Medieval Women of History

Medieval Women of History

Elizabeth Woodville, 1463
Elizabeth Woodville, 1463. Hulton Archive/The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

An index to biographies on this site of notable women who lived about 500 through about 1600 -- including the Middle Ages, the European Renaissance and the Tudor period in British history.

A

 

  • Adelaide (931 - 999): saint, Western empress, regent
  • Aelfgifu (~ 985 - 1002?): first wife of King Aethelred II "the Unready"
  • Aelfled: same as Aethelflaed below
  • Aelfthryth (877 - 929): princess, countess, genealogical link of Anglo Saxon kings to Anglo Norman dynasty, daughter of Alfred the Great
  • Aelfthryth  (945 - 1000): English Saxon queen, married to King Edgar "the Peaceable" and the mother of King 
  • Aethelflaed (872-879? - 918): defeated the Danes at Leicester and Derby, invading Wales
  • Amalasuntha (498 - 535): ruler of the Ostrogoths, first as regent for her son
  • Amina, Queen of Zazzua (~ 1533 - ~ 1600): warrior queen, extended territory of her people
  • Andal (10th century): Alvar saint, Tamil devotional poet, daughter of Periyalvar
  • Margaret of Anjou (1429 - 1482): Queen Consort of Henry VI of England, figure in the Wars of the Roses and the Hundred Years' War, character in four plays by William Shakespeare
  • Anna of Kiev (963 - 1011): married to Vladimir I "the Great" of Kiev; her marriage was the occasion of the conversion of Vladimir to Christianity and thus the Christianization of Russia
  • Anna Comnena (1083 - 1148): Byzantine princess, political figure, historian, medical writer
  • Anne Neville (1456 - 1485): wife of Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI; wife of Richard of Gloucester, and, when he became King Richard III, Anne became Queen of England
  • Anne of Cleves (1515? - 1557): married to and divorced from Henry VIII of England

 

B

 

  • Berengaria of Navarre (1163? 1165? - 1230): queen consort of Richard I of England 
  • Berenguela of Castile (1180 - 1246): briefly, queen of Leon; regent of Castile for her brother Enrique I
  • Brunhilde (~ 545 - 613): Queen of the Franks, Queen of Austrasia, regent

 

C

 

  • Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380): patron saint of Italy, credited with persuading the Pope to return the papacy from Avignon to Rome; one of two women who were named Doctors of the Church in 1970
  • Catherine of Valois (1401 - 1437): wife of Henry V of England, mother of Henry VI, grandmother of Henry VII the first Tudor king, also the daughter of a king
  • Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (1415 - 1495): figure in the Wars of the Roses in medieval England, mother of King Edward IV and King Richard III, grandmother of Elizabeth of York who married Henry VII
  • Clare of Assisi (1193/4 - 1253) founded the Poor Clares, a Franciscan order for women
  • Anna Comnena (1083 - 1148): Byzantine princess, political figure, historian, medical writer

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D

 

  • Isabella d'Este (1474 - 1539): Marchioness ( Marchessa) of Mantua, ruler, art collector and patron; actively involved in political intrigues
  • Margaret Douglas (1515 - 1578): grandmother of James VI of Scotland who became James I of England, niece of Henry VIII, plotted on behalf of Roman Catholicism in England

 

E

 

  • Edith of Wilton (961 - 984): nun at Wilton, illegitimate daughter of Edgar the Peaceable, reportedly offered the crown of England by nobles
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 - 1204): ruler in her own right of Aquitaine, queen consort in France then queen consort in England and queen mother in England
  • Eleanor of England (1215 - 1275): daughter of King John of England and wife of Simon de Montfort
  • Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile (1162 - 1214): queen consort of Alfonso VIII of Castile, daughter of Henry II of England
  • Elfreda or Elfrida or Elfgiva (~ 985 - 1002?): first  wife of King Aethelred II "the Unready"
  • Elfthryth (945 - 1000): English Saxon queen, married to King Edgar "the Peaceable" and the mother of King 
  • Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603): queen of England 1558 - 1603
  • Elizabeth Woodville (~ 1437 - 1492): queen consort of Edward IV, mother of Edward V, mother of Elizabeth of York
  • Elizabeth of York (1466 - 1503): daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort of Henry VII, mother of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Margaret Tudor
  • Isabella d'Este (1474 - 1539): Marchioness ( Marchessa) of Mantua, ruler, art collector and patron; actively involved in political intrigues
  • Ethelfleda (872-879? - 918): defeated the Danes at Leicester and Derby, invading Wales

 

F

 

  • Fredegund (~ 550 - 597): consort of King Chilperic I of Soissons

 

G

 

  • Beatriz Galindo (~ 1464, 1474, or 1475 - 1534): tutor, physician, writer
  • Lady Godiva (~ 1010 - 1066/86): noblewoman of legendary horseback ride
  • Lady Jane Grey (1537 - 1554): 9 day reign as Queen of England, briefly supplanting Mary I and Elizabeth I

 

H

 

  • Hrotsvitha (~ 930 - after 973): canoness, poet, dramatist, historian

 

I

 

 

J

 

  • Joan of England (1165 - 1199): daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, Sicilian queen
  • Judith of France - Judith of Flanders (about 843 - ?): married to two Saxon English kings, daughter of Charles the Bald, King of Franks and Holy Roman Emperor
  • Julian of Norwich (1342 - 1416/19): mystic, recluse, anchoress

 

K

 

  • Katherine of Valois (1401 - 1437): wife of Henry V of England, mother of Henry VI, grandmother of Henry VII the first Tudor king, also the daughter of a king
  • Margery Kempe (~ 1373 - ~ 1440): mystic, autobiographer

 

L

 

  • La Latina: Beatriz Galindo (~ 1464, 1474, or 1475 - 1534): tutor, physician, writer
  • Lady Li (before 923 - after 934): artist, painter in China
  • Louise of Savoy (1476 - 1531): Duchess of Angoulême, mother of Francis I of France and Marguerite of Navarre
  • Ludmilla (860 - 921): saint, instituted Christianity in Bohemia, supported and educated Duke Wenceslaus

 

 

M

 

 

M

 

  • Anne Neville (1456 - 1485): wife of Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI; wife of Richard of Gloucester, and, when he became King Richard III, Anne became Queen of England
  • Cecily Neville, Duchess of York (1415 - 1495): figure in the Wars of the Roses in medieval England, mother of King Edward IV and King Richard III, grandmother of Elizabeth of York who married Henry VII
  • Julian of Norwich (1342 - 1416/19): mystic, recluse, anchoress
  • Anna Nzinga (1581 - 1663): queen of Ndongo (Angola), queen of Matamba, resisted Portuguese occupiers

 

O

 

  • Olga of Russia (or Kiev) (~ 890 - 969?): founded Russian Christianity with her grandson Vladimir, regent for her son

 

P

 

 

S

 

 

T

 

  • Saint Teresa of Avila (1515 - 1582): established Discalced order of Carmelite nuns during Counter-Reformation, named Doctor of the Church in 1970
  • Theodora (~497/510 - 548): married to Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium
  • Trota or Trotula (? - 1097?): physician, writer, possibly legendary
  • Margaret Tudor (1489 - 1541): sister of Henry VIII of England, queen of James IV of Scotland, grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots

 

V

 

  • Catherine of Valois (1401 - 1437): wife of Henry V of England, mother of Henry VI, grandmother of Henry VII the first Tudor king, also the daughter of a king

 

W