I understand about women's rights in Roman times and you have a point about them having more rights in the early Christian era. But like Mercia did not the women of wealth and power in late Rome enjoy special privileges when it came to influencing power and policy? That is where my thinking was when I trying to determine influences. That perhaps the rights of women expanded in Ango-Saxon times, but women of real power may have socially evolved from the upper class women of the late Roman period. I also think that the Vestal Virgins and the women in the involved in the Abbey, while not directly related, are consistent. IOW the women of Mercia being involved in religious orders was not new to Britain, it was a concept that had been around for a while.