Women in the 1641 Depositions

Deposition of Jeane Collens


‘& presently ther was a Great number of the Enymye Gotten vpp, & thay fell a killinge the menn, & strippinge the womenn that weare in the said Roome...Immedyatly a Lieutenant Collonel of the Irish, & layd hold on the maiors Collor, & tould him that hee would saue his lyfe, & the said maiors wyfe Cryd to her husband & sayd that thay weare strippinge her, whear upon the maior wrested himselfe from the said Lieutenant Collonell;’


Note also that in this extract, the major’s wife cries ‘to her husband & sayd that thay were strippinge her’, perhaps suggesting that the assault in progress is one upon him rather than herself. Thus, the language around the stripping of wives constructs its victims as largely powerless, and the crime itself as a serious threat to men’s honour.