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Dr Jones examines in depth the women who found freedom in religious expression and cites several specific cases. Legislation is considered, both helpful — changes in the law to help war-widows and the Marriage Act, and the less helpful Adultery Act. Posttradition and order were restored and the voices of women faded into the distance once more.Taylor Swift – mad woman (Official Lyric Video)
Useful for broadening knowledge about the ferment of ideas in the Interregnum, about the religious groups and about the social structure of 17th c society. Such separation is of course as we know inapplicable to the way most lower class people lived their lives in the seventeenth century; but breaking down the separation would also beg a redefinition of politics and political activity. When considering more specifically government legislation, the main question we have to ask ourselves here is, what was the relationship between laws about, or affecting, women and the power of the state and its hierarchies.
That obscures the fact that of however low a class a man Naked women Cromwell be, he could always obtain dominance by gender, whereas a woman could only obtain dominance by her class. In the mid seventeenth century, as in all periods of warfare, there is an essentially female story to be found. A strong and familiar theme in history is the contradiction between the opportunities for freedom that war brings with revolutionary promises of change, and the continued subservience that peace or restoration brings, with post-restoration emphasis on social order and the family.
There is also a further distinction between women in war and women in revolution: usually hidden and absent, women active and invaluable in the war effort are brought to the foreground; in revolution, too, their presence is often vital, but they rarely benefit from the human and civil rights that we associate with revolutions. In the mid seventeenth century we have a war, to all intents and purposes we have a revolution, and we certainly have a monarchical restoration. The s may also provide us with a unique opportunity to look at women mid-way between revolution and restoration.
The political end of the civil wars did not stop the activities that women had been involved in throughout the s; indeed it would be truer to see the civil wars as a catalyst to certain activities which continued at least as long as did the repercussions of the war, which was well into the s. One of the most specifically female of those activities was petitioning parliament, ironically lobbying in the s for an end to the war which was pushing women to lay some small claim to civil rights. In a group of women led by Katherine Chidley attempted to secure the release of John Lilburne.
Between andpartly because parliament was no longer in constant session and partly because of the fortunes of the radical groups, women did not petition parliament as a pressure group, but petitioning itself did not stop. Elizabeth Lilburne for example turned her appeals to the Council and the Lord Protector, and even after her husband died in she requested the repeal of the act which had heavily fined him and in effect his family. The petition remained very much a female mode of expression, and there are here three important points to make: women were speaking not just for themselves, but for Naked women Cromwell and male friends; not just as individuals, but often collectively; and they demonstrated a knowledge of the day-to-day workings of government.
Women also asked for the discharge of sons from impressment or husbands from service at sea. Widows of royalist soldiers petitioned for reparation, while the wives of Cromwellian or republican partisans pleaded for mercy, like Frances Lambert, Anne Scot, Anne Deane Frances Vane and Anne Disbrowe.
In March Mary Okey, Mary Barkstead and Mrs Corbett petitioned together for permission to be with or to visit their husbands who, having initially fled abroad, had been committed to the Tower. In short, women were still claiming the right to speak and act for themselves. But the main opportunity given to women in the Interregnum for power and self-expression in a semi-public context was membership of the religious sects.
However, there was a considerable gulf between theoretical equality and gender roles in practice. The equality the sects preached was, as in most religions, spiritual equality; but what was more of a hindrance to women was the sexism of the men in the sects themselves.
Women had every right to be involved in the running of the congregation; what was problematic was authoritative public speaking, whether preaching, arguing or debating. Women were involved not just in the Quakers and radical sects, but in many separatist churches. Infor example, a company of women assembled together to form the Bedford church which a little later Bunyan attended.
If there had been any challenge to patriarchal order in the s, it was certainly lost with the Restoration; not that the Protectorate had not seen parliament and local justices punish Quakers, mainly for breach of the peace, but in the government specifically legislated against Quakers and for uniformity.
Women also of course featured largely in the lists of recusants brought to court during the Protectorate, as they did in post-Restoration lists of those who held conventicles and did not attend church. Religion could be seen as one public sphere that women of all classes were encouraged to be active in. However, three points need to be made: that the image of women as pious and devout was a stereotype that reinforced patriarchy; that women were expected to keep the religion of their father or husband and that sectarian action, such as going naked for awas considered even more shocking when performed by a woman.
Despite such caveats, the important point here is that dynamic, courageous and political activism in religious organisations was not a male preserve — indeed in some groups it could be said to have been a female preserve — nor was it confined to the radicalism of the civil war and Interregnum. When she arrived at court she was not able to see Cromwell as she had expected; after waiting two days, she went into the City to find a printer, which she eventually did; but there were rumours that she had been thrown into Bridewell and then disappeared.
Eleanor Channel was not unusual in being moved to speak. She implied that she was in a trance — after the vision she had become speechless — and that was one of the few ways that women were, in principle, allowed to pronounce on law or doctrine. But there were oher women who took it upon themselves simply to tell off priests and pastors in no uncertain terms.
Whereupon the informant took her out of the chapel. Mr Alflatt did give off and did not pray after his preaching, which he usually doth. These women were finding temporary release from the traditional hierarchy and in doing so were even challenging it. In general they were either punished by the courts or labelled mad.
