The Distaff Gospels

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The Distaff Gospels (Les Evangiles des Quenouilles) is an Old French fifteenth-century collection of popular beliefs held by late medieval women, first published in 1480. It was edited by Fouquart de Cambray, Duval Antoine and Jean d'Arras and published at Bruges by Colart Mansion. The narrative takes place within the context of a gathering of women who meet with their spindles and distaffs to spin. They discuss folk wisdom related to their domestic lives, including controlling errant husbands, predicting the gender of future offspring and curing common ailments.


  • Les évangiles des quenouilles. Paris: P. Jannet, 1855
  • Les Evangiles des quenouilles; édition critique, introduction et notes par Madeleine Jeay. Paris; Montréal: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin; Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1985
  • Les Evangiles des quenouilles; traduits et présentés par Jacques Lacarrière. Paris: A. Michel, 1998

English translations[edit]

  • The gospelles of dystaues. London: Wynkyn de Worde, [c. 1510] (translated by Henry Watson)
  • Jeay, Madeleine and Kathleen Garay, eds. and trans. 2006.The Distaff Gospels. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Paupert, Anne Les fileuses et le clerc: une étude des Evangiles des quenouilles. Paris; Genève: Champion; Slatkine, 1990