John Hill and Emma Wright c. Elizabeth Leg alias Hill 

Despite the rigid once-you’re-married-it’s-for-life nature of medieval Catholic marriage, in practice people practised some DIY when it came to marriage dissolution. The case had two alleged self-divorces. It is a bit complicated, but here’s a guess at the back-story. Around 1469 or 1470, John Hill of Hadley, Middlesex, married a woman named Elizabeth Leg. TheyContinue reading John Hill and Emma Wright c. Elizabeth Leg alias Hill 

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 thief and threatened to drive him from their town of Edgware. The witnesses’ testimony tells us not only about the circumstances of this defamatory insult but capture briefContinue reading John Mendis c. John Adam

Richard Chevircourt and Margery Phillips c. Robert Dow

The making of a marriage in the fifteenth-century diocese of London was a process rather a single event. One common path was the making of the contract of marriage, an unbreakable bond, in a domestic setting with a few close friends and relations as witnesses, followed by several weeks or longer of preparations before aContinue reading “Richard Chevircourt and Margery Phillips c. Robert Dow”

Thomas Walker c. Katherine Williamson alias Walker

According to the witnesses in this case, Katherine Williamson married two men in quick succession in 1482 and early 1483. This case is likely a suit to annul the second marriage rather than to enforce it: the headings indicate that Thomas Walker was the plaintiff, but the first three witnesses, apparently called on his behalf,Continue reading Thomas Walker c. Katherine Williamson alias Walker

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”