Richard Cressy c. Alice Scrace

Cressy c. Scrace is an example of an uncontested lawsuit, where the point was not for the plaintiff to confirm or annul a marriage with the defendant but rather for both parties to have the court declare the validity of their union in the face of family hostility. It was not Alice Scrace, but herContinue reading Richard Cressy c. Alice Scrace”

John Jenyn c Alice Seton and John Grose

In a complicated three-cornered case that ran over more than a year, two men, John Jenyn and John Grose, each claimed to be married to Alice Seton. Jenyn’s claim was that he and Seton had married in May 1489, exchanging consent in the George tavern on Fleet Street before a number of witnesses. Several whoContinue reading “John Jenyn c Alice Seton and John Grose”

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

Robert Walsh and Mark Patenson c. Margaret Flemmyng

Margaret Flemmyng was evidently something of a marital catch, with youth, a substantial marriage portion, and probably also personal charm. Her parents evidently had one idea for her marriage – Robert Walsh, whom they encouraged in his attentions to their daughter – and she another. Margaret Flemmyng herself had initially been inclined towards Walsh (asContinue reading “Robert Walsh and Mark Patenson c. Margaret Flemmyng”

Francis [Unknown] c. Elizabeth Clerk

This is a fragment: someone named Francis evidently sued Elizabeth Clerk, alleging that she had made a contract of marriage with him, and (as below) on examination, she denied his allegations, most of which were implied rather than explicit in her answers, unfortunately. We get a few interesting things, such as that Clerk admitted receivingContinue reading Francis [Unknown] c. Elizabeth Clerk

Robert Warde c. Joan Qualley or Whalley

Within about five or six weeks of her husband William’s death in September 1491, London widow Joan Qualley or Whalley was receiving offers for her hand. She evidently considered Robert Warde, an ostler working for a local brewer, John Knap (likely the trade her late husband had also followed), but instead chose William Dichand. WhenContinue reading Robert Warde c. Joan Qualley or Whalley

Laurence Wyberd and John Austen c. Maude Gyll

In late 1491, two men – Laurence Wyberd of Essex and John Austen of Shoreditch or London – each claimed that they had made a contract of marriage with Maude Gyll of London. Wyberd’s witnesses (who included his father and brother) gave detailed testimony not only about a contract of marriage just after Christmas 1490 butContinue reading “Laurence Wyberd and John Austen c. Maude Gyll”

John  Kendall c. Isabel or Elizabeth Wylly

An apprentice goldsmith named John Kendall sued Isabel (sometimes called Elizabeth[1]) Willy to enforce a contract of marriage he claimed that he had made with her. Kendall’s witnesses presented only circumstantial evidence – that Willy had acknowledged multiple times that she had previously made a contract of marriage with Kendall and that she had receivedContinue reading “John  Kendall c. Isabel or Elizabeth Wylly”

Thomas Philpott c. Margaret Frowyke

Another case of a man doggedly pursuing a woman, hoping to persuade her to marry him. The responses of Margaret Frowyke give us more details than other similar examinations: the man suing her was named as Thomas Philpott, and the two likely lived in Barnet, Essex. Frowyke,  like others, accepted gifts from him and inContinue reading Thomas Philpott c. Margaret Frowyke