- The Heiresses of Buccleuch: Marriage, Money and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 15, Number 2, January 1998
- pp. 231-233
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Reviews 231 of the various marriageriteswould provide insights into some of the expectations of the woman's role in marriage and would be quite susceptible to the kind of Uterary analysis which the editor states the selected texts demand. It is a pity there is not more from Dhuoda's Manual of Instruction for her son, other than the brief few lines in the introduction to the section on motherhood, as it is one of the very few medieval texts written by a mother. It could also have been used as an example of the Uterate skiUs which might be possessed by a lay woman in the period. Introductory sections direct the interested reader towards works of modern commentators which can provide more detaUed discussion of the thematic area. However, apart from estabUshing the relationship between this coUection of texts and that of Emtfe Ami, no attempt is made to direct the reader towards other editions of selected materials or to the m a n y editions of complete works which are avaUable and which can provide greater insight into thisrichfield. To be fuUy useful, the work would have to form the basis of a specific course which would be a very general survey of Uterature by and for women from the fifth to fifteenth centuries. But such a course could not provide students with any real insights into women's experience in any particular period, nor any changes in their situation across the thousand years represented by the selected texts. JuUe A n n Smith Department of History Massey University Lee, Maurice, Jr., The Heiresses of Buccleuch: Marriage, Money and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain, Phantassie, East Linton, Ea Lothian, Tuckwell Press, 1996; paper; pp. xi, 143; 10 b / w plates; R.R.P. £14.99. This is a story of property and poUtics in a Britain where the union of the crowns had not yet led to the Act of Union. The Scotts were a powerful and privileged Border famUy where internal feuds resulted in the marriage of the last heiress to Charles II's bastard s o n — w h o took the Scott name and the title of duke of Buccleuch in addition to 232 Reviews Monmouth, the one by which he is irrevocably known to history as the instigator of an unsuccessful rising against his uncle James II. The marriage, for the young heiress, was unhappy and after the failure of therising,nearly disastrous for the family. That property was of greater importance than affection, let alone happiness, to nearly every generation of this Scottish famUy is well documented in Maurice Lee's deceptively simple account of a century of backstabbing and intrigue. The account gives a telling picture of the perils and necessities of playing politics at the Stuart court. It show both the need and the danger of involvement in national politics in a period of conflict. It casts light on the bitter feuds which underlay the relationships of individuals tied together in family networks, as well as the genuine affection which could flower between guardians and chUdren. Brother might betray sister, uncle, niece—but distant cousins might put their o w n inheritance at risk for those whose guardianship they had undertaken. Because of the elaborate arrangements for the management and supervision of children and heritage, with numerous tutors and supervisors involved, the scope for manipulation and deceit was only increased. Since this was a domestic drama played out at the highest level, i t adds depth and perspective to our images of some of the most prominent political players. It is a surprise to find a m a n as well known and respected as John Hay, Earl of Tweeddale and Lord ChanceUor, cast as the wicked uncle but it explains some of the more ambiguous characteristics attributed to him in the public sources. The arrangements which Anna Scott's marriage to Monmouth necessitated Ulustrate the fine legal boundaries of what could and could not be done, even by monarchs, in bleeding wealthy estates in the interests of then o w n chUdren and favourites. Charles's wishes about the Buccleuch inheritance were clear. Should Anna die without heirs of her...