Harvard Law School Library

Bracton Online -- English

Previous   Volume 3, Page 364  Next    

Go to Volume:      Page:    

[001] inheritance, that is the two parts, against the son of the other woman. If he obtains
[002] the inheritance, his mother consequently will obtain dower without further proof.
[003] Sometimes both [women] may name the same warrantor, when one has a son and
[004] the other none, as where a man, having first contracted marriage with a cousin or
[005] another within the degrees of affinity, as will be explained below, is divorced and
[006] marries a second wife; the issue of the first wife will nonetheless be legitimate,
[007] despite the divorce, and if he has no issue by the second, or even in he has, the
[008] warrantor of the second wife's dower will always be the son born of the first, since
[009] he is the lawful heir of the deceased with respect to succession, because of the ignorance
[010] of both parents or one.1 [There is more concerning this matter below.]2 If
[011] several women seek dower and several heirs dispute the inheritance, it must first be
[012] determined, for the reason mentioned above, who the right heir is, and consequently
[013] the rightful warrantor of dower. And whether there is an heir or not, he to whom the
[014] third part ought to revert after the woman's death will always be adjudged her
[015] warrantor, whether there are heirs apparent or not, as where the inheritance ought
[016] to revert to the chief lord as his escheat. But this [sometimes] fails, as where the
[017] husband's feoffee loses the land against the woman claiming dower and cannot
[018] recover escambium against the heir; [her portion reverts to him at her death, but he
[019] is not her warrantor].3 The reason the dower reverts is because it came from him. And
[020] just as an heir may be called lawful because he was begotten in lawful wedlock, so a
[021] wife may be called lawful where a lawful marriage has taken place, and consequently
[022] to be preferred with respect to dower.

When the woman's claim has been put forward, let the tenant either restore the land at once, or show why she ought not to have dower, or vouch a warrantor.

[024] After the woman has put forward her claim and after the view, as was said above,
[025] when the tenant appears let him either restore dower at once, or except and show
[026] that she ought not to have it, or vouch a warrantor, if he thinks that to his advantage.
[027] [Let the enrollment be made thus: ‘A. who was the wife of B. Claims against C. the
[028] third part of so much land with the appurtenances in such a vill (or ‘so much land,’
[029] if it is a specified dower) as her dower, of which the aforesaid B. her late husband
[030] endowed her (or ‘specifically endowed her’) etc.’] Let the warrantor then be summoned
[031] by the writ above mentioned to appear on a certain day, on which he may
[032] essoin himself, as in other pleas. If he neither comes nor essoins himself, and if the
[033] summons has been attested, let land belonging to him to the value of the land claimed
[034] be seised into the hand of the lord king by this writ.

If the warrantor who was vouched does not appear, seize by this writ.

[036] ‘The king to the sheriff, greeting. Seize into our hands by the view of lawful


1. Supra ii, 185, iii, 362

2. Supra 363; infra 381

3. Infra 368, 370, 398, 411

Contact: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Page last reviewed April 2003.
© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College