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Author Topic: Women holding titles in their own right.  (Read 13310 times)

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Offline LeDuc

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2018, 04:40:04 pm »
In the CODEX DERYNIANUS, under 'Llannedd', there are three Queens Regnant, Elen Gruffud (Eldest daughter of Cynan II) reigned 905-907, Gwenlian (Second daughter of Cynan II, and sister/successor of Elen) reigned 907-944, and Gwenael (daughter of Madawc) reigned 1041-1082. It states in paragraph 3 '.....since the kingdom of Llannedd allows the succession of females while Howicce does not, the countries could split again should the male line fail'. The paragraph was stating and talking about the personal union of the royal houses of Llannedd and Howicce (male line only).In 1130, the present heirs of King Colman II MacFaolan-Gruffud are in Howicce his male line cousin Prince Cuan, and in Llannedd his half-sister Princess Gwenlian.

Mooryn (835), Llannedd (905, 907, 1041), Joux (931), Thuria (931), and Andelon (1112), Byzantyum (651, 1056) are, so far and until Year 1130, the only known and recorded sovereign states wherein succession passes through a female line.

These are the noble titles, Marlor, Eastmarch, Culdi, Marley, Sheele, Cassan, Rhendall, Kierney, Corwyn, Meara (in Gwynnedd); Pirek (in Howicce); Marluk, Tolan, Westmarcke-Sasovna, Gwernach, Arjenol, Jandrich (in Torenth); with each being inherited in a direct succession through the female line by marriage and/or descent.

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2018, 10:00:48 pm »
Also, re the earldom of Eastmarch passing from Hrorik to his daughter Stacia and her husband, Eastmarch was an independent earldom under Hrorik's father Sighere, who (IIRC, and I looked but cannot for my life find the citation for this; perhaps someone else can!) swore fealty to a fairly newly crowned Cinhil in exchange for Gwyneddan military aid and protection for the Kheldour lands and Eastmarch troops to assist Cinhil in staving off Ariella's forces, for which Sighere was created the first Duke of Claiborne, succeeded by his eldest son Ewan, and the borders of Eastmarch were redefined and became Hrorik's inheritance.

I think Hrorik had no surviving sons, hence the title passing to Stacia, but that might also have some basis in the tanistry system, since Kheldour is also considered Border coutnry.  In other words, it might be that the title passed to Stacia because her father said so.  :D
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2018, 10:44:03 pm »


These are the noble titles, Marlor, Eastmarch, Culdi, Marley, Sheele, Cassan, Rhendall, Kierney, Corwyn, Meara (in Gwynnedd); Pirek (in Howicce); Marluk, Tolan, Westmarcke-Sasovna, Gwernach, Arjenol, Jandrich (in Torenth); with each being inherited in a direct succession through the female line by marriage and/or descent.

I think we are talking about a surviving daughter holding title above her husband. There are only a few instances of this.  I believe that in most of those titles, when the only surviving child was a daughter, that daughter earned the title of heiress and not the ruling title. Her husband may or may not earn the title through marriage depending upon Royal decree. The eldest son of the heiress would become the titled lord.

Several instances of this excist. The best known is Alice as heiress of Corwyn and Lendour. Her husband Kenneth was given the title of Earl of Lendour by the king. But the title of Duke of Corwyn was held in abeyance until their son Alaric came of age. The Duchy of Cassan was treated the same way. At least twice a surviving daughter retained the title of heiress and their sons became duke. 

Kierney and Sheele both had surviving daughters who earned the tiled of countess.  I believe that is because their husbands were given the title. In both of these earldoms the ruling title was maintained by the countess, after their husbands died. The example of Sheele, Countess Agnes Von Horthy kept her title after her husband died in 984, and her son did not earn the title until she died in 998. Kierney was the same. in 1025 Glorian was the eldest surviving daughter. She was already married to Sir Roger McLain. She held the title of countess of Kierney after she became widowed. Roger held the title of Laird of Leanshire. Their eldest son, Tairchell, become Laird of Leanshire upon his father's death in 1025. Yet, Tairchell did not become Earl of Kierney until after Countess Glorian died in 1033 (note: there is an error in the Codex, Tairchell is earl from 1033-1060 and his younger brother, Arnall, becomes earl from 1060- 1076.)

