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[001] meadows, woods, pastures and all other benefits, except parks and game preserves,
[002] of which she will take nothing.1 She will receive nothing more of fish and wild
[003] beasts in parks than of animals and sheep in sheepfolds, with this exception, that if
[004] there are fish-ponds there, the benefits of which depend upon the snares of fortune,
[005] she will receive a third part of such benefit,2 as3 the third fish or the third cast of
[006] the net,4 depending on what is agreed. There must also be assigned her a third part
[007] of the villeinage, which is so to speak demesne;5 also a third part of the services of the
[008] free men (saving the homages to the chief lords)6 from whom she will have7
[009] wardships, reliefs and the marriages of heirs.8 Also escheats, whether they occur
[010] through failure of heirs or because of felony, but only for life, for after her death
[011] they belong to the heir. And generally, all benefits arising from the dower will
[012] belong to the wife as long as she lives,9 unless a special custom10 cuts this term
[013] short.11

That dower ought to be free.

[015] Dower, once assigned, ought to be free.12 The wife should contribute nothing of
[016] her dower toward paying the debts of her husband,13 for if the peculium of the
[017] husband does not suffice to meet his debts, whatever is still to be paid will be a
[018] burden on the heir and the inheritance.14 The heir is bound to defend and warrant
[019] her dower and to attend the county, hundred and seignorial courts for her. For she
[020] herself ought to attend to nothing except the care of her house and the rearing and
[021] education of her children if any. She ought to have her own court for the determination
[022] of all pleas that belong to her. But pleas by writ of right ought to be pleaded
[023] and determined in the court of the heir, the warrantor of her dower, because of
[024] the bond of homage which is not dissolved between her free tenants and the
[025] warrantor of her dower,15 and because she may not hold a plea on the right since
[026] she has only a free tenement. Nor do the pleas that belong to the crown, for the
[027] preservation of justice and the peace of the lord king, belong to her, for no one may
[028] hold such pleas unless the right has been specially granted him16 as a justice of the
[029] lord king,17 that is, a plea by writ of right, the view of frankpledge, a plea de
[030] vetito namii, if a thief is to be judged, or if there is an offence against the assises of
[031] the lord king;18 pleas of this kind do not belong to dower. Other pleas, which belong
[032] to the lord of an estate, she may hold in her court.


1. Supra 223, 280

2. Infra iii, 130

3. ‘ut’

4. Supra 223; D., 19.1.12: ‘iactum retis’

5. Supra 221

6. Cf. supra 221, 277

7. ‘habebit’

8. Supra 270

9. Infra iii, 405

10. ‘consuetudo’ for ‘conventio’

11. Supra 267, infra iii, 389, 400

12. Supra 179

13. Magna Carta (1215) ca. 11; supra 179

14. Supra 178, 181; cf. 180

15. Supra n. 6

16. ‘ei’

17. Supra 59, 168, infra 439

18. Supra 112, 117

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