Since this has been written, I have been granted a court barony in the SCA. While I don't want to incorporate every detail of the modern SCA fantasy into my SCA persona, I think this is one that might be best to incorporate. And so I muse on how Teffania might become a baroness? The most likely route seems marriage. But how might she suddenly become a desirable asset and be quickly married? Well, should her remaining brothers (the ones who haven't died of childhood illnesses, riding or hunting accidents) die on the crusades (for her father was not rich enough to pay for extra knights to spare them from going personally, and besides they sought the adventure), she might become her father's heir. Of course her father was older than her mother (who has already died in childbirth), and is becoming frail, which is probably why has hasn't borne his new wife any children yet. A nasty ague might be the end of him, leaving Teffania a heiress. The daughter's portion of a property wasn't much (especially as her mother's marriage portion was small), but ownership of the whole estate is a tidier sum, for laws worked toward keeping the estate together as a larger property rather than dividing it. While it doesn't bring huge sums of money each year, is a solid investment in the future, a medieval interest bearing bank account. With no brothers to equip with expensive knightly chargers, she can afford to spend a little more on some nice clothes.
Of course the peace won't last long....the king has the right to marry off heiresses (and widows of marriageable age with holdings) if they don't marry by themselves within a year, for property management needs the guidance of a male. (not to mention a will to stamp out any old matrimonial ideas). Teffania might not think a political marriage is on her horizon, but once the king consults her holdings in the Domesday book, she might have an unexpected surprise in store. Let's hope her future husband at least carries a rank like baron that she can keep even after he dies, and that he prefers the company of his knightly companions and the pursuit of war, and is often away leaving her in charge of his holdings. If he's one of those new nobility that the king has been rewarding recently for their efforts in winning new lands, she might actually be in luck.
And as a married woman she might not be so constantly watched, and might be able to have a courtly lover that she's been reading so much about. (although the realities of her husband may rather dissuade her from anything but wistful looks and poems). But more importantly, she'll be actually able to make decisions, which being an heiress she has rather decided she quite likes. Of course she'll have to make decisions her husband would like, but that only makes sense, for he is a man and trained to govern, while she is a mere woman.