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‘With intent to injure and diffame’: Sexual slander, gender and the church courts of London and York, 1680-1700

Thomas, Rachael (2015) ‘With intent to injure and diffame’: Sexual slander, gender and the church courts of London and York, 1680-1700. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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This thesis contributes to research on sexual slander, gender and reputation in the early modern church courts through a detailed study of the sexual slander cases sued in the Bishop of London’s Consistory court and the Archbishop’s Consistory court for York in the years 1680-1700. It engages with three of the main historiographical interpretations of these topics: the ‘double standard’, the ‘women’s court’ and the ‘decline’ of defamation. By doing so, it further develops the work of previous historians who have debated the extent to which these interpretations reflect the reality of the sexual slander business sued in the church courts. The latter decades of the seventeenth century were chosen as the period on which to base this study as the majority of previous studies of sexual slander, defamation and reputation have focussed on the period 1560-1640. In a further effort to broaden our understanding of the sexual slander business of the church courts this thesis also suggests – and employs – alternative methods for its evaluation. It examines sexual slander business as a proportion of the overall business of the courts and it explores the extent to which sexual slander cases would be sued in the courts; both of which are methods of research that have not been thoroughly utilised. It also questions whether the proportion of sexual slander business and the extent to which it was sued underwent any patterns of change from the first to the last decades of the seventeenth century. The overarching aim of this thesis, therefore, is to facilitate a re-examination of the ways in which gender, sexual slander and reputation have been researched in previous years.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Miss Rachael Thomas
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2015 15:25
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2015 15:25
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8696

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