Agents or Pawns? The Experiences of the Peasant Women of Roussillon in the Blanquet Family Parchments, 1292–1345
In 1338 Berenguera, daughter of the late Ramon Jaume and widow of Bernat Blanquet, was not an active legal agent in her own affairs. On December 15, 1338, her son-in-law, Llorenç Ros, acted as her guardian (curator) with the full authority of the court of Berenguera’s village of Claira behind him (appendix, #18).1 Berenguera was about 45 years old and a widow whose children were all married adults.2 According to the Catalan law codes only a mentally unfit adult or one who was wildly financially irresponsible fell under the control of a guardian.3 It seems, then, that since Berenguera was either mentally disabled and/or a notorious spendthrift the court chose her financially solvent son-in-law to step in. As her daughter’s husband, Llorenç Ros maintained an interest in Berenguera’s welfare and was someone with whom Berenguera did not have a direct economic conflict. As guardian Llorenç worked to retrieve his mother-in-law’s dowry from the brothers Bernat and Antoni Blanquet, heirs of Berenguera’s late husband (figure 9.1). Llorenç acknowledged receipt of payment for the majority of her dowry of 75 pounds of silver (1,500 sous of Barcelona) and additional bed linens in the form of a weight of gold from the Blanquet sons. Berenguera apparently did not live with the Blanquets.
KeywordsSocial Rank Thirteenth Century Underage Child Family Estate Peasant Family
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- 6.Only two testators had five or more living children. Rebecca Lynn Winer, Women, Wealth, and Community in Perpignan, c.1250–1300: Christians, Jews and Enslaved Muslims in a Medieval Mediterranean Town (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), pp. 20–25. The majority of those making wills were urban dwellers, with child mortality rates higher than in the countryside.Google Scholar
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