Anne Orthwoods Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia

Paperback | October 15, 2002

byJohn Ruston Pagan

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In 1663, an indentured servant, Anne Orthwood, was impregnated with twins in a tavern in Northampton County, Virginia. Orthwood died soon after giving birth; one of the twins, Jasper, survived. Orthwood's illegitimate pregnancy sparked four related cases that came before the Northamptonmagistrates -- who coincidentally held court in the same tavern -- between 1664 and 1686. These interrelated cases and the decisions rendered in them are notable for the ways in which the Virginia colonists modified English common law traditions and began to create their own, as well as what theyreveal about cultural and economic values in an Eastern shore community. Through these cases, the very reasons legal systems are created are revealed, namely, the maintenance of social order, the protection of property interests, the protection of personal reputation, and personal liberty. ThroughJasper Orthwood's life, the treatment of the poor in small communities is set in sharp relief.

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In 1663, an indentured servant, Anne Orthwood, was impregnated with twins in a tavern in Northampton County, Virginia. Orthwood died soon after giving birth; one of the twins, Jasper, survived. Orthwood's illegitimate pregnancy sparked four related cases that came before the Northamptonmagistrates -- who coincidentally held court in th...

John Ruston Pagan is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Richmond, Virginia.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 5.39 × 8.11 × 0.71 inPublished:October 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195144791

ISBN - 13:9780195144796

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"John Pagan's subtle and sophisticated research and analysis and his lucid and evocative writing bring to life these Virginians of 350 years ago. The character sketches of the servants, justices of the peace, planters, jurors, and of Anne Orthwood and her lover are gems of historicalwriting....[An] excellent book."--Richmond Times-Dispatch