[the case] of Agnes who was the wife of Robert of Acton, who claimed dower against  Isabella who was the wife of Alured of Barking. Isabella answered that she ought not  to have dower thereof, though she freely admitted that [Agnes] was once married to  the same Robert, but afterwards separated from him by ecclesiastical censure because  of kinship,1 and following the separation, the same Robert later formally took  to wife the aforesaid Isabella, without any objection or contradiction by Agnes, and  thereafter she was with the aforesaid Robert her husband until his death, and that  he died seised of her as of his wife. To which the aforesaid Agnes replied that she was  never separated from the aforesaid Robert, and that if Isabella was married to him  it was wrongful. And on being questioned as to where she stayed during the life of  Robert, when2 Isabella was with him, she answered [at Winchester and that Robert]  her husband had placed her [there] while he remained elsewhere. Afterwards all that  was done was sent to the bishop, that he might inquire into the truth of the matter  and send the inquest to the justices. The form of the writ for taking the inquest is as  follows.
The writ for this purpose, that is concerning two wives.
 The king to such a bishop, greeting. Know that when A. who was the wife of B.  claimed in our court etc. her dower against C. from the free tenement of the aforesaid  B. her late husband in such a vill, D. of N., who likewise claimed her dower against  the same C. in the name of the same B., objected against the said A. that she ought  not to have dower therefrom because she was not joined in lawful matrimony to the  same B. in whose name she claimed dower. But she, the aforesaid D., said that she  was the lawful wife of the said B. and lawfully married to him. And since an inquiry of  this kind belongs to the ecclesiastical forum,3 we order you, having convoked before  you those who are to be convoked, to inquire diligently into the truth of the matter,  and so diligently examine into the marriage that it may be known which of them is  the lawful wife of the said B. and which ought to be preferred in the exaction of  dower. And make the inquest which you held thereon known to our same justices  by your letters patent. [Once the inquest is held, let perpetual silence with respect  to her claim to that dower be imposed on the woman against whom judgment is  given, since after such inquest in the ecclesiastical court no appeal lies. When the  justices are certified of the truth by4 the bishop's inquest, let the tenant be resummoned  to appear on a certain day to answer the same A., in a claim of dower, for  when there is a dispute between two women as to which is the lawful wife, [and]  a determination [made] between them as to which is lawful, from then on let the action  proceed between the [lawful] wife demandant, who has nothing, and the tenant,