Dating and marriage in the middle ages dating with hepatitis
Clandestine marriage also meant that there was usually no dowry (the female child's share of her father's property, which was given over to her husband, but was sometimes left in her personal control), and by definition, there could be no dower (an English custom, where the groom named part of his property, usually one-third, as the wife's share should she survive him), because a proper dower could only be constituted Rat the church door", in other words, in front of witnesses.This was both to insure that a widow would be provided for and to make sure that heirs were not deprived of their rightful inheritance, since dower property was only for use during the widow's lifetime, after which it passed to the heirs.
However, the growing feudal system, and the importance it placed on rights of inheritance, combined with the Church's desire to further regulate the practices of its flock, caused this to change.
Sometimes widows or widowers would take vows of celibacy on the death of a spouse, which they later regretted when they wished to be remarried. The vows of a priest, monk, or nun could only be set aside with difficulty, however. Often marriages would be arranged by families while the couple was too young; in that case, a "plight-troth" would be said, which was essentially a promise to marry (this was Mary's case when she discovered she was pregnant with Jesus).
This was not a full marriage, but was a vow nonetheless and was thus binding.
This was to insure that both parties were willing, that there were no grounds which would invalidate the marriage.
(Some of these grounds could be overlooked with a papal dispensation).
Copyright 1994 by Susan Carroll-Clark, 53 Thorncliffe Park Dr. Permission granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided author is credited and receives a copy.