Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium

p-marriage-msg



This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

p-marriage-msg - 1/26/07

 

Period marriage.

 

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

 

************************************************************************

NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

************************************************************************

 

From: vader at meryl.csd.uu.se (]ke Eldberg)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Period gay marriage ceremony

Date: 12 Jun 94 01:50:27

Organization: Indiana Jones University

 

Greetings from William de Corbie!

 

I noticed a short while ago a posting here on the Rialto concerning a

"period marriage ceremony for homosexuals" or something to that effect.

The posting contained a pointer to somewhere else, but I believe that

it probably referred to a thing that has attracted much attention

lately in various newsgroups. There exists an Orthodox ceremony of

"spiritual friendship" which has quickly been termed by the gay

community as a "marriage ceremony for men".

 

This is only FYI and not an attempt to discuss the matter itself.

 

The service in the form it has been posted to Usenet is translated from

the Euchologion of Jacobus Goar, which was printed in 1647 and revised

in 1730. A facsimile of the 1730 edition, published in Graz, Austria,

in 1960, is available in many theological libraries. This is a Latin

source for a Greek ceremony, so it should be treated with caution.

 

In fact, the rite is called an order (akolouthia) for adelphopoiian,

that is, for making an adelphos, that is, for adopting one as brother

(or sister). The proper analogue is not marriage, but adoption. Still,

gay activists have taken its existence as evidence of ancient church

recognition of homosexual relationships.

 

The "Pedalion" which is more or less an Orthodox version of canon law,

says: "So called brothership-by-adoption is not only prohibited by ch.35

of Title XIII of Book V of the law (p.217 of _Jus Greco-Romanum_)

altogether, and rejected by the Church of Christ, but is also contrary

to nature, according to Demetrius Chomatianus(ibid.). For adoption

imitates nature, but nature never generates a brother, but only a son.

So adoption, as imitating nature, cannot make a brother."

 

I do not intend to start a debate on the Rialto about the facts

of the case, only to inform readers that they should not believe bold

assertions that there exists a period, accepted marriage ceremony for

homosexuals -- the age, validity and meaning of the adelphoia ceremony

is very much under discussion, and the "gay wedding" interpretation

seems like a very unlikely explanation.

 

Please refer all discussion to an appropriate group.

 

William

 

 

From: dani at telerama.lm.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Nicolaa's articles #4

Date: 13 Jul 1994 18:10:00 -0400

Organization: Telerama Public Access Internet, Pittsburgh, PA USA

 

Susan Carroll-Clark <sclark at epas.utoronto.ca>:

>If a couple were too closely related (usually within the third or

>fourth degree), the marriage could not occur...

 

Seventh degree, but the definition of 'degree' changed midstream.

The Romans counted links in the family tree, so your first

cousin might be your father's father's daughter's daughter -- four

links, and hence related in the fourth degree.  So you could marry

a third cousin, but not a second cousin.  In the ninth century,

the definition was changed so that you checked the tree back seven

generations.  In other words, your first cousin was now related in

the second degree, because you had a common ancestor two generations

back.  Needless to say, the chance of two prominent people *not*

having a common ancestor seven generations back was modest enough

that the greater degrees of consanguinity tended to be ignored unless

it was in someone's interest to do otherwise.  For example, when

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis of France came to terminate their

marriage, a previously-overlooked consanguinity (I forget whether

it was fourth or fifth degree) was dug up to justify an annulment.

-----

Dani of the Seven Wells

dani at netcom.com  dani at telerama.lm.com

 

 

From: pat at harry.lloyd.com (Pattie McGregor)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Boswell's book on Same Sex Marriages in Period

Date: 10 Jun 1994 11:57:51 -0700

Organization: House Northmark, Mountains' Gate, Cynagua, The West

Keywords: Research, gays, marriage, books

 

Greetings to the Rialto from siobhan --

 

This article came across the GEMCS-L mailing list (a research

list on early modern culture): you can subscribe by sending

to LISTSERV at vaxc.hofstra.edu; put this line in the text of your

message:

 

SUBSCRIBE GEMCS-L   <your name>

--- forwarded message ---

 

Date:    Fri, 10 Jun 1994 13:12:41 -0500 (CDT)

From:    Kris Zapalac <kzapalac at artsci.wustl.edu>

Subject: RE: doonesbury

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

For everyone out there in cyberspace who missed the relevant article in

the New York Times (as I did), John Boswell's new book is out (and in

several university libraries already according to the WorldCat listing),

though I've not yet seen it reviewed:

 

      John Boswell, Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe (New York:

Villiard, 1994).  ISBN 0679432280.

