21 May 2023
Medieval and Renaissance Women: remember their names
The British Library's project devoted to Medieval and Renaissance Women has now reached its successful conclusion. Funded through the generosity of Joanna and Graham Barker, we have digitised a grand total of 93 volumes, 219 charters and 25 rolls that are connected with the lives of European women between the years 1100 and 1600.
A chirograph of Fredescendis, abbess of Maubeuge, granting land to Guarin, abbot of Vicogne (between 1129 and 1151): Add Ch 1390
All the items can now be viewed online. We hope that you enjoy exploring them, for your own research or pleasure, or simply to gain an insight into the daily lives, achievements and struggles of these women. The manuscripts that we have digitised cover topics such as female health, the education of women, their business dealings and female spirituality, including personal and communal religious experiences.
Hildegard von Bingen, Liber divinorum operum (late 15th century): Add MS 15418, f. 7r
The full lists of all the items in Medieval and Renaissance Women are available in two formats, as a PDF or as an Excel document. They can be downloaded from the following links: please note, the Excel format cannot be downloaded on all web browsers.
In addition to digitising all of these manuscripts, rolls and charters, we have taken the opportunity to enhance our catalogue records. We were also joined on a six-month placement by Paula Del Val Vales, a PhD student at the University of Lincoln, who shared with us her expertise, and in return she gained experience of cataloguing, promoting and researching our collections. As part of our project, Paula has created new people pages and collection items for the British Library's webspaces, as listed here:
Cicero, De senectute, written by Ippolita Maria Sforza (1458): Add MS 21984, f. 3r
So, to conclude our project, let's remember the names of some of the women we've encountered during Medieval and Renaissance Women. Some of them are relatively well-known, while in other cases their names are preserved only in a single, ephemeral document or a chance inscription. Their fates and fortunes may be imperfectly understood, but at least their names are preserved for posterity.
Anne de Bretagne; Beatrice Malherbe; Catherine of Siena; Dorothy, abbess of the Poor Clares without Aldgate; Elizabeth of Katzenelenbogen; Fredescendis, abbess of Maubeuge; Gunnilda atte Denne; Hildegard von Bingen; Ismania, widow of Laurence Berkerolles; Julian of Norwich; Kunegunde; Jane Lumley; Margaret, Archduchess of Austria; Nicolosa Sanuta; Odelina de Trachy; Petronilla of Nereford; Margaret de Quincy; Rohais, countess of Lincoln; Sibylla Frances of Dunwich; Tomasina de Damis; Violante of Aragon; Ela, countess of Warwick; Alix, countess of Eu; Ymelda; Zuliana, nun of Santa Caterina, Brescia
The will of Gunnilda atte Denne (1318): Add Ch 17295
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