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Title: The piety and charity of London's female elite, c.1580-1630 : the wives and widows of the aldermen of the City of London
Author: Tsakiropoulou, Ioanna Zoe
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5445
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Why was an ideal of elite women's virtue promoted in London c. 1580-1630, and why was it based on their reformed piety and charity? To what extent can elite women's piety and charity reveal their religious identity, among an elite characterised as 'puritan' by contemporaries and historians? How did women practise piety and charity in a worldly City, and did they share a civic ethos? This thesis engages with historiographies of urban history, the history of charity and hospitality, and gender history. It concerns over 400 wives and widows of the 331 aldermen elected 1540-1630, and uses 78 widows' wills. Women's wills are analysed qualitatively save to consider widows' public charitable bequests. From preambles to exceptionally diffuse bequests, wills are an intimate source for studying women's religious identity through their piety and charity. They reveal women's understanding of their gender in a patriarchal society that fostered an attitude of sorority that is particularly evident in women's charity and hospitality. To study the piety and charity of aldermen's wives extra-testamentary personal evidence complements the wills. Sources written by women themselves include a household book used to reconstruct a woman's charity and hospitality, portraits, devotional works and letters. Sources of praise and abuse authored by men including Stow's Survay, funeral sermons, verse libel and verbal abuse are used to reconstruct ideals and antitypes of elite female virtue and hypocrisy, and are read critically in comparison with other sources to furnish evidence of female piety and social conduct. Chapter II-VII focus on the conforming female elite, comparing contemporary discussion of female piety, charity and religious identity to women's lives and practice in the household and the community, and Chapter VIII considers three Catholic women to ask to what extent the civic ethos shared by reformed City women could accommodate even their recusant kinswomen.
Supervisor: Brigden, Susan ; Archer, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Charity--Religious aspects--Christianity ; Women--Social conditions--16th century ; Women--Social conditions--17th century ; Virtue ; London (England)--Social conditions--16th century ; London (England)--Social conditions--17th century