Note: See also the files: Ger-marriage-msg, Scot-marriage-msg, p-customs-msg, bastards-msg, p-births-msg, burials-msg



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In the third case, there is clearly no consent by the young woman or her

parents, and she is being carried off for the sake of marriage against

her will. The armed men carrying out the abduction constitute force and

fear. There can be no marriage. TThe Count should be subject t both

ecclesiastical and civil court proceedings. Now we know, that given the

power of a Count, he may or may not be forced to give up his erstwhile

bride, depending on how strong-willed the local bishop is.
Let's throw another stick into the fire- suppose the Count, either to

win her over or because he actually likes her, treats this girl with

kindness, courtesy, and showers her with gifts and affection. Should she

succumb to these blandishments, or even if she simply stops resisting,

stops voicing her objections, and does not try to run away, this

constitutes a subsequent consent, and then there may be a marriage. Or

there may not. Because her initial abduction was by force, that created a

diriment impediment of crime. Subsequent consent does not wipe out the

crime. Quite frankly, this is the sort of case that leads to years of

litigation, fat fees, and fat bellies for men the likes of myself!


Basically, if she goes willingly, you have to do penance but you are

still married. If she does not go willingly, and you have to use force to

get her, there is no marriage.
Aah... that was fun! Anyone up for trees of consanguinity? ;-)
Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Joshua Badgley

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 22:36:34 -0900 (AKST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage Law and Crossbow Weddings
On the issue of illegal and illicit marriages, I have a couple of

questions:


1) I assume, from what I read, that an illegal marriage could be

annulled,and the two divorced (well, technically there was never a true

marriage anyway, correct?)
2) What other reasons could a marriage be annulled? For instance, I

haveheard that if one of the partners does not plan to have children,

then, should it be proved that they knowingly entered into the marriage

with this in mind, then the marriage is not legall. Is there any truth

to this statement, or is it just a tale?
Godric Logan

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: "JoAnn Abbott"

To:

Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 00:58:58 -0700

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage customs


Dear Father Abelard,
I note that much of the discussion has dealt with persons who I presume

to be free-born and who wished (or in some cases didn't wish) to be

joined in Holy Matrimony. What though were the laws concerning serfs

attached to a manor or estate? What if my bondsman wished to wed your

bondswoman, who keeps possesion of them? If a freeman wishes to wed a

bondsmaid, what then? Or the other way around- what if the maid is free

and the man is a serf?
I remain

(cheerfully adding fuel to the fire)

Lady JoAnna of the Singing Threads

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Laura C Minnick

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 00:49:33 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage Law and Crossbow Weddings


*heh heh heh* just the sort of responses I was hoping for!
On Mon, 8 Mar 1999, Joshua Badgley wrote:

> On the issue of illegal and illicit marriages, I have a couple of

> questions:

>

> 1) I assume, from what I read, that an illegal marriage could be annulled,



> and the two divorced (well, technically there was never a true marriage

> anyway, correct?)


Well, there is no divorce, because there was no marriage. You've got it

right. In fact an annulment is the formal Church recognition that there

was no valid marriage. Getting the formal recognition was important in

case one or both of the parties wished to marry. That way there was no

question as to whether they were free. (You've got a sharp eye for

understanding these distinctions. Have you ever considered a career as a

man of the cloth?)
> 2) What other reasons could a marriage be annulled? For instance, I have

> heard that if one of the partners does not plan to have children, then,

> should it be proved that they knowingly entered into the marriage with

> this in mind, then the marriage is not legal. Is there any truth to this

> statement, or is it just a tale?
Yes, it is true. Marriage is a sacrement, the intent of which is

expression of fidelity, the celebration of nuptial intercourse, and for

the production of offspring . If one partner has no intention of having

children, they have violated the intent of marriage, and it is no legal

marriage. This does, of course, present problems for the unwitting

partner.
This in considered to be an error of consent- because the erring partner

has not consented to the intent of the marriage. Another error of consent

is an error of identity, and quite similar to it, and error of condition.

