Extracts from the Act Books of the Archdeacons of Nottingham.
Extracted and Collated
By R. F. B. Hodgkinson.
THESE books are made up of sections of paper roughly stitched into parchment covers and are, on the whole, clearly written, though some of the books, which appear to be drafts, are badly written and much erased. The books commence with a Court held before the Archdeacon's Official on 2nd June, 1565, and up to the present time (November, 1925) I have abstracted the books down to May, 1624, my notes filling twenty two quarto note books, each containing two hundred and forty close-ruled pages. The books for the following periods are missing:—5th October, 1566 to 8th May, 1568 ; 20th July, 1574 to 28th September, 1576; 10th March, 1584-5 to 14th July, 1585; 22nd January, 1585-6 to 21st October, 1586 ; 14th February, 1589-90 to 31st March, 1592 ; 9th July, 1595 to 16th October, 1596; 20th March, 1606-7 to 25th September, 1607 ; 10th December, 1618 to 14th October, 1619, and 29th September, 1621 to 24th October, 1623, while for the period 24th October, 1622 to 21st June, 1623 the book contains the entries of the courts held before the Commissaries of the Archbishop during one of his Visitations when the sittings of the Archdeacon's Court would be suspended. In the case of one at least of the above mentioned periods, that from 22nd January, 1585-6 to 21st October, 1586, the absence of a book is, no doubt, caused by another Visitation.
The entries in these books consist of records of various actions heard before the Archdeacon, his Official or a Surrogate of the latter, entries relating to Inductions, Sequestrations, Licences to marry, Licences to teach or to read prayers in a church, Grants made out of commuted penances to special objects, and Agreements in connection with churches, etc. The Actions are divided into two classes, (1) personal actions or actiones ad instantiam partium, and disciplinary actions or actiones ex officio domini, but in these extracts I shall make no distinctions between these two classes of actions, and I have arranged my extracts under the following headings :—
- Actions to enforce contracts to marry, cases relating to clandestine marriages and actions for divorce.
- Cases relating to baptisms, catechism, etc.
- Cases concerning the clergy and tithes.
- Cases concerning churchwardens.
- Licences to teach, read prayers, etc.
- Cases concerning parish clerks.
- Citations for not attending church, etc., and recusants.
- Cases concerning churches, i.e., repairs, seats, church goods, bells and bell-ringing, etc.
- Miscellaneous cases, i.e., actions for legacies and administrations, commuted penances, usury, perambulations, references to sports and pastimes, etc.
In these extracts all words in English printed between inverted commas are so written in the original entry,
the remainder being rough translations of the original latin. I have also used the abbreviation "&c." to show where the clerk making the original entry used the same abbreviation to mark the omission of some constantly recurring phrase, the abbreviation "etc." showing where I have made such omissions in my extracts. I have retained the original spelling of all surnames.
I wish to express my gratitude to Mr. F. A. Wadsworth, the present registrar, for the special facilities he has given me for the making of these extracts, and to Dr. Hamilton Thompson for his assistance in translating a difficult entry.
Actions to Enforce Contracts to Marry.
In the 16th and 17th centuries a couple who had contracted before witnesses to marry, could marry no one else until they had released each other before witnesses, and either of them could bring an action for the purpose of compelling the other to carry out the contract, even if the other had already married some one else.
As an example of a release of such a contract there is an entry on 26th April, 1592, that George Kidde and Grace Abbot, of Newark, appeared before the Archdeacon's Official in the inn called "the Talbot," in Newark and alleged that they had mutually contracted a marriage on the understanding that if Grace Abbot should pay George Kidde twenty pounds before the then coming Whitsunday and observed other conditions the marriage should take place, otherwise the contract should be null and void. The entry then continues
And now the same George and Grace regretting (so they affirm) the aforesaid condition and the whole matter renounce in plain words the present existing contract of marriage and the aforesaid condition Wherefore the judge, at the petition and request of each of them, declared them to be free concerning the aforesaid contract of marriage renounced by them as aforesaid and, leaving their consciences to God, he dismissed them. At the previous court a licence for the marriage of George Kidde and a Frances Parker of Drayton Magna had been issued.
