Loving Friends: Surviving Widowhood in Late Medieval Westminster
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Gender & History
Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 21–37, April 2010
How to Cite
French, K. L. (2010), Loving Friends: Surviving Widowhood in Late Medieval Westminster. Gender & History, 22: 21–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0424.2010.01576.x
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2010
Although medieval moralists routinely warned against women socialising with either men or women, this article argues that friendships were instrumental in helping women survive widowhood. In medieval Europe, widowhood was frequently a time of vulnerability and poverty. Unscrupulous businessmen and other opportunists often preyed upon widows. Looking at the different ways men and women in Westminster made their wills and analysing those chosen to administer them reveals that widows frequently turned to the husbands of their friends to execute their wills and oversee their estates.