Office c. Margaret Agmundesham

Margaret Agmundesham’s appearance before the Consistory Official may have been the result of an “office” case (where the court undertook an investigation into a matter under its purview), or it may have related to litigation, perhaps a suit brought by the Ann mentioned in the responses below. This was a testamentary matter: in some way Margaret Agmundesham was held to have “violated” the administration of the will of a woman named Katherine. There are some interesting indications about the kinds of belongings that were at issue, and the complexities of settling debts and liquidating assets after a person died. It seems that Margaret Agmundesham was related by blood to Ann, the main beneficiary of Katherine’s testament, and thus probably to Katherine, too. Though by Margaret’s own account she had been generous to Ann, welcoming her into her own household, helping her settle the estate, and topping up Ann’s marriage portion, obviously something must have gone wrong to occasion the court’s intervention in the matter.

LMA, MS DL/C/A/001/MS09065, fol. 66r

Response of Margaret Agmundesham, 27 Nov. 1489

Responses personally made by Margaret Agmundesham, 28 November, before the lord Official, in the Consistory place, London

Margaret Agmundesham sworn etc. on the interrogatories concerning the violated administration etc. To the first, second, and third interrogatories, she believes that their contents are true as she has heard. To the fourth interrogatory, she believes that she bequeathed to Ann the remainder of her goods after the debts and bequests of the testatrix had been paid, to be disposed as is contained in the interrogatory. To the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth interrogatory, she believes that their contents are true. To the eleventh and twelfth interrogatories, she says that Katherine while she lived was indebted to this witness by four pounds sterling or thereabouts, for which money she, while she lived, had pledged to this witness a certain cup called a nut.[1] And after Katherine’s death, Ann gave over to this witness a salt of silver,[2] a mazer,[3] three girdles, and two spoons, as she believes, and other things up to the value of that sum. And this witness on Ann’s behalf sold the said cup called a nut. She says also that because Ann was this witness’s blood-relative, Ann had food and drink in this witness’s house for free for two years or thereabouts after Katherine’s death, and in the meantime she helped Ann sell the goods specified in the inventory. And Ann sold those goods and received money for them, which this witness kept for Ann with her consent in a certain purse, and when the debts and legacies of the deceased were paid by Ann, there remained from the selling of the goods eight marks[4] or therebouts. This witness, because Ann was her blood-relative, gave to Ann for her marriage portion, beyond those eight marks or thereabouts, a further twelve marks of her own. She says also that there remains still in this witness’s house certain writings which were found in the deceased’s house, which this witness is ready to give her. And moreover she says that Ann gave to this witness by way of exchange that towel and received a better towel for it from this witness. There remains also in this witness’s house the hoops from a certain old tankard[5] which she left there. And she responds negatively to their other contents. To the thirteenth and fourteenth interrogatories, she says as she said above. And to their other content she responds negatively.

On 27 November in the Consistory place, when the interrogatories and responses were read to her, Margaret admitted that the responses were hers, of which the lord ordered Stokisley to give her copies. And the lord dismissed her from personal appearance and licensed her to constitute proctors.

[1] A cup made from a coconut shell mounted in metal or one made of other materials to resemble this (OED, s.v. nut, n.1 A.I.2). You can learn more about “nuts” and other aspects of coconuts in late medieval England in The Medieval Podcast, featuring an interview by Danièle Cybulskie of Dr. Kathleen Kennedy.

[2] I.e. a salt-cellar made of silver.

[3] A drinking bowl made out of maple wood, frequently decorated with silver or gilt (OED, s.v. mazer n.1).

[4] A mark was worth two-thirds of a pound sterling, or 13s 4d; eight marks was £5 6s 8d.

[5] A tankard was a large open tub-like vessel, usually of wood hooped with iron (hence the hoops that Ann had left behind) (OED, s.v. tankard).

%d bloggers like this: