ScienceDaily — A three-year study into a set of manuscripts compiled and written by one of Britain’s earliest feminist figures has revealed new insights into how women challenged male authority in the 17th century.
Dr Jessica Malay has painstakingly transcribed Lady Anne Clifford’s 600,000-word Great Books of Record, which documents the trials and triumphs of the female aristocrat’s family dynasty over six centuries and her bitter battle to inherit castles and villages across northern England.
Lady Anne, who lived from 1590 to 1676, was, in her childhood, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Her father died when she was 15 but contrary to an agreement that stretched back to the time of Edward II — that the Clifford’s vast estates in Cumbria and Yorkshire should pass to the eldest heir whether male or female - the lands were handed over to her uncle.
Following an epic legal struggle in which she defied her father, both her husbands, King James I and Oliver Cromwell, Lady Anne finally took possession of the estates, which included the five castles of Skipton, where she was born, Brougham, Brough, Pendragon and Appleby, aged 53. Read more.