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When love goes wrong: getting out of marriage in seventeenth-century Spain.

"What therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder."(1) Based on this New Testament injunction, the Catholic Church took marriage out of the hands of humans and placed it among the sacraments defined by God. With its new status as a sacrament, marriage could not be considered merely an incidental association between a man and a woman, but an indissoluble bond made by God in heaven. However, such an idealized notion of marriage neglected to take into account the human side of the relationship. Marriage involved much more than the binding of two souls, it joined two people and two personalities. With time, the Church realized that despite its emphasis on the spiritual nature of marriage, humans, with their capricious hearts and lustful bodies, could not necessarily be relied upon to follow the divine plan. In order to assert greater control over its parishioners, the Catholic Reformation Church in the wake of the Council of Trent (1547-1563) attempted to bring relationships, especially those involving sexual relations, under its purview. This process involved the redefinition of marriage rituals, especially in terms of premarital sexual relations and the legitimization of marriage promises by a priest.(2) However, parishioners often proved to have little enthusiasm for such ecclesiastical regulation. Marriage's location at the intersection between human desire and heavenly virtue often made it the crux of conflict between parishioners and the Catholic Church.

Such tensions have not been readily apparent to either historians of marriage or early modem social historians. Philippe Aries, for instance, marveled at the "apparent ease with which the indissoluble 'ecclesiastical' marriage became established" in rural Europe.(3) I examined a variety of parish marriage records from 1550 to 1700 from the diocese of Ourense, a rural diocese in Galicia in northwestern Spain. A social/cultural ritual like marriage must be analyzed over the longue duree because, although the Catholic Church issued the decrees of the Council of Trent during the last half of the sixteenth century, the Church needed time to hold synods, open seminaries, and establish the systems of parish visitations which oversaw changes in local religious practice. Furthermore, the structures of local culture, especially those involving sexuality, proved slow to change. However, by 1700 the revised Church doctrine on marriage had been promulgated for more than 100 years and the concomitant processes of educating priests and episcopal supervision of local religious activity had become an established part of Catholic Church structure. Ourense provides an interesting case study because unlike many of the other dioceses studied by Annales school historians, Ourense is far from the centers of secular or ecclesiastical power. Although its population had been Christian for centuries, its location on the periphery of Christian Europe had reinforced the durability of local culture. Therefore, an analysis of the impact of Trent in Ourense provides the model for the study of other places on the European periphery where traditional social and religious practices remained entrenched long after the propagation of the Catholic Reformation.

The theologians at the Council of Trent significantly transformed the sacrament of marriage through the publication of its famous decree, Tametsi. Through this decree the Church universalized marriage ritual by asserting that marriages were only valid when the promise was publicly announced on three occasions at the parish church, and officially contracted in the presence of a priest. In traditional European culture a consensual marriage promise and sexual intercourse typically guaranteed a legitimate marriage. However, for centuries before Trent ecclesiastical authorities had hotly debated whether the marriage promise had to take place in the present tense, palabras de presente, or in the future tense, palabras del futuro (a betrothal followed by legitimization of the promise by a priest). Further complicating the Church's stand on marriage ritual was the medieval Church's acceptance of "the custom of the place," in which it insisted only that both spouses consent to any marriage in order for it to be considered legitimate.(4)

The Catholic Reformation's specific injunctions concerning the presence of priests, the indissolubility of the marriage contract, and the distaste for clandestine marriages were not new. In Ourense, as in other dioceses throughout Europe, pre-Tridentine synods had passed similar decrees. The Ancient Constitutions of the Diocese of Ourense includes mandates requiring parishioners to contract their marriages in front of priests and to promulgate banns in the church for at least two weeks before the solemnization of the marriage.(5) In fact, the synod held in the city of Ourense in 1543-44 laid out the entire rite long before the publication of Tametsi. Once betrothals had been announced and no impediment to the marriage had been discovered, the priest performed a ritual almost identical to its modem counterpart. The priest took the couple's hands and joined them. The couple exchanged vows of consent, and then the priest pronounced the nuptial blessing.(6) However, with the Tridentine decrees the Church clearly situated itself as the central figure in the contraction and legitimation of marriages.(7) The Tridentine decrees differed most significantly from earlier legislation in their scope. All European parishioners would be obligated to contract marriage under exactly the same circumstances - exchanging the same vows in a ceremony performed by their parish priests.