The most extraordinary entry relating to a release I have found is one entered on 19th September, 1580, from which it appears that Laurence Bankes of Dranfield, Derbs., and a Joan Farmer of Widmerpool had contracted to marry one another, but Joan had, notwithstanding an inhibition, married a Richard Claye of Gotham. Joan Farmer had been cited to appear at this court to answer not only for having disobeyed the inhibition but also for having committed adultery with Richard Claye. Richard Claye and Joan Farmer were absolved from sentences of excommunication which had been passed upon them, and then Laurence Bankes and Joan Farmer mutually released each other from their betrothal and all three of them were released by the judge " ab impedicione in premissis."
23 June 1592. Brian Wollaton, of Broughton, v. Elizabeth Watte, of Whatton, in an action for matrimony. Mr. Richard Gymney, the proctor for the plaintiff, alleged that both parties, beinge free from any other contract, had contracted to marry " and that the said Elizabeth likeinge of the said Brian did signifie and make knowen unto him for good will and tolde him that shee was fully purposed in her harte to marie with him, and therefore required him to crave her mothers good will sayinge that shee her selfe woulde use the best meanes shee coulde for the obteyninge therof. Wheruppon the said Brian went unto her mother & craved her good will that hee might marie the said Elizabeth her daughter but her mother utteringe her dislikinge therof said that shee woulde not. And then furthwith the said Brian went unto the said Elizabeth & toulde her what her mother had said unto him and craved of her that, notwithstanding her mothers deniall and dislikinge of him, shee woulde not thinke never the whitte the worse of him and bee constante in her purpose, unto whome shee answeared sayinge, let it not greve yow but bee advised by me and folio we my counsell and wee will bringe it to passe. I woulde have yow said shee to go unto my mother againe and in as gentle and courteous sorte as yow can to intreete her in this behalfe and if yow cannot get her good will to say thus unto her : Yf I cannot have your good will nowe I trust I shall have it hereafter and I will not take this your deniall for anie answeare, and thus they brake off for that time. Afterwards betweene Christmas and Candlemas last paste the said Elizabeth sent unto the said Brian one John Warde to desire him the said Brian to apoint a certaine time when hee woulde come to the hous of the said John Warde there to meete with her the said Elizabeth to make merie with her and to proceed in his former suite. And within one weeke after there came unto him one Nicholas Gesson sent by the said Elizabeth and desired him to come to Nether Broghton there to make merie at his hous where hee would find such companie as he would bee verie glad of. Then the said Brian thanked the said Gesson for his cutresie, tolde him that hee woulde and furthe with wente thither and there meetinge the said Elizabeth renewed his former suite, and before the said Gesson desired her that without anie furder delay shee woulde make him a promisse to be his wief and to bee contracted with him. She then answearinge said unto him, I am contented to bee your wief and to bee contracted with yow so that yow provide for mee three or fower oxganges of lande to lyve upon as my other sisters have. And then furth with the said Brian replienge said unto her I thank yow for this, I will provide for yow three or fowre oxganges of land to lyve uppon so that yow will geve mee three yeres to provide them in within which tyme my monny which I have laide out, said hee, will come into myne owne hands againe. I will, sayeth shee, give yow seaven yeres and staie of yow so longe yf yow will. No, saieth hee, I will have but three, and there uppon forth with offeringe unto her an angell of golde said, take this for a confirmacion herof and geve me your hande and faythfull promise hereunto, the said Nicholas Gesson standinge by and sayinge, yea, your hande, your harte, your faythe and your trothe or els no bargaine. Wherunto the said Elizabeth answering said unto the said Brian, I am contented to bee your wief so that within these three yeres yow provide for mee three or fower oxganges of lande to lyve uppon as my other sisters have andtherupon I geve yow my hande and faythfull promise. And then the said Gesson said unto her agayne, Elizabeth, take heede what yow do, it is not for a daie or two or for a yere but for ever. I knowe it well said shee and havinge Brian's righte hande in hers said unto him, Brian, upon condicion that within these three yeres nowe nexte