Dating and marriage in middle ages
And since it was the church that determined what constituted or did not constitute a marriage, it was accepted that marriage disputes should he heard only in church courts.How were the regulations observed in Ireland between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries? The records of ecclesiastical courts do not survive for any Irish diocese, therefore we are forced to rely on the incomplete and haphazard records of marriage litigation which appear among the registers of the medieval archbishops of Armagh.Katherine O’Doherty complained that her husband, Manus Mc Gilligan, ignored the decision of the Derry diocesan court that she was his legitimate wife and openly consorted with other women.
In justification he claimed that his marriage to Margaret was invalid by a tie of affinity since he had previously had sexual relations with Margaret’s first cousin Maeve.But how do you know when God has united a man and a woman in matrimony, or, in other words, what constitutes a marriage?The matrimonial bond was created by the consent of the two parties, freely given, preferably expressed in a public ceremony.Church law on marriage was defined and clarified during thetwelfth and early thirteenth centuries.Basic Christian teaching was straightforward – what God has united, man must not divide (Mark ).
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Within Gaelic Ireland marriage behaviour had long been the target of criticism.