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Kidnapping the man you love: medieval romance!

Now here's a surprise. These days we expect our heroines to take the lead at times, or at least not to sit about being passive drips - the days of the woman shrieking helplessly while the man did all the work are long gone. Even in Georgian and Tudor times, some women defied these conventions, but medieval? Medieval? Did medieval women take control and power their way to the men they loved? In such a brutal, violent time, did they dare?

Well, Marjorie Carrick did. She kidnapped him.

Marjorie Carrick

Born in Scotland in 1253, Marjorie became Countess of Carrick in her own right when she was three. She then married Adam of Kilconquhar, but when she was only eighteen she received the news that he had been killed in the Holy Land on the eighth Crusade, at which point she was expected to go into widowhood for him, possibly remarrying at a later date if someone didn't grab her first.

However, Marjorie Carrick was not the average medieval noblewoman, nor the average widow. Far from weeping for her husband, she started eyeing up the comrade-in-arms who had brought her the news...and decided that he was handsome. Very handsome. Actually, she decided that this Robert de Brus, Lord of Annandale was her ideal man so she asked him to marry her.

What happened next is hazy but it seems that Lord Annandale said no. Possibly he was a bit shocked, although if so he'd have been more shocked by what happened next; as he rode away from her Turnberry Castle, Marjorie got her servants to kidnap him! He was then brought back to Turnberry, where she chucked him into confinement and told him she'd only let him out when he married her. Go, Marjorie!

OK, OK, these days this would all be outrageously abusive, but look a bit closer: she was a powerful, very wealthy young woman who held a title in her own right. Annandale was a young nobleman for whom this would be an excellent match. It's far more likely that his reluctance stemmed from the disgrace of being seen to take advantage of a widow, in which case Marjorie's brains and verve are even better. She didn't mind showing the world that she would give Annandale no choice - she was too powerful. She didn't even wait for royal consent, for which she was fined all her castles by the King of Scotland until she paid to get them back. However, she didn't have to marry Annandale and could have done better. Why did she take him? Daring as she was, it really does seem that she kidnapped him and risked the lot for love.

Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire

Annandale and Marjorie were married twenty years until her death. I like to think that Annandale admired her like hell for what she did, and it seems her daring and courage were passed down to her children. Her eldest son was Robert the Bruce, who fought and won back Scottish independence. You just know that Marjorie, who did things on her own terms, would have been incredibly proud.

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