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In the winter of 1328-1329, Cristina, widow of Thomas Scot, potter of London, was convicted, imprisoned in Newgate and sentenced to hang for the crime of murdering her husband. Her execution was delayed due to her pregnancy. In January or February 1329, Cristina sent a letter to Isabella of France, queen mother, requesting a King’s pardon. On March 2, Edward III pardoned Cristina, at his mother’s request, through letters patent. It appears that Isabella, who had an established reputation as an intercessor for both personal petitions and general political appeals, had successfully interceded on Cristina’s behalf. Although medieval queens- both consorts and dowagers- were frequently asked to intercede and often were an effective avenue to securing pardons for crimes, this particular crime and its pardon provides insight into the networks that medieval women were able to create, as they negotiated an administrative system that was not terribly focused on women’s interests. I analyze the relationship between motherhood, intercession and power within the context of the political dynamics of marriage, gender and widowhood.
Copyright © 2015. Permission received to reproduce TNA SC1.42.110 from the Image Library of The National Archives
Allocco, Katherine. "Reginal Intercession and the Case of Cristina, Convicted Murderer." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality
51, no. 1 (2015)
Available at: http://ir.uiowa.edu/mff/vol51/iss1/3