Ref: EDC 5/1566/1

Catalogue Entry:

There is no catalogue entry for this cause but the papers are filed in a paper folder labelled EDC 5 (1566) No 1 – CHESTER (ST OSWALD)


Henry Hall contra Helen Hall, his wife

Helen did not attend the court, although she had been cited, so she was pronounced to be in contempt of court and ordered to return to her husband.




Sentence (image 1)

Original Document

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[5/1566/1 image 1]

In the name of God, Amen: the merits and circumstances of a certain cause of restitution of conjugal rights which was recently disputed and is still disputed and pending undecided before us having been heard, seen and understood and fully investigated by us, Robert Leche, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws, commissary general of the right reverend father in God, William, by divine permission lord bishop of Chester, and lawfully deputed official principal of his consistory court, rightly and lawfully proceeding, between Henry Hall of the parish of Saint Oswald within the city of Chester and of our jurisdiction, the party plaintiff and complainant on the one part and Helen Hall, his wife, the defendant and party complained of on the other part; the party of the said Henry Hall earnestly demanding that justice may be done to him, by his proctor, William Man, Master of Arts,  lawfully appointed according to the acts of this court,  the party of the aforesaid Helen Hall, having been now cited many times to this day and place and being contumaciously absent, without a proctor, in view of her contumacy, at the petition of the said Master Man […] of Henry Hall, we proceed to passing sentence notwithstanding her absence.

The whole and entire proceedings had and done in this cause having first been examined and diligently considered by us, and having observed what according to law should be observed by us in this behalf, we have thus thought fit to proceed to making the pronouncement of our definitive sentence in the said cause between the parties aforesaid, and we do proceed in this manner which follows:

Forasmuch as we know and clearly find by the acts enacted, brought, alleged, exhibited, proved and confessed had and done before us in the said cause that the aforesaid Henry has sufficiently and fully founded and in like manner proved his claim in a certain libel of his given and offered before us (the tenor of which libel follows and is thus; In the name of God, Amen; before you, William, by divine permission bishop of Chester etc., which libel we wish to have here read and inserted) and that nothing effectual has been or is brought, alleged, exhibited and proved on behalf of the said Helen Hall which could destroy or in any way weaken the claim of the said Henry Hall.

Therefore we, the official aforesaid, having first called upon the name of Christ, and setting God alone before our eyes, from and with the advice of the learned in the law with whom we have consulted promptly in this behalf pronounce, decree and declare that the marriage entered into and solemnised between the said Henry Hall and Helen Hall is a true and lawful marriage; and we decree that he, Henry Hall, will be restored to possession of his conjugal rights to be provided to him by the aforesaid Helen Hall, his wife, and must be effectively restored; and we pronounce, decree, adjudge and declare that she, Helen Hall, ought to be effectively obliged and compelled to cleave to the aforesaid Henry Hall as to her lawful husband and cohabit with him and treat him with marital affection and we sentence her so to cohabit with her said husband by this our definitive sentence or this our final decree which we pass and publish in these writings.

This sentence was read and passed by the aforesaid judge in the chapter house of Chester cathedral on 14th November in the year of our Lord 1566, being then present there Robert White, Robert Hurleston, John Coke, Hugh Rolanson and with other witnesses etc..


[5/1566/1 image 1]

In dei nomine Amen Auditis Visis et Intellectis ac plenarie discussis per nos Robertum Leche Artium Magistrum
et in Legibus baccallarium Reverendi in christo patris ac domini domini Willielmi permissione divina Cestrensis episcopi Commissarium
generalem ac eius Curie Consistorialis officialem principalem legitime deputatum Meritis et Circumstantijs cuiusdam
causæ Restitucionis obsequorum coniungalium que Coram nobis inter Henricum Hall  parochie Sancti Oswaldi infra
Civitatem Cestrie <et nostre iurisdiccionis> partem actricem et querelantem ex vna et Helenam Hall eius vxorem
partem ream et querelatam partibus ex altera nuper vertebatur et adhuc vertitur pendetque
indecise rite et legitime parte dicti Henrici Hall per procuratorem
suum Willielmum Man Artium Magistrum legitime apud acta constitutum <et iustitiam sibi fieri instanter postulantis> parte ante dicte Helenæ Hall citate <adhunc die et loco> et multocies
<preconizate et contumaciter absentis cum cuius contumacie sine procuratorem ad peticionem dicti Magistri Man […] cum>
comparenti Henrici Hall sententiam ferri et Justiciam
duximus absentia sua non obstans

Rimato per nos primitus toto et integro processu in huiusmodi causa habito
et facto atque diligenter Recensito Servatisque per nos in hac parte de iure servandis ad nostre sententie diffinitiue
prolationem in dicta causa inter partes predictas ferendam sic duximus procedendum et procedimus in hunc qui sequitur modum

Quia per acta inactita deducta allegata exhibita probata et confessata in dicta causa
coram nobis habita et facta comperimus et luculanter Invenimus prefatum Henricum intentionem suam in
quodam suo libello Coram nobis dato et oblato cuius quidem libelli tenor Sequitur et est Talis
In dei nomine Amen Coram vobis Willielmo permissione diuina Cestrensi episcopo et cetera quem libellum
pro hic lectum et insertum habere volumus sufficienter et ad plenum fundasse pariter ac probasse Nihilque
effectuale ex parte Helene Hall fuisse aut esse deductum allegatum exhibitum et probatum  quod
Intentionem dicti Henrici Hall elideret seu quomodolibet eneruaret

Idcirco nos
officialis antedictus christi nomine primitus invocato ac ipsum solum deum oculis nostris preponentes de et cum consilio
Jurisperitorum cum quibus mature in hac parte communicavimus matrimonium inter dictum Henricum Hall et Helenam
Hall initum et solempnizatum pro vero et legitimo matrimonio pronunciamus decernimus
et declaramus  ipsumque Henricum Hall ad possessionem suam obsequiorum coniugalium sibi
ab antedicta Helena Hall vxore sua legitima impendendum Restituendum fore decernimus et
cum effectu restitui, ipsamque Helenam Hall vt prefato Henrico Hall tanquam marito suo legitimo adhereat
et cum eodem <cohabitet> ipsumque affectione matrimoniali protractet
cum effectu cogi et compelli <debere> pronunciamus decernimus adJudicamus et declaramus
<ipsamque ad sic cum dicto suo marito cohabitandum condempnamus> per hanc nostram Sententiam diffinitiuam, siue hoc nostrum finale decretum, quam siue quod ferimus et
promulgamus in hijs scriptis

lecta et lata fuit huiusmodi Sententia per iudicem antedictum in
domo capitulari cathedralis cestrensis xiiijto die Mensis
Nouembris Anno domini 1566 presentibus tunc ibidem
White Roberto Hurleston Johanne Coke Hugone Rolanson
et alijs testibus et cetera

Sentence (image 2)

Original Document

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[5/1566/1 image 2]


Sentence of Henry Hall in a cause of restitution of conjugal rights, 1566.

[Produced with the permission of the Chester Diocesan Board of Finance.]

Translation copyright ©2022 P J Cox All Rights Reserved


[5/1566/1 image 2]


Sententia Henrici Hall in causa
restitucionis obsequiorum

[Produced with the permission of the Chester Diocesan Board of Finance.]

Transcript copyright ©2022 P J Cox All Rights Reserved


Henry Hall – plaintiff

Helen Hall – defendant

Robert White – witness to the sentence

Robert Hurleston – witness to the sentence

John Coke – witness to the sentence

Hugh Rolanson – witness to the sentence


William Downham

Robert Leche





William Man – for the plaintiff



Chester, St Oswald