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Eileen Spring presents an interpretation of the history of inheritance among the English gentry and aristocracy. In a work that recasts both the history of real property law and the history of the family, she argues that one of the principal and determinative features of upper-class inheritance was the virtual exclusion of females from land holding.
Tracing the gradual nullification of common law rules under which 40 per cent of English land would have been inherited or held by women, Spring seeks to makes possible a fuller understanding of the social history of land law.