John Brocher c. Joan Cardif alias Peryn

In July 1487, John Brocher sued a young Essex widow, Joan Cardif alias Peryn, to enforce a marriage contract he claimed they had made the previous April. The witnesses – who included Cardif’s own mother and stepfather, both of whom testified against her – said that they had heard the couple exchange vows of marriage.Continue reading “John Brocher c. Joan Cardif alias Peryn”

John Pollyn and William Thaccher c Agnes Parker

This is a three-cornered suit: two men, John Pollyn and William Thaccher, sued Agnes Parker 1487, each claiming they had made a contract of marriage with her. Earlier testimony in the case outlining Pollyn’s case has evidently been lost; what we have here are Agnes Parker’s denials of marriage with Pollyn (she said that sheContinue reading “John Pollyn and William Thaccher c Agnes Parker”

Richard Crocheman c. William Baldewyn

In July 1487, Richard Crocheman sued William Baldewyn for defamation: Baldewyn had repeatedly over the last six weeks called Crocheman a sheep thief. The witnesses, all from Barking in Essex (as presumably were also Crocheman and Baldewyn), paid close attention to the legal requirements for defamation: the plaintiff had to have suffered a loss ofContinue reading Richard Crocheman c. William Baldewyn

Office c. Sir Richard Wodehous and Agnes Wilson [?]

In July 1487 a widow, Agnes Wilson, of Staines, Middlesex, or somewhere nearby, was examined regarding allegations that she and the local vicar, Sir Richard Wodehous, were engaging in a sexual relationship. [Note that “Sir” was the honorific title used for priests as well as for knights, similar to “Father” or “Reverend” today.] This isContinue reading Office c. Sir Richard Wodehous and Agnes Wilson [?]

Beatrice Smyth c John Crote

In July 1487, Beatrice Smyth sued John Crote to enforce a marriage contract she claimed they had made around 1482 while Crote lay ill in a chamber in the tower of the parish church of St Michael Queenhithe, where he worked. Witnesses testified that after this bedside exchange of consent, however, the couple could notContinue reading “Beatrice Smyth c John Crote”

Alice Rokewode c Peter Hanham

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, RobertContinue reading “Alice Rokewode c Peter Hanham”

Thomas Byrch c. Elizabeth Barker

The examinations in this case do not much concern the marriage case in question, in which (we can infer) Thomas Byrch claimed that he had made a contract of marriage with Elizabeth Barker three years before, which she denied; Christopher Rotherey, the first person examined, appears to have been organizing a solemnization of marriage withContinue reading Thomas Byrch c. Elizabeth Barker

Sir John Hode c. Master John Row

Here we see an altercation between priests over a breviary, a book containing the “divine office” for each day, which priests used to conduct church services. The Consistory paid special attention to allegations of violence against priests – even in a case such as this one where the accused assailant was a priest, too. TheContinue reading Sir John Hode c. Master John Row

John Call c. Elizabeth Hertford

In this defamation case, Elizabeth Hertford of Islington was accused of grievously insulting her neighbour John Call, calling him a thief, a cuckold, and various other names (accusations that tell us some interesting things about the construction of masculine gender identity). The legal basis of a defamation claim required that the witnesses testify to howContinue reading John Call c. Elizabeth Hertford

Margaret Niter and Agnes Skern c. Piers Curtes

This is a juicy case that brought in some of the highest in the land to pressure a reluctant man to go through with a marriage. In January 1488, widows Agnes Skern and Margaret Niter both sued Piers Curtes, each claiming that he had made a contract of marriage with them. Curtes was an importantContinue reading “Margaret Niter and Agnes Skern c. Piers Curtes”