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Forfeiture Of Marriage

English Old Law: Forfeiture of Marriage in the Past

The name of a penalty formerly incurred by a ward in chivalry, when he or she married contrary to the wishes of his or her guardian in chivalry. There is further information on this topic in this legal reference. The latter, who was the ward’s lord, had an interest in controlling the marriage of his female wards and he could exact a price for his consent and, at length, it became usual to sell the marriage of wards of both sexes. 2 Bl. Com. 70.


When a male ward refused an equal match gived by his guardian, he was obliged, on coming of age, to pay him the value of the marrriage; that is, as much as he had been bona fide offered for it; or, if the guardian chose, as much as a jury would assess, taking into consideration all the real and personal property (see more about this popular legal topic in the U.K. encyclopedia) of the ward; and the guardian could claim this value, although he might have made no tender of the marriage. Co. Litt. 82 a; 2 Inst. 92 5 Co: 126 b; 6 Co. 70 b.


When a male ward between his age of fourteen and twenty-one years, refused to accept an offer of an equal match and during that period formed an alliance elsewhere, without his permission, he incurred forfeiture of marriage; that is, he became liable to pay double the value of, the, marriage. Co. Litt. 78 b, 82 b. [1]


Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about forfeiture of marriage is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including forfeiture of marriage.

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Forfeiture Of Marriage
  • Author: Willow Wright
  • Description: English Old Law: Forfeiture of Marriage in the Past The name of a penalty formerly incurred by a ward in chivalry, when he [...]

This entry was last updated: August 20, 2020


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