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[001] may defend herself against the plaintiff's suit by wager of law and thus evade the
[002] penalty, which ought not be, for when damage is so done in a corporeal thing that
[003] it is manifest to the sight of men, she cannot deny by wager of law that it is not so,1
[004] because the view would thus be contrary to the oath of the jurors. It is better, therefore,
[005] when the woman denies waste, that a view be made of the thing wasted contrary
[006] to the prohibition, and of the kind and extent of the waste, and when the waste is
[007] established by the view and the oath of honest and lawful men, that it be emended.
[008] But in obligations and contracts and stipulations, which are entered into by consent
[009] and will, as in agreements, promises, gifts, sales, and the like, [where] if suit is produced2
[010] and the suit is examined, it only raises a presumption, the defendant may
[011] defend himself against suit by wager of law, the number of those swearing being
[012] doubled, at least, who, since there are more, raise a stronger presumption in support
[013] of their verdict.3 Thus the stronger presumption overcomes the weaker. But if the
[014] plaintiff has proof, such as instruments and sealed charters, against such proofs there
[015] will be no defense by wager of law. If the validity of the instrument4 is contradicted,
[016] it will be proved by the country and by the witnesses.

The woman can answer to the waste.

[018] The woman may also answer that if waste was committed there it was done not in
[019] her time but in that of another, that is, of her husband, [or] of the guardian or the
[020] heir, before the assignment of dower. If the plaintiff denies this let the truth be
[021] inquired by the country.5

When it is necessary to make the view of waste.6

[023] When the plaintiff has suit and the woman denies the waste, and both put themselves
[024] on the country, the sheriff will be ordered, having assumed knights, to cause a
[025] view to be made of that waste [etc.] by this writ.

A writ for viewing waste by the sheriff and the country, and that twelve knights come on a certain day to view that waste and that he remit the inquest to the justices.7

[027] ‘The king to the sheriff, greeting. We order you to go in your own person, taking
[028] with you [twelve], both knights and other free, lawful and honest men of such a
[029] vicinage, to such a manor, which A. who was the wife of B. holds in dower of the
[030] inheritance of the same B. and cause the view


1. B.N.B., nos. 443, 580 (margin)

2. ‘secta producatur’

3. ‘in defensione dicti’; supra 371

4. ‘fides instrumenti,’ all MSS

5. C.R.R., xiv, no. 1788

6. ‘Cum necesse . . . de vasto,’ from line 25

7. ‘et quod . . . diem ad videndum de vasto illo,’ from lines 28-29

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