Book Series Early European Research, vol. 12

Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe

Elise M. Dermineur (ed)

  • Pages: xi + 364 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w, 32 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57052-5
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57053-2
  • E-book
  • Available

Explores a variety of perspectives on women’s participation and experiences in credit markets in early modern Europe.


“Dermineur and Fontaine faced the difficult challenge of synthesizing the incredibly messy diversity of premodern actual practice. Their discussions highlight significant themes (…) this volume presents a body of research that will figure prominently in those future debates.” (Shennan Hutton, in The Medieval Review, 19/09/29)

“In summary, this is a fascinating volume covering both the late medieval and the early modern periods and in doing so covers over four centuries of history.” (Ann M. Carlos, in EH.Net, January 2020)

“The book thus builds on earlier research by Judith Spicksley, William Chester Jordan, Amy M. Froide and others and raises important questions that should shape the future study of women and credit.” (Hannah Robb, in Agricultural History Review, 67/II, 2019, p. 329)

“The volume as a whole provides a robust road map for future research, making the case, for example, that the study of women and credit, seemingly mature in England, needs to be pursued more fully elsewhere in Europe, western and eastern. It also shows how data can be employed creatively to answer questions about gender, as well as carry out robust comparative analysis. This volume has much to offer scholars of women and gender, of credit and debt, and of family networks.” (JANINE LANZA, in Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal  16/1, 2021, p. 144)

“To sum up: each of the contributions reflect the opportunities for women of varying marital statuses to achieve access to credit and their participation in credit practices in different contexts.

(…) there can be little doubt about the useful and commendable contribution the volume makes.” (Maria Weber, in Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 4/2021, p. 550)

“This edited book brings a whole range of issues to the surface and provides a good basis for further research on the role of women in the networks of trade that flourished in late medieval and early modern Europe.” (Judy Bailey in Parergon, 39/1, 2022, p. 280)



This collection of essays compares and discusses women’s participation and experiences in credit markets in early modern Europe, and highlights the characteristics, common mechanisms, similarities, discrepancies, and differences across various regions in Europe in different time periods, and at all levels of society. The essays focus on the role of women as creditors and debtors (a topic largely ignored in traditional historiography), but also and above all on the development of their roles across time. Were women able to enter the credit market, and if so, how and in what proportion? What was then the meaning of their involvement in this market? What did their involvement mean for the community and for their household? Was credit a vector of female emancipation and empowerment? What were the changes that occurred for them in the transition to capitalism? These essays offer a variety of perspectives on women’s roles in the credit markets of early modern Europe in order to outline and answer these questions as well as analysing and exploring the nature of women, money, credit, and debt in a pre-industrial Europe.



Women and Credit in Pre-Industrial Europe: An Overview - ELISE M. DERMINEUR

High Finance: Women and Staple Credit in England, 1353–1532 - RICHARD GODDARD

Women, Attorneys and Credit in Late Medieval England - MATTHEW FRANK STEVENS

Creditworthy Women and Town Courts in Late Medieval England - TERESA PHIPPS

The Ages of Women and Men: Life Cycles, Family, and Investment in the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries - JACO ZUIJDERDUIJN

Providing Security for Others: Swedish Women in Early Modern Credit Networks - MARIA ÅGREN

Women’s Participation in Rural Copyhold Mortgages in Seventeenth-Century England - JULIET GAYTON

Women, Credit, and Dowry in Early Modern Italy - JAMES E. SHAW

Gold, Ink, and Tears: The Hazards of Credit and the Indebted Widow in Eighteenth-Century Germany - EVE ROSENHAFT

Never-Married Women and Credit in Early Modern England - JUDITH M. SPICKSLEY

Credit, Strategies, and Female Empowerment in Early Modern France - ELISE M. DERMINEUR

Women and Money: Credit, Debt, and Status in the Eighteenth-Century London Court of Exchequer - MARGARET HUNT

Women, Small Credit, and Community: Barcelona in the Eighteenth Century - MONTSERRAT CARBONELL-ESTELLER

Women and Credit in the Area of Santiago de Compostela at the End of the Old Regime (1770–1805) - FRANCISCO CEBREIRO ARES

Concluding Remarks - LAURENCE FONTAINE