followinge yow will provide for mee to live upon three or fower oxganges of lande as yow have said I will bee your wief and I do take yow for my husbande and for sake all other. And then the said Brian without drawinge of handes said unto her againe I will bee your husbande and I do take yow for my wief and I for sake all other, and with goddes helpe I will provide for yow accordinge to your requeste three or fower oxganges of lande within these three yeres nowe nexte cominge, and so, havinge kissed her and thanked her for her good will and friendly dealinge with him, she tooke the saide angel of golde of him and said I do take this in full confirmacion of this my promises and so I put yt up." Mr. Gymney, after further alleging that she had admitted the contract before witnesses, including her mother, said " that since the time of the said matrimoniall contracte or espousals (as is aforesaid) had been made and contracted there are not yet expyred two yeres and that the said Brian accordinge to the requeste of the said Elizabeth hath for a full strengtheninge and confirminge of the said matrimomiall contracte or espousals betweene theim provided for her the said Elizabeth to lyve upon foure oxganges of lande and hathe effectually performed and fulfilled the condicion aforesaid accordinge to his promisses made unto the said Elizabeth at the tyme of the said contracte or espousals so that nowe the condicion (as is aforesaid) beinge effectually performed and fulfilled the said Elizabeth hath not anie things to gaine saie the solemnization of the said matrimonie betwene theim." Mr. Gymney then asked that the defendant should be ordered to marry the plaintiff. Then a Stephen Challon appeared and asserting that he was the husband of the said Elizabeth appointed Mr. John Hacker to act as her proctor. Judgment was given on 2nd August in favour of the defendant and the plaintiff was ordered to pay her ten shillings the amount of her taxed costs.
26 April 1592. Edward Arden, of Blankney, v Bridget Rose, of Staunton, in an action for matrimony. The plaintiff alleged that he and the defendant had mutually contracted a lawful marriage by words of promise suitable for the purpose and that he, in witness and corroboration of the said marriage, had given divers giftes to the said Bridget and in particular " a paire of sweete gloves " which she received with pleasure, and after that an " English crown of golde in receavinge wherof she said unto the said Edward this golde hath won mine harte for ever and now I will never forsake thee," and " that about one yere after the makinge of the said matrimoniall contracte as is aforesaid the said Edward sent unto the said Bridget then dwellinge at Bulcote with Mr. Gabriel Odingzells half a crowne in golde, which verie willingly she receaved and kepte and by one Jane Sharpe her fellowe servante shee sente unto the said Edwarde an Edwarde six pence and a cluster of nuttes and desired the said Jane Sharpe to tell him that as close as those three did sticke together so faste shoulde her harte sticke to him, and after, by one Gabriel Proctor his wief, hee sent her a paire of gloves which verie thankfully shee receaved." He therefore asked that they should be pronounced man and wife and that she should be compelled to marry him. After several adjournments the defendant appeared before the Official on 17th June in the North Muskham Prebend House at Southwell and alleged that the contract had been made in this manner, " shee did promise to have him the said Edward if hee got her fathers goodwill which goodwill he never got, but shee saieth shee receaved of him the said Edward and from him some tokins of goodwill, viz., a paire of gloves for a fairinge, a girdle and a pece of golde of the value of vs. for tokins, and a ringe of silver and gilte (as shee taketh it) worthe aboute xijd., and an other pece of golde of the value of ijs. vjd.". She then went on to say that since the action had been commenced the matter had been referred to Mr. Richard Gymney and Mr. John Depup, their respective proctors, and that they " hearinge the demaundes and answeares made an order betweene theim to this effecte, that the said Edwarde shoulde set her at libertie and she or her father in consideracion therof to paye to the said Edward the summe of xls. which is performed accordingly and theruppon the said Edward (as shee beleveth) promised to trouble her no furder in that cause. And shee sayeth that her father Nicholas Rose was presente at the said order and gave his likinge to it and paide the money him self." Judgment was given in favour of the defendant on 23rd June and the plaintiff was ordered to pay her costs.
