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conclusion 10 Conclusion he place of noblewomen in the twelfth century was not marginalised by the increasing shift to patrilineal primogeniture and the bio-politics of lineage, two of the key broader changes in the way that society was organised. These were seismic shifts in societal organisation, rightly identified by Bloch, Duby, Goody and Holt as fundamental.1 Within these changes the sources show that, increasingly, the place and roles of noblewomen were articulated with greater clarity through the definition of appropriate gender roles. These wider

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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emphasis on complex interactions of the political context of textual production, increasing attentions paid to critiques of wealth, power and gender definition in the twelfth century, and the origination of a new language to effect this.5 The roots of this new attention to the language which articulated queenly power, innovated in the writings of William of Malmesbury, lie in literature commissioned by royal female patrons in the specific political climate of late eleventh-century England. A key to Stafford’s approach is the importance of the female life cycle in

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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important forms of male–female interaction and collaboration. The Life of St Hugh of Lincoln by Adam of Eynsham was written as part of the campaign for Hugh’s canonisation.41 It depicts a courtly political bishop attending to the spiritual needs of his flock, including, for example, ‘devout matrons’ and the bereaved Queen Berengaria following the death of Richard I, and adjudicating in cases of adultery.42 More interestingly, women’s voices can be detected as witnesses to his sanctity. A significant number of those who testified to miracle cures were women; of twentynine

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

being –​closer to God and his angels in the heavenly hierarchy and capable of interceding between the divine kingdom and the fallen world of mankind –​they were certainly not abstract otherworldly spirits. Saints were embodied beings, both in life and after death, when they remained physically present and accessible through their relics, whether a bone, a lock of hair, a fingernail, textiles, a preaching cross, a comb, a shoe. As such, their miraculous healing powers could be received by ordinary men, women and children by sight, sound, touch, even smell or taste

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
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interested in explaining queenly power in terms of the impact of the female life cycle and the specific political and cultural contexts of late eleventh-century England. In particular Stafford and Nelson are clear on the antipathy of male clerical writers to the portrayal of powerful women, a phenomenon not unique to eleventh-century England.5 Constructions of male power and influence as lords in their own right rested on enfeoffment of their lands or inheritance, or knighting. Both were the keys to public function, as well as office holding. For women marriage as entrée

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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youthful images that evoke the shadowy hero-deity, Sceaf; 4 the biblical figures of Moses in his reed basket, 5 the ark-born son of Noah, 6 and Seth, Adam's son; 7 and a range of characters from world folklore, 8 all of whom belong to literature rather than life. Does it matter that Beowulf and its

in Dating Beowulf
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of the source material itself, but examples of other powerful countesses who acted in similar roles to those of the countesses of Chester do show useful patterns in the way that women of comital rank exerted power throughout the female life cycle. C 53 noblewomen and power The Chester evidence The earls of Chester were among the greatest nobles of the Norman and Angevin realms, the high political élite of twelfth-century society. Their power was rooted in extensive land holdings in Cheshire and beyond, which by 1086 consisted of land scattered throughout

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

the life of the mind, can leave you feeling ill at ease in both social groups, an impostor caught between two worlds, a class traitor, a kind of border-walker or mearcstapa . 2 The language of academia, its many unwritten rules and mysterious rituals, can seem impenetrable to someone who is late to the party. You are perpetually playing catch up with those who have benefited from expensive educations or who have accumulated years of cultural capital. Equally, I do not possess the technical skills that many members

in Dating Beowulf
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women’s seals divorces the interpretation of the meaning of seals from differences in the meaning of power to men and women based on the interactions of gender, the impact of the female life cycle upon women’s power, their place in lordship and the impact of status upon their identity. In order to study seals in their full complexity we need a framework which acknowledges the problems of analysing them as symbols of female power. There is a need to be aware of the ambiguities inherent in female power, the impact of the female life cycle upon that power, and thus the

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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writcharter is addressed specifically to Mabel, his mother, his bailli and his Norman men, and commanded her to maintain Savigny’s rights in proper lordship by the use of his power. It is thus evidence that Mabel was in control of, and responsible for, the Norman territories of the earldom of Gloucester.113 Mabel’s role, her power and authority changed as she moved through the female life cycle from wife of the earl to dowager countess. Thus the witnessing activity of both countesses of Gloucester should be seen in their social and political contexts and her importance as

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