This collection of studies by Pauline Stafford brings together a series of essays on Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England. Virtually all focus on political life, and with the highest levels of English society: with the king, the royal family and the elites, though one hitherto unpublished essay treats the interactions of king, lord and community across a broad social spectrum. All are concerned with issues of family, succession, inheritance and land holding. The perspectives of these essays range from that of a women's history chiefly interested in restoring women to a place in these politics, to one which focuses attention on the textual uses of women and family. Re-readings of charters and narrative histories, especially from these gendered perspectives, offer new insight into English political history, raise questions about central sources, such as Domesday Book, and question some received historiographies.
Pauline Stafford is Professor and Head of the Department of History at the University of Liverpool, UK.
Contents: Preface. 9th-Century Politics and Gender: Charles the Bald, Judith and England; Political women in Mercia, 8th to early 10th centuries; Succession and inheritance: a gendered perspective on Alfred's family history. The 10th and Early 11th Centuries: The reign of Athelred the II, a study in the limitations on royal policy and action; Kinship and women in the world of Maldon: Byrhtnoth and his family; The laws of Cnut and the history of Anglo-Saxon royal promises; Political ideas in late 10th-century England: charters as evidence; King and kin, lord and community: England in the 10th and 11th centuries. Queens and Queenship: The king's wife in Wessex 800-1066; Emma: the powers of the queen in the 11th century; Queens, nunneries and reforming churchmen: gender, religious status and reform in 10th- and 11th-century England; Cherchez la femme. Queens, queens' lands and nunneries: missing links in the foundation of Reading Abbey. 1066 - and Beyond: The 'farm of one night' and the organization of King Edward's estates in Domesday; Women in Domesday; Women and the Norman Conquest. Index.