Sometimes the man would apply for the woman to be removed from the custody of her friends and placed in the charge of some disinterested person until she had been examined. In such cases the man had to pay for the woman's keep, in one case, in 1579, four shillings per week, and in another, in 1592, when the woman was placed in the charge of the deputy registrar of the court, five shillings per week. Such an order made in 1605, led to a very interesting situation. The plaintiff, Gregory Chambers, obtained an order on 26th April, from Mr. Vincent Wharton, rector of Wilford, sitting as a surrogate of the Official, that the defendant, Anne Wright, should be placed in the custody of Leonard Nix of Nottingham, but on the next day the same Surrogate, at the request of the defendant, transferred her to the custody of William Johnson. At the next sitting of the court, held before the Official himself on 11th May, Mr. John Martiall, the proctor for the plaintiff, stated
that it was well known that matrimonial cases should be heard before circumspect and reliable men experienced in law in order that such actions might be heard with great care and diligence, but that Mr. Vincent Wharton had no experience of the law and was unaccustomed to hearing cases. He further alleged that since the defendant had been placed in safe keeping on the order of Mr. Vincent Wharton, the said Vincent, not bearing in mind the contract of marriage made between the plaintiff and defendant, had talked to the defendant in secret in divers places and had made love to her, and had not only expressed his desire to marry her, but had actually said to her " I am a sole man, I paye for my diet and lodgings at Mistress Widdowson x li. by the yere which I am put to for wante of a wief & I have the parsonage of Wilford, a sufficient livinge to mayntene and keepe you and mee well," and so wheedled her (eamque ita pellexit) that he contracted a bethrothal with her for a future marriage and gave her certain gifts as a sign of their betrothal. The plaintiff lost his case but the defendant was ordered to pay his costs.
Even the fear of excommunication did not deter a woman from marrying contrary to the order of the court. In 1592 Margaret Cromwell was sued by George Lidget and, as usual, the court inhibited her from marrying any one else until the action had been decided. On 2nd November, the defendant appeared and was absolved from a sentence of excommunication which had been passed on her and alleged that she had never contracted to marry the plaintiff, but said
"that the father of the said Lidget did divers times labour and persuade her to take likinge to his son and to marie him, which she refused and gave no consent in that behalf. After that the said George sued her in this court in a cause of matrimonie in which she was excommunicated and a capias [taken] out for tharrestinge of her bodie and arrested she was, and beinge committed to the hou, of George Ormerod, clerke, for one night upon the arrests shee that nighte issued and escaped furthe at a windowe in the beginninge of the night and from [the] hous went alone to the town side called Eastdraiton and there at a place before apointed by her nowe husbande, Originall Ashley, found him and one George Claiton readie with an horse, and then the said Originall tooke her up behinde him and carried her to Lincoln and there by the license of thord (sic) marie of that place were they the said Originall and Margaret maried together within three or fower daies, and that nighte came together to Scarle backe againe .... from whence they departed the next morninge to Rampton to the mothers of the said Originall where they continued certaine daies and then went to Sutton lound to the house of this respondents mother and there remained as man and wief. And she saieth that within one fourtnight after this (as she beleveth) the said George and Originall fell to talke about an agreement in the said cause and did agree that the said Originall should geve and paie to the said George to let the same suite fall viij li. in monney and no more, and that the said Originall hathe (as shee beleveth) paid the said viij li. to the said George accordingly and hee did theruppon leave the said cause and let it fall . . . Ultimately the judge held that there had been no contract between the plaintiff and the defendant, and that she and Ashley had been lawfully married. The plaintiff was afterwards prosecuted for compounding the action and sentenced to do penance.
It will be noticed that references are made in the above actions to the exchange of tokens. On 5th September, 1584, Robert Lynne and Bridget Mychaell, alias Hurst, contracted in open court to marry,
"And he in token of the same gave to her a grote [a silver coin of the value of fourpence] and she gave him a pennye in token of goodwyll in full promyse of the same."
On 1st October in the same year Robert Frithe of Worksop " dyd geve unto the sayd Ellen [Grynder] a bowed vjd. in token or confyrmacion of the same [contract]".