Within a decade of the close of the Council, the Catholic Church in Spain, strengthened and unified by the decrees of Trent, began the process of placing itself at the center of the marriage ritual through mechanisms like the Inquisition and regular parish visitations.(8) However, over the long run the Church's ability to impose this conformity on its parishioners was constrained by one significant obstacle: the parishioners themselves. Parish records concerning the contraction of marriage attest to the continued conflict between tradition and reform. A close look reveals that despite the injunctions of the Council of Trent, not all promises of marriage and sexual activity led to marriage, principally because local religious culture tolerated sexual activity between promised partners whether or not the promise was made in the presence of a priest. This discrepancy between local tradition and ecclesiastical law does not imply that the peasants of Ourense completely ignored the institution of marriage and its obligations. Surely most parishioners would have agreed with the Catholic Church's preference for monogamous marriage. Beyond the religious implications of the sacrament, sound stable unions were important facilitators of peaceful community relations. However, local religious tradition accepted the reality that relationships did not always work out as planned. Whether out of a sincere change of heart or mere caprice, some women chose not to marry their sexual partners, or more frequently, their partners refused to marry them.

In rural areas like Ourense, marriage traditions which excluded clerical intervention, especially the tradition of legitimizing the relationship through the private or semi-public exchange of marriage promises, continued well into the seventeenth century. As late as 1663 at the parish of Santa Eulalia Bouses, the entry in the marriage register for Maria Fernandez and Gonzalo Garcia states that they had already contracted marriage with palabras de presente, a promise of marriage in the present tense, which according to custom was sufficient to contact a legal marriage. The parish priest, caught between local tradition and official doctrine, convinced the couple to have a church ceremony, and went on to note that although their earlier promise signified true matrimony, the couple was officially married in the parish church on that November day.(9) The tone of the priest's notation implies that while he had achieved his goal of convincing the couple to have an official ceremony, he did not wish to deny the validity of the relationship that they had prior to his intervention. In fact, many seventeenth-century couples in the parishes of Ourense stated that prior to the wedding ceremony inscribed in the marriage register, they already had given each other "hand and word in marriage" or that at an earlier point they had promised not to marry anyone else, thereby contracting legitimate marriages by local standards and even by the varied doctrines of the medieval Church, but not according to the Catholic Reformation Church. During this transitional period, some parishioners found a compromise between the often lax expectations of local culture and the strict regulation of the Tridentine decrees. They continued the traditional practice of contracting marriage in private, and at some point later came before the parish priest to have the sacrament administered.

In addition to emphasizing the role of the parish priest, the Catholic Reformation Church also attempted to emphasize the place of the verbal promise of marriage over the physical consummation by promoting a tripartite marriage process which emphasized the role of palabras del futuro (constituting a betrothal), followed later by palabras del presente (a marriage promise best exchanged in public and before a priest), followed by sexual intercourse. According to these theorists, the betrothal, whether consummated or not, formalized the marriage thus invalidating any subsequent marriage.(10) By validating the power of the palabras del futuro, the Church attempted to prevent the seduction of women through a future promise of marriage or the contraction of clandestine marriages which might lead to bigamy. Without this doctrine, the seducer might attempt to dissolve the betrothal and thereby make the sexual activity between the parties illicit.(11) However, local culture clearly tolerated premarital sexuality based on a promise of marriage and when such relationships failed before the finalization of the marriage by a priest, partners generally separated and went on to other relationships without social penalty. Beyond the high illegitimacy rates in the region, (between five and ten percent throughout the seventeenth century, compared to a European average of about two percent) most of these unsanctioned relationships have gone unrecorded.(12) In many cases, however, the contractual nature of marriage promises complicated the picture, as families employed the judicial system to remedy the financial loses suffered by the aggrieved party. Letters of Separation, Cartas de Apartamiento, agreed to by both parties, terminated the lawsuits over broken marriage promises, thus successfully breaking an engagement or bringing compensation to a woman seduced and left with a child.

