This article aims to shed some light on the perception of female virginity in the medieval West. A moral, social and legal insight, heir to the religious misogynist conceptualisation that would shape the actions of communities, families, and legislators in order to safeguard, at least until marriage, that precious good as a lost Edenic symbol of the creation still unspoiled by the original sin. In this way, both premarital sex and rape of virgins are punished severely and the preservation of the maidenhead of future brides is monetarily rewarded. All this responding to the interest of a patrilineal society that endowed women and their virginity with a unique and indissoluble value as an economic asset in the different strategies aimed at establishing strong marriage alliances between the different lineages. Consequently, the worth of women as a daughter and bride would always remain, to some extent, linked to the conservation of their virginity. Such a circumstance seems evident, under its most restrictive way, in the different rules and regulations governing marriage as well as in the varied seigneurial exactions that continued to increase the income of the lordship at the cost of restraining women’s sexual freedom. As the title of this article indicates, starting from a more generalized perspective, the conceptualisation of virginity has been examined in the Welsh law and more specifically in the regulation concerning women and developed from legal entities such as amobr, cowyll, and agweddi.
Keywords: Virginity; Women; Middle ages; Marriage; Lawcodes