psycho-biker-junkie-whore (avariel_wings) wrote,

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In 1514 Agnes Bullok sought divorce, alleging fear of death. She failed to appear on the day assigned for the hearing, as she had fled into Yorkshire, outside the abbot's jurisdiction, for fear of her husband. He sought her return, but she claimed that she did not dare to do so. Initially the court, which had heard only the husband's side of the case, was inclined to favour him, ordering her return, but she refused. When, however, she did appear before the court and produced witnesses, the authorities' attitude changed. She claimed that she had been forced into marriage through fear of losing her inheritance, and six witnesses testified to having seen wounds on her arms and back, inflicted by her husband. She also affirmed that she had a physical impediment to marital relations, so her husband's treatment of her may well have been tantamount to rape. Although the record of the case is incomplete, her fears were obviously treated seriously; the final surviving entry shows that during the continuation of the plea she was assigned protection from her husband.

Kind of sad that a sixteenth-century religious court was clearly more enlightened than many Western judicial authorities today...

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