This case offers a rare instance of a man claiming he could only marry with his family’s consent. In November 1487, Alice Rokewood sued Peter Hanham to enforce a marriage contract she claimed they had made in 1485. Rokewode had two witnesses who testified they had witnessed an exchange of present consent. Her father, Robert Rokewode, gives interesting testimony about the negotiations before the (alleged) contract, gifts, and preparations for the nuptials (the church wedding or solemnization that should have followed this exchange of consent.
LMA, MS DL/C/A/001/MS09065 39v-40r
Testimony of Robert Rokewode, 22 Nov. 1487
On behalf of Rokewode c. Hanham
22 November in the house of the lord Official
Robert Rokewode of the parish of St. Giles of Colchester [Essex], London diocese, where he has lived for thirty years and more, literate, of free condition, fifty years old or thereabouts, as he says. Inducted as a witness etc., he says that he has known Alice Rokewode, this witness’s daughter, from the time of her birth, and Peter Hanham for twelve years or thereabouts. To the first and second articles of the libel, he says that on the Tuesday before Christmas two years ago, the aforesaid Peter together with [Richard Durward] came to this witness’s house. He said that he had come there to have this witness’s daughter as his wife if he could obtain the good will of David Mortumer, Peter’s grandfather. And afterwards on the same day after noon, and after many things discussed between them concerning the dowry and gifts for the nuptials on both sides, Peter, in a certain chamber belonging to this witness contracted marriage with her by these words, Peter first saying, “I Peter take thee Alice to my wife, and thereto I plight you my troth.” And she took him by the right hand and said to him, “I take thee Peter to my husband, and thereto I plight thee my troth.” To the third and fourth articles, he says that he [Peter] admitted that he contracted marriage, saying that he was compelled to do so. To the fifth and sixth articles, he says that their contents are true, and he says that both this witness and his daughter required the aforesaid Peter to undergo solemnization of the marriage with Alice, and he first said that he wanted this to be done because Peter had bought so many ornaments for the nuptials for which this witness had paid nine pounds sterling. Then he says that in Lent a year ago, the aforesaid Peter turned away from Alice and he said that he did not want to have her and he deferred and continues to defer undergoing solemnization of the marriage with her at present as he says. To the seventh article, he says that what he has said above is true and that public voice and fame circulated and circulate concerning it in the parish and other neighbouring places.
Testimony of William Breton, 22 Nov. 1487
William Breton of Colchester, of the parish of St. Giles there, where he has lived for sixteen years, literate, of free condition, twenty-six years old as he says. Inducted as a witness etc., he says that he has known Alice Rokewode for sixteen years, and Peter Hanham for ten years. To the first and second articles, he says that on the Tuesday before Christmas two years ago, as he recalls, Robert Rokewode desired this witness to come to his house, and when he came there he found in a certain upper chamber Peter Hanham, Richard Durward, and his wife. And there Robert declared to this witness and the others that the aforesaid Peter intended to contract marriage with Alice his daughter, and he asked them to bear witness concerning it. And then Peter took her by her right hand and said to her, “I Peter take thee Alice to my wife and thereto I plight you my troth.” And Alice said to him, holding him by his right hand, “I Alice take thee Peter to my [husband], and thereto I plight thee my troth.” And they unclasped their hands and kissed one another. To the third and fourth articles, he says that he believes that their contents are true, and he says that often since he has heard Peter saying that he had lief run away than have her. To the seventh article, he says that what is deposed by him above is true and that public voice and fame circulated and circulate concerning it in the town of Colchester, as he says.
 MS: Roberto Rokewode; probably a scribal error for Ricardo Durward, who is named in the subsequent deposition as a witness to the discussion.
 MS: wif (scribal error).