Did Early-Modern Men Do ‘Women’s Work’?

It’s one of the great unanswered questions of English History. The theory, at least for early-modern England, was pretty clear. Men were supposed to earn the money, women did the domestic chores and raised the children (and then also earned some money). Not for nothing did a proverb of the time have it that a…

Rude Tudors

This Autumn, I’ve got an article out in Northern History, or the ‘Journal in the North’ as it should now be called. It’s about the way neighbourhood worked in the small Northumberland village of Dilston, seen through the eyes of the manor court – the lowest, most localized place of justice in medieval and early-modern…

Sex, Liberty, and Germaine Greer

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have noticed that my account’s recently developed just the faintest whiff of smuttery. My excuse is that I’ve been reading the fascinating and delightfully lewd Origins of Sex, the first monograph by my colleague (and old tutor) Faramerz Dabhoiwala. It’s a cracking read – a thoughtful…

The Pemberton Poisoner

Sometimes you find a source which is so rich and interesting that you have to share it straightaway. I was working through the papers of Lancashire’s Quarter Sessions for 1700 yesterday, and I stumbled across an absolutely fascinating document. It was a petition to the local magistrates, produced by (or for?) Margaret Orrell of Pemberton,…