Two separate legal jurisdictions concerned with family relations
held sway in England during the high middle ages: canon law and
common law. In thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Europe, kinship
rules dominated the lives of laymen and laywomen. They determined
whom they might marry (decided in the canon law courts) and they
determined from whom they might inherit (decided in the common law
courts). This book seeks to uncover the association between the
two, exploring the ways in which the two legal systems shared ideas
about family relationship, where the one jurisdiction - the common
law - was concerned about ties of consanguinity and where the other
- canon law - was concerned to add to the kinship mix of affinity.
It also demonstrates how the theories of kinship were practically
applied in the courtrooms of medieval England.
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