 

It should be worth reading... and is sure to spark a bit of controversy.

 

Kris Zapalac

History

Washington University in St Louis

kzapalac at artsci.wustl.edu

===========================================================================

Siobhan Medhbh O'Roarke / Pat McGregor

 

Sharing her time between Crosston &                   3060 Ridgeline Drive

  Mountain's Gate/Golden Rivers                       Rescue, CA 95672

  pat at cygnus.com                                       (916) 677-6607

  siobhan at lloyd.com                                     (415) 903-1448 (days)

 

 

From: b.scott at bscott.async.csuohio.edu (Brian M. Scott)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Marriage in Mediaeval times...

Date: 17 Oct 1995 04:51:43 GMT

Organization: Cleveland State University

 

"'Jherek' W. Swanger" <jswanger at u.washington.edu> says:

>On Tue, 3 Oct 1995 tylauren at ccinet.ab.ca wrote:

>> I was pondering the medieval marriage the other day and our local

>> library couldn't help me.  When a woman married, did she take her

>> husbands name? And when he died, did she keep it?

>

>I have been told (although I never bothered to double check) that in

>Reformation Germany, the custom was for the couple to take the family

>name of whichever side was more prosperous.  If the wife's family was

>wealthier, she kept her name and the husband changed his.

 

This should be considered a response to the original posting, which I

missed.  There is no simple answer to the question, even in a relatively

small area like England.  According to Cecily Clark (in _The Cambridge

History of the English Language_, Vol. II, ed. by Norman Blake), a woman

of the post-Conquest English nobility might in the 12th c. retain her own

family byname after marriage and even pass it on to whichever son inherited

the lands in question, but after about 1300 it was conventional for a wife

to adopt her husband's family name.  The lower classes were slower to adopt

the practice.  The sketchy available evidence suggests that the matrimonial

bynaming (i.e., the custom whereby a woman adopted her husband's byname)

became the rule in much of the country during the 14th c. (though with

many individual exceptions), but that in the North a significant number of

women bore bynames independent of their husbands' into the 16th c.  Certainly

the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 recorded many names of the form 'Ibota

Dicconwyf', i.e., Ibota (a diminutive of Isabel) the wife of Diccon'.

 

For 14th c. Germany I've seen citations like 'Katherina Bonnen', which is

essentially 'Bono's Katherina', but I've no way to know whether Bono was

her father or her husband.  The same construction occurs with the husband's

or father's byname: 'Muelners Els' is the Els (Elizabeth) of a man called

Muelner (miller).  One even finds such references as 'Dietl Engelmanin';

here the husband is Dietl; 'Engelman' is probably his surname, but it

might be her father's, and *her* given name doesn't appear at all!  The

only way to tell that the name refers to a woman is by the feminine ending

-in on the surname.  Even in the 16th c. one finds records like 'Steffan

Eberleins Weib', i.e., the wife of Steffan Eberlein.  But these are names

as recorded in official documents; what these people were called in daily

life may have been quite different - or it may not. ('Muelners Els', for

instance, sounds like something that she might have been called even by

her neighbors when there was a need to distinguish her from another Els

in the village.)

 

In places where a patronymic system of naming persisted into the Middle

Ages, women seem generally to have kept their own patronymics.  (After all,

marrying doesn't change one's father's name.)  This is the case today in

Iceland, for instance, and it was probably pretty wide-spread in mediaeval

Ireland, at least outside of the more important families.

