Cases

The cases below are listed in chronological order, dating from 1486 to 1497 (in progress).

Thomas Lak c. Ann Munden

This case has a dramatic allegation. It starts with an ordinary path to marriage: Ann Munden made a contract of marriage with Thomas Lak in early January…

Agnes Whitingdon c. John Ely

In January 1487, Agnes Whitingdon sued John Ely to enforce a marriage contract they allegedly made in September 1486. Ely claimed he had not contracted marriage with…

Agnes Waltham c. Richard Heth

Agnes Waltham sued Richard Heth in 1487 to enforce a marriage contract she said they had made. Testimony reveals some interesting evidence about neighbourhood surveillance of relationships:…

John Croke c. Agnes Hill

The surviving testimony for this suit is incomplete, but reveals some interesting things about a marriage between two offspring of London’s civic elite. In February 1487, John…

John Halyday c Margaret Partrich

In 1487, John Halyday sued Margaret Partrich to enforce a marriage contract they allegedly made in June 1486; all that survives is the defendant’s examination. Partrich acknowledged…

Joan Austy c. William Codding

This case involves a complicated love quadrangle and allegations of poisoning in Whitechapel on the east end of London. We have in the Consistory records only the…

John Tailour c. Agnes Fry

In late June 1487, John Tailour sued the widow Agnes Fry to enforce a marriage contract he alleged they had made the previous April. Fry herself testified…

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…

Alice Parker c. Richard Tenwinter

This case involves ambiguous promises and different interpretations of the meaning of sex. Alice Parker probably lived in the parish of St Nicholas Shambles by the butchers’…

William Hawkyns c. Margaret Heed

In 1488, Margaret Heed, daughter of a wealthy London merchant, agreed to marry William Hawkyns, another merchant and clearly her father’s choice. As the witnesses testify, Margaret…

Ann Styward c. Richard Styward

When Ann, the widow of tallowchandler Richard Alpe and mother of four underage children, married another tallowchandler, Richard Styward, in early 1488, something resembling a nightmare resulted.…

Joan Essex c. Agnes Badcock

In late September 1488, Agnes Badcock allegedly accused a neighbour, Joan Essex, of committing adultery with Agnes’s husband John. The testimony offered by four men who lived…

John Mendis c. John Adam

In April 1488, several Middlesex men were talking together in the yard of a manor house following a wedding feast when one accused another of being a…

Henry Kyrkeby c. Eleanor Roberts

Testimony in this case gives us fascinating insights into women’s employment conditions and the arrangement of marriage in rural Essex. Henry Kyrkeby’s witnesses claimed that Eleanor Roberts,…

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…

Joan Ponder c. Margaret Samer

In early 1490, Margaret Samer of Buttsbury, Essex, allegedly said a number of scurrilous things about her neighbour Joan Ponder or more precisely about Joan’s mother: that…

Office c. John Eggot, John Wyndell, Thomas Auger, John Umfrey, and William Herd

In 1490, five men of the parish of Ramsden Crays in Essex were summoned to the Consistory to explain why they were refusing to pay tithes to…

Office c. Giles Eustas

Calculating where a person should pay tithes could be complicated: what happened, for instance, when the lands from which a person gained income straddled more than one…

Robert Woode c. Joan Patryk

In 1491 Joan Patryk accused Robert Woode, a shearman, of having “cut her purse,” literally cutting the cord from which a woman’s pouch or purse hung from…

John Bradfeld c. Joan John

Witnesses for this defamation case depict a vivid scene of Joan John and John Bradfeld arguing with one another by the Hythe[1], Colchester’s harbour some distance from…

Office c. John Barle

Some amusingly passive-aggressive behaviour on the part of a parishioner in the payment of his tithes in an unspecified Essex parish. John Barle came before the Consistory…

William Pepard c. Alice Mayte

This is an unusual defamation case: a mother, Alice Mayt, publicly accused a man, William Pepard, of having murdered her son, a child. The witnesses give some…

Marion Filders c. John Arnold

This may be an example of a stalled marriage process: according to the three witnesses, more than two years before, Marion Filders and John Arnold had contracted…

Agnes Eston c. John Crosby

In 1494, a young servant woman, Agnes Eston, sued John Crosby, a young man from London’s merchant elite. The two had been spending time alone in her…

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