Here is an example.
A young woman is betrothed to a Count from some distance away. She has

never seen him. On the appointed day, a young man on a beautifully

caprisoned horse rides up to her manor and introduces himself as the

Count, saying that he and his train were waylaid by brigands on the road,

and he was the only one to escape. The couple are duly married. A couple

of days later, another man comes straggling out of the woods, with a

couple of retainers. He explains to the guards at the manor that he is

the Count, was waylaid by brigands, several of his men are dead and one

is missing. He is taken in, and led to the manor's lord, the girl's

father, then enters the bridal couple. "Edwin, you rogue!" screams the

new guest, "You stole my best horse and ran off with those thieves!" The

bride faints. When the dust has settled, it is certain that the Count has

been wronged- his bride has been married to a stable-boy.
Now, there words of present consent, followed by consummation. But the

bride did not consent to the stableboy, Edwin, but to the Count, who she

thought she was marrying. This is a clear error of identity, and she is

not a married woman. After a formal inquiry, she is free to be married to

her rightful suitor, the Count. These are just the sort of cases that

come before the Church courts all too often.


There is another error that is frequently in the Church courts. It

occurrs after the marriage, when one or the other partners discovers that

they share a common ancestor- too common, in fact. Many a royal person

has come to that startling realization. The degrees of imediment vary

from place and time, but the general rule is four degrees. I would have

thought that persons considering marriage would be more careful to

research the family line, but considering how many come to the courts

carrying charts newly drawn with previously heretofore unknown ancestors,

it would appear that they don't. Depending then upon the number and

character of the witnesses, and the degree of consanguinity, there may be

an annulment, with the parties free to marry someone else; a divorce, in

which case the parties may not marry again; they separate and are married

but no longer have conjugal rights; or they are left as they are.
There is more, but...

Thank you for the delightful questions, Godric!


Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Laura C Minnick

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 02:12:51 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage customs
On Tue, 9 Mar 1999, JoAnn Abbott wrote:

> I note that much of the discussion has dealt with persons who I presume to

> be free-born and who wished (or in some cases didn't wish) to be joined in

> Holy Matrimony. What though were the laws concerning serfs attached to a

> manor or estate? What if my bondsman wished to wed your bondswoman, who

> keeps possesion of them? If a freeman wishes to wed a bondsmaid, what

> then? Or the other way around- what if the maid is free and the man is a

> serf?
Yes, most of the case law and such is addressing the free-born. Laws for

serfs are at once fewer and more complicated. At the point where the

bondsman is a near slave, he is either in a pagan or semi-pagan land,

such as most of the so-called Germanic lands. (Do remember that much of

Germany was still adamantly pagan until well after 800.) Or he is in a

period of time before the canons regarding marriage of Christians were

put together. (The first full canon were put together by Gratian,

somewhere around 1150. Pretty late for some folk.)
As to the state of your standard serf in, say, England in 1300, marriage

can be complicated. Those of servile status are still tied to the land,

but cannot be thought of as slaves, per se. (One might think of them as

similar to the sharecroppers in the Deep South in the early years of the

20th century.-Laura) One of the ostensible purposes of marriage

litigation is to maintain social order, and this means that as well as

people marrying properly as regards, consanguinity, etc., they also

should marry as befits their social and monetary rank. The old fabliaux

about a prince marrying a pigherder's daughter are just not so. It would

be in credibly improper. The marriage might be legal in the eyes of God,

but it is not licit, and may well violate civil codes. William the

Conqueror's father, who was Duke of Normandy, did not marry the tanner's

daughter- he had a bastard by her (Odo and the other brothers were

half-kin). Such is frequently the fate of a girl who is pretty beyond her

ken.
Now as to marriages within the bbondsfolk. Most frequently th civil laws

state that the bond must obtain the lord's permission to marry outside of

his village- mostly because it would take the labor value of one of the

partners away from the lawful recipient. Late in period, say after 1300,

this could be commuted by a simple monetary payment called merchet,

though it could be quite high depending on the status of the villein. If

he was only a field worker, the merchet might only be a few pence. If he

is a blacksmith, it could be quuite high, if the lord allowe it at all

(most did- they wanted the cash). So your bondsman who wanted to marry a

bondswoman would pay the fee to the lord who would lose the service, and

then marry and set up housekeeping.
Your case of 'mixed marriages' are more complicated. A great deal

depends on the status of the persons involved. If the freeman in a small

freeholder, just barely out of serfdom, it is not so difficult to marry a

bondswoman- pay the merchet to her lord, and be done with it. A man much

farther above her would likely not marry a serf, because in some

jurisdictions to do so would denigrate his status to the same as hers.

Yes- you heard me right- a free man could be made a serf by marrying one.

Didn't happen very often. Also, a freewoman risks losing her freedom if

she marries below her, more so than her male counterpart. Also, the

children of such a union are given the status of the _lower_ parent, with

only a couple notable exceptions, such as the bastards of nobles.
In general, the lower classes married later, and tend to have smaller

families than the gentry. In theory they are subject to the same marriage

laws, but in practice it is hard to know. Much of the English case law

that I have is from small towns and rural villages.


Interesting questions!
Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Laura C Minnick

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 02:38:51 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage Law and Crossbow Weddings
On Tue, 9 Mar 1999 Bkwyrm at aol.com wrote:

> << Aah... that was fun! Anyone up for trees of consanguinity? ;-)

>

> Pitch a little fuel on the burning bush, then!



> (Go for it, Father)
Just remember now, you asked for it!
The laws regarding consanguinity were put in place as addition to the

blood-line laws of Leviticus- marrying outside the family isn't just a

good idea, it's the law! It brings in fresh blood, creates ties to other

families, lots of good things.


Imagine if you will, a tree, with many branches. In those branches are

two young people who are to be married. Each step closer to the trunk is

an ancestor, their parents, grandparents, etc. Now if they are like other

nobles, their branches are going to meet somewhere. The trick is to find

out how close to the trunk they are.
Here's an example. Sir John has a son named Simon. Simon is affianced to

a young girl named Marie. They have a tree of consanguinity drawn, and

find as they knew, that they have a common ancestor in Guido, a Count in

Northern Italy He is the great-great-great-grandfather of Simon, and the

Great-great-grandfather of Marie. So we have:
Simon Marie

father father

Grandfather grandmother

great-grandfather great-grandfather

great-great-grandfather great-great-grandfather- Guido

great-great-great-grandfather

-Guido
Now, we count from the closest point- it is five steps from Guido to

Simon, but only four from Guido to Marie. So they have four degrees

separating them- fine for England or anywhere in Europe after 1215. They

can marry.


But wait! it turns out that a brother of Simon's grandfather was Marie's

Grandfather- married to the grandmother that is already shown in the line

above. So the closest common ancestor is the great-grandfather- only

three degrees and too close to mmarry, unless they get a papa

dispensation. Of course if they are already married when they find this

ancestor, that may be grounds for annulment. (It works for kings- why

not?) Or they can get a dispensation after the fact. But frankly, those

little problems usually only come up if one of the partners wants out of

the marriage.
So- the deal is- search your family tree and find if there is a common

ancestor- then count to see who is the closest, and find out if it is

within the proscribed degrees. Before 1215, the magic number is 6, or 4

for England. After 1215 it is 4 for everyone.


And then there's a similar exercise for affinity...
Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Laura C Minnick

To: "'perrel at egroups.com'"

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 16:57:32 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage Law and Crossbow Weddings
On Fri, 12 Mar 1999, Bev Kaufman wrote:

> I'd be interested in a little more on consaguinity. It's out of period,

>but in Wuthering Heights, circa 1800 Yorkshire, we see Cathy Linton marrying

>two first cousins in succession without anyone raising an eyebrow. Richard

>III was at one time rumored to have designs on his neice (he hotly denied it)

>and it was thought that a papal bull would clear the way for marriage. Yet

>other marriages have been annulled because of the convenient discovery of a

>remote ancestor. What determines that permitted degree of consanguinity?


As to out-of-period England, I really don't know. It would appear that

COE relaxed the consanguinity codes, but I don't know when or why.


As to Richard, a Papal Dispensation (a bull is a slightly different kind

of document) could have been obtained to allow marriage with a niece- but

it wasn't, and likely would not have. For one thing, that would have been

such a close relationship as that would violate the concept of 'public

propriety'. For another, to get something like that from the Pope, you

usually had to give something- one of the many reasons why it was mostly

only royal types who got them. Some of the laws that would otherwise have

separated a couple, such as consanguinity, could be dispensed with for

sake of 'public peace', or other major things. 'Public peace' was things

such as a marriage between heirs so as to keep peace between two

countries- Henry V and Princess Katherine being an example. So it's good

to be the King (or prince)- it means you can get away with things that

the 'little guy' can't.
The permitted degrees are set by Church councils, such as the adjustment

of degrees by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. As far as I can tell,

the numbers are purely arbitrary- set at a point that is thought proper,

not so close that noble families intermarry and build up too much power

within the house, and not so far apart that it is difficult to find a

spouse of the appropriate rank (which happened at the top anyway). Four

degrees was not seen as an undue burden, and so far as I know, it stayed

at four through the rest of SCA period, though after Henry's split with

the Church of Rome, I know less.
Is that what you need to know?
Laura

(Father Abelard)

