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Fouke le Fitz Waryn: literary space for real women?

The romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn had its impetus in the contested spaces of the thirteenth-century Welsh frontier, where the historical Marcher family of FitzWarin struggled to hang on to its patrimony, and Fulk FitzWarin III, in particular, played an iconic part in border history. Deeply indebted to the socio-political context/s of its creation, and interweaving fact, fiction, and tried-and-tested literary motif, the extant prose redaction of Fouke furnishes female characters that are at once striking and enigmatic. Although historians are no longer dismissive of Fouke as a source, it remains to be seen what space the narrative's portrayal of women allots to the depiction of real-world conditions.

Fouke le Fitz Waryn is a fourteenth-century prose redaction of a thirteenth-century verse about a largely twelfth-century Marcher family. (1) It is an English-hero romance of land and lineage, if we accept Susan Crane's analysis, and it is inextricably bound up with insular baronial concerns of feudal right, landed wealth, and family honour. (2) It is also something of a medieval docu-fiction, comprising 'a weird mixture of accurate information, plausible stories that lack confirmation, and magnificent flights of pure imagination'. (3) At its heart Fouke is the story of a real-life border lord, Fulk FitzWarin III of Whittington (d. c. 1258), whose principal family lands lay in the disputed territories between Shropshire and the Welsh kingdom of Powys, and who rebelled against King John and endured a three-year period of outlawry. The lost verse original was compiled soon after the mid-thirteenth century, in a world where memories of border feuding died hard and the status of Whittington and its lord remained topical; during the first half of the fourteenth century, it was re-worked into the prose remaniement we know today. Much of Fouke's cast is historical, or quasi-historical, and the geographical backdrop is a close depiction of the contested frontiers of north-west and southernmost Shropshire, (4) but generations and time-periods are conflated, fictional characters introduced, and well-known texts quarried for narrative motifs in open circulation in medieval writing. An aristocratic tale for an aristocratic audience, Fouke le Fitz Waryn entertained the French-speaking lords and ladies of the Welsh Marches and beyond--men and women well versed in the history, lore, and literary echoes of their time, and steeped in a rich heritage of military adventure and chivalric romance.

Since its first printed edition appeared in France in 1840, Fouke le Fitz Waryn has been well served by scholarly interest from the English, French, and German-speaking worlds. Research of the past several decades has explored Fouke's structural features and aspects of its thematic and generic relationship to similar texts, (5) while the last eighteen months alone have seen the re-release of Glyn Burgess's Two Medieval Outlaws, containing his accessible translation of Fouke, and the publication of an article in Thirteenth Century England XII examining the text's representation of the English and the Welsh. (6) It is perhaps surprising, then, that the topic of interest in this essay is one which has attracted only limited interest so far: that of the portrayal of women. (7) This essay proposes to explore what Fouke offers the historian, in particular, by way of commentary on medieval women, and specifically on the landed women of the Shropshire March. Exploring the characterization of women against an awareness of contemporary gender discourses, literary conventions, and verifiable historical fact, this essay asks whether the extant prose narrative is an appropriate gauge of the place and roles of Marcher noblewomen around the turn of the fourteenth century. In other words, does the romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn reserve any of its literary space for the depiction of real women?

The narrative opens with a vivid account of the Norman settlement of the March and the inception of the hero's hereditary claim to the great border territory of Whittington--called 'Blaunche Launde' and 'Blaunche Ville' in the Anglo-Norman French of the prose romance. In an episode reminiscent of Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Norman warrior Payne Peverel, cousin and companion to the Conqueror, wrests Blaunche Launde from an evil spirit in the body of an ogrish king called Geogmagog, who had been killed by the followers of Brutus. (8) The spirit reveals to Payne a strange prophecy about the future of his descendants in Blaunche Launde. In time Payne dies and his nephew and heir William, a great knight who extends his dominions westward by force of arms against the Welsh, is destined to be succeeded in the inheritance by his two beautiful nieces: Helene, the wife of a FitzAlan, and Melette de la Blaunche Tour, the younger and fairer of the sisters. Melette is highly desired but desires none, and will consent to marrying only the most valiant and accomplished man in Christendom. Her uncle arranges a grand tourney at Peverel Castle in the Peak District, (9) and it is here that the valiant Sir Warin de Metz (Gwaryn de Meez), cousin to the Duke of Brittany and our hero's grandfather, defeats the field and claims his prize: the hand of Melette de la Blaunche Tour, the inheritance of all of Whittington, and, eventually, an olive-skinned son and heir nicknamed Fulk 'le Brun'. (10)

The young Fulk le Brun is fostered out to the household of the veteran warrior Sir Joce de Dynan, Lord of Ludlow (formerly called Dynan, so we are told (11)), serves him valiantly against his arch-enemy Sir Walter de Lacy, (12) and ultimately--as a reward for bravery and prowess--marries his daughter Hawise, a co-heiress to her father's lands. The destructive enmity between Joce de Dynan and Walter de Lacy cannot be assuaged however; and through a narrative of seduction, treachery, and seemingly endless violence, Ludlow is lost, Joce imprisoned, and Fulk himself dispossessed by Lacy's Welsh allies. Despite his friendship with Henry II, the handsome and strong Fulk le Brun is unable to regain his ancestral lands at Whittington, which remain in Welsh hands. Roger de Powys becomes the new Lord of Whittington and the stage is set for the prolonged struggle for his rightful inheritance by Fulk FitzWarin, the eponymous baronial hero of the romance. It is the family's thwarted right to its patrimony that drives the tale. (13)

Lodged with the King for many years, meanwhile, Fulk le Brun and Hawise de Dynan have five sons: the eldest is Fulk. It is this Fulk, introduced a third of the way into the narrative, who is the man of legend: frontier warrior, sometime outlaw, and that 'fictional forebear and defender of his nation' around which the English-hero romance so often centres. (14) Brought up with his younger brothers at the court of Henry II, Fulk is still a child in the nursery when he incurs the wrath of the young Prince John, who as king illegally obstructs Fulk's feudal right to Whittington and confirms it instead to Maurice fitz Roger de Powys, the son of the FitzWarins' erstwhile enemy in the March. In disgust at his wrongful dispossession, Fulk renounces his homage and flees the country. All of his land in England is confiscated and he becomes an outlaw. This is the central crisis of the narrative. (15)

