Voices from the Bench is a collection of microhistorical essays written by an internationally-known group of scholars specializing in medieval and early modern social history, covering Europe and Mesoamerica. Each essay focuses on formerly anonymous folk by providing a microhistorical portrait drawn from such judicial sources as canonization hearings, the trials of the Inquisition, chancery, criminal, royal, municipal and other courts. Women, Jews, New Christians, witches, servants, midwives, children, the possessed, peasants, shepherds and urban-dwellers are among the often marginalized figures whose daily lives, struggles, mores, and popular beliefs are brought to life through a close reading of these sources.
'The essays in this volume reconstruct good stories from the archives, and tell them well. In bringing to light these individual cases, they also give us information about a wide range of other topics, including family relationships, daily life, ideas about sainthood, and magic...Taken together, they offer a set of fascinating snippets of what can be found in medieval archives.' - Archives: The journal of the British Records Association