The British Castle: A Woman’s Place

RGilchrist_wOn Thursday 29th February BBC Radio 3 broadcast ‘The British Castle: A Woman’s Place’ by Roberta Gilchrist (Head of School).  Roberta asks – can we re-gender or re-people the Medieval castle?   How do we begin to find women?

You can still listen to this 15 minute episode here  –




‘Very often the visitor to a medieval castle in Britain is confronted with a mass of information and interpretation about the military activities of the men who inhabited these spaces, but very little about the women. Archaeologist Prof. Roberta Gilchrist is keen to correct this imbalance, and argues that traditional interpretations of castles ignore the gendered spaces – the gardens, the apartments, the kitchens where female servants cooked, or indeed the adjoining parklands where aristocratic women occasionally hunted. There is abundant evidence that women gave birth in castles, and also had a hand in interior design, improving both plumbing and décor. Moreover, some women played a key role in the defence of medieval castles, in the absence of the lord. Archaeological research suggests women definitely did have a place in British castle history’


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