The cases of Brian Wollaton versus Elizabeth Watte and George Lidget versus Margaret Cromwell are not the only instances of actions for marriage being brought when one of the parties was already married. On 14th November, 1584, Henry Mafeld of Sesay, in the county of York, brought an action for marriage against Alice Meriall, alias Allen, of Lenton. At the first court it was proved that the defendant had been married secretly, and an order was made that she should leave her husband and live with her father until the action had been decided, and that the plaintiff and the husband should each pay her father two shillings and sixpence week for maintenance. Eventually the defendant was ordered to marry the plaintiff, but gave notice of appeal, and later on the plaintiff was ordered to appear to show cause why he should not be excommunicated for not marrying the defendant, but the entries are unfinished. On 16th August, 1589, the Archdeacon objected against Mr. Ralph Shutte, rector of St. Peter, Nottingham, "for Marying Christopher Snoden and (sic) Stesar (?) the same Snoden beinge contracted ["to one Mary Bennytt" erased] The which Shutte dyd confesse that he maryed them but sayth he had licence of Mr. Booth the Officiall for the same." The rector was excommunicated. On 30th September the Registrar made the following entry:—
"Md. that in these two causes next above wrytten this day was exhibited unto the handes of Mr. Remige Boothe [the Official] a schedule of excommunicacion agaynste the foresayd defendantes which beinge delivered into his handes to the end justice might thereby have bene ministred and the contumacies of the parties have bene punyshede the same Mr. Remige Boothe in violent mannor dyd teare the same in peeces so that justice by that meanes could not be mynystred that day."
Clandestine Marriages, Etc.
There are many entries relating to what were called clandestine marriages, which might be marriages in a church without banns or licence, or marriages in places other than churches, but I think that the extracts given below are of sufficient interest to be worth while copying.
1569-70. John Bradshawe, of Nottingham, for having 14 Jan. two wives viz., Katherine Burdocke and Joan Godbeheare.
Bradshawe and Godbeheare appeared and the judge enjoined them not to consort together except in public places until Bradshawe had proved that he had never been married to Katherine Burdocke. 28 Jan. Bradshawe certified that he was married to the said Katherine Burdocke in the house of a certain John Harryson in Illson [Ilkeston] in the county of Derby by Cuthbert Bee, clerk, curate of Daleabbey. Ordered to appear at the next court with both the women to receive punishment.
11 Feb. They all appeared and the judge enjoined Bradshawe not to consort thereafter with Joan Godbeheare and to receive Katherine Burdocke as his wife. Then the judge enjoined on them the following penance viz., "That the sayde Bradshawe shall go from the parishe churche of St. Maryes this saterdaye with a sheete about his myddell and a white wand in his hand after the manner of a penytent rounde aboute the markett place and a paper uppon his backe which shall declare wherefore hee ys enjoined this pennaunce, and the said Katherine Burdocke and Jone Godbeheare shall folowe him in lyke manner and in the same araye as penytentes and so shall retorne agayne to the sayde parishe churche." 11 March. Bradshawe produced letters testimonial from the Official of Derby that he was not lawfully married to Katherine Burdocke, because Cuthbert Bee, reader (lector) of Dale Abbey, who celebrated the marriage between them, was not in Holy Orders. 1570. Bradshawe appeared and the judge, because 8 April. the pretended marriage with the said Burdocke was illegal, dismissed him and enjoined him not to consort with her hereafter, but to live with the said Joan Godbeheare as his wife.
6 July. Geoffrey Dobbes and his wife, late of Wollaton, 1574. "for procuringe them selves to be maried in Darbyshier the banes not axed in Wollarton Churche."
They pleaded guilty and the judge enjoined Dobbes "that hee shall paye to the Curate of Wollarton Church his duties for marriage and so much more to the poore mans boxe of same churche."
On 31st March, 1592, Richard Annables, curate of Wellow, admitted that he had married Edward Revell and Anne Cartwright in the house of Thomas Carter of Edingley without banns or licence. On 19th April, 1592, Richard Scartcliff, of Balderton, admitted that he had been married by Richard Annables to Helen Saunsome, his deceased wife's sister, privately in a house commonly called "a waren or conie kepers house "situate near the site of the late monastery of "Rughford," and on 19th June, Annables admitted having married them at the request of Thomas Woodward, gent., of Clipston, and said that the house was about "halfe a furlonge distant from the site of the late monasterie of Rughforde."
