In a culture in which marriage was the desirable norm, and virginity was particularly prized in females, the categories 'virgin' and 'widow' held particular significance. This book investigates the uses of the category 'single woman'. The law gave unmarried women legal rights and responsibilities that were generally withheld from married women. The pervasiveness of religion and the law in people's day-to-day lives led to a complex interplay between moral and economic concerns in how medieval women were seen. As a result they were marked out as 'single women' in very different contexts, and his study reveals the multiplicity of ways in which dominant cultural ideas impacted on them.