Marriage and Family

John Hudson

in The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198260301
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740640 | DOI:

Series: The Oxford History of the Laws of England

Marriage and Family

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This chapter demonstrates that significant, although far from all, aspects of family law intersected with matters of lordship and landholding. In particular, these included the elements grouped by historians as ‘feudal incidents’, that is wardship, marriage, and relief. Any death of a tenant allowed the lord to take relief and high mortality ensured that death leaving a minor or a female as the closest claimant was frequent. The profits arising from consequent wardships and marriages may have been considerable, especially if the previous tenant had held on favourable terms. The importance of such occasional rights, and the contention that they provoked, is clear from their precedence amongst secular matters in Henry I's coronation decree. That pattern would be repeated over a century later, in Magna Carta.

Keywords: Anglo-Norman period; family law; lordship; landholding; tenants; minors

Chapter.  9652 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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