 

Talan Gwynek

 

 

From: jswanger at u.washington.edu ('Jherek' W. Swanger)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish Personas Help!!!

Date: 8 Oct 1996 01:43:08 GMT

Organization: University of Washington, Seattle

 

Womyn2me <womyn2me at aol.com> wrote:

>> Anyway, here are some answers to your questions about Scottish women.  

>> The religion would have been basically Catholic, with many pagan

>> traditions and superstitions thrown in.  The wedding would have been an

>> old Catholic ritual (once again for a little idea, watch Braveheart).

>

>actually, that was a handfasting (with a priest thrown in to show the

>movie audience that it was supposed to be a wedding...)

 

At that point in history it would not have even been necessary to have

a priest in attendance.  Marriage in and of itself was considered

somewhat of a social/secular affair.  So while the Church liked to

ensure moral behavior (e.g. discouraging the practice of having

concubines), its role in the wedding ceremony was more to bless the

couple than anything else.  By the early 15th century, the Church was

strongly encouraging the presence of a priest (In 1403, a German bishop

wrote to one of his subordinates that any couples marrying without a

priest in attendance were to be threatened with excommunication), but

it wasn't until the Council of Trent in 1545, that the Church formally

required priests to officiate at weddings.

 

Back to the Braveheart thing, at that time, the only thing necessary

for a couple to marry was to exchange vows, sometimes as simple as

"Will you marry me?" "Yes."  You didn't even need witnesses.  

 

For references, please see my bibliography of works dealing with

medieval and Renaissance wedding customs at:

http://paul.spu.edu/~kst/bib/bib.html

 

kirsti

(not jherek)

 

 

From: Gretchen M Beck <grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish Personas Help!!!

Date: Tue,  8 Oct 1996 13:45:41 -0400

Organization: Computer Operations, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Excerpts from netnews.rec.org.sca: 7-Oct-96 Re: Scottish Personas

Help!!! Bryan J. Maloney at cornell (558)

 

> Handfastings were not weddings, nor were they "pagan"--they were a result

> of the fact that the Christian priests of the day had to act as "circuit

> riders", and one couldn't always have a priest handy to do a marriage

> whenever.  Thus, you had a "handfasting", and the matter was then

> solemnized/rendered official when the priest made it 'round.

 

Technically, and especially in Scotland, you don't need a priest, or a

handfasting--all that's required is the agreement to a wedding contract

between the two individuals involved.  In Scotland, for most of period,

if you agreed between the two of you that you were married, you

were--this also applied to England (see the issue of whether Anne Boleyn

or Catherine Howard had secretly arranged a marriage before their

marriages to Henry).

 

Usually the procedure went like this:  the parties involved (or rather

their parents/guardians) arranged a marriage contract, in which the

various goods/monies/services each party would provide to the marriage

were spelled out.  Bans were posted so that anyone claiming a prior

contract could come forward.  If none introduced a prior claim, then the

couple declared themselves married before witnesses--usually, though not

necessarily, in front of a priest.

 

toodles, margaret

 

 

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 13:39:11 -0800 (PST)

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

 

        All right, you've twisted my arm (ow!ow!) so I will tell you about

Crossbow Weddings...

 

        I use the term Crossbow Weddings jokingly, of course, but it is the

easiest way to immediately communicate the concept of a marriage

undertaken under duress. Generally, the marriages that we are concerned

with here are those that end up in the courts, because on or the other of

the parties disputes the validity of the marriage. English case law is

full of these cases (what is with these English, after all?). In the

great majority of them, the woman comes to the court, insisting that she

is married to a certain man, and wanting the court to enforce the

marriage and make him live with her as her husband. The man usually

replies by saying that they are not married and he wants nothing to do

with her. The story develops from there.

