'Thou art a verie baggadge': gender and crime in seventeenth-century Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire

Lees, L.J., 1999. 'Thou art a verie baggadge': gender and crime in seventeenth-century Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The last thirty years have witnessed an increase in research by historians into the lives and experiences of women, including those of early modern women. However, this has still to a large degree excluded any interest in the lives of women from the lower orders. These earlier studies have largely considered the role and experiences of women in isolation and few have examined the role that gender played in shaping experience. This thesis examines questions of gender and its relation to a range of crimes through the records of the church courts in Nottinghamshire, between 1603-1642, the quarter session courts in both Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire between 1603-1660, and a range of contemporary pamphlets. Female participation in criminal activity has largely been ignored by historians or at best been viewed in relation to male activity and in this way has been judged as insignificant. This perspective fails to consider gender differences and societal expectations of male and female conduct. Through an analysis of what constituted male and female criminality it will be possible to identify on what grounds society constructed male and female identity. From contemporary sources such as sermons, homilies and pamphlets it would appear that female identity was constructed primarily around notions of their sexuality, this will be tested by examining a range of crimes, some of which were closely associated with female sexual conduct and others which had no obvious association. By drawing on evidence from two counties it will be possible to identify how mutable or fixed perceptions surrounding appropriate female conduct were, and what factors, if any, contributed towards the construction of these notions. Finally, it will become evident whether women should only be seen as victims of a patriarchal society or whether they were able to negotiate a more comfortable position within, or even contribute to, this system.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Lees, L.J.
Date: 1999
ISBN: 9781369325379
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Jun 2021 11:28
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 14:45
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43261

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