At this point, Fulk's story enters a series of unconnected imaginary adventures on English and Welsh soil and in faraway lands, as he variously battles his enemies, fights marvellous beasts, rescues maidens, counsels the Prince of Wales in peace, arbitrates feudal disputes, converts Saracens to Christianity, slays his nemesis Maurice fitz Roger, champions the legal rights of kith and kin, and ever eludes pursuit by the forces of a vengeful King John. He can be found all over: England, Wales and the Marches, the Scottish borderlands, France, Brittany, Spain, and North Africa, and the courts of Prince Llywelyn and Philip Augustus of France. Like Robin Hood, he dwells in the forests of England with a band of companions, wandering from one wild wasteland to another, and preying upon the lands and men of bad King John. Ever the 'good outlaw', (16) he does no harm to innocents (nor does he keep plunder for himself), but in the Scottish borderlands wreaks terrible vengeance on a genuine malefactor, Peter de Brubyl, who is terrorizing England under the name of Fulk FitzWarin. His 'principled forest society' stands in opposition to the collapse of justice within King John's lawless realm, reversing the usual social patterning in medieval writing. (17) During his outlawry, too, and to the great amusement of his companions, Fulk marries the beautiful Maud 'de Caus', (18) widow of Theobald le Botiler of Ireland. He soon sires three children by her, including a son and heir to continue the FitzWarins' lineal descent.

In due course, Fulk and his companions capture King John in the New Forest and bully him into restoring to them all their lands in England. It is a moral and legal victory, and Fulk at last regains his patrimony. (19) After a final dragon-slaying adventure in Ireland with the Earl of Chester, the ageing Fulk returns to England and founds the New Abbey at Alberbury as penance for a life of violence. Soon after, Maud dies and is buried there, and Fulk remarries. He spends the last seven years of his life blind. The narrative reaches its finale with the prophecies of Merlin, corresponding to the divinations of that evil spirit vanquished by Payne Peverel so long ago, and with the death of Fulk and his second wife and their burial at the New Abbey.

On one level, the women in Fouke le Fitz Waryn derive from the stock-in-trade of the insular romance author and, at first glance, seem two-dimensional, typecast, and terribly predictable. There are damsels in distress, swooning ladies, and foolish girls in love. Wives are won in tournaments, maidens are rescued by knights, noblewomen comfort their husbands' prisoners, mothers give birth at regular intervals, and the relationship of most to men is characterized by either dependence or objectification. We have good women --beautiful, cultured, and possessed of landed wealth--and different types of bad woman: a witch whose offspring are thieves and a lady-in-waiting whose weaknesses lead to the fall of her lord's castle. Amid the violence of the Welsh borderlands, and of exotic, faraway kingdoms, these women are chiefly passive witnesses, non-combatants, and outsiders: they watch skirmishes from distant turrets, fret over their lords' safety, spur hesitant knights into action, play a supporting role to the hero's endeavours, (20) and, on two occasions, become the victims of warfare. They are often depicted within the (ostensibly protective) confines of interior spaces. In only two cases are the women of Fouke themselves the perpetrators of violence--the lady-in-waiting Marion de la Bruere commits a murder-suicide and the daughter of the Duke of Carthage wages a defensive battle against her spurned suitor--but even they seem to have been forced into a corner by the actions of men.

The 'good' women of Fouke are aristocratic and attractive. Beauty, both physical and innate, goes hand in hand with nobility. The FitzWarin wives Melette, Maud, and Clarice are variously described as 'beautiful' or 'virtuous' (bele), 'good' (bone), 'of high reputation' (de bon los), 'courteous' or 'genteel' (corteise) and 'a very noble lady' (une molt gentile dame)--attributes paralleled in their menfolk by martial prowess and physical (and aesthetic) excellence. The hero's wife, Maud de Caus, is said to be 'a very rich lady, and the most beautiful in all England' ['une mout riche dame e la plus bele de tote Engleterre']. (21) The Iberian lady, Ydoyne, daughter of the Duke of Carthage, and the generically familiar Saracen princess, Isorie, (22) both of whom Fulk encounters on his overseas adventures, are similarly blessed with beauty, grace, and corteisie. Isorie, like Horn's Lemburc, is even an accomplished musician. (23) These women also see nobility and beauty, in appearance, spirit, and breeding, in others. Melette de la Blaunche Tour, niece of William Peverel and grandmother of the hero Fulk FitzWarin, will only marry a man who is handsome, courtly, valiant, and cultured, and she declares openly: 'I set no store by riches, for ... he is rich who has what his heart desires' ['De la richesse ne fas je force, quar ... cely est riche qe ad qe son cuer desire']. (24) In Warin de Metz, winner of the 'love-tourney' at Peverel Castle, she knows that she has found the man of her dreams. Princess Isorie of Barbary likewise recognizes Fulk FitzWarin, whose ship has washed ashore at the city of Tunis, as a young gallant of 'handsome and courtly' bearing, although she is unaware of his true identity. (25)

Physical and inner beauty, for all its praiseworthiness, comes at a cost for the good women of Fouke le Fitz Waryn, bringing them victimization of a notably sexualized sort. It is chiefly for her famed beauty that Maud is persecuted by the lecherous, amoral King John, who will stop at nothing to possess her. Married to Fulk, both for her own protection and to discomfort the King, and forced into hiding, Maud gives birth to her children on the run and in constant fear of capture and, presumably, violation. (26) Within marriage her sexuality seems wholly geared toward the perpetuation of the lineal claims of her husband. (27) The seven 'remarkably beautiful' and 'richly attired' ladies from Orkney, enslaved by six 'fierce-looking' peasant-thieves and their hag-mother, and later rescued by Fulk and his companions, are the victims of prolonged sexual abuse. (28) The lovely Ydoyne of Carthage is held in captivity for seven years by a foul dragon that compels her to cleanse its face, beard, and chest of blood after it has feasted on human flesh. (29) The dragon is curiously ambivalent toward his captive, for it also fears her greatly, and although Ydoyne does not appear explicitly to have been molested by the creature, the overtones are disquieting. There are echoes of King John in this dragon. Ydoyne's Helen-like beauty later becomes the cause of a war between her own forces (she is by now the Duchess of Carthage in her own right) and those of the Saracen King of Barbary, Messobryn, for Messobryn has requested her hand in marriage and has been insulted by her refusal. (30) There are echoes of King John in Messobryn too. As each of these highborn women encounters baseness in its varying guises, it is left to the valiant noblemen of the romance, and Fulk FitzWarin in particular, to rescue them from their predicaments. Like a true gallant, Fulk variously employs marriage, negotiation, and that quintessential weapon of the strenuous knight--the sword--in fulfilling his remit.

