A feme sole
is an unmarried woman whereas a feme covert is a married woman.
She also may have preferred to remain a feme sole because this status connoted an advantage over that of a married woman.
With marriage, the single woman's role changed from feme sole to feme covert.
Baptist women in the roles of daughter, feme sole, feme covert, and widow took on these roles in largely the same manner as conforming women.
The Maternal Guardian: The Commentaries's Feme Covert or Clarissa's Feme Sole?
Howe, she becomes perhaps the most powerful type of feme sole. She is able to exercise full economic and emotional control over her family, powers that would typically be practiced only by a male.
Placing Clarissa side by side with the legal treatises presents a conflicted image of maternal guardianship: according to the treatises, the widowed mother remains a feme covert parent, delegitimized as a natural replacement for the father by the 1660 statue; according to Clarissa, the widowed mother becomes the most powerful type of feme sole because she can assume all of the economic powers of the father.
The feme covert mother, who supposedly remains a covert wife after the husband's death, openly enters the courtroom in a position that is more empowered than that of the feme sole widow, acting on behalf not only of herself, but of her children.
Even without knowing the terms of Mary Frith's marriage settlement, we can define her status as that of a feme sole merchant.
There is no denying that Mary Frith as feme sole or, to put it in terms of Defoe's Roxana, as "a Masculine in Politick Capacity," had seized an occupation in the dynamic market of stolen goods, a market that was mainly dominated by men.
Pooke was warned by his attorney not to sue the defendant under the name of Mary Frith, for she had already "overthrowne two or three severall" complainants "in their accions brought against her there by reason she was Maryed to one Markham who hath not lived with her this tenne yeares or thereabouts." She was now putting forward, Pooke complained, the same argument in her defense, saying "that she is Maryed to the same Markham and soe being a feme Covert, she cannot be ympleaded as a feme Sole." In fact, she stated on 24 November 1624 that she had paid for the hats and confessed that "shee was marryed unto one Lewknor Markham in the County of Nottingham, Esquire, about some Seaven yeares sithence at the parish Church of Saint Mary Overies in Southwarke." See Eccles, Notes and Queries.