Types of Cause: Matrimonial – separation from bed and board (adultery and/or cruelty)

Divorce as we know it today was not permitted in the sixteenth century, but there were some situations in which one of the parties could be granted a separation a mensa et thoro (from bed and board – literally from table and bed). This was sometimes called ‘divorce’, but did not give the parties the right to remarry, only the right to live apart, and the woman could sometimes then claim a form of maintenance.


EDC 5/1/2 – Elizabeth Levar contra Adam Levar
EDC 5/9/2 – Elizabeth Stapultun contra Thomas Stapultun
EDC 5/1580/2 – Thomas Darcie, gentleman, contra Cecily Darcie
EDC 5/1580/3 – Thomas Darcie, gentleman, contra Cecily Darcie

Adultery and cruelty

EDC 5/1/5 – Anne Orell contra Piers Orrell
EDC 5/1580/1 – Elizabeth Cowley alias Johnson, wife of Richard Cowley alias Johnson, contra Richard Cowley alias Johnson