There is, however, far more to the representation of women in Fouke le Fitz Waryn than simple caricature or the shared literary motifs familiar to both medieval and modern audiences of such romance narratives as Fouke, Gui de Warewic, Boeve de Hamtoune, and the like. Fouke's depiction of its female characters is rich, complex, and revealing. In the contested spaces between England and Wales and between absolute fact and pure fiction, generic and real-life considerations come together to create a portrayal (or series of portrayals) so deeply rooted in the preoccupations of insular, even local, baronial society as to illuminate well the normative roles of noblewomen and the expectations placed upon them by contemporaries. The good women of Fouke, noble in breeding and conduct, fulfil a series of specific roles recognized and demanded by their society: they enact an ideal female lifecycle befitting their membership of the medieval English baronage, and they exhibit the various behaviours proper to aristocratic womanhood as they progress through their life stages. The female characters central to the story of the rise of the FitzWarin family--Melette de la Blaunche Tour, Hawise de Dynan, and Maude de Caus--are possessed not only of beauty and bearing, but also of that great landed wealth on which the personal power of English barons depended. William Peverel makes the point explicitly: '[a] woman who has land in fee will always be more enticing' ['femme que ad terre en fee serra d'assez plus desirree']. (31) Female inheritance is an important feature of the romance. The fictional Melette de la Blaunche Tour (32) and the historical Hawise de Dynan are both co-heiresses: Melette to the possessions of her uncle William Peverel, namely Blaunche Launde (Whittington) and Hawise to the lands of her father Joce, principally the castle and town of Dynan (Ludlow). (33) William Peverel has himself entered his patrimony through his mother, the unnamed sister of Payne Peverel, (34) and the importance of this inheritance is signalled in William's adoption of his mother's family name.

The beautiful Maud de Caus, wife of the romance hero, is also a landed noblewoman. She enters the story not as an heiress like Melette and Hawise, but as a wealthy young dowager with an impressive array of 'strong castles, cities, lands, rents and great homages' ['fortz chastels, cites, terres e rentes e grantz homages'] in Ireland to match her personal qualities. (35) While she has no inheritance of her own, Maud functions emphatically as a means to, and sign of, Fulk's social and economic enhancement--much as Fulk's mother and grandmother have already done for their own husbands, Warin de Metz and Fulk le Brun, and much as occurred in the real-life story of the rise of the FitzWarin family in the contested borderlands of medieval Shropshire. The enviable socio-economic enrichment of the hero on his marriage, and the inappropriateness of the union under the circumstances of outlawry, are evidently appreciated by his companions: they tease him mercilessly (but good-naturedly) about his union with this esteemed lady, calling him 'hosebaunde' and asking him to which castle or wood he will take her. (36)

The supporting cast of more shadowy female characters performs similar roles on the feudal landscape sketched out by the romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn. Melette's elder sister Helene, co-parcener in William Peverel's extensive possessions in the March, marries into the great border family of FitzAlan and transmits to them 'the entire land of Morlas as far as the River Ceiriog'. (37) In this imaginative fashion, the text establishes the association between the FitzAlans and the strategic border stronghold of Oswestry that was theirs throughout the Middle Ages. Sybil, the elder sister of Hawise de Dynan, is also a co-heiress and (in fiction if not in fact) carries her inheritance to Payne FitzJohn, 'a very valiant knight'. (38) In reality, Payne FitzJohn (d. 1137), sometime sheriff of Shropshire and Herefordshire, was married to a different Sybil and Sybil de Dynan was married to another man, (39) but the finer details matter little. The pressing preoccupation of the insular baronage with landed wealth, and with the role of women in its transmission and circulation, translates directly into a romance in which, true to its genre, heiresses and wealthy dowagers play a central role and feudal law is defended against its principal violator, King John. Noblewomen are the chief device by which historical lords are anchored to the quasi-historical feudal landscape of Fouke's Shropshire frontier, and they are the focus of the disruptive power of King John. Amid the disorder and dispute of the March, the place of landed women, and of the heiress in particular, seems to take on particular importance.

If Maud de Caus was not already well-suited to noble wifedom, moreover, the romance suggests that she has more to offer her husband. As the wealthy relict of a premier Irish baron, Maud sits at the hub of a formidable Anglo-Irish network: in Ireland she has castles, land, and men under her governance; back in England she is the sister-in-law of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury. Maud thus brings the romance hero an important Irish connection at a time when many real-life Marcher lords, deprived of further pickings in Wales, were indeed cultivating links with Ireland, and she provides him with an ally in England in the struggle against the narrative's royal delinquent, King John. It is Archbishop Hubert who first begs Fulk to marry his brother's widow, to protect her from John, and he who, with the Earls of Chester and Gloucester and the Earl Marshal, negotiates a truce between the hero and the vengeful king. Although the romance errs on the facts, if not the flavour, of Fulk's association with Archbishop Hubert--Hubert Walter did not arrange the union between Fulk and Maud and probably played little role in the outlawry (40)--on the Irish connection it does not. Contemporary evidence reveals that through this marriage Fulk FitzWarin gained a place in prestigious Anglo-Irish circles which included the likes of the Marshals of Pembroke and, later, Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford. (41) This was social and political marriage in fact and fiction (to say nothing of the immediate financial benefits accruing to the husband), and Maud 'de Caus' at once enacts a generic role as a career-facilitator for the romance hero and functions as a mirror of real-world conditions.

The importance of socio-political alliance through women's marriage is clear. King Henry of England has allied himself to Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of Wales, through the marriage of his daughter Joan, and the union has been sealed with a maritagium in the frontier manor of Ellesmere and other lands perhaps contiguous with the Welsh border. (42) Similarly, when Joce de Dynan approaches Warin de Metz to propose marriage between his daughter Hawise and Fulk le Brun, he deliberately emphasizes the political advantages of such an union--it would make their party a force to be reckoned with in England: 'I would like us to be allied through marriage, so that we need scarcely fear any great lord in England, or that our cause will not be maintained by right and reason' ['... vodrey je qe nous fussoms entrealiez par mariage, e donqe ne doteroms gueres nul grant seignour d'Engletere, qe nostre partie ne serreit meintenu a drei e a resoun']. (43) By this, one suspects he means the meddling of King John and his henchmen.

