Women, Palaces, and Castles in Northern France (9th-10th and 12th-13th c.)

Annie Renoux, Université du Maine, Annie.Renoux@univ-lemans.fr

Barring a few very exceptional cases, written documentation from the ninth to thirteenth centuries makes only rare mention of the intervention of a woman (queen, princess, or other) in the construction of a palace or a castle, or indeed in the management or occupation of the various spaces of civil architecture. Such allusions may refer to direct involvement by women, as we have in the cases of the construction of the tower of Ivry by Aubrée, wife of Count Raoul of Ivry, or the decoration of the chamber of Adèle of Blois. However, these references are more commonly indirect allusions to such spaces as the children´s room. Two scenarios are possible: either the woman acts in her capacity as regent, or she exercises control over territory that is more strictly her own, such as dower lands.