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Type: Journal article
Title: Love, care and the illegitimate child in eighteenth-century Scotland
Author: Barclay, K.
Citation: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 2019; 29:105-125
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0080-4401
Statement of
Katie Barclay
Abstract: This article uses a combination of court and Kirk (Church of Scotland) session records, and several sets of letters written by the mothers of illegitimate children to explore how such children were loved and cared for in eighteenth-century Scotland. It argues that legitimacy, as well as class and gender, mattered in the love and care that children received. Illegitimacy also had an impact on who mothered, fracturing the bond between the biological mother and child, for a mothering given by other mothers, including wet-nurses, grandparents and, later, employers. Its conclusion is that how a child was mothered, the love and care they received, were products of a child's positioning – gender, class, legitimacy, parentage – in the world. Love was a social product, framed and shaped by and through the social, economic and legal networks in which the child was positioned. Whilst the legitimate child, both in law and social practice, might have expected its care to be framed primarily through the nuclear family, the bastard child belonged, as the law suggested, to the community, requiring its mothering to be dispersed.
Rights: © Royal Historical Society 2019
RMID: 1000013912
DOI: 10.1017/S0080440119000057
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Appears in Collections:History publications

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