Fulk FitzWarin's own daughters, each of them 'ordinary' or non-inheriting women like his wife Maud, also function as nodes on the grid of feudal and geographical inter-connection courted by the narrative's hero. Although the references are cursory, we are told, not incorrectly, that Fulk's eldest child Hawise becomes Lady of Wem by marriage and that Joan, his younger daughter by Maud, is made the wife of Henry de Pembridge. (44) Another of Fulk's daughters, Eve, a girl whose maternity is not entirely clear, is said to have been married first across the 'national' boundary to Llywelyn of Wales, and then to the shadowy Lord of Blancminster, 'a knight of great worth, courageous and bold'. (45) There may be something in this claim. (46) By the end of the romance, the hero and his kin are allied to, inter alios, the Pantulf dynasty of Wem in eastern Shropshire, the Lord of Pembridge Castle on the banks of the River Monnow, north of Monmouth, and, briefly, the princely dynasty of Gwynedd in North Wales. Fulk's aunt, Emeline (or Vyleyne, as the narrative also calls her), is married to the Lord of Higford in southern Shropshire, and it is here at Higford that Fulk stays during his adventures. (47) Fulk FitzWarin's (historically mimetic) social and geographic horizons are thus mapped by the narrative, and the critically important role played by the non-inheriting daughter provides a counterweight to the more obvious function of the heiress. (48) She, rather than the heiress, holds the key to the cross-border dynastic alliances of the FitzWarins and their ilk.

As the good women par excellence of the romance, the ladies of Whittington also easily fulfil their duties as wives and mothers. A central role of the noble wife was, of course, childbearing, and more particularly the production of a son and heir, and one of the principal functions of the wife in the insular romance was the perpetuation of the hero-husband's lineage and the descent of his lands. In these tasks Melette, Hawise, Maud, and Clarice have little difficulty. (49) Melette is the mother of the olive-skinned warrior Fulk le Brun. Fulk le Brun himself goes on to have five sons by his own wife, Hawise de Dynan: the romance-hero Fulk and his brothers Alan, William, Philip, and John. Even Maud de Caus, chased from pillar to post by King John and labouring under the hardships of her husband's outlawry, is able to provide him with at least two daughters and a son: Hawise (named for her paternal grandmother), Joan, and John, who is later confirmed under the name of Fulk. When she dies, she is replaced in the marriage bed by Clarice d'Auberville who gives Fulk further 'fine and valiant children'. (50) The theme of Fulk and Maud's conjugal and reproductive success under royal persecution has little basis in fact, for their marriage actually took place in c. 1207, after the real period of outlawry; but again the exact details matter less than the portrayal of King John as violator and disrupter on the one hand, and the triumph of right social order on the other. Here a group of baronial wives perform their prescribed roles as child- and heir-bearers, steadfastly, and even under difficult conditions. Melette de la Blaunche Tour, more than her husband, is the founder of the FitzWarin dynasty, and it is her descendants' strength in the male line, and their production of alliance-generating female offspring, that enables them to fulfil romance and real-world expectations of dynastic continuity and, so too, to pass into legend.

Nor are the 'good' women of Fouke merely transmitters of land and connection or the providers of male heirs and 'useful' female offspring. The account of Maud de Caus and Fulk FitzWarin is also the story of a positive husband-wife dynamic, of affective marital relations, even in the face of hardship: Fulk's thoughts turn often to his wife's safety and she accompanies him in his outlawry; their mutual respect is sealed when Maud is laid to rest at Fulk's foundation at Alberbury and Fulk follows later. (51) Fulk's second wife, Clarice, depicted sleeping beside her husband toward the end of the tale, is also interred at Alberbury in death. (52) Where the narrative provides insight into marital and familial relationships among the baronial classes, the portrayal is positive and the wife's role meaningful. Sexual activity between married couples is regular, judging from the frequency of childbirth; wives are often at their husbands' sides, particularly in times of crisis, and wife-mothers are able to exert a beneficial influence over husbands and children. Melette de la Blaunche Tour is a constant companion to her husband Warin de Metz until his death, and she appears to have been accorded some sort of role alongside her husband in the negotiations surrounding the marriage of their son, Fulk le Brun, to Hawise de Dynan. (53) Later, both Melette and Hawise are summoned to the royal court to comfort Fulk le Brun as he recovers from injury; wife and mother are lodged in the queen's apartments and Hawise becomes pregnant almost immediately. (54)

Wifely intimacy is balanced against motherly tenderness. In particular, it is the forthright Hawise de Dynan, the young woman who once reproached her future husband for cowardice, who matures into an exemplary mother-matriarch. As a widow she has her son Fulk to stay with her at Alberbury, listens as he relates his recent successes, and, like any twenty-first-century parent, provides financial aid to promote his career. (55) When she dies, Fulk is grief-stricken and prays devoutly for her soul. (56) Her importance within the family, and her strong relationship with her son, are reflected in Fulk's decision to name his eldest daughter Hawise. The impression is one not of female subservience and powerlessness in marriage, but of a contemporary expectation that wives and mothers should play a significant part in family life and that married couples might enjoy a fulfilling relationship. We need not automatically assume Georges Duby's view of medieval marriage as a loveless, misogynistic union to be true; Fouke le Fitz Waryn does not. (57)

Female agency, like that determinedly exhibited by Hawise de Dynan, is an important feature of the romance, in spite of first appearances. Not only does the teenaged Hawise scold Fulk le Brun for his ineffectual dithering within the safety of the tower--in the manner of a (caricatured) woman perhaps--but, as Glyn Burgess has pointed out, she thereby also indirectly chooses her own husband: in stinging the youth into action, Hawise's indignation 'inspire[s] knightly deeds and allow[s] Fulk le Brun to demonstrate at an early age that he is worthy of his father', the valiant Waryn de Metz. (58) Indeed, he also shows himself worthy to sire the romance hero. Fulk le Brun's mother, Melette de la Blaunche Tour, likewise speaks her mind and also plays a part in the selection of her own husband. In announcing that she will marry a man of valour only, rather than of wealth, she sets the parameters by which a mate is chosen for her. Her sympathetic uncle William Peverel clearly has no intention of forcing through an unfavourable match, (59) although it must be said that she is in no danger of being married off to a churl. By the thirteenth century, and well before, marriages of all classes were expected to involve a degree of mutual consent, and to preclude disparagement, and there is hard evidence that noblewomen did enjoy some say in the matter. (60) Melette's choosing is both positive and generic. Facilitating right social order, it leads directly to the foundation of a baronial dynasty complete with a hereditary patrimony. (61)