 

        These marriages are nearly always clandestine marriages- without

witnesses, which is one of the reasons why the Church was pushing for a

formal, public exchange of consent- to unclog the courts. In these cases,

one of the favorite defenses of the man is to say "Yes, I exchanged

present words with her- but I didn't mean it! I was under duress, and was

being threatened!" Then the court has to examine the nature of the

duress. The Church's definition of duress that was sufficient to nullify

a marriage is called Force and Fear- specifically, "that which would

cause a strong man to faint", perhaps not literally, but you get the

meaning. So the question that arises when a man says he was forced into

the marriage is: how much force is enough?

 

        Two examples. First, a young couple is in the barn, taking, er,

liberties with each other that should not be taken but by those who are

well and truly married. The woman's father comes upon them, and

understandably upset, holds a scythe tto the man's throat while the

exchange words of present consent. Later, the young man takes off, the

young woman is pregnant, and she goes to the Church court for redress- to

have her 'husband' return and take his proper place as husband and

father. He insists there was no marriage, that his words of consent were

not true, because he was under duress.

 

        Second, A young man rents a bed in an inn. He sneaks a young woman in

with him, and they are making sport when the landlady comes in and finds

them. She is quite irate and screams and yells and threatens them with a

warming-pan. She insists they exchange words of present consent, and they

do, so she leaves the room and they continue about their business. Later,

when the young woman finds she is pregnant, she names the young man and

insists that he is the father and her husband. He laughs at this and she

goes to the Church courts.

 

        By the measure of force and fear, the first young man is off the hook-

the scythe at his throat is lethal force and enough to nullify any words

he said. The unfortunate young woman will likely become an outcast,

though some kind-hearted (or opportunistic) man may marry her, though the

child will always have the stigma of bastardy.

 

        The second young man, however, is in a pickle. And angry landlady is not

sufficient threat to count as force and fear, and the words exchanged,

though impromptu, are binding, especially since they were followed by

intercourse. He is married, and the child is his responsibility.

 

        If anyone is interested, I might write about a similar subject- that of

child 'marriages' and the issue of coercion there.

 

Any questions? The two examples are from case law- I particularly like

the mental image of the angry landlady- I like to use the example when I

teach classes.

 

Pace,

Father Abelard

-

Laura C. Minnick

University of Oregon

Department of English

 

 

[submitted by Brother Cleireac of Inisliath, Hank Harwell <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

To: perrel at egroups.com

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 20:43:44 -0800 (PST)

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

 

On Mon, 8 Mar 1999, dan meehan wrote:

> I understand that there was a form of marriage where the groom

> basically steals the bride.  Is there any case law concerning this?

 

Oh yes! (Just the question I was hoping for!) This is called an

Abduction, and there is a great deal of case law on it because it is

considered a great disruption to the social fabric.

 

        To start, there are two kinds of impediment to a marriage- that which

makes a marriage illicit, and that which makes a marriage illegal. A

marriage by abduction can fall into either or both categories. So we sort

them out.

 

        An illicit marriage is one made outside of the community standards:

i.e., without witnesses, without knowledge or consent of the families,

etc. If a marriage is _illicit_ it does not follow that it is _illegal_

and therefore invalid. The couple who exchanges words of the present in

the barn because the woman is loath to lose her maidenhead without being

married first is married, validly though illicitly. (They will probably

be required to perform some penance for their misdeeds.) However, a good

example of an impediment that would render a marriage invalid (this is

called a _diriment_ impediment) is an impediment of crime. For instance,

a young married woman has an affair with her neighbor. Her husband has a

heart attack in the fields and is carried home dead. The young neighbor

then asks the widow to marry him. They may 'marry', but in the eyes of

the Church, and before God they are _not_ married, because their crime of

adultery has created a diriment impediment, such that cannot simply be

wiped out by penance. (In fact, some Church fathers would have you

believe that neither of them might marry at all, but that goes farther

than Gratian and his glossators say- they only state that the adulterous

couple may not marry each other.)

 

        Now, as to our abductions. The licitness or legality of the marriage

hinges on a couple of things. Firstly, the consent of the two parties

involved, the force used in the abduction and against whom it was used.

 

        Suppose a young woman falls in love with a man from a neighboring town.

