In this gallery, we showcase images of 30 influential women from the Middle Ages. Usually dated from c. 500 to c. 1500, this was a complex and transformative period in European history filled with political turmoil and dynamic social and cultural changes. In this era, women's roles in societies were varied and nuanced. From queens to peasants to religious figures, women found new opportunities to fight for themselves, for what they cared about, and for what they believed in. Exploring this period through these notable women can give a new and unique understanding of the Middle Ages.
Queen Margaret was remembered with her own Norman chapel in Edinburgh Castle, today the oldest original part of that fortress. Margaret's daughter Edith/Matilda ensured her mother's good deeds were recorded in a decidedly hagiographic biography, written by Turgot of Durham (c. 1050-1115), a benedictine monk and once Margaret's personal chaplain. In 1250 Margaret was made a saint by the Catholic Church in recognition of her efforts to spread Roman Catholicism and her charity work for the poor in Scotland. For this reason, she is today better known as Saint Margaret of Scotland.