chapter  1
10 Pages

Patterns of Transmission and Urban Experience

When Gender Matters
WithAnna Bellavitis

In early modern Europe, patterns of transmission of properties and inheritance were based upon law, economy and relations between members of families. Rules on transmission and inheritance do not only concern urban space. In recent decades, patterns of transmission relating to gender have been the object of much research, focusing on the rules and their enforcement as well as on the practices and the juridical devices that allowed the rules to be adapted to circumstances and economic situations. The urban economies of early modern Europe gave different opportunities to men and women. The 'urban experience' of women and men in the transmission of goods changed according to places. The enforcement of marriage contracts was under the jurisdiction of the equity courts; so, in England, women could appeal to several courts to have their rights enforced. Many young women left their birth family to work in other people's houses and workshops, but some had the opportunity of inheriting their parents' businesses.