Her father does not want her to marry outside of her village and forbids

her to see her suitor. On summer evening, she and her family are sitting

in front of their house after the evening meal, enjoying the last rays of

sun. A horse rides up- it is the suitor, and before the horrified eyes of

her family, the girl runs to the horse, the man scoops her up and they

ride of down the road to a parish church, where they exchange words of

present consent with the priest and his sexton as witness.

 

        Suppose a shepherdess is in the field when a hostile troop comes across

the plain. One of the troops thinks her attractive, puts her across his

saddle, and rides off with her kicking and screaming.

 

        Suppose a Baron has a daughter of marriageable age, and a neighboring

Count lusts after her (and some of her father's lands). The Baron refuses

to entertain offers for his daughter from the Count, knowing him to be a

vain, cruel man who treats members of his household like cattle. One day,

at a civic festival, while the daughter sits in the gallery with her

parents, watching the tournament, some of the Count's men ride up, snatch

the girl away from her parents, and ride off with her screaming for help

and begging for mercy.

 

        Which of these three, if any, are married?

 

        In the first case, the girl has obviously consented, and because no

force was used against her or her family, the marriage stands. (But I

would suppose that her family will harbor a grudge against the young

husband for some time!) Interestingly, before Gratian and the

codification of many divergent laws, this couple would have been declared

to have an invalid marriage, and the girl would be sent back to her

parents. After Gratian (mid 12th. c.) it was recognized that the consent

of the parties overruled the objections of the parents, and the marriage

was Valid, though illicit. They had to do penance, but could go set up

housekeeping in peace.

 

        In the second case, there is an impediment of crime- that of the force

and fear used to carry her off. There can be no marriage, valid or licit,

and at best there is penance for the man. In this case the head of the

troop, if he is a good Christian, would have the foolish man horsewhipped.

 

        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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Joshua Badgley <fsjlb4 at aurora.alaska.edu>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: "JoAnn Abbott" <josco at theriver.com>

To: <perrel at egroups.com>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

To: "'perrel at egroups.com'" <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 <cleireac at juno.com>]

From: Laura C Minnick <lainie at gladstone.uoregon.edu>

To: "'perrel at egroups.com'" <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 <cleireac at juno.com>

To: stefan at texas.net

 

On Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:49:50 -0600 Stefan li Rous <stefan at texas.net>

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 <cleireac at juno.com>

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 <EleshaCH at aol.com>

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.

 

In Europe up until about the ninth century, betrothals were more important than weddings. At the betrothal stage, the bride price and/or dowry was exchanged, and the woman often assumed the title of "wife." Following Germanic tradition, the deal was sealed when the couple consummated the relationship--which could occur a year or more after the betrothal. However, though the woman was part of her future husband's family during this time, the betrothal was not seen as absolutely binding. To make matters worse, early medieval society recognized concubinage as a non-binding, second-class form of marriage. At least in the area of weddings, the traditions and values of the early church had been overtaken by pagan customs.

 

As the Roman Catholic church gained power, it decided to weigh in on marital matters, shifting from a Germanic model (consummation is key) to a Roman model (the couple's mutual consent is key). This was not a popular move, since the church basically declared common custom inadequate in forming a marriage. Also, by deciding at the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) that a priest must bless and witness weddings, church leaders were making a religious ceremony of what had once just been a big party. Reformers, including Martin Luther, weren't sure the clergy should even be involved in such a bawdy affair. One sixteenth-century English reformer complained, "They come with a great noise of basins and drums, wherewith they trouble the whole church and hinder them in particulars pertaining to God."

 

Much of this controvery died down by the seventeenth century. English poet and minister John Donne seemed to represent popular opinion when he wrote in 1621, "As marriage is a civil contract, it must be done so in public, as that may have the testimony of men. As marriage is a religious contract, it must be done so as it may have the benediction of the priest." Luther, too, came around to supporting marriages with clergy present, though he felt, not surprisingly, that the ceremonies should take place at the church door.

