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: one of the witnesses, John Gosnell, said that he had confronted Heth about his improper visits to Waltham’s house and pressured him into contracting marriage with her inContinue reading “Agnes Waltham c. Richard Heth”

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 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’ stalls towards the western edge of city of London. She received a visit in December 1487 from Richard Tenwinter and his friend, Robert Adcok. Tenwinter and Parker wentContinue reading Alice Parker c. Richard Tenwinter

Thomas Wulley c. Margaret Isot and John Heth

This is a fascinating case: witnesses give detailed stories about a local official, with a posse of neighbourhood elders, who burst in on a man and woman, Thomas Wulley and Margaret Isot, engaging in sex.  When questioned, the man claimed that the two were, in fact, husband and wife. Calling their bluff, the official askedContinue reading Thomas Wulley c. Margaret Isot and John Heth

Christian Hilles c. Robert Padley

The town of Stanford Rivers, Essex, saw a drama of thwarted love and premarital pregnancy in 1489 and 1490. Christian Hilles and Robert Padley, two servants who worked for the same employer, courted seriously with one another between March and October 1489, exchanging gifts and talk of marriage. According to local rumour, they had aContinue reading Christian Hilles c. Robert Padley