A bastard in the tree?
We've all got one – some of us have several – and for many of us the secrecy that resulted from the shame of illegitimacy has created a huge barrier to research.
This talk explores the social, legal and religious contexts that created the concept of bastardy and the various disabilities that attached to it, together with suggestions about the most productive lines of enquiry.
Ruth Paley studies the social history of the law – the ways in which law and social history interact. She has recently edited the 5 volume History of the House of Lords 1660-1715.
She still hopes to find the true parentage of her grandfather, who was informally adopted at the end of the 19th century.