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Native Law and the Church in Medieval Wales$
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Huw Pryce

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203629

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203629.001.0001

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Marriage and Inheritance

Marriage and Inheritance

Chapter:
(p.82) 4 Marriage and Inheritance
Source:
Native Law and the Church in Medieval Wales
Author(s):

Huw Pryce

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203629.003.0005

The law of Hywel most manifestly contravened the law of the Catholic Church with regard to marriage and inheritance. Ecclesiastical commentators from John of Salisbury to Archbishop John Pecham believed that marriage customs in medieval Wales contradicted canon law in three respects in particular. Firstly, marriages were contracted between partners related within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity (reduced from seven to four in 1215). Secondly, divorce was permitted apparently without reference to the ecclesiastical procedures of annulment and separation. Thirdly, monogamy was compromised by the toleration of concubinage implicit in the granting of full inheritance rights to sons born out of wedlock. The concentration on rules dealing with inheritance of patrimony indicates that it was the implications of criticism of native marriage customs for the transmission of property which caused a major concern.

Keywords:   Wales, Catholic Church, marriage, inheritance, John Pecham, John of Salisbury, canon law, native law, consanguinity, divorce

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