Manuscripts and Special Collections

Marriage Arrangements

Decorative border from LM11 in the Wollaton Library Collection

'When pure and virtuous love are brought together with fidelity, Then the union will be blessed with grace'

People from land-owning families did not normally marry for love. Instead, most such marriages were arranged by their parents or guardians.

Arranged marriages remain an important part of the culture of many societies in the world today, for the same implicit reasons that probably motivated medieval English people: for the creation of stable family units based on respect and duty, in which love can grow; and to protect and increase the family’s wealth and status by association with another family of equal or higher repute.

Peasant women who did not own any land were not exempt from some kind of control over their marriage, as many manorial lords demanded payment of a sum of a money called a ‘merchet’.

Inheritance of property was an important aspect of the negotiations for an aristocratic marriage, since land brought by the bride would pass to the groom. Women who were not heiresses of landed property would bring money instead, as their ‘dowry’. The material goods brought by the bride would be matched by the groom’s family’s obligation to provide ‘dower’ for her should she be widowed. For an example of an agreement relating to dower, see document Ne D 742.

Written marriage settlements are present in most archives of landed families, and by the 18th century could be very complicated. There are examples of marriage settlements in the 'Deeds in Depth' research guidance unit on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

The following extracts from literary and historical texts give some insights into marriage arrangements in medieval society.

Transcripts and translations for manuscript items are also available for download:


Document 1: Marriage settlement between Philip Boteler and Isabel Willoughby (6 January 14 Henry VI [1436], English) 

Philip and Isabel’s marriage was an arranged match, like many other aristocratic weddings. Philip’s father, Sir Philip Boteler of Watton Woodhall, Hertfordshire, died in 1420 when Philip was about 6, according to the Victoria County History, and wardship (temporary control of Philip’s land during his minority) and maritagium (right to arrange Philip’s marriage while he was under age) were granted to his relative John Cokayne, justice. When Cokayne died in 1429, his executors sold the wardship and marriage right to Sir Hugh Willoughby of Wollaton (see Mi D 4791).

Sir Hugh then arranged for a marriage with one of his daughters. This deed, made just after Philip reached the age of 21 and took possession of his land, shows the reciprocal benefits of the match, especially for Sir Hugh. Household goods for the newly-married couple, to the value of 50 marks, were to be given by Sir Hugh. In return, Philip would permit his new father-in-law to recoup any arrears due from Philip’s land up to the time it came out of wardship, without Philip or anyone else hindering him.

Ref: Mi D 4792




Transcription and Translation
Translation and Transcription
 Transcription Translation

