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 nearby is fascinating and appalling in various ways: Agnes Badcock’s accusation against Joan Essex was delivered in dramatic fashion, screamed on the street after Agnes had fled aContinue reading Joan Essex c. Agnes Badcock

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 Joan was not her father’s daughter but instead the product of her mother’s adulterous liaison with a friar; that Joan’s mother had been a “harlot.” As the witnessesContinue reading Joan Ponder c. Margaret Samer

William Newport c. Isabel Newport

According to the testimony in this case, Isabel Newport was about as bad a wife as it was possible to be in late fifteenth-century London: she was violent, disobedient, sexually promiscuous, and dishonest. The legal basis for the lawsuit, apparently a petition for a judicial separation brought by William Newport against Isabel Newton, is somewhatContinue reading William Newport c. Isabel Newport

Maude Bywel c. Elisabeth or Isabel Jeld

A husband and wife from Edmonton, Middlesex, testified in 1494 about a quarrel amongst women on the street outside their house. A physical altercation was followed by insulting words, and it was the words and their effect that were at issue here (as assaults were not in the Consistory court’s jurisdiction). LMA, MS DL/C/A/001/MS09065, fols.Continue reading Maude Bywel c. Elisabeth or Isabel Jeld