University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-454
Number of pages23
JournalWomen's History Review
Early online date20 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


Drawing on the marital correspondence of Isabella Marshall and William John Campbell Allen, an Ulster Presbyterian couple, alongside a number of other Presbyterian families, this article explores how patriarchy was negotiated within Irish Presbyterian marriages, c. 1780–1850. It begins by framing the Campbell Allens as a case-study, and examines how the couple negotiated three elements of the patriarchal marriage ideal: love, obedience and the control of economic resources. Next, it uses the family papers and personal correspondence of two other Presbyterian couples, and considers how typical their examples are of love, marriage and patriarchy. This article argues that patriarchy was not a fixed principle in marriage. Rather, it was subject to a constant process of negotiation and refinement during the course of marriage. The roles played by women and men in marriage were also fluid and elastic.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Women's History Review on 20 June 2016, available online: It was accepted for publication on 03-03-2016.

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