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1100 - 1400
An urban wife appearing in court without her husband's consent.

If the wife of a burgess was charged with a trespass and pledged to appear in court without first getting her husband's consent, her husband was only liable for fines of up to 4 pence if she was convicted. Note how the wife was treated as a minor before the law. The Scots version of the document follows the translation.


The payne of ane wyfe trespassand

If the wife of a burgess trespasses against her neighbour and finds a pledge to appear before the law without the consent of her husband, and if in the court she falls into foolish answer and therefore is convicted by the court, her husband is not bound to answer for the fine nor for the asking of the pursuer more than 4 pence unless he wishes. But he shall chastise her as a child under the age of majority as she who for lack of knowledge acted without his counsel.

Gif the wyfe of a burges trespassis til hir nichtburis and fyndis a borch to stand to the law wythout the consent of hir husband, and gif in the courte scho fallys in foly ansuer and thar of be convict be dome of courte, hir husband is nouthir haldyn til ansuer for the amerciament na yit for the asking of the folowar forthir than the soum of iiii d. bot gif hym lykis. Bot he sall chasty hir as a barne wythin elde as scho at for faut of knawlege wrocht out of his consale.


Ancient Laws and Customs of the Burghs of Scotland, Vol. 1.1124-1424 ed Cosmo Innes (Edinburgh: Scottish Burgh Records Society, 1868), Leges Burgorum, no 118, p.57. Translation by E. Ewan