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Of the action of dower and how dower is constituted.

[003] We have spoken above of acquiring the ownership of things and the causae for acquiring
[004] it, and how things are acquired by the causa of dower1 [how dower is constituted,
[005] how assigned to a woman after the death of her husband, from what
[006] things and from what not,] when dower is delivered without dispute. Now we
[007] must explain [what the law is] if it is not delivered and is disputed: how it is to be
[008] recovered by an action of dower. We must [first] see where the action ought to be
[009] brought and determined. It is clear that the action of dower ‘of which the woman has
[010] nothing’ may only be determined in the court of the lord king. And for this reason,
[011] because if it is objected against a woman claiming dower that she was never joined
[012] in lawful matrimony to the man in whose name she claims, or if two dispute in a
[013] claim of dower as to which of them is his lawful wife, the holding of an inquest ought
[014] to be entrusted to the bishop of the place or other ordinary by the king and by no
[015] other.2 And there may be many other reasons. If she has some part of her dower, it
[016] is not this writ that lies but the writ of right of dower,3 where neither the duel nor
[017] the grand assise nor the essoin of bed-sickness [lies].4 If no part of her dower has been
[018] assigned, the action of dower then lies for her against whomever is in possession,
[019] [that her dower be restored to her with the fruits taken and to be taken in the interim,
[020] from the time of the death of her husband,5 unless he who is in possession has a
[021] valid reason for disputing and resisting, as where he has a warrantor,6 that7 when he
[022] has vouched him and he has lost by judgment escambium may follow.] If there are
[023] several deforciants resident in the same county, all may be joined together in one
[024] writ; if they are in different counties, then let different writs issue, because of the
[025] different counties. The form of the writ is this.

The writ of rightful dower.

[027] ‘The king to the sheriff, greeting. Order A. rightfully and without delay to restore to
[028] B. who was the wife of C. her rightful dower which falls to her from the free tenement
[029] which belonged to the said C. her late husband in such a vill (if there are several
[030] tenants, then thus: Also order such a one that rightfully etc., and so on, one after
[031] another, so that all who are tenants and resident in the same county be included,
[032] and then) of which she has nothing, as


1. Supra ii, 265

2. Supra ii, 301-2, infra 372

3. ‘breve de recto de dote,’ all MSS; supra ii, 276, infra 396, 400

4. Infra 401

5. Merton, ca. 1; supra ii, 277

6. Supra ii, 276, infra 399

7. ‘ut’

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