 

What none of this explains is why I chose the topic of weddings for this week's newsletter. Well, it's a personal reason--I'm getting married Saturday. So this is the last editorial you'll read from Elesha Hodge. Elesha Coffman will be bringing you this newsletter the week after next.

 

=======================================================

http://www.christianhistory.net

 

=======================================================

Copyright 1999 Christian History.

 

 

Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 09:36:21 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Six and counting

 

"Pixel, Goddess and Queen" wrote:

> > The "hotel thing" is a variation on "marriage by declaration" -- it's not

> > that they register in a hotel, it's that they register as "mr. and mrs."

> > thus holding themselves out to the world as a married couple.

>

> Which is extremely period--the whole church validation was a thing pushed

> by the church. You just had to state in front of witnesses that you were

> married. Also, if a couple was cohabiting and there happened to be a legal

> issue that involved them being married or not, and their *neighbors* bore

> witness that they were married, well then, they were legally married.

 

(Father Abelard pokes his head out- "Someone get me some caffeine so I

can answer this!")

 

1. It didn't _have_ to be in front of witnesses- that is a fairly late

development designed to avoid the "He said/She said" litiagtion that

makes up most of the case law we have to look at (I have a book full of

marriage litigation from the 14th-15th c in England, and most of it is

exactly that sort of thing). You could be married simply be exchanging

words of Present Consent, e.g. "I, Joe Pigfarmer, marry you, Jane

Yarnspinner" "I, Jane Yarnspinner, marry you, Joe Pigfarmer". Ta-da!

They're married!

 

2. The neighbors only come into in specfic situations. For instance, if

the guy took off and the woman wanted him back and went to court

claiming that they were married, their neighbors could be brought in to

say "Yeah, I always thought they were married- he called her his wife" or

"Nah, we knew they were living in sin." One or the other partner (at

least) had to make a claim that they were married. You don't suddenly

find yourselves married just because the neighbors think so. It

involves specific situations.

 

'Lainie

on behalf of Father Abelard the Lesser

 

 

Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 15:58:05 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Six and counting

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

'Lainie,

 

The legal term for what you are talking about is

"jactitation of marriage".  A term from English

Ecclesiastical Law.

 

Huette

 

 

Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 16:50:19 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Six and counting

 

Huette von Ahrens wrote:

> The legal term for what you are talking about is

> "jactitation of marriage".  A term from English

> Ecclesiastical Law.

 

Do you happen to know when? Because I am not familiar with it- it

doesn't show up in the 14th-15thc case law that I'm working on.

 

'Lainie

 

 

From: "Gwynydd Of Culloden" <gwynydd_of_culloden at yahoo.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Marriage (was Six and counting)

Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 08:23:22 +1000

 

> From: 'Lainie

> on behalf of Father Abelard the Lesser

 

> 1. It didn't _have_ to be in front of witnesses- that is a fairly late

> development designed to avoid the "He said/She said" litiagtion that

> makes up most of the case law we have to look at >>>

 

This is a post I wrote in response to someone saying that gays were trying

to destroy something sacred and religious in wanting legal marriage rights.

It looks, briefly (and based only on one, online, source) at the history of

religion in marriage in Western Christendom.

 

Contrary to popular opinion, marriage has not always been a religious

sacrament even in Western Christendom.

 

The truth is that marriage has been for much of its history either a legal

contract or a personal commitment in which religion played no part (except

to demand it so that sexual intercourse could be approved and legitimacy of

children could be assured).

 

In fact, there has been a clear progression from clergy not being essential

(or even permitted) at a wedding in the 9th century;

 

'...ninth-century religious texts of Northern France make no mention of

nuptial benedictions other than as part of joint wedding-coronation

ceremonies where a queen simultaneously married the king and was crowned. '

 

'[in the 9th century] the Bishop of Bourge forbade the priests in his

diocese to even take part in wedding ceremonies mainly due to the bawdy

nature of what was a celebration of the couple’s physical union (The Knight

33-34).'

