For Her Good Estate
For Her Good Estate recounts the trials and triumphs of a fourteenth-century English noblewoman. Elizabeth de Burgh led a tumultuous early life: an arranged marriage, an abduction leading to a clandestine second marriage, a forced third marriage to a man who died a traitor. Afterwards, empowered by a vow of chastity to insure her independence, Elizabeth emerged as a capable administrator of her vast estates, a concerned mother and grandmother, a shrewd builder of social and political networks, and a good friend. She expressed her piety by many charitable initiatives, culminating in the foundation of Clare College, Cambridge University, a demonstration of her devotion to God and to learning. This book is the first biography of this remarkable woman. Underhill shows how deeply gender issues influenced her life and how admirably Elizabeth rose above them to impact the lives of others. Hedged in by gender barriers, Underhill reveals, Elizabeth achieved prestige among her contemporaries and left a lasting legacy after her death.