This is the first-ever book to explore illegitimacy in Wales during the eighteenth century. Drawing on previously overlooked archival sources, it examines the scope and context of Welsh illegitimacy, and the link between illegitimacy, courtship and economic precarity. It also goes beyond courtship to consider the different identities and relationships of the mothers and fathers of illegitimate children in Wales, and the lived experience of conception, pregnancy and childbirth for unmarried mothers. This book reframes the study of illegitimacy by combining demographic, social and cultural history approaches to emphasise the diversity of experiences, contexts and consequences.
Table of Contents
Part I: Prevalence and Causes
1. Illegitimacy, Paternity, Courtship, and Poverty
2. Complicated Relationships and Diverse Identities – Moving Beyond Courtship and Poverty
Part II: The Mortality Penalty
3. Illegitimate Infant and Maternal Mortality
4. Fatal Violence Against Illegitimate Children and Unmarried Pregnant Women
Part III: The Experience of Pregnancy and Childbirth for Unmarried Mothers
5. Reading and Regulating Reproductive Bodies
6. The Provision of Care for Unmarried Mothers
Angela Joy Muir is a Lecturer in British Social and Cultural History at the University of Leicester.