This endenture made the sext day of Janever the yeere of the regne of Kyng Herry sext the fourtenth bytwyx Sir Hugh Wyllughby of Wollaton knyght 
on þat one partie and Philip Botiler Squier on þat oder partie Wittenesseth.Where as bargayn toke bytwyx the forseid Sir Hugh and Reynalde Cokayn and oder 
executours of þe Testament of John Cokayn Iustice A relative of the forseide Philip of the Wardeship and mariage of þe forseid Philip broder and heir to Edward Botiler . sonne and heir to Sir Philip Botiler of Watton knyght their fader . in presence of wheche executours and of Sir William Babington knyght chief 
Iuge of þe commone place Surveyour of þe Testament toforseid . the forseid Sir Hugh promised vn to the forseid Philip if so wer þat he toke to his wyf 
Isabelle one of þe doughters of þe forseid Sir Hugh that then he wolde yeve with here to theyre bother avayle in arrayement of her body and of here 
Chaumbre and in oder stuffe the value of fyfty marke. And for alsmoche þat þe forseid Philip hath taken þe foreseide Isabell doughter of the forseid 
Sir Hugh to his wyf The forseid Sir Hugh hath yeven and deliuerd to the forseid Philip with the forseid Isabell his doughter to ther bother behove 
bysyde alle here array of here body and of here Chaumbre in plate and money the value of fyfty marke that is to sey in plate a potte of siluer 
couerd and foure couerd peses the which plate weyeth of Troy weght viij pounds ij unces iij quarterns and a half and ii pence weght pryce of þe vnce ij shillings viij pence þe 
somme of the holl value of þe plate is xiij pounds iij shillings vj pence. And in money xx pounds iij shillings ij pence. the which plate and money þe forseid Philip hath receyved 
of þe forseid Sir Hugh þe yeer and day a boueseid. And for alsmoche þat þe forseid Sir Hugh hath deliuerd vn to the forseid Philip ouer þe value of þe plate 
to foreseid þeremenaunt of þe fifty marke in money to his greete ease and spede in sueing liuere of his landes oute of þekynges handes The foreseid 
Philip Botiler Squier promised in the presence of þe forseid Sir William Babington Iustice and by this present writeing graunteth to þe forseid Sir Hugh þat 
he shall with in thre yeers next folouing the date of this presentes writeng by plate or perle or oder Iuels to the aveyle of hym and the forseid Isabell his wyf to þe value of the remenaunt of the fyfty marke so deliuerd hym in money aboueseid And also þe forseid Philip Botiler Squier 
promised in the presence of the foreseid Sir William Babington Iustice and by this present writeing graunteth þat the foreseid Sir Hugh shall mowe 
reyre all maner of duetes and arrerages of rentes þat aren due vn to hym of alle þelandes and tenementz of þe forseid Philip Whech the forseid Sir Hugh hadde the Wardeship of by virtue of þe letres patentz of kyng Herry sexti to the day of þe Writtes of liuere of þelandes deliuered vn to þe forseid 
Philip withouten any lateing of þe foreseid Philip ore of any oder in his name. In wittenes of wheche promisses the parties aboueseid haue 
ynterchaungeable sette to her seals yeven at Wollaton the yer and day aboveseyd.

This indenture made the sixth day of January in the fourteenth year of the reign of King Henry the Sixth, between Sir Hugh Willoughby of Wollaton, knight,
on the one part, and Philip Botiler, esquire, on the other part. Whereas in an agreement made between the aforesaid Sir Hugh and Reginald Cokayn and other
executors of the testament [will] of John Cokayn, Justice, a relative of the aforesaid Philip, relating to the wardship and marriage of the aforesaid Philip (brother and heir to Edward Botiler who was son and heir to Sir Philip Botiler of Watton, knight, their father), in the presence of the executors and of Sir William Babington, knight, Chief
Judge of the Common Pleas and Surveyor of the aforesaid testament, the aforesaid Sir Hugh promised to the aforesaid Philip that if it happened that he (Philip) took as his wife
Isabelle, one of Sir Hugh’s daughters, that then he would give with her to the benefit of both of them, in arrayment of her body and of her
chamber, and in other stuff, the value of fifty marks [£33 6 shillings 8 pence], and for as much that the aforesaid Philip has taken the aforesaid Isabelle, daughter of the aforesaid Sir Hugh, as his wife, the aforesaid Hugh has given and delivered to the aforesaid Philip for the needs of both of them
besides all her array of her body [clothes] and of her chamber in plate and money to the value of fifty marks, that is to say, in plate: a pot of silver,
covered, and four covered pieces, which plate weighs in Troy
weight 8 pounds 2 ounces 3 and a half quarterns, and 2 pence weight price per ounce, 2 shillings 8 pence, the sum
of the whole value of the plate is £13 3 shillings 6 pence, and in money £20 3 shillings 2 pence, the which plate and money the aforesaid Philip has received
from the aforesaid Sir Hugh on the year and day abovesaid. And for as much that the aforesaid Sir Hugh has delivered to the aforesaid Philip over the value of the plate
the remnant of the fifty marks in money to his great advantage and benefit in taking legal action for possession of his lands out of the King’s hands, the aforesaid
Philip Botiler esquire promised in the presence of the aforesaid Sir William Babington, Justice, and by this present writing grants to the aforesaid Sir Hugh, that
he shall within three years next following the date of this present writing by plate or pearls or other jewels to the benefit of him and the aforesaid
Isabelle, his wife, to the value of the remnant of the fifty marks so delivered him in money abovesaid. [There may be a word missed out by the scribe, which renders the meaning of the last sentence obscure] And also the aforesaid
Philip Botiler esquire promised in the presence of the aforesaid Sir William Babington, Justice, and by this present writing grants, that the aforesaid Sir Hugh shall have power
to raise all manner of duties and arrears of rents that are due to him from all the lands and tenements of the aforesaid Philip whom the aforesaid Sir Hugh had the wardship of by virtue of the letters patent of King Henry VI up to the day of the writs of livery [assigning possession] of the lands delivered to the aforesaid Philip, without any hindrance of the aforesaid Philip or of any other [person] in his name. In witness of which promises, the parties abovesaid have jointly set to their seals. Given at Wollaton the year and day abovesaid.



