1870 Married Women's Property Act

British Coat of ArmsOn 9 August 1870, the Married Women’s Property Act was passed. Image: The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This Act established limited protections for some separate property for married women, including the right to retain up to £200 of any earning or inheritance. Before this all of a woman's property owned before her marriage, as well as all acquired after the marriage, automatically became her husband's alone. Only women whose families negotiated different terms in a marriage contract were able to retain control of some portion of their property.


Rachel Ablow, "On the Married Woman's Property Act, 1870"

Related Articles

Kelly Hager, “Chipping Away at Coverture: The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857″

Jill Rappoport, “Wives and Sons: Coverture, Primogeniture, and Married Women’s Property”

Anne Wallace, “On the Deceased Wife’s Sister Controversy, 1835-1907″

Associated Place(s)