant choices
born of prosperity and productive of still more prosperity. They were personal disasters
wrapped in poverty. So what I’m suggesting this afternoon about the advent of later marriage and less marriage in Europe, is very different from the
happy narrative of girl power. I’ve talked about poverty, not prosperity, about children who were
forced by their parents to go out and support themselves, not children being
nurtured by their parents towards highly skilled work
followed by prudent marriage. And I’ve talked to you about young people who are unable to marry and actually old people who
are unable to marry too, not about people who are
choosing to delay marriage or actually avoid marriage. If I’m right, the
European Marriage Pattern in England at least, and England is our best documented case, did not arise from girl power or the empowerment of girls, nor did it promote further enhancement in the status of women. Two further points. I’d like to just point
out to you very quickly that I made this argument in a way that is not the way people usually talk about the European Marriage Pattern. This is how they usually talk about the European Marriage Pattern, it’s a demographers topic. They use lots of– look at that equation, God help us. And they use– actually that’s almost
impossible to read graph. This table is pretty straightforward, but they have very robust data, and they collect it and they crunch it and they present it in quantitative ways. Medievalists, including
me, tried to do this in the ’80s and ’90s. We tried to play with the game that the demographers
set out for us to do, and we couldn’t do it. And I think it’s time for us to– and basically what happened
is that for the last 20 years we’ve just not talked about it at all. We’ve just all done other things. And I think it’s time for us to say look, our data’s different and we can’t play the game by these terms, but we can play the game by logical terms. Was it easy to get land and marry, between 1250 and 1350 in England? No. Is it likely, therefore,
that there were people who never married or married late? Yes. Can we see that in contemporary evidence? Yes, we can see it in selfodes and anilepimen
and anilepiwomen and leyrwite and garciones and so on. These are, I think, the
wretched girls and wretched boys for whom marriage in Europe
first became an elusive goal, or a goal achieved late or not at all. Now, what about girl effect? If girl power did not
drive the European economy in the later Middle Ages
and the early Modern Period, might girl effect be a
wrong-headed strategy in the 21st century? I fervently hope not. I think it’s manifestly a good thing that NGOs are directing their resources towards poor girls. And it’s also manifestly crazy to start drawing causal links across centuries and
continents and cultures. Girl effect need not have worked always and everywhere to work today. But I do think that it’s
worth sprinkling a dose of historical perspective
over girl effect. I think that girls like Emma Hatch and Helen Wiseman and Agnes Neth really wanted to marry, and I think they wanted to marry as soon as they could. And I think that was a good
judgment on their part. Marriage was what settled adulthood was for these girls, and it offered these
girls their best hopes for lives of less poverty
and more prosperity. I think it would have been hard to convince most Medieval girls otherwise. I also think it would be unwise to assume that if Emma Hatch and
Helen Wiseman and Agnes Neth had been trained for well-paid jobs, that they would have altruistically
plowed their earnings back into their natal
families and their communities and promoted economic growth in the way that girl effect imagines that
third world girls would do. I think if these Medieval girls had had the skills and capital, they would have saved their money, and as soon as they could, they would have bought land and married. They were taking care of themselves, not necessarily their communities. And I actually think
we shouldn’t ask girls to take on responsibility
for their entire communities. I think perhaps the larger lesson is this, and that is that in both
history and in develop planning, I think we should be humble about the abilities of girls and women to confound our hopes and
assumptions and expectations. Yes, the historical theory of girl power makes good, logical sense. Lots of people die, high wages, better opportunities for
women, less marriage, therefore, economic growth. It makes good sense, but it doesn’t work. So, too, I think might be
the case with girl effect, at least to some extent. It makes sense, but we need to be cautious about its effects. Logical sense is one thing. What actually works for girls and women is often quite another. Thanks a lot. (audience applauding) – [Amy] I know that some of you
students have other classes, so you should feel free
to go if you need to, but I would like to take a few minutes to entertain questions. – Sure. – If Professor Bennett would do that. – Ah, Terry. My husband, or were you harboring me. No, yeah, yeah. Yeah. – Could both be true? Could it be that in hard
