War Widows and Revenge in Restoration England

TitleWar Widows and Revenge in Restoration England
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBeale, Stewart
JournalSeventeenth Century
Volume33
Issue2
Start Page195
Pagination195 - 217
Date Published04/2018
Abstract

This article examines petitions submitted by royalist widows to the House of Lords during the first few months of the Restoration. The husbands of these women had been tried and executed for treason during the 1640s and 1650s for their perceived loyalty to the royalist cause, prompting their spouses to demand retribution against their judges and jurors. As the Convention Parliament deliberated over the Act of Indemnity during the summer of 1660, these aggrieved widows were presented with an opportunity to ensure that the men they held responsible for their husband’s deaths were brought to account. By assessing the petitioning strategies adopted by these women and the government’s responses to their demands, the article throws light on a group of war widows who have received little scholarly attention. It is argued that whilst these women were largely unsuccessful, their efforts represent a significant aspect of female activism during the seventeenth century. (Author)

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