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Presented By: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

The Premodern Colloquium. "As though death should every hour approach": Reformation Adaptations in English Women's Wills

Taylor Sims, U-M History

The wills of non-elite laywomen who lived and died in late-fifteenth and sixteenth century England provide a glimpse into their priorities, identities, and Reformation adaptations. From reluctant laywomen, removed from the rhythms of religious life
by the dissolution, to those who spent their days living, working, and worshiping in the diocese of Salisbury’s varied parishes, “everyday” women proved themselves to be capable administrators and active members of their local networks. In their wills, they cast themselves as faithful stewards of their worldly goods, prioritizing practical, occupational, and familial concerns, occasionally hinting at ongoing religious reform. Amidst unpredictable change and persistent continuity, non-elite laywomen were adept and adaptable, navigating the instability and unknowns of theological, social, and political reform. Looking back, usually from their final days, they elucidated their everyday lives and left vibrant traces of themselves, their memories, and their experiences.

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February 20, 2022 (Sunday) 4:00pm
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