times people delay marriage, but this girl effect that they’re seeing, or girl power, whatever
they’re calling it, could also happen in a
different historical context, in a different set of circumstances. So one being true doesn’t
necessarily negate the other from being true also. – Could you hear his question over there? – [Audience Member] Yes. – Yes. But I don’t think so. And what I didn’t go into in this paper is that there’s been– well, I did say there’s
been a lotta data collected about the European Marriage Pattern, and the latest, there are two recent articles that throw light on that question. One is it looks at women’s
wages over a century, starting from about 1230. And there’s no rise in women’s wages after the Black Death, so there’s no increased earning power for women in that golden
age of laborers after 1350, which is so important for this model. It’s not there. The second thing is, there’s been a really interesting article by Sheilagh Ogilvie and the
co-author’s name escapes me. Ah, Dennison. Tracy Dennison? Anyway, that does this sort
of thing economists do. They take hundreds of articles
and pull them all together and aggregate them and
crunch them in various ways, and what they basically say is the European Marriage
Pattern is not unique to Europe. It has no relation to economic growth, it’s just a happy fantasy. So if I work this paper
up into an article, which I hope to do, in fact, when I conclude it, I think what I’m gonna say is we need to put this fantasy to rest. You know, the place we can
most see it is in a place where it’s not promoting
economic development at all. It’s effective poverty, not opportunity. But good question, Terry. (audience laughing) – [Terry] Well, I’m your husband. – Yeah. (Judith laughing) Yeah? – [Woman] How does the
European Marriage Pattern play out in an area where
land might not be an issue, such as an urban area, maybe London? – Well, you know, I never
liked to talk about cities. (audience laughing) A lot of these, I think a lot of these wandering girls
actually went to cities. One of the things we know
about Medieval cities is that they had much higher numbers of women than they did of men. And Medieval cities were
unhealthy places to live, so they relied on immigrants, imagine that, relied on immigrants, that’s a sarcastic comment about our current
political situation, okay. Relied on immigrants to
keep up their population, and they clearly got, attracted
many more women than men. One of the big issues there
is are women going into towns because it’s filled with opportunity and good things for them, or are they going to towns because they’re absolutely desperate and that’s where they might
be able to get more charity or at least a little bit of work or work as prostitutes and so on. And we have very little evidence, and so we debate that back and forth. But there are a lot of
single women in towns. There’s not a lot of evidence for towns in this period, though. But later, there are quite
a few single women in towns. Yeah. Yes? – [Man] Well, on that point, the Gwynne documents from the first half of the 13th century actually
talk in very similar terms about the anxiety in Buchrecht. The local bishop when a group of women who were unmarried and
don’t have these ties, and haven’t made a vow of chastity, want to settle in houses with other women. Some of these women are widows, so this pressure seems to be in this case on the continent a real factor, and I wonder if that points
away from simple issues of land to a larger phenomenon. I was thinking of you didn’t talk much about serfdom or slavery. There’s been a lot of
recent work on slavery. I mean, is the economy
becoming so open and so dynamic that the institutions cannot accommodate matching up people on the ground. – I don’t think I would take the leap you took at the end there. And I’m not sure I would be
talking a lot about slavery in either England or the low countries in the early 14th century. But what you said about
what I call beguines, and I’m sure you pronounce
better than I have, but I’ll just stick with my term, these are women who live in
religious houses temporarily, they’re sort of quasi-nuns, some never married women, some widows. And they flourish particularly
in the low countries in the 13th and the early– well, the 13th century. I hadn’t thought about beguines at all, but I should absolutely
add that to my essay ’cause it’s an urban phenomenon and it’s evidence we have
from the low countries. There’s not, I think there is one hint of a beguinage in one English town, but it’s not an English phenomenon. – [Man] It’s in the east,
I believe, where yours are. – Yeah, in Norwich, I think. Yeah. Thank you. Ah, over there. Yes? – Yeah, just a question concerning the nature of your data, because the questions you’re
asking are the same ones that I ask myself about a different part of the world in a different period. I know you said the chart you showed was for illustrative purposes
not probative purposes, but do you have similar
patterning in other records? That’s one question because
