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Medieval Sourcebook:
WIFE SUES TO GET HER HUSBAND BACK


Greeting etc. A little pauper woman, A. de B., came to me in tears and made a complaint that C. de D. some time ago contracted marriage with her by exchange of words expressing consent de presenti; later a case was brought between them before the Commissary of E. exercising jurisdiction by authority of the Ordinary [ie church officer commissioned by the bishop to hold an ecclesiastical court on his behalf]. After discussion of the merits of the case, he adjudged the aforesaid C. de D. (Ivo) to the same woman as her husband by a definitive sentence, as we see more fully contained in the acts [documentary record] written up on this matter and sealed with the Official's seal. But the same C. transferred to the town of H. with the intention of evading the aforesaid sentence and married, as it is said, another woman to whom he holds assiduously "de facto" (since he could not do it "de iure") to the grave danger of his soul and the scandal of very many. We therefore ask you, in the interest of mutual cooperation and for the salvation of the souls imperilled thereby, to warn the aforesaid C., and induce him as effectively as you can, to give up this adulteress, if he has her, and then to receive back the said A. as his wife and treat her with marital affection; otherwise you should compel him to do this by sentencing him to suspension and excommunication from day to day as necessary. You should then signify to us how you have executed our request on God's account by your letters patent. Given etc.

[The Letter-Book of William of Hoo, ed. A. Gransden (Suffolk recs. soc. v, 1963, no. 124.]

 


Translation by Paul Hyams of Cornell University. See his Course Page?. He indicated that the translations are available for educational use. He intends to expand the number of translations, so keep a note of his home page.

This text is listed as part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Paul Halsall April 1996
halsall@murray.fordham.edu