Document 2: Copy of an agreement made prior to the marriage of Henry Stanhope and Jane Rochford (28 Sep. 1476, English)  

Henry and Jane’s marriage settlement is a good example of the bride and groom each bringing something tangible to the bargain. Aristocratic marriages were ideally between two people of similar social status, whose resources could be pooled to increase the wealth of future generations.

As shown in this deed, Henry’s father John Stanhope, of Haughton, Nottinghamshire, promised to give him an estate worth £20 a year. Jane would have the right to this estate during her widowhood as her dower, and it was then to pass to their children, whether male or female. Henry would also inherit other estates worth £46 13s 4d per year, after the death of his parents, to pass to his male heirs.

In return Jane, the daughter of Henry Rochford of Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire, brought a dowry consisting of a cash sum of 300 marks (£200), plus 50 marks worth of plate and household goods, to be paid on her behalf by Dame Jane Thurland, who was possibly her guardian.

A fact missed out from the deed was that Jane also brought the estate at Stoke Rochford, as sole heiress of her late father. Women’s property automatically became the property of their husbands on marriage. The Stoke Rochford estate passed to Henry, then to his son Edmund Stanhope of West Markham, and then to Edmund’s daughter Margaret, who took it, thanks to her own marriage, into the Skeffington family’s ownership. (The Gentleman's magazine , Volume 76 (1794), p.1185).

