Witnessing to her Position: Female Attestations in Mercian Charters c. 767-919 and the Social Position of Anglo-Saxon Women
Reeuwijk, Margaretha Johanna
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The social position of Anglo-Saxon women is largely believed to have been one of relative independence. In this discussion, the appearance of women in charters plays an important role. This thesis aims to compare the appearance of women in the witness-lists of Anglo-Saxon charters from the second half of the eighth to the first quarter of the tenth century with the general idea of the social position of women in Anglo-Saxon society. What information can be gained from the appearance of women in the attestations of these charters concerning these women’s social position? After assessing the different sources available on Anglo-Saxon women and the images they convey of these women's social position, various elements in the charters are discussed which might shed light on the circumstances under which women appeared in Anglo-Saxon charter-attestations. This thesis will assess whether different grantors, various beneficiaries, the social position of the woman attesting, the size of the land concerned or its location, among other factors, could be of importance for the image of the social position of the women appearing in these witness-lists. Tables are used to present the reader with a clear overview of these data.