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changed as they moved through the female life cycle and their status was affected by the transition from wife to widow. Thus, despite the view of the church that widows were miserabiles personae, society accorded widows greater autonomy than other categories of women. Married women, who theoretically were ‘covered’ by their husbands, were nevertheless often involved in the religious benefaction of their families, both natal and marital. The role of wives in land alienations was often to give legitimacy to joint grants, because the involvement of a wife was in some

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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there are any conclusions to be drawn from a comparison of the role of Clemencia with those of the earlier countesses, it would seem that the countess, as wife, is less visible in charter evidence. Clemencia, as wife, appears in charters giving her consent, and may have received religious benefits, but she played no role in witnessing her husband’s charters, unlike the earlier twelfth-century countesses. It was as a widow that she granted her own charters, again reflecting the greater autonomy of the widow’s powers of alienation. The charter evidence has shown how in

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm