The courts survived the Reformation intact, and made regular use of archdeacon's visitations to oblige village churchwardens to report any cases of unmarried cohabitation, bastardy, adultery, or contract and clandestine marriages. The problem that faced the ecclesiastical courts after 1600 was how to deal with the massive revival during the late 1640s and 1650s of the practice of secret contracts, which had almost disappeared from court litigation before the war, and how to drive most of the population back into regular public weddings in the church. This chapter also examines the legal imperialism by the common law judges, suits for seduction of a daughter, and suits for breach of promise.
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