25 June 2020

BOOK: Mark W. ORMROD, Women and Parliament in Later Medieval England (Cham: Springer, 2020). ISBN 978-3-030-45219-3, 51,99 EUR

(Source: Springer)

Springer is publishing a new book on the role played by women in the workings and business of the English Parliament in the late Middle Ages.


This Palgrave Pivot provides the first ever comprehensive consideration of the part played by women in the workings and business of the English Parliament in the later Middle Ages. Breaking new ground, this book considers all aspects of women’s access to the highest court of medieval England. Women were active supplicants to the Crown in Parliament, and sometimes appeared there in person to prosecute cases or make political demands. It explores the positions of women of varying rank, from queens to peasants, vis-à-vis this male institution, where they very occasionally appeared in person but were more usually represented by written petitions. A full analysis of these petitions and of the official records of parliament reveals that there were a number of issues on which women consistently pressed for changes in the law and its administration, and where the Commons and the Crown either championed or refused to support reform. Such is the concentration of petitions on the subjects of dower and rape that these may justifiably be termed ‘women’s issues’ in the medieval Parliament.


W. Mark Ormrod is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of York. Specialising in the politics of later Medieval England, he has authored Political Life in Medieval England, 1300-1450 (1995) and Edward III (2011). Most recently, with Bart Lambert and Jonathan Mackman, he has published Immigrant England, 1300-1550 (2019).  

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