chapter  2
12 Pages

Women, Gender and Credit in Early Modern Western European Towns

WithCathryn Spence

This chapter explores the role of gender and credit in early modern European towns, considering not only who participated in the 'culture of credit' that existed in Europe but also how influences such as gender and social and occupational status affected early modern understandings of credit and credit networks. The monetary value of the goods or service purchased, or the amount of money lent, represented only half of the credit relationship. It is easy to understand the important roles Marion Nemo, Alexander Mitchell and their co-litigants performed for one another, even from a distance of several hundred years. Today's world of bank loans, mortgages and credit cards is – at its most basic level – little removed from the extensive debt and credit networks that bound people together in early modern towns. In the late medieval and early modern periods, all members of society, including women, engaged in networks of debt and credit.