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[001] in your full county court (or ‘before such a one whom we have constituted our
[002] justice for this case’) A. who was the wife of B. and who claims to be pregnant.1
[003] And before the aforesaid keepers cause her to be examined by lawful and discreet
[004] women through whom the truth may the better be known, and let the same women
[005] carefully [examine] her by feeling her breasts and abdomen and in every way
[006] whereby they may best ascertain whether she is pregnant or not. And if the said
[007] keepers and women discover that she is pregnant, or if they are in doubt, then let
[008] them lodge her in our castle,2 such a one, in such a way that no maid who may be
[009] pregnant nor any other who may be suspected of contriving3 a deception has
[010] access to her, and let her remain in the castle until the question of her offspring can
[011] be settled. And provide that in that castle she be separately guarded, lest any
[012] deception respecting her offspring occur while she is in custody. We have commanded
[013] such a constable to admit her to the aforesaid castle. Witness etc.’ And if
[014] someone other than the sheriff is constituted a judge in this matter, as was said
[015] above, then let this clause be added at the end: ‘Since we send the aforesaid person
[016] that you may conduct this affair to its conclusion with him and through him.’4
[017] The writ directed to the constable ordering him to receive the woman will be
[018] this.

Writ ordering the constable to receive her into his castle.

[020] ‘The king to such a constable, greeting. When she comes to you we order you to
[021] receive into such a castle such a woman who claims to be pregnant, so that she
[022] remains in the same castle at her own cost; there are two or three women charged
[023] with the matter of such progeny; if they wish to examine her every day, permit
[024] them to do so once a day, in the aforesaid castle. Witness etc.’ And let the same be
[025] done if she claims pregnancy in her husband's lifetime. If after his death she seeks, to
[026] the exheredation of the true heir, to be put in possession in the name of her unborn
[027] child,5 let this writ for proving the deception issue at the complaint of the heir.

Writ at the complaint of the heir that she be examined.

[029] 6‘The king to the sheriff, greeting. A. the brother of B. has shown us that though
[030] such a woman, the widow of the said B., is not pregnant, she falsely claims to be
[031] so by the aforesaid B., to the disinheritance of the said A. since the land which
[032] belonged to the aforesaid B. ought by right of inheritance to descend to the same
[033] A., as he says, as brother and heir of the said B., if the aforesaid [wife] has no


1. ‘Johannam que fuit uxor Jordani de S. Martino que se facit pregnantem’

2. B.N.B., no. 137

3. ‘faciendae’

4. B.N.B., no. 1605: ‘quia mittitur ibi predictus G. [de Savage] ut cum eo et per eum istud negocium perducatur ad effectum.’

5. D. ‘ventris nomine in possessione mitti desiderat’

6. Rot. Litt. Claus., i, 435b (1220): ‘Monstravit nobis Thomas de Aldham frater Ade de Aldham qui mortuus est, quod cum Johanna que fuit uxor predicti Ade pregnans non sit ipsa falso dicit se esse impregnatam de predicto Ada ad exheredacionem ipsius Thome desicut terra que fuit predicti Ade ad ipsum jure hereditario ...’; Selden Soc. vol. 60, cliii, clv; Meekings in Bull. Inst. Hist. Res., xxxii, 210

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