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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570-1640 New ed

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ISBN13: 9780521386555
ISBN: 0521386551
Published: May 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £54.99

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The publisher will print a copy to fulfill your order. Books can take between 1 to 3 weeks. Looseleaf titles between 1 to 2 weeks.

Adultery, fornication, breach of marriage contract, sexual slander - these, along with religious offences of various kinds, were typical of the cases dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts in Elizabethan and early Stuart England. What was it like to live in a society in which personal morality was regulated by law in this fashion? How far-reaching was such surveillance in actual practice? How did ordinary people view the courts - as useful institutions upholding accepted standards, or as an alien system purveying unwanted values? How effective were the church courts in influencing attitudes and behaviour? Previous assessments of ecclesiastical justice, coloured by contemporary puritan and common law criticisms, have mostly been unfavourable. This in-depth, richly documented study of the sex and marriage business dealt with under church law, based on the records of the courts in Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and West Sussex in the period 1570-1640, presents a more balanced and more positive view.

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Legal History
List of tables
List of maps
Conventions and abbreviations
Part I. The Legal and Social Background: 1. The structure of ecclesiastical justice
2. Economic and social structures
3. Religion and the people
4. Sex and marriage: laws, ideals and popular practice
Part II. Sex and Marriage: The Pattern of Prosecutions: 5. Matrimonial causes: (i) the breakdown of marriage
6. Matrimonial causes: (ii) marriage formation
7. Prenuptial fornication and bridal pregnancy
8. Incest, adultery and fornication
9. Aiding and abetting sexual offences
10. Sexual slander
Part III. Church Courts and Society: 11. The effectiveness of ecclesiastical justice
12. Church courts and society in 1640: retrospect and prospect