Rebecca Mason

Research title

Married Women and the Law in Scotland, 1600-1750

Research summary

My PhD research project is entitled ‘Married Women and the Law in Scotland, 1600-1750′, with my dissertation focussed on the agency of married women before the law in Scotland between 1600 and 1750. The research will be structured around a comparison of married women in the Highlands and in Lowland Scotland and is designed to establish any differences between wives’ legal agency in very different parts of Scotland, and then place this comparison in a broader historiographical framework relating to women and marital property law in Britain and Ireland. The practices and outcomes of litigation will be compared with the principles and ideals in legal publications and statute law that began to circulate in print during this period. Cases involving single and widowed women will also be sampled, in order to establish the impact of marital status on women’s legal access to and defence of property rights in comparison to ‘never married’ and ‘ever married’ women. Close attention will also be paid to the influence of differences in wealth, social status and kinship ties on married women’s access to justice and legal resources.



My PhD is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of a collaborative project entitled “Women Negotiating the Boundaries of Justice: Britain and Ireland, c.1100-c.1750”  The project is directed by the Principal Investigator, Dr. Deborah Youngs of Swansea University, along with Co-Investigators Dr. Garthine Walker (Cardiff University) and Professor Alex Shepard (University of Glasgow).