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HIST 3020 (17)

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University of Guelph
HIST 3020
Caitlin Holton

Illicit Sex in early Modern Britain 1. major historical events a. reformation i. deep serious divisions in Europe ii. churchs are trying to keep their congregations in line iii. catocism and discipline iv. wealth of detailed church recordso n people b. british civil wars i. Charles the first and oliver Cromwell ii. Multiple parties in Scotland, England and Ireland fighting iii. Charles the first 1649 beheaded, oliver Cromwell becomes lord protector for a decade iv. 1660 restoration; Charles the second; cultural break (everyone is puritan to few people being puritan) v. mid 1660s deep cultural shift 2. England a. Church and lay responses to sex outside of marriage i. Increased pressure on congregation to stamp out sexual sin ii. Social attitudes to extra marital sex 1. Marriage was a primarly economic partnership (pre and post reformation); extramarital sex might not have been a big deal 2. Sexual maturity10 yearsmarriage 3. Variety of options for sex th 4. Common bridal pregnancies: 22% of brides in 17 century England 5. Not everyone was treated equally 6. Prostitution was semi-legimacized iii. Society lived their lives as best they could, didn’t really follow the moral laws taught by the church b. Some factors of difference in how people were treated i. Wealth; nobility and aristocracy ii. Gender was key iii. Women were expected to uphold their chastity, men were not iv. Men were punished more for the economic aspects of sex (producing illegimate children, lowering the value of a woman) v. Women were punished for their immorality vi. Married women commiting adultery was serious grounds for divorce but not the opposite (male commiting adultery) vii. Illegitimacy rates in early modern England: huge drop during the puritan rule in 1660s, why did it peak in 1600 viii. Local parishes took care of court records, puritans could not have instituted so much change that quickly, the huge drop was due to the war and less restrictions on punishing illegitmate children ix. What are the causes of illegitimacy x. Theories of illegitimacy: sexual exploitation, promiscuity, unrecognized/unofficial marriage, marriage thwarted (principle cause) xi. English highlands had a much higher rate of illegitimacy in first th half of 17 century xii. Richard adair xiii. English lowlands and highlands dropped in later century xiv. In the highlands there was a courtship, spousal, long time passes, church ceremony xv. In the low lands there was a courtship, optional spousal period, and then church ceremony c. Disconnect between clerical ideas and lay ideas about when its okay to have sex, social ideas tended to be more lax, and bridal pregnancy and illegitimacy were fairly common but social attitudes have their limits d. Categories of difference: gender, economics, geography and culture; not everyone was treated the same 3. Scotland a. The repentance process i. 25 thousand in Edinburgh and 5 thousand in canongate ii. most people are mentioned in thte church court records due to wide variety of reasons iii. Presbyterian court system: kirk sessionspresbyteriessynodsgeneral assembly iv. 75% of cases stayed at the local level v. Presbyterian system was strict vi. Women and fornication: penance in Scotland 1. Women bore the brunt of kirk discipline for fornication cases 2. Vulnerable biologically, socially and economically 3. Women could also use the kirk session 4. Wet-nursing contracts 5. Use kirk session as a tool for protection 6. Use the kirk session network to track down their cofornicator vii. Process 1. Woman confesses (when noticed to be pregnant or after birth)
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