Ref: Ne D 1903 



Translation and Transcription
Translation and Transcription
 Translation Transcription
Thys Indenture mayde att Nottingham the xxviij day of September the xvj yere of kynge Edward the iiijth
Betwene dame Jane Thyrlande apon the one partye and John Stanhope Esquyer apon the other partye agreed for a maryage betwyx 
Henry Stanhope Son of the seyd John Stanhope and Jane Recheford latte doughtur to Herry Rechfort Esquyer for 
wyche maryage the seyd John Stanhope grauntes to the seyd Jane Thyrlande be thes presents that he afor the 
maryage solempnised shall make to the seyd Henry Stanhope and Jane Rechford a suffycyante and lauffull 
Estatte of landes and tenementes to ye yerly valow of xx pounds ouer all charges to haue to them and to the heyres off 
theyr bodyes lawfully begoten and for defaut of such Ishue to ye heyres of ye body of the seid Henry Stanhop 
lawfully begoten and for defaute of suche heyres to the Ryght heyres of ye seyd John Stanhope and hys heyres
and also the seid John Stanhope grauntes be thes presentes that he wythin a yer after the datte herof shall 
cause to be mayd to hym and to dame Kateryn hys wyffe by dedes endented suffycyant and lawfull estates 
and other landes and tenementes in Wylloughby Wallesby Kyrton Hoghton and Bughton in the countye of Nottingham
to haue to theym for terme of their lyves and to eytheyr of them longer lyffyng wythout impechement of wast 
the Remaynder therof to the seyd Henry Stanhope and to the heyres mayles of hys body laufully begoten 
and for defaute of syche Isshue the Remaynder therof to the heyres and assygnes of ye seyd John Stanhope 
and also the seid John Stanhope grauntes by thes presentes that he wyll in the space of ij yeres next ensuyng the forseid date shall cause to be mayd to hym by dedes indented a suffycyante lawfull estate in other landes and tenementes wyth ye appurtenances in Tuxforde Darleton Tryswell and other places 
in the seid county of Nottingham in fee and in reuersyon wych landes and tenementes Tuxford Darleton and Tryswell 
and other places wyth the forsayd landes and tenementes in Wyllughby Wallesby Kyrton Hoghton and 
Boughton wyth theyr appurtenances shall amounte to ye yerly valou of xlvj pounds xiij shillings ouer all charges and Reprises to haue the seid landes and tenementes in Tuxford Darleton and Tryswell and other the 
premyses to the seid John Stanhope terme of hys lyffe wythout impechment of wast the Remaynder of ye seid landes 
and tenementes in Tuxford Darleton and Tryswell afforsayd to the foresayd Herry Stanhope and Jane Rechford and
to ye heyres of ye seid Herry Stanhope lawfully begoten and for defaute of suche isshue the Remaynder of ye 
seid landes and tenementes in Tuxford Darleton and Tryswell and other theyr appurtenaunces to the heyres and
assygnes of ye seid John Stanhope for wyche maryage and estates apon the partye of ye seid John Stanhope to be 
performed The seid Jane Thyrland grauntes that as of the goodes of ye seid Jane Rechford and of here owne goodes shall pay to the seyd John Stanhope in mony and plate of syluer at the eleccion of the seid 
J Stanhope to ye some of CCC markes that ys at the day of the maryage C markes and at the fest of Saynte 
Martyn in wynter that shalbe in the yer of our lord mille CCCClxxvij C marke and at the fest of saynt Martyn in wynter that shalbe in the yer of our lord mille CCCClxxviij C mark and the seid Jane Thyrland grauntes to gyff to ye seid Herry and Jane Rechford stuff or plate and howshold in the name of ye chamber to the valou of L marks 
ouer the seid CCC markes wythin one yer after ye seid maryage yf ye seid Jane Recford lyff so longe and eyther partye to bere 
The costes of ye dener and aparell evenly betwyxe them and the seid John Stanhope grauntes to fynd them ij yeres mett and drynke and
chamber and the seid John Stanhope is agreable to be bounden in a statute marchaunt in agreable som that may be
 thought by lerned counsell gud to bynd hys heyres for execution of ye seid estates and the seid Jane Thyrland
to be bounden for her paymentes and for performance of ye seid tenementes eyther partye byndes them to other
in CCCC markes Acta Sunt hec primo die octobris Anno xvj Edward iiijth