Let us now look briefly at other activities that women were involved in as a direct consequence of political events, particularly spying, nursing and making depositions. Women providing intelligence to the government continued aftermost notably by Katherine Hurleston. How far, one wonders, were women useful to intelligence services specifically because they were women? Employing Naked women Cromwell nurses, she also worked at Ipswich and Harwich, and had constantly to ask the navy commissioners for money. But it was the Restoration government that came down particularly heavily on und printing.
In all these examples of women coming into contact with the government, it is clear that they would have needed to have political awareness. This is not to denigrate the role of women; it is to suggest that historians abandon the common assumption that the traditional domestic role was necessarily separate from, or in conflict with, the non-traditional, political role.
In the s there were just two pieces of legislation directly related to women. The first, to provide for the relief of widows, came out of the war situation; the second, the Act for the Suppression of Incest, Adultery and Fornication, out of the revolutionary situation. Legislation to ensure relief for soldiers maimed in action was not new, but with the civil war came a series of ordinances to make provision for their dependents.
Initially awarded by parliament and according to merit, the responsibility for piecemeal grants and pensions soon fell onto the parishes. In there had been concern that justices had not been carrying out sufficient relief, and there were several petitions to the Commons, including one in from 3, soldiers and widows.
Accommodation was also sometimes provided. It was also ordered that the Committee for the Army should consider the cases of widows and orphans of soldiers who had died at Worcester, as certified by Cromwell. Concern for better relief continued through the Protectorate. The important points here however are that it was discretionary; and many widows, often collectively, appealed to the Council and local courts alike.
Forty petitions were recorded in the Essex order book between and from distressed widows, usually with small children. In Anne Larke told the court.
Officially a widow would have to show the appointed assessors a certificate from the colonel of the regiment in which her husband had served. There was a market in counterfeiting certificates. In short, widowhood has always been one of the starkest realities of war for women but one that does not make women into heroes.
The language here says a lot about not only the legal, but also the perceived, position of women in society. In the localities in the s there were in fact few accusations of, let alone punishments for, adultery, though virtually all the known cases are against women. On the other hand, while some justices were more active than others, there was generally considerable activity against fornication, thouugh this became interchangeable with charges of bastardy, which had long been provided for by the law.
There was no imprisonment for the father of the. Instead he, or occasionally a relative of the woman, would be ordered to pay maintenance until the child was seven years old.
But it is clear from readi ng the records that a single woman with a bastard child unprovided for, and therefore brought before the magistrate, presented two major problems. Firstly, women who bore bastards did not fit into the general familial, and therefore social, order for they were creating a family without a head of household. Secondly, if there was no man to pay and the mother was impoverished, the parish would be responsible for paying poor reliefand quarter session records are full of wrangles between two parishes over which one should pay for a certain.
The inhabitants of Cutcombe, near Taunton, complained in that:. Thus in Northamptonshire in the jurors presented, in language reflecting the wording of the Adultery Act, that:. Elizabeth Harrodd wilfully and wickedly the said Robert Verney …to have the carnall knowledge of her body Naked women Cromwell and suffered to the evill and dangerous example of otheres and against the forme of a statute in that case made and alsoe against the publicke peace. Women were also often accused of fleeing after the birth of their bastard children, and of infanticide.
There was of course an essential different between fornication and rape; and it was not unusual for a woman to name her master as the father of her bastard. The Adultery Act also stiffened the penalties for keeping a brothel or bawdy-house, for after being whipped, pilloried and branded, the guilty man or woman would be imprisoned for three years.
These are archetypes, who were seen ambiguously as both shameful and outrageous and yet dominant, vigorous and anti-establishment. Yet the common combination of alleged crimes and the generalised characterisations point to stereotypes rather than individual women. While not sticking specifically to the adultery legislation, both the action and language of the justices demonstrate their awareness of the Act, and in a of counties it legitimised campaigns against fornicators.
However, there were considerable county variations and, more importantly, illicit sex, sexual assault and the stigma attached to having a bastard child were hardly unique to the s. There is evidence that most couples were having both civil and church ceremonies. The family has long been frequently used as an analogy for the nation and its hierarchy, both in the economic sense of master and servant and in the political sense of sovereign and subject, and the implication of the Restoration Settlement was that women should return to their traditional roles and dependence.
While this can be dismissed as a matter of theoretical debate though it would be interesting to look at the sermons of the period as much as the literaturethere is no doubt that the gentry elite also displayed their chauvinism at a local level. In the counties the natural rulers were truly restored. Relief to maimed soldiers remained a pressing social problem.
But there was nothing like the local provision for war widows made in the decade. Whether one sees the Restoration of as putting women back into subservience depends largely on whether the Interregnum had seen a liberation for the vast majority of women, let alone social disorder and mobility. For the majority of people it is doubtful that the family was undermined during the Interregnum, nor were parish hierarchies; and officially women were still denied a place in local governing bodies as much in thes as in the s.
Grace Barnard who voted in in the Bristol election is a rare example of female franchise 1. But we have to question how liberating those opportunities actually were and how far-reaching for how many women they were. We need to discover what the majority of women were doing in the s and s.Naked women Cromwell
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