• “‘I will never consent to be wedded with you!’: Coerced Marriage in the Courts of Medieval England.”

    Author(s):
    Sara Margaret Butler (see profile)
    Date:
    2004
    Group(s):
    British History, Feminist Humanities, Late Medieval History, Legal history, Medieval Studies
    Subject(s):
    Family, Sociology of marriage
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/cwvg-tg62
    Abstract:
    This paper asks us to rethink the boundaries between consent and coercion in medieval England. From gentle persuasion to threats and abuse, coercion was a part of the courtship process. Although late medieval society expected parents to play an active, even heavy-handed, role in matchmaking, the English church recognized the possibility that parents might cross the line between influence and force, and consequently permitted annulments on these grounds. What happened when it was not the parents, but an overly zealous suitor who coerced a marriage? Very few Englishwomen brought suits of force and fear against their husbands. Those few documented cases of coerced marriage that have survived from the York cause papers of the later Middle Ages reveal how the victims perceived their own situations, and the ways litigants used the church courts to address these concerns.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    10 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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