Single women and property

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:
Single women and property

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This chapter discusses the role of single woman in the family property distribution and formal–informal powers available to elite woman. Single women were absent from family genealogies that focus on marriage and the transmission of land from one generation to the next. However, as daughters, single women can be found in family settlements. The single woman's experience of property can also be traced through various deeds and property-related documents such as tax receipts, as well as personal correspondence and last wills and testaments. Such documents reveal a more complex life than images of lonely spinsterhood suggest, as single women are revealed as active, independent women who controlled their own property, generated extra income through loans and lived independent lives outside the family estate with connections to wide networks of friends and extended family.

Keywords: formal powers; Irish women; informal powers; single women and property; wills and testaments

Chapter.  7366 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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