The things I'm trying to check and find out are:
- If an English medieval noblewoman's husband died and she had an infant son would she hold the land until he came of age? My sources which include various websites and a friend who's studied medieval women at college said that she would certainly hold her dowry lands in her own right and might be appointed guardian of the male heir - but this varied with local custom in England. Person on forum said no a male relative would have administered all lands. Of course they also said Elizabeth I was on the throne in the 1700s (she lived 7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603 so that would be quite the achievement :-P).
- How likely was said Noblewoman to be literate? Here I concede it's less than I thought. I was confusing sources about the fourteenth and fifteenth Centuries with sources about the Twelfth. It's still not impossible - Marie de France, Heloise and a number of other famous medieval women were literate. But even male literacy hadn't taken off at this point to the degree I thought. I'm currently looking at a book about the rise of literacy in medieval England on Amazon and trying to decide whether to buy it. I'm definitely NOT buying the book I found on medieval women because it's £40 for a 256 page book and that's just silly. I may - however - visit the library and borrow it.
Anyone got any good resourses to link me to on the medieval period - especially women? I'd be grateful.