Alice Norman c. William Clerk

This is a case about the last will and testament of a woman, Maude Mig, who died of leprosy around 1487. She and her husband had been judicially separated at the time of her death. The grant of separation, which allowed them to live apart though they were still legally married, may have been dueContinue reading “Alice Norman c. William Clerk”

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. By Styward’s own admission, after their marriage was solemnized, he “violently and seriously beat” her and spent much of Richard Alpe’s (considerable) estate. As he noted, his assumptionContinue reading Ann Styward c. Richard Styward

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

Office c. Emma Hasill and Sir William Gavon

The examination of Emma Hasill, though brief, gives us a complex and sad story. A priest, Sir William Gavon, counselled Hasill to leave her husband; this was evidently more than simply pastoral advice, as she then moved into his “chamber” (his bedroom). Her admission that he “held” her is a euphemism for sex. The restContinue reading “Office c. Emma Hasill and Sir William Gavon”

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