Francis [Unknown] c. Elizabeth Clerk

This is a fragment: someone named Francis evidently sued Elizabeth Clerk, alleging that she had made a contract of marriage with him, and (as below) on examination, she denied his allegations, most of which were implied rather than explicit in her answers, unfortunately. We get a few interesting things, such as that Clerk admitted receiving gifts but disputed their meaning.

In most cases, when we have isolated examinations like this, the most likely explanation is that the suit was abandoned, either because the plaintiff decided not to pursue it or the defendant conceded. It could also be, however, because the other documents haven’t survived.

LMA, MS DL/C/A/001/MS09065, fol. 83v

Response of Elizabeth Clerk, 19 May 1491

In the year etc. [14]91

Responses personally made by Elizabeth Clerk, 19 May, in the house of the lord Official, before him, in my, Richard Spencer’s, presence

Elizabeth Clerk sworn etc. on the positions etc. To the first article, she admits and says that many times this witness and Francis communicated together about contracting marriage. To the second position, she does not believe it. To the third position, she says that she received from Francis several gifts, but not as from a husband but as from a friend. To the fourth position, she does not believe it nor that its contents are true. To the fifth, she says that a week ago, they were said, taken, and reputed for husband and wife, and this by means of Francis. To the sixth position, she believes what is to be believed and does not believe what is not to be believed.

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