Richard Kagan has shown that early modern Spain was not only a very litigious society, but that Spaniards of all social levels had access to and made use of the judicial system.(13) The apartamientos rarely indicate the occupations of those involved. However, typically Ourense was populated by small subsistence tenant farmers who, compared to their counterparts in Castile, were considered relatively poor. The apartamientos indicate that the relative poverty of the Orensanos did not restrict either their desire or their ability to pursue litigation. The documents themselves do not indicate the context in which the participants drew up these agreements. However, although the judicial system presumably ended many disagreements over marriage contracts, in order to avoid the time and cost of litigation, many families may have concluded their disputes independently and had the Letters of Separation drawn up by a notary. A few of the apartamientos indicate that they were the result of suits brought before the justicia ordinaria. Such cases, however, did not clearly fall under any particular jurisdiction. Other apartamientos note that they are the termination of suits being heard by the Corregidor, the bishop's provisor, or the episcopal audiencia. That so many different tribunals heard cases involving broken betrothals is a clear demonstration of the difficulties in regulating behavior which involved both a secular and legal contract as well as a sacramental ritual.

In most of the forty cases that I will discuss here, the apartamientos were brought by young women, although females under the age of twenty-five could not litigate on their own behalf. As a result, they provide fascinating insight into a Spanish woman's ability to employ the various Spanish judicial systems. According to Spanish law, women could not be forced into any legal action. In these apartamientos, just like most other legal documentation entered into by women, the female plaintiff swears by the sign of the cross that she has agreed to the document "voluntarily of her free and gracious will without the force or violence of any person."(14) As will be evident, in most cases, legal sentiment seems to have been inclined to favor the tenuous social and economic position of the women.

The apartamientos offer some indication of the variety of circumstances under which couples ended their relationships as well as local responses to those circumstances. Some of the apartamientos show a direct link between ending one betrothal and commencing other relationships, both in the legal and religious sense. For instance, before Pedro Vasquez attempted to marry another woman, his former lover, Costanca del Bal, forced him to legally terminate his obligations to her in a Carta de Apartamiento. Pedro had engaged in "carnal copulation" with the plaintiff, and their intercourse had resulted in a child named Pedro, whom Costanca was raising. Costanca had assumed that their relationship implied a promise of marriage. Once she realized Pedro's dishonorable intentions, she put forward an impediment to his forthcoming marriage until he gave her satisfaction for the discredit that she had suffered. Pedro claimed that he had given Costanca some little things already, but in addition he was willing to give her two aprons and one cloth bodice to satisfy any claim that she might have against him, thereby allowing him to follow through on his latest marriage proposal.(15)

Some couples never learned. In 1672, Ana Garcia de Prada filed suit against Antonio Dovale when he took her virginity and they had a daughter. He had to pay compensation for the child, "until she was able to serve some other person."(16) In 1677, another suit between the same couple noted that they had exchanged vows of marriage and as a result had cohabitated and had another child. Antonio then reneged on his promise of marriage again and Ana sought compensation for his betrayal.(17) In fact, the majority of the apartamientos are similar to the second suit between Ana and Antonio. The couple had exchanged promises to marry, consummated the relationship, and cohabitated. Most of the time a child had been produced and the man then denied his earlier promise of marriage. Late into the seventeenth century, despite Church legislation to the contrary, men like Antonio who had promised marriage in return for sex, were not forced to continue their relationships with their deceived partners. None of the apartamientos in this study provide any evidence that either the secular or the ecclesiastical judicial systems attempted to enforce the stringent Tridentine definitions of marriage on recalcitrant men. Similarly, from the perspective of the female plaintiffs, it is interesting to note that in none of the cases did the women insist that their suits be resolved through marriage.(18)

Instead, financial compensation served to mitigate the pain of a spoiled relationship. The women were almost always awarded some compensation at least for raising the child, if not for a dowry as well. As most women depended on a reliable partner to provide them with the requirements of life, many women's financial situations concerned them as much or more than the restoration of their reputations. Eulalia Fernandez, a poor widow from Alvergueria, had an illicit encounter with Benito Dominguez, a single man from Monteverde. A child, Alexandro, resulted and she insisted in her apartamiento that, as they were both poor and there was little possibility of getting enough money to marry properly, he pay twenty-five reales or five baras of cloth for a dress, one fanega of rye, another of dried chestnuts and nine more ducados in three installments.(19) In this way, Eulalia sought judicial protection from both her poverty and her consequent inability to marry (also the result of her poverty). As self-serving as this suit might seem, women in other regions, who unlike Orensanos refused to settle for financial compensation and insisted on marriage, were often disappointed by ecclesiastical justice. Patricia Seed offers the example in New Spain of Maria Rodriguez who rejected two offers of monetary compensation. Maria insisted that nothing short of marriage could remedy her honor after Lucas Ortega failed to fulfill his promise of marriage. Her case ended, leaving Maria's quest for honor unfulfilled, without compensation and without marriage.(20)

Both historians and anthropologists have made much of Mediterranean issues of sexuality and honor. However, while the high rates of illegitimacy and the number of apartamientos attest to the prevalence of premarital sexual activity in Ourense, there seems to have been little or no social stigma to participating in an extramarital relationship. Nearly all of the apartamientos use the phrase desflorado (deflowered), and some even use the term rape to describe the sexual intercourse. While this strong language indicates some community condemnation of premarital sexuality, it may have been used as a rhetorical device to sway the decisions of judges. Furthermore, few of the apartamientos make references to the women's loss of honor. The agreements reached in the apartamientos indicate that although a woman's virginity could not be restored, according to community standards her ability to marry someone else could be reestablished through the payment of her dowry by the offending male. If their encounter resulted in a child, some fiscal care of the child (usually approximately thirty ducados) would also be included in the deal, as well as any legal costs that the woman incurred.

Occasionally, it was the woman who suffered a change of heart before the wedding. One prospective groom, Gregorio Gonzalez, had already advanced the process of arranging his marriage with Maria de Alen when she changed her mind. As they were related in the third degree, he had already paid and sent for an ecclesiastical dispensation for their union. In order to "preserve the peace and tranquility between relatives," the couple agreed to break the engagement quietly. Maria paid part of the cost of the dispensation - thirty reales - and he paid the remaining fourteen reales.(21) Women even used the conflict between local and ecclesiastical expectations about palabras de presente for their own benefit. For instance, when Geronima Rodriguez contracted to marry Domingo Rodriguez in 1676, Jacinto Dominguez went before the episcopal courts with a claim that Geronima had already agreed to marry him. In this case, however, the bride manipulated the confusing definitions of marriage in order to marry her new suitor. Her suit notes that Geronima denied Jacinto's contention, basing her proof on the fact that the parish priest did not attend the betrothal. Thus, based on her testimony, the Church denied the validity of the earlier marriage promise on the basis of the Catholic Reformation definition of marriage. With no other witnesses to the exchange of vows, Jacinto's suit had to be dropped.(22)

Many men vehemently denied the allegations brought by women, but they agreed to pay a dowry in order to end the dispute. Just prior to contracting marriage with Pedro da Serra, Maria Pascual and her father, Justo, brought suit against their parish priest, Antonio Rodriguez, for having deflowered her. The priest insisted that he did not know Maria, and steadfastly maintained his innocence before the judge. Despite his protestations, Father Rodriguez did agree to provide a dowry of fifty ducados for Maria.(23) Similarly, Francisco Gomez de Castro, from the parish of Santa Maria Melias, attempted to defend himself against the charges brought by Lucia Sanchez. The apartamiento states that he "denied her narrative, tried to defend himself and to prove the contrary." Francisco must not have been very convincing because the presiding judge forced him to pay Lucia thirty-six ducados in two payments and to care for the child he had fathered.(24)

Not all the plaintiffs benefitted financially or socially from their litigiousness. In some cases the female plaintiffs admitted to malicious intent. Unrequited love motivated a few people to pursue frivolous lawsuits which they agreed to drop in the apartamientos. Most of these women ended their cases because of outside intervention. Dominga Rodriguez dropped her lawsuit against Domingo Alvarez without receiving any compensation after being advised to do so by people "of conscience."(25) A few of the apartamientos, however, were merely agreements to end any suits and to release the defendant from any future obligations with no other indication of compensation. Unfortunately, it is difficult to untangle what circumstances might have led a woman to terminate her case without financial compensation. Presumably, lack of support from friends and relations influenced many women's decision to end their suits.

Finally, not all the apartamientos refer to broken marriage promises. Some merely discuss financial compensation for lost virginity and the care of the resultant child. However, even in those apartamientos it seems that pre-marital sexual intercourse implied some responsibility should the couple not eventually marry. In terms of the relationship between local religious practices in Ourense and the Catholic Church, the apartamientos demonstrate the flexibility of local culture when it came to issues of marriage and sexuality. Certainly it was better for the community that sexually active couples remain monogamous and philanderers incur fiscal penalties. However, despite ecclesiastical attempts to limit sex to the marital bed, local custom and local justice permitted individuals to change their minds.