A further, active function associated with the medieval highborn, especially royal, woman is played out by Joan Plantagenet, the English spouse of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth: that of 'peace-weaving'. Church doctrine of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries tended to articulate a more positive role in Western European society for women than had been the case up to that point, encouraging the equation of the model of the Virgin Mary as intercessor with the prescribed acts of real wives and mothers in gently influencing men to action. (62) In the arena of high politics this often meant benevolent counsel and intercession between kinsmen. Fouke's Joan interrupts a heated argument between Fulk FitzWarin and Llywelyn just in time to prevent her husband from harming the romance hero, and it is she who acts as mediator: 'Thereupon the good lady arrived and made peace between the Prince and Sir Fulk, so that they embraced each other and forgave all ills' ['Donqe vynt la bone dame, e fist accord entre le prince e sire Fouke, issint qu'il furent entrebayseez e toutz maltalentz pardoneez']. (63) She intervenes again later when her husband receives a written demand from King John that he repudiate Fulk, who is sheltering with him in Wales. Joan warns Fulk of the letter and the possibility of betrayal and, although Llywelyn insists that no harm will come to the hero, a dismayed Fulk commends his wife to the protection of Archbishop Hubert and leaves the Welsh court immediately. (64) Although the real Joan did not in fact marry Llywelyn ab Iorwerth until after the end of Fulk's outlawry, Louise Wilkinson has demonstrated both that Joan was a prominent negotiator on behalf of, and between, her father, brother, and husband, and that insular aristocratic society of this period made room for women's agency in this capacity. (65) Joan, too, is supportive of the hero's deeds.

Much the same is the case of the Saracen beauty Isorie of Barbary and Lady Annabel, the 'molt corteise' wife of Sir Robert FitzSampson and sometime host to Fulk during his travels. These fictitious characters are also peace-weavers and intercessors of sorts, and both function as enablers of the hero's endeavours. When the robber-knight Peter de Brubyl, posing as Fulk FitzWarin, imprisons the FitzSampsons in their own castle in the Scottish borderlands, Lady Annabel pleads for mercy on behalf of husband and household; Sir Robert says not a word. Lurking in the shadows of the great hall, the real Fulk FitzWarin, who has happened upon the unfolding drama, responds immediately to Annabel's pleas and saves the day. Fulk's revenge is swift and brutal, and Peter de Brubyl and his fellow gang-members are decapitated. (66) In similar fashion, as Burgess has already noted, the friendship that develops between Fulk and Isorie of Barbary both facilitates peace between the Kingdom of Barbary and the Duchy of Carthage, and, indirectly, enables Fulk to escape from the captivity in which he is being held by the Saracen forces and return to his companions. It also, of course, makes possible the Christianizing of a Muslim dominion in Iberia. (67)

As a foil to the good women in Fouke le Fitz Waryn we also have the bad women: women who do not fulfil their duties in life or lifecycle or exhibit the behaviours suitable to their class. The most striking example is the fictitious Marion de la Bruere, a lady-in-waiting in the household of Joce de Dynan whose deficiencies and demise are inextricably bound up with a failed lifecycle and the disappointment of social expectation. Marion is a young unmarried woman who, though also called 'a very noble maiden' by the narrative, is without pedigree or land. Duped by her own naive love and the treachery of her paramour, she makes a series of grave errors of judgement, with catastrophic consequences for herself and the household to which she belongs: in arranging a tryst with the man she desires, Ernalt de Lyls, one of Lacy's vassals, Marion creates a breach in the castle's defences through which the enemy storms and Ludlow is lost. (68) When she realizes the deception, she slaughters her lover with his own sword and leaps to her death from the castle window. (69) This is the story not just of an unfortunate and passionate girl, but of a young woman who fulfils little social purpose and, in fact, challenges the properly established order of things. She has no feudal connections and cannot, therefore, transmit land or status in any way meaningful to her social group. She never marries, but has sex outside wedlock; she bears no children and forges no bloodline; and she takes her own life before her lifecycle is anywhere near complete--not for her a long life and venerable widowhood. Suicide itself was a complex, emotive issue with its own terrible repercussions in society, law, and religion. (70) The barrenness of this woman's lifecycle, like the inhospitable and untamed conditions of the March, is reflected in the uncultivated, unproductive heathlands of her French descriptor 'de la bruere'. (71) The barrenness of this woman's lifecycle, like the inhospitable and untamed conditions of the March, is reflected in the uncultivated, unproductive heathlands of her French descriptor 'de la bruere'. Marion is expendable: her function within the narrative requires it, and her lack of land, pedigree and connection makes it possible. Perhaps, in fact, the narrative means to suggest that a woman without these credentials is of little value. This is a cautionary tale.

It is also the case that Marion de la Bruere has a loose tongue, and thus she subverts the role of intercessor enacted by several of the good women of Fouke. In arranging to secrete Ernalt into the castle, Marion releases the details of the castle's security: the fact of the household's absence, the height of the drop below her window, and 'all relevant information concerning the castle'. (72) The mendacious Ernalt--a 'faus chevaler' if ever there was one (73)--passes this information on to his suzerain, embellishing his story to incite Lacy to rage and to cause him to attack Ludlow Castle immediately. (Significantly he cites the recent marriage alliance between Joce de Dynan and Waryn de Metz as evidence of their creation of an anti-Lacy party.) By the end of this sad vignette, Ernalt and Marion are dead and there has been such slaughter that 'many a sheet which had been white in the evening was soon red with blood' ['meynte lyncele, qe fust blanche a seyr, tot fust enrouy de sang']. (74) On the other hand, it may also be said that Marion de la Bruere is the only woman in Fouke whose agency extends as far as choosing her own ultimate fate. (75)

The cautionary tale of Marion de la Bruere is endorsed by the make-believe lover of the fictitious 'Maryn le Perdu de France' (the lost sailor of France), one of several different identities adopted by Fulk FitzWaryn during his adventures. Fulk tells Isorie of Barbary that his name is Maryn le Perdu and that he had been deeply in love with the daughter of an earl in his home country but that, though feigning love for him, the lady was in fact involved with another man, whom she loved more. This other man had found the lovers in bed together, attacked Maryn with a sword and set him adrift in the vessel that brought him, injured, to the shores of Barbary. (76) Unaware that Fulk is spinning a yarn, Isorie openly condemns Maryn's lover for discourteous behaviour and is clearly keenly aware of the contrast with Fulk-Maryn's own courtly bearing (as, one presumes, is the romance audience). The false lover's conduct, the sexual promiscuity and inconstancy, ill become a woman of breeding. Indeed, her behaviour has incited violence between two knights and has caused the wounding of one who is evidently a very courtly figure. She, like Marion de la Bruere, is the antithesis of the good women of Fouke le Fitz Waryn, and the form of love in which she and Marion are caught up--unrestrained, passionate, disordered (like the conditions of the March perhaps) --contrasts with the practical and prudent companionship that develops within the good women's marriages. The former is wrong-headed and wreaks untold havoc; the latter complements the socio-political marriage alliance, helping to strengthen that childbearing, heir-producing unit so critical to the smooth functioning of feudal society. (77)