 This indenture made at Nottingham the 28th day of September in the 16th year of [the reign of] King Edward IV, between
Dame Jane Thyrlande on the one part, and John Stanhope esquire on the other part. Agreed for a marriage between
Henry Stanhope, son of the said John Stanhope, and Jane Recheford, late daughter to Harry Rechefort esquire, for
which marriage the said John Stanhope grants to the said Jane Thyrlande, by these presents [by this deed], that he shall, before the
marriage is solemnized, make to the said Henry Stanhope and Jane Recheford a sufficient and lawful
estate of lands and tenements, to the yearly value of £20 above all charges, for them and the heirs
of their bodies, lawfully begotten. And for default of such issue [that is, if they have no lawful heirs], to the heirs of the body of the said Henry Stanhope
lawfully begotten [for example, from a second marriage], and for default of such heirs, to the right heirs of the said John Stanhope [his next of kin], and his heirs.
Also, the said John Stanhope grants by these presents that, within a year after this date, he shall
cause to be made to him and to Dame Katherine his wife, by indented deeds, sufficient and lawful estates
and other lands and tenements in Willoughby, Walesby, Kirton, Haughton and Boughton in the county of Nottingham,
to have for the term of their lives, and to either of them who lives longest, without impeachment of waste,
the remainder thereof [that is, after their deaths it will go] to the said Henry Stanhope and to the male heirs of his body, lawfully begotten,
and for default of such issue, the remainder thereof to the heirs and assigns of the said John Stanhope.
And also the said John Stanhope grants by these presents that, within the space of two years next ensuing after the aforesaid date, he shall
cause to be made to him, by indented deeds, a sufficient and lawful estate
in other lands and tenements, with the appurtenances, in Tuxford, Darlton, Treswell and other places
in the said county of Nottingham, in fee and in reversion, which lands and tenements [in] Tuxford, Darlton and Treswell, with the aforesaid lands and tenements in Willoughby, Walesby, Kirton, Haughton
and Boughton, with their appurtenances, shall amount to the yearly value of £46 13s 4d, over all charges and reprises. The said lands and tenements in Tuxford, Darlton and Treswell and the other
premises [shall be held] to the said John Stanhope, for the term of his life without impeachment of waste. [After his death] the said lands
and tenements in Tuxford, Darlton and Treswell aforesaid [will go] to the aforesaid Harry Stanhope and Jane Recheford and
to the heirs of the said Harry Stanhope, lawfully begotten,
and for default of such issue, the said lands and tenements in Tuxford, Darlton and Treswell and their appurtenances [will go] to the heirs and assigns of the said John Stanhope.
For which marriage and estates upon the part of the said John Stanhope to be performed, the said Jane Thyrland grants that [out of] the goods of the said Jane Rechford and of her own goods, [she] shall pay to the said John Stanhope in money and plate of silver, at the election of the said
John Stanhope, to the sum of 300 marks [£200], that is on the day of the marriage 100 marks, and at the feast of St
Martin in Winter [11 November] in the year of our Lord 1477, 100 marks, and at the feast of St Martin in Winter in the year our Lord 1478, 100 marks. And the said Jane Thyrland grants to give to the said Harry and Jane R. stuff of plate and household, in the name of the chamber, to the value of 50 marks
over the said 300 marks, within one year after the said marriage, if the said J.R. lives so long. And either party is [that is, both parties are] to bear
the costs of the dinner and apparel evenly between them. And the said J. St. grants to find them two years’ meat and drink
and chamber, and the said John St. is agreeable to be bound in a statute merchant[1] in an agreeable sum that may be
thought by learned counsel good to bind his heirs for execution of the said estate, and the said Jane Thyrland
to be bound for her payments. And for performance of the said tenements, either party binds them to the
other in 400 marks. This happened [the signing of bonds] the 1st day of October in the 16th year of Edward IV.

