Girls' education in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in England and Wales : a study of attitudes and practice
This thesis provides a study of attitudes and practice in respect of female education in England and Wales in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It begins with a review of primary and secondary sources, and throughout draws substantially upon personal documents consulted in collections of family papers covering a wide geographical area. These documents, it is argued are broadly representative of gentry families. Chapter Two examines the education of daughters; Chapter Three the role of women in marriage; Chapter Four motherhood. Each of these chapters examines the links between education and the roles girls and women fulfilled. Throughout these three chapters, contrasts and comparisons are drawn between prescriptive advice and practice. Chapter Five considers the difficult issue of standards in the education of girls and women, while the final chapter examines some of the outcomes of education in terms of women as intermediaries in informal power networks, estate and farm managers and educational benefactors and founders. The thesis draws conclusions in respect of the importance of education in permitting the developing role of women in both private and public spheres and examines the reasons for such changes. It also challenges existing theories regarding the differences between Catholic and Protestant attitudes to girls' education. A substantial appendix listing some 870 educated and literate women of the period is provided, both to demonstrate the major sources for this study and to provide a basis for future research.