Provisions made for women and children in family settlements

Deborah Wilson

in Women, Marriage and Property in Wealthy Landed Families in Ireland, 1750-1850

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780719077982
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703328 | DOI:
Provisions made for women and children in family settlements

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In order to explore the relationship of women to the family estate, this chapter outlines provisions made for women in marriage settlements and last wills and testaments. In Ireland, as in England, the most important aspect of family property arrangements in this period was inheritance, the procedure by which both landed and moveable property is transmitted between generations. Women's ownership of property in the wealthy landed class was determined by settlements that made provision from the family estate. Such arrangements therefore provide a useful indication of property and power relations within families. Despite the evident desire to make adequate provision for family members, the primary concern in such arrangements was the protection of the family estate. Furthermore, methods used by landed families to make provision for women, as well as daughters and younger sons of a marriage, were characterised by the desire to consolidate the power of the husband or father over family landed property, while reinforcing his authority over family members.

Keywords: family settlements; family estate; women ownership of property; family land property

Chapter.  20816 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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