The Pursuit of the Heiress: Aristocratic Marriage in Ireland 1740-1840
The Pursuit of the Heiress is a new, greatly enlarged and more widely focused version of what the late Lawrence Stone described as "a brilliant long essay or short book on the subject of the role of heiresses among the Irish aristocracy," which was published by the Ulster Historical Foundation under the same title in 1982 and has long been out of print. The new book comes to the same broad conclusions about heiresses—namely that their importance as a means of enlarging the estates or retrieving the fortunes of their husbands has been much exaggerated. This was because known heiresses were well protected by a variety of legal devices and, in common with many aristocratic women of the day, also had minds and strong preferences of their own—which meant that they were not generally an object of deliberate or profitable pursuit. The new book also ranges more widely than its central theme of heiresses and addresses other aspects of aristocratic marriage such as abductions, elopements, mésalliances, the supposed "rise of the affective family," and the disadvantaged situation of even the richest and most privileged women in an age when both adultery and divorce were largely the prerogative of men.
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ONE Law terminology and the nature of the evidence
THREE The superior bargaining power of the heiress
EIGHT The safer and surer routes to riches
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12th Viscount Dillon 1st Earl 1st Marquess 2nd Earl 2nd Viscount 3rd Earl Abercorn Annesley Antrim Archives aristocratic AUTHOR'S COLLECTION Belmore Belvedere Blessington brother cadet inheritance Castle Cathcart century Charles Clanwilliam co-heiress Conolly Conyngham Countess Countess of Antrim d'Orsay daugh daughter death debts died Dillon divorce Dowager Downshire Dromana Dublin Duchess Duchess of Leinster Dunraven dynastic eldest Elizabeth English family estate father fortune Gardiner Granard Grandison heir heiress Henry House husband income Ireland Irish estate Irnham John jointure Killadoon Papers landed later Leinster Leitrim letters Limerick lived London Londonderry Longford Malcomson male Mark Kerr Marquess of Donegall marriage marriage settlement married Mary Massereene mother Nathaniel Clements Nugent Osborne parliament peerage Portarlington portion PRONI rental riage Rosse Rosshill settled sister Smyth Springfield Castle Stewart Stuart succeeded Thomas Thomas Conolly Thomond trustees Tyrone Villiers-Stuart Waterford Westmeath widow wife William William Conolly Wyndham younger children