Queen of the cas­tle

Women who ruled the roost in Bri­tain’s might­i­est fortresses

All About History - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by Beth Wy­att

8 women who ruled the roost in Eng­land’s might­i­est fortresses

Cas­tles are of­ten re­garded as the ul­ti­mate sym­bol of mas­cu­line power, orig­i­nat­ing as ma­chines of war, though more of­ten op­er­at­ing as sta­tus homes for the no­bil­ity. But if you look more closely at the his­to­ries of Eng­land’s feu­dal fortresses you will find small groups of aris­to­cratic women who were able to ex­ert great in­flu­ence within these walls and in some cases break away from tra­di­tional wom­anly roles as dic­tated by fam­ily and so­ci­ety.

We’ve dug through the ar­chive of English Her­itage, the char­ity re­spon­si­ble for the care and con­ser­va­tion of 400 his­toric build­ings and sites across the coun­try, in­clud­ing more than 60 cas­tles, to dis­cover the thrilling tales of in­cred­i­ble women. Read on to dis­cover ladies who were de­ter­mined not to let gen­der norms stand in their way, from a count­ess who spent 40 years bat­tling to in­herit her fam­ily es­tates, to a prime min­is­ter’s niece who ad­ven­tured around Europe and the Mid­dle East.

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