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Medieval Sourcebook:
The Law of Brusthem, 1175

In a mixed marriage between a freewoman and a serf living in Brusthem, her free condition was protected only if her husband was not claimed by his lord before his death. If the marriage was only discovered after the husband's death, then she had the rights of a freewoman.

C.3. If the serf of another, living in this town, take in marriage a woman not his equal, and if his lord claim her while her husband is alive, she shall serve him as her lord, as justice demands. But if the serf die in peace, without being reclaimed by his lord, if the lord afterwards claim the goods of the dead man and exact a portion, the wife shall take as great a portion of them as she wishes and shall declare in the presence of the court that she has done so. And her unassisted oath will be taken that she has not more of her husband's goods (than she says she has). If, when she has taken the oath, she wishes for more, and has taken any of them, there will be a free dlvision of the rest of her goods and all her possessions.


From: C. Piot, ed., Cartulaire de l'Abbaye de Saint-Trond, (Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1870), p. 124; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 278.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, October 1998