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 Norman Law

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Melisende
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PostSubject: Norman Law   Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:58 am

Norman Law

Marriage:
3. And if any of my barons or other men should wish to give his daughter, sister, niece, or kinswoman in marriage, let him speak with me about it; but I will neither take anything from him for this permission nor prevent his giving her unless he should be minded to join her to my enemy. And if, upon the death of a baron or other of my men, a daughter is left as heir, I will give her with her land by the advice of my barons. And if, on the death of her husband, the wife is left and without children, she shall have her dowry and right of marriage, and I will not give her to a husband unless according to her will. (Charter of Liberties of Henry I 1100AD)

6. Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be' made known to the heir's next-of-kin. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)


Widows:
4. But if a wife be left with children, she shall indeed have her dowry and right of marriage so long as she shall keep her body lawfully, and I will not give her unless according to her will. And the guardian of the land and children shall be either the wife or another of the relatives who more justly ought to be. And I command that my barons restrain themselves similarly in dealing with the sons and daughters or wives of their men. (Charter of Liberties of Henry I 1100AD)

7. At her husband's death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband's house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)

8. No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.
(Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)


Guardians:
4. The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee', who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee', who shall be similarly answerable to us. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)

5. For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)


Debts:
11. If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)


Imprisonment:
54. No one shall be taken or imprisoned on account of the appeal of a woman concerning the death of another than her husband. (Magna Carta 15th June 1215AD)


Glossary of Terms:
Bot = remedy, compensation
Eorl = earl, nobleman
Ceorl = churl, peasant
Scaetts = money, payment
Fioh = fee, money
Morgengyftt = morning gift, gift from husband to wife on the morning after marriage
Esne = serf, labourer, working class
Gaengang = pregnant (return)
Birele = cupbearer, steward
Minster = monastery


References:
  • “Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200” by Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Longman, 1995)
  • “A Guide to early Irish Law” by Fergus Kelly (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1988)
  • “Irish Land Law” by Professor J.C.W. Wylie (Butterworths)
  • "Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland" by Patrick C.Power (Mercer, 1976)
  • “Women in Anglo-Saxon England and the Impact of 1066” by Christine Fell (Indiana University Press, 1984).

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