Far from being an unreliable source for medieval historians, as Sidney Painter was wont to claim, (78) the romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn is so closely connected with the social and geographical contexts in which it and its verse antecedent were created that it is, in fact, a remarkably valuable tool in the search for Marcher women. Although they receive only a modest level of direct coverage in Fouke, as the carriers of land and lineage, and as enactors (and disrupters) of established order, women function both as a social and textual binding agent and, indeed, as a link between text and context. The leading role of the FitzWarin women in the perpetuation of their husbands' dynasty sustains that problematization of the boundaries between fact and fiction, between the historical realities of successful border lordship and the legend of a frontier family, that is so much a feature of this narrative. Fouke's abiding interest in the exigencies of feudalism makes women pivotal figures on the socio-geographical landscape and accurately defines (certain of) their social roles--from ideals of conduct to such practical functions as heir-bearing and peace-weaving--while the fluidity of the disputed Anglo-Welsh boundary further emphasizes their responsibility for the transfer of land and political alliance. It also, moreover, guides us some way toward an understanding of the experiences of Marcher women as active, self-determined individuals in an unsettled region, shedding light on the real lives of individual women of the FitzWarin family who lived and operated on the Shropshire frontier during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The romance of Fouke le Fitz Waryn embodies aspects of medieval aristocratic womanhood that were at once recognizable to contemporary audiences and, if Hathaway et al are correct, edifying to the young. (79) They are certainly edifying to twenty-first-century audiences. As far as historians are concerned, Fouke le Fitz Waryn, for all its fantasy, fiction, and historical licence, still reserves a considerable portion of its literary space for the depiction of real women.

(1) The prose redaction survives in London, British Library, MS Royal 12 C. XII, fols 62-68v. Modern editions include E. J. Hathaway et al, eds, Fouke le Fitz Waryn, Anglo-Norman Text Society, XXVI-XXVIII (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975), hereafter Fouke, and translations of this in Glyn S. Burgess, ed., Two Medieval Outlaws. Eustace the Monk and Fouke Fitz Waryn (Woodbridge: Brewer, 1997; repr. with updated bibliography, 2009) and Thomas H. Ohlgren, ed., Medieval Outlaws. Ten Tales in Modern English (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998). Henceforth all references are to Hathaway et al and all translations are my own. For debate over the date and provenance of the verse see: Alan Harding, ed., The Roll of the Shropshire Eyre of 1256, Selden Society Publications, XCVI (London: Selden Society, 1981), p. xxvii, n. 7; Janet Meisel, Barons of the Welsh Frontier. The Corbet, Pantulf and Fitz Warin Families (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1980), p. 133; Thomas Wright, ed., The History of Fulk Fitz Warine, an Outlawed Baron in the Reign of King John (London: Warton Club, 1855), pp. ix-x; Louis M. Brandin, ed., Fouke fitz Warin: roman du XIVe siecle (Paris: Champion, 1930), p. vii; Fouke, p. xxxv and n. 31; Elizabeth A. Francis, 'The Background to Fouke le Fitz Waryn', in Studies in Medieval French Presented to Alfred Ewert in Honour of his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Elizabeth A. Francis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), pp. 322-27 (pp. 322-23); Burgess, Two Medieval Outlaws, pp. 127-29; David Stephenson, 'Fouke le Fitz Waryn and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's Caim to Whittington', Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society (hereafter TSAHS), 77 (2002), 26-31 (pp. 28-29); Timothy Jones, 'Geoffrey of Monmouth, Fouke le Fitz Waryn, and National Mythology', Studies in Philology, 91.2 (1994), 223-49 (p. 233).

(2) Insular Romance: Politics, Faith, and Culture in Anglo-Norman and Middle English Literature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), Ch. 2; and Crane, 'Anglo-Norman Romances of English Heroes: "Ancestral Romance"?', Romance Philology, 35 (1981-82), 601-08. For categorization as an 'ancestral romance', see esp. M. Dominica Legge, Anglo-Norman Literature and its Background (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 139-74; but this label is challenged by Crane and others. Roger Pensom, 'Inside and Outside: Fact and Fiction in Fouke le Fitz Waryn', Medium Aevum, 63 (1994), 53-60 (pp. 53, 54) suggests that it straddles several generic boundaries.

(3) Sidney Painter, The Reign of King John (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1949; repr. 1966), p. 50. See also Painter, 'The Sources of Fouke Fitz Warin', Modern Language Notes, 50 (1935), 13-15; and U. T. Holmes 'The Adventures of Fouke Fitz Warin', in Medium Aevum Romanicum: Festschrift fur Hans Rheinfelder, eds H. Bihler and A. Noyer-Weidner (Munich: M. Hueber, 1963), pp. 179-85 (esp. p. 180); Pensom argues for an organized and structurally meaningful relationship between factual history (toponomy and political situation), 'forest episodes' (the outlawry; popular folklore) and pure fantasy (adventures in exotic foreign lands) ('Inside and Outside', p. 54 and generally).

(4) Fouke, p. xxx: the narrative furnishes 'a chain of toponyms, stretching from the fringes of Staffordshire through northern Shropshire and the Oswestry "salient" into the most northerly commotes of southern Powys and across the Berwyns to Bala in Penllyn'. The text itself speaks of the highway running along the March, from Chester to Bristol (Fouke, 3, 13-14).

(5) See for example Crane, Insular Romance; Helen Cooper, The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Monika Otter, Inventiones: Fiction and Referentiality in Twelfth-Century English Historical Writing (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); J. C. Holt, Robin Hood, rev. edn (London: Thames and Hudson, 1989); Maurice Keen, The Outlaws of Medieval Legend, rev. paperback edn (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987).

(6) Max Lieberman, 'The English and the Welsh in Fouke le Fitz Waryn', in Thirteenth Century England XII: Proceedings of the Gregynog Conference 2007, eds Janet Burton, Philipp Schofield, and Bjorn Weiler (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2009), pp. 1-11

(7) The notable exception is Glyn Burgess, 'Women in Fouke le Fitz Waryn', in "Por le soie amiste." Essays in Honor of Norris J. Lacy, eds Keith Busby and Catherine M. Jones (Amsterdam: Rodolpi, 2000), pp. 75-93. Crane offers half a paragraph on the subject, chiefly in the context of Maud de Caus (Insular Romance, p. 58).

(8) Fouke, 4, 17-38; 5, 1-4. See also Jones, 'Geoffrey of Monmouth', 223-49; and Otter, Inventiones, Ch. 2, esp. pp. 87-89.