On 5th May, 1592, Charles Aynsworth, rector of Bulwell, admitted
"that hee did solemnize matrimonie betwixt the said Ladie [Theodosia] Maners and William Bradwell in Easter weeke last in a chamber within the trinitie place in the town of Nott. no banes beinge before asked nor dispensed And hee saieth that hee came thither beinge sent for by the said Ladie Maners, and at his cominge shee tooke him a side and required him to do it and the dore was straight waie shut to them and that hee dared not refuse to do yt for feare And that there were present therat one Langforde a Darbishire man, Margaret Dracot of Nott. widow and one other woman called Jone Fotheringe her lad. chambermaide." He was dismissed.
On 10th November, 1592, Roger Meakin, of Mansfield Woodhouse, admitted that he and Helen Inkersall had been married in a room in the house of Matthew Chambers in Mansfield, called "the Swan" by John Stodder, curate of Broughton, and on 30th April, 1594, Henry Wright, of East Retford, admitted that he and Jane Pemperton were married by Arthur Hargreaves, clerk, on the Saturday in the first week in Lent last, in a room in the house of Alexander Oxenford, in East Retford about three o'clock in the afternoon.
25 June. 1594. George Wolley, vicar of Greasley. On which day the said George appeared in person and being examined on oath as to the marriage solemnized clandestinely between Launcelot Rollston gent, and Margaret Ashe of Greasley and upon the other circumstances of the same matter, admitted that he had solemnized a marriage between the said Launcelot and Margaret in the Church of Greasley aforesaid on the Wednesday next before Whitsunday last about four of the morning of the same day, the banns of marriage between them being neither published previously nor dispensed with, in the presence, besides himself and the parties, of Edward Rollston of Annesley and others whose names he did not recall. And then the judge, accepting the confession of the said George, decreed him to be suspended from his office for three years for his contempt and disobedience in solemnizing the said marriage. He was released from his suspension on 19th August following.
In 1594 and 1595 there are several entries relating to clandestine marriages having taken place in Eagle Church, Lincs.
On 30th October, 1594, Roger Bacon, rector of Winthorpe, admitted having married Richard Rachdale and Margaret Watson, of Newark, in a private house and was suspended for three years, but on 20th November he was released from his suspension and ordered to make a declaration at the next "litterato exercitio" of the clergy held at Newark.
On 22nd March, 1594-5 Daniel Hallame admitted that he and Agnes Ashfurth had been married without banns or licence in Skegby Church, by Anthony Benet, clerk, who had not the cure of their souls, and that the same Anthony Benet had told him that he had a licence from the court for the marriage, and had received from him or rather had plundered him of the sum of six shillings and eightpence.
"And furder the examinate saieth that upon his convencion [citation] hee repaired to the said Anthonie requiringe him to bee his deliverance in this case, and receaved this answer : You should have come to mee sooner, but it is no matter for the courte gettes xx li. in the yere by mee. And as touchinge the time of the said marriage he saieth it was on a thursday morninge betwixt Michaelmas and Martinmas last."
On 20th January, 1598-9, George Robertes, of Skegby, admitted
"that in September last, the verie day he doth not remember, about nyne of the clocke at nighte in the Church of Skegbie Anthony Benet, Clarke, did solemnize marriage betweene him and Anne Swifte in the presence of Richard Shepard, Richard Clarke and one of the said Anthonie his sonnes and no bodie more, which mariage was solemnized without anie banes askinge or anie lawfull dispensation obtained.''
On 21st June, 1600, Richard Hall and Ralph Awcocke admitted
"that about a moneth since upon munday late in the eveninge the said Antonie [Hall, of Norton Cuckney] was maried to his nowe wyfe [Agnes Noodill] in a house in Elmton in Darbieshier by one who whether he were a minister or not they knowe not, neyther doe they knowe his name and this they doe knowe to be trewe for they were present at the said manage."
