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The Real Wives of Medieval Ireland

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The following article attempts to glean a picture of what life was like in Medieval Ireland by looking at the lives of real women who lived during this time. 
Avelina, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Matilda de Burgh’s lives as noblewomen in the mid thirteenth to mid fourteenth centuries precisely illustrate the position noblewomen held in the later Middle Ages, while the existing information of their lives and times shows how demanding the role of a widowed noblewoman could be in relation to securing her dower and holding on to the land she possessed in her own right.  It is quite fortunate that an ample amount of records exist in relation to these women in the Chancery Rolls from the early fourteenth century, which not only provide specific information on how they were able to maintain their interests on their land and in their various estates (if they held any in their own right), but also provides an example from which common practices of the time may be highlighted.  It is intrinsic to t…