(9) A confusion of the Peverels of Dover and Bourn with William Peverel of Nottingham, Lord of the Peak. The Marcher lord William Peverel II, son of Payne Peverel of Dover and Bourn, died without issue on crusade c. 1147/8, and was succeeded by four sisters, not two nieces: see I. J. Sanders, English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent, 1086-1327 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), p. 19; and relevant corrections in Katharine Keats-Rohan, 'Additions and Corrections to Sanders's Baronies', Prosopon Newsletter, 11 (July, 2000), 1-4 (p. 2). See also H. W. C. Davis et al, eds, Regesta regum anglo-normannorum, 1066-1154, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913-69), II, p. 1609. Whether one of these sisters was ever married to a 'Warin de Metz' is unclear: see esp. Fouke, textual notes to 7, 34-8, 6 (p. 69) and to 8, 4-6 (p. 70); R. W. Eyton, Antiquities of Shropshire, 12 vols (London: J. R. Smith, 1854-60), VII, pp. 67-68.

(10) Fulk le Brun is a conflation of the historical Fulk FitzWarins I and II, father and son, who died 1170-71 and c. 1197 respectively.

(11) Fouke, 4, 10-11.

(12) Actually Gilbert de Lacy (d. 1163). Historical errors in the narrative are detailed in Fouke, introduction, sections 1 (pp. ix-xv) and 4 (pp. xxvii-xxxvii).

(13) Crane, Insular Romance, pp. 23, 57.

(14) Crane, p. 54.

(15) Crane, p. 57.

(16) Ingrid Benecke, Der Gute Outlaw: studien zu einem literarischen Typus im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert (Tubingen: M. Niemeyer, 1973); See Glyn S. Burgess, 'Fouke Fitz Waryn III and King John: Good Outlaw and Bad King', in Bandit Territories: British Outlaw Traditions, ed. Helen Phillips (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2008), pp. 73-98.

(17) Crane, Insular Romance, p. 68; Pensom, 'Inside and Outside', pp. 55, 57

(18) Really Maud le Vavasour, daughter of Robert le Vavasour of Hazelwood (Yorks.). See below, n. 35, for further details.

(19) Otter, Inventiones, p. 88.

(20) Crane, Insular Romance, p. 58 and Ch. 2 generally.

(21) Fouke, 30, 15-16.

(22) See, for example, Cooper, The English Romance in Time, pp. 226-27.

(23) Fouke, 46, 38-47; 54, 15; 53, 37; 54, 10.

(24) Fouke, 8, 14-16.

(25) Fouke, 54, 11. See also Monika Brzezinski Potkay and Regula Meyer Evitt, Minding the Body: Women andLiterature in the Middle Ages, 800-1500 (London: Twayne Publishers, 1997), Ch. 4.

(26) Fouke, 38, 31-8; 39, 14.

(27) Crane, Insular Romance, p. 46; Cooper, The English Romance in Time, p. 227.

(28) Fouke, 44, 9-34.

(29) Fouke, 47, 1-21.

(30) Fouke, 54, 12-30.

(31) Fouke, 8, 19-20.

(32) Joseph Morris, 'The Family of Fitzwarine', Archaeologia Cambrensis, 7 (1852), 282-91 (pp. 284, 286)--repr. in TSAHS, 5 (1882)--stated that it was not Warin 'de Metz', but a second Warin (d. c. 1156), grandson of the first and son of Fulk FitzWarin I, who married one Miletta, sister and co-heiress to Payn [sic] Peverel lord of Whittington. However, Morris's genealogy for the early descent of the FitzWarin family differs from any other I have seen, gives little indication of its sources, and contains demonstrable errors: cf. above n. 9.

(33) She was also heiress to lands in Berkshire, Wiltshire and Lincolnshire, which were transmitted to Fulk and his descendents: Fouke, 21, 25; Meisel, Barons of the Welsh Frontier, esp. Chs 3 and 6.

(34) Fouke, 7, 33-36.

(35) Fouke, 30, 21-2. There has been a longstanding tendency to assume that Maud was an heiress (Morris, p. 286; Fouke, p. xxix; Meisel, p. 39; and Burgess, 'Women', p. 83). She was not. Fouke le Fitz Waryn does not suggest that Maud is an heiress, and contemporary evidence demonstrates variously that the interests received by Fulk with his wife were simply maritagium and dower (T. D. Hardy, ed., Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum, 2 vols (London, 1833-44) (hereafter Rot. Claus.), I, pp. 92b, 223b); that Maud's father was alive and well for many years after her marriage, which he himself had fined for control of in 1207 (Pipe Rolls, 9 John, p. 71, 10 John, p. 155, 12 John, p. 160; T. D. Hardy, ed., Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus, tempore Regis Johannis (London, 1835) (hereafter Rot. Ob.), pp. 405-06; Calendar of Patent Rolls (hereafter CPR), 1216-25 (London: HMSO, 1901), p. 409); and, most importantly, that Maud had a brother to succeed to the family inheritance (Joseph McNulty, ed., The Cartulary of the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary of Sallay in Craven, 2 vols, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, record series, LXXXVII, XC (1933-34), I, pp. 67-68; Close Rolls of the Reign of Henry III, 14 vols (London: HMSO, 1902-38) (hereafter CR. Henry III), VII (1251-53), p. 208). The statement (Pipe Roll, 9 John, p. 110) that Fulk had taken on a debt 'for having to wife the daughter of Robert Vavasour, that is to say Maud cum hereditate sua ['with her inheritance'], should be taken as an error.

(36) Fouke, 30, 27-29.

(37) Fouke, 8, 5-6.

(38) Fouke, 22, 20-22.

(39) Payn FitzJohn's wife was Sybil (d. 1140), a member of the Herefordshire branch of the Lacy family. As a widow, this Sybil married Joce de Dynan, a royal favourite who was granted Ludlow by the king (B. Coplestone-Crow, 'Payn Fitz John and Ludlow Castle', TSAHS, 70 (1995), 171-83 (p. 181)). Sybil de Dynan married Hugh de Plugenet (Sir Francis Palgrave, ed., Rotuli Curiae Regis: Rolls and Records of the Court held before the King's Justiciars or Justices, 2 vols (London: the Record Commissioners, 1834), I (6 Ric. I-1 John, 1196-99), p. 37).

(40) Hubert Walter died in June 1205, three months before his brother Theobald, who was then still married to Maud le Vavasour. The union between Fulk and Maud may have been arranged, at least in part, by Maud's father, for in 1207 Robert le Vavasour proffered 1200 marks and two palfreys for the right to control, among other things, the marriage of his daughter Maud; this debt was taken on by Fulk FitzWarin. See, for example, Pipe Roll, 9 John, p. 71; Rot. Ob., pp. 405-06; Rot. Claus., I, pp. 88b, 92b.