you have a sample size of, what, 200 or so there of persons. And, in particular, do you have them from regions that aren’t that have less available farmland? Because, of course, Lincolnshire,
East Anglia, Cambridge, all those areas are the
classic Bain Baron territory. And I’m asking that
because you would think either the problem would be more acute or you might expect there to be a shift in better property evolution and age by which you can
inherit land and so forth. It’s just a question to inform me better. I want to use this as an
analogy at some point. – Yeah. The peasants of Lincolnshire are pretty prosperous peasants, so if we’re seeing stress in the table that I had up there, and I am seeing stress, I think it’s likely to be more elsewhere. The soil is very rich, so you can survive with relatively smaller amounts of land. This is really a unique document. There is just simply nothing like it. I mean there are two other villages near Weston that have similar lists but they’re not nearly as informative. One of them just lists the names of the children, for example. I mean this is just so great that it says, you know, Helen is a vagabond, and her sister Betty
is married in Spalding. You just wanna hug the clerk
for telling you those things. So there’s really nothing comparable. I’m sorry. There are actually, for a later period, when English lords and
ladies become anxious about their serfs, this is after the Black Death, there are some genealogies
of serfs that are drawn. And I’ve been working with some of those, also for the Lincolnshire area, and I literally wasted a
year of my life with them and concluded that the clerk
was more ignorant than I am about the family structures
of these peasants, that he was a librarian at an abbey and I think he was just
sitting there saying, “Well, let’s marry Judith to Terry,” and you know, hand ’em
this child and so on, ’cause it has the same surname. Its really very disappointing. It was a happy year of my
life, but not fruitful. (audience laughing) Any questions over here? I’m coming over here to
offer you all a chance. No? All right, I’ll go back over here. – So I got a two-part question. What do we know about the
existence of the Hajdal line in different points in time? Has there been documentation
for after I saw? I sort of think of the John Hajdal thing as being sort of after
1500 rather than before. And then later, I’m a bit unclear as to your explanation of the Hajnal line because I would have thought if you’re doing sort of
wretchedness explanation, there was ample periods of wretchedness in areas east of the Hajnal line during the area you’re looking at. – Well, and actually the article by Oglivie and Dennison
I was talking about that finds those sorts of patterns elsewhere in Europe, I find it most acutely,
for example, in Scandinavia in particularly wretched econom– I mean Scandinavia goes
through some horrible periods, and they do find a really acute European Marriage Pattern there. Hajnal, when Hajnal drew his line, he traced it back to the 17th century. He was pretty confident
that he could see it in this, I’d say, 1675 populations. Everything else he guessed about. And what’s happened since then is he basically created a small industry for early Modernists, and then we Medievalists who also try to sort of pin it down more precisely. And the reason, the girl power
article that I put up there is published in a very
authoritative journal with a very powerful title by authoritative historians, and I think it is totally wrong. But I think it will
live in the imagination of historians like these things do for a couple of decades. Yes? – [British Woman] Do
you know anything about previous to the 13th
century, at least in England, what it looked like. You know, was this pattern there at all? – That’s a great question. This period, it’s right
here, we begin to get all the documents I’m relying on. And so before, here, the
best document we have The Doomsday Book, way back here, which is not very authoritative, but manor court rolls, rentals, surveys that list who holds what land in the village, and so on, all of these things
begin in about the 1240s. And they’re not really
abundant until about here. – [British Woman] So basically,
as soon as things start really screwing up, that’s when the people are trying to like we need to write everything down so we know we aren’t getting messed up. – Yes, that’s exactly right. And it’s also a period
when the lords and ladies of the manors that these peasants live on, they’re actually directly
managing their estates, whereas before they’d often
gotten their income indirectly. And so it’s worth their
while to hire clerks to write all these things down. These are not, we have no records kept by peasants. You know, no sort of little
account book that says, here I am, spinster living
on the edge of the village, stole a sheep today, very tasty. (audience laughing) Nothing like that. – [Amy] Questions? No? Well, could you join me in thanking Professor Judith Bennett. (audience applauding) – Thank you. Pleasure.

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