The first major work on noblewomen in the twelfth century and Normandy, and of the ways in which they exercised power. Offers an important reconceptualisation of women’s role in aristocratic society and suggests new ways of looking at lordship and the ruling elite in the high middle ages. Considers a wide range of literary sources such as chronicles, charters, seals and governmental records to draw out a detailed picture of noblewomen in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm. Asserts the importance of the life-cycle in determining the power of aristocratic women. Demonstrates that the influence of gender on lordship was profound, complex and varied.