Marriage in Law and Practice<sup>1</sup>

Christopher N. L. Brooke

in The Medieval Idea of Marriage

Published in print June 1994 | ISBN: 9780198205043
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676468 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Marriage in Law and Practice1

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter discusses marriage practices in France particularly among nobility and royalty during the 11th and 12th century. It looks also at the seeming indifference and lack of control of the clergy and the Church in the increasing number of divorces, polygamy, and incestuous marriage of French nobels. Although political conflict, domestic discord, and the need for male heirs were the underlying reason for a number of marriages between members of the French nobility, their need for legitimate heirs made them seek monogamy hence paving the way for the Church to strengthen the quest for monogamy. The grounds for marriage and annulment as well as the ceremonies of marriage were penned by the Church as well. The chapter also focuses on the ecclesiastical model of marriage and the law governing matrimony. Included are several case studies that point out how marriage law came in practice and came into action in the lives of a group of well recorded families and communities. The chapter looks at the lives of Christina of Markyate, Mabel de Francheville, and Richard of Anstey and Henry VIII. The chapter concludes with Alexander III's marriage decrees.

Keywords: marriage practice; marriage; France; divorces; polygamy; French nobilities; monogamy; case studies; marriage in practice; marriage law

Chapter.  19540 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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