On 30th July, 1601, John Stanaland, of Warsop, admitted
"that he was maried unto the said Joane [no surname given] in a barne in Worsop in the nighte tyme by candle lighte by the Vicar of Elmton in Darbishier there beinge present Peter Goodwin and George Needham of Worsop aforesaid."
and on 24th October, 1601, Richard Knighte, of Teversall, admitted
"that he was maried [to Margaret Allicocke] at Tibshall Churche in Darbisher by Richard Persons vicar of Tibshall upon Frydaye before Michaelmas was xij moneths in the morninge a little before daye and unto this John Allicocke and Thomas Allicocke are sworn."
On 20th February, 1601-2, Richard Needham, of St. Mary, Nottingham, admitted
"that he and the said Isabell Dob were maried togeather by one Francis Marples, a minister as he thinketh, in a Meadowe in the parishe of Sandiacre in the countie of Derb. upon a Saturday in the morning about three weeks since before sune (sic) rising in the presence of John Shawe and John Espinall."
On 28th August, 1602, George Squire, of Bingham, admitted
"that he was married in Kinnalton Church by Mr. Ellis uppon Saturday the laste of Julie laste paste in the presence of John Personne, William Hoborne & the parishe clarke beinge never asked & without licence & that he gave to Mr. Ellis for the solemnizing of his marriage vijs. viijd. which was solemnized aboute foure of the clocke in the morninge."
and on 4th December, 1602, Godfrey Britland, of Mansfield, admitted
"that a daye beinge appointed for his mariage with Anne Watson he & she the said Anne did meete in a chamber of Gregorie Sylvesters and theare did give the said Anne a gold ringe by direction of a minister whose name he knoweth not but saieth he was not maried."
Between 1613 and 1623 there are entries of many clandestine marriages having been solemnized in the church of Hablesthrop or Hablesthorpe. This is one of the villages which have disappeared, and, from the parishes from which the various defendants came, must have been the parish now incorporated in the parish of North Leverton.
11th Feb. 1612-3. Robert Berthram, of East Bridgford, admitted that "he and she [his wife Susanna] procured matrimonue to be solemnized between them in the house of one Henry Darbie of Eastbridgford uppon thursdaye the xxjth of januarie laste paste by one (sic) Marples, clerke, & there weere then present Frauncis Mitchill & one Zacharie servant to Mr. Spurre [the rector].''
4th May 1616. Thomas Brocket and Bridget Pymore, of Annesley, admitted "that marriage was solemnized betweene them the xth of November laste paste in the nowe dwellinge house of Thomas Fulwood of Estwood by Hughe Carte, Clerke, in the presence of Thomas Fulwood and his wife & John Fulwood & divers others." 28th Jan. 1622-3.William Jordeyne junior, of St. Peter, Nottingham, admitted "that hee and shee the said Katherine weere maried in the Chapell of Dale Abbie by a Minister whose name he knowes not aboute a moneth since & that without the consent of his parents."
Actions for Divorce.
There are very few entries relating to actions for divorce, and those there are have no unusual features about them, but the following extracts may be of interest as giving an idea of some of the procedure at this period.
In 1582-3, Mr. Cordwell Savell, of Sutton-on-Lound, brought an action for divorce against his wife Susanna. Apparently she had been placed in the custody of a gaoler of Nottingham, as on 21st February in that year Ralph Lee, of St. Mary, Nottingham, was warned "that he suffer not any unlawfull resorte to frequent or use the companey of one Mrs. Susan Savill beyinge commytted to his charge a Gaylor as he wyll answere to the con trade," and on 2nd March alimony at ten shillings a week was ordered to be paid "quosque permanserit in ("Cassera Custodia" erased) Gayla," and on 2nd May the alimony was fixed at six shillings and eight pcnce a week. In January, 1600-1 Richard Rawson, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, was ordered to pay his wife Elizabeth alimony at the rate of twenty pence a week. Judgment was given for the husband and the following monition was given to both of them:—
"ne posthac durante vita alterutrius eorum matrimonium contrahunt seu solemnizent vel solemnizari procurent sub paena juris prestita prius per eundem Richardum Rawson cautione in hac parte obligatoria juxta constitutiones auctoritate regie nuper editas."