1. See the ‘Deeds in Depth’ Research Guidance unit for information about what a statute merchant was.


Document 3: Extract from an extent of the Manor of Langar and Barnstone in Nottinghamshire (c.1340, Latin) 

This manorial document gives details of the rents and services owed by Matilda de Herdeby to the lord of the manor of Langar and Barnstone, including the stipulation that she should ‘pay merchet and leyrwite for her daughters’.

Merchet and leyrwite (sometimes spelled lairwite, legerwite or lecherwite) were fines. The lord’s ‘permission’ for the marriage of a female bond tenant to a man from another manor was symbolised by the payment of a merchet, in compensation for the fact that her children would live elsewhere and not be able to give him service. If she lost her virginity, committed fornication, or cohabited with a man without marrying him, she could be charged with the payment of leyrwite in the manor court. Merchet and leyrwite payments declined after the Black Death in the mid-14th century.

The church also had a right to punish moral transgressions by the means of Penance.

 Ref: MS 66/1


Translation and Transcription
Transcription and Translation
 Transcription Translation

Tenentes tofftorum in bondagio

¶ Matillda de Herdeby tenet j tofftum
 in bondagio et reddit per annum . ij .
solidos . vj denarios . terminis ut
supra Et dabit auxilium secundum 
animalium suorum
Et debet meterium in Autumpno ad Magna precaria domini cum tota 
familia excepta . uxore domus Et valet operis illius diei per estimacione
ij denarios
et habebit j repastum et valet j
denarius et sic valet opus illius diei ultra repastam j . denarius. Et dabit pro quolibet pullano masculino . iij . denarios . pro tolleneto
Et valet tollenetum per annum . [...] 
Et dabit pannagium porcorum bis per annum . ut supra et valet pannagium per annum
 [...] Et dabit Merche
tum et LeyrWytum pro filiis suis.

Bondage tenants of tofts.

Matillda de Herdeby has 1 toft in bondage and pays 2s 6d per annum at the terms as above [Christmas, Lent, Pentecost and Michaelmas]. And she owes an aid of the above mentioned number of her animals [not specifically mentioned, a sum of money in proportion to the number of animals she owns]. And she owes harvest work in autumn at the chief service of the lord with her whole family except the housewife. And the value of the work of that day shall be assessed at 2d. And she shall have one meal to be valued at 1d. And the afternoon’s work shall be valued at 1d. And she shall give as toll for every male foal 4d. The value of this toll per annum is [blank]. And she shall provide pannage for swine twice in the year as stated and the pannage shall be valued at [blank]. And she shall pay merchet and leywrite for her daughters.

Translation by Professor L.V.D. Owen, in ‘Three Nottinghamshire Manorial Records’, Thoroton Society Record Series Vol XI, Pt. II (1946)


Document 4: Heldris de Cornuälle, ‘Le Roman de Silence’, lines 739-759, 1090-1102 and 1261-1274 (early 13th century, French)  

These three extracts are concerned with the growing love between Cador and Eufemie. King Ebain has promised Cador that he can have the wife of his choice as a reward for killing a dragon. He has also promised Eufemie the husband of her choice as a reward for nursing Cador back to health from his injuries. Unknown to Ebain, the pair have already fallen in love, declared their love to each other, and made a pact to request the other as their choice.

The first passage describes how love grows between two people who spend a lot of time together. The second describes their first kiss, and the difference between a lover’s kiss and that of family. In the third, Ebain explains why a marriage arrangement between them would be a good match. Seeking their equal in noble birth, beauty and age has drawn them together, and out of this equality they will love each other in equal measure.

Ref: WLC/LM/6, f.191v, f.193v and f.194v 



Transcription and Translation
Transcription and Translation
 Transcription Translation
Vos aues ueu bien souent
Fus et estoppe . auoec leuent
Vienent asses tos a esprendre
Que ni estuet ia painne rendre
Altre tels est damor lorine
Puis quele aferme une rachine
Que puist amans nes tant doter
Que lor soit boin doir couter
Luns dals alautre cho que fait
Tres donques croist lamors a fait
Par bien laparolle asseir
Et par souent entreueir
Seplus i a auolente
Tant croist lamor plus aplente
Car puis quen parler ont delit
Sicroist lamors moult depetit
Por cho que il ensanble soient
Mais amaint qui ne sentreuoient
Et fors salent que dan en an
Nont mie dasses tel ahan
Que diestre apries et consirrer
You have often seen 
How, with the wind, wood and tow[1]
Quickly kindles and is soon set alight,
That otherwise without trying very hard would
never catch fire.
In such a way is the origin of Love 
For as soon as Love's root takes hold,
How may lovers really have any doubt
That it can only be good for them to hear relate
To one another what this thing (Love) does.
(In this way) then their Love[2] quickly increases
By the use of well placed words
(And) by seeing each other often. 
The more that desire is known to be there,
Then Love grows more and more.
Because in speaking of (this thing) they feel
And there, from such small beginnings,
grows Love
As long as they are together.
But lovers who do not meet,
Or merely encounter one another but from
year to year,
They can never know much of such hardship,
Of being so close and yet (having) to abstain.