 

To there being more debate about the role of the Church in marriages in the

12th century;

 

'...twelfth-century Camaldolese monk, Gratian said "When the man says, 'I

receive you as mine, so that you become my wife and I your husband,’ and

when the woman makes the same declaration ... when they do and say this

according to existing custom and are in agreement, it is then that I say

they are married ... whether by chance they have made it, as they should

not, alone, apart, in secret, and with no witnesses present, yet ... they

are well and truly married" (qtd. in Duby, The Knight 181).'

 

'The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 declared it obligatory for a marriage to

be blessed and witnessed by a priest...At the same time ... the Church

continued to recognize marriages entered into without a priest in

attendance. '

 

To the absolute requirement (on pain of excommunication) for a priest to be

present at a marriage in the 15th century;

 

'in 1403, the Bishop of Magdeburg [threatened to] excommunicate those who

married without clergy in attendance (Cohen and Horowitz 235).'

 

However, during the time of the Reformation, Martin Luther was opposed to

the presence of the clergy in what he saw as a civil not a religious matter;

 

'..."worldly business [where] we clergy ought not to meddle or direct

things" (qtd. in Roper 106). Luther did agree that the Church should bless

those who married and even presented a basic marriage rite in 1529, but

maintained that "the regulation of marriage was a proper matter for the

civil authority rather than the Church" (qtd. in Searle and Stevenson 210).'

 

The situation caused much confusion and;

 

'The Tametsi decree, issued in 1563, stated that for a marriage to be

recognized by the Church: a) the partners must give their consent, and b)

the priest must say a formula (such as "I join you together in matrimony")

ratifying the marriage (Searle and Stevenson 14).'

 

However, the Church of England continued to accept so-called "clandestine

marriages" ('"any contract of marriage made other than in the approved

manner at the church door" (Goldberg 241).') up until the 18th century and

in Scotland it was possible to marry in front of witnesses but without legal

or religious paperwork up until 1904.

 

This information comes from http://www.drizzle.com/~celyn/mrwp/mrwed.html

 

Gwynydd

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:50:31 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at jeffnet.org>

Subject: Re: poor widow was:[Sca-cooks] Rotten meat and spices...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

At 04:09 PM 4/18/2005, you wrote:

> where there is anything there is always room for growth.  A poor but

> honest man for one of the daughters<sometimes love and economics are  

> not linked <g>>,

 

Perhaps you misunderstood me. There is more to marriage then than there

often is now. When we say that a medieval girl didn't have enough money to

marry, it isn't just dowry. There is a fee called merchet, that must be

paid to the lord when a peasant woman marries. If she marries a man from

another area, the couple must come up with yet more money, to pay a fee

called foremariage (essentially a payment to the woman's lord, as

compensation for the loss of her labor when she moves to her husband's

village).

 

'Lainie

 

 

Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 10:28:34 -0400

From: "Lonnie D. Harvel" <ldh at ece.gatech.edu>

Subject: Re: poor widow was:[Sca-cooks] Rotten meat and spices...

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Laura C. Minnick wrote:

> Perhaps you misunderstood me. There is more to marriage then than

> there often is now. When we say that a medieval girl didn't have

> enough money to marry, it isn't just dowry. There is a fee called

> merchet, that must be paid to the lord when a peasant woman marries.

> If she marries a man from another area, the couple must come up with

> yet more money, to pay a fee called foremariage (essentially a payment

> to the woman's lord, as compensation for the loss of her labor when

> she moves to her husband's village).

 

Don't forget the price paid to the priest for the marriage ceremony and

such. Without paying the priest, you weren't married. Here is a celtic

Psalm from the period:

 

<>A wedding is a costly business.

Money is needed for the priest

     and his clerk.

Money is needed for the hire

     of the church

Money is needed to feed the guests.

Money is needed for robes to wear.

Love by contrast is entirely free.

Free are the smiles that play

     on the lips;

Free are the kisses stolen

     by moonlight;

Free are the words whispered

     at midnight

Free are the strolls hand in hand

     through the wood.

We are rich in love but poor in money.

The priests say our union is sinful.

May god, who blesses us, forgive.

 

Pax,

Aoghann

 

<the end>



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org