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The Violent Abuse of Women in 17th and 18th Century Britain (Paperback)

P&S History > By Century > 17th Century P&S History > By Century > 18th Century P&S History > Social History P&S History > True Crime Women of History

By Geoffrey Pimm
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526751621
Published: 7th October 2019


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Although the worlds of science and philosophy took giant strides away from the medieval view of the world, attitudes to women did not change from those that had pertained for centuries. Girls were largely barred from education – only around 14% of women could read and write by 1700 - and the few educated women were not permitted to enter the professions.

The social turbulence of the first half of the seventeenth century afforded women new opportunities and new religious freedoms and women were attracted into the many new sects where they were afforded a voice in preaching and teaching.

This reaction often found expression in the violent and brutal treatment of women who were seen to have stepped out of line, whether legally, socially or domestically. Often beaten and abused at home by husbands exercising their legal right, they were whipped, branded, exiled and burnt alive by the courts, from which their sex had no recourse to protection, justice or restitution.

This work records the many kinds of violent physical and verbal abuse perpetrated against women in Britain and her colonies, both domestically and under the law, during two centuries when huge strides in human knowledge and civilisation were being made in every other sphere of human activity.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved it. Love the research that went in to this book and loved the style of writing that felt very accessible and readable as opposed to high academic style writing. Very informative and well rounded research that really shows what life was like for women in this period. Great book and one that should definitely be peer reviewed.

NetGalley, Sarah English

Pimm has added to our knowledge of women during that transitional era in an enlightening but often uncomfortable read.

Read the full review here

Beating Tsundoku

This author brings to live how women were treated unfairly and very often violently throughout the the 17th and 18th century. As well as how women during this time had very little to no rights and were treated as object of scron by the both the males of the households and justice system.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Means

I did not realize how badly women were regarded in that time, so I do appreciate the work the author put into this book.

GoodReads, Lillian

This is a fascinating read for the student of both social and legal history, though I won't whitewash the fact that our modern day sensibilities (such as they are) will not only be offended but challenged. Having said that, one wonders if we have advanced as far as we think - or would like to think - that we have with regards to attitudes towards women. Not the least bit thought provoking.

See the full review here

Melisende d`Outremer, Melisende`s Library July 2019

This is an important and carefully researched record of various categories of punishment and abuse. No doubt flogging was just as cruel when applied to their male counterparts, but women's suffering of this scale should not go unrecorded and unrecognised.

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Alan Moss

What an eye opener full of facts and interesting stories a great read

Roots Family History Service

The books looks at how women were treated unfairly and very often violently throughout the the 17th and 18th century as stated in the title. Women during this time had very little to no rights and were treated as object of scron by the both the males of the households and justice system.

An examples of the difference between the treatment of men and women can seen in how courts delt with the crimes of petty theft and high treason for these crimes men where hanged , where's women were hurshly sentenced to death by burning at the stake. In any household at the time a men could also beat his wife and his female servants with legal rights to do

A interesting, well researched and a thought provoking book but sadly at times a very hard read due to subject matter.

Would recommend to those with an interested in history, equality and equal rights.

NetGalley, S Ballinger

The topic of this book is exceptionally interesting. It looks at the abuse of women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - not just physical and sexual though those are heavily included but also the wider discrimination and emotional and psychological abuse. The book is fascinating and obviously extensively researched.

NetGalley, Debra Found

This is undoubtedly a very well-researched book. Many sources are cited and there are appendices giving the full texts of contemporary reports of court cases.

NetGalley, Colin Edwards

Rating: 5 out of 5

This is a well-researched account of how women were unfairly and sometimes brutally treated. I was quite shocked learning about all the mistreatments and inhumanity, both physically and mentally, what women had to go through. Even though that I’ve previously looked into women’s treatment in the Victorian Era, I was taken aback by the extent of such accounts.

NetGalley, Krisztina Farkas

The Violent Abuse Of Women in 17th and 18th century Britain is a vital and important piece of women’s history, giving insight into the vicious and horrific treatments of women during the end of the Medieval and beginning of the Modern period in Britain. It is informative and very well researched.