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell ]

From: Laura C Minnick

To: "'perrel at egroups.com'"

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 17:15:09 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [PerRel] Re: Marriage Law and Crossbow Weddings
On Fri, 12 Mar 1999, Bev Kaufman wrote:

> Here's another case, from circa 1250, Italy. A woman is to be contracted

>in marriage to a man she has not seen, a man who is objectionable in

>appearance and manners but not in wealth or station, which is what interests

>the bride's family the most. Knowing the bride to be headstrong and quite

>capable of saying NO, they arrange for a proxy marriage, in which a handsome

>young man comes in the bridegroom's place. The bride is not told that it is

>a proxy marriage, and gives the words of consent to the man that she thinks

>is her husband. She is then turned over to her real husband.

> Leaving aside the obvious truism that she shouldn't be judging the book by

>its cover, does she have legal grounds for annulling the marriage?
Yes, on two counts:
A Proxy marriage is truly no more than a fancy betrothal- the words

given cannot be more than future consent because one (or both) of the

parties are present. Like a betrothal, a proxy marriage must be ratified

in person with the exchange of present words of consent, followed by

consummation. So even if the young woman had known that this was a proxy,

she would still have to consent at a later date to the true suitor.

However, she didn't know, which brings us to the second point:
What has happened here is an error of consent through an error of

person. Do you remember the case of Edwin that I used as an example a

couple of days ago? In that case Edwin, a stablehand, was presenting

himself as the Count. In this case, a young man is presented as the

fiancé, and in both cases, the young woman was misled as to the actual

identity of her suitor. If your young lady agreed to this young man

thinking him to be the suitor, she was a) not married to _him_ because

she was deceived, and therefore did not give true consent, and b) nor was

she married to Mr.Ugly, because she did not give true consent to him. So

the upshot is, she is married to nobody. A nice example of two wrongs

don't make a right- they make a mess.
Now, about my fee...
Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick



University of Oregon

Department of English

Subject: Marriage Customs (file 1 of 2)

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:20:24 -0500

From: Hank Harwell

To: stefan at texas.net


On Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:49:50 -0600 Stefan li Rous

writes:
>If you would be willing to save any threads that look like they might

>be a good addition to the Florilegium, I would appreciate it. I will

>give you credit for submitting these messages to me.


You asked for it! Below are collated files on the subject of marriage

and canon law. This is the first of two similar threads (the second is

on Germanic customs)
>PS: I've been trying to fill out my info on Monks, Friars and their

>various orders. Purposes, differenaces, clothing, rules etc. Just in

>case this comes up sometime. Other subjects too but I can't remember

>what they are right now.


A certain gentle has webbed a copy of the Book of Hours (based on the

Rule of St. Benedict). The URL is

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/3910/Monastery/monbrev.htm
Brother Cleireac of Inisliath

Subject: Fw: CH Newsletter: Standing on Ceremony (Marriages)

Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 13:22:40 -0400

From: Hank Harwell

To: perrel at egroups.com, stefan at texas.net
I received the below message from an on-line Church History newsletter.

I thought it would be interesting in light of the discussion of period

marriage customs we had a few months back.....
If any are interested in receiving this newsletter, I'll leave the URL for

the webpage at the bottom.


Brother Cleireac of Inisliath
--------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Elesha Hodge

To: CHRISTIAN-HISTORY at LISTSERV.AOL.COM

Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 09:27:44 EDT

Subject: CH Newsletter: Standing on Ceremony
Dearly Beloved ...

from Elesha Hodge, assistant editor of Christian History


These days, a couple can decide to get married just about anywhere and any way they please. Recently, in flood-ravaged North Carolina, a couple was so determined to marry that they waded to their chosen spot, and the bride's father had to give her away via cell phone. While some old customs remain (such as wearing the ring on the third finger because the vein there was believed to run straight to the heart), we've come a long way from medieval traditions.



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