Scenes from the life of a rich widow (Reval in the mid-fourteenth century)

Maja Gąssowska


Medieval Reval (now Tallinn) was, besides Narva, the northern most town in which Lübeck law was in force. The town received Lübeck City Rights from the Danish king, Eric Ploughpenny, in 1248. The rights were later confirmed by Queen Margaret I, who received the Duchy of Estonia as a widow’s dower, and, starting from 1266, she used the title domina Estoniae.4 Although Margaret never actually visited Estonia, she became one of the greatest benefactors of thirteenth century Reval, completing the foundation of a Cistercian monastery in Reval initiated by the Danish king, Eric Ploughpenny. She confirmed the existing possessions of the monastery, granted it the right of patronage of St. Olaf’s parish church in the old town, confirmed the possessions of the local Dominican friars located outside the city,and reaffirmed all the liberties  bestowed on the town by King Valdemar II a few decades earlier. She also made contributions to the construction of the city walls,confirmed the boundaries of the city district, issued regulations on the measures and weights to be used in the city, and granted the residents of Reval a monopoly of retail trade in cloth. 

Słowa kluczowe: Medieval Reval, women, city council, Aleydis van Bremen, property