Read the full review here

Kendal Parker, Blogger

To say this book is a joy to read would probably be badly phrased. It would be better to say this is a passionate and informative account of the subject and especially of judicial violence. It also did not surprise me to learn that the author has written a book about Samuel Pepys as his diary is quoted several times as an example of the legally and socially acceptable use of violence and sexual assault a ‘respectable’ man could perpetrate against women at the time, without consequences. The book charts changing attitudes towards judicial violence and violence against women in particular over the time period and is illustrated well, without being gratuitous.

Rosemarie Cawkwell, Blogger

There is no doubt that this is an excellent piece of research and will be an invaluable resource for students of this subject. It’s a difficult book to read, however, the content is very upsetting in places and it got to the point where I didn’t want to read any more. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read some of it, however, as it’s important to be aware of our history, no matter how unpleasant.

NetGalley, reviewed by Fiona McKinlay

Pimm has done an excellent job in researching the histories of each individual form of abuse, and provides plenty of examples of their use, often quoting from original documents at length.

Read the full review here

Naomi Clifford

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book. It's educational and it's a must-read to be reminded of the sacrifices made by women in the past years so that we can honor them when we embrace the liberties they weren't as fortunate to enjoy.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jackelyn Santana

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I hesitate to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but the writing was very solid and enjoyable.

NetGalley, reviewed by Serena Richards

This was definitely not a light or pleasant read but I do think it’s an important one. I had to skip past some of the most horrific stories as it was just so unpleasant to read. I thought I was pretty aware of the historical mistreatment of women but I had not realised how commonplace it appeared to be. A shocking and eye opening book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Christine Wallace

This is a well researched book and the use of contemporaneous newspaper and trial reports together with diary entries of the time give an immediacy to the period.

NetGalley, reviewed by G Heard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I found this to be extremely fascinating and interesting read. I also found it hard to read at times. It was good to find out how women were treated then compared to nowadays. Although a lot has changed over the years there is still some of it relevant in the present day (although not as bad in the western countries compared with other countries).

The book was well written and the author has done some solid research. I would recommend reading it if you like history and/or equal rights.

NetGalley, reviewed by Jane Guilfoyle

A very insightful read.

NetGalley, reviewed by Rachel Fox

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well written and thought out book, interesting and shocking. A good read for those interested in history, equality and equal rights.

NetGalley, reviewed by Tara Keating

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I found this book incredibly interesting, well written and well researched. I recommend it highly.

NetGalley, reviewed by Colleen Louw

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About Geoffrey Pimm

Geoff is a retired Member of the Institute of Risk Management and the Business Continuity Institute, London, with working experience in twenty-three countries (Australia, Belgium, China, Dubai, Eire, England, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Kuwait; Luxembourg, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand) often in dangerous and/or challenging environments. Assignments have ranged from international financial organisations to national governments and security agencies.

For more than thirty years, Geoff was a UK qualified private pilot of both single and twin-engined aircraft, amassing hundreds of hours flying both modern and vintage aircraft, with thirty-three aircraft types in his log book, including several ex-RAF marques.

A life-long interest in the seventeenth century led to the amassing of a substantial library on the subject, including a number of antique books dating from the period. The inclusion of the complete eleven volume edition of Samuel Pepys’ diary by Latham and Matthews led to the creation of ‘The Dark Side of Samuel Pepys’.

Geoff is a member of the ‘Samuel Pepys Club’, an organisation founded in 1903 and with an eclectic membership drawn from all walks of life and backgrounds, but sharing a common and genuine interest in all matters Pepysian. Membership is limited to a maximum of 140 and includes the current holders of offices once held by Pepys or of establishments attended by him.

Now retired with his wife to the English countryside, Geoff was for several years a Parish Councillor and is now kept busy writing, singing in two male voice choirs, compering concerts, growing fruit and vegetables, driving his 1937 Morgan sports car and doting on his five grandchildren and four step grandchildren.

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