In an action in 1617 by a husband, the wife's proctor alleged that she could not live in the same house as her husband without risk to her life and detriment to her health, and that her husband had several times, or at least once, since he had commenced the action, used insulting words to, and had beaten her and laid violent hands on her, detained her clothes and withheld nourishment from her, although due to her as his wife by law. The judge ordered the husband to pay his wife two shillings each Saturday by way of alimony, pay her costs from time to time as they arose, and hand over to her all her clothes.
Actions relating to Baptisms, Catechism, Etc.
3 Nov. 1579. Robert Lownd, of Arnold, "being required to say the chathechime & articles of hys fayth sayth yt [that] yt ys nothing but the old christ in the popes tyme."
Robert Tacey, of Arnold, "for scoffing and moking at chathechime And sayeth that he wyll saye yt for the others,"
Both pleaded guilty and were ordered to give "vjd. each to the poore manys box, who presently did geve the same."
On 29th May, 1584, the churchwardens of Littleborough were cited "for not beinge at the catechisme at evening prayer the last sonday "and said" that they dyd not heare the belles to ryng to service which was the cause."
18 July 1584. "The Vickare of Willowbey in the Wouldes doth not instructe the youth of the parishe in theire catechysme."
"He sayth they are in the fait And he not worthy to be presented for the same faltes." Enjoined "to use his indevore" hereafter.
On 31st July, 1594, John Wilkinson and Peter Thomlinson, of Cromwell, were ordered to make a declaration in the church on the following Sunday "post preces vespertinas" before the minister and churchwardens "for that they upon Saint James day last past [a Thursday] were dauncinge and keepinge of evill rule so neare to the church in Cromwell aforesaid that they interrupted and troubled the minister beinge then in the same church catechisinge of youth accordinge to the Q. injuncions."
On 14th June, 1597, the vicar of Hayton admitted that "neither doth he signe with the Crosse the Infantes which he baptiseth" and was ordered to conform to the Book of Common Prayer.
25 Feb. 1606-7. "Babworthe. I doe present (sic) Denman the wyfe of John Denman of Eastretford that she uppon Easter daye laste paste did disturbe the minister for the tyme beinge from execution of divine service and also did impugn the rite and ceremonie of the crosse in the sacrament of Baptisme by force and violence contrarie to the order of the Churche of Englande the booke of common prayer & the statutes of the Realme of Englande & the Canons & constitucions ecclesiasticall. In witnes wheereof I have heereunto sette my hands the daye and yeare above written.
per me Georgius Turvin
On 7th January, 1608-9, Jane Ireton the wife of German Ireton and the mother of General Ireton, was cited "for refusinge to be churched accordinge to the rites & ceremonies of the Churche of England."
31 Jan 1608-9. Anne Hatchet, of Grove, "for presuminge to teache catechisme openlie in the Church "
Admitted "that she in her owne stale in the churche did teache divers maides of the same parishe the catechisme" and was dismissed with a warning.
On 12th May, 1612, John Thacker, of Warsop, who was cited "for not sendinge his children to the catechisme . . . . , "said that he was ready to do so, and on 27th February, 1612-3, John Sole, of Epperstone, admitted "that by reason of hard wordes from the minister he hathe not come to the catechisme."
On 24th September, 1616, Luke Harrison, of Everton, was cited "for keepinge his childe unbaptized a moneth & more in his house without anie lawfull cause showed," and on the same day Peter Jeffe, of Sutton-on-Lounde was cited "for not sendinge his familie to be catechised havinge had lawfull warning."
On 27th May, 1620, Katherine, the wife of Michael Cooke, of St. Peter, Nottingham, was excommunicated for not appearing to answer a presentment for (inter alia) "refusinge the order of Purificacion after the birthe of her laste childe," and on 2nd August, 1623, Robert Eyre, of Mansfield, was cited "for havinge his childe christened by a seminarie preiste as the common fame goeth," and Nicholas Feildinge, of the same parish, "for sufferinge the childe to be baptized in his house."