(41) H. S. Sweetman, ed., Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 5 vols (London: Longman, 1875-1886), I (1171-1251), nos 2673, 2674.

(42) Fouke, 22, 8-10. Joan was actually the (illegitimate) daughter of King John and therefore granddaughter to Henry II and half-sister to Henry III. She does appear, however, to have had Ellesmere as her marriage portion (J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, 3rd edn, 2 vols (London: Longmans, Green, 1939), II, p. 616). So too did Emma, daughter of Henry II, on her marriage to Dafydd ab Owain of Gwynedd in the late twelfth century (William Stubbs, ed., Chronica magistri Rogeri de Houedene, 4 vols, Rolls Series, LI (Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1868-1871), II, p. 134).

(43) Fouke, 14, 20-23.

(44) Fouke, 38, 36-37; 39, 6-7.

(45) Blancminster presumably refers to Oswestry, where Eyton, VIII, p. 97, notes the existence of an Eva de Oswaldistre (Oswestry) around this time. Cf. H. E. Chetwynd-Stapleton, The Chetwynds of Ingestre: Being a History of that Family from a very early Date (London: Longmans, Green, 1892), pp. 23-25.

(46) Fouke, 59, 16-24. The Annals of Chester contain a single mention, under the year 1239, of the marriage of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth to a daughter of Fulk FitzWarin (R. C. Christie, ed., Annales Cestrienses; or, Chronicles of the Abbey of St Werburg, at Chester (London: [], 1887), p. 60. As Llywelyn's first wife Joan died in 1237, and Llywelyn himself in 1240, the marriage must (just as Fouke indicates) have been very brief indeed. It is also a measure of the esteem in which the FitzWarins were held by this stage.

(47) Fouke, 25, 27-31; 30, 2-4; 38, 38-39.

(48) Further evidence of Fulk FitzWarin III's interest in marriage alliances between his offspring and the Welsh powers, in this case, with Madog ap Gruffudd de Bromfield (northern Powys), may been seen in London, TNA, SC1/1, nos 93, 111. See also W. W. Shirley, ed., Royal and other historical letters illustrative of the reign of Henry III: from the originals in the Public Record Office, 2 vols (London: Longman, Green, 1862-66), I, nos 251, 252; J. G. Edwards, ed., Calendar of Ancient Correspondence concerning Wales (Cardiff: University Press Board, 1935), p. 2.

(49) Fouke, 39, 9-14. The exception is that Maud's son is two months premature, and mother and son are weak for a time.

(50) Fouke, 59, 13-15.

(51) Fouke, 39, 25-28; 58, 39-59, 2; 59, 10-12; 61, 10-13. Fulk's burial at Alberbury Priory is confirmed by Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS DD. C. 1, no. 115.

(52) Fouke, 59, 25-27; 61, 9-10.

(53) The proposal is put to Warin de Metz by Hawise's father, Joce de Dynan, after he has written to both Warin and Melette requesting their presence at Dynan (Ludlow) Castle (Fouke, 14, 11-29).

(54) Fouke, 21, 5-11.

(55) Fouke, 25, 16-19.

(56) Fouke, 25, 31-32. The bond between the historical mother and son may have been similarly affective, for Fulk's charters of donation and burial request to the family monastery at Alberbury reserves space, in the pro anima clause, for the memory of his mother Hawise (MS DD. C.1, no. 115).

(57) Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages, trans. Jane Dunnett (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994), esp. Ch. 2; Peter Coss, The Lady in Medieval England 1000-1500 (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998), Ch. 4; Margaret Howell, 'Royal Women of England and France in the Mid-Thirteenth Century: A Gendered Perspective', in England and Europe in the Reign of Henry III (1216-1272), eds Bjorn K. U. Weiler and Ifor W. Rowlands (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 163-82; Jennifer Ward, 'The English Noblewoman and Her Family in the Later Middle Ages', in 'The Fragility of Her Sex'? Medieval Irishwomen in Their European Context, eds C. E. Meek and M. K. Simms (Blackrock: Four Courts Press, 1996), pp. 119-35 (pp. 123-24).

(58) Burgess, 'Women', p. 80.

(59) Burgess, 'Women', p. 78.

(60) Christopher N. L. Brooke, The Medieval Idea of Marriage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989; repr. 1991 and 1994), Ch. 6; John Gillingham, 'Love, Marriage and Politics in the Twelfth Century', Forum for Modern Language Studies, 25.4 (1989), 292-303.

(61) For discussion of the positive, generic function of active female desire in insular romance literature generally, see Cooper, The English Romance in Time, pp. 220-28.

(62) Judith M. Bennett, Medieval Women in Modern Perspective (Washington D.C.: American Historical Association, 2000), p. 29; Sharon Farmer, 'Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives', Speculum, 61 (1986), 517-43.

(63) Fouke, 34, 1-5.

(64) Fouke, 39, 15-40, 3.

(65) 'Joan, Wife of Llywelyn the Great', in Thirteenth Century EnglandX: Proceedings of the Durham Conference 2003, eds Michael Prestwich, Richard Britnell, and Robin Frame (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2005), pp. 81-94 (p. 85 and passim).

(66) Fouke, 31, 16-19.

(67) Burgess, 'Women', pp. 78, 87-88. Fouke, 53, 25-56, 3.

(68) David Lloyd has suggested that the story may be founded on a real incident (Ludlow Castle: A History and a Guide (Telford: Powis Castle Estate, [n.d.]), p. 11).

(69) Fouke, 17, 4-28.

(70) See esp. Alexander Murray, Suicide in the Middle Ages, 2 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998; repr. 2008).

(71) La bruere means heath or heather in Anglo-Norman French, and in the nineteenth century at least there were still several places called 'the Heath' in the area around Ludlow (Wright, pp. 193-94). For the idea of layers of meaning in Marion's descriptor, I owe a debt of thanks to the reviewers of this essay's first draft.

(72) Fouke, 14, 30-15, 17.

(73) Cf. Fouke, 16, 11.

(74) Fouke, 17, 1-2.

(75) Thanks to Professor Daniel Power for drawing my attention to this point.

(76) Fouke, 54, 1-8.

(77) I would also like to thank Jean Birrel for her suggestions on the configurations of love and attachment in Fouke.

(78) King John, p. 50.

(79) Fouke, p. ix. Potkay and Evitt remark on the role of such texts in the indoctrination of women (Minding the Body, p. 67).

Emma Cavell

Oriel College

University of Oxford
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