Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600

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Oxford University Press, Nov 7, 1996 - History - 280 pages
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Women brewed and sold most of the ale consumed in medieval England, but after 1350, men slowly took over the trade. By 1600, most brewers in London were male, and men also dominated the trade in many towns and villages. This book asks how, when, and why brewing ceased to be women's work and instead became a job for men. Employing a wide variety of sources and methods, Bennett vividly describes how brewsters (that is, female brewers) gradually left the trade. She also offers a compelling account of the endurance of patriarchy during this time of dramatic change.
 

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Contents

Brewsters
3
When Women Brewed
14
New Markets Lost Opportunities Singlewomen and Widows as Harbingers of Change
37
Working Together Wives and Husbands in the Brewers Gild of London
60
New Beer Old Ale Why Was Female to Male as Ale Was to Beer?
77
Gender Rules Women and the Regulation of Brewing
98
These Things Must Be if We Sell Ale Alewives in English Culture and Society
122
Womens Work in a Changing World
145
Interpreting Presentments under the Assize of Ale
158
Notes
187
Bibliography
237
Index
251
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About the author (1996)

Judith M. Bennett is Professor Emerita of History and John R. Hubbard Chair in British History Emerita at University of Southern California. She has published extensively on the history of women, particularly women in the middle ages. Her books include Women in the Medieval English Countryside (Oxford, 1987) and Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages (co-editor, 1989).

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