The Lost Ladies of Middleton

The ‘Lost’ Ladies of Middleton, an essay researched and written by Anne Falloon

It is all too easy to overlook the role of Middleton’s manorial women given the nature of late mediaeval and early modern records. Where there are accounts, the focus is often on the inheritors of land, the soldiers, the churchmen and the statesmen. But the documents that survive for Middleton do give us some insight into the lives of the de Middleton, de Barton and Assheton women. When they could, these ladies of the manor took hold of the reins of power, both secular and religious and not only wielded significant influence, but were interesting and occasionally disturbing individuals, feuding, prosecuting and sometimes killing. They seem to leap out of the rather dry documentary references that survive from assize courts and marriage agreements with just a little ‘reading between the lines’

In this paper, I will focus on the lives of Middleton’s ladies, the chatelaines of the manor and the heiresses, from the 13th to the 16th centuries. They are:

  • Hawise de Middleton (c 1175-after 1240) and her sister in law Helewise

  • Agnes de Hulton (c 1285-c 1350) and her daughter Maud de Middleton (1304-c 1350)

  • Margery Barton (c. 1425-c 1480)

  • Elizabeth Davenport Assheton (c. 1540-1607)

  • Margaret Assheton Davenport (1544-1609)

The lost Ladies of Middleton

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