Author: Susan M. Johns

This is a study of noblewomen in twelfth-century England and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. It draws on a mix of evidence to offer a reconceptualization of women's role in aristocratic society, and in doing so suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high Middle Ages. The book considers a wide range of literary sources—such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records—to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. It asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of these aristocratic women, thereby demonstrating that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.

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Susan M. Johns

that Anselm was involved here, since it appears that a certain Brendan left the abbey of Bec with Gilbert Crispin in the service of Anselm. He may well have been introduced to Anglo-Norman courtly circles c. 1085. ‘The Voyage of St Brendan’ is a description of the life of St Brendan. Although it is not a hagiographic piece it was immensely popular, and over 120 versions survive.60 It is the earliest surviving example of a poem in octosyllabic form, and prefigured romance literature.61 It is a Celtic version of the classical odyssey poem, a well worn literary theme

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

(Paris, 1991), pp. 150–63; eadem, ‘Women and the word in the earlier Middle Ages’, in W. J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds), Women in the Church (Studies in Church History, 27, Oxford, 1990), pp. 53–8. Stafford, ‘Women and the Norman Conquest’; eadem, ‘Women in Domesday’, in Keith Bate and others (eds), Medieval Women in Southern England (Reading Medieval Studies, 15, 1989), pp. 75– 94; Stafford, ‘Emma’, pp. 12, 22–3. 6 I. Short, ‘Tam Angli quam Franci: self-definition in Anglo-Norman England’, ANS, 18 (1996 for 1995), 154–5. 7 For an application of Weberian closure theory to

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
The Rotuli de Dominabus et Pueris et Puellis de XII Comitatibus of 1185
Susan M. Johns

families. Historians have attached significance to naming patterns as expressions of both cohesion and shifts in cultural identity.42 Thus, for example, Holt thought that the adoption of patronymics in the twelfth century was linked with the general shift to primogeniture.43 Forenaming patterns have been used by historians to illustrate the impact of the Norman Conquest on the English peasantry as well as the Anglo-Norman nobility, with a view to illustrating both change and continuity in the immediate post-Conquest period and during the twelfth century. Cecily Clark

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

, and to the girl’s mother, Queen Berta. The next surviving version, a twelfth-century anonymous Latin prose text, has Amelius, Amicus, and Belixenda as the main figures, with the villainous count Ardericus.6 The late twelfth-century chanson de geste, in monorhymed laisses, has Ami, Amile and Belissant; the evil courtier is (H)ardré.7 The Anglo-Norman version, in couplets, has Amys and Amillyoun, and the latter’s faithful young kinsman is called Amorant (though his real name is Uwein), as in the Auchinleck text of the English version (but not in Douce). The spying

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
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Susan M. Johns

. Jacob (eds), The Legacy of the Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926), pp. 410–33; cf. E. Power, Medieval Women, ed. M. Postan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975). 4 L. Huneycutt, ‘Female succession and the language of power in the writings of twelfth-century churchmen’, in Parsons (ed.), Medieval Queenship, pp. 189–201. Cf. J. Weiss, ‘The power and weakness of women in Anglo-Norman romance’, in C. M. Meale (ed.), Women and Literature in Britain, 1150–1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 7–23, who asserts an outdated belief in decline

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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Greeks and Saracens inGuy of Warwick
Rebecca Wilcox

England’s historic culpabilities in its interactions with other countries and transforms these culpabilities into redeeming alternative possibilities for remembering the past and for performing the future. The historical events to which Guy of Warwick responds, above all others, took place during the first four – perhaps five – Crusades. Indeed, the earliest Anglo-Norman versions of Guy, which predate the oldest known English translations by more than half a century, followed closely on the Fourth Crusade.2 While the Middle English Guy is clearly based on the Anglo-Norman

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Susan M. Johns

a countergift did not necessarily indicate consent to a transaction, and that charters which mention countergifts were in the minority: ibid., pp. 115, 118. 2 J. G. H. Hudson, Land, Law and Lordship in Anglo-Norman England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 165–6. For the symbolic meaning of objects attached to charters to secure conveyances see M. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066–1307 (London: Edward Arnold, 1979; 2nd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), pp. 37–43, 254–60. H. B. Teunis similarly argues that countergifts were voluntary, but

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

survives.26 The custom of queenly sealing may have originated earlier in England than in France. Whatever the case, the Anglo-Norman court was at the forefront of innovation as part of the cultural renaissance of northern Europe. It is possible that Henry I’s second wife, Adeliza of Louvain, used the same seal matrix.27 Queen Matilda, the wife of King Stephen, appended a charter in favour of Holy Trinity, London, with her seal in 1147–52. She is depicted standing but crowned, wearing a mantle and gown; she holds a fleur-de-lys in her right hand and a hunting bird in her

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

Coeur de Lion 129 only tangentially political. What I will argue is that eating people is essential to, and underscored by, the text’s narrative logic, that the poetic mechanism that initiates and sustains Richard, not only makes sense of, but demands his anthropophagy. The logic that governs Richard is alimentary. To be fair, the ongoing critical interest in the historicity of Richard Cœur de Lion is in part a product of its extant manuscripts.18 The earliest version of the poem – identified by both Gaston Paris and Karl Brunner as a translation of a now lost Anglo-Norman

in Pulp fictions of medieval England