As for Mooryn, the kings only surviving daughter, Heiress Brionne, was married to Festil II and he broke the kingdom into two parts within two years of their marriage. She became Queen of Gywnedd though her husband, but I don't remember if I read where she held the title of Queen of Mooryn for those two years.

Meara recognized the surviving daughter with a title as early as 877. Meara has had four sovereign queens/princesses: Jorianna, Roisian, Annalind, and Caitrin.  And as you said Llannadd recognizes their queens.

What defines which surviving daughter gets the ruling title to her lands and which one gets title of heiress  with regents, seems to be dependent on prior history for that title and royal decree.

Offline LeDuc

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2018, 11:46:31 pm »
There are and have been times I have thought 'How despicable and sexist to keep the inherited title (and the right be accorded) from the inheretrix. Cassan for one, and Corwyn as another.

When the last FitzArthur-Quinnell Duke of Cassan, Tambert II, died in 1025, his line heiress was daughter Adelicia, with the title going into abeyance until the birth of a male heir of her body. I thought it unfair for her not to be called Duchess by law, and even when she married her 2nd cousin, Arnall McLain, and then he could have been Duke by marriage, and THAT didn't happen either. OH NO!!, a male child had to be born (Andrew McLain {1034-1099}), then 'All is well'. WOO! HOO!

The same thing happens in Corwyn, not once, twice. The first being, Stevana De Corwyn, surviving heir of Airlie, Hereditary Duke of Corwyn (son of Stiofan Anthony, Duke. 1026-1065) and then called Heiress of Corwyn, without the title of Duchess. Her husband, Keryell Cynfyn, Earl of Lendour could have been called Duke by marriage, that didn't happen either.
Two generations later, the same happens Alyce de Corwyn, upon the death of her brother, Ahern Cynfyn, Earl of Lendour and suo jure Duke of Corwyn. She was 'Heiress of Lendour, and Heiress of Corwyn',  yeah sure thing, but not the TITLE, though her husband was accorded the honor and title Earl of Lendour.

One would have thought with all the deaths of nobles at the Battle of Killingford (1025), and loss of many direct male line successions, things would change. King Malcolm solution was to urge the women 'heiresses' to marry and have heirs.

I may be male, but there are times the blatant 'sexism' regardless of time period, custom, tradition and law just galls me, and puts the bitter taste in the back of my throat. It goes without saying that my motto holds true 'Je promets et J'ose' (I promise and I dare). I would have equal rights all around, male of female, human or Deryni.

It was with surprise, relief and the feeling of 'about time, too', reading a FanFic story in 20th-21st century with Regnant Queens of Gwynnedd, the latest one being Sophia II Haldane.

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2018, 11:55:02 pm »

This is still a practice in our own world as well. There are titles that cannot be held by women to this day. Across Europe where titles are still recognized and across Asia as well.

Offline Laurna

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2018, 01:11:50 am »
Bravo, LaDuc! Bravo for you're standing up to equal rights. I am glad our modern world has men who respect women's rights as strongly as their own rights. As an independent woman, I say thank you.
Imagine a medieval world where men and women are equal. That would be a good change. I think KK gives us strong women with out making them warriors types,  and she does show us women in their rolls as protectors and guardians of their families and their homes. Many ruling their castles and lands in their husband's absence.  Yet, even our beloved Alyce never ruled Corwyn. She was well educated and intelligent, Had she lived to an older age, she and her husband would have taken the reins of Corwyn and become it's regent for her son, just as they were starting to do for Lendour. But unfortunately that was not to be.

Offline drakensis

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2018, 03:25:28 am »
It is historically accurate to the history of Europe, alas.

It's good to see that fanfiction in later eras opens up more equal succession.

Offline Evie

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2018, 11:35:11 pm »


I may be male, but there are times the blatant 'sexism' regardless of time period, custom, tradition and law just galls me, and puts the bitter taste in the back of my throat. It goes without saying that my motto holds true 'Je promets et J'ose' (I promise and I dare). I would have equal rights all around, male of female, human or Deryni.

It was with surprise, relief and the feeling of 'about time, too', reading a FanFic story in 20th-21st century with Regnant Queens of Gwynnedd, the latest one being Sophia II Haldane.

Thank you; I'm glad you enjoyed reading Balance of Power!  Of course, Sophia did have the advantage of being born in the right century to be allowed to rule Gwynedd as a sovereign Queen. Even modern-day Britain, on which my modern-day Gwynedd was very loosely based, only recently (less than a decade ago) changed its inheritance laws to allow a princess to inherit the throne even if she has younger male siblings.

Of course, KK's laws of inheritance reflect the reality of medieval law in most places and periods. They were laws created during a time when land had to be won and held by right of arms, and since men were nearly always the warriors, men were the ones favored in the inheritance laws. Landed women were taught how to defend their castles or fortified manors, or at least how to lead such a defense (with their male guards and steward doing most of the actual defending), and there are a few women who went further and led their men into battle, but they were more the notable exception than the rule by the Middle Ages.  (There's a little more evidence for women warriors in earlier periods.) But by and large, it was the lord who had the feudal obligation to his king to protect the barony, earldom, or duchy entrusted to his keeping, and therefore his land would be expected to pass down through the male line, since his right to inherit was literally won by right of his sword arm, his warrior skills being promised to his liegelord's use in exchange for the privilege of land ownership.

It was only in later centuries that the link between being able to physically take up arms to defend the land and people became more tenuously linked to land ownership, and then not really linked to it at all, but of course by that time centuries of societal thinking that "Men own the land, women simply help tend to it" was pretty deeply entrenched. But to be fair, medieval women actually had more inheritance rights than their Victorian descendants in some ways. By the Victorian age, those rights had eroded to the point that a widow with no sons might be in dire straits indeed unless she had some male relative to care for her (you can see echoes of this in Jane Austen's novels), whereas a medieval woman would have had her dower to fall back on.  It was looked at as an early form of social security system, some money or property given to the bride upon her marriage that was hers and hers alone, and which she could invest, sell, and/or bequeath as she chose, so she would not be left destitute (at least in theory) if she was widowed, even if her husband turned out to be a wastrel and squandered the rest of the family income.

But going back to medieval Gwynedd and women's roles within it, I think KK does a good job in showing that despite the systemic inequalities in medieval society, women still found ways of being strong and exercising what power they did have despite not being in warrior roles. And of course women with Deryni powers would be even more formidable. And the men of that world generally sense and respect that strength when it is displayed. Arilan, even with his full-blood Deryni heritage and much higher training than Alaric and Duncan, seems to have no problem at all working in a magical ritual alongside Richenda, or recognizing her capabilities as a trained Deryni. Morgan's junior officers distrust Richenda's capability to lead them in his absence not because she is a woman, but because she used to be the wife of a known traitor and therefore her true loyalties are in doubt. Had she not been Bran's widow, it would have been accepted as a matter of course that the Duchess has the right to govern in the Duke's absence.  And Evaine had the respect of her male colleagues in the original Camberian Council because her knowledge and talents were clearly evident. There was no "Why don't you go home and tend to your hearth where you belong, little woman!" attitude there!
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Offline revanne

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2018, 05:56:51 am »
We need to bear in mind too that in medieval times the care of a home and birthing and raising children was of extreme importance. Until the improvement in agricultural practice and the drop in infant mortality ( beginning around the mid to late eighteen century) the survival of a family into the next generation was by no means assured. The idea of women as fragile and limited owes more to the Victorian  "Angel in the home" than the realities of medieval life where even wealthy women would have their hands full with real significant tasks which ensured the well-being and survival of their communities. There is also some interesting research around, which I don't have time to really  explore at the moment, about how the 16th and 17th professionalisation of things such as medicine served to exclude women from areas where their expertise would have been previously valued ( and it's then that Wise women become demonized as witches, not in medieval times).

So yes women were excluded from land holding and titles on the whole but their role in society was more important than in later times.

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