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1494 - 1494
a widow in Dunfermline recovers property alienated without her consent

A married woman had no power to prevent her husband alienating her property during their marriage, but if he did not secure her consent to the transaction, she had the right to recover it after his death. From the later fifteenth century, it became common to have a wife declare her consent to such transactions in the court. Here a widow, represented by her brother as her  forespeaker or attorney, claims back a yearly rent from a  property alienated by her late husband, to her daughter by another marriage.


4 Feb 1494

The which day, David Coupir alderman  of the burgh of Dunfermline, forespeaker for Margaret Coupir his sister and spouse of late Nichol Stewart, in judgement renounced and revoked the sasine [possession] given to her daughter Margaret Blakburne of 24 shillings in annual rent of certain lands and tenements of Andrew Litster lying on the west side of the Collier Row. And the foresaid speaker [David Coupir] showing in judgment on her behalf that she was compelled and forced through awe of her said husband, and that she came not in judgment to give the oath as the custom is, that she should never come against such a transaction as the law lives.

The quhilk [da] Dauid Coupir alderman of the burghe of Dunfermlyn forspekar for Margret Coupir his sistir and the spous of wmquhil Nichol Stevart than the forsaid Dauid hir forspekar in jugisment renuncit and reuokit the sesing gefin til her dochtir Mergrit Blakburne of xxiiis of annuall of certane landis and tenementis of Andro Litstar liand on the west syd of the Colyeraw. And the forsaid spekar schavand in jugisment of hir behalf scho was compellit and strenyet throv aw of his forsaid husband and that scho com nocht in jugisment deponand the atht as wthe ws that scho suld neuir cum contrar thariof as the lav levis.


The Burgh Records of Dunfermline 1488-1584. ed Erskine Beveridge. Edinburgh: William Brown, 1917, p.48. Translation E. Ewan.

Tags: Dunfermline land court