about this project
- The Consistory Court of the Diocese of London
- Medieval Canon Law and Consistory Court Litigation
- Late Medieval London and its Hinterland
- Editorial and Translation Conventions
- Further Reading
- Credits and Acknowledgements
Medieval Canon Law and Consistory Court Litigation
The legal regime governing the bishop's Consistory court was the system of church or canon law that had developed in Catholic Europe over the preceding centuries. By the fifteenth century the body of canon law was complex and far-reaching, governing many aspects of late medieval life. Although in theory the canon law applied in the same way throughout the medieval Catholic world, in practice medieval church courts often developed local interpretations and practices.1 In order to understand the testimony offered in the London Consistory, how the canon law defined marriage and divorce, defamation, and other issues needs to be explained.
1 See R. H. Helmholz, The Canon Law and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction from 597 to the 1640s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) and Charles Donahue Jr., Law, Marriage, and Society in the Later Middle Ages: Arguments about Marriage in Five Courts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).