1. The waste remains of flax/hemp for which
one of the uses was for sealing between the
joints of wood, for example on wooden ships.
2. The text gives the plural L' Amors
3. Or 'desire'.

Ref: WLC/LM/6, f.193v  





Transcription and Translation
Transcription and Translation
 Translation Transcription
Liuns prent lautre par ladestre 
Et escalfent si del tenir 
Quil nese pueent abstenir 
Ne mecent les boces ensanble
Sans dire font si com moi sanble 
Define amor moult bone ensegne 
Car libaisiers bien lor ensegne 
Et li quil trait paine et martire 
Et lui quele laime et desire 
Car nest pas baisier deconpere 
Demere a fil . defil apere 
Ainz est baisiers detel sauor 
Que bien sauore fine amor

One takes the other by the hand and
By this action they are so inflamed
That they cannot refrain 
From bringing their mouths together.
It seems to me that without saying a word
They demonstrate the signs of perfect love.
Because (now) these kisses will instruct them.
She who draws him into pain and suffering
And he, that she (both) loves and desires,
Because (this is) neither the kiss of a close friend
Nor of a mother to a son or a son to a father. 
In this, a kiss of such piquancy and charm,
Is the pleasure that speaks of perfect love.[1]

[1]. ‘Perfect love’ chosen as the translation
because the sense of fine amur seems to be
that the heart of soul is involved in the
experience (See J. D. Burnley, The Review of
English Studies, New Series, Vol. 31, No. 122
(May, 1980), 129-148).



Ref: WLC/LM/6, f.194v 



Transcription and Translation
Translation and Transcription
 Transcription Translation
Lirois parole oies qua dit 
Segnor entendesme .i. petit 
Jo ne uus quiier un point celer 
Dele feme . et del baceler 
Cador uoel faire aliement 
Si esteuroit castiement 
Al consel des courir . tel home 
Ki lor seust mostrer lasome 
Die lor .quil sunt dun eage 
Dune bialte . dehalt parage 
Et quant eages les i uuelle 
Et bialtes . nestroit pas meruelle 
Sandoi quesisent laparel 
Quil en amor fuscent parel
The King speaks. Listen to what he said.
'Lords, listen to me for a moment.
I do not want in the least to conceal from you
That, of the woman and of the young man Cador,
I wish to make an alliance.
It would be a (useful) lesson
If there was someone at this open Council, such
a man
Who could show them the reasons (for the match),
Tell them, that they are of a similar age, 
(Alike) in beauty and of noble birth,
And since in their age they are equal, 
And of beauty, it would not be a wonder, 
As they are each searching for their equal
That, in their love, they may be equal.

Document 5: Service for Easter Sunday, with heraldic decoration, from the Wollaton Antiphonal (first half of the 15th century, c.1430, Latin)

This magnificent Antiphonal was made for Thomas Chaworth (d 1459) of Wiverton, Nottinghamshire, and his second wife Isabella Aylesbury (d 1458). It is decorated with the arms of both their families. This page focuses on their female ancestors. The red and gold shield at the bottom of the page, on its side, is the shield of Thomas’s maternal grandmother, Katherine Brett, daughter of Sir John Brett of Wiverton. In the centre of the right border are the striped arms of Isabella’s ancestor Joan Bassett. The Aylesbury family shield (silver cross on blue) is at the top right corner. The marriage of Thomas Aylesbury and the heiress Joan Bassett is represented by a shield showing both arms ‘quartered’, at the bottom right of the page. 

Ref: MS 250, f. 135r

56_09-7786m-5-5_1_MS 250 f135r

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

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Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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