Married Couples

The sacrament of marriage often fared no better with couples who had legally contracted marriages. According to the Church, those couples who had already vowed to spend their lives together possessed no right to terminate their soured relationships through appeals to the judicial system. Although the Church considered all the sacraments both perpetual and indissoluble, this doctrine had implications for marriage that it did not have for the other sacraments. Referring back to Matthew's statement that no man could alter God's will, the Catholic Reformation Church absolutely denied the possibility of divorce. The reality of marital conflict, however, meant that the sacramental bond alone could not always keep couples together during their lifetimes.

The Catholic Reformation Church refused to reconsider its position on divorce and viewed separation with suspicion. The only alternative for unhappy couples was to separate physically. Often this separation entailed some type of informal agreement between the spouses, but at other times it was simple desertion. The connection between cohabitation and marriage was crucial to the Catholic ideal of marriage.(26) As the Catechism explains, the Church always assumed that such separations were temporary and that all attempts should be made to reunite couples:

And lest perhaps the law of marriage may appear to any one too rigorous ... if marriage were dissoluable by divorce, causes of dissension would scarcely ever be wanting to persons, but would be daily thrown in their way by the old enemy of peace and chastity; whereas now, when the faithful reflect that, although even separated as to bed and board, they are still held bound by the tie of marriage, and that all hope of taking a second wife is cut off, they therefore become slower to anger and dissensions, and if even they sometimes separate, they can no longer endure the absence of their partner, and having been easily reconciled by friends, they return to each other's society.(27)

In the case of some parishioners in Ourense, the Church's concerns about dissoluable marriage proved to be only too true.

In order to assure that the sacrament of marriage was properly upheld through cohabitation, the 1622 synod in the diocese of Ourense instructed episcopal Visitors to inquire among other things as to whether any couples in the parish did not lead a proper conjugal life.(28) Visitors took this injunction seriously, and the parish registers describe numerous attempts by Visitors to reunite couples. At the parish of Santa Maria Salamonde, the Visitor found that although Maria Alonso had been married for more than three years, she no longer lived with her husband. The mandate implies that their relationship had ended, and although her husband had left Salamonde, she had decided to remain in the parish. The Visitor ordered her to join him within nine days wherever he might be.(29)

The Visitor to the parish of Santa Eulalia Bouses encountered a much more confusing situation. He discovered that many individuals failed to comply with the new Church regulations on relationships. Bastian Moco was involved with a woman from a nearby village. Ygnacio Francisco, although married, had taken another woman, Margarida, as his mistress. Francisco Garcia had also taken up with a woman other than his legal wife. Considering the parish had no more than forty households in 1580, a significant portion of the population did not live in religiously sanctioned relationships. The unmarried couples were ordered to terminate their relations and not to have any contact with their former partners under the penalty of four ducados.(30)

The superficial goal of the Church, physically reconciling couples, was not sufficient in and of itself. Couples had to recommence their married life, their vida maridable. The case of Diego Gallego and his wife Madalena Perez points out the responsibilities of a vida maridable. "And the aforesaid [Diego Gallego] should give her a good life and treatment, providing for her and giving her food and everything else necessary and that they make a married life the one with the other, living together as husband and wife."(31) This Visitor's mandate implies that the sacrament of marriage involved much more than merely living together. To the degree possible, the Church required that partners recreate some ambiguously defined notion of a Christian household.

Don Antonio Pardo, the Visitor General of the diocese of Ourense in 1669, traveled to the parish of San Pedro Maus on the ninth of April to end the scandal caused by Juan Nieto Blanco and Feliciana Arias de Montenegro. Although legally married, they refused to sanctify the sacrament of marriage by cohabitation. The Visitor ordered the spouses to present themselves to him, yet only Juan appeared. After only four years of marriage, Feliciana no longer wanted to live with Juan. While others searched for the missing Feliciana, the Visitor ruled that it was her fault that the couple failed to maintain a married life. He ordered that within four days she was to resume marital relations with Juan, or pay twenty ducados for the repair of the episcopal palace and suffer excommunication. An addendum at the bottom of the page noted that Feliciana had been found, and that she agreed to comply with the Visitor's order.(32)

