Professor Cordelia Beattie
BA, MA, DPhil, FRHistS
Professor of Women's and Gender History; Medieval and Early Modern Britain
PI on AHRC-funded project, 'Alice Thornton's Books: Remembrances of a Woman's Life in the Seventeenth Century'
Affiliated research centres
I studied medieval and modern history at the University of Birmingham, which is where I developed an abiding interest in medieval social history. My particular research interest in medieval women led me to the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, where I obtaining an MA and a DPhil in Medieval Studies. I was appointed Lecturer in Medieval History at Edinburgh, then promoted to Senior Lecturer and now Professor of Women's and Gender History. I was the founding director of the cross-College Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
I am the medieval editor for Manchester University Press’s Gender in History series and I am on the editorial board of Women’s History Review.
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Language & Literature
- Early Modern
My research interests broadly lie in the history of women and gender in pre-modern Britain and Ireland, especially in relation to marriage and the law.
Current research activities
In 2018/19 I traced two missing manuscripts by Alice Thornton (1626-1707), a member of the Yorkshire gentry. I am now, as PI of an AHRC-funded team, working towards a digital edition of Thornton's four extant books as well as other linked publications.
I am currently PI on an AHRC-funded project, 'Alice Thornton's Books: Remembrances of a Woman's Life in the Seventeenth Century'. See https://thornton.kdl.kcl.ac.uk
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
In 2014, Dr Cathryn Spence and I signed a three-year partnership agreement with the National Records of Scotland. Information from our research on sixteenth-century Scottish testaments has been used to correct the NRS's internal index system and the ScotlandsPeople site.
My discovery of and research into the lost manuscripts of Alice Thornton was the topic of an event at the Being Human Festival 2019. Dr Debbie Cannon wrote and performed a play, ‘The Remarkable Deliverances of Alice Thornton’, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. I also discussed this on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme. The current AHRC-funded project on 'Alice Thornton's Books' has a public engagement strand. For example, we were on the English Heritage podcast talking about Alice Thornton and Middleham Castle, which now has an interpretation board which features her: https://soundcloud.com/englishheritage/episode-173-civil-war-and-childbirth-alice-thornton-and-middleham-castle
A Family at Work. Title woodcut from Bartholomaeus Metlinger, 'Regiment der jungen Kinder' (Augsburg: Hanns Shauren, 1500). Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
- Women in England, 1300-1700 (4MA)
- Gender and Society: Men and Women in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500 (Option)
- Sources of Medieval History
- Studying Women in Late Medieval England: Sources and Approaches
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
|Reynolds, Gordon||PhD||'"Quid dico de remanentibus?" - Women and Crusade Homefront in England (1187-1241)'||Joint|
|Sandall, Malin||PhD||Representations of Muslim Men in the Imagination of the Medieval West, c. 950-1300||Secondary|
|Shepherd, Hannah||PhD||Gender, space, environment: mapping place in saints' lives 1100-1300||Primary|
|Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Completion year||Link|
|Spence, Cathryn||PhD||'To Content and Pay': Women's Economic Roles in Edinburgh, Haddington and Linlithgow, 1560-1640||Primary||2010|
|Talbott, Kara||MScR||Women and Crime in Early Modern England||Primary||2004|
Currently accepting research student applications : Yes
Books - Authored
Beattie, C. (2007) Medieval Single Women: The Politics of Social Classification in Late Medieval England. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Books - Edited
Beattie, C. (ed.) (2017) Women in the Medieval World. Abingdon & New York: Routledge
Beattie, C. and Stevens, M. (eds.) (2013) Married Women and the Law in Premodern Northwest Europe. Boydell Press
Beattie, C. and Fenton, K. (eds.) (2010) Intersections of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan
Beattie, C., Beattie, C., Maslakovic, A. and Jones, S. (eds.) (2003) The Medieval Household in Christian Europe, c. 850-1550: Managing Power, Wealth and the Body. Brepols Publishers
Beattie, C. (forthcoming) Married women, testaments and property in sixteenth-century Scotland. The Scottish Historical Review
Beattie, C. (2019) The discovery of two missing Alice Thornton manuscripts. Notes & Queries, 66(4), pp. 547-553DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjz116
Beattie, C. (2017) Servantes, femmes et veuves: Lire le genre dans les suppliques féminines à la cour de la chancellerie anglaise à la fin du Moyen Age. Cahiers électroniques d’histoire textuelle du LAMOP, 8, pp. 1-28
Beattie, C. (2008) "Living as a single person". Marital Status, Performance and the Law in Late Medieval England. Women's History Review, 17(3), pp. 327-40DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09612020801924381
Beattie, C. (2021) Choosing Chancery?: Women’s petitions to the late medieval court of Chancery. In: Phipps, T. and Youngs, D. (eds.) Litigating Women: Gender and Justice in Europe c.1200-c.1750. London: Routledge, pp. 99-115DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429278037-7
Beattie, C. (2021) Uncovering the femme couverte: Married women and the law in late medieval English towns. In: Solórzano Telechea, J., Haemers, J. and Liddy, C. (eds.) La familia urbana: Matrimonio, parentesco y linaje en la Edad Media. Instituto de Estudios Riojanos, pp. 209-30
Beattie, C. (2017) General introduction. In: Beattie, C. (ed.) Women in the medieval world. Routledge, pp. 1-29
Beattie, C. (2013) Your oratrice: Women's petitions to the late medieval court of Chancery. In: Kane, B. and Williamson, F. (eds.) Women, Agency and the Law, 1300–1700. Pickering & Chatto, pp. 17-30
Beattie, C. (2013) Your oratrice: Women’s petitions to the late medieval court of chancery. In: Kane, B. and Williamson, F. (eds.) Women, Agency and the Law, 1300-1700. London: Routledge, pp. 17-29DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315654751-2
Beattie, C. and Stevens, M. (2013) Introduction: Uncovering married women. In: Beattie, C. and Stevens, M. (eds.) Married Women and the Law in Premodern Northwest Europe. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 1-10
Beattie, C. (2013) Married Women, Contracts and Coverture in Late Medieval England. In: Married Women and the Law in Premodern Northwest Europe. Boydell and Brewer
Beattie, C. (2013) The Life Cycle: The Ages of Medieval Women. In: Phillips, K. (ed.) A Cultural History of Women: In the Middle Ages. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 15-38
Beattie, C. (2010) Introduction: Gender, Power and Difference. In: Beattie, C. and Fenton, K. (eds.) Intersections of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-11
Beattie, C. (2010) Economy. In: Cavallo, S. and Evangelisti, S. (eds.) A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in the Early Modern Age. Berg, pp. 49-67
Beattie, C. (2006) Single Women, Work and Family: The Chancery Dispute of Jane Wynde and Margaret Clerk. In: Goodich, M. (ed.) Voices from the Bench: The Narratives of Lesser Folk in Medieval Trials. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 177-202
Beattie, C. (2005) Gender and Femininity in Medieval England. In: Partner, N. (ed.) Writing Medieval History. Hodder Arnold, pp. 153-70
Beattie, C. (2003) Governing Bodies: Local Courts, Male Householders and Single Women in Late Medieval England. In: Beattie, C., Maslakovic, A. and Jones, S. (eds.) The Medieval Household in Christian Europe, c. 850-1550: Managing Power, Wealth and the Body. Brepols Publishers, pp. 199-220
Beattie, C. (2003) Introduction, Locating the Household: Public, Private, and the Social Construction of Gender and Space. In: Beattie, C., Maslakovic, A. and Jones, S. (eds.) The Medieval Household in Christian Europe, c. 850-1550: Managing Power, Wealth and the Body. Brepols, pp. 1-8
Beattie, C. (2000) A room of one's own? The legal evidence for the residential arrangements of women without husbands in late fourteenth-and early fifteenth centruy York. In: Menuge, N. (ed.) Medieval Women and the Law. Boydell Press, pp. 41-56
Beattie, C. (2000) The problem of women's work identitites in post Black Death England'. In: Bothwell, J., Goldberg, P. and Ormrod, W. (eds.) The Problem of Labour in Fourteenth-century England. York Medieval Press, pp. 1-19