A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Tag Archives: Idelette de Bure

The Role of Women in The Reformation

Women had a most significant impact upon the Reformation, and the social changes that came about in turn changed the place and role of women in the centuries to follow. Two groups of women had decisive impact upon the Reformation – the royal women, and the wives of the Reformers.

In 16th Century Europe, 85% of the population were peasants living in villages of less than 100 people, 10% were Middle Class: merchants, tradesmen, townsmen, and the remaining 5% were either the Nobility or Clergy. Most of the wealth and power was concentrated in the latter. The average life span was 30 for men and 24 for women; anyone who reached 40 was considered old. Women had an average of 6 or 7 children, if they survived childbirth in an unsanitary age, and 40-50% of the children would die before the age of 12…About 10% of the men would never marry. About 12% of the women found themselves in convents – and often unwillingly – as that was a good way to get rid of unwanted female children…

Royal women had much to do with shaping the events of the Reformation era. One needs only consider Henry the 8th and his six wives (and the politics behind them); or Catherine de Medici and her daughters Elizabeth of Valois; and Marguerite of Valois; or Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots to know that these women shaped history. But there are others too. Marquerite of Navarre and Jeanne d’Albret; who served the Huguenot cause in France, or Charlotte of Bourbon and Louise de Coligny in the Netherlands.

The other group of women who impacted that era and the centuries to come were the wives of the Reformers. Read More