Failure to comply might lead to denunciation before the Inquisition. The husband or wife who permanently ended relations with his or her spouse and took up with another mate could face charges of adultery or bigamy. In a case documented by Jaime Contreras, Juan Ferro told the Inquisition that he left his wife because, "he had known that his wife was a person of vile reputation."(33) According to ecclesiastical law, however, his relationship with another woman was illicit and could not be condoned no matter what the circumstances. Furthermore, marriages could not be dissolved for reasons of adultery by either party.(34) Since extra-marital relations created divisions among the laity, and more importantly, tainted the sacrament of marriage, the Church continually campaigned against adultery. The 1543 synod of the Bishop of Ourense, Manrique de Lara, forbade adultery, noting that such activity broke both royal and religious law. As the penalty, the guilty party paid 1000 maravedis above and beyond any other penalties imposed by secular law for such behavior. Furthermore, the priest was obliged to report offenders to the bishop's deputy so that they might be proceeded against by religious justice.(35) As an indication of its firm stand against immorality, the Council of Trent increased the penalty for adulterers from monetary fines to excommunication. It is no surprise, however, that such injunctions did not end extra-marital affairs. Baptismal registers demonstrate that married men continued to father bastards. For instance, the child Domingo born in 1673, in the parish of Santa Eulalia Barroso, was the offspring of the union between Catalina da Canda and Matheo Perez, a married man. Unlike most other men, Matheo admitted his paternity.(36)

For those couples who pursued a formal separation, the procedure demanded at least a petition for separation and, presumably, witnesses. The petition process for ecclesiastical separation is unclear. The bishop or his deputy presumably possessed the power to confirm marital separations. Nevertheless, the only petition for separation that I encountered was initiated by a discontented and frustrated husband and was filed in the notarial archives. Marcos Franco from Xinzo claimed in his petition that the actions of his wife, Marina Feijoo, aged sixty, whom he described as "troublesome, foul-mouthed, and of very harsh disposition," had occasioned quarrels and various misfortunes. The scandals of his violent marriage had caused him to be excommunicated. Now he wanted to be permanently separated from Marina and have the censures lifted. He protested that he had been forced into the marriage and that it would bear no offspring; consequently it should be declared null and void. Marcos declared his intention to leave his troubled life behind and enter the priesthood. Either Marcos or those who counseled him clearly understood the laws of marriage. His request attempted to ensure the termination of his marital duties using three approaches. First, the Council of Trent forbade forced marriages, although the sacrament could never be removed. Secondly, because the primary purpose of marriage was the reproduction of the species, the validity of marriages without offspring could always be questioned.(37) Finally, with approval, couples could be legally separated by the sincere desire of one of the spouses to take holy orders. This combination seems to have been successful for Marcos, as the overleaf of the request noted its approval.(38)

Despite the sacramental constraints on married couples which bound them throughout this life and into the next, human nature constantly complicated the idealized notion of eternal marital bliss. It is not that parishioners rejected the idea of marriage; long before Trent, marriage had become a regular part of European Christian life. However, when push came to shove, the people of Ourense seemed unconcerned with the Church doctrine on the permanence of marriage. On those occasions when relationships did not work out satisfactorily, partners picked up and left and took up with new mates, disregarding the judicial and moral penalties which might result from such action. The extent of this type of behavior would be extremely difficult to measure, but the combination of high illegitimacy rates and the cases described in the episcopal and notarial archives contradict traditional notions about the sanctity and permanence of marriage during the early modern period. The people of Ourense continued to contract marriages based on local tradition, to break those contracts after they had been guaranteed by sexual intercourse, and even to leave Church-sanctioned marriages. For the people of Ourense, marriages might have been made in heaven, but many of them were definitely unmade here on earth.

Department of History and American Studies Fredericksburg, VA 22401-5358


1. Matthew 19:6

2. Philippe Aries, "The Indissoluble Marriage," in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, Philippe Aries and Andre Bejin, eds. (London, 1985), 148.

3. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, "Zacharias, or the Ousted Father: Nuptial Rites in Tuscany between Giotto and the Council of Trent," in Women, Family, and Ritual in Renaissance Italy (Chicago, 1987), 179.

4. The Ancient Constitutions of the Diocese of Ourense appear in Antonio Garcia y Garcia, Synodicon Hispanum, vol. 1: Galicia (Madrid, 1981). Synodicon Hispanum, 119.

5. The synod of Bishop Manrique de Lara is also included in volume 1 of Synodicon Hispanum.

6. John Bossy, Christianity in the West 1400-1700 (Oxford, 1985), 25.

7. For an interesting discussion of the role of the Inquisition in this process see Bartolome Bennassar, Inquisicion espanola: poder politico y control social (Barcelona, 1984), chapter 9.

8. Andre Burguiere, "The Marriage Ritual in France," in Ritual, Religion and the Sacred, Robert Forster and Orest Ranum, eds. (Baltimore, 1982), 17-18.

9. Libro de Matrimonios, Santa Eulalia Bouses, Archivo Historico Diocesano de Ourense (AHDO), 27.2.1 (November 1663).

10. James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago, 1987), 236.

11. Beatrice Gottlieb, "The Meaning of Clandestine Marriage," in Family and Sexuality in French History, Robert Wheaton and Tamara Haraven, eds. (Philadelphia, 1980), 52.

12. For more on early modern illegitimacy see Michael Flinn, The European Demographic System, 1500-1820 (Baltimore, 1981), chapter three and tables, 118-120.

13. Richard L. Kagan, Lawsuits and Litigants in Castile, 1500-1700 (Chapel Hill, 1981), especially chapter 1.

14. Carta de Apartamiento, Archivo Historico Provincial de Ourense(AHPO), protocolos notariales, caja 3420, fol. 109 (1690).

15. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3420, fol. 109 (1690).

16. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3317, fol.34 (1672).

17. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3318, fol.12 (1677).

18. For the most thorough discussion of such cases see Patricia Seed, "Marriage Promises and the Value of a Woman's Testimony in Colonial Mexico," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 13:2 (1988): 260 and 276. For a brief overview of these types of cases in France see Gottlieb, "The Meaning of Clandestine Marriage," 49-83. Considerable work has been completed on medieval marriage litigation in England. For example, R. H. Hemholtz, Marriage Litigation in Medieval England (Cambridge, 1974).

19. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3612, fol. 64 (1685).

20. Seed, "Marriage Promises," 267, n. 44.

21. The families drew up this "concordia y apartamiento para conservar la paz y quietud entre parientes." Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3420, fol.14

22. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3317, fol.15 (1676).

23. Contrato de Boda, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3324, fol.17 (1616).

24. Contrato de Boda, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3319, fol.50 (1695).

25. Carta de Apartamiento, AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3317, fol.31 (1675).

26. "If anyone says that the Church errs when she declares that for many reasons a separation may take place between husband and wife with regard to bed and with regard to cohabitation for a determinate or indeterminate period, let him be anathema." From the twenty-fourth session. The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, trans. H. J. Schroeder, O. P. (Rockford, Il, 1978), 182.

27. Catechism of the Council of Trent (Dublin, 1908), 300.

28. "Item se han de informar si hay algunos casados que no hagan vida maridable con sus mujeres, o ellas con ellos ..." from the synod of Don Pedro Ruiz de Valdivieso, Constituciones Sinodales del Obispado de Ourense compiladas hechas y publicadas por su senoria [Il.sup.(ma)] Don Pedro Ruiz de Valdivieso arzobispo-obispo de Ourense, del consejo de su majestad, en el primero sinodo que celebro en esta catedral (Madrid, 1622) reimpresas por disposicion del Senor Doctor Don Juan Manuel Bedoya (Ourense, 1843), 301.

29. Libro de Visitas, Santa Maria Salamonde, AHDO, 14.14.10, fol.6 (1573).

30. Libro de Visitas, Santa Eulalia Bouses, AHDO, 27.2.5, nf. (1584).

31. Ibid.

32. Libro de Visitas, San Pedro Maus, AHDO, 45.2.6, fol.43 (1669).

33. Jaime Contreras, El Santo Oficio de la Inquisicion en Galicia, 1560-1700: Poder, sociedad y cultura (Madrid, 1982), 651.

34. The twenty-fourth session, Canons and Decrees, 182.

35. Synod of Manrique de Lara, Synodicon Hispanum, 1:215.

36. "Domingo, hijo de Catalina da Canda vecino de Vilar muger soltera y de Matheo Perez hombre casado vecino del mismo lugar que en juicio contradictorio confeso ser suyo." Libro de Bautisados, Santa Eulalia Barroso, AHDO, 3.5.1 (19 January 1673).

37. For an interesting case in which the husband refers to the lack of consummation in his petition for annulment see Noble David Cook and Alexandra Parma Cook, Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance: A Case of Transatlantic Bigamy (Durham, 1991), 19.

38. AHPO, protocolos notariales, caja 3231, fol.17 (1627).
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Author:Poska, Allyson M.
